EIR DAILY ALERT SERVICE, MONDAY DECEMBER 18, 2017

MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2017
Volume 4, Number 250
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
Treason at the FBI and in Mueller’s ‘Get Trump’ Team Stand Exposed
Putin Thanks Trump for CIA Information that Stopped St. Petersburg Terrorist Attack
Putin Rips Project Democracy—No Maidans in Russia
Steve Bannon Issues War Cry against China
Anti-Trump Coup Team Is Running the ‘Lava Jato’ Strike Force against Brazil, Ibero-America
Evans-Pritchard Says the ‘Everything Bubble’ About To Blow Out
Geraci: Europe Should Learn from China How To Eradicate Poverty
China Is Getting Ready To Lay Fiber Optic Cable Across the Arctic Circle
Will Bitcoin Bubble Crash Be the Match Setting Off the Global Speculative Powderkeg?
South Korea President Embraces Belt and Road Initiative
Will the European Union Still Be Around in 2018?
China Can Bring Nuclear Energy to Africa
U.S. Ambassador Huntsman: Expect Better U.S.-Russia Relations, Americans Demand It
China Sets Up $7.6 Billion Fund for Guangxi and ASEAN
Argentine President’s IMF-Dictated Reforms Set Off Social Upheaval, Violent Repression

 

EDITORIAL
Treason at the FBI and in Mueller’s ‘Get Trump’ Team Stand Exposed
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—The treasonous actions by the leading figures in the FBI, CIA, and National Democratic Institute (NDI) under Obama are now undeniable. And, the exposure of their concerted effort to carry out a coup d’état against the elected government of the United States is now irrefutable.
Just in the last week, a former Assistant Director of the FBI itself, James Kallstrom, in several media interviews, denounced the “cabal” around James Comey who used the FBI to run a “fifth column to basically take away the Presidency of the United States.” He called Russiagate a “farce,” and pointed to the MI6 dossier at the center of the Russiagate hoax, saying that if it is confirmed that this British intelligence scam were used to get the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court to approve the operations against Trump and his campaign, and if the Comey team “knew that was phony information, that is a serious, serious felony.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy from South Carolina, speaking about the current FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Dec. 15, said: “I’ll be a little bit surprised if he’s still an employee of the FBI this time next week.” McCabe skipped his scheduled testimony before the Congress last week when his subordinate, Bruce Ohr, was shown to have conspired with MI6 agent Christopher Steele and the Fusion GPS outfit that worked for Hillary Clinton and the DNC to pay Steele for the garbage, and that Ohr’s wife worked on the Russia case for Fusion GPS. McCabe is now scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday. (Gowdy said he would be “shocked” if he shows up!)
It is useful to reflect on the historical role of the FBI. As far back as 1983 EIR exposed the fact that the FBI had used criminal means to destroy the remnants of the Franklin Roosevelt tradition in the Democratic Party, to turn it into a party controlled by Wall Street and London, by means of the so-called Abscam operation. EIR wrote: “The FBI spent an admitted $1 million to tap [Teamster President] Roy Williams’s phones and, as in Abscam, relied on the testimony of a convicted criminal to make its case. The jury admitted the testimony was ‘confusing and contradictory.’ The political purpose of the trial was made clear when Justice Department officials reportedly offered Williams probation if he would agree to step down as the union’s president. For refusing he was slapped with the 55-year sentence.”
At the same time, EIR wrote, “Sen. Harrison Williams of New Jersey … faces a three-year sentence and a $50,000 fine. He was convicted of a ‘willingness’ to commit a crime that the FBI’s own stealthily made films show he did not commit.” Rep. Neil Gallagher of New Jersey, who fought the crimes of J. Edgar Hoover’s boys at the FBI, was railroaded in a similar manner.
