LPAC NAWAPA Conferences Spur Campaign for Real Recovery
by Nancy Spannaus
Dec. 16Two high-powered conferences on the prospects and implications of the immediate implementation of the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) project, sponsored by LaRouchePAC on Dec. 4, point to the immediate potential for a successful, expanded organizing drive for the crucial great project. The optimism which LPAC has generated among engineers with the expertise to implement the biggest biosphere-engineering project ever, has sparked a dynamic that is desperately needed by the demoralized U.S. population.
The two conferences occurred in Pasadena, Calif., and the Tri-Cities area of Washington State. Keynoted by members of the LPAC scientific team, called the Basement Team, they both dealt with the physical challenges and benefits of the ``water project,'' and the fundamental scientific shift of outlook which embarking on it requires. The keynote presentations were followed by panels of experts who have been involved in in-depth discussions with the LPAC team over the past three months, and then, lively interchanges with the audience as well.
The experts who spoke came from a variety of specialties, ranging from hydrology, to geology, to agriculture and biosystems management, nuclear power, and construction management. They made it totally clear that the NAWAPA project was feasible now, if the American people would go back to the American System-Franklin Roosevelt approach to economy....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)A new study by Professors Mark R. Rank and James Herbert Williams says that "nearly half [47.4%] of all elderly Americans [60-90 years old] will encounter at least 1 year of poverty or near-poverty across these ages. In addition, 58% of those between the ages of 60 and 84 will at some point fail to have enough liquid assets to allow them to weather an unanticipated expense or downturn in income."
The study shows that the proportion of poverty among non-white seniors would be nearly double that of whites, with widows and less-educated people also having higher rates than the average.
These estimates are posited for the current economic situation; thus the conditions to be experienced by the elderly in a potentially catastrophic collapse would be genocidal in scope.
The professors state that a "remarkable reduction in poverty and economic insecurity has been due largely to the increasing generosity of Social Security, as well as to the introduction of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 1965."
But longer life-spans and increasing numbers of older Americans from the Baby Boom, together with decreased savings among the aged compared with earlier generations, point to a disaster for these elderly people.
The study is a clear retort to demands for savage cutbacks in Social Security and medical care.
Mark R. Rank is a professor of social work at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. James Herbert Williams is dean and professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver. The study, "A Life Course Approach To Understanding Poverty Among Older American Adults," was published in the October-December issue of Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)Bucking the trend, one element is moving into the former industrial City of Detroit: the undead. The ghouls have unburied earlier urban terrorists' goals of literally turning out the lights in whole sections of the city, and relegating them to Dark Age conditions with no police patrols, no garbage collection, no road repair, no street lights.
Detroit "planning" officials are set to turn more than 20% of the city's 139 square miles into wastelands, if they can get away with it.
Whether they know it or not, they are resuscitating the "red lining" "planned shrinkage" proposals put forward for New York City in the 1970s and '80s, in coherence with Felix Rohatyn's Big MAC bankers' dictatorship. The New York Times' Roger Starr wrote at that time that by having their services in sections of the city eliminated, resident-victims could be "encouraged" to move. Detroit is going one step beyond, insisting that people leave, with the option of moving into unoccupied housing in areas of the city said to be salvageable.
Karla Henderson, a city "planning" official, said in a Wall Street Journal interview last week that her staff had deemed just seven to nine sections of Detroit worthy of receiving the city's full resources, but she declined to identify them.
The city plans to present its findings in meetings this Winter and Spring, culminating in June with at least three Hobson's choices for targeted areas, and pulling services from thinly populated neighborhoods. The city estimates it has about 60,000 parcels of surplus land.
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)In addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars funnelled to foreign banks directly through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), foreign and U.S. mega-banks also soaked up Fed "paper" through the use of "conduits": corporate intermediaries which make up the world of "shadow banking." According to a Dec. 13 article in Bloomberg, Fed records show that four companiesHudson Castle, BSN Holdings, Liberty Hampshire Co. and Northcrossreceived Fed paper and passed it along to at least 12 "banks and other companies," naming the British bank Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland among the secondary recipients. U.S. institutions named include CitiGroup, Bank of America, and General Electric's "finance unit."
Created in October 2008 and closed in February 2010, the Fed's Commercial Paper Funding Facility CPFF tried to resuscitate the bubble by injecting over $700 billion directly into the jugular of the financial system, at a time when nothing was moving. Corporate paper is sold by banks, to banks (or other prime lenders) with a maturity short enough (less than 270 days) that it doesn't have to be registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, providing for a quicker, quieter transaction. As one banker told Bloomberg, "If securitization was shadow banking, this was in the shadow of the shadow ... even further down the line."
Global Economic News
Dec. 14 (EIRNS) The Bangkok Post reported today that Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, returning from a High-Speed Rail Conference in China, said that the government hoped to complete the Thai section of the Asian railway in just four years. A broad agreement was reached, that China would build a new railway from the northeastern province of Nong Khai (on the Laos border in the north) to Bangkok, connecting with the rail system through Laos to Kunming in Yunnan Province, which the Chinese have just agreed to build.
Suthep went to China recently to discuss the details and seek an extension of the route from Bangkok to Padang Besar on the Malaysia border in the south (and hopefully connecting to a new high-speed connection through Malaysia to Singapore, although this is not yet settled).
The Chinese agreement will include new public transport facilities in Thailand, and China's assistance with the development of areas linked to it. Thailand wants a loan agreement from China similar to that given to Laos for the construction of its part of the Asian railway. China asked for the Thai parliament to quickly approve the details of the project, so that a memorandum of understanding could be signed between March and April next year, and construction begin before the end of 2011.
Suthep also met with Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, who supervises the railway project in Laos, discussing a location for a new bridge across the Mekong, so that Laos could proceed with its part of the project.
