All of the `Bad Banks' are Now Doomed!:
Playing the Great End-Game
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
April 9, 2011 The fateful moment in modern history now approaches. It will come, one way or the other, soon. The world has now come to the present, frazzled fag-end of Lord Jacob Rothschild's 1971 Inter-Alpha Group (of global banking notoriety). This defines, a situation which now closes in upon the greater part of the nations of the trans-Atlantic denomination. Thus, the British world empire itself, which lackey Lord Rothschild's concoctions now represent, has reached the point of rotten-ripe maturity, a point at which that set of what have already been classed, variously, in intention and effect, as those ``bad banks'' which are merely typified by the so-called ``BRIC,'' ``Euro,'' and U.S. Federal Reserve System, are each and all now past the putrid point of ripeness at which they are coming quickly into the condition that they were to be either fundamentally reformed to conform to a Glass-Steagall standard, or they will be hopelessly doomed to an early, rotting end.
As for the needed reforms themselves: unless the U.S. Glass-Steagall law of 1933 is re-introduced for the purpose of preventing such a presently menacing catastrophe, this breakdown would occur either by methods akin to the process which the Franco-British cabal used for the creation of the 1923 hyper-inflationary crash of the Weimar Republic, or, it must be said once again, we are to be rescued, if at all, by nothing other than the only visible alternative to be seen at this time, the return to a 1933 Glass-Steagall law....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
April 6 (EIRNS)Obama Administration financial regulators have effectively killed the combined effort of the state attorneys-general to penalize the big mortgage banks, for their flagrant law-breaking and tax evasion in foreclosing millions of American households.
The Fed, FDIC, Office of Thrift Supervision, and Office of Controller of the Currency reached an agreement, announced yesterday, with Bank of America and Wells Fargo (a dozen others will follow quickly), which neither penalizes them nor requires that they allow any principal reductions on their mortgages. They gave Wall Street exactly what it had been lobbying for, against the state AGs, and are also attempting to preempt the growing number of state and Federal court decisions against the banks.
The Obama-Wall Street agreement provides for "kinder, gentler" foreclosuresbut above all, lots of them. It means the AGs' "term sheet," with its $20 billion fine (suggested by Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Products Protection Agency) and mortgage writedowns, is effectively dead. Iowa AG Tom Miller, head of the state attorneys-general group, said he was disappointed.
The White House, the Federal regulators, and the banks are in a great hurry, as Obama and his spokesmen have emphasized, to get foreclosures back up and running at 300,000-plus a month again (they've fallen to about 200-220,000/month).
April 6 (EIRNS)Thanks to the lawsuit by news organizations, and the Supreme Court's decision not to protect the Federal Reserve's bank bailout lists, Americans now know that the biggest Fed discount window loans during the late-2008 financial blowout, went to European banks that were scamming U.S. states and cities, helping trigger their current bankrupt condition.
Being "saved" by the Fed from well-deserved failure, these banks lived to see their "auction-rate securities" scam explode on the heads of the states and municipalities.
It is clear from the evidence the Fed has been compelled to release, that the two biggest objectives of its frenetic Fall 2008 bailout lending, were to "save" trillions in worthless mortgage-backed securities and related derivatives; and to "save" the municipal auction-rate securities marketeers.
Some 70% of the discount window borrowing at the height of the blowout was by foreign banks, and among them the most desperate were Dexia and Depfathe former an Inter-Alpha Group bank. Brussels-based Dexia alone borrowed $123 billion, an average of $12 billion drawn from the Fed at all times from September-December 2008. These and other big-borrower banks were the props of the U.S. municipal bond market's "auction-rate bonds" derivatives scheme, until it completely collapsed. It is claimed the U.S. municipal bond markets "couldn't have survived without Dexia and Depfa." But they didn't survive with them.
The banks conned the states into forgoing standard fixed-rate-capital loans in favor of loan-plus-interest-swap wingdings, supposed to provide very low interest rates. Instead, this market vaporized after a couple of years, suddenly forcing very high interest rates on those state bonds. So, the Fed "saved" this massive interest-rate derivatives scheme long enough for it to break the financial back of many U.S. states, cities, and their agencies, just as state and city revenue started collapsing in late 2008.
Dexia also got $381 billion in bailout loans from the French and Belgian governments and central banks; it is now a target of a U.S. Justice Department criminal anti-trust case, for scamming the states.
Global Economic News
April 6 (EIRNS)The Federal Grid Agency in Germany announced yesterday that the shutdown of eight nuclear power plants for a so-called moratorium, in the wake of the March 11 Japan earthquake, has created a situation in which Germany has become a net energy importer. At the beginning of March, Germany was exporting on average about 3,500 MW/h per day to neighboring EU countries. Since March 17, when the "old" nuclear plants were taken offline, an average of 2,500 MW/h per day has been importedmostly from France and the Czech Republicboth nuclear producers. According to the fantasies of the director of the Federal Net Agency, Germany's supply is safe, even if the plants were to be shut down for a longer period. He had to admit, however, that the producers are using the grid "more than usual at the limit of capacity." Also, "moderate price increases" for electricity were already announced.
April 4 (EIRNS)Many conservative Americans are being sold on solar power and other alternative forms of energy as a means of being "free from the grid" and being prepared in the event of a disaster. A similar approach has been used in Japan, except there, a home fuel-cell system is also being pushed. Well, with a true disaster how are these Green alternatives working? They're not.
In the areas most directly hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, there is still no power at all, except what is brought in by emergency generating equipment, and in an area around that the power is being incrementally restored. But the power problem is much, much larger.
