EIR Online
Online Almanac
From Volume 38, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published September 16, 2011

return to home page

Beyond Your Current Sense-Perceptions:
What & Where Is Your Mind?
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

September 1, 2011— Mankind, as I have emphasized repeatedly over years, is, essentially, an immortal species, that by its intended design. That is the innate potential of our species. The problem to be faced by humanity now, as during the millions of years of our species' existence up through the present moment, is the challenge to mankind itself, akin to that challenge which Benjamin Franklin presented to the republic which had just won its freedom through the defeat of the British imperial tyrant: ``Can you keep it?'' ``Can humanity keep what had been its potential immortality as a species up to and beyond the presently onrushing, planetary, breakdown-crisis?''
Foreword: Evolution as Man's Revolutions
It was with a similar dedication and spirit, the U.S. Ambassador to France had forewarned France's Marquis de Lafayette, at a time when Lafayette's France was already careening into the brink of what became that great cultural disaster called ``The French Revolution.'' Lafayette did not heed the warning; I shall hope that my contemporaries will have proven themselves able to have done better in their own time.
So, now, the successful fostering of a new state of mankind's global and more advanced and distant affairs, has depended upon the timely intervention of a new quality of organization in mankind's affairs, as when the founding of the original United States of America had represented a qualitative revolution in the affairs of society...

Separate In-Depth articles from
Executive Intelligence Review
Vol. 38, No. 36

(Suitable for emailing, printing and other organizing purposes.)
...Requires Adobe Reader®.

This Week's Cover




  • Attack on Social Security at Center of Obama 'Jobs' Plan
    Over half of President Obama's 'American Jobs Act' is an outright attack on President Franklin Roosevelt's signature program, Social Security— which is to be carried out under the guise of 'tax cuts' in both employee and employer payroll taxes.
  • Book Review:
    9/11 Secrets Partially Revealed

    The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden
    provides a commendable, albeit incomplete account of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, including one of the most detailed accounts of the top-down Saudi involvement in the events leading up to 9/11.


  • Vanishing Sunspots:
    A Window Into the Creative Universe

    LPAC-TV's Peter Martinson presents the June 2011 announcement by the American Astronomical Society, about the future of our Sun, within the context of a creative universe. The Sun is not random, and neither is our planet's relationship to it.

This Week's News

U.S. Economic/Financial News

JP Morgan Chase Given Control Over Kentucky's Cash

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—Predator bank JP Morgan Chase, which is British by pedigree, if not ownership, is now running the finances of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The shift went into effect July 1, whereby JPM now "receives all deposits, writes all checks, and makes all wire transfers on the $12-15 billion" that Kentucky receives during the course of a year, according to investigative reporter Danny Mayer of North of Center free paper. For controlling the flow, JP Morgan receives $1.3 million in fees, and the ability to re-lend idle state funds for its own gain!

Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop! Not only is JP Morgan one of the world's biggest derivatives swindlers (and therefore, actually bankrupt many times over), but it has been caught swindling municipalities around the world—including in Kentucky! But, Morgan Chase has bought its way out of these potential prosecutions, and continues to reap the benefits.

San Diego Power Outage Reflects Dominance of Green Policy

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—The electricity outage that affected 1.4 million customers on the afternoon of Sept. 8, from San Diego to points East and South, began during an apparently botched repair to a substation in Yuma, Arizona. It then spread to a 500-kilovolt transmission line that brings power into southern California, and also affected customers in Mexico's state of Baja California. Federal and state regulators, and the utilities and North American Electric Reliability Council, will be investigating the causes.

The fragile state of the electric grid, and the insanity of greenie politics in California contributed to the extent of the blackout. California imports a significant portion of its electricity from out of state, because it has prohibited the construction of new nuclear plants, most fossil fuel plants, and instead has an insane policy of building solar and other "renewables." No state should have to import power, on a regular basis, from hundreds, or thousands, of miles away. And intermittent and unreliable sources weaken the reliability of a highly complex and interdependent system.

Bankrupt States Becoming Ungovernable; We Need a President!

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—With most of the 50 states bankrupt and falling into worse conditions by the day, Rhode Island is now considering cutting pension benefits to existing recipients, not just new ones. Bills currently in the legislature are proposing a combination of reducing retirement payments; replacing part of the guaranteed pensions with 401(k)-type accounts; and sharply reducing what it calls "generous" cost-of-living increases. The legislation would affect "51,000 public workers and retirees," according to the Sept. 6 Washington Post.

"If it isn't illegal, it certainly wouldn't sit right morally," said J. Michael Downey, a plumber and president of Rhode Island Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents 8,000 state and local government workers. "They are going to fix this for Rhode Island on the backs of people who have worked their entire lives."

