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From Volume 38, Issue 19 of EIR Online, Published May 13, 2011

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Rebuttal of the WBGU:
That Which Could Not Be Sustained
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

I have just examined the English-language rendering of a printed, pseudo-scientific work, ``World in Transition: A Social Contract for Sustainability,'' issued by the German Advisory Council on Global Change. In that piece, there is nothing as much either scientific, or even truly novel, as a desperately vicious expression of the Delphic oligarchicalist tradition of ``creative destruction'' continued into modern European culture, by such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Werner Sombart, H.G. Wells, and the specifically Bertrand Russellite varieties of Cambridge Systems Analysis and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). I point to such examples as Bertrand Russell in his deep-rooted beliefs expressed as the author of such works as his 1946 proclamation of unprovoked ``preventive nuclear warfare,'' or the closely related pseudo-scientific notions of a proposed, mass-murderous program of eugenics, such as those of the ``World Wildlife Fund'' project and The Club of Rome. All of which is to say, that there is nothing actually very new beyond an added touch of sheer horror for the properly civilized reader, in the content of the subject publication of the WBGU. Something much deeper than merely some particular corrections is required for the case of that WBGU publication's wild-eyed echo of a current British naked revival of the ancient oligarchical types of ideological cults....

Executive Intelligence Review
Vol. 38, No. 19

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This Week's Cover


  • Unsustainable Bailouts Bring Euro System to Its Knees
    The Euro system is exploding, despite the fantasies of the finance ministers of the affected nations, exactly as the LaRouche movement warned it would. Nothing but a Glass-Steagall housecleaning will solve the crisis, as even some in Europe are admitting publicly.
  • Obama's Jobs Fraud:
    Labor Force Vanishes

    Contrary to the happy talk coming from the Obama Administration about the 'recovery and private-sector job creation,' the truth is that between April 2009 and April 2011, the total U.S. labor force has shrunk by 1.5 million workers.



  • Glass-Steagall Win Would Oust Obama
    A bill to reinstate Glass-Steagall is now before the House, backed by the campaign spearheaded by LaRouchePAC's six Congressional candidates. This, combined with the growing number of defections from Obama among Democrats, means the time is ripe to invoke the 25th Amendment, and remove the mentally unstable President from office.

This Week's News

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Obama Is Turning the Dollar into Toilet Paper—Deliberately

May 2 (EIRNS)—The dollar fell to its lowest level in three years on April 29, and is now down 7.5% over the course of 2011. The collapse accelerated after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference on April 27, in which he promised to carry through on hyperinflationary "quantitative easing" (QE2) and left the door open to further QE3, to bail out the bankrupt banks.

Britain's Daily Telegraph's Liam Halligan today rightly places the blame for the policy fiasco squarely at Obama's doorstep. Bernanke's press conference "was in fact preparing the ground for the start of QE3," he wrote, but "the Fed's actions are undermining the dollar precisely because that's what the White House wants." On Obama's watch, "America's base money supply—the bedrock of the world's reserve currency—has doubled in little more than two years."

Halligan's comments reflect the fact that many informed people in continental Europe and the U.K. realize that the game is over for the entire system, as Lyndon LaRouche has stressed, and are looking to stake out fall-back options for survival.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently reported that international hedge funds have also been betting heavily against the dollar, and have made millions over its plunge.

Deutsche Bank Sued in L.A. as 'Slumlord'

May 4 (EIRNS)—The Los Angeles City attorney filed a suit on May 4 against Deutsche Bank, on its role as a "slumlord" engaged in "illegal" actions, including evictions. The suit charges the bank with being "among the largest slumlords in L.A.," and asks for hundreds of millions in fines. The City is also asking that the bank be compelled to clean up foreclosed properties. The city has identified at least 2,000 properties owned by the bank.

The legal papers say that Deutsche Bank was "transformed ... from detached investment brokers ... to large-scale residential property owners, a role whose responsibilities ... they have completely eschewed." The suit alleges that Deutsche Bank illegally evicted tenants, and shut off water and power to those who did not leave after the property was foreclosed. Deutsche Bank, which was identified in the U.S. Senate Levin Committee report for numerous violations, has been cited in legal cases in other cities, involving charges of illegal foreclosures, most notably in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2008.

In fact, Deutsche Bank is fully British, having been "merged" with Morgan Grenfell in 1990, in the wake of the assassination of Deutsche Bank chairman Alfred Herrhausen. The behavior of its executives certainly shows it.

