EIR Daily Alert Service
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2017
Volume 4, Number 18
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—George Soros, a long-time agent of British influence, megaspeculator and nation-wrecker, is the self-avowed leading financial force in the drive to ruin or even bring down the Donald Trump Presidency. He was also a leading, if not the primary sponsor of Barack Obama to the Presidency. It is a deadly error that a years’ long employee, partner, and coinvestor with Soros, Steven Mnuchin, may be about to become President Trump’s Treasury Secretary!
Soros—who has already backed a mass march to Washington against Trump and is backing a completely meritless “constitutional” lawsuit to try to impeach him, has employed or worked with Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin in financial speculations for nearly 15 years. Soros said at Davos, “I personally am convinced he [Trump] is going to fail…. I want him to fail.”
A Mnuchin confirmation threatens to destroy President Trump’s promise to rebuild the U.S. economy.
Donald Trump won the support of the American people with campaign promises to modernize America’s infrastructure, and build high-speed rail, modern ports, and technologically advanced manufacturing. This implies that America would again have a space program, like China and Russia, which would increase the productivity of the U.S. economy just as JFK’s “Moon shot” did in 1969. The United States and the world need thermonuclear fusion power—the energy that powers the sun, and emits simple H2O as its by-product, to propel planetary exploration.
Steven Mnuchin at Treasury will not let this happen; he opposes restoring the Glass-Steagall Act which Trump promised “in order to get credit flowing to small businesses again”; he invests with the speculator Soros, who brings down governments financially and by funding “color revolutions.”
Mnuchin has been joined in politics and finances with George Soros since at least 2002. After 12 years at Goldman Sachs—think of pro-Wall Street Secretaries like Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson, Jack Lew—Mnuchin was recruited by George Soros to run the Soros-backed SFM Capital, which was created to buy “risky assets.” Mnuchin also worked for Soros Fund Management. Backed by Soros, he founded Dune Capital Management with former Goldman colleagues.
Nathan Vardi wrote in Forbes July 22, 2014, “A gang made up of some of Wall Street’s biggest names and Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin, who served as its CEO, is set to realize a big score from the sale of OneWest Bank to CIT group for $3.4 billion.” This “gang” of hedge funds was Soros Capital Management and six other funds, which bought IndyMac and made Mnuchin CEO of the renamed OneWest Bank.
“In 2009,” Vardi continued, “the buyout group bought the assets of the former IndyMac from the FDIC, which had seized its assets. The group paid $1.55 billion for the bank in the teeth of the financial crisis. … IndyMac was the second biggest bank failure of the financial crisis, and the taxpayer-funded FDIC agreed to share the losses on a portfolio of loans.” Mnuchin’s group bought IndyMac Bank, which foreclosed on tens of thousands of homeowners, for $1.55 billion; changed its name to OneWest, and sold it to the CIT group for $3.4 billion in July 2014. Soros Management had partnered with six other hedge funds to acquire IndyMac.
The Soros-Mnuchin connection was so durable that one financial website, Zero Hedge, wrote on Nov. 11, just after Donald Trump’s election, that “Soros Fund Management employee Steven Mnuchin” was being groomed for something bigger in the Trump Administration.
The 2008 mortgage and general financial crisis could never have happened if the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act had not been repealed by agents of Wall Street speculators. There would have been no bailout for speculators. In his campaign, President Trump and the Republican Party platform supported Glass-Steagall’s reinstatement. But when the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Mnuchin’s confirmation, Mnuchin told Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that he did not, and would not, support the reinstatement of the 1933 Glass-Steagall law. There is no other Glass-Steagall to support, though Mnuchin tried to invent one.
George Soros thinks and hopes President Donald Trump will fail. In a video interview from the World Economic Forum at Davos on Jan. 19, 2017, Soros told Bloomberg’s Francine Laqua, “I personally am convinced he [Trump] is going to fail; not because of people like me, who would like him to fail, but because the ideas that guide him are inherently self-contradictory. The contradictions are already embodied in his advisors … and, by his Cabinet. Therefore, you’ll have the various establishments fighting with each other, and cause a very unpredictable outcome … unpredictable is the enemy of long-term.”
More than just Soros, London wants to get control of the Trump Presidency, turn it back to Obama’s war confrontations against Russia and China, and to “globalization.” Soros’s man is London’s and Wall Street’s man. He must be kept out of the Treasury.
