Rachel Brown Fires `Shot Heard 'Round the World'
by Harley Schlanger
Sept. 12In what could fairly be described as a ``shot heard 'round the world,'' Rachel Brown, candidate for the 4th C.D. Democratic Congressional nomination in Massachusettts, demolished longtime incumbent Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in a one-hour televised debate on Barney's home turf, in Newton, on Sept. 7. The primary will be held Sept. 14. Brown, 29 years old, a member of the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) running in her first campaign, handled the lying and blustering Franka self-proclaimed master debaterwith a calm confidence which rattled not only the befuddled Frank, but his controllers, who are losing their grip on the U.S. population.
Brown's actual target, in her pinpoint assessment of the crisis, was not just the hapless Frank, but the failed President Barack Obama himself, and the forces of global finance, centered in the Inter-Alpha Group, for which both Frank and Obama are mere puppets. Her razor sharpness was not limited to identifying the problems associated with the two puppets, but was evident in her persistent presentation of the only alternatives which can save the United States: her forceful advocacy of the ``LaRouche Plan,'' of removing Obama, restoring Glass-Steagall banking regulations, and implementing the great transformational infrastructure project for the 21st Century, the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) ...
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Reich accurately locates Nerobama vs. FDR, in his latest blog posting about mass unemployment, which calls for a "new WPA" to create immediate employment on a large scale in infrastructure.
In "The Great Jobs Depression Worsens, and the Choice Ahead Grows Starker," Reich, noting the constantly growing number of Americans outside the workforce, puts "real unemployment" at 22 million, not including those forced to work part-time (who are another 9 million officially). "The last time we saw anything on this scale was in the 1930s. The last time we did anything about this on the scale necessary to reverse the trend was in the 1930s and 1940s.... We know what to do. We need massive public spending on jobsinfrastructure, schools, parksa new WPA."
Nerobama? "Obama should be storming the country, demanding the largest responses to the jobs emergency in history," said Reich. "Instead, Obama is all over the map: a mosque controversy, an Israeli-Palestinian peace talk (that may take years to complete, if ever), a symbolic withdrawal from Iraq, and lots of little tax-cutting ideas."
Economists are trying to estimate the employment creation needed even to return to 5% unemployment: Leo Hindery says 23 million jobs; Reich, 22 million jobs; the Economic Policy Institute (affiliated with the AFL-CIO), 17 million jobs; former Clinton economic advisor Laura Tyson, 20 million jobs. This means a net 300,000-400,000 new jobs created, on average, every month for five years.
But there is no "average" in this breakdown crisis. As Lyndon LaRouche says, the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) concept, as he has revived it, can create 3-4 million skilled and unskilled jobs as soon as it is launched; and even before that, hundreds of thousands of jobs in state and local government, and high-speed rail transport can be created on an emergency basis, if Obama is booted out and Glass-Steagall implemented to free up the nation's credit.
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)Economist Laura D'Andrea Tyson of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board pushed for large-scale infrastructure spending, in an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" this morning, saying, "Let's not forget what's important. Let's focus on job creation."
Emphasizing that "24 million people are still looking for full-time work," Tyson recommended "something like a new WPA" to the Congress and her deaf boss at the White House. "We should look at infrastructure because we knowbefore the recession, before the great recession, we know that we were vastly underspending on the nation's infrastructure.... Infrastructure spending is terrific in two ways. It creates demand right away, when you go out and get the project started and get the workers started and get allit also creates the ability to grow and be productive in the future.... You want to start with something really big; start with developing a high-speed rail system. Start with developing, improving our air control, modernizing our air control traffic system, for goodness sake."
After Tyson's enthusiasm on the subject of big infrastructure now, Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com, virtually the official economist of the U.S. news media, tried to throw cold water on it. "But it's important to realize, though, that none of this is going to make a difference in the next year," Zandi lied. "I mean, these are projects that are long-lived and take a long time. And we have to pay for them. We can't do this until we pay for them."
Sept. 11 (EIRNS)Last year, the Obama Administration turned down more than 2,000 distressed municipalities, for Federal grant money to keep their fire and rescue services up to strength. Among them was the City of Detroit, which suffered fires Sept. 7 that destroyed 71 homes and caused extensive damage. Firefighters fought 85 blazes in four hours. As the city admitted this week, budget cuts have decimated vital services. Response time and staffing were terribly inadequate to the Sept. 7 conflagration.
Stiffing cities is par for the course for the Obama White House, as the President continues in his own world about, "green jobs," and "upward job trends."
On Sept. 10, Detroit officials announced their immediate recourse: They filed for a grant of $11 million in Federal aid to strengthen their fire and rescue department as fast as possible. This request goes to a fund set up for this year by Congress, called the Adequate Fire & Emergency Responses program, which has an inadequate total of only $420 million to dole out to thousands of localities which are applying.
