China-Africa Forum Signals New Standard in Foreign Relations, as British Empire Stands Exposed
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—The Sept. 3-4 Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) signals a new era of mutually beneficial foreign relations coming into being, while at the same time, the apparatus of the expiring British Empire geopolitics system stands more and more exposed. This latter is evident in the current British dirty intent to stage a false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria, to snooker the U.S. and France into confrontation with Russia—a very dangerous ploy. And it would be the third time. But the blatancy of such a venal scheme presents the opportunity to expose and stop it, and create conditions to defeat the perpetrators of such actions once and for all.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president of the Schiller Institute, which issued a statement this week, calling on people to act against the British threat, described aspects of the situation today in her weekly webcast. She took note that the same British circles moving to fake a chemical weapons incident in Syria, are behind the “Russiagate” attack on President Donald Trump. But the British pedigree is more and more out in the open, for example, in the person of FBI official Bruce Ohr, who functioned as a back-channel with British intelligence directly into the Justice Department. He was forced to testify on this to Congress this week.
Zepp-LaRouche said, “I think that that is very clearly one of the reasons why this British Empire faction, which is not just the City of London, but it is also obviously, the secret service chiefs of the Obama Administration—or what people sometimes mistakenly call the “Deep State,” it is really part of this trans-Atlantic, British Empire apparatus—they are exposed.
“And this could turn immediately into criminal prosecution, and I think Trump is quite feisty, because he put out a tweet today where he said, there were crimes committed and that he suggests that the Supreme Court, in charge of the FISA Court, should immediately get active and pursue criminal investigations of this whole group of people in the Department of Justice, in the FBI, and that crimes were committed here. I think that that is what’s going to happen. And this is really the true story: The aim is to sabotage the relationship between Russia and the United States which Trump is trying to repair, and where he did a pretty good job in Helsinki.
“I think this has a very good chance of prevailing, because the momentum is clearly not in the direction of the people who are behind the conspiracy of Russiagate, but Russiagate has long turned into a ‘Muellergate.’ And Trump is hanging in there despite all kinds of problems, which we should not be completely blind-sided. But the fact that this guy is hanging in there, against this apparatus, it’s quite something.”
On the import of the FOCAC gathering, Zepp-LaRouche put it, “I think I’m very safe to predict that this China-Africa summit will establish a completely new standard of international relations. First of all, you have the five-year anniversary of the initiation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and there were numerous articles in the Chinese media pointing to the very, very impressive success of this New Silk Road, which is now involving concrete treaties and deals with about 80 countries, and $5 trillion in trade was exchanged among the participants in the last five years, and much more is to come.
“There is a continuity between the Belt and Road Initiative; the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, which has the aim to eliminate poverty on the entire planet which China has given a lot of momentum to, in actually taking the leadership in; and the Africa Union Agenda 2063, which the African Union announced in 2013 as their next 50-year plan…. It’s a very, very ambitious plan, showing the intention of Africa to become completely modern, industrialized, with good living standards for all its populations, based on high technology, the frontiers of science. It’s quite wonderful and it is absolutely in cohesion with the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Many African leaders are speaking out in advance of the Sept. 3-4 FOCAC summit, stressing the working friendship involved. Zepp-LaRouche stated, “This is really wonderful, because, I remember that Churchill basically said there is no such thing as friendship among nations, countries only have ‘interests’ and they pursue them, which is a bestial kind of view. And I think what this new Chinese-African friendship and common future reflects is the true nature of mankind: That you are capable of loving other nations, of loving other cultures, when you discover the beauty of them.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Egypt’s el-Sisi, Other African Leaders Make Their Way to Beijing China-Africa Forum
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi flew to Bahrain today on the first leg of a three-nation tour that includes China and Uzbekistan. He is due to hold talks with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and top Bahraini government officials. The President will then head to Beijing for the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. He is scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping, and expects to sign a number of cooperation deals.
El-Sisi will end his trip on Sept. 5 in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, in what will be the first such visit by an Egyptian President. He will discuss with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ways to bolster bilateral ties, and there are plans to sign several deals during the talks.
