The Extended Sensorium
``Thus, in summary, we are confronted with three categories of direct, or indirect human experience:
1.) What is traditionally regarded as the subject of human sense-experience;
2.) An intermediate domain, which recognizes qualities of sense-experience which can be recognized in domains much broader than conventional notions of sense-perception;
3.) The known domain whose characteristic is the role of specifically human creative powers of insight and innovation.
``In earlier reports on this subject, the emphasis had been placed on the crucial importance of the second, middle ground, that of sensible experiences beyond the category of the five heretofore `conventional' notions of sense-perception, including the prominent role of the added experience expressed by aid of the role of scientific instruments.
``Now, in this present report, our attention is focused on the domain of a middle stage of our obligatory investigations, a stage which is represented by the seeking out of the subject of those additional sensory powers which are expressed within the ranges of cosmic radiation, which now includes what are both useful and tolerable for both human and other forms of life, but are, nonetheless, not yet the voluntary expressions of specifically human creative powers...."
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
Jan. 27 (EIRNS)The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC)'s long-awaited study, released today, clearly recognizes that the bursting of the debt bubble was avoidable and should have been avoided. The main report, directed by chairman Phil Angelides (former California state treasurer), identifies the main cause of the crisis as the erosion and ultimate repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and other moves toward deregulation, over the last 40 years. However, it stops short of calling for reenactment of Glass-Steagall today, the solution which Lyndon LaRouche has insisted upon.
The Angelides report correctly names Alan Greenspan as the prime promoter of deregulation and out-of-control speculation, and criticizes his successor at the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and then-New York Federal Reserve Bank chairman Timothy Geithner (now Treasury Secretary), the latter, for letting Citibank and Lehman Brothers get away with financial murder.
While the two dissenting opinions by Republican members of the Commission deny the role of the deregulatory measures in causing the crisis, the main report pinpoints two major causes: the repeal of Glass-Steagall in November 1999, and the passage in December 2000 of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which legalized over-the-counter derivatives in the trillions of dollars. This set off the chain of events which, in 2007, triggered the collapse of the world financial system.
While the FCIC study provides a useful service by putting a spotlight on these measures, Lyndon LaRouche and his political movement fought those moves every step of the way, denouncing the catastrophic economic and social consequences they would have. While often criticized as a "Cassandra," LaRouche's warnings have proven to be right on the mark.
In a webcast on July 25, 2007, LaRouche correctly forecast the financial crisis which was to break out some weeks later. In August, he called for a Homeowners and Bank Protection Act (HBPA) to prevent foreclosures and reorganize the mortgage and MBS markets, which created a groundswell of support. That initiative, however, was blocked on behalf of Wall Street and the Inter-Alpha Group by, among others, then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Quickly, the first bailout plan enacted led to endless bank rescue operations, and the current hyperinflationary explosion.
The FCIC, which was set up in May 2009 by law, was no "Pecora Commission," but the majority report, by the six Democrats, included reports on potential illegalities which have been referred to the Justice Department.
The study's conclusion were enough to force sputterings and attempts to belittle the partisanship of commission members in certain financial quarters. The Wall Street Journal ranted in a lead editorial that the report amounts to saying that "evil bankers did it," and complained that the attacks on deregulation, over-the-counter derivatives and CDS are unfair.
Wall Street is also alarmed by the fact that the Commission is putting a trove of investigative documents on line, many of which are internal documents and communications of the corporations investigated, fearing that they will provide ammunition for class-action lawsuits. Angelides promised that the Commission will be posting more, including research and investigative documents, audio, and transcripts.
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)The Journal of Commerce Commodity Index rose 50% in 2010, and is above its previous all-time high of the Spring 2008 commodities bubble which set off food price riots around the world. The commodity index has inflated 200% since 2001 under the "helicopter money" policy of Fed Chairmen Alan Greenspan and his henchman Ben Bernanke. The index has risen 100% in just two years 2009-10, the "bank bailout effect." Food prices as a whole, for example, were up 37% internationally from Jan. 1, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2011.
Since the Federal Reserve launched its latest hyperinflationary money-printing scheme under the initials "QEII" in October, there are few commodities on the metals, foodstuffs, and energy futures/derivative exchanges, the contracts for which have not become 50-95% monopolized, or "cornered," at one or several times by a bank or other large financial institution. This is pure speculation, using these derivatives markets to drive the inflation on which the banks are speculating. Morgan Stanley, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sucks, for example, have been speculating massively, notoriously on the energy derivatives markets, driving "commercial hedge users" off these markets.
The liquidity to run these massive speculations is being "fed" to the banks by the Fed's purchases of their Treasury bills, MBS, etc.
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)Why speculate on the price, when you can just buy the company? Today it was revealed that three hedge fundsApollo Global Management LLC, Bain Capital LLC, and TPG Capital (formerly the Texas Pacific Group)have made a takeover bid for food processor Sara Lee Corp., known for its breakfast pastries, but now also having significant meat-processing, and coffee and tea divisions. On the other side in this bidding war is Brazilian meat processor JDS, which Business Week says has the backing of hedge fund Blackstone Group. The new bid for Sara Lee is almost 10 times annual earnings, and would be the biggest buyout deal in a decade, were it to go through.
In November, former "merger and acquisition" king KKR led a group which bought canned fruit and vegetable processor Del Monte Foods, at the same time Apollo Global was buying CKE Restaurants, owner of fast-food chains Carl's and Hardee's. There's probably much more of this going on.
Global Economic News
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)As the outlines of the hyperinflationary food crisis become clearer, governments around the world are attempting to ameliorate the damage, making larger-than-usual purchases of food, to build reserves.
Last week, Algeria bought 800,000 tons of wheatmuch more than usualand Saudi Arabia announced plans to double the size of its wheat stockpile, according to an account in the Financial Times.
Bangladesh and Indonesia joined the rush on Jan. 27, placing unusually large rice orders. Traders said that Jakarta, which usually buys rice in 200,000-ton allotments, tendered for more than 800,000 tons. Bangladesh said it would double rice purchases this year.
Indonesia also announced on Jan. 28 that it was suspending all import duties on wheat, soybeans, fertilizer, and other food-related items for the rest of the year, because of expected food price hikes. The government had previously scrapped import duties for rice products.
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)The looming collapse of the Spanish banking sector is the driving force behind more and more feverish calls for expanding the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) into a massive bailout fund to save the rapidly sinking Inter-Alpha banking system.