The 1983 EIR report pointed to the fact that the FBI was set up in 1908 specifically to create a secret federal police to control policies of the Congress and constituency organizations in the U.S., contrary to the U.S. Constitution. “Congress became the first victim of the Bureau’s blackmail, and of its frame-up efforts,” the article says, “carried out at the direction of President Theodore Roosevelt and his Attorney General, Charles J. Bonaparte.” And, no surprise: “The New York Times rallied to the cause of Roosevelt and Bonaparte,” writing that, “The Senators are duly warned.”  (See EIR Vol. 10, No. 15, “The Truth about the FBI: How the Bureau Was Set Up as a National Gestapo”)
Americans also need to come to terms with the fact that Robert Mueller’s first assignment for the London/Wall Street cabal was setting up the “Get LaRouche Task Force” in the 1980s, for the same reason—to stop LaRouche’s work, together with President Ronald Reagan, to bring the U.S. and Russia together, based on advancing cooperation in scientific discovery, and ending the British imperial division of the world into warring factions. The pamphlet which exposes Mueller’s multiple crimes, “Robert Mueller Is an Amoral Legal Assassin—He Will Do His Job If You Let Him,” has now been published by LaRouchePAC in its second 10,000 run, and was distributed to every Congressional office on Friday.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Putin Thanks Trump for CIA Information that Stopped St. Petersburg Terrorist Attack
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—The Kremlin reported today that President Vladimir Putin called President Donald Trump to thank him “for the information passed on by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from the CIA was enough to locate and detain the criminals.”
Putin specifically asked Trump to “convey his appreciation to the Central Intelligence Agency director and the operatives of U.S. intelligence services who received this information.” He also “assured Donald Trump that in the event that Russian intelligence services receive information that concerns terrorist threats to the U.S. and its citizens, they will promptly pass it on to their U.S. colleagues via partner channels.”
Sputnik reported earlier that the raids on over the night of Dec. 13-14 had “found a large amount of explosives, weapons and ammunition and dismantled a bomb-making workshop.” They said the plot had been coordinated with ISIS. Another plot had been prevented earlier, according to FSB head Aleksandr Bortnikov, involving plans to bomb New Year celebrations and the upcoming presidential election campaign.
The U.S. President’s website confirmed the call, and said that “President Trump appreciated the call and told President Putin that he and the entire United States intelligence community were pleased to have helped save so many lives. President Trump stressed the importance of intelligence cooperation to defeat terrorists wherever they may be. Both leaders agreed that this serves as an example of the positive things that can occur when our countries work together…. President Trump then called Director Pompeo to congratulate him, his very talented people, and the entire intelligence community on a job well done!”
Putin Rips Project Democracy—No Maidans in Russia
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—Vladimir Putin called on a well-known opposition candidate, Ksenia Sobchak, during his press conference Thursday, saying: “Ksenia would like to say something against everybody. Please.” (Her campaign slogan is “Against Everybody.”)
Sobchak proceeded to denounce Putin for allowing no competition in the election, arresting Alexei Navalny on allegedly false charges to prevent him from running, murdering opponents, etc. Putin was devastating in his response:
“Suppose your slogan is ‘Against everyone.’ Is this a positive action program? What are you proposing to resolve the problems we are discussing today? (Applause.)
“About the figures you mentioned. A question about Ukraine was already asked. Do you want dozens of people like Saakashvili running around here? Those you named are a Russian version of Saakashvilis. Do you want such Saakashvilis to destabilize your country? Do you want us to live from one Maidan to the next? To survive attempted coups? We have been through this already. Do you want all this to return? I am sure that the absolute, overwhelming majority of Russian citizens does not want this and will not allow this. (Applause.)
“There certainly should be competition, and there will be competition of course—the only question is radicalism. Look what happened to the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States. Where is it now? The thing is, it was comprised of people like Saakashvili or those you named. Where are they now? Nobody knows.
“Is this democracy or not? We should ask ourselves: What is democracy? This is a subject for a serious and deep discussion.