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)Daniel Hannan, a Conservative Member of the European Parliament since 1999 and a "euroskeptic," wrote in the London Daily Telegraph on Dec. 12 regarding the Irish IMF/EU deal: "This isn't about rescuing Ireland; it's about rescuing the euro. On any objective interpretation, Ireland has been ruined by the single currency. The ECB's policy of ultra-low interest rates forced Ireland to pursue a catastrophically pro-cyclical monetary policy, with real interest rates of minus one per cent between 1998 and 2007. The subsequent crash was utterly predictable and widely predicted.
"The EU then forced Dublin into a bail-out which, while calamitous for Ireland, was thought to be necessary to save the European banking system. As John Redwood (a Conservative MP) points out, it was the EU's insistence that a bail-out was necessary which forced Ireland to borrow ten-year money from 6 to 9 per cent. To make sure that Dublin caved in, the ECB then threatened to withdraw liquidity from Irish banks. Ireland has now been forced to accept the package on ruinous terms. Its repayment obligations, combined with the inability to devalue, will condemn its people to a generation of deflation, debt and emigration."
Hannan says the UK involvement is an "ugly shakedown, in which Irish taxpayers are being made to carry the cost of propping up European banks."
Dec. 14 (EIRNS)Will the German Bundesbank will switch back from the euro to the deutschemark? There are more and more hints that something like that is up, and it cannot be ruled out that it will happen even in the next few days, as the euro system keeps winding down.
Short News, a website run by the weekly magazine Stern, leaks that there is a secret plan called "Full Circle" (Vollkreis), which involves a virtually overnight switch from the euro to the d-mark. And the Swiss website 20 Minutes runs an article including an assessment by euroskeptic Werner Eichelburg, that going from the euro to the d-mark would require only one week. Also, Udo Ulfkotte, an author with murky connections to German foreign intelligence, has a story on an "emergency plan" which he claims exists at the level of the government and central bank of Germany, to have an abrupt banking holiday and other measures, including military protection of the banks against a panic run, in case of a sudden collapse of the euro.
United States News Digest
Dec. 18 (EIRNS)In a move totally in line with the Obama Administration's commitment to Nazi health policyin which only those considered to have lives "worthy to be lived" get health care, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took the first steps Dec. 16 toward revoking approval of the drug Avastin for use in women with advanced stages of breast cancer.
Avastin's manufacturer, Roche, has announced that it will appeal the decision within the allotted next 15 days. The drug bevacizumab, patented as Avastin by Genentech (owned by Roche, based in Switzerland), acts to deter angiogenesis, which is the body's formation of blood vessels serving cancerous masses. The idea is to kill off the tumor's blood support system. It is used against cancer in the colon, lung, kidney, and brain. In 2008, on a fast-track decision, the FDA gave Avastin its recommendation for breast cancer treatment as well. A reported 17,500 women are currently using the drug.
However, on July 20, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, one of 49 specialty advice committees of the FDA, voted 12 to 1 to recommend that the FDA revoke its official "indication," that advanced breast cancer victims will benefit from bevacizumab. The Committee said, according to mepagetoday.com, that Avastin, "when added to standard chemotherapy, does not extend progression-free survival long enough to be clinically meaningful in HER-2 negative, metastatic breast cancer...."
What they mean by not "long enough," is that patients treated with this drug regimenaccording to the studies to datewill live from 1 to 11 months longer than if they didn't get the treatment. So, 30 to 330 days of life is considered not clinically meaningful. The FDA decision will be used by the HMOs and Medicare/Medicaid to deny reimbursement for use of the drug. Costs run at approximately $8,000 a monthand clearly the Nazi accountants don't think a woman's life is worth it.
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)There is tumult on the House Ethics Committee, as the staff director and chief counsel, who had fired the two chief investigators of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), himself resigned from his committee.
With that, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) a former state Supreme Court judge, who had strongly defended New York Democrat Charles Rangel's right to an attorney for his appearance before the House, who had tried to stop the kangaroo court on Nov. 15, and who fought against censuring Rangel, called for "a complete reconstitution of the committee from top to bottom," Butterfield told The Hill, in order to restore confidence in the committee."
Lyndon LaRouche supported Butterfield's call for purging the committee "with enthusiasm."
Dec. 14A report out today, "Ready or Not 2010," documents the eroding readiness of states and localities to deal with public health problemsdiseases, sanitation, bio-terrorism, etc.to the degree described at a media briefing, as "an emergency for emergency preparedness."
Of 2,700 county and local public health departments surveyed, 73% have lost staff between June and December 2009 (and even more since). Given that the median staffing is 18 persons per department, there is no slack with which to continue essential functions. Therefore, "continued Federal, state and county funding cuts constitute an emergency for emergency preparedness," said Jeff Levi, Executive Director for the Trust for America's Health, which issued today's report and held the briefing, at which spokesmen for two associations of public health workers gave specifics.
Robert Pestronk, Executive Director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), said that there are far too few "boots-on-the-ground" to monitor disease outbreaks, conduct immunization, etc. Besides the fact that, since 2008, local departments have cut staff by 15%, there is also a wave of mandatory furloughs, unpaid workload, and similar measures for those still on payroll. In 2009, 13,000 members of the total public health cadre were affected this way.
During Obama's time in office, there has been a reduction of 13% in immunization capacity, 9% in detection and analysis of disease threats, and 7% in emergency preparedness, on the state and local level.
Two additional features make the situation even worse. First, local public health programs and staff, though decreasing, have been propped up over the past year by one-time-only Federal funds, now expiringthe "Recovery" Act and the H1N1 influenza response monies.
Secondly, today's cuts come on top of several years of decline. Since 2005, there has been a drop of 27% in Federal funding to state and local health services, when adjusted for inflation. These and other data were given by James S. Blumenstock, for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. There are "tens of thousands fewer jobs" today in this area, compared with 25 years ago. Moreover, "one-third of the public health workforce is eligible to retire in five years."
