Monthly Archives: April 2014

ΕΠΑΜ – ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΗ ΓΙΑ ΤΟ ΘΕΜΑ ΤΩΝ ΟΜΟΛΟΓΙΟΥΧΩΝ

Λογότυπο ΕΠΑΜ

Το Ενιαίο Παλλαϊκό Μέτωπο από την αρχή χαρακτήρισε το γνωστό «κούρεμα» των φυσικών προσώπων ομολογιούχων ως ανοιχτή κλοπή. Όχι μόνο γιατί επρόκειτο για αποταμιεύσεις, ή αποζημιώσεις ζωτικές για τα ίδια τα φυσικά πρόσωπα και τις οικογένειές τους. Ούτε μόνο γιατί έγινε χωρίς καν να ζητηθεί η συγκατάθεσή τους. Διότι κυρίως έπεσαν θύματα της μεγαλύτερης απάτης σε βάρος του ελληνικού λαού, που στήθηκε επίσημα από δανειστές και κυβέρνηση με σκοπό να απαλλαγούν από τα ελληνικά κρατικά ομόλογα οι τραπεζίτες με αντάλλαγμα πολλαπλάσιες αποζημιώσεις σε ρευστό και εγγυήσεις από το ελληνικό δημόσιο. Όπως επίσης και για να αλλάξει το δίκαιο του δημόσιου χρέους, το οποίο μέχρι τότε ήταν ελληνικό και μετά το «κούρεμα» έγινε αγγλικό.

Το περίφημο «κούρεμα» του χρέους το 2012 αντί να μειώσει το δημόσιο χρέος, το αύξησε κατά 9 περίπου δις ευρώ χάρις στα ληστρικά ανταλλάγματα που προέβλεπε για τους τραπεζίτες κατόχους ελληνικών ομολόγων. Ενώ το πλήρωσαν το σύνολο σχεδόν των ΝΠΙΔ και ΝΠΔΔ, των οποίων τα ρευστά διαθέσιμα διαχειριζόταν με βάση το νόμο η Τράπεζα της Ελλάδας. Μαζί τους και όσα φυσικά πρόσωπα είχαν εξαπατηθεί από τις κυβερνήσεις στο να θεωρούν «ασφαλή τοποθέτηση» των οικονομιών και αποταμιεύσεών τους τα ελληνικά κρατικά ομόλογα, αλλά και όσοι αναγκάστηκαν να εισπράξουν ομόλογα έναντι αποζημιώσεων.

Για το Ε.ΠΑ.Μ. λοιπόν το όλο ζήτημα της αναδιάρθρωσης του δημοσίου χρέους μέσω «κουρέματος» με PSI παραμένει ανοιχτό και θα παραμείνει ανοιχτό μέχρις ότου οδηγηθούν στη δικαιοσύνη όσοι πολιτικοί και άλλοι συμμετείχαν ενεργά σ’ αυτή την τρομακτική απάτη σε βάρος του ελληνικού λαού. Είναι θέμα αποκατάστασης της έννομης τάξης στην χώρα, αλλά και των κανόνων δικαίου που πρέπει να διέπουν μια ευνομούμενη πολιτεία.

Για τους ομολογιούχους το ΕΠΑΜ επισημαίνει τα εξής: Όποιος τους τάζει αποζημιώσεις με ομόλογα τους εξαπατά και μάλιστα βάναυσα. Τα όποια κυβερνητικά ομόλογα δεν παρέχουν καμιά εγγύηση αποζημίωσης και εναπόκειται στη διακριτική ευχέρεια της όποιας κυβέρνησης να αλλάξει, να διαγράψει, ή να τροποποιήσει κατά το δοκούν τους τίτλους αυτούς χωρίς συνέπειες για την ίδια.

Επίσης, η αποζημίωση με ομόλογα δεν αναγνωρίζει στους ομολογιούχους ότι τα χρήματα τους ήταν αποταμιεύσεις, ή αποζημιώσεις. Τους εξισώνει με τους επενδυτές ομολόγων κι επομένως δεν αναγνωρίζει την κατά προτεραιότητα αποζημίωσή τους.

Η από θέση αρχής τοποθέτηση του ζητήματος, όπως την αντιλαμβάνεται και την υποστηρίζει το Ε.ΠΑ.Μ είναι:

Πρώτο: Η κυβέρνηση οφείλει να ψηφίσει δεσμευτικό για την ίδια νόμο, όπου να αναγνωρίζεται σαφώς, αφενός, το συνολικό ύψος της οφειλόμενης αποζημίωσης προς τους ομολογιούχους με βάση τις τιμές κτήσης των ομολόγων τους πριν το «κούρεμα» και, αφετέρου, το γεγονός ότι πρόκειται για αποταμιεύσεις που αδίκως εντάχθηκαν στην αναδιάρθρωση του δημοσίου χρέους. Μόνο μ’ αυτόν τον τρόπο μπορεί να κατοχυρωθεί η απαίτηση αποζημίωσης των ομολογιούχων έναντι του ελληνικού δημοσίου κάτω απ’ όλες τις συνθήκες.

Δεύτερο: Η κυβέρνηση οφείλει να αποζημιώσει στο σύνολό τους τις ζημιές σε ρευστό μέσα σε εύλογο χρονοδιάγραμμα που θα συμφωνηθεί με τους ίδιους τους ομολογιούχους. Είναι θέμα ηθικής και νομικής τάξης να αναγνωριστεί στους ομολογιούχους, ότι πρόκειται για αυθαίρετη, παράνομη και καταχρηστική ιδιοποίηση μέρους των αποταμιεύσεων τους με τη μορφή ομολόγων. Με μια τέτοια απόφαση, όχι μόνο δικαιώνεται ο αγώνας των ομολογιούχων, αλλά δεν θα μπορεί στο μέλλον καμιά κυβέρνηση να τους αρνηθεί την αποζημίωση, ή να παίξει μαζί τους.

Τρίτο: Η κυβέρνηση οφείλει να αναγνωρίσει ως δίκαιη την απαίτηση να διωχθούν από την ποινική δικαιοσύνη, όσοι οδήγησαν στο «κούρεμα» τα ομόλογά των φυσικών προσώπων. Είναι αδιανόητο να μείνουν στο απυρόβλητο όσοι εκτέλεσαν μια τέτοια απάτη. Επίσης, είναι ιδιαίτερης σημασίας να λογοδοτήσουν όλοι όσοι συνέπραξαν στην απάτη, ώστε να αναγνωριστεί το δικαίωμα στους ομολογιούχους και τις οικογένειές τους να απαιτήσουν πρόσθετες αποζημιώσεις για ηθική και υλική βλάβη από τους ενόχους αυτής της υπόθεσης. Δεν πρέπει ούτε στιγμή να ξεχνάμε ότι θρηνήσαμε νεκρούς και ολόκληρες οικογένειες οδηγήθηκαν στην καταστροφή. Για όλα αυτά οφείλουν να λογοδοτήσουν όποιοι και όσοι ευθύνονται.

Αθήνα, 28 Απριλίου 2014

Η Πολιτική Γραμματεία του Ενιαίου Παλλαϊκού Μετώπου

Αναρτήθηκε από ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗΣ ΚΑΖΑΚΗΣ στις 2:31 μ.μ.

ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΗ ΔΙΑΔΡΟΜΗ ΤΗΣ ΕΕ – ΠΡΟΒΛΗΜΑΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΤΑΣΕΙΣ ΓΙΑ ΛΥΣΗ ΣΤΗΝ ΚΡΙΣΗ

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Εισήγηση του Πρέσβη Λεωνίδα Χρυσανθόπουλου (*) στην Ημερίδα που έγινε στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών στις 11 Μαρτίου και οργανώθηκε από το Ινστιτούτο Διεθνών Νομικών Σπουδών, τον Καθ. Ηλία Κρίσπη και τον Κύκλο Διπλωματών

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Όλοι μας γνωρίζουμε σε γενικές γραμμές την ιστορία της ΕΕ και δεν θα ήθελα να την επαναλάβω εδώ. Αυτό που θα επιχειρήσω να αναπτύξω είναι μια γρήγορη περιγραφή των Συνθηκών της ΕΕ, τα προβλήματα που δημιουργήθηκαν, τα σχετικά με την κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα, και τέλος θα αναφερθώ σε προτάσεις για την επίλυση της κρίσης.

Αρχίζουμε με την Συνθήκη της Ρώμης του 1957 που δημιούργησε την ΕΟΚ και τα τέσσερα θεσμικά όργανά της: το Συμβούλιο Υπουργών, την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή, το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο και το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο. Έξη ήσαν τα πρώτα Κράτη-Μέλη που έπρεπε να διαχειρισθούν την ελεύθερη διακίνηση αγαθών, υπηρεσιών, κεφαλαίων και εργασίας, καθώς και την ΚΑΠ (Κοινή Αγροτική Πολιτική).

Το 1987 υπογράφεται η  Ενιαία Ευρωπαϊκή  Πράξη, η οποία δημιούργησε  την ενιαία ή εσωτερική αγορά, που απαγόρευσε τα μη δασμολογικά εμπόδια και καθιέρωσε την εναρμόνιση, ώστε να μην υπάρχουν διαφορές σε προϊόντα και υπηρεσίες που παράγονται στα Κράτη-Μέλη. Αντικαταστάθηκε η ομοφωνία με ενισχυμένη πλειοψηφία σε πολλούς τομείς, που έδινε περισσότερες ψήφους στα μεγαλύτερα ΚΜ.

Το 1992 υπογράφεται η Συνθήκη του Μάαστριχτ, με την οποίαν όλα τα κράτη-μέλη, πλην Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου και Δανίας, θα καταργούσαν τα εθνικά τους νομίσματα και θα υιοθετούσαν το ενιαίο νόμισμα, το ευρώ. Τα 18 ΚΜ της ευρωζώνης  έχουν εγκαταλείψει τον εθνικό έλεγχο των επιτοκίων και του προσδιορισμού της συναλλαγματικής ισοτιμίας. Η Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική  Τράπεζα αποφασίζει για όλα αυτά πλέον.

Το 1998 πηγαίνουμε στην Συνθήκη του Άμστερνταμ η οποία επεξέτεινε την λήψη αποφάσεων με ψηφοφορία με ενισχυμένη πλειοψηφία σε ακόμα περισσότερους τομείς. Έδωσε στην ΕΕ κώδικα ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων, εξωτερικά σύνορα, μεταναστευτική πολιτική και το Ευρωπαϊκό ένταλμα σύλληψης, που απετέλεσε μια οπισθοχώρηση γιατί προέβλεπε την έκδοση ακόμα και για περιπτώσεις πράξεων που δεν είναι αξιόποινη στην χώρα από την οποίαν ζητείται η έκδοση.

Η Συνθήκη της Νίκαιας το 2001 κατάργησε το δικαίωμα αρνησικυρίας και επεξέτεινε την ενισχυμένη πλειοψηφία σε άλλους μη οικονομικούς τομείς. Προέβλεψε επίσης την ενισχυμένη συνεργασία.

Και έτσι φθάνουμε το 2009 στην Συνθήκη της Λισαβόνας. Με την Συνθήκη αυτή καταργείται η Ευρωπαϊκή Κοινότητα και αντικαθίσταται από την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, που έχει ιδίαν νομική οντότητα χωριστή και ανωτέρα των Κρατών-Μελών. Και όλοι οι υπήκοοι των ΚΜ γίνονται υπήκοοι της νέας οντότητας, αποκτώντας την ευρωπαϊκή υπηκοότητα. Το σημαντικό όμως στην Λισσαβόνα είναι η αλλαγή του τρόπου λήψεως των αποφάσεων που δίνει μεγαλύτερη δύναμη και εξουσία στα μεγάλα ΚΜ. Από φέτος λοιπόν, για την ψήφιση νομοθεσίας ΕΕ από το Συμβούλιο Υπουργών, θα χρειασθεί το 55% των ΚΜ (15 από 28) εφ’όσον τα 15 ΚΜ αποτελούν το 65% του συνόλου του πληθυσμού της ΕΕ που είναι περίπου 500 εκατομμύρια. Αυτό σημαίνει ότι η Γερμανία και η Γαλλία , έχοντας και οι δυο το 1/3 του πληθυσμού της Ευρώπης και το μισό πληθυσμό της Ευρωζώνης, μπορούν με την βοήθεια ενός ή δυο μικρότερων κρατών να παρεμποδίσουν την υιοθέτηση αποφάσεων που δεν θέλουν ή αντίθετα να προωθήσουν αποφάσεις που επιθυμούν. Επίσης η Λισσαβόνα θεσμοθέτησε το Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο από άτυπο όργανό που ήταν, καθιέρωσε μόνιμο Πρόεδρο του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου, που ουσιαστικά ασκεί και την προεδρία του Συμβουλίου Υπουργών, μειώνοντας έτσι δραστικά την σημασία της Προεδρίας που ασκούν τα Κράτη-Μέλη που είναι πλέον διαχειριστικής αντί ουσιαστικής φύσεως. Η Λισσαβόνα επίσης ενσωματώνει όλες τις άλλες προαναφερθείσες Συνθήκες καθώς επίσης και τον Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της ΕΕ.

