EIR Daily Alert Service
WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2017
Volume 4, Number 87
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
May 2 (EIRNS)—It is increasingly clear that President Donald Trump is taking steps, together with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to end the crisis points in Eurasia which had brought the world to the brink of world war under President Obama, and which the British and their assets have been desperately trying to use again today to break up Trump’s cooperation with Russia and China.
As one South Korean analyst said last week, Trump has a policy on North Korea which is very close to that of the leading candidates for President in South Korea in the upcoming May 9 election: carry a bigger stick, but offer a bigger carrot.
While the Trump Administration has activated the THAAD missile system in South Korea, and is carrying out exercises in the region with an aircraft carrier, B-1 bombers, and nuclear subs, he is at the same time declaring for all to hear that he is working closely with President Xi, and that he wants to assure North Korea that the U.S. is not threatening “regime-change” against the Kim Jong-un government. His statement on Monday that he would be willing to meet face to face with Kim Jong-un under the appropriate circumstances, has been met with hysteria in the Western press, while their response to Trump’s call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, inviting him to visit the White House, sent the New York Times and others into conniptions.
But what do these steps represent? The Korea crisis was created by the Bush and Obama administrations, sabotaging every agreement reached with the North, and leading to Obama’s insane “strategic patience”—a refusal to talk to the North unless they did exactly as told, while building up a massive military force and increasing sanctions. The target was China, not North Korea. Bush and Obama were delighted to have a nuclear armed North Korea, providing an excuse to build up a massive military ring around China and Russia.
Now, Trump is working with China. There is no more reason to drive North Korea into hostile reactions with nuclear armaments. As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week, we must convince Pyongyang that we do not intend regime-change, but only a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
So, too, with the Philippines. The unnecessary provocation of China by the former Philippine government, taking the issue of sovereignty over the South China Sea islands to a biased Western court, without Chinese participation, justified the Obama deployment of powerful military forces into the region. With Duterte’s election, that crisis ended, and the Philippines is now working closely with China, and also with the U.S. Both the Philippines and the U.S. are now under sane leadership, rejecting the insanity of world war between nuclear powers.
Today, Trump had a long phone discussion with President Putin, agreeing to work closely together on forging a peaceful, political solution to the hotspots in North Korea and Syria. This horrifies the British, who thought they had successfully poisoned Trump’s intention to befriend Putin through their lies about Assad using chemical weapons, which had induced Trump to bomb a Syrian airbase.
Of course, the New York Times, the voice of the British Empire in the U.S., describes Xi Jinping and Putin as dictators, and claims that Trump is a tyrant for wanting to be friends with them, or with other “authoritarian dictators” such as Duterte, Egypt’s el-Sisi, or others who defy the British imperial division of the world into enemy camps, and who are only interested in fighting terrorism, not other nation-states. Indeed, these are the countries of the New Silk Road, who wish to work together as friends in building a world worthy of the dignity of mankind.
As of yet, Trump has not announced whether or not he will attend the international Belt and Road Forum, scheduled for Beijing on May 14-15, in which over leaders from 100 nations will meet to discuss a future for mankind based on mutual development, the alleviation of dire poverty (as China has itself nearly achieved), and a world free of war and terrorism. As Helga Zepp-LaRouche said on April 13, if Trump proceeds to bring the U.S. into the New Silk Road, he will be remembered as one of the greatest American Presidents. The very concept of Empire, of a world composed of Darwinian people and nations functioning like animals, fighting for advantage over the other, can be deposited into the historical garbage can once and for all. Mankind can then go forward to its true destiny, in building a just and prosperous world, moving mankind into space, and creating a scientific and cultural Renaissance among all peoples.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
May 2 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “business-like” telephone conversation, today, during which they discussed how to promote diplomatic progress in both Syria and North Korea.
“Vladimir Putin has called for restraint and decreasing of the level of tensions” on the Korean Peninsula, the Kremlin statement said as reported by RT. “It has been agreed to work jointly on a diplomatic solution that will settle the crisis.”
On Syria, the two Presidents have decided to “activate the dialogue between the heads of the foreign ministries of both countries [Tillerson and Lavrov] who will seek variants to secure the ceasefire regime, stabilize it and control it,” the statement says. “The goal is to create the background that would help launch a real peace process in Syria. This means that Russia’s Foreign Minister and the U.S. Secretary of State would inform their leaders about progress in this regard.”
