High Stakes in the U.S. Midterm Elections: Stopping War!
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—Today, after a meeting in Sochi on security in Syria, between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia announced that there will be no general assault on Idlib, at present, against the terrorists, but there will be collaboration between the Syrian government, Russia, and Turkey, to isolate and move against the jihadis there, while protecting the civilian population as much as possible.
This blows out the Western neo-con (and neo-liberal) pretext, that any Syrian government assault on Idlib terrorists—who are the same Saudi-backed forces that perpetrated the assault on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001—would be grounds for the U.S., U.K., and France to launch strikes against Syria, and provoke all-out war. Putin has thus outflanked the war hawks. Though not routing them, he has exposed them.
Putin’s announcement on Idlib underscores that the stakes in world affairs—especially in the U.S. midterm election countdown—are war, or the pathway to peace and development.
Most people, even good souls, cannot easily see this, because they are trapped in localism, and “controlled choices” about everything, from the economy, to culture, to foreign relations. Everyday Americans don’t readily see the U.S. in terms of the world dynamic of either war, or participating in a new paradigm for mankind. But we can make the point of the war danger reverberate. People do respond. The awful truth is: If we get a new Congress in November, which acts to remove President Trump, we will get war. Reagan-era figures have recently spelled this out explicitly, such as senior German politician Willy Wimmer, who said that Trump is the only thing which stands between mankind and war.
Kesha Rogers’ Congressional race (Texas CD 9, Houston) is a flagship campaign on this point. She is faced off, as an Independent, against Democratic Rep. Al “Impeachment” Green, who repeated only last weekend, at a Congressional Black Caucus gathering, that it doesn’t matter that Trump has committed no crime. Green says: just get elected in November, and impeach Trump out of office.
Rogers is exposing Green and this stance internationally. And for those who like particulars, Texas Republicans in CD 9 don’t even have to forgo their vote for a Republican in order to unseat Green. Vote for Rogers. There is no Republican on the ballot (only Rogers, another Independent, and a Libertarian).
LaRouchePAC is setting the terms for the election in its “Campaign To Win the Future.” Statesman Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws spell out the scientific, economic, and cultural policies required, while the immediate need is clear, for the major powers—the U.S., China, Russia, India, and others—to start to confer on establishing a “New Bretton Woods” system supporting development.
War is not the way things have to go. Look at the Koreas. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un will start two days of meetings on Tuesday in Pyongyang—their third round—towards ultimately enjoying peace, joint economic activity, and denuclearization on the Peninsula. Things are moving ahead concretely. North Korea rail representatives were in Vladivostok last week, to confer on interlinking Russian and Korean rail. Today, China Railway, the premier world rail construction company, announced that building out the rail network in the Russian Far East, interconnecting with China and the Koreas, is a top priority.
U.S. POLITICAL & ECONOMIC
President Trump Orders Key ‘Russiagate’ Documents Declassified
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—Late afternoon on today, the White House office of the Press Secretary issued the following statement which we include in its entirety here:
Statement from the Press Secretary
“At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.
“In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.”
Nellie Ohr To Testify on British MI6 Collusion in Russiagate
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—Nellie Ohr, wife of the demoted Justice Department official Brian Ohr, is scheduled to be interviewed this week by the House Judiciary and Government Oversight Committees about her work for Fusion GPS during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-TX) announced the upcoming interview yesterday.
Fusion GPS was the firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to collect dirt on candidate Donald Trump. It, in turn, hired British MI6 operative Christopher Steele to produce the dossier alleging that figures close to the Russian government arranged kinky sexual encounters for Trump while he was in Russia years ago. Although the Justice Department and the FBI used the Steele dossier to support the need for an investigation of Trump associates, they have admitted that they never verified its accuracy.
Nellie Ohr’s testimony is required because her husband, Bruce Ohr, was at the time Associate Deputy Attorney General, number-four in the Justice Department, and served as a go-between between the FBI and Fusion GPS’s sub-contractor, Christopher Steele, who worked as a confidential informant for the FBI. Ohr continued to maintain contact between Steele and the FBI and DOJ even after Steele was dropped by the FBI for feeding material to the news media. Ohr has since been demoted.
In Bruce Ohr’s discussions with the committee, he did not explain his wife’s role in working for Fusion GPS or the reason for her hiring. It is hoped that Nellie Ohr herself can provide answers to these questions about what seems to be collusion among the FBI, top Justice Department officials, British intelligence, the Clinton campaign, and the private firm she worked for.
