Western European News Digest
EU To Discuss Anti-Russian Paper
Oct. 25 (EIRNS)In preparation for the EU-Russian summit tomorrow, the Portuguese EU presidency has prepared a paper hostile to Russia, to be discussed among EU chiefs of government, the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) reports today. The text of the confidential paper, of which the FTD has been provided a copy, says that the EU must adopt a more aggressive policy towards Russia, which could become an "enemy" on foreign policy issues. The result of the coming elections in Russia will be "a ruthless foreign policy, a harder domestic policy and loud rhetoric." The paper also warns of the "dark sides of growing nationalism" in Russia and of the Moscow-"orchestrated campaigns against some member-states" of the EU.
"The times of embraces between Schröder, Chirac, Berlusconi and Putin are gone," a European diplomat told the FTD.
It remains to be seen whether the EU heads of government be so foolish as to underwrite this piece of toilet paper.
Attacks on British PM Brown Increase
Oct. 23 (EIRNS)British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under heavy political pressure, even more from the New Labour Blairites than from the Tories, a London source told EIR today. Certain pro-Blair media are playing a key role in this anti-Brown campaign, in which Brown's alleged "U-turn" against calling a snap election is only being used as an opportunity to attack him. The attacks have nothing really to do with anything Brown has done, but the effort to destabilize him is very real. A new book, Blair Unbound, is being serialized in the London tabloid The Mail on Sunday, and is playing a big role in furthering isolating him. The book, by political historian Anthony Seldon, particularly attacks Ed Balls, a close Brown ally and currently Schools Secretary.
Internationally, Brown is known to want nothing to do with the Bush-Cheney Administration, unlike Tony Blair; rather, Brown has many more connections to the Democratic Party. It is considered in Britain, that the Bush-Cheney crowd do not like Brown, the source said.
Document Reveals: BAE Bribes Go Back to 1970s
Oct. 23 (EIRNS)On the eve of a state visit to England by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, a document has surfaced indicating that British Aircraft Corporation, BAC, the forerunner of BAE Systems, was bribing officials of Saudi Arabia as early as the 1970s. The document, which was filed in the British government's National Archives last July, was a secret draft memo from the period, written by the Defence Export Services Organization (DESO), which reports to the Ministry of Defence. It said that "technical consultancy" fees "amount in practice to the exertion of influence to sway decisions," i.e., bribes.
During 1985-2007, BAE paid bribes to Saudi Prince Bandar in the amount of about $2 billion, a small part of what Lyndon LaRouche has called "the scandal of the century." Tony Blair killed the investigation into that deal at the end of 2006.
Pope Sees Job Insecurity as Detrimental to Common Good
Oct. 19 (EIRNS)Pope Benedict XVI said in a message yesterday for the Social Week of Italian Catholics, that "without stable, secure, and dignified work, it is difficult to speak of the Common Good." Such a statement is seen as a criticism of the Italian government's new labor bill, which left untouched the "flexibility" factors introduced by the previous government. The "radical left," which will demonstrate against the bill tomorrow, and which has accused Prime Minister Romano Prodi of having betrayed the common election program, sees itself now supported by the Pope.
Boss Can't Live on Workers' Wages, Grants Raise
Oct. 24 (EIRNS)After trying to live on his workers' wages for one month, a small pasta-producer from Campofilone (Ascoli Piceno), Italy, decided to give his workers a raise.
Enzo Rossi and his wife allocated themselves each 1,000 euros a month. After deducting fixed expenses for mortgage, electricity, etc., they ran out of money on the 20th of the month. At that point, Rossi said, "I felt like I was 20 meters underwater, and the oxygen had run out." He decided to increase the wages for his 18 workers by 200 euros per month.
Rossi, whose story is making national headlines, appeared on the popular "Porta a Porta" television show yesterday, where he explained that his wealth now lies in "the warm hands of my workers," having been directed by a soul "free from sorrows and worries."
Campofilone is renowned for its fresh pasta, especially its "maccheroncini."
British Historian Blasts British Imperial Illusions
Oct. 25 (EIRNS)Britain's illusions about its imperial past have led to the situation in which British military forces are "ludicrously" overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, distinguished British historian Correlli Barnett said at a seminar at Cambridge today, the Guardian reported. Barnett, who has documented the bankruptcy of the British Empire even before World War II began, warned that British politicians are still clinging to the imperial delusion that the U.K. is a world power. After World War I, the empire was only a facade of strength, but the political establishment maintains this facade to feel important on the world stage. Barnett said that "Politicians, civil servants and military chiefs remained mental prisoners of Britain's past as a world and imperial power. In my belief, the elite remained prisoners of their indoctrination at public school and Oxbridge. There they had been programmed to be house prefects to the world...."
British Intelligence To Recruit Video Gamers
Oct. 19 (EIRNS)Following in the footsteps of Rupert Murdoch's purchase of MySpace.com, yesterday's London Times reports that British intelligence is targetting video gamers for recruitment. An article entitled, "Why Video Gamers Make the Best Spies," says that the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), which is "the surveillance arm of the intelligence agencies," will begin running advertisements for new recruits embedded in popular video games, utilizing Microsoft's XBox console as the vehicle. The targetted audience will be ages 8 to 34. A spokesman said that the "GCHQ hopes to plant the idea in the heads of younger players of pursuing a career in the secret services."
Lazard Man Awarded France's Legion of Honor
Oct. 24 (EIRNS)French President Nicholas Sarkozy has trashed France's highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, by awarding it to financial speculator and Lazard Frères collaborator Antoine Bernheim.
Berheim, who championed the replacement of France's industrial CEOs from the post-war reconstruction period by a parasitical financier class ignorant of physical economy, buried the paradigm of high-technology industry as economics while working at the Lazard investment firm, made infamous by its pro-Nazi partner, André Meyer.
Bernheim is currently the three-term president of the Venetian speculative colossus, Assicurazioni Generali of Venice and Trieste. This is the first time France's Legion of Honor (only awarded to 75 people) has ever been given to someone whose activity was mere money-making.