Western European News Digest
Steinmeier Strikes Back; Blames Pentagon in Kurnaz Affair
The German Foreign Ministry has decided to switch from defensive legalism (which has not worked), to the first signs of an offensive on the Kurnaz case. Murat Kurnaz is a German-born Turkish citizen who was imprisoned for five years at Guantanamo. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been accused by opposition parties of rejecting a U.S. offer in 2002 to release Kurnaz and return him to Germany.
While Steinmeier was in Brussels Jan. 26 to meet with the other NATO ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, his ministry staff back in Berlin published a dispatch by the Berlin CIA station chief, dated Feb. 24, 2003 (four weeks before the Iraq invasion), in response to a request by the German counter-terrorism agency, the BfV. The dispatch said that "presently, an authorization of a release [of Kurnaz] from Guantanamo cannot be granted."
There are, naturally, other documents that prove that the Germans did try to get Kurnaz released, a Social Democratic source in the Bundestag told EIR Jan. 29. He said, in particular, there are no documents showing that the U.S. ever made a serious offer to Germany to release Kurnaz. "There has never been a U.S. offer," not in summer or autumn 2002. The Feb. 24, 2003, CIA document published by the Foreign Ministry on Jan. 26, shows unmistakably that the U.S. was not willing to release Kurnaz, he said.
The source would not rule out that this was an act of Bush-Cheney revenge, because of the former Schroeder government's opposition to the Iraq War, although he did not confirm it, either.
New Italian Infrastructure Modelled on Mussolini's
The Italian government announced at the end of January, a new national infrastructure fund, designed on Mussolini corporatist model, which today is called "PPPs," or Public-Private Partnerships. The new fund is called F2I, where "F" stands for Fund, "2" for 2 billion euros in capital, and "I" for Italy. This is a complete reversal of policy from the one inaugurated several years ago by Giulio Tremonti, with his Tremonti Plan for Europe, and the agency called ISPA (Infrastrutture Spa), modelled on the German Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau.
The government owns only 25% of F2I's current capital, while another 25% is owned by Italian banks, and the rest by international investors, among which is Lehman Brothers.
F2I's manager is Vito Gamberale, who was manager of Autostrade Inc. until he resigned a few months ago over disagreements on the merger of Autostrade and Abertis. F2I's chairman is Salvatore Rebecchini, former director of the Bank of Italy and member of a well-known Catholic traditionalist family with real estate and banking interests in Rome.
The F2I project was reportedly developed by a former Goldman Sachs director, Massimo Tononi, who is currently deputy Finance Minister, and who was present at the announcement in Milan. Also present was Tononi's boss, former European Central Bank director and current Finance Minister Tommaso Padoa Schioppa. At the event, it was explained that F2I's investments will have up to seven-fold leverage.
It was under Gamberale that Autostrade, owned by the Benetton family, entered as a partner in the Dulles Greenway private toll road project (in Loudoun County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.), which has turned out to be a fiasco. Autostrade International still is the operator of Dulles Greenway, which in the meantime, has been bought by the Australian vulture firm Macquarie.
Police Reveal Second Questioning of Tony Blair
On Dec. 14, Metropolitan Police quizzed British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for a second time, as a witness in the so-called "cash-for-honours" scandal, in which Blair's Labour Party is accused of offering peerages or honours (i.e., knighthoods, which confer seats in the House of Lords) in exchange for donations or loans to the party. This makes Blair the first serving PM to be so questioned. The interview, reportedly kept quiet at police request, was held to see whether or not Blair had authorized any staff to offer honours or destroy evidence. Following this, on Jan. 30, Lord Levy (aka "Lord Cashpoint," Tony Blair's bagman) was arrested for a second time. This time police issued a charge of conspiracy to pervert justice.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed Feb. 1 that Scotland Yard has uncovered a handwritten note from Tony Blair that "has significantly widened" the cash-for-honours investigation. The note suggests that Blair wanted peerages for most of the 12 secret Labour lenders, well beyond the four Blair submitted to Parliament in 2005.