Μέχρι την μεγάλη διεύρυνση του 2003, η ΕΕ δούλευε αποτελεσματικά, όχι όμως τόσο αποτελεσματικά όπως τις δεκαετίες του 70 με 90. Μέχρι τότε οι ΥΠ ΕΞ στα πλαίσια του Συμβουλίου Γενικών Υποθέσεων έπαιρναν πολιτικές αποφάσεις και έλυναν τα θέματα του προϋπολογισμού, της γεωργίας και άλλα μόνοι τους, χωρίς την παρουσία των εμπειρογνωμόνων. Κλεινόντουσαν μόνοι τους μέχρι αργά την νύχτα ή την άλλη μέρα το πρωί και έλυναν τα προβλήματα με απευθείας διάλογο. Και βεβαίως ελαμβάνοντο σοβαρώς υπ όψη τότε τα συμφέροντα των λαών τους, σε αντίθεση με ό,τι συμβαίνει σήμερα. Από το 2004 και μετά τα Συμβούλια Γενικών Υποθέσεων παρουσίαζαν το εξής θέαμα: Ερχόντουσαν οι Υπουργοί, έκαναν μια παρέμβαση, που είχαν γράψει άλλοι για όλα τα θέματα της ημερήσιας διάταξης και μετά φεύγανε για διμερείς δήθεν συναντήσεις χωρίς να παρακολουθούν τι λένε οι άλλοι συνάδελφοί τους. Ορισμένοι μάλιστα έμεναν μέχρι το μεσημβρινό γεύμα και μετά φεύγανε. Παρατηρείται λοιπόν μια ΟΗΕ-ποίηση της ΕΕ που βέβαια δεν δούλεψε προς όφελος της ΕΕ και της αποτελεσματικότητάς της. Εάν η πολιτική ηγεσία της ΕΕ ήταν σοβαρή, θα έπρεπε να αφιέρωνε τουλάχιστο ένα τριήμερο το μήνα για τα Συμβούλια Γενικών Υποθέσεων. Αλλά δεν μπορούσαν να διαθέσουν τρεις μέρες το μήνα για την Ευρώπη με αποτέλεσμα η ΕΕ να πέσει στα χέρια των γραφειοκρατών των Βρυξελλών. Ένα άλλο μεγάλο μειονέκτημα ήταν οι συνεχείς πανηγυρισμοί των ανακοινωθέντων των Ευρωπαϊκών Συμβουλίων που δημιουργούσε την εσφαλμένη εντύπωση ότι κάθε Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο έλυνε όλα τα προβλήματα της ΕΕ. Η πιο μεγάλη αποτυχία ήταν η Στρατηγική της Λισσαβόνας που είχε σαν στόχο να κάνει την ΕΕ την πιο ανταγωνιστική και δυναμική οικονομία στον κόσμο μέχρι το2010 με καλύτερες και περισσότερες θέσεις εργασίας και μεγαλύτερη κοινωνική συνοχή. Το 2009 όλοι ομολόγησαν ότι η Στρατηγική απέτυχε. Το 2000 οι άνεργοι στην ΕΕ των 27 ήσαν 20 εκατ. Και το 2013 ήσαν 26 εκατ. 200 χιλιάδες, σύμφωνα με την eurostat.

Ας δούμε λίγο την Ελλάδα. Τρεις ήταν οι λόγοι που ώθησαν τον Κ. Καραμανλή να προωθήσει την ένταξη της χώρας μας στην ΕΟΚ. Πρώτος ήταν η διασφάλιση της δημοκρατίας, δεύτερος η προστασία από την Τουρκία και τρίτος η οικονομική ανάπτυξη της χώρας. Υπενθυμίζεται ότι η δημοκρατική τότε ΕΟΚ καταπολέμησε την στρατιωτική δικτατορία με όλα τα μέσα και πάγωσε την Συμφωνία Σύνδεσης και το Χρηματοδοτικό πρωτόκολλο, σε αντίθεση με το ΝΑΤΟ που την υποστήριξε. Ο Ξενοφών Ζολώτας στο βιβλίο που είχε εκδώσει το 1978 αναφέρθηκε στην θετική συμβολή της Ελλάδας στην ΕΟΚ και προσδιόρισε τρεις τομείς όπου η Ελλάδα είχε συγκριτικά πλεονεκτήματα έναντι των άλλων κρατών μελών. Ο ορυκτός πλούτος, η γεωγραφική θέση με εύκολη πρόσβαση στην Μέση Ανατολή και η εμπορική ναυτιλία. Όταν ενταχθήκαμε το 1981 είχαμε μια δυνατή βιομηχανία με ετήσια ανάπτυξη της τάξεως των 7.4 %, μια δυναμική Γεωργία με αυτάρκεια στα περισσότερα προϊόντα και με 24.2% του πληθυσμού να ασχολείται σ΄αυτό τον τομέα. Μετά την ένταξή μας , αναγκασθήκαμε να περιορίσουμε την παραγωγή χάλυβος μια και υπήρχε υπερπαραγωγή στις χώρες ΕΟΚ, καταργήσαμε την βιομηχανία παραγωγής αυτοκινήτων μας. Περιορίσαμε την παραγωγή ελαιόλαδου μας, μια και υπήρχαν οι λίμνες ελαιόλαδου στην ΕΟΚ, και αναδιαρθρώσαμε την γεωργία και μειώσαμε το ποσοστό του πληθυσμού που εργαζόταν στην γεωργία. Και στο τέλος μείναμε μόνο με τον τουρισμό. Και για πολλά χρόνια με την αγορά πολεμικών εξοπλισμών , απασχολούσαμε τους Γερμανούς, Γάλλους και Βέλγους εργάτες στον τομέα αυτό, οι οποίοι διαφορετικά θα ήσαν άνεργοι. Βεβαίως τα Κοινοτικά κονδύλια βοήθησαν την ανάπτυξη της χώρας και πολλά έργα υποδομής έγιναν. Η γεωργία βοηθήθηκε, αν και είναι άγνωστο πόσα ποσά πήγαν πράγματι στο σκοπό τους. Την πρωτοχρονιά του 2002 μπήκαμε στην ευρωζώνη και μετά από μερικά χρόνια αρχίσανε τα προβλήματα που μας οδήγησαν στην σημερινή κατάσταση. Από την 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2001 και μετά από τα τρομοκρατικά κτυπήματα στην Μαδρίτη και το Λονδίνο, άρχισε να αυξάνεται το δημοκρατικό έλλειμμα στην ΕΕ με τα μέτρα που είτε επιβλήθηκαν στην ΕΕ από τις ΗΠΑ, είτε τα υιοθέτησε με δική της πρωτοβουλία. Αποτέλεσμα των μέτρων αυτών είναι η συνεχής παρακολούθηση του ευρωπαϊκού λαού από τους κρατικούς μηχανισμούς τους.

Ας έρθουμε τώρα στην Ελληνική οικονομική κρίση. Η Ελληνική Κυβέρνηση υπέγραψε την δανειακή σύμβαση του Μαΐου 2010 για να μπορέσει μετά από μέτρα λιτότητας, αναδιάρθρωση του κράτους, και αναπτυξιακών πολιτικών να μειώσει το δημόσιο χρέος που το 2009 ήταν 129% του ΑΕΠ η 299 δις. ευρώ. Μετά από δυο μνημόνια και λανθασμένη πολιτική τόσο της ΕΕ και του ΔΝΤ αλλά και των Ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων, η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται στα πρόθυρα καταστροφής. Η Ελλάδα δανείσθηκε ένα συνολικό ποσό 191 δις από το 2010 μέχρι τέλος του 2013. Και όχι μόνο το Δημόσιο Χρέος δεν μειώθηκε αλλά αυξήθηκε σε 175% σε ποσοστό ΑΕΠ ήτοι σε 321 δις ευρώ. Η ανεργία από 470.620 άτομα, δηλαδή 9,5% έφθασε τέλος του 2013 σε 1.374.054 άτομα, ήτοι 27,6%. Οι λόγοι αποτυχίας των μέτρων οφείλονται κυρίως στο ότι δεν λήφθηκε υπ’όψη ο ανθρώπινος παράγων. Ο Έλληνας πολίτης αγνοήθηκε εντελώς και σαν αποτέλεσμα, η Ελλάδα αντιμετωπίζει σήμερα μια άνευ προηγουμένου κοινωνική καταστροφή και τις αρχές μιας ανθρωπιστικής κρίσης. Και παρά την παραδοχή των λαθών τους, η ΕΕ και το ΔΝΤ εξακολουθούν την εφαρμογή της ίδιας λανθασμένης πολιτικής η οποία έχει αποδειχθεί ότι είναι αναποτελεσματική.

Όταν ξέσπασε η κρίση το 2010, η κυβέρνηση αντί να ζητήσει την δανειακή σύμβαση, έπρεπε τουλάχιστο να είχε επιχειρήσει να ζητήσει την εφαρμογή του άρθρου 122 παρ. 2 της Συνθήκης της Λισαβόνας η οποία αναφέρει τα εξής: “Όταν ένα κράτος-μέλος αντιμετωπίζει δυσκολίες ή διατρέχει μεγάλο κίνδυνο να αντιμετωπίσει σοβαρές δυσκολίες οφειλόμενες σε φυσικές καταστροφές ή έκτακτες περιστάσεις που εκφεύγουν από τον έλεγχό του, το Συμβούλιο προτάσει της Επιτροπής μπορεί να αποφασίσει την χορήγηση, υπό ορισμένους όρους, χρηματοδοτική ενίσχυση της Ένωσης”. Η παράγραφος 2 δεν εφαρμόσθηκε γιατί το θέμα θεωρήθηκε από την Ε. Επιτροπή και από τα ΚΜ σαν ένα καθαρό Ελληνικό πρόβλημα και όχι, όπως αναγνωρίσθηκε αργότερα, σαν αποτέλεσμα της παγκόσμιας οικονομικής κρίσεως, για την οποίαν η Ελλάδα δεν ευθυνόταν.

Αλλά δεν είναι μόνο ότι τα μέτρα είναι λανθασμένα. Αποτελούν επίσης κατάφωρη παραβίαση της ίδιας της Συνθήκης της Λισαβόνας. Τα άρθρα 2 και 3 έχουν παραβιασθεί. Το άρθρο 2 αναφέρει ότι η Ένωση βασίζεται στις αξίες του σεβασμού της ανθρώπινης αξιοπρέπειας, της ελευθερίας, της δημοκρατίας, της ισότητας, του κράτους δικαίου καθώς και του σεβασμού των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων. Το άρθρο 3 αναφέρει ότι η Ένωση έχει σκοπό να προάγει την ειρήνη, τις αξίες της και την ευημερία των λαών της. Τα άρθρα 145-150, αναφορικά με την απασχόληση έχουν επίσης παραβιασθεί, τα άρθρα 151-166 αναφορικά με την κοινωνική πολιτική και τα άρθρα 165 και 166 για την ενίσχυση της επαγγελματικής εκπαίδευσης. Καταρρακώθηκε επίσης ο Χάρτης των Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της ΕΕ που είναι ενσωματωμένος στην Συνθήκη της Λισαβόνας. Μερικές από τις παραβιάσεις: Άρθρο 1 για την ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια, 11 για την ελευθερία έκφρασης και πληροφόρησης, 12 για το δικαίωμα του συνέρχεσθαι και συνεταιρίζεσθαι, 14 για το δικαίωμα στην εκπαίδευση, 15 για το δικαίωμα προς εργασία, 17 για το δικαίωμα της ιδιοκτησίας, 20 αναφορικά με την ισότητα έναντι του νόμου, 25 για τα δικαιώματα των ηλικιωμένων, 26 για την ένταξη των ανάπηρων, 30 αναφορικά με την προστασία σε περίπτωση αδικαιολόγητης απόλυσης, 34 για την κοινωνική ασφάλιση, 35 για την προστασία της υγείας. Γερμανοί ακτιβιστές έχουν ήδη καταθέσει την υπό στοιχεία OTP CR 345/12, αγωγή κατ’ αγνώστων στο Διεθνές Ποινικό Δικαστήριο για βλάβη της υγείας του Ελληνικού πληθυσμού. Εκατοντάδες γραπτές μαρτυρικές καταθέσεις υποβάλλονται προς ενίσχυση της αγωγής.

Για να αποτραπεί η καταστροφή της Ελλάδας προτείνεται η εξής λύση:

Να καταγγελθεί η Δανειακή Σύμβαση του Μαΐου 2010, που υπεγράφη μεταξύ της Ελλάδος και των Κρατών-Μελών της Ευρωζώνης, με βάση τα άρθρα 48-52 της Σύμβασης της Βιέννης του ΟΗΕ, αναφορικά με το Δίκαιο των Συνθηκών. Τα άρθρα αυτά προβλέπουν την ακύρωση μιας Συνθήκης, εφ’όσον χρησιμοποιήθηκε δόλος, υπήρξε σφάλμα, ασκήθηκε πίεση σε εκπρόσωπο του κράτους κλπ. Η Ελλάδα θα πρέπει παράλληλα να ζητήσει αποζημίωση από την ΕΕ για τις ζημιές που της προκάλεσε. Η ζημία στην χώρα, σύμφωνα με συντηρητικούς υπολογισμούς, ανέρχεται στο ύψος του δήθεν χρέους. Υπενθυμίζεται το άρθρο 41 παρ. 3 του Χάρτου Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της ΕΕ, το οποίο αναφέρει ότι: “Κάθε πρόσωπο έχει δικαίωμα στην αποκατάσταση εκ μέρους της Ένωσης, της ζημίας που του προξένησαν τα θεσμικά όργανα ή οι υπάλληλοί της, κατά την άσκηση των καθηκόντων τους, σύμφωνα με τις γενικές αρχές που είναι κοινές στα δίκαια των κρατών-μελών. “Η παύση πληρωμών των τόκων που θα επέλθει με την καταγγελία της Δανειακής Σύμβασης και η αποζημίωση που θα δοθεί στην Ελλάδα, θα της επιτρέψουν να αποκαταστήσουν τις ζημίες και να υλοποιηθούν αναπτυξιακές πολιτικές. Θα πρέπει επίσης η Ελλάδα να αποχωρήσει από την Ευρωζώνη για να μπορέσει να εφαρμόσει μια επωφελή οικονομική πολιτική, που δεν μπορεί να το κάνει όντας στην ευρωζώνη. Η προτεινόμενη λύση δεν θα είναι εύκολη στην εφαρμογή της, αλλά είναι οπωσδήποτε καλύτερη από την εσφαλμένη πολιτική που εφαρμόζεται σήμερα και που με μαθηματική ακρίβεια οδηγεί την χώρα στην καταστροφή. Και είναι παρήγορο ότι υπάρχουν πολιτικά κόμματα που υποστηρίζουν μια τέτοια προσέγγιση.

Για την EE προτείνονται τα εξής:

H EE, για να δουλέψει αποτελεσματικά, θα πρέπει να μεταλλαχθεί, ώστε να έχει σαν μοναδική προτεραιότητα την προστασία των συμφερόντων των λαών της Ευρώπης και όχι των τραπεζιτών, όπως έχει εξελιχθεί σήμερα. Θα πρέπει να αλλάξει ο αναποτελεσματικός τρόπος λειτουργίας της, με την υιοθέτηση ενός νέου καταστατικού χάρτη, σε αντικατάσταση της παραβιασθείσης Λισαβόνας. Ο νέος χάρτης δεν θα πρέπει να γίνει από τα υφιστάμενα και αποτυχημένα θεσμικά όργανα της ΕΕ, αλλά από κινήματα πολιτών των κρατών-μελών, που θα υποβάλλουν τις προτάσεις τους σε μια ευρωπαϊκή συνέλευση αποτελούμενη από εκπρόσωπους των κινημάτων πολιτών των ΚΜ. Το τελικό κείμενο θα υποβληθεί, εκ μέρος των Ευρωπαϊκών Λαών, στα θεσμικά όργανα για υλοποίηση. Στο μεταξύ διάστημα, η ΕΕ θα πρέπει να κάνει πολιτική απλής διαχείρισης. Με την λύση αυτή μπορεί να παύσει η ΕΕ να καταστρέφει τα ΚΜ της και να επεμβαίνει κατά τρόπον απροκάλυπτο σε τρίτες χώρες σαν την Ουκρανία.

