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Magda Hassan
12-13-2008, 07:49 AM
This is the best article I have read so far on the current events in Greece.

Greek Teenagers

December 12, 2008 By Nikos Raptis As always, to understand what is going on today (Dec.11, '08) in Greece (or any place) one has to go back in time a few decades. Let us make the effort.

A few weeks after the "departure", in 1974, of the US-supported dictatorship in Greece, I was in the luxurious ground floor of the Bank of Greece where I was filling some forms to secure the necessary exchange for the purchase of a book from a US publisher. I was sitting at a long heavy table. It was early in the day, there were not many people in the huge ground floor and the two security policemen there came and sat at the other end of the table and started chatting. I was wearing a US-made sport jacket. They took me for a foreigner and started talking freely. The older (fat) one says: "So, Karamanlis came from Paris [after the dictatorship] and instead of giving us money, the asshole bought helmets and riot gear for us". That, Karamanlis, was the uncle of the (rather rotund) present Karamanlis, the Prime Minister of Greece. Karamanlis, the uncle, is referred to as the "Ethnarch" [the "father" of the nation]. Actually, he was a US-chosen rightist proxy to administer Greece on behalf of the US in the early 1950s. He died a few years ago and he demanded that his corpse be buried in a private lot on which a memorial building was erected mimicking the building of the usual "presidential library" of the US Presidents. The burial in a private space is illegal in Greece.

Six years after the above dialogue, between the two policemen, in November 1980, the riot police attack the demonstrators that were marching towards the US Embassy during the yearly march commemorating the 1973 uprising of the students against the dictatorship. The Karamanlis [uncle] police kill 26-year-old Iakovos Koumis and Stamatina Kanellopoulou, a young worker, by crushing their skulls.

In 1981 the "socialists" (PASOK) win the elections. Andreas Papandreou, the US educated professor of economics at Berkley, becomes Prime Minister. His first act: he DOUBLES the salaries of the policemen! Four years later, in 1985, the Papandreou police kill 15-year-old Michael Kaltezas by shooting him in the back of his head, again during the yearly demonstration of the uprising. The killer is acquitted. That same year, Catharine John Bool [spelling?], a 22-year-old American is killed by the Greek police, for refusing to have her car searched by them. Around that period a young Turkish man is beaten to death in an Athens police station. The Greek press never includes his name in the usual list of persons killed by the Greek police. This list consists of the names of about one hundred persons killed by the "socialist" or the rightist police, from 1974 to this day. Not a single policeman was ever convicted. The latest murder is that of the 15-year-old Alexis Gregoropoulos, son of an upper middle class family, six days ago in Athens.

The Greek people, early on, had adopt the "battle-cry": "Coppers Pigs Murderers!"

For 34 years, from 1974 to 2008, the Greek politicians, both "socialists" and rightists, as expected, have stolen millions of dollars from the money of the state [that is of the Greek taxpayers]. The latest scandal, in the tune of tens of millions of Euros, involves the government of Karamanlis [nephew] and the pious monks of a monastery on the "Sacred Mount of Athos". It is quite interesting [or quite amusing] how the "professional" Christians bestow sacredness to all kinds of material entities. For example, the above monks, besides living on a sacred mountain, they claim to have the "Sacred Belt" that belonged to the Virgin Mary mother of Jesus, the son of God.

Today these Greek politicians, mostly US-educated and some of them from Harvard or the London School of Economics, have managed to bring the young Greeks who have a university degree in engineering, or in medicine, or in law, etc to the point of a yearly income of about US $ 12,000, if they are lucky to have a job. While life in Greece is as expensive, if not more expensive, than life in Berlin or Paris.

Inevitably, the killing of the teenager was apt to cause an "explosion". The important new development, compared to previous "explosions", was that it spread as a revolt all over Greece. Usually, in the past, the violent demonstrations took place in Athens and Salonica.

Here is a very brief recording of what happened after the killing of the 15-year-old Alexis:

- On Thursday, Dec. 4, there are country-wide demonstrations by students protesting the attempt of the rightist government to downgrade the state-supported public universities. The police, in Athens, beat severely a student who is hospitalized with heavy injuries. On the same day, 3,500 farmers of central Greece block with their cars and their trucks the main North-South highway of Greece, cutting the country in two, protesting the policies of the government that have turned them into heavily debt-ridden paupers.

- On Saturday, Dec. 6, Alexis is killed 25 minutes after 9 p.m., in cold blood, according to half a dozen eye witnesses. One hour later a violent reaction by the direct-action faction of Greek anarchists is initiated in Athens and eight more cities in Greece. The fight against the police goes on all night long.

- On Sunday, Dec. 7, around midday a crowd assembles in front of the Athens National Archaeological Museum [a building visited by millions of US citizens during the last 50 years]. The call to assemble was done through the Internet and SMSs. The crowd starts marching peacefully. After a little they clash with the police and the crowd starts burning mostly banks, car dealerships and big businesses. This goes on all night.

- On Monday, Dec. 8, around 6 p.m.a huge crowd of thousands of people gather at the central building of the University of Athens. Even before the crowd starts to march there are violent contacts with the police. Burning and breaking of shop windows goes on all night long. The same happens in 19 more cities and towns of the country.

- On Tuesday, Dec. 9, around 12 noon a huge crowd of pupils, students, high school teachers, university professors start to demonstrate. There are clashes with the police. Later in the afternoon the funeral of Alexis is attended by about 4,000 people. The police attacks them. Riots go on all through the night. Looting starts, mostly by immigrants, who do not take part in the riots, and by some Greeks. The same holds for most Greek cities and towns.

- On Wednesday, Dec. 10, there is a General Strike all over the country. The rioters this time are mostly pupils and students. They attack mostly police stations hurtling, eggs, tomatoes, bitter oranges [also known as Seville oranges], and stones.

- Today, Thursday, Dec. 11, it is mostly pupils and students (14 to 17-year-olds, boys and girls) attacking police stations again with the above mentioned missiles. A few blocks from my place at Halandri, in Athens, the police station is being attacked by high school kids Also, today, there is a tally of the damage done during the riots. Around 565 shops were damaged or completely destroyed, hundreds arrested (half of them looting immigrants), an estimated US $ 1 billion plus in damages, and (most important) 4,200 units of police chemicals spent indiscriminately against Greek citizens, raising the need to buy more chemicals from...Israel!

Now let us try to find out the meaning of this revolt:

But first an important parenthesis:

[Parenthesis: In the central hall of the police station of the Athens neighborhood that I was raised, there is a huge slab of white marble fixed on one of the walls with about a dozen names engraved on it. The names belonged to policemen who were executed in the police station the very first day of the December 1944 uprising of what is known as the "Greek Civil War" after the end of the Nazi occupation of Greece. The executed policemen were anti-communist Nazi collaborators and brutal torturers of members of the anti-Nazi Resistance, mostly communists.

To try to persuade people about the existence of police brutality is rather redundant. Recent cases as the sodomizing of the young black in a Manhattan subway station, or the revelations about the master-torturer police officer in Chicago are a minuscule recording of what is going on in police stations all over the face of the earth. So, no wonder that the first people to be punished during an uprising are the brutal policemen. The above marble slab is just a simple example.]

The groups that took part in the uprising after the murder of the 15-year-old kid are the following:

- A minuscule part of direct-action anarchists.

- A group of non-violent anarchists spread all over Greece, numbering in the hundreds.

- The usual police "plants" in the anarchist groups.

- A very dangerous group of police officers, of the Blackwater-type of individuals [assisted by neo-Nazis], masquerading as anarchists. [See below].

- The "KKE" (Communist Party of Greece), "traditional" communists, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

- The "Coalition of the Radical Left" ("Coalition" from now on). A formerly Eurocommunist split from KKE, numbering, now, in the hundreds of thousands.

- The "Greens", numbering in the thousands

- University students, numbering in the tens of thousands.

- High school kids, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

[The numbering refers to the power of each group in general and does not refer to the number of persons that took part in the uprising.]

The burning and breaking was done by the direct-action anarchists, the Blackwater-type pigs [assisted by the neo-Nazis], and some students and pupils.

The KKE masses demonstrated in the traditional way of marching in extreme discipline and departed. They carried the usual red flags, however the flagpoles were of the size and strength of baseball bats. This was a warning to the pigs and their political choreographers, that they meant business. The pigs got the message.

The Coalition people and the Greens demonstrated in the traditional way but they were there to assist the up-risen youths.

The uprising was carried out by the students and the teenagers, especially the teenagers!

What is of paramount importance is not the journalistic reporting or the burning, the looting, etc, but the incidents, events, and statements that show what is happening in the Greek society now. Here are some of these events:

- The head of the National Federation of Traders, Demitris Armenakis, representing the owners of the shops that were destroyed said: "No (material) damage can be compared to the life of a young man". This moral statement, coming from a person that suffered material damage, has impressed most Greeks.

- From some police stations the information leaked out that some of the policemen demanded and succeeded to take the guns out of the hands of their violent-prone colleagues.

- At some point ordinary citizens of all ages who usually are fence-sitters were so angry with the behavior of the police during the demonstrations by the young that they tried to intervene and protect the kids. Some of the parents of the younger kids did the same, placing their bodies between their kids and the clubs of the pigs.

- Today, a deputy of the Greek parliament, belonging to the Coalition, walking with two friends on a side-street of the area of the riots spotted two muscular men wearing hoods who were holding stones and carrying sticks. The deputy asked them if they were policemen. They answered angrily that they were policemen, so what. The deputy and his friends chased them, but their age did not allow them to catch the young braves. This was described, publicly, in the evening news.

- In a very unfortunate moment, the General Secretary of KKE accused the Coalition that they "caress the ears " of the hooded persons that burn and destroy. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the KKE and the Coalition leaderships have a decades long enmity that is based partly in personal antipathies.

- The usual 1/3 of a any given population, that consider themselves conservative, that is crypto-fascist, still consider the up-risen kids and the murdered child as "punks", "brats", "dirty bastards", and regard the murderer policeman as a hero.

- Two well known lawyers initially accepted the defense of the murderer, but after talking to him they declined to represent him. Eventually, a lawyer, by the name of Alexis Kougias, who has been in the forefront of the news for various reasons for almost a decade, accepted the job. Kougias stated publicly that the death of the kid was a "misinterpretation", that the death was the "will of God", and it is the job of the court to decide "if the death should have happened". We think that the case of Kougias is of great interest not only for the Greek society but also for the international community of intellectuals, university students, and ordinary people. We suggest that the Kougias case should be followed closely by all.

The conclusion drawn from the incidents of these six days in Greece : The uprising was in reality the uprising of the Greek teenagers. It was a Greek "intifada". The "weapons" used by the teenagers in this "intifada" were their burning anger, their maturity, and predominately... Seville oranges, the traditional Greek student weapon against the police. Their targets were the police stations. The police stations, whose historical meaning was touched briefly in the above parenthesis.

What might one expect after the "intifada" of the Greek teenagers? The rightist government of Karamanlis (the nephew) is mortally wounded. The "socialists" have been so corrupt during their two decades-long governing of the country that the young Greeks are repelled by them. What the kids are looking towards, are: the anarchists, the Coalition, and the KKE. Also, to a lesser degree towards the Greens.

A year ago the Coalition's voting power was a little above 3%. A few months ago it rose to almost 16%. Now it is back at about 9%. The KKE for years was constantly around 5%. Now it is close to 7%. The Greens seem to reach close to 3%. It is reasonable to expect that in the next elections the Left (Coalition, KKE, Greens) could achieve a total voting power of around 20% and even much more.

If the above estimates are correct, then the "intifada" of the Greek teenagers will give a hard time to the CIA analysts in Langley. These analysts initiated the 1967 dictatorship of the colonels. The result was that in 1974 the Communist Party was legal after decades of being outlawed. The murder of Alexis by a "copy" of a US "Rambo"-policeman that initiated the "intifada" of the Greek teenagers, could give birth to a new Left in Greece. Also, this is a very good opportunity for the Parecon vision to be promoted among the Greek teens. It seems that the Coalition has an affinity to the Parecon vision.

We shall see what happens. Let us hope that my estimate is correct.

http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19930

Magda Hassan
12-21-2008, 12:44 AM
The Rightwing Government is Headed for Its Downfall
Days of Rage in Greece

By PANOS PETROU

On the night of December 6, a special police squad in Athens murdered
a 15-year-old student in cold blood in Exarchia, a neighborhood with
a long tradition of activism among young people, the left and
anarchists.

This was only the latest instance of police brutality against
immigrants, and left-wing and anarchist activists--especially youth,
in the wake of a major youth resistance movement against
privatization of education that rattled the right-wing government of
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

The next day, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA),
revolutionary left organizations and anarchist activists called a
demonstration at police headquarters in Athens.

This was the first shock. Although the demonstration wasn't well
organized, and in spite of the climate of fear cultivated by the
government and the big media, tens of thousands of people came out in
the streets. At the same time, demonstrations were organized
spontaneously in smaller cities around the country.

The police attacked the demonstration, using chemical sprays and tear
gas. The demonstrators resisted by building barricades and bonfires
all night long in the center of Athens.

However, the real earthquake happened the next day. On December 8,
DEA members visited schools, proposing occupations and
demonstrations. We found out that the idea was already on the minds
of a majority of students. All schools in the country closed, and
thousands of students poured into the streets.

The students occupied the centers of cities all over Greece, and in
many cases, they besieged the police departments. The sizes of the
protests were huge, especially in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.
Hundreds of demonstrations took place in smaller towns, and even in
villages.

It was already obvious within a matter of days that this would be a
generalized explosion of youth after years of oppression, poverty and
deep cuts in the government's social spending.

The demonstrators made their objectives known: By targeting the
police department, they were attacking the government's authoritarian
policy of repression. By targeting the banks, they were attacking the
symbols of capitalism to show their anger with neoliberal policy.

That afternoon, SYRIZA called a demonstration for the center of
Athens. Despite the police presence and the use of tear gas, tens of
thousands of people participated. The police again used violence to
disperse the demonstrators.

What followed was a wild night of confrontations. More than 30 banks
and many big stores and public buildings were set on fire. The same
thing took place in other cities around the country.

In addition to students, the poor and immigrants came out to the
demonstrations. The hatred of police repression and the country's
rich was everywhere.

* * *

THE NEXT day, Tuesday morning, dawned on a terrified government.
Rumors circulated that Prime Minister Karamanlis intended to declare
a state of emergency in Athens and Thessaloniki, which would mean a
"temporary" suspension of all democratic and political freedoms.

But any such plans were withdrawn after the government realized the
strength of the demonstrations would cancel out the strength of any
"extraordinary measures."

Karamanlis called together the leaders of the political parties in
successive meetings, demanding their consent for stopping the crisis
with threats of brutal police intervention. It was obvious that
pressure was being was directed at the radical left coalition SYRIZA.

But the leadership of SYRIZA withstood it. The head of SYRIZA's
parliamentary group, Alekos Alavanos, came out of a meeting with
Karamanlis and called on the workers and students to continue their
struggle to topple the Karamanlis government. Alavanos also demanded
a "real apology" toward the youth--which would mean disarming the
police, the end of all privatization measures in education and a
policy to strengthen employment for young people.

Though pressed hard by the media, he made it clear that SYRIZA wasn't
participating in the riots, but he refused to condemn the "violence"
of the demonstrators, insisting that the point was the fight against
police violence.

One disappointing response was that of the Communist Party of Greece.
After meeting with Karamanlis, the party's secretary, Aleka Papariga,
denounced SYRIZA and demanded that it stop pandering to the
anarchists. The same line was taken by the leader of the right wing,
Georgios Karatzaferis, who also targeted SYRIZA and accused it of
being the "political wing" of the rioters.

The real problem, however, is the attitude taken by the large social
democratic party, PASOK, led by Georgios Papandreou. In order to
oppose Karamanlis' center-right New Democracy party, Papandreou
denounced the murder and police oppression. But at the same time, he
denounces the demonstrations, proposing instead silent candlelight
vigils to "mourn" the young student who was killed.

The murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos came as the economic crisis
reached a new level. Greece's trade unions had already called for a
24-hour general strike on December 12. But the social democratic
leadership of the Confederation of Greek Workers--terrified by the
wave of demonstrations and complying with Karamanlis' request--
canceled a labor rally planned for that day.

The rally did take place after a mobilization by SYRIZA and
organizations of the revolutionary left. It was massive, very
militant and peaceful. Participation in the strike call was almost
total. This broke through the climate of fear and scaremongering
promoted by the government.

As this article is being written, the movement is continuing, and no
one really knows what the future holds for Karamanlis.

The right-wing government is headed toward its downfall. Every
opinion poll shows that it has already suffered a huge loss of
support after the outbreak of big corruption scandals revolving
around illegal sales of public land in collaboration with the church.
The media in Greece think that Karamanlis won't be prime minister by
the summer of 2009.

DEA is participating enthusiastically in the resistance movement. We
support the unity of the young demonstrators fighting against
repression and the workers and their unions fighting against
exploitation.

To achieve unity, we need a left that is massive and effective, but
also a left that is radical--that can inspire all the people now in
struggle with the belief that this society, capitalism, should be
overthrown, and that an alternative that meets our needs, socialism,
is a feasible solution.

This is the potential presented clearly in front of us during the
days of struggle that have shaken Greece.

Panos Petrou is a member of Workers Internationalist Left (DEA, by
its initials in Greek) and part of the editorial board of DEA's
newspaper Workers' Left.

Peter Lemkin
12-21-2008, 08:22 AM
AMY GOODMAN: Protests, riots and clashes with police have overtaken Greece for the sixth straight day since the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy in Athens Saturday night. One day after Wednesdays massive general strike over pension reform and privatization shut down the country, more than a hundred schools and at least fifteen university campuses remain occupied by student demonstrators. A major rally is expected on Friday. And as solidarity protests spread to neighboring Turkey, as well as Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands, dozens of arrests have been made across the continent.


On Wednesday, two police officers involved in Saturdays shooting were arrested, and one was charged with murder. But anger remains high over the officers failure to express remorse at the students death. The police officers claim the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos was fired in self-defense, and the death was an accident caused by a ricochet.


The unrest this week has been described as the worst since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974 and could cost the already weakened Greek economy an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. Its also shaken the countrys conservative government that has a narrow one-person majority in Parliament. The socialist opposition has increased calls for the prime minister to quit and call new elections, ignoring his appeals for national unity.


Im joined now on the telephone by a student activist and writer from Athens. Hes with the Greek Socialist Workers Party. Hes a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Can you lay out for us exactly when this all began and how the protests have escalated and what theyre about right now, Nikos Lountos?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yes, Amy. Im very glad to talk with you.

So, we are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of actions now and protests and riots. It all started on Saturday evening at around 9:00 p.m., when a policeman patrolling the Exarcheia neighborhood in Athens shot and murdered in cold blood the fifteen-year-old schoolboy Alexis.

The first response was an attempt to cover up the killing. The police claimed that they had been attacked. But the witnesses all around were too many for this cover-up to happen. So, all the witnesses say that it was a direct shot. So even the government, in just a few hours, had to claim that it will move against the police, trying to calm the anger.

But the anger exploded in the streets. In three, four hours, all the streets around Athens were filled with young people demonstrating against the police brutality. The anti-capitalist left occupied the law school in the center of Athens and turned it into headquarters for action. And on Sunday, there was the first mass demonstration. Thousands of people of every age marched towards the police headquarters and to the parliament. And the next day, on Monday, all this had turned into a real mass movement all around Greece.

What was the most striking was that in literally every neighborhood in every city and town, school students walked out of their school on Monday morning. So you could see kids from eleven to seventeen years old marching in the streets wherever you could be in Greece, tens of thousands of school students, maybe hundreds of thousands, if you add all the cities. So, all around Athens and around Greece, there were colorful demonstration of schoolboys and schoolgirls. Some of them marched to the local police stations and clashed with the police, throwing stones and bottles. And the anger was so really thick that policemen and police officers had to be locked inside their offices, surrounded by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys and girls.

The picture was so striking that it produced a domino effect. The trade unions of teachers decided an all-out strike for Tuesday. The union of university lecturers decided a three-day strike. And so, there was the already arranged, you know, the strike you mentioned for Wednesday against the governments economic policies, so the process was generalizing and still generalizes.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, when you have this kind of mass protest, even with the beginning being something so significant as the killing of a student, it sounds like its taken place in like a dry forest when a match is thrown, a lit match, that it has caught on fire something that has been simmering for quite some time. What is that?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah, thats true. Everybody acknowledges that even the riots, the big riotsyou may have seen the videosthey are a social phenomenon, not just the result of some political incident. There were thousands of angry young people that came out in the streets to clash with the police and smash windows of banks, of five-star hotels and expensive stores. So, thats true. It was something that waited to happen.

I think its a mixture of things. We have a government thatsa government of the ruling party called New Democracy, a very right-wing government. It has tried to make many attacks on working people and students, especially students. The students were some form of guinea pigs for the government. When it was elected after 2004, they triedthe government tried to privatize universities, which are public in Greece, and put more obstacles for school students to get into university. The financial burden on the poor families if they want their children to be educated is really big in Greece. And the worst is that even if you have a university degree, even if you are a doctor or lawyer, in most cases, young people get a salary below the level of poverty in Greece. So the majority of young people in Greece stay with their families til their late twenties, many til their thirties, in order to cope with this uncertainty. And so, this mixture, along with the economic crisis and their unstable, weak government, was what was behind all this explosion.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos is a Greek activist and writer. Nikos, the protests have been picked up not only in Greece, but around the world. Were talking about the Netherlands, talking also about Russia and Italy and Spain and Denmark and Germany. What does it mean to the workers and the students in Greece now? How significant is that? Has that changed the nature of the protests back in Greece?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Its very good news for us to know that many people around the world are trying to show their solidarity to us. And I think its not only solidarity, but I think its the same struggle against police brutality, for democracy, against war, against poverty. Its the same struggle. So its really good news for us to hear about that.

I think you should know that the next Thursday will be the next day of action, of general action. Every day will have action, but next Thursday will be a day of general action. The students will be all out. And were trying to force the leaders of the trade unions to have a new general strike. So I could propose to people hearing me now that next Thursday would be a good day for solidarity action all around the world, to surround the Greek embassies, the consulates, so generally to get out in the streets and express your solidarity to our fight. And I think workers and students in Greece will really appreciate it.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the issue of civil liberties overall in Greece? Has this been a matter of controversy over time?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah. This government has a really awful record on civil liberties. It all began during the Olympics of 2004, aided also by the so-called anti-terrorist campaign started by George Bush after 9/11. During the Olympic Games, we had the first cameras in the streets of Athens. And there are now proofs that many phones were tapped illegally at that period, among them the phones of the leaders of the antiwar movement here in Greece, such as the coordinators of the Stop the War Coalition.

And then came the biggest scandal of all. In 2005, tens of Pakistani immigrants were abducted from their homes by unknown men. They were hooded and interrogated and then thrown away after some days in the streets of Athens. The Greek police, along with the British MI5, had organized these illegal abductions in coordination with the then-Pakistani government of Pervez Musharraf.

During the student movements and the workers strikes all these years, hundreds of beatings and more police brutality have covered up. Just one month ago, a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ashraf was murdered by riot police in Athens when the police dispersed the crowd of immigrants waiting to apply for a green card. And the immigrants in Greece in general are mainly from regions hit by warIraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan. And they are treated in awful conditions by the Greek state and police. Many people have died by shells in the borders or in the Aegean Sea, trying to get into Greece and then Europe. So its really an awful record for the government on civil liberties.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, finally, as we travel from Sweden to Germany, one of the things were looking at is the effect of the US election on the rest of the world. In a moment, well be joined by the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, the largest magazine in Europe. When President-elect Obama was elected, their headline was President of the World. What is the effect of the election of Barack Obama on people you know in Greece? What has been the reaction?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Well, you know, all these years we had a slogan here in the antiwar movement and the student movement that George Bush is the number-one terrorist. So, many people were happy when they learned that these will be the final days of George Bush and his Republican hawkish friends like John McCain. But, of course, people in Greece have experienced that having a different government doesnt always mean that things will be better. If the movement doesnt put its stamp on the changes, changing only persons will have no meaning. But people have appreciated the change in the US administration as a message of change all over the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Greek activist and writer. Hes with the Socialist Workers Party in Greece and a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.
AMY GOODMAN: Protests, riots and clashes with police have overtaken Greece for the sixth straight day since the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy in Athens Saturday night. One day after Wednesdays massive general strike over pension reform and privatization shut down the country, more than a hundred schools and at least fifteen university campuses remain occupied by student demonstrators. A major rally is expected on Friday. And as solidarity protests spread to neighboring Turkey, as well as Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands, dozens of arrests have been made across the continent.


On Wednesday, two police officers involved in Saturdays shooting were arrested, and one was charged with murder. But anger remains high over the officers failure to express remorse at the students death. The police officers claim the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos was fired in self-defense, and the death was an accident caused by a ricochet.


The unrest this week has been described as the worst since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974 and could cost the already weakened Greek economy an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. Its also shaken the countrys conservative government that has a narrow one-person majority in Parliament. The socialist opposition has increased calls for the prime minister to quit and call new elections, ignoring his appeals for national unity.


Im joined now on the telephone by a student activist and writer from Athens. Hes with the Greek Socialist Workers Party. Hes a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Can you lay out for us exactly when this all began and how the protests have escalated and what theyre about right now, Nikos Lountos?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yes, Amy. Im very glad to talk with you.

So, we are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of actions now and protests and riots. It all started on Saturday evening at around 9:00 p.m., when a policeman patrolling the Exarcheia neighborhood in Athens shot and murdered in cold blood the fifteen-year-old schoolboy Alexis.

The first response was an attempt to cover up the killing. The police claimed that they had been attacked. But the witnesses all around were too many for this cover-up to happen. So, all the witnesses say that it was a direct shot. So even the government, in just a few hours, had to claim that it will move against the police, trying to calm the anger.

But the anger exploded in the streets. In three, four hours, all the streets around Athens were filled with young people demonstrating against the police brutality. The anti-capitalist left occupied the law school in the center of Athens and turned it into headquarters for action. And on Sunday, there was the first mass demonstration. Thousands of people of every age marched towards the police headquarters and to the parliament. And the next day, on Monday, all this had turned into a real mass movement all around Greece.

What was the most striking was that in literally every neighborhood in every city and town, school students walked out of their school on Monday morning. So you could see kids from eleven to seventeen years old marching in the streets wherever you could be in Greece, tens of thousands of school students, maybe hundreds of thousands, if you add all the cities. So, all around Athens and around Greece, there were colorful demonstration of schoolboys and schoolgirls. Some of them marched to the local police stations and clashed with the police, throwing stones and bottles. And the anger was so really thick that policemen and police officers had to be locked inside their offices, surrounded by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys and girls.

The picture was so striking that it produced a domino effect. The trade unions of teachers decided an all-out strike for Tuesday. The union of university lecturers decided a three-day strike. And so, there was the already arranged, you know, the strike you mentioned for Wednesday against the governments economic policies, so the process was generalizing and still generalizes.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, when you have this kind of mass protest, even with the beginning being something so significant as the killing of a student, it sounds like its taken place in like a dry forest when a match is thrown, a lit match, that it has caught on fire something that has been simmering for quite some time. What is that?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah, thats true. Everybody acknowledges that even the riots, the big riotsyou may have seen the videosthey are a social phenomenon, not just the result of some political incident. There were thousands of angry young people that came out in the streets to clash with the police and smash windows of banks, of five-star hotels and expensive stores. So, thats true. It was something that waited to happen.

I think its a mixture of things. We have a government thatsa government of the ruling party called New Democracy, a very right-wing government. It has tried to make many attacks on working people and students, especially students. The students were some form of guinea pigs for the government. When it was elected after 2004, they triedthe government tried to privatize universities, which are public in Greece, and put more obstacles for school students to get into university. The financial burden on the poor families if they want their children to be educated is really big in Greece. And the worst is that even if you have a university degree, even if you are a doctor or lawyer, in most cases, young people get a salary below the level of poverty in Greece. So the majority of young people in Greece stay with their families til their late twenties, many til their thirties, in order to cope with this uncertainty. And so, this mixture, along with the economic crisis and their unstable, weak government, was what was behind all this explosion.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos is a Greek activist and writer. Nikos, the protests have been picked up not only in Greece, but around the world. Were talking about the Netherlands, talking also about Russia and Italy and Spain and Denmark and Germany. What does it mean to the workers and the students in Greece now? How significant is that? Has that changed the nature of the protests back in Greece?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Its very good news for us to know that many people around the world are trying to show their solidarity to us. And I think its not only solidarity, but I think its the same struggle against police brutality, for democracy, against war, against poverty. Its the same struggle. So its really good news for us to hear about that.

I think you should know that the next Thursday will be the next day of action, of general action. Every day will have action, but next Thursday will be a day of general action. The students will be all out. And were trying to force the leaders of the trade unions to have a new general strike. So I could propose to people hearing me now that next Thursday would be a good day for solidarity action all around the world, to surround the Greek embassies, the consulates, so generally to get out in the streets and express your solidarity to our fight. And I think workers and students in Greece will really appreciate it.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the issue of civil liberties overall in Greece? Has this been a matter of controversy over time?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah. This government has a really awful record on civil liberties. It all began during the Olympics of 2004, aided also by the so-called anti-terrorist campaign started by George Bush after 9/11. During the Olympic Games, we had the first cameras in the streets of Athens. And there are now proofs that many phones were tapped illegally at that period, among them the phones of the leaders of the antiwar movement here in Greece, such as the coordinators of the Stop the War Coalition.

And then came the biggest scandal of all. In 2005, tens of Pakistani immigrants were abducted from their homes by unknown men. They were hooded and interrogated and then thrown away after some days in the streets of Athens. The Greek police, along with the British MI5, had organized these illegal abductions in coordination with the then-Pakistani government of Pervez Musharraf.

During the student movements and the workers strikes all these years, hundreds of beatings and more police brutality have covered up. Just one month ago, a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ashraf was murdered by riot police in Athens when the police dispersed the crowd of immigrants waiting to apply for a green card. And the immigrants in Greece in general are mainly from regions hit by warIraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan. And they are treated in awful conditions by the Greek state and police. Many people have died by shells in the borders or in the Aegean Sea, trying to get into Greece and then Europe. So its really an awful record for the government on civil liberties.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, finally, as we travel from Sweden to Germany, one of the things were looking at is the effect of the US election on the rest of the world. In a moment, well be joined by the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, the largest magazine in Europe. When President-elect Obama was elected, their headline was President of the World. What is the effect of the election of Barack Obama on people you know in Greece? What has been the reaction?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Well, you know, all these years we had a slogan here in the antiwar movement and the student movement that George Bush is the number-one terrorist. So, many people were happy when they learned that these will be the final days of George Bush and his Republican hawkish friends like John McCain. But, of course, people in Greece have experienced that having a different government doesnt always mean that things will be better. If the movement doesnt put its stamp on the changes, changing only persons will have no meaning. But people have appreciated the change in the US administration as a message of change all over the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Greek activist and writer. Hes with the Socialist Workers Party in Greece and a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.

Peter Lemkin
12-21-2008, 08:47 AM
Greece 1964-1974
"Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution,"
said the President of the United States
excerpted from the book
Killing Hope
by William Blum

"It's the best damn Government since Pericles," the American two-star General declared. (The news report did not mention whether he was chewing on a big fat cigar.)
The government, about which the good General was so ebullient, was that of the Colonels' junta which came to power in a military coup in April 1967, followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a "communist takeover". Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory.
So brutal and so swift was the repression, that by September, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands were before the European Commission of Human Rights to accuse Greece of violating most of the Commission's conventions. Before the year was over Amnesty International had sent representatives to Greece to investigate the situation. From this came a report which asserted that "Torture as a deliberate practice is carried out by both Security Police and the Military Police."
The coup had taken place two days before the campaign for national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as prime minister. Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections. The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek Military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece.
Philip Deane (the pen name of Gerassimos Gigantes) is a Greek, a former UN official, who worked during this period both for King Constantine and as an envoy to Washington for the Papandreou government. He has written an intimate account of the subtleties and the grossness of this conspiracy to undermine the government and enhance the position of the military plotters, and of the raw power exercised by the CIA in his country. ... Greece was looked upon much as a piece of property to be developed according to Washington's needs. A story related by Deane illustrates how this attitude was little changed, and thus the precariousness of Papandreou's position: During one of the perennial disputes between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus, which was now spilling over onto NATO, President Johnson summoned the Greek ambassador to tell him of Washington's "solution". The ambassador protested that it would be unacceptable to the Greek parliament and contrary to the Greek constitution. "Then listen to me, Mr. Ambassador," said the President of the United States, "fuck your Parliament and your Constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant's trunk, whacked good.... We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about Democracy, Parliament and Constitutions, he, his Parliament and his Constitution may not last very long."
In July 1965, George Papandreou was finally maneuvered out of office by royal prerogative. The king had a coalition of breakaway Center Union Deputies (Papandreou's party) and rightists waiting in the wings to form a new government. It was later revealed by a State Department official that the CIA Chief-of-Station in Athens, John Maury, had "worked in behalf of the palace in 1965. He helped King Constantine buy Center Union Deputies so that the George Papandreou Government was toppled. For nearly two years thereafter, various short-lived cabinets ruled until it was no longer possible to avoid holding the elections prescribed by the constitution.
What concerned the opponents of George Papandreou most about him was his son Andreas Papandreou, who had been head of the economics department at the University of California at Berkeley and a minister in his father's cabinet, was destined for a leading role m the new government. But he was by no means the wide-eyed radical. In the United States Andreas had been an active supporter of such quintessential moderate liberals as Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey. His economic views, wrote Washington Post columnist Marquis Childs, were "those of the American New Deal".
But Andreas Papandreou did not disguise his wish to take Greece out of the cold war. He publicly questioned the wisdom of the country remaining in NATO, or at least remaining in It as a satellite of the United States. He leaned toward opening relations with the Soviet Union and other Communist countries on Greece's border. He argued that the swollen American military and intelligence teams in Greece compromised the nation's freedom of action. And he viewed the Greek Army as a threat to democracy, wishing to purge it if its most dictatorial- and royalist-minded senior officers.
Andreas Papandreou's bark was worse than his bite, as his later presidency was to amply demonstrate. (He did not, for example, pull Greece out of NATO or US bases out of Greece.) But in Lyndon Johnson's Washington, if you were not totally and unquestionably with us, you were agin' us. Johnson felt that Andreas, who had become a naturalized US citizen, had "betrayed America". Said LBJ:
"We gave the son of a bitch American citizenship, didn't we? He was an American, with all the rights and privileges. And he had sworn allegiance to the flag. And then he gave up his American citizenship. He went back to just being a Greek. You can't trust a man who breaks his oath of allegiance to the flag of these United States.
What, then, are we to make of the fact that Andreas Papandreou was later reported to have worked with the CIA in the early 1960s? (He criticized publication of the report, but did not deny the charge.) If true, it would not have been incompatible with being a liberal, particularly at that time. It was incompatible, as he subsequently learned, only with his commitment to a Greece independent from US foreign policy.
As for the elder Papandreou, his anti-communist credentials were impeccable, dating back to his role as a British-installed prime minister during the civil war against the left in 1944-45. But he, too, showed stirrings of independence from the Western superpower. He refused to buckle under Johnson's pressure to compromise with Turkey over Cyprus. He l accepted an invitation to visit Moscow, and when his government said that it would accept Soviet aid in preparation for a possible war with Turkey, the US Embassy demanded an explanation. Moreover, in an attempt to heal the old wounds of the civil war, Papandreou began to reintroduce certain civil liberties and to readmit into Greece some of those who had fought against the government in the civil war period.
When Andreas Papandreou assumed his ministerial duties in 1964 he was shocked to discover what was becoming a fact of life for every techno-industrial state in the world: an intelligence service gone wild, a shadow government with powers beyond the control of the nation's nominal leaders. This, thought Papandreou, unaccounted for many of the obstacles the government was encountering in trying to carry out its policies.
*****
A CIA report dated 23 January 1967 had specifically named the Papadopoulos group as one plotting a coup, and was apparently one of the reports discussed at the February meeting.
Of the cabal of five officers which took power in April, four, reportedly, were intimately connected to the American military or to the CIA in Greece. The fifth man had been brought in because of the armored units he commanded. George Papadopoulos emerged as the defacto leader, taking the title prime minister later in the year.
The catchword amongst old hands at the US military mission in Greece was that Papadopoulos was " the first CIA agent to become Premier of a European country".
*****
It was torture ... which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare [under Papadopoulos]. James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote In December 1969 that "a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand" the number of people tortured. It was an odious task for Becket to talk to some of the victims:
"People had been mercilessly tortured simply for being in possession of a leaflet criticizing the regime. Brutality and cruelty on one side, frustration and helplessness on the other. They were being tortured and there was nothing to be done. It was like listening to a friend who has cancer. What comfort, what wise reflection can someone who is comfortable give. Torture might last a short time, but the person will never be the same."
Becket reported that some torturers had told prisoners that some of their equipment had come as US military aid: a special "thick white double cable" whip was one Item; another was the headscrew, known as an "iron wreath", which was progressively tightened around the head or ears.
The Amnesty delegation described a number of the other torture methods commonly employed. Among these were:
a) Beating the soles of the feet with a stick or pipe. After four months of this, the soles of one prisoner were covered with thick scar tissue. Another was crippled by broken bones.
b) Serious incidents of sexually-oriented torture: shoving or an object into the vagina and twisting and tearing brutally; also done with a tube inserted into the anus; or a tube is inserted into the anus and water driven in under very high pressure.
c) Techniques of gagging: the throat is grasped in such a way that the windpipe is cut off, or a filthy
rag, often soaked in urine, and sometimes excrement, is shoved down the throat.
d) Tearing out the hair from the head and the pubic region.
e) Jumping on the stomach.
f) Pulling out toe nails and finger nails.
*****
The United States ... provided the junta with ample military hardware despite an official congressional embargo, as well as the police equipment required by the Greek authorities to maintain their rigid control.
In an attempt to formally end the embargo, the Nixon administration asked Papadopoulos to make some gesture towards constitutional government which the White House could then point to. The Greek prime minister was to be assured, said a secret White House document, that the administration would take "at face value and accept without reservation" any such gesture.
US Vice-president Spiro Agnew, on a visit to the land of his ancestors, was moved to exalt the "achievements" of the Greek government and its "constant co-operation with US needs and wishes". One of the satisfied needs Agnew may have had in mind was the contribution of $549,000 made by the junta to the 1968 Nixon-Agnew election campaign. Apart from any other consideration, it was suspected that this was money given to the junta by the CIA finding its way back to Washington. A Senate investigation of this question was abruptly canceled at the direct request of Henry Kissinger.
Perhaps nothing better captures the mystique of the bond felt by the Greeks to their American guardians than the story related about Chief Inspector Basil Lambrou, one of Athens well-known torturers:
"Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid. He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance 'You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we. Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S You can't fight us, we are Americans."
Amnesty International adds that some torturers would tell their victims things like "The Human Rights Commission can't help you now ... The Red Cross can do nothing for you. Tell them all, it will do no good, you are helpless." "The torturers from the start," said Amnesty, "had said that the United States supported them and that was what counted."
In November 1973, a falling-out within the Greek inner circle culminated in the ousting of Papadopoulos and his replacement by Col. Demetrios loannidis, Commander of the Military Police, torturer, graduate of American training in anti-subversive techniques, confidant of the CIA. loannidis named as prime minister a Greek-American, A. Androutsopoulos, who came to Greece after the Second World War as an official employee of the CIA, a fact of which Mr. Androutsopoulos had often boasted.
Eight months later, the loannidis regime overthrew the government of Cyprus. It was a fatal miscalculation. Turkey invaded Cyprus and the reverberations in Athens resulted in the military giving way to a civilian government. The Greek nightmare had come to an end.
Much of the story of American complicity in the 1967 coup and its aftermath may never be known. At the trials held in 1975 of junta members and torturers, many witnesses made reference to the American role. This may have been the reason a separate investigation of this aspect was scheduled to be undertaken by the Greek Court of Appeals. But it appears that no information resulting from this inquiry, if it actually took place, was ever announced. Philip Deane, upon returning to Greece several months after the civilian government took over, was told by leading politicians that "for the sake of preserving good relations with the US, the evidence of US complicity will not be made fully public".
Andreas Papandreou had been arrested at the time of the coup and held in prison for eight months. Shortly after his release, he and his wife Margaret visited the American ambassador, Phillips Talbot, in Athens. Papandreou related the following:
"I asked Talbot whether America could have intervened the night of the coup, to prevent the death of democracy in Greece. He denied that they could have done anything about lt. Then Margaret asked a critical question What if the coup had been a Communist or a Leftist coup? Talbot answered without hesitation. Then, of course, they would have intervened, and they would have crushed the coup."

Magda Hassan
12-24-2008, 12:18 PM
The Greek Populace

Chris: First, moving into the third week of rebellion, can you give an overview of events this week and into the foreseeable future? What is the mood of those protesting and of broader society more generally?

Nikos: Chris, allow me, before we go ahead with the interview, to make a few comments on the mood that I [or any other person] find myself in these days. For example, in the morning of December 18 I read in the news:

First: In the New York Times of December 17 we read: "Jose and his brother Romel [two Ecuadorian immigrants] appear to have been misidentified as gay as they walked home, arms around each other, on a predawn morning in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Romel managed to escape the three men who emerged from a passing car wielding a baseball bat and shouting anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets.

Jose was struck on the head with a bottle, then kicked and beaten into unconsciousness... and expired last Friday night, one day before his mother, who was traveling from Ecuador, could reach him".

Second: In today's Greek press we read: Alexis Gregoropoulos, the 15-year-old Greek, was murdered by a Greek policeman on December 6. Yesterday, 12 days after the murder of Alexis, around 11 am, a group of about 10 high school kids, members of the Coordinating Committee of their school, were assembled at an open public space at Peristeri [a rather downgraded part of Athens] discussing the program for the demonstrations of the next day. A shot was fired from some distance and a 17-year-old kid was hit on the palm of his right hand. The kid was operated upon this morning and a 38-caliber revolver bullet was extracted. According to the other kids a second shot was fired 10 minutes later from a closer distance.

The government covered up the incident for 14 hours. Whoever did it, he scared the lights out of the parents of the uprisen Greek teenagers. The police have already leaked the "information" that it was a "crazy" [neighbor] that did it. My estimate is that it was done by one of the neo-Nazis that the government uses to do its dirty work. Again, this is my guess.

Third: Again from the Greek press: The policeman that murdered the 15-year-old Alexis and the policeman with him during the act, were not jailed in the main Athens prison, as there was fear that the other prisoners might harm them. So, they were imprisoned in a small prison away from Athens. They were put in the same cell. Yesterday, after midnight, the murderer cop attacked his partner-cop in the cell, shouting that he [the partner] was a "demon" and that he [the murderer] wished to have a religious "confession" [to a priest]. The general feeling is that this is "theater" aiming to plead insanity for the pig. Also, as expected, it might be that the cop who did not use his gun is about to start "singing" and therefore the attack was in earnest.

