British Escalate with a Hoax in Syria; This Propaganda Could Lead to World War
April 8 (EIRNS)—London media and the British-created “White Helmets” launched a crude new hoax over the past 24 hours, a “chemical weapons attack on a hospital in Douma,” Syria, as war propaganda aimed at U.S. President Donald Trump. Though military intelligence experts saw through the hoax, and Russian officials had predicted it precisely, today’s British celebration was typified by the Sunday Telegraph headline, “Donald Trump Condemns Vladimir Putin after Syria Chemical Attack Kills Dozens.” At the same time Reuters and BBC, which originated the flaming story, acknowledged they had no evidence any chemical attack had taken place, except reports and (very dubious) videos sent by the jihadi group Jaish al-Islam and the pro-terrorist “White Helmets.”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche said this morning that this new hoax, following immediately on the faltering British war propaganda against Russia over the Skripal poisoning case, is extremely dangerous for the world—but can be rejected.
She also noted that this propaganda is exactly in line with the open rebellion being incited against President Trump’s public order for an early U.S. completion of military operations in Syria, as in the Washington Post’s lead editorial and Sunday front-page lead.
“Britain does not conduct one pre-war propaganda operation [the Skripal poisoning claim] and then stop when that falters and doesn’t produce full confrontation,” Zepp-LaRouche said. “No, it escalates the same pre-war propaganda mobilization. If this is not immediately stopped it can have the greatest consequences, including a final world war.”
She pointed to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s warning: “Military intervention [i.e., a new NATO missile attack] under false & fabricated pretexts in Syria, where Russian servicemen stay at the request of the legitimate government, is absolutely unacceptable and may trigger the gravest consequences.” And to Gen. Evgeny Buzhinsky (ret.), now of the Russian Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center), who on BBC accused Britain of lying, which could lead to “real war—the last war in the history of mankind.”
But also to American Defense Intelligence Agency veteran Col. Pat Lang (ret.), who called these chemical attack hoaxes “news feeds from the propaganda apparatus of the rebels, much of it supported financially by the British government’s foreign ministry, and delivered through MI6. What on Earth motivates the U.K. in this devilment?”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche had just spoken April 7 to a conference of the Schiller Institute and foreign press in New York, where she placed the threat of a new crash of the London-centered financial system squarely behind London’s escalating war propaganda. “Why,” she asked, “is there a demonization of President Putin coming from the same people who are also demonizing President Trump and President Xi Jinping? This is the same foolishness which already led to the Second World War and could easily trigger a Third World War. … What is behind that is … desperation because the financial powers of the City of London and their Wall Street collaborators see clearly that their system is failing….”
Further on, she said: “Imagine if we could mobilize the American people to exert pressure on President Trump … and he would accept the offer of Xi Jinping to cooperate with the New Silk Road … and also the European countries would eventually recognize—most of them are doing it already—but even the remaining ones would recognize that the cooperation with Russia, with China and the other nations who already have joined the Belt and Road Initiative—that this would be much more in their self-interest, than the present course of the British confrontation with Russia and with China.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Col. Pat Lang Urges President To Stop Listening to British and MI6 Lies about Syria
April 8 (EIRNS)—U.S. military intelligence veteran Col. Pat Lang (ret.) named the British and their media-minions today as the perpetrators of the attempt to gin up another U.S. attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad. This one is based, Lang writes, on yet another British hoax—that Assad used chemical weapons in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, where the Syrian army has already nearly won the battle.
President Trump attacked “Animal Assad,” in a tweet this morning, indicating that the President had bought into another British hoax. The militants’ defense has collapsed, Colonel Lang reports, to the degree that they lack even a theoretical chance to win the battle for Douma against government forces.
Colonel Lang cites President Trump’s tweet about “Animal Assad,” writing, “Our beloved president has once again been watching a bit too much TV news. Does it ever occur to him to pick up the secure phone and call the watch officer at CIA, NSA, or wherever, and ask if they think the news reports are correct? All of these information feeds to the MSM (mainstream media) and thence to [the President’s] DJT’s ears are news feeds from the propaganda apparatus of the rebels, much of it supported financially by the British government’s foreign ministry, and delivered through MI6. What on Earth motivates the U.K. in this devilment? And then, of course, there is the extreme group-think on the part of the U.S. and European MSM in parroting these objectively unproven claims.”
Lang then examines how Pinocchio’s nose grew, with first reports from rebel group Jaish al-Islam media stating only 15 people were affected by the attack. By April 8, Lang writes, “the story had reached the MSM and the death toll had grown to ‘at least 70.’ ” He continues, “The notorious al-Qaeda-linked propaganda organization White Helmets, as always, played a key role in spreading the story,” stating that the “White Helmets closely cooperated with the Syrian al-Qaeda branch—Jaish al-Islam, and continued to cooperate with the group after it was re-branded to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and then Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.”