Despite ‘Trade War,’ Michigan, Louisiana, and West Virginia Are Still Looking to China
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—Despite official Washington becoming ever more enmired in a trade war with China, individual states’ governors aren’t letting that stop them from “making their states great again.”
Today, the office of Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder announced he had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, that seeks to “further advance innovation and cooperation within the automotive and technology sectors, including new energy and autonomous vehicle technologies,” according to an official statement.
Interviewed today on CGTN television network, Snyder promoted U.S.-China trade, saying, “I think we need to encourage more trade rather than less.” Concerning tariffs, Snyder said, “I hear it from Chinese companies, [as well as] American companies also concerned about how we keep this in terms of if we have issues to address. Let’s get them addressed, let’s get behind this and let’s do more business together.”
This is Snyder’s eighth visit to China.
Also, just returned from China on Sept. 13 is Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who headed an 11-person team on a 10-day tour. Nungesser was pursuing the “tourism” trade, aimed at “marketing the state” to Chinese travel firms. On their own tour of China, the group made stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin will make his first trip to China to attend the November Import Expo in Shanghai. When he announced this plan last May, he told the media, “Kentucky is the logistical hub of North America. The UPS (United Parcel Service) world shipping hub is in Kentucky, as is DHL’s North American shipping hub. Our goal is to make sure Chinese producers know about this.”
West Virginia, having already inked its own multibillion-dollar deal with the Chinese, is expecting a visit from China Energy, on Sept. 27, to push the deal forward. Speaking of the deal on Sept. 4, Gov. Jim Justice said, “We’re still holding it together and keeping it moving in the right direction. It’s moving, and we’re making every show. We’ve met with [China Energy] again and it’s all promising.”
Reflecting on the fact that the original motivator of the $84 billion deal, Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher, was forced to resign under scandal over the summer, Justice said, “We’re making every show, but it’s hard. We need a great Commerce Secretary, that’s for sure.”
Gabbard and Jones Introduce House Resolution Against Illegal U.S. War in Syria
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—On Sept. 13, Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced a resolution into the House of Representatives declaring that any U.S. attack on Syrian forces and/or Russian and Iranian forces in Syria would be illegal under the U.S. Constitution and statutory law. The text of the resolution, H.Res.1069, states that officials of the Trump Administration, particularly National Security Advisor John Bolton and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, have repeatedly issued threats of U.S. military strikes against Syrian, Russian, and Iranian forces in northwest Syria, should there be an assault on Idlib province, threats that have expanded beyond just retaliatory measures in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.
“Trump’s Administration has threatened ‘dire consequences’ against Syria, Russia, and Iran if they attack al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who control the city of Idlib, Syria,” Gabbard, a combat veteran of the Gulf War, said in a Sept. 15 Twitter posting. “It is a blatant violation of the Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, and U.S. law. Congress must reassert its authority and take immediate action to prevent yet another illegal, costly, counterproductive Presidential war.”
The resolution states that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the President is required “to seek Congressional authorization prior to any engagement of the United States Armed Forces against Syria, Iran, or Russia”; and “to consult with Congress ‘in every possible instance’ before introducing the Armed Forces into situations of hostilities or imminent hostilities, in accordance with Section 3 of the War Powers Resolution.” Otherwise, “the use of the Armed Forces without congressional authorization is illegal and unconstitutional under article I, section 8 of the Constitution.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Russia and Turkey Arrange To Defuse Idlib Crisis
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to establish a demilitarized zone separating Syrian government troops from the “armed opposition” in Idlib and to peacefully resolve the potential for conflict there. They met in Sochi, Russia. After the two Presidents issued their statement on the agreement, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu issued his own statement, giving details on what Russia will be doing. There will be no military assault as such on Idlib, but cooperation on deployments with Turkish forces, by agreement with the Syrian government, reported TASS today.
Putin said that the plan is to establish a 15-20 km-wide demilitarized zone by Oct. 15 and to “evacuate radical militants, including Jabhat al-Nusra.” He reported that at Erdogan’s initiative, “heavy weapons, tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems, and mortars of all opposition groups” will be removed by Oct. 10. The demilitarized zone will be controlled by mobile Turkish units and Russian military police.” Also, at Erdogan’s suggestion, they plan to “resume transit traffic along the Aleppo-Latakia and Aleppo-Hama highways by the end of the year.”
Putin said that the Syrian government supports this approach, but that consultations with Syrian authorities will commence soon.
The President explained, “Russia and Turkey reiterated their commitment to continue anti-terrorism efforts in Syria in any of its forms…. We agreed that practical implementation of the steps we plan will give a fresh impetus to the process of political settlement of the Syrian conflict.” In pursuit of this goal, he said, “We’ll continue the efforts to form the constitution committee from among the members of Syrian leadership, opposition forces and civil society…. The task is to ensure the start of its work very shortly.”