Many other African leaders are en route to the FOCAC summit. President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and a high-level delegation arrived today. This is Farmajo’s first official visit to China since he was elected President on Feb. 8, 2017, and his communications officer reports he will meet with Xi Jinping for bilateral talks.
Burkina Faso will be represented at the summit by President Roch Kabore. “For us, this trip is an important mission as it will help build up and consolidate the two countries’ relationship, which is founded on win-win, legal and transparency principles,” Kabore said in an interview with Xinhua. Kabore expanded that Africa-China cooperation is based on the principles of mutual benefit. “We don’t have any regrets about this existing China-Africa cooperation, which is developing day by day in favor of our respective peoples.”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche Backs Eurasian Integration, Rather Than Outmoded Euro-Centrism
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Sputnik ran a wire yesterday which counterposed the views of Helga Zepp-LaRouche, whom they had interviewed, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s proposals for “Europe” to unite against the United States—and Russia and China, in reality.
Sputnik presented Zepp-LaRouche’s views as follows:
“Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the leader of the German Civil Rights Movement Solidarity party, told Sputnik that Maas’ call for the rest of the European Union to counter jointly the U.S. sanctions, represented an outdated ‘Euro-centric’ mindset, in which Europe should act as a united front.
“ ‘The proposal of German Foreign Minister Maas reflects, in the world of today, an outdated Euro-centric view, which at best would bring together a “coalition of the willing,” given the fact that many European countries want to improve relations with Russia,’ Zepp-LaRouche argued.
“She said she believed that the German foreign minister might only increase the centrifugal forces in the European Union by his proposal.
“Speaking about Maas’ call for developing a common EU security policy and forming a kind of an independent defense union, Zepp-LaRouche said she believed that the formation of a new security structure was only possible with the support of Eurasian states.
“ ‘The only possible basis for Europe to strengthen its own defense, is the creation of a new security architecture, based on an integrated economic space of Eurasia,’ Zepp-LaRouche stated.”
The dispatch is headlined, “Germany To Fight Alone To Review EU Policy against U.S. Sanctions—German MP.” They also interviewed a French Member of the European Parliament from Marine Le Pen’s Front National party.
French President Macron on Finland Visit Recommends a Strategic Partnership with Russia
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Sputnik is playing up statements made yesterday by French President Emmanuel Macron in Finland, during a joint press conference with his host, President Sauli Niinistö, following their meeting. Macron is speaking of new strategic relations with Russia.
The immediate background to this, is that Marcon, addressing the French ambassadors’ conference on Aug. 27, outlined a vision of a “new order,” essentially Western, but which does not exclude some level of cooperation with China and Russia. In his address to the French ambassadors, Macron had announced, according to the French Foreign Ministry translation, “In the coming months, I plan to spearhead a project to strengthen European solidarity in security matters,” stating that “Europe can no longer entrust its security to the United States alone,” and that, therefore, “initiating renewed dialogue” would include “especially Russia.”
In Helsinki, Macron called for a reset of Europe’s relations with Russia as they have developed since the end of the Cold War, and for the creation of a Europe-Russia “strategic partnership”: “Our interest is to have strategic partnerships including on matters of defense with our closest neighbors” he said. “I believe that we need a total aggiornamento [upgrade] of our relations with Russia following the end of the Cold War…. We have remained stuck, sometimes on both sides, to reactions connected to errors and misunderstandings over the last two decades, and which caused us to not reach the conclusions that we should have. …Given what we have gone through in these last years, there will be a lot of work….”
Macron urged for Europe to become stronger and to implement “European strategic autonomy.”
This all would demand, or course, some concessions from Russia. Macron said that Russia should send “some signals, especially on the Minsk process and the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine…. It’s not a matter of forgetting everything that happened in these last years—it would not be a good method; but simply to be realistic, with the preconditions I just gave, and go further in cooperation. It can be done, but it requires a willingness on the part of both parties.”
