Missouri River Flooding
World Food Supply in Crisis; First Step Is Remove Obama
by Marcia Merry Baker
June 4As of this month, the extensive flooding throughout the Missouri River Basin has taken a huge toll on agriculture, and caused destruction across the nine-state region. Losses to crops in this Northern Plains wheatbelt, and Western cornbelt, are now piling on top of the already drastic agriculture damage from flooding in the Lower Mississippi/Ohio Basin, and in drought-stricken Texas and the Southern Plains. This all adds up to a world-scale food supply crisis, given the impact of extreme weather on other grainbelts around the globe, e.g., the drought in France (see below), underscoring the point that there is no bountiful harvest potential elsewhere in the world to ``compensate'' for the sweeping losses in the United States.
In the United States now, because of the extent of ruined fields, delayed planting, and soggy conditions or drought, crop losses are mounting across all the basic grainscorn, rice, and wheat, and also to hay and fodder for cattle. The prospect of high feed costs is a disaster for all livestock. This is a meat supply crisis in the making. Emergency measures are urgent. Where is President Obama in all of this? In London, inside his head. Look at the timing of his Springtime royalty tour in Britain, which he refused to alter, no matter what devastation was hitting at home. Obama left Washington on May 22the evening of the Joplin tornado, and did not return until late May 28....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
June 1 (EIRNS)The number of Americans living on food stamps surged to 44.5 million in Marchover 14% of the populationand yet Obama and the Congress are debating how much to cut from the program. As the number of recipients increased from last year by 11%, Obama is asking Congress for only a 9% increase in funding, while the Republicans in the House want far larger cuts.
The House Appropriations Committee is reviewing the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture on June 1, including the $71 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), with the knives out. Nutrition assistance now accounts for about two-thirds of the USDA's budget, compared with 26% in 1980.
June 2 (EIRNS)Bloomberg.com reports today that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has received a subpoena from the New York County DA, for information on the firm's activities leading into the credit crisis. According to two people whom Bloomberg says are familiar with the matter, "The request relates to the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on Wall Street's role in the housing market collapse, which accused New York-based Goldman Sachs of misleading buyers of mortgage-linked investments...." Bloomberg notes that the Subcommittee's report was referred to the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are also investigating.
June 1 (EIRNS)According to the S&P/Case-Shiller National Index, released on May 31, home prices nationwide fell 4.2% in the first quarter, after declining 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010. Using the Case-Shiller measure, prices are now 33% below the 2006 peak and are back at a level last seen in the third quarter of 2002. This means that prices have now fallen by more than the 31% decline experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Since the official data does not take into account inflation, the collapse in house prices is even deeper than Case-Shiller reports.
Another 5% decline in prices will increase the share of underwater homeowners with mortgages to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2010. A 10% drop will leave more than one-third of all U.S. mortgage holders underwater.
Home prices have now fallen for eight straight months.
At the same time that the housing crisis continues to accelerate, manufacturing continues to collapse, as well as job creation. Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded in May, according to U.S. government figures, at the slowest pace in more than a year. The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 53.5 last month, the lowest level since September 2009, from 60.4 in April.
Meanwhile, according to ADP Employer Services, a national payroll-management company, employment increased by only 38,000 workers last month, the smallest increase since September, from a revised 177,000 in April.
This continuing collapse is the direct result of the failure to pass Lyndon LaRouche's Homeowner and Bank Protection Act, and underscores the need for Glass-Steagall.
Global Economic News
May 30 (EIRNS)The front-page headline in today's London Financial Times reads, "Greece Set for Severe Bailout Conditions." The article reports that the European Union is drafting a new bailout that has even more brutal conditions, including "international involvement in tax collection and privatization of state assets." The deal would involve another EU60 billion, half of which would come from privatization of state assets. Reuters also reports that the EU held emergency talks with the Greek government over the weekend on the issue.
The FT makes clear that all of this is theoretical, since it has to not only pass the Greek parliament, but also the parliaments of the 16 other Eurozone countries. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou canceled a meeting, without giving a reason, he was to have had with the majority PASOK party leadership, which was supposed to rally the party behind the new austerity proposals. This follows Papandreou's failure to get an all-party backing for the new proposals, which was demanded by the EU.
In its lead editorial, "Putting Greece Up for Auction," the FT writes that while privatization of Greek government assets would be good for Greece, there might be few takers, for fear that a default would wipe out the value of the assets. Moreover, the idea of putting foreigners in charge, "risks detonating an explosion of protest at lost sovereignty." The City of London mouthpiece then suggests that all this talk of privatization by the EU leaders is "a cloak for their inability to agree on broader solution to Greece's problems," especially, the restructuring of its debt.
The IMF-EU Commission-ECB troika, which is now reviewing Greece's performance in implementing the policies dictated to them, are expected to make public their verdict this week. If the troika refuses to sign off, this means the next EU12 billion tranche of funds from the EU110 billion bailout fund, will not be released. Meanwhile ECB board member Lorenzo Smaghi wrote in the FT that any restructuring of Greek debt is out of the question, saying the idea of an orderly restructuring is a "fairy tale."
The Greek international security website, RIAS, in a leading comment on the EU and IMF demands, writes sarcastically:
"First the Hellenes need to make sure that their entire population descends into abject poverty for generations to come through massive austerity that fulfills no purpose other than the satisfaction of creditors;
"Secondly, these Hellenes also need to promise, upon penalty of eternal damnation, that they will continue to disembowel their economy for as long as their barely breathing carcass allows, so that ... financial markets suffer the smallest possible damage after Greece's inevitable foundering;
"And, thirdly, the Hellenes must also do this smiling, and with the frame of mind of genocide would-be victims, who have no idea what awaits them other than noticing the long columns of men, women, and children being led away by the guards into the wilderness."