There is a massive shortfall in power generation capacity for Japan as a whole. Not only are there the four damaged reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, which are not producing power, but there are six other nuclear plants that were automatically shut down by the March 11 quake, and four other unaffected reactors in far points of Japan that were closed for maintenance, and which have not been restarted for "safety" (read: public relations) reasons. A similar number of coal-fired electric plants with a similar capacity are closed, along with six oil-burning plants.
There are still rolling three-hour blackouts in much of central Japan, including in Tokyo and in the damaged Northeast (although power isn't being cut to either the Tokyo Central Business District or the most damaged regions that have a functioning grid.) Strict power saving measures are in effect to reduce industrial, and commercial consumption of electric power. Most of the "knock-on" effects on the quake on the world economy, such as the closing of auto plants in North America and Europe, and the shortage of electronic components, are directly or indirectly a result of the Japanese electric power shortfalls.
These power shortages are driving home to many the known, but completely underplayed realities of "alternative power generation" in real-life conditions. According to a report in the daily Yomiuri Shimbun, "Companies offering these power generation systems say they have received many inquiries from consumers as to whether the systems could be used during a power outage.
"But they said fuel cells need a motor that is powered by an ordinary power supply. Fuel cells therefore cannot be used at the time of a power outage. Solar power generation, meanwhile, is ineffective, as it generates only a small amount of power.
"Since these systems were developed as energy-saving devices, users cannot expect them to make up a household's full power load during a blackout.... The gas company also warns that such devices could be damaged if a blackout occurs while a fuel cell is in use. The company has urged users to turn off their fuel cells before a scheduled power outage begins.
"Many households installed solar panels so they could sell home-generated electricity to power companies in return for lower electricity bills. But this power generation system is not designed to supply power inside the home at the time of a blackout. For the system to be used for home appliances, it needs to be connected through a distribution board usually installed outside the home [greatly increasing the cost of the system]. The system's power generation capacity also is small. Clear skies would enable the system to supply power to some models of refrigerator, but it is considered difficult to run an air conditioner on home solar panels alone."
Japanese firms, by and large, never had "alternative energy" facilities, given that simple engineering calculations indicate their total uselessness. A number of Japanese steel mills, requiring large amounts of electric power, do have in-house, large-scale conventional power-generating facilities, which allowed them to bypass power transmission losses. These facilities are being to used to supplement Tepco's own reduced capacities.
April 7 (EIRNS)Among the latest trends of killer biofuels insanity, is that an increasing volume of the root crop cassavaa key part of the food chain for millions of peopleis going for ethanol, in particular in China.
This tuber, not highly nutritious, has the benefit of being able to grow in many inferior soils and conditions. Its use in the food chain includes tapioca, various forms of starch, livestock feed, and, for over 200 million people in Africa, the daily diet staple, as it is in places in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Half of the world's harvest of cassava is in Africa.
But among other features of the last few decades of globalization, is that cassava chips from Thailand went into world trade, especially to Europe, for livestock feeda degradation of the food-production system of both Indochina and Europe, where farmers could well have produced sufficient animal fodder domestically. Thailand became the world's biggest cassava chip exporter.
Now Thailand's cassava chip exports are going almost exclusively to China, mostly for biofuels. Thai cassava exports have grown almost fourfold in the last few years, and in 2010, 98% of it went to China, almost entirely for ethanol.
In Africa five years ago, a Pan-African Cassava Initiative was launched by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), not just for improving the cassava crop for food, but for potential for biofuels. Brazil, the single biggest national producer of cassava, uses the root, as well as sugar cane, for ethanol.
United States News Digest
April 9President Obama used his weekly address to the American people to boast about Democrats and Republicans "coming together" to agree on the biggest annual spending cut in the history of the U.S.
In his statement last night, Obama also laid it on thick, thanking Boehner and Reid for their "leadership and dedication." In fact, as Capitol Hill sources attest, Obama subjected Reid to vicious treatment, in order to get him to agree to the massive cuts Obama has favored all along.
The agreement will cut $37.8 billion from the Federal budget through the end of fiscal year 2011 on Sept. 30. But that's just the beginning, as virtually every newspaper and political pundit immediately noted.
By not fighting this budget cut through LaRouche's Glass-Steagall reorganization, the Democrats have left the way open for Obama and the Republicans using the higher-stakes battle in Congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, as a means of ramming through cuts in Social Security and other entitlementsà la the Catfood Commission.
By May 16, the U.S. government will hit a $14.294 trillion borrowing limit that can only be raised by Congress. Once this ceiling is hit, the U.S. Treasury cannot issue any more debt, which it issues to pay the U.S. debt, including interest on previous debt. As of April 6, the U.S. is $82 billion under the ceiling. The Treasury can use various measures to buy extra time, but it will run out of maneuvering room by July 8. Then, the U.S. government could go into default. The fascists behind Obama demand even bigger cuts as the condition for a Congressional vote to raise the debt ceiling.
With Obama pleased about "the biggest budget cut in U.S. history," the "Gang of Six"three Republican and three Democratic U.S. Senatorshave intensified their effort to get $4 trillion cut from the Federal budget deficit over 10 years. The Catfood Commission's recommendations include privatizing Medicare, reducing Social Security, and gutting Medicaid for the poor and disabled. Reports are that Obama will call for consideration of the Catfood Commission recommendations in his address to the nation on April 13.
April 8 (EIRNS)Bruce Fein, a libertarian who was in the Reagan Administration's Department of Justice, and is now chairman of American Freedom Agenda, has issued a 15-page Article of Impeachment against President Barack Obama, saying that "Barack Hussein Obama has mocked the rule of law, endangered the very existence of the Republic and the liberties of the people, and perpetrated an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor" in launching war on Libya without approval from the Congress.
