EIR Daily Alert Service, MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018
Volume 5, Number 55
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
Mrs. ‘M’ Draws Western Allies into Dangerous Confrontation with Russia
Russian Foreign Ministry’s Zakharova Warns of Nuclear Games by ‘Poisonous London’
Dramatic Developments Underway in Syria, as Civilians Are Freed, Jihadi Enclaves Shrink
Gen. Rudskoy: U.S. Seeks Chemical Arms Provocation as Excuse for Airstrike on Syrian Forces
British Empire’s Long History of Nazi-Style Chemical, Biological Human Experiments
Weaknesses Appear in Latest British Information-Warfare Operation
China Renews Offer to Europe for Belt and Road Cooperation, ‘A Global Public Good’
Azerbaijan’s New Port in Alat Aims To Become Another Major Intercontinental Hub
Diplomacy Forges Ahead for Meeting between U.S. and D.P.R.K. Leaders Trump and Kim

Mrs. ‘M’ Draws Western Allies into Dangerous Confrontation with Russia
March 18 (EIRNS)—In her March 17 lead article written for the German weekly newspaper Neue Solidarität, Schiller Institute founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche warned that Western leaders’ capitulation to the British Empire’s insane provocations against Russia have exacerbated the strategic crisis and heightened the danger of war. We quote excerpts of her article here:
“It was only one day after Chancellor Merkel swore to ‘protect the German people from harm’ in her oath of office, that she fully supported the irresponsible provocation of the British government against Russia in a joint declaration of the French, U.S., British and German governments. Macron, Trump, May and Merkel agreed that there was ‘no plausible alternative explanation’ for the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, other than that Russia was responsible for it. But this operation is so blatant, that there is only one plausible explanation for it: The British Empire wants to drag the entire West into an escalation of the new Cold War and possibly more. And Mrs. Merkel is playing right into it with no hesitation.
“In the meantime, a series of well-known experts have pointed out that the one-day ultimatum which Theresa May gave the Russian government to explain how the nerve agent ‘Novichok’ got from Russia to Great Britain, is a clear breach of the rules of the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], of which the U.K. is also a member. It would have been necessary, they note, to submit samples of the poison to the OPCW for an independent investigation, and the accused party, in this case Russia, should have been given ten days in which to answer the charges. The former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, characterized the ‘Novichok’ story, for which the British government has not produced a shred of evidence, as a swindle in the tradition of accusations about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. (It will be recalled that a memo of the British foreign intelligence service MI6 presented the submission.)
“Murray stated that the head of the U.K.’s only chemical weapons facility, Dr. Robin Black, had stressed in a prestigious scientific journal in 2016 that the evidence for the existence of this agent was scant and its chemical composition was unknown. Therefore, although Great Britain obviously had no samples, that is, it had nothing with which it could have compared the toxic substance used in the attack against Skripal, Theresa May nevertheless claimed that Russia bore sole responsibility for it. Incidentally, the chemical weapons facility is located in Porton Down, which, interestingly enough, is only 12 kilometers away from Salisbury, where the attack took place. Given the dubious character of the existence of Novichok, the OPCW decided not to add it to its list of chemical weapons.
“Things get even more interesting when it comes to the role of Christopher Steele in this affair. Sergei Skripal, who worked for the Russian military intelligence agency at the time, was apparently ‘turned’ in 1995 by an MI6 agent by the name of Pablo Miller, in an operation that was coordinated by Steele who was working in Moscow under diplomatic cover at the time. When Steele ‘left’ the MI6 in 2009, he founded the private security firm Orbis Business International, whose trademark is to market charges against Russia in PR style. One of its operations was ‘Operation Charlemagne,’ about so-called Russian interference into elections in France, Italy, Great Britain and Germany, as well as the alleged financing of Marine Le Pen, Silvio Berlusconi and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and a Russian campaign to destroy the EU.
“But the absolute masterpiece of his career as a ‘spook’ is the attempted coup against Donald Trump, via the collusion among the intelligence chiefs of the Obama Administration, the DNC [Democratic National Committee], the Hillary Clinton campaign and the British secret services, entirely based on the ‘salacious dossier’ on Trump which Steele et Orbis had produced. Just now, the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has released the results of its over one-year-long investigation, which found there was no collusion whatsoever between the Russian government and the Trump team.”
Later in her article, Zepp-LaRouche mentions that another actor in the Orbis operation was Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow just at the time that Skripal was being recruited by Miller in an operation coordinated by Steele. Moreover, Steele himself was the MI6 case officer for the charges against Russia in the case of former KGB, FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006.
