British Push ‘Great Game’ Confrontation versus Russia—It’s Foul and Flimsy, and It Can Backfire
March 27 (EIRNS)—To anyone not a moron, the vile nature of the Skripal poisoning/anti-Russia mobilization of Prime Minister Theresa May and cohorts, is a blatant British “Great Game” maneuver to prevent the potential realization of a United States-Russia tilt to “New Silk Road” relations, for peace and development. The entire May anti-Russia international mobilization is just a new phase in the ongoing Trumpgate attempted coup, to bring down the U.S. Presidency. The British are likewise at the center of conducting that phase: MI6, Christopher Steele, Richard Dearlove, Sir Andrew Wood, Robert Mueller, and other henchmen.
There are no legal grounds for the Theresa May campaign to accuse Russia of the March 4 poisoning in Salisbury—no evidence, no analysis, no legal standards. May herself was politically on her way down and out, within only a few days, until this dirty operation was launched; and now the world is expected to hail her as the heroine of “anti-Russia.”
“It’s foul. It’s flimsy,” Helga Zepp-LaRouche said today, noting that it is clearly the British fomenting confrontation. “We can make it backfire,” she said. Stick to the truth, and use all means to expose the evil intent and perpetrators.
It is strategically very important that today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated that the commitment is still active, which was made recently by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump, for a dialogue on stability and security. This is so, despite yesterday’s U.S. pro-British order for expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and closure of the Seattle Russian consulate. Ryabkov said, in Sputnik today, “We need this dialogue, the presidents of our countries spoke about it in a telephone conversation a few days ago. We are not giving up this dialogue, we will hold it.” Ryabkov otherwise denounced the U.S. expulsions.
Over the last 24 hours, leaders in other countries have spoken out against the bum’s rush by the British. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said today that his nation will not expel Russian diplomats. He said that, Austria is traditionally a neutral country; it is a bridge between East and West. Diplomats are welcome and needed in Austria.
Voices are also raised against the British/EU push for confrontation with Russia, within even Germany, and also Italy. It is reported that at the Brussels summit of EU heads of state and government on March 22-23, a demand for new, harsh sanctions against Russia was made by May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but was blocked as wrong, by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. He then went home, and though he is an outgoing leader, he expelled two Russian diplomats, demonstrating the intense pressure being imposed on the European leaders by the British and their cohorts within the U.S. The action was promptly denounced by others in Italy, as wrong and “premature” in judgment.
On Thursday Trump will visit Northeast Ohio to speak about infrastructure. This is in the heart of the Rust Belt, which would be transformed into a new powerhouse, under conditions determined by collaboration of the United States with Russia and China under the Belt and Road Initiative, and with the LaRouche Four Laws.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Russia Has Tough Response to Diplomats’ Expulsions, but ‘Won’t Give Up Dialogue’ with U.S.
March 27 (EIRNS)—The expulsion of Russian diplomats from Europe is the result of a blackmail campaign and pressure from the U.S., Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today, in answer to a question from TASS. “The conclusion that readily offers itself is that we were quite right when we said more than once that truly independent countries in the modern world and in modern Europe are very few,” he said. “When one or two diplomats are asked to leave this or that country, with apologies being whispered in our ears, we know for certain that this is the result of colossal pressure and colossal blackmail, which is Washington’s chief instrument on the international scene.” In fact, these actions are not even “democratic.” They are the result of the elites ignoring the public. He reported that Die Welt in Germany conducted a poll, which found that more than 80% of respondents were against more Russia sanctions.
Tough comments were also made today by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to Sputnik, but he stated that Russia was not abandoning the strategic stability talks with Washington. He expressed the view that “the current situation will not persist.” He said “We need this dialogue,” explaining, “the Presidents of our countries said … it in a telephone conversation a few days ago, we are not giving up this dialogue, we will hold it.” And Ryabkov expressed “hope” for a “healthy beginning” that will “sooner or later prevail.”
