EIR Daily Alert Service
THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017
Volume 4, Number 78
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
April 19 (EIRNS)—British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday urged a U.S./U.K. joint campaign of bombing to “decapitate the monster regime of Assad” in Syria. Johnson’s interview with British daily Independent followed by three days The Times on April 16 forecasting an all-out U.S. cruise missile attack on North Korea; and coincided with Britain’s Guardian reporting today that the United States is planning to shoot down North Korean missile tests.
Her Majesty’s Government Minister Johnson stressed the necessity of “decapitating the monster” even when Assad’s potential replacement by an Islamist, pro-terrorist regime in Syria was brought up.
Both the London Times and the Guardian made clear that the Trump Administration actions they were “forecasting” would likely lead to North Korean attacks and “devastating consequences for U.S. allies South Korea and Japan,” and could “go out of control”—i.e., could trigger thermonuclear world war.
This, while Trump Administration officials continue to emphasize “non-military options,” and “working closely with China” to remove the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula.
This is not Boris Johnson’s first proposal for U.S./U.K. bombing of Assad’s government; that was last September, and the House of Commons has refused to authorize it. He is claiming now that no such authorization would be needed. Johnson was rebuffed again by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the other member nations at the Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting in Rome on April 10. He was demanding Tillerson join him in threatening new sanctions against Russia for supporting the government of Syria.
But the British government and media’s constant proposals and “forecasts” of U.S./U.K. regime-change wars, targeting Russia and China, are aimed against President Donald Trump’s potential new relations of cooperation with those two crucial nations. Just as British intelligence have carried out surveillance on Trump’s team for two years and launched the “Russia scandals” to try to force him out of office, the U.K. is also trying to destroy any possibility that Trump will cooperate with Russia and China on security and economic development.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
April 19 (EIRNS)—U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis said on Tuesday that the failed North Korean missile test over the weekend had been an attempt to “provoke something,” but that the United States would work with China to try and reduce tensions. Speaking with reporters on his way to the Middle East, Mattis said the most recent test missile was not an intercontinental ballistic missile but still a reckless move.
“It shows why we are working so closely right now with the Chinese … to try to get this under control and aim for the denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Mattis said.
April 19 (EIRNS)—Experts on Korea from both Russia and China have expressed their high degree of concern that neither side take any provocative action, but also state that they do not believe the Trump Administration would risk a regional or global war by a preemptive attack on North Korea.
China’s Global Times newspaper ran a column by Zhao Lixin, a department head at Yanbian University, arguing that the Trump Administration’s two-month “Korea policy review” had “demonstrated the pragmatic and flexible side of the new government.” The paper also ran its own editorial stating that the “scandal” of the false Administration reports about the whereabouts of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group may have been a strategic bluff. But the editorial concluded, as have two others within the past week “Conducting a sixth nuclear test will be an extremely dangerous choice for Pyongyang. Once the test takes place, both China and the U.S. will have no other alternative but to respond with unprecedentedly harsh measures. Pyongyang needs to think twice before it acts.”
Obama adopted a doctrine of so-called “strategic patience,” which, despite its name, meant to refuse to talk, increase sanctions and military build-up, and count on Pyongyang to collapse on its own. Vladimir Vasilyev of the Russian Academy of Sciences U.S./Canada Institute told the press that Trump was dropping this “strategic patience” doctrine, while increasing economic and psychological pressure on the North. But in doing so, he said, “the Trump Administration has hung a Sword of Damocles over the North Korean leadership, as if to say that at any minute military force could be employed.”
Georgy Toloraya, the director of the Center for Asian Studies and director of Korea programs at the Russian Academy of Sciences, points to “unprecedented military activity” by the U.S., including the intention to deploy three aircraft carrier groups to the region. He believes that “this brouhaha has been started by the U.S.A. basically to win domestic political points for Trump, but also to put pressure on China…, that if China doesn’t act seriously to rein in its ally, there will be an outbreak of war in its immediate vicinity.” Toloraya calls the U.S. move a “bluff, so far,” to make China take more decisive actions. Nonetheless, he says, “I don’t think that a military conflict is really in the plans, because it would have devastating consequences not only for South Korea and Japan, but the U.S.A., including its servicemen…. The North Koreans have the ability to retaliate, even without nuclear weapons.”