RIAS concludes that the whole misguided "Eurovision" has doomed Greece "to suffer a disaster that would dwarf those that crested over us throughout recent history because of wars, invasions, and direct foreign occupation."
May 30 (EIRNS)The lunacy of the German government's announcement that it will abandon production of nuclear energy completely by 2022, is not being lost on some European energy officials and nuclear advocates. Italy, which closed down its existing nuclear facilities by 1990, now imports about 10% of its electricity from France, which produces 80% of its electricity with nuclear power. Germany will have to do the same, along with increasing its use of relatively more polluting fossil fuels.
"Germany will be even more dependent on fossil fuels and imports and its electricity will be more expensive and polluting," French Industry Minister Eric Besson said in a statement today. Electricity is twice as expensive in Germany than France. Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva SA, the world's biggest maker of nuclear equipment, said on BFM radio: "It's hard to see how they will replace the energy. I'm not sure there is enough Polish coal, and it creates carbon problems. Alternative energy sources are intermittent sources. I think they will do what Austria did in its time: import nuclear electricity from neighboring countries. This will result in higher electricity costs in Germany, with consequences for industry."
For much of last year, Germany exported energy to France, but last month, the trend was reversed, after Berlin decided to begin shutting down nuclear reactors. France is building two new nuclear plants to make up for shortfalls of power production.
Other nations are also making the point: "In the case of [German] closure, it will be necessary to import energy probably from France, in other words produced by the nuclear sector," Belgium's Energy Minister Paul Magnette was quoted by AFP today. Belgium has seven nuclear reactors.
British nuclear power advocate Malcolm Grimston, who advises the government on nuclear energy, told the BBC that the German decision "will create new export opportunities for the French nuclear industry in Germany. The Czech Republic will be another source of the replacement imports. Most of that will be as a result of coal but the Czech Republic itself has a vigorous new nuclear program [with six plants operating]. So this does create a new market for nuclear electricity and, as long as that is what has happened, then the environment will not be damaged."
Grimston also pointed out that the German "economy is already very severely crippled by its enormous renewable subsidies and, of course, in hot weather the wind farms tend not to work at all. In Germany they had about 1.5% output for three weeks in 2003 because of the heat."
United States News Digest
June 5 (EIRNS)The Army Corps of Engineers has finished construction of the nearly two-mile Inner Harbor Navigation Canal-Lake Borgne Surge Barrier. With the world's largest pumping stations and the largest seagates ever installed in America, the system is designed to stop a hurricane-impelled surge out of the Gulf of Mexico 12 miles out from the city of New Orleans.
But with hurricane season just beginning, the Obama Administration is refusing to budget Federal funds to operate the new system. The project is in financial disarray, as local jurisdictions, effectively bankrupt in the global financial crisis, cannot step in to pay the operating costs.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune quotes John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, "which would likely be responsible for operating the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway gate in the Lake Borgne surge barrier. Barry said he and other Louisiana officials have talked to members of Congress and representatives of President Obama and the White House Office of Management and Budget about the gates, without success. 'There's considerable sympathy for our position everywhere, but the problem is this whole climate in Washington in terms of money,' he said."
The Army Corps completed the new surge barrier in 2 years and 2 weeks, a 100-year-storm protection (using as much steel as in eight Eiffel Towers, with gates 26 feet high and 225 feet across, with pumps that would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 4.6 seconds) at a cost of about $1 billion.
The national investment in the total surge protection system in place is $14 billion. To make good on that investment, around $38 million per year additional operating costs are required, for skilled personnel to open and close the navigational gates, and maintain and repair the system.
But six years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, and in the midst of a string of catastrophic tornadoes and floods, Barack Obama is turning a deaf ear to New Orleans.
June 4 (EIRNS)During an appearance at a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, yesterday, and in his Saturday weekly address (delivered from the same site), President Obama demonstrated, once again, that he is totally insane and disconnected from reality. Even to the horror of his own closest White House advisors, Obama touted the tremendous economic recovery that he has engineered, and the 2 million new private sector jobs he has created in the past 15 months. He counterposed his success in creating new auto manufacturing jobs with President Bush's wipeout of 400,000 auto sector jobs.
With a new round of "too big to fail" bank failures on Wall Street looming; with the worst job figures in almost a year, boosting the official unemployment rate to 9.1%; and with an anticipated 4-5 million additional home foreclosures coming in the months ahead, Obama's claims that the recovery is here, and that the recent bad news is just "a bump on the road to recovery," came off like the words of a stark-raving lunatic. Sources close to the Obama White House confirmed that all of the President's top economic and political aides had pressed him to admit that there were serious economic troubles, and to announce some fake job-creating program.
But, instead, Obama babbled on about the strength of the recovery, and how he single-handedly saved the U.S. auto sector, to the point that Chrysler and GM are creating thousands of new jobs, and have already paid back all of the money that went to them in the 2008 bailout frenzy.
This latest burst of insanity on the part of the President has already provoked a backlash, according to one top Democratic Party figure. "White House staff thought that the President would admit that the recent economic data was a serious setback, and announce some cosmetic jobs initiative. But he rejected all of that. It is clear that the orders to Obama are coming direct from London. He is not going to do anything that might anger his patrons. So there is nothing he can do but lie."
