Western European News Digest
French PM in China for Nuclear Energy Deals
Dec. 21 (EIRNS)French Prime Minister François Fillon arrived in China yesterday for a three-day visit, accompanied by Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and some 20 business and industry executives. Fillon will meet with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. Nuclear cooperation is high on the agenda.
France's energy firm EDF and the nuclear group Areva will sign two joint ventures with the Chinese state-owned giant CGNPC to launch "the operational phase" of construction in southern China of two 1.75 gigawatt nuclear reactor complexes. The French-Chinese collaboration has been in the works for the past three years.
Also, Safran, the French aerospace and defense industries group, along with General Electric, is expected to win a contract to provide engines for the C919 jet, the future Chinese competitor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing's 737.
Britain's Chilcot Iraq Inquiry to Heat Up in New Year
Dec. 24 (EIRNS) Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair could be heading into a very uncomfortable New Year, as the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry into Great Britain's role in the Iraq War proceeds. Blair's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, will testify before the committee at the beginning of 2010, and Blair himself will testify next year as well. Current Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and Development Secretary Douglas Alexander have been asked to testify, but not until after the general election on May 6.
Facebook Emerges in Pattern of Attacks in Italy
Dec. 26 (EIRNS)The attack against Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas Eve was not only a clear example of a dangerous takedown of the Pope's security (performed by the famous Swiss guard), but there is another notable similarity to the Dec. 13 attack on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
According to TGCOM/Cronica (12/25), the immediate aftermath of the attack by Susanna Maiolo on the Pope saw the creation of four (pro-Maiolo) Facebook accounts. One of them is billed as a "fan club," which immediately gained 100 subscribers. The site says: "The fan club is dedicated to all those who have an uncontrollable urge to hug the Pope"! Berlusconi's attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, also immediately received support on sites set up on Facebook.
Maiolo was holding a statue of St. Peter and was ready for the attack, and one report compares this to the attack on the Prime Minister, who was struck with a statuette of a cathedral.
The most popular group, with over 100 members, is entitled "I love Susan Maiolo." "After Tartaglia, she is another HEROINE of progress and liberty."
Germany Reaches Climate Goals by Destroying Economy
Dec. 23 (EIRNS)In a cynical "objective" tone, Germany's national TV network, ARD, reported last evening that "due to the recession, Germany achieved [its] climate goals."
The report says that, according to preliminary statistics, CO2 emissions in Germany in 2009 sank by 27%. "As a result of the recession, it was possible to reduce the CO2 emission by more than 25% below the reference amount of 1990." With GDP collapsing by 5% this year, this led to "the steepest decline of emissions since 1991." (This is significant, because by 1991, East Germany's industry had already been collapsing.) In 2009, production collapsed in the steel, chemical, and concrete industries, leading to "fewer emissions of CO2 and five more dangerous climate gases."
German Metal Workers Demand High-Tech Government Investment
Dec. 21 (EIRNS)As the full dimensions of the economic breakdown becomes more visible, and as the ecologist fantasy scam flopped in Copenhagen, reality is starting to enter the minds of some in Germany:
In an interview published yesterday, Berthold Huber, the head of the German metal workers union, IG Metall, demanded that the government implement "an investment program of at least EU100 billion" to encourage technological innovation and "be a better way to out of the crisis." For the first time, the amount at least approximates the dimension that Helga Zepp-LaRouche's BüSo party has been demanding for years, which calls for a EU200 billion program.
Huber said that core industries such as metallurgy and electronics have to be retained and protected. He demanded that the government save good firms, which are presently suffering under the liquidity/credit crunch. The IG Metall statement is all the more interesting in its resemblance to similar statements by the International Association of Machinists in the U.S., in response to the sobering effect of the protracted crisis.
London Telegraph: Germany's Merkel a Terrorist Target
Dec. 21 (EIRNS)In the London Sunday Telegraph yesterday, monarchist scribbler Ambrose Evans-Pritchard singled out German Chancellor Angela Merkel as an enemy image for anarchist terrorism. In the aftermath of the Dec. 13 attack against Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, this statement should be taken seriously.
Evans-Pritchard quotes the same passage by Merkel on "dictating" adjustment to Greece that we earlier reported. However, he says that this "diktat" attitude risks provoking a "terrorist response across Southern Europe." Anarchist and left-wing violence has increased in Greece, Spain and Italy, targeting symbols of "capitalism," among them the EU.
German Dairy Farmers Must Take On Food Cartels
Dec. 24 (EIRNS)In a review of 2009 and preview of the new year, Michael Braun, leader of the dairy farmers organization BDM for the Oberberg region of North Rhine-Westphalia, said yesterday, "We farmers have to unite, otherwise we won't have a chance against the food cartels." He also called for producer-consumer alliances. Braun, recently elected to the national advisory board of the BDM, announced that he will expand his activities throughout North Rhine-Westphalia.
Ruling: Queen's Finances Must Be Revealed
Dec. 21 (EIRNS)The secret correspondence between the government and the royal family concerning the latter's finances will be released, after Great Britain's Information Commission ruled in favor of a request by the Independent newspaper. The release is unprecedented and required three years of campaigning by the Independent to demonstrate that its release was in the "public interest" which is the only way royal correspondence will be made public, since the Royals are not subject to the normal rules of Britain's Freedom of Information Act. The ruling comes just before government was about to close even this last loophole. The documents are to be released by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which has 45 days to file an appeal.
Dubai Money Financing British Tories
Dec. 24 (EIRNS)The British dirty money and drug-trafficking headquarters of Dubai appears to be a source of funding for the British Conservative Party. The Guardian reports that the Conservative Party has received two £50,000 donations from a company whose parent is based in Dubai and whose owner, Fouad Makhzoumi, is an arms dealer. Makhzoumi was a buddy of disgraced former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, who went to jail for giving false testimony in a libel case he had brought against the Guardian. The Tories claim there is no irregularity, because the funds came through the U.K.-registered firm, Future Pipe Ltd. But the Guardian points out that this firm makes no more than £21,000 a year in pre-tax profits, while its parent, Future Pipe Industries in Dubai, has a turnover of £600 million.
Fraud Office Has Strong Criminal Case Against BAE
Dec. 18 (EIRNS)Her Majesty's top agency for war, dirty operations, and terrorism, the arms manufacturer BAE Systems, has come one step closer to ending up in court for high crimes, including bribery and fraud. According to the Times, on Dec. 18, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will question BAE executives, but this time "under caution," after it has been determined that SFO has a potentially strong criminal case against BAE for making bribes in order to win contracts. "Under caution" refers to a procedure like the reading of Miranda rights in the United States, where a person is informed of his or her rights before being questioned. After that is done, anything you say can be used as evidence against you.
While an out-of-court settlement is still under negotiation, the problem is, if BAE pleads guilty and is convicted, it could face immediate bankruptcy, since European Union law forbids governments from making contracts with any company convicted of bribery.
German Lutheran Church Demands Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Dec. 24 (EIRNS)Margot Kässmann, newly elected as the first woman president of the German Lutheran Church, has demanded an early withdrawal of the German Army from Afghanistan. Kässmann, in an interview with the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, said that even with the broadest extension of Lutheran Church criteria, "this present war cannot be justified," and German troops should return "as soon as possible."