FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016
Volume 2, Number 168
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
- The Call Has Gone Out from Manhattan: Spread It Wider!
- USS Donald Cook Deliberately Provokes Russia Again
- What It’s Like To Be Hunted By Obama’s Killer Drones
- Peabody Coal, Two Others Go Bankrupt; Junk Energy Debt Soars
- Iran’s Benefits from China’s One Belt, One Road Spelled Out
- Chinese Scholar’s Silk Road Book Out in English: ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative Dumps Geopolitics
- U.S. Uses Philippines To Rev Up Provocations in South China Sea
- European Space Agency Head Urges Space ‘Cooperation beyond Borders’
- South Korea’s Governing Party Crushed in Parliamentary Elections.
April 14 (EIRNS)—The call has gone out from Manhattan, the headquarters of Lyndon LaRouche’s political movement, through yesterday’s mass leaflet, “Where Is the Democratic Party of FDR?” which goes straight to the point from the very first sentence: “The United States is currently facing the gravest crisis of its existence.” It openly indicts Obama for provoking nuclear war, while he drives Americans to premature deaths born of hopelessness. It boldly demands Obama’s removal, and his replacement by the real party of Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, which will immediately join with Russia and China in renewed space exploration (shut down by Obama), and great economic projects, which together will finally launch a US economic recovery.
The call has gone out from Manhattan, as LaRouche put it in an April 9 dialogue with his “Manhattan Project,” that “we have to actually campaign to bring people to understand the importance of the human individual as a creative force.” That statement encapsulates LaRouche’s long, vigorous, and sharply-contested dialogue with the Schiller Institute’s seminal day-long Manhattan conference of April 7.
As heroic former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said yesterday in an hour-long speech to tens of thousands of boisterous supporters, “They can jail me, but they can’t shut me up.” That’s obviously true of LaRouche as well.
We are preparing for wide circulation of first-hand conceptualized reports of the actual activities of LaRouche’s Manhattan Project, placed in the context of the proceedings of the concluding, evening panel of the April 7 conference,— which centered totally around true culture as exemplified by Classical musical and poetic composition.
We intend to illustrate Manhattan’s musical-organizing and science-pedagogy programs, and accompany them where possible with re-creations of the April 7 evening presentation on Classical music and poetry. All this to be accompanied by a preliminary report on Alexander Hamilton’s activities in Manhattan from 1795, when he left the George Washington Administration, until his murder by a British agent in 1804, at age 49.
Meanwhile, the bankruptcy of coal giant Peabody Energy yesterday, deliberately forced through by Obama, reminds us again of the cycle of suicides which Obama has inflicted on the United States, whether they are out-and-out suicides, or effective suicide through alcohol or drugs. With special intensity in the mining areas which Obama has shut down, as in this case. We must attack this cycle, LaRouche said today; at least we must get some niche through which to attack it.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
April 14 (EIRNS)—Will the destroyer USS Donald Cook be the Sarajevo that starts World War III?
When the NATO military buildup began in early 2014—supposedly in “response” to Russia’s takeover of Crimea—the Aegis (antimissile) destroyer USS Donald Cook was at the leading edge of NATO’s provocations against Russia, following its deployment to Rota, Spain in February 2014, as part of NATO’s ballistic missile defense system. The Donald Cook was overflown in the Black Sea in April 2014 by a Russian Su-24 bomber, in an action then described by the Pentagon as “provocative and unprecedented.”
NATO has provoked again, this time in the Baltic Sea, and, as before, the Donald Cook is at the center of it, again moving right up to the Russian border. A pair of Su-24’s made low passes over the Cook on April 11 and 12, just after the Cook had left the Polish port of Gdynia and when it was about 70 miles (the Russians say 70 km, a difference of nearly 30 miles) from a Russian naval base in Kaliningrad. As reported by Reuters, the two Su-24’s, with no visible weapons, flew “simulated attack passes” near the Cook, in what one unnamed U.S. official described as “one of the most aggressive interactions in recent memory.” A Russian KA-27 naval helicopter also made several passes around the ship, with its crew taking pictures. As in the 2014 incident, the Cook tried to raise the Russian pilots on the radio but with no success.
“We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” U.S. European Command officials said in a statement. “These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death.”