Putin said that Russia and Turkey will continue using the Astana format consultations while “looking for long-term political solutions at the talks in Geneva under the UN umbrella.”
UN Yemen Envoy in Sana’a To Jumpstart Diplomatic Process and Open Medical Air Bridge
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths is in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, presumably to try to resurrect the diplomatic process that stalled in Geneva about ten days ago when the Houthi delegation was unable to make the trip, because of Saudi intervention. According to the pro-Houthi Saba news agency, Griffiths met this morning with the Houthi delegation that would have gone to Geneva if it could have. “During the meeting, the national delegation expressed dissatisfaction to not arriving to Geneva on Sept. 6 due to barriers created by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led aggression coalition before the efforts made to settling the Yemeni issue,” Saba reports.
Griffith’s arrival in Sana’a coincided with renewed fighting around the port of Hodeidah and yet more Saudi air strikes. At least 32 Houthi fighters were reported killed and 4 civilians died in a Saudi air strike on a radio station. Saba reports that another 17 civilians were killed in Saudi air strikes elsewhere in the country.
At the same time that Griffiths is in Sana’a, the UN is trying to open an air bridge by which Yemenis with cancer and other serious illnesses can be flown out of the country for medical treatment.
“The aim is to help patients suffering from cancer, chronic diseases, and congenital anomalies receive the treatment they need,” said World Health Organization (WHO) country representative for Yemen Nevio Zagaria, who also said that 12 health conditions had been targeted, reported AFP today. These include leukemia, cervical and thyroid cancer, and “patients who need … bone marrow and kidney transplants,” he said. The air bridge will operate for an initial trial period of six months, WHO said, without specifying where the patients would be sent for treatment. “Eighty percent of patients for this flight are women and children,” Zagaria said, and that, “The air bridge is one of their last hopes.”
Col. Larry Wilkerson Warns of Neo-Con Three Steps to Nuclear War—Iraq, Syria, Iran
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—On Sept. 11, Col. Larry Wilkerson (ret.), who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned in an interview with the Real News Network that the rhetoric surrounding the Syrian war and other conflict situations is a “resurrection” of the neo-conservative agenda that could lead to “a real humanitarian disaster.” Wilkerson defined that agenda as first crushing Iraq, then Syria, and, finally, Iran.
Wilkerson, now a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at Virginia’s William and Mary University, played a personal role, along with his boss Colin Powell, in violating their own principles in submitting to the neo-con agenda. Powell was widely considered an honorable choice for the Presidency before being pressured by neo-con Vice President Dick Cheney into backing British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lies at the United Nations about Iraq purchasing “yellow cake” uranium for nuclear bomb production. After the resulting genocide of the unprovoked, unjustified war against Iraq, Powell and Wilkerson had the decency to take responsibility for their role and have opposed the neo-cons ever since.
Given that experience, Wilkerson spoke with authority in saying of the neo-con rhetorical onslaught against Russia and Syria, “Ultimately, I know what the insidious purpose is, it’s to unseat [Syrian President] Assad and then take on Iran, but I don’t see the President buying that unless he’s even more of an idiot than perhaps people think he is.” Wilkerson did raise the concern that National Security Advisor John Bolton and “others in their positions of power now are orchestrating a scenario whereby Donald Trump, for political reasons or whatever, can use force in a significant way against Assad and ultimately Iran…. And this is most disquieting.”
Nikki Haley Calls UNSC Session, Alleging Russia Obstructed Sanctions on North Korea
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley late on Sept. 14 called an “urgent” session of the UN Security Council for this morning, on the formal topic of implementation of sanctions against North Korea. The session was conspicuously timed with the hopeful third meeting of Korean leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un, convening in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-19, and became the occasion for Haley—speaking in her capacity as U.S. representative, not as Council chair—to bash Russia grandiloquently.
The contrived point at issue is Haley’s charge from this past summer, that Russia, first was involved in North Korea violating sanctions on oil imports; and following this allegedly cheated and obstructed a report to the Council about it.
In one outburst to the Council, Haley began, “Deny, distract, and lie. We have heard this same song before” from Russia. She charged that Russia protected the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons; Russia carried out the Skripal poisoning in England; Russia meddled in U.S. elections; and Russia cheated on the North Korea sanctions.
In dramatic contrast, Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu stressed in remarks to the Council that “history has given us a mission” to complete on the Korean Peninsula, and that should be the UN focus.