“I assure you that the government has never been afraid and is not afraid of anyone. But the government should not act like a bearded peasant idly picking at cabbage pieces in his beard and watching the state turn into a muddy puddle where oligarchs fish out goldfish for themselves, like it was in the 1990s or in Ukraine today. Do we want a replica of today’s Ukraine in Russia? No, we do not want it and will not allow it.”
Steve Bannon Issues War Cry against China
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—Steve Bannon, the former Trump advisor now running his own extreme right-wing operation, speaking at the Japanese Conservative Political Action Conference today in Tokyo, went into a rant against China, and falsely claimed that Trump was leading the offensive against China’s “economic aggression.” “The United States and East Asian allies must unify to constrain China’s frightening, audacious, and global ambitions,” said Bannon, according to a Breitbart report today. President Donald Trump, he added, “has begun ushering in an American resurgence toward this end.
“We’re going through the valley of decision. Now go back and study what happened in other eras—the 1930s, when leaders of the world [and] leaders on the side of freedom appeased people; didn’t face reality; kicked the can down the road. All the easy decisions are decades behind us. We don’t have any easy choices.” I.e., China is the new Nazi Germany!
“You could argue, up until [Donald Trump] became President of the United States that America was a tributary state to China,” Bannon raves.
“China has become more and more wealthy, and yet it has become more of a mercantilist authoritative system. Their business model is total rejection of free market capitalism. Their business model is a total rejection of the international rules-based order that American taxpayers underwrite with their dollars, and the young people in America the working class young people in America  underwrite with their blood. This has been an abject failure, and if you look in history, probably one of the biggest abject failures of any great power.”
Pointing to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Bannon says China is trying to take over basic industries such as advanced chip manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and robotics; that the Belt and Road is a scheme to take over Central Asia; their expertise in telecommunication is undermining the West; that using yuan for oil purchases is intended to “displace the U.S. dollar’s status as the global reserve currency”; and “Advances in financial technology” aim to “decouple Western companies and banks from global capital markets and money flows.”
But never fear, Bannon asserts: “There’s an energy out there among conservatives. It’s not a foregone conclusion that Japan and the United States have to decline and let China rise. Japan has every opportunity seize its destiny, to reestablish its national identity; and in partnership with the United States—a true partnership with the United States—reverse what the elites have allowed to happen.”
Anti-Trump Coup Team Is Running the ‘Lava Jato’ Strike Force against Brazil, Ibero-America
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—In a self-congratulatory speech on July 19, 2017, Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco, then-head of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (since chosen by Steve Mnuchin to head Treasury’s Financial Crimes Office), cited the guilty verdict handed down against former Brazilian President Lula da Silva as a prime example of the “extraordinary results” achieved from the DOJ collaboration with Brazilian prosecutors in the so-called “anti-corruption” strike force named “Lava Jato” (“Car Wash”).
The specific unit in the DOJ Criminal Division running the Lava Jato “anti-corruption” operation is the Fraud Section. Serving as head of the Fraud Section from November 2014 until June 2017 when he was transferred to Robert Mueller’s anti-Trump hit squad, was none other than Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s long-time sidekick at the FBI, whose history of prosecutorial misconduct won him the label of “Mueller’s legal pit bull.”
Former Brazilian and Argentine Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner charged last week that nationalist, progressive leaders across Ibero-America are being systematically subjected to “lawfare”—the use of the law as a weapon of war—for the purpose of bringing about regime-change and installing leaders who will impose the neo-liberal austerity policies which have so destroyed the region. Blanco’s speech demonstrates that behind that “lawfare” against the United States’ neighbors, are the same imperial interests intent on driving President Trump from office.
Blanco bragged of the DOJ role in this travesty in an address to the Atlantic Council/Inter-American Dialogue on “Lessons From Brazil: Crisis, Corruption and Global Cooperation.” Blanco welcomed “my friend, Brazilian Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot,” one of the key hitmen in the Lava Jato taskforce, who joined him on the podium.