Lang titled his piece: “Animal Assad Strikes Again!—This Time To Celebrate Victory?”
Mattis Admitted in February, Pentagon Had No Evidence That Assad Used Chemical Weapons
April 8 (EIRNS)—A Feb. 8, 2018 Newsweek article by Ian Wilkie reports what should have been a stunning revelation by Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis on that date, but instead was much underplayed: There was no evidence that Syrian President Assad had used poison gas on his own people.
On April 10, 2017, after the U.S. cruise missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat airfield on April 7 in retaliation for Syria’s assault earlier that week on terrorist forces in Khan Sheikhoun, which the U.S. alleged was a chemical weapons attack on civilians, Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, “The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons.” But 10 months later, Feb. 2, 2018 at the Pentagon, Mattis said, “The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens. We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. He emphasized, “We do not have evidence of it.”
Wilkie wrote, “Now its own military boss has said on the record that we have no evidence to support that conclusion. In so doing, Mattis tacitly impugned the interventionists who were responsible for pushing the ‘Assad is guilty’ narrative twice without sufficient supporting evidence, at least in the eyes of the Pentagon,” referring to both the Khan Sheikhoun attack last year and the 2013 Ghouta attack.
“Serious, experienced chemical weapons experts and investigators such as Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, Gareth Porter and Theodore Postol have all cast doubt on ‘official’ American narratives regarding President Assad employing sarin,” he says.
The technical aspects of the two attacks (as of February) are not consistent with the use of nation-state quality sarin munitions. The 2013 Ghouta event employed home-made rockets of the sort the insurgents use, Wilkie asserts. Further, the White House Memorandum on Khan Sheikhoun seemed to rely heavily on testimony from the Syrian White Helmets, who were filmed at the scene having contact with supposed sarin-tainted casualties and not suffering any ill effects. The same actors, Wilkie writes, were filmed wearing chemical weapons training suits around the supposed “point of impact” in Khan Sheikhoun—a sign of fakery, because a training suit offers no protection at all, and they would be dead if military-grade sarin were used, he says. And, the fact that UN investigators were in Syria when the chemical weapons event occurred in April 2017 makes it very doubtful that Assad would have ordered the use sarin then, since it was a banned weapon he had agreed to never employ.
Wilkie ended, “Secretary Mattis has added fuel to the WMD propaganda doubters’ fire by retroactively calling into questions the rationale for an American cruise missile strike. … [I]t is time for America to stop shooting first, and asking questions later.”
First Head of OPCW Charges U.K. Was Too Hasty in Its Judgment on Skripal Poisoning
April 8 (EIRNS)—Jose Bustani, the first Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said he considered the United Kingdom’s actions on the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter too hasty, because it is impossible to determine the type of poison used, and its origin, in 24 hours, Sputnik reported today.
On March 4, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, England. Shortly thereafter, the British government accused Moscow of orchestrating the poisoning. British experts, Sputnik reports, claimed it was a weapons-grade nerve agent A234, allegedly from the military-grade Novichok group.
“You can’t decide in 24 hours what type of poison was used, and where it comes from,” Bustani told RT in an interview. He questioned, “Why didn’t they immediately call the OPCW? And why didn’t the OPCW volunteer to take action, because it’s the role of the organization to go immediately and analyze the victims?” Bustani said that the OPCW has all the necessary capabilities, and top experts from different countries as well.
He went on, “There are many questions related to this poison. For example, how do you control and limit the use of the poison to only two people. If it is Novichok—as they announced it was—it is not something that would not affect many more people around you… There are so many questions that have not been answered.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Report Appears of ‘Secret, Direct’ U.S.-D.P.R.K. Negotiations
April 8 (EIRNS)—CNN (only) on Saturday evening April 7 reported that “several Administration sources” had told it that secret talks are occurring between North Korea and the United States in preparation for a direct meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The current talks are said to be through an intelligence agency back-channel, in which there have already been several meetings of intelligence officials from both countries. Immediately, it said, the aim is a meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the head of North Korea’s corresponding agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.