This Detroit crisis is the latest in dramatic manifestation of the urgency of getting through the Glass-Steagall reinstatement, and issuing Federal credits and grants on the scale required to keep in operation the basic services and staffing of local and state governments cross country.
Also on Sept. 10, in Detroit, a citizens group, Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), made the specific appeal that cut-offs of electric and gas supplies to impoverished households that can't pay bills be stopped. With no other resort, the practice of illegal tapping into electric lines is increasing. This contributed to the Sept. 7 fires, and in general, constitutes a hazard.
Global Economic News
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)Malaysia's biodiesel industry has come near to a total collapse because of a slight rise in palm oil prices, plus a delay in governmental mandates to force use of palm-oil-based diesel.
This "industry," which takes high-quality palm oil suitable for human consumption and turns it into low-quality diesel fuel at high cost, produced only 137 metric tons last month, a 95% drop from the previous month's output of 2,518 tons, and 99% from 12,640 tons in March, which is, in itself, a fraction of the 2.6-million-ton installed annual capacity.
Malaysian Biodiesel Association vice president U.R. Unnithan says the problem is "the high cost of production and the lack of the much needed incentive and subsidies from the Government."
There is almost $7 billion invested in biodiesel production facilities in Malaysia, or enough to have built, instead, a few nuclear plants.
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s recently published biennial report, "International Status and Prospects of Nuclear Power," makes clear that one of the major barriers to the rapid development of nuclear power across the globe is the growing shortage of nuclear-skilled manpower. The availability of human resources is a critical challenge to the expansion and growth of nuclear power. It is a challenge for the nuclear industry to recruit and train a large number of qualified individuals, just to replace those very experienced individuals who are retiring, the report said.
Years of rule by the anti-nuclear, anti-development authorities in the developed countries, manipulated by the investment bankers and various supranational financial institutions, using the no-growth environmentalist lobby as their legitimate spokespersons, have created this critical vacuum. Of the more than 40 countries that have expressed an interest in developing nuclear power in recent years, over 20 are actively considering nuclear power programs to meet their energy needs. However, their programs may get delayed, due to the lack of human resources, causing worsening economic distress for the people of all those countries.
Another disappointment cited in this report is that only a few countries currently use nuclear energy for purposes other than electricity production, and even then, only to a limited extent. However, it expressed hope that nuclear power use in non-electricity generation applications may increase in the future for applications such as desalination of seawater, district heating, process heat for industrial applications and coal liquefaction, and hydrogen production.
On the positive end, the report makes evident that the IAEA foresees no shortage of uranium in the short- to medium-term future. It also points out that the current enrichment and fuel-fabrication capacities are adequate to meet the expected demand for the next decade.
Sept. 8 (EIRNS)In March 2010, the China National Nuclear Corporation announced that it would be building its first nuclear power base, "China Nuclear Power City," at Haiyan in coastal Zhejiang province, 70 miles southwest of Shanghai on the Yangtze delta. In Zhejiang province there are five nuclear reactors in operation and two more under construction. In July, local and provincial officials met to formally endorse the project, and to finalize the location, scope, and industries involved. Detailed engineering and construction preparation work was expected to start almost immediately.
In addition to the nuclear power plants, Haiyan hosts the headquarters of 18 leading Chinese nuclear equipment suppliers as well as branch offices of all the major Chinese nuclear design institutes and construction companies. The Nuclear City is expected to have four main areas of work: development of the nuclear power equipment manufacturing industry; nuclear training and education; applied nuclear science industries (medical, agricultural, radiation detection, and tracing); and promotion of the nuclear industry. It was said to have been modelled on Burgundy, France, which has become something of the center of the French nuclear industry complex.
There are also two reactors under construction at the Fangjiashan plant. By 2014, when all nine units should be in operation, electrical generating capacity will total some 6300 MWe.
United States News Digest
Sept. 11 (EIRNS)Senior Democratic Party officials have conceded that they failed to see the early signs of Barack Obama's synthetic personality, but now clearly recognize that the President is a psychological basket-case. Witness yesterday's White House press conferenceObama's first such event since May. The President spent most of the time blaming everyone, from the Congressional Democrats, to George W. Bush, to the Congressional Republicans, for the economic mess that he has inherited, and for which he is now (rightly) blamed.
Behind the scenes, the President and his Chicago White House posse are reportedly scrambling to preempt what is now seen as a full-scale revolt by endangered House Democrats. To head off any possibility of some concrete legislative action during the brief post-Labor Day session, which begins Sept. 13-14, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), under White House orders, is saying that she may cut the House session, already scheduled for a mere three weeks, back by ten days. As of now, House members are supposed to end their deliberations on Oct. 8, but Pelosi is threatening to gavel them out of session before the end of September.