U.S. ECONOMIC & POLITICAL
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—In an article published in today’s Times of London, journalist Roger Boyes makes several recommendations to Prime Minister Theresa May as to how she might “reset”—manipulate and control—the special relationship with the new U.S. President when she visits on Jan. 27. Best to consider the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher as the model, he proposes.
Wrongly portraying Britain as the U.S.’s “junior partner,” Boyes suggests that were Thatcher’s ghost sitting at May’s right hand today, she’d strongly recommend that, first, May not underrate Trump, but rather “tap into” the Brexit vote, as it is “an important ideological bridge with the Trump White House.”
Boyes particularly zeroes in on the importance of “exploiting the splits in the Trump cabinet,” recalling that when Reagan was reluctant to intervene in the 1982 Malvinas War, Thatcher appealed directly to “Anglophile” Defense Secretary Cap Weinberger. He suggests that Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis could be similarly approached, because, in Boyes’ view, he is both strongly pro-NATO and “skeptical” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Keep in mind, he continues, that some of Trump’s appointments “may be shortlived, and there will be plenty of interdepartmental clashes in the court of King Donald. We should be on the right side of these arguments. And keep all channels open to Congress.”
May must show Thatcher-style drive to keep tabs on Trump, Boyes asserts, and specifically to intervene in his relationship with Putin. To have a “lasting effect…this week’s visit should set in train a series of regular phone calls with the White House.” Naturally, he coyly affirms, Britain can’t force Trump “to sideline Mr. Putin,” but “it can and should … argue for the continuation of sanctions…. When Mr. Trump announces cooperation with Mr. Putin in the fight against ISIS, we should listen carefully and test his argument. If such a move encourages Moscow to make a land grab or to slaughter innocents,” then May should dig in her heels.
It’s instructive that Boyes singles out the importance of “intelligence and defense cooperation” in the special relationship. “If Mr. Trump trivializes the work of the intelligence services, if he plays down looming threats, then we should express our concerns loud and clear.”
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—In a nationally-televised panel “discussion,” one of the most prominent figures in German journalism has raised the possible assassination of President Donald Trump—showing the hysteria of EU “elites” over Trump’s election. The British suggestion of assassination had appeared only days earlier in a London Spectator piece, as we reported in our Tuesday EIR Daily Alert.
Josef Joffe, publisher of Germany’s famous daily Die Zeit, appeared on a “Presseclub” panel on ARD-TV Jan. 22. Moderator Constanze Stelzenmüller posed the question, “Is there a way out of the Trump catastrophe?” Raising quick impeachment, she went on, “a lot would have to happen. Thus, for now we are still far away from that…”
“Murder in the White House, for example,” said Joffe in a dry but assertive tone, clearly responding to, “a lot would have to happen.”
Sensing the implications of Joffe’s incitement, Stelzenmüller quickly interjected, “Josef, stay serious.”
RT Deutsche in German covered the exchange under the headline, “Die Zeit Publisher Joffe Raised ‘Murder in the White House’ as a Possible Way To Remove Trump from Office.”
Earlier in the discussion, Joffe had answered a question on his using the image of a pair of scorpions to compare the United States and Russia: “The two countries that can mutually annihilate each other can’t go from a flirt, to an engagement, to marriage,” then said, “and that is one of the realities Trump will learn about. This President delivers an important part of the most important strategic assets of America, giving it to his most important opponent.”
On potential trade fights between Germany and the United States, Joffe called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to prepare the “torture tools” for dealing with any tariffs. Most of the prior discussion concerned how to get President Trump under control, which often went beyond comments about economic facts, or checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution. This has become typical for talkshows in Germany.
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) discussed her recent four-day trip to Syria in an exclusive interview with Jake Tapper of CNN.
“I went there because of the suffering of the Syrian people weighing heavily on my heart,” Gabbard told Tapper. “I would take, in some small way, the love, aloha, and care the people of Hawaii have for the Syrian people, and to see first-hand what has happened.”
She was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if she had met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during her stay.
Rep. Gabbard replied, “When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so, because I felt that it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people—about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to, if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace.”
Tapper referred to the old adage that one doesn’t make peace with one’s friends, but one’s enemies, but reiterated that “Bashar Assad is responsible for thousands of deaths…”
Gabbard answered, “For any possibility for a viable peace agreement, there has to be a conversation with him. The Syrian people will determine his outcome and what happens with their government and their future.”
