Principle or Party?
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
October 31, 2011 must be fairly presumed, that the action by some leading Democratic Party Senators, their action to support what is, actually, the current ``World War III'' policy of President Barack Obama, is an example of ``party loyalty'' gone mad. We must, of course, agree, that certain among the Republican candidates, those who are of a frankly fascist bent, must also be rebuffed; but, we already have an important set of those cases of Democratic representatives' practice, which is, apparently, little better.
In any case, for certain exceptional reasons, there is no credible selection of a Presidential candidate for this time. The fact is, that unless, and until we terminate the Barack Obama Presidency, there will be, in one way or another, no sighting of a reasonable, immediate opportunity for selecting a next Presidential election at this time. The problem is, that Queen Elizabeth II's puppet, Barack Obama, has already brought the world to the sulphurous verge of a thermonuclear ``World War III.'' The urgent issue for properly witting U.S. Patriots, is to get Obama dumped from the Presidency immediately, while we still have an actually surviving republic to defend. Then, once Obama were properly dumped, new options, including perhaps a new Democratic one, will doubtless appear.
- The War-Power Question -
Now, a set of leading U.S. Democratic Party Senators, has openly pledged itself, already, to continue the ``World War III'' policy of President Barack Obama, although there may remain some doubt concerning what those Senators actually believe that they are doing by their actions....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)MF Global's bankruptcy filing on Oct. 31 is the first signal of the explosion of the latest euro bailout deala deal which is re-done daily, but can never work.
MF Global, run by former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, ran on the basis of Corzine's previous trading strategy at Goldman Sachs, which is to take a large positions on theories he believed to be "well thought-out." In this case, the "theory" was that the Eurozone would never allow a default.
The company bought large holdings of debt from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and Ireland at a big discount, believing that the Eurozone would never allow a default, and that there would be big profits down the line. But doubts about the euro deal prompted rating agencies to cut MF Global's rating two notches, and that required the firm to put up more capital on margin.
Having no capital, MF Global looked for a buyer, and a deal with Interactive Brokers Group was being made, when Interactive discovered that $600-700 million of MF Global's funds were missing. Federal regulators, including the CFTC, are investigating what happened to the customers' money. While one possibility is that banks holding the money were slow to produce it for a failing MF Global, it is far more likely that the firm used some client money to support its own trades, in a last-ditch effort to survive. This is a serious violation of the rule that customers' funds must be kept separate from the firm's money.
MF Global's bankruptcy filing because of its bets on the Eurozone debt, rattled world markets. The Australian Stock Exchange's 24-hour trading platform suspended grain and wool futures trading. Britain's Financial Services Authority established a Special Administration Regime to handle cross-border cooperation and speed return of assets to creditors for the first time.
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)A new law in Nevada makes the practice by which millions of Americans have been thrown out of their homes a felony.
"Banks can no longer finesse and fib like they used to," Reno lawyer Greg Jensen told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "That's because AB284 imposes consequences on them for acting like they have in the pastserious consequences."
Assembly Bill 284, which went into effect Oct. 1, makes making misrepresentations in foreclosure filing information a felony. The law includes measures to deter robo-signings and requires foreclosure-related filings to include the names and addresses of the mortgage note holder, deed of trust beneficiaries, servicers, and trusteeswhat used to be standard practice before the bankers came up with the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems to circumvent the law throughout the country.
To prevent conflicts of interest, the law also prohibits servicers from using subsidiaries as trustees, limiting the role to Nevada title companies, Nevada-licensed attorneys, and other entities regulated under Nevada's Trust Company law.
As a result of the bill, in Washoe County, where Reno is the county seat, notices of default (the banks' first step in executing foreclosures) dropped from more than 600 in September, to less than 20 in October.
Nov. 5 (EIRNS)A new analysis reported by AP today, shows that the percentage of the officially unemployed who are receiving unemployment benefits has been dropping steadily for the past year and a half. Early last year, 75% of those reported as unemployed were receiving benefits. That figure is now down to 48%, and is slated to fall even further if Congress fails to renew the emergency unemployment program that provides benefits out to 99 weeks. But even if Congress does extend the program, it will be irrelevant for an estimated 2 million people who have been unemployed for longer than 99 weeks. Their only options are food stamps and other social programs. Nearly 46 million people received food stamp benefits in August, a record for the program. Disability payments have also seen applications skyrocket by 50% since 2007.
On Nov. 3, a group of 53 House Democrats, led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Tex.), proposed legislation to renew the benefit program for one year, and cancel interest payments due in 2012 from states that borrowed money from the Federal government to pay the benefits. "Congress has never allowed emergency unemployment benefits to expire when the unemployment rate is anywhere close to its current level of 9.1%," said Doggett. "If Congress fails to act, more than 2 million Americans who lost their jobs will lose their unemployment coverage by the middle of February, including 124,000 in my home state of Texas. More than 6 million will lose benefits during 2012."
Global Economic News
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)Bracing themselves for a Greek withdrawal from the euro, European banks, and U.S. banks that operate in Europe, are said to be conducting "fire drills"beefing up their hedges against Greek exposure and having their lawyers review loan agreements with Greek companies, the Wall Street Journal reports today.