The IMF, in an update to its Global Financial Stability Report, called for the EFSF not only to be expanded, but to be given a "more flexible mandate." The Irish Times writes that the obvious reason for this, is the fear that the Fund could be wiped out, were a larger European economy to need rescuing. It doesn't mention Spain by name, but it is obvious what is being referred to. It also calls for the European Central Bank to continue pumping unlimited liquidity to the banks, and to keep active its Securities Markets Program for buying public and private debt securities.
The EFSF will raise its first EU5 billion in bonds today. It is already oversubscribed, because it is considered the best buy in town.
In Spain, Finance Minister Elena Salgado held a hastily organized press conference last night to announce the Zapatero government's plan to "eliminate any doubt about the solvency of our financial institutions," according to the Financial Times. Her plan is to demand that the banks increase their capital ratio to 8%, insisting that capital injection into the banks, including the thoroughly bankrupt cajas (savings banks), would in no way exceed EU20 billion, and that most of that would come from the private sector. The cajas would have until September to come up with private capital; those that failed could then turn to the government bailout fund, the FROB, but only if they had first converted into banks. Meanwhile, the FROB is, itself, planning to go to the marketsfor a piddling EU3 billion.
But the whole plan, including the timetable, was stillborn.
City of London ventriloquist's dummy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard drives the point home in today's Daily Telegraph, in an article headlined "Spain Tempts Fate with Minimalist Bank Rescue," stating that Salgado is wildly optimistic. He quotes the chief European economist of Inter-Alpha Group's bankrupt Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Silvio Peruzzo, saying: "This is unlikely to be a game-changer.... We view EU50 billion as the minimum recapitalization for the Spanish banking system." Pointing to the collapse of the housing bubble, he said that prices could fall by 40%. Unsold homes are estimated to number 1.2 million.
Peruzzo called on EU leaders to greatly expand the EFSF to "save Spain." RBS goes so far as to say that the EFSF should be allowed to buy Spanish and other Eurozone bonds preemptively, and even recapitalize banks. Unless EU policies become more "forceful," Spain "will remain exposed to contagion."
United States News Digest
Jan. 30 (EIRNS)In appearances on the Sunday talk shows today, the two top Republican leaders in Congress indicated that they will have to work with the Obama White House directly in order to dismantle Social Security, because of opposition from Senate Democrats and others.
House Speaker John Boehner, speaking on Fox News Sunday, made it clear that he wants "entitlements" to be on the table for cuts. "I think the White House is interested in having that same conversation," Boehner declared, adding, "But ... we've got the Senate Majority Leader who says there's no problem" with Social Security. Boehner identified this as the major obstacle to the "adult conversation" on entitlements that he and Obama want to have.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, appearing on NBC, said that there is great unity among Republicans, but "I think the most interesting unreported divisions in the town are among Democrats." McConnell said cutting "long-term unfunded liabilities," in which category he falsely included Social Security, has to be done on a bipartisan basis, and he pointed out what happened to George W. Bush in 2005 when he went after Social Security. "We're happy to sit down and talk about entitlement reform with the President," McConnell offered. "We know Social Security is in trouble.... We know Medicare is on an unsustained path.... Look, we need to get serious about this."
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)President Obama has again submitted the nomination of British death-care enthusiast Sir Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Obama put Berwick in charge of CMS by recess appointment last July, after his April nomination stalled in the Senatenot because of Republican opposition, but because Senate Democrats were afraid to hold a confirmation hearing in which Berwick could be grilled on his praise of Britain's National Health Service ("I am romantic about the National Health Service," Berwick told a London audience in 2008, "I love it") and its National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which Berwick helped set up in 1999.
The Senate Finance Committee's senior Republican, Orrin Hatch, said yesterday: "A day after the President committed to coming together to move our country forward, he's chosen to renominate one of his most contentious nominees to head an agency that impacts the lives of more than 100 million Americans.... Given Dr. Berwick's controversial views, Republicans will expect a full hearing to understand how the administration is implementing the $2.6 trillion health law, its impact on the American people, and the consequences to the future of Medicare and Medicaid."
Berwick will face a hearing in the Finance Committee, and then confirmation by the full Senate, were he to be approved by that committee.
Jan. 27 (EIRNS)The effort to repeal Obama's health-care rationing board is a "bipartisan" effort, said its chief spokesman, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), yesterday, pointing out that he will seek Democratic cosponsors. And it stands a real chance of making it through Congress, says a Democratic healthcare consultant.
"Could it pass the Senate now, with Democratic support? Sure," said Len Nichols, described as a leading health-care economist and former Clinton Administration official, quoted in a Mother Jones article attacking the repeal effort, "given the intensity of lobbyist opposition to it, liberal opposition to it, and Republican desire to strip anything out of [health reform] and call it a victory over the President." The same article quotes even senior Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) as saying he has "some concerns" about IPAB, because it delegates so much Congressional authority to the Board. Mother Jones notes that 72 House Dems signed a letter last session opposing IPAB, and 4 House Democrats joined 71 Republicans in voting against it last year.
In his press conference, Roe again compared IPAB to the NICE board in Britain, which limits and denies medical treatments. And he repeatedly warned how IPAB could deny care in the U.S. "The board will decide, maybe you're 80 and that's a little too old to have your knee redone," Roe warned, saying that the board could declare: "No, you can't have this treatment, because you've hit a budget limit."
Jan. 27 (EIRNS)With the connivance of the Governor's Foreclosure Taskforce, the Virginia legislature's House Courts of Justice Committee this week scuttled a bill that would have done away in Virginia with the speculators' nationally used Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), which has facilitated the mortgage-backed securities fraud, and allowed banks and other financial institutions to throw millions of people out of their homes, while thumbing their noses at longstanding existing law.
The bill was introduced by Republican Del. Robert Marshall, who told the Associated Press after the voice vote by the committee, "What you saw in there was government of the banks, by the banks, and for the banks."
A staffer in Marshall's office told EIR that the bill was sent to the Governor's taskforce "for study" at the urging of its chairman, Terrie Suit. Suit, an Assistant to the Governor whose primary title is Homeland Security Advisor, and who is the direct liaison between Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell and the Federal Department of Homeland Security, earlier spent three years as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Real Estate Board. The next time her subgroup of the Governor's Housing Policy Framework Initiative meets is after the Feb. 26 closing of this year's session of the legislature. So, by sending the bill #1506 to the taskforce for study, the committee has pretty well ensured that it will not be allowed to be voted on during this session, although Marshall's office said the Delegate is looking for another germane bill to which 1506 could be attached as an amendment.
