EIR Daily Alert Service, TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2020

TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2020
Volume 7, Number 44
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
  • ‘Either We Change Our Ways Completely, or We Simply Will Not Make It’
  • Trump Responds to Question on UNSC Permanent Five Summit at Press Conference
  • Washington Limits Chinese Government Press Staffing in United States
  • U.S. Extends Coronavirus Travel Restrictions and Warnings, as CDC Upgrades Testing Criteria
  • Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Democrats To Condemn ‘New McCarthyism’
  • Esper Wants Peace With Taliban, But Only To Put More Attention on Preparing For War With China
  • Pompeo Vows To Reimpose All UN Sanctions on Iran, Even as It Must Battle Coronavirus
  • Syrian-Turkish War In Idlib Escalates
  • COVID-19 in Ibero-America, But Threat of Biological Holocaust in Haiti Is a Crime Against Humanity
  • Turkey Weaponizes Syrian Refugees To Blackmail EU
  • Global Institutions Buy Stocks, Make Promises Monday
  • Mahathir Replaced as Malaysia’s Head of Government, For Now
  • International Narcotics Control Board Confronting Legalization

EDITORIAL

‘Either We Change Our Ways Completely, or We Simply Will Not Make It’

March 2 (EIRNS)—“Either we change our ways completely, or we will simply not make it,” asserted Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Monday, reflecting on the enormous crises facing mankind and the immense present potential for dramatic change.

Around which ideas will society organize itself? Which concepts guide your view of the world?

Consider the potential represented by President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would like a meeting among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—as was proposed by President Vladimir Putin on Jan. 15 and again on Jan. 23—to take place in New York. Contrast that potential with the dangerous situation in Syria and Turkey, where military confrontations between the Syrian and Turkish armed forces are taking place and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is effectively “weaponizing” the millions of refugees and migrants in his nation by threatening Europe that rather than stemming the flow of refugees to Europe, he will encourage it.

Consider another potential: consider the quality of the profound discussion this Saturday, “Rescuing the Republic from the Surveillance State: A Conversation with Bill Binney.” Moderator Dennis Speed guided a discussion among Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe formerly of the NSA, joined by LaRouche movement leader (and former political prisoner) Mike Billington, that challenged the members of the audience to take personal responsibility for the direction of the nation—to end the police-state tyranny embodied in the current practices of the NSA, FBI, and the U.K.’s MI6 and GCHQ, to end the needless threat of geopolitical war, and to replace the current financial system. Contrast that potential with the profound indifference of leading world organizations in the face of the locust plague that continues to menace a region stretching from the Horn of Africa all the way to India, and now also areas of South America. How deeply has the environmentalist viewpoint of man-as-a-pest infested the world’s cultures?

What would a true assault on the world’s problems look like? What could a real mission-orientation bring?

Inspiration can be taken from the full-spectrum approach taken by China to address COVID-19. A WHO-Chinese Joint Mission on COVID-19 concluded that “China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile, and aggressive disease containment effort in history.” China has an extraordinary ability to complete large-scale projects quickly. “No one else in the world really can do what China just did,” says Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. “Hundreds of thousands of people in China did not get COVID-19 because of [China’s] aggressive response,” reports Bruce Aylward, a Canadian WHO epidemiologist who headed the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19. The success of China at turning the tide can be seen in one statistic in the report: “China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic. A particularly compelling statistic is that on the first day of the advance team’s work there were 2,478 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in China. Two weeks later, on the final day of this Mission, China reported 409 newly confirmed cases. This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.” Contrast the barriers thrown up against combatting COVID-19 and locusts in Yemen and Iran, which are crushed by war, sanctions/blockades, or both!

Which path will we take? What is the future we will create? And how can you, today, expand your vision of that future and act to bring it about?

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

Trump Responds to Question on UNSC Permanent Five Summit at Press Conference

March 2 (EIRNS)—At a Feb. 29 White House press conference, President Donald Trump was asked: “It has been reported yesterday that you are willing, at this point, to meet with leaders of Russia, China, the U.K., and France, to discuss arms control issues among other things.”

Trump responded: “They all want to discuss arms control, and that’s a wise thing.  We’re spending now over $20 billion on nuclear and on the super-speed missiles and many other things. And they have come to me, and they all want to now discuss arms control, and that includes China and that includes Russia. And I think it’s very smart of them to want to do it, and I think it’s very smart of us to want to do it. And we will be discussing that in New York.”

