Western European News Digest
Former MP Charges Dr. David Kelly was Murdered
April 22 (EIRNS)Norman Baker, a former British Liberal Democratic Party front-bencher, has charged, in a recent series of public events and interviews, that British weapons scientist Dr. David Kelly was murdered, and did not die of suicide. Baker resigned from his parliamentary seat in February 2006 to devote himself full time to investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. Kelly in the summer of 2003. Kelly had revealed to BBC that the Blair government had "sexed up" the dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to get both the United States and Britain into a preemptive war against Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime. After his name came out in public as the BBC source, and he was hauled before the House of Commons and grilled by pro-war MPs, he ostensibly took his own life.
However Baker, among others, questioned the basis for the suicide verdict, and sharply criticized the Hutton Commission, the official government inquest into Dr. Kelly's death, which whitewashed the Blair government, and provoked a major shakeup at BBC. After one year of investigation into the circumstances surrounding Kelly's death, Baker appeared on Feb. 25, 2007, on the BBC-Two show, The Conspiracy Files, and spelled out his case disproving the death was by suicide.
On April 11, Baker held a public forum in Lewes, former parliamentary district, on the southeast English coast, and elaborated the reasons that the suicide findings were false.
Among Baker's criticisms is that the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, ordered Coroner Nicholas Gardiner to halt his forensic investigation, and turn the probe over to the Hutton Commission.
Former BBC Head Asked to Run for London Mayor
April 23 (EIRNS)In what is likely an indication of the continuing turmoil in British politics around the David Kelly "suicide," Tory leader David Cameron had approached Greg Dyke to run as the Tory candidate for Mayor of London against Labour incumbent Ken Livingston next year. Greg Dyke was the head of the BBC, at the time of its broadcast in 2003 of the charges that the Blair government had "sexed up" its dossiers on Iraq's (non-existent) WMD, based on the evidence of weapons expert Dr. David Kelly. Dyke resigned in January 2004 over the fight with Downing Street, and has since left the Labour Party, due to his continued opposition to the Iraq War. Dyke was once a prominent Labour member.
Tremonti: Follow the Debate in the U.S. Democratic Party
April 23 (EIRNS)In a comment made on the Italian national television station Raiuno on April 22, former Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti indicated that the French election debate has been characterized by a cross-party preoccupation with the consequences of globalization. "This is something neither leftist nor right-wing," Tremonti said. "In the United States, the Democratic Party is discussing right now how to protect American labor and American industry from the effects of globalization."
Tremonti, a deputy chairman of the conservative Forza Italia party, is seen as a maverick for his endorsement of "Colbertism," that is, state-driven policies for infrastructural development, and for his critique of free-trade policies. In 2001, as Finance Minister and during the Italian half-year chairmanship of the European Union, he launched the "European Plan for Growth," to promote European-wide transportation infrastructure, which became known as the "Tremonti Plan," but was eventually downsized by the banker-dominated European Commission.
Europeans at Center of US-Iran War Avoidance Talks
April 26 (EIRNS)A high-level source in Washington has told this news service that there are signs that the Bush Administration may be open to a Russian and European Union (EU)-brokered compromise with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program. On April 25, EU negotiator Javier Solana and Iranian National Security Council head and chief nuclear weapons negotiator Ali Larijani held five hours of talks in Turkey. Coming out of the meeting, both men said that the talks were fruitful, and will be continued in two weeks.
On April 25, the Miami Herald reported that the United States has increased back-channel discussions with Iran, "using Switzerland as an intermediary."
U.S. Ambassador to Italy Defends Globalization
April 20 (EIRNS)U.S. Ambassador to Italy Ronald Spogli escalated his attack against the Italian government by publishing an open letter in Italy's largest-circulation daily, Corriere della Sera, on April 19.
