EIR Daily Alert Service, Wednesday, January 15, 2020
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2020
Volume 7, Number 10
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
- International Day of Action: Trump, Putin, Xi Must Hold Emergency Summit To Avert War, Begin Development
- From NSA, Cyber Command and CrowdStrike With Love: A New New York Times Russian Hacking Boilerplate
- Pompeo and National Security Council Step Up Campaign Against Huawei
- Libya National Army General Haftar Leaves Moscow Without Signing Ceasfire Agreement
- NBC Says Trump Authorized Sleimani Hit Seven Months Ago, but Blu-Pencils-British Factor
- Iranian Foreign Ministry Unloads on the British Empire
- Ursula von der Leyen and BlackRock Present Their New Tulip Bubble
- Opening Salvo in Argentina Debt Fight, as Buenos Aires Province Seeks To Delay Payment
- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Argues, Let’s Go With the Trump Plan on Iran-Renegotiate
International Day of Action: Trump, Putin, Xi Must Hold Emergency Summit To Avert War, Begin Development
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)—Today, Jan. 15, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., has been designated by the Schiller Institute and its associated organizations worldwide as an international day of action, holding rallies and contacting institutions to lend their voices to the urgent necessity that Presidents Trump, Putin and Xi convene an emergency summit to avert the danger of war breaking out over the crisis in Iran and Iraq. There can be no doubt that Dr. King would fully concur.
While Presidents Trump and Rouhani have both indicated that they are standing down from any immediate military action, the continued instability in the region holds the inherent danger that the world could once more “sleepwalk” into a world war, as happened in 1914.
During President Trump’s White House address on Jan. 8, the morning of the Iran missile attack on U.S.-Iraqi bases, he expressed appreciation that no one was killed in the attack, and that Iran had made clear they were “standing down.” Most importantly, he also called for a totally new approach to the crisis—replacing the failed Iran nuclear deal (the JCPOA), by launching new negotiations with Iran with all the signers of the JCPOA—i.e., not only Germany, France and the U.K., but also Russia and China. Were such a process to be initiated, it would bring Russia, China and the U.S. together to address not only Iran’s nuclear weapons potential, but also an overall resolution to the regional chaos. Trump has repeatedly called for getting U.S. troops out of the region, while also calling on Iran to remove its military forces from across the region. More importantly, the presence of Russia and China in the discussions would provide a basis for Iran to trust any proposed security assurances, while China’s Belt and Road Initiative would provide the framework for reconstruction of those nations destroyed in the U.S.-British “regime-change” wars—hopefully with all nations, including the U.S., participating in this urgent, morally necessary process.
To the shock of many in his Cabinet, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC Tuesday that he concurred with Trump’s proposal regarding Iran. “From the American perspective,” Johnson said, “it’s a flawed deal…. Let’s replace it with the Trump deal. That’s what we need to see. President Trump is a great deal-maker by his own account, and by many others. Let’s work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump deal instead.” It is not clear whether Johnson and Trump have coordinated their actions.
The day is auspicious, indeed. The Articles of Impeachment, put together out of thin air by the corrupt and failing Democratic Party, are to be delivered to the Senate today, Wednesday, with the impeachment trial to begin next week. Also today, the U.S. and China are to sign the historic first phase of a trade agreement, the first step on what must become a process of resolving the trade imbalance and getting down to the far more crucial necessity of U.S.-China cooperation in rebuilding the crumbling financial architecture of the Western nations, and cooperation in the Belt and Road reconstruction of the entire formerly colonized nations of Africa, Asia and Ibero-America.
It is a moment of historic specificity—whether the citizens of the world will, each and every one, search inside themselves to find that which is truly universal, more precious than life itself, to act on shaping the future of the human race towards dignity and happiness; or to be small and passive, allowing the world to decline into barbarism—that is the meaning of this “Day of Action.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—The Cambridge Dictionary defines boilerplate as “text that can be copied and used in legal documents or in computer programs, with only very small changes.”
The more-than-thrice-told tale released by the New York Times with great fanfare as a new “bombshell” yesterday is just that: boilerplate.
This time the tale is that a U.S. cyber-security firm named Area 1, founded by “former” National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command and CrowdStrike hackers, “discovered,”—on New Year’s Eve, no less,—that the Russian military intelligence unit “Fancy Bear” which Special Counsel Robert Mueller had charged with interfering in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, has been hacking subsidiaries of the Ukrainian gas company, Hunter Biden’s Burisma, at the center of the Democrats’ would-be impeachment.