Amidst widespread and panicked discussion over the "mess" that would ensue should Greece return to its old currency, the drachma, banks are trying to figure out what would happen to their euro-denominated loans under such conditions. The Journal asserts that, of course, such a scenario is unlikely, but then notes frenzied activity and statements from European leaders that a Greek exit is indeed possible.
Corporate clients are now moving their money out of Greece as frequently as every day, fearing a sudden return to the drachma, the Journal reports. The Financial Times worries that should large amounts of Greek assets be moved to Germany, suddenly "a German euro is not the same as a Greek euro." And, it adds that if Greece leaves, "it would raise the question of whether other countries would be next."
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)Italy was the nation most severely affected by the run on stocks and bonds caused by Greece's decision to support the EU bailout. Yields on Italian ten-year bonds reached 6.34%, one notch closer to the 7% threshold considered to be "unsustainable." The Milan stock market collapsed by 6.8%, with large banks, such as Intesa Sanpaolo, plunging 15.8%, and Unicredit, 12.4%.
Pro-euro politicians and business leaders are blaming Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, insisting that he has not been able to supply a credible reform (i.e., austerity) program. President Giorgio Napolitano, a supranationalist, issued a statement urging the government to find broader parliamentary alliancesa de facto request for Berlusconi to resign. Napolitano has spoken almost every day in the recent period, in a breach of his constitutional prerogatives. Recently he called on the government to implement "unpopular decisions." Berlusconi said that the Italian government will act "with rigor and decision."
The issue, however, is not Berlusconior at least not for the reasons the City of London is advancing to demand his scalp. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard asked in his Nov. 1 London Daily Telegraph column: Are such sweeping reforms of pensions, labor rights and public service "to be decided by Italy's elected Parliament by proper process, or be pushed through by foreign dictate when the country is on its knees? 'Political ownership' is of critical importance. The EU is crossing lines everywhere, forgetting that it remains no more than a treaty organization of sovereign states. Democratic accountability is breaking down."
Thus, when an Italian Labor Minister Maurizio Sacconi warns that "a rushed shake-up of the labor marketas demanded by the EUrisks setting off a fresh cycle of terrorism in the country," the issue is that the EU "is in effect taking sides in an intensely polarized debate within Italy, intruding into the most sensitive matters of how society organizes itself. It is demanding ideological changesin this case in favor of employers, and against unionsas a condition for further action to shore up Italy's bond markets."
United States News Digest
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)At the close of the failed G-20 summit meeting today in Cannes, France, President Obama babbled about the great progress that he claimed had been achieved, saying that the summit had "made important progress to put our economic recoveries on a firmer footing," and, then boasted that, "here in Cannes, we moved the ball forward."
And while raving about how he has turned the U.S. economy around, Obama tried to assert that Europe must follow the U.S. lead, where "we did what was necessary to address the crisis and put ourselves on a stronger footing and to help rescue the global economy."
Obama then demonstrated his ignorance of, and contempt for, the American Revolution, attributing it to the degenerate "Enlightenment," and showing that he doesn't have a clue about the difference between the American and the French Revolutions. "It was the ideas of the Enlightenment, centered here in France, that helped inspire a band of Colonists across the ocean to seek our freedom," Obama said. "It was the success of our Revolution that helped inspire your own. In our founding documents, we pledge ourselves to the same inalienable rights, and to the truth that all men and women are created equal.... We live by a common creed: life, liberty and the pursuit of happinessliberté, égalité, fraternité."
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)This week the California Association of Hospitals filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, against Obama Administration and state officials, who have mandated treatment-reimbursement cuts of at least 10%, for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that treat poor people. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asked for, and was granted, a waiver last week by Administration officials, to make such cuts in the state's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. The cuts are retroactive to June 1, and were requested by Brown for his 2011-12 budget.
Spokesmen for state medical facilities say that many, especially rural, facilities cannot absorb such cuts; they will have to close. So, the lawsuit, inclusively against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, was filed as a rear guard response.
Nov. 2 (EIRNS)Andrew Breitbart's widely read, right-wing anti-Obama blog, "Big Government," today informed its readers that there is something they do want government to do: Reinstate Glass-Steagall. The article, "A Regulation That's Right: Bring Back Glass-Steagall" by Dock David Treece, has been re-posted on some Tea Party and similar blogs.
"Now we're begging: Will someone PLEASE bring back Glass-Steagall? The Glass-Steagall Act was, of course, the legislation passed in the early 1930s in response to a certain banking crisis that led to a particular Great Depression. Among other things, the Act erected a Chinese wall between a financial institution's investment banking and merchant banking functions. In less complicated terms, the law forced banks to separate any business it was transacting on behalf of clients from the speculative moves it made with its own money. For the layman: banks can't make dumb bets with clients' money.
"Sort of makes sense, doesn't it?" Treece writes.
Noting that big financial firms, gambling with their clients' money, go bust quickly, as MF Global just demonstrated again, Treece concludes: "Americans would certainly help press the issue by urging Congress to reenact the Glass-Steagall Act. It kept the problems we now face at bay for roughly 7 decades and would go a long way in helping clean up banks."
The hard-core Austrian School fascists are not happy that Glass-Steagall is gaining in layers they thought their own. Ludwig von Mises Institute's Dr. Tom Wood yesterday put out a screed against Glass-Steagall ("irrelevant ... a red herring") which is making the rounds.
