Western European News Digest
Chirac: No Lebanon Cease-Fire Would Be 'Most Immoral of Solutions'
French President Jacques Chirac met Aug. 9 in Toulon with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, and Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, in a special session on Lebanon.
"Picking up from the agreement between France and the United States on a resolution project, we asked that that project integrate a certain number of Lebanese demands," stated Chirac during the closing press conference. The Lebanese are making an Israeli withdrawal of conquered territories and a return of Shabaa Farms, a precondition for their accepting that plan. But, added Chirac, "it seems that today there are American reservations about that project.... I do not want to imagine that there is no solution," because, "that would mean that one accepts the present situation and renounces an immediate cease-fire, which would be the most immoral of solutions.... I cannot imagine that coming from the Americans, or from others."
Chirac continued: "I don't want to even raise the idea of a timetable, because that would mean that one considers that one can postpone the cessation of hostilities. I don't want to imagine that one can base a policy on the postponement of the cessation of hostilities. Because for France, the objective is to establish a cessation of hostilities, so that the procession of dead, of suffering, of destruction" will stop. "Nothing will be solved by the use of force. Any solution must go through a political agreement."
Chirac threatened with veiled words that France would present a new resolution to this effect, alone, if need be. Should the U.S. disagree, "we will have a debate in the [UN] Security Council and each will affirm clearly its position, including, naturally, France, by its own resolution." Chirac welcomed the "unanimous decision" by the Lebanese government, including the two Hezbollah ministers, to deploy 15,000 troops to southern Lebanon. "We have taken into account that major development in our proposals" to the Security Council, stated Chirac, who also called on the Lebanese to contribute to the plan: "to have a part of Lebanese territory under the authority of militias is incompatible with a stable Lebanon, developing democratically," stated Chirac.
Paris is reaffirming it wants a two-phase process: first, a "complete and immediate cessation of hostilities"; then, "establish the principles and elements of a permanent cease-fire and of a long-term political solution."
Germany Intensifies Diplomatic Effort in Mideast
German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier left Berlin on Aug. 8 for talks with leaders in Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine. In Beirut, he was scheduled to meet Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Foreign Minister Mohamad Saluch, as well as Parliament Chief Speaker Nabih Berri; in Israel, meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni, and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were on the agenda; in Ramallah, Steinmeier was to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone Aug. 7 with Prime Minister Siniora, who received a firm commitment from Germany for substantial assistance in the reconstruction of Lebanon's economy and infrastructure.
Lebanon Issue Causes Deep Divide Among German Jews
The decision of the central council of the German Jews, to place newspaper ads in support of Israel's military action, has been met with fierce protest and opposition from among the membership. Those German Jews who are in support of the Israeli peace movement, have criticized the ad, and some even back the call for UN sanctions against Israel, to force its troops out of Lebanon and Gaza.
The most spectacular act of protest, however, was an interview granted Aug. 9 to the German media, by Rolf Verleger, chairman of the Jewish communities in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein. He charged Israel with breaching international law, and accused the central council of a hypocritical silence, whereas everyone in the council "knows, like myself, what the situation looks like, in reality.... Therefore, why not talk about it openly?"
Verleger's remarks provoked angry reactions among members of the central council, which charged him with fueling anti-Semitism with his Israel-critical statements.
Vatican Appeals for Peace
Pope Benedict XVI, in his Aug. 9 audience at St. Peter's Square in Rome, issued a renewed appeal for peace in the Middle East. He underlined in his statement that in looking at the "tragic conflict in the Mideast, I remember the words of Pope Paul VI in front of the UN in October 1965: 'Never again the ones against the others, never again!.... If you want to be brothers, then let the weapons fall!' Given the ongoing efforts, to get a cease-fire and find a just and sustainable solution for the conflict, I repeat, in the words of my predecessor John Paul II, that one can change the course of events, if reason, good will, and confidence in the other prevail; if what is agreed upon is turned into practice, and if cooperation among the responsible partners win the upper hand."