Supposedly the summit location is being discussed first, before talks on a more detailed agenda. However, CNN includes this statement: “Although the North Korean regime has not publicly declared its invitation by Kim Jong-un to meet with Trump, which was conveyed last month by a South Korean envoy, several officials say North Korea has since acknowledged Trump’s acceptance, and Pyongyang has reaffirmed Kim is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
In the recent summit of China’s President Xi Jinping with Kim, and former Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s subsequent meeting with R.O.K. President Moon Jae-in, it was clear that China wishes and deserves to play a major part in negotiations on denuclearization and peace. China has publicized that Kim agreed to revive the Six-Party Talks framework.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Trump Proclaims His Friendship with Xi Jinping No Matter What Happens on Tariffs
April 8 (EIRNS)—In the midst of great concern internationally over potential for a “U.S.-China trade war,” AP reported President Donald Trump’s tweet Sunday morning on the tariff subject. “China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!” wrote the President. And followed with: “Chinese President Xi Jinping and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade.”
There has been mixed messaging by others in the administration. While Treasury Secretary Mnuchin told CNBC in an April 6 interview “it’s possible there could be a trade war,” both Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and economic advisor Larry Kudlow have spoken only of negotiations and bargaining tactics only. Kudlow on Fox News Sunday April 8 again said tariffs are “just an element in the discussion with China.”
Kudlow has otherwise said that the President called for a “second list” of threatened tariffs because the first list threatening $50 billion in products represented 10% of China’s exports to America, whereas China’s retaliatory $50 billion list would hit more than 35% of American exports to China; with Trump’s additional demand for a $100 billion list of products, 30% of China’s exports would theoretically be taxed 25%.
Notably, strong support for Trump’s tariffs against China is coming from two leading liberal Democrats, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown. Brown is running for re-election in Ohio on support of Trump’s economic policies. Warren has just completed a several-day visit to China in which she was quoted in Chinese media supporting heavy tariffs. Warren had just met with former Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Xi’s economic advisor and Vice Premier Liu He.
Austrian State Delegation Brings Mozart with Them to Beijing
April 8 (EIRNS)—Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen is on a state visit to Beijing together with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. This is the first time that an Austrian President and an Austrian Chancellor have traveled on a foreign visit together. They have also brought with them a delegation of more than 200, including 30 scientific researchers and scholars. The two parties will confirm the establishment of a strategic partnership and include a number of important trade deals, also in the area of high-tech.
In their working program the Austrian side has said that it will work to enhance relations with China and to be a part of the Belt and Road Initiative. President Xi expressed his gratitude for including this in their program document. Austria is also aiming at extension of the Chinese-planned Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railroad to Vienna.
The Austrian President will also attend the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan.
Included in the Austrian delegation is a young musical ambassador, seven-year-old Anna Cacilia Pfoess, a violinist who is to perform works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the welcome banquet for state leaders on April 8. Miss Pfoess will play a violin that Mozart himself used as a child. The violin is believed to have been made in the 1740s, and has been on display since 1896 at a museum in Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace. She will also perform music by other Austrian and Chinese composers.
Trier, Germany Prepares To Commemorate Marx’s Bicentennial with China
April 7 (EIRNS)—The fact that the German city of Trier will celebrate the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth on May 5 in his birthplace by unveiling a Marx statue that China donated is enraging arch-conservatives and neo-cons. A major tabloid, Bildzeitung, which had earlier complained that Trier was honoring a man who was the “intellectual master-mind” of communist dictatorships around the world with tens of millions of victims, runs a guest commentary by a historian today, which takes a special swipe against “Marxist” China.
Trier, however, remains unmoved by the anti-Marx campaign: The local chamber of industry and commerce welcomed the anniversary event, saying it will bring up to 100,000 tourists from China to the city this year. Flyers with information on Marx and on the special exhibit on his life and works, with additional information on the general history of Trier for Chinese visitors, have been produced in the Chinese language as well. On that, Trier is cooperating with Confucius Institutes and German-Chinese friendship societies throughout Germany.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
President Trump May Intervene To Save Nuclear Plants
April 6 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump said in remarks in West Virginia, yesterday, regarding the request from FirstEnergy for the U.S. Department of Energy to intervene to prevent the closure of its nuclear plants, that he would “be looking at that” when he returned to Washington. If it were done, it would be the federal government taking a critical stand on energy policy, and an FDR-like invocation of federal law above state law, which has not come through with legislation to save the plants.
The law in question is Section 202 of the Federal Power Act, which says that the FPA ensures “just and reasonable cost-based rates” for generators that have an onsite 25-day fuel supply and are not recovering their costs. In the past, it has only been used to secure power during natural disasters and other emergencies, and prevent price gouging. This would be the first time it would be used in a situation that results from “market conditions,” Utility Dive website explains.
Such an action would potentially have an impact on other nuclear plants in deregulated “market” states which are losing money, and could otherwise have to shut down.
The next step would be to create the conditions under which new plants could be built. It was announced yesterday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it has approved the issuance of a combined construction and operating license to Florida Power & Light for two nuclear plants at its Turkey Point site.