One can claim that the reference to the existence of murderous assholes in any society is a truism. That is correct. However, what needs to be answered is: why these murderous assholes feel that in our "order-and-security" societies they will [tacitly] have the protection of the police and of the [by definition conservative] judiciary? This is not an exaggeration! Any honest observer of what is going on in our societies will come to this conclusion.

Now to answer your question:

The Events

The above items concerning Greece give you the answer for the most important events up to Wednesday, December 17. The wounding of the high school kid, in Peristeri, is taken very seriously by the ordinary Greeks. They are almost certain that whoever shot at the kid was shooting to kill. There is one eyewitness, who has not testified officially, yet. He attests that the shooting came from people dressed in civilian cloths in a car [a white "Citroen"] with a big radio antenna that sped away in a flash after the shooting. The police used to have this kind of car and antenna. This event, naturally, has increased the anger in the populace, especially of the revolted teenagers. On the other hand, after the shooting the parents will try to keep the kids out of the streets. Yet, the name of Peristeri, the site of shooting, is becoming an important word of the uprising. Already there has been a peaceful but massive demonstration at Peristeri to protest the shooting.

From December 17 to this day [Dec. 22] there were demonstrations but there were no burnings and damage of banks, shops, etc. in the downtown Athens area or other cities, as in the first days of the uprising. All these days since about December 17 the action has been precisely targeted and, in general, away from the center.


Chris: What were the targets and how significant were they?

Nikos: The choice of targets is very revealing and of great sociopolitical significance.

The targets were:

The headquarters of the riot Police.

The Police Academy, in New Philadelphia, in Northern Athens.

The French Institute, where the Greek youth acquires French as a second or third language. My estimate is that it was targeted because of the Sarkozy "phenomenon".

A government building where the data for people that have trouble paying, taxes, loans, etc. are stored.

Sit-in by laborers at the General Federation of Workers of Greece. A US "constructed" labor syndicate, since 1947.

Occupation of the law offices of Kougias, the "famous" lawyer who defends the policeman that murdered the young Alexis, and "tidying-up" of the establishment. Also, two attacks against Kougias at the city of Patras, this time the "illustrious" barrister was defended and saved by the police from possible severe "disciplining" by very angry youngsters.

Attack against the police unit that guards the central complex of court buildings in Athens.

Invasion of the National Theater and stopping of the show.

Pelting of the [perennial] rightist Mayor of Salonica, a former M.D. and a track and field athlete, with candy, bon bons and castor sugar. The verbal reaction of the "cultured" mayor towards the young people that "offered" him the sweets: "You social outcasts!" The bystanders approved of the act of the...young people.

One of the most important acts of the youths of Greece these last few days is the "creation" of the saga of the Christmas Tree at the very center of Athens, the Constitution Square. By the way, the Preamble of the US Constitution starts with the words "We the People". Article Three of the Greek Constitution dictates: "The established (used to be the "official") religion in Greece is the religion of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. The Orthodox Church of Greece, that recognizes as its head our Lord Jesus Christ...", and so on. No wonder that the mayors of Athens, "socialists" or rightists, always strived to erect the most glorious plastic Christmas Tree in Europe. As most of the people in the world have seen on their TV screens the huge Grecian Orthodox Christmas Tree [a.k.a. Tannenbaum] was burned by the Greek teenagers et al, in the first face of the uprising. The rightist mayor of Athens, a certain Nikitas Kaklamanis [also an M.D.], with zingy energy managed to erect a new glorious plastic Orthodox Christmas Tree, in record time. A few days before that, the personnel [doctors, nurses, etc.] of one of the most important hospitals in Athens stepped out of the hospital on the street and started cleaning the windshields of the passing cars [symbolically] asking for money to buy gauze for the operation rooms of the hospital as there were none in the hospital because of lack of money. In the previous rightist government Kaklamanis was Minister of...Health.

On Saturday, Dec. 20, a group of boys and girls, of the Superior School of Fine Arts [of University level] went to the central meat market in downtown Athens and asked the shopkeepers to "donate" to them all the spoiled meat available. The shopkeepers were more than enthusiastic and they added a half-boiled pig head to the donation. Then, securing and a sufficient number of plastic bags full of garbage, they proceeded to the Constitution Square and the Christmas tree. Where they started improving the decoration of the tree. The ordinary citizens present at the time encouraged the students. Finally, the riot police, and the firefighting trucks arrived, beat the hell out of the students and from then on the heroic policemen stand guard in full combat-gear all around the Orthodox Christmas Tree.

The "joyful" saga of the Christmas Tree was accompanied by a characteristic act of police brutality a few blocks from the Christmas Tree. A young soldier in mufti walked down a main Athens street with his girl friend. For no reason at all a group of policemen on the sidewalk attack them and beat the young man hurting one of his eyes. An eye-witness, a lawyer, intervenes. He gets rough treatment by the police. The young man is arrested and he is now accused with very serious crimes. The "soldier-case" has become a very serious case of police brutality for the Greeks.

About the foreseeable future. It seems that the present "intifada" of the Greek teenagers will not end as the youth uprisings of recent history [May '68, etc]. One new development that corroborates this view has been the spread of support for the Greek youth all over the world. My estimate is that the kids are very serious in the pursuit of their aims. Yet, no one can be certain. The most important future event is the nation-wide demonstration, on January 9, in memory of the murder of Nikos Temponeras, the young high school teacher of mathematics in the city of Patras years ago [in 1991], by the leader of the [rightist] Youth of New Democracy, the party of the present Greek government, who crushed the skull of the young teacher. This rather forgotten murder came back in the forefront because of the murder now of Alexis. My sense that is that the name of Temponeras, the martyr of Patras, will play a significant role with the teenagers as things develop. The 9th of January 2009 is a date to be studied with interest.

As to the mood of those protesting and the broader society, Chris allow me to dwell a bit on this subject.

As I have written in my previous ZNet Commentaries I think that in any given population, 1/3 of it, for a "strange" reason are people who consider themselves "conservative", that is "cryptofascist". Whether these people [mentioned as the "1/3" from now on] are born or "made" this way is irrelevant. This, naturally, holds also for the Greek population. These "conservative" Greeks think that the murderous armed policeman that killed Alexis, was defending himself, in the presence of half a dozen teenagers, and that he was right in killing the kid, whom they consider to be a bum. Also, they think that Kougias the "famous" lawyer is defending the policeman effectively, by claiming that the death of the kid was the "will of God" and that the "courts should decide if the death was necessary". If I may add a remark here Chris, this "1/3" of reactionary individuals might be the root of all evil in he world.

The Minister of Justice, one person named Chatzigakis, or something, in the Greek Parliament stated that the British Government not only forgave the policeman who killed the Brazilian youth during the attack against the London subway a few years ago, "but reinstated him to active service". Therefore the Greek government should, etc.

In the notoriously extreme rightist Sparta area, in Peloponnesus, there is a movement to raise money for the family of the murderous policeman!

A group of "intellectuals" signed a declaration that confirms Noam Chomsky's opinion about them. The tenor of their text was that the kids were not doing the right thing.

The worst reaction about the uprising of the teenagers was that of the Secretary of the central Committee of KKE [the Communist Party of Greece], Aleka Papariga. She insisted that this was not an "uprising", no matter how many the demonstrating youths. She claimed that revolutions happen only when the workers revolt under the guidance of the communist leadership. Also, she insinuated that the "Coalition of the Radical Left" [a formerly eurocommunist split from KKE] was condoning the burning, etc. An accusation that is not only incorrect but dishonest.

The most dangerous group in the events of these past weeks was that of the neo-Nazis. The demonstrations, the burnings, the lootings, etc. gave them a golden chance to mix with the demonstrators and carry out their horrid work. [By the way, they call their Nazi organization the "Golden Dawn"!]. During the first days of the uprising they found the opportunity to mix with some shopkeeper that tried to protect their shops at Patras and did what some people called a "Kristallnacht" chasing people and breaking even into their houses. Similar acts by neo-Nazis were performed in the northern Greek city of Komotini.

This behavior thrives through the protection of the neo-Nazis by the police. It seems that in the police corps there is a significant number of neo-Nazis of the "Golden Dawn". One of the most significant events during these days has been a video showing neo-Nazis [or policemen dressed as demonstrators] wielding crowbars, etc., walking out of a group of regular policemen and starting to break glass windows of shops. One of them using a regular...sledgehammer.

However, what is of greater importance is the fact that the neo-Nazis, who operate in the fringes of the above 1/3, have managed to enter in the Greek parliament as an acceptable political party with a percentage of 3 to 4 % of the votes in the parliamentary elections. Most of the time in the parliament they try to present a "populist" image using the language and the arguments of the...communist party! However, yesterday their leader, bearing the Turkish [!] name Karatzaferis, a former journalist [and amateur boxer], asked the Parliament to vote for a new "special act". The history of the "special act" ["idionymo", in Greek] is one of the most sinister pages of the political life of Greece. This was a law "constructed", in 1929, by the famous "father" of the Greek nation, the "great democrat" Eleftherios Venizelos", whose innumerable marble or bronze statues are dispersed all over Greece. The "special act" was designed to start a brutal persecution of the Greek communists and anarchists, who "intended to overturn the established order". This was the beginning of a pogrom especially against the Greek communists that included, imprisonment, torture and later, after Venizelos, executions in the thousands, that lasted up to 1974. When Venizelos was told that the Greek fascists of that era were intent in overturning the established order, he declined to include the fascists in the "special Act"!

Of course, all this shouting by Karatzaferis, the "representative" of the neo-Nazis in the Parliament, is simply posturing, because more than anyone else he knows that if the hoods are removed many of the faces under them will belong to "Golden Dawn" thugs or policemen.

Chris, here at this point, I have to describe a situation that is of great importance in the political life in Greece. There are a few persons that dominate the news in the Greek society almost on a daily basis. These are the following:

There is an upper level Orthodox Christian priest in Salonica [I don't know his rank but in his rank they call them "Saint"!] that goes by the name of Anthimos. For years now he delivers from the pulpit an incredibly extreme right wing and warlike political preaching that is very dangerous. For example, he threatens the Macedonians [the name, etc.] with invasion by the Greek army, or dares them a la W. Bush "let them (the Macedonians) come!" Who supports him in this kind of behavior?

Again in Salonica, there is a guy by the name of Psomiadis, a rabid rightist, who plays the role of the prefect, who is the non-cassocked twin of Anthimos the priest. Although, once he came close to the black-cassocked priest when he donned a black "Zorro" costume and rode a horse. For years and years he appears on the TV screens from early in the morning. What might be his role?

Then, there is Theodore Pangalos, a 70-year-old heavily overweight man, who is proud of his weight as is attested by the story that once with the microphones in the European Union[?] forgotten in active state he attacked Angela Merkel verbally by saying: "Has she ever been fucked by a fat man?", intending thus to show his prowess as a fat man. Pangalos is the grandchild of a military general with the same Christian name, who was a dictator [!] of Greece in 1925. As happens in some cases with the progeny of dictators Pangalos, the grandchild named himself a leftist and enter politics. Actually in the 60s he managed to be close to Mikis Theodorakis, the great composer and heroic figure of the Greek left. When the "socialists" won the elections in 1981 Pangalos joined them and for almost two decades he held ministerial positions in the "socialist" governments, mostly in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The "peak" of his career came when in 1999, as a "socialist" Minister of Foreign Affairs, he delivered Ocalan, the leader of the Kurds, to the Turks who is rotting in the Turkish prisons since then. A couple of days ago Pangalos attacked the "Coalition of Radical Left" as "political bums" who supported the hooded rioters that burned, etc. The accusation is so blatantly false that one should ask himself where is Pangalos aiming, why, and who is supporting him in this provocative behavior for almost a half of a century? The fact is that for the last 48 hours all are talking about the word "bums" that Pangalos spat out of his mouth.

The two other persons in the above category of "what-is-their-role" in the Greek society, are Kougias the lawyer and Karatzaferis the Leader of the extreme rightists in the Greek Parliament.

There is one more new factor in this uprising in Greece; the immigrants. At first they did not participate in the riots. They only did most of the looting. However, in some cases they participated in the riots. This was a natural and expected thing to do. Most immigrants that were lucky enough to be dragged to a Greek police station, leave it as rabid haters of everything Greek. Sodomizing with broomsticks or clubs is the "mundane" procedure by the brave Greek policemen. The most tragic "description" of the procedure was offered by a young Albanian man, who, years ago, after declining to answer to the insistent questioning by Greek journalists he said that the Greek policemen did to him "what is done to women". The young Albanian was murdered in Albania, by the Albanian police, after having commandeered a Greek Bus. The most recent procedure by the Greek police, captured also on video, was to have an Albanian immigrant torture another Albanian for the enjoyment of the Greek policemen, members of a superior race.


Chris: So what about the remaining 2/3 of the population?

Nikos: For the first time ordinary Greeks started throwing flower-pots against the police from their upper-floor apartment balconies. For the first time the ordinary Greeks took videos of the actions of the police from these balconies and distributed them to the media making public the brutality of the pigs. Actually the video with the sledgehammer is in black and white, which might mean that the camera was of an older era. Also, a young woman captured with her camera the scene of the departure of the two murderous policemen walking away from the murder scene of Alexis. A bit of information that is going to be used in court.

The most proper word to describe the mood of the 2/3 populace is: "participatory". As for the teenagers and the students it is heartening to listen to them stating that they fight for "dignity", that they do not approve of barbaric "competition" in society, that they want real education and not cramming of their minds simply with "information". Also, it is heartening to see students and teenagers trying to extinguish fires or prevent destruction of small shops, while the "disciplined" demonstrators of the KKE were passing by in indifference. It seems that this time in their struggle is very serious.


Chris: Is there anything particular about Greek society, history, or relations across generations that may help explain the revolt?

Nikos: There is a Greek "particularity" that might help in this struggle. The Greek family is still a very close-knit entity. The present teenagers are two generations away from the generation that experienced the Nazi occupation of 1941-1944 and the bloody revolt of the Left against the British and the US up to 1949. Yet in most Greek families there is a "residue" of that experience which, given the strong bonds in the family, enables the Greek teenagers to understand quite accurately how the world runs. This was corroborated, now, by the maturity of their views, as articulated during the last days.


Chris: Could you outline some of the material conditions please, the ones affecting those rising up and calling for rebellion, for the youth, students, workers, migrants, etc.?

Nikos: The most important aspects of the material conditions are the joblessness, the salaries of what by now is called the "generation of the 700 Euros" [about US $ 970 per month], the University degrees that are almost useless, the flight of Greek companies to neighboring countries in search of cheap labor, the "flexible" treatment of hiring and firing, the unbelievably high prices in the Greek supermarkets much above the ones in the rest of the European Union, the scandalous treatment of the money of the taxpayers by the Government, the unbelievably bad condition of the National Health System, the exorbitant profits of the Greek banks, and finally the "strange" insistence of the Greek governing elite to follow the "neo-liberal" economic model after what has happened worldwide.


The State and Legal Situation

Chris: Tuesday (Dec. 16) Prime Minister Karamanlis said he accepted "a share of the blame" in the scandal involving a monastery which exchanged tracts of farmland in northern Greece for state-owned property in Athens. How has this affected the credibility of Karamanlis and his New Democracy party? Is this crisis of credibility extending beyond the politicians and parties who hold positions in the ruling apparatus, to a critique of the political apparatus itself?

Nikos: Karamanlis has received a savage ridicule from all quarters, except the "strange 1/3", who have invested in him a lot [material and immaterial]. However, even his people consider him as a not very capable "manager", that is they consider him as incompetent. That has been discussed confidentially even among his ministers.

Almost all scandals in Greece are swept under the carpet. The principal factor in this rampant dishonesty, beside the politicians, is the extremely corrupt and reactionary judiciary, originally "constructed" by the CIA since 1947 [as most institutions in Greece] and undergoing the necessary "maintenance", ever since. The fact that the judges "used" by the dictators are still powerful in the judiciary is indicative of the truth of this.

The "2/3" of the Greeks, as above described, know what is going on, but a part of them is trapped by the "socialists" in a client-relationship as voters, for economic reasons and the rest that are on the "real" left have an animus that has its roots in historical reasons. One way out of this impasse is for the leadership of the KKE [the "traditional" communists] to depart and the base of KKE, the ordinary members, to have the honesty to recognize past faults and join forces with the rest of the Left. The same holds also for the base of the "socialists".

Personally I think that the teenager "intifada" will play a role, as the kids have gained a right to a dialogue with the adults in their families and society in general.

The legal situation has reached the following point: The bullet that killed Alexis was examined in "Demokritos", the most important research center in Greece, and the findings show that there were traces of "silicon dioxide", which might mean the bullet hit some construction material before entering the body of Alexis. However, all eyewitnesses insist that the shots were horizontal, not in the air. That the fatal shot was horizontal has been confirmed by the in situ investigation by technical experts. The general consensus is that even if the bullet ricocheted, the use of a gun was criminal.

Kougias, the defense lawyer, continues to provoke the entire Greek population in a queer way. Many people are really angry against him. It seems that his bravado is based not on courage but on some unfathomable motives.

As for the policemen in prison, after the violent "theater" or real attack, there is nothing of importance about them.


Chris: The police officer who shot dead Grigoropoulos has been charged with murder. How has this affected popular disaffection with the police? How has it affected the broader concern with worsening social and material conditions, and the need to change society?

Nikos: The public disaffection of the majority of the Greeks with the police has been a given for almost half a century. What is new is the reaction of the teenagers.

The concern about the police during this period is minimal, in contrast to previous decades when the police could effect the ruining of lives or could bring about everyday misery for a part of the population.


Chris: The Greek police have a history of violence and brutality. Do you think the Greek state is holding back repression of the uprising for fear of instigating even more militancy and revolt, or example, imagine the consequences if there was a police raid of the Athens Polytechnic University?

Nikos: The state is not holding back repression. The impression of the first couple of days, that the police acted "defensively", is inaccurate.


Chris: How far can the uprising go? How is the Greek ruling apparatus responding? Do you think there is reason for them to be concerned about losing control? Do elites share a common strategy for how to deal with the uprising or is there differing opinions and fragmenting within their ranks?

Nikos: The uprising can go a long way. The crucial factors are the base of the KKE and the base of the "socialists" [PASOK]. There is no reason to be concerned about losing control. The Greek elites have always been dependent on the favor of the White House. The ones that have reason to be concerned are the people of the CIA station in the US Embassy in Athens. A strong, united Greek Left has historically been a nightmare for the US.
Chris: Thank you Nikos.

Nikos: Thank you.
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/20039

Magda Hassan
09-19-2011, 02:21 PM
Greece 17th September 2011 In front of a bank in Athens.

Ed Jewett
10-10-2011, 03:37 PM
Breaking News: Occupy Athens face riot police brutality of journalists, citizens


Add a comment (http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/occupy-athens-suffers-riot-police-brutality-of-journalists-other-citizens#comments)
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, Human Rights Examiner
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Athens Greecel is under a new 24-hour mass transit walkout Monday (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203633104576622443743876626.html?m od=googlenews_wsj), the latest in a series of strikes stoked by government plans to cut wages and jobs that has led to dissent of the public sector that independent reporters are documenting as military rule of demonstrations in the streets attacking journalists and other citizens. Around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, police are again attempting to empty the square and have surrounded them and are "terrorizing the people," but the protesters are not moving according to (http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr)the non-profit TV crew called STOPCARTEL that is livestreaming the events.
"We are responding to the neo-liberal policies of the government," Athens' electric rail company, ISAP, said in a statement according to (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203633104576622443743876626.html?m od=googlenews_wsj) the Wall Street Journal. "They are killing off our ability to work leading us back into the middle ages."


Advertisement




WSJ reports that this latest strike is among protests by other public-sector workers negatively impacted by government cutbacks that "Greece has promised its international lenders in exchange for a fresh disbursement of aid.”
Independent TV crew have painted a different picture Monday with video circulating the globe on the Web plus Livestream of the people's occupation of Athens.
(Watch Athens based STOPCARTEL TV reporting on Livestream on this page, left.)
"The unprecedented program, the beatings, the use of tear gases and the attacks of the riot police in the middle of the historic Syntagma square in the afternoon of 5/10 are revealed in the recorded videos of STOPCARTEL TV LIVE broadcast that are circulating all over the world..."
Brutal beatings of journalists and other citizens in an attack against STOPCARTEL crew, detentions and arrests are what the crew says “is the account of the unbelievable events.”
The independent TV crew state, “Everyone should watch the exclusive videos, in order to witness the continuous, unprovoked attacks of the riot police against the citizens that had peacefully assembled in the square.
The protesters had gathered on the square outside parliament where lawmakers debated a referendum in response to the economic crisis.
"Under pressure from its international creditors, Greece's government last week submitted to parliament a plan to cut civil servants' pay and pensions and downsize the country's 700,000-strong public sector by placing 30,000 workers on a special labor reserve," reports WSJ.
"A visiting delegation of international inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank—known collectively as the troika—are in Athens to review those measures. After weeks of meetings, the troika is expected to conclude its audit as early as Monday, and with a statement expected Tuesday.


"At stake is an €8 billion ($10.70 billion) tranche of aid from the EU and the IMF that Greece needs in the next few weeks. Without it, the government has said it will run out of money by mid-November. That tranche is part of a €110 billion bailout Greece received early last year in exchange for measures to narrow its budget deficit

More strikes are planned including one by the two major umbrealla unions on October 19.
Despite the violence, STOPCARTEL s broadcasting LIVE the events from the centre of the square.
The articles "The eurozone: a crisis of policy, not debt (http://www.stopcartel.net/2011/10/10/POLITICS/The_eurozone:_a_crisis_of_policy,_not_debt/925.html)," "Greece: crisis takes toll on health (http://www.stopcartel.net/2011/10/10/CIVIL_SOCIETY/Greece:_crisis_takes_toll_on_health/928.html)," and "EU acts amid fears of energy markets abuse (http://www.stopcartel.net/2011/10/10/CONSUMERS/EU_acts_amid_fears_of_energy_markets_abuse/929.html)" give
For a people's view of events unfolding in Athens, watch STOPCARTEL TV (http://www.stopcarteltv.blogspot.com/) daily LIVE broadcsts from Greece.
STOPCARTEL is a registered non-profit Organization in Greece and U.K.








Continue reading on Examiner.com Breaking News: Occupy Athens face riot police brutality of journalists, citizens - National Human Rights | Examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/occupy-athens-suffers-riot-police-brutality-of-journalists-other-citizens?CID=examiner_alerts_article#ixzz1aOT6VmqQ ) http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/occupy-athens-suffers-riot-police-brutality-of-journalists-other-citizens?CID=examiner_alerts_article#ixzz1aOT6VmqQ

Magda Hassan
10-17-2011, 01:59 PM
Foreign riot police may now be operating in Greece.By Golem XIV (http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/author/golem-xiv/) on October 14, 2011 in latest (http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/category/latest/)
Did you know that the EU has its own riot police that can operate in any European country but is answerable directly to none of them? No I didn’t either.
They are called the European Gendarmerie Force (Eurogendfor) . They are based in Italy but funded and staffed by six signatory nations who are France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Portugal and Romania. However, according to the Treaty (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2007/oct/eu-gendarmerie-treaty-sept-2007.pdf)which established Eurogendfor they can operate in any EU country and are available to others who invite them to do so. The country which invites them in is refered to as the ‘Host’.
The Gendarmerie are specifically set up to deal with riots and civil unrest and as the treaty spells out they are to be

…exclusively comprising elements of police forces with military status
Here is a picture of the force. How many police forces or even riot police do you know who drill with bayonet?
http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/gendar11.jpg
The force is 3000 strong based in Italy composed of two rapid deployment brigades. Since Greece is not a member of Eurogendfor few if any of its troops/officers(?) will speak Greek. Yet they may now be operating in Greece. I have checked with friends in Athens and they tell me it is true.
I have also contacted – or tried to contact – Eurogendfor directly to double check the facts. However the email contact on their web site does not work. You can fill out the form but for the last 4 and a half hours when I press send I get this reply,
“Server is unable to send your request.Please try later”.
Should you phone the HQ directly, you will find an automated system. There is a Press Office option but it cycles you back to the main ‘Welcome” menu as does EVERY single other option as well. This has been how it is all day.
Thus is isn’t how it is over lunch this is just how it has been set up. In other words there is the facade of contact but the operational reality is “Piss Off you commoner!”
What does it say if it turns out ot be true that the Greek government has ‘invited’ a quasi military riot police made of personel from other nations to operate in Greece against its own citizens. Greek police not enough? Greek military not willing to crack heads? Got to get some foreigners to do it for you?
What exactly is the difference between Eurogendfor and any other mercenary force? The Greek government could ‘invite’ any private army in. No matter how you view the status of Eurogendfor, the reality is the Greek people did not vote in favour of joining it and certainly were not asked if they wanted foreign quasi military forces to be able to operate in Greece. If this story turns out to be true then it iouwld mean that the greek government that like all governments through history that have lost all legitimacy with its own people, eventually seek military support from outside forces with which to supress its own people. Once you view it like that the word tyranny eventually enters in. And that word has extremely serious consequences.
Let’s take a step back from this. The cuts in Greece are tied up intimately with bailing out French and German banks as well as the Greek owners of Greek banks. The Greek people have been demonstrating against the bail out for months. The Greek government has ignored its people and chosen to do the bidding of the EU elite, the IMF, the ECB and most of all the banks globally.
Now it is alleged that a non-Greek militarized riot force may have arrived to enforce austerity. Whose bidding would they really be doing? Whose interests would they be serving? Could it be the banks? Have the financial class now got their own riot police who they can ship to wherever the locals try to defy them and where the local police cannot be ‘trusted’ to serve the supra-national interests of the banks?
Of course this is not how Eurogendfor is set up. I know that. But is this how it actually works nevertheless?
I will continue to try to talk to anyone at all at Eurogendfor and let you know if they ever condescend to even accept an email or answer the phone. Don’t hold your breath. Who am I after all? Just a citizen and what does that count for these days?
Citizen? In the new order you’re either a bond holder or you’re a nobody.
http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2011/10/foreign-riot-police-now-operating-in-greece/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=foreign-riot-police-now-operating-in-greece

Jan Klimkowski
10-17-2011, 09:16 PM
The European Gendarmerie Force: Storm Troopers of Global Economic Shock Therapy.

Magda Hassan
10-20-2011, 02:20 PM
Greece in flames over cuts (while fat-cats secretly shift €228billion into Swiss banks accounts)

Wealthy are moving euros through foreign subsidiaries in Cyprus
50,000 people descend on Athens as 48-hour general strike begins
Hundreds of flights and ferries cancelled as workers walk out
Greek parliament will vote on fresh austerity measures tomorrow
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Daily+Mail+Reporter)

Last updated at 8:35 AM on 20th October 2011
Fat-cat Greeks have secretly shifted more than €228billion euros out of their country's crisis-hit banks and into accounts in Switzerland, according to a report.
The big money is fleeing the country as rich Greeks fear the possible re-introduction of their old currency, the drachma, would instantly halve the value of their euros if they are left in Greek banks.
Most of the money is being transferred via Cyprus by Greek industrialists using their foreign subsidiaries to channel it out of the debt-ridden country, where tens of thousands of workers launched a general strike yesterday.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E714A9F00000578-610_634x461.jpgAttack: A protester hurls a petrol bomb over barricades next to the Greek parliament in Athens


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E71294D00000578-594_634x384.jpgClashes: A protester throws a petrol bomb at police during a rally on the first day of a 48-hour general strike in Athens, Greece


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E712A5C00000578-186_634x424.jpgBacklash: A riot police officer is covered in black paint during clashes in front of the Greek parliament building


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E71278100000578-638_634x427.jpgMob: A crowd of protesters hurl rocks at police officers as tens of thousands of people descended on Athens

Markus Korll, from the German financial services group Roland Berger, told Bild: 'During the past few months alone more than 10billion euros has been moved abroad.'
Greek newspapers have also reported that people flying abroad - including nuns, priests and the unemployed - are being stopped at Athens airport with suitcases full of euros.

More...

£250,000 reward for dismantling the Euro: British businessman offers cash prize for best escape route (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050930/250-000-Wolfson-Economics-Prize-offered-solution-safely-breaking-euro.html)

Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, called for the Swiss to impose a 25 per cent tax on the money.
He said: 'In this way we can at least limit this massive flight of capital.
'People secretly moving millions out of the country can't be poor. They must pay their share.
'I can understand why the "little people" are taking to the streets to rebel against this injustice.'


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E712A3C00000578-593_634x408.jpgViolence: The last 48-hour general strike in June also saw scores of arrests in the Greek capital


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E71233A00000578-722_634x389.jpgOn guard: Lines of police officers block the entrance to the parliament building in Syntagma Square


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E7129B600000578-448_634x427.jpgTear gas: A protester runs for cover after cannisters were fired by the police. The Greek prime minister has called on people not to hamper the recovery by going on strike

Bild says that Greek banking bosses have already warned the government about the growing panic at bank cash desks and the ever-increasing flood of capital abroad.
Government advisers are also warning of the dangers of a Northern-Rock style storm outside the banks and the need for capital controls, including disconnecting ATM machines, the paper reports.
The two-day general strike grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down everything from shops to schools today - as at least 50,000 protesters converged in central Athens.
Violent clashes broke out between riot police and protesters near the Greek parliament building, with petrol bombs and rocks being thrown at officers.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E707BBF00000578-223_634x382.jpgResentment: An estimated 50,000 protesters have converged on the centre of Athens to rally against austerity measures due to be passed tomorrow


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E70820100000578-996_634x434.jpgFury: A report has revealed that wealthy Greeks have secretly shifted more than £200billion in euros to banks in Switzerland over concerns the country could leave the single currency


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E70C74700000578-190_634x452.jpgNo nonsense: Riot police stand shoulder to shoulder as they try to prevent the march of protesters

All sectors, from dentists, state hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers and dock workers walked off the job ahead of a parliament vote tomorrow on new austerity measures.
Flights were due to resume at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their initial strike plan from 48 hours to 12.

Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged stoppages, although buses, trolleys and the Athens metro were expected to remain in operation.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E706A4800000578-745_634x348.jpgStand: A protester wears a mask and prison uniform outside the Greek parliament building in Syntagma Square


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E6EC91C00000578-56_634x423.jpgDeserted: A passenger looks for information in Athens International Airport after a 48-hour general strike grounded hundreds of flights


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E700CFF00000578-339_634x387.jpgStink: Rubbish lies piled up on a side street in the Greek capital. Refuse workers have been on strike for 17 days



Several thousand police deployed in the capital, blocking a road by parliament and shutting down two nearby metro stations.

Nikos Anastasopoulos, heard of a workers' union for an Athens municipality, said: 'We just can't take it any more. There is desperation, anger and bitterness.'

Demonstrations during a similar 48-hour strike in June left the centre of Athens badly damaged as rioters clashed with police.

Piles of rubbish continue to rot on street corners despite a civil mobilisation order issued yesterday to order crews back to work after a 17-day strike.
Civil servants have also staged sit-ins in government buildings, including the Finance Ministry.

The new austerity measures have been so unpopular that MPs from the governing Socialist have indicated they might vote against some of them.

But Greece must pass the bills if it is to continue receiving funds from its 110billion euro bailout.

Unless it receives the now long-overdue final installment of the bailout, it has said it will run out of funds to pay salaries and pensions by mid-November.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E6FE8BB00000578-308_634x423.jpgBlockade: Ferries, like these in Piraeus, have remained in ports as thousands of workers walked off their jobs today


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/19/article-2050895-0E6FE2F900000578-749_634x422.jpgUnrest: Many of the shops in the centre of Athens have closed their doors during the 48-hour general strike, which last time descended into clashes between protesters and riot police



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050895/Greek-fat-cats-secretly-shifted-200bn-euros-Swiss-bank-accounts.html#ixzz1bKctBh1n

Keith Millea
10-20-2011, 05:43 PM
Here is a livestream from Greece.It's dated the 20th,so I don't know if this is from yesterday or Today.

http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr

Keith Millea
10-20-2011, 06:51 PM
Well,the Greek Govt.passed the harsh austerity measures.I think the Shit is gonna really hit the old fan now!!!OH MY.........:viking:

Peter Lemkin
10-21-2011, 06:35 AM
When the protestors and average citizens can muster over one million bodies in the streets of Athens alone...the Gov't is in deep ****! [along with the Western Banksters behind them]. I only wish we could get angry crowds of righteous indignation of that number in the USA!.....but in the USA too many are passive or afraid or brainwashed - or some combination of that. Greece was the cradle of ideas of modern democracy and seems to have retained a sense of that. They also do NOT forget how the USA screwed them by imposing a fascist coup. Now, IMHO, a very secretive neo-fascist coup has been imposed on the USA, but it fooled most Americans and they refuse to see it, unlike their Greek brothers and sisters. Having been to Greece many times and knowing the calm and gentle nature of most Greeks -they are slow to anger...but they are angry now and not going to take it any more.....like Argentina. A model to be followed by more - if not everyone! Leave the banksters and would-be rulers of the World sitting in their own debt with no one to control.

Ed Jewett
11-02-2011, 02:25 AM
GREEK MILITARY CHIEFS REPLACED (http://cryptogon.com/?p=25803)November 2nd, 2011Via: Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8863728/Greek-military-leadership-changes-spark-opposition-outcry.html):
As Greek poltics grew ever more chaotic strong political protests erupted as the government moved to replace military chiefs with officers seen as more supportive of George Papandreou, the prime minister.
In a surprise development, Panos Beglitis, Defence Minister, a close confidante of Mr Papandreou, summoned the chiefs of the army, navy and air-force and announced that they were being replaced by other senior officers.
Neither the minister nor any government spokesman offered an explanation for the sudden, sweeping changes, which were scheduled to be considered on November 7 as part of a regular annual review of military leadership retirements and promotions. Usually the annual changes do not affect the entire leadership.
“Under no circumstances will these changes be accepted, at a time when the government is collapsing and has not even secured a vote of confidence,” said an official announcement by the opposition conservative New Democracy party.
“It has no moral or real authority any more, and such surprise moves can only worsen the crisis currently sweeping the country”.
Flashback: Greece: Possibility of a Military Coup? (http://cryptogon.com/?p=23218)
Posted in Collapse (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=19), Dictatorship (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=22), Economy (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=8), Elite (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=39)

Ed Jewett
11-02-2011, 02:25 AM
Markets Dive on Greek Referendum (http://cryptogon.com/?p=25801)November 1st, 2011Via: BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15533940):
US and European markets have fallen following Monday’s announcement of a Greek referendum on the latest aid package to solve its debt crisis.
Eurozone leaders agreed a 50% debt write-off for Greece last week as well as strengthening Europe’s bailout fund.
But the Greek move has cast doubt on whether the deal can go ahead.
New York’s Dow Jones fell 2% on opening. London’s FTSE 100 was down 3%, while the Dax in Frankfurt and the Cac 40 in Paris were down about 5%.
Shares in banks saw the biggest falls, with Societe Generale falling 16.9%, BNP Paribas down 14%, Credit Agricole down 12.9%, Commerzbank falling 10.7%, Deutsche Bank down 10.3% and Barclays 10.5% lower.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss the Greek announcement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the telephone.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said it was “an unexpected decision that generates uncertainties”.
Posted in Economy (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=8), Elite (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=39)

Magda Hassan
11-02-2011, 03:19 AM
Well, now, this is interesting....
Knew about the referendum this moring but just herd about the military chiefs replacement now. So, for months and months Georgy boy was fine to dance the banksters tune despite his people's wishes. Now in one day and with out notice he is changing the choice of music and band members? What ever they were offering him before he is now rejecting it. Will it be death metal, psychadelic rock, country AND western, Euro-Pop? :wirlitzer:

Magda Hassan
11-02-2011, 03:32 AM
Greece: A Very Important Event October 31, 2011 By Nikos Raptis

Nikos Raptis's ZSpace Page (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/nikosraptis) / ZSpace (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/)

In my ZNet Commentary, "Greece: 'The Odd Man Out'", of April 22, 2002, I mentioned:
"The palm-gesture...with all fingers extended apart... (known as 'moutza' [pronounced: moo'tza], of Byzantine, or French, or Venetian origin) is considered by the Greeks as the ultimate insult towards a person. There have been cases of one driver killing another one in a traffic incident after the exchange of such an insult."
Smedley D. Butler (also known as "Old Gimlet Eye") is considered to be the best soldier (Marine) that the American nation ever had. He was the most decorated Marine in US history.
In January 1931, Butler gave a speech in Philadelphia and mentioned a story told to him by a friend who as a guest of Mussolini [at that time Mussolini was considered by the US elites as "that dignified gentleman"] had been taken for a high-speed automobile ride through the Italian countryside. Mussolini hit a child and did not pay any attention. To the American guest's shock Mussolini replied: "What is one life in the affairs of a state."
Mussolini denied that he hit the child and protested. Major General Smedley D. Butler was arrested, for a week he was held almost incommunicado, and ordered court-martialed, by President Hoover, who apologized to Mussolini.
On October 28, 1940, Mussolini attacked Greece, the Greeks resisted for months and even managed to push the Italians into neighboring Albania, which had already been occupied by the Italians. Mussolini asked Hitler, his buddy, to help, and thus the Nazis and the Italians entered Athens in triumph. This resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Greeks from starvation, in 1941. I was ten years old and experienced everything.
Four years later, in 1945, Mussolini was hanged upside down by the ankles, together with his mistress, after he had been executed by shooting. Qaddafi was not that lucky.
So, the Greeks every October 28 celebrate their resistance against the Italians by having the pupils, the students, and the military parading in the cities and towns all over the country.

Larissa is the main city of Thessaly, the flat part of central Greece. The photo presented below shows what happened four days ago, on October 28, 2011, when the high schoolers of Larissa paraded in front of the representatives of the "official" state.


https://www.zcommunications.org/FCKFiles/raptisgreece.jpg


The high school kid, 16 or 17 years old, shows the disapproval

of an entire people, the Greek people, against the adult Greek "proxies"

of Merkel, Sarkozy, Hilary, and Obama.
Note, the uniforms of the brass with the Christian cross on their chests, the golden epaulets, etc. Also, the older officer on the right, with the grey mustache, is old enough to have been in active duty during the US-instigated military dictatorship of 1967.
The kid is now considered a hero of the Greek people. The photo is all over Greece, in every home.
Conclusion: Incidents like the one on the photo, took place in the entire (repeat: entire) country during the celebration for the October 1940 resistance. This is the beginning of a revolt.

Vasilios Vazakas
11-02-2011, 11:55 AM
Why Prime minister Papandreou asked for a referendum to validate the EU solution?
Now if you are begging Europe to save you, they agree to a solution you don't suddenly decide to blow everything.
there are two answers: either you are an idiot or you have a hidden agenda.
Papandreou does not have the guts or intelligence to go against Merkel and Sarkozy so somebody is behind him and moves his strings.
George Soros said a few days after the EU solution that he thinks the Eurozone deal will only last a short time, from one day to 3 months.
And a few days later Papandreou makes whatever is possible to prove him right.

Ed Jewett
11-02-2011, 07:16 PM
Greece: A Very Important Event

October 31, 2011 By Nikos Raptis

Nikos Raptis's ZSpace Page (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/nikosraptis) / ZSpace (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/)

In my ZNet Commentary, "Greece: 'The Odd Man Out'", of April 22, 2002, I mentioned:
"The palm-gesture...with all fingers extended apart... (known as 'moutza' [pronounced: moo'tza], of Byzantine, or French, or Venetian origin) is considered by the Greeks as the ultimate insult towards a person. ...."


https://www.zcommunications.org/FCKFiles/raptisgreece.jpg


The high school kid, 16 or 17 years old, shows the disapproval





of an entire people, the Greek people, against the adult Greek "proxies"





of Merkel, Sarkozy, Hilary, and Obama.






I thought about posting this wonderful piece but refrained, in part because I did not know if there were a global translation or equivalent for the famous gesture. In America -- where there is something similar afoot, co-opted and infiltrated as it appears to be, but which also appears to be being rejected-- we are much more efficient as we use only one finger. Other cultures use a full arm gesture. Other cultures actually perform the gesture in the form of torture, sexual abuse, murder, and abombinations of other sorts, such as was done to the Libyan recently.

Perhaps one service we here at Deep Politics Forum might perform is to find or perfect that universal global gesture-symbol and make it a meme.

Ed Jewett
11-08-2011, 09:19 PM
Former Federal Reserve Economist Likely Next Prime Minister of Greece (http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/former-federal-reserve-economist-likely-next-prime-minister-of-greece/)Posted on November 8, 2011 by willyloman

from Economic Policy Journal (http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/11/former-federal-reserve-economist-likely.html)
From the “You Can’t Make This Up Desk”…
“Lucas Papademos will be as of tomorrow the new prime minister of the country after the agreement that the outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and the opposition head Antonis Samaras reached last night,” reports (http://www.cnbc.com/id/45192257) the Greek daily Ta Nea.
Papademos is a 100% bankster tool. There will never ever be even the suggestion of a referendum on any program the banksters want passed. It will simply be passed.
Papademos is currently a visiting professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was previously a vice president of the European Central Bank and also served as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

From Wikipedia: He has served as Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_Bank_of_Boston) in 1980. He joined the Bank of Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Greece) in 1985 as Chief Economist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Economist), rising to Deputy Governor in 1993 and Governor in 1994 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994). During his time as Governor of the national bank, Mr Papademos was involved in Greece’s transition from the drachma to the euro (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro) as its national currency.[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Papademos#cite_note-2)
After leaving the Bank of Greece in 2002, Papademas became the Vice President toJean-Claude Trichet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Claude_Trichet) at the European Central Bank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Central_Bank) from 2002 to 2010. In 2010 he left that position to serve as an advisor to George Papandreou (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Papandreou).[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Papademos#cite_note-3)
He has been a member of the Trilateral Commission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateral_Commission) since 1998.

Filed under: Uncategorized (http://willyloman.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/) | 1 Comment » (http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/former-federal-reserve-economist-likely-next-prime-minister-of-greece/#comments)

Magda Hassan
02-13-2012, 12:45 AM
Well, the politicians turned the volume up to 11 on the Shock Doctrine austerity machine. Athens has now virtually gone up in flames. As of 30 minutes ago there were 10 banks on fir as well as some famous buildings like the theatre, shops. Athens is out of police control Probably out of control for the fire brigades too. Anonymous have brought down almost all the government web sites and some media.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_YywqYTDIQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9FLQxMYiI4&list=UUpwvZwUam-URkxB7g4USKpg&index=1&feature=plcp

Ed Jewett
02-13-2012, 05:32 AM
​0099.htm (http://cryptome.org/2012-info/athens-protest/athens-protest.htm) Athens Protest Photos February 12, 2012

Peter Lemkin
02-13-2012, 06:18 AM
What is happening in Greece is ugly. What the EU is trying to do to Greece is ugly. The reaction is ugly, but to be expected. I am surprised, but shouldn't be, that in the MSM, even in the Occupy movement which is following Greece very closely there is so little [all but no] mention of what the USA did to Greece [raped with a coup and long brutal Military Junta] that IMHO set the stage for much of what we see now. Modern 'historical' perspective looks back a few months, if that far. Those who do not learn the lessons of history......

