EIR Daily Alert Service, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2018

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2018

Volume 5, Number 183

EIR Daily Alert Service

P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390

EDITORIAL

Britain Defending Al-Qaeda on 9/11 Anniversary! Trump Was Right About Leaving Syria

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—The Schiller Institute remains mobilized against obvious British-led attempts to organize a U.K.-France-U.S. missile attack against Syria, and against Russian forces there, whether by using a “false flag” chemical attack, or even without the chemical-weapons pretense. The threat of war even between the leading nuclear powers remains grave. The Schiller Institute’s representatives and its collaborators were covered in Southwest Asia in recent days exposing the “false flag” pretense and the British intent to launch war. Two Schiller representatives toured Homs, Aleppo and Palmyra, Syria and held a press conference in Palmyra with Syrian government officials to present the peace alternative—bringing the Belt and Road through the Southwest Asia and Africa for reconstruction and economic development. Only days earlier Virginia State Sen. Richard Black, visiting Syria, vigorously exposed the planned “chemical weapons” pretense for what is essentially a NATO attack on Russian and Syrian forces which are trying to eliminate al-Qaeda in Syria.

Idlib Province, which Britain is daring Syria and Russia not to touch, is largely controlled by an al-Qaeda force. Loud jeremiads have come from British UN representatives led by Ambassador Karen Pierce in the Security Council: No military action against the terrorists in Idlib; no reconstruction of Syria, no “Marshall Plan” or “Brussels Plan”; U.S. forces’ occupation of Syria’s northeast must be indefinite. The U.S. and French UN ambassadors echoed Pierce.

The irony of threatening world war to protect al-Qaeda, on September 11, 2018, is a terrible one. This, while President Donald Trump was in Pennsylvania praising the courage of the passengers of Flight 93, and all those who responded to 9/11 attacks. And while New York’s NBC-TV Channel 4 News was giving prominence to the Schiller Institute’s concert-memorial to the 9/11 victims.

Trump was right to want to take U.S. troops out of Syria; and still is right to want cooperation with Russian President Putin in solving this problem.

The continuous attack and attempted coup against the President—featuring the same Robert Mueller who as FBI Director covered up the clear Saudi-British connections to the 9/11 attacks—is exactly because of his orientation to collaboration with the other great powers Russia and China.

On Sept. 13 in New York City, Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Senator Black, together with diplomatic representatives, address a crucial conference continuing this mobilization. Mrs. LaRouche will be calling for four-power collaboration—United States, Russia, China, India—for new monetary arrangements modelled on FDR’s Bretton Woods, and a new paradigm of development on the Belt and Road, “World Land-Bridge” model.

This weekend also marks 10 years since Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy triggered global financial collapse. The central banks having “saved” London and Wall Street with a much bigger unpayable debt bubble than the one that imploded then, now the so-called “emerging markets currency crisis” is the harbinger of a looming new trans-Atlantic crash.

This must be stopped, to save instead the new paradigm of development. The only safe way is quickly to break the large banks up, reinstating Glass-Steagall laws in the United States and Europe. That will lead to the other laws Lyndon LaRouche has proposed as necessary, including creating the national infrastructure-credit institutions of a “New Bretton Woods.”

Above all, the American Presidency must be defended from British-instigated coup, and the war party thrown out, including in the midterm elections now just seven weeks away.

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

New York City NBC Affiliate Features Schiller Institute Chorus 9/11 Commemoration

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—The Schiller Institute New York City Chorus, and its concert commemorating the victims and families of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, were given prominence by Channel 4 NBC News in New York, in its report on the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

On its evening news Sept. 10, coverage began with a reporter with the Ground Zero tower in the background, reporting, “The Schiller Institute New York Chorus was given the solemn honor of memorializing 9/11.” Video of the chorus rehearsing the African American Spiritual “Daniel, Daniel” was interwoven with the reporter describing it as “of every race, every religion, every ethnic background,” and quoting its first soprano Judith Moseley who had worked at and lost friends at the World Trade Center.

The news report then emphasized the lasting health problems and deaths of first responders and survivors; the way children of first responders who died on 9/11 remembered them by becoming first responders themselves; and then returned to the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus rehearsal. “And that chorus,” the reporter concluded, “will be presenting a memorial concert at St. Anthony of Padua Church in the Village tomorrow night.”