June 3 (EIRNS)An estimated 1,000 New York City firefighters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge this morning, from Engine Company 205 in Brooklyn Heights to City Hall, where they were joined by 5,000 more (union estimates placed the size of the crowd at 10,000), protesting billionaire fascist Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to close 20 fire companies, in order to cut $55 million from the Fire Department's budget. The Uniformed Firefighters Association advertised the rally with full-page ads depicting Bloomberg as the Grim Reaper, which declared "Closing FDNY companies threatens your life. Mike Bloomberg believes your family is not entitled to fire or emergency medical protections in a timely manner."
Officials of both the firefighters' union and the fire officers' union, backed by elected officials, including New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, all warn that the cutbacks will lengthen response times, thus threatening lives and property. "Under a plan like this, more lives would be lost," de Blasio told WABC-TV. "It's also fundamentally unfair to say to people in some neighborhoods, you get less. You know, just grin and bear it."
UFA president Steve Cassidy described today's rally as "democracy in action," with firefighters and community activists gathering at City hall to tell Bloomberg "that closing firehouses is compromising their safety and they're not going to stand for it." Assemblyman Peter Abbate of Brooklyn was more blunt, telling the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, yesterday, that "When someone dies, the blood will be on Mayor Bloomberg's hands."
June 2 (EIRNS)It's becoming increasingly clear, that in this season of tornadoes and floods, the Obama Administration is all talk and no action, and the news media and Congressional representatives of the victims, have begun to tell the public about it.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported today, "...in just the two-month period that preceded May 25, President Obama issued 27 disaster and emergency declarations in 18 states. That included an emergency declaration in Louisiana for flooding related to the Mississippi River, including the opening of the Morganza Floodway. But the president has not sought additional money from Congress to pay for the aid that will be needed by those states. Several U.S. senators, including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), have been urging the president to seek more money for the fund, and [that] The White House should not ignore this matter."
Last Sunday evening, ABC World News carried a piece about the devastation of Tuscaloosa, Ala. As video was shown of absolutely crushed and devastated neighborhoods, the ABC anchor led the story, "This is Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where 7,000 homes were destroyed in a matter of minutes just a month ago by a deadly twister there. President Obama told the people of Tuscaloosa, 'We're going to make sure you're not forgotten,' so, a month later, we've gone back."
The on-site reporter began his story, again with shots of devastated neighborhoods, "There are no children playing in these residential streets. The city looks like it did a month ago." It's reported that many people are still homeless, and close to 100 residents are still staying in the last open shelter, which will be closed next week.
One Tuscaloosa resident who was interviewed, a 69-year-old black woman, Shirley Billingsley, showed her crushed house, and the reporter said that she and her family worry they'll have to sleep outside their broken home; they want the Federal government to bring them trailers or allow them to spend emergency money they received from FEMA on hotels or housing. An outraged Mrs. Billlingsley declared, "Obama came in, and Obama said, 'We gonna help everybody.' That's a lie! Tell him Shirley said it, and she lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama!"
June 2 (EIRNS)Sir Donald Berwick, Obama's unconfirmed head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced on June 1 that, as of July 1, states will not be permitted to pay hospitals and health-care providers for conditions deemed "reasonably preventable." The list of such procedures mirrors that adopted by Medicare earlier this year, and amount to the kind of Nazi-like budget cutting against lives deemed "not worthy of life" which LPAC and LaRouche said Obama's Hitler health bill represented. The measure is mandated by Obamacare.
As elaborated in Berwick's announcement in January of the Medicare provision, Medicare patients, falling into one of three categories of conditions of illnesspneumonia, heart attack, and heart failureare to be deterred from receiving follow-up hospital treatment, for a month after their initial release, and hospitals which persist in giving them subsequent medical treatment will be hit with payment reductions in their Medicare reimbursements for such treatment.
The provision for denying payment also refers to conditions, infections, or illnesses acquired in the hospital, and readmission associated with treating those hospital-acquired conditions.
As expected, since Medicare stopped paying for these treatments, so have private insurers. The policy is clear: the patients should die.
Ibero-American News Digest
June 4 (EIRNS)To the delight of the financial oligarchs of Wall Street and the City of London, representatives of Ibero-American chapters of the genocidal Club of Rome gathered in Buenos Aires on April 14 to map out a continental "action plan" of green fascism"sustainable" [zero] growth, "renewable" [not nuclear] energy, and an eco-fascist dictatorship designed to "punish" nations that don't line up with these killers.
The Buenos Aires gathering emitted the same stink as that of the WBGU, the green fascist outfit run by Germany's Hans Joaquim Schellnhuber. That Argentina was chosen as the site for this meeting is also no accident, given its strong history and tradition of scientific achievement and firm commitment to nuclear energy. One of the leading members of Argentina's Club of Rome chapter, Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti, has already demanded that his country follow Germany's example and abandon nuclear energy.
The Club of Rome clearly has Argentina in its crosshairs. On May 31, Argentine Club members and their hangers-on met in Buenos Aires to officially launch the Expoterra Foundation, dedicated to imposing the Club's Malthusian goals under the guise of "cultural change." Lorenzetti, who spoke at this meeting, warned that Argentines had to choose between "development or environment," adding that opting for development was tantamount to "suicide."
Attending the April 14 meeting were Alberto Peccei, a Club of Rome International executive committee member, and son of its founder, Aurelio Peccei. Alfredo Daverede, president of the Argentine chapter, wrote in an op-ed published April 16 in the daily Clarín that, despite the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth tract having been discredited years ago, the grave environmental crisis the world now faces has caused people to once again "turn toward the forecasts made by The Limits to Growth. At last, the Club of Rome has been proven right," Daverede gushed.