Vasili Kashin, with the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that there is no country with back channels to Kim Jong-un. He notes that China has pressured North Korea, but is also imposing sanctions on South Korea due to the THAAD deployment. Obama’s policy, Kashin says, was to let the North Korea situation percolate in order to allow the U.S.A. to use the “North Korean threat” as justification for its own further build-up in the region, actually directed at China.
April 19 (EIRNS)—Two British inspectors are directing the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation of the April 3 chemical weapons event in or near Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province, Syria. Leading into a full meeting of the OPCW in The Hague today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has criticized this conduct by the OPCW, given that the British government had fully prejudged the investigation before it began, and declared the event a Syrian government chemical bombing of the town on the sole basis of two videos circulated by the “White Helmets” civil defense group, which was launched by the British Defense Ministry.
The British leaders of the two Fact-Finding Missions (FFMs) of the OPCW regarding this event are Steven Wallis, who heads the inspectors contacting the Syrian government, and Leonard Phillips, who directs the inspection team contacting “rebel” groups. Phillips is reporting that thus far his team has not been able to find out anything about the alleged attack.
The British Defense and Foreign Secretaries, respectively, Michael Fallon and Boris Johnson, have both stated publicly that their government tested soil samples from Khan Sheikhoun and from a Syrian airbase, and absolutely confirmed sarin gas. Yet OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu announced on April 19 only that test results from the alleged chemical bombing showed “sarin gas or a similar substance.”
“British citizens chairing the OPCW FFM don’t tell anyone anything, while British scientists have already analyzed samples taken at the site of the incident,” Lavrov said on April 13. His Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik the same day that the mission “should include specialists from all countries that can realistically assess … the developments…. These are all permanent members of the UN Security Council, a number of other countries, including the states with which we jointly act as guarantors of the Astana process—Turkey, Iran, and many others.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
April 19 (EIRNS)—China’s accelerating economic growth continues to drive the world economy—again accounting for one-third of expansion in the global economy—while the United States continues to drag it down.
Analyses of China’s “unexpected” first-quarter 6.9% GDP growth, from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to Bloomberg to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), agree on the primary driver of China’s economic expansion acceleration. It is extraordinary investments in new infrastructure projects both domestically and in other nations—in other words, the Belt and Road Initiative or “New Silk Road.”
But beyond GDP growth acceleration:
The Belt and Road Initiative, projected as equal to 20 Marshall Plans, is truly proving to be a grand investment and trade plan which is to the mutual, “win-win” benefit of the 60 or more nations which are participating. The great projects of infrastructure involved are growing in value at nearly 50% a year, according to a February study by PwC. And a new study by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research today estimates, based on physical economic factors like illumination at night seen from space, that China’s economy is actually growing faster than its government reports.
The “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in Beijing May 14-15 is intended as a path to productivity, productive employment and scientific and technological advancement for nations all over the world. Some 28 heads of state or government have announced plans to attend; even nations which have had security or strategic tensions with China, such as India, are sending high-level delegations and planning development corridors with the help of Chinese investment.
But the U.S. economy continues to stagnate and faces a potential new general crisis this year. U.S. industrial production fell further in March and is 3.5% lower than in November 2014, and actually only approximately 3% higher than in July 2000! Following that, the Federal Reserve on April 18 estimated an annual growth rate of just 0.5% in the first quarter, even lower than 2016’s 1.8% growth. Labor productivity has not grown for six years. Bank credit has stopped expanding; commercial and industrial lending is at zero growth. And corporate debt has grown so fast in the past ten years, against flat or declining profits, that an IMF report today said 20% of all non-financial companies will default if interest rates rise substantially.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
April 19 (EIRNS)—Since the U.S. Senate “21st-Century Glass-Steagall Act,” S.881, was introduced ten days ago, a literal explosion of major media “analyses” and statements have been published claiming that Glass-Steagall can’t be restored, and/or would do great harm if it were. The outburst by dozens in financial press of America and Europe demonstrates fear that Glass-Steagall re-enactment may be coming closer.