When the economy starts to grow, and currently stagnating electricity demand leads the way, the crop of nuclear plants that has been waiting in the wings will emerge, to start the “nuclear renaissance” that the industry has been awaiting for a decade.
Italy’s Five-Star Movement Chooses the Pro-Euro, Anti-Infrastructure Camp
April 7 (EIRNS)—A shift in the Italian political crisis occurred yesterday, when the Five Star Movement (M5S) proposed a government alliance with the Democratic Party (PD). Thus, the M5S chose the pro-euro, pro-establishment camp. The PD is still against the M5S positions, but it may flip, as Germany’s SPD flipped, under pressure from the EU, the European Central Bank, and the governments in Paris and Berlin.
According to a well-placed source in Rome, the Italian political crisis will come up with a temporary solution for a government led by neither of the two aspirants for Prime Minister, Luigi Di Maio (M5S) and Matteo Salvini (Lega, center-right). Such a government shall last until the European elections next year, so that national early elections can be held the same day as the European vote in late May 2019.
Such a government will nevertheless adopt the “virulent” opposition to strategic infrastructure displayed by the M5S, so that there will be a “dreadful block on infrastructure investments.” “Every cent will be used to make handouts, as per the M5S program,” the source said.
Nevertheless, some forces will try to keep the pro-African momentum created at the Lake Chad conference in Abuja. In June, there will be a two-day, high-level international conference on Africa, where large projects should be presented, including the Transaqua project to refill Lake Chad.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Rate Increases Trigger Central Bank Plunge Protection
April 7 (EIRNS)—Sudden increases in the “spreads”—i.e., the interest rates—on investment-grade corporate debt in Europe in particular, set off emergency actions by the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan in the last 10 days of March and first days of April. Though world stock markets were extremely volatile during that period, it is the danger of mass defaults by overindebted “zombie” companies, which now have trouble paying even interest on their debt, which is causing “plunge protection” action by central banks fearing contagion and a debt crash.
In the aftermath of the March interbank rate increase by the Federal Reserve, European corporate bond rates rose not by .25%, but by .45%. Immediately in the week following Wednesday, March 21, the European Central Bank increased the corporate bond purchases under its QE program from averaging €1.4 billion to €2.6 billion/week for the next two weeks. At the same time, the Bank of Japan upped its QE purchases of corporate exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by a much larger degree, from an average of $4 billion/week to $14 billion/week for two weeks.
The threat of mass corporate defaults is growing greater as rates rise, even as defaults are already rising sharply in smaller U.S. debt bubbles, namely subprime auto loans and consumer credit card debt.
Scott Minerd, the head of investment for the global investment and advisory firm Guggenheim, just issued a memo in which he warned that the corporate debt bubble was about to implode. Once short-term rates hit about 3%, as the Fed intends, then “with record levels of corporate debt, it’s going to be harder and harder to service.” He predicted that the Fed will then be forced to go back to QE, “but all that will do is defer the problem into the future and allow excesses to continue to build and the collision course that we’re on will just come later and probably be worse.”
MI6 Demands New Secret Identities To Hide Skripals in America
April 8 (EIRNS)—The Sunday Times of London reports that Sergei and Yulia Skripal will be offered new identities and a new life in the United States to protect them in an arrangement akin to the “Witness Protection Program.” MI6 agents have been discussing resettling the Skripals in America with the CIA. Yulia Skripal, a Russian citizen who lives in Russia, has allegedly refused the Russian Embassy’s offer on consular support for her and her father, who holds dual citizenship.
The Times reports “senior officials” say life for the Skripals “would likely never be the same again,” and that they may have injuries that “require ongoing care.” The British want to relocate them to a “Five Eyes” country, the U.S. in particular, because “They’re less likely to be killed there, and it’s easier to protect them there under a new identity.” The Witness Protection Program would, of course, also “disappear” them.
The British are also working hard to clean up the mess Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson created when Johnson stated in an interview with German television that scientists at Porton Down had been “absolutely categorical” in telling him there was “no doubt” about the origin of the nerve agent, and that Porton Down blamed Russia. Johnson’s damage control team is arguing that he was saying that Porton Down had no doubt that the substance was Novichok. Porton Down’s chief executive, Gary Aitkenhead said last week that that his scientists had not confirmed where the Novichok was made—thus, Johnson lied.
The Times reports that “senior figures” around Prime Minister Theresa May’s National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill have now “seized control” from Johnson of the media response to the attacks.
On April 4 the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague will issue its opinion on whether the nerve agent was Novichok. The Times reports that chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who has been briefed on “some of the intelligence,” called on the government to “reveal a little more of the evidence.”