Obama Threatens War on Russian Forces in Syria
April 13 (EIRNS)—The Wall Street Journal was today supplied with a leak from the White House that a “Plan B” is being prepared for Syria, in the case that the ceasefire fails. MANPADS—man-portable air defense systems, capable of taking down Russian and Syrian warplanes—are to be supplied to terrorists (referred to as the “moderate opposition”) in Syria, according to the unnamed official sources. The message in the Journal is not subtle: “The private message conveyed by U.S. officials to their Russian counterparts, who have backed the Assad regime with air power since last year, has been that the moderate opposition isn’t going away and that a return to full-scale fighting could end up putting more Russian pilots in danger, according to U.S. officials.”
That is, “Plan B” is to launch a war on Russia.
It should be remembered that the U.S. provided huge quantities of Stinger antiaircraft missiles to the mujahideen in Afghanistan in 1986 to use against Russian planes and helicopters, a mujahideen which had been recruited and trained by the British and the CIA from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states around the world, thus giving birth to al-Qaeda. The pattern today is the same.
That this is the plan is made clear by the fact that on the same day as the Wall Street Journal revelation about the war plan, Obama visited CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he was to discuss the urgency of stopping Russia and the legitimate Syrian government from consolidating their victory against the terrorist scourge in that war-ravaged nation. Next week, Obama then flies to Saudi Arabia to meet with the funders and controllers of the terrorist networks internationally among the Saudi Royalty, before moving on to London to pay obeisance to the Bloody Queen and to the Saudis’ controllers in Buckingham Palace.
But things are not going well for the mass killer in the White House. Sunday night’s CBS “60 Minutes” exposé on the role of the Saudis in the 9/11 terror attack on the United States, moving the LaRouche movement’s campaign into the popular limelight, comes only days before Obama travels to Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, Obama’s role in destroying the American economy is exploding in his face, as the so-called “slow recovery” is now sliding rapidly into zero or negative growth, despite frantic measures to impose negative interest rates across the advanced sector, and increasing talk of “helicopter money”—literally placing newly printed money in banks, businesses and even private accounts, desperately trying to hold back the tide of the financial disintegration of the Western financial system.
Even the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) admitted today that most of the leading banks have failed once again to demonstrate any capacity to survive the coming crash without yet another massive taxpayer bailout—which, in fact, is impossible in the current state of the economy. The former Kansas City Federal Reserve Chairman Thomas Hoenig, now the Vice Chairman of the FDIC, issued a statement on the state of the SIFIs (Systemically Important Financial Institutions, or the “Too Big To Fail” banks): “No firm yet shows itself capable of being resolved in an orderly fashion through bankruptcy. Thus, the goal to end too big to fail and protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts remains just that: only a goal.”
Another campaign led by the LaRouche movement is also rising up to challenge Obama and his bankrupt Wall Street sponsors—the restoration of Franklin Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall, to shut down Wall Street and restore the American System of credit banking. Even a member of the Treasury Department’s Financial Research Advisory Committee today ridiculed Obama’s Dodd-Frank as a cover for doing nothing, and demanded restoration of Glass-Steagall.
Nothing but cowardice and ignorance stand in the way of the United States and Europe joining China’s New Silk Road process, building infrastructure and building nations internationally. Jin Liqun, the head of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), spoke today in Washington, D.C. for the first time since taking the position. In response to a question from EIR, Jin called on America to join in the Silk Road process, noting that the U.S. itself is in great need of rebuilding its infrastructure, and that China is ready and able to help. Will American’s wake up and join the new paradigm, or sink with Obama into chaos and war?
