LaRouche Youth Kick Off National Congressional Campaign
by Nancy Spannaus
Jan. 16A press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 12, will have national repercussions for the coming months in U.S. politics. The event, sponsored by the LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC), introduced a national slate of Congressional candidates who are mounting challenges to leading Democratic traitors Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), and raising the banner for the LaRouche Plan for economic reconstruction, and the United States joining a Four-Power Alliance for a world credit system and global development policies.
Harley Schlanger, Western States spokesman for Lyndon LaRouche, introduced the three candidates, and the idea behind their nationally coordinated campaign. The candidates each presented aspects of the campaign platform, and then joined other members of the LaRouche Youth Movement at a Metro stop outside, where they introduced themselves to potential voters, while a chorus of ten youth beautifully serenaded passersby with patriotic songs. Experienced political observers noted that the announcement had already created a stir in the capital, evident in various ways, including the comments of those walking in the halls of the National Press Club (``LaRouche is running candidates again?'')....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)Certainly not foremost in the headlines, but still a result of the Obama genocide policies, is the plight of the homelessand the "new homeless," the recently foreclosedin this brutally cold Winter. As "Obamaville" tent cities rise across the nation, the areas most vulnerable seem to be surprisingly in the South, not only since the social safety net is thinner, but also because extremely cold temperatures are so rare. If a report from Santa Cruz, Calif. is any indication, the problem is indeed severe.
Santa Cruz reported 47 deaths in 2009, "the highest number of homeless deaths" since the city began keeping records ten years ago. Over that decade, more than 400 homeless people died. In New York City, with significantly more infrastructure for the homeless, not two days went by in the New Year, before a homeless person's death was reported. The average life-span of a homeless male is 51, twenty years less than the national average. The leading cause of death is alchohol-related, because drinking alcohol helps to numb the cold.
Jan. 17 (EIRNS)Under an agreement worked out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Senators last December, the Senate will take up raising the Federal debt limit on Jan. 20; it will also take up the Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)-Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) proposal for Peter Peterson's fascist budget-cutting commission on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaidwhose powers would supersede those of Congress. A similar proposal is also likely to be part of Obama's State of the Union address Jan. 27.
The Washington Post Jan. 16 reported that talks have been going on for weeks between the White House and fiscal hawks in the Senate, typified by Conrad, who are refusing to support an increase in the debt limit without the creation of a budget commission. One issue is whether such a slash-and-burn commission would be created by law, or by Presidential appointment; a Presidentially appointed commission would have less power to compel Congress to accept its recommendations. The Post reports that many interest groups are lining up against the creation of such a commission, including the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and others opposed to cuts in Medicare and Social Security.
David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller who now heads the Peterson Foundation, was interviewed on National Public Radio last week, where he pushed his commission proposal and repeated his mantra that the "regular order" (i.e., the Constitutional framework of our government) is broken, and that if we don't cut spending quickly, we will "lose the confidence of foreign investors."
Global Economic News
Jan. 15 (EIRNS) European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet made another of his "tough" statements against Greece, saying that no nation can expect any "special treatment," and "we will not change our collateral policy for the sake of any particular country" (the latter, referring to the possibility for Greece to offer lower-quality bonds at the ECB in exchange for liquidity). The possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone is "an absurd hypothesis." But, at the same time, Trichet excluded "any budgetary help" from the ECB or anywhere else, because it is forbidden by Maastricht. This leaves only one solution, austerity, which is basically what he said, speaking in English at yesterday's press conference: "We know that some governmentsone in particular, but not only onethat several governments have very tough and very difficult decisions to take."
Trichet's statement provoked an increase in the already high spread on Greek bonds, further reducing their value and raising Greek borrowing costs.
However, Trichet is bluffing. Marco Annunziata of Unicredit, said that Trichet and others are playing a "nerve-wracking game of chicken" in the hope that their tough rhetoric will pressure Greece into action. "If a rescue turns out to be necessary, a rescue operation will be mounted," Annunziata said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday softened her stance on Greece, saying, "Important steps toward a budget consolidation have been made, which meets my approval, and I also realize what a massive effort this is."
Economics press sources in Paris told EIR that Germany and The Netherlands are more worried about the consequences of the Greek crisis vis-à-vis the Eurozone, because they, as the two lower-deficit countries, see themselves as being the ones which will determine the austerity conditions that others, including France, will have to impose in order to be "credible."
