Western European News Digest
Secret U.S. Prisons Scored by German Security Minister
On the morning of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German Minister of Internal Security, known as a hardline neocon in German politics, struck hard at the Cheney policy of secret prisons. Schaeuble told an interviewer for the public Deutschlandradio, "We do have to move decisively against the al-Qaeda network, but we cannot defend the principles of the constitutional state and of international law, if we take fundamental principles out of operation, even if only partially. Nor is this in the interests of the Americans, that they do so.
"If you take the fundamental principles of law out of operation, nothing gets better, but everything gets worse. We have experienced that, indeed," he said.
Asked about the Iraq War, Schaeuble answered: "We know now what most people had already suspected, namely, that there was no direct connection [of 9/11] with Iraq. Removing the dictator Saddam Hussein from power was right, for its own reasons, but what has developed out of that with the Iraq war, was dubious from the beginning." Schaeuble also warned against equating Islam with terrorism. He made similar remarks in an interview with the Passauer Neue Presse daily that appeared on Sept. 11.
This marks the second time within a week that Schaeuble has spoken out against the Iraq war policy of the Bush Administration. Chancellor Angela Merkel also voiced opposition, saying, "Using such prisons is not compatible with my understanding of the principles of the constitutional state. Even during the war against terrorism, which challenges our free societies in an unprecedented way, the ends must not be allowed to justify the means. I appreciate that President Bush has put this theme on the agenda now himself."
Sarkozy Tied to Corrupt Synarchist Networks
Francois Bayrou, the president of the UDF, a critical member of the government coalition of France, has recently started pounding on the power of money and the way it is controlling the media and the parties. At the recent summer university of the UDF, Bayrou attacked by name the financial interests controlling the news media and their support for right-wing Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy: Bouygues controls national TV Channel 1 (TF1), Lagardère, Le Monde and Paris Match. Dassault controls Le Figaro.
Recently, invited to host TF1's national news at 8 p.m., Bayrou repeated his attacks and accused French financiers of "orchestrating the media fix on the Sarkozy-Royal duel" for the 2007 Presidential elections.
In a break with the party-line unity adopted a few months ago in order to win the next Presidential elections, Sarkozy has also been attacked by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who tied him to the same corrupt media networks. In addition, a new book has surfaced which likens the financial networks behind Sarkozy to the financial Synarchy of the 1920s and '30s.
Blair Heckled, Booed at Trade Union Conference
Prime Minister Tony Blair was met with a decidedly hostile reception at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference in Britain last week. The mutiny erupted even before Blair bean to speak, as 30 unionists walked out, led by Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail and Maritime Union, with placards saying "Blair Out Now!" The rail workers were joined by members of the firefighters, FBU. As the delegates walked out of the hall, Blair responded weakly: "Thank you for the introductionmore or less." Many of those remaining in the hall shouted "Shame!" and "Bring them home!"referring to British troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blair then launched into an off-the-cuff tirade about how he wants to make sure that the TUC is addressed by the Prime Minister, not the opposition leader, as it had been for 18 years. When Blair spoke about Iraq and Afghanistan, he was again heckled, with trade unionists holding signs, "Troops out," etc.
After the speech, which was about one-third on terrorism and one-half on migration, with the remainder on the positive impact of globalization, key union leaders said that Blair "ducked" all the important issues of concern to trade unionists and Labour Party supporters. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the largest public sector union and one of the "big four" unions affiliated with the Labour Party, said that the Prime Minister's speech was that of a man "at the end of his era." Mark Senwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: "He ducked every issue of controversy.... It seemed a performance of someone whose time has ended."
Russian Reindustrialization Hailed as Model for Germany
At the second economic forum of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD)the first one, in June, featured former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubinthe subject was "How can Germany defend its role as world champion of exports?" One of the speakers was the CEO of Porsche, Wilhelm Wiedeking, who unleashed a strong attack against the shareholder-value mentality. The other was German Finance Minister Steinbrueck, who is the chairman of the economic forum, a man who is not known as a spokesman for industrial development, but for fulfilling Maastricht and hailing the private equity funds.
