Free public transport in Luxembourg

This 23 December 2019 video says about itself:

Luxembourg is about to embark on an experiment into whether offering zero-fare public transport will persuade people to leave their cars at home.

In 2020, it will become the only country in the world to get rid of fares on all its forms of public transport, in a bid to tackle increasing congestion.

A commenter on YouTube writes:

UK will increase the prices of public transport to drive the population to suicide, thus tackling the problem.

Tories accused of attempting to bury news of rail ticket price hikes: here.

Rail passengers joined forces with RMT train workers yesterday morning outside King’s Cross station, London, England demanding ‘cut fares, not staff’

Another commenter replies:

Sheffield had free public transport, Margaret Thatcher made it illegal.

LuxLeaks corruption whistleblowers sentenced, corporate fat cats, politicians not sentenced

This video says about itself:

LuxLeaks: Whistleblowers Fined & Sentenced

29 June 2016

Judges have handed down their verdict against former PriceWaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. The pair leaked documents that implicated over 300 multinational corporations, in secretly negotiated deals with the Luxembourg government to avoid paying taxes on profits made in Europe.

Meanwhile, the fat cats of these over 300 multinational corporations have not been sentenced. And Juncker, Luxembourg Prime Minister, responsible in this scandal, was not sentenced, but became European Commission boss in Brussels.

Luxembourg’s Grand Duchess Stéphanie in fraud scandal

This video says about itself:

23 October 2014

Her Royal Highness Princess Stéphanie Marie Claudine Christine, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Princess of Nassau, Princess of Bourbon-Parma was born 18 February 1984. She is the wife of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume.

After the fraud scandal of Princess Cristina, sister of the king of Spain … the tax dodging scandal in Luxembourg … and the scandal of the Luxembourg secret police’s bomb terrorism for getting more taxpayers’ money … now this.

From the Luxemburger Wort paper:

Luxembourg princess’ former employer investigated for fraud

Published on Friday, 19 February, 2016 at 14:29

The finance director of an investment company for which Luxembourg’s Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie formerly worked has been arrested for fraud, the Lëtzebuerger Land has revealed.

Kepha Invest SA is at the heart of a large-scale fraud and money laundering investigation and police have arrested its Italian finance director Monseigneur [prominent Roman Catholic priest] Patrizio Benvenuti along with eight others.

Established in 2007 and with its headquarters in Ixelles, in Brussels, it is alleged the company cheated 283 Belgian investors out of 34.6 million euros.

The Italian judiciary has issued an arrest warrants against former Kepha Invest manager Baron Christian de Fierlant Dormer.

The Lëtzebuerger Land suggests that the company created a pyramid scheme, with old investors paid off from the capital of new investors.

The scheme collapsed in 2014 leaving no trace of the 34 million euros. Kepha said that it had invested on behalf of private investors.

To gain their trust, it is said they relied on Belgian nobility, hiring Stéphanie, then Countess Stéphanie, in 2010 for her important contacts.

According to the newspaper “La Dernière Heure”, the young noble attended events in Brussels in 2010 and 2011 to drum up support for Kepha Invest. Monseigneur Patrizio Benvenuti alleges that Stéphanie would have been aware of the irregularities.

History of Marxism in Luxembourg: here.

Fox hunting stop in Luxembourg

This video from a garden in London, England is called Fox Cubs Playfighting.

The German site Wildtierschutz reports today, that the government of Luxembourg has banned fox hunting, from April 2015 on, provisionally for one year.

Hunting lobbyists protested against this. Camille Gira, Secretary for Infrastructure, reacted to this: ‘We don’t eat it, we don’t need its fur, and there is no rabies anymore in central Europe.’

Fox hunting controversy in Britain, May 2015: here.

Juncker hinders exposing European Union corruption

This video says about itself:

Luxembourg Tax Storm Hits New EU Chief Juncker

6 November 2014

A storm of outrage over Luxembourg’s role in helping global companies avoid tax plunged its former leader into controversy in his first week running the European Commission, the EU body that polices tax abuses.

