EIR Daily Alert Service, Wednesday, FEBRUARY 13, 2019


Volume 6, Number 31

EIR Daily Alert Service

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

  • LaRouche’s Method, Discoveries and Courage Are the Future
  • Regional Cooperation To Foster Successful U.S.-North Korea Summit
  • Piraeus-Venice Agreement on Maritime Silk Road Cooperation
  • Lavrov Declares NATO’s ‘Unprecedented’ Military Buildup on Russia’s Borders Continues
  • Munich Security Report, ‘The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?’ Form New Rival Blocs?
  • The Final Assault on ISIS in Syria Parallels Russian Diplomacy Ahead of Russia-Iran-Turkey Summit
  • Russia Reports Progress in Syria Reconstruction, With 221,883 Refugees Returned Home
  • Trump Team and Democrats Agree ‘In Principle’ in Deal To Avert Government Shutdown
  • Poll Finds Americans Responded to President Trump State of Union
  • Republicans Preparing Criminal Referrals for FBI
  • Democratic Pot-Head Presidential Candidates
  • Cracked Beam on 1930’s Bridge Closes Stretch of Chicago Lake Shore Drive


LaRouche’s Method, Discoveries and Courage Are the Future

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—We are saddened to report that Lyndon LaRouche passed away today at the age of 96. Those who loved him are grieving him. It is a profound loss. It is neither possible nor fitting in these first moments of sadness to try to hastily summarize the profound contribution that Lyndon LaRouche has made to mankind. But, for purposes of today’s assessments, we can honor him by taking up one imperative he repeatedly put forward: judge ideas and actions on how they contribute to the future progress of humanity. From that perspective, we are in a critical moment of battle.

To begin on the negative side, there continue to be wildly stupid geopolitical maneuvers in Europe, where governments are thrashing about for lack of pursuing LaRouche’s paradigm of progress. For example, recently, a new report was released, “The Great Puzzle, Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?” by the Munich Security Conference, which meets later this week. The report refers to disarray in the “liberal international order,” but has prompted suggestions such as, that principal European NATO member states would do well to distance themselves from the U.S. and NATO, and instead, club together with France, to get in on President Macron’s new military bloc.

Meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has visited Hungary and Slovakia this week, exhorting Central Europeans to distance themselves from China and Russia, and instead, club together with the U.S. bloc. All of this kind of playing off one against another is dead-end scheming, and very dangerous. It is orchestrated right out of the British imperial playbook. There will likely be more of the same tomorrow in Poland, when British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is coming to join Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, to meet on security plans for the Middle East.

The opposite, positive impetus is seen in the repeated call by President Donald Trump, for the U.S. to dis-engage from “forever wars.” This is a pre-condition for a future to benefit all. For example, regional planning is going ahead strongly for the Feb. 27-28 Hanoi summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Today, Vietnamese officials are in Pyongyang making arrangements, not only for the summit, but for a possible state visit by Kim to Vietnam, which would be the first of its kind since that of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, 50 years ago. Chinese and Russian envoys met today, on how to help the Trump-Kim meeting succeed to the maximum.

In just two months will occur the world overview conference on this win-win dynamic, the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China. President Xi Jinping refers to the process as building a “community with a shared future for all mankind.”

The life’s work of Lyndon LaRouche laid the groundwork for this, and far beyond. As he loved to remind us: the future determines the present.


Regional Cooperation To Foster Successful U.S.-North Korea Summit

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—Chinese and Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Kong Xuanyou and Igor Morgulov met yesterday to coordinate efforts to enhance security on the Korean Peninsula. The press release issued after their meeting made clear the two nations are doing what they can to ensure the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is successful.

“The two sides agreed that there is a continued momentum of dialogue and de-escalation on the Peninsula, and made positive comments on the D.P.R.K. and the U.S. efforts to resolve the issue through dialogue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reported at today’s briefing. “We hope the D.P.R.K. and the U.S. can move in the same direction, respond to each other’s concerns, and push for the success of the second summit where positive outcomes can be achieved.” She also stated that China and Russia also support the improvement of the relations between South and North Korea.

