Desperate London and Team Obama: New Military Drills in the Pacific; Wild Smear Campaign against Putin and Xi
April 4 (EIRNS)—Today started 12 days of joint military drills between the United States and the Philippines, called Operation Shoulder-to-Shoulder (Balikatan, a yearly joint exercise since the 1980s), involving some 8,000 troops, including Australians, conducted this year as a provocation operation against China. There are contingencies for forays into the South China Sea. Yesterday, Japanese Naval vessels, two ships and a submarine, docked in Subic Bay, the former U.S. Naval base being returned once again to the U.S. military. This is the first such port call for a Japanese submarine in 15 years. For the first time ever, the U.S. Defense Secretary will come in person to review the Balikatan exercises. Ash Carter is to arrive next week. Farther north, joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises continue until later in the month.
The danger of these force deployments is evident, but the desperation of the London-White House axis is blatantly clear in the new round of wild smears conducted against Presidents Putin and Xi, spun out of the “Panama Papers”—a contrived 2015 dump of data from the Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, specializing in offshore money-hiding. Over the weekend, new “results” of so-called studies of these “anonymously” hacked data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Soros-funded media hit-squad, are now cited to show that “circles,” “friends,” “associates” and the like of Putin and Xi, are shady rich types. Putin and Xi are being given a new round of enemy image treatment. This week’s London Economist cover is titled, “Beware the Cult of Xi.”
There is no mention of Putin himself at all in the 11 million Panama Papers data items, but, the lying spin is shown by yesterday’s LondonGuardian headline, “Revealed: The $2 Billion Offshore Trail that Leads to Vladimir Putin.” Tonight, the BBC is running a new feature, “Tax Havens of the Rich and Powerful Exposed,” based on the Panama papers, which also slanders Putin by innuendo.
Not to stop there, two “anti-corruption” summits are scheduled for the Spring, with collusion by the White House and U.K. governments. In May, Prime Minister David Cameron will host a 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit. Next week in Washington, D.C., will be a “preview” event of the London summit, on April 13, at the Wilson Center, with participation from the U.K. International Development Department, and from the Obama National Security Council.
Step back, and the real corruption ravaging the world is clear: the continuation of the dead Wall Street-London system, and the war-provocation that goes with it. This was seen most dreadfully in Day One today, of the new EU-Turkey human swap deal to shunt refugees from Greece into Turkey, and back-haul others from Turkey into the EU. By tonight, the first 500 persons are to have arrived in Turkey from Greece.
To the average, “practical” person, these are all individual “issues”—the migrant question, the China and Russia questions, corruption question, and so on. But to human beings, the big picture is clear. The system is dead, we must break with it. Get Obama out, and humanity has a future. As Lyndon LaRouche put it today, on the weekly LaRouche PAC Policy Committee discussion, “Save people from the cult of practicality!”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
U.S.-Filipino Military Exercise Takes Aim at China
April 4 (EIRNS)—The annual U.S.-Filipino Balikatan (“Shoulder-to-Shoulder”) military exercise began today with a combined total of 8,000 troops participating. The backdrop is the growing pattern of U.S. provocations against China in the South China Sea, though Philippines Defense officials are trying to play that factor down.
“The Balikatan exercise is designed not to address a particular concern, but the whole lump [sic] in the spectrum of warfare,” Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez, the Philippine military’s Exercise Director, told a news conference, reports Reuters. “China is not part of the idea.”
However, Lt. Gen. John Toolan, the Commander of U.S. Marines in the Pacific, said, in effect, that China is a contingency security matter. Speaking to the press, Toolan said that it was prudent to plan for any situation that could occur, and to practice how the two allies would likely respond. Asked if that included a security crisis in the South China Sea, Toolan said: “It does, absolutely,” according to USA Today.
In addition to the troops from the U.S. and the Philippines, a small contingent of troops from Australia is also participating.
Not participating, but present in force is Japan. A Japanese Naval task force consisting of two destroyers and a submarine sailed into Subic Bay on Sunday, on what was described by Reuters as nothing more than a port call, as part of a tour of Southeast Asian nations.
“We don’t have any message to any country,” said Capt. Hiraoki Yoshino of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, adding that the ship visits were aimed at boosting confidence between Japan and the Philippines. The four-day Japanese port call is the first in 15 years for a Japanese submarine.
