EIR Online
Online Almanac
From Volume 38, Issue 17 of EIR Online, Published Apr. 29, 2011

return to home page

LaRouche Webcast:
Our Creative Universe

Lyndon LaRouche delivered this webcast address from Northern Virginia, on April 19, 2011.
...First of all, we have two crucial problems before the human race as a whole, right now. The problem is, that while we have in the generation located chiefly between the ages of about 25 at the minimum, and up to about 45, we have generations or parts of generations, in the trans-Atlantic community in particular, which are very activated about some of the things which are very real issues, which constitute threats to mankind.
What you have in the older generation, is a lack of specific response, generally, to the reality of the present situation. They would like to have a reality which corresponds to their traditional agenda. And what is happening around the world today, including the United States, does not correspond, to anything that a Baby-Boomer would consider their traditional agenda. So there are very few people in that range of over age 60-65, who are still attuned to the kinds of things which are the reality of the world today.
We have two realities to contend with, two leading realities: On the one hand, you have, this week—and it broke out in Europe on Sunday and Monday—a present, immediate threat of a general breakdown of the European system. That does not mean that you can predict a date for the breakdown. It means that the {condition} of a breakdown exists. Don't look for an event, don't look for a statistical event. Look for the condition: For example, the Finnish election set off a chain reaction, a shudder throughout Europe....

Executive Intelligence Review
Vol. 38, No. 17

LaRouche Webcast



  • Doppio Croce:
    Il Giornale

    An attack by the Italian daily Il Giornale on Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti, accuses him of following the advice of a 'Pantheon' of four economists, among whom is Lyndon LaRouche.
  • Washington and Riyadh Square Off
    Saudi Arabia has all but declared war on U.S. policy throughout the Sunni Islamic world, from the Maghreb region of North Africa, to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And London is backing Riyadh every step along the way.


  • Tiergarten IV Remains Obama's Fiscal Priority
    Despite substantial opposition on both sides of the aisle, the Obama Administration rammed through a provision in the health-care law which establishes an 'expert' panel, IPAB, which will rule on which treatments will be paid for, and which not. Now, to accelerate his 'anti-deficit' program, Obama proposes to use IPAB to cut health care even more—just like Hitler's Tiergarten IV.
  • Obama Proposes To Kill Science, Space Exploration, and Your Future
    The Obama White House is waging war against the nation's space program, with all aspects of NASA research slated for destruction. If the President is not removed from office, the nation's scientific capabilities, essential for our future, will be lost.


This Week's News

U.S. Economic/Financial News

IMF Joins Rand Paul Types Attacking U.S. Credit

April 18 (EIRNS)—Just like Standard and Poor's rating agency, the International Monetary Fund also chose mid-April to pile onto the demand to shut down U.S. government credit and investment throughout the industrial world, and turn the British screws for an Obama-Republican fascist austerity deal in the United States.

The IMF's semi-annual Global Financial Stability Report, released April 15, has as its main feature, the incredible claim that the credit and spending of sovereign government is the primary problem of the global financial and economic crisis! This is the same IMF which in February publicly acknowledged that it had completely "missed" the bank debt bubble crisis which blew up in mid-2007, and admitted its misjudgment, bad advice, and failure to act on that crisis. These were the kind of admissions which, as Helga Zepp-LaRouche pointed out in a statement at the time, should have demanded the sacking of the executive leadership of any bank.

But now the IMF, which had no suspicions about the London-Wall Street debt bubbles, abruptly takes a hard line that the cause of financial crisis is government indebtedness, and that therefore reducing government spending is the target around the world—"particularly in the United States and Japan."

This absurdity is pushed in the report as hard as if it were a Dick Armey "Tea Party" document, or an anti-nation pronouncement by "Austrian" fascist Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Yes, banks have to increase their capital and face the "wall of maturing debt," says the report, but the cause of the problem is the debt of governments. And "tackling the problems that caused the financial crisis will require the world's advanced economies to move away from persistent indebtedness."

This is the kind of oligarchical argument Alexander Hamilton defeated two centuries ago, to give us the American Constitution and Republic. It's another reason President Barack Obama has to be put out of office now, if that republic is to survive.

S&P Referred for Criminal Investigation by U.S. Congress

April 19 (EIRNS)—Standard & Poor's attack on the credit rating of the U.S. government this week, downgrading the U.S. sovereign debt to negative, and warning of a possible lowering of the country's AAA rating, comes just days after the U.S. Senate sent evidence of S&P's crimes against the U.S. economy and its citizens to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), in the press conference on April 13 releasing the Senate Investigations Subcommittee report on the causes of the financial crisis, had this to say about S&P, as well as Moody's:

"The page then turns to credit rating agencies, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, which were giving AAA ratings to high-risk securities, securities that were issued by firms that it was dependent upon—that they were dependent upon for their own business, which also was a clear conflict of interest. And when the securities collapsed in value, leaving pension funds and municipalities and other investors—they were all left high and dry. And so we also say in our report that inaccurate AAA credit ratings were a 'key cause of the financial crisis.'... But for their failures, their conflicts of interest, their caving in to the pressures from Wall Street banks to give AAA ratings to securities which didn't deserve them and they knew it, but for that, you wouldn't have had the collapse of those securities."

