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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2016

Volume 2, Number 125

EIR Daily Alert Service

P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390

EDITORIAL

Putin Is On the High End of History

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—The annual Munich Security Conference ended Sunday with many speeches and press reports across the trans-Atlantic region projecting an invasion of Syria by Turkey and the Saudis, egged on by Obama’s Defense Secretary Ash Carter, to stop the Russians and the reconstituted Syrian military forces from saving Syria from the fate of Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

“It’s a bluff,” Lyndon LaRouche said Monday. “They can’t win, so they are bluffing. The Saudis are in jeopardy, broke. The Erdogan policy is a failure. There may be a breaking of the ranks within Turkey against Erdogan. Putin is in control of the front in Syria, and therefore controls the situation. He’s sitting there, continuing with his policy. The Syrian forces have been consolidated and will likely take Aleppo and perhaps Raqqa.” LaRouche added that “Putin is on the high end of history.”

Meanwhile, the entire Western financial system is in a state of free fall. The utter bankruptcy of the system was addressed by one of Germany’s “Wise Men” from the German Council of Economic Advisors, Prof. Peter Bofinger, who issued a strong dissent yesterday from the Council’s backing for the bail-in policy (backed by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble). The bail-in, Bofinger said, will “ignite an unstoppable Euro bond crisis,” adding that the policy is “the easiest way to break up the Eurozone.” Italy and Spain, he said, will not accept the bail-in theft of their citizens’ savings, but will be forced to return to their national currencies.

Obama is vulnerable. His “regime change” policy has run into the force of reason, led by Putin and the Chinese Silk Road. His defense of Wall Street and rejection of Glass-Steagall has now been exposed as the source of a speculative bubble far bigger than that which sparked the 2008 crisis. His mass killing, through drones, through perpetual war, through legalized drugs, and through deadly economic austerity, has caught up with him. The American population knows this, but is scared and cowardly, accepting the fraud of an election campaign which does not even acknowledge the clear danger, let alone offer any solutions.

The solution is known—but it must be implemented now, which requires the removal of Obama from office by constitutional means, in order to shut down Wall Street and stop the rush toward thermonuclear war. Inspiring the American population, and the world, by fighting for the restoration of America’s space program, in league with China and Russia, as a science driver for humanity, is the most urgent necessity.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Europe, Closer to War, Blames Russia

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Europe is closer to war than it has been at any time since 1945, and this reality, according to various reports, permeated the just-concluded Munich Security Conference. “We had thought that peace had returned to Europe for good,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the conference, adding that what was missing from the conference speeches and even the many private discussions in the hallways, compared to previous years, was the discussion of what Europe wanted or even expected the U.S. to do, reports Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin.

They might not have been talking much about what the U.S. should do, but they complained mightily about Russia. “I think Russia has gained the upper hand in the region and this is by historical measures a novelty. And they have done so by the use of armed force,” said Norbert Röttgen, head of the foreign affairs committee in the German parliament, reports Reuters.

Sen. John McCain added his rant: “Let’s be clear about what this agreement [the cessation of hostilities] does. It allows Russia’s assault on Aleppo to continue for another week,” adding the claim that this is what Russia did in Ukraine.

Syria Informs United Nations: Turkey Is Shelling In Support of Terrorist Groups

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent two letters to the UN Feb. 14. charging that Turkey is directly supporting terrorist groups with its artillery shelling of units of the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) advancing towards the border town of Azaz, reports the official SANA news agency. “Turkish artillery shelling of Syrian territory constitutes direct support to the armed terrorist organizations,” the ministry charged, adding that it came in response to the Syrian army’s advance on military fronts in the northern countryside of Aleppo province and in a bid to boost the morale of the armed terrorist organizations. The ministry further charged that 12 pickup trucks, with mounted machine guns and carrying about 100 gunmen—some believed to be Turkish soldiers and Turkish mercenaries—were sent from Turkey into the Syrian Azaz area.

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz denied this in testimony to a parliamentary commission today. “It is not true … There is no thought of Turkish soldiers entering Syria,” he said.