The Balikatan drill will run through April 16.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
‘Panama Papers,’ The Empire’s Slander Machine, with Soros Funding
April 4 (EIRNS)—On April 3, the “Panama Papers” operation was unleashed, focussed immediately to slander President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping, as well as a variety of other hits, slanderous or less so. Some background was provided April 4 by Fortune (it takes one to know one) in partnership with Time, and also covered by other media, including the following features.
Some time in 2015, an anonymous source contacted theSüddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), and provided it with 40 years worth of data on European and other accounts, from the Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in hiding money in offshore shells. This firm is said to rank fourth in the money-hiding world, with hundreds of prominent clients. SZ reports it received 11.5 million documents, going back to the 1970s.
The story is that SZ then enlisted a unit of the George Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, in Washington, D.C., to take up the analysis—the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists). This Soros-funded group then put together a network of some 400 reporters in 80 countries to research the data. On April 3, the stories started coming out, of dozens of figures claimed to be, or suggested to be involved in off-shore money stashing schemes.
The April 3 Guardian article by Luke Harding, “Revealed: “The $2 Billion Offshore Trail that Leads to Vladimir Putin,” is a doozy for innuendo on Putin, whose name appears nowhere in the Panama Papers. Harding writes, “The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefited from this money—his friends’ fortunes appear his to spend.” One of Putin’s friends is a ‘cellist, called “wealthy,” who maybe once upon a time, received payment from a firm which had offshore holdings, etc.
Indonesian VP Hits U.S. for Creating al-Qaeda and ISIS, by Creating Failed States
April 4 (EIRNS)—Jusuf Kalla, the Vice President of Indonesia under both former President Yudhoyono and current President Joko Widodo, was the featured speaker at the annual gala dinner in Washington sponsored by the USINDO Society. Kalla has long been a favorite of the political elite and the mining interests in the U.S.
But Kalla dropped a bomb in the middle of his speech. After explaining how he had succeeded in ending Christian versus Muslim communal violence in one of the provinces in 2001, by assuring both sides that the killers would not go to Paradise for their killings, but to Hell, he then asked rhetorically: Where do terrorists come from? He answered: Terrorists come from failed states. Look at al-Qaeda, which came from Afghanistan, a failed state. And we all know who is responsible for making Afghanistan a failed state. And what about ISIS? It came from Iraq and Syria, and we all know who made Iraq and Syria into failed states. Kalla then made clear that the only way to end terror is to provide jobs and development for the population.
While the audience at this prestigious event was rather quiet at this rebuke, the Indonesian officials at the event expressed delight at Kalla’s outspokenness.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Sen. Elizabeth Warren Restates, Sharpens Call for Glass-Steagall
April 4 (EIRNS)—Interviewed March 31 by the American Prospect, Sen. Elizabeth Warren restated the current necessity for Glass-Steagall re-enactment; the interview was the first time she has linked this necessity to the lack of productive credit in the U.S. economy.
Asked by interviewer Robert Kuttner about the Wall Street banks’ practice of using Federal Reserve QE reserves and borrowings to speculate with U.S. Treasury securities, avoiding the economy, Warren said that small and medium-sized companies continue to be unable to get credit for production, due to the constantly increasing dominance of credit markets by the biggest Wall Street banks. She described Wall Street lending to corporate giants (who use the loans to build up the stock market) and to consumers, but not to the vast majority of companies.
“Over the long run, that shift in lending will have a devastating effect on our economy,” Warren said. “And that’s exactly why we need a new Glass-Steagall Act to break up the biggest banks.” She described them gobbling up the community banks which would lend to business, while on the speculative markets, using their huge FDIC-insured deposit bases as an advantage over the shadow banks.
Warren said that her Glass-Steagall bill with Senators McCain, Cantwell, and King closed the holes that “regulators” (i.e., Alan Greenspan) had punched in the act before its 1999 repeal, and walled off derivatives from commercial banking, which the original Glass-Steagall had not specifically had to do.
She also disagreed that there is less systemic risk in Wall Street than in 2007, noting particularly that “if one fails, then several of them are headed over the cliff together.” Dodd-Frank should not have left the giant banks as they were, she implied, and doing so allowed them to maintain the political power to repeal derivatives regulations of Dodd-Frank, etc.