Washington Limits Chinese Government Press Staffing in United States

March 2 (EIRNS)—Effective March 13, the U.S. government will cap the number of Chinese citizens permitted to work for the U.S. offices of the Chinese “Big 5” news outlets, which were designated as foreign missions of the P.R.C. government on Feb. 18 under the Foreign Missions Act: Xinhua, CGTN, China Radio International (CRI), China Daily Distribution Corporation, and Hai Tian Development (which distributes People’s Daily). At present, these entities employ a total of approximately 160 Chinese citizens. The cap will bring this number to 100: 2 at CRI, 9 at China Daily, 30 at CGTN, and 59 at Xinhua. Although a cap is possible for Hai Tian, no action is currently being taken.

In addition, there will be a limitation on the duration of their visas. Previously, journalists would receive a visa which would generally be valid as long as they worked for their news organization. That will no longer be the case. Briefing media on the new measures today, a State Department official demurred that the limitation would not restrict their ability to cover official briefings at the State Department or the White House. While the State Department officials held their briefing today, Mike Pompeo had already triumphantly announced the measure on Twitter.

U.S. Extends Coronavirus Travel Restrictions and Warnings, as CDC Upgrades Testing Criteria

March 2 (EIRNS)—Travel restrictions: Following on the Feb. 2 entry ban on foreign nationals who had been in mainland China in the previous 14 days, the U.S. government instituted on Feb. 29 for a similar entry ban on foreign nationals who had been in Iran within the previous 14 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging travelers to “avoid nonessential travel” to China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea, and to “practice enhanced precautions” if going to Japan.

The CDC has updated its guidelines for testing individuals. This follows the failure to promptly test a patient in Davis, California, who was not tested despite severe symptoms requiring the use of a ventilator, due to the failure of the CDC’s guidelines, which required some connection to China or someone who was known to have COVID-19. After four days in the hospital without diagnosis, she tested positive for novel coronavirus.  On Feb. 27, the CDC revised its guidelines, calling for the testing of anyone with fever and severe acute lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization, even if there is no known connection to a source of the virus. Problems in earlier testing kits provided by the CDC have been resolved, and there are now enough kits to test over 75,000 people for the novel coronavirus. The CDC itself operates two laboratories, together capable of testing 350 specimens per day.

On Feb. 29, at a White House press conference including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the Coronavirus Task Force, Pence reported: “As the President said, we have more than 40 million masks available today. We’ve contracted now with 3M. Thirty-five million more masks per month will be produced, and we’re also going to be working with other manufacturers.”

President Trump remarked on China’s response to the crisis: “Our relationship with China is very good. Maybe it’s closer because of what’s happened here, because it was—you know, in a certain way, this can bring the world closer, if you want to know.  It can really do that.”

Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Democrats To Condemn ‘New McCarthyism’

March 2 (EIRNS)—On Feb. 27, Democratic presidential precandidate Tulsi Gabbard issued a call to all Democratic presidential candidates to join her in condemning what amounts to “election meddling” by the nation’s surveillance state in the 2020 election, calling it a “new McCarthyism.” Appearing as an op-ed in the widely-read Washington, D.C.-based daily, The Hill, Gabbard’s call has been shared over 15,000 times.

“Reckless claims by anonymous intelligence officials that Russia is ‘helping’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are deeply irresponsible,” Gabbard states, specifically calling out Sir Michael Bloomberg for his “calculated decision” to repeat this “unsubstantiated accusation” in the South Carolina debate. “Enough is enough. I am calling on all presidential candidates to stop playing these dangerous political games and immediately condemn any interference in our elections by out-of-control intelligence agencies.”

After directly calling for these state actors to “immediately stop smearing presidential candidates with innuendo and vague, evidence-free assertions,” Gabbard then turns to her fellow Democratic contenders: “This new McCarthyism must be renounced by every presidential candidate, otherwise we must conclude they lack the foresight and integrity required to lead our country. If candidates are too afraid to stand up against those who would suppress the voices of the American people with McCarthyist smears, they are not real leaders.”

Pointing out that the surveillance state’s “laughably obvious ploy to stifle legitimate criticism” first appeared in the Washington Post, Gabbard further casts out so-called “journalists” as well as her fellow candidates for repeating these unsubstantiated charges. Gabbard challenges the state actors to come clean, saying that the public has a right to know. “Otherwise, all it is doing is fomenting a sense of powerlessness and paranoia in the voting public,” something which they, themselves, say actually benefits “the Russians.”

