Western European News Digest
German President: Protect People, Production
Dec. 24 (EIRNS)In his traditional Christmas message, German President Horst Köhler supported "decisive state intervention to protect firms, jobs, and incomes of people." He also called for "better cooperation between nations" and "a better order of economics and finance, in which capital serves everybody."
"We are all concerned about the worldwide financial crisis with its repercussions," he said. "Unimaginable amounts of money have been lost in gambling. Many fear for their savings. And many fear for their job. It is right that the state act decisively, to protect the firms, jobs, and incomes of people. We shall have to work hard. But I am optimistic that we can master this challenge. Why? I think our country, its people, and politics have reacted wisely and with calm. In my view, we can build on this foundation in the future as well.
"I consider this crisis also to be an opportunity. An opportunity for better cooperation among nations. An opportunity for a better order of economics and finance, in which capital serves everybody and nobody needs to feel dominated by it. When we work to this effect, the crisis shall make us stronger.
"Everybody has to act accordingly; those who have responsibility have to be accountable. We need to be mindful of the common good."
Security Expert Sees Foreign Role in Greek Riots
PARIS, Dec. 22 (EIRNS)In an interview with the Polish Times of Dec. 11, Ionannis Michaletos, a former naval officer and security expert at the Research Institute for European and American Studies and editor of South East Europe at the World Security Network Foundation, says foreign intelligence services, including private intelligence firms, have a hand in the riots destabilizing Greece.
In addition to Greek radicals, he said, support comes from "European networks" in Italy, France, and Spain, with "other elements based in Germany and the U.K. "My rough estimation," said Michaletos, "is that no operation and preparation could have been implemented if some international officers were not involved."
LaRouche: Without Tremonti, Berlusconi Is Finished
Dec. 26 (EIRNS)Upon learning of the pressure being brought to bear against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to remove Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti from the government, Lyndon LaRouche stated, "If Berlusconi bows to the pressure and replaces Tremonti, his government is finished."
The source of the pressure on Berlusconi is the rage from the monetarist faction, led by Bank of Italy Governor and Financial Stability Forum (FSF) chairman Mario Draghi, and represented by individuals such as Francesco Giavazzi, who on Dec. 23 used his column in the daily Corriere della Sera to call on Berlusconi to make a decision regarding Tremonti.
This faction sees Tremonti, along with LaRouche and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as a point of reference for the international forces that are challenging the power of the Anglo-Dutch Liberal oligarchy, and proposing a new, Franklin Roosevelt-style economic system. The most recent incident of this clash occurred during the week before Christmas, when in Strasbourg, France, at the European Parliament, LaRouche denounced the insane policy of the central bankers, who hope to save the bankrupt system at all costs. Two days later, from Paris, Tremonti called it mad to listen to those who, like Draghi and the FSF, haven't understood anything about the crisis.
Pope Calls for World Financial Reform, Mideast Peace
Jan. 1 (EIRNS)In his first homily in 2009, Pope Benedict called on all governments to reform the world financial system in a far-reaching way, stressing that short-term rescue efforts are not sufficient. The crisis "demands an intervention at its root," he said. In his New Year's Eve mass he had called for "soberness and solidarity" in dealing with the crisis, saying that especially the poorest families should receive help.
On the situation in Israel and Gaza, Benedict called for "peace for the world," calling for concrete solutions to end the escalation of violence. Earlier, in an interview with Radio Vaticana, press secretary Fr. Federico Lombardi hinted that the Pope may cancel his trip to the Holy Land, planned for May 2009.
LaRouche Accused as Inspiring German Anti-Video-Game Declaration
Dec. 26 (EIRNS)The violent video-game lobby is upset that Lyndon and Helga LaRouche have inspired a group of German citizens to call for the banning of violent video games, in a statement called the "Cologne Declaration." The magazine Escapist writes that the declaration's "linking of gaming to the 'military-industrial-media complex' resembles the views held by Lyndon LaRouche...."
The "Declaration," which calls video games "landmines for the soul," came in response to the German Cultural Council, an umbrella organization which granted membership to GAME, the organization of video-game developers. The chairman of GAME said the membership was a "milestone ... the first time an association of the game industry was incorporated as an institution of cultural politics."
Britain's Collapse To Accelerate in New Year
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)The new year promises to take the British economy to new lows, according to myriad sources reported in the British press at year's end. The British economy could shrink by 5-10% in 2009, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. This follows a warning by the Office for National Statistics, which announced that Gross Domestic Product contracted by 0.6% in the third quarter. Capital Economics and Bank of America have predicted that the economy will shrink next year by the biggest amount since 1947one of the worst recessions Britain has ever experienced.
The Independent reports that banks face another credit crunch in 2009, and the Guardian reports a poll stating that nine out of ten shoppers will be buying less next year. Meanwhile, one-quarter of the 800 Woolworth stores will close today. If a last minute-buyer is not found, the company will close down by Jan. 5, throwing 27,000 people out of work. Other retailers are going into receivership, including the entertainment chain Zavvi.
France: Green Senator Visits Black Bloc's Coupat
PARIS, Jan. 2 (EIRNS)There is a lot of "green" behind the Black Bloc rioters in France, as EIR has reported. Former French Green Presidential candidate Dominique Voynet, currently a senator and Mayor of Montreuil, made a short visit on Dec. 21 to Julien Coupat, the young philosopher thought to be the brains behind the sabotage actions against the French TGV high-speed trains in early November, and close to the international Black Bloc "autonomous" rioters. Voynet deplored Coupat's jailing, terming it senseless, and the bad conditions of French prisoners in general.
In Gore They Trust
Jan. 1 (EIRNS)Reuters reported on Dec. 30 that the Church of England has decided to invest £150 million sterling with Al Gore's Generation Investment Management, the London-based hedge fund that Gore founded with former Goldman Sachs partner David Blood.