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Austerity & Fascism In Greece – The Real 1% Doctrine
EU plotting coup in Greece

By Alexander Mercouris

On the same day as Varoufakis confirms that Greece will pay the next instalment on its IMF loan (did they get the money from Russia? - possibly) we read this article in the Financial Times that baldly states that the EU is plotting a coup there.

The article provides so much detail and is so obviously well-sourced that I have no doubt that ideas of overthrowing the current democratically elected Greek government are indeed circulating.

To be clear, that is what is being proposed. Such a radical re engineering of the Greek government as is being discussed, hiving off Syriza's moderate wing (supposedly led by Tsipras of all people) to cobble together an alliance with two oligarchic controlled centre left factions (they are no longer parties in any true sense), would so fundamentally change the character of the government that it would amount to its overthrow.

Having previously engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected governments of George Papandreou and Silvio Berlusconi in Greece and Italy and having participated in the overthrow of the democratically elected Yanukovych government in the Ukraine, it seems the European leadership is becoming as addicted to regime change as the US is. Note the astonishing contempt for democracy in the last paragraph where an EU official is reported as complaining that an EU engineered economic collapse might instead of undermining support for Syriza consolidate it.

Let us put aside for one moment the utter hypocrisy and immorality of this idea. Let us focus instead on the immediate political implications.
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of modern Greek history would know what an utterly calamitous idea this is. Greek history since the 1930s has been peppered with externally supported right wing oligarchic led coups against democratically elected left wing governments. The intense bitterness this has caused in Greece lies behind the extreme political polarisation that one finds in Greece, which has directly resulted in the emergence of Syriza.

The coup the EU hardliners are proposing is suspiciously like a similar "constitutional" coup engineered by the Greek monarchy in 1965 in order to overthrow the centre left government of George Papandreou Senior (father of Andreas Papandreou and grandfather of George Papandreou Junior). That too involved engineering a split in the ruling centre-left party - the Centre Union - by arranging the defection of its "moderate" wing so as to separate it from its "radical" wing so as to form right wing oligarchic controlled "coalition" governments aligned with the monarchy.

This episode has never been forgotten or forgiven in Greece where it is referred to as the "apostasia" (the nearest equivalent English words would be the "betrayal" or the "treason" but they do not capture the strength of the Greek original which has almost religious connotations - as in the English derivative "apostasy"). In the immediate term it caused a severe political crisis that led directly to the military coup of 1967 when it became clear that the "radical" rump of what was left of the once ruling centre left party was about to sweep to victory in parliamentary elections. The sequel to that was that the monarchy became so discredited that when democracy was eventually restored it fell.

For many Greeks the whole point of joining the EU was precisely to make such things impossible. The idea that something so similar might be done again this time by the EU in order to perpetuate a deeply hated austerity programme that the EU was imposing on Greece and which the Greek people have rejected in a democratic election is incendiary.

I would quickly say that whatever view one has of Tsipras I am absolutely sure he both knows modern Greek history well enough and has the political integrity to refuse absolutely to be party to such a scheme, which quite apart from anything else would bury his political career.
All the same, if the EU wants to create a genuinely revolutionary situation in Greece in which the EU itself was the target, then all I can say is they are going about it in the right way.

Quote:From the Financial Times

Eurozone authorities' frustration with Greece has grown so intense that a change in the current Athens government's make-up, however far-fetched, has become a frequent topic of conversation on the sidelines of bailout talks.

Many officials up to and including some eurozone finance ministers have suggested privately that only a decision by Alexis Tsipras, Greek prime minister, to jettison the far left of his governing Syriza party can make a bailout agreement possible.

The idea would be for Mr Tsipras to forge a new coalition with Greece's traditional centre-left party, the beleaguered Pasok, and To Potami (The River), a new centre-left party that fought its first general election in January.

"Tsipras has to decide whether he wants to be prime minister or the leader of Syriza," said one European official.
A senior official in a eurozone finance ministry added: "This government cannot survive."

Members of Syriza's moderate wing admit there is a problem with the Left Platform, the official internal opposition that represents about a third of the party and controls enough MPs to bring down the government if it were to rebel in a parliamentary vote.

"We used to be more debating society than political party . . . so it is hard to get a system of party discipline up and running," said one Syriza official. "But you have to remember we've been in power less than 100 days."

