From Volume 36, Issue 44 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 13, 2009

Western European News Digest

GM Must Be Taught A Brutal Lesson

Lyndon LaRouche said Nov. 6 that GM must be taught a brutal lesson in response to the fact the Board of Directors of General Motors acted without the knowledge of President Barack Obama to pull the plug on the deal which had been agreed upon for a consortium led by Canadian supplier Magna and Russia's Sberbank to take over GM's Opel unit in Germany and other European countries. GM made the announcement on Tuesday, just hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel had addressed the U.S. Congress — the first Chancellor to do so since 1957 — and had just met personally with the President.

President Obama assured the Chancellor on Wednesday that he did not know about the decision and was not involved, despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury is GM's majority shareholder, with about a 60-percent stake as a result of providing more than $50 billion in loans and other aid to GM.

Lyndon LaRouche, therefore, asked: What action is going to be taken against General Motors, then? The U.S. must take some action. GM has been bailed out by the U.S. government, and now they have turned around and double-crossed the President of the United States on a business deal. The President was screwed. This is not personal. It is more than personal. No matter how bad the President may be, you don't screw the President of the United States. No matter what mistakes the President may make, you don't screw the institution of the Presidency, especially when, in the case of GM, it has received so much from the U.S. They have no right to do this. When the President has bailed out your company, you should at least consult with the President before taking such an action.

LaRouche continued: Maybe they should be made to pay some penalty. Maybe they should be taught a lesson. Maybe GM has not been civilized yet.

Briefed on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's comment that GM acted scornfully and arrogantly toward its partners and did not speak to anyone before making the announcement, despite all the agreements reached and documents signed, LaRouche said Putin is right. But we are Americans, not Russians. GM double-crossed the President of the United States in an unconscionable way. GM set up the President. I admit that President Obama has all the faults that I have attributed to him, but you don't do this to the President of the United States.

GM has to be taught a brutal lesson. The Attorney General should look into this, to see if there is fraud involved, to see if there is a fast-buck operation of some kind involved.

This affects U.S. relations with Germany, a nation which is an important ally of the U.S. You don't let a private interest screw an ally of the U.S. in this fashion. They have to be taught a lesson. They don't represent the American people. They haven't done anything for the U.S. people. Rather, they have been living on the generosity of the U.S. government. Without the U.S. government, they wouldn't be in business. They need to learn a lesson. We owe it to the American people to take decisive action.

Czech President Reluctantly Signs Lisbon Treaty

Nov. 3 (EIRNS)—Czech President Vaclav Klaus signed the Lisbon Treaty, allowing the consolidation of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy's control over the formerly sovereign states of the European Union. Klaus, who bitterly opposed the treaty, signed after the country's Constitutional Court today announced its ruling that the treaty was compatible with the Czech Constitution, a ruling Klaus opposed.

"The Czech Republic will cease to be a sovereign state" once the treaty enters into force, Klaus said after signing it.

The next day, the EU was already announcing that it would enforce the economically choking Maastrict debt limits of 3%, by initiating deficit suits against Germany, whose 3.5% deficit is expected to grow to 5% next year.

GM Won't Sell Opel ... for the Moment

Nov. 4 (EIRNS)—In what did not come as much of a surprise to insiders, GM's board late yesterday backed off from an earlier statement of intent that it wanted to sell its German Opel division to the Canadian-Russian Magna Group; talks over a possible sale have been dragging on for months.

The decision caused embarrassment to leading German politicians backing the Opel-Magna deal, especially because it was announced within minutes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel had addressed the U.S. Congress, this afternoon. GM, after all, is nominally owned by the U.S. government, which now holds 60% of its shares.

Workers' representatives at Opel said they would fight to protect their jobs now, because it could be expected that the "consolidation plan" GM is talking about, would imply the elimination of thousands of jobs, and probably mean the end to the three plants at Antwerp, Bochum, and Kaiserslautern.

Russian wires spoke of the GM decision being motivated by the intent to block the transfer of Opel technological know-how to Russia, which would have occurred if Magna, together with its Russian partner Sberbank, had taken over Opel.