The states of Virginia and Maryland have attacked their pension problems by cutting benefits for new hires while preserving retirement packages for current employees. Last year, South Dakota, Colorado, and Minnesota moved to reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees in their public pension systems. Similarly, New Jersey and Maine this year cut cost-of-living increases in their plans.

In Illinois, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has planned to issue mass layoff notices this week, on the grounds that the state will otherwise run out of money completely by next Spring. Quinn is reportedly set to announce the closing of several state facilities, including a prison, a juvenile detention center, and homes for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Despite the fact that this puts him in violation of an agreement with the state chapter of the AFSCME union, and may end him up in court, the governor is arguing that he has no choice.

Regional Fed Presidents Oppose Bernanke's QE3 Insanity

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke is preparing for his "extended" two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Sept. 20-21, where he intends to break the arms of recalcitrant regional Fed presidents to get the helicopters flying over Wall Street and London with QE3 money. But several opponents within the Fed are campaigning to stop him. Minneapolis Fed president Narayana Kocherlakota, one of several Fed chiefs who publicly opposed Bernanke's pledge to keep interest rates near zero through mid-2013, told a Minneapolis audience on Sept. 6, that "The data in August did not justify the additional accommodation provided by the central bank on Aug. 9.

Unfortunately, the FOMC's two-year conditional commitment will be nearly impossible to undo in the near term." He said he would oppose further financial easing, warning of inflation: "I assess FOMC actions in light of the incoming data and the Committee's communicated objective of keeping inflation at 2% or a bit under."

At the same time, Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker told a Financial Times reporter that "more monetary stimulus at this time would likely show up almost entirely in higher inflation with very little constructive influence on growth."

Lacker also opposed Bernanke's pledge to keep rates near zero, as did Charles Plosser of the Philadelphia Fed and Richard Fisher of the Dallas Fed. The dissension within the Fed mirrors the total lack of agreement in Europe on what to do about the crash.

Global Economic News

Geithner Calls on Europeans To Rev Up the Printing Presses

Sept. 10 (EIRNS)—The Obama Administration told the Europeans to hit the printing presses to save the bankrupt monetary system during the G7 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Marseille on Sept. 9. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned European leaders that they had "a lot more to do" to "demonstrate to the world they have the political will" to protect Eurozone members. He even claimed that Europe's debt crisis was a "significant cause" of the slowdown in the U.S. economy, and urged Europe's leaders open the taps all the way, to a create a "very, very powerful, unequivocal financial force.... It is completely within the capacity of the stronger members of the euro area to absorb those costs. Those costs would be much, much greater for their economies if they were to sit here and do nothing."

Pipeline Development 'Will Help Bring Peace' to the Koreas

Sept. 4 (EIRNS)—Discussion in Seoul over the Russia-to-South Korea gas pipeline through North Korea could lead to an inter-Korean summit and tripartite dialogue among the leaders of the Koreas and Russia. Hong Joon-pyo, chairman of South Korea's ruling Grand National Party, spoke of the project on Sept. 2, saying, "The President [Lee Myung-bak] is making a lot of efforts to improve inter-Korean relations."

Referring to the expression "wag the dog," Hong said, "Through the wag, which is the gas pipeline project, we can solve the problem of the dog, which includes the North Korean nuclear issue, the Cheonan (naval) vessel and Yeonpyong Island."

Former party chief Park Geun-hye, daughter of Park Chung-hee, nationalist President of South Korea from 1963 to 1979, and likely to replace President Lee, said Sept. 1, "Once the gas pipeline is laid, it cannot be easily severed. It will help bring peace to the Korean Peninsula."

Ceiling on Swiss Franc Is First in More Than Three Decades

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—The Swiss Central Bank pledged, on Sept. 6, to defend the Swiss franc "with the utmost determination" against the flood of euros from those trying to escape the chaos in the eurozone. It is not imposing currency controls, but will "buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities." From where the "unlimited quantities" shall appear is not addressed.

An e-mail from the Central Bank told reporters that it "will no longer tolerate a euro-franc exchange rate below the minimum rate of 1.20 francs and is prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities."

The franc plunged after the announcement. This is the first use of this measure since 1978, when the Bank used it to stem gains versus the deutschemark. Before today's move, the currency had surged more than 13% against the euro this year. It reached a record of 1.0075 against the euro on Aug. 9, trading close to parity.

In the U.S., the 10-year Treasury note fell to an all-time low, for the same reason—panicked investors trying to find an safe island in the storm.

United States News Digest

Federal Disaster Relief Fund Falls Below $500 Million

Sept. 10 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, the Obama Administration finally put in a formal request for more money for FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), after 18 months of neglect during which the nation was hit with more snow and ice, flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires than has been seen by anyone in living memory. The request is for a paltry $500 million for the remainder of FY2011, which ends Sept. 30, and another $4.6 billion for FY2012, on top of the $1.8 billion that the Administration asked for last February. Given the intensity of extreme weather events just this year, that amount of money won't even begin to address this year's needs, much less that backlog of unfinished disaster recovery projects stretching back to 2005.

