Entrapping Greece in Debt
by Stephen Lendman
My book “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity” discusses entrapping Greece in unrepayable debt.
It’s a good time to review some of its content after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ public betrayal followed by overwhelming rubber-stamp parliamentary approval (250 – 32). Tsipras isn’t Greece’s only traitor. He has lots of co-conspirators from SYRIZA and other parties.
Eurozone finance ministers will consider his proposal on Saturday followed by leaders from all EU countries doing the same thing on Sunday. Reports indicate a positive response coming.
Meanwhile, banks remain closed. Despite capital controls in effect, their reserves are nearly exhausted. Without emergency liquidity assistance (perhaps by Monday the latest), they’ll be forced to cease operations and declare bankruptcy.
None of this should have happened. Had Greece remained independent outside the euro straightjacket, it would have retained control of its monetary and fiscal policies – what it sacrificed irresponsibly to be part of a system letting strong countries like Germany and France prey on weaker ones like Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others.
Beginning on January 1, 1999, a system for predation was created. Michael Hudson explains the ECB doesn’t operate the way central banks should: “financ(ing) government deficits.”
Worse still, the Lisbon Treaty limits them to 3% of GDP and debt to 60%. In 1980, Greek debt was 22.6% of GDP. In 2014, it was 177.10% – with billions more euros likely coming after Tsipras’ sellout, it heads increasingly closer to 200%.
So much for Lisbon Treaty rules – to be broken to enrich predatory bankers. “Rentier interests” (like Goldman Sachs explained below) created Greece’s crisis “as an opportunity to dismantle social welfare spending,” weaken or eliminate labor rights, and “transfer their losses onto the public sector,” Hudson explained.
Punishing austerity and economic decline followed – continuing unless odious debt is drastically reduced or written off entirely as it should be.
Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be. It’s just a matter of time and way the process unfolds.
Class war follows debt entrapment – including raising taxes (harming ordinary people most), curtailing social services, and privatizing public land, infrastructure facilities, seaports, airports, tourist sites, and government owned enterprises.
Most or all the country’s crown jewels are sold at fire sale prices accompanied by mass layoffs, frozen or reduced wages and reduced or eliminated benefits.
Eurozone rules prevent countries from devaluing their currencies to make exports more competitive, monetize their debt freely, and enact fiscal policies to stimulate growth.
Greece is entrapped by creditors demanding tribute. So-called “rescue” packages dig deeper holes of debt peonage – the more gotten, the less able to service and repay, heading for eventual default and economic oblivion.
Troika bandits control monetary and fiscal policy, make the rules, set the terms, force governments to comply, turn weak nations like Greece into dystopian wastelands, and force-feed austerity throughout the Eurozone – transferring wealth from ordinary people to super-rich elites.
European central planning concentrates financial power in democracy-free zones. The ECB operates like a financial czar over 19 Eurozone countries (out of 28 EU ones) – despite:
- having no elected authority;
- the EU constitution prohibiting it from bailing out governments (unlike the Fed able to monetize US debt in limitless amounts); and
- IMF Articles of Agreement blocking it from providing fiscal support for budget deficits.
Rules are made to be ignored. The ECB and IMF do precisely what’s prohibited to bail out bankers – to be sure they’re paid first ahead of governments using their resources responsibly for all their people.
It works the same way in America for Wall Street – financial war against humanity to benefit monied interests.
Goldman Sachs was responsible for engineering Greece’s debt problem, subsequent entrapment, mandated austerity and economic decline.
In 2001, it helped Athens borrow billions of euros by circumventing Eurozone rules – in return for mortgaging assets. Using creative accounting, debt was hidden through off-balance sheet transactions – using derivatives called cross currency swaps.
Government debt in dollars and yen was swapped for euros for a defined period – to be exchanged back into original currencies later.
Debt entrapment followed. Greece is held hostage to repay it. Force-fed austerity makes bad conditions worse. Repeated infusions needed to service debt continue a downward cycle to oblivion for ordinary people and economic decline for Greece.
Goldman Sachs banker Antigone Loudiadis (known as Addy) convinced Greek officials to handle their financial problems by taking on debt leading to entrapment after initially masking obligations incurred.
She’s a Greek national working in London. Transactions she engineered generated fees for GS amounting to about $300 million dollars – a windfall establishing her reputation as a key company financial dealmaker.
She once described herself as “your typical Type A workaholic smoker (with a) stressful schedule.” Others will remember her as the architect of Greece’s devastating debt entrapment, harming its ordinary people most under conditions about to worsen following Tsipras’ sellout.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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