Sadly, the Greek people have been pummeled for so long that they now seem to be immune from their economic pain. The situation in Greece is now so bad that there is no more sugar left to even coat the pill.
And worse, perhaps bordering on the criminal, is that those who profess to be the leaders of the country, cannot give the citizens honest and straight answers.
While the Greek politicians are struggling to find the words to explain/excuse/downplay the disaster, the task falls yet again onto the shoulders of concerned foreigners to try to revive the active concern that Greeks should be having about their fate.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank employee and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
So I would guess that he knows what he is talking about, even if many disagree with his point of view.
Peter’s concern about the current deteriorating situation in Greece mirrors my own and what follows here is his attempt to re-ignite the spirit of the crushed Greeks:
by Peter Koenig (11 March 2017)
Dearest and Esteemed People of Greece,
You are being slaughtered right in front of the world’s eyes and nobody says beep. Least the Greek elite. Your Government. A few, but a few too many, allow the slaughter because it doesn’t concern them. They are blinded by the false glamour of the euro and of belonging to the ‘elite class’ of the noble Europeans (sic!).
They apparently live well enough, including the caviar socialists of Syriza. They let their country bleed to death literally, morally, socially and psychologically. Medical care is no longer available or privatized and unaffordable. Pensions were reduced five times. They were never more than a survival kit. By now they have been slashed in some cases by over 50%. Hordes of people live on food handouts. Most social services, including to a large extent education have been sold out, privatized. Gone with a flicker. Gone, by order of Germany – and the holy troika – the criminal gang of three, IMF, European Central Bank (EIB) and the European Commission (EU); the latter a mere bunch of unelected corrupt puppets, deciding the fate of some 800 million Europeans – with YOU, the Greek people, accepting carrying the brunt end of the stick.
In September 2016, the unelected European Commission sent Greece a Brussels-drafted legislation of over 2,000 pages, in English, to be ratified by the Greek Parliament within a few days – or else. – Nobody asked: ‘What is else’?
Brussels didn’t even bother translating this unreadable legalistic heap of paper into Greek, nor did they allow the Parliament enough time to read, digest and debate the new fiscal legislation. Most parliamentarians could not read them, either because of language or due to the imposed time limit. The Parliament ratified the legislation anyway.
Under this new law, Greece is transferring all public assets (public infrastructure, airports, ports even public beaches, natural resources, etc.), unconditionally, for 99 years, to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) which is free to sell (privatize) them at fire sales prices to whomever is interested – supposedly to pay back the Greek debt. The fund was originally estimated, certainly under-estimated – at about 50 billion euros. In the meantime, the value of the Greek assets has been further downgraded by the troika to between 5 and 15 billion euros, as compared to Greece’s debt of more than 350 billion euros. The ESM is a supranational undemocratic apparatus, accountable to no one.
With this legislation, the Greek Parliament – YOUR Parliament, Esteemed People of Greece! – has annulled itself. It is no longer allowed to pass any budget or fiscal (tax) legislation. Everything is decided in Brussels in connivance with the IMF and the ECB. The last time a similar situation happened was in 1933, when the German “Reichstag” (Parliament) transferred all of its legislative power to Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
This, Dear People of Greece – is sheer economic fascism, right in front of your eyes, the world’s eyes, but nobody wants to see it. The worst blind is the one who doesn’t want to see.
This asset seizure was confirmed when the last hope for at least some debt relief was dashed at the end of February this year. Even the IMF initially recommended and today still privately recommends debt relief. However, Germany without mercy announced the final pillage of Greece, requesting Greece to surrender gold, utilities and real estate to the ESM – largely managed by Germany. The next ‘bailout’ amount, if Greece goes to her knees and surrenders everything, might be 86 billion euros, meaning NEW DEBT. In exchange of what? More interest, a higher debt service (interest and debt amortization) — and an even bleaker outlook to ever, and I mean ever, getting out of this US-European fascism imposed process of killing of a nation.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have said, “Berlin’s stance on Greece’s bailout program remained unchanged”, after she met with IMF chief Christine Lagarde a few days ago (http://russia-insider.com/en/greece-surrender-gold-public-utilities-and-real-estate-exchange-pieces-paper-printed-brussels).