It’s a familiar story:
“It is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for,” wrote the New York Times. “But the experts [sic] say the timing and scale of the attacks suggest [take note!] that the Russians could be [aha!] searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens—the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment.”
Furthermore, “The Russian tactics are strikingly similar to what American intelligence agencies say was Russia’s hacking of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign”—which hacking former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney and team proved never occurred.
There is even the requisite “American security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity” to buttress this tale, opining that “the Russian attacks on Burisma appear to be running parallel to an effort by Russian spies in Ukraine to dig up information in the analog world that could embarrass the Bidens.”
And Area 1 CEO, Oren Falkowitz assures us that “we can only assume [that the timing of the Russian campaign] is a repeat of Russian interference in the last election.”
Talk about boilerplate: Three professional hackers co-founded the company in 2013. CEO Falkowitz worked for the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command before founding Area 1. The other two co-founders, Phil Syme and Blake Darché, also worked at the NSA; Darché and Falkowitz sat side by side on the NSA’s “elite hacker team” called the Tailored Access Operations group, according to Business Insider. Darché, after leaving the NSA and before setting up Area 1, worked for none other than CrowdStrike, the company whose “forensics” invented the story of Russian hacking of the DNC computers.
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today told members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club to get serious about breaking their partnerships with the Chinese government and companies linked to it. “None of us would have installed Soviet technology, right?” he even said, in arguing why they had to keep American technology from powering what he ranted is the “truly Orwellian state” which rules China. Note that this is not only contrary to President Donald Trump’s open admiration for China and President Xi Jinping, but also comes 24 hours before the signing of the critical phase one of a U.S.-China trade deal.
He waxed as poetic as he could, saying that “America is facing a challenge from China that demands every fiber of your innovative skill.” U.S. tech companies need to get in line with U.S. government agencies, “which are cooperating in new ways to stop the Chinese military from using our own innovation against us. And we’re putting our allies and partners on notice about the massive security and privacy risks connected to letting Huawei construct their 5G networks inside of their countries.”
On Jan. 13, a National Security Council delegation led by Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger flew into London to again threaten that the U.S. would cut off intelligence-sharing with the U.K., should it allow the Chinese tech company, Huawei, to participate in even “non-core” parts of the U.K. 5G network.
The delegation presented U.K. officials with a purportedly new “technical assessment” of the dangers of using Huawei, and told them it “would be nothing short of madness” for the U.K. to do so, as a member of the delegation told the press after their meetings, the BBC and the Guardian reported.
The Boris Johnson government is expected to make a decision on Huawei this month. Over the weekend, domestic intelligence MI5 chief Andrew Parker made the American team nervous with remarks to the press that “he had no reason to think that using Huawei technology should threaten intelligence sharing with the U.S.”
Prime Minister Johnson did not indicate which way the decision might be made, telling the BBC today that “the British public deserve to have access to the best possible technology…. Now if people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what’s the alternative,” only to quickly throw in, “let’s be clear, I don’t want, as the U.K. prime minister, to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to cooperate with Five Eyes intelligence partners,” comprised of the U.K., Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—The coming together of the two warring sides in Libya in Moscow this past weekend was promising, but has not resulted, as yet, in the desired ceasefire. Both TASS and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that LNA Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement. Lavrov said that Haftar had asked for a little extra time to look at the draft text. GNA Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala of the Tripoli-based government said that “Haftar asked for a delay till tomorrow and may sign [the ceasefire agreement] at the insistence of Russians.” The GNA delegation has signed the draft. Later during the day, news wires reported that Haftar has asked for two days’ time.
According to TASS the ceasefire agreement will include pullback of the forces of the conflicting parties, and a moratorium on the deployment of Turkish forces. The United Nations and Russia will be responsible for the observance of the ceasefire.
Unconfirmed reports according to TASS indicate that while Russia will be responsible for monitoring the ceasefire, the United Nations will control the enforcement of the agreement. Sea and land ports will remain under international observation. The LNA and the GNA are to redistribute powers and tasks in running the country. The LNA will assume the “anti-terrorist” mission. Some of the militias will be disarmed.