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) confronted Obama's "regulations czar" Cass Sunstein over the secret Section 1233 end-of-life counseling regulation today, accusing the Administration of an "illegal end-run" by sneaking it into the new Medicare regulations "in the dead of night," without allowing public comment.
During a hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on President Obama's executive order on regulations, with Sunstein of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as the sole witness, Rep. Gingrey boxed Sunstein in, asking him who in the Administration had the authority to sneak in this regulation, "in the dead of night?" Sunstein said he didn't know.
Gingrey, an Ob-Gyn, asked Sunstein if Obama's new Executive Order would prevent this type of thing from being done in the future, and Sunstein answered "yes." Gingrey then asked: "Can you assure us that this Administration won't allow such an illegal end-run in the future?" Sunstein meekly again answered "yes," without ever protesting Gingrey's characterization of the Administration's actions as "illegal."
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)Yesterday, Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington and Dave Heineman of Nebraska wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate on behalf of the National Governors' Association, on the catastrophe facing the Federal states. They seem to imagine that their letter deals with harsh, unavoidable realitiesbut in truth, it is more of a suicide note.
Gregoire and Heineman note that states now face estimated budget deficits of $175 billion from now through 2013, on top of prior budget gaps of $230 billion from 2009-11. Unlike the Federal government, they say, states must balance their budgets. "More cuts will be necessary, but with all the easy cuts exhausted, the next round will require more layoffs, fewer state services, and potential cuts to core programs like K-12 education and public safety. Despite states' difficult fiscal situation, governors are not calling for new one-time help from the federal treasury." This is because they've been told it's "not in the cards"that is, while avoiding Glass-Steagall!
Instead, all they ask is some greater flexibility under the remaining federal programs, now that all the Federal "stimulus" money has been exhausted.
Ibero-American News Digest
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)Windows of the Mayor's office in downtown Rio de Janeiro were shot out today, and a TV Globo news helicopter, fired on by drug traffickers, was forced to make an emergency landing, when the traffickers struck back, after 150 police moved in to search several drug-run hillside favelas (slums) in the downtown area, which is becoming a permanent war zone. Some 1.3 million people, 20% of the population of Brazil's second-largest city, live piled up in these favelas, abandoned by their government, and ruled by wild drug gangs.
The death toll from floods and mudslides which wiped out favelas perched on the hillsides of towns in Rio de Janeiro state ten days ago, hit 814 today, with over 500 people still unaccounted for. The brilliant idea announced today by the Rio state government (which the Rothschild interests love), is to set up an ecological park out of one of the hills now "cleared" of people, and run it as a public-private partnership!
And what was the federal government doing meanwhile? Selling derivativesclose to a billion dollars' worth just todayin its announced plan to out-speculate the speculators, supposedly to force down the value of Brazil's currency, the real, which is being driven into the stratosphere by the government's policy of raising the world's highest interest rates even further, opening the floodgates to the tsunami of hot money from the Inter-Alpha Group's global financial carry trade.
On Jan. 19, the Central Bank raised its benchmark Selic interest rate to 11.25% from 10.75%. As suicidal as this is, it is only the first installment on a full 2% increase that outgoing Central Bank head Henrique Meirelles had announced back in December, to try to keep the vast carry-trade charade alive. While the Bank said it was raising interest rates to "contain" inflation, which has already exceeded its annual target of 4.5%, reaching 6.04% by mid-January, the fact is that the soaring rates are one of the main causes of both inflation, and the collapse of production in BRIC-laden Brazilwhich is now imploding. The expectation is that interest rates will be raised yet again, when the Central Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (Copom) meets in early March.
Jan. 30 (EIRNS)British imperial interests aren't finished killing off the Haitian people. Look at the news that the Prince of Wales's Foundation for the Built Environment has won the Haitian government contract to "rebuild" the destroyed capital of Port-au-Prince.
Rebuild? The Miami-based design firm that Charles' foundation has hired, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., envisions Port-au-Prince as a green "urban village," built for, and financially sustained by, the middle and upper classes. The poor have no place in this green fascist plan. They are to be dispersed elsewhere in the country, so as not to dirty up what architect Andres Duany calls "squares of tremendous elegance."
According to the green urban village concept, each stand-alone residential "super block" will have its own public-private infrastructurewater, electricity, and sanitation servicesand lots of parking. The residents of each block will form cooperatives that will own utilities and parking facilities. There will also be a cruise ship port, palace, and government buildings, in which tourism, including a luxury yacht basin, will be the main source of employment.
Eddie Labossiere, president of the Haitian Economists Association, has attacked the granting of the contract to the Prince's foundation, arguing that the urban village model ignores the city's historical and cultural dimensions. And, he adds, the involvement of foreign NGOs, and the creation of an "industrial park" based on textile sweatshops that produce only for export, will not help Haiti. There may be thousands of jobs offered, "but these are small jobs," Labossiere said, "that cannot guarantee the development of Haiti."
Jan. 31 (EIRNS)For the second time in two years, Argentina's four major agricultural producer organizations, led by the oligarchical Rural Society, launched a strike against the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. An asset of British financial interests, the Rural Society represents large landowners, but has roped in smaller producer groups, convincing them that they are fighting for the same thing.
From Jan. 17-22, the four groups halted all marketing of grains for export, demanding the lifting of all export taxes and charging that the government is preventing them from exporting all they want, and is in collusion with the grain cartels to prevent them from getting a fair price.
Agriculture Minister Julián Dominguez has debunked those charges, pointing out that the farm sector has never been in as good shape as it is today. The government has helped producers, especially smaller ones, offering zero-interest-rate credit lines to finance exports or warehousing, among other benefits. On Jan. 12, following the announcement of the producers' strike, the government released another 3 million tons of grain for export.
In remarks to Tiempo Argentino published Jan. 17, Dominguez asserted however that "the sovereign state has the authority to determine the food security quota for internal consumption. This is what the Argentine state does. For wheat, we need 6.5 million tons.... I'm not a free trader: The state must take care of those things that the market can't resolve, when there are asymmetries."