Europe Begins To Panic Over Flu

Nov. 3 (EIRNS)—With the Ukrainian health crisis in the headlines across Europe, the manifest unpreparedness of all the region's governments to deal with the H1N1 pandemic is starting to rile people up. But so far, popular sentiment, for example, in Germany, is swinging from a delusional state, where the anti-vaccination psychosis was dominant, into an equally delusional panic, with the official line becoming that "the swine flu" is everywhere, and people can thus become infected everywhere. The truth is, that until we end British genocidal economic policies, there is no cure for the flu.

In Italy, television news shows now begin their reports with the flu update. The death of a 10-year-old boy in Rome, of bacterial pleuropneumonia yesterday, increased the already-existing run on pediatricians. Vaccine is still in short supply, as hospitals and pharmacies are being besieged by parents asking for vaccinations for their children.

In Germany, there is a shift in public reporting, which, until now, had tried to sweep the whole matter under the carpet by presenting it as isolated cases. Also, the head of the Robert Koch Institute and other authorities have changed their line, from opposing mass immunization, to advising the general population that they should get it. The vice chairman of the German Federation of Physicians (Deutsche Ärztebund) finally said that the more people who are immunized, the less the virus can spread, and mutate.

Romanians Reject IMF's Choice for Prime Minister

Nov. 4 (EIRNS)—The parliament of Romania today resoundingly rejected Prime Minister candidate Lucian Croitoru, by a vote of 250 to 189. Croitoru had been the "chosen" candidate for Prime Minister of the pro-IMF Romanian President Trajan Basescu. Croitoru required 236 votes to be elected.

Croitoru played a leading role in arranging a recent IMF emergency loan package of EU20 billion, and he was Romania's representative at the IMF from 2003-07. Romania has so far only received EU6.5 billion from the IMF, which is still negotiating on the conditionalities, especially for the second tranche.

The net new deficit of the Romanian government for the last quarter of 2009 alone is expected to be at about EU3 billion, however, and 2010 will not be much better. Wage cuts in the public sector, privatizations and shutdowns of public sector facilities, and an increase of the retirement age are among the things that the IMF has in store for the Romanians—similar to what the Latvians or Ukrainians are being exposed to in return for IMF "help." The parliamentary majority vote against the IMF's candidate for Prime Minister is an important signal of resistance by the Romanians, who are among the poorest populations of Europe today.

German Farmers and Workers Begin To Unite vs. Globalization

Nov. 5 (EIRNS)—Yesterday's protest rally against the effects of globalization which drew several thousand workers of the Quelle mail-order shop, who took to the streets of Nuremberg, was not only joined by numerous local citizens, but also by ten dairy farmers with tractors, from the surrounding region. The farmers said they are experiencing essentially the same process of shutdown from the side of the EU, as the Quelle workers are from the side of the creditor banks: Both farmers and workers are given small handouts but no protection, therefore they should join in solidarity with each other.

Soros Founds Another European Institute

Nov. 3 (EIRNS)—George Soros, declaring that the "old" economic thinking has failed, last week announced that he was going to buy some new economic thoughts, in the form of $50 million, to be shelled out over ten years to found an Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), with offices in Budapest, Hungary and Cambridge, England.

Soros—founder of European Council on Foreign Relations and Central European University—told the Financial Times that "There's been a pretty widespread recognition by professionals that something is fundamentally wrong in the prevailing doctrine about financial markets, so there is need for new thinking." He might well have added: "Anything—just so long as it's not LaRouche."

The INET will be headed by a former Soros Fund director, Robert Johnson.

British Government Dumps Pro-Drug Advisor

Nov. 2 (EIRNS)—British Home Affairs Minister Alan Johnson last week fired Prof. David Nutt from the government Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs, because of Nutt's comments that Ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. He also criticized returning cannabis to its previous status as a Class B narcotic. This has cause a pro-drug legalization debate in the British media.

This week, two other members of the council resigned in protest against the firing: Dr. Les King and Marion Walker. Walker represented the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. King was the former head of the Home Office's Drug Intelligence Unit. This has created a flurry of pro-drug-legalization commentaries in such papers as the Guardian and the Independent.

Johnson said he dumped Nutt because his comments "crossed the line" from providing advice to political lobbying.

All rights reserved © 2009 EIRNS