This Is the Time To Be Alive
April 2 (EIRNS)—When our adversary’s scenario—“the Russians did it”— is being subjected to merciless ridicule before mass audiences, it is time to recognize that the fight over the future of the United States has not yet been decided—rather, it is in process of being decided right at this moment. It is swaying back and forth over the abyss.
The bold and courageous, but at the same time, competent and cool-headed appraisal of the present world conjuncture, says that world history hangs in the balance during these present weeks. We have reached a moment of decision, and that decision could go either way.
On the opposing side are the forces and institutions which murdered John Kennedy over fifty years ago. But the spirit of John Kennedy, which was the patriotic spirit of Franklin Roosevelt and Alexander Hamilton before him, never actually died. Just when those with worldly wisdom least expected it, John Kennedy’s spirit reappeared once more as an existential threat to the British Empire, in the form of President Ronald Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative” collaboration with Lyndon LaRouche on March 23, 1983. The British Empire tried to kill Reagan; they thought they could imprison LaRouche until he died in jail. They failed.
Yes, maybe they stamped down the sparks for a moment, but now the fire is much higher than before. Now Lyndon LaRouche’s policy proposals can succeed in the near term. The bloody specter of the British Empire, and the historical dead-end which was the whole age-old imperial system, can be quickly done away with. The United States can join with China and Russia in the great Eurasian Land-Bridge project first proposed by the LaRouches. We can continue John Kennedy’s and Krafft Ehricke’s journey of discovery out into the Solar System and beyond.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Grassley Demands Answers on FBI’s Role in Steele Dossier, Trump Investigation
April 2 (EIRNS)—In a March 28 letter to FBI Director James Comey, the second such letter to Comey in the space of a month, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, demands answers to questions about the FBI’s role in the case of the “dodgy dossier” prepared by “ex”-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, and about the murky role of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in the Trump-Russia investigation.
Grassley is unrelenting in pursuing issues related to the British intelligence origins of the assault on President Trump. In his March 28 letter, Grassley asked the FBI to turn over all records relating to Steele and the dossier, as well as an explanation of “all FBI policies, procedures and guidelines applicable when the FBI seeks to fund an investigator associated with a political opposition research firm connected to a political candidate or with any outside entity.”
As for Deputy FBI Director McCabe, Grassley points out that he didn’t recuse himself from the Clinton email investigation, despite the fact that his wife had received a $700,000 donation from a close Clinton associate for her campaign for Virginia State Senator. Moreover, if McCabe is participating in the Trump-Russia probe, how could he investigate Trump if he had a conflict of being too close to Clinton? Grassley underscores that “if Mr. McCabe was involved in approving or establishing the FBI’s reported arrangement with Mr. Steele, or if Mr. McCabe vouched for or otherwise relied on the politically-funded dossier in the course of the investigation,” the importance of these questions is magnified. “The American people should know if the FBI’s second-in-command relied on Democrat-funded opposition research to justify an investigation of the Republican presidential campaign.”
Former Obama Official Gathered Intelligence on Trump—Before Obama Left Office
April 2 (EIRNS)—In a March 2 interview with MSNBC, for which network she is also an analyst, Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration, and also an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, boasted that she and her colleagues had gathered as much intelligence as possible on President-elect Donald Trump’s “ties to Russia” before Obama left office on Jan. 20.
After her interview became a focus of media attention last week, and was referenced by the Trump administration as evidence that Trump had been spied on, Farkas tried to backtrack, claiming she never handled any intelligence, and had left the Obama administration in 2015.
Yet Farkas, now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, had manically told MSNBC that she had urged former colleagues, and “frankly speaking, the people on the Hill—it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people—to get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves our administration.” She claimed she feared that “somehow the information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy—that the Trump folks—if they found out how we knew what we knew about … the Trump staff dealing with the Russians—that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.”
The goal, she continued, was to transmit all the information gathered on Trump’s team to as many political operatives, lawmakers, and Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill prior to January 20.
“We have very good intelligence on Russia,” she said. “I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open… So then I talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.” Farkas insisted that Trump’s connection to Russian money was “at the heart” of the investigation. If he got money from Russians close to the Kremlin to bail out his debt, and this influenced him, “and he’s hiding this,” she warned, then this will require a major investigation—something far bigger than can be handled by Congress. Something like the 9/11 Commission will be required to conduct this “big, big investigation,” she argued.
