- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 9, 2006

FRANCE

Sarkozy compares foe to Hitler appeaser

PARIS — France’s conservative presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday used Adolf Hitler to illustrate his point about a meeting his left-wing rival Segolene Royal held with a Hezbollah leader in Lebanon.

“The fact of being elected is not enough to hold discussions,” said Mr. Sarkozy, who is also interior minister, at a forum organized by his center-right UMP party in Paris.

“I would point out that Hitler had been elected, and that did not in the past make for a responsible and respectable representative,” he said.

Miss Royal, 53, the Socialist party’s candidate in next year’s presidential election, recently toured the Middle East and in Beirut met with a group of lawmakers, including one from the militant Hezbollah movement, who said in front of her that Israel’s past occupation of Lebanon was like Nazism.

Mr. Sarkozy, 51, has declared his bid to become the candidate of the party he leads, the ruling right-wing Union for a Popular Movement.

ITALY

Red Brigades suspect arrested

ROME — Paramilitary police yesterday arrested a suspected member and recruiter for an offshoot of the Red Brigades movement that terrorized Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. The new terror group has claimed responsibility for the slayings of two government advisers.

Fabio Matteini, 48, was picked up at his home in Incisa Valdarno, about 19 miles south of Florence, hours before he planned to leave for France, the Carabinieri paramilitary police said.

Police said Mr. Matteini previously acknowledged being a member of Red Brigades-Combatant Communist Party, which arose from the earlier radical leftist group that plagued Italy with high-profile attacks, including the 1978 kidnapping and slaying of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

GERMANY

Freelance journalists reportedly paid to spy

BERLIN — Germany’s foreign intelligence agency paid 20 overseas journalists to spy on its behalf during the leadership of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a magazine reported in an article to be published tomorrow.

The BND intelligence service paid up to $1,300 per report to the journalists, mostly freelancers for radio and television stations, the weekly Focus reported, citing internal BND files.

In one case, a journalist set up a bureau in an Eastern European country using the money the agency paid him, to cover up his spying operations.

The BND has been linked to a press scandal since last year. It admitted recruiting journalists in high-profile news magazines such as Focus and Der Spiegel to spy on their colleagues so it could identify the sources of leaks.

The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has banned the agency from spying on journalists or recruiting them to get information.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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