Life Beyond Sense-Perception:
Science vs. Mathematics
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
April 14, 2011I have often been sent questions respecting certain matters of physical science which define the relevant, indicated topic in terms of what is fairly identified in conventional terms of reference, as mathematical ``sense-certainty.'' For as long as the suggested dialogue remains within the confines of emphasis on formal mathematical reference, the discussion can often proceed within the familiar bounds of a discussion, as within the implied, specifically mathematical terms of reference posed by the legendary ``typical questioner.'' In the case of more serious qualities of discussions, that convention is no longer a profitable one; a shift to a Riemannian framework of reference is required. Then, what is usually considered as a customary mathematical situation no longer applies. Therefore, for the latter cases, a strictly Riemannian standpoint is to be applied, as in a manner typified by Bernhard Riemann's own 1854 habilitation dissertation and the related parts of the arguments of Carl F. Gauss and Lejeune Dirichlet.
Since August-September 2010, the leading aspects of the work conducted in ``the basement'' project, have been deliberately shifted, globally, ever farther away from the ontologically paradoxical domain of a merely imagined quality of a physical space-time of ``space, time, and matter,'' to the premises of an intrinsically noëtic system of universal cosmic radiation....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
April 10 (EIRNS)Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig on April 1 charged that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's "Qualitative Easing II" (QEII) money printing is causing commodity prices to surge, something Bernanke repeatedly denied in Congressional hearings.
A chart released by Bloomberg News on April 7, tracking the Journal of Commerce Commodity Index, shows that from a low point in January 2009, the Index has risen without interruption precisely since the Fed's launching at that time of multitrillion-dollar purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) and Treasuries. This was so-called "QEI." The mechanism is that the Fed buys large masses of securities of varying toxicity from the banks; the banks park the proceeds in excess reserves at the Fed, and pour them into commodity futures/derivatives funds, exchange-traded funds, emerging market funds, loans to hedge funds speculating in commodities, etc. The only interruption in the surge came in late Summer 2010, after the Fed had topped off this buying, and before it began QEII. The Index then rose steadily again from August 2010 until now.
The Bloomberg chart shows the Fed's money printing and the commodity hyperinflation forming virtually identical curves over the two years. The St. Louis Federal Reserve bank has just released figures showing the Fed increasing the U.S. money supply by 10% annually, the pace doubling since the beginning of 2011even while unpayable real estate, consumer, and commercial debt is continuing to be written off.
Overall, across the entire 18-commodity range, prices have risen by an average of 150% in two years since March 2009, destroying livelihoods and increasing political disruptions in many nations. The inflationary rise has not yet become geometric, but it is accelerating, with most commodities having risen 20-30% in just the first quarter of 2011: oil at $112.79 a barrel, up 23% in the quarter; silver up 31%; corn at $7.68 a bushel, up 22%; wheat up 21%; copper up 31%.
April 15 (EIRNS)USA Today reported yesterday that the percentage of Americans working is now the lowest since 1983: Only 45.4% of all Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983, and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Using a different measurement, the active labor force, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.
The portion of people ages 16-24 in the labor market is at the lowest level since the government began keeping track in 1948, falling from 66% in 2000, to 55% this year. There are 17 million in that age group who are employed, the fewest since 1971, when the population was much smaller.
People in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are staying employed longer than at any previous time. For example, 55% of people ages 60-64 were in the labor market during the first 11 months of 2010, up from 47% for the same period in 2000. "Most people work longer because they have to," says Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center of Workforce Development at Rutgers University. "Many can't afford to drop out of the labor market without severe financial implications."
Global Economic News
April 12 (EIRNS)Iceland's stand against the bankrupt Inter-Alpha Group banking system is reverberating through Europe, especially Ireland, Portugal, and Greece, among those who want to fight the European Union's economic dictatorship. On April 10, the Icelandic population, for the second time in 14 months, decisively defeated a proposal that the small country pay more than $5 billion to British and Dutch bankers who lost their money in the speculative gambling spree that crashed in October 2008.
A European Parliament faction, the Confederal Group of the European Left-Nordic Green Left, is arranging to send a delegation to Iceland. This faction includes the Irish Sinn Fein, the German Die Linke (Left) party, the Greek Synaspismos party, the Communist Parties from France and various East European countries, and the Danish People's Movement Against the EU.
Britain's Guardian posts a commentary by Aditya Chakrabortty, entitled, "Iceland broke the rules and got away with it," making the point that Iceland's "No" vote is being heard in Ireland and Portugal.
"Reykjavik now serves as a very different kind of parable, of how to minimize the misery of financial collapse by ignoring economic orthodoxy. And in those other broke European economiesfrom Dublin to Athens to Lisbonpoliticians and voters are starting to pay attention. After its three biggest banks85% of the country's financial systemfailed in the same week, Iceland did two remarkable things. First, it let the banks go under: Foreign financiers who had lent to Reykjavik institutions at their own risk didn't get a single krona back. Second, officials imposed capital controls, making it harder for hot-money merchants to pull their cash out of the country.
"These policies were not just controversial; they represented a two-fingered salute to the polite society of academics and policymakers who normally lay down the laws on economic disaster management."
He compares this to Ireland's government guarantee it gave the banks in 2008, which has bankrupted the country.
"A reverse Robin Hoodtaking money from the poor and giving to the rich," is how Anne Sibert, a member of the Central Bank of Iceland's monetary policy committee, described the Irish policy to Chakrabortty.
While things might be difficult in Iceland, he notes, they are not nearly as bad as in Ireland.