Για την ανθρωπότητα προτείνεται το εξής:

Η διαγραφή του παγκόσμιου χρέους αποτελούμενου από 600 τρισεκατομμύρια δολάρια ΗΠΑ θα επιτρέψει στην ανθρωπότητα να ξεκινήσει επί νέας και υγιούς βάσεως. Υπάρχουν πολλά παραδείγματα διαγραφής χρεών στην ιστορία της ανθρωπότητας. Από την αρχαία Ελληνική σεισάχθεια, στο Ιωβηλαίο των αρχαίων εβραϊκών κοινοτήτων, όπου κάθε πενήντα χρόνια διέγραφαν τα μεταξύ τους χρέη και ξανάρχιζαν από την αρχή. Ακόμα και στην δεκαετία του 70 οι ανεπτυγμένες χώρες της Δύσης διέγραψαν τα χρέη του κινήματος των αδέσμευτων επιτρέποντας έτσι την οικονομική απογείωση της Γιουγκοσλαβίας. Από την διαγραφή του παγκόσμιου χρέους θα χάσουν οι τράπεζες, αλλά οι τραπεζίτες δεν θα πεινάσουν, όπως πεινάει σήμερα ένα τμήμα της ανθρωπότητας. Κερδισμένη θα βγει η ανθρωπότης στο σύνολό της γιατί θα της δοθεί η ευκαιρία να ξαναρχίσει από την αρχή με πιο υγιείς βάσεις.

Για να υλοποιηθούν όμως οι προαναφερθείσες προτεινόμενες λύσεις χρειάζονται πολιτικοί με φαντασία και τόλμη, πολιτικοί που ενδιαφέρονται για την πρόοδο της ανθρωπότητας και όχι για την εξουσία που τους επιτρέπει να πλουτίζουν. Τέτοιοι πολιτικοί δεν υπάρχουν σήμερα. Πρέπει όμως να τους δημιουργήσουμε.

 

(*) Ο Λεωνίδας Χρυσανθόπουλος, Πρέσβης ε.τ., είναι μέλος της Πολιτικής Γραμματείας του ΕΠΑΜ και υποψήφιος ευρωβουλευτής.

A brief historical view of the EU Treaties-Problems and Proposals for the solution of the Crisis

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ελληνικά

Speech made by Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos (*) at the Conference held at the University of Athens on March 11,2014 organized by the Institute of International Legal Studies by Professor Elias Crispis and by the Circle of Diplomats.

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We all know in general terms about the history of the EU and I would not want to repeat it here. I will try to develop a brief description of the Treaties of the EU, the problems created, the situation of Greece and proposals for resolving the crisis.

The Treaty of Rome of 1957 created the EEC and its four institutional instruments, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and European Parliament. The original Member States were six which had to manage a free movement of goods, services, capital, labor and a common agricultural policy.

In 1987, the Single Act is signed which set up the single or internal market that made non- tariff barriers to trade illegal under EU laws. It also established harmonization so that there would be no differences in products or services produced in the Member States. Unanimity ws replaced by qualified or weighed majority voting across most economic areas in the EU, with the bigger Member States being allocated most votes.

The 1992, the Maastricht treaty required all EU Members, with the exception of Britain and Denmark, to abolish their national currencies and adopt a single EU currency, the euro. The 18 countries involved have abandoned their national controls of their rates of interest and their exchange rates. The European Central Bank decides these now.

The 1998, the Amsterdam Treaty extended the qualified majority voting to a number of new areas. It gave the EU its own code of human rights and its own external border and immigration policy. Under this Treaty, the European Arrest Warrant has removed many of the traditional safeguards in the extradition process, since action is taken even if the offence alleged is not an offence in the EU state, whose citizen’s extradition is requested.

The 2001, the Nice Treaty abolished the national veto and the extended qualified majority voting further into non-economic areas. It also anticipated enhanced cooperation.

Finally, we arrive to the Lisbon Treaty of 2009, which provided for the abolition of the European Community and its replacement by a constitutionally new European Union with full legal personality separate from and superior to that of the Member-States. The Treaty provides that as from this year a qualified majority for the purposes of making EU laws by the Council of Ministers, will consist of 55% of the States – which means 15 out of the 28 – as long as those 15 comprise 65% of the total EU population of some 500 million. With Germany and France among them having 1/3 of the EU’s population and half the population of the Eurozone, it allows those two countries to create a blocking minority if they can get one or two smaller allies as well as a powerful say in pushing through whatever measures they want. Lisbon also made the “European Council” into a formal EU institution for the first time, establishing the Permanent President of the European Council, who essentially presides over the Council of Ministers, thus reducing drastically the importance of the rotating presidency exercised by the Member States which now became more of an administrative presidency rather than one of substance. Lisbon also incorporated all the previous Treaties as well as the Charter of Fundamental Right of the EU.

Until the big enlargement of 2003, the EU was functioning effectively – even if not as effectively as it did during the 70’s and 90’s.Until then the Foreign Ministers, within the framework of the General Affairs Council, were able to solve issues pertaining to the budget, agriculture as well as other issues without the presence of experts. They locked themselves in consultations until the wee hours of the morning and resolved the problems in a direct dialogue. And of course, they took into consideration the interests of their peoples, in contrast to what is happening today.

From 2004 onwards the General Affairs Councils were held in the following way: The Ministers arrived, read an intervention written by someone else on all the subjects of the agenda, and then departed to hold bilateral talks, without listening to what their colleagues were saying. Many did not even stay for the working lunch. So, we have a United Nationalization of the EU which does not work for its advantage or for its effectiveness. If the EU politicians were serious, they would consecrate at least three days per month for the General Affairs Council. But they do not have the time to give three days to Europe and consequently the EU fell into the hands of the Brussels beaurocrats. Another negative effect was created by the constant celebratory statements of the European Councils which created the wrong impression that each meeting was resolving all the problems of the EU. The biggest failure was the Lisbon Strategy that had as aim to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic economy of the world by 2010 with better and more work positions and better social cohesion. In 2009, it was admitted by all that the strategy had failed. In 2000 the unemployment in the EU of the 27 was 20 million while in 2013 it was 26 million according to Eurostat.

Let us look into the situation of Greece. There were the reasons that made Konstantinos Karamanlis push for the accession of Greece to the EEC as it was then called. The first was to consolidate democracy, the second was to protect the country against Turkey and the third was to promote the economic development of Greece. It should be recalled that the then democratic EEC had countered the military dictatorship with every means possible particularly by freezing the Association Agreement and the Financial protocol. NATO on the other hand, had supported the junta. Xenofon Zolotas in his book published in 1978 wrote about the positive contribution of Greece to the EEC; he had underlined three areas where Greece had competitive advantages over the other Member States. These were mineral resources ,its geographical position with easy access to the Middle East and its Mercantile Marine. When Greece joined the EEC in 1981, it had a dynamic industry with a yearly rate of development of 7.4%, a dynamic agriculture and self-sufficiency in most products and with 24.2% of the population working in the latter. After its accession, Greece was obliged to limit its steel production since there was an overproduction in the EEC, and it dismantled its nascent automobile industry. Greece reduced its olive oil production since there existed olive oil lakes in the EEC, it restructured its agriculture reducing the percentage of population actively employed in that field. And for many years, by the purchase of military hardware, Greece kept the Belgian, French and German workers employed in their respective industries. Of course, the EU funds helped the development of Greece and many infrastructure projects were done with EU co-financing. Agriculture was also assisted, even though it remains unclear how much funding actually reached ita objective .On January 1,2002 Greece joined the eurozone, and after a few years, the problems started that resulted in today’s situation. After September 11,2001 and after the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, the democratic deficit of the EU started increasing with measures that were either imposed on the EU by the USA or adopted by its own initiative. The result of these measures is a constant surveillance of the European people by their authorities.

Let us examine now the Greek economic crisis. The Greek government signed the Loan Agreement in May 2010, so that it could, through austerity measures, restructure the state and development policies to reduce the public debt which in 2009 was 129% of the GNP or 299 billion euros in absolute numbers. After two Memoranda and mistaken policies from the EU, the IMF and the Greek governments, Greece is on the verge of disaster. Greece has borrowed a total amount of 191 billion euros from 2010 until the end of 2013. And not only was the public debt not reduced, but it increased to 175% as percentage of the GNP or 321 billion euros. Unemployment of 470.620 people, or 9.5% increased by the end of 2013 to 1.374.054 people or 27.6%. The main reason for the failure of the measures was that the human factor was not taken into consideration. The Greek citizen was totally ignored and as a result Greece is facing today a social disaster without precedence and the beginning of a humanitarian crisis. And in spite of the fact that they had acknowledged their mistakes, the EU and the IMF continue to implement the same erroneous policy which has proven to be ineffective.

When the crisis broke out in 2010, the government, instead of asking the loan agreement, should had at least attempted to request the implementation of article 122 par.2 of the Lisbon Treaty which mentions the following: ”Where a Member State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may grant, under certain conditions, Union financial assistance to the Member State concerned…” Paragraph 2 was not applied because the European Commission and others presented the difficulty as a purely Greek problem – and not as recognized later on by the same European Commission – as a result of the global financial crisis for which Greece was not responsible.

But it is not only that the measures are erroneous, they also constitute a blatant violation of the Lisbon Treaty. Articles 2 and 3 have been violated. Article 2 mentions that the Union is founded on the values of respect of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights etc. Article 3 para.1 says that the Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples. Also Articles 145-150 on employment,151-166 on social policy ,education and vocational training have all been violated. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, that is incorporated in the Lisbon Treaty, has also been violated as follows: Articles 1 on human dignity, 11 on freedom of expression and information,12 on freedom of assembly and association, 14 on the right to education, 15 on the freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work, 17 the right to property, 20 equality before the law, 25 the rights of the elderly, 26 on the integrity of persons with disabilities, 30 on protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, 34 on Social Security and Social Assistance and 35 on protection of health. On this last issue, German citizens have filed a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court of The Hague (OTP CR 345/12) against unknown people for damaging the health of the Greek people. Hundreds of witness reports are being submitted by the victims in support of this lawsuit.

In order to avoid the destruction of Greece the following solution is proposed:

The denunciation of the Loan Facility Agreement of May 2010, signed between Greece and the Member-States of the Eurozone will be based on articles 48-52 of the Vienna Convention of the UN concerning the Law of Treaties. These articles anticipate the invalidity of Treaties if there was an error in the treaty , fraud, coercion of a representative of a State and coercion of a State by the threat of use of force. Greece will at the same time request compensation from the EU for the damage done to the country. The damage done, according to conservative estimates, is about the amount of the so-called debt. Article 41.3 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU mentions that ”Every person has the right to have the Union make good any damage caused by its institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties…….” The cessation of paying interest that will occur with the denunciation of the Loan Facility Agreement and the compensation that will be given to Greece, will allow the country to take the necessary measures to repair the damages done and at the same time instigate development. Greece will also withdraw from the eurozone in order to implement beneficial economic policies that it cannot under eurozone rules. The proposed solution is not easy in its implementation. But it is much better than the erroneous policy followed today that is leading Greece, with mathematical accuracy, to disaster. And it is a positive sign that there is a political party supporting such an approach.

PROPOSAL FOR THE EU

In order that the EU functions effectively, it must be transformed so that it would have as sole priority the protection of the interests of the peoples of Europe and not of the bankers of Europe. Its inefficiency must be changed by the adoption of a new constitutional document to replace the violated Lisbon Treaty. The new document must not be drafted by the existing failed institutions of the EU. It must be drafted by movements of citizens of the Member States who will submit their proposals to a European Assembly composed of representatives of movements of citizens of the EU. The final document will be submitted, on behalf of the peoples of Europe, to the new EU institutions for implementation. In the in-between time, the EU will carry out only everyday business. With such a solution, the EU will stop destroying its members and intervening in a blatant way in third countries ,as was the case with the Ukraine.

PROPOSAL FOR HUMANITY

The deletion of the global debt which is about 600 trillion USD, will allow humanity to restart on a new and healthy basis. There exist many examples in history of debt deletion. From the ancient Greek Sisahtheia to the Jubilee of ancient Hebrew communities where every fifty years the debts among themselves were cancelled. Even during the 70’s the developed countries of the West deleted the debt of the non-aligned movement thus allowing the economic development of Yugoslavia. The only ones who will lose from the deletion of the global debt will be the banks, but the bankers will not go hungry as is a large part of earth’s population. Humanity as a whole will benefit because it will be able to restart on more sound principles.

For the implementation of the previously mentioned proposals, it is necessary to have politicians with imagination, vision and courage, politicians who care about progress of humanity and not about power. Such politicians do not exist today. But we have to invent and create them.

—————————————————————————-

(*) Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is a member of the Political Secretariat of EPAM and a candidate for European Parliament.

“Ε.Πα.Μ.: Την πιο βαθιά περιφρόνηση αξίζει όποιος βάζει το συμφέρον του κόμματός του πάνω από την Θράκη, την τύχη της πατρίδας και του λαού”

Λογότυπο ΕΠΑΜ

Τα πρόσφατα γεγονότα στη Θράκη με το ευρωψηφοδέλτιο του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, αποδεικνύουν, δυστυχώς, ότι και το κόμμα αυτό έχει υιοθετήσει την πεπατημένη δεκαετιών των κομμάτων της ΝΔ και του ΠΑΣΟΚ. Αντιλαμβάνεται την Θράκη σαν ένα χώρο χωρίς εθνική ταυτότητα και κυριαρχία, όπου μπορούν να παίζονται επικίνδυνα γεωστρατηγικά παιχνίδια σε βάρος της Ελλάδας και της ειρήνης στα Βαλκάνια με μοχλό κατασκευασμένες εθνικές μειονότητες.

Η ηγεσία του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ στο όνομα της καταγγελίας του ντόπιου εθνικισμού υιοθετεί τις πιο επικίνδυνες και φασιστικές εκδοχές του επεκτατικού σωβινισμού της Τουρκίας και των Γκρίζων Λύκων στη Θράκη. Αντικαθιστά την υπεράσπιση της πατρίδας μ’ έναν δήθεν διεθνισμό, ο οποίος στην πραγματικότητα αποτελεί υποταγή στο ζυγό των διεθνών αγορών και των επιτελείων τους που θέλουν να διαλύσουν λαούς, έθνη, χώρες και κυρίαρχα κράτη προς το συμφέρον μιας μικρής παγκόσμιας ολιγαρχίας.

Το Ενιαίο Παλλαϊκό Μέτωπο εκτιμά ότι η εξέλιξη αυτή είναι ιδιαίτερα κρίσιμη και άκρως επικίνδυνη στις σημερινές συνθήκες. Δεν μπορεί να καυτηριαστεί με απλά πολιτικά σχόλια, ή με διάθεση μικροπολιτικής. Απαιτεί καθαρές απαντήσεις από θέση αρχής.

