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GM Stabs Obama in the Back,
Wrecks German-Russian Deal

Nov. 6, 2009 (EIRNS)—The decision by General Motors, which is majority-owned by the U.S. government, to pull out of a nearly completed deal to sell its European division Opel, to a Russian-backed group led by Canada's Magna, has created great consternation in both Germany and Russia. First, the decision was made and announced without previous discussion with the German government, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel was in the United States addressing a joint session of Congress, the first such address by a German leader, since 1957. The Germans, who had already advanced considerable money as bridge financing to keep Opel afloat while it restructured, feel betrayed. Expectations are that GM's continued ownership will result in cuts of up to 10,000 jobs, or about 20% of the workforce.

It also appears that GM made the decision without informing, or consulting with President Obama, thus undercutting U.S. relations with Germany, despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury is GM's majority shareholder, with about a 60-percent stake as a result of providing more than $50 billion in loans and other aid to GM. This GM decision led Lyndon LaRouche to call for decisive action against the GM leadership by the Administration:

What action is going to be taken against General Motors, then? The U.S. must take some action. GM has been bailed out by the U.S. government, and now they have turned around and double-crossed the President of the United States on a business deal. The President was screwed. This is not personal. It is more than personal. No matter how bad the President may be, you don't screw the President of the United States. No matter what mistakes the President may make, you don't screw the institution of the Presidency, especially when, in the case of GM, it has received so much from the U.S. They have no right to do this. When the President has bailed out your company, you should at least consult with the President before taking such an action. Maybe they should be made to pay some penalty. Maybe they should be taught a lesson. Maybe GM has not been civilized yet.

LaRouche advocated that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder look into the matter, to see if there is fraud involved.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the about-face after months of talks would leave a bitter taste in some European mouths. "We will have to take into account this style of dealing with partners in the future, though this scornful approach toward partners mainly affects the Europeans, not us," Putin told a cabinet meeting in Moscow Nov. 5. "GM did not warn anyone, did not speak to anyone ... despite all the agreements reached and documents signed. Well, I think it is a good lesson."

German officials have condemned GM's decision, and demanded the return of a loan. A member of a German trust overseeing Opel told Reuters on Nov. 4 that Opel owes state and Federal governments about 900 million euros.