They Want To Take Your Food Away

May 6 (EIRNS)—"Consumer food consumption habits associated with modern life-styles have sustained mainstream farming systems and food markets and have contributed to a national obesity and health crisis," according to a National Research Council study released May 5. Thus, it concludes, the time has come to use the power of the Federal government to transform modern U.S. agriculture into the kind of organic, free-range, feudal agricultural system of which the British Monarchy might approve.

This is the declaration of war issued this week by a team of U.S. "agro-ecologists," in a report titled, "Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century," released the same week that the Royal fruitcake Prince Charles personally delivered that a similar message at the Washington Post's Future of Food conference at Georgetown University, and at the White House, where he met President Barack Obama.

The NRC study calls for a "whole-system redesign" of U.S. agriculture, returning to no-tillage, grass-feeding, no-chemicals agricultural methods which they lie are "ecologically sustainable," in the entropic universe they live in. Chief author, Washington State University's J.P. Reganold, is one of the leading U.S. proponents of Prince Charles's speciality, organic-only farming. The report targets the U.S. Farm Bill, which comes up for Congressional renewal in 2012, and will start being debated at the first hearing, scheduled for this May 31 at Michigan State University. They demand that Federal funding impose these so-called "transformative approaches," by cutting funding for modern farming and research, pushing the population back into hunting-and-gathering era methods.

Global Economic News

Geithner Rants about Yuan to No Avail

May 5 (EIRNS)—In what has become an expected ritual, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, before the third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) to be held in Washington on May 9-10, is ranting about China economic policies, and especially China's refusal to up-value its yuan currency and debase the dollar.

But China again politely refused. "It would be inappropriate for China to let its currency float freely at present, given the ongoing second round of quantitative easing initiated by the U.S. and the resulting excessive liquidity," said Chen Daofu, policy research chief at the Financial Research Institute of the State Council's Development Research Center.

Chen did say that China should accelerate the full convertibility of the yuan in trade and direct investment. But policymakers, he added, should remain cautious about trading in financial markets, especially those that involve highly leveraged derivative products, to avoid drastic fluctuations and irregular cross-border capital flows.

Japan's Decision To Close Nuclear Reactors Draws Fire

May 7 (EIRNS)—The website of Japan's NHK-TV network reports that "Critics Slam Kan's Plan To Shut Hamaoka Reactors." The three Hamaoka reactors, ordered shut by Prime Minister Naoto Kan yesterday, are in an area of high earthquake potential, but are in good condition. Critics say Kan's decision was too sudden, and could have repercussions for all the other nuclear plants.

Nobuteru Ishihara, the secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)—which ruled Japan almost non-stop until the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) victory in 2009—said he wants to ask the prime minister whether he had considered Japan's overall electricity needs. Rank and file LDP members yesterday created a group to promote nuclear power.

NHK also indicated opposition to Kan's ruling from within his DPJ. The DPJ's official economic plan has as a major plank for the promotion of Japanese nuclear reactors around the world.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), considered by many to contain the heart of Japan's industry-government historic alliance for growth, issued (and leaked) an in-house document on Japan's energy future yesterday. It considers nuclear energy one of the three pillars of its long-term energy policy for 2030 to 2050. It says nuclear energy can be considered one of Japan's best energy sources in the future, if the country pursues safety to the maximum.

Crucially, it points out that if all nuclear reactors were prevented from re-opening after routine maintenance, then all nuclear power stations in Japan would be shut down and the country would lose more than 30 million kilowatts of electricity, from pre-earthquake levels.

The Chube Electric company, which runs the Hamaoka plant, is also resisting Kan's dictate. Its board met May 6, to discuss Kan's request, but was "unable to reach a conclusion." The utility says the date for the next board meeting has not been fixed.

British Unions Planning Major Anti-Austerity Strikes

May 3 (EIRNS)—Building on the "March for the Alternative" mass demonstration on March 26, which brought 500,000 people out to protest in London, British trade unions are holding conferences to map out strike action against the cutting of wages, pensions, and budgets.

The Daily Telegraph quotes Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, the public service trade union, "After the double bank holiday, feel-good factor wears off, the reality of austerity Britain will kick back in. Unless this government changes direction, it is heading for industrial turmoil on a massive scale. The government must understand that Unison will fight tooth-and-nail to protect and defend public services, and will ballot 1 million of its members to strike to protect their pensions. This will not be a token skirmish, but a prolonged and sustained war, because this government has declared war on a huge proportion of the population."