Fein worked on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, but also on the effort to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. He said that Obama has been "more bold than any other president," in failing to secure Congressional approval for the Libya attacks. "If he can wipe out the war powers authorization, why can't he wipe out Congress's authority to spend?" asked Fein. "If we're going to be a government of laws, and not descend into empire, this is Caesar crossing the Rubicon."
Fein said a number of Congressional offices have expressed interest in his proposal. "There's definitely been interest on the Hill. There's at least two dozen who have been open to the idea that this is a serious constitutional crisis."
April 5 (EIRNS)The "cowardice" of Obama comes in for attack by the editors of the New York Times in a scathing lead editorial on the subject of the Administration's April 4 announcement that the trial of the self-proclaimed "mastermind" of the 9/11 attacks will be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and not in Federal court as Attorney General Eric Holder had stated his intention to do in November 2009.
In his announcement, clearly made under duress, Holder said that the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 defendants will have to be held at Guantanamo because of restrictions enacted by Congress which bar any such trials inside the United States.
"The retreat was a victory for Congressional pandering and an embarrassment for the Obama administration, which failed to stand up to it," the Times charged, which noted that the Federal courts have a much better record of trying and convicting terrorists than do the ill-conceived military tribunals at Guantanamo.
The Times does not blame Holder for the reversal, but puts the blame on the Obama Administration, citing a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer which had described how the Administration failed to lay the groundwork for a New York trial, and utterly failed to defend the idea after it came under specious attacks from Congress.
April 9 (EIRNS)As many as 10,000 people rallied at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, on April 8, against threatened budgets cuts and to show solidarity with unions in Wisconsin and other states. Wisconsin State Sen. Spencer Coggs, one of "Wisconsin 14," was one of the speakers.
In Illinois, state workers and teachers have also staged a week-long series of rallies around the state, opposing legislation that limits collective bargaining for state employees. Hundreds were in Springfield on April 7, where Jeff Bigelow, regional director of AFSCME Council 31, said bills in the Illinois legislature are starting to mirror what's happening in neighboring states. "These bills, both for education employees and state employees, are representative of exactly what's happening in Wisconsin, exactly what's happening in Ohio, exactly what's happening in Indiana," said Bigelow.
In Chicago, union members from Illinois and other nearby states gathered in Daley Plaza on April 9 to show support for workers in Wisconsin. "This is no longer a state movement. This is an international movement on behalf of working families," said Betsy Kippers, vice president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, who addressed the crowd. Wisconsin state Sen. Chris Larson warned workers that similar legislation is headed for their states.
In New York, thousands rallied in support of workers' rights along Seventh Avenue in Times Square on April 9. The demonstration came amid fears of large-scale public sector job cuts, with as many as 75,000 jobs threatened. Thousands of demonstrators chanted "We are one, we are one."
In Columbus, Ohio, thousands demonstrated to repeal Ohio's new anti-collective bargaining law on April 9, led by the AFL-CIO and teachers union, while the voters who had just elected Gov. John Kasich (R) indicated they no longer support him and his program. The rally was organized by the "We Are Ohio" campaign; it was signing up people to circulate petitions to put a referendum on the ballot to repeal the "no collective bargaining" law recently signed by Kasich, which applies to more than 350,000 public workers, banning them from striking, restricting bargaining, and eliminating binding arbitration.
Support for Kasich, who defeated incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in November, has been transformed to hatred against him. An April Quinnipiac poll showed that Kasich's approval rating dropped to 30%, and that the number of voters who disapprove of Kasich's performance doubled in two months, to 46%, from 22% in mid-January.
Ibero-American News Digest
April 4 (EIRNS)Data recorded by the French Demeter satellite in February of 2010 demonstrated ionospheric perturbations which seismologists concluded could be considered precursors to that year's devastating Feb. 27 earthquake in south-central Chile, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale.
French astrophysicist Michel Parrot of the European Space Agency (ESA), who also worked as a guest-researcher on the Demeter team, provided a report to the South American science blog, http://clubdeastronomia.wordpress.com, which documented these variations, beginning about 10 to 20 days before the Feb. 27 quake. They showed a significant increase in plasma density, observed both vertically over what became the rupture zone, and also at locations where the future epicenter was geomagnetically related to the height of the wave.
Between Feb. 10 and 18, 2010, Demeter passed over the same region of Chile each day, close to a specific point. It recorded significant variations in the ion charge, and in the density of electrons near what became the Feb. 27 quake epicenter. On Feb. 10, 2010 at 0025UT [UT=universal time, a timescale based on the rotation of the Earth], the Langmuir Probe Instrument (ISL) detected a sudden increase in the density of the plasma, vertically over the future epicenter. A similar pattern occurred on Feb. 18, nine days before the quake. Throughout this entire time interval, the density increased globally, but presented two important high points, the first at 0233 UT, and the second at 0234 and 0235 UT. During the first of these points of maximum density, the satellite was located in the orbit closest to the future epicenter, at an altitude of 660 km.
Note that during the three-year period 2007-10, Demeter monitored density variations in the area close to what became the 2010 quake epicenter, always at the same local time (nocturnal orbit), and always during the period that spanned the beginning of January to the end of March. According to the data, a big increase in plasma density is generally highly unusual in this particular region and within the indicated timeframe. It was therefore concluded that the increases observed during the days prior to the Feb. 27 quake "could be considered as possible precursors of that powerful quake."