No International Support for Turkish Cross-Border Shelling into Syria; Biden Called Prime Minister Davutoglu, To Stop It

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Turkey is not getting much support internationally for its recent cross-border shelling into Syria, shelling that is targeting the Kurdish YPG People’s Protection Units, which are allied to the U.S. in the war against ISIS. Vice President Joe Biden called Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Feb. 13 to tell the Turks to stop it. “The Vice President noted U.S. efforts to discourage Syrian Kurdish forces from exploiting current circumstances to seize additional territory near the Turkish border, and urged Turkey to show reciprocal restraint by ceasing artillery strikes in the area,” a Feb. 14 White House statement said.

The French Foreign Ministry expressed similar concern. “France is worried about the deteriorating situation in the region of Aleppo and the north of Syria. We call for the cessation of all bombardments, those of the regime and its allies on the entire territory and those of Turkey in the Kurdish zones,” the ministry said in a statement.

Jordan, Kuwait Say They Won’t Follow the Saudis Into Turkey

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Both Jordan and Kuwait are calling the Saudi bluff on Syria by saying that they won’t be involved in any ground operation in Syria led by the Saudis and Turkey. “Jordan is not going to send ground forces into Syria unless these troops are led by Americans and British,” a Jordanian official told Defense News. “Any ground troops including Jordanian forces should be sent after a UN approval and after full coordination with Russia.”

A Kuwaiti official said that Kuwait’s own constitution prevents it from participating in such an operation.

Syrian Government-Allied Forces Closing Last Turkish Supply Route to Opposition and to IS, Al Nusra

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Turkey’s escalation of tensions along its border with Syria, including artillery shelling and invasion threats, is a reaction to the fact that its last supply route to the anti-Syria forces—including the Al Nusra Front—is about to be closed. The Al Nusra Front is internationally recognized as a terrorist group in the same category as the Islamic State (ISIS). This apparently is the last corridor through which Turkey can send supplies to the Turkish- and Saudi-backed terrorists. Syria’s cutting the corridor completes the encirclement of Aleppo by Syria and its allies.

The Turkish government is demanding that the predominantly Kurdish YPG withdraw from Azaz and Menagh Airbase, claiming that the YPG threatens their security; the reality is that, the YPG in fact threatens Turkish support of the terrorists that Ankara and Riyadh have been backing.

While Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist organization linked to the Turkish Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the United States does not, and considers it as part of the anti-ISIS front, which has the Turkish government freaked out and threatening to expand the war, with its shelling and other provocations.

Turkish Opposition Parties Denounce Government’s Drive for War against Syria

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Turkey’s opposition parties are voicing that they are against any military intervention into Syria.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu tweeted on Feb. 14 that his party “is against all decisions to plunge Turkey into war.” Kiliçdaroglu continued, “[AKP Prime Minister] Ahmet Davutoglu said ‘the CHP should choose its side.’ ” As was the case in the March 1, 2003 motion, the CHP is against all decisions to plunge Turkey into war.” Kiliçdaroglu was referring to a motion that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) introduced in 2003, in anticipation of the Bush/Blair Iraq War, that would have allowed U.S. troops to stage its invasion of Iraq from Turkish territory and the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq. That motion was voted down.

Kilicdaroglu continued, “The one who needs to choose a side is Davutoglu, who favors [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s interests in foreign policy rather than Turkey’s. I find it only natural that those who make politics according to their personal calculations and interests cannot understand the CHP’s stance against war and terrorism.”

Selahattin Demirtas of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which represents Kurdish interests, is quoted by Today’s Zaman that the ruling AKP government was dragging Turkey into a war, warning that the AKP wants to make its entry into the Syria war a fait accompli without the consent and support of the Turkish nation, and to get into the war through Saudi Arabia.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also spoke against a Turkish-Saudi incursion into Syria, warning that “if a military operation is being planned in the name of executing or assisting global projects, and cooperation is being forged with Saudi Arabia to that effect, the results could be terrible. It could lead to unimaginably grave consequences.”

Bahçeli said, “Turkey will not be a proxy to execute scenarios of violence and atrocity drafted in foreign capitals. Otherwise, the outcome could be catastrophic.” He also insisted the government must immediately inform Parliament about all aspects of its relations with Saudi Arabia.