Representative Gabbard is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, posted a short video of her Syria visit on her YouTube page.
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—American engineering societies are focused today on a “Priority List of American National Security Projects” of new economic infrastructure, published by the McClatchy newspaper chain and reportedly representing Trump White House plans for a national infrastructure bank. The list partly overlaps infrastructure investment priorities recently put together by the National Governor’s Association, but is claimed by McClatchy to come from White House staff. The projects are scored for “readiness,” purpose, total investment, and investment targeted for 2017.
While the total 2017 investment in these 50 priority projects would be approximately $140 billion if work began on all of them, it remains the case that national credit for such investments has not been proposed by the Trump White House yet, and that Democrats’ national infrastructure bank bills are not adequate.
The number-one project on McClatchy’s list, if it is a working list at the White House, is also Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) number-one priority—the “Gateway Project” for new freight/passenger rail and tunnel from New Jersey into Manhattan, and north and east. Two new high-speed rail lines are also included, both in Texas.
But the largest number of major projects on the “Priority List” are new lock-and-dam systems, long sorely needed on the Mississippi, Ohio, Monongahela and Missouri Rivers, and on the Great Lakes. There are multiple hydroelectric projects, both new and upgrades, by the Army Corps of Engineers; and a critical new tunnel which opens a rail bottleneck at the Baltimore Port, the most productive port on the East Coast. Port-dredging projects are also included, but so are extensions of the electricity grid to link to wind and solar farms—economically useless though “creating jobs.”
Interestingly, the third priority on the list is a “National Research Laboratory for Infrastructure,” to be sited in Columbus, Ohio, and work closely with Ohio State University National Transportation Research Center and Battelle Labs.
One of Trump’s executive orders issued Jan. 24 fast-tracked approval for “high-priority infrastructure projects.” Under it, any governor or Cabinet secretary can ask for a project to be designated as high-priority. If the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality approves, the project will be given priority for any agency required to review and approve the project.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—The British Empire is clearly unhappy that it is Russia, in collaboration with Turkey and Iran, that is moving the peace process in Syria forward. Not only is the Empire, through its news/intelligence service Reuters, declaring the just-concluded intra-Syrian talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, a failure, but it is trying to get the U.S. and the Saudis back into the process.
“Peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Kazakhstan were a coup for their international sponsors, but exposed the limits of what Russia, Turkey and Iran can achieve in their efforts to resolve the six-year-old war,” the Reuters report begins. Despite the success, Reuters goes on, the meeting did not go according to plan, “showing that the three would-be Syria conflict brokers, in their different ways, all have credibility problems. This suggests they may have to involve Washington and the Gulf States more fully if they are to have any chance of brokering a final deal.”
How Reuters thinks it can convince anybody that the U.S. and the Gulf States, with their regime-change policy and support for terrorist groups inside Syria, could have more credibility than Russia, is not explained. After all, earlier diplomatic efforts led by the U.S., with heavy Saudi involvement, failed completely, and the Astana talks were made possible only by the Russian military intervention, which was intended to change the conditions on the ground in exactly that direction. The Astana talks, as most reports point out, represent the first time that the armed opposition groups on the ground in Syria were actually represented at any negotiation, making possible the ceasefire, however fragile it might still be, that was confirmed by all the parties to the talks.
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Was the U.K. Trident launch failure really a U.S. failure? The Times of London reported yesterday that American technology was to blame for the problems in the June 2016 test and that it was Barack Obama’s administration that pressed the U.K. not to reveal details. A British military source told The Times: “It was the Obama administration that asked the Cameron administration not to comment on this. The U.S. administration may have been worried that there could be similar problems on other missiles. The British submarine successfully carried and launched the missile; the bit that went wrong was the U.S. proprietary technology.”
The Trident missile is actually a joint U.S.-U.K. program, in that, while the U.K. builds its own submarines and warheads, the missiles are provided by the U.S., an arrangement that goes back to the Polaris Sales Agreement signed by President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963. There is actually joint work on the warheads, too, under the 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement, but whenever a British Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarine goes on patrol, the missiles it is carrying are U.S. missiles, and the program, including the fire control system and test firings, is managed by the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Program Office. If this is the case, the U.S. Defense Department has kept it very deeply under wraps, as there are no publicly-acknowledged launch failures of the Trident II D-5 missile. Lockheed Martin, the builder of the Trident missile, had claimed 161 consecutive successful launches prior to the June 2016 failure.