Spogli argues that Italy has the wrong attitude towards foreign investments when it stresses that "national interest must prevail." This is resulting in low rates of foreign investments. "One should concentrate less on who wants to invest and more on the fact that Italy is last in Europe in terms of GNP growth and increases of wages and productivity. There is a clear connection between these data and the low level of foreign investments."
Spogli, himself a founder of a private equity venture, should know that investments from his sector result in an increase of wages only for executives, and in layoffs and reduction of workers' wages in order to increase "productivity," i.e., shareholder value.
Even more outrageous is the fact that a U.S. government representative intervenes, not on behalf of the institution he represents, but rather of a private U.S. concern, AT&T. The latter's decision to drop out of the contest to buy Telecom Italia, Spogli says, "clearly expresses the fear of investing in a market where rules are unpredictable. I think that this is an understandable fear."
Real Estate Markets Crash in Spain
April 25 (EIRNS)"The specter of the explosion of the Spanish real estate bubble has appeared on the Madrid stock exchange," says today's Le Figaro from Paris. The London Financial Times' Lex Column says, "In the past few days, Spanish real estate has exhibited all the signs of a bursting bubble." They report that the crisis was blamed on Valencia-based property developer Astroc Mediterraneo, which lost 9.5% yesterday alone, with a cumulative 70% drop in the past seven trading days, while Colonial lost 22% and Inmocaral fell 20%. The sell-off then propagated to the banks, as BBV Agentaria, Spain's second-largest, lost 3% and Banco de Bilbao and Santander fell about 2.5%. Some 24% of all Spanish loans are to construction and property-development companies. This follows a crazy year of speculation where some of the real estate companies saw their profits grow tenfold.
More Fissures in Legend of German 'RAF Terrorism'
April 23 (EIRNS)For 30 years, it has been the official story that on April 7, 1977, Federal Prosecutor of Germany Siegfried Buback was killed by a Baader-Meinhof gang (or, Red Army Faction/RAF) team of three: Christian Klar, Guenter Sonnenberg, and Knut Folkerts. With hints last week by Buback's son, that a "source in the RAF environment" told him that Klar did not fire the shots, a broad debate is on in Germany, as to who did fire them.
Today, Der Spiegel weekly carries a cover story revealing that anti-terror authorities have been in possession of hints for 25 years, that none of the alleged three killers actually did it. In 1982, RAF member Verena Becker leaked to investigators that another RAF member, Stefan Wisniewski, was the killer. And in 1990, Silke Maier-Witt, who was arrested in exile in East Germany, revealed that Knut Folkerts was not even in Karlsruhe on the day that Buback was killed there, but was at the German-Dutch border, waiting to pick up Maier-Witt, who was coming from Amsterdam.
None of this necessarily is the truth, either, but one thing is clear: It is already sparking a heated debate in Germany about the question as to why these leads were kept secret all these years.
Germans Note Swedish Turn on Nuclear Power
April 27 (EIRNS)Inspired by neighboring Finland, which is going nuclear, Swedish Labor Minister Sven Otto Littorin said that Sweden's 1980 decision to "exit" from nuclear technology must be reversed, the German paper Neues Deutschland reported April 21. "Swedish energy policy for almost 30 years has been blocked by this decision," he said. "In terms of energy, we have to learn from Finland."
Another indication of the turnaround in Sweden is that channel TV4, rebroadcast the British Channel 4 documentary, "The Great Global Warming Swindle," on April 26. TV4 is a free broadcast channel available everywhere in Sweden. In contrast, Al Gore's lying movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," was shown recently, but only on a pay-TV channel.
Bavaria Wants Alps Railway Tunnel To Be Top Priority
April 24 (EIRNS)As the governmental news service reported on April 20, Bavarian State Governor Edmund Stoiber met with the EU coordinator for the grand North-South railway project (Berlin-Palermo), in Munich earlier that day. The two discussed the need to make that project, especially the Brenner Base Tunnel across the Alps, a top priority, in expectation of a visible increase of cross-Alps travel and transport in the future, which could no longer be absorbed by the existing highway grid.