Tag Archives: Greek bail-out program

Dijsselbloem Speaks: The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

During a debate in the Committee on Employment of the European Parliament, a Greek Eurodeputy asked the President of the Eurogroup (the informal economic government of the Eurozone) if the Greek bail-out program was an effort to help and save Greece, or an effort to save the banks. Mr Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Finance Minister, answered that “We have used the money of the taxpayers to save the banks. Those who say that everything was done to save the banks have some point”.

We remind our readers that Mr. Dijsselbloem threatened the Greek government with closure of Greek banks three days after the election of the new SYRIZA-ANEL government in January 2015, asking it to recognize the legitimacy of the debt and the validity of the neocolonial agreements signed by previous Greek governments, both accepted by Tsipras and Varoufakis one month later. He also applied every kind of pressure and blackmail during the first six months of 2015 in order to scupper any attempt by the Greek government to resist the program designed “to save banks” (and destroy Greeks), as he admitted in the Europarliament.

This same Dijsselbloem said more or less the same things in a recent interview to a Greek newspaper. Speaking about the way Europe addressed the problems after the 2008 crisis he answered:

“We improvised. We did it in a very expensive way for the taxpayers, including the Greek taxpayers, but the same goes for almost all the European countries. Banks were saved by the taxpayers at a huge price, leading to very high sovereign debt. Would we do it the same way again? No”.

Of course he did not explain why they “improvised” in such a way. They saved the banks, but they destroyed a member state of the Union. Why did they not improvise in the opposite way – giving priority to saving the population and not the banks? Just in passing,  this “improvisation” in reality required much more preparation time than other run-of-the-mill “improvisations”. Two years before imposing the catastrophic bail-out (in reality bail-down) program on Greece and one year before the German media began the concerted sadistic slander campaign against Greece (very much reminiscent of the propaganda campaigns against Serbs, Iraq, Libya, before the launching of the military campaigns against those nations), the international press began calling Southern Europe PIGS. A year and a half before the “improvised” imposition of the “bail-out” program on Greece, a close friend of Berlin, ex-Prime Minister Simitis, warned in the Greek parliament of the danger of seeing the IMF arrive in the country.

There was not any improvisation. Everything indicates that the program applied to Greece was nothing other than a carefully prepared and executed “experimental program” of abolishing the welfare state, democracy, popular and national sovereignty in a member state of the EU, by destroying its economy and its population. No more, no less. Mrs. Merkel herself went on record, the day the program was imposed, to explain that other Europeans will see what Greeks will suffer and they will get a lesson (BBC, May 10, 2010).

What does a country (or an enterprise or a person) facing the problem of a huge debt do? They invite their creditors (in Greece’s case mainly German and French banks) and they try to negotiate the restructuring of the debt. What happened with Greece? It was obliged, in the context of the bail-out program, first of all to recognize the debt and undertake to pay it to the last cent. To do that it was given money by the Europeans, and this is why the Greek program was indeed a bail-out program, but for the banks, not for Greece. The journalist interviewing the Dutch Eurogroup President asked him exactly that, i.e. if there should be a restructuring at the beginning of the program, and he got the following answer

“If there were to be an up-front restructuring in the future, I would be in favour of it because in the ESM treaty it actually says that before a country can enter a program, there needs to be some debt sustainability up-front. The only way to do that is if you include the private sector. But of course it’s a fundamental change that we have to think about”.

Ok, let them think about it. The fact remains that Mr. Dijsselbloem, along with Merkel, Juncker, Lagarde etc. inflicted upon a European nation damage comparable to what Nazi occupation troops did to it in the past, albeit with very different methods. And they insist on continuing to inflict this damage.

Mr. Dijsselbloem is not alone in making such a self-criticism. The IMF and Oli Rehn did the same in connection with the Greek disaster. But after performing such self-criticism not only do they not propose some compensation for the country they have destroyed: they multiply the pressures to continue with the same policy that is ruining the Greek people.