Earlier in the week, the debate on Glass-Steagall received a boost from an unlikely source: New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman. Writing in the Sunday Review, Friedman takes off on an "immoral" deal in which Citigroup agreed to pay $285 million fine for selling toxic mortgage-backed securities and betting against them, on which they made $160 million profits. Friedman lists four points of reform: 1) Break up the Too Big To Fail banks. "We can't risk another trillion-dollar bailout." 2) No "proprietary trading" of FDIC-insured funds. 3) Transparency of derivatives trading. 4) Finally, "an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they're taking money from. The public needs to know."
Although he doesn't mention Glass-Steagall, his point was picked up by numerous authors, such as Joe Klien, in Time magazine, who wrote: "Friedman's rule is an absolute must: no gambling with FDIC-insured deposits, which means the Glass-Steagall guidelines need to return."
Nov. 2 (EIRNS)In an editorial yesterday on "Obama's Secrets," the Los Angeles Times went after the latest move towards dictatorship by President Obama brought out in the open, the assertion that the government can lie to you about what it is doing, "because we say so."
The proposal put forward by Obama's Eric Holder-led Justice Department, is, as the Times puts it, "to allow government agencies to lie about the existence of documents being sought under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. At present, if the government doesn't want to admit the existence of a document it believes to be exempt from FOIA, it may advise the person making the request that it can neither confirm nor deny the document's existence. Under the proposed regulation, an agency that withholds a document 'will respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist,' " the editorial explains.
The Times calls the proposal "outrageous. It provides a license for the government to lie to its own people and makes a mockery of FOIA. It also would mislead citizens who might file an appeal if they knew there was a possibility that the document they sought was in the possession of a government agency. Such an appeal would allow a court to determine whether the requested document was covered by an exemption in FOIA....
"The government should be free to withhold those documents, subject to review by the courts, but it would be unacceptableand deeply undemocraticto pretend they don't exist. The Justice Department should discard the rule and start over," the editorial concludes.
Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking minority member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the Justice Department promising to take all necessary action to stop this proposal from ever taking effect, after demanding answers to such pertinent questions as:
"Has the DOJ instructed, or otherwise approved, an agency providing a knowingly false statement about the existence of documents in responding to a FOIA request or to a FOIA requester? If so, how often has this been done? Describe the circumstances surrounding each use of a knowingly false statement DOJ has approved as an appropriate response to a FOIA request."
Ibero-American News Digest
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)Europeans have a lesson or two to learn from Argentina. On Oct. 23, as European leaders met yet again to save a dead financial system by killing nations such as Greece, Argentines delivered a historic landslide victory to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in her bid for re-election.
Fernández won 54% of the vote in the Oct. 23 elections, with her nearest rival obtaining just under 17%. Not since Juan Domingo Perón's 62% victory in 1973 has any Argentine President won such a big share of the vote, and by such a margin. Her party also retook control of the Congress in the historic sweep. A mere eight years ago, when her predecessor and late husband, Néstor Kirchner, first took office, with only 22% of the vote, Argentina was disintegrating under an IMF-induced Hell such as that being imposed upon Greece today. Today, Argentine growth rates, at 8% a year in 2010 and to date in 2011, are second in the world only to those of China.
The Kirchners pulled off this seeming miracle by breaking with British monetarism, favoring the common good over pleasing the IMF. In her Oct. 23 post-election speech, Cristina Fernández pointed out that today, when the whole world has turned upside down, it is easy to see that those policy decisions were correct. Let us be clear, however, she warned, that there are interests directed from abroad which still hope to return the country to those other policies which had destroyed it.
Bearing out her warning, those London and Wall Street-allied foreign interests have been heavily engaged in financial warfare against the government, speculating for months on the unregulated foreign exchange markets, provoking ever-larger capital flight they hope will force the government to change what they call "market-unfriendly" policies.
To stem the capital flight, now running at $3 billion a month, on Oct. 26 the government adopted strict exchange controls, decreeing that all mining, oil, and other energy companies must repatriate all their export earnings. Additional controls went into effect on Oct. 31, requiring individuals wishing to purchase dollars to obtain authorization from AFIP, the federal revenue agency.
London-allied media charge that these measures have only provoked panic and increased capital flight. But on Nov. 5, Central Bank president Mercedes Marcó del Pont debunked that argument, noting that, of those who had purchased dollars between July and September, 37% were either large corporations or wealthy individuals fortunes who bought an average of $100,000 monthly. It is these financial groups and allied medianot the small depositorsthat are speculating on the market, she said, "stirring the waters" and "trying to provoke terror among the small depositors."
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)A "Movement for a Brazil with Low Interest Rates, More Production and Employment" was launched Oct. 18, with an unusual rally in front of Central Bank offices in Sao Paulo. Unusual, because it was led by leaders of two of Brazil's largest industrial associationsthe Sao Paulo State Industrial Federation (FIESP) and the Brazilian Machinery and Equipment Association (ABIMAQ)and of three of the nation's largest trade union federationsthe Unified Workers Confederation (CUT), Forca Sindical, and the ABC Metalworkers Union.
The movement's website points out that, together, these groups represent "the majority of Brazilians who work and produce so that Brazil generates more and more wealth and reduces its inequalities, ensuring social development and economic prosperity."
