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The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment, 2015

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[Jul 14, 2015] Ukraine government in armed standoff with nationalist militia

"... Can we officially congratulate Nuland for a crappy job and also for providing Putin with all the tools he needed to bring back Ukraine under his wing.
False flag operations for American private interests must stop now. They are immoral, unethical and only bring death and destruction to otherwise stable societies. The UN should have a say."

.
"...this is what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Using Neo-Nazi's to implement Nato expansionist policies was always a very bad idea. It's just a shame it is not people like Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland who will have to suffer the blowback consequences- it is the poor Ukrainian people. This is not that different to what has happened in Libya- where Islamic extremists were used as a proxy force to oust Gaddafi."

The Guardian

HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 20:40

The Georgian authorities have asked Interpol to put a Red notice on Mikheil Saakashvili as the request to Ukraine to return him for trial in Georgia was refused.
ww3orbust PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 20:22
That does not detract from the fact that the Ukranian cabinet has been chosen by the US state department. Natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to maintain an iron grip on Ukraine, while accusing Putin of appointing majors or governors - in his capacity as head of state?
ww3orbust 13 Jul 2015 20:16
Amazing, nothing at all mentioned by the BBC. It does not fit in to their narrative to see the country descend into a new stage of anarchy, between the people who murdered police and protesters on Maidan square, and the US state department installed cabinet. Presumably if Right Sector refuse to disarm and continue torturing civilians and murdering police, the BBC will continue to ignore it and focus instead on its Russo-phobic narrative, while accusing Russia of propaganda with the self-righteous piety that only the BBC are capable of. Or god forbid, more stories about what colour stool our future king has produced this week.
jgbg Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 18:42

Diverse Unity sounds much better than Nazi

http://rt.com/files/news/russia-national-unity-day-celebrations-976/russian-attend-demonstration-national-261.jpg

The thing is, Ukraine is unique in allowing their Nazi thugs to be armed and have some semi-official status. Everywhere else (including Russia), governments are looking to constrain the activities of Nazis and prosecute them where possible.

jgbg Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 18:26

If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.

Them and Svoboda. If it had just been Orange Revolution II, with a simple change of Jewish oligarchs in charge, there might have been some complaints but little more. It is the Russian-hating far right that has brought about the violence and everything that has happened since.

PrinceEdward GreatMountainEagle 13 Jul 2015 18:22

Last I heard, Ukraine owes China billions for undelivered Grain.

HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 18:11

But the Euro maidan press is just an Ukrainian rag that invents stories to support its corrupt government in Kiev.

jgbg PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 17:54

I forget the article, but in the comments I mentioned that multiple Georgians were being appointed to high level positions by Kiev, and some Russophobe called me a liar.

Not a few days later, Shakashvilli was appointed governor of Odessa. An ex-president of another country, as governor of a province in another one! Apparently, none of the millions upon millions of Ukrainians were qualified for the job.

Sakashvilli's former Minister of Internal Affairs in Georgia, Eka Zguladze, is First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Of course, the Georgian people removed these chumps from power the first chance they got but the Ukrainian electorate haven't had any say in the appointments of foreigners in their country.

Vatslav Rente , 13 Jul 2015 17:44

Well ... when it comes to Ukraine, the need to stock up on popcorn. This bloody and unpredictable plot is not even in the "Game of Thrones." And this is only the middle of the second season.
Today Speaker of the "RS" Andrew Sharaskin, said: Sports Complex in Mukachevo where the shooting occurred, was used as the base of the separatists DNR.
- A place 1,000 kilometers from Donetsk! But it's a great excuse to murder the guard in the café and wounded police officers.
I think tomorrow will say that there have seen Russian Army tanks and Putin - 100%
"Ukraine is part of Europe" - the slogans of the Maidan in action...

jgbg gimmeshoes , 13 Jul 2015 17:42

Pravyi Sektor were not wrong. However, you cannot have armed groups cleaning up corruption outside the law...that only works in Gotham City.

Right Sector weren't trying to clean up corruption, they were simply trying to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling business. If Right Sector cared about crime and public order, they wouldn't be driving around, armed to the teeth, in vehicles stolen in the EU. (In the video linked in the article, all of their vehicles have foreign number plates. At least one of those vehicles is on the Czech police stolen vehicle database: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/pravy-sektor-mel-v-mukacevu-auta-s-ceskymi-spz-fqj-/zahranicni.aspx?c=A150713_102110_zahranicni_jj)

Right Sector are no strangers to such thuggery - remember their failed attempt to extort a casino in Odessa?

Laurence Johnson, 13 Jul 2015 17:18
The EU and the US have stated on many occasions that there are "No Right Wing Nationalists" operating in Ukraine and its simply propaganda by Putin.

So there shouldn't be anything to worry about should there ?


Stas Ustymenko hfakos 13 Jul 2015 15:15

Yes, yes. You seem to tolerate Medvedchuk and Baloga mafias way better, for years.
Transcarpathian REgion is the most corrupt in all of Ukraine (which is quite a fit). What we see here is a gang war in fatigues.


tanyushka Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 15:14

sorry i posted the same above... i was just to hasty.. sorry again...

in the main picture of the same article it's interesting to notice the age of most of the conscripted soldiers... they are in their 30's, theirs 40's and even in their 50's... it's forced conscription, they are not volunteers... while all the DPR & LPR soldiers are real volunteers...

an uncle, the father of a cousin, was conscripted in Kherson... my cousin had to run away to South American to say with an aunt to avoid conscription... many men are doing it in Ukraine nowadays... not because they are cowards but because they don't want to kill their brothers & sisters for the benefit of the oligarchs and their NATO masters (and mistresses...)

did you know that all the conscripts have to pay for their own uniforms and other stuff, while in the National Guard and the oligarchs batallions everything is top quality and for free... including bulletproof vests and other implements courtesy of NATO

Demi Boone 13 Jul 2015 15:13

Well finally they reveal themselves. These Ukraine Nationalists are the people who instigated the anarchy and shootings at Maidan and used it as an excuse to wrongfully drive out an elected President and in the chaos that followed bring in a coup Government which represents only West-Ukraine and suppress' East-Ukraine. You are looking at the face of the real Maidan and not the dream that a lot of people have tried to paint it to be.

Stas Ustymenko MartinArvay 13 Jul 2015 15:11

Many Right Sector members are indeed patriots. But it looks like the organisation itself is, sadly, much more useful for providing thugs for hire than "justice".

BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:20

But seriously, the naval base is probably the reason, it is too important for some interests to have a less-reliable (Ukrainian) in charge, this is a job only for the most trusted poodles. If things had gone differently, the tie-eatimng chap would have been appointed Mayor of Sebastopol.

BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:15

There appears to be a Quisling-shortage in Ukraine at present.

Stas Ustymenko obscurant 13 Jul 2015 13:32

More accurately, Kolomoyskiy is Ukrainian oligarch. Who happens to be ethnically, culturally and, by all accounts, religiously, a Jew.

Stas Ustymenko Kaiama 13 Jul 2015 13:24

Ukrainian Volunteer Corps of the Right Sector fighting in Donbass is two battalions. How is this a "key organization"? They are a well-known brand and fought bravely on some occasions, but the wider org is way too eager to brandish arms outside of combat or training. They will be reigned in, one way or another, and soon.

GameOverManGameOver Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 12:02

Shh shh shh. This news does not exist yet in the western media, therefore it's nothing but Russian propaganda.

Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 11:54

It gets worse - soldiers from the UA are now refusing to follow orders in protest against the total anarchy sweeping the chain of command, and their lack of rest and equipment.

Story here.

EugeneGur , 13 Jul 2015 11:21

Tensions have been rising between the government and the Right Sector militia that has helped it fight pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Finally, the Guardian decided to report the actual new after satisfying itself with ample discussion of the quality of Russian cheeses. Right sector "helped" to fight "separatists"? Really? Does Alec Luhn know that there are currently two (!) RS battalions at the front and 19 (!) inside Ukraine? They are some warriors. Now they are occupying themselves fighting as criminals they are for the control of contraband.

At the ATO zone, they help consists of plundering, murdering and raping the local population. They enter a village, take everything of value from houses and then blow them up. They rape women and girls as young as 10 years old. They've been doing this for more than a year, and we've been telling you that for more than a year. But apparently in the fight against "pro-Russian separatists" everything is good. These crimes are so widespread, even the Ukrainian "government" is worried this will eventually becomes impossible to deny. Some battalions such as Shakhtersk and Aidar have been officially accused of crimes and ompletely or partially reformed.
Examples:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/EUR50/040/2014/en/
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bfb_1413804655

Jeremn, 13 Jul 2015 11:16

Ukraine, what a mess. As though it was ever about the people. It was a grab for resources, 19-century style. But with 21st-century stakes. You can see what the West is after when you look at the US-Ukraine Business Council. It bring NATO, Monsanto and the Heritage Foundation under one roof:

The US-Ukraine Business Council's 16-member Executive Committee is packed with US agribusiness companies, including representatives from Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont Pioneer, Eli Lilly, and Cargill.

The Council's 20 'senior Advisors' include James Greene (Former Head of NATO Liason Office Ukraine); Ariel Cohen (Senior Research Fellow for The Heritage Foundation); Leonid Kozachenko (President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation); six former US Ambassadors to Ukraine, and the former ambassador of Ukraine to the US, Oleh Shamshur.

Stas Ustymenko Jeremn 13 Jul 2015 11:14

You'd be surprised, but I like Bandera (controversial as he was) way more than I trust some people who wrap themselves in his red-and-black Rebel banner. Yarosh included. Banderite rebellion ended 60 years ago. Its major goal was establishing a "united, free Ukrainian state"; by contrast, stated ultimate goals of the Right Sector are way murkier; I'm not sure even most of the movement's members are clear on what these are.
With present actions, Right Sector has a huge image problem in the West. If it will come to all-out conflict, no doubt the West will back Poroshenko government over a loose confederation of armed dudes linked by the thin thread of 30ies ideology (suspect even then). And the West will be right.

Stas Ustymenko Nik2 13 Jul 2015 11:03

Methinks you're way overselling a thug turf war as "major political event. Truth is, the region has been long in the hands of organized crime. The previous regime incorporated and controlled almost all organized crime in the country, hence no visible conflict. Now, individual players try to use temporary uncertainty to their advantage. Right Sector claims they were trying to fight the smuggling, but this doesn't sound plausible. The word is, what's behind the events is struggle for control over lucrative smuggling between two individuals (who are both "businessmen" and "politicians", members of Parliament). Both are old-school players, formerly affiliated with Yanukovitch party. One just was savvy enough to buy himself some muscle under Right Sector banner. Right Sector will either have to straighten out its fighters (which it may not be able to do) or disappear as a political player. I fail to see how people see anything "neo-Nazi" in this gang shootout.

PaddyCannuck Cavirac 13 Jul 2015 10:21

Nobody here is an apologist for Stalin, who was a brutal and cruel despot, and the deportations of the Crimean Tatars were quite indefensible. However, a few observations might lend some perspective.

1. Crimea has been invaded and settled by an almost endless succession of peoples over the millennia. The Crimean Tatars (who are of Turkic origin) were by no means the first, nor indeed the last, and cannot in any meaningful sense be regarded as the indigenous people of Crimea.
2. The Crimean Tatars scarcely endeared themselves to the Russians, launching numerous raids, devastating many towns, including the burning of Moscow in 1571, and sending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Russians into slavery in the Ottoman Empire.
3. The deportations took place in 1942 - 1943 against the backdrop of World War II, when a lot of bad stuff happened, including -
4. The American (and also Canadian) citizens of Japanese ethnicity who had their property confiscated and were likewise shipped off to camps. Their treatment, if anything, was worse.

Sevastopol, Pearl Harbor. What's the difference? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

tanyushka Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 10:10

http://rt.com/news/207899-un-anti-nazism-resolution/

http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/69/docs/voting_sheets/L56.Rev1.pdf

do these links answer your question?

tanyushka 13 Jul 2015 09:55

meanwhile last night & this morning, just to distract the people of what is going on in the West, Kiev launched a massive shelling over Donetsk and other places in Donbass using weapons forbbiden by the Minsk agreements, including Tor missiles, one of which fell at a railway station but didn't explode... it was defused by emergency workers but the proof is there if you care to see... it was thesecond biggest attack since the cease fire...

Nik2 6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:53

Not exactly. By now, BBC has made good coverage of these events in Ukrainian and Russian languages, but not in English. It looks like BBC considers that Western public does not deserve the politically sad truth about armed clashes between "champions of Maidan Revolution" and "new democratic authorities, fighting corruption". Western public should not be in doubt about present-day "pro-European" Ukraine. And "The Guardian" still has only one article on the issue that could be a turning point in Ukrainian politics. This is propaganda, not informing about or analyzing really serious political events.

VictorWhisky 13 Jul 2015 09:51

This is the IMF hired guns now going after the very people who helped the Wall Street IMF shysters in the illegitimate coup and the set up of the illegitimate Kiev junta, a mix of half Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian mongrels. Furthermore, instead of bringing in the people who helped overthrow Janukovich into the government fold, the IMF is placing it's foreign collaborators in ministerial positions by making them instant Ukrainian citizens, while keeping the right wing, without whose help the coup would not have succeeded, out of government and slowly trying to eliminate them with their private foreign mercenary force. Madame "F*ck the EU Nuland from the US state department bordello, a devout Zionist, enticed these supposed Ukrainian NAZIs to help her in her dirty deeds, no doubt with promises of power sharing. So madame Nuland was perfectly willing to get in bed with the Ukrainian NAZI devils (her Jewish friend should be proud) and when the dirty deed was done, she is now turning against Ukrainian nationalists in the attempt to have outside forces in control of Ukraine. Madame Nuland is not as intelligent or capable as portrayed, because if she was, she would have known Ukraine has a very delicate and very complicated political structure and history with nearly half the country speaking Russian and more loyal to the Russians than to the US. An intelligent person familiar with Ukrainian history would know any attempt of placing a US stooge in Kiev would certainly result in a civil war. She no doubt got her position not by intelligence but by connections. More than 6000 Ukrainians, human beings, innocent men women and children, have died in madame Nuland's engineered coup, putting her in league with her mentor, Henry Kissinger, aka the butcher of Vietnam. That intelligent idiot's policies resulted in the death of 3 million Vietnamese and 50,000 young Americans. Does madame Nuland intend to sacrifice that many Ukrainians to prove her ultimate stupidity?

Jeremn Luminaire 13 Jul 2015 09:51

The conscripts didn't want to shoot their fellow Ukrainians. The nationalists don't believe the people in the east are their fellow Ukrainians.


Jeremn DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 09:43

Yes. But meanwhile the Atlantic Council tells us this is why more Ukrainians admire nationalists.

Because they were lovely guys, evidently, and their "popularity" has nothing to do with armed thugs beating you up if you say anything against them (or the state prosecuting you for denying or questioning their heroism).


Jeremn jezzam 13 Jul 2015 09:35


Ukrainian media, reporting Ukrainian government official:

In his article for the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror) newspaper Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema wrote that 74 peaceful citizens and 12 policemen had been killed in Kyiv downtown on February 18-20, 2014, while 180 citizens and over 180 law enforcers had suffered gunshot wounds.

12 police dead in two days, 180 wounded with gunshot wounds.

Still Kremlin lies?


Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 09:30

Thank God Ukraine is finally free and democratic. The old autocratic regime actually had the gall to make running street battles illegal - but those dark days are in the past. In the liberated Ukraine you are free spend the dollar a day you get paid on a bullet proof vest so the rampant Nazi street gangs don't kill you.


Jeremn SHappens 13 Jul 2015 09:26

You'd be surprised, there are Bandera-lovers in the UK too. There's a Bandera museum. And there is this lot, teaching Christian values to children. And telling them that Bandera was a hero. Future Right Sector supporters being crafted as we type.

6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:24

The Ukrainian sub-saharan African minimum wage is now being accompanied by Somali-style politics.

Luckily, the Russians have liberated Crimea so piracy on the high seas isn't an option for the Ukrainians.


6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:18

Apparently, UAVs generously supplied to Ukrainians by the Canadian taxpayers are being put to good use smuggling cigarettes into Slovakia.

6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:12

The BBC are bravely sticking to their decision not to report this story. Congratulations are in order for such dedication.

The graun protected its readership from this confusing information for 24 hours and then caved to the temptation to report news. Too bad.


aucontraire2 13 Jul 2015 08:36

Can we officially congratulate Nuland for a crappy job and also for providing Putin with all the tools he needed to bring back Ukraine under his wing.
False flag operations for American private interests must stop now. They are immoral, unethical and only bring death and destruction to otherwise stable societies. The UN should have a say.

SomersetApples 13 Jul 2015 08:25

The country is bankrupt; the Kiev putschists are selling off the country's assets to their New York allies, the oligarchs and Nazis are at war against each other and the illegal putschist government and now toilet mouth Nuland is back on the scene. Looks like a scene form Dante's Inferno.

todaywefight Polvilho 13 Jul 2015 07:54

Which Russian invasion will this be the of he approximately 987 mentioned by Poroshenko and our man Yatz...or are you referring to the people of the AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA's (yes that was what was called after the 1994 referendum) massive wishes to (like Donbass) go against a government who illegally dismissed an elected president a wish that was reflected on a referendum which was allowed by their constitution 18(7)

Bosula Scepticbladderballs 13 Jul 2015 07:38

Yes. Most of the protesters are good people who just want a better deal in life.


monteverdi1610 13 Jul 2015 06:54

Remember all those CIF threads when those of us who pointed to the neo-Nazis in Ukraine were immediately called ' Putinbots ' ?
PS/ Apologies would be the order of the day , perhaps ?

Sturney 13 Jul 2015 06:49

Apparently this conflict is over. Temporarily over. Anyway in ever-contracting economy, in a Mariana trench between Russia and EU, in the most totalitarian country in history, such conflicts will continue. Since Nuland tossed yeast in the outhouse nobody can stop fermentation of sh*t. Help yourself with some beer and shrimps. I am looking forward when these masses splash out to EU, preferably to Poland. Must be fun to watch. (Lipspalm)

Justin Obisesan 13 Jul 2015 06:33

In the run-up to the Euro 2012 football tournament, jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, I remember how the media in this country worked themselves into a frenzy harping on about the presence of violent neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine. After the removal of Mr Yanukovych from office, the same media organisations changed their tune by describing any talk of neo- Nazis in Ukraine as "Russian propaganda". The Western media coverage of the Ukrainian crises has been so blatantly pro-Kiev and anti-Donbass that their claims of impartiality and objectivity cannot be taken seriously anymore.


Jeremn jgbg 13 Jul 2015 06:16

It is fine when they are shooting at Donetsk, but not so good when they use the same tactics in western Ukraine.

Azov are the same, violent neo-Nazi thugs given authority, and this article notes that PrivatBank is the bank that services requests for donations to the Azov funds, using J P Morgan as intermidiary.

Neither Azov nor Right Sector want peace. On 3 July 4,000 men from these units protested in Kiev, calling for resumption of the war against the eastern provinces.

They favour ethnic cleansing.


Jeremn William Fraser 13 Jul 2015 06:10

The people who support Bandera are in western Ukraine. They are the ones who say Stalin starved the Ukrainian people.

Trouble is, in the 1930s, western Ukraine belonged to Poland.

It was the Russians, eastern Ukrainians and other Soviet people who starved, not the western Ukrainians.


Kefirfan 13 Jul 2015 06:02

Good, good. Let the democracy flow through you...

Pwedropackman SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:53

It will be interesting to see which side the US and Canada will support. Probably Poroshenko and the Oligarchs because the Right Sector is not so happy about the ongoing sales of Ukraine infrastructure to US corporates.


SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:14

Harpers' babies are out manifesting, supporting the good guys:

"Supporters of Ukraine's Right Sector extremist group rallied in Ottawa Sunday amid the radicals' ongoing standoff with police in western Ukraine."

The rally outside the Ukrainian embassy was organized by the Right Sector's representative office in the Canadian capital, 112 Ukraine TV channel reported, citing the Facebook account of the so-called Ukrainian Volunteer Corps.


careforukraine 13 Jul 2015 05:09

I wonder how long it will be before the us denounces nazi's in ukraine?
Kind of seems like we have seen this all before.
Almost like how ISIS were just freedom fighters that needed our support until ?.....
Well we all know what happened there.

Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 05:04

If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.


GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 04:41

Yes, I agree, they do wreck the economy. That was my point. Russia want's strong economies to do business with, not broken economies that only ask for financial aid.

Like I said, no evidence of Russian troops in Donbass and South Ossetia asked for the presence of Russian troops to deter the Georgian government from trying another invasion.

And organisations like CIS are meant to expand economic ties. Just like the EU I suppose. They function in pretty much the same way with everyone getting a chance to lead. So I don't know why that should be a bad thing. Since the EU is not interested in admitting Russia why can't Russia go to other organisations?

VladimirM Dmitriy Grebenyuk 13 Jul 2015 04:26

It's a poisonous sarcasm, I think. But I've heard that RS accuse the Ukrainian government of being pro-Putin as the govermment accuse them of being Russian agents. Surreal a bit.


stewfen FOHP46 13 Jul 2015 04:24

The west would not have dialogue with Russia because it was not what Washington wanted. Washington wanted to push a wedge between Russia and EU at any cost even 6500 lives and unfortunately they succeeded


GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 03:54

I'll admit that frozen conflicts could be useful to Russia. But only from a security point of view. And why not, exactly? NATO is Russia's biggest threat, so it would make sense for the government to want to avoid it expanding any further. I understand your misgivings since you're speaking from the position that NATO should expand to deter Russi…I mean 'Iran', but surely you understand that Russia wanting to prevent that makes logical sense? Sure, it's at someone else's expense but let's not pretend that big countries doing something at someone else's expense is a new and revolutionary concept reserved only to Russia. And the Georgian conflict dates back to the very early 90's.

From an economic point of view though, no sense at all. Frozen conflicts usually bring economic barriers. Believe it or not Russia's priority isn't expansion, but the economy. And trade with it's neighbours is an important element of the Russian economy. It's very hard to trade with areas that are in the middle of a frozen conflict. So in that sense the last thing Russia would want are profitable areas in a frozen conflict around it's borders hampering it's economic growth.

And none of this has anything to do with Marioupol.


Debreceni 13 Jul 2015 03:38

The Right Sector does not exist, or if it does, it has been created by Moscow. The crisis in Greece is also the work of Russian agents. The ISIS is financed and trained by Putin. Ebola was cooked up in a laboratory in Saint Petersburg. Look for the Russian!


Kaiama PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 02:50

We don't know if PS were also doing it as well or just poking their noses into someone else's business. Who started it? I doubt the correct answer will ever be known. Two unsavoury groups arguing about an illegal business. The problem is that the MP is an MP whereas PS is a national organisation.


DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 02:04

"Note to Ukraine: Time to Reconsider Your Historic Role Models" Someone wrote this a bit late.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikolas-kozloff/note-to-ukraine-time-to-r_b_7453506.html


DrMacTomjim hisimperialmajesty 13 Jul 2015 02:01

"neo-Chekists" That's new to me.... Are you sure they are not "Just doing their jobs" ?
Did you read the Nafeez Ahmed piece someone linked ? Here (if you didn't)

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-west-saw-isis-as-strategic-asset-b99ad7a29092

And this from Foreign Affairs

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/2015-02-16/obamas-libya-debacle

It's never the US....it's never the West.....
(you know, to balance things) : )


todaywefight 13 Jul 2015 01:53

If any one on the other side, the dark side, ever thought that these lot will hold hands with any one, lay down their arms and sing Kumbaya, uou are either utterly naive or willfully ignorant. Apparently, these lot have 23 battalions, armed to their teeth, the added bonus for the Privy Sektor is that , due to expedience and cowardice , they have just made legal and incorporated into the Ukrainian army, Kyiv is in a highway to nowhere.

Incidentally, unlike the maidan demonstrations which essentially were only in Kyiv there are demonstrations in more than a dozen cities, and have established dozen of check points already and Yarosh a member of the VT. have clearly instructed them to fight if necessary.


GameOverManGameOver Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 01:35

So? Yes there are nationalists in Russia, just like everywhere else. You get a gold star for googling. Shall I get some articles with European and American nationalists to parade around to make a vague point? If you want I can get you an article of Lithuanians dressed up as the Waffen SS parading around Vilnius. That's Lithuania the EU and Nato member. Funny how EU principles disappear when it's one of their own violating them.

You seem to be missing the point entirely. While all countries have their nationalists, those nationalists are a very small minority, have no power, have no popular support, have no seats in government, usually derided by the majority of the population and they certainly aren't armed to the teeth roaming around the country killing, torturing and kidnapping people with the blessing of their government


HollyOldDog Joe way 13 Jul 2015 00:09

The Right Sector were / are Ukrains Storm Troopers who have had more advanced training by the Americans. If the Right Sector turn on the Kiev Government they will be difficult to defeat, and who knows if the civilian population of Ukraine may join in the 'fun' by ousting the current unpopular Ukrainian government.


sorrentina 12 Jul 2015 23:35

this is what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Using Neo-Nazi's to implement Nato expansionist policies was always a very bad idea. It's just a shame it is not people like Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland who will have to suffer the blowback consequences- it is the poor Ukrainian people. This is not that different to what has happened in Libya- where Islamic extremists were used as a proxy force to oust Gaddafi.

annamarinja jgbg 12 Jul 2015 23:31

The threshold has been guessed impatiently by the US neocons (while the provocateur Higgins/ Bellingcat fed the gullible the fairy tales about Russian army in Ukraine). The US needs desperately a real civil war in Ukraine, the Ukrainians be damned. Just look what the US-sponsored "democracy on the march" has produced in the Middle East. Expect the same bloody results in eastern Europe.


annamarinja obscurant 12 Jul 2015 23:25

perhaps you do not realize that your insults are more appropriate towards the poor Ukrainians that have been left destitute by the cooky-carrying foreigners and their puppets in Kiev. The Ukrainian gold reserve has disappeared... meanwhile, the US Congress has shamed the US State Dept for collaborating with Ukrainian neo-nazis. Stay tuned. But do not expect to hear real news from your beloved Faux News.

annamarinja quorkquork 12 Jul 2015 23:14

the jihadists in Ukraine are the integral part of Iraqization of Ukraine. The lovers of Nuland's cookies are still in denial that Ukraine was destined by the US plutocrats to become a sacrificial lamb in a fight to preserve the US dollar hegemony.


Bud Peart 12 Jul 2015 22:59

Well we always knew it would end this way. With a stalemate in the war with the East the Right wing paramilitaries and private oligarch militias (whom the west funded and trained) have gone completely feral and are now in fighting directly with whats left of the Ukrainian National Army. This is pretty much the rode to another breakaway in Galacia which would effectively end the Ukraine as a functional state.

The government should move as fast as possible to get a decent federal structure (copy switzerland) in place before the whole of the West goes into revolt as well.


DelOrtoyVerga LostJohnny 12 Jul 2015 22:38

That is what you get when you put fascists in your government.

I rather reword it to

That is what you get when you enable and rely on thugish pseudo-fascist radical para-military groups to impose order by force and violence against dissident segments of your own population (which is armed to the teeth probably by Russia)


Bosula Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 22:37

What do you think it is?

There were several people identified directly or indirectly in this BBC story whose stories should have been formally pursued by legal authorities in Kiev.

If you lived in the West you would understand that we call these references as possible 'leads' - you follow these 'leads' and see where they take you. That is what Western police do.

The story says that Kiev didn't want to follow up any of these points. Why? What harm could this do?

You state that you do not understand the point that this BBC journalist was making. But I have in a fair way tried to to explain the point that the BBC was making.

This story caused quite a stir went it came out - and the BBC chose to stick with it and support their British reporter. In an edited and shorter form the story is still on the BBC - the editing is also acknowledged by the BBC.

Do you think the BBC should have blocked or not published this investigative piece?

If so - why?

And why hasn't Kiev followed up these issues?

Have I addressed your point yet?


HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 21:34

I am just watching a program recorded earlier. Hiroshima: The Aftermath. I have got past the part when the Japanese 'survivors' had to drink from the pools of Black Rain ( highly radioactive) and watched the part when American Army Tourists visited the city to take a few photos ( no medical help though) while gawking at the gooks. In fact the Japanese civilians recieved no medical assistance at all from the Americans. The commentator just said that they were just there to study the effects of nuclear radiation on a civilian population. These nuclear bombs were just dropped on Japan to save One Day of the surrender of the Japanese forces.

The next documtary I will watch another day is the sinking of the Tirpitz by the RAF using Tallboy bombs. At least this had a useful pupose in helping to stop the destruction of the North Atlantic convoys, sending aid to Russia. That aid along with the rebuilding of the Soviet Armies helped the Soviet Union to destroy the invading Nazi forces and provided a Second Front to the Western Allies to invade Normandy. A lot of good can be achieved when the East and West work together - maybe avoiding the worst effects of Global Warming but the Americans only seem to want to spend Trillions $ building more powerful nuclear weapons. Is this all that America has now, an Arms Industry - I can see it now, cooling the planet with a Nuclear Winter.


HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 20:33

The USA caused the chaos in Ukraine so they must pay the billions of $ to fix it then leave Ukraine alone.


6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:29

One of the amusing features of the Soviet media was the long silences it maintained on possibly embarrassing breaking news until it became clear what the Party Line was.

Eventually, a memo would go out from Mikhail Suslov's office to various media outlets and the silence would be broken.

At least everyone knew exactly how that system worked. What is happening with the British media is much more murky.

The beeb/graun seem to be the Pravda/Izvestia, whilst the torygraph is a sort of Trybuna Ludu - ie real news very occasionally appears in it.

6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:08

So, after a mere 24 hours the Graun ran a story on Mukachevo. The Torygraph actually had the nerve to run the AFP wire report more or less straight away.

The BBC are still keeping shtum.

The Beeb/Graun complex have well and truly had the frighteners put on them.

PrinceEdward Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 20:07

There's no doubt. I agree that the MP was probably running cigarettes, but also Right Sektor was going to muscle in.

If you asked somebody 3 years ago if Ukraine would be rocked by armed bands with RPGs and Light Machine Guns fighting in towns, they would have thought you were crazy.

This isn't Russia, this is the Ultranats/Neo-Nazis.


PrinceEdward obscurant 12 Jul 2015 20:05

Right, it's the people in Donbass who bury 14th SS Division veterans with full honors, push for full pensions to surviving Hiwi and SS Collaborators... not those in Lvov. Uh huh.


BMWAlbert 12 Jul 2015 20:04

11 months of investigations by the newKiev regime, attempting to implicate the the prior one for the murder of about 100 people in Kiev early last year was unsuccessful. There may be better candidates here.


fragglerokk ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 19:55

It always amazes me that the far right never learn from history. The politicians and oligarchs always use them as muscle to ensure coup success then murder/assasinate the leaders to make sure they dont get any ideas about power themselves. Surprised its taken so long in ukraine but then the govt is barely hanging onto power and the IMF loans have turned to a trickle so trouble will always be brewing, perhaps theyve left it too long this time. Nobody will be shedding any tears for the Nazis and Banderistas.


hisimperialmajesty Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 19:54

Why, don't you know? They infiltrated Ukraine, the CIA (and NATO and the EU somehow) created Maidan, their agents killed the protesters, then they overthrew a legitimate government and installed a neo-nazi one, proceeded to instigate a brutal oppression against Russian speakers, then started a war against the peaceful Eastern Ukrainians and their innocent friends in the Kremlin, etc etc. Ignorant question that, by now you should know the narrative!


Kaiama gimmeshoes 12 Jul 2015 19:53

If you think Pryvi Sektor want to "clean up" then yes, but not in the way you imagine - they just want the business for themselves.


Geordiemartin 12 Jul 2015 19:51

I am reminded of AJP Taylor premise that Eastern Europe has historically had either German domination or Russian protection.

The way that the Ukrainian government had treated their own Eastern compatriots leaves little reason to believe they would be welcome back into the fold and gives people of Donbass no reason to want to rejoin the rest of the country.

If government is making an effort to reign in the likes of Right sector it is a move in the right direction but much much more will be needed to establish any trust.


Some Guy yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:45

just because they are nazis doesnt mean they are happy about doing any of this... now. look at greece and the debacle that has unfolded over the past week has been . the west ukraine wanted to be part of the euro zone and wanted some of that ecb bail out money. now they are not even sure if they could skip out on the bill and know they are fighting for nothing . russia gave them 14 bil dollars . the west after the coup only gave the 1 bil


Andor2001 Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 19:44

According to the eyewitnesses the RS shot a guard when he refused to summon the commanding officer. It was the beginning of the fight.


Andor2001 yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:41

Remember Shakespeare "Othello"? Moor has done his job, Moor has to go..
The neo-Nazis have outlived their usefulness.


Bosula caaps02 12 Jul 2015 19:39

The BBC investigative reported earlier this year that a section of Maidan protesters deliberately started shooting the police. This story was also reported in the Guardian. Google and you will easily find it.

The BBC also reported that the Prosecutors Office in Kiev was forbidden by Rada officials from investigating Maiden shooters.

Maybe the BBC is telling us a lie? The BBC investigation is worth a read - then you can make up your own mind.


Bosula William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 19:29

Kazakhstan had the highest percentage of deaths from Stalin's policies in this period when he prevented the nomad herders moving from the mountains to the planes to take advantage of the benefits of seasons and weather.

Stalin forced the nomads to stay in one area and they perished in the cold of the mountains or the heat of the summer plains (whichever zone they were foced to stay in).

Some of my family is Ukrainian and some recognise that Stalin's policies weren't specifically aimed at Ukrainians - the people of Kazakhstan suffered the most (as a percentage of population). Either way, there is no genetic difference between Slavs or Russian or Ukrainian origin in Ukraine or Russia - they are all genetically the same people.

This information should be better taught in Ukraine.

The problem is that it would undermine the holy grail story of right wing nationalism in Ukraine.


quorkquork annamarinja 12 Jul 2015 19:27

There are already jihadist groups fighting in Ukraine!

IN MIDST OF WAR, UKRAINE BECOMES GATEWAY FOR JIHAD
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/26/midst-war-ukraine-becomes-gateway-europe-jihad/


Havingalavrov obscurant 12 Jul 2015 18:33

It's been one of the biggest mistakes ( although Ukraine's military started in a desperately poor condition ) , to allow militia groups to get so powerful. Right sector should not have arms and guns... The national Ukraine military should, If members of Right sector want to fight , they should leave Right sector and join the army.

This was and will happen if they don't disband such armed groups.


annamarinja silvaback 12 Jul 2015 18:18

have you ever studied geography? If yes, you should remember the proximity of Ukraine to Russia (next door) and the proximity of Ukraine to the US (thousands miles away). Also, have you heard about the CIA Director Brennan and his covert visit to Kiev on the eve of the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine? This could give you an informed hint about the causes of the war. Plus you may be interested to learn about Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (Ms. Nudelman), her cookies, and her foul language. She is, by the way, a student of Dick Cheney. If you were born before 2000, you might know his name and his role in the Iraq catastrophe. Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (and the family of Kagans she belongs to) finds particular pleasure in creating military conflicts around the globe. It is not for nothing that the current situation in Ukraine is called Iraqization of Eastern Europe.


Bev Linington JJRichardson 12 Jul 2015 18:10

Ukrainians shot down the plane. East, West does not matter as they were all Ukrainians before the government overthrow. Leaders of the new government could not look past some Ukrainian citizens ethnicity, instead of standing together united, they decided to oppress which lead to the referendum in Crimea and the rise of separatists in the East.


jgbg Chirographer 12 Jul 2015 17:53

And for the Pro-Russian posters the newsflash is that could also describe the situation inside the Donbass.

It certainly describes the situation in Donbass where Right Sector or the volunteer battalions are in charge. In Dnepropetrovsk, Right Sector would simply turn up at some factory or other business and order the owner to sign document transferring the enterprise to them. In other cases, they have kidnapped businessmen for ransom. Some people have simply disappeared under such circumstances.

The Ukrainian National Guard simply break into homes left empty by people fleeing the war and steal the contents. Such was the scale of looting, the Ukrainian postal service have now refused to ship electrical goods out of the ATO area unless the senders have the original boxes and receipts.


jgbg AlfredHerring 12 Jul 2015 17:45

Maybe Kiev just needs to bomb them some more.

Putin promised to protect the Russian speaking people in Ukraine - but he hasn't really done that. His government has indicated that they would not allow Kiev to simply overrun or obliterate the people of Donbass. Quite where their threshold of actual intervention lies is anyone's guess.

jgbg caaps02, 12 Jul 2015 17:34

The "pro-Russian" government that you refer to was only elected because it promised to sign the EU trade agreement. It then reneged on that promise...

Yanukovych's government was elected the previous one was useless and corrupt.

Yanukovych wanted to postpone the decision to sign for six months, while he attempted to extract more from both the EU and Russia. Under Poroshenko, the implementation of the EU Association Agreement has been delayed for 15 months, as the governments of Ukraine, the EU and Russia all recognised that Russian trade (with the favourable terms which Ukraine enjoys) are vitail to Ukraine's economic recovery. Expect that postponement to be extended.

.... severely and brutally curtailing freedom of speech and concentrating all power in the hands of Yanukovich's little clan...

As opposed to sending the military to shell the crap out of those who objected to an elected government being removed by a few thousand nationalists in Kiev.

There was no "coup".

An agreement had been signed at the end of February 2014, which would see elections in September 2014. The far right immediately moved to remove the government (as Right Sector had promised on camera in December 2013). None of the few mechanisms for replacing the president listed in the Ukrainian constitution have been followed - that makes it a coup.

The maidan protesters were not armed

This newspaper and other western media documented the armed members of far right groups on Maidan. One BBC journalist was actually shot at by a Svoboda sniper, operating from Hotel Ukraina - the video is still on the BBC website.

....the interim government that was put in place by the parliament in late February and the government that was elected in May and Oct. of 2014 were and are not fascist.

The interim government included several ministers from Svoboda, formerly the Socialist Nationalist Party of Ukraine. These were the first Nazi ministers in a European government since Franco's Spanish government that ended in the 1970's. In a 2013 resolution, the EU parliament had indicated that no Ukrainian government should include members of Svoboda or other far right parties.


pushkinsideburn vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 16:45

There has been a marked change in rhetoric over the last few weeks. Even CiF on Ukraine articles seems to attract less trolls (with a few notable exceptions on this article - though they feel more like squad trolls than the first team). Hopefully a sign of deescalation or perhaps just a temporary lull before the MH17 anniversary this week?


pushkinsideburn calum1 12 Jul 2015 16:38

His other comments should have been the clue that arithmetic, like independent critical thinking, is beyond him.


normankirk 12 Jul 2015 16:19

Right sector were the first to declare they wouldn't abide by the Minsk 2 peace agreement.Nevertheless, Dmitry Yarosh, their leader is adviser to Ukraine's Chief of staff. Given that he only received about 130,000 votes in the last election, he has a disproportionate amount of power.


pushkinsideburn sashasmirnoff 12 Jul 2015 16:13

That quote is a myth

https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-the-cia-owns-everyone-of-any-significance-in-the-major-media.t158/

Though doesn't mean it's not true of course


greatwhitehunter 12 Jul 2015 15:47

As predicted the real civil war in ukraine is still to happen. The split between the east and the ordinary ukrainian was largely manufactored . In the long term no body would be able to live with the right sector or more preciselly the right sector cant share a bed with anyone else.


sashasmirnoff RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 15:44

"When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?"

This may be why:
"The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - former CIA Director William Colby


Alexander_the_Great 12 Jul 2015 15:43

This was so, so predictable. The Right Sector were the main violent group during the coup in 2014 - in fact they were the ones to bring the first guns to the square following their storming of a military warehouse in west Ukraine a few days before the coup. It was this factor that forced the Police to arm themselves in preparation.

Being the vanguard of the illegal coup, they then provided a useful tool of manipulation for the illegal Kiev government to oppress any opposition, intimidate journalists who spoke the truth and lead the war against the legally-elected ELECTED governments of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Having failed in the war against the east, western leaders have signalled the right sector has now outlived its usefulness and has become an embarrassment to Kiev and their western backers.

The Right Sector meanwhile, feel betrayed by the establishment in Kiev. They have 19 battalions of fighters and they wont go away thats for sure. I think one can expect this getting more violent in the coming months.


SHappens jezzam 12 Jul 2015 15:40

Putin is a Fascist dictator.

Putin is not a dictator. He is a statist, authoritarian-inclined hybrid regime ruler that possesses some democratic elements and space for opposition groups.
He has moderate nationalist tendencies in foreign affairs; his goal is a secure a strong Russia. He is a patriot and has a charismatic authority. Russians stay behind him.


ploughmanlunch samuel glover 12 Jul 2015 15:31

'this notion that absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome'

Agreed.
As is everything is Russia's fault.


ConradLodziak 12 Jul 2015 15:26

This is just the latest in a string of conflicts involving the right sector, as reported by RT, Russian media and until recently many Ukrainian outlets. The problem, of course, is that Porostinko has given 'official' status to the right sector. Blow back time for him.


CIAbot007 William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:06

Yes, Russia (USSR) from the USSR foundation had been forcing people of the then territory of Ukraine to identify themselves as ukrainians under the process of rootisation - ukrainisation, then gave to Ukraine Donbass and left side Dniepr and Odessa, Herson and Nikolaev, and then decided to ethnically cleane them..It doesn't make sense, does it? Oh, wait, sense is not your domain.


annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:05

let me help you with arithmetics: 72 years ago Europe was inflamed with the WWII.
There was a considerable number of Ukrainians that collaborated with Hitler' nazis:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Waffen_Grenadier_Division_of_the_SS_(1st_Galician)
Now moving to the present. The US-installed oligarchs in Kiev have been cooperating closely with Ruropean neo-nazis (the followers of the WWII scum): http://rt.com/news/155364-ukraine-nazi-division-march/
In short, your government finds it is OK to glorify the perpetrators of genocide in Europe during the WWII.


Nik2 12 Jul 2015 15:04

These tragic events, when YESTERDAY, on Saturday afternoon, several civilians were unintentionally wounded in gun battles in previously peaceful town near the Hungary and Slovakia borders, vividly exposes Western propaganda. Though mass media in Ukraine and Russia are full of reports about this from the start, The Guardian managed to give first information exactly 1 day later, and BBC was still keeping silence a few minutes ago. Since both sides are allies of the West (the Right Sector fighters were the core of the Maidan protesters at the later stages, and Poroshenko regime is presumably "democratic"), the Western media preferred to ignore the events that are so politically uncomfortable. Who are "good guys" to be praised? In fact, this may be the start of nationalists' revolt against Ukrainian authorities, and politically it is very important moment that can fundamentally change Ukrainian politics. But the West decides to be silent ...


annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 14:59

Do your history book tell you that the Holodomor was a multiethnic endeavor? That the Ukrainians were among the victims and perpetrators and that the whole huge country had suffered the insanely cruel policies of multiethnic bolsheviks? The Holodomor was almost a century ago, whereas the Odessa massacre and the bombardments of civilian population in east Ukraine by the neo-nazi thugs (sent by Kiev), has been going during last year and half. Perhaps you have followed Mr. Brennan and Mrs. Nuland-Kagan too obediently.


foolisholdman zonzonel 12 Jul 2015 14:58

zonzonel

Oops, the presumably fascist govt. is fighting a fascist group.
What is a poor troll to do these days??
Antiukrainian copywriting just got more difficult, perhaps a raise is needed? Just sayin.

What's your problem? Never heard of Fascist groups fighting each other? Never heard of the "Night of the Long Knives"? Fascists have no principles to unite them. They believe in Uebermenschen and of course they all think that either they themselves or their leader is The Ueberuebermensch. Anyone who disagrees is an enemy no matter how Fascist he may be.


samuel glover ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 14:55

Y'know, I'm no fan of the Russophobic hysteria that dominates English-language media. I've been to Ukraine several times over the last 15 years or so, and I'm sorry to say that I think that in time Ukrainians will regard Maidan's aftermath as most of them view the Orange Revolution -- with regret and cynicism.

That said, this notion that everything, absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome. Most post-revolution regimes purge one end or the other of the current ideological wings. Kiev has already tangled with the oligarch and militia patron Igor Kolomoisky. So perhaps this is another predictable factional struggle. Or maybe, as another comment speculates, this is a feud over cigarette tax revenue.

In any case, Ukraine is a complex place going through an **extremely** complex time. it's too soon to tell what the Lviv skirmish means, and **far** too soon to lay it all on nefarious puppetmasters.

TheTruthAnytime ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 14:49

The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country,...

Is the CIA their country? So far they've only seemed to serve the interests of American businesspeople, not Ukrainian interests. Also, murdering eastern Ukrainians cannot really be considered such a great service to Ukraine, can it?


annamarinja ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:44

Maidan was indeed a popular apprising, but it was utilized by the US strategists for their geopolitical games. The Ukrainians are going to learn hard way that the US have never had any interest in well-being of the "locals" and that the ongoing civil war was designed in order to create a festering wound on a border with the Russia. The Iraqization of Ukraine was envisioned by the neocons as a tool to break both Russia and Ukraine. The sooner Ukrainians come to a peaceful solution uniting the whole Ukraine (for example, to federalization), the better for the general population (but not for the thieving oligarchs).


vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 14:38

"Couple of hundred Right Sector supporters demonstrated in Kiev?" Come on! Over the last week, there have been enough of videos of thousands of people in fatigues trying to block access to government buildings and shouting rather aggressive demands. The entire battalions of "National Guard." This is much bigger than just 100 people on a peaceful rally. Ukraine might be heading towards Maidan 3.0.

ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:26

The situation in Ukraine has been unravelling for months and this news broke on Friday evening.

The Minsk II cease fire has not been honoured by Poroshenko, who has not managed to effect any of the pledges he signed up to. The right sector who rejected the cease-fire from the start are now refusing the rule of their post coup president in Kiev.

Time for Victoria Nuland to break out the cookies? Or maybe it's too late for that now. The country formerly know as Ukraine is turning out to be another outstanding success of American post -imperial foreign policy.

Meanwhile in UFA the BRIC's economic forum is drawing to a close, with representatives from the developing world and no reporting of the aspirations being discussed there of over 60% of the world's population. It's been a major success, but if you want to learn about it, you will have to turn to other media sources - those usually reported as Russian propaganda channels or Putin's apologists.

The same people who have been reporting on the deteriorating situation in Kiev since the February coup. Or as Washington likes to call it a popular up rising.


Dennis Levin 12 Jul 2015 13:29

Canadian interviewed, fighting for 'Right Sector'.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j65dBEWd7go
The Right Sector of Euromaidan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yFqUasBOUY
Lets reflect for a moment on the Editorial directives, that would have 'MORE GUNS' distributed to NAZIS..
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/01/putin-stopped-ukraine-military-support-russian-propaganda
The Guarn publishes, 'Britain should arm Ukraine, says Tory donor' - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/britain-should-arm-ukraine
Al Jazeera says,'t's time to arm Ukraine' - http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/arms-ukraine-russia-separatists-150210075309643.html
Zbigniew Brzezinski: The West should arm Ukraine - http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/zbigniew-brzezinski-the-west-should-arm-ukraine-354770.html


ploughmanlunch ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 13:06

'The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country'

Don't get me wrong. I detest the fascist militias and their evil deeds.

However, despite their callousness, brutality and stupidity, they have been the most effective fighting force for Kiev ( more sensible Ukrainians have been rather more reluctant to kill their fellow countrymen ).

Deluded ? Yes. Cowardly ? No.

Even more reprehensible, in my opinion are the calculating and unprincipled Kiev Government that have attempted to bully a region of the Ukraine that had expressed legitimate reservations, using those far right battalions, but accepting no responsibility for the carnage that they carried out.

mario n 12 Jul 2015 12:52

I think it's time Europe spoke up about dangers of Ukrainian nationalism. 72 years ago Ukrainian fascists committed one of the most hideous and brutal acts of genocide in the human history. Details are so horrifying it is beyond imagination. Sadly not many people remembers that, because it is not politically correct to say bad things about Ukraine. Today mass murderers are hailed as national heroes and private battalions and ultranationalist groups armed to the teeth terrorise not only Donbas but now different parts of the country like Zakarpattia where there is strong Hungarian, Russian and Romanian minority.

How many massacres and acts of genocide Europe needs before it learns to act firmly?

SHappens 12 Jul 2015 12:49

Kiev has allowed nationalist groups including Right Sector to operate despite allegations by groups like Amnesty International, that Right Sector has tortured civilian prisoners.

You know what, you dont play with fire or you will get burnt. It was written on the wall that these Bandera apologists would eventually turn to the hand that fed them. I wonder how Kiev will manage to blame the russians now.


RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 12:33

Of course the Guardian doesn't like to explain that 'Right Sector' are genuine fascists - by their own admission!

These fascists, who wear Nazi insignia, were the people who overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in the US / EU-supported coup - which the Guardianistas and other PC-brainwashed duly cheered on as a supposed triumph of democracy.

Since that glorious US-financed and EU-backed coup, wholly illegal under international law, Ukraine's economy has collapsed, as has Ukrainians' living standards.

The US neocons are losing interest in their attempted land grab of Ukraine - and the EU cretins who backed the coup, thinking it would be a nice juicy further territorial acquisition for the EU, are desperately looking the other way, now that both the US and EU realize that Ukraine is a financial black hole.

When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?


jgbg 12 Jul 2015 12:15

The move came after a gunfight broke out on Saturday, when about 20 Right Sector gunmen arrived at a sports complex controlled by MP Mikhail Lano. They had been trying to stop the traffic of cigarettes and other contraband, a spokesman for the group said.

Put another way, one group of gangsters tried to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling operation of another group of gangsters. Smuggling cigarettes into nearby EU countries is extremely lucrative.

Here's some video of some of the events:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hexRskhproc&feature=youtu.be

Note the registration plates driven by both Right Sector and the other gangsters i.e. not Ukrainian. In all likelihood, these cars are all stolen.

Right Sector and fighters from "volunteer battalions" have become accustomed to muscling in on other people's activities (legal or not) in Donbass. This sort of thuggery is routine when these folk come to town. It is only when since they have continued such activities on their home turf in west and central Ukraine that the authorities have taken any notice.

[Jul 10, 2015] Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil', says Pope Francis

"...He said he supported their efforts to obtain "so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three "Ls": land, lodging and labour"."
"...he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries. "
"..."Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature"."
"...The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor"
"...A lot of us are awaiting the 3rd WW, between Russia and the US, between China and the US, between the West and the East, while the war is on. ... Is it work of Capitalism? I think that capitalism in it's modern form lies near this war, and both are made by the same people."
"...Still, the subject of my comment was not the predominance of Christians, but how much poverty exists in this predominantly Christian nation. They ignore the most fundamental teachings they profess to believe--the admonitions of Jesus to feed, clothe, and generally help the poor."
"...There is a reason the US has over 900 bases across the world, and that is to insure its business interests."
"...An economic system is not a matter of either-or. Those who profit from "Laissez Faire" capitalism like to push the idea that the only alternative is communism. Pope Francis is obviously a proponent of a "mixed economy" as most people in the US on the left are. He is attacking "unbridled capitalism" not an adequately regulated free-market economy."
"...Animal farm is not about the failure of either Communism or Fascism....it is a commentary on the corruption of power; not a uniquely Communist problem. The machinations of politics also feature quite heavily...divide and rule, propaganda, double standards and the use of language to achieve ones aims...these are abuses of power that both the left and the right have been guilty of. Hitler's Germany was Fascist (right wing extremism), Stalin's Russia was Communist (left wing extremism)..."
Jul 10, 2015 | The Guardian

Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.

In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America".

The pontiff also demanded an immediate end to what he called the "genocide" of Christians taking place in the Middle East and beyond, describing it as a third world war.

"Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus," Pope Francis said.

"In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."

Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries.

Repeating some of the themes of his landmark encyclical Laudato Si on the environment last month, Francis said time was running out to save the planet from perhaps irreversible harm to the ecosystem.

Pope Francis shakes hands with a mining worker's leader watched by Bolivia's president Evo Morales, right, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Photograph: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Francis made the address in the city of Santa Cruz to participants of the second world meeting of popular movements, an international body that brings together organisations of people on the margins of society, including the poor, the unemployed and peasants who have lost their land. The Vatican hosted the first meeting last year.

He said he supported their efforts to obtain "so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three "Ls": land, lodging and labour".

His speech was preceded by lengthy remarks from the left-wing Bolivian president Evo Morales, who wore a jacket adorned with the face of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967 by CIA-backed Bolivian troops.

"Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature".

"This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, labourers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable," he said in an hour-long speech that was interrupted by applause and cheering dozens of times.

Since his election in 2013, the first pope from Latin America has often spoken out in defence of the poor and against unbridled capitalism but the speech in Santa Cruz was the most comprehensive to date on the issues he has championed.

Francis' previous attacks on capitalism have prompted stiff criticism from politicians and commentators in the United States, where he is due to visit in September.

The pontiff appeared to take a swipe at international monetary organisations such as the IMF and the development aid policies by some developed countries.

"No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice," he said.

"The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor," he said.

Last week, Francis called on European authorities to keep human dignity at the centre of debate for a solution to the economic crisis in Greece.

He defended labor unions and praised poor people who had formed cooperatives to create jobs where previously "there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy".

In one of the sections on colonialism, he said:

"I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God."

He added: "I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offences of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.

"There was sin and an abundant amount of it."

The audience gave Francis a standing ovation when he put on a yellow miner's hat that was given to him at the end of his speech.

The pope made his speech at the end of his first full day in Bolivia, where he arrived on Wednesday. On Thursday morning he said a mass for hundreds of thousands of people and said that everyone had a moral duty to help the poor, and that those with means could not wish they would just "go away".

Francis praised Bolivia's social reforms to spread wealth under Morales. On Friday, he will visit Bolivia's notoriously violent Palmasola prison.

The pope looked bemused on Wednesday night when Morales handed him one of the more unusual gifts he has received: a sculpted wooden hammer and sickle – the symbol of communism – with a figure of a crucified Christ resting on the hammer.
Francis leaves on Friday for Paraguay, the last stop on his "homecoming" trip.


Westonboy 10 Jul 2015 09:01

The Pope didn't actually say "unbridled capitalism is the dung of the devil" did he?
So why is that the headline of this piece?


valeronfreza 10 Jul 2015 08:46

Actually, I find one of his thoughts really interesting. A lot of us are awaiting the 3rd WW, between Russia and the US, between China and the US, between the West and the East, while the war is on. The whole civilized world takes part in this mess, the thing is that this war looks different from what we're used to see. I mean, we get information, made by those, who wants us to see it different, like something, that happening far away, though it's dangerous as hell.
Is it work of Capitalism? I think that capitalism in it's modern form lies near this war, and both are made by the same people.


cblyth79 10 Jul 2015 08:41

he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"

He has hit the nail on the head. This is everything that is wrong with society. Every decision is taken with regards to making as much money as possible. However, the great irony is that even if people do make money, their constant desire for more means they are never happy or fulfilled. Meanwhile, socially and environmentally we suffer greatly due to this ultimately fruitless pursuit of as much money as possible.


PM782_ -> Greenshoots 10 Jul 2015 08:40

Generally speaking, you are right of course.

I have very little time for virgin men in silly hats & dresses, carrying crucifixes and expecting everyone to take them seriously when history shows us they cannot be trusted to act in an ethical way, and will (as always) be more concerned about amassing money and influence than doing any good in the world.

The whole thing is ludicrous and you should be ashamed that you believe in it. It is really astonishing.

Greenshoots -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 08:39

Atheist trope. One could as easily say "Religion compels unreasonable people to do reasonable things".


Westonboy -> pol098 10 Jul 2015 08:37

I'm happy to salute the personal contributions you make but, of course, the computer that you will have used to write or test your software is a product of capitalism.
Also, most of the the goods you recycle or give away are no doubt the products of capitalism.
Anti-capitalists don't seem to have any alternative method of wealth creation.


EnglishChapin 10 Jul 2015 08:26

In the article:

Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"

In the headline:

"Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil', says Pope Francis"


kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 08:24

As a Unitarian/Universalist I am equally, if not more, wary of that practice. Francis, however, is a public figure who has the right to express his opinion. While he was definitely speaking to a Catholic audience, he was not giving his words the weight of a Papal Encyclical. Also, it is the accepted and expected belief of Catholics that the Pope directs their thinking as far as faith goes. I do not see his words being a act of forcing his will on me, personally. All public figures have the right to express their opinion on that subject. I also believe that regulation should go further than dealing with "negative externalities" unless you view the financial crisis of 2008 as a negative externality . While the causes of the crisis were complex and varied, lax regulatory oversight during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations played a role in creating the conditions for it.

lesmandalasdeniki -> hollyjadoon 10 Jul 2015 08:13

Why do you want poor people to rise up? On what sense? Revolution to topple world governments, what's next? What kind of governmental system will we apply to ensure law and order? Will it be one world government by the Vatican?


GallopingGournmet -> citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 08:09

I'm glad you set everyone straight on this. We were all thinking capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. But clearly capitalism involves greed for money, exploitation and environmental destruction. The very fact you've attempted to pick at this shows you're missing the overarching point. The Pope is criticizing how our unregulated "socioeconomic system" - which was capitalism the last time I looked - for being responsible for ruining society, enslaving men and women and destroying human fraternity. All of which is pretty spot on. Excuse me for having to clarify this for you.


citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 07:48

Wouldn't it be great if newspapers like the Guardian printed the truth, rather than spin. The pope did not say that "unbridled capitalism is the dung of devil". Here's the actual paragraph. It's nothing like the Guardian's deceptive headline.

Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished.

And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called "the dung of the devil". An unfettered pursuit of money rules.

The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people's decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.

So he's actually referring to greed for money - a moral sin .... not capitalism, which is basically meritocratic mechanism of funding businesses.


HobbesianWorld -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 07:41

Wrong, it's a predominantly Christian nation. Christians don't own it. Under the Constitution, all beliefs in matters of religion are equal.

Still, the subject of my comment was not the predominance of Christians, but how much poverty exists in this predominantly Christian nation. They ignore the most fundamental teachings they profess to believe--the admonitions of Jesus to feed, clothe, and generally help the poor.

Capitalism isn't a sacred arm of Christianity, yet many (most?) Christians tend to favor Wall Street's gluttony and greed while millions of children live in poverty. Is that what we should see in a "Christian" nation? It's the epitome of hypocrisy.


PM782_ 10 Jul 2015 07:33

The guy in charge of 1 billion plus devout catholics, with all the riches of the Vatican, preaches to us about how excessive capitalism is a bad thing.

This pope seems more reasonable than his predecessors however until he actually DOES something that makes the world a better place and in some way makes up for the history of atrocious behavior that the Catholic church has engaged in, I'm simply not interested.

It is strange though, seeing how many people are hoodwinked by a few choice words, when the organization he represents has been an utter blight on humanity since it began.


heretoeternity -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:32

There is a reason the US has over 900 bases across the world, and that is to insure its business interests.

Laurence W 10 Jul 2015 07:18

Devout capitalists/corporatists may not see the symmetry between John Paul II's defiance of the bankruptcy of unbridled Communism and Francis's defiance of the bankruptcy of unfettered Capitalism. They cling to their irrational faith (and that is what it is) in Adam Smith's "invisible hand." The collapse of Communism does not somehow validate Capitalism. It seems Capitalism's true believers must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st. Century.


ideation2020 -> PeterAB12 10 Jul 2015 07:11

In the West there is a marked reduction in family size since about 1965. There are also far more women at work, the workforce has adapted to almost full attendance of female workers. We generally have accommodated an increase of 70% by reducing family size and equally as important is the accommodation and full attendance of single a and" won't marry" adults.

SmileyFace2 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:10

But Capitalism has resulted in a Plutocracy which leads to rule by the top 1%. So it is not quite a simple as you seem to think hence the need for a mixed economy.


HobbesianWorld 10 Jul 2015 07:08

While I wouldn't put it that way, the Pope is correct that unfettered capitalism is the major source of injustice, especially the injustice of poverty.

It's a source of dark humor for me to hear Christians call the U.S. a "Christian nation" even as they fight to maintain and enhance the cause of poverty--unbridled corporatism; profit over humanity, wealth over justice and selfishness over honor.


Brian Milne -> Kevin Lim 10 Jul 2015 06:59

How much time have you spent in South America? I spent 18 years going back and forth as part of my job, must admit I have not spoken to a Liberation Theology priest (he was actually a Jesuit originally) since October. So perhaps I am just a little bit out of synch.

Life paths include being allowed to express one's sexuality openly and not risk excommunication and denunciation by the church, to be allowed to have abortions and use contraception without being told that you will go to Hell, to be allowed to 'formally' leave the church (some countries still require religion on official document) and to follow political streams that the church condemns as unchristian to name but just a few. By using the pressure of condemnation in the afterlife people are to this day controlled by fear.

Sure nobody is obliged to put money in the dish but too many still fear the stigma of not doing so. If this man can end that then it would be a job well done, but he will not, will he?


cblyth79 -> Manjush 10 Jul 2015 06:51

I agree that overpopulation is a problem, but to me the real problem is the capitalist consumerism of first-world countries and the damage this is causing to the planet. Even if the populations of third-world countries doubled they would not get anywhere near the CO2 that we produce. And that's not even to mention the fact that we have caused climate change and they haven't. To blame overpopulation is to out the blame on third-world countries, when it should be squarely on us.


VivF -> dysro1 10 Jul 2015 06:50

Animal farm is not about the failure of either Communism or Fascism....it is a commentary on the corruption of power; not a uniquely Communist problem. The machinations of politics also feature quite heavily...divide and rule, propaganda, double standards and the use of language to achieve ones aims...these are abuses of power that both the left and the right have been guilty of. Hitler's Germany was Fascist (right wing extremism), Stalin's Russia was Communist (left wing extremism)...

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton


Drew -> Layton 10 Jul 2015 06:48

Yay! Religion has done something that isn't rape, muder, burning at the stake, ripping people's breasts off, implement, beheading, shooting people on beaches, blowing things up, being homophobic, sexist, racist or generally being a complete twat! Let's all jump up and down and burn a pilot! YAY!


Kathy -> Foulds 10 Jul 2015 06:42

We are in very new times....Pope Francis is not afraid to challenge the status quo...Alleluia.


Tony Menezes 10 Jul 2015 06:24

The national interest of the unbridled capitalists has sidelined morality and justice. The third world war has started albeit piecemeal.
This is a strong wake up call from someone that must be listened to.


Greenshoots -> rgrabman 10 Jul 2015 06:23

I can only speak for the UK where I have yet to find a Catholic friend who is not immensely supportive of what the Pope has to say, whatever prominent Tory Catholics may have to say. Catholics on the whole tend to vote Labour.

If you want to see a precursor to what the Pope is now saying, read the Catholic bishops document "The common good" from 1996:
"As at the end of the 19th century, Catholic Social Teaching is concerned to protect the poor and vulnerable from the chill winds of economic forces. The defeat of Communism should not mean the triumph of unbridled capitalism."

"The Catholic doctrine of the common good is incompatible with unlimited freemarket, or laissez-faire, capitalism ...".


Unconstituted -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:22

Massively disagree with that bit about him being a non-scientist etc.

If skeptics are still unsure after all the science that has been thrown at them, then perhaps they aren't influenced that way. They follow figures that they personally respect.

And the Pope has a huge following. I am certain that he will have given a lot of people pause for thought recently.

Like many here, as an atheist, I'm no fan of the guy. But causes like social justice, climate change etc need more than just reams of studies. It needs PR.


Greenshoots -> clogexpat 10 Jul 2015 06:17

Which is incorrect because the left is not, and never has been, an identifiable tribe in British politics.
I agree that many people are not tribal about being left wing. They are willing to partner with people whom they disagree with on some issues but where there is a common cause.
However, you just have to read many of the posts in this thread to see that, for many other people, it is a form of tribal allegiance because they, in response to the Pope saying something they probably do agree with, they cannot refrain from attacking him on unrelated issues. They are not interested in supporting the common cause.


Longasyourarm -> MaximTS 10 Jul 2015 06:15

Well spotted but many here are in it for the opportunity to exercise their demons of hatred, bigotry and racism. Most don't even read the article and jump right to the comments in their haste to slag off Catholics, the Pope, Religion in general. I suppose it is still better than invasion of other countries and stealing their stuff, isn't it Tony?


domrice 10 Jul 2015 06:13

Finally, a pontiff brave enough to enunciate the core values of Jesus Christ. Oh that the world had political leaders who weren't shameless slaves to the moneylenders.


discreto -> SmileyFace2 10 Jul 2015 06:11

That is because the Free Trade is not Fair Trade, this is what Pope Francis is talking about. Capitalism is Free Trade it is not Fair Trade with the People who work to ensure the Goods are there to trade are not getting what is a Fair and Just Living wage, they are being used by the Corporations who make Millions out of their hard work. I support Pope Francis and his Courage in speaking up for the People in developing Countries who are made to depend on Capitalism against their will. At last he is the Pope who is acknowledging the sins of the Church both past and present, with a strong voice of Apology. It would be good if he could sit down with The First Nations of America to take part in their native Ritual of Smudging from Smoke of burnt Herbs and grasses for forgiveness and Peace. I pray for Pope Francis's Protection.


kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:02

An economic system is not a matter of either-or. Those who profit from "Laissez Faire" capitalism like to push the idea that the only alternative is communism. Pope Francis is obviously a proponent of a "mixed economy" as most people in the US on the left are. He is attacking "unbridled capitalism" not an adequately regulated free-market economy.


ID1780902 10 Jul 2015 05:55

Why so many negative comments? Here we have an extremely high profile figure publicly rallying people all over the world to help with climate change, and to oppose some of the excesses of capitalism.

Regardless of what you think of the Catholic church, many people will listen to what he says, and take it very seriously. If he only changes the mind of a single climate-change denier that would be enough, but I think he will do a lot more than that, particularly in the US.

[Jul 10, 2015] Greece is the latest battleground in the financial elite's war on democracy

"...And what were the boards, and risk and compliance committees of the lending banks, and the regulators of Germany, France and the EU doing while the banks were lending hand over fist to a country which plainly was over extended?

Hardly surprising that the number one priority of the ECB, EU, France, and Germany was to bail out their banks, regardless of what happened to the feckless Greeks."
.
"...Your point is valid if you believe the drug-pusher has no responsibility for the state of the addict. A sensible economy is one where you keep the banksters on a leash - the free market agenda beloved of the IMF put paid to that."
.
"... Monbiot is saying that 21st century neoliberalism is the same as 19th century laissez-faire."
.
"...To me, what the Europeans are doing to Greece is so transparent, if one knows a little about the history of other parts of the world. But other parts of the world are periphery, in Europe's view, and they are the center. Now they are treating even parts of the Eurozone as periphery. At some point the center gets smaller and smaller and everything is periphery, the other, out there, those people, and the European identity becomes a black hole rather than a beacon of light."
.
"...A very succinct article that hits some of the historical notes that explains how the elites have controlled the masses to their advantage. All the financial laws, regulations that have been put in place such as compound interest, the corporation as a 'person', and the takeover of the IMF and World Bank by US and European elites are geared to keep the wealth in those few hands."
.
"...Great article. Particularly nails the canard that right wing IMF policies are "natural", "objective" and "correct." All economics is politics in disguise, especially neo-liberal economics.""
.
"...The Greek people did not know that Goldman Sachs had cooked the books to allow them entry into the Euro. They didn't know that Goldman Sachs was betting against them providing the final nail in the coffin of their economy. They didn't know that sub prime mortgages were being re-packaged as mortgage backed securities causing a GLOBAL financial crisis. Only the most informed would have been able to see through their previous governments lies about spending levels. "
.
"...Agreed: the IMF is politicised and has operated as a means of enforcing market capitalism on countries which were not in a position to make it work. Agreed: the EU project and the single currency in particular were extremely ambitious projects which in some respects were based on a degree of utopia and some pretty fundamental fallacies. None of which excuses successive Greek governments for being complacently corrupt, economically incompetent and, in Syriza's case, deliberately inflammatory, of course. Not that Greece is entirely alone in this, even within the EU, though as shambles go it takes some beating. "
"

The Guardian

From laissez-faire economics in 18th-century India to neoliberalism in today's Europe the subordination of human welfare to power is a brutal tradition

Greece may be financially bankrupt, but the troika is politically bankrupt. Those who persecute this nation wield illegitimate, undemocratic powers, powers of the kind now afflicting us all. Consider the International Monetary Fund. The distribution of power here was perfectly stitched up: IMF decisions require an 85% majority, and the US holds 17% of the votes.

The IMF is controlled by the rich, and governs the poor on their behalf. It's now doing to Greece what it has done to one poor nation after another, from Argentina to Zambia. Its structural adjustment programmes have forced scores of elected governments to dismantle public spending, destroying health, education and all the means by which the wretched of the earth might improve their lives.

The same programme is imposed regardless of circumstance: every country the IMF colonises must place the control of inflation ahead of other economic objectives; immediately remove barriers to trade and the flow of capital; liberalise its banking system; reduce government spending on everything bar debt repayments; and privatise assets that can be sold to foreign investors.

Using the threat of its self-fulfilling prophecy (it warns the financial markets that countries that don't submit to its demands are doomed), it has forced governments to abandon progressive policies. Almost single-handedly, it engineered the 1997 Asian financial crisis: by forcing governments to remove capital controls, it opened currencies to attack by financial speculators. Only countries such as Malaysia and China, which refused to cave in, escaped.

