Category Archives: European Union

Rasmussen: Ball in Ukraine’s court over NATO after election

Adrian Croft reports for Reuters:

‘NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that Ukraine’s political leaders expect a new parliament to abandon the country’s non-aligned status after an election next month in a possible prelude to an application to join NATO. Ukraine said on Friday it would seek the protection of NATO membership after what Kiev and its Western allies say is the open participation of the Russian military in the war in Ukraine’s eastern provinces.

Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich, who was toppled in a revolution this year, had pursued non-aligned status since he took power 2010 – a route taken by many developing countries not wishing to be linked with NATO or any major power bloc. If Ukraine scrapped its non-alliance status after the Oct. 26 vote, NATO would discuss with Kiev “how to move forward”, Rasmussen said, but he said it was too early to say how long it might take for Ukraine to join the U.S.-led alliance.’

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Boys & Their Toys: NATO military flights surprise over Cardiff and Newport

Gavin Thomas reports for BBC News:

Osprey MV-22 aircraft ‘A series of training flights by military helicopters and other aircraft ahead of the NATO summit startled residents in Newport and Cardiff on Monday. The elite US Marine Corps HMX-1 squadron, which provides air support to US Presidents, thundered over the cities, along with RAF Military helicopters and police air support.

Perhaps the most dramatic sight were the Osprey MV-22 aircraft, which can land and take off like a helicopter but then tilt their rotors to become conventional planes. The Ospreys, which visited both the Celtic Manor summit venue and Cardiff city centre, were accompanied by Sikorsky VH-60N helicopters, a VIP version of the US Blackhawk.’

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NATO to create high-readiness force to counter Russian threat

Ewen MacAskill reports for The Guardian:

Nato is to create a 4,000-strong “spearhead” high-readiness force that can be deployed rapidly in eastern Europe and the Baltic states to help protect member nations against potential Russian aggression, according to Nato officials. Leaders from the 28 Nato countries are expected to approve the plan at the alliance’s summit in Wales when the Ukraine crisis tops the agenda on Friday.

The Nato secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the force, drawn on rotational basis from Nato allies, could be in action at “very, very short notice”. Rasmussen described it as a mixture of regular troops and special forces that could “travel light but strike hard”. It would be supported by air and naval forces as needed.’

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John J. Mearsheimer: Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

John J. Mearsheimer provides a realist perspective of the situation in Ukraine in the latest issue of the Council on Foreign Relations’ bi-monthly magazine, Foreign Affairs:

‘According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.

But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.

Putin’s pushback should have come as no surprise. After all, the West had been moving into Russia’s backyard and threatening its core strategic interests, a point Putin made emphatically and repeatedly. Elites in the United States and Europe have been blindsided by events only because they subscribe to a flawed view of international politics. They tend to believe that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law, economic interdependence, and democracy.

But this grand scheme went awry in Ukraine. The crisis there shows that realpolitik remains relevant — and states that ignore it do so at their own peril. U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy.’

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VIPS: Germany’s Merkel Needs To Ask Tough Questions at NATO Summit

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) recently published a memorandum for the attention of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, on the subject of Ukraine ahead of the NATO Summit this week:

‘We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.’

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£50 million spent on a massive fence to protect politicians ahead of NATO Summit

Michael Krieger writes for Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.35.16 AM‘Most of us woke up this morning to news that the UK had raised its terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe.” Considering the competence and trustworthiness of the nation’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, there must be some specific threat they’re concerned about to justify instilling fear in a population of 65 million. Nope.

Although the new threat level rates the risk of an attack on the UK to “highly likely,” Home Secretary Theresa May stated that “there was no evidence to suggest one was imminent.” Well then.

It makes you wonder if the the change in threat level is being used in part to justify the extraordinary $80 million [£50 million] sum spent on building a fortress around the Newport and Cardiff city centers in Wales, which many are describing as “similar to the Berlin Wall,” or a “zoo,” in an unprecedented display of protection for many of the world’s most corrupt politicians.’