As a result of the Administration's malign neglect, the DRF fell to a balance of $484 million, as of Sept. 9, with more than $200 million worth of projects put on hold as a result of the low balance.

It's still an open question as to how the DRF money will move through the Congress, however. The Senate Appropriations Committee, last week, passed a FY2012 Homeland Security appropriations bill that includes $6 billion for the DRF; and on Sept. 7, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to pass a stand-alone emergency supplemental appropriation. Last July, the House Appropriations Committee passed its bill with an extra $1 billion for the DRF for FY2011, which was taken from other parts of the budget.

A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Politico yesterday that the $500 million that the administration asked for FY2011 will still have to be offset. It now appears likely that neither the Senate nor the House bill will be passed before the end of the fiscal year, and so Cantor signaled earlier this week that a continuing resolution will be brought to the floor to keep the government operating after Oct. 1.

FBI Raids Obama Crony "Green Energy" Firm

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—"The future is here," declared President Obama in a May 2010 visit to the Solyndra solar-panel factory in Silicon Valley. But now, Obama's future may be linked to that of Solyndra, in the wake of a Sept. 8 FBI raid on Solyndra's offices, and also on the homes of three top Solyndra executives.

Solyndra, once touted by Obama as a model for his Administration's drive for "clean energy" investments, collapsed in bankruptcy last week, and is now reportedly under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Energy in connection with its obtaining of $535 million in federal loan guarantees. Additionally, a Congressional committee is investigating whether the White House improperly interfered with the Solyndra deal, according to the Wall Street Journal and other news sources.

Oklahoma oilman George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser and "bundler," was a leading backer of the company, and was also a frequent visitor to the Obama White House.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is looking at the White House role in approving the DOE loan guarantee; committee Republicans say they've found evidence that White House officials were monitoring Solyndra's status in the loan application process. The committee will hold a hearing on Solyndra Sept. 14.

In 2009, DOE put Solyndra's application on a fast track for approval, and announced the award with great fanfare. The generous terms of the government loan included the lowest interest of all the green projects benefitting from Energy Department help. As part of the deal, the DOE agreed that if the company went bust, private investors could recoup their losses before the government.

"The FBI raid further underscores that Solyndra was a bad bet from the beginning and put taxpayers at unnecessary risk," said Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), leaders of the House Energy Committee. "President Obama's signature green jobs program went from a darling of the administration, to bankruptcy, to now the subject of an FBI raid, in a matter of days."

Energy Committee Democrats also have some questions. "Less than two months ago, Mr. [Brian] Harrison [Solyndra's CEO] met with us and other Committee members to assure us that Solyndra was in a strong financial position and in no danger of failing," Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote to the Republicans leading the investigation. "These assurances appear to contrast starkly with his company's decision to file for bankruptcy last week." Previously, DeGette and Waxman had voted against subpoenas to the White House budget office for records on the loan, but now, they are pressing to question Harrison, who has been called to testify next week.

The U.S. Postal Service Goes "Hollywood"

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Postal Service, which faces bankruptcy and mass layoffs, seems to be worried that its stressed-out workers may "go postal." A new video about work-place violence is making the rounds to every postal facility across the country. An armed Postal Inspector personally shows the video and then discusses it with the workers.

The point of the video is that with the economy tanking, and their jobs on the line, postal workers, who may already have a spouse or other family member who has recently lost a job, may go over the edge.

However, instead of relieving the economic stress, by fighting for a real solution, i.e., Glass-Steagall, the Post Service urges employees to spy on their fellow workers! The union solution is different: they have called demonstrations in front of Congressional district offices for Sept. 27, in favor of a bill that would let the USPS stay afloat by using money currently earmarked for pension funds.

ACLU: Obama Has Changed Virtually Nothing

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a report surveying the severe erosion of civil liberties under both Bush and now under Obama entitled: A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11. Here are some of the ACLU's most pointed assessments of what President Obama has done with regard to these matters:

"Ten years ago, we could not have imagined our country would engage in systematic policies of torture and targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretaps, military commissions and indefinite detention, political surveillance and religious discrimination. Not only were these policies completely at odds with our values, but by engaging in them, we strained relations with our allies, handed a propaganda tool to our enemies, undermined the trust of communities whose cooperation is essential in the fight against terrorism, and diverted scarce law enforcement resources. Some of these policies have been stopped. Torture and extraordinary rendition are no longer officially condoned. But most other policies—indefinite detention, targeted killing, trial by military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and racial profiling—remain core elements of our national security strategy today."