The Russian response to the U.S. statements has been to accuse the Navy of over-reacting. This morning, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that Su-24 crews were engaged in planned training flights over neutral waters in the Baltic (though he gives the date of April 13 rather than April 11 and 12) and that their planned routes took them into the area where the Donald Cook was operating. “Spotting the ship within the visibility zone, the Russian pilots turned their aircraft away from the vessel, fully observing safety measures,” Konashenkov said, adding that the ministry “frankly speaking, does not even understand the reason for such a painful reaction of our American colleagues.” “The principle of freedom of navigation for the U.S. destroyer, which is staying in close proximity to a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea, does not at all cancel the principle of freedom of flight for Russian aircraft,” he said.
A retired Navy captain was consulted by the Navy Times. “You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying,” said Rick Hoffman, who dismissed any idea that a rogue Russian pilot would take a shot at a U.S. ship then try to fly home through NATO airspace.
April 14 (EIRNS)—What’s it like to know that you’re a target of Obama’s remote control killing machines? Malik Jalal, a resident of Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, provides a terrifying account in the U.K.’s Independent on April 13, of being in just that position.
“I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the ‘Kill List.’ ” he writes. “I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive.”
Jalal’s only crime, it seems, is that he is a leader of the North Waziristan Peace Committee (NWPC) “that is devoted to trying to keep the peace in our region,” he says. “We are sanctioned by the Pakistan government, and our main mission is to try to prevent violence between the local Taliban and the authorities.”
Now, not surprisingly, he is an activist against President Obama’s drone wars. The four attacks he describes killed, by his count, over 50 people, including some members of the NWPC, none of whom, Jalal writes, were involved in extremist activities. “Singling out people to assassinate, and killing nine of our innocent children for each person they target, is a crime of unspeakable proportions,” Jalal writes. “Their policy is as foolish as it is criminal, as it radicalizes the very people we are trying to calm down.”
Today, Jalal is in England “because I want to resolve this dispute the way you teach: by using the law and the courts, not guns and explosives,” he concludes. “Ask me any question you wish, but judge me fairly—and please stop terrorizing my wife and children. And take me off that Kill List.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
April 14 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Peabody Energy, the largest U.S. coal mining company, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The immediate circumstances are part of Obama’s “Clean Power,” anti-fossil fuel version of London’s global warming genocide schemes. Peabody could not meet a debt service deadline this month, because cash from a pending sale of certain coalfield assets fell through, after Wall Street kiboshed financing for the buyers, under its policy of no funding for fossil fuels.
Peabody, major supplier to electric utilities, has at stake operations in 26 mines in the United States and Australia, and some 8,000 jobs. Nationwide, mine sector jobs have plunged 33% from 89,000 in 2012, to 59,000 now. U.S. coal output has plummeted.
Peabody Coal was by far the largest, but only one of three U.S. energy/mining companies which declared bankruptcy April 13. The other two were Energy XXI Ltd., which went into bankruptcy and wrote off $2.8 billion in debt; and Gulf Keystone Petroleum, although its default has only been on $26 million so far.
These events are the latest in the ongoing disintegration in the U.S. energy system. For example, the Obama shale oil boom—a disaster in itself—has now busted to the point that U.S. shale oil production has dropped significantly, by about 25%, and it is half of U.S. total oil production. The United States is the only world producer actually producing much less, going into the Doha oil-producing countries meeting.
The U.S. “energy junk debt” is a lit fuse on the entire bankrupt Wall Street system. For Energy XXI, Ltd. and Gulf Keystone Petroleum, the debt of both was substantially held by Wells Fargo Bank and Citibank, the two SIFIs (systemically important financial institutions) with the most exposure to energy junk debt. Wells Fargo just acknowledged in its quarterly financial report that of its $40 billion in loans and bond debt in the U.S. shale sector, $32 billion is junk debt. Just as important was the leap in the “classified loans” portion of that $40 billion, from 38% at the end of 2015 to 57% through the first quarter of 2016. “Classified” means in danger of default.
Against this dramatic deterioration in debt, Wells Fargo’s combined debt write-offs and increased bad loan provisions were only about $400 million. Classified loans should have a loss reserve provision of 25-50% of the total of the endangered loans, according to sound banking practice; but none of the SIFIs are making anything like such provisions as the “junk energy debt” collapses.
Citibank has $57 billion in U.S. shale debt exposure, but does not provide information on how much of that is junk; it clearly could be $40-50 billion.