Brazil's interest rates have been the highest in the world for most of the past 25 years. That turned it into the center of London's global "carry trade" (currency speculation), where foreign sharks such as JP MorganChase, which increased its holdings of Brazilian treasuries by 40% in the last two months, make a killing, almost for free.
This usury has been a hot political issue for years, but the decision for labor and industry to join forces now, is driven by growing nervousness that Brazil might, indeed, go down with the disintegration of that Trans-Atlantic system looting Brazil.
The problem, however, is that the movement remains opposed to an effectthe super-high interest rates, which are killing thembut have not addressed the cause of the problem, which is the international system with which Brazil is in a death embrace. And unless and until Brazil moves the way Argentina haswith exchange controls and putting sovereignty ahead of their creditors' demandsBrazil will not be able to defeat the symptoms.
The movement is gathering signatures on a manifesto that demands that the benchmark rate be sharply lowered and a pro-industry policy be adopted. "A country like Brazil, with an urgent need to grow and develop, cannot have the luxury of transferring enormous amounts of capital in the form of unproductive earnings. Speculative capitals flow into our financial system seeking yields which no other country offers. Nearly 36% of the national general budget goes to pay charges on the debt, resources which could take care of the enormous lack of infrastructure, health care, transportation, telecommunications, education, sanitation, etc."
Oct. 30 (EIRNS)Just how efficiently Nerobama has applied British imperial policies to depopulate Haiti by killing off its citizens, is seen in the report by physician Dr. Paul Farmer, Deputy UN Envoy to Haiti, and founder of the Partners in Health (PIH) NGO, which has operated in Haiti for more than 25 years.
In October 2010, when the cholera outbreak began, the disease had not been seen in more than 100 years on Hispaniola, the island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. Today, one year later, Haiti has the highest cholera rate in the world; it has sickened more than 470,000 people in a nation of 10 million, has killed 6,600, and is on the verge of becoming the leading cause of death by infectious disease.
"It's freaking incredible," Farmer told Associated Press Oct. 18. "In 365 days, you go from no cases to the largest number in the world." Also, cholera is likely to become endemic in Haiti.
Why the rapid spread? "Because Haiti is the most water-insecure country in the world," Farmer explained. The disease could be wiped out readily simply by improving Haiti's water system and sanitation. Why hasn't this been done?
Haiti is now in the middle of its second rainy season this year, creating conditions for cholera's rapid spread. Doctors Without Borders warns that it sees "dangerous and unpredictable fluctuations" in the number of cholera cases.
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)Three weeks after two storms dumped the worst rains in decades upon Central America, an estimated 1.2 million people are endangered, lacking food, medical care and/or homes. Rainfall was triple what is normal for the month of October, with the amount which fell in some areas equalling the amounts dumped by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, one of the worst storms to hit the region in over 100 years.
Many communities in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala remain isolated, after flooding and mudslides wiped out access roads and bridges. Close to 10% of Nicaragua's land area is under water, and the lake that surrounds the capital, Managua, is still rising. The United Nations warned yesterday that worsening food shortages loom, due to damage to crops and agricultural land. It is estimated, for example, that 80% of the corn, beans, and vegetable crops from around San Salvador were completely wiped out or damaged. In a region already suffering widespread malnutritionin Guatemala, for example, nearly half the children are malnourishedthis portends an increase in the death rate.
October's rains were extreme, but given its geography, a relatively thin strip of land connecting the continents of North and South America, severe hurricanes and tropical storms are a fact of life. More than 100 people died (so far) in this storm pattern, but an estimated 11,000 lives were lost to Hurricane Mitch, surpassing the 8,000-10,000 lives lost in 1974 to Hurricane Fifi.
Yet since then, the only changes in the infrastructure, housing, sanitation, and water-management systems, which could help to mitigate the loss of life, have been for the worse, at the same time that governments' in-depth logistical capabilities to mobilize to protect their populations have been systematically dismantled under globalization.
Western European News Digest
Nov. 5 (EIRNS)The order given to Prime Minister George Papandreou by Greece's "partners" from the G20 and the Eurozone is to put an end to the last remnants of sovereignty and surrender the country to the international financial oligarchy.
After barely winning a no-confidence vote, again with only the support of his PASOK party, Papandreou is now determined to force the main opposition party, New Democracy (ND), to join his government, in order to pass all the requirements demanded of Greece for the EU130 billion bailout to "save the euro." He is brandishing the Eurogroup's threat to kick Greece out of the Eurozone and even the European Union.
As of this morning, not all opposition parties are willing to enter a coalition, including the ND, the ultra-conservative Laos, which has 16 MPs, and especially the Communists and the Coalition of the Radical Left.
All the parties fear having to leave the euro or being thrown out of the EU, while none has put forward a viable alternative policy.
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)The German branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) issued an urgent call to the German government to talk the governments of the United States, Britain, and Israel out of any plans for an attack on Iran and to refrain from threats of war. The statement calls for nonviolent diplomacy, and a regionwide roundtable for Southwest Asia to discuss problems, modelled on the late-20th-Century Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
"In all three countries where an attack on Iran is seriously being discussed, there is great unrest about the economic situation and social injustice. Do these governments want to seek an escape into belligerent adventures?" asked Matthias Jochheim, chairman of the German IPPNW. "The situation resembles the prelude to the Iraq War, when there were allegations that Iraq posed an immense threat. Afterwards, it turned out that this was a fabricated story. We should learn a lesson from history."