NBC News followed up the on night of Sept. 11 with brief video clips from the memorial concert itself at St. Anthony of Padua, attended by some 200 New Yorkers, including some who had been first responders on that terrible day.

Credit Unions’ Mobilization for Glass-Steagall Picks Up

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—About a week after issuing a white paper, “Modernizing Financial Services: The Glass-Steagall Act Revisited,” and committing to the reenactment of Glass-Steagall, the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) has another piece out promoting Glass-Steagall, in the Washington, D.C. newspaper, The Hill. In the intervening days there have also been articles on the credit unions’ ”mobilization” for Glass-Steagall in the Credit Union Times, the Credit Union Journal and Credit Union Insight portal, if not others.

In The Hill op-ed by Carrie Hunt, the focus is on the 21st-Century Glass-Steagall Act Bill in the Senate; the piece is headlined, “Updated Glass-Steagall Would Make Banks Put People Before Profits.” Author Carrie Hunt is executive vice-president and general counsel of the NAFCU.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence has forced the NAFCU to cancel its “Washington, D.C. Caucus” scheduled for Sept. 13, which would have brought together some Members of Congress with credit union officials from around the country. The Senate Banking Committee has also put off its Sept. 13 hearing which was to include testimony from National Credit Union Administration Board Chairman Mark McWatters, rescheduling the hearing for Oct. 3.

As a result, credit union officers and members are now likely to be mobilized in their home areas.

Trump Talks Only of Trade Negotiations; China Tariffs Lack Effect

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—During an afternoon press conference Sept. 11 about hurricane preparedness, Donald Trump did not sound like a President about to impose 25% tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese exports. To a reporter’s shouted question about trade following the formal end of the event, the President answered at length about the “very good trade deal” negotiated with Mexico, “good negotiations” ongoing with Canada and Europe, the settlement with South Korea; and finally, his belief he will reach a trade deal with China. Trump made no mention of more tariffs: neither the $200 billion in Chinese exports which could have been taxed at any time since the public comment period on them ended last Thursday morning, Sept. 6; nor the still further “$257 billion” he had mooted last week.

Both the United States and China have just published August trade data, and both seem to show that the existing reciprocal U.S. and China tariffs on $50 billion—high-technology exports from China, predominantly food exports from the United States—have had little effect.

The U.S. trade deficit, having grown to $45 billion in July, reached nearly $50 billion in August, the second month of effective new tariffs. American economic growth was expressed in a 1% rise in imports, while exports fell 0.9% largely due to price drops for the main food crops. Total U.S.-China trade has grown 9% since Jan. 1, and China’s goods surplus with the United States has grown 15% in that time, reaching a record $30.1 billion in August. Even American soybean exports to China have been affected mainly prospectively; deals for this year’s crop had already been made before the tariffs.

America did impose tariffs on steel from a range of countries in February; those certainly appear to have stimulated manufacturing job growth in the United States. But aluminum tariffs have raised prices and been followed by a substantial drop in the United States’ dominant export sector, aircraft.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Bolton Threatening Missile Strikes into De Facto Truce in Idlib

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—Over the last three weeks a war of words has raged between Russia, on one side, and the U.K., United States, and cohorts, on the other, over the fate of Idlib province in Syria, with the British and American officials threatening massive military strikes against Syrian government forces, should they deem that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians. Yet, were these strikes to occur, the U.K., France, and America would be firing into what appears to be a de facto truce all along the front lines around Idlib, and in defense of the al-Qaeda terrorists that are controlling a large chunk of the province.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s UN Ambassador told the UN Security Council Sept. 11: “I noticed that our Western partners started talking about certain ‘nuances.’ They warned that a military action against … the Syrian Arab Republic may be used not only in case of the purported use of chemical weapons, but also in case of an armed operation in Idlib in general.

“Terrorists must not be allowed to hold hostages indefinitely,” Nebenzia insisted. “It is impossible to exist side by side with terrorists.”

Aside from occasional air and artillery strikes, and defensive preparations for the expected Syrian army assault, little has happened on the ground in Idlib for some time. Free Syrian Army commanders interviewed by Al Jazeera attributed the relative quiet to diplomatic and other efforts by the Turks to prevent it.

