EIR Daily Alert Service, Monday, December 31, 2018
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 Volume 5, Number 259
EIR Daily Alert Service P.O. BOX 17390, WASHINGTON, DC 20041-0390
- • Two ‘Sputniks of 2019’: What Will America Do?
- • U.S. Trying To Mobilize Its Own Hypersonic Weapons Programs
- • Is the Pentagon Planning To Sabotage Trump’s Syria Withdrawal?
- • U.S. Withdrawal Will Help Resolve ‘Idlib Knot,’ Says Former British Ambassador to Syria
- • Retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis Explains Why Trump Is Right on Syria
- • Russiagaters Caught In Flagrante Delicto!
- • Democrats Plan To Move Fast with Lightweight Infrastructure Bank
- • Another Warning of Financial Crisis, from Top China Think-Tank
- • China-Portugal Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road Cooperation
- • China’s Space Accomplishments in 2018, Include New Record in Launches
- • Germany’s CDU Economic Council Praises Post-Industrial Fanatic Jeremy Rifkin
EDITORIAL Two ‘Sputniks of 2019’: What Will America Do?
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—The new year begins with the United States facing scientific and technological surprises from two great nations at once. Russia has tested and begun to deploy hypersonic weapons, against which, numerous U.S. defense and military officials acknowledge, the United States has no defense. And China may be days away from landing its Chang’e-4 mission on the far side of the Moon, a feat no spacefaring nation has attempted before. How should the United States, and President Donald Trump, react? In one way, the situation recalls 1977, when EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche was able to confirm the warning of the U.S. Air Force Intelligence chief, Major Gen. George J. Keegan, Jr., that Russian scientists were working on relativistic-beam weapons for effective defense against nuclear ICBMs. LaRouche commissioned the dossier, “Sputnik of the Seventies: The Science behind the Soviets’ Beam Weapon,” and conducted a campaign which led to President Ronald Reagan’s “surprise” March 23, 1983 offer to the Soviet leadership—the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). When that leadership arrogantly refused collaboration, LaRouche in late 1983 forecast the end of the Soviet Union in five years. The rest is history—despite the liberal Francis Fukuyama’s foolish attempt to make it “the end of history.” But 2019’s situation is far better: Both President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China have strong respect for President Trump, despite everything frantic British geopolitical circles have hurled in the way of collaboration among these Presidents. President Putin has just sent President Trump a New Year’s message which “stressed that RussiaU.S. relations are the most important factor behind ensuring strategic stability and international security, and reaffirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with the United States on the most extensive agenda,” definitely including matters of nuclear arms. Presidents Trump and Xi have just had a long discussion of economic matters hailed by both of them as making productive progress. Xi pledged to “strive for an agreement that is mutually beneficial and beneficial to the world as soon as possible.” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang declared in a statement marking 2019 as the 40th anniversary of relations, that “After forty years of development, China-U.S. relations are standing at a new historical starting point.” Let the Trump Administration decide, then: America will collaborate with Russia and China not only “against an arms race,” but for the further development and wider proliferation of the nuclear propulsion and aerospace technologies involved in hypersonic weapons. It will collaborate with those countries and India and others as well, for humanity’s return and development of the Moon as the base of Solar System exploration, and the source of new industrial technologies, laser and plasma technologies, telescopy, and more. The potentials of the same collaboration include ending two decades of “perpetual regime-change wars” in Southwest Asia—a British geopolicy. More important than the collaboration itself, it would make possible a real peace, one which involved extending mutual benefits of technological progress to many countries including developing nations. And it would add real physical-economic value to many economies, when the City of London and Wall Street’s speculative bubbles are again nearing a crash. LaRouche now proposes the creation of a new Bretton Woods credit and monetary system by the United States, Russia, China and India; and the implementation of Glass-Steagall bank separation and anti-currency speculation measures. Its purpose is such a new paradigm of productive collaboration among nations on scientific and technological progress, to their mutual benefit. Editor’s Note: We will not be producing EIR Daily Alert on Jan. 1, 2019. Vol. 6 Issue #1 will be published on Jan. 2, 2019.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER U.S. Trying To Mobilize Its Own Hypersonic Weapons Programs