The day had started with meetings between Russian and Turkish officials. After that, they met the two Libyan delegations separately.
Later on, following talks with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Lavrov, who was visiting Colombo, had some words on how the Libya mess was initiated. “If Libya could become ‘a second Syria,’ I believe the Libyan people will benefit from this. Unfortunately, there is no statehood in Libya so far. The Libyan statehood was bombed by NATO in 2011, and we are still facing the consequences of this illegal, criminal escapade, the Libyan people first of all,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by Sputnik today.
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—NBC reported on Jan. 13 that Trump actually authorized the hit on IRGC Gen. Qasem Soleimani seven months ago but only on condition that increased Iranian aggression resulted in the deaths of Americans and only if he had the final say on any specific operation to kill Soleimani. “There have been a number of options presented to the President over the course of time,” a senior administration official said, and that it was “some time ago” that the President’s aides put assassinating Soleimani on the list of potential responses to Iranian aggression.
In June, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz, both then-National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lobbied Trump to strike back by authorizing the killing of Soleimani. Trump, however, rejected the idea, saying he’d take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The President’s message was “that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,” according to a person briefed on the discussion.
Within the administration, the idea of targeting Soleimani apparently goes back further to Pompeo’s role as CIA Director early in the administration. At that time, he urged Trump to consider taking a more aggressive approach to Soleimani after showing him intelligence on what a second senior administration official described as “very serious threats that didn’t come to fruition.” The idea gained more support when Bolton came in as Trump’s national security adviser in early 2018. It was Bolton, last April, who helped prod Trump to designate the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.
Then-British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir Kim Darroch, was also in the middle with Pompeo and Bolton, although NBC makes no mention in its report. A leak of his diplomatic cables to London in July of 2019 revealed that Darroch was working to provoke a war between the U.S. and Iran, suggesting that if an American should get killed, Trump would relent to the British war plan.
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—While the U.S. under President Donald Trump has been the most common target of Iran’s ire, the Iranian Foreign Ministry, in the wake of obvious British efforts to instigate anti-government protests in the wake of the Ukrainian airliner crash, has issued a statement pointing the finger at British colonialism as the source of the evils in the region. The only mistake it makes is to portray the British as following along behind the United States, when, in reality, it’s really the other way around. The statement was issued, Tasnim News reports, as a denunciation of British Ambassador Rob Macaire’s attendance at a memorial-turned-protest in Tehran as a blatant interference in the internal affairs of Iran, and as being in contravention of the principles of diplomatic relations that raises suspicions of the U.K.’s involvement in the failed policy of the U.S.’ maximum pressure policy.
“It is obvious that the U.K. regime is still having anti-Iran delusions on the basis of a dangerous miscalculation and is seeking an escalation of tensions in the region and in its relations with Iran. The British leaders must know that the accusations against Iran could not cover up that regime’s (U.K.’s) blind obedience to the U.S., Britain’s scandalous failure to honor its JCPOA commitments, or even the refusal to abide by a verdict given by a British court on repaying hundreds of millions of pounds in debt to the people of Iran due to its fear of the U.S. Any new British mistake will face Iran’s harsh and proportionate reaction, and the U.K. government bears responsibility for all of its consequences,” the statement read.
Mentioning the history of British colonialism in the Middle East, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the era of interference of British ambassadors in the internal affairs of other countries, fomenting divisions and fueling domestic conflicts has ended a long time ago.
“The U.K. must abandon such scandalous activities and realize that the time when the sun never set on the British Empire has been over for decades,” the statement underlined, adding, “With all different tastes and views, the vigilant people of Iran do not accept foreign interference, particularly from the governments with a record of colonialism and support for dictators, and would not forget that the very same British government is the main supporter and arms supplier of those who slaughtered (Saudi journalist Jamal) Khashoggi and who kill children in Yemen.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs finally called on the U.K. Embassy in Tehran to stop any meddling and provocative measure immediately, and warned that if such behavior continues, the Foreign Ministry will no longer be satisfied by only summoning the ambassador.
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen disclosed the Commission financing plan for the “Green New Deal” on Tuesday in Strasbourg, France.
The plan consists in issuing “guarantees” for a total of €47.5 billion (€38 billion from the EU budget and €9.5 billion from “partners”) which should leverage up to €650 billion investments. In its budget proposal, the Commission has included a €15 billion reserve for losses.
