Western European News Digest
Italy Might Refuse To Ratify Lisbon on Schedule
July 17 (EIRNS)Despite massive pressure, the Italian Parliament might refuse to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies is inclined to postpone decisions on the subject at least until September, a committee source told EIR today. This is the result of a hearing, which took place yesterday, with Prof. Giuseppe Guarino, a highly regarded constitutionalist and a critic of the Treaty. If confirmed, such a decision is a slap in the face to the European oligarchy and its lackeys, who ensured that Italy would ignore the result of the Dublin referendum and ratify the Lisbon Treaty "within July."
Guarino, a professor of constitutional rights at the Rome university and a former minister in two national governments, has published a book on the Lisbon Treaty, which calls for not ratifying the Treaty as anti-constitutional.
Sarkozy Infuriates the Irish
July 17 (EIRNS)Hints that French President Nicolas Sarkozy would use his visit to Dublin July 21, to pressure Ireland to have a second vote on the Lisbon Treaty, and have it as soon as possible, has infuriated the Irishincluding those who voted "Yes" to the Treaty, but, like those who voted against it, feel mistreated by the arrogant Continental European leaders, in the wake of the referendum.
Last night, Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin told Sarkozy, who is also this semester's EU president, via the Irish media, that the people of Ireland have voted, and that their vote has to be respected, instead of giving them lectures from abroad. Martin said that his government clearly told the other EU leaders at the recent Brussels summit that Ireland needs some time to work out a strategy for what to do after the referendum, and that Ireland does not want to be put under pressure to vote again, "on a treaty that is already dead, actually."
Belgium Break-Up Scenarios Back on the Front Burner
July 11 (EIRNS)After the earlier examples of corridors connecting exclaves Danzig and Srebrenica with Prussia and Bosnia respectively, a new debate on the foolish idea of a "corridor" connecting the Belgian capital Brussels with Wallonia is once again heating up the dangerous fantasy of a break-up of Belgium. While nobody knows who launched the idea in the first place, the French-speaking president of the Belgian Senate Armand De Decker pulled out a detailed army map indicating the "corridor" to the Flemish-speaking head of the House of Representatives Herman van Rompuy. Both are involved in the recently renewed discussions on institutional reform of the Belgian state. Once again, the "debate" is propaganda aimed at consolidating "post-Belgium thinking." The corridor, whose center is a simple path running through the Foret de Soignes south of Brussels, supposedly would establish the required "territorial continuity" between Brussels and Wallonia, a prelude for a "velvet divorce" between Flanders and a Wallonia including Brussels.
Switzerland Conducts Three Investigations of BAE
July 11 (EIRNS)Switzerland's law enforcement authorities announced July 10 that it has no less than three criminal investigations against BAE Systems, Great Britain's leading defense contractor.
"In the case of BAE Systems, the public ministry of the confederation has opened three criminal investigations over money laundering," said Jeannette Balmer in a statement received by AFP. According to Balmer, the probes are a result of alerts by Switzerland's Money Laundering Reporting Office, but gave no further details according to a report by AFP. Up until now the Swiss have only mentioned one investigation.
EIR has exposed the fact that BAE, through its huge arms sales to Saudi Arabia, amassed a huge slush fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars through transferring bribes to its chief Saudi agent, Prince Bandar. Transferred through the latter's bank accounts in the United States, these funds were used to finance British Intelligence special operations all over the world, including the United States. These bank accounts are now under the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice because the DOJ believes BAE was illegally using the American banking system for money laundering.
BAE Systems has also been investigated by Britain's Serious Fraud Office for its operations in the Czech Republic, Romania, Chile, Qatar, South Africa, and Tanzania. The Swedish Authorities have opened their own probe into BAE for bribe making.
EU Offers Money to Fishermen ... To Stop Fishing
July 17 (EIRNS)In yet another cynical decision on "aid," the EU Commission announced yesterday it will grant subsidies to fishermen to "compensate" for some of the most recent price increases of fuel. The money, Eu2 billion in total, will be taken from the fisheries fund of the EU and spread over several years. An "instant" aid of 600 million euros for the fuel (a sum which is way too small), however, will not be paid before early 2009, and a good part of the balance of the 1.4 billion euros will be spent to get fishermen to quit their jobs and do something else. Some of the money will be given to fishermen who can present what the EU Commission calls a "convincing option to modernize their vessels."
In a related attempt shut down Europe's real economy, the EU Commission insists that the Polish shipyards should pay back the funds they received from their government, or that Warsaw pay a fine to the EU for "violation of market rules." The Commission offered to postpone the planned measures against the shipyards, if Polish President Lech Kaczynski signs the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, Polish media reported yesterday.
Bricks Falling on Spanish Construction Speculators
July 17 (EIRNS)More facts on the Spanish housing bubble are making it into Europe's mainstream press now, and although most articles try to blame the July 14 bankruptcy of Martinsa Fadesa, the biggest real estate development bank in Spain, on the excessive business practices of its CEO Fernando Martín Álvarez, also known as "el rico del ladrillo" (the rich man of bricks), the fact is that highly speculative pattern is there everywhere in this sector in Spain.
For example, Francisco Hernando, another real estate mogul, has built an entire new city just outside Madrid, in the middle of the desert, and a lot of the proffered basic infrastructure, like the water supply, is not completed. The city was meant to house 40,000 tenants, but only a few hundred are living there now. And, there are many places in Spain where the prospective tenants of newly built, huge housing complexes would have outnumbered the population actually living there in their village or town.
Italy Reverses Policy: Decides to Go Nuclear!
July 12 (EIRNS)Reversing a disastrous 20-year-old policy, the Italian government plans to start building nuclear power stations before the end of the current legislative session in five years, in order, eventually, to provide one-fourth of national energy consumption through nuclear, said Adolfo Urso, Undersecretary of State for Economic Development, speaking at a national environmentalist conference in Rome on July 11. In order to achieve the 25% target, 12 plants of 1 GW each will be built, said Giuseppe Zampini, CEO of the Italian nuclear power plant builder Ansaldo Nucleare.
In 1987, the oligarchy organized a referendum in the wake of the Chernobyl accident, whose result was used to shut down all existing Italian plants, and bury any future nuclear program. As a result, today Italy is 80% dependent on imported oil. For decades, Lyndon LaRouche has insisted that the world must go nuclear if civilization is to survive. The most recent three to four years have seen a renaissance of nuclear energy in Asia, and its beginnings in Europe and North and South America.