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Department of Defense is trying hard to mobilize its resources and those of the defense industry in order to catch up to Russia in the development of hypersonic weapons. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has put out a plan that includes making the Navy’s intention to “develop and field an offensive hypersonic weapon by 2025” a top priority, Military.com reported on Dec. 28. The Air Force also has put a priority on hypersonics, reflecting the increasing concerns of the Pentagon that Russia and China have taken the lead on a technology that potentially poses the threat of making existing missile defense systems obsolete, the Military.com report continues. In April, the Air Force awarded a contract to develop a prototype hypersonic cruise missile, or the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon. Richardson included hypersonic weapons development in his “Design 2.0” plan, which is intended to “guide our behaviors and investments this year and in the years to come.” He said that specifics “will be reflected in our annual budget documents.” According to Military.com, the plan “reflects the concerns” expressed in the 2018 National Defense Strategy in stating that “China and Russia are deploying all elements of their national power to achieve their global ambitions.” As for why the Pentagon has not fielded any hypersonic weapons so far, while Russia has fielded at least two, VOA reports that a Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, expressed it this way in the aftermath of Russian President Vladimir Putin presiding over a test of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle on Dec. 26: “While the United States has been the world leader in hypersonic system research for many decades, we did not choose to weaponize it.” She said further that the United States was considering “options” to answer the new weapons. But the Russian hypersonic weapons program is, in fact, a response to the “imbalance” created by the George W. Bush Administration in 2002 when it decided to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.
Is the Pentagon Planning To Sabotage Trump’s Syria Withdrawal?
Dec. 29 (EIRNS)—The potential that the permanent warfare crowd, through its assets within the Pentagon, might try to sabotage President Donald Trump’s intention that the U.S. military be withdrawn from Syria cannot be discounted. Reuters reported that planners at the Pentagon are proposing that the Kurdish YPG militia be allowed to keep the heavy weapons America has supplied it with, though Reuters’ sources stress that planning is still at an early stage and nothing has been decided. If true, such a step would throw a monkey wrench in the arrangements that Trump is trying to make with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on U.S. withdrawal. It would also represent a backdown from U.S. promises made earlier to the Turks to retrieve the weapons. The idea that the U.S. could retrieve those weapons that it no longer controls is a dubious one, anyway, and there are legitimate questions about whether or not Turkish troops could really operate against the last ISIS holdouts in the Middle Euphrates valley near the Iraqi border, hundreds of kilometers from the Turkish border. But the key to the alleged Pentagon proposal is this: The recommendation “is a rejection of Trump’s policy to withdraw from Syria,” a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters. So, in effect, it is an attempt at sabotage.
U.S. Withdrawal Will Help Resolve ‘Idlib Knot,’ Says Former British Ambassador to Syria
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria, told Sputnik in an interview that he thinks, once the U.S. withdrawal is complete, the situation in Idlib will resolve itself within a year. “I think with this latest American move the situation in 80% of Syria will soon be resolved. The final knot, Idlib, will be difficult but with cooperation of the main parties, Turkey, Russia and Iran, I believe it’ll be resolved within a year,” Ford said. Ford said that, with the arrival of government troops, the situation in Manbij is also well on its way to resolution, where “we will see effectively a return to the status quo, the situation as it obtained in that part of Syria before 2011 when things were quiet, Turkey was happy, relations between Turkey and Syria were excellent. For several years the Syrian government had kept tight control over the Kurds…. We are heading for a return I think to that situation and it looks as though [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is adjusting to that probability,” Ford said. Ford also said that the Kurdish YPG militia should have realized much earlier the gravity of the situation, which they had been ignoring because of the U.S. military presence in the region, and now their best option was to try and negotiate with Damascus. “They have been dreaming the U.S. would stay in northern and eastern Syria indefinitely. They should have been much more realistic from the beginning. Now the most they can do is try to salvage some small bit of negotiating maneuver with Damascus, but they are in extremely weak negotiating position,” he said. He continued that the next big issues for Syria are rebuilding the country, devastated by war, and preventing the re-emergence of terrorism. “Those are immense challenges, and I greatly fear that the Western countries will not help. Worse than that: They will try to block Syria’s recovery.”
Retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis Explains Why Trump Is Right on Syria
Dec. 28 (EIRNS)—In an opinion piece in The Hill Dec. 28, retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, now with the Defense Priorities organization argued that President Trump is absolutely right to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Davis, who completed four combat deployments in the Southwest Asia, wrote that the hysterical responses from the “Washington swamp” to the President’s decision and to his Christmas Day visit to Iraq, “are unsurprisingly, laced with fear”; but, “what they should be concerned about … is a fear that without changes in American strategy, we’ll remain mired in Middle Eastern chaos indefinitely.” Colonel Davis offered details on the evolution of events in the Southwest Asia theater, and the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), which, he argued, had nothing to do with the failure of U.S. troops to remain, but rather with the actions of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s destruction of his Sunni opposition. Withdrawal of U.S. troops now “won’t allow ISIS to rise again there either,” he admonished, given the continued presence of Russia in the area, and NATO ally Turkey’s strategic role, among other factors. The U.S. can “maintain our interests in the region far more effectively and efficiently by employing diplomatic and economic measures and not trying to rely on military power,” Davis argued. Historically, he continued, basing efforts on deploying active combat forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa “have failed strategically, because we refuse to recognize that we can’t solve political problems with military power.” The best Christmas gift Trump could give the American people “and our selfless service members, then, is a promise to withdraw our combat troops from the Middle East so we can better defend our country.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Russiagaters Caught In Flagrante Delicto!
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—On Dec. 17, 2018, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by the ever reliable Russiagate pawns, Senator Mark Warner and Senator Richard Burr, released what Warner described as “bombshell reports” on Russian social media efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. The reports were by the Oxford Computational Propaganda Research Project of Oxford University and New Knowledge, a U.S. company featuring two recent vintage “disinformation experts,” to wit: experts who became such during their service in the Obama Administration. The Senate reports were designed to reignite Russia! Russia! Russia! hysteria about the amateurish and small bore social media escapades of the Internet Research Agency. The St. Petersburg company has been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and has been painted as a major villain in the fictional novel Robert Mueller is writing concerning Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. But this propaganda parade was rudely interrupted on Dec. 19, when someone from New Knowledge leaked internal company documents to the New York Times showing that the firm engaged in an elaborate “false flag” operation to undermine Roy Moore’s 2017 campaign for U.S. Senate in Alabama. According to the definitive account of this actual election meddling, written by Dan Cohen at the Grayzone Project, among the tactics MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 used was manufacturing “a link between Roy Moore’s campaign and the Kremlin by claiming thousands of Roy Moore’s Twitter followers were Russian bots.” The Internal Report cited by the Times contained the admission, “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.” The other tactic employed by the firm in the Alabama U.S. Senate race was running a Facebook page boosting an obscure write-in candidate, Mac Watson, to draw votes away from Moore. Their social media tactic was to inflame the sexual assault allegations directed at Moore to “enrage and energize Democrats” and “depress turnout” among Republicans. Local media were deployed extensively to cover the alleged Russia/Roy Moore linkage and national coverage was provided by the Russiagate conspirators at Mother Jones magazine. According to Cohen’s account, the Alabama disinformation campaign, received $100,000 from Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. The money was “pipelined” through Mickey Dickerson’s American Engagement Technologies. Dickerson was a founder of the United States Digital Service, a signature Barack Obama initiative. The entire episode is now under investigation by the Alabama Attorney General. One of the New Knowledge “experts” is Jonathan Morgan, once a special advisor to the Obama White House and State Department and a contractor for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Post-election he was a favored media source for the Obama/Clinton trope that Hillary Clinton’s loss was the product of Russian disinformation. As cited by Cohen, Morgan told television viewers in Austin, Texas, that “feelings of discontent were telltale signs that they had been duped by Russian disinformation…. If it makes you feel too angry or really provokes that type of almost tribal response, then it may be designed to manipulate you…. People should be concerned about things that encourage them to change their behavior.” MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 His partner in the actual disinformation operations conducted by New Knowledge is Ryan Fox who spent 15 years at the NSA and was also a computer analyst for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Since receiving $11 million in funding from Silicon Valley’s GGV capital, New Knowledge is positioning itself as a major player in Anglo-American propaganda psyops. Morgan helped develop the Hamilton 68 dashboard, a completely phony tool for spotting Russian propaganda, which is funded by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy. The Alliance, staffed by the most reliable Washington neo-con and neo-liberal lackeys of the British Empire, has played a key role in propagating the Russiagate hysteria. Now that they have this egg all over their faces, it is useful to return to the idiotic claims by Senator Warner and Senator Burr about the nefarious Internet Research Agency. Aaron Maté, Max Blumenthal and others have studied these claims and others made by Mueller and his fawning Senatorial clowns. They demonstrate that the budget for this alleged interference was only thousands of dollars a month and most of the alleged troll farm’s posts were not even about the election. A solid 56% of the Internet Research Agency’s posts occurred after the election and 25% of them were seen by no one. Compare this to the billions spent by candidates Clinton and Trump. As we have emphasized, this amateurish Russian operation did not influence the election one whit, but it did set off enormous Anglo-American counteroperations aimed at censoring all political views in the United States and in Britain itself.