Jean-Claude Juncker, 59, who took over as president of the EU executive after more than two decades as finance minister and prime minister of the tiny Grand Duchy, pulled out of a speaking engagement on Thursday. He repeated through a spokesman a remark made the previous day denying a conflict of interest and saying he would not hinder existing EU investigations of Luxembourg.

From The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Corporate Watch

Juncker cools on making register revealing firms’ true owners open to public

December 12, 2014 by Nick Mathiason

Jean-Claude Juncker appears this morning to have distanced himself from making registers setting out the true owners of companies and other legal entities accessible to journalists and NGOs in a letter sent to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at City University in London .

The EU Commission president’s stance will spark deep unease from anti-corruption campaigners.

Juncker was responding to an appeal earlier this week by 45 investigative journalists from 23 countries urging the EU Commission president to force through the introduction of  this key transparency policy that will reveal the true identity of the owners of companies and trusts across all 28 member states.

In the letter to the Bureau, the EU Commission president wrote: “In the ongoing talks on the Commission proposals our negotiators support provisions of enhanced transparency and call for systems of access to beneficial ownership information including clarification on the possibility of access by third parties who demonstrate a justified legitimate interest.”

The statement will be seen as falling short on an outright endorsement that registers will be open to all.

The beneficial ownership policy forms part of a new Anti-Money Laundering Directive which is in the final stages of negotiations between the Commission, the Council of Ministers and MEPs. The Bureau understands drafts of compromise positions are already circulating.

Final agreement is expected on Tuesday. The beneficial ownership section of the directive was overwhelmingly passed by MEPs in March.

Earlier this week, senior investigative journalists from around the world called on Juncker, who is currently under intense pressure for his involvement in the “Lux Leaks” scandal, “to ensure the EU champions the president of the Commission to “take this critical step in the fight against corruption, which undermines the rights of people in Europe and around the world and threatens the credibility and integrity of the European market.”

But with signals suggesting the the Council of Ministers are blocking the possibility that the public can access beneficial ownership registers, Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels director of the ONE Campaign said: “It is unbelievable that amidst the outbreaks of scandals resulting from financial secrecy, the Council is trying to dilute the parliament’s call for public disclosure of who is hiding behind anonymous companies and trusts. We cannot let this historic opportunity slip by settling for anything less than full public access for anyone without exception.”

It is understood that under the measure, member states will ensure that corporate and other legal entities, that include trusts, will be required to obtain and hold “adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership”.

David Cameron has already committed to making this information publicly accessible. Denmark and the Ukraine have also committed to introduce public registers. But anti-corruption experts say for registers to be successful in combatting financial crime, as many countries as possible need to embrace the measure.

Letter From President Juncker to Mr Nick Mathiason

Fifteen years ago President Clinton deregulated the financial sector. Eight years later, the banking sector collapsed, sending the world into recession. Today, Juncker wants to get “growth and jobs” by deregulating the environment. No lessons learned? Here.

Luxembourg financial scandal and European Union boss Juncker

This 11 July 2013 video says about itself:

Luxembourg PM Juncker resigns over spy scandal

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced his resignation on Thursday and called for snap elections.

The move came after Juncker was accused by his own coalition partner of failing to stop the abuse of power by the country’s secret service.

By Jean Shaoul:

Luxembourg tax avoidance scandal rocks European Union

14 November 2014

Just one week after Jean­-Claude Juncker took over as European Commission chief, a scandal has erupted over massive tax avoidance by major corporations that took place while he was Luxembourg’s Prime Minister.

This video says about itself:

Juncker will not face MEPs over Luxembourg tax deals

7 November 2014

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is reluctant to face MEPs next week to shed light on whether the secret tax deals between more than 300 international companies and Luxembourg are in accordance with EU law.

The Jean Shaoul article continues:

The scandal was sparked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) release of a cache of 28,000 pages of leaked tax agreements and returns, and other documents relating to more than 1,000 corporations that routed transactions through the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which signed off on these complex arrangements to minimise their taxes obligations elsewhere.

The revelations confirm an open secret: a vast tax avoidance industry centred on Luxembourg, a country renowned for its secrecy, and made up of global accounting firms, lawyers and corporate lobbyists working closely with governments. The “savings” to their clients, who pay little or no tax, have benefited the shareholders, and robbed millions of workers who have seen public services and the social safety net gutted as a consequence.