Americans Tell Pollsters: They Don't Want Obama

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—Two new polls agree on one thing: The public is ready for Obama to be dumped. Last week, Obama set a new low mark for popularity, as a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal showed that 51% of Americans disapproved of the way Obama is doing his job, while only 45% said they approved. Today, an ABC/Washington Post poll showed Obama's approval had fallen yet again, with 53% now saying they disapproved of Nero's job performance while only 43% approved of it. A mere 19% believe the country is "headed in the right direction," the lowest number ever under Obama.

Bad as they are, his numbers are eclipsed by those of Congress. The NBC poll found that a whopping 82% of Americans said they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, again the highest dissatisfaction number ever recorded. Just 13% approve of Congress's job performance, nearly matching the lows lawmakers encountered in the fall of 2008, at the end of the Bush Administration, and just after the collapse of the U.S. financial sector. More specifically, Republicans in Congress face their lowest approval numbers since Fall of 2008, when Democrats won big in that November's election. 68% of Americans disapprove of GOP members of Congress, and only 28% approve their actions.

Ibero-American News Digest

Haiti Cholera Deaths Higher than Reported

Sept. 11 (EIRNS)—Although the official toll of Haitians who have died of cholera stands at 6,200, with 430,000 infected, many on-the-ground medical sources emphasize that the actual figure of dead and infected is not really known, because of the number of cases occurring in remote areas, which are impossible to count. For people in those regions, any health care to which they might have access is four or five hours away on foot, and many cholera victims die before ever reaching a clinic.

Moreover, during the current rainy season, many non-governmental organizations that were treating cholera victims pulled out of Haiti, claiming lack of funds, and thus the cholera relief effort slowed just at the moment it should have been accelerating. Dr. Gabriel Thimothe, executive director of the Haitian Health Ministry, has stated that the existing funding "is not enough to fight against cholera in the upcoming months."

According to AlterPresse Sept. 11, in just two days in early September, approximately 50 new cholera cases were recorded in several municipalities in Haiti's South department. Serge Louissant, the departmental director of public health, reported that "the incidence of cholera infection has actually been increasing in the South, for about two weeks."

One medical source inside Haiti remarked that the official numbers of dead or infected "are only the documented cases of cholera. Both numbers could be doubled in my opinion."

New British Provocations Against Argentina

Sept. 10 (EIRNS)—Argentina's Defense Minister Arturo Puricelli has accused Great Britain of launching a "new provocation" against his country, after the British warship HMS Clyde carried out naval exercises in the South Atlantic on Sept. 7, using heavy machine guns and live ammunition. The exercises occurred in the so-called "exclusion zone" the British have established around the islands.

Britain illegally seized the Malvinas (Falklands) from Argentina in 1833, and still today refuses to discuss the issue of sovereignty with the Argentines, despite numerous United Nations resolutions urging them to do so. Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly stated there is nothing to negotiate. A Foreign Office statement dated Sept. 8 provocatively noted that "our defensive posture in the Falklands remains unchanged. There are in the region 1,200-1,500 military personnel on the Falkland Islands at any one time."

A few days before the naval exercises, on Sept. 5, Puricelli met in Buenos Aires with his Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim, and the two signed a joint declaration reiterating the two governments' "strategic alliance." The declaration underscores their commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation in defense matters, including joint naval exercises in the South Atlantic, which might also include third countries. The two leaders also vowed to keep the South Atlantic a "zone of peace and cooperation, free of nuclear weapons."

Brazil has staunchly defended Argentina's claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas.

Chilean Students Resume Protests

Sept. 11 (EIRNS)—Although Chilean student and teacher leaders and representatives of allied civic organizations met with President Sebastín Piñera on Sept. 3 to discuss their demands for a free, high-quality public educational system, they have not agreed to halt the nationwide protests that have rocked the country, and Piñera's Presidency, over the past four months.

On Sept. 8 students and teachers took to the streets again around the country to reiterate their demands. Students warn that Education Minister Felipe Bulnes's proposal for a three-week period of dialogue, with one weekly meeting of student and teacher leaders with government officials, is inadequate. Camilo Ballesteros, head of the University of Santiago's student federation (Usach), warned that the government is only looking for a way to end the student mobilizations, without seriously addressing their demands.

"The majority of students reject the authorities' offer," said Camila Vallejo of the Chilean Students' Federation, Confech. The proposal doesn't address "topics which are of vital importance," such as ending the for-profit system which the Pinochet dictatorship imposed on the country, Vallejo said. On Sept. 12, Confech is expected to issue its official counterproposal to the government, as to how the talks should proceed.

The Chilean student protests not only have broad popular support; they have also garnered wide international support, including from Spain's Indignados movement, as well as from many Ibero-American student and teacher organizations.

In Colombia, students and teachers took to the streets on Sept. 7 in several cities to protest President Juan Manuel Santos's proposed education reform bill, which students say is an attempt at privatizing the nation's public school system. The bill calls for pumping private resources into the public school system, which Santos refers to as the "profit component." Student leaders warn that if Santos tries to push the bill through—he now says he will withdraw it—they will resort to the Chilean model of protest.