Consider the European Central Bank. Like most other central banks, it enjoys "political independence". This does not mean that it is free from politics, only that it is free from democracy. It is ruled instead by the financial sector, whose interests it is constitutionally obliged to champion through its inflation target of around 2%. Ever mindful of where power lies, it has exceeded this mandate, inflicting deflation and epic unemployment on poorer members of the eurozone.

The Maastricht treaty, establishing the European Union and the euro, was built on a lethal delusion: a belief that the ECB could provide the only common economic governance that monetary union required. It arose from an extreme version of market fundamentalism: if inflation were kept low, its authors imagined, the magic of the markets would resolve all other social and economic problems, making politics redundant. Those sober, suited, serious people, who now pronounce themselves the only adults in the room, turn out to be demented utopian fantasists, votaries of a fanatical economic cult.

All this is but a recent chapter in the long tradition of subordinating human welfare to financial power. The brutal austerity imposed on Greece is mild compared with earlier versions. Take the 19th century Irish and Indian famines, both exacerbated (in the second case caused) by the doctrine of laissez-faire, which we now know as market fundamentalism or neoliberalism.

In Ireland's case, one eighth of the population was killed – one could almost say murdered– in the late 1840s, partly by the British refusal to distribute food, to prohibit the export of grain or provide effective poor relief. Such policies offended the holy doctrine of laissez-faire economics that nothing should stay the market's invisible hand.

When drought struck India in 1877 and 1878, the British imperial government insisted on exporting record amounts of grain, precipitating a famine that killed millions. The Anti-Charitable Contributions Act of 1877 prohibited "at the pain of imprisonment private relief donations that potentially interfered with the market fixing of grain prices". The only relief permitted was forced work in labour camps, in which less food was provided than to the inmates of Buchenwald. Monthly mortality in these camps in 1877 was equivalent to an annual rate of 94%.

As Karl Polanyi argued in The Great Transformation, the gold standard – the self-regulating system at the heart of laissez-faire economics – prevented governments in the 19th and early 20th centuries from raising public spending or stimulating employment. It obliged them to keep the majority poor while the rich enjoyed a gilded age. Few means of containing public discontent were available, other than sucking wealth from the colonies and promoting aggressive nationalism. This was one of the factors that contributed to the first world war. The resumption of the gold standard by many nations after the war exacerbated the Great Depression, preventing central banks from increasing the money supply and funding deficits. You might have hoped that European governments would remember the results.

Today equivalents to the gold standard – inflexible commitments to austerity – abound. In December 2011 the European Council agreed a new fiscal compact, imposing on all members of the eurozone a rule that "government budgets shall be balanced or in surplus". This rule, which had to be transcribed into national law, would "contain an automatic correction mechanism that shall be triggered in the event of deviation." This helps to explain the seigneurial horror with which the troika's unelected technocrats have greeted the resurgence of democracy in Greece. Hadn't they ensured that choice was illegal? Such diktats mean the only possible democratic outcome in Europe is now the collapse of the euro: like it or not, all else is slow-burning tyranny.

It is hard for those of us on the left to admit, but Margaret Thatcher saved the UK from this despotism. European monetary union, she predicted, would ensure that the poorer countries must not be bailed out, "which would devastate their inefficient economies."

But only, it seems, for her party to supplant it with a homegrown tyranny. George Osborne's proposed legal commitment to a budgetary surplus exceeds that of the eurozone rule. Labour's promised budget responsibility lock, though milder, had a similar intent. In all cases governments deny themselves the possibility of change. In other words, they pledge to thwart democracy. So it has been for the past two centuries, with the exception of the 30-year Keynesian respite.

The crushing of political choice is not a side-effect of this utopian belief system but a necessary component. Neoliberalism is inherently incompatible with democracy, as people will always rebel against the austerity and fiscal tyranny it prescribes. Something has to give, and it must be the people. This is the true road to serfdom: disinventing democracy on behalf of the elite.

• Twitter: @georgemonbiot. A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com

SaguaroRex 9 Jul 2015 22:30

It really is a religion. It's fun sometimes to imagine certain twinings-- compare and contrast. So one day I was sitting around thinking: US...and IS... what do they have in common?

Well,

1) they both pursue really totalitarian ideologies with every conviction of the religious fanatic.

2) Meaning they will subordinate their very humanity to the propagation, nay: perfection! of this brand of 'Utopianism'.

3)They each of them want to completely wipe something out and feel they must do so in order for their Creed to survive. The IS wants to destroy the Past ...as is evidenced by their historical monuments destructions. But the US, they want to destroy the Future... Or, specifically: any future where they are not practicing their own very self-interested brand of money-power religion and are not on top of the world lording it over everyone else.

Both of these visions are so deranged as to be impossible to achieve, but like any ardent Totalitarians-- they will damn sure try and over the dead bodies Of Others, regardless of how many or how much suffering need be inflicted to serve their 'God'...

Remco van Santen 9 Jul 2015 21:36

Conspiracist twaddle to argue the problem is external. Greece was corruptly managed for decades with the less wealthy bearing the burden disguised by an on-going devaluation of the drachma that devalued seven-fold in the two decades to joining the euro (http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/fedstl/exgrus).

The Europeans were naïve to expect the internal corruption to cease and the fixed exchange rate, presented by the adopted euro, simply brought it out to the surface. Greece is the home of democracy, but it is also became the home of those saying we might all be equal, but some are more entitled than others. Adopting the euro exposed the rot and so this is an opportunity for Greece to get its own house in order.

The Eurozone might like to think of helping the more vulnerable like the pensioners are protected and not used by the Greek government for grandstanding. Greece, the sheep, is parasite-infested and to be held just long enough under the sheep-dip pesticide to kill the parasites but not too long to kill the sheep.

Go Tsipras, show you are a leader of a true democracy.

motram 9 Jul 2015 20:50

Looks like the Tsyriza government has surrendered to Eurozone and IMF austerity demand. The game is over. The Rothsyz and the bilderbergys have carried the day in the end.

zolotoy -> peeptalk 9 Jul 2015 20:38

Only the little people pay taxes, as Mrs. Helmsley so trenchantly observed. That holds for all countries, not just Greece.

Allykate mikebain 9 Jul 2015 17:38

Interesting comment Mike Bain, thank you. Only a couple of points the "hoi polloi" are the lower classes not the elite (a common error!) and I dispute the notion that all humans are exploiters and takers. History proves otherwise. The early banks and building societies in England were created by non-conformists, Unitarians and Quakers etc, who did not spend their wealth on themselves but lived sparingly, ploughed their money back into their businesses, and ultimately achieved amazing reforms for the ordinary people here. If the rich, modern Greeks had the same selfless Christian philosophy, the corrupt tax system and greedy loans may not have destroyed their economy.

Allykate 9 Jul 2015 17:20

The "true road to serfdom" or revolution. Don't blame me..... I made speeches in support of the Referendum Party to oppose the signing of The Maastricht Treaty. John Major just would not listen to the people.


Boghaunter mikebain 9 Jul 2015 17:00

Governments are not the people. Germans were not Hitler. He was elected but then assumed dictatorial power. Look at the US - our government is made up of politicians bought by the 0.1%. The 0.1% do a great job controlling what the average American is told.

As for Germany reaping the benefit of no military, we'd be A LOT better off if we made the choice to invest in our country instead of in our ridiculously large military budget. We could choose that benefit. General Butler famously said, "War is a racket," and he was right.

The Marshall Plan was enlightened self interest as the US feared the spread of communism in devastated Europe. The UK received the most $. It also was disbursed with tight control over German politics/administration/economy and required dismantling of much of Germany's remaining industry. It was not a simple handout.


NYbill13 9 Jul 2015 15:45

Why Did They Lend Mega-Billions to Greece?

I still can't figure out what 'Greece' needed so badly that a handful of men who ran its government a decade ago took on these loans.

Was the money invested in public infrastructure? Does Greece now have a fabulous highway, airport and rail systems?

Did the previous Greek government ('conservative,' perhaps?) build a dozen new public hospitals, renovate the nation's schools or build networks of water and sewer treatment plants or desalination stations?

If so, then the Greek people may indeed owe a great debt to European financiers.

If not, who spent all this money and on what? Did those who signed the loan agreements receive any sort of commission for doing so?

Do those signatories now work for the IMF or perhaps Deutsche Bank?

All the press says is 'the Greeks' owe the Germans a ton of money. After 11,789 headlines and articles, I definitely understand that much.

After that, it's just pompous quotes and dire speculation about the future of the damn euro.

How about some background information, fellas? I'll bet you could even find out who signed the loan papers on both sides and talk to them.

Oh, but that would take, you know, research.


syenka CaptainGrey 9 Jul 2015 14:22

The point cap'n, is that the money isn't actually going to the Greeks. It's going to Greece's creditors (the ECB et al) who made incredibly irresponsible loans to a tiny slice of the Greek population. That irresponsibility should NOT be rewarded. The way out, of course -- oh horrors! -- is to just let the creditors take a bath, i.e. wipe the debt off the books. Then, put some money into the pockets of regular Greeks who will, of course, proceed to spend it and thereby relaunch the economy. Would you or I or any European be hurt by such a move? If your answer is yes, tell us how. And, the suffering of millions of Greeks would come to an end.


alpine1994 CaptainGrey 9 Jul 2015 13:22

It's true, the Greek government took the money. We all know about the Legarde List and the rampant corruption of the previous government administrations. They've all got off scot free and instead it's the Greek people who suffer through aggressive austerity. One might be so callous to blame them too, but if the government decreed citizens could retire young with a fat pension, most people would excitedly take up the offer. If the EU had any balls, it would authorize INTERPOL or what ever agency to crack down on corrupt current and former Greek politicians and other financial criminals to help recover money to satiate the debt. These fat cats get away with sinking whole countries!


CollisColumbulus Patrick Moore 9 Jul 2015 09:43

The greatest landholders in Ireland were almost to a man absentees, living in comfortable houses in Britain with wealth extracted from Irish peasants by their middlemen. Furthermore, they were alien in religion, often language, and nationality (the landholders may have considered themselves Irish - in some cases - by they were certainly 'British' in identity also, which cannot be said of the mass of the population) from the peasantry who provided their wealth. The ethno-religious land settlement in Ireland and the stranglehold on the Irish peasantry that resulted were the direct result of British policy in Ireland from the sixteenth and especially the seventeenth century onward and were maintained by the power of the British military. While the situation is too often reduced to 'Irish good, English bad' - note the heroic relief efforts of many private British individuals, especially the Quakers - it is impossible to excuse the British state from a large dose of culpability for the Famine without resorting to historical dishonesty of the highest level.


Giannis Kalogeropoulos athenajoseph 9 Jul 2015 09:40

you are not well informed. please read http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2015/07/07/five-reasons-greeks-were-right/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectoral_balances

and remember: "the ones who have no knowledge, should not express opinion" Plato 460bc

CollisColumbulus -> Patrick Moore 9 Jul 2015 09:37

"The potato famine was a tragedy, but it is a little reported fact that the only crop that was blighted. During the time of the famine Ireland was an exporter of meat and grain. There was no shortage of food in Ireland - but there was a shortage of potatoes, which was the staple of the poor".

I am astonished that you use this to argue against British culpability in the Irish famine. The actions of the British state and Anglo-Irish colonial landholding society both created the conditions of dreadful rural poverty (and potato dependency) that were a sine qua non of the Famine and directly exacerbated the situation through their adherence to laissez-faire economics. It might be noted that many starving Irish farm labourer families emigrated to Britain to enter the workhouses there, rather than the workhouses in Ireland, because they knew the poor would not be allowed to starve to death in Britain.

Giannis Kalogeropoulos -> athenajoseph 9 Jul 2015 09:33

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-to-GDP_ratio see that map. Debt for countries is not like debt for people ... get informed before you blame ....


nottrue -> CitizenCarrier 9 Jul 2015 08:45

Something brought down Greece.

Its called the GFC. To refresh your memory financial institutions had manufactured schemes that made them lots of money from money that did not exist. When they eventually got caught out the tower of cards collapsed and the world was left short of cash and economies everywhere shrank. The financial institutions that caused the problem were bailed out by taxpayers because they were too big to fail. This meant that a few thousand very wealthy kept there wealth and the institutions could continue to play their game and make more money. The next collapse is not far away. The Greek loans (and other bad and risky loans) were bought by the taxpayer as part of their bail out package. It is shameful that governments refuse a similar bailout deal to the Greeks which involves the misery of millions of people. It is even sicker that the condition they imposed have been known and shown repeated not to work since the 1930 depression.


mikebain 9 Jul 2015 08:30

A great essay with a sad but true take-away point-humans are exploiters, takers. Humans can see no other way forward than to take from the weak - it's the easiest thing to do. Wealth must be protected at all costs. History is replete and is an unyielding witness to human exploitation of anything exploitable, especially the defenseless.

There is one exception to this-the aftermath of WWII. It is interesting that Germany never repaid its WWII debits (or those from WWI) and was the beneficiary of the Marshall Plan and U.S. military protection during the Cold War. So as Germany had no real debt-after murdering millions-and did not have the expense of maintaining a military, it was able to focus on growing it's economy at the cost of the U.S. taxpayer, some who had family members killed by Germans in WWII.

Of course this does not enter into the reporting of the credit crisis in Greece, where Germany is demanding austerity.

And so it goes: money talks, hoi polloi walks. True democracy will always be threatened by the human exploiters, the takers of this world, many who we call "Leaders"-and unfortunately they are legion and reborn on our planet every second; entering life with a mind fully open to and waiting to be filled with Free Market, Libertarian hubris, avarice, and the right to self-righteous exploitation of any and everything.

Michael Bain
Glorieta, New Mexico


Celtiberico 9 Jul 2015 08:27

the gold standard – the self-regulating system at the heart of laissez-faire economics – prevented governments in the 19th and early 20th centuries from raising public spending or stimulating employment. It obliged them to keep the majority poor while the rich enjoyed a gilded age. Few means of containing public discontent were available, other than sucking wealth from the colonies and promoting aggressive nationalism. This was one of the factors that contributed to the first world war. The resumption of the gold standard by many nations after the war exacerbated the Great Depression, preventing central banks from increasing the money supply and funding deficits. You might have hoped that European governments would remember the results.

The worrying part is that a repeat performance today would quite possibly result in the destruction of human civilisation, or even life on earth.


Cecelia O'brien 9 Jul 2015 05:22

there may be a few errors here but fundamentally this article is spot on! Good for you!

I'd add though we let this happen - we too were greedy and the managerial middle class stood by as the unions were destroyed - we all took this 15% returns on dicey investments and did not question how such high rates could be possible - we celebrated globalism while and we supported elected officials who promised us deregulation was going to bring more prosperity.

Take your government back while you can.


JimGC athenajoseph 9 Jul 2015 04:58

And what were the boards, and risk and compliance committees of the lending banks, and the regulators of Germany, France and the EU doing while the banks were lending hand over fist to a country which plainly was over extended?

Hardly surprising that the number one priority of the ECB, EU, France, and Germany was to bail out their banks, regardless of what happened to the feckless Greeks.


Cafael Skeffo 9 Jul 2015 04:34

Appeal to authority.

Capitalism destroyed feudalism? No, historical cataclysms and technological advances destroyed feudalism, but after a period of flux which you call capitalism, power and wealth is again concentrated at the top and new aristocracies emerge who move to guard their position and make it permanent; we are seeing this now with the increase in inequality and the end of post-industrial revolution/post-war social mobility in Western nations.

And you appear to subscribe to survival of the fittest approach of the extreme right wing: 'destroying the inefficient'. Heard that before.


Skeffo Cafael 9 Jul 2015 03:51

Your thinking so extraordinarily confused that it almost impossible to confront all the contradictions and inanities. You really need to do some philosophy courses, and focus on logic please.

Then start to learn some economic history: capitalism does not lead to feudalism, it destroyed feudalism. (I mean, even a simple time line could help you there.)

Capitalism, through its creative destruction, is continuous revolution. Try to get your head around it. It may take a few decades, or even the rest of your life, but you will understand if you work at it seriously.

ThanksNeolibZombies athenajoseph 9 Jul 2015 03:48

"Has Monbiot lost it?" No, his article looks spot on to me. Forcing a country to adopt austerity / structural adjustement policies that have a long, proven track record of causing economic devastation everywhere they have been tried is a form of persecution...and of course these policies have caused economic devastation in Greece.

"Why should [Greece] be allowed to walk away from a debt of its own making?"
(Sigh.) I got tired of hearing this in the 1980s and 90s and the 2000s, the same argument was used to justify beating African economies to a pulp.

Interesting that the rich people who made trillions out of throwing us all into unsustainable debt in the decades leading up to the financial crash have been bailed out and have been "allowed to walk away" with trillions of pounds, leaving us with the bill. It's one rule for the rich and another rule for everyone else, so Greeks have to suffer big cuts in living standards.

Debt is a big stick with which the rich continually beat the poor, and it's always the fault of the poor for some reason.


Benjamin Raivid Giannis Kalogeropoulos 9 Jul 2015 03:45

You don't need to be 'bailed out' - the money you own is fake - made from thin air by banks who never had the money, but were allowed to metamorphosis it (i.e. just type the numbers they wanted, but didn't have) onto a screen. This fake money is then charged at interest. The audacity! It's 'legalised' counterfeiting and totally corrupt. Why should anyone have to pay back fake money, let alone at interest?

The EU waged war against the Greeks - calling them lazy and saying they are in debt because they don't pay their taxes (lol! Forget about being insulted, it reveals a total ignorance of the nature of taxes: even buying clothes at a store, or fuel from a petrol station is taxed! We are always paying taxes!). Brits seriously believe that Greeks are in debt because they don't pay taxes....(while, of course, Britain itself is great at paying taxes, just ask Vodafone and Amazon and Boots and Specsavers...)

Forget the bailout; do an Iceland. Or use the resources you have, land, fields, food - the basic necessities of life, and live.


merlin2 pdre 9 Jul 2015 03:05

Agree with others here. The vast majority of the money (240B or so) went to servicing the debt owed to German banks, laundered through the ECB agent). Another 40B went to Greek banks to stave off bankruptcy and most of the rest was spent (by necessity and EU dictats) on various private/public equities and entities. Much less than 10% of the original actually went towards internal social programs, infrastructure and/or any stimulus activities that could help the country actually regrow its economy.

With no funds for growth and a substantial reduction in tax receipts and economic activities due to mandated austerity, a catch 22 was created as sure as night follows day. This result is so obvious that one is left wondering - could the EU financial elitocrats be that clueless or did they know and caused the Greek collapse deliberately? I see no other possibility. Not when every economist worth their salt, from Krugman to de Long to Piketty and just about everyone (even a few Austrians!) saw ihe crisi coming from miles away and issued warnings by the bushel for some time now.

That leaves a major question unanswered - if the economic wizards of Europe are not entirely incompetent/clueless - what does the alternative mean? if they knew what's going to happen, and let it roll, what purpose did/does it serve?

athenajoseph 9 Jul 2015 02:46

Has Monbiot lost it? Those who persecute Greece he says....

Greece has been incompetent, corrupt and profligate and now owes more than it can pay. Why should it be allowed to walk away from a debt of its own making?

An individual cannot. Did the Greek economists not read the fine print? Why did they not act when the debt got to $100billion? Why wait until you have added another $270billion?

Sure the EU has played a part but the biggest part was played by Greece. The sooner it is out of the EU the better.


athenajoseph 9 Jul 2015 02:44

One may well argue that there were flaws in the EU from the beginning, however, as an exercise and experiment, sourced in a deep desire to unite Europe and perhaps avoid a third disastrous war, it is to be commended and has offered much of value.

Given the Greek propensity for corruption and default it was perhaps singularly unwise for the EU to ever admit Greece into their ranks. However, what was done is done. The Greeks may well be better off outside of the EU or at least back to the drachma, but anyone who thinks that there will be anything 'better' without Greece dealing with its endemic corruption and incompetence is deluded.

You can lay perhaps 30% of the blame for this situation at the door of the EU and banks but the rest is surely on the shoulders of Greece.

The Greek Government should have acted when the debt got to $100billion. It did not. It did not when it got to $200billion or $300billion and it now sits at $370billion. And that is supposed to be someone else's fault??

Tsipras has been playing childish games. Calling a referendum and then encouraging a no vote, which he got, and then sacrificing his finance minister in the name of it, as was correct given his appalling use of the term 'terrorism' applied to the EU, and then returning supposedly to negotiate with the EU with nothing concrete in his hands.

The manipulative, cavalier, incompetent, childish and corrupt behaviour of the Greeks should have them thrown out and the sooner, the better. Let them create their utopia themselves and put their money where their very large mouth is.

http://www.vanityfair.com/.../10/greeks-bearing-bonds-201010


ID7678903 Giannis Kalogeropoulos 9 Jul 2015 02:13

A great description of their actions and the pain they cause. The reason they cut the army is to ensure there could not be a popular uprising that it would support . Also a large number of Greeks have done their military service. A popular uprising led by such a knowledgeable group would preserve democracy and they don't want that.


AnonForNowThanks corstopitum 8 Jul 2015 23:25

But WHO really got the "haircut?"

Who got the commissions? Who set up the insurance products? Who is actually holding the note, and what stream of income did they expect to get and what are they getting instead?

I don't think you understand modern "risk shifting," or how much money is made on such deals, and I don't think that anyone does, frankly.

But like Socrates, at least I realize that I don't know -- because these are not regulated markets, their actions are hidden from scrutiny yet have massive, global ramifications, and all we have been fed are ridiculous, home-spun metaphors designed to stoke mindless rage. I'm sorry, but you've fallen for it.


AnonForNowThanks BeastNeedsMoreTorque 8 Jul 2015 23:13

As John Lanchester pointed out in IOU: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay, there were a lot of things that "could" be done when the US and its sphere of influence had to "compete" with the Soviets in a "beauty contest."

Thanks to Sputnik, little American children learned physical science and calculus in public schools, thanks to the Cuban system of medicine the elderly got Medicare, thanks to the Red Army Germany got debts forgiven, and thanks to the whole lot of them major appliances ran trouble-free for 20 years.

Don't dismiss it. Read what he has to say.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/books/06book.html?_r=0

In any event, that was then. This is now.


AnonForNowThanks iOpenerLo114Lat51 8 Jul 2015 22:52

So you believe investment bankers have to be FORCED to set up bond auctions that will result in commissions so large that they and their children and their children's children will be set up for life?

They were screaming, "no, NO!" and trying to push the money back out of their pockets, but they were forced.

In the case of Greece, the bonds were engineered by a right-wing government acting in collusion with Goldman Sachs. And there will be complete idiots who will believe your tale, that the "leftists" forced loans to be made to Greece.

The sad part is that although you do have to count on mass idiocy, a two-minute memory and an even shorter attention span, you can.


Giannis Kalogeropoulos 8 Jul 2015 22:44

if they only could give us some time to breath ... Greece from 1994 till 2008 have pay for loans 540 billions and everything was fine to the country and the loaners. we can pay 320 billion we owe now (that was 190bn before EU run to "save" us) but they don't want to get the money! they have made a trap! they turn the Goldman Sachs loans to EU loans, so ordinary EU people will have to pay it! why? ask your governments ... who did it! (so it seems we are not the only ones with corrupted governments) ... then, they come to tell us how to run the country (and sell all the valuable to German France etc. private companies for a penny ) ... HOW WOLD YOU FEEL, if you get a loan to buy a house and someone from the bank comes every day to your house, to tell you what to eat, how to dress, how to use water and electricity ... to don't pay to educate your kids, to sell your favorite leather chair, so he can make sure he will get his money back???? and all that, while you were paying the debt on time!!!!!!!! how would you feel??? ... that's how we feel ... they did it to us, they will try it on you all too, sooner or later ... its harvest time and banks don't know what is civil rights or democracy. they need assets, houses cars gold land for to turn their worthless paper in to real value!!!! keep in mind that in Greece at 1998 it was discovered one of the biggest oil reserves in Europe .... coincidence that after that Goldman sachs "bomb" us with loans???? think again. ordinary people are in danger of loosing our freedom today in Europe from banks who we owe some paper they type and tell us it has value ... but it cost to them, some ink and paper ... Greek referendum scared them. they are afraid of little people come together and form groups of common interests. cause that gives us power. we have power to change our faith, as we Greeks are trying to do. we stopped them from stealing the valuable of our country and to drink our blood just by choosing the right government and say no to fear! they try to scare us by saying we become Zimbabwe (no offence to that country) that we die from hunger with out money, they close our banks, they said we ll become fail state etc. still we vote no! one and only reason. ENOUGHT IS ENOUGHT and when someone feed a desperate man to the wolfs, he will return leading the wolfs!!! I think banks will not stop so we must all be suspicious and supportive to each other. together we won the Huns, we won the Turks, we won the Nazis, we won dark ages, we can win banks ... we want and we will pay back every penny of what we owe (even if its with tricky interests) as we always did. but they have to let us to do so. how on earth, they make us to close our factories and productive companies and they expect us to pay back?? they ask to double costs on touristic businesses. but if so Greece will become expensive for tourists and they will go elsewhere! tourist industry produces 7% of Greek economy!!!! hmmm wait! German companies last 10 years have bought great deal of hotels in turkey!!!! ... and they say they want to save us... 5 years they did the worst they could to save us and the best they could for to buy all the valuable assets here. so that is what its all about ... fortunately we have a strong army (one of the best trained in world, and that because we have near war events with turkey all time around), cause else they will threaten us even with army force. how accidental that 5 years now, they cut 60% of money for the army, and they want to cut even more ... Germany France and others last 20 years sold us weapons worth over 90bn euro. now they say we have very big army. but we don't have neighbors Luxemburg or Belgium! we have aggressors like turkey (2 biggest army in NATO), Syria's crisis Libya Albania's uck etc. why now they discover that we have to cut 50% of our army??? they used it to all crisis but now is a danger ... also because we are the last neighboring battle grounds like Syria etc we receive refugees and emigrants from all poor countries. estimates say they are now over 30% of Greek population!!!! over 3million!!! EU offers advise their respect but nothing else!!!

WE HAVE CRISIS! we have 1,5 million unemployed! how can we feed the poor emigrants who want to go to England Germany France etc and we are forced by EU rools to keep them here??? why EU acts like nothing is wrong? ... I hope you are wiser now about what is happening to a small but proud country called Greece, last borders of EU with the "dangerous" out world ...


Naseer Ahmad 8 Jul 2015 20:40

The Bengal famines were engineered by the East India Company http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/04/east-india-company-original-corporate-raiders

Tsipras should tell the latter day East India Companies to take a hike. Sadly, I think he'll back down because socialists are just as bound by economic orthodoxy as Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus and their descendants.

As Alfred Marshall argued, "man should be equally important as money, services are as important as goods, and that there must be an emphasis on human welfare, instead of just wealth".


LostintheUS 8 Jul 2015 19:49

Excellent essay. Hear, hear!

I was just reading exactly this last night, that the famine was caused "partly by the British refusal to distribute food, to prohibit the export of grain" in the "Chronicles of the Macedonian". A ship that was the second ship captured by the American navy during the War of 1812. In the 1840s, the "Macedonian" was borrowed by a private citizen/sea captain to take food to Ireland. He made the observation that none of the other crops had failed and that people were starving by the hundreds of thousands because the British government would not distribute these other crops that had been extremely successful.


seaspan 8 Jul 2015 19:47

Predatory international finance is killing capitalism. Where austerity simply means shrinking the private economy and making more and more working age people to be dependent on government, but receiving less and less money driving them to poverty and penury, which kills capitalism even more. This will surely lead to socialism (massive govt intervention and investment) or fascism (economic slavery under authoritarian rule).


Rozina DavidRees 8 Jul 2015 19:45

Unfortunately, people didn't like the results of communism and it depended in the assumption that humans like sharing and aren't greedy. We don't and we are.

That last sentence itself could also be an assumption. How much of the self-interest and greed, that we are taught is innate, is actually inculcated into us by culture and becomes ingrained habit hard to overcome and easy to indulge in an environment where we are constantly pushed to acquire more possessions and pile up more debt?

There are other alternatives to capitalism and communism: you could try investigating social credit as one alternative.

According to Douglas, the true purpose of production is consumption, and production must serve the genuine, freely expressed interests of consumers. In order to accomplish this objective, he believed that each citizen should have a beneficial, not direct, inheritance in the communal capital conferred by complete access to consumer goods assured by the National Dividend and Compensated Price.[6] Douglas thought that consumers, fully provided with adequate purchasing power, will establish the policy of production through exercise of their monetary vote.[6] In this view, the term economic democracy does not mean worker control of industry, but democratic control of credit.[6] Removing the policy of production from banking institutions, government, and industry, Social Credit envisages an "aristocracy of producers, serving and accredited by a democracy of consumers."[6]


CodePink 8 Jul 2015 19:38

And yet, when the private banks (financial elite) needed bailing out to the tune of TRILLIONS of dollars due to their own greedy practices, the taxpayer was forced into it.

Given most of Greece's debt was originally owed to private banks like Goldman Sachs who continued to loan them money despite the fact they knew they couldn't pay it back, and they then somehow managed to convince the ECB to take on the debt - the old socialise the losses, privatise the profits scheme - perhaps the IMF should be looking to GS and the likes to contribute significantly to paying down Greece's debt.

lifeloveroverall 8 Jul 2015 19:26

The order from and to the Brussels Donkeycrats : Attack and no mercy to Greece. Regardless: we are the chosen, on a holy mission to keep safe our beloved money power. But here is my wish to all Donkeycrats, may you all burn in Hell.
PS: my apologies to the poor donkeys


estragon11 8 Jul 2015 19:09

as far as that goes, who cares about the planet as long as there is money to be made?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding


blacksox666 8 Jul 2015 18:58

Austerity, Merkel style, is just a modern version of Le droit du Seigneur, but writ large. it's time for another version of 1932 when the Republicans were thrown out and men and women who cared about the middle and lower classes took the reigns of government. Time for the Greeks to start printing Drachmas and go forward. it has been said "better a horrible end than horrors with no end"


goldstars 8 Jul 2015 18:25

More people need to know about the IMF's actions in the world, and how that affects all of us. It won't get better unless people realise they can stand up to it. The Guardian is still vaguely leftwing enough (or has that history) that it attracts those who already have sympathy or understanding. We need to see Monbiot's articles, and similar information, spread far and wide in all mainstream media.


RealWavelengths 8 Jul 2015 18:15

"The IMF is controlled by the rich, and governs the poor on their behalf. It's now doing to Greece what it has done to one poor nation after another, from Argentina to Zambia. Its structural adjustment programmes have forced scores of elected governments to dismantle public spending, destroying health, education and all the means by which the wretched of the earth might improve their lives."

Best synopsis of the IMF. However, I disagree that returning to the gold standard during the interwar period was a factor in the Great Depression. Creative credit policy was the main culprit.


seaspan 8 Jul 2015 17:30

The Greek pension system has four aspects that should be considered. 1) demographics,,, 20% of the population is aged 65 and over, 2) Govt layoffs by attrition (early retirement options), 3) no clear distinction between social security and welfare, 4) disability pensions. Officially, the retirement age is 66 years old climbing from 57 in 2009. Where people get manipulated is the malicious citing of individual cases as being the rule rather than the exception. Demand context when reading these false statistics...

oldamericanlady YouDidntBuildThat 8 Jul 2015 16:57

The notion that public spending didn't make a dent in the poverty rate is simply absurd, but it's one of those invented facts repeated endlessly by right-wingers because it sounds like it might be true.

In fact, there was a sharp decline in various indicators of poverty from the late 1960s until the early 1980s, when the launch of Reaganomics took the American economy into a long, slow, steady decline; and even in the three subsequent decades, by measurements like housing, medical care and nutrition poor Americans are unquestionably better off than they were before the war on poverty.

Moreover, look at social spending over a greater span of time: the long-term success of Social Security and Medicare at lifting America's elderly out of the direst ranks of poverty is just unquestionable--except, of course, by reactionary propagandists who insist it can't possibly be true because it's such an inconvenient truth.

Before Social Security, nearly half of America's elderly lived in poverty, many of them in dire poverty. It was not unheard of for old people to starve to death in this country, and many were forced out of their homes and into wretched existences in county homes and poor farms.

Today, thanks to social spending, the poverty rate among the elderly is down to about 10%--still far too many, with income inequality worsened by Reaganism in this age cohort as in all others, but an incredible improvement over the rate just a few generations ago nevertheless.

Public spending works.

Unfortunately, so do incessant right-wing mantras and lies.

Arjen Bootsma 8 Jul 2015 16:55

The world we live in values property rights over human rights.

AuntieMame Ykuos1 8 Jul 2015 16:53

73% of Greece's exports are mineral fuels, followed by salt, sulphur, stone and cement. And don't forget Virgin Olive oil, the best in the world, since it is not mixed with inferior oils the way Italian produce theirs mixed with normal imported oils.

Tourism is a large sector of the service industry in that absolutely stunningly beautiful country, but by far not the largest.

Do a little research before spewing platitudes her about Greece, a country that you obviously know nothing about.

seaspan shout_at_me 8 Jul 2015 16:35

Greece has the highest self employed sector in all of Europe. In any country that sector is the most difficult for tax collection. It is a libertarian paradise...


AuntieMame shout_at_me 8 Jul 2015 16:06

Actually the Greek crisis was caused by prior conservative government, not the lefty coalition of Tsipras which only became the majority five short month ago.

But I guess that you are one of those calling all of Europe as socialist haven, including the conservative government with universal healthcare, free higher education, and strong safety nets for the less fortunate among their citizens.


easterman FenlandBuddha 8 Jul 2015 15:15

Don't borrow from the IMF and none of this applies. Run a sensible economy and you never need the IMF

Sounds logical - until you factor in the fact that the market's-know -best IMF was a cheerleader for the de-regulation of the banks which led to the credit boom which led to the credit crunch which led to taxpayer bailouts of the banks (and counter-cyclical fiscal policy by the G7 in order to head of a global depression) which led to quadrupling of budget deficits in many countries which led the weaker ones into the clutches of ...the IMF who then set about deflating them using a dodgy estimate of the fiscal multiplier which grossly underestimated the damage this would do to output and tax revenue which left them needing more bailouts to pay the interest on the loans ( created at the push of a button) and subject to even more deflation ...

Your point is valid if you believe the drug-pusher has no responsibility for the state of the addict. A sensible economy is one where you keep the banksters on a leash - the free market agenda beloved of the IMF put paid to that.


Henforthe SteB1 8 Jul 2015 14:48

The whole modern system is a gigantic Ponzi Scheme, I mean it literally.

I certainly get what you mean- I've always suspected it's more to do with our banking system though. Interest rates are routinely manipulated specifically in order to encourage growth, and fractional reserve systems can mean that this growth isn't based in anything of real value. Sure, growth creates jobs and can lift communities out of poverty, but can it be sustained indefinitely? And once a society becomes developed, does it really need further growth, at least enough to continue to manipulate currencies to encourage it?

It's presumably possible for economic growth to decouple from physical resource use, although it's not really happened yet. But I suspect there are still 'Limits to Growth' within the pure economic realm. Growth seems to inevitably slow to a crawl as a society becomes developed and its population stabilises: see Japan and much of Europe, and perhaps also look at China where this week the government is desperately trying to keep markets rising in the face of a gradual realisation that the actual demand just isn't there. Perhaps if we learnt to accept this, things might be more stable in the long term.

I agree that we should look back at the Enclosures as a heinous crime perpetrated by the landed elites. The Enclosures are doubly relevant here: in the event of market uncertainty, one can fall back on savings or assets. But government economic policy makes that more difficult: interest manipulation and capital controls mean savings become diminished or inaccessible. But also, in some parts of the world people can still weather hard economic times by going 'back to the land'.

But in the West this is no longer possible, because the common land was stolen.


SocratesTheGooner -> Colin Chaplain 8 Jul 2015 14:17

Take the 19th century Irish and Indian famines, both exacerbated (in the second case caused) by the doctrine of laissez-faire, which we now know as market fundamentalism or neoliberalism.

Not a straw man. Monbiot is saying that 21st century neoliberalism is the same as 19th century laissez-faire. How much more explicitly could he put it?


shaheeniqbal 8 Jul 2015 13:33

This Greek Tragedy highlights the interferences of IMF and World Bank into the democratic processes of a country. From the collapse of Greek economy it is quite clear that "Confessions of a Hitman" was not a conspiracy theory. Every day the third world is constantly suffering the IMF excesses... Greece is lucky that it is in Europe otherwise it would have suffered the same fate as the African and other third world countries indebted to IMF and World Bank and had their arms and legs twisted. It is not only that IMF dictates the prices of Electricity and Gas and imposition of taxes ie general sales taxes but they also interfere in the Democratic processes by backing their favorite chosen corrupt and criminal political leaders who loot these countries with both hands and shift the assets of the impoverished countries to foreign shores.

One hopes that with the establishment of Brics Bank the poor and deprived third world will be able to shop around for cheaper loans and suffer less interference in the internal politics.

The events in Greece highlight the misery and suffering of the impoverished third world countries at the hands of the unscrupulous lenders who once allowed into the country will keep thrusting the indebted economies into further debt and ultimate ruination.


Piotr Szafrański -> hankwilliams 8 Jul 2015 12:51

Hank, you think that "40% [of enterprises] wouldn't have been lost and many Poles would not have left if the austerity programme wasn't inflicted on the Poles.". You might be right, you might be not right. The only way to decide was to check the other way.

Well, at least 51% of Poles did not want to check the other way. Our choice.

Of some interest here is that there WERE countries which tried "the other way" (no austerity). Did not work so well for them. So this alternative might not had worked. But you are free to have your opinion.

"get their rich to pay their share"??? Always those mystical "rich"... Used to be "rich Jews", but after WWII this is somehow awkward, isn't it? But well, the Bolshevik revolution definitely made the rich pay, didn't it? How well did it work for Russia? Wanna recommend this to the Greeks?

But sorry, this time we have "rich Germans". It is politically correct to call to take their money, of course. Social justice and international justice in one package. They are all Nazi, I forgot.


Piotr Szafrański -> hankwilliams 8 Jul 2015 11:59

Hank, our "austerity programme" had started in 1989. And continues. Back then the country was in such dire straights that even the ruling elite ("communists") had problems with buying basic appliances. People's wages were below 100$/month.

Since then, supported by the international community (massive debt relief, massive investments) we GRADUALLY progressed. But the said debt relief was ONLY at the very beginning of the reforms (1989/90). We pay our dues on time since then.

Meanwhile, the price of reform was high. Whole cities had found over 50% of jobs disappearing. Factories employing tens of thousands were being closed. Some of those jobs/enterprises maybe could be saved (we estimate say 40% of the closed ones), but there were no lenders willing to experiment. Axes were in full swing. Many people remember this today with revulsion, and in many cases they are right. About 10% of population (i.e. over 3mln people) emigrated or are shuttling between jobs elsewhere and families in Poland. Unemployment remains high (about 10%). Poles work, on average, supposedly the longest hours worldwide, except for the Koreans.

But since 1991/92, Poland had an uninterrupted growth. Most Poles today earn money they would not believe back in 1989. We slowly grow enterprises and industries competitive or even dominant in their markets worldwide. And obviously, the more you eat, the bigger the appetite grows. Ask average Pole - we are grumbling. Which is not bad - we still have way to go.

But maybe were we were "lucky" it was that 1989 was a clear break - we got suddenly full freedom and responsibility, after 50 years. So it was obvious to most that we start low and we have to keep belts tight for a long time. That precious 51% of people feeling less of entitlement and more of duty was there.


sassafrasdog Gerbetticus 8 Jul 2015 11:57

Yes, I have the Shock Doctrine, and my professor of Latin American history required that we view the documentary version of Shock Doctrine on a day when he was out of town at a conference or something.

I sat there with my jaw dropped. Other students in the room, all much younger, were muttering curses. As an older adult student, I remembered the day when Salvador Allende fell, and could still picture the TV in my mother's kitchen where we had watched the coverage.

Shock Doctrine explained all, like the other shoe dropping.

To me, what the Europeans are doing to Greece is so transparent, if one knows a little about the history of other parts of the world. But other parts of the world are periphery, in Europe's view, and they are the center. Now they are treating even parts of the Eurozone as periphery. At some point the center gets smaller and smaller and everything is periphery, the other, out there, those people, and the European identity becomes a black hole rather than a beacon of light.

It is hard to look at oneself sometimes, but a wise teacher once told me that the characteristics that we dislike in others, are the same characteristics that we ourselves contain. That is the fear. The answer is that by facing the truth of that, we are able to attend to our own faults, and become, humbly, more tolerant of the things that make us all human.

I hope that Europe can acquire some wisdom before it is too late.


BritCol 8 Jul 2015 11:27

A very succinct article that hits some of the historical notes that explains how the elites have controlled the masses to their advantage. All the financial laws, regulations that have been put in place such as compound interest, the corporation as a 'person', and the takeover of the IMF and World Bank by US and European elites are geared to keep the wealth in those few hands.

What has been so worrying is how few people seem to realize that, and cheer on the status quo. Have they such little self-respect that they believe these elites are better, smarter than them? All they have is all the advantages of being born rich. Although certainly some entrepreneurs, like artists, have natural advantages.

Gerbetticus 8 Jul 2015 11:06

Dr Karen Adler states in a letter to The Guardian today:

"The debt that the Greek government is attempting to negotiate on is around £237billion. Compare that with the British government bailout which, at its peak, guaranteed £1,162 billion to the banks. One bank alone (Deutsche Bank) got £226 billion......

So Dr Adler, , if you're on here, can you explain how, in the face of EU prohibition of State Aid to private companies , a , no , The German bank, was bailed out by the British taxpayer to a total sum only £11 billion less than the total owed by the entire Greek state? Forgive me, Im not a practitioner of the dismal science!

bridgefergal -> BeTrueForAll 8 Jul 2015 11:05

Agreed. The general ignorance extant about how money is created - it's created from thin air, for free and is essentially an unlimited resource - is truly breathtaking. The Bank of England had a circular on money creation a short while back, which should have been required reading for the usual "there's no money left" Tory trolls who infest CiF. But who needs the truth when comforting untruths are far more reassuring viz. Labour spent all the money; benefits and welfare caused the crash and the deficit; tax cuts for business and the wealthy trickle down to everyone; only Labour raises taxes (it can't be said often enough that Tories hiked VAT by a third in 2010). Etc. Etc.

Maria Pospotiki -> Extremophile 8 Jul 2015 11:01

Tsipras right after his election, was the first to open Lagarde's list, he asked Swiss bank's collaboration to impose taxes on those who had sent their money abroad, he even dealt with media corruption even though this could do harm to his party. And all these in five months. Us Greeks are not proud about the corruption of our system, but this corruption was reinforced by foreign forces all these years. Even recently, the ex minister of health has signed under much suspicion a contract with a German company offering technical support which hasn't yet been delivered. All these years this was exactly what was happening in Greece with the consistent opinion of the european countries. Solidarity and democracy seem to be a utopia in our days.


Chenoa mickstephenson 8 Jul 2015 10:50

Yes, exactly.

I said before and I'll say it one more time:

Syriza aren't playing ball so they must be dealt with and used as an example in case Spain, Portugal, Italy et al get any similar ideas.

A good question that many people ask is this: why does the current illegal and fascist government in Ukraine get loans from the IMF straight away & 'no questions asked' yet the democratically-elected government in Greece will only be allowed to receive loans if they meet with the harsh, inhumane conditions attached? Double standards due to ineptitude etc etc or planned tactics by neoliberal & neoconservative ideologues? I think I'll go with the latter. This is all about economic warfare and the asset-stripping of countries (read books like 'The Shock Doctrine' by Naomi Klein and 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman' by John Perkins for more info) it's all been done before in so-called 'developing countries' and they are currently doing it to the 'developed countries'.

Also, research shows that the US/Israel/Europe/NATO and allies (the actual planners are linked to the BIS, CFR, Committee of 300, Trilateral Commission aka the corporatocracy) want global hegemony and won't stand for any competition. The neocons/neolibs/zionists have even written books and documents about these things themselves:

- 'The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives' by Zbigniew Brzezinski

- Project for a New American Century

- 'Crisis of Democracy' by the Trilateral Commission

- The Wolfowitz Doctrine:

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."


Brollachain 8 Jul 2015 10:31

The Maastricht treaty, establishing the European Union and the euro, was built on a lethal delusion: a belief that the ECB could provide the only common economic governance that monetary union required. Those sober, suited, serious people...turn out to be demented utopian fantasists, votaries of a fanatical economic cult.

Well, quite, because in Guardianland the basic delusion is to believe in a market system in the ifrst place.

If, on the other hand, you do subscribe to the market - as just about everybody on the planet outside the Guardian does - then one of the things you could do would be to link up with other people of the same mind, and set some rules for the market. But then , as part of the price for joining the club, you also have to keep to the rules.

Monbiot is quite right; ECB is not democratic in this sense. It's a game manager - in its way, not unlike a moderator on CiF, for example. Democracy doesn't really come into it. As a participant, you may like the rules, or not, but nobody forced you to join the club in the first place - the joining part is where democracy comes in, and everyone gets to decide whether to join or not.

Now, Monbiot doesn't like this; but then, he doesn't believe in the system to start with. Like many Guardian writers, he believes in a system where there is an inexhaustible pot of Scott Trust money to support everyone's way of life, and no accountability whatsoever to produce a product that anyone is actually prepared to pay for. Not unlike the Greeks, in fact, until about two days ago.

So what exactly happened recently? In the first place, the Greeks were so keen to get into the game that they lied their way in. Since then, Greek governments have lied repeatedly to stay in. The last Greek Finance Minister was so contemptuous of the system that he openly declared his determination to 'game the system' - to take it for all it was worth, and give nothing in return. From his point of view, there was literally nothing to lose. If the system gave in, he could claim victory. If the system failed, this would simply be an interesting academic demonstration of the correctness of his own convictions. If Greece left, or was ejected from the system for ignoring its rules, then there would always be the Monbiots of this world, with their Scott Trust mentalities, to put the blame on everyone else.

Let's once and for all do away with the myth that all this is somehow to do with 'austerity'. Were Monbiot's ecological pretensions ever to be realised, life in the West would be infinitely more austere than anything the ECB has proposed. Monbiot is not against austerity, in fact he is all for it, provided it is on his own terms; he is against 'the system'.

The system is the market system, which in its current incarnation defers to the not-so-invisible hand of organisations such as the ECB. That is the way the game works , as played nowadays. Monboit needs to be honest with himself. Democracy and markets are two sides of the same coin. If you have a planned economy, democracy makes no sense, since the State invariably knows what is best for the people anyway.

So, as a non-believer in democracy, why is he concerned about 'undemocratic powers' in the first place? In his ideal, market-free State, democracy would not exist. Let the Greeks starve, should be his war-cry - just as it seems to have been Varoufakis's. Let the whole of Europe starve, as long as it brings 'the system' down! Who cares, as long as the game ends with the withering away of democracy and the market he so heartily detests.

BeTrueForAll Rusty Richards 8 Jul 2015 10:29

The EU were as much a part of the lie to help Greece gain membership of the EU as the Greeks were and must be held equally liable. An all round con job by the EU and the IMF.

Correct! The motive was the wealthy wanted the Greeks to join because they could "rent" out their wealth to the Greek government in the form of Greek government bonds and at a higher interest rate to boot than other Eurozone countries particularly Germany. Where there's greed there's always miscalculation of risk!


JustsayNO1954 MightyDrunken 8 Jul 2015 10:28

"The UK doesn't need the IMF. We have Gideon Osborne."

That's just as well, because we have nothing left to sell!

Unlike the Greeks, we gave ours away without a fight, the only thing left are Public Services and they go in the TTIP!

TTIP is the NWO next move, which will give Corporations control of each nations Sovereignty, it's also a Slave Charter, which is why EU insist on Free Movement!


BeTrueForAll cambridgefergal 8 Jul 2015 10:20

Great article. Particularly nails the canard that right wing IMF policies are "natural", "objective" and "correct." All economics is politics in disguise, especially neo-liberal economics."

Your comment really hits the nail on the head in regard to the Greek debt fiasco and indeed all the Austerity War-Mongering politicians around the planet. The "politics" is really about a few trying to get away with "dominating" the many!

Geoffrey Ingham, the Cambridge University Professor of Sociology, in the concluding remarks of his truly excellent book "The Nature of Money" states the following:-

"...... the two sides of the economy - entrepreneurial (and consumer) debtors - struggle with creditor capitalists over the real rate of interest."

I would add to this that in reality creditor capitalists prowl the planet like savage beasts always looking to force societies to be as utterly dependent upon privately created money for sale as possible and ignorant of sovereign governments ability to create public money debt and interest free.

The Eurozone is a classic example of the war going on between public interest and private greed. Likewise the war in the UK with the austerity promoting Conservative and Labour Parties trying to pull the wool over individual's eyes that there is no such thing as a sovereign society being able to create public money.


roninwarrior 8 Jul 2015 10:17

Nothing here many haven`t worked out long ago, but still good to see the truth being written.

This should lead people to the current trade agreements being negotiated secretly. TPP and TTIP are completely nefarious items of legislation that will further destroy democracy, and people need to enlighten themselves and start leaning on their local representatives to be the will of the people.

I watched this recently, and although it`s not directly on topic of these trade agreements, what`s said within it has extremely pertinent echoes to how these processes are being carried out, and generally the entitlement attitude of these corrupted plutocrats.

Greece has once again taught the world a lesson in democracy, and the world needs to take careful heed. It`s also worth revisiting the words of Joseph Stiglitz, , recently published in these very pages. Stiglitz said,

It is hard to advise Greeks how to vote on 5 July. Neither alternative – approval or rejection of the troika's terms – will be easy, and both carry huge risks. A yes vote would mean depression almost without end. Perhaps a depleted country – one that has sold off all of its assets, and whose bright young people have emigrated – might finally get debt forgiveness; perhaps, having shrivelled into a middle-income economy, Greece might finally be able to get assistance from the World Bank. All of this might happen in the next decade, or perhaps in the decade after that.

By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.

I know how I would vote.


Youmadbrah 8 Jul 2015 10:14

Corruption at all levels and dysfunctional financial and legal systems are at the heart of any developing economy crisis. Spending less on more vulnerable people in the society will do nothing fix it. Governments usually go this route because the old and the children are less likely to revolt, well they did in Greece so at the democracy works there. The way to fix the country is by radical reform and debt relief. Austerity is just a patch on a dysfunctional system.


skinnywheels feliciafarrel 8 Jul 2015 10:09

This idea that the Greeks went and blew all the money on women, cars and drink is a convenient argument for insisting that a nation of people are made to pay for reckless actions of others that were largely out of their control.

The Greek people did not know that Goldman Sachs had cooked the books to allow them entry into the Euro. They didn't know that Goldman Sachs was betting against them providing the final nail in the coffin of their economy. They didn't know that sub prime mortgages were being re-packaged as mortgage backed securities causing a GLOBAL financial crisis. Only the most informed would have been able to see through their previous governments lies about spending levels.

There was asymmetric information, so when the huge amount of spin and marketing was used to get people to take on these loans people were not aware of all the facts. These loans should not have been made and there are far more factors involved then just Greeks partying all their money away. So why should it just be the Greek people who pay? Why not the banks who were offering out loans at a time when they must have known there was a high likelihood of default?

TruthseekerD 8 Jul 2015 09:54

Indeed, Sir!!

It beggars belief that anyone with a conscience and an open mind can defend the Troika/IMF. They did this to African countries throughout the latter half of the 20th century, hence the problems and instabilities that have continued to unfold there. People in the west didn't give a damn then and stayed asleep, believing the victim-blaming propaganda that gets put about to create a perception that 'the poor did this to themselves'.

Now, having run out of developing countries to pillage and plunder, they have turned their parasitic gaze towards Southern Europe. Again, disingenuous bullshit is sold through their complicit media wing of the vampire banking elites that buys into the right-wing nationalism and isolationist mood that has been carefully cultivated, sowing seeds in the minds of the unquestioning that 'they were profligate, it's their own fault and they should take their medicine'.

It's only when the shit hits the fan (and it will) in a major western economy that enough people will suddenly wake up and smell the coffee, and realise that the banking elites are the ones controlling bought and paid for puppet governments, leading the majority to hell in a handcart.

The much-vaunted sham of western democracy has been exposed - if a people elect a government that doesn't fit in with the agenda of the parasitic banking elites, it is discredited and destabilised so as to punish them for their temerity in not bending over for more virtual slavery. That's what this is really about..........

PixieFrouFrou SocalAlex 8 Jul 2015 09:51

'And to think a decade and a half ago, Monbiot was one of the reasons why I paid for the (paper) Graun every day. I am DONE with this paper!'

George has done sterling work in his reportage on environmental matters. I salute and support him for this. Just don't read any of his articles on finance or economics.


Albert_Jacka_VC 8 Jul 2015 09:37

It should never be forgotten that economics of the Austrian School, as re-baptised by Friedman & Co as economic rationalism, or neo-liberalism, was born of religious impulses -- by fat Calvinists for whom Hell was for others, not for their own class.

And class warfare is what neo-liberalism is. Guilt and shame over sinful debt are the propaganda weapons. But they grow blunt, when the fraud becomes exposed.

The Euro phase is war by the banker class, on everyone else. Only the One Percent are supposed to benefit.

The Irish fell for the trap, Spain's Indignados appear to have been infiltrated by Soros shills, but in Greece, they have run into a problem. SYRIZA is in touch with a desperatre people, whose backs are against the wall, and who have nothing to lose.

The Eurogarchs had better beware. SYRIZA owns printing presses, and is perfectly able to begin running off tewenty-euro notes. The next phase, now that the Troika has bared its bloody fangs, is open and guerilla war against these vicious parasites. Harrying the Germans is not novel to Greeks. They did it before, during the war. And Greece is not alone.


BeTrueForAll Bob adda 8 Jul 2015 09:44

It is hard for those of us on the left to admit, but Margaret Thatcher saved the UK from this despotism.

I was never a fan of Margaret Thatcher's but on this issue she was spot on. I am so glad that Britain is not part of the eurozone. It is an extremely destructive force that I think will end up destroying the EU.

Unfortunately this is myth making due to a shallow understanding of money mechanics. Here is Margaret Thatcher declaring there is no such thing as "public money":-

"One of the great debates of our time is about how much of your money should be spent by the State and how much you should keep to spend on your family. Let us never forget this fundamental truth: the State has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay-that "someone else" is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers' money."

http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/105454

Now see my above comment why free "public money" has to be created before "private money" for sale can exist and why public money is essential to deal with crises and in particular crises caused by the misuse of private money creation.


dedalus77uk 8 Jul 2015 09:16

Agreed: the IMF is politicised and has operated as a means of enforcing market capitalism on countries which were not in a position to make it work. Agreed: the EU project and the single currency in particular were extremely ambitious projects which in some respects were based on a degree of utopia and some pretty fundamental fallacies. None of which excuses successive Greek governments for being complacently corrupt, economically incompetent and, in Syriza's case, deliberately inflammatory, of course. Not that Greece is entirely alone in this, even within the EU, though as shambles go it takes some beating.

Two things strike me, though.

If so we need someone to either reform the IMF, or set up the "ethical" alternative to the IMF - any takers?


MightyDrunken Stilts 8 Jul 2015 09:16

It is the obvious problem with the IMF, some countries contribute and other borrow. The ones who contribute gets the votes which means the power is in the hands of the creditors.

Therefore if a country is unlucky enough to need an IMF loan they have to sign a deal which is in the creditors interest and not their own. However the purported purpose of the IMF is not to further the interest of the developed nations but to;

foster global growth and economic stability by providing policy, advice and financing to members, by working with developing nations to help them achieve macroeconomic stability, and by reducing poverty.


Terence Skill rathbaner 8 Jul 2015 08:57

As a German, I want to tell you two things. 1st: I totally agree with your point. 2nd: But Wolfgang Schauble is everything but blind. He is one eager globalist using his power to the fullest to reach his goals. To me, it all depends on the assault on his life in 1989 - he should never had become the interior minister of Germany after that (set up several surveillance laws "to protect the public from terrorism", but only achieved one thing: surveillance) nor the financial minister of this country.

His view on the world and how things should be is just another one than ours might be - his vision has always been a European super-state. unfortunately he is a psych, oder "damaged goods" as I believe to call him. A politically motived criminal who shouldn´t be in disposal of more than his own, barrier-free house.


onoway 8 Jul 2015 08:52

The thing is that the politicians who get in do not practice what they promise.

Nobody gets into power promising to make things worse for people, they spin things so that what they say will do has the shiny promise of a better future. Politicians and businesses have learned very well how to push the emotional buttons hard wired into humanity. Witness the way women were brought to the idea that smoking was a symbol of independence and the implication that women who did not smoke were dependent and servile. Nothing is said at the time about cancers and other issues directly related.

Also, people have a very limited choice as to who they vote for, the only option to protest the choices is to abstain, which accomplishes nothing but make it easier for the government to push through things they would never otherwise be able to do.

Nobody rational would vote for total control of the world's food supply by 4 or 5 chemical companies, possibly the most powerful being one for which the basis of their business is the development and manufacturing of poisons, but that's now what we have, mandated and promoted by governments. Perhaps a suggestion made on QI is the answer, instead of career politicians, all of whom are in it for the power it gives them, governments should be run like jury duty, your turn comes up you are part of the government for however long. Or as the Inuit and others did; nothing can become law unless ALL the politicians agree, if they don't, then it simply doesn't happen. Then we might get back to some form of democracy.

At the very least, it would take longer to get to the totalitarian state we are rapidly approaching if not indeed already in. All we have now is the (very expensive) veneer, not democracy at all.


MrBlueberry DrChris 8 Jul 2015 08:41

The wealth of this world is owned by the Corporate companies not governments and the gap keeps growing each year. For example Corporates take 900$ billion annually in tax avoidance from poor countries while the poorest countries pay 600$ billion in debt each year to the rich corporations. In all 2$ trillion goes from the poorest countries to bolster the wealth of the riches corporations. The total wealth of the world is 223$ trillion.

8 out 6 people are poor. The richest 300 people (not governments) have the same wealth as the poorest 3 billion. It's worth pondering over.


rathbaner 8 Jul 2015 08:40

I'v been struck many times by the similarity in attitude - and the blindness - shown by Wolfgang Schauble and by Lord John Russell.

Russell to Parliament at the height of the famine: "Sir, I am obliged to say, therefore, that while we attempt all that we think practicable, we must, in the first place, refuse to make promises of that which is out of our power; and in the next place, we must call upon and expect those who have local duties to perform in Ireland, to perform those duties, and to assist the Government and Parliament in their arduous duty: and when I say that I expect this, I am quite sure that many will perform it, because I know that in many, very many instances, the resident proprietors in Ireland have been most ready with their money, with their time, and with their attendance, in endeavouring to provide for the relief of their destitute countrymen."

Just like Schauble saying we've done everything we can and it is now up to the Greek govt to rescue themselves and their country.

Both seem utterly blinded to the - utterly obvious - reality by their ideological beliefs. And all this while Ireland was a net exporter of food (to the Empire) and German banks and the ECB are making profits on the €bn from interest on the Greek loans.


halfdan Rahere2015 8 Jul 2015 08:39

Indeed. When one looks at the money lent to bail out a number of banks, e.g. $868 billion to Barclays, why can it not be done to bailout a national economy. There could be conditions attached, such as a caretaker financial advisory team to make sure it was spent correctly, the aim being to get the Greek economy back into a position from which it could grow rather than fail. This may have been done, but Greeks being Greeks, they won't look a gift horse in the mouth for fear that it is a wooden one.

[Jul 05, 2015]Russian university fires US academic accused of harming national interests

"...This particular one is not a scientist, he was an administrator. And a CEO of a venture-capital company, so that he probably doesn't need a job, to survive."
.
"...I wonder if calling what Washington has been doing for the last year can be called "waging war". They certainly attack Russia in every way they think possible: economy, diplomacy, military buildup, media demonization campaigns, and just a total overall hostility.

Maybe the word "war" is too strong a metaphor, but given that it is simply not possible to have a shooting war with Russia (those damn nukes!), this might be as war-like that it will ever get. It is pretty dismally ugly and reflects rather poorly on West's residual rationality."

Jul 05, 2015 | The Guardian

MaoChengJi -> Калинин Юрий 5 Jul 2015 08:19

...and incidentally even academic tenure doesn't help: check out the Ward Churchill controversy.

Also, I don't think you're right assuming that this is all government pressure. I'd argue that this is mostly public pressure. Private enterprises aren't immune. People who are perceived as enemies are going to be ostracized no matter what. All you can do is to insist that they are not illegally discriminated. And in this case I assume everything was done by the book.


MaoChengJi -> Калинин Юрий 4 Jul 2015 10:40

"I am sure that this particular scientist will find a job. But the whole situation is sad."

This particular one is not a scientist, he was an administrator. And a CEO of a venture-capital company, so that he probably doesn't need a job, to survive.

However, for the scientists Americans have a mechanism to ensure at least some degree of independence: tenure. There are pluses and minuses, of course, like in everything else.

Does it exist in Russia?


Beckow Gunnar -> René Øie 4 Jul 2015 02:22

There are obscenity laws in US and many EU countries (Poland!!) that are identical to the Russian law. Same for the "foreign agent" laws. Instead of addressing it, you repeat as an assertion that "in Russia it is different...inconsistent and arbitrary".

Really? Why? Because you say so? You realize that is not an argument? Back up what you say, we could all assert things we want. I can say that "blacks are not treated equally by law in US". Is that true?

Regarding slavery or British colonial mass murder: why Rhodes, that would be too easy. Why not Churchill, or Queen Victoria, or Jefferson/Washington? Are US-UK ready to denounce them? If not, why do they expect others to demonize their own past personalities? Learn how to use the same metric, be objective, or you will simply stay irrelevant...hypocrisy is fatal for people who want to preach to others. We might be beyond point of no return for the current Western preachers...


nnedjo 4 Jul 2015 02:00

White told the Guardian by email that he was on vacation in Florida but would be returning to Russia this weekend. "What I am going to find there is absolutely not clear to me now that I am proposed to be on some sort of stop list," White said. "But I plan to meet with the university to try to better understand the situation with my good friends and colleagues there."

From all this it is only clear that even for the professor White himself is not clear what exactly is going on with his position on the Lobachevsky University. But, as usual, Moscow Times is the only one who is best informed about everything.

This Moscow Times is a really interesting newspaper. It is published in Russia, but nobody seems to read it there. Unlike the Western media, which immediately reprinted their news as they occur.:-)


Калинин Юрий Gunnar René Øie 3 Jul 2015 22:23

For sure the american soldiers are there.
The situation of your poor country exactly the same that has been described by Bernard Shaw in his book Arms and the man. A war between Bulgaria and Serbia. All the officers in Bulgaria were Russians and all the officers in Serbia were Austrians and even a soldier from Switzerland. Because locals are too stupid and ignorant.
Even BBC already call it a civil war but you continue to cry an ocean about the Russian troops there. Poroshenko tells about 200 000 - more then the army of Germany. Ask him - what does he smoke and where you can buy it.


Mo Rochdale sasha19 3 Jul 2015 20:03

Who's closing of who? The yanks started this by banning russian businessmen and politicians. It sticks in your crow when somebody does it back to the yanks.


Russianelf caliento 3 Jul 2015 16:21

As the saying goes "a friend in need is a friend indeed" :-).

Why have not you mentioned Xi Jinping?

20 years ago the first president of Russia, Boris Eltssin, always drunk and funny, destroyed Russian industry and economy. I was a minor at that time but I remember clearly that I had nothing to eat then. He was so much welcome by US and its satellites. He had many friends!
If you think that UK and US are friends you are deeply mistaken!


AndreyR2008 Gunnar René Øie 3 Jul 2015 16:10

So in nutshell it's bad not because it's bad but because it's Russian.
Thank you! Finally somebody of our western teachers had an honesty to say that outloud.


Beckow Gunnar René Øie 3 Jul 2015 13:29

Your distinctions do not establish a real difference. Those are adjustments that account for different situation in Russia vs. US, e.g. lots and lots of Russian oligarchs have foreign citizenships and keep their money abroad - e.g. Zimin, etc...

Russian law against "indecent sexual propaganda to minors (under 18)" is actually also almost identical to laws in many US states, and also laws in Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and lots of other countries in EU. There is no mention of gay-this or that, it simply says that minors cannot be "exposed" to non-traditional stuff that could be considered obscene.

So the laws are the same, and somehow none of this attracts much attention in the West, only when it is in Russia, they are "shocked". That is a definition of total hypocrisy. Your argument that it is the "application" of the law that is different is not supported by any evidence: the number if cases in Russia where these questionable laws have been used is very small, the outcomes were ambiguous (small fines, endless appeals, etc...), in other words none of the Western hysteria is reflected in reality.

You seem to - like "Ijust want to say" - live in a virtual reality that you have created based on ideology, endless dated allusions (Dzerzhinsky?), and a bit of dislike or even hatred for the "eastern beast". In other words your thinking is not reality-based it is politicized. That is not a good place to be, reality will come back to bite you. I can also pontificate on US genocides (natives, slavery) or British murderous march around the word - it is past, not that relevant today. Let go of this obsession with Stalin, he has been dead for 60 years. Look at Russia as it is today, don't exaggerate, calm down and maybe peace can prevail....


LoneSurvivor AbsolutelyFapulous 3 Jul 2015 13:17

LOL. What virtual reality are you in?

AbsolutelyFapulous 3 Jul 2015 13:09

He can now teach in russian language in Ukraine, if he wants. And go back later to Russia, together with the Ukraine army, conquering the European part of it.


Agatha_appears AbsolutelyFapulous 3 Jul 2015 12:29

Absolutely fabulous lies


Калинин Юрий 3 Jul 2015 09:47

AbsolutelyFapulous - 12 messages
dropthemchammer - 240 both with the replies
truk10 - only 8 with the answers
Luminaire - 29 with the answers
raffine - 59 with the answers
srmttmrs - 106 messages including the answers

You guys are talking to each other. Get yourself a good job!

johnbonn 3 Jul 2015 08:19

It is not paranoia at all. It is sanctions for sanctions. But there is no question that the US is aggressively organizing protests and orchestrating regime change in the RF.

The Pentagon will work tirelessly and relentlessly to unsettle the RF until it can extricate Crimea from Russia.

Crimea is the crossroads of the Middle East, Europe, and Asia and is the single most strategically situated piece of land on the planet.

centerline Luminaire 3 Jul 2015 04:12

that the Kiev regime are US backed is in every MSM article. It is in the Ukraine Freedom act passed by congress into law in the US and signed by Obomber.

Popeyes raffine 3 Jul 2015 04:01

You really need to do more research currently there are 21 universities in Russia featured within the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, five of which are placed among the top 400 universities worldwide. Russia also boasts a substantial presence in the QS University Rankings: BRICS 2014, a ranking of the leading universities in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), with 53 Russian universities making the BRICS top 200.Lomonosov Moscow State University, or Lomonosov MSU for short, is Russia's highest ranked institution, placed 114th in the world in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15.


vr13vr raffine 3 Jul 2015 02:01

We might not have the "fifth column" argument but we simply fire academics for them expressing opinion that doesn't match the one of the administration. Which, come to think of it is even worse. At least Russians believe in some potential threat while we don't even need threat, we just fire whoever disagree with us:

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/stripping-a-professor-of-tenure-over-a-blog-post/385280/

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/academic-heavyweights-slam-univ-illinois-firing-steven-salaita-palestine-views

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_Churchill

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/19/firing-sets-debate-over-whether-deans-must-publicly-back-administrations

And so on.


Agatha_appears MaoChengJi 3 Jul 2015 01:53

Kendrick was not a rector but vice-rector on innnovations. I assume the University needed him badly to get some grants and launch joint projects with businesses.

He was not fired . He is no longer vice-president, but is dotzen and, as far as I know, heads a laboratory or center that deals with innivations, start ups etc. But he is really a great guy.


vr13vr 2 Jul 2015 21:40

I hold and MBA and it doesn't make me an academic. His bio by the way does not mention neither MBA nor PhD.


Beckow Gunnar René Øie 2 Jul 2015 20:49

It is the same. Same law, same interpretation - being a "foreign agent" is not the same as a "spy". There has been controversy about "foreign funded" initiatives in US too - but the law is purely about labeling, it doesn't forbid being a "foreign agent". Same is US, same in Russia, the law was copied word-for-word from US.

Anglican Church in Boston (Episcopalian I would presume) is based in US and funded in US. It is also not a political organization (at least not primarily). So there is no comparison...

centerline 2 Jul 2015 20:44

After the colour revolutions and springs of the last decade, and the death and destruction they have brought, any independent sovereign nation needs to sweep the US garbage out the door.

Terry Ross Nashi_kb 2 Jul 2015 20:05

Drop the travel bans and asset freezes and I am sure they will reconsider. ha ha
At least they did not freeze the academics assets within Russia and prevent him from returning by refusing a visa.

Terry Ross truk10 2 Jul 2015 20:01

Seems like you just missed this year's Saint Petersburg international Book Salon Exhibition.
http://www.advantour.com/russia/saint-petersburg/exhibitions/book-salon.htm

However you still have plenty of time to arrange your presence at the Moscow 17th International Book Fair to be held in November.
http://www.moscowbookfair.ru/eng/about.html


Wardellsworld 2 Jul 2015 19:48

Coca Cola next.

