EIR Daily Alert Service
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2017
Volume 4, Number 44
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
March 2 (EIRNS)—No, the “sky is not falling” with the new ridiculous McCarthyist charges unleashed today against Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions, for having failed to testify to Congress that he had spoken with Russia’s Ambassador to the United States! Rather, this is a new desperation tactic by Obama personally, himself, after the enthusiasm generated by President Trump’s Tuesday address to the Joint Session of Congress.
The American people will not choose to go down the road towards war with Russia, now when so many have been inspired by the hope of a far better future ahead.
Yet Obama is retooling and purging the Democratic Party to make it his personal instrument in an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government. “This is exactly what he would do,” said Lyndon LaRouche today. Leading up to the Democratic National Committee’s Feb. 25 vote for chairman, the Obama group encouraged former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez to run against the favorite, Glass-Steagall supporter Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Then Obama personally telephoned DNC members to vote for Perez, as did his roommate Valerie Jarrett, along with Joe Biden and other Obama sidekicks. Perez won a narrow victory. Now there are signs pointing towards Obama’s attempting to purge the Texas and California Democratic Party leadership of elements who will not cooperate in dropping everything for his anti-Trump crusade.
Obama would hope that strong-arm tactics in the Democratic Party would prevent bipartisan cooperation on behalf of LaRouche’s Four Laws, as was seen in Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s Feb. 1 press conference reintroducing the bill to restore the Glass-Steagall Act. But he will find, that the more he throws his weight around to force the Democratic Party into his scheme, the sooner there will be more action by Democrats with Republicans of the sort we need now.
But all of this, important as it may be, is only a smaller element in the whole picture. World developments flowing from China and Putin’s Russia have been far more determinative in shaping the new environment. Beyond and above all of this, and enclosing and shaping it all, is the nature of man himself, which is expressed by the total conception of LaRouche’s Four Laws, and which becomes explicit in his statement of the Fourth Law.
LaRouche PAC’s “Week of Action” for these Four Laws of LaRouche was kicked off on Thursday night on the weekly “Fireside Chat” activists’ conference call with hundreds of citizens from across the United States. Weekend events will follow, as well as actions on Capitol Hill and a rally in New York City during the week.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
March 1 (EIRNS)—West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin made clear in several interviews following President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night, that he is “looking for every opportunity I can to move forward with the President, help my state, help my country.” Trump’s Presidential tone was “exactly what people wanted to hear and wanted to see,” Manchin said.
The Senator slammed “the toxic atmosphere that I am in every day” in Congress. “They expect me as a Democrat to be against every Republican, to raise money and to go out and campaign against them, which I will not do.” And the Republicans are expected to do the same against the Democrats. This, he emphasized, must change.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka likewise reiterated his stated commitment to work with the President wherever he advances measures which are in the interest of labor and the nation. He told Fox Business Network on Wednesday morning that Trump’s discussion of a trillion dollars for infrastructure “is the right magnitude to be talking about. We think it’s more. The Society of American Civil Engineers thinks it’s more like $3 trillion,” he added, but Trump “is talking in the right ballpark. Infrastructure: it’s a three- or four-time winner for all of us.”
March 2 (EIRNS)—Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), in a press conference on Capitol Hill on March 1, hosted Tima Kurdi, whose three-year-old nephew, Alan Kurdi, a Syrian boy of Kurdish origins, drowned on the shores of Turkey in 2015 when the boat that his family boarded to flee the war engulfing their country capsized in the Mediterranean. Representative Gabbard urged the Trump administration to end the Obama-led murderous policy of “regime change” in Syria.
Representative Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, had introduced in January the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608) which would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and will prohibit the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries which are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists. The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Garrett Thomas (R-VA).
Speaking to RT following the press conference, Representative Gabbard said: “The most important question is, how do we address the cause of these people fleeing their homes. For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed militant groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”
Gabbard had traveled to Syria in January on a fact-finding mission, and after her arrival was invited to meet with President Bashar Assad. She also visited Aleppo, liberated in December from Islamist rebels led by Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham, a re-branded al-Qaeda affiliate formerly known as Jabhat Al-Nusra.
March 2 (EIRNS)—The extreme level of denial among the geopolitical set in the U.S. and Japan was on full display in a Washington forum on Feb. 28, sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Research Institute. After presentations by several American and Japanese diplomats and academics, EIR posed a question to the panel, challenging the geopolitical mode of discussion, based on zero-sum conflicts over security and trade issues. EIR insisted the panelists address the emerging New Paradigm, reminding them that President Donald Trump had been elected based on an open commitment to working with Russia, and that he is now moving towards working with China, on both the strategic war on terror and on a win-win approach to global development, while Japan’s Abe had also broken from Obama’s confrontation with Russia to form a strong partnership with Putin, based on joint development.