In response to a question pointing out the dual coincidence of the ongoing economic collapse, and the need to raise living standards in China and India, Wiedeking pointed to Russia, saying it has made, "a remarkable development, it is free of external debts now ... and a reindustrialization of Russia will create a tremendous potential for German industry! We are the number one partner for Russia, and that is not only true in economic terms, but also emotionally the ties are very strong."
Polish PM in Washington, Cajoled to Sustain Neocon Agenda
In a brief meeting in Washington Sept, 13, President George Bush thanked Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski for Poland's "steadfast leadership in the struggle for peace and democracy in Iraq." The Prime Minister in turn told Fox News that Poland will remain a loyal ally at the side of the U.S. in Iraq, and that it is not going to withdraw its troops. Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, also in Washington, said Poland will send at least 900 more troops to Afghanistan by next February. But NATO officials subsequently pointed out that this contingent isn't new, but is part of a regular reinforcement already arranged before the "alliance's" new appeal for 2,500 more troops!
Kaczynski said that the Bush Administration had expressed political support for Poland's plan to build an oil pipeline designed to pump Caspian crude from Azerbaijan to Poland's oil refinery PKN Orlen. Background reports had indicated that Poland would get U.S. support for such a pipeline if they agreed to stationing of nuclear missile defense (NMD) on Polish soil. Kaczynski said that the NMD topic did not come up in the discussion.
But it did come up with Defense Minister Sikorski, at a CSIS event in Washington. He said, "There have been exploratory, low-level and technical consultations between Warsaw and Washington on the Pentagon's interest in establishing a missile site." But no progress. Sikorski is known as the "darling of Lynne and Dick Cheney" and one of the staunchest supporters of the Cheney neocon agenda.
Blair Receives Icy Reception in Lebanon
Demonstrations took place inside and outside the press conference that Tony Blair held with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. While Blair was speaking, a woman, Caoimhe Butterley, stood up holding a ten-foot banner saying "Boycott Israel Apartheid." She told reporters: "This visit is an insult to the memory of the Lebanese, Palestinians, Muslims. This visit is an insult to the thousands of Lebanese who died as a result of Blair's policies. Shame on you Tony Blair." She was carted off by two policemen.
Meanwhile, outside, tens of thousands gathered with banners saying "Blair go to hell," "Blair you are not welcome in Lebanon," and, "This is what intelligent bombs do."
The two Hezbollah cabinet members snubbed Blair, and, more significantly, Deputy Prime Minister Nabih Berri, did not show up, having scheduled a private visit to Iran the day before.
Blair defended his policy toward Lebanon and Israel in the latest conflict, but noted that Lebanon had been invaded seven times in the past 30 years through no fault of its people. He gave 22 million pounds in reconstruction aide and 20 million pounds to support UNIFIL operations.
BBC Distances Itself from ABC's 9/11 Farce, But Airs It
The Guardian of London Sept. 13 points out that the BBC had broadcast the fictitious "docudrama," "The Path to 9/11," over two nights in a three-hour program, without knowing that the propaganda material was made by a member of the U.S. cult group, Youth with a Mission (YWAM). BBC spokesman told the Guardian that the organization did not vet filmmakers on their political and religious beliefs.
See this week's Indepth Investigation: "Behind the ABC 9/11 Docudrama: The Axis of YWAM," by Anton Chaitkin.
Munich Daily: Cheney's Star Is Sinking
In a half-page article Sept. 14, the Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung lists many of the Vice President's recent flops, from the hunting incident to the last speech on 9/11. Cheney "is obsessed with making America strongmeanwhile, the uncompromising conservative has become a burden for the government, however," the daily wrote, adding that powerful Republicans have distanced themselves from Cheney, like the Senators John McCain, John Warner, and Arlen Specter.