She includes a defense of President Donald Trump, observing that the attack on Sanders is the same McCarthyist strategy as that behind Russiagate, which has forced Trump to continually “prove that he is not Putin’s puppet,” thus bringing the country “closer to nuclear war with Russia than we have been in decades.”

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Esper Wants Peace with Taliban, But Only To Put More Attention on Preparing for War with China

March 2 (EIRNS)—For Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, peace means war. That is, the peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan means that the Pentagon can devote more energy to preparing for war with China.

While in Kabul for the weekend events around the peace agreement, Esper “expressed the need for the U.S. to stay a step ahead of China and Russia on the battlefield, including in space and in strategic weapons such as hypersonic missiles and advanced nuclear weapons,” reported Fox News. To do more to prepare for the China challenge, Esper said, the U.S. must reduce commitments in lower-priority regions so that more military units could train together at home on skills related to conventional warfare.

Esper is guided by the delusion, expressed in documents like the 2018 National Defense Strategy, that China (as well as Russia) is America’s enemy and that therefore we are living in “an era of great power competition.” For that reason, he has made clear he wants to reduce U.S. military commitments in Southwest Asia and Africa, not for the sake of peace, but in preparation for the great power conflict he thinks is coming.

Pompeo Vows To Reimpose All UN Sanctions on Iran, Even as It Must Battle Coronavirus

March 2 (EIRNS)—In an “exclusive interview” with the Washington Free Beacon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “revealed” that he and President Donald Trump would soon be deciding on whether to petition the UN to invoke what is known as “snapback” of international sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The UN Security Council resolution which affirmed the JCPOA, also provides for the lifting of an arms embargo on Iran in October 2020.

“As a policy matter, we’ve made very clear it’s unacceptable” for the arms embargo to be lifted, Pompeo said. “We’ve known these deadlines, these sunset pieces we’re approaching; we now have the first one, a very significant one” coming up in October. “Think about this,” Pompeo said of the possibility the arms embargo is lifted: “We had [missiles] fly out of Yemen towards Saudi Arabia, and it will be lawful to sell those very missiles to the Iranians in what is now eight months. We’re determined to push back against that, we’re determined to stop it. We’ve spoken to our German, our French, our British counterparts about this. They know, too; they appreciate the threat.” These European nations, Pompeo complained, remain “wedded” to the nuclear deal and are not nearly as forward leaning on the Iran issue as the United States.

In Tehran, this morning, government spokesman Ali Rabiee told reporters that U.S. sanctions are having an adverse effect on the health of Iranians and the country’s healthcare system, though he claimed that Iran is successfully battling the novel coronavirus.

“Needless to say, the pressure of U.S. sanctions and economic terrorism has adversely affected the country’s healthcare and medicinal system and also the health of people,” Ali Rabiee said at a weekly press conference, reported Tasnim News. He further emphasized that all of the Iranian administrative organizations, health institutions, industrial centers, and even the military units, have joined hands since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran, to help contain the disease.

Syrian-Turkish War In Idlib Escalates

March 2 (EIRNS)—The war between Syria and Turkey seriously escalated yesterday, and the battle has extended into the air over Idlib. After Turkish forces shot down two Syrian warplanes yesterday (the pilots ejected and were reportedly recovered safely), the Syrian military declared a no-fly zone over the province. Turkey’s “hostile acts will not succeed in saving terrorists from the strikes of the Syrian Arab Army, and they prove the Turkish regime’s disavowal of all the previous agreements, including Sochi memorandum,” the Syrian military said in a statement, reported the official news agency SANA.

Therefore, “the Army and Armed Forces General Command announces closing the airspace for flights and for any drones over the northwestern region in Syria, particularly over Idlib province,” it said. “Any aircraft that violates the Syrian airspace will be dealt with as a hostile aircraft that must be downed and prevented from achieving its hostile goals.”

The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides followed up the Syrian military announcement by publicly warning that the Russian military cannot guarantee the safety of Turkish aircraft flying in Idlib’s airspace.

The Syrian army said yesterday that it had shot down four Turkish drones “as part of their [Syria’s] operations against terrorists in Idlib countryside, and targeted with concentrated strikes the movements of terrorists in the province.” According to SANA, the Turkish military is relying mainly on advanced drones to support terrorists with cover fire and reconnaissance.