“In other words, the same circle of ‘former’ MI6 agents in charge of the propaganda operation on alleged collusion between Trump and Russia, which has now been discredited as fake news, was and is at the center of the Skripal attack. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it is in all likelihood a duck, that is, an operation of the British secret service.”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche urges Germany to refuse to go along with the hysterical campaigns against Russia and also against China and to join the New Paradigm instead. She concludes that if Prime Minister Theresa now imagines she has to imitate the British actress Judi Dench, who played the role of ‘M’ in James Bond movies—the superior to whom Bond had to report—this is a matter of extremely bad taste. “To allow oneself to be drawn into a confrontation with Russia by such a role model is irresponsible.”
Russian Foreign Ministry’s Zakharova Warns of Nuclear Games by ‘Poisonous London’
March 17 (EIRNS)—Interviewed on March 13 by Rossiya-1 TV’s “60 Minutes” program, the day after British Prime Minister Theresa May’s preposterous ultimatum to the Russian government on the “poisoned ex-spy” case, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told her hosts that she would not talk about London and poison, but rather “about a poisonous London.”
Zakharova called the British Prime Minister’s “circus” act in Parliament “a classic example of the British propaganda machine … insinuating that, ‘it could’ve been Russia, might’ve been Russia.’ ” But this is a very dangerous “circus,” Zakharova made clear. May gave no proof, no facts, yet ordered the Russian government to give answers within 24 hours, she said. “Such statements are made by a Prime Minister who is a member of a nuclear country that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.”
Zakharova reminded viewers of President Putin’s March 1 revelations on the defensive strategic weapon systems Russia has developed. “Is it clear to everyone why we need the weapons? Now, after this show at the U.K. Parliament, everyone must understand that, after what the President has talked about, not one person in the Parliament can just say, ‘I give Russia 24 hours.’
“I’ll say it again. We’re talking about London, the capital of a nuclear nation. Who did they give 24 hours to? What did they give 24 hours for?…
“Let’s call it what it is. Don’t call it an incident. It’s a grand international provocation,” she warned.
She cited former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s so-called apology for the fake intelligence used to start the Iraq War, and asked, “How can we believe people who have already apologized for hundreds of millions of ruined lives?… They have yet to apologize to even a single country where their soldiers set foot, where civilians died, where normal lives turned to ruins because of their plots and schemes…. Not one story of the same nature has resulted in any sort of truth.”
Zakharova also made clear that the Russian government continues to urge the United States not to succumb to “poisonous London.” To the complaint by one of the hosts that the U.S., with which Russia has an intelligence-sharing mechanism, did not even ask Russia whether the nerve agent alleged to have been used was Russia’s, she responded:
“Look, there are terrorist attacks in Syria, so the sides, Moscow and the U.S., they’re chefs in the same kitchen. Terrorism is a mutual problem; it’s everywhere. So they are attempting to bring back that level of trust that we used to have in our dialogues.” She cited Russian intelligence’s earlier efforts to warn their American colleagues about the Boston Marathon bomber, where unfortunately the U.S. “did not take that information seriously. Let’s look at recent events. Our U.S. partners gave us, the Russians, information…. That data was properly processed and a terrorist attack was prevented. These attempts immediately get criticized in Washington. Why? What for? Regular people, who have nothing to do with politics, who go shopping, go to school, go to theaters, they were saved. That is good!”
Dramatic Developments Underway in Syria, as Civilians Are Freed, Jihadi Enclaves Shrink
March 18 (EIRNS)—Dramatic developments are underway this morning in Eastern Ghouta. The southern part of the jihadi enclave has been drastically shrunk since yesterday with the liberation of Saqba by the Syrian army. As a result of that successful offensive, Faylaq al Rahman has halted military operations against the Syrian Arab Army and is now in negotiations with the Russians on evacuating its fighters north to Idlib. The Syrian army has reportedly also given an ultimatum to jihadis to withdraw from Harasta, which has been surrounded and cut off from the rest of the enclave for about the past week to ten days. Meanwhile, the Syria update map shows that Douma remains quiet, as it has been now for about a week.
As for evacuations of civilians, Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, the chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center, reported this morning that a total of 48,033 civilians have now been taken out of the jihadi-controlled areas, including over 30,000 from the southern portion.