In the Peabody Energy Chapter 11, the largest lender for the $6.3 billion in debt that Peabody is likely to write off, is Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the world’s biggest mutual fund operators. It also had the largest holdings of Ukraine debt, even larger than Russia; and is a substantial creditor of Puerto Rico’s municipal bonds. Franklin Templeton demanded the Peabody bankruptcy in order to avoid a complete loss of the entire debt.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
April 14 (EIRNS)—In his article in the Iran Review on March 31, Bahram Amir-Ahmadian, Tehran University Professor and Researcher at the Institute for Trade Studies and Research, has pointed out that the New Silk Road initiative is sure to open new opportunities to China through which Beijing would be able to achieve its long-term goals to boost the welfare of its huge population.
Amir-Ahmadian said two routes are under study for building the New Silk Road. The first is that of the traditional Silk Road, which crosses through the western part of China to enter Central Asia, and after going through Turkmenistan enters Iran. It then reaches the Middle East after crossing through Iranian territory. “The other route is the Silk Road as seen by European countries. This route follows the traditional path of the Silk Road up to Turkmenistan, from where it avoids entering Iran and instead goes toward the southeastern coast of the Caspian Sea. After reaching the Caspian coast it uses shipping lines from Turkmenbashi, a port city on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, which is part of Turkmenistan’s territory, to reach Baku port on the western Caspian shore, in the Republic of Azerbaijan, after which the route continues toward the Black Sea en route to the Mediterranean,” he said.
Amir-Ahmadian continued, “Iran will be located at the gravitational center of the new route and would be able to serve as a link connecting China to the Middle East, on the one hand, and Europe, on the other. By joining this initiative as envisaged by China, the Islamic Republic would be able to promote its geographical situation to a geopolitical situation as the country has been waiting for years to do so.”
In February, a 32-container train from Yiwu, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, arrived in Tehran, completing the 9,500 km journey. According to the president of the Iranian railway company RAI, Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei, the journey was 30 days shorter than the maritime voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented, he had said, adding that the revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route.
Furthermore, on Dec. 15, 2015, Deutsche Welle, citing a China Daily report from Nov. 21, said China’s railway authority has proposed a high-speed rail line for both passengers and cargo: “China’s railway authority has proposed a Silk Road high-speed railway connecting the country’s northwest region to West Asia via Central Asia, a plan it said would overcome the cross-border connectivity problem of different rail standards,” wrote China Daily, because the world’s gauge for high-speed rail is the same as China’s standard gauge, whereas changing gauges at the border now takes days. China Railway Corp.’s chief engineer He Huawu’s proposed route, runs from Urumqi and Yining, in China’s western Xinjiang province, “to Almaty in Kazakhstan, then to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan, Ashgabat in Turkmenistan and finally blending into West Asia’s network through Tehran, Iran.” The cargo and passenger trains could share the same track, although at different speeds, He said.
April 14 (EIRNS)—A new book, The Belt and Road Initiative: What Will China Offer the World in Its Rise? written by Wang Yiwei, has now appeared in an English translation.
Professor Wang is the director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University and a Senior Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. A book launch, at the London Book Fair this week, was sponsored by New World Press and Arab Scientific Publishers. Professor Wang presented the Chinese version of the book early last year at Chongyang, and has since published a second book on the topic. It can be considered an authoritative presentation of the views of the Chinese government on the Belt and Road Initiative.
Professor Wang presents the strategic and economic benefits of the initiative for China as well as for the surrounding countries. He refers back to the history of the ancient Silk Road, which, he notes, has always been of strategic importance given China’s geographic location at the eastern end of Eurasia.
Professor Wang also indicates the political problems China faces in the Pacific Rim region with the increased deployment of U.S. Naval forces serving to aggravate relations with China’s maritime neighbors. Developing a westward movement would avoid some of these tensions, given the amicable relations China has with the Central Asian nations, as well as with the ASEAN nations. Wang also underlines the new types of relationships that China wishes to establish with the other countries, moving away from the zero-sum “geopolitics” which has caused so much turmoil in the world.
Neither a Marshall Plan nor a Chinese “power-play,” Wang says, the Belt and Road is aimed at creating a peaceful and a more harmonious world. The Belt and Road will also help to bring the region out of a condition of poverty, using the technologies that China has developed for its own development, for the benefit of the world at large. The Belt and Road Initiative, Wang argues, has also definitely served to bring China into a more active role in world politics.
