Western European News Digest
Danes Note British Debate on Climate Change
Headlined "The Great Global Warming Swindle," Denmark's Berlingske Tidende March 9 ran a headline about the climate-change debate in Great Britain. Author Lars Henrik Aagaard reports that the Danish Sun-climate researcher Henrik Svensmark has emerged center-stage in the debate about global warming; Svensmark is a serious researcher who has provided qualified arguments against the assumption that human emission of so-called greenhouse gasses is responsible for global warming (see InDepth, March 6; "Cosmoclimatology, Kepler, and Moon's Model of the Nucleus," by Laurence Hecht). Aagaard reports that the book The Chilling Stars, recently released by Svensmark and British science journalist Nigel Calder, is being vehemently debated on the Internet.
On March 8, Svenmark's research at the Danish Space Center was featured in "The Great Global Warming Swindle," aired on Britain's Channel 4 TV network.
Berlingske Tidende's article ends by reporting Svenmark's scientific thesis that cosmic rays and the Sun play a decisive role in cloud formation on Earth. The more Solar activity, the less cloud cover on Earth, leading to the heating of Earth's surface. Svensmark concludes that this is the cause for the global heating over the past century.
Arrogant Brit Lauds UK-U.S. Policy Split
Former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, now a Tory Member of Parliament, penned a nasty lead op-ed in the Washington Post March 4, in which he pronounced Tony Blair free from the close ties to the Bush-Cheney Administration that plagued his term as Prime Minister, particularly since the Iraq invasion of March 2003. Rifkind ridiculed Blair for behaving like George Bush's "poodle," juxtaposing his performance with that of other British PMs who were close to Washington but never bent to U.S. willlike Winston Churchill, who disagreed with FDR on policy towards the Soviet Union, or even Margaret Thatcher. Noting that Blair had royally shafted Bush by announcing British troop draw-downs in Iraq just as Bush was pushing his "surge," Rifkind declared that the next British PM, whether Gordon Brown or David Cameron, would remain a polite ally of Washington, but carve out an independent foreign policy while at the same time not embracing continental Europe either. In effect, in oh-so diplomatic language, the Tory MP was declaring that the Brits are ready to let the Bush-Cheney-led United States sink under the weight of its own folly.
British MI6 Role in 'U.S.' Secret Prisons
The network of so-called "CIA secret prisons" was set up jointly with British MI6, according to a lengthy investigative report in the Raw Story March 7. A confidential British intelligence memo reveals that Prime Minister Tony Blair told Poland's then-Prime Minister Leszek Miller to keep the information secret, even from his own government. Much of the planning for the program was done in joint meetings in London chaired by MI6 head John Scarlet, and in Washington chaired by then-CIA Director George Tenet. U.S. and British officials were very selective about whom they worked with in European countries, and many officials in those governments were kept in the dark, making it more difficult for the EU to investigate the program.
A former senior CIA official said that many in the CIA had strong feelings about the extraordinary rendition program. "Career people were really opposed to this," he said, echoing what EIR had previously been told. All intelligence officials interviewed by the Raw Story team said the CIA is no longer operating the rendition and secret-prison program.
Are Brit Moves on Missile Defense Aimed at New Cold War?
Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said the Russians are concerned about the UK proposal to set up a missile shield in Britain. "If they are concerned about us targeting their intercontinental ballistic missiles, I think that would be problematic from the U.K. because I believe we probably could catch them from a U.K. launch site." What Obering means is that setting up a missile shield in Britain would mean developing a system to nullify Russia's missiles, because the distance between Britain and Russia would allow the Britain-based interceptors to intercept. He said as long the missile shield is located in Poland or Czech Republic, the interceptors based there will not have the "battle space," i.e., will not have enough time to intercept if a missile launched from Russia because of its proximity.
On the other hand, if Blair's objective is to antagonize Russia, it could bring to the fore the anti-U.S. Russian hardliners, and launch a new Cold War. The advantage for Britain in such a development is that it would remain the closest ally of the United States.
In order to assuage Russia's fears, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, William Burns, during his tour through Siberia, on March 6, said the United States is prepared to cooperate with Russia on missile defense and urged both countries to continue a serious dialogue to clarify their respective positions and work out controversial issues.
Broad Outrage Against Locust Funds in Netherlands
All political parties favor controls, or at least restrictions, on locust funds, the Dutch media reported March 5-8. The exception is the right-wing-liberal VVD party. The anti-fund sentiment among the parties reflects the views of the vast majority of the population, which has been stirred up by the hostile takeover attempt of the nation's biggest bank, ABN Amro, by TCI and other funds. Although there has been little comment on the Danish government's declared intention to legislate against hedge-fund looting, the plans are still on the table. On March 8, the government responded to angry complaints from major Danish companies that they will suffer under the proposed law. The Tax Ministry announced that they had reviewed the tax statements from 2005 for the 20 biggest companies on the Danish stock exchange. Of nine industrial firmsA.P. Moller-Maersk, B&O, Carlsberg, Torm, Danisco, DSV, FL Schmidt, GN Store Nord and Vestasfour paid no taxes at all and the other five paid a meager total of 300 million Danish krone (EU40 million).
In April, parliamentary hearings will be held on the issue of locust fund controls.
BBC Barred from Airing Report on Blair Scandal
British police said March 3 that the British Broadcasting Corporation has been barred from running a report about the "loans for peerages" scandal that has cast a shadow over Prime Minister Tony Blair's final months, according to Reuters March 4.
The government's highest-ranking lawyer, Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith, obtained a court injunction stopping the broadcast late on March 2, after a request by the police, who are investigating whether political parties awarded state honors in return for loans.
The police sought the injunction because of their concern that disclosure of certain information at this stage would impede their inquiries, a joint statement from the Metropolitan Police and Goldsmith said.
The move set off speculation among politicians that officers were planning to bring charges against one or more people.
Two aides to Blair were recently arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice or conspiring to do so as the investigation appeared to widen into a potential cover-up inquiry.
In Continuing Tiff, BBC 4 Says Charles Unfit To Reign
Prince Charles, next in line to the British throne, is unfit to reign. So says a program slated to air March 11 on the UK's Channel 4, which accuses the Prince of Wales of being "too political" and of "meddling" in the affairs of state. The program was previewed in the Sunday Telegraph March 4.
The program is the latest in a series of disputes between Charles and the station. In November 1998, a Channel 4 program, aired on the occasion of the Prince's 50th birthday, portrayed the him as a lazy, greedy man whose concern for the environment is little more than skin deep.
Wiesbaden Election Polls Show Funny Math
The Wiesbadener Kurier, in its March 3-4 weekend edition, published a "forecast" of the March 11 Wiesbaden (Germany) mayoral election that is rather dubious: German voters total less than 100%; the poll gives 3% to Peter Silbereisen (Linke Liste), 16% to Rita Thies (Greens) and 23% to Helmut Mueller (CDU). If one adds the 34% of voters whom the Kurier lists as undecided one week before the vote, there remains still a gap of 24%. Alexander Hartmann of the LaRouche Youth Movement is also a candidate in the mayoral race. It seems the unreported percentage may belong to him.