Unison called on the public to use the local elections to "let the government know exactly what they think of its handling of the economy."

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said no government "in living memory" had caused such unrest and opposition in such a short time. "Barely a year in, this government has sparked a wave of popular anger against its ideological plan to blame and punish us for an economic crisis caused by greed and recklessness in the financial sector.... At least half a million people showed on the TUC march that they were prepared to march for the alternative. We are now saying we must also be prepared to strike for it."

On May Day, 10,000 people demonstrated in Trafalgar Square, where former MP and Cabinet minister, veteran left-winger Tony Benn said: "This week, local authorities have got their elections. We must use our vote to build on what the TUC did on March 26, and work for a better society for ourselves and our children and grandchildren. It is important to remember that the real conflict in the world is between the majority who create the world's wealth, and the handful who control the world's wealth. All the gains that have been made have been made by people like ourselves."

United States News Digest

Mass Strike Scares GOP: Backs Off Medicare Privatization Scheme

May 6 (EIRNS)—After facing enraged constituents during their Easter recess, members of Congress are reportedly stalled at reaching agreement on the brutal budget cuts that Obama's Fiscal Responsibility ("Catfood") Commission and Congressional Republicans are demanding.

Obama's cut-down Congressional deficit commission met at Blair House yesterday, with Vice President Joe Biden chairing. Politico says there is no road map for a deal, and that the only concrete progress was that they agreed to meet twice a week through the end of May. And the Wall Street Journal reports that the "Gang of Six" effort to come up with a plan modeled on that of the original Deficit Commission, has stalled.

Also on May 5, House Republicans signalled that they were backing away from Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) scheme to privatize Medicare. Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that while he still supports the Ryan plan, opposition from Democrats made it pointless to proceed. "I'm not interested in talking about whether the House is going to pass a bill that the Senate shows no interest in," Camp said. But it's not the Senate that the House is afraid of: It's their own angry constituents.

Washington Non-Action in Face of Record Midwest Flooding

May 5 (EIRNS)—The Ohio River hit record heights earlier this week, and Mississippi waters are rising to near-record levels. Late on May 2, the Ohio River crested at 61.72 feet, more than 2 ft. above the February 1937 record of 59.5 ft. "Compared to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, this flood is going to be a lot nastier," was the summation by the National Weather senior hydrologist Mary Pope, this week in Jackson, Miss. May 17 is the projected date for the river to crest at Vicksburg, where it is expected to reach 64.5 feet—16 ft. higher than the official 48-foot flood stage.

Flooding is occurring both on the mainstem Mississippi and Ohio sites, such as at Memphis, Tenn., and small towns, as well as upstream on the tributaries and lesser watersheds. Locks are closed—many are overtopping—in large stretches of waterway, on orders of the U.S. Coast Guard. Due to safety issues, shipping is suspended on long parts of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Mississippi and Ohio. Large areas of cropland are ruined. The hit to agriculture will be huge.

The performance of the stripped-down state and local agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Guard cannot compensate for the fact that they are severely understaffed.

Similarly, the entire system-wide flood control capability—levees, dams, gates, floodways, etc.—was never fully built-out, nor maintained.

"Fatigue has been a factor," said Col. Vernie Reichling, head of the Army Corps Memphis District, at a May 3 press conference in Sikeston, Mo. "Some of our people have worked 24-36 hours straight. They've been working with high explosives, and there is a concern for safety. We have been constantly adjusting to conditions. The conditions Mother Nature threw at us were severe."

Given this situation, the threat of more severe weather ahead, and the prospect of vast aid needed to rebuild, the White House response of "disaster-as-usual" pretenses is a mockery. Obama, the Agriculture Department, and other agencies are doing the minimum. Obama yesterday announced approval for official disaster declarations in cited counties in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky; he previously announced Federal recognition of disaster counties elsewhere in the flood zone. The Presidential disaster declaration authorizes FEMA and Homeland Security to provide aid and partial funding. "Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75% Federal funding." You locals—already economically destroyed by the Obama Recovery, and now under water—are supposed to come up with the rest!

On May 3, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and FEMA director W. Craig Fugate issued a joint pledge to aid the farm operations now under water in the national Bird's Point/New Madrid floodway, in use to mitigate worse flooding on the Mississippi River. In the face of White House prevarication, on top of uncertainty and damage, the floodway farmers have resorted to suing the Army Corps.