Zimbabwe, Germany Agree on Joint Permanent Commission To Monitor Economic Agreements
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller made an official visit to Zimbabwe, where it was agreed to form a Joint Permanent Commission to ensure implementation and monitoring of economic bilateral agreements. Müller and his delegation paid a courtesy call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in which they discussed issues of bilateral economic cooperation. Müller congratulated President Mnangagwa for conducting a free and fair election, and above all for allowing the subsequent court process to be conducted in a transparent manner.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Lt. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo (ret.), said that Germany has shown total commitment to various economic partnerships and renewed cooperation.
Earlier in the week, Müller was in Eritrea where he met President Isaias Afwerki and expressed support for the Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Agreement signed last month. From Asmara, Eritrea, he flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Müller’s trip parallels that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited Dakar, Senegal, and met with President Macky Sall. Merkel, who was leading a business delegation, also visited Ghana and met President Nana Akufo-Addo; and Nigeria where she met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mahathir’s Postponement of Chinese Projects in Malaysia Are Not Aimed at China
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—The world’s press has continued to lie that Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s postponement of two large infrastructure projects being built by China was a blow to the Belt and Road Initiative, repeating ad nauseam that it shows once again that China is using a “debt trap” to gain control over countries in an imperialist style. Dr. Mahathir himself took dramatic steps to demonstrate that this was a lie, with his five-day visit to China from Aug. 17-21.
The two projects which have been postponed (and may be cancelled eventually) were a $20 billion east-west rail project aimed at enhancing development of Malaysia’s less-developed east coast, and two gas pipelines in Sabah, one of the Malay provinces on the island of Borneo. The plan to conclude a contract this year for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore rail connection has also been postponed for at least two years.
But Dr. Mahathir has said over and over again that “It is not about the Chinese.” “We’re here to assure the Chinese government and its people that there will be no change of policy…. We see China as a model for development,” he said at a press conference with Premier Li Keqiang.
The problem is the systemic corruption of the Najib Razak government which Mahathir replaced after his party’s surprise victory in the national election in May. As much as $4.5 billion are missing from the books of Najib’s development fund, One Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he set up soon after he took office in 2009. Nearly $700 million showed up in Najib’s personal account. Najib was arrested in Malaysia in July, while criminal cases against 1MDB and several connected persons are also ongoing in Switzerland and the United States. The Malaysian state is liable for the losses.
The huge deals with China, which included the Chinese purchase of a large piece of real estate in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the rail and pipeline deals, may have been connected to Najib’s suspected criminal use of state funds. Until that is adjudicated, Mahathir had no choice but to put the projects on hold, and to renegotiate the projects if they are to be reinstated.
The joint communiqué signed by Malaysia and China at the end of Mahathir’s visit states that the two sides will speed up the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Mutual Economic Development through China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative—the two components of the Belt and Road.
Mahathir, accompanied by his top ministers involved in the economy, also visited Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, rode on a high-speed train from Hangzhou to Shanghai, and oversaw the signing of a cooperation agreement between Chinese auto firm Geely and Malaysian carmaker Proton. This is not a country turning against China for an allegedly devious debt trap.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told the press after Mahathir’s visit that when, “two countries cooperate, it is unavoidable that various problems may emerge and we may adopt different views at different times. We should approach these problems through friendly negotiations with the purpose of maintaining friendly ties and adopting a long-term view.”
Mahathir also signed numerous deals to expand trade and technology transfer, specifically noting that China’s development of advanced technologies was at the core of their extraordinary progress, and Malaysia was most interested in getting help in these areas.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Turkey Must Make $179 Billion in External Debt Repayments in 2019
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—As much as $179 billion in Turkish external debt matures in the next year to July 2019, equivalent to almost a quarter of the nation’s annual economic output, according to estimates in a note by JPMorgan. Most of it, around $146 billion, is private sector debt, especially to banks. The government needs to repay or roll over $4.3 billion, and public-sector entities account for the rest. “Financing needs over the next 12 months are large and access to markets has become problematic,” the note said.
While around $47 billion of maturing debt consisted of trade credits, which are relatively easy to roll over, roughly $108 billion of debt maturing through July 2019 has high roll-over risk.
