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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2016

Volume 2, Number 129

EIR Daily Alert Service

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

EDITORIAL

Bust the British Empire and Go with the Eurasia Solution

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche delivered a strategic assessment on Sunday, Feb. 21 that the world has reached a turning point, where either the power of the evil British Empire, with its system of monetarist looting, is crushed or the world will soon plunge into the horrors of thermonuclear war. While there is legitimate focus on the insane provocations coming out of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, nations attempting to do everything possible to start World War III on the Syria-Turkey border, the reality is that the seat of power behind these maneuvers is the British Crown.

The trans-Atlantic British system is totally bankrupt, and the real center of global power and stability has shifted to Asia, where collaboration between China, Russia and India has created a relative stability, by trans-Atlantic standards. There are threats in Asia, but these threats can be defeated by the kind of physical economic development policies that China has advanced with the One Belt, One Road initiative. Asia has become the center of humanity’s future because the British have destroyed almost every ounce of creativity in the United States, Britain and much of continental Europe. There are options, but they all begin with the wiping out of the power of the British Empire.

One crucial option for a productive solution is for Germany, the last remaining economic force in Europe, to align with Russia for a productive solution. A Russia-Germany coalition for a revival of the productive forces would represent the kind of change, away from British Empire monetarism, that is urgently needed. Forget the bankrupt system of British Empire money. It is all gone and can never be revived. A German alignment with Russia to build the productive links across Eurasia, in partnership with China and India, spells doom for the forces of Empire that are driving for war, using pawns like Erdogan, Obama and Mohammed bin Salman.

The same approach is urgently required in Northeast Asia, where the Korea crisis can only be solved by a revival of the China-Korea-Russia rail links that have historically existed and can and must be revived today. Without a physical economic dimension, there is no way to defeat the British geopolitical swindles. The late Gen. Douglas MacArthur understood this principle of Asia development and stability, as seen by his rebuilding of Japan at the close of World War II, and his brilliant leadership in Korea. The revival of the China-Korea-Russia rail corridor is crucial for the stability of Asia, and is understood by the Chinese leadership as a key element to the entire “win-win” Eurasian development strategy.

There are no viable alternatives to this total victory/total war approach to defeating the British. A German-Russian alliance to revive Eurasia from the European side, as earlier envisioned by French President Gen. Charles de Gaulle, the last French leader to possess a Eurasian vision, is the only option left for Europe and the entire trans-Atlantic region. In the United States, this means dumping Obama, who is nothing but a British pawn, and wiping out Wall Street. In Asia, the China-Korea-Russia rail corridor is critical to a meaningful solution to the escalating British Empire war provocations, largely run through the mouth of Barack Obama and directed not against North Korea, but against China. India is a natural partner in this Asia development endeavor, and is already on board, extending the Eurasian development corridors into the Indian Ocean.

Russian President Putin has accounted well for himself in the Russian strategic intervention in Syria, which has drawn the fools in Turkey and Saudi Arabia into a trap of their own making. This trap has caught the British Empire crowd off guard, and this is the moment to crush them entirely.

These are the pressing global policies that must be considered and adopted. This is no time to engage in endless debate and procrastinating. These policies must be adopted, now, and effectively implemented. It is the effective implementation that is subject to serious planning among serious world leaders, the majority of whom reside in Eurasia, as the result of generations of British brutalization of the American and continental European populations.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov Reach ‘Provisional Agreement in Principle’ on Syria

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today reached what Kerry called “a provisional agreement in principle on the terms of a cessation of hostilities [in Syria] that could begin in the coming days.”

Speaking at a news conference in Amman with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry said, “The modalities for a cessation of hostilities are now being completed. In fact, we are closer to a ceasefire today than we have been.” Kerry added that he expected President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk in the coming days to complete the provisional agreement in principle.

Iran’s PressTV and Reuters reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Lavrov and Kerry had spoken by phone on Sunday about conditions for a ceasefire. It said discussions were on ceasefire conditions which would exclude operations against organizations “recognized as terrorist by the UN Security Council.” These include ISIS and the Nusra Front.