Pointing to the fact that the Iceland message is being heard in Ireland, he cites newly elected Dail (Irish parliament) Independent Stephen Donnelly, who said the "Icelandic example is beginning to attract interest in the Dail and in the media.
"An Icelandic politician, Lilja Mósesdóttir, was in Ireland last week and was interviewed by Vincent Browne, the Irish equivalent of Jeremy Paxman" [a TV newsman and interviewer on BBCed.]. Mósesdóttir resigned from the Left-Green Party over the government's paying off the British and Dutch governments and also the government's IMF-dictated policy. Her hard-hitting interview demonstrated how the mass strike in Iceland overthrew the government's policy.
And on Portugal, he cites Lisbon journalist Joana Gorjão Henriques, that newspaper columnists were using Iceland's case as an example that Portugal, Greece, and Ireland should followmake an alliance and say to the EU that they won't pay the debt.
By contrast, the Irish Times in its lead editorial, "Iceland Says No To Payback Vote," writes that Iceland is not a model. While quoting Iceland President Grimsson saying, "The leaders of other states and international institutions will have to respect this expression of national will," and that those pressing for a referendum in Ireland "will gain heart from this result," they also emphatically support simply renegotiating the bailout package "within the EU-IMF framework."
April 16 (EIRNS)Germany's leading bank, Deutsche Bank, was exposed (along with Goldman Sachs) in U.S. Sen. Carl Levin's (D-Mich.) subcommittee report for recklessly pushing worthless mortgage-backed securities to investors. The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (SPIS) said the bank had wittingly pushed high-risk collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that would help cause the United States' worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
"Our investigation found a financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest and wrongdoing," said Senator Levin while presenting the 639-page report, which documents how the bank assembled a $1.1 billion CDO fund known as Gemstone 7, then filled it with low-quality assets that its top CDO trader cynically referred to as "crap" and "pigs" that needed to be sold "before the market falls off a cliff."
"Deutsche Bank lost $4.5 billion when the mortgage market collapsed, but would have lost even more if it had not cut its losses by selling CDOs like Gemstone," the report said. "Both Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank underwrote securities using loans from subprime lenders known for issuing high-risk, poor-quality mortgages, and sold risky securities to investors across the United States and around the world. They also enabled the lenders to acquire new funds to originate still more high-risk, poor-quality loans," the report found.
The fraudulent methods exposed in the Levin Report, are of the same type used by Deutsche Bank in many cases where it sold worthless paper to deluded clients, and this greedy trick was exposed in a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Germany on March 22, when the court ruled that the bank had consciously defrauded the Ille Paper Service firm with swap arrangements, and must therefore compensate the firm for its losses. There are 16 more such cases, involving both firms but also several municipalities in Germany, lined up for a ruling at the Supreme Court, plus numerous other cases before lower courts. The Levin Report's targetting of Deutsche Bank has received broad coverage in the German media, and will increase the spirit of firms and municipalities to step up the fight the banksters.
United States News Digest
April 15 (EIRNS)The Obama-Boehner continuing resolution to (de)fund the Federal government for rest of FY2011 passed the House yesterday on a 260 to 167 votebut was, in fact, a stunning repudiation of both President Obama and House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Three-fifths of House Democrats (108) voted against Obama's bill, with only 81 supporting it. Even Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) voted against it, with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) being the only member of the elected Democratic leadership to support it.
When Pelosi was asked by Associated Press yesterday how she would vote on the budget compromise, she was fuming, according to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank. "As was pretty evident, the House Democrats were not a part of that agreement," she said. "I'd rather call it an agreement than a deal," she went on, adding, "I feel no ownership of that or any responsibility to it."
Politico reports that labor leaders excoriated Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a closed session of the AFL-CIO's executive board meeting this week in Washington. Furious union presidents complained about budget cuts, a new trade agreement, and what some view as their abandonment by Senate Democrats. "Now, not only are we getting screwed by the Republicans, but the Democrats are doing it, too," fumed one union official. Milbank reports the same, saying that among the labor leaders meeting this week, the criticism of Obama and Reid "turned caustic," and he quotes an unnamed prominent Democratic operative saying of Obama: "His decisions don't seem to be anchored to anything.... Democrats desperately want to support him, but aren't sure what they're supporting or why."
April 15 (EIRNS)Following the release of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations report on the financial crisis yesterday, Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) held a press conference on the content of the report. Both made clear that they have referred the report and all the supporting documentation (5,800 pages) to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and that, although it is not their job to bring indictments, they believe the criminality is blatant and rampant.
Coburn declared the report to be bipartisan, adding, "I agree with Senator Levin that a significant conflict of interests led to this precipitous change in our country and our economy." He criticized the Angelides Report, which, he claimed, "didn't report anything of significance," in order to assert that the Congress is fully capable of doing the investigation itself. He also called for other committees in Congress to follow their model, "given the plight of our financial system today and the waste, fraud, and abuse that's within the Federal government," adding that such a crisis could have been avoided, "if Congress [had done] its job on a routine daily basis instead of after the problems have occurred."
Levin outlined the criminal activity:
Banks and Thrifts (focus on Washington Mutual): "Selling tens of billions of dollars in dubious and often fraudulent mortgages either directly or through mortgage backed securities."
Regulatory Agencies (focus on the office of Thrift Supervision, OTS): "... seeing the danger, but sitting on its hands instead of acting to oversee a bank on which it depended for 15% of its budget ... [and] were well aware of, and had documented, the bank's high risk, poor quality loans and deficient lending practices."
Investment Banks (focus on Goldman Sachs, but including all of them): "... created a huge market for shoddy mortgage-related securities, then packaged and sold them using deceptive practices, placing bets, huge bets, and placing secret bets against the very securities that they were selling to their clients and then making big money when the house burned down."