April 4 (EIRNS)Prior to the Feb. 27, 2010 earthquake in Chile, both Chilean and foreign seismologists tried to warn government authorities that a big quake was likely sometime soon in south-central Chile. According to several reports, the authorities weren't interested in these warnings.
Daniel Melnick, a geologist at the University of Potsdam, Germany, told the BBC in August 2010 that seismologists warned Chilean authorities earlier that year of a possible disaster, but the authorities failed to act. Their rationale was that if an earthquake threat were made public, people would panic and this would affect "property values." Real estate speculators and developers who build high-rise hotels or luxury apartment buildings along the Chilean coast were more concerned with their profits.
Several months prior to the February quake, scientists met with authorities in the city of Talcahuano, and warned that an earthquake and tsunami were likely; again, the warnings weren't taken seriously. Leading Chilean seismologist Armando Cisternas even reported in a 2010 interview with the weekly El Siglo that some scientists have been threatened with arrest and lawsuits, for "scaring" people about possible earthquakes.
Seismologist Hernando Tavera, of the Peruvian Geophysical Institute, warned authorities in that country to prepare for a major earthquake, prior to the one that hit the Peruvian coast near the city of Ica on Aug. 16, 2007. Like his Chilean counterparts, Tavera also expects that the next big earthquake to hit Chile will be in the region known as the "Great North"specifically the region between Arica and Antofagastathat will also seriously affect southern Peru.
April 10 (EIRNS)In 1986, Mexico's Instrumentation and Seismic Registry Center (CIRES) created an earthquake alert system, whose effectiveness is widely admired internationally today. CIRES created the system a year after the September 1985 quake which measured 8.1 on the Richter scale, killed more than 10,000 people, and wrought tremendous destruction in the capital of Mexico City.
The United States, which has no such warning system, would do well to examine what Mexico has accomplished in this area.
The CIRES warning system consists of several seismic stations set up on the Pacific coast of Guerrero state near the Coyuca de Benítez fault, which Mexico's Geophysical Union has identified as the most likely source of a future large earthquake. When the stations' sensors detect an earthquake, they emit a signal via radio wave that is instantaneously picked up in Mexico City, which then issues a public alert, giving people 60 seconds to abandon buildings, houses and other structures.
In Japan's March 11 earthquake, the public received only an 8-second warning, which nonetheless saved lives.
CIRES has developed a radio receiver that can pick up a seismic alert via three antennae installed in the Mexico City metropolitan area, which operate 24 hours a day. The Mexico City government is also sponsoring production of 50,000 battery-powered radios that will be installed in city schools by June of this year, that will be activated automatically in the event of an earthquake.
CIRES director Juan Manuel Espinoza warns, however, that it is essential that schools and other institutions regularly carry out simulated earthquake response drills, so the public will be fully prepared in the event of a real earthquake. Unfortunately, he states, there is not enough awareness today of the necessity of such drills.
April 9 (EIRNS)Contrary to those experts who proclaimed Haiti's cholera epidemic to be declining, cholera cases are now increasing, following increased rainfall in late March. And, during the rainy season of April and May, they are expected to spike even further.
Yet Haiti's government has no means to deal with a ratcheting-up of cases. Thanks to Barack Obama's refusal to listen to Lyndon LaRouche, after the January 2010 earthquake, and deploy the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Haiti on an emergency basis, none of the sanitation infrastructure the country so desperately needs has been built. A million people still remain in squalid and unsafe camps in the capital, which are breeding grounds for cholera. Insanely, many of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which provided medical care following the October 2010 cholera outbreak, have now left the country, claiming that a decline in cases showed they "weren't needed."
New cases have been reported all over the country, with the western region being particularly vulnerable, due to lack of health centers or transportation infrastructure. Death rates are as high as 8% in this region, as they are also in the Southeast department.
At an April 6 meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted that "the cholera appeal is 45% funded, and the overall Haiti Appeal received only 10% of the requested funds. Additional financial support is urgently needed." Moreover, he warned, Haiti's economy is still "on its knees," and "public institutions are barely able to deliver essential services.... Millions of Haitians remain dependent on the assistance of non-governmental organizations to meet their most basic needs."
At the same UNSC meeting, outgoing Haitian President Réne Preval identified the real issue that must be addressed. Demanding that the United Nations completely rethink its approach to Haiti, Preval argued that over the past decade, "tanks, armored vehicles and soldiers should have given way to bulldozers, engineers, more police instructors, experts in support [of] justice and to the penitentiary system." Instability in Haiti, he stated, is "basically due to underdevelopment ... in other words, unsatisfied elementary socioeconomic rights." Only if Haiti develops economically, he said, will it have a chance to survive.
Western European News Digest
April 7 (EIRNS)The Irish government defeated a motion in the April 6 Dail (parliament) session which called for a referendum on the EU/IMF loan package. The vote was defeated 121 votes to 27, with the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government and the members of the previous Fianna Fail government voting against the motion. The motion, which was proposed by the Technical Group of Independents, called for a referendum to give the Irish people an opportunity to accept or reject the bank bailout. In a show of arrogance, a government counter-motion commended recent decisions to restructure the banking system.
Earlier, about 100 people gathered outside the Dail calling for the referendum on the EU/IMF bailout, chanting, "Bail out the people and not the banks!" A meeting had been held the night before, which featured Unite Union secretary Jimmy Kelly, United Left Alliance leader Richard Boyd Barrett, a member of the technical group, and Lilja Mosesdottir, a former Icelandic parliamentarian whose nation voted to reject the bailout in a referendum on April 9. (See InDepth for more on the Icelandic revolt.)