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)This Winter's unprecedented cold wave has led to record electricity usage in South Korea, and blackouts are feared. On Jan. 8, 68.6 million kilowatts were used, 5.3 million more than the highest amount used last Summer. Even with its industrial economy, South Korea could experience serious problems with the extended cold weather.
Korean Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan urged people to lower their thermometers, warning that a blackout is possible should a large power plant suffer problems due to the rise in power demand. Choi said a critical moment may come next week, when the country's weather agency predicts that another cold spell is headed toward the peninsula. "Unless people roll back their electricity use, demand could break the 70-million-kilowatt mark and cause the reserve rate to dip below 4 million kilowatts," Choi said, stressing that such situation would be deemed an "emergency."
China is also having real problems. Dozens of power plants are running out of coal and might be forced to shut down this week, as the bitter Winter weather boosts demand, and snow hampers delivery of new supplies, state media said on Jan. 12. Factories have been closed in parts of central China where power demand exceeds supply. The government's priority is to protect the population, and no power cuts to homes have been reported.
Among 598 major power plants, 11% have less than three days' supply of coal and "would shut production at any time," the Xinhua news agency said. In hard-hit Hubei province, southwest of Shanghai, authorities have cut power demand by about 10% by closing small factories and ordering others to operate only three days a week, said an official of the provincial economic commission.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has defined his "green" response to global warming to consist primarily in an accelerated program of nuclear plant construction. China's recent acceleration of its own nuclear program indicates that, given the differences in scale and the "Chinese characteristics" of the government, the impulse is the same.
United States News Digest
Jan. 16 (EIRNS)Civil liberties lawyer Glenn Greenwald has exposed in Salon.com, a 2008 paper by behavioral economist and Obama appointee Cass Sunstein. Greenwald reports that in 2008, Sunstein wrote a "truly pernicious" paper advocating government infiltration of online groups and websites "which advocate views Sunstein deems 'false conspiracy theories' about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists." Such infiltration would be accomplished by government agents posing as sympathizers. He also proposes that the government make secret payments to so-called independent experts to bolster the government's message. "This program," Greenwald writes, "would target those advocating false 'conspiracy theories,' which they define to mean: 'an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.'"
Greenwald quotes Sunstein asking:
"What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5)."
To which Greenwald responds:
"So Sunstein isn't calling right now for proposals (1) and (2)having Government 'ban conspiracy theorizing' or 'impose some kind of tax on those who'd do itbut he says 'each will have a place under imaginable conditions.' I'd love to know the 'conditions' under which the government-enforced banning of conspiracy theories or the imposition of taxes on those who advocate them will 'have a place.' That would require, at a bare minimum, a repeal of the First Amendment. Anyone who believes this should, for that reason alone, be barred from any meaningful government position."
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)New expressions of opposition to the CO2 cap-and-trade swindle have come forth this week in the United States, reflecting the growing mood of rejection of these hoaxes, especially after the Copenhagen global warming flop.
Delegates to the 91st annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) convention in Seattle, yesterday voted up a resolution to oppose "cap and trade proposals before Congress." The Farm Bureau is historically Republican politically.
At the same time, Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, declared that he has changed his mind on carbon control cap-and-trade, and would oppose such legislation if it came up for a vote again. He is feeling the heat from his home district and throughout the Midwest, for playing footsie with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on this, last year. In June, the House passed a bill to curb CO2/greenhouse gas emissions (HR 2454), the first such bill ever, by the squeaker margin of 219 to 212, in part thanks to Peterson.
But this week, Peterson said, on a Minnesota radio talk show, that despite any concessions, he would vote "no" if the same or a similar bill came back through the House.
There are also demands to thwart the Obama Administration's use of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement economic destruction, under the CO2 pollution ruse. The Farm Bureau's resolution declared support for "any legislative action that would suspend EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act...." Allowing the EPA to intervene to limit CO2, "would significantly burden all sectors of the economy, especially agriculture."
Skirmishing in Congress is underway on this. In the Senate, Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) may introduce an amendment later this month (that she attempted last September), which would restrict the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide for a one year period.
In the House, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), has introduced a bill to stop the EPA from moving ahead with carbon gas pollution restrictions. He charges that any such action would cost thousands of coal-related jobs, and spike up electricity rates.