Studies Show that 2009 Mammogram 'Advice' Is a Killer

May 3 (EIRNS)—Three studies have been released studying the impact of the 2009 advice given by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women under 50 should not get mammograms.

The Task Force was a precurser to IPAB, the death panel in Obama's health-care program, modeled on Hitler's T4 program to deny health care to certain categories of people to "save scarce resources." The Task Force's 2009 study advised that "only" several thousand women would miss being diagnosed with breast cancer by waiting to the age of 60 rather than 50, thus saving money for insurance companies and the government.

The new studies show that failing to get regular mammogram screenings beginning at age 50 left women more likely to discover cancer at an advanced stage. A study in Colorado suggests that 62% of doctors changed their advice to match the U.S. guideline and 16% fewer women got the test. Such a delay often resulted in larger tumors and a worse prognosis once the cancer was uncovered, the data showed.

The three studies were presented at separate medical meetings held May 3 and May 6 by the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Washington and the American Roentgen Ray Society, representing radiologists, in Chicago.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is still active, reviewing 30 more medical areas involving cervical cancer tests, dementia, glaucoma screening, and the use of electrocardiographs for detection of coronary heart disease. If Obama's genocidal IPAB is not stopped, such "advice" will instead become death warrants.

Obama Budget To Leave Washington's Homeless on the Streets

May 2 (EIRNS)—Although Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2012 budget provides a slight increase in spending for homeless services, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH) has discovered that, due to a loss of $15 million in "one time" Federal money, D.C. shelters could be forced to close during all but the coldest "hypothermia season" months of the year. In what homeless advocates are calling a "grave situation," if the D.C. Council does not "act to address the funding shortfall" of $18.4 million—a virtual impossibility—WLCH calculates that D.C.'s Department of Human Services will be forced to triage, closing down "year-round single womens' and mens' shelters" and throwing 1,200 people on the streets.

The nation's capital has already reversed its policy of providing families certified to have no alternative dwelling a guaranteed shelter, throwing an estimated 300 families on the street for the remainder of FY 2011. Gray's budget would also slash funding for the successful Emergency Rental Assistance Program (for families with disabilities), forcing it to provide aid to more than 800 fewer families during the coming year. "That our elected officials would choose to support a budget that allows homeless children to live in parks and abandoned buildings in the nations capital is unconscionable," said Patty Mullahy Fugere, Executive Director of WLCH.

Ibero-American News Digest

Health Emergency Declared in Colombia, as Flooding Continues

May 3 (EIRNS)—Hector Zambrano, Bogotá's Health Secretary, declared a health emergency for Colombia's capital city today, in the face of unprecedented rains and flooding which have caused sewers to overflow in some parts of the city, posing a risk of epidemics.

It has been raining non-stop in most of the country for nearly a year, another case in the pattern of planet-wide extreme weather and seismic activity. The damage in Colombia has been extensive, with 418 deaths, 140,000 homes destroyed, and at least 3 million victims/evacuees overall. The rains have also damaged 2.6 million acres of land, killed 115,000 head of cattle, and caused another 1.4 million to be relocated. One runway at the El Dorado Airport is also flooded, and water from the overflowing Bogotá River nearby threatens other runways. The National Weather Institute foresees heavy rains through June.

In one part of the Fontibón section of Bogotá, rains have caused the sewers to overflow, filling the streets with foul-smelling waters and human waste. Efforts by the Water and Sanitation Co. to pump the water out of the district have failed, which is also the case in other affected districts. Residents of the Fontibón district have taken to the streets, protesting that the Water and Sanitation Co. lied about having the necessary equipment to pump out the filthy water, and in any case, didn't act in time.

Zambrano warned that people in the affected areas of the city are at risk of contracting respiratory and skin illnesses, as well as dengue, malaria, or other infectious diseases, due to the contaminated water. And, he added, the threat isn't limited to Bogotá: "The whole country is at risk."

In a videoconference with students at La Gran Colombia university in Bogotá and the Universidad de Medellin on May 5, EIR Ibero-American Editor Dennis Small addressed the methodology required to respond to such weather-caused natural disasters, in his presentation on the global economic crisis, the galactic challenge facing humanity, and the underlying issue of sense-perception vs. creativity. If you want to address the flooding in Bogotá, Small told the students, "let's start with the simple reality. As you may have noticed, Bogotá is located in Colombia; Colombia is in South America; South America is on the planet Earth; the Earth is part of the Solar System; and the Solar System is part of our galaxy. That's our starting point." The discussion provoked quite some intellectual turmoil. As one student put it: "I guess to be a good economist you have to know physics."