"Like we have seen in Chile, we are students trying to tell the world that we need free public education," said student leader Natalia Amando. "It is a necessity for a healthy society." Students are also supporting teachers whose health benefits are threatened by another one of Santos's "reform" bills.

Western European News Digest

Stability Mechanism Dictatorial Powers Exposed in Video

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—A short video produced by Abgeordneten-check.de, highlighting the dictatorial features of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) euro bailout fund, is creating turmoil in Germany. The video shows that, according to the ESM Treaty, 1) the ESM board can decide on its own to increase the EU700 billion fund; 2) that member-countries must forward the money requested by the ESM within seven days; and 3) that all ESM officials have immunity from any courts, governments, and parliaments in Europe. The video was sent to all parties in the German Parliament, and their responses were published yesterday by Die Welt. While the SPD refused to comment, the CDU and the Greens sent their responses: The CDU claimed that the video lied, and the Greens claimed that the German Parliament still has the final control over budget decisions.

Abgeordneten-check is a group that monitors how the members of parliament (Abgeordneten) vote on issues. They screened members on the euro bailout vote, with names and pictures and their stance. The group was formed by journalists, some of whom are well-established.

Schröder: Bury the Nation-State

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called for collapsing all European nations into a "United States of Europe." Schröder told Der Spiegel on Sept. 4, "The current crisis makes it relentlessly clear that we cannot have a common currency zone without a common fiscal, economic and social policy. We will have to give up national sovereignty."

EU Commissioner Calls for Occupation of Greece

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—The latest atrocity from the Brussels branch of the Empire appears has come in the form of remarks made by German EU Commissioner (for Energy) Günter Öttinger today, in the leading German mass-tabloid Bildzeitung. On the one hand, he categorically ruled out any exit of Greece from the Eurozone, and on the other hand, he said that the Greek government and administration was not doing its job in imposing austerity, and that the financial sanctions which the EU has so far demanded, are toothless. One should, he said, therefore think about "unconventional" measures, such as replacing parts of the Greek administration with EU officials who would not retreat in the face the Greek population's resistance, but force through budget cuts and the sale of state property.

Glass-Steagall Raised on German TV

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—On yesterday's popular Menschen bei Maischberger talk show on Germany's leading TV network, ARD, Glass-Steagall and Trennbanken (divided banks) were put on the table. The discussion theme was "The Euro, an Endless Horror." A few pro-euro speakers were invited, along with a young economist named Hans-Michael Voth, who not only called for Germany to leave the euro, and managed quite brilliantly to stand up to the euro-fanatics, but also put Glass-Steagall on the table. At one point, he said that the problem is that nothing has been done to regulate the financial markets, in contrast to the first global financial crisis. In 1933, he said the "Trennbanken" were introduced, the SEC was established, etc. Today, nothing has been done.

Voth also ridiculed the argument that if Germany left the euro, its exports would collapse. Yes, exports might suffer a bit, but this story of being world champions in exports looks like winning the race to the cemetery.

Greek Indignados Hold Rally in Syntagma Square

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—The Greek "Indignados of Syntagma Square" launched their Fall action campaign with a rally of 5,000 people in Syntagma Square in front of the Greek Parliament on Sept. 3, virtually blacked out of the press. "We started indignant, we are continuing determined, and soon we shall return en masse for those who have led us here to leave," they said in an announcement.

A short report in Athens News fails to mention how many people attended on Saturday evening. There is no coverage at all in the international media.

The indignados in Thessaloniki are also scheduling rallies for Sept. 10 in the streets around the Thessaloniki International Fair, (TIF) where Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to make an important speech. This is a big event where all leading political figures attend, and the rally is aimed at impacting it.

General Strike Shakes Italy

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—On Sept. 6, millions of workers paralyzed more than 100 cities in Italy, in a general strike organized by the CGIL, the largest labor union federation, with 6 million members. The strike was carried out in protest against the EU45 billion budget cuts labelled as "deeply unjust, uncivilized, and useless" and "made against the workers." According to organizers, worker adherence to the strike was around 58%, up to 70% in transportation, and about 70% of factory workers around Milan.

Because the printing trades adhered to the strike, Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading newspaper, did not print today. Hundreds of flights and trains have been cancelled throughout the peninsula, and traffic jams have paralyzed major cities. The strike also caused major inconvenience for citizens in public administration offices, hospitals, kindergartens, and public services in general.

The two conservative union federations CISL and UIL did not join the strike, revealing a growing split in the trade union movement.