Danny Jarman
02-13-2012, 06:51 AM
How long before EU led mercenaries are sent in to tame the darn protestors? :shutup:

Vasilios Vazakas
02-13-2012, 07:37 AM
This is Greece my friend. The EU mercenaries will probably have to face Greek policemen and soldiers who are
also pissed off for their life degradation.
We have fought countless invaders and we were one of the few countries to figth the NAZI Germany.
Only an economic war could have beaten us and that's why they have succeeded to enslave us.
Burning of Athens is something we are used to all these years but it is difficult to know if it is
a result of people's anger or agent provovateurs.
I guess for the moment George Soros and his superiors have won the battle.
But the rest of the Europeans should not mock us and believe they are better, soon the fiscal superstate will emerge
and they will have the same fate.

Jan Klimkowski
02-13-2012, 06:24 PM
Vasilios - clearly, the "austerity measures" benefit international financial institutions to the detriment of ordinary Greeks.

The banks will get their share whilst workers pay taxes for services which will no longer be provided, and Greek national assets are sold off to vulture capitalists (the "deregulation" agenda).

Do you think the "austerity measures" will continue to be accepted by the Greek people?

Vasilios Vazakas
02-13-2012, 07:15 PM
The austerity measures never were and will never be acceptable. But when people have the threat of default hanging above their heads, and they want to pay their loans, feed their kids, send them to school, to be able to buy medicine, have oil supplies etc. they get scared and accept anything. What they do is that they ask us to pay a tax on the houses we owe. The amount vary according to the area and the square meters, and comes in two installments per year. And they have included this in the electricity bill. And the bill according to consumption may be 60 euro and they top up another 400 or more euro from the house tax. And they threaten us that if we don't pay it they'll cut the electricity supply which is illegal. And you have old people, pensioners who cannot afford to pay it. And the pension is not enough to feed them. Add to this the reduction of pensions, salaries while the cost of living remains high, for example the super market is more expensive here than in France or England.
People cannot afford to maintain their business, they shut down their shops, so they don't pay tax and VAT, so the government looses continuously income, and they raise more austerity measures. Unemployment is high and the basic salary will become 400-500 euro. They cut expenses from hospitals, medicine, the have reduced the salaries of the army and police officers and they are not happy.
People will pay the first year, they'll pay the second year but then without income they'll have nothing else to give and having nothing to loose they will expolde. The once proud Greeks feel now humiliated and bitter. The Germans talk about Greece but thet forget that we were the highest consumers of germans goods. We have a deficit so they could have a surplus. And it was Siemens who was bribing all along Greek officials to get business, and now they behave like they did not know it. And they say that we should have never joined the euro in the first place because we conned them and thet did not know it. Then why our current prime Minister Papademos, who was responsible for our entry to the eurozone was rewarded afterwards with the position of the Vice President of the central european bank?
Now imagine if these austerity measures were to be applied in USA.

Jan Klimkowski
02-13-2012, 07:27 PM
Vasilios - thank you.

In my judgement, Greece needs to default.

This will trigger default in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, the Netherlands and possibly even France.

Europe will be in turmoil, but the debt - in practical terms - will no longer exist.

There will be no creditors and no debtors.

Post-default, in the short term, people will need to rely on "soft" support networks - family, friends - to get by.

In the medium term, a meaningful, non-corrupt, economy based on honest work and community can be established.

The acceptance by any nation of "austerity measures" means that when default finally happens, the base starting position is worse. Indeed, it is catastrophic - with both individuals and the state having sold off all tangible assets at a fire sale price to vulture capitalists.

It makes any economic recovery harder because vultures driven only by profit will control a nation's infrastructure - from transport hubs to the national grid to cultural institutions.

Global market capitalism has produced this crisis, and has failed. Global market capitalism is on life support, being fed intravenously by the blood, sweat and pain of ordinary people.

The imposition of "austerity measures" is simply delaying the inevitable flatline of global market capitalism.

It's time to pull the plug and start all over again.

Vasilios Vazakas
02-13-2012, 07:46 PM
I don't think Soros will alow a default, his purpose is to force France and Germany to accept a fiscal Union. They will take all our assets for nothing, plus they have targeted the natural gas and oil fields of the Aegean sea.

Peter Lemkin
02-13-2012, 08:31 PM
I don't think Soros will alow a default, his purpose is to force France and Germany to accept a fiscal Union. They will take all our assets for nothing, plus they have targeted the natural gas and oil fields of the Aegean sea.

Seems as if the Prime Minister and Parliament are in the pockets of the banksters, and not working for the Greek People! That can't last very long!

I agree with Jan, that the only way forward is to get out of the EU, tell them to go F*** their demanded debts and austerity [as the Argentinians did], and go it alone again. I've been to Hellas many times and found the Greeks friendly, hard working [unlike the propaganda image] and proud of their history - ancient and not-so-ancient. I hope Greece gives the EU and their banksers a big middle finger. [just turn Crete around by 90 degrees!]

Jan Klimkowski
02-13-2012, 09:10 PM
I don't think Soros will alow a default, his purpose is to force France and Germany to accept a fiscal Union. They will take all our assets for nothing, plus they have targeted the natural gas and oil fields of the Aegean sea.

If Greece accepts "austerity", then Greeks assets and resources will be seized by foreign powers and foreign corporations.

If Greece defaults, it retains national sovereignty.

If the vultures want Greek assets and resources, they will have to launch a military invasion.

The Game will be exposed for what it is.

War.

Vasilios Vazakas
02-13-2012, 09:47 PM
i agree with both of you, but our politicians are are sold to the banksters. I am convinced that the ex Prime minister papandreou is a Soros agent. is it a coincidence that both our Papademos and Italy's Monti are members of the trilateral commision?
They cannot invade Greece, so it had to be economic war. Unless they had us fight with Turkey. Which is unlikely since Greece and Israel have become partners.
Have to go to sleep now,Good night from Crete.

Peter Lemkin
02-14-2012, 06:35 AM
They cannot invade Greece, so it had to be economic war.

Exactly, and what they are doing to Greece they plan to do to everyone. Why Greece is being chosen [lucky you!] to be extorted now is largely bad luck and 'throw of the dice', IMO. I have to think very hard to find the very few countries who's leaders are not owned by the banksters. Again, the Argentina model is the best 'out there', I think. Yes, they will use every ' economic weapon' they have and it will not be easy, but I think it is possible. Let's hope so - for Greece and all the rest of us who's leaders are owned by 'them'. Obviously, if there is to be a rebellion against the EU and their Banksters it will have to come from the People, and not from the political class. As the birthplace of modern democracy, you may well have a second shot at it [for yourselves and the rest of Humanity]!

NB - Occupy Greece has a channel one can often watch live - or replays of recent events here. (http://occupystreams.org/item/occupy-greece)

Vasilios Vazakas
02-14-2012, 07:28 AM
I think we were chosen because we were the weakest link, we had set up the right conditions
and symbolically Greece is the heart of Europe and the birth place of democracy.
You send a strong message when you attack a symbol.
We are still one of the few defiant countries in the western world.
However our problem through our history was that we have plenty of Efialtis.
Efialtis was the man who betrayed the 300 Spartans to the Persians at the hot gates.
And since then, the name Efialtis has been identified with the word traitor.

Peter Lemkin
02-14-2012, 09:29 AM
I think we were chosen because we were the weakest link, we had set up the right conditions
and symbolically Greece is the heart of Europe and the birth place of democracy.
You send a strong message when you attack a symbol.
We are still one of the few defiant countries in the western world.
However our problem through our history was that we have plenty of Efialtis.
Efialtis was the man who betrayed the 300 Spartans to the Persians at the hot gates.
And since then, the name Efialtis has been identified with the word traitor.

Perhaps you [Hellas] were the easiest to 'pick on' and set as an 'example' - but they have in mind to do everyone, in the end! It seems they have a handful of countries they aim to pick on very soon, as well. Yes, Greece is a symbol and you resisted the 'Empire' when we imposed upon you the 'lovely' Dictatorship fo the Generals - this is not to be forgotten and your overthrowing them to be dealt with now. Greece will set the example for the other nations [all of them], so give your best shot! On a very personal note, I found my stays in Greece simply wonderful - great and cheap food, warm people and hospitality, beautiful Nature [Athens and a few other cities excepted], wonderful sun and sea, etc. I have a favorite island I fell in love with....and hope it is still there when I next go [wasn't sold or made into a prison colony].

Vasilios Vazakas
02-14-2012, 11:21 AM
I don't know if the people can carry this hge burden on their shoulders.
Which one is your favourite island?

Magda Hassan
02-14-2012, 12:31 PM
I think it has been the Greek diaspora which has been sustaining much of the population there. There are certainly many Greeks here in Australia who have been sending money to their family there. But with further reduction in income and higher costs of living this is not going to be sustainable. I hope this will be the Argentinian moment for the Greeks and that they chuck out the useless eaters and Efialtis at the top and do it for themselves. Argentina and Iceland are better places for having told the bankers to shove it.

Peter Lemkin
02-14-2012, 04:48 PM
Another good site for video/livestreaming of what is happening in Greece LIVE: `Αγανακτισμένοι` στο Σύνταγμα (live streaming) here. (http://www.akous.gr/post.asp?uid=3019#axzz1mAYHkG00)

Jan Klimkowski
02-14-2012, 07:30 PM
Daily Telegraph Chief Financial Correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is a very spooky character.

He is also a hardline monetarist, and a deep political player.

He was the "journalist", or more accurately, weapon, launched at Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

His piece below is not without interest.



Germany's Carthaginian terms for Greece

The last time Germany needed a bail-out from world creditors, it secured better terms than shattered Greece last week.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9077586/Germanys-Carthaginian-terms-for-Greece.html)7:21PM GMT 12 Feb 2012

The US, Canada, Britain, France, Greece, and other signatories at the London Debt Agreement of 1953 granted Chancellor Konrad Adenauer a 50pc haircut on all German debt, worth 70pc in relief with stretched maturities. There was a five-year moratorium on interest payments.

The express purpose was to give Germany enough oxygen to rebuild its economy, and to help hold the line against Soviet overreach. This sweeping debt forgiveness caused heartburn for the British - then in dire financial straits, themselves forced to go cap in hand to Washington for loans. The Greeks had to forgo some war reparations.

Yet statesmanship prevailed. The finance ministers of the day agreed to overlook the moral origins of that debt, and the moral hazard of “rewarding” a country that had so disturbed the European order.

The Wirtschaftswunder whittled down the burden of German debts to modest levels within a decade. Germany emerged as a vibrant democracy and a pillar of the western security system.

Greece has less strategic relevance, and must comply with tougher terms.

The EU deal will in theory cap Greece’s public debt at 120pc of GDP in 2020 - at the outer limit if viability - after eight years of belt-tightening and depression, if all goes perfectly.

Since nothing has gone to plan since Europe’s austerity police began to administer shock therapy eighteen months ago, even this grim promise seems too hopeful.

The Greek economy was expected to contract by 3pc in 2011 under the original EU-IMF Troika plan. In fact it shrank by 6pc, and is now entering what the IMF fears could become “a downward spiral of fiscal austerity, falling disposable incomes, and depressed sentiment.”

Manufacturing output fell 15.5pc in December. The M3 money supply crashed at a 15.9pc rate. Unemployment jumped to 20.9pc in November, up from 18.2pc the month before, and is already above the worse-case peak pencilled in by the Troika.

Some 60,000 small firms and family businesses have gone bankrupt since the summer, the chief reason why VAT revenues dropped 18.7pc in January. The violence of the slump is overwhelming the effects of fiscal retrenchment. So much Sisyphean effort for so little gain.

You can argue that Greece has dragged its feet on EU-IMF demands - though the IMF is careful not make such a crude claim, offering mixed praise in its last report.

But as Professor Vanis Varoufakis from Athens University says: “If we had better implemented the measures, the worse it would be: the economy would be comatose, and the debt-to-GDP ratio would be even more explosive.”

So yes, like Germany accepting the terms of the Carthaginian Peace with a gun to its head in 1919, Greece signed “an insincere acceptance of impossible conditions” - to borrow from Keynes - hoping that sense would prevail with time.

Greece must cut 150,000 public sector jobs by 2015 under the latest accord, and fiscal policy will tighten by an extra 1.5pc of GDP beyond the squeeze already under way.

“There are another 50,000 shops and small businesses hanging on for dear life that are expected to collapse over the next six months,” said Prof Varoufakis.

Premier Lucas Papademos pleaded for national unity the weekend. "We are just a breath away from ground zero. A disorderly default would set the country on a disastrous adventure. Living standards would collapse and it would lead sooner or later to an exit from the euro."

Well, perhaps, but remaining in EMU is also a disastrous adventure, and living standards will certainly collapse, which is why it ultimately makes no difference whether or not the Greek parliament backs the latest accord (I write before knowing the outcome of Sunday’s vote).

The policy cannot command democratic consent over time. The once dominant Pasok party has collapsed to 8pc in the polls. Support is splintering to the far Left and far Right, just like Weimar Germany under the Bruning deflation.

The next Greek parliament will be packed with “anti-Memorandum” fire-breathers, and any attempt by Greek elites to prevent elections taking place must push street protests towards revolution.

In a sign of things to come, the Hellenic Police Federation has called for the arrest of Troika officials on Greek soil for attacks on “democracy and national sovereignty".

It is clear that Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble wishes to expel Greece from the euro, calculating that Euroland is now strong enough to withstand contagion, and that the European Central Bank’s `Draghi bazooka’ for lenders has eliminated the risk of a financial collapse.

“We can’t keep sinking billions into a bottomless pit,” he said on Friday.

Earlier he was caught on camera telling his Portuguese colleague that Lisbon can expect softer terms on its rescue package but only once Europe has dealt harshly enough with Greece to satisfy German public opinion.

Any slippage by Greece will be seized upon as a pretext to withhold the EU loans.

It is certainly arguable Greece has no hope of clawing back viability within monetary union and should therefore return to the Drachma.

While Ireland has pulled off an “internal devaluation” inside EMU by deflating wages, it has an open economy, a high trade gearing, and a current account surplus: Greece has a deficit of 9.4pc of GDP after four years of slump. Greece’s “equilibrium real exchange rate” is overvalued by 33pc according to IMF data.

But that is not the argument made by Mr Schäuble. As high priest of the “household fallacy” - the false equation of macro-economics with the budget of a Schwabian Hausfrau - he thinks Greece is in trouble because it spends too much, not because it is trapped in debt deflation with a badly over-valued currency.

From there he progresses to the next fallacy of thinking that Portugal, Spain, and Italy will pull through as long as they cut, cut, and cut again.

If Portugal spirals down in much the same fashion as Greece once austerity bites in earnest - and therefore misses target after target - it is likely that Mr Schäuble will turn on Portugal with equal fury, because that is how he sees the world.

Each failure is ascribed to lack of moral fibre, not to the design flaws in the currency project that he himself helped create and foist on the German people against their wishes.

Belief that EMU fall-out from Greek exit - or “Grexit” in market slang - can be contained by firewalls and more fiscal austerity assumes that Greece is a special case, alone brought low by turpitude.

If you think, as I do, that Greece did indeed commit a host of sins but is also the first of several victims of a mad ideological experiment that shackled together economies with different growth rates, wage bargaining systems, productivity patterns, sensitivity to interest rates, and inflation proclivities - without fiscal transfers or sufficient labour mobility to cushion the effects - and that this disaster was compounded by Germany’s (beggar-thy-EMU-neighbour?) wage squeeze, and compounded yet further by sharp monetary and fiscal contraction at the wrong moment in the states most at risk, then you will expect the crisis to grind on whatever happens in Greece.

The EMU end-game is harrowing for Greece, but it is also ghastly for Germany. Berlin has accumulated ruinous liabilities without yet solving anything, and is fast squandering sixty years of diligent statecraft.

By demanding a budget viceroy for Greece, and now an escrow account to seize Greek revenues at source, the Merkel-Schäuble government has crossed a diplomatic line and brutalised EU politics. “Memorandum Macht Frei”, as one Greek newspaper splashed.

Would Konrad Adenauer ever have made such a blunder?

Peter Lemkin
02-14-2012, 08:31 PM
2012-02-13 Athens burns: has #Greece entered its Argentina moment?
Submitted by FuturePress on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 19:09

Greece’s political establishment trembles as banks and government offices burn amid violent anti-austerity riots. Has the country finally reached a tipping point?

Exactly ten years ago, the crisis-ridden country of Argentina spiraled into a bout of social unrest that would eventually lead to the largest sovereign default in history. After three years of being forced to swallow the bitter pill of IMF-imposed austerity, a tipping point was finally reached: foreign creditors and neoliberal governments had pushed the people too far. They rose up in defiance and ousted five successive Presidents in the space of just three weeks.

With the incredible images of flame-engulfed buildings and policemen emerging out of Athens, it now looks like Greece may be headed down the same path. The country has become ungovernable. Even though a majority of traitors was found to pass yet another deeply unpopular austerity package through Parliament, this weekend’s violent protests indicate that the ‘Argentina moment’ may have arrived. The Greek people simply can’t take any more austerity.

This weekend’s 48-hour strike and mass demonstration witnessed some of the largest mobilizations in Greece to date. Even our weathered comrades inside Greece reported that the scale of the protests and the severity of the violence were some of the worst yet. With over 100,000 descending onto Syntagma Square, riot police desperately clung on to their perimeter as they were pelted with rocks and firebombs. The Guardian reported that:

More than 40 buildings were set ablaze in an orgy of looting that left scores injured as protesters vented their anger at the caretaker government and parliament’s ordering of a further €3.3bn of savings by slashing wages and pensions and laying off public sector workers … Meanwhile street battles between police firing rounds of teargas and demonstrators hurling firebombs and marble slabs left Syntagma square, the plaza in front of the parliament building, resembling a war zone.

“The rebellion has begun,” the Greek resistance hero and veteran left-winger Manolis Glezos told reporters. Indeed, as students and anarchists fought back waves of riot police assaults on the occupied University Law Department, as hundreds of outraged protesters took over a TV station, and as plumes of smoke and clouds of teargas filled up the Athenian night skies, one thing became overly clear: the social situation in Greece has spun entirely out of control.

Just before the weekend, the Guardian’s veteran Greek correspondent, Helena Smith, wrote that she feared for a “social explosion”, warning that the “Greeks can’t take any more punishment.” With poverty deepening, social inequality worsening, protests persisting and the economic situation only spiraling ever deeper into despair, “it is easy to see why, among politicians at least, there is little stomach for more.”

A series of resignations by ministers on Friday, unwilling to support the latest measures, not only underlined the panic of the political class – in a country where MPs no longer feel safe walking in the streets – but proved how tenuous public support is for the bailout. If there is to be a social explosion, many said that it would come because Greeks had been pushed too far.

In my own PhD research, which compares the Argentine crisis of 2001-’02 to the Greek debt crisis, I am paying particular attention to the process through which the “impossible” at some point becomes “inevitable”. In Argentina, two factors conspired to make a default and a massive devaluation of the peso — both of which previously seemed heresy — inevitable: massive popular protests combined with a willingness of foreign creditors to let Argentina fail.

In Greece, we appear to be approaching a similar tipping point. Six government ministers resigned this weekend, the far-right Laos party deserted the coalition, and over 40 lawmakers were sacked after they rebelled against the terms of the EU-IMF bailout. As the Guardian rightly concluded, “the scenes of mayhem on the streets of Athens and all across the country leave big questions unresolved regarding Greece’s capacity to stick with the savage austerity.”

Unlike two years ago, “when the angry graffiti demanded that the ‘IMF go home’ and ‘reject austerity’, it now exhorts protesters to ‘murder bankers’ and ‘rise in rebellion’ and ‘never be slaves’. The spirit of resistance shows no sign of abating. With support for the left … growing by the day, opposition to any cost-cutting reforms is bound only to increase.” As one opposition leader put it, “Martial law has to be imposed for these measures to be implemented.”

At the same time, Greece’s foreign creditors appear ever more willing to allow the country to default. Helena Smith has pointed out that, “as the talks [between Greece and its creditors] rolled on last week, a growing number of voices in the single currency’s more stable “core” countries suggested they could manage without Greece … Some investors, too, argue that, because a default has been a possibility for many months, financial markets would take it in their stride.”

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte — who throughout this crisis has been playing hard-ball with Greece, usually followed a few weeks later in his radical neoliberal footsteps by Angela Merkel — has already raised the possibility of a Greek exit from the eurozone. So have EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble. All in all, Greece’s creditors appear to be preparing the ground for what they previously told us was “impossible”.

Yet as the elites persist with their scaremongering just to buy themselves a little more time, at least the 82-year old WWII survivor Stella Papafagou won’t be afraid of the “apocalyptic” consequences that Prime Minister warned of in Parliament today. “We’ve fought several times for liberation,” she told the New York Times. “But this slavery is worse than any other. This is worse than the ’40s. I would prefer to die with dignity than with my head bent down.

Peter Lemkin
02-15-2012, 06:34 AM
Austerity Measures Demanded by E.U.-IMF Cripple Nation

Greece continues to face political turmoil over a sovereign debt crisis that has embroiled the country for almost two years. On Monday, the Greek government said it would hold new elections in the face of massive demonstrations against a new austerity package that was approved on Sunday in exchange for a European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout. Under the austerity deal, Greece will fire 15,000 public sector workers this year and 150,000 by 2015. The minimum wage will be reduced by 22 percent, and pension plans will be be cut. As lawmakers voted, 100,000 people protested outside the Parliament building in Athens. Some protesters engaged in rioting, looting and setting fire to dozens of stores and buildings. Some 160 people were detained, and dozens were treated for injuries. To discuss the latest in Greece, we’re joined by Maria Margaronis, London correspondent for The Nation magazine. She was in Greece last week covering the economic crisis there. Margaronis says Greece faces an "impossible choice" "either to default on its loans by March, when it owes a massive loan payment, or to accept this desperate austerity program, which will further sink the economy... The Greek people have really had enough of this. People are exhausted and desperate. On the street in Athens, there’s a sense of everything breaking down." [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: Greece continues to face political turmoil over a sovereign debt crisis that’s embroiled the country for almost two years. On Monday, the Greek government said it would hold new elections in the face of massive demonstrations against a new austerity package that was approved Sunday in exchange for a European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout.

Under the austerity deal, Greece will fire 15,000—or one in five—public sector employees, reduce the minimum wage by 22 percent, and cut pension plans. Greek union leader Vassilis Korkidis condemned the austerity deal

VASSILIS KORKIDIS: The new austerity measures were voted yesterday from the Greek parliament, but this is only temporary. We think that the Greek economy may, for the time being, be safe. We don’t know for how long. We believe that in six months we’ll be in the same position. And the only thing that we are sure is that the Greek society is poorer, and the Greek political system is bankrupt.

AMY GOODMAN: As lawmakers voted, 100,000 Greeks protested outside the Parliament building in Athens. Some protesters engaged in rioting, looting and setting fire to dozens of stores and buildings. Over 160 people were detained. Dozens were treated for injuries.

The Greek vote paves the way for the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to hand over $72 billion in rescue loans. But following the protests and ahead of a key meeting in Brussels Wednesday, European officials suggested the bailout could be delayed until early next month, adding further uncertainty to an already volatile situation.

To discuss the latest in Greece, I’m joined by Maria Margaronis, London correspondent for The Nation magazine. She has just returned from Greece covering the economic crisis there.

Describe what is happening in Greece, Maria.

MARIA MARGARONIS: Well, Greece is in the throes of a multiple breakdown, economic breakdown. The economy has been in recession for five years. We now have massive unemployment, homelessness among not only poorer people but also middle-class people who never would have expected to find themselves out on the streets but are losing their jobs. Unemployment among young people is about 50 percent. Those who can are leaving the country to find work elsewhere. And it’s—the scenes on the street in Athens are like nothing anyone has seen, I would say, since the 1940s: people queuing for food at soup kitchens, graffiti everywhere—

AMY GOODMAN: Maria, we’re going—we’re calling you on your land line, because, though we’re speaking to you via Skype, the sound just isn’t good enough. I think we’re going to go to a break, and then we’re going to come back, so we can make sure everyone hears what you have to say. Maria Margaronis is The Nation magazine’s London correspondent. She has just come back from Athens. This weekend, 100,000 people protested the austerity plan, which means one in five public workers will be fired. Something like 15,000 people are expected to lose their jobs. We’ll be back with Maria Margaronis in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We return to Maria Margaronis, on the phone now, just out of Athens, Greece. Again, describe what you found there and what is at stake, Maria, in Greece.

MARIA MARGARONIS: Well, what is at stake, Greece is in an almost—I’m sorry, should I turn off the Skype?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, please.

MARIA MARGARONIS: I’m getting like—OK. OK, there we go.

So, what’s at stake? Greece is in an extremely difficult situation. It’s been set this impossible choice by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the IMF, which is either to default on its loans by March, when it owes a massive loan payment, or to accept this desperate austerity program, which will further sink the economy, which has been in recession now for five years and is really now in a deep depression. As you said, it involves a 22 percent cut to the minimum wage. It involves laying off not 15,000, but 150,000 public sector workers by 2016, and many other changes.

And the Greek people have really had enough of this. People are exhausted and desperate. On the street in Athens, there’s a sense of everything breaking down. A lot of stores have closed. The ones that are open all have 50 percent sales on. You see people looking through garbage for something to eat. Homelessness has increased horrendously, so that where in the past you would only see recent immigrants queuing at homeless shelters, now many Greeks who were formerly middle-class people with good jobs and laptops and cars and so on—you know, the full middle-class lifestyle—are finding themselves out on the streets.

AMY GOODMAN: What about healthcare right now, how people are getting access to healthcare, Maria?

MARIA MARGARONIS: Healthcare is also in a very difficult situation, because when you lose your job in Greece, you also lose your healthcare, so that, for example, last week I went to see a clinic that’s been set up by the Athens Doctors Association to treat people who have lost their healthcare in that way and which is being staffed by unemployed doctors. Some doctors who are working, they’re volunteering, but also young doctors who have graduated but, because there’s a complete freeze on hiring in the public sector, can’t get a job in the public health system. I spoke to one young pediatrician who has a graduate degree in child development from Denver, Colorado, who’s working there for free and who told me that a number of families are now not vaccinating their children because they can’t afford to pay for the vaccines. So, we’re on the verge of a health disaster in Greece, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the position of the Greek government, the power of the protesters, and whether there’s any sense that this can be turned around.

MARIA MARGARONIS: OK. The Greek government voted—it’s a coalition government between—it used to be the three parties: the two main parties—the center-right and the center-left—with a far-right party called LAOS. Now, LAOS pulled out before the last austerity vote, because its popularity was dropping as a result of supporting the austerity measures. And we have a caretaker prime minister, Lucas Papademos, who is a former banker from the European Central Bank, who is an appointed prime minister. The vote on—during the vote on Sunday, a third of MPs voted against the new measures—that is, for default, effectively—which is quite an extraordinary number. And as a result, a number of MPs were expelled from the two main parties. So there’s a rejigging of the political system going on now. There’s general rage in Greece with the old politicians for having brought the country to this point. And there’s a real lack of new blood in Parliament, people who people trust to be able to turn things around.

The protests are also a complex scene, because what you see on the street in Athens, both in October and now in—on Sunday, is a complete cross-section of people from all walks of life, all ages—pensioners, working people, unemployed people, students, everybody. There’s also the large group now of hooded black-clad protesters who also are a complex scene. There’s a quite a strong anarchist movement in Greece. Some of them belong to the more violent tendencies of that. There’s also some far-right involvement, possibly. And a lot of people are certain that there are some of these protesters who actually are working with the police to cause trouble. So, a huge demonstration of, I would say, well over 100,000 people in Athens on Sunday.

The first thing that happened is that the police set to with tear gas to clear people from Syntagma Square, which is in front of Parliament, because that’s where all the TV cameras of the foreign stations are lined up on the top floors of the grand hotels. And the policy in the last demonstrations has been to get people out of the square, so that, you know, the demonstration isn’t seen. And then unbelievable street battles began between the police, with tear gas and truncheons and boots, and the hooded protesters, throwing firebombs and Molotov cocktails and marble shards. And 45 buildings in Athens were set alight. It’s a miracle that nobody was killed. And Athens now looks like a devastated war zone.

There’s no—I spoke to a friend who was at those protests, and she described a feeling of real despair, that there’s no vision, there’s no sense of a way out for Greece, apart from default, which is also an extremely painful option, unless the E.U. and the ECB and the IMF change their policy, realize that austerity isn’t working, is never going to work, and that the plan that they’ve now set in motion is only going to lead Greece to default further on down the line.

AMY GOODMAN: Maria Margaronis, how are people organizing?

MARIA MARGARONIS: Well, the interesting thing that’s happening is, a lot of very small local groups, some of whom began last summer in Syntagma Square, where there was the birth of the popular democracy camp, which has now moved into the neighborhoods—so you see people organizing, sometimes through their local councils, to resist the tax that’s been placed—the property tax that’s charged through people’s electricity bill. And the penalty for nonpayment of the tax is that the electricity gets cut off. Now, the government is beginning to retreat on this, partly because a number of boroughs have organized their citizens to just not pay it.

And we’re also seeing a great outpouring of solidarity. I was at a homeless shelter in Athens last week and talking to people there. And while I was there, several people arrived with quilts and blankets. One of the things that’s happening is that you can’t tell anymore who are the clients, if you like, of these shelters and who are the volunteers. I went up to one young woman, and I said, "Hello. Are you a volunteer?" She said, "Yes, I’m a volunteer. I’m also homeless and unemployed." And she had been sleeping on a park bench in Piraeus until she got there and is now both at the shelter and also helping at the shelter.

AMY GOODMAN: Is the fall—

MARIA MARGARONIS: So that’s the heartening thing, is people are really coming together and pulling together.

AMY GOODMAN: Is the fall of the Greek government imminent, do you think?

MARIA MARGARONIS: I don’t think so. They have now scheduled elections for April or possibly early May. I don’t think this government is going to fall before then, unless—and this is—you know, there’s still a real question as to whether the loan will be forthcoming, despite the vote in Parliament. There are still a number of steps that have to be gone through. The party leaders all have to sign up to implementing the measures before the election, which makes the election a bit of a travesty, since they won’t have any choice about what policy to pursue. And then the Bundestag has to approve it, the German Bundestag, and the troika of the E.U., the ECB and the IMF also have to approve it. So, there’s still a real possibility that that loan won’t come through, in which case we have disorderly default in March. And then, at that point, the government may fall. But if that doesn’t happen, I think we will go to elections. But those elections will be very turbulent and very unpredictable, I would say.

AMY GOODMAN: And the effect on Europe? Moody’s Service cut the debt ratings of six European nations on Monday, including Italy, Spain and Portugal—the outlooks.

MARIA MARGARONIS: Right. Well, I think what the troika are trying to do is put a firewall around Greece and somehow cauterize the problem. But I don’t think this is going to work, because I think it’s very clear now that this is a pan-European problem and its root causes are the financial crisis that began in 2008 and also the structural problems in the eurozone, where there was no—there was no policy put in place to deal with profound inequalities between the northern and the southern countries. So, unless those things are resolved, unless some kind of Eurobond system is put in place, unless some sort of investment program for the southern countries and also Ireland is put in place, the crisis in Europe will continue.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Maria Margaronis, speaking to us from London, just returned from Greece. She’s writing pieces for The Nation magazine and The Guardian.

Magda Hassan
02-18-2012, 01:50 PM
Some good commentary from Nikos Raptis here:

Merkel's Incredible Feat! (Part one) By Nikos Raptis (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/nikosraptis)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Angela Merkel (a Cheney - Rumsfeld - Wolfowitz "offering" to the world) managed to turn almost an entire society, the Greek society, into a healthy political force; a leftist force.

"The Saxon Lady ... had 'a 40-minute lunch at the Pentagon ... with Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz'. She 'drew appreciative laughter when she said that having grown up near Berlin before the fall of the wall, she has a little bit of new Europe in her'..........

In the early months of 2001 she [Merkel] tours America and chats with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Collin Powel. On April 24, 2001 Angela is photographed in the office of Congressman Henry Hide, sitting on a luxurious leather armchair with the American flag in the background............

So the 'baptism' of Angela Merkel in the holy waters of the American Shiloah was underway ... Thus, Merkel advanced in this procedure so much that she 'drew an appreciative laughter' from Rumsfeld and Co., while licking their 'hands' ...

Some of her [German] fellow-politicians [in 2001!] are even afraid of her. (Because they know that if her US baptism goes well, then she will be able to terrorize anybody she feels like.)"

This is an excerpt from my ZNet Commentary, "A Tale of Two Ladies", of March 15, 2003.

Of course, almost three years later, on November 22, 2005, Merkel, the Saxon lady, became "Kanzlerin" of the German folk.

There is no doubt that the majority of the post-Hitler politicians have been fervent arselickers of the US elites. However, the crown goes to Merkel, hands down.

So, it is not unreasonable to accept that the umbilical cord connecting Merkel to the US elite is still there. Which means that her acts as "Kanzlerin" have a lot to do with the "desires" of the US elite.

Which, in turn, leads us to the conclusion that ultimately it is the US elite that have been the originators of the feat accomplished by Merkel in Greece.

Of course, I have to explain what I mean by the expression: a "healthy leftist" society or force. This is necessary because, the term "Left" has become meaningless. For example, in the US, Obama - of the drones, of the US Navy Seals murderers, of the bonuses to the Wall Streeters, etc - is considered a "leftist"!

I think that a person is a "healthy leftist", if he or she:

- is not an asshole (most of his life)

- talks to his neighbor

- helps his neighbor (when in need)

- does not exploit his neighbor

- does not support covert or overt authoritarianism

- does not support wars or violence

- does not approve of profit, growth, and competition

- respects nature

- respects justice

- respects knowledge

- respects his fellow-humans

- is modest

So, it seems (repeat: seems) that humans are born as "leftists". The family, schools, the wider social environment, etc., destroy this attribute for many people.

However, there is a situation that forces most persons that have lost their inborn "leftism" to regain it. That situation is poverty. Murray Bookchin, a few years before his death, had come to a similar conclusion.

So, this is what Merkel & Co. have accomplished with the Greek society.

Before, the Merkel "attack" the situation in Greece, as mentioned in previous Commentaries, was approximately the following:

- "Socialists" (PASOK): around 40 %

- New Democracy, conservatives, i.e. rightists: around 35 %

- KKE, Communists (Stalinists): around 6 %

- SYRIZA (Eurocommunist roots): around 3 %

After the Merkel "attack" and the thrusting of 1/3 of the Greek population, about 3.5 million people, into deep poverty, the Greeks regained their inborn leftism, that is their dignity. So the situation today, February 2012, according to recent opinion polls, is the following:

- "Socialist (PASOK): around 10 %

- New Democracy, conservatives: around 30 %
[Which agrees with my claim, in previous writings, that about 33 % of any given population are assholes, a.k.a. conservatives, Republicans, Christian Democrats, etc.]

- KKE, Communists (Stalinists): around 12 %

- SYRIZA (Eurocommunists): around 12 %

- Democratic Left (new party, split from SYRIZA, see below, in "Part Two"): around 13 %

- Greens (with anarchist roots): around 5 %

So, Merkel & Co, in only two years, created a Greek Left that, in all, numbers a political force of around 42%.

This has scared the shit out of the Greek rightists (especially) the neo-Nazis, but mostly Merkel's mentors in Washington, D.C. Also, it is troubling for the Israelis, who have a very chummy relationship with the American-born Greek prime minister, George Papandreou. An exaggeration?

Read this:

In 1958 the Greek party of EDA, a front for the then-outlawed Greek communist party, gained 24.4 of the votes, in the parliamentary elections of that year. The result: a 7-years-long (1967-1974) military dictatorship for the Greeks, offered by the noble people at Langley, as ordered, again, by the US elite.

Therefore, the real problem now is not the "debt", but the "Lefties".

What happened yesterday (Sunday, February 12, 2012) in Athens, can have only one explanation: the Greek population must be terrorized and start doubting about the Left. Because, if the "virus" of the Greek Left spreads to the rest of Europe, then the US elite, and even the ... Chinese elite would be in trouble.

The questions to be answered are:

- Who benefits from yesterday's destruction? Might it be the present Greek government and Merkel & Co.?

- Is there an honest person in the world who will accept that an anarchist will break into small ordinary shops, owned by lower middle-class people, to loot the place clean and turn the family of the small shop-keeper into beggars?

- Why most Greeks, even right-wingers, believe that the two 19th century buildings that were burnt have been "chosen" for "demolition through fire" and for future development, as the buildings, being part of the Greek heritage, were "untouchable" for development during the last half century?

- What explanation can be given for the fact that the destruction "modus operandi" of the hooded persons, and the looting, was so vulgar that it points only to members of the criminal society of prison graduates, hired by the Greek police?

- Why, the minister of Public Order, a certain Christos[!!] Papoutsis, a well-known "hard" person, who supervised the destruction, as the political head of the police, is (for the time being) beyond accountability?

- Why minister Papoutsis prohibited the communist unions, a crowd of about 50,000 people, with a vanguard of tough construction workers, to move to Syntagma Square and face down the hooded provocateurs?

[Note: As I am writing this, on the Greek state-TV, one Panos Beglitis, a PASOK "socialist" and a "chosen person" (in the sense of a "chosen people" by the Almighty) is analyzing to the Greeks what is in stock for them. My guess is that we should remember the name of this rather "aggressive" gentleman.] Merkel's Incredible Feat! (Part two)By Nikos Raptis (http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/nikosraptis)

Saturday, February 18, 2012


As mentioned in "Part one" of this Commentary, Merkel, by thrusting 1/3 of the Greeks into deep poverty, managed to radicalize towards the Left almost the greatest part of the Greek society. Which resulted in the spreading of panic not only in the Greek elites but mostly in the European and US elites.

Let us examine in more detail this new situation:

- An important development has been the split of the (Eurocommunist) "Coalition", today called SYRIZA, in two parts, with the creation, in 2010, of a new party, the "Democratic Left", under the leadership of Fotis Koovelis.

Fotis Koovelis (64) is a mild-mannered lawyer with a diligently cultivated profile of political moderation. He has been part of the Eurocommunist movement after the military dictatorship of 1967.

In the most recent opinion polls the "Democratic Left", the new party of Koovelis, got almost 13 % to 20 % of the vote of the Greeks, while the governing "socialist" PASOK, which has been governing Greece for almost three decades, got around 10 %. Of course the term "socialist" means: a reactionary rightist party, participating in the CIA orchestrated two-party charade.

- The leader of (the Eurocommunist) SYRIZA is Alexis Tsipras, a young (38) and dynamic civil engineering colleague of mine, who, during the last many months has repeatedly attacked quite effectively the corrupt old political guard of the PASOK "socialists" and the Rightists of "New Democracy". Of course, the old guard considers the youth-factor as a ... "defect".

The older members of SYRIZA constitute a rather restraining factor in the present political process. However, there are younger members with solid educational and cultural background that are worthy of the support of the Greeks.

A very positive development not only for SYRIZA but for the Greek society at large, could be the support of SYRIZA by the young Greeks who can push SYRIZA towards a more "social libertarian" (anarchic) attitude.

- The leader of KKE (the Stalinist Communists) is Aleka Papariga (67), a graduate of the "History and Archaeology" department of the University of Athens.

The rank and file of the party, as expected, constitute a very disciplined and dynamic force in the Greek society, who, justifiably, are very proud for the history of their party and for the rivers of blood and the suffering that its members have been undergoing in the hands of the Greek Right, the Nazis, and the US, for almost 3/4 of a century.

Yet, at this specific point in time, their behavior could be crucial not only for the Greeks as a people, but, also, for the rest of Europe, if not for the world. Their hard-headed insistence to go it alone and their contempt for the rest of the Greek Left could be destructive for the struggle of the Greeks. Also, their quasi-religious insistence that the communists hold the absolute truth, is a huge minus for the Left.

Finally, their aggressive disdain for the "social libertarians" (anarchists) has always been (and is) bizarre.

The Greek people will not forgive an undermining of the unique chance present in this, Merkel-initiated, situation. The rank and file of the party should push to avoid such a tragedy. They have to cooperate with the rest of the Left.

- The leader of the Greens is Michalis Tremopoulos (54), a lawyer. He is a Murray Bookchin "social ecologist". A more combative presentation of the Bookchin ideas among the Greeks could add a significant percentage of votes to the Left. Again, it is imperative that the Greens put aside any personal disagreements with the rest of the Left and be part of a wider effort.

- The "social libertarians" (anarchists), are dispersed all over Greece. Naturally, there are (or should not) be any leaders. There is no way for them to participate in the electoral process. However, there is a very simple and effective way to let them present their vision to the Greek people: The other parts of the Left, the Communists, SYRIZA, the Democratic Left, and the Greens could invite them in their rallies, in their TV presentations, etc. to do just that, present their vision, in which the Albert-Hahnel "Participatory Economics" holds an important part.

- Finally there is a very important part of the Left: a very angry Greek people. All the above parts of the Left should seek to contact these ordinary Greeks in sincerity and respect.

On their side, the ordinary Greeks should demand from the above parts of the Left to unite and free the country of the blight; domestic and foreign. My estimate is that the Greeks are so angry and desperate, that, as previously mentioned, they are not going to forgive any irresponsibility on the part of the leaders of the Left.

[Parenthesis: This is the morning of Wednesday February 15, 2012 and this was just announced in Athens: Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German Minister of Finance, decided, in essence, that the Greek parliamentary elections, scheduled for April of 2012, should not take place.]

So, it seems that I was right (in "Part one" of this article): "[The] real problem is not the [Greek] 'debt' but the 'Lefties'".

However, even taking for granted that Merkel "succeeded" to radicalize the Greeks, will the elections change things?

Unfortunately, the (Stalinist) Communists, have, already, expressed the view that the elections are not so important, implying that only a revolution will bring the change.

The rest of the Left spectrum and the majority of the Greeks understand that right now it is imperative to get rid of the corrupt old political structure. After that, it is up to the Greek people to change things and to seek a new vision.

By the way, is the following statement correct: "History teaches that the majority (if not all) of the politicians are problematic persons who decide for themselves that they should be our leaders"? The answer was given by the ordinary Americans of the Clinton era: "Throw the bums out!" However, the same ordinary Americans brought in W. Bush and Obama.

