Feb 11, 2009 35 Comments ›› Angelia
Have any of you said to yourself, it’s just too odd, too terribly perfect, that the U.S. economy just tanked overnight?
From an earlier story here:
“No one knows who did it, but mysterious individuals or groups began emptying out America’s banks right before Obama was elected.
Now here’s where it really gets creepy. Three days after the bank run, Fed Chariman Bernanke, and Treasury Secretary Paulson, run over to Capital Hill to give Congressional leaders a top-secret, emergency briefing on the situation. On cue, when the meeting’s over, Senators Schumer and Dodd rush out and declare to the New York Times and Good Morning America that the sky is falling, and start blubbering about history hanging over our heads and the need for bipartanship. All of this was recounted in the NY Times, where Schumer and Dodd, like Keystone Cops, or just plain inept co-conspirators, don’t really sound very shocked, but more like in-on-it schemers carrying out stage two of the mission: scare the public. In fact, Dodd at one point abruptly cuts off Schumer for not sounding scary enough:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you listened to him describe it you gulped,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program Ã¢â‚¬Å“Good Morning America,Ã¢â‚¬Â the congressional leaders were told Ã¢â‚¬Å“that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mr. Schumer added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“History was sort of hanging over it, like this was a moment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
When Mr. Schumer described the meeting as Ã¢â‚¬Å“somber,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Dodd cut in. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Somber doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t begin to justify the words,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have never heard language like this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What you heard last evening,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“is one of those rare moments, certainly rare in my experience here, is Democrats and Republicans deciding we need to work together quickly.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Okay, y’all, it’s real simple. Regardless of who is or isn’t conspiring what, Americans must demand to know, right now, who suddenly started withdrawing enough money from America’s banks to sink the world’s economy, that fateful Monday morning. The only thing open to question is “why”? No one disputes that it happened. At almost exactly 100 hours after the 7th anniversary after the September 11 attacks. Think about that. The bank run started almost exactly 100 hours after the 7th anniversary of the moment the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center on Septermber 11, 2001.”
Mr Soros joined Singer and Friedlander, London bankers, before moving to Wall Street to continue his financial career in 1956. He later set up the now famous Quantum Fund as one of the world’s first hedge funds. It took money from rich individuals and invested in risky but potentially highly profitable international deals.
It did very well out of the collapse of fixed exchange rates in the 1970s and the deregulation of global capital markets. By 1980, Soros himself was worth more than Ã‚Â£16.5 million and his fund Ã‚Â£67 million. The stage was set for his intervention in the ERM.
As early as spring 1992, Mr Soros had decided that the pound would have to be devalued because it had been pushed into the ERM at too high a rate.
He knew that the Bundesbank favoured a devaluation of both sterling and the Italian lira and believed it would have to happen because of the disastrous impact that high British interest rates were having on asset prices.
Mr Soros spent the next few months building up a position from which he would profit from that devalutaion. He borrowed sterling heavily, reportedly to the tune of Ã‚Â£6.5 billion, and converted that into a mixture of Deutschmarks and French francs.
On Black Wednesday, Mr Soros’s bet paid off. In the following days, he unwound his positions, paying back his original borrowings and ending with a profit of around Ã‚Â£1 billion. As a parallel play, Mr Soros bought as much as Ã‚Â£350 million of British shares at the same time, gambling that equities often rise after a currency devalues.
He admitted that his actions had benefited no one but himself…
Telegraph, January, 2009:
The hedge fund manager, whose assault on sterling in 1992 was seen as responsible for causing the UK to leave the Exchange Rate Mechanism and forcing up interest rates to double-digit levels, said he had been selling off sterling in recent months.
It comes with experts warning that the slide in the pound over the past year has been the worst ever seen by the UK currency, and with others predicting that the UK may have to seek emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund as a result.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Alpine Swiss town of Davos, Mr Soros said he had foreseen the recent fall in the pound, which has slid from over $2 against the dollar to below $1.40 in recent weeks.
However, he indicated that he did not expect it to fall much further – a comment which caused sterling to leap yesterday by more than 1 per cent to almost $1.44.