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Gorbachev: Internal Ukrainian conflict can’t be turned into inter-state one

Interfax reports:

‘Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev believes Russia has not intervened in the events in southeastern Ukraine and is right in doing so. “If our country intervenes, there could be a fire that the whole world would be unable to put out. And it’s right that the politicians are holding to their position,” Gorbachev said on Rossiyskaya Sluzhba Novostei (Russian News Service) on Saturday.

“Our proposal was to open passages and let people get out of all those entrapments. But no, someone is sitting in warm offices and intellectualizing. And at the same time – look what is happening to the people, to children and women. Maternity homes and schools are being shelled, hospitals are being destroyed. Two thousand people have been killed even according to official reports, and how many have been injured?” Gorbachev said.

He insisted that everything possible should be done to de-escalate the conflict. “Everything should be done so that the people stop killing each other. After all, this is one people. If states get involved, the scope grows, and everyone meddles there, we might see a horrible slaughter in Europe. But this can’t be allowed,” he said.’

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Pepe Escobar: From Minsk to Wales, Germany is the key

Pepe Escobar writes for RT:

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (top centre R) and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (3rd R from Putin) meet with high-ranking officials and presidents from Kazakhstan and the European Union in Minsk, August 26, 2014.(Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)‘The road to the Minsk summit this past Tuesday began to be paved when German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to ARD public TV after her brief visit to Kiev on Saturday. Merkel emphasized, “A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia.” She added that “There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won’t be a military solution to this conflict.”

Merkel talked about “decentralization” of Ukraine, a definitive deal on gas prices, Ukraine-Russia trade, and even hinted Ukraine is free to join the Russia-promoted Eurasian Union (the EU would never make a “huge conflict” out of it). Exit sanctions; enter sound proposals. She could not have been more explicit; “We [Germany] want to have good trade relations with Russia as well. We want reasonable relations with Russia. We are depending on one another and there are so many other conflicts in the world where we should work together, so I hope we can make progress”.

The short translation for all this is there won’t be a Nulandistan (after neo-con Victoria ‘F**k the EU’Nuland), remote-controlled by Washington, and fully financed by the EU. In the real world, what Germany says, the EU follows. Geopolitically, this also means a huge setback for Washington’s obsessive containment and encirclement of Russia, proceeding in parallel to the ‘pivot to Asia’ (containment and encirclement of China).’

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel: A Federal Solution for Ukraine

CSIS: NATO Allies Anticipate Strong Russian Response to Action Plan

RIA Novosti reports:

A Polish soldier stands near US and Poland's national flags and a NATO flag in Swidwin, northern west Poland, April 23, 2014‘A week before the September 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, a number of allies started to fear that the readiness action plan to increase the alliance’s military presence along Russia’s border would be provocative, a Center for Strategic and International Studies representative told RIA Novosti.

“The allies have already fully anticipated a very strong Russian reaction,” Director of the Europe Program at CSIS Heather Conley said Wednesday during an event on the upcoming NATO summit.

“I’m sure this is what has caused some hesitancy in our allies to put forward a more robust presence, because they are very fearful about provoking Russia,” she added.

France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Germany, Poland, and Hungary have all expressed reluctance to back NATO’s new readiness strategy.’

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NATO Summit to Focus on Escalations Against Russia

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘The upcoming NATO summit in Estonia is expected to focus heavily on new military buildups for the alliance, with a buildup in Eastern Europe expected to be finalized, including commitments for new bases in Poland and the Baltic States.

The deployments underscore rising tensions between NATO and Russia, with many in the alliance having designs on a new Cold War, and seeing such deployments as a way to further that narrative.’

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A third of Germans fear NATO-Russia war over Ukraine, poll finds

Reuters reported earlier this month:

‘One in three Germans thinks a war could break out between Russia and NATO over the conflict in Ukraine, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday, a finding that helps explain the country’s cautious approach to the crisis.

Germans, whose country was devastated in World War Two and split into East and West during the Cold War, have applauded Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to prevent an escalation of Russia-NATO tensions.

Germany long resisted U.S. calls for tougher sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea, and shifted position only after the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine.’