What the provisional agreement in principle will lead to is unclear. At the press conference, Kerry repeated the Obama position that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go. “With Assad there, this war cannot, and will not, end,” he said. Assad said yesterday that he would agree to a ceasefire, on condition that terrorists do not use a cessation of the fighting to their advantage, and that countries backing insurgents stopped supporting them. Elements of the Syrian opposition had earlier agreed to the “possibility” of a temporary truce, provided there were guarantees that the allies of the Syrian government, including Russia, would stop their airstrikes, that sieges were lifted, and that aid deliveries were allowed countrywide. And Russia has said, according to the Associated Press, that it would continue airstrikes in Syria against those it considers terrorists, even during a ceasefire. These various positions make a lasting ceasefire a monumental challenge.

Barack Obama Walks into Vladimir Putin’s Trap: Defends Terrorists from the Russian-Syrian Offensive

Feb. 20 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin’s flanking operations continue to dominate the global strategic field, and box Obama into exposing his administration’s, and London’s, flagrant support for international terrorism—the very terrorist forces which the Syrian Army, with Russian backing, is in the process of crushing on the ground.

Yesterday, Russia proposed a UN Security Council resolution on the Syrian crisis that was rejected, out of hand, by the U.S., France, Britain, and other stalwart allies—such as the Nazi regime of Ukraine. According to the Associated Press, the resolution called on Turkey, without naming it, to “cease any actions that undermine Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry statement. The resolution was clearly aimed at Turkey’s cross-border shelling into northern Syria, in the vicinity of the border town of Azaz, which the Kurdish YPG militia is aiming to take from Turkish-backed insurgent groups, among them al-Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra group. AP complains that the resolution made no mention of the Russian-backed Syrian offensive against occupied Aleppo, occupied mainly by Al Nusra and allied jihadi groups, including ISIS.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power screamed that “Rather than trying to distract the world with the resolution they just laid down, it would be really great if Russia implemented the resolution that’s already agreed to.” François Delattre, French ambassador to the UN, deemed the Russian campaign a “dangerous military escalation that could easily get out of control.” Obama, meanwhile, during his phone call yesterday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “stressed that YPG forces should not seek to exploit circumstances in this area to seize additional territory, and urged Turkey to show reciprocal restraint by ceasing artillery strikes in the area.”

The other side of Putin’s political-military pincer against Obama and his British sponsors, are the Syrian army/Kurdish offensives, backed by Russian air strikes, on the ground, particularly around Aleppo, which are targeting the very terrorist groups that Obama, along with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are trying to protect.

China Calls the U.S.’s Bluff in the South China Sea

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—China’s Global Times on Feb. 19 editorially called the U.S. bluff in the South China Sea, and said China would not back down, but would face the U.S. threat head on.

The editorial in the official paper of the Communist Party of China said: “How the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] deploys weapons and the defense levels should be determined by the threat level from external military forces. If the U.S. military stages a real threat and a military clash is looming, the PLA may feel propelled to deploy more powerful weapons.”

On calling the bluff—not something commonly seen in the official press—the Global Times states: “China holds firm strategic initiatives in the South China Sea, and the U.S. has no actual effective tools to contain China in the waters. It is best at rhetoric [rhetorical] offense, so we must reason with it head-on.”

As to the SAMs in the Xisha (Paracel) Islands, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Feb. 18 that “China has been deploying national defense facilities on Xisha Island for decades, it is nothing new.” Today Hong Lei was more direct: “Patrols by U.S. military aircraft and navy vessels as well as its joint military drills with regional partners are behind escalated tensions in the South China Sea. That’s the real militarization of the South China Sea.”

Even the Wall Street Journal Friday acknowledged that “China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have for decades stationed military hardware and personnel on the islands and reefs they control.”

The timing of the “revelation” of SAMs on China’s most developed island in the South China Sea, therefore, is a fraud aimed at justifying Obama’s massive build up of forces around China.

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu in Iran on an Unannounced Visit

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has arrived in Tehran on an unannounced visit and was received by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Azerbaijan’s Trend News reported today, citing Iran’s official PressTV. Shoigu conferred with Iranian Minister of Defense and Logistics of the Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan on expansion of mutual cooperation. The unannounced visit follows last week’s visit of the Iranian Defense Minister to Russia.