Some facts about Greece’s debt, as of 9 March 2017:
- Population 10.8 million.
- Debt: 352 billion euros (interest per second: 617 euros; debt per citizen: 32,580 euros).
- Interest per year: 19.5 billion euros.
- Total Greek bailout funds from 2010 to end 2016: in excess of 250 billion euros – none of which went to Greece for the benefit of the people, but to pay debt service to the troika and pay off mostly German and French private banks.
- Debt as a percentage of GDP: 181% (GDP 195 billion euros);
2008 Debt to GDP: 109% (less than today’s US debt to GDP ratio of 109.63%).
- Greece’s GDP amounts to less than 2% of EU’s GDP.
- Greek GDP has collapsed by more than 25% since 2008.
- Unemployment is rampant – with an average of 26% – and close to 50% for young people (18 to 35).
Greece’s debt in 2008 would have been totally manageable internally, without outside interference, or so-called ‘bailouts’ – which are really not bailouts but forced debt accumulation.
Greece’s debt was NEVER a threat to the European Union, as the FED / ECB / WS bankster propaganda made you believe. The Greek and subsequent “European Crisis” was entirely fabricated by the banksters for their benefit, at the detriment of Greece and Europe. It had nothing to do with the Greek or European debt. But nobody questioned it. Those European and international top economists and politicians who knew, didn’t dare to speak out. The voices of those who did dare to speak the truth were muffled. The people of Europe were lied to, including the Greek, as usual by the presstitute media.
Let’s put the Greek debt in perspective.
In September 2011, without warning, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) devalued the Swiss franc by about 12% against the euro to protect its economy. This was an unfair move – to say the least, since none of the euro-zone bound countries has the liberty to re-or devalue its currency, as deemed necessary by their economy, i.e. Greece. While Switzerland is not a direct member of the EU, Switzerland is nevertheless bound to the EU by more than 120 bilateral contracts, thereby de facto a EU member.
During the 3 ¼ years of locking the exchange rate into a fixed rate of at least CHF 1.20 per euro, the SNB amassed more than 500 billion francs in extra foreign currency, mostly in euro. This is about 150% of Greece’s current debt.
Switzerland, a country of 8 million people, in theory, could bail out Greece’s full debt, say, at no interest, by a 50-year loan (World Bank IDA terms) – in solidarity; and to compensate a bit for the SNB’s questionable ethics vis-à-vis EU members. Switzerland would not suffer. To the contrary, such a move would help stem the risk of a Swiss currency inflation, due to the huge amounts of Swiss francs that needed to be ‘printed’ to maintain the artificial exchange rate against the euro. Would Switzerland be prepared to engage in such a solidary rescue action? –Probably not.
People of Greece! – Wake up.
Take things in your own hands! Don’t believe you politicians, your media! Get out of this criminal organization called the European Union, and this fraudulent western monetary system that is strangling you to death. Take back your sovereignty, your own currency. Default on your debt – the west can do nothing about it. Not if you run your country with your own public banks, and your own money, gradually but surely rebuilding a destroyed economy. Debt repayment is negotiable. Cases abound around the world. Argentina is one of the more recent ones. Even Germany renegotiated its foreign debt in 1952 (see London Agreement of German External Debt).
Germany, the leader of this economic massacre of Greece, owes Greece huge WWII reparation payments. On 8 February 2015, PM Tsipras requested Germany to pay up her full reparation debt to Greece of an equivalent of 279 billion euros, in today’s terms. Germany replied in April 2015 that the reparation issue was resolved in 1990 – which, of course, it wasn’t. It cannot be excluded that much of the German pressure on Greece today is a means of deviating the world’s attention of the reparation debt Germany owes to Greece.
People of Greece, be aware of what is going on. Do NOT ACCEPT what your government, Brussels and the troika are doing to YOU and YOUR country. To the contrary, request the full reparation payment from Germany – and demand GREXIT, as a fully legitimate follow-up to YOUR July 2015 overwhelming NO vote to more austerity-imposing troika ‘rescue’ packages.
