EIR Daily Alert Service Wed, Oct 4 2017
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2017
Volume 4, Number 197
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—It cannot be more evident that a connection must be made, between the United States’ current urgent need to build and rebuild disaster-struck infrastructure with trillions in investments, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative which is building such infrastructure all over the world.
Just in recent days, China’s infrastructure banks have announced involvement in India’s pledge to provide electricity to every household by the end of next year; in an extensive modern rebuilding of the economic infrastructure of the Philippines; in a pledge to help industrialize Bolivia and make it a steel-producing center; in a rebuilding project to make Port-au-Prince and Haiti earthquake-proof and protected from floods. Financial firms say it will be keeping world steel demand growing through the mid-2020s with hundreds of new-technology infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. Included is port- and high-speed rail-building in Europe as well, where the “Maritime Silk Road” enters Europe through the Balkans.
Both China and Japan, between which there is increasing rapprochement after decades of hostile relations, are ready and willing to invest in such new infrastructure in America. The United States lacks a national credit bank through which to make such investment partnerships.
By the time President Trump leaves on his Asia diplomatic trip (Nov. 3-14), which includes summits in China and Japan, two developments are critical.
The President must be freed from the witchhunt led by “special counsel” Robert Mueller on behalf of British and U.S. intelligence agencies which have tried to eliminate Trump first as candidate, now as President. Nothing will stop this witchhunt except the most thorough exposure of Mueller’s history of crimes against the United States, using EIR’s 35-page “dossier” of those crimes just released. This is a modern-day J. Edgar Hoover blackmailer, juiced up on NSA surveillance methods; President Trump cannot, by himself, fight the impeachment campaign Mueller leads. EIR founding editor Lyndon LaRouche, who was persecuted by a “Get-LaRouche Task Force” headed by Mueller 30 years ago, is calling for worldwide circulation of EIR’s dossier to stop it.
Second, the LaRouche-proposed economic laws, including reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act and creating a Hamiltonian national bank for infrastructure and manufacture, must be on the table of Congress and President by the time he goes to Asia.
NEW WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—The China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has attracted the formation of a BRI investment fund in New York. The New York investment firm Kraneshares inaugurated its One Belt One Road Fund on Sept. 8.
Kraneshares CEO Jonathan Krane said, “We believe the OBOR initiative is creating a new paradigm in global investing. The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative will receive trillions of dollars in investment over the next decade and should increase the economies and trade, both of China and the participating nations.”
As Krane indicated, the scale of the BRI has not been seen before; it involves investments in building infrastructure and industry which are larger than those of the post-War Marshall Plan by an order of magnitude.
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—A delegation of cabinet ministers from the Philippines was in China last week, where their Chinese counterparts committed to funding several major infrastructure projects, and agreed to accelerate planning for a first and second phase of projects across the country. They aim to complete negotiations in time for the 31st ASEAN Summit being held this year in the Philippines on Nov. 10-14, which will be attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Two major bridges in Manila are scheduled to begin construction in November. China’s Commerce Secretary Zhong Shang told Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who headed the delegation, to prioritize 8 of the 12 projects on President Rodrigo Duterte’s phase one list. These include, in addition to the bridges in Manila, a major water control and dam project to supply water to Manila; a Chico River irrigation scheme in the north of Luzon, which has been on the books for over 40 years; an elevated expressway in Davao City in Mindanao; an industrial park; two drug rehabilitation centers; bridges connecting several islands in the Visayas; an agriculture technical center; and reconstruction of Marawi, the city in Mindanao which was seized by ISIS-linked terrorists in May, and where fighting is still going on. Many of these projects have been on the books for decades, with promises from the World Bank and others which never materialized.
Dominguez told the Chinese: “We recognize and appreciate the continuing engagement between our governments to speed up the preparations of the big-ticket infrastructure projects. Both governments are exerting efforts to streamline and expedite the approval process for the flagship projects.”
Zhong encouraged the Philippines to tap other sources of funding, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and China’s Silk Road Fund, as well as the Asian Development Bank. The AIIB has recently agreed to co-finance a flood control project in Manila, together with the World Bank and the government.