Evidence of the greater regional cooperation developing around the U.S.-North Korean summit process, is the two-day visit of Vietnam’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh to North Korea, which started today. Arrangements for the second U.S.-North Korea summit to take place in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28 are obviously on the agenda. Asia News International reports that there is also speculation that North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un may pay a state visit to Vietnam either before or after his meeting with President Trump. That would be the first state visit to Vietnam by a North Korean leader in over 50 years, the last one being the visit to Hanoi of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, in October 1964.

Piraeus-Venice Agreement on Maritime Silk Road Cooperation

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—Hellenic Shipping reports that Capt. Fu Chengqiu, CEO of the Port Authority of Piraeus, and Pino Musolino, President of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority based in Venice, signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening relations and cargo flows between the two ports, during a meeting at the Piraeus headquarters.

The MOU envisages stable and mutual cooperation, development of their ports, supporting infrastructural connectivity policies, and port services aimed at fostering the commercial flows between Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Far East via the two ports.

Capt. Fu Chengqiu stated: “The port of Piraeus, the largest port of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, is an ideal hub between Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. It is the first deep sea EU port after crossing the Suez Canal, and offers combined transport solutions with efficient value-added services for cargoes, which can be re-distributed by road, rail and sea. The establishment of our cooperation with the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority is targeted to strengthen the trade links between Asia and Mediterranean, and to enhance the role of ports as engines for the European economy.”

Pino Musolino declared: “In an upcoming scenario which foresees a powerful increase of trading between Asia and Europe along the new Maritime Silk Road, it is necessary to put all our efforts on the rationalization of the logistics chains, starting from the ports, and from the road connections, with the inner markets, in order to shorten distances; to lower transport costs; to remove trucks from roads, and improve the environmental sustainability of trading.”


Lavrov Declares NATO’s ‘Unprecedented’ Military Buildup on Russia’s Borders Continues

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—In remarks today during a joint press conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that NATO is continuing with its military buildup on Russia’s borders. “The facts are clear: NATO continues its unprecedented military build-up near Russia’s borders, boosting military infrastructure and increasing the number of troops. The number of exercises in the Baltic and Black Seas, as well as of air force drills, has multiplied.”

Lavrov also reported that the NATO alliance is reluctant to discuss turning on military aircraft transponders, even though Russia has raised this issue many times in NATO-Russia Council meetings. “They prefer to debate over their view of developments in Ukraine that come as a result of a coup they had supported,” Lavrov pointed out. Nor has NATO responded to Russian suggestions for an expert dialogue on cybersecurity, he said.

Munich Security Report, ‘The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?’ Form New Rival Blocs?

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—The Munich Security Conference, whose 55th annual session starts this Friday, has recently posted an advance copy of its Munich Security Report 2019, titled, “The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?” The conference website’s opening description of today’s strategic situation, addressed by the report, states that, “the entire liberal international order appears to be falling apart.” But what is to happen? “Only rough outlines of a new geopolitical are visible….”

The report addresses this not only by “looking at major powers such as the United States, China, and Russia, but also highlights actors of the ‘second row’: liberal democracies such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan.” This, in turn, appears to have sparked various wild-eyed geopolitical ideas about how this latter echelon of nations should regroup away from the United States, and into a new rival bloc; for example, with France, because it has an expeditionary military capacity, which many “second row” nations do not possess.

The website offers links to eight media, from Reuters to Deutsche Welle and Defense News, to promote this kind of discussion.