“It is hard to imagine a better cooperative relationship in recent history than that of the United States Department of Justice and the Brazilian prosecutors. We have cooperated and substantially assisted one another on a number of public matters that have now been resolved, and are continuing to do so on a number of ongoing investigations,” Blanco stated. He went on:
“The cooperation between the Department and Brazil has led to extraordinary results. In just the last year alone, for example, the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the Brazilian Lava Jato task force have cooperated and coordinated resolutions in four FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] cases: Embraer, Rolls Royce, Braskem, and Odebrecht. Odebrecht is particularly noteworthy due to its breadth and scope….
“Indeed, just this past week, the prosecutors in Brazil won a guilty verdict against former President Lula da Silva, who was charged with receiving bribes from the engineering firm OAS in return for his help in winning contracts with the state oil company Petrobas. It is cases like this that put Brazil at the forefront of countries that are working to fight corruption, both at home and abroad.”
Blanco revealed along the way that cooperation between the DOJ and Brazilian prosecutors is so great that they operate outside “formal processes such as mutual legal assistance treaties,” often just calling each other up to pass on or request evidence, only bothering with legal “formalities” when necessary to make evidence admissible when a case goes to trial.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Evans-Pritchard Says the ‘Everything Bubble’ About To Blow Out
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)—EIR and experts such as banking historian Nomi Prins have been warning since May 2017 that the Federal Reserve’s slow and fraught raising of interest rates is a ticking time bomb, because of the super-accumulation of unpayable debt in the trans-Atlantic financial systems. The London Daily Telegraph’s International Business Editor Ambrose-Evans Pritchard, in a Dec. 14 piece, “The Everything Bubble Is About To Burst,” focuses on the likelihood those rate increases will now speed up, and says it will bring on a general financial crash.
Evans-Pritchard is not the only one now using the term “the everything bubble” for the immense expansion since 2010 of corporate debt used for speculation, “junk” and leveraged-loan debt, auto loan and other “subprime” consumer debt, sovereign debt, and the re-expansion of increasingly exotic derivatives familiar from 2007. Like many British and London-influenced analysts, he wants to focus, above all, on China’s credit expansion.
But in this column he wrote, “We will learn in 2018 just how much tolerance there is for an aggressive Fed and a dollar squeeze in a global economy where debt ratios have risen to a record 327% of GDP, up from 276% a decade ago.”
The debt/GDP ratio is now 295% in the United States economy, the same or perhaps slightly higher than in China, but with vast amounts of that debt growth in the United States having been for stock and bond market speculation and corporate “financial engineering” with their own stocks, rather than in the physical economy.
Evans-Pritchard says the U.S. tax cut legislation set to pass this week is disastrously timed. Inflation has already started to rise in the United States; the dollar has been falling significantly.
(This is true. But he also said that “wage inflation is taking off,” which is untrue; real wages in the United States have fallen for five months straight through November, both hourly and weekly.)
But he concluded the Fed is going to speed up its rate increases and raise the discount rate four more times in 2018; and this is going to blow out the “everything bubble.” He added, “The Chinese central bank (PBOC) is keenly aware of the danger. It has drawn up a contingency plan, fearing that China may be compelled to ‘shadow’ the rate increases.” The People’s Bank of China did, in fact, raise its discount rate one-quarter on Dec. 14, the day after the Fed’s rise.
Application of the Glass-Steagall Act in the United States—as already exists in China—is urgent.
Geraci: Europe Should Learn from China How To Eradicate Poverty
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—Economist Michele Geraci, director of the China Program at the Global Policy Institute in London, and of the China Economic Research Program at the Nottingham University in China, and teacher of finances at the New York University in Shanghai, posted a video on his website on Nov. 21 in which he answers whether China will be able to eliminate poverty by 2020. The video, part of a series called “China Economy and Society,” is both in English and Italian.