The White House statement reported that the two leaders agreed that “all parties must do all they can to end the violence” in Syria, and that Trump and Putin also discussed working together against Islamic militants throughout the Middle East. “The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons,” it said.
Trump and Putin also spoke in favor of organizing a face-to-face meeting around the time of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, according to the Kremlin statement.
This call, the first since Trump was induced to attack a Syrian airfield based on false intelligence from the British, should make it possible for Trump to return to his original intention to work closely with Russia in the war on terrorism.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had spoken by phone yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press service reported. Their talks focused on the next round of talks on Syria in Astana, Kazakhstan, on May 3-4, and “some issues of bilateral relations have been considered. A timeline for upcoming Russian-U.S. contacts was discussed, including a conversation on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks (U.S.A.) on May 10-11.”
May 2 (EIRNS)—An editorial in the Global Times today reports that, regarding the Korea crisis, “if Washington works in the same direction as Beijing, a major breakthrough on the issue will be in sight.”
The editorial, representing the government party policy, complains that the Trump administration has expressed an attitude that “Pyongyang giving up its nuclear ambitions depends on whether Beijing imposes enough pressure,” which, they say, is not correct. “Washington, while not placing too many expectations on China, must also continue to exert its own efforts on the issue. Trump should not take all his advice from some so-called strategists and be misled about the situation.”
The problem is essentially between Washington and Pyongyang: “North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear and long-range missile technologies is driven by insecurity about its regime. It is trying to avoid becoming the next target to topple after Iraq and Libya. The U.S. must address Pyongyang’s strategic unease.”
This is exactly what Rex Tillerson said last week.
The editorial, however, also notes that “the sensitive time of April has passed. North Korea did not conduct a sixth nuclear test and the frequency and scale of its missile launches are not that significant, which can be attributed to cooperation between China and the U.S.”
May 2 (EIRNS)—Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday visited the Chinese guided-missile frigate Chan Chung which is visiting the Davao international port. Speaking to the press afterwards, he said that he told the Chinese, “you can have a joint exercise here in Mindanao, maybe in the Sulu Sea.”
Duterte and Philippine defense officials were given a tour of the ship by Chinese Naval and diplomatic officials. The PLA Navy warship and two other Naval vessels are in Duterte’s hometown for a two-day visit until Tuesday.
May 2 (EIRNS)—The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas has removed from its charter the pledge to destroy Israel, and now accepts a Palestinian state along with Israel, based on the pre-June 1967 borders. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal made the official announcement on Monday at a press conference in Qatar. The charter also now accepts the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the “national framework” for Palestinians.
“The document is available to anyone who wants to know about Hamas and its policies,” Mashaal said. “The document reflects the consensus and reconciles Islamic and international principles.”
Hamas described the long-awaited document as a set of “general principles and policies” rather than a replacement for its founding charter, which critics have often cited as evidence the group would not be committed to any peace deal with Israel.
Ahmad Yusuf, a senior Hamas leader, said the new document signalled “an important shift in the way Hamas is thinking” that will give it more flexibility internationally. “There is a lot considered new when compared to the charter of 1988 in the way we talk about Jews. The problem is not with the Jewish people or their religion; the problem is with the Israeli project and occupation,” he told Anadolu Agency. “This is a very important declaration from Hamas.” He said that it also underlines, that opposition to Israel does not need to be through armed means, and that the document is more suited to Hamas’s current position, as the ruling faction in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
This change comes in the context of the new U.S. Presidency of Donald Trump, whose special envoy Jason Greenblatt has toured the region in an effort to get the Israeli-Palestinian talks started again. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to meet President Trump in the near future.
One thing required for talks is to establish Palestinian unity between the Palestine Liberation Organization-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza. In this context, it is noted that Mashaal is to step down as Hamas leader later this month. Among those contending for leadership are Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is now based in Egypt, and Ismail Haniyeh, a former top Hamas official in Gaza.
Already there are fears in Israel that Trump might not be the usual American Presidential pushover when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. A recent commentary in Ynetnews by Israeli journalist Alex Fishman, bearing the revealing title, “Israeli Officials Are Missing Obama Earlier than Expected,” makes this point. Fishman writes that former President Barack Obama was the best U.S. President for Israel. While he may have expressed his dislike for Israeli expansion of its settlements in the West Bank, Obama never pressured Israel and, in fact, increased military aid to an unprecedented level. Fishman writes that Israelis have real concern that this might change with Trump, whose security team sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as standing in the way of overall Middle East settlement.