The Final Assault on ISIS in Syria Parallels Russian Diplomacy Ahead of Russia-Iran-Turkey Summit

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—The Syrian Democratic Forces are engaged in what they describe as the final campaign on ISIS in Syria. The assault began on Feb. 9, when the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moved on the town of Barghouz, on the Euphrates River near the border with Iraq, backed by U.S. airstrikes and French artillery firing from across the border in Iraq. The following day, the SDF claimed to have taken 44 ISIS fighting positions, but news reports on Feb. 11 indicated that ISIS had counterattacked, inflicting heavy casualties on the SDF. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 16 civilians killed in U.S. air strikes—the government in Damascus put the figure at over 70 killed and wounded—and combat deaths at 12 for the SDF and 19 for ISIS.

The move on Barghouz comes ahead of the trilateral Russia-Turkey-Iran summit set for Sochi, Russia on Feb. 14. Russian diplomacy in preparation for the conference continues to be intense, with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meeting with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Ankara yesterday, while Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet separately with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in addition to the trilateral meeting. The three countries have been the “Astana process” guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria since 2017. The Iran-Israel conflict in Syria is not on the agenda for the Feb. 14 meeting, but looms large over any Syria settlement; thus Putin is also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Feb. 21.

The first item on the agenda for the Sochi summit is what happens in northern Syria after the U.S. troops’ withdrawal. Part of Moscow’s objective is the restoration of Syrian sovereignty over the country east of the Euphrates, including bringing the Syrian army back to the Turkish border—an objective which, so far, Ankara objects to. According to a Feb. 12 report in Al Monitor, Russia may be amenable to an alternative arrangement, provided that—like the de-escalation zones in western Syria—it is temporary.

The more difficult problem that the summit will have to deal with, however, might be Idlib province, where Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS)—essentially al-Qaeda in Syria—is mostly in control, contrary to the September 2018 agreement between Putin and Turkish President Erdogan, which averted a Syrian army assault on the province. Reuters reported yesterday that in a joint statement, Shoigu and Akar spoke of “the need in particular to take decisive measures to ensure security in the Idlib demilitarized zone.” It said that, “Despite provocations, we underlined the importance and need to continue partnerships between our two countries’ intelligence and military forces to establish peace, and to support stability in Idlib.”

Russia Reports Progress in Syria Reconstruction, with 221,883 Refugees Returned Home

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—In a Feb. 11 statement, Sergei Solomatin, the chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria, reported a great deal of progress in the reconstruction of war-torn areas of Syria, assisted by Russia. “We continue to provide assistance in restoring the infrastructure, and creating conditions for refugees’ return. As of Feb. 10, 2019, 31,200 residential buildings, 810 educational and 137 medical facilities have been restored, and 999.8 km of roads have been repaired,” he said, reported TASS. Solomatin also said that Russia continued to render assistance in ensuring the work of 10 checkpoints for refugees, and that 221,883 people had returned to their homes as of Feb. 10.


Trump Team and Democrats Agree ‘In Principle’ in Deal To Avert Government Shutdown

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—Last evening came the announcement that a deal had been reached “in principle” by the bipartisan group of four Congressional negotiators, to avert a government shutdown over disagreements on border security. The same evening, President Donald Trump held a big rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas, on “security.” The four negotiators were Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Kay Granger (R-TX). Trump himself had been very involved in conferring in person with principals during the past few days. On Feb. 7, he met with Shelby at the White House. Over the weekend, Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney met with a bipartisan Congressional group at Camp David.

The main details of the deal which have been released so far, are that there would be $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new border barriers, and funding for 40,520 ICE detention beds, and an increase in funding of $1.7 billion for border-related work by the Homeland Security Department.

Trump’s event last night had received 69,000 requests for tickets, out of which 35,000 were accommodated: 10,000 were inside, and another 25,000 outside, watching big screens. Trump also played up border security by hosting a White House event before leaving for Texas, attended by many sheriffs.

The four Congressional leaders stress the point that they achieved bipartisan compromise.  Democratic Representative Lowey tweeted about their results, “This is a compromise. No one got everything they wanted, but it does secure the border.” This has roiled CNN, MSNBC, and the other anti-Trump media, which are jumping up and down, that Trump won’t sign it.