New York Post Columnist: Obama May Have Been ‘King of Dirty Tricks’ against Trump
April 2 (EIRNS)—Michael Goodwin zeroed in on the likelihood that Barack Obama was the “king of dirty tricks” in surveillance of Donald Trump, in his New York Post column today. There are two potential Watergate-style scandals brewing, one being possible Trump collusion with the Russians and the second, charges that Obama “wiretapped” Trump, but it is the second one which is now “closer to pay dirt,” Goodwin writes; in fact, there’s “zero evidence” for Hillary Clinton’s claim that Trump was guilty of working with the Russians, but “the continuing FBI investigation gives Democrats an opening to make up their own facts…. Some are breaking the law to build their case.”
But on Trump’s charges of wiretapping, Goodwin asserts there is “compelling evidence that Trump was onto something very big…. If it can be proven that a sitting President used government authorities to spy on a candidate who then became President, and orchestrated leaks of classified material, Watergate by comparison, really would be a second-rate burglary…. The odds favor the possibility that Obama was the king of dirty tricks.”
Goodwin points to former Defense official Evelyn Farkas’ MSNBC interview that national security leaks came from Obama officials who were trying to undermine Trump. A further “bombshell” was the New York Times story March 28 which cited “intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.” How does the Times know it was “incidental” instead of intentional, Goodwin asks, “except that a leaker said so?” Although it’s a crime for anyone to leak Trump’s name to the Times and to “unmask” any American citizen who’s not the target of surveillance, Goodwin states, Trump is the sixth person from his circle to be publicly identified as being picked up by “Obama-era surveillance.”
Saudis Finally Facing Their Day in Court
March 31 (EIRNS)—Earlier this month, two amended complaints were filed in Federal Court in the Southern District of New York against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, re-admitting them to the long-running civil law suit filed by families and survivors of 9/11. The brief by the law firm Motley Rice ran 978 pages, and contained additional material released last year, including the 28 pages from the original Joint Congressional Inquiry Report and the “Document 17” of the 9/11 Commission, which identified more than 20 Saudi officials who had contact with the hijackers.
A second, complementary amended complaint by Kreindler and Kreindler ran 194 pages. Combined, the two complaints provided the most comprehensive evidentiary profile of the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in financing al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups to the tune of at least $30 million a year, dating back to the early 1990s. The Saudis were added to the suit again, as the result of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which President Obama vetoed within days of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, but Congress overrode with near unanimity in September 2016.
In addition to the court actions, a group of 9/11 family members wrote this week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, filing a formal documentary complaint that the Kingdom had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, by engaging in a string of fraudulent actions, all directed at getting Congress to repeal or modify JASTA. The letter, which called for a full Justice Department investigation, was based, in part, on the evidence recently published, showing that lobbyists hired by the Kingdom were lying to war veterans whom they were bringing to Washington to oppose JASTA, by failing to disclose they were on the Saudi regime payroll.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Mattis, In London, Toes British Line on Russia
April 1 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was in London yesterday for meetings with British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon; his performance there, illustrates the dangers of the so-called U.S.-U.K. “special relationship” and why re-establishing full military-to-military relations between the U.S. and Russia is absolutely crucial. Mattis exhibited full acceptance of the British line about Russian “aggression” and went so far as to express support for the idea that Russia “mucks around in” the elections of other countries. “Russia’s violations of international law are now a matter of record, from what happened with Crimea to other aspects of their behavior in mucking around inside other people’s elections, that sort of thing,” he said, during his joint press conference with Fallon.
This, he claimed is the reason why NATO is so important, on which Fallon fully agreed. Fallon declared that the U.K. wants to see NATO’s forward presence in Eastern Europe be “as persistent as the threat that it is designed to deal with, to reassure those allies on our eastern flank, and to deter the kind of Russian aggression that we’ve seen recently: military build-up, use of hybrid techniques, and indeed, interference in—in—through cyber and—and other techniques.”
Contrary to President Trump’s stated intention to seek to improve relations with Russia, when asked about NATO commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti’s and U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel’s testimony alleging Russian support to the Afghan Taliban, Mattis said, “I would just say that we look to engaging with Russia on a political or diplomatic level. Right now, Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor and we’re finding that we can only have very modest expectations at this point of areas that we can cooperate with Russia, contrary to how we were just 10 years ago, five years ago,” he said. “It’s no longer a cooperative engagement with them.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at the NATO foreign ministers meeting, was more discreet. “[T]he U.S. commitment to NATO is strong and this alliance remains the bedrock for trans-Atlantic security,” Tillerson said March 31 in Brussels. “The NATO alliance is also fundamental to countering both nonviolent, but at times violent, Russian agitation and Russian aggression.” He said U.S. sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea “will remain until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered our sanctions” and “we will continue to hold Russia accountable.”