Jeffrey Hornung, a Fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, nearly jumped out of his seat. “Are you saying that geopolitics is…is…?” Yes indeed, he was told, it’s finished. “No, no, no,” Hornung stammered, continuing approximately as follows:
“Everything Abe is doing is in the context of geopolitics. He only meets with people that advance Japan’s interests, and contain China’s aggression. Why, I just chaired a meeting yesterday with some very informed Japanese, and they all agreed that Abe’s meeting with Putin was a disaster, a total failure. Putin manipulated Abe, and gained all the benefit, Japan gained nothing. There was no benefit for Japan.”
As EIR has documented, the Abe-Putin summit was an historical shift away from British imperial geopolitics, dramatically changing not only all of Asia, and the entire world.
ENDING THE STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
March 2 (EIRNS)—Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the U.S. commander in Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday, via videoconference, that Russian war planes bombed U.S.-backed Syrian Arab Coalition fighters somewhere in the area between Manbij and Al Bab in northern Syria, on Feb. 28. U.S. special forces, a couple of miles away, witnessed the attack and called it in. The Russians were immediately notified via the hotline, and the attack stopped. Townsend chalked it up to the complexities of the battlefield, though. ISIS fighters, he said, had been in the area, but then withdrew, with Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advancing into the area that had just been vacated by ISIS, so the Russians probably thought they were attacking ISIS.
The matter-of-fact way that Townsend reported the incident—that is, without casting aspersions at the Russians—suggests that he saw it purely in terms of the complexities of the immediate battlefield, rather than as the result of some kind of illegitimate intervention, as the Obama administration would have seen it. In this case, Townsend had a mechanism to deal with that particular complexity, used it and was satisfied with the way that it worked.
The incident, and Townsend’s report of it, follows by about a week, calls by senior Air Force officers, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the U.S. Air Force commander in the Middle East, and Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the commander of Air Combat Command, to elevate the level of discussion with the Russian military, from the level of Colonel, where it now resides, to the level of one- to three-star Generals, as we reported in the EIR Daily Alert on Monday, Feb. 27. The level of discussion needs to be elevated, they said, to improve deconfliction and improve safety for U.S. and coalition pilots and, obviously, to better avoid incidents such as the one Townsend described, which can occur in the fluid nature of the battlefield.
March 2 (EIRNS)—After a blitz offensive with Russian air support yesterday, that brought troops to the heights overlooking the city and to the southwestern edge of the city itself, units of the Syrian Arab Army entered Palmyra today, liberating it for the second time after ISIS had captured it in December 2016. Al Masdar News, citing military sources, reported early this morning that indications were that ISIS had largely withdrawn from the city overnight, but that Syrian troops had refrained from entering the city itself, because of the fear that ISIS insurgents had scattered booby traps and mines across it. According to a report in TASS, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin that the Syrian army had completed the operation to seize Palmyra. Al Masdar subsequently published video showing columns of Syrian troops and armored vehicles entering the city. Syrian combat engineers, trained by the same Russian sappers who cleared eastern Aleppo city after it was liberated, are now sweeping Palmyra for bombs left behind by ISIS.
The Syrian army General Command affirmed, in a statement reported by the official news agency SANA, the importance of the liberation of Palmyra in conjunction with army victories in eastern Aleppo province. This achievement, the General Command said, confirms that the Syrian Arab Army, in collaboration with friends, is the only active force to fight terrorism and eradicate it, and that the restoration of Tadmur (Palmyra) forms a basis to expand the military operations against ISIS on many axes and to tighten the grip around the terrorists and break off their supply routes. The Syrian army, the statement concluded, “is determined to continue its operations against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and the other terrorist organizations until restoring security and stability to every inch of the homeland.”
March 2 (EIRNS)—On the sidelines of the 13th Plenary session of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on March 1, Asharq al-Awsat reported. The summit was held March 1 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization that was set up by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey in 1985. During 1992, the organization had been expanded to also include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The organization is involved in several priority projects including trade, energy, transportation, agriculture, and the control of illicit drugs.
The Erdogan-Rouhani meeting is of great significance for the security in the general area that has been ravaged by foreign invasions, sectarian clashes and the emergence of various terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (ISIS). The Iranian news agency IRNA, said that the two heads of state agreed at the meeting to improve ties, including in the fight against terrorism. Iran’s PressTV, reporting on the meeting, quoted President Rouhani saying “the Islamic Republic of Iran stresses respect for the territorial integrity of regional countries and is against any violation of territorial integrity in the region, especially in Syria and Iraq.” He also pledged Tehran’s “support for dialogue and mutual respect to settle differences,” and that “we should make efforts to immediately put an end to war, bloodshed and foreign interference in the region.”