While in Moscow, the Iranian Defense Minister had conferred with his Russian counterpart and President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and others on issues of mutual interest, along with regional developments.

PressTV highlighted today that “Russia’s defense chief has communicated a special message from President Vladimir Putin to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. At a meeting on Sunday in Tehran, Sergei Shoigu also presented a report on the latest developments concerning regional stability and ongoing talks on the cessation of hostilities in Syria.” President Rouhani for his part, said that crisis in Syria can only be solved through political negotiation and respect for the rights of the country’s government and people, who are taking the final decision regarding its future, wrote PressTV.

Last January, the Iranian and Russian defense ministers reached a deal to broaden military cooperation.

Given that the unannounced visit coincided with the announcement of a Kerry-Lavrov deal on a Syrian ceasefire, the top agenda item was no doubt the unfolding Syria situation. According to U.S. intelligence sources, Russia will press Iran to comply with the ceasefire terms and not operate on the basis that they can achieve an ultimate victory on the battlefield, bypassing the Kerry-Lavrov-UN diplomacy.

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Commodity Debt Is Subprime Debt in Financial Meltdown

Feb. 19 (EIRNS)—The size and shape of the debt collapse going on in the Wall Street financial system are presented again in a Bloomberg News column today, “Commodities’ $3.6 Trillion Black Hole.” Here, the blowout of $1 trillion in “high-yield” or junk oil/gas debt, is subsumed by “Bloomberg Gadfly” columnist Christopher Langner in the bigger blowout of commodity debt: the “MBS/derivatives meltdown” of 2016.

Since 2008, with continuous zero-interest-rate money being printed by the trans-Atlantic and Japanese central banks, the 5,000 largest commodity companies (oil & gas, metals & mining, iron & steel) doubled their debt to $3.6 trillion; within that, metals & mining nearly tripled its debt; oil & gas nearly quadrupled it in seven years.

The result is that whereas in 2010, those companies in total had more annual operating income than debt (debt was equal to about 10 months of earnings), now their debt is equal to 8.3 years’ worth of current earnings.

On top of that huge leverage is another $1.5 trillion in securitization—largely added by British and Hong Kong banks in the huge “carry trade” into China on the back of China’s vast production and use of commodities for industrial development—and $40 trillion nominal value of commodity derivatives and credit derivatives on commodity companies.

Commodity prices have fallen to a 25-year low and have now stayed there for a full year. This debt is not being serviced; 47% of it has been downgraded one or more times by Standard & Poor’s in the past year. Default rates on commodity debt are already in the range of 15% of the total. A Bank of America analysis (not mentioned by Langner) states that “corporate balance sheets are the most unhealthy they have ever been (all-time high leverage in HG [high-grade, or investment grade] and HY [high-yield, or junk]).”

And what about Wall Street balance sheets? Langner estimates that “investors,” including shadow-bank funds of all kinds and pension funds, hold $2.1 trillion of this basic commodity debt; banks hold $1.5 trillion of the debt and are exposed to the vast majority of the derivatives.

He concludes by estimating that $1.5 trillion in basic commodity debt is only 1.5% of the trans-Atlantic and Japanese banks’ total assets—but subprime mortgage instruments were less than 1% of their assets in 2008.

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

Russia Expert Warns: ‘We’re In a New Cold War’

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—Prof. Stephen Cohen of New York University told Russian broadcaster RT in an interview on Friday that the NATO military buildup is the largest buildup on Russia’s border since the Nazi invasion of 1941. In reference to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s plan to quadruple U.S. military spending in Eastern Europe, Cohen said “the last time there was this kind of Western hostile military force on Russia’s borders is when the Nazis invaded Russia in 1941. There has never been anything like this. During the 40-year Cold War there was this vast buffer zone that ran from the Soviet borders all the way to Berlin. There were no NATO or American troops there.” Cohen went on to say that we have been in a Cold War, at least since the Ukrainian crisis began in 2013, but even earlier “at least to the proxy American-Russian war in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia in 2008.” And the Russians are responding, “by moving their heavy equipment to the western border, and more alarming—this includes tactical nuclear weapons….” What makes it even more dangerous is that “there is no discussion of this in the United States.”