April 15 (EIRNS)Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter announcing her support for H.R. 452, a bill to repeal Obama's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and asking others to join her. She is the fourth Democrat to co-sponsor the repeal bill, joining Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), and over 70 House Republicans. Schwartz is the most prominent Democratic defection so far, says The Hill, noting that she is a prominent health-reform advocate, and the vice-chair of the New Democratic Coalition.
Schwartz cites Congress's Constitutional authority as the first reason to repeal the program. "Congress is a representative body and must assume responsibility for legislating sound health care policy for Medicare beneficiaries, including those policies related to payment systems," she wrote. "Abdicating this responsibility, whether to insurance companies or an unelected commission, would undermine our ability to represent the needs of the seniors and disabled in our communities."
The Hill states that Schwartz's defection adds to already serious doubts that Obama will be able to garner enough votes to strengthen the IPAB, as he proposed in his April 13 deficit speechunless, of course, he attempts to do this through an Executive Order. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, told Politico on Thursday that an IPAB repeal bill is most likely one of the next steps the subcommittee will take up, because it's "what I call low-hanging fruit." A corresponding bill in the Senate, S.668, has 18 sponsors and cosponsors.
April 13 (EIRNS)It's now official. On April 6, this news service reported that the Obama Administration's financial regulators had effectively deep-sixed the combined effort of the state attorneys-general to penalize the big mortgage banks, for their flagrant law-breaking and tax evasion in foreclosing on millions of American households.
Today, the non-regulators set up by the Dodd-Frank-Obama bill reached the consent agreements that let the 14 major mortgage banks and "service providers," like the MERSCORP and Lender Processing Servers, off the hook with civil fines and a consent order. The decision occurred as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and 22 other Democrats in the House scrambled with introduction of a bill, HR 1477, the Preserving Homes and Communities of 2011, to stop the deal. The Cummings bill, a replica of a Senate bill introduced earlier by Jack Reed (D-R.I.), could have been introduced earlier, but only occurred last night.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Fed, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reached the agreements with: Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. The two service providers are Lender Processing Services (LPS) and its subsidiaries DocX, LLC, and LPD Default Solutions, Inc.; and MERSCORP and its wholly owned subsidiary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS).
There are absolutely no criminal penalties or mention of criminal investigations involved. Each of the banks has a more than 30-page consent order to comply with. John Walsh, acting Comptroller of the Currency, lied, in a statement on the OCC's website, that "these reforms will not only fix the problems we found in foreclosure processing, but will also correct failures in governance and the loan modification process...."
The FDIC press release says that this agreement is done to "complement, rather than preempt or impede" the "ongoing collaboration" with the Department of Justice and the various state attorneys-general who are looking into these cases, but it is well known that this White House-driven deal is out to stop any and all real investigations.
April 11 (EIRNS)In a video uploaded on youtube.com yesterday, under the headline "Congressman Rangel on Budget and Why Obama May Not Deserve a Second Term," the National Action Network gives coverage of an interview with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on his dissatisfaction with the Obama regime's handling of the nation's affairs.
Rangel is quoted: "This President, other Presidents, getting America involved in wars that we shouldn't be involved inwhether it is in Libya, whether it is in Iraq, or whether it is in Afghanistan. We cannot do this all over the world. This is especially so, when we find young people who have no economic options except to go into the service. When I go to funerals, it is very difficult to explain to their loved ones as to why they were in these places. Whether we are talking about Vietnamit's sad."
Rangel added, "Economically, the country is not poor. One percent of the population owns 40% of the wealth. They're not taxed, they get tax breaksyet, we're talking about laying off teachers. There's something's wrong with this picture, I can tell you that."
In March, according to a Gallup poll, African-American approval of Obama fell by 7 percentage points, from 92% to 85%.
Ibero-American News Digest
April 7 (EIRNS)LaRouche Youth Movement organizers Ingrid Torres and Lourdes Montes presented what radio host Ramón Pieza called "novel, creative, inspiring" ideas on his Radio Red "Entornos" program, which is broadcast in Mexico City and Monterrey, as well as on the web. The central topic of the hour-long presentation was the danger of global seismic upheaval in the galactic period which the Earth has entered, with an emphasis on the feasibility of predicting earthquakes in time to evacuate people and save lives. The broadcast occurred on the day that central and southern Mexicoincluding Mexico Citydown to northern Guatemala, had been shaken by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that morning, whose epicenter was Veracruz, Mexico.
Pieza, who warmly praised LaRouche for having dared to threaten the political establishment, engaged in a discussion of LaRouche's physical economics and the Keplerian-Riemannanian-LaRouchean anti-statistical method required to forecast earthquakes and economic developments, and to avoid a new Dark Age.
Pieza told the organizers: What you are proposing is reasonable and sound, but it is a profound change in everything people think now, and what they are accustomed to. Doesn't that provoke fear in people?
Yes, people generally try to talk about some other subject, they replied. For example, when we tell people their survival depends on the U.S. and the world adopting Glass-Steagall principles, many protest, "But we can't have an effect on an international scale." Now we tell them they have to act to have an effect on a galactic scale, and they respond, "Well, OK, maybe Glass Steagall"!
Human creativity is the issue, both organizers elaborated. People are pessimistic because they stick to their five senses. They "see" only the narco threat and the economic collapse, and conclude there is nothing to be done. But we provide them with revolutionary ideas, thinking towards the future.
April 18 (EIRNS)Haitians are preparing to watch Lyndon LaRouche's webcast on April 19, and approximately 1,000 people recently watched LPAC-TV's "Rim of Fire" video at a public gathering.