Levin also told PBS-TV on April 14 that the Subcommittee would "send the report to the Department of Justice and to the Securities and Exchange Commission for their review, ... whether there should be criminal liability against any of the people who factually we've identified as misleading people or engaging in deception or doing the other kind of improper activities that we lay out in this 600-page report."

Global Economic News

IMF Says Banks Threatened by $3.6 Trillion 'Debt Wall'

April 18 (EIRNS)—In its just-released "2011 Global Financial Stability Report," the IMF says banks are entering a wild competition with bankrupt states to obtain capital themselves, with an immediate "peak" in 2012-13: "Global banks face a wall of maturing debt, with $3.6 trillion due to mature over the next two years. Bank debt rollover requirements are most acute for Irish and German banks, from 40% to one-half of all debt outstanding is due over the next two years.... A number of banks in Europe—including nearly all banks in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, many of the small and mid-size Spanish cajas [savings banks], and some German Landesbanken [banks owned by German states]—have lost cost-effective access to term funding markets. As a result they have turned in varying degrees to repo markets and the ECB for refinancing. But there is still a risk that, in the event of further negative news, a greater number of institutions could face difficulties in rolling over their wholesale funding."

Commenting on the report, the Catholic daily La Croix says the real cause of the mess is the fact that the "toxic assets" problem was never solved. Gaéal Giraud, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, said that, "In September 2008, the banks in Europe and the United States obtained from the international accounting regulator [IMF], agreement that they would no longer have to book these assets at market price, whose value is zero," which, La Croix continues, allowed them avoid having to report colossal losses.

It also explains their astonishingly rapid return to profits. "This exceptional regime of being exempted from normal bookkeeping rules, which was initially temporary, remains in force today, since in September 2009 the U.S. and European authorities realized the seriousness of the situation and the difficulty of getting out of it. The problem is therefore simply frozen, not dealt with."

The IMF itself admitted precisely this, that the big banks are as stuffed with toxic assets now as they were in early 2009, in a staff report publicly circulated on March 2. For a reminder, according to the IMF's own estimates in April 2009, toxic assets represented $4 trillion. In August 2009, Bloomberg estimated the total bailout money from U.S. government agencies alone reached $12.8 trillion, equal to U.S. GDP, or $42,000 per American.

South Korea Begins Investigation of Derivatives Traders

April 21 (EIRNS)—South Korea's financial regulator and central bank announced a second probe into the trading of foreign-exchange derivatives, as a response to the escalating rise in the South Korean currency, the won, which directly threatens the country's exports.

The audit, similar to one performed last year with some success in reducing speculation, will be carried out by the finance ministry and the Bank of Korea, and will focus on whom banks are trading with and their purpose for buying or selling non-deliverable forwards, an especially dangerous, foreign-exchange speculative derivatives.

United States News Digest

Midwest Earthquake Drill Set for April 28

FLASH, April 26—As of this writing, a flood emergency in several of these Midwestern States ironically, puts the following preplanned emergency drill in doubt. April 23 (EIRNS)—At 10:15 a.m. on April 28, a magnitude 6.5 to 7.5 earthquake will hit 11 states in the central U.S. At least, that's the drill that has been scheduled by the Department of Homeland Security in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana (which actually had its drill on April 19), Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The event is patterned after an annual exercise in California called the Great Shakeout, which is next scheduled for October 2011.

According to the website www.shakeout.org/centralus, over 2.7 million people in those 11 states have signed up to participate in drills to include "duck-and-cover" exercises, to begin when the shaking starts, and to discuss what to do during and after a major earthquake to increase the chances of survival. The website includes scenarios and checklists for creating emergency plans and supply kits, and advice on how to make your home more earthquake resistant. The April 28 drill will be followed by a National Level Exercise in May for government agencies and emergency workers who would be responding to such an event.

The region participating in the exercise is the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which has had a number of huge (M7-8) earthquakes over the past 4,500 years, the most recent in 1811-12. The U.S. Geological Survey has declared that a new quake would devastate the unprepared area, whose epicenter is reported to be in Memphis.

Dorgan to Obama: Stop Talking; Shut Oil Speculation Down!