Argentines Reject Latest Royal Provocation Over Malvinas

May 5 (EIRNS)—Argentine Congressman Julio César Martínez, head of the Defense Commission of the Lower House of Congress, announced on May 5 that he is preparing to introduce a bill on May 18, repudiating the reportedly planned four-month deployment of Prince William, second in line for the British throne, to serve in the empire's military force occupying Argentina's Malvinas Islands. According to a report from London, appearing shortly after Prince Willie's wedding, his deployment to the South Atlantic islands which the British Crown continues to claim, occupy, and call the Falklands, is planned for next year, near the 30th anniversary of the Malvinas War.

Should this news be confirmed, Martínez said, "we are looking at another act of British provocation ... which is an insult to Argentines."

There are many in Argentina who still refuse to bow before the British Empire. Disgusted by the deluge of media coverage of the royal wedding, veterans of Argentina's 1982 Malvinas War against Great Britain took to the streets to parody the wedding in downtown Buenos Aires on the day it took place.

A carriage rode through the capitol's streets carrying the "royal couple"—one person dressed like the prince, and the "bride" dressed in white, sporting a moustache and a hairy chest—exclaiming as they went, "Fuck You, Argentina! Fuck the World!" The parody intersected an early May Day march, whose members greatly enjoyed the royal mocking by the Malvinas veterans.

The veterans pointed out that, while international media televised the royal wedding to the world, in Argentina, several TV networks (Channel 13 and C5N in particular) slavishly conferred extraordinary importance on the event, as if nothing else of significance were occurring in the world. No one should ever forget ongoing "British atrocities in the Malvinas, Kosovo, and Afghanistan," and in other places around the world, the veterans reminded Argentines, in interviews and leaflets.

Western European News Digest

Portuguese Bailout Deal Is Official

May 4 (EIRNS)—The Portuguese caretaker government has reached a deal with the European Central Bank (ECB), the EU, and the IMF, for a EU78 billion bailout, EU12 billion of which will go to recapitalize banks.

Portuguese media report that a special tax on pensions above EU1,500 a month is being discussed, as well as a freeze in public sector pay and pensions until 2013. Unemployment benefits will not be paid for any longer than 18 months (compared with three years currently), and will not exceed EU1,048 a month (down from EU1,258). Major state infrastructure projects along with public-private partnerships (PPPs) are to be suspended while their viability is reassessed.

On May 17, the EU Economics and Financial Affairs Council is expected to approve the deal.

Belgian Appeal: 'Split Up the Banks Before It's Too Late'

May 6 (EIRNS)—With this title, the Belgian website www.dewereldmorgen.be published on May 5 an op-ed coauthored by Dirk Van der Maelen, a member of the Belgian Parliament and former vice-president of the Flemish Socialist Party (SP.A), and Karel Vereycken of Agora Erasmus, the LaRouche movement in Belgium.

Van der Maelen, known for his criticism of the banking sector, is a respected member of the Belgian House of Representatives and author of several proposed laws aimed at limiting banking abuses. On Oct. 28, 2010, Van der Maelen and two other Belgian Socialist MPs reintroduced his 2009 proposed law to "confine" and protect the activities of savings banks from speculative investment banks.

Today, the text with 6,000 signers has been picked up by several other Dutch-language news websites in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Eurozone Emergency Session Talks on Greece Debt

May 7 (EIRNS)—The finance ministers of the six governments with triple-A rating (France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Finland, and Luxembourg) met for a crisis emergency session at Senningen Castle in Luxembourg. The meeting was also attended by Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for Finance; Jean-Claude Trichet, director of the European Central Bank; and Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou.

Reports from Greece are talking about a "velvet restructuring" that could include extending outstanding debt and a voluntary agreement to modify repayment terms before 2012.

Scottish National Party Wins Majority in Scottish Parliament

May 6 (EIRNS)—The Scottish National Party (SNP) won an outright majority in the election to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, which opens the way for a Scottish referendum on independence. The referendum will take time; but now it will almost certainly be held during the new five-year term of the Scottish Parliament. The vote results were dramatic. The SNP vote rose by over 12%, to about 45%, giving it 69 seats in the 129-member Parliament. This is the first time one party has had a majority since the Parliament at Holyrood (in Edinburgh) was restored in 1999 for the first time since 1707.