Evacuees interviewed by RT are describing horrid conditions under jihadi control. “They fired at us, they did not want us to flee at all, they fired at the car wheels so that we could not flee. There was no flour, no bread, no water at all. They let no one out,” a man filmed near Hush Nasri told RT’s Ruptly broadcast service. “They [militants] were living with us, next to our houses and inside them. They would open a road amongst the houses to be able to move. They would not leave, and we would not dare to say ‘get out.’ Then the shelling was over and it is us who became part of the human shields. We were not allowed to move,” another woman said.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in an interview with Kazakh radio, warned against Western efforts to split Syria into pieces. “I think we should not even discuss a potential division of Syria, but claim that those plans should be immediately foiled (as soon as someone orchestrates it). This is our obligation,” he said.
Lavrov also expressed hope that now it has become possible to separate Jabhat al-Nusra from the other armed groups. “It took long for this process to start—currently some hope has emerged that those armed groups will shun Jabhat al-Nusra,” he said. He reported that Jabhat al-Nusra has virtually usurped those armed groups that were meant to become part of the negotiation process. “They have created a joint command, and in fact, three groups—Faylaq al-Rahman, Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham—started to go with Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been described by the UN Security Council as a terrorist organization. Our officers were actively helping the Syrian representatives to contact those three groups in order to get them to shun terrorists,” he said.
Lavrov also once again condemned as illegal the U.S. military presence in Syria. “There are foreign forces on the ground in Syria from states like the U.S. and a number of other countries. Thus, it’s not so much of a proxy war, but rather a direct involvement in the war,” he said. Lavrov criticized as an “absolutely irresponsible statement” the threats by the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about Washington aggression against Damascus. “Russia has responded strongly through the representatives of Washington in Moscow and military and diplomatic channels,” Lavrov said.
Gen. Rudskoy: U.S. Seeks Chemical Arms Provocation as Excuse for Airstrike on Syrian Forces
March 17 (EIRNS)—The Russian Defense Ministry today charged that the U.S. military, operating out of its illegal base in al-Tanf, near where the Iraqi and Jordanian borders meet the Syrian border, is preparing a chemical weapons provocation in southern Syria, which is to be used as a pretext for U.S. air strikes on Syrian government forces. Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said at the Defense Ministry today, that “the Russian party has evidence that American instructors have trained several groups of insurgents near al-Tanf in order to hold provocations with chemical weapons in the south of Syria.” These sabotage groups were then deployed to the de-escalation zone in Daraa, in southern Syria. “They are preparing provocations using explosive devices fitted with poisonous agents,” Rudskoy said. “In the future, this fact will be used in order to accuse the government troops of using chemical weapons.”
A similar provocation is also being prepared for Idlib, the Russian official charged. “The Jabhat al-Nusra armed formations with support of so-called ‘White Helmets’ are preparing staged chemical attack near the settlements of al-Habid and Qalb Luza located 25 km northwest of Idlib. Therefore, 20 containers with chloride have been delivered there,” Rudskoy said. “Such provocations will give the U.S.A. and its coalition grounds for an attack against military and government facilities in Syria.”
“The Russian Ministry of Defense stressed that there is clear evidence of preparations for the possible strikes,” Rudskoy said. “There are groups of missile carriers deployed in eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and Red Sea. It causes a question—whom will the U.S.A. support with these strikes? Will it be the Jabhat al-Nusra and its affiliates that commit outrages in the country? The Russian General Staff continues monitoring the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
British Empire’s Long History of Nazi-Style Chemical, Biological Human Experiments
March 17 (EIRNS)—In the days since British Prime Minister Theresa May unleashed hysteria over the alleged poisoning of British double agent Sergei Skripal, a renewed focus is being put on the British Empire’s own history of work on chemical and biological weapons of warfare. This includes pulling articles from the archives on these topics.
The first such archival article that has come to our attention was published in the Guardian on May 6, 2004, reporting on then-new research on experimentation on British soldiers with actual nerve agents during the 1950s and ’60s. “From a purely scientific point of view, they produced a huge amount of data about the effects of nerve gas on the human body,” wrote Rob Evans, author of Gassed: British Chemical Warfare Experiments on Humans at Porton Down. (Porton Down is Britain’s secretive defense science and technology laboratory, which purportedly identified the Novichok nerve agent in the Skripal case.) “This data in turn has enabled Porton to develop some of the most sophisticated defenses in the world to protect Britain’s armed forces from chemical attack.” Evans further reported that this Nazi-like experimentation on humans has been an integral part of the work at Porton Down since it was established in 1916.