As he did earlier this month on the John Batchelor Show on radio, Cohen laid responsibility for this at President Obama’s feet. “I don’t share the position that we can be sure that President Obama is the dove in this case, because I assume that President Obama controls NATO and the Department of Defense,” he said. “NATO and the Department of Defense have, basically, stabbed Kerry in the back. Every time he gets five feet closer to bringing about these negotiations, we end up with what we’ve just discussed—moving weapons to Russia’s borders.”

Obama Kills Two Serbian Hostages in Illegal Libyan Air Attack

Feb. 20 (EIRNS)—It’s still not known whether the U.S. military killed the Tunisian terrorist who was said to be the target of the U.S. air strike in Libya on Feb. 19, but it is fairly certain that two Serbian Foreign Ministry staffers, who had been taken hostage last November by an armed group thought to be linked to ISIS, were killed. This is another kill, ordered by Obama personally, in his long string of illegal and criminal acts in Libya, and around the world.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in Belgrade this morning, that there was no doubt that the two staffers were killed in the American bombing. “Apparently, the Americans were not aware that foreign citizens were being kept there,” he said, the Associated Press reported. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said earlier that that information on the deaths was provided to Serbia by foreign officials. “We got the information, including photos, which clearly show that this is most probably true,” Dacic said. He said that Serbia had known where the hostages were being held and was working to get them back, and that a hostage rescue operation by Libyan troops was even being considered. “We will seek official explanation from both Libya and the United States about the available facts and the selection of targets,” he said.

The Obama administration response, so far, has been to say that the hostages were killed, but absolving itself of any responsibility. The Russian response has been to advise the U.S. to be more careful as to where it drops its bombs. “We call on the United States and other NATO countries to be responsible and discriminate in choosing targets, like the Russian Aerospace Forces are doing in Syria. There have been numerous reports about innocent civilians killed in NATO air strikes,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

NEW WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER

China’s Three-Pronged Economic Strategy To Ensure Future Development

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—An article, “China’s Three Economic Strategies Gain Momentum,” in Xinhua today described the three strategies that Beijing has launched in order to ensure steady economic development in the future. These are: the “Belt and Road” regional trade and infrastructure network, coordinated development of Beijing with neighboring Tianjin and Hebei, and the Yangtze River economic belt. The article said these three strategies combined “will serve as a boost for the country’s economic growth” and help the world’s difficult economy.

In highlighting the “Belt and Road” strategy, the article cited the formation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the launching of “construction projects including a transcontinental railway from southwest Chongqing Municipality to Europe, the Greek port of Piraeus, as well as the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway,” in addition to sending the first cargo train from Yiwu, Zhejiang province, to Tehran last Monday. The article said in 2015, Chinese companies invested in 49 countries related to the “Belt and Road,” with a total investment worth $14.82 billion, a year on year increase of 18.2%, according to Commerce Ministry figures. The Commerce Ministry data also showed last year the Chinese companies signed 3,987 project contracts with about 60 countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, (the full name for the One Belt, One Road initiative), with a total contract worth $92.64 billion, the article noted.

On the development of Beijing’s regional infrastructure, the article indicated that Beijing and its neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province, a key region in the country’s promotion of regional economic integration, have approved a roadmap in which Tianjin will function as a traffic hub for several high-speed rail routes that will link the region with other parts of China as well as facilitate transportation within the area.

The third strategy is to channel further efforts to make the Yangtze River, the world’s third longest river that runs through nine Chinese provinces and two municipalities, covering 2.05 million square km., a thriving economic belt. “The Yangtze River Economic Belt, which accounts for more than 40% of the national total in terms of both population and GDP is considered a new growth engine for the country, reducing the development gap between east, central and western regions,” wrote Xinhua.

Russia and Bolivia Consolidate Energy Cooperation in Nuclear, Oil and Gas

Feb. 19 (EIRNS)—The two-day Bolivia-Russia Energy Summit, which concluded Feb. 18 in the southern Bolivian city of Tarija, concluded with the announcement of three agreements signed between Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Bolivian government, designed to modernize Bolivia’s oil and gas sector with the goal of making the resource-rich country an energy hub for South America.