Mr Soros said: “I did actually have a short position in sterling and it was one of the trades I carried out. But sterling did fall from around $2 to about $1.40 and at that level the risk-reward balance is no longer compelling. I’m not saying won’t fall any more though – it will continue to fluctuate”
Mr Soros also warned that the scale of the current economic crisis was now potentially even worse than the Great Depression in the 1930s and urged Western nations to set up “bad banks” to absorb their toxic assets.
The Independent, January, 2009:
Looking to the wider financial scene, Mr Soros warned: “The scale of the problem is actually significantly greater than the 1930s… I regard the collapse that followed the Lehman Brothers closure to be the equivalent of what happened in the 1930s when the banking system collapsed.”
He pointed to the scale of debts in relation to the US economy Ã¢â‚¬â€œ proportionately twice as big as in the 1930s Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and predicted that the finance sector would shrink by a half. The authorities ought to create money both domestically and internationally, through massive expansion in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights scheme, running to trillions of dollars, Mr Soros suggested.
Organizations Funded Directly By George Soros And His Open Society Institute, Whose New Offices And Hi-Tech Nerve Center Are Located Just Three Blocks From The White House
The Power Of Philanthropy To Enigneer Consent
(Swans – July 14, 2008) In the past few decades critical scholars have worked hard to draw attention to the antidemocratic influence of conservative philanthropists on the ‘development’ of global media systems, and more generally on democracy itself. This is commendable work that deserves greater recognition within mass communications research, yet of arguably more importance is the fact that only a handful of media researchers have focused on the similarly antidemocratic trends that have resulted from the influence of Left-leaning capitalist funders on media trends. Moreover, while many people may think that the pro-free market doctrine of the Right-leaning philanthropoids may receive more funding than liberal (‘progressive’) foundations this is not necessarily the case: instead, the Right has simply acted with more cohesion, and consciously worked at influencing policy makers and politicians at an ideological level, while the Left has adopted a more haphazard reactive approach to tempering the excesses of our capitalist society. So it is problematic to suggest, as some commentators have, that progressives should attempt to emulate the Right’s antidemocratic strategizing to democratise the public sphere.
To date, in most cases researchers have tended to assume that liberal funders only have noble (progressive) intentions to strengthen democracy, and while this may be true to a point, this article will demonstrate that this charity is ultimately given to sustain capitalism — albeit a less brutal variant of capitalism than that promoted by Right-wing philanthropists. Using the example of George Soros’s philanthropic foundations, which at their peak were distributing some $500 million a year to ostensibly progressive causes, this article will highlight his involvement in creating ‘independent’ media outlets worldwide. Initially, the article will review the critical literature regarding the work of liberal philanthropists, then owing to the scarcity of studies examining their influence on media organizations and researchers it will briefly summarize this media-related work. Next, the article will introduce George Soros and his network of foundations, providing a number of examples of significant media projects that Soros and his foundations support. Finally, the article will conclude by suggesting how media scholars might counter the arguably antidemocratic nature of Soros’s media interventions.
Soros behind Georgia-Russia War
WMR has learned details of so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressiveÃ¢â‚¬Â cause donor George Soros in the underlying turmoil between Russia and Georgia in the Caucasus.
In 1994, Soros set up shop in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to engineer what would become known as the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rose Revolution,Ã¢â‚¬Â carried out ten years later. SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Open Society Institute (OSI) jointly pumped tons of money into programs designed to propel GeorgiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s neocon president, Mikheil Saakashvili, to power in a November 2003 coup that toppled GeorgiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s President Eduard Shevardnadze, the last Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, from power. The OSI money was mostly spent on training neocon political operatives loyal to Saakashvili and his party and influencing the Georgian media. Media manipulation is a favorite tactic of Soros, one that he has used effectively to curb the power of the American progressive liberal movement.
After the Rose Revolution, Soros and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) director Mark Malloch Brown launched the Georgia Development and Reform Fund that was designed to curb corruption in Georgia. However, the fund was actually used to pay increased salaries for employees of the Georgian PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office and the National Police. The $40 million pumped into the fund was matched dollar-for-dollar between OSI and the UNDP. The salaries for Georgia government apparatchiks and police bought loyalty for Saakashvili and Soros in the country.