Merkel's Support Continues To Erode

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—German Chancellor Merkel, who continues to pretend she can bring the sinking Titanic, otherwise called the "euro," up again, may herself be sunk sooner than she expects: She got a huge slap in the face, with the drastic loss of votes from Christian Democrats (CDU) in her home state of Mecklenburg-Prepomerania, in the state parliament elections there Sunday: The CDU there dropped from 31% (2006) to 23%, a net loss of almost 25% from the votes it received five years ago. Also the FDP, Merkel's minor coalition partner, lost heavily in Mecklenburg, plummeting from 8.6% (2006) to now 2.7%, which gets it thrown out of the state parliament. And the Greens for the first time ever were voted into the Landtag.

Most telling about the sentiments of voters may be the fact that only 52% of the Mecklenburgers went to cast votes this time, an absolute low, a "vote of the feet" against Merkel's policies.

Prince Charles Identifies Himself as an 'Endangered Species'

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—Taking over as the next president of the World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF) on Sept. 8, Britain's Prince Charles Mountbatten said: "We are, of course, witnessing what some people call the sixth great extinction event—the continued erosion of much of the Earth's vital biodiversity caused by a whole host of pressures, from the rising demand for land to the corrosive effects of all kinds of pollution."

Referring to himself as an endangered species, Charles warned that the world is already in the sixth extinction event, with species dying out at a much faster rate than at any time since the death of most of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Russia and the CIS News Digest

Russian Scientist: Abandoning Nuclear Power Means Genocide

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—Academician E.P. Velikhov, head of the Kurchatov Nuclear Research Institute and, for decades, an influential figure in Russian science policy, told reporters on Sept. 5, while at a seminar titled, "Innovative Project of Kazakhstan's Materials Testing Tokamak," that "atomic energy is an absolutely necessary element in the energy set. We will simply be unable to maintain economic development and the general condition of the world without atomic energy."

As a concrete example, Velikhov cited the case of Armenia, which "tried to abandon atomic energy after the [1988] Spitak earthquake." A year later, the two Russian-built Metsamor nuclear plants were shut down. Velikhov recounted that afterwards, "appeared ... the severest case of Armenian genocide—half of Armenians left Armenia. There was no tap water, no sewage, and no electricity." To alleviate this crisis, one of the two reactors was restarted in 1995. "Now they are using atomic energy again," Velikhov said, and in a swipe at anti-nuclear hysteria in Germany and elsewhere, said, "I think we should distinguish between election promises and real life."

U.S.-Russia Business Council Chair Lauds Bering Strait Tunnel Idea as "A Bridge to Somewhere"

Sept. 10 (EIRNS)—A Sept. 9 meeting of the Atlantic Council in Washington dealt with "reset" of U.S.-Russia relations. Shop-worn Kremlinologists, including Swedish expatriate and professional Russia-basher Anders Aslund, and Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, were chewing the fat on their usual issues such as incompetence, corruption, and nepotism in Russia, when EIR correspondent Bill Jones intervened with the Bering Strait/Far East development perspective. Citing Russia's most optimistic plans for expanding and modernizing the rail networks to the East, including a new space center in Vostochny, and rail up to Chukotka, and from there to build a tunnel to Alaska, Jones said: "If you really want to change Russia, you should start to work with the patriotic elements in the country who are themselves fighting the corruption and who are attempting to rebuild the industrial life of the nation."

Ed Verona, the head of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the only panelist who had attempted to counter the Russia-bashing, responded: "I have worked closely with Mr. [Vladimir] Yakunin and the Russian Railway Ministry," Verona said, "and I find it one of the most well-organized and competent operations in the country. I think it's a great idea to build a tunnel over the Bering Strait! Maybe we should call the project 'The Bridge to Somewhere.'"

When briefed on the recent Yakutsk conference on northeast Russian infrastructure development (see EIR, Sept. 2) Verona noted that he would be attending the Baikal Economic Forum in Irkutsk, starting Sept. 12, where such matters could be on the agenda. Before taking over the chairmanship of the U.S.-Russia Business Council in 2008, Verona was the vice-president of Exxon-Mobil Russia, which has just made a deal with Rosneft to develop the Russian Arctic oil fields, threatening to replace BP as Russian oil's favored Western partner.

Southwest Asia News Digest

Iran, Russia Inaugurate First 'Atoms for Peace' Power Plant in Mideast

Sept. 12 (EIRNS)-Iran and Russia held a joint ceremony on Sept. 12, inaugurating the first operational nuclear power plant in any nation of Southwest Asia, as the Bushehr power plant was integrated into Iran's electrical power grid. Attending the ceremony were leading figures from both Russia and Iran, including Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi and nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi, as well as Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and the head of Russia's state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, reported Russia's RIA Novosti and Israel's Ha'aretz.

The integration into the national energy grid is to be done in phases, with 40% of the 1,000-megawatt capacity being connected immediately, and full capacity scheduled to be reached in November. Shmatko told reporters that the operation of the Bushehr plant is fully under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and that in-depth testing is being conducted prior to using the plant at full capacity.