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)Despite calling California's fascist governor Arnie Schwarzenegger "an outstanding partner with our Administration," the Obama White House has again told him to forget Federal aid in the state's economic collapse.
Top Obama hatchet-man David Axelrod said in an interview Jan. 11, "We recognize they have enormous problems. But we can't solve all of those problems from Washington."
As a result, investors and suppliers are afraid that California will again be issuing IOUs to pay its bills. Interest on the state's short-term bonded debt jumped up to over 4.5%. But more ominously, another $15 billion in cuts, as Schwarzenegger is threatening, would mean the state budget had been cut in half in three to four years, and education, medical care, police, fire, and other vital services would disappear.
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)A measure to release additional Federal subsidies for heating oil, authored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), has received 48 cosigners, of whom, six are Republican and two are Independent. The Department of Health and Human Services announced $1 billion in block grants for LIHEAP (Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program), over the weekend, and the signers, mostly from New England states, want more. The bipartisan letter asks Obama to release an additional $590 million "contingency" reserve for heating oil for low-income households. Worse than the price of gasoline (which is again on the rise), heating oil prices have jumped almost 10% in just the first weeks of the New Year, and are now over $3/gallon. The average "fill-up" is several hundred gallons. The number of LIHEAP recipients jumped 30% last year, to just over 8 million households, and they expect at least a 20% increase again this year.
The five Republicans are Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Judd Gregg (N.H.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowsky (N.J.), along with Independents Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
Ibero-American News Digest
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)The British Empire's financial oligarchs, in London and on Wall Street, are throwing an hysterical fit over Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's defiance of "central bank autonomy." The fight is such that the British Empire's toadies threatened the Argentine President with removal from officeor worseif she doesn't fall into line.
Since early January, the Argentine President has been in a brawl with Harvard man, Central Bank president Martín Redrado, over the latter's refusal to transfer $6.5 billion in foreign reserves to a special "Bicentennial Fund," which the government set up to pay 2010 debt obligations. When Fernández tried to fire Redrado, the courts stepped in to reinstate him, braying that the Central Bank is autonomous, and that the President was breaking the law in insisting on Redrado's compliance.
While City of London assets joined in the attack on the Argentine President, U.S. Federal Judge Thomas Griesa placed a restraining order on up to $3.9 billion worth of Argentine assets held in the U.S. Federal Reserve. Griesa's pretext was the lawsuit brought by two of the most notorious of the predatory vulture fundsEM and NMLseeking full payment on the defaulted Argentine bonds they hold. But the message to the Fernández de Kirchner government was broader: Back off from asserting control over the Central Bank.
Under the British global financial system, no sovereign government is allowed to touch the "autonomous" power of the financiers over a nation's money. Much of Argentina's 20th-Century history was characterized by the battle between this British imperial system and Peronist and allied nationalists, who sought to establish national banking with sovereign control over currency issuance and economic policy. In Cristina Fernández's defiance of central bank autonomy, London sees the specter of what it calls "authoritarian" and "populist" Peronism, which did indeed spit in the Empire's face, beginning in the mid-1940s, with its promotion of national banking and industrial and scientific development.
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)An entire generation of Mexican youth is facing only two options for the future under the current system: suicide or the drug tradecourtesy of the policies that the British Empire has imposed on the planet over the last four decades.
There are 7 million youth between 12 and 29 years of age who are now part of what is being described as the "Neither-Nor" generation: youth who neither go to school nor work. In an interview published in today's daily La Jornada, Mexican Youth Institute director Priscila Vera decried the lack of a decent future for young Mexicans, which means that growing numbers of them are turning to suicide.
The report cites a 2008 study by the Mexican government's National Public Health Institute, in their National Survey of Addictions (ENA), which states that in 2008, 350,000 Mexicans, aged 12-29, tried to commit suicide. Of these, 7 out of 10 had no job; 6 out of 10 were not going to school.
Ten times that manyabout 3.3 millionreported that they had thought about killing themselves. That number is a staggering 10% of the entire 12-29 age cohort of 35 million.
One is reminded of the 14th-Century New Dark Age which, besides the mass deaths directly due to the Black Death, produced such a wave of pessimism that, according to accounts of that time, almost no marriages occurred for years, and even decades, in major portions of Europe.