“I think we are in a period of [searching for] a solution for Syria,” said Tariq Sulaq, commander of the Second Coastal Division, part of al-Jabha al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir (NLF), one of the two main armed opposition alliances in Idlib. He claimed that the Turkish military told them, within hours of the conclusion of the Sept. 7 Tehran summit among the Astana process guarantors, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, that “if Russia and Iran take the decision to attack the liberated areas and make even one step, [Turkey] will intervene and will be at the front line with the Syrian fighters,” he said. “They are serious about this decision and their movements on the ground show that.”

A former rebel commander, Khalid Rahal, indicated that Turkey’s relationship with Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS, formerly Jabhat al Nusra) is at the center of the situation. He said that at the Tehran summit on Sept. 7, Turkey gained an extension on a deadline (he gave no date on the deadline) set by Russia to resolve the issue of HTS’s presence in Idlib. Rahal said Turkey’s communication with HTS is continuing, even after Ankara’s failure to come to an agreement with it to disband, while HTS units keep providing security to Turkish convoys entering Idlib. Yet, if a solution is not reached, Turkey could resort to a military intervention to dissolve HTS by force, said Rahal.

That there is some kind of a ceasefire in effect while the Turkish matter is worked out seems to be confirmed from the Syrian government side. The Syrian military adhered to a temporary ceasefire in the Hama and Idlib governorates on Sept. 11 after spending a week on the attack against the jihadist rebels, reported Al Masdar News yesterday. The ceasefire is likely to continue as Russia, Iran, and Turkey discuss the fate of the area. How formal it is, however, is not clear.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and other officials of the Trump Administration are not acknowledging this reality of al-Qaeda controlling Idlib. But on July 27, 2017, Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy for the anti-ISIS war, told a Middle East Institute event “Idlib province is the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11, tied directly to Ayman al-Zawahiri.”

Merkel Wants To Join Attack on Syria, as SPD Government Partner Argues It Is Illegal

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—Possible German participation in Anglo-U.S.-led strikes against Syrian military forces was debated in the Bundestag yesterday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel arguing in favor. “It cannot be the German position to simply say ‘no’, no matter what happens in the world,” she said, reported Reuters. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), the government coalition partner of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), however, is opposed. SPD Secretary General Andrea Nahles said that there can be no German involvement in military action in Syria without the approval of the UN Security Council and/or a vote of the Bundestag.

“As long as this doesn’t happen, we Social Democrats can’t agree to a violent intervention in Syria,” she said.

The Bundestag scientific service, in response to a request from the Linke party, produced a 10-page document that found, that if, as is being debated now in NATO and in the Defense Ministry, the German Air Force were to join combat missions of the other Western air forces in Syria, it would be against international law. Retaliatory strikes in response to alleged use of chemical weapons, as some have proposed, are not covered by international law.

In an op-ed yesterday, Nina Werkhäuser, of the German news service Deutsche Welle, backs the SPD and the Bundestag scientific service on that point.  She writes in DW’s English website:

“It’s not clear why Chancellor Merkel should deviate from this [her previous] policy now. A Bundeswehr combat mission in Syria would require a United Nations mandate, an unlikely scenario given Russia’s ability to veto it in the Security Council. In addition, Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, would have to give its blessing, which is also far from certain with the conservatives [CDU/CSU] and the SPD divided….

“Whether the Bundeswehr should play a larger role in multinational military missions is something that can be debated,” Werkhäuser concludes. “However, speculating about a response to the battle for Idlib, which will leave civilians there with their backs to the wall, is not a suitable starting point for that debate.

“More bombs and missiles definitely won’t help the people of Syria.”

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

A Decade Since Lehman Brothers Collapse Sparks Coverage on New Crash, Corporate Debt

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—Of numerous warnings of a new financial crash, written under motivation of the Sept. 15 tenth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ implosion, a Bloomberg piece on Russia stands out. It places Russian sovereign and corporate debt—despite Russia’s large foreign currency reserves and earnings and its modest government debt—as the potential focus of contagion of the current “emerging market” currency crisis into the major bond markets and banking systems. The trigger: any possibility of passage of the Graham-Menendez anti-Russian sanctions bill, known by the acronym DASKA (Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression).