Under the leadership of Panayotis Lafazanis, almost as popular a figure in the party as the prime minister, Left Platform members say they will veto structural reforms that are being pushed hard by Greece's creditors in the current round of bailout talks.

Yet even though Mr Tsipras had adopted a more moderate stance in his dealings with Brussels and Berlin, it is too soon to expect him to risk an open clash with his left wing, according to observers in Athens.

To win the support of Pasok and To Potami, Mr Tsipras would also have to dump his right-of-centre coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks.

"It would be desirable to move to a more coherent pro-European centre-left coalition compared with this unseemly union of the radical left with the populist right," said George Pagoulatos, a professor of political economy at Athens business university. "But it is premature for the moment."

Eurozone officials insist they are not trying to force a change in the government sensitive to accusations the EU was complicit in ending the tenure of George Papandreou, Greece's prime minister at the start of the eurozone crisis, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian premier until late 2011. Tsipras has to decide whether he wants to be prime minister or the leader of Syriza.

But they also admit exasperation with Mr Tsipras's failure to choose between the Left Platform's demands for a complete rejection of the bailout programme and a more pragmatic approach that would include an outreach to more centrist potential allies in parliament.

In Athens, Mr Tsipras is seen as still unwilling to reveal his moderate side.

"The signals he gives are confusing, but some actions point towards a major shift in policy," said Aris Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics and legal theory at the University of Athens. "There is one narrative at home and another more co-operative one when he goes abroad."

Obstacles remain to any joining up with Pasok and To Potami. Pasok is seen by the majority of Syriza supporters as part of the corrupt old political system that brought down the Greek economy and then failed to implement reforms agreed with the EU and International Monetary Fund.

Moreover, the party is in turmoil after a poor showing at the January election, and a new leadership may not emerge for several months.

Stavros Theodorakis, leader of To Potami, has said he is willing to team up with the Syriza government, but only if Mr Tsipras agrees to sit down and negotiate a joint programme.

Eurozone frustration has spilt over into relations with Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's charismatic finance minister who is viewed as lukewarm towards the country's future in the eurozone.

European officials argue that he is frequently condescending and lecturing to his eurozone counterparts in meetings a tendency that has alienated even potential allies.

With the bailout talks moving at a snail's pace and a cash crunch looming, Mr Varoufakis flew to Washington on Sunday for a meeting with Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director.

Mr Varoufakis requested the meeting partly to reassure Ms Lagarde that Greece would be able to repay a €450m loan tranche, due this week, despite a liquidity squeeze, but also to send a message that he is still in charge of the bailout talks.

Efforts to sideline Mr Varoufakis have occasionally burst into public. Michael Noonan, the Irish finance minister, suggested last month that bailout negotiations were being taken away from Mr Varoufakis's finance ministry and handed over to Yannis Dragasakis, the deputy prime minister, who some see as more pragmatic.

Despite Mr Tsipras's continued domestic popularity, Greek opposition figures argue that backing will fade as Syriza continues to make concessions to eurozone authorities and the cash squeeze worsens. One opposition leader predicted voter sentiment would shift in a month or two.

Others are less sure. One person briefed on the EU's negotiating stance said concern was rising in Brussels that if the continued stalemate forced Greece to impose capital controls to prevent a bank run, this could strengthen Syriza's populist appeal rather than sparking disillusionment among voters.

The sentence culminating in this - "a more pragmatic approach that would include an outreach to more centrist potential allies in parliament" - gives off the authentic whiff of American English, and thus either State or Langley.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche

IMF Internal Meeting Predicts Greek 'Disaster', Threatens to Leave Troika

Read the PDF or HTML transcript of the IMF internal meeting.
by Julian Assange
Today, 2nd April 2016, WikiLeaks publishes the records of a 19 March 2016 teleconference between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis - Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF's European Department, and Delia Velkouleskou, the IMF Mission Chief for Greece. The IMF anticipates a possible Greek default co-inciding with the United Kingdom's referendum on whether it should leave the European Union ('Brexit').
"This is going to be a disaster" remarks Velkouleskou in the meeting.
According to the internal discussion, the IMF is planning to tell Germany that it will abandon the Troika (composed of the IMF, European Commission and the European Central Bank) if the IMF and the Commission fail to reach an agreement on Greek debt relief.
Thomsen: "Look you, Mrs. Merkel, you face a question: you have to think about what is more costly, to go ahead without the IMF--would the Bundestag say 'The IMF is not on board?', or [to] pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board?"
Remaining in the Troika seems an increasingly hard sell internally for the IMF, because non-European IMF creditor countries view the IMF's position on Greece as a violation of its policies elsewhere of not making loans to countries with unsustainable debts.
In August the IMF announced it would not participate in last year's €86 billion Greek bailout, which was covered by EU member states. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde stated at the time that the IMF's future participation was contingent on Greece receiving "significant debt relief" from creditors. Lagarde announced that a team would be sent to Greece, headed by Velkouleskou.
Thomsen said internally that the threat of an imminent financial catstrophe is needed to force the other players into a "decision point". For Germany, on debt relief, and In the case of Greece, to accept the IMF's austerity "measures," -- including raising taxes and cutting Greek pensions and working conditions. However the UK "Brexit" referendum in late June will paralyse European decision making at the critical moment.
"I am not going accept a package of small measures. I am not..." said Thomsen. "What is going to bring it all to a decision point? In the past there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when [the Greeks] were about to run out of money seriously and to default. [...] And possibly this is what is going to happen again. In that case, it drags on until July, and clearly the Europeans are not going to have any discussions for a month before the Brexits..."
Last year Greek Finance Minister Tsakalotos accused the IMF of imposing "draconian measures," including on pension reform. While Velkouleskou concedes in the meeting that "What is interesting though is that [Greece] did give in... they did give a little bit on both the income tax reform and on the.... both on the tax credit and the supplementary pensions."
But Thomsen's view is that the Greeks "are not even getting close [to coming] around to accept[ing] our views." Velkouleskou argues that "if [the Greek government] get pressured enough, they would... But they don't have any incentive and they know that the Commission is willing to compromise, so that is the problem."
Velkouleskou: "We went into this negotiation with the wrong strategy, because we negotiated with the Commission a minimal position and we cannot go further [whereas] the Commission is just starting from this one and is willing to go much further. So, that is the problem. We didn't negotiate with the Commission and then put to the Greeks something much worse, we put to the Greeks the minimum that we were willing to consider and now the Greeks are saying [that] we are not negotiating."
While the Commission insists on a Primary Government Budget Surplus (total tax minus all government expenditure excluding debt repayments) of 3.5%; the IMF thinks that this target should be set at 1.5% of GDP. As Thomsen puts it, "if [Greece] come around to give us 2.5% [of GDP in tax hikes and pension-wage-benefits cuts]... we should be fully behind them." -- meaning that the IMF would, in exchange for this fresh austerity package, support the reduction of the Primary Surplus Target imposed upon them from the 3.5% that the European Commission insists on to 1.5%.
These targets are described as "very crucial" to the IMF. The IMF officials ask Thomsen "to reinforce the message about the agreement on the 2.5%, because that is not permeating and it is not sinking very well with the Commission."
At one point, Velkouleskou refers to an unusual solution: to split the problem into two programs with two different targets: "The question is whether [the Europeans] could accept the medium term targets of the Commission, for the purposes of the program, and our targets for the purposes of debt relief." Thomsen further explains that "They essentially need to agree to make our targets the baseline and then have something in that they hope that will overperform. But if they don't, they will still disburse."
The EWG [Euro Working Group] needs to "take a stand on whether they believe our projections or the Commission's projections." The IMF's growth projections are the exact opposite of the Commission's. The Commission projects a GDP growth of 0.5%, and the IMF a GDP decline of 0.5% (even if Greece accepts all the measures imposed by the IMF).

REVEALED: The sordid wrangling between the IMF and EU which shows Greek democracy is dead

BANKERS have been caught red-handed apparently plotting to drive Greece to the brink of bankruptcy as part of a pathetic squabble with the EU which has effectively killed off the country's democracy.