While the total value of such tax scams is unknown, it almost certainly amounts to more than a trillion euros since 2000. It is grand larceny carried out against the vast majority of the world’s population. As far as the financial oligarchy is concerned, the corporations will choose when, where and how much tax they will pay, if they pay any at all.

Most of the documents relate to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) clients. PwC is one of the world’s largest tax advisory firms, while at the same time acting as financial advisors to governments on public-sector restructuring. Large companies used complex webs of internal loans and interest payments to shrink their tax liabilities. The scale of the “loans” bore no relation to real corporate need. They served to reduce their tax obligations because interest payments are tax deductible in the country of production, while paying corporation tax of just 1 percent in Luxembourg.

The documents show how 340 multinational groups, such as Pepsi, Ikea, Accenture, the global financial and IT services company spun off by Arthur Andersen, Burberry, Procter & Gamble, Heinz, JP Morgan, FedEx, the Coach handbag firm, drugs group Abbott Laboratories, Amazon, Deutsche Bank and the Australian financial and infrastructure group Macquarie, set up convoluted corporate structures specially designed in accordance with the Luxembourg authorities.

Luxembourg’s role was to facilitate and mask tax avoidance via Advance Tax Agreements (ATAs), binding agreements otherwise known as “comfort letters.” The papers include 548 such comfort letters signed off by Luxembourg.

The Guardian provided extensive analyses of several of these scams by well­-known companies, whose executives regularly sit on government commissions and pontificate on matters of public policy, claiming that such and such “reform” will be good for the “economy.” None of them deigned to answer the Guardian’s questions, but instead issued vacuous and lying statements denying any involvement in tax avoidance, adding that they paid tax in the countries where profits were made.

PwC refused to answer the questions put to it by the ICIJ, claiming that their evidence was based on “outdated” and “stolen” information, “the theft of which is in the hands of the relevant authorities.” But as the Guardian noted, an examination of the public filings show that these arrangements are still in force.

As well as the shareholders, the beneficiaries of these bogus arrangements are the corporate executives whose bonus payments are boosted by the enhanced net profits. So too are the global accountancy firms and their sister consultancy companies, whose legitimacy and profits are the result of the government­-granted monopoly on the legally-required annual audit of the corporations’ financial accounts. These giant firms in turn dominate the International Accounting Standards Board, which determine the rules surrounding financial and tax disclosure.

Juncker’s appointment to succeed Jose Manuel Barroso as the President of the European Commission was controversial, reflecting wider divisions within the European powers over their conflicting national interests.

Opposition was led by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who cast Juncker as the personal embodiment of federalist tendencies within the EU that the UK was determined to oppose and was backed by Hungary. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, though unhappy that Juncker had been chosen as candidate for the largest conservative European Peoples Party group, was forced to defend his appointment in the face of this challenge, and was backed by the Party of European Socialists (PES) group.

Juncker, as Luxembourg’s prime minister and finance minister for nearly two decades, had headed the government responsible for these “comfort letters” and tax dodges. He presided over Luxembourg’s transformation into a European tax haven, turning the tiny country, no more than a city-state with a population of 540,000, into one with the second-highest GDP per capita in the world after Qatar. He was forced to resign last December over his role in a scandal involving the security services.

His first response was to deny any wrongdoing on his or Luxembourg’s part. He then sought to lay the blame on the other European countries for refusing to give up national sovereignty over taxation, sanctioning their own “fiscal engineering” and “tax rates that can sometimes lack fairness”, and failing to agree to legislation on tax harmonisation.

He has a point in making such self-serving claims. They all allowed Luxembourg and the corporations to operate in this way, with many providing similar “comfort letters” and some, like Britain, strenuously trying to compete with the Grand Duchy.

There were calls for him to resign by the European Parliament’s European United Left—Nordic Green Left group of 52 members from 14 countries, several British Conservatives, as well as the prestigious financial journal Bloomberg. “Just now, the importance of restoring trust in the EU would be hard to overstate,” Bloomberg editorialized. “The union is struggling to emerge from the financial crisis and is increasingly seen as elitist, meddling and incapable of producing either fairness or growth. It cannot help this effort to have it overseen by a man who spent his career as a quintessential backroom dealer while building and running an international tax haven at other European countries’ expense.”