April 22 (EIRNS)—Former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) had this to say today, about yesterday's announcement that the White House has set up an Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group, replicating the yet-to-be-felt "powerful array of tools" it has deployed in "the fight against financial fraud":

"We don't need to investigate speculation at this point. We just need to stop it. It's the same old movie. It always has a bad ending. We have the big investment banks, the hedge funds. They're selling oil they don't have to people who are buying it who will never get it, trading energy contracts. And the result is higher prices through speculation. And somebody who drives up at the gas pump pays 60 or 80 bucks for a gas tank full of gas. Or a trucker pays $1,000 or $1,200, all because of rampant excess speculation. We don't need to investigate it anymore. Let's just stop it."

Dorgan delivered the message in an interview with MSNBC this morning, in which he warned that $4 a gallon is "a trigger point" for the American people.

Also interviewed in the MSNBC segment was Bart Chilton of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (whom Dorgan described as one of the "good guys" on the CFTC), who commented that 75% of the cases the CFTC has referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution have been rejected. "You remember Baretta? [A 1970s TV police detective character—ed.] He'd say, 'if you do a crime, you do the time.' Well, up until recently, it's been, you do the crime and maybe you'll pay a fine and get a slap on the wrist."

As Economy Sinks, So Does Obama

April 22 (EIRNS)—"Americans are more pessimistic about the nation's economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama's first two months in office," says the New York Times, reporting on a new Times/CBS poll, which shows says that the number of Americans who think the economy is getting worse, has jumped 13 percentage points in just one month.

Disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy has never been higher, at 57% of Americans, according to the poll. But this is no solace for the GOP-dominated Congress, since 75% of respondents also disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. People also don't buy the GOP line that cutting the budget will create jobs (only 29% believe that).

The London Daily Telegraph plays it thus: "Hope and change? A national gloom descends over Obama's America." Nile Gardiner writes: "You know things are really going badly for the White House when even The New York Times, the most powerful bastion of liberalism in America, is warning the President he is in serious trouble.

"Coming on the heels of two other major polls which show declining support for the President and mounting unhappiness with his handling of the economy, this latest New York Times poll will make the White House exceptionally nervous," Gardiner writes. "A national gloom has descended over Obama's America, with potentially far reaching consequences for the 2012 elections, a contest that will largely be decided by debates over the economy. Hope and change is in the air, but not quite of the kind the Obama presidency envisioned."

Rising anger against Obama by blacks and, in particular, Washington D.C. residents is profiled by Politico on April 17. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is quoted, "The discontent out there is pretty widespread"; with Washington residents having voted for Obama in record numbers, "they expected better of him."

"It's not just President Obama, but it's the whole [White House] team," Princeton Prof. Cornel West told Politico. "They just tend to keep distance from black folk, politically, until election time; then they come running back.... There's too much social misery out there, man. The last thing we need is a weak and feeble reaction to the right wing. When it comes to advocating for the poor and minorities, I just haven't seen the kind of backbone; I just haven't seen the real spine, not just at the level of rhetoric, but in execution."

Snyder's Financial Dictatorship Spreads in Michigan

April 20 (EIRNS)—A second emergency financial manager in Michigan has let it be known that he is taking advantage of the expanded powers signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder last month (Robert C. Bobb, the manager of Detroit Public Schools, was the first, a week earlier). Joe Harris, who was appointed the emergency financial manager of the former industrial city of Benton Harbor, two years ago, issued orders to the elected city commission April 14 that they are to take no actions, even to include holding meetings, without his permission. Harris didn't even send out a public notice that he had effectively fired all of the city's elected officials; most people found out about it in the local news, days later.

"They are using Benton Harbor as a test case," said City Commissioner Juanita Henry. "If they have disenfranchised the people so badly they just don't respond to anything, they can do this all over the country."

Carole Drake, a city resident who fought the privatization of a city park, warned that "People should be paying attention to what is happening here, because Benton Harbor is ground zero for the future of what is to become of our state under Governor Rick Snyder." Angry residents are vowing to recall State Rep. Al Pscholka, who sponsored the bill that expanded the powers of state-appointed emergency financial managers; they are also planning a recall of Snyder and State Sen. John Proos, and there is a campaign underway to repeal the law itself.

City officials and residents have been in a running battle with Harris since last year, when he proposed to disband the fire department in order to "save money," and he has frequently been accused of refusing to work with city officials.

Ibero-American News Digest

Monetarism Is Triggering a 'Volcano' In Brazil

April 25 (EIRNS)—With inflation officially nearing 7% a year (led by food and transportation), the index of rents up by almost 11%, and, by some estimates, a fourth of Brazilian families' income already going to pay debts, the Brazilian Monetary Council nonetheless raised the SELIC benchmark interest rate for the third time this year on April 20, bringing it to 12%. The package, as Rio de Janeiro's Monitor Mercantil put it, adds up to a "veritable volcano."