Of course, Noam Chomsky is right: it is the institutions that count. The individuals, as instruments serving the institutions, are simply replaceable. Yet, people like Merkel, Schaeuble, et al, can spread very deep anger to entire populations.

Also, there is an additional dimension, a moral one, in the Greek drama: the racist attitude of the European Schaeubles against the Greeks as humans.

The regular ZNetters will remember the article by Michael Lewis of "Vanity Fair" magazine (ZNet Commentary: "Thackeray's Greeks?" of September 26, 2010) who denigrated the Greeks as a people. Schaeuble does the same as a post-Hitler "good German", for he thinks of himself as a "superhuman" that can dictate to lesser humans his wishes, e.g. when the Greeks should be allowed to hold parliamentary elections.

So, let us check if Schaeuble is right in considering the Greeks as lesser than his German self:

- In the late 1950s George Mastoris, a fellow-student of mine in the Greek Polytechnic and a civil engineering colleague, found himself in Germany at one of the best technical institutions of the land. The German colleagues at the time were faced with a difficult structural problem which they could not solve, in spite of their efforts, for three years. When faced with the problem, Mastoris (the Greek subhuman) solved it in 15 minutes. [In case Dr. jur. (Doktor-in-Law) Wolfgang Schaeuble does not understand the term "structural" here is an aid for him: "Structural" means the mathematical analysis and consequent design of the members of buildings, etc and refers also to the physical properties of engineering materials. Herr Schaeuble: the term definitely does not refer to the "structural adjustments". That is, to give the right, for example, to corporations to push tens of thousands of families to poverty. By the way, Herr Schaeuble, how come you, a member of a supreme race, copied the "wisdom" of the Milton Friedman criminal idiots of the University of Chicago? Or, was it because originally the name might have been ... Friedmann? Or is it that Merkel is still carrying her Rumsfeld & Co. umbilical cored?

Let this be a tribute to the memory of my colleague George Mastoris, who died so young.

- Quite a few years ago Mikis Theodorakis (it is more than certain that Schaeuble knows who he is, not only because Mikis is a mortal class enemy of his, but because Mikis is adored by millions of Germans), was presenting, in Athens, a new work of his, the opera of "Karyotakis". I happened to sit by two German ladies, a middle-aged Mother with her daughter, in the concert hall. Discussing Mikis and his music, I told them (with pride) that Mikis was the Johann Sebastian Bach of the Greeks. The German ladies not only agreed, but told me that the Greeks are lucky because Mikis is alive, while JSB is not. Do you think Herr Schaeuble, that the German ladies committed treason by praising the member of a lower race? Or was it that the ladies, simply, belonged to the 2/3 of normal ordinary humans of the German population, in contrast to the members of the 1/3, defined earlier (in "Part one" of this article)?

- Many years ago Professor S..., the top expert in soil mechanics of Germany, and I were checking in Greece the foundation of the piers of one of the most important bridges in Europe, at the time. He asked my opinion and he agreed with it. Did he, too, commit treason by agreeing with me, given that I belong to a lesser race?

- Do you, Herr Schaeuble, consider that the Greeks are morally corrupt, as does the "Vanity Fair" journalist, because some Greeks, belonging to the Greek 1/3, were not paying taxes or got bribes from Siemens? However, do you have the right to pass such a judgment, when in Regensburg the local priest was fucking the =

Magda Hassan
02-20-2012, 08:45 AM
Όχημα που αναφέρθηκε ότι χρησιμοποιήθηκε για την μεταφορά συλληφθέντων χθες στο κέντρο της Αθήνας. Εδώ είναι έξω από το ΑΤ Εξαρχείων.

Τι μας κάνει εντύπωση; Ότι έχει ιδιωτικές πινακίδες.

This vehicle was reported to be used for the transport of detained citizens yesterday in Athens. Here we can see it outside Exarcheia police station.

What amazes us? It has private number plates.https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/396209_349844205038563_118926818130304_1132786_200 1934989_n.jpg

Jan Klimkowski
02-21-2012, 06:59 PM
The juice is flowing...

The ECT dial is thrust to eleven...

The prisoner writhes in agony...


Greeks face further wage cuts as price of latest bailout

EU officials say planned 15% wage cuts – on top of 30% already suffered – will not be enough

David Gow in Brussels
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/feb/21/greeks-face-further-wage-cuts-bailout), Tuesday 21 February 2012 13.31 GMT

Greeks will have to suffer further wage cuts than the 15% planned for the next three years in order to restore their country's competitiveness, senior EU officials have admitted.

The size of the IMF's contribution to the €130bn bailout – finally agreed on Tuesday after 14 hours of negotiations – has also yet to be decided, while the European commission will only present proposals for "an enhanced and permanent presence" of debt inspectors in Athens later this week.

Repeatedly conceding that their forecasts were subject to high risks, the officials said the Greek economy would contract by 4.5% this year after a fall of 7% last year and would stagnate in 2013 before growth resumed in 2014.

Unemployment, now running at more than 18%, is expected to remain above this level this year and next, be just below 17% in 2014 and remain above 15% in 2015. But wages will have to be depressed even further to reorientate the Greek economy towards exports.

The government of Lucas Papademos, or its elected successor, will also have to find savings equivalent to 5% of GDP by the end of 2014, with officials talking of stepping up the fight against tax evasion.

Greeks have already suffered a 30% cut in wages and can look forward to steep cuts in the minimum wage as well as pensions as the price for securing the latest €130bn bailout which, with €34.4bn rolled over from the original €109bn rescue package, gives €164.4bn available over the next three years.

The sheer scale of the fresh dose of austerity, doubts over the ability of both the Greek government and the eurozone to reach targets and gaps in the eurogroup deal prompted cynics to suggest the agreement would hold together for only a few months. Some non-eurozone diplomats have already begun speculating about when a third package will be required to keep Greece within the euro.

Papademos, who flew to Brussels to help broker the deal, secured significant backing from a large group of private bondholders for the increased 53.5% nominal "haircut". He also won an extra €10bn in the package for the recapitalisation of Greek banks which now see €50bn set aside.

The proceeds from privatisations, already scheduled to raise €50bn, have so far been a paltry €1.6bn from five transactions and the new programme envisages raising €19bn from 35 transactions. But the full proceeds will only be raised if the Greek state sells off huge tracts of land and buildings, the officials conceded.

Magda Hassan
03-10-2012, 12:39 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD_phmSldow&feature=g-u-u&context=G20721a3FUAAAAAAANAA

Magda Hassan
03-28-2012, 09:01 AM
EXCLUSIVE: GREEK GOVERNMENT ROBBED PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS TO COMPLETE BOND SWAP

http://hat4uk.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/papademoslagarde.jpg?w=500 (http://hat4uk.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/papademoslagarde.jpg)“But Lucas my dear, if you run out of poor people, you can always steal from the sick”REVEALED: HOW VENIZELOS REGIME SECRETLY REMOVED 70% OF MAJOR HOSPITAL, UTILITY & UNIVERSITY BANK ACCOUNT FUNDS TO PAY BONDHOLDERS
Bank of Greece complicit in broadscale embezzlement revealed by respectable Greek health site
The illegally denied default of Greece entered a dramatic new phase this afternoon with the revelation by mainstream Greek public health website Health News (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=el&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ygeianews.gr%2Fsection%2Fugeia-politiki%2Fcontent%2Fexafanisan-ta-xrimata-ton-nosokomeion-gia-listeia-kanoun-logo-oi-giat)that, shortly before midnight on March 8th – the eve of Greece’s psi completion on Friday March 9th (http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/03/09/psi-participation-rate-85-8-with-cac-activation-95-7/) – on average 70% of public utility funds in varous large, interest-bearing accounts at the Bank of Greece were raided. These included most of the State’s regional hospital budgets, various universities and (it is alleged) at least one utility company.The shortfalls came to light late last week and this morning as various hospital purchasing cheques in particular began to bounce. The monies – estimated by one source to total some 1.4 billion euros – appear to have been used to pay off the tiny minority of private sovereign creditors who, under the original terms of their bond purchase, were entitled come what may to full payment of the bond’s yield entitlement.Setting aside the amoral audacity of this act, it does yet again raise the issue of a Greece so utterly lacking in any real funds in the real world, that to pay off a minute proportion of the bondholders it had to resort to such a desperate measure.“The Greek government used this money in order to purchase government bonds from various bondholders without getting permission from the bank account owners,” one reliable Athens source told The Slog in commenting on the story, “hospitals and universities have been robbed of hundreds of millions of Euros, absolutely essential for their core functionality.”On being pointed at the Health News site, The Slog immediately contacted another of many Athens sources who have flocked to this website in recent weeks. This informant in turn offered access to a senior administrator in a major teaching hospital. The person thus contacted told me: “There can be no doubt about this. It isn’t even very subtle. All the monies were withdrawn over a brief period of time on March 8th after normal banking hours. I have spoken to teaching contacts at Universities over the weekend, and it has been confirmed that they too have the same embarrassment. These people are criminals who should be brought to justice. But in the Greece of today, it will not happen”.
One final source told me shortly before posting, “The Bank of Greece is naked in this matter. We ask them for the reasons why this has happened, and they claim to have no knowledge of such things. This is ridiculous. This could not have been done without their cooperation. There is nobody now in Greece we can trust”.
Equally, nobody should be surprised that senior politicians and government officials have conspired to do such a thing. The Venizelos elite has shown itself to be without ethics or remorse in many ways already. The European Central Bank, Brussels, the IMF and even Berlin have also shown a compliant willingness to look the other way or simply ignore the Law if it suits them so to do. But now, I think institutions around the world – and their stakeholders – need to look at what’s happening in southern Europe and ask themselves, ‘Is this really right? Is any cause worth this amount of depravity and deprivation?’
Footnote: sharp-eyed Sloggers may have noticed that last Friday – that ill-starred March 23rd – the Greeks once again postponed the time by which English Law bondholders have to participate in psi. The reason: they aren’t going to participate, and Athens does NOT have the money to pay them…as the above post demonstrates rather well.

http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/exclusive-greek-government-robbed-public-institutions-to-complete-bond-swap/

Jan Klimkowski
03-28-2012, 05:15 PM
Tanks and soldiers, jets and warships, are no longer necessary.

Power resides in the mouse clicks on a crooked banker's computer screen.

Magda Hassan
07-06-2012, 03:48 PM
Syriza RisingThe radical Left in Greece almost rules.
BY RICHARD SEYMOUR (http://www.inthesetimes.com/community/profile/321526)In Greece, social democracy is cadaverous, but as yet the social struggles have not produced organs of popular power. Syriza offers a mediating factor between the two.

After a period of worrying decline, some of Europe’s Left parties, formed to contest social democracy from the Left, are on the rebound. The remarkable surge of Syriza in Greece is the latest indication of this, emerging in the May 6th elections as the main contender to consolidate the Left. With 16.8 percent of the total, Syriza finished second, only two points behind the center-right New Democracy.
What made this possible is the imposition of “austerity” policies that cut public spending, reduce wages and redistribute the burden of taxes to the working class. Greece’s debts have been used as a pretext for a series of assaults on the public sector. In order to secure funds from the European Union to pay off debts to Europe’s major banks, Greece had to sign on to the Memorandum of Understanding, which imposed cutbacks and mandated the sell-off of $66 billion worth of public assets at fire-sale prices.
Proclaiming a radical agenda—tearing up the Memorandum, nationalizing banks, raising the minimum wage, restoring lost benefits for workers, and ending cuts to public-sector jobs—Syriza surprised everyone, coming closer to taking office than any other left-of-social-democracy formation in Europe. It has displaced the traditional social democratic party, Pasok (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), as the main party of the Greek working class, beating Pasok in many of its traditional urban strongholds (above all, in Athens). Among blue-collar public-sector workers, Syriza won 27 percent, compared to 10.6 percent for Pasok. Among blue-collar private-sector workers, it won 21 percent, compared to 7 percent for Pasok.
The significance of this is obvious. The stakes in Greece’s struggle are graver than any situation in Europe since the Portuguese Revolution in 1974.

Roots of the crisis
Historically, Greek capitalism has been built on the basis of shipping and finance. These two sectors have led Greece’s political power bloc, have never paid taxes to support a welfare state, and don’t to this day. As such, the Greek welfare state, constructed by Pasok after the dictatorship collapsed in 1974, was funded by the taxes of workers, and extensive borrowing. The result was accumulating budget deficits.
But the strategy of the power bloc was to fully integrate into the European Union, where such deficits were taboo. They were to be suppressed through spending cuts and restructuring, with the remainder concealed by Goldman Sachs. The trouble, though, was that Greece’s role in the Eurozone was to act as an export market for Europe’s core economies—above all, Germany. This escalated public and private debt in Greece. If the illusion was that growth—spurred by financialization—would eventually pay the bills, the “credit crunch” was a merciless reality check.
When Pasok was elected in 2009 to reverse a series of cutbacks, the country’s debts were four times the EU limit. Unwilling to tax the rich, the party’s solution was fiscal “credibility”—meaning austerity, soaring unemployment and people dying due to lack of medicine.
This began a cycle of protest that recalls the aftermath of Greece’s military junta. From the student movement to the Indignados, from the first to the last of 17 general strikes, the tempo has varied, but the trend is one of intense polarization, largely favoring the Left. The problem for Pasok, and the “technocratic” coalition that briefly succeeded it, was that the Greek working class had not suffered a serious defeat of the sort that had been dealt to other groups of workers—airline workers in the U.S., for example, or miners in the U.K.
Nor had Greek communism been vanquished. In addition to a number of organizations of the radical Left, major factions were present in the Greek Communist Party and Syriza, both of which contributed to radicalization. Five years of recession, social struggle and escalating austerity have produced a situation in which one faction came close to leading a government of the radical Left. This crisis is not just of an economy or a state, but of a whole social compact, and the systems of political and ideological representation that have bound it together.

Syriza: Duck or rabbit?
There is little agreement among the European Left about what kind of organization Syriza is. From one perspective, it is a typical reformist group with a pro-European strategy that (radical rhetoric aside) will tend toward conciliation with European elites. Those who take this view note the dominance of the ex-Eurocommunist formation Synaspismós (Coalition of Left Movements and Ecology), which makes up about 85 percent of the membership.
A few factors complicate this picture. First, while the radical fringe in Syriza is far from dominant, it is not negligible. Among Syriza’s constituents are the Communist Organization of Greece, a Maoist organization and the second-largest group in the coalition, and the International Workers Left, a Trotskyist party. Though the dominant forces in Syriza are indeed relatively moderate, the other forces are not a mere appendage. The stances that emerge are the result of complex forces within the organization as well as from external pressures.
Second, Synaspismós has its Right and Left currents internally. Its very structure, seeking to form a “canopy” of the Left, encourages platforms and internal differentiation. Its participation in social movements drew in leftist youth, and the old right-wing leadership that once pursued a (brief, disastrous) alliance with New Democracy was defeated in 2004. Synaspismós has since pursued alliances with the radical Left rather than simply seeking favor with Pasok, and many of its right-wing leaders eventually defected to form the Democratic Left, now a partner in the coalition government.
Third, Syriza’s pro-European stance has not been static. While Syriza still favors remaining in the Eurozone, there is growing dissent internally, led by its Left leaders such as Panagiotis Lafazanis. The slogan before May was “not one sacrifice for the euro,” reflecting a much more ambiguous, critical stance (though in practice, this slogan was dropped some time before the May election).
Syriza answers the need for a mediating factor between complicit social democracy, which offers at best timid resistance to the worst aspects of austerity, and an abstract maximalism, which poses revolutionary demands in a situation that is not revolutionary. In Greece, social democracy is cadaverous, but as yet the social struggles have not produced organs of popular power. The majority of Greek workers are looking for a Left government to stop austerity, and this was the slogan that Syriza raised before the May elections.

A loss … but for how long?
Syriza’s proposals are not especially radical—and are even to the right of where Pasok once stood—but they pose an intolerable dilemma to European capital. The main plank of Syriza’s agenda was to revoke the laws implementing the Memorandum, and force a renegotiation. In the course of fighting the subsequent election in June, Syriza’s leaders tried to soften the unilateral element of this policy. But notably, they stuck with it. When Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras held his final election rally on June 14, he was clear that if Syriza won, the Memorandum would be dead.
For Europe’s leaders, this meant either renegotiating the Memorandum (thus accepting a political defeat and setting a dangerous precedent), or forcing Greece out of the EU (at the risk of destabilizing the Eurozone). Syriza’s plan would have relieved some of the burden from Greek shoulders, putting the crisis back in the heart of Europe.
In the June 17 elections, Syriza advanced to 26.8 percent of the vote. However, this was not enough to win, due to the consolidation of the right-wing vote around New Democracy, which garnered 29.6 percent. A major factor in New Democracy’s increase was the intimidation campaign mounted against Syriza. European leaders let it be known they would not renegotiate; if Greece voted the wrong way, it would be forced to withdraw from the euro, and be cast into destitution. In the last week, a panic campaign led to savings being withdrawn from Greece, which shifted the advantage away from Syriza. The result was a relief for EU leaders, and a defeat for Greek workers.
But the new government is only as stable as Greek society is, or as the EU is. We may yet see Syriza’s strategy put to the test.
http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/13472

Magda Hassan
09-05-2012, 12:01 PM
Leaked: Troika requires 6-day working week in Greece


Published: 04 September, 2012, 17:42
Edited: 04 September, 2012, 23:38
TRENDS:Eurozone crisis (http://rt.com/trends/eurozone-crisis/)
TAGS: EU (http://rt.com/tags/eu/), Greece (http://rt.com/tags/greece/), Global economy (http://rt.com/tags/global-economy/)

A leaked email sent to the Greek Ministries of Finance and Labor from the Troika says Greek private sector workers should work six days a week and longer hours.
The letter, which was published on August 31, shows that the Troika expects the Labor Ministry to implement a number of other new measures. They include reducing the notice period before firing a worker, and cutting certain severance packages by 50 per cent by giving employers the right to reduce workers’ time in service. Restrictions on overtime are also expected to come into effect.
“It also wants a dismantling of the labor inspectorate which is the public service that is responsible for implementing labor law. So it’s not only about making the labor market more flexible,” Panagiotis Sotiris from the University of the Aegean told RT.
The email was sent ahead of meetings between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition partners, the PASOK Socialists of Evangelos Venizelos and the Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis, according to the financial newspaper Imerisia.
“I think we are going to see a total dismantling of labor law which would possibly even include a 7 day work week. It’s also interesting that they are trying to reduce the number of hours between shifts to only 11 hours. So their idea is that an employer can call up an employee at any time, giving the employee no stability of working hours,” Sotiris said.
The six day work week is something that’s already legal in France, where only one day of rest is currently required after 35 hours worked.

In the UK, employment hours are monitored by a reference period – a span of 17 weeks – in which an employee must average no more than 48 hours of work per week.
The law allows unlimited hours during any given week, so long as the worker’s 17 week average does not exceed 48 hours.
The relationship between Greece and the Troika – which includes the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank, has been tense for months, after the Troika repeatedly accused Athens of failing to keep to its deficit reduction plan.
"Nothing has been done in Greece for the past three or four months," a Troika official told Reuters during a July visit to Athens.
The Greek government agreed to new cuts for 2013-2014, but warned the slashed budget wouldn’t be followed by additional cuts.
"This is the last such package of spending cuts," Samaras told a meeting of his conservative party's officials on Thursday.
The government is currently drawing up plans on how to come up with $14.5bn worth of savings to satisfy the Troika.
"There is political agreement on the package. It will be sealed next week and presented to the Troika," Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told Reuters.
The new cuts will then need to be approved by the Greek parliament.
The vote is expected to spark protests as trade unions oppose further austerity.
The Troika is expected to return to Athens on Wednesday to deliver a report on the country’s progress in terms of meeting its bailout obligations. The results will determine whether EU leaders decide to continue funding Greece.
Greece is in the midst of a five-year recession, with nearly two million people currently unemployed. The economy has shrunk 7 per cent, and 68,000 businesses have been closed.
But it appears Athens hasn’t arrived at the economic crisis due to laziness.
Working for a living

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures show the average Greek employee works 2,017 hours per year – more than in any other European country.
But unfortunately for Greece, more hours worked doesn’t mean increased productivity.
The answer lies within a simple math equation. By taking Greece’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and dividing it by the total number of workers. This shows that despite the number of hours worked, Athens is still lagging far behind countries like Germany when it comes to productivity.
http://rt.com/files/news/troika-greece-week-six-345/screenshot-website.jpg
Screenshot from website pastebin.com

http://rt.com/news/troika-greece-week-six-345/

Jan Klimkowski
09-05-2012, 08:28 PM
"Troika."

What the fuck is the "Troika"?

It is an MSM euphemism for elite financial, corporate and military interests.

These interests have turned up the Shock Therapy dial to the point where ordinary Greeks are screaming with pain and despair, and now the "Troika" says:

"BECOME SERFS DENIED THE RIGHTS OF EVERY OTHER EUROPEAN.

OR BE CAST INTO THE WILDERNESS."

Naked Power. Naked Greed. Naked Self-Interest.

Keith Millea
09-26-2012, 01:19 AM
There will be a large demonstration in Greece tomorrow.You can always find livestream broadcasts now so I will try to find a good link to post up.

Spain erupted in massive police violence today with the people now vowing to come back there tomorrow also.... looks like an interesting day brewing....

From Spain today:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Am3nJNwgVo&feature=player_detailpage

And Anonymous has taken down the Spanish National Police site:

Anonymous Operation Spain - Press Release

Tuesday - September 25, 2012 5:30 PM ET USA

Greetings World --

Anonymous sends it's solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Spain who at this very moment have completely surrounded the Parliament Building in Madrid. The are calling for the resignation of a government that like so many in our world today has failed to serve the needs of it's people. We encourage our comrades in Spain to remain steadfast until their demands are met, and we promise to do all we can to assist them.

Anonymous watched on the independent livestreams the horrendous brutality on the part of the Spanish National Police. It is always intolerable to us, but it is especially deplorable when we witness this level of senseless violence used against peaceful protesters in a supposedly western and modern "democracy". In response to this wanton violence by the Spanish National Police against our brothers and sisters in Madrid, Anonymous has removed from the Internet the web site of the Spanish National Police located at www.policia.es (http://www.policia.es) - and we will keep it offline so long as we continue to watch scenes of brutality.

Beginning tomorrow, Anonymous will also begin an attack on the primary website of the Parliament of Spain located at www.congreso.es (http://www.congreso.es) - this attack will include not only DdoS and hacking, but also Black Fax & E-Mail bombs - effectively removing the Parliament of Spain from the Internet entirely.

We Are Anonymous

We Are Everywhere

We Are Legion

We Do Not Forgive

We Do Not Forget

Government of Spain, it's to late to Expect Us.



SIGNED -- Anonymous

http://www.anonpaste.me/anonpaste/index.php?80264932d6c3ed38#4Mrnhplgt/DDgH7AvwyOmAMHI6iGjqIOqru2owmNEko=

Magda Hassan
09-26-2012, 01:38 AM
Yes, a General Strike has been called. Will be interesting.

Magda Hassan
09-26-2012, 04:42 AM
3997

Well, that didn't go so well. For the police. :bee:

There will be a large demonstration in Greece tomorrow.You can always find livestream broadcasts now so I will try to find a good link to post up.

Spain erupted in massive police violence today with the people now vowing to come back there tomorrow also.... looks like an interesting day brewing....

From Spain today:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Am3nJNwgVo&feature=player_detailpage

And Anonymous has taken down the Spanish National Police site:

Anonymous Operation Spain - Press Release

Tuesday - September 25, 2012 5:30 PM ET USA

Greetings World --

Anonymous sends it's solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Spain who at this very moment have completely surrounded the Parliament Building in Madrid. The are calling for the resignation of a government that like so many in our world today has failed to serve the needs of it's people. We encourage our comrades in Spain to remain steadfast until their demands are met, and we promise to do all we can to assist them.

Anonymous watched on the independent livestreams the horrendous brutality on the part of the Spanish National Police. It is always intolerable to us, but it is especially deplorable when we witness this level of senseless violence used against peaceful protesters in a supposedly western and modern "democracy". In response to this wanton violence by the Spanish National Police against our brothers and sisters in Madrid, Anonymous has removed from the Internet the web site of the Spanish National Police located at www.policia.es (http://www.policia.es) - and we will keep it offline so long as we continue to watch scenes of brutality.

Beginning tomorrow, Anonymous will also begin an attack on the primary website of the Parliament of Spain located at www.congreso.es (http://www.congreso.es) - this attack will include not only DdoS and hacking, but also Black Fax & E-Mail bombs - effectively removing the Parliament of Spain from the Internet entirely.

We Are Anonymous

We Are Everywhere

We Are Legion

We Do Not Forgive

We Do Not Forget

Government of Spain, it's to late to Expect Us.



SIGNED -- Anonymous

http://www.anonpaste.me/anonpaste/index.php?80264932d6c3ed38#4Mrnhplgt/DDgH7AvwyOmAMHI6iGjqIOqru2owmNEko=

Magda Hassan
10-03-2012, 04:55 AM
Not that the locals will be able to afford to go to it. But all of this has never been about the locals. They are just expected to support and fund the rich in the lifestyle to which they intend to continue to indulge. Austerity for some but not all apparently.

Greece Unblocks Subsidy for Formula 1 Track Construction
By Paul Tugwell - Oct 1, 2012 6:25 PM ET

Greece (http://topics.bloomberg.com/greece/) unblocked a subsidy of 28.9 million euros ($37.2 million) for the construction of an international-standard racetrack that can be used for staging Formula One (http://www.formula1.com/default.html) car racing, the Ministry of Development (http://www.ypoian.gr/) said.
The track, which will be designed to host other events as well, including world championship motorbike racing and go-kart racing, will be built in Xalandritsa near the western port city of Patras at a total cost of 94.6 million euros, the Athens- based ministry said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. Racetrack Patras SA, a private investment company (http://topics.bloomberg.com/investment-company/), will oversee the project.
Greek Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis also signed documents to unblock other subsidies worth a total of 44.4 million euros for a project to build a glass pane-making factory in northern Greece and for modernizing and expanding facilities at the luxury Elounda Bay palace hotel (http://www.eloundabay.gr/) in Crete, including the building of a new conference center, according to the statement.
The three projects are the first of seven, each worth more than 50 million euros, that were delayed amid funding difficulties and two general elections. The three projects are collectively expected to generate over 800 new jobs, the ministry said.



http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-01/greece-unblocks-subsidy-for-formula-1-track-construction.html

Jan Klimkowski
10-03-2012, 06:10 PM
Not that the locals will be able to afford to go to it. But all of this has never been about the locals. They are just expected to support and fund the rich in the lifestyle to which they intend to continue to indulge. Austerity for some but not all apparently.

Greece Unblocks Subsidy for Formula 1 Track Construction
By Paul Tugwell - Oct 1, 2012 6:25 PM ET
Greece (http://topics.bloomberg.com/greece/) unblocked a subsidy of 28.9 million euros ($37.2 million) for the construction of an international-standard racetrack that can be used for staging Formula One (http://www.formula1.com/default.html) car racing, the Ministry of Development (http://www.ypoian.gr/) said.

Indeed.

Much of the Greek nation cannot afford basic needs such as food to eat and medicine for illlnesses. So what do the elected representatives do? They unblock a subsidy of 28.9 million Euros to perhaps the most elitist, sexist and corrupt sport in the world.

Kickbacks and blowjobs for the rich and connected.

Starvation and death for the people.

There's no pretence around the Shock Therapy agenda anymore.

Peter Lemkin
02-26-2013, 08:50 AM
Greece: Blackwater mercenaries guarding Govt and overseeing police; coup feared
Posted on February 25, 2013 by admin

Blackwater mercenaries are currently overseeing the police in Greece as rumours of a coup abound. We understand the situation is extremely tense and that the mercenaries are there mainly to protect the Government and parliament should trouble break out either in the form of a revolution or counter-revolution. Already, a destabilisation plot involving the far-right and police has been uncovered. More below…

Over the last 12 months or more Greece has seen wave after wave of mass demonstrations, riots, battles between police and protesters, armed attacks on Government premises, attacks by fascists (i.e. Golden Dawn ) on migrants, as well as, of course, the complete collapse of the economy. The Government has been beset by scandals (e.g. secret bank accounts in Switzerland) and journalists have been arrested. Most people now exist day by day via co-operatives ; workers are taking over the factories .

As we have said, there is a revolution taking place – a messy revolution . And it’s going to get messier, for the situation in Greece has now entered a critical phase – here is a summary (with further details below):

* Strategy of tension has already commenced
* Government is under siege and is protected by mercenaries
* Military coup is now talked of openly
* Insider warns that revolution (or counter-revolution) is imminent

Strategy of tension

A few days ago we reported on a plot by the police in collusion with the far-right to instigate a massacre of police, which would then be blamed on anarchists – presumably this would then be used as an excuse to introduce martial law or a state of emergency. The plot may have been foiled (23 persons were arrested) by Blackwater working in conjunction with police officers who are loyal to the Government. Blackwater are expected to continue monitoring police operations generally, to identify those officers who may be involved in other, similar plots.

Note… The term strategy of tension came about in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s when bombings of civilian were committed by neofascist organisations such as Ordine Nuovo , Avanguardia Nazionale or Fronte Nazionale ).

Mercenaries protecting Government under siege

The Greek Government signed a contract with Academi (the new name for Blackwater) in November last year, though this was a secret agreement and you will not find details about it on the Academi website ). News of the contract leaked out end of January when the Greek ambassador to Canada, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, let slip about it in an interview, which was then published in a blog (see highlighted sentence in red). The contract with Academi was confirmed a few days later via the Greek military news site Defencenet.

Blackwater/Academi are infamous as the company that ran mercenary operations during the last Iraq War and were engaged in unnecessary fire fights in urban areas, taking civilian lives. They currently have a forward ops base in Afghanistan.

We understand their principal role in Greece is two-fold. One is to oversee police operations. They have been contracted to do this because the Government are aware that the police have been comprehensively infiltrated by members of the fascist Golden Dawn and so cannot trust the police to stay loyal. Their other role is to act as a neutral force to provide full protection to the Government against assault from any quarter. In effect, the Greek Government is under siege.

Coup possibility

Recently the Government secured an agreement from the army that under no circumstances would they resort to a coup (as happened in 1967, leading to the junta of 1967-1974 ). Whether this agreement will be honoured remains to be seen. As Greece is now part of the European Community a coup will be unlikely, but in the event of heightened tension martial law could be declared with curfews etc.

Warning of revolution/counter-revolution

According to Ambassador Chrysanthopoulos in his interview, “At a certain moment, quite soon, there will be an explosion of social unrest. It will be very unpleasant.” He then referred to fifteen armed incidents in the previous ten days, including the firebombing of the offices of the governing parties and the homes of pro-government journalists, the machine-gunning of the headquarters of the prime minister’s conservative New Democracy party, and a bomb explosion at a shopping mall belonging to the country’s second wealthiest citizen. Chrysanthopoulos predicts the trouble will begin when new tax bills arrive (soon)

Posted from the darker net via Android.

Jan Klimkowski
02-26-2013, 05:20 PM
As we have said, there is a revolution taking place – a messy revolution . And it’s going to get messier, for the situation in Greece has now entered a critical phase – here is a summary (with further details below):

* Strategy of tension has already commenced
* Government is under siege and is protected by mercenaries
* Military coup is now talked of openly
* Insider warns that revolution (or counter-revolution) is imminent

Strategy of tension

A few days ago we reported on a plot by the police in collusion with the far-right to instigate a massacre of police, which would then be blamed on anarchists – presumably this would then be used as an excuse to introduce martial law or a state of emergency. The plot may have been foiled (23 persons were arrested) by Blackwater working in conjunction with police officers who are loyal to the Government. Blackwater are expected to continue monitoring police operations generally, to identify those officers who may be involved in other, similar plots.

Note… The term strategy of tension came about in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s when bombings of civilian were committed by neofascist organisations such as Ordine Nuovo , Avanguardia Nazionale or Fronte Nazionale ).

Surely shome mishtake.

If there's a right-wing coup taking place, as part of a Strategy of Tension, then I would expect Blackwater to be running it - either as Mechanics or Facilitators.

Casting Blackwater / Xi as the good guys protecting democracy is a bit like asking Reinhard Gehlen to run the post-Nazi German intelligence service, the BND.

Oh wait.......

Peter Lemkin
02-26-2013, 06:54 PM
Don't worry Jan, I'm sure Blackwater/Xi/whateveritsnameisnow will be on the RIGHT/Reich/φασίστας side!

Magda Hassan
02-28-2013, 08:56 AM
SHOCK - Ambassador Says "BlackWater" (Mercenary Army) Hired To Protect Greek Parliament! [/URL]



Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos apparently caused quite a stir on Thursday when he told a diplomatic newspaper in Canada that the Greek government has commissioned "Blackwater" (or Academi) -a powerful mercenary army- to provide military security to the Greek Parliament! He said that some these members have engaged in activities in shadow operations in areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan while others say that they are they see themselves as being above the law! In fact a report on the YoungTurks said that they have been brought up on international war crimes in Iraq!

The report was confirmed on February 1, 2013, when the Greek military news site Defencenet, citing the same Canadian newspaper sources. According to Defencenet, the contract is alleged to have been signed by former Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis. Obviously this new, and shocking revelation, raises many concerns about the safety of Greek citizens and the violation of the fundamental principles outlined in the Greek Constitution. If the information is true, because there are still many doubts about this story, then the government is accountable and whoever is involved with this, must immediately resign and be brought to justice.

Blackwater or "Academi" - previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide- is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark, a right winger who apparently was a great fan of the Bush family (according to Jeremy Scahill who apparently exposes this mercenary force in the video above).

The news itself is SHOCKING, and as we said earlier, the Greek people deserve answers!

Here is the statement from the Greek Ambassador in Canada that has caused such a stir in Greece, as posted on the Greek-Salonika news site.

QUESTION: Many observers also believe the crisis has been aggravated by political trends in Greece: prime ministers with their “heads in the sand” to avoid tough decisions, weak minority governments, destructive protest movements, the growth in extremism, etc. How do you assess the contemporary state of Greek democracy and the ability of political parties to create an environment that can promote solutions or create obstacles?

RESPONSE: I believe that the crisis has been aggravated by the wrong measures of austerity imposed on Greece by the so-called Troika (IMF-EU and the European Central Bank) and the lack of courage of Greek governments to oppose or negotiate them. IMF has admitted in public that mistakes were made. Many Greeks are suffering because of these measures .The IMF recently admitted that it did not anticipate the high levels of recession. But mistakes have to be paid. It is a shame that the Greek Government did not estimate the cost of the damages of these mistakes to the country and ask that they be reduced from the so-called debt.
Democracy no longer exists in Greece. The austerity measures recently adopted were unconstitutional according to Greece’s highest courts. One Member of Parliament and former minister said unabashed on television that the measures are unconstitutional but he has to vote for them. In this way, he blatantly violated the oath he took when he was sworn in to protect the Constitution.
The Greek government recently made an agreement with the successor company of Blackwater to hire mercenaries for the protection of Parliament. Parliament, however, in democracies needs no protection. Guidelines have been issued to the mass media of what can be said and tolerated and what cannot be tolerated. Journalists that do not conform are being harassed by government agents or arrested. Another journalist was summarily fired from state television because he showed the Prime Minister being booed at the October 28 National day celebrations. And the EU does not give a damn about democracy in Greece as it does about democracy in other countries like Turkey. Read the complete Interview at greece-salonika - [url]http://greece-salonika.blogspot.com/2013/02/blog-post_3328.html#ixzz2Jf6o9FdX (http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=1160819967528793048&postID=700529196127337633&target=facebook) For argument's sake let us suppose it is true. Maybe the government does not feel secure from the present Greek police force because let's face it, these young men and women are being paid peanuts for maintaining law and order and after the latest wage cuts their wages have been reduced to ridiculous levels.

On the other, maybe there is some other kind of threat, and something that citizens do not know about. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had mentioned this months ago, and we all know what types of threats have been flying our way from ultra nationalist groups in Albania, as well as Turkey.Also, Greece is getting ready to proclaim its EEZ so maybe these forces are here as part of some strategy. On the other, maybe, the Greek government commissioned these forces to train its own specialized police force to face a possible threat. Or maybe, just maybe these forces are here to weed out the bad guys that are associated with the recent bombings in Athens.

Who the hell knows?





One thing is for sure, there are threats both on the domestic and international fronts. And the reason we say this here at HellasFrappe is because we read an article earlier today on the Serbianna (http://serbianna.com/analysis/archives/1563)news site which talks about Albanian extremist groups in Greece which might be working with Turkish MIT forces in a ploy to destabilize Greece. Here is the relevant excerpt:

Moreover, in several cases of narcotics contraband in Greece where Albanian smugglers were involved, links were established as for the ulterior motive of the smuggling which included raising capital for extremist purposes. In similar fashion, a leading Greek journalist and security expert, Manos Eliades has showcased in a recent book of his, links and case studies of direct cooperation between certain Albanian immigrants to Greece and the Turkish intelligence service MIT.
For the time being it has been established that UCC (according to Research Terrorism Center in Washington, UCC is a known terrorist group), although still in nascent form, is being kept as a potential destabilizer regarding Greece and it is being supplied with weaponry from the Albanian black market. There is also support from radical Albanian-American groups and the Turkish intelligence service and the focus has been shifted from propaganda purposes into recruiting Albanian immigrants in Greece by using as a pretext the economic distress many of those have felt due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country and the lack of employment opportunities. Lastly small-scale paramilitary training is taking place in Northern Albanian and UCC serves yet another role -this time regarding domestic Albanian politics- by having the ambition of be seen in the South of the country as the “Long arm of the Kosovo Albanians”, which do keep their aims of uniting the rest of Albania with Kosovo and not vice-versa.
The countermeasures implemented so far by the Greek state include a variety of intelligence and security actions. One of those that is on an training level and it is going to be fully operation by the end of 2012, is the creation of rapid and heavily armed Police mobilization units to intervene in cases both of heavy criminality (armed robberies with the use of AK-47) and any potential paramilitary actions, as the hypothetical threat by UCC.
Information points out that a mass of light weaponry has entered Greece through Albanian lately, and in a more worrying trend, the same development has been observed in FYROM, which according to many independent experts is a potential hot spot of any paramilitary action that will involve offshoots of UCK. In addition the Albanian government in Tirana is also fully aware around the developments and NATO itself is paying close attention in order to avert any potential destabilization caused by extremist groups that primarily live off by contraband, extortion and organized illicit activities and have as a hub of operations the territory of Kosovo. http://serbianna.com/analysis/archives/1563 (http://serbianna.com/analysis/archives/1563) So maybe, just maybe the Blackwater team is here to train Greek officials instead. At least we hope this is the reason. If not then we must know the ugly truth.

This must be cleared up immediately.

References


http://greece-salonika.blogspot.gr/2013/02/blog-post_3328.html
http://www.defencenet.gr/defence/item/%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%B3 (http://www.defencenet.gr/defence/item/%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%B3%CE%BF%CF%81%CE%BF%C F%8D%CE%BC%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%B9-%CF%89%CF%82-%CE%B4%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%86%CF%8C%CE%BD%CE%BF%C E%B9-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B9%CF%81%CE%AC%CE%BA-%CF%86%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%AF-%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85-%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%BF%C F%8D-%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%B9%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%B2%CE%BF%CF%85%C E%BB%CE%AF%CE%BF%CF%85)


http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/shock-ambassador-says-blackwater.html

Magda Hassan
02-28-2013, 09:17 AM
BUSTED - Tsipras' Side By Side With T.Miller & D. Speckhard - What The Greek Media Purposely Ignored [/URL]




http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6BRXqvuLmqg/US4tDkpIKWI/AAAAAAAARbA/G5ln5zyjrUY/s640/tsip2013-02-25+10-53-39.jpg (http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=1160819967528793048&postID=2585651960956764783&target=facebook)
The following article is based on an article that was published in the Parapolitika newspaper, but we have added quite a bit to it so that you can have a better understanding of what is going on. THIS IS A MUST READ.

"Public banks are not here to rescue friends and the former ambassador to the US from politicians who organize meals at Zappeion." It has been a while since we heard SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras rant and rave with statements such as the above against figures such as Evangelos Venizelos, (who heard this when he was the Finance Minister under the George Papandreou government in regards to the Proton Bank scandal). At the time, Tsipras pointed to Lavrentis Lavrentiadis (who today is at the Korydallos prison on charges of the creation and management of an organized criminal organization, money-laundering, fraud and embezzlement) as well as to the former Ambassador and Chairman of the bank Daniel Speckhard (yes the same man who was once the US Ambassador to Athens and who sent a multitude of controversial letters to Washington as indicated by various Wikileaks cables).

Apparently, the 38 year old leader of SYRIZA came to the realization after his trip to the US that all of the above scandalous controversy is passe and far too boring. Today Tsipras is too busy with other more serious matters and rather ignores things that deal with corruption, money-laundering and embezzlement. In fact his main focus today is simply to cultivate his international profile!

Don't kid yourselves, this is a tough job!

One of the highlights of Tsipras tour in the US is his visit on January 22 to the famous American-Hellenic Institute. It was an event that journalists strangely avoided and only subtly mentioned.

Now why is that?

The event should not have been of any interest, but oh boy was the press wrong! It was more than interesting since two former (and very controversial) US Ambassadors to Greece were also present, or specifically, Mr. Daniel Speckhard and Mr. Thomas Miller and they even took the time to take their picture taken with Tsipras who was really loving the moment (as seen in the photo).


Who are these two controversial ambassadors, and why all the fuss about the photo?

The best thing to do is to start from the beginning.

On August 3, 2001, Thomas Miller was appointed by former US President George W. Bush to be Ambassador to Greece. He took up the position on October 8, 2001, and held it until he left the post on December 23, 2004. On the other hand, Daniel Speckhard was sworn in as US Ambassador to Greece on November 7, 2007 and arrived in Athens on November 15, 2007, where he served until 2010.


Thomas Miller

Thomas Miller served on the same Board of Directors at Lampsa SA -which owns the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens- with none other than Nikos Papandreou, or the brother of the former President of PASOK, George Papandreou. The Lampsa company is owned by the Laskaridis family.

According to Antinews (http://www.antinews.gr/2012/01/22/144001/), Niko joined the Board in July 2003 but he suddenly (and mysteriously) decided to quit in October 2009 when his brother George Papandreou came to power.

A little while later Miller left as well but the friendship has always remained. Miller currently serves as Director of the Washington, DC office of Independent Diplomat which is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 by former British diplomat Carne Ross to give advice and assistance in diplomatic strategy and technique to governments and political groups - such as providing 'freelance' diplomats to unrecognized governments (i.e. governments of seceded or proto-states that do not (yet) have international recognition, and usually have little experience in dealing with international bureaucracy). Its projects have included: helping Kosovo achieve recognition as a new state, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, etc., and the Turkish occupied section of Northern Cyprus. - Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Diplomat)

Over the years, Miller often visited the Balkans, especially Albania and his activities there, according to Parapolitika, are a complete mystery. Nonetheless, rumors claim that he was very interested in the casino industry (something that Mr. Laskaridis is also active in).