American Prospect’s accompanying article was full of speculations about Senator Warren’s impact in pushing Hillary Clinton to the left, and whether Clinton—who they assume will be the nominee—will appoint an economic team of Wall Street bankers as Obama did.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Cheminade Announces for the Presidency on National TV: ‘My Ideas Scare the French Political Caste’
April 4 (EIRNS)—This morning Jacques Cheminade, founder of the Solidarité et Progrès party in France which is associated with the Lyndon LaRouche movement, announced his candidacy to become French President in 2017, during a ten-minute interview with Guillaume Daret on “The Four Truths” program on France 2 national TV network. Aired at 7:40 a.m., on prime time, the approximate audience was 1.3 million viewers.
The following is translated from the short article posted by France 2, along with the video of the interview: “Four Truths—Jacques Cheminade: ‘My Ideas Scare the French Political Caste.’ ”
“For 40 years, in France, there has been a policy of financial dismantling of the country; it is not a policy of growth; it is a policy of submission to international financial control—and thus we have now social austerity—it is a policy where the political seraglio make their pacts with the empire of money. Today, 81% of Frenchmen do not find this reassuring, and 71% think that French society is unjust. … We are under financial occupation against which we must fight in order to free ourselves.”
Commenting on his results in previous presidential elections (0.28% in 1995 and 0.25% in 2012), Jacques Cheminade said that “he was treated to be eliminated.” “My ideas frightened them, not me: The idea that one can question the French political caste’s collaboration, the oligarchy of the incapable, with the international monetary and financial system.”
Having obtained a degree from HEC Paris (Higher Commercial Studies), from the ENA (National School of Administration), and formerly employed as a commercial attaché at the French Mission in New York, he doesn’t expect he will have difficulty collecting at least 500 sponsorships from elected officials to validate his Presidential candidacy.
“The French will realize this time that the ‘vote utile’ will be to vote for me” in 2017, he confirmed. “They thought they had given a ‘vote utile’ to François Hollande, who did not rise at all to the promises he had made.” (The vote utile means to pragmatically vote for a candidate the voter thinks might win, rather than one whose ideas are honest, but whom the voter thinks the system won’t allow to win.)
Jacques Cheminade defines himself as “left Gaullist,” and his references are “Jaurès, de Gaulle, and Mendès-France.” He is for getting out of the euro, on condition that the aim is not a withdrawal to isolationism”; “for France to pull out of the European Union”; “against the legalization of soft drugs, but against punishing the users.”
Immediately the news spread throughout the press and was covered by Le Figaro, Le Monde, Obs, Huffington Post, Le Parisien,L’Express, Togo News and many other outlets on the internet. Generally the coverage is more respectful, and the attack on the French political caste’s collaboration with an international financier enemy, is covered in most articles. But the media outlets try to emphasize the “small” results of previous campaigns, but do mention Cheminade’s support for space exploration.
Cheminade declared his candidacy at a moment when France is going into a full-fledged financial, economic, and social crisis: President François Hollande is thoroughly discredited and is likely not to run for a second term. Hollande had to drop his hair-raising project to “withdraw nationality from those who would commit terrorist acts”—a scheme to get all the right and even extreme right wing on board with him, which would have led to the creation of stateless individuals. The bill was finally killed in the Senate. Demonstrations on March 31st brought hundreds of thousands of trade unionists and average people into the streets to get the government to drop a proposed labor bill, which would allow “uberization” of most professions and increase unemployment, already at a whopping 8 million! Cheminade’s declaration of his candidacy comes at a moment when finally more and more groups are opposing the government’s proposed bill to reform the regulations for the Presidential elections, replacing equal media coverage with proportional coverage, plus other measures to make it more difficult for those outside the existing discredited political class to run for President. Solidarité & Progrès spearheaded the campaign against this bill, which has now been denounced by not only the small parties, but also by most of the major newspapers and magazines.
Jacques Cheminade’s full program, and also the video of the Télématin interview are posted to his new website.
China Plans To Build the ‘Nuclear Silk Road’
April 4 (EIRNS)—China has made explicit that building new nuclear plants is part of its infrastructure plan for the Silk Road. While China’s nuclear companies have already been marketing their domestic reactors, and have won some orders, its specific inclusion of nuclear plants under the umbrella of the Silk Road program opens additional sources of support, financing, and visibility.
“The export of nuclear reactors will become one of the key pillars for executing China’s One Belt, One Road strategy,” according to securities analyst Zheng Dandan, as covered by the South China Morning Post today. There are 69 GW of nuclear capacity under construction, and over 180 GW are planned over the next decade. China is marketing its domestic Hualong One reactor, even while the first one is now under construction in China. The SCMP reports that the reactor will have a construction cost of $2.5 billion per GW, which is less than one-third of the cost of current nuclear projects being built by the legacy reactor vendors from the U.S., Europe, Japan, and even Russia.