The latter group saw the entire video while attending a clinic to get advice on how to deal with the horrendous sanitary conditions in which the majority of people still live. Many asked for a CD of the video, Haitian youth leader Charles Luckson reported.
The situation in Haiti continues to be desperate. Seasonal rains have brought with them a new wave of cholera cases. On April 12, David Walton, a Partners In Health physician who runs a cholera treatment center in Mirebalais, reported that since the rainy season began two weeks ago, "we've seen 1,000 new cases." He expressed concern that "given what I've seen, we could be overwhelmed again at the cholera centers." Many of the NGOs that provided health care following the October 2010 cholera outbreak, have since left the country.
The United Nations' anti-cholera effort is woefully underfunded. Emmanuelle Schneider, spokesperson for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, warns that, "if we are not able to keep sanitation activities in camps, latrines are going to overflow, [and] it's going to be a source of cholera contamination ... there will be open defecation."
April 18 (EIRNS)Despite the anti-nuclear hysteria generated by such British intelligence assets as Greenpeace, Mexican authorities aren't backing off from a commitment to develop nuclear energy.
In late March, Ricardo Córdoba Quiroz, deputy manager of Nuclear Security at the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), reported that the government is considering building four more nuclear reactorsthere are currently two 810 MW reactors operating at Laguna Verde in the state of Veracruzand is looking at the states of Tamaulipas, Sonora, and Veracruz as possible sites.
One of the projects under consideration would involve building two more reactors at Laguna Verde. The estimated cost of one reactor is $4.4 billion.
According to the CFE official, Mexico's national energy strategy estimates that by 2024, 35% of the country's electricity-generating capacity will come from clean energy, including nuclear. Currently, the two Laguna Verde reactors provide 4.5% of Mexico's electricity.
On April 7, shortly after visiting the Laguna Verde reactors, Jalisco Sen. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez of the ruling PAN party, endorsed the expansion of nuclear energy in Mexico. The former Jalisco governor noted that the two reactors have operated for more than 20 years with no safety problems, by maintaining high safety standards and a highly qualified labor force.
It is imperative, Cárdenas said, that nuclear energy not be demonized, despite the tragic events that occurred at Japan's Fukushima plant in the wake of the March 11 earthquake. Nuclear energy is both clean and cheap, he underscored, and any problem of nuclear waste can be addressed with the appropriate technology.
Western European News Digest
April 11 (EIRNS)Phil Angelides, chairman of the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, gave what was received as "historic" testimony before the European Parliament's Committee on the Financial and Social Crisis today. He was invited by the committee, after its members had met with him in the U.S. earlier this year.
The Angelides report, issued on Jan. 27, chronicles the rise of what it calls the "shadow banking system" of investment banks, money-market funds, and "hot money," parallel to the commercial banking system, and shows how deregulation allowed the shadow banking system to grow and outstrip the regulated banks, to the point of their collapse in 2007-08.
From the tone of the praise and the questions posed by the Members of the European Parliament who comprise the committee, it was clear that his presence and presentation had a remoralizing effect.
Lega Nord MEP Mario Borghezio asked if Angelides could comment on the fact that the U.S. Federal Reserve bailed out the European banks as well as the American ones. Angelides said he was unable to answer that question, but he did say his commission's investigations only "opened the door" and that follow-up investigations should take place.
April 10 (EIRNS)About 60% of Iceland's citizens voted "No" in an April 9 national referendum on the latest plan for the government to pay the British banks for their blown-out speculation in Iceland. Voters thus reiterated their decision in the March 2010 referendum on a previously proposed bailout deal. After recent opinion polls had given a supposed comfortable majority for an affirmative decision, the hardening of the voters' mood shocked international financiers, who reportedly braced for "political and economic chaos."
Britain's Treasury chief Danny Alexander announced that the U.K. and the Netherlands would sue Iceland for billions of euros in European courts.
April 15 (EIRNS)An Icelandic blogger is featuring Lyndon LaRouche and the global fight for Glass-Steagall prominently on his blog, called Amazing Iceland and Icesave. Among other things, he has posted Danish Schiller Institute chairman Tom Gillesberg's letter to the President of Iceland after the Icelandic people decisively defeated the so-called Icesave agreement. The blog also has many links to LaRouchePAC videos, LaRouche webcasts, and other material from LPAC.
April 13 (EIRNS)German Members of Parliament Frank Schäffler (FDP) and Carsten Schneider (SPD), both prominent skeptics against the planned new rescue facility ESM (European Stability Mechanism), have sounded the alarm over the attempt of the German government, in line with the EU bureaucrats, to push the ESM through as a permanent bailout mechanism, without having it ratified by the national parliament.
Schäffler, the Free Democratic Party's financial expert in the Bundestag (parliament), told the Handelsblatt business daily, "The ESM is an in-depth interference with the budgeting privilege of the parliament, and it is changing the primary law in Europe." Schneider, the Social Democratic Party's budget spokesman in the Bundestag, also denounced the plan: "It must not be tolerated that the finance ministers of the euro states who are seated on the EMS board, should be allowed to vote for the expansion of the credit volume.... This decision is a privilege of parliaments."
April 11 (EIRNS)The Hungarian trade unions estimate that at least 50,000 people came to demonstrate at the ECOFIN meeting of EU finance and economic ministers and central bankers, held in Budapest, today.
Representatives of 45 unions of 22 countries participated, including from other East European countries. "This is the largest demonstration since May 1, 1989," said demonstrators, referring to events that led to the May 2, 1989 opening of Hungary's borders, which marked the beginning of the end for the communist system.