Ryabkov excoriated Prime Minister Theresa May for putting forward more than 20 theories allegedly provided by Moscow concerning the Skripal poisoning. U.K. officials, he said, “continue to talk nonsense.” He advised them to “stop ceaselessly surfing the Internet, reading newspapers, watching TV and reading any statement by any person with a Russian passport to represent it as Moscow’s official theory.”
Not Every EU Country Jumps to the British Whistle, Austria Rejects Expelling Diplomats
March 27 (EIRNS)—Although the majority of the 27 EU countries have blindly followed the ranting Theresa May, and expelled Russian diplomats, there is a handful of nations with more self-respect:
Austria: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told media today why his government has not joined most of the other EU member governments in expelling Russian diplomats, saying expulsions contradict the tradition of Austria as a neutral state and a “bridge between East and West.” This implies that diplomats of other countries cannot be sent home, because diplomacy is needed.
Greece: Reportedly so far Greece has not reached a decision on expulsions. A Greek official warned that combining a strong message with expulsion measures would undermine dialogue and lead to a new Cold War.
Czech Republic: The issue has raised a political uproar in the Czech Republic. Yesterday Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced that Prague was expelling three of the diplomats from the Russian Embassy staff of 53. However, President Milos Zeman, who did not publicly comment on the expulsions, has commissioned the Czech Intelligence Service to look into the Russian accusation that the Novichok nerve agent could have been produced and tested in the Czech Republic. The attacks on Zeman were immediate, with the Party of Mayors and Independents suggesting that the President should be impeached on grounds of treason.
Bulgaria: Sophia’s government has so far made no decision to expel Russian diplomats. It has recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultations. Speaking to reporters in Brussels last week, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that the EU’s support for Britain was a joint decision which his government supports. But, he said, since Britain had claimed there was high level of possibility that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on the Skripals, he had asked for more evidence before his government makes a decision.
Slovakia: The government in Bratislava seems to be split. President Andrej Kiska has asked the Foreign Ministry to explain why his country has not joined two dozen other countries in expelling Russian diplomats. Slovakian leaders are scheduled to meet to discuss it March 28. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador on March 26 to condemn the use of a nerve agent in the attack in Salisbury, and calling it unacceptable, but no Russian diplomats have been expelled from Slovakia so far.
The ‘Three Ms’ Wanted More Sanctions against Russia, but Italy Has Blocked It
March 27 (EIRNS)—A diplomatic source leaked to the Huffington Post Italia some background about the fight at the March 22-23 European Council summit at which the EU heads of state and government backed Theresa May. “It was Germany and Britain’s premiers, Angela Merkel and Theresa May, [who were] to draft the European response together with French President Emmanuel Macron. The first two, the source says, wanted to be even harder and strengthen economic and trade sanctions against Moscow…. ‘But [Italian] Prime Minister Gentiloni,’ say sources at the Foreign Ministry, ‘opposed this, succeeding in blocking the Anglo-German initiative.’ ”
The Italian opposition was not dictated only by national economic and trade interests, the source says: “We are convinced that Russia is a crucial partner in stabilizing explosive areas such as North Africa and the Middle East, and furthermore, the negative consequences of an arms race would fall above all on Europe.” On this, there is a “bipartisan” view among all the main political forces; the Lega, M5S, Forza Italia, and the Partito Democratico (PD) all converge on considering Russia as a counterpart that cannot be put up against the wall.
Huffington Post then cites a March 11 Sunday New York Times op-ed by Frank Bruni, under the headline “Italy Has Dumped America. For Russia,” in which, despite his anti-Trump twist, the author says that the Italian election results of the Lega and the M5S are “a triumph for Putin.” Both parties have called for an end to sanctions and blamed the EU and United States for Moscow’s policy on Ukraine. The Lega has even signed a cooperation treaty with Putin’s party.
Italy Expelled Two Russian Diplomats, Which May Be Its Last Anti-Russia Move
March 27 (EIRNS)—Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s decision to join the British anti-Russia crusade by expelling two Russian diplomats has drowned criticisms from Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, two of the three center-right coalition leaders.
“If I was in the government, I would not have made such a choice,” Salvini said. “When I read that instead of resuming dialogue, the Italian government undergoes others’ requests and expels Russian diplomats—this does not seem to me to be useful for a future of dialogue and coexistence.”