Here is the interview with Kathimerini: Leave Greek elections till 2019, Dijsselbloem tells Kathimerini, Alexis Papachelas | Kathimerini

Published in http://www.defenddemocracy.press/dijsselbloem-speaks-the-confessions-of-an-economic-hit-man/

The “Destroy Greeks” operation: Chapter II (Cyprus)

An international legal and political coup d’état is taking place these days, with the help and co-operation of the European Commission, against yet another state of the EU, after Greece: the Republic of Cyprus.  As unbelievable as it may seem, Juncker and Guterres are trying, through application of the guidelines of US and British policy, to destroy a second member of the EU after Greece and to transform it into a kind of post-modern protectorate. What is even more impressive, nearly nobody is speaking about that in international media, or, when they speak, they just reproduce the official narrative.

As 82% of the Cypriot population are Greeks by nationality, this coup should be regarded as continuation and “radicalization” of the “Destroy the Greeks” program that has been under implementation by the EU and the IMF, under supervision from High Finance in alliance with Germany, for the last seven years. From the economy they are now moving on to geopolitics. Up until now they have been usurping Greek sovereignty on matters of economic policy. With the Cyprus coup they are attempting to usurp “hard” sovereignty from the Greek people.

I am not using the term coup d’état as a rhetorical schema, I am using it stricto sensu.

An international conference has been convened in Geneva, with three foreign states (Britain, Turkey, Greece) represented along with representatives of the two largest national groups in Cyprus: Greeks and Turks. The Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the EU, is not officially represented in that conference. Two of the three states (Britain and Turkey) have in the past launched very bloody wars against the Cypriot people.

The purpose of this conference is to draw up a new “Treaty for a Federal Cyprus” and to decide the future constitutional and international regime of this state, without taking into account what the citizens of Cyprus think about this! The reason they have convened such a conference is that they are unable to persuade Cypriots themselves in a referendum to vote the solution the Western powers propose to the ethnic conflict on the island, a solution  tantamount to the suicide of the Cypriot state and its transformation into a protectorate!

The Greek government, which now acts more and more as a representative in Greece of the Troika and the West, not as a representative of the Greek people, has agreed to participate in this criminal farce. The same has happened with the President of Cyprus himself, who is openly, internationally and publicly being blackmailed with various criminal allegations, in  particular the Lebedev scandal, at the hands of the US administration and courts.

Unfortunately for the Greek people in both Greece and Cyprus, its political and ruling class has made the greatest progress in Europe in advancing the totalitarian agenda of the foreign powers that are seeking to subjugate and destroy the Greek people, their states and their democracy.

In the new “state” they want to create in Cyprus, the rule of the majority (the foundation of democracy) will be officially abolished, as the 18% minority will have a veto on all essential decisions, and foreign judges and officials will have to take the decisions in the very likely  contingencies where Greeks and Turks disagree.

The new state will not have any army or police of its own, but will be under the power of an International Police Force!

In fact, their intention is to return Cyprus to the status of a colony, which is what it was before its revolution of 1955-59 and before it achieved independence in 1960!!! They are gestating a monster, a kind of Frankenstein state.

This coup d’état is one more expression of the world-wide attack against popular and national sovereignty, against the social welfare state and against all forms of democracy.

It is the same attack which is also being organized through treaties such as TTIP, CETA, etc. which aim at establishing nothing less than a totalitarian world order, destroying any existing possibility of elected powers, at either the local or national level, having any influence on the decisions affecting people.

Neoliberalism was initially an economic and political proposal. It is now becoming a proposal for regime change.  It is already clear that, since the Maastricht Treaty at least, we have been witnessing a multi-faceted coup d’ état in the West, undermining the very foundations of the Western political order. They are abolishing the principle of popular sovereignty as such, seeking to replace it with a kingdom of Finance, whose power is embodied in various international organizations and their bureaucracies, including the EU institutions and bureaucracies and most “national governments”. They do not state as much openly but they are proceeding through various means, including TTIP, CETA and the other treaties of similar character.