In response to the NATO meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it was “astonished” at Tillerson’s remarks. “As far as we can see, maintaining unity within a multilateral structure, like NATO which incorporates such different states, is not an easy mission,” the ministry said. “It requires a strong uniting motive. It did not take much effort for NATO ministers to find it, as follows from their comments. They have always on their mind one and the same thing—a myth of a ‘Russian threat’…. We were astonished at the corresponding pronouncements by U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson,” the ministry said.
More generally, the ministry said it saw no evidence that NATO was ready to resume practical cooperation. “Actually, we are being drawn into a confrontational paradigm of relations based on the logic of military confrontation,” the ministry said. “Notably, no signs are seen of the alliance’s readiness to resume practical cooperation in the sphere of our common interests, to move towards addressing real security challenges, with regional terrorist threats among them.”
Putin Denounces ‘Groundless’ Anti-Russia Campaign, Warns of New Cuban Missile Crisis
March 31 (EIRNS)—The charges that the Russian government and Donald Trump somehow conspired to steal the U.S. presidential from Hillary Clinton are “endless and groundless,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told the press yesterday, after attending the annual Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk on “The Arctic: the Territory of Dialogue.”
Putin described current relations between Washington and Moscow as “at zero level,” and then he lit into the slander campaign.
“We are seeing what’s going on. They are preventing the new [U.S.] president from fulfilling his campaign promises on many issues: health care, other issues, international relations, ties with Russia. We are waiting for the situation to normalize and become more stable. And we aren’t interfering in any way.” He then reiterated: “Read my lips: No.”
Putin warned of the extreme danger of this provocative campaign. “This anti-Russian card is being played in the interests of some political forces inside the U.S., with an aim to strengthen and consolidate their positions. I don’t think it’s in the interests of the majority of the American people to bring US-Russian relations to absurdity for the sake of domestic politics. Do we want to completely cut diplomatic relations? Do we want to bring the situation to what it was in the 1960s during the Cuban [missile] crisis? Where do people behaving in such an irresponsible way want to take us all, including the American people?”
Putin also dismissed the idea that the Arctic could be an area of conflict with the U.S. “Russia sees no potential for conflicts in the Arctic Region… [We] are not going either to be at war or compete with the U.S. The quicker we establish cooperation in the military sphere, the better.”
U.S. Policy Towards Assad Changing Away from Regime Change
March 31 (EIRNS)—The Trump Administration took a big step towards fulfilling Trump’s campaign promise that the U.S. will wage no more regime-change wars, when White House spokesman Sean Spicer clearly indicated that the administration is not seeking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. At the White House briefing on Friday, a reporter asked Spicer if the administration considered Assad the legitimate President of Syria.
“With respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now. We lost a lot of opportunity [during] the last administration with respect to Assad,” Spicer said. “We need to focus on now defeating ISIS. The United States has profound priorities in Syria and Iraq, and we’ve made it clear that counterterrorism, particularly the defeat of ISIS, is foremost among those priorities.”
Spicer’s comments were foreshadowed by remarks made the day before by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
“I think the … longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” Tillerson said in Ankara on March 30 during a joint appearance with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Then, later in the day, Ambassador Haley issued a statement backing Tillerson’s remarks: “You pick and choose your battles, and when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities, and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” she said. “Do we think he’s a hindrance? Yes. Are we going to sit there and focus on getting him out? No,” she said. “What we are going to focus on is putting the pressure in there so that we can start to make a change in Syria.” A senior Trump administration official explained to Reuters that Haley’s remarks reflected “a measure of just realism, accepting the facts on the ground…. Assad is never going to have sufficient force to reassert control over the whole country…. Our focus is on defeating ISIS and al Qaeda and preventing Syria from being used as a terrorist safe haven.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
China’s Industrial Growth Continues Rising in February; Belt and Road Leads
April 1 (EIRNS)—China’s industrial production declined throughout 2015 with global trade flat and economic contraction in its biggest export markets Europe and America. But since the Spring of 2016 China’s extraordinary domestic investments in high-technology infrastructure, and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have reversed the trend.