May 2 (EIRNS)—The British periodical UK Column’s editor Mike Robinson published an article yesterday questioning the motive of Theresa May’s surprise call for new elections, warning that it could be aimed at allowing the launching of a war on Syria while there is no standing Parliament between May 3, when Parliament will be dissolved, and the election on June 8.
Robinson recalls that in 2013, when Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama were trying to start a war on Syria over the faked chemical weapons charges, “British military intervention in Syria was prevented by Parliamentary vote. MPs at that time knew full well that there was no support for such action among their constituents. More than that, there was clear opposition to it. Although the latest polls suggest that opposition has reduced slightly, there is still no clear support for military intervention in Syria. Parliament, then, remains a likely block to military intervention.
“So what better opportunity than when there is no Parliament? With no-one to hold the Executive in check, Theresa May can use the Royal Prerogative to take Britain to war in Syria, and war in Syria could very well mean war with Russia. The danger lies between 3 May and 8 June.”
Robinson also points to the White Helmets, who are funded by the U.K. and U.S., working in full cooperation with ISIS and the other terrorist groups in Syria, providing fake intelligence, as in the recent chemical weapons accusations against the Assad government. Investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley, he says, reported from Aleppo this week that “a White Helmets team has just arrived in Ariha, Idlib. We should prepare, she said, for a new chemical weapon movie.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
May 2 (EIRNS)—It is by now quite clear that President Donald Trump—who campaigned for a “21st-Century Glass-Steagall”—and his economic advisors want to break up Wall Street banks. They want to prohibit insured commercial banks from speculating in securities and derivatives with taxpayer backstops.
There is no need to “modernize” the Glass-Steagall Act to do this, unless to specify the prohibition of certain securities/derivatives bets and plays which did not exist in precisely that form 80 years ago.
The bills to restore Glass-Steagall now in the Senate and House, which do this, should be passed now. That “old system” the President said he was looking at, was and is effective. It can prevent another, worse banking crash and bailout.
Congress should break the Wall Street banks up starting immediately. While the President’s team is trying to figure out what new set of regulations to recommend as a “21st-Century Glass-Steagall Act,” another huge debt bubble created by Wall Street in the zero-interest era—this time corporate debt—is threatening to collapse with immense economic damage.
While Trump’s National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn told community bankers May 1 that a “two-tier regulatory system” might be given the “modernized Glass-Steagall” name, no untried new system of regulations is necessary. It is the Glass-Steagall Act which has credibility: from its 60-year track record of maintaining stability, soundness and depth of capital in the banking system, with no crashes; and from broad, bipartisan constituency support.
Today’s Wall Street Journal, for example, published three letters debunking an unhinged attack on Glass-Steagall by former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich. The letters, at least one of which was from an independent banker, all made the same fundamental point—the original Glass-Steagall “hard-line separation” worked, and will work; any “substitute” will lead to bailouts of bankrupt Wall Street institutions and to economic damages, one way or another.
May 2 (EIRNS)—Another stock newsletter, looking at Federal Reserve data, has noted that U.S. corporate debt is in a pre-crash situation. “Theotrade” comments, “right before the financial crisis, debt was issued to fund a massive amount of buybacks. History is repeating itself as the current corporate debt issuance is almost as high as 2007 and the current net equity issuance is almost as low as 2007. This chart shows the debt bubble in its glory.” As EIR reported May 1, there has been an absolutely extraordinary explosion of at least $7 trillion in new debt of non-financial corporations just since 2010, an increase of more than 75%, while equity—capital—of these companies has declined by $3 trillion due to their “financial engineering” with the debt. This repeats the speculative pattern from the beginning of 2004 to the end of 2007, precisely as the newsletter shows.
May 2 (EIRNS)—Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called FBI Director James Comey to testify before his committee on May 3, after sending him a second letter (the first was on March 6) on April 28 demanding that he respond to previous requests (which Comey has refused to answer), and adding new demands for information and documents, classified and unclassified. The issue is the FBI’s relations with former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, the author of the British pack of lies trying to paint Trump as some kind of Russian dupe. In particular, Grassley wants to know if the FBI hired Steele after he had been hired by Fusion GPS on behalf of Trump’s enemies in both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Grassley demands information on any FBI payments to Steele.