Μετά τις γκρίζες ζώνες στο Αιγαίο και την προσπάθεια κατάργησης της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας πρώτα μέσω των διαφόρων σχεδίων «Ανάν» και τώρα διαμέσου του εφευρήματος των δικοινοτικών συνομιλιών, η Θράκη, ήδη από χρόνια αποτελεί πρόσφορο πεδίο για την ρευστοποίηση συνολικά των Βαλκανίων και της μετατροπής τους σε «ελεύθερες» ζώνες οικονομικής εκμετάλλευσης. Μια ρευστοποίηση που ξεκίνησε με τον διαμελισμό της Γιουγκοσλαβίας και επιχειρείται διαρκώς με κάθε τρόπο. Με λαούς διαλυμένους, υποτελείς και βυθισμένους σε μια αιώνια εμφύλια διαμάχη ανάμεσα σε μειονότητες και πλειονότητες.

Το πρόβλημα δεν είναι απλά ζωτικής σημασίας από την σκοπιά των εθνικών συμφερόντων του ελληνικού λαού, συνιστά επίσης και κορυφαίο ζήτημα δημοκρατίας. Η αρχή των εθνοτήτων, ή των μειονοτήτων, όπως καθιερώθηκε να λέγεται μετά τον 2ο παγκόσμιο πόλεμο, δεν συνάδει με την δημοκρατία, με την αληθινή δημοκρατία. Αποτελεί μια επινόηση της διπλωματίας των κανονιοφόρων των μεγάλων δυνάμεων από την 7η δεκαετία του 19ου αιώνα μέχρι σήμερα.

Με τον τρόπο αυτό μπορούσαν να εμφανίζονται ως «προστάτες» εθνικών μειονοτήτων, ή εθνοτήτων στο έδαφος αντίπαλων κρατών, ώστε να αμφισβητούν την εδαφική τους κυριαρχία. Από τότε που η αρχή επινοήθηκε, η Ευρώπη τυλίχθηκε πολλές φορές στις φλόγες του πολέμου στο όνομα της «προστασίας» των εθνικών μειονοτήτων. Δεν πρέπει ποτέ να ξεχνάμε ότι με την αρχή αυτή σαν πρόσχημα ξέσπασαν και οι δυο παγκόσμιοι πόλεμοι.

Ο διαχωρισμός του λαού μιας χώρας σε πλειονότητες και μειονότητες υπήρξε επίσης ο καλύτερος τρόπος για το κράτος να διαχωρίσει τους πολίτες του σε πρώτης και δεύτερης κατηγορίας. Η δημοκρατία δεν ξεχωρίζει τους πολίτες με βάση το θρήσκευμα και την καταγωγή τους. Αντίθετα, η δημοκρατία είναι μία, ενιαία και αδιαίρετη καθ’ όλη την επικράτειά της με τους πολίτες απόλυτα ισότιμους όπου κι αν κατοικούν. Αυτό σημαίνει ότι το κράτος στα πλαίσια της δημοκρατίας αναγνωρίζει τα ίδια δικαιώματα σ’ όλους τους πολίτες και οφείλει να παρέχει τις ίδιες ενιαίες υπηρεσίες και πολιτικές προς όλους τους πολίτες χωρίς κανένα, μα κανένα διαχωρισμό.

Ο διαμελισμός λοιπόν μιας εθνικής επικράτειας σε μειονότητες και πλειονότητες διασπά την κοινωνική και πολιτική συνοχή του λαού με σκοπό να τον μετατρέψει σ’ ένα συνονθύλευμα «πληθυσμιακών οντοτήτων» υπό την χειραγώγηση απρόσωπων εξουσιών εντός και εκτός συνόρων. Μετατρέπει την ιδιότητα του πολίτη σε απλό πρόσχημα και επιτρέπει στην εξουσία να χρησιμοποιεί ελεύθερα το διαίρει και βασίλευε.

Σχεδόν για έναν αιώνα οι ελληνικές κυβερνήσεις εφάρμοσαν μια μυωπική πολιτική αποκλεισμού και περιθωριοποίησης τμημάτων του πληθυσμού στην περιοχή, με βάση τη γλώσσα, την καταγωγή και το θρήσκευμα, συντηρώντας ένα υποτίθεται μειονοτικό «εθνικό» πρόβλημα, κατά παράβαση ακόμα και της ίδιας συνθήκης της Λοζάνης. Έστρωσαν έτσι το έδαφος, ώστε ξένες δυνάμεις να μπορούν σήμερα, να επενδύουν στην υποτιθέμενη τουρκική μειονότητα προκειμένου να πετύχουν τους σκοπούς τους σε βάρος των εθνικών μας συμφερόντων.

Επιβάλλοντας εντελώς αυθαίρετα καθεστώς τουρκικής μειονότητας – ακόμη και ενάντια στη θέληση της μεγάλης πλειοψηφίας του «μειονοτικού» στοιχείου – στην περιοχή, ουσιαστικά οι ελληνικές κυβερνήσεις αποδέχτηκαν στην πράξη την αμφισβήτηση της εθνικής κυριαρχίας της Ελλάδας στην Θράκη. Παρέδωσαν Έλληνες πολίτες στην επιρροή και την χειραγώγηση ξένης δύναμης, της Τουρκίας, αλλά και ύποπτων κυκλωμάτων που χρηματοδοτούνται και κατευθύνονται από το εξωτερικό.

Τα κόμματα εξουσίας, δεν δίστασαν να διατηρούν, μέσω της πελατειακής λογικής, της ψηφοθηρίας και των μικροκομματικών σκοπιμοτήτων, αυτό το καθεστώς των διαχωρισμών σε εθνοτική βάση, καθιστάμενοι εν δυνάμει πράκτορες ξένων επίβουλων δυνάμεων, αφήνοντας ελεύθερο πεδίο δράσης σε μυστικές υπηρεσίες, ΜΚΟ κοκ..

Σήμερα, κάτω από το βάρος της νέας κατοχής, η Ελλάδα αντιμετωπίζει πλέον την πιο ακραία απειλή: Την ντε φάκτο ακύρωση της συμφωνίας της Λοζάνης του ΄23 η οποία κατοχυρώνει την εδαφική επικράτεια του ελληνικού «έθνους – κράτους». Προς την κατεύθυνση αυτή, δηλαδή της αλλαγής των συνόρων της χώρας μας – και συνολικά της Βαλκανικής – κινούνται από καιρό οι ΗΠΑ και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση με την ένθερμη στήριξη του εγχώριου δωσιλογισμού, ο οποίος καλλιεργεί ευθέως την αναθεώρηση της συμφωνίας της Λοζάνης μέσω ιδρυμάτων τύπου ΕΛΙΑΜΕΠ.

Με τα σχέδια δημιουργίας Ειδικής Οικονομικής Ζώνης στην περιοχή, το πέρασμα του αγωγού TAP, την ασφάλεια της διέλευσης του οποίου από τη χώρα μας, έχει αναλάβει εξ ολοκλήρου το ΝΑΤΟ, την υποδαύλιση των υποτιθέμενων μειονοτικών προβλημάτων και τη σταδιακή αποδυνάμωση της αποτρεπτικής ισχύος των ενόπλων δυνάμεων, η Ανατολική Μακεδονία και η Θράκη βρίσκονται σήμερα στο μάτι του κυκλώνα και οδεύουν τάχιστα προς την «κοσοβοποίησή» τους.

Αυτήν την κρίσιμη στιγμή, έρχεται η ηγεσία του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, με αντιλήψεις, που απηχούν τον λεβαντινοραγιαδισμό του 19ου και 20ου αιώνα απέναντι στην ευρωπαϊκή αποικιοκρατία, να υποδαυλίσει το ζήτημα και να ενισχύσει καθαρά τις βλέψεις ξένων δυνάμεων με την αποδοχή της ύπαρξης και τη στήριξη μιας ενιαίας ξένης «εθνικής» μειονότητας στην περιοχή της Θράκης. Καλύτερες υπηρεσίες προς αυτές τις δυνάμεις δεν θα μπορούσαν να υπάρξουν με δεδομένη την μειοδοτική και πατριδοκάπηλη πολιτική του δωσιλογικού καθεστώτος των κομμάτων της ΝΔ και του ΠΑΣΟΚ.

Το Ενιαίο Παλλαϊκό Μέτωπο παίρνει ξεκάθαρη θέση. Η Θράκη είναι αναπόσπαστο τμήμα της ενιαίας και αδιαίρετης εθνικής επικράτειας της Ελλάδας και οι πολίτες της αναπόσπαστο μέρος του ελληνικού λαού. Δεν υφίστανται εθνικές μειονότητες. Ο πληθυσμός της αποτελείται αποκλειστικά από Έλληνες πολίτες ανεξάρτητα από το θρήσκευμα και την καταγωγή.

Το Ενιαίο Παλλαϊκό Μέτωπο καλεί κάθε συνειδητό αγωνιστή της δημοκρατίας, κάθε αληθινό πατριώτη να αντιπαρατεθεί στις πρακτικές και τις λογικές που οδηγούν στην «κοσοβοποίηση» της Θράκης, στο όνομα είτε μιας ψευτοδιεθνιστικής αριστεράς, είτε μιας πατριδοκάπηλης δεξιάς. Θα πρέπει επιτέλους να καταλάβουν όλοι ότι πάνω από τον κομματικό πατριωτισμό και πέρα από τον πολιτικό φατριασμό, υπάρχει ο αγώνας για την δημοκρατία και την πατρίδα, ο οποίος προϋποθέτει την ενότητα του λαού πάνω και πέρα από ιδεολογικές, ή άλλες διαχωριστικές γραμμές.

Όποιος βάζει το συμφέρον του κόμματός του πάνω από την Θράκη, την τύχη της πατρίδας και του λαού, τότε αξίζει την πιο μεγάλη μας περιφρόνηση. Και πρέπει να γνωρίζει ότι η κρισιμότητα της κατάστασης δεν αφήνει κανένα περιθώριο ανοχής. Κανένα ιδεολογικό και πολιτικό πρόσχημα δεν μπορεί να δικαιολογήσει την συστράτευση με δυνάμεις που απεργάζονται την εθνική τραγωδία της Ελλάδας στην Θράκη και αλλού. Η ιστορία κρίνει και είναι πάντα αμείλικτη.

Σε αυτές τις τόσο δύσκολες και απειλητικές στιγμές για την πατρίδα μας, το Ε.Πα.Μ. καλεί τον ελληνικό λαό σε εγρήγορση προκειμένου να διασφαλίσει την ενότητά του και προειδοποιεί κάθε δωσίλογο, επίδοξο επιβήτορα της εξουσίας και ιδεοληπτικό με την αριστερά, ή την δεξιά, ότι θα μας βρει απέναντι. Δεν υπάρχει, ούτε πρόκειται να υπάρξει κανενός είδους συγχωροχάρτι για όποιον συμβάλει – έστω άθελά του – είτε από ιδεοληπτική φενάκη, είτε από πολιτική σκοπιμότητα στα σχέδια και τις λογικές που οδηγούν στον εθνικό ακρωτηριασμό της Ελλάδας.

Αθήνα 27 Απριλίου 2014

Η Πολιτική Γραμματεία του Ε.Πα.Μ.

Αναρτήθηκε από ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗΣ ΚΑΖΑΚΗΣ στις 6:27 μ.μ.

Επίσημη παρουσίαση ευρωψηφοδελτίου

Λογότυπο ΕΠΑΜ

Δ. Καζάκης: «Στις 25 Μάη  θα γυρίσουμε την  κλεψύδρα ανάποδα!»

Μέσα στο κατάμεστο από κόσμο Polis Art Cafe στη Στοά του Βιβλίου, έγινε η επίσημη παρουσίαση των 42 υποψηφίων ευρωβουλευτών του Ε.ΠΑ.Μ, με κύρια χαρακτηριστικά τα πολιτικά μηνύματα αλλά και τη συγκίνηση και τις εκπλήξεις, με δηλώσεις στήριξης του Κινήματος από Βασίλη Παπακωνσταντίνου, Βασίλη Λέκκα , Γιάννη Ζουγανέλη κ.α.