Today the assault features an editorial in the Washington Post which dominates media in the U.S. capital. It claims that Trump team support for the Glass-Steagall principle is “vague”; that splitting up Wall Street banks would take “tremendous effort”; and that the thread-bare story that elimination of Glass-Steagall during the 1990s was unrelated to the speculative bubbles which caused the 2008 crash. Since after Glass-Steagall the Wall Street banks became U.S.-dominating megabanks for the first time, derivatives markets grew by 10 times in 10 years, and a 60-year period without bank panics was replaced in just a decade by a global bank meltdown, this is similar to preaching that snow is black.
But since Trump’s economic advisor Gary Cohn told the Senator Banking Committee that the President favors some form of Glass-Steagall restoration, all the financial press are preaching just that.
Clearly the Trump Administration’s being held to his campaign promise on Glass-Steagall, is crucial. David Hawkings, senior editor of the Capitol Hill based publication Roll Call, said on Washington, D.C. radio this morning that Glass-Steagall can become one of the top legislative items in Congress overnight, if Trump officials make their support for it clear and public. On the morning “Federal Drive” show of Federal News Radio, Hawking said the claim of Administration support by sponsoring Senators Elizabeth Warren and John McCain is probably true, but the support must become public.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview with CNBC-TV today, again said that he and President Trump supported “a 21st-century version of Glass-Steagall” rather than a renewal of the 1933 law; he signalled that one such “version” was a bank separation or “ring-fencing of securities units away from commercial bank units,” as proposed in this session by FDIC Vice-Chairman Thomas Hoenig.
But a full Glass-Steagall separation is necessary to prevent massive new bailouts of securities firms and commercial banks in a new debt crisis which is threatening to blow out the U.S. economy again. And it is vital to recreate a lending-bank sector to participate in national credit for a recovery of productive employment and productivity.
April 19 (EIRNS)—In an article published yesterday, CNN goes through contortions to try to revive the dodgy dossier used against Donald Trump, fabricated by British “ex”-MI6 agent Christopher Steele. It reports that the FBI used the dossier to obtain a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court warrant to conduct surveillance on businessman Carter Page on his alleged Russia connections in early 2016 when he was working on the Trump campaign. This is the first admission of the fact.
In its peculiar reporting, CNN never even mentions Steele’s name as the author of the dossier until well into the second half of the article, leaving out any mention of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI6 altogether, but it plays up the fact that FBI Director James Comey used the dossier in his briefings to lawmakers, after, of course, “corroborating some aspects of the allegations” independently.
The news agency underscores that in order to get the FISA court warrant, both the FBI and the Justice Department would have to “present probable cause” that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, so CNN concludes, of course, that the dossier’s allegations must be true.
In reality, that only admits that intelligence agencies accepted and then promoted the Steele/MI6 fake dossier.
In contrast, in an article published on the Worldnetdaily (WND) website April 17, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid goes directly for the jugular, identifying British intelligence’s direct role in spying on Donald Trump and whipping up the “Russian connection” allegations. Kincaid cites the April 13 article published in the British daily Guardian that boasted of the role of the GCHQ spy command center, in identifying the “wiretap shell game” played by GCHQ and the National Security Agency (NSA), “where they can spy on each other’s citizens and deny it all.”
Beyond GCHQ, Kincaid also points to the Echelon global surveillance system set up by the NSA and its Five Eyes counterparts (the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), used by some previous British Prime Ministers who were involved in wiretapping scandals. Any country can circumvent its own anti-spying laws by asking another of the Five Eyes to do the work for it; this, Kincaid charges, is the “wiretap shell game” that the Obama administration used to spy on Trump. To avoid revealing this game, GCHQ claimed it had “accidentally” uncovered information on Trump.
Kincaid makes the obvious point that the Guardian could have published what it did, only if it had first had clearance from the British government, given the highly sensitive nature of the intelligence. Otherwise, he writes, the Guardian would be in big trouble under the U.K. Official Secrets Act.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
April 19 (EIRNS)—The launch of China’s first unmanned cargo vehicle is scheduled at the start of a four-day launch window at 19:41 China Standard Time (11:41 UTC) on April 20th. Its mission will complete the second of a three-stage manned space program that was started in 1992.