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Willy Wimmer, former German Defence Minister and former vice president of the OCSE Assembly, interviewed recently on RT:

American White Nationalists To Hold Conference With Russian And European Far Right

Rosie Gray reports for BuzzFeed:

‘The white nationalist think tank the National Policy Institute is holding a conference in October in Hungary that will feature Alexander Dugin, a Russian nationalist thinker who is increasingly popular in Kremlin circles.

Richard Spencer, the president of NPI and a former writer at the American Conservative, said the conference, which will also feature figures from the ascendant European far right, would be the first of its kind for NPI outside the United States. It’s part of an effort to reach out to “European traditionalists” all over the world, he said, and the relationship with Dugin is just beginning: a publishing arm attached to NPI will publish a book this fall by Dugin, who this week called for Ukraine to be “cleansed” of the Ukrainian “race of bastards.”

“I think there are a lot of things happening in Europe that I think would excite people like me and people who want to go to the conference, and would excite Americans who care about their European identity,” Spencer said.

Apart from Dugin, the conference will also host Márton Gyöngyösi, a leader of Jobbik, Hungary’s extremist far right political party.’

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Britain facing ‘greatest terrorist threat’ in history, threat level raised to ‘severe’ (right before NATO summit)

The Telegraph reports:

‘Britain faces the “greatest and deepest” terror threat in the country’s history, David Cameron warned as he pledged emergency measures to tackle extremists.

The UK threat level was raised to “severe” — its second highest — meaning that a terrorist attack is “highly likely” in light of the growing danger from British jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria… The raised alert will lead to an increase in the number of armed police on the streets, especially around landmark sites and airports.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, insisted that the move was not a result of any specific plot, but in light of the increasing dangers posed by British fanatics and other foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria. The change also comes less than a week before a NATO summit in south Wales, which will be the biggest gathering of heads of state in the UK.’

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Back to the Cold War

Serge Halimi, president of Le Monde diplomatique, writes for CounterPunch:

‘In 1980 Ronald Reagan expressed his idea of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in one short sentence: “We win, they lose.” Twelve years later, his immediate successor at the White House, George H W Bush, was satisfied that the task had been accomplished: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one, sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America.” The cold war was officially at an end.

That period too is now over. Its death knell sounded on the day Russia had had enough of “losing” and realised that its ritual humiliation would never come to an end, with one neighbouring country after another being persuaded — or bribed — into joining an economic and military alliance against it. Obama, speaking in Brussels in March, stressed that “Today, NATO planes patrol the skies over the Baltics and we’ve reinforced our presence in Poland. And we’re prepared to do more”. Vladimir Putin, addressing the Russian parliament, observed that this was part of the “infamous policy of containment” that the western powers had pursued against Russia since the 18th century.’

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Reports of Russian troops in Ukraine, but how credible is the evidence?

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Embedded image permalink‘If it’s Ukraine and there’s a press conference going on these days, you can pretty much count on there being a spurious claim of a Russian invasion, which NATO and Western media will quickly parrot, but which none of them has any real proof for. Today’s “Russian invasion,” one of several in the past week alone, involves over 1,000 Russian ground troops, at least two columns of tanks, and as is so often the case, not a single credible photograph.

NATO piled on, as they are wont to do, and tweeted out an extremely blurry satellite photo which they claimed showed some sort of Russian vehicles on a road that could conceivably be in Eastern Ukraine. Media outlets reporting the invasion as absolute fact didn’t let their lack of photographic evidence get in the way, and rather recycled stock photos of Ukrainian military vehicles for the sake of making the article look like there’s a lot of vehicles involved. Russia was quick to deny the invasion, sparking a lot of cable news speculation of Russian deception, though the startling array of Ukrainian claims of “vanishing” tank columns and massive numbers of killed Russians that are never substantiated suggest that anything coming out of Kiev has to be taken with a grain of salt.’

