EIR Daily Alert Service, THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2018
THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2018
Volume 5, Number 113
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
June 6 (EIRNS)—As Presidents Trump and Putin have publicly announced that a summit between the two leaders is finally in preparation, Russia’s President is carrying out a blitz of international and domestic diplomacy in tandem with Trump’s crucial initiative with North Korea. In fact, in an interview with China Media Group (CMG) today, ahead of his visit to China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting this weekend, Putin described Trump’s decision to hold a summit with Kim Jong-un as a “courageous and mature decision.”
Putin has just completed an historic visit to Austria, a core nation in the EU, demonstrating to the world that the British instigated campaign to sanction and demonize Russia is collapsing. In his interview with CMG, Putin said: “I believe that common sense will prevail and all the illegal restriction, which are harmful for the development of the global economy, will be removed with time, while we will be able to improve our relations with all the partners, including the United States and other countries that impose sanctions dancing to the U.S. tune.” He added that “sooner or later it will become evident” that the sanctions and the provocative military deployments on Russia’s borders “are harmful to everyone, including those who come up with such initiatives.”
The SCO meeting in Qingdao on June 9-10, which will include India and Pakistan as full members for the first time, will represent nearly half the world’s population. Following Prime Minister Modi’s “informal” meetings with both Xi Jinping and Putin over the past month, India is now cooperating fully with the spirit of the New Silk Road, although not officially joining the Belt and Road Initiative itself due to sovereignty issues in Kashmir, through which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes. But even here, Pakistan and India joined the SCO together, and the Belt and Road is the common economic thread for all the SCO countries.
Putin is also planning a summit with Kim Jong-un. Both Russia and China are fully backing the Trump-Kim Summit next Tuesday in Singapore, with the expectation that integration of North Korea into the Belt and Road will complete the original conception of the New Silk Road formulated by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche in the 1990s—a railroad development corridor from Pusan to Rotterdam. That concept has now been expanded to become a World Land-Bridge, as the Silk Road extends into Africa, Ibero-America, Europe and, potentially, the United States.
There is no time to spare in ending the treasonous “Russiagate,” freeing President Trump to join with Russia and China in the new paradigm, rebuilding the United States through LaRouche’s Four Laws and joining in the Silk Road transformation of the developing sector nations. Today, LaRouchePAC organizers are hand delivering to every member of Congress the “Memo to President Trump: Time To End the Special Relationship; Declassify All British Spawned Documents Concerning Your 2016 Campaign.” Exposing and prosecuting the criminals who are acting on behalf of the British Empire’s attempted coup against the United States is both urgent and entirely feasible.
A Schiller Institute conference in Manhattan on Saturday, titled “Dona Nobis Pacem—Give Us Peace, Through Economic Development,” will feature international speakers addressing the potential now within reach for a true global renaissance, keynoted by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and followed Sunday with a concert featuring the Schiller Institute Chorus performing Beethoven’s beautiful Mass in C Major and several African-American spirituals.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
MILAN, June 6 (EIRNS)—In a May 26 interview with the Italian daily Brescia Oggi, George Lombardi, who during the U.S. Presidential elections was in charge of social media for the Trump campaign and organized the Italian-American vote for Trump, says that “Trump is not worried at all about the new Italian government. He does not know Matteo Salvini or Luigi Di Maio, nor did he read the 40 points of their government program, but Five Star and Lega are two movements, not two traditional parties,” and this should be enough to make them agreeable for Trump. “You may remember that in his speeches President Trump never talks of parties and politics, but he often repeats this word ‘movement.’ Because Trump is an across-the-board leader. Not by chance, he got votes also from many workers and farmers who are traditionally more closely linked to the Democratic Party.”