Meloni said: “It is unacceptable that a lame-duck government should decide to expel two officials from the Russian Embassy.” This is “a last-ditch effort by a government subjected to the will of foreign states.”
Prominent Germans Criticize Merkel for Throwing Out Russian Diplomats
March 27 (EIRNS)—Senior Green Party politician Jürgen Trittin, who is also chairman of the German-Russian Parliamentary Group, denounced the decisions to expel Russian diplomats as “premature, moving against Russia without hard evidence and only based on indicators, thereby stumbling into a new Cold War.” In the end, the West will not gain anything, because Russia would retaliate in kind, and more communication channels between the West and Russia would be buried, he argued.
Linke party’s Dietmar Bartsch, chairman of the party’s Bundestag group, blasted the expulsion as “wrong, because it drives the escalation further up on the spiral.” Furthermore, Günter Verheugen (SPD), former EU Commission member, criticized that the sanctions are based on assumptions, rather than facts. “The argumentation in the Skripal case reminds me a bit of a court verdict along the line: The crime could not be proven, but the accused might have done it.” The expulsions decision is against all standard legal practice, he said, and called it a “poisoning of thought.”
Also former Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) said in an interview that he doubts that sanctions of this kind are meaningful . As soon as there is an option for de-escalation, he said, Germany should “step forward and reopen channels of communications with Russia.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
India and China Commerce Ministers Come Closer to Agreements on Trade and Economy
March 27 (EIRNS)—Following the meeting of visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu at New Delhi on March 26, both parties agreed that negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has gotten closer and both parties are exhibiting “flexibility” to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), The Hindu reported today. RCEP is a proposed FTA among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements: Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
In exclusive comments to The Hindu, Zhong Shan expressing that the meeting was a “complete success,” said that “undoubtedly, this has given us high expectations for and strong confidence in a dance of the Dragon and the Elephant on the trade and economic front.” According to Zhong, India and China agreed to four major outcomes after their talks, including a decision to “promote synergy between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and India’s development strategies,” to “address the trade imbalances” of about $50 billion in China’s favor by welcoming Indian business in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and IT sectors, to set up a special working group on two-way trade, and multilateral cooperation at trade forums like the RCEP, as well as promoting tourism and people-to-people exchanges.
Zhong also said they discussed possible cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, which India has opposed. One unnamed Indian official, who attended the meeting, denied any such discussion. Considering the import of the issue, it is highly unlikely that the Indian Premier Narendra Modi would allow his Commerce Ministry to discuss the BRI in a format designed to discuss trade and economy only.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
New Federal Budget Has Starter Money for Gateway Project in New York-New Jersey
March 27 (EIRNS) The new $1.3 trillion Federal 2018 funding bill signed by President Donald Trump March 23, includes a small authorization towards the $30 billion Gateway Project, and a source for potentially more. Though on the scale of “starter” money, nevertheless, any funding at all is greeted heartily, given the antipathy towards getting on with the project expressed by Secretary Elaine Chao, and frustration expressed by Trump.
According to multiple media reports, the new budget law will deposit $650 million into Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor account, whose purview includes the decrepit Portal Bridge in New Jersey and the train tunnels underneath the Hudson, which urgently need to be overhauled. The Portal Bridge project is ready to have work started.
In addition to its $650 million, the Gateway Project can compete to get more funding, by applying to the Federal Capital Investment Grants (CIG) fund, which is to receive $2.6 billion from the new bill.
There are accounts which downplay this, including a White House statement that (technically) no earmarks were made for Gateway, because the $650 million goes to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which in turn, can then decide whether to provide the money, or not, to Amtrak. Likewise, there are those who say the Gateway Project cannot apply for more funding to the CIG.
Thus, the battle goes on, and the urgency grows. But this is a priority project for full-scale national infrastructure program.