Showing Ankara’s willingness to work jointly with Tehran, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told IRNA in an exclusive interview, published March 1, that “Ankara had appreciated Tehran’s expressions of support for the government during a failed military coup against Erdogan on July 15, 2016.” “Iran was with us to support our government in every minute at that night while some other countries only called us days or even weeks after the attempted coup,” IRNA quoted Cavusoglu.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
March 2 (EIRNS)—New reports reveal that poverty in Greece increased 40% between 2008 and 2015, and food purchases have fallen by 18% over a similar period. Of course, the cause is the austerity policies forced on the Greek government by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
According to data released by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, poverty not only increased in Greece by 40%, but also increased in Cyprus over the same period by 28.2%, in Ireland by 28%, in Spain by 18%, and in Italy by 11%. These are conservative figures. The study was not based just on monetary income, but also included inability to acquire material goods, decrease in education opportunities, underemployment, and worse health care.
The Greek daily Kathimerini reported that according to figures released by Nielsen researchers, Greeks in 2016 purchased 4% less food than the year before, which bought the collapse of food purchase to 18% from 2009 to 2016. Food purchases are projected to shrink this year another 2-3% compared to 2016.
In 2009, a year before the country entered the bailout process, food sales amounted to €13.15 billion, but went down to €10.78 billion in 2016. It is not clear whether these figures take into account the fact that food prices have also increased in Greece over this period.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
March 2 (EIRNS)—In an exclusive interview with China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua, Do Tien Sam, editor-in-chief of the China Research Journal published by the Institute for Chinese Studies in the Vietnam Academy of Social Science, made clear that Vietnam, one of the 57 founding member-nations of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), will be joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“In the joint communiqués between two parties’ chiefs during their respective visits to each country, Vietnam and China have determined that strategic connectivity between China’s Belt and Road and Vietnam’s ‘Two Corridors and One Economic Circle’ should be boosted,” Do Tien Sam said in the interview. He also said that Vietnam will be attending the May 14-15 “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in Beijing. “Vietnam will contribute its ideas towards the success of the meeting,” he said.
Tran Viet Thai, Deputy Director of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies under Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Diplomatic Academy, endorsed Sam’s statement, saying Vietnam will join the summit “even at a high level” as “the country has always said it is interested in the initiative,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.
Sam told Xinhua that “despite being a developing country, China has rapidly advanced more than other countries. China should share its development opportunities and accomplishments with other countries.”
“Following China’s terms of ‘connectivity in five areas,’ namely, connectivity of policy, transportation, trade, currency and the heart of the peoples, the summit should stress the importance of economic sharing, which is also in line with China’s neighborly diplomacy that brings favorable opportunities and results to neighboring countries,” Do Tien Sam specified.
March 2 (EIRNS)—A day before the opening of the Fifth Annual Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top political advisory body, CPPCC spokesman Wang Guoqing told a press conference in Beijing that the Belt and Road Initiative is progressing steadily, Xinhua reported.
“Over 2,000 members of the CPPCC National Committee from different sectors across the country will discuss major political, economic and social issues concerning the country’s development during this year’s session scheduled to conclude on March 13,” Wang reported.
Speaking of the Belt and Road project initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013, Wang said that “Chinese businesses have helped build 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in 20 countries along the Belt and Road, with total investment exceeding $18 billion, helping generate over $1 billion in tax revenue and more than 160,000 jobs.”
Wang continued, “The CPPCC National Committee will do more work in 2017 to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges with countries along the Belt and Road. The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by China in 2013, and aims to become a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes. In the spirit of regional connectivity, China is working in aviation, power, rail, road and telecommunications projects with participating countries.”
March 1 (EIRNS)—An opinion column with the above headline, published in El Sol de Mexico on Feb. 27 by Sen. Daniel Avila Ruiz, a member of Mexico’s right-wing National Action Party (PAN) representing the state of Yucatan, reflects the growing discussion in many circles of Mexico that now is the time to expand relations with China.
Senator Avila Ruiz argued that China’s rapid growth can only be compared to the earlier growth periods of South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Mexico’s relations with China are old and close, going back to 1560, when there was a maritime silk road in the Pacific Ocean from Acapulco to China’s coastal region, he wrote. “I believe it is necessary to make it explicit that we agree with the position of Chinese President Xi Jinping on fostering a new model of inclusive growth, with innovation as its principal motor, and adopting a coordinated approach.”
Senator Avila Ruiz reported also that he had met, the week before, with President Enrique Peña Nieto’s new nominee for Ambassador to China, José Luis Bernal Rodríguez and that he and the Ambassador agreed that it is time for Mexico to consolidate and expand its relations with China, in trade, investment, and scientific and technological cooperation.