The Agriculture Minister later noted that even if the state doesn't formally set up its own entity to manage all grains marketing, which some of its trading partners, such as India and Russia favor, it will be increasingly intervening in the grain trade to guarantee adequate supplies to the Argentine people at reasonable prices. "If [British] liberalism ever wins in Argentina, God help us," he told Página 12 in remarks published Jan. 23. "It will cease to protect industry and the producers."
The Rural Society is not amused. Since its founding in the 19th Century, it has always defended London's free-trade policy, with no concern as to whether people eat or not.
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)At least 116 cholera cases have been reported in Venezuela over the last few days, but they didn't originate in the slums of Caracas. Rather, the patients were guests at a lavish wedding party for a very wealthy Venezuelan couple, held at the La Romana luxury resort in the Dominican Republic, attended by 450 well-to-do Venezuelans.
Uninvited, but somehow present, was Edgar Allen Poe's "Masque of the Red Death."
Guests became ill after eating the lobster served at the reception, which was brought from an area along the Dominican Republic's border with Haiti, where cholera does not need a visa or a passport to enter. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is now complaining that "some rich people" have brought cholera to Venezuela. Health Minister Eugenia Sader quickly announced that the situation was under control, but urged the rest of the wedding guests to come forward and get tested immediately, as they could be "spreading the bacteria without knowing it."
As is the case generally with cholera, people can carry, and spread the bacteria, but be asymptomatic.
Sader added, "If we can get these 450 people treated, we won't have an epidemic in Venezuela." However, she warned that there is one big concern. "Some of these peoplewithout knowing it, of coursecould travel to areas that have no sewage systems, such as places along the border and in indigenous areas, where a very serious epidemic could break out."
Colombian health authorities immediately responded to the cholera outbreak by launching an emergency deployment to areas along the border with Venezuela.
Jan. 18 (EIRNS)The "Megacable Channel 8" TV station in Sonora, Mexico, ran a 20-minute interview with EIR's Dennis Small last night, on the subject of the PLHINO (Northwest Hydraulic Plan) and NAWAPA (North American Water and Power Alliance). Small invited the audience of the "Entre Todos" show, hosted by Claudia López, to listen to LaRouche's Jan. 22 webcast for a full discussion of the global financial crisis, and why programs like NAWAPA and the PLHINO are the only solution to it. He also blasted the British Empire's World Wildlife Fund and its local allies, such as billionaire business magnate Carlos Slim, and counterposed the optimism of the nation-building outlook of FDR, Martin Luther King, and the late President José López Portillo, to the pervasive cultural pessimism destroying the youth of both Mexico and the U.S. today, under the British Empire.
Pro-PLHINO networks in the region, such as the farmers association of the Irrigation District of southern Sonora, taped the broadcast and are planning a showing for their entire membership.
Western European News Digest
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)The promoters of the bill on euthanasia in the French Senate backed down today, prior to the debate on the floor, following a strong statement against it by Prime Minister François Fillon, leader of the majority party UMP. The same day, Health Minister Xavier Bertrand had also rejected the bill in no uncertain terms, announcing that he would be defending the government's opposition to it in the Senate debate. Additional pressure came from the Archbishop of Paris, who denounced the bill, and from right-to-life demonstrators, who ran street theater with Dr. Death and 700 body bags outside the Parliament, to dramatize what was going on.
Before the law was debated and voted on in the evening, Article 1 and its corollaries, which called openly for euthanasia, was withdrawn from the bill, by a vote 172-143 on two amendments to repeal it.
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)The Netherlands government seems to be moving closer to reality, at least in terms of energy policy. The new center-right government has announced a radical overhaul of Dutch energy policy, under which subsidies for most forms of "renewable" energy will be cut drastically. Under the new guidelines, virtually all subsidies for offshore wind farms, solar power, and large-scale biomass will be eliminated, while for the first time since the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the government has called for the construction of new nuclear power stations.
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)A few days only after the renewed push of pro-euthanasia lobbyists in neighboring Netherlands for a special euthanasia "clinic," now in Belgium, also, there is a new call for such an atrocity.
Prof. Wim Distelmans of the University of Brussels, according to a RTL Luxembourg report today, has complained that while Belgium already has a euthanasia law, many doctors, in homes for the elderly, and in the hospitals cannot carry it out, because they have to stick to the rules of their institutions, which often ban "mercy killing" explicitly. Those hospitals should be stripped of state financial support, Distelmans demanded, and instead, a clinic solely for committing euthanasia should be established.
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)Fully 224 days after the last Federal elections in Belgium, which gave a majority to the Inter-Alpha-backed Flemish separatists, more than 30,000 Belgian citizens from all over the country demonstrated in Brussels this afternoon, calling on their leaders to immediately form a government.
The demonstrationthe result of a Facebook campaign under the banner "Shame, No Government, Great Country"was the second of its kind. The demo came as a massive popular response to a young Flemish journalist, Kris Janssens, whose very funny video got hundreds of thousands of visits. Janssens captured the anger and fear striking most Belgians with irony and imagination: If your bathtub is leaking, Janssens says in the video, you call a plumber. If the plumber you're paying tells you after 200 days that he is now about "to start thinking about the repair," you'd take him to court!
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)The Spanish government announced that official unemployment worsened in the fourth quarter of 2010, leading to Spain ending the year with 4.7 million people unemployed, or 20.3% of the labor forcethe highest among all so-called industrialized nations. Those figures, of course, exclude those who have given up on looking for a job.
A huge portion of the officially unemployed (47%, or 2.15 million people) have been unemployed for more than a year. And nearly 1 million (940,000, or a fifth of total unemployed) have been out of work (and are still looking) for two years. Youth (under 25) unemployment is at 42% of the labor forcealthough this component is probably the one that is most significantly understated by excluding those who have given up on looking for a job, or who never even formally entered the labor force.
But perhaps the most shocking statistic reported by the government, is the fact that 1.3 million households (8% of all households in the country) have all members of the household unemployed.
Jan. 27 (EIRNS)Greek trade union federations have called for a general strike for February 23. The civil servants' union federation, Adedy, will join Greece's largest trade union federation, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), to protest the cuts in salaries and pensions that have been demanded by the European Union dictatorship, which is now running the country's economy.
