EIR Daily Alert Service, MONDAY, JULY 22, 2019

MONDAY, JULY 22, 2019
Volume 6, Number 143
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
  • As Apollo Rises Again, Time for Crash Programs To ‘Pick Up Where We Left Off’
  • Former NASA Administrator O’Keefe on the Importance of a Crash Space Exploration Program
  • White House Colloquy With Apollo 11 Crew, NASA Administrator
  • Pentagon Intelligence Chief; Nobody Wants War, Including Iran
  • Rand Paul Reportedly Met With Iran’s Foreign Minister in New York
  • Britain Confronts Truth With Censorship
  • Fighting Poverty Is Contagious, as the Bolivia Case Shows
  • Astronaut Science Minister Mobilizes for Spain’s Role in Future Moon Plans
  • Puerto Rico Explodes in Protest
  • Zelensky’s Party Appears Winning Majority; Ceasefire Starts


As Apollo Rises Again, Time for Crash Programs To ‘Pick Up Where We Left Off’

July 21 (EIRNS)—Many tens of thousands of Americans have braved the summer’s heat to crowd Washington’s National Mall and events across the country, celebrating human beings’ first rise out of Earth’s gravity and steps into space 50 years ago. Those still alive who did this and/or know how it was done, agree that there must be cooperative “crash programs” among the spacefaring nations now, including using the Moon to step into the Solar System and take on the new powers of extraterrestrial mankind.

A recent Harris poll has been reported of children in grades 5-10 in China, America and the U.K., including the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with five career areas suggested and the possibility to “want” more than one career. In China, 56% of the children wanted to be astronauts, 47% to be teachers, and 43% to be musicians. Least desired, was to be a video blogger/YouTube personality. In the U.K. and United States, the choices were reversed: video blogger/YouTube figure was desired most “when I grow up,” and astronaut, least.

Astronaut Edwin Aldrin, who stepped on the Moon after Neil Armstrong 50 years ago, was asked about the poll during a Fox News interview July 19. Aldrin said “I think it’s a tribute to the imagination of the people in China, wanting to do that. And if we’ve lost that, that’s why this ‘5 decades of Apollo’ is trying to inspire, [with] what this nation did 50 years ago, and we’ll get caught up again in being able to do things of that inspirational nature.” The previous night at a Washington event, Aldrin had said that America, Russia, China, India, Japan and the European Space Agency should form a “united space alliance” to return to the Moon; use “power—say, nuclear power?” to exploit the resources there; and send human beings to Mars.

Aldrin was right, and so was the former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe who wrote in The Hill July 20 that the Apollo Project crash program was “A Seismic Scientific Event that Multiplied the Pace of Technology.” O’Keefe, like Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins at a “50 Years” event the night before, stressed that Apollo was contested and not wildly popular with Americans until astronauts actually started to rise from Earth and head to the Moon; then the souls of hundreds of millions looked up. Until then, it was the mission—of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson—that drove the crash program that revolutionized technologies. That was a matter of leadership.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia was also right, to propose on July 9 an international crash program for fusion energy—among many other things, the propulsion that will take human beings through the Solar System at high speed. Putin called it the antidote to the false despair of “climate emergency” and its results of human poverty and death.

During the long decades when American leaders effectively abandoned NASA, Lyndon LaRouche kept alive the flame of the extraterrestrial mission of mankind, and endured the abuse and ridicule of media and “pundits” for it. His national television presentation “The Woman on Mars” of 1988 is still the most inspired and completely true call for the scientific crash program needed now. “We must pick up where we left off with the old Apollo program,” LaRouche said then. The crash program would be “creaky at first,” but then would revolutionize industries and productive powers. All through those decades LaRouche was right, and is now.


Former NASA Administrator O’Keefe on the Importance of a Crash Space Exploration Program

July 20 (EIRNS)—Under the title “Apollo 11: A Seismic Scientific Event That Multiplied Pace of Technology,” in The Hill today, former NASA Administrator (2001-2005) Sean O’Keefe addressed the crucial importance of the crash-program approach to the Apollo Moon project in the 1960s, not only in getting to the Moon much earlier than would otherwise have been possible, but also in accelerating the pace of technological development for the world as a whole.