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)Over 72 million Americans (almost half the wage-earning population) make less than $25,000 per year, according to an analysis put out by the website mybudget360. Median household income in the U.S. is just above $50,000but that's with two wage-earners; 34 million Americans earn an average of $25,001 to $45,000 per year; and 33 million earn between $45,001 and $99,999. The lowest-paid 24 million Americans (6%) earned an average of $2,061, but that figure doesn't include those who made no money at all. Less than 7% of Americans make over $100,000, and less than 3% earn over $200,000.
Using Social Security wage data, which is much more refined in the upper income region than Census data, "My Budget 360" showed that the combined annual wages of the top 1% of the population ($790 billion) was more than that of the bottom 48% of the entire nation ($750 billion)! In a graph of wage distribution, which used to have a "bell" shape, with the majority in the middle income range, it is now more of a logarithmic decay shape, with the majority in the lowest income bracket, and tapering off as income increases.
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)City officials do not dispute that Los Angeles is the Homeless Capital of America. By one recent count, it has some 48,000 homeless people, including 6,000 veterans, out of its population of 3.8 million.
A New York Times piece today notes that in Los Angeles, the number of homeless people is growing faster than across the nation. A task force created by the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles has stepped in with a plan, called Home for Good, to end homelessness there in five years. The idea is to, among other things, build housing for 12,000 of the chronically unemployed, and to provide food, maintenance, and other services at a cost of $235 million a year.
Yet in a time of what the Times calls "severe budget retrenchment," the five-year goal seems "daunting." "Even though the drafters of the plan say that no new money will be needed to finance it, Los Angeles is already spending more than $235 million a year on hospital, overnight housing, and police costs dealing with the homeless," and "government financing of all social services has come under assault."
Ibero-American News Digest
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)-Special UN Envoy to Haiti, former President Bill Clinton, weighed in against Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) call for cutting off U.S. aid to Haiti because of the results of the Nov. 28 Presidential election. (Opposition leaders in Haiti have charged fraud.) On Dec. 14, Clinton co-chaired a meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), which is supposed to channel aid to the country, then spent the next day in Haiti, meeting privately with government officials, and visiting a cholera clinic.
Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten stated this week that the Haitian government had to take Leahy's call "seriously," because the United States is getting "frustrated" with Haiti.
Said Bill Clinton: "Legitimate questions were raised about how the vote happened ... [but] it would be a mistake to stop the reconstruction.... In my opinion, nothing has yet happened which justifies that."
The Recovery Commission meeting was reportedly a brawl over the slowalmost non-existentapproval of aid, lack of consultation with the Haitian members of the commission, and approval of projects which the Haitian members charged "do not advance the reconstruction of Haiti and long-term development."
In reality, there is no commitment to short- or long-term reconstruction of Haiti. The Commission's stated goal is to clear only 40% of the earthquake rubble by October 2011, nearly two years later, because it is being done by hand as a "cash for work" program. Meanwhile, the cholera epidemic, a result of the lack of clean water, sanitation, food, and housing, has officially killed over 2,400 people; in reality, many uncounted more.
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)Argentina's Justice Minister Julio Alak has set up a special unit to investigate the economic crimes carried out by the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983.
In remarks reported by Veintitrés magazine Dec. 2, Alak explained that the dictatorship's goal was to establish a specific economic model of "free enterprise," intent on smashing the role of the state in the economy. To achieve this, Alak noted, the junta had to "discipline" the population through the use of terror.
Under the regime of Finance Minister José Martínez De Hoz, a wholly owned asset of City of London financial interests, the junta appropriated 604 companies, by threatening, jailing, kidnapping, and torturing businessmen hostile to the government. Assets were seized, agricultural lands confiscated, and companies driven into bankruptcy or taken over by the junta's civilian partners.
Today, Martínez de Hoz remains under house arrest, charged with the November 1976 kidnapping and extortion of businessmen Federico and Miguél Gutheim, who were forced to sign an export contract with China before they were released six months later. The contract was considered to be in the interest of the Finance Ministry.
One of the more notorious cases of appropriation was that of the Papel Prensa newsprint company, owned by the Graiver family, whose assets were seized after David Graiver was killed, and his wife jailed and terrorized. Papel Prensa was then "sold" to the Clarín, La Nación, and La Razón monopolies, which sympathized with the junta. Current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has recently challenged the legality of that 1976 sale.
Western European News Digest
Dec. 14 (EIRNS) The Italian government won a no-confidence vote yesterday, despite the fact that the opposition, plus former ally Gianfranco Fini, had a majority on paper. While Parliament was voting, Black Bloc radicals were staging guerrilla warfare with police in the middle of Rome. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's defeat had been a subject of political and financial speculation, with Financial Stability Board (FSB) head Mario Draghi ready to take over as head of a bankers' government, and financial vultures ready for a run on Italy's sovereign debt. Draghi is part of what is called the Britannia faction, referring to pro-British politicians.
The decisive vote took place in the Chamber of Deputies, where Fini and the opposition were supposed to have the majority. However, despite the fact that three Deputies in advanced pregnancy were brought in to ensure success of the no-confidence vote, the opposition lost with 311-314, thanks also to the "surprise" defection of Catia Polidori, a long-time ally of Fini. Polidori motivated her vote with the necessity of maintaining political stability in the context of global financial uncertainty. Her statement caused an outraged reaction from the Fini camp, almost leading to a fist fight.
Dec. 17 (EIRNS) European Member of Parliament Mario Borghezio asked on the floor of the parliament on Dec. 15, "Why is there no discussion on adopting measures to effectively separate commercial banks from speculative banks, as in the Glass-Steagall Act?" Borghezio also called for investigating the "secret club of nine banksone of them being a European bank, Deutsche Bankmeeting every Wednesday to conspire on derivatives," and summarized his previous written interrogatory to the EU Commission on the U.S. Federal Reserve bailout of Inter-Alpha banks.
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, made the very unusual move, today, of calling for convening the Council of State, to examine the constitutionality of the Credit Institutions Stability Bill. That CISB was rushed through the Dail (parliament) on Dec. 15, along with the rubber-stamping of the IMF/EU Memorandum of Understanding, even though the entire opposition voted against the bills. The CISB is, essentially, the implementation side of the bailout for the Irish banks.