Terry Ross 2 Jul 2015 19:44

Firstly, the leadership in Kiev did not simply 'come' to power: a sitting president and his cabinet first had to be deposed.
Secondly, the 2012 law has been since justified by the attempts of US-AID to depose the Cuban government via a mobile phone and social networking scheme
'USAID programme used young Latin Americans to incite Cuba rebellion'

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/04/usaid-latin-americans-cuba-rebellion-hiv-workshops

Thirdly, the issue of travel bans and freezing assets via a hit list was first employed by the US and EU.


Beckow sasha19 2 Jul 2015 17:46

I wonder if calling what Washington has been doing for the last year can be called "waging war". They certainly attack Russia in every way they think possible: economy, diplomacy, military buildup, media demonization campaigns, and just a total overall hostility.

Maybe the word "war" is too strong a metaphor, but given that it is simply not possible to have a shooting war with Russia (those damn nukes!), this might be as war-like that it will ever get. It is pretty dismally ugly and reflects rather poorly on West's residual rationality.

PaddyCannuck caliento 2 Jul 2015 17:32

"Nazi" is a word with very serious implications, and not a word that should be casually thrown around the place by children chanting childish insults. Naziism is an extreme and violent form of nationalism based on morally repugnant concepts of ethnic purity and racial superiority.

Has Putin ever said that Russia should be exlcusively a country for "ethnically pure Russians", or advocated ridding Russia of "ethnic impurities"? If so, please provide references, links etc. Otherwise, crawl back into your hole and shut the hell up, because you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Remember, there's always somebody else out there who sees YOU as a racially inferior ethnic impurity, and you should be very grateful that Mr Putin is not one of them.


sasha19 AndreyR2008 2 Jul 2015 17:10

There are some excellent universities with great technology same as the West and there are others that are behind, same as the West

sasha19 Beckow 2 Jul 2015 17:08

"waging war" that was a quantum leap. It is true what has happened to Russian academics, one of my friends lost her post in March due to budgetary issues. The article was not about western academics but it is true that many universities are eliminating programs that are not producing graduates and thus faculty are released. At the same time there are some universities hiring as they have growing programs. It is 6 of one and a half dozen of another.

Beckow sasha19 2 Jul 2015 16:59

You seem to get pleasure out of "my neighbors' cow died" new stories. I don't even think it is news, more like a propaganda distraction.

How about looking at "pay cuts, job losses" at home? Wouldn't that be real news? Or would you claim that no academician ever lost a position for "political" reason in the West? A foreigner from a country (US) that basically is waging a war on all allowable fronts on Russia is unlikely to keep a cushy academic sinecure. That's the way it is all over the world.


Beckow 2 Jul 2015 16:13

High administrative posts in all universities, in all countries, since time immemorial have been political. To be a dean in Oxford, Sorbonne, or Warsaw or Munich, it always has a major political components. These are cushy jobs given as rewards, not earned in any meaningful sense of the world.

Why should it be different in Nizny Novgorod? Maybe a local well-connected guy wants the job. Why is this "news", there are tens of thousand frustrated academicians all over West who didn't get a job or were let go. It is political, it is always political, declaring that it is "news" because it is in Russia is, by the way, also political.

MaoChengJi 2 Jul 2015 16:02

Really, how does a venture-capitalist become rector of a university in the first place? One can hardly imagine any other way but bribery. Good catch, Mr. Kiselyov, but firing is not enough, they need to investigate.


Canigou sasha19 2 Jul 2015 15:59

Not every Fulbright Program person, and member of other similar U.S.-funded academic organization, is a spy. Some have been, however, and it was a big scandal when the CIA was exposed (to its disgrace) as subsidizing supposed student organizations and using them as fronts to promote U.S. propaganda.


Laurence Johnson 2 Jul 2015 15:49

We all know how NGO's have been used in an attempt to undermine the government in Russia. Yet again Putin is streets ahead and clearing them all out. There isn't a way to topple the Russian government and the more we try the more foolish we look.

Its time to leave Russia to sort out its internal affairs and concentrate on getting our economies back on track before we find the world has passed us all by.

Canigou -> sasha19 2 Jul 2015 15:01

The U.S. has decided to exclude many Russians from its territory because it does not like their political views. Russia's expulsion of an American professor looks to be a blowback from that U.S. policy.

If you want your academic friends in Russia to feel secure in their ability to have their Russian visas renewed, perhaps you could ask The State Department to reconsider its politicized travel sanctions against Russian individuals.

vr13vr sasha19 2 Jul 2015 14:53

Good try. He is "the chief executive of the Russia-focused investment consultancy Marchmont Capital Partners," according to the article. "In 2005, Mr. White founded Marchmont Capital Partners, LLC an investment advisory firm... ," and he worked in the same city, according to the link. How many Marchmont Capital Partners exist in Nizhniy Novgorod and how many of them were created by someone with the name Kendrik White?

In either case, the article doesn't mention any academic credentials. The website does mention a lot of finance credentials instead.

SHappens 2 Jul 2015 14:13

The Putin government has also stopped many US/Russia collaborative studies, blaming the US for "stealing" Russian intellectuals.

When we know the NSA spies on technology everywhere in the world this is hardly surprising that'd be true. Tit for tat. US got what it sowed.

[Jul 04, 2015] Yanis Varoufakis accuses creditors of terrorism ahead of Greek referendum

Like any neoliberal country Greece is a divided country with 20% of population representing "fifth column of globalization" and benefiting from it and 80% suffering from it.
.
"...Well that is the rub. Western banks effectively control the cost of credit globally. You either fall into line or you're perpetually behind the curve until you sell all your goods of any value."
.
"...Are you even aware that this is not actually loans that the Greek people got? If I loan money to your corrupt banker and than ask YOU to return it, will you be less offensive?
"

.
"...The 2010 bailout was the one that allowed private French, Dutch and German banks to transfer their liabilities to the Greek public sector, and indirectly to the entire eurozone's public sector. There was no debt restructuring in that deal."
.
"...The loans were made by a cabal of high-financiers in Europe to a cabal of corrupt finianciers in Greece. The game of lending rules are: you bet that the party you lend money to will pay back the loan with interest. Which is what the German banks did, making a profit on the interest for quite some time. But now the high-financiers in Europe have lost the game, i.e. Greece/the-old-displaced-guard-in-Greece can no longer pay them back. That's the financiers problem: not the problem of Greece's normal citizens nor other EU taxpayers! Is that so difficult to understand? Class war for beginners... privatize the profit, socialize the loss."
.
"...The banksters, multi-national corporations and their political lackeys, have engaged in an extend and pretend fantasy which is passing their private debt onto taxpayers across Europe. Once the shoulders of the Greek taxpayer have been broken, it will pass onto the shoulders of the taxpayers from the rest of Europe. God, I want to shake the anti Greek/pro EU lobby to wake them up. Greece, please, please, please vote NO, so we can begin the long process of getting control of Europe out of the hands of these maniacs."
.
"...Without risking depositors' cash, governments had the ability to sit back ready to nationalise any banks whose lending to Greece was so irresponsible that they were unsustainable. This would have wiped out the shareholders and sent a clear message that lending as well as borrowing has to be responsible and that shareholders need to earn their fat returns by exerting oversight.
"

.
"...Yanis Varoufakis has a point. The proposals put by the EU would cause the Greek economy to contract further, this effectively would increase the debt ratio to GDP. Nowhere have I heard any talk on how to build up the Greek economy, it has all been about collecting taxes.

I have also read commentators on here talk about how Greece lied to get into MU, this has a great deal of truth in it, but one must remember the EU knew what a basket case Greece was financially, therefore they are equally complicit in this debacle.

The question has to be why the EU is doing this to Greece, they know their actions will do nothing other than cause more misery in the country. The reason this is happening is to protect German banks. Greece is the domino that could bring the whole system down."
.
"...No, the original package lent to Greece was to bailout Greek and EU banks. The subsequent bailout (to pay for the bailout) is 60% owned/facilitated by EFSF. It raised it through selling bonds, no doubt to financial institutions. So now we're in the bizarre situation of banks befitting from the bailout of banks with the Greek people carrying the can and Europeans (who are liable to honour EFSF bonds+intererst) blaming Greece and defending the banks! "

Jul 04, 2015 | The Guardian

Banksterdebtslave -> conor boyle 4 Jul 2015 11:15

Yes it should have been, by letting the banks go under as per Iceland. Or were too many people (living in vacuums ?) unprepared to deal with the short term pain ? Now it seems the world of people must suffer to service the Banks' bad debt.....what good slaves we are! The Emperor has no clothes!

Duncan Frame -> Brasil13 4 Jul 2015 11:10

Well that is the rub. Western banks effectively control the cost of credit globally. You either fall into line or you're perpetually behind the curve until you sell all your goods of any value.

W61212 -> Brasil13 4 Jul 2015 11:08

Careful what you wish for. From the EC

'In 2013 the EU recorded a trade surplus in goods (more than double the surplus registered in 2012). The EU also has a surplus in commercial services trade.
The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Brazil with investments in many sectors of the Brazilian economy. Around 50% of the FDI flows received by Brazil during the last 5 years originated in the EU.'

This debacle with Greece demonstrates the EU can't run itself and yet it has huge holdings with Brazil and has recently reversed to a trade surplus in to Brazil, a nation with huge natural, industrial and human resources of its own. Brazil exports mainly agricultural and mining products to the EU and imports manufactured products. See the imbalance? Brazil exports primary products and imports finished products made elsewhere and those jobs are elsewhere. See the problem?

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/brazil/

GordonGecko 4 Jul 2015 11:07

There's only one letter difference but choice for the Greeks is to become either the new Ireland (and suffer self-inflicted austerity for decades to come) or the new Iceland (by tearing up the rule book and starting again).

I hope they watch this before voting;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu5sTyAXyAo


usufruct -> Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 11:07

Germans (for the most part) are not Nazis or terrorists, and should not have to take the blame for this crisis. They are, however, dupes, like people living under capitalism everywhere. They are willing to let the international banksters and their political cronies in the European parliament run their lives and create whatever mischief they believe is in their interest.


ToddPalant -> Scaff1 4 Jul 2015 11:06

Tell us suckers then, about how Ukraine, a run down country that was just made worse by regime change. From bad Yanukovich to much worse American puppet and idiot Poroshenko plus a catastrophic war. Tell us about Lybia and bad Qaddafi, who in his life time killed 3-4000 people and the much worse UK-France that caused at least a 100000 dead with their pet invasion at the behest of our friends from across the Atlantic.

May be you need to dust your mirror.


Duncan Frame -> Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 11:05

Terrorists primary aim is to promote fear rather than harm. That's far more effective in getting their way. You close the banks you show the public what you're capable of.

Saaywar Montana -> thisisafix 4 Jul 2015 11:04

Their economies are naff. Spain and Italy are the two countries most likely to join Greece in a new union. Portugal and Ireland are too far gone but Ireland has been rebelling. Once people see a progressive union to compete with the rubbish EU then these countries will gain support for joining a new southern European union.

These countries are not out of the water and won't get out of it either. Austerity will do what it does and the people will rise up. It's inevitable. The EU doesn't have a monopoly on unions lol.

Greece, as did every other country, got left with the bill of the private banking sector. Yes, it was their fault for running a deficit but a significant proportion of the debt owed by the Greek gov is bank bailouts.

It's the same here. The UK paid £700bn to private banks to make sure they didn't fail. The deficit has nothing to do with that. so around 50% of the debt is a mixture or deficit spending and capital investments made by the government.

Robape Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 10:57

Financial terrorists, just interested in the bottom line, not countries.

elcomm W61212 4 Jul 2015 10:56

When fascist governments get in trouble at home they start wars to distract people. It's not that far out.

Duncan Frame Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 10:56

Yes everything's exceptional. 2008 was the biggest economic collapse since the great depression. And Greece was the most exposed country. No difference.

Alfie Silva karlmiltonkeynes 4 Jul 2015 10:55

My mistake, I thought you were intelligent.

It is common knowledge that only around 10% of bailout monies went to the real economy. You are correct indeed in that creditors got a haircut, mainly hedgefunds and most foreign banks by 2015 had reduced their exposure to Greece. The issue today is sovereign debt. Do you realise that sovereign debt is the senior collatoral for Eurozone banks?

So we are back to banks again Mr Banker.

Duncan Frame ID13579 4 Jul 2015 10:53

I don't have to excuse giving voice to the victims of those in power to you or anyone else. And it seems to me Tsipras is taking the same line. You confuse the Greek people with the people who actually profited from that debt. Why should they be forced to starve on the back of decisions over which they had influence?


usufruct -> HoorayHenrietta 4 Jul 2015 10:44

Like Americans and most other people around the globe, the German people have allowed the international banks to pull the wool over their eyes. There is no reason for taxpayers to bail out the banks as we are still doing here in the U.S. For the past six years my wife and I have been paying down mortgages on real estate hoping to reestablish equity in properties whose value was gutted by cavalier banksters on Wall Steet. A few clicks to gamble away the hard work of millions! These people should be arrested and tried for their crimes. In a fair court they would be sent away for life.


Chris Hindle 4 Jul 2015 10:42

'Yanis Varoufakis accuses creditors of terrorism.'

So what is wrong with that? Financial terrorism is a much more protracted and painful process to the victims than sudden violence, but the end result is the same.

The Vermin Who Would Be Kings have discovered they no longer need the fuss and expense of maintaining a standing army of occupation, far simpler to get countries/continents/ the world in deep debt (via bent politicians making private bankster debt into sovereign debt - just like they did in Greece ) and exert control through that.

BTW the UK has some £9 trillion in foreign debt (much of which is the bad debts of the City - and the highest of any stand-alone country on earth) So now you know what next months austerity drive is all about

InjunJoe -> degardiyen 4 Jul 2015 10:24

The "slovakian tax payer" will not be paying to maintain the Greek standard of living,
but to shore up the ECB, the IMF and the private lenders to Greek banks, as 90% of the "bail-out" goes to serving interest. Haven't you been reading the news?

Duncan Frame -> karlmiltonkeynes 4 Jul 2015 10:20

That's weird because at the same time the banks collapsed in 2008 the deficit went up from 57% to 82%, lots of people lost their jobs or had to take pay cuts. I'm sure it was just a coincidence.

LeftToWrite -> ID6487190 4 Jul 2015 10:17

Yeah the EU has shown itself to want a compromise. All those nice compromised offers it made. Yep we all remember those.

Compromise means both sides giving ground, not one side accepting everything the other demands. Use a dictionary next time.

For once a nation is standing up to EU bullying and we have ignorant fools like you turning it the other way in an attempt to change the narrative.

LeftToWrite 4 Jul 2015 10:11

How can the Troika have fucked up this badly? It seems they forgot that Greece is actually a construct that represents the people who live there, and you can't just impose misery after misery on a people without expecting them to finally have enough. Even if they vote yes, all it does is postpone that that time when they will have had enough.

Honestly, this has shown the true greed at the hearts of Merkel et al, and by extension the people they represent. Save the French and German banks, fuck over the Greek people. If people think anti German rhetoric in Greece is extreme now, decades of resentment is about to follow.


שוקי גלילי Steve Collins 4 Jul 2015 10:09

You probably meant to say "when you ask for it back from someone ELSE, who didn't actually get your money". Are you even aware that this is not actually loans that the Greek people got? If I loan money to your corrupt banker and than ask YOU to return it, will you be less offensive?

-> dniviE 4 Jul 2015 10:06

01

Sorry: its Wednesday 8th, I wrote Tuesday ;-))

email from Green Party Brussels office.
TTIP and ISDS - Call to action by Keith Taylor MEP!

Breaking news! We've just been informed that the postponed vote on the European Parliament resolution on TTIP has been put on the agenda for Wednesday 8th July.

MEPs will be voting on the resolution as a whole, but also on a whole array of amendments to the text.
Among these is a compromise amendment on the investor-state dispute mechanism, or ISDS. The compromise amendment suggests replacing ISDS courts with some kind of 'new' system, but there is no further explanation or details. As long as there is any system in place for investors to sue governments, as the compromise calls for, it is still ISDS. The fact that the Parliament's President is trying to spin this as something different by giving it a new name does not change anything.


The compromise amendment has been agreed by the largest groups in the European Parliament: the centre-left Socialists & Democrats (which includes the UK's Labour MEPs), the centre-right European People's Party, and the European Conservatives and Reformists group (which includes the UK's Conservative MEPs) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (which includes the UK's Liberal Democrat MEP).

On Wednesday, all MEPs will get a chance to vote on this amendment and the resolution as a whole.

The Greens are calling on citizens, trade unions, NGOs, towns and regions and businesses to speak out and contact their elected representatives and hold them to account on this attempt to privatise justice and infringe democratic rights.

How you can help
This is our last chance to make sure that damaging ISDS provisions are not given the green light by the European Parliament. MEPs need to know the full force of public opinion on this threat to our national laws and our democratic rights.
Contact your other MEPs before Wednesday asking them to oppose TTIP and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).
- use Write To Them to email your MEPs directly with your own concerns
- use the 38 Degrees campaign to send a quick template email
- call your MEPs in Brussels to let them the reasons you're opposed
- spread the word! Share your concerns on social media, tweet your MEPs, encourage your friends and family to contact their MEPs, use Greens/EFA resources to campaign.
Message from Keith

"I've been extremely heartened to receive so many emails from constituents voicing their opposition to ISDS and the TTIP proposals in the last few weeks. It's clear that there's a powerful and growing democratic movement to protect our laws, our public services and our regulatory standards from potential devastation.

The decision to postpone the vote on TTIP earlier in the month stinks of political parties running scared of the huge public opposition to TTIP.

TTIP represents a monumental power grab by corporations and it must be stopped in its tracks.

The sudden re-scheduling of this vote means we are now short on time to make our voices heard. The Greens need all the help we can get to spread the word and put pressure on other MEPs to do the right thing and represent the views and interests of their constituents."
You can keep up-to-date with the Greens/EFA campaign and what the Greens are doing in the European Parliament via their TTIP campaign website and their twitter feed.

Thank you for your support.
Best wishes,


LeftToWrite ID105467 4 Jul 2015 10:14

To bail out German banks, get your facts straight before posting nonsense.

Kalandar 4 Jul 2015 10:14

Propoganda galore from the mainstream media but its fooling no one, except perhaps themselves.

ID345543 4 Jul 2015 10:04

This Is Why The Euro Is Finished

The 2010 bailout was the one that allowed private French, Dutch and German banks to transfer their liabilities to the Greek public sector, and indirectly to the entire eurozone's public sector. There was no debt restructuring in that deal.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-04/why-euro-finished

Ninetto owl905 4 Jul 2015 10:03

The loans were made by a cabal of high-financiers in Europe to a cabal of corrupt finianciers in Greece. The game of lending rules are: you bet that the party you lend money to will pay back the loan with interest. Which is what the German banks did, making a profit on the interest for quite some time. But now the high-financiers in Europe have lost the game, i.e. Greece/the-old-displaced-guard-in-Greece can no longer pay them back. That's the financiers problem: not the problem of Greece's normal citizens nor other EU taxpayers! Is that so difficult to understand? Class war for beginners... privatize the profit, socialize the loss.

NeverNotHereTV gsxsure 4 Jul 2015 09:59

Syriza does not want "free money". They want a fraction put toward economic growth, and then payments as a meaningful fraction of that growth. It is simple enough.

Alfie Silva 4 Jul 2015 09:50

Please can anyone explain to me why we are letting the bankster cabal turn European against European?

The banksters, multi-national corporations and their political lackeys, have engaged in an extend and pretend fantasy which is passing their private debt onto taxpayers across Europe. Once the shoulders of the Greek taxpayer have been broken, it will pass onto the shoulders of the taxpayers from the rest of Europe. God, I want to shake the anti Greek/pro EU lobby to wake them up. Greece, please, please, please vote NO, so we can begin the long process of getting control of Europe out of the hands of these maniacs.

Finnbolt 4 Jul 2015 09:49

"Debt relief was "politically highly toxic for many eurozone member states"."

Here you have the problem. The creditor state governments are responsible to their voters and many have said that their taxpayers will not finance the Greeks and money lent will be paid back in full.

Syriza says they have a mandate from the Greek people to force other euro countries to continue financing them and take a haircut. In other words, lose most of the money lent to Greece.

EU is a collection of nation states with pretensions of a federation. One of the pretensions about to be busted is a transfer union, meaning taxpayers in richer countries tranferring part of their wealth to poorer countries.


APSAPS 4 Jul 2015 09:49

A $22.6 billion International Monetary Fund and World Bank financial package was approved on 13 July 1998 to support reforms and stabilize the Russian market. Despite the bailout, July 1998 monthly interest payments on Russia's debt rose to a figure 40 percent higher than its monthly tax collections. Additionally, on 15 July 1998, the State Duma dominated by left-wing parties refused to adopt most of the government anti-crisis plan so that the government was forced to rely on presidential decrees. On 17 August 1998, the Russian government devalued the ruble, defaulted on domestic debt, and declared a moratorium on payment to foreign creditors. It was later revealed that about $5 billion of the international loans provided by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were stolen upon the funds' arrival in Russia on the eve of the meltdown.

Sounds very similar.

Oh, wait, maybe some referendum could have helped?


Insomnijazz hertsman 4 Jul 2015 09:48

Nah - these are just lies for the gullible to swallow.

Without risking depositors' cash, governments had the ability to sit back ready to nationalise any banks whose lending to Greece was so irresponsible that they were unsustainable. This would have wiped out the shareholders and sent a clear message that lending as well as borrowing has to be responsible and that shareholders need to earn their fat returns by exerting oversight.

Instead they chose the worst option: bailing out the bank shareholders by assuming responsibility for their risky lending, but refusing to then pay the price for their political cowardice and shifting the blame onto a largely guiltless Greek population which has already suffered hugely from the economic devastation.


Brent1023 4 Jul 2015 09:46

Debt relief not on the table.
It comes down to the Greek people or the banksters. Who needs a bailout more?
The EU has sided with the banksters.
Not just in Greece but in Ireland, Spain, Portugal.
Only Iceland was able to force banksters to swallow their losses.
Everywhere else bankster fraud was rewarded with a 100% bailout.
Should be renamed the European Bankster Union.
Surprising that the UK does not want it - it also bailed out its banksters.

NWObserver sunnytimes 4 Jul 2015 09:39

The creditors are not looking to get their money back. Debt is the leverage being used to destroy the social and public infrastructure in the country.

So their worst nightmare is Greeks voting 'No', staying in default and surviving or prospering while remaining in the Eurozone. Then they will not be able to use the same fear tactics against another EZ country. They are psychopaths out to destroy, not creditors looking to get their money. So if Greeks vote 'No' , they will spare no effort to destroy Greece, beginning with the continuation of the liquidity freeze. However, there are some simple steps that Greece can take to end the liquidity freeze and I think they have already taken them.

Gottaloveit 4 Jul 2015 09:28

Read this article from 2010 by Michael Lewis and get a glimpse of what a mess Greece is
http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2010/10/greeks-bearing-bonds-201010
The people of Greece are not finished paying penance yet

W61212 Fritz72 4 Jul 2015 09:28

Albrecht Ritschl: During the past century alone, though, at least three times. After the first default during the 1930s, the US gave Germany a "haircut" in 1953, reducing its debt problem to practically nothing. Germany has been in a very good position ever since, even as other Europeans were forced to endure the burdens of World War II and the consequences of the German occupation. Germany even had a period of non-payment in 1990....but we were also extremely reckless -- and our export industry has thrived on orders. The anti-Greek sentiment that is widespread in many German media outlets is highly dangerous. And we are sitting in a glass house: Germany's resurgence has only been possible through waiving extensive debt payments and stopping reparations to its World War II victims.'

Enough said now?

W61212 hhnheim 4 Jul 2015 09:21

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/economic-historian-germany-was-biggest-debt-transgressor-of-20th-century-a-769703.html


North2011 kizbot 4 Jul 2015 09:04

Don't worry. The nappy business is doing well in Brussels...
EU sources: possible extra Eurogroup on Monday and EU leaders Summit on Wednesday #Greferendum via GR media http://www.dimokratiki.gr/04-07-2015/pithano-ektakto-eurogroup-ti-deftera-ke-sinodos-korifis-tin-tetarti/ …
They are pissing in their pants the lot of them...


rafela Bogoas81 4 Jul 2015 09:00

Austerity didnt work. In the last five years the economy shrinked by 19%. Unemployment rose to 27%. Tsipras wanted more debt relief. The IMF report sustain that an improvement is impossible without debt relief.


sunnytimes 4 Jul 2015 08:58

German people are industrious and inventive. They play by the rules. Unfortunately they are also rather naive and believe generally what the state tells them. In history the role of such people has always been to pay the bills.


GuillotinesRUs 4 Jul 2015 08:45

Yanis Varoufakis has a point. The proposals put by the EU would cause the Greek economy to contract further, this effectively would increase the debt ratio to GDP. Nowhere have I heard any talk on how to build up the Greek economy, it has all been about collecting taxes.

I have also read commentators on here talk about how Greece lied to get into MU, this has a great deal of truth in it, but one must remember the EU knew what a basket case Greece was financially, therefore they are equally complicit in this debacle.

The question has to be why the EU is doing this to Greece, they know their actions will do nothing other than cause more misery in the country. The reason this is happening is to protect German banks. Greece is the domino that could bring the whole system down.

U77777 -> CassiusClay 4 Jul 2015 08:40

Austerity isn't the answer - but when you have put yourself into the situation that the Greeks have, it is part of the solution. A small part and nothing like the media like to portray, but something has got to give.

As for electing Tsipras and varoufakis......Seriously, stop drinking. They're a bunch of cowboys with some well intended principles and a load of rather deluded ideas. Worse still, neither of them have actually come up with anything like a constructive plan how to stimulate the economy and help Greece stand on its own 2 feet again


Dimitris Chloupis -> sylvester 4 Jul 2015 08:39

Any sensible Greek realizes without deep reforms no economy is going forward. This is not even debatable in my country. We already reduced public sector by 500.000 employes thats a juicy 50%. High pensions of the past are long gone. The result is that now it costs 6 billion to pay for wages in public sector and another 5 billion to pay for pension, total 10 billion. But we need another 10 billion for paying back loans each year. This year alone we paid back 25 billion !!!

Tax evasion should be our next focus, its not reasonable for an economy that makes 200 billions per year to need loans . There is a will to fix all that, because the alternative is far worse.

Of course the same can be said about Germany , why a country that make 3.1 trillion euros per year has a 80% debt ? Tax evasion of course ;) Time to open those swish bank accounts , but does Germany want that ? How many vested Greek interest are connected with German vested interest ?

Denying corruption is to deny the foundation of modern economies.

W61212 -> RussBrown 4 Jul 2015 08:39

I made a point earlier about the birth of a new Brussels based dictatorship which controls all EZ 'national governments', which are national governments by name only, ergo Syriza has to go for straying from the script. Brussels has already proven it would rather deal with corrupt Greek politicians by doing so in the past

Continent Renato -> Timotheus 4 Jul 2015 08:37

Inequality of opportunity in the Eurozone is now so great -- young people in Greece have an unemployment level of 60% and the rate is 33% in the austerity "success story" of Portugal

The systems are different. Northern countries have the dual education system, i.e. only about 10 p.c. of the youth go to college/university, and 90 p.c. go through a 3 or 4 year education "learning by doing".

In addition, the "dirty work" in Greece (farming/harvest/construction) is done by temporary migrants from Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria because the Greek parents wanted their children to have a better life and sent them to universities without an employment market for so many acdemics. Many of them land in a job with in the bloated govt.

sunnytimes 4 Jul 2015 08:36

The true parasites are the bond markets of London and New York. The create nothing. All they do is swap pieces of paper with ech other all day long, skimming every transaction. The UK and US have run trade deficits or decades, that is by definition they produce less than they consume. Time to tear down this edifice of debt and get back to a capital-based economy.

LeftOrRightSameShite FOARP 4 Jul 2015 08:35

Greece already has been bailed out

No, the original package lent to Greece was to bailout Greek and EU banks. The subsequent bailout (to pay for the bailout) is 60% owned/facilitated by EFSF. It raised it through selling bonds, no doubt to financial institutions. So now we're in the bizarre situation of banks befitting from the bailout of banks with the Greek people carrying the can and Europeans (who are liable to honour EFSF bonds+intererst) blaming Greece and defending the banks!

Bit thick really innit!

RussBrown 4 Jul 2015 08:35

Myth 1 - Greece do nothing to solve the problem (they have had years of austerity)

Myth 2 - Germany is bailing out the Greeks. The money that goes to Greece goes straight back into the German Banks. But by making it impossible for business to run in Greece the businesses move their resources to Germany and pay taxes their in a massive transfer of wealth from a poor EU country to the richest. This is a capitalist scam and all of lot on here shouting their propaganda should be ashamed of yourselves. The rich bankers are using you to justify the destruction of the poor!

[Jul 03, 2015] Europe's leaders must end this reckless standoff with Greece by Guy Verhofstadt, former prime minister of Belgium

"...Neoliberal politicians are well-paid traitors to their own countries and peoples - how much empathy can be expected of them for anyone else?"
"...When I see expressions like "hard-working" and "sustainable", I stop reading. It is as Orwell said: ready made plastic expressions rushing in to smother all possibility of an original individual thought. All this dolt needed to include were "inclusive", "sensitive", "globalised", "aspirational", "stakeholders", and he would be done."
"...You are quite right about Golden Dawn but I don't think the Troika actually care about that so much. Its beyond obvious that the Troika care nothing for the Greek population and I think they would be content with a fascist dictatorship as long as it signs up to austerity."
"...That would not be a bad thing, but I don't think the Euro is seen as an error or a mistake at all. As Germany has discovered, it is an extremely useful tool in assuring the triumph of greed: keeping populations poor, unemployed and fearful, so they are more willing to accept the lash of the markets and agree to bank bailouts, low wages, a diminished social safety-net, trade treaties, etc., etc."
Jul 03, 2015 | The Guardian

The possibility of a Greek exit from the eurozone has never been more likely. We shouldn't be under any illusions – this would be a catastrophe for Greece's eurozone creditors, the Greek state and the European Union.

Like it or not, we are all in this together. If we continue on our current trajectory, everyone stands to lose from what now resembles a reckless, self-destructive standoff. The Greek economy is on the verge of complete collapse. This would not only be devastating for the people of Greece, it will guarantee that creditors never see their money again. We must remember that Germany has lent approximately €80bn. This is an astonishing figure, close to a quarter of Greece's budget for 2016. Yet the sad irony is, the longer the current impasse continues, the greater pressure Angela Merkel will face within her own party to reject any solution that is accepted by the Greek government.

But much more is at stake than euros. The world will consider a "Grexit" as a devastating blow for EU monetary cooperation and the European project. A destabilising Grexit will only be welcomed by the likes of China, Russia and those who are most threatened by a strong, united European Union. If Greece is to stay within the eurozone, we need to secure a massive de-escalation of the tensions, rhetoric and threats from both sides – and fast. It is time for Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and the political leaders of the eurozone to come to their senses and bring this crisis back from the brink.


Prodisestab -> HolyInsurgent 3 Jul 2015 18:26

Neoliberal politicians are well-paid traitors to their own countries and peoples - how much empathy can be expected of them for anyone else?


Panagiotis Theodoropoulos Gjenganger 3 Jul 2015 19:20

Agreed to a good extent. However, when the discussions broke off Friday night, the two sides were very close regarding the measures that were needed. I believe that they were off by 60 million euros only. Their differences were mostly about the types of measures to be taken with the Greek government wanting more taxes on businesses and the creditors wanting more to be paid by ordinary people. The problem that I have and that a lot of observers have with that is the fact that the Greek government did compromize quite a lot while the creditors refused to budge from their inflexible position despite the fact that implementation of their policies during the last five years has put the country into a depression. A basic premise of "negotiation" is that both sides make compromises in order to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. In this case the creditors demonstrated total lack of flexibility, which clearly indicates alterior motives at least on the part of some of the creditors. In Germany they have fed their people with all the hate against "lazy Greeks" etc that clearly shows up in these messages and in that sense they have themselves created a very negative environment. I believe that about 90% or so of all the loans that have been given to Greece went back to the creditors. Greece is not looking for handouts here. This must be understood.

This is a debt crisis that has been mishandled and that has span out of control as a result. Economic terrorism is not justified under any conditions and particularly within the EZ.

LiveitOut 3 Jul 2015 21:45

When I see expressions like "hard-working" and "sustainable", I stop reading.

It is as Orwell said: ready made plastic expressions rushing in to smother all possibility of an original individual thought.

All this dolt needed to include were "inclusive", "sensitive", "globalised", "aspirational", "stakeholders", and he would be done.

How odd all this stuff about hardworking families when we are all being screwed to kingdom come by hard whoring banking gangsters who have never done a second of useful work in their effing lives --

Optymystic, 3 Jul 2015 12:55

The Greek economy is on the verge of complete collapse. This would not only be devastating for the people of Greece, it will guarantee that creditors never see their money again.

The debt has been known to be unpayable for a long time. It has nothing to do with current events in Greece. It should have been written off.

No one believes anything Alexis Tsipras says anymore, and this is why a yes vote on Sunday is crucial. But it's also clear eurozone leaders have made mistakes with Greece.

But despite their nonsenses the latter group somehow, mysteriously, retain credibility. It was not the antics of Tsiparis that brought about this mess but the behaviour of his 'credible' opponents.

Greece and its creditors agree a three-month window to develop a long-term reform programme combined with an investment package to turn Greece's ailing economy around.

Now you are getting close to the Syriza position.

Let us use this crisis to deliver real, sustainable change by drawing up a settlement in the next three months in which the Greek state, its government and its administration are paying back the debts, instead of forcing hard-working citizens to pay the bill.

Is that before or after the twenty-year moratorium on debt implied by the IMF?

From the burning embers of two world wars, we have created a single market with free movement of people, goods, services and capital.

And the freedom to avoid taxes.

PaleMan -> jonbryce 3 Jul 2015 12:59

You are quite right about Golden Dawn but I don't think the Troika actually care about that so much.

Its beyond obvious that the Troika care nothing for the Greek population and I think they would be content with a fascist dictatorship as long as it signs up to austerity.

Danny Sheahan 3 Jul 2015 12:59

No one believes the ECB or the EU leadership anymore.

If they were serious about the Euro as a strong functional currency this mess would not be so big.

They would not have had to flush out private German and French bad debt in the 2nd bailout by putting it on the tax payer, or those countries would have had to step in to hep their banks and political careers would have been over.

The ECB has become a political football and it cannot maintain stability in its currency region. It is a failed central bank.

Vilos_Cohaagen 3 Jul 2015 12:58

"The Greek economy is on the verge of complete collapse. This would not only be devastating for the people of Greece, it will guarantee that creditors never see their money again."

The problem is that there's no scenario where the creditors do get paid back. So, why (for a start) "lend" them 60 billion more Euros? Wiping the debt completely out just means that the Greeks can start accumulating new "debt" they'll have no intention to re-pay and will be defaulting on a few years down the line.

BusinessWriter 3 Jul 2015 12:52

it will guarantee that creditors never see their money again.

Crazy - this Guy actually thinks the creditors have any chance of seeing their money again - what planet is he on.
As for his idea that the Greek state (or any state for that matter that doesn't control its own currency) can pay of its debt independent of the taxpaying public - it's deluded nonsense.

Where is the Greek state supposed to get the billions of euro from? The only source of revenue it has is taxes or selling assets that it holds on behalf of the citizens of Greece.

Equally, the idea that the clientelist state is somehow a separate thing to the majority of the Greek people is nonsense. So many of them are either employed by the state or in professions protected from competition by the state or in companies that only serve the state. Identifying anyone who doesn't benefit in some way from the current clientelist state would be like looking for an ATM in Athens with cash in it on Monday morning.

This Guy is just another symptom of the problem - he offers no sustainable solution - and what he does offer is incoherent and too late.

fullgrill -> elliot2511 3 Jul 2015 12:51

That would not be a bad thing, but I don't think the Euro is seen as an error or a mistake at all. As Germany has discovered, it is an extremely useful tool in assuring the triumph of greed: keeping populations poor, unemployed and fearful, so they are more willing to accept the lash of the markets and agree to bank bailouts, low wages, a diminished social safety-net, trade treaties, etc., etc.

whichone 3 Jul 2015 12:50

"Syriza's game is up. No one believes anything Alexis Tsipras says anymore"

well 1) it looks like 50% of the Greeks believe him

2) The IMF (and Merkel in leaked notes) have acknowledged that the debt is unsustainable even if Greece accept all conditions imposed by the Troika.

Varoufakis has been saying this since the start. So lets no longer pretend that this is all about getting the money back or that Greece wants to avoid its responsibility to its creditors : again will say Varoufakis has said the Greek government does not want to do this. The point is he and many other knowledgeable people (not politicians) know that it can not be paid back , but with the conditions in place to allow the economy to start to grow then Greece has a chance to pay some of it back. This is about bringing a Government to heel. I wish the Guardian , having continually reported on this crisis and knows what has been said allows a contributor to use the paper as propaganda.

And I hope that all those people who purposely said that a 'NO' vote means a no to Greece in the Euro and EU after a 'NO' result and surprise surprise Greece is still in the Euro, get thrown to the Wolves.

The same is goes with the comments about Varoufakis playing Game theory. He denied this basically saying that those who say this obviously don't know the first thing about Game Theory.

badluc TheSighingDutchman 3 Jul 2015 12:48

Genuine question: correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't the electorates of Germany, Netherlands, Finland etc been consistently fed by most of their politicians (and newspapers) a completely mistaken "morality tale" about what the root causes of the problems are, blaming inefficient and corrupt governments who borrowed too much, without mentioning either the reckless lenders (mainly German, French, Dutch etc banks), were silent about the shifting of the burden of bad lending from the banks to the EU taxpayers (did they ever acknowledge that clearly?!?), describing the solution as a punitive austerity which would somehow bring moribund economies back from the abyss, etc? Politicians have a duty to be frank and sincere with their electorate, sharing with them all the relevant data they have on a given problem. If they have been feeding them misguided rhetoric, they have only themselves to blame if the chickens now come home to roost. In other words, if the electorate would now revolt against the inevitable, don't the politicians of those countries who have most strongly supported and advocated austerity have only themselves to blame?

SouthSeas 3 Jul 2015 12:48

Germany has lent 80bn to Greece to pay back loans from German banks

RudolphS 3 Jul 2015 12:47

While Verhofstadt calls for a cooling-off period he at the same time claims 'Syriza's game is up' and is urging the Greek people to vote 'yes' next sunday. With the latter he shows his true colours as just another Brussels eurocrat, and is only fuelling debate instead of cooling-off.

Dear Mr. Verhofstadt, why the hell do you think the Greek voted en masse for a party like Syriza? Because they are sick and tired of people like you.

And yes, there much more at stake than a debt. Putin must be watching this whole spectacle with total bewilderment how the EU is crippling itself from the inside.


Rainborough 3 Jul 2015 12:47

Anyone who is in danger of being impressed by conservative politician Guy Verhofstadt's perspective on Greek problems might like to bear in mknd that among his numerous other highly lucrative financial interests is his position on the board of the multi-billion Belgian investment company Sofina, whose interests include a stake in the highly controversial planned privatization of the Thessaloniki water utility.


hatewarmongers OscarD 3 Jul 2015 12:46

The neoliberal elite don't


SHappens 3 Jul 2015 12:17

In a democracy people can chose their fate by voting or through referendum. That's the way it goes but not in Europe where referendum are seen as a danger to the establishment. Tsipras, as soon as he came to power through a democratic vote was seen as a danger. He was ostracized and considered a pariah, Greece became a pariah state and they can as well die from hunger.

The EU, and institutions have behaved like the little bullies they are, just like they did with Switzerland after the vote on immigration, they threat, blackmail everyone who dare think different.

For the sake of democracy, the Greeks have to vote no, there is no other decent alternatives especially after all the bashing and disrespect they have been under. Nobody in EU and US (since they have their say in european affairs) want to see Greece walking away, nor Russia or China for that matter. But Tsipras had the opportunity to see where his real allies stand, and it is not within Europe. He might not forget this in the future.


mfederighi 3 Jul 2015 12:09

You are entirely right in suggesting that the only sustainable solution is a far-reaching reform programme for the Greek state and the reek economy. However, when you say that:

Greece's people must be at the centre of such a settlement. They did not cause this crisis and remain the victims of successive Greek governments, who have protected vested interests and the Greek clientelist system at their expense.

You seem to think that vested interest and the reek clientelist system are distinct from the Greek people. There is, I am afraid, a substantial overlap - that is, quite a few people benefit from clientelism and are part of vested interests. Not recognising this is disingenuous.

After all, corrupt and inefficient governments have been elected again and again - by whom?

jimmywalter 3 Jul 2015 12:06

The Banks solution is no solution - it means poverty and no taxes to pay to repay. The Banks want a Treaty of Versailles. We all know of a certain Austrian that rose up to end the German economic collapse. We all know how that ended. I don't want that again. People revolt over economics. Spain, Italy, and Greece have huge numbers of unemployeed who did nothing to create this crisis. The Banks did. Who should pay? Anyway, leave the Euro, stay in the EU!

[Jul 03, 2015] Throughout history, debt and war have been constant partners

"...So, to recap: corrupt German companies bribed corrupt Greek politicians to buy German weapons. And then a German chancellor presses for austerity on the Greek people to pay back the loans they took out (with Germans banks) at massive interest, for the weapons they bought off them in the first place. "
"...Debt and war are constant partners."
"...And the reason the USA dominated the world after WW2 was they had stayed out of both wars for the first 2 years and made fortunes lending and selling arms to Britain (and some to the Axis). It was the Jewish moneylenders of the Middle Ages who financed the various internal European wars, created the first banks, and along with a Scot formed the Bank of England."
Jul 03, 2015 | The Guardian

omewhere in a Greek jail, the former defence minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, watches the financial crisis unfold. I wonder how partly responsible he feels? In 2013, Akis (as he is popularly known) went down for 20 years, finally succumbing to the waves of financial scandal to which his name had long been associated. For alongside the lavish spending, the houses and the dodgy tax returns, there was bribery, and it was the €8m appreciation he received from the German arms dealer, Ferrostaal, for the Greek government's purchase of Type 214 submarines, that sent him to prison.

There is this idea that the Greeks got themselves into this current mess because they paid themselves too much for doing too little. Well, maybe. But it's not the complete picture. For the Greeks also got themselves into debt for the oldest reason in the book – one might even argue, for the very reason that public debt itself was first invented – to raise and support an army. The state's need for quick money to raise an army is how industrial-scale money lending comes into business (in the face of the church's historic opposition to usury). Indeed, in the west, one might even stretch to say that large-scale public debt began as a way to finance military intervention in the Middle East – ie the crusades. And just as rescuing Jerusalem from the Turks was the justification for massive military spending in the middle ages, so the fear of Turkey has been the reason given for recent Greek spending. Along with German subs, the Greeks have bought French frigates, US F16s and German Leopard 2 tanks. In the 1980s, for example, the Greeks spent an average of 6.2% of their GDP on defence compared with a European average of 2.9%. In the years following their EU entry, the Greeks were the world's fourth-highest spenders on conventional weaponry.

So, to recap: corrupt German companies bribed corrupt Greek politicians to buy German weapons. And then a German chancellor presses for austerity on the Greek people to pay back the loans they took out (with Germans banks) at massive interest, for the weapons they bought off them in the first place. Is this an unfair characterisation? A bit. It wasn't just Germany. And there were many other factors at play in the escalation of Greek debt. But the postwar difference between the Germans and the Greeks is not the tired stereotype that the former are hardworking and the latter are lazy, but rather that, among other things, the Germans have, for obvious reasons, been restricted in their military spending. And they have benefited massively from that.

Debt and war are constant partners. "The global financial crisis was due, at least in part, to the war," wrote Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, calculating the cost of the US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, pre-financial crash, to have been $3tn. Indeed, it was only this year, back in March, that the UK taxpayer finally paid off the money we borrowed to fight the first world war. "This is a moment for Britain to be proud of," said George Osborne, as he paid the final instalment of £1.9bn. Really?

The phrase "military-industrial complex" is one of those cliches of 70s leftwing radicalism, but it was Dwight D Eisenhower, a five-star general no less, who warned against its creeping power in his final speech as president. "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government … we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society." Ike was right.

This week, Church House, C of E HQ, hosted a conference sponsored by the arms dealers Lockheed Martin and MBDA Missile Systems. We preach about turning swords into ploughs yet help normalise an industry that turns them back again. The archbishop of Canterbury has been pretty solid on Wonga and trying to put legal loan sharks out of business. Now the church needs to take this up a level. For the debts that cripple entire countries come mostly from spending on war, not on pensions. And we don't say this nearly enough.
@giles_fraser

marsCubed, 3 Jul 2015 12:21

Syriza's position has been stated in this Huffington Post article.

Speaking to reporters in Washington on Tuesday, Yiannis Bournous, the head of international affairs for Greece's ruling Syriza party, heartily endorsed defense cuts as a way to meet the fiscal targets of Greece's international creditors.

"We already proposed a 200 million euro cut in the defense budget," Bournous said at an event hosted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, referring to cuts in Syriza's most recent proposal to its creditors. "We are willing to make it even bigger -- it is a pleasure for us."

Europe Offered Greece A Deal To Meet Its Obligations By Cutting Military Spending. The IMF Said No Way.

If the report is correct, ideology is playing just as much of a role as arithmetic in preventing a resolution. The IMF's refusal to consider a plan that would lessen pension cuts is consistent with itshistorically neoliberal political philosophy.


Giftedbutlazee 3 Jul 2015 11:52

we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex.

Still as relevant now, 54 years after Eisenhower said it.


BritCol 3 Jul 2015 11:39

And the reason the USA dominated the world after WW2 was they had stayed out of both wars for the first 2 years and made fortunes lending and selling arms to Britain (and some to the Axis). It was the Jewish moneylenders of the Middle Ages who financed the various internal European wars, created the first banks, and along with a Scot formed the Bank of England.

The moral? War makes money for profiteers, and puts those of us not killed or displaced in debt for generations. Yet we morons keep waving flags every time a prime minister wants to send us into another conflict.


barry1947brewster 3 Jul 2015 11:39

28 May 2014 The Royal United Services Institute estimated that since the Berlin Wall fell the UK has spent £35 billion on wars. Now it is suggested that we bomb IS in Syria. Instead of printing "Paid for by the Taxpayer" on medicines provided by the NHS we should have a daily costing of our expenditure on bombs etc used in anger.


real tic 3 Jul 2015 11:23

Finally someone at Graun looks at this obvious contradiction present in the Greek governments opposition to cut in defense spending (when they apparently accept cuts to pensions, healthcare and other social services)! Well done Giles, but what's wrong with your colleagues in CIF, or even in the glass bubbled editorial offices? Why has it taken so long to examine this aspect of Greek debt?

Defense expenditure is also one reason some actors in creditor nations are content to keep Greece in debt, even as far as to see its debts deepen, as long as it keeps on buying. while within Greece, nationalism within the military has long been a way of containing far right tendencies.

It is notable but unsurprising that the current Minister of Defense in Greece is a far right politician, allied to Tsipiras in the Syriza coalition.


Pollik 3 Jul 2015 11:03

"Throughout history, debt and war have been constant partners"

...and someone always makes a profit.

[Jul 01, 2015]Syriza can't just cave in. Europe's elites want regime change in Greece

"...But it has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with a dysfunctional currency union, a destructive neoliberal economic model enforced by treaty and an austerity regime maintained to ensure a return to profitability on corporate terms."
.
"...No, I think Berlin and Brussels are behaving abominably, not so much in terms of what is decided, but, as Pope Francis implied (there you are) without any consideration for the dignity of the Greek people. Shaming, blaming, demonizing, threatening, giving the cold shoulder, to a small marginal country who is supposedly part of your union."
.
"...I am against Syriza mate, but many commentors ignore the socioeconomic impact on the Greek population and simplify or generalize things. Syriza is in power the past 3 or 5 months. The previous gov were in power since 1974. Two parties, two families. Nepotism in politics is strong. "
.
"...Seamus is correct in his analysis. What is happening in Greece is akin to Democratic asphyxiation by financial means. And those of us that believe in basic Democracy should be standing with Syriza and the Greek people at this time. Neo-liberal dogma was always ugly. It's practical application is even uglier. This will have serious implications for the Left in Europe as a whole but more imminently for the British referendum vote due pretty soon."
.
"...After all, based on a leak of series of emails , Greek government was strictly following the instructions of Troika during the past 5 years. "
.
"...we wouldn't be having this conversation if the private companies that lent money to Greece had been made to eat their own losses.

But then neoliberalism isn't capitalism, not in the traditional sense. As has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, neoliberals magically turn into socialists at the drop of a hat. Gains privatised, losses socialised. In other words, they use the power of the state to collect economic rents. To call this sure thing investing or risk-taking is pure propaganda.
"

.
"...I agree the EU élites are out to topple Syriza. The invective against Tsipras and ruthless shut down of bank support to strike fear in the population show that clearly enough. Syriza is a mortal threat to the noe-liberal order. I don't agree that Syriza is innocent in this drama, though. Its crisis management has been abysmal. They know, or should, what is coming. when they threaten the EU élites."
.
"...This is a clash of ideologies. It's obvious if you listen to the spokepersons of Syriza and the Left compared with the clapped out so-called politicians of ND and the Right. The Greeks and the Spanish are the only countries where there's a popular moblisation against the robber barons who created the crisis and are continuing to profit from the consequences. The left have been emasculated throughout Europe "
.
"...My fear is that Syriza has lost the momentum, they have been unable to make the subject what it should be, Neoliberal ideological economics. The fear mongering and the bank run neatly engineered by Draghi and now the threat of shutting down the entire banking system - I'd be scared too. That's hardball politics - but the main thing is people obey authority and the EU has authority as far as the Greek people are concerned and they will back them into their very own graves."
.
"...Don't forget they are beyond the Great Depression now in terms of the economic catastrophe. Population has been sliding since 2010."
.
"...Greeks elected Syriza out of desperation. The rest is just the usual anti-left cliches, not that there's anything wrong with anti-left, however your understanding of the situation would be greatly enhanced if you spent a minute Googling origins of this crisis. Perhaps EU/EZ is a bit complex for you."
.
"...The reason why the Troika objected to increases in certain taxes as part of Greece's economic plans is twofold: (i) due to this historical lack of tax collection, increased revenue projections based on increased taxes would be almost entirely illusory, and (ii) they targeted weak industries that Greece needs to prosper and grow, and risked making Greece's economic situation worse. Many of the larger and stronger of these multinational industries also had the capability of simply leaving Greece. Tsipras refused to discuss sources of real and easy tax revenue, like tourism on the Greek islands. "
.
"...This is another round of banking bailouts using public money, cynically misnamed as bailing out Greece. The troika need to launder the money through Greece to give to the banks. Greece get to keep a very small percent for their troubles and taking more blame than they should."
.
"..."Europe is not under obligation to Greece" is nonsense. If Greece is a member state then EU is indeed under obligation to support it, and it should do this effectively. It should not carry out a policy that undermines its economy. Even if EU officials do not do this out of principles, they should to do it to avoid loosing the support of the EU project."
.
"...The preliminary report of the Greek debt investigation (yes, there is one) will be out shortly. From what I've read, much of the debt went to Greek banks and their foreign partners that indulged in an aggressive loaning orgy and created a debt bubble inside the Greek economy. The banks were recapitalised during the bailout with €80bn of state money that ended up as sovereign debt."
.
"...I had thought that Angie, Wolfie and Christine were perhaps just inept, but now I'm afraid they may be executing a well laid plan. Perhaps they want to form a new entity: The People's Neo-liberal Puppy Republic Of Greece. The steps: Blame all others; extort impossible amounts of invented "debts";people who oppose you are labeled as traitors; prioritize German and French banks so they can be saved from their own shitstorm and nationalize (i.e. charge the ordinary punter) all the fantasy cash that no-one's ever seen; call a national emergency and impose martial law. Next is destroy all opposition and hand everything over to private industry. A week ago, this would be very far-fetched, but now??"

Jul 01, 2015 | The Guardian

It's now clear that Germany and Europe's powers that be don't just want the Greek government to bend the knee. They want regime change. Not by military force, of course – this operation is being directed from Berlin and Brussels, rather than Washington.

But that the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the troika of Greece's European and International Monetary Fund creditors are out to remove the elected government in Athens now seems beyond serious doubt. . Everything they have done in recent weeks in relation to the leftist Syriza administraton, elected to turn the tide of austerity, appears designed to divide or discredit Alexis Tsipras's government.

They were at it again today, when Tsipras offered what looked like almost complete acceptance of the austerity package he had called a referendum on this Sunday. There could be no talks, Merkel responded, until the ballot had taken place.

There's no suggestion of genuine compromise. The aim is apparently to humiliate Tsipras and his government in preparation for its early replacement with a more pliable administration. We know from the IMF documents prepared for last week's "final proposals" and reported in the Guardian that the creditors were fully aware they meant unsustainable levels of debt and self-defeating austerity for Greece until at least 2030, even on the most fancifully optimistic scenario.

That's because, just as the bailouts went to the banks not the country, and troika-imposed austerity has brought penury and a debt explosion, these demands are really about power, not money. If they are successful in forcing Tsipras out of office, a slightly less destructive package could then be offered to a more house-trained Greek leader who replaced him.

Hence the European Central Bank's decision to switch off emergency funding of Greece's banks after Tsipras called the referendum on an austerity scheme he had described as blackmail. That was what triggered the bank closures and capital controls, which have taken Greece's crisis to a new level this week as it became the first developed country to default on an IMF loan.

The EU authorities have a deep aversion to referendums, and countries are routinely persuaded to hold them again if they give the wrong answer. The vote planned in Greece is no exception. A barrage of threats and scaremongering was unleashed as soon as it was called.

One European leader after another warned Greeks to ignore their government and vote yes – or be forced out of the eurozone, with dire consequences. Already the class nature of the divide between the the wealthier yes and more working-class no camps is stark. The troika's hope seems to be that if Tsipras is defeated by fear of chaos, Syriza will split or be forced from office in short order. The euro elite insists it is representing the interests of Portuguese or Irish taxpayers who have to pick up the bill for bailing out the feckless Greeks – or will be enraged by any debt forgiveness when they have been forced to swallow similar medicine. The reality is the other way round.

... ... ...

Tsipras and Syriza's determination to stay in the eurozone come what may has seriously weakened Greece's hand. The economic dislocation of jumping off the euro train would doubtless be severe in the short term, though the costs of permanent austerity would almost certainly be greater thereafter.

But Syriza insiders say there is little preparation for what anyway may be forced on them. The relentless pressure of the EU bureaucracy demands a strong and clear-headed response. Right now, for example, that means the Athens government immediately taking control of its banks, currently shutting down all transactions.

The worst outcome of this crisis would be for Syriza to implement the austerity it was elected to end. A yes vote in next weekend's referendum, , if it goes ahead, would probably lead to the government's fall, and almost certainly new elections.

Papistpal rredge 1 Jul 2015 21:21

"Implicit in your argument"

Always a ploy of course, when you find implicit, tacit, implied arguments in someone else's thought, and then argue with it. No, I am not saying anything about the money.
No, I think Berlin and Brussels are behaving abominably, not so much in terms of what is decided, but, as Pope Francis implied (there you are) without any consideration for the dignity of the Greek people. Shaming, blaming, demonizing, threatening, giving the cold shoulder, to a small marginal country who is supposedly part of your union. There is NO excuse for your behavior

Ritoras Tijger 1 Jul 2015 20:57

I am against Syriza mate, but many commentors ignore the socioeconomic impact on the Greek population and simplify or generalize things. Syriza is in power the past 3 or 5 months. The previous gov were in power since 1974. Two parties, two families. Nepotism in politics is strong.

As said, because none answers your question that doesn't mean no is the answer.

Be open minded and less emotional. Few of the questions you ask you can google them and share the findings with us. That will be more convincing!

peekaboo -> summicron 1 Jul 2015 20:54

The public in the 18 countries have not been consulted. Critical decisions affecting all other members need direct approval. In fact referendums have almost never been held for EU membership in candidate countries.

ineluctable2u -> tsimshatsui 1 Jul 2015 20:50

That's naive. Merkel is only making the Greek people suffer now in the hope that they will lose their will and vote yes. This is ruthless politics by the troika and Merkel in particular.

martyc73 -> Gearóid Ó Loingsigh 1 Jul 2015 20:49

The North is a diversion - it cant raise taxes and relies on subvention from the British State etc and you know this so don't be using that as an argument. The bank guarantee was also sold in a totally different way to what was rolled out subsequently. And you know this too. Hums and Haws???

Seamus is correct in his analysis. What is happening in Greece is akin to Democratic asphyxiation by financial means. And those of us that believe in basic Democracy should be standing with Syriza and the Greek people at this time. Neo-liberal dogma was always ugly. It's practical application is even uglier. This will have serious implications for the Left in Europe as a whole but more imminently for the British referendum vote due pretty soon.

Ritoras Tijger 1 Jul 2015 20:46

Bud, first of all you repeat you you you, it is very instructional, chill. Bravo to you as well for making so focussed comments. I mean it even though you put all the fault on the Greek gov.. Don't see you challenging yourself enough? Are the rest of stakeholders here perfect?

But, how do you know what Greece has done and what not?

Why the Troika have not reacted the same and with the same persistence as it does now during the last 5 years to correct the direction of travel? You're 100% right about the Lagarde list. The ministers who did not do nothing are in trials now.. However, I was in fact hoping that the Troika could play a more active role in this and exercise influence to clear corruption. After all, based on a leak of series of emails , Greek government was strictly following the instructions of Troika during the past 5 years.

About the military expenses. I like defense and the military in fact. But! In a recession, the Troika should have first said, save money there to invest in sectors like healthcare, education etc. After all, Greece is very well equipped and supposedly is backed up by NATO allies.

calsation miceonparade 1 Jul 2015 20:43

I must say I enjoyed your takedown of oldships immensely. It seems he doesn't realise we wouldn't be having this conversation if the private companies that lent money to Greece had been made to eat their own losses.

But then neoliberalism isn't capitalism, not in the traditional sense. As has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, neoliberals magically turn into socialists at the drop of a hat. Gains privatised, losses socialised. In other words, they use the power of the state to collect economic rents. To call this sure thing investing or risk-taking is pure propaganda.

Papistpal 1 Jul 2015 20:40

Never thought I'd agree with you, but I have to say, from this American capitalist perspective, Berlin and Brussels have no sense of fair play and no respect for democracy. How can the EU call itself a democracy if Germany has a veto because it has the big bucks. The US, I admit, would like to do something similar, but we are constrained by maintaining at least some vestige of democratic practice and sensibility. What is with the moralism, anyway. "Greece is wrong, so we get to do whatever we want to them." Moralistic platitudes are not policy statements. Damn Merkel to hell


TheNerveInstitute 1 Jul 2015 20:36

Greeks must not cave in. This is interesting !

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=14132

lawrenceab 1 Jul 2015 20:29

I agree the EU élites are out to topple Syriza. The invective against Tsipras and ruthless shut down of bank support to strike fear in the population show that clearly enough. Syriza is a mortal threat to the noe-liberal order.

I don't agree that Syriza is innocent in this drama, though. Its crisis management has been abysmal. They know, or should, what is coming. when they threaten the EU élites. Why for instance did they not impose capital controls the very first weekend after coming to power?? The the country could have put up its defenses at a time of its own choosing, husbanded its resources while negotiating - paid the IMF, keep banks open during this crucial referendum week. You don't negotiate with 17 adversaries who all want to crush you, with one hand tied behind your back and € billions flowing out weekly. In three months you are on the floor.


castalla 1 Jul 2015 20:17

This is a clash of ideologies. It's obvious if you listen to the spokepersons of Syriza and the Left compared with the clapped out so-called politicians of ND and the Right. The Greeks and the Spanish are the only countries where there's a popular moblisation against the robber barons who created the crisis and are continuing to profit from the consequences. The left have been emasculated throughout Europe ... let's hope the OXI vote wins the day and Syriza gets a mandate to argue for a restructure of the debt programme.

someoneionceknew -> FactPatrol 1 Jul 2015 20:10

The – European Social Model – is built on the fundamental principles built into Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC):

… promotion of employment, improved living and working conditions … proper social protection, dialogue between management and labour, the development of human resources with a view to lasting high employment and the combating of exclusion.

It combines with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to define an "underlying principle is one of solidarity and cohesion: that economic growth must serve to boost overall social wellbeing, and not take place at the expense of any section of society".

The ILO book says that while "there is no official definition of the European Social Model" there is a long history of practice and dialogue that allows one to map out the main characteristics.

The ILO define "six main pillars":

1. "Increased Minimum Rights on Working Conditions".

2. "Universal and Sustainable Social Protection Systems".

3. "Inclusive Labour Markets".

4. "Strong and Well-Functioning Social Dialogue".

5. "Public Services and Services of General Interest".

6. "Social Inclusion and Social Cohesion".

miceonparade -> Exodus20 1 Jul 2015 20:08

Remember what Greece were like before joining the euro, in the 1990's?

Greece in the 1990s did not have 30% unemployment or 60% youth unemployment or a depression. Things can only begin to get better after exiting the euro and reclaiming fiscal sovereignty which can be used to put Greek people back to work.

someoneionceknew FactPatrol 1 Jul 2015 20:07

The European Social Model in Crisis: Is Europe losing its soul?

PDF 52 page precis.

while the European Social Model may have been called into question here and there before the crisis, the list of changes in most elements and pillars of the European Social Model since the crisis is formidable. While there are a few exceptions … all other trends show a general withdrawal of the state from social policy, first through massive cuts in social expenditure and reduced funding of education, health care and other public services, and second through radical reforms in a number of areas, such as social dialogue, social protection, pensions, labour market and social cohesion in general …

the changes are particularly severe in those countries that implemented an austerity package under the direct influence of the Troika …


Hill0fBeans sjorsnotmine 1 Jul 2015 20:05

There are no poor Greeks in Greece any more...

You're a disgrace. Instead of trolling, read some facts every now and then.

- like the 4 out of 10 Greek children living beneath the poverty line

- or 44.8% of pensioners living on less than 665 euros/month

- or the 27% unemployed

Go crawl back underneath your bridge. This is not a place for trolls.

camerashy 1 Jul 2015 19:56

The closet fascists are all out in force to get rid of a democratically elected government! Rule by corporations and banks is what you deserve and is what you are going to get in next 5 years ... so enjoy it.

deskandchair -> Danny Sheahan 1 Jul 2015 19:56

It can't go any other way, fiscal control means political control. The tragedy is that the EZ was formed in the first place.

Lafcadio1944 1 Jul 2015 19:52

My fear is that Syriza has lost the momentum, they have been unable to make the subject what it should be, Neoliberal ideological economics. The fear mongering and the bank run neatly engineered by Draghi and now the threat of shutting down the entire banking system - I'd be scared too. That's hardball politics - but the main thing is people obey authority and the EU has authority as far as the Greek people are concerned and they will back them into their very own graves.


xsyfer John Smith 1 Jul 2015 19:51

It has that already. Don't forget they are beyond the Great Depression now in terms of the economic catastrophe. Population has been sliding since 2010. There will be friends. I reckon UK, us and Sweden might do something bilateral after the mess to keep Greece away from Russia.

Might be too late then though


deskandchair Markdoug1 1 Jul 2015 19:51

You don't live in EZ or EU (although superficial thinking isn't exclusive to those outside EZ) however you're correct, Greeks elected Syriza out of desperation. The rest is just the usual anti-left cliches, not that there's anything wrong with anti-left, however your understanding of the situation would be greatly enhanced if you spent a minute Googling origins of this crisis. Perhaps EU/EZ is a bit complex for you.


Eleutheros 1 Jul 2015 19:46

But it has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with a dysfunctional currency union, a destructive neoliberal economic model enforced by treaty and an austerity regime maintained to ensure a return to profitability on corporate terms.

And that's the essence of the current situation, not just in the EU, but most "western" societies, including Australia, where I live; our present government follows the policies of Thatcher and Reagan and is trying to bring austerity to a rich and prosperous country.

Excellent article Seumas Milne, thank you.


Oscarinho 1 Jul 2015 19:43

Yes, there is a potential danger of a right-wing, if not neo-nazi, turn in Greece (and maybe, only maybe in other places, too). But just tell me why does the author doesn't mention that without the support of the right-wingers and neo-nazis called Anel and Golden Dawn Syriza would not have a majority in their own country??? Syriza does not represent a European leftist alternative (ask Renzi) but mere 2 million Greek voters supported by the far right that are taking their own society hostage playing the nationalistic card.

Yes, we need another haircut and, yes, this radical austerity policies needs to be changed. It's just not sustainable as we learned the hard way- But Syriza is looking for a system change by any means with any partners (Golden Dawn, Putin's Russia, and even Erdogan). No thanks.


Forthestate ID5590609 1 Jul 2015 19:40

you and others believe that Greeks are now somehow inherently entitled to this new and vastly improved standard of living...

Just more bollocks! How do you square "this new and vastly improved standard of living" with the reality since the crisis hit? Most analysts agree that the decline has seen Greece lose everything that it acquired during the years you refer to, and more, and I repeat, it is a decline probably unparalleled in peacetime. Where is the recognition of the catastrophe that has hit the Greek people in your ridiculous assertion that they are enjoying a new and vastly improved standard of living?


John Smith 1 Jul 2015 19:32

Looking at the headline photo of Merkel, the caption: Who will rid me of this troublesome Greek
popped into my head.

Then I read the article above.

Nothing would please the Euromeddlers more than a military coup, or a revolt by the coalition partners.

Because what this crisis is exposing is how after five fruitless years, the geniuses at the heart of the EU, couldn't grasp that among their many errors of judgement, it's no good loaning a bankrupt money to pay off debt, the Euro has actually worked against the economic expansion of the Eurozone both before and after the crash, and by failing to spot the dishonesty of previous Greek administrations or act, it has shown the world that their system is weak, cannot tackle a crisis, and despite years of rhetoric will have to do the one thing it said would never ever happen, expel a member state and write off tens of billions of wasted euros.

In my earlier analysis I have already explained why the Euro was a currency launched half cocked, and that without taking into account the needs of individual nations, it is doomed in the long term, to fall to pieces.

I fear that whatever happens now, Greece is going to find itself with few friends, and at least five years of pain and emigration of its youth.

ID5590609 Forthestate 1 Jul 2015 19:26

The level of Greek tax collection from all sectors and classes in Greek society is abysmal. Tspiras and Varoufakis do not deny this is a problem, and other than pride or foolishness, I question why you do. Some economists suggests that as much as 39% of the Greek economy is effectively underground. The other purported statistics are simply red herrings to confuse this simple fact (and also avoid dealing with the rampant other corruption and incompetence inherent in the Greek economy).

The reason why the Troika objected to increases in certain taxes as part of Greece's economic plans is twofold: (i) due to this historical lack of tax collection, increased revenue projections based on increased taxes would be almost entirely illusory, and (ii) they targeted weak industries that Greece needs to prosper and grow, and risked making Greece's economic situation worse. Many of the larger and stronger of these multinational industries also had the capability of simply leaving Greece. Tsipras refused to discuss sources of real and easy tax revenue, like tourism on the Greek islands.

The fact that Greece's economy has contracted over 25% is also not particularly relevant. The larger GDP since joining the Euro represented a tremendously bloated bubble based on irresponsible public and private debt. The current GPD still has ample room to decrease before it accurately reflects the true size, scope and productivity of the Greek economy (and even reflects Greece's pre-Euro GDP). Also noteworthy is the fact that Greek incomes nearly tripled since it joined the Euro Apparently, you and others believe that Greeks are now somehow inherently entitled to this new and vastly improved standard of living (more impressive than some other Eurozone members who are poorer and helped fund Greece's bailout) despite the fact that it was entirely unearned and based on fraud and the largesse of the taxpayers of other nations.


Exodus20 Tijger 1 Jul 2015 19:26

This is another round of banking bailouts using public money, cynically misnamed as bailing out Greece. The troika need to launder the money through Greece to give to the banks. Greece get to keep a very small percent for their troubles and taking more blame than they should.


JordiLlull neilmack 1 Jul 2015 19:24

Who are "Most people"? I dont think there are polls, but few people in Europe believe that the fault lies exclusively on a government who has been there for 6 months, and is trying to prevent the policies that have led to a 25% loss of GDP. Particularly since the troika has made it damn clear that it does not plan to accept ANY plan. Sure, some have bought Daily Mirror arguments that the Greeks spent the bailouts on Ouzo, but informed people know that the vast majority was used to pay back interests, and that Greek retirement pensions are around 300 euro/month. I would rather argue that "most people" in Europe who have traditionally supported EU are starting to raise questions about what EU's role in this crisis.

"Europe is not under obligation to Greece" is nonsense. If Greece is a member state then EU is indeed under obligation to support it, and it should do this effectively. It should not carry out a policy that undermines its economy. Even if EU officials do not do this out of principles, they should to do it to avoid loosing the support of the EU project.

deskandchair truecomrade 1 Jul 2015 19:22

Fiscal control = political control, it can be no other way.


