From Volume 5, Issue Number 44 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 31, 2006
Western European News Digest
At least one Italian newspaper, the Turin daily La Stampa, charged Oct. 26 that Italian government sources were aware of the CIA "extraordinary renditions" program. SISMI (Military Intelligence) director Nicolo Pollari, instead, gave a negative opinion. "The fact is," La Stampa wrote, that "the [former] Berlusconi government had been preemptively informed by the Bush Administration that the latter wanted to implement, on Italian national territory, extraordinary renditions operations, and gave its consent."
Meanwhile, the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi has decided to cover for Torturer-in-Chief Dick Cheney, by refusing to lift the state-secret prohibition against releasing evidence favorable to Pollari. The Undersecretary of State Enrico Micheli, who is also coordinator of intelligence, testified for two hours Oct. 25 before the Parliamentary Intelligence Supervision Committee on the CIA kidnapping in Italy of Egyptian citizen Abu Omar. Micheli confirmed what the Berlusconi government had established, namely, that the records of U.S.-Italian relations on the issue of CIA illegal activities in Italy are covered by state secret strictures "as pertains to U.S.-Italian agreements."
Justice Minister Clemente Mastella returned from a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, and said that he did not discuss the extradition issue of the CIA agents involved in the kidnapping of Abu Omar. "It is such a high-profile issue, that dealing with it cannot be only my responsibility," Mastella said.
On the occasion of the commemoration of the Hungarian Revolt of Oct. 22, 1956 in Budapesta commemoration which brought together 18 heads of statemajor clashes broke out again, as they did four weeks ago, between hooligans and the police. What happened, according to eyewitness accounts, was that the police, shortly before the celebrations were to start, cleared an area in the vicinity of the Parliament, last time, several thousand citizens were camping to protest against the Socialist liberal Gurscany government.
Clashes began in the morning and continued into the afternoon in downtown Budapest, where in late afternoon the opposition Fidesz Party held a rally with 100,000 people joining. Opposition leader Victor Orban again accused the Gurszany government of being "illegitimate" and called for a popular referendum to vote it out of office. As happened four weeks, ago a group of ultra-nationalist and hooligan provocateurs started street fights, shouting "Victor will lie to you as Gurszany did." The day ended with major clashes with the police being very brutal, leaving several people wounded. The influential Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung Oct. 24 warned of an attempt to "balkanize" Hungarian society.
There is a campus Gestapo effort at work on British campuses, a companion to efforts by circles of Lynne Cheney in the U.S. (see EIR Oct. 27). This week, the City of London-linked Economist writes, "The leading academic proponent of a crackdown is Anthony Glees, an expert in security studies at Brunel University. Last year he named 13 young Muslims who had both studied and allegedly been involved in terrorist plots. He also identified 21 institutions where there seemed to be evidence of Islamist activity..."
The Economist also noted that "The National Union of Students accuses the Government of fomenting 'McCarthy-like suspicion between students and lecturers.'"
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a leading advocate for the pro-torture policies of the Bush-Cheney Administration, toured Europe (the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain) last week to carry out preemptive damage control against potential charges of war crimes against the administration. What some are calling "The Don't Put the U.S. on Trial for War Crimes Tour," was, according to the New York Times Oct. 26, arranged in order to address the growing rift between the U.S. and its European allies over the torture issue. Speaking to an invitation-only audience, Gonzales said, "We are partly to blame for the friction in the trans-Atlantic relationship. We didn't do as good a job as we should have from the outset in explaining ourselves." He then launched into a defense of the Bush Administration's policies, including its dismissal of the Geneva Conventions, rehashing Administration arguments that the Conventions are out of date, etc. This, lying that the U.S. is committed to the Conventions.
Two Neo-Liberal ministers have resigned from the Swedish New Alliance government, made up of four non-Socialist partiesModerates, Peoples Party, Center Party, and Christian Democrats. Their election strategy was to turn to the center, à la Tony Blair, under the leadership of the new Moderate leader Fredrik Reinfelt. However, the neo-liberal Moderate faction was included in the government, notably in the Foreign Affairs and Culture ministries, where the the purged ministers were posted. Their arrogance made it possible for the opposition, and especially the state-controlled media (that was to be dismantled), to take revenge. Still the neo-liberals are very strong in the government, especially with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt coming back directly from the Italian palace of his wife Anna-Maria Corazza.
The media mantra of "energy security" as being the main interest of the European Union, which was again referred to at the EU-Russia talks in Lahti, Finland Oct. 20, is a hoax. Real energy security would be provided by massive development of nuclear powerwhich is not what the European Commission wants, because it is not what the big banks want.
Illustrative is the refusal of major German and Italian banks to fund the Bulgarian nuclear power project at Belene. Unicredito, via its German daughter HypoVereinsbank, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and Bayerische Landesbank have stated they will not fund their majority share of a EU2.5 billion loan which Bulgaria needs for the project. Their decision was allegedly made on grounds of environmental concerns (which points to the activity of the new "KGB"Komitee der Gruenen Banker).
What the most likely outcome will be, is that unless France steps in, Russia will build Belene for the Bulgarians. Putin already made an offer in this direction, during his visit to Sofia several months ago.
The conduct of the German banks is according to profile with respect to nuclear development in Germany, where the banks are behind the red-green orchestrated exit from nuclear, based on the power industry's phony argument that the country can live without nuclear, for the time being.
The planned privatization of 74.9% of the German air-traffic-control system was stopped by President Horst Koehler, who declined to sign the required legislation Oct. 24, explaining that it is "evidently unconstitutional." Koehler argued that air control is a genuine mandate of the state, that any privatization can only lead to a decrease in safety in an area that is crucial for the functioning of a modern society. The state, Koehler said, cannot abandon its genuine constitutional mandate, which does include control of the air space and guarding of its safety.
The Trilateral Commission is holding its 30th European meeting in Turin, Italy over the Oct. 27-29 weekend, preparatory to the world annual meeting to take place next March in Brussels. Special attention will be paid to Italy, but discussion will also include European policy and the energy issue.
Italian Premier Romano Prodi will give the opening speech, and inaugurate the session on the Italian political and economic situation. Former EU commissioner Mario Monti will chair the session on the "difficulties of the European internal market. On Saturday evening, Peter Sutherland, chairman of Trilateral Europe and British Petroleum, will speak on immigration and development. On Sunday, there will be a panel on Europe, the Persian Gulf and European and international energy strategies, with ENI Ceo Paolo Scaroni and Grigory Yavlinski, leader of the Russian neoliberal Yabloko Party.
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