Meanwhile the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told his party’s parliamentary group that Turkey’s economic crisis had little to do with the recent tension between the U.S. and Turkey, which was “just a small fragment of a wider problem,” reported Hurriyet Daily News. “The crisis was already there. It has nothing to do with the American pastor,” Kilicdaroglu said, referring to U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in Turkey, and whom President Donald Trump is demanding be released.
Kilicdaroglu accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of blaming “foreign powers” for attacking the Turkish economy, rather than for his own mistakes. “Was it the foreign circles that told you to give all big contracts based on the U.S. dollar?” the CHP leader asked. “You gave contracts in dollars. Was it the foreign powers that told you to tell business owners to generate revenue in dollars?” he demanded to know.
“Was it the foreign powers that told you to make the state a guarantor for the pro-government businesses’ foreign debts of their $123 billion worth of projects? Was it the foreign powers that told companies that don’t have any revenue in foreign currencies, to be in debt in a foreign currency?”
Kilicdaroglu said the government should convene the Economic and Social Council of Turkey, which gathers the government, civil society, and unions, to come up with an economic plan. It has not met since 2009.
Argentine Currency in Free Fall, Panicked Government Begs IMF for Help
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Argentina’s peso is in free fall. After declining by over 8% yesterday, today it dropped another 12% (although at one point it was down 20%), ending the trading day at 40.9/dollar compared to yesterday’s closing of 34.50/dollar. (One year ago, it was about 17 to the dollar.) Argentine stocks and bonds traded on Wall Street crashed by 16% yesterday. Today the Central Bank raised interest rates to a whopping 60%—the highest in the world—increased the bank reserve ratio by five points, and auctioned $300 million, which barely slowed today’s decline, Ambito Financiero reported. Chaos reigns as there appears to be no end to the peso’s collapse.
The Mauricio Macri government is panicked, as seen in the pathetic remarks of Chief of Cabinet Marcos Peña today when he denied that “an economic failure” had occurred. Yesterday at 9:30 a.m., in a two-minute prerecorded television message, Macri said he had asked the IMF to speed up disbursements of a three-year, $50 billion bailout package, which only went into effect this June 20. Instead of ending in 2021, Macri wants the remaining $35 billion disbursed by the end of 2019, when big debt payments come due and presidential elections occur.
Macri’s message sent markets into a tailspin. According to Página 12, it didn’t help that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde took nine hours to respond, and then only to say that she hoped the IMF board would approve the loan’s revisions within two weeks. Macri also made clear that revisions to the loan program require deeper austerity. The 2019 fiscal deficit target of 1.3% of GDP is now being discussed as a “ceiling”; the government will try to reduce that even more, gouging the budget and living standards.
Perceived as incompetent, Macri and his economic team are coming under fierce attack. The CGT labor federation has called a general strike for Sept. 25 to denounce the IMF’s program and demand a change of direction.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Russian Ambassador Presents Evidence to State Department Officials
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador in Washington, confirmed yesterday that he had meet with the U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey, and David M. Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, on Aug. 27 to brief them on Moscow’s intelligence on the planned false flag operation by the jihadis in southern Idlib province. Antonov had requested the meeting on Aug. 24.
At the meeting, Russia officially conveyed its concerns over reports that Washington, together with France and the U.K., is gearing up for another set of airstrikes in Syria under the pretext of a chemical attack to be blamed on the Syrian government. Moscow has asked Washington to “provide the facts without delay” to substantiate the new allegations that Damascus uses chemical weapons against its own people, TASS reports.
Moscow cautioned Washington against falling for this provocation, stating that a massive airstrike targeting Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure will constitute another act of “groundless and illegal aggression” against Syria. “A new escalation in Syria does not correspond to interests of any party. We believe that our concern will be heard,” RT quoted Antonov as saying, and that he hopes the U.S. “will take every effort to prevent terrorists from using toxic chemicals, and will act responsibly, in accordance with the status of a UN Security Council permanent member.”