FourtyTwo sjorsnotmine 1 Jul 2015 19:21

More than 30% of the population are officially below the poverty line.

http://www.enetenglish.gr/?i=news.en.article&id=2040


FourtyTwo Exodus20 1 Jul 2015 19:17

The preliminary report of the Greek debt investigation (yes, there is one) will be out shortly. From what I've read, much of the debt went to Greek banks and their foreign partners that indulged in an aggressive loaning orgy and created a debt bubble inside the Greek economy. The banks were recapitalised during the bailout with €80bn of state money that ended up as sovereign debt.

MTSK87 privateindustry44 1 Jul 2015 19:13

You are an ignorant piece of work aren't you Sir? Look at the facts before spreading lies. The Greeks work (the ones still in employment that is) work more hours than any other EU citizen ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17155304 ), the rich and powerful did not pay taxes no, but your average 20-30 something year old with a wage of 400 euros a month that has to go back to living with his/her parents can barely afford coffee never mind pay taxes. And free money? Please the "creditors" have NEVER given anyone "free" money. Germany never gave away anything for free (see treaties imposed on Greece to buy old German weapons). Greece was manipulated and suffered for that "free money".

emordnilap Mark Riggle 1 Jul 2015 19:10

I had thought that Angie, Wolfie and Christine were perhaps just inept, but now I'm afraid they may be executing a well laid plan. Perhaps they want to form a new entity: The People's Neo-liberal Puppy Republic Of Greece. The steps: Blame all others; extort impossible amounts of invented "debts";people who oppose you are labeled as traitors; prioritize German and French banks so they can be saved from their own shitstorm and nationalize (i.e. charge the ordinary punter) all the fantasy cash that no-one's ever seen; call a national emergency and impose martial law. Next is destroy all opposition and hand everything over to private industry. A week ago, this would be very far-fetched, but now??

[Jun 30, 2015] Russian culture minister calls for tax on Hollywood films

Jun 30, 2015 | The Guardian

DavidEG 30 Jun 2015 00:26

They (Hollywood staple) should be taxed the same way as tobacco or controlled substances. Full of violence, harmful to mental well-being of children an adults alike.

HollyOldDog wereallfuckedboy 29 Jun 2015 18:54

The UK government should have given the Hollywood WWW2 films the the J rating for JUNK.

Doors2distant 29 Jun 2015 18:29

What an excellent idea, the quality can only improve. No car chases, cop porn, war porn or saccharin sentimentality.

Ieuan 29 Jun 2015 17:15

" he wants to introduce a sales tax that will be used to increase funds for local productions."

In just about every market Hollywood films gross the most. But in many markets (fewer and fewer as US companies take over their own local distribution) they are distributed by local distributors, who then invest some of their profits into local productions - hence some of the Hollywood blockbusters' moneymaking gets routed into supporting the local industry.

If (as I suspect) the Russian distributors of Hollywood product are owned by Hollywood studios, and do not produce anything locally, then I think it's fair enough that the government steps in and routes some of the money made into local industry.

olliemaple 29 Jun 2015 16:52

Exceptionally right decision indeed. It's only fair that whoever watches that Hollywood crap should be extra taxed in favor of positive domestic productions. Not unlike cigarette sales.

Alderbaran 29 Jun 2015 10:36

Many Russian films could be considered to be great and to me trump much of what comes out of Hollywood. However, it was a shame that Medinsky saw no merit in Leviathan and I'm probably one of many who see Medinsky's actions as political in nature, especially given the criterea for state funding of films in Russia.

It is a shame to see the state increasingly policing the film industry in Russia but I'm certain that creative directors will still be able to work within the constraints.

Tilipon -> dropthemchammer 29 Jun 2015 08:24

countries who passed through state coup. Look in root but not in a peak...

[Jun 30, 2015] Greek failure to make IMF payment deals historic blow to eurozone

I can only imagine the intensity of "consultations" between Washington and Berlin now...
.
"...The present circumstances in Greece were inherited by the current government from the previous right-wing government, which managed to bring them out by faithfully following the austerity prescriptions of the Troika. However both left and right-wing governments of the past, who created and hid the enormous debt, are also to blame."
.
"...The documents show that the IMF's baseline estimate – the most likely outcome – is that Greece's debt would still be 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to the package of tax and spending reforms demanded. "
.
"...This is nothing more than a large-scale payday loan scam. Greece will never get past the loan sharks and will constantly have to borrow just to pay off the interest. I'd rather default and eat beans for a year while starting fresh than eat beans for 20 years paying off old debt. You can call them lazy, you can call them thieves but - if they play their cards right - you can also call them "debt free"."
.
"...The public debt of Greece existed BEFORE the recent election. The cruel conditions inflicted upon Greece by its "partners" existed BEFORE the recent election. The crisis existed BEFORE the recent election."
.
"...Lending more billions to Greece so they can repay the interest on previous billions loand and those new loans repayed by cuts to pensions and more privatisation of public assets...blatant transference of cash from those who can't afford it to those who don't need it. Hopefully the Greek people give a resounding middle finger to the EU/IMF. And if I hear another muppet crack on about 'the Greeks ought to pay their taxes' I'll bloody lose my temper. D some reading for gawds sake. It really isn't that hard."
.
"...I would have thought that a "senior german conservative politician" telling the Times that whatever happens Tsipras must be forced from office is an historic blow to the EU. Now, at least, people know what it is and who it is for."
.
"...If they actually wanted payment, they'd be reasonable. But payment isn't their priority, these organisations want power over Greece."
Jun 30, 2015 | The Guardian

ShibbyUp -> peter nelson 30 Jun 2015 21:30

The Greek banks and former conservative governments, you mean.

You and plenty of other brainwashed idiots around here seem to think that individual, working class Greeks had something to do with this. Of course, as always, the banks and politicians who actually caused this got off scott free, with taxpayer money, to cause the next big financial crisis.

HaroldP -> Nottodaymate 30 Jun 2015 21:29

Banksters, what did you expect, honesty, morality, humanity, financial expertise? Bailouts from citizens, that's what you expected? The poor darlings can't even run a bank when they can print money. Incompetant scum. Regards, Harry.


Jazzfunk23 -> workingclass2 30 Jun 2015 21:28

In recent years most of this mess was presided over by liberal conservatives...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Democracy_(Greece)


PeregrineSlim 30 Jun 2015 21:25

Germania offers a regime of permanent debt servitude to pay for its failed banks:

The documents, drawn up by the so-called troika of lenders, support Greece's argument that it needs substantial debt relief for a lasting economic recovery.

The documents show that the IMF's baseline estimate – the most likely outcome – is that Greece's debt would still be 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to the package of tax and spending reforms demanded.

clematlee Danny Sheahan 30 Jun 2015 21:25

What you have in the USA is TENS of millions of people who don't have any US dollars while in Manhattan flats sell for millions.


AlamoSexual 30 Jun 2015 21:20

This is nothing more than a large-scale payday loan scam. Greece will never get past the loan sharks and will constantly have to borrow just to pay off the interest. I'd rather default and eat beans for a year while starting fresh than eat beans for 20 years paying off old debt. You can call them lazy, you can call them thieves but - if they play their cards right - you can also call them "debt free".


UnevenSurface Danny Sheahan 30 Jun 2015 21:12

Greece will still be here. There will of course be enormous poverty (in various forms) in the short term - but even the FT says that the GDP will bounce up 6% quite quickly. After that, they'll be the cheapest holiday destination in Europe, exporting the cheapest wine and olive oil. The GDP could expand by 25%, up to pre-austerity levels. Excluding macro economic factors out of our control, I would be truly surprised if they aren't better off - overall - within five years.

HaroldP -> owl905 30 Jun 2015 21:12

The public debt of Greece existed BEFORE the recent election. The cruel conditions inflicted upon Greece by its "partners" existed BEFORE the recent election. The crisis existed BEFORE the recent election. Obviously Tsipras did not "wreck his country." His fellow citizens elected his party to fix an existing crisis. He won the election with a proposal of how to do that. He has deviated only slightly from his promises. I find him to be a "hero" in that he could teach the political class of Europe the importance of keeping the agreement between the state and the citizens. It is heroic indeed to be the honest politician of Europe. He has my respect. Regards, Harry.


Paul Collins 30 Jun 2015 21:12

Lending more billions to Greece so they can repay the interest on previous billions loand and those new loans repayed by cuts to pensions and more privatisation of public assets...blatant transference of cash from those who can't afford it to those who don't need it. Hopefully the Greek people give a resounding middle finger to the EU/IMF.

And if I hear another muppet crack on about 'the Greeks ought to pay their taxes' I'll bloody lose my temper. D some reading for gawds sake. It really isn't that hard.


malenkylitso -> owl905 30 Jun 2015 21:08

Greece was forced into a corner, then took a bailout which less than 10% went to the Greeks. The rest went to the banks.
Sounds like a protection racket.


SystemD 30 Jun 2015 21:07

This is not just about Greece; the impact of a Greek default go much wider. The IMF (and the Troika) has to be seen to be taking a hard line. If they don't, then their credibility with the rest of the world diminishes, particularly in Africa. The Germans are worried about the Euro as a currency; the Deutchmark was given up on the promise of stability, and the 1920's are still - just - within living memory. There is a lot of fear behind their stance. Stock markets generally are worried about the instability the situation is causing. They don't want Greece crushed - they just want a stable situation with predictable outcomes. Volatility is not in their interest. And Greece needs money and help to try to cure the cancer of corruption in its economy.

Greece cannot pay back its debt. Unless the creditors agree to a very long term of repayment (at least 50 years) at reasonable rates, the only real options are for Greece to leave the Euro zone and go back to the drachma, or the debt must be written off, with the proviso that there will be no new loans, and Greece will have to rebuild and finance its economy from its own resources.

Stanley Wallings 30 Jun 2015 21:06

I feel sorry for the Greek people - they've had 5 hard years and for nothing. Grexit will be horrible for those who have to stay in Greece. The 'haves' have already moved their money and can just hop on a flight out. I hope Tsipras isn't driving the bus over a cliff for no reason other than to piss off the Troika. I hope he has a plan C

medicynic RobWilson73 30 Jun 2015 21:06

What a great idea! Let's get rid of pensions worldwide, then no one has any cause for complaint. I'm pleased to see that you are one of those who, when pensions in the UK increase say: "No thanks. I don't need it and don't deserve it. It only makes me fat anyway".
In my experience in British industry, workforces are rife with 'tax-dodging, CSA dodging, mendacious, lazy wankers', a lot of who deserve a cut in wages never mind a pension.

Monkeybus 30 Jun 2015 21:06

SQUEEZE THE GREEKS, WRING THEM OUT, RINSE THEM. Other xenophobic pronouncements are available. SHIFTLESS, LAZY, FECKLESS. Can't they print their own money like more advanced nations?

We are all in this together, err, hang on.

Imagine if Gordon Brown had taken us into the Euro after all?


clematlee FakeyWilson 30 Jun 2015 21:06

and the west arms heart eating loonies in North Africa and invades and kills millions of people in the process, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Grenada, Korea, Panama, Syria and the list goes on. Watch the EX USA secetary of state on youtube saying the starvation of 500,000 children was a price worth paying, by the west imposed on Iraq. It was starvation to death. Her name was Madalin Allbrite. Don't worry about losing some so called freedoms to stop Allbite and her ilk.


Tappert Heintz 30 Jun 2015 21:03

"Greek failure to make IMF payment deals historic blow to eurozone"

Sounds like the Daily Mail. Nonsense.


owl905 Iheartbill 30 Jun 2015 21:02

They're not barred from international trade, but it's really scewed to cash and barter. There simply isn't the mechanism to manage the exchange rates. No one outside the country will want rapidly devaluating and 'only-good-in-Greece' drachmas. Greeks don't realize what's coming after 15 years of Euro stability.

One big surprise from them is that pipeline deal with Russia. That needs a lot of capital - Russia is walking into even more problems if it starts forwarding debt financing to Greece to get the pipeline built.

The tourist industry won't be hit by it (except for foreign import items that are part of the industry) - it will be hit by the drachma, that has the profit from the industry shrink to nothing.


Danny Sheahan Justitiadroit 30 Jun 2015 21:01

Look at the Eurozone growth rates for the last 5 years, its a basket case.

The Greeks have messed up over the years but the Euroland is no case study in growth.


rberger ArundelXVI 30 Jun 2015 21:00

Actually there is very little debt servicing involved. The 29 billion actually includes debt repayments (principal, not interest). Greece is not paying any interest for most of its bailout money until after 2020, but of course needs to pay interest on the bonds that it has issued itself.


ScanDiscNow Danny Sheahan 30 Jun 2015 21:00

Pre Euro Greek total production increased by some 600% between 1960 and 2001 while German total production increased by a mere 255%. However, throw in the Euro and the subsequent 15 years has German total production up 20% while Greece total production is down 26%
ZeroHedge.


Anthony Apergis owl905 30 Jun 2015 20:57

And herein lies the issue my friend! The strictly monetary considerations that underpin your rationale betray the disintegration of what started in Rome as a visionary peace project for the peoples of Europe to an economic, neoliberal construct whose only concern is %s and profits. Surely, you must be able to see this. I would strongly advise you to read the preamble to the Treaty of Rome (1957).

MonsieurBoombastic FilthyRichBanker 30 Jun 2015 20:54

The capital controls in Greece apply to cash withdrawals and overseas transfers so this won't affect things like internet banking where cash is transferred within the system. The things you mention are probably still going on in most cases.

moderatextremist 30 Jun 2015 20:51

When Greece joined the EU, the corrupt government went on a spending spree of EU money, and used Goldman Sachs to cover it up. It is those politicians and Goldman Sachs, the vampire squid on the face of the world, that should be put on trial. I fear this development will be hurtful to an awful lot of good people, while the arseholes that created the mess will get away with it...... yet again.


sefertzi7 30 Jun 2015 20:48

The worst possible outcome. Now the crooks who caused the debt mountain in the first place (Papandreou x2, Simitis, Karamanlis, Samaras et al) will come back to power, reluctantly do what they are told with the quid pro quo of a blind eye turned while they carry on in their corrupt old ways.

Call that a revolution? More like crash and burn to me.

raymundlully -> Kaiama 30 Jun 2015 20:45

If the debt is forgiven and goes away.
Greece has in arrears to private pharma companies ,I doubt they'll extend credit orwant paying in toy Drachmas.

Cash-strapped Greece has racked up mounting debts with international drugmakers and now owes the industry more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), a leading industry official said on Wednesday.

The rising unpaid bill reflects the growing struggle by the nearly bankrupt country to muster cash, and creates a dilemma for companies under moral pressure not to cut off supplies of life-saving medicines.

Richard Bergstrom, director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, told Reuters his members had not been paid by Greece since December 2014. They are owed money by both hospitals and state-run health insurer EOPYY.


MalleusSacerdotum 30 Jun 2015 20:45

If Greece were a private or public company and continued to 're-finance' in the manner proposed by the IMF, its directors would be charged with insolvent trading.

They are getting a lot of stick for admitting that they are effectively bankrupt.

It is at least an honest admission of the state of play.


Omniscience Jazzfunk23 30 Jun 2015 20:42

They turned a primary deficit into a surplus within the last 5 years

Greece have never run a primary surplus.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/02/16/greece-still-has-a-vast-problem-it-doesnt-have-a-primary-budget-surplus/


Dannybald George Purcell 30 Jun 2015 20:40

Right wing conservative neo-libs corrupt elitists. The Troika is refusing to allow Greece to tax the wealthy corrupt tax avoider thieves, while forcing more of the workers into poverty.


Vee1984 30 Jun 2015 20:40

It is a well known fact that many Greeks like to avoid paying taxes just as there are many other European countries who avoid paying tax whether on an individual or on a company basis.

The European Union has created this problem over a long period of time by allowing countries to borrow more than required and funds being used to build eg airports in Spain which are unused and unnecessary due ro their geographical location and many speculative projects undertaken throughout the EU. The reason for lending such sums, with a total disregard as to how interest payments can be repaid, never mind repaying the loans, has been done to enrich the lenders who, as we all know, love to gamble on how much money can be made. A risk game, played out every day, and, I suspect, some bets even being placed on the odds of Greece defaulting in some hedge fund offices somewhere in Europe. It should be noted that Spain and Italy have loaned money to Greece. How can this be when both countries have loans via the EU etc? Again, investors after interest on the loans with a total disregard as to their own countries finances. Greece is a democracy and should not give in to the rhetoric coming from the IMF or ECB. Why not? Neither can afford to and neither can Germany. Interesting days ahead. I truly hope that in the name of Democracy, the Greek people will vote NO in the referendum no matter the increasing hardship this will bring. The EU really need to be extremely mindful of the fact that abject poverty and the continuation of austerity gives rise to discontent and a surge in popularity to right-wing extremist views.


Anthony Apergis Justitiadroit 30 Jun 2015 20:39

Indeed, the EU has mutated from a union of the peoples of Europe, into a market-driven transnational institution governed by bankers and solely concerned with GDP growth rates (and I mean this in a strictly non-communist/leftist way).


Dannybald DavidRees 30 Jun 2015 20:36

As a German voter I would never vote for the right wing neo-lib corporatist Fascist scum in government. The hypocrisy of this regime is turning millions of Europeans against Germany and rightly so. The London conference of 1953 halved German debt owed for destroying Europe. Greek debt was 100% of GDP in 2008 and that had nothing to do with Tspiras.

The 'Eurogroup' only cares about a tiny elitist group of Europeans and not about the majority of it's people. Wake up DavidRees and the rest of you indoctrinated half wits.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/27/greece-spain-helped-germany-recover


Omniscience 30 Jun 2015 20:35

If the EU are the enemy now, imagine the bed wetting and howls of protest if Greece had to make real repayments.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/06/28/uk-eurozone-greece-debt-factbox-idUKKCN0P80XU20150628

Euro zone countries have already extended the maturities of their loans to Greece from 15 to 30 years and reduced the interest rates on some to just 0.5 basis points above their borrowing cost. They also granted Greece a 10-year moratorium on interest payments on the second bailout loan from the euro zone rescue fund.


FlashRat 30 Jun 2015 20:35

I would have thought that a "senior german conservative politician" telling the Times that whatever happens Tsipras must be forced from office is an historic blow to the EU. Now, at least, people know what it is and who it is for.

PennyForYourComment DavidRees 30 Jun 2015 20:35

Which is why the Eurozone concept is fundamentally broken.

Imagine if every time one US went into a bad recession, all the other states had to vote on whether to send them money, with all the governors having to agree... and then trying to post their own conditions on how that States economy be run before the money were delivered. It would be an unworkable mess, especially given acrimony and resentment between states and regions (North vs. Deep south vs. midwest, vs. west coast, etc)... The country would sooner or later fall apart as States started rebelling and quitting. It would be absurd.

But somehow Europe is supposed to run on exactly this system. If you are going to have a single currency, then you need common fiscal mechanism binding the areas together, because these act as automatic financial stabilizers when there's a regional crash. If Florida's economy crashes, money automatically pours in from everywhere else to cover unemployment insurance, etc, via the Federal government. No similar thing happens with Greece in Europe.

BunyipBluegum theoldgreyfox 30 Jun 2015 20:34

The default you are referring to is a recent one (2014) - I was referring to the previous default in 2001, which was followed by a significant period of economic growth and recovery. I am not suggesting that a default is always the best solution in such circumstances, nor that the immediate fallout won't be problematic. However in any case the example of Iceland clearly demonstrates that a default can be the best option economically in some circumstances.

It's the same principle as bankruptcy: if your debts reach a level that can never be paid back, it's better to wipe the slate clean and start again, even though the cost of doing this may be to slide back down the snake to the bottom of the board.


Anthony Apergis 30 Jun 2015 20:33

To sum up:
Roughly €170b initial Greek debt +
Roughly €150b financial aid to Greece aimed at repaying initial creditors (NOT the restructuring of the Greek economy) + austerity measures while doubling an already unsustainable debt = EU solidarity to a member- state.
And the above does not even take into account whose economy did the initial debt prop up. I cannot believe that the people of Europe cannot see what the REAL problem is.
The EU - and by extension Europe - is truly in trouble.


raymundlully Franco87 30 Jun 2015 20:32

UK had third world inflation in the 1970s it took the IMF medicine broke the unions in the 80s and created a home fit for bankers.

www.whatsthecost.com/historic.cpi.aspx

1980, 18.00%. 1979, 13.40%. 1978, 8.30%. 1977, 15.80%. 1976, 16.50%. 1975, 24.20%. 1974, 16.00%. 1973, 9.20%. 1972, 7.10%. 1971, 9.40%. 1970, 6.40%

Danny Sheahan Omniscience 30 Jun 2015 20:31

What about economic slums like Portugal and Italy.

They are much worse off now than Greece was at the start of its crisis. It will not take much to have Italy in crisis.

Portugal is heading for an abandoned state after its crisis so its not much of a threat now, how it will pay its debt in the future is anyone's guess. Though it is safe to presume that a country in such decline will have less people paying tax.

They'll want more than billion.


RGBargie 30 Jun 2015 20:31

It looks like Greece might soon be sailing into uncharted waters.

I can just imagine what the consequences will be for the EZ if Greece goes alone, and then makes a success of their new found freedom. I imagine there might well be others ready to abandon ship if that happens.

Westmorlandia BunyipBluegum 30 Jun 2015 20:31

Point taken, but whatever the Greeks don't pay back to the EFSF will have to be paid by other Eurozone countries, as that's how the EFSF guarantees work. So it isn't just about whether it's fair for Greeks to pay for what their government borrowed, but whether it's more fair for Greeks to pay or for everyone else in the Eurozone to pay for what elected Greek governments borrowed.

Reality has said for some time that Greece can't pay, and therefore some of it should have been written off. But that's more about pragmatism than fairness.

FilthyRichBanker Wily Ways 30 Jun 2015 20:30

He could do what the rest of Europe does and make paying taxes compulsory rather than voluntary for a start.

Cut the bloated Public sector and halve the defence budget in line with the rest of Europe - and sell off the $50bn of assets they previously agreed to.


Bardamux Michael Richard Allen 30 Jun 2015 20:29

Ignorant it is then. So i'll explain it to you step by step.

1) If you deposit money in a bank, you are loaning the bank your money. And in many countries you will get a small interest rate for it.
2) it is considered a short term loan, because you can withdraw it at (almost) any time.
3) Remember Icesave in the UK ? That bank did not pay its depositors
4) Other banks received hundreds of billions of euro's / pounds / dollars
5) Banks could loan money at almost 0% even with terrible collateral to help them survive
6) Greece will pay its debt if they receive half or even less help than the Dutch and UK banks did.

Get it now or do you need more steps to help you out ?

Omniscience Danny Sheahan 30 Jun 2015 20:29

Most of the Debt is dormant thanks to the EU

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/06/28/uk-eurozone-greece-debt-factbox-idUKKCN0P80XU20150628

Euro zone countries have already extended the maturities of their loans to Greece from 15 to 30 years and reduced the interest rates on some to just 0.5 basis points above their borrowing cost. They also granted Greece a 10-year moratorium on interest payments on the second bailout loan from the euro zone rescue fund.


Omniscience 30 Jun 2015 20:27

To be fair, they have only been lying about reform since joining the Euro.

2005 : Greece faces up to taxing times

Greece plans to offset a projected shortfall this year in tax revenues with a €2bn securitisation deal, in spite of European Commission strictures against the use of one-off measures to reduce the budget deficit. George Alogoskoufis, finance minister, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the transaction would enable Greece to achieve this year's budget deficit target. He also stressed securitisation was "a temporary measure that will give us time to bring about permanent structural corrections".
Joaquin Almunia, the European Union's budget commissioner, signalled acceptance of this year's planned transaction during a visit to Athens last week but urged Greece to accelerate structural reforms next year.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0c99809c-3abd-11da-b0d3-00000e2511c8.html


TerryChandler OnTheRobertELee 30 Jun 2015 20:26

The problems of Greece haven't happened since "a radical populist party" was elected. On the contrary, the present government was elected because of the problems.


Danny Sheahan outsiderwithinsight 30 Jun 2015 20:23

Not at all, it means that Italy and Portugal are next.

If Greece leaves and its hard to see how they will not at this stage then the Euro has become a non-permanent currency arrangement that the EU or ECB will not defend its integrity.

That marks it out as different from every other currency in the world. Only currencies that have allowed that in the past went on to be all failed entities.

CambridgeAfterDark 30 Jun 2015 20:25

Splendid, send a message to all banker gangsters everywhere.
Best way to deal with a bully, is hit them back.
Guess the right-wing trolls on here look pretty silly now, all saying last week the FTSE would rally upwards upon a Grexit!


BunyipBluegum robbyevans 30 Jun 2015 20:20

The present circumstances in Greece were inherited by the current government from the previous right-wing government, which managed to bring them out by faithfully following the austerity prescriptions of the Troika.

However both left and right-wing governments of the past, who created and hid the enormous debt, are also to blame.

coxinutant 30 Jun 2015 20:16

A continued austerity programme makes it unlikely that Greece will be able to grow economically. Continued economic pain-> lower ability to repay debt. So all those people who get on their hig horse and demand that Greece repay its debts should keep in mind that debt cannot be repaid when you have 25% unemployment, when wages plummet and people cannot spend to make the economy grow. If austerity had been the miracle cure, it would have worked years ago. So stop bandying about terms like 'communist' and 'marxist' and all that BS. The current government in Greece did not create the crisis, the austerity, the 25% unemployment. The crisis was created by an irresponsible banking sector, which was then bailed out by your money (yeah ordinary Joe, looking at you). Austerity was hatched by The IMF, against the advice of sensible economists...

And it hasn't worked. And I am sure the 'marxist' policies of Syriza did not create the enormous unemployment that Greece faces. Last time that occured in Europe, fascist governments came to power, aided by pro-fascist symptahies in France and the UK...


BunyipBluegum -> peter nelson 30 Jun 2015 20:14

It was the Greek governments of the mid 2000s, who were corrupt and nepotistic. If it was them and their wealthy friends who were going to carry the can for this, then I'd say well deserved.

But the whole reason why Syriza is against the austerity program is that it doesn't greatly affect these people, but it DOES greatly affect ordinary Greeks, especially the working class, elderly and vulnerable.

Also it hasn't worked. If you were prescribed a foul medicine by your doctor that made you feel sick and weak, and then failed to cure your problem, would you be inclined to go back for another dose?

AtomsNest -> echoniner 30 Jun 2015 20:14

If they actually wanted payment, they'd be reasonable. But payment isn't their priority, these organisations want power over Greece.

[Jun 30, 2015]Joseph Stiglitz: how I would vote in the Greek referendum

"...Actually 90% of the money went off to pay the private creditors (French and German banks who had invested in Greece). Only 10% amount of the loan ever went into the Greek economy but that was more than balanced by the the damage that austerity politics did to the country."
.
"...So the IMF and the Eurozone have in effect been playing debt collectors for French and German banks, and have attempted to bestow the costs on Greece. Is there any way that could possibly ever have worked?"
.
"... Lagarde, is getting smacked and rightly so; she, Merkel et al, all thought they could dictate to and bully Greece, and Greece would roll over, well it hasn't."
.
"...Only because the banks were too big to fail and therefore letting them crash would have crashed the entire economy. If you ignore that, in theory holding the banks responsible for the crisis they created and making them insolvent instead of using QE to bail them out could theoretically have been something that held the right people to blame, and didn't punish ordinary people with austerity.
It's pretty smart of the banks as they got themselves into a position where, when they screw up, other people have to pay the price."
.
"...Tsipras called them "criminals". I guess it is more close to the truth."
.
"...Greece cannot pay, but no one can say that as it undermines the whole financial system, which is based on confidence. We can't 'write off Greek debt' (as Jeremy Corbyn helpfully suggests) as no indebted countries would feel the need to pay off debts again - they'd just wait for the 'Greece' solution."
Jun 30, 2015 | The Guardian

colin2d -> colin2d 30 Jun 2015 10:10

The big problem right now in Greece is lack of liquidity to operate the economy. There simply is not enough money in circulation.

If newly issued Greek euros are not traded on international markets and they are legal tender in Greece and the Greek government accepts them as tax payments, there is no market value. You have an assigned value, like in other controlled systems. So you can have a high velocity of circulation as people spend them quickly, but no problem of devaluation - unless the Greek government would issue Greek euros to total excess.

Suppose you are a shopkeeper in Greece and your pensioner customers pay you in Greek euros. And suppose, the Greek law says you can pay your suppliers in Greek euros and the supplier can pay his taxes in Greek euros. In that case, the Greek government will need capital controls to ration the supplier's euros to buy imports. But that's likely to stimulate local production and be a plus for the Greek economy.

Local fiat currencies do work.

It is a rather different and probably not very acceptable example, but the Cuban 'CUC', is not backed at 1:1 against the US dollar in an open market. Its value is the fiat of the Cuban government. No open market trading means no devaluation by market forces.

Trumbledon 30 Jun 2015 10:03

We never had an advanced economy actually asking for that kind of thing, delayed payment

They still haven't - Greece is no more an advanced economy than a person who buys a houseful of luxury items using credit cards is a wealthy person.

Greece has virtually no industry worth mentioning and virtually no agriculture; the Greek economy is almost entirely reliant on tourism.

Greece has a smaller GDP than Thailand or Argentina, Greece's economy is roughly half the size of Vietnam's. How on earth can Greece be considered an 'Advanced economy'? That's claptrap.

mikeyk1 Omniscience 30 Jun 2015 10:03

Actually 90% of the money went off to pay the private creditors (French and German banks who had invested in Greece). Only 10% amount of the loan ever went into the Greek economy but that was more than balanced by the the damage that austerity politics did to the country.

Adam Fo 30 Jun 2015 09:57

It's probably worth adding here that Argentina did pay off it's IMF loans in full as well as the modest amount of interest charged. One of the reasons they could do that is they are a more resource based economy than Greece. Increasing commodity prices during that period helped them.
Like Greece holders of Governments bonds saw massive haircuts. 50% (100 billion euro) in the case of Greece in 2012.

Thalia01 ThinBanker 30 Jun 2015 09:55

Only because the banks were too big to fail and therefore letting them crash would have crashed the entire economy.

If you ignore that, in theory holding the banks responsible for the crisis they created and making them insolvent instead of using QE to bail them out could theoretically have been something that held the right people to blame, and didn't punish ordinary people with austerity.

It's pretty smart of the banks as they got themselves into a position where, when they screw up, other people have to pay the price.

Hottentot 30 Jun 2015 09:40

Sorry, but the Guardian can't compare Argentina, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Sudan, to Greece, as none of them were / are in the Euro. Lagarde, is getting smacked and rightly so; she, Merkel et al, all thought they could dictate to and bully Greece, and Greece would roll over, well it hasn't. It's about time others started telling the IMF (interesting that it's referred to as the Washington-based organisation) and the EU who are all about 'protecting' their interests, to sod off.

So the IMF and the Eurozone have in effect been playing debt collectors for French and German banks, and have attempted to bestow the costs on Greece. Is there any way that could possibly ever have worked?

bonkthebonk -> Adam Fo 30 Jun 2015 09:50

True, but how many of them are in a flawed currency union that actively contributed to their demise, saw their mainly foreign reckless, speculative lenders' liabilities socialised and how many of these poorer countries have been lent ever more money just to service the their debts and nothing more?

CaptainGrey -> colin2d 30 Jun 2015 09:26

Calling it a Greek Euro as opposed to a new Drachma won't make any difference. It will crash overnight. Greece has no reserves to prop it up.

optimist99 30 Jun 2015 09:24

The Greeks need to look hard at Argentina - once one of the richest countries in the world....

"By 1908 it had surpassed Denmark, Canada and The Netherlands to reach 7th place-behind Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Belgium. Argentina's per capita income was 70% higher than Italy's, 90% higher than Spain's, 180% higher than Japan's and 400% higher than Brazil's". (Bolt & Van Zanden 2013)

Now it is number 55....

(At the moment Greece is at 44 - similar to Portugal).

CaptainGrey -> EricthePenguin 30 Jun 2015 09:24

Mexico didn't default, it devalued. Completely different. As I note above/below (depending on your settings)

Argentina was shut out for a decade, but was able to get through it thanks to it's vast natural reserves of mining, farming and forestry, plus strict financial discipline. Greece has none of those things.

Default could be a disaster for a generation of more.

Actually, nobody knows for certain how bad a default will be. But it will not be a walk in the park

ThinBanker -> Gelion 30 Jun 2015 09:24

"But of course that's not debt, that's just a way of lowering currency values to keep your exports competitive and put your citizens into Austerity"

Huh? Without QE, 'austerity' would have been all the greater ...

PeterHG 30 Jun 2015 08:50

It seems inconceivable to me that Greece will leave the Euro. The loss of face to the Brussels European Union bureaucracy would be too great for them to bear . Such a happening is beyond their imagination so they will find some means to keep Greece in. The Greek politicians sense this and that knowledge dictates their actions.

ApfelD -> Johanes 30 Jun 2015 09:13

Tsipras called them "criminals". I guess it is more close to the truth.


optimist99 -> sandywinder 30 Jun 2015 09:15

"is that borrowing and spending too much will always get you in the end. In case people have forgotten, the UK has a £1.5 trillion national debt."

But the folk who lend money to the UK are perfectly happy to continue to do this... So it's not "borrowing and spending too much" in the UK... (HMG can borrow money over 30 years at less than 3% interest...).

kentspur 30 Jun 2015 08:36

It's a default.

This semantic dancing on a pinhead just shows the absurdity of the situation. Greece cannot pay, but no one can say that as it undermines the whole financial system, which is based on confidence. We can't 'write off Greek debt' (as Jeremy Corbyn helpfully suggests) as no indebted countries would feel the need to pay off debts again - they'd just wait for the 'Greece' solution.

[Jun 29, 2015] Everything Russia puts out is actually disinformation, while everything the west puts out, despite being caught lying, is fact

"... What infuriates me is the assumption that everything Russia puts out as fact is actually disinformation, while everything the west puts out as fact is fact, despite being caught lying again and again and again. Believe us – baby, we've changed."
"...I also do not really get what the EU is doing. There already exist pro-western propaganda outlets, for example RFE/RL, etc. In Hungary, more than 50% of the media is western owned. So why is more propaganda needed?"
"...Typical duplication of effort so as to charge the public purse twice over for the same work. The EU produced a marvelous graphic extravaganza intended to lure Ukraine, extolling the virtues of European integration and the salutatory effect it would have on important things like life expectancy, health care, availability of clean water, life expectancy (so important they put it in twice), friendly police instead of extortion-junkies, bla, bla. I encourage everyone to have a look through it from the lens of today, and see how many came true. I especially loved the one about tolerance – mercy, yes; tolerance in Ukraine has certainly taken a leap upward thanks to Europe's beneficial influence. "

Fern, June 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm

And the latest news from Inside the Bubble or, the EU as it's sometimes known, is this breathless piece from the Guardian announcing the actions the Bubble leaders are planning to take to counter Russian 'propaganda'.

"The document, drafted by the EU's diplomatic corps, also calls for efforts to persuade people in countries such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova of the benefits of European-style reforms.

The plan was prepared ahead of the EU summit in Brussels and offers a strategy to provide alternatives sources of information to outlets such as Russia's state-funded RT television, amid an increasingly polarised media environment sparked by the war in Ukraine.

A communications unit called the East StratCom Team, launched in April, will support EU delegations in the six eastern neighbourhood countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – as well as in Russia itself.

The main objectives include communicating and promoting "EU policies and values", supporting independent media and increasing awareness of "disinformation activities by external actors".
The document states that communication towards the east should "first and foremost focus on the development of positive and effective messages regarding EU policies towards the region".
Brussels needs to spread the message that reforms promoted by the European Union "can, over time, have a positive impact on their daily lives," the action plan says. It stresses that the strategy should highlight the benefits, not the bureaucracy, focusing on clearly explaining the positive effects of EU programmes and policies rather than going into details about the policies."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/25/eu-russia-propaganda-ukraine

The author of the paper or report called "The Kremlin's Hall of Mirrors" to which this Guardian article refers is Peter Pomerantsev and everything makes an appearance therein including Putin's troll factory. It goes without saying that everything coming out of Russia is propaganda while everything coming out of the West is the God's Honest Truth. Pure unvarnished facts. Take this snippet where he tells the tale of one Margo Gontar who's involved with StopFake:

"At times like this, she had always reached out to western media for a sense of something solid, but this was starting to slip too. Whenever somewhere like the BBC or Tagesspiegel published a story, they felt obliged to present the Kremlin's version of events – fascists, western conspiracy, etc – as the other side, for balance. Gontar began to wonder whether her search for certainty was futile: if the truth was constantly shifting before her eyes, and there was always another side to every story, was there anything solid left to hold on to?"

Yeah, I always reach out to western media for the self-same reasons. And if the BBC's coverage of Ukraine has ever been impartial, well, I must have blinked and missed it.

In similar vein, Pomerantsev spends a lot of the article ridiculing RT as here:-

"Presenters rarely challenge the views of "experts" during discussions of subjects such as the Syria conflict – where Moscow has backed President Bashar al-Assad. One regular guest has suggested that the Syrian civil war was "planned in 1997 by Paul Wolfowitz", while another has described the death toll as "a joint production of CIA, MI6, Mossad".

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/apr/09/kremlin-hall-of-mirrors-military-information-psychology

I take it that Mr Pomerantsev has heard neither of the Yinon plan dating from the 1970's which started that a key part of Israel's foreign policy objectives should be the break-up of the surrounding nation states into mutually hostile ethnic statelets nor the Project for a New American Century, a neo-con outfit in which Wolfowitz played a leading role, that targeted around seven countries, including Iraq and Syria for destruction.

This is the issue Mr P the EU and NATO are really complaining about – in the past their statements would pass without challenge, but not any longer.

Pavlo Svolochenko , June 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm
'Gontar began to wonder whether her search for certainty was futile: if the truth was constantly shifting before her eyes, and there was always another side to every story, was there anything solid left to hold on to?"'

That's the shreds of your conscience screaming at you to pull your head out of your arse. You know you're full of it – why not quit before you completely damn yourself?

yalensis , June 29, 2015 at 2:31 am
Pro-Russian propagandists have found a way to weaponize FACTS. This is the latest form of hybrid warfare. Or maybe multi-brid warfare.

Anyhow, it gets confusing; on whom can one count on in this post-modernistic world?

Remember: The Truth is only what Curt says it is, there is your guiding star!

marknesop, June 29, 2015 at 7:27 am
What infuriates me is the assumption – as Fern alluded – that everything Russia puts out as fact is actually disinformation, while everything the west puts out as fact is fact, despite being caught lying again and again and again. Believe us – baby, we've changed.
Cortes, June 29, 2015 at 10:47 am
Cavour used to say that the surest way to deceive his counterparts was to tell the plain truth.
Moscow Exile, June 29, 2015 at 11:07 am
I remember some smart arse on the Guardian CiF commenting after I had posted a lengthy contribution in which I had used Levada sourced statistics: "You do realize that all your sources are Russian?"
ThatJ, June 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm
Guardian correspondent "Matt G" commented:

US government media Radio Liberty reports on "strategic communications action plan" they probably had a pivotal role in writing, about how they plan to pump more money into Ukrainian and other post-soviet media in order to promote Europeanization, which would technically be what RFE would call "propaganda". Both Russian media and Western media especially RFE is complicit in "disinformation propaganda campaigns" and I struggle to understand what quite "EU policies and values" are exactly, other than promoting LGTB rights. Nonetheless, why do we need to promote "EU policies and values" in three Caucasus countries and two European countries one traditionally Russian and the other which will never be integrated into the EU. Is it just me or does this look less about promoting are values and more about turning post-soviet states against Russia? Something which was previously carried out in Ukraine before the coup as highlighted in some Wikileaks documents on Crimea.

-

"Lesm" had this to say:

This article itself is a good example of the kind of propaganda that the EU is thinking of expanding to the East. Rt was itself started by the Russians as an antidote to the relentless Western propaganda contained in the "news" that comes from the Western Controlled wire services and media empires. The thing I find quite funny about the West is their habit of suggesting always that they are simply responding to things being done to them rather than initiating actions that others are responding to. So the West never does "terrorism", it only does "counter-terrorism". Equally it never does propaganda, it only counters propaganda from the "other" side.

The reality is of course quite different. The West, and in particular the US, the UK and NATO, are the largest and most successful terrorist organisations on the planet. In addition the old USSR acknowledged that it simply could not compete with the propaganda mechanisms of the West as they were so pervasive and so well disguised as to be unbeatable!!!!

-

Reader "DomesticExtremist" is unconvinced that the EU is democratic:

European values = declaring Conchita Wurst the winner of Eurovision 2014 even though the telephone (popular) vote was won by Donatan and Cleo.

A metaphor for Western democracy if ever there was.

[ThatJ: I hate it when people speak only of the EU, EU, EU… it's like we're helping to cement the view in the public's mind that the EU is kinda like an "United States of Europe". Distinction between the member countries must be made. I'll try to speak of "Brussels" instead of the European Union, because Brussels belongs to a country only (Belgium), and the message is clear enough: the dictates of Brussels are alien to the European countries.]

-

A bigoted homophobe named "Lordoflight23″ thinks US-exported, Brussels-welcomed values are uninspiring:

The values of supporting moderate opposition and creating extremist, backing all "good regimes" around the world, the two most powerful EU leaders being wiretapped and still do nothing about it, gay parades and bearded women. Some values that is.

-

Kremlin troll "Alphysicist" resorts to whataboutism, links to a RT article:

'Let viewers form own opinions' – German channel probed for airing RT show

So in Germany Salve.TV took a broadcast from RT.com, and is now under fire from media watchdogs. That is EU pluralism! Real values.

I also do not really get what the EU is doing. There already exist pro-western propaganda outlets, for example RFE/RL, etc. In Hungary, more than 50% of the media is western owned. So why is more propaganda needed?

I like RT, because one gets to hear many who are persona non grata in the Western media. John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Gilad Atzmon, Norman Finkelstein, George Galloway, Udo Ulfkotte, and the list goes on and on. And they have many interesting things to say! Also, even if RT is connected to the Kremlin, the persons above are saying their own opinions, regardless of the Kremlin. This is why RT is a really useful supplement to western propaganda.

Fern, June 29, 2015 at 3:00 am
ThatJ, thanks for posting those comments from Guardian correspondents, baffling as always that they seem more informed than the journalists paid to write for the paper. Glad to hear it's not only me struggling to understand what 'western values' actually are.
marknesop, June 29, 2015 at 7:52 am
Typical duplication of effort so as to charge the public purse twice over for the same work. The EU produced a marvelous graphic extravaganza intended to lure Ukraine, extolling the virtues of European integration and the salutatory effect it would have on important things like life expectancy, health care, availability of clean water, life expectancy (so important they put it in twice), friendly police instead of extortion-junkies, bla, bla. I encourage everyone to have a look through it from the lens of today, and see how many came true. I especially loved the one about tolerance – mercy, yes; tolerance in Ukraine has certainly taken a leap upward thanks to Europe's beneficial influence.

[Jun 29, 2015] Shares slide as deepening Greek crisis shakes global markets

Jun 29, 2015 | The Guardian

The commission reiterated on Monday that the door remained open to a deal.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, was expected on Monday to appeal to Greece to return to the negotiating table, but would not make any fresh proposals.

On Sunday, the commission took the unusual step of releasing the draft bailout agreement that creditors had been negotiating with Greece before talks broke down.

"We are some centimetres away from an agreement," tweeted Pierre Moscovici, France's European commissioner, adding that there was an open door to further talks. "We must find a compromise. I want a reformed Greece to stay in the eurozone without austerity."

A bank manager explains the situation to pensioners waiting outside a branch of the National Bank of Greece hoping to get their pensions.

A bank manager explains the situation to pensioners waiting outside a branch of the National Bank of Greece hoping to get their pensions. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel will hold emergency talks with senior German politicians on Monday afternoon.

The German chancellor spoke to the US president, Barack Obama, on Sunday, with the two leaders agreeing it was "critically important to make every effort to return to a path that will allow Greece to resume reforms and growth within the eurozone", according to a White House statement.

The US Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, spoke to his counterparts in Germany and France, as well as Tsipras and the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde. The US is urging all sides to resolve the crisis: it has called for Greece's creditors to discuss debt relief ahead of Sunday's referendum, but is also counselling Athens to adopt "difficult measures to reach a pragmatic compromise".

In a brief, televised address to the nation on Sunday night, Tsipras blamed the eurozone leaders. He did not say how long the banks would remain shut, nor did he give details of how much individuals and companies would be allowed to withdraw once they reopened.

In the early hours of Monday morning, Tsipras published a decree in the official government gazette setting out the capital controls to be imposed. The decree – entitled "Bank Holiday break" – was signed by Tsipras and the Greek president, Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

It said all banks would be kept shut until after the referendum on 5 July and that withdrawals from cash machines would be limited to €60 – about £40. Cash machines were not expected to reopen until later on Monday.

Foreign transfers out of Greece are prohibited, although online transactions between Greek bank accounts are to continue as normal. Tsipras insisted that pensions and wages would be unaffected by the controls.

Greece's finance ministry later announced that the strict ATM withdrawal limits would not apply to holders of credit or debit cards issued in foreign countries. This was viewed as a necessary move as tourists were spotted joining locals in front of ATMs on Sunday. Any similar restriction would hurt tourism, Greece's sole thriving industry, which accounts for at least a fifth of economic activity.

Tsipras said Saturday's move by the eurozone's finance chiefs to halt Greece's bailout programme was unprecedented. He called it "a denial of the Greek public's right to reach a democratic decision".

The commission said on Monday that Greece's capital controls were "necessary and proportionate", but free movement of capital would need to be be reinstated "as soon as possible in the interests of the Greek economy, the eurozone and the European Union's single market as a whole".

Tsipras added that the finance ministers' initiative had prompted the ECB to curb its assistance, forcing the government's hand. The Greek prime minister, who has always insisted the crisis can only be solved at the highest political levels, said he had once again appealed for an extension of the bailout until after the referendum, sending his proposal to the president of the European council, Donald Tusk, the leaders of the other 18 member states of the single currency, the commission and the ECB.

[Jun 29, 2015] Greece crisis: markets begin to tumble as investors flee

Jun 29, 2015 | The Guardian

Markets suffered across Asia on Monday as Greece shut down its banks for a week ahead of an increasingly likely debt default.

Oil prices declined and the euro edged down against the dollar, while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index fell 2% to 20,283.98 points. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.4% at 4,178.56 despite China's surprise weekend interest rate cut.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.7% to 29,192.67. Seoul's Kospi shed 1.6% to 2,057.52 and Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 was off 1.8% to 5,447.80. Market benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand also fell sharply.

Turmoil in Asia had been widely expected after the failure of 11th-hour talks in Europe over the weekend raised the possibility of a Greek exit from the eurozone.

More than $35bn was wiped off the Australian stock market in the first hour of trading on Monday as investors braced for what could become a torrid week.

Earlier the euro dropped more than 3% to 133.80 yen, its lowest level for five weeks. The common currency fell as much as 1.9% to $1.0955, its lowest level in almost a month.

More on this topicGreek debt crisis: the key points of Athens bank controls

The US Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, stressed the need for Greece "to take necessary steps to maintain financial stability" ahead of the referendum.

He told the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, on Sunday that Athens and its creditors needed to continue working toward a resolution ahead of a Greek referendum on 5 July on the creditors' demands for austerity.

US stock futures dived 1.8%, hitting a three-month low, while US Treasuries futures price gained almost two points.

A cash-strapped Greece looks certain to miss its debt repayment on Tuesday as Greece's European partners shut the door on extending a credit lifeline after Greece's surprise move to hold a referendum on bailout terms.


robtal 29 Jun 2015 08:43

We can print all the money we want all over the world to save every banker, financial wizard, and insurance company . But one little country like Greece is the scape goat these financial criminals use to bring fear and control to the rest of the world. These are evil less than human monsters that run these world banks.


Paul Hawkins 29 Jun 2015 08:31

The World is being run by a group of financial gangsters such as the Rothschilds and 30 to 40 of the richest people in the world: Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel.

She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rules the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite uses a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet.

Austerity is a lie as Countries use the Fiat monetary system and can produce money when they want, such as quantitative easing. It is the greed of the banks, that had to be bailed out across the world, that is causing the problem.

The sooner these greedy selfish power hungry bankers are brought to book the sooner the financial markets would recover.


Mark Foster Kenneth Stephen Besig 29 Jun 2015 08:17

A large part of Syriza wanted out of the Euro because they were sure the Troika would not compromise on it's insane 'reforms' which had already destroyed most of the economy. Debtors prison's were abolished years ago in the UK, primarily because creditors realized it meant they would never get any compensation for losses while debtors were in gaol. Yet by insisting on repayments on an odious debt, we effectively put the whole of Greece into a debtors prison, and insisted on all the wrong IMF/ECB reforms that have always failed to resurrect economies in the past. We are still caught up in the idiotic Washington consensus/Jeffrey Sachs/ Hernando de Sotos models of development.

In truth Greece should have left the failed euro project years ago. Iceland had the sense to get out of the Banks clutches, file bankruptcy and impose capital controls and start again. For the most part that as worked very well for them. Some will say Greece isn't Iceland, or nonsense like the Greeks are lazy (they work longer hours than the Germans), Greece has deep problems for sure and i'm not saying I'm confident Syriza have the program to fix them. But I'm 100% confident the demands of the Troika would only cripple them further.


Myrtle7 29 Jun 2015 08:14

Save Greece! A Kind Request to the EU Leaders and Creditors (Myrtle 7)

I am writing this because today we are hours before a bitter end, perhaps, for Greece and the beginning of problems for the EU.
A lot has been said about the Greeks living above their income for a long time or partying for a long time and these may have been true in many cases but the Greeks should not be punished now as they followed the example and attitude of some of their leaders. And, moreover, now, it is the poorer people, those with lower income, that are suffering, those that did not have the right "connections."

The referendum arranged by the government seems like a democratic move but in fact it will be a desperate choice as the Greek people are asked to choose between suicide by drowning and suicide by hanging.

If Greece goes into default it will be a catastrophe for the country; there is no currency to devalue. They have to re-create the drachma (it will take perhaps a year or more) which will be immediately devalued. How would these people, who are suffering already, cope? And if Greece defaults, I am not sure whether the Creditors will get their money within the next 50 years, anyway. Most seriously, the tense situation in the defaulted country, the low morale and possible disorder, would invite & unleash unforeseen dangers for Greece first, for other European countries later and the EU eventually; as we all know such situations can spread to the detriment of the people. Historic recurrence is here: the specifics and the actors change, but the result is similar. Moreover, it is common knowledge that there are forces, (they have their own agenda) which, wish, discuss in conferences, and even envision, the break up of the European Union, even as 'we speak'. If I am aware of this, I am sure the European leaders are aware too, for, as wise leaders, are conscious (or should be) of emerging situations long before they get out of hand. With around 6 million Muslims outside its northern borders, (excluding Turkish territories), Greece, will be an open, unprotected theatre for anyone who wants an easy passage to the west.

The Creditors are part of the leadership or the Hegemony of European Union as they form the powerful financial aspect of it; usually, leaders who push think they facilitate progress; in fact they are blocking it. Yet, there are certain characteristics that wise leaders have and magnanimity is the most important one. They do not expect a poor, proud nation to fall on their knees. They would always offer opportunities for relief and growth. Lawrence Summers, US Treasury Secretary, suggested something which sounds as a good solution: the Creditors can write off a small amount of the debt now and perhaps ask for something that Greece, could, comfortably, add to their plan that would help growth; e. g. taxing certain accounts many Greeks keep in Swiss banks. Such a move by the Creditors would be wise, intelligent and humane.

With this magnanimous act the Greeks would feel uplifted and stronger to face the odds. In my view, the most important attitude of the Leader is to make people feel they mean something within the group, but I may be wrong.


John Kakkos DazzlingKarina 29 Jun 2015 07:04

Lazy Greeks is a very racisti thing to say, espesially since Greeks work-hours exceed that of oher EU countries (including Germany). War reparations agreement was not accepted. Since in 1942, the Greek Central Bank was forced by the occupying Nazi regime to loan 476 million Reichsmarks at 0% interest to Nazi Germany. In 1960, Greece accepted 115 million Marks as compensation for Nazi crimes. Nevertheless, past Greek governments have insisted that this was only a down-payment, not complete reparations. The 300 bn were not given to Greeks but to banks. 30% of Greeks are iving below the povery line. Unemployment is 26% (60% to young) and 16% cant even provide daily food needs. EU is not to blame, nor it is Greece. This financial system is just not working.


Aboutface 29 Jun 2015 06:47

There are "invisible hands" weaving the thread of EU-Euro through the IMF needle in this Greek tradegy. One of the comment here by Steven Tracy on the Rothschilds and Rockerfeller seems about right...a force majeure / fire sale of prime assets and not to dismiss, there are very wealthy Greeks with offshore accounts, like vultures over a soon to be cadaver. Next move, the "Alexis Tsipras surprise" call option.


pauline7883 29 Jun 2015 06:40

the greek people have the right to this referendum they have to decide if the deal is acceptable whether they can cope with the continuing austerity. the financial institutions of europe have acted disgracefully
the greek government should begin an audit of the books looking at the loans/debts owed by greece to see if there was any illegality and prosecutions should follow

SEADADDY 29 Jun 2015 06:35

So, as Greece slips into the financial abyss, it's the common man/woman that gets the pain, the punishment and the price tag of bankers ineptitude, greed and Houdini escapism. The bankers, corporate investors and politicians get away with grand gambling and larceny of incredible scale, without so much as a slap on the wrist. It wasn't the small man in Greece that caused the crisis. It was the Niarchos's and the Onassis's & etc that caused the downfall, with getting away with not paying their fair taxes, flags of convenience, double dealing and tax havens world wide. It's high time that some government agency woke up and
NorthernFella,29 Jun 2015 06:00

They weren't ready to join the EU...

I would say, weren't ready to join the euro. Interesting that you don't mention anything about the role of Goldman Sachs in this big scam.

"Humiliation" - what idiocy.

If accusing all the Greek of the ongoing (bank)crisis, using austerity (cuts directed to the disadvantaged groups mostly) as a medicine and calling them lazy is not humiliating I don't know what is.

And the idea that they were being 'starved by austerity' is ridiculous. They were starved by their corrupt practices.

Let's take measures of that how much the neoliberalist austerity policy has affected those in the most vulnerable position and let's compare it to the times before austerity. Sure the situation has been bad for a long time before the crisis but austerity brought real hell.


Luckyspin marcus_rm 29 Jun 2015 05:34

The Greeks accuse the IMF of colluding in an EMU-imposed austerity regime that breaches the Fund's own rules and is in open contradiction with five years of analysis by its own excellent research department and chief economist, Olivier Blanchard.

Objectively, it is acting as an imperialist lackey. The IMF enforced brute liquidation without compensating stimulus or relief. It claimed that its policies would lead to a 2.6 % contraction of GDP in 2010 followed by brisk recovery.

What in fact happened was six years of depression, a deflationary spiral, a 26 % fall in GDP, 60 % youth unemployment, mass exodus of the young and the brightest, chronic hysteretic that will blight Greece's prospects for decades to come, and to cap it all the debt ratio exploded because of the mathematical – and predictable – denominator effect of shrinking nominal GDP.


George Vasilakakos deskandchair 29 Jun 2015 05:27

very poorly served Greece is by its media

That's the key point. You see the Greek media groups are run by the same oligarchs who've been buying our politicians. They owe hundreds of millions to the Greek banks, along with the political parties, between them it must be around a billion. The banks were unwilling to collect on those debts, got bailed out and we are footing the bill...

NorthernFella Phil Murray 29 Jun 2015 05:25
Well, that's why I'm writing about "near-racism". Greece is schizophrenically seemed as the cradle of democracy and the Western culture but as Gerold reveals the opinion of many by the comment:

Nonsense. The Greek nation and people have failed to grow into a modern responsible state. They are still living like an Ottoman Province, trying to short-change the Sultan.

Many are still romanticizing the ancient times and are disappointed as they see the times have changed. Many are wondering (bitterly) how the modern day Greek are so different from the ancient times. In one book (a Finnish version of Traveler's history of Greece, I think) it was written (in introduction) something like this: "are those hot-tempered noisy people really descended from the ancient Greek?".

When adding to it Gerold's views on Greece as a nation that is still living like "an Ottoman Province" it's easy to extend near-racist stereotypes even further. Now we're talking about "lazy Greek who just lie down under the palm trees, waiting for the next bailout". Of course there are stereotypes related to each nation but they get always stronger when we are going to the south and they are told by "harder-working northerners" ...

I'm looking forward to the Greek people correcting their previous election error

Should the Greek vote only for "rationalist", pro-euro, business-oriented right-wing parties who are ready to starve their own people to death? It sounds travesty of democracy and would prove that economy has replaced democracy.


Theo Krom 29 Jun 2015 05:14

The markets. already have lost much more money than if they were agree to restructure, not necessarily write-off, the Greek debt. If we count the profits the markets would gain after such deal would have been announced then it seems that whatever is happening is a clear and utter irrational thinking orchestrated by the allegedly proponents of rational economic thinking...

Policy for the contemporary markets, seems to be much more important than free markets. Free market is an illusion, an excuse for the banks to suffocate democracy, using pseudo-politicians as their most valuable gatekeepers....Well, the actual neo-liberalism has been implemented in a very distorted manner, exactly as happened with socialism... Actually, both lead to utter misery!!!

29 Jun 2015 05:12 ;
This is what the private FMI corporation owned by the private federal reserve corporation of USA has planned for ALL our countries. I's the Rothschields, the Rockfellers etc... The 1% that are behind all this.

Can't you see USA is deep in debt and nearly bankrupt, just like most of the western countries and Africa. They lend us money, put us deeper in debt, and we pay them back only the interest of the debt ???

This has all been carefully planned since the creation of the private federal reserve corporation in 1913 to rob our assets and control us.

One example. Watch Karen Hudes, former lawyer of the FMI for 20 years, reveal it all : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhTvsDuP-rg

This is why the BRIC countries have come together to ditch the US dollar.

Better than Eduard Snowden on the NSA.


GRJones Mark Foster 29 Jun 2015 04:51

Iceland is often held up on these pages as a shining example of the wealth and riches that flow to you if you reject austerity. It shouldn't be. Iceland suffered enormous economic contraction after its rejection of bailout conditions, and while the economy is growing, GDP is at about the level it was in 2004, unemployment is still well above pre-crash levels, and prices are 50% higher than they were before the crash. The steep devaluation of the currency by 50% meant that everyone in Iceland took an enormous hit in terms of real wages, and because most Icelandic mortgages are linked to the Euro theses have effectively doubled, while their homes have halved in value, leaving much of the population in negative equity. They have enacted massive austerity, more than any country in Europe bar Greece, slashing their deficit from 15% to less than 1%. The fall in living standards has been severe enough that the Icelandic people voted the parties that came into power after the rejection of bailout terms out of office, and reelected the party that was in power before the crash. The lesson to be learned from Iceland is that economic collapse means pain, no matter what you do.

someoneionceknew ID5590609 29 Jun 2015 04:50

Do you realize that the European rules prevent the ECB from funding member countries, as well as prohibiting national bailouts

Sure. But why aren't you Germans subject to the rules too?

The rules don't work. They can be changed fairly easily. Why not if it stops people starving and otherwise being persecuted through no fault of their own?


ID5590609 mjmizera 29 Jun 2015 04:38

Creditors already took a 50% haircut on Greece debt, and the conditions of Greece's bailout loans were extremely generous, with very low interest rates and exceptionally long payment terms. The terms and conditions were better than what was offered to Spain, Portugal and Ireland, and those countries actually implemented the demanded austerity reforms and are now experiencing growth.

Greeks don't need their debt forgiven. Greeks need to start paying taxes and reforming and managing their economy like a respectable first world nation, not some banana republic. Why should Europeans and others show solidarity with Greeks when Greeks fail to show solidarity with their own people and their democratically elected government?


Overdog81 29 Jun 2015 04:36

The past Greek politicians are responsible for bringing this debt to current levels. There's no doubt about this.

However, the current government found itself at the edge of a cliff. 6 months of negotiations and the issue of restructuring or writing off a non viable debt never came on the table by Greece's creditors. Basically Greece is begging for money that only go towards paying this huge debt and never into the real economy. Austerity measures are applied just to pay the debt's interest which has become huge (twice the size of Ireland's and Portugal's combined) .

What Syriza is doing now is the only option it has in order to make the debt viable and end austerity for its people. The timing of the referendum on friday night and capital controls on Sunday night (banks closed for a week and stock market closed on Monday) point towards this way. Its a huge gamble in order to reach an agreement but possibly the only hand Greece could play in order to shake off the markets and thus its creditors.

I truly hope an agreement is reached before the referendum so that everyone walks out happy especially Varoufakis and the Greek people who would get the best deal they could ever dream of. On the other side, a debt relief decision seems the only road for the imf and eu partners. Its a debt that could never be paid anyway so why risk?


Arthur Buse 29 Jun 2015 04:36

I had thought it was only Samuri that chose harakiri. But Alexis has done the EU a great kindness by throwing the Greek people to the dogs of famine. He has helped the cause of breaking up the Euro and even, dare we hope, the EU. Ever closer union was always a grave danger. It never went well for the USSR and it ended in tragedy. The EU will eventually go the same way. The USA is quite different. They adopted a common language before trying for a common currency and common Federal taxes. The EU will not manage the former and has not got the will to manage the latter. The Euro was therefore always doomed and now the EU needs to return to individual currencies and the EEC.

> ID5590609 29 Jun 2015 04:34

Germany is the largest net contributor to the EU. They will bear the brunt of any aid extended to Greece.

If Germans bear any loss then it is their own foolishness for trusting their politicians. Why are Germans on the hook for bailing out their own banks?

Greece has been an economic failure for their entire modern history, including well before they joined the Euro. They want to be live and be treated like a rich first world economy, yet run their country like banana republic. It's readily apparent that other Europeans will no longer fund or subsidize a lifestyle that Greeks cannot independently afford. Greece essentially partied on northern European largesse, but the bill is now due.

That's just cut and paste racist cant. Germans should know better given their history.

Your feelings about capitalism

Oh, you still don't understand what mercantilism means? Good lord.

but what do you think is going to happen when Greece is "independent" and has to reintroduce the Drachma.

Depends on many factors I'd say. But what are you offering?

ID5590609 someoneionceknew 29 Jun 2015 04:23

Germany is the largest net contributor to the EU. They will bear the brunt of any aid extended to Greece. That is why the opinion of the Germans is so important when considering any action on Greece.

Greece has been an economic failure for their entire modern history, including well before they joined the Euro. They want to be live and be treated like a rich first world economy, yet run their country like banana republic. It's readily apparent that other Europeans will no longer fund or subsidize a lifestyle that Greeks cannot independently afford. Greece essentially partied on northern European largesse, but the bill is now due.

Your feelings about capitalism notwithstanding, things must drastically change in Greece. You claim to oppose the Eurogroup's and IMF's purportedly cruel demand for austerity and reform. That's fine, but what do you think is going to happen when Greece is "independent" and has to reintroduce the Drachma. Socialist solidarity is not going to fund imports of food, fuel, medicine and other essentials. There will be austerity in Greece, either organized with their European partners, or resulting from the chaos of financial incompetence. Greece is going to have to continue to painfully adjust to a lifestyle commiserate with their true GDP, earnings and economic value. The good old days are gone.

> ID5590609 29 Jun 2015 04:05

They're not asking for money or aid?

They are not asking for Herr Schauble's (or his ilks') money or aid.

major economic reforms

More counterproductive austerity. More poverty, more privation, more labour bashing, more suicides.

"mercantilism" (which I assume is meant as a juvenile reference to capitalism)

So I'm dealing with an idiot.

Germany has generally learned the political and economic lessons from their own unfortunate history, everyone from WW1 reparations and the risks of inflation, the horrors of WWII,

Clearly it has not. Quite the opposite.


Carlo47 29 Jun 2015 04:03

Only the American Treasure understood the gravity of the situation, but it's odd that they don't give appropriate instructions to the IMF and namely to the chauvinist Ms Lagrande, who continues in its absurd hard line more on measures that on the debt.

On the other end Mr Schäuble and Mr Dijsselbloem must be happy that investors flee.

They have only have a bit of patience, until the contagion will arrive in Germany and Holland.

Anyhow, if they are honest, both should resign for clear inability to do their job and to understand the heavy drawbacks of their dummy hard line, as supposed and false financial experts.

The German Government and the EU heads should slap the door in their face and send them away.


CanadaChuck ID9492736 29 Jun 2015 03:53

I had thought that Greece was unimportant overall in the EU. What will happen when Italy and Spain collapse? I guess the UK won't have to bother leaving the EU.


Ian Crowther slingsby1000 29 Jun 2015 03:49

Agreed Slingsby, so a lot depends on the post management of crisis as we see in Argentina and Turkey, its not plain sailing, far from it. But being enslaved is worse, and paying on the never never, feeding German and French income is not the way to go Fault lies on both sides, nobody comes out of this smelling of roses.

The EU construct was a nonsense form the very start, a union of unequals, instabilities and too many externalities to manage that technocrats have little idea on how to manage in complex situations.


Lanceowenmorgan Kompe75 29 Jun 2015 03:42

Ya the Forth Reich is coming and it seems Putin is the only one smart enough to see it


ID9492736 29 Jun 2015 03:40

Barely half an hour after opening, the German Stock Exchange index (DAX) is down almost 5%, which is dangerously close to a system meltdown. The German moneymasters are trying to intervene by pumping money into the exchange, but it's like putting a band-aid on the collapsing levee. The German nuclear reactor is overheating uncontrollably.


Xenkar Stivell 29 Jun 2015 03:34

True, ordinary people in Europe need to stand up and support the people of Greece, but sadly as spiceof so eloquently put it

"These little conformists, the lowly prison guards of the elites, are the lowest form of humanity. Spiteful and small minded, they always want to "punish" those who dare raise their heads and complain."

MrEurope Lupick 29 Jun 2015 03:31

You do realize that what you wrote is beyond ignorance...? While I agree that the way market-news is brought is excessively dramatic, markets ARE for a large part a reflection of human productive activity, and productive activity tends to be... you know... the stuff that makes people money. Jobs. Earnings... roof over your head, and so forth... these things quite obviously matter.

The problem is that humans absolutely suck at understanding the long term consequences and impact of small, tiny little (negative, but also positive) changes that accumulate over time.

You know the famous example that if Jesus would have put one dollar in his bank account, he would (assuming 3% per annum interest) by the year 1000 he would have 7,080,467,438,104.71 dollars. (and more money than ever has or will exist in the history of Earth by 2015...) 3% does not sound like much... but all these small little additions do add up. And so if you're living in a world where every week or two there is a minor crisis here or there.... eventually it starts to matter. A lot. People put off investing. They spend less. There are less jobs... (which in turn compounds the problems...) and on it goes.

Bottom line is - you and I know fuck all about advanced economics, just like the vast majority of posters here.


Stivell 29 Jun 2015 03:28

Lagarde and the European leaders have forced Greece into this corner and really should expect nothing more than the Greeks turning and baring their teeth. Ordinary people in Europe need to stand up and support the people of Greece against these relentless scaremongering money-obsessed bastards. Go Greece, bite that hand!


Kompe75 29 Jun 2015 03:25

If the Schaueble , Merkel and Jean Claude don't resign after the upcoming fiasco , then the investors will fire them.Remember my prediction.They will have a bitter end than DSK.


D9492736 royaldocks 29 Jun 2015 03:16

If you really, seriously believe that EU economy is so competitive that it can turn on the dime and adjust to the coming global economic meldown to its advantage and do so in the current political and economic timespace , I have a BIG surprise for you: you are dangerously delusional.

First of all, the prices of ALL commodities, raw and unprocessed material EU economy needs to keep going are going to get sky-high because EUR will be hemorrhaging value until cows come home. And even if Mario Draghi and the idiots from Eurogroup come back to their senses tomorrow, it will have been too late: they already committed an act of economic suicide, and it is really too late to stop the head exit wound from bleeding to death now. Secondly, with the investors quitting the stock bubble like crazy, the amount of discretionary spending and funded demand is going to go down like a rock: Europe will be hit with AT LEAST a quadruple -whammy: (a) rigid and dogmatic austerity and money-supply strangulation (b) supply chain disruption (c) extremely weak demand and massively negative growth and (d) catastrophic consumer confidence index. Add to this list of nightmares a never-ending flow of migrants and refugees, ever-increasing pressure on social services, cost of funding of wars and military operations in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Aghanistan and elsewhere, the massive losses caused by the American-imposed sanctions against Russia (by most accounts, somewhere between $100 and $150 billion), the cost of containing the situation in Ukraine and bankrolling the bankrupt Ukrainian government and - on top of it all - servicing the sovereign debt, and you get a much clearer picture. There is absolutely no way - not even a hypothetical chance - that European economy can weather out this tsunami unaffected and unharmed. EU should consider itself lucky if they do not lose 20-30% of its entire economy in the next month or so.

If I were a German retiree, I would be queuing up at the local ATMs as we speak. Because, yes, it's the end of the Eurozone as we know it.


spiceof 29 Jun 2015 03:12

Amazing how the Greek subject matter brings forth the establishment sadists out en masse, demanding that punishment, penury and the bubonic plague be visited upon that rebellious country.