The Council of State, which will meet on Dec. 21, is an official body made up of leading serving and former senior office holders. After discussing the Council's advice, the President will decide whether she will sign the bill, or refer it to the Supreme Court. The constitutionality of the bill and the memorandum of understanding itself were both challenged by all opposition parties in the Dail.
Dec. 17 (EIRNS)The Organization for Economic and Cooperation Development (OECD) today issued a report on youth unemployment, showing rates for youth (15-24) double that of the average for all workers. Youth unemployment in the OECD area jumped from 13.5% in 2007 to 18.4% in 2009, and reached 19.6% in the second quarter of 2010. The OECD, which begins its report by claiming that "the global economy is recovering," projects that youth unemployment will remain at around 18% in 2011, and 17% in 2012.
The report breaks down the statistics by country, with one dramatic figure being that for Spain, where a full 42% of the youth (age 15-24) are officially unemployed. There are at least 16 million youth in the OECD area who are classified as "NEET"neither in employment, education or training.
Dec. 14 (EIRNS) While the European Central Bank (ECB) is reported to be seeking new capital from its shareholders (i.e., the governments of European nations) to deal with the increasing pile of junk in its vaults, the FT Alphaville blog questioned the solvency of the Bank Chairman Jean-Claude Trichet's institution. Tracy Alloway wrote in Alphaville that the ECB has EU5.8 billion in capital, but holds EU60 billion in covered bonds, EU70 billion in government bonds, and a whopping EU130 billion in "potential problem assets" such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Alloway speculates that a 1% interest rate hike could create unavoidable losses, which would wipe out the ECB's capital.
Dec. 15 (EIRNS) In the seventh general strike this year, at least 70,000 Greek workers and their supporters took to the streets today, while the simultaneous general strike has all but shut down the country. Protests, strikes, and mobilizations against the government's changes to labor relations, and in the public utilities and organizations, legislation which passed the parliament this morning, have been led by the country's two largest umbrella labor federations, GSEE and ADEDY, representing the private and public sectors, respectively. Up to 50,000 demonstrators gathered in Athens' Constitution Square; another 20,000 demonstrated in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city.
Dec. 14 (EIRNS)Attacking the Irish government once again for its brutal austerity package, the opposition Sinn Féin party yesterday cited statistics from an IMF survey, showing that private individuals residing in Ireland have no less than EU1.25 trillion invested in overseas securitiesbut nobody in the government is talking about it. EU659.2 billion of this is held in bonds. The level of overseas securities has doubled since 2003.
Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesman Martin Ferris said: "These figures prove that while the government is justifying attacking the very lowest-paid in our economy, that a small number of people and institutions not only control a vast amount of wealth, but that most of that wealth is being invested abroad."
Dec. 12 (EIRNS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met today in Germany. At a joint press conference afterwards, Singh said: "On the bilateral side, we deeply value Germany's consistent support, including in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for the opening of international commerce for India in the field of civil nuclear energy. We have discussed the possibilities of entering into bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy."
India and Germany will scale up their cooperation in areas such as high technology, nuclear power, skill development, and infrastructure, both leaders announced. "If Germany further liberalizes its technology trade policy, its companies will tremendously benefit from the vast market in India," Singh said.
Merkel accepted an invitation from Singh to visit India sometime in 2011. The two leaders will support each other's efforts to become permanent members of the UN Security Council, and for other UN reforms.
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)Russian President Dmitri Medvedev arrives in India late Dec. 20 for the 11th Indo-Russian Annual Summit, starting the next day. The two nations, long-term strategic partners, will sign agreements on defense, civilian nuclear cooperation, and space and other economic cooperation, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Vishnu Prakash said yesterday. Medvedev will visit New Delhi, and go to Agra and Mumbai, the financial capital, Dec. 22.
Economic relations are the weak side of India-Russian ties. Joint trade is at the level of only $10 billion this year, although that is an almost 10-fold increase from a decade ago. India wants to sharply increase its oil and gas imports from Russia and participate in Russian hydrocarbon projects, and is also looking to invest in Russian enterprises Moscow is privatizing. Over 100 Russian entrepreneurs will be in New Delhi tomorrow, for discussions at the India-Russia CEOs' Council.
Medvedev will be bringing his "modernization" policy with him, Press Trust of India reported today. The Russian President sees a "great potential for expanding the innovation aspect in bilateral cooperation with India," and wants a modernization partnership in energy efficiency, nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, and IT.
Whatever the idiocy of some of Medvedev's "modernization" policies, the nuclear energy aspect is real. In an interview with the Deccan Herald published today, Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin described current and future projects: "Russia's Atomstroyexport is building two 1,000 MW power units at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, with the first one to start production this month or in January. The proposals for the construction of the third and fourth power units are being discussed.... The Indian side has positively responded to our proposal for the serial construction of new nuclear power units, so that in the next 15-20 years their number will reach 14-16.... We are determined to help the Indian government increase overall nuclear power generation capacity to 20 GW in 2020."
MEA spokesman Prakash said that Indian companies are ready to take part in the Russian privatization program for 2011-13. "Indian businesses show great interest in the privatization program which could be evaluated at $32 billion," Prakash told the press. "The governments of the two countries are already working under the cooperation program in the sphere of hydrocarbons. Russia and India have mutual goals as India is interested in stable supplies of oil and gas and Russia in having a guaranteed buyer," he said. The privatizations will include sale of shares in state-owned enterprises, ranging from 5% to just under 50% in most cases. These include shares in oil major Rosneft, RusHydro hydropower generator, the Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System, Sberbank and VTB Bank, Russian Railways, and agricultural and other firms.