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Obama Administration’s Plan B for Syria: War against Russia
April 13 (EIRNS)—Just as some Western governments and the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition are declaring that the U.S.-Russia brokered truce in Syria is on the verge of collapsing, the Wall Street Journalbreaks the story, probably based on CIA leaks, that the Obama Administration is preparing a “Plan B” for Syria should the truce fail. According to the Journal, the CIA and its regional partners have drawn up plans to supply “carefully vetted,” “moderate” rebel groups with heavier weapons, including shoulder-launched surface-to-air anti-aircraft weapons (MANPADS). The Journal reports that the plans were discussed in a secret meeting of spy chiefs that took place just before the truce took effect on Feb. 27, and in a number of meetings since.
Unnamed officials said the CIA has made clear to its allies that the new systems, once agreed upon, would be given to the rebels only if the truce and the concurrent political track toward a lasting peace—Plan A—fall apart and full-scale fighting resumes. The Journaldoesn’t say whether or not the CIA has calculated how many of those weapons, if they’re supplied, would end up in the hands of Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, which in the past has acquired up to half of the weapons supplied to other groups by the U.S.
Most ominously, the Journal writes: “The private message conveyed by U.S. officials to their Russian counterparts, who have backed the Assad regime with air power since last year, has been that the moderate opposition isn’t going away and that a return to full-scale fighting could end up putting more Russian pilots in danger, according to U.S. officials.” This is a virtual declaration of war on Russia, and will be taken as such by the Russians.
Frants Klintsevich, First Deputy Chairman of Russian Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security, told TASS, in effect, that the CIA plan will fail. “The situation in Syria is now developing not in accordance with U.S. plans,” and that’s why “Russia is practically pushed toward unreasoned actions,” he said. “The attempts will not bring any result. We are rather thick-skinned. The U.S. will not be able to return Syria to the state of chaos,” TASS quoted the lawmaker as saying.
Lavrov Opposes Internationalization of South China Sea Dispute
April 13 (EIRNS)—Prior to departing for a visit to China, Japan, and Mongolia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Chinese media in Moscow that all attempts to “internationalize” the dispute over the South China Sea must be stopped, and he urged external players to stop interfering in the negotiations among those involved. That message was unmistakably directed at the United States.
Said Lavrov: “We believe that all countries involved in the disputes should follow the principles of non-use of force, and continue seeking mutually acceptable political and diplomatic solutions,” Xinhua reported today, while the BRICS Post ran the accurate headline, “Russian FM Bats for Beijing in South China Sea Dispute.”
Lavrov continued, “I am convinced that they (attempts to internationalize the issue) are completely counterproductive. Only negotiations, which China and the ASEAN are pursuing, can bring the desired result; namely, mutually acceptable agreements.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang responded at his regular press briefing today, “China has highly appreciated the Russian Foreign Minister’s statement,” Sputnik quoted him as saying, today.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Three Strikes Should Mean Out: Banks’ ‘Living Wills’ Fail Again
April 13 (EIRNS)—For the third “annual” iteration, the attempted “living wills” of most of the biggest Wall Street banks were found to be unworkable and not credible by the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which released their judgments today. “Unworkable” specifically means, in this case, that the banks, when failing, are too big and complex to be wound up without taxpayer bailouts, or to be handled in bankruptcy court. It means their failures will devastate the financial system and taxpayers.
Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, State Street Bank, and BONY Mellon were all flunked outright by both agencies. The FDIC’s letter to JPM Chase, for example, stated that “the agencies have jointly determined, pursuant to Section 165(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act and Section .5b of the Resolution Plan Rule, that the plan is not credible nor would facilitate an orderly resolution under the Bankruptcy Code.”
FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig went further in a statement: “No firm [there were eight in total] yet shows itself capable of being resolved in an orderly fashion through bankruptcy. Thus, the goal to end too big to fail and protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, remains just that: only a goal.”
The banks’ internal controls having been found unworkable and no barrier to forced bailouts, the Federal Reserve is, in fact, now authorized under Dodd-Frank itself, by no later than Oct. 1, to break these banks up by ordering them to sell off their “non-core” units, of which there are thousands. This point was forcefully made by Stanford economist Dr. Anat Admati at the April 4 hearing on “ending too big to fail” held by Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari.