Hungarian demonstrators said "no to austerity, and for growth and jobs," ironically, the same slogans which brought the current government of Viktor Orban to power last year.
April 15 (EIRNS)The Dutch nuclear power facility at Borssele will undergo the European Union's "stress test," which was decreed after Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant breakdown, along with all the other 142 reactors in Europe. Dutch Economics Minister Maxime Verhagen said that his government will not change its commitment to build two new reactors at Borssele and to put them on the grid in 2020. The government is doing so, even though opinion polls show 51% of Dutch citizens opposed or not favorable to nuclear power.
At Borssele, the Netherlands has a nuclear reactor, built in 1973, which was to be shut down in 2006; but its operational license has been extended to 2033.
April 11 (EIRNS)On April 10, about 10,000 people, most of them young, joined a peace march in Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, organized by a 29-year-old resident via Facebook. He called for the march after Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old rookie police officer, was killed by a car bomb on April 2.
Leaders of all political parties attended the march, but there were no speeches. Marchers wore white ribbons and many had signs with Kerr's picture and the words "Not in My Name," There was music, including the singing of "We Shall Overcome."
April 13 (EIRNS)The Schengen agreements for "free market" circulation of people inside the European Union are collapsing under the impact of the North African crisis. The agreements, reached in 1985 and continued by the EU in 1999, eliminated border controls between signatory nations, while continuing them for those travelling in and out of Europe. After the Italian decision to grant visas to thousands of Tunisian immigrants heading to France, France has strengthened police controls at its borders and on trains coming from Italy. Germany has supported the French decision and has attacked Italy. The Italians accuse the French and the Germans of not respecting the Schengen agreements, and the latter accuse Italy of the same violation.
April 16 (EIRNS)Germany's Federal government and the 16 state governments agreed at their Berlin meeting yesterday that a timetable for an accelerated exit from nuclear power be passed on June 17the day when the March 17 government decree on a three-month shutdown of the seven oldest power reactors expires. "Accelerated" means at a date earlier than the end of 2021, as envisaged in the exit law passed by the Social Democratic-Green government in 2001.
April 15 (EIRNS)Greek and Portuguese trade unions are planning general strikes for May to combat the European Union's and International Monetary Fund's bankers' dictatorship.
In Greece, the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), the public sector trade union, held a rally in central Athens, and a march to Parliament on April 13, in which they announced an escalation of strike action in May.
In Portugal, the country's largest labor union is considering calling a general strike, as it steps up protests against austerity measures that are expected to deepen under an EU-IMF bailout. The union plans to intensify its protest campaign, starting with nationwide rallies on Labor Day on May 1.
April 12 (EIRSN)On Bavaria's TV science program "Stargazing with Professor Lesch," on April 6, University of Munich astrophysicist Harald Lesch strongly endorsed of a manned Mars mission, reviving the memory of when the first humans walked on the Moon in July 1969, which he said united all of mankind. The same is true for a Mars mission, Lesch said, which will help mankind overcome its present divisions and petty problems, because a bigger challenge is posed to them by the Red Planet.
April 11 (EIRNS)Speaking April 7 to a policy meeting on the future of Russia's space program, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recalled the "legendary event" of Yuri Gagarin's first human flight into outer space, 50 years ago, as starting "a new chapter in human history." In closing remarks, Putin said, "Our colleagues have just mentioned that we noticed certain signs of the earthquake that struck Japan before it happened. And we understand the tragic consequences of this disaster. Naturally, in connection with this we seriously need space programs."
"There is still a lot that we have yet to understand about the way nature works," he continued. "And this will be impossible without space exploration programs, without the space industry you work for, and which makes us proud."
Over the past few years, Putin has pushed hard for rebuilding the Russian space program, which was savaged under the British-led monetarist oligarchs. The Buran space shuttle was scrapped, as was the giant Energia rocket. Over the past five years, however, Russia increased space spending by 40%, and earmarked $7 billion for 2010-11.
"In 2013, we are to begin flight development tests of light and heavy [lift] Angara carrier rockets at the Plesetsk space center," Putin reported. "We will also design and manufacture the Rus-M launcher to orbit manned and cargo spacecraft," the successor to the Soyuz rocket, and "the first manned flight is scheduled for 2018."
The Prime Minister mentioned Russia's current program to return to the development of space nuclear power systems "to base promising space projects on." That program, he explained, "will allow interplanetary flights, lunar exploration, and the study of primary planets." Putin said that, based on the successful international cooperation in the International Space Station program, and satellite search and rescue, Russia proposes to the space station partnersthe U.S., Europe, Canada and Japan"to study the Moon, Mars, and other planets together." He called on Russia's Federal Space Agency to "join hands with the Russian Academy of Sciences for the long-term planning of space exploration."
April 12 (EIRNS)On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic space flight, many cosmonauts, veterans of the Soviet manned space program, are speaking out about the meaning of space travel and the need to get a lot more serious about Moon/Mars exploration. For example, two of the most famous veterans of the Soviet space program's early years gave a joint press conference yesterday: Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space and currently deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Defense; and Georgi Grechko, a physicist who was twice Hero of the Soviet Union, and who went into space many times and was the first person to do an EVA (space walk).
Savitskaya said that interplanetary flight will be "a qualitative leap for cosmonautics," and that "it needs to be an international project," with each country contributing what it can do the best. Grechko said the priority should be a manned Mars program, and development of scientific space research projects like the Hubble telescope. He said there should be flights to Mars, and to asteroids.