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams led a walkout of Sinn Fein and Independent deputies from the Dáil (parliament) on Nov. 2, after the Fine Gael/Labour government coalition failed to stop the handover of EU700 million to the senior bondholders of the failed "bad bank," Anglo Irish Bank Corp., now the Irish Bank Resolution Corp.
Adams said: "At 12 noon today, the government facilitated the handover of [EU]700 million of taxpayers' money to an unguaranteed, unsecured senior bondholder in Anglo Irish Bank. The government refused to convene the Dáil today to allow the opposition to have their say on this issue and today they wilfully frustrated a debate. It is nothing short of a scandal that the government is allowing this handover to happen. Particularly at a time when they are planning to implement yet another austerity budget that will affect thousands of hard-pressed people."
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)Partly sparked by calls for a Greek referendum on the euro bailout package, the proposal for a referendum in Germanyfirst called for by the LaRouche movement thereis now gaining momentum. With a front-page banner headline, "Mrs. Merkel, We Want a Referendum, Too," the country's leading mass-circulation daily Bildzeitung today wrote that if Greece gets a referendum on the euro issue, Germany should have one as well. The article quotes Alexander Dobrindt, general secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party, who called yesterday for "important European issues" to be presented for referendum in the future. A similar call was made by Social Democratic chairman Sigmar Gabriel a couple of days ago.
Today, the Ecological-Democratic Party of Germany (OEDP), a moderate-conservative party, which has seats in numerous city councils, called for Germany to have a referendum. Policymaking is taking place and decisions are being made more and more over the heads of the people, the OEDP said. That must change so that the people have a say on important issues. The OEDP opposed the EU's Lisbon Treaty three years ago.
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)Civil disobedience protests are continuing through Greece as cuts and unemployment deepen. Following the protest events on Oct. 28 during the national day commemorating Greece's entry into World War II, demonstrators targeted a meeting of the Special Committee of the Socialist International for the Arab World at Agios Nikolaos on Crete on Oct. 29. Prime Minister George Papandreou was present at the meeting and protesters blocked access to the area and prevented local deputies, mayors, and members of his PASOK party from entering the hotel.
There is a mass campaign to sabotage the government's plan to collect the draconian property tax via the electricity bills under threat of cutting of electricity to those not paying. "We are not going to the government's dirty work," said Nikos Fotopoulos, who heads the union. "Electricity is a social commodity, not a means to collect taxes. We will do everything to ensure that unemployed people, poor people do not have their electricity cut."
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)Banks, including BNP Paribas and ING, are getting rid of billions of euros in Eurozone government bonds. BNP Paribas announced it lost EU362 million in the third quarter, through sales of almost EU25 billion of sovereign debt, or a quarter of its holdings, reducing its Italian bonds by EU8.2 billion, to EU12.6 billion, in just four months. It also cut back on EU2.2 billion in Spanish sovereign bonds (leaving EU0.5 billion), reduced its French debt holding by EU1 billion (leaving EU13.8 billion) and its German debt by EU1.4 billion (leaving EU2.5 billion).
The Dutch financial group ING said yesterday, that it had cut its Greek, Italian, Irish, Portuguese, and Spanish sovereign bond holdings by EU5.4 billion, also in the last four months.
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)The sudden announcement by Georg Fahrenschon, the finance minister of the German state of Bavaria, has caused some turmoil, not only in that state. Although it has been known for some time that people at the German savings banks association wanted him for their new president, he has not said a word about it. It cannot be ruled out that his decision to quit the ministry and run as a candidate for the savings banks presidency now, has to do with his support for a two-tier banking system: He was among the first prominent Germans to call for such a Glass-Steagall-style reform, about a week ago.
Oct. 18 (EIRNS)Russia Today television, citing Kommersant daily, reported that Russia is proposing to break the deadlock over the planned European Missile Defense System, with an alternative plan that would go beyond the original Ronald Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative and take up the full scope of scientific and technological cooperation envisioned by Lyndon LaRouche, in his original plan for U.S.-Soviet cooperation in bringing an end to the era of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).
While details of the Russian proposal have not been publicly revealed, a senior U.S. intelligence source confirmed that the Russians had put the idea of a Strategic Defense of Earth (SDE) on the table in the past month, as part of ongoing talks with the U.S. and NATO over the European missile defense system. Quoting Kommersant, RT said that "the idea was put forward by Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow's envoy to NATO ... and has been nicknamed Strategic Defense of Earth.... The system would be targeted against possible threats to Earth coming from space, including asteroids, comet fragments, and other alien bodies," Kommersant's sources are cited as saying.
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)A top-level Russian deployment to a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) resulted in a public drawing of the lines against the British Empire's war drive against Syria. Speaking Nov. 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Russia supported the efforts of the Arab League to resolve the Syria crisis, but then clearly took aim at the war-mongering from the British-French-U.S. crew which ran the operation in Libya. "We advocate an approach which, among others, is applied in Yemen," Lavrov said. "There was an initiative of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. And everyone, be it the Council itself, the Arab League, the EU, US, Russia or China, acted responsibly, without setting artificial deadlines, waiting for months until the goal was achieved."