If you do, you will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel — a light that has been blacked-out for too long by Germany and the gangsters of the troika and your own government.
Threats of Expulsion from the Euro Zone
German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble still is attempting bluffing the Greeks and impressing the rest of the world by threatening Greece with expulsion from the Euro. Any sane government would turn that threat into its own initiative and abandon this putrefied monster called European Union, along with its fake and fraudulent common currency, called euro. But that’s the problem, Greece is reigned by insanity.
So, the Greek Government responds to insanity (from the troika) with insane submissiveness, namely with meek compliance – to the detriment of millions of their already deprived and enslaved compatriots.
Among those (still) influential Greek highflyers is Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis; the legendary and charming, ‘radical’, Motorcycle Minister. Though he resigned in apparent protest of the Syriza compliance with the troika’s requests despite the NO vote, today he is nothing more than a conformist, who is seeking few nominal ‘reforms’ in Brussels, but by no means wants Grexit, let alone the collapse of the EU – which, by the way, is fortunately imminent. As Greek Minister of Finance, Varoufakis never even had the ‘Option Grexit’ as a Plan ‘B’
Nobody screams, yells, revolts, takes to the streets, blocks streets, bridges, railways, for days, weeks, interrupts the still ongoing commerce of the foreign owners of what’s left of YOUR country’s public assets. Nobody. This is not to blame the Greek who have to fight for sheer survival, who have to find ways to feed their kids and families, but the j’accuse goes to the Tsipras- Syriza clan and all those Greek elitists, the media (are they all bought like in Germany by the CIA?) and parliamentarians, who just watch in awe – but stand by. No action. Watching Greece – YOUR country, People of Greece! – bleeding to death.
Be aware, this is in fact not about debt and bailouts. If they tell you that the European ‘debt crisis’ is Greece’s fault, and that a new crisis is brewing, depending on how well Greece will conform to the rules of the next bail out – it is an outrageous lie. This crisis is manufactured by the very European, their elite, the FED-led Goldman Sachse’s of this world, who run the European Central Bank through Mario Draghi, a former GS executive – who de facto runs the European economy.
Why do they want Greece under their boots? – They, the scum of Brussels and ‘swamp’ of Washington (as President Trump used to call the Washington Deep State ‘establishment’), want a submissive Greece. Because Greece is in a highly strategic geographic location, at the cross-roads of west and east. Greece is a NATO country. Maybe the second most important NATO country (after Turkey), because of its strategic position. They don’t want Greece to be run by a ‘left-wing’ government. Syriza, of course, is everything but left-wing. It is as neoliberal as they come. The masters of the universe want ‘Regime Change’ – the good old regime change that threatens all those who do not bend to the rules of the west. Right now, the Syriza government is bending backwards over to please the money masters and to let her people be miserably humiliated and ruined.
Were Greece to hold new elections and let a right-wing party and Prime Minister win, à la New Democracy or even the fascist Golden Dawn, or a coalition of the two – the debt problem would go away, almost overnight. What Washington wants, and Brussels by (puppet) extension, is a compliant Greece that will never ever question its role in NATO, never question the EU, never question its shackles to the euro, and never question the US access to the Mediterranean Sea – rich in deep off-shore minerals and hydrocarbons. The same applies, by the way, also to Italy, Spain and Portugal – also riparian states of the Mediterranean Sea. Their governments have already been changed by outside (US / EU) interference to right-wing neoliberal compliant stooges.
The Greek elite and government inaction is inexcusable. This is Stockholm syndrome at its worst. Submissive to their hangman, until death do us part. And death in the form of total destruction, total pillage, total slavery, is not far away.
Do you, People of Greece, want to continue this path to slavery by a predatory empire, that will eventually call the shots on every move you make?
Or do you want to get your sovereignty back, your own currency – and be unshackled from the dictate of Brussels – and start afresh – as the noble and wise Greek people, who brought Democracy to the world some 2500 years ago? – Surely, Greece still has visionaries and the wisdom to remake Democracy. Remember, while we cannot change our geographic location – the future is irrefutably in the EAST.
Let’s live again Greece!
Long live the People of Greece!”