Rohatyn's Dirty Role in the Fiat Bankruptcy
Synarchist cat's-paw Felix Rohatyn played a key role in bankrupting the leading Italian automaker Fiat, and forcing GM into a deadly deal. In 1998, a new globalist management was brought in at Fiat, composed of Paolo Fresco, Jack Welch (both from General Electric), and Lazard's Felix Rohatyn. By 2002, the trio had succeeded in driving Fiat close to bankruptcy, with a debt of Eu32.2 billion and no industrial plan, no perspective to turn the situation around. This result was achieved through a policy of "diversification" into sectors other than auto, and pursuing the strategy of the "world-car" company.
As part of this policy, a deal was struck in 2000 for a fusion between Fiat and GM. GM underwrote a "put" option to take over Fiat by the year 2005; by that year, however, Fiat stocks had fallen so much, that the deal was a total loss. Finally, GM bought itself out of the deal, by paying 1.55 billion euros to Fiat. In 2002, when Fiat faced bankruptcy, a consortium of Italian banks decided to extend a loan with the option of converting it into stock. The Fresco-Welch-Rohatyn trio was forced out, and a new management came in.
Fiat has historically been advised by Lazard ally Mediobanca, led by André Meyer's friend Enrico Cuccia. When Wasserstein took over Lazard, Cuccia broke with Lazard, as he considered the new policy too criminal even for him. Showing the historical allegiance of the Agnelli family, Fiat chose to stay with Lazard and split with Cuccia. Under advice from Lazard, both the 1998 and the 2002-2003 management and policy adjustments were implemented.
UK Reopens Halliburton/KBR Bribery Probe
The London bribery investigation centering on Halliburton's KBR subsidiary, which opened two years ago, was reactivated in March of this year, and on July 20, the UK's Serious Fraud Office and London police carried out five searches, at three London residences and an office, and also at a house in Somerset.
This could be bad news for Dick Cheney: The investigation centers on suspected bribes paid by a consortium of energy companies to Nigerian officials through an offshore company controlled by London lawyer Jeffrey Tessler. KBR was one of four companies in the group, and the illegal payments started in 1998, when Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton more recently fired two officials involved in the payments, one of whom was former KBR chief executive Jack Stanleywho has been described as a close friend of Cheney.
According the Financial Times of Aug. 7, investigations are still also underway in the U.S., France, and Nigeria. EIR reported extensively on these investigations and the threat to Cheney during 2004 when the probes were quite active.
Pay-To-Go Toll Roads, Black Boxes, Spy Cameras
They are all parts of a plan that British Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander wants to impose on the kingdom's main roads and city arteries.
The plan would require each vehicle to have a "black box" that could be monitored by satellite. It would record the vehicle's whereabouts and mileage. The owner would be periodically sent a bill based on mileage, and time and place traveled, as well as fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
Alexander outlined the scheme in a July 20 letter to Commons leader Jack Straw. Word of the letter was leaked to the media, and reported in Sunday, Aug. 6 publications. According to Alexander, legislation imposing the scheme may be introduced as early as next year.
"I would propose reforming the current arrangements for approving local road-pricing schemes, providing better targeted powers to ensure that schemes are consistent with a national framework and are inter-operable, and ensuring an appropriate framework governing the setting of prices and the use of resources. Current legislation offers very limited powers for pricing on the trunk road network outside of the area of a local scheme. We are considering pilots on the trunk road network as an important stage towards national road-pricing," wrote Alexander.
The Tory Shadow Transport Minister Owen Paterson, had a complaint: "But why are they only thinking about this now?"
Some months ago, the British government announced plans to put spy cameras on all major roads, billed as an anti-crime, anti-terrorism measure. Alexander's addendum goes more to the point of providing additional income streams by forcing subjects of the Crown to pay for use of once-public facilities.