Geraci’s answer is “yes,” and he compares China’s poverty levels and government strategy with current poverty levels in Eurozone country Italy, to conclude that the situation in Italy is probably more dramatic and that the Italians and the Europeans should learn from China.
China’s strategy is clear-cut and is articulated in six steps, Geraci says:
1. Find out who the poor are, what they do, and what they earn. Through a geographic mapping, locate the main concentrations of population living under the poverty level;
2. Identify who is responsible for this situation (village chiefs, government officials);
3. Decide what programs should be implemented to help those population layers;
4. Identify lack of infrastructure and developing agricultural tourism;
5. Create solidarity social groups;
6. Analyze and check whether targets have been reached.
“So, we have here a well-thought-out plan that goes from top down with central government directives, to eradicate poverty in three years’ time, and at the same time cascading down, in order to make sure that the implementation is done correctly, and the rewards system rewards those who succeed. So, there is a complete alignment of interests and this is the reason why China succeeds in doing things.”
Then, Professor Geraci makes the comparison with Italy. Whereas the 45 million Chinese living in poverty are 3% of the Chinese population, Italy’s 5 million poor are 8%! Of course, the absolute numbers in the definition of poverty are different in the two countries: there is a tenfold gap. But taking into account the cost of living, “we have a problem in Italy.”
“We, perhaps, in Italy and in other Western countries, should look at China and implement a program which has similar characteristics to this, and the thing I do emphasize: Things get done only when there is a total alignment of interests, when central government policy is implemented by people at the bottom, who wake up in the morning and before opening their eyes, they think: ‘how do I get my numbers down to zero.’ Without that, we talk and we don’t do anything.”
China Is Getting Ready To Lay Fiber Optic Cable Across the Arctic Circle
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and state-owned China Telecom participated in a September meeting in Helsinki with Cinia Group, a Finnish information and communications technology firm owned by the government, to lay a 10,500 km long telecommunications cable on the polar sea bed. The underwater polar fiber link aims to speed up data connections between Chinese and European financial centers as early as 2020, China’s TV network CGTN reported.
Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted this project back in June 2016, when the country was promoting trade and infrastructure development in the area as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Existing Europe-Asian underwater cables tend to take either a southern route through well-known pressure points, such as the Suez Canal and the Strait of Malacca, or through the U.S. and across the Pacific. Bloomberg, reporting on the project on Dec. 14, cited Jukka-Pekka Joensuu, an executive advisor to Cinia, as saying, “[I]t has been widely expressed that this cable route would provide a game-changer in the industry.” Estimates suggest the new cable could cut the time delay from Asia to Europe in half.
According to Bloomberg, Marjukka Vihavainen-Pitkanen, a senior advisor with the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, said: Cinia Group has a “prominent role” in the so-called Northeast Passage cable project and is looking for partners. China Telecom officials expressed interest in getting involved at a September meeting in Helsinki, she said, reported Bloomberg.
Will Bitcoin Bubble Crash Be the Match Setting Off the Global Speculative Powderkeg?
PARIS, Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—There is a lot of discussion and agitation in the financial and news media concerning the bitcoin, as this crypto-currency, only at $4,000 last August, today crossed the value of $20,000 per bitcoin. While China, Morocco and South Korea are moving against it, Japan has legalized it, and the international financial institutions are allowing it to prosper. In the U.S., the Chicago Exchange just created a bitcoin futures market, and on Dec. 7, Goldman Sachs announced it will clear bitcoin futures trading for some of its clients.
Media analysts are discussing the possibility more and more of a crash of this currency, whose value is closely following the wild progression of the Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637, and whose collapse that might trigger a global crash. Indeed, since the total emission of bitcoins is not supposed to exceed 21 million, the closer investments come to this fateful figure the rarer the currency becomes, pushing the price up at incredible speed. The crypto-currency price has increased by more than 1,700% since the start of the year! The total market value has apparently reached today $400 billion.