One of the ENA study's researchers, Alfredo Nateras, noted that "the State and its institutions no longer address adolescents, and do not mediate conflicts or social tensions, because they have abdicated their responsibility of meeting the basic elements needed for development. Thus, the majority of that sector of the population has lost all possibility of obtaining housing, of having the prospect of living with a spouse, of recreation, health, and education. Many youth find it more attractive to approach the realm of illegality.... So, when some are asked what they want to be, they answer: 'a narco.'"
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez devalued the bolivar currency Jan. 8, by 50% for most items: from 2.15 to the dollar, to 4.3. Under the new two-tier system, food, medicines, and some machinery can be imported at a subsidized rate (2.6 per dollar). Finance Minister Alí Rodríguez admitted the devaluation could add about 5% to the country's current 27% inflation rate, as imports become more expensive.
The devaluation will deliver a massive blow to the country's working and middle class, in particular. Under Britain's "Bolivarian project," Venezuela's economy has become even more colonial, importing up to 90% of its consumption needs, and dependent on raw materials, with oil accounting for 90% of its exports.
Quipped Lyndon LaRouche: the Bolivar has been "Castro-ated."
In related news, Chávez yesterday urged television producers to make "socialist soap operas," like those he saw on a recent visit to Cuba. Surprising. You'd think he wouldn't want the competition.
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)Sub-zero temperatures have provoked chaos in Mexico, including nine deaths, as the country is ill prepared to deal with weather that one Argentine global-warming skeptic calls "calenfriamento global" (global warm-cooling).
Northern, central, and western Mexico have been hardest hit, with snowstorms, ice, rain, high winds, and temperatures ranging from between 8 and 11°C below zero. Winds have been so strong that 12 ports in Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatán were forced to close. In the Yucatán Peninsula, constant rain, combined with 100-km-per-hour winds have almost paralyzed the crucial Campeche oil-producing region.
Roads made impassable by ice and snow have cut off communities located in the higher altitudes of Nuevo León, Hidalgo, and Veracruz, and emergency crews have deployed to bring warm clothing and blankets to many localities where people are freezing. On Jan. 8, schools in 9 of Mexico's 32 states were closed, because the buildings have no heat.
In a country where there is generally no central heating in homes and buildings, people have resorted to using dangerous heating sources (kerosene/gasoline heaters, etc.), which in some cases have had deadly consequences. Carbon monoxide poisoning caused four of nine deaths that have occurred since Oct. 29, while hypothermia was responsible for the remainder.
Western European News Digest
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)The head of Confedilizia, an association of property owners, called for Italy to exit the euro system. Although Corrado Sforza Fogliani's arguments are wrong (he is in favor of competitive devaluation and budget cuts), his article, published in Il Giornale Jan. 11, is a rare example of guts in challenging the Lisbon Treaty dictatorship.
"On December 1st, the Lisbon Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union became effective. Italy (involved in a dismaying bordello-like gossip) barely realized it. And yet, it is a treaty whichratified lightheartedly by our Parliament without direct or indirect involvement of the citizenswill strongly condition our future, our autonomy, and our behavior. The text, published by the official records of the European Union, weighs 1.980 kg, and is an inextricable hodgepodge of rules which delivers us even more over to the Brussels bureaucracy. The Luciferian 'ethical state' approach of this legislation is shocking. As the last straw, they even want to give us orders to make us slim down, to eat this, instead of that.
"In this situation, many are comforted by one single consideration: that among the many ... rules, ... the Lisbon Treaty did introduce one good thing: the legal possibility of unilateral secession. Which however presumes a maturity which is yet to come in our country."
Jan. 16 (EIRNS)For the last two days, the top executives of the German Christian Democrats held a conclave, to discuss a new party program and a new election campaign strategy. According to Hermann Gröhe, the party manager, a prominent aspect is the emphasis on the green agenda, because this is where the CDU intends to recruit new supporters. The Catholicsformerly a core constituencywill play a minor role in the future, if at all: Recently, they formed an inner-party organization of their own, the AEK (Working Group of Committed Catholics), because they feel neglected by the party hierarchy.
One can only conclude that the "C" now stands for "Climate," and global warming is the new religion.
On Jan. 15, the party executive passed a "Berlin Declaration," which states: "Germany is a driving force in worldwide protection of the climate. Our economy draws multiple benefits from its capacity for resource-saving production. German environmental technology meets a worldwide demand. We therefore hold on to our ambitious CO2 reduction targets, in the interest of climate protection as well as of future-oriented jobs in our country. The successful work of our Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has made international climate protection a worldwide trademark of German politics."