Chinese nuclear companies have said that about 80% of the nearly 300 reactors that could be built by 2030 would be in “One Belt, One Road” nations. China National Nuclear Corp. wants to build 30 of these. Argentina is China’s base in the South American market; Algeria is the base for Africa, and Pakistan, for Asia.
Bipartisan U.S. Congressional Delegation Participates in Russian Valdai Discussion Club
April 4 (EIRNS)—For the first time in three years, a five-member bipartisan Congressional delegation has sought to re-establish an international dialogue with Russia, with a visit to the Russian Valdai Discussion Club on Sunday, April 3. Led by California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the group included fellow Republican French Hill (AR) along with Democrats David Cicilline (RI), Brian Higgins (NY), and Juan Vargas (CA). Rohrabacher is—along with Higgins and Cicilline—a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and chairman of their Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats. His number one concern: stopping the spread of ISIS.
In stark contrast to the neocon media (as well as his Democratic counterparts’) portrayal of Russia as a neo-imperial force threatening Europe, Rohrabacher—who characterized these reports as “bizarre and out of touch”—talked down the Obama-boosted billion-dollar European Reassurance Initiative, saying that, “There is no threat that I can see of a major military incursion by Russia into Europe. A much greater threat to Europe now is radical Islamic terrorism, and in that battle we should be working with Russia rather than try to base our policies on thwarting Russia,” according to a prominent posting on the Valdai website. He told his Russian hosts, “Our fight against the radical Islamic terrorism is not even halfway over, and it’s going to become more dangerous in the years ahead,” adding that, “If there is anything that can help us, that will further our efforts to defeat radical Islamic terrorism … then it will be the cooperation between our countries.”
Concluding his presentation, Rohrabacher strongly defended the Russian state, saying, “We’ve got to get the word out that Russia is a strong modern nation. When the president of Russia moves forward to do something in the interests of his country, it should be seen as the president of this country watching out for the interests of his people.” Then he took an implicit swing at Obama, adding, “I wish we had a president that was watching out as much for our interests as Russia has a president watching out for theirs.”
The Valdai Discussion Club, located in a mountain retreat halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg, was founded in 2004 by the Russian International Affairs Council, a joint project of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Education and Science, with the stated goal of promoting “dialogue between Russian and international intellectual elite.”
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Argentina’s Macri Government Is Dismantling the Nation’s Most Advanced Science and Industry
April 4 (EIRNS)—Argentina’s new government has announced the immediate suspension of work on the ARSAT-III communications satellite, saying it should be “self-funded,” rather than supported by the government, according to a report in the Buenos Aires Herald. Rodrigo de Loredo, the new president of the state-owned ARSAT company, stated that the currently orbiting ARSAT-II satellite would also need funding from outside the state. Loredo accused the former managers of ARSAT of launching the satellite without having sold any of its telecommunications capacity to commercial users or other countries.
ARSAT’s former president Matias Bianchi, who had overseen the successful launches of the ARSAT I and II satellites under the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, responded sharply to Loredo’s lies. He told Radio del Plata that ARSAT II “had already signed contracts for about 30% of its capacity [and] numerous contacts with potential customers had already been made, to reach 80% of its capacity.” He also warned against the introduction of private investment in the satellite project.
Proposing to “privatize” Argentina’s satellite capabilities destroys the very purpose of the ARSAT program, which is to bring telephone, video, and internet access, and educational programs, to the entire nation, and to the region. The late President Nestor Kirchner established ARSAT in 2006 to provide these services, which it did by leasing capacity on other satellites, until it launched ARSAT I in 2014.
The Political Studies Center (CEP) affiliated with the Kirchnerite La Campora grouping, noted in a statement that when the state carries out projects such as the ARSAT satellites, it creates a “critical mass of scientists, engineers and technicians who provide a leap in quality to Argentine industry.” These will now be destroyed, it warns. The Macri government’s taking down the ARSAT program and its approach to other state companies “has given clear signals of its deregulating and privatizing character,” CEP added. A country that says it seeks zero poverty, as Macri’s government does, “must be industrialized and create skilled labor,” CEP states, not be one that relies on extractive industries and agriculture, and lowers wages.