Western European News Digest
Naples Magazine Covers EIR's World Cup Terror Warning
The "leftist" magazine La Voce della Campania, connected to sections of the "anti-globalization" movement, ran a cover story last week entitled "World soccer championship: a bombshell." The story is composed of several articles, one of which extensively quotes statements of Lyndon LaRouche published in EIR's Strategic Alert concerning threats to the World Cup soccer championship emanating from the Synarchist circles that control Dick Cheney. The newspaper also included excerpts from a phone interview with an EIR spokesman. It then adds its own reports on the Naples hooligans and on the ongoing investigation into Italy's soccer scandal.
Zarqawi Killing Is Potential World Cup Provocation
The killing of al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq is seen as potentially provoking a major terror attack during the World Cup Soccer championships now taking place in Germany. A senior German official directly involved in security operations during the June 9-July 9 championships told EIR that after the announcement of al-Zarqawi's death, all the security chiefs met to discuss the potential for a major retaliatory attack against the games. The timing of the announcement, only 48 hours before the games opened, has also raised questions. (See last week's Southwest Asia Digest for Lyndon LaRouche's comments on the Zarqawi murder.)
German Jews Mobilized in Potential World Cup Provocation
A 1,000-person demonstration against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took place in Nuremberg June 11, where the Iranian team played Mexico during the World Cup Soccer games. Senior politicians, Jewish groups, and Germany's most famous Jewish TV personality, Michel Friedman, attended the rallya fertile set-up for confrontation with neo-Nazis, and possible set-up for an Iran attack.
Politicians attending included Bavaria's right-wing Interior Minister Gunter Beckstein and Green Party co-leader Claudia Roth. Busloads of Jews were planning to come from Berlin, Munich, and other cities. The focus of protest was the German government's decision to let Iranian President Ahmadinejad's deputy Mohammed Alibadi into the country, after Ahmadinejad's repeated anti-Israel statements.
Proposed Italian Budget Cuts Meet Resistance
Tommaso Padoa Schioppa, the Synarchist banker who runs the Finance Ministry in Italy's Prodi government, has announced a "corrective" measure to cut the budget, to be presented at the EU Finance Ministers meeting in Brussels July 8. Schioppa has motivated his announcement by dramatizing the budget deficit, which, instead of a planned 4.1%, is in reality at 4.6%. The size of the cuts is not known, nor where the axe will hit. The new central banker Mario "Mr. Britannia" Draghi has suggested it should amount to 28 billion euros, in order to substantially reduce the deficit.
However, Schioppa is meeting resistance in the government, notably from quarters associated with a proposal for a New Bretton Woods reform of the world monetary system, with the implicit emphasis on growth, as opposed to budget cuts. Alfonso Gianni, Undersecretary of State to the Development Ministry (responsible for industry and Mezzogiorno policies), was the most outspoken. "I disagree," Gianni said at his party meeting: "Padoa Schioppa's measures, as he announced them, seem to be the opposite of the [election] program" of Prodi's coalition. "It would be better to stabilize the debt and concentrate efforts towards an increase of wages and development measures." Gianni threatened to resign, "if you insist that Padoa Schioppa is right."
Blair Is Least Popular Western European Leader
According to the Ipso MORI survey of Great Britain, Spain, the United States, France, and Germany, of the six major Western governments, that of British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the least popular. Blair came in well behind President George W. Bush, French President Jacques Chirac, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Support for the Labour government is on a par with the ousted Italian Berlusconi government. Only 25% of those polled believe the Blair government could deal with the integration of immigrants, while only 31% believe the government could successfully crack down on violence and crime. Blair also had the lowest confidence ratings of the six leaders concerning his ability to deal with terrorism.
Montenegro Independence Proceeding Smoothly
Since Montenegro's declaration of independence from Serbia in early June, the transition and separation of powers between the two states has followed an orderly course. This development was considered in the region as an almost foregone conclusion, which would bury the last remnant of the former union of the six Yugoslav republics (Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia). Legal preparations for the separation, and the necessary unwinding steps of the state structures had been prepared in detail beforehand, as it was seen as a very real possibility on both sides.
But, Serbia now faces a very difficult economic situation, with the prospect of a Kosovo breakaway before the year is over. This question is worrying observers of the region, where nobody really would welcome independence, out of fear of domino effects elsewhere. And there is potential international tension, with Russia being opposed to Kosovo's full independence.
Hungary's New Economic Program Labelled as 'Shock Therapy'
Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurscany presented the new coalition government's economic program this week, which follows the recommendation by the European Union bureaucrats in Brussels and others, to "qualify" Hungary to enter the eurozone in 2010. Gyurcsany, addressing a meeting of trade unionists and entrepreneurs, said that the Hungarian budget deficit, would be 8%, not 6.1% as forecast, corroborating a recent IMF study predicting a budget deficit of 8% of GDP.
Even with proposed layoffs of 100,000 public workers, over $2 billion in budget cuts over the next two years, and promises of future tax hikes, Standard & Poors chose to downgrade Hungary's currency one notch, a move that sent the currency into temporary free-fall.
Del Ponte Launches New Offensive vs. Serbia War Criminals
Carla del Ponte, the chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor, is on a new rampage against Serbia and Russia, attacking both for their lack of cooperation in apprehending accused war criminals. During her biannual report to the UN Security Council, she announced her intention to ask the Security Council for "means and authorizations," to take charge of war criminals herself. While it is not known whether she now wants to go hunting for them herself (maybe with Dick Cheney), she obviously aims at further sovereignty-breaching authorizations for the infamous UN Tribunal.
Russia had just delivered indicted war criminal Dragan Zelenovic to Bosnia, where he will be judged for mistreatment and rape of Muslim women during the war of 1992-95. Del Ponte, in particular, accused Russia of not delivering the last police chief of former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, Vlastimir Djordjevic, who is indicted for crimes in Kosovo and supposedly has been in Russia since 2001.
Del Ponte attacked Serbia for its failure to deliver former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, three other indictees, and former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic. Besides attacking structures in Serbia that want to prevent the delivery of these persons, she also criticized NATO and the EU-Peace Forces in Bosnia (EuFor) for not actively pursuing the arrest of Karadzic. For her, this is the joint responsibility of Serbia, Republika Srpska (in Bosnia), NATO, and Eufor.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also zeroed in, by attacking Serbia for not doing its utmost to deliver Mladic; this was followed by a cut of $7 million of the $75 million in U.S. aid to Serbia.
Whatever is behind the non-delivery of accused and indicted war criminals Mladic and Karadzic, who definitely have to be held accountable in a proper way for their deeds, it is certainly not a decision by rather low-level Serbian circles.
Kosovo Status Discussions Enter Sensitive Phase
After the sixth round of Kosovo status talks was over at the end of May, no new date was set for further negotiations. They are not expected to begin before chief UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari has given his report to the UN Security Council on July 10. The last round of talks focussed on economic issues, with Serbia attacking the privatization policy during the last six years, which is even to be sped up and finished by the end of the year, i.e., without having first settled the final status of this UN protectorate within the borders of Serbia!
In the next round, the status question itself will be put on the table. Earlier negotiations achieved certain compromises on the question of Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo. Over the course of the centuries, according to Serbian tradition, Kosovo was part of Serbian territory, especially when there was no territorially defined Serbian state under the empires.
The contact group consists of the U.S., Russia, UK, Germany, France, and Italy, and has handed demands to both sides for implementation. The U.S. position as of now is still perceived to be for full independence, while Russia has warned about the potential political domino effect, especially within Russia itself.