China released February industrial production/factory activity data on March 31, which showed the ninth straight month of increasingly strong growth, with an expansion index of 53.8 and growth in both factory orders and export orders high.
Interestingly, the same index when released by a private tracking firm, Caixin/Markit, showed expansion of only 51.2, a drop from previous months. According to Bloomberg, this latter index concentrates on a survey of smaller companies, which are more oriented to producing for consumer export, and generally are not contributing to major construction projects. The gap between the two indices shows where the increasing rise in industrial growth is coming from.
France’s Cheminade Presents His Program to Entrepreneurs, Farmers, and Many More
April 2 (EIRNS)—“End unbridled financial speculation by bank separation,” “issue public credit to finance the real economy,” “leave the euro and the EU in its current form,” and “join with the BRICS to develop the world,” are the themes French Presidential candidate Jacques Cheminade has hammered on in his many interviews in the media. Last week, he had a chance to bring his message personally to important constituent events as well.
Cheminade, who is well known in France for his decades-long friendship with U.S. statesman Lyndon LaRouche, was the first of the Presidential candidates to speak to a meeting of the French Employers Federation MEDEF on March 28. His allotted four minutes opening presentation was followed by a discussion with four directors of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the audience for one hour. He told the businessmen that “I am here to discuss with you this opportunity that must be seized, of what we have to do for the France of tomorrow, and not to waste your time and mine by criticizing a system and its well-known defects and dangers.” He explained that he is not acting in a spirit of national cost-cutting, which would be suicidal, but in the spirit of recreating a Europe of the fatherlands, of great projects and of social justice, negotiating with the BRICS countries, the “win-win” new world economic order, in a system described as inclusive without excluding the United States, and to have the same sort of relations with China.
“In my view, three great projects can further the common aims of mankind: space, the oceans (the blue economy) and the development of Africa,” he said.
The same day, Cheminade was invited by the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association to give a 15-minute presentation on his policy, and in particular his views on Franco-Russian relations. Cheminade noted that his policy toward Russia would be that of de Gaulle: entente, detente and cooperation, as well as win-win cooperation to ensure peace in the world. He called for an end to the sanctions, in return for Russia’s lifting its counter-sanctions, in particular on agricultural goods.
On March 30, Cheminade was at the Congress of the FNSEA, the largest farmers’ union in France, where he gave a 10-minute presentation to the 1,000 delegates in the hall, followed by questions and answers from the panel for a total of nearly 30 minutes. Cheminade began by stressing that their profession, farming, must be very future-oriented, as it will have the great task of ensuring an adequate food supply for the entire world population. He is confident the French farmers will be able to contribute their share to that effort, provided we combat the financial occupation, with its policy of speculation on food products and of profits in the very short term, which is incompatible with agriculture and livestock farming.
Egypt Hosts First Annual Belt and Road Industrial and Commercial Conference
April 2 (EIRNS)—Yesterday the First Annual Belt and Road Industrial and Commercial Conference was held in Cairo, Egypt with an impressive grouping of business and financial institutions in attendance.
Organized by the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association and the China Federation of Industrial Economics, and held under auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry, the conference was attended by 150 Egyptian businessmen, in addition to 160 others from the BRICS nations. Representatives from the China Development Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the African Development Bank and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa also attended, Xinhua reported.
The Egyptian government website reported today that “huge” Chinese investments will be going into the Suez Canal Zone, especially in textiles, according to Ahmed Darwish, chairman of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone). He said that several meetings will be held over the coming few days with international Chinese companies to finalize investment contracts in the SCZone.
Note that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is in Washington for a five-day visit that will start tomorrow with a meeting at the White House with President Trump. El-Sisi was the first Arab leader to congratulate Trump on his election, and has won admiration from the U.S. President for his tough stance against Islamic radicalism.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Rosatom Plans Stunning Array of Projects for Arctic Development
April 2 (EIRNS)—During the just-concluded annual international forum, “The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue,” Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev presented a stunning array of projects that his agency has proposed, spanning energy, mining and environmental protection, Sputnik reported today. Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, is truly “on the front lines of Moscow’s Arctic expansion,” Sputnik wrote.