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NATO chief Rasmussen: Ukraine free to seek membership

Andrew Rettman and Valentina Pop report for EU Observer:

‘Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said Ukraine is free to pursue membership of the Western alliance despite Russian opposition. He told press in Brussels on Friday (29 August): “I’m not going to interfere in political discussions in Ukraine. But let me remind you of Nato’s decision at the Bucharest summit in 2008, according to which Ukraine ‘will become a member of Nato,’ provided of course, Ukraine so wishes and fulfills the necessary criteria”.

“We adhere to the principle that each and every country has the right to decide [its foreign and security policy] for itself without interference from the outside”. Rasmussen spoke after an emergency meeting of Nato ambassadors with Ukraine’s envoy to the Western bloc. He also spoke after Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier on Friday promised to pass a bill to scrap Ukraine’s non-aligned status. Yatsenyuk said the move is due to Russian “aggression” and would “resume” his country’s “course for Nato membership”. Rasmussen noted Ukrainian accession was not discussed at Friday’s meeting.’

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The Disunited States of Europe

Vivienne Walt writes for Fortune:

‘[...] The intense nervousness over how the Scots might vote extends far beyond the territory’s rugged mountains. Many in Europe fear that Scotland’s independence fervor could ripple across the continent, where a number of separatist campaigns have simmered for years. The hotspots range from the mountainous Basque region at the border of Spain and France to the Mediterranean island of Corsica to the lowlands of Belgium, where many in the Flemish majority want to say tot ziens to their French-speaking countrymen. Some of these movements have a history of violence; several more seem merely rhetorical—and, well, quixotic (independent Venice?). But taken together, the sovereignty pushes are yet another reminder of how tenuous the notion of one cohesive “European Union” truly is.’

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Merkel backs Spain against Catalan secession vote

The Associated Press reports:

‘German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed support for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s opposition to a proposed independence referendum in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia.

Speaking alongside Rajoy on Monday, Merkel said that while the Catalan question was an internal Spanish one, she thought Rajoy’s views were logical and deserved support.

Rajoy described the referendum as “a mad idea” and reiterated it would not be held because it was illegal. He said it went against the trend toward greater unity within the European Union.’

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2011 NATO Bombing of Libya Led to Rise of Militias Now Fighting for Oil-Rich Land: Interview with Vijay Prashad

‘Libya is experiencing its most intense fighting since the 2011 NATO-backed campaign to remove Muammar Gaddafi. On Monday, the Libyan parliament that was replaced in an election in June reconvened and chose an Islamist-backed deputy as the new prime minister. This now leaves Libya with two rival leaders and assemblies, each backed by armed factions. Meanwhile the New York Times has revealed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes twice in the last week against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli. Despite the strikes, the Islamist militants managed to solidify control of the capital of Tripoli by taking over the main airport. “[The U.S. and NATO] bombed the country and opened the door for the different militias to now compete against each other,” says Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College. “So the day Gaddafi was killed, from then onwards, the militias have basically been at each other’s throats.”’ (Democracy Now!)

Interview with Professor Stephen Cohen on the situation in Ukraine

Stephen Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and he is a contributing editor to The Nation. He is also the author of Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. You can find more interviews and articles by Professor Cohen here.

NATO Considers Missle Defense Shield Directed Against Russia

Spiegel reports:

‘NATO officials are considering deploying a long-planned missile defense system — aimed at protecting Europe from attacks from the Middle East — against Russia as well, SPIEGEL has learned.

Calls for such an expansion to the system’s remit, which is backed by the United States, are growing in Poland as well as in NATO member states Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In the run-up to next week’s NATO summit, the four countries called for the remaining members to agree on language at the summit that would pave the way for the plan. They feel threatened by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

But the majority of NATO members, especially Germany, are opposed to the proposal, warning that it could result in an unnecessary provocation of Moscow. Representatives of these countries have warned that NATO has for years pledged to Russia that the missile defense system would not be directed at the country. Further debate on the issue has since been delayed until after the summit.’