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Inter-Korean Summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un Underway in Pyongyang
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang for meetings Sept. 18-19 with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un. This will be the pair’s third visit this year. This week’s occasion involves logistics innovations. A convoy of five special vehicles arrived from South Korea yesterday, laden with gear to provide live communications from the meetings. Last Friday, Sept. 14, the new, permanent communications liaison office between the Koreas was officially opened in Kaesong.
In advance of the Pyongyang deliberations, the South Korea briefing officer reported that three points are expected to be discussed by the leaders. First, ways to carry out the declaration already struck between them in their first, April 27 summit in Panmunjom, such as arranging for meetings between separated families. Secondly, ways to continue to reduce military tensions. Thirdly, continuing to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
China Railway Announces Priority Commitment to Russian Far East
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—China Railway CEO Zhang Zongyan is covered in various media today, for his remarks stressing that “China Railway is looking at the [Russian] Far East as one of the most important destination markets for extending its principal activity,” he reported told Xinhua. He said that his company had negotiated this last week with the Russian Ministry of Transport and the Ministry for the Development of the Far East, on the sidelines of the Sept. 11-13 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
China Railway, established in 1950, has built dozens of thousands of kilometers of rail, including at least 10,000 km of high-speed rail.
Zhang was quoted by TASS as saying, “Chinese enterprises are ready to deploy their own advanced technology, equipment, and engineering to take part in the construction of infrastructure in the Far East. This will contribute to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of cooperation between northeastern China and Russia’s Far East.”
He described how China Railway plans to participate in the reconstruction of the region’s international transport corridors Primorye-1 and Primorye-2, which connect the Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin, with the Far Eastern region of Primorye.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Die Welt Article Panics, ‘Italy Is Putting the Future of the EU Stability Pact at Stake’
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—Friedrich Heinemann, head of the “Corporate Taxation and Public Finance” department at the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, Germany, as well as adjunct professor of economics at the University of Heidelberg, wrote a panicked article in Die Welt on Sept. 16, warning that Italy is going to destroy the EU Stability Pact unless the European Commission moves quickly to prevent it.
Heinemann wrote his PhD dissertation on the EU financial rules after the 1992 Maastricht Treaty which established the conditions for country membership in the single currency euro area. He remains among the “who’s who” of pro-EU think tanks and institution members.
The Italian government is cheating, claims Heinemann, in a typical racist undertone. When it appears to become “moderate” and says it will comply with the Maastricht 3% deficit rule, but in reality it is changing the subject. For indebted countries, the EU Stability Pact prescribes that they reduce the “structural deficit” to zero, by cutting it by 0.5% every year until the goal is reached. Therefore, “a higher deficit with a bare target of the 3% limit is in no way complying with the rules.”
Heinemann goes on that “the watchdog for the Stability and Growth Pact is the European Commission, which must be called to issue urgent clarifications. [EU Commission President] Jean-Claude Juncker and Monetary Commissioner Pierre Moscovici must make unmistakably clear that Italy would violate the Pact if it does not continue reducing the deficit.”
Unfortunately, he continues, Brussels is afraid of a large populist victory in the May 2019 European Parliament elections and is reluctant to give ammunition to the Lega and the Five Stars propaganda.
But “the future of the Stability Pact is at stake,” he howls. “If the Commission is soft, the credibility of the reformed Pact is irreparably damaged and the calculation that in that way the populists can be contained is not convincing. If the Commission gives up, it shows that governments with confrontation strategies in Europe can impose their will.”
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Will China Become as Important in Space as NASA?
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)—This serious question was put to veteran space writer Brian Harvey by Techrader, and published Sept. 12. Harvey is the author of the authoritative book, China in Space: The Great Leap Forward.
Taking as an example the upcoming Chang’e-4 mission to the far side of the Moon, Harvey says, “It’s a daring plan. If it succeeds, and I would put the chance at 50-50, then China will have done something spectacularly different to the other space powers.” Harvey thinks that “the first Chinese manned lunar expedition might not stay for very long,” but that the Chinese will quickly move to building a settlement on the Moon, which no other country has done.
Asked if the Chinese space program is essentially military, as the media depict, Harvey stated: “I see no evidence of that. Most national space programs have a military element, but that’s by far the largest in the U.S., and generally small in Russia and China.” He estimates that military space comprises 15-20% of China’s space program, totalling about $4.9 billion, compared to $35.9 billion in the U.S., which is nearly double NASA’s civilian budget.
As far as a challenge to the U.S. and Russia, Harvey says that China’s space program “proceeds at a fairly slow pace, but don’t be deceived by that. Ultimately, it’s going to catch up with a lot of other countries.”