The hyperinflation taking off in Brazil is not a local phenomenon, but continuously jacking up interest rates to maintain Brazil's unenviable position at the center of the global carry trade is the equivalent of the guy, who, knowing a hyperinflationary hurricane of QEII hot money is heading his way, rushes out to rip off all the windows, doors and roof of his house, to ensure maximum destruction.

Serious people are clamoring that Brazil is being "deindustrialized" by this suicidal policy of high interest rates and consequent cheap dollar. The president of the Brazilian Machinery and Equipment Association (ABIMAQ) Luiz Aubert Neto is outspoken against a policy of relying on exporting raw materials and importing machinery and finished goods, with a cheap dollar, high interest rates, and big taxes on investments, which is taking down Brazilian industry.

In his monthly ABIMAQ column for April, Neto puts it to the country's leaders: Will Brazil be a "Power, or Colony?" The model we've adopted is that of the 19th Century, when Brazil was the largest coffee bean grower and exporter in the world, but Germany was the largest exporter of processed coffee, he writes. Today, close to 75% of soy produced in Brazil is exported, but exports of soy derivatives are dropping, year by year. 90% of our cellulose is exported, while more than 50% of the paper consumed in Brazil is imported. Brazil is becoming an exporter of crude oil (10% of total exports are oil now), and a big importer of petroleum derivatives.

"I do not tire of repeating, that no developed country exists which does not have a strong manufacturing sector." For 16 years, the country has accepted a model of paying stratospheric interest rates (R$1.8 trillion). The government must have a sense of urgency. "It is necessary to implement emergency measures, because we are running the risk of losing the greatest, and perhaps sole, opportunity in our history to make of Brazil a developed country. If not, we will go back in time, to the days of Colonial Brazil, in which we exported Brazil lumber and coffee, so as to import little mirrors and handcrafted jewelry. There is still time to reverse the current picture of deindustrialization, but our government needs to communicate immediately what type of Brazil we want: rich and developed, or forever a poor colony?"

Obama's Haitian Genocide Grows

April 24 (EIRNS)—Ignore any notion that the situation in Haiti has "improved." Fifteen months after the January 2010 earthquake, and six months after the October 2010 cholera outbreak, the crisis in this nation of 9.6 million is more dire than ever—thanks to Barack Obama.

Lack of sanitation infrastructure, lack of preparedness for another earthquake or any other natural disaster; unemployment so high the government no longer counts it; lack of adequate housing (or any housing at all); rising food and fuel prices; and wrenching malnutrition and illness, including an expanding cholera epidemic—all of this can be laid on Obama's doorstep. Starving Haitian children are still consuming the infamous concoction known as bonbon tear—mud cookies, consisting of mud mixed with vegetable oil and a little salt.

The fact that "only" 700,000 people, instead of 1.5 million, still live in squalid tent cities in the capital, is not "progress," as experts like to claim. Most of those who have left the camps were forced out, either by the predominant violence and lack of sanitation, or by landowners who evicted them. Evictions, in fact, account for the majority of departures from the camps, with residents ending up in improvised or dilapidated dwellings that are as bad, or worse, than what they lived in prior to the earthquake.

It is still the case that those who remain in the camps, of which there are 1,060 scattered around the capital, only have access to a pitiful number of latrines, about 15,000. According to ayitikaleje.org, most of the excreta from those latrines is collected and dumped into large, open-air, unlined pits. In Trutier, a small community north of the capital, the biggest pit is most likely contaminated with cholera. It lies over the Plaine Cul-de-Sac aquifer that supplies most of the water used by private companies that bottle and sell water in Port-au-Prince. Simon Fass, author of Political Economy in Haiti, reports that water prices in Haiti's capital are among the highest in the world.

The death toll from cholera stands at 5,000, with over 200,000 infected. Recent medical studies predict that at least 800,000 could be infected by November of this year—far surpassing World Health Organization estimates—as seasonal rains are already bringing a new wave of cholera cases.

According to Eric Calais, a seismologist with the UN Development Program (UNDP), Haiti will inevitably be hit with another earthquake sometime in the future. He reported on April 18 that efforts are underway to ensure that "risk mitigation" is incorporated into the nation's reconstruction program, by improving the resilience of infrastructure and reducing the risk for Haitians in poor housing. But since reconstruction is at a standstill, "risk reduction" is a meaningless phrase.

Mexican Tsunami Alert System To Protect Human Life

April 22 (EIRNS)—Speaking in Ensenada, Baja California, on April 15, Mexico's Government Minister Francisco Blake Mora announced that his ministry and the Secretary of the Navy had signed an agreement to create a new National Tsunami Alert System. The new system will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, Blake said, allowing Mexico to protect "its most precious asset—the lives of our people."