The declaration goes on stating that the Copenhagen Summit has increased the challenge to states to meet the CO2 reduction targets, and that the follow-up climate conference in Bonn will be fully dedicated to achieve that.
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)The International Monetary Fund and European Union countries are ganging up on Iceland, with threats aimed at terrorizing the population into voting in favor of a $5 billion debt to support the Anglo-Dutch financial oligarchy.
Sweden in particular has taken a hard line against Iceland, demanding that its citizens vote in support of a bill calling for Iceland to take on the $5 billion loan at 5.5% interest, in order to pay British and Dutch depositors who lost their savings in the private Icelandic bank Icesave. If Icelanders don't support paying the Brits in their Feb. 20 referendum, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said, Sweden will not release the funds it promised as part of an IMF rescue package.
The IMF continues to act against its charter by refusing to disburse the funds of the rescue package it has agreed to, until Iceland pays up the $5 billion. The trick is that the IMF is not making this an official condition, but IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said, according to the Daily Telegraph, "If a lot of members think we have to hold on, we have to hold on"apparently, in reference to the attempted extortion.
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)Shortly before the opening of the traditional Berlin "Green Week" on Jan. 8, the world's largest agricultural fair, German Farmers Union President Gerd Sonnleitner, in Berliner Zeitung today, attacked food price speculation. This clearly reflects the heat from the continuing demonstrations of dairy farmers, since Sonnleitner otherwise is much despised for his weak utterings.
The solutions he puts forward clearly are inadequate, but usefully, he singles out the speculative aspect. Huge price fluctuations are due to the fact, he says, that if you have a ship loaded with grain nowadays, its contents are sold 50 times while crossing the Atlantic. Any such financial deals, he proposes, should be strictly covered by the speculators' own capital, like other banking deals, i.e., no acceptance of leveraged, borrowed capital. "Thus, anybody who doesn't have the money can't buy the commodity. That would strongly decrease the flood of quick buying and selling."
Sonnleitner also attacked the low milk price, which bankrupts farmers, and the modus operandi of big trade chains, five of which in Germany use their position of power to dictate dairy pricing.
Jan. 16 (EIRNS)According to today's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the inter-ministerial commission of the three Federal ministries, Foreign Affairs, Economics, and Developing Sector Relations, has okayed the request made by the French nuclear firm Areva for governmental Hermes export credit guarantees of more than EU1.3 billion for the completion of Brazil's Angra 3 nuclear power project. The German company KWU, together with Siemens, signed the original deal for Angra 3 with Brazil in 1975, and Areva, which now owns KWU through a joint venture with Siemens, wants to resume work on the project, now that Brazil has lifted the freeze that has been in place for almost 30 years. The budgeting commission of the German Bundestag still has to approve the decision. Germany itself has a policy of phasing out nuclear power altogether.
Russia and the CIS News Digest
Jan. 17 (EIRNS)On Jan. 12, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of government officials on implementation of an already approved plan to upgrade the role of the Kurchatov Institute, also known as the Russian Nuclear Center, within the Russian economy. The Kurchatov Institute is famous, among other things, as the flagship institution for Russian research on nuclear fusion power. Putin said that supplementary direct federal funding to the Institute is intended to enable it to "serve as a model for organizing all national research centers," of which a network of five to seven new ones is planned. In addition to "the junction of nano-, bio-, and information technology," Putin named nuclear power as a priority area of concentration.
Jan. 15 remarks by Kurchatov Institute vice-president, Academician Nikolai Ponomaryov-Stepnoy, on the importance of cooperation with India on new technologies in nuclear power, are included in the article "The East Goes Nuclear, While the West Heads for the Caves," in this issue of EIR InDepth.
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday opened a meeting with Minister of Regional Development V.F. Basargin, commenting, "Besides solving problems connected with global warmingif that happenswe must, of course, proceed from reality, and react promptly to the global cooling we have encountered today. This is completely obvious."
The session was to review measures to deal with numerous cold-weather heating and electricity breakdowns, which have hit Russian regions throughout Siberia, as well as the city of St. Petersburg. The unusual cold is especially straining the many infrastructure systems which have not been well maintained or updated since the Soviet period.