Sept. 11 (EIRNS)Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the lead target of the Obama White House's racist Operation Frühmenschen revival, is fully mobilized in the final days before his Sept. 14 primary election. In the past few days, former President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have both recorded endorsements of Rangel, that are going out as robo-calls to all voters in Rangel's Harlem district. In his recording, Bloomberg says, "Tough times require tough leadership, and that is what Charlie Rangel has provided for us, and will continue to provide for us going forward." Clinton's endorsement will carry special weight, given both his enormous popularity, particularly in the African-American community, and the fact that the headquarters of the Clinton Foundation is in Harlem.
A victory for Rangel will be a dramatic defeat for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. The House Speaker played a vicious role in forcing Rangel to step down from the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and the Obama White House has been running a non-stop effort to oust Rangel, covertly funding his challengers, particularly Adam Clayton Powell IV, who has campaigned as an "Obama Democrat," a foolish move.
Lyndon LaRouche commented today that Sept. 15 will be a "break point" in the current political situation. Between the Rangel race in New York and LaRouche Democrat Rachel Brown's Sept. 14 primary challenge to Barney Frank in Massachusetts, this could be a real setback for Pelosi and Frank.
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)In July, Lyndon LaRouche denounced the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the Soros-Pelosi-Obama-backed thug apparatus against Congress, as unconstitutional, and called for it to be "uprooted" and abolished.
On Sept. 9, the Tulsa World reported that Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) said "that the Office of Congressional Ethics might need to be eliminated." With that, Boren is the first Democrat, beyond members of the Congressional Black Caucus, to come out for action against OCE. In 2008, after strong-arming and rule-breaking by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the OCE was created by a one vote margin of 207-206, after the vote was kept open past deadline, and members were pressured to change their votes. Boren was the only Oklahoma Congressman to vote for OCE. But now, after OCE went after Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) in a high-profile accusation, but then dismissed the charges as unfounded on Sept. 9, Boren has defended Lucas's record and reputation, and blasted the OCE.
On Sept. 8, the Washington Independent reported that the opposition is growing against OCE, but that the Republican leaders will not say whether they will eliminate it if the GOP wins the House.
There is already a bill by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and 19 other members of the Black Caucus, to curtail the powers of the OCE. When she introduced the bill, she declared that "OCE is currently the accuser, judge, and jury. This isn't the case in the American justice system, and it shouldn't be so in Congress." Since the House Ethics Committee's witchhunt against Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) became officialand since their decisions to fight backopposition against OCE has grown.
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)President Obama came out to counter Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the drug cartel's threat to Mexico, one day after she had presented an alarming, and accurate assessment of the horror to which Mexico is being subjected by the drug cartels. Obama's decision a year ago to stop using Federal law to prosecute marijuana trafficking in California has aided the drug cartels in Mexico, facilitating an explosion of purveyors (100 in San Diego alone) of highly concentrated "super-pot" products, mostly made with marijuana trafficked from Mexico.
In the discussion following her address to the Council on Foreign Relations on Sept. 8, Clinton stated that the drug-trafficking threat in the Western Hemisphere "is in some cases morphing into, or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency, in Mexico and Central America." Citing the appearance of car bombs in Mexico, she noted that Mexico "is looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago, where the narcotraffickers control certain parts of the country ... significant parts; in Colombia, it got to the point where, you know, more than a third of the countrynearly 40% of the country at one time or another was controlled by the insurgents, by FARC."
In an exclusive interview the next day with the Los Angeles La Opinion daily, Obama flatly contradicted Clinton, asserting that "Mexico is a broad and progressive democracy, with a growing economy, and consequently you cannot compare what is happening in Mexico with what happened in Colombia 20 years ago."
Sept. 8 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche commented today that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's decision not to seek a seventh term, will drive President Obama wild, with the expectation that his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel will leave the White House to campaign to succeed Daley. Financial Times Washington bureau chief Ed Luce headlines today's column, "Disaster Looms at the Polls as President Finally Eyes Economy." He writes, "While Mr. Obama is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, his fellow Democrats are putting on dresses and heading for the lifeboats."
Obama provoked more questions about his sanity today, when he went to Cleveland for an almost hour-long Jeremiad against House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who had demanded two weeks ago, in the same city, that Obama fire White House economics advisor Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. It was already clear that the White House cabal had been badly stung by Boehner's call; after today, one can only guess what the level of hysteria was in that looney-bin.
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The Washington Post calls the Obama Administration, "The Incredible Shrinking Presidency"; Time magazine publishes an article, and a video interview titled, "Why Is Obama Mr. Unpopular?"; CNN's Situation Room asks Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic Party, if the party is going to cut off election funding for Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and any other Democrat in Congress who criticizes the President; and the Post, Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other newspapers publicize polls that the Republicans are going to mop up in the mid-term elections because of Obama.
Lyndon LaRouche nailed the situation in a discussion today: "The President is not in good mental health," and is "approaching a crack-up." This means that "there's only one thing on the agenda for action ... there's only one thing that can be done, which has a correlation of forces behind it that will work: the immediate retirement of this President, combined with, and possibly triggered by, the onset of the existing proposed law, draft law, which is sitting there, ready to be voted upfor the renewal of the original Glass-Steagall policy." LaRouche specified that the Democrats up for re-election can survive in only one waycome out en masse for restoring Glass-Steagall. This will only work if it is done in large numbers, and it would drive Obama out, said LaRouche.