The Tbilisi daily newspaper, 24 Saati (Ã¢â‚¬Å“24 HoursÃ¢â‚¬Â), discovered the source of the fund was a Cyprus-registered Ã¢â‚¬Å“charityÃ¢â‚¬Â called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Golden Fleece.Ã¢â‚¬Â The Development and Reform fund was managed by an old Saakashvili crony, former Deputy Justice Minister Konstantine Kublashvili, who served under then-Justice Minister Saakashvili during the Shevardnadze presidency. Kublashvili told Radio Free Europe/Radio LibertyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Georgia Service that there was no Ã¢â‚¬Å“dirty moneyÃ¢â‚¬Â involved in the Golden Fleece charity. However, WMR has learned that was not what was discovered by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Georgia shopÃ¢â‚¬Â at the National Security AgencyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (NSA) Medina Regional Security Operations Center (MRSOC) in San Antonio, Texas. A special and highly secure unit at the MRSOC that monitored financial flows to the region discovered the links between Golden Fleece in Cyprus — Cyprus is a center for Russian-Israeli mob activities — and Russian-Israeli oligarchs who were trying to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin from power.
After leaving the UN, Malloch Brown became vice chairman of SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Quantum Fund, SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ flagship hedge fund, as well as vice president of SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ OSI.
In 2004, Soros, using his Ã¢â‚¬Å“Democracy Alliance,Ã¢â‚¬Â which represented nothing more than a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party by globalist forces represented by Soros and his friends, pooled and bundled campaign contributions for a number of Democratic candidates, earning him the same loyalty that similar bribes bought him in Georgia. Soros reportedly convinced organizations and web sites he funded, including MoveOn.org, DailyKos, Democratic Underground, and others to launch an anti-Halliburton campaign. Halliburton was engaged in the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline that pumped oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to the Turkish deep water port at Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast.
The campaign by Soros against Halliburton worked. The firm began divesting itself of its Kellogg, Brown & Root subsidiary in early 2006. As the result of the Soros effort against Halliburton, the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stock plummeted from $40 a share to $26 a share. Soros, a longtime hedge fund and currency speculator who profits from crises and financial collapses, bought 2 million shares of Halliburton at its low share price of $26 per share. He then, according to WMRÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s financial industry sources, ordered his Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressiveÃ¢â‚¬Â recipients of funding to ease off on their criticism of Halliburton. The result was that Halliburton shares increased to $50 a share. Soros earned a cool $40 million from his manipulation of the politics and finances surrounding Vice President Dick CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s old firm.
SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ manipulation of the progressive media is highlighted in an article by Michael Barker, a doctoral student at Griffith University in Australia, titled Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Soros Media Ã¢â‚¬ËœEmpire.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ role in Ã¢â‚¬Å“democracy manipulationÃ¢â‚¬Â is cited in the article: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Soros FoundationsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ most recent annual report shows that Soros still remains a force to be reckoned with among democracy manipulators, as the entire Soros Foundations Network distributed over $400 million worth of grants in 2006.Ã¢â‚¬Â
SaakashviliÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own ties with Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressive journalistsÃ¢â‚¬Â linked to Soros are highlighted by his friendship with Scott Horton, a journalist with HarperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Horton hired Saakashvili in 1994 to work for him at the New York law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler after the Georgian graduated from Columbia Law School. Other Patterson, Belknap et al. alumni include former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and current Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Saakashvili referred to Horton as his Ã¢â‚¬Å“colleagueÃ¢â‚¬Â at a July 2006 seminar at the neocon citadel, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC.
In January of this year, Saakashvili won the presidential election amid opposition charges of fraud. Opposition Labor Party officials charged that Saakashvili supporters voted more than once at multiple polling places. The verdict from Florida Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings, an impeached former federal judge, was that he saw no evidence of election fraud. Hastings was heading an election observer delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation on Europe (OSCE), an organization that his been co-opted by Soros.
In 2006, when SaakashviliÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s police arrested opposition leaders, Konstantin Zatulin, an exiled former Georgian security chief and leader of the opposition Justice Party, told MoscowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ekho Moskvy radio station that one of those arrested in Georgia was the head of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anti-Soros Movement.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Russia is taking intense heat from not only the neocon media in its reprisal against Georgian aggression against South Ossetia, but also from the usual Soros-funded Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressiveÃ¢â‚¬Â media outlets, print, broadcast, and web-based.
WMR has taken quite a beating over the years from parties funded by Soros.
Mr. Soros does not enjoy Secret Service protection.