Lord Levy's arrest this week followed the Jan. 19 arrest of Tony Blair's key Downing Street aide, Ruth Turner, at her London home. She was questioned about perverting the course of justice. Both Levy and Turner are free on bail.
Germany Issues Arrest Warrants for 13 CIA Agents
A Munich prosecutor issued arrest warrants Jan. 31 against 13 CIA agents in the abduction case of Khaled el-Masri. Munich district prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld put out international arrest warrants against agents charged with the abduction and months-long illegal arrest of the Lebanese-born German citizen. The abduction occurred in Macedonia, and el-Masri was transferred to, and kept detained at, a secret camp in Afghanistan, even when it became clear that he was not the man the CIA grab team had been looking for.
This follows actions in Italy, in recent weeks, in which CIA agents have been indicted for abductions on Italian soil.
More Arson Attacks Continue German Strategy of Tension
On Jan. 26, the private cars of two leading managers of the Hamburg-based Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems were torched. On Jan. 28, a group called "Revolutionary Anti-Militarist Activists" claimed responsibility, making a link between protests against the G8 Summit in June, and the Munich Wehrkunde meeting in February: "Attack the NATO WAR Conference in MunichParalyze the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm!" The attacks in Hamburg were said to be "militant actions against military-industrial managers." Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems is a leading German producer of submarine components, as well as components of other military vessels.
Since the beginning of September, altogether 40 attacks related to the anti-G8 mobilization have been recorded by police; 14 were arson attacks, the most prominent being an arson attack several weeks ago against the Hamburg private home of Assistant Finance Minister Thomas Mirow, who happened to be in the U.S. at the time for talks on the German proposal for hedge fund transparency.
Christian Zionist Group Holds Inaugural Meeting in London
The Christian Zionist gang called the Jerusalem Summit Europe, held its first meeting at London's Central Hall Westminster, the Jerusalem Post reported Jan. 28. The group includes the Israeli Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus and the U.K.-based Exploits Ministry which is run by an American couple, Christine and Peter Darg; Peter Darg runs the European side of Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. One of the sponsors is Cyril Stern, former chairman of Ladbrokes betting house and a good friend of Ariel Sharon. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sent his blessing. The purpose of the meeting was to promote Christian Zionism in Europe in the face of the alleged Islamic threat to Europe.
"We are in a critical season and crossroads for Great Britain which is a test case for the challenge of Islam," said Christine Darg. "Now is the time to rekindle the almost unique relationship that Great Britain has had with the Jewish people over the last couple of years." A visit to Darg's website reveals that the Second Coming will take place this year, but exactly when, Darg could not say.
Benny Elon, of Israel's fascist National Union-National Religious Party and chairman of the Christian Allies Caucus, said, "The Bible is the real bridge between us. This basic connection should overcome the mistakes that have soured our historic relations in the past."
Dmitry Radyshevsky, director of The Jerusalem Summit, which is financed by Russian Mafia tycoon Michael Cherney, said, "The main message we are bringing is not a request to support Israel, but to support Christian revival in Europe, not to save Israel but to save yourself."
Peter Darg piped up, "This is a clarion call to be Biblically correct and not politically correct."
European Parliament Greens Denounce Bio-Fuels Campaign
The entire campaign for bio-fuels is so absurd, that even the Greens cannot support it. In a statement published in Brussels Jan. 31, the Green group in the Euro-Parliament attacked plans of the EU Commission to expand the production of bio-fuels and co-fund it heavily. The farming policy spokesman of the Greens, Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe (Germany), said that trying to meet President Bush's target of making bio-fuels 16% of the national power supply, would imply burning all the corn that the U.S. produceshalf of the globe's output.
In Europe, most of the grain areas would have to be used to produce bio-fuels.
Unfortunately, the "alternative" of the Greens is just as bad: more energy efficiency, more power from solar, wind, thermal sources, and, "naturally," no nuclear power.