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have "synchronized their [nations'] policies on the Korean crisis," during a telephone discussion between the two ministers yesterday evening. They "urged the parties [involved] to show restraint and solve all controversial issues by peaceful means," RIA Novosti cited the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Yang was speaking from Pakistan, where he was accompanying Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
"China stands for dialogue and consultations between the parties to resolve their differences and disputes by peaceful means. China is willing to work with Russia to continue to maintain close interaction and coordination, the ability to avoid deterioration of the situation out of control, and effectively protect peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. Yang warned that the current situation on the peninsula was very tense and could deteriorate even further.
Lavrov responded that Russia accords high importance to the situation, and has expressed its great concern. Moscow is calling for utmost calm and restraint, Xinhua reported today. Russia is willing to work with China to make active efforts to reduce the tension on the peninsula, he said. Both China and Russia haveor had until recentlysizeable (although illegal) populations of North Koreans in their border areas, and would both be affected if the situation in North Korea deteriorated sharply.
On Dec. 13, Lavrov had called for resumption of the Six-Party talks on Korean issues, after he held talks with visiting North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun in Moscow. Pak made an unusual three-day visit to Russia Dec. 12-15. Lavrov had invited Pak to discuss plans for Foreign Ministry exchanges in 2011-12, as well as potential economic cooperation, Xinhua reported yesterday.
While expressing Russia's "deep concern" about North Korea's nuclear program, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the talks also said that, "Considerable attention was paid to prospects for resuming talks on ways of resolving the Korean peninsula's nuclear issue. The Russian side pointed to the need to create conditions for the relaunch of the Six Party talks, on the basis of strict compliance with commitments" made in the six nations' September 2005 statement. The six nations are North and South Korea, China, Russia, the United States, and Japan.
On Dec. 15, South Korea's envoy to the Six-Party talks Wi Sung Lac also visited Moscow for discussions.
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)The involvement of so many young people in the recent violent public disorders in Moscow is an "alarming signal," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in a Dec. 16 interview. "This is an alarming signal, but it would be wrong to speak of them as a lost generation," Putin said an interview with the News on Saturday weekly news review on Russia's First Channel television, aired Dec. 18.
Moscow police arrested some 1,300 people yesterday, including 500 who were staging an extreme nationalist demonstration, in order to prevent further disturbances. One week earlier, on Dec. 11, thousands had rioted and fought with the police near the Kremlin. Tensions are being attributed to ethnic conflicts and right-wing nationalism. But most notable, is that, of the extreme nationalists arrested, most were minors, as city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov told the press.
When Putin was asked about the number of teenagers taking part in extremist rallies, he responded that this is a "disturbing sign." "When young people find themselves in an extreme situation where they have to make a choice that may even concern their own lives, but as they do so, they also have to make a decision in the interests of the country; as a rule, people take risks and even are ready to give their lives for their country. And we could see that many times during the sad and tragic events in the Caucasus," Putin said, Itar-Tass reported. "So I do not think that this is a lost generation, but they need to be worked with. And it is necessary to ensure that they can always find a way to realize themselves."
Lyndon LaRouche has frequently spoken of the new violence affecting the 16-25 generation, leading, in extreme cases, to both killings and suicide. This is a key problem for the future, he noted.
Dec. 18 (EIRNS)Britain's Daily Telegraph reports on a Turkish-led deal, according to which, Iran could ship about 1,000 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium, as well as its entire 30-kg stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, out of the country. In return, France and Russia would supply ready-made fuel rods for the medical isotope reactor for which Iran says it has been enriching uranium to 20%.
"We think the deal is doable," an official involved in the negotiations said, "but there's still a lot of detail to be worked through." Turkish and Iranian negotiators, diplomatic sources say, have met several times to discuss the contours of the deal, which they hope to bring to the table next month at a meeting with an international consortium called the P5+1the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. France, Russia, and the United States have also been involved in the negotiations, which began after a meeting between Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu, and Iranian officials in Bahrain earlier this month.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that representatives of the U.S., the U.K., and France met on Dec. 14, and are contemplating new U.S. and EU sanctions, to be announced prior to the next scheduled, January P5+1-Iran negotiating session in Istanbul. The Journal story had scant sources, and must be viewed with some suspicion. While media accounts, including the Daily Telegraph story of today, attempted to characterize the first P5+1 meeting last month as a flop, U.S. intelligence sources indicated that a concrete, updated proposal was put on the table, and it was considered important that Iran agreed to a specific time and venue for followup talks. No one expected an answer from Iran on the updated proposals at the initial meeting. The sources emphasized that the Iranians clearly want the talks to continue. The question is whether they are willing to make a deal.
The situation is now further complicated by the recent eruption of factional warfare between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the grouping around Parliament chairman Ari Larijani and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, which threatens to explode further. According to the U.S. intelligence source, it cannot be ruled out that Ahmadinejad and the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard) faction now running the country do make a deal with the P5+1, and try to use it to consolidate their power play, which essentially overthrows the Constitution and replaces the "Islamic Republic" with a junta. How the clerics in Qom, and even Supreme Leader Khamenei himself, will respond to the unconstitutional move of firing Mottaki is yet to be seen.
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)Since at least Dec. 10, Tony Blair, the British Empire criminal who got us into the illegal Iraq War, has been in the U.S., continuing to screw up U.S. policy in Southwest Asia and the Muslim world, and trying to build up for a war against Iran. On Dec. 10, Blair attended the Israel-Palestine forum at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution, where he met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who gave the keynote address on a program that included Labor Party Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Blair was interviewed by CNN's Larry King on Dec. 10, and on Dec. 16, gave a keynote speech on "good governance" in Africa at the Center for Global Development in Washington.
Lyndon LaRouche commented, "Tony Blair's in the U.S.? Fumigate the nation! He got us into an illegal war in Iraq!" LaRouche also pointed to the latest evidence in the case of the murder of Iraq War intelligence specialist, Dr. David Kelly, a critic of Blair's "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq that led to the war. New medical reports obliterate the official British government lie that Kelley committed suicide.