We seem to live through a gigantic international counter-revolution, against the social and political results of the Second World War and the victory of the European peoples against Nazism and Fascism and, in reality, against also the very principles of Enlightenment and the French and similar revolutions (including the Greek one of 1821 and the Cypriot of 1955-59).

Our nations are in jeopardy and our states have already been, more or less, hijacked by globalization, that is, by the international dictatorship of finance capital, or at least its politically and strategically coherent wing, in alliance with the US military-industrial complex and NATO.

The content of the Western political regime as we have known it since 1945 has already been to a great extent abolished and its legal form is now gradually changing to reflect this new reality. One of the means being used is the previously mentioned international treaties. Another relevant factor is the way the European Union, the IMF and the ECB responded to the banking crisis of 2009, transforming it into a debt crisis and using it as a tool to destroy popular and national sovereignty, particularly in southern Europe.

Nowhere has this experiment gone as far as it has in Greece, which is being used, at the same time, as an example to frighten other Europeans, as a scapegoat and as a field of experimentation. The bailout program imposed on the country has already led to an economic and social crisis of unprecedented proportions, deeper than the huge crisis of 1929 in the US or the crisis in the Weimar Republic in 1929-33.

Greece is now the battlefield of the new financial totalitarianism, as between 1936 and 1939 Spain was the experimentation field of the rising Nazi and Fascist totalitarianisms.

The program being applied to Greece is not a classical program of neoliberal reforms. It is a mistake to describe what is happening in Greece using terms like austerity. What we face here is the assassination of a nation. The creditors have already taken away Greek national and popular sovereignty. A troika is running even the everyday affairs of the state and the government. All Greek public property is being looted. The Greek population is shrinking as young people are not having children; young people with specialized qualifications are emigrating in large numbers; mortality is rising among pensioners as a result of the crumbling of the health and social security systems. Greek pensions have been reduced fifteen times in the seven years of the “bail out” program. The psychology and morale of the Greek people are at an all-time low, strikingly similar to the psychology of Mr. K., the accused in the Trial by Franz Kafka.

It is not only a political, an economic, a social experiment. It is a kind of an anthropological one. They want not only to destroy the nation, democracy, the state. They want to destroy the idea of them and the very idea of citizenship. They want to lead Greece into committing a kind of collective suicide and they have up to now been to a large extent successful, especially since the betrayal by SYRIZA, one of the gravest betrayals in the history of the international Leftist movement.

Now, with the Cyprus coup, this attack against Greeks is taking new, unprecedented and even more dangerous forms.

What is happening in Greece, what is happening in the Middle East, what is happening regarding climate, all are proofs that we are faced with a horrible, extremely radical and ruthless offensive by the most dangerous and reactionary forces humankind has ever produced. No illusions are permissible. But most of us do not make a proportionate response to the situation. We frequently condemn these phenomena but we do not behave as if they are a question of life or death for human civilization.

It is important in these conditions to defend every element, everywhere, of popular and national sovereignty. But at the same time we should understand that such a struggle cannot ultimately be won at the local or national level, especially as we are already living, to a large extent, in what objectively is one state, and this state, whether we like it or not, is the EU.  Our opponents already have a sophisticated regional and world agenda, but we try to confront them within the narrow context of national realities that are becoming more and more irrelevant.

We need new political subjects that will take into account the radical character of the offensive we are facing, enshrined in our national realities but also, at the same time, in the objective international reality.

More than ever we need a Zimmerwald B conference, a century aft. ,,er the first one.

 Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

* The above is from an intervention to the Conference on a democratic response to Free Trade Agreements, organized by the Fundación Galiza Sempre and the Centre Maurits Coppieters in Coruna (Galiza).