The Scottish Parliament is a "devolved" legislature, whose powers are limited by the government of the United Kingdom. The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the "terms of reference" of the Scottish Parliament, and can extend or reduce the areas in which it is permitted to make laws.

Anti-Green Resistance in German Industry

May 5 (EIRNS)—While the big banks and part of industry like Siemens have sold out to the green hysteria, other parts of industry have not. Kurt Bock, the incoming CEO of BASF, Germany's leading producer of chemical products, including fertilizer, attacked the government's "renewables" plan as not sustainable for industry: "We already have the highest electricity prices in Europe. Our demand is very clear: We need affordable energy prices in Germany."

RWE, Germany's biggest producer of electricity, reiterated that it will take the government to the Constitutional Court over the March 17 nuclear moratorium, and not accept suffering major damage from a government decree to break previous agreements with that industry, and shut down the industry's facilities.

Strike Joined by a Quarter-Million in Portugal

May 7 (EIRNS)—Portugal's National Federation of Civil Service Unions, which had called the 24-hour strike, said that around 60% of Lisbon's trash collectors and staff stayed away from work, and most emergency staff at main hospitals walked off the job. Some schools cancelled classes and several hospitals postponed scheduled surgeries, but court hearings and national school exams largely went ahead as scheduled and most public offices were open, according to media reports. Members of other labor unions, notably from the UGT federation, joined in protest actions.

Real Unemployment Among Spanish Youth Tops 60%

May 2 (EIRNS)—Spain's National Institute of Statistics reported on April 27 that official unemployment in the country had risen in the first quarter of 2011 to 21.3% of the labor force—a 1% increase. But among youth aged 18-25, official unemployment leapt by 2.5%, up to a 45% national average. There are now 860,000 unemployed, out of a youth labor force of some 2.1 million.

However, what's far worse is the fact that workers, young and old alike, have been leaving the official labor force in droves, simply because they have given up on finding a job. For example, 1 million fewer youth are looking for jobs today, than in 2008. That means that there are actually at least 1.86 million youth who are unemployed, out of a youth labor force of 3.1 million—which means real unemployment is over 60% among 18-25 year-olds.

"What that fall in the economically active population reveals," labor specialist Sara de la Rica told the daily El País, "is a brutal lack of hope."

Russia and the CIS News Digest

Russia Announces 30% Increase in Space Budget

May 2 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced a 30% increase in the budget allocation for the development and advancement of the national rocket and space industry. "From the perspective of the country's defensive capacity the rocket and space industry... is an absolute priority along with the nuclear industry and its military branch," a RIA Novosti report quoted him as saying during an April 30 meeting with scientists from Penza's Research Institute of Physical Measurements in Perm.

Putin praised the engineering capability of Russia's space industry, but added that in some areas, they were lagging behind other nations—which he wants to change. As for the military aspect, Putin said that Russia should build new radar stations to be able to monitor its skies at the highest level of monitoring technology.

He stated that the industry has shown an impressive 18% growth despite the consequences of the global financial crisis, and said about 153 billion rubles (about EU3.75 billion) will be allocated to the national rocket and space industry in 2011, according to the report. Putin reiterated remarks he made three weeks ago, during a visit to the space-tech facilities at Gagarin City, saying that he wants to make sure that Russia's space industry regains the leading position it still had during the Soviet period.

Ivanov Tells Reporters: Bin Laden Launched the Heroin Trade

See InDepth for "Bin Laden and Drugs: The Real Dope Pushers in Afghanistan Are Still At large"

Southwest Asia News Digest

Assassination Attempt on Turkish Prime Minister

May 5 (EIRNS)—In what is being seen as an assassination attempt, the convoy of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was attacked on May 4 in Kastamonu on the Black Sea, shortly after Erdogan left the city by helicopter. The attackers, armed with machine guns and grenades, were believed to be members of the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK); at least one police officer was killed and another injured. It is not known if any of Erdogan's close aides, who were in the convoy, were hurt.

The attack occurs at a time when Turkey has been playing a important and positive diplomatic role through Southwest Asia, especially concerning Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians. It also happened at the beginning of a national election campaign in which Erdogan's Justice and Development Party is expected to win for a third time.

Speaking at an election rally, Erdogan said: "I begin my speech by expressing my sorrow about an attack in Kastamonu. These terrorists, who understood that they cannot get any result in the elections, think that they will be successful in this way. We will not permit these groups to divide this country. My people will never give credit to terrorists, to those who want to destabilize our country."