Professor Wang does not refrain from naming some of the obstacles confronting the initiative; i.e. cultural disparities, lack of transparency, corruption, terrorism in the region, and some fears by China’s land neighbors of the rise of a country the size of China. But he expresses firm confidence that the overwhelming good that the project holds for all involved, will allow China to overcome any such obstacles.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
April 14 (EIRNS)—Exhibiting scant regard for China’s security concerns, the United States and the Philippines have begun joint patrols of the South China Sea, ostensibly in response to Beijing’s island-building activities in the maritime region, UPI reported today. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who is in Manila, said U.S. troops are also expanding their presence in the Philippines with rotating forces and equipment. “With a presence here, it will deter uncalled for actions by the Chinese,” Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told the joint press conference with Carter, according to the Pentagon transcript.
The first joint patrol took place in March, making the Philippines the second country to conduct joint maritime patrols with the United States, after Japan. Air operations are also part of an agreement that was signed in January. The operations involve aircraft and pilots who are engaging in joint exercises across the Philippines, the New York Times reported.
In addition, AFP reported today on a 10-day war game staged by the United States and Philippines troops. The war game ends on April 15. The report said “the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) was the star of a simulated assault exercise by 5,500 U.S. and Philippine soldiers, unleashing six missiles at distant targets from a dry riverbed three hours’ drive from Manila. U.S. Marine Cobra attack helicopters and Philippine S211 jets also buzzed over the Crow Valley training range as Filipino and U.S. troops acted out the capture of “imaginary enemy-held territory.”
Defense Secretary Carter told the joint press conference in Manila, that five American A-10 Thunderbolt ground-attack jets, three H-60G Pavehawk helicopters and one MC-130H Combat Talon special forces infiltration aircraft will remain behind at Clark Air Base along with 200 crew members. And further, “a command-and-control node made up of American personnel here for the exercise will also remain behind,” he said, reported the Pentagon.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
April 14 (EIRNS)—Johann-Dietrich Wörner, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), made his first visit to China this week, as head of the space agency. Andrew Jones, from gbtimes.com reports on the visit, where Wörner promoted his “Moon Village” vision, which would be open to all to participate.
The ESA already has cooperative space science programs with China, but, Wörner said, “I would like to enlarge it, really on a global scale. Not again some competition between partners here and there, but let’s open it up…. Space is beyond all borders, so let’s also have cooperation beyond borders.”
“Space does not belong to one country or one nation,” he said in response to a question about a recent U.S. law on property rights for space mining. “I sometimes make the joke,” he said, “Okay, let’s have a European mission to go to the Moon, and bring back the American flag.”
Jones accurately describes China as one of ESA’s “three strategic partners,” along with NASA and Roscosmos.
Jones also points out that “this is a time of doubt over the viability of a NASA ‘Journey to Mars,’ compounded by a lack of political, financial, or public support, and the absence of a clear plan for the future of American human spaceflight.”
April 14 (EIRNS)—The Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye in South Korea was soundly, and surprisingly, defeated in Wednesday’s Parliamentary elections. From a 152-seat majority in the 300-seat National Assembly, the Saenuri Party won only 122 seats, while the leading opposition Minjoo Party won 123. A third party, the Peoples Party, which split off from Minjoo, won 38 seats, giving the two leading opposition parties, combined, a majority in the National Assembly.
Foreign policy is largely run by the executive branch, so the current intense crisis in Korea will not be immediately affected. However, the fact that President Park essentially scrapped all economic cooperation with North Korea, under intense pressure from Obama’s mobilization for war on China, certainly had an impact on the election, and there will be pressure on Park from the new majority in the National Assembly to return to sanity in regard to the North.
One critical issue is the drive by Obama to put THAAD missiles in South Korea, which are aimed at China, not North Korea. President Park opposed them until her recent capitulation to Obama. There may now be adequate pressure from the new majority opposition to stop it.
A source in Seoul told EIR that one significant result of the severe defeat of the ruling party is that the various presidential candidates from the party (the presidential election is in December 2017) are equally discredited. This makes it highly likely that Ban Ki-moon, the current UN Secretary General, will be the next President if he runs, which is expected. Ban was never in a party, but worked in the Foreign Ministry before going to the UN.