These little conformists, the lowly prison guards of the elites, are the lowest form of humanity. Spiteful and small minded, they always want to "punish" those who dare raise their heads and complain.

iruka Lupick 29 Jun 2015 02:56

Important point.

Of course it's worth bearing in mind that people like StrategicVoice213 aren't really concerned with contrasting good people and bad people, lazy people and hard-working people, etc..

Take a closer look, and 99 times out of 100 it's amply clear that their only real interest is in defending the authority and legitimacy of the institutions that they see being threatened or insulted by those they're calumnying.

The actual behaviour or character of this person or that nation is of no real consequence to 213's . Any old lie, projection or blinkered misconstruction will do.

It's the need to preserve sanctified hierarchies of power that engages them.

Or more accurately (since they're clearly all sad little creatures of no importance whatsoever, and no capacity to preserve anything, for whom an identification with power provides them with something clearly lacking in their actual lives) it's the need to glorify power, and all its ways and entitlements.


Lanceowenmorgan slingsby1000 29 Jun 2015 02:55

Who the fuck was the dumb ass(es) who would lend Greece all that money?
€386,000,000,000 to a country with a population of what 6-10 million? That's mathematics son you can argue with me but you can't argue with figures. Apologies to Foghorn Leghorn. But I think all comes down to greed.


truthbetold13 borninthe80s 29 Jun 2015 02:50

Such a pathetic cliche, a real twatcherite/conmoron lie. By bloated public sector you just mean that more things are run by the government instead of by big business. Nobody here being ripped off by utilities/ rail/private landlords etc thinks this is a better arrangement. What you have is higher prices, worse service, less equal pay within those sectors, systemic tax evasion by business and its bosses. Give me a state controlled service any day.


JohnnyMorales 29 Jun 2015 02:45

This should be the quote of the day:

Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Japan Asia Securities Group in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News: "In the face of pressure from the eurozone to accept austerity measures, the Greeks answered that it's hard to live just on water."

The Japanese have never been considered softies. If they are describing the EU demands as too much, then they are definitely too much.


FactualEvidence 29 Jun 2015 02:45

The EU needs Britain to stay in the EU for one reason only and its financial.

The EU have ploughed in billions and billions of tax payers money into several different countries bailouts not just Greece, including Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Hungary, Latvia and Romania.
A total amount of 487.75 BILLION Euros has been given to these countries and that's since just 2008.
So rather than the EU getting stronger as united nation's it is getting worse.

The EU Commission, MEP's, LIBLABCON parties and BBC don't tell you that information. You have to research it yourselves on Wikipedia.

So my three questions to all those Europhiles are.
If being in the EU is so great how come so many countries have to rely on hand out?

If so many countries need billions to even provide essential services to survive. Where is this great trading economy?

Why is it not working for so many millions of people?

Go to Wikipedia and see how the monetary crisis is getting worse for all the countries not better.
Google : European Debt Crisis, and check out the chart around the middle of a very long page.

Were would the EU be without the billions we put in to it and on top of that all the VAT tax they get from us, YES VAT. Did you know that it was through EU ruling you pay VAT on your utility bills?


philbo Miamijim 29 Jun 2015 02:36

The IMF is mainly responsible for this mess.

ID9492736 stringvestor 29 Jun 2015 02:36

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/29/markets-global-idUSL4N0ZE0IK20150629

betrynol 29 Jun 2015 02:32

Good thing Europe is ring-fenced to the risk of contagion....

The ECB will have to buy more Spanish and Italian bonds this week than the entire Greek debt, and then bailout these countries so they can buy back the bonds (Greek style). Oh well, if they say they've got it covered, it's fine I suppose... (shakes head in haughty derision).

ID9492736 29 Jun 2015 02:32

A picture worth $60 trillion words:

http://www.allstocks.com/markets/World_Charts/world_charts.html

The only markets still in the black are the markets that haven't opened yet. When DAX and FTSE open, the shit tsunami is REALLY going to hit the austerity fans.


JohnnyMorales 29 Jun 2015 02:29

The loss of value across the world even if most of it is just temporary is many many times more than Greece's entire debt.

Yet because the EU troika wanted to win a moral battle and teach a wayward Greece a moral lesson and make impossible demands and accept the humiliation entailed in caving they opted to create those losses.

Greece only asked for some extra help. They did not make outrageous demands like the troika.

If anything good comes out of this may it be the end of the careers of those who think the financial world is the proper place to stage morality plays devoid of any financial purpose which cost far more than the alternative.


Ian Crowther 29 Jun 2015 02:28

This is the end game, and has been Greece's plan from the new Government taking power. The left want Grexit, and they will get what they wish for now, independence from a failing political and financial EU construct.

This may work well for Greece in the mid term, sure, its going to be tough on the people, but at least the Government will not be debt slaves now, reset the currency, devalue the economy so it can compete again, lower taxation to bring in big business, and begin to build a new economy based on what the Greek people want, rather than 85% of the money Greece leant eventually being paid back to the rentiers from which the cash came. Now zero will be repaid, and EU banks will have to suffer the losses, a drop in recapitalisation, and a hit to the recovery.


Lanceowenmorgan ID9492736 29 Jun 2015 02:24

I agree. FUCK ALL YOU NEOLIBERAL & NEOCON mother fuckers


LeonardPynchon borninthe80s 29 Jun 2015 02:24

Some perspective in the below piece - might help you:

https://theconversation.com/greece-woes-show-how-the-politics-of-debt-failed-europe-42787

The Financial Times' leading commentator Martin Wolf recently argued that "the vast bulk of the official loans to Greece were not made for its benefit at all, but for that of its feckless private creditors", that is, primarily, European banks and financial institutions. After exposing the futility of austerity, ex-IMF economic advisor Jeffrey Sachs recently declared: "Europe's leaders are hiding behind a mountain of pious, nonsensical rhetoric" risking an economic and social disaster "in order to insist on collecting some crumbs from the country's pensioners".

Describing the treatment of Greece as "the Iraq War of finance", Daily Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote: "rarely in modern times have we witnessed such a display of petulance and bad judgement by those supposed to be in charge of global financial stability."


dzogchen 29 Jun 2015 02:23

Five lost years for the Greeks it seems. From the market's perspective those years have been all about maneuvering the banks from out of risk. Now that work is done as the losses are laid squarely in the public lap. The markets of course don't give half a toss about Greek people, empathy isn't part of their nature, so might as well do what should have been done five years ago. All the best to the people who will pay the price for all this shenanigans. Kali tihi!

BeamEcho Tim Roberts 29 Jun 2015 02:21

This is not new for the IMF, their mandate includes providing policy advice to their members. They review the economic policies of their members. When they lend money they require economic policy changes...

Ian Crowther IndependentScott 29 Jun 2015 02:18

Greece will not have to repay the debt, they will walk away, default and never repay. It is the banking system and rehypothecated debt that will suffer, and the banks that have leant the money to France and Germany. European banks have only just been recapitalised, and losing another €300-400bn will hit the Euro recovery hard at a time when QE is being rolled out. The answer will be print more money.

Normin 29 Jun 2015 02:17

The banksters are just waiting for a scapegoat to pin their non sustainable economic system failure on. Meanwhile the elite will profit as the masses bleed. It can't go on like this forever it's just a matter of when.

Kompe75 29 Jun 2015 02:14

Juncker announces a campaign to support "YES" at the greek referendum..

Another sign these people consist the out-of-touch neoliberal elite..

Does he really believe Greeks , who have suffered enormously , will sign a appalling deal that's going to define the misery of generations for the next decades ? Just because he wants to remain President in the dictatorship of Brussels ? I live for the moment Juncker comes in Athens...the whole place will go up in flames.

john4108 29 Jun 2015 02:09

yes all going acording to plan the sacred " markets" are indulging in the usual lemmng like behaviour while the banksrs try to convince everyone that,the have the medicine that we all need . Casino capitalism writ large. Eventually, unless we want endlessly repeated crises and utter destruction on this plant, mankind will have to come up,with a more resilient economic system.

Islam is waiting in the wings and usory is a crime in the Koran. Of course Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple....but Judeo-christianity has conveniently forgotten that.

[Jun 28, 2015] Former Finance Minister of Cyprus on the Greek Crisis

"...The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone - they made Tsipras an offer he can't accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don't like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals...."
.
"...This is nothing more than a neo-liberal play. They just don't want to strip their pensions, but infrastructure as well. They should be making the requirements of the loan for deep pension cuts and money for investments which would help build up Greece's economy and the end for these bailouts. The fact they aren't doing that, but trying to confiscate it instead, which is the real issue. "
.
"..."IMF and Germany Are Hell-Bent on Finishing Off Even a Moderate Left in Greece" "Indeed, the leftist Greek government failed to see that what Europe's neoliberal elite was after, especially after being fully aware of the fact that Athens had no alternative plan, was not merely a humiliating Greek deal for the Syriza-led government but finishing them off completely to send a message to all potential "troublemakers" in the euro area of the fate awaiting them if they dared challenge the neoliberal, austerity-based orthodoxy of the new Rome." "
.
"...Panicky depositors spent the weekend pulling an estimated one billion euros from the banking system, stashing the cash in their houses or exchanging them for bulging bags of gold coins."
.
"...There are not as many hedge funds in Greece as there were a year ago, when it is estimated that around 100 foreign funds were sitting on big investment stakes. Their bet was that the previous Greek government would be able to complete the arduous process of economic reform in Greece that started five years ago."
.
"...Most of the hedge fund money in Greece is invested in about 30 billion euros of freshly minted Greek government debt securities that emerged from the 2012 restructuring of private sector bonds."
.
"...Among the most dubious of these, was a 10 percent equity stake, then worth about $137 million, that Mr. Paulson's hedge fund took last year in the Athens water monopoly. The company had little debt and was slated to be privatized, making it an attractive prospect at the time."
Jun 28, 2015 | Economist's View
Peter K.:

Mr Sarris seems a little like a Davos Man.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/29/business/dealbook/panic-among-hedge-fund-investors-in-greece.html

Panic Among Hedge Fund Investors in Greece

By LANDON THOMAS Jr.

JUNE 28, 2015

ATHENS - For investors around the world looking at Greece, there was but one question Sunday: What is going to happen when the markets open on Monday?

That question is particularly acute for the hedge fund investors - including luminaries like David Einhorn and John Paulson - who have collectively poured more than 10 billion euros into Greek government bonds, bank stocks and a slew of other investments.

This weekend, Nicholas L. Papapolitis, a corporate lawyer here, was working around the clock comforting and cajoling his frantic hedge fund clients.

"People are freaking out," said the 32-year-old Mr. Papapolitis, his eyes red and his voice hoarse. "They have made some really big bets on Greece.

But there is no getting around the truth of the matter, he said. Without a deal with its European creditors, the country will default and Greek stocks and bonds will tank when the markets open.

On the ground here, the surprise decision of the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to hold a referendum has turned what was a bank jog into more of a sprint with most Greeks now fearing that the country's depleted banks will be closed on Monday.

Panicky depositors spent the weekend pulling an estimated one billion euros from the banking system, stashing the cash in their houses or exchanging them for bulging bags of gold coins.

The yields on Greek government bonds, now around 12 percent are expected to soar as investors rush to unload their positions in a market that of late has become extremely hard to trade.

Bank stocks, if the stock market, in fact, opens, will also be hit with a selling wave, as they cannot survive if the European Central Bank withdraws its emergency lending program.

There are not as many hedge funds in Greece as there were a year ago, when it is estimated that around 100 foreign funds were sitting on big investment stakes. Their bet was that the previous Greek government would be able to complete the arduous process of economic reform in Greece that started five years ago.

When it became clear that a radical Syriza government under Mr. Tsipras would come to power, many investors quickly turned heel, dumping their Greek government bonds and bank stocks in large numbers before and after the election.

But a brave, hardy few stayed put - around 40 to 50, local brokers estimate - taking the view that while the new left-wing government could hardly be described as investor friendly, it would ultimately agree to a deal with Europe. It would be a bumpy ride for sure, but for those taking the long view that Greece would remain in the eurozone, holding onto their investments as opposed to selling them in a panic seemed the better course of action.

For now, at least, that seems to be a terrible misjudgment, especially if Greece defaults and leaves the euro.

Most of the hedge fund money in Greece is invested in about 30 billion euros of freshly minted Greek government debt securities that emerged from the 2012 restructuring of private sector bonds.

The largest investors include Japonica Partners in Rhode Island, the French investment funds H20 and Carmignac and an assortment of other hedge funds like, Farallon, Fortress, York Capital, Baupost, Knighthead and Greylock Capital.

A number of hedge funds have also made big bets on Greek banks, despite their thin levels of capital and nonperforming loans of around 50 percent of assets.

They include Mr. Einhorn at Greenlight Capital and Mr. Paulson, both of whom have invested and lost considerable sums in Piraeus Bank. Fairfax Financial Holdings and the distressed investor Wilbur Ross own a large stake in Eurobank, one Greece's four main banks.

Big positions have also been taken in some of Greece's largest companies. Fortress Capital bought $100 million in discounted debt belonging to Attica Holdings, Greece's largest ferry boat holder. York Capital has taken a 10 percent stake in GEK Terna, a prominent Greek construction and energy firm.

In 2014, Blackstone's credit arm bought a 10 percent chunk of the Greek real estate developer Lamda Development. And Third Point, one of the earliest, most successful investors in Greek government bonds, has set up a $750 million Greek equity fund.

Many of these forays were made during the heady days of 2013 and early 2014 when the view was that, in a rock bottom global interest rate environment, risky Greek assets looked attractive, especially if the reform process continued.

Among the most dubious of these, was a 10 percent equity stake, then worth about $137 million, that Mr. Paulson's hedge fund took last year in the Athens water monopoly. The company had little debt and was slated to be privatized, making it an attractive prospect at the time.

But the privatization process is now frozen and the monopoly is struggling to collect payment on its bills from near broke government entities, making it unlikely that Mr. Paulson will get much of his money back.

To be sure, many of these hedge funds are enormous and their Greek investments represent a fairly small slice of their overall portfolio.

Mr. Papapolitis, who used to work at Skadden Arps law firm in New York structuring exotic real estate deals, moved back to Greece in 2008 and has led some of the biggest hedge fund deals in the market.

Of the same age and generation as many of his clients, he feels their pain.

"These guys are my friends," he said. "They invested in Greece when the economy was improving. And now this happens - I feel obliged to be there for them."

He is not the only point man for hedge funds coming to Greece.

Last week, a group of about 12 of the largest remaining hedge funds arrived in Athens to attend a seminar organized by George Linatsas, a founding partner of Axia Ventures, an investment bank that specializes in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Italy, as well as shipping.

With all the large investment banks and law firms having largely given up on Greece, Mr. Linatsas and his team of analysts became the main port of call for hedge funds that started buying Greek government bonds in 2012.

Then, the bonds were trading at 12 cents on the euro and they soon shot up to 60 cents, making billions of dollars for those early investors.

"People made their careers on that trade," Mr. Linatsas said. "The problem now is politics and whether there is a government that can take this country to the next stage."

The outlook seems grim.

Indeed, in recent months these investors have spent little time breaking down balance sheets or discounting cash flows. Instead, they have spent every effort trying to figure out what the Syriza government is up to.

Some have tried to get an edge by listening to Greek radio. Others have hired outside firms to study video clips of Mr. Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to try and discern from body movement and voice tone whether they are telling the truth. And an increasing number have resorted to begging journalists for inside scuttlebutt.

Because few Syriza officials will meet with the investors, a large number of them have banded together, an unusual occurrence in an industry that puts the highest of premiums on secrecy. They exchange tips and theories via emails when they are apart and over wine-soaked dinners in Athens during their frequent trips here.

At times the swankiest hotel in town, the Hotel Grande Bretagne (or G.B. as it is commonly known) is so chock full of hedge fund executives (mostly in their 30s) that some have called it the G.G.B. - the acronym for Greek government bonds.

In recent days, as it has become clear that the Syriza government was not going to accept the latest proposal from its creditors, stress and anxiety has, in some cases, turned to outright anger.

"I just can't believe these guys are willing to torch their own country," one investor with a large holding of Greek bonds lamented in an email. "They thought this was a game. Now, when the supermarkets run out of food, gas stations run out of gas, hospitals have no medicine, tourists flee, salaries don't get paid because banks shut - what are they going to do?"

Peter K. -> Peter K....

""I just can't believe these guys are willing to torch their own country," one investor with a large holding of Greek bonds lamented in an email."

How ideological do you have to be to not understand that the Troika already torched the country and that the Greeks voted in Syriza becasue 5 years on there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope there's a Grexit even if the Troika forces it because the referendum took place after Monday's deadline. Syriza should really study all of the past defaults of other countries.

Paine -> Peter K....

This Sarris gent suggest the Syriza team should have proposed " bold reforms " early on


List em mr S... List em

He however seems to understands the original sin was
The elites decision to bail the private northern banks out

Of course the people of Greece must pay for that sin.

RGC:

"IMF and Germany Are Hell-Bent on Finishing Off Even a Moderate Left in Greece"

"Indeed, the leftist Greek government failed to see that what Europe's neoliberal elite was after, especially after being fully aware of the fact that Athens had no alternative plan, was not merely a humiliating Greek deal for the Syriza-led government but finishing them off completely to send a message to all potential "troublemakers" in the euro area of the fate awaiting them if they dared challenge the neoliberal, austerity-based orthodoxy of the new Rome."

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/31596-imf-and-germany-are-hell-bent-on-finishing-off-even-a-moderate-left-in-greece

pgl:
Real GDP per person in Cyprus:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/cyprus/gdp-per-capita

The crash has brought this done to where it was in 2000. Why did they join the Euro system in the first place? Why would anyone listen to the finance minister of this nation?

Paine -> pgl...

Precisely put

Only a corporate lackey corrupted stooge or stool pigeon

Peter K. -> Peter K....

Greece's own central banker, Yannis Stournaras said in a statement after the European Central Bank decision on Sunday that the Greek central bank would "take all measures necessary to ensure financial stability for Greek citizens in these difficult circumstances."

Before negotiations broke off on Saturday between Athens and its creditors, the Tsipras government had been hoping to reach terms that would free up a €7.2 billion allotment of bailout money that the country needs to meet its short-term debt obligations.

Because European officials said on Saturday that Greece's €240 billion bailout program would not be extended, the big question had been whether the central bank's president, Mario Draghi, would continue financing the country's depleted banks.

Guidelines of the European Central Bank dictate that it can keep supporting troubled banks as long as there is a possibility that the country in question will come to terms with its creditors on a bailout - as was the case with Cyprus.

If Athens and its creditors do not resume talks before Tuesday, the promise of European support for Greece may no longer be on the table. But the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union and a key broker in the debt talks, seemed on Sunday to reach out to the Greek people, unexpectedly publishing the offer made to Greece before Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ended the negotiations and announced a national referendum.

The publication was designed to show the lengths to which the creditors, including the I.M.F. and the European Central Bank, had gone to satisfy Athens's demands for a deal that avoided hurting ordinary Greeks, said one European Union official with direct knowledge of the decision to publish the offer. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the institutions had not ruled out a resumption of talks with Mr. Tsipras on the sensitive issue of extending the bailout.

"This is a last bridge we are building for them," said the official. The goal of publishing the document was also to pressure "Mr. Tsipras to change course and choose to mount a 'yes' campaign" in the upcoming referendum, the official said.

The official acknowledged there was a slim chance that Mr. Tsipras would accede to the terms so soon after abandoning the negotiations. But if Mr. Tsipras did change course, that could lead to a meeting of leaders of the eurozone member states on Monday night to try one more time to reach a deal before the expiration of the bailout.

On Saturday, amid intense discussions between Greece and its creditors, officials representing the I.M.F., to which Greece owes €1.6 billion on Tuesday, were trying to persuade European leaders and Mr. Draghi to keep the bank emergency assistance flowing. And on Sunday, the head of the I.M.F., Christine Lagarde, waved an olive branch toward Greece.

In a statement, Ms. Lagarde expressed her "disappointment'' in the "inconclusive outcome of recent discussions on Greece in Brussels.''

"I shared my disappointment and underscored our commitment to continue to engage with the Greek authorities," she said, adding that the I.M.F. would ''continue to carefully monitor developments in Greece and other countries in the vicinity and stands ready to provide assistance as needed.''

Early Sunday, the Greek Parliament approved Mr. Tsipras's request for a public referendum on the proposal offer by Greece's creditors, with the vote to be held next Sunday. Mr. Tsipras and other Greek officials had asked European officials and Mr. Draghi to keep the central bank assistance in place until the vote.

The European Central Bank's decision on Sunday to cap the emergency loan program, as opposed to canceling it, "allows the Greek banks to remain in a sort of coma – not functioning but not dead," said Karl Whelan, an economics professor at University College in Dublin. That way, he said, the Greek financial system might be revived if at some later point if Greece secures a deal with its creditors.

Raoul Ruparel, an economist and co-director of Open Europe, a London-based research group, said the rupture between Greece and its creditors on Saturday was unlikely to mean a definitive end to negotiations, instead becoming "merely a prelude" to yet more talks in a week or so after Greece holds its referendum.

"I think we are just getting started on this merry-go-round," Mr. Ruparel said, predicting that Greek voters would probably vote to endorse proposals put forward by creditors and rejected by the Tsipras government. "We would then be back where we started, only in a worse situation," he added. Because the current program will have expired by then, Greece and its creditors would need to negotiate a new bailout - most likely a short-term deal - in an atmosphere poisoned by even deeper distrust than before.

"The whole thing is absolute nightmare,'' Mr. Ruparel said. ''I have been following this saga for five years, and it is depressingly tedious."

leoFromChicago:

Guy is totally business-as-usual.

I'm hardly an expert on Greece but if you were about to make a difficult decision -- say, exit the Euro -- you might want a dramatic display of public backing say, in the form of a referendum.

Peter K.:

For JohnH and Mr. Roger Fox:

http://www.cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/the-warnings-from-the-bank-of-international-settlements-have-been-ignored-because-they-have-been-wrong

The Warnings from the Bank of International Settlements Have Been Ignored Because They Have Been Wrong

by Dean Baker

Published: 28 June 2015

The Wall Street Journal passed along warnings from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) that central banks should start to curtail monetary expansion and that governments need to reduce their debt levels. The piece tells readers:

"The BIS has issued similar warnings in recent years concerning an overreliance on monetary policy, but its advice has gone largely unheeded."

It is worth noting that the BIS has been consistently wrong in prior years, warning as early as 2011 about the prospects of higher inflation due to expansionary monetary policy:

"But despite the obvious near-term price pressures, break-even inflation expectations at distant horizons remained relatively stable, suggesting that central banks' long-term credibility was intact, at least for the time being.

"But controlling inflation in the long term will require policy tightening. And with short-term inflation up, that means a quicker normalisation of policy
rates."

Since that date, the major central banks of the world have been struggling with lower than desired inflation and doing whatever they could to raise the rate of inflation. It would have been helpful to readers to point out that the BIS has been hugely wrong in its past warnings, so people in policy positions appear to have been right to ignore them. This is likely still the case.

anne:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/grisis/

June 28, 2015

Grisis
By Paul Krugman

OK, this is real: Greek banks closed, capital controls imposed. Grexit isn't a hard stretch from here - the much feared mother of all bank runs has already happened, which means that the cost-benefit analysis starting from here is much more favorable to euro exit than it ever was before.

Clearly, though, some decisions now have to wait on the referendum.

I would vote no, for two reasons. First, much as the prospect of euro exit frightens everyone - me included - the troika is now effectively demanding that the policy regime of the past five years be continued indefinitely. Where is the hope in that? Maybe, just maybe, the willingness to leave will inspire a rethink, although probably not. But even so, devaluation couldn't create that much more chaos than already exists, and would pave the way for eventual recovery, just as it has in many other times and places. Greece is not that different.

Second, the political implications of a yes vote would be deeply troubling. The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone - they made Tsipras an offer he can't accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don't like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals.

A strange logistical note: I'm on semi-vacation this week, doing a bicycle trip in an undisclosed location. It's only a semi-vacation because I didn't negotiate any days off the column; I'll be in tomorrow's paper (hmm, I wonder what the subject is) and have worked the logistics so as to make Friday's column doable too. I was planning to do little if any blogging, and will in any case do less than I might have otherwise given the events.

anne -> anne...
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/grisis/

June 28, 2015

Grisis
By Paul Krugman

Clearly, though, some decisions now have to wait on the referendum.

I would vote no, for two reasons. First, much as the prospect of euro exit frightens everyone - me included - the troika * is now effectively demanding that the policy regime of the past five years be continued indefinitely. Where is the hope in that? Maybe, just maybe, the willingness to leave will inspire a rethink, although probably not. But even so, devaluation couldn't create that much more chaos than already exists, and would pave the way for eventual recovery, just as it has in many other times and places. Greece is not that different.

Second, the political implications of a yes vote would be deeply troubling. The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone - they made Tsipras an offer he can't accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don't like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals....

* European Union Commission, EuropeanCentral Bank, and International Monetary Fund

Paine -> anne...

Pk has really shown a leadership side here
Not contrarian
Progressive leadership

Vote no !

Praise be to PK

Ben Groves:

This is nothing more than a neo-liberal play. They just don't want to strip their pensions, but infrastructure as well. They should be making the requirements of the loan for deep pension cuts and money for investments which would hel build up Greece's economy and the end for these bailouts. The fact they aren't doing that, but trying to confiscate it instead, which is the real issue. If Greece wants their fat pension system, that is their choice.

I don't see anything different than post WWI Germany. This is what Libertarianism will bring to the West if implemented. They would dismantle the current power structure and replace it with a privately controlled syndicate dictating wealth much like today. This is not new, it has been going on since the rise of Abrahamic religions in the west.

Fred C. Dobbs -> Lafayette...

Greece is doomed - Matt Yglesias - June 27 http://www.vox.com/2015/6/27/8856297/greece-referendum-euro via @voxdotcom

(Various useful links, at the link.)

... to understand the deeper causes of what's been going on since Tsipras' government swept to power in January, you really need to set the finance and economics aside and focus on the politics. Greece has been drawing dead this whole time, and the future outlook appears bleak for one simple reason - nobody else in Europe who holds power has any interest in making things anything other than painful for Greece.

1) Giving Greece a better deal would be a political disaster

Tsipras' fundamental miscalculation has been that he thought that by cloaking his specific requests for more lenient terms in the larger cause of anti-austerity politics, he could build a coalition of political support throughout Europe for his position. The reality was just the opposite. While politicians in Europe's creditor nations were naturally reluctant to grant Greece a better deal, politicians in Europe's debtor nations were even more opposed.

After all, if electing a bunch of far-left types to parliament so they can demand a better deal actually worked, then voters in Portugal and Spain and Italy and Ireland would take note of that fact. And the last thing the current crop of elected officials in Lisbon and Madrid and Rome and Dublin want is to all be turned out in favor of a bunch of far-left types.

2) Letting Greece default gracefully would be a disaster

Even if Greece's European partners weren't inclined to give Greece a better financial deal, they could have at least smoothed the path to default. A Greece that doesn't pay what it owes would be instantly cut off from credit markets and forced to run a very austere fiscal policy.

It's in Europe's interest to make things as hard as possible for Greece

Things could have been left at that. Instead, throughout the year, the European Central Bank has been saying that it will cut the Greek banking system off from emergency funding if Greece doesn't keep paying its debts. That means default will lead to the collapse of Greek banks, and the end of Greek membership in the euro.

That's a political decision the ECB isn't legally required to make. But politically it's the only possible decision. After all, if a default works out non-disastrously for Greece then other countries could be tempted to default. And international investors might worry that other countries could be tempted to default, raising interest rates and slowing the European economy. Only making default as painful as possible can safeguard the interests of other countries.

3) Letting Greece leave the Eurozone gracefully would be a disaster

Here's where the news gets really bad for Greece. Leaving the Eurozone could, in theory, go better or worse. But Europe needs it to go as badly as possible. After all, if Greece leaving goes pretty well, then other countries might be tempted to leave. And that raises the prospect of debt defaults, higher interest rates, and slowing European growth.

Once again, it's in Europe's interest to make things as hard as possible for Greece.

4) This is the time to fold 'em

The tragic irony, if you are Tsipras, is that his plan very well might have worked back in 2010 when his predecessors originally agreed to the terms of a bailout. Back then, the whole situation was considerably more fluid. Greece could have threatened to default and essentially commit a murder/suicide on the entire European economy unless it got better terms. That would have been a very risky strategy and you can see why the Greek government didn't pursue it. But it might have worked.

Yet as the song says, you need to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. ...

(Alternatively, persuade various major German
corps to re-locate to Greece, for tax-breaks,
warm weather, great beaches, warm weather,
'right-to-work' labor policies, tax breaks,
warm weather & great beaches, and - voilà - problem solved!)

Fred C. Dobbs:

The Next Few Days Have the Potential to Transform
Greece and Europe http://nyti.ms/1Nr7fbd via @UpshotNYT
NYT - Neil Irwin - June 28

As it turns out, the Greek crisis ends not with a bang, but with a referendum.

It has been easy to ignore the doings in Greece for the last few years, with the perpetual series of summits in Brussels that never seem to resolve anything. But it's time to pay attention. These next few days are shaping up to become a transformational moment in the 60-year project of building a unified Europe. We just don't yet know what sort of transformation it will be.

The immediate headlines that got us to this point are these: After an intractable series of negotiations over a bailout extension with Greece's creditors, the nation's left-wing government left the table Friday and said it would hold a referendum on July 5. Greek leaders think the offer on the table from European governments and the International Monetary Fund is lousy, requiring still more pension cuts and tax increases in a depressed economy, and intend to throw to voters the question of whether to accept it.

Whatever the exact phrasing of the question (and assuming the referendum goes forward as planned), it really boils down to this simple choice:

The Greek government, led by Alexis Tsipras, disputes this framing, and argues that Greece could in fact reject the creditors' offer to extend the bailout program while sticking with the euro. Events over the weekend show how untenable that is. Thousands of Greeks lined up to withdraw euros from money machines, and the European Central Bank said it would not increase the size of the emergency lending program that Greek banks have been using to secure euros.

Ergo, the Greek banks are, or will soon be, out of money, and the E.C.B. will be disinclined to open the floodgates again in the absence of a bailout deal. That's why the Greek government has effectively frozen its financial system, closing banks and the stock market on Monday. ...

Greece Will Close Banks to Stem Flood of Withdrawals http://nyti.ms/1QXdEB2

LANDON THOMAS Jr. and NIKI KITSANTONIS - JUNE 28

ATHENS - Greece will keep its banks closed on Monday and place restrictions on the withdrawal and transfer of money, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address on Sunday night, as Athens tries to avert a financial collapse.

The government's decision to close banks temporarily and impose other so-called capital controls - and to keep the stock market closed on Monday - came hours after the European Central Bank said it would not expand an emergency loan program that has been propping up Greek banks in recent weeks while the government was trying to reach a new debt deal with international creditors. ...

[Jun 26, 2015] Russia rejects calls for UN tribunal to prosecute MH17 suspects

"Aluminum tubes UN testimony trick again: looks like attempt by the US and other interested parties to keep some evidence secret as in criminal trial all evidence should be made available to defense. Guardian presstitutes: "Suspicions immediately fell on the separatists, who may have used a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia to shoot down the plane." And other facts versions are simply ignored... That's how blackmail operates.
"...Russia HAS published its satellite data and data on portable radar activity which implicated Ukraine forces in the downing of the plane. It did so shortly after the incident. Russia has also stated that the US had a surveillance satellite over this area at the time of the plane coming down. Why is the US reluctant to publish any surveillance data? This includes both satellite and communications intercepts."
"...I've searched across the web for anyone else reporting this and it's in a few places but always citing the AFP. Each version is different but they all contain this line: "Suspicions immediately fell on the separatists, who may have used a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia to shoot down the plane."
"...The initial investigation has dragged it's feet but can't they just put their efforts into completing it, or is Ukraine using it's veto to stop anything coming out? I'm not sure what is going on in the Netherlands, but it seems they have their mind made up on Russia. "
"...Exactly ultimately we must hold we must hold Obama, Victoria "f**** Europe" Nuland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt responsible. It was they that initiated and organized the violent coup that overthrew the legally elected President and government of the Ukraine. Their preferred nominees we installed in a parliament patrolled by armed fascist and neo-Nazi thugs that ensured that it voted the "right way". Remember Nuland's intercepted phone call anointing "Yats" (Yatsenuk) as prime minister. Not to mention her photo-ops in the Maidan with the fascist leaders Oleh Tyahnybok and Andriy Parubiy."
"...In fact in 20 years Russia, directly or indirectly, destroyed about 40 thousand people. USA - about 650 thousand. So what?
Calling Putin - the bloody tyrant, a little funny. Is not it?"
Chillskier Jackblob , 26 Jun 2015 21:29

You have now idea how media is manipulated to confuse people.

Read July, 17th 2014 BBC report:

Ukraine conflict: Russia accused of shooting down jet

It says :

"A Ukrainian security spokesman has accused Russia's air force of shooting down one of its jets while it was on a mission over Ukrainian territory.:

It basically says that on that day Ukie's had all the reasons to activate their air defenses!!

Telegraph have the same information:

Here is Canadian CBC

However CBC changed the story on the July 23

Now the missiles have been fired from Russian territory, because you cannot remind people that Ukie's actually themselves claimed reasons to activate their own BUK's in the area

CNN changed story as well

Notice all modified reports came out after MH17 shooting, but we know that no aircraft was shot down after that.

Small details like that will eventually blow a big hole in the narrative that is pushed down our throats

Jeff Pawiro 26 Jun 2015 21:14

How will the west react when the investigation proves Poroshenko's thugs shot down MH17. Giving a killer billions in aide ..... i have a feeling this investigation will last for tens of years till most people forgot about it.

DrKropotkin Jackblob 26 Jun 2015 21:00

Haven't seen the evidence and it's not for lack of looking. A photo provided by Ukraine of a BUK system with a missing missile driving through government controlled territory is all I've seen.

As for evidence to which we are not privy, I stopped listening to that talk after the WMD saga.

Terry Ross Jackblob 26 Jun 2015 21:10

June 3, Russia challenges USA to publish its information on MH17, USA refuses.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's Foreign Ministry called on the United States on Wednesday to make public any evidence it has on last year's crash of Malaysia Airlines' flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

"If the United States has objective control data from satellites or the airborne warning and control system AWACS, it should be made public. The same applies to recordings of talks between controllers and Ukraine's military sector," the ministry said.

<<<>>>
US State Dept Daily Press Briefing (Wednesday):
QUESTION:
Okay, and next question about MH-17. Today, Russian foreign minister –
ministry urged United States to unveil satellite images taken on the date the plane crashed. So are you going to do that, or maybe you are going to transfer to investigators?

MS HARF: Well, we've worked with – we've given information to the investigators if we thought it was relevant. At the time, I remember us actually putting out maps. And those maps included where we believed, where we had evidence, that this
missile was fired from. So we put out, actually, quite a bit of information at the time.

QUESTION: So nothing new?

MS HARF: Nothing new and our assessment of what happened has not changed.

QUESTION: Now I'm talking about new images maybe.

MS HARF: Correct. No.

Russia HAS published its satellite data and data on portable radar activity which implicated Ukraine forces in the downing of the plane. It did so shortly after the incident. Russia has also stated that the US had a surveillance satellite over this area at the time of the plane coming down. Why is the US reluctant to publish any surveillance data? This includes both satellite and communications intercepts.

DrKropotkin 26 Jun 2015 20:45

I've searched across the web for anyone else reporting this and it's in a few places but always citing the AFP. Each version is different but they all contain this line:

"Suspicions immediately fell on the separatists, who may have used a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia to shoot down the plane."

Not great journalism, let's fix it: "Suspicions (from 5 eyes nations and their media mocking birds) immediately fell on the separatists, who may have used a surface-to-air missile (that we have no evidence was) supplied by Russia (or even exists) to shoot down the plane."


chemicalscum -> JJRichardson 26 Jun 2015 20:44

The question is why would they fire one given only Kiev planes were in the air, apart from, tragically and stupidly, civilian aircraft.

They had form, the incompetent Ukrainian military accidentally shot down a civilian airliner in 2001. However I wouldn't rule out a deliberate fascist Junta/CIA provocation the CIA has form on that too.


normankirk -> SomersetApples 26 Jun 2015 20:42

And that is going to require transparency of the highest order. Too many horses in this race, with powerful interests. Its questionable that it is even possible to have a fair trial when the media and govts have leapt in early on with accusations and a huge effort to assign guilt. Most people think the russians are guilty. I don't myself, thats the weakest scenario. I think its an accident by either separatists or Ukrainians. Both had the means and the motive. Ukrainians to defend against what they perceived to be an imminent Russian invasion, Rebels defending their towns and cities from air attack


chemicalscum -> airman23 26 Jun 2015 20:39

Ukraine isn't a suspect. Russia is the most likely suspect.

As we say in England "Pull the other one its got bells on it" . The Ukraine along with the US are the only countries known to have shot down civilian airliners. The Ukrainians shot down a Russian airliner bringing passengers back form Israel. Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 in 2001. The Ukrainian army possessed lots of Buk batteries that were deployed and had their radar on in the right place at the right time.

DrKropotkin 26 Jun 2015 20:37

Why skip to this stage now? The initial investigation has dragged it's feet but can't they just put their efforts into completing it, or is Ukraine using it's veto to stop anything coming out? I'm not sure what is going on in the Netherlands, but it seems they have their mind made up on Russia.

Here is a story about a Dutch school book:

shttp://rt.com/news/269314-anti-russian-propaganda-netherlands/

Robzview2 -> buttonbasher81 26 Jun 2015 20:22

Nothing to do with the Dutch investigation are you aware that the US will not allow any of their citizens to face ICC trials for war crimes, despite the innumerable war crimes they have committed in. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Central America, Serbia, Iraq, Libya etc?

SomersetApples -> ByThePeople 26 Jun 2015 20:22

Yes, Poroshenko has already asked for a delay of the investigation disclosure.

Vatslav Rente 26 Jun 2015 20:21

Well, it sounds like - we Have no evidence against Russia, no results of the investigation. There is no evidence the Ukrainian air traffic controller. No suspects separatists. OK, let's create a UN Tribunal:)

Someone really believes that after 1.5 years, the guilty will be punished? You guys are optimists?

Paul Moore -> SomersetApples 26 Jun 2015 20:13

I was looking at other airline incidents to see what a typical time frame in posting information and reports. I picked one recent one and it seems as if the MH17 investigation is going no slower than normal. Other than delays in getting information from the site, it may actually be faster than normal. Implying that there is some kind of sinister motive in the amount of time it takes to issue the final report is disingenuous at best.

This report discusses the July 6, 2013, accident involving a Boeing 777-200ER, Korean registration HL7742, operating as Asiana Airlines flight 214, which was on approach to runway 28L when it struck a seawall at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California.

The Report was not released until June 24, 2014, after a year. Other investigations have taken two or more years.

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR1401.pdf

chemicalscum -> shkzlu 26 Jun 2015 20:11

ultimately the people who started the war must be held accountable

Exactly ultimately we must hold we must hold Obama, Victoria "f**** Europe" Nuland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt responsible. It was they that initiated and organized the violent coup that overthrew the legally elected President and government of the Ukraine. Their preferred nominees we installed in a parliament patrolled by armed fascist and neo-Nazi thugs that ensured that it voted the "right way". Remember Nuland's intercepted phone call anointing "Yats" (Yatsenuk) as prime minister. Not to mention her photo-ops in the Maidan with the fascist leaders Oleh Tyahnybok and Andriy Parubiy.

This government then started a genocidal civil war against its own citizens murdering en mass civilians by shelling cities.

Yes we know who the war criminals are.


Vatslav Rente -> talenttruth 26 Jun 2015 19:54

In fact in 20 years Russia, directly or indirectly, destroyed about 40 thousand people. USA - about 650 thousand. So what?
Calling Putin - the bloody tyrant, a little funny. Is not it?


normankirk -> Doom Sternz 26 Jun 2015 19:52

Legally I don't see how that agreement can stand up in a criminal trial. If all evidence can be vetoed by the parties in the investigation, there can not be the possibility of a fair trial. All evidence must be available to the defense.

Vatslav Rente -> Metronome151 26 Jun 2015 19:47

One would think that for 1 year - will determine how any idiot was shot down a civilian Boeing. But a surprising number of "professionals" and interested parties leaves no hope for it ... When at stake is the Geopolitics ... well, I think you understand.

SomersetApples -> Metronome151 26 Jun 2015 19:47

Many posters on this page are already assuming that Russia is at fault before they know the facts. For the UN to make a decision before they know the facts would be just as ignorant. Let us see the facts first before we make a decision.

SomersetApples 26 Jun 2015 19:25

It is incredible that it has taken so long to release the information recorded on the black box. A US surveillance satellite was immediately overhead at the time and we know how the US are always bragging about how accurate their satellites are. Witnesses on the ground saw a fighter shoot down the plane and photos of the wreckage show bullet holes the size of the onboard cannons carried on the Ukraine fighters and shrapnel consistent with air-to-air missiles. Usually investigators make preliminary statements about their investigation in a matter of weeks. In this case, nothing has ever been disclosed. The Russians named the Ukrainian pilot flying the fighter that day. He made one brief statement to the press, something about making a terrible mistake and disappeared never to be heard of again.

I think the Russians are trying to wait until the results of the investigation are disclosed, examined and cross examined before taking it to the UN. As we have waited all this time for the disclosure that would seem like a reasonable request.

The West seems to be trying to take it to the UN before the facts are known. They could then argue that results of the investigation must be kept sealed as they are the subject of a UN hearing and involve national secrets and insist that it be decided behind closed doors. Any decision by the UN could then be based on politics rather than facts. Poroshenko is already trying to delay disclosure of the investigation.

In the UK we are still waiting for the results of the investigation into the invasion of Iraq. After 12 years they are still stalling and refusing to tell us what they found. Maybe they feel that if they wait long enough the current generation will die out and future generations will not remember what happened.

Results of the MH17 air crash investigation are due out and the world is entitled to know what happened. What are they waiting for?


HollyOldDog -> truk10 26 Jun 2015 18:50

Or to show the DATA and minor design mods that a SU25 would be capable of performing this task and that Ukraine when it was in the USSR had the data and knowledge to perform this task. But let's wait for the investigations to finish while ensuring all the evidence has been examined and all the possible avenues followed. No point jumping to concluesions where the West could end up with EGGs on their faces. Why is Poroshenko trying to rush this investigation? He is interested in the TRUTH isn't he?

Doom Sternz -> truk10 26 Jun 2015 18:46

The Russians have presented the evidence. When the US accused Russia of the demise of MH17 they lied. We can now see that 48 hours after that German crackpot murdered 149 people we knew everything and a year after the MH17, we know nothing. How long does it take to doctor a black box?


MrHMSH -> Robzview2 26 Jun 2015 18:37

There's a huge difference: we know that Iran Air 655 was shot down by the USS Vincennes. Whereas we don't know who shot down MH17. You can argue morals and that all day long, but at least it is known.


normankirk -> psygone 26 Jun 2015 18:36

I do understand thats the way its been from the start. I'm talking about a very recent extension to the agreement., and was asking if anyone knows what thats about. I'd understood the investigation will be complete in October, from there, comes a prosecution. So I'm none the wiser from your post

Doom Sternz -> psygone 26 Jun 2015 18:36

On August 8, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium signed a non-disclosure agreement pertaining to data obtained during the investigation into the causes of the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17. In the framework of the 4-country agreement, information on the progress and results of the investigation of the disaster will remain classified.


annamarinja -> BigNowitzki 26 Jun 2015 18:27

Aluminum tubes? Again? Is not Nuland-Kagan the most trusted student of Cheney?

If you are so particular about evidence, then ask the US government to divulge, for gods sake, the pictures that have been taken by the US' satellite that happened to be just above the shooting of MH17. What intelligent person could believe that the the best evidences that the US can provide are some suspicious pics and half-wit ramblings from a website of a deranged blogger.


normankirk -> truk10 26 Jun 2015 18:24

Its the UK and US who have been so vocal about accusing the Russians , right from the start. The official Russian position has not been to assign blame, but to ask questions. You confuse media reports, the Engineers union, and the Buk manufacturers with the official position, when they are not.

Have you seen Putin in a public forum declaring that Kiev is to blame for MH17?

I have not

Whereas I have seen all the plonkers of the 5 eyes countries dutifully doing their bit. Harper, Abbott, Cameron, Obama, all thundering from the pulpit...Putin did it!

normankirk 26 Jun 2015 18:13

I noticed that Poroshenko, in the Rada has called for an extension of the mh17 investigation agreement between Ukraine and the Netherlands A really short piece in the Kyiv Post. No further explanations.

Does any one know what that's about?Does he want a longer time frame, or is it just a standard agreement that needs to be re affirmed regularly?

[Jun 24, 2015] NYT's Orwellian View of Ukraine

"...As the Times has degenerated from a relatively decent newspaper into a fount of neocon propaganda, its editors also have descended into the practice of simply inventing a narrative of events that serves an ideological purpose, its own version of "Two Minutes Hate." "
June 22, 2015 | Consortiumnews

Exclusive: In the up-is-down Orwellian world that is now The New York Times' editorial page, there was no coup in Ukraine in 2014, no U.S.-driven "regime change," no provocation on Russia's border, just Moscow's aggression - a sign of how propaganda has taken over mainstream U.S. media, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In George Orwell's 1984, the leaders of Oceania presented "Two Minutes Hate" in which the image of an enemy was put on display and loyal Oceanianians expressed their rage, all the better to prepare them for the country's endless wars and their own surrender of freedom. And, now, in America, you have The New York Times.

Surely the Times is a bit more subtle than the powers-that-be in Orwell's Oceania, but the point is the same. The "paper of record" decides who our rotating foreign enemy is and depicts its leader as a demon corrupting whatever he touches. The rest of us aren't supposed to think for ourselves. We're just supposed to hate.

As the Times has degenerated from a relatively decent newspaper into a fount of neocon propaganda, its editors also have descended into the practice of simply inventing a narrative of events that serves an ideological purpose, its own version of "Two Minutes Hate." Like the leaders of Orwell's Oceania, the Times has become increasingly heavy-handed in its propaganda.

Excluding alternative explanations of events, even if supported by solid evidence, the Times arrogantly creates its own reality and tells us who to hate.

In assessing the Times's downward spiral into this unethical journalism, one could look back on its false reporting regarding Iraq, Iran, Syria or other Middle East hotspots. But now the Times is putting the lives of ourselves, our children and our grandchildren at risk with its reckless reporting on the Ukraine crisis – by setting up an unnecessary confrontation between nuclear-armed powers, the United States and Russia.

At the center of the Times' propaganda on Ukraine has been its uncritical – indeed its anti-journalistic – embrace of the Ukrainians coup-makers in late 2013 and early 2014 as they collaborated with neo-Nazi militias to violently overthrow elected President Viktor Yanukovych and hurl Ukraine into a bloody civil war.

Rather than display journalistic professionalism, the Times' propagandists ignored the evidence of a coup – including an intercepted phone call in which U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussed how to "mid-wife" the regime change and handpick the new leaders. "Yats is the guy," declared Nuland, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who emerged as prime minister.

The Times even ignored a national security expert, Statfor founder George Friedman, when he termed the ouster of Ukraine's elected president "the most blatant coup in history." The Times just waved a magic wand and pronounced that there was no coup – and anyone who thought so must reside inside "the Russian propaganda bubble." [See Consortiumnews.com's "NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine."]

Perhaps even more egregiously, the Times has pretended that there were no neo-Nazi militias spearheading the Feb. 22, 2014 coup and then leading the bloody "anti-terrorist operation" against ethnic Russians in the south and east who resisted the coup. The Times explained all this bloodshed as simply "Russian aggression."

It didn't even matter when the U.S. House of Representatives – of all groups – unanimously acknowledged the neo-Nazi problem when it prohibited U.S. collaboration in military training of Ukrainian Nazis. The Times simply expunged the vote from its "official history" of the crisis. [See Consortiumnews.com's "US House Admits Nazi Role in Ukraine."]

Orwell's Putin

Yet, for an Orwellian "Two Minute Hate" to work properly, you need to have a villain whose face you can put on display. And, in the case of Ukraine – at least after Yanukovych was driven from the scene – that villain has been Russian President Vladimir Putin, who embodies all evil in the intense hatred sold to the American public.

So, when Putin presents a narrative of the Ukraine crisis, which notes the history of the U.S.-driven expansion of NATO up to Russia's borders and the evidence of the U.S.-directed Ukrainian coup, the Times editors must dismiss it all as "mythology," as they did in Monday's editorial regarding Putin's remarks to an international economic conference in St. Petersburg.

"President Vladimir Putin of Russia is not veering from the mythology he created to explain away the crisis over Ukraine," the Times' editors wrote. "It is one that wholly blames the West for provoking a new Cold War and insists that international sanctions have not grievously wounded his country's flagging economy."

Without acknowledging any Western guilt in the coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government in 2014, the Times' editors simply reveled in the harm that the Obama administration and the European Union have inflicted on Russia's economy for its support of the Yanukovych government and its continued backers in eastern and southern Ukraine.

For nearly a year and a half, the New York Times and other major U.S. news organizations have simply refused to acknowledge the reality of what happened in Ukraine. In the Western fantasy, the elected Yanukovych government simply disappeared and was replaced by a U.S.-backed regime that then treated any resistance to its rule as "terrorism." The new regime even dispatched neo-Nazi militias to kill ethnic Russians and other Ukrainians who resisted and thus were deemed "terrorists."

The upside-down narrative of what happened in Ukraine has become the conventional wisdom in Official Washington and has been imposed on America's European allies as well. According to The New York Times' Orwellian storyline, anyone who notes the reality of a U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine is engaging in "fantasy" and must be some kind of Putin pawn.

To the Times' editors, all the justice is on their side, even as Ukraine's new regime has deployed neo-Nazi militias to kill eastern Ukrainians who resisted the anti-Yanukovych coup. To the Times' editors, the only possible reason to object to Ukraine's new order is that the Russians must be bribing European dissidents to resist the U.S. version of events. The Times wrote:

"The Europeans are indeed divided over the extent to which Russia, with its huge oil and gas resources, should be isolated, but Mr. Putin's aggression so far has ensured their unity when it counts. In addition to extending existing sanctions, the allies have prepared a new round of sanctions that could be imposed if Russian-backed separatists seized more territory in Ukraine. …

"Although Mr. Putin insisted on Friday that Russia had found the 'inner strength' to weather sanctions and a drop in oil prices, investment has slowed, capital has fled the country and the economy has been sliding into recession. Even the business forum was not all that it seemed: The heads of many Western companies stayed away for a second year."

An Orwellian World

In the up-is-down world that has become the New York Times' editorial page, the Western coup-making on Russia's border with the implicit threat of U.S. and NATO nuclear weapons within easy range of Moscow is transformed into a case of "Russian aggression." The Times' editors wrote: "One of the most alarming aspects of the crisis has been Mr. Putin's willingness to brandish nuclear weapons."

Though it would appear objectively that the United States was engaged in serious mischief-making on Russia's border, the Times editors flip it around to make Russian military maneuvers – inside Russia – a sign of aggression against the West.

"Given Mr. Putin's aggressive behavior, including pouring troops and weapons into Kaliningrad, a Russian city located between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, the allies have begun taking their own military steps. In recent months, NATO approved a rapid-reaction force in case an ally needs to be defended. It also pre-positioned some weapons in front-line countries, is rotating troops there and is conducting many more exercises. There are also plans to store battle tanks and other heavy weapons in several Baltic and Eastern European countries.

"If he is not careful, Mr. Putin may end up facing exactly what he has railed against - a NATO more firmly parked on Russia's borders - not because the alliance wanted to go in that direction, but because Russian behavior left it little choice. That is neither in Russia's interest, nor the West's."

There is something truly 1984-ish about reading that kind of propagandistic writing in The New York Times and other Western publications. But it has become the pattern, not the exception.

The Words of the 'Demon'

Though the Times and the rest of the Western media insist on demonizing Putin, we still should hear the Russian president's version of events, as simply a matter of journalistic fairness. Here is how Putin explained the situation to American TV talk show host Charlie Rose on June 19:

"Why did we arrive at the crisis in Ukraine? I am convinced that after the so-called bipolar system ceased to exist, after the Soviet Union was gone from the political map of the world, some of our partners in the West, including and primarily the United States, of course, were in a state of euphoria of sorts. Instead of developing good neighborly relations and partnerships, they began to develop the new geopolitical space that they thought was unoccupied. This, for instance, is what caused the North Atlantic bloc, NATO, to go east, along with many other developments.

"I have been thinking a lot about why this is happening and eventually came to the conclusion that some of our partners [Putin's way of describing Americans] seem to have gotten the illusion that the world order that was created after World War II, with such a global center as the Soviet Union, does not exist anymore, that a vacuum of sorts has developed that needs to be filled quickly.

"I think such an approach is a mistake. This is how we got Iraq, and we know that even today there are people in the United States who think that mistakes were made in Iraq. Many admit that there were mistakes in Iraq, and nevertheless they repeat it all in Libya. Now they got to Ukraine. We did not bring about the crisis in Ukraine. There was no need to support, as I have said many times, the anti-state, anti-constitutional takeover that eventually led to a sharp resistance on the territory of Ukraine, to a civil war in fact.

"Where do we go from here?" Putin asked. "Today we primarily need to comply with all the agreements reached in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. … At the same time, I would like to draw your attention and the attention of all our partners to the fact that we cannot do it unilaterally. We keep hearing the same thing, repeated like a mantra – that Russia should influence the southeast of Ukraine. We are. However, it is impossible to resolve the problem through our influence on the southeast alone.

"There has to be influence on the current official authorities in Kiev, which is something we cannot do. This is a road our Western partners have to take – those in Europe and America. Let us work together. … We believe that to resolve the situation we need to implement the Minsk agreements, as I said. The elements of a political settlement are key here. There are several."

Putin continued: "The first one is constitutional reform, and the Minsk agreements say clearly: to provide autonomy or, as they say decentralization of power, let it be decentralization. This is quite clear, our European partners, France and Germany have spelled it out and we are quite satisfied with it, just as the representatives of Donbass [eastern Ukraine where ethnic Russians who had supported Yanukovych have declared independence] are. This is one component.

"The second thing that has to be done – the law passed earlier on the special status of these territories – Luhansk and Donetsk, the unrecognized republics, should be enacted. It was passed, but still not acted upon. This requires a resolution of the Supreme Rada – the Ukrainian Parliament – which is also covered in the Minsk agreements. Our friends in Kiev have formally complied with this decision, but simultaneously with the passing by the Rada of the resolution to enact the law they amended the law itself … which practically renders the action null and void. This is a mere manipulation, and they have to move from manipulations to real action.

"The third thing is a law on amnesty. It is impossible to have a political dialogue with people who are threatened with criminal persecution. And finally, they need to pass a law on municipal elections on these territories and to have the elections themselves. All this is spelled out in the Minsk agreements, this is something I would like to draw your attention to, and all this should be done with the agreement of Donetsk and Luhansk.

"Unfortunately, we still see no direct dialogue, only some signs of it, but too much time has passed after the Minsk agreements were signed. I repeat, it is important now to have a direct dialogue between Luhansk, Donetsk and Kiev – this is missing."

Also missing is any objective and professional explanation of this crisis in the mainstream American press. Instead, The New York Times and other major U.S. news organizations have continued with their pattern of 1984-ish propaganda.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Abe

June 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm

we hear ever-shriller charges that Moscow has mounted a dangerous, security-threatening propaganda campaign to destroy the truth-our truth, we can say. It is nothing short of "the weaponization of information," we are provocatively warned. Let us be on notice: Our truth and our air are now as polluted with propaganda as during the Cold War decades, and the only apparent plan is to make it worse.

O.K., let us do what sorting can be done.

[…]

Details. The Times described "Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin's War in Ukraine" as "an independent report." I imagine [New York Times' State Department correspondent Michael] Gordon-he seems to do all the blurry stuff these days-had a straight face when he wrote three paragraphs later that John Herbst, one of the Atlantic Council's authors, is a former ambassador to Ukraine.

I do not know what kind of a face Gordon wore when he reported later on that the Atlantic Council paper rests on research done by Bellingcat.com, "an investigative website." Or when he let Herbst get away with calling Bellingcat, which appears to operate from a third-floor office in Leicester, a city in the English Midlands, "independent researchers."

I wonder, honestly, if correspondents look sad when they write such things-sad their work has come to this.

One, Bellingcat did its work using Google, YouTube and other readily available social media technologies, and this we are supposed to think is the cleverest thing under the sun. Are you kidding?

Manipulating social media "evidence" has been a parlor game in Kiev; Washington; Langley, Virginia, and at NATO since the Ukraine crisis broke open. Look at the graphics included in the presentation. I do not think technical expertise is required to see that these images prove what all others offered as evidence since last year prove: nothing. It looks like the usual hocus-pocus.

Two, examine the Bellingcat web site and try to figure out who runs it. I tried the about page and it was blank. The site consists of badly supported anti-Russian "reports"-no "investigation" aimed in any other direction.

We are the propagandists: The real story about how The New York Times and the White House has turned truth in the Ukraine on its head
By Patrick L. Smith
http://www.salon.com/2015/06/03/we_are_the_propagandists_the_real_story_about_how_the_new_york_times_and_the_white_house_has_turned_truth_in_the_ukraine_on_its_head/

Peter Loeb, June 23, 2015 at 11:36 am Abe, June 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm
now, finally, Ukraine's Constitutional Court is faced with the shocking predicament of Ukraine's own President, who won his post as a result of this coup, requesting them to "acknowledge" that it was a coup, much as the founder of the "private CIA" firm Stratfor had even called it, "the most blatant coup in history."

Ukraine's Pres. Poroshenko Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was a Coup
By Eric Zuesse
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/06/ukraines-pres-poroshenko-says-overthrow-of-yanukovych-was-a-coup.html

abbybwood, June 23, 2015 at 2:51 am
And take note how Nuland got Saakashvili appointed as head of Odessa:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/30/ukraine-appoints-georgia-ex-president-mikheil-saakashvili-governor-of-odessa

The ex-president of Georgia and a criminal who was holed up in NYC prior to taking off for Ukraine:

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/mikheil_saakashvili/index.html

Let's see, we also got an American citizen to be the new "Foreign Minister" in Ukraine.

The New York Times has lost ALL credibility.

JA, June 23, 2015 at 2:57 am
It is not just English language media. In Sweden, both the main national dailies, Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet run with the same propaganda about Russian aggression and Putin's expansionist plans. Both are also stridently calling for Sweden to join NATO, damning 200 years of Swedish neutrality and in a belligerant tone of faux outrage at anyone who suggests this is not a good idea as it would further antagonise relationships across the Baltic, 'how dare Putin (aks Hitler II) interfere in Swedish politics'.

As Russia is strengthening its naval port defences in Kaliningrad, probably also a NATO target like Crimea, the US/NATO must be licking its lips at taking over the Swedish naval base at Karlskrona, pretty much opposite Kaliningrad on the Baltic.

Abe

Stef, June 23, 2015 at 4:36 am

I was in Ukraine for 18 months before and after the overthrow of Yanukovych. The reason why he was overthrown is simple . . . people were upset at the corruption and string of broken promises. Many people believe a shift toward Europe will force the government to make structural economic reforms that will reduce corruption and improve efficiency and competitiveness. One main reason SOME people in the east are pro-Russian is because of the strong economic ties with Russia; Russia is the only country that will buy Ukrainian goods because they are of better quality in many cases (and less expensive) than Russian produced products.

Varenik

Helge

Joe Wallace

Drew

Dahoit

Bianca

Brad Owen, June 23, 2015 at 5:38 am

This is all completely Wall Street/City-of-London vs. BRICS. The City and the Street are on the verge of bankruptcy. Greece has until the end of June to make an impossible payment for a fraudulent debt, and The Western Empire's own financial shenanigans have "checkmated" them. BRICS is the obvious alternative for World development & progress, which has driven The Western Empire MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction…"if we can't reign, nobody will"). I've read where powerful, institutional forces are pushing back against this madness…it's going to be a long, dreadfully hot, summer.

Tom, June 23, 2015 at 5:47 am

Here are the facts on the last 100 years of ukrainian and russians relations. Ukraine was conquered and incorporated into the russian empire in the late 1700's. After the Russian revolution, soviet troops made sure a puppet government was established and exterminated any opposition creating the soviet republic of Ukraine. In the 30's accused Ukraine farmers of stealing food supplies and not distributing through Moscow. Took all their food for a few years and created a man made famine that killed 6 million Ukrainians. Skipping the war atrocities stuff in ww2, which russians do not call ww2 bevause the were allies with hitler for the first part. They then expanded ukraines border into poland, deported all the polish creating a ukrainian west and encouraged russian migration to the east and made russian compulsory everywhere. Fast forward to now. The russians invade ukraine openly and anex crimea. They deny invading the other parts for now but are doing it anyway. They blame all the other soviet block coutries which they forcibly occupied for 50 years as being under some duress from the west to join them. Geopolitical theories might be true, and newspapers can be biased, but the ukraines arent russias brothers. And if they are they need to flee the domestic violence and get a step family.

Anonymous

Joe, June 23, 2015 at 9:09 am

Zerge

Ptaha, June 23, 2015 at 11:03 am

Abe

Abe

June 23, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Not to mention the 2014 exploits of the "heroic" Ukrainian territorial defense battalions and special police battalions. In November 2014, all 37 volunteer battalions to be integrated into Ukraine's regular forces, thus they were officially inducted into the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Minister of Internal Affairs and National Guard of Ukraine as National Guard battalions.

We'll just skip the "heroic" exploits of Azov, Aidar, and Tornado battalions.

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat, eh? Know what I mean? Say no more.

Abe

Oleg

Drew

Bianca

Abe

June 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Shout, shout…

shout out his name!

Putin!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vvvPZd6_D8

Mulegino1

June 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

As far as those so called "Neo -Nazi" battalions are concerned, they appear to be criminal gangs who have adopted Waffen S.S. insignia as their symbols.
And, judging by whose side they are fighting on, they appear to be quite kosher "Nazis" indeed.

Abe

Abbybwood

June 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

U.S. is ratcheting up the rhetoric now with talk of Putin being Hitler and the times now feeling like the 1930's:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/unite-against-moscow-aggression-us-nuclear-missile-commander-says-vladimir-putins-actions-echo-those-of-nazi-germany-in-the-1930s-10337983.html

Time for Robert Parry to get his journalist friends together (Scheer, Hedges etc.) for a little "show and tell" at the National Press Club.

This is all getting waaaayyy out of hand.

Saner heads must prevail and simply "writing" about all this isn't cutting it.

Abbybwood

ptaha

June 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Proud father teaches his daughter to "cut Russians" and after that slogan she says: Sieg Heil

http://news-front.info/2015/06/23/ya-budu-rezat-rusnyu-papa-uchit-dochku-zigovat-i-rezat-russkix/

Is there no fascism in Ukraine?

Ptaha

June 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Small mistake – not her father – her brother. There is his personal "page" on some sort of Russian "Facebook": https://vk.com/slava_banderi

Caf

June 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm

It is singularly amazing me, the degree to which the Times has descended into sheer propaganda. Even during the run-up to the Iraq War, which was an absolute low point in Times' history, the editorial board was not as over-the-top propagandistic as it is today. As it stands now, the Times really has no credibility on Russia or Ukraine, nothing published on these matters by the Times can really be taken seriously.

dahoit

F. G. Sanford

June 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Propaganda can hide the means and the motives. It can obfuscate the ideology that informs the strategy. It can parade a figurehead and disguise the prime movers. It can deflect attention from incompetent blunders and lionize the perpetrators. But in the end, it cannot hide utter failure. Every thinking General Officer – and despite the best efforts of military indoctrination there are always a few – is by now having grave doubts. We have seen purges of late based on dubious charges. Experts have been replaced by political hacks, and resignations have been tendered out of a clear blue sky. Months ago, there was talk of a 5,000 strong "rapid reaction force" in the Baltics. Then, it was upped to 10,000. Now, we are hearing of prepositioned war materiel, and a force of 40,000. In terms of a conventional force deterrent, this is laughable. A real conventional threat from Russia would require a counterforce of 10,000 tanks and 250,000 troops. Nobody is tossing around those numbers, but there must be a few realistic analysts who realize they are accurate. So…what's the game afoot? In the absence of defections from the current lunatic cabal, it's hard to know for sure. But it certainly seems likely that there must be some dissenters. Hollywood versions of reality aside, there were on the order of 27 plots against Hitler, and Admiral Canaris's was among the least ambitious. (I believe some are still classified.) It is not difficult to imagine that there is currently a crisis of loyalty in the halls of power. In order to generate propaganda effectively, one must also have a grasp of the truth. Even among sycophants, complete reversal of the truth is sometimes abhorrent. In this 'Alice in Wonderland' reality, it is tempting to speculate that the plan is to "lose" with as small a force as possible in order to create a new strategic reality. If it goes wrong, there's always the 'nuclear option'. Propaganda will not be able to hide that.

Abe

June 23, 2015 at 5:22 pm

The reality today is that the NSA operates a global surveillance apparatus undreamed of even by Abwehr chief Admiral Canaris' rival, SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt.

Even without a Führer oath, the Empire of Chaos is no less prepared to battle all "enemies of the Reich", both foreign and domestic.

After the 193 Dutch airline passengers, surely no one will mind if the Empire sacrifices a few hundred Lithuanians and Estonians on the altar of "collective security". Heck, why not throw in a few Swedes. Europe will remain snug as a bug beneath its "Iron Dome" without the need for American troops, sure as hot summer and hotter autumn is followed by nuclear winter.

Abe

June 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Reinhard Heydrich also was the coordinator of the Endlösung der Judenfrage (the Final Solution of the Jewish Question) which meant the systematic extermination of the Jews living in the European countries occupied by the Third Reich during the Second World War.

The plans for the Final Solution were outlined by Heydrich at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. Later in 1942, Heydrich was assassinated by British-trained Czechoslovak agents in Prague in Operation Anthropoid.

Heydrich's death led to a wave of merciless reprisals by German SS troops, including the destruction of the villages of Lidice and Ležáky, and the killing of civilians.

In January 1943, Himmler delegated the office to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who headed the RSHA for the rest of World War II.

During the The International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg, Kaltenbrunner argued in his defense that his position as RSHA chief existed only in title. He claimed that all decrees and legal documents which bore his signature were "rubber-stamped" and filed by his adjutants.

Kaltenbrunner maintained that SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, as his superior, was the person actually culpable for the atrocities committed during his tenure as chief of the RSHA.

The IMT noted that Kaltenbrunner was a keen functionary in matters involving the sphere of the RSHA's intelligence network, but the evidence also showed that Kaltenbrunner was an active authority and participant in many instances of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The IMT found Kaltenbrunner not guilty of crimes against peace. However, Kaltenbrunner was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and sentenced him to death by hanging.

Abe

Helge

June 23, 2015 at 5:16 pm

The NYT writes: "If he is not careful, Mr. Putin may end up facing exactly what he has railed against - a NATO more firmly parked on Russia's borders - not because the alliance wanted to go in that direction, but because Russian behavior left it little choice." Not because the Alliance wanted to go in that direction???? Well, how did Russia "provoke" NATO expansion then in the last 15 years? How then? Usually the NYT and others make the claim that any free country is free to join whatever alliance it wants to, on a sudden Poland, Latvia etc. have been driven in NATO by Russian threats? Which threats? How has the Russian sphere of influence then expanded in the last 20 years? And the US had to place the missiles officially aimed at Iran in such a way that they also aim at Russia? And now after the Iranian agreement there is not even remotely any suggestion that perhaps they are redundant and could be removed? How is the Kremlin to understand that? There is obviously something the NYT knows which we don't know….

abbybwood

June 23, 2015 at 6:48 pm

"U.S. to E.U.: Sanctions Are For Suckers!":

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42225.htm

Abe

george mcglynn

June 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Excellent analysis of the blatant ideological nonsense and misinformation that is coming from the editorial page of the Times. Their foreign desk has been pedaling the same lies from the beginning of the orchestrated coup, by the U.S., in the Ukraine.

George McGlynn

Abe

June 24, 2015 at 1:25 am

Kiev is still a coup that has not really consolidated its power. The people trust this government less than the former. They know they were sold a bill of goods. Most are powerless but not all, like Kiev's Deputy Minister of Defense, Major-General Alexander Kolomiets who defected to Donbass this week. He has this to say:

"The potential of the Ukrainian army is at a very low level. From a moral point of view, all the generals and officers who understand that the government's actions are criminal, don't want to fight. Only volunteers from nationalist troops are fighting. In the near future the Armed forces of Ukraine will be rocked by uprisings. Officers do not understand the commands to kill civilians. We will see it sometime in the fall. Everything will change very soon."

While Kiev plays its waiting game, it is somewhat tied to that of the US and NATO, where the 6,000-man ready reaction force could be increase to 40,000 at the NATO conference next week. Four divisions is a major offensive move. Much of this force is headed to the Baltic States who have made a huge strategic blunder by offering themselves up for Western cannon fodder. The citizens there need some new and better leadership, and quickly, like most of the rest of us do.

Moscow is also buying time to complete its military modernization and to complete building with China and India the Eurasian integrated economic and military defensive Great Wall of Asia that will be able to defend itself via mutually assured destruction. Yes, the Western leaders are taking us backwards to that situation.

