Western European News Digest
Serbian Diplomat Warns Against Kosovo Independence Moves
July 27 (EIRNS)Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who is in Washington for meetings on Capitol Hill and at the White House, held a press conference today at the National Press Club. His primary purpose is to stave off a possible declaration of independence by the Kosovo leadership, a move he warned which would lead to a serious setback for democratic forces in Serbia.
When asked by EIR what he thought the United States and the European states ought to do to push negotiations forward, Jeremic replied: "The best thing they could do is to not say anything about the outcome of the negotiations." If the United States or Europe indicated, as they have previously, that they would accept Kosovo's independence if negotiations led nowhere, the Kosovars would simply wait things out, rather than offer concessions, knowing they would get what they wanted at the end of the process. "We shouldn't presume what the outcome might be," Jeremic said. "If we don't move in the direction of Euro-Atlantic integration and peace, we will move in the opposite direction," he warned.
Germans Tell Brits To Cool Diplomatic Row with Russia
July 27 (EIRNS)German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at a recent meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, expressed concern that the current diplomatic row between Moscow and London may harm Russia-EU cooperation, according to Russian state radio station RUVR on July 26. After Merkel had delivered her speech, the report said, all German participants of the forum expressed their disagreement with Great Britain over its actions against Russia.
Bush and Brown Claim 'Special Relationship' Still Intact
July 30 (EIRNS)President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met for several hours last night, and again today, at Camp David, Maryland. At a press availability today, they both tried to reassert the U.S.-British "special relationship," with Brown calling Britain's relationship to the United States its most important bilateral relationship. "We are at one in fighting the battle against terrorism, and that struggle is one that we will fight with determination and with resilience, and right across the world," Brown said. Bush concurred.
Even though the Brits are pulling out troops from Iraq as the U.S. is "surging" in, the two asserted that they were in sync with regard to the strategy, and agreed to work together against terrorism, on Bush's latest Mideast ploy, on Darfur, and on reestablishing the Doha Round on trade. They said they would also work to tighten sanctions against Iran and Sudan.
Explosive New Swedish TV Program Details BAE-Saab Bribery
July 27 (EIRNS)On July 25, during prime viewing time, Swedish TV1 broadcast a one-hour follow-up documentary on the international BAE Systems-Saab weapons/bribery scandal.
The new revelations in this latest broadcast were the direct role of the Swedish elite in approving additional dirty weapons deals amounting to approximately $1 billion, including massive sales of the BAE-Bofors-manufactured Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, the preferred weapon for British and American troops in Iraq. Graphic film footage of the use of this powerful weapon by U.S. soldiers in Iraq is shown. The Wallenberg financial interests, and the Swedish political elites from both the so-called left Social Democrats and the so-called right-wing Conservatives (Moderaterna), were shown to have approved all of the approximately $1 billion in weapons trade with other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. It was also shown that these weapons are being clearly used in combat operations in Iraq and other war zones. Swedish law prohibits military sales to states involved in armed conflicts.
David Leigh, an investigative journalist for the London Guardian, emphasized that the revelations involving the use of bribery by BAE together with its Swedish partner Saab, "should have seismic political effects in Sweden."
Giuliani, Other GOP Candidates Kneel to Thatcher
July 30 (EIRNS)"Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher is being courted by some U.S. Republican Presidential candidates, reports the London Daily Telegraph. Rudy Giuliani, currently the frontrunner among Republicans, will become "the latest 2008 candidate to kiss the former prime minister's hand when he travels to London in September to deliver the inaugural Margaret Thatcher memorial lecture to the Atlantic Bridge think tank," says the Telegraph. Already paying their respects have been Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney.
BAE Enraged Over Closure of DESO
July 28 (EIRNS)In a letter addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, BAE chief executive Mike Turner expressed rage at Brown's ordering the closure of the Defense Export Services Organization. Turner, who was said to be "utterly furious" over the decision, is understandably enraged, since DESO played a key role in facilitating the multi-billion-dollar Al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Turner revealed BAE's true concern, which is the Al-Yamamah program, when he wrote, "I appreciate that at least the announcement signals keeping government-to-government arrangements, including the all-important Saudi contracting arrangements, under the MoD [Ministry of Defense]." Turner then demanded a meeting with the Prime Minister as soon as he returns to the U.K. on Aug. 6.
'New Managerial Methods' Sparking Suicides in France
PARIS, July 27 (EIRNS)For some months, a wave of suicides has swept industrial plants belonging to Renault, Peugeot, and Electricité de France (EDF), where "new managerial methods" were introduced to increase profits at the expense of employees' sanity. At Renault Technocentre of Guyancourt, the research center where the brightest minds design new models, three people have committed suicide in the last four months, with five suicides over three years. Working conditions are being exposed as outrageous, due to the insane goal set by Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, for 26 new models by 2009. Technicians and engineers are working overtime, often through the weekends, and hardly see their families. The company has also imposed personal productivity targets, instead of team targets, which are difficult to meet and maintain; if not met, the worker is disqualified from the prospect of promotion. Add to that the disappearance of teamwork, which eliminates social life in the workplace and social problem-solving in technologyand the fact that workers have no assigned office from which to work, but are rotating from one office to another, and the result is causing workers to break down.
With some differences, the same is true for the Peugeot site at Mulhouse, where six people have committed suicide since the beginning of 2007, and at the EDF nuclear site in Chinon, where a couple of cases have been reported.
Speculative Price Attack Hits Food Consumers in Germany
July 31 (EIRNS)All of a sudden, a broad media hype and public outcry has broken out in Germany, about alleged supply problems of the milk industry, implying that consumer prices for milk products "must increase" by 40-50%, some of that within days. Officially, the alleged increased appetite of "eaters in China and India" is given as the reason for the drastic price increases. That fits into the monetarist propaganda pattern of blaming the Chinese, Indians, and Russians for all the problems that come up, in order to divert attention from the fact that the financial system as a whole has collapsed.
At the same time that the price of milk is being raised, price increases are also threatened for other basic foodstuffs, such as bread and potatoes. The dynamic of speculation-driven price increases of basic foodstuffs in Germany is parallel to a similar dynamic announced in Italy, with the increase of pasta prices.