"Isolation is not our approach," Lavrov continued. "If something goes wrong in Syria, many countries of the region will feel a negative impact. We can't support isolation because of the lesson we drew from Libya."
Lavrov attended the first ever Russia-GCC Strategic Dialogue meeting, which reports in the U.A.E. government press said would discuss cooperation on major regional projects, including rail, and nuclear and other electric power.
In the run-up to the meeting, Dr. Vladimir Titorenko, the Russian ambassador in Qatar, also addressed the situation with Syria. He clarified that Russia condemned the use of force by the Assad government against the demonstrators, but also criticized the refusal of some opposition groups to negotiate. Titorenko alleged that some outside elements appear to be arming the demonstrators, who have begun to shoot at the army and police. President Bashar Assad, in an Oct. 31 interview with Russian TV, referred to the Titorenko charge, and said that his government was working to unmask external plots against Syria.
Oct. 26 (EIRNS)Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin voiced disgust at TV coverage of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's death. "Nearly all Qaddafi's family was killed. His corpse was shown by all TV channels around the world. It was impossible to watch without disgust," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying. "What is this? They showed a man all bloodied and wounded, but still alive, and how he was beaten even more."
The Russian Prime Minister spoke at a meeting of the Russian Popular Front in Moscow, at which delegate Yekaterina Lakhova, head of the national Union of Women, had raised the question of the media's role in demoralizing society. Putin continued, talking about the Qaddafi murder coverage: "Nothing like this is permitted, morally, by any of the world's religions. Not Christianity, not Judaism, not Islamnone of them allows such things to be shown in the mass media." The political component and the civil war going on in Libya are a separate question, Putin said. "But the fact that this is shown on TV, and millions of people watch it, including children, and it's not an animation or some artistic rendition, but real footage: there's nothing good in that."
Oct. 20 (EIRNS)Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev visited Beijing for the sixth round of the Russian-Chinese strategic security consultations, beginning Oct. 20. On the agenda was cooperation in fighting terrorism, extremism, and separatism.
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)Former Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, elected President of the country Oct. 30, announced that the contract for the U.S. Air Base at the Manas Airport near Bishkek would be allowed to lapse in 2014, a campaign promise of his. The base is a critical supply point for the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Former President Bakiyev had threatened to close the base in 2009, but agreed, under pressure, to keep it open in exchange for a higher rent.
Atambayev pointed to the war policies in Washington as a danger to the region: "We know that the United States is often engaged in conflict. First in Iraq, then in Afghanistan, and now relations are tense with Iran. I would not want for one of these countries to launch a retaliatory strike on the military base."
Atambayev has met often with Vladimir Putin and is considered a friend of Russia.
Oct. 20 (EIRNS)During a mid-October summit of the Community of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community, and the EurAsEC Customs Union, held in his native city of St. Petersburg, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Oct. 19 attended a ceremony in the suburban town of Pushkin, formerly called Tsarskoye Selo ("the Tsar's Village"). The occasion was the 200th anniversary of opening of the famous Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, known by its French name as the "Lycée," in 1811. Two members of the first entering class of 12-year-olds were to become outstanding people in history, for the creation of Russia's national identity and for the still-not-fully-realized potential of Russian-American collaboration. They were Alexander Pushkin, Russia's national poet, and Prince Alexander Gorchakov, who 50 years later, as Tsar Alexander II's foreign minister, would negotiate Russia's alliance with Abraham Lincoln against the British Empire, during the U.S. Civil War.
1811 was a seminal moment for the U.S.-Russian relationship. The next year, the British would attack the United States in the War of 1812, while Anglo-Venetian stooge Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia. The American ambassador in St. Petersburg, then the capital, was future President John Quincy Adams. Adams's dialogues on strategy and statecraft with the Russian Chancellor, Count Rumyantsev (who called himself "American in my bones," and whose personal library formed the core of the national Lenin Library collection), are reminders of the potential that was lost when a great moment found small-minded, manipulated leaders during the Congress of Vienna.
The education that Pushkin, Gorchakov, and their classmates received at Tsarskoye Selo testifies to the power of the German Classical curriculum, developed by Wilhelm Humboldt and others in this period, and to the potential of the application of American System economics in Eurasia, as well as in its birthplace. The initial headmaster of Tsarskoye Selo was Vasili Malinovsky, who in 1807 had issued Alexander Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures" in a Russian translation, stating in the introduction that its contents were fully applicable to the Russian Empire, among other reasons because of the shared transcontinental vision of both Russia and the United States.
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)There is an intense battle between Israeli military and intelligence institutions and the Netanyahu government over the latter's decision to go war against Iran. Lyndon LaRouche said today, that this Israeli discussion is very useful as long as it's not limited to that, but is rather correctly understood as one current expression of the British Empire's difficulties in getting World War III going.
The most recent escalation of this battle occurred when the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot devoted the lead of its Nov. 4 edition to a feature by columnist Nahum Barnea, which reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak had reached a decision to attack Iran, over the opposition of the heads of the intelligence and security services and the military.