Prof. Daniel Cohen, Director of the Economics Department at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, and co-founder of the Paris School of Economics, wrote on Dec. 11 that the bitcoin is nothing but a financial bubble, in the French weekly l’Obs. The buyers want to hold it not because of its intrinsic value, it has none; but to resell it at a higher price to other idiots. And when there are no more of these, the bubble will burst, he writes.
The bitcoin helps those who want to evade taxes, it offers the world’s mafiosi an ideal means of payment: secure, virtual, and avoiding the public sphere. Cohen observes, however, that public authorities have agreed to allow it to prosper. The day they decide to forbid it, accepting that it derives its value from its connection to illegality, that day the bitcoin will be demonetized.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
South Korea President Embraces Belt and Road Initiative
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)—During his four-day visit to China, which concludes today in the city of Chongqing, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced that he and President Xi Jinping have agreed “to actively look for ways of actual cooperation between China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI)” and South Korea’s own foreign policy initiative—the “New North” and “New South” policies—which seek greater economic and diplomatic cooperation with Eurasian as well as with Southeast Asian nations.
Especially in light of Japan’s shift over the past several months toward the Belt and Road, Moon’s announcement is of great strategic significance, reflecting a move away from Western policies of geopolitical confrontation which today threaten to blow up the North Korean situation. As Moon stated explicitly, the Belt and Road holds the potential to bring peace and prosperity to the region.
Moon said in a speech in China: “If the connection between an inter-Korean railroad and the Trans-Siberian Railway that South Korea is actively pursuing, meets China’s trans-China, Mongolia and Russia economic corridor, [then] the rail, air and sea routes of Eurasia will reach all corners of the region.”
Overseas markets are another key area of cooperation, he said. “I will actively support the joint advance of South Korean and Chinese firms into third countries,” he stated, and emphasized the importance of cooperation among countries in the region. (Japan’s Prime Minister Abe last week offered joint Japan-China funding of development projects in third countries.)
Will the European Union Still Be Around in 2018?
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)—The deep dissent and discord surfacing at the just-concluded Dec. 14-15 EU Summit in Brussels raise doubts as to whether this union will survive in the near future. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s plan for a big union reform was not even on the agenda at the summit. His other plan, to pass a new immigration rule by July 2018, to handle the stream of refugees coming to Europe, is not backed by Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, which do not accept the Brussels scheme for distributing refugees with a quota system among member states. Instead, these three continue to reject taking in refugees, and along with Slovakia prefer to pay Italy €36 million to handle “administering” refugee camps in Libya. Questions related to the Brexit are not settled among the member states, nor are the Russia sanctions. The sanctions were extended by the EU for another six months, with the vote of outgoing Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, but the FPÖ, the right-wing partner in the new coalition government in Vienna, rejects the sanctions and has announced it will veto them on the next occasion.
The EU also wants to punish Poland for its refusal to tune its judicial reforms to Brussels’ thinking; the EU Commission has set a deadline for talks with Poland on the issue for Dec. 20, wants to take Warsaw to court and has even threatened to suspend Poland’s voting rights in the EU. Hungary, which has its own controversies with Brussels, will not vote against Poland, which means that the European Commission cannot sanction Warsaw because it does not have the backing of the other 26 member governments. The British will not back Brussels either. The fight with Poland may backfire against Brussels: Insiders in Warsaw believe that Poland would rather quit the EU than give in, so the Poles may be out of the Union two or three years from now.
China Can Bring Nuclear Energy to Africa
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—At the first China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition taking place in Nairobi this week, Yao Hong, from the International Marketing Department for China Zhongyuan Engineering Corp, which is the overseas project operation of China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC), told Xinhua that Beijing has the technology, construction capacity, and financial institutions to bring nuclear energy to Africa.
“As a world leader in nuclear power group, CNNC is willing to share its experience and put forward to our African partners an integrated solution” that includes “human resources training, localization as well as business in nuclear technology applications in industry, medicine, and agriculture.”