The goal of the first phase was to demonstrate the ability to put man into Earth orbit and return him safely. This was begun in 2003, with the flight of Yang Lewei. The second phase was inaugurated in 2011 with the launch of the Tiangong-1 module, which successfully demonstrated that men and women could live and work in orbit for extended periods of time. Now, before the deployment of the multi-component space station for the third phase, the Chinese space agency will carry out the tasks that will be needed to “take care” and service such a facility and its occupants, with the Tianzhou-1 mission. “In the future, Tianzhou spacecraft will act like deliverymen for our space station,” Wenchang Equipment Department Director Wang Ya told CGTN television network.
The Chinese unmanned cargo carrier is similar to Russia’s Progress ship in function, although it is twice the size. Tianzhou (Heavenly Vessel) will be tasked to deliver fuel to reboost the station, supplies needed by the crew, equipment for maintenance and repair, and equipment and samples for scientific experiments. When its job is completed at the future space station, it will also remove trash from the station, to burn up in the atmosphere.
Tianhzou-1 will take a longer-than-usual 3-5 days after launch to rendezvous and dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 module, in order to save fuel. It will make three dockings to practice refueling the module. The launch will be live streamed on the internet as the Chinese have done in some of their recent launches.
In stark juxtaposition to this new capability taking shape in China, Eric Berger in Ars Technica reported yesterday that an “ignominious record” in the U.S. was set last week: it has now been a total of 2,098 days since an American manned spacecraft has landed, that being with the last Shuttle landing in 2011.
April 19 (EIRNS)—A bit is moving positively between Delhi and Beijing. In addition to India sending a high-level representative to the Chinese Belt and Road Forum in mid-May, the stalled consultation process for the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) Economic Corridor is set to resume, with officials and scholars from the four countries meeting in Kolkata, India, next week after a hiatus of more than two-and-a-half years. The last meeting of the Joint Study Group (JSG) was held in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh in December 2014.
Officials from the External Affairs Ministry and scholars and academics from India will take part in the meeting to be held on April 25-26. The objective of the renewed dialogue will be to finalize the Joint Study Group report.
April 19 (EIRNS)— Under the title “Cheminade ‘Wants To Become Catalyst for Alliance’ Against Financial Occupation,” in its Europe coverage, Sputnik today published an interview with French presidential candidate Jacques Cheminade, the founder of France’s Solidarity and Progress party (Solidarité et Progrès), featuring Cheminade’s intent to become a “catalyst” for a movement against financial globalization and the “financial occupation of France.”
“I want to become a ‘catalyst’ for a new alliance against financial globalization … and the destructive global financial policies. We need to free France from the current banking system by adopting a new one, which would separate investment and commercial banking activities and by giving France back its monetary, economic sovereignty,” Cheminade told Sputnik.
Sputnik writes, “Cheminade said he intended to make France completely independent in the management of its economic affairs, adding that the country’s public debt was nearing 100% of its economic output…. [He] advocated the idea of massive public credit which could be used for ‘peace and for mutual development to the benefit of all the people on the European continent and beyond’ ”
“In 1979, France’s external debt was €230 billion…. Today, it is €2,170 billion, because we always pay interest on loans. That is, we get into debt to pay our interest. This is what I call a financial occupation…. I advocate for France to allocate €100 billion as a public credit that would create jobs. This will solve the problem of unemployment. While Europe makes money for banks, we will use them for building the country’s future,” Cheminade said.
“The current Europe is a fraud. It works for a world power of finance. Half of the European Commissioners after leaving the office start lobbying for the area of interest in which they were previously engaged,” he said.
Sputnik writes, “Cheminade further called for returning to ‘a real Europe’ and a ‘Europe of great projects.’ ”
That story was only one of six stories on Cheminade, which Sputnik International posted today, based on a 27-minute French interview with Radio Sputnik.
In addition to the one above, which also is posted in French on Sputnik France, Sputnik International posts under World: “Russia Right To Be Concerned by NATO Expansion”; Politics: “Cheminade Rules Out Joining 2022 French Race, but ‘A Lot Will Happen Until Then’ ”; also Europe: “France’s Cheminade Advocates Free Immigrant Healthcare To Avoid Epidemic”; under Tech: “France Must Commit To Nuclear Power, Intl Cooperation in Space—Cheminade”; and under Middle East: “ ‘Assad Is Not a Demon, but He Has Done Unbecoming Things’—Cheminade.”