Furthermore, these undead banks have now failed their “living wills’ three straight years.
But the Federal Reserve’s press release was forked-tongued. It said that if the “living wills” were still unworkable as of Oct. 1, “more stringent prudential requirements” would be authorized. But it also said it planned to evaluate new submissions from the banks on July 1, 2017.
Goldman Sachs’ living will was flunked by the FDIC but accepted by the Fed; Morgan Stanley’s case was the reverse. Citigroup, known for flunking “stress tests,” had its “living will” accepted by both agencies but with “shortcomings.”
The living will requirement was postponed for four foreign banks—Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Credit Suisse—which would have made a charade of it in any case.
Treasury Advisor Rips Dodd-Frank, Calls for Glass-Steagall and Regulations on Derivatives
April 13 (EIRNS)—Lynn Stout, a Cornell University law expert on derivatives regulation and a member of the Treasury Department’s Financial Research Advisory Committee, was interviewed on the PBS News Hour Tuesday, exposing the fraud of Dodd-Frank and calling for Glass-Steagall.
Asked about the $5 billion fine just levied against Goldman Sachs for its lying, cheating and stealing with mortgages prior to the 2008 blow-out, Stout responded: “Although $5 billion sounds like a lot of money, the settlement is actually relatively small. It’s certainly small compared to the damage that was done by these fraudulent practices…. I’m afraid it creates the risk that this could be business as usual, that, at the end of the day, Goldman Sachs may have found these sorts of fraudulent practices to be overall profitable, even in light of the fines.”
On Dodd-Frank: “The basic problem with Dodd-Frank is that it created the appearance of Congress doing something, without that appearance being backed up by reality.” She notes that rather than that law establishing the rules, it merely calls on the Fed and others to draft regulations. “What’s happened in all the years since is that the financial industry, through lobbying, campaign contributions, behind-the-scenes actions, has been very effective at stymieing regulators from doing anything that really crimps their style and reins them in.”
What should be done? “It’s actually very straightforward. Up until around the year 2000, we had a bunch of banking regulations in place, including Glass-Steagall and rules against speculative derivatives trading that had proven time-tested at keeping banks from taking on excessive risks and had been very effective at keeping the financial sector stable and sound. And most of those laws were eliminated in what’s turned out to be a very misbegotten profit of so-called deregulation. I think that if we put those rules back in place, experience and history suggest there’s no reason why we can’t have a safe, sound banking sector. It’s just very hard without some of the original regulatory firewalls we used to have.”
Not only was Glass-Steagall eliminated, Stout said, but “we also legalized over-the-counter derivatives for the first time, and we even gave a derivatives contracts priority in bankruptcy. There were lots and lots of financial rules that were changed in favor of the financial industry through a steady process of the application of campaign contributions and lobbying power.”
But Barney Frank tells us that Dodd-Frank will prevent taxpayer bailouts, said News Hour. “I think that’s, shall we say, an extremely optimistic view,” Stout answered. “And I think history has shown that the ties between the big financial institutions and Washington are so tight that the financial institutions are very good at engineering taxpayer-financed bailouts.” She did not need to mention Barney’s role in that criminal control.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
City of London Is Center of Tax Havens and Hot Money
April 13 (EIRNS)—John McDonnell, the British Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, named the City of London as the “tax haven” center of a worldwide imperial system set up to help the super-rich evade taxes—which may well be the cleanest activity they engage in. He made his statement at a contentious Parliament session yesterday, on the “Panama Papers” tax evasion and money-laundering scandal, which has hit Prime Minister David Cameron among many others.