At the same time, Russia’s Ambassador to Bolivia Alexei Sazonov announced right after the conference that Sergey Kirienko, the CEO of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corp., Rosatom, will be in Bolivia March 6 to lay the first stone for the construction of the Nuclear Research Center in El Alto, outside of La Paz, Sputnik reported today. This project, Sazonov said, is one “desired by Bolivia and backed by President Vladimir Putin.” Bolivia will invest $300 million in the project and Rosatom will help to install a Multipurpose Gama Irradiation Plant, and a nuclear research reactor. “Our President Vladimir Putin is committed to supporting Bolivia in creating the largest and most modern nuclear center in South America,” the ambassador underscored. The nuclear center will also include a laboratory for nuclear research and training, and a National Cyclotron Center.

At the Tarija summit, President Evo Morales described Gazprom’s presence as “unforgettable because the agreements signed with the Russian firm will extend to 2040 … but also because we recognize, admire and respect Russia’s industrial development.” Gazprom will help Bolivia modernize and expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, and will cooperate in gas exploration, training of personnel, technology transfer and building of a research center to evaluate the conversion of Bolivia’s gasoline and diesel-based energy matrix to LNG. Gazprom also established a strategic alliance with Bolivia’s state oil firm, YPFB, which involves technology transfer and training of personnel, among other things.

Speaking at the conference, Chairman of Gazprom’s Management Committee Alexey Miller stated that “Bolivia must and will surely become the key energy player in Latin America’s energy market, and we are willing to contribute to the maximum toward that goal.”

SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE

India Will Build an Observatory for Studying Gravitational Waves

Feb. 19 (EIRNS)—India’s cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval Feb. 17 for the construction of the LIGO-India Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory facility, which will join the two operating laser interferometry facilities in the U.S., and those under construction in Italy and Japan, for studying gravitational waves.

The cabinet statement says that in addition to the scientific return, and the training of Indian scientists to build and run the observatory, “the project will motivate Indian students and young scientists to explore newer frontiers of knowledge, and will add further impetus to scientific research in the country.” Three of India’s top scientific research institutes—the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology, and the Institute for Plasma Research—are responsible for the program. “LIGO-India will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for Indian industry,” which will build the facility, the statement said.

U.S. LIGO scientists have made dozens of trips to India to work with colleagues on the project. “Together we have identified an excellent site for the facilities and have transferred detailed LIGO drawings of the facilities and vacuum system to the [Institute for Plasma Research], adapting them for conditions in India,” said Fred Raab, head of the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington State, the California Institute of Technology reports. David Shoemaker, head of the U.S. Advanced LIGO Project explained: “We have built an exact copy of” the U.S. instrument, “that can be used in the LIGO-India Observatory, ensuring that the new detector can both quickly come up to speed, and match the U.S. detector performance.”

“It is technically feasible for LIGO-India to go online by the end of 2023,” he said.

A Record Number of Americans Apply To Become Astronauts, Despite Obama’s Attack on NASA

Feb. 20 (EIRNS)—NASA has received the largest number of applications from people who want to become astronauts, than at any time in its history. The previous record, set in 1978, when the Space Shuttle was almost ready for flight, was 8,000. When the deadline for applications arrived yesterday, NASA had received 18,300 applications, more than double the previous number. Over an 18-month process, 8-14 individuals will be selected for the opportunity to become astronaut candidates. It is clear that this enthusiasm cannot be attributed to any specific, credible plan that NASA has to fly anyone anywhere, after the Space Station is retired, most likely in 2024. It is a reflection of the pride Americans have in their accomplishments in space exploration, and an optimism about the future possibilities.

When the Shuttle was flying, the astronaut corps was about 150. It’s about one-third that now. The Shuttle took 40-50 astronauts to space each year, most of them, Americans. But to man the Space Station, there are only 4-6 Americans on crew per year, and it will stay that way, whether the flights are on a Russian Soyuz, or an American commercial vehicle.

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