April 8 (EIRNS)The European Union's finance ministers met today in Budapest, where they discussed imposing on Portugal a financial dictatorship. Now that Portugal has capitulated to blackmail from the Inter-Alpha banking system and the European Central Bank, the finance ministers will put together a bailout package which promises to be just as brutal as those that have been forced on Ireland and Greece.
The Irish Times reports that the plan is to prepare an agreement which would be completed by the end of May, so that it can be signed and implemented by the next government the day after the June 5 election. Throwing all democratic principles out the window, the idea is to ensure cross-party "support" for the package by involving all parties in the talks, thus making the elections superfluous.
April 9 (EIRNS)On the eve of the release of the first report of Great Britain's Independent Banking Commissionwhich leaks have indicated will not recommend even Bank of England head Mervyn King's pseudo-Glass-Steagall proposaltwo members of the House of Lords have called for Glass-Steagall-type reforms of the banking system.
Lord Oakshott called for dividing up both Barclays and the Inter-Alpha Group's Royal Bank of Scotland; Lord Skidelsky said he supported King's "championing of a British Glass-Steagall Act to split the banking system into commercial and investment banks."
Copies of the IBC report have already been handed out to cabinet ministers, their senior advisors, and regulators; the banks themselves will get it at 6AM on Monday, April 11, and it will be released to the public at 7 AM.
April 9 (EIRNS)The first youth demonstration in recent years occurred in Madrid on April 7, with some 3,000 youth taking to the streets. Calling themselves "Youth with No Future," and self-organized through Facebook and other social networking sites, they rallied against the economic mess the country is in, and the fact that they are being denied a future. Youth unemployment in Spain now stands at 43%.
The main slogan of their rally was: "No home, no job, no pension, no fear!," and many of the youth interviewed by the press pointed to youth mobilizations in other countries as their model.
April 8 (EIRNS)Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen's visit to the Republic of Ireland will begin on May 17, and that she will visit Croke Park, Guinness Storehouse, and the National Stud in Kildare, among other sites. There will be a state dinner for her at Dublin Castle, which was constructed by the Normans in the 1200s and, until Irish Independence in 1922, was the fortified seat of British rule.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called the Queen's visit "offensive and insensitive." He particularly pointed to the day the visit is to commence, which is the anniversary of the May 17, 1974 bombings in Dublin and Monaghan which killed 33 people, and injured and mutilated over 300 more.
April 5 (EIRNS)The Japanese are getting two of the world's largest German-made cranes to stabilize the nuclear plants. The cranes, made by Putzmeister, will be used to pump water on to the plants to cool them, and then can be used in their usual job, which is pouring concrete, if the Japanese decide to encase the reactors.
Eleven similar German pumps were used at Chernobyl. One pump crane is being transported by a Russian Antonov AN-225 cargo plane, the world's largest, from Savanna River, Georgia, where it is being used to build a mixed oxide nuclear fuel plant.
April 8 (EIRNS)On the sidelines of the Vienna European Geosciences Union conference, scientists lambasted the EU bureaucracy's disinterest in creating a tsunami early warning system for the Mediterranean, which is Europe's most hazardous zone. Good intentions were voiced after the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, but no progress has been made in Europe since then, the critics told Agence France Presse and Der Spiegel.
Jörn Lauterjung, chairman of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS), said, "Now political decisions are needed so that we can start the implementation and put things into operation."
April 6 (EIRNS)Yesterday, Deutsche Bahn announced the arrival in Duisburg of a test container train from Chongqing, Szechuan. For the distance of 10,300 km on the so-called Southern route, the train required half as long as the transport takes by sea. The line goes south of Mongolia through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Poland, to Germany.
April 6 (EIRNS)While Her Majesty's press whores have been conducting an anti-nuclear power campaign, the British government appears to be committed to its plans to build at least eight new power stations. Britain's so-called Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, told Bloomberg that there will be no "material delay" in the U.K.'s plan to build new nuclear reactors at eight sites.
Poland is even more determined. In an interview with Britain's Guardian, Polish Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad said: "Of course it's time to review and analyze [safety] carefully, but it wouldn't be right to make a rash decision, a 180-degree turn. Poland is not at risk of earthquakes and tsunamis. The problem in Japan was not the power plants themselves, but the earthquake. We need to make a decision based on rational analysis and not emotions."
April 9 (EIRNS)That is the way U.S. astronaut Ron Garan characterized the significance of the first human space flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, 50 years ago on April 12. Garan, who believes he is related to Gagarin through a great grandfather who immigrated to the United States under the name Ivan Gagarin, launched on April 4 to the International Space Station, aboard a Russian Soyuz, with two Russian colleagues. That rocket took off from the same launchpad as did Gagarin, a half century ago. This rocket was uniquely decorated with a likeness of Yuri Gagarin, and was named for him.
In January, Prime Minister Putin declared 2011 to be the Year of Russian Cosmonautics. Celebrations, student space contests, exhibits, lectures, and conferences are taking place not only in Russia, but around the world. On April 7, the UN General Assembly declared April 12 the International Day of Human Space Flight, and visiting cosmonaut Oleg Kotov opened a photo exhibition celebrating Gagarin's flight. Conferences are scheduled in the U.S., and heads of space agencies, including NASA, will be in Moscow next week, for discussions on future cooperation.
"Gagarin's name is a symbol of the conquest of space," Garan said, "a symbol of the dreams of generations of people to fly from our planet beyond the bound of what is possible."