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NATO Expansion Plan Raises Specter of Iron Curtain

Ivan Nechepurenko writes for The Moscow Times:

‘NATO will set up new bases in Eastern Europe in an attempt to deter President Vladimir Putin from meddling in the internal affairs of countries that used to be under Moscow’s control, the organization’s secretary-general told journalists in an interview published Wednesday. The move effectively returns the state of European security back to the Cold War era, when the collective defense ministry alliance that came into being in 1949 acted as a deterrent and main rival to the Warsaw Pact nations led by the Soviet Union.

“We have to face the reality that Russia does not consider NATO a partner. Russia is a nation that unfortunately for the first time since the Second World War has grabbed land by force. Obviously we have to adapt to that,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview with The Guardian and five other European newspapers. “The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible NATO presence in the East,” he said ahead of a NATO summit in Cardiff next week.

The new bases would likely be located on Russia’s doorstep, experts said: in the Baltic states and Poland, which have been calling for a stronger NATO presence ever since the Ukraine crisis unfolded. The bases will be stationed on Russian borders “for as long as necessary,” The Guardian quoted Rasmussen as saying. According to analysts from across the political spectrum questioned by The Moscow Times, NATO’s decision will raise the stakes and invite a tough response from the Kremlin.’

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Finland and Sweden to strengthen ties with NATO

Associated Press reports:

Finland and Sweden plan to work more closely with Nato by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations, officials said on Wednesday. The move comes as Nato prepares for a summit next week in Wales amid heightened tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300km (800-mile) border with Russia.

The Finnish government said the host nation support agreement applies to situations which include “disasters, disruptions and threats to security”. It also enables joint training exercises and military cooperation. Finnish defence ministry senior adviser Mika Varvikko said Finland intended to sign the agreement at next week’s summit. Sweden is also expected to do so. Both countries, which already train and work closely with Nato in international operations, insisted the agreement did not mean they were moving closer to joining the alliance.’

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Over $1 TRILLION spent on “defense” by NATO members apparently not enough

Sam Jones reports for The Financial Times:

Nato member states spend more than $1tn on their collective defence annually. But, the alliance says, it is not enough.

Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine will dominate headlines at next week’s Nato summit – perhaps the most important gathering of alliance leaders since the end of the cold war – but defence spending will be the most important, if least honestly addressed, issue.’

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Cardiff turned into high security ‘prison’ with 10 mile ‘ring of steel’ ahead of NATO conference

From The Daily Mail:

‘Cardiff city centre has been turned into a high security ‘prison’ with 10 miles of fencing – which is being dubbed the ‘ring of steel’ – ahead of the Nato conference next week. Police have erected the nine feet high security fencing around Celtic Manor resort in Newport where Barack Obama, David Cameron and other world leaders will meet in Wales on September 4 and 5, as well as the city centre. It comes as former foreign office minister, Kim Howells, issued fears that home grown Islamic State terrorists could be planning to attack the 2014 summit.’

Cardiff city centre resembles a high security ¿prison¿ with its 10 miles of fencing - dubbed the ¿ring of steel¿ - put up ahead of the Nato conference in Wales next week

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IMF head Christine Lagarde to be investigated for alleged role in political fraud case

Anne Penketh reports for The Guardian:

File:Lagarde.jpg‘The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has been charged with “simple negligence” over her handling of a controversial €400m payout to French business tycoon Bernard Tapie when she was finance minister. Lagarde announced that she had been placed under investigation by a magistrate on Tuesday – the French equivalent of being charged in the UK – after being questioned for 15 hours at the court of justice in Paris, which deals with cases of alleged ministerial wrongdoing.

But she told a reporter that she would not resign from her position: “I’m going back to work in Washington this afternoon,” she said. The IMF chief insisted that she had not broken the law and would appeal. The case is an embarrassment for Lagarde, the IMF and France. Judicial sources told the Guardian that negligence by a government official carried a possible one-year prison term and/or a €15,000 (£11,900) fine.’

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The Decline of the Fifth Republic: A Legacy of Imperialism

Alexander Reid Ross writes for CounterPunch:

‘After just two years in power, French Socialist François Hollande has become one of the least popular leaders in Europe. He has taken much of the blame for chipping away at France’s social wage and for the rise of the radical right wing. Rather than listening to his economy minister Arnaud Montebourg’s recap of Paul Krugman’s critique of “absurd” fiscal cuts, Hollande has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Emanuel Valls, dissolved his entire government, and ordered Valls to form a new cabinet. The question is not only whether Hollande can still call himself a socialist, but whether the French Fifth Republic can hold on.