Jan. 20 (EIRNS)The Herald, one of the leading papers in Scotland, editorialized Jan. 19, for a return to Roosevelt's Glass-Steagall. "After the collapse of nearly 5,000 US banks in the Great Depression," it said, "regulations known as Glass-Steagall, which forced the separation of investment and commercial banks, were brought in to prevent a similar banking collapse in the future.... A new version of Glass-Steagall which would build a protective wall between the savings and borrowings of individuals and the international currency casinos in the same bank looks increasingly attractive." Once commercial banking was isolated from investment operations, then the speculative operation "would take the hit if risk-taking was cavalier."
Jan. 20 (EIRNS)Patrick Boissier, CEO of the Group DCNS, the French state naval construction company, announced today that the company is launching validation studies to construct small, 50-250 MW underwater nuclear power reactors. The state naval construction company was founded 350 years ago by Cardinal Richelieu.
After France and Germany failed to sell their jointly built giant EPR (1600 MW) reactor to Abu Dhabi (which preferred a Korean reactor), the idea of constructing smaller and cheaper nuclear power equipment re-emerged.
The DCNS's new, innovative concept, called "Flexblue," would be an underwater nuclear power station in a cylindrical shape, 100 meters long, 12-15 meters in diameter, at a depth of 60-100 meters, a few kilometers offshore.
Jan. 17 (EIRNS)The National Health Service will be banned from carrying out 57 surgical operations. Pain will no longer be a justification for elective surgery.
According to a government directive, reported in the British press today, "operations which will only be carried out in exceptional circumstances include, taking out tonsils, removing varicose veins that are causing severe problems, hysterectomies, fitting grommets, removing skin lesions, hemorrhoid surgery, wisdom teeth extraction, cataracts and joint replacements." Even operations with an 80% success rate will be viewed as "of no clinical value" and stopped. The policy is being implemented in specific areas, including Bury, Oldham, Meywood, Middleton and Rochdale, and is part of an effort to slash EU20 billion from the NHS.
Jan. 30 (EIRNS)Unlike many crises around the world, which people in Russia viewed as being far away and of no concern to them, the turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt, and across Southwest Asia has touched off intense debates in Russia and other CIS countries. Will the same type of developments happen in Ukraine (again), or Belarus, or even in Russia? These questions are being hotly debated in the press and on Russian-language Internet sites.
The LaRouche movement's Russian website is releasing a Russian translation of Lyndon LaRouche's remarks to a luncheon with diplomats on Jan. 27, in which he said: "It's a chain-reaction effect, throughout the entire Maghreb and the Middle East, and everywhere. The whole world is ready to blow up.... One must recognize this process, and address efforts not to interpret isolated events, but to influence the mass process."
In the current setting, Russians across the political spectrum are very open to such advice from LaRouche, as evidenced in many recent publications.
* The LaRouchePAC release "A Ticking Time Bomb Explodes in Tunisia" was translated by a Russian Internet user and widely republished.
* Jan. 26, Russky Obozrevatel (The Russian Observer) published an article on the coming possible breakup of Sudan, as a geopolitical maneuver, titled "Africa Awakens." The authors are Said Gafurov and Darya Mitina, the latter, a young Russian Communist Party leader of Afghan descent. In 2009, Mitina ranted in her blog against LaRouche's proposal for a mission to Mars. But now, she and her coauthor say LaRouche is right: "In the near future, we are likely to see many dramatic processes in the Middle East-Africa region. If you want to follow Lyndon LaRouche in calling this evidence of an existential crisis of neoliberalism, we think you will not be mistaken."
* Jan. 21, Russky Obozrevatel carried an article on the Tunisia uprising, by Russian writer Sergei Filatov. He cited the above-mentioned LPAC release, which warned there was "no simple explanation" for those events: "I do not want to quote other sources in this article, but I shall tell you the opinion of Lyndon LaRouche, whom I respect. This prominent American dissident intellectual gives no quarter. Any action of the U.S. administration or its allies comes under fire from him. But when it came to the Tunisian events, this sharp-tongued critic could only say that 'there is no evidence yet that these events were engineered by either a faction of the regime or by outside elements.'"
* Jan. 28, in the Rusliberal.com forum, from the other side of the political spectrum, a senior moderator advised readers that, to understand the events in Egypt, they should read a 2001 article by LaRouche: "I would like to post something from LaRouche, or, rather, from [the late] Academician [Dmitri] Lvov, who issued a warning.... Read this article about Academician Lvov's warning: 'On the Subject of Primitive Accumulation.' It points up the specific reason when the USA will collapse according to the Roman Empire scenario. That is the main thesis of this article, which was written back in 2001, i.e., six years before the acute phase of the world crisis began, although really the U.S. crisis began a long time ago, decades earlier."
* Jan. 29, an editorial on the Ukrainian website Hvylya said: "The post-modernist America-centric world, just a few years ago trumpeted in the Western press as unassailable, is rushing headlong to its end. Just a few years ago, such intellectual titans as Immanuel Wallerstein and Lyndon LaRouche, who were warning about the future crash of this model of the world, were considered crazy by all the bourgeois media. Today, their predictions are becoming reality."
* Economist Mikhail Khazin, in a km.ru commentary on the ideologically super-free-market Republicans in the USA, cited the Nov. 6, 2010 warnings of LaRouche on this tendency, calling him "the prominent American political figure, who is extremely well informed on the nuances of the internal correlation of forces in the USA."
* Russian-Israeli writer Vladimir Shenk, writing in the Russian-language web publication Chastny Korrespondent, focused on the urgency of getting people to be inspired by powerful ideas of development. "It is no accident," he wrote, "that the well-known economist Lyndon LaRouche has proposed getting to work on the development of Mars. That might seem absurd. But when the crisis broke out, the world plunged into grayness. We need an idea, which would justify the meaning of human existence."
Jan. 18 (EIRNS)An article by EIR's John Hoefle, "The Inter-Alpha Group: Nation-killers for Imperial Genocide" (EIR, Sept. 17, 2010) has been released in Russian, immediately drawing enormous attention. It was republished by the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, the Hvylya site, and half a dozen Russian blogs. Hundreds of people viewed the article, a fact of importance in Russia, whose economic policy has been held hostage to the Goldman Sachs and Inter-Alpha Group-engineered "BRIC" swindle of global financial speculation and looting.