These genocidalists announced that one of the meeting's goals was to create a "Latin American community" within the Club, whose mission would be to "consolidate regional thinking" in line with the Club of Rome's original agenda of zero growth and population reduction. The national chapters delegated to carry out this task are those of Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil, the only three Ibero-American countries possessing nuclear energy and related advanced technology. Using the anti-nuclear hysteria that its allies have generated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Club is committed to taking down nuclear energy in Ibero-America altogether, replacing it with wind, solar, and biofuels.
June 5 (EIRNS)With the rainy season now in full force, the number of new cholera cases continues to climb in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with the death count in the latter country now at 34 and 1,431 infected. The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) NGO has characterized the resurgence of cholera in Haiti, particularly in the capital of Port-au-Prince, as "alarming."
Romain Gitenet, head of MSF's Haiti mission, reported that during just one week since May 29, MSF treated close to 2,000 cholera patients in the capital. According to the British NGO Oxfam, clinics just in the Carrefour section of Port-au-Prince are seeing more than 300 new cases a day, triple the number seen last Fall. Cases are also mounting in several other regions of the country, notably the West and Southeast departments.
Despite a modicum of preparation for the upsurge, Haiti is, in reality, no better prepared to deal with this than it was for last October's outbreak. No sanitation or water infrastructure has been built; the public health system is fragile at best, and living conditions continue to be subhuman. The spread of cholera to the Dominican Republic which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, was a given. Moreover, there are now reports of suspected cholera cases in several countries of Central and South America, as well as in Mexico and in the U.S. state of Florida.
One U.S. public health expert recently noted that the 01 Ogawa strain of cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic "is clearly dangerous, highly infectious, and is a likely pandemic agent." This expert underscored the potential for the spread of this strain "to other Caribbean and Latin American nations this year, if human movements are the key vector of 01 Ogawa's spread."
Last February, at the 2011 International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance in Vienna, Austria, Jessica Malaty, a senior analyst at the Division of Integrated Biodefense at Georgetown University Medical Center, reported on the findings of a just-concluded study which predicts that, given the mobility of the cholera pathogen throughout the Americas, an estimated 200,000 cases could arise in the Caribbean region alone over the 18 months beginning February 2011.
June 6 (EIRNS)An earthquake hit south-central Chile in the early morning of June 5, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale. Some 2,000 people were immediately evacuated from coastal zones as a precaution, although they later returned to their homes. The quake's epicenter was in Maule, 280 km southeast of Santiago. Five regions felt the quake, most strongly near the city of Constitución.
Meanwhile, a sharp gust of solar wind hit Earth's magnetic field at approximately 20:30 GMT on June 4, sparking a G2-class geomagnetic storm. The storm is subsiding now, albeit slowly.
And the 17,886-foot Popocatepetl volcano, overlooking Mexico City, shook for several minutes and then shot a blast of ash about two miles above its crater, while there was a 6.3 level earthquake registered on Macquarie Island, which lies between New Zealand and Antarctica.
In Chile, there is great concern over the relationship between the June 5 quake and the June 4 eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano complex, and what this might portend for the future. The eruption coincided with several small earthquakes which at one point numbered an average of 230 an hour, 12 of which had a magnitude of more than 4.0. The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle last erupted on May 24, 1960, 38 hours after a massive 9.5-magnitude earthquake struck the city of Valdivia.
Following the June 4 eruption, the government ordered the evacuation of 3,500 people living in the Los Rios and Los Lagos regions in the vicinity of the volcano in southeastern Chile. Today, local authorities ordered more evacuations, citing the danger of avalanches from the continuous flow of sediment moving down from the volcano. Plumes from the volcanic eruption extended six miles into the air, and volcanic ash continues to rain down on several cities and provinces in Argentina's Patagonia region, prompting authorities in that country to declare a state of emergency.
The Chilean Navy's oceanographic service, SHOA, ruled out any possibility of a tsunami, as a result of yesterday's quake. The head of the Chilean Seismological Service described this morning's quake as a "delayed and sporadic aftershock" of the February 2010 quake, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale.
June 2 (EIRNS)While Nerobama is busy shutting down space satellites capable of monitoring and warning of dangerous weather events, on June 9, NASA will launch Argentina's fourth and most important satellite, the SAC-D Aquarius, from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. The SAC-D will play a vital role in helping to identify and issue early warnings for earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. The satellite is named for the instrument supplied by NASA which it will carry. Its mission will be to create a monthly world map of oceans' salinity, which is important to determine ocean density, which is the motor of temperature.
Conrado Varotto, executive director of the National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE), says he is "convinced that space technology will allow us to issue early warnings of natural events such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions." Compared to the past, when the goal of a space mission was defined by the minds of scientists, Varroto said that today's "missions arise from the needs presented by users."
According to a June 1 press release issued by the Argentine Foreign Ministry, the satellite will also measure the effect of cosmic radiation on electronic components, using the Carmen, an instrument provided by France's space agency CNES, and will use the Rose, provided by Italy's space agency ASI, to produce profiles of atmospheric temperature.
The remaining five devices to be used are Argentine-built, and will "monitor marine ice that is a risk to navigation, and provide information to help in understanding such events as the El Niño and La Niña [currents], which affect cycles of rain and drought...." Measurement of rainfall, soil temperature, and the balance between energy and water will be very important for agronomists, the Foreign Ministry explained, and data from the SAC-D collected by CONAE will be available free of charge to anyone who requests it.