April 6 (EIRNS)While insane President Barack Obama is destroying the U.S. manned space program, the Russians remain committed to going to the Moon and Mars. In an interview with Bloomberg, Roscosmos leader Anatoli Perminov said Russia wants to accelerate planned missions to the Moon that could put a man on the Moon within ten years.
"It is the first time that the government has allocated decent financing to us," Perminov said in the phone interview on April 2. The agency's $3.5 billion budget for 2011 is the highest since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. "We can now advance on all themes a bit," Perminov said.
"We are increasing the space budget as the time has come for a technological breakthrough," Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, told Bloomberg. "We need to replace outdated infrastructure and continue to support the flagship status of the space industry." Russia intends to continue allocating more funds for the space industry, Peskov said. "We'll increase financing if possible, depending on the budget balance, because the industry was and remains one of our priorities," he said.
Russia now receives $752 million from the U.S. for sending crews to the International Space Station through 2015. Bloomberg points out that this is happening just as Obama is scrapping the U.S. manned space program, and NASA is seeking an $18.7 billion budget for next year, $300 million less than the funding targeted for this year.
"We need the Mars flight, as it will help create new large-scale technologies," Yuriy Karash, member of the Russian Space Academy, told Bloomberg. "It means there will be new rockets, new engines, new anti-radiation medicine that will protect people in outer space." Russia may be able to complete a Mars mission within 12 years if it is included in the new Federal space program, Karash said. Roscosmos is working on a plan that will start in 2015, to focus more on outer space than before, Perminov said in the interview. A flight to Mars is more likely in cooperation with other space programs, according to the Roscosmos plan.
Russia will need a new rocket, a new manned spacecraft for 4-6-man crews, and a new launch site to operate manned flights as early as in 2018, Perminov said. The new rocket, Rus-M, which is to become Russia's main vehicle for manned spaceflights, should be ready for the 2015 start of Russia's new space program, he said.
April 4 (EIRNS)In an interview today with the English-language television network "Russia Today," the head of Russia's Space Agency, Anatoli Perminov, reported that he has suggested the creation of a global space security monitoring system, which 23 countries have endorsed. The plan is to for international centers on each continent to process the massive amount of data that is being collected by many nations' Earth remote sensing and weather satellites. This would produce useful data from the observations, and enable recommendations to be made to governments, in order to warn of earthquakes and other natural disasters. Perminov stated that the United States and China are "seriously considering joining."
Perminov said that poorer countries, which, like Indonesia, are vulnerable to earthquakes and floods, do not have their own satellites, and many governments cannot make sense of the raw data. Asked by the interviewer when such processing centers could be in operation, Perminov replied that right now, "there is no timeframe."
Perminov posed the project as a system of systems, addressing common concerns of mankind: "Each space-faring nation, you know, possesses different data, depending on the satellites they use for remote sensing and for meteorological research. We are proposing that these nations put their data in processing centers, and that these centers be located on different continents: in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Based on the data received in the centers, recommendations would be made to world leaders.... All the data will be processed in the computer centers and supplied to every country in [the] form of risk warnings, saying, for example, that an earthquake hazard will be high in several places around the globe in the course of the next two weeks. In that way, mankind will be prepared for an earthquake."
Perminov said the program should have a galactic dimension: "Notification may also touch upon what is happening in distant galaxies. It's possible that stars concentrated there will produce an impact on Earth. Or in four years, some asteroid will approach the Earth within a distance of 200 kilometers. That would be a very serious threat. Precisely such information is, in fact, what governments need, rather than just telemetry from a space craft."
April 5 (EIRNS)Warnings of more earthquakes, possibly followed by another tsunami at the end of April in the region of Japan and Kamchatka, were issued by Ivan Tikhonov, the head of the Seismology Lab at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics on Sakhalin Island. Tikhonov predicts a "possible quake of magnitude 7.5 to 8.5."
"Such a tremor could cause a tsunami," he said, "and therefore, it is best to prepare for such an eventuality." In his view, the epicenter of that tremor will lie along a deep-water channel some 200 kilometers east of the epicenter of the March 11 quake. For Kamchatka, he said, the dangerous period would be after April 25. The most vulnerable region would be southern Kamchatka, reaching to the northern Kuriles Islands. The turbulent period for the southern Kuriles began in August of last year.
"The Sakhalin district is one of the most vulnerable regions in Russia," Tikhonov said, "because it's located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean seismic belt." Dr. Kan Chin-suk from the North Korean seismological administration had earlier noted that the magnitude 9 earthquake that hit Japan was the fourth-largest known to have ever hit the planet. "Aftershock tremors of level 7 or 8 on the Richter scale may continue for years, if not decades," he said. "It is a very alarming situation."
Please see InDepth for a strategic evaluation of the Russian situation.
April 12 (EIRNS)A report from Cairo, blocked out of the international media, indicates that the Egyptian revolution is alive and well. On April 8, between 2 and 3 million people turned out in Tahrir Square, escalating the pressure on the Supreme Military Council to continue the reform process, and not cave in to pressure from the Mubarak old guard, bolstered by floods of Saudi money. The crowd demanded a full criminal investigation into the Mubarak National Democratic Party (NDP) and the theft of much of Egypt's national patrimony.
According to one organizer, there was growing concern that the Egyptian Army high command was balking at the continuing reform process, and some corrupt Army generals, possibly including the Minister of Defense, were allowing the State Security Ministry, the hated secret police, to resume operations. The major weapon in the hands of the youth-led opposition is their continuing ability to turn out millions of Egyptians from all walks of life, to demand that the reform process move forward. According to one source, the proposals by Dr. Farouk El Baz, for a major agricultural and irrigation project to green the western desert, are circulating widely, and there are calls for Egyptians to donate one Egyptian pound per week to a development fund to launch the project.