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—Xinhua reported today the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will help India improve its power transmission network and expand the use of solar and wind energy, with a loan of $100 million. The loan approved by the Board of Directors of the AIIB involves co-financing of $50 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sept. 25 that India would be providing electricity to every household by the end of 2018, something he also discussed when campaigning to become premier. This project overall is large, requiring perhaps $2.5 billion in investment and involving some 300 million Indians who currently have none or no reliable electricity from a public grid.
This was the fourth co-financing made by AIIB and ADB, two major multilateral development banks in Asia. The others include the M4 expressway in Pakistan; a natural gas production and transmission project in Bangladesh; and a highway around the port city Batumi, Georgia, the country’s second largest city.
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—In an Oct. 2 interview with the daily El Deber on Chinese-Bolivian relations, China’s Ambassador to La Paz, Liang Yu, was emphatic that China intends to “energetically” help Bolivia, in any way they wish, to develop into a prosperous, industrial nation at the center of a prosperous and developing South America.
Relations between our countries “will enter into a new period of broad and rapid development…. Expanding cooperation in such areas as productive capacity, mining and energy, infrastructure, development of highways, airports, railroads, hydroelectric plants, and collaboration and exchanges in such areas as aerospace, telecommunications, science and technology, and protection of the environment, will drive the development of Bolivian industrialization; the value-added of Bolivian products will increase, and its capacity for autonomous development shall advance,” Ambassador Liang told the Bolivian daily.
Among the projects already underway cited by Ambassador Liang, was China’s financing and construction of 1,300 km (over 800 miles) of dozens of highways which “cross from north to south and east to west, thus laying a strategic base for transport infrastructure in Bolivia.” It has also signed a contract to build a steel plant near Bolivia’s huge Mutun iron ore deposits, which when completed will rank Bolivia’s annual steel production among the best in Latin America, which, the Ambassador continued, “will be a gigantic step for the industrialization of Bolivia.”
Not the least of China’s contributions to Bolivia’s development is the 30 or so scholarships provided to outstanding Bolivian students to study in China, many of them “dedicated to such high technology careers as nuclear engineering.”
El Deber asked the ambassador about China’s view of Bolivia’s efforts to get a railway built to connect the two coasts of South America, and whether that bioceanic train is included in the Belt and Road project. Ambassador Liang conveyed China’s support for this strategic project, but pointed diplomatically to the need for the countries of the region to reach an agreement on where it should be built.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—Appearing on Fox Business News Sept. 25, Texas Republican Louie Gohmert said he recommended President Donald Trump appoint a special prosecutor to investigate “special counsel” and witchhunter Robert Mueller.
“Comey, as we’ve now found out he lied and leaked more than we even thought—we know that Mueller was his confidant,” Gohmert said to Fox interviewer Steve Doocy. “By law, Mueller is disqualified from investigating [the firing of] Comey.”
Gohmert also said that Trump had missed the very brief opportunity he had to dismiss Mueller. “The day that Comey testified that there is no collusion between Trump and the Russians, that was the day Mueller realized … ‘I don’t have a basis for being here.’ ” Trump could have fired him as a result, the Congressman said, but “Mueller leaked out that very day, ‘I’m now investigating Trump for obstruction,’ just so that Trump could not fire him.”
Now, Gohmert said, the President should appoint a new special counsel to investigate Mueller and his long-term relationship with Comey.
The dossier released by EIR Sept. 27, on Mueller’s corruption over a 35-year period of acting as hit-man for British intelligence within the FBI and as Justice Department prosecutor against uncontrollable American political leaders, also recommended that Trump appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Mueller’s actions.
As for Mueller, he announced today that he has hired yet another member of his nearly 20-member executive task force. Attorney Michael Dreben is a legal expert on pardons, who “has been researching past pardons and determining what novel legal strategies might be used to pre-empt President Trump’s use of the pardon power,” according to Bloomberg News today.
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump flew to Puerto Rico Tuesday morning, to examine the damage and survey the adequacy of the resources provided by the mobilized U.S. military, government agencies, and others.
Before leaving, President Trump declared, “The roads are being cleared, and communications are starting to come back. We need their truck drivers to start driving the trucks.”
Thus Trump demonstrated once again that he refuses to employ sugar-coated Congress-speak language in any situation, nor the related clap-trap of “talking points.”