A second such relevant report appeared in the Independent on July 8, 2015, which unveiled new research on British government experiments with both chemical and biological agents on the general population without their knowledge. “In more than 750 secret operations, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Britons were subjected to ‘mock’ biological and chemical warfare attacks launched from aircraft, ships and road vehicles,” the Independent reported.
In May 1964, scientists from Porton Down also carried out an experiment in the London Tube (subway system), dispersing a bacterium called Bacillus globigii. At the time, the Independent reported “the government thought that Bacillus globigii bacteria were harmless—but they are today regarded as a cause of food poisoning, eye infections, and even septicemia.”
In the 1950s, British scientists spent 15 months in Nigeria—then a British colony—conducting nerve gas experiments, though the extent of the effects on the local population apparently is not known.
Weaknesses Appear in Latest British Information-Warfare Operation
March 18 (EIRNS)—First we had the Christopher Steele dossier; then the “St. Petersburg Internet Research Agency” scam underlying Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s phony indictments of 13 Russians; and now the May government’s hyperventilating over hoked-up charges that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to murder swapped British spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. This latest British Empire provocation comes at a time when U.S. Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s case against the President and the whole Russiagate attack are visibly failing. Whatever their further plans may be, one calculation in the British Empire’s fevered attacks on Russia over Skripal and nerve agent, was apparently the hope that a hyped-up war hysteria, fed into the U.S. from Europe, might help to create the circumstances in which the Mueller case and the Steele dossier—or other such efforts to somehow depose Trump—might be revived.
But May’s government is unpopular to begin with, and the weakness of her case is becoming more evident by the day. Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan whom we have quoted before on this case, wrote March 16 that Britain’s chemical-warfare scientists at Porton Down, “are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign on to the formulation ‘of a type developed by Russia,’ after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed on as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the ‘Novichok’ program, a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilizers. This substance is a ‘Novichok’ in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.”
The background to Porton Down’s reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s phony dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which EIR’s Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche fought alongside the British WMD arms expert Dr. David Kelly, who exposed the “dodgy dossier, at the time, and died suspiciously shortly thereafter.
“To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days,” Murray continues. “The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation ‘of a type developed by Russia’ was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the U.K. at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia,” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the U.K., U.S.A., France and Germany yesterday.”
Rather than simply dismiss Murray as a crank and refuse to respond, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson betrayed the government’s weak position by attempting to refute Murray on BBC. Hilariously—but typical for Boris “Bozo” Johnson—the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told the BBC, “We have no idea what Mr. Murray is referring to. The Prime Minister told MPs on Monday that world leading experts at Porton Down had positively identified this chemical agent. It is clear that it is a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. None of that is in any doubt.”
Johnson has finally invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to come to London on March 19 to inspect a sample, as obligated by treaty.  Murray’s sources say that London is lobbying for the OPCW to adopt London’s dodgy “of a type developed by Russia” line.
Then, today, on a Sunday, the FCO made a new intelligence discovery in the case, and issued a long statement, the gist of which reads, “The Foreign Secretary revealed this morning that we have information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents likely for assassination. And part of this program has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of novichok. This is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC].” An astonishing claim, but also very carefully worded. And does “Russia” even really mean Russia, for example?  Maybe it does, but the same FCO statement also includes this paragraph: “Russia is the official successor state to the U.S.S.R. As such, Russia legally took responsibility for ensuring the CWC applies to all former Soviet Chemical Weapons stocks and facilities.”
The Novichok program was allegedly pursued in then-Soviet Uzbekistan, where U.S. specialists later closed down and cleaned up the formerly Soviet labs.
China Renews Offer to Europe for Belt and Road Cooperation, ‘A Global Public Good’
March 17 (EIRNS)—In an article published on the Euractiv media network on March 15, Chinese Ambassador to the European Union Zhang Ming wrote that “Governments of 11 EU member states have signed BRI cooperation documents with the Chinese government,” and that the EU’s foreign trade will increase by 6% because of the Belt and Road Initiative, according to the Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel. “The China-Europe express freight trains are busy traveling across the Eurasian continent. In 2017, a total of 3,673 trips were made, up by 116% from 2016 and exceeding the total number combined during the past six years. The train services reach 36 European cities in 13 countries and make the access of European goods to the Chinese market much easier.