Ankara Speaking in Multiple Voices

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—After three days of lobbing artillery into northern Syria, and talk of a Turkish-Saudi invasion of Syria, it appears that the Turkish government is speaking with multiple voices.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is visiting Ukraine, has been telling reporters all day that Turkey will not allow the northern Syrian city of Azaz, near the Turkish border, to fall to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia. He threatened the “harshest reaction” if it tries to approach the town again, although it has done so through continuing artillery fire, already.

On the other hand, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz denied reports that some Turkish soldiers had entered Syria at the weekend, and said Ankara was not considering sending troops into the neighboring country, reported state-run Anadolu Agency on Feb. 15. Asked about the claim made in a Syrian Foreign Ministry letter to the UN Security Council, Yilmaz told a Turkish parliamentary commission “it is not true.” He said, “There is no thought of Turkish soldiers entering Syria.”

Similar conflicting statements are made about Saudi presence at Turkey’s Incirlik air base. While Saudi Arabia confirmed late on Feb. 13 that it sent aircraft to Incirlik, allegedly for the fight against Islamic State militants, Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, advisor in the office of the Saudi Defense Minister, told the Al Arabiya TV network that the Saudi presence at Incirlik was limited to aircraft and no ground troops had been sent.

Turkey’s Hürriyet daily, however, quoted Turkish military sources, saying that the Saudi jets had not arrived at Incirlik yet and their arrival would take two to three weeks. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu told the Yeni Safak newspaper, a mouthpiece for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Feb. 13 that Saudi Arabia had carried out inspections at the air base in preparation for sending aircraft.

As for ground troops, the Saudis say that that depends on the decision of the U.S.-led coalition. “The Kingdom’s readiness to provide special forces to any ground operations in Syria is linked to a decision to have a ground component to this coalition against Daesh [ISIS] in Syria—this U.S.-led coalition—so the timing is not up to us,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference in Riyadh.

British-Run, Bankrupt Regimes of Turkey and Ukraine Hook Up Against Russia

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Today’s meeting in Kiev between Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Victoria Nuland’s Prime Minister Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk, was the latest in a series of meetings in 2016 between top officials of these regimes building a “strategic alliance” between the Ottoman Empire revanchists currently ruling Turkey and Ukraine’s Nazi government. The fifth session of the “High Level Strategic Council between Ukraine and Turkey,” is scheduled for March in Ankara.

Davutoglu led the ranting against Russia in his joint press conference with “Yats,” after they met. He was variously reported to have called Russia a “terrorist organization,” charged Russia with invading Ukraine, Georgia and Syria, and threw in that the Armenians were occupying Azerbaijan, with Russian support. Had the international community properly reacted to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Russia would not have dared to intervene in Syria, he said, unable to contain his fury that Russia’s intervention turned the tide against ISIS.

Davutoglu was accompanied by Turkey’s Defense and Finance Ministers, amongst other officials. The two governments continued discussions on holding joint military exercises in the Black Sea, against Russia, and the importance of sharing experience in combatting “terrorism.” The Finance Ministers signed an agreement for Turkey to give bankrupt Ukraine a $50 million loan to help cover its general operating budget (by the beginning of the second quarter, at the latest, the Ukrainians say), and it was agreed to start up talks on a stalled Free Trade Accord between Turkey, Ukraine, Israel, and Serbia.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin had met with Davutoglu on Jan. 31 in Ankara, to prepare the agenda for today’s Kiev trip. The Daily Sabah reported that they discussed Russia’s aggressive policies in the Black Sea region, its “annexation” of Crimea, and the situation of Crimean Tatars, who have been adopted by the Pan-Turks of President Erdogan as one of “theirs.” Davutoglu was reported to have a meeting scheduled with a Crimean Tatar leader today, and he made “defense” of the Tatars from Russia a major issue at his press conference.

Notably, Associated Press today published a long story which played up the anti-Russian Tatar “resistance” movement being built up inside Crimea, based interviews its reporters had conducted with more than two dozen of its members.

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Italian Parliament To Vote For an Early Review of Bail-In Rules

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Today, the Italian Chamber of Deputies discussed several proposals to suspend or review the bail-in rules. Whereas some groups, such as the Five Star Movement (M5S), characterized the bail-in as anti-constitutional, the majority parties called for an early review of rules. In particular, the Democratic Party (PD) motion was drafted by the head of the Democratic Party group in the Finance Committee, Michele Pelillo, who is very close to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. According to Huffington Post Italia, Pelillo drafted his motion in consultation with Finance Minister Gian Carlo Padoan.