The 80-year-old Grechko, who as a young man worked in the Design Bureau headed by the famed Soviet rocket designer Sergei Korolyov, also told the business wire service RBC.ru in an interview issued today:
"Even if flying to Mars were forbidden, people would still be found who would fly there. Man always overcomes difficulties and goes beyond the horizon. He came out of the caves, and that wasn't enough. He crossed a river, and that wasn't enough. He went from one continent to another across the Bering Strait, and crossed the oceans, but again that was not enough. He flew across the Atlantic Ocean in a single-engine plane, and again it was not enough. Man is man, because he is always drawn to go beyond the horizon. And thereby he expands the horizon for all humanity. If an animal has food, warmth, and a mate, it doesn't need anything more than that. So, we either remain human and fly to Mars, or we'll be animals."
April 12 (EIRNS)Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said that Russia's commitment to nuclear power for electricity generation remains unshaken, according to the Moscow correspondent of the Indian news daily The Hindu, Vladimir Radyukhin. Putin told Radyukhin that "it is impossible to speak about a global energy balance without the nuclear power industry," pointing out that nuclear power accounts for 16% of Russia's power generation and more than 80% in France.
Presently Russia has 31 nuclear reactors, which generate about 147 billion kilowatt-hours per year. Government plans call for building another 26 reactors by 2025 and increasing the nuclear power share of total electricity to 25%.
Putin also said: "Modern systems, modern nuclear energy units, are equipped with safety features that prevent the possible development of events along the lines of the current Japanese scenario." Energy Minister Shmatko said: "Russia will stick to its policy of fast-track development of the nuclear energy sector."
Radyukhin, in his talks with Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Rosatom, Russia's state nuclear energy corporation, was told: "The Fukushima accident is the result of unlearned lessons of Chernobyl. We have been learning our lessons for the past 25 years."
The official cited the two VVER-1000 units, built in Kudankulam, India, which are now in an advanced state of installation, as an example of the high safety standards of Russian reactors. The Kudankulam reactors have the most advanced passive safety features, such as the heat removal system. It allows the heat from the reactor to escape via air chutes to the top of the containment dome where it is cooled by outside air, gets condensed back to water and returns to the cooling system, Novikov said. This helps cap the temperature inside the sealed reactor containment at 600°C and prevent uranium meltdown in case of an accident.
If a meltdown still happens, molten fuel will be trapped in a core-catcher beneath the reactor and will not leak into the ground and the atmosphere. Had such systems been installed at Fukushima, there would have been no containment explosions, no fuel meltdown or massive radiation leakage. "The Kudankulam plant has also been built to withstand strong earthquakes and high tsunami waves," Novikov said."
April 12 (EIRNS)A remotely detonated explosion ripped through Minsk's Oktyabrskaya metro station, one of the city's busiest, at rush hour April 11, killing at least 12 and injuring 149. According to RIA Novosti, Vadim Zaytsev, head of the KGB (state security service), said three people had been arrested, but the culprit may still be at large. "The KGB is looking into three possible motives for the attack: the destabilization of the situation in the country, revenge by extremist organizations, or the act of a mentally ill person," Zaytsev said.
President Alexander Lukashenko said the attack was an attempt to destabilize the country and "a serious challenge" to the nation. "Who gained by destroying the calm and stability in the country?" he asked. "Who did not like the stability in Belarus?"
The terror attack occurs at a time when Belarus is undergoing dire economic crisis, which is in part fallout of the EU decision to impose sanctions in the wake of the elections last fall. The immediate crisis was the steep fall in the value of the Belarus currency. According to the Belarus Digest, the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus has recently started devaluing the Belarusian ruble. Foreign currency is now officially allowed to be traded at an exchange rate that deviates as much as 10% from the official rate set by the Bank. Another report says people in Belarus are exchanging their Belarusian rubles for hard currency, gold, cars, and non-perishables, as rumors spread of an upcoming devaluation of the currency.
April 13 (EIRNS)The international media has only now acknowledged that millions of Egyptians turned out again in Tahrir Square on Friday, April 8, in the biggest demonstration since the start of the revolution in January. The admission that the mass protests are expanding, came after the new Prosecutor General, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, had announced the detention of former President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, ex-Presidential chief of staff Zakaria Azmi, former National Democratic Party (NDP) head Safwat Sherif, and businessman Ahmed Ezz. Ezz, a close business associate of Gamal Mubarak, was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the privatization of Egypt's state-sector steel conglomerate, and other state-sector industries, which he bought up for pennies on the dollar, according to Egyptian sources.
The men are detained for 15 days while prosecutors probe the use of force against protesters in January, and other allegations of corruption and theft. Former President Mubarak is in a military hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, after suffering a heart attack during the initial interrogations yesterday. His sons and the others who are detained are in Tora Prison outside of Cairo, a prison where many of the Mubarak regime's political rivals were detained over the years. The decision by the new Egyptian government to take action came as a direct result of the mass protest last Friday. One source said 2-3 million people were in the square. One of the key demands of the April 8 protest was the detention of the Mubarak circles while a criminal probe was conducted. Protesters also planned a demonstration in Sharm el-Sheikh, if the demands were not met.
On April 16, in another major reform move, the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court dissolved the National Democratic Party, the former ruling party, and ordered all its assets liquidated and turned over to the state. The NDP, renamed last week as the New National Party (the new head is Talaat Sadat, nephew of Anwar Sadat), can reapply for party status.
April 13 (EIRNS)After weekend negotiations, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), failed to settle the power struggle in Yemen, fighting has erupted among military units loyal to President Saleh and those loyal to Gen. Ali Mohsen, the former head of the armed forces who went over to the opposition several weeks ago. As demonstrations were taking place all over the country on April 13, some 10,000 more officers and solders from the Republican Guard, the Central Security, and the Air Force defected. Fighting erupted between the rival military factions in the capital city of Sanaa, with at least six people killed.