According to kourdistoportocali (http://kourdistoportocali.com/articles/18823.htm), Thomas Miller climbed the ladder of success in Washington when his immediate boss, Richard Holbrooke, when, acting as charge d'affaires at the Embassy in Athens (in September 1995 due to the absence of the then Ambassador Thomas Niles), was active in the consultations that led to the signing of the Interim Agreement between Greece and FYROM (13.09.1995).

During the US invasion of Iraq and as ambassador to Athens Miller intervened by asking Greek American community members, to make representations to Athens, to stop the anti-war and anti-Americanism movements (and/or protests). But after the war, and the dismantling of the notorious November 17 terrorist organization -as well as the successful Athens 2004 Olympic Games - he was quoted in interviews as saying that anti-war movements, or protests, were not a manifestation of Antiamericanism.

When Mr. Miller's diplomatic run ended, he undertook projects on behalf of the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus, and was apparently involved in handling the sinful C4i case.

According to reports, when he was US Ambassador to Athens, Mr. Miller -who opened the doors to ministerial offices with ease- promoted American companies such as Lockheed Martin, as well as Motorola (allied friends with Socrates Kokkalis' Intracom company). He also became involved with a security system which was not only costly to the Greek state, but wasn't ever completed nor delivered on time to serve as the center of security for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. But idiotic Greek tax payers paid for it anyway.

Finally a fresh article from kourdistoportocali (http://kourdistoportocali.com/articles/18823.htm) claims that Thomas Miller is also the man who is up to his neck in the wiretapping scandal (against Costas Karamanlis) which cost the life of former Network Planning Manager for Vodafone Costas Tsalikidis.

Who is Tsakalidis? Keep on reading...

"On March 9, Kostas Tsalikidis, was found dead in an apparent suicide. According to several experts questioned by the Greek press, Tsalikidis was a key witness in the investigation of responsibility of the wiretaps. Family and friends believe there are strong indications he was the person who first discovered that highly sophisticated software had been secretly inserted into the Vodafone network. Tsalikidis had been planning for a while to quit his Vodafone job but told his fiancée not long before he died that it had become "a matter of life or death" that he leave, says the family's lawyer, Themis Sofos. There is speculation that either he committed suicide because of his involvement in the tapping of the phones, or he was murdered because he had discovered, or was about to discover, who the perpetrators were. After a four-month investigation of his death, a Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos said that the death of Tsalikidis was directly linked to the scandal. "If there had not been the phone tapping, there would not have been a suicide," he said." Reference (Greek Watergate Scandal- US Embassy behind phone-tapping of Karamanlis) (http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com/2011/08/greek-watergate-scandal-us-embassy.html)
Daniel Speckhard

According to Parapolitika, (http://www.parapolitika.gr/ArticleDetails/tabid/63/ArticleID/558422/Otan-o-Tsipras-fotogafizontan-me-ton-Miler-kai-ton-Spekchart.aspx) following his run as Ambassador to Athens, Daniel Speckhard became the non-executive chairman of the Greek Proton Bank - between the period February 1, 2011 until August 19, 2011. He assumed this position at a time when Lavrentis Lavrentiadis was having trouble with his second largest shareholder Mr. Ant. Athanasoglou.

Apart from being a managing partner at WEM Global Investment Inc, Speckhard is also a non-resident Senior Fellow, for the US and Europe at the famous Brookings Institute. Yes... The same institute where Tsipras gave his speech. During the speech, which was broadcasted live on C-SPAN, the official channel of Capitol Hill, and according to reports many prominent businessmen apparently attended. The same corporate community also (mysteriously) attended his speech at Columbia University a few days later as well.

The report on Parapolitika also notes that some rumors even claim that Speckhard played a major role in unlocking the doors for Tsipras, especially at the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), which is considered to be one of the top think tanks in the US.

The aforementioned institution is well known in Greece, since Mr. Lavrentiadis, who apparently funded one of its divisions (or the unit of Southeast European Studies), had organized an event at the Astir Palace in Vouligmenni where characters such as Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski were also present.

Who is Brzezinski? Here is where it gets really interesting. Although the article in "Parapolitka" did not go into details about this man (assuming that the reader already knows what and why) we here at HellasFrappe decided to google his name and we discovered that Brzezinski is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.

Sounds harmless enough, but googling his name a little bit more, we also discovered an article on opednews which more or less presents him as being the equivalent of Henry Kissinger. Here is a small portion of the article which should be read by all:

Only three appointed high government officials have run sixty years of war on small vulnerable nations, that were previously plundered under military occupation by colonial powers for centuries?
Three spooks, John Foster Dulles (aided by his equally corrupt brother Allen, head of the CIA), Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, chosen by David Rockefeller to oversee the deaths of tens of millions of men, women and children, murdered in their own small beloved countries, as often as not in their own towns, villages and homes - millions more dying in violent aftermaths of US crimes against Congo, Guatemala, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Indonesia, Libya and many other places. (Congo alone accounts for from between six and fifteen million dead since the US led Belgians and other Europeans in destroying it as a nation.
In every single case of US mayhem (that's if totaled up reaches many multi-holocaust proportions), civil war, fomented by the US itself, has been used as a pretext for unlawful barbaric criminal intervention by US Armed Forces, most often prepared by a corporate business dutiful CIA using its far flung network of banks, media, double agents and cooperating NGOs.
Civil wars! Capitalist empires of Europe had been stimulating them under the axiom "Divide and Conquer' since the first Portuguese armed merchant ships set sail, funded by enterprising investors in the fifteenth century.
From the earliest days of investor managed crimes of savage European forces (and later those of the US) falling upon ancient civilizations and cultures, there have been many famous devilishly clever lead investors cleverly creating wars of assured investment profitability. The most infamous in modern history were David's grandfather John Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan. Check the article at OpedNews (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Demonic-David-Rockefeller-by-Jay-Janson-120816-942.html)- Read on, the article only gets better.


The Unknown Trip to San Fransisco

During his trip to the US, Alexis Tsipras did not formally meet with representatives of the Greek Diaspora, since he chose not to adhere to protocol which calls for a prior meeting with the Archbishop of America. Instead the leader of SYRIZA preferred to come into contact with other influential characters who he knew could open other doors for him.

On his first day in the US he chose to make a quick (and hush hush) ten-hour trip to San Francisco, where he met known businessman Angelo Tsakopoulos (Phil Angelides, who has served as chairman of the Democratic Party of California and responsible for public property of the state was also present at this meeting). Angelo Tsakopoulos (born 1936) is a prominent real estate developer in Sacramento, California and the founder and owner of AKT Development.

Mr. Tsakopoulis is one of the main backers of the Democratic party and a proud supporter of Barack Obama. He is also a personal friend of Bill Clinton and Constantine Mitsotakis, and the current Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras. His family donated millions of dollars to charity the most notable of which was his donation to the University of Stanford to create the office of Greek Studies titled "Constantine Mitsotakis."

The inauguration took place in the presence of the Mitsotakis family in 2007. The ART Group, is now operated by his children, Helen and Kyriakos, and his son, Marko Kounalakis.

It should be reminded that Mr. Kounalakis was also a member of the same Institute with Andreas Papandreou, or the other brother of George Papandreou. In fact Andreas had organized a conference on Climate Change and Energy Security (i4cense) in late October 2010. The event was co-organized by the Kyriakos Grivas' C&C company, which specializes in public relations. Grivas is a businessman known for his connections to the New Democracy party, the "Financial Times", and the European Investment Bank. Note that the i4cence institute was noted by the president of the Independent Greek party, Mr. Panos Kammenos, for being involved in the case of controversial CDS.


The Discreet Support of Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki

During Tsipras' visit, Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis' circle of friends also made their presence. Besides, Angelopoulou was apparently discreetly opening the doors for Tsipras' on the other side of the Atlantic. Thus, it can not be considered a coincidence that the president of the Greek-American Institute (AHI), Nick Larigakis also played a significant role in Tsipras's trip to the US. Also, another central figure who was also present at the AHI event was to honor Tsipras was none other than Mr. George Mermelas, the alleged owner of the well known lobbying and public relations institution/company "Greek Dream".

Mr. Mermelas was a close friend to PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, when he was Minister of Culture (under the Simitis government). During the '90s the present leader of PASOK had handsomely funded Mr. Mermelas through the Ministry of Culture to promote Greece at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki did the same thing during the Athens games. In fact she continues to fund Mermelas' institution. The institution has even held a special event in the US in her honor.


The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, that once upon a time Tsipras was accusing these elites in the Greek Parliament and today he is being photographed next to them.

This little tet-a-tet, claims the news site "Parapolitika" apparently was not received with the same enthusiasm from his fellow party members, in fact it manifested a "mini" mutiny, since both the "Avgi" newspaper (which is SYRIZA's newspaper) as well as the radio station which political backs SYRIZA chose not to cover this encounter at all. In fact it totally ignored the subject altogether and even disputed the photos. And all this for good reason, because the presence of these two particular former senior US diplomats at the event is connected with a series of obviously "shady" and "controversial" scenarios that occurred in Greece over the years and which either cost the lives of several people or destroyed the lives of millions.


"POWER" is just around the corner

Indeed Tsipras' trip to the US stirred up problems within the SYRIZA party and the wider political fora, but abroad, Tsipras showed that he was ready to take a step back on all the allegations he once made against Greece's corrupt elite. Today it is more than obvious that if he ever was to seize power, he would certainly be faced with handling extremely difficult situations, and certainly that is why he made such a dramatic shift in his political strategy. Because let us face it, the US doesn't do anyone favors and not expect a back rub in return.

Of course for all this to happen he has to make some radical changes in his party, but this cannot occur without repercussions, especially from the so-called powerful and radical left. Many will disagree, and some others may even detach themselves from SYRIZA, but to Tsipras this is a small price to pay since he now wants to conquer the country's leadership.

Of course mum is the word -as far as the photo is concerned- from Greece's mainstream media, only "Parapolitika" and "Kourdistoportocali" reported the news, as well as a series of other news sites and blogs.

Folks... Greece is definitely heading down a dark and shady road. It is obvious that the Americans are promoting Tsipras and will probably help him in any way they can. They did the same for George Papandreou and there were rumors in Athens before he assumed office in 2009 that a team was here working closely with him on how to improve his image. Just the thought of Tsipras assuming Greece's leadership has been a frightening thought by itself because we know what his stance is on our national issues and what type of foreign policy he plans to follow. What is even more shocking is that Panos Kammenos (the leader of the Independent Greeks Party) actually wants to side with Tsipras and overthrow the government. How can Kammenos do that knowing that Tsipras is 100 percent against everything he has been preaching about?

Yup. Greece is headed for a storm cloud.

Stay tuned frappers.

References


[URL]http://www.opednews.com/articles/Demonic-David-Rockefeller-by-Jay-Janson-120816-942.html
http://www.parapolitika.gr/ArticleDetails/tabid/63/ArticleID/558422/Otan-o-Tsipras-fotogafizontan-me-ton-Miler-kai-ton-Spekchart.aspx
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com/2011/08/greek-watergate-scandal-us-embassy.html
http://www.antinews.gr/2012/01/22/144001/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Diplomat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Diplomat)

http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/busted-tsipras-side-by-side-with.html

Jan Klimkowski
02-28-2013, 11:00 PM
Tsipras.

turncoat  [turn-koht]

Definition: traitor

Synonyms: Benedict Arnold, Judas, apostate, back-stabber, betrayer, conspirator, deceiver, defector, deserter, double-crosser, fink, informer, quisling, rat, rebel, renegade, snake*, sneak*, snitch, spy, squealer, stool pigeon, tattletale, tergiversator, treasonist, two-timer,

Magda Hassan
03-01-2013, 12:14 AM
Tsipras.

turncoat  [turn-koht]

Definition: traitor

Synonyms: Benedict Arnold, Judas, apostate, back-stabber, betrayer, conspirator, deceiver, defector, deserter, double-crosser, fink, informer, quisling, rat, rebel, renegade, snake*, sneak*, snitch, spy, squealer, stool pigeon, tattletale, tergiversator, treasonist, two-timer,
Looks that way. Or maybe he has had an offer he can't refuse....

Keith Millea
04-18-2013, 06:06 PM
Don't pay them wages for 6 months and then shoot them...Wonderful

Published on Thursday, April 18, 2013 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org)

Migrant Workers Gunned Down in Greece


Incident indicative of 'hell-hole with slavery labor conditions' for migrants in Greece

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Twenty-eight migrant workers were gunned down in Greece on Wednesday after demanding back pay owed to them on a farm they had worked on for several months.
http://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imagecache/headline_image/article_images/58d4bdbf0aec600d2f0f6a706700ab71_0.jpg

Unidentified migrant workers receive first aid at the Medical Center of Varda, in Greece. Wednesday, April 17, 2013 (AP Photo/Eurokinissi)

Up to 28 out of a total of 200 mostly Bangladeshi immigrant workers who came under fire were hospitalized following the incident, although no one was killed. Seven of the workers remained hospitalized on Thursday.


Three Greek nationals, said to be the workers' supervisors, were involved in the shooting, which took place on a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada, though many details of the case are still unclear.


"Before the shootings, there was an altercation between the foreign workers and the three foremen over six months' outstanding wages," police spokesman Christos Parthenis said (http://news.yahoo.com/greece-pledges-swift-punishment-over-farm-shooting-151854865.html). "After that the three fugitives left the spot, and returned shortly later holding two shotguns and a handgun, and opened fire on the crowd."


The three shooters are still at large. However, the owner of the strawberry farm where the shooting occurred was arrested on Thursday (http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/greek-police-arrest-men-over-workers-shooting-145556673.html) as the "moral instigator" of the shootings. Another was arrested for sheltering two of the three presumed perpetrators overnight, police said.


"They keep telling us that we will get paid in a month, and this has been going on for more than a year," one of the workers involved in the protests told (http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/greek-police-arrest-men-over-workers-shooting-145556673.html) Greek Skai. "We don't talk about it because we are afraid that we will be killed or kicked out."


Manolada has become known as an area prone to violence against migrant workers, The Greek Reporter reports (http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/04/18/outrage-grows-over-migrant-workers-shooting/):
Last year, two Greek men were arrested for beating a 30-year-old Egyptian, jamming his head in the window of a car door and dragging him for around one kilometer.
In 2008, migrants working on farms in New Manolada, known for its strawberries, went on a four-day strike to protest poverty wages and squalid living conditions. Several activists have called on consumers at home and abroad to boycott Manolada strawberries. A social media campaign was launched on Twitter under #bloodstrawberries.


According to Associated Press (http://news.yahoo.com/greece-pledges-swift-punishment-over-farm-shooting-151854865.html;_ylt=AwrNUbBcH3BRu0MAr0jQtDMD), political parties and trade unions expressed shock across Greece and about 100 people took part in a protest by labor groups outside the Labor Ministry in Athens.
"The injuries suffered by protesting farm workers in Manolada are being condemned in the most absolute manner by the entirety of Greek society,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said (http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/04/18/outrage-grows-over-migrant-workers-shooting/) in a statement.

The national PAME union stated (http://www.france24.com/en/20130418-two-arrested-greece-over-attack-migrant-workers) that the incident was only the latest in a long history of abuse of migrant workers in Greece:
Growers and landowners have operated with cover from the government and justice for years, creating a hell-hole with slavery labor conditions
Modern slaves in Manolada work in stifling conditions, pay rent to their exploiters and are lodged in sheds without water and electricity.

The country's main labor union, GSEE, also described (http://news.yahoo.com/greece-pledges-swift-punishment-over-farm-shooting-151854865.html;_ylt=AwrNUbBcH3BRu0MAr0jQtDMD) conditions at Manolada as a modern form of slavery:
The criminal act in Manolada ... shows the tragic results of labor exploitation, combined with a lack of control [by the government labor inspectorate]
In Manolada, and particularly in the strawberry plantations, a sort of state within a state has been created.

Jan Klimkowski
04-18-2013, 06:40 PM
Don't pay them wages for 6 months and then shoot them...Wonderful




Video of the aftermath of the strawberry fields shooting, and more detail, can be seen here (http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/04/18/manolada-strawberry-fields-shooting-updates-shot-workers-to-be-deported/).

The level of political awareness of the accompanying article is unclear, but the headline states that the shot workers will be deported......

:plane:

Magda Hassan
06-12-2013, 11:45 AM
Greece back in crisis mode on state TV shutdown, downgrade
By Harry Papachristou and Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS | Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:36am EDT

(Reuters) - Greece's fragile government faced an internal revolt and fierce public protest on Wednesday over the sudden closure of state broadcaster ERT, hours after the humiliation of seeing its bourse downgraded to emerging market status.
The twin setbacks, coupled with the derailing of a troubled privatization program, blew a hole in rising investor confidence that had prompted Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to declare the risk of a "Grexit" from the euro was dead and a "Greekovery" was under way.
Yields on Greece's 10-year benchmark bond crept back above 10 percent after Athens failed to sell state gas firm DEPA on Monday, leaving it short of cash to meet its international bailout targets.
The stock market traded at two-month lows after Greece (http://www.reuters.com/places/greece) became the first developed nation ever to be lowered to emerging market by equity index provider MSCI.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government declined comment on the market reclassification as it tried to fend off a growing media backlash against ERT's dramatic closure.
The public broadcaster was yanked off air just hours after the shutdown was announced in what the government said was a temporary measure to staunch an "incredible waste" of taxpayers' money prior to relaunching a slimmed-down station.
Labor unions called a 24-hour national work stoppage for Thursday and journalists went on an open-ended strike, forcing a news blackout on privately owned television and newspapers.
"The strike will only end when the government takes back this coup d'etat which gags information," the journalists' union said.
Some ERT journalists were occupying the broadcaster's building in defiance of police orders and broadcasting over the Internet. Hundreds of employees and protesters gathered outside.
WORRYING
MSCI said the Athens bourse did not reflect improved practices in developed markets for securities borrowing, lending facilities, short selling and transferability of shares. It had not met the developed market criteria for size for two years.
Still, brokers said more money may ended up invested in Greek stocks over the medium term due to the country's weighting in emerging market indices, since its exposure in developed markets global indices was marginal.
"The debt crisis in the last three years hit all triggers, prompting developed market funds to reduce their exposure," said Theodore Krintas, head of wealth management at Attica Bank.
"Emerging market funds could not enter since Greece was classified as developed market, now it will be on their radar."
Analysts said the outcry over the state broadcaster posed a more immediate threat to the government, even though ERT's three statewide channels have a combined audience share of barely 13 percent. About 2,000 of its 2,600 employees are non-journalists.
The government promised to relaunch a slimmed-down version of ERT within weeks, saying it only took ERT off air so suddenly due to fears that workers would damage state equipment.
"We didn't shut down ERT, we temporarily suspended its operations to fix it and make it work on a healthy basis," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told Reuters.
The shutdown was decided six weeks ago and was unrelated to the failure to sell DEPA or to an ongoing inspection visit by EU and IMF lenders in Athens, he said. Greece is under pressure to cut the public sector workforce and sack some civil servants.
The European Commission said it did not seek ERT's closure under the bailout program but did not question the decision either. [ID:nB5N0DH014] France's Socialist government voiced outright condemnation.
"This is obviously very worrying and regrettable. One can only deplore this decision by the Greek authorities," Culture and Communications Minister Aurelie Filipetti said.
"Austerity must not strike at pluralism of information and of television. Public broadcasting services are necessary in a democracy so I deeply regret this decision."
INDEFINITE STRIKE
Many Greeks have little love for ERT journalists and the state broadcaster is often cited as an example of inefficiency, overspending and jobs given in return for political favors.
But the speed and suddenness of the shutdown - ERT screens abruptly went black just before midnight - stunned Greeks long used to the slow pace of public sector restructuring.
"This government's ways are dictatorial: they decide and they order," said 45-year old Panagiotis, who declined to give his full name for fear of losing his own public sector job.
"It was a wrong move. Yes, the public sector needs to be downsized and we all knew that ERT was being used for political favors but they did not need to fire them all."
The closure opened cracks in Samaras's fragile three-party coalition. Samaras's two junior partners, the Socialist PASOK and the Democratic Left said they would oppose the decision.
Both parties said they had not been consulted but stopped short of saying the row could bring the government down.
However, political analyst Theodore Couloumbis of the ELIAMEP think-tank said it might trigger an early election.
"It could be highly destabilizing if it moves to a confrontation in parliament where the two smaller political parties have to humble themselves to avoid a next election or stick to it and force a next election," he said.
"It's anyone's guess what would happen in elections now and what impact it would have on the economy at a time when a so-called Greekovery is visible on the distant horizon."
The decision was taken by ministerial decree, meaning that it can be implemented without immediate reference to parliament. But the communist opposition said it would put a legislative amendment to parliament on Wednesday to annul the decision.
Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras was to meet State President Karolos Papoulias to protest against the decision. On Tuesday, he called the closure "a coup, not only against ERT workers but against the Greek people", and accused the government of the "historic responsibility of gagging state TV". ($1 = 0.7533 euros)
(Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou, Karolina Tagaris and Tatiana Fragou, writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Paul Taylor)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/12/us-greece-tv-idUSBRE95A0ZN20130612

Peter Lemkin
06-12-2013, 11:57 AM
I sense the first real People's Revolution in the Eurozone will SOON come out of Greece...... As there is also a concurrent rise in neo-fascism, it will be an ugly one....needless to say. Closing the Public Broadcasting without more than a few hours notice was a dirty trick and will light the huge pile of 'tinder', i think.

Magda Hassan
06-12-2013, 12:34 PM
I wonder if the people of Greece andTurkey can join up and over throw their respective governments? They have more in common with each other than their lamentable leaders.

Jan Klimkowski
06-12-2013, 01:20 PM
The immediate closure of the Greek public service TV and radio networks is a crime against the Greek people.

It's not enough for the military-mulinational-intelligence network to have mockingbirds and Murdoch-owned broadcasting networks. Now they quite literally want TV and radio silence.

I imagine that the Shock Therapy dial will now be turned even higher in Greece, with noone to provide a voice for the victims of this economic coup d'etat.

Jan Klimkowski
06-13-2013, 06:29 PM
National strike against Shock Therapy in Greece.

"In a systematic and autocratic way, the government has abolished the rights of workers and citizens one by one," said the public sector union ADEDY, which is organising the walkout with its private sector sister union GSEE.

"We call on every worker and every citizen to fight to overthrow the government's catastrophic plans," ADEDY said.


Greeks strike in protest at closure of state broadcaster ERT

Greece's two biggest labour unions stage 24-hour walkout against prime minister's 'coup-like move'


Reuters in Athens
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/13/greeks-strike-closure-state-broadcaster-ert), Thursday 13 June 2013 08.51 BST

Workers at the windows of ERT headquarters in Athens, which they have occupied in protest at its sudden closure. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Buses and subway trains have stopped running in Athens as Greek workers begin a nationwide strike in protest against the "sudden death" of state broadcaster ERT, switched off in the middle of the night by the government.

Greece's two biggest labour unions plan to bring much of the near-bankrupt country to a standstill during the 24-hour strike against Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's decision to close down ERT, which they describe as a "coup-like move … to gag unbiased information".

The government described its decision to shut the 75-year-old broadcaster as a temporary measure before its relaunch in a slimmed-down form.

But the move infuriated the coalition partners keeping Samaras in power, recreating an atmosphere of crisis in a country that had seemed to be emerging from the political drama accompanying one of the worst peacetime economic collapses in history.

Iron shutters blocked the entrance to the state-run Athens subway stations early on Thursday and city buses did not run.

Several marches were expected to culminate in demonstrations outside ERT's headquarters, where workers have gathered since the closure was announced.

But there was little sign of private businesses joining the strike. City streets were full with commuters and car traffic, supermarkets were open and cafes were serving customers as usual.

"The lowest ERT employee is making in a day what I'm making in a week, so why should I strike for them?" said vegetable vendor Yannis Papailias as he sorted out his wares.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs. Who protested for them?" said waitress Maria Skylakou.

Representing about 2.5 million workers, the unions have gone on strike repeatedly since Europe's debt crisis erupted in late 2009, although action has been less frequent and more muted lately than last year when marches often turned violent. The last nationwide strike was in February.

"In a systematic and autocratic way, the government has abolished the rights of workers and citizens one by one," said the public sector union ADEDY, which is organising the walkout with its private sector sister union GSEE.

"We call on every worker and every citizen to fight to overthrow the government's catastrophic plans," ADEDY said.

Separately, a union representing journalists in Athens has called an indefinite strike of members, preventing some newspapers from appearing and forcing commercial broadcasters to air reruns of sitcoms and soap operas instead of the news.
Tearful ERT worker, Athens 12/6/13 An employee in the ERT control room wipes tears as she works with colleagues to broadcast a web TV signal on Wednesday. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Reuters

The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) has shed viewers under pressure from commercial television, and its three statewide channels had a combined audience share of only 13%. Many Greeks regard it as a wasteful source of patronage jobs for political parties. But the abruptness with which it was shut – with newscasters cut off in mid-sentence – was a shock.

Samaras said he would press ahead with plans to reform ERT and relaunch it as a leaner and more efficient organisation, dismissing the broadcaster's defenders as hypocrites who would block needed reforms.

Shutting the broadcaster was proof of the political will needed to transform Greece from "a real Jurassic Park, the only place on earth where dinosaurs survived", he said.

The opposition's rhetoric was no less heated. Leftwing leader Alexis Tsipras, addressing protesting ERT workers in Greece's second biggest city, Thessaloniki, called on Greeks to defend democracy.

"What we experienced yesterday was unprecedented, not only for Greece but for all of Europe," Tsipras said. "Public television goes dark only in two circumstances: when a country is occupied by foreign forces or when there is a coup."

Most public sector activity is expected to come to a halt during Thursday's strike, with train and bus employees and bankers among various groups joining the walkout.

Unemployment has climbed to almost 27% in Greece with more than 850,000 jobs, mostly in the private sector, wiped out since the beginning of Greece's six-year recession.

About 2,600 ERT employees are to lose their jobs. Some of them are to be rehired by the new broadcaster, which is expected to employee about 1,200 people.

Peter Lemkin
06-13-2013, 07:37 PM
The government described its decision to shut the 75-year-old broadcaster as a temporary measure before its relaunch in a slimmed-down form.

Calling Mr. Murdoch!!!!!.....:phone: or his Greek equivalent.

Jan Klimkowski
06-17-2013, 07:47 PM
Excellent blog The Slog (http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/greece-the-ert-shutdown-explosive-new-evidence-of-eu-dirty-tricks/) strikes again.

Q: Who are the fascists - Greece's Golden Dawn or the EU Troika?

A: Both.


June 17, 2013 · 7:23 pm


GREECE & THE ERT SHUTDOWN: Explosive new evidence of EU dirty tricks.

Despite vehement denials from both the Troika ad the EU in Brussels about any involvement in the loopy Samaras decision to close down Greek State broadcaster ERT, evidence is coming to light that calls such claims into question.

According to the website publicserviceeurope.com, officials from the European Commission threatened to take “action” against the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation – or ERT – for failing to broadcast pro-European news just days before it was taken off the air by a dubious emergency Greek decree.

The ‘Troika’ claimed last week that it had “not sought the closure of ERT” – despite Greece being under constant pressure to lay off government employees. But the EC is now admitting to a dispute with ERT over the pro-EU Pravdaesque Euronews, which ERT management forced off air in December 2012.

It seems that ERT staff were well aware of the slavishly pro-Brussels line consistently adopted by Euronews, but the Greek Broadcasting Council ruled in February that Euronews had the right to broadcast, and ordered that the signal be restored. The decision was never implemented, and so there are allegations that EU officials used their position within the Troika to punish ERT for being off-message.

The European Commission has handed out millions of euros in grants aid to expand its pet news station. Such funding, opponents claim, ensures that coverage remains pro-EU. Observing what the station puts out, it is hard to avoid that conclusion.

As a whole, however, what this story tends to suggest is that the ferocity of EU denial about something is almost 100% correlated to the truth. Plus ca change, as we say here in France. Winston Smith, eat your heart out.

Magda Hassan
01-11-2015, 07:41 AM
BUSTED - Tsipras' Side By Side With T.Miller & D. Speckhard - What The Greek Media Purposely Ignored








The following article is based on an article that was published in the Parapolitika newspaper, but we have added quite a bit to it so that you can have a better understanding of what is going on. THIS IS A MUST READ.

"Public banks are not here to rescue friends and the former ambassador to the US from politicians who organize meals at Zappeion." It has been a while since we heard SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras rant and rave with statements such as the above against figures such as Evangelos Venizelos, (who heard this when he was the Finance Minister under the George Papandreou government in regards to the Proton Bank scandal). At the time, Tsipras pointed to Lavrentis Lavrentiadis (who today is at the Korydallos prison on charges of the creation and management of an organized criminal organization, money-laundering, fraud and embezzlement) as well as to the former Ambassador and Chairman of the bank Daniel Speckhard (yes the same man who was once the US Ambassador to Athens and who sent a multitude of controversial letters to Washington as indicated by various Wikileaks cables).

Apparently, the 38 year old leader of SYRIZA came to the realization after his trip to the US that all of the above scandalous controversy is passe and far too boring. Today Tsipras is too busy with other more serious matters and rather ignores things that deal with corruption, money-laundering and embezzlement. In fact his main focus today is simply to cultivate his international profile!

Don't kid yourselves, this is a tough job!

One of the highlights of Tsipras tour in the US is his visit on January 22 to the famous American-Hellenic Institute. It was an event that journalists strangely avoided and only subtly mentioned.

Now why is that?

The event should not have been of any interest, but oh boy was the press wrong! It was more than interesting since two former (and very controversial) US Ambassadors to Greece were also present, or specifically, Mr. Daniel Speckhard and Mr. Thomas Miller and they even took the time to take their picture taken with Tsipras who was really loving the moment (as seen in the photo).


Who are these two controversial ambassadors, and why all the fuss about the photo?

The best thing to do is to start from the beginning.

On August 3, 2001, Thomas Miller was appointed by former US President George W. Bush to be Ambassador to Greece. He took up the position on October 8, 2001, and held it until he left the post on December 23, 2004. On the other hand, Daniel Speckhard was sworn in as US Ambassador to Greece on November 7, 2007 and arrived in Athens on November 15, 2007, where he served until 2010.


Thomas Miller

Thomas Miller served on the same Board of Directors at Lampsa SA -which owns the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens- with none other than Nikos Papandreou, or the brother of the former President of PASOK, George Papandreou. The Lampsa company is owned by the Laskaridis family.

According to Antinews (http://www.antinews.gr/2012/01/22/144001/), Niko joined the Board in July 2003 but he suddenly (and mysteriously) decided to quit in October 2009 when his brother George Papandreou came to power.

A little while later Miller left as well but the friendship has always remained. Miller currently serves as Director of the Washington, DC office of Independent Diplomat which is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 by former British diplomat Carne Ross to give advice and assistance in diplomatic strategy and technique to governments and political groups - such as providing 'freelance' diplomats to unrecognized governments (i.e. governments of seceded or proto-states that do not (yet) have international recognition, and usually have little experience in dealing with international bureaucracy). Its projects have included: helping Kosovo achieve recognition as a new state, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, etc., and the Turkish occupied section of Northern Cyprus. - Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Diplomat)

Over the years, Miller often visited the Balkans, especially Albania and his activities there, according to Parapolitika, are a complete mystery. Nonetheless, rumors claim that he was very interested in the casino industry (something that Mr. Laskaridis is also active in).

According to kourdistoportocali (http://kourdistoportocali.com/articles/18823.htm), Thomas Miller climbed the ladder of success in Washington when his immediate boss, Richard Holbrooke, when, acting as charge d'affaires at the Embassy in Athens (in September 1995 due to the absence of the then Ambassador Thomas Niles), was active in the consultations that led to the signing of the Interim Agreement between Greece and FYROM (13.09.1995).

During the US invasion of Iraq and as ambassador to Athens Miller intervened by asking Greek American community members, to make representations to Athens, to stop the anti-war and anti-Americanism movements (and/or protests). But after the war, and the dismantling of the notorious November 17 terrorist organization -as well as the successful Athens 2004 Olympic Games - he was quoted in interviews as saying that anti-war movements, or protests, were not a manifestation of Antiamericanism.

When Mr. Miller's diplomatic run ended, he undertook projects on behalf of the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus, and was apparently involved in handling the sinful C4i case.

According to reports, when he was US Ambassador to Athens, Mr. Miller -who opened the doors to ministerial offices with ease- promoted American companies such as Lockheed Martin, as well as Motorola (allied friends with Socrates Kokkalis' Intracom company). He also became involved with a security system which was not only costly to the Greek state, but wasn't ever completed nor delivered on time to serve as the center of security for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. But idiotic Greek tax payers paid for it anyway.

Finally a fresh article from kourdistoportocali (http://kourdistoportocali.com/articles/18823.htm) claims that Thomas Miller is also the man who is up to his neck in the wiretapping scandal (against Costas Karamanlis) which cost the life of former Network Planning Manager for Vodafone Costas Tsalikidis.

Who is Tsakalidis? Keep on reading...
"On March 9, Kostas Tsalikidis, was found dead in an apparent suicide. According to several experts questioned by the Greek press, Tsalikidis was a key witness in the investigation of responsibility of the wiretaps. Family and friends believe there are strong indications he was the person who first discovered that highly sophisticated software had been secretly inserted into the Vodafone network. Tsalikidis had been planning for a while to quit his Vodafone job but told his fiancée not long before he died that it had become "a matter of life or death" that he leave, says the family's lawyer, Themis Sofos. There is speculation that either he committed suicide because of his involvement in the tapping of the phones, or he was murdered because he had discovered, or was about to discover, who the perpetrators were. After a four-month investigation of his death, a Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos said that the death of Tsalikidis was directly linked to the scandal. "If there had not been the phone tapping, there would not have been a suicide," he said." Reference (Greek Watergate Scandal- US Embassy behind phone-tapping of Karamanlis) (http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com/2011/08/greek-watergate-scandal-us-embassy.html)
Daniel Speckhard

According to Parapolitika, (http://www.parapolitika.gr/ArticleDetails/tabid/63/ArticleID/558422/Otan-o-Tsipras-fotogafizontan-me-ton-Miler-kai-ton-Spekchart.aspx) following his run as Ambassador to Athens, Daniel Speckhard became the non-executive chairman of the Greek Proton Bank - between the period February 1, 2011 until August 19, 2011. He assumed this position at a time when Lavrentis Lavrentiadis was having trouble with his second largest shareholder Mr. Ant. Athanasoglou.

Apart from being a managing partner at WEM Global Investment Inc, Speckhard is also a non-resident Senior Fellow, for the US and Europe at the famous Brookings Institute. Yes... The same institute where Tsipras gave his speech. During the speech, which was broadcasted live on C-SPAN, the official channel of Capitol Hill, and according to reports many prominent businessmen apparently attended. The same corporate community also (mysteriously) attended his speech at Columbia University a few days later as well.

The report on Parapolitika also notes that some rumors even claim that Speckhard played a major role in unlocking the doors for Tsipras, especially at the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), which is considered to be one of the top think tanks in the US.

The aforementioned institution is well known in Greece, since Mr. Lavrentiadis, who apparently funded one of its divisions (or the unit of Southeast European Studies), had organized an event at the Astir Palace in Vouligmenni where characters such as Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski were also present.

Who is Brzezinski? Here is where it gets really interesting. Although the article in "Parapolitka" did not go into details about this man (assuming that the reader already knows what and why) we here at HellasFrappe decided to google his name and we discovered that Brzezinski is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.

Sounds harmless enough, but googling his name a little bit more, we also discovered an article on opednews which more or less presents him as being the equivalent of Henry Kissinger. Here is a small portion of the article which should be read by all:
Only three appointed high government officials have run sixty years of war on small vulnerable nations, that were previously plundered under military occupation by colonial powers for centuries?
Three spooks, John Foster Dulles (aided by his equally corrupt brother Allen, head of the CIA), Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, chosen by David Rockefeller to oversee the deaths of tens of millions of men, women and children, murdered in their own small beloved countries, as often as not in their own towns, villages and homes - millions more dying in violent aftermaths of US crimes against Congo, Guatemala, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Indonesia, Libya and many other places. (Congo alone accounts for from between six and fifteen million dead since the US led Belgians and other Europeans in destroying it as a nation.
In every single case of US mayhem (that's if totaled up reaches many multi-holocaust proportions), civil war, fomented by the US itself, has been used as a pretext for unlawful barbaric criminal intervention by US Armed Forces, most often prepared by a corporate business dutiful CIA using its far flung network of banks, media, double agents and cooperating NGOs.
Civil wars! Capitalist empires of Europe had been stimulating them under the axiom "Divide and Conquer' since the first Portuguese armed merchant ships set sail, funded by enterprising investors in the fifteenth century.
From the earliest days of investor managed crimes of savage European forces (and later those of the US) falling upon ancient civilizations and cultures, there have been many famous devilishly clever lead investors cleverly creating wars of assured investment profitability. The most infamous in modern history were David's grandfather John Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan. Check the article at OpedNews (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Demonic-David-Rockefeller-by-Jay-Janson-120816-942.html)-
Read on, the article only gets better.


The Unknown Trip to San Fransisco

During his trip to the US, Alexis Tsipras did not formally meet with representatives of the Greek Diaspora, since he chose not to adhere to protocol which calls for a prior meeting with the Archbishop of America. Instead the leader of SYRIZA preferred to come into contact with other influential characters who he knew could open other doors for him.

On his first day in the US he chose to make a quick (and hush hush) ten-hour trip to San Francisco, where he met known businessman Angelo Tsakopoulos (Phil Angelides, who has served as chairman of the Democratic Party of California and responsible for public property of the state was also present at this meeting). Angelo Tsakopoulos (born 1936) is a prominent real estate developer in Sacramento, California and the founder and owner of AKT Development.

Mr. Tsakopoulis is one of the main backers of the Democratic party and a proud supporter of Barack Obama. He is also a personal friend of Bill Clinton and Constantine Mitsotakis, and the current Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras. His family donated millions of dollars to charity the most notable of which was his donation to the University of Stanford to create the office of Greek Studies titled "Constantine Mitsotakis."

The inauguration took place in the presence of the Mitsotakis family in 2007. The ART Group, is now operated by his children, Helen and Kyriakos, and his son, Marko Kounalakis.

It should be reminded that Mr. Kounalakis was also a member of the same Institute with Andreas Papandreou, or the other brother of George Papandreou. In fact Andreas had organized a conference on Climate Change and Energy Security (i4cense) in late October 2010. The event was co-organized by the Kyriakos Grivas' C&C company, which specializes in public relations. Grivas is a businessman known for his connections to the New Democracy party, the "Financial Times", and the European Investment Bank. Note that the i4cence institute was noted by the president of the Independent Greek party, Mr. Panos Kammenos, for being involved in the case of controversial CDS.


The Discreet Support of Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki

During Tsipras' visit, Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis' circle of friends also made their presence. Besides, Angelopoulou was apparently discreetly opening the doors for Tsipras' on the other side of the Atlantic. Thus, it can not be considered a coincidence that the president of the Greek-American Institute (AHI), Nick Larigakis also played a significant role in Tsipras's trip to the US. Also, another central figure who was also present at the AHI event was to honor Tsipras was none other than Mr. George Mermelas, the alleged owner of the well known lobbying and public relations institution/company "Greek Dream".

Mr. Mermelas was a close friend to PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, when he was Minister of Culture (under the Simitis government). During the '90s the present leader of PASOK had handsomely funded Mr. Mermelas through the Ministry of Culture to promote Greece at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki did the same thing during the Athens games. In fact she continues to fund Mermelas' institution. The institution has even held a special event in the US in her honor.


The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, that once upon a time Tsipras was accusing these elites in the Greek Parliament and today he is being photographed next to them.

This little tet-a-tet, claims the news site "Parapolitika" apparently was not received with the same enthusiasm from his fellow party members, in fact it manifested a "mini" mutiny, since both the "Avgi" newspaper (which is SYRIZA's newspaper) as well as the radio station which political backs SYRIZA chose not to cover this encounter at all. In fact it totally ignored the subject altogether and even disputed the photos. And all this for good reason, because the presence of these two particular former senior US diplomats at the event is connected with a series of obviously "shady" and "controversial" scenarios that occurred in Greece over the years and which either cost the lives of several people or destroyed the lives of millions.


"POWER" is just around the corner

Indeed Tsipras' trip to the US stirred up problems within the SYRIZA party and the wider political fora, but abroad, Tsipras showed that he was ready to take a step back on all the allegations he once made against Greece's corrupt elite. Today it is more than obvious that if he ever was to seize power, he would certainly be faced with handling extremely difficult situations, and certainly that is why he made such a dramatic shift in his political strategy. Because let us face it, the US doesn't do anyone favors and not expect a back rub in return.

Of course for all this to happen he has to make some radical changes in his party, but this cannot occur without repercussions, especially from the so-called powerful and radical left. Many will disagree, and some others may even detach themselves from SYRIZA, but to Tsipras this is a small price to pay since he now wants to conquer the country's leadership.

Of course mum is the word -as far as the photo is concerned- from Greece's mainstream media, only "Parapolitika" and "Kourdistoportocali" reported the news, as well as a series of other news sites and blogs.

Folks... Greece is definitely heading down a dark and shady road. It is obvious that the Americans are promoting Tsipras and will probably help him in any way they can. They did the same for George Papandreou and there were rumors in Athens before he assumed office in 2009 that a team was here working closely with him on how to improve his image. Just the thought of Tsipras assuming Greece's leadership has been a frightening thought by itself because we know what his stance is on our national issues and what type of foreign policy he plans to follow. What is even more shocking is that Panos Kammenos (the leader of the Independent Greeks Party) actually wants to side with Tsipras and overthrow the government. How can Kammenos do that knowing that Tsipras is 100 percent against everything he has been preaching about?

Yup. Greece is headed for a storm cloud.

Stay tuned frappers.

References


http://www.opednews.com/articles/Demonic-David-Rockefeller-by-Jay-Janson-120816-942.html
http://www.parapolitika.gr/ArticleDetails/tabid/63/ArticleID/558422/Otan-o-Tsipras-fotogafizontan-me-ton-Miler-kai-ton-Spekchart.aspx
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com/2011/08/greek-watergate-scandal-us-embassy.html
http://www.antinews.gr/2012/01/22/144001/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Diplomat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Diplomat)

http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/busted-tsipras-side-by-side-with.html


Tsipras.

turncoat  [turn-koht]

Definition: traitor

Synonyms: Benedict Arnold, Judas, apostate, back-stabber, betrayer, conspirator, deceiver, defector, deserter, double-crosser, fink, informer, quisling, rat, rebel, renegade, snake*, sneak*, snitch, spy, squealer, stool pigeon, tattletale, tergiversator, treasonist, two-timer,



Tsipras.

turncoat  [turn-koht]

Definition: traitor

Synonyms: Benedict Arnold, Judas, apostate, back-stabber, betrayer, conspirator, deceiver, defector, deserter, double-crosser, fink, informer, quisling, rat, rebel, renegade, snake*, sneak*, snitch, spy, squealer, stool pigeon, tattletale, tergiversator, treasonist, two-timer,
Looks that way. Or maybe he has had an offer he can't refuse....