One blogger provided his own introduction, advising readers to study the article closely, and noting that: "The article particularly emphasizes that, 'The solution begins with the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall in the United States, and the adoption of the Glass-Steagall principle by other nations, combined with a return to the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates.' And while people may know about 'the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates,' few have an idea of what the Glass-Steagall law is. In fact, this is a very simple law that prescribed what kind of operations each bank could engage in: industrial banks could do financing, but were banned from 'playing the market.'...
"Why is this lethal for the global octopus? Because the existing banking system, just like the Inter-Alpha Group, is an instrument of genocide. 'It was formed for the explicit purpose of destroying not only the existence, but the very concept, of national sovereignty.'"
Jan. 18 (EIRNS)Igor Yurgens, head of the Institute for Contemporary Research (INSOR), in Moscow, said openly yesterday that if Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin regains the Presidency, he will be overthrown. "Look at what is happening in Tunisia," Yurgens told Bloomberg Television. "People don't understand why Russia can't choose a new, more modern-looking person who is more open to the outside world. Everyone is fed up at seeing the same face."
INSOR was established in 2008, when Dmitri Medvedev became President, and Medvedev is the chairman of its board. INSOR and Yurgens have gone far beyond Medvedev himself, in peddling the British and George Soros line for Russia, often in a chorus with ex-USSR President Mikhail Gorbachov, noted for his special relationship with London. In 2010, INSOR issued a report to say that Russia will never enjoy any economic recovery or growth to speak of, until it dismantles the current "authoritarian" political system created by Putin.
Posing everything in terms of what will achieve the best "investment climate" for Russia, Yurgens asserted that "there will be fewer political and economic risks if Medvedev rather than Putin governs the next term."
While both Putin and Medvedev have said they will discuss between them, who should be a Presidential candidate next year, Kremlin deputy chief of staff Arkadi Dvorkovich said Dec. 10 that Medvedev wants to run. Dvorkovich put out his statement via the BBC.
Rosnano CEO Anatoli Chubais, another infamous agent of British influence in Russia as privatization architect in the 1990s, also came out in December saying it is becoming "less probable" for Putin to return to the Presidency. All of London's men in Moscow are campaigning to that effect.
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)A huge explosion ripped through the international section of Domodedovo airport, busiest of Moscow's three airports, this afternoon, killing 35 people and wounding more than 145, Russia's Health Ministry officials told RIA Novosti. The news service said the explosion may have been caused by a suicide bomber (as was subsequently confirmed).
It was the worst attack in Russia's capital since twin blasts in the subway last March killed 40 people and wounded more than 60. Those bombs were set off allegedly by women from Dagestan in Russia's North Caucasus, a historical British stomping ground, that has been under constant assault by Islamic-extremist violence, orchestrated by Wahhabi-indoctrinated forces from Saudi Arabia, in particular.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered increased security across Russia's capital, its airports and other transport hubs. He also postponed and curtailed his visit to the World Economic Forum at Davos.
In addition to the increasing pressure exerted by the Saudi-financed and -trained terrorists in Afghanistan to initiate violence in Central Asia and Russia, Russia is also undergoing serious sociopolitical unrest, which could easily be aggravated by the latest attack. Last Dec. 11, in Moscow's Manezh Square by the Kremlin, as many as 5,000 people gathered in an aggressive mood to protest the killing of a football fan, after an alleged perpetratorreportedly of North Caucasus originwas let go by the police.
Jan. 31 (EIRNS)The situation in Egypt remains on edge, with continuing calls for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, and a plan launched over the past weekend for a million person demonstration to take place on Feb. 1. Throughout the weekend, demonstrators in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities continued to violate curfews and peacefully demonstrate.
In Cairo, on the night of Jan. 30, Mohamed ElBaradei emerged from reported house arrest to address a large crowd in Tahrir Square. He called on President Hosni Mubarak to step down, and promised significant changes in the situation over the next several days. He criticized the Obama Administration for its continued backing, albeit lukewarm, for Mubarak.
While news outlets led by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported that the Muslim Brotherhood endorsed the idea that Mohamed ElBaradei should be the designated negotiator for the unified opposition, well-informed sources from inside Egypt stressed that this is not the case, and that the Muslim Brotherhood has shown itself to be both estranged from the Egyptian population, especially the youth, and an ineffective organization.
However, the majority of opposition groups are supporting ElBaradei as the representative in talks with the government over how to carry out a transfer of power from Mubarak to some popularly designated new head of state. The government itself was in non-stop meetings on since Jan. 29, Omar Suleiman, the newly appointed Vice President, conferring with top military officials and with members of the military-dominated new Cabinet.
Senior U.S. intelligence sources, with decades of experience in the Middle East, said they were expecting Mubarak to step down in the coming days, and cede power to Suleiman, on behalf of the Army. But Egyptian sources warned that the popular revolt on the streets was quick to denounce Suleiman as "Mubarak's man," because of his decision to join the government.
To appreciate the Egypt situation, two things are crucial. First, Egypt is a reflection of the global breakdown process, and there are no real solutions to the underlying crisis in Egypt alone, as Lyndon LaRouche emphasized in talks with colleagues this week.
Second, the Egyptian military has its roots in the post-Civil War United States. In the 1870s, a group of 20 American Civil War veteran officersboth Union and Confederatewere invited by the Khedive (the Ottoman Empire governor general) to come to Egypt to create a modern Army, based on the West Point model. Under the leadership of Gen. Charles P. Stone, the Egyptian Army established a training system, drawing recruits from the population, not just the ruling elites. The children of the Army officers were given a first-class education, and it was this tradition that fed every successive effort at republican revolution in Egypt, from the beginning of the 20th Century, to the Nasserite revolt of the 1950s. This hidden history is scarcely known among Egyptians, but it is a vibrant tradition within the Egyptian Army to this day. Not surprisingly, when the British and French bankrupted Egypt in the mid-1880s through typical debt manipulation, they took over Egyptian finances and immediately demanded the expulsion of the Americans. But the Stone team had been in Egypt for a decade, and had a significant, long-lasting impact.
During the past week, the Army has been described by journalists, demonstrators, the intelligentsia as "protectors" of the population so far during these days of demonstrations. Demonstrators who were engaged in pitched battles against the security police cheered when the Army tanks rolled into Cairo.