After the demonstrators had largely dispersed, several thousand leftists decided to remain in Tahrir Squareagainst the wishes of the leadership of the protest movement. This violation of the ban on trespassing in the square after 2:00 a.m. gave the Army a pretext to move in on the protesters. According to on-the-ground sources, seven people, including two Army officers who had joined in the sit-in, were killed. The officers were reportedly shot a point-blank range. This incident has further angered and energized the population. Cooler heads within the Supreme Military Council moved immediately to make further concessions to the protesters, announcing the arrests of three top NDP figures, including the longtime Speaker of the Parliament and the nominal head of the Mubarak party. Judges attending the daytime rally in Tahrir Square held a preliminary public inquest and demanded a full investigation into Mubarak family finances.
Former President Mubarak responded almost immediately, by issuing his first public statement since leaving office. He denied any corruption, and vowed to cooperate with the probe, and to sue anyone who persisted in libeling him.
One leading figure in the events of April 8 described them as the beginning of the second phase of the Egyptian Revolution. Parliamentary elections are now scheduled for September, giving the youth more time to form political parties, choose candidates, and organize. In the recent weeks, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood had initially decided to boycott the Friday rallies in Tahrir Square, pulling their people out of the April 1 demonstration. When over a million people showed up, despite their boycott, and when youth members of the Brotherhood voiced frustration at the leadership, they reversed the decision, and turned out for the April 8 events.
The Supreme Military Council was desperate to deny that there had been live ammunition fired at protesters in Tahrir Square, when troops moved in to evict the overnight trespassers. Under the treaty with the United States, weapons provided by the U.S. government cannot be used against any Egyptian civilians. The Pentagon has kept up the pressure on this issue. However, the Saudis are not only pouring money into Egypt; they are pressing for a crackdown, as they have in Yemen and Bahrain. The rift between Washington and Riyadh, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, is deepening by the day, and goes way beyond the personal animus between King Abdullah and President Obama. The Saudis are out to defend the old British imperial "Sunni stability belt" of monarchies and dictatorships. According to the source, Iran is pressuring Syrian President Assad to crack down on protesters. The source warned of an escalating danger of a sectarian Sunni-versus-Shi'ite explosion, acknowledging that this is exactly what the British want.
April 7 (EIRNS)The Libyan war is going to hell because of President Obama's incompetence and confusing and contradictory mission orders, reported a senior retired U.S. military officer with years of experience in the Arab and Muslim world. The retired officer noted that Obama exhibits a mental disorder characterized by believing that just because he states somethinge.g., "Qaddafi must be removed"it becomes real, without knowing how to accomplish it, or the consequences of his actions.
Several Washington intelligence sources, including the retired officer, believe that the possibility of a de facto partition of Libya into East and West, is in the offing unless there is a dramatic escalation in U.S. operations to break Qaddafi's forces.
There are several serious problems for Obama: U.S. opposition to the Libya military action has already escalated into the drafting of Articles of Impeachment of Obama by a Constitutional law expert; the rebel forces in Libya are an incoherent rabble; there are serious divisions in the NATO coalition over operations; and there is serious backlash at the UN Security Council, where Russia, for one, has said that regime change is not what the Security Council authorized.
After projecting a quick victory because he said so, Obama lied to the American people, in a televised address, that there would be no U.S. troops ("boots on the ground") in Libya, and that the command would be turned over to NATO.
But the Libyan rebels have claimed three times in the past week that NATO had bombed rebel units and oil installations under their command, by mistake. The latest incident took place today, when half a dozen rebel fighters were killed near the oil town of Brega. The initial reports blaming NATO, were later contradicted by an "official spokesman of the National Opposition Council," who said that the air strike was carried out by "Col. Qaddafi's forces." On April 7, Voice of America reported that NATO is investigating this and two other charges: "NATO planes earlier this week struck rebel forces in the same area, killing 13 rebels, in what was acknowledged as an unfortunate accident," VoA wrote. VoA also reports that NATO has denied responsibility for an April 5 attack on oil fields near Sarir and Meslah, 600 kilometers south of Benghazi, which supplied oil that comprised the "first shipment of oil by the opposition ... from near the eastern port of Tobruk."
But there is more than incompetence rocking the coalition's efforts. A military contact reports that the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu is providing direct assistance and training for Qaddafi's forcesat Qaddafi's requestthrough private Israeli security companies. Their rationale is that Israel is not going to take a chance in overthrowing "the devils we know." At the same time, the French Ambassador to the United Nations, Gerard Araud, stated on a conference call on April 1, that his government opposes arming the Libyan rebels, out of concern for the "security of the entire Sahel." Ambassador Araud compared the danger of the spread of arms to the Afghanistan fiasco in the 1980s, where training and arms were given to the future leaders of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
April 8 (EIRNS)Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Yemen hurled stones at riot police backed by tanks, in the southern province of Aden, as dueling rallies were held in the capital. Police were reported to be shooting tear gas and live ammunition in Taiz, although it was not clear whether they were firing in the air or at crowds.
Addressing tens of thousands of supporters, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected a mediation offer from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council that calls on him to hand over power to his deputy, in return for immunity from prosecution for him and his family. This is a reversal of earlier statements by Saleh that he had accepted the offer to go to Saudi Arabia for mediation.
Medical sources said that 12 people were killed and more than 500 injured on April 4, as about 90,000 people demonstrated against Saleh. Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which functions under the influence of Saudi Arabia, has called on all parties to return to dialogue. But it is unlikely that the protesters, subjected to months of violent actions by the Saleh regime, will agree to anything less than immediate removal of the ruler.