O’Keefe states that the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing “happened ahead of schedule—not the schedule President Kennedy laid out—but the pace of technology development schedule. The natural course of events and continuous improvements may have yielded the capacity to accomplish the lunar mission perhaps a decade or two later—maybe.”

He observes that “the entire computing capacity in the vaunted Houston Mission Control room, for example, was roughly the equivalent of what we have in an iPhone today. For the mission control tasks andeverything else it would take to launch Apollo, NASA did it with precision tools that are today’s technology equivalent of sledge hammers. The explorers and adventurers of 50 years ago accomplished this goal by brute force and determination. The result of their effort was to dramatically multiply the pace of technology development since then. The capacity and urgency emerged to design lighter materials, electronic components to respond faster, and chemical propulsion to generate power at levels unimaginable…. The impact to all of us as citizens is huge—accessible commercial aviation to go anywhere, nearly anytime, information and communications systems small enough to put into your pocket and contact anyone anywhere on the globe in moments, and medical breakthroughs like heart pumps and valves that have drastically reduced the incidents of heart attacks since the 1960s. This is just a random compendium of incredible applications that all have their origins in this national quest to access space and go to the Moon.

“Might these developments have happened without the catalyst? Possibly, but certainly not at the accelerated pace that has been achieved. Perhaps most important, it’s uncertain whether the United States would be the technology leader it is today without this national policy objective.”

O’Keefe writes that the initial impulse for Kennedy’s 1961 call for getting to the Moon and back “within this decade” was the response, and fear, from the U.S.S.R. getting to space and putting a man in space first. But by the time of the Rice University speech in September 1962, “he defined the reasons to go to the Moon that transcended the fear motive. Instead the emphasis of the speech was the desire to yield to the human quest for knowledge, describe the remarkable capabilities we would develop and the stunning possibilities we might come to understand to our great benefit…. He never mentioned the Soviets. There was no utterances of fear-mongering. It was all about doing extraordinary things to accomplish aspirations larger than ourselves. The U.S. policy was recrafted to be an economic development initiative to provide capacity and technology prowess.”

O’Keefe writes that “The mythical notion that space exploration and going to Moon were wildly popular in the United States of the 1960s is a latter day version of ‘fake news.’ ” He states that the War in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the War on Poverty were all used in the argument that the space program was too expensive, and some still argue that today. But, he concludes: “If we don’t pursue aspirations that stretch our capacity to overcome limitations, obstacles and opposition to seek new opportunities and destinations for humans to explore, we lose. To do so denies our human desire to learn.”

White House Colloquy with Apollo 11 Crew, NASA Administrator

July 19 (EIRNS)—This afternoon, President Donald Trump conducted a live broadcast colloquy on the future of the space program with Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and Neil Armstrong’s son Rick. This was an open-ended, unrehearsed discussion, broadcast on live television and posted to the Internet, unlike anything seen from the White House.

Trump sat at his desk in the Oval Office surrounded by the chief participants, as well as the First Lady and other members of Armstrong and Aldrin’s families.

After some remarks stressing the importance of tomorrow’s Moon landing anniversary and the revival of the space program, Trump remarked that the mission to Mars would go via the Moon, and asked Bridenstine whether there were any way around that. Bridenstine said we had to go to the Moon first, both to test systems and because the “Gateway” orbiting the Moon provided a low-gravity resistance platform to launch from. Aldrin agreed, but Collins answered, “Mars direct.” Trump said that sounded easier, but Bridenstine elaborated on the advantages of the Gateway.

Trump then asked the Chairman of the Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence, what he thought of the job Bridenstine and NASA were doing. Pence said it was tremendous, particularly that, as a result of Trump’s initiative, the U.S. would be sending astronauts into space on U.S. rockets from U.S. soil again. There followed a discussion of the commercial use of the International Space Station and of NASA facilities. Collins said it was great to bring in money from those sources to finance the program.

Trump asked him how things differed now from the way things were done 50 years ago, and Collins answered that retrieving and re-using propulsion systems as SpaceX is now doing is a tremendous advance. Saturn just wasted five good rockets on every launch, he explained.

Aldrin answered that he has not been happy about the program for the last 10-15 years, and said maybe it was the war in Southwest Asia that drained the budget. He was concerned that 50 years ago we had a system that worked, consisting of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the command module, and the lunar module, that the team could handle and could do the job. Now, he’s concerned that there is no maneuverable Moon orbiting component.