Nevertheless, William McNeilly, a Royal Navy submarine technician, blew the whistle in May 2015 on what he claimed were safety and security problems with the British submarines, with an 18-page dossier published by WikiLeaks. McNeilly told RT, yesterday, that he now feels vindicated.
“I warned about this exact event over a year before it happened. I was in the MCC [Missile Control Center] during the end of patrol tests in early 2015, and I witnessed with my own eyes the Trident system fail its simulated missile launch tests.” McNeilly claims to have witnessed three missile test failures and the cancellation of a Battle Readiness Test (BRT) because the submarine’s hydraulic system had filled up with seawater.
Admiral Lord West, the former chief of the Royal Navy, told the House of Commons Defense Committee, yesterday, that the test failure appeared to be due to some issue with the missile and that, therefore, it was “primarily an American issue.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Restoring the Glass-Steagall Act to avert a financial and economic collapse is featured in a commentary in Beijing Review in America by American political expert and former senior Senate aide Clifford Kiracofe. The piece, dated Jan. 26 but written just before inauguration, is headlined “At a Crossroads: Which Direction Will Trump Take after Inauguration?”
“Trump must also ensure financial stability at a time when some economists view the banking situation as more precarious than just prior to the onset of the 2007-08 crisis,” Kiracofe writes. “One litmus test will be whether or not his administration will ensure early passage of the Glass-Steagall banking act, which separates commercial banking from speculative investment banking.
“The Glass-Steagall legislation had been in place since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but under the influence of neo-liberalist politicians lobbied by the banking sector, Congress tore up the act in the late 1990s, setting the stage for the financial crisis which ensued a decade later.”
Kiracofe also takes up the question of China’s expert engineering of, and the United States’ decrepit condition of, economic infrastructure, as have Chinese publications and financial officials like sovereign wealth fund chief Ding Xuedong.
“As focus turns to infrastructure,” Kiracofe says, “many opportunities will arise for business to participate. Such involvement, however, must not turn public goods into private monopolies, as in the case of private toll roads and private bridges, whose income streams can be parasitized by Wall Street or foreign financiers.
“The private sector can best serve infrastructure development in the design and construction phases. Joint ventures between U.S. and Chinese companies, for example, could help modernize infrastructure in the United States. And, beyond the United States, such partnerships could drive forward the practical development of China’s Belt and Road Initiative consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.”
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—The United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant could begin operating by May, after the industry’s regulator approved licenses to transport and store nuclear fuel—a final step in a long, careful process—on Sunday. The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) said the first shipment of fuel would be sent from South Korea in the next few weeks before being taken to the power plant’s Barakah site in the Western Region next month. The authority’s approval is considered to be the last step before the first nuclear reactor becomes operational in May, pending regulatory approval.
Christer Viktorsson, FANR’s director general, said it was a “major milestone for us, because we’ve worked diligently for months to make us convinced that everything is ready to transport and store fuel.”
Unit 1 of the plant will initially operate on low power as part of the trial, going through phases of shutting down and increasing its power gradually until it reaches full power, also known as commercial operation, which will then feed power to the grid.
This will be the second nuclear power plant operating in the region, after Iran’s facility at Bushehr.
More than 200 experts work in FANR in nuclear safety, security, radiation protection, safeguards, and related areas such as emergency preparedness and waste management. The plant is designed on Korea’s model, which is set to withstand major natural disasters.
Viktorsson found the U.A.E. public to be highly favorable about the nuclear power plant. “When we’re out talking to the public in forums, the support for nuclear power in this country is much higher than what I am used to,” he said.
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—-Executives from the U.S. Commerce Department will lead a nuclear energy trade mission to Mexico in June, “to assess market opportunities in Mexico’s nuclear new build program,” reported the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) on Jan 18. NEI’s newsletter, Nuclear Energy Insider reported yesterday that Mexico is considering building up to three new nuclear plants by 2028 at the Laguna Verde site, which has the country’s two operating reactors. Those reactors were supplied by General Electric, and U.S. companies supply and service the units.
NEI says that “Mexico is also considering small modular reactors for power and seawater desalination.”
Last summer, the U.S. and Mexico negotiated a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement to streamline the transfer of technology, fuel, and major components, through the U.S. “123 agreement,” which allows U.S. companies to export nuclear technology when the receiving country agrees to certain nonproliferation commitments. The NEI says the agreement is expected to be implemented this year.