The Trump administration will ask Congress this week to approve another $10-15 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief disaster fund, to cover continuing costs for the several disasters which have recently hit the United States, including Puerto Rico.
Just before Trump arrived, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló had warned that without an effective aid program from Congress, the current immediate flight of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland could become “up to 1 or 2 million” of the 3.4 million living in the Commonwealth today.
Trump said, “The difficulties of getting supplies are inherent in an island in the middle of the ocean.” He continued, “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine,” he then said. “We saved a lot of lives. If you look at every death as a horror—but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous—hundreds and hundreds of people that died — and you look at what happened here, with a storm that was just totally overbearing,—nobody has seen anything like this.”
When aides filled in that 2,000 people died in Katrina, and 16 have been reported killed by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, Trump said Puerto Ricans should be proud of the work of first responders, and of themselves. Again, shocked silence among the officials who are used to comforting platitudes free of much meaning.
Trump is reported to be thinking long-term. Politico today reports that a former Governor of Puerto Rico who is now a lobbyist in Washington, and is now working on a volunteer basis on delivering supplies to the island, received a call from President Trump Saturday morning. He told Politico, “The White House is already thinking of the reconstruction phase. I think that this time around they are thinking outside the box; about more than just bringing Puerto Rico back to the infrastructure status it had before ‘Maria’ hit.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—Since President Trump’s statement to a Congressional meeting Sept. 27 that he now favored all-public funding for new infrastructure projects in America, Democrats have moved quickly to offer to cooperate with him on it. But ideas about how to provide the public credit for this on a national scale remain, for the most part, vacant posturing.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, defending her willingness to work with Trump in a Sept. 30 interview, said “infrastructure is next” in that area. Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner were interviewed on Washington’s NBC affiliate WRC-TV Monday, volunteering to work with Administration on infrastructure legislation. Kaine proposed a plan that gives the greatest benefit to localities that contribute matching funds toward projects. Warner said the Federal government should not look for PPPs, but rather look for “dedicated funding sources.” And the Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—Carper, Cardin, Sanders, Whitehouse, Merkley, Gillibrand, Booker, Markey, Duckworth and Harris—wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, though this beau geste was simply a request to see the President’s “plan” which they well know he does not have as of now.
More importantly, House Transportation and Infrastructure ranking Democratic member Peter DeFazio of Oregon, met with the White House and gave an interview to the Washington Examiner Oct. 3, saying “I am trying to help the President here, and it sounds like he is coming along.” DeFazio is one of the very few in Congress who have spelled out workable proposals, to issue bonds against future excise taxes (including gasoline, port, and lock-and-dam excises), and invest at least tens of billions in modern transportation infrastructure. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) is proposing a 1% freight excise to be used in the same way. Along with DeFazio, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) told the Examiner, “I am really happy to see the President the past month or so is starting to reach out…. I am more hopeful in a bipartisan infrastructure plan than I have been since the beginning of the year.” Lipinski added, “I am cautiously optimistic we get a deal done this year.”
All are sponsors of H.R.790, to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act; but what is needed is the package that EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche calls the “Four Laws To Save the Nation.” In particular, a concept of a “Hamiltonian” national bank for infrastructure and manufacturing, which can actually issue the trillions in Federal credit required over time to build the urgently needed projects, is not yet in evidence either in Congress or in the White House.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—NATO remains convinced that last month’s Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 exercise was much more than Moscow and Minsk said it was, though they haven’t been able to say that it involved 100,000 troops. Anybody who was monitoring the Russian Defense Ministry website during Zapad would have seen that the Russian military was running other exercises during the same time period, including a large exercise of the Northern Fleet. NATO is lumping all of these exercises together in order to claim that Russia was clearly in violation of the Vienna Document and other notification and transparency obligations about military exercises. “In effect, these activities together constituted a single strategic exercise, involving the full spectrum of Russian and Belarusian military,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told the New York Times.
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. Army Europe, during an appearance before reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels yesterday claimed that Russia and Belarus deployed “way over 12,700” personnel, Military Times reported. “My guess is that there probably were over 40,000 service members,” he said. Like Lungescu, Hodges combined the Zapad exercise with other Russian exercises elsewhere in the country to come up with his numbers, and the conclusion that Russia was in violation of its notification obligations. All of these exercises, he claimed, were connected “because this was a whole of government effort.”
