Western European News Digest
Zepp-LaRouche Webcast To Address Collapsing Infrastructure
July 18 (EIRNS)The first webcast by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, lead candidate of the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo) in the Sept. 27 national elections, will be broadcast from Berlin on July 21. She will address how to liberate the real economy from the collapsing global monetarist-imperialist system. This webcast is particularly timely, as Berlin's public transport infrastructure is collapsing at an alarming pace as a result of cost-cutting and disinvestment.
Worsening conditions of track beds and other infrastructure of the electric S-Train, the core of the city's public transportation system, including the conditions of locomotives and rolling stock, have led to the collapse of vital lines. In particular, the east-west connections will be taken out of service for the coming weeks if not months, for emergency repair. This includes passenger service to and from Berlin's main airport. All transfers for passengers will be done by buses, with obvious consequences for Berlin's already congested streets.
S-Train staff have persistently tried, through warning strikes and full-fledged strikes, to alert the public about the consequences of the chronic disinvestment strategy of Deutsche Bahn, which owns the S-Trains, but the protests have been to no avail. The Federal Railway Authority (Eisenbahnbundesamt, EBA) has ordered Deutsche Bahn to carry out repair work on several substantial aspects, for example the wheels of the trains. The EBA decision was influenced by a train accident that killed 23 people in Viareggio, Italy, in June.
BüSo Campaign Against Lisbon Treaty Draws Media Coverage
July 13 (EIRNS)The July 6 issue of the German weekly Das Parlament reports on the German Supreme Court's ruling on the Lisbon Treaty, including a photo of a poster put up by a squad of organizers from the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo) in Karlsruhe, where the court sits, on June 30. The poster reads, "Verteidigt das Grundgesetz, jagt davon/ die Diktatur von Lissabon" (Defend the Constitution, Send the Lisbon dictatorship packing).
As EIR reported (July 17 issue), the Supreme Court ruled that only a restrictive interpretation of the Lisbon Treaty is consistent with the German Basic Law (constitution). Any interpretation that violates German sovereignty is unacceptable.
Das Parlament, somewhat comparable to The Hill in Washington, is a national weekly with regular coverage and full transcripts of the most important debates in the national Parliament, plus coverage of important issues, such as the debate on the European Union's still-unratified Lisbon Treaty.
Brits Push Blair for EU President as Lisbon Treaty Crumbles
July 16 (EIRNS)The British Minister for European Affairs, Glenys Kinnock, announced yesterday that the British government is nominating former Prime Minister Tony Blair to the office of Permanent EU President, a position introduced by the unratified Lisbon Treaty.
The announcement surprised many, not because Blair was unexpected (everybody knows he wants the job), but because it comes at a moment when hopes to resuscitate the Lisbon Treaty are sinking. The Irish have not decided to support it yet, and a recent decision by the German Constitutional Court has essentially buried the issue. The treaty must have unanimous support of EU member countries to become binding. (Some are speculating that the British announcement is a dirty trick by Prime Minister Gordon Brown against Blair.)
Conservative Party shadow foreign minister William Hague said that Blair should be let "nowhere near the job." He said: "The creation of a new EU President could be enormously damaging for Europe. Any holder is likely to try to centralize power for themselves in Brussels and dominate national foreign policies. In the hands of an operator as ambitious as Tony Blair, that is a near certainty."
Doctors Challenge Kelly Suicide Ruling
July 13 (EIRNS)On June 22, Lyndon LaRouche dismissed the flak over British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's planned investigation into the lies told about the Iraq War under Tony Blair's tenure at 10 Downing Street. LaRouche said that "the key question is the death of Dr. David Kelly," which had been falsely ruled a suicide, and will not be part of the Brown probe.
Kelly was a government scientist who died in July 2003, after being exposed as the source who revealed that the report used to claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction had been "sexed up."
Today, 13 doctors released a strongly worded report challenging the official cover-up of the cause of Dr. Kelly's death. Then-Prime Minister Blair organized the Hutton Commission, which ruled the death a suicide; but the autopsy was never made public, and the commission's verdict was used to prevent a coroner's inquest from being carried out.
According to today's Daily Telegraph, the doctors' report said a cut to Kelly's ulnar artery was "highly unlikely" to have caused enough bleeding to kill him. The doctors also claim that the level of the painkiller coproxamol in Kelly's bloodstream was about one-third of that required to cause death. The doctors have been working closely with Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP, who believes Kelly was murdered for causes related to his work as a weapons inspector.
Sweden Warns of Dependency on Britain for Flu Vaccine
July 17 (EIRNS)A former minister of Sweden's Social Democratic opposition, Morgan Johansson, has demanded that Sweden restart plans for a domestic, or a common Nordic vaccine production site to cope with the swine flu. Currently, Sweden is dependent on the British firm GlaxoSmithKline to deliver the 18 million doses of swine flu vaccine needed to vaccinate the entire population twice this season.
An editorial in the Social Democratic paper Vermlands Folkblad backs up the call for sovereign production, noting that Britain could impose an export ban to protect its own population and that "there could be an even worse pandemic coming than the swine flu."
Meanwhile, Swedish health authorities warn of that the main problem will be finding enough health personnel to staff the hospitals.
In discussions with their U.S. and Canadian colleagues, it was reported that the health personnel in the hospitals in New York are already exhausted due to constant overload of patients. Swedish hospitals are now being told to postpone all elective treatments, in order to make room for the expected influx of flu patients.
British Industry Calls for Nuclear, not Wind Power
July 13 (EIRNS)The Confederation of British Industry has called for cutting back wind turbine projects in favor of building 15 new nuclear power stations. The Guardian cites John Cridland, deputy director of the CBI, saying that the idea of having 32% of British energy needs supplied by wind power was "overambitious," and should be scaled back. Cridland called for building 15 nuclear plants that could produce 34% of British electricity needs by 2030. He said that wind power projects are receiving a subsidy, while nuclear projects are not.
Wind Insanity on the Baltic
July 13 (EIRNS)Three new German wind power projects are under way in the Baltic Sea: Baltic 1, which will supply 52 megawatts of electricity for 57,000 households in Baden-Wuerttemberg, about 1,000 km away. Two other projects, Kriegers Flak 1 for 330 MW and Arkonabecken Suedost for 400 MW, are also planned. Three more wind plantations off the German Baltic coast are under discussion.
Ironically, a recent "scientific" survey showed that wind power would be most effective in Russia, which, because of its giant land mass, has the most "wind reserves" of any country in the world. Yet, that would push Europe, which says it wants to become less dependent on Russia, into a new energy dependency. A good part of the "Baltic" wind actually originates in Russia anyway.