The Western Coup in Ukraine May Self Destruct Yet
By Jim Dean
http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/24/the-western-coup-in-ukraine-may-self-destruct-yet/

abbybwood

June 24, 2015 at 4:07 am

Apparently New York Times staffers are too busy pulling pranks regarding mass shootings and mass death events to bother doing serious, hard-hitting and objective journalism:

http://rt.com/usa/269233-nyt-joke-mass-killings/

Mark Thomason

June 24, 2015 at 2:53 pm

"there was no coup in Ukraine in 2014, no U.S.-driven "regime change," no provocation"

And anyone who reminds readers of reality is called wild names, "Putinbot" or "comrade" and the like. It is no different from the treatment of any critics of Israeli right wing policy being called anti-semites or self-hating. This has grown so obnoxious in the NYT comments that it has become a large proportion of comments.

[Jun 22, 2015] Pope Francis says those in weapons industry cant call themselves Christian

"..."It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit of distrust, doesn't it?" he said to applause."
Jun 22, 2015 | theguardian.com

At rally of young people in Turin, Francis issues his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry, criticizing investors as well as workers

People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Duplicity is the currency of today ... they say one thing and do another -- -- Pope Francis

Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin. "If you trust only men you have lost," he told the young people in a long commentary about war, trust and politics, after putting aside his prepared address.

"It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit of distrust, doesn't it?" he said to applause.

He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying "duplicity is the currency of today ... they say one thing and do another."

Francis also built on comments he has made in the past about events during the first and second world wars. He spoke of the "tragedy of the Shoah", using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

"The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn't they bomb (the railway lines)?"

Discussing the first world war, he spoke of "the great tragedy of Armenia", but did not use the word "genocide". Francis sparked a diplomatic row in April, calling the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago "the first genocide of the 20th century", prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to the Vatican.

[Jun 22, 2015] EU extends sanctions against Russia as Ukraine conflict rumbles on

"... Cui bono?"
"...And Russia? I think it will still be there in a few years, with its resources and markets, its new-found anger against Western hypocrisy and new-found pride.
Great job, Madames Nuland and Merkel, and above all the esteemed Nobel Peace Price winner, you have delivered, you will be rewarded."
Jun 22, 2015 | The Guardian

Beckow 22 Jun 2015 20:26

Extending sanctions

The winners are US and its arms industry, comprador bourgeois in Kiev who will move West and will be well compensated, and China, Turkey, etc... who will gain huge business benefits in Russia.

The losers will be EU economy, but above all the Ukrainian common people.

And Russia? I think it will still be there in a few years, with its resources and markets, its new-found anger against Western hypocrisy and new-found pride.

Great job, Madames Nuland and Merkel, and above all the esteemed Nobel Peace Price winner, you have delivered, you will be rewarded.


HauptmannGurski sashasmirnoff 22 Jun 2015 21:28

Good post. I would like to add that the cut-off (from some international financial markets) is the best thing that could have happened to Russia. It is always better to do things with your own resources, even if that means a slower pace.

Russia is spared the fate of Greece where the loan sharks pushed the money onto them and now what? They only have to follow what the IMF and the EU tells them - and everything will be roses in Greece?

If the West is happy with the experiences in Argentina, Greece, and Ukraine (in the making) that's their problem.

Russia is spared the temptation to take the easy way out by accepting a loan and waking up with fleas.

HollyOldDog ID5589788 22 Jun 2015 21:25

All this is in the past just like Poland attacking Russia with the help of the Cossaks ( until the Cossaks switched sides - they were only regarded as useful barbarians by the Poles).
Now the Barbarian hordes ( butchers of the American 1st People's ) are resident in the USA and are trying to subjugate the Planet as their plaything. This Horde nation is trying to use the same strategy as the Old Polish empire by employing local European citizens to act as their Cannon Fodder against those who oppose them - like the Cossaks the new cannon fodder will turn against their masters. WE are waiting....

HauptmannGurski Chiselbeard 22 Jun 2015 21:20

Depends on the money. Ukraine needs a lot of money for many years to keep her afloat and that does not include modern (NATO compatible) weaponry which, like in Greece, would probably have to be supplied on credit. I have read the figure of 2 billion $ annually for about 20 years, but of course these things are not easy to verify. The debt forgiveness for Ukraine has not been going well; their Finance Minister (what's her name) has been travelling for weeks/months for new money and simultaneous debt cancellation - with zero result. Soros has urged the EU to provide the money.

When the money runs out, loyalties fade. Having said that, the activities of the rebels in E Ukraine are sheer lunacy. If they want to speak Russian maybe they should go to Russia. Why Russia is bothered with such a capricious people like the Ukrainians is really strange. It won't be that long until they can disconnect the gas pipe and be rid of this and other issues.

HollyOldDog ID5589788 22 Jun 2015 21:01

You are an idiot, Putin has nothing to gain by the USA selling more arms to the EU. I am happy to see that more senior Ukrainian officers joining the East Ukraine seperatists movement, junior officers will follow and probably taking their loyal men with them. Eventually only the most extreme Right Wing extremists will be left. What will happen then, will NATO forces attack and how would the world view this development? America, NATO and their puppets in the EU barely have a brain cell between them.

sashasmirnoff Omniscience 22 Jun 2015 20:59

Motivation! (necessity being the mother of invention, all that stuff)
I take no pleasure in conflict, adversarial positions, and I'm sure I'm in the vast majority. I hope (for the first time in recorded history) that one day the so-called democratic process will prevail, and that the aspirations of people rather than business interests will guide the relationship between States. Isn't idealism quaint?

Chiselbeard centerline 22 Jun 2015 20:46

You will note that the Russian economy is in recession. You will also note that, prior to their involvement in Ukraine, this was not the case. You can try to distract from the real damage resulting from Russia's aggression, but it sounds to me like a recent convict claiming "now I have time to catch up on my reading".

sashasmirnoff -> LiberalinCalif 22 Jun 2015 20:42

I see that the majority of anti-Russia posts are penned by (you guessed it) ...dumb-asses. If you could think clearly for a moment, you'd see that sanctions are actually a great impetus for diversifying the economy. Bankruptcy? I think that might be Ukraine, and your ilk will be holding the bag!

Any rain yet?

centerline 22 Jun 2015 20:34

I see Ukraine officials and military officers are starting to defect to the other side. Soon the trickle will become a flood and that will be the end of the US government in Kiev.

Humans creating sixth great extinction of animal species, say scientists

"...There's no way creative thinking and awareness can help unless humankind pulls together - cooperates. Given that those of a certain political persuasion (particularly in the U.S. but increasingly in Australia and everywhere else) have used a divide-and-conquer strategy, enlisting irrational members of all description, it is difficult to see us responding in a way proportionate to the crisis."

Study reveals rate of extinction for species in the 20th century has been up to 100 times higher than would have been normal without human impact

... ... ...

Previous studies have warned that the impact of humans taking land for buildings, farming and timber has been to make species extinct at speeds unprecedented in Earth's 4.5bn-year history.

Walsunda hmmm606 21 Jun 2015 22:49

"Africa especially being by far the fastest growing region population wise."

At 28 people per square kilometre, has a long way to go to catch up with Eurasia with 84 people per square kilometre. Where do you live?

Jeff Young -> SvenNorheim 20 Jun 2015 20:04

Agree Sven and one other thing. There's no way creative thinking and awareness can help unless humankind pulls together - cooperates. Given that those of a certain political persuasion (particularly in the U.S. but increasingly in Australia and everywhere else) have used a divide-and-conquer strategy, enlisting irrational members of all description, it is difficult to see us responding in a way proportionate to the crisis.

HelgiDu -> timotei 20 Jun 2015 13:04

Losing the climate of the polar regions redraws the biodiversity of the regions. Polar bears are one species. The nutrient rich waters of the cool polar summer support many, many more species all along the food chain (up to - and including- us).

The collapse of the Grand Banks off Canada could be surpassed (but with differing underlying reasons).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_of_the_Atlantic_northwest_cod_fishery

[Jun 15, 2015] Snowden, Putin, Greece It's All The Same Story

"...In short, the propaganda we should be worried about is not Russia's, it's our own. And it comes from just about every news article we're fed. We're much less than six degrees removed from Orwell."
.
"...Western journalists claim that the big lesson they learned from their key role in selling the Iraq War to the public is that it's hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they've learned no such lesson. That tactic continues to be the staple of how major US and British media outlets "report," especially in the national security area. And journalists who read such reports continue to treat self-serving decrees by unnamed, unseen officials – laundered through their media – as gospel, no matter how dubious are the claims or factually false is the reporting."
Jun 15, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Through the last decades, as we have been getting ever more occupied trying to be what society tells us is defined as successful, we all missed out on a lot of changes in our world. Or perhaps we should be gentle to ourselves and say we're simply slow to catch up.

Which is somewhat curious since we've also been getting bombarded with fast increasing amounts of what we're told is information, so you'd think it might have become easier to keep up. It was not.

While we were busy being busy we for instance were largely oblivious to the fact the US is no longer a beneficial force in the world, and that it doesn't spread democracy or freedom. Now you may argue to what extent that has ever been true, and you should, but the perception was arguably much closer to the truth 70 years ago, at the end of WWII, then it is today.

Another change we really can't get our heads around is how the media have turned from a source of information to a source of – pre-fabricated – narratives. We'll all say to some extent or another that we know our press feeds us propaganda, but, again arguably, few of us are capable of pinpointing to what extent that is true. Perhaps no big surprise given the overdose of what passes for information, but duly noted.

So far so good, you're not as smart as you think. Bummer. But still an easy one to deny in the private space of your own head. If you get undressed and stand in front of the mirror, though, maybe not as easy.

What ails us is, I was going to say perfectly human, but let's stick with just human, and leave perfection alone. What makes us human is that it feels good to be protected, safe, and prosperous. Protected from evil and from hard times, by a military force, by a monetary fund, by a monetary union. It feels so good in fact that we don't notice when what's supposed to keep us safe turns against us.

But it is what happens, time and again, and, once again arguably, ever more so. What we think the world looks like is increasingly shaped by fiction. Perhaps that means we live in dreamtime. Or nightmare time. Whatever you call it, it's not real. Pinching yourself is not going to help. Reading Orwell might.

The Sunday Times ran a story today -which the entire world press parroted quasi verbatim- that claimed MI6 had felt compelled to call back some of its operatives from the 'field' because Russia and China had allegedly hacked into the encrypted files Edward Snowden allegedly carried with him to Russia (something Snowden denied on multiple occasions).

Glenn Greenwald's take down of the whole thing is – for good reasons- far better than I could provide, and it's blistering, it leaves not a single shred of the article. Problem is, the die's been cast, and many more people read the Times and all the media who've reprinted its fiction, than do read Greenwald:

The Sunday Times' Snowden Story Is Journalism At Its Worst

Western journalists claim that the big lesson they learned from their key role in selling the Iraq War to the public is that it's hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they've learned no such lesson. That tactic continues to be the staple of how major US and British media outlets "report," especially in the national security area. And journalists who read such reports continue to treat self-serving decrees by unnamed, unseen officials – laundered through their media – as gospel, no matter how dubious are the claims or factually false is the reporting.

We now have one of the purest examples of this dynamic. Last night, the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times published their lead front-page Sunday article, headlined "British Spies Betrayed to Russians and Chinese." Just as the conventional media narrative was shifting to pro-Snowden sentiment in the wake of a key court ruling and a new surveillance law, the article claims in the first paragraph that these two adversaries "have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services."

Please read Greenwald's piece. It's excellent. Turns out the Times made it all up. At the same time, it's just one example of something much more expansive: the entire world view of the vast majority of Americans and Europeans, and that means you too, is weaved together from a smorgasbord of made-up stories, narratives concocted to make you see what someone else wants you to see.

Last week, the Pew Research Center did a survey that was centered around the question what 'we' should do if a NATO ally were attacked by Russia. How Pew dare hold such a survey is for most people not even a valid question anymore, since the Putin as bogeyman tale, after a year and change, has taken root in 99% of western brains.

And so the Pew question, devoid of reality as it may be, appears more legit than the question about why the question is asked in the first place. NATO didn't really like the results of the survey, but enough to thump some more chests. Here's from an otherwise wholly forgettable NY Times piece:

Poles were most alarmed by Moscow's muscle flexing, with 70% saying that Russia was a major military threat. Germany, a critical American ally in the effort to forge a Ukraine peace settlement, was at the other end of the spectrum. Only 38% of Germans said that Russia was a danger to neighboring countries aside from Ukraine, and only 29% blamed Russia for the violence in Ukraine. Consequently, 58% of Germans do not believe that their country should use force to defend another NATO ally. Just 19% of Germans say NATO weapons should be sent to the Ukrainian government to help it better contend with Russian and separatist attacks.

Do we need to repeat that Russia didn't attack Ukraine? That if after all this time there is still zero proof for that, perhaps it's time to let go of that idea?

Over the past week, there have been numerous reports of NATO 'strengthening' its presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. Supposedly to deter Russian aggression in the region. For which there is no evidence. But if you ask people if NATO should act if one of its allies were attacked, you put the idea in people's heads that such an attack is a real risk. And that's the whole idea.

This crazy piece from the Guardian provides a very good example of how the mood is manipulated:

US And Poland In Talks Over Weapons Deployment In Eastern Europe

The US and Poland are discussing the deployment of American heavy weapons in eastern Europe in response to Russian expansionism and sabre-rattling in the region in what represents a radical break with post-cold war military planning. The Polish defence ministry said on Sunday that Washington and Warsaw were in negotiations about the permanent stationing of US battle tanks and other heavy weaponry in Poland and other countries in the region as part of NATO's plans to develop rapid deployment "Spearhead" forces aimed at deterring Kremlin attempts to destabilise former Soviet bloc countries now entrenched inside NATO and the EU.

Warsaw said that a decision whether to station heavy US equipment at warehouses in Poland would be taken soon. NATO's former supreme commander in Europe, American admiral James Stavridis, said the decision marked "a very meaningful policy shift", amid eastern European complaints that western Europe and the US were lukewarm about security guarantees for countries on the frontline with Russia following Vladimir Putin's seizure of parts of Ukraine. "It provides a reasonable level of reassurance to jittery allies, although nothing is as good as troops stationed full time on the ground, of course," the retired admiral told the New York Times.

NATO has been accused of complacency in recent years. The Russian president's surprise attacks on Ukraine have shocked western military planners into action. An alliance summit in Wales last year agreed quick deployments of NATO forces in Poland and the Baltic states. German mechanised infantry crossed into Poland at the weekend after thousands of NATO forces inaugurated exercises as part of the new buildup in the east. Wary of antagonising Moscow's fears of western "encirclement" and feeding its well-oiled propaganda effort, which regularly asserts that NATO agreed at the end of the cold war not to station forces in the former Warsaw Pact countries, NATO has declined to establish permanent bases in the east.

It's downright borderline criminally tragic that NATO claims it's building up its presence in the region as a response to Russian actions. What actions? Nothing was going on until 'we' supported a coup in Kiev, installed a puppet government and let them wage war on their own citizens. That war killed a lot of people. And if Kiev has any say in the matter, it ain't over by a long shot. Poroshenko and Yats still want it all back. So does NATO.

When signing a post-cold war strategic cooperation pact with Russia in 1997, Nato pledged not to station ground forces permanently in eastern Europe "in the current and foreseeable security environment". But that environment has been transformed by Putin's decision to invade and annex parts of Ukraine and the 1997 agreement is now seen as obsolete.

Meanwhile, Russia re-took Crimea without a single shot being fired. But that is still what the western press calls aggression. Russia doesn't even deem to respond to 'our' innuendo, they feel there's nothing to be gained from that because 'our' stories have been pre-cooked and pre-chewed anyway. Something that we are going to greatly regret.

There are all these alphabet soup organizations that were once set up with, one last time, arguably, good intentions, and that now invent narratives because A) they can and B) they need a reason to continue to exist. That is true for NATO, which should have been dismantled 25 years ago.

It's true for the IMF, which was always only a tool for US domination. It's true for the CIA and FBI, which might keep you safe if that was their intent, but which really only function to keep themselves and their narrow group of paymasters safe.

It's also true for political unions, like the US and EU. Let's leave the former alone for now, though much could be said and written about the gaping distance between what the Founding Fathers once envisioned for the nation and what it has since descended into.

Still, that is a story for another day. When we can find our way through the web of narratives that holds it upright. Like the threat from Russia, the threat from China, the threat from all the factions in the Middle East the US itself (helped) set up.

The EU is much younger, though its bureaucrats seem eager to catch up with America in fictitious web weaving. We humans stink at anything supra-national. We can have our societies cooperate, but as soon as we invent 'greater' units to incorporate that cooperation, things run off the rails, the wrong people grab power, and the weaker among us get sacrificed. And that is what's happening once again, entirely predictably, in Greece.

That Spain's two largest cities, Barcelona and Madrid, have now sworn in far-left female mayors this week will only serve to make things harder for Athens. Brussels is under siege, and it will defend its territory as 'best' it can.

What might influence matters, and not a little bit, is that Syriza's Audit Commission is poised to make public its findings on June 18, and that they yesterday revealed they have in their possession a 2010 IMF document that allegedly proves that the Fund knew back then, before the first bail-out, that the Memorandum would result in an increase in Greek debt.

That's potentially incendiary information, because the Memorandum -and the bailout- were aimed specifically at decreasing the debt. That -again, allegedly- none of the EU nations have seen the document at the time -let's see how the spin machine makes that look- doesn't exactly make it any more acceptable.

Nor of course does the fact that Greece's debt could and should have been restructured, according to the IMF's own people and 'standards', but wasn't until 2012, when the main European banks had been bailed out with what was subsequently shoved onto the shoulders of the Greek population, and had withdrawn their 'assets' from the country, a move that made Greece's position that much harder.

The narrative being sold through the media in other eurozone nations is that Greece is to blame, that for instance German taxpayers are on the hook for Greek debts, while they're really on the hook for German banks' losing wagers (here's looking at you, Deutsche!). And that is, no matter how you twist it, not the same story. It's again just a narrative.

Once more, and we've said it many times before, Brussels is toxic -and so is the IMF- and Greece should leave as soon as possible, as should Italy, Spain, Portugal. And we should all resist the spin-induced attempts to demonize Putin, Athens and China any further, and instead focus on the rotten apples in our own basket(s).

In short, the propaganda we should be worried about is not Russia's, it's our own. And it comes from just about every news article we're fed. We're much less than six degrees removed from Orwell.

[Jun 12, 2015] Germany drops inquiry into claims NSA tapped Angela Merkel's phone by Ewen MacAskill

I guess it is clear who is the boss: "...When the row was its height, the chancellor said: "The charges are grave and have to be cleared up.""
"..."Merkel wants to be a good ally again after all the embarrassing things that have happened," he said."
Jun 12, 2015 | The Guardian
Germany has closed its investigation into a report that the US National Security Agency had hacked Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, a move that appears to be aimed at ending transatlantic friction that threatened intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

US intelligence agencies have been angered by the amount of sensitive information being made public as a result of German investigations into US surveillance after the Edward Snowden revelations two years ago.

German federal prosecutors announced on Friday that their investigation was being wound down because they had been unable to find evidence that would stand up in court.

The investigation came after Der Spiegel reported in October 2013 that the NSA had a database containing Merkel's personal phone number. Merkel publicly expressed outrage and dispatched a team of senior German intelligence officers to Washington, supposedly to extract a "no spy" agreement. When the row was its height, the chancellor said: "The charges are grave and have to be cleared up."

A German federal investigation began last June but the office of the German chief prosecutor, Harald Range, announced on Friday that it did not have an original NSA document proving the NSA spied on Merkel.

"The documents published in the media so far that come from Edward Snowden also contain no evidence of surveillance of the mobile phone used by the chancellor solid enough for a court,"

Range's office said. German prosecutors said they saw no prospect of success in continuing to investigate.

The White House, responding to the Der Spiegel story in 2013, said it was not spying on Merkel at present and nor would it in the future, but refused to say whether it had in the past, which was interpreted by some as an admission of guilt.

But German prosecutors said:

"The vague comments by US officials about possible surveillance of the chancellor's mobile telecommunication by a US intelligence service 'not any more' are not enough to describe what happened. The comments, which were viewed in public as a general admission of guilt, do not discharge us from (fulfilling) the burden of proof according to the requirements of criminal procedure."

The federal prosecutor's office received virtually no cooperation in its investigation from either the NSA or Germany's equivalent, the BND.

Christoph Scheuermann, UK correspondent for Der Spiegel, said closure of the investigation was about reassuring the US and showing that Germany was going to be more cooperative. "Merkel wants to be a good ally again after all the embarrassing things that have happened," he said.

While German intelligence has a reputation for being solid on the Middle East, it remains heavily reliant on the US for other parts of the world and may have feared the flow of information from the US could be cut off, Scheuermann said.

Germany may also be reliant on US cooperation in helping keep tabs on foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq with groups such as Islamic State, which is active on social media. The NSA has better access to US-based internet providers than Germany.

Related:

[Jun 12, 2015] Bilderberg 2015: where criminals mingle with ministers by Charlie Skelton

Jun 12, 2015 | The Guardian
Convicted criminals. Such as disgraced former CIA boss, David Petraeus, who's just been handed a $100,000 (£64,000) fine and two years' probation for leaking classified information.

Petraeus now works for the vulturous private equity firm KKR, run by Henry Kravis, who does arguably Bilderberg's best impression of Gordon Gecko out of Wall Street. Which he cleverly combines with a pretty good impression of an actual gecko.

... ... ...

"Can I go now?" Another no. So I continued my list of criminals. I moved on to someone closer to home: René Benko, the Austrian real estate baron, who had a conviction for bribery upheld recently by the supreme court. Which didn't stop him making the cut for this year's conference. "You know Benko?" The cop nodded. It wasn't easy to see in the glare of the searchlight, but he looked a little ashamed.

... ... ...

I decided to reward their vigilance with a chat about HSBC. The chairman of the troubled banking giant, Douglas Flint, is a regular attendee at Bilderberg, and he's heading here again this year, along with a member of the bank's board of directors, Rona Fairhead. Perhaps most tellingly, Flint is finding room in his Mercedes for the bank's busiest employee: its chief legal officer, Stuart Levey.

A Guardian editorial this week branded HSBC "a bank beyond shame" after it announced plans to cut 8,000 jobs in the UK, while at the same time threatening to shift its headquarters to Hong Kong. And having just been forced to pay £28m in fines to Swiss regulators investigating money-laundering claims. The big question, of course, is how will the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, respond to all this? Easy – he'll go along to a luxury Austrian hotel and hole up with three senior members of HSBC in private. For three days.

High up on this year's conference agenda is "current economic issues", and without a doubt, one of the biggest economic issues for Osborne at the moment is the future and finances of Europe's largest bank. Luckily, the chancellor will have plenty of time at Bilderberg to chat all this through through with Flint, Levey and Fairhead. And the senior Swiss financial affairs official, Pierre Maudet, a member of the Geneva state council in charge of the department of security and the economy. It's all so incredibly convenient.

... ... ...

Related: The Guardian view on HSBC: a bank beyond shame | Editorial


consumersunite MickGJ 12 Jun 2015 15:23

Let's see, maybe because we have read over their leaked documents from the 1950s in which they discussed currency manipulation and GATT. Everything they have discussed in their meetings over the past decades has almost come to fruition. There are elected officials meeting with criminals such as HSBC. Did you even read the article? If you did, and you are not het up or whatever you call it, then you are of a peasant mentality, and there is no use talking to you.

The Bilderberg set call people like you either their "dogs" (if you are in politics or the military) or the "dead." I won't be looking for your response because you have confirmed that you do not matter.


Carpasia MickGJ 12 Jun 2015 10:52

Thank you for your comment, my good man. Hatred is human, and helps us all to avoid pain, for pain, especially unnecessary pain, is allowed to be hated by the agreement of all, if nothing else is. I would hate to be beaten by Nazis. Thus, I would avoid going to a place where that could occur. That is how hatred works for me. It is the only way it can work, and not be pernicious to the self and others.

I distrust the international order as it is the means, harnessed by money, whether corporate or state or individual or monarchical, by which this world is being destroyed. Could things have been better? Jesus is on one end of the spectrum, and Lord Acton on the other, of the spectrums of viewpoints from which that could be properly assessed. If the corruption at the heart of the international order is not regulated properly, this world will come to an end, not the end of the world itself, but the end of the world as we know it. This is happening now. The world is finite.

I am not a xenophobe. In my experience, the people that are most likely to hurt me, and thus deserve fear, are those closest. Perhaps that is a cynical way of describing it, but anyone who thinks honestly about it would accede to the notion that it is the people who "love" us that hurt us the most, for we agree too be vulnerable to them. It is the matrix of love.

As for Austria and Bavaria, I have visited both places and they were, both, the cleanest locales I have ever seen, with Switzerland having to be mentioned in the same breath, of course.

I take a certain liberty in writing. I am not damning the human race, or strangers to me. If I did not entertain, but caused offence, I apologize to you. I do not possess omniscience, and my words will have to speak for themselves.

Thank you, again.


DemonicWarlordSlayer 12 Jun 2015 08:02

"How Geo Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise to Power" in the UK Guardian >

"Did Geo H W Bush Coordinate a JFK Hit Team" at Veterans Today >

"9/11 Conspiracy Solved, Names, Connections, Details" on youtube....dot-to-dot of the

Demonic Warlord's Crimes Against Humanity....end feudalism.


Carpasia 12 Jun 2015 07:09

Excellent article.

I visited Austria once, and I know of what he speaks. It was the one place I have ever visited that I thought I would be jailed if I littered. I was wandering at the time, but I tentatively had a meal of chicken and departed henceforth.

Austrians are an interesting lot, to be sure. That they are perfect goes without saying. Their main virtue is that they do not travel, and that strangers, which we call tourists these days, are not welcomed. If only we were all like that, the world would be a far better place.

Austrians do everything well, including crime. Some of the greatest crimes in the world have been committed by Austrians, but their crimes did not include not having their papers.

During World War 2, and I pass over Hitler, the German machine of death had an unusually high proportion of Austrians in commanding roles assisting it. It can not be explained away by saying they were some kind of faux Germans, and so it matters not. Indeed, if anything, Germans are faux Austrians, looked at in the broad brush of history. Men of many nations joined the Germans and adorned themselves with the Death's Head, but many Austrians might as well have tattooed it onto their foreheads. I know of what I speak, for I read on it, and will justify if questioned.

Reinhard Heydrich is an epitome of this, in the true sense of the word. Kurt Waldheim was another, too young too rise too far before the Ragnarok of May of 1945, but government of the world was not out of his reach, a man who had materially assisted the transportation of the Jews of Thessaloniki to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and, when challenged, was unrepentant, not as a racist, but as something worse even, as a man whose great virtue was that he followed orders. It is order that the Austrians value over everything. Even crime is ordered.

In the common-law west we think criminals are disordered beasts to be locked up. We do not give them papers. They are registered only to warn us of their existence, and we do not like to let them travel, as much as we could benefit by their absence, because we think they flee to license, and we think it wrong to inflict them upon innocents abroad. In Austria, the criminal is the man with no papers. If he has papers, all is well, and he is no criminal, whatever he has done.

colingorton 12 Jun 2015 03:19

What do you mean "where criminals mingle with ministers". That is assuming that ministers are not criminals. Considering that there will be ministers from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK, I'd suggest that there is a near 100% certainty that some, if not all, the ministers there are criminals.

That one group of almost-certainly-criminals meets another group of almost-certainly-criminals is hardly surprising. That the whole shebang is protected by the host's police force is even less so.

How far can all this mutual back scratching go? It seems that the only alternative left is far too drastic, but there really seems to be no place for a legal alternative, does there?

[Jun 12, 2015]IMF to Alexis Tsipras: Do you feel lucky, punk?

"...Mr Eliot how you dare to call our prime minister a "punk"? Who do you think you are you or other journalist around the world? Why you don't write the truth that the hard working Greeks have lost the 60 % of their income and they can't live with less money. Your article as well as other around the world is called "bulling"."
.
"...If you had read even the anti-greek newspapers in the last 5 years you would understand that 90% of the "loans" Greece "took" - i.e. had imposed on them - went directly to German, French and Dutch banks."
.
"...The IMF is not only about money. They have an ideological mandate too. Now, you may agree with this ideological mandate or not. However, if you do not, then it is best to not borrow money from them! "
.
"...What I found entertaining, was the statement by Rice, which went "As our managing director has said many times, the IMF never leaves the table," except of course when the entire team gets called back to Washington, and errr... leaves the table... "
.
"...This entire situation is a foreshadowing of what's to come in a world that allows international banking cabals and corporate investors to dictate policies to sovereign states, regardless of the will of the people as expressed in open elections. "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild"
.
"...A very irresponsible and simplistic, really sensationalistic summary. The hallmark of a pseudointellectual, a journalist who has never held a real job and seen how money is made and value is created and lives in the imaginary world of movie one liners and simple messages."
.
"..."Mr Schauble is the proponent of a "velvet divorce" for Greece: an orderly exit from the euro and a return to the drachma, with the ECB playing a crucial role in stabilizing the new currency. Germany and other creditors would then step in with a "Marshall Plan" to put the country back on its feet within the EU. What Mr Schauble is not prepared to accept is a breach of contract by Greece on the terms of its previous "Troika" rescue, which he fears would lead to moral hazard and the collapse of fiscal discipline across Southern Europe. He is backed by much of the ruling Christian Democrat party (CDU) and its Bavarian allies (CSU)"
.
"...Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts. "
Jun 12, 2015 | The Guardian

Hristos Dagres 12 Jun 2015 11:50

Basically, the IMF should officially admit their fatal errors in the development of the first MoU that "saved" Greece [well, we all know now that the first plan was nothing more than an attempt to save euro and the French-German banks that was cunningly presented as a token of "European solidarity" - in reality, they didn't give a sh..t about Greece].

These "errors" were immediately identified by other members of the IMF board, like Brazil, Argentina, China and .... Switzerland, according to the IMF documents presented by WSJ

[http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/10/07/imf-document-excerpts-disagreements-revealed/ ]

I believe that Christine should pick up her pieces and crawl back to the table - and this time she should present a plan that will restore the damage done.

Or else, they should not get a single euro back - and we should start negotiating with the BRICS for a fair plan to restructure our economy.

MachinePork 12 Jun 2015 11:30

Make no mistake about it a Greek default is a calamity for the global financial system. Debt on the periphery is in the trillions. It is carried on the books in banks and treasuries at face value only because national administrators understand – with the blessing of the automatons at BIS -- what it would mean if this crap was subjected to a proper stress test or marked-to-market.

At stake in this battle is the entire global financial system. Should a NATO government summon the cheek to opt out of the prevailing international credit system, issue debt-free capital, invest in its people, grow exports and prove to succeed; the entire compound interest earning, system of rent-making privilege would collapse. My sense is the kingdom of Finance, its banking lords and its lickspittles in policy will never let this happen.

God bless the Greek people. This is going to get messy. They should be commended for their bravery in the face of endless threats of financial serfdom for intransigence.

The international debt monkey is a doppelgänger. He looks so inviting at first glance but is more than prepared to reach back and lob a compound interest bearing shit bomb your direction in a bid to save privilege in the global financial zoo.

Maria Christoulaki 12 Jun 2015 10:43

Mr Eliot how you dare to call our prime minister a "punk"? Who do you think you are you or other journalist around the world? Why you don't write the truth that the hard working Greeks have lost the 60 % of their income and they can't live with less money. Your article as well as other around the world is called "bulling". What do you think that Greeks are? all these articles except of bulling show a racism against us. You must ask an excuse for this article which offends both our prime minister and the Greek people, who voted him.

mgtuzairodtiiasn asiancelt 12 Jun 2015 09:08

It is funny! The German bankers stole your money, and you still believe that all this money went to the Greeks. This money went from the German banks to the German enterprises. Because they gave bribes to win contracts for useless military equipment. For example, Greece bought 4 submarines that doesn't need. Even today, only one has been delivered, because there were major design faults, although the German company has received the money. Regarding the loans of the previous years, do you believe that the total amount of the Greek debt was to expire in just 3 years? Obviously, the gang that rules EU today, gave 240 bn Euros to banks of Germany, France, Netherlands etc, and used Greece as a scapegoat to hide this fraud. Wake up!

mgtuzairodtiiasn Angkor 12 Jun 2015 08:55

Firstly, negotiation is not that you agree to what the institutions require. Secondly, you are right. The Greek economy and society have been carried many parasites until now.

Remember the German companies like Siemens, Ferrostaal, ThyssenKrupp which gave bribes to many politicians and Media owners. Or Hochtief, which still has not paid 500 mn Euros of VAT to the Greek state. It is time to get rid of all this parasites.

elenits -> Anton Brasschaat 12 Jun 2015 07:57

"Loans" imposed by IMF against its mandate = Odious debt.

Greeks shouldering 340 bn of EU, ECB, IMF "loans" to shore up foreign malinvesting banks = Odious debt

Loans to Greece that were not used by Greeks = Odious debt

IMF breaking its own rules to loan without debt restructure = Odious debt

This is without considering ECB acting outside its mandate, i.e. politically, from Feb 2015 by illegally cutting Greece from bond markets and out of QE.

elenits -> asiancelt 12 Jun 2015 07:49

If you had read even the anti-greek newspapers in the last 5 years you would understand that 90% of the "loans" Greece "took" - i.e. had imposed on them - went directly to German, French and Dutch banks. The 10% Greece was allowed to keep paid for the interests on these "loans" - topped up with money screwed out of the Greek taxpayers.

Apropos the IMF they acted illegally against their own rules by lending to a first world country [not a "developing" country] and by accepting a greek program that did not include debt restructure, i.e. the same German, French and Dutch banks having to accept some losses.

There is no such thing as "risk" anymore for banks, corporations or the 1%. Risk and poverty is only for ordinary people like yourself.

dawisner -> Constantine Alexander 12 Jun 2015 07:30

Constantine, as an American expat living in Greece for the past 21 years now (I was married in Thessaloniki in 1988), I, too, have frequently lamented how many armchair experts appear in these chat rooms. I published an e-book last year (Still at Aulis) with a view toward trying to explain to the casual observer how complex the local situation can be, and how worthy and hard-working my Greek peers often are. Keep up the good work.

seaspan -> Anton Brasschaat 12 Jun 2015 05:50

French and German banks were generously bailed out of any risk by "taxpayers" from the EU, including Greeks.

And Greek leverage is honesty: they have a clear understanding of current economic reality, and a better plan to payback their debts to Euro taxpayers. Anyone who says different is suspect as to their interests and intentions.

It isnt Syriza you should be questioning if you are sincere about your concern for the taxpayer. It is the financial advisers and ideologues backing austerity you should question. Are they merely driven by their egos and reputations as pro austerity hawks? Afraid for their secure positions as Yes Men in financial institutions?

And anyone in the negotiating process who has loyalties to Russia should be severely scrutinised, since Putin's interests are for a failure in negotiations, for a Grexit, all toward a long term desire of an EU breakup.

It could come down to questions of treason why there is no negotiated settlement,,, if such a word is applicable to the EU project...

Constantine Alexander -> Renato Timotheus 12 Jun 2015 05:43

My life's experiences - including beginning work at 8 years of age; 3 years military service; professional activities including U.S. investment banking, employment development in Eastern Europe (e.g. job creation at a Belarus agricultural production facility which is still thriving), 10 years devoted to my passion for wildlife conservation projects with worthy BirdLife Int'l NGO partners (not as you coyly suggested as a result of "untoward" behaviour); and having a doctor threaten to refuse to perform my father's surgery unless he receives a 10,000 euro cash bribe in addition to his customary doctor's fee and the hospital costs - have shaped my perspective on the factors that contribute to or undermine civil society.

If Greece exits the euro, the resulting cost of vital goods will soar due to the country's heavy reliance on imports. This will hit the middle class and the poor much harder than the current austerity measures -- most of which have not been implemented by any Greek gov (e.g. opening up business sectors to competition, privatization of debt-ridden public institutions, tax collection which has for decades suffered due to customary and widespread bribery demanded by tax officials, privatization of public assets).

The long term solution lies in the govt starting to do what most of us have to do - we prioritize spending based on worthiness and needs (food, health, education, etc), keep a reserve for contingencies, and spend in relation to our incoming revenue. But rather than contributing to long term stability and security for the country which benefits everyone's work activities, the society insists upon short term benefits (e.g. public sector hiring for my children, tax evasion) that it clearly cannot afford. The broader issue is not lender's conditions vs. austerity relief, but rather a way of organizing govt and society which, in the Greek model, has gotten way out of hand due to low interest rates for excessive borrowing by a series of governments. We'll see how the story unfolds.

PyrosT -> Enoch Arden 12 Jun 2015 05:32

destroyed economy was not an alternative to the IMF "help", it was its result, carefully planned and systematically implemented. It was in a way a remarkable achievement of IMF: to inflict a greater damage to the Soviet economy than WW2, with the help of the local compradors.

IMF will not do anything about your or anyone elses local corrupt elites or lack of governance. That is not within their mandate or nature.

If you think that it is possible to convert a centrally planned soviet style (the core of it to boot) to anything resembling a market economy without major disruption.

Even East Germany, despite the endless billions thrown into it, went through a period of high unemployment and hardships.

But I guess it is easier to "blame the IMF". Yes the interventions will almost always lower your GDP - for a quite simple reason that the previous GDP is probably bloated with G (government spending) and any significant restructuring always causes some depression. And yes, it typically isn't a "walk in the park". And some measures are probably misguided, inadequate or ineffective.

But...

Why does a country asks for the IMF help in the first place? Because it is sporting unsustainable policies? Sometimes it could even correct itself, but having an outside partner makes some policies easier to deploy.

DANIELDS 12 Jun 2015 05:10

Yesterday briefing by G.RICE of IMF

...Greek pension system is unsustainable. The Greek pension funds receive transfers from the budget of about 10 percent of GDP annually. Now, this compares to the average in the rest of the Euro zone of two-and-a-half percent of GDP. The standard pension in Greece is almost at the same level as in Germany and people, again on the average, retire almost six years earlier in Greece than in Germany. And GDP per capita increase, of course, is less than half that of the German level.......Terrible errors? reported to justify killing policies of troica and imf......Here is Greek butjet.

http://www.minfin.gr/?q=en/content/state-budget-execution-january-march-2015

......For pensions 6,3 billion eur.GDP OF 2014 179 bill euros and for pensions goes ONLY 3.5% OF IT.

This the big obstacle of negotiations.10% of GDP is 18 billion euros .3.5% is only 5.4 billions.They are killers of a country with false reports.

Angkor Renato -> Timotheus 12 Jun 2015 04:53

Renato on your checklist for Greece's solution to its current problems, a few questions:

1. Default. Well that's a given. It's going to happen anyway whether the Greeks want it to or not.

2. Secure Russian and Chinese support for the new currency
How will Greece secure Russian and Chinese support for its new currency? Aren't they going to do a credit check and find out that the Greeks don't honour their loans? They're bound to find out and its pretty unlikely that they'd be silly enough to line themselves up to be stiffed by the Greeks. They are not mugs you know.

3. Requisition all German and Luxembourg-owned property/assets in Greece in lieu of WWII reparation payments. Why stop at Germany and Luxembourg? Poland was part of Germany (the Governor Generalate) during WWII. As were Austria (the Anschluss), and the Czech Republic and Slovakia (the Munich Agreement). Why not seize all of the property owed by the nationals of those countries as well? It only seems fair. Also Italy had a role in the invasion of Greece in WWII. In fact the Germans would never have invaded but for the Italians botching the job. Shouldn't you be stiffing the Italians as well?

4. Massive drive to attract British and Russian tourists to a cheaper Greece. A few questions here. First the Russians. Where will their tourists come from given the parlous state of their economy? And why would they go to Greece now that they have lovely Crimea, the Pearl of the Black Sea, back in their hands? Now for the British. What has Greece got that a British tourist would want that Magaluf doesn't have? Don't say culture because Greece has little of it (and the Italians do it better anyway) and British tourists don't want it. If they wanted Greek culture they'd go to the British Museum where it's been sitting for the last 200 years.

5. Threaten to join the SCO, if NATO starts conspiring for a military coup. Don't you think that the SCO's dialogue partners, Turkey, may have something to say about that? Nothing kind, of course. That would be a bit too much to expect of the Turks when talking about Greek matters.

zchabj6 -> JimVxxxx 12 Jun 2015 04:37

The debt jubilee is a very old idea, mentioned in biblical times, but has also had plenty of implementation in medieval and later times where every 10 years or so all debt is wiped out and debt issuing starts again.

This was essentially to stop debt slavery where one class monopolizes resources and lends it out to others to do work for the asset owners to do nothing but live off of the interest on the loans, which is caustic to society.

As for no compound interest. It essentially is my own idea, based on say religious texts that ban interest or usury on loans because of the negative debt slavery consequences.

But the question is, who would then lend to business and people, where is the incentive? So there could be fixed interest on the original sum and no more, unlike today where you pay interest on the intiial sum and the interest on that.

And if you miss payments and there are delays to paying, interest breeds interest, rather than having a known fixed sum of interest to pay back which is much more just.

AER and other formulas are really eating up the entire economic structure, it seems to me there is merit to justice and prosperity too from religious texts, they seem to have a lot of experience in unseating entrenched oligarchs.

REDLAN1 12 Jun 2015 04:29

What I found entertaining, was the statement by Rice, which went "As our managing director has said many times, the IMF never leaves the table," except of course when the entire team gets called back to Washington, and errr... leaves the table...

We are meant to presume that this is a negotiating tactic, and that the IMF is Dirty Harry? In the final scene, Dirty Harry goads the perp into going for his gun so that he can legally kill him in self-defence. Although in the first scene where this is used Dirty Harry's gun is empty. So which is it?

Have they got an empty gun, or are they trying to goad Greece into defaulting, so they can blow them away?

REDLAN1 -> galava 12 Jun 2015 03:52

You can do the math yourself for the UK...

http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_welfare_spending_40.html

I assume UK public spending on pensions at 8.6% of GDP. This 2% average sounds like nonsense.

Scipio1 -> Angkor 12 Jun 2015 03:27

In terms of purchasing power parity China does have the largest economy in the world. The US GDP is roughly $17 trn and China's is roughly $8trn, but a dollar in China goes twice as far as a $ in the US. Moreover China does not have the same debt levels as the US. US public debt is over 100% of GDP. When you count how rich a country is remember to factor in the LIABILITIES as well as the assets. The US is the world's biggest debtor country and China is the biggest creditor.

The US only enjoys (if this is the right word) its current living standards since it controls the world currency. But this is coming to and end as the BRICS nations are de-dollarizing and setting up their own institutions which circumvent the dollar. Institutions such as the AIIB and the BRICS investment bank.

The world is changing old chap, and of course the Americans don't like it; their dominant position is under threat which is why they are trying to arrest this development by any means - financial, economic, political and military - at their disposable.

Hypatia415 -> Quaestio 12 Jun 2015 03:07

Yes, Greece has been fleeced of so many of its assets. Prescient warnings over time of the world's anarchic banking system wreaking havoc and yet never held to account:
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/apr/18/goldman-sachs-regulators-civil-charges
http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-goldman-sachs-may-provoke-yet-another-major-financial-crisis

PeregrineSlim 12 Jun 2015 02:47

Leaving the negotiation table is negotiation.

The IMF are not going anywhere. They are just negotiating.

Greece can take heart. They'll do anything for a deal.

ShiresofEngland 12 Jun 2015 02:35

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11654639/IMF-has-betrayed-its-mission-in-Greece-captive-to-EMU-creditors.html

This is the real problem. The IMF should never have been involved in the first place. They should stick to their mandate of only ever loaning money where that debt is sustainable.

For the IMF to walk out that might not be a bad thing, but they should walk out on Merkel and the EU for refusing an OSI, the debt writedown which Greece needs.

It has always been a solvency issue and not a liquidity issue. Until the Troika accept that then no progress can be made.

JimVxxxx -> madrupert 12 Jun 2015 02:35

The IMF is not only about money. They have an ideological mandate too. Now, you may agree with this ideological mandate or not. However, if you do not, then it is best to not borrow money from them!

The IMF would argue that they do put people before money; by increasing the competitiveness of a country they are ultimately benefiting everyone who lives there.

JimVxxxx -> zchabj6 12 Jun 2015 02:28

Some interesting points there... the IMF is a bank, just like any other, with a mandate to encourage free-market policies (as far as I know).

The ECB are far better positioned to provide tools which would lessen the impact for individual EU countries facing sovereign debt funding issues, however, it is not explicitly mandated to do so.

I have never come across the term 'debt jubilee' but it sounds fun; perhaps you could explain what it is? Also, how would abolishing compound interest help?

hermanmitt -> piper909 12 Jun 2015 02:22

This entire situation is a foreshadowing of what's to come in a world that allows international banking cabals and corporate investors to dictate policies to sovereign states, regardless of the will of the people as expressed in open elections.

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

This is just the money phase of a process that takes power away from elected government and hands it to a few bankers. The next stage is to hand the management of that power to the few who run the corporations.

That process is now well under way in the form of TTIP.
Q: Ever wondered how something this important could be discussed in secret?
A: Because these elites do not consider ordinary people to be part of the process, so why would they need to consult us.

Constantine Alexander 12 Jun 2015 02:16

It is very obvious that many of you who have commented have never lived in Greece. Although I have lived and worked in 5 countries, I was born, raised, served my military service and have returned to work in this country that I have always loved but ... the daily corruption, tax evasion on a massive scale, refusal to honour the terms of ordinary contracts that Greeks willingly sign only to later cherry-pick the terms by which they wish to abide and the inherent sense of always feeling victimized by the rest of the world are not productive features in civil society. Did you know that 29 billion (yes - Billion) euros of income tax were not paid by Greek professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) in 2009 according to Univ of Chicago researchers?

That figure does not include the tax evasion by the rest of (and the majority of) Greek working people. I am disappointed in the educational system that is ranked lowest in the EU and, most of all, in my fellow citizens who cling to this system of daily corruption and bribe-taking but refuse to recognise this behaviour in themselves. Please stop blaming financial creditors who have a right to request loan conditions (just as we have home loan conditions) that the Greeks could have declined. The financial mismanagement in this country is staggering, so, for those of you who criticize the lenders - don't forget there are two sides to every story and you may not be seeing everything that goes on here.

Renato Timotheus 12 Jun 2015 02:13

I think the solution for Greece is becoming clearer by the day.
1. Default.
2. Secure Russian and Chinese support for the new currency for a period of 2 years or so.
3. Requisition all German and Luxembourg-owned property/assets in Greece in lieu of WWII reparation payments (yes, Luxembourg was a part of Germany in WWII, so it too owes reparations, and many Luxembourg-registered companies have assets in Greece).
4. Massive drive to attract British and Russian tourists to a cheaper Greece.
5. Threaten to join the SCO, if NATO starts conspiring for a military coup.

eastofthesun -> Faith Puleston 12 Jun 2015 02:07

it is a country that thinks the EU is a source of income to make up for them not doing their sums at home

I'm thinking that if lenders have the right to enforce policy decisions, then maybe they ought also to bear a share of responsibility. By which I mean that when the IMF was busy throwing money at Greece's erstwhile administrations it must have been well aware of what was happening with its money (including that bled away into corruption), yet it tolerated it; certainly the IMF had more potential say in Greek policy at the time than the current administration.

If the politicians of earlier administrations abused their access to EU funding, they did so knowing that it would ultimately not be them to pick up the bill. Like most elected politicians they needed only a short-term perspective. The lenders indulged this when the money was being spent in the first place, now they're cracking down on the people who inherited the debt - not those who ran it up. (Of course, the lenders inherit the debt too.)

That's the nature of long-term debt. We need to learn that this lending process is dysfunctional - but both parties to the debt are complicit in that. This is why it is incumbent on the lenders to negotiate.

AlexLeo 12 Jun 2015 01:33

A very irresponsible and simplistic, really sensationalistic summary. The hallmark of a pseudointellectual, a journalist who has never held a real job and seen how money is made and value is created and lives in the imaginary world of movie one liners and simple messages. Holding a gun to his head - are you speaking to a juvenile delinquent trying to get a message across? Pathetic, Cannot see anyone paying money to read this analysis.


Chris Hindle 12 Jun 2015 01:23

IMF to Alexis Tsipras: 'Do you feel lucky, punk?'

Good to see this 'economist' sitting astride the neutral position

I thought everyone realised the Greek people are innocent in all this - that the debts were accrued illegally and probably only as little as 5-10% actually benefitted the Greek people - the rest, inevitably, benefitting Greek bent banksters and politicians.
I wonder if this 'economist' was trained in the dreamworld of neo-classical economics

To put it clearly - Bollox to the IMF -- People first!

Notaterrorist 12 Jun 2015 01:00

The best writing on this subject (not just a regurgitation of "she said, he said" like the above useless piece of "journalism") is by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Daily Telegraph. Below is what he writes today.

If he is correct, I finally understand Schauble - and to my astonishment agree. Neither Greece nor the Eurozone can function while Greece remains in the Euro. It's time for Grexit and a Marshall Plan.

"Mr Schauble is the proponent of a "velvet divorce" for Greece: an orderly exit from the euro and a return to the drachma, with the ECB playing a crucial role in stabilizing the new currency. Germany and other creditors would then step in with a "Marshall Plan" to put the country back on its feet within the EU.

What Mr Schauble is not prepared to accept is a breach of contract by Greece on the terms of its previous "Troika" rescue, which he fears would lead to moral hazard and the collapse of fiscal discipline across Southern Europe. He is backed by much of the ruling Christian Democrat party (CDU) and its Bavarian allies (CSU)

Mrs Merkel appears to have concluded that "Grexit" is fraught with risk and would inevitably be blamed on Germany, leaving a toxic political and emotional legacy."

Quaestio -> MikeBenn 11 Jun 2015 23:00

Why? Because US investment banks were involved in the Greek debt.

Wall St. Helped to Mask Debt Fueling Europe's Crisis

By LOUISE STORY, LANDON THOMAS Jr. and NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
Published: February 13, 2010
The New York Times

Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street's help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November - three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety - a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

The bankers, led by Goldman's president, Gary D. Cohn, held out a financing instrument that would have pushed debt from Greece's health care system far into the future, much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.

It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe's monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe's deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

Athens did not pursue the latest Goldman proposal, but with Greece groaning under the weight of its debts and with its richer neighbors vowing to come to its aid, the deals over the last decade are raising questions about Wall Street's role in the world's latest financial drama.

As in the American subprime crisis and the implosion of the American International Group, financial derivatives played a role in the run-up of Greek debt. Instruments developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a wide range of other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing in Greece, Italy and possibly elsewhere.

In dozens of deals across the Continent, banks provided cash upfront in return for government payments in the future, with those liabilities then left off the books. Greece, for example, traded away the rights to airport fees and lottery proceeds in years to come.

Critics say that such deals, because they are not recorded as loans, mislead investors and regulators about the depth of a country's liabilities.

Glen Killoran -> Pomario 11 Jun 2015 22:49

Based upon what?

Tourism? Tried that, it allowed the 1950 Greek economy to rocket into the 20's.

Shipping? Too late, that ship has already sailed.

Manufacturing, yeah, Greece will be #1, right after Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Agriculture? Equipment bought with what money, the Drachma? Hmm, that'll be a competitive business model.

Real-estate? Just how expensive do you think homes will be when the local populace is cash poor, in debt, and has no access to credit? Can you say buyers market? It will be the foreign fire sale buyer that buys low, sells high, not the Greeks.

And, all of this assumes the Greek economic model is reformed, and that is what the troika is trying to do right?

Seems to me default is really just the long hard road to reform, if it ever gets there because, there surely no demand for it now.

Mark Richardson 11 Jun 2015 22:46

It is kind of difficult for the new Greek government to give the IMF and its other creditors anything in new austerity measures considering that the Greek unemployment rate is over 25% and the youth unemployment rate is 60%. How much more pain would you be willing to force on your own people if you were a new reform leader considering that this entire crisis was caused when the previous conservative Greek government hid and failed to report half of its entire deficit? I don't see a viable future for Greece that includes having to repay the IMF and other major lenders as any more reforms will just drive the jobless rate and their GDP loss rate higher too.

Basically either the IMF and Germany agree to restructure the Greek debt or Greece will pull-out of the Eurozone, and right after that happens Italy and Spain will be next, which will cause another Great Depression in the major lending countries.

Andrew Paul -> Wood Pomario 11 Jun 2015 22:16

There probably won't be a tourism boom if Grexit triggers a global recession when the EU markets spin into chaos. So why can't they collect tax revenues from the wealthy now and clear up all their problems in the first place?

fflambeau -> Glen Killoran 11 Jun 2015 22:01

I agree that past Greek governments have made huge mistakes. But the main problem is not in pension funds, as you claim, but in military spending. In the 1980's the Greek government spent 6% of its GDP on military expenditures. That is now about 2% of GDP but that is still the second highest of all NATO countries, second only to America.

You seem to miss the point that the current Greek government had nothing to do with the mistakes made by former governments and has done a noble job of righting the ship.

As for your comments about the overly generous nature of Greek pensions, you are off base. Maybe that was the case many years ago, but not in the past couple of years.

fflambeau 11 Jun 2015 21:42

Let's compare the "bailouts" that President Obama worked out with huge Wall St. companies and corporations that failed in 2007-2009. They got enormous funding, trillions of dollars, at virtually no interest and no oversight.

General Motors took $6 billion of its $50 billion bailout and built an automobile manufacturing plant (in Thailand, no less!).

What did the USA's taxpayers make off the billions of dollars it gave GM, at the time the largest corporation in the world? Nothing. In fact, they LOST money.

Reuters and Time both report that the US government LOST money, $11.2 billion, by loaning $50 billion to GM. Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/30/us-autos-gm-treasury-idUSBREA3T0MR20140430

Did the US government put pressure on GM to make them pay back the lost $11.2 billion? Nope.

So those complaining here about giveaways to a lazy Greek people should look at what is really happening in their countries and what the IMF and other international organizations are really doing.

AnhTay 11 Jun 2015 19:10

One possibility is obvious. Greece is prepared to default. They are, quite rationally, waiting to see if they can get a deal with the IMF that would be acceptable as an alternative to default. Even if they cannot, what is the harm in playing out their hand to see if it is possible? There is no point in getting childish about the issue. Negotiations are about business. If Greece chooses to default, so be it. No reason for the IMF to get all gnarly on the point.

fceska -> Bowhill 11 Jun 2015 19:07

That's not the only thing that's wrong. The whole article is completely one-sided. This paragraph for instance:

Up until now, the view in Athens has been that the troika – made up of the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European commission – has been bluffing. The view has been that there is always room for a bit more haggling, always time to cut a better deal that would avoid the need to make the changes to pensions, VAT and collective bargaining being demanded in exchange for fresh financial assistance.

could be rewritten as:

Up until now, the troika – made up of the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European commission – has been of the view that Athens has been bluffing. The view has been that there is always room for a bit more arm-twisting, always time to force a tougher deal that would ratify the need to make the changes to pensions, VAT and collective bargaining which they were demanding in exchange for yet more unsustainable financial assistance.


aretzios -> mariandavid 11 Jun 2015 18:37

You have it all wrong. You should read the IMF reports. The IMF actually urged the EU to write-off part of the Greek debt. The IMF felt that it was put in a bad situation, brought in by the EU to manage the problem without any of the tools usually allowed in these situations, such as debt write-off and devaluation. In its 2014 report, the IMF stated that the whole "bailout" deal was not to rescue Greece but to rescue the Euro. Now, knowing that it is not going to get any assistance from the EU, it is putting the pressure on Greece to get its funds from there. I think that the IMF feels trapped in a situation that it was not of its making.

The issue of the pensions is the most galling one. During the 2012 write-down, the EU protected all its assets; the 50 billion euros in Greek bonds held by the ECB were not subject to the write-down. However, all Greek pensions funds were forced (literally forced) to participate. They collected just 17 cents to the Euro (or thereabouts) in the bond exchange. Of course, now the EU claims that there is no money to service the current pensions, thus the pensions need to be reduced! Considering that the average pension is about 600 euros (and living costs in Greece are very much the same as in the UK), one can see how galling this is (and they already have gone down by 40% in the last five years). If you add to this the demanded tax increases, the whole thing almost sounds like a Mafia protection racket.

Even though the IMF is not "impressed" with the concessions that the Greek government has made thus far, this government would not really survive if it brings this package to the parliament. A good number of its MPs would not vote for it and many of its ministers would resign. The resulting turmoil would only deepen the political crisis.

At the end, the EU will find a very anti-EU militant country in its southeast corner with more to follow. Not really good for anybody

[Jun 10, 2015]Pope Francis urged to take tougher stance against Vladimir Putin

"...A fantastic bit of writing irrelevance based on hearsay and speculation as non important filler to shape opinion. God against Putin is the message, well done Guardian, following orders again, brown nosing in case those nasty GCHQ people will come and threaten you again. "
.
"...The headline does not read 'Pontiff Meeting with Putin', which would confirm that Russia is not as isolated as the Guardian would want, but 'Pope Urged to Take Stance against Putin' which confirms the Guardians prejudice on all issues Russian."
.
"...Some one clearly earning their Agent of influence bonus."
.
"...Since the US has the EU firmly under its heel it's now moving on to bullying the Pope to further the geopolitical goals of American hegemony? No doubt they threatened to sanction the Pope if he doesn't fall into line."
.
"...Just another US stupidity. Hasn`t anyone the peace-nobel-prize-drone`s administration how much Yanks are hated in South and Central America? Especially Argentina has suffered a lot because of the US initiated coups and military goverments. ALL juntas, the one here in La Paz as well, were run by the American Embassies. A lot of priests were tortured and killed as well. Hugo Chavez once said, that the only goverment in the Western Hemisphere which doesn`t have to worry about a coup is the one in the USA, because there is no American Embassy in Washington."
.
"...Many bureaucrats and politicians in the U.S. want to restart the Cold War with Russia as a means of keeping the bloated U.S. military-industrial budget intact. Pope Francis appears to be an impediment in this effort, as he is talking to everyone with some weird Christian notion about making peace with one's enemies - he must be a communist, right?"
.
"...Hopefully, the Pope is intelligent enough to understand that the Ukraine crisis was provoked by the US-backed removal of a democratically elected government. What has happened subsequently in the country is the result of the coup. Moreover, behind the US backing for the coup, is its desire to continue NATO's expansion on Russia's western border. Too many people today are confusing the original action, i.e. the coup, with the reaction!"
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"...The fact that the Pope elected to meet Putin means that he is completely disregarding the ugly and meaningless blather coming from the neocon/neoliberal/neoevangelical/neofascist quarters and is guided by the divine wisdom alone. Clearly, the neoconservatism has lost its global mojo and is now reduced to vile global intrigue and worse."
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"...When is Vatican going to start the process of excommunication of the pious catholic Tony Blair, a self-serving politician that made the UK join the US in the illegal wars in the Middle East? Hundreds of thousands of civilians are dead, including children and pregnant women. Hundreds of thousands became handicapped. Millions are displaced. The western atrocities and politicking in ME have created a monster of ISIS. Where is the voice of Church? Vatican is amazingly lenient towards the war criminal."
.
"...Well, whataya want: the Pope gets his daily news and instructions directly from God, while the others get it from the US embassy."
Jun 10, 2015 | The Guardian

Elena Hodgson 10 Jun 2015 14:53

The title of the article is very misleading. "Pope Francis WAS urged (by Hackett -surprise, surprise!) to take tougher stance against Vladimir Putin". I am worried about the fact that the relationship between the US and Russia are back to the hostility level of the pre-Gorbachev era of Cold War, but without the red lines that had been understood between the United States and the USSR. The communication lines are not in place any more either, and any accident could easily escalate into Hot War, and then we are all toast...Nice of Obama to take the Global Warming seriously, but what about the threat of Global Nuclear Annihilation???

RayJosephCormier Roger Tidy 10 Jun 2015 14:50

One of the 1st acts of the new Coup Leaders was to pass legislation removing Russian as an Official Language in Ukraine, as it always had been up to that point in the majority Russian speaking Eastern parts of Ukraine closest to Russia.

I expect other Western Leaders got to the new "appointed President" to have him VETO the legislation. But it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle!

That singular action by the new Coup Leaders caused the rebellion more than anything else. That happened before Russia re-claimed Crimea before the Americans got control in Ukraine.

Nolens 10 Jun 2015 14:49

It's Pope Francis task to be a mediator. He will not be stopped by instructions from whatever corner. It's also important that Orthodox Christians and Catholics (like myself)keep on speaking terms.

That doesn't mean the Pontiff should not address the situation in the Ukraine and appeal to Russia to seek peace, truth and justice. In my opinion Russia is threatening the sovereignty of the Ukraine and is waging war by proxy but the EU and the US have also share the responsibility for this awful bloody conflict as it acted in a dangerous and irresponsible way by meddling in the internal affairs of the Ukraine by supporting the removal of the elected president.

Maybe i'm naive but I really would like to see the EU, the Ukraine and Russia sit together and try to make a peace deal. I would prefer a deal where the Crimea is officially handed over to Russia and the Eastern oblasts remains an integral part of the Ukraine with safeguards for the Russian speaking population. The severe issue of the MH17 should also be on the agenda. It must be absolutely clear who was responsible. So, all the crimes committed in the Ukraine by whatever side should be addressed including the downing of flight MH17. Like South-Africa and Northern Ireland a truth and reconciliation commission could clear what was done and by whom. This will also mean that those responsible will be brought to justice but will not serve any jail time as it only would lead to another conflict. A UN force assembled from Asian and South-American nations like Thailand and Brazil could keep the peace.


TiredOfBS_2015 chulumani 10 Jun 2015 14:41

Especially Argentina has suffered a lot because of the US initiated coups and military governments.
--
Ah, they've moved far beyond that... introduced themselves in Ukraine now.
Different continent, you know..

EightEyedSpy nishville 10 Jun 2015 14:37

My respect for Pope Francis would grow if he ordered the RCC in the US not to claim tax-exempt status on the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue the RCC generates in the US, including by ownership of residential and commercial rental properties.

Did you know the RCC is one of, if not the, biggest, property owners in NYC?

Roger Tidy Cedrins 10 Jun 2015 14:36

Let's not forget that the Ukraine is in crisis now because of AMERICAN interference, i.e. Washington's support for the Kiev coup against a democratically elected government. Without that coup, there would have been no rebellion by the people in the east of the country and no threat to Russia's lawful military presence in Crimea. Russia, with the overwhelming backing of Crimea's predominantly Russian population, had to act to ensure the continuation of Crimea as a base for its fleet and to prevent the further provocative expansion of NATO on its borders. It could all have been so different if, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO had been abolished at the same time as the Warsaw Pact.


RayJosephCormier Cedrins 10 Jun 2015 14:33

And the US has overturned Democracies and installed, armed and supported many proxy Dictators. The US has no problems with Dictatorships as long as they are friendly to US Business interests.

He who is without sin cast the 1st stone applies to Nations and Individuals.

Since WWII, the US has invaded and bombed only poor, backward, undeveloped, 3rd world Nations.

In a display of Divine Justice, most often the US ran away with their tails between their legs, not able to get out fast enough. That's why they use remote controlled drones to attack people without indoor plumbing or electricity for the most part. There are still those Americans who maintain the US could "win" if they were more brutal in terrorizing the people, dropping more bombs, Death and Destruction on them. The US is the only Nation to burn people alive in the other, never discussed, nuclear holocaust of WWII.


ID9492736 Cedrins 10 Jun 2015 14:24

Who says that Serbia "lost its rights" on its territory and sovereignty? . United Nations Security Council certainly did not (au contraire, UNSC resolution 1244 specifically says otherwise). United Nations General Assembly did not. The International Court of Justice did not. Nobody but Bill and Hillary Clinton said so.

And how is Serbia's "barbaric" (sic) behavior, which killer some 1,200 islamic terrorists on its own soil any worse than the wholesale slaughter of nearly a million of Iraqi and more than quarter million Aghan civilians?

There are no brutal tyrants in Serbia. The country is an open, transparent and democratic society and a recognized regional ally of both US and Russia. If you don't believe me, ask the State Department.


sensitivepirate 10 Jun 2015 14:13

With regard to Putin, the US wants to destabilize Russia and hopefully move in and grab the vast resources of the RF. The first and major goal is to remove Crimea from Russian control.

Going back a year and a half, in preparing the program for the overthrow of Yanukovich, the US Dept. of Defense had fully developed plans, timetables, and logistics, and blueprints were drawn up for new US military bases, air fields, and ports in Crimea. These plans were in 'ready mode' and included the immediate cancellation of lease agreements between the RF and Ukraine, and of course it included the immediate removal of the Russian fleet from Crimea.

The US Dept. of Defense is frustrated that their massive preparations for Crimea could not be immediately implemented. It has lost its strategic plan to build a ready-military force for clandestine incursions into Turkey, Syria, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Belarus, Lebanon, Gaza, etc.. This was the biggest prize in the plan to overthrow the government of Ukraine.

Everything is on hold until Crimea is extricated from Russia, and the US now is begging Pope Francis to help it in destabilizing Russia.


Botswana61 Solongmariane 10 Jun 2015 14:11

Indeed, USA supporting Maggie Thatcher's operation in the Falklands and supplying British troops with the actionable info through its recon sats.

With Argentina being today a veritable economic basket case.
[2nd only to Greece]


MahsaKaerra kowalli 10 Jun 2015 13:59

Oh that one. Translated as "Kiev holds Russia responsible for the violation of any articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in the area of ​​the ATO".

Meaning Ukraine isn't going to enforce ECHR decisions on territory over which it has no control.

If you ask Slovenia to make such decisions on Italian territory you will get the same answer. OMG, Slovenia is quitting the ECHR!!!1!

foolisholdman 10 Jun 2015 13:43

Kenneth Hackett, the US ambassador to the Holy See, said the Vatican "could say more about concerns on territorial integrity".

Another US "statesman" who does not see the irony of what he is saying! Is he blissfully unaware of how many countries the USA has violated the "territorial integrity" of ? Does he want the Pope to criticise all countries that violate other countries' territorial integrity Or does it only apply to Russia?

Oh! Silly me!! Of course it is all right for The USA to violate other countries' territorial integrity, because they are exceptional !!! How could I forget?

geedeesee EightEyedSpy

Well, I've read extensively about the period in question to understand the circumstances as Nazism developed, and though while reading different books I wasn't looking exclusively for the views of the pope of the day, I did have an appreciation of the decline in the relationship between Nazi Germany and the Vatican. Though your comments didn't ring true , I have checked with my books and they've confirmed my understanding.

Not only did the Pope write several protests against the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1936, he also delivered three papal encyclicals challenging the new creeds: against Italian Fascism Non abbiamo bisogno (1931; 'We do not need (to acquaint you)'); against Nazism "Mit brennender Sorge" (1937; 'With deep concern') and against atheist Communist Divini redemptoris (1937; 'Divine Redeemer'). He also challenged the extremist nationalism of the Action Française movement and anti-Semitism in the United States.

'Mit brennender SorgeIt' concerned Nazi Germany. It condemned "pantheistic confusion", "neopaganism",and "the so-called myth of race and blood", and the idolising of the State.

To ensure it had the maximum effect, he had it translated into German and copies smuggled into Nazi Germany so that they be secretly printed and distributed to all the Catholic churches of Germany for reading from the pulpits Catholic parishes on Palm Sunday throughout the country in 1937.

The Nazis saw it as "a call to battle against the Reich", and Hitler was furious after it happened and "vowed revenge against the Church". Churches were raided across the country and hundreds of priests arrested. The Catholic church were seen as the major resistance and opposition to the nazi regime at the time.

Over the years until the outbreak of war Catholic resistance stiffened until finally its most eminent spokesman was the Pope himself with his encyclical 'Mit Brennender Sorge' ... of 14 March 1937, read from all German Catholic pulpits... In general terms, therefore, the churches were the only major organisations to offer comparatively early and open resistance: they remained so in later years.

Extract from 'The History of the German Resistance 1933–1945' by Peter Hoffmann.

Once again you reveal your tendency to chip-in with your own version of history, disregarding what actually happened, due either to your ignorance or malevolence. In other words, you've been caught out again.

Michael West Joe King 10 Jun 2015 13:21

Again, this is another biased comment from you. Are you even from America?

The U.S. is one of the least religious countries on this planet. In fact, atheism is the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. today.

More than 20% of Americans have "no faith".

Here is a Guardian article about the rise of atheism in America.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/01/atheism-america-religious-right

Here is another Guardian article about the rapid rise of atheist churches in America.

As for Fox News, it is not a religious channel. Fox has a weekly libertarian show hosted by John Stossel where he talks about legalizing drugs, prostitution, euthanasia, and polygamy.

Here is a video of him talking about legalizing brothels -- which is already in sone states.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rPxIWjR3Zg&app=desktop

Fox's sister channel, FX, airs some of the moat violent & erotic shows on television.

Fox News is not a religious channel -- not even close.


kowalli 10 Jun 2015 13:17

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland confirmed that he had received notification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Kiev on the retreat from the European Convention on Human Rights.


robertthebruce2014 10 Jun 2015 13:16

The Guardian suffering from confirmation bias?