Bridenstine answered that he knew that, and that it was something that had to be worked on. He said the Orion capsule would help in that. Trump then told Bridenstine, “But you have to listen to the other side. Some people want to go another way, and you have to hear them out.”  Bridenstine agreed.


Pentagon Intelligence Chief: Nobody Wants War, Including Iran

July 20 (EIRNS)—Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Aspen Security Forum yesterday that Iran does not want to start a war with the U.S. or anyone else in the Persian Gulf. Ashley wouldn’t comment on the Iranian seizure of a British tanker in response to a question about it from CNN’s Jim Sciutto, but he later said that none of the United States’ major adversaries or competitors, including Iran, China and Russia, want to start a war. “The outcome would be very horrific for all,” he said.

“I see Iran at an inflection point,” Ashley said. The question for policymakers, he said, is how to get Iran to change the status quo. “Now you heard the economic breakdown, in terms of the pressure that’s on the regime, where the GDP is going, the fact that they are going into recession, and the glide path that they are on is more of the same,” Ashley said.

Afterwards, according to a report by Defense One, Ashley, asked if the Iranian tanker seizure was likely in retaliation for the detention of the Grace 1 tanker by British authorities in Gibraltar, he said that Iran typically looks for “things that are proportional in nature” to respond to actions from other nations that it considers a threat.

Broadly, Iran is seeking to “break the status quo” of the Trump Administration’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign of stifling sanctions, Ashley told reporters after the session. “They’re not looking to do something that is going to spiral out of control because war is not what they’re looking for,” he said. “But at the same time, their decision calculus is they’ve got to do something in response.”

Rand Paul Reportedly Met with Iran’s Foreign Minister in New York

July 20 (EIRNS)—Before he left the White House, yesterday, President Donald Trump reversed what he said the day before about Rand Paul and Iran. “Rand is a friend of mine.  And Rand asked me if he could be involved.  The answer is yes,” he said, and “We’ll see what happens.” On July 18, Trump had denied a Politico story reporting that on July 13, while they were golfing together, Paul had proposed that he meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who arrived in New York that day for meetings at the United Nations, and that Trump had approved Paul’s suggestion. Paul, of course, has been an outspoken opponent of all the regime change wars, so Trump’s choice of him, rather than one of his neocon Cabinet members, to make contact with Iran carries a meaning.

Al-Monitor, citing a “non-government expert in contact with the Iranian team” as its source, had reported yesterday that Rand Paul met with Zarif in New York on Thursday, July 18, though neither the Trump Administration nor the Iranian mission to the UN would confirm it.

Paul, himself, has not confirmed if there was such a meeting, but he addressed the question of diplomacy during an interview on Fox News. “I think there is a possible opening that Iran would sign an agreement saying that they won’t develop a nuclear weapon, ever,” he said. “That would be a huge breakthrough.”

“I think President Trump is one of the few people who actually could get that deal,” Paul said. “And he will get it because he’s strong, and he is showing maximum pressure, but he is also willing to talk.”

Paul said he thought it would be useful to open discussions with Iran about what kind of changes in behavior the United States would like to see for the removal of sanctions. “I think diplomacy is a good idea, and I think that if sanctions are to work, you also have to talk about removing them,” Paul said. “So I think the discussion now, since we have maximum pressure on and maximum sanctions on Iran, now we have to say what would we be willing to remove them for.”


Britain Confronts Truth with Censorship

July 19 (EIRNS)—Consortium News has reported nearly simultaneous malware attacks against Consortium News’ website and censorship targetting Julian Assange’s support base: “Consortium News was under attack on Monday, days after the premiere episode of the outlet’s live-streamed show, CN Live! The malicious attempt to shut down the website, according to the site’s web host, followed on the heels of the suspension of pro-Assange account Unity4J from Twitter.”

The online newspaper tweeted on July 15: “Our website is completely down. Our media host said we have been attacked by malware. They actually tried to blame ‘the Russians’! Every article published since 2011 now gets a 404 Not Found. They are working on it. Problem started slowly on Friday first day of CN Live!”

Julian Assange is now confronting legal threats from both the British and U.S. government that can only be countered to the extent the public is kept abreast of developments through non-establishment outlets, including Consortium News.

