Western European News Digest
Dutch Weekly Sees Role for European Missile Defense
June 15 (EIRNS)Journalist Rutger van der Hoeven asks in the June 15 Der Groene Amsterdammer, why all the fuss about an anti-missile defense shield that does not work? He cites an article in last year's Foreign Affairs, which mentioned that for the first time in 50 years, there is now a chance that a U.S. surprise attack might destroy all the Russian bomber bases, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"All of us in the West can agree that a couple of [anti-missile] rockets in Poland would be of no use against a large-scale Russian nuclear attack, but that is not the only war scenario on the table. It is the scenario of an American surprise attack, which brings us back to the Russians' concern. We may find the thought of an American surprise attack on the Russian arsenal ridiculous, but from a purely military standpoint such an attack is becoming ever more realistic, because American strategic nuclear forces are steadily increasing while the Russian is declining....
"There's no denying that some Russian generals see the missile defense system from this standpoint: should it begin to work properly in the future, then it will still not be a guarantee against an all-out Russian attack, but it would be a nice net to catch what still remains after most of the Russian arsenal has been destroyed."
This basic strategic role for Eastern Europe-based ballistic missile defense systems is spelled out in exactly such terms by Russian military readers, quoted in the article "Putin Moves To Outflank 'Ring Around Russia' Provocations," in the June 15, 2007 EIR. That article is circulating widely on the Internet, having been posted today on Johnson's Russia List.
Former Foreign Ministers Push Russia Destabilization
June 16 (EIRNS)Nine former foreign ministers, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, signed an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, demanding early independence for Kosovo. A number of the signers, including Albright and Fischer, were in office eight years ago when, as they write, they "put in place an international process to decide who should govern Kosovo. We believe that the only viable option is for Kosovo to become independent under strict supervision." Their response to Russian opposition is that Kosovo and Serbia should ultimately be in the European Union and NATO. "What may be needed is a formulation that allows Russia to acquiesce without having to break openly with Serbia," they write. "Russia can reassure the Serbs and emphasize that Kosovo is a unique situation, without precedent for other regions."
Albright and Fischer are both advocates of pre-emptive war, in the name of defending "human rights."
Neo-Cons' Gameplan for Turkish Destabilization
June 18 (EIRNS)An invitation for a private workshop on Turkey last week from the neo-con think tank the Hudson Institute, is "evoking alarmed responses from Turkish politicians and opinion leaders," writes today's Turkish daily Zaman. The invitation listed terrorist attacks and assassinations in Turkey as possible-case scenarios for discussion in the workshop.
One scenario offered to participants included such horrifying events as the assassination of the retired head of Turkey's Constitutional Court, and the deaths of at least 50 Istanbul residents in a terrorist bombing on the busiest street in the city. In another variant, Iran would offer its assistance to Turkey against the Kurdish separatist group the PKK.
In its report, Zaman claims that Turkish military representatives were present, along with Hudson Institute experts, the latter including Zeyno Baran and Kubat Talabani, who is the son of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
The controversy created by the report has forced the Hudson Institute to issue a statement claiming that the workshop "should in no way be considered as a conspiracy against Turkey." But the Institute admitted that it was a closed-door, "off-the-record meeting," and said that whoever let the cat out of the bag, should "be ashamed of their action."
Sweden Wants Cooperation with Russia on Nuclear Energy
June 15 (EIRNS)Sweden is interested in cooperation with Russia on nuclear energy, King Carl XVI Gustaf said in Moscow today. The king is leading the Swedish Technological Royal Mission, which arrived in Russia in the city of Samara, on the Volga River, on June 11, Itar-Tass reported. Yesterday, Carl Gustaf also met Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The nuclear initiative is important, because Sweden needs to build a new generation of nuclear plants. Although a large part of Sweden's energy comes from nuclear plants, a national referendum in 1980 decided not to build any new ones. But things have changed, Carl Gustaf said in Moscow: "However, now we have been gradually resuming the development of nuclear power, and we are interested in this connection in Russian experience and in cooperation with the Russian side." The Swedish delegation includes the head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, a group of leading scientists, university heads, and business representatives from Swedbank, Volvo Aero, and others. In Samara, the delegation visited a rocket and space center and industry.
Ivan Kamenskikh, deputy head of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, said the agency is ready to cooperate with Sweden, and will invite scientists and specialists to work at Russian research reactors. He presented to the Swedish delegation, Russia's plan to develop its nuclear energy up to 2030, in cooperation with domestic and foreign investors.
British Role Revealed in 1992 Collapse of the EMS
June 20 (EIRNS)A new book about former Italian President and central bank chief Carlo Azeglio Ciampi presents revealing information on the developments that led to the break-up of the European Monetary System (EMS) in 1992, pointing to British responsibility. The EMS collapsed following massive speculation against the Italian lira and the British pound, organized by speculator George Soros. The speculative attack had been preceded by a semi-conspiratorial bankers' meeting aboard the British royal yacht Britannia, and by a Moody's downgrading of Italian bonds. The destabilizing effect of the EMS crisis was instrumental in bringing about political changes that allowed the subsequent establishment of the disastrous euro system.
The book, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, l'uomo e il presidente, points to the responsibility of then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, who refused to convoke, upon Italian request, an emergency meeting of Ecofin, the European Council of Financial Ministers, on Sept. 14, 1992. That meeting could have approved an internal realignment of the EMS, discussed between German and Italian authorities during the weekend.
Lamont is a member of the British establishment who became a cabinet minister under Tory Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and was heavily involved in privatizations. Lamont is also part of that section of the British imperial establishment currently exposed by the BAE scandal, both for his role in the Thatcher-era reorganization of the British economy, including the military-industrial complex, and his direct involvement in the corrupt relationship with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In 1998, when Pinochet underwent surgery in London and the arrest warrant was delivered against him from Scotland Yard, Lamont was at top of the visitors list, along with Thatcher.
Ireland Imposes Its First Ban on a Video Game
June 21 (EIRNS)The British Broadcasting Corporation reports that Ireland on June 20 imposed its first ban on a video game. The game is "Manhunt 2," by Rockstar Games, the same company that makes "Grand Theft Auto." BBC notes that the United Kingdom has also banned this game.
Irish film censor John Kellenher issued a statement saying that there is no context, and that the level of gross, unrelenting, and gratuitous violence is unacceptable.
"Manhunt 2," scheduled for July 10 release on Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation 2 consoles, depicts the escape of an amnesiac scientist and a psychotic killer from an asylum, and their subsequent epic killing spree.
Rockstar Games is seeking to overturn the ban on the grounds that the game is "a fine piece of art." Rockstar said they would fight the ban on a country-by-country basis.
Tony Blair Needs a New Foundation
June 20 (EIRNS)The already crumbling legacy of departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair is in need of a new foundation. So, according to the pro-Blair Italian daily Il Riformista, Tony and Cherie Blair are in Rome looking for Vatican support for such a foundation, and were scheduled to meet the Pope on June 22.
Il Riformista claims that the foundation is intended to counter Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero's Alliance of Civilizations, because the latter is allegedly too pro-Islamic.
The Blair Foundation is being organized by what has become known as "the Gang of Four," led by Baroness Sally Morgan, banker Russell Chambers, Charles Dunstone (chief executive of Carphone Warehouse and one of Britain's richest men), and Roland Dudd.