Barnea and other Israelis have said that the current heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, and the current Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Force, all oppose such an attack, as did their three predecessors. But the current leadership is younger and less confidentthe question is whether they will be able to override Netanyahu, as their predecessors did. Indeed, former Mossad head Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, who have long made their opposition public, have been accused of being the source of the leak from the Cabinet. Ma'ariv reported that Netanyahu has started an investigation of the leak. In response to a threat of indictment, Dagan said, "Let them indict me."
The track of a British-directed Israeli attack on Iran, in which Obama will join by secret pre-arrangement, is only one part of the British mechanism for triggering World War III in the "new Balkans" of greater Southwest Asia. Another part includes the Libya conquest and massacres; the third leg is regime-change in Syria.
Nov. 7 (EIRNS)"Israel is playing with the fires of hell," in planning war against Iran, writes Gideon Levy, in the Nov. 7 Ha'aretz. "Insanity, not logic, guides Israel's leadership. The men's men who are threatening Iran now are the real cowards' cowards. The brave ones are in fact those who are trying to thwart the insanity, from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Interior Minister Eli Yishai."
"The danger of Iran using a nuclear weapon is nil, and yet Israel is playing with the fires of hell."
Levy says that not only is the Netanyahu government insane about Iran, but also on every other foreign policy and security matter, including: "continued construction in the territories, ... the war that the government of Israel has declared on the Palestinian Authority, without considering what will come instead ... continuing to imprison Marwan Barghouti ... Operation Cast Lead, which damaged Israel much more than it benefited it...."
The opposition continues to surface daily inside Israel against British puppet Netanyahu's insanity that threatens to destroy Israel for the British Empire. Knesset member Gen. Shaul Mofaz, the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces, has denounced the actions by Netanyahu's Cabinet to go for war against Iran, and Likud hawks Benny Begin (son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin) and Dan Meridor, are supporting the statements against the Iran war by the former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Mossad chiefs, reported David Remnick in the New Yorker, Nov. 6.
But the biggest indictment of Netanyahu came from former Israeli Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy in Ha'aretz on Nov. 4, when he wrote that the Jewish fundamentalist right is a bigger threat than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Iran is not an existential threat to Israel.
"Ultra-Orthodox radicalization [among Jews] poses a bigger threat than Ahmadinejad," Halevy said, according to Ynet, the website of Yedioth Ahronoth. "The State of Israel cannot be destroyed. An attack on Iran could affect not only Israel, but the entire region for 100 years."
By contrast, he said the growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish Haredi sect "poses a bigger risk than Ahmadinejad," adding that "the ultra-Orthodox extremism has darkened our lives," referring to the Nov. 4, 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an ultra-right-wing Israeli.
The article appeared on the 16th anniversary of the Rabin assassination.
Nov. 7 (EIRNS)The intelligence that President Obama is using to justify his war threats against Iran, as at the closing press conference with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, at the G20 meeting in Cannes, was planted on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It was not a finding of the IAEA inspectors, but consists of reports provided by countries that are members of the IAEA, such as Israel, Britain, and the United States, that are trying to start a war. Such third-party reports do not even have to be included in the IAEA report. In fact, in 2009, then-IAEA chief Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei blasted Israeli leaders for accusing him of covering up the Iran nuclear weapons program, when he treated Israeli intelligence with reservations.
Knowing this game very well, on Nov. 5, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in Tehran that the IAEA "intelligence" on Iran's program was a "fabrication" that had been alleged earlier, and which Iran had already answered in a 117-page report entitled "Alleged Studies." Iran knows what is in the coming IAEA report because it had been given a copy earlier, and offered a chance to "refute" the charges, which Iran refused. At the press conference, Salehi compared Obama's threats against Iran to what the Bush/Cheney regime did against Iraq. "The Americans raised documents like this in the past: the Niger scandal," Salehi said, referring to the Niger yellow-cake uranium forgery.
EIR has confirmed that the 117-page report referred to by Salehi has been in the possession of the IAEA for years, and has never been made public. Moreover, allegations appearing in the press that the IAEA will provide "satellite photos" showing that Tehran "has built a large steel container that can be used to carry out tests with high explosives found in atomic weapons," is an unconfirmed report from an unnamed "third party" country. The satellite photos will not even be provided to the member countries of the IAEA.
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)Provocations by numerous armed British intelligence assets in Syria are being used to ignite the British Empire's war to bring down President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. On Nov. 6, an emergency Arab League meeting (with no date set) was called for, because of fighting in the city of Homs, where about 20 people have died. It is impossible to tell how many of the dead are Syrian government forces who were killed by armed insurgents, whose numbers have been put at anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000, including Kurdish guerrillas and Saudi-backed Salafis.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani warned, if Syria doesn't "meet its commitments" to the Arab League agreement, made last week, then the Arab League will hold a ministerial meeting that will "take the necessary decisions."
On Nov. 5, Ambassador Youssef Ahmad, the Syrian envoy to the Arab League in Cairo, appeared on Syrian TV and accused the U.S. of supporting armed insurgents inside the country. Ahmad called the Arab League warnings one-sided, and said the League had not taken "notice of the flagrant U.S. incitement of the armed terrorist groups not to hand over their weapons and benefit from the amnesty," offered by President Assad, reported the London Guardian.
Nov. 2 (EIRNS)South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak stopped off in Russia on the way to the G20 summit in Cannes, France; he met with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in St. Petersburg, to further the plans for the Korea Gasline project through North Korea.