On June 5, YouTube, owned by Google, deleted the LaRouche Political Action Committee video, “The Special Relationship Is for Traitors,” an historically accurate account of the British Empire attempt to reincorporate the United States into its sphere of influence.


Fighting Poverty Is Contagious, as the Bolivia Case Shows

July 19 (EIRNS)—“If China can do it, why not we?” is a question increasingly heard among the leaders of developing nations on all continents. They are studying and talking about China’s sobering achievement of lifting nearly 800 million human beings—over a tenth of the human race!—out of poverty in some 40 years.

In Bolivia, President Evo Morales has not only joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but he is also working closely with both Russia and China to bring advanced technology to what has historically competed with destitute Honduras as the second poorest country in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region. Haiti remains by far and away the poorest of all.

President Morales, speaking to Sputnik on July 4, one week prior to a state visit to Russia where he met with President Vladimir Putin, stated: “We have reduced poverty from 38.2% in 2005 to 15% in 2019. We are very encouraged. Now we have a plan as we head towards our bicentenary in 2025. We would like to have less than 5% extreme poverty.”

(By a different measure of poverty—the UN standard of an average income of less than $1.90 per day—Bolivia’s poverty rate fell from 25% in 1999, to 6% in 2017. During that same period Honduras started out with about the same poverty rate, 26%, which then dropped to 16%, nearly triple that of Bolivia.)

Morales assumed the Presidency of Bolivia in January 2006. “My challenge, fundamentally,” he explained, “is that since I come from the poorest families, to keep reducing poverty. I would not like for there to be children like in the 1960s and 1970s. That’s my great hope.”

Asked what makes him proud, he said: “First, having left the past behind. Having buried the colonial state…. Having stopped being that beggar state, a pauper people. Now we have a dignified and sovereign people…. Above all I’m proud of our economic growth. Of my 13 years in office, in 6 we have been first in economic growth in South America, according to data from international organizations. Never before had Bolivia been first in anything. If it was first in South America, it was only in poverty and in matters of corruption.”

Morales concluded: “Happiness for me is to live well. And my enormous satisfaction is having converted more than 2 million Bolivians into middle-class people. That is the result of my administration. That encourages us a lot to continue with social programs for the good of humanity…. Bolivia, in some 15 to 20 years, is going to be an economic power. I would like our country… to share the little we have for the good of humanity.”

Astronaut Science Minister Mobilizes for Spain’s Role in Future Moon Plans

July 20 (EIRNS)—Spain is celebrating the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon in a special way. And it is doing so for two reasons: First, because it was NASA’s space center in Fresnedillo, near Madrid, which was in direct radio communication when those astronauts landed, and which first received the voice of Neil Armstrong, before re-transmission to mission control. Second, because the current Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities Pedro Duque is Spain’s only astronaut and he is personally leading the celebrations of the Moon landing.

Duque published a quiz aimed at youth in various papers, called “Find Out How Much You Know about Moon Travel.” The July 19 Council of Ministers meeting was dedicated to celebrating the 50th anniversary, and led by the astronaut minister, who told the cabinet that participating in a space mission to the Moon with astronauts is something which gets people, youth, excited, and they are thereby drawn to vocations such as engineering, science or medicine, which is very beneficial for a country.

“My generation grew up with the space race, and all children wanted to be astronauts. That was my dream when I was barely six years old” (when Apollo 11 landed), Duque told EFE news service on July 9. He became an aeronautical engineer and joined the European Space Agency, ESA, in 1986. He flew as Mission Specialist on the Discovery Shuttle in 1998, and after training at Moscow’s Star City, he returned to space in 2003, this time aboard Soyuz, for a ten-day mission on the International Space Station named the “Cervantes Mission.”

Because of his relations with the Russians, the minister has promoted an “alliance of universities” between Russia and Spain, to accredit curricula, exchange students and professors, and offer double degrees in science and technology.

Duque emphasizes also the importance of Europe’s participation in space travel, establishing a permanent Moon base for colonizing outer space, and research into the poles of frozen ice on the Moon and exploring its far side.

Duque told EFE news service on July 9 that a few weeks earlier he had met with NASA officials in Paris, and they are very excited about the Artemis mission. What Europe can contribute to Artemis will be a principal topic of the ESA Ministerial meeting in November, which will be held in Seville, Spain.