Just before his arrival in the U.S., Blair's "Faith Foundation" announced on Dec. 2 that it had chosen the first American university associatehonoring Wheaton College in Illinois, the notorious "Armageddon U," that has nourished the growth of the warmongering doctrine of "Christian Zionism" since the 1980s. Alumni of Wheaton College include evangelist Billy Graham, and Bush fundamentalist speechwriter Michael Gerson, who claimed credit for the infamous "Axis of Evil" State of the Union address in 2002. Gerson specialized in seeding Bush's speeches with Biblical references that spoke in "coded language" among the Christian Zionist fanatics in the Bush-Cheney constituency.
The role of Wheaton in promoting the Christian Zionist "End Times" doctrine is exposed in Clifford Kiracofe's 2009 book, "Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and U.S. Foreign Policy."
The Wheaton College/Tony Blair alliance indicates an urgent need to purge Blair from any role affecting international affairs. Blair's "Faith Foundation" is a British intelligence operation through and through, that ties Blair, the "Quartet envoy" to the extremist "settlers' movement" in Israel. Both the Jewish fundamentalist settlers, and the Wheaton College "Darbyites" (aka millenialism or dispensationalism) named for 19th-Century British cleric, John Nelson Darby, embrace the fanatical doctrine that the borders of national Israel must be those of the Old Testament. For the Darbyites, this would fulfill the prophesies of the Book of Revelations and usher in the Battle of Armageddon.
As EIR exposed in its 2000 Special Report: "Who's Sparking a Religious War in the Middle East," this hellish alliance is the obstacle to any peace agreement and the alliance which generated the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995 for being an enemy of the Jews.
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)Through a Netherlands-based operation known as the NIPAC, the Netherlands Israel Public Affairs Council, modelled on the U.S.-based AIPAC, the Netanyahu government is pushing a European faction to support war against Iran. On Dec. 15, Dutch Member of Parliament (MP) Wim Kortenoeven called for preventive war on Iran, the Dutch news service NOS reported.
"By attacking, we have to prevent our own destruction," said Kortenoeven, a member of the anti-Islam party led by Geert Wilders. He claims the war is necessary out of fear that the nation of Iran will acquire nuclear weapons. Kortenoeven has a seat in parliament for the Party for Freedom (PVV) which won 24 seats in the 150-seat second chamber of the legislative branch. The PVV is technically not part of the current government but, by its support, a minority cabinet could be installed by the liberals and Christian democrats. The warmonger is a publicist and a reporter specialized in the Arab Israeli conflict. He writes about Jewish history. He has worked for CIDI, the Centre for Information and Documentation in Israel.
Kortenoeven is currently the director of Dutch NIPAC, and has written op-eds on a website called Likud Nederland. According to published accounts, he has worked and lived on a kibbutz in Israel.
Dec. 20 (EIRNS)North Korea refused to respond according to their British profile, following the live-fire exercises today by the South Korea in the contested waters in the West Sea (Yellow Sea). The efforts by the Russians and the Chinese to persuade South Korea to delay or modify the exercises was sabotaged by the British, with British asset Susan Rice (U.S. Ambassador to the UN) as their spokesperson, when they refused to pass a UN resolution calling for war avoidance by both sides, insisting instead on a denunciation of North Korea as solely responsible for the crisis.
Nonetheless, with Russia and China in close contact with each other and with Pyongyang, and with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson personally meeting with top North Korean political and military leaders in Pyongyang (and broadcasting his reports worldwide through his travel companion Wolf Blitzer of CNN), the North Koreans chose to take the high road and reject "retaliation" in favor of cooperation.
The official North Korean message said in part: "The revolutionary armed forces of the D.P.R.K. did not feel any need to retaliate against every despicable military provocation, like one taking revenge after facing a blow.... The world should properly know who is the true champion of peace and who is the real provocateur of a war."
Richardson announced, before he left Pyongyang today, that North Korea had offered two additional dramatic initiativesthat they would accept the return of IAEA monitors (not inspectors) at the Yongbyon nuclear facility, to assure that the uranium enrichment does not produce weapon grade fuel; and that they would negotiate the sale and shipment of 12,000 spent fuel rods to a foreign buyer, perhaps South Korea. It is of note that these are the fuel rods which the world knew had been produced in North Korea's graphite reactor (before it was dismantled voluntarily by the North), which everyone pointed to in saying that North Korea had probably already made six or more bombs.
The North has also agreed to consider Richardson's proposal for a military commission among the United States, and North and South Korea, to monitor the contested waters in the West Sea, as well as a separate hotline for the Koreas' militaries, and offered to return the newly discovered remains of U.S. soldiers who were killed in the Korean War.
Richardson said on CNN that "I am encouraged. The outcome is a good one. We pushed the North Koreans not to react. Maybe we had a little impact. South Korea was able to flex a little muscle. Maybe this will open a new chapter in North-South relations, with negotiations for North Korea to end its nuclear capability, for South Korea to preserve its security, and for the U.S. to be able to act as an honest broker." He said he was convinced that North Korea will not retaliate, and that the next step should be formal talks.
Sources told EIR that Richardson, while travelling as a private citizen rather than as an official representative of the U.S. government, had coordinated his work with the National Security Council, and that Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were closely engaged in the process, such that efforts by the White House and Susan Rice to implement British policy were, thus far, spoiled.
Dec. 18 (EIRNS)Just as Lyndon LaRouche was warning that the British imperial Inter-Alpha Group faction was gunning for China The Economist came out with a 16-page special report on China's rise, proving LaRouche was right again. The special section in the Dec. 4 edition presented a typically precise profile of China's economic and military emergence as a clear Asian power, but posed the rise of China as a great power in purely geopolitical "Great Game" terms, and posited the idea that, while U.S.-China relations can progress, chances are very good that there will be a growing U.S. versus China confrontation in the near future. The author, Edward Carr, is the foreign editor of the Economist and was previously news editor of the Financial Times.
"Ever since Deng Xiaoping set about reforming the economy in 1978, China has talked peace," Carr writes. "Still militarily and economically too weak to challenge America, it has concentrated on getting richer. Even as China has grown in power and rebuilt its armed forces, the West and Japan have run up debts and sold it their technology. China has been patient, but the day when it can once again start to impose its will is drawing near."
