Western European News Digest
European Governments 'In a State of Denial'
July 31 (EIRNS)A Middle East-based European intelligence source told EIR that European governments are in such a state of denial of global strategic reality, that all serious politics has been suspended, and presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama is viewed as the Messiah.
The source had just completed a tour of London and the Europe continent, where he spoke at forums involving both European-based Islamic leaders and European parliamentarians and government officials. At one meeting, the featured speaker was a man who described himself as Obama's top domestic policy advisor, who shocked our friend with his hero-worship of the candidate. The Europeans sat there with their mouths open "as if they were waiting for the Messiah." By contrast, Obama's trip to the Middle East left a poor impression on both Arabs and Israelis, who concluded that there will not be big changes from Bush-Cheney policy, if he is elected.
The source was struck by the fact that across the policy spectrum, while the population is suffering, the political class is doing nothing, and even fails to recognize the problem.
The WTO Flop: 'Tremonti's Revenge'
July 30 (EIRNS)Italian media enthusiastically cheered the failure of the World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva, with the daily Corriere della Sera going so far as to call it "revenge" for Italian Treasury Minister Giulio Tremonti.
The success of the advocates of the nation-state at Geneva has given added vigor to the fight for domestic protectionism on other fronts as well. Italian Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia, back from Geneva, announced that Italy wants to review the milk quota policy in the European Union, this year. Italian farmers must pay fines of 187 million for having produced 628,000 tons of milk over their quota, whereas the European market has a deficit of 2 million tons! Moreover, Italy is the only EU country which has a quota of 58% of its domestic consumption. Italy needs a major quota increase in order to establish a domestic supply for high-quality cheeses, like Parmesan, which today depends on imported milk.
British Law Lords Uphold Cover-Up of Al-Yamamah Corruption
July 30 (EIRNS)The committee of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom, known as "Law Lords," which is the highest court in the British empire, today knocked down the decision to reopen the investigation of bribes paid by the defense firm BAE Systems to Saudi Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, which was closed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Earlier this year, in a case brought by two social activist organizations, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Corner House, judges in the British High Court "had sharply criticized the anti-fraud agency, the British government, and the Saudi royal family, saying the agency's decision represented an 'abject surrender' to pressure from a foreign government."
The Law Lords found it not only lawful, but "courageous" to shut down the investigation, after the Saudis threatened to cut off cooperation with Britain on the issue of terrorism. On top of that, the British are now demanding that with this precedent, the investigations of BAE by the United States and Switzerland should also be shut down. "With the highest court in Britain putting an end to the affair here, Washington should do the same," advised the Daily Telegraph.
Belgians, French Brainwashed for Belgian Break-Up Scenario
PARIS, July 30 (EIRNS)In a lead article, the French right-wing daily Le Figaro reports today on a new poll, jointly paid for by the Belgian daily Le Soir and the French daily La Voix du Nord, which proffered the "surprising" result that 49% of French-speaking Belgians, known as Walloons, would prefer to become part of France, "in case" Belgium were to break up. Less publicized is the fact that a large majority of them believe the Belgian state not only can, but actually will, survive safely.
Le Figaro ran interviews from only the tiny handful of second-tier French politicians favorable to such a scenario, still only "in case" of a Belgium break-up, featuring Philippe de Villiers, friend of the late Jimmy Goldsmith.
Karadzic in The Hague; State Court Decides Genocide Case
July 30 (EIRNS)Former Bosnian Serb leader and accused war criminal Radovan Karadzic was sent to The Hague this morning; his first appearance in front of the International Criminal Tribunal on former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is set for July 31. The day before his extradition, violent protests rocked Belgrade at a support rally for Karadzic and for still-fugitive Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic; the protests were attended by an estimated 10,000 people, with quite a few provocateurs among them. They were organized by the extreme nationalist parties. The British and Croat embassies were very heavily guarded.
The day before, the first trial before Bosnian State Court's War Crimes Chamber took place on genocide charges and on the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre. After working for two years on the case, the state court sentenced seven Bosnian Serbs to 38-42 years in jail for participation in the Srebrenica massacre, while four were acquitted.
Srebrenica is considered to be the worst war crime on European soil since World War II; almost 8,000 people, mostly Muslims, were murdered.
How Can Spain Bail Out Britain Now?
July 30 (EIRNS)London's use of Spain's Santander Bank, as a favored conduit to bail out collapsing British banks, is not long for this world. Spain is fast proving to be the weak flank of British finance in Europe, precisely as Lyndon LaRouche identified two weeks ago.
The mortgage bubble which "sustained" the Spanish banking systemincluding Santanderhas popped. House sales dropped 34% between May 2007 and May 2008, and mortgage borrowing, over the same time, was down 40.4%, according to official figures released two days ago. New housing sales by developers are reported to have plummeted 40-60%; permits issued for new houses in the first five months of 2008 alone, by 57%. Not surprising, given that the latest estimates are that there are 1.5 million unsold new homes on the Spanish market.
With the percentage of Spanish banks' loans which are in default having more than doubled (to 1.5%), and the July 14 bankruptcy of Spanish real estate developer giant Martinsa-Fadesa being, according to Standard & Poors, the largest corporate insolvency in Spanish history, involving more than 80 financial institutions, the Spanish banks themselves are not long for this world, under current policies. And that includes Santander, the loyal subject and ally of the Queen's Royal Bank of Scotland.
Italian Parliament 'Shamefully' Votes Up Lisbon Treaty
July 31 (EIRNS)The Italian Chamber of Deputies capitulated to pressure and will vote today for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee reported to EIR that "there has been an acceleration," and massive pressure was put on the committee chairman, a Lega Nord (Northern League) member, who voted for the ratification, while saying that the treaty must be changed! Almost all committee members spoke against the Treaty, but voted for ratification.
The decision was characterized as "shameful" and "despicable" by a leading legal expert who has fought against it. This expert wondered "what occult power is pushing Europe" into suicide. Watch the Belgian situation, the expert said, as this will mark a process leading to the implosion of larger states.