Το Ε.ΠΑ.Μ έχει ολοκληρωμένη πρόταση για διαγραφή του χρέους
«Έχουμε δώσει όρκο τιμής στα παιδιά και τους γονείς μας… Ακόμη και ένας από εμάς να μείνει, θα δώσει τον αγώνα μέχρι τέλους», ανέφερε ο Γ.Γ. του Ε.ΠΑ.Μ Δημήτρης Καζάκης, δημιουργώντας συγκίνηση στους παρευρισκομένους, για να καταλήξει με την υπόσχεση και να αποθεωθεί ότι «στις 25 Μάη θα γυρίσουμε την κλεψύδρα ανάποδα!»
Στη διάρκεια της τοποθέτησης του ο Δημήτρης Καζάκης θύμισε ότι όπως έλεγαν οι παλιοί «τραγουδώντας  και πολεμώντας, πάμε στον πόλεμο»,  τονίζοντας πως «ο αγώνας είναι δύσκολος. Έχουμε μεγάλες απώλειες από το βάρος της καθημερινότητας, της ζωής, αλλά δεν το βάζουμε κάτω. Ο αγώνας είναι πολύ μεγάλος, όταν οι κυβερνώντες θέλουν να σε κάνουν δούλο».
Ο γενικός γραμματέας του ΕΠΑΜ, που αναγκάστηκε να διακόψει πολλές φορές την τοποθέτησή του λόγω των χειροκροτημάτων, υπογράμμισε ότι “στο Κίνημα αυτό δεν ζητάμε πιστοποιητικά κοινωνικών φρονημάτων. Μετράμε ποιοι είναι πατριώτες, ποιοι στρατεύονται στην υπεράσπιση της πατρίδας”.
Παράλληλα αναφέρθηκε στις «βάσεις», που στηρίχθηκε το ΕΠΑΜ κατά την ίδρυσή του: «Από την αρχή προσπαθήσαμε να ενώσουμε το λαό που είναι ή οφείλει να είναι πρωταγωνιστής των εξελίξεων, να διαδώσουμε πως η γνώση του λαού είναι δύναμη και η δύναμη θα μας οδηγήσει στην πρόοδο, καθώς και να προκαλέσουμε το σύνολο του πολιτικού κόσμου να συζητήσει για όλα τα μεγάλα ζητήματα που απασχολούν τον τόπο. Εμείς έχουμε κωδικοποιημένη πρόταση και για τη διαγραφή του χρέους της χώρας και για τη μετάβασή μας στη Νέα Ελλάδα».
Δηλώσεις στήριξης από καλλιτέχνες και ανθρώπους των γραμμάτων
Στην εκδήλωση προβλήθηκαν βίντεο με χαιρετισμούς από γνωστούς καλλιτέχνες, όπως , του τραγουδιστή Βασίλη Παπακωνσταντίνου, του ηθοποιού – τραγουδοποιού Γιάννη Ζουγανέλη, του ηθοποιού Τάκη Σπυριδάκη και του τραγουδοποιού Βασίλη Λέκκα.
Όλοι τους εξήραν την προσπάθεια του Κινήματος, ενώ τόνισαν την πίστη τους για την ανατροπή της σημερινής ζοφερής κατάστασης.
Ο Βασίλης Παπακωνσταντίνου χαιρέτισε τον αγώνα που δίνει το Ε.ΠΑ.Μ δηλώνοντας αλληλέγγυος, ενώ ο Γιάννης Ζουγανέλης υπογράμμισε ότι «το ΕΠΑΜ πάει κόντρα στο ρεύμα και ότι ο Δ. Καζάκης απαντά με σοφία και επιχειρήματα στα ψεύδη της κυβέρνησης και των δανειστών μας.»
Ο Τάκης Σπυριδάκης ζήτησε «να μπει τέλος στο γαλαζοπράσινο συνονθύλευμα, στους φασίστες και τις παραποτάμιες βρούβες. Άλλωστε, θέλουμε μια άλλη Ευρώπη και αυτή η ώρα είναι ώρα προσωπικής ευθύνης».
Ο Βασίλης Λέκκας σε μήνυμά του ευχήθηκε «καλή επιτυχία στο ΕΠΑΜ, στη μάχη των ευρωεκλογών, ώστε να πάρουμε πίσω την πατρίδα μας».
Ο δημοσιογράφος – συγγραφέας, Νίκος Ιγγλέσης  τόνισε ότι «αυτές οι εκλογές είναι αποφασιστικής σημασίας για το λαό αναφέροντας ότι «η παρουσία του ΕΠΑΜ είναι σημαντική, από πολιτική και ιδεολογική έννοια. Το ΕΠΑΜ ζητά την επαναφορά της εθνικής κυριαρχίας. Ο αγώνας που δίνουμε είναι εθνικοαπελευθερωτικός»!
Επίσης ο δημοσιογράφος – εκδότης της εφημερίδας «Το ΧΩΝΙ» Γιώργος Χριστοφορίδης,   δήλωσε τη βεβαιότητα του ότι « στις 26 Μαίου ο Δημήτρης Καζάκης θα είναι στην Ευρωβουλή  ακυρώνοντας τα σχέδια τους»!
Το ψηφοδέλτιο
Εκπρόσωποι από όλες τις κοινωνικές ομάδες και επαγγέλματα, είτε είναι μέλη του Κινήματος είτε όχι, είναι οι 42 υποψήφιοι του Ενιαίου Παλλαϊκού Μετώπου. Συγκεκριμένα:
Αγγελόπουλος Γιώργος – Ιδιωτικός υπάλληλος
Αίρις – Ασημακόπουλος Νικόλαος – Επιχειρηματίας
Αλεξανδρόπουλος Γιάννης – Οικονομολόγος
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Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos on the Greek economic crisis: could this Greek Tragedy lead to civil war?

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Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos interviewed by Barbara Van Haute in Dec 2012

 

By Barbara Van Haute

Editorial Note:  Of all the nations experiencing traumatic economic difficulties during the course of the current Great Recession, Greece has suffered the most adverse consequences.  The country’s five year economic problems have been longer and deeper than that of any developed country.  In fact, Greece has gone through a catastrophic depression otherwise unknown in the West.

The  standard of living has dropped drastically; unemployment has reached 26%; the debt to GDP ratio  is over 180%; the country’s “fiscal cliff” is looming bankruptcy;  social spending and the “safety net” have been eviscerated; while demonstrations and riots target both domestic debt reduction measures and the financial institutions  of the European Union power brokers. In response, the European Union and the IMF have authorized a bail-out of 240 billion Euros, some debt relief, and longer repayment schedules in exchange for severe austerity legislation and economic restructuring.

As of last month, the European Union signed off on a further agreement, with mixed benefits and results, to address the crisis.  As one analysis put it, “This deal provides little ‘free’ cash for the government to spend.  The vast bulk of the package provides for further recapitalization of the banks, repayment of arrears and maturing debt, and a debt buyback from private holders.  That leaves only a modest amount of discretionary fiscal spending for the next few months. As before, Greece will depend importantly on sales of government debt to Greek banks to finance itself, which in turn is made possible by liquidity from the ECB. That’s a new definition of recycling, whereby the monetary authority is the ultimate provider of financing to service official debts.” [Council on Foreign Relations website, Nov. 27, 2012: “Greece Gets Its Deal”]

The causes of the crisis and configurations of its long term solutions have been hotly debated.  Does the fault (and the resolution) lie primarily with Greek governance, with the financial policies of the European Union, or some combination of the two?

To get an informed insight on how this Greek tragedy is, and should be, playing out, I interviewed Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos.  Ambassador Chrysanthopoulos and I became friends while he was Ambassador of his country to Canada from 2000-2004.  The following is a series of questions and responses conducted by email.  As the reader will see, the Ambassador does not pull any punches in his candid comments.

QUESTION:  What do you think are the primary causes of the Greek debt crisis?  Conventional economic analysis claims that the root problems stem from over-spending, excessive borrowing, crushing debt to GDP margins, tax evasion, and an irresponsible political culture of entitlement and excessive social welfare programs.  Recently, Transparency International also placed Greece at the top of its European Union list of corrupt government public sectors and worse than many Third World countries.  To what extent are these valid critiques?

RESPONSE: It is a combination of many factors. When Greece joined the EU in 1981, it had flourishing industry, agriculture, tourism and services. Gradually, Greece was obliged to restructure its agricultural production and to reduce the amount of population working in agriculture from 7% to 3 %. We were also obliged to reduce our olive oil production since there was a surplus EU production then. The influx of EU agricultural subsidies also reduced production. Since there was also an overproduction of steel at the time, Greece was obliged to gradually close down its steel industry and at the end it was left only with tourism.

At the same time, the Greeks wanted to have all the luxurious goods, nice cars, houses and other consumer goods.  And the banks were giving them loans without checking to see if the individuals had the means to repay the loans. Many EU programs started to help the Greeks increase their standard of living and to help the industrialized countries of the EU to sell their products to Greece. And the Greeks kept on consuming. The new economic trend of globalization added further to this spiral.

In the meantime the EU created a common currency, the euro, a currency that 60% of the Greeks and 90% of the Germans did not want. The eurozone became a collection of markets and nations under one common structure that could not be more diverse. The income structures were greatly different as were the tax, pension and social security systems.  All of the eurozone members were obliged to use the euro, but without the possibility of adjusting the competitiveness of their industries by currency devaluation.

Of course, there were rules that had to be followed. According to the Maastricht Treaty, the eurozone countries were not allowed to have over 60% GDP/debt relations. But the Treaty had already been violated: Italy had 105.8%, Greece 97.6%, Belgium 89.6%, France 68%, Portugal 66.4% and Germany 65.9%. So the question then arises why did the EU politicians of the time establish the euro, fully aware that six nations were violating the rules from the outset?

Finally the Lisbon Treaty-which very few EU politicians had ever read-gave all decision making authority on these matters to Brussels.

And then the whole system failed.

Is it the fault of the Greek government?  Not only. Of course all Greek governments managed the economy in a dismal way, appointing friends to administrative positions, spending money for no reason, and even being involved in corrupt practices.

And what about the European politicians? They only care to promote their own personal interests and they lack any kind of vision on the future of Europe. Because if they had a vision, the French would not have obliged a country on the verge of default, Greece, to buy frigates valued at billions of euros on the eve of the first austerity measures in 2010; nor would the Germans have exercised pressure on Athens to buy aircrafts and submarines. On the contrary, it should have been prohibited for members of the eurozone to sell armaments to other members who are on the verge of defaulting. Which brings us to an interesting fact: Greece has been spending roughly 4% of its GDP for armaments since 1974, and the biggest amount of armament purchases has gone to Germany at a cost of 300 million euros per year; for a total of 2.6 billion euros in the last five years. And it is not right for the people of Greece to support financially the German workers of the armament industry.

QUESTION: How would you describe, in general terms, the impact of the economic crisis on the lives of average Greeks?  Can you provide some examples of creative and productive responses that attempt to cope with the crisis?

The implementations of the EU austerity measures have had tragic implications on the lives of the average Greeks. For the first time since the German occupation of 1941 we have seen food lines in Athens giving free food to the many needy. For the first time we are witnessing Greek citizens searching the garbage bins for food. There are, for the first time, 25,000 homeless in Athens. People have restricted their consumption to the minimum necessary to survive. The population is suffering and the suicide rate has reached 2000 per year in comparison with 200-300 in the pre-crisis period. People are coping by creating balcony vegetable production and by reverting to bartering, particularly in the country side. Agricultural associations are being created that bring the products directly to the market at low cost because they avoid the middleman.

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

RESPONSE: I believe that the crisis has been aggravated by the wrong measures of austerity imposed on Greece by the so-called Troika (IMF-EU and the European Central Bank) and the lack of courage of Greek governments to oppose or negotiate them.  IMF has admitted in public that mistakes were made. Many Greeks are suffering because of these measures .The IMF recently admitted that it did not anticipate the high levels of recession. But mistakes have to be paid. It is a shame that the Greek Government did not estimate the cost of the damages of these mistakes to the country and ask that they be reduced from the so-called debt.

Democracy no longer exists in Greece. The austerity measures recently adopted were unconstitutional according to Greece’s highest courts. One Member of Parliament and former minister said unabashed on television that the measures are unconstitutional but he has to vote for them. In this way, he blatantly violated the oath he took when he was sworn in to protect the Constitution.

The Greek government recently made an agreement with the successor company of Blackwater to hire mercenaries for the protection of Parliament. Parliament, however, in democracies needs no protection. Guidelines have been issued to the mass media of what can be said and tolerated and what cannot be tolerated. Journalists that do not conform are being harassed by government agents or arrested. Another journalist was summarily fired from state television because he showed the Prime Minister being booed at the October 28 National day celebrations. And the EU does not give a damn about democracy in Greece as it does about democracy in other countries like Turkey.

QUESTION: The roles of Germany, the European Central Bank, and other European financial institutions have been heavily criticized in Greece.  Given the substantial bail-outs promised and paid out, what do you think is a fair critique of the additional responsibility for the rest of Europe to help Greece get out from under the debt load?

RESPONSE: The bail-outs are money that is given to the lenders of Greece. Nothing goes to the country or to its people. The issue should be seen from the EU more as an attempt to save the EU rather than Greece. Because if Greece collapses then we might have a domino effect leading to the collapse of the other southern EU members. It will cost less to the EU if it agrees today to zero the debt of Greece rather than continuing the bail-outs. This will allow Greece to focus on its development rather on never ending debt payments. And one must not forget the high interest rates of 4% that were imposed for the first bail-out. This is called usury. Fortunately, it was later corrected.

QUESTION: Are the details and amounts of the ECB/IMF recent financing ‘deal’ realistic in terms of allowing Greece’s domestic economy to stabilize and grow?

RESPONSE: No, it is a continuation of the same mistakes. These measures like the previous ones enhance recession and deprive the population of any consuming ability by unfair and heavy taxation. There can be no growth without consumption. The new deal gives priority to the protection of the lenders of Greece.

QUESTION: The Bank of Greece believes that the Greek economy will recover if all of the terms of the EU/IMF deal are implemented by the Greek government. Do you think that the government of Greece can fully implement the terms without further negative impacts for the people of Greece?

RESPONSE: The Bank of Greece is mistaken. It has made such forecasts before. The Minister of Finance was saying last year, in another capacity that in 2012 Greece will start to develop. Today the Prime Minister said yesterday that at the end of 2013 Greece will start to develop. So basically they are telling the people nonsense and thus have lost their credibility. The results of the measures imposed on Greece since 2010 have been disastrous. Unemployment only from 16% in 2010 has now reached 26%, as a result of the measures. The structure of society is unraveling. Criminality has increased, nobody feels safe to walk the streets of Athens anymore, people are asking for loans to pay their taxes. No the tolerance level of the people is on the verge of being breached. However, it should be made clear, that all Greeks would make any kind of sacrifice if they knew that the measures would be effective and the country would be out of the debt crisis. But unfortunately this is not the case. If the aim of the exercise is to reduce the debt GDP   ratio to 120% from 190% by 2020, what happens after that? Austerity measures will continue to be imposed. And the people of Greece are not willing to spend the rest of their lives in such conditions.

QUESTION: IMF and EU finance ministers have acknowledged that total forgiveness of Greek debt may be required at some point in the more distant future.  Do you agree with this acknowledgement, or is it possible that debt removal should be considered in the very near future if Greece’s economy is to stabilize and grow within the next few years.   Other analysts argue that complete debt forgiveness would be a disastrous precedent and a financial calamity for the lenders.   How could the case be made to reluctant European financial institutions and government lenders that this would be in their self-interest?

RESPONSE: As I previously stated, the only solution for Europe and for Greece is the total forgiveness of the Greek debt now. This will be a cheaper cost for the EU since such a measure will also save the eurozone. Once Greece has gotten rid of the debt, then it can focus on true development of the country with investments and increased consumption. If the debt is not forgiven now Greece will default and if it does, it will most likely leave the eurozone with possible domino effects to Portugal, Spain and why not Italy. So if the eurozone collapses it will cost money, much money to the EU. But even if it doesn’t, the EU will have to make many more bailouts to keep Greece afloat. It would be a precedent, of course. But my heart does not bleed for the lenders since they will never become homeless or destitute. The social impact will be much smaller when the lenders lose money than when the people do. These are simple arguments and you do not need much wisdom to find them. One needs, however, guts to implement them; something that is missing from today’s politicians in Europe.

QUESTION: Some observers believe abandoning the euro would be catastrophic even given the current situation.  Others claim it is necessary because default and deprivation are inevitable with the euro.  What do you think would be the consequences for Greece if the country abandoned the euro and returned to the drachma?

RESPONSE: The situation in Greece is dramatic. If we continue the path of austerity we will end up in disaster. If Greece were to abandon the euro and revert to the drachma, the situation would be difficult but easier to cope with. If we were to return to the drachma, this would be done gradually with both currencies co-existing for a one year period as we did when we adopted the euro. But with a national currency Greece will be able to devalue it and make its economy more competitive in that way. And we must never forget that the drachma worked effectively.

