Western European News Digest
Financial Times Inflates Dick Cheney
Sept. 1 (EIRNS)If there was ever any doubt that Vice President Dick Cheney is London's stooge-in-chief at the White House, the Sept. 1 Financial Times cleared up any confusion. In a page-two half-page promo, headlined "Cheney the Survivor Without Challengers," the paper, exclusively citing "former" Cheney aidesCheney official biographer and American Enterprise Institute scribbler Stephen Hayes, and former Cheney spy-in-chief at the State Department John Boltonpromoted the hyperinflated notion that Cheney is now more powerful than ever, and is the "last man standing" beside President Bush when the "decider" does his deciding.
The FT made no bones about the fact that they are cheerleading for Cheney to induce the President to bomb Iranan action that the British are pushing as hard as they can. Middle East regional sources, recently interviewed by EIR, reported that everyone expects the United States to bomb Iran sometime in the next 12 months, and that such a needless bombing campaign, regardless of the impact on the Islamic Republic, would "finish off the United States" as we know it.
Finland Hosts Secret Talks Among Iraqi Factions
Sept. 4 (EIRNS)At the end of a four-day meeting, negotiators today published a two-page document, agreeing to follow 12 recommendations for starting negotiations in order to reach national reconciliation between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq.
According to the Associated Press, as a basis for discussions, the Iraqi participants in the negotiations were not identified, and neither the U.S. nor other governments were invited. University of Massachusetts professor Padraig O'Mally, speaking on U.S. National Public Radio, said negotiators were "handpicked by Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and Shi'ite Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi." O'Malley brought along a number of Northern Ireland political figures, from both the Sinn Fein and Protestant camps, who played a pivotal role in the peace agreement that ended decades of religious and sectarian killing in Northern Irelandall stoked by British counterinsurgency demons.
New Terror Threats Come from London; Target U.S.-Russia Cooperation
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)Reviewing the pattern of terror threats and provocations sketched out below, Lyndon LaRouche said today, "This is coming from London. Britain is determined to prevent US-Russian cooperation." But without that U.S.-Russian cooperation, he said, you can't have peace in Southwest Asia, whatever some may say to the contrary. Peace can't be achieved simply through cooperation of forces within that region; the British have enough points of control and influence to prevent it.
The British are provoking these destabilizations either directly, or else through their continuing Sykes-Picot networks. Expect all the crazies to come out of the woodwork. The pattern in Europe is significant.
* Earlier this week, Denmark arrested eight persons, supposedly linked to Al-Qaeda. The group was activated by a new cartoon portraying Mohammed with the body of a dog, published by the Scandinavian press.
* At the same time, three people were arrested in Germany, two of them German converts to Islam, with over 700 kilograms of explosives, military detonators, and plans targeting the U.S. airbase at Ramstein, and night clubs frequented by American soldiers. The 28-year-old leader had been under surveillance by the German police when he was mapping that area late December 2006. Police had infiltrated deeply into the plot. Seven more suspects are being sought. The suspect had crossed the border into France in the past, and France has now gone on a red terror alert, activating the intensified surveillance plan "Vigipirate."
* Last weekend, four activists of the Basque ETA were arrested in Cahors, France, with considerable quantities of explosives and plans. One was a top bomb manufacturer of ETA, and another was an influential leader.
* During the latest week of August, a semi-professional explosive device was discovered at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in a Paris suburb. Sarkozy was scheduled to speak at that location to the summer conference of the French employers association MEDEF.
Record Write-off of Consumer Debt by British Banks
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)Bad personal debt write-offs by British banks increased by 20%, the highest in the 16 years that such records have been kept, reports today's Daily Telegraph. For the second quarter alone, the jump was from 2.1 billion pounds to 2.3 billion pounds over last year. In annual terms, the write-off could reach 8.9 billion pounds this year. This would include 3.2 billion pounds in credit card debt that has already been written off. This reflects the fact that higher interest rates are starting to bite, and bodes ill for mortgage holders. Already, the number of properties put up for auction has increased by 32%.
Italian Home Repossessions Skyrocket in Global Crisis
Sept. 1 (EIRNS)According to consumer associations, 450,000 Italian families are having trouble with their mortgages, due to the increased cost of mortgages taken out at variable interest rates. The magazine L'Espresso found out that in Milan, home repossessions were 1,591 in August, as compared to 1,883 for the whole of 2006. A Venice research center estimates that family home debt increased 326% in the past years.
In a pathetic effort to deal with the social crisis, the government is proposing a 10 million euro fund, to help families pay penalties and legal costs for a 24-month delay of interest payments to their banks.
British "Hovis" Brand Breadmaker Jacks Up Loaf Price
Sept. 4 (EIRNS)British baking firm Premier Foods, maker of Hovis, one of the most common brands of packaged bread in Britain, this week implemented a price increase of 8 pence a loaf. The company cited a doubling of wheat prices in the last 12 months, and also announced a 50% drop in its profits. The price hike means that an 800-gram loaf of Hovis white bread could cost over 1 pound, up from 88 pence last year.
Warning of price increases in other foods because of the increased production of biofuels, Robert Schofield, CEO of the company, said, "Everyone is focusing on wheat and bread prices at the moment, but there is a general inflation that hasn't been with us since the 1990s. As long as governments are going to grow fuels, there will be in effect an environmental tax on food.
Straitjackets for Illegal Immigrants Deported From Spain
Sept. 4 (EIRNS)Spain's Interior Ministry has authorized police to use straitjackets and helmets on illegal immigrants who are being deported from the country by airplane, should they offer resistance. Human rights groups have denounced the practice as "inhuman and degrading."
The illegal immigration issue has become a politically volatile one in Spain, which in recent years has seen a significant flow of immigrants entering the country illegally, especially from northern Africa. On Sept. 4, Spanish television publicized the case of a Romanian immigrant who set himself on fire, after he failed in to get help from authorities to return home.
Former British Commander Jackson Blasts U.S. Iraq Policy
Sept. 1 (EIRNS)In a new autobiography, Gen. Sir Mike Jackson, the head of the British Army during the invasion of Iraq, attacked U.S. policy in Iraq, especially that of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who, Jackson says, is "intellectually bankrupt." The Jackson book comes out at the point when most British ground troops are leaving Iraqleaving the Americans alone in the quagmire that the British urged them to create.
Several Countries Want To Try Berezovsky
Aug. 31 (EIRNS) Russian prosecutors are not the only ones looking into their files on Boris Berezovsky. Investigations are being conducted into the role of the London-based exiled Russian oligarch in other countries as well.
In France, investigators are pursuing a money-laundering case involving Berezovsky, and a Russian team will come to Paris next week, to brief their French colleagues. Last week, a Dutch team was in Moscow, probing tax evasion and other criminal charges which Berezovsky is said to be linked to. And Brazilian prosecutors want to have him extradited, in a money-laundering case involving a prominent soccer team there.