The PD motion signals that the Renzi government wants to pursue its challenge to the bail-in regulations, albeit in a soft way. The PD move is self-embarrassing because the PD has voted in favor of the bail-in legislation in both the European Parliament and in the Italian Parliament. Indeed, a PD source explained to Huffington Post that, “we are going towards softening the rule, reneging a bit what we have just done, but not in an evident manner.” It is a gradual step back, because “we have the responsibility of not having dealt with the issue of bad loans before the bail-in was approved.”

The first phase of the debate took place, with several spokesmen for each faction illustrating their positions. It was adjourned until tomorrow, when a vote will take place. It is presumed that the PD motion will get a majority of votes.

The Huffington Post reports that when Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, was briefed on what is being cooked up in Rome, he freaked out: “A return to the past would be the worst thing.” And today in Strasbourg, about the same time as the debate was going on in Rome, ECB President Mario Draghi stated before the Committee on Monetary Affairs that he thinks it will be “difficult” to change the just-approved bail-in rules.

German Government Advisor Warns Italy To Leave the Euro

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—The credit market crisis which has gripped the entire trans-Atlantic financial system since Jan. 1, sending risk levels skyrocketing on everything from bank bonds to high-yield and investment-grade corporate debt, has also “contagioned” into the government debt of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, and Ireland. A German government council is now pushing the EU to adopt a “bail-in” plan for government debt, provoking one German advisor to warn Italy and Spain to exit the Eurozone as quickly as possible or face “an unstoppable bond crisis.”

The German government advisor is Peter Bofinger, one of the so-called “Five Wise Men” similar to the American President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Bofinger’s warning was featured by Daily Telegraph international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Feb. 15. The main pusher of the sovereign debt “bail-in” plan is German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who is promoting fascist levels of austerity against all the “peripheral” countries of the European Union.

The change Schäuble is pushing is not an orderly write-down of debt of overindebted EU countries, like the 1953 London Debt Conference which wrote down Germany’s debt by more than half—although the Telegraph deceitfully places a photograph of that conference over Evans-Pritchard’s piece. Rather it merely creates the contingency, that in a crisis such as Greece has just been through, the holders of government debt would get a quick haircut planned in advance.

The result of such “planning”? “A speculative attack could come very fast. If I were a politician in Italy and I was confronted by this sort of insolvency risk I would want to go back to my own currency as fast as possible, because that is the only way to avoid going bankrupt,” says Bofinger. Beyond the warning, he offers no alternative.

Remember that Schäuble and ECB head Mario Draghi broke Greece’s resistance to fascist austerity measures last year, by forcing Greek banks to stop supporting Greek government debt. That is the core of this new Schäuble plan: its target is to force banks across Europe to get rid of €600 billion in debt of their governments, and no longer classify that debt as “safe.”

The plan is mad, and more so in a financial breakdown crisis. Hedge funds will buy what government debt the ECB doesn’t buy. The banks will face the need to raise new capital to replace their government bond holdings. Governments will be robbed of the ability to generate national credit, which has been built on private bank purchases of government debt since Lincoln’s Greenback policy. They will, like Greece, face deadly austerity regimes to pay for debt “haircuts.”

In other words, Puerto Rico, early 2016.

THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER

Russian Foreign Ministry Official Ryabkov Emphasizes Importance of BRICS

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—With India assuming the presidency of the BRICS group for the next year today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met with the Ambassadors of the BRICS countries Feb. 12, to discuss issues of cooperation, and give them a copy of the “BRICS Hand Over Report, 2015-2016.” The document reviews what the BRICS has accomplished under Russia’s presidency, and gives ideas on objectives for the period ahead.

In an interview with Russia 24 TV channel that night, Ryabkov emphasized the continuing importance of the BRICS, its New Development Bank (NDB), and its relationship to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) initiated by China. These two banks are complementary, and provide resources to defend BRICS member nations, Ryabkov said, as reported by RT, TASS and Sputnik international wires. There is no competition between the two banks; “there is enough room for everyone due to the scale of issues to be solved…. I think together with our Chinese colleagues and other participants of the NDB, we’ll try to rationally use resources and avoid any duplication,” he said.