He said that Africa is in urgent need of additional power supplies, and that CNNC has helped Ghana, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan to build research reactors.
U.S. Ambassador Huntsman: Expect Better U.S.-Russia Relations, Americans Demand It
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—Russian news service Sputnik called attention to the video statement posted on the U.S. Embassy’s Twitter account by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman today, which expresses optimism that U.S.-Russian bilateral relations can and will improve, because the people of both nations “expect it and demand it.” The message is short, and to the point:
“I think we will expect to see further improvements in the U.S.-Russia relationship. Why do I say that? Because the American people expect it and demand it. And the Russian people expect it and demand it as well. Sometimes politics can get in the way, and the issues can be tricky. But I am convinced the longer that I am here, the American and Russians should be able to find common solutions to global problems.
“We are already finding that in some examples of gaining greater security in Syria, our commitment to counter-proliferation issues with North Korea, and I hope that we find the same thing in Ukraine, for example.
“So we have an agenda of much to look forward to, and the more that we are able to find common ground on issues that matter most, and approach problem-solving together, in fact we are going to see an improved bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Russia,” Huntsman concluded.
China Sets Up $7.6 Billion Fund for Guangxi and ASEAN
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—Global Times reports today that China has yet another development fund—this one for 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) to invest in Belt and Road projects in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and ASEAN countries.
“The funds will be established jointly by an investment arm of China’s policy bank China Development Bank (CDB) and Guangxi Investment Group,” the daily reports. They will be used to support infrastructure and industrial projects along the BRI, according to the CDB.
They point out that, according to Hong Qi, chairperson of China Minsheng Bank, infrastructure financing demand along the BRI will amount to $10 trillion in the next five years. The Export-Import Bank of China recently established a branch in Guangxi to help with local industrial upgrades and BRI related projects.
OTHER
Argentine President’s IMF-Dictated Reforms Set Off Social Upheaval, Violent Repression
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—Argentina’s neoconservative President Mauricio Macri is in deep trouble. He doesn’t have the votes in the Chamber of Deputies to ram through the pension reform he has promised the International Monetary Fund, which includes lowering pensions and raising the retirement age, among other things. Yesterday, a chaotic session in the Chamber, in which voting was scheduled to occur on the reform, had to be shut down, after the ruling Cambiemos coalition failed to produce a quorum. Responding to growing protest from labor federations, social organizations, and retirees, deputies who had promised to vote for the bill changed their minds, and governors failed to get their own deputies to line up with Macri.
Outside, a large deployment of Gendarmes resorted to violent repression—pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets—against peaceful labor and other organizations that had gathered at the plaza in front of the Congress (which was surrounded by barricades) to protest the pension reform. Gendarmes attacked indiscriminately the moment people entered the plaza, causing many injuries and arrests, even spraying one legislator in the face with pepper spray, despite the fact that she was wearing her congressional ID. And, in an unprecedented action, Gendarmes blocked the entrance to the Congress normally used by deputies, and a group of opposition legislators had to literally force their way into the building.
Now, an infuriated Macri, who knows he has to deliver on the neoliberal reforms promised to London and Wall Street, is desperately scrambling. He is huddling today with governors and cabinet members to try to secure the votes for another congressional session on Monday, Dec. 18. He had also threatened to enact the legislation through a presidential decree, but that option has been set aside, for the moment, as too risky. One of his staunchest allies, Elisa “Lilita” Carrio of the Civic Coalition, who contributed to yesterday’s congressional session being shut down, publicly denounced the decree idea as unconstitutional and attacked Security Minister Patricia Bullrich for the brutal police operation outside the Congress.
“Bullrich has to stop,” she said.
The CGT labor federation, whose three-man leadership frequently cooperates with the government, has announced that it is in a state of “alert and mobilization,” and warned it will announce a 24-hour general strike if the pension bill is passed, although it is also urging “negotiation” with the government.
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