Puerto Rico Explodes in Protest

July 20 (EIRNS)—Since July 12, mass protests involving up to 500,000 people, have wracked the island of Puerto Rico, following leaks of 889 pages of obscenity-laced chats between Gov. Ricardo Rossello and 11 members of his inner circle, ridiculing political and media figures, joking about “corpses piling up that could be fed to the crows” during Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and revealing a depth of corruption that interfered with, and limited the response to that hurricane which devastated the island. An estimated 4,000 people died, either during the hurricane itself or as a result of the devastation that ensued.

There has been no let-up in protests, as of this writing, and protesters say they won’t stop until the Democratic Party-aligned Rossello resigns. Carlos “Johnny” Mendez, president of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, has created a committee to advise him on whether Rossello committed impeachable offenses. The leaked chats are a last straw for a population that has not only been denied the means to recover from the 2017 hurricane—20,000 homes still have blue tarps for roofs, provided by FEMA, and many towns still lack electricity—but has also been subject to brutal austerity by the Wall Street-linked Financial Control Board imposed in 2016 by the U.S. Congress to manage the bankrupt island’s finances. The board has slashed budgets for health and education, vital public services, cut pensions and promoted privatization ofstate agencies, including the school system.

The chats also reveal that confidential government information was shared with people who were not public officials. A case in point is Elias Sanchez Sifonte, a representative to the Control Board, who is suspected of complicity in steering millions of dollars in federal funds to well-connected contractors through his wife’s firm, CDO Management, the World Socialist website reported today. The same source reports that protesters are demanding the Control Board be disbanded.

According to NBC, the chats being leaked coincided with the arrests of Puerto Rico’s former Secretary of Education Julia Kelehere, former Health Insurance Administration head Angela Avila-Marrero, and four others with government contracts under Rossello’s government, charged with 32 counts of money-laundering fraud and related charges for allegedly embezzling $15.5 million in federal funding from 2017 to 2019.

One citizen quoted by CNN, observed that Puerto Ricans aren’t a violent people. “But with the publication of the chats, people in Puerto Rico saw how the corruption affected the response to the hurricane. There’s a sense of ‘You left us to die.’ There is a perception of being abandoned by the government—a lack of planning and the inept way the government managed the crisis.”


Zelensky’s Party Appears Winning Majority; Ceasefire Starts

July 21 (EIRNS)—Volodomyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party was gaining a majority in Sunday’s elections July 21 to the unicameral Verkhovna Rada legislature of Ukraine, according to exit polls reported by BBC and other media. The exit polls indicate the party will have about 45% of the vote, but will need a coalition partner to govern. The Voice Party, with about 6%, is reportedly Zelensky’s choice.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with Oliver Stone on June 19 in the Kremlin, replied to Stone’s question whether Putin saw Russia and Ukraine coming together again, “I think this is inevitable. At any rate, the cultivation of normal, friendly, and even more than friendly, allied relations in inevitable.”

An indefinite ceasefire between the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (D.P.R. and L.P.R.) went into effect at midnight local time on Sunday, July 21, TASS reported. The Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation, which convened in Minsk, Belarus on July 17, agreed on additional measures to ensure ceasefire compliance.

Kiev officials do not rule out that this ceasefire will last until the conflict is fully settled, but the two self-proclaimed republics doubt Ukraine’s ability to observe it. TASS reported. “It has been agreed that an indefinite ceasefire will take effect at midnight on July 21,” Ukraine’s envoy to the political subgroup of the Contact Group on resolving the conflict, Roman Bessmertny, told reporters on July 18.

Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin was less optimistic, saying, “Shelling continues on the backdrop of a peaceful rally initiated by people living in the two republics, and agreements on an indefinite ceasefire. People continue to be killed,” he said, and continuing that such actions raise doubts if the ceasefire can be enforced. “We call on Kiev and the world community to stop killing people in Donbas.”

On the eve of the ceasefire, the people’s militias of the D.P.R. and Luhansk People’s Republic commander Mikhail Filiponenko said, “We are ready to adhere to the conditions of another ceasefire and, as earlier, we are ready to implement a ceasefire regime,” the LuhanskInformCenter news agency quoted him as saying.

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

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