On the ground, the Syrian army has clearly suffered setbacks in southern Idlib over the past few days as a result of direct Turkish support for the jihadi formations, including the loss of Saraqib, last week. However, it has not suffered the kind of defeats that Turkey’s claims of Syrian casualties might suggest. There have been see-saw battles in the Jabal Al-Zawiya region of southern Idlib, and Syrian troops have re-entered Saraqib, though they may not yet have re-secured the city. According to late reports, the Syrian army is actually on the verge of recovering all of the territory lost to the jihadis late last week.

COVID-19 in Ibero-America, but Threat of Biological Holocaust in Haiti Is a Crime against Humanity

March 2 (EIRNS)—Over the past 36 hours, there has been a slight growth in coronavirus cases in Ibero-America, almost all of them among individuals who had traveled to Italy.

Mexico now has five confirmed cases, the latest of which is in the southern state of Chiapas, bordering Guatemala; Brazil has two confirmed cases in São Paulo, both individuals who had traveled to Italy. The number of cases in Ecuador has jumped from one to six, since early Feb. 29. Other countries are monitoring suspected cases, but haven’t reported confirmed ones.

There is real concern about the Caribbean, however—a highly vulnerable region hammered in recent years by natural disasters, combined with advanced countries’ gross complacency against helping in reconstruction, that have devastated its health and other crucial infrastructure. Puerto Rico, slammed by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and then an earthquake last year, has yet to recover from the destruction of its electricity grid.

Three cases have been confirmed in Guadeloupe, a French overseas département. And, now that one case has been confirmed in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, separated only by a highly porous border, there is fear that an outbreak in Haiti is only a matter of time. Having never been reconstructed after the horrific 2010 Richter 7.0 earthquake, Haiti today continues to suffer from hideous levels of poverty and disease. Some 4.5 million Haitians, out of a total population of 11 million, are estimated to be near starvation. Were there to be an outbreak of novel coronavirus in Haiti, the result would be biological holocaust—with regional implications.

John Carroll, MD, who has worked in Port-au-Prince for almost 30 years, warned in his blog, “Haitian Hearts,” and published in Illinois’ Peoria Star Journal Feb. 27: “When coronavirus appears on Haiti’s shores, how will community mitigation efforts be accomplished? In other words, how will one contain this infection in the crowded slums of Haiti? … [W]ho will stop the people from moving in and out of the slum? The answer is that coronavirus will not be contained and will spread with a fury in Haiti. It won’t be stopped or slowed. The incubation period for the virus is not accurately known and asymptomatic people harboring the virus will unknowingly spread the virus. … Cholera, chikungunya, and zika went ripping through the Haitian population during the past decade and now so will coronavirus.” China built hospitals in 10 days, Carroll observed. In Haiti, in the decade since the 2010 earthquake, “Haiti has not rebuilt the decrepit and damaged General Hospital.”

Turkey Weaponizes Syrian Refugees To Blackmail EU

March 2 (EIRNS)—Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has opened the gates for a million refugees to leave so Europe will “share this burden” of the refugees. Whereas it is true that the European Union has not kept its promises, Turkey’s is a move to get military and political support for its operations inside Syria. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu openly claimed that 100,000 refugees have crossed the borders.

Greece had completely closed its border with Turkey, but refugees are also arriving by sea. At least 600 people had arrived on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, and Samos not far from the Turkish coast, within a few hours in the morning of March 1, Greek police said. Greece conducted a 24-hour military exercise along its border with Turkey on today, with live ammunition. Greece’s Fourth Army Corps, which is responsible for the defenses of northeast Greece and the Aegean, announced that the exercise is taking take place at Kipoi and Kastanies areas, which are directly on the border with Turkey, near the main international crossing points. Officials warned citizens to stay away from the area as the military will use machine guns, rifles and pistols with live ammunition during the military exercise. Greece has also fortified the border to prevent refugees from entering the country.

“The present situation is an active, serious, severe and asymmetrical threat to the national security of the country,” Athens government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters. “These … people are being used by Turkey as pawns to exert diplomatic pressure.” The EU called for emergency meetings of migration and foreign ministers to decide next steps, while the EU border agency Frontex said it was in talks with Greece to help it guard the bloc’s external frontier.