The report proceeded from there to summarize China's rising military capability, posing it as a security threat to neighboring states, having already reached the point that China can deny the U.S. Navy access to crucial Asian sea lanes, and has developed advanced cyber and space war capabilities.
Carr ultimately got around to the North Korea case: "Nobody knows whether the North Korean regime will survive, nor what might come after Kim Jong Il and Kim Junior. But imagine for a moment that, on the death of the Dear Leader, North Korea descends into anarchy or lashes out, as it did in the island attack last month that killed South Korean servicemen and civilians. The ensuing crisis would severely test the capacity of China and America to live with each other.... Depressingly little thought has been given to these questions. As far as anybody knows, China is not willing even to discuss them with America, because it does not want to betray a lack of confidence in its eccentric ally in the North. Yet, if talking about Korea is awkward now, it will be even more fraught in the teeth of a crisis."
Lyndon LaRouche has repeatedly warned, since the sinking of the Cheonan early this year, that no competent understanding of the crisis in North Asia is possible, if the factor of British targeting of China, and British historical manipulation of Asian fault-lines is not the starting point. And the Economist, once again, has demonstrated that LaRouche's warnings are right on the mark.
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)If China and India are able to carry through the agreementsboth immediate and longer-term potentialreached during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to New Delhi in December, the benefit to both economies, and eventually the rest of the world, would be enormous. India has not yet been able to achieve the rate of infrastructure development which China has, and its transport and power sectors remain woefully inadequate for the needs of a 1.1 billion population. Actually building the projects is far slower than in China, and this is one reason Chinese investors find it difficult to participate in the Indian economy on a large scale, according to views in New Delhi.
Most immediately, the official and business delegations from both sides are signing cooperation deals worth at least $16 billion, as well as banking and financial agreements which will enhance trade. More broadly, in his speech to the Indian Council of World Affairs Dec. 16, Wen said he is particularly impressed with the way India handled the impact of the global financial crisis. "I congratulate you," he said. "As a fast-growing big country with over a billion people, India should and can play an increasingly important role in international affairs."
As the Business Standard, India's financial newspaper of record, stated today, Indian "officials and analysts pointed out that with the western world still mired in the throes of economic recession, the Chinese seemed to have decided that it was imperative to take a long-term view on India 'and push for an expansion in India's market.' Private Indian power companies, are all joining the queue to buy Chinese equipment, arguing that the competitive pricing, fairly decent quality, fast delivery and commissioning were unbeatable.... But what is fascinating is that even official Delhi seems to have bought into Beijing's determination to deliver the goods.... 'The Chinese have shown to us that socialism still lives, although through the capitalist route,' one Indian official commented wryly."
It is essential for China to open up on market access and measures to redress the heavy trade imbalance, and these issues were taken up in the discussions between Indian PM Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao. In their joint statement issued today, both sides agreed to establish a Strategic Economic Dialogue to enhance macro-economic policy coordination, and set a new bilateral trade target of $100 billionalmost doubling current trade levelsby 2015. They also agreed to promote Indian exports to China, including in the pharmaceuticals and IT sectors, where India has a strong advantage over China. India "welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest and participate in India's infrastructure development such as in roads, railways and in the manufacturing sector." An India-China CEO's forum has been set up.
Wen said in a speech to the Indian Council of World Affairs Dec. 16, that the border issuethe result of British imperial policy in India and Tibet during the 19th and 20th centuriesis an "historical legacy" which "will take a fairly long period of time" to solve.
However, he also said that China takes seriously India's concerns about trans-border rivers, which include questions of water flow and dam-building by the Chinese side. "I would like to assure our Indian friends that all the upstream development activities by China will be based on scientific planning and study and will never harm downstream interests," he said. Almost all of Asia's great rivers rise in the Tibetan plateau, but are also subject to big changes in water flow, including flooding, due to the monsoon rains on the Indian Subcontinent. Cooperation in developing these water flows could make a huge difference in power generation, irrigation, and water supply, and safety from floods, for the populations of China, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
On regional security, India called on China to help create a more secure environment in regard to Pakistan, and, for the first time, the two sides expressed in their communique their commitment to assisting Afghanistan to become a peaceful, stable, prosperous nation.
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)A post-election showdown crisis between the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, and an opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, has been whipped up in Ivory Coast by the Brutish empire, into a confrontation that has already led to a reported 20 or more deaths. The Nov. 28 election was set up in an attempt to resolve the division of the country between North and South, after a 2002 coup attempt by Ouattara led to civil war, which left the country partitioned, with Ouattara in control of the North. Gbagbo is charging there was vote fraud in the North, an area he doesn't control. The electoral commission did not turn in its vote totals within the requisite three-day time period because of lack of agreement of election officials over the results.
However, the UN maintains that Ouattara won, and is demanding that Gbagbo step down. Western nations are supporting the UN, and the African Union and the West African regional organization, ECOWAS, are following suit. The Washington Post, in an editorial Dec. 17, demanded the same, insisting that no negotiated settlement should be allowed. According to reports from the Ivory Coast, Ouattara, a former IMF official, has called for lowering wages and cutting back services.
Yesterday, President Gbagbo demanded that UN peacekeepers leave the country. He charged they were backing rebel fighters supporting Ouattara. Western news coverage of this manufactured crisis continues to back Ouattara, without reporting his role in three coup attempts. The demand to withdraw peacekeepers has been rejected by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. And International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo threatened Dec. 16 to prosecute "perpetrators" if there is bloodshed.
Ouattora's forces have called for demonstrations to seize the television station and government buildings. Gbagbo still controls them, along with the cocoa-exporting ports, making it possible for him, for now, to resist the drive to cut the government's access to funds. Former banker Ouattara is demanding that Gbagbo be denied access to Ivory Coast funds. The ICC has begun investigations on Gbagbo's wife, and one rebel from the territory controlled by Ouattara, apparently so as to appear impartial.