QUESTION: If the crisis is viewed as sustained and structural (regardless of bail-outs and government programs), are there structural socio-economic changes Greece can undertake—regional decentralization, emphasizing commodities over cash, growth of cooperatives, etc?—that could be effective substitutes for austerity?

RESPONSE: Of course there are. For example in order to make investments in Greece more effective, the Troika proposed a drastic reduction of the minimum wage in the private sector. Instead the best solution would have been for the Government to simplify the bureaucratic procedures that are needed in order to obtain an investment permit and also to reduce the cost. But that is not a structural change. Better use of new technologies and innovation and less state intervention in the economy will be helpful also. Restructuring of the State mechanism is another must but it cannot be done overnight. It has to be done gradually and it must be well planned. These are but some small examples.

QUESTION: Finally, are you personally optimistic or pessimistic as to what will happen to Greece over the next five years?

RESPONSE: If the situation continues as it is today then I am pessimistic. It will be difficult to avoid social unrest and perhaps civil war under such circumstances. If the situation changes and the debt is forgiven, one way or another, I would be optimistic in my outlook. However, since we Greeks have been around for a much longer time than our European counterparts, I believe that we will survive this onslaught also. However you cannot save a country by destroying it.

Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is a Greek career diplomat. In 1977 he was a junior member of the team that negotiated Greece’s accession to the EU.   During his service, he also assisted in the negotiations between the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus; serving in close contact with the Secretary General’s Office of the UN.

 In 1993 he became the first Greek Ambassador to newly independent Armenia, where he also represented the Presidency of the European Union. He has served in legations in Toronto and Beijing, as well as in his country’s missions to the European Union in Brussels and the United Nations in New York. He has served as Consul General of Greece in Istanbul and as ambassador to Poland and Canada.

From 2006 to 2012 he served as Secretary General of the BSEC (Black Sea Economic Corporation Organization) International Secretariat with its Headquarters in Istanbul.  

 His writings include commentaries in various Greek and international newspapers.  The ambassador has also authored publications on the 1974 invasion of Cyprus and nation-building in Armenia.

Barbara Haute is a recent resident of Almonte and has a background in political analysis. She has done graduate work in Political Science and International Relations at Carleton and is currently a Research Fellow for the Centre for Security and Defence Studies at the University of Manitoba. Barbara has also worked with the Conference Board of Canada and various national Aboriginal organizations.

Obama: “Remaking the Middle East”: The American Gulag

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Introduction: During the beginning of his first term in office President Obama promised “to remake the Middle East into a region of prosperity and freedom”. Six years later the reality is totally the contrary: the Middle East is ruled by despotic regimes whose jails are overflowing with political prisoners.

The vast majority of pro-democracy activists who have been incarcerated, have been subject to harsh torture and are serving long prison sentences. The rulers lack legitimacy, having seized power and maintained their rule through a centralized police state and military repression.Direct US military and CIA intervention, massive shipments of arms,military bases, training missions and Special Forces are decisive in the construction of the Gulag chain from North Africa to the Gulf States.

We will proceed by documenting the scale and scope of political repression in each US backed police state. We will then describe the scale and scope of US military aid buttressing the “remaking of the Middle East” into a chain of political prisons run by and for the US Empire.

The countries and regimes include Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan and Turkey . . . all of which promote and defend US imperial interests against the pro-democracy majority, represented by their independent social-political movements.

Egypt: Strategic Vassal State

A longtime vassal state and the largest Arab country in the Middle East, Egypt’s current military dictatorship, product of a coup in July 2013, launched a savage wave of repression

subsequent to seizing power. According to the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights, between July and December 2013, 21,317 pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested. As of April 2014, over 16,000 political prisoners are incarcerated. Most have been tortured. The summary trials, by kangaroo courts, have resulted in death sentences for hundreds and long prison terms for most. The Obama regime has refused to call the military’s overthrow of the democratically elected Morsi government a coup in order to continue providing military aid to the junta.In exchange the military dictatorship continues to back the Israeli blockade of Gaza and support US military operations throughout the Middle East.

Israel: The Region’s Biggest Jailer

Israel, whose supporters in the US dub it the “only democracy in the Middle East”, is in fact the largest jailer in the region.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselm, between 1967 and December 2012, 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned at some point, over 20% of the population. Over 100,000 have been held in “administrative detention” without charges or trial. Almost all have been tortured and brutalized. Currently Israel has 4,881 political prisoners in jail. What makes the Jewish state God’s chosen… premier jailer, however, is the holding of 1.82 million Palestinians living in Gaza in a virtual open air prison. Israel restricts travel, trade, fishing, building , manufacturing and farming through air, sea and ground policing and blockades. In addition, 2.7 million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (West Bank) are surrounded by prison-like walls, subject to daily military incursions, arbitrary arrests and violent assaults by the Israeli armed forces and Jewish vigilante settlers engaged in perpetual dispossession of Palestinian inhabitants.

Saudi Arabia: Absolutist Monarchy

According to President Obama’s ‘remaking of Middle East’ Saudi Arabia stands as Washington’s “staunchest ally in the Arab world”. As a loyal vassal state, its jails overflow with pro-democracy dissidents incarcerated for seeking free elections, civil liberties and an end to misogynist policies. According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission the Saudis are holding 30,000 political prisoners, most arbitrarily detained without charges or trial.

The Saudi dictatorship plays a major role bankrolling police state regimes throughout the region. They have poured $15 billion into the coffers of the Egyptian junta subsequent to the military coup, as a reward for its massive bloody purge of elected officials and their pro-democracy supporters. Saudi Arabia plays a big role in sustaining Washington’s dominance, by financing and arming ‘jailer-regimes’ in Pakistan, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.

Bahrain: Small Country – Many Jails

According to the local respected Center for Human Rights, Bahrain has the dubious distinction of being the “top country globally in the number of political prisoners per capita”. According to the Economist (4/2/14) Bahrain has 4,000 political prisoners out of a population of 750,000. According to the Pentagon, Bahrain’s absolutist dictatorship plays a vital role in providing the US with air and maritime bases, for attacking Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. The majority of pro-democracy dissidents are jailed for seeking to end vassalage , autocracy, and servility to US imperial interest and the Saudi dictatorship.

Iraq: Abu Ghraib with Arab Characters

Beginning with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 and continuing under its proxy vassal Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have been tortured, jailed and murdered. Iraq’s ruling junta, has continued to rely on US military and Special Forces and to engage in the same kinds of military and police ‘sweeps’ which eviscerate any democratic pretensions. Al-Maliki relies on special branches of his secret police, the notorious Brigade 56, to assault opposition communities and dissident strongholds. Both the Shi’a regime and Sunni opposition engage in ongoing terror-warfare. Both have served as close collaborators with Washington at different moments.

The weekly death toll runs in the hundreds. The Al-Maliki regime has taken over the torture centers (including Abu Ghraib), techniques and jails previously headed and run by the US and have retained US ‘Special Forces’ advisers, overseeing the round-up of human rights critics, trade unionists and democratic dissidents.

Yemen:A Joint US-Saudi Satellite

Yemen has been ruled by US-Saudi client dictators for decades. The autocratic rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh was accompanied by the jailing and torture of thousands of pro-democracy activists, secular and religious, as well as serving as a clandestine torture center for political dissidents kidnapped and transported by the CIA under its so-called “rendition” program. In 2011 despite prolonged and violent repression by the US backed Saleh regime, a mass rebellion exploded threatening the existence of the state and its ties to the US and Saudi regimes. In order to preserve their dominance and ties to the military, Washington and Saudi orchestrated a ‘reshuffle’ of the regime: rigged elections were held and one Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a loyal crony of Saleh and servant of Washington, took power. Hadi continued where Saleh left off: kidnapping, torturing, killing pro-democracy protestors… Washington chose to call Hadi’s rule “a transition to democracy”. According to the Yemen Times (4/5/14) over 3,000 political prisoners fill the Yemen prisons. “Jailhouse democracy” serves to consolidate the US military presence in the Arabian Peninsula.

Jordan: A Client Police State of Longstanding Duration

For over a half century, three generations of reigning Jordanian absolutist monarchs have been on the CIA payroll and have served US interests in the Middle East. Jordan’s vassal rulers savage Arab nationalists and Palestinian resistance movements; signed off on a so-called “peace agreement” with Israel to repress any cross-border support for Palestine; provide military bases in support of US, Saudi and EU training, arming and financing of mercenaries invading Syria.

The corrupt monarchy and its crony oligarchy oversee an economy perpetually dependent on foreign subsidies to keep it afloat: unemployment is running over 25% and half the population is subsisting in poverty. The regime has jailed thousands of peaceful protestors. According to a recent Amnesty International Report (Jordan 2013), King Abdullah’s dictatorship “has detained thousands without charges”. The jailhouse monarchy plays a central role in buttressing US empire-building in the Middle East and facilitating Israeli land grabbing in Palestine.

Turkey: NATO Bulwark and Jailhouse Democracy

Under the reign of the self-styled “Justice and Development Party” led by Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has evolved into a major military operational base for the NATO backed invasion of Syria. Erdoğan has had his differences with the US; especially Turkey’s cooling relations with Israel over the latters’ seizure of a Turkish ship in international waters and the slaughter of nine unarmed Turkish humanitarian activists. But as Turkey has turned toward greater dependence on international capital flows and integration into NATO’s international wars, Erdoğan has become more authoritarian. Facing large scale public challenges to his arbitrary privatization of public spaces and dispossession of households in working class neighborhoods, Erdoğan launched a purge of civil society ,class based movements and state institutions. In the face of large scale pro-democracy demonstrations in the summer of 2013, Erdoğan launched a savage assault on the dissidents. According to human rights groups over 5,000 were arrested and 8,000 were injured during the Gezi Park protests. Earlier Erdoğan established “Special Authorized Courts” which organized political show trials based on falsified evidence which facilitated the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of military officers, party activists, trade unionists, human rights lawyers and journalists, particularly those critical of his support for the war against Syria. Despite conciliatory rhetoric, Erdogan’s jails contain several thousand Kurdish dissidents, including electoral activists and legislators (Global Views 10/17/12).

While Erdoğan has served as an able and loyal Islamist anchor against popular democratic and nationalist movements in the Middle East, his pursuit of greater Turkish influence in the region, has led the US to deepen its political ties with the more submissive and pro-Washington , pro-Israel Gulenist movement embedded in the state apparatus ,business and education. The latter has adopted a permeationist-strategy: purging adversaries in its quiet march to power from within the state. The US still relies on Erdoğan’s “jailhouse democracy” to repress anti-imperialist movements in Turkey; to serve as a military anchor for the war against Syria; to back sanctions against Iran and to support the pro-NATO Maliki regime in Iraq.

The Middle East Gulag and US Military Aid

The police state regimes and the long-term authoritarian political culture in the Arab world is a product of long-term US military support for despotic rulers. The absence of democracy is a necessary condition for expanding and advancing the US imperial military presence in the region.

A small army of US Islamophobic academics, “experts”, journalists and media pundits totally ignore the role of the US in promoting, sustaining and strengthening the ruling dictators and repressing the profoundly democratic mass movements which have erupted over a prolonged period of time. Spearheaded by long-time pro-Israel Middle East scribes and scholars, in Ivy League universities, these propagandists, claim that Arab dictatorships are a product of “Islamic culture”,or the “authoritarian personality of Arabs” in search of a ‘strongman’ to guide and rule them. Ignoring or distorting the history of working class struggles, pro-democracy protests and affirmations, in all of the major Arab countries, these scholars justify the US ties to the dictatorships as “realistic policies” given the “available options”. Wherever real democracy begins to emerge, where political rights begin to be exercised, Washington provokes coups and intervenes to bolster the repressive apparatus of the state (Bahrain 2011-14, Yemen 2011 to 2014, Egypt 2013, Jordan 2012 among numerous other cases). While the bulk of the Middle East “experts” blame the Arab citizens for authoritarian rule, they completely ignore and cover-up Israel’s racist majority which solidly backs the incarceration and torture of hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy Palestinians.

To understand the Middle East gulag requires a discussion of US ‘aid policy’ which is central to sustaining the ‘jailhouse regimes’.

US Aid to Egypt: Billions for Dictators

The Egyptian police state anchors the US ‘arc of empire’ from North Africa to the Middle East. Egypt has been actively engaged in destabilizing Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and collaborating with Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians. The Mubarak dictatorship received $2 billion dollars a year from Washington – nearly $65 billion for its imperial services. US aid strengthened its capacity to jail, and torture pro-democracy and trade union activists. Washington continued its military support of dictatorial rule after the military coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected government, to the tune of $1.55 billion dollars for 2014 . Despite “expressions of concern” over the murder of thousands of pro-democracy protestors by the new military strongman General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, there was no cut in funding for so-called “counter-terrorism” and “security”. To continue funding the dictatorship under US Congressional legislation, Washington refused to characterize the violent seizure of power as a coup . . . referring to it as a “transition to democracy”. The key role of Egypt in US foreign policy is to protect Israel’s ‘eastern flank’. US aid to Egypt is product of the pressure and influence of the Zionist power configuration in Congress and the White House: US aid is conditioned on Egypt’s ‘policing’ of the Gaza border, ensuring that Israel’s blockade is effective. The White House supports Cairo’s repression of the majority of nationalist, anti-colonial Egyptians opposed to Tel Aviv’s dispossession of the Palestinians. Insofar as Israel’s interests’define US Middle East policy, Washington’s financing of Egypt’s jailhouse dictatorship is in accord with Zionist Washington’s strategy.

Israel: The US “Pivot” in the Middle East

Most independent and knowledgeable experts agree that US Middle East policy is largely dictated by a multitude of Zionist loyalists occupying key policymaking positions in Treasury, State Department, the Pentagon and Commerce as well as Congressional dominance by the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations and their 171,000 full time paid activists. While there is some truth in what some critics cite as the divergence of the ‘real’ US ‘national interest’ from Israel’s colonial ambitions, the fact is that US leaders in Washington perceive a convergence between imperial dominance and Israeli militarism. In point of fact a submissive Egypt serves wider US imperial and Israeli colonial interests. Israel’s war on Lebanon against the anti-imperialist Hezbollah movement served US efforts to install a docile client as well as Israeli’s effort to destroy a partisan of Palestinian self-determination. Washington’s divergence with Israel over Israel’s dispossession of all Palestine does run counter to Washington’s interest in a Palestinian mini-state run by neo-colonial Arab officials. As a result of Zionist influence, Israel is the biggest per-capita US aid recipient in the world, despite having a higher standard of living than 60% of US citizens. Between 1985-2014, Israel received over $100 billion dollars, of which 70% was military, including the most advance high technology weaponry. Israel ,the country which has the world record for political prisoners and military attacks on its neighbors over the past forty years, holds the record for US military aid. Israel as the premier ‘jailhouse democracy’ is a key link in the chain of gulags extending from North Africa to the Gulf States.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia competes with Israel as an incarceration center of pro-democracy dissidents; the Saudi’s recycle hundreds of billions of petro-rents through Wall Street, enriching local Saudi despots and overseas pro-Israel investment bankers. The Saudi-US-Israeli convergence is more than incidental. They share military interests in warring against pro-independence, pro-democracy Arab movements throughout the Middle East. Saudi houses the major US military base and the biggest intelligence operations in the Gulf. It backed the US invasion of Iraq. It finances thousands of Islamic mercenaries in the US-NATO proxy war against Syria. It invaded Bahrain to smash the pro-democracy movement. It intervenes with Washington in support of the Yemen police state. It is the biggest and most lucrative market for the US military-industrial complex. US military sales between 1951 – 2006 totaled $80 billion. In October 2010 it signed off on a $60.5 billion purchase of US arms and services.

