Western European News Digest
BüSo Campaign Ad Airing on TV and Radio
Sept. 11The first TV spot of the Bundestag campaign of the BüSo (Civil Rights Solidarity Movement), a German political party led by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, its Chancellor candidate, was aired on Aug. 31, on ARD. The 90-second spot will run once more on ARD, and twice on ZDF, and an audio version will be aired 14 times altogether on different national radio stations.
"The crisis which I have warned about for years is now here [showing previous election posters from 2001 and 2002]. All those who are responsible for the current disaster, by virtue of their incompetence, should resign and stop acting as if they could find a solution with the same failed axioms."
(The spot can be viewed at http://bueso.de/bundestagswahl.)
Sweden Implements IMF Health-Care Cuts
STOCKHOLM, Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The Swedish government, which prides itself in being best in class when it comes to abiding by the IMF's monetarist rules, is following the IMF's recent orders that the United States and other nations cut health-care costsby slashing spendingto deal with the financial crisis. While the government has decided to give away SKr100 billion ($14 billion) in bank guarantees this week, it is not helping the regional governments to cover the deficit created by the breakdown crisis. The regional governments (landsting) are forced to cut SKr2.5 billion ($350 million) from health-care spending, which translates into 3,500 full-time jobs in this small country of 9.29 million people. The health-care system in Sweden has been hemorrhaging from cuts being made since the 1990s, and is on the verge of total breakdown.
Cuts Have Collapsed Health Care in Southern Italy
Sept. 1 (EIRNS)Six suspicious deaths of patients in the southern Italian region of Calabria, in August, highlighted the crisis of the Italian health system and the ineffectiveness of the "dehospitalization" policies implemented in the last decade. Health-care expenses in Italy, which adopted a National Health System in 1978, have exploded in recent years, although with much variation from region to region.
The government approach to health cost and efficiency has been the wrong one: Cut hospital beds and reduce treatment. The current plan calls for cutting 27,000 hospital beds in five years, reducing the rate of beds per 1,000 inhabitants.
IMF Fascism Threatens French Health System
PARIS, Sept. 7 (EIRNS)Obamacare-style fascism is coming to France. Yesterday's Journal du Dimanche leaked the content of an internal memorandum from Finance Ministry officials to the Health Ministry, revealing that the government, facing exploding deficits in social security accounts, is considering raising payments that patients have to make for their care. Already, a patient must pay EU16 ($22) for each day of inpatient hospital care and, according to the memo, that amount could be raised to EU20 ($28), a 25% increase. A heart attack patient whose out-of-pocket expenses are now EU112, would be charged EU140.
Also under consideration is lowering reimbursements on certain prescription medications, for which patients currently receive 35% reimbursement, which the Finance Ministry wants to drop to 15%.
Scottish Parliament To Probe Blair Role in Megrahi Release
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)The Scottish Affairs Select Committee, and another committee of Scotland's Parliament, are preparing to investigate former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's role in negotiations on clandestine matters with Libya's Moammar Qaddafi in late 2003 and early 2004, three years before the now-acknowledged 2007 negotiations took place between Britain and Libya on the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted on charges of being involved in the Lockerbie bombing. The deal involved Libya giving up its weapons of mass destruction. (For background, see EIR, Sept. 11, 2009.)
The London Independent, reporting on a special investigation, describes a secret meeting that took place on Dec. 16, 2003, at the private Travellers Club in London, involving nine officials of the intelligence agencies and foreign offices of Britain, Libya, and the United States. The eight-hour meeting discussed the release of Megrahi, and involved William Ehrman, Britain's Foreign Office director general for defense and intelligence. Blair's personal envoy in this negotiating process was Sir Nigel Sheinwald, now Britain's Ambassador to the U.S. Two days after the clandestine meeting, on Dec. 18, Blair held direct telephone talks with Qaddafi.
The following day, Dec. 19, Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush made the announcement that Libya's Qaddafi would give up any existing weapons of mass destruction, and cease producing them. The Independent states that, according to its sources, the release of Megrahi was premised on Qaddafi giving up WMD. A Conservative frontbencher and member of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Ben Wallace, said: "This is the sort of thing a parliamentary inquiry can get to the bottom of."
Ryanair Boss Promotes Lisbon, Gets Rebuked
Sept. 9 (EIRNS)The head of the Dublin, Ireland-based no-frills airline, Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, has launched a campaign for the "Yes" vote in the second Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland. O'Leary gave a press conference announcing that he will spend half a million euros in the campaign, which includes ads on Ryanair planes. O'Leary said that he has read the whole Lisbon Treaty. "Yes I have read the treaty. It is a f***ing pain in the arse of a document. I nearly died of boredom from reading it, but yes I have read the treaty," he said.
However, a "Yes" vote "is the f***ing sensible thing to do. And ignore the idiot headbangers who are recommending a 'No' because none of them have an economic policy between them," he said. He called Sinn Fein, the main promoters of the "No," "half-wits."
Sinn Fein vice president Mary Lou McDonald hit back at O'Leary, saying he supported the Treaty because it promotes a "Ryanair approach to the economy, facilitating a race to the bottom in workers' wages and conditions."
"Voters need to ask themselves, do we really want a Ryanair Europe?" she asked. "The Ryanair business model has been built on the back of low pay, poor working conditions, and hidden costs to the consumer."
New Book: Princess Diana's Death 'Not an Accident'
Sept. 2 (EIRNS)Michael Mansfield, who served as the Queen's Counsel for Prince Diana's fiancé Mohamed Fayed, has just published Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer, and is quoted in the Daily Telegraph stating that Princess Diana's death "was not an accident," and that she had good reason to worry about her security. Mansfield, whose book is being serialized in the London Times, told the Telegraph: "I found it difficult simply to accept that what happened in the Alma Tunnel in Paris was 'just one of those tragic things'.... On April 7, 2008, the jury did not decide it was just a tragic accident but returned a verdict of unlawful killing by the drivers of both the Mercedes and the following vehicles. The 'following vehicles' element in the verdict was an aspect that very few commentators picked up on, or bothered with."
The book also reprises other issues set out in the trial, but not "resolved by evidence, or reflected in the verdict." These included the box of missing personal papers belonging to Diana; the missing driver of the white Fiat; three hours on the evening of Aug. 30, 1997, during which the movements of Fayed's chauffeur Henri Paul could not be established; and the unexplained regular and sizeable sums of money going into Paul's several bank accounts over the three months before the crash.
French General: Military Strike Against Iran Too Risky
Sept. 11 (EIRNS)French chief-of-staff Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin said yesterday that he believes a military operation against Iran's nuclear sites would be too risky, in answer to a question after a speech in Washington on NATO. Georgelin said it would be difficult to plan an operation against Iran "because we are not sure in one shot to be able to solve a problem." He added: "If you fail in one shot, it is a catastrophe.... I don't think at this stage a military option is still available."
Georgelin, who was in Washington to attend a ceremony in which French Gen. Stephane Abrial became the first non-American officer to fill a NATO command, also said, "At this stage, my personal opinion is that for Iran, I fear that the military option is probably beyond us and that the action should be as our president said several times, in acting with financial pressure, economic pressure, and political pressure." He also called for coordination with Israel, according to AP, "in order not to let it strike alone with all the risks it could entail."