Although CONAE won NASA's bid to build the SAC-D, this is truly a multinational project. Aside from the agencies mentioned above, the Brazilian and Canadian space agencies also participated.
Western European News Digest
June 3 (EIRNS)The outbreak two weeks ago of a new, highly aggressive E. coli epidemic in the northern German region of Hamburg and surroundings, and the difficulties encountered in attempting to get it under control, drive home the point made by the LaRouche movement: the takedown of crucial scientific and medical infrastructure, of crucial monitoring and precautionary facilities, is threatening to leave mankind defenseless against natural catastrophes like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and droughts, as well as against life-threatening diseases.
The collapse of medical services under cost-cutting and privatization policies has, even in Germany (which is not a Third World country, after all), created a situation in which the country's entire capacity for dialysis treatment is already fully utilized by the 500 most acute cases of the more than 2,000 enterohemorraghic E. coli (EHEC) infections, most of them in Hamburg. A few more cases like these, and triage will be imposed, most likely against the older patients first.
Reseachers are not even clear what caused the outbreak of this epidemic, which within two weeks has already killed 18 people.
June 1 (EIRNS)Ferment from the Indignados demonstrations organized by the Democracia Real Ya/May 15 movement (DRY/M15) in Spain, is spreading to France, where there have been daily demonstrations in Paris, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, and some 20 cities altogether, for the past 10 days. General assemblies are held every day with 100-200 mostly young people, and with larger crowds on Sundays.
The demonstrations are clearly organized by Spanish youth, either living or studying in France. The movement is calling on citizens all over Europe to rise up against the present financial order in their countries. The original Real Democracy Now leaflet being distributed, attacks the bailout policies through which the governments are trying to save the banks, by imposing crushing austerity. It ends by calling for a "Constituent Assembly" here, and refers to "government by the people and for the people," which is in the Preamble to France's 1958 Constitution.
While there is no programmatic perspective as such, it is not anarchist. The demonstrations have grown up outside of any formal political organization, and the movement is self-proclaimed to be "nonpartisan."
May 30 (EIRNS)The lead editorial of Sweden's leading daily Dagens Nyheter, May 29, blasts ecologism's "Exaggerated Doom," and, indirectly, German government advisor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, KBE (who had a secret meeting to get a consensus for genocide among Nobel Laureates at the Royal Academy of Sciences just ten days earlier).
The editorial starts off: "Growth is not the main threat to mankind. To the contrary, growth is necessary to save the world from the greatest threatpoverty." The editorial quotes from Indira Gandhi's speech at the 1972 Stockholm UN Environment Conference, "Are not poverty and misery the greatest polluters?" and then continues, "Yes, say the authors of the book The Sustainability Mythos 39 years later and, encouragingly enough, there are more and more with them"although avoiding any mention of the LaRouche Movement.
June 1 (EIRNS)In the second round of local elections in Italy on May 30, Italy's scandal-ridden Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his government coalition were handed a serious defeat, which will have repercussions at the national level. Especially in Naples and Milan, where Berlusconi personally had led the election campaign, his candidates lost with a large margin against the opposition. Thus, Berlusconi has ultimately joined the ranks of all government leaders in Europe who are being punished by voters for having betrayed the population in favor of the banksters.
Movisol chairwoman Liliana Gorini has issued a statement, "The Mass Strike in Italy," stating that Italian voters have punished Berlusconi because he has violated natural law, and has called on the next government to reject the EU and ECB dictates.
June 2 (EIRNS)Has the British Queen's fears of losing her Scottish crown led her to order more troops to Scotland to crush any moves towards independence? As The Scotsman reports, "The U.K. government plans to double the size of the Army in Scotland to try to prevent military cuts being used by the SNP [Scottish National Party] to boost the case for independence." Three thousand of the 18,000 British troops to be withdrawn from Germany will be transferred to Scotland to double British army troop strength from 3,000 to 6,000. They will apparently have less air support, because the government will close down two air bases in Scotland as part of cutting the defense budget.
Former SAS commander Clive Fairweather is quoted saying that while the government wants to deploy the troops to prevent independence, the SNP could veto the move. The army in fact is not so sure that Scottish independence can be avoided, and therefore is "extremely reluctant to locate there on the basis that Scotland could become a foreign country."
June 1 (EIRNS)The Italian Supreme Court of Justice (Corte di Cassazione) has boosted the anti-nuclear faction by approving the referendum to be held on June 12. Italy already abandoned nuclear power years ago, after a referendum in 1986, but Prime Minister Berlusconi has proposed resumption of building nuclear plants by 2014. The referendum, if it gets enough support, could permanently (in effect) end nuclear energy in Italy. In order to avoid the referendum, the government issued a law suspending the potential nuclear program, but the court ruled that the referendum will be valid, the suspension notwithstanding.
The referendum has been promoted by Antonio Di Pietro's IDV (Italy of Values) party.
Indicative of the psychotic state of the population, a regional referendum in Sardinia on nuclear power two weeks ago saw over 90% of the population vote "No."
June 3 (EIRNS)Russia blocked vegetable imports from Spain and Germany in response to the deadly E. coli outbreak centered in Hamburg. Then, when the German government reversed its initial finding that organic Spanish cucumbers had caused the infection, Russia blocked vegetable imports from the entire European Union (EU).
The EU protested, and Fernando Valenzuela, its representative in Moscow, said that Russia should reverse the ban to comply with the "spirit" of WTO rulesthis, even though Russia's application for WTO membership has not yet been accepted.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin responded to the accusation that Russia was violating the spirit of the WTO, by saying on state television, "I openly admit I don't know what spirit [the ban] is contradicting. But when people are dying from eating cucumbers, there is something really fishy going on. People really are dying because of eating these products, and we cannot let our people get poisoned for the sake of some kind of spirit."