Also on May 4, six police officers were injured in an attack on a Diyarbakir funeral for four members of the PKK. Demonstrators at the funeral attacked the Diyarbakir prison.

In a statement which is an indication of why Erdogan was targetted, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati is cited in Today's Zaman as saying he believes Turkey plays a vital role in political processes in the region, at a time when mass demonstrations are sweeping across the Middle East, and challenging decades-old rule of authoritarian Arab leaders. "Turkey's role in solving Middle East issues is indispensable," Mikati told Azerbaijan's Trend news agency, adding that Turkey has the opportunity to resolve all the conflicts in the Middle East. Mikati also reportedly said that, unlike other countries that act as mediators in resolving problems in the Middle East, Ankara does not pursue any goals based on its own interests.

Trail of Egyptian Corruption Leads to Heart of British Empire

May 2 (EIRNS)—The new Egyptian government's fight against the corruption of the former Mubarak government has brought it up against the center of the British Empire, HSBC, formerly known as the notorious Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which stood and still stands at the center of the Empire's narcotics operations. Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, its former chairman, is currently British Minister of State for Trade and Investment, who only last Feb. 21 made an official trip to Cairo.

The London Sunday Observer, detailed the role of HSBC based on research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, based at London's City University. Their research revealed that HSBC was the most active European investment bank in Egypt, and raised more than £450 million pounds for two of the country's largest and most controversial real estate developers, whose top executives now face corruption trials. Among these are included former investment minister Mahmound Mohieldin and ex-trade minister Rashid Mohamed Rachid who, prior to becoming ministers in Mubarak's government in 2004, were on the Egyptian board of HSBC. They oversaw land sales and privatizations. Rashid was also head of the Middle East arm of the Anglo-Dutch Unilever. Mohieldin is now a managing director of the World Bank.

Among the companies HSBC served as underwriters for was Palm Hills Development, Egypt's second-biggest listed developer, now under investigation for corruption. Former housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi and his cousin, ex-transport minister Mohamed Mansour, are shareholders in Palm Hills' parent company while Mansour's brother is Palm Hills' chairman. Maghrabi is now in custody awaiting trial. Last week, an Egyptian court declared a land deal made in 2006 by Palm Hills illegal, while Maghrabi was a minister, and he is accused of undervaluing and transferring the land via a foreign firm.

Another company HSBC helped raise funds for was the Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG), run by a former member of the Egyptian parliament's upper house, whose Medinaty development in Cairo is under the shadow of corruption allegations. In 2007, HSBC helped TMG to raise some £400 million They also help raise £52 million for the Egyptian Arab Land bank in the same year.

Engi M El Haddad, director of the Egyptian anti-corruption group Afro-Egyptian Human Rights Organization said, "As HSBC are bankers of record for many of the Egyptian figures who were politically exposed and many of the dealings were extremely suspicious, this is definitely a concern."

Green Party chairwoman and Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas described these links as "shocking," saying, "In light of this investigation, David Cameron would do well to reconsider his [Lord Green's-ed.] suitability as government trade and investment minister."

At the center of all this is Lord Green who spent almost his entire career as HSBC until he was named minister in the Conservative government lead by David Cameron. In 1998, he was co-chairman of the Egyptian British Business Council, where he reported directly to then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Remnants of Security Service Behind Attack on Coptic Churches?

May 8 (EIRNS)—Egyptian sources have reported that Salafi hooligans, encouraged by remnants of the State Security Ministry, were behind the recent attacks against two Coptic Christian churches in Cairo. The attacks led to violence between radical Islamists and Copts, and forced Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to cancel a scheduled trip to the Persian Gulf, to convene an emergency cabinet meeting.

The Egyptian sources emphasized that the neo-Salafi are being heavily funded from Saudi Arabia, but that elements from the discredited Ministry of State Security encouraged the attacks on the Copts, to pressure the Supreme Military Council to give them greater authority to restore "law and order."

Such classic gang-countergang methods are the hallmark of British counterinsurgency operations. The Imam of Al Azhar University, the oldest Islamic institution of higher learning in the world, denounced "troublemakers" from the old regime for inciting the violence, and called for an ecumenical dialogue between Muslims and Christians to avert any further provocations.

Ex-Mossad Chief: Attack on Iran Is 'Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Heard'

May 8 (EIRNS)—Former Mossad head Meir Dagan called the idea of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities "the stupidest thing I have ever heard," warning that it would trigger a full-scale war between Israel and Iran, that would draw in Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah. "It is the kind of thing where we know where it starts, but not how it will end." It was the first public statement by Dagan since he retired as Mossad head in September 2010.