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded agreements with Russia today after meetings with both President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Turkey has agreed to allow Russia to build part of its South Stream gas pipeline through the Turkish part of the Black Sea to ports in Turkey, from where it will continue into Europe and the Middle East. Turkey hopes to become a major energy corridor for the region. Turkey has been courted by the European Union to become a part of its planned Nabucco pipeline, a project designed to create an alternative to Russia as a supplier of natural gas. While Turkey has not reneged on a possible role in Nabucco, it is clearly determined to strengthen its relationship with Russia.
The two sides reached preliminary agreement that Russia will build the first nuclear power plant in Turkey. Turkey plans to put out tenders for three nuclear power plants, the first, and maybe more, going to Russia. The document on nuclear cooperation was signed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, in charge of energy and fuel affairs, and his Turkish counterpart, Taner Yildiz.
A Russian-Turkish consortium created by the two Russian firms Atomstroiexport and Inter RAO UES, and the Turkish firm Park Technic, will construct a nuclear power plant consisting of four units with a combined capacity of about 5 gigawatts, news agencies reported. Construction of the first unit is to begin in 2011. The site will probably be near the Mediterranean coast city of Mersin. The project is estimated to cost $18-20 billion.
Erdogan said preparations for the signing of a formal agreement were currently under way in Turkey, while Putin said talks on construction of the nuclear power plant would continue, and the two countries "naturally count on its positive completion." Putin said Russia had "significant advantages" for implementing the project. "We provide loans and equipment, and we give local construction companies ... a share of 20-25% or even 30% in the entire volume of contracts," he said, "We provide nuclear fuel and are ready to take back spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing."
The two sides are also discussing the possibility of eliminating visa requirements between the two countries. "The Russian-Turkish relationship is improving. It is really a strategic partnership," Medvedev told reporters.
Jan. 17 (EIRNS)Preliminary returns from today's Presidential elections in Ukraine point to a run-off between Party of Regions leader Victor Yanukovych (with over 31% of the vote) and Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko (over 27%). President Victor Yushchenko, with his pledge to shepherd Ukraine into the EU and NATO, was left in the dust with 6%. Supporters of Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine leader Natalia Vitrenko, denied ballot status for not paying the $300,000 registration fee, wrote "For Vitrenko" in large letters on their ballots. One of Yanukovych's campaign promises was to adopt "the policy of U.S. President [Franklin] Roosevelt after the Great Depression, for 'the general welfare.' "
Southwest Asia News Digest
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)Gen. David Petraeus should be fired, said Lyndon LaRouche today, when briefed on Petraeus's statement that Iran "can certainly be bombed," in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, at the Tampa, Florida headquarters of the Central Command, which Petraeus heads.
"This guy should be fired," said LaRouche. "He's not working for the United States. Get him out of there. He's working for the British; let them pay him."
Petraeus threatened: "Well, certainly they [Iran] can be bombed. The level of effect would vary with who it is that carries it out, what ordnance they have, and what capability they can bring to bear."
Petraeus has been warned by active-duty and retired military and intelligence officials about the likelihood of massive retaliation against the U.S. through asymmetrical warfare, should Iran be bombed by either the United States, or British puppet Israel, which would be blamed on the U.S. by Iranian hardliners. Such a strike would lead to the consolidation of power by the Iranian hardliners, which is exactly what the British oligarchy has in mind, to continue its perpetual war strategy.
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)International law is breathing down the neck of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On Jan. 10, the British newspaper The People reported that Giovanni Di Stefano, attorney for Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi prime minister who was overthrown and imprisoned by the United States since March 2003, filed criminal charges with the office of British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland, to indict Blair for violations of the Geneva Conventions. "We want Mr. Blair to answer to the law and not to an inquiry that means nothing," said Di Stefano, referring to Sir John Chilcot's Independent Inquiry Commission on Iraq, which is ongoing.
Di Stefano posted an announcement of the proceedings on the website of his law firm, Studio Legale Internationale, on Jan. 9. He had filed, on behalf of his client, two counts of an "Indictment in the [United Kingdom] Central Criminal Court," and has requested an immediate response from the Attorney General. The charges are:
"Count 1 ... contrary to section 1 and article 130 of schedule 3 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: ANTHONY CHARLES LYNTON BLAIR did, between the 20th day of March 2003 and the 15th day of January 2007, procure the commission of a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, in that he wilfully deprived Tariq Aziz, a prisoner of war, of the rights of a fair and regular trial....