The immediate response is that this is just a shakeup, typical of the rebellious style of French political life. But what if there is something much deeper at play? When the Fourth Republic fell in 1958, it was due to the coming dissolution of France’s colonial empire, beginning with Algeria. The French army swept through the backdoors of the French Republic, and in a rapid coup d’etat, overthrew the republican system, reinstating Charles de Gaulle as leader.

Although de Gaulle allowed the government to return to a quasi-democratic process, Gaullism has remained a hard kernel in French politics, emerging powerfully in the 1970s and again for 17 years through the Party for a Popular Movement’s big hitters, Jacques Chirac and Nicholas Sarkozy, after a window of Socialist governance by François Mitterand in the 1980s. The chief reason for the recent shakeup in the French government is not only Montebourg’s claims that financial matters have been mishandled, but his insistence on comparing Hollande unfavorable to Margaret Thatcher and to de Gaulle, himself!’

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Hollande Government: New team named after ministers rebel

Editor’s Note: France’s new economy minister, investment banker Emmanuel  Macron, attended this year’s Bilderberg conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Manuel Valls, the man who selected him, has also attended the elite meetings in 2008 as a Member of the French Parliament. It’s all about connections when it comes to highest levels of business and politics. Jean-Claude Trichet, former head of the ECB and a Bilderberg regular, seems quite happy that Macron is the right man for the job. That job being sticking to the austerity policies that the big bankers who regularly attend Bilderberg want imposed on Europe

BBC News reports:

‘French President Francois Hollande has named a new cabinet under PM Manual Valls, dropping ministers who rebelled against austerity cuts. The first government of Mr Valls, who was appointed less than five months ago, fell on Monday after a row with Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.

Mr Montebourg resigned along with two other ministers from the left. He will be replaced by Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild banker and ex-presidential economic adviser.

President Hollande is seeking a coherent line on economic policy after recent criticism from the left wing of his Socialist Party. Many see it as his last chance to make a successful presidency, after his recent poll ratings sunk to 17%.’

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Bilderberg 2015 Location Confirmed: Austria

From BilderbergMeetings.co.uk:

The location for the 2015 annual conference of the Bilderberg Group has been confirmed. The yearly transatlantic summit, which is attended by senior politicians, bank bosses and the heads of some of the world’s largest companies, will be held at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol, a luxury hotel and conference centre in Austria.

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The Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol is a “five-star hotel conference centre” tucked away in the mountain forests a few kilometres west of the Seefeld ski resort, and conveniently close to Innsbruck airport. The hotel is part of the privately-owned Liebherr Group, a giant Switzerland-based manufacturing conglomeration, owned by the billionaire German Liebherr family.

According to the hotel’s Meetings & Events brochure, “the hotel lies at an altitude of 1,300 metres in an exclusive setting in the Tirolean Alps and offers panoramic views of magnificent mountain peaks.” The isolated, Eagle’s Nest style venue has a 400-capacity conference centre with “a magnificent Alpine backdrop” and state-of-the-art conference facilities.

conference2015

The location of the 2015 conference has now been confirmed by Austrian police. It will be the third time the Bilderberg summit has been held in Austria, and 27 years since the previous occasion. The 1988 conference was also held at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol; the 1979 conference was held in Baden, just south of Vienna.

It’s thought that the 2015 conference will be held in early June, although the exact date has yet to be confirmed. The hotel is fully booked on the first two weekends of June (4th-7th and 11th-14th).

Participants at the 2014 conference in Copenhagen included: Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP; Paul Achleitner, the Chairman of Deutsche Bank; Stephen Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Governor; Robert Dudley, the Group Chief Executive of BP; Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google; Douglas Flint, the Group Chairman of HSBC; Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF; and Peter Sutherland, the Chairman Goldman Sachs International.