Bahrain: A US Aircraft Carrier called a Country

Bahrain serves as the naval base for the US Fifth fleet – and an operative base for attacking Iran. It has been servicing the occupation of Afghanistan and US control of oil shipping routes. The Al-Khalifa dictatorship is extremely isolated, highly unpopular and faces constant pressure from the pro-democracy majority. To bolster their vassal rulers, Washington has increased its military sales to the tiny statelet from $400 million between 1993-2000 to $1.4 billion in the subsequent decade. Washington has increased its sales and military training program in direct proportion to the growth of democratic discontent, resulting in the geometrical growth of political prisoners.

Iraq: War, Occupation,and the Killing Fields of a Jailhouse Democracy

The US invasion and occupation of Iraq led to the slaughter of nearly 1.5 million Iraqis (mostly civilians, non-combatants) at a cost of $1.5 trillion dollars and 4,801 US military deaths. In 2006 the US engineered ‘elections’ led to the installation of the Maliki regime, buttressed by US arms, mercenaries, advisers and bases. According to a recent study for the Congressional Research Office (February 2014), by Kenneth Kilzman, there are 16,000 US military personnel and “contractors” currently in Iraq. Over 3,500 US military contractors in the Office of Security Cooperation bolster the corrupt Maliki police state. The jailhouse democracy has been supplied with US missiles and drones and over $10 billion dollars in military assistance :this includes $2.5 billion in aid and $7.9 billion sales between 2005 – 2013. For 2014 -2015 Malaki has requested $15 billion in weapons, including 36 US F-16 combat aircraft and scores of Apache attack helicopters. In 2013 the Malaki regime registered 8,000 political deaths resulting from its internal war.

Iraq is a crucial center for US control of oil, the Gulf and as a launch pad to attack Iran. While Maliki makes ‘gestures’ toward Iran, its role as an advanced link in the US imperial gulag defines its real ‘function’ in the Gulf region.

Yemen: The Desert Military Outpost for the American Gulag

Yemen is a costly military outpost for Saudi despotism and US power on the Arabian Peninsula. According to a study, Yemen: Background and US Relations by Jeremy Sharp for the Congressional Research Service (2014), the US has supplied $1.3 billion in military aid to Yemen between 2009-2014. Saudi Arabia donated $3.2 billion in 2012 to bolster the Saleh dictatorship in the face of a mass popular anti-dictatorial uprising. Washington engineered a transfer of power from Saleh to “President” Hadi and ensured his continuity by doubling military aid to keep the jails full and the resistance in check. According to the New York Times (6/31/13) Hadi was “a carry-over of dictator Saleh”. The continuity of a jailhouse democracy in Yemen is a crucial link between the Egypt-Israel-Jordan axis and the Saudi-Bahrain imperial gulag.

Jordan: Eternal Vassal and Mendicant Monarchy

Jordan’s despotic monarchy has been on the US payroll for over a half century. Recently it has served as a torture center for kidnapped victims seized by US Special Forces engaged in the “rendition” program. Jordan has collaborated with Israel in assaulting and arresting Palestinians in Jordan engaged in the freedom struggle. Currently Jordan along with Turkey serves as a training and weapons depot for NATO backed mercenary terrorists invading Syria. For its collaboration with Israel, Washington and NATO, the corrupt jailhouse monarchy receives large scale long-term military and economic aid. The monarchy and its extended network of cronies, jailers and family, skim tens of millions of dollars in foreign aid, laundered in overseas accounts in London, Switzerland, Dubai and New York. According to a Congressional Research Service Report (January 27, 2014), US aid to the Jordanian royal dictatorship amounts to $660 million per year. An additional $150 million for military aid was channeled to the regime with the onset of the NATO intervention in Syria. The fund was directed to build-up the infrastructure around the Jordan-Syria border. In addition, Jordan serves as a major conduit for arms to terrorists attacking Syria: $340 million destined for “overseas contingencies” probably is channeled through Amman to arm the terrorists invading Syria. In October 2012, Jordan signed agreements with the US allowing a large contingent of Special Forces to establish airfields and bases to supply and train terrorists.

Turkey: A Loyal Vassal State with Regional Ambitions

As the southern military bulwark of NATO, on Russia’s frontier, Turkey has been on the US payroll for over 66 years. According to a recent study by James Zanotti Turkey – US Defense Co-Operation: Prospects and Challenges (Congressional Research Service, April 8, 2011) in exchange for bolstering the military power of Turkey’s “jailhouse democracy”, the US secured a major military presence including a huge air base in Incirlik a major operational center housing 1,800 US military personnel. Turkey collaborated with the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and supported the NATO bombing of Libya. Today Turkey is the most important military operational center for jihadist terrorists invading Syria. Despite President Erdoğan’s periodic demagogic nationalist bombast, the US empire builders continue to have access to Turkish bases and transport corridors for its wars, occupations and interventions in the Middle East and South and Central Asia. In exchange the US has stationed missile defense systems and vastly increased arms sales, so-called “security assistance”. Between 2006 – 2009 US military sales exceeded $22 billion dollars. In 2013-14, tensions between Turkey and the US increased as Erdoğan moved to purge the state of the Gulenists, a US backed fifth column, which permeated the Turkish state and used its position to support closer collaboration with Israel and US military interests.

Conclusion

The expansion of the US Empire throughout North Africa and the Middle East has been built around arming and financing vassal states to serve as military outposts of the empire. These vassal regimes, ruled by dictatorial monarchies, and authoritarian military and civilian rulers, rely on force and violence to sustain their rule. The US has supplied the weapons, advisers, and financing allowing them to rule. The US arc of imperial military bases stretching from Egypt through Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq , Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, is protected by a chain of prison camps containing tens of thousands of political prisoners.

The US engagement, its pervasive presence throughout the region, is accompanied by a chain of jailhouse democracies and dictatorships. Contrary to liberal and conservative policy pundits and academics, US policy for over 50 years has actively sought out, installed and protected bloody tyrants who have pillaged the public treasury, concentrated wealth, surrendered sovereignty and underdeveloped their economies.

Pro-Israel academics at prestigious US universities have systematically distorted the structural bases of violence, authoritarianism and corruption in the Islamic world: blaming the victims, the Turkish and Arab people, and ignoring the role of US empire builders in financing and arming the authoritarian civilian and military rulers and absolutist monarchies and their corrupt military, judicial and police officials.

Contrary to the mendacious tomes published by the prestigious University presses and written mostly by highly respected pro-Israel political propagandists, the remaking of the Middle East depends on the strength of the democratic currents in Islamic society. They are found in the student movements, among the trade unionists and unemployed, the nationalist intellectuals and Islamic and secular forces who oppose the US Empire for very practical and obvious reasons. Along with Israel the US is the main organizer of the vast chain of political prison camps that destroy the most creative and dynamic forces in the region. Greater Arab vassalage provokes the periodic explosion of a vibrant democratic culture and movement; unfortunately it also results in greater US military aid and presence. The real clash of civilizations is between the democratic aspirations of the Eastern popular classes and the deeply embedded authoritarianism of Euro-American- Israeli imperialism.

source

________________________________________________________________

About James Petras

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

________________________________________________________________

NY Times “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia” Debunked

25.Apr.2014 | SCGSCG

These days the New York Times has all the journalistic integrity of a supermarket tabloid.

I remember back in the good old days when the corporate media relied primarily on the careful omission of key information and a generous dose of spin to twist the facts beyond recognition. Apparently those days are over. The American propaganda machine seems to have interpreted the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity to throw off the shackles of reality and journalistic integrity once and for all. Anything goes now (facts are optional).

On April 20th, 2014 the New York Times put out an article entitled “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia” which showed a handful of grainy jpegs that had been submitted by the provisional government in Ukraine and endorsed by the Obama administration as proof that Russia did indeed have special forces in Eastern Ukraine.

NY Times "Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia" Debunked

Only one problem: there are some not-so-grainy versions of the same photos still floating around on the web, and these higher quality images make it very clear that the now famous bearded special forces soldier shown in the picture taken in Georgia in 2008, is not at all the same person that was photographed in Eastern Ukraine. Oops.

NY Times "Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia" Debunked

NY Times "Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia" Debunked

The beard of the soldier from Georgia was red at the roots, the beard of the man in the picture from Eastern Ukraine is black at the roots. Furthermore at the higher resolution we can see that their faces aren’t even all that similar. But according to the Obama administration and the New York times they both have beards, so that’s proof.

The Times is aware of this issue, but instead of issuing a full retraction or editing the original they put out a carefully worded piece entitled “Scrutiny Over Photos Said to Tie Russia Units to Ukraine” which makes blurry references to the fact that some are questioning the authenticity of the photos, but refrained from showing the actual photos that debunk the claims definitively, and ended the article with an assertion by a State Department spokeswoman defending the essentials of the story. They also make no mention of the fact that the man in the images above is obviously not the same person.

Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, acknowledged that the assertion that the photograph in the American briefing materials had been taken in Russia was incorrect. But she said that the photograph was included in a “draft version” of a briefing packet and that the information has since been corrected. This photograph, she said, was not among those presented by Mr. Kerry in Geneva. Still, Ms. Psaki asserted that there was considerable classified and unclassified information that had led the United States and its Western allies to “make a connection between the Russians and the armed militants” in eastern Ukraine. “We don’t have a shadow of a doubt about the connection,” she said.

Right, because we all know that if the U.S. State Department says something, then it must be true (cough, cough, weapons of mass destruction). That certainly makes up for the fact that the men in the photos aren’t the same person.

Remember this comes just a week after they ran with the bogus story about how Jews were being required to register in Eastern Ukraine (they still haven’t corrected themselves on that one either).

It seems that the New York Times has been studying at the beforeitsnews.com school of journalism. No, I take that back. I shouldn’t insult the integrity of random people posting unverified nonsense in a forum.

 

 

 

 

Multiple Ways Kleptocrats and Militarists Fleece Americans

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Introduction: American living standards are plunging and it’s not simply because they are paid less, work longer (or shorter hours) under highly stressful workplace conditions and pay a higher percentage of their income for health and pension coverage.

The ‘workplace’ is only one of several locations where American working people are experiencing a sharp decline in living standards. The new oligarchical Kleptocrats and political elites have elaborated new ways to fleece Americans. These include:

(1) Increased costs and declining quality of internet, cable and other communication systems.

(2) Intensive pervasive and perpetual surveillance by punitive espionage agencies eroding personal freedoms and violating the confidentiality of personal, political and business decisions affecting everyday life.

(3) Large scale, repeated financial swindles by the most active and influential private and publicly trading investment companies resulting in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in pensions and savings for tens of millions of middle and working class investors.

(4) Increases in taxes and charges, including sales taxes, social security deductions, medical co-payments and reductions in social services … This is a result of the government’s commitment to finance US corporate investments and bail-outs. Big business hoards their cash holdings abroad to avoid taxes on overseas profits. To pay dividends they borrow. The growth of corporate debt, concentrated in a few large corporations, holds the US taxpayer liable for any present or future collapse of the financial markets. This corporate-induced ‘hoarding of capital’ compromises present and future living standards. It plays a major role in the deterioration of employment, wages, social services and public infrastructure.

(5) The astronomical growth of state spending on wars of conquest, financial giveaways propping up right-wing dictatorships and building a vast network of global military bases, proxy wars and other empire building measures reduce living standards of Americans. By militarizing everyday life, citizens are subject to mindless repetitive propaganda designed to lower their mental capacity. State terror-mongering propagandists in the mass media distract citizens from their declining living standards. Political elites bully citizens to continue ‘sacrificing’ basic living standards. Video games reproduce the worlds of war and terror, reflecting the real world policies of the ruling class.

Video games allow Americans who know they no longer have influence on political decisions and whose living standards are in decline, to vicariously exercise power and realize favorable outcomes on their mobiles. Purchasing mobiles, video games and other gadgets enrich billionaires’— so-called “high tech” capitalists – and convert citizens into impoverished consumers. They inhabit a bubble of illusions and passivity in the face of growing economic inequalities and political-cultural impoverishment.

The Political Bases of Declining Living Standards

The case of Comcast, the communication monopoly’s seizure of internet, is illustrative of how politics and plunder converge. Comcast TWC, the largest communications company, presently will control 40% of the US broadband and one-third of the US cable television market. By controlling the internet, Comcast will monopolize the principal means of communication of most Americans. The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC), which is supposed to regulate the industry and prevent price gouging monopolies, is “dominated by senior former industry officials” (Financial Times, (FT) 4/14/, pg. 9). Almost every elected national politician from Obama down has received substantial campaign funds from Comcast. During Senate hearings on Comcast’s bid to monopolize the internet through the take-over of Time Warner Cable, Comcast CEO David Cohen smirked and brushed off the Senators puff-questions. FCC complicity, Senatorial whitewashing of the private monopoly, is only part of the story. The internet was developed largely by public funds as was Google’s search engine: the public sector took the risk and the private monopolists , in this case Comcast, harvest the profits.

Comcast charges Americans several times greater then what it costs to use the internet in Sweden, South Korea, Singapore and elsewhere. Yet, US average internet speed is as little as a tenth as fast as that in Japan. In other words the hundreds of millions of US citizens who rely on the internet spend more money for less internet quality in their work day and everyday life. Their work life is intensified, their free time is reduced and their living standards are diminished. With greater concentration of ownership, come greater inequalities in power and income, and a greater disparity of living standards. All of which is obscured by the main beneficiaries – the communication barons and their political cronies.