While I have strong reservation about Tsipras and Syriza because of the above it does look like they will be winning the coming Greek election and there is much panic in the corridors of power there. I have no reservations about Samaras. He is workig for the banksters. How this will work for the EU will be interesting to watch. I hope Greece doesn't have Diebold machines.

Greek PM Samaras forced into U-turn as Syriza closes in on election victory With two weeks until Greece votes, Antonis Samaras needs a miracle to defeat Alexis Tsipras’s radical left party, say pollsters






(http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/10/greece-election-u-turn-antonis-samaras-syriza#img-1) Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, left, has a poll lead of up to 4% with a fortnight to go until the election. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters Helena Smith (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/helenasmith) in Athens
Sunday 11 January 2015 09.33 AEST





With elections barely two weeks away and every poll against him, Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/04/alexis-tsipras-antonis-samaras-greece-syriza-election) began to sing from a different hymn sheet this weekend, focusing on his government’s handling of the economy in a desperate bid to win round voters.
Unveiling a plan of national growth and reform in Athens on Saturday and dropping claims that a vote for the leftwing Syriza party would lead Greece (http://www.theguardian.com/world/greece) into chaos, the premier sought to convince Greeks that only his conservative New Democracy party could guide the crisis-plagued country to economic recovery.
“The strategy of fear that the conservatives have campaigned on clearly hasn’t worked,” said Paschos Mandravelis, a prominent political commentator. “Greeks are not buying the theory that the opposition poses a danger, so now Samaras is altering course.”
The change of tactics for the snap elections forced on the government by parliament’s failure to elect a president, comes at a critical juncture. In every opinion survey, Syriza is in the lead (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/10/www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/29/syriza-leading-polls-future-begun-alexis-tsipras-greece). Last week, for the first time, pollsters began to speak of the impossibility of the lead being overturned. Less than three years after he took office at the helm of a coalition and at the height of Greece’s economic crisis, it was going to take a miracle for Samaras, 63, to keep power.
“The difference is between a rough three and four percentage points and I don’t see it closing,” said professor Dimitris Keridis, who teaches political science at Athens’s Panteion University. “Samaras is facing the inevitability of defeat,” he told the Observer.
A Metron Analysis poll released late on Friday showed Syriza leading, with 27.1% against 23.8% for Samaras’s New Democracy. Between 9 and 16% of voters are undecided.
But even if the conservatives drum up support among the undecided, few believe the radical leftists – once on the fringe of Greek political life but now centre stage and determined to change economic debate in Europe – will not emerge on top on 25 January. On the back of pledges to repudiate the onerous conditions of the EU- and IMF-sponsored bailout accords that have shored up the debt-stricken Greek economy but have brought ordinary Greeks to their knees, Syriza has seen its popularity soar. Its belief that Athens’s unsustainable debt load should also be written off has won applause from other hard-left groups in Europe (http://www.theguardian.com/world/europe-news).
“The question is not if they win, but by how much,” said Mandravelis.
Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?description=Greek+PM+Samaras+forced+into+U-turn+as+Syriza+closes+in+on+election+victory&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fworld%2F201 5%2Fjan%2F10%2Fgreece-election-u-turn-antonis-samaras-syriza&media=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic.guim.co.uk%2Fsys-images%2FGuardian%2FPix%2Fpictures%2F2015%2F1%2F10 %2F1420898031245%2F6c0a0254-53d1-497b-a9a3-e349442602a9-2060x1236.jpeg)
Prime minister Antonis Samaras at an election rally in Halkida. He has crisscrossed the country, sometimes visiting several cities a day. Photograph: Angelos Christofilopoulos/Demotix/Corbis In stark contrast to Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras, who at 40 is the country’s youngest political leader and has waged a relaxed campaign, Samaras has frantically crisscrossed Greece, often visiting several cities on a single day. Until now, his rhetoric has been based solely on sounding the alarm. If Greeks vote for Tsipras and his “drachma lobby” party, Athens will face the danger of almost certain ejection from the eurozone – and by extension the EU. “It will mean the loss of all the sacrifices Greeks have made since the crisis began and be a catastrophe for the economy,” Samaras has maintained.
Senior figures in the EU have backed up that view, saying in no uncertain terms that a vote for Tsipras is a vote for danger, replete with uncertainty and risk.
But with more than 25% of Greeks out of work and close to three million facing poverty, the EU interventions have led increasingly to accusations of interference. Five years into their worst crisis in living memory, the vast majority no longer care about creditors’ demands but rather their ability to survive.
“I am seriously thinking of voting for Syriza because I am sick of all the scaremongering from people who brought us to this place,” said Elena Christodoulaki, a hairdresser in Athens, adding that at 64 she had never supported the alliance of Marxists, Maoists, Trotskyists and Greens. “It’s not just that I want to see a change. With all this talk of leaving the euro it has been very difficult for them [the radical leftists] to have a say or [expound on their beliefs] which makes me mad.”
On Friday, parties unveiled their campaign lists, with the conservatives announcing that a former talkshow host, a model and an actor would be running as candidates. Syriza’s ticket includes academics based abroad including Costas Lapavitsas, an economics professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, who has become a prominent advocate of resolving Greece’s woes within the eurozone.
“Europe has failed to have a constant voice in its approach to Syriza,” said Keridis. “There have been a lot of contradictory statements regarding the threat the leftists represent for the eurozone,” he added. “That has helped Tsipras dilute any fear that he is anti-European and allowed him to win support.”

]

Lauren Johnson
04-29-2015, 05:20 PM
from Naked Capitalism (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/syriza-failed.html):


Yves here. While the path for the ruling Greek government to make a deal with its creditors is fraught, it is pressing forward to try to come to an agreement by the next Eurogroup meeting, May 11. Greece has an IMF payment due May 12 that it will find difficult to meet. With the new urgency and the, um, realignment of the negotiating team, the odds now look to favor Greece capitulating even in the event of a default even if the ruling coalition tries holding ground on some of its red lines like pensions. If a default were to occur, it’s not hard to imagine that the IMF and the ECB would make Greece an offer it can’t refuse: the IMF would reverse itself on giving Greece a grace period for its payment if it relented on the disputed issues, otherwise the ECB would have no choice in light of the default to remove or limit its support under the ELA That would force Greece to impose capital controls, nationalize its banks, and issue drachma to recapitlaize them. Both the Greek public and most Syriza members are opposed to a Grexit.

Tsipras continues to send mixed signals on its intentions. He has veered time and time again from making cooperative noises when he encounters resistance from the creditors to making defiant statements to appeal to voters. Consider this section from the Financial Times yesterday that we flagged in Links (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ac356b9e-ece1-11e4-a81a-00144feab7de.html):
The moves come as senior Greek ministers have publicly acknowledged in recent days that they may be forced to accept economic measures they have been attempting to avoid, a sign they are preparing Greek voters for concessions.

Today, the Financial Times has Tsipras again taking up a defiant posture and saying he might be forced to call a referendum. We’ve said that the likely lead time makes that impossible (as in Greece will almost certainly default before a referendum can take place) and the Eurogroup chief Jeroen Djisselbloem cleared his throat and said pretty much the same thing (which may amount to calling the Tsipras idea a bluff). From today’s Financial Times (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a28bb634-ed81-11e4-987e-00144feab7de.html):
Greece’s leftwing prime minister has warned that he would hold a referendum if international creditors insisted on a “vicious circle of austerity” as the key to unlocking urgently needed bailout money.
Hours after making a conciliatory gesture to Greece’s eurozone partners with a reshuffle of his negotiating team on Monday, Alexis Tsipras struck a more defiant note….
A referendum could lead to weeks of continued uncertainty about Greece’s solvency. A plan by Athens to hold a plebiscite in 2011 was effectively scuppered by eurozone leaders. But some officials also believe it could be a way for Mr Tsipras to win public support for an eventual reform programme.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who leads the Greek negotiations as head of the eurogroup, said he did not think a referendum was a feasible option for Mr Tsipras given the urgent need for a deal so that bailout cash can be disbursed soon.
“It would cost money, it would create great political uncertainty, and I don’t think we have the time,” Mr Dijsselbloem told Dutch radio. “And I don’t think the Greeks have the time for it.”

Moreover, as Ned Ludd pointed out in comments today (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/links-42815.html#comment-2436893), Greece has retreated from another one of its defiant gestures, that of cultivating ties with Russia:
An offer from Gazprom was “ready for signatures (http://russia-insider.com/en/greece-russia-and-eu-prospects-grexit-loom/6108)”, and Greece walked away.
[T]he Greek government in the end balked at the Gazprom offer (which was ready for signature on 23rd April 2015) following warnings from the EU Commission that its terms were contrary to European law – i.e., to the Third Energy Package.
I was told by my source that the Greek government could not in the end bring itself to defy the EU Commission on this issue because of its fears that this would jeopardise its negotiations with the EU finance ministers at the Eurogroup meeting on the following day.

Alexander Mercouris’s “source in Athens” may be a Russian diplomat or official at their embassy in Athens, who is aggravated by Greece’s incomprehensible negotiating strategy.
There was no point in making overtures to Moscow if Greece was not prepared to follow them through. It was totally predictable that the EU authorities would object to whatever deal Greece made with Russia or with Gazprom. If Greece was not prepared to defy the EU authorities on this question, it should not have proceeded at all. As it is the Russians must be annoyed at being led up the garden path, while the European leaders have been antagonised and persuaded that Greece’s anti-austerity posture is ultimately a bluff.

And as Ludd noted later (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/links-42815.html#comment-2436941):
I think the majority of Syriza was always amendable to being the new PASOK. The path to power, of course, required pretending that a Syriza-led government would be fundamentally different (and to the left of) PASOK.
Since the end goal was always a deal with the Troika, though, PASOK would have gotten a better deal than Varoufakis ever could. “If you can’t bite, better not show your teeth.” ~ Yiddish Proverb.
According to the Financial Times article, it looks like Syriza is now prostrating itself before its Eurozone masters, hoping for a more amicable path to cutting a deal with the Troika.

A well-connected DC reader had submitted this post at the end of March. We’d held off publishing it because we’d wanted him to amplify his central charge, that Syriza does not want to govern. In context, you can infer what that means but we had wanted him to unpack that idea more.
Notice that this critique, which I can separately say with confidence would have gotten blistering attacks from the NC commentariat had I run it then, has proven to be prescient and accurate. The big part I quibble with is calling the Syriza negotiating position “Keynesian”. While Yanis Varoufakis’ Modest Proposal was indeed Keynesian, the Greek government retreated from that in the face of creditor opposition, leaving themselves only with an “austerity lite” plan of volunteering to maintain a primary surplus (which in the absence of fiscal transfers like European Investment Bank infrastructure spending, assures a continued worsening of the contraction). Thus from an economic perspective, what Syriza is fighting over is the right to decide who in Greek society will bear the pain of continued austerity, and the government is working to shift that burden more to the wealthy. A thin gruel indeed.
From a Washington DC insider
Syriza Has Created a Beg-ocracy Based on Fear
It’s been two months since Syiza took power, which is enough time to do some sort of evaluation of their governing philosophy. Here’s what we know. When Alexis Tsipras was elected to head the new Greek state, his government promised two mutually exclusive objectives. The first was to stay in the Euro. The second was to repudiate the policies of austerity and the colonial arrangement of the institutions that manage the Euro. Both policies represented different wings of the Syriza coalition, and Tsipras believes both must be placated.
Tsipras’s strategy was not to pick one of these objectives and stick with it to the exclusion of the other, but to attempt to mesh the two of them in an audacious attempt to transform the entire Eurozone.
Tsipras decided to make Greece a demonstration project. When he was elected, he spoke early on of a “European New Deal”, in a nod to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s new governing arrangements. And indeed, his early legislative attempts included things like ‘food stamps’ and electricity for the poor. His finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, talked of European-wide investment in infrastructure to boost overall European aggregate demand.
By governing Greece reasonably well and reducing corruption, along with taking money from those who didn’t need it and giving it to those who do need it, they were hoping to show European elites and voters that another way was possible. With the added boost from more European economic activity, Greece could prosper. Certainly it would grow since its base state is so depressed.
In other words, Tsipras and Varoufakis sought to ‘save Europe from itself’ by demonstrating that the austerity policies peddled by European banking elites were tearing Europe apart. They believe that Merkel gets this, they believe that certain key individuals within the IMF get this, and they think that they can organize enough support within the institutions to muddle through the first few months so they can actually govern. That’s the plan.
And one should have sympathy for this viewpoint. The European project is one of the great achievements of humanity. From the fall of the Roman empire until 1945, European has basically been one giant warzone, with varying degrees of violence. The EU was essentially an American-brokered marriage between France and Germany. This union was then expanded outwards, with a strong social welfare state undergirding peace and prosperity. This is the EU that they want to save, though Varoufakis has basically said that American has no role in the current Euro and that Germany is the hegemon. This misses the critical ingredient that made the EU work, which was a balance of power.
Obviously the specter of Communism provided additional critical context, and it’s no accident that the end of the USSR as a competitive system removed the pressure that tamped down on both nationalism and banker greed. Nothing is inevitable, though, and that turn towards oligarch rule in Europe wasn’t either.
Nevertheless, the EU has been inverted. It is now a set of actors going through a set of austerity policies that in geopolitical terms reflect the Saw horror films, sadistic conditions imposed by bankers and Eurocrats who just enjoy the torture. America is absent. Germany is dominant and malevolent, both corrupt and self-pitying. Nationalism and greed are increasingly rampant, with fewer and fewer institutional controls. It is in this environment that Syriza leaders are trying to negotiate what are essentially fiscal transfers in a structurally deficient currency union that has been organized to suck wealth from the periphery and transfer it to German banks.
The reason there’s so much acrimony in these negotiations is because Tsipras and Varoufakis are operating in good faith and asking for basic Keynesian policies under a technocratic (not democratic) framework. Most of the European institutional actors think that Tsipras and Varoufakis are trying to outsmart and outmaneuver them with leftist cunning, along with their leftist populist allies across Europe. This isn’t really true. Tsipras and Varoufakis have no plan B, they will rely on the sadistic European institutions because they believe the choice is between being part of the Euro with a colonized economy and a thousand years of darkness. They are, in other words, deeply afraid. The irony, of course, is that when Tsipras called for a European New Deal, he missed what made FDR successful. And that was repudiating ‘Fear Itself’ and eventually taking on the bankers directly.
What this means is that Tsipras and Varoufakis are now effectively working for bankers. They do not want to govern with an independent power base, they do not believe in governing along the lines of what they promised unless it is easy to do so, and they are organizing their governing apparatus as a beg-ocracy. They simply do not believe in Greek self-government. It’s been two months straight of negotiations, which looks more and more like begging, and they have had no time to take control of the bureaucracies or to pay attention to what is going on in any area except the immediate political situation. The Greek economy is not improving, because the uncertainty has impeded what little commerce there was.
Governing is not easy, and it’s especially difficult in these situations. And Syriza leaders don’t have experience at it. They are not bad people, and in ordinary situations, they might even be good leaders. But the strategy being pursued is bad and their attitude based on being afraid of the Europeans is worse. This is a fight over power, and Greek leaders simply aren’t willing to advocate for their own people in any serious way. They are deluding themselves about who they are up against. The Greeks will feel dignified for a time with this new government, but that won’t last forever. And then the results will start to matter.
Syriza leadership is now more problematic than the earlier political Greek parties that cut the bailout deals over the past five years, because those parties never promised anything different than catastrophe. Syriza however promised democracy, solidarity, dignity, and the Euro. Now Syriza is in the process of proving that democracy doesn’t work, that the brand of standing up in solidarity against bankers is a fraud. Tsipras’s role is similar in effect to Barack Obama’s role of tamping down populist energy against the national security state and Wall Street in 2008. As Obama did before him, Tsipras is now standing between the people with pitchforks and the banks. The likely fallout of course is worse for the Greeks than it was for Americans, because Greece has so little leverage and it does not have its own currency. But on a very basic level, Tsipras and Varoufakis, just like Obama, are simply unwilling to govern. And that makes them opponents of any real left-wing populist movement.
Greece may still yet exit the Euro, or they may be pushed out of the Eurozone. But by refusing to pick between the two objectives of remaining in the Euro and repudiating austerity, they have lost critical time, bank deposits, much of their primary surplus and even more essential credibility. From the perspective of populists, the behavior of Syriza has been catastrophic. And it’s time to disavow what they have done and let them slink into the long neoliberal twilight from which they draw their inspiration. They had their fifteen minutes. Time’s about up.

David Guyatt
04-30-2015, 07:13 AM
Very interesting. I would love to know the qualifications of the "Washington insider" just to be able to assess his/her analysis...

Lauren Johnson
04-30-2015, 02:23 PM
Very interesting. I would love to know the qualifications of the "Washington insider" just to be able to assess his/her analysis...

I can only suggest that you go to the comments or even personally contact Yves privately. Maybe she can work something out.

Paul Rigby
06-15-2015, 07:46 PM
Syriza: Plunder, Pillage and Prostration: How the ‘Hard Left’ Embraces the Policies of the Hard Right

By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, June 15, 2015

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syriza-plunder-pillage-and-prostration-how-the-hard-left-embraces-the-policies-of-the-hard-right/5455695

Greece has been in the headlines of the world’s financial press for the past five months, as a newly elected leftist party, ‘Syriza’, which ostensibly opposes so-called ‘austerity measures’,faces off against the “Troika” (International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and European Central Bank).


Early on, the Syriza leadership, headed by Alexis Tsipras, adopted several strategic positions with fatal consequences - in terms of implementing their electoral promises to raise living standards, end vassalage to the ‘Troika’ and pursue an independent foreign policy.

We will proceed by outlining the initial systemic failures ofSyriza and the subsequent concessions further eroding Greek living standards and deepening Greece’s role as an active collaborator of US and Israeli imperialism.

Winning Elections and Surrendering Power

The North American and European Left celebrated Syriza’selection victory as a break with neo-liberal austerity programs and the launch of a radical alternative, which would implement popular initiatives for basic social changes, including measures generating employment, restoring pensions, reversing privatizations, reordering government priorities and favoring payments to employees over foreign banks. The “evidence” for the radical reform agenda was contained in the ‘Thessaloniki Manifesto’which Syriza promised to be the program guiding their newly elected officials.

However, prior to, and immediately after being elected, Syriza leaders adopted three basic decisions precluding any basic changes: Indeed, these decisions set it on a reactionary course.

First and foremost, Syriza accepted as legitimate theforeign debt of over $350 billion dollars, although most had been signed by previous government Kleptocrats, corrupt banks, business, real estate and financial interests. Virtually none of this debt was used to finance productive activity or vital services which would strengthen the economy and Greece’s future ability to payback the loans.

Hundreds of billions of Euros were stashed away in foreign bank accounts and foreign real estate or invested in overseas stocks and bonds. After affirming the ‘legitimacy’ of the illicit debt, Syriza followed up by declaring its ‘willingness’ to pay the debt. The ‘Troika’ immediately understood that the new Syriza government would be a willing hostage to further coercion, blackmail and debt payments.

Secondly, and related to the above, Syriza declared its determination to remain in the European Union and Eurozone and thus accepted the surrender of its sovereignty and ability to fashion an independent policy. It declared its willingness to submit to the dictates of the Troika. Once under the thumb of the Troika, Syriza’s only policy would be to ‘negotiate’, ‘renegotiate’ and make further concessions to the EU overseas banks in a totally one-sided process. Syriza’s rapid submission to the Troika was their second strategic, but not their last, betrayal of its electoral program.

Once Syriza demonstrated to the Troika, its willingness to betray its popular program, the Troika escalated its demands and hardened its intransigence. Brussels discounted Syriza’s leftist rhetoric and radical theatrical gestures as blowing smoke in the eyes of the Greek electorate. The EU bankers knew that when it came time to negotiate new loan agreements, the Syriza leadership would capitulate. Meanwhile, the Euro-American Left swallowed Syriza’s entire radical rhetoric without looking at its actual practice.

Thirdly, on taking office, Syriza negotiated a coalition with the far-right, pro-NATO, xenophobic, anti-immigrant Independent Greeks Party, guaranteeing that Greece would continue to support NATO’s military policies in the Middle East, the Ukraine and Israel’s brutal campaign against Palestine.

Fourthly, the bulk of Prime Minister Tsipras cabinet appointees had no experience of class struggle .Worse still, most were academics and former PASOK advisers without any capacity or willingness to break with the dictates of the Troika. Their academic ‘practice’ consisted largely of theoretical ‘combat’, ill-suited for real-world confrontation with aggressive imperial powers.

From a Scratch to Gangrene

By capitulating to the EU from the outset, including accepting to pay the illegitimate debt, hooking up with the Far Right and submitting to the dictates of the Troika, the stage was set for SYRIZA to betray all its promises and to worsen the economic burden for its supporters. The worst betrayals include: (1) not restoring pension payments; (2) not restoring the minimum wage; (3) not reversing privatizations; (4) not ending austerity programs; and (5) not increasing funds for education, health, housing and local development.

The Troika and its publicists in the financial press are demanding that Syriza cut the Greek pension system even further, impoverishing over 1.5 million retired workers. Contrary to the media’s planted ‘examples’ of fat pensions enjoyed by less then 5% of pensioners, the Greeks have suffered the deepest pension reductions in Europe over the past century. In just the last past 4 years the Troika cut Greek pensions eight times. The vast majority of pensions have been slashed by nearly 50% since 2010.The average pension is 700 Euros a month but 45%of Greek pensioners receive less than 665 Euros a month - below the poverty line. Yet the Troika demands even greater reductions.

These include an end of budget subsidies for pensioners living in extreme poverty, an increase in the retirement age to 67, an abolition of pension provisions tied to hazardous occupations and for working mothers. The earlier regressive measures, imposed by the Troika and implemented by the previous right-wing coalition regime, severely depleted the Greek pension fund. In 2012, the Troika’s ‘debt restructuring’ program led to the loss of 25 billion Euros of reserves held by the Greek government in government bonds.

Troika austerity policies ensured that the pension reserves would not be replenished. Contributions plummeted as unemployment soared to nearly 30% (Financial Times 6/5/15 p4). Despite the Troika’s frontal assault on the Greek pension system, Syriza’s “economic team” expressed its willingness to raise the retirement age, cut pensions by 5% and negotiate further betrayals of pensioners facing destitution. Syriza has not only failed to fulfill its campaign promise to reverse the previous regressive policies, but is engaged in its own ‘pragmatic’ sellouts with the Troika.

Worse still, Syriza has deepened and extended the policies of its reactionary predecessors. (1)Syriza promised to freeze privatizations: Now it vows to extend them by 3.2 billion Eurosand privatize new public sectors. (2) Syriza has agreed to shift scarce public resources to the military, including an investment of $500 million Euros to upgrade the Greek Air Force. (3) Syriza plundered the national pension fund and municipal treasuries of over a billion Euros to meet debt payments to the Troika. (4) Syriza is cutting public investments in job creating infrastructure projects to meet Troika deadlines. ( 5) Syriza has agreed to a budget surplus of 0.6% at a time when Greece is running a 0.7% deficit this year – meaning more cuts later this year. (6) Syriza promised to reduce the VAT on essentials like food; now it accepts a 23% rate.

Syriza’s foreign policy mimics its predecessors. Syriza’s far right Defense Minister, Panos Kammenos, has been a vocal supporter of the US and EU sanctions against Russia- despite the usual flurry of Syriza’s faked “dissent” to NATO policies, followed by total capitulation – to remain in good standing with NATO. The Syriza regime has allowed each and every well-known kleptocrat and tax evader to retain their illicit wealth and to add to their overseas holdings with massive transfers of their current ‘savings’out of the country. By the end of May 2015, Prime Minister Tsipras and Finance Minister Varofakis have emptied the Treasury to meet debt payments, increasing the prospects that pensioners and public sector workers will not receive their benefits. Having emptied the Greek Treasury, Syriza will now impose the “Troika solution” on the backs of the impoverished Greek masses: eithersign-off on a new “austerity” plan, lowering pensions, increasing retirement age, eliminating labor laws protecting workers’ job security and negotiating rights or face an empty treasury, no pensions, rising unemployment and deepening economic depression. Syriza has deliberately emptied the Treasury, plundered pension funds and local municipal holdings in order to blackmail the population to accept as a ‘fait accompli’ theregressive policies of hardline EU bankers – the so-called “austerity programs”.

From the very beginning, Syriza gave into the Troika’s dictates, even as they play-acted their ‘principled resistance’. First they lied to the Greek public, calling the Troika ‘international partners’. Then they lied again calling the Troika memorandum for greater austerity a ‘negotiating document’. Syriza’s deceptions were meant to hide their continuation of the highly unpopular ‘framework’ imposed by the previous discredited hard rightwing regime.

As Syriza plundered the country of resources to pay the bankers, it escalated its international groveling. Its Defense Minister offered new military bases for NATO, including an air-maritime base on the Greek island of Karpathos. Syriza escalated Greece’s political and military support for EU and US military intervention and support of “moderate” terrorists in the Middle East, ludicrously in the name of “protecting Christians”. Syriza, currying favor with European and US Zionists, strengthened its ties with Israel, evoking a ‘strategic alliance’ with the terrorist-apartheid state. From his first days in office, the hard right Defense Minister Kammenos proposed the creation of a “common defense space” including Cyprus and Israel – thus supporting Israel’s air and sea blockade of Gaza.

Conclusion

Syriza’s political decision to ‘embed’ in the EU and the Eurozone, at all costs, signals that Greece will continue to be vassal state, betraying its program and adopting deeply reactionary policies, even while trumpeting its phony leftist rhetoric, and feigning ‘resistance’ to the Troika. Despite the fact that Syriza plundered domestic pensions and local treasuries, many deluded Leftists in Europe and the US continue to accept and rationalize what they choose to dub its “realistic and pragmatic compromises”.

Syriza could have confiscated and used the $32 billion of real estate properties owned by the Greek Armed Forces to implement an alternative investment and development plan – leasing these properties for commercial maritime ports, airports and tourist facilities.

Syriza buried Greece even deeper into the hierarchy dominated by German finance,by surrendering its sovereign power to impose a debt moratorium, leave the Eurozone, husband its financial resources, reinstate a national currency, impose capital controls, confiscate billions of Euros in illicit overseas accounts, mobilize local funds to finance economic recovery and reactivate the public and private sector. The fake “Left sector” within Syriza repeatedly mouthed impotent “objections”, while the Tsipras -Varofakis sell-out charade proceeded to the ultimate capitulation.

In the end, Syriza has deepened poverty and unemployment, increased foreign control over the economy, further eroded the public sector, facilitated the firing of workers and slashed severance pay- while increasing the role of the Greek military by deepening its ties to NATO and Israel.

Equally important, Syriza has totally emptied leftist phraseology of any cognitive meaning: for them – national sovereignty is translated into international vassalage and anti-austerity becomes pragmatic capitulations to new austerity. When the Tsipras – Troika agreement is finally signed and the terrible toll of austerity for the next decades finally sinks into the consciousness of the Greek public, the betrayals will hopefully evoke mass revulsion. Perhaps Syriza will split, and the “left” will finally abandon their cushy Cabinet posts and join the disaffected millions in forming an alternative Party.

Paul Rigby
07-04-2015, 06:37 PM
What Stinks about Varoufakis and the Whole Greek Mess?

03.07.2015 Author: F. William Engdahl

http://journal-neo.org/2015/07/03/what-stinks-about-varoufakis-and-the-whole-greek-mess/


Something stinks very bad about Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the entire Greek mess that has been playing out since the election victory of the nominally pro-Greek Syriza Party in January. I am coming to the reluctant conclusion that far from being the champion of the hapless Greek people, Varoufakis is part of a far larger and very dirty game.

The brilliant psychologist Eric Berne, author of the seminal book Games People Play, would likely call the game of Varoufakis and the Troika, “Rapo,” as in the rape of the Greek people and, ultimately of all the EU, Germany included. How do I come to this surprising conclusion?

When the left-right coalition was elected by a Greek population desperate for change from the several years of austerity, pension cuts, health and education cuts demanded by the IMF in order to insure that Greek creditors be repaid their pound of flesh in terms of state debt, I was among many who held out hope that finally a government that stood for the interests of her people was in office in Athens.

What we have witnessed since is what can only be called a clown show, one in which the laugh is on the Greek people and EU citizens as a whole. The ones laughing, as often is so, are the mega banks and Troika–ECB, IMF and EU. Behind the Troika, almost invisible, are the Greek oligarchs who have robbed the state coffers of hundreds of billions over the years, tucking it away in numbered Swiss and Lichtenstein secret bank accounts, avoiding paying a single penny tax to support their nation. And it is looking more and more as though the “leftist” economist, Varoufakis’s role is that of a Trojan Horse for the destruction of the entire Eurozone by the bankers and those Greek oligarchs. Next after Greece Italy looks poised to become victim, and that will put the entire Euro in a crisis that is today unimaginable.

Suspicious friends

A man is known by the company he keeps, so goes the adage. By this measure Yanis Varoufakis keeps very bad company for a finance minister who claims to be defending the living standards of his people. Before becoming Greek Finance Minister in the January coalition government of Alexis Tsipras, Varoufakis spent time in the United States working for the Bellevue Washington video game company, Valve Corporation, whose founders came from Bill Gates’ Microsoft. In the late 1980’s he studied economics and game theory in the UK at University of Essex and East Anglia and taught at Cambridge. Then he spent the next eleven years in Australia teaching and even taking Australian citizenship.

As an Australian citizen Varoufakis returned in 2000 to teach at the University of Athens. Then from January 2013 until his appointment as Finance Minister of Greece, Varoufakis taught at the University of Texas where he became close with James K. Galbraith, son of deceased Harvard economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, also with the Washington establishment think-tank, Brookings Institution. In short Varoufakis is an Australian citizen who has spent most of the past three decades in Britain, USA and Australia and little of that in his native Greece.

That of course per se does not disqualify him at all from being an honest and effective finance minister of his native Greece. But to date he has done more to increase the misery of the Greek people in six short months than almost anyone else, even Wolfgang Schäuble or the IMF’s Christine Lagarde.

He pretends to be against austerity but his record shows the opposite. Varoufakis was the adviser to Prime Minister George Papandreou and PASOK when Papandreou made the disastrous draconian austerity deal with the EU on behalf of Greece so that French and German banks could be bailed out. Varoufakis also has at various times heaped praise on Mario Draghi and the ECB, suggesting solutions for how to keep Greece in the EU, a track that pre-programs Greece for self-destruction under the current Troika regime of austerity.

In Varoufakis’ book on the EU financial crisis titled “A Modest Proposal,” he invited former French Prime Minister Michael Rocard to write the forward. Rocard has called for the EU to appoint a European “strongman”–read dictator–and Rocard’s choice is European Parliament president Martin Schulz, the very same man who warned the new SYRIZA government to abide by the austerity agreements concluded by the past PASOK and conservative governments. Varoufakis has repeatedly argued that Greece must “grin and bear” the measures imposed on it by the bankers and the German government as a member of the Eurozone. He has insisted that a Greek Euro exit is not going to take place.

With official Greek unemployment over 30% of the workforce and economic losses because of Troika-imposed budget austerity the government’s tax-revenue shortfall in January alone was 23% below its €4.5bn target for the month. The government in Athens has levied crippling taxes on the middle class and made sharp cuts to government salaries, pensions, and health-care coverage. While ordinary citizens suffer under the weight of austerity, now Banks are closed at least until the July 5 referendum on more austerity. Greece is a human catastrophe.

Strange acts

Were Varoufakis the man he pretends to be before his Greek countrymen, he would have set forth a strategy of Greek exit from the Euro and a strategy akin to that of Iceland to declare a debt moratorium, freeze all debt repayments to the Troika–IMF, ECB and EU. Then he would put Greece on a national currency, impose capital controls and seek strong economic ties with Russia, China and the BRICS countries.

Indeed, when Greek Prime Minister Tsipras was in St. Petersburg in mid-June to meet with Russian President Putin, Putin extended a very generous offer of prepayment of $5 billion towards the Greek participation in the Turkish Stream Gazprom pipeline.

That would have given Greece breathing room to service debt repayments to the IMF. Brussels and Washington of course were not at all happy with that. Putin then offered Greece membership in the new BRICS development bank which would allow Greece to borrow to get out of the worst of the crisis without more savage austerity. That of course would bring Greece closer to Russia and also to China, something Washington and Brussels oppose with all their might. But rather than accept, Greece and Varoufakis walked away from a solution that would have avoided catastrophe as it is now unfolding.

At this point it indeed looks as if Varoufakis’ role has been to act as the Western bankers’ Trojan Horse inside the Greek government, to prepare Greece and the Greek people for the slaughter, all the while posing as the tire-less fighter for Greek interests, all without a neck tie, of course.

As the former US Assistant Treasury and critic of the US foreign economic policies of recent years, Paul Craig Roberts recently described it, “Greece’s creditors, the EU and the European Central Bank…are determined to establish the principle that they can over-lend to a country and force the country to pay by selling public assets and cutting pensions and social services of citizens. The creditor banks then profit by financing the privatization of public assets to favored customers.The agenda of the EU and the central bank is to terminate the fiscal independence of EU member states by turning tax and budget policy over to the EU itself.”

Roberts goes on to state that the Greek “sovereign debt crisis” is being used to create a precedent that will apply to every EU member government. The member states will cease to exist as sovereign states. Sovereignty will rest in the EU. The measures that Germany and France are supporting will in the end terminate their own sovereignty. “

How did Greece and the European Union’s Eurozone countries get in such a crisis? The energy that vibrates through all of Europe right now is not of love for fellow human beings, but of hate. There is hate from the Germans against what they are convinced are lazy and tax-cheating ordinary Greeks. They have been fed that image by controlled mainstream media itself in turn controlled by the American oligarchs and their think-tanks. There is hate from the EU Commission and the EU leadership against Greece for creating what they see as the existential crisis of the EU. There is hate from German Chancellor Merkel for ruining her legacy, perhaps.

Above all, there is hate towards the Greek people from their own Greek oligarchs. The Greek oligarchy—shipping magnates, oil refinery owners, telecoms owners, media magnates, billionaires many times over—since the early 1990s, has dominated Greek politics. Greeks call them “diaplekomenoi”–the entangled ones. These elites have preserved their positions through control of the media and through old-fashioned favoritism, buying politicians like Yanis Varoufakis.

The Greek oligarchs, with their untaxed billions hidden in foreign bank accounts, are willing to see their own nation destroyed to hold on to their billions. That’s real hate. Those oligarchs are deeply ashamed of being Greek. That shame likely goes way way back, perhaps some 700 years, to the defeat and subjugation of Greece by the Ottoman Empire beginning in the 1360s. Maybe it’s time to move on from such childish feelings of hate.

Lauren Johnson
07-04-2015, 06:51 PM
At this point it indeed looks as if Varoufakis’ role has been to act as the Western bankers’ Trojan Horse inside the Greek government, to prepare Greece and the Greek people for the slaughter, all the while posing as the tire-less fighter for Greek interests, all without a neck tie, of course.

Lot of this going around.

Magda Hassan
07-05-2015, 07:13 AM
Suspicious friends

A man is known by the company he keeps, so goes the adage. By this measure Yanis Varoufakis keeps very bad company for a finance minister who claims to be defending the living standards of his people. ....Then he spent the next eleven years in Australia teaching and even taking Australian citizenship.


FWIW For some time since Syriza was elected I've been asking my Greek friends here, all politically active on the left, all educated and many academics, what they know about Yanis. No one has ever heard of him or had any dealings with him here. A complete mystery. None of them support Syriza. See it as a capitalist party. So not surprising.





Strange acts

Were Varoufakis the man he pretends to be before his Greek countrymen, he would have set forth a strategy of Greek exit from the Euro and a strategy akin to that of Iceland to declare a debt moratorium, freeze all debt repayments to the Troika–IMF, ECB and EU. Then he would put Greece on a national currency, impose capital controls and seek strong economic ties with Russia, China and the BRICS countries.....
...Indeed, when Greek Prime Minister Tsipras was in St. Petersburg in mid-June to meet with Russian President Putin, Putin extended a very generous offer of prepayment of $5 billion towards the Greek participation in the Turkish Stream Gazprom pipeline.

That would have given Greece breathing room to service debt repayments to the IMF.....



Well, yes, quite so. Another mystery.
Yani has said he is totally opposed to capital controls.

David Guyatt
07-05-2015, 07:26 AM
At this point it indeed looks as if Varoufakis’ role has been to act as the Western bankers’ Trojan Horse inside the Greek government, to prepare Greece and the Greek people for the slaughter, all the while posing as the tire-less fighter for Greek interests, all without a neck tie, of course.

Lot of this going around.

Today's vote and the next few weeks will show if this is an accurate analysis.

Lauren Johnson
07-05-2015, 11:01 PM
Greece votes NO!

And what does the future hold (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-05/greece-contemplates-nuclear-options-may-print-euros-implement-parallel-currency-nati)?

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=7078&stc=1


As we said earlier today (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-05/greek-pm-calls-emergency-meeting-bank-liquidity-mni), following today's dramatic referendum result the Greeks may have burned all symbolic bridges with the Eurozone. However, there still is one key link: the insolvent Greek banks' reliance on the ECB's goodwill via the ELA. While we have explained countless times that even a modest ELA collateral haircut would lead to prompt depositor bail-ins (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-30/greeks-nightmare-just-beginning-here-come-depositor-haircuts), here is DB's George Saravelos with a simplified version of the potential worst case for Greece in the coming days:



The ECB is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning to decide on ELA policy. An outright suspension would effectively put the banking system into immediate resolution and would be a step closer to Eurozone exit. All outstanding Greek bank ELA liquidity (and hence deposits) would become immediately due and payable to the Bank of Greece. The maintenance of ELA at the existing level is the most likely outcome, at least until the European political reaction has materialized. This will in any case materially increase the pressure on the economy in coming days.
All of which of course, is meant to suggest that there is no formal way to expel Greece from the Euro and only a slow (or not so slow) economic and financial collapse of Greece is what the Troika and ECB have left as a negotiating card.
However, this cuts both ways, because while Greece and the ECB may be on the verge of a terminal fall out, Greece still has something of great value: a Euro printing press.
It may not get to there: according to Telegraph's Ambrose Evans Pritchard (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11719688/Defiant-Greeks-reject-EU-demands-as-Syriza-readies-IOU-currency.html)who quotes what appears to be a direct quote to him from Yanis Varoufakis, Greece will, "If necessary... issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOU's, in an electronic form. We should have done it a week ago."



California issued temporary coupons to pay bills to contractors when liquidity seized up after the Lehman crisis in 2008. Mr Varoufakis insists that this is not be a prelude to Grexit but a legal action within the inviolable sanctity of monetary union.
In other words: part of the Eurozone... but not really using the Euro.
That's not all, because depending just how aggressively the ECB escalates events with Athens, Greece may take it two even more "nuclear" steps further, first in the form of nationalizing the banks and second, by engaging in the terminal taboo of "irreversibility" printing the currency of which it is no longer a member!



Syriza sources say the Greek ministry of finance is examining options to take direct control of the banking system if need be rather than accept a draconian seizure of depositor savings - reportedly a 'bail-in' above a threshhold of €8,000 - and to prevent any banks being shut down on the orders of the ECB.

Government officials recognize that this would lead to an unprecedented rift with the EU authorities. But Syriza's attitude at this stage is that their only defence against a hegemonic power is to fight guerrilla warfare.

Hardliners within the party - though not Mr Varoufakis - are demanding the head of governor Stournaras, a holdover appointee from the past conservative government.

They want a new team installed, one that is willing to draw on the central bank's secret reserves, and to take the provocative step in extremis of creating euros.

"The first thing we must do is take away the keys to his office. We have to restore stability to the system, with or without the help of the ECB. We have the capacity to print €20 notes," said one.

Such action would require invoking national emergency powers - by decree - and "requisitioning" the Bank of Greece for several months. Officials say these steps would have to be accompanied by an appeal to the European Court: both to assert legality under crisis provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, and to sue the ECB for alleged "dereliction" of its treaty duty to maintain financial stability.
And who "unwittingly" unleashed all of this?



Mr Tsakalotos told the Telegraph that the creditors will find themselves be in a morally indefensible position if they refuse to listen to the voice of the Greek people, especially since the International Monetary Fund last week validated Syriza's core claim that Greece's debt cannot be repaid.
Recall last week we asked "Did The IMF Just Open Pandora's Box (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-02/did-imf-just-open-pandoras-box)?" We just got the answer. Our advice to Mme Lagarde: avoid stays at the Sofitel NYC for the next few weeks.
As for Europe: welcome to your own personal Lehman weekend. We hope you too enjoy making it all up as you go along, because you have officially entered the heart of monetary darkness.

Magda Hassan
07-06-2015, 07:39 AM
Yanni has resigned.
Not sure how to read this yet. He and Tsipris both said they would resign of there was a 'Yes' vote. The vote was 'No' . I heard some thing about how he had heard that he was unwelcome in the new negotiations. But unwelcome by whom I am not sure yet.

Magda Hassan
07-06-2015, 08:14 AM
A bit from RT on his resignation with a link to his statement.

Love his comment that he 'will wear the creditors loathing with pride'.

I expect the Brooking Institute will have him on the speakers circuit getting $50,000 a pop in no time at all.


Varoufakis resigns as Greek finance minister 'to aid deal' Published time: July 06, 2015 05:42
Edited time: July 06, 2015 08:01 Get short URL (http://rt.com/news/271849-varoufakis-resign-minister-greece/)

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.(Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)






After securing a 'no' vote at Greek referendum on bailout, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned, saying it would help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras negotiate a better deal with foreign creditors.
"Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today," he said Monday in an online statement (http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/06/minister-no-more/).
He added that he would "wear the creditors’ loathing with pride" and pledged his continued support to Tsipras and whoever he chooses as his new finance minister.
Varoufakis’s successor as finance minister will likely be the chief negotiator in talks with international creditors, Euclid Tsakalotos, a senior government official told Reuters. The appointment of the new finance minister is expected after the meeting of political leaders on Monday.




On Sunday more than 61 percent of Greek voters said no to a bailout plan proposed by foreign creditors, supporting their government's opposition to the plan. The result was praised by the Greek government but lamented elsewhere in the EU, even as foreign officials said they respected the choice of the Greek people.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the vote had “torn down the last bridges on which Greece and Europe could have moved towards a compromise.” Germany risks losing some 14 billion euros in revenue from Greek sovereign bonds held by Germany's central bank.
Italy’s foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, urged the EU to keep looking for middle ground with Greece, despite the referendum.