The headline does not read 'Pontiff Meeting with Putin', which would confirm that Russia is not as isolated as the Guardian would want, but 'Pope Urged to Take Stance against Putin' which confirms the Guardians prejudice on all issues Russian.

If ever there was a vassal state or satrapy more obedient to its master than Britain is to America someone inform us please. India's Victorian relationship to the British Crown was less submissive than Britain's obedience to American rule today.


EugeneGur MahsaKaerra 10 Jun 2015 13:10

You have trouble with memory? I can appropriate recommend medication.
Borders in Europe changed a lot before Putin had a chance to do anything or even came to the scene. The reunification of Germany did not require border change in your view? The breakup of the Soviet Union is not border change enough for you? The breakup of Yugoslavia? Kosovo rings a bell?

Crimea is sacred for the Russians, not just Orthodox but for every Russian because of its cultural and historical significance. Ukrainians declared themselves to be not Russians but something quite the opposite. If you must refer to someones statement, please, reproduce it accurately.


Babeouf 10 Jun 2015 13:10

How was the US suppose to know the Guardian would make such a big splash over this non event.

US ambassador, who knows diddly, gives advice to the Pope.

Yes its a funny story but that is not how the Guardian is playing it. Some one clearly earning their Agent of influence bonus.

OneTop 10 Jun 2015 13:07

Since the US has the EU firmly under its heel it's now moving on to bullying the Pope to further the geopolitical goals of American hegemony?

No doubt they threatened to sanction the Pope if he doesn't fall into line.


nnedjo 10 Jun 2015 13:03

Now what? If Pope Francis would now really started to criticize Putin "for the violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine," then everyone would say, "You see, Pope Francis receives orders from the US ambassador to the Vatican!" So, it would seem as if the US ambassador to the Vatican is pontiff, and not that it is Pope Francis himself.

All in all, it was a very stupid public statement by the US ambassador in Vatican.


charrette 10 Jun 2015 13:01

"It shows the ignorance of the pope about the situation in Ukraine."

Perhaps, on the contrary, it shows that the Pope has done his homework and read, for example, the recent excellent account by Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine : crisis in the borderlands. I recommend it to anyone who thinks the Russian stance is to be merely demonised. Sakwa deals particularly well with decay of diplomatic protocols.


RayJosephCormier AbsolutelyFapulous 10 Jun 2015 12:55

No one was killed when the Russian troops, already in Crimea, came out of their barracks, compare to millions killed in US invasions of other Nations so far from the continental US.


chulumani 10 Jun 2015 12:53

Just another US stupidity. Hasn`t anyone the peace-nobel-prize-drone`s administration how much Yanks are hated in South and Central America? Especially Argentina has suffered a lot because of the US initiated coups and military goverments. ALL juntas, the one here in La Paz as well, were run by the American Embassies. A lot of priests were tortured and killed as well. Hugo Chavez once said, that the only goverment in the Western Hemisphere which doesn`t have to worry about a coup is the one in the USA, because there is no American Embassy in Washington.

So this freaky US troll tries to tell the Pope about the right thing to do? The Pope should have told him tell that joker in the White House to stop invading other countries, torturing innocent people, instigating terrible civil wars and financing as well as arming islamic terrorists.

nnedjo 10 Jun 2015 12:51

If the US ambassador to the Vatican dares to command the Pope what he has to say to Putin, then imagine what the US ambassador to Ukraine was ordered to their President Yanukovych, before he was deposed by violent coup.

And then they have the nerve to talk about "respect for the integrity and sovereignty of other countries."


photosymbiont 10 Jun 2015 12:48

Many bureaucrats and politicians in the U.S. want to restart the Cold War with Russia as a means of keeping the bloated U.S. military-industrial budget intact.

Pope Francis appears to be an impediment in this effort, as he is talking to everyone with some weird Christian notion about making peace with one's enemies - he must be a communist, right?

Roger Tidy 10 Jun 2015 12:47

Hopefully, the Pope is intelligent enough to understand that the Ukraine crisis was provoked by the US-backed removal of a democratically elected government. What has happened subsequently in the country is the result of the coup. Moreover, behind the US backing for the coup, is its desire to continue NATO's expansion on Russia's western border. Too many people today are confusing the original action, i.e. the coup, with the reaction!

Albatros18 caliento 10 Jun 2015 12:46

It is called state visit, and when he does he achieves things. You remember what Abbott said he would do to Putin when he met him? Abbott was shitting his pants. G7? They met, and what did they achieve other than confirming that the EU is being hurt by the anti-Russian sanctions.

Jeffrey_Harrison jezzam 10 Jun 2015 12:46

Well, there's Libya; no boots on the ground but we bombed the shit out of them and there's Yemen and Pakistan where we have ongoing drone wars. I'll grant you that Obama has mostly continued the wars of his predecessor but now they're his. I would also point out that the Russian troops that acted in Georgia were not invaders but were there as a peacekeeping force and the Russians in Crimea were there in the Russian base in Sevastopol which was by arrangement with Ukraine. While the US tries to make everybody look the other way, we send troops into Ukraine under the guise of trainers. If we can send troops halfway around the world, why can't Russia send troops across their border?

AngrySkeptic 10 Jun 2015 12:42

Kenneth Hackett, the US ambassador to the Holy See, said the Vatican "could say more about concerns on territorial integrity".

I am always amused by anyone from the New World being serious about "territorial integrity". All of those countries exist because they ignored the territorial integrity of the people who were already living there. It was an American president who decided after WW1 to give a part of Austria to Italy. It was an American president who took Kosovo away from the Serbs. "Territorial integrity" mattered not a jot in the adjustments made after WW2, in Europe as much as in the Middle East. What has this got to do with the Pope, whose main concern is with the spiritual welfare of Catholics?

TiredOfBS_2015 10 Jun 2015 12:41

Pope Francis has been encouraged by a top American diplomat to take a tougher stance against Vladimir Putin when he meets the Russian president

---
Wow...
So US "apparatchik" is patronizing Pope himself now...?
This is just marvellous..

So is it really works like this? US fella coming to all EU government officials and Telling them what to do?

For a moment (long time ago), I've thought we have a representative democracy.
Apparently, by the actions taken by Brussels recently I can tell – Commission represents USA, not me.

My opinion is surely ignored.

Actually nobody even bothers about my opinion. US is dictating how we are living now here, in Europe. Just great.


secondiceberg Alessandro De Sando 10 Jun 2015 12:27

When a group of people, geographically, culturally, and political united, decide that they want to pursue self-determination (a stated Western value once upon a time), that does not exactly fit the definition of terrorism. We might call them freedom fighters. By your reckoning, Mandela was a "terrorist".


ID9492736 jezzam 10 Jun 2015 11:43

This is not even hypothetically possible. Russian GDP is a fraction if American, roughly one eighth of it (Russian $ 2.1 trillion, American about $17 trillion). For American corruption to be lesser than Russian in absolute terms, American corruption would have to be lesser than 1/8th of what is currently going on in Russia.

Anyone who has ever done business with an American corporation (be it private or government-owned), or - heavens forbid - the City of New York - knows that such statements belong in science-fiction.


geedeesee annamarinja 10 Jun 2015 11:42

"war criminals among the flock. Blair is the prime example."

And Blair was re-elected in 2005. Popes have to have some contact with leaders of different countries.


annamarinja Skallior 10 Jun 2015 11:39

No, he is not. Obama is a clever and loyal servant to the Plutocracy. He is own by the global financial system and he has been doing everything in his power to please the system.


ID9492736 10 Jun 2015 11:34

The fact that the Pope elected to meet Putin means that he is completely disregarding the ugly and meaningless blather coming from the neocon/neoliberal/neoevangelical/neofascist quarters and is guided by the divine wisdom alone. Clearly, the neoconservatism has lost its global mojo and is now reduced to vile global intrigue and worse.

With Pope as brilliant and as likable as this, I could easily become a Catholic myself (well, perhaps for an hour or two). I am concerned, however, that the Vatican bankers and their City of London bosses may not quite like the idea of Pope meeting Putin.

Habeas Papam, indeed. Bless ya, Frankie!

annamarinja cherryredguitar 10 Jun 2015 11:31

When is Vatican going to start the process of excommunication of the pious catholic Tony Blair, a self-serving politician that made the UK join the US in the illegal wars in the Middle East? Hundreds of thousands of civilians are dead, including children and pregnant women. Hundreds of thousands became handicapped. Millions are displaced. The western atrocities and politicking in ME have created a monster of ISIS. Where is the voice of Church? Vatican is amazingly lenient towards the war criminal.


nobledonkey -> Alderbaran 10 Jun 2015 11:30

Who cares about Western Liberal Democracy in Russia? That's a purely western conceit.

The Pope's main concern here is peace and the long efforts to reunite the Catholic and the Orthodox, something much, much more important than silly notions that the Americans are pushing.

secondiceberg -> jezzam 10 Jun 2015 11:25

If Putin had the slightest interest in re-establishing control over the former USSR countries, he had a long time to do it, but he turned his attention to rebuilding the country he is president of, with a lot of success until the U.S. recognized it might have to deal with another significant economic entity.

We are left with the fact that it is the U.S. that now has de facto control over those countries, through its apparent dictatorial power over the E.U. and its military arm, NATO. Maybe it is too simplistic, but if you want to establish who desired control over those countries, it might be well to look had who has control.

secondiceberg -> jezzam 10 Jun 2015 11:19

For someone who has no influence, Putin seems to be the constant focus of anguish and attention by politicians and media in the West. Another day, another column, another wild-eyed speech about Putin. Even Forbes once again names him as the most powerful person in the world (albeit after a short introduction denouncing his "sins", with a list of transgressions that must surprise Putin.) As for more positive influence that Putin possesses, you left off Brazil, India, China, South Africa, a number of countries in Latin America, even Greece, Turkey, etc. This positive influence is not gained by Western style bullying, but old-fashioned goodwill negotiation that seeks compromises that recognize the interests of all countries involved.

Bogdanich 10 Jun 2015 11:18

The Pope will do no such thing and all this represents is a suggestion by an enormously corrupt US administration about talking points they would like to see included when he speaks before the US Congress in September 2015. Yes that idiot Bonyer invited the pope to speak as cover for inviting Netenyahu against the wishes of the administration and so now they have a problem as they already know what he is likely to say.

As an aside if you substitute the word "Fuhrer" for "Administration" it makes the point clearer but then you get in trouble with the thought police.


Profhambone FallenKezef 10 Jun 2015 11:13

Absolutely! And the Pope should be wary of taking US advice. While our moderate republican President Obama rails at Russia for interfering in the Ukraine (whose democratically elected President was ousted in a US supported coup) we support countries with "great" human rights' records such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Communist China and Egypt while using drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq.

Hell, we even lost one to Iran when it flew "accidentally" over the Iraq-Iran border. Intact....

At one time the USSR was described as "the Evil Empire". The people who pointed and quoted that forgot that there were 3 fingers pointing back at them.....The Pope should remember that.....

StatusFoe -> Expats10 10 Jun 2015 11:11

1) Oil and gas reserves off the coast
2) To kick the Russian Navy out of the most strategic port on the northern side of the Black Sea.
3) To block planned Russian pipelines under the Black Sea.

All very plausible for US energy and, by extension, military interests.


ConradLodziak 10 Jun 2015 10:58

Being Argentinian the Pope will be very familiar with US ignorance. Furthermore Francis does not need 'advice' from an unqualified lightweight. He is perfectly capable of detecting western propaganda in relation to Ukraine, Russia and Putin.

The latter has consistently demonstrated a strong stance against US hegemony and EU and eastern European states willingness to tolerate neo-nazism. This stance has won Putin the respect of most of the world. The US should be advised to mind their own business and focus their energies on trying to become a civilised society.


Joe King 10 Jun 2015 10:40

As much as that tool Putin deserves an endless waterfall of cold criticism poured over his head -

In this case, the Pope might also blast America for its newfound Christian fundamentalism that's attacking its poor and marginalised, the wholescale militarisation of the US police into a violent above-the-law force attacking its own people, how America's self-serving overseas wars and tinkering has stirred up all kinds of trouble for Catholics/Christians in those countries, and so on.

Putin is a puffed-up little thug, so I'd wholeheartedly support the pope in criticising him - just as, to be fair, I'd also want to see him criticising America for the many, many awful things that It has done, and that are happening there.

Someone might tell the ambassador that the Pope's searing criticism of America would be true fairness and equality before God. (Even if an atheist like me says so.)


VengefulRevenant -> jezzam 10 Jun 2015 10:32

Could this change of mind to 97% in favour of joining Russia be due to the fact that the Crimea referendum was organised by the Russian army at gunpoint?

Or could it have had more to do with the right-wing/neo-fascist coup in Kiev that took place between those polls you cite and the poll, the one where Crimeans officially expressed their desire to leave Ukraine and join Russia? The latter obviously, because their change of mind has subsequently been reflected in every poll taken since, even those conducted by US regime agencies. Crimean support for Russia is genuine.

Jezzam, you're just making a dick of yourself here. "Forgetting" the US-backed coup is just ridiculous, and nobody honest and informed believes that the people of Crimea want to be part of Ukraine. Nobody.


Dani Jenkins jezzam 10 Jun 2015 10:31

Perhaps you could point me towards ANY democracy....

I see a light over my Greek border, but not equal representation of women in the London and Zuerich elite echelons of the corporate class.

In case you had not noticed the exodus from the corrupt practice of empires, the wave of feudalism and diseased minds , is heading your way. It looks to me like you have sucked the Hack(ett) job, hook line and sinker.... look too at the article for the Congo and Soco's corruption of said "military" and get back to me with any queeries:-)

You should be worried about your state, as it seems to me , Vlad has his well under control....you on the other hand NOT....stop closing your eyes to corrupt practices that have corrupted the world today, far more than Putin.... yermelai's comment holds credibility, yours a complete joke.

I see no sign of democracy whatsoever yet (Iceland excepted)....you are surely a man, well out of Africa!


chulumani 10 Jun 2015 10:30

It just beggars belief. The rogue state USA which has been since decades going over this planet with a flame thrower, initiating coups, installed bloody, military regimes, financed and created terrorism and terrorist groups at will and financed civil wars whenever it helped their own agenda, tries now to tell the Pope what to do and what not. After getting ready for a hostile takeover of the FIFA, they seem to aim now for the Vatican as well.

Not even the Nazis dared that.


johnbonn 10 Jun 2015 10:27

This Pope has shown that he can think, speak and act for himself.

The CIA now wants the Pope to go against the largest Christian country. Isn't geo politics entertaining.

On the other hand the CIA always goes around the world telling people what to think and what to do. The CIA would even tell God to sanction the RF, so Hunter Biden doesn't lose his job.

If Pope Francis doesn't listen to the CIA /ambassador, he could be in trouble. Reports of his Vatican enemies are already circulating. Cardinal John Law is the chief of suppressing criminal behavior in all church affairs. He never saw a pedophile he didn't like.

Now the CIA is streaming anti Russia messages through the Internet into Crimea, to turn Crimeans.

Russians will never allow Crimea to be occupied by the west.


RayJosephCormier Alessandro De Sando 10 Jun 2015 10:26

Does Obama think about the terrorism he is supporting in Syria, half way across the world from the US, but Russia cannot do anything when the US engineers a Coup d'Etat on Russia's border? Such hypocritical, double standard BS will not cultivate a more peaceful world, but the opposite!

Is it right for Obama to change the regimes in other Nations so far from the US? Iraq was an illegal invasion since the only world body that could have given permission for the invasion, denied the permission. The US setting the example, broke International Law, but demands other Nations follow it or be punished, Israel being the exception.


geedeesee -> jezzam 10 Jun 2015 10:22

Not when you look at the survey. 68% had warm attitude towards Russia; only 14% to EU. And only 14% consider themselves Ukrainian; the vast majority Russian/Crimean. No doubt their position shifted further after they witnessed the coup in Kiev.

Full survey:
http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/2013%20October%207%20Survey%20of%20Crimean%20Public%20Opinion,%20May%2016-30,%202013.pdf

laticsfanfromeurope 10 Jun 2015 09:54

Pope Francesco and Putin-probably the two most wise, intelligent and carismatic leaders on earth!
They are the defensors of christians, unlike the west, which send weapons to anti-christian terrorist groups, for example in Syria.
Up the Pope!
Up Putin!
Up the Catolics and the Ortodoxs!


VengefulRevenant 10 Jun 2015 09:11

The pontiff has chided world leaders for seeking to diminish anti-Christian violence and the topic is likely to be raised on Wednesday.

Actually the pope would be pleased and grateful if world leaders would take action to "diminish anti-Christian violence."

The literal meaning of "diminish" - to reduce - overpowers the writer's apparent intended meaning - to discount - creating another absurdity in this rubbish article.


SHappens 10 Jun 2015 09:02

What a delirious article. Putin pariah on the world's stage is risible. The World does not resume the US and its poodles. The symptom of a European order, [or] European architecture, which has not found its stability at the end of the cold war has all to do with NATO's aggressive expansion towards Russia's borders.

Putin and the Pope already shared the same views about Syria thus it is not excluded that they might also have the same view about the fratricide war in Ukraine, brought to you by the US. Unless the next US coup will be to oust the Pope since he doesnt comply with their hegemony's plans and resist to their pressures.

MaoChengJi -> HollyOldDog 10 Jun 2015 08:57

Well, whataya want: the Pope gets his daily news and instructions directly from God, while the others get it from the US embassy.

AnimalFarm2 10 Jun 2015 08:53

Why? because you don't like Putin? Well I can list a whole load of Americans the Pope should ex-communicate, starting with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice. To name a few!

philbo 10 Jun 2015 08:52

"The presidential visit underscores Russia's cosy relationship with Italy at a time when Putin is otherwise being treated as a pariah on the world stage."

the world stage -- you mean by world the US and its poodles in Europe but that doesn't include China, India, Brasil and all the rest of the countries that don't have a voice on the global stage. As Usual Imperial US has to bully other countries who dare to think differently and it can't bear dissent from some of its allies.


Justin Thyme 10 Jun 2015 08:47

A fantastic bit of writing irrelevance based on hearsay and speculation as non important filler to shape opinion. God against Putin is the message, well done Guardian, following orders again, brown nosing in case those nasty GCHQ people will come and threaten you again.

Andrew Morten was the death knell for investigative journalism in the UK as the unreported is hidden with crap like this. Infotainment sols as information and knowledge.

VengefulRevenant 10 Jun 2015 08:28

The presidential visit underscores Russia's cosy relationship with Italy at a time when Putin is otherwise being treated as a pariah on the world stage.

What an extremely stupid, ignorant thing to write. It's deranged.

Putin is not a pariah by any objective standard. The only countries treating him as such are the NATO imperialist regimes and a smattering of other US satellites, i.e. a tiny minority of the world's states including an even tinier minority of the world population.

This is the absurdity of atavistic Eurocentrism in a world that has definitively stopped revolving around the white empires. It smacks of "Heavy Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off."

MaoChengJi 10 Jun 2015 08:19

In February, the pontiff referred to the bloodshed in the Ukrainian conflict as "fratricidal", a comment seen as controversial in Ukraine, where the violence is viewed as a direct consequence of Russian aggression.

Obviously, the Pope is a separatist and FSB agent. 7 years. Next!

[Jun 10, 2015] Paul Krugman Fighting the Derp\

"..."Derp" is a term borrowed from the cartoon "South Park"...: people who keep saying the same thing no matter how much evidence accumulates that it's completely wrong. ..."
Jun 8, 2015 | Economist's View

Paul Krugman: Fighting the Derp

"How can you protect yourself against derpitude?":
Fighting the Derp, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: When it comes to economics - and other subjects, but I'll focus on what I know best - we live in an age of derp and cheap cynicism. ...

What am I talking about here? "Derp" is a term borrowed from the cartoon "South Park"...: people who keep saying the same thing no matter how much evidence accumulates that it's completely wrong. ...

And there's a lot of derp out there. Inflation derp, in particular, has become more or less a required position among Republicans. ... And that tells you why derp abides: it's basically political. ...

Still, doesn't everyone do this? No... There's also plenty of genuine, honest analysis out there - and you don't have to be a technical expert to tell the difference.

I've already mentioned one telltale sign of derp: predictions that just keep being repeated no matter how wrong they've been in the past. Another sign is the never-changing policy prescription, like the assertion that slashing tax rates on the wealthy, which you advocate all the time, just so happens to also be the perfect response to a financial crisis nobody expected.

Yet another is a call for long-term responses to short-term events – for example, a permanent downsizing of government in response to a recession. ...

So ... how can you ... protect yourself against derpitude? The first line of defense, I'd argue, is to always be suspicious of people telling you what you want to hear.

Thus, if you're a conservative opposed to a stronger safety net, you should be extra skeptical about claims that health reform is about to crash and burn, especially coming from people who made the same prediction last year and the year before (Obamacare derp runs almost as deep as inflation derp).

But if you're a liberal who believes that we should reduce inequality, you should similarly be cautious about studies purporting to show that inequality is responsible for many of our economic ills, from slow growth to financial instability. Those studies might be correct - the fact is that there's less derp on America's left than there is on the right - but you nonetheless need to fight the temptation to let political convenience dictate your beliefs.

Fighting the derp can be hard, not least because it can upset friends who want to be reassured in their beliefs. But you should do it anyway: it's your civic duty.

anne said...

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/i-do-not-think-that-derp-means-what-you-think-it-means/

June 8, 2015

I Do Not Think That Derp Means What You Think It Means
By Paul Krugman

Continuing on the theme of derp in policy discourse: * Vox coincidentally has a post ** about Hillary Clinton's proposal for automatic voter registration noting that signing up less informed voters isn't necessarily a bad thing, because "informed" voters mainly seem to be informed about the party line. In effect, they know which derp they're supposed to repeat.

Indeed, regular viewers of Fox are worse at answering simple questions about reality than people who watch no news at all.

Meanwhile, however, I'm getting a lot of people saying "Oh yeah? You do derp more than anyone!"

No, I don't. You may believe that I am evil or stupid, or evil andstupid. But derp means something specific: it means always saying the same thing, regardless of circumstances, and regardless of past errors. Declaring that the Federal Reserve's policies are going to cause hyperinflation, year after year, when it keeps not happening is derp. Declaring that we need aggressive fiscal and monetary expansion when the economy is depressed isn't. It's not an invariant claim - in fact, I get accused (stupidly) of some kind of inconsistency because I thought deficits were bad under Bush but good under Obama. And it's not a prediction that has repeatedly proved false.

What the accusers really mean here is that I keep saying things they dislike and dispute. But that's not derp, that's just disagreement. There's a difference, and only the derpy fail to grasp that difference.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/opinion/paul-krugman-fighting-the-derp.html

** http://www.vox.com/2015/6/8/8740897/informed-voters-may-not-be-better-voters

Peter K. said in to EMichael... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 09:14 AM
It's a lefty version of Republican derp. They know Obummer is a centrist sellout, ergo Obamacare is bad.

I just think the stats speak for themselves and will so increasingly as times go by.

With inflation and monetary policy, the derp is strong even on the left. It's harder to argue conclusively about macro which is why it's so vulnerable to derp.

Brian said in to DrDick... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 11:57 AM

The president who protected the culprits who made the 2008 banking crash is center-left? The president who then protected the felonies of robo-signing is center-left? The president whose policy caused the destruction of half of black American net worth is center-left? The president who prosecuted more whistleblowers more aggressively than any in history is center-left?

The president who continues to maintain classified state secret status of a trade treaty that he is pushing through Congress is center-left?

This is not a center-left administration.

pgl said in to pgl... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 10:27 AM

Dean Baker on the Deflation Cultists at the NYTimes:

http://www.cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/deflation-nonsense-in-nyt

It starts with our something our gold bug cultist (JohnH) should read:

It is amazing how economic reporters continue to repeat nonsense about deflation. As fans of arithmetic and logic everywhere know, deflation is bad for the same reason a lower rate of inflation is bad. It raises the real interest rate at a time when we want a lower real interest rate and it increases the real value of debt when we want to see the real value of debt reduced. (The real interest rate is the nominal interest minus the inflation rate.)

JohnH said in to pgl... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 10:49 AM
Well, I finally caught pgl in a lie. He has not read Piketty! If he had read Piketty he would understand what he said about inflation. It's all over the book.

Piketty said, "inflation in France and Germany averaged 13 and 17 percent a year, respectively, from 1913 to 1950. It was inflation that allowed both countries to embark on reconstruction efforts of the 1950s with a very small burden of public debt," (because they had effectively eliminated the public debt via inflation.)

Regarding Britain, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the British monarchy chose to borrow without limit to finance wars. "it would take a century of budget surpluses to gradually reduce Britain's debt to under 30 percent of national income in the 1910s."

During the 20th century "in Britain, things were done differently [from France and Germany:] more slowly and with less passion. Between 1913 and 1950, the average rate of inflation was a little more than 3 percent a year...Britain was fully mobilized to pay for the war effort without undue dependence on the printing press, with the result that by 1950 the country found itself saddled with a colossal debt, more than 200 percent of GDP, even higher than in 1815. Only with the inflation of the 1950s (more than 4 percent a year) and above all of the 1970s (nearly 15 percent a year) did Britain's debt fall to around 50 percent of GDP." This experience helps explain why British politicians are more sensitive to a high structural deficit (5.7% of GDP) than liberal economists, who could care less about such things.

pgl (and many liberal economists) think that massive debt levels are a free lunch, and that there are no consequences! However, as interest rates, as eventually they must, and governments must roll over debts, debt service impinges on the government budget, necessitating increases in taxes or decreases in investments and services. Alternatively, governments can choose to just inflate away their debts, as France and Germany did, something that liberal economists do not seem to particularly concerned about, despite the adverse impact on significant portions of society.

JohnH said in to JohnH... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 02:47 PM
correction: "as interest rates rise, as inevitably they must..."
JohnH said in to pgl... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 05:58 PM
And just what did pgl see in Piketty? Surely not that France and Germany used it to wipe out the public debt. And surely not that Britain soldiered 25 years under the burden of its public debt after WWII rather than resorting to inflation.

I guess pgl conveniently skimmed over a lot of things that he disagreed with, even though this was repeated several times in the book.

pgl said in to JohnH... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 07:18 PM
"Only with the inflation of the 1950s (more than 4 percent a year) and above all of the 1970s (nearly 15 percent a year) did Britain's debt fall to around 50 percent of GDP."

This is funny because you earlier said the UK did not use inflation to lower its public debt. I and Anne noted that its inflation rate since 1955 has been higher than that of France, Germany, and the UK. And Piketty notes it was high too.

Do make up your mind someday - please. Every one has noticed how much your fact free rants contradict each other. It is getting really embarrassing.

pgl said in to JohnH... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 06:01 PM
JohnH has figured out that there was a lot of inflation in Germany between World War I and World War II. Wow! The economic issues for the Weimer Republic have been long discussed. The Treaty of Versailles and its war reparations was the subject of Keynes first important thesis, which has been widely discussed but I guess JohnH missed that discussion and its importance for the Greek situation. It was this issue that the government used as its excuse for excessive monetary growth and the resulting hyperinflation. But that ended and the 1924-1929 Golden Era followed. I guess JohnH missed that too.

But the real crisis – which is what led to Hitler displacing this regime – was when they listened to gold bug idiots like JohnH, PeterK has reminded us of Brüning's policy of deflation which led to a massive recession. I guess JohnH has chosen to ignore this. But Piketty noted in his book. Funny that JohnH never mentions the disaster that listening to his gold bug stupidity led to.

JohnH said in to pgl... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 06:24 PM
pgl still thinks that high public debt is a free lunch...I mean, what could go wrong? The experiences of Germany, France and Britain mean nothing to him.

Now, pgl, can you tell me exactly why Piketty doesn't like inflation? And can you tell me the only thing that Piketty thinks is worse than inflation?

Now we'll see if pgl has read Piketty, as he claims.

Sandwichman said... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 07:21 PM
"But if you're a liberal who believes that we should reduce inequality, you should similarly be cautious about studies purporting to show that inequality is responsible for many of our economic ills, from slow growth to financial instability."

Following up on that point, Sandwichman has a comment on Dean Baker's response to Krugman's blog post, "Musings on Inequality and Growth"

"Inequality, Growth and Leisure"

http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2015/06/inequality-growth-and-leisure.html

In response to musings by Paul Krugman on inequality and growth, Dean Baker asks whether taking more of the benefits in leisure time might skew the appearance of the data. That is to say if the value of leisure wasn't excluded from GDP, those countries that took more leisure -- and, incidentally, are relatively more equal -- would have higher growth rates.

Ironically, Dean doesn't have the time just now to check that one out. Sandwichman has time but not Dean's virtuosity with data.

As Krugman argues, "there just isn't a striking, simple relationship between inequality and growth; all the results depend on doing fairly elaborate data massaging..." There isn't a striking result to be had from the data for a good reason. There isn't a single relationship in the underlying reality. The results are also constrained by what questions are being asked.

The presumptive question seems to be whether inequality is good or bad for growth. Is that the only question worth asking? Is it the best question? Dean framed his question about leisure as a supplement. He remarks, mock apologetically, "there is nothing wrong with taking the benefits of higher productivity in the form of leisure rather than income."

Wanna bet?

There must indeed be "something wrong" with taking the benefits of higher productivity as leisure. Otherwise, why would economists echo, decade after decade, the lump-of-labor refrain against the "fallacy" of reducing working time? If there really was nothing wrong with taking the benefits of productivity as leisure, then, hey presto, that boilerplate injunction would be superfluous -- inappropriate, even.

Are economists ignoring the obvious?

Sixty years ago, Simon Kuznets -- who won the Sveriges Bank ("Nobel") Prize for his pioneering work in national income accounting -- was puzzled by his finding that for a limited sample of industrially-advanced countries, inequality didn't increase with growth. He was puzzled, in part, because ceteris paribus, "the cumulative effect of such inequality in savings would be the concentration of an increasing proportion of income-yielding assets in the hands of the upper groups." This was the famous inverted "U"-shaped Kuznets curve. Subsequent research by Thomas Piketty has shown the curve to be an anomalous statistical artifact of the periodization and country selection.

There are a multitude of factors that could explain the Kuznets curve anomaly and it is doubtful that knot could ever be untangled. But let me suggest a factor candidate. The period in which the Kuznets curve prevailed was the period in which the eight-hour day became standardized in the industrially-advanced countries. Instead of looking exclusively at the relationship between growth and inequality, might there not be greater insight gained from investigating the triad of growth, inequality and leisure?

anne said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:15 PM
http://www.cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/krugman-inequality-and-growth

June 8, 2015

Krugman, Inequality, and Growth

Paul Krugman questions * whether there is an existence of positive relationship between equality and growth. He rightly cautions those on the left against being too quick to accept the existence of such a relationship.

He uses a simple graph showing the relationship between inequality and growth per working age person in the years 1985 to 2007. His takeaway is that there is not much a positive relationship, but there clearly is no negative relationship between equality in growth. In other words, the people who are that we need to have more inequality to support stronger growth have a hard case to make using this simple comparison.

I would suggest taking the analysis one step further. One big difference between countries over this period is the extent to which they opted to take the benefits from growth in more leisure time. There are large differences in the decline in the length of the average work year across countries.

Using the OECD data ** (which is not perfect for international comparisons) we find that relatively equal France saw a decline in average work hours of 10.2 percent over this period. Denmark had a decline of 5.3 percent, and West Germany had a drop of 15.9 percent. These would translate into annual increases in GDP per potential work hour of 0.5, 0.2, and 0.8 percentage points, respectively.

By contrast, in the relatively unequal U.K. the drop in average hours was 4.7 percent, in Canada 3.1 percent, and in the U.S. 2.2 percent. These translates in gains in annual GDP per potential hour worked of 0.2, 0.1, and 0.1 percentage points, respectively.

Would looking at GDP per potential hour worked strengthen the positive correlation between equality and growth? I don't have time to check that one just now, but a quick eyeballing of the data suggests that it is possible. This still would not be conclusive evidence that equality is good for growth, but it would be interesting. And, it is an important reminder that there is nothing wrong with taking the benefits of higher productivity in the form of leisure rather than income. The planet will thank you for it.

* http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/musings-on-inequality-and-growth/

** https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS

-- Dean Baker

anne said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:27 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/musings-on-inequality-and-growth/

June 8, 2015

Musings on Inequality and Growth
By Paul Krugman

I've been using the case of research on inequality and growth as an example of an issue where liberals need to be careful not to let wishful thinking drive their conclusions; it would fit perfectly with our world view if inequality were not just a bad thing but also bad for the economy, which is a reason to bend over backwards to avoid accepting that conclusion too easily. But what do we really know?

Well, there have been a number of studies that seem to find a negative relationship, all based on some kind of international cross-section approach (some with time-series aspects too). So what is my problem? In general, I have doubts about the whole growth regression methodology, which has lots of problems in identifying causation (remember, that's the methodology behind the Reinhart-Rogoff debt-threshold paper). Beyond that, there just isn't a striking, simple relationship between inequality and growth; all the results depend on doing fairly elaborate data massaging, which might be right but might also be teasing out a relationship that isn't really there.

Let me give you a picture showing what I think we know. It compares inequality with growth; I've made some data choices that others may wish to do differently, so let me explain those details. First, instead of raw Ginis I use the new Gornick-Milanovic numbers * for households without members over 60. Second, I measure growth in real GDP per working-age adult (15-64), because raw GDP per capita is significantly affected by demographic divergence. Third, I look at the period 1985-2007 - essentially, the Great Moderation - because I'm not talking about macroeconomic policy. Oh, and finally I exclude both transition economies (which went from Communist to very poor capitalist circa 1990, and have very different stories) and Ireland, which grew so fast that it's hard to see anything else.

Here's what I get:

[Growth in GDP per working-age adult, 1985-2007]

If you squint, maybe you see a very slight negative relationship here (R-squared of 0.02, if you care), but it's not much. Basically, there isn't much difference in growth rates overall; the low-inequality northern Europeans have a range of outcomes not noticeably different from the high-inequality Anglo-Saxons.

I might also note that low inequality is no protection against financial crisis - the Nordics had some major ones in the early 1990s. Also Denmark and the Netherlands have very high levels of household debt.

It's important to realize that the absence of any clear relationship is a big win for progressives: right-wingers always claim that any attempt to reduce inequality will hurt the feelings of job creators and kill growth, but there's not a hint of that problem in the data. But not much evidence that failure to reduce inequality kills growth, either. And I personally am making an effort not to be greedy - not to claim that a drive against inequality, which I view as crucially important for social and political reasons, is also the cure for lots of other things.

* http://www.gc.cuny.edu/CUNY_GC/media/CUNY-Graduate-Center/PDF/Centers/LIS/LIS-Center-Research-Brief-1-2015.pdf?ext=.pdf

anne said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:28 PM
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1dLF

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, 1985-2007

(Percent change)

anne said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:31 PM
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1dLH

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France, 1985-2007

(Percent change)

anne said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:32 PM
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1dLL

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, 1985-2007

(Percent change)

Dorian Cole said... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:32 PM
There have been a number of studies done on this, including the fact that arguing with "Derps" makes them go to ridiculous logical extremes to justify their beliefs. It's counterproductive to argue with them. I cover this in this article:

http://onespiritresources.com/articles/influence.php

Sandwichman said in to Dorian Cole... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:27 PM
Yes, there is no chance of persuading with facts someone whose mind is made up. One would have a better chance with a fence post. The only point to such an argument is for the sake of the spectators -- if there is an undecided audience.
EMichael said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:46 PM

I much prefer liberal applications of prozac and/or a baseball bat to those people. Far more effective than a fence post. And in the case of the drug they may actually become human.

EMichael said in to Sandwichman... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 01:15 PM

Ohh,

And you can get a better grip on a baseball bat. Bat speed is real important in this area.

Sandwichman said in to EMichael... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 12:57 PM
Not to mention the splinters you get from fence posts!
Sandwichman said in to Dorian Cole... Monday, June 08, 2015 at 01:45 PM

See also: "Why We Ignore the Obvious: The Psychology of Willful Blindness"

http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/08/27/willful-blindness-margaret-heffernan

[Jun 08, 2015] Right Sector Violently Disperses Kiev Gay Parade, Guardian Lies About It by David Rudge

Actually Guardian does mention "far-right groups" attacks. Still this short article does contain cowardly phase "unknown assailants" -- "Dozens of unknown assailants have attacked a gay rights march in Kiev, injuring several marchers and police officers." As in all such cases Guardian does not allow comments to the article because commenters would reveal double standard it practice in covering such events, depending of the GB establishment position toward particular country. Nothing surprising. Standard practice of "free press".

The gay pride pride march in Kiev lasted all of 30 minutes. After the organizers rejected mayor Vitaly Klitschko's request that they cancel the march, just 300 people turned up. As they threatened, Right Sector duty attacked the march and dispersed it.

Meanwhile the western media persists in its cover up. The most outrageous is the Guardian. It reports that the gay pride march in Kiev was dispersed. However, it says it was attacked by "unknown assailants".

That is a straight lie. There is nothing "unknown" about the assailants.

[Jun 07, 2015] Ten ways in which life could change if the UK left the EU Discussion

"...I find it personally offensive if people in other EU states who don't even know me make the assumptions you allude to purely on what they know about handful of people who represent their own xenophobic interests and not the decent majority of the UK population. "
"...Since 1997 (legitimate) immigration to this country has been at a rate of 500,000 a year - roughly 9,000,000 over the past 18 years. How can you suggest that the need to build on green land, to accommodate an extra 9,000,000 people, is the result of governmental failings. It is simple fact that people need to have somewhere to live, and there simply isn't enough housing stock nor available brownfield land to build on to accommodate such a number without building on greenbelt land."
"...I am from Germany and have been following the discussion on England and EU for some 20 years. The debate has not lost any of its momentum, though the pro and cons have not changed much. I have come to believe that the mind set in England is completely different from Europe. The focus there is on the economic advantages and on the loss of sovereignty."
Jun 07, 2015 | The Guardian


ID3292559 7 Jun 2015 19:51

This article is just a load of straw man arguments!

1. Just because we leave the EU does not then mean that Britain is then treated like a third world country run by a mad despot. Travelling in and out of the EU would still be very easy for British passport holders.

2. Retiring to pretty much ANY country in the world with a British passport is easy. I have met retirees in Goa, India; Koh Chang, Thailand and California, America. Most countries in the world would welcome us because we are British (goddamit).

3. Nonsense! You think Spain is going to start making it difficult for Brits to buy a second home there? With their economy as it is? Yeah, I didn't think so.

4. Rubbish. How do you know this would happen? Pro-tip: You don't. I have bought stuff from China and found I have consumer rights there. Yeah, I know right!

5. OH NOEZZ!! Trade with some EU countries lost. But wait... Trade with whoever we want in the rest of the world? Yay! Triples all round. I'm buying.

6. This makes no sense.

7. Ok this one could be true. So that's one benefit of the EU I can see. -_-

8. HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS??

9. Oh yeah, we leave the EU and start throwing rubbish everywhere. That'll happen.

10. Nonsense. You just made this up. And besides, if you're implying that these thieves are all from the EU, they won't be allowed entry in the future, right?

This article is another reason why I am finding The Guardian becoming more of a joke.
Do better.

Brucey7 happyki11 7 Jun 2015 19:35

Rather than jumping in with unjustified assumptions about those who hold views on immigration it would be sensible to look at the matter from an objective point of view.

You suggest that both Tory and Labour governments are responsible for the 'problems'. The problem I raised is one of the requirement to build on the countryside to accommodate a growing population. Since 1997 (legitimate) immigration to this country has been at a rate of 500,000 a year - roughly 9,000,000 over the past 18 years. How can you suggest that the need to build on green land, to accommodate an extra 9,000,000 people, is the result of governmental failings. It is simple fact that people need to have somewhere to live, and there simply isn't enough housing stock nor available brownfield land to build on to accommodate such a number without building on greenbelt land.


Steve Belsey -> Abiesalba 7 Jun 2015 18:29

I am from UK, I have not blackmailed anyone, I have not demanded special treatment, I am against a referendum, and a member of a political party that was not calling for a referendum at the last election, I am against discrimination in all forms, I am 100% commi8tted to freedom of movement across the EU, and even more so I am in favour of use o cohesion and structural funding to promote equality of opportunity across Europe. I believe in mutuality and reciprocity, so much that I work for a cooperative = a structure embodied with an EU Directorate Generals- sorry if I spelt it wrong, I cant remember which one. I have worked on Intergra, Adapt, Leonardo and Horizon transnational programmes So which of the above statements do you consider unconstructive, unreliable or disloyal? Oh yeas, I forgot to mention, I have been in a long term long relationship with my partner from the Czech public. I find it personally offensive if people in other EU states who don't even know me make the assumptions you allude to purely on what they know about handful of people who represent their own xenophobic interests and not the decent majority of the UK population. I have said repeatedly I am pro closer integration, especially in social policy. If you find this attitude unacceptable, then by definition you have isolationist views and sure that is what decent people should be objecting to.

praha7 -> countofmontecristo 7 Jun 2015 18:24

My very first comment answered your question i.e. Britain declared war on Germany in response to the invasion of Poland. The fact that this was not of immediate help to Poland was because it was impossible to help straight away.

Perhaps you will answer this question which is how could Britain have provided arms, finance, supplies etc etc. Think about it and I think you will see that it was impossible.

The reason that I brought up the present day situation is that some of the countries in the east appear to have what I think is a similar misplaced confidence in their new and not so new allies.

countofmontecristo -> praha7 7 Jun 2015 18:03

There's quite a big difference though from launching a ground offensive to doing absolutely nothing. Britain could have provided arms, finance, supplies etc, etc but effectively left Poland to it's own devices. You seem to be trying to answer points that I'm not trying to make - nothing to do with the current situation with Russia or NATO. I'm not Polish, nor do I have an axe to grind with or against the Poles or Russia. The point that I've made repeatedly (which you haven't answered) is that Britain didn't follow through on it's responsibilities - it turned its back on an ally in its time of need.

Hellmut1956 7 Jun 2015 17:50

I guess there is one mayor difference on the view and attitude towards the EU which at the end I do believe is the problem with the UK people! For continental members of the EU, mainly those being a part of it since the effort was initiated, the EU is a project to prevent that to repeat that happened 2 times in the 20th century: War!

As a consequence it is the attitude of many of the citizens in those founding members, that we all have to contribute to make this project EU a success!

This is at the same time what is wrong with you my dear friends in the UK. You see the EU merely as a source to national benefits and if those are at any risk you want special deals! Well, we "old member states citizens" see that the press, the politicians and the political environment within the UK keeps its citizen not well informed and is not doing what should be done, to inform you so you can educatedly contribute.

We in Germany see many of the objectives and positions expressed by the UK politicians and reflected in the activities where UK politicians do contribute to the EU inner work as being pretty close to our own positions. As a consequence we would regret if the UK leaves the EU! The article behind this comments is just focusing on trying to present some of the consequences of the UK leaving the EU.

But to my personal believe, the most critical consequence for a UK after leaving the EU is, that the UK would still have to comply with EU laws when dealing with the EU while not having voting power anymore! Take it or leave it is the consequence!

TheTrueHarryPotter 7 Jun 2015 17:15

I am from Germany and have been following the discussion on England and EU for some 20 years. The debate has not lost any of its momentum, though the pro and cons have not changed much. I have come to believe that the mind set in England is completely different from Europe. The focus there is on the economic advantages and on the loss of sovereignty.

In Germany we just have got used to the EU that coexists with the concept of a nation state. Whether it is better for the economy is difficult to say, how should I know, but it just seems to be logical to me that a supranational organization is better suited to address European wide issues. Maybe the EU is not perfect, but it is a platform that one should attempt to change and not to throw away.

I do not know any country that abuses the EU for domestic politics to the same extent as England does. I do not know of any politician of rank who defends the EU.

'Found' letters of love and poetry by Chechen fighters in Syria posted online

Notable quotes:
"...- that it's enacting violence as a yearning to return to Islam's most primitive and literal beliefs, an attempt to time travel, per se, to a medieval past, and in so doing, an attempt to excise modernity itself from the world (hence its ferocious attacks on other Muslims who have overwhelmingly abandoned those archaic beliefs and teachings) -- equal parts enlightening and chilling. "
"...The Soviets were fighting on the side of those Afghans echo wanted to rid their country of such scum. The seppos with their British and Saudi running dogs were the ones who helped these scum win on Afghanistan. They got a thank you on 11/9/01."
"...ISIL remind me of USA from history books. A lot of people unite under an idea, take over land, wipe history and population to a maximum possible extent in order to create a new nation. Ironically it was US idea to give ISIL (or ISIS) a kick start."
"...This piece of non-news from Washington's official propaganda machine RFERL comes across as a thinly vieled attempt to humanize and romanticize the brainwashed ISIS terrorists, who according to the piece are now militants - essentially a neutral term). Will RFERL again relabel them "freedom fighters" if they return to wage Jihad in Chechnya? Most definitely I say. The recently leaked DIA documents revealing that the US financed jihadi-crazed extremist groups in Syria, knowing full well the likelihood they would attempt to declare a caliphate, clearly exposes the cynicism of the US in the Middle East and their plan to create chaos in order to maintain hegemony in the region, prevent Iran and the Shia's from gaining strength, and no matter how many lives and destruction it costs - remove Assad so the Qutari gas pipeline can finally be built through Syria to Europe. Sickening"
"...Yeah, but they need the single evil mastermind responsible for all the evil in the world. They need him in order to scare their rubes, to distract them from real problems, to re-focus their anger. They need Emmanuel Goldstein. Obama bin Laden is dead, so now it's Putin. Obviously he's responsible for ISIS, who else."
"...Attempting to forge a public perception link between Russia and IS ? The White House press Dept have been doing that for quite a while now. Strange then that IS is basically a gang of US originated, trained, armed, and funded attack dogs?"
Jun 04, 2015 | The Guardian

dyst1111 -> StatusFoe 4 Jun 2015 08:39

As my comment was removed I will post again:

"ISIS terrorists, who according to the piece are now militants"

The term "ISIS militant" has been in use for years in British press. Russia Today uses it as well. So your theories are not confirmed by facts. Unless RT is really a part of "Washington's official propaganda machine".

dyst1111 -> Luminaire 4 Jun 2015 08:33

USA created ISIS, NATO, Bolsheviks, Hitler etc...but it were the British who created the USA. So it is the Brits' fault really.

AhBrightWings 4 Jun 2015 07:35

I've rarely seen a greater need for air quotes. There is no "poetry" to be had here, none; not a line or image quoted here rises to poetry's exacting metrics (oddly, the most moving line was about the stove).

I do think the author is right to note the similarities to romanticized chivalry. The Atlantic has a superb, recent article about what "Isis wants." I found its main premise -- that it's enacting violence as a yearning to return to Islam's most primitive and literal beliefs, an attempt to time travel, per se, to a medieval past, and in so doing, an attempt to excise modernity itself from the world (hence its ferocious attacks on other Muslims who have overwhelmingly abandoned those archaic beliefs and teachings) -- equal parts enlightening and chilling.

These written records -- whether propaganda or legitimate letters -- offer glimpses into the mentality that gives rise to these terrible acts, and so have value, but none of the lines quoted rise to poetry in the way the famous Sullivan Ballou Civil War letter does (though, maybe something is lost in translating Arabic to English).

6i9vern psygone 4 Jun 2015 07:29

The Soviets were fighting on the side of those Afghans echo wanted to rid their country of such scum.

The seppos with their British and Saudi running dogs were the ones who helped these scum win on Afghanistan. They got a thank you on 11/9/01.

6i9vern -> Aritra Gupta 4 Jun 2015 07:23

The Graun/RFE/Soros have a soft spot for these types. They did a similar piece on the women of one of the Ukrainian Nazi militias.

HollyOldDog -> Luminaire 4 Jun 2015 07:13

There is no relationship between Putins Russia and ISIS as its a contradiction in terms as Russia favors its relationship with the Syrian Government. Jordan ( who's representatives now want to lead FIFA - payment for services rendered) trained (with the assistance of the USA) the Syrian militants who became ISIS. There are several fractions within Chechnya, some who oppose the countries leader Kadyrov while the majority support him. A few Chechens were 'bused' from ISIS earlier this year to assassinate Kadyrov but they failed and were mostly wiped out.

dyst1111 -> InShockAndAwe 4 Jun 2015 05:42

I know. Just a few examples of this change of tone:

http://rt.com/news/165044-militants-seize-mosul-iraq/ june 2014
http://rt.com/news/210315-isis-militants-casualties-kobani/ june 2014 http://rt.com/news/174480-isis-ransack-monastery-iraq/ july 2014
http://rt.com/news/180712-isis-massacre-village-iraq/ august 2014

I see RT changed the tone a year ago.

warehouse_guy 4 Jun 2015 05:39

ISIL remind me of USA from history books. A lot of people unite under an idea, take over land, wipe history and population to a maximum possible extent in order to create a new nation. Ironically it was US idea to give ISIL (or ISIS) a kick start.

StatusFoe 4 Jun 2015 04:47

This piece of non-news from Washington's official propaganda machine RFERL comes across as a thinly vieled attempt to humanise and romanticise the brainwashed ISIS terrorists, who according to the piece are now militants - essentially a neutral term). Will RFERL again relabel them "freedom fighters" if they return to wage Jihad in Chechnya? Most definitetly I say. The recently leaked DIA documents revealing that the US financed jihadi-crazed extremist groups in Syria, knowing full well the likelyhood they would attempt to declare a caliphate, clearly exposes the cynicism of the US in the Middle East and their plan to create chaos in order to maintain hegemony in the region, prevent Iran and the Shia's from gaining strength, and no matter how many lives and destruction it costs - remove Assad so the Qutari gas pipeline can finally be built through Syria to Europe. Sickening...

normankirk 4 Jun 2015 03:53

Seems there are chechens and chechens, those who are loyal to Russia and those who would still be doing Beslan type massacres if they could. Incidentally those were always referred to as militants, not terrorists by the US. Chechens who fight in Syria also fight in Ukraine against the eastern Ukrainians. There are two excellent articles in The Intercept about the Chechen Extremists fighting alongside the Ukrainian army.

Maxstoic -> Corsair1972 4 Jun 2015 03:31

There once was a Chechen named Sam
Who listened to his fanatic Imam
So full of hysteria
He pissed off to Syria
And blew himself all over the sands.

Sam's wife left her home and her kids
And headed south to pick up the bits
Of her dead husband's remains
(Though he had little brains
His head filled up with myths and shit)

MaoChengJi -> Chris Hindle 4 Jun 2015 02:54

Yeah, but they need the single evil mastermind responsible for all the evil in the world. They need him in order to scare their rubes, to distract them from real problems, to re-focus their anger. They need Emmanuel Goldstein. Obama bin Laden is dead, so now it's Putin. Obviously he's responsible for ISIS, who else.

Chris Hindle 4 Jun 2015 02:17

Attempting to forge a public perception link between Russia and IS ?
The White House press Dept have been doing that for quite a while now

Strange then that IS is basically a gang of US originated, trained, armed, and funded attack dogs?

[Jun 04, 2015] How to succeed in Iran: lessons from Russia and China by Tehran Bureau correspondent

Notable quotes:
"...Money money money, grab grab grab. The opening up of Iran is all about western companies making money and peace may be a fortunate side effect."
"...But maybe it's just reputation. The USA has been partying in the Middle East for decades, so people there already know who Americans are and what to expect from them. Russians and Chinese are involved too, but ways they use to achieve an agreement are not so... insolent, I'd say."
"...Against crippling sanctions they've achieved what the vast majority of countries in the region could only have dreamt of"
"...Resistance against what? Oh, you must mean the Western steam roller that crushes all life in countries that wish to follow their own destiny. Why would Iran want to join the 'Also Rans' who are only allowed the scraps thrown from the Western Oligarch Table?"
"...I'm not sure why state ownership of certain assets and industries is presented as a bad thing, in Guardian of all places. This is how governments pay for high standard of education, healthcare and strong defence. This is how governments avoid the debt trap and compounded interest charges creeping into the tax bill"
"...Wow, you must think that the rest of the world is truly as gullible as those in Canada and Australia when the USA once again stirs the shit at the bottom of the West Ukrainian pond."
"...They also have 81% home ownership as against The US and UK on about 65%. Education is valued and they have a high rate of women accessing tertiary education."
"...It's this kind: we, the westerners, are the most advanced civilization! The proof: our economies are all privatized, not government-run! The Iranians Russian, and Chinese are still savages! They have a long way to go to achieve our advanced level of civilization! "
"...US expert don't really understand that state capitalism is not a communist theory. Majority of Asian nations had practiced state capitalism.

Even British regime do practiced state capitalism till private liberalization been pushed by Margaret Thatcher."

Jun 04, 2015 | The Guardian

bcnteacher 4 Jun 2015 08:17

Money money money, grab grab grab. The opening up of Iran is all about western companies making money and peace may be a fortunate side effect.

BabyLyon 4 Jun 2015 08:14

Russia and China are more eastern, than western. It's easier for Iran to communicate with them, I think this may be a reason too.

But maybe it's just reputation. The USA has been partying in the Middle East for decades, so people there already know who Americans are and what to expect from them. Russians and Chinese are involved too, but ways they use to achieve an agreement are not so... insolent, I'd say.

abdur razzak 4 Jun 2015 07:38

Good, more power to them. This is a much more efficient way to use resources for the benefit of the whole population than anything the west ever tried.
http://www.latestdatabase.com/

1DrSigmundFraud -> JoePope 4 Jun 2015 07:22

The US probably won't be doing business there for obvious reasons. Iran wants to protect it's industries if sanctions are lifted for obvious reasons. You only need to look at the UK for reasons as to what happens if you don't while the US for instance now has only 3 levels of classes

  • Poor
  • Extremely poor
  • Extremely wealthy

Iran does have a healthy middle class one the downtrodden US labor force would die for. Their Oil wealth has been put to good use check out the Tehran Metro for instance

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=tehran+metro+images&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=8jJwVYu9GOqt7Aas5IHoBw&ved=0CCQQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=667

Or their Ski Resorts

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ski+resorts+iran+images&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=QTNwVarOC-HC7gbUwYDYCQ&ved=0CCEQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=667

Top Hotels

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=top+hotels+in+iran+images&es_sm=93&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=fDNwVeoNxZruBtLngvgI&ved=0CCAQsAQ

Education one of the better Middle east countries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Iran

Against crippling sanctions they've achieved what the vast majority of countries in the region could only have dreampt of

normankirk -> LoungeSuite 4 Jun 2015 06:47

And neo liberalism delivers such a great standard of living for ALL Americans and Brits does it?

HollyOldDog -> LoungeSuite 4 Jun 2015 06:27

Resistance against what? Oh, you must mean the Western steam roller that crushes all life in countries that wish to follow their own destiny. Why would Iran want to join the 'Also Rans' who are only allowed the scraps thrown from the Western Oligarch Table?

MaoChengJi -> LoungeSuite 4 Jun 2015 06:21

Sort of like in Putin's Russia.

Yeah, exactly. Like Putin's Russia compared to Yeltsin's Russia. Like China.

LoungeSuite -> MaoChengJi 4 Jun 2015 06:08

Neoliberalism will fail soon, but state-controlled economies will survive,

Sort of like in Putin's Russia. And now in Venezuela. Oh. And the Cuban is a supreme example of socialism. (Gone wrong of course. Somehow, it always goes wrong. Oh! And America is to blame. Standard Guardian discourse).


HollyOldDog -> Luminaire 4 Jun 2015 06:01

Swimming against the tide again is your speciality. Plus you just love throwing nonsense around. I have noticed that the Far Right Ukrainian punishers are up to their nasty tricks again just before a G7 meeting.

Wow, you must think that the rest of the world is truly as gullible as those in Canada and Australia when the USA once again stirs the shit at the bottom of the West Ukrainian pond.

HollyOldDog -> normankirk 4 Jun 2015 05:48

It's a pity that successive British Governments were not better disposed to hanging on to British State assets rather than selling off the family jewels.

JoePope 4 Jun 2015 05:15

I'm not sure why state ownership of certain assets and industries is presented as a bad thing, in Guardian of all places. This is how governments pay for high standard of education, healthcare and strong defence. This is how governments avoid the debt trap and compounded interest charges creeping into the tax bill -- it is difficult to support the welfare system in any populous country purely through tax collection. One would have to have perfect conditions of natural resources/reserves, high technology, innovation and diversification, favourable geopolitical environment & export ability, stable and predictable population levels AND the lack of short term electioneering and corruption to achieve that. Even then, it is debatable whether private ownership and capital especially foreign capital in the case of strategic assets (energy, defence) is justified or needed.

Of course a fully centrally planned economy has been proven to be inefficient and uncompetitive when met with open/free markets -- the "greed is good" mantra, profit seeking motive and consumerism trumps the desire to empower and care for the wider population and more worryingly the need to maintain social cohesion, independence and security. Therefore, a balance should be sought through bilateral or regional deals with economies which are at a similar developmental level, to ensure healthy competition exists and drives improvements in labour productivity, product quality and technology.

This analysis gives some interesting information on Iran but reads as sour grapes and profiteering attempt by western investment funds and corporations. I hope Iranians keep the family jewels in their hands and allow external trade and investment only on terms favorable to their people and their economy.

normankirk -> MaoChengJi 4 Jun 2015 04:13

Good shit, I agree. Must be how come they can afford a good public health system, their primary health care network is acclaimed. They also have 81% home ownership as against The US and UK on about 65%. Education is valued and they have a high rate of women accessing tertiary education.

All of the above is how they have been so resilient in the face of pretty brutal sanctions.

But of course these days, having national assets is akin to being a dictatorship in the eyes of corporatocracies.

MaoChengJi Dmitry Berezhnov 4 Jun 2015 03:26

It's this kind: we, the westerners, are the most advanced civilization! The proof: our economies are all privatized, not government-run! The Iranians Russian, and Chinese are still savages! They have a long way to go to achieve our advanced level of civilization!

Yes, you can make money trading and making deals with savages, but you need to understand their savagery ways and be careful.

allowmetosayuarefool 4 Jun 2015 02:50

US expert don't really understand that state capitalism is not a communist theory. Majority of Asian nations had practiced state capitalism.

Even British regime do practiced state capitalism till private liberalization been pushed by Margaret Thatcher. Private liberation had its own disadvantages.

look at HK economic - largely been controlled by few family of tycoon. Today, UK election result had been determined by UK BANKER.

MaoChengJi 4 Jun 2015 02:42

The economy in the Islamic republic is still largely state-owned, with much of its 'privatised' capital in the hands of regime-affiliated organizations

Good, more power to them. This is a much more efficient way to use resources for the benefit of the whole population than anything the west ever tried.

Neoliberalism will fail soon, but state-controlled economies will survive, if they are isolated enough from the failing neoliberal environment. Sounds like the Iranian economy is, and good for them.

Dmitry Berezhnov 4 Jun 2015 00:14

Could not figure what kind of article that is, either:

- In case we are not going to sign a nuclear deal, please note that there's no democracy and we will have to invade them.

or:

- Iran is kind of not bad for investments, look how China and Russia make money on cooperation while we cannot due to sanctions implied by ourself.

[Jun 03, 2015] US Congress passes surveillance reform in vindication for Edward Snowden

Jun 02, 2015 | The Guardian

Joe Stanil -> awoolf14 2 Jun 2015 21:27

Poor deluded child. You still believe that the POTUS runs the show? He's merely the MC of a long running cabaret act called "US Politics". He reads the script, you applaud - or else!

SamIamgreeneggsanham 2 Jun 2015 21:27

So this is great, but what about the man who sacrificed his life so that we could have this information? Surely if this passage is a vindication of his actions, then the conversation needs to move towards allowing him to return to the US (if he wishes to) or at least not make him a wanted criminal...?


EdChamp -> russmi 2 Jun 2015 21:22

I guess to most of his supporters this is one instance where "the results justify the means."

Actually, we don't have to argue that the end justify the means. The end was that we were all aware of what had been kept secret from us, culminating in the failure to renew metadata collection. The means to that was the illegal distribution of classified information. I applaud both the ends and the means, it might have been better if he had not been required to break the law, but in this case, I applaud his doing so.

He should return home and accept the legal consequences of his actions. Someone who truly felt he or she was in the right would do so.

Nonsense, but how nice of you to easily volunteer that he give up his freedom. Where is it written that we must be prepared to spend the rest of our lives in prison to make known a secret program, effecting every American, violating the constitution, and subsequently ruled illegal by the courts?


Joe Stanil -> osprey1957 2 Jun 2015 21:21

Remind me. Who said "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"? Ah, yes, Dr Johnson.


Joe Stanil 2 Jun 2015 21:17

Does anyone honestly believe that passing a little law will stop the NSA from continuing its collection of data? Like, it's against the law to steal, that's why there aren't any thieves. Wake up children. This whole game, starting with Snowden, was a calculated "limited hangout" operation, ie show a bit of naughtiness, get the public used to it, then go back under cover. Now the real spying begins.

James Saint-Amour 2 Jun 2015 21:06

Pardon Edward Snowden! He's a patriot just like the Founding Fathers, who were also considered criminals when they stood up for freedom. It's interesting that our government doesn't see that side of the story (but then again, who am I kidding to think they would?)

Nyarlat -> russmi 2 Jun 2015 21:04

Snowden is so baaaad!
The CIA and NSA is soooo trustworthy!
(Of course they helped Pinochet dispose of Allende and also killed thousands of Vietcong with black ops death squads etc.)

osprey1957 2 Jun 2015 21:04

Whatever happens, know that Snowden is, was, and always will be a great patriot. he may be a deluded libertarian...but his patriotism can never be questioned.


shininhstars122 2 Jun 2015 21:01

>>>>New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich, another Democrat on the intelligence committee, praised the bill's passage on Tuesday, saying: "Ben Franklin would have been proud of this outcome."

HAH! What altered universe is the Ben Franklin from that the Senator from the Land of Enchantment is referring to?

Ben Franklin would have said this sir.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Waterdown liberty is what the USA Freedom Act is plain and simple.

awoolf14 -> TeamAmerica2015 2 Jun 2015 20:58

Come out of the 1950's for 10 seconds and you might notice that there is no longer any difference whatsoever between the vested interests of either Party other than the window dressing... Wake up.

russmi 2 Jun 2015 20:54

Personally I'm tired of Snowdon. He still stole and illegally distributed classified info. I guess to most of his supporters this is one instance where "the results justify the means." But how often do they let others get away with that excuse? He should return home and accept the legal consequences of his actions. Someone who truly felt he or she was in the right would do so.


awoolf14 2 Jun 2015 20:53

Its great to know that we're all being 'protected' and are 'safe' in the hands of Obamas exorbitantly expensive "national security professionals."
.
...Professionals like The TSA, who recently failed 95% of a 'Red Team' national airport security infiltration test, including but not limited to failing to notice a team member walking by them, with a fake bomb taped to his back (face-palms).

Or The NSA, who have just been forced by their own Govornment to shut down a 4 year multi million dollar bulk surveillance program that- er- didn't actually catch any 'terrorists,' because they don't make a point of sending open emails or telephone calls to each other to discuss their evil plans (something an 8 year old could figure out).

Please, please lets get somebody sane into the White House this time- because the only job these people are doing, is making all of us look like complete fools.

et_tu_brute -> Oneiricist 2 Jun 2015 20:44

Yeh... the surveilance worked so well, that they didn't see the 'Boston Bombers' coming. People have every right to question the NSA's self-given right to delve into peoples lives, all without any independent oversight, no checks and balances, no transparency. No wonder people don't trust them.

et_tu_brute -> BradBenson 2 Jun 2015 20:38

You are absolutely correct, however the o/p is a member of a tribe that choses to believe Snowden was a traitor, no matter what facts were presented or are revealed by his actions.

et_tu_brute -> delphinia 2 Jun 2015 20:35

Yeh, I remember that. Bush & Cheney promoting the looney neo-con cause by creating the fiction of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Now look at the mess left behind by these stupid idiots who were intent on creating a new mess by trading up on the goodwill they received internationally that backed the US in their quest to go into Afghanstan after 9/11.


et_tu_brute -> MtnClimber 2 Jun 2015 20:29

There has been no evidence that that ever happened. What did happen though was Snowden leaking embarrassing information which gave cause to his fellow citizens to wake up and smell the flowers, that they were being illegally 'spied upon', collectively, through the bulk collection of telecommunications data, without legal authority to do so.

Now go back to looking for commies or jihardists lurking around the corner. I guess you are just a simple victim of politicians' rhetoric that promotes 'fear, uncertainty & doubt' within the community, a.k.a. 'The F.U.D. principle'.

Gary M. Wilson -> Nicholas_Stone 2 Jun 2015 20:28

THE MAN IN THE ARENA:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

Posh_Guardianista -> JohnDavidFletcher 2 Jun 2015 20:28

Do you know who controls them, who governs the use of the data, what happens to it? That's a bigger danger to your freedom than the NSA.

Key difference being that you can block them. You can't block the NSA surveillance.

et_tu_brute -> shortcircuit299 2 Jun 2015 20:19

Unfortunately, I suspect this won't curtail the NSA's nefarious activities, just change the goal posts. No doubt 'Plan B' had already been devised a long while ago and would come into play in such a contingency. The lack of independent oversight and transparency of the activities of the NSA will mean that another 'whistle-blower', if they are game enough, would be needed to come forward to further expose wrong-doing. Most, if not all members of Congress and the Senate still haven't got a clue about any of this, and most never will.

Leondeinos 2 Jun 2015 20:18

This so-called reform is very limited: as he "praised" the passage of this bill, Obama said he will "work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country." You bet! That means he'll set the NSA and the other "competent organs" to work on new ways to gobble up even more useless data. He will also continue telling lies, repressing revelation of truth throughout the government, and driving war all over the planet.

Senators Sanders and Paul are right about the USA Freedumb Act.


TiredOfTheLies 2 Jun 2015 20:11

McConnell should be ashamed of himself. The bulk collection of cell phone data was a stalker's candy store, and there are just as many predators on the inside of government as on the outside. The Republicans were well aware of problem agents, some even suspected of abduction, rape, and murder. As if the founding fathers didn't know about rape, and the problem with abusers of all kind having too much information on innocent peoples' lives.

Search warrants are there for a reason. They leave a paper trail. If the only thing that missing women have in common are search warrants by the same agent or group of agents, then police have the suspect list that they need. When they don't have search warrants, you're likely to find bodies all over the country with no idea of how they got there, which is what the US has now.

And by the way, that beloved program of theirs was of no use for solving those crimes because criminals are smart enough not to leave phone record evidence. The only people who leave a trail that can be found this way are the innocent (read: victims), and the stupidest criminals on earth.


redbanana33 2 Jun 2015 20:05

"US Congress passes surveillance reform in vindication for Edward Snowden"

Those are the headlines on this Guardian story.

To vindicate, my dictionary says, means to clear of blame or suspicion.

Well, then, COME ON HOME, ED!!

No? You won't? Well,..... why? Then why would the Guardian say you are vindicated by the passage of this stupid half-bill in the U.S. Congress?

Someday soon, though.

Sydneyfl -> Nicholas_Stone 2 Jun 2015 19:57

Traitor to WHAT? Oppression? Spying? Conjured up enemies? The military industrial complex, financed by the bankers, cabal? Hooray for Snowdon!

MKB1234 2 Jun 2015 19:54

Mitch "The Party of Smaller Government" McConnell destroying America from the inside.

Lesm -> Happy Fella 2 Jun 2015 19:51

No his refusal to do so shows he recognises the complete and utter failure of the US legal system, as is evidenced almost daily by the revelations emerging about the mass torture, incarceration without trial and sometimes death of innocent people whose only sin was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Lesm -> Happy Fella 2 Jun 2015 19:51

No his refusal to do so shows he recognises the complete and utter failure of the US legal system, as is evidenced almost daily by the revelations emerging about the mass torture, incarceration without trial and sometimes death of innocent people whose only sin was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Posh_Guardianista -> FoolsDream 2 Jun 2015 19:51

You should read the entire article.

NSA "reform" is essentially a reset - existing legislation has passed, reorganisation will now take place and the mass surveillance will still continue as before.

Make no mistake, PRISM, mass surveillance of the world, XKEYSCORE, widespread backdoors in routers and computer equipment; compulsory sharing of data (whether for security or corporate gain, as with Petronas) with the US Government - will still continue. If you think otherwise, then it is you who is deluded.

FoolsDream -> JohnDavidFletcher 2 Jun 2015 19:49

Only if you assume we visit this page unprotected my friend. Besides, the argument of they do it so it's not a problem if the others do it, is a poor argument.

Lesm 2 Jun 2015 19:48

It would be nice if all the troglodytes who bagged Snowden for his act of conscience would recognise the courage that he showed in doing so, but that is about as likely to happen as Hell freezing over. These loons, who spend hours every day blogging about the State trying to take away their freedoms have the capacity that Orwell talked about as "doublespeak" and doublethink" where you can hold two completely conflicting ideas in your head at the same time and believe both, as they see Snowden as a traitor for revealing the traducing of the American people by their own government.


Washington_Irving SteB1 2 Jun 2015 19:44

Unfortunately, the NPP committee consists of discarded politicians. And when it comes to standing up to Uncle Sam, Norwegian politicians are – as a general rule – a bunch of despicable cowards.

Snowden was awarded a £12500 freedom of expression prize earlier today (well, yesterday), and the chances of him being allowed to accept it in person in September are virtually non-existent.