Given this responsibility, Blake said, it is incumbent on the government to create such a system to "leave behind the culture of disaster"—that is, the idea that man is merely a victim of natural disasters. The key is preparedness, he underscored. Sometimes there are only minutes, or just a few seconds of warning; thus, the creation of a "culture of civil protection," in which citizens are trained to respond efficiently, and know exactly what to do, is crucial. "We shall spare no effort" in this area, Blake announced. Investments are being made in the new system, and in other areas to guarantee the country's ability to respond to any disaster.

The Mexican Navy will run the new center, whose responsibilities will be to process and analyze data coming in during earthquakes that occur on the Mexican coasts, but will also analyze data from other countries as well, and will release and transmit bulletins that warn or urge vigilance, to the appropriate government, state, and municipal authorities. Blake said that a plan will be disseminated shortly, aimed at putting Mexico "in the vanguard in terms of knowledge, technology and preparation, within the framework of a modern National Civil Protection System intended to protect the lives, property and surroundings of all Mexicans."

Costa Rica To Develop Central America's First Weather Satellite

April 19 (EIRNS)—While saboteurs in the White House and Congress work overtime to shut down America's constellation of weather and Earth-observing satellites, Costa Rica's foreign ministry, which signed an agreement with the Central American Association of Aeronautics and Space (ACAE) last year to help finance a small weather satellite, has laid out the plan for the project. It would be the first satellite completely developed in Central America.

The $500,000 small satellite would be an important step for Costa Rica's fledgling space industry, ACAE president Carlos Alvarado said.

Why Costa Rica? Because Costa Rican former Space Shuttle astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, has a laboratory in his home country, to develop his VASIMIR plasma engine there. "Ad Astra Rocket and the figure of Franklin Chang have given a big boost for the country to be marketed as an investment destination for the aerospace industry," said Alvarado. ACAE already has a presence in Guatemala, and plans to be in the rest of Central America by 2015.

Western European News Digest

Finnish Elections Can Sink Bailout Deals

April 18 (EIRNS)—As a result of the Finnish elections, in which the anti-bailout True Finns Party won a significant vote, a European Union bailout of Portugal is becoming less and less likely. Although not the largest of the Euroland countries, Finland is one of the few that has a triple-A rating, a creditworthiness essential for the European Financial Stability Facility. As reported April 17, any new bailout package will have to be approved by the Finnish Parliament. The expansion of that fund requires a unanimous vote among Euroland countries, and now, that is in serious doubt.

The breakdown of Sunday's vote points to having the new True Finns Party involved in talks to form a coalition government. Finnish state TV YLE reported that the election "turnout was up from 2007 in what will be seen as a protest vote against the established parties and the eurozone bailout." The final results are: National Coalition Party: 20.4%; Social Democratic Party: 19.1%; True Finns: 19.0%; Center Party: 15.8%; Left Alliance: 8.1%; Green League: 7.2%; Swedish People's Party: 4.3%; Christian Democrats: 4.0%; Pirate Party: 0.4%; Others: 1.6%. YLE continues: "Government formation is expected to be difficult, with True Finns' leader Timo Soini driving a hard bargain on support for eurozone economies among other issues. Social Democrat chair Jutta Urpilainen, nevertheless, said that the populist True Finns deserved a place in government after their strong showing in the ballot."

The commentaries in the Swedish media stress the nature of the protest vote. Actually all government parties lost votes, including the Greens by 1.3%, in spite of the Fukushima accident leading to a surge in the anti-nuclear opinion. The Center Party with the former Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi will go into opposition, having dropped from 35 to 16 seats in parliament—a real thrashing, as happened to Fianna Fail in Ireland and Jose Socrates in Portugal.

The anti-EU bailout was very high profile in the election, with True Finn leader Soini going against the bailouts in every speech he made. The Social Democrats, although pro-EU, also campaigned against extending the bailout to Portugal.

Iceland to the World: 'If We Can Do It, You Can Do It!'

April 21 (EIRNS)—Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir issued an international appeal April 15, calling on people throughout the world to reject a "banking system that is unacceptable," and to refuse to "let them scare you into submission." Speaking to Michelle Rasmussen of EIR and the Danish Schiller Institute, Jonsdottir represented the majority of the Icelandic population which refused to agree to a taxpayer bailout of a major private bank, despite massive pressure.

Jonsdottir emphasized that every country in the world, especially others in the crisis-wracked European Union, faces exactly the same problem as Iceland. She said she "hoped this [the Iceland rejection] will be an inspiration for others."

Sinn Fein Attacks Privatization Report

April 21 (EIRNS)—A new Irish Government-sponsored report on privatization of government assets, the McCarthy report, was released yesterday. It calls for raising EU5 billion by selling government-owned energy, natural resources, and transportation, as well as gaming companies.

Sinn Fein spokesperson on natural resources Martin Ferris called on the government to reject the McCarthy report, declaring, "Sinn Fein will join with others in strongly opposing this and we will be putting pressure on the government to not only reject the report's recommendation of a sale of over 5 billion, but also abandon its own plan to sell 2 billion.... Contrary to statements from the government that the proceeds from the sale will go to fund job creation, the report recommends that they go to pay off the debt."