Peter Lemkin
07-06-2015, 08:59 AM
It is sad he has resigned, I think......he is very bright and articulate. Even if they choose someone new with the same 'views', I think the fact they loathed him would be GOOD for new talks, not bad for them! I think the powers that be in the EU hate the current Greek government for being against austerity [punishment is good, not bad....suffering is good, not bad.....becoming poor so others can be rich is good, not bad] AND because they are a leftist government in a sea of right-wing ones! Everyone seems also to ignore the history of what Germany and later the USA did to Greece...though few Greeks forget either! I can only hope that he has resigned as a tactical move and then can be re-appointed when the negotiations get deadlocked [as they are SURE to become!]. Here the Euro is fluctuating greatly and is being nervously traded...as some see that other nations could 'opt out' of the Euro if not the EU whenever they like...and not pay what they are asked to pay...much as Iceland gave the finger to their creditors - and is much the better for it!

David Guyatt
07-06-2015, 02:21 PM
They loathed him because he was to clever for them. He taped meetings and then posted on Twitter about what was said, I understand (from CNN this morning). I've never checked his Tweets but my guess is that he learned very quickly that what was said in the meetings and what was later leaked to the press were miles apart, and so he taped them for accuracy and then Tweeted accurately to put them to shame. If this is an accurate assessment then he has my vote. But the sneaky bastards wouldn't play with him anymore.

Magda Hassan
07-06-2015, 04:15 PM
I can't find too much info on the new Finance Minister. An interesting article by AEP but can't trust his judgement as he is so ideologically skewed. Seems he adored Yani. And Yani loves Mario Draghi ! The new guy is a Marxist. Sure.





Greece creditors will gain nothing from toppling Europe-lover Yanis Varoufakis If lenders think Varoufakis's touted successor will be a pushover, they are set to be disappointed. He shares little of his predecessor's European idealism Varoufakis' parting shot: "I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride" Photo: AFP/Getty










By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/), Athens

2:00PM BST 06 Jul 2015

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/template/ver1-0/i/share/comments.gif136 Comments (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11720907/Greece-creditors-will-gain-nothing-from-toppling-Europe-lover-Yanis-Varoufakis.html#disqus_thread)


Yanis Varoufakis was sacrificed to placate the European creditor powers.

Germany let it be known that there could be no possible hope of an accord on bail-out conditions as long as this wild spirit remained finance minister of Greece.

In a moment of condign fury, Mr Varoufakis had accused EMU leaders of "terrorism", responsible for deliberately precipitating the collapse of the banks in one of its own member states. (This is objectively true, of course)

"I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride," he signed off in his parting shot, 'Minister no More' (http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/06/minister-no-more/).

It is an odd end to the 'OXI' landslide in the referendum, a 61pc stunner that seemed at first sight to be a vindication of Syriza's defiant stand over the last six months.

He had looked like the hero of the hour threading through ecstatic crowds in Syntagma Square in the final rally. Fate plays its tricks.


What was it they said about @yanisvaroufakis (https://twitter.com/yanisvaroufakis) in Brussels? Sidelined? The faithful don't think so - watch this #Greece (https://twitter.com/hashtag/Greece?src=hash) pic.twitter.com/RXG7huP5zf (http://t.co/RXG7huP5zf)
— Chris Morris (@BBCChrisMorris) July 3, 2015 (https://twitter.com/BBCChrisMorris/status/617059394174513152) “Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners,’ for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.”
His sacking is a paradox. He is the most passionate pro-European in the upper reaches of the Syriza movement, perhaps too much so since he thought it his mission to rescue the whole of southern Europe from 'fiscal waterboarding' and smash the 1930s contractionary regime of Wolfgang Schauble's monetary union for benefit of mankind.


"I wish we had the drachma, and we'd never entered monetary union. But once you are in, you don’t get out without a catastrophe,”
Yanis Varoufakis

But then he was starting to harbour 'dangerous' thoughts. When I asked him before the vote (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11719688/Defiant-Greeks-reject-EU-demands-as-Syriza-readies-IOU-currency.html) whether he was prepared to contemplate seizing direct control of the Greek banking system, a restoration of sovereign monetary instruments, Grexit, and a return to the drachma -- if the ECB maintains its liquidity blockade, forcing the country to its knees - he thought for a while and finally answered yes.
"I am sick of these bigots," he said.
His fear was that Greece did not have the technical competence to carry out an orderly exit from EMU, and truth be told, Syriza has already raided every possible source of funds within the reach of the Greek state - bar a secret stash still at the central bank, controlled by Syriza's political foes - and therefore has no emergency reserves to prevent the crisis spinning out of control in the first traumatic weeks.
He was putting out feelers for technical experts in London, targeting veterans of Britain's ERM exit in 1992, though he was under no illusions that Grexit could ever be anything other than gruesome.


"I wish we had the drachma, and we'd never entered monetary union. But once you are in, you don’t get out without a catastrophe,” he said in May.
He was already looking ahead in our final interview, at his office on the 6th floor of the finance ministry. "Would the devaluation be big enough, that's the concern?" he asked, wearing his hat as a currency economist, almost as if he were talking about another country.
But separating his multiple characters as a Keynesian professor, Game Theory tactician, street fighter, rap star, and finance minister, was never easy. Deep down - despite his furious outbursts - he was never really willing to confront the European Central Bank head-on.
The hardline wing of the Syriza movement has been pushing for a temporary take-over of the Bank of Greece under emergency powers in order to issue liquidity - accompanied by a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice to throw the whole EU ruling system off balance - but Mr Varoufakis recoiled, deeming it too incendiary even for him. At heart, he is an admirer of Mario Draghi.
It appears that Euclid Tsakalotos will take over as finance minister. Another brilliant economist - educated at St Paul's and Oxford, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11566624/Euclid-Tsakalotos-Yanis-Varoufakis-Greece-new-finance-minister.html) with a Celtic wife - he has earned a reputation as safe pair of hands since becoming chief negotiator in the debt talks.
He is a man who keeps his outward emotions in check. Mr Tsakalotos will not be calling anybody a terrorist.


But be careful what you wish for. If the creditors think that he will be a push-over - more willing to accept terms that fall short of genuine debt relief - they are likely to be disappointed. He is comes from the radical Marxist wing of Syriza, and shares little of Mr Varoufakis's European idealism.


For Mr Tsakalotos, EMU membership is a cost-benefit calculus.

Scratch a little and you start to discover a eurosceptic who never wanted Greece to join the euro, indeed who already foresaw with remarkable prescience in this paper in 1998 that EMU would not bring about the convergence (http://www.academia.edu/6432241/Business_Cycle_Correspondence_in_the_European_Unio n)of the core and peripheral countries. He was miles ahead of the amateurs religiously touting the benefits of EMU.
For Mr Tsakalotos, EMU membership is a cost-benefit calculus. His own academic work has explored the issue of "first-mover advantage" after the rupture of currency pegs.
When we spoke at his office in the foreign ministry just before the referendum, he said that Grexit would be a very bad idea, but also gave me the strong impression that it is a matter of trade-offs. All depends on the exact terms that the eurozone is willing to offer his country, or whether it instead keeps Greece in a permanent "Nietzschean" cycle of control, as he puts it.
He also maintained the line - genuinely in my judgement - that Grexit would set off a political chain reaction and is therefore just as much a threat to the EMU Project as it is to Greece itself.
"I do believe if Greece was to leave, the eurozone would break up because it changes a monetary union into a hard-peg."
The crucial point is that EMU is an "irrevocable promise" that no country will ever devalue again. Once that is breached, financial markets will not lightly believe in the pledge again.
"People are wrong to say there's not much contagion now but that's not how it is going to work, maybe months later, in the following country in crisis. I fear that if it all breaks up we could then move to the kind of 1930s nationalist reactionary politics and the hegemony of the nasty Right," he said.
The difference is that Mr Varoufakis once loved 'Europe', and still cannot stop loving it. Mr Tsakalotos was never a believer in the first place.
• Latest news on the Greece crisis (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11719974/Greece-news-live-EU-leaders-and-ECB-to-decide-Greek-fate-as-Yanis-Varoufakis-resigns-after-No-vote.html)
• Yanis Varoufakis: His finest and most controversial moments (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11720448/Yanis-Varoufakis-resigns-Greeces-finance-minister-in-his-own-words.html)
• More on Euclid Tsakalotos, the likely new finance minister (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11566624/Euclid-Tsakalotos-Yanis-Varoufakis-Greece-new-finance-minister.html)
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Paul Rigby
07-06-2015, 06:20 PM
I can't find too much info on the new Finance Minister. An interesting article by AEP but can't trust his judgement as he is so ideologically skewed. Seems he adored Yani. And Yani loves Mario Draghi ! The new guy is a Marxist. Sure.





Greece creditors will gain nothing from toppling Europe-lover Yanis Varoufakis If lenders think Varoufakis's touted successor will be a pushover, they are set to be disappointed. He shares little of his predecessor's European idealism Varoufakis' parting shot: "I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride" Photo: AFP/Getty










By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/), Athens

2:00PM BST 06 Jul 2015

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/template/ver1-0/i/share/comments.gif136 Comments (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11720907/Greece-creditors-will-gain-nothing-from-toppling-Europe-lover-Yanis-Varoufakis.html#disqus_thread)


Yanis Varoufakis was sacrificed to placate the European creditor powers.

Germany let it be known that there could be no possible hope of an accord on bail-out conditions as long as this wild spirit remained finance minister of Greece.

In a moment of condign fury, Mr Varoufakis had accused EMU leaders of "terrorism", responsible for deliberately precipitating the collapse of the banks in one of its own member states. (This is objectively true, of course)

"I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride," he signed off in his parting shot, 'Minister no More' (http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/06/minister-no-more/).

It is an odd end to the 'OXI' landslide in the referendum, a 61pc stunner that seemed at first sight to be a vindication of Syriza's defiant stand over the last six months.

He had looked like the hero of the hour threading through ecstatic crowds in Syntagma Square in the final rally. Fate plays its tricks.


What was it they said about @yanisvaroufakis (https://twitter.com/yanisvaroufakis) in Brussels? Sidelined? The faithful don't think so - watch this #Greece (https://twitter.com/hashtag/Greece?src=hash) pic.twitter.com/RXG7huP5zf (http://t.co/RXG7huP5zf)
— Chris Morris (@BBCChrisMorris) July 3, 2015 (https://twitter.com/BBCChrisMorris/status/617059394174513152) “Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners,’ for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.”
His sacking is a paradox. He is the most passionate pro-European in the upper reaches of the Syriza movement, perhaps too much so since he thought it his mission to rescue the whole of southern Europe from 'fiscal waterboarding' and smash the 1930s contractionary regime of Wolfgang Schauble's monetary union for benefit of mankind.


"I wish we had the drachma, and we'd never entered monetary union. But once you are in, you don’t get out without a catastrophe,”
Yanis Varoufakis

But then he was starting to harbour 'dangerous' thoughts. When I asked him before the vote (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11719688/Defiant-Greeks-reject-EU-demands-as-Syriza-readies-IOU-currency.html) whether he was prepared to contemplate seizing direct control of the Greek banking system, a restoration of sovereign monetary instruments, Grexit, and a return to the drachma -- if the ECB maintains its liquidity blockade, forcing the country to its knees - he thought for a while and finally answered yes.
"I am sick of these bigots," he said.
His fear was that Greece did not have the technical competence to carry out an orderly exit from EMU, and truth be told, Syriza has already raided every possible source of funds within the reach of the Greek state - bar a secret stash still at the central bank, controlled by Syriza's political foes - and therefore has no emergency reserves to prevent the crisis spinning out of control in the first traumatic weeks.
He was putting out feelers for technical experts in London, targeting veterans of Britain's ERM exit in 1992, though he was under no illusions that Grexit could ever be anything other than gruesome.


"I wish we had the drachma, and we'd never entered monetary union. But once you are in, you don’t get out without a catastrophe,” he said in May.
He was already looking ahead in our final interview, at his office on the 6th floor of the finance ministry. "Would the devaluation be big enough, that's the concern?" he asked, wearing his hat as a currency economist, almost as if he were talking about another country.
But separating his multiple characters as a Keynesian professor, Game Theory tactician, street fighter, rap star, and finance minister, was never easy. Deep down - despite his furious outbursts - he was never really willing to confront the European Central Bank head-on.
The hardline wing of the Syriza movement has been pushing for a temporary take-over of the Bank of Greece under emergency powers in order to issue liquidity - accompanied by a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice to throw the whole EU ruling system off balance - but Mr Varoufakis recoiled, deeming it too incendiary even for him. At heart, he is an admirer of Mario Draghi.
It appears that Euclid Tsakalotos will take over as finance minister. Another brilliant economist - educated at St Paul's and Oxford, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11566624/Euclid-Tsakalotos-Yanis-Varoufakis-Greece-new-finance-minister.html) with a Celtic wife - he has earned a reputation as safe pair of hands since becoming chief negotiator in the debt talks.
He is a man who keeps his outward emotions in check. Mr Tsakalotos will not be calling anybody a terrorist.


But be careful what you wish for. If the creditors think that he will be a push-over - more willing to accept terms that fall short of genuine debt relief - they are likely to be disappointed. He is comes from the radical Marxist wing of Syriza, and shares little of Mr Varoufakis's European idealism.


For Mr Tsakalotos, EMU membership is a cost-benefit calculus.

Scratch a little and you start to discover a eurosceptic who never wanted Greece to join the euro, indeed who already foresaw with remarkable prescience in this paper in 1998 that EMU would not bring about the convergence (http://www.academia.edu/6432241/Business_Cycle_Correspondence_in_the_European_Unio n)of the core and peripheral countries. He was miles ahead of the amateurs religiously touting the benefits of EMU.
For Mr Tsakalotos, EMU membership is a cost-benefit calculus. His own academic work has explored the issue of "first-mover advantage" after the rupture of currency pegs.
When we spoke at his office in the foreign ministry just before the referendum, he said that Grexit would be a very bad idea, but also gave me the strong impression that it is a matter of trade-offs. All depends on the exact terms that the eurozone is willing to offer his country, or whether it instead keeps Greece in a permanent "Nietzschean" cycle of control, as he puts it.
He also maintained the line - genuinely in my judgement - that Grexit would set off a political chain reaction and is therefore just as much a threat to the EMU Project as it is to Greece itself.
"I do believe if Greece was to leave, the eurozone would break up because it changes a monetary union into a hard-peg."
The crucial point is that EMU is an "irrevocable promise" that no country will ever devalue again. Once that is breached, financial markets will not lightly believe in the pledge again.
"People are wrong to say there's not much contagion now but that's not how it is going to work, maybe months later, in the following country in crisis. I fear that if it all breaks up we could then move to the kind of 1930s nationalist reactionary politics and the hegemony of the nasty Right," he said.
The difference is that Mr Varoufakis once loved 'Europe', and still cannot stop loving it. Mr Tsakalotos was never a believer in the first place.
• Latest news on the Greece crisis (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11719974/Greece-news-live-EU-leaders-and-ECB-to-decide-Greek-fate-as-Yanis-Varoufakis-resigns-after-No-vote.html)
• Yanis Varoufakis: His finest and most controversial moments (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11720448/Yanis-Varoufakis-resigns-Greeces-finance-minister-in-his-own-words.html)
• More on Euclid Tsakalotos, the likely new finance minister (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11566624/Euclid-Tsakalotos-Yanis-Varoufakis-Greece-new-finance-minister.html)
Follow the Telegraph on LinkedIn. Share this article with your network.






YAROUFAKIS GOES

By Alexander Mercouris

https://www.facebook.com/alexander.mercouris/posts/855742051182707?hc_location=ufi


Before discussing Yaroufakis's resignation I want to clarify a widespread misunderstanding about him which has heavily distorted the media commentary about him outside Greece.

Though Yaroufakis may have appeared to many people over the last few months as the public face of Syriza, that is simply wrong.

Yaroufakis is by all accounts a brilliant academic economist. However until a short time ago he was not a member of Syriza and I am not sure that he is even a member now.

Though the media repeatedly calls Yaroufakis a "Marxist" (on the basis of one ill-judged remark) he is no such thing.

Yaroufakis is a British and US trained Keynesian economist closely aligned with the US Keynesians such as Stiglitz, Krugman, Reich and especially James Galbraith, who is a personal friend. He is also very close to Stuart Holland, a former leading voice within the British Labour Party.

So far from being a Marxist Yaroufakis is a supporter of more privatisation. He holds Australian citizenship, has strong family connections to the oligarchy (we were classmates in the same school) and his traditional social and political alignments are with the Anglophone world - the Democrats in the US and the Labour Party in Britain.

Yaroufakis is most definitely not a Syriza insider, he is not personally close to Tsipras and he is not one of the hardliners within Syriza - some of whom actually are Marxists in the classic sense - who regard Yaroufakis with deep mistrust and in some cases even dislike.

The reality is that behind his abrasive personality Yaroufakis has actually always been a moderate who has wanted to keep Greece within the euro.

It seems Tsipras trusted him to deliver on Syriza's election promise of an end to austerity within the euro by explaining to the eurozone leaders as only an economist can why that made economic sense. That is in fact the improbable feat Yaroufakis has tried to pull off as minister ever since he was appointed.

When it became clear 10 days ago that Yaroufakis could not deliver on this impossible objective, his days as a minister and as a senior member of Tsipras's team became obviously numbered. The fact that Yaroufakis is also deeply unpopular with the eurozone leadership would for Tsipras simply have been a further plus when the moment came to part with him.

The key hardliners within Syriza are Panayiotis Lafazanis, a former Communist who is now Greece's Energy Minister and who is the leader of Syriza's Left Platform, and Zoe Konstantopoulou, a fiery French trained human rights lawyer who is now Speaker of the Parliament.

Yaroufakis's problem is that he is one of those individuals who does not suffer fools gladly and this has made him a host of enemies both within the Eurogroup and within Syriza itself.

In my opinion he was never a good choice for Finance Minister. He is the sort of person who is best placed as a ministerial adviser - a post he previously held in George Papandreou's PASOK government. In the event he fell out badly with George Papandreou and I would not be surprised if unwisely he made it a condition of joining Tsipras's team that he be appointed Finance Minister so as not to repeat that experience again.

The real hardliners within Syriza - people like Lafazanis and Konstantopoulou - have been greatly strengthened by yesterday's referendum result. Their position is unaffected by Yaroufakis's departure and may even have been further strengthened by it.

None of this unfortunately means that Yaroufakis's departure is going to harden Syriza's position.

Tsipras still appears to think that he can trade his referendum victory for more concessions from the eurozone.

As to that I am sure Tsipras is wrong. The big question is what he will do when he finally realises it. Will he go with the hardliners and quit the euro or will he back down and split with the hardliners despite the fact that it is now clear that their stance commands majority support? Time is short, the clock is ticking and we should know soon enough.

Paul Rigby
07-06-2015, 06:51 PM
And Now for a Putsch in Athens? Yes, If Nuland's Hubby Has His Way

US has a long history of meddling in Greek politics. And if you ask Robert Kaplan - the influential neo con ideologue - time has come for another intervention

John Helmer

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/nudelmans-new-war-nulands-nemesi-will-greece-or-wont-greece-br-destroyed-save-her-russia


A putsch in Athens to save allied Greece from enemy Russia is in preparation by the US and Germany, with backing from the non-taxpayers of Greece – the Greek oligarchs, Anglo-Greek shipowners, and the Greek Church. At the highest and lowest level of Greek government, and from Thessaloniki to Milvorni, all Greeks understand what is happening. Yesterday they voted overwhelmingly to resist. According to a high political figure in Athens, a 40-year veteran, “what is actually happening is a slow process of regime change.”

Until Sunday afternoon it was a close-run thing. The Yes and No votes were equally balanced, and the margin between them razor thin. At the start of the morning, Rupert Murdoch’s London Times claimed “Greek security forces have drawn up a secret plan to deploy the army alongside special riot police to contain possible civil unrest after today’s referendum on the country’s future in Europe. Codenamed Nemesis, it makes provision for troops to patrol large cities if there is widespread and prolonged public disorder. Details of the plan emerged as polls showed the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps neck and neck.” Greek officers don’t speak to the Murdoch press; British and US government agents do.

“It was neck to neck until 3 pm,” reports the political veteran in Athens, “then the young started voting. “

Can the outcome — the 61% to 39% referendum vote, with a 22% margin for Οχι (No) which the New York Times calls “shocking” and a “victory [that] settled little” – defeat Operation Nemesis? Will the new Axis – the Americans and the Germans – attack again, as the Germans did after the first Greek Οχι of October 28, 1940, defeated the Italian invasion?

The Kremlin understands too. So when the State Department’s Victoria Nuland (nee Nudelman; lead image, right) visited Athens to issue an ultimatum against breaking the anti-Russian sanctions regime, and the Anglo-American think-tanks followed with warnings the Russian Navy is about to sail into Piraeus, the object of the game has been clear. The line for Operation Nemesis has been that Greece must be saved, not from itself or from its creditors, but from the enemy in Moscow. The Russian line has been to do nothing to give credence to that propaganda; to wait and to watch.

As the head of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, Nuland is the official in charge of warmaking in Europe. Her record in the Ukraine has been documentedhere. Almost unnoticed, she was in Athens on March 17 to deliver two ultimatums. The communique released by the US Embassy in Athens was headlined, “we want to see prosperity and growth in Greece.”

What Nuland (above, left) was doing with her hands is in the small print of the release. She told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right) not to break ranks with the NATO allies against Russia. “Because of the increasing rounds of aggression in eastern Ukraine” she reportedly said the US is “very gratified that we’ve had solidarity between the EU and the U.S., and that Greece has played its role in helping to build consensus.”

Nuland also warned Tsipras not to default on its debts to Germany, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tsipras was told “to make a good deal with the institutions”. The referendum Tsipras called on June 27 was a surprise for Nuland. The nemesis in Operation Nemesis is the retribution planned for that display of Greek hubris.

Having thundered for a year on the illegitimacy of the March 2014 referendum in Crimea, saying yes to accession to Russia, the State Department ignored the Greek referendum for forty-eight hours.

On June 29, asked what the US government was thinking of doing if the outcome “is a no vote”, Nuland’s spokesman, Mark Toner,said the US would ignore it. “We’re focused on, frankly, the opposite, which is finding a path forward that allows Greece to continue to make reforms, return to growth, and remain in the Eurozone.”

The only other official Washington reference to the Greek referendum came on June 30 when the question at the State Department daily briefing was: “what are you doing within the International Monetary Fund, of which the U.S. is the largest shareholder, to try to also press from that side for more leniency with the Greeks?” The official reply:

“We’re carefully monitoring the situation…we continue to believe that it’s important that all sides work together to get back to a path that’s going to allow Greece to resume reforms and to return to growth within the Eurozone. But again, we’re monitoring this very closely.”
The last concerted attempt the US government made to overthrow an elected Greek government was against Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou between 1987 and 1989.

With his son and successor George Papandreou, there was no such necessity – George and his mother Margarita Papandreou were already under Washington’s control. But against Andreas serious counter-measures were required.

Military ones, of the type which ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, had been unpopular domestically and internationally. They were demonstrably costly; they also discredited the US and NATO military which stood behind the Athens junta.

So, the Reagan Administration decided Papandreou had to be overthrown by his own people, if possible at an election. The strategy was “to give Papandreou enough rope to hang himself”, said Robert Keeley the US Ambassador to Athens at the time.

That too was an Operation Nemesis of sorts – the plan was for Papandreou’s hubris to be defeated in front of the Greek electorate, first in a military showdown in the Aegean with Turkey, then in an allegation of bribery of the prime minister by a Greek banker and football club owner.

Both were neutralized in surprise Greek moves US officials had not anticipated. The Turks retreated after a display of combined Greek and Bulgarian force, and the Turkish Prime Minister was medivaced to a Houston, Texas, cardiology clinic. George Koskotas, Papandreou’s accuser, was arrested in Boston and returned to a Greek jail. Hubris reversed, you might say. For more, read this.

On Sunday, had Greek voters divided evenly down the old Civil War lines, right versus left, blue versus red, the security forces would have been mobilized to confront demonstrators on Maidan, er Syntagma Square, and sharpshooters deployed from the roof of the Grande Bretagne Hotel to kick off Operation Nemesis. To prepare hearts and minds for that, however, the think-tank army has failed almost totally, firing blanks in every direction but Greece.

In London the US-funded Legatum Institute skipped the poll evidence and panel discussions, attacking Venezuela, China, Syria and Russia instead for using “phenomena previously associated with democracy—elections, the Internet, the press, the market—to undermine freedoms”, along with “the self-organising potential of society.” Legatum left Anne Applebaum by herself to announce the Greek government can be overthrown because it was “elected on a completely false premise”.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the thunderer against Russian info-warfare last month, has since roared on Tunisian and Nigerian democracy; this week it is preparing for a panel discussion on “the progress that Kyiv has made in increasing transparency and reforming key government institutions”. Chatham House has stayed silent on Greek democracy and the referendum.

In Washington, the International Republican Institute (IRI) – motto, “helps democracy become more effective where it is in danger” — has been issuing its State Department-funded democracy polls for months, but for Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe; not for Greece. At the same time, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has been preoccupied with its democracy schemes in Georgia, Iraq, and Kosovo.

The Pew Research Centre in Washington tried anticipating the Greek referendum by surveying 2.5 million Twitter messages in Greece, and publishing the results on July 3. In the Greek language the tweets were 40% to 33% in favour of voting Yes. In the English language the Greek tweets ran 32% to 7% in favour of Yes. In the event, the social media results were contrived. If Pew hadn’t invented them, the large numbers of “neutral” tweets all turned into No votes on the day.

The Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute – both funded by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk to beat the anti-Russian drum in Ukraine — stopped short of forecasting the Greek referendum result, but condemned the government in Athens for offering it.

On July 1, Carlo Bastasin, an Italian journalist on the Brookings stipend, claimed to have eyewitness evidence for “Greek leaders’ conduct as unscrupulous”, and for the Greek government’s “plans [as] more recessionary and austerity-driven than the European ones.” The reporter’s sources lacked names.

On the Peterson Institute’s executive committee Greek strategy is directed by Andreas Dracopoulos. He is a member of the family of the Greek shipowner Stavros Niarchos, whose foundation money Dracopoulos is in charge of awarding. When Dracopoulos has been asked what the Niarchos money is doing for the domestic crisis, he has mentioned food vouchers for the poor and beds for the homeless. He didn’t mention paying tax.

Dracopoulos has been knighted by a previous Greek government as Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix; that was for the Niarchos Foundation’s philanthropy. Dracopoulos is pictured above with Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the American Diocese of the Greek Church, a traditional foe of governments in Athens the diocese considers left wing, or worse.

The Greek-American community has avoided a public statement on the referendum. Instead on July 1, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), as the national lobby group is known, announced: “We also call on the Obama Administration to step-up its engagement to ensure the parties achieve a proper solution.” If the Greek-Americans, Dracopoulos, and the Church meant Operation Nemesis, they weren’t saying no on July 5.

Ahead of the vote, AHEPA issued its second announcement: “Regardless of the outcome of the referendum held in Greece on July 5, 2015, what is crucial to the Greek American community is that U.S.-Greece relations remain strong and certain and Greece’s geostrategic importance and contributions to the security interests of the U.S. and NATO is valued and appreciated.”

Political sources in Athens acknowledge that after taking power in January, Tsipras and his Syriza colleagues quietly took precautions against a putsch by the security forces. “The leadership [of the military and intelligence services] was changed,” the sources say, “but not radically. The defence minister [Panos Kammenos] is rightist so there are no ‘radicals’ in command.”

In Moscow there has been scepticism from the start that Tsipras could or would withstand the American and German pressure. For more, read this. In April, and then again in June, Kammenos sidestepped the issue of what fresh military cooperation with Russia is contemplated by the Greek side. Discussion of the details has been postponed until the two governments hold a joint ministerial commission meeting later this month.

Greek and Russian defense ministers meet Moscow, April 2015
Russian military analysts expect Cyprus to arrange increased military cooperation, including the Russian Navy and naval support aircraft. They do not expect Greece will ask for, nor the Kremlin agree to comparable Greek cooperation. That story can be read here.

So where did Robert Kaplan (lead image, rear) get the idea that the US and the European Union (EU) should act “to keep Russian warships away from Greek ports”? Kaplan, from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington, reported to Wall Street Journal readers on June 30 that the Kremlin plot is to use Syriza as its stalking horse to drive Greece out of the EU, and dismantle US alliance positions along the Mediterranean shore and in the Balkans.

Russia, according to Kaplan, “may [sic] be helping to inflame Syriza’s internal divisions in the hope that Greece’s ruling party cannot make the difficult concessions necessary to stay in the eurozone.” Combined “with the dismemberment and weakening of Ukraine, [Greece’s no vote] will seriously weaken Europe’s geopolitical position vis-à-vis Russia.”

Kaplan’s think-tank in Washington reports that its funding comes from well-known military equipment suppliers, US oil companies, the governments of Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore; NATO; the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force; plus George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

Chief executive of CNAS is Michele Flournoy, a founder of the think-tank which is serving as her platform to run for the next Secretary of Defense, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election next year. Flournoy is one of the drafters of a recent plan for the US to escalate arms and troop reinforcements in Ukraine and along the Russian frontier with the Baltic states. Here’s her plan for “What the United States and NATO Must Do” . For more on Flournoy, read this.

Until Kaplan’s report last week, the only notice CNAS has taken of Greece was are port last January explaining “Why Putin Is the Big Winner in Greece’s Election”. The think-tank expert for that one was an ex-US Treasury official with a training in Arabic and no record on Europe, let alone Greece. Kaplan, an Israeli soldier as well as a Pentagon employee and lecturer to US intelligence agencies, explains his expertise on Greece comes “from living in Athens during that decade [1980s].” If he wasn’t on an extended holiday, Kaplan may mean he was under cover.

For warfighting in Greece now, all you need to know is who the Greeks must be saved from. If the Greeks have voted more demonstratively than the Ukrainians against sacrificing themselves to this idea, the experts are confident that’s not democracy, as the Axis understands it, but hubris, for which there’s Operation Nemesis. Natch!

David Guyatt
07-09-2015, 07:54 AM
And the real behind-the-rhetoric story is ----- drumroll...



A Pain in the AthensWhy Greece Isn't to Blame for the CrisisBy Mark Blyth (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/authors/mark-blyth)







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When the anti-austerity party Syriza came to power in Greece in January 2015, Cornel Ban and I wrote in a Foreign Affairs (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/greece/2015-01-29/austerity-vs-democracy-greece) article that, at some point, Europe was bound to face an Alexis Tsipras, the party’s leader and Greek prime minister, “because there’s only so long you can ask people to vote for impoverishment today based on promises of a better tomorrow that never arrives.” Despite attempts by the eurogroup, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund since February 2015 to harangue Greece into ever more austerity, the Greeks voted by an even bigger margin than they voted for Syriza to say “no” once more. So the score is now democracy 2, austerity 0. But now what? To answer that question, we need to be clear about what this crisis is and what it is not. Surprisingly, despite endless lazy moralizing commentary (https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/515485) to the contrary, Greece has very little to do with the crisis that bears its name. To see why, it is best to follow the money—and those who bank it.
The roots of the crisis lie far away from Greece; they lie in the architecture ofEuropean banking (http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/08/the-one-book-you-need-to-read-about-the-eurozone/). When the euro came into existence in 1999, not only did the Greeks get to borrow like the Germans, everyone’s banks got to borrow and lend in what was effectively a cheap foreign currency. And with super-low rates, countries clamoring to get into the euro, and a continent-wide credit boom underway, it made sense for national banks to expand private lending as far as the euro could reach.
https://files.foreignaffairs.com/styles/large-alt/s3/images/articles/2015/07/07/blyth_painintheathens_tsipras.jpg?itok=f0BeOAVUFRA NCOIS LENOIR / REUTERSGreece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at an emergency eurozone summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 7, 2015.

So European banks’ asset footprints (loans and other assets) expanded massively throughout the first decade of the euro, especially into the European periphery. Indeed, according the Bank of International Settlements (http://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt1006.pdf), by 2010 when the crisis hit, French banks held the equivalent of nearly 465 billion euros in so-called impaired periphery assets, while German banks had 493 billion on their books. Only a small part of those impaired assets were Greek, and here’s the rub: Greece made up two percent of the eurozone in 2010, and Greece’s revised budget deficit that year was 15 percent of the country’s GDP—that’s 0.3 percent of the eurozone’s economy. In other words, the Greek deficit was a rounding error, not a reason to panic. Unless, of course, the folks holding Greek debts, those big banks in the eurozone core, had, over the prior decade, grown to twice the size (in terms of assets) of—and with operational leverage ratios (assets divided by liabilities) twice as high as—their “too big to fail” American counterparts, which they had done (http://www.amazon.com/Austerity-The-History-Dangerous-Idea/dp/0199389446). In such an over-levered world, if Greece defaulted, those banks would need to sell other similar sovereign assets to cover the losses. But all those sell contracts hitting the market at once would trigger a bank run throughout the bond markets of the eurozone that could wipe out core European banks (http://www.businessinsider.com/european-banks-praying-for-solution-euro-crisis-2011-11).Clearly something had to be done to stop the rot, and that something was thetroika program for Greece (http://www.bruegel.org/publications/publication-detail/publication/815-the-troika-and-financial-assistance-in-the-euro-area-successes-and-failures/), which succeeded in stopping the bond market bank run—keeping the Greeks in and the yields down—at the cost of making a quarter of Greeks unemployed and destroying nearly a third of the country’s GDP. Consequently, Greece is now just 1.7 percent of the eurozone, and the standoff of the past few months has been over tax and spending mixes of a few billion euros. Why, then, was there no deal for Greece, especially when the IMF’s own research (https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2011/wp11158.pdf)has said that these policies are at best counterproductive, and how has such a small economy managed to generate such a mortal threat to the euro?
Greece was a mere conduit for a bailout. It was not a recipient of funds in any significant way, despite what is constantly repeated in the media.Part of the story, as we wrote in January (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/greece/2015-01-29/austerity-vs-democracy-greece), was the political risk that Syriza presented, which threatened to embolden other anti-creditor coalitions across Europe, such as Podemos in Spain. But another part lay in what the European elites buried deep within their supposed bailouts for Greece. Namely, the bailouts weren’t for Greece at all. They were bailouts-on-the-quiet for Europe’s big banks, and taxpayers in core countries are now being stuck with the bill since the Greeks have refused to pay. It is this hidden game that lies at the heart of Greece’s decision to say “no” and Europe’s inability to solve the problem.
Greece was given two bailouts (http://www.bruegel.org/publications/publication-detail/publication/815-the-troika-and-financial-assistance-in-the-euro-area-successes-and-failures/). The first lasted from May 2010 through June 2013 and consisted of a 30 billion euro–Stand By Agreement from the IMF and 80 billion euro in bilateral loans from other EU governments. The second lasted from 2012 until the end of 2014 (in practice, it lasted until a few days ago) and comprised another 19.8 billion euro from the IMF and another 144.7 billion euro disbursed from an entity set up in late 2010 called the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF, now the European Stability Mechanism, ESM). Not all of these funds were disbursed. The final figure “loaned” to Greece was around 230 billion euro.
https://files.foreignaffairs.com/styles/large-alt/s3/images/articles/2015/07/07/blyth_painintheathens_merkelbank.jpg?itok=sKbTsdmO YANNIS BEHRAKIS / REUTERSA worker cleans graffiti outside the central Bank of Greece building in Athens, Greece, July 7, 2015.

The EFSF (http://www.efsf.europa.eu/attachments/faq_en.pdf) was a company the EU set up in Luxemburg “to preserve financial stability in Europe’s economic and monetary union” by issuing bonds to the tune of 440 billion euro that would generate loans to countries in trouble. So what did they do with that funding? They raised bonds to bail Greece’s creditors—the banks of France and Germany mainly—via loans to Greece. Greece was thus a mere conduit for a bailout. It was not a recipient in any significant way, despite what is constantly repeated in the media. Of the roughly 230 billion euro disbursed to Greece, it is estimated that only 27 billion (http://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.2080&?ftcamp=crm/email/_DATEYEARFULLNUM___DATEMONTHNUM___DATEDAYNUM__/nbe/MartinSandbusFreeLunch/product) went toward keeping the Greek state running. Indeed, by 2013 Greece was running a surplus and did not need such financing. Accordingly, 65 percent of the loans to Greece went straight through Greece to core banks for interest payments, maturing debt, and for domestic bank recapitalization demanded by the lenders. By another accounting, 90 percent of the “loans to Greece” bypassed Greece entirely (http://jubileedebt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Six-key-points-about-Greek-debt_01.15.pdf).Telling though those numbers are, they still miss the fact that, after Mario Draghi took over from Jean Claude Trichet at the ECB in late 2011, Draghi dumped around 1.2 trillion euro of public money into the European banking system to bring down yields in the Long Term Refinancing Operations (LTROs (http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=long_term-refinancing-operation-_-ltro)). Bond yields went down and bond prices soon went up. This delighted bondholders, who got to sell their now LTRO-boosted bonds back to the governments that had just bailed them out. In March 2012, the Greek government, under the auspices of the troika, launched a buy-back scheme (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_sector_involvement) that bought out creditors, private and national central banks, at a 53.4 percent discount to the face value of the bond. In doing so, 164 billion euro of debt was handed over from the private sector to the EFSF. That debt now sits in the successor facility to the EFSF, the European Stability Mechanism, where it causes much instability (http://www.efsf.europa.eu/about/operations/the%20efsf%20and%20greece.htm). So if we want to understand why the combined powers of the eurozone can’t deal with a problem the size of a U.S. defense contract overrun, it’s probably wise to start here and not with corrupt Greeks (http://pogiblog.atlatszo.hu/2015/06/27/corrupt-lazy-greeks-debunking-ethnic-stereotyping-substituting-economics/) or Swabian housewives’ (http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21595503-views-economics-euro-and-much-else-draw-cultural-archetype-hail-swabian) financial wisdom. As former Bundesbank Chief Karl Otto Pöhl admitted (http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/greeces-debt-burden-the-truth-finally-emerges), the whole shebang “was about protecting German banks, but especially the French banks, from debt write-offs.”
To fix the problem, someone in core Europe is going to have to own up to all of the above and admit that their money wasn’t given to lazy Greeks but to already-bailed bankers who, despite a face-value haircut, ended up making a profit on the deal.Think about it this way. If 230 billion euro had been given to Greece, it would have amounted to just under 21,000 euros per person. Given such largess, it would have been impossible to generate a 25 percent unemployment rate among adults, over 50 percent unemployment among youth, a sharp increase in elderly poverty, and a near collapse of the banking system—even with the troika’s austerity package in place.




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To fix the problem, someone in core Europe is going to have to own up to all of the above and admit that their money wasn’t given to lazy Greeks but to already-bailed bankers who, despite a face-value haircut, ended up making a profit on the deal. Doing so would, however, also entail admitting that by shifting, quite deliberately, responsibility from reckless lenders to irresponsible (national) borrowers, Europe regenerated exactly the type of petty nationalism, in which moral Germans face off against corrupt Greeks, that the EU was designed to eliminate. And owning up to that, especially when mainstream parties’ vote shares (https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/11802.31955.0.0/britain/angry-voters-reject-mainstream-parties-in-eu-elections) are dwindling and parties such as Syriza are ascendant, simply isn’t going to happen. So what is?
Despite Germany being a serial defaulter that received debt relief four times in the twentieth century (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/927efd1e-9c32-11e4-b9f8-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3fDBs0S4W), Chancellor Angela Merkel is not about to cop to bailing out D-Bank and pinning it on the Greeks. Neither is French President Francois Hollande or anyone else. In short, the possibilities for a sensible solution are fading by the day, and the inevitability of Grexit looms large. It is telling that Tsipras and his colleagues repeatedly used the phrase “48 hours”—sometimes “72 hours”—as the deadline for getting a new deal with creditors once the vote was in. This number referred to how long Greek banks could probably stay solvent once the score went to 2-0.
At the time of writing, the ECB is not only violating its own statutes (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/3/bbf26c42-23bb-11e5-bd83-71cb60e8f08c.html#axzz3fDBs0S4W) by limiting emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks, but is also raising the haircuts on Greek collateral (http://www.ft.com/intl/fastft/355591/ecb-adjusts-haircuts-on-greek-bank-collateral) offered for new cash. In other words, the ECB, far from being an independent central bank, is acting as the eurogroup’s enforcer, despite the risk that doing so poses to the European project as a whole. We’ve never understood Greece because we have refused to see the crisis for what it was—a continuation of a series of bailouts for the financial sector that started in 2008 and that rumbles on today. It’s so much easier to blame the Greeks and then be surprised when they refuse to play along with the script.