Most interesting, Grassley writes: “There appear to be material inconsistencies between the description of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele that you did provide in your briefing and information contained in Justice Department documents made available to the Committee only after the briefing. Whether those inconsistencies were honest mistakes or an attempt to downplay the actual extent of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, it is essential that the FBI fully answer all of the questions from the March 6 letter and provide all the requested documents in order to resolve these and related issues.”
Grassley’s letter also notes that the Committee has learned that Fusion GPS was also functioning as an “unregistered foreign agent” for interests in Russia, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. He writes: “That unregistered work was reportedly conducted with a former Russian intelligence operative, Mr. Rinat Akhmetshin, and appears to have been occurring simultaneous to Fusion GPS’s work overseeing the creation of the dossier.” This appears to be in regard to lobbying efforts by Fusion GPS against the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
May 2 (EIRNS)—China and Greece have agreed to boost their cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative. Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his April 26-27 visit to Athens. In their meeting, Liu told Tsipras that through the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative the two countries will development an all-round strategic partnership, and that in this context, the CPC is willing to deepen relationship with Tsipras’s Syriza party.
For his part, Tsipras said both the Greek government and the Syriza party attach great importance to developing relations with China and wish to take the Belt and Road Initiative as an opportunity to further advance bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, culture, science and technology, and tourism.
It is also being reported that a broad economic agreement with China is about to be concluded which could be signed on the sidelines of the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing which Tsipras will attend. The agreement will cover three years and is expected to include a number of specific investment initiatives and a financing mechanism. The agreement is being prepared by Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chinese Embassy in Athens. The agreement has a potential value in the billions and opens the way for a large Chinese group to invest in a Greek tourism complex, and project in telecommunications, energy, and port and shipping activity.
While China offers a future for Greece, the EU today rammed through another murderous deal, allowing for the release of bailout funds that go directly to the banks, especially the European Central Bank, in return for an agreement to cut pensions in 2019, amongst other atrocities.
May 2 (EIRNS)—Czech President Milos Zeman’s spokesman, Jiri Ovcacek, said Zeman’s participation in the Chinese summit is a great chance for the Czech Republic. Zeman will stay in China for a full week, and is accompanied by his top advisor for China, Jan Kohout, former diplomat and foreign minister. Kohout established his own lobbying group, the Institute of the New Silk Road, last year. He is also behind the Sino-Czech Aviation Association that is negotiating cooperation between Czech aircraft producers and China, according to Lidove Noviny. The project of a new Silk Road, “a commercial and political highway to China,” is an opportunity for the coming decades, Kohout said. “This is a logical continuation of the President’s policy towards China,” Kohout told the Prague daily Lidove Noviny.
May 2 (EIRNS)—Iran’s PressTV interviewed EIR’s Gretchen Small yesterday on the latest daily twist in a devolving breakdown crisis in Venezuela, which has created critical shortages of food, medicine, even electricity. That unlivable situation has driven new layers to take to the streets in protests which are becoming increasingly violent on both sides. The stand-off is between an opposition whose only leadership is a bunch of well-to-do monetarist fanatics hyped up by Wall Street and City of London as the beneficiaries of its “regime change” operations, and a government run by a bunch of ideological fanatics who claim to represent the poor and the workers, and treat any opposition as fascist. The situation is devolving towards civil war.
President Nicolas Maduro yesterday called for a new constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution and elect a new Congress. The opposition, which controls the Congress, just sent a letter to Pope Francis, de facto pulling out of Vatican-mediated dialogue, by asserting that the only dialogue now is that “of voting”; they will settle for nothing other than new elections under international control.
Small told PressTV that none of that will work; Venezuela is not a problem of its form of government, but of physical economy. There is no solution under the current paradigm, but under the new paradigm developing around the New Silk Road project which will advance in the May 14-15 “Belt and Forum for International Cooperation” in Beijing, Venezuela can blossom.
To wit: EIR published an article on August 15, 2008, titled “How To Triple Food Production in Ibero-America With High-Speed Rail,” which focused on the stunning potential of Brazil’s Cerrado region and of the Colombian-Venezuela Llanos. Regarding the latter, 50 million hectares of prime agricultural land in the plains region of Venezuela and Colombia can be turned into a breadbasket, with a little fertilizer and a lot of railroads to move goods in and out. Only through something like that can the government beat the bankers’ coup.
PressTV came back: Maduro charges the U.S. is out to overthrow him. Do you agree? Yes—but U.S. policy could change quickly. Trump said today he is studying Glass-Steagall. U.S. policy changes overall, and policy towards Venezuela changes.