Ibero-American News Digest
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)Some 30 activists leading Mexico's movement to build the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO), the tri-state water and power management plan mapped out, like NAWAPA, decades ago, met yesterday in Sonora, to view LaRouchePAC's just-released Spanish-dubbed "Tour of NAWAPA" video, and coordinate the fight to make such great biospheric engineering projects the keystone of a new international system, replacing globalization.
Several years of drought in the dry but rich agricultural state of Sonora, have created a crisis, out of which profiteering private interests associated with Prince Philip's World Wildlife Fund (WWF), are trying to pit farmers in the south against urban areas in the north, in a fight for rapidly disappearing water. The water war has been stymied by the organizing of the Pro-PLHINO Committee, founded several years by the LaRouche movement, which has brought tens of thousands of citizens onto the streets twice this year, in support for a policy of expanding the water available in the region, through the PLHINO and desalination projects.
Thus, the farmers, agronomists, and engineers present at the Sonora NAWAPA meeting were no novices to great water projects, but the scope and intent of Lyndon LaRouche's concept of NAWAPA, electrified them. The "guided tour" video of NAWAPA, and an elaboration by EIR Ibero-American editor Dennis Small of the international and scientific implications of NAWAPA, led to a lively discussion, with questions ranging from how to overcome the "huge problems" to get such an enormous project implementedand, "Won't this take generations?"to the role of the WWF in running the greenie opposition to the PLHINO and related great projects.
The spirit prevailing in the meeting, was captured by an older farmer present, who reported that he had first heard about NAWAPA in the 1960s, from the Agriculture Minister of President Adolfo López Mateos (1958-64). The farmer said that when people say such a project is too ambitious, his response is: Ever since man cracked the atom, there are no limits to what we can do.
Sept. 12 (EIRNS)The Sunday online edition of Panama's largest-circulation daily Critica reported that Lyndon LaRouche is discussing the necessity of constructing a high-speed rail corridor to cross the Darien Gap, the 100-kilometer wide jungle along the Panamanian-Colombian border through which not even a highway has ever been built. This project would be a key part of the international extension of the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) project. (See EIR's Aug. 20 article, "NAWAPA: Bridging the Darien Gap.")
The battle is thus joined: On Aug. 20, the U.S. Embassy in Panama issued a statement insisting that the "natural state" of the Darien Gap should not be touched.
Charge d'Affaires David Gilmour issued his statement, "U.S. Embassy Applauds Decision to Reject the Opening of the Darien," ostensibly in support of the Panamanian government's announcement that it would not even explore the possibility of building a highway through Panama's portion of the Gap, to connect up with a Colombian highway project, the "Transversal of the Americas," which is to run from Colombia's eastern border with Venezuela to its western border with Panama.
Gilmour alleged that "environmental and national security risks" preclude changing the "natural state of the environment in the Darien," and repeated the stupid argument that breaching "the natural barrier" would let screw worm and foot and mouth disease cross from South America into Central and North America (an argument similar to a call to end world travel because it spreads diseases).
As for the security threat, as the Critica article points out, the Darien Gap "is generally considered to be impenetrable (although, if truth be told, it is, today, overrun by the FARC narcoterrorist drug cartel, among others)."
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The scientists who announced last week a new interpretation of 30-year-old Mars data, which recasts the discussion of life on Mars, addressed a packed press conference this morning, explaining their research, and the changes taking place on Mars. The briefing was held at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), because the principal author of the scientific paper describing the results, Dr. Rafael Navarro-Gonzáles, is Mexican, and teaches at the UNAM. Dr. Navarro has been working with NASA on research to shed light on questions of the possibility of life on Mars, and other locations outside the Earth.
Dr. Navarro has participated in a broad range of field research, like his coauthor Chris McKay, studying life in extreme environments, such as the Atacama Desert in Chile, and Antarctica. He obtained his advanced degree in chemistry in the U.S. in 1989, and returned to Mexico in 1991, to help the growth of the scientific community there. At the press conference, the scientists said they were very pleased to be at UNAM, which has had 10 years of collaboration with NASA. Dr. Navarro is a member of the science team that will be analyzing results from one of the instruments to fly on the Mars Science Laboratory next year.
Since April, Mexico has had a civilian space agency, with modest funding and modest goals. Now, with the thrust to build NAWAPA taking shape internationally, the scientific, engineering, and manpower of Mexico will have to be mobilized. The talents and capabilities of Mexico's space community will play a vital role.
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)On Aug. 30-31, a colloquium was held in Bogota, Colombia on "The Humboldt Brothers and Their Impact in Latin America," organized by the German Academic Exchange Service (DADD), the German Embassy in Colombia, and the Javieriana University, as part of Colombia's celebration of its national Bicentennial.