Reuters attributed Kommersant’s publication of the bill’s text on Aug. 8 as causing the ruble to fall 5% that day, and it has been falling since, now to below 70/dollar. Bloomberg cites a number of investment advisor firms in Moscow, to show that “Given the near-crisis situation in emerging markets, putting sanctions on the only market where until recently investors could hide, will trigger massive contagion risk”—the warning of Elina Ribakova, a fellow at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. Bloomberg describes why Russia has been the target of a substantially larger carry trade than Turkey, Argentina, Indonesia, even India: Because it has a very high interest rate on sovereign and corporate debt, but plentiful backing with foreign reserves, oil revenues, etc. DASKA can produce a thorough reversal of that carry trade, more explosive for the trans-Atlantic financial markets than any other.

There were other warnings. A CNBC TV video report Sept. 11 of a Moody’s Investor Service report, “Is Another Corporate Debt Crisis Lurking?” included a rare acknowledgment of the huge bubble of U.S. corporate debt. It has risen beyond its 2007 peak of $12.7 trillion to $15.9 trillion now. Worse, Triple-B debt (junk plus one grade) has gone from $700 million to $3 trillion—nearly half of all bonds, and one-quarter of bank lending—and this is seriously dangerous, the report says. “The bag is not being held as much by the banks as it used to be,” but by shadow banks. But all of the subprime-type practices have returned, by these shadow banks and their bank backers.

The New York Times Sept. 12 published “The Next Financial Calamity Is Coming. Here’s What To Watch”: namely, corporate debt. “[T]he borrowing binge may have gone too far…. In the past, such indebtedness has always been followed by a rise in defaults. … Developing economies are looking shakier—and, again, a main culprit is corporate debt.”

THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER

Italy and China Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Work Together Developing Africa

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—At the end of the mission to China by Italian Undersecretary Michele Geraci, Italy’s Ministry for Economic Development (MISE) and the Chinese National Commission for Development and Reforms signed a memorandum of understanding on collaboration in third countries with Africa as prime continent.

MISE explained in a press release, “Through such a Memorandum, Italy and China commit to seek joint cooperation areas in third countries. A first target of such a new form of collaboration will be Africa, the continent which is destined, with its strong demography and its perspectives for economic growth, to draw more and more the attention from European countries and from Italy in particular, both to manage the migration phenomenon and to open new markets to our companies, as well as to share together with African countries the challenges on the path to development, economic growth and sustainability.”

Crucial Talks Between China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Abe in Vladivostok

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today at the Eastern Economic forum in Vladivostok, and discussed improving economic ties and working for global and regional peace and stability, and economic development.

President Xi crucially cited China’s Belt and Road initiative as providing a new platform and experimental field for China and Japan to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation, saying they should jointly push toward regional integration, and build a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Asia, reported Xinhua.

He emphasized that the international situation is changing rapidly and profoundly, and that both China and Japan, as major world economies, should assume joint responsibility to ensure global and regional peace and economic development.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe thanked President Xi for his expression of sympathy for recent losses Japan has suffered from natural disasters. Now that Japan-China relations are returning to the right track, there is increasing space for bilateral cooperation, Abe said. Xinhua reported that Japan wants to boost high-level exchanges with China, and fast-forward the improvement of Japan-China ties.

In May, Premier Li Keqiang visited Tokyo, the first such visit by a Chinese premier in eight years, and Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary-General of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, met with Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan in Beijing on Aug. 31.

Today, the South China Morning Post reports speculation that Abe will visit China around Oct. 23, the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, which laid the basis for their diplomatic relations.

China and Pakistan Invite Third-Country Investors into CPEC Economic Corridor

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)—During a meeting in Islamabad today between Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, China and Pakistan reached an agreement to invite third-country investors to be part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, South China Morning Post reported.

Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, offered his assessment that “inviting a third party will help to ease concerns and the view that there is strategic intent behind the cooperation between China and Pakistan—in particular concerns held by India,” reported SCMP. He said that inviting third countries to take part would also help to improve the global standing and recognition of the projects.

SCMP also cited Sun Shihai, an expert in South Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) that “China needs to reflect on the problems that have emerged as it makes progress with the Belt and Road…. The uneven distribution of benefits among different provinces and regions in Pakistan may have caused some grievances and skepticism within Pakistan—China can make adjustments and address these issues.”

 

 

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