The BRICS bank has a series of specific joint projects under consideration, he noted. “We are currently developing a roadmap of trade and economic cooperation. Russia has contributed to more than 30 proposals already. I believe that the BRICS New Development Bank will soon decide on the allotment of finances to complete these projects, including those in Russia.”

Asked about Russia’s proposal for an energy union among the BRICS countries, Ryabkov responded that understanding that this is necessary “is gradually setting in among the BRICS countries,” but it will take time to implement it. He raised the increasing use of payments in national currencies as “probably relevant” in this context, allowing the BRICS nations to “secure their economies” from “voluntarism” by Western countries.

“All of this should naturally ripen. We will not be able to artificially speed up some kind of process, but understanding is gradually setting in among BRICS countries that we should not allow monopoly of the West and structures servicing West’s interests in this sphere,” he said according to the report by TASS.

Iran Celebrates Arrival of New Silk Road Train

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—“The Silk Road railroad will be linked to Europe, which means the Port of Shanghai in China will be connected to Europe through Iran,” the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) Mohsen Pourseyyed Aghaei declared at the ceremony today welcoming the arrival in Tehran of the first freight train from China along the first part of this planned Silk Road route.

The train left Yiwu, Zhejiang province for Tehran 14 days before, traveling a distance of nearly 6,500 miles and passing through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan along the way.

“The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented…. This is an important step for the revival of the Silk Road, and the train has traveled 700 km per day, saving 30 days compared to normal time” that it takes to ship such cargo by sea from Shanghai to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port, Aghaei said. Trains will arrive monthly, to start, but increase frequency if needed.

He was joined at the ceremony by the ambassadors of China, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

OTHER

Eyewitness: Sirhan Sirhan Did Not Kill Robert Kennedy

Feb. 15 (EIRNS)—Paul Shrade (91), a trade union leader and supporter of RFK who stood next to Robert Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel when he was assassinated, testified at Sirhan Sirhan’s parole hearing Feb. 10 that Sirhan could not have killed RFK.

Paul Craig Roberts, former Reagan Administration official and current nationally syndicated columnist, provides a link to Shrade’s testimony, backing the evidence provided that there was another killer who actually fired the shots that killed Kennedy on June 5, 1968, immediately after he’d won the California primary and clinched the Democratic nomination for President in 1968.

Shrade’s powerful evidence included:

Sirhan had an eight-shot low caliber pistol, which he fired, and hit Paul Shrade, who was standing next to RFK, and several others. The Medical Examiner’s report shows that Kennedy was shot from behind; Sirhan was always in front of him.

Four bullets hit RFK from behind at point-blank range: the fatal one, in the back of his head; two bullets in his back, and one that passed harmlessly through his coat. Five other people were wounded. That makes nine bullets.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. requested that federal authorities examine the Prusynski Recording, the only known recording made of the assassination, which was uncovered in 2004 at the California State Archives by CNN Senior Writer Brad Johnson.

Johnson recruited audio expert Philip Van Praag to analyze the Prusynski recording, and Van Praag found it showed a total of 13 gunshots; Sirhan’s gun held only eight. Van Praag also found what he calls “double-shots”—meaning two gunshots fired so close together than they could not both have come from Sirhan’s gun, and five of the shots were fired from an eastward direction, while Sirhan fired his shots from a westward direction.

Two men from the hotel tackled Sirhan and put him in a headlock when he was in front of RFK, forcing him to fire his last six shots blindly. So Sirhan only had full control of his gun at the beginning when he fired his first two shots, one of which hit Paul Shrade, who testified at 71-year old Sirhan’s parole hearing Feb. 10 in favor of his release.

Shrade’s statement also cites a memo by criminologist Larry Baggett, who investigated the Robert Kennedy shooting for the Los Angeles Police Department. The Baggett memo states that the bullets that hit Robert Kennedy and William Weisel, another shooting victim in the hotel kitchen, were not fired from the same gun.

Sirhan was originally scheduled for release in 1984, but after intense political pressure, his parole date was rescinded. Sirhan, now 71, denied parole 14 times, was denied for the 15th time after the Feb. 10 hearing reported above.

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