In response, EU legislators from the European People’s Party and the Social Democrats in the PES again leapt to his defence.

Now, the man who gave out “comfort letters” exempting corporations from paying tax has pledged to lead the campaign against tax avoidance! By this he means a proposal requiring member states to share special tax rulings with each other and closing loopholes that enable multinational companies to set up special financing vehicles and shop around for the lowest tax rates.

These damaging revelations compound the growing anger against the pro­-business EU and the European governments that routinely turn a blind eye to the most egregious scams by the corporations, at the same time as they impose austerity budgets gutting essential services. But exposing the normally-hidden sweetheart deals between governments and corporations, they demonstrate that the real reason public services and social welfare are “no longer affordable” is not because of an aging population, or “welfare scroungers” or immigration, but because the corporations refuse to pay any tax to governments that are in thrall to them.

Jean-Claude Juncker faces censure vote over Luxembourg tax schemes. European Union chief’s actions as prime minister of Luxembourg attacked over alleged role in creation of tax haven: here.

Luxembourg tax files: how Juncker’s duchy accommodated Skype and the Koch empire: here.

Luxembourg tax files: can Jean-Claude Juncker weather the storm? EU political elite will not make life difficult for commission chief, but fate will hinge on the evidence against him: here.

Juncker ‘eased’ Amazon move to Luxembourg. Web retailer’s former tax expert claims EU chief presented himself as a business partner who ‘helped solve problems’: here.

Luxembourg tax files: Juncker admits position weakened by scandal. Jean-Claude Juncker breaks silence to say revelations are personally damaging as calls increase for harmonisation of EU tax rules: here.

Green or greenwashed? President Juncker put to the test: here.

LUXEMBOURG agreed today to give European Commission officials a list of hundreds of companies with which it has tax deals. The low-tax territory has done a U-turn over the release of the data, after originally threatening to take the EU to court in a bid to keep the multinationals’ names secret: here.

Juncker, more European Union austerity

This video says about itself:

11 July 2013

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe’s longest-serving leader, tenders his resignation Thursday in a scandal involving the tiny nation’s secret services, alleged to have indulged in misconduct on his watch.

Jean-Claude Juncker was kicked out as Prime Minister of Luxembourg because of espionage and bomb terrorism scandals.

Now, he is kicked upstairs to the European Commission presidency. But not everyone likes that.

By Lynn Boylan, MEP for Sinn Fein in Ireland:

Sinn Féin vote against Jean-Claude Juncker EU Presidency bid

15 July, 2014

Sinn Féin MEPs have today voted against the EU Presidency bid of Jean-Claude Juncker.

Speaking after the vote, Sinn Féin’s Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan said:

“Jean-Claude Juncker appeared before the GUE/NGL group in which Sinn Féin is a member and offered no indication of a change of direction of the European Union’s austerity driven agenda.

“It is our belief in Sinn Féin that his candidacy represents a ‘business as usual’ approach to the future of the EU.

“The electorate in Dublin voted for me on the basis of change and a new, fresh approach to the stale and failed politics of old.

“During Juncker’s appearance before the GUE/NGL group he did not respond to questions on Ireland’s legacy debt and he continued to call for budget discipline which is further indication of his commitment to austerity.

“It is for this reason that my party colleagues and I have decided to vote against his bid for presidency. We also opposed having a secret ballot as it is our firm belief that MEPs should be held accountable to the people who elected them.

“It is time for real, lasting and effective change for the ordinary people in Ireland and all across the European Union.”

Greek people get more ‘austerity’ misery

This video is called On the Breadline – Greece.

By Robert Stevens:

Euro zone hatches plan to wring further billions from Greece

6 September 2013

A deepening of the subjugation of Greece by the super-rich is being proposed in a plan outlined in a new report by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The ESM is the eurozone’s €500 billion permanent European “rescue” fund.