By Nick Gutteridge
PUBLISHED: 00:00, Mon, Apr 4, 2016 | UPDATED: 00:14, Mon, Apr 4, 2016

[Image: greek-657911.jpg]GETTY
Bankers have been caught plotting to drive Greece to the brink of bankruptcyFinanciers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are prepared to force millions of Greeks into abject poverty to secure a petty political victory over Brussels, according to a leaked conversation between top officials.
The sordid wrangling shows just how dead Greece's supposed democracy is, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras now powerless to defend his people from its puppet paymasters in Berlin and Washington, where the IMF is based.
The international lender even wanted to use Britain's EU referendum as an excuse to drive the struggling country to the wall so that it could get its own way.

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Greek politicians have reacted with fury to the revelations, and have demanded immediate answers from IMF boss Christine Lagarde. In a response today she astonishingly asked Greece's former finance minister to "respect the privacy" of her staff, but also denied that the organisation would use his country's insolvency as a bargaining chip.
But in truth they have no power to change the situation, with their country now entirely reliant on international bailouts to stay afloat.
The shocking plot has been revealed in a leaked transcript of a meeting between two top IMF officials released by the whistle blowing website Wikileaks.
[Image: migrant-504240.jpg]AFP
Greece is in the grip of the huge migrant crisis[Image: greek-504241.jpg]GETTY
Greece's democracy has been eroded by a tug of war between the IMF and the EUThe conversation, on 19 March, purportedly involves Poul Thomsen, head of the IMF's Europe department, and Delia Velculescu, leader of the IMF team in Greece, who are the senior officials in charge of Greece's debt crisis.
They are apparently discussing how to get the EU - and Angela Merkel in particular - to come around to their way of thinking over a restructuring of Greek debt.
The IMF says it will only sign up to a deal which involves debt relief for the stricken nation, a position Germany emphatically rejects.
The two parties are due to meet next week to discuss the next financial instalment for Greece, which will need fresh funding in the summer to avert a costly default.
[Image: Yanis-Varoufakis-504242.jpg]GETTY
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis reacted furiously to the revelations[Image: imf-504243.jpg]GETTY
Many Greeks are furious at the stringent conditions attached to international bailouts During the conversation it is apparently suggested that the international lender should be prepared to bring about an "event" - in other words a financial crisis bringing Greece to the point of collapse - to force the issue to a head.
In the leaked transcript Mr Thomsen is quoted as complaining about the pace of talks on reforms Greece has agreed to carry out in exchange for the bailout.
He asks: "What is going to bring it all to a decision point?
"In the past there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when they were about to run out of money seriously and to default."

Protests in Greece turn violent

Fri, February 12, 2016

Protests in Greece turn violent as over 45,000 people take to the streets to demonstrate against the cuts to pensions.

Play slideshow

[/url] [url=] [Image: 106312.jpg] EPA

1 of 23
Farmers protest in central Athens against the hike in taxes and planned pension reforms

It's time to stop Greece's fiscal waterboarding by an incompetent, misanthropic troika
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
Ms Velculescu later agrees, saying: "We need an event, but I don't know what that will be".
Mr Thomsen also appears to suggest the IMF could pull out of the bailout altogether to force German Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree to debt relief.
Such a move could be politically difficult for Mrs Merkel, the key figure in the crisis.
He says: "Look..., Mrs Merkel, you face a question, you have to think about what is more costly: to go ahead without the IMF, would the Bundestag say 'the IMF is not on board?' or to pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board? Right?"
He adds that, if Greece were to default, talks could be further delayed by Britain's referendum on EU membership.
Following the revelations former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis raged: "As WikiLeaks revealed today, the IMF is planning to stall until July to bring Greece to its knees again in order to force Angela Merkel's hand.
"It's time to stop Greece's fiscal waterboarding by an incompetent, misanthropic troika."

Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism??A Guide to Our Future, added: "It's clear from the transcript that the IMF has become a playground for neoliberal fantasists.
"To fantasise about inflicting yet another near bankruptcy on a teetering democracy reveals levels of insouciance about the welfare of human beings and the sovereignty of states incompatible with a democratic organisation.
"It proves, yet again, that the core of the economic doctrine that guides the global elite is the determination not to "give a s***" about real people, but to impose the doctrine even at the cost of state failure."
The IMF declined to comment, but said its public position on the matter was clear.
And in a letter to Mr Varoufakis today, its head Ms Lagarde wrote: "Any speculation that IMF staff would consider using a credit event as a negotiating tactic is simply nonsense.
"The IMF conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats, and we do not communicate through leaks."
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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