There is no guarantee that this relationship between the Army and the people will hold, in the face of the ongoing showdown. But it is a factor that cannot be ignored, if one is to understand the particulars of the Egyptian events now playing out. Ultimately, the solution will not be found in Egypt, any more than it will be found in Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, or Yemen. It is the global disintegration that is playing out, not anything specific to any of these countries. In Egypt, though, the next 48-72 hours will likely be very telling, and no one can competently forecast the outcome.
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)In response to events in Egypt reported Jan. 28, Lyndon LaRouche immediately drew the parallels between the massive turnout of young demonstrators on the streets of every major Egyptian city today, and the shooting incident in Tucson, Ariz., earlier this year.
"What we are seeing are the signs of a youth explosion. You have young people, particularly between the ages of 18-25, who are despondent, who see themselves as a lost generation." LaRouche continued, "Just as the Tucson shooter was not an isolated individual, but was characteristic of many such young people who are set to explode, over the horrible state of affairs that they have been dealt. We are seeing explosions of frustration and anger all over the world, because the entire global system is dying, particularly in the trans-Atlantic region and throughout much of the developing sector, including the Arab and Islamic world."
"In a very real sense," LaRouche explained, "what we are seeing on the streets of Egypt is a vote of no confidence in President Obama. Both the Obama Administration, and the British who control Obama, have failed miserably, and we have now reached a point of social explosion. The cumulative impact of the failed economic policies, the imperial looting, the sense of no-future for young people, no matter how well-educated they may think they are; all of these factors have reached a breaking point."
LaRouche explained: "The unfolding events in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, and many other places, are not the result of some clandestine plot. None of the usual suspects are behind these upsurges. This is the lost generation, the no-future generation, erupting. I have been warning for quite some time that, unless we have a total overhaul of global policy, beginning with a bankruptcy reorganization that wipes out all the tens of trillions of dollars in worthless gambling debts, we are going to be immediately facing French Revolution-type explosions everywhere. We are headed for a new Dark Age of social chaos and mass genocide. This is what we are dealing with, not some so-called color revolutions. And the fact that President Obama is a pawn of the British, and has so far followed British orders to kill any efforts by American patriots to re-enact Glass-Steagall and wipe out the gambling debts, is why we are facing this calamity today."
On Jan. 27, LaRouche also made this point to a private meeting in Washington.
"There is no government on the planet today," said LaRouche, "which is capable by itself of controlling its destiny," until the British Empire's control of the world financial system is ended.
"What can Middle East countries do? What can any part of the world do by itself?" said LaRouche, citing Tunisia. "The question is, 'Is the British Empire going to continue to bring this chaos down upon us, on us all?'"
LaRouche's lengthy opening statement to the meeting advised all sovereign nations like Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemenwhich is experiencing a round of mass street demonstrations todayto join him in busting up the British Empire system, and implementing a new financial order using the Glass-Steagall banking standard for which he is leading the fight in the United States.
Jan. 27 (EIRNS)Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), returned to Egypt today, with a pledge to join the demonstrations. In late 2009, ElBaradei had been welcomed home to Egypt as a potential Presidential candidatebut was then excluded from running because he doesn't belong to a political party, as required by law.
Just before his second return, ElBaradei wrote an op-ed published in the U.S. web publication, the Daily Beast:
"I have hoped to find a way toward change through peaceful means," he wrote. "In a country like Egypt, it's not easy to get people to put down their names and government ID numbers on a document calling for fundamental democratic reforms, yet a million people have done just that. The regime, like the monkey that sees nothing and hears nothing, simply ignored us.
"As a result, the young people of Egypt have lost patience, and what you've seen in the streets these last few days has all been organized by them. I have been out of Egypt because that is the only way I can be heard. I have been totally cut off from the local media when I am there. But I am going back to Cairo, and back onto the streets...."
Today, ElBaradei held an informal press conference on arriving at the Cairo airport. The London Guardian reports:
"This is a critical time in the life of Egypt, and I have come to participate with the Egyptian people," he stated.
"If peoplein particular young peopleif they want me to lead the transition, I will not let them down. My priority right now ... is to see a new regime and to see a new Egypt through peaceful transition.
"I advise the government to listen to the people and not to use violence. There's no going back...."
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)Founder and first Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, who has been in active politics since early 1950s, and is widely acknowledged as the country's elder statesman, in an interview, said he does not think there will be a conflict between China and India, or between China and the United States, at any time in the foreseeable future. In a series of interviews with a group of journalists from the Straits Times, released by Lee himself in the form of a book, he addressed, among a variety of subjects, serious issues concerning China, India, and the U.S., which he characterized as giants.
Lee pointed out that China and India cannot fight a big war because they both have nuclear weapons. He said even the long Himalayan border between the two countries was not worth a fight. On another occasion, speaking at a seminar in Singapore, a year before, Lee said that, "border problems [between China and India] have not been resolved and are not expected to be in the foreseeable future.... I will be surprised if they [India and China] resolve their differences in the next 10, 20, 30 years," Lee said. "I don't see any direct strategic conflict because of border issues. It will not be all sweetness, but trade and investment will continue."
Speaking about bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China, Lee said, regarding fostering bilateral ties: "This is in interest of both. Both need to grow and conflict is counterproductive.... I think both can grow (together)." And, "What are the Americans going to fight China over?" At the same time, the Chinese, in his view, need not fight the U.S. for control over East Asia. "Slowly and gradually [the Chinese] will expand their economic ties with [the other countries] in East Asia and offer them their market of 1.3 billion consumers."
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)Former Indian Ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar, who was posted to a number of Central Asian nations, writing in the Asia Times today, said the U.S. "proxy war against Afghan President Hamid Karzai has taken a vicious turn, undermining the tenuous political equations in the country." "Washington is displeased with Karzai's moves to accelerate reconciliation with the Taliban, while his pitch for a regional initiative and his agenda of a multi-vector foreign policy challenge U.S. regional strategies."
What has fueled Washington's anger in particular is the recent visit of President Karzai to Moscow, and his decision to boost bilateral relations between the two countries. Karzai has also invited Russia to participate in the development of those infrastructure projects that were left unfinished by the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Russian officials say the Afghans can use Russian expertise to rehabilitate the Salang tunnel, which connects the northern and southern regions. Russia has already started developing its relations with Afghanistan, as it donated 20,000 AK-47 rifles, and trained 250 Afghan police last year.