June 6 (EIRNS)—The media have been ranting that the Trump team’s letter to Mueller in January regarding Presidential rights under the Constitution, which was leaked to the New York Times on June 4, constitutes a declaration that Trump considers himself “above the law.” Constitutional expert Alan Dershowitz told the Washington Examinerin an interview posted today: “I think it’s fair to say that those people who are arguing that he is above the law are weaponizing a cliché.”
He continued: “What he [Trump] and his legal team are asserting is that the law provides them certain protections and immunities. That should surprise no one who is familiar with the Constitution. The Constitution also provides immunities for members of Congress. That doesn’t place them above the law. That is the law.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
June 6 (EIRNS)—The White House is explicitly warning the United Arab Emirates not to go ahead with the assault on the Hodeidah port city in Yemen, reported Reuters last night. Hodeidah port is the only source for food, medicine, and supplies for many people in Yemen.
An unnamed spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said Washington opposed any effort by the Emirates and Yemeni troops it backs to seize the city.
“The United States has been clear and consistent that we will not support actions that destroy key infrastructure or that are likely to exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation that has expanded in this stalemated conflict,” said the spokesperson. “We expect all parties to abide by the Law of Armed Conflict and avoid targeting civilians or commercial infrastructure.”
Another anonymous Western official was quoted by Reuters: “In terms of an operation on Hodeidah, we’ve been quite clear that we want to engage on the political track.” He further said that the UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths “now has the best chance of anyone in quite some time of getting it moving.”
“This is a point that we’ve made at the top level,” the official stated. “The Saudis and Emiratis have made clear that they would not move without a joint understanding from their friends and partners of what the next steps are—what the day after will be—if there were an assault on Hodeidah.”
June 6 (EIRNS)—Foreign Policy, a magazine co-founded by Mr. “Clash of Civilizations” Samuel P. Huntington, yesterday prominently published an article bluntly entitled “It’s Time for a Coup in Venezuela,” with the kicker: “Only nationalists in the military can restore a legitimate constitutional democracy.” The author is José R. Cárdenas, a Washington-based, neo-con Ibero-American specialist who served as Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Latin America under G.W. Bush.
This is not solely Cárdenas’ bright idea, but part of an ongoing fight within the Anglophile establishment over how best to drive out President Nicolas Maduro and the entrenched Chavezista apparatus most quickly. As Cárdenas points out, London’s Economist called for a coup a year ago, arguing in its May 4, 2017 edition that Maduro’s “future will be decided by the armed forces, not directly by the people. If they withdraw support from his beleaguered regime, change will come soon. If not, hunger and repression will continue.”
“Be careful what you ask for,” other regime-change advocates have been warning. U.S. Army War College Latin American “expert” Evan Ellis and the State Department-linked Miami Herald columnist Andrés Oppenheimer, warn—not without reason—that a coup could “produce a more efficiently run Russian or Chinese economic protectorate.” These analysts warn that “the United States has not had ties with the Venezuelan military in nearly two decades, and Russia, China and Cuba have filled that space,” as Brian Fonseca, a Florida International University professor who has written extensively about the Venezuelan military, told Oppenheimer in May.
In reality, there is no solution to Venezuela’s crisis under current monetarist policies. The leadership of the political opposition today represents the same old comprador, upper class elite whose insufferable disdain for the people of Venezuela led to the success of the British-synarchist Chávez project in the first place. The attempt to reinstall those elites, and their policies, whether by military coup, economic collapse, or whatever, will trigger even greater chaos.
Last night’s vote at the Organization of American States Annual General Assembly (OAS GA) on the U.S.-led drive to expel Venezuela immediately from the regional body showed that there continues to be opposition to regime change in the region. Expelling a country from the OAS—which has only happened twice since its founding in 1948—requires a super-majority of 24 of the 35 member states. Lacking that majority, the foreign ministers voted up a resolution to call an Extraordinary GA dedicated solely to suspending Venezuela. That did pass, with a vote of 19 for, 4 against, and 11 abstaining.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
June 6 (EIRNS)—The Atlantic hurricane season began officially on June 1 and extends to Nov. 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there’s a 70% chance the season will produce between 10-16 named tropical storms with winds of 39 mph or more, of which 5-9 could be hurricanes; and that as many as 4 of those could be major Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes, with winds at or above 111 mph.