The available evidence suggests that, rather than preparation for some kind of provocation, the Zapad 2017 exercise, from Sept. 14-20, was really about the participating military forces doing what all militaries do. The New York Times cites analysts saying that over the course of exercise, Russian armed forces assimilated new technology and integrated information better than in the past to improve the military’s lethality. “These are key things to practice for the initial period of war, where time and distance are crucial, and whoever gets there first has a big advantage,” said Michael Kofman of the Center for Naval Analyses at the Wilson Center. “The exercise did a good job showing how Russia continues to improve combined arms operations; coordinating between different services.” The Defense Intelligence Agency summed up the exercise this way in an email to the New York Times: “Russia’s forces are becoming more mobile, more balanced, and capable of conducting the full range of modern warfare.”
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—Iraqi Kurdistan appears to be heading towards confrontation not only with the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but also with neighboring countries Turkey and Iran, in the aftermath of the Sept. 25 referendum. The confrontation with Turkey is particularly sharp, since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had long had good relations with Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Turkish Foreign Minister Mehmet Cavusolgu told the official Anadolu News Agency, today, that the restoration of good relations between Turkey and the K.R.G. is possible if the K.R.G. corrects its “mistake,” that is, the independence referendum. “This was neither a democratic nor a legal referendum. It is illegal [according] to Iraq’s constitution,” he said. “It is not too late yet. The [President Masoud] Barzani administration could take a step back. If the K.R.G. corrects its mistake, then we can continue with our relations just as we did before the referendum took place.” Four neighboring countries, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iraq, all have substantial Kurdish minorities that neighbor each other.
Speculation has been abounding that the Turkish military may be sent into northern Iraq, fueled by the presence of Turkish tanks on the Turkish side of the border, in the area of the main crossing between the two countries. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, yesterday, dismissed these rumors as just that, speculation. “Turkey will act in reason, in coordination with its neighbors,” Bozdag said, yesterday. He noted that Turkey has already taken measures in response to the K.R.G. referendum and will be taking more. “We will continue [to take measures] until the northern Iraqi regional government will step back,” he said.
The Iranians have also moved military forces up to their border with Iraqi Kurdistan, close enough to be visible from the Iraqi side, in a blunt message not only to Iraqi Kurds, but also to Iranian Kurds. Both the Iranians and the Turks are coordinating their military movements with the government in Baghdad.
Inside Iraq, the Baghdad government has refused to back down from its rejection of the Kurdish referendum. The parliament’s finance committee issued a binding decision banning financial dealings with the Kurdistan region over the vote, yesterday. The parliament also sent a letter to the Federal Court asking it to take legal action against Kurdish MPs who supported the referendum. The letter, reports the Rudaw News Agency, calls for stripping those Kurdish MPs of immunity and going as far as putting them on trial.
Oct. 3 (EIRNS)—The Diplomat’s webpage today reports that the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China relations which occurred on Sept. 28, 2017, was marked by signs are the two countries are moving toward a diplomatic rapprochement and Japanese participation in the Belt and Road development program.
On Sept. 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a ceremony at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, marking China’s National Day, as well as the 45th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations between China and Japan. It was the first time in 15 years that a Japanese Prime Minister had attended the event.
The Diplomat, an online current affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region, wrote, that Abe’s “surprise visit has been regarded by both Chinese and Japanese media as Japan’s most apparent move toward reconciliation with China in recent years.”
In return, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Yokoi Yutaka, the Japanese Ambassador to China, in Beijing. In the meeting, Yang told Yokoi that China expects more good news from Japan.
The Diplomat reported, “In fact, both China and Japan have been frequently signalling each other, in direct or indirect ways, in recent months.
“On Japan’s part, Abe’s administration said they would take part in China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative and would consider joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.”
China’s signals are less noticeable, but also positive, says The Diplomat. In July, China held a ceremony to memorialize the 80th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge incident, which led to China’s full-scale war with Japan in 1937, but this year, China significantly downplayed the event, compared to 2014, when President Xi Jinping personally attended and gave a public speech.