Democrats Plan To Move Fast with Lightweight Infrastructure Bank
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—President Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway said in a CNN interview this morning, “The President has listened to Democrats talking about infrastructure bills. We hope that’s true and we will see them quickly.” Congressional Democrats are indeed likely to present infrastructure bank legislative language for discussion at an early point, but they will be a disappointment with regard to the real needs of the physical economy of the United States. MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 Recent discussions, and op-ed columns by New York businessman/Democratic consultant Leo Hindery, Jr. and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, indicate that Democrats hope to move infrastructure bank legislation in the House, substantially rejecting “publicprivate partnership” schemes, within the first quarter of the year. The level of capitalization of an infrastructure bank cited in Hindery’s piece in Washington Monthly Dec. 26, was $1-1.5 trillion. The years-long exclusivity of Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) bill has been broken up with at least three other infrastructure bank or infrastructure credit bills being put forward. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office has indicated a reform of its past bank-killing method of “scoring” the costs of infrastructure-project lending. The problem with the Democratic plans is not so much how infrastructure credit will be funded, but what they will fund. An example suffices: the manifest need of the Texas Gulf Coast cities and industries for sea walls as well as dredging and other land-side stormprotection improvements, would not be addressed. They would be left to Army Corps of Engineers spending bills—as similar project plans have been, without avail, for the last 50 years. Since state and local, and in many cases “green infrastructure” would be given priority, still less would the scope include actually transformative new infrastructure, on a national or North American continental scale, taking years of development and construction. The route to changing this, lies through international agreements on third-party infrastructure projects, the purpose of an American “New Bretton Woods” agreement initiated with Russia, China, and India as proposed by Lyndon LaRouche.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Another Warning of Financial Crisis, from Top China Think-Tank
Dec. 28 (EIRNS)—The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) released an analysis of the Chinese economy Dec. 26, which warned that it may face “economic shock waves” from international events in 2019. CASS said that the Chinese government would face these shocks with very large assets, totalling $17.41 trillion (as of end of 2016). These consisted in financial assets, including state enterprises; national and international infrastructure projects; and foreign reserves. The South China Morning Post described the CASS report as “providing key statistical support to the solutions released at last week’s Central Economic Work Conference.” Those solutions focussed on China “strengthening the domestic economy in 2019” in order to deal with financial crisis shocks or further barriers against its trade. The CASS report also found that China’s high corporate debt/GDP ratio (about 155%, compared to 105% in United States, and the highest among major economies) is manageable, because a great deal of it is actually state debt (issued by government vehicles for the support of companies), and that debt is held overwhelmingly by Chinese citizens and institutions. CASS said this is a “similar strength to Japan.” The latter’s total debt burden is considerably higher, but that debt is held almost entirely by Japanese citizens and residents.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
China-Portugal Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road Cooperation
Dec. 29 (EIRNS)—At the conclusion of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Dec. 4-5 state visit to Portugal, the two countries issued a “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative,” the text of which has only now become available. In it, the two countries MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 announced they are “welcoming and supporting China’s initiative to promote the … Belt and Road Initiative,” and that they will “strengthen practical cooperation in related fields, including under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.” The document includes the requisite nods in the direction of the European Union and its EU-China Connectivity Platform, but Portugal is clearly moving forward on its own at the same time. Among the areas in which “the two sides will work together within the Belt and Road Initiative” are “promoting