Guarantees mean that if a private investment goes bankrupt, the EU covers the losses or part of them.
However, the EU budget has not yet been approved and is still the object of negotiations. Germany and other countries oppose any increase in the budget, while France and others want to include nuclear power as part of the climate-friendly investments.
Timed with von der Leyen’s press conference in Strasbourg, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink announced “a significant reallocation of capital” away from the carbon-economy into so-called green investments, reported AP. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset managers, with an incredible $7 trillion in assets under management. In his regular letter to CEOs today, Fink wrote that BlackRock is taking immediate action, exiting investments in coal used to generate power, and it will begin asking clients to disclose their climate-related risks. “Because capital markets pull future risk forward, we will see changes in capital allocation more quickly than we see changes to the climate itself,” Fink wrote in the letter. “In the near future—and sooner than most anticipate—there will be a significant reallocation of capital.” He further declared that “we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—In a press release issued today, the government of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s most populous, requested that bondholders accept an extension of the due date for payment of $250 million in principal on its BP21 bond due on Jan. 26, to May 1. In a tweet, Gov. Axel Kicillof, who served as Finance Minister from 2013-2015 under then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, cited the province’s “catastrophic indebtedness and lack of resources” as the reason why such action is necessary.
Making clear this is the opening shot in the upcoming negotiations on the totality of Argentina’s debt, Kicillof underscored that his proposal is in “total agreement and coordination with the federal government’s debt administration policies for the purpose of obtaining economic growth, greater social inclusion and sustainability of financial conditions.” He said he has no intention of defaulting, but seeks an “equitable and fair” solution to the unsustainable debt load left by former Gov. Maria Eugenia Vidal.
Over the weekend, Finance Minister Martin Guzman said the federal government is in no position to bail out the province, emphasizing that “the umbrella is the same for the nation [federal government] and the provinces: We’re negotiating with creditors to seek the sustainability of the debt.” President Alberto Fernández made the same point, telling Canal 5 Noticias TV news network that a bailout of the province isn’t included in the federal government’s economic calculations and that this is a realistic approach. “Later, we’ll see how we deal with the problem. What we inherited from the previous [Macri] government is all debt,” he stated.
As for timing, Bloomberg reports that under default rules for bonds, at least 75% of the creditors holding the BP21 bond must accept the delay within 10 days of the due date in order for the debt to not be declared in default. Once in default, holders of at least 25% of the debt can move to demand immediate repayment. The most explosive aspect of a default, of course, is the chain-reaction it could trigger of the derivatives bubble (credit default swaps) associated with that debt.
In an interview published Jan. 12 with El Cohete a la Luna President Fernández said his government plans to have its debt strategy figured out by March 31. “At that point, we’ll know where we stand,” he explained. Negotiations with creditors and the IMF are underway, he said, but offered no details.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Jan. 14 (EIRNS)—Although France, Germany and the U.K. today triggered a “dispute mechanism” in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—which sets in motion a 60-day discussion period to get Iran to come back into compliance or face new sanctions, nonetheless, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson told BBC that he thinks the U.K. should back the idea of President Donald Trump to negotiate an entirely new deal. Johnson told BBC, “From the American perspective, it’s a flawed deal … plus it was negotiated by President Obama. Let’s replace it with the Trump deal. That’s what we need to see. President Trump is a great dealmaker by his own account, and by many others. Let’s work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump deal instead.”
While his suggestion has caused panic within Johnson’s circles, there is no evidence thus far that Johnson and Trump have discussed the idea. Keep in mind that when Trump spoke in the White House on Jan. 8, the morning of the Iran missile attack on U.S.-Iraqi bases, he not only said Iran was standing down, but also he called for a new, multi-party set of negotiations with Iran to replace the now-discarded JCPOA, and, most importantly, said that the negotiations should include Russia and China, as well as Germany, France, and the U.K.
Such negotiations would bring Trump, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping together (along with the three European leaders), and eventually with Iran, to come up with a path forward for resolving the crisis. As is made clear in the call from Helga Zepp-LaRouche for an emergency summit between the U.S., Russian and Chinese leaders, it is only this combination which can stop the danger of war, provide Iran with the required security assurances, and present a reconstruction program for the region through the Belt and Road process.
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