Mecklenburg Defending Fusion Research

April 18 (EIRNS)—The state government of Mecklenburg-Prepomerania (MVP) was the only one to vote against the insane resolution for the nuclear exit passed April 15 by the Bundesrat, the upper house, comprised of the Federal representation of the 16 German states. Ironically, the minister president of MVP is a Social Democrat, and opposed to the drive of the rest of his party to also shut down the German fusion research center at Greifswald. The two MVP government parties in a grand coalition, the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, also plan to pass a joint counter-resolution in their state parliament in defense of fusion research.

The entire issue will now play a prominent role in the election campaign for new MVP state parliament, which will be elected on Sept. 4.

French Right-Wing Goes Populist

April 20 (EIRNS)—As the right-wing populist movements make breakthroughs in the rest of Europe, there is an insidious effort to push them in France as well, and President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Interior Minister Claude Guéant, who are already campaigning for the Presidential elections in 2012, are surfing on this wave.

To respond to the growing so-called "outcry" of the population against immigration, a club called the Popular Right was created within Sarkozy's UMP party, which has now some 44 deputies. The aim of this club is to outdo Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front anti-immigration rhetoric, but with a heavy dose of Ayn Rand-style British Liberalism: beyond raving against Islam, calling for law and order, their charter calls for a "balanced budget," and for the values of "meritocracy."

Czech Republic Will Continue Nuclear Program

April 18 (EIRNS)—Unlike its western neighbor, Germany, the Czech Republic has made clear that it has no intention to abandon its nuclear power generation program. Prime Minister Petr Necas, who leads a center-right coalition, said a tender to expand the country's two nuclear power plants would move forward. "There is absolutely no reason to limit (Czech nuclear power plants)," Necas told a news conference in Prague. "The government would have to be a bunch of fools to take such a step."

State-owned CEZ, central Europe's biggest utility group, plans to build two additional units at its Temelin plant near the Austrian border, as well as up to two other units in neighboring Slovakia and another at its Dukovany station in the east of the Czech Republic.

Greece Politically Imploding

April 18 (EIRNS)—While the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is making declarations every day that Greece will never default, the Greek political landscape is imploding under his feet. A poll commissioned by the daily Kathimerini revealed the collapsing support for his ruling PASOK party, as well as the main opposition party New Democracy, and that if an election were held today, neither one could form a majority government.

The poll showed that 8 in 10 Greeks say that their personal economic situation has deteriorated since last year. Support for PASOK has dropped from 35% in March, a collapse at that time, to 33.5% this month. New Democracy also saw its support decline by the same margin, to 27%. Support for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) increased by 0.5% to 5.5%.

Netherlands Elderly Fear Euthanasia

April 22 (EIRNS)—Elderly people in the Netherlands are so frightened of being killed by doctors that they carry cards saying they do not want euthanasia, according to Kevin Fitzpatrick of the anti-euthanasia group "Not Dead Yet." Fitzpatrick is quoted in the London Daily Telegraph saying that it is "nonsensical" to say that we all have a right to die, when what is really being sought is the right to a premature death.

Southwest Asia News Digest

Saudis, Brits Unleash Sectarian Bloodbath in Bahrain

April 20 (EIRNS)—London's Independent reported on April 19, quoting eye witnesses, on the demolition of Shi'a mosques in Bahrain, which is an overwhelming Shi'a-majority nation, under the rule of Sunni King Al Khalifa. The demolition of these mosques is part of a plan hatched by the Saudis and the British to evoke an irrational response from Iran—keeper of the Shi'a faith—and an eventual sectarian bloodbath in the region.

The demolition of Shi'a mosques in Bahrain was orchestrated by the 1,000-plus Saudi troops who have moved into Bahrain with tanks, and was witnessed by Bahrainis, who were engaged in a mass protest for months against poverty, lack of opportunities for the youth, and oppressive policies of the Bahraini King.

Among the mosques demolished was the Al-Watiyya Mosque, known as Qadam al-Mahdi, in Mahuz village. The destroyers also demolished Imam Jawad (a.s) Mosque in Hamad town.

"So far, they have destroyed seven Shi'a mosques and about 50 religious meeting houses," said Ali al-Aswad, an MP in the Bahraini parliament. He said that Saudi soldiers, part of the contingent that entered Bahrain last month, had been seen by witnesses helping demolish Shi'a mosques and shrines in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

A photograph taken by activists and seen by the Independent shows the golden dome of the shrine lying on the ground and later being taken away on the back of a truck. On the walls of Shi'a mosques that have been desecrated, graffiti has been scrawled praising Sunni King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and insulting the Shi'a.

