Western European News Digest
Italian Crisis Exploited by 'Britannia' Faction
Aug. 4 (EIRNS)The Italian government survived a no-confidence vote today, but its crisis has only been postponed to September, after the Parliament's Summer recess. A faction in the City of London forecasts a financial assault on Italy as a consequence of the political crisis, and the pro-British faction in Italy uses this as an argument to push through a Schachtian government led by Bank of Italy head Mario Draghi.
Democratic Party figure Walter Veltroni (former Mayor of Rome) issued a "transitional government" proposal, on the model of the 1993-94 government led by central banker Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, with the mandate of controlling the budget.
The candidate to lead such a government is, of course, central banker Mario Draghi. An article in Il Fatto, said yesterday that Draghi already has a program; he "thinks that it is necessary to force states (including Italy) to endure rigor, even subordinating a bit of democracy to fulfill budget parameters. This, may mean taking voting rights away from EP [European Parliament] representatives of countries that violate too much the Maastricht criteria on debt and deficit."
The Vichyite Transformation of Nicolas Sarkozy
PARIS, Aug. 2 (EIRNS)Now, 20 months before the 2012 Presidential elections, French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has started whipping up fascist sentiment around security issues, in the hope of winning the extreme right-wing vote. He did that same thing prior to his first election, but now he is going further, and the international context is much more dangerous.
Sarkozy is attacking two judicial principles considered untouchable since the end of World War II: immigrant rights, and the rejection of any distinction between native-born and "naturalized" citizens. Further, Deputy Eric Ciotti (Alpes-Maritimes) from Sarkozy's UMP party, has just proposed that the parents of minor delinquents be fined EU30,000, or serve two years imprisonment, if they do not ensure that their delinquent children fulfill their sentences.
This is a clear attempt to whip up Vichyite hatred and scapegoating against immigrants based on their ethnic origin, and to destroy the remains of Republican culture which has survived in France since the times of Charles de Gaulle.
Tony Benn Calls for Mass Actions vs. Austerity
Aug. 5 (EIRNS) Tony Benn, the 85-year-old left-wing icon of Britain's Labour Party, has initiated a campaign for resistance against the brutal austerity policies of the Conservative Party/Liberal Democratic Party-led government. The call was co-signed by 73 leading figures, including Members of Parliament, academics, writers, and public personalities. Among them are MP Jeremy Corbyn, author Iain Banks, comedian Arthur Smith, and film director Ken Loach.
Posted in the Guardian's online edition, Benn charged that the proposed cuts will "wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS [National Health Service], education, transport, postal and other services." He said the group was committed to opposing cuts and privatization and proposals to "solve" the crisis through "racism and other forms of scapegoating." It also intends to cooperate with similar opposition movements in other countries.
European Trade Unions Prepare for Hot Autumn
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)British and French trade unions are planning a very hot Autumn to protest massive austerity drives by their governments aimed at cutting wages, pensions, and jobs.
British trade unions are preparing a day of action for Oct. 20, the day Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourn will announce plans to cut £83 billion from the budget. Marches are planned for Oct. 23, as well as strike actions. Civil servants, teachers, and health-care and transport workers are expected to join in. As many as 600,000 jobs in the public sector are threatened.
On Sept. 7, all French trade unions, both private and public, will conduct a nationwide strike against President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform and austerity program. Between 2-3 million Frenchmen are expected to take to the streets.
In a related development, the French Human Rights League (LDH) met today with 35 parties, unions, and associations, and is expected to call tomorrow for a large demonstration on Sept. 4, to protest the government's proposals for stripping naturalized French citizens, of foreign origin, of their nationality, a clear violation of the Constitution.
Protests Against German Infrastructure Cuts
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)Germany plans to stop any new investments in streets, rail, and water systems, so that the federal government can "save" EU80 billion by 2014! To satisfy the requirements of the government's "debt brake," only EU10 billion will be allocated in 2011 for hard infrastructure, which includes the maintenance of 100,000 km of roads and highways, as well as the freeway system. Projects presently under construction will be "extended." All of this came out of a leaked internal report of the Federal Transportation Ministry, which says that this policy signifies a "turning point in budget and financial policy."
Various German states are on the same suicidal path of infrastructure budget cuts. Schleswig-Holstein decided to build no new roads; Hesse has put 70 projects on ice. Only Saxony has supposedly no cuts on the agenda, while other states struggle to keep their present minimal level. In recent years, there has grown a deficit of up to EU700 million for maintenance of roadways; one is reminded of East Germany, just after its collapse.
The construction industry is alarmed and has announced near-term protest events.
Greek Banks Profit; Living Standards Crushed
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)While the living standards of the Greek people are being crushed, their banks, like those of the rest of Europe, are being "rescued." The troika of vulturesthe European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fundwhich have been reviewing Greece's brutal budget cuts and deficit reduction plans, have approved the release of the second tranche of EU9 billion of the EU110 billion EU-IMF bailout package.
Nonetheless the troika, not fully satisfied with its lackeys in Athens, called on the Greek government to exert "immediate control" over the public sectors, or the third tranche will not be released. "Immediate control" means cutting the public sector workforce and privatizing public entities. It also means "liberalization" of the energy products, which includes selling off 35-40% of capacity. The troika continued to call for liberalizing goods and services and so-called closed professions, according to Capital.gr.
David Kelly Pathologist Under Investigation
Aug. 7 (EIRNS)New questions could arise over the mysterious death of British "weapons of mass destruction" specialist and inspector Dr. David Kelly, who exposed the fact that then-Prime Minister Tony Blair had "sexed up" the report on Iraq's alleged WMD in order to justify the 2003 invasion.
According to Britain's Daily Mail, Dr. Nicholas Hunt, the pathologist who carried out the post mortem on Kelly after his alleged suicide in July 2003, is under investigation after allegedly "mixing up" the remains of two servicemen.
This should raise serious questions about the competence of the post mortem he had conducted on Kelly, especially since it was his report that was used to conclude Kelly had committed suicide.
Kelly's death was deemed a suicide by the official inquiry led by Lord Hutton, which has refused to allow an official coroner's investigation, despite the fact that every British subject is entitled to one.