"Iran and Russia have granted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) full supervision of the joint plant," reported Ha'aretz, quoting the Kazakh news agency Khabar. Ha'aretz also quoted Abbasi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, saying, "This is the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East, and Iran and Russia have set an example for peaceful nuclear cooperation. The start of the Bushehr plant symbolically shows to the world how a country could maintain its freedom and independence through resistance," he added.

But even as this breakthrough was being celebrated as a major development achievement, former Vice President Dick Cheney was delivering another threat to Iran that powerful factions in the United States will back Israel in a preemptive strike against Iran.

In an interview aired Sept. 12 on Newsmax TV, Cheney said "Iran represents an existential threat, and [the Israelis] will do whatever they have to do to guarantee their survival and their security." He said that he would not quote a specific Israeli officials, but rather he had had "a number of conversations with a lot of Israeli officials, and I think they correctly perceive Iran as a basic threat" (emphasis added).

Ha'aretz prominently featured the Newsmax article on Sept. 12, adding that in 2007, then-Vice President Cheney advocated a preemptive strike against an alleged nuclear site in Syria, but that his plan was quashed by other members of the Bush Administration, among them Defense Secretary Bob Gates, and Bush did not go along with Cheney's plan. Israel carried out the bombing of the Syrian site on its own, with the implicit green light from Washington.

LPAC-TV warned in a video last week, that President Obama is also committed to stopping Iran's nuclear power aspirations.

Sarkozy Threatens Iran May Be Attacked by Some Country, Unnamed

PARIS, Sept. 1 (EIRNS)—French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking yesterday to the 19th annual conference of French ambassadors at the Elysée Palace, said that Iran's nuclear "ambitions" could lead unnamed countries to launch a pre-emptive attack. "Iran's military, nuclear, and ballistic ambitions pose a growing threat that could lead to a preventive strike on Iranian facilities and create a serious crisis, which France wants to avoid by all means," he said.

AFP reported, "Sarkozy did not say which country might launch such a strike, but it has been reported that Israel—perhaps with U.S. support—has considered bombing Iranian nuclear sites if it believes Tehran is close to building a weapon."

The President continued: "Iran refuses to negotiate seriously and is engaging in new provocations. The international community can only provide a credible response to this challenge if it demonstrates unity and firmness and imposes even harsher sanctions. We would be mistaken to underestimate their effects; they are increasingly noticeable."

Blair Intended To Go To War in Iraq, UN Resolution or No

Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Yet another piece of evidence has emerged, showing that then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair always intended to lead the U.S. into war in Iraq, and all the dancing at the UN Security Council over UN inspections of Iraq's alleged WMD programs was nothing but a public cover to hide his intentions.

The newest piece of evidence is a letter dated Oct. 17, 2002, from Matthew Rycroft, Blair's personal secretary, to then-Foreign Minister Jack Straw's personal secretary Mark Sedwill. In the letter, Rycroft referenced a meeting that day, involving Blair, Straw, Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, and a number of other Cabinet intimates, in which Straw briefed Blair and the others on his most recent contacts with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. "The meeting concluded that the only way to keep the US on the UN route was for there to be a clear understanding that if [UN weapons inspection chief Hans] Blix reported an Iraqi breach of the first Resolution, then Saddam would not have a second chance," Rycroft wrote. "In other words, if for some reason (such as a French of Russian veto) there were no second Resolution agreed in these circumstances, we and the US would take action," that is, invade Iraq.

The first resolution referred to, became UNSCR 1441, passed by the Security Council on Nov. 8, 2002, which authorized the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. According to testimony provided to the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry, Straw told de Villepin on Oct. 17 that the first resolution did not authorize military action, and that even the Americans acknowledged that the wording of 1441 "implied that there needed to be a second SCR."

Rycroft's letter was copied only to a small number of other officials. "This letter is sensitive," Rycroft wrote. "It must be seen only by those with a real need to know its contents, and must not be copied further." Significantly, neither Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith, nor the top legal advisors of the Foreign Office, were among those to whom the letter was copied. In October 2002, Goldsmith was still arguing that military action required a second resolution, and would not be persuaded to change his mind until February of 2003, when he was told that the U.S. had only signed up for Resolution 1441 because it authorized war without further resolution.

"As the Rycroft letter shows, following Straw's discussions with Powell and de Villepin," wrote Iraq Inquiry editor Chris Ames on Aug. 29, "the British government decided to make clear that they would go to war on a resolution that they knew to be inadequate, while bluffing that it gave them legal cover."

The Rycroft letter came to light as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by Ames and the London Guardian, both of whom have published it. There is no indication that the Chilcot Commission has seen it. One of those to whom the letter was copied was Blair's ambassador in Moscow, Sir Roderic Lyne. Lyne is now one of the five members of the commission, sitting in judgment on Britain's decision to go to war.