June 3 (EIRNS)Viktor Ivanov, the chief of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, lambasted the report issued on June 2 by the George Shultz-Paul Volcker Global Commission on Drug Policy, calling it "a propaganda campaign promoting the use of narcotics." Ivanov said that Russia had gone through the "sad experience" of legalizing drugs containing codeine for its pain-killing, anti-diarrheal, and cough suppressant properties. As a result, the use of codeine, which he said "has essentially the same properties as heroin," has increased exponentially. In November, codeine will again be reclassified as a prescription drug.
Ivanov also said that the legalization propaganda was being financed with drug money. "This propaganda campaign is linked to the huge profits [from sales of illicit drugs] that are estimated at about $800 billion annually," he said. "We have to realize that we are dealing with a global propaganda of illicit drugs here," Ivanov said.
June 2 (EIRNS)In a statement on the Rossiya 24 TV channel today, Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian Ambassador to NATO, accused the alliance of having turned the "limited" operation in Libya approved by the UN Security Council, into "a ground operation." Rogozin also noted that "several members of the Western coalition fell outside the limits of UN Security Council's resolution long ago."
Rogozin's statement provides de facto back-up to the charges being raised within the U.S. Congress by Republicans and Democrats, who are charging that President Obama has joined a war in Libya, without the required Constitutional approval. The Administration's excuse, that it's not really a war, is clearly a piece of sophistry which the Russians also don't believe.
June 2 (EIRNS)In a radio interview with Voice of Russia yesterday, Sergei Novakov of Rosatom said: "It is very hard to replace the share of nuclear energy by green sources, because in several countries, such as in Belgium, for example, more than 50% of all the electricity generated in the country is of nuclear origin. So, to replace 56% in Belgium by green sources is an extremely ambitious purpose which cannot be reached in the mid-term, let us say. So it is clear that for, for example, householders, wind and solar power plants could provide electricity, but for industrial customers it is impossible, because, for example, for metal plants, where you have to be provided with electricity all the time, day and night, it is impossible to use wind or solar farms. So we got already some statements of industrial officials from Germany such as Daimler, for example, that said that it would decrease competitiveness of the German industry.
"And one more thing: I think we should see what will be the situation in the next 10 years, because it is clear that it is not just a German issue, the European energy balance. For example, Miss Nobuo Tanaka, who is head of the International Energy Agency, said exactly the same thing: Germany cannot decide itself, because otherwise this country will depend on energy supply from other countries, such as France, for example, where they will get the energy exactly from nuclear power stations, and they will share the hypothetical risks of emergency case, but they will pay for these supplies twice or even more."
June 4 (EIRNS)A recent article in Ha'aretz by Amir Oren warned that "between the end of June and Gates' retirement, and the end of September and Mullen's retirement, the danger that Netanyahu and [Ehud] Barak will aim at a surprise in Iran is especially great, especially since this would divert attention from the Palestinian issue." This warning of an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities at Natanz and other locations has been buttressed by senior U.S. military and intelligence sources, who have warned, in the past 24 hours, that U.S. military forces have been conducting big contingency planning drills over the past several weeks, for a U.S. intervention, following Israeli strikes on targets in Iran. These sources say that a target date for such a joint Israel-U.S. attack on Iran would be July and August of this year.
A number of other recent developments further fill out this picture of a potential Armageddon provocation by Netanyahu, Barak, and Obama.
First, on June 3, Britain's Guardian reported on an interview with recently retired Mossad head Meir Dagan, who attacked Netanyahu and Barak as "irresponsible and reckless." Ha'aretz columnist Avi Shavit explained: "Dagan is extremely concerned about September 2011. He is not afraid that tens of thousands of demonstrators may overrun the settlements. He is afraid that Israel's subsequent isolation will push its leaders to the wall and cause them to take reckless action against Iran."
Dagan told reporters that when he was head of Mossad, he and Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin and Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi could collectively veto any reckless behavior by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak, but they have all been replaced by weaker figures who would not buck attack orders from the Prime Minister. "I decided to speak because when I was in office, Diskin, Ashkenazi and I could block any dangerous adventure. Now I am afraid that there is no one to stop Bibi and Barak."
Second, the Obama White House launched a panicked, clumsy preemptive attack over the past week against New Yorker magazine writer Seymour Hersh, to spike his June 6 article, "Iran and the Bomb," which provided previously unpublished details of a 2011 updated National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear weapons program. The new NIE, updating the December 2007 NIE, concluded that there was still no compelling evidence that Iran had resumed its quest for nuclear weapons, which had been frozen in late 2003, following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
As Hersh documented, the 2011 NIE was delayed for more than four months, due to political pressures on the intelligence analysts to reverse the earlier findings. But the intelligence community experts, with backing from such senior officials as DIA Director Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, stood behind the analysts, and refused to bend to political pressures. DIA, in particular, assessed that the Iran nuclear weapons effort had been principally directed against Iraqnot Israel, and that the March 2003 invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein had taken the Iraq threat off the table, and Iran had shelved the nuclear weapons effort. Hersh quoted former DIA humint director Col. Patrick Lang that the intelligence community had "refused to drink the Kool Aid this time."