Approximately 40 people attended the colloqium. The lack of young people in attendance proved a disappointment to several of the speakers, who view the revival of the Humboldt brothers' work as a crucial flank against the destructive neoliberal orientation of current education in Colombia. In his speech, Guillermo Hoyos of the Javierana University proposed that a Humboldt curriculum be created to attract youth to research, history, and science, in place of the current focus on study for profit. Both Hoyos and another speaker, Jorge Arias de Greiff, lamented that youth are not attending such events because of the education they are receiving, which has abandoned real science.
Members of the Lyndon LaRouche Association of Colombia distributed a leaflet identifying the active collaboration between the Humboldts, Benjamin Franklin and his U.S. networks, and great Ibero-American scientists such as Colombia's José Celestino Mutis, and the revival of that kind of thinking today, as embodied in LaRouche's NAWAPA concept. Nearly a third of those present at the colloquium gave their contact information to further discussion on the NAWAPA project.
Western European News Digest
Sept. 9 (EIRNS)For Ireland, the question of whether to dump the banks or save the nation, is now at the top of the agenda. Irish Times columnist Finton O'Toole, writing about the call for another $25 billion from the government to bail out the banks, commented: "The choice is now stark: do we go on being 'good Europeans' at the cost of destroying our own society or do we become 'bad Europeans,' lose the trust of our European partners, but save ourselves? There comes a point of existential crisis when even the meekest of countries has to put its vital national interests first. We are at that point now." He called on the European Central Bank to bail out Irish banks if it thinks they pose a systemic risk.
The European Union and Ireland have agreed to split Anglo-Irish Bank into a "good" bank, which will include only its depositors, and belong to the Finance Ministry, and a "bad" bank, which will hold all the worthless assets. The latter would then be "wound down." The big question that will not be answered for weeks is: Who pays the for the worthless assets?
Sept. 11 (EIRNS)The Inter-Alpha Group helps their own: Banco Santander has bought a 70% controlling interest in the Polish subsidiary of Allied Irish Bank, Bank Zachodni WBK for $3.7 billion. AIB had to sell the Polish subsidiary bank in order to be bailed out by the Irish government. The Irish press points out that the Zachodni subsidiary was the only profitable part of AIB and should have been kept. So now that the best parts of AIB have been kept within the Inter-Alpha family, the remains have been dumped onto the backs of the Irish taxpayer.
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)Greece's Winter of Discontent has arrived early this year, as the economy is collapsing in order to save Europe's banks. A Greek source told EIR that the nation is absorbed by the draconian austerity policy dictated by the European Union. People are fearful of losing their jobs and face cuts in salaries and pensions. He said that for the first time in his life, he saw Athenians searching garbage cans for food.
Prime Minister George Papandreou reshuffled his Cabinet, but kept his Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou, in place, assuring that he will not change policy. An Athens News Agency story claims that Greece's Winter of Discontent will not be quite like that of Great Britain, in 1978-79, where there were a lot of trade union strikes. But with the economy contracting and unemployment rising to 14%, there will be a lot of tension, which could hurt the government in the upcoming local elections. Inflation based on the consumer price index is reportedly 5.5%, but in terms of food, energy, and fuel prices, it is much higher.
Sept. 8 (EIRNS)Taxation, one of the last sovereign rights which the nation-state members of the European Union still have, is being targetted by the EU Commission for takeover. In his "State of Europe" address before the European Parliament yesterday, EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso said the following, on the issue of having taxation of Europeans by the Commission:
"We should also explore new sources of financing for major European infrastructure projects. For instance, I will propose the establishment of EU project bonds, together with the European Investment Bank. We will also further develop public private partnerships.
"As this Parliament has made clear, we must also address the issue of our own resources. The present system is stretched to its limits.... Some will not agree with all the ideas we will raise; I find it extraordinary that some are already rejecting them, even before knowing what they will be."
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rejected the idea on the spot, saying that any discussion of such new taxes would distract from the more important issue of reforming the financial sector.
Sept. 8 (EIRNS)The Ecofin Council (EU Finance Ministers) failed to reach an agreement today on the planned tightening of the budget and deficit rules. A group of countries led by Spain opposed the proposals to automate violation procedures, and to tighten penalties; another group of countries led by Belgium and Italy opposed the proposal to extend violation procedures to the debt/GDP ratio. Present in everyone's mind is the image of the mass-strike fury against the fascist cuts, as seen in the huge French trade union demonstrations last week.
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)Despite 2.5 million people demonstrating last weekend against his plan to cut pensions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy refuses to budge. The Sarkozy "reform"austerity cuts in pensions, as demanded by the financier oligarchywould raise retirement age to 62 (from 60) for those who have completed their 41 years of payments into the pension plan, and to 67 from 65, for those who have not yet completed the payments.