Declining Living Standards in the Era of the Police State

‘Living’ in the deepest and most intimate sense of the term, means the ability to share ideas, feelings and experiences with individuals, families, friends and citizens without the intrusive and pervasive presence of a punitive state apparatus. When a state spy apparatus intercepts, collects, files, analyzes and makes a police evaluation of citizen’s communications, scientists refer to it as a police-state. The gigantic growth of a police state and its permeation of civil society has dramatically changed for the worse the fundamental bases of inter-personal life and communications. Police state rule, has sharply deteriorated cultural, social, political and economic living conditions. The ‘standards’ for living have been harshly reduced. The ‘legal’, but arbitrary, executive prerogatives of the state have been enhanced. The parameters of the basic rights of citizens have shrunk. As police state expenditures grow and the subjects of surveillance increase, so do budgets and taxes.

Kleptocracy: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

Marx and Marxists for the greater part of the 20th century, focused on capital’s exploitation of labor and the resources of overseas colonies and neo-colonies. In the 21st century a new more dynamic and totally parasitic form of economy has emerged based in the dominant financial sector. Kleptocrats engaged in large-scale, perpetual financial swindles and the pillage of the public treasury greatly impoverish small investors, and the pension funds of employees and workers.

For the better part of two decades, major financial institutions have been engaged in systematic large scale swindles, involving the sale of fraudulent financial packets (dubbed ironically “securities”), profiteering based on insider trading and other illicit activity which is prejudicial to productive activity, investors, tax payers, salary, and wage workers.

Every major investment banks in the US and Europe has been repeatedly investigated, fined and rarely prosecuted. They pay a relatively light fine and return to criminal activity. Looking only at the mega-swindles, involving hundreds of billions of dollars, we would include Enron, the Information Tech “bubble” of the 1990’s to 2000, the Home Mortgage fraud, the Barron, Lehman and Bear Sterns scam. In the run-up to the 2008-9 financial crash , Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America were part of the “pump and dump” of low grade home mortgage bonds and equities. The swindlers are recidivists and are so because of the complicity of top Government officials at every moment. State officials design the rules promoting Kleptocracy (deregulation), suspend safeguards, provide tax incentives, and eliminate risk via trillion dollar bailouts of the biggest investment kleptocrats when the swindlers cannibalize their assets and run out of new victims to swindle.

Under kleptocratic capitalism the apex of the system is occupied by the top fifty investment banks, hedge funds and speculators who ‘make markets’. They determine what ‘stocks or investment objects are targeted, to be pumped or dumped, at what rate and for what period of time. The entire activity of the kleptocratic elite has nothing to do with financing the ‘real economy’. Kleptocrats creates paper ‘values’ – paper assets at paper prices, for real victims and huge profits. The kleptocratic system operates like a chain. Kleptocratic speculators extract the savings and investments of a second tier of financial houses. They draw on real resources: savings, trust and pension funds. The second tier speculators are the ‘bag men’ for the dominant kleptocrats and they receive a minor share of the booty in exchange for conning the savings of producers. They write the prospectus to entice investment funds; they formulate the promise of lucrative returns. They send progress reports to clients in exchange for ‘commissions. They also ‘take the rap”, when the crises hits and bankruptcies, foreclosures and scams unfold.

The pension funds, the individual trusts and savings of workers and employees, resulting from decades of creating value in the real economy, forms the base of the pyramid. They have no influence on the political officials who promote, protect and bailout the kleptocrats. Under the kleptocratic elite ideology of “too big to fail”, the state eliminates all the risk for the klepto’s and imposes the losses on the second tier, who pass the losses on to the wage and salaried workers as taxpayers, via trillion dollar transfers from Treasury. Investors suffer via the loss of equity; workers via the loss of jobs, homes, income and social services. Given the vast chasm between the perpetual fraudulent transactions in the mega paper economy and the daily work routines at the bottom, there is great uncertainty, volatility, and insecurity in the work-life of the wage and salaried classes. The uncertainty and capriciousness of the ‘normal’ capitalist economic cycle, is vastly exacerbated by the turbulence caused by the mega-swindles, endless frauds and crooked trades, endemic to the kleptocratic stage of capital.

Kleptocrats and Militarists Together: They Shall Overcome

Just as kleptocrats rule the paper economy, political confidence men and women engage in imperial wars prejudicing the real economy. Imperial militarists extract wealth from the Treasury (the taxpayer) via perpetual political swindles. Imperial invasions and interventions of sovereign countries are ‘sold’ to the taxpayers as “wars on terror”; non-nuclear Iran is sold as a nuclear threat; the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Ukraine government by a pro Washington junta is sold as a “democratic transition”. Just as the kleptocracy’s “driving force” is repeated, large scale swindles, so the governing militarist elite’s “driving force” is the perpetual need to engage in warfare.

The ‘bridge’ between the kleptocrats and the militarists is the respectable financial press (Financial Times (FT), the Wall Street Journal(WSJ). They publicize and praise high level paper transactions (buy outs and mergers) and encourage imperial warfare everywhere and all the time. They editorialize in favor of wars which destroys lucrative trade and investment markets in the real economy because they are aligned with the kleptocrats linked to the paper economy. The Financial Times should change its name to the Military Times. The editors and columnists have supported wars destroying the Libyan, Iraq, Syrian and Ukrainian economies and back sanctions prejudicing trade with Iran. The financial press no longer promotes market relations of the real economy; it is embedded in the paper economy of the kleptos.

Kleptocratic activities have become ‘routinized’ and based on advanced technology and have created highly respected billionaires. Even as I write today (4/14/14) the FT reports that ‘insiders at some of the hottest private and publically traded web companies sold big personal stakes before the slump in stock companies’ (my emphasis) taking advantage of a bubble of their own creation (“pump”) to reap billions at the expense of small investors. Tell it to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, who sold at the pre-slump peak, prior to the tech bubble bursting

Domestic Corporate Debt and Overseas Corporate Tax Havens

According to Standards and Poor (S and P), the rating agency, “the biggest US companies have added significantly to their debts during the past three years, at the same time as corporate cash piles have increased” (FT 4/14/14). The total cash holding of the 1,100 companies rated by S and P rose by $204 billion to 1.23 trillion between 2010-13. However, during the same time span their gross debts grew fivefold, rising from $748 billion to $4 trillion. Their net debt (gross debt minus cash holdings) rose 24 percent to $2.78 trillion. By holding cash overseas, US corporations avoid domestic taxes – increasing fiscal pressures, the tax burden on domestic producers and workers, heightening the regressive nature of the tax system Secondly, by loading up on domestic debt, the corporate elite crowds out local borrowers. Piling up debt increases corporate vulnerability to bankruptcy if and when interest rates rise. The corporate elite evading taxes via overseas cash piles include Apple, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Chevron, and Merck among others. All told the top 25 multi nationals account for 43 percent of the total debt (FT 4/14/14).

Hoarding profits overseas avoids taxes. High domestic indebtedness results from the need to pay dividends and inflate returns to big shareholders. In other words, corporate elites escape taxes and increase economic insecurity for domestic job holders, both of which contribute to a decline in the material and psychological dimensions of ‘living standards’.

Kleptocracy and Militarism: Declining Living Standards

The rise of a powerful kleptocratic economic elite which ‘interpenetrates’ and shares power with a militarist political elite have joined forces to pillage the productive economy and the US Treasury. Their powerful links are the main reason for heightening class inequalities, political and social insecurities. They have driven American society into a permanent state of crises and wars. Over the past quarter century, Americans have lived through two major economic crashes, prolonged periods of stagnation and declining income, three major wars and a multitude of overt and covert military operations – all of which have eroded living standards.

Military propaganda saturates the mass media and permeates all mass spectacles. Stock reports, dominate the economic news. Investment speculators and swindlers are presented as cultural heroes. The gap between elite opinion and interests and those of the majority of citizens widens.

This leads politicians to greater dependence on billionaire campaign funders. The electoral process is unabashedly and totally controlled by the economic oligarchy. The vast majority of Americans recognizes and publically admit their total lack of political influence on all public issues of interest including those privileging the kleptocrats and the warlords.

The deeply felt and pervasive malaise resulting from social impotence in vital spheres of life is the clearest expression of the decline of political living standards. The shrinking of public involvement, the narrow focus of isolated individuals manipulating computerized gadgets , the replacement of face to face public engagement by impersonal electronic communications, are an expression of the decline of social living standards. The rise of ethno-religious chauvinism among klepto-elites is matched by the political warlords’ reliance on systematic deception and espionage of American citizens. Warlords and kleptocrats are enclosed in privileged living enclaves, including the private appropriation of former public spaces, but their intrusion into private communications define the diminished world of everyday life for the most Americans. Life expectancy may have increased but human life has decreased, drastically, over the past quarter of a century.

Conclusion

Blood and gore does not drip off the Saville suited clever inside trader. They never see or hear their victims, nor do they have an interest in them, except to fleece them collectively and anonymously.

America is ruled by a division of labor. The financial speculators, corporate tax evaders, investment bankers – the kleptocratic ruling class– pillage the treasury and productive economy. Their political counterparts manipulate, distract and police their exploited victims – to ensure that they submit or are intimidated if they protest.

When they political elites come up short, there are the new “opiums of the people’ videos, painkillers, terror threats, entertainment and sports spectacles.

But citizens are restless– as living standards continue to decline. Nobody believes in bailing out speculators because they are ‘too big to fail”. Nobody trusts the political leaders who lied their way to twelve year wars, adding others along the way. No one follows media pundit extremists in defense of kleptocrats and warlords. Passive resistance is widespread because it is clear to most Americans that living standards are in a free fall. Time awaits a popular backlash. Will it happen in our lifetime?

source

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About James Petras

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

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ΕΠΑΜ: Οι υποψήφιοι για τις ευρωεκλογές

253D19293CCD065A27EEAE961B946818

Ο γγ του ΕΠΑΜ και υποψήφιος ευρωβουλευτής Δημήτρης Καζάκης 

Αθήνα

Τους υποψηφίους του για τις ευρωεκλογές παρουσίασε το Ενιαίο Παλλαϊκό Μέτωπο (ΕΠΑΜ) την Κυριακή.

«Θέλουμε να ενωθεί ο λαός» σημείωσε ο γγ του ΕΠΑΜ Δημήτρης Καζάκης, ο οποίος θα είναι και υποψήφιος για την Ευρωβουλή, για να συμπληρώσει ότι το ΕΠΑΜ φιλοδοξεί να λειτουργήσει ως καταλύτης για την ενότητα του λαού, καθώς -όπως είπε- ο λαός είναι ή οφείλει να είναι ο πρωταγωνιστής των εξελίξεων.

Επιπλέον, ο κ. Καζάκης επισήμανε ότι η γνώση είναι δύναμη. «Εμείς δεν θέλουμε έναν λαό μαμούχαλο που να πάσχει από κατάθλιψη, αλλά έναν λαό που να ξέρει» ανέφερε και πρόσθεσε: «Γι’ αυτό μιλάμε στο μυαλό και τη λογική των πολιτών και όχι στο συναίσθημα».

Μηνύματα στήριξης του ΕΠΑΜ έστειλαν στην εκδήλωση οι τραγουδιστές Βασίλης Παπακωνσταντίνου και Βασίλης Λέκκας, ο ηθοποιός Τάκης Σπυριδάκης και ο Γιάννης Ζουγανέλης.

Η επιλογή των υποψηφίων έγινε, μέσα από τις προτάσεις των οργάνων και τις κατά τόπους οργανώσεις του ΕΠΑΜ, ενώ το τελικό ψηφοδέλτιο επικυρώθηκε από το Εθνικό Συντονιστικό Συμβούλιο του ΕΠΑΜ.

Υποψήφιοι για τις ευρωεκλογές θα είναι ο Δημήτρης Καζάκης, καθώς και άλλα στελέχη του κόμματος, αλλά οι υποψήφιοι δεν είναι όλοι μέλη του μετώπου. Ένα σημαντικό ποσοστό, όπως ανακοινώθηκε, είναι πολίτες με τους οποίους το ΕΠΑΜ μοιράζεται κοινό όραμα για την Ελλάδα του αύριο.

Αναλυτικά τα ονόματα των υποψηφίων με αλφαβητική σειρά είναι:

Αγγελόπουλος Γιώργος – Ιδιωτικός υπάλληλος
Αίρις – Ασημακόπουλος Νικόλαος – Επιχειρηματίας
Αλεξανδρόπουλος Γιάννης – Οικονομολόγος
Αναστασάκης Αντώνης – Προγραμματιστής Η/Υ
Απόδιακου Βασιλεία – Τουριστικά Επαγγέλματα
Γεροντάκη Αλεξάνδρα – Ιδιωτική Υπάλληλος – ‘Ανεργη
Γιαννιώτης Κώστας – Εκπαιδευτικός
Δανίλης Ανδρέας – Κτηνίατρος
Δόγου Ζωγραφιά – Πολιτικός Επιστήμων
Δραμιτίνου Καλλιρρόη – Ιδιωτική Υπάλληλος
Θειοπούλου Ανθή – Σύμβουλος Επιχειρήσεων
Καζάκης Δημήτρης – Οικονομολόγος
Καραγιαννίδης Δημήτρης – Τεχνικός ΔΕΗ
Κεχαγιά Εύα – Ηθοποιός
Κοέδρου Ντίνα – Καθηγήτρια Αγγλικών
Κουμαρέλλας Όθωνας – Αρχιτέκτονας-Μηχανικός
Κουνενάκης Γιώργος – Μηχανικός Δομικών Έργων
Κουρουπάκη Δέσποινα – Συνταξιούχος Δημοσίου
Κυπριώτης Δημήτρης – Στρατηγός ε.α
Κώνστας Αναστάσιος – Δικηγόρος
Λαδικού Αλεξάνδρα – Ηθοποιός
Λασκαράτος Αθανάσιος – Ιδ. Υπάλληλος
Λασκαράτου Όλγα – Μουσικολόγος
Λέτσιος Γιώργος – Πολιτικός Μηχανικός
Μαγγανάς Γιάννης – Οικονομολόγος
Μαρινάκος Μάριος – Δικηγόρος
Μουτσάτσου Κατερίνα – Ηθοποιός
Μπάστα Γεωργία – Δημοσιογράφος
Ξιφαράς Αλέξης – Βιολόγος
Ολάγια Πέδρο – Συγγραφέας
Πάνου Δημήτρης – Δικηγόρος
Παπαμεθοδίου Δημοσθένης – Ιατρός
Παπαντωνίου Αντώνιος – Ναύαρχος ε.α
Πιερρουτσάκος Γρηγόρης – Επιχειρηματίας
Σιδέρης Γιάννης – Φυσικός
Σιόβα Ιωάννα – Νοσηλεύτρια
Συμβουλόπουλος Θεμιστοκλής – Μουσικός
Τραϊφόρος Βασίλειος – Συγγραφέας
Φυδανάκη Γεωργία – Λογίστρια
Χαραλάμπους Ευαγγελία – Δικηγόρος
Χρυσανθόπουλος Λεωνίδας – Πρέσβης επί τιμή

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