Friday, January 14, 2011

"I think Galileo is a stupid idea that primarily serves French interests,"

The above quote sounds like the sort of thing that might be said by Gerard Batten the UKIP MEP who has been attacking the egregious waste that is the EU's satellite system for years. But in this case it is not he. It is not even the shade of Gwyneth Dunwoody who while Chairman of the Commons Transport Committee famously described the system as,
"not one pig flying in orbit, this is a herd of pigs with gold trotters, platinum tails and diamond eyes",
Nope this is the comment from the head of German satellite firm OHB Technology, Berry Smutny. According to Wikileaks he told an American diplomat,
the project was "a waste of EU taxpayers' money championed by French interests," according to the cable.

"He claimed the EU desire to develop a redundant but alternative to GPS was spearheaded by the French after an incident during the Kosovo conflict when the US military 'manipulated' GPS to support military operations," the cable said.

"Since this time, he said France has aggressively corralled EU support to invest in Galileo development -- something Smutny said France wants to ensure their missile guidance systems are free of any GPS reliance. Smutny added, the irony for German investment in Galileo is that some of France's nuclear missiles are aimed at Berlin," it said.
He should know, his firm was jointly awarded a 566 million euro ($742 million) contract to develop 14 satellites for the system.

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