ECONOMY

Global Institutions Buy Stocks, Make Promises Monday

March 2 (EIRNS)—The Bank of Japan, IMF and World Bank threw themselves into the breach on Monday and reversed stock markets’ plunging. The Bank of Japan acted first, buying huge volumes of what are called exchange-traded funds to get the stock markets in Asia to go up. That then translated into European markets, where the European Central Bank was doing the same thing; and into Wall Street. U.S. Treasury interest rates, however, continued their fall to daily record low levels.

Shortly thereafter the IMF and World Bank came out with offers of “emergency financing” to countries hit by the COVID-19. The joint statement by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass said, ““We are engaged actively with international institutions and country authorities, with special attention to poor countries where health systems are the weakest and people are most vulnerable. We will use our available instruments to the fullest extent possible, including emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance.”

It must be remembered, however, that IMF loans are never forgiven or written down in any way under any circumstances, as Argentina has just been told again. If poor nations issue what might be called “coronabonds” to the IMF, conditionalities can be attached. The major nations being urged to an emergency summit by Helga Zepp-LaRouche could themselves provide concessionary lending or direct healthcare assistance needed by developing countries to combat the epidemic.

THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER

Mahathir Replaced as Malaysia’s Head of Government, for Now

March 2 (EIRNS)—The chaotic political crisis in Malaysia over the past week has been resolved, at least for now, as a new Prime Minister was sworn in on March 1, Muhyiddin Yassin, replacing Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. Mahathir had resigned the previous week, essentially in order to be able to renege on his pledge to turn the position over to Anwar Ibrahim, actually his sworn enemy, but with whom he had formed a coalition in order to campaign (successfully) against the corrupt former Prime Minister Najid Razak. In the process, Mahathir had agreed to serve for a few years, then turn the leadership over to Anwar. By resigning, he prevented that outcome, which would have been a disaster for the country and the world.

However, neither Mahathir nor Anwar could muster a majority of the 222 members of Parliament. After much infighting, one of Mahathir’s collaborators, Muhyiddin Yassin, put himself forward as a candidate and was quickly appointed by the King, on March 1, claiming that Muhyiddin had majority backing. Mahathir, however, questions that, and claims that, in fact, he has a majority in the Parliament, and would call a vote of confidence when the Parliament reconvenes on March 9.

Muhyiddin was the Deputy Prime Minister in the corrupt Najib Razak government, but was fired when he objected to the corruption, and joined Mahathir in forming the new coalition with Anwar.

Mahathir also made clear that he would not support Anwar in any effort to become Prime Minister. On Feb. 29, he said that he had “received information from my political secretary that Anwar was apparently going to demand that I appoint him as deputy prime minister. So of course we got angry.” He said that Anwar had been “obsessed” with becoming Prime Minister. “In the past, he had a lot of support. But now, people support me,” Mahathir said.

Mahathir’s historic nationalist leadership in transforming Malaysia into a rising industrial nation, cooperating with China, and standing up to the IMF and Western financial oligarchy, is still very important to his country and the world, whether he regains the prime minister post or not.

International Narcotics Control Board Confronting Legalization

March 2 (EIRNS)—The International Narcotics Control Board has released their annual report for 2019, and they find themselves confronting a new problem: drug legalization.  Headquartered in Vienna, the board, an “independent, quasi-judicial expert” body established to monitor the enforcement of United Nations drug policies, traces its history back to the League of Nations.

Each year, the report highlights a topic for special consideration, the 2019 topic being “Improving Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Services for Young People.” While the 146-page report covers the entirety of the illegal drug spectrum, the crisis of legalization can be seen in that, after the featured topic, “cannabis” is topic number two.

“The board notes with concern the legalization of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes in several jurisdictions and that other jurisdictions are considering taking similar action,” the report says, reiterating that UN conventions, from 1961, 1971 and 1988, all “limit the use of all controlled substances to medical and scientific purposes.” The spreading of legalization efforts worldwide “undermin[es] the universal adherence” to the three international drug control conventions, which were again reaffirmed at the 2016 and 2019 UN General Assemblies.

Under the topic of “Recommendations,” the board “calls upon governments which have legalized the drug, all or in part, “to take steps to bring the entirety of their territories back into compliance with international conventions.”

The INCB has been battling the Dope, Inc. legalization forces since 2003, when the British Empire government of Tony Blair, in its first move toward legalization, “reclassified” cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug—still illegal, but reduced jail time—based on “science.”

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

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