President Lee's office said: "The two leaders agreed that if carried out successfully, the project to import Russian natural gas will bring economic benefits to all three countries," and that Seoul expects Russia's cooperation in resolving the North's nuclear stalemate. Lee said the two countries' economic collaboration will contribute to prosperity and peace in Northeast Asia, a major benefit for all of Asia.
The Korean-Russian perspective is that the pipeline would be only the first step. The two leaders agreed that once the security problems were dealt with, they could consider supplying surplus electricity as well as gas, from the Russian Far East to South Korea via North Korea.
Lee elaborated, "I visited Siberia and the Russian Far East a number of times when I was a businessman, confirmed the infinite potential of the region with my own eyes, and have sought bilateral economic cooperation since."
Nikolai Dubik, head of Gazprom's legal department, provided a timeline: Commercial negotiations on the basic conditions related to the pipeline gas project are to be finished by January, a deal signed by April. Construction is supposed to be completed by December 2016, to begin supplying in January 2017.
Lee also opened the door for a summit with the North's Kim Jong-il, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, published Nov. 1. "There will be a point in time where the South, the North and Russia hold three-way discussions.... But before reaching that stage, a lot of conditions must be fulfilled. Discussions on the gas pipeline project could proceed swiftly, or not. It is difficult to predict for now." Lee placed no preconditions on a possible summit with the North, saying only that it would be useful.
Nov. 5 (EIRNS)Raymond Colston, recently appointed to the new post of National Intelligence Manager for Korea for the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI), after many years at the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned, at a Washington forum yesterday, that efforts to engage North Korea in discussions about ending their nuclear programs "are only that much harder," due to the military operations and threats against Libya and Syria.
Asked by EIR if North Korea were not justified in wishing to keep its nuclear program, after seeing what the British and the U.S. did to Iraq and Libya (which gave up their nuclear programs and were then destroyed militarily), and the continuing war threats from Obama, Colston told the Wilson Center audience that North Korean leaders pointed to Iraq and Libya as justification for their resistance to giving up their nuclear program. Not wishing to comment on President Obama or the issue of preemptive war, Colston nonetheless made clear that the military adventures in the Mideast are undermining U.S. diplomatic efforts in Asia. Colston had early insisted that before we condemn North Korea, we had better reflect on our own behavior, not only in the Koreas, but in Vietnam, Iraq, and elsewhere. He said the U.S. must have some humility in dealing with North Korea, after reviewing our disastrous miscalculations elsewhere.
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)"Thai floods may push up global rice prices," according to China's People's Daily. The Thai agricultural department has already indicated that Thai rice output for the current crop will drop from 25 million metric tons to 19 million. But, additionally, "The floods may also make the rice yield of the second quarter drop by 7 million tons because much seed rice was washed away in the floods."
Thailand accounts for about 30% of the world's rice exports. "There is no doubt that rice supplies in Southeast Asia will be influenced by the floods in Thailand, which may cause further rising food prices.... Analysts indicated that the underproduction of rice in Thailand due to floods will heighten Asian countries' concern with inflation and increase the pressure on them to fight it."
Fortunately, rice-dependent South and East Asian countries are self-sufficient, or nearly so, in rice. Africa is, however, a major rice importer.
Within Thailand, there will not be a shortage of rice, but supplies of "garden crops," and animal feed stocks have been affected by the floods.
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)The floods in Thailand have caused over 400 deaths, while one-fifth of the capital Bangkok is now under water, seven industrial parks with 1,000-plus factories, including those of Sony, Toyota, Nikon, etc., are flooded and closed, and nearly 700,000 workers are out of work. Thirteen commercial banks have temporarily closed a total of 556 branches in flood-hit provinces.
The new Pheu Thai government under Yingluck Shinawatra (sister to ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted by a military coup), began dealing with the pending flood catastrophe even before taking office just over two months ago. But, besides having to deal with the 16,000 million cubic meters (by one estimate) of extra water, the opposition Democratic Party and other Royalist forces serving British imperial interests are working to destabilize the popular, nationalist government yet again.
Rumors of direct sabotage of flood-control measures, especially by the Royal Irrigation Department management of upriver dams and sluices, are not confirmed at this point; it is far more important to rescue people, provide food, shelter, and medical care, and otherwise deal with immediate problems, than to conduct a full investigation. But non-cooperation and defiance of government directives by Democratic Party officials and other anti-Yingluck forces is widespread, while these people are blaming the crisis on Yingluck. The Army, still led by a general who was key to the ouster of Thaksin, has called for a state of emergency to be imposed, which would put great political power in the hands of the military. The Royalist press touts a survey that praises the Army for its flood-relief efforts.
Worst of all is the attempt in the midst of this misery, heartbreak, and loss, to whip up even greater fear and hysteria. Thanong Khanthong, editor of The Nation newspaper, for example, wrote today: "The mismanagement of this whole affair appears to follow a scenario of total disaster. Once the capital runs out of food, drinking water, electricity and the possible breakdown of communications, we can kiss Bangkok goodbye. By that time, we will forever lose our capital."
In the days just prior to the 2006 coup which ousted him, Thaksin was moving towards design and implementation of large scale, anti-flooding, anti-drought water-control systems for all of Thailand. Neither the Army nor the following Democratic Administration moved the plans an inch forward.
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