Over the weekend, the GCC attempt to negotiate a succession to Saleh failed. The GCC, dominated by Saudi Arabia, had originally pressed for Saleh to crack down on the protesters and stay the course. But after scores of protesters were gunned down, Saleh's departure became a precondition for any resolution of the protests, and the GCC adapted to that reality in an effort to maximize the continuity into the post-Saleh period. The fact that combat has erupted between rival military groups means that some kind of negotiated departure must be worked out soon, or the situation could devolve into a prolonged civil war.
According to a senior U.S. diplomat deeply involved in U.S. liaison to the GCC, the organization was established in the early 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, as a self-defense organization for six Persian Gulf statesSaudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the U.A.E. From its inception, the GCC was defined as a self-defense organization of the six emirates and kingdoms, and as an alliance with the United States. In the event of any external threat, including from Iran or Iraq, it was understood that the GCC member states could not defend themselves alone, but would rely on the United States and other allies. However, internal security matters were to be strictly handled within the GCC.
As the result of this arrangement, Saudi Arabia has pressed the other GCC countries to crack down on the reform protesters, arguing that any concessions, particularly to Shi'ite protesters, would give Iran a greater foothold. The Saudis have also been pressuring Jordan's King Abdullah II not to establish a constitutional monarchy, an act that would bolster the demands for reform that are sweeping the region.
This idiocy on the part of the Saudis has further fueled the mass strike dynamic throughout the region. Senior U.S. intelligence sources report that Iran is pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad to crack down on mostly Sunni protesters in that country. Behind the scenes, the British are trying to foment a permanent sectarian war between Sunni and Shi'aboth to blunt the genuine mass strike demands for economic and political change, and because permanent war/permanent revolution is their imperial game.
April 18 (EIRNS)President Barack Obama has rejected Egyptian requests for a postponement of Egypt's debt obligations to the United States, that is, for a debt moratorium. But according to well-informed Middle East experts, Obama lied that "Congress would not allow" the U.S. to forgive Egypt's debt. But high-level Congressional sources denied that the White House had ever gone to Congress about this.
Egyptian Planning Minister Fayza Mohamed Aboulnaga told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington that Egypt had asked the United States to forgive about $3.6 billion in debt to help the country restore growth, reported Reuters on April 14. "What we're asking for from our American friends is to give us debt forgiveness," said Minister Aboulnaga. She warned, "If, God forbid, we go wrong in Egypt," the rest of the region will also suffer.
Also speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was Egypt's Finance Minister Samir Radwan, who told Reuters in an April 16 interview that Egypt is seeking $10 billion in funding, especially from the Group of 7 wealthiest nations. He is also meeting the IMF.
"I will be asking them for help. My immediate priority is to ease the fiscal strains," said Radwan, an economist who worked at the International Labor Organization for 28 years. Radwan emphasized that poverty and inflation are the major causes for the revolution in Egypt. "I can't touch subsidies now ... because the perception of the people is that subsidies are good for the poor," he told Reuters, noting that food price inflation is one of the biggest fears.
April 18 (EIRNS)Both Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama are fuming about the growing momentum for the recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian State at the 2011 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Washington intelligence sources have reported that Netanyahu is scheming to present a "new" two-state "framework" when he comes to Washington, D.C. in May, in order to stop the momentum towards UN recognition of a Palestinian state, but that this is expected to fail. One of the major reasons for a growing number of countries moving to recognize a Palestinian stateincluding Russia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdomis the failure of President Obama to deal with the problem. Obama's "peace process" is recognized as a fake; in fact, the Obama policies are now being referenced in some circles as "worse than George W. Bush's." Not only have the Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories not stopped expanding, but the Obama Administration has continued the Bush-Cheney boycott of the duly elected representatives of Hamas, and U.S. military aid, sales, and other support for Israel is at its greatest level in history, sources report.
Netanyahu is being sidelined internationally, and at the same time he is facing significant corruption allegations at home: There is an investigation into illegalities in his campaign financing, and reports that he and his wife, Sara, were given tens of thousands of dollars worth of luxury trips and junkets by rich donors seeking political influence. In late March, the opposition Kadima Party approached the Israeli Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, to begin an investigation into "the criminal, tax, and ethical aspects" of the Netanyahus' activities, reported the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv and other major media.
April 15 (EIRNS)JUST International, a non-governmental organization in Malaysia run by Chandra Muzaffar, who has followed LaRouche for many years, published on their widely read website an hysterical anti-nuclear diatribe by a Malaysian doctor who was once president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). The article argued that all low-level radiation is dangerous, that "ionizing radiation" is a threat to mankind (perhaps there is no sunshine in Malaysia?), and that all nuclear power must be stopped. When EIR wrote protesting such insanity and sending articles by EIR and LaRouchePAC ("Japan's Fukushima PlantMedia Lies Incite Anti-Nuclear Hysteria" by Ramtanu Maitra, and an LPAC leaflet "Was the Japanese Earthquake Forecastable?" on material by Italian Prof. Pier Francesco Biagi), Muzaffar responded that he would post both articles, which indeed appeared at the top of the JUST website today.
April 14 (EIRNS)The Fukushima nuclear power plant situation cannot be compared to Chernobyl, Russia's nuclear chief said yesterday. Rosatom director General Sergey Kiriyenko, visiting China, told reporters that the situation at the Fukushima plant is not as bad as he had thought, and that his agency's estimates show that it does not even reach Level 6, although its official severity rating had just been raised to Level 7, the same as Chernobyl.