Yemen, Syria at a Boiling Point; Protests Continue in Oman

April 24 (EIRNS)—Although a deal brokered by the Saudi-run Gulf Cooperation Council on the fate of the deeply-despised Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been accepted by Saleh, according to Yemeni officials, it is likely that it may not fly. A mass of protesters took to the streets of the capital city of Sanaa today to protest against a clause that appears in the brokered deal, granting Yemen's President immunity from prosecution.

The protests spread across 14 provinces, according to witnesses and journalists on the ground. Witnesses reported hundreds of thousands of protesters in Sanaa alone. The Organizing Committee of the Youth Revolution denounced the proposal in a written statement today. "We, the youth of revolution, reject any proposal that does not hold Saleh accountable for the killing of over 140 revolution protesters," the committee said.

It is likely the new agreement will be used by Saleh and Saudi Arabia to buy some more time before the inevitable end to Saleh's reign occurs. There is little doubt that Saudis are the main prop holding up the brutal Saleh regime. The political agitation that erupted in Yemen earlier this year has no possibility of coming to an end unless Saleh is ousted, but it has also negatively impacted investment projects of Saudi Arabia. It has directly affected Saudi Arabian ventures in Yemen, resulting in an 80% fall in some sectors, reports claim. Abdullah Murai, chairman of the Saudi-Yemen Business Council, said that the total investment by Saudi Arabia in Yemen amounts to US $4 billion.

In Oman, more than 3,000 protesters took to the streets of the southern city of Salaleh on April 22, demanding political reforms and greater freedoms. Protesters chanted "Freedom!" and "The people want to bring down corruption," as they marched through the streets of downtown Salaleh towards the Dhofar government building. They also demanded the trial of former ministers sacked in recent cabinet reshuffles, accusing them of corruption.

In Syria, at least 13 mourners were shot dead on Saturday as Syrians swarmed the streets to bury scores of demonstrators killed in massive protests, and two MPs resigned in frustration at the bloodshed. Activists said the death toll from the nationwide protests could top 100, pending confirmation of a list of names. Two independent MPs from the protest hub city of Daraa, Nasser al-Hariri and Khalil al-Rifai, told Al-Jazeera television they were resigning in frustration at not being able to protect their constituents. There was no sign of any let-up from President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces used live ammunition against demonstrators nationwide, witnesses and activists told AFP.

Unlike the mass protests in Yemen, Bahrain, or Oman, the Syrian uprising has generated support in the West. Council on Foreign Relations fellow and perjuror Elliott Abrams, a known Zionist propagandist in Washington, in an article, "Syria: Where is President Obama?" on the CFR's website, called for strong measures by the Obama Administration against the Syrian government. "What has been the Obama Administration's response? To toughen up its rhetoric a bit, but to do nothing," Abrams said.

Meanwhile, Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on April 23 condemned the use of force against protesters in Syria, and called on the Syrian government to carry out "profound political reforms."

Netanyahu Urged Olmert To Initiate Israeli Attack on Iran

April 21 (EIRNS)—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing for an Israeli strike against Iran for years. According to documents provided by Wikileaks to Ha'aretz, Netanyahu, in 2007, made such a proposal to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A telegram classified "Confidential," dated July 20, 2007, sent to the State Department by Marc J. Sievers, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, dealt with the formation of a new Israeli government following the disastrous Second Lebanon War. Olmert was then head of the Kadima Party and in a government coalition with the Labor Party. According to the telegram, Netanyahu, who heads Likud, offered to join in a coalition with Olmert, but only if he was committed to an attack on Iran. One of Netanyahu's advisors, whose name was not revealed in the message, told American officials, "The advisor commented that the possibility of a national unity government, bruited in the press, is a possibility, but only if Olmert initiated such a move in order to galvanize Israel for action against Iran. He said that in such a scenario, Netanyahu would probably accept an offer of the Foreign Ministry."

Ha'aretz reports that this was the second time that Netanyahu had made such a proposal. In the Summer of 2005, Netanyahu resigned as finance minister in Ariel Sharon's cabinet over the Gaza disengagement plan. In December of that year, Sharon left the Likud and founded Kadima. At the time, Netanyahu told Sharon he would "support him if he acted against Iran before the elections," as Aluf Benn reported in Ha'aretz two years ago.

Sen. Rockefeller: U.S. Should Get Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya

April 22 (EIRNS)—"I have grave misgivings about being in Iraq for another week. We should be out of Iraq this year altogether," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) told the Charleston Gazette. "We are not going to win. It is not in the cards. Many Asian countries have a totally tribal culture.... It is the same thing in Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen."

"I didn't object to four days of bombing in Libya. But now the CIA is on the ground. That makes me nervous," Rockefeller, a prominent Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, continued. "Libya makes no sense to me. I don't think we should be there at all. We should get out of there and we should get out of Afghanistan. We can't win there. We can't change the country.... Do you want three failed wars in a row?"