Nine months after a Category 4 Hurricane Maria, in September 2017, wiped out Puerto Rico’s power grid, not to mention the rest of the island, experts on the ground warn that repairs to the system have been so inadequate that the island remains highly vulnerable to another blackout. Add to this that many inhabitants continue to live in precarious housing—some without roofs—beset by serious health conditions brought on by lack of clean water, sanitation, electricity, etc.
After Maria, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Puerto Rico would need at least $95 billion to rebuild the island, the power grid included. To date, $3.8 billion in federal funds has been spent to restore the power grid, which has largely been a band aid approach, rather than rebuilding it from the bottom up. Commissioner of Public Safety Hector Pesquera told New York public radio station WNYC that “even if it’s a Category 1, [the grid] is in such a state that I think we’re going to lose power. I don’t know for how long.” The grid, he said, is “teetering.”
Freddyson Martínez, vice president of the trade union of the bankrupt Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority (Prepa)—to which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) handed over the power restoration task in May—estimates that between 10-15% of repair work done over the past eight months doesn’t even meet minimum quality standards.
In the midst of this devastation, the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), a Puerto Rican thinktank, warned in a June 6 release that the banker-run financial control board appointed by Washington in 2016 to oversee the island’s finances, intends to use disaster relief funding to finance debt, while demanding deeper austerity, budget cuts to public services (health and education), labor and pension “reform,” etc. In its most recent fiscal plan, the board seeks, through this harsh austerity, to generate a budget surplus that can be used for debt repayment—despite an explicit prohibition on using disaster relief funds for debt repayment.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
June 6 (EIRNS)—In a wide-ranging interview today with the China Media Group ahead of his official visit to China, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the settlement on the Korean Peninsula must include guarantees of North Korea’s security, while he offered Russia’s help in joint infrastructure and economic projects between North Korea and South Korea. “We will be waiting for the outcome of the meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and will contribute to the success of this meeting in every possible way,” Putin said, reported TASS. Putin will make his visit when he goes to attend the June 8-10 Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao.
“The next stage is multilateral participation of all the interested states, chiefly regional ones, in the development of security guarantees” for North Korea, Putin said. He affirmed that Moscow’s proposals—“trilateral economic projects between Russia and the northern and southern parts of the Korean Peninsula”—will be on the table. “These are chiefly infrastructural projects. We are talking about the construction of a railroad, let’s say (and, by the way, China could join these projects as well), between Russia and North and South Korea. We are talking about the installation of a gas pipeline,” the Russian President elaborated.
“The construction of various other energy facilities could be dwelt on as well. There are numerous prospects for joint work both in the three- and four-party format; it is just necessary to move in this direction,” the Russian leader affirmed.
Putin also expressed hope that the June 12 meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be a success: “I do hope that the courageous and mature decision to hold a personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that U.S. President Trump made … that the meeting will take place, we all will be waiting for it to produce positive results….
“We can see that the North Korean leadership has taken unprecedented steps to ease tensions, which frankly speaking, surprised me,” he said. “First, they announced the suspension of nuclear tests. Moreover, they dismantled one of their largest nuclear test sites.” In his view, “these undoubtedly were practical steps towards denuclearization.”
He continued: “I can understand the North Korean authorities when they say that total denuclearization requires absolute security guarantees,” and that “nothing else is possible, particularly in light of the tragic events that took place in Libya and Iraq. The North Koreans must remember it all vividly, so it is only natural that they demand guarantees,” Putin stressed, stating that “it is hard to say at the moment what form these guarantees may take and how long it will take to implement all this.
“However, it is possible to say—and it should be said—that there is a need to move forward along this path leading to easing of tensions and denuclearization.”