In a recent interview with the Christian Science Monitor the Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Andrei Avetisyan said that the general situation during the past year has not developed in the way he could call safe and secure. "We now see constant fighting in the north, which worries us a lot because it is almost on our borders, and since our borders with the central Asian republics are absolutely open," Avetisyan added.
The ambassador further expressed Moscow's willingness to support Afghanistan against its two main threatsdrugs and terrorismin whatever way possible, but rejected direct military involvement in the country.
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)China will create the world's largest urban region, with a population of 42 million people, on the Pearl River delta, over the next six years, the London Daily Telegraph reported today. Some 150 big infrastructure projects will be built, to link nine cities in the "Turn the Pearl River Delta into One" project, which will cover a region nearly 42,000 sq. km in size. The urban region will integrate the existing cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou (already the 4th- and 12th-largest ports in the world) with other cities including Foshan, Dongguan, and others, and will be connected by express rail with Hong Kong, the world's third largest port.
"The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas," the Telegraph quoted Ma Xiangming, chief planner at the Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute.
Urbanization is a massive task and challenge for China in the coming decades: This past Summer, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reported that the national urban population, at 620 million, is the largest in the world, while the urbanization rate is still only 46%, relatively low. The rate should be 65% by 2030, the CASS Blue Book reported; the milestone shift to an over 50% urbanized population will occur during the current 12th Development Program (2011-15)meaning about 15 million rural people will be moving to the cities every year.
Other urban regions are also being developed, including the Beijing-Tianjin area, which will include about 260 million people eventually, and the Yangtse delta around Shanghai. Total investment in urban infrastructure in China, will reach over $1,027 trillion, with another $450 billion spent on high speed rail and over $100 billion on urban transport.
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)At a meeting of foreign ministers from the ten South East Asian countries of ASEAN plus China held Jan. 24-25 in Kunming, China, Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke on increasing the trade and other linkages between the countries. Discussion focused on how to strengthen interconnection through road and sea transportation routes and construction of better telecommunication and other infrastructure establishment. Yang stressed that both sides pledged to further improve coordination and promote interconnection.
China will not only strengthen interconnection with its ASEAN neighbors on, or near, its borders, but also with ASEAN countries across the sea, such as Brunei, the Philippines, and Indonesia. China and ASEAN vowed to increase people-to-people exchanges, in particular, among young people, and will set to a goal of exchanging 100,000 students.
China is already engaged in construction, or negotiations for construction, of a raft of development projects through out the region. Most notable are the plans for a series of high-speed rail routes that will connect China's southern Kunming transport hub with cities and ports along the eastern coast of Southeast Asia (Vietnam and Cambodia), through the central region of Thailand and Malaysia, onto Singapore, and to the west into Myanmar (and eventually to South Asia).
But China is also involved in $5 billion project linking Sumatra, Indonesia coal mine complex with a deepwater port, large-scale oil-gas pipeline in Myanmar, a series of five hydropower dams in under construction in energy-poor Cambodia, where only a fifth of the population of nearly 14.5 million have access to electricity, and other, similar projects throughout the region.
Jan. 29 (EIRNS)The Nation, an English-language newspaper in Thailand, editorializes on a speech made by the governor of the Bank of Thailand, Dr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul, this past week. All in all, "Prasarn's speech might fit with the pre-2008 crisis," but "Now it does not seem to be relevant to the ongoing global financial crisis."
It then asks: What policies are required to deal with the U.S.'s quantitative easing? What should be the response to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe? An era of runaway inflation if not hyperinflation appears to have taken hold, look at the social upheavals, starting from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and other Arab countries. How do we deal with that? And lastly, globalization has brought benefits but also huge risks. Is it now time to pay the costs?
Dutifully, the editorial requests "the central bank to adopt a more prudent and defensive course of action," dutifully and to resign, since competent defenses against these problems are beyond Thailand's wherewithal.
KHARTOUM, Jan. 31 (EIRNS)Acknowledging a near 99% vote for separation in the just-concluded Jan. 9-15 referendum vote in Southern Sudan, Ali Osman Taha, Vice President of Sudan, gave the government's first official response to this historic vote, before several hundred press and government officials at Friendship Hall today.
Taha stated unequivocally that the government of Sudan "accepts the result of their referendum as reported" yesterday from Juba, the expected capital of the South. He said, "We wish all the best for our friends in the South, and hopefully they will enjoy stability and peace. The government of the North recognizes the results and will work positively to build institutions for the new state in the south."
Today's Sudan Vision newspaper quotes Salva Kiir Miyardit, the President of Southern Sudan and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, describing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as the "Hero of Peace" for the cooperation of the northern National Congress Party in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Among the other issues discussed by Taha, which was also the focus of the many of the questions was the state of the Sudanese economy, which EIR's Lawrence Freeman participated in during the question-and-answer period. Taha discussed the consequences of the increase in the price of basic commodities, like sugar (which he said was not caused by Sudan), and the government's decision to reduce the subsidies for gasoline, as well as the effects on Sudan of the international financial crisis, and stated that Sudan's needs to focus on economic development, investment in infrastructure, and the creation of more non-government jobs.
Taha reported during the Q&A that cotton prices were the highest in 50 years and have gone up 300% in the last three years, and that Sudan will use the increase in food prices as an opportunity to increase food production with the goal of becoming food self-sufficient in the next three years. Many questions centered on the economic conditions in Sudan, and whether Sudan should continue to follow a policy of economic liberalism.
Freeman, after identifying EIR as a U.S.-based weekly founded by Lyndon LaRouche, was able to point out that the collapse of global financial system is the cause of hyperinflationary increase in prices, and that it will only get worse. He said Sudan needs to prioritize investment in infrastructure projects for energy, water, and transportation, for both the North and the South. He was able to expose the failure of globalization and economic liberalism, and suggest that the way forward for Sudan was to follow the policies of Franklin Roosevelt with publicly funded infrastructure projects which would increase productivity, and provide security for Sudan to become a sovereign nation. Freeman's remarks were cited by others in the discussion.
It is expected that in the next several days the vote for secession will be officially certified, and with no challenges expected, the new state of Southern Sudan will be born on July 9, 2011, although there are still many important and contentious issues between the North and the South that remain unresolved.
During EIR's current week-long stay in Sudan, many people have expressed recognition of LaRouche and EIR, especially LaRouche's forecast of the collapse of the financial system and his analysis of President Obama's failed personality.
All rights reserved © 2011 EIRNS