From Volume 36, Issue 49 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 18, 2009

Western European News Digest

Who Stripped Berlusconi's Security?

Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was severely injured on Dec. 13, in an attack by an individual who, at close range, threw a heavy metal statuette in his face. The Prime Minister was greeting a crowd after a political rally in Milan; he suffered a broken nose, broken teeth, and other injuries to his face, and was immediately hospitalized.

The perpetrator, Massimo Tartaglia, is a deranged individual with a ten-year history of psychiatric problems. Tartaglia is also an unpaid activist of the WWF, the genocidal "environmentalist" hitmen created by Nazi Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Britain's Prince Philip. Tartaglia had participated in a WWF chapter meeting the evening before the attack, his father told journalists.

Lyndon LaRouche demanded to know: "Who pulled Berlusconi's security? A Prime Minister of a major nation, and he does not have the security to protect him from a known threat? ... My personal question on this is, where was the Prime Minister's security on this incident? Was his security withdrawn in order to set him up? It sounds like a dirty trick by somebody. I'm not an admirer of Berlusconi, but after all, he is a Prime Minister. And you don't subject a Prime Minister to a withdrawal of security, in present times, unless you are a dirty guy behind the scenes. Did some British influence set up Berlusconi to be hit by this guy, a known freak?"

LaRouche suggested that the assault "sounds like a British attack on the Papacy," and may be related to the threats and blackmail that the British and the Nazi WWF are using at the Copenhagen Climate Summit, to try to impose their depopulation policies globally.

Greek Prime Minister: Sovereignty at Stake

Dec. 10 (EIRNS)—The EU dictatorial institutions, scared by the threat of a Greek default, are increasing their pressures on the Greek government for Schachtian austerity measures. Such measures, however, are incompatible with democratic regimes. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stated, yesterday, that "The financial crisis threatens the sovereignty of the country" for the first time since 1974, when the military dictatorship was overthrown.

Does Papandreou mean that in order to avoid a Greek default, the EU could promote a military coup? At the moment, the EU is putting a knife in the back of the Greeks, but the Greeks have their knives at the EU's throat, with the threat of defaulting. In an interview with Le Figaro, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, who will meet with his French counterpart, Christine Lagarde, on Dec. 15 in Paris, attacked the behavior of rating agencies and made it clear that the government budget plan, which will be ritually presented at the EU in January for approval, cannot be too hard. The plan is to freeze new hirings in the public sphere, and to replace only one out of five employees who retire, Papaconstantinou said. "We are also considering reforming the pension system, but we will not abandon our efforts to improve spending on health and social security." Otherwise, "we will do all everything necessary to avoid assistance from the IMF."

Bundesbank president and European Central Bank governing council member Axel Weber warned yesterday in Frankfurt that if Greece does not make the necessary structural "reforms" within this year, the ECB might decide to no longer accept Greek state bonds as collateral at the end of 2010. Weber's threat is a complete bluff. If the ECB rejects Greek bonds as collateral, the euro system will collapse. It has been reported that French and German banks alone own about EU200 billion in Greek bonds. In reality, Eurocrats are worried that a Greek default could leave those banks, and the entire system, belly up. Some economists close to Financial Stability Board (FSB) head Mario Draghi therefore propose to create a "protection belt"—not for Greece, but for banks. "It would be opportune to build now, already, a protective belt for Greek banks, as concerns liquidity needs," writes Angelo De Mattia in Milano Finanza today.

Ireland's Winter of Discontent

Dec. 12 (EIRNS)—The budget cuts now being implemented by the Irish government could lead to mass strike action in what promises to be a Winter of discontent. Strikes could take place by police, teachers, and civil servants who have suffered deep salary cuts.

Policemen have had a EU200 a month cut in their salaries and are now deciding whether to launch a strike, which would be illegal. Teachers' salaries have been cut by 20% since last March, and another 6.5% cut was announced this week. Deep cuts have been implemented in the social welfare system, especially for the disabled. Britain's Guardian reports that the discontent could lead to the collapse of the coalition government between Fianna Fail and the Green Party led by Brian Cowen.

British Prepare Cuts in Health Services

Dec. 11 (EIRNS)—Many more of Her Majesty's subjects will be dying over the next five years, as the British government prepares major cuts in the National Health Services (NHS). The Independent writes that "slash and burn" budget cuts are being disguised in the Department of Health's new "vision" for the NHS over the next five years, under the Orwellian title of going from "good to great." While the talk is of increasing the NHS budget by £3.7 billion over the next three year, the plan would require the creation of "efficiency" savings of £15-20 billion in order to maintain the current quality of services. This includes only a 1% increase in general salaries, but a pay freeze for doctors and senior staff. The "vision" calls for a 30% cut in administrative costs.

The Independent writes that these "efficiency" cuts will "cause unavoidable pain." This "vision" also calls for freezing the hospital "tariff," which is the money the hospital trust receives for taking care of patients under the Primary Care Trust. This appears insane, since the PCT is the base of the health system, and presumably draws on the Hospital Trusts when necessary, paying for that service out of the PCT budget.

The NHS cuts are part of a projected 13% cut in the public sector over the next two years.

U.K. Afghan War Wounded Snub Gordon Brown

Dec. 6 (EIRNS)—When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown went to pay respects to injured Afghan War soldiers being treated at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, England, more than half closed the curtains around their beds and refused to speak to him.

The Dec. 6 Sunday Telegraph reports: "Furious about equipment shortages and poor compensation for their injuries, one soldier said, 'It is almost as if we are the product of an unwanted affair.... He has done nothing for us.' "

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