Currently being discussed by the troika—the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission—the scheme proposes to the move state-owned property intended for privatisation into a Luxembourg-based holding company. This would then be administered by foreign privatisation officials. It was first mooted as far back as two years ago and will be formally discussed with the New Democracy/PASOK Greek government when troika officials return to the country later this month.

The Financial Times noted, “The new holding company would be empowered to manage the real estate portfolio independently from Greek government interference, including raising cash against the portfolio’s value to either pay down government debt or improve some of the lots, many of which are now unattractive to private buyers.”

Luxembourg is cited as the location of such a holding company as it attracts investment from global corporations with its low corporation tax and already hosts other special purpose vehicles.

As a precondition of the second troika loan agreement with Greece 18 months ago, it was expected that state assets to the value of €9.2 billion would be privatised by the end of this year and to €19 billion by 2015. Only a fraction of this has been raised by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (Taiped) launched in 2010. The flagship sale of the gas utility Depa, expected to raise close to €1 billion, collapsed when Russia’s Gazprom, the only shortlisted bidder, withdrew at the last minute. In July, new projections were agreed with only €3.2 billion in revenues expected this year and €8.7 billion by 2015.

None of the funds raised from this looting of public assets will provide any relief to the Greek population, which has endured an unprecedented decline in living standards over recent years.

Rather all the proceeds from these sales, which are priced well under their true value, will go to paying off debts owed to the ultra-wealthy banking elite. As an ESM spokesman said, “The benefit of privatisation is to generate resources for Greece to help overall development and pay back its own debt faster.”

Around 80,000 state-owned buildings, tourist facilities and plots of land are to be sold off. The ESM report estimates that these state assets are worth “anything above some €20bn”.

This week it was announced that the Port of Piraeus in which the state holds a 74 percent stake is to be fast-tracked for full privatisation. China’s Cosco Pacific’s Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) presently operates the Piraeus’s container piers II and III under a 35-year deal signed in 2009 and worth over $5 billion.

Also for sale are the northern ports of Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis. Another privatisation considered to be vital is that of the Hellenic Railways’ operating company, TrainOSE.

The ESM plan reveals the determination of the troika to extract further tens of billions from Greece and their insistence that no delays in the implementation of mass austerity be tolerated.

The Greece Reporter web site revealed Tuesday that the troika will not allow any recovery measures to three state-owned companies: LARKO, the state mining company; ELVO, producer of buses and military vehicles; and EAC, which produces Greek defence systems.

According to the article, on Monday the troika sent the Greek government an email to “insist on liquidating the enterprises and dismissing their employees without compensation.” The government had proposed to save €12 million after the completion of a programme allowing 350 EAC staff to leave on a voluntary basis.

The last troika agreement with Greece stipulates that a final decision must be made on all three companies by the end of this month.

The privatisation programme is being pushed by the most right-wing layers utterly unconcerned about the social destruction being wrought as a result. Stelios Stavridis, former head of Taiped, gave an interview with Norway’s Bergens Tidende newspaper in which he enthused over the asset-stripping and denounced those opposing it as “averagely clever”.

Stavridis was recently removed as the head of privatisations after he was exposed as receiving hospitality aboard the private jet of oil and shipping magnate Dimitris Melissanidis, soon after the latter had signed a deal to buy the state’s one-third share in gaming company Opap. Stavridis was previously a candidate for the pro-privatisation Drasi party before joining New Democracy in 2012.

In the interview, titled, “For sale: Sunny country with 11 million inhabitants”, Stavridis commented, “Privatisation; it’s a god’s blessing. Because it’s all about investment, it’s all about job creation, it’s all about wealth creation.” He added, “Growth in this country depends on privatisation. So, we are the last hope and the last resort of Greece.”

Addressing those opposed to the selling off of the former airport site at Elliniko, he stated, “They’re just preaching. They’re just saying no, no, no. F*ck you!”

“It’s the free-market competition”, he continued. “Someone wins; someone loses. Now, if you start, you know, crying your head off because some people are taking advantage of your misery, I mean it’s your own responsibility to turn things around. C’est la vie. It’s a matter of thinking”, he stated.

Such language typifies the extraordinarily privileged and fascistic layers, both in Greece and internationally, who are dictating Europe’s austerity measures.