Following the demonstrations, Sarkozy and Prime Minister François Fillon immediately stated that they would not concede on pushing back the retirement age, and would limit their concessions to two: Whereas the reform had permitted those who worked under hard physical conditions to retire early if they could show a 20% rate of handicap, this percentage will now be lowered to 10%. The other concession, for women, will allow only civil servants with three children and 15 years in the administration to retire early.
Trade unions are organizing for a national day of strikes and actions on Sept. 23.
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)The daily Le Parisien revealed yesterday the content of an June 9 confidential note of the Agences Régionales de Santé (ARSRegional Health Agency), an administrative board in charge of cost-cutting and "rationalizing" health services. The 15-page memo, a model of fascist triage, complained that "too many" operating rooms remain open and available for nighttime emergency surgery, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Hence, whereas currently there are 6-11 operating rooms available in each region to cover nighttime surgical emergencies, the memo claimed that only one surgical suite per region in any 24-hour period, need be available for emergencies.
Russia and the CIS News Digest
Sept. 9 (EIRNS)Yuri Fedotov, the current Russian Ambassador to Britain and a former Deputy Foreign Minister, takes up his post as executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Sept. 13. Speaking to the press, he pointed to the continuing role of Afghanistan as the world center for drugs: "Soon we will have good news. I understand that my office is about to issue a report which basically will say that there is a decrease this year of production of opiate poppies in Afghanistan. The bad news is that this decrease is due to natural conditions, some kind of plague [disease] that affected crops."
Fedotov adds that the report will also show that in spite of the fall in opium poppy production, sufficient stocks had been accumulated over the past years to continue to produce heroin, and that as much land would be under poppy cultivation this year as in 2009, producing thousands of tons more than the entire global demand.
"I look forward on my next visit to the United States," concluded Fedotov, "to have more meaningful discussions in Washington and to see clearly how UNODC can help to bridge the gap and to move ahead with a positive agenda for Afghan drugs, including [reducing] the production of opium in Afghanistan."
Sept. 11 (EIRNS)Russian news outlets reported Sept. 10 an agreement between Russia and India to launch a Moon colonization project. The main tasks of the Luna-Resource project include study of the Moon's poles by landers, and delivery from the lunar surface to Earth of samples of water and other substances. Research will investigate the mystery of the origin of our planet, the Solar System, and the universe. The project is scheduled to start in 2013. The Russian lunar exploration program is planned for the next ten years. In 2012-14 there will be two expeditionsthe Russian Luna-Glob and the Russian-Indian Luna-Resource.
The orbital part of India's Chandrayaan-2 will include five main structures that will explore the Moon in different ranges; two more will be on the descent module. The orbiter will house: a wide soft X-ray spectrometer CLASS and solar X-ray monitor; an infrared spectrometer for studying the exosphere of the Moon; a neutral mass spectrometer for compiling three-dimensional maps of the lunar exosphere; a surface mapping camera to study lunar geology and mineralogy; and aperture radar S- and L-bands for studying the structure of the lunar ice and search for the presence of water on the Moon or under the surface.
The landers will collect and deliver to Earth samples of water and volatiles from the lunar poles. The experiment, if successful, will help to understand where on the Moon the water comes from, and unravel some secrets of the origin of the universe, scientists hope.
Southwest Asia News Digest
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)In mid-August, construction was completed on the Sheikh Zayed Canal, to convey Nile water from Lake Nasser, westward to the Toshka Desert oases, to ultimately establish a new 100,000-acre area of irrigated farming, and domicile for 3 million people. The main transfer canal runs more than 50 km westward from the giant Mubarak Pumping Station, adjacent to Lake Nasser. This giant pump operation, completed in 2005, is considered one of the world's "mega" engineering projects.
Four additional 22 km side-branch canals run off north-south from the main Zayed Canal channel, to supply intended farmland. Tests are starting on the main canal's three irrigation pump installations now; farming experiments will then take place, to see how the desert sands transform into arable cropland. (See details in www.water-technology.net; and EIR Special Report, "Peace Through Development in Africa's Great Lakes Region" (1997), pp. 139-142.)
These Upper Egypt canals, pumps, new town sites, and farming areas are in the spirit of geo-engineering new resources for the future, in opposition to the "fixed resources" mind-set of the era of globalization, now crashing to a close.
The overall "Toshka Project" was inaugurated in January 1997, and is to be completed by 2020. Its official name is the National Project for Developing Upper Egypt (NPDUE). Its aim is to "go out from the Nile Valley," and constitute new agro-industrial towns, for what is sometimes called a "New Delta" project. The Nile canal water runs along a route some geologists believe was the former western branch of the Nile. Groundwater, as well as Nile flow, will be used for the new irrigation programs.