Czech President Zeman Urges Lifting Anti-Russian Sanctions
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Czech President Milos Zeman has called for lifting anti-Russian sanctions, the CTK news agency has reported. “The anti-Russian sanctions affect both sides. This applies to all kinds of sanctions,” Zeman said during a meeting with ambassadors and other diplomats in the Prague Castle yesterday evening. He went on to say that sanctions are also detrimental to the European Union, and the European Council should not extend them again, and furthermore that prominent politicians from Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and Italy have also spoken out against the anti-Russian sanctions.
South Korean and Russian Air Forces To Create Direct Communication Line
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—South Korea and Russia have agreed to establish a direct communication line between air forces of the two states, stated South Korea’s ministry of national defense today, following a meeting in Moscow between South Korean Vice Minister of National Defense Seo Ju-seok and Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Col. Gen. Alexander Fomin on Aug. 28. They also agreed to develop strategic dialogue between their agencies and to step up exchanges and cooperation.
Seo Ju-seok also urged Russia to support diplomatic efforts aimed at full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Fomin replied that Moscow supports Seoul’s efforts to reach peace and stability in the region.
Russian Defense Minister Shoigu: 300,000 Troops To Participate in Vostok 2018 Exercise
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—According to a short statement posted on the Russian Defense Ministry website Aug. 28, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that the Sept. 11-15 Vostok 2018 exercise would involve 300,000 troops, and will be the largest in 37 years, according to the Defense Ministry.
“Imagine that 36,000 pieces of hardware are operating simultaneously—tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles—and all of them are tests in environment closely resembling a combat one,” he said. This is clearly a major mobilization and is being described as the largest military exercise since the Soviet era Zapad 81, which reportedly involved 150,000 troops. Under current strategic conditions, the Russians view this very large exercise as absolutely necessary.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday, “The social security network and the pension system are a constant element of state policy and a very important component. But the country’s defense capability in the current international situation, which is frequently quite aggressive and unfriendly for our country, is justified, needed, and has no alternative.”
Peskov also stressed the importance of the Chinese participation in the exercise (Mongolia will also be involved).
“This speaks about the expansion of interaction of the two allies in all the spheres,” he said. China’s Defense Ministry stated that “the drills are aimed at strengthening Russian-Chinese strategic military cooperation….”
Since the exercise will be held entirely east of the Urals, the usual notification rules of the OSCE don’t apply. The Russians notified NATO anyway, at the last NATO-Russia Council meeting in May, according to Acting Deputy Spokesperson Dylan White, and invited military attachés from NATO countries to observe, an invitation that White said is under consideration.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Trump Urges Supreme Court Chief Justice To Act on Russiagate Dossier, FISA Abuse
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump has called for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Chief Justice to direct the Presiding Judge in charge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court to question FBI and U.S. Justice Department officials about their use of the so-called Christopher Steele Russia dossier in seeking a warrant to surveil people associated with his campaign.
He tweeted yesterday: “Ohr told the FBI it (the Fake Dossier) wasn’t true, it was a lie and the FBI was determined to use it anyway to damage Trump and to perpetrate a fraud on the court to spy on the Trump campaign. This is a fraud on the court. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is in charge of the FISA court. He should direct the Presiding Judge, Rosemary Collier, to hold a hearing, haul all of these people from the DOJ & FBI in there, & if she finds there were crimes committed, and there were, there should be a criminal referral by her….” [ellipses in original].
Pompeo Requests Meeting with Lavrov
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has requested a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS yesterday.
The Washington Post wrote earlier that Secretary Pompeo is trying to reach an understanding with Moscow before a deadline for imposing sweeping new sanctions against Russia for allegedly poisoning a former Russian spy in Britain, according to diplomats familiar with the efforts.
China’s Navy Chief To Visit U.S. in September
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Notwithstanding various policy differences between China and the United States that remain to be resolved and are played up widely by the media, China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Senior Col. Wu Qian said today that China’s PLA Navy commander Shen Jinlong plans to visit the United States in September, reported Reuters. Shen plans to visit the United States in the middle or towards the end of next month, to attend an international naval forum, and also to pay a working visit to the country, according to Reuters today.
Last June, the U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had visited Beijing, and subsequently China said that that visit had yielded positive results, so China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe has accepted an invitation to visit the United States before the end of the year, Colonel Wu said at his regular press conference in late June.