Among the many projects outlined, one of the largest involves the building of a major new industrial cluster on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago for mining and processing of lead and zinc ores. At the forum, Atomredmetzoloto, Rosatom’s mining division, signed an agreement with the Arkhangelsk Region’s government dealing with several aspects of the project. As Sputnik explains, once completed, Novaya Zemlya will be the largest mining and processing plant in the Arctic, processing about 220,000 tons of zinc and 50,000 tons of lead concentrate per year, plus 16 tons of silver. It is expected to begin operations in 2021 or 2022, with an investment of $479 million. Rosatom’s Likhachev reported that there is great interest in the project’s output from both domestic and foreign buyers, and a number of preliminary agreements have already be signed.
There was extensive discussion at the Arctic Forum on the building of new nuclear icebreakers, which will strengthen Russia’s leadership in the Arctic. Russian media report that the St. Petersburg Baltic Shipyard is building a series of three universal nuclear icebreakers, the LK-60Ya, the first of which, when commissioned in 2019, will become the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker, at 33,500 tons. It will escort convoys through the Arctic’s very challenging maritime conditions, allowing cargo vessels to carry hydrocarbons from fields in the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas to the Kara Sea, or even Asian markets. The other two ships will be delivered in late 2020 and 2021. Discussion is already underway on construction of another, 55,600-ton icebreaker, the LK-110Ya, the Leader, which when completed in 2019, will allow for year-round Arctic navigation.
Add to this TASS’s April 1 report that Likhachev announced that Rosatom is not only working on building floating nuclear plants, but also mobile submersible ones, intended to ensure a stable source of electricity for a range of Arctic development projects.
Putin Rejects Global-Warming Nonsense
March 31 (EIRNS)—On the sidelines of the annual Arctic Forum conference in Arkhangelsk on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it made no sense for mankind to fight global warming, since it was not man-made. The warming had to do with “global cycles on Earth, or maybe even of planetary relevance.” Mankind simply had to adapt to the changes, therefore, and, after all, warming also has benefits, particularly in the Arctic region, Putin said.
Before the Forum began, Putin had visited the Franz Joseph archipelago in the Arctic Sea, according to accounts in the German press. In his remarks on “man-made” global warming, Putin referenced an Austrian scientist who had toured that archipelago in the 1930s and seen pictures of the same location 20 years later showing that the iceberg melting had already begun, long before the growth of greenhouse gases had appeared.
Putin said that it was more important to develop the Arctic region and to conduct more research in it, than drawing premature conclusions on its ecological situation now. In this context, Putin also wished Trump’s new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who is a “climate skeptic,” good success, adding that one has to look into Pruitt’s views.
South African President Replaces City of London with BRICS at Finance Ministry
March 31 (EIRNS)—In a pre-emptive move, South African President Jacob Zuma dismissed his Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a loyal son of the City of London, late on March 30, and replaced him with Malusi Knowledge Gigaba, an articulate spokesman of the BRICS physical-economic outlook. Zuma had evidence that Gordhan was working with people in London and New York for the overthrow of his government.
Zuma also replaced many other ministers and deputy ministers of dubious loyalty, including Gordhan’s deputy.
David Maynier—a leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance and a participant in the regime-change effort himself—protested disingenuously, “Nobody in their right mind would believe the finance minister would participate in secret meetings with the intention of overthrowing the state.”
Gordhan’s replacement, Malusi Gigaba, is the current Home Minister. He was Public Enterprises Minister from 2010 to 2014 and, as an MP, has been deeply engaged in issues of agriculture, industry, and trade.
Gigaba was present at the launching of the BRICS Journal (bricsjournal.com) in Johannesburg on Aug. 11, 2016, and in an interview recorded at that event, told Fin24 news site that South Africa and all of Africa would industrialize. He said that building infrastructure on the continent would be the “driver” for that industrialization, and that it would happen within the framework of the BRICS and its New Development Bank. He took strong issue with “the culture of imperialism” and the attempt of the West to impose its “hysteria” over China on Africa.
After Zuma’s action at about 10 p.m. March 30, the South African currency, the rand, dropped 4.8% over the next 24 hours. But this time, Zuma and LSA have prepared the public to expect the bankers’ warfare.
At least one of the many prominent British agents in South Africa immediately ordered Zuma’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who heads the pro-London pole within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), to stoke revolt against Zuma by resigning. Prof. Jonathan Jansen, former Rector of the University of the Free State, tweeted just after midnight, “Dear Cyril, What you do or fail to do in the next 48 hours will determine your legacy for the rest of your life; this is it.”