Referencing Russia and China’s role in resolving peace on the Korean Peninsula, he said: “We initiated the so-called road map to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula. China has done a lot recently to achieve this goal, to ease tensions a little. We are pleased to see it and will continue to support it in every possible way.” The Russian-Chinese road map “implies that at the next stage relations between all the countries responsible for easing tensions should be enhanced,” he said.
June 6 (EIRNS)—In his extensive interview with the China Media Group today, President Vladimir Putin said Russia is not afraid of sanctions, because Russia will always defend its sovereignty. “Sanctions and restrictions neither surprise nor scare us, they will never make us abandon our independent, sovereign development path. I believe that Russia either must be a sovereign state or there will be no Russia at all and the Russian people will undoubtedly choose the first option,” Putin stated, according to coverage by TASS.
“There is no other way for us but we understand that our partners seek to use these sanctions and restrictions to hinder our development,” but, he went on to say, “I have no doubt that … it will lead to nothing….
“I believe that common sense will eventually prevail and all the illegal restrictions, which are harmful for the development of the global economy, will be removed with time, while we will be able to improve relations with all our partners, including the United States and other countries that impose sanctions dancing to the U.S. tune.” The Russian President continued that “those… who danced to the United States’ tune are beginning to suffer from the U.S. moves [to introduce restrictions] against those very countries.
“All these things will gradually—and I am not saying this only for the sake of rejoicing and being ironic—but all this shows that these tools cannot be universal and sooner or later it will become evident that they are harmful to everyone, including those who come up with such initiatives.” Putin concluded: “I expect that one way or another, our relations will eventually return to normal.”
June 6 (EIRNS)— The White House has announced the venue for the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un on June 12: the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, just off the southern coast of Singapore, various media reported today.
National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore at the time of the summit; he has gone to North Korea five times as a friend of Kim’s. Rodman told Politico that Kim did not understand Trump until he, Rodman, gave Kim a copy of President Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal for his birthday in 2017.
“I think [Kim] didn’t realize who Donald Trump was at that time, I guess, until he started to read the book and started to get to understand him. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are pretty much the same,” Rodman told Politico.
While Trump says he will walk out of the meeting if it is not going well, he is also reported to be toying with the idea of offering Kim a follow-up summit at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, perhaps in the Fall, if the two leaders get along well.
June 6 (EIRNS)—Putin’s interview with Armin Wolf of ORF TV in Austria on June 5 showed Putin dealing with a nasty Western reporter. At one point, when Wolf kept interrupting, Putin switched to German to tell Wolf, “please allow me to say something.” The President made a far more friendly official visit to Vienna on June 6.
Wolf asked President Putin about his “connection” to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, whom Russiagate special prosecutor Robert Mueller indicted for allegedly interfering in the U.S. presidential election. Putin said the government had nothing to do with the so-called troll farms, and continued: “There are rumors circulating now that Mr. Soros is planning to make the euro highly volatile. Experts are already discussing this. Ask the State Department why he is doing this. The State Department will say that it has nothing to do with them—rather it is Mr. Soros’s private affair. With us, it is Mr. Prigozhin’s private affair. This is my answer. Are you satisfied with it?”
Asked about the Dutch investigation claim that Russia shot down the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, Putin said that Russia had been “denied access to the investigation,” and their input was ignored, while the hostile Ukraine government was given full participation.
Putin said there was no way that Crimea would be “given back” to Ukraine. He said there was an “unconstitutional armed coup” in Ukraine, and that “Crimea gained independence through the free will of the Crimeans, expressed in an open referendum, not as a result of an invasion by Russian forces…. The first thing we did (after the coup in Kiev) was increase our contingent to guard our Armed Forces, our military facilities, because we immediately saw that they were being threatened,” and that the Crimean people “sensed danger, when trains started bringing aggressive nationalists there, when buses and personal vehicles were blocked, people naturally wanted to protect themselves. The first thing that occurred was to restore the rights that Ukraine itself had issued by granting Crimea autonomy.”