Poll Finds Americans Responded to President Trump State of Union

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump’s approval rating among “likely voters” hit 52%, Rasmussen found in its poll taken in the three days after his Feb. 5 State of the Union address. This was his highest approval rate in 23 months.

Drudge reported appropriately in a bold lead headline: “Trump 52% Jolts Washington,” which was promptly retweeted by President Trump. That support, as Trump said in his El Paso rally, comes with zeropositive coverage from the major media.

Other polls have lower numbers, but, as Trump also observed, Rasmussen was closer than all other polls on the 2016 election.

Republicans Preparing Criminal Referrals for FBI

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told Hill.TV yesterday that a joint Republican taskforce from the House Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight Committees is “combing through” the transcripts of roughly 15 interviews done by those committees in 2018 as part of their investigation of DOJ/FBI malfeasance, in order to send criminal referrals to the Department of Justice against FBI officials demonstrated to have acted out of political bias.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is also pressing on the FBI front, tweeting a call on Feb. 7 for the Senate to “investigate FBI methods and selective prosecution of Trump officials. TIME FOR HEARINGS!”

Last week, Nunes told Fox News that Congress is still waiting to hear updates from the Justice Department about any follow-up on Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) criminal referral of Christopher Steele in January 2018, based on his false statements to federal authorities about distribution of his dossier.

Democratic Pot-Head Presidential Candidates

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) pushed for federal legalization of marijuana because “it brings joy,” when asked yesterday for her stance on New York City’s “The Breakfast Show” radio broadcast. Asked if she would try marijuana again, after she told the interviewer that she had smoked pot “a long time ago,” and yes, she did inhale, Harris coyly replied: “I think that it gives a lot of people joy and we need more joy.”

Without missing a beat, this former district attorney and California Attorney General then admitted that the development of young brains might be being destroyed by smoking the marijuana she wants legalized. Harris said research is needed into “the impact of ‘weed’ on a developing brain. You know, that part of the brain that develops judgment, actually begins its growth at age 18 through age 24…. But I am absolutely in favor of legalizing marijuana. We’ve got to do it.”

Harris was a co-sponsor last year of fellow Democratic Presidential hopeful Cory Booker’s bill for federal legalization of marijuana, as were presidential wannabes Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden introduced Senate Bill 420 last week which would effectively legalize marijuana federally, by removing federal criminal penalties for individuals and businesses acting in agreement with state marijuana laws—and, nota bene, would also reduce barriers for legal marijuana businesses to get access to banking.

Every one of these pot crusaders are also supporters of the fascist “Green New Deal” fraud.

Cracked Beam on 1930s Bridge Closes Stretch of Chicago Lake Shore Drive

Feb. 12 (EIRNS)—Today’s image of what are recurring daily emblems of the crumbling of U.S. infrastructure, is the crack in a beam on an overpass span on the famed Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, which shut down traffic during rush hour on an important stretch. The problem was found yesterday; no person or property has been injured. All traffic was stopped over the span near Randolph Street, pending crews’ finishing emergency repairs, which were hoped for by today. Crews are putting up a shoring tower beneath the damaged segment. Full repairs will take weeks.

The bridge was constructed during the FDR New Deal, on the Outer Drive, which was built between 1929-1937. The bridge usually carries 60,000 vehicles a day. The Chicago Tribune cites the American Road & Transportation Builders Association based in Washington, saying, it “is one of the most heavily-traveled structurally deficient bridges in the state.” The ARTB calls the bridge “functionally obsolete,” meaning that a bridge is in need of repair or rebuilding. Small cracks/flaws were identified in 2017, but the extreme cold in January is believed to have led to the sudden expansion of the cracks.

The Chicago incident comes on the eve of the pre-scheduled Senate hearing Feb. 13, focusing on infrastructure “needs.”

Reach us at eirdailyalert@larouchepub.com or call 1-571-293-0935

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