Source (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/greece/2015-07-07/pain-athens)

David Guyatt
07-09-2015, 08:02 AM
More about the Greek shell game:



Six key points about Greek debt and the
forthcoming election
January 2015
For further information contact:
Tim Jones, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer
tim@jubileedebt.org.uk
Phone: +44 7855 939998
1) European banks were bailed out, not the people of Greece
It is not the people of Greece who have benefitted from bailout loans from the IMF, EU and
European Central Bank, but the European and Greek banks which recklessly lent money to the
Greek State in the first place.
When the IMF, European and ECB bailouts began in 2010, €310 billion had been lent to the Greek
government by reckless banks and the wider European financial sector.i
Since then, the ‘Troika’ of
the IMF, EU and European Central Bank have lent €252 billion to the Greek government.ii Of this,
€34.5 billion of the bailout money was used to pay for various ‘sweeteners’ to get the private sector
to accept the 2012 debt restructuring. €48.2 billion was used to bailout Greek banks following the
restructuring, which did not discriminate between Greek and foreign private lenders.iii€149.2 billion
has been spent on paying the original debts and interest from reckless lenders. This means less
than 10% of the money has reached the people of Greece.
Today the Greek government debt is still €317 billion.iv However, now €247.8 billion – 78% of the
debt – is owed to the ‘Troika’ of the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank, ie, public
institutions primarily in the EU but also across the world. The bailouts have been for the European
financial sector, whilst passing the debt from being owed to the private sector, to the public sector.
Greece government debt payments
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Total
Principal
(minus
payments
covered by
new T-bill
issuances)
€19.3bnv
€25.5bnvi €12.7bnvii €16bnviii €23bnix

Interest €13.2bnx
€15bnxi €9.7bnxii €7.2bnxiii €7.6bnxiv

Total €32.5bn €40.5bn €22.4bn €23.2bn €30.6bn €149.2bn
Who the Greek debt is owed to, end-2014
Amount owed
IMF €27 billionxv
EU €194.8 billionxvi
ECB €26 billionxvii
Other €69.2 billionxviii
Total €317 billion) It was clear in 2010 that the Troika programme wouldn’t solve the problem of Greek debt
When the ‘Troika’ programme began in 2010 Jubilee Debt Campaign warned that this was
repeating mistakes made in developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s. Bailing out European
banks rather than making them cancel debts would ensure the private speculators would get repaid,
whilst the public would pay the costs of having to cancel debts in the future. Austerity would crash
the economy, increase poverty and unemployment, and increase the relative size of the debt. This
is exactly what has happened.
This was also known within the institutions conducting the bailout. Leaked minutesxix of the IMF
Board meeting in 2010 which decided on the bailout showed that many countries were opposed and
thought debts should be cancelled instead. Most strikingly, drawing on their own experience of
failed bailouts in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Argentina argued that a “debt restructuring should
have been on the table”. Brazil said the IMF loans:
“may be seen not as a rescue of Greece, which will have to undergo a wrenching adjustment, but as
a bailout of Greece’s private debt holders, mainly European financial institutions”.
Iran said it would have expected a debt restructure to be discussed, as did Egypt, which said the
IMF’s growth projections were “optimistic”, a word repeated by China. The growth projections were
extremely optimistic; Greece’s economy is now 19% smaller than the IMF said it would be, having
shrunk by more than 20% since the start of 2010.
India warned that the scale of cuts would start a spiral of falling unemployment which would reduce
government revenue, causing the debt to increase, and making a future debt restructuring
inevitable. They did; unemployment in Greece is over 25%, with almost two-in-three young people
out of work.
The combination of the crashing of the economy and the Troika debts means Greek government
debt has grown from 133% of GDP in 2010 to 174% today.
The bailout and austerity programme did not take place because it was thought it would help the
Greek people or reduce the size of the debt. It was done to save European and Greek banks and
protect the profit of speculators.
3) Syriza’s proposals have a clear precedent
Syriza is proposing a debt conference based on the ‘London conference’ which agreed debt
cancellation for Germany in 1953. The 1953 conference agreed to cancel 50% of Germany’s debt to
governments, people and institutions outside the country, and the payments on the remainder were
made conditional on Germany earning the revenue from the rest of the world to pay the debt.
Greece was one of the countries which took part in the debt cancellation.
Syriza is proposing debt cancellation through a similar conference (some have suggested of around
50%, though there is no policy officially stated), with the remainder of the debt to be paid over
several decades to ensure that Greece can continue to repay.
The German debt deal in 1953 was very successful. It supported German economic recovery, and
gave an incentive for creditors to trade so that they would be repaid.
4) The 2012 private creditor write-down was a flawed solution
In 2012, two years after the bailouts began, it was finally accepted that Greece needed some debts
cancelling. An agreement was reached with many private creditors to cancel 50% of the debt owed o them. However, by this stage, the IMF, EU and ECB had been bailing out these reckless lenders
for the previous two years, so many had already been repaid. None of the debts owed to the public
institutions were included in the debt reduction.
Moreover, whilst the IMF, EU and ECB debts were excluded, debts owed to Greek banks and
financial institutions, including pension funds, were not. The 50% debt reduction bankrupted these
banks, so the Greek government borrowed more money from the IMF, EU and ECB to bailout the
banks. The pension funds which lost large amounts were not refunded.
Finally, whilst a large majority of private creditors agreed to the debt reduction, various vulture funds
refused to do so. These speculators bought up Greek debts owed under British law cheaply and
have continued to demand to be paid in full. The total amount of ‘vulture fund’ debt which avoided
the agreed restructuring was €6.5 billion.xx The Greek parliament passed legislation to enforce the
agreed debt reduction on all bonds held under Greek law, but the British government refused to do
the same. The vulture funds have continued to be paid, making a huge profit on the amount they
bought the debt for. This was effectively profit being given to the vultures by the IMF, EU and ECB,
which has left a debt for the Greek people.
At the end of 2011, before the ‘debt relief’, Greece’s government debt was 162% of GDP.xxi Today it
is 174%.
5) If Greece defaults, it will not have to leave the Euro
Syriza’s policy is to hold a conference to negotiate debt reduction, rather than a default on the
debt.xxii However, if a default did take place, there is no economic reason why this would mean
Greece would leave the Euro. Forcing Greece out of the Euro would be a political retaliation to a
default.
Even if Greece were forced out of the Euro it could continue to use the currency, just as many
countries use the US dollar without the approval of the US government. What other Eurozone
members could do is withdraw European Central Bank lending to Greek banks, so that all Euros in
circulation in Greece would have to already be there, or come from income from trade.
Whilst Syriza has said it will not unilaterally default on the debt, defaults tend to be economically
beneficial for the country concerned.
At the end of 2001 Argentina defaulted on unaffordable debt payments. In 2000, Argentina’s debt
payments had reached 45 per cent of exports ($14 billion),xxiii double the amount the IMF and World
Bank regard as payable.xxiv At the time the Argentine people had experienced three years of
recession. The percentage of the population living on less than $2 a day had quadrupled from less
than 5 per cent in the early 1990s to over 20 per cent.
Following the default, the Argentine economy began growing again, poverty fell rapidly and the
country became more equal.
Argentina size of economy, 1990-2011 (1990=100).
Source: World Bank database
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
1990
1992
1994
1996
1998
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
2010
Percentage of population living on less than $2 a
day (1991-2010). Source: World Bank database
0
5
10
15
20
25
1991
1993
1995
1997
1999
2001
2003
2005
2007
2009) The way the world deals with debt crises is not working
The Greece and European debt crisis is the latest in a long-line of debt crises which have affected
all continents since bank lending was liberalised in the 1970s. The African and Latin American debt
crises of the 1980s and 1990s were followed by the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1996-1998,
Russian default in 1998 and Argentina default in 2001.
The current case in the US courts, where vulture funds have forced Argentina to default on its
debts, has convinced developing countries that change is needed and rules need to be introduced
through the UN for resolving debt crises. In September 2014 a UN resolution was passed by 124
votes for to 11 against to establish a new legal framework for the debt restructuring process (such
as a bankruptcy procedure for governments). The first negotiations in this process are taking place
in early-February 2015.
However, despite the clear failures to resolve debt crisis in Europe, the EU decided to abstain on
the vote, with the UK and Germany amongst those who broke from this collective position and voted
against. Such governments are acting as if the international debt system is working fine, when
current events in Greece and Argentina show it is clearly broken and in need of major overhaul.
References

i
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2010/cr10110.pdf
ii The IMF lent €20.1 billion in the first programme and €12 billion in the second. Some has been repaid, so debt today is
€27 billion. The EU has lent €194.8 billion, none of which has been repaid. ECB has bought up bonds on private markets
and has not said how much has been bought and repaid. However, IMF documents show €26 billion is due to be repaid to
the ECB between 2015 and 2030.
iii http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr13241.pdf page 60
iv http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
v
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr1320.pdf
vi http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr1320.pdf
vii http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr13241.pdf
viii http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
ix http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
x
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2011/cr1168.pdf
xi http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
xii http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
xiii http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
xiv http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf
xv http://www.imf.org/external/np/tre/activity/2014/030614.htm
xvi €52.9 billion from the first programme
http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/occasional_paper/2012/pdf/ocp94_summary_en.pdf and €141.9 billion
from the second programme http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/assistance_eu_ms/greek_loan_facility/index_en.htm
EU debts are due to begin to be repaid in 2020.
xvii http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf p. 61
xviii Implied from the amount left over from the other creditors
xix http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-348445/
xx http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2014/090214.pdf p. 5
xxi http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2011/cr11351.pdf
xxii http://www.transform-network.net/blog/blog-2014/news/detail/Blog/-5ed1064aab.html
xxiii World Bank. World Development Indicators database.
xxiv The IMF and World Bank say that once foreign debt payments reach 15-25 per cent of exports, a government is likely
to be unable to pay its debts. In reality, levels less than this can still cause huge suffering or lead countries into defaulting.

Source (http://jubileedebt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Six-key-points-about-Greek-debt_01.15.pdf)

Paul Rigby
07-10-2015, 05:46 AM
The Syriza project is an American crowbar designed to prise restraining German fingers off the EU printing-presses. Nothing more:

Greek parliament to vote on new cuts-for-cash plan to break deadlock

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has submitted proposals to European creditors for €13bn worth of cuts that include rises in taxes and pension age

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/10/greek-parliament-to-vote-on-new-cuts-for-cash-plan-to-break-deadlock


Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will on Friday seek the backing of MPs for a harsh new round of austerity measures totalling €13bn in an attempt to break the deadlock over its bailout.

A 13-page document sent to Greece’s creditors on Thursday night outlines plans to cut fiercely protected privileges such as pensions, tax breaks for the country’s islands and military spending. In exchange, Greece wants a three-year €53.5bn loan deal to save the nation from bankruptcy and kickstart its wrecked economy.

Paul Rigby
07-12-2015, 10:18 AM
THE PRICE OF TSIPRAS

BY Alexander Mercouris
10 July 2015

https://www.facebook.com/alexander.mercouris/posts/857796080977304


Prior to the referendum there were claims from some people that Tsipras had called it in the expectation that there would be a Yes vote so that he could then sign the bailout plan which he had rejected.

This made no sense to me since it was clear to me that if Tsipras had lost the referendum he would have been finished politically.

The truth is actually even more bizarre. It was first disclosed by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Daily Telegraph in a piece that seemed to me so weird that I couldn't quite believe its truth (I attach it below). In the hours after it appeared I was assured by several people it wasn't true.

I am afraid it turns out that it was true. I believe that the source of the story was either James Galbraith - the US economist who is advising Tsipras - or Varoufakis, and probably both of them.

It seems that Tsipras did indeed call the referendum in the belief that he would lose and the Yes vote would win. His plan was not to use the Yes vote as cover to sign the bailout plan as some had suggested. It was to use the Yes vote to resign and leave active politics.

A "national unity government" headed by Antonis Samaras would then have been formed, which would have signed the bailout plan. Syriza - minus Tsipras - would have gone into opposition. New elections would have been called, which Syriza would have lost. It would then have finally been in a position to campaign against the bailout and (possibly) demand a Grexit when the latest bailout failed.

This by the way explains the strange meeting between Samaras and the Greek President, which led to calls for a "national unity government", which had so alarmed me.

As with most overcomplicated political strategies this one ended in abject failure when the Greek people, instead of voting Yes, backed Tsipras (as they thought) by a landslide and voted No.

It is perhaps understandable that Tsipras and his political advisers (including in this connection Varoufakis) got this so completely wrong.

Before the referendum opinion polls were showing overwhelming support for retaining the euro and majority backing for accepting the bailout.

Here I am going to say something about Greek opinion polls. Though they are normally reliable I have been hearing from several people of increasing doubts that they are still so. Paul Krugman - who I believe is far more heavily involved behind the scenes than he lets on - has also publicly hinted as much on his blog and I suspect he has been told privately the same thing.

The Greek media that commissions the opinion polls is overwhelmingly oligarchic controlled and pro-EU. I am afraid it is beginning to look as if the opinion polls it has been publishing during this crisis reflects this bias - a sign by the way of how polarised opinion in Greece has become.

Anyway the fact that the actual results of the referendum proved the opinion polls so utterly wrong should act as a warning against putting any excessive trust in them.

A few months ago when Syriza won the election there is no doubt Greeks did overwhelmingly want to keep the euro. Though many still do, everything I am hearing points to a big swing away from that position, which the opinion polls are not reflecting.

Anyway, returning to Tsipras, the referendum result did not deliver him from what he has clearly come to see as an impossible situation. On the contrary, since the Greek people took him at his word, it has left him high-and-dry.

What I am hearing about Tsipras is that he is a personally charming man with good intentions. However like many charming people he relies too much on his charm, making him intellectually lazy and causing him to behave in ways that are frankly devious and manipulative.

The result is that he has brought both himself and Greece to a point of genuinely existential crisis.

As many have pointed out Tsipras got himself elected on a totally false promise that he could persuade the Europeans to ease up on austerity whilst keeping Greece in the euro. It doesn't seem to have occurred to him that if such a thing was possible previous Greek governments would have done it.

In the event, when it became clear that it was not possible he had a clear choice: either capitulate or go for a Grexit. Either would have meant breaking an election promise but he would not have been the first leader elected to have done so.

Since his promise to end austerity and bring growth back to the economy was what caused the Greek people to vote for him in the first place, political and economic logic should have pointed him towards a Grexit.

Had he at that point engaged in conventional diplomacy instead of grandstanding he would have quickly discovered that in seeking an orderly Grexit he had in Wolfgang Schauble a powerful ally capable of trumping any obstruction from elsewhere in Europe and from the European Commission and the ECB.

It is possible to see how the outlines of an agreement for an orderly Grexit might have been reached had a more conventional and clearheaded approach been taken.

The Russians could have helped with the technical issues of creating a new currency, whose problems Varoufakis is exaggerating (see below) - one should not mistake an alibi for a failure to do something as the truth.

Schauble could have put together a coalition - possibly including the Chinese and the Russians - to provide Greece with the necessary bridging finance to support the new currency.

Schauble could also have made sure that the ECB continued to provide liquidity support to the Greek banks until the new currency was up and running and the job could be taken over by the Bank of Greece.

To those who doubt whether Schauble would have done any of these things the short answer is that he has been pushing for months to do all these things.

Regardless there was no sense in demonising the most powerful Finance Minister in Europe, turning him from a potential ally into an enemy, when there was no Plan B.

As for the US, it could have been appeased with pledges of Greece's continued loyalty to the EU and NATO, whilst the international financial community could have been given promises that Greece would continue to cooperate with the IMF to carry out "reforms" so as to be able to resume its debt payments later. Some of these reforms are actually needed and who knows IMF help might even have helped with them.

More probably, with a Grexit the whole "reform" agenda - and the debt repayments - would have been quietly shelved.

A strong and self confident politician such as Greece has had in the past (eg. Kapodistrias, Trikoupis or Venizelos) could have done it. Unfortunately Tsipras is simply not cut from that cloth.

The result is that we now have the worst of all worlds with Greece facing either an indefinite prolongation of austerity or a chaotic Grexit for which it has not been prepared. Of the two I still definitely prefer the latter despite the very real horror it will cause since at least it offers some hope of an eventual end. Tsipras's amateurism and incompetence however means that either way the decision is no longer in Greece's hands.

Meanwhile there is a serious risk of a political collapse. Most Greeks have not yet fully understood that their government is now signing up to an even tougher austerity package than they one they rejected in the referendum last Sunday. When they do the legitimacy crisis some talk about will hit home hard.

Tsipras himself is toast and I cannot see his Syriza party holding together for much longer. The problem is that 5 years of austerity have hollowed out the political system. There is no obvious alternative other than a return to the discredited old oligarch parties.

Many young people in particular will feel betrayed. Many will emigrate but in a country as politically divided as Greece, further alienation of the young is potentially dangerous.

It is easy to see how many young people could become attracted to parties like Golden Dawn or the KKE or (much more probably) whatever new left wing party splinters from Syriza.

However given Greece's history there is also a very real risk of a return of political violence with some young people turning to terrorism. It is little more than a decade since political terrorism ended in Greece, when it already had the sympathy of many young people. Some of them are now certainly angry enough to return to that as I have experienced from occasional bruising encounters myself.

It is also unfortunately true that Tsipras's incompetence has severely weakened Europe's emerging anti-austerity front. There must be serious questions now whether Podemos will win in Spain or whether Marine Le Pen (whom Syriza gratuitously insulted) will win in France given the disaster that an anti-austerity party has led to in Greece.

I was never a supporter Tsipras or of Syriza and I have never hidden my doubts and concerns about them since before the election that brought them to power. With a heavy heart I have to say that they have all come true - and with a vengeance.

I am truly sorry because I never wished Tsipras or Syriza ill. However it is the people of Greece - and of Europe - that are going to pay the price.

-------------------------
From the Daily Telegraph:


Like a tragedy from Euripides, the long struggle between Greece and Europe's creditor powers is reaching a cataclysmic end that nobody planned, nobody seems able to escape, and that threatens to shatter the greater European order in the process.

Greek premier Alexis Tsipras never expected to win Sunday's referendum on EMU bail-out terms, let alone to preside over a blazing national revolt against foreign control.

He called the snap vote with the expectation - and intention - of losing it. The plan was to put up a good fight, accept honourable defeat, and hand over the keys of the Maximos Mansion, leaving it to others to implement the June 25 "ultimatum" and suffer the opprobrium.

This ultimatum came as a shock to the Greek cabinet. They thought they were on the cusp of a deal, bad though it was. Mr Tsipras had already made the decision to acquiesce to austerity demands, recognizing that Syriza had failed to bring about a debtors' cartel of southern EMU states and had seriously misjudged the mood across the eurozone.

Instead they were confronted with a text from the creditors that upped the ante, demanding a rise in VAT on tourist hotels from 7pc (de facto) to 23pc at a single stroke.

Creditors insisted on further pension cuts of 1pc of GDP by next year and a phase out of welfare assistance (EKAS) for poorer pensioners, even though pensions have already been cut by 44pc.

They insisted on fiscal tightening equal to 2pc of GDP in an economy reeling from six years of depression and devastating hysteresis. They offered no debt relief. The Europeans intervened behind the scenes to suppress a report by the International Monetary Fund validating Greece's claim that its debt is "unsustainable". The IMF concluded that the country not only needs a 30pc haircut to restore viability, but also €52bn of fresh money to claw its way out of crisis.

They rejected Greek plans to work with the OECD on market reforms, and with the International Labour Organisation on collective bargaining laws. They stuck rigidly to their script, refusing to recognise in any way that their own Dickensian prescriptions have been discredited by economists from across the world.

"They just didn't want us to sign. They had already decided to push us out," said the now-departed finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

So Syriza called the referendum. To their consternation, they won, igniting the great Greek revolt of 2015, the moment when the people finally issued a primal scream, daubed their war paint, and formed the hoplite phalanx.

Mr Tsipras is now trapped by his success. "The referendum has its own dynamic. People will revolt if he comes back from Brussels with a shoddy compromise," said Costas Lapavitsas, a Syriza MP.

"Tsipras doesn't want to take the path of Grexit, but I think he realizes that this is now what lies straight ahead of him," he said.

What should have been a celebration on Sunday night turned into a wake. Mr Tsipras was depressed, dissecting all the errors that Syriza has made since taking power in January, talking into the early hours.

The prime minister was reportedly told that the time had come to choose, either he should seize on the momentum of the 61pc landslide vote, and take the fight to the Eurogroup, or yield to the creditor demands - and give up the volatile Mr Varoufakis in the process as a token of good faith.

"They just didn't want us to sign. They had already decided to push us out"

Everybody knew what a fight would mean. The inner cabinet had discussed the details a week earlier at a tense meeting after the European Central Bank refused to increase liquidity (ELA) to the Greek banking system, forcing Syriza to impose capital controls.

It was a triple plan. They would "requisition" the Bank of Greece and sack the governor under emergency national laws. The estimated €17bn of reserves still stashed away in various branches of the central bank would be seized.

They would issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOUs denominated in euros to keep the banking system afloat, backed by an appeal to the European Court of Justice to throw the other side off balance, all the while asserting Greece's full legal rights as a member of the eurozone. If the creditors forced Grexit, they - not Greece - would be acting illegally, with implications for tort contracts in London, New York and even Frankfurt.

They would impose a haircut on €27bn of Greek bonds held by the ECB, and deemed "odious debt" by some since the original purchases were undertaken by the ECB to save French and German banks, forestalling a market debt restructuring that would otherwise have happened.

"They were trying to strangle us into submission, and this is how we would retaliate," said one cabinet minister. Mr Tsipras rejected the plan. It was too dangerous. But a week later, that is exactly what he may have to do, unless he prefers to accept a forced return to the drachma.
Syriza has been in utter disarray for 36 hours. On Tuesday, the Greek side turned up for a make-or-break summit in Brussels with no plans at all, even though Germany and its allies warned them at the outset that this is their last chance to avert ejection.

The new finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, vaguely offered to come up with something by Wednesday, almost certainly a rejigged version of plans that the creditors have already rejected.

Events are now spinning out of control. The banks remain shut. The ECB has maintained its liquidity freeze, and through its inaction is asphyxiating the banking system.

Factories are shutting down across the country as stocks of raw materials run out and containers full of vitally-needed imports clog up Greek ports. Companies cannot pay their suppliers because external transfers are blocked. Private scrip currencies are starting to appear as firms retreat to semi-barter outside the banking system.

"We have to put our little egos, in my case a very large ego, away, and deal with situation we face"

Yet if Greece is in turmoil, so is Europe. The entire leadership of the eurozone warned before the referendum that a "No" vote would lead to ejection from the euro, never supposing that they might have to face exactly this.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission's chief, had the wit to make light of his retreat. “We have to put our little egos, in my case a very large ego, away, and deal with situation we face,” he said.

France's prime minister, Manuel Valls said Grexit and the rupture of monetary union must be prevented as the highest strategic imperative.

"We cannot let Greece leave the eurozone. Nobody can say today what the political consequences would be, what would be the reaction of the Greek people," he said.

French leaders are working in concert with the White House. Washington is bringing its immense diplomatic power to bear, calling openly on the EU to put "Greece on a path toward debt sustainability" and sort out the festering problem once and for all.

The Franco-American push is backed by Italy's Matteo Renzi, who said the eurozone has to go back to the drawing board and rethink its whole austerity doctrine after the democratic revolt in Greece. He too now backs debt relief.

Paul Rigby
07-12-2015, 04:00 PM
GREECE IN THE MINCER

By Alexander Mercouris

12 July 2015

https://www.facebook.com/alexander.mercouris/posts/858405654249680


Having capitulated yet again despite his referendum "victory", Tsipras now finds himself in exactly the same position he was in when he capitulated before just a few weeks ago when he accepted the IMF-EU's demands only to be faced with new demands, which caused him to call the referendum.

With the Germans and the French now quarrelling, they are looking for compromise with each other at the expense of the Greeks.
Another way of putting it would be to say what I have said previously - Tsipras finds himself in the same position as someone being blackmailed. The moment he submits to the blackmailer, the blackmailer steps up his demands.

To be clear the demands now being made of Greeks even by the so-called "moderates" who want to keep it in the Eurozone (France, Italy and the EU Commission) go far beyond what was being asked of Greece when Tsipras and Syriza were elected.

Moreover what I am hearing is that this time Tsipras and Tsakalotos are meekly conceding everything that is being demanded of them. Since they have made no preparations for a Plan B (i.e. a Grexit) they presumably feel they have no choice.

Lost in any of this is any understanding within the EU - except possibly on the part of Wolfgang Schauble - that what has failed repeatedly over the last 5 years is hardly going to succeed now.

I remember when Syriza came to power Varoufakis said that it made absolutely no sense to lend more money to a bankrupt country and that doing so would make the situation still worse. Yet that is exactly what the government of which until a week ago he was a member is now doing by asking for another 50-80 billion euros (!) as part of a third bailout package.

Is there anyone who seriously believes that Greece will ever be able to pay back this money? Is there anyone who honestly thinks Greece will be able to run a primary budget surplus of 3.5% from 2018, which is what is now being demanded? Does anyone honestly think that trying to run a primary budget surplus of that scale will not push Greece into even deeper recession?

Yet this is the lunacy we are now looking at - all because the leadership of the "revolutionary" Syriza party cannot bring itself to take the step of seriously contemplating a Grexit.

Meanwhile claims that Tsipras had at least secured a debt write-off, which I can now reveal I was given in a furious telephone conversation I had with someone in Athens a few days ago, have as I said in that call proved to be so much hot air.

Schauble has emphatically ruled the idea out saying (falsely) that it is incompatible with membership of the Eurozone.

Anyone anyway who seriously thinks that the Europeans would simultaneously lend Greece the 50-80 billion euros the Greeks are now asking for and write-off a large part of Greece's debt is living in the land of the fairies.

As it happens the proposal for a write-off appears nowhere in any of the proposals the Greeks have made (which were drawn up for them by the French because they were incapable of doing it themselves) and apparently the issue is not even a subject for discussion.

The referendum was Tsipras's last chance. Once it was clear the Greek people - and the overwhelming majority of those under 35 - could stand austerity no longer, his only proper course was to negotiate a Grexit as soon as it became clear that the Europeans were not going to budge.

Instead - because he never planned to win the referendum in the first place - he did the diametric opposite with the unfolding disaster we are seeing now.

In the midst of all the madness I note with relief that there is one island of sanity left.

Reports coming out of Russia confirm that the government there is preparing plans to supply energy directly to Greece and that this will start "shortly".

http://tass.ru/en/economy/807949

I interpret this to mean that the Russians are in their quiet and practical way preparing plans for the emergency supply of energy to Greece in the event of a chaotic Grexit - a contingency that no one else shows any sign of preparing for.

I am constantly asked why I take such an interest in Russian affairs. I have never be able to come up with a fully satisfactory answer even for myself.

This news - combining a tough minded practical realism with a basic humanity refreshingly free of sermonising and posturing - perhaps provides the answer

Magda Hassan
07-13-2015, 02:38 PM
What Tsipras sold out for was at least 5 times that and then some.


The Syriza project is an American crowbar designed to prise restraining German fingers off the EU printing-presses. Nothing more:

Greek parliament to vote on new cuts-for-cash plan to break deadlock

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has submitted proposals to European creditors for €13bn worth of cuts that include rises in taxes and pension age

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/10/greek-parliament-to-vote-on-new-cuts-for-cash-plan-to-break-deadlock


Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will on Friday seek the backing of MPs for a harsh new round of austerity measures totalling €13bn in an attempt to break the deadlock over its bailout.

A 13-page document sent to Greece’s creditors on Thursday night outlines plans to cut fiercely protected privileges such as pensions, tax breaks for the country’s islands and military spending. In exchange, Greece wants a three-year €53.5bn loan deal to save the nation from bankruptcy and kickstart its wrecked economy.


Oh, and look here, no, actually don't look here. Nothing to see here. Move along now.










Fund they want to transfer the Greek property is managed by the ... Schaeuble



"In addition, valuable assets in Greece (almost 50 bn. Euros) will be transferred to an existing external and independent fund, as the Institution for Growth in Luxembourg, to be privatized in the long term and reduce the debt"
Newsroom
Sunday, July 12, 2015


http://www.thepressproject.gr/photos/620x360/soble1436746014.jpg
Aris Oikonomou / SOOC


The idea of foreign fund in Luxembourg, up to 50 billion euros in Greek public property is a decision of the leaders at the summit. If no agreement could be offered in Greece negotiated a time-out from the euro zone, with a possible debt restructuring Valuable Greek assets of [EUR 50 bn] shall be transferred to an existing external and independent fund like the Institution for Growth in Luxembourg , to BE privatized and Decrease debt. "In addition, valuable assets in Greece (almost 50 bn. euros) will be transferred to an existing external and independent fund, as the Institution for Growth in Luxembourg, to be privatized in the long term and reduce debt ". The Institution for Growth has in the council of the same German Finance Minister, the Second. Schaeuble, as can be seen here (https://www.kfw.de/KfW-Group/About-KfW/Vorstand-und-Gremien/Verwaltungsrat-und-seine-Aussch%C3%BCsse/) . Provided that alternately chaired by the finance minister and the finance minister of Germany. The discussion about it had already done in 2014 ( here (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_BEI-14-91_en.htm) ), but then transferred money. What is this bank? Created to manage the resources of the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of the German economy and is involved anymore in more than 1600 projects abroad in developing economies. It is a German state bank to reserve half a trillion (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/may/24/green-investment-bank-energy-efficiency) , ie approximately twice as much as the World Bank. In 2011 he lent 70 billion, taking on international markets at low interest rates, thanks to evaluate Adam has. O Leon Macioszek explains that if the state invested 1.5 billion there, it takes 3 to 4 billion. In Greece already involved in the financing of lignite plant in Ptolemaida, for which they have expressed environmental concerns (http://www.climate-alliance-germany.de/coal-financing-what-the-kfw-banking-group-prefers-to-keep-under-wraps/) . The most important information but it gave 300 million euros to Lehman Brothers (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/19/business/worldbusiness/19kfw.html?ref=business&_r=0) on the same day that went bankrupt. The Bild, which we all know and love, wrote then that "the most stupid German bank." Not all were convinced that it was a mistake. We are confident that our money is in good hands and honestly.

Lauren Johnson
07-13-2015, 03:12 PM
What Assets Did Greece Just Hand Over To Europe: "Airports, Airplanes, Infrastructure And Most Certainly Banks" (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-13/what-assets-did-greece-just-hand-over-europe-airports-airplanes-infrastructure-and-m)
And islands. Lot's of them.

R.K. Locke
07-13-2015, 09:39 PM
John Pilger nails it:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/13/the-problem-of-greece-is-not-only-a-tragedy-it-is-a-lie/


The Problem of Greece is not Only a Tragedy: It is a Lie

by John Pilger


An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse – 4 billion euros more than the “austerity” figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on 5 July.

These reportedly include a 50 per cent increase in the cost of healthcare for pensioners, almost 40 per cent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value added tax to 23 per cent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living. There is more to come.

“Anti-austerity party sweeps to stunning victory”, declared a Guardian headline on January 25. “Radical leftists” the paper called Tsipras and his impressively-educated comrades. They wore open neck shirts, and the finance minister rode a motorbike and was described as a “rock star of economics”. It was a façade. They were not radical in any sense of that cliched label, neither were they “anti austerity”.

For six months Tsipras and the recently discarded finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, shuttled between Athens and Brussels, Berlin and the other centres of European money power. Instead of social justice for Greece, they achieved a new indebtedness, a deeper impoverishment that would merely replace a systemic rottenness based on the theft of tax revenue by the Greek super-wealthy – in accordance with European “neo-liberal” values — and cheap, highly profitable loans from those now seeking Greece’s scalp.

Greece’s debt, reports an audit by the Greek parliament, “is illegal, illegitimate and odious”. Proportionally, it is less than 30 per cent that of the debit of Germany, its major creditor. It is less than the debt of European banks whose “bailout” in 2007-8 was barely controversial and unpunished.

For a small country such as Greece, the euro is a colonial currency: a tether to a capitalist ideology so extreme that even the Pope pronounces it “intolerable” and “the dung of the devil”. The euro is to Greece what the US dollar is to remote territories in the Pacific, whose poverty and servility is guaranteed by their dependency.

In their travels to the court of the mighty in Brussels and Berlin, Tsipras and Varoufakis presented themselves neither as radicals nor “leftists” nor even honest social democrats, but as two slightly upstart supplicants in their pleas and demands. Without underestimating the hostility they faced, it is fair to say they displayed no political courage. More than once, the Greek people found out about their “secret austerity plans” in leaks to the media: such as a 30 June letter published in the Financial Times, in which Tsipras promised the heads of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF to accept their basic, most vicious demands – which he has now accepted.

When the Greek electorate voted “no” on 5 July to this very kind of rotten deal, Tsipras said, “Come Monday and the Greek government will be at the negotiating table after the referendum with better terms for the Greek people”. Greeks had not voted for “better terms”. They had voted for justice and for sovereignty, as they had done on January 25.

The day after the January election a truly democratic and, yes, radical government would have stopped every euro leaving the country, repudiated the “illegal and odious” debt – as Argentina did successfully — and expedited a plan to leave the crippling Eurozone. But there was no plan. There was only a willingness to be “at the table” seeking “better terms”.

The true nature of Syriza has been seldom examined and explained. To the foreign media it is no more than “leftist” or “far left” or “hardline” – the usual misleading spray. Some of Syriza’s international supporters have reached, at times, levels of cheer leading reminiscent of the rise of Barack Obama. Few have asked: Who are these “radicals”? What do they believe in?

In 2013, Yanis Varoufakis wrote: “Should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising capitalism? To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism …

“I bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated …. Yes, I would love to put forward [a] radical agenda. But, no, I am not prepared to commit the [error of the British Labour Party following Thatcher’s victory].

“What good did we achieve in Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s neoliberal trip? Precisely none. What good will it do today to call for a dismantling of the Eurozone, of the European Union itself …?”

Varoufakis omits all mention of the Social Democratic Party that split the Labour vote and led to Blairism. In suggesting people in Britain “scorned socialist change” – when they were given no real opportunity to bring about that change – he echoes Blair.

The leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind – but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel and a social engineering whose authentic face is that of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, an imperial thug. Like the Labour Party in Britain and its equivalents among former social democratic parties such as the Labor Party in Australia, still describing themselves as “liberal” or even “left”, Syriza is the product of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, “schooled in postmodernism”, as Alex Lantier wrote.

For them, class is the unmentionable, let alone an enduring struggle, regardless of the reality of the lives of most human beings. Syriza’s luminaries are well-groomed; they lead not the resistance that ordinary people crave, as the Greek electorate has so bravely demonstrated, but “better terms” of a venal status quo that corrals and punishes the poor. When merged with “identity politics” and its insidious distractions, the consequence is not resistance, but subservience. “Mainstream” political life in Britain exemplifies this.

This is not inevitable, a done deal, if we wake up from the long, postmodern coma and reject the myths and deceptions of those who claim to represent us, and fight.


John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com

Tracy Riddle
07-13-2015, 09:45 PM
Screw the cradle of Western civilization. The banksters will plunder and loot it all.

http://time.com/3956017/greece-bailout-selloff/

Of all the aspects of Monday’s bailout deal that Greeks found humiliating, nothing drilled into their sense of pride quite like their government’s promise to sell off “valuable Greek assets” to the tune of 50 billion euros. The seven-page agreement, which European leaders thrashed out over the weekend, made no mention of where Greece is supposed to find that much property to sell. But as they scrambled for options, officials in Athens saw no way around the blood-curdling prospect of auctioning off Greek islands, nature preserves or even ancient ruins.

“It’s an affront,” says Georgios Daremas, a strategist and adviser to the Greek Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Social Solidarity. “It’s basically saying sell the memory of your ancestors, sell your history just so we can get something commercial for it,” he tells TIME on Monday. “This is an idea to humiliate Greeks.”

The idea of selling the Acropolis came up early in Greece’s debt crisis. In 2010, two conservative German lawmakers caused a furor in Greece by suggesting that ancient ruins should not be off limits to privatization. “Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors,” Josef Schlarmann, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party, said at the time. Since publishing those remarks, the Bild newspaper, Germany’s most popular tabloid, has continued to irritate Greeks by asking why the Acropolis cannot be sold to repay debts to Germany.

Lauren Johnson
07-15-2015, 10:35 PM
He came in like this:

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=7204&stc=1

And now he deserves what Mussolini got:

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=7205&stc=1

Magda Hassan
07-16-2015, 12:02 AM
I don't think Tsipras will be doing any zipping around on his motor scooter alone in the streets of Athens any more. I suspect there will be a nice safe job for him on a corporate payroll somewhere outside Greece.

David Guyatt
07-16-2015, 02:28 PM
What a terrible sellout. It proves that no politician is to be trusted or believed because their allegiance is to the prevailing system and they merely smirk at the concept of honesty.

To be perfectly honest, I thought following the referendum they would have to follow the will of the public. But no. They went against it.

This more than anything else I can think of demonstrates today what democracy amounts to.

Absolutely fookin' zero.

Magda Hassan
07-16-2015, 02:40 PM
What a terrible sellout. It proves that no politician is to be trusted or believed because their allegiance is to the prevailing system and they merely smirk at the concept of honesty.

To be perfectly honest, I thought following the referendum they would have to follow the will of the public. But no. They went against it.

This more than anything else I can think of demonstrates today what democracy amounts to.

Absolutely fookin' zero.
Not every one was buying it. The KKE (Greek communist party) was having none of it and never supported Syriza nor wanted a coalition with them but others on the so called left did but then they are the same left that wish to bomb Syria and Libya...and whose views coincide so much with the Empire....The saddest thing about it is that it makes it all so easy now for the fascists which are sure to come.

David Guyatt
07-16-2015, 03:45 PM
What a terrible sellout. It proves that no politician is to be trusted or believed because their allegiance is to the prevailing system and they merely smirk at the concept of honesty.

To be perfectly honest, I thought following the referendum they would have to follow the will of the public. But no. They went against it.

This more than anything else I can think of demonstrates today what democracy amounts to.

Absolutely fookin' zero.
Not every one was buying it. The KKE (Greek communist party) was having none of it and never supported Syriza nor wanted a coalition with them but others on the so called left did but then they are the same left that wish to bomb Syria and Libya...and whose views coincide so much with the Empire....The saddest thing about it is that it makes it all so easy now for the fascists which are sure to come.

Aye, and not just in Greece either. This sends a strong signal throughout Europe that democracy as a governing principle is dead, buried and considered worthless. All the pols and bureaucrats in Europe went along with trashing the popular NO vote in Greece. They'll now get the Europe the wealthy elite want - not what the ordinary people deserve or wish for.

Sieg Heil Brussels...

Michael Barwell
07-16-2015, 04:34 PM
Sieg Heil Brussels...

Call me naiive, but I'm not so sure about that per se. Crappy & corrupt, but they like a bit of law, they do like to be seen as socially progressive. I think the ppl doing this to me are very wary of - at least - Strasbourg (-same thing really...). They brought-up the Euro Court of Human Rights with me a year ago or so (I hadn't even considered it 'cos I live in something approximating to 'the real world', rather than their Matrix-world), saying it would take me years to get thru' it, - implication being "just get-on with your life", in relation to the Five Techniques judgement. I know Strasbourg & Brussels aren't the same place, but at the same time, not so different. -correct me if I'm wrong...

R.K. Locke
07-16-2015, 05:06 PM
The KKE are the only political entity to come out of this farrago with a shred of credit.

Danny Jarman
07-16-2015, 05:41 PM
What a terrible sellout. It proves that no politician is to be trusted or believed because their allegiance is to the prevailing system and they merely smirk at the concept of honesty.

To be perfectly honest, I thought following the referendum they would have to follow the will of the public. But no. They went against it.

This more than anything else I can think of demonstrates today what democracy amounts to.

Absolutely fookin' zero.
Not every one was buying it. The KKE (Greek communist party) was having none of it and never supported Syriza nor wanted a coalition with them but others on the so called left did but then they are the same left that wish to bomb Syria and Libya...and whose views coincide so much with the Empire....The saddest thing about it is that it makes it all so easy now for the fascists which are sure to come.

Aye, and not just in Greece either. This sends a strong signal throughout Europe that democracy as a governing principle is dead, buried and considered worthless. All the pols and bureaucrats in Europe went along with trashing the popular NO vote in Greece. They'll now get the Europe the wealthy elite want - not what the ordinary people deserve or wish for.

Sieg Heil Brussels...


Guido Preparata says in Conjuring Hitler that "The fact that post WW2 Europe's Socio-Economic make up has hardly changed at all in over 50 years is a damning indictment to the utter in-consequence of democracy."

It's a rigged game...

R.K. Locke
07-16-2015, 07:40 PM
Pilger interviewed on KPFA:

https://kpfa.org/episode/flashpoints-july-14-2015/

David Guyatt
07-17-2015, 09:44 AM
A sad story of of a Greek Judas:



JULY 17, 2015Banker Occupied Greece: Requiem for a Failed State (http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/17/banker-occupied-greece-requiem-for-a-failed-state/)by STEPHEN LENDMAN (http://www.counterpunch.org/author/stephen-lendman/)











Email (http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/17/banker-occupied-greece-requiem-for-a-failed-state/?share=email&nb=1)







http://uziiw38pmyg1ai60732c4011.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/dropzone/2015/07/print-sp.png (http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/17/banker-occupied-greece-requiem-for-a-failed-state/print/)

It’s all over but the obituary. Rubber-stamp Greek parliamentarians overwhelming approved transforming the nation into a banker run colony – by a 229 – 64 vote. Six lawmakers abstained.

Coalition partner Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos and likeminded party members voted “yes” after rhetorically rejecting Troika terms.

The vast majority of bailout funding goes to pay bankers and other creditors – nothing for economic recovery and growth. The price is deeper punishing austerity, greater poverty and unemployment than already, and far more human misery ahead with no end in sight.

Only 32 of SYRIZA’s 149 parliamentarians voted “no” – including banished Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Finance Ministry Secretary General Manos Manousakis, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafanzanis, Deputy Labor Minister Dimitris Stratoulis and ousted Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.

She called the bailout proposal “social genocide.” Other austerity opponents denounced it as “a new Versailles Treaty.”

Sovereign Greece no longer exists. Troika bandits own its soul. Democracy’s denouement became official in its birthplace.

Meanwhile, police clashed violently with thousands of anti-austerity protesters outside parliament demanding promised relief – social justice, not sellout.

Prime Minister Tsipras rubbed salt on the wound he inflicted saying he “does not believe in (the) irrational” capitulation plan he demanded and voted for.

He lied claiming he had no choice. Terms were forced on him, he said. Responsible leadership would have rejected them outright, walked away and stood tall ahead of being welcomed home as a national hero – challenging Troika bandits courageously, saying “no” when it matters most.

Instead he showed he’s like all the rest – pledging one thing, doing another, betraying his constituents in the process, proving he and likeminded SYRIZA officials are pretense populists, more contemptible than right-wing austerity supporters.

Judas officials are the most despised for good reason. They deserve the harshest condemnation. SYRIZA and likeminded traitors agreed to plunge Greece into greater protracted Depression than already and all the extreme pain and suffering along with it – a no-win Faustian betrayal.

Can Tsipras’ coalition government survive the sellout? Will he lose majority support? Will enough members bolt to force snap elections?

Overwhelming parliamentary support for destructive bailout terms may save him – including from nearly 80% of SYRIZA party members. The faithful were too few in number to matter.

At the same time, Tsipras’ status as Greece’s leader is hugely damaged. Whether he’ll remain prime minister remains to be seen – popularly supported last January, a recognized Judas after capitulating in Brussels.

The sobering day after offers no solace – an unsettling aftermath after a tumultuous evening. Reports suggest opposition SYRIZA ministers and other party opponents will be ousted. Rogue regimes operate this way. Affected parliamentarians would have a choice – leave government or continue in office as independents, weakening Tsipras’ hold on power.

He faces a near-impossible task of selling betrayal to an angry public. Since sweeping to victory in January pledging no more austerity, he systematically breached his promises.

Approving Troika bailout terms turned Greece into a failed state. Tsipras lost his most important political asset – public trust.

His explanation rings hollow – claiming he got better terms than Troika officials demanded, saying “we will now fight at home to finish the oligarchy which brought us to this state.”

Selling out to Troika bandits shows his rhetoric is meaningless. Fascists rule Greece, masquerading as social democrats. Financial tyranny is official state policy.


Source (http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/17/banker-occupied-greece-requiem-for-a-failed-state/)

Magda Hassan
07-17-2015, 01:28 PM
There is talk of an election in late August or September. I doubt Syriza will be given another chance after this massive betrayal and Tsipras and go fuck off and die for all any one will care. It will come down to the KKE and the fascists. As it always does in the end.

David Guyatt
07-20-2015, 09:22 AM
It's a lengthy RT doco, but worth the patience of watching it:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLB3uu1IXM0