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the Brutish Empire's privately created International Criminal Court, today launched an assault on Kenyan sovereignty. He issued summons (which will automatically become warrants, if those charged do not appear when called) for six leading political figures in Kenya. He charged that they were had organized violence after the December 2007 Kenyan Presidential election, and thus were responsible for "crimes against humanity."
Moreno-Ocampo made clear that this is a political witchhunt: "This isn't about militias. It's about politicians and political parties. It's about investigating leadership." This is the first time the ICC has been so nakedly political. Previous operations have focussed on militias and war zones as pretexts for interfering.
He brought two separate cases, with three defendants each, from two opposing ethnic groups, which will perpetuate the ethnic divides that were strengthened and used by the British to rule Kenya during the colonial era. This approach will prevent the situation in Kenya from moving beyond the colonial roots left by the British.
Squarely on the British side, President Obama urged Kenya's leaders to cooperate with the ICC investigation. He said: "Those found responsible will be held accountable for their crimes as individuals."
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said calls for action against the suspects are "prejudicial and preemptive," and urged restraint during the investigation. "The people who have been mentioned have not yet been fully investigated as the pre-trial process in The Hague has only but begun. They, therefore, cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court."
One of those charged said the evidence is "cooked up" and that witnesses have been bribed, and is therefore a fraudulent case. Based on Moreno Ocampo's ICC trial record so far, this would not be surprising.
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)The Zimbabwe government has put up its state-owned steel firm for sale, but President Robert Mugabe and his close advisors have ruled out an attempt by ArcelorMittal to take over the company because of ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal's friendship with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to information obtained this past week by South Africa's Sunday Times, and reported today. Mugabe and Blair are described as bitter enemies. Already "sour relations" between the two broke down completely at a Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Durban in November 1999, according to the report. Since then the two have talked about each other only in disparaging terms. Lakshmi Mittal is the richest man in Europe.
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)Nigerian officials dropped efforts to prosecute Dick Cheney for corruption charges by Halliburton today, after an "amicable" deal was worked out for Halliburton to pay Nigeria a hefty fine, according to a report in the Daily Independent in Lagos, Nigeria. But the deal opens Halliburton up to charges by the U.S. Justice Department.
The Justice Department is going to investigate, according to the report, and if Justice finds that any laws were broken, the payment of the fine to Nigeria will be considered major evidence. Cheney was Halliburton chairman and CEO, 1995-2000, at the time the bribes were allegedly offered to get gas contracts. In discussions with the Justice Department before the settlement was made with Nigeria, his attorneys were informed, that by settling the charges out of court, Cheney could avoid the possibility of being arrested by INTERPOL if he traveled outside the U.S.A., according to the report.
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)Among other things, the recent material released by WikiLeaks reveals to an extent, what EIR has known for many decades: that the giant British-Dutch oil conglomerate exists as a parallel government inside Nigeria. In 2009, Royal Dutch Shell feared losing up to 80% of its oil-license acreage to Russia and China, as the result of Nigeria's Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which would restrict the area controlled by the oil company to 2 kilometers around each well, according to secret cables published by WikiLeaks.
The Dec. 10 Wall Street Journal reporting on these leaked cables wrote:
"To keep tabs on a Nigerian government that Shell considered inept and increasingly more willing to deal with China and Russia, the company placed persons in 'all relevant [Nigerian] ministries' according to an October 20, 2009 cable.
"In that message, Ms. Pickard (Shell's vice president of sub-Saharan Africa) told former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Renee Sanders that data belonging to Shell had been sent by Nigerian government officials to China and Russia. But, she added, the Nigerian government 'had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to all relevant ministries and that Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries.' "
Shell, which extracts 20% of its global production from Nigeria, of course vehemently denied infiltrating the ministries of the Nigerian government.
However, neither the Journal nor WikiLeaks have told the full story. Royal Dutch Shell, which first discovered oil in Nigeria in 1956, and has had powerful control over the country, preventing the most populous and oil-rich country in Africa from developing into an economically sovereign nation, while creating the conditions for over 100 million Nigerians to be forced to fight for their mere survival on $1-2 a day. In fact, in the Niger-Delta, the center of Nigeria oil and gas wealth, the people live in the some of the most deplorable conditions of anyone on the African continent. When this author toured the region for EIR, he thought he had been transported back to a previous century.
With that in mind, it should not be forgotten, that Sir Henri Deterding who created Royal Dutch Shell in the early 20th Century, was a supporter of Adolf Hitler's drive to create a Third Reich Empire.
Dec. 14 (EIRNS)Speaking in Washington D.C. on Dec. 9, Nigeria's Foreign Minister, Henry O. Ajumogobia, linked the success of Democracy in Nigeria to the requirements of providing food security and electrical power to 150 million poverty-stricken Nigerians.
Reflecting a reality that is absent from the thinking of most Nigerian officials, and democracy-advocate groups, Ajumogobia told his audience:
"Today the two single greatest threats and challenges to consolidating our democracy and indeed our national security are absence of food security, and the unemployment of our teeming young population, largely deriving from our serious infrastructure deficit in electricity in particular, without which small and medium size enterprises simply cannot flourish."
Backing up this important point, he emphasized that more than 50% of Nigeria's 150 million population is under 30 years of age, that 500,000 graduate from higher institutions, but less than 30% can find jobs. "No country can consolidate democracy on such dire statistics." He also reported that Nigeria went from a net exporter of food when it achieved independence in 1960, to importing $3.5 million worth of food in 2009.
At the end of his remarks he reiterated: "But most of all democracy requires economic growth and prosperity or the hope and expectation of it."
While he discussed various proposals to generate investment in what he referred to as "the real economy" by foreign investors and loans from the EXIM Bank, there was no understanding, at least in his public remarks, of the reality of the collapsing worldwide financial system, but for Nigeria, it is important, at least, that these ideas were put on the table.
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