"Count 2 ... contrary to section 1 and article 50 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: ... BLAIR did, between the 1st day of January 2002 and the 27th day of June 2007, wilfully cause great suffering to the people of the Republic of Iraq, which suffering was not justified by military necessity and which was carried out unlawfully and wantonly."
This legal action was initiated in December 2009, after Blair made statements admitting that he had no evidence of a threat by Iraq against Britain, or any other country, but still supported the 2003 attack on Iraq because he favored the removal of Saddam Hussein. Baroness Scotland's office has acknowledged receipt of Di Stefano's complaint, according to the British press. London is very touchy about charges of war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions, in light of war crimes charges against Israeli leaders for their conduct in the January 2009 war on the Gaza Strip. In December 2009, then-Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni had to cancel a trip to London because her office had been informed that an arrest warrant was pending against her, in a case filed by Palestinian victims of the Israeli attacks.
Jan. 16 (EIRNS)In a Jan. 15 interview with Voice of America, the chief of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, said that the key findings of the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear energy program are still valid. "The bottom line assessments of the NIE still hold true," he said.
This statement was put out one day before officials from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany (known as the Permanent Five +1 or P5+1) met in New York to assess Iran's response to their offer in October to exchange uranium for nuclear fuel, and to consider possible next steps. While the U.S. representative, Undersecretary of State William Burns, was warning Iran there would be "consequences" of not accepting the offer, the New York meeting ended with no draft proposals for further sanctions. China was strongly against rushing into further sanctions during uncompleted negotiations with Iran. China's position was reportedly backed by Russia.
The NIE was a consensus judgment of all U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded that Iran had halted all activities which could have led to the development of nuclear arms in 2003. Burgess said the Pentagon had seen no indication that Tehran was planning to resume the program allegedly aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
"We have not seen indication that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program. But the fact still remains that we don't know what we don't know," Burgess said, adding that the Pentagon would continue to work on verifying that Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear activities.
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)Sarah Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is being sued by her former housekeeper for mistreatment, a suit that could spell trouble for her husband. Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest daily, has an interview with "Lillian," who worked for Sarah for six years, and has now filed a claim with the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court.
"Sarah Netanyahu abused me," Lillian said, "paid me less than minimum wage, didn't pay my social benefits, forced me to work Saturdays even though I observe Shabbat...."
According to the claim, "after Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister, Lillian was not allowed to call the defendant by her first name." She "would adorn herself in her feathers and shout aloud: 'This is my beautiful house, and I am the mother of the State of Israel.' "
This lawsuit, which is being denounced by Sarah as "slanderous," could evolve into something bigger. For example, it is not yet revealed whether any labor laws were broken in this case, which could create a corruption investigation of the Netanyahu household, as occurred at the end of Benjamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister.
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)A veteran Iranian diplomat who was consul in Norway, Mohammed-Reza Heydari, resigned his post on Jan. 7, and denounced his government's brutal suppression of huge opposition demonstrations last month, The Times of London reported. In an interview with the Norwegian television channel NRK, Heydari said that he decided to resign after Iranian security forces killed a dozen demonstrators on Dec. 27.
"I hope my friends and colleagues in other parts of the world who see and hear me now and know me, will move in the same direction.... I hope they will manage to sacrifice some personal interests and rather think of what is in the interest of their people and their nation," he said.
Asia News Digest
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)India and China have begun formulating measures to keep maritime trade lanes in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf safe from pirates. Indian Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar, During a Jan. 6-10 visit to Beijing, and Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, signed an agreement to share information on anti-piracy measures in the Gulf of Aden. They also began the groundwork for a joint military exercise in China in 2011.
Sharing of information between the two navies is of particular importance, since both China and India are bringing in bulk material through the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea for developmental requirements. Closer cooperation in this area will eventually lead to a better understanding of where the threats lie and how those threats affect the security of both countries, as well the region as a whole.
This dialogue, the second since 2008, is in itself a significant step in defense cooperation between the military of the two countries.
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)The China Investment Corporation (CIC) is considering investing in the U.S. high-speed rail sector, China's official Shanghai Securities News reported today. The CIC was set up in 2007 to improve the investment of China's huge foreign exchange reserves, now at $2.27 trillion; the CIC currently holds almost $300 billion. After big losses from investments in the Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley, in 2009, CIC shifted towards energy, infrastructure, and raw materials. The fund wants to expand in 2010.