China Advised China on U.S. Trade: Set Up Infrastructure Fund, Bring U.S. Firms into Belt and Road
March 27 (EIRNS)—Stable U.S.-China trade should be based on joint economic initiatives, recommends the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), in a statement issued today. The CCG is advising Beijing to moderate its response to the punitive tariffs that the U.S. is considering. Instead of retaliation, CCG recommends 10 measures China should take to foster trade ties between the world’s two largest economies. In addition to making adjustments, such as lifting excessive limits “especially on high-tech products from American companies,” the most important measures are:
“Consider the establishment of an investment fund to help the U.S. upgrade its infrastructure, capitalizing on China’s advanced technology and expertise in the field”; and
“Enlist the participation of American companies in Belt and Road projects as third party partners.”
In this way, the CCG states, China can “continue to adhere to the goal of long-term stable economic and trade relations between the two nations.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Cryan’s Days at Deutsche Bank Are Numbered
March 27 (EIRNS)—In the wake of heavier net losses for Deutsche Bank in 2016 than announced earlier, and of clashes at a recent board meeting near Frankfurt, momentum inside the bank’s top echelon to fire CEO John Cryan, is growing. The three-year era of Cryan, characterized by immense losses and no improvement in sight, was summed up by a visibly frustrated chief operating officer Kim Hammond, who was quoted by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung as saying at that meeting: “This is the most dysfunctional company I have ever worked in.” Others at the meeting then told her and Cryan: “Well, step down then.”
Who would replace Cryan, then, and would it be a better choice? The two candidates mentioned do not indicate that at all: The Times of London names UniCredit CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier and Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters, as being considered. A third name, Richard Gnodde, looks no better: He is from Goldman Sachs. With these guys, the bank is going to be pushed even deeper into the old paradigm of collapse.
The ouster of Cryan is expected soon after the report on the new, first quarter 2018 losses (adding to the €750 million losses for 2016), are presented sometime in mid-April. The bank’s chief financial officer James von Moltke has leaked that losses for the first quarter might be €450 million—mostly in the speculative investment branch.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
South African Scientist Recommends that Africa Should Learn from China’s Advances
March 27 (EIRNS)—Africa should learn from China’s rapid advances in education, science, and technology to solve socio-economic challenges, said South African scientist Neil Turok. He is the founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada. Turok made his remarks yesterday at the opening of the Next Einstein Forum, being held in Rwanda. There are about 1,600 participants at the conference, which takes place March 26-28, and at least half are under the age of 42, Xinhua reports.
“China has invested heavily in education, science, and technology,” the scientist said, “and the results are amazing. China is emerging as a new global science and technology powerhouse.” He called upon all African countries to focus, prioritize, and promote science and technology for solving economic challenges.
British MI6-Tainted Cambridge Analytica Raises Concerns in India, Election Meddling Probed
March 27 (EIRNS)—The British intelligence MI6-tainted Cambridge Analytica’s presence in India for years has come to light and it has begun to ruffle the feathers of Indian politicos. Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower, deposing before the U.K. Parliament on March 27 under oath, said: “They (Cambridge Analytica) worked extensively in India. They have an office in India…. I believe their client was Congress [Party] but I know that they have done all kinds of projects. I don’t remember a national project but I know regionally. India’s so big that one state can be as big as Britain. But they do have offices there, they do have staff.”
Soon after the deposition was over, a political slugfest broke out in New Delhi. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law and Information Technology, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), demanded an apology from the Congress Party and its President Rahul Gandhi. “The whistleblower confirmed that Congress Party was their client. The Congress had publicly denied that relation with Cambridge Analytica. Congress has to apologize to the nation. Rahul Gandhi will have to apologize. They have been exposed. This shows they don’t trust people,” he said. A Congress Party spokesman retaliated, accusing the minister of lying and demanding proof of any involvement.
Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica’s Indian partner Ovleno Business Intelligence has been accused of working with the BJP in the 2014 general elections and the JD(U)-BJP combine for the 2010 Bihar Assembly elections. Both BJP and Janata Dal (United) have denied the charges. JD(U) is a center-left Indian party with political presence mainly in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand.
The government has now issued a notice to Ovleno, asking it to reveal whether it did use a Facebook data breach to influence elections in India. The Election Commission has reportedly ordered a probe, FirstPost news website reported today.