Blair Calls for Regime Change in Iran and Syria

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—The architect of the regime-change policy which led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, today called for regime change in Iran and Syria. In an interview with the London Times marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Blair said, "Regime change in Tehran would immediately make me significantly more optimistic about the whole of the region. If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons capability, it would destabilize the region very, very badly. They continue to support groups that are engaged with terrorism and the forces of reaction. In Iraq one of the main problems has been the continued intervention of Iran and likewise in Afghanistan."

The Guardian article, in its coverage of the interview, which was also released by Blair's office today, writes that Blair "appears to be open to the idea of a military attack against Iran if it comes close to acquiring nuclear missiles. But he makes clear he was not advocating a military strike."

While not saying that Syria presents the same threat as Iran, he nonetheless says future change in Syria cannot include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Blair says that, "He is not going to lead the program of change in Syria now. He has shown he is not capable of reform. His position is untenable. There is no process of change that leaves him intact."

Asia News Digest

Russian-Chinese Far East Commodity Development Emerges

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—The China Daily promotes joint Chinese-Russian development in an interview with Artem Volynets, CEO of En+ Group, a major energy company. He said Russia has the potential to become a valued supplier of commodities to China.

"Currently the key suppliers of resources to China are Australia, Brazil, and South Africa," said Volynets. "We believe that Eastern Siberia has the potential to become a major, reliable supplier of commodities to the rapidly growing Asian markets and especially to China."

In June, En+ Group's subsidiary EuroSibEnergo signed a framework agreement with China Yangtze Power Co. Ltd. that provides for joint investment in a number of power plant construction projects in Eastern Siberia. The Russian company also recently signed a $5 billion agreement with China Export-Import Bank to develop mining and power projects in Eastern Siberia.

"Siberian resources are the closest to China and that is obviously our key advantage," said Volynets, adding that the company plans to build up as much as 10 gigawatts of new power capacity in Eastern Siberia, mostly hydro, during the next decade. It only takes one day to deliver goods to China by rail from Eastern Siberia through Mongolia, according to Volynets.

White Paper Asserts Peaceful Path of China's Development

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—The State Council of the Chinese Government has issued a White Paper entitled "The Path of China's Peaceful Development," outlining the perspective of China's development policy for the coming decades. This unusual move was undoubtedly triggered by the publication of the U.S. Defense Department's annual report on China's military development. The annual U.S. report was mandated by Congress in 1998 as a prerequisite for agreeing to Permanent Normal Trade relations with China. Every year the publication of this report causes problems in U.S.-China relations, but this year particularly so, as the report has very much the character of the old Soviet Military Power reports issued regularly during the Cold War, including the same type of maps depicting the possible alleged reach of China's nuclear arsenal!

Given recent tensions in the region over various sovereignty conflicts concerning the numerous islands in the East China and South China Seas, the DoD report feeds into the apprehensions of the other Asian-Pacific countries over the rapid development of their powerful neighbor, which is undoubtedly the purpose of its authors.

U.S. Diplomat Accuses Saudis of Aiding Philippine Terrorists

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—According to recently released Wikileak documents, former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Francis Ricciardone accused the Saudi envoy in Manila of interfering in cases against Saudi subjects who were under investigation for supporting terrorists in the southern province of Mindanao.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila, in a May 4, 2005 cable classified as secret and sent by Amb. Francis Ricciardone, expressed alarm at the "disturbing trend" involving Saudi envoy Mohammed Ameen Wali and senior Philippine police and immigration officials. Wali repeatedly met with government officials, arranging the release of at least three Saudis into his custody for deportation, ending the investigation into their terrorist connections. In one case, Ricciardone said, a Saudi named Talhi "had admitted to giving $8,000 to Cotabato (a city in Mindanao) Mayor Muslimin Sema, whose meetings with suspected terrorist financiers caused us to suspend a USAID road project." Saudi envoy Wali then met with the Philippine Immigration Commissioner, and Talhi was released.

Ricciardone said in one leaked cable that the Saudis' public pronouncements against terrorism "are contradicted by a developing pattern of effective Saudi Embassy influence on GRP [Government of Philippines] officials to release suspected [terrorist] financiers." He added that the Saudis had "powerful access and influence with senior [Philippine] law enforcement officials, undoubtedly stemming from the important role the remittances of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia play in keeping the weak Philippine economy afloat." There are about 1 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia.

Ricciardone reported that he told the Philippine Foreign Minister that "there have been no discernible Saudi efforts to guard against private Saudi funding to extremist Islamic groups here."

The current head of the renegade faction of the MILF, Ameril Umbra Kato, who is refusing to participate in peace talks with the government, was educated in Saudi Arabia.

All rights reserved © 2011 EIRNS

top of page

home page