Stavridis’s comments were made as more details emerged on the scale of the social tragedy that has been unleashed against the working class population.

A report by the Labour Institute of the GSEE trade union federation, to be issued in full later this month, states that 1 million jobs have been lost since 2009. Unemployment now officially stands at nearly 28 percent, with 1,381,088 people out of work. In same month in 2009, 452,465 were jobless.

The institute found that 37 percent of the unemployed rely entirely on support from their families. Due to changes designed to slash welfare costs, only 12 percent of the unemployed receive any unemployment benefit. Some 24.6 percent of the unemployed rely on dwindling avings and 9.3 percent are forced to rely on friends for help.

The survey found that 60 percent of those who are jobless suffer from long-term unemployment. The creation of such an enormous body of reserve, cheap labour has resulted in 55 percent of the unemployed now willing to work for any salary and 53.7 percent of men and 38 percent of women prepared to move location for work.

The study found that workers have already lost about one quarter of their previous purchasing power. It forecasts that if high unemployment continues to result in lower wages overall, half of workers’ purchasing power will be lost in 2014.

In just three years, wages of salaried employees and the self-employed have fallen by an astonishing €41 billion.

Italy: Demonstrators clashed with police on Saturday as tens of thousands marched through Rome to protest against the government’s intensifying austerity programme: here.

Luxembourg secret police involved in bomb terrorism

This video says about itself:

Aug 2, 2011

A selection of clips from the BBC TimeWatch documentary on the West’s synthetic terror network, Gladio, featuring the Westland New Post, Brabant massacres, and the murder of Aldo Moro, former Prime Minister of Italy.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

The Luxembourg government resigns over secret service scandal

12 July 2013

The Luxembourg government resigned Wednesday evening due to a scandal involving the country’s secret services.

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced the resignation of the government and new elections in October after a parliamentary committee came to the conclusion that Juncker had lost control over the country’s intelligence service, SREL (Service de Renseignement de l’État du Luxembourg). For years, the SREL led a life of its own and bugged senior politicians, including Juncker himself.

The parliamentary committee accused Juncker of failing to properly inform the relevant parliamentary control commission of the malpractices of the secret service. Despite the fact that the service was guilty of flagrant violations of the law, Juncker failed to take disciplinary action against SREL staff. He only informed the state attorney about the offences committed after it was no longer possible to prosecute those responsible.

In a long and heated parliamentary debate on Thursday, Juncker, a Christian Democrat, denied any personal responsibility. His social democratic coalition partners turned against him, however, and supported the investigation report. As a result, Juncker dissolved the government. He is expected to run for the office of prime minister once again in the upcoming elections.

Juncker has governed the Grand Duchy and its half-million inhabitants since 1995. He is the longest-serving prime minister in Europe and plays an important role in the European Union (EU). From 2005 to 2013, he was chairman of the Euro Group. He failed to win the post of EU president in 2009, however, because he was considered by Berlin and Paris to be too headstrong. Instead, the Belgian Herman Van Rompuy received the newly created post.

The dubious activities of the Luxembourg intelligence service date back to the so-called bomb-planting affair in the 1980s. Between 1984 and 1986, 20 bombs exploded in the Grand Duchy, with no information emerging about the background to the bombings or who was responsible.

Only now, nearly three decades later, are two members of an elite unit of the gendarmerie on trial. They are accused of carrying out the bombings in order to create a climate of fear and thereby gain additional funding for law enforcement agencies. The defence lawyers for the pair insist, however, that the NATO secret operations Gladio, or the Stay-Behind Network, was behind the attacks (see “Luxembourg trial into 1980s terror bombings reveals involvement of German police, intelligence agents,” June 12, 2013). The official remit of the top secret Stay-Behind Network was to commit acts of sabotage behind the lines in the event of a Soviet invasion. In fact, the organisation was riddled with extreme right-wing elements and carried out a series of terror attacks in several countries aimed at provoking a political shift to the right. The organisation’s “strategy of tension” in Italy left dozens dead and is well-documented.

There are many indications that Luxembourg’s security forces were also involved in the Stay-Behind Network and played the main role in the bombings. These links, however, only played an indirect role in the deliberations of the parliamentary committee, which led to the resignation of the government.