growth of the Blue Economy”—a reference to scientific and infrastructure work related to the Maritime Silk Road and ocean science—and specifically “on maritime infrastructure connectivity, taking into account the important role of the Port of Sines and other ports may fulfill in the implementation of the BRI, given their privileged geographic position.” The joint communiqué also specifies joint work in land infrastructure, “including the accomplishment of strategic rail connections with the Trans-European Networks.” These last two projects—the Port of Sines and a rail link through Spain to the rest of the World Land-Bridge—have been singled out by the Schiller Institute in its latest special report as crucial for Portugal’s full integration into the BRI. They are also viewed as decisive by advocates of the BRI within Portugal’s institutions.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
China’s Space Accomplishments in 2018, Include New Record in Launches
Dec. 29 (EIRNS)—Andrew Jones, writing yesterday in GBTimes: Bringing China Close media outlet, has an excellent summary of China’s accomplishments in space in 2018. They include: • China had a record number of 38 launches, the latest today, “smashing” its 2016 record of 22 launches in one year. These included civilian, commercial, and military payloads. The payload mass was half that of the U.S., as there were a number of smaller satellites. MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 • By far, the most exciting launches were the two for the lunar far side mission—the relay satellite launch, and then the spacecraft holding the lander and rover. The Moon landing is expected during the first few days of the new year. • China’s first commercial launches took place, with two companies succeeding in suborbital launches. A “second wave” of commercial companies was also created. • In addition to launches, China opened up the manufacture of small satellites to the private sector. • A new round of astronaut selection to select 18 new astronauts for the upcoming space station is underway, as is field training for China’s current 15 astronauts. • There was increased international cooperation in space during 2018, including foreign cooperation on the Chang’e-4 spacecraft. A joint program with the UN was created, to have new emerging space nations contribute experiments on the upcoming space station. China National Space Agency Director Zhang Kejian announced in September that the Change’-6 lunar sample return mission will offer 10 kg of payload to international partners for small experiments.
Germany’s CDU Economic Council Praises Post-Industrial Fanatic Jeremy Rifkin
Dec. 28 (EIRNS)—At a very exclusive event Nov. 18 in Bankhaus Löbbecke (a branch of M.M. Warburg & Co.) in Berlin, the CDU Wirtschaftsrat (Economic Council) announced a joint Europe Strategy together with Ludwig Erhard Stiftung. At this event, Economic Council General Secretary Wolfgang Steiger gave a speech in which he praised the model of Jeremy Rifkin, the American environmentalist and advocate of the post-industrial society, saying that if Europe does everything right, it can come out stronger than America. His polemic was then repeated in the MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018 Economic Council magazine, Trend. The concept also goes hand in hand with the commitment of EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miquel Arias Cañete for a complete decarbonization of Europe’s economies by 2050. Rifkin has been more active recently, including making announcements in the United States that the EU is going to implement his model, already in process in Luxembourg. The Duke of Luxembourg harbors a section of the London School of Economy, which also includes the Jeremy Grantham Foundation, financing both Rifkin and former climate change advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sir Hans Joachim “John” Schellnhuber, CBE. The very fact that the Economic Council is picking up on this, shows that they are moving to manipulate the Mittelstand, whose interest they are supposed to represent, praising the wonders of artificial intelligence (AI) as the next industrial revolution. Rifkin is the most radical ecologist. But contrary to the boring weasel Schellnhuber, he is also a demagogue. He is openly for the deconstruction of industry, replacing it by a radical zerogrowth post-industrial economy, which, according to his preaching, is not only possible through AI, but will also be a new industrial revolution is going to save the planet. Rifkin asserts the period ahead, involving the complete remodeling of the economy from centralized to decentralized structures, will create a boom in jobs. The scandal is that institutions of industry are adopting such criminal garbage, and even selling it as a new kind of Wirtschaftswunder, or economic miracle, in the context of the social market economy.