A senior U.S. intelligence official, after initially dismissing the imminent threat of an Israeli military strike on Iran, made a compelling case for why Israel might launch such an attack in the near term. If Israel concluded that the recent computer virus, which greatly disrupted the work at the Natanz facility, had been countered, and a new generation of centrifuges had been successfully installed, Iran could be 12-18 months away from a nuclear weapons breakout. That alone would suppress any Israeli institutional resistance to an attack on Iran.
The source added that U.S. intelligence believes that Israel's military capabilities have been seriously diminished, and that an Israeli attack on Natanz and other facilities would most likely do only minimum damage. Therefore, the U.S. would have only two options in the event of such an Israel attack: Sit it out and make it clear that the attack was not sanctioned by Washington, or launch U.S. military operations to "finish the job."
Contingency plans for the latter option are definitely in place, the source explained, and it would thus be up to President Obama to make the call. While there is no love lost between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama's decisions are all calibrated to ensure his 2012 reelection, and he would be very reluctant to buck the Israeli Lobby and leave Israel to fend for itself.
June 2 (EIRNS)On June 1, the Bahraini government lifted the emergency law it had imposed on the country in March. It had been announced in advance by the February 14 youth coalition that they will be back demonstrating, demanding that the regime leave, and that some political reforms be implemented, including reversing two death sentences. Many injuries have been reported in various rallies around the country, with the police crackdown reportedly violent. The protests were concentrated in Bani Jamra, Krzakan Aldraz, and Al-Sanabis; also the island of Sitra has witnessed heavy confrontation.
For the last three months, Bahrain has been under Saudi occupation. Among the atrocities that the Saudi-backed Bahraini regime has committed were the destruction of many mosques and religious centers, and detention of up to 1,000 people, one-quarter of whom are under 25 years of age. And further, according to the Herald Sun and sundry other sources, men in jail have been abused and raped, as well as severely tortured.
The leaders of the main Shi'a party, Al-Wefaq, Ali Salman and Khalil Al-Marzouq, former Deputy Speaker of the representative council, along with a leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, were summoned by the government for several hours and later released. This comes at a time when the Crown Prince is supposedly leading mediation between the leading Shi'a parties and the government.
On the other hand, the atrocities that Bahrain has suffered come with the direct British involvement: Agence France Presse wrote on May 29 that "Defense Minister Nick Harvey told Parliament last week that some members of the Saudi force deployed in Bahrain may have undergone some British training." The Defense Ministry claimed that British involvement in training foreign forces was intended to engender a culture of respect for human rights.
June 2 (EIRNS)Former Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan issued a warning that Israel would not withstand a regional conflict ignited by an Israeli strike of Iran's nuclear facilities. According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Dagan said that Israel did not have the capability to stop Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Earlier in April, Dagan called the possibility of a future Israeli Air Force attack on Iranian nuclear facilities "the stupidest thing I have ever heard."
Speaking to a conference in Tel Aviv yesterday, Dagan said Israel doesn't "have the capability to stop the Iranian nuclear program, only to delay it. If anyone seriously considers [a strike], he needs to understand that he's dragging Israel into a regional war that it would not know how to get out of. The security challenge would become unbearable."
Dagan added, the "military option is the last alternative, not preferred or possible, but a last resort. Every other alternative must be weighed before the use of force."
Referring to those who criticized him for speaking out on these matters soon after his retirement, Dagan said: "I feel obligated to express my opinion on certain matters. The prime minister and defense minister are the ones in charge, but sometimes good sense and a good decision don't have anything to do with being elected."
Dagan's comments follow another warning issued the day before by Ha'aretz correspondent Amir Oren, who wrote that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak might take advantage of the fact that the Obama Administration security team is in transition with new Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Central Intelligence Agency director, to launch a strike against Iran. "The conclusion is that between the end of June and [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates' retirement, and the end of September and [Chairman of the Joints Chiefs Adm. Michael] Mullen's retirement, the danger that Netanyahu and Barak will aim at a surprise in Iran is especially great, especially since this would divert attention from the Palestinian issue."
June 4 (EIRNS)Over 700 metric tons of primarily tilapia and whitefish have died mysteriously in Lake Taal, the huge lake surrounding the Taal Volcano in southern Luzon, the main northern island of the Philippines. Other fish have died in smaller numbers in Lake Taal, while fish kills in other parts of Luzon have also been reported.
There has been a dramatic increase in small to medium size earthquakes in the area of three different volcanos in the Philippines over the past months, which has drawn serious attention from seismologists in a country which has experienced severe volcanic eruptions in recent timesnotably the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 which killed 800 and destroyed numerous towns, as well as the U.S. Clark Airbase. The Pinatubo eruption was preceded by a 7.8 earthquake the previous year about 100 km away.
While the cause of the fishkills has not been determined, one possibility is an increase in the sulfur or other gases in the water coming from the seismic activity from the volcanos.
May 29 (EIRNS)Myanmar's new President, Thein Sein, completed a three-day trip to Beijing, China, sealing a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries after meetings with top officials, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
A supplemental agreement to an MOU between the Myanmar Union Ministry of Rail Transportation and the China Railways Engineering Corporation completes the deal for China's assistance in developing a railroad from the Yunnan, China, border to a western Myanmar port city.
Myanmar and China also signed nine accords, including one for a $765 million loan and a hydroelectric project. China accounts for almost half of all investment funds that have gone into Myanmar since 1988.
June 4 (EIRNS)Various reports over the recent period have stressed how China is seriously entering the commercial biological world market. The success of Beijing Genomics Institute (whose main lab is actually in Shenzhen City near Hong Kong) in sequencing the DNA sequence of the E. coli bacteria that is responsible for the outbreak of enterohemorraghic E. coli. (ENEC), which has caused serious disease and deaths in Europe, confirm this.