Eventually, 10% of Egypt's allotment of Nile flow may be channeled into this new Toshka Desert development project. The Nile River waters are shared by 10 nations, and opponents of improvements in use of the water are attempting to play off the Nile Basin countries against each other. However, with eventual nuclear-powered desalination in the region, plus use of aquifer water in the meantimesuch as that of the Nubian Aquiferthere is no need to bow to apparent physical constraints.
Because of the volume of water to be conveyed, a canal, not a pipeline was used. To reduce seepage, construction has involved lining the canal with layers of cement, sand, concrete, and polymer sheeting, plus a final coating of paint.
The Zayed Canal was named in recognition of the $100 million donation to the project, made through the Abu Dhabi development fund, by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan El Nahayan, President of the U.A.E.
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)In a discussion with EIR, Dr. Mohamed Mounir Megahed, a former director of Egypt's nuclear power authority, confirmed that Egypt will be issuing a tender for the construction of a nuclear power stations at the El Dabaa site on the Mediterranean. The specifications will be finished by the end of the year and a tender will follow soon after. This will be the culmination of the relaunching of Egypt's nuclear program in 2007.
Megahed said the site was proposed many years ago for a reactor. The Worley Parsons company of Australia re-studied the site and confirmed that it was still the best site for a reactor. What is new is the fact that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak intervened to prevent hotel developers from grabbing the land; he said that all major nuclear power station constructors have made presentations, including the U.S.A.'s Westinghouse, the Chinese, Russians, French, and South Koreans. He said already 40 Egyptian experts are undergoing training programs in Russia.
Megahed said the first power station will be used exclusively for electricity, but follow-on projects would involved desalination.
The name "Parsons" in Worley Parsons comes from the acquisition of Parson EE, the hydrocarbon engineering division of The Ralph M. Parsons Co. which designed the NAWAPA project. Worley Parsons also bought out the American nuclear engineering company UniField Engineering.
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)A Time magazine cover story, "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," has the Israeli right wing screaming that Time has committed a "blood libel" against Israel. Author Karl Vick writes that "Israelis are no longer preoccupied with" peace with the Palestinians. "They're otherwise engaged: They're making money; they're enjoying the rays of the late summer ... they have moved on." Vick has visited Ashodabout 14 miles north of Gaza, and quotes an Israeli real estate agent there named Heli Itach, who tells him, "Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell.... What the people see on the TV there is not true here.... I sold, this week, 12 apartments. You're not a client, I tell you the truth." Another real estate seller says, "People are indifferent. They don't care if there's going to be war. They don't care if there's going to be peace. They don't care. They live in the moment."
Vick counterposes this hedonistic, ultra-chic scene to the Washington summit that was about to begin, that brought together three Presidents, a King, and a Prime Minister for peace talks that are going nowhere.
Time's article is the latest of a spate of comments from U.S. institutions that ask if Israel has become a strategic liability. Even Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagancommander of secret assassinationstold the Israeli Knesset on June 1, one day after the Israeli commandos killed an American citizen on the humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza, that Israel is turning from an "asset" into a "burden" to the United States.
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)National Security Advisor Jim Jones is proposing a multi-national peacekeeping force for the West Bank, after a state agreement, like the peacekeeping force in Sinai or the Lebanon border force. Israel opposes this completely, says the Jerusalem Post. "Experience shows us that we cannot trust multi-national forces to do the job like in Lebanon," one senior defense official said. "If the Palestinians are not capable of preventing the rise of terrorism independently, they are not yet ready to receive control of the territory." Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reportedly supported this. The Post adds, "Another idea being floated is the deployment of a pan-Arab force in the Gaza Strip as a way to assist the PA in restoring a foothold there."
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)UN investigators, ordered to write a report about Israel's atomic capabilities, said they couldn't compile enough information to assess Israel's nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released documents showing a split between member countries who want more light shed on Israel's nuclear work, and others that say that the IAEA doesn't have the right to pry. In September 2009, the IAEA's 151 members voted to have it review Israel's program, as part of an effort to create a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. Israel has refused to cooperate with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's inquiry, on "political and legal" grounds. Canada, the U.K., and U.S. opposed the probe, saying that the inquiry risked turning the IAEA into a political battleground, according to the documents. Others, including China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey, supported the investigation. This will be discussed at the IAEA's annual General Conference which convenes Sept. 20 in Vienna.
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The IAEA'S latest report on Iran's nuclear program actually breaks no new ground, providing technical data on the volume of low-enriched uranium produced by Iran, and quantities of uranium enriched to 20%. Based on review of all available information, the report concludes that the agency has received insufficient information from Iran to accurately determine whether work has taken place on weaponization since 2004. A preliminary reading is that the media hype about an Iranian nuclear breakout is not consistent with the 11-page IAEA document.
Asia News Digest
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, in Moscow for a two-day visit, met first with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and announced that the two nations will work closely together on both the development of the Russian Far East, and on the diplomatic dead-lock between North and South Korea since the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan in March.