June 6 (EIRNS)—Receiving Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna yesterday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his government will respect the EU sanctions decree for the time being, but work during its half-year rotating EU presidency from July through December, for “revitalizing the relations of the Union to Russia step by step. We believe that a win-win situation is better for both sides than a lose-lose situation.” Kurz reiterated that Austria sees itself acting as a bridge between East and West, which would also guide its policies during the second half-year.
Putin said that “not only is Russia interested in the restoration of the full format [of relations], but also our European friends are.” He said a dialogue on that has been initiated with Brussels officials, and that the “discussions are very constructive though not easy.”
Receiving Putin earlier, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen showed a certain affinity with Russia, reporting that his parents had once been citizens of the Baltic part of the Soviet Union and would speak in Russian to each other.
June 6 (EIRNS)—The new Italian government led by Giovanni Conte won a vote of confidence both in the Senate yesterday and in the Chamber of Deputies today. In his programmatic speeches, Conte announced a Russia-friendly foreign policy and bank separation (Glass-Steagall). As for the latter, this is the first time that a Western government has pushed it in Parliament.
“We have a maturing awareness and the evaluation, included in the [governing coalition] contract, that we must distinguish, that it is opportune to distinguish between the banks issuing credit and above all that are community-linked, and the more speculation-prone investment banks,” Conte said today in his remarks in the Chamber.
“Concerning international scenarios, markets and security, we want to preliminarily reiterate our confirmed membership in the Atlantic alliance and with the United States of America as privileged ally. But careful! We will push an opening to Russia, a Russia which has consolidated in the last years its international role in various geopolitical crises. We will promote a review of the system of sanctions, starting with those which threaten to humiliate Russian civil society.”
Otherwise, Conte promised to increase lower incomes and pensions, and to create jobs, but he was ambiguous on infrastructure (he did not lay out one single project), and insisted on green economy, sharing economy, blue economy, circular economy, decarbonization, and the entire toolbox of environmentalism.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
June 6 (EIRNS)—U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman today attended the successful launch of a Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft carrying a Russian, American and German crew, with Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón, and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst of Germany.
The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft lifted off at 11:12 UTC (17:12 in Kazakhstan) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They are expected to reach the International Space Station on the morning of June 8. Their arrival will bring the orbiting lab up to its full complement of six crew members. The three will be joining NASA astronauts Drew Feustel (who is commanding the current mission, Expedition 56) and Ricky Arnold, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
June 6 (EIRNS)—NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has been talking to American and international companies about forming a consortium to take over operation of the ISS, the Washington Postreports today. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has said the proposal of the Administration to end government funding of the station in 2025 came from the “numbskulls” at the Office of Management and Budget. This is undoubtedly the case, since their view is that since NASA’s budget will not be increased to carry out Trump’s return to the Moon, and therefore “saving” the $3-4 billion per year that it costs NASA to operate the station is the only way to fund the lunar program.
The White House, the Post reports, “will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry.” Bridenstine has said he is aware that companies may find it “hard to close the business case.” In fact, they will find it impossible. There is virtually no commercial activity presently on the station except for a couple of small experiments paid for by companies or universities. How could any consortium make a profit above the $3-4 billion operating cost? Also unanswered is the question of what it means for the Russian, European, Japanese, and Canadian space agencies, which together have spent billions of dollars to contribute hardware and crew to the station, and who oppose ending its operation for purely financial and political reasons.
Pro-commercialization advocates point to projects underway to put little habitats in low-Earth orbit. These bear no resemblance to the ISS, and are being promoted mostly as “hotels” for tourists.
The push to have private industry take over very expensive, if not delicate government space assets, reminds one of President Reagan’s effort to sell the Space Shuttle fleet to a private company, which, of course, never happened.