"It is hard for me to assess why the Japanese colleagues have taken this decision," he told reporters, referring to Japan's reclassification of the event as a Level 7. "I suspect this is more of a financial issue than a nuclear one." Kiriyenko appeared to suggest that the Japanese authorities were seeking to reduce the burden on insurance companies. "I guess that maybe it could be linked to the definition of force majeure with regard to insurance? I would pay attention to that. It is a bit strange," he said.
France's nuclear safety agency had earlier disagreed with the decision to intensify the hysteria. "At present ... Fukushima is not, nor will it be, Chernobyl, even though it is a very serious accident," the head of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) Patrick Gourmelon, said on April 12.
April 18 (EIRNS)For the first time since soldiers and members of the Presidential Guard began protests April 14, paramilitary police today joined protests in Burkina Faso. The protests of soldiers and police follows protests in the country that began in February.
Demanding that their wages for March be paid, soldiers and paramilitary police in the town of Kaya today torched the home of an army regiment chief, and ransacked the homes of other officers, according to an Agence France Press report that cited telephone accounts from residents. Soldiers in Ouagadougou, the capital city, also protested again last night. The government of President Blaise Compaore appointed a new prime minister yesterday.
Koudougou, western Burkina Faso, was again yesterday the scene of youth protests; the office of the ruling party and a home of the replaced prime minister were burned.
In a statement sent to AFP, a group of students said, "We want to make the ruling power... look into our concerns" and establish "truth and justice for Justin Zongo [a student who died in police custody] and all victims of repression."
Efforts by the government of President Compaore to put down the unrest have led to deaths of civilians. The demonstrations were initially organized to protest the rising cost of living, but escalated after the death of a student in police custody Feb. 20.
Labor and student unions are now involved, although youth and students now think, according to analysts familiar with Burkina Faso, that after the North African uprisings of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, organized structure is not necessary to get rid of a leader who is widely hated. Since February, demonstrators have been using slogans such as: "Tunisia is in Koudougou," a town known to be a center of resistance; and "Burkina will have its Egypt."
Compaore came to power in a coup d'etat in 1987, in which then-President Thomas Sankara, considered the father of the Burkina Faso revolution, was assassinated. Sankara had campaigned for a debt Moratorium. In 1987, the year he was killed, he announced unilateral suspension of foreign debt payments: "The debt cannot be repaid, firstly because if we do not pay, the creditors will certainly not die; on the other hand if we pay, we will certainly die. Those who have led us into a debt trap have gambled as though in a casino. When they were winning, there was no debate. But now when they have lost through gambling, they demand that we repay them. No! According to rules of the game we cannot pay and refuse to pay all foreign debts."
In the recent unrest, police stations in many towns, mayors, and governors are being targetted, as symbols of state authority.
Tens of thousands, according to reports, marched in the April 14 demonstration. This was one of the biggest demos in years.
Marches also took place in ten other towns, besides the capital. Soldiers are siding with the demonstrators against their commanders: "We're angry with our commanders. We don't want to work for them to get rich."
The mutiny broke out in two barracks, one in the compound of President Campaore, and spread this morning to three other army bases. Like the demonstrators of the last few months, the military demonstrators yesterday were also protesting the rising costs of food and housing.
April 12 (EIRNS)An approximately 1,000-man French military force, in collusion with 9,000 UN "peacekeepers," yesterday captured Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo after French helicopters bombarded his residence with rockets over several days. Following initial reports that Gbagbo had been captured by the French forces, French spokesmen hastily claimed that the anti-government rebels they are backing, headed by former IMF director Alassane Ouattara, had captured him. The French intervention used helicopter gunships, tanks, and other equipment of the French Licorne forces stationed in Ivory Coast.
The French military intervention, in collusion with the United Nations and backed by President Barack Obama, in favor of Ouattara, was carried out under the flimsy cover of defending democracy, and is reminiscent of former colonial ventures into Africa.
Using former British prime minister Tony Blair's insidious doctrine of "the responsibility to protect," UN forces and French military, attacked forces loyal to Gbagbo, all but guaranteeing the destruction of the Ivory Coast for decades to come. Ivory Coast has become another African nation to fall victim to British/French manipulation to insure that the Ivorian people fight each other along the lines of divisions dating from the colonial era, thus preventing Ivory Coast from becoming a sovereign nation.
The precedent established by the capture of Gbagbo, if allowed to stand, would end any pretense of sovereignty of African nations. Created conflicts can be used as a pretext for interventions like this one, anywhere in the continent.
The stage has now been set to throw Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Within hours of Gbagbo's capture, Ouattara said he would take legal action against Gbagbo. The ICC's head prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, on April 6 launched a formal probe into alleged mass killings, saying these crimes should not go unpunished. Any attempt to conduct a trial in the country will lead to a volatile situation. If the Ivory Coast is not able to carry out a trial, then the ICC can step in.
One of the bankrollers of the founding of the ICC, British agent George Soros, is a supporter of Ouattara, and has supplied him with a private plane. Another British agent, and frequent advocate of regime change in Africa, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, has also been linked to Ouattara. She previously worked for a lobbying firm engaged on his behalf.
Although there were so many reports of mass killings by the rebels that Human Rights Watch criticized Ouattara's rebel forces in particular instances, the international focus was primarily on Gbagbo.
The Ivory Coast conflict has been building up since a coup attempt against Gbagbo in 2002, 14 months after he took office. The coup attempt led to a North-South partition of the country, which was enforced by the presence of French troops. The country has been on the brink of civil war since then.
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