Lee and Putin agreed to "substantial collaboration" to develop Siberia and the Far East, as beneficial for both nations. They emphasized that solving the conflict between North and South Korea was urgent, both to assure peace, and in order to complete the vision of connecting the Eurasian rail lines from Russia into South Korea, and constructing an oil and gas pipeline through the North to the South.
LaRouche noted the importance of this Korean/Russian cooperation in terms of bringing Japan into the regional scheme. "It's complicated," LaRouche said. "The Japan question in Asia, is a very crucial question, which depends, from the standpoint of Russia, on Japan's relationship to China. So, Japan's relationship to China is crucial for Japan's relationship to Siberia and Russia in particular, as such. The Koreans are much freer on this thing, which is crucial to this whole development of this part of the world. Japan has a technological base which is very useful for this entire area; and the interest and survival of Japan depends upon it. But Japan has been a 'bad guy,' in a sense, in some respects, in this area; where KoreaSouth Korea, in particularis neutral on that issue. I mean, you have conflicts in Asia which are still there, and you cannot ignore them. But what you do, if you bring a formula into place, between Russia and South Korea, Japan can come in on that."
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)A London-based private military company (PMC), Blue Hackle, providing security in Afghanistan, has been told to leave the country because of the company's involvement in smuggling arms out of Afghanistan to some other killing fields. Officials said President Hamid Karzai revoked Blue Hackle's operating license on Sept. 5, to take effect immediately. But that did not go well with British allies, such as Gen. David Petraeus, who reportedly met with Karzai to pressure him to reverse his decision. The Scotsman reported that "tense meetings between Karzai, General David Petraeus ... and other senior western officials were taking place in Kabul."
Although the news broke today, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) had unearthed Blue Hackle's smuggling operation on Aug. 30, when it seized "a large amount of military equipment including arms and munitions" from a private security firm. NDS said the mat@aaeriel was "being illegally transferred by a private security company from Kabul city to the airport and then to unknown destination." The NDS statement named the security firm as Blue Hackle, a member of the British Association of Private Security Companies. "The weapons were provided to this company by arms smugglers," NDS said, adding that they had been confiscated amid an investigation.
Africa News Digest
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)The 20-day strike by public-sector workers in South Africa was halted for three weeks today by trade union leaders, so that members can consider the government's latest offer. The leaders of the 1.3 million-member public-sector workers union have not accepted the offer.
As the global economic crisis deepens, there has been a wave of strikes or threats of strikes in South Africa, Africa's largest economy, as the cost of living is growing faster than earnings for those fortunate enough to have a job. Although some miners' strikes have been settled, others have not, and about 1.3 million civil servants have been on strike for nearly three weeks, leading to the closing of schools and crippling of hospitals.
The government says that there is no money available beyond what has been put forward in the latest offer, and that something else would have to be cut from the budget if it offered more. The latest offer still lags behind price increases, according to reports. The government earlier this year dismantled its project to develop its Pebble Bed modular fourth generation nuclear reactor, saying that it was too expensive. South Africa reportedly had a ten-year advantage over other nations working on this technology.
The strike wave, which has shut down some tire and automobile manufacturing concerns, threatens the ability of the government to survive. President Jacob Zuma was elected with the support of organized labor. Since South Africa plays a critical role in the economies of southern Africa, if the ruling party, the African National Congress, loses its traditional alliance with labor by refusing to budge in its battle with the civil servants, all southern Africa would be destabilized as a result. The next most vulnerable would be Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The Mozambique government announced today that it was rescinding the announced price increases for bread, electricity, and water. The decision to raise bread prices by 30%, along with substantial increases in electricity and water prices, led to riots in Maputo, the capital, Sept. 1-3 which resulted in 10 deaths, according to reports, as troops in some cases resorted to live ammunition.
Sharp recent increases in wheat and other food prices could trigger a repeat of the 2007-08 unrest across Africa. Since African countries are to a large degree dependent on food imports, because the globalization policies imposed by the ruling IMF monetary system prevent the development of infrastructure and industry, they are forced to rely on exporting cash crops, as opposed to prioritizing food production for the domestic market. Prices of cereals, sugar, and meat are up over 15% since last year. Mozambique has recently tacked on a more than 10% increase of water and electricity costs.
On Sept. 2, the government announced that the price hikes would be irreversible. Protesters reportedly had intended to continue the demonstrations.
In addition to recently proposed investments of $13 billion from China, Mozambique has made agreements to develop hydroelectric generating capacity, electrical transmission lines, and a huge mining development. Despite these investment prospects, Mozambique is still extremely vulnerable to destabilization because of the imposed rules of globalization, which prevent the necessary development of infrastructure to advance agricultural production for local consumption. Diverting land use that could potentially produce food, to cash-crop biofuel production, had left the African countries which have been sucked into these ventures more dependent on food imports. The crisis calls into question Mozambique's recovery from the effects of a prolonged civil war.
With or without investment prospects, the globalized system has made African countries extremely vulnerable to food price increases resulting from speculation.
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