Asia News Digest

Indian Space Agency Has a 'Grand Success'

April 21 (EIRNS)—With the successful launching of the 17th Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and three satellites at an exact altitude, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has come out of despondency that followed the failure of the Geo-Stationary Launch VehicleD3 last April. ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan called the mission "a grand success," because the satellites reached their orbits with great precision.

Of the three satellites launched, two are of particular interest. One is the Resourcesat-2, whose remote-sensing images would be used by countries across the world. The images from the satellite would be useful in monitoring the Earth's resources, including crop yields before harvest; the snow cover on mountains; glaciers advancing or retreating; changes in the coastal zones and the urban landscape; locating groundwater; and realigning roads in rural areas.

Dr. R.R. Navalgund, director of the Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad, called the Resourcesat-2 "an extremely important satellite" because it had three cameras mounted on a single platform with high resolution, medium resolution, and coarse resolution. "You can collect data from the entire globe. So, there will be a great demand for this kind of data which is available from the Resourcesat-2. It can provide data more frequently. It will become the workhorse for monitoring the resources of the entire earth for the global community," Dr. Navalgund said.

Another satellite, Youthsat, is a joint Indo-Russian stellar and atmospheric satellite mission with the participation of students from universities at the graduate, post-graduate, and research scholar level. With a lift-off mass of 92 kg, Youthsat is a mini-satellite whose mission is to investigate the relationship between solar variability and thermosphere-ionosphere changes. The satellite carries three payloads, of which two are Indian and one Russian. Together, they form a unique and comprehensive package of experiments for the investigation of the composition, energetics, and dynamics of Earth's upper atmosphere. The Russian payload: Solrad is for monitoring the solar X-ray and gamma ray fluxes and to study solar cosmic ray flux parameters and conditions of their penetration in the Earth's magnetosphere.

The third satellite, X-sat, is Singapore's first indigenous micro-satellite which would help carry out for the next three years research associated with Earth remote-sensing applications, it was said.

Thai Monarchy and Military Impose Cold Coup

April 23 (EIRNS)—The Thai military and the monarchy, which answers directly to the European monarchies, have now openly declared that they, not the government, rule Thailand, and are proceeding to destroy both Thailand and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as a whole, on behalf of the British Empire. The Thai military, with the support of the Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and the monarchical fascist gang known as the Yellow Shirts, has reactivated military assaults on neighboring Cambodia for the past two days, with two days of artillery exchanges, hitting targets 21 km within Cambodia territory, and leaving a dozen dead on the two sides.

The last military exchange was in February, which led to massive international pressure on the Thai government to accept mediation from ASEAN, which is now chaired by Indonesia. The Thai prime minister reluctantly agreed, and after a meeting of the two sides in Indonesia, the Thai government agreed to the Cambodian call for Indonesian observers (representing ASEAN) to set up camp in the conflicted border areas. At the same time, the Thai government agreed to call elections, tentatively set for June.

However, the Thai military refused to accept any Indonesian observers—and appears ready to sabotage the elections as well, which would almost certainly be won by the supporters of the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It became clear over the past month that the military, headed by Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the bloody architect of the military massacre against the Red Shirt opposition demonstrations last year (and the 2006 coup against Thaksin), has decided that the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjijiva was incapable of gaining any support from the Thai population, and that the military must step in. Prayuth, while repeatedly denying any intention to carry out a coup, has in fact carried out a cold coup by simply taking charge, and ignoring the government's decisions.

Africa News Digest

Mbeki Responds to EIR on Development of North and South Sudan

April 19 (EIRNS)—Former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, who, along with the former Presidents of Nigeria and Burundi, today addressed a United States Institute of Peace (USIP)-sponsored forum: "The Future of the Two Sudans," expressed his agreement with EIR's Lawrence Freeman on the need to develop integrated infrastructure for North and South Sudan and the surrounding region, concentrating on food, power, water, and rail development, because there was no vision from the West, especially in Washington, D.C., that looked past the referendum this past January, and formal creation of two Sudans on July 9.

President Mbeki heads the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, while former President of Burundi Pierre Buyoya, and former President of Nigeria, Abdulsalami Abubakar, are both members of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan. The three Presidents are working on the future of North and South Sudan. Mbeki also said that it was necessary to relieve North Sudan of the $36 billion debt it has assumed responsibility for. This was one of the conditionalities being demanded to achieve peace and stability in Darfur.

Mbeki also said that the three former Presidents have discussed with the World Bank the challenge of developing both North and South Sudan. He agreed that development of agriculture, infrastructure, and related issues were important for the international community to deal with—not just the political issues. He said that Washington policymakers should be sensitive to the economic development issue raised, and asked the moderator of the forum to help sensitize Washington on the issue raised by the questioner.

All rights reserved © 2011 EIRNS

top of page

home page