The central event dealt with by the committee was a telephone call held by Juncker and a small circle of confidantes with SREL chief Marco Mille in January 2007. Evidently, one topic of the call was the possible involvement of members of the Grand Ducal family in the bombings. Further details are not known.

Mille turned up at the meeting with a specially made watch and secretly recorded the whole conversation. Juncker is alleged to have found out about the bugging operation two years later but then took no disciplinary action against his chief of intelligence. By his own admission, he tolerated this massive abuse of loyalty in order not to strain the relationship with other intelligence services. Mille remained in office until 2010 and then joined the German company Siemens as head of security.

The significance of the Luxembourg intelligence scandal extends far beyond the borders of the Grand Duchy. It permits a glimpse into the inner workings of intelligence agencies that are far removed from being politically neutral “intelligence services” committed to the security of the population.

While much remains obscure, it is clear that the Luxembourg intelligence service played an active role in the politics of the country behind the scenes for many years. In so doing, it maintained close links with other Western intelligence and right-wing political forces. Now, the network has finally led to the resignation of Jean-Claude Juncker, a respected figure in the European political establishment.

The threatening nature of the comprehensive monitoring and interception system uncovered by former US secret service employee Edward Snowden becomes even clearer. The huge amount of data collected has nothing to do with the “struggle against terrorism”, but is rather the basis for the persecution of political dissidents and political manoeuvres and provocations aimed primarily against the working class.

Luxembourg spying scandal brings down government


From the Financial Times in England:

July 10, 2013 9:07 pm

Luxembourg’s Juncker calls snap election

By James Fontanella-Khan in Brussels

Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg and the EU’s longest-serving premier, called a snap election on Wednesday after being embroiled in a spying scandal that has shaken the Grand Duchy.

The 58-year-old leader said he would resign on Thursday after his junior coalition partners called for the dissolution of parliament.

Mr Juncker came under pressure to quit after a probe concluded that he failed to inform parliament of “irregularities and supposed illegalities” carried out by the country’s secret service between 2004 and 2009….

Opposition leaders accused Mr Juncker of spending too much time in Brussels presiding over eurogroup meetings and EU summits rather than paying close attention to how the country was being run by secret agents.

Patrick Heck, the director of SREL, said in January that under his predecessor the country’s intelligence agency illegally bugged phone conversations of senior officials, including those of Mr Juncker.

According to the parliamentary probe, the wire tapping took place between 2004 and 2009, the year the director of the agency accused of orchestrating the irregularities was dismissed.

The investigation also accused some unnamed SREL agents of allegedly using public funds for private matters and taking bribes from business people in exchange for access to local officials.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Last week it was announced that for decades the service bugged politicians and citizens. The chief of the secret service even made recordings of private conversations he had with Juncker. SREL is possibly also behind two bomb explosions in the 1980’s. Which are said to have been carried out to enforce better equipment for the police.

See also here.

From the Daily Telegraph in England:

The most prominent victim of bugging was Mr Juncker himself, when the intelligence agency’s director, Marco Mille, used a recorder disguised as wristwatch to secretly record a meeting with the prime minister in January 2007.

In the recorded conversation, Mr Mille claimed that his staff had also secretly taped a conversation with Luxembourg’s head of state and made the allegation that Grand Duke Henri was in regular contact with Britain’s MI6. This version of events is denied by Mr Juncker.

See also here.

By Dietmar Henning in Germany:

Luxembourg trial into 1980s terror bombings reveals involvement of German police, intelligence agents

12 June 2013

A trial is taking place in Luxembourg dealing with a series of terror bombings committed in the 1980s. Although the bombings implicate NATO troops and its top secret Stay Behind operation in terrorist activities, the trial has been largely ignored by the German and international media.

At the centre of the trial are two members of the Brigade mobile de la Gendarmerie (BMG), an elite police unit, accused of being responsible for 18 bombings that rocked Luxembourg between May 1984 and April 1986. Josh Wilmes and Marco Scheer are alleged to have carried out the bombings with two other now-deceased colleagues. The alleged aim of the bombings was to achieve increased funding for law enforcement.