Asia News Digest

Top Indonesian Terrorist Seized in Abbottabad in January

May 5 (EIRNS)—Indonesia, currently the chair of ASEAN, hosted an ASEAN Summit the weekend of May 7 in Jakarta for the heads of state of the ten-nation association (Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, and Singapore). The Summit proceeded without incident despite major security concerns preceding the event, of which the following is relevant background.

One of the leading actors in the 2002 Bali bombing and other terrorist operations in Indonesia, was arrested in Pakistan on Jan. 25. Although it was not seen as important at the time, the arrest was in Abbottabad, the site of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1. Pakistani and American intelligence officials are telling the press that Umar Patek was not believed to have met with bin Laden, but did meet with other al-Qaeda operatives during his undercover visit to Pakistan.

Patek is known to have trained in Pakistan before the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., and to also have ties to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyef in the Philippines. His Filipina wife was with him when he was arrested in January.

In Indonesia, a spokesman for Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid, the group associated with Abu Bakar Bashir, the intellectual leader of the extremists in Indonesia (who is standing trial yet again for fostering terrorism), declared that bin Laden has "had the victory he dreamed of—that is to be shot dead as a martyr by his enemy." He predicted that there will be major retaliations.

Will Japan Again Follow Germany to Self-Destruction?

May 6 (EIRNS)—Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has publicly requested Chubu Electric Power Co. to halt three nuclear reactors at Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, until a seawall high enough to stop a Fukushima-level tsunami can be constructed.

Chubu Electric Power Co., after stalling for some hours, capitulated and agreed to close the plants. Building such a super-seawall could take two years. The site, about 115 miles southwest of Tokyo, is in an earthquake zone, with a reported 87% probability of the area being hit by an 8+ magnitude earthquake within the next 30 years, according to one forecast. The plant is already designed to handle an 8.5-magnitude quake.

Kan has proposed no other measures to help the area predict and survive a quake. The Great East Japan Quake likely caused about 27,000 deaths, plus injuries, disrupted lives through out all Japan, cost hundreds of billions in damaged properties, and at least as much in lost production; but not a soul has died because of the Fukashima nuclear accident.

Kan also said not a word about what would, or could, be done about replacing the over 3,000 MW of lost electricity generating capacity that closing the reactors mean. With mild spring weather, Japan is not currently experiencing blackout, but that is only because industrial and commercial uses of electricity are under an informal brownout. With summer and the increased demand, blackouts will return, but now, much worse.

There are voices similar to the fanatic Schellnhuber in Japan (see InDepth for full story on Schellnhuber). Jun Iio, a political scientist in charge of a working group appointed to brainstorm ideas for the reconstruction effort, said members of the panel have already begun discussing the possibility of building alternative energy sources in the disaster zones, including solar, wind, and geothermal power. "Many people in our group feel very strongly that we must use more environmentally friendly sources of energy. We are very positive about this."

That is the same kind of language coming out of Germany.

There is opposition. Lawmakers in the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which ran Japan until recently, including the prime growth years of developing Japan, established a taskforce to counter growing criticism against nuclear power. The stated objective of the group is to consider measures to balance supply and demand of electricity and to reconstruct energy strategies. However, an LDP executive said bluntly, "We created the new group to protect nuclear power generation."

Just across the sea, South Korea announced that it will restart the 33-year-old 587-mv Gori-1 reactor which was shut down April 12 for a safety check after a minor fault. Earlier, the restart of Gori-3, down for refueling, had been announced.

British Dictate Decarbonization to Malaysia

May 7 (EIRNS)—Simon Featherstone, British High Commissioner (ambassador) to Malaysia, lays out the Empire's Green low-carbon policy for the colonies in an op-ed in the New Strait Times (the semi-official government paper). Climate change, is "perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign policy challenge," according to the Foreign Office, he says. The British government has allocated about $3 billion to their International Climate Fund (ICF), which has just been formally established, to pass this word on to the colonies. The Empire expects to spend half the kitty on helping the "poor and vulnerable countries" reduce carbon emissions and make forests sacrosanct.

Their priorities for ICF funding are: to show that building low-carbon climate-resilient growth at scale is both feasible and desirable; to support adaptation in poor countries and help build an effective international framework on climate change; and, "to drive innovation, creating new partnerships with the private sector to support low-carbon climate-resilient growth."

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