When President Obama went to China Nov. 16-18, the joint statement he signed with President Hu Jintao made a brief reference to high-speed rail, saying that "the two sides welcomed cooperation by public and private bodies on the development of high-speed railway infrastructure."
There has been at least one big rail agreement, private on the U.S. side: On Nov. 17, General Electric and the Chinese Rail Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding to "jointly pursue high-speed rail projects in the United States." Both sides want to develop high-speed rail technology more rapidly and broadly, GE announced, and will spend over $13 billion in the next five years for this. At first, GE will produce advanced diesel engines in China, and this will lead to cooperation in more advanced high-speed rail technology, where China is taking world leadership. "A successful partnership with [China's Ministry of Railways] would allow GE to more effectively compete against European and Japanese companies for high-speed rail related opportunities," GE announced at the time.
It is also notable, that when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Beijing Dec. 4the first such visit in many yearsthere was discussion of infrastructure development. Harper said that Canada is investing over $1 billion into its Asia-Pacific Gateway, an integrated system of ports, airports, road and rail connections, to "link Asia deep into the heart of the North American marketplace," China Daily reported.
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)The Economist, mouthpiece of the City of London financial district, once again exposed its role as the spokesman for the Brutish Empire, in a diatribe against China for exploiting Africa (unlike the benevolent British Empire, of course), and for China's reminder that the Opium War has continued.
The weekly Banyan column reviews the human rights issues which are filling the Western news (Uighurs in Cambodia forced back to China, the execution of a British drug peddler despite London's demand for leniency, and the incarceration of a Chinese human rights activist), then fulminates about the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, where the British experienced a direct defeat:
"Most striking of all were China's actions at the Copenhagen summit on climate change, where the world's biggest emitter appeared churlish. In a bid to avoid being pinned down to firm commitments, China insisted that all figures and numerical targets be stripped out of the final accord, even those that did not apply to China.... Further, China's Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, at first did not deign to sit down with President Barack Obama on the final day, sending relatively junior officials instead. China may have got a deal it liked, but at the cost of a public-relations disaster. Some think this a prelude to a prickly, more unpleasant China in the decade ahead, but it is too soon to conclude that...."
The Economist then gripes that China's diplomacy shows "an abiding lack of sophistication, and an attachment to a ritualistic diplomacy ill-suited to fast-moving negotiations, such as in Copenhagen, where the outcome is not pre-cooked. Over the case of Mr. Shaikh [a British drug runner], the official press indulged in the predictable and puerile ritual of railing about the historical indignity of the Opium War. Yet even many Chinese recognise that the worldand even drug-pushing British gunboat-diplomacyhas changed, and that it may be time to move on."
Change, indeed: The Empire moved the opium production from India to Afghanistan.
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)Kim Young Hak, the vice minister of South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy, will be making a keynote speech at the World Future Energy Summit, which opens Jan. 18 in Abu Dhabi. South Korea has leaped into a leadership role in the international nuclear industry by winning a contract to build four nuclear reactors for the U.A.E.the first nuclear reactors in the Arab world and the first nuclear exports for Korea.
The World Future Energy Summit looks to have been designed as a dark-age promotional bash, with nearly all the panels dedicated to solar, wind, carbon capture, etc. But many heads of state, energy ministers, and industry CEOs will be there, and the dynamic of the nuclear renaissance sweeping Asia will not be suppressed.
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)China's National Marine Forecasting Station issued an alarm yesterday, that the worst sea ice of the past 30 years is rapidly developing off the country's eastern coast. By next week, floating chunks of ice up to one foot thick could extend up to 90 nautical miles off the coast of the Baohai Sea and 25 nautical miles in the northern Yellow Sea, the station said.
The Baohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea, is one of the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, serving Beijing and other population centers. The station warned of threats to port infrastructure, transportation, and maritime operations. This, the worst sea ice in 30 years, appeared in early January along these coasts, as cold fronts pushed the temperature to minus 10 degrees Celsius and below.
Lyndon LaRouche commented, "We are now in a situation where we have not only the broad, environmental evidence of global cooling, but you now have this very specific kind of view of the sea ice. The way the mechanism works, is you have the Solar System, which is the great energy system, which controls pretty much everythingthe Sun. Then you have the refractions of that, which generally get associated with the balance between water and ice. Now you have a glaciation potential being built up inside the oceanswhich is very inconvenient news for those who want to have this global warming thesis, which is a genocide thesis."
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