McDonnell said that banks headquartered in London were “particularly proficient in directing funds to Panama’s Mossack Fonseca shell companies,” opening a very embarrassing discussion for Cameron. These include HSBC, the old dope money bank, and RBS subsidiary Coutts, the banker for the Queen. In March 2012 Coutts was fined £8.75 million for breaches of money-laundering rules, after three years of “serious” and “systemic” problems in handling the affairs of “customers vulnerable to corruption” because of their political links—such as being a banker to the Queen.
In this crowd is Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron’s late father, Ian Cameron, a specialist in setting up offshore dummy companies. Prime Minister Cameron, from the report in today’s Belfast Telegraph, chose to be absent or silent in this session on how to shut the tax evasion and money laundering holes used by Britons like his father.
Conservative Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke huffed and puffed that the government taskforce investigating the Panama Papers would have the use of sophisticated technology, and that its experts will have powers to prosecute criminals. The taskforce will have investigators from every financial agency in the kingdom, and experts, and resources—“all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men.” Said Gauke, “I stress the point that the taskforce will have total operational independence: If they find people to prosecute, they will prosecute them; if they find information of illegality, they can act on it; and the Independent Financial Conduct Authority has written to financial firms asking them to declare their links to Mossack Fonseca.”
The seriousness of the intention of the British Parliament to change its ways, may be gauged by the fact that a Labour motion calling on the government to set up an independent inquiry into the Panama Papers, and to do more to tackle tax evasion, was defeated, 300 votes to 266.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Blasts Hypocrisy of Charges against Her; Investigate Macri’s Dirty Money Trail!
April 13 (EIRNS)—In Argentina’s explosive political environment, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appeared today in the court of Judge Claudio Bonadio, who has accused her of the ambiguous crime of “illicit association.” Fernández delivered a political tour de force in which she wiped the floor with both Bonadio and President Mauricio Macri whose government, she warned, “intends, together with the necessary collaboration of the judicial branch, to set me up and jail me.” Calling for Bonadio’s recusal, she stated, “I’m not afraid. They can jail me, but they can’t stop me from saying what I think.”
Following her court appearance, the former President went outside to deliver a feisty, hour-long speech to the tens of thousands of supporters gathered there, despite the rain, which delighted Lyndon LaRouche. Cristina Fernández is leading an “insurrection against an insurrection,” LaRouche noted happily.
Fernández explained that she had remained silent for four months out of respect for the “popular will” that elected Macri, but given the terrible suffering inflicted on the population by Macri’s brutal austerity policies, it is time to speak up, and for citizens to unite in a “great citizens’ front,” to fight for the rights that Macri has wrested from them. “He doesn’t care about Argentines, or the pain, anguish and uncertainty they are experiencing,” she charged.
In the courtroom and outside, Fernández pointed to the Panama Papers scandal in which Macri is embroiled, and underscored the hypocrisy of his “anti-corruption” campaign. Prime Ministers have been forced to resign over this scandal, she said, yet the controlled media is treating Macri with kid gloves. Were Judge Bonadio to apply the same criteria he has applied to her, she asserted, he must investigate Macri for “illicit association,” since he, his immediate family, and closest political collaborators are all involved in dirty offshore activity. For years, she said, media and corrupt judiciary have focused on “the trail of the K [Kirchner] money.” Why not now investigate “the trail of the M [Macri] money?”
Look at the joke, Fernández said, of those who today claim to be Macri’s “crusaders against corruption,” but turn out to be the very same individuals who in the 1980s and 1990s engaged in scandalous corruption and “business deals” with the state which contributed to the destruction of industrialized Argentina. Current Central Bank Chairman Federico Sturzenegger, she noted, is even still under indictment for his role in the infamous “mega-swap” of 2001, which increased Argentina’s debt but only benefitted the foreign banks involved.