“In addition, a great number of projects are well underway, such as infrastructure, logistics, ports, e-commerce and finance. For instance, in Serbia, a Chinese enterprise bought a troubled steel mill and turned it around in less than a year. In Greece, the Port of Piraeus regained its position as one of the largest ports in Europe. In the United Kingdom, China is partnering with France to build a nuclear power plant, a stellar example of tripartite cooperation under the Initiative,” Ambassador Zhang explained.
However, according to Zhang, the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative will be brought to the full only when all players come to realize its importance and take part in it in an unbiased way. To that end, he reasserted three basic facts:
1) this is not a unilateral strategy or China’s “Marshall Plan,” as some have called it, but it “aims to promote economic cooperation through infrastructure connectivity, and to bring about common development by leveraging the comparative strengths of all participants. As a global public good, the Initiative follows the golden rule of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.”
2) This is not a one-way street allowing only China to export its technologies and manpower. Rather, it is based on wide consultation and communication. “All Belt and Road projects have to go through well-informed feasibility studies conducted by interested parties, and must follow market principles and international rules. All projects must be results-oriented, high-standard and sustainable. Our goal is not only to strengthen the physical connectivity of infrastructure, but also to improve the institutional connectivity of rules and standards.”
3) The BRI “is such a great undertaking that it has to involve many participants, including those from Europe. While each participant comes from different backgrounds and has different needs, we respect such diversity and value flexibility in our cooperation instead of insisting on uniformity.”
Though formulated politely, the message to the EU and its uniformity obsession is clear. “We remain committed to partnering with our European friends in an open spirit. Let’s consult, contribute and share together to make a success of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he concluded.
Azerbaijan’s New Port in Alat Aims To Become Another Major Intercontinental Hub
March 16 (EIRNS)—The importance of Central Asia, which was vastly underplayed during the Cold War days, is becoming increasingly evident as the merging point of trade routes linking the west (Turkey and EU), south (Iran and India) and north (Russia). In a March 13 article in Forbes, columnist Wade Shepard, who frequently writes about the benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative, reported the development of the New Port in Alat, about 65 kms from Baku, Azerbaijan. Shepard wrote: “The biggest point of sale of the New Port of Baku at Alat is its geographic position, sitting at the crossroads of the central corridor of the Belt and Road, which stretches from China to Europe and includes the newly opened Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and the emerging North-South Transport Corridor, which connects India with Russia via Iran.”
The port, scheduled to be completed in three phases, will be operational in May 2018 upon completion of the first phase of development, according to Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev, the Azeri news agency Trend reported. Mustafayev said that after the first phase is completed, the port’s capacity will be 15 million tons per year. “The port’s capacity will be increased up to 25 million tons of cargo and 500,000 containers per year at the second stage, and up to 1 million containers per year—at the next stage,” said Mustafayev.
In addition, the new port location is linked to existing highways and railways, connecting the port to the inland regions of the country. There are three international rail routes into Azerbaijan, which all converge at Alat: to the northwest, passing through Baku to Russia;  to the west, passing through Georgia to the shores of the Black Sea and Turkey; to the south and to the border area with Iran.
Diplomacy Forges Ahead for Meeting between U.S. and D.P.R.K. Leaders Trump and Kim
March 17 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on March 16, to discuss the next steps in Korean diplomacy, according to Xinhua and other media. The two spoke for 35 minutes, and agreed to continue in close collaboration in every phase of the process. “The South Korean President said he will seek to create a good atmosphere when he meets with top D.P.R.K. leader Kim Jong-un, so that the U.S.-D.P.R.K. summit can be held successfully,” Xinhua reported.
At the same time, Moon’s chief of staff Im Jong-seok told a press briefing that President Moon will be proposing that high-level officials of both North and South Korea meet in late March, to work out the details of the inter-Korean summit which is scheduled for April. He also said that Moon has formed a special advisory group of several dozen former government officials who had prepared earlier inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007, to get their input.
A Global Times op-ed by Hu Xijin raises the sticky question of where the Trump-Kim summit will be held, given the North’s extreme concerns over security, and the possibility that the summit could conceivably be used to carry out a U.S. hit on Kim. Stockholm is one option being considered, as are Beijing; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and Panmunjom, a village just north of the DMZ, that sits on the 38th parallel dividing the Koreas.
Stockholm has come up because North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, is in Sweden where he held talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on March 16. He was accompanied by Choe Kang Il, deputy Director General of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s North America section. On March 15 and early March 16, the two North Koreans held talks with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. The talks occur amid speculation that Sweden could host a meeting between the President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

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