FoolsDream Happy Fella 2 Jun 2015 19:44

You'd have been great back in the witch-hunting days. "If you drown, you're a witch and we'll burn you. If you live, you're a witch.. and guess what?.. yep, burned."


kowalli 2 Jun 2015 19:41

future
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gy7FVXERKFE&feature=youtu.be


JohnDavidFletcher SpeakFreely 2 Jun 2015 19:39

Know these chaps?

Audience Science
Facebook Social Graph
Google Dynamic Remarketing
Krux Digital
NetRatings SiteCensus
Outbrain
PointRoll
ScoreCard Research Beacon
Twitter Badge

That's the 9 companies/organisations tracking you on this very page. They will then record where you go next, what you do on this page, the frequency of these visits, what links you click on your emails etc.

Do you know who controls them, who governs the use of the data, what happens to it? That's a bigger danger to your freedom than the NSA.


Happy Fella 2 Jun 2015 19:38

If Mr. Snowden has been, as The Guardian says, "vindicated", will he now be returning to the U.S. to receive whatever apologies, honors and rewards are bestowed on those who have been "vindicated"? Or, alternatively, will he continue to reside in Russia, remaining a fugitive from justice in the U.S.? And, if he chooses to do the latter (which I predict he will do--anybody want to make a bet?), in what sense has he been "vindicated".

The passage of this legislation doesn't change the fact that Snowden has been charged with multiple violations of U.S. law regarding confidential, secret information, and his refusal to stand trial is powerful evidence that those charges are well-founded.

awoolf14 2 Jun 2015 19:36

Re Obama: "work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country".

- Ah yes, the famous 'National Security Professionals." That would be Star Trek fan Kieth Alexander, who had the command center of the NSA converted into a full scale replica of the bridge of the 'USS Enterprise,' complete with whooshing doors and a Captain Kirk chair for him to sit in, and his 'Mr Spock' James Clapper (oddly unretired) who lied to Congress during the NSA hearings, then absolved himself by saying he'd given the "least untruthful answer."

- "Professional?' What on earth is Obsms talking about, these people are obviously stark raving bonkers!


bodicca 2 Jun 2015 19:23

Orwell lives on! What is this "Freedom" that government intrusion into our lives and activities is protecting? Is it the freedom to work harder and longer than people in other developed countries for less access to advanced education, healthcare and free time than those people?

Or is it the freedom to pay excessive salaries and benefits beyond our imagination to CEOs of corporations? Or the freedom to exist with a crumbling infrastructure while funds for repairs are diverted? Or the freedom to pay for bribes (er lobbying) for legislators elected by us, so that they will pass laws that oppose the wishes of the people. How long will we tolerate being lied to? Freedom, indeed!

Jim Mansberger 2 Jun 2015 19:20

It is the military and intelligence agencies that do not want to drop all criminal charges against Snowden, and rather do the right and just thing, which is to recognize him as a US Government whistleblower and protect him.

Wharfat9 2 Jun 2015 19:12

On cutting out the bulk surveillance ...

This makes one a little uneasy - this, so they say - stopping of bulk data collection. Look here: you got that big ´ol facility out at Bluffdale, Utah. A huge mongramamous caw that can take in all the e-mails, phone this and that and every other thing - including, probably, the kitchen sink - and don´t tell me that they gonna just put all those huge gears and terabytes and fans and flywheels and nobs and buttons and doodlygooks on idle?

Idle? A ´sweet machine´ like that?

No way, José.


Sydneyfl 2 Jun 2015 19:10

America no longer has a press. Foreigners and Neocons have used the international banksters to finance their buying up of 99% of our newspapers, book publishers, TV content, magazines, radio, etc.,.. and who they didn't buy out ...they try to bribe or muzzle with the threat of job loss. Snowdon had no choice. Remember we are the "huddled masses yearning to BREATHE FREE". We will keep chipping away until we get our God Given country back. Snowdon risked himself to help us do just that. He had no choice!! Some people can't be bought!!


Dugan222 Edward Frederick Ezell 2 Jun 2015 19:08

The advantage is that this third party is a NSA front operation. :) Do you know what it means??? Every night, all the data being stored by this company are being transferred and backed up by the NSA. Hehehehehhee......

The NSA still keeps all the data but the public won't assume the NSA has the data since we are supposed to think that the NSA is no longer storing out phone data..... No one talks about who is running this third party company...


Edward Frederick Ezell 2 Jun 2015 19:07

Since users of communications services will be required by the private providers to agree to the recording of their communications, this procedure nicely sidesteps the limitations placed on the government by the Constitution.

Although it seems quite clever it is in effect a conspiracy between the government and providers to facilitate government violation of the constitution.


WadeLovell 2 Jun 2015 18:49

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer says, "This is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that Americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check." I don't see this as vindication. OTOH, I don't believe it would have passed without the lingering bitter taste of overzealous government and the people like Snowden who helped expose it.


Dugan222 2 Jun 2015 18:41

Sigh...I am not convinced. The NSA would go after where the data is. If they are in the hands of the phone company, they would have operatives working there. Worst, the phone company would outsource the data management retention to a third party, NSA front company. Here, on the surface, the NSA may appear to have no connections and responsibilities for storing the phone data. Again, who is policing the phone company. And who is policing this "third party."

vr13vr 2 Jun 2015 18:08

Why does the Congress have to name laws with such fanfare? Freedom Act, Patriot Act, and so on? Just to sound self righteous? Or to make sure that whoever does not agree with it could be viewed as a unpatriotic and against freedom?

Would that be much better, and practical as well, not to over-hype laws but give them reasonable and descriptive names?


sbabcock 2 Jun 2015 18:07

Seems to me the difference is the NSA has to actually go to the phone companies and plug in to their server to vacuum up the data instead of having it delivered on a silver platter. Let's face it, there are loop-holes galore in the "Freedom" Act. This is the Senate pretending to do their jobs. "Hey, you pretend to be against this to save face. We'll pretend to pass something that is 'different' and then we'll go on vacation again. People will think we 'do' stuff. Problems solved." But it's simply re-shuffling the paperwork, something the House, headed by the Orange Man, are experts at.

There's another story here today about FBI planes, registered under fake business identities, using Sting-Ray to scoop up all kinds of phone data from above... so... look over here! so you don't see what's going on over there! smfh

mcstowy DerekHaines 2 Jun 2015 18:07

During the McCarthy hearings, the easiest way to come under suspicion was to be "prematurely anti-fascist." You see "good Americans" (meaning the right-wing corporate elite) supported Hitler and Mussolini.

ID9492736 2 Jun 2015 17:50

The Most Transparent Administration In American History.

Even the sponges and mollusks are fainting from too much laughter.

Barry D. Lauterwasser wardropper 2 Jun 2015 17:29

It's amazing how a few people, and the internet can make such a difference. Throughout the annals of history, many have sacrificed much, even their lives, for the good of the nation. Like you, I'd like to see him come home and pardoned, but I'm sure his safety would be in jeopardy due to the fanaticals here. Someday, history will hopefully judge these brave souls that came forward to shed light on the things government does under the guise of "security." Time will tell...

madamefifi 2 Jun 2015 17:11

Not a week goes by without my thoughts (and I am just an ordinary joe with no political connections whatsoever) turning to Edward Snowden and the gross injustice he has and still is suffering. Please watch Citizenfour if you have not already done so, to understand the full magnitude of this injustice. I hope I will live to see this injustice corrected and hope this is a step forward in an inhumanely long process. Edward Snowden is one of the world's true heroes. I believe he deserves the Nobel peace prize or some other worldwide recognition for his sacrifice but sadly no prizes or freedoms are within my remit and never will be. Mr Snowden, this is all I can do and it might not count for much, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


TrueCopy 2 Jun 2015 16:59

USA Freedom act is not what it is made to be. It has so many loopholes that makes it essentially irrelevant. For example to get records a subpoena need to be issued, but the subpoena doesn't need to be for one number or one individual, or even a roaming individual, they can issue a subpoena for Verizon and another for AT&T and another for Sprint and T-mobile, and pretty cover everyone. This is pretty much the same as what they were doing, but a little more cumbersome, which can be overcome by a few software applications. Rand Paul wanted to limit the subpoena to an individual living and breathing person or persons, rather than a telecom company which failed. So you know where this is going, the lawyers at NSA can argue because that amendment failed, the intent of congress was to allow them to subpoena phone company records.


Jbons990 2 Jun 2015 16:36

Fantastic. The fact that the mass collection of telecommunication data was hidden from the public (and would have remained hidden were it not for a certain whistle blower) just demonstrates that the NSA and GCHQ will never tell us the truth. This shiny new surveillance reform is one giant metaphorical rug, for the NSA to sweep all attention underneath, before proceeding to collect everybody information again. Because that's America. And that's democracy. *cough* Bureaucracy.


freeandfair tbv954 2 Jun 2015 16:34

Yep, the CIA were caught hacking into White House computers (about 6 months ago ? ) in order to see the information on torture. Anything happened after they were caught red-handed and lies about being caught under oath?

Nope. Just business as usual in the self-proclaimed shining city on the hill, the most democratic country on Earth.

[May 28, 2015]Moscow's account of Nato expansion is a case of false memory syndrome

May 24, 2015 | The Guardian

VladimirM 27 May 2015 09:39

It's all water under the bridge now whether assurances were made or not. Nato expanded, Russia saw the threat in it and we have arrived to where we are now.

If this bitter experience is anything to go by, Nato would better stop where it is at the moment and not 'invite' new members, such as Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

From the military point of view, and what well known events have proven, both Georgian and Ukrainian armies (do not know about Moldova) do not meet and unlikely will soon meet requirements needed, from the financial point of view neither Europe nor those countries can afford full-scale refurbishment of their military capabilities. Is it worth pushing any further?

Cooperation implies communication and dialogue and listening to each other, it's about time, I believe.

Alexander S -> Botswana61 27 May 2015 08:49

Can you explain it?

How come Russia is the second destination country in the World after the US? How about you get the facts straight before commenting?

Alexander S -> Botswana61 27 May 2015 08:39

wasn't it pres. Putin who has recently changed Moscow's military doctrine…

You're wrong. It was Medvedev in 2010. "Prevention of a nuclear conflict, as well as any other military conflict is the most important task of the Russian Federation".

"Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, and also in case of aggression against Russia with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened".

Alexander S -> Botswana61 27 May 2015 08:11

cannot be held responsible for its deeds

I perfectly understand Russians. You see I've inherited all the property and debts of my grandad. I've paid all his liabilities existed. I continue to execute his contracts. But don't you dare to make me responsible for what that old hag says he did to her in college! I AM his successor but I'm not responsible for his deeds. Period.

assets a little east of the Urals … not being formally in Europe anymore

That's exactly what the Treaty says. Anyway it doesn't matter anymore as Russia completely halted its participation in the Treaty.

Iran has also signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. And?

And the US of A do anything it can to encumber Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

Alexander S -> Botswana61 27 May 2015 05:28

Ukraine never had any nuclear arsenal at the first place, USSR did. The Russian Federation is one and only USSR's successor state. Ukraine was pushed by Russia and US to give back or destroy any nuclear weapon happened to be on its soil after the fall of the Soviet Union.

And yeah, Ukraine has given up any rights to have a nuclear arsenal by signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty not the "Budapest Memorandum" as some imply.

Czechlander 26 May 2015 23:47

None of this chatter matters; let those that clamor for NATO enjoy their imagined security. Of course, by joining NATO, a country like Estonia is at a risk from all NATO potential enemies. Not a wise choice. But never mind. The greatest danger to us all are the risks associated with the undeniable fact that huge swathes of Russia are under foreign occupation because of Bolshevik treason of the Russian people. Let's face it, only Russia was made smaller and weaker within the framework of the Soviet Union by the egregious Bolsheviks; it's easy to figure out how much Bolsheviks "loved" the Russian nation.

The Russian people resident in the territories fraudulently taken away from Russia have full rights to do anything to change the illegal status quo and return to Russia's bosom. One doesn't have to be an oracle to see that Ukraine is going down the drain, what with all the fascists in its government, the failed economy, the exodus of its young to Russia and the EU, and so on. When the people in the Russian regions under illegal occupation become fed up with their bleak lot within the chauvinist Ukraine, and a standard of living akin to that of the Indian unclean caste, they will be in position to simply and easily say Good Bye to it. There won't be anybody around to take on the unenviable task of stopping them. Nothing I or anyone else says about it here is going to alter one iota of this geopolitically inevitable future.

AnimalFarm2 26 May 2015 23:08

What utter rubbish! Guardian was once respected. The author has done very little homework!

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker told Gorbachev on February 8, 1990 that "NATO's jurisdiction will not shift one inch eastward."

The next day, German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl told Gorbachev that "naturally NATO could not expand its territory" into East Germany.

On the same day Germany's Minister for Foreign Affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher said the following to Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze: "For us, it stands firm: NATO will not expand to the East."

On this basis the whole article is codswallop!

The author should retract and apologise!

MysticMegsy -> Ivan Daraktchiev 26 May 2015 21:46

"With the collapse of Soviet Union NATO's raison d'être disappeared and it should have disbanded itself exactly the way the Warsaw Pact did"

Fair point, can't argue with that. Your user name had me worried at first, but you seem to be a rational thinker.

"Instead, it continues to serve as a vehicle for conducting USA's proxy wars, each part of its 70 years long bellicose campaign for the immense Russian resources."

Hmmm, are you sure? and which proxy wars (relating specifically to Russian resources) might those be? I could list dozens, but none to do with Russian sovereign territory. In fact most proxy wars I can think of were backed by the US and USSR on opposing sides.

"There's nothing to discuss here, especialy after US Congress' vote for Resolution 758 on Dec. 4th 2014 thus legalizing the war against Russia - including approval of a preemptive (nuclear) strike."

OK, it's clear now - you are a paranoid lunatic. You almost had me hoodwinked there for a moment.

desconocido 26 May 2015 19:51

The claim that the west gave no guarantees against Nato expanding eastwards may be literally true but is nevertheless misleading. As Clark and Spohr write, "these developments belonged to a future that was not yet in sight".

Having freed eastern Europe and dissolved the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet leadership trusted that the west would reciprocate by respecting Russian interests, and was repeatedly reassured by western leaders in this respect.

As a member of the European parliament delegation to the Supreme Soviet in 1989, I witnessed this trust and later the increasing bewilderment of the Soviet/Russian participants in various conferences at the arrogant triumphalism of Nato and even EU speakers. "But I thought communism had lost and we had all won?" complained one.

Many Soviet leaders responsible for the "miracle of 1990" – like the former Soviet ambassador to Bonn, Valentin Falin – have complained bitterly that Mikhail Gorbachev naively trusted the west and gave away so much for so little.

So the attitude of the revived Russia of today should not come as a surprise.

Jakob von Uexkull
Former MEP, German Greens

desconocido -> Metronome151 26 May 2015 19:41

So yes it is just Russian hysteria, wishful thinking and false memory syndrome.

More to the point is EugeneGur's comment:

But the memory of Nato's broken promises also matters because it touches on the legitimacy, in Russian eyes, of the international settlement established during the German unification process and the European order that emerged in its wake.

The west always considers Russia's action in isolation from everything else. The narrative is rather simple, not to say primitive: Russia is inherently bad, aggressive, totalitarian (feel free to add whatever additional derogatory adjectives you can come up with). So, whatever the West does against Russia must be good. The West never considers the impact its own actions have on the Russian perception of the situation and Russian actions. The expansion of NATO were bound to elicit Russia's reaction at some point, regardless whether any promise was made and whether it was binding or not. It doesn't really take a genius to predict what that reaction would be, which is a good thing, because NATO is rather short on geniuses.

People, you were given a gift, a gift the West did not in the least deserve. The Soviet Union peacefully withdraw from Eastern Europe. Germany, in particular, was given a gift , which was no less than magnificent considering what Germany did in Russia. And how did the West use that gift? It grabbed and grabbed, and grabbed. Finally, it bit off more than it could chew with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, particularly, Ukraine.

desconocido -> Chirographer 26 May 2015 19:28

nobody in NATO, Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova has been planning an attack on Russia.

Really? What do you call that Georgian attack on the Russian peacekeeping force (don't sneer, official OSCE title) in South Ossetia? And if I was in Russia, looking at NATO's track record, I wouldn't believe for a minute that NATO wasn't planning an attack on me.

Alexander S -> SonnyTuckson 26 May 2015 19:27

"The Budapest Memorandum" is a perfect case of false memory syndrome as stated in this article. At no time did anybody, including US and Russia, offer a binding commitment to respect and/or protect Ukrainian borders.

Nevertheless as Russia stated on many occasions it upholds the international law and supports both the integrity of Ukrainian territory and the right of people of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to self-determination.

Ivan Daraktchiev 26 May 2015 17:32

With the collapse of Soviet Union NATO's raison d'être disappeared and it should have disbanded itself exactly the way the Warsaw Pact did. Instead, it continues to serve as a vehicle for conducting USA's proxy wars, each part of its 70 years long bellicose campaign for the immense Russian resources.

There's nothing to discuss here, especially after US Congress' vote for Resolution 758 on Dec. 4th 2014 thus legalizing the war against Russia - including approval of a preemptive (nuclear) strike.

Volkovolk -> silvaback 26 May 2015 17:08

Bla-bla-bla, russian occupants, agression, occupation... Tell me better how you have an UNA-UNSO ultaright party led by son of UPA leader Shushevich.

The guy who led the Volin Slaughter and served in SS punitive batallion Nachtigall. How you have this abomination of a party and dare accuse us in anything, Bizarro?)

MaoChengJi 26 May 2015 15:36

I must say: the authors of letters you published are too nice to this truly disgusting lying and racist piece.

Duncan Frame -> psygone 26 May 2015 13:14

I agree but, you can see US doing almost exactly the same thing with any country that embraces socialism in the Americas. Had Russia extended its hegemony, insofar as it exists these days, there is no doubt the US would use the most effective tools at it's disposal (powerful economic sanctions) to destabilize or otherwise nullify the political power of that country.

The difference between Russia and the US is that Russia cannot control the economic climate anywhere as near as effectively as the US so it uses more direct methods.

FromVolga 26 May 2015 13:13

http://nato.int/docu/speech/1990/s900517a_e.htm

The Atlantic Alliance and European Security
in the 1990s

Extract:
This will also be true of a united Germany in NATO.
The very fact that we are ready not to deploy NATO troops
beyond the territory of the Federal Republic gives
the Soviet Union firm security guarantees.
Moreover we could conceive of a transitional period
during which a reduced number of Soviet forces could
remain stationed in the present-day GDR.
This will meet Soviet concerns about not changing
the overall East-West strategic balance.
Soviet politicians are wrong to claim that German
membership of NATO will lead to instability.
The opposite is true.
Europe including the Soviet Union would gain stability.
It would also gain a genuine partner in the West ready to cooperate.

And could you listen the words of Germany Foreign Minister Genscher in 1990?
Please use link below at 7:50
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfZmPnJbCkI

Do you realy think all of these is a case of false memory syndrome ?

vlad day -> Botswana61 26 May 2015 11:47

How smart. Really being curious or just used to be noisy? Relax. A year has passed, and so far Russia has not recognized the two Republics. Today, nobody speaks in Chechnya or Dagestan about independence; hope the botswana man's being outdated has an excuse. The problem of these territories was not separatism but terrorism. When Russians and other non-Chechens started leaving Chechnya, big banners appeared in the streets reading "Russians, do not leave, we need slaves and prostitutes". As for independence, poorly educated mountain folk whose best skill was using a gun and explosives, had a special idea of it.

When told about the need to buy a visa for every crossing the border once independence is established, they would jump: "Why should I?.. I don't want any visa!!!" – "But you have to…" – "No! No visa!"

I guess the botswana man was already born to the world when Kosovo tragedy started unfolding. Was he asking NATO American guys who were shelling Kosovo and Belgrade (with the words "Still willing to be a Serb?" and "Easter Greetings!" on the shells and rockets) if they were ready, for instance, to grant independence to Texas populated mainly with Mexicans? To all appearance, no.

BradBenson -> alpamysh 26 May 2015 07:41

That is insane. Hitler was always hell-bent on expansion to the East for Lebensraum. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact bought time for both countries to prepare for the conflict that both knew was coming. Stalin was always paranoid and, having killed off his officer corps in the 30's, he was well aware that Russia was not prepared for war.

Unfortunately for Stalin, he began to believe that the treaty would hold, especially since he did not think that the Germans would risk a two-front war again. As a result, he was initially caught off guard and didn't want to believe that the Germans were actually attacking Russia on June 22, 1941. As history has proven, he quickly came to his senses.

BenAris 26 May 2015 07:40

there was a promise of no nato expansion:

On January 31, 1990 West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher publicly declared that there would be "no expansion of NATO territory eastward" after reunification. Two days later, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker met with Genscher to discuss the plan. Although Baker did not publicly [8] endorse Genscher's plan, it served as the basis for subsequent meetings between Baker, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. During these discussions, Baker repeatedly underlined the informal deal on the table, first telling Shevardnadze that NATO's jurisdiction "would not move eastward" and later offering Gorbachev "assurances that there would be no extension of NATO's current jurisdiction eastward." When Gorbachev argued that "a broadening of the NATO zone" was "not acceptable," Baker replied, "We agree with that." Most explicit was a meeting with Shevardnadze on February 9, in which Baker, according to the declassified State Department transcript, promised "iron-clad guarantees that NATO's jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward." Hammering home the point, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl advanced an identical pledge during meetings in Moscow the next day.

refn to archive notes on Bakers comments

http://www.2plus4.de/USA/chronik.php3?date_value=25.02.90&sort=001-000

the prob was because Soviets didnt explicit accept the terms of this informal offer the US felt justified changing it later and eventually included E Germany in NATO.

its not clear cut like Putin suggests but there was an offer even if Soviets fluffed the diplomatic close of the deal.

brianfp -> Polvilho 26 May 2015 07:34

The double standard I refer to is the attitude, prominent in mainstream media, of tremendous hand-wringing over Russia's actions in Ukraine by the same people who either or laud or ignore much worse acts of aggression or terrorism carried out by the US with far less plausible pretext.

I disagree with you on the matter of US actions in the region also but that wasn't what I was walking about.

BradBenson -> SanDiegoGuy 26 May 2015 07:30

I didn't mention the Czars. What I said above is exactly what happened in Georgia.

I was living as an expatriate in Germany at the time and the German Newspapers carried daily maps showing the locations of the pipelines and the location of the fighting. They didn't cover any of that in the US.

Nor did any US Newspaper mention the involvement of the US Military by airlifting the Georgian Afghanistan War Contingent from Afghanistan back home to Georgia virtually over night. Nor did the American News Reports cover the Russian Claims of US Special Forces Involvement and that they found dead black soldiers in Georgian Uniforms. Maybe they were from Atlanta or Resaca.

In any case, I have provided my sources in my other response to your posts. Therefore, I will not repost them here. Suffice to say, if you feel my sources are flawed, you are always welcome to present your own, which you haven't by the way.


BradBenson SanDiegoGuy 26 May 2015 07:13

Well that's all fine and dandy that you have reviewed all of these links and found the arguments, the supporting links in the articles, and the knowledge base of so many different analysts to be flawed. Yet you present an equally flawed history without so much as a supporting source. Whom do you think has made the more cogent argument here?

As for my comments to AstarSoldier, if he's such a "star soldier" let him speak for himself. To me, there are no "star soldiers" and I don't care about his physical stature. The term "little man" referred to his intellect and was a direct reference to yet another sophomoric comment by someone who doesn't know what he is talking about...sort or like your comment above.

Here is the history on Georgia. Educate yourself.

Georgia accused of targeting civilians.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7692751.stm

I survived the Georgian war. Here's what I saw.
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2008/1008/p09s02-coop.html

Revisiting the "Battle of Tskhinvali"
http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/08/16/revisiting-the-quot-battle-of-tskhinvali-quot/

The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power
https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/russo_georgian_war_and_balance_power

Plucky Little Georgia? No, the Cold War Reading Won't Wash
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/aug/09/georgia.russia1

Tbilisi Admits Misjudging Russia
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0d8beefe-6fad-11dd-986f-0000779fd18c,Authorised=false.html?nclick_check=1&_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F0d8beefe-6fad-11dd-986f-0000779fd18c.html%3Fnclick_check%3D1%26siteedition%3Duk&siteedition=uk&_i_referer=#axzz3a7HUGsQv

'Poor Little Georgia'–Not!
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2008/08/13/poor-little-georgia-not/

Saakashvili "planned S. Ossetia invasion": ex-minister
http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/09/14/us-georgia-russia-opposition-idUSLD12378020080914

Did Saakashvili Lie? The West Begins to Doubt Georgian Leader
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/did-saakashvili-lie-the-west-begins-to-doubt-georgian-leader-a-578273.html

Accounts Undercut Claims by Georgia on Russia War
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9805E5DF1130F934A35752C1A96E9C8B63


Aleksander Trebunskikh Matthew Reynolds 26 May 2015 05:10

According to your logic, USA is the biggest empire nowadays and ever been in history, because: "exercise authoritarian control over it's satellite nations" - but, in case you love USA and hate USSR - which doesn't exist for more then 25 years, you wont see this.


Dmitry Fedotov alpamysh 26 May 2015 05:04

For the first time in 20 years in the Chernobyl forest appeared bear, and it was captured at the camera. In Chernobyl, for the first time in 20 years. And then there is a war for a year! tanks, jets! bombs! and no photographs of Russian troops in Ukraine. Hows that? Maybe they are not there? Maybe your media epidemic of idiocy? Remember, your media did not show you all the people killed in Iraq. And them there were more than 200,000. Maybe they're lying to you again?


Botswana61 Kiselev 26 May 2015 04:12

Sea tranport of bulk is the cheapest one by far. With air transport being the best for perishable goods and merchandize (e.g. machine tools, plane parts, etc.) which have to make it to their final destination literally over night.

Sorry ,but Trans-Siberian express types of trains belong to XIX century; while gas-guzzling and heavily polluting Diesel-powered, road-clogging 18-wheelers will largely disappear before the end of the next decade.


Botswana61 Laurence Johnson 26 May 2015 03:52

'The US is isolated geographically from the core global markets of trade.'

What a patent nonsence! If you followed the trends you would have noticed that while Europe (currently in recession) is stagnating - the obvious area of a dynamic economic development is PACIFIC RIM!

The biggest trade association in the world by far is APEC, which includes such countries like Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, to mention just a few.

More&more Americans think of themselves as Pacific nation rather than Atlantic one.

US's business with Pacific Rim countries is brisque and growing fast. So is American export to other APEC member states.

So nice try, but no cigar.


Volkovolk AlfredHerring 26 May 2015 03:45

Yes, that was 70-90% of [all] ordinary people including ukrainians, belarus, kazachs and all other nations with some Batlic and georgian exceptions) What's interesting is that geogians had another exception - Osetian autonomous soviet republic. They - osetians - decided that they wanna stay in USSR and had their autonomous referendum.

The situation in Ukraine (where 70% of people voted for preserving and 28% againsts) changed for now because, you see, ukrainian leaders decided that's the best way to validate independence of Ukraine is to create artifical hatred towards past in USSR and by extension because of galicial lobby towars Russia and russians-moscals.

Now this 25 years of propaganda brought fruits and Ukraine is tearing itself apart in civil war.


SidSpart EugeneGur 26 May 2015 03:21

don't act surprised by the Russia's reaction and the measures Russia takes to counter what it sees as a threat.

I am not surprised by Russia's reaction to N.AT.O expansion .

Even if there was no formal agreement for N.A.T.O not to expand ,it must have been obvious after the collapse of the U.S.S.R that Russians would not want N.A.T.O on their doorstep .

At the time when the old Warsaw pact countries were joining N.A.T.O I felt it was sending the wrong message to the Russians - basically saying - "We Do Not Trust You " especially the talk about setting up the missiles shield .

The question is would the people living in those East European which are now members of N.A.T.O feel safer if they had remained non-members in the light of what has happened in the Ukraine ?

(Even though I think the Ukraine situation is a different case.)

It is not only Russians who worry about their Security and Safety, after all Latvia and Poland have never occupied Moscow or St Petersburg - but Russians have occupied Warsaw and Riga .


Laurence Johnson 26 May 2015 02:31

The problem is simple. The US is isolated geographically from the core global markets of trade. Europe united with Russia and Asia in trade would be a disaster for the US and as such must never happen.

The bridge between Asia and Europe is Russia and its clear that all options are on the table to prevent that link from becoming a reality. Its simple good business sense on the part of the US to protect its markets, which is Europe.

Laurence Johnson 26 May 2015 02:31

The problem is simple. The US is isolated geographically from the core global markets of trade. Europe united with Russia and Asia in trade would be a disaster for the US and as such must never happen.

The bridge between Asia and Europe is Russia and its clear that all options are on the table to prevent that link from becoming a reality. Its simple good business sense on the part of the US to protect its markets, which is Europe.

TecchnoExpertThanx 26 May 2015 00:08

What concerns me is that both the authors Christopher Clark (a Regius Professor of History at Cambridge and the author of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 ) and Kristina Spohr (a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science), carry with them significant title, and responsibility to educate and ultimately influence the next generation of political analysts, historians and policy makers.

This research and amateurish conclusions, resembles more like an essay written by a first year 'Poly Science' student with a score of 'F'.

The problem with many of our educators (amongst other things) is laziness.

Hey, I personally subscribe and listen to LSE (and similar) lectures, debates and PR book releases/reviews... but whether a student or professor, being overexposed to liberal dissidence that are well funded for their 'expert' analysis, will not make you in return an 'Expert', historian, or have you any nearer to understanding fact from fiction.

Its time to break away from the the bubble that includes free lunches and coffee, supplied by government and non government think tanks, and go out and do some real research and analysis that people can learn and benefit from.

AssameseGuy87 -> Bangorstu

I think, after forty years of independence, many of those nations need to start taking some responsibility for themselves.

Yes, there has to be some progress. For example, in India, there has been a furore over colonial-era laws that remain in practice. There really shouldn't be any excuses as to why these laws remain in place and haven't yet been repealed. But the fact remains the Empire did engage in widespread economic exploitation of the colonies that the successor nations were still reeling under after decades after independence. It's easy for some Britons to ask that question ('What have they been doing these past 50-70 years') but I don't think they can ever imagine the mess the Empire had left some of their erstwhile colonies in (in many cases, after more than a century of rule).

Most of the British Empire was conquered for somewhat less than a century....

The bulk of its colonies were acquired in the period from 1815 to 1896 (almost all of them achieved independence after the end of the WW2). One more things needs to be said. In many of these colonies, the formal incorporation of the territory into the British Empire came later; for decades (and in one particular case, up to a century) prior to that, the British were by and large the de facto rulers. Also, some of these colonies were initially British protectorates where the rulers of these states were mere figureheads.

But we never did - the indigenous languages weren't suppressed and they still survive.

The British didn't overtly have to; just one interesting policy was that they just preferred those with English education over those with vernacular language education for posts. It was largely due to the efforts of the indigenous people in many places that their languages survive today. In some places, the British favoured one ethno-religious group over the other for consideration for posts. But then, that comes under divide and rule policies implemented by most colonial powers. I would like to say that in many of these places it wasn't all peace and harmony before the colonial-era; there were indeed bloody conflicts. But then rarely were they along ethnic/religious lines. Divide and rule undoubtedly deepened the divisions between ethnic/religious groups in many former colonies.

And note many of the issues are due to arbitrarily drawn borders which can of course be changed if the countries concerned wish them to be.

And how exactly do you think we should do that??. I actually do know of a war fought over an arbitrarily drawn border. In that case, the British signed an unequal treaty which incorporated that territory into the British Raj (that was in the early 20th century). After independence, it's successor state inherited the territory. The state from which the British had gained the territory (when it's rule was weak and the might of the British was at their highest) considered that border drawn under an unequal treaty to be illegal. The successor state should just hand over the territory and the people living there, right (after 100 years of rule)??.
The Empire did good in many cases (very few dispute these). But what irritates people from places which were formerly part of the British Empire is the tendency of some Britons to simply wish away the problems faced by some of it's former colonies ('Oh, they have been independent for 50-70 years, what's stopping them') without understanding the complexity of the problem and dismissing anyone critical of some policies of the Empire as someone having a 'chip on their shoulder'.
Even worse are of course the shameless, despicable Empire apologists ('Oh, but, but the Spanish were much worse', 'Oh, but, but massacres were the norm back then', 'Oh, but, look at the ones firing the guns'; if only the Nazi war criminals used that last one as an excuse at Nuremberg). Thankfully, you do say this though:

I didn't say that did I? I said being colonized was a mixed blessing which is somewhat different.

Btw, It's a very much more complex situation and set of relationships
Yes, indeed (I agree). The Empire did much good (very few dispute that) and the Empire did much wrong too, many of which have consequences today (and out come all the apologists; I'm not saying you are one though). Many Britons take pride in the Commonwealth (the Army traditions, the language etc) but I sadly doubt many Britons can truly (or more unfortunately, even wish to) understand the negative effects some of the Empire's policies have had on its former colonies.

hermanmitt -> Matthew Reynolds 25 May 2015 20:20

If you really want to sustain this notion that the US is this covert empire, then you have to eventually get around to some sort of Phantom Menace conspiracy theory...

Once there was gold backing the U.S. Dollar. Then there was oil which turned the dollar into the world reserve currency. That and WW11. Now there is nothing backing the dollar, which is now a totally fiat currency backed solely by the U.S. military industrial complex.

The U.S. has established its Empire through the financial system by creating debt, backed at present by absolutely nothing, except the U.S. Military which needs to be pervasive around the globe in order to maintain that status quo.

When a country, Iraq, chooses to start selling its oil in Euros, it gets invaded. When a country starts to sell its oil in 'gold backed Dinars', Libya, it gets toppled. When there is a country the U.S. does not wish a direct military confrontation with, Russia, the war footing moves to a proxy, Ukraine, and the war is escalated on a financial front. Russia kicked out the Rothschilds, paid off their interest owed from oil revenues and banned them from returning to Russia. Now, Russia and China trade for oil and gas in local currencies, cutting out the dollar middle-man, and are creating a new global reserve currency based on the Chinese Yuan coupled to a new gold standard. That makes Russia a legitimate target for both a proxy war, via Ukraine, and a financial war, through sanctions. China cannot be directly confronted because China owns too much US debt, which they can call in at any time, and bankrupt the FED. The same pattern of financial aggression applied, until recently, to Iran. However the mood has changed since the U.S. need Iran to help deal with ISIS in the region in order to keep the dollar-based oil flowing.

The pattern of military and financial aggression is now so blatant it's impossible to hide, and with the rise of the Chinese who have a financial and military pact with Russia, the writing is on the wall for the fall of the dollar, possibly this year. Even the City of London has recognized this and is trading the Yuan in London, with the UK effectively joining the BRICS alliance.

It's time to start recognising the very obvious pattern that has been clearly revealed over the past decade and a half. The U.S. has buried the world in debt through the Federal Reserve System and is desperately trying to keep itself afloat. It has no real friends left, apart from perhaps Britain, but that is also a bit questionable. Everyone has just done as they are instructed, until recently, but of late, and due to the huge shift in trade and energy supply eastwards, U.S. influence is fast on the wane, and the only thing they have left is the MIC.

We are witnessing the last desperate gasps for breath of the U.S. Empire, and it could get a lot more dangerous for everyone on this planet as the inevitable day approaches where the, mathematically certain, collapse of the dollar finally occurs.

Does that go some way to filling in a few of the gaps for you?


Volkovolk -> Will Hay 25 May 2015 20:17

You are really ignorant.

Firstly "soviet invasion" started two weeks after the german. Secondly the goal of this invasion was to put border away to west before inevitable war with Germany. Read about Brest Fortress then understand that before that invasion Brest was on Poland territory. And thirdly to blame Stalin "as much as Hitler" is kinda the same as to blame jews for Holocoust.


Volkovolk 25 May 2015 19:49

Oh, and by the way i feel that i shall ask you western people one question. Have you ever wondered what Russians are thinking about Gorbachev, Yeltsin and about nearly all of their decisions? Have you ever wondered what Russians are feeling towards them? Not pro-western sectant Russians and not some successful businessmen who used the opportunity to became oligarchs, but ordinary people? Hint: this emotion has much, much common with despise and hatred.


vlad day 25 May 2015 18:09

False logic enveloped into quasi-academic wording.

"There was no commitment to abstain in future from eastern NATO enlargement". Yes, there was; a western politician who used to communicate with Gorbachev's team over German matters etc., speaking to reporters: "We didn't put it on paper." A girl journalist happily smiled and nodded her little head on those wise words. So, there was a pledge, though not "put on paper". A nice way of cheating.

"…a mythical sequence of unmediated aggressions whose ultimate purpose was to justify current Russian policy in the Ukraine". And where is a formulation of "Russian policy in Ukraine"?

Here, I guess, the author's knowledge approximates zero. No Western (and no Ukrainian) reporters in the area of conflict, except for a couple of freelancers, one of which is Graham Phillips, a classical black sheep (white crow, as we put it in Russian) of the highly hypocritical journalist community in Britain.

Radical Ukrainian nationalists commit violence all over Ukraine (not only in the two "pro-Russian" regions trying to get out of Kiev's deadly grip), killing politicians, bloggers, writers in broad daylight. Every time no investigation follows. "People being tortured and murdered, oh, really?" Who cares.

The Ukrainian topics have disappeared in the western media except for some half-abstract "academic" contexts like the one above.

EugeneGur 25 May 2015 16:15

But the memory of Nato's broken promises also matters because it touches on the legitimacy, in Russian eyes, of the international settlement established during the German unification process and the European order that emerged in its wake.

The west always considers Russia's action in isolation from everything else. The narrative is rather simple, not to say primitive: Russia is inherently bad, aggressive, totalitarian (feel free to add whatever additional derogatory adjectives you can come up with). So, whatever the West does against Russia must be good. The West never considers the impact its own actions have on the Russian perception of the situation and Russian actions. The expansion of NATO were bound to elicit Russia's reaction at some point, regardless whether any promise was made and whether it was binding or not. It doesn't really take a genius to predict what that reaction would be, which is a good thing, because NATO is rather short on geniuses.

People, you were given a gift, a gift the West did not in the least deserve. The Soviet Union peacefully withdraw from Eastern Europe. Germany, in particular, was given a gift , which was no less than magnificent considering what Germany did in Russia. And how did the West use that gift? It grabbed and grabbed, and grabbed. Finally, it bit off more than it could chew with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, particularly, Ukraine. Because, you see, Russia is in a way.

Here everything goes: Nazis - no problem; civilian deaths - regrettable but for the good cause; political repressions, torture, murders - can happen to the best of us. With Ukraine even that stand by excuse that the country wanted to join NATO doesn't cut it, because a good half of the country wanted nothing to do with NATO, and NATO knows. But who cares? If necessary, we'll organize a coup, buy off the elites, instigate a civil war, destroy the country - do what it takes but we'll drag whatever is left of it into NATO.


hermanmitt Matthew Reynolds 25 May 2015 15:00

Thank-you for proving my point.

Russia currently has a total of 13 military bases, most of which are in fairly close proximity.

According to a statement Ron Paul, the U.S. currently has 900 military bases stationed in 130 countries around the globe.

That is a difference of 878


AGLiakhov 25 May 2015 14:47

I was a member of various Soviet delegations in these and other talks in the late 80s. I am prepared to sign an affidavit setting out at least 3 occassions when non expansion assurances were given by US and NATO officials of different seniority. I was present when President Bush Sr. Personally promised President Gorbachev that there would be no Eastern expansion. Unfortunately Gorby believed that the world is run by gentlemen and "my word is my bond". He refused to allow us to commit this undertaking to paper. Dear researchers - please research well and maintain your integrity. However I doubt that my comment will be allowed in.

Bardamux -> Chirographer 25 May 2015 14:08

As long as Ukraine does not control all of its territory it can not become a member of NATO. Same with Georgia. The Russian action, while illegal and wrong, is quite understandable. They do not want Ukrain/Georgia to become part of a possibly hostile military alliance. Thus they take a small piece of land and prevent these countries from becoming members.

This would of course be completely unnecessary if the Russians could trust the promises that Ukraine and Georgia will never, ever become members of NATO. But surprise they do not believe this pledge.

' pledge not to violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine' - After there was a deal by with the Western-powers to keep Yanukovich in power until new elections. Which was ripped up barely after the ink dried.

Please try to understand this, right or wrong, Russia might risk nuclear war over Ukraine and Georgia. Much like America risked and threatened this over the Cuban missiles.

Dmitry Fedotov 25 May 2015 14:00

Europe and America turned flourishing Libya to hell. The endless civil war, half the population are refugees in their own country. The number of victims is unknown. Democracy level has not increased. You poured into the Iraq more than 300 tons of depleted uranium which is horrendous toxin. children will die from it for generations. You turned Fallujah into radioactive hell. And you call Assad's chemical? All your weapons containing depleted uranium - the chemical.

Chemical Britain, chemical United States and chemical Europe.

When you will realize that you are guilty, when you will repent, remember what else do is your fault, understand how much blood on your hands, then you will have the right to judge someone. Now it's just the arguments of a maniac who sagely condemns others and chews human heart same time.


Bardamux -> Grishnakh 25 May 2015 13:37

Please learn how to read. I stated many times it was not a binding agreement. It was a promise, not a binding agreement. Still upset the Russians though. Well now Russia knows that it can not trust any promise by the US/NATO. And since it is nearly impossible to make a binding agreement that can not be changed it means they will remain distrustful. And might use force if they feel it is necessary. I.e. Georgia and Ukraine. Perhaps even in the Baltics. Which would be a disaster. Congratulations on making a dunce out of Russia. But do not blame them for their lack of trust now.

US can block access of countries if they want. Has there ever joined nation without American approval ?


EugeneGur 25 May 2015 12:36

Amid recriminations over US and western European interventions in Kosovo, Libya and Syria, the Russian leadership has begun to question the legitimacy of the international agreements on which the current European order is founded.

Isn't that rather natural? Nobody certainly signed up for that, for the US or, more broadly, the West, single-handedly deciding what is "the European order" or any other "order", for that matter. It may sound naive, and definitely was extremely naive, but at the time of the Germany reunification agreement the Russian leadership and Russian people could not have imagined in their worst nightmares that the West, including Germany, of all countries (!), would instigate a coup in Ukraine, support neo-Nazis, a civil war, killing and starving of civilians. The West, it seems, like Bourbons, have learned nothing and forgot nothing".

I do hope that the Russian have learned something useful from this development: that the West is never ever to be trusted. If you have to deal with the West at all, get everything in righting three times over, and support that by a good number of judiciously placed military bases.

sambeckett2 -> Renato Timotheus 25 May 2015 11:56

Let's imagine, for a moment, that the you and I go out for dinner and we talk about a lot of things, but we don't discuss me having sex with your wife.
Does that mean that you have acquiesced to me doing it?

The countries in question are not the 'wife' of Russia - they do not belong to Russia. The break up of the Eastern Bloc was more akin to a divorce. If your wife chooses to sleep with me after that divorce it is none of your business - you do not 'acquiesce' to me doing it because you have no say.

Not discussing something does not amount to acquiescence to it.

And it doesn't amount to you having a right to prevent it either.

When G. says that NATO expansion was not discussed, I think he clearly means it was not even countenanced.

They did not have a right to 'countenance' it. If Russia did not consider the possibility at the time, that was their misfortune. To quote Gorbachev:

So don't portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West's finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia at first did not object.

the Germans - e.g. Kohl and Genscher -- knew full well that they would never get their precious reunification if there was any hint of a NATO eastward expansion.

So the implicit and explicit assurances they gave -- the latter in the form of a gentlemanly agreement -- were very real ones.

in 1990-1, there was no assurances of any kind, except with regards to the GDR. Again, Gorbachev clearly states this, and he also states that the assurances with regards to the GDR were kept. You have not pointed out a single instance in which such assurances were made in 1990-91. Gorbachev clearly states that the matter was not discussed and that the examples you have given relate to to GDR alone.

how can Russia's current leadership have any trust in Merkel's pronouncements --

And, as the article suggests, how can anyone trust Russia when they falsely claim they were given assurances about NATO expansion when they weren't? Their own leader at the time affirms this - I cannot see how the sentence "The topic of "NATO expansion" was not discussed at all, and it wasn't brought up in those years" could be any clearer.

Without some level of trust between Germany and Russia, we will see increasing tensions between them and in the part of Europe that lies between the two countries.

That does not give Russia a free pass to claim that something happened when it simply didn't.

GuardianFearless 25 May 2015 11:23

Another NATO fairy tale. Don't you think it's doesn't matter now what exactly West thinks about it, all European decisions already were made and nothing can be done now to change the outcome. The more important part what Russia thinks of that events, and what will be the consequences now, just because Russia thinks that there was a betrayal.

You can try to justify actions that was taken in the past in this case only for your own people, but if you can't convince Russia (and, by the way, the rest of non USA-oriented world), that will not delay or spare consequences. West will have a problem with Russia in future, it's inevitable, and a big one (looks like even nuclear one), because Russia makes reality in the world on her own, that West has to check, so if Russians thinks there was something wrong with NATO actions in 90-th it's totally 100 percent real for the rest of the world. So, author, please check your reality detector, looks like a battery fails in it, and write again!

EugeneGur 25 May 2015 11:06

The miracle of 1990 is that one of the greatest transformations of the international system in human history was achieved without war, in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation.

And then this miracle was used up ill by the West to expand east without any spirit of dialog or cooperation. Even assuming no promises were made, the actions themselves were hardly friendly, and that's precisely how they are perceived in Russia. The usual argument that the Eastern European countries fell over themselves to join NATO is faulty. First, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't recall a single referendum about joining NATO in any of them, so how the people of these countries felt remains unknown.

Second, even assuming they were anxious to join NATO, NATO could've predicted the Russian reaction, could it not, if the NATO commanders had any brains at all? You want to please Estonia and annoy Russia - that's what you have achieved.

So, don't act surprised by the Russia's reaction and the measures Russia takes to counter what it sees as a threat. Regardless of what the Eastern Europe wants, Russia remains within its right to protect itself, and it will. Trying to present it as something totally unreasonable, Russian "paranoia", is the usual deceit tactics the West is so good at. This always amuses me to no end: Russia feeling apprehensive at being encircled by something that represents itself as the strongest military alliance in the wold is paranoia, but the US representing North Korea as existential threat is reality. Fantastic.

Алексей Кузнецов -> AbsolutelyFapulous 25 May 2015 10:48

What did NATO do to Russia that is not a product of Russia paranoia?

1. Yugoslavia
2. Iraq
3. Afghanistan
4. Libya
5. Syria

Who's next? What about missile defense system in Europe?

TecchnoExpertThanx 25 May 2015 10:41

8

9

If the Russians are constantly guilty of 'whataboutism', then unfortunately for us in the west, we are guilty of 'Double Speak' (having this pointed out to us, is commonly referred to as 'whataboutism').
Whether it is deliberate or not, it is about time we stop using this technique to hide behind our false justifications and need for 'action'.

Courtesy of our propagators, their media poodles and sock puppets, people actually believe that the 'Ends justify the means' and that the ends is 'Freedom' and the means is 'Democracy Building', and everything in between is 'Good'.
And sure, we may 'torture some folks', but how dare anyone question intent!!!
Bin Laden? Why am i not surprised to have read only last week that Bin Laden must be conspiracy theorist because seals found amongst other novels, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?
Here are some quotes from a Guardian article in 2004. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jun/11/iraq.usa

....the hallmark of Reagan's presidency was anti-communist cynicism, masked by phoney rhetoric about freedom. In his first press conference as president he used quasi-biblical language to claim that Soviet leaders "reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat". It was one of the most extraordinary cases of the pot calling the kettle black...

...In the name of anti-communism everything was possible. Reagan invaded Grenada on the false premise that US students who had been there safely for months were suddenly in danger. Reagan armed thugs to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, even after it won internationally certified free elections in 1984....

Reagan armed and trained Osama bin Laden and his followers in their Afghan jihad, and authorised the CIA to help to pay for the construction of the very tunnels in Tora Bora in which his one-time ally later successfully hid from US planes. On the grounds that Nelson Mandela's African National Congress was pro-communist, Reagan vetoed US congress bills putting sanctions on the apartheid regime the ANC was fighting.

His policies towards the Soviet Union were hysterical and counter-productive. He put detente into deep freeze for several years with his insulting label "the evil empire". It led to overblown outrage over the downing by Soviet aircraft of a South Korean airliner that intruded into Russian air space. Moscow's action was inept, but if Reagan had not put the superpowers in collision, the Kremlin might have treated the wayward plane more calmly.

It further goes onto conclude;


Reagan's Star Wars project did not bankrupt the Soviet Union into reform, as his admirers claim. In repeated statements as well as his budget allocations Gorbachev made it clear Moscow would not bother to match a dubious weapons system which could not give Washington "first-strike capability" for at least another 15 years, if ever.

But hey, all this is a distraction. Rather than bickering around 'he said, she said', Ambassador to the .S.S.R. from 1987 to 1991, Jack F. Matlock does an excellent job in readdressing one of Russia's biggest concerns. Now irregardless of a promise or lost in translation, who in their right mind would think that expanding NATO (even if countries BEG to join), would be in the in the best interest for global security??????
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-is-the-bully-the-united-states-has-treated-russia-like-a-loser-since-the-cold-war/2014/03/14/b0868882-aa06-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwj8T34v6hM


Report


StephenKMack 26may1989 25 May 2015 10:40

Thank you for your comment. For those of us who came of age during the last Cold War we don't need a 'report' to inform us of the fact that a 'New Cold War' is in full swing! The attacks on those who dissent as 'dupes' and/or as 'paid agents of Putin' hinting at the notion of 'Quislings' are all familiar territory.

It smacks of the Nixon/McCarren/Mundt/McCarthy political axis of the late forties in America:' a generation of treason' to describe The New Deal! Always the same screeching hysteria, although Mr. Clark in his search for 'reasons', while he carefully diagnosis Russian paranoia, and the self-identification as victim of Western mendacity, tries to mute the tone of that hysteria, by providing plausible historical antecedents, in a carefully massaged exercise in empiricism, and he acquits himself with a kind of confident ease.

To provide one salient example of the same old faces, the same old rhetoric, from the last 'Cold War', we see Strobe Talbott of Brookings, or RussiaHand as he dubbed himself, one of the architects of the transition of the Soviet Union from command to a 'free market' economy, that required the 'strong medicine' of the 'shock doctrine' to make that transition. That transition led to the rise of The Oligarchs equaling former KGB thugs like your arch-enemy Putin.

After that ignominious policy failure, hailed by the Western Media as a necessity for the transition to Democracy, that caused untold suffering on the Russian people: the triumph of the misery producing Neo-Liberal Dogma in it's squalid infancy , or nearly that.

Regards,
StephenKMackSD

Кирилл Олейник 25 May 2015 10:26

After all these events since the bombing of Yugoslavia it is obviously that Gorbachev had made mistake.

The West is not able to appreciate the concessions, West doesn`t know what means gratitude. And such demagogic articles are just another proof.

When Soviets had stopped meaningless Cold War the West had dared to call itself the winner. So there is no reason to have a dialogue with the West, because it can understand only the language of strength. Well, this is a good remark, Russians will remember this. If you prefer the language of strength then you`ll have it.

Don`t cry then.

Z'ing Sui AbsolutelyFapulous 25 May 2015 10:16

From what I read, Russians are angry for a number of reasons, here's approximate list
1. Expansion - "our anti-Western alliance is over, your anti-Russian alliance is growing", the broken promise to Gorby, etc.

2. Bombing Russia's allies. - Russia had very few of them as it was, and the Serbia thing being done without engaging Russians is something they can't forgive. Destroying Libya and threats to bomb Syria pale in comparison (Russians don't see the distinction between NATO countries and NATO)

3. "We helped you, you didn't help us" - Russia's provided logistics to NATO in Afghanistan, but they say NATO has never done anything meaningful in return

4. Training troops that fight Russia - that's something spanning from Soviets fighting in Afghanistan to Georgia, they aren't specific. But training Georgia troops and then having them shell Russian positions in South Ossetia is something that actually seems to have happened

Alexander Bach Artusov 25 May 2015 10:06

There was NO written agreement as I understand it.

True. Russians have never claimed there was a written agreement. They claim that was alluded in spoken words and they believed it as at that time they trusted the West much more than today. Anyway, today they don't use this issue as a justification of everything. They only give it as one example of the West's behaviour. There were many other things later on. So there's no point in focusing on this particular one. The fact is that today Russia has no trust towards the West whatsoever, not only because of the cheats, but mostly because the West continuously refuses to admit any Russia's interests.

Putin is KGB trained and probably shares some ideas of Russian expansion [ or perhaps not - who knows ? ]

I don't think so. Putin has given a hint a few times that he treats the ex-USSR splinters as a burden for Russia, so he prefers them to pay for themselves. Crimea is an easily explainable exclusion: 1) it's very Russian (full of Russians) 2) it's very pro-Russian (people there want to be in Russia) 3) it has very high strategic value (having it gives control over the whole Black Sea).

As per other regions (South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Novorossia), as you see Putin doesn't take them into Russia although he could apparently do so with ease.


Ieuan Tintenfische 25 May 2015 10:00

Tintenfische said: "As for Iran, well yes we did invade together with you, but the SHah had declared war on the UK"

If you're talking about 1941, no the Shah had not declared war on anybody. Iran had declared itself neutral.

The Brits used as their excuse for invasion that Iran was under Nazi domination and 'full of German advisers'. In turns out that the only Germans in the country were a couple of hundred employees of the German embassy, who had every right to be there.

The UK occupied the country until 1946.

Interestingly enough the Shah of 1941 had been supported by the UK in the 1920's when he was no more than a junior army officer and marched on Tehran to overthrow the new Iranian Parliament (There had been an Iranian constitutional revolution which had overthrown the current Shah and set up a democratic parliament).


Z'ing Sui AbsolutelyFapulous 25 May 2015 09:57

Would have been a great move 20-25 years ago, when Russians removed their boots from Europe, their people hailed western values and their politicians weren't former KGB. Now, with NATO disregarding Russia for 20 years basically just because Russia was too concerned with not falling apart to do anything about it, and Russians going on a rampage in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, with Putin having almost 90% ratings for opposing NATO, it's just too late.

Why would they trust NATO after all these years? I sure wouldn't, not until NATO undoes whatever Russians consider NATO's wrongdoings, which is not really possible too.

Z'ing Sui 25 May 2015 09:46

Almost every politician who was privy to the process of negotiations with the Russians or had anything to do with foreign policy towards USSR at the time has at least expressed sentiment that Russians would of course not expect NATO expansion and would consider it a hostile move after they've remove their troops from Europe.

A number of people confirm that the assurances were in fact given to the Russians, and here's a great article that actually relies on the documents of the time, and not on some ww1 history lessons

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/opinion/30sarotte.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

"What would Mr. Gorbachev demand in return? To learn the answer, Mr. Baker and Mr. Kohl journeyed to Moscow within a day of each other. On Feb. 9, 1990, Mr. Baker asked Mr. Gorbachev, "Would you prefer to see a unified Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position?"

Mr. Gorbachev, according to Mr. Baker, answered that "any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable." Their meeting ended without any final deals made. Mr. Baker left behind a secret letter, detailing what he had said, for Mr. Kohl in Moscow."
It seems clear that although Kohl obviously negotiated mostly concerning East Germany's future, Russians were talking about any sort of NATO expansion, into East Germany and otherwise, and Kohl and Baker at the very least, knew it when they made their assurances to the soviets.

Yes, there was no binding agreement, but Gorby's trust was obviously betrayed. "False memory syndrome" is what authors suffer from. You can't fight Putin's lies with lies of your own.


PixieFrouFrou Alexander Bach 25 May 2015 09:43

'In a recent atricle (8 of March 2015) the Guardian writes (see http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/08/nato-is-misquoting-mikhail-gorbachev)'

The item you quote is a letter to the Guardian from a reader, not an article in the Guardian.


BradBenson Steely1 25 May 2015 08:43

Yes indeed. That was an excellent article which, although written six years ago, is more accurate and true to the facts than the above opinion piece.

These two authors want to blame something that happened at the beginning of the 20th Century for Russian mistrust of the West in the 21st. I would suggest that, if they want to go back that far in history to find a reason for Russian mistrust of the West, they should not overlook the Western MILITARY INTERVENTION in Russia during the civil war, which followed the revolution--to which US Military Units were also dispatched. Perhaps the Russian Memory is better than ours here in the West.


Ian56789 DHMeyer 25 May 2015 08:24

The Ukraine economy is in the midst of collapse - GDP fell by 17.6% in Q1.

This was the highly predictable outcome (as was the civil war) of the US engineered Coup in Kiev.

The IMF loans will do absolutely nothing to help Ukraine. They will go on bailing out Templeton, Soros and other US hedge funds that hold Ukraine debt (about $23bn in total).

The IMF loans will go on increasing military spending up from $1.5bn in 2013 to $3.8bn in 2015. A fair amount of it will be used on buying US made weapons (quelle surprise!).

A billion or so will go in the pockets of Poroshenko, Yatsenuk & other Ukrainian Oligarchs. Yatsenuk is already accused of embezzling $325m.

The IMF imposed "austerity" will further depress Ukraine's economy. Private fuel bills have increased by 300% and overall inflation is running at something like 60%.

The EU co-operation agreement was discussed at a meeting in Yalta in September 2013 attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Poroshenko and representatives of the IMF, German and Russian foreign ministries.

It was later reported that Hillary Clinton had taken an $8m bribe from the host - Ukrainian Oligarch Viktor Pinchuk.


Susan O'neill alpamysh 25 May 2015 08:22

What an utterly ridiculous claim. The nazi Kiev regime has outlawed Russian speech, legal representation of Russian speaking peoples and the Lugansk and Donetsk peoples wanted to survive. They are fighting for their lives under an oppressive regime who has promised them suffering beyond belief. They asked to be recognized as a federation, which Putin has acknowledged but the US wants a deal on that "bread basket" land and will support the Kiev war in order to get it. This war is about power to those who have it and can wield it. The only "ideals" are those of the nazi ideology. There is real conviction on the part of the Donbass civilian population. It's called survival.

It was also later reported (in the Telegraph) that the EU trade agreement up for consideration would cost the Ukraine economy something like $160bn over 10 years, which was the reason that Yanukovich eventually rejected it.

You should also look into Kolomoyski, Burisma Holdings (Ukraine's largest private fracking company), Hunter Biden (son of VP Joe) and John Kerry's investments in Burisma through the Heinz Family Trusts.


hermanmitt 25 May 2015 08:06

Try asking yourself one question:
How many Russian 'military bases' are there around the globe?

It perhaps needs to be pointed out that, in reality, there is no such thing as NATO. NATO, as it exists, is merely the European military arm that enforces the current 'western occupation' by the U.S. Empire, which relies exclusively on its Military Industrial Complex to hold the empire together.

When you look at it in this way, to get the full picture, one needs to add into the mix all the other U.S. military bases around the globe, which tells you that the entire planet is held under a threat of U.S. aggression. It's the reason that U.S. military spending is more than the next 26 countries combined. A strategy first widely employed in the building and maintenance of the British Empire, this is really nothing more than an extension of 'gunboat diplomacy' - a global example of a military backed empire, but done in a more cover way.

The Russians may, diplomatically, be pointing out some very salient facts, for those of us who prefer the macro, as opposed to micro, view of the geo-political map.

Anyone who supports the current corrupt and disastrous, heavily Fascist orientated, regime in Kiev is no friend of Ukrainians, nor friends of Europe (or ordinary Americans).

Putin has repeatedly tried to have civilized discussions with the West and sought to de-escalate the situation at every opportunity. It just hasn't been reported in Western mainstream media - it has been reported in numerous Western alternative media outlets. Just about all of the Western alternative media directly contradicts the false Neocon propaganda pushed in Western Corporate media.


DHMeyer SHappens 25 May 2015 07:59

1. Expansion of NATO was the choice of the independent countries which applied to join the organisation. They wouldn't have done so if Russia was indeed a peaceful and helpful neighbour, but sorry, history of the region proves they are not interested in that sort of role.

2. Do you really believe that Russia wouldn't demand written guarantees "because it would have seemed indecent"? Since when Russian diplomats are sentimental fools and since when Russia is overly concerned with decency?

Steely1 25 May 2015 07:58

A real article on the subject: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-moscow-a-663315.html

[May 27, 2015] Andrzej Duda victory in Polish presidential election signals shift to right

See also Far-right politics in Poland - Wikipedia and 'Polish far-right nationalists serve as instruments of US, EU policy'
May 27, 2015 | The Guardian

The changing political mood could signal a return to power of Duda's conservative Law and Justice party in parliamentary elections this autumn. That would cement Poland's turn to the right, create a new dynamic with other European countries and possibly usher in a less welcoming climate for foreign investors.

Law and Justice presents itself as a protector of those who have not benefited from the capitalist transformation and as a defender of national interests abroad. It is staunchly pro-US, but has a sometimes defiant stance towards other European partners, which has created tensions in the past with the EU and neighbouring Germany.

Duda says he wants new taxes on the foreign-owned banks and supermarkets to protect Polish interests, suggesting an approach similar to that of Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán. He also wants banks returned to Polish control.

[May 24, 2015] Sweden defeats Russia to grasp Eurovision song contest victory

Quote: "The Eurovision Contest certainly is as dreadful and cheesy as ever". Still take note about Guardian presstitute title ;-). I think Polina Gagarina is stronger in singing Russian romances, then Europop. See also Polina Gagarina and Russian Music Oldies
May 24, 2015 | The Guardian

MasonInNY, 24 May 2015

The Eurovision Contest certainly is as dreadful and cheesy as ever. The faux-American accents in almost all English-language songs are getting a bit better, though: The Swedish winner was almost perfect, but the Scandinavians and Dutch always manage to sing better in English than others (for ex., the Germans -- and far better than the French or Italians). The winning song "Heroes" is rather pedestrian: shoddy lyrics and a melody most anyone could have written in five minutes. The grandiose technical effects in the background, along with the exuberant crowd, were needed to give a dull song some pizazz. In general, Eurovision is Euro-pop at its worst (and continental European pop music since the 1960s is pretty much the world's worst). Ghastly.

SallyWa -> Ipswichone 24 May 2015 10:41

If Russians there are that powerful so they could change voting results so much and give high points to Russia, then they are not minorities. It means there are lots of them. Or that many Estonians, Latvians and etc. also vote for Russia together with them. Good for nations and people, but bad for anti-Russian agenda.

Ipswichone -> SallyWa 24 May 2015 10:36

The Baltic states have large Russian minorities, a proportion of them placed there in Soviet times (that's one of the grievances Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians have against Russia). These are the ones who mainly vote for Russia in the contest. The same applies to some other former Soviet territories. A determined minority can sway the vote if they vote en masse for a particular country, while the votes of the majority of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians will be dispersed among the other countries. That's how it works in Russia's favour.

Richard Hunter -> Linguistician 24 May 2015 10:35

No, what you've said about the Russian musicians is that they deserved to be abused by the crowd because of what their political leaders are like. I haven't said much about the quality of the Russian song either but clearly it was a strong song and deserved to finish highly. I'm only disappointed that the German song got nothing because it was my favourite closely followed by the Georgian one, not because I care much about the result but because it would be nice for the performers. At the very least they should be able to perform their music unmolested by people trying to drag politics into it.

SallyWa 24 May 2015 10:20

What is more interesting, that we are told on daily basis that Baltic States live in a routine fear of Russia and etc., etc. But according to the voting results on eurovision.tv Latvia gave Russia 10 points, Estonia - 12 points. Poland managed to give 6.
I mean, there is obviously political agenda and there are people who obviously didn't buy it.

Linguistician -> JanefromLondon 24 May 2015 10:11

ilankling's got you there Jane.

"Cultural" is wheeled out every year as an excuse for the political voting.

Let's just be honest. The ESC is political. It oozes politics. It was born out of politics and the entire format is national state pitted against other nation states.

The vast majority of the songs are (attempts at) Anglo-American music. Occasionally there's a few fusion pieces (Israel's last night for example), and very occasionally there are folksy songs (don't tend to do well though).

Yes, the Balkan states share culture, but if they are all singing songs in English (they did, with the exception of Montenegro) in similar styles, then the argument that its cultural affinity just doesn't hold water (and arguably "cultural affinity" is still just politics in different clothing).

Tallulah Hennessey -> NickBandura 24 May 2015 09:51

"It's getting too gay and political"

That is just a star quote.

NickBandura 24 May 2015 09:48

The contest unofficially pro-gay while Russia is officially anti-gay as opposed to Sweden that's officially and unofficially pro-gay. Hence no prizes for guessing which way the vote would sway for.

The problem with the contest it's getting too gay and political - what's needed is diversity. Things need to straighten up a bit. Hating on Russia must go too.

Mundialbatross 24 May 2015 09:41

Yep songs from Eurovision song contest aren't master pieces,but generally not worst or better than a lots of "pop" canned rubbish that is passed here in UK and all over the world. Because of that I can not understand why some here in UK are so critical about Eurovision contest... If also here "we "listen" so much trash...

CaptTroyTempest -> fireadmin2cats 24 May 2015 09:02

This result should hardly come as a surprise to anyone in Sweden. There is no other nation that invests more time and money in this competition at the regional and national levels than Sweden (a nation of 10 million) with numerous pre-qualification and qualification rounds, all of which are aired on national TV. Not only has the Melodifestival (now known as 'Melo') become a gravy train for countless Swedish 'has been' song writers, artists, producers and their sidekicks. It has also become a drain on the monies made available for drama, children's, documentary, arts and other programmes, of course, at the taxpayers' expense. A reporter who allegedly researched this enormous scam a few years back was gagged by SVT (the Swedish equivalent of BBC) for attempts to tarnish the name and reputation of the competition … and its 'entourage'.

It has to be said that Sweden understands the 'Science' of Eurovision better than any other European nation. Namely by finding something that goes down with average televoter throughout Europe, even if it means plagiarizing other people's work, and testing the water by putting these tunes to European juries during the qualification rounds. In other words, holding a 'mini-Eurovision' prior to the 'big event'. (I'm not kidding, Sweden really does this).

The result is invariably a ditty that is unoriginal, predictable and 'safe'. Because so many people's livelihoods and reputations depend on this being the winning entry, heads roll if it doesn't come out on top. Needless to say, there will be many sighs of relief today amongst all those on the Swedish Melodifestival gravy train/drain. They have yet another year to sponge their backs off the Swedish taxpayers.

PhillFiorini -> Antwerpenaar 24 May 2015 08:50

I think you are right. However, nowadays nearly every country in the West uses the words "democracy" and "freedom of expression" to counteract regimes that are not aligned with Western interests. I heard about "democracy" and "freedom" when the US intervened in Iraq and Libya. But after the war there is no freedom nor democracy there. Even worse, they are all pariah states today. I don't hear "democracy" and "freedom" when John Kerry visits Saudi Arabia; a country that shares the same religious views with ISIS, and a country that beheads as many people as ISIS. They are "friends" of the West.

Once I observe the electoral options the US electorate have I don't see much of a difference from Russia. Both Democratic and Republican parties obey to the same corporation conglomerates that have enough lobbying power and funds to pressure the White House to make decisions that go against the interests of the 99% of the US citizens.

The same can be said in the UK once you see the disproportionate power that the City of London and its elites exert on Westminster.

Obviously, the difference between the West and Russia is enormous when it comes to freedom of expression, but I have the feeling that the gap is getting narrower and not in a good way.

2thep01nt 24 May 2015 08:13

I have always been baffled by the Eurovision Song Contest, right from the start as a youngster becoming musically aware, around the times of primarily Elvis, then the Beatles, Beach Boys and Stones started shaking up the airwaves. Later, during the 70s, I couldn't understand why music lovers would enthuse over mediocrity, kitsch and just downright poor taste. Maybe that was it, a celebration of just that, poor taste as that levelled the playing field to allow the 'also rans' to have a chance.

I suffered though last nights 2015 Eurovision Song Contest and got bored very quickly and found myself channel hopping after 20 minutes. I kept going back to Eurovision however, but I still managed to pick up one of the iconic movie lines, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!" which got me thinking why do artists put themselves up for this. To bastardise Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore's words, "Either you sing, or watch". I can't sing so I'd just have to watch. I watched the last hour uninterrupted and put the remote out of reach. The more I watched the more cringeworthy it became. Even Graham Norton seemed like he was struggling to become enthused. Maybe that's it, he said mockingly.

The voting system seems to be tweaked every year to make it fairer, but every year fails and is just as predictable. Out of all those meaningful, passion filled songs I heard and saw last night the highlight would still be the snatches of 'Apocalypse Now' that made more of an impression on me. I mean if the Beatles were still together and they entered "All You Need is Love" as the UK's entry last night, I doubt if it would've made any impact. Probably wouldn't do better than Electro Velvet's 4th last either. None of the songs or tracks I endured last night would ever make it into my iTunes library. I wouldn't even consider just one of them for even sentimental reasons. The multi-million selling or downloaded artists of the UK, who incidentally sell and are downloaded in the European market, are still seem to be more popular than all the artist who appeared on last nights Eurovision song Contest. Why does this contest not inspire our artist to take part, like "Florence + the Machines" for example or "Bring Me the Horizon" and even the Iris