Western European News Digest
Protests Mount as Economy Collapses
Feb. 2 (EIRNS)A Reuters roundup reports on actions in 11 countries over the past two weeks. Among them:
In Davos and Geneva, Switzerland, hundreds of people rallied Jan. 31 to protest against the World Economic Forum, saying the incompetents gathered for its annual meeting are not qualified to fix the world's problems. In Geneva, where the WEF has its headquarters, police in riot gear fired teargas and water cannon to disperse a crowd.
In Iceland, Prime Minister Geir Haarde resigned last week after protests, some of which turned violent. He was the first leader to fall as a direct result of the worldwide economic collapse.
In France, millions of strikers marched Jan. 29 to demand pay raises and job protection. Some protesters clashed with police, but no major violence was reported. Labor leaders hailed the action, which marked the first time France's eight union federations had joined forces against the government since President Nicolas Sarkozy took office in 2007.
In Britain, up to 900 contractors at the Sellafield nuclear plant walked off the job on Feb. 2, joining hundreds of other contract workers who have gone on strike in recent days over the use of foreign laborers. Thousands of energy workers staged walkouts on Jan. 30, targetting France's oil and gas company Total for the same policy.
In Lithuania, on Jan. 16, police fired teargas to disperse demonstrators who stoned the Parliament in protest against government cuts in social spending.
WTO, EU Wage War Against Protection, Russia
Feb. 6 (EIRNS)The World Trade Organization called an emergency meeting for Feb. 9 to deal with what the Wall Street Journal called a "wave of barriers to world commerce since early last month." Russia is the prime target. Yesterday, ten EU commissioners went to Moscow to protest to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and others about the "pace of new Russian trade barriers." The Journal says that Russia, which is not a member of the WTO, is refusing to play by the Imperial "rules," and has introduced 28 measures in the past three months to raise tariffs and subsidize domestic products.
The EU is also protesting the U.S. "Buy American" campaign, but, at the same time, the EU has also resumed its own dairy supports, and barred Chinese nuts and bolts, claiming that the Chinese were dumping, while also restricting U.S. chicken and beef. The U.S. is planning retaliation, and so on.
CIA Warns Obama: Terrorist Threat Is in Britain
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)The London Sunday Telegraph reports today that the CIA has massively increased its presence and operations inside Britain, because it does not trust the British security services to keep an eye on all of the 2,000 suspected terrorists identified by MI-5 in the British Pakistani community, according to the daily's website. The CIA believes, and has apparently advised President Barack Obama, that the next spectacular terrorist attack on U.S. soil will be launched from Britain.
According to a British intelligence source, a staggering four out of ten CIA operations designed to thwart terrorist attacks are conducted in Britain. The CIA has also developed its own sources inside the British Pakistani community.
The Telegraph also quotes Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Middle East expert, saying: "The British Pakistani community is recognized as probably al-Qaeda's best mechanism for launching an attack against North America."
Germany, Britain Differ as Munich Security Conference Opens
Feb. 7 (EIRNS)Opening the annual Munich Security Conference, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Iran to take up the Obama Administration's offer for dialogue, and was quoted by AP as saying, "Above all, I appeal to those responsible in Tehran: Take this chance."
By contrast, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, a business partner of George Soros, launched a provocative attack on Iran, for having launched a satellite last week. The launch, even if for civilian purposes, Miliband told AP, sent the wrong signal: "Given that President Obama said that he was stretching out a hand if Iran would unclench its fist, I don't think that this was an unclenching of a fist."
Danish Radio Points Listeners to Schiller Institute
COPENHAGEN, Feb. 6 (EIRNS)The Danish National Radio host, on the Classical music channel of the only national Danish radio station, after a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the new Radio House, announced Friedrich Schiller's 250th birthday anniversary (Nov. 10, 1759), adding that listeners could order a special newspaper from the Schiller Institute in Denmark. Schiller's poem "The Ode of Joy" is immortalized in Beethoven's symphony.
Sweden Says 'Yes' to Nuclear Power
Feb. 6 (EIRNS)The policy of the LaRouche-affiliated European Labor Party in Sweden (EAP) was adopted yesterday, when the Swedish government decided to cancel the 1980 law that banned new nuclear power plant construction. The so-called "nuclear parenthesis" is thereby over, relieving Sweden of a 30-year political trauma around the nuclear question. The EAP was the only party in the Swedish nuclear referendum in 1980 saying "Yes" to nuclear power.
The Swedish decision will give a boost to pro-nuclear sentiment in other European countries, including Germany and Italy, where anti-nuclear policies are either being reversed or are under scrutiny.
'D'-Day for Gordon Brown
Feb. 5 (EIRNS)British Prime Minister Gordon Brown used the "D word""depression" while under questioning at the House of Commons.
In answering a question on the economy from opposition leader David Cameron, Brown said that countries "should agree as a world on a monetary and fiscal stimulus that will take the world out of depression." His office issued a statement attributing the statement to a "slip of the tongue," adding that he meant to say "recession," according to The Times.
All the other sophists in the opposition, including Liberal Democratic Party shadow chancellor George Osborne, attacked him for "undermining confidence" by using the "D word."
Tremonti Foe: U.S., Europe Should Buy Afghan Opium
Feb. 5 (EIRNS)Toni Barber, the Financial Times correspondent who issued a death threat against Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti last year ("Tremonti and the Serpent's Egg," April 8, 2008), has now been deployed to sell the British policy on Afghanistan to the Obama Administration.
In an article published today, entitled "Buying Up the Opium Crop: A New Western Policy in Afghanistan," Barber writes, "A radical solution is for the U.S. and its European allies to buy up the entire Afghan opium crop every year and turn much of it over for medical purposes around the world. This would not only starve the Taliban of money and undermine global organized crime. It could even improve Western relations with Iran."