Over the past two months, the U.S. has continued to back Saleh, despite his attacks on nonviolent protesters. While there are reports in U.S. media that Washington is abandoning Saleh, the fact that military aid to the Army has been extended is a sure sign to the Yemeni military that Saleh might stay in power. Earlier signs that the Army would turn against him, Egypt-style, are fading.
April 7 (EIRNS)After the Dec. 26, 2004 earthquake and the tsunami that followed had taken 229,866 lives, of which 10,881 were Indian causalities (and more than 5,792 missing), the Government of India established the Tsunami Early Warning System (EWS) in 2005, at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). The system at INCOIS became a full-fledged 24/7 operational early warning system in October 2007.
The $25 million tsunami warning center at the INCOIS, located in Hyderabad, encountered 25-30 major earthquakes in the last three years. "So far we are 100% right and have not issued any false alert," INCOIS director Sateesh Shenoi told the Indian media recently. India did not face any threat from the magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan even though the scientists at the center were monitoring the ocean waves 'round-the-clock.
"We are monitoring everything from the Philippines to Hawaii and were in touch with other tsunami warning centers around the globe since 2007," said Shailesh Naik, secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences, who was INCOIS director when the Indian system was being built. The data for the Indian system is being fed by a network of four bottom pressure recorders placed on seabeds, and a network of 50 tidal gauges, maintained by the Survey of India and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Chennai. Eight more bottom pressure recorders are scheduled to be installed.
The EWS was designed to work as stand-alone, as well as a component of a regionally integrated warning system. Present direction of the EWS evolution is towards a globally integrated system called "system of systems." The underlying principle of the EWS is to monitor earthquakes in real-time, around the globe. Since its establishment, 16 earthquake events of magnitude greater than 6.5 have occurred in the Indian Ocean for which timely "No threat bulletins" were issued for the Indian coast, thus avoiding unnecessary evacuation, as well as associated economic losses.
In setting up the system, a vulnerability assessment of India's entire coastline was conducted to generate what is known as the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI). The CVI uses historical shoreline erosion and satellite data to assess the vulnerability in a geospatial medium. The CVI was further extended to include multiple hazards, called Multi-Hazard Vulnerability Mapping (MHVM), which incorporates various risk factors like storm surges, as well as social and economic vulnerability factors.
April 8 (EIRNS)Despite what President Obama tells the American people, it is evident that the British-hatched plan to institute a virtual partition of Afghanistan is progressing. A senior journalist from Pakistan reported in the Asia Times April 2, that all major anti-Taliban operations have been suspended in the southwestern Afghan provinces of Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand, and Uruzgan, the Taliban's spiritual heartland. This was confirmed to Asia Times by multiple sources, including the Afghan Ministry of Interior and Taliban commanders in Kandahar.
A senior Afghan official confirmed to the paper April 1, on the condition of anonymity, that plans were in place to hand over the security of Afghanistan to Afghan forces by the middle of this year, and that foreign troops would only operate in the six north and northeastern provinces, other than using unmanned drones for strikes against insurgents.
It is evident that shifting of foreign troops to northern Afghanistan, which will help institutionalize virtual partition, needed a pretext. That pretext was presented today by unnamed U.S. and Afghan officials, who said al-Qaeda terrorists are setting up training centers and bases in northeastern Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from remote valleys and mountains.
The plan to partition Afghanistan was articulated first by former British envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sherard Cowper-Coles, a former MI6 operative and a close associate of former British Foreign Secretary David Milliband, at a Foreign Policy Committee hearing of the British House of Commons last year. Later, neo-con Robert Blackwill, who worked with the Bush Administration, laid that out in detail in an article in Foreign Policy magazine last October. The plan calls for putting warlords and "good Taliban" in southern Afghanistan, the Pushtun-majority areas of Afghanistan, as governors of those provinces, while moving the foreign troops to northern Afghanistan, where the locals are not in conflict with the foreign troops. This would form a barrier against the insurgents moving north, the argument goes.
It would leave the opium-producing South as a virtually separate nationperhaps to be called Opiumistan.
April 6 (EIRNS)A leading Japanese scholar today warned the United States that it may regret its lack of preparedness for earthquakes and tsunamis. Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, professor of international politics at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Tokyo, vice president of Tokyo University, and the incoming chairman of the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI), gave the warning at a USJI-sponsored forum in Washington, D.C., on "Japan After March 11."
EIR asked the panel to comment on lessons that should be learned from the disaster, in light of the "Rim of Fire" events driven by extreme solar activity, the likelihood that the U.S. West Coast will see major earthquakes, and that the Obama Administration is taking down the means for forecasting quakes and studying cosmic radiation influences on the Earth. A U.S. academic on the panel responded that he was from California and that the nuclear plants are near faults and we must review them all.
Then Dr. Tanaka said that the U.S. government and the state governments must look at the "worst case scenario." He noted that Japan, perhaps the best prepared nation on Earth for earthquakes and tsunamis, was overwhelmed by the scope of the March 11 events, "despite the fact that we expect tsunamis every 30-40 years." He said that the last tsunami of this scale in Japan was in the 9th Century. He continued: "In California, they have a massive earthquake approximately every other century, so there's a question about preparing for something with such a low probability. I think there are lessons the U.S. and the states must learn from us on this."
Dr. Tanaka also emphasized that the horrendous death toll in Japan of perhaps 30,000 from the tsunami, must be viewed from the fact that 200,000 homes were demolished, i.e., that the 30-minute warning of the oncoming tsunami saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
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