On June 2, the BGI announced that the E. coli spreading through Europe was "a new strain of bacteria that is highly infectious and toxic." The researchers managed to fully sequence its genome in three daysbecoming the first in the world to do so, and post its full sequence on the Internet.
They also identified genes in the bacteria that gave it resistance to at least three major classes of antibiotics, which helped explain why doctors in Europe have had such a hard time fighting the bug. "We have done further analysis and see even more antibiotic-resistant and toxic genes. Our work is still ongoing," said team member Qin Junjie.
The institute later found genes in the bacteria that gave it resistance to eight classes of antibiotics. The newly identified 0104 strain of E. coli bacteria is resistant to major classes of antibiotics including sulfonamide, cephalothin, penicillin, and streptomycin. The researchers are developing a diagnostic kit to detect the bacteria and prevent the epidemic from spreading further.
BGI has more than 180 sequencing machines, giving it the biggest DNA sequencing capacity in the world, and a total workforce of over 4,000.
May 26 (EIRNS)The Chinese government is planning to train 2,000 skilled experts to carry out research and development in magnetic confinement fusion (MCF), according to China Daily. While China has its own fusion experiment based at Hefei University in Anhui province, it is also a participant in the international ITER program based in France. The Chinese government feels that it is not getting enough out of its participation in ITER, however, and is intent on increasing its role there.
The ITER is related to 34 core scientific engineering technologies and management subjects. Wan Yuanxi, dean of the school of nuclear science and technology at the University of Science and Technology of China, tells China Daily, "Chinese researchers only work on 11 of them, which means we have no involvement in more than 60% of its core scientific engineering technologies and management subjects."
"We urgently need to build a system for training researchers in both universities and institutes nationwide," said Cao Jianlin, Vice Minister of Science and Technology. "China is trying to dispatch more qualified scientists to work on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in France." A total of 1,254 researchers have been involved with magnetic confinement fusion projects in China," he said.
June 6 (EIRNS)Pro-nuclear incumbent governor of Aomori prefecture in Japan, Shingo Mimura, easily won reelection yesterday with 75% of the vote against two opportunist nobodies who ran on anti-nuclear platforms.
Mimura, an independent backed by the Liberal Democratic Party, pledged to set up a committee to review the safety of nuclear plants in Aomori Prefecture in the wake of the nuclear power plant crisis in Fukushima Prefecture, but remained completely committed to nuclear power.
Aomori is an excellent test case for the actual status of nuclear power with the population. While not among the worst damaged, it is in the March 11 quake zone. It currently has one nuclear reactor in Higashidori and also has the nation's only nuclear-reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. It was set to be the site of four of 14 new reactors Japan planned to build by 2030, before cowardly Prime Minister Naoto Kan put a kibosh on further nuclear plans, at least temporarily.
June 5 (EIRNS)British and French forces, operating under NATO cover, pounded Tripoli today, the day after British Foreign Secretary William Hague went to Benghazi to talk to rebel leaders. Hague admitted today on BBC television that the NATO operation was "intensifying."
This new phase of the anti-Qaddafi operation following Hague's visit has alarmed the Russians, who wanted to work out a negotiated settlement. The escalation has been termed "deplorable" by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: "We consider that what is going on is either consciously or unconsciously sliding towards a land operation. That would be very deplorable." Lavrov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency, as he referred to the French and British decision to deploy military helicopters.
Today his concern was reiterated by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who indicated that NATO's use of helicopters was not an acceptable way to impose the no-fly zone that the UN resolution had approved. NATO is "using attack helicopters on land targets, which is in my view the last but one step before the land operation," Ivanov told a military forum in Singapore.
Britain and France's deployment of attack helicopters against Qaddafi's forces for the first time, was a slap in the face to Russia, which wants a negotiated settlement.
The British are making it clear to any political forces interested in a negotiated settlement that they are the ones who are calling the shots, by giving details today about their role in today's escalated attacks on Tripoli:
"At sea, HMS Ocean launched her British Army Apaches against a multiple rocket launch system positioned on the Libyan coast near Brega," a statement by Chief of Defence Staff spokesman Maj. Gen. Nick Pope said. "The attack helicopters used Hellfire missiles to destroy their target before returning safely to the ship." He added that British Tornado strike warplanes separately joined other NATO aircraft in a "major strike" on Tripoli.
Rubbing it into the face of anyone trying for a negotiated settlement, Hague said today: "This is not mission creep, changing the nature of the mission; this is intensifying what we are doing in order to make this mission a success."
June 6 (EIRNS)Mikhail Margelov, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's special envoy to Africa, was to arrive in Libya today. He said June 3 that he would go to Benghazi to meet with the NATO-backed rebels. He also said: "I do not rule out that I may have to go to Tripoli, too, if I get the corresponding order from the president," according to the Russian news agency, Interfax. Margelov said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in contact with Tripoli, which is held by Qaddafi's forces.
Before he left Moscow, Margelov stated explicitly that the purpose of his trip was to find a negotiated settlement: "My trip is an attempt to help the Libyan elite find a national consensus." Russia, he noted, "has a unique opportunity to become a bridge between those parts of the Libyan political elite which see the future of their country as one united state."
Any solution must "be acceptable to all Libyans," Lavrov said in an interview the same day, in comments similar to those made by South African President Jacob Zuma after he returned from a trip to Tripoli which was backed by the African Union.
The Margelov trip was announced June 3, the day before British Foreign Minister William Hague visited rebels in Benghazi (see above).
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