President Putin, Working Together in Space To Better Understand Each Other on Earth
April 13 (EIRNS)—Throughout a series of remarks at Cosmonautics Day celebrations yesterday in Russia, President Vladimir Putin reviewed the proud history of Russia in space, and stressed the importance of international cooperation. At a concert last evening, President Putin said that “Russia is firmly holding the leading position in the world,” in many areas, listing Russia’s “competitive position in rocket engine building, [where] we still have the first place in the world; in terms of the number of space launches … [and] we are working on new high-tech products.” He described the work on the new Vostochny launch center, saying that, “In many respects, the future of not only the Russian, but also world space science, is connected with Vostochny … taking into account that we plan to make launches here in the interests of our economy, and work jointly with our foreign partners within the framework of international cooperation.”
Unlike the U.S., where the history of the accomplishments in space is most often ignored, forgotten, or attacked, Putin addressed the veterans of the Soviet program: “You established the traditions that make it possible for Russia to be among leaders of the space sphere. We are proud by right that our great compatriots stood at the origin of the space era; put into practice bold dreams about flights to the stars, and were trailblazers in the creation of unique space apparatuses…. Today, Russia’s scientists, engineers, and cosmonauts continue the glorious traditions of their predecessors.”
Speaking with workers at the Vostochny site, Putin said that he hoped that Russia and its space station partners in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, would work together in ways that “would help us bring our positions closer, and perhaps through space, understand one another better on Earth.”
Germany Can Learn from China’s Africa Strategy
April 13 (EIRNS)—Unnoticed by German media, the meeting in Berlin a few days ago between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta had some very interesting aspects. Kenyatta called for more direct investments by German companies in his country, saying that Germans were much more active in Kenya in the first years after the country gained its independence, but then pulled out during the 1990s, leaving the field to China, which has since invested greatly in railroads and other infrastructure. But Kenya would very much like the Germans to return—not as an alternative to China, quite the contrary—but as an additional focus, as another partner for development.
Merkel responded with surprising remarks, telling Kenyatta that in talks with many African heads of state and government, she has found that their interest “is not just in the construction of a road, but also in the financing going along with it, generally…. This has been done well by China. They always bring these financial concepts with them.” The other lack on the German side, Merkel said, is its slowness in planning. The Chinese are much faster; therefore they get the contracts.
Unfortunately, it is not reported whether she has any ideas about the financing, but her remarks signal that Africa is being re-discovered by Germany. The frequent statements and interviews by German Development Minister Gerd Müller on the urgency to have a “new Africa policy” are also a clear indicator.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
China and India Confirm Space Cooperation
April 13 (EIRNS)—China and India, with their established capabilities in space, are joining hands to participate in the construction of a BRICS Constellation of satellites, it was announced at a space summit last week in New Delhi, attended by 11 national space agencies and 750 space scientists.
Wu Yanhua, Deputy Administrator of the China National Space Agency (CNSA) said, “We have been in dialogue with India on the BRICS Constellation, for disaster risk reduction.” Kiran Kumar, chairman of the India Space Research Organization, confirmed that this would be a “virtual remote sensing satellite constellation for the BRICS nations.”
There were not many details reported, but each of the BRICS countries has its own remote sensing satellites in orbit, so this appears to be a way of coordinating or integrating their operations and data. CNSA sources reported that “the successful implementation of the remote sensing satellite constellation of the BRICS countries, will further enrich the content of cooperation by BRICS countries to strengthen national cohesion,” India’s Economic Times reported on April 10.
Russian military expert Vasiliy Kashin told Sputnik today that the Chinese and Indian space scientists would begin cooperation in the field of aerospace to fulfill the plan of all BRICS members to have their own satellite systems, and thus avoid becoming dependent on U.S. technology and equipment in space. “Any form of technological dependence on the United States is a serious risk, both political and commercial. BRICS nations should use each other’s scientific and technological potential to the maximum,” Kashin told Sputnik.
Meanwhile, Russia is currently working to start supplying rocket engines for future Chinese space launch programs. China, in turn, will provide electronic components for Russian satellites. The two countries also agreed to synchronize their satellite navigation systems, GLONASS and BeiDou, Kashin informed Sputnik.