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We Are All Greeks Now

By Chris Hedges /

The poor and the working class in the United States know what it is to be Greek. They know underemployment and unemployment. They know life without a pension. They know existence on a few dollars a day. They know gas and electricity being turned off because of unpaid bills. They know the crippling weight of debt. They know being sick and unable to afford medical care. They know the state seizing their meager assets, a process known in the United States as “civil asset forfeiture,” which has permitted American police agencies to confiscate more than $3 billion in cash and property. They know the profound despair and abandonment that come when schools, libraries, neighborhood health clinics, day care services, roads, bridges, public buildings and assistance programs are neglected or closed. They know the financial elites’ hijacking of democratic institutions to impose widespread misery in the name of austerity. They, like the Greeks, know what it is to be abandoned.

The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.

The Greek government kneels before the bankers of Europe begging for mercy because it knows that if it leaves the eurozone, the international banking system will do to Greece what it did to the socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile; it will, as Richard Nixon promised to do in Chile, “make the economy scream.” The bankers will destroy Greece. If this means the Greeks can no longer get medicine—Greece owes European drug makers 1 billion euros—so be it. If this means food shortages—Greece imports thousands of tons of food from Europe a year—so be it. If this means oil and gas shortages—Greece imports 99 percent of its oil and gas—so be it. The bankers will carry out economic warfare until the current Greek government is ousted and corporate political puppets are back in control.

Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. It was, after all, Goldman Sachs—which shoved subprime mortgages down the throats of families it knew could never pay the loans back, sold the subprime mortgages as investments to pension funds and then bet against them—that orchestrated complex financial agreements with Greece, many of them secret. These agreements doubled the debt Greece owes under derivative deals and allowed the old Greek government to mask its real debt to keep borrowing. And when Greece imploded, Goldman Sachs headed out the door with suitcases full of cash.

The system of unfettered capitalism is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites. This is seen in the mounting fines and fees used to cover shortfalls in city and state budgets. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, from education to intelligence gathering. The U.S. Postal Service appears to be next. Parents already must pay hundreds of dollars for their public-school children to take school buses, go to music or art classes and participate in sports or other activities. Fire departments, ambulance services, the national parks system are all slated to become fodder for corporate profit. It is the death of the civil society.

Criminal justice is primarily about revenue streams for city and state governments in the United States rather than about justice or rehabilitation. The poor are arrested and fined for minor infractions in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere; for not mowing their lawns; for putting their feet on seats of New York City subway cars. If they cannot pay the fines, as many cannot, they go to jail. In jail they are often charged room and board. And if they can’t pay this new bill they go to jail again. It is a game of circular and never-ending extortion of the poor. Fines that are unpaid accrue interest and generate warrants for arrest. Poor people often end up owing thousands of dollars for parking or traffic violations.

Fascist and communist firing squads sometimes charged the victim’s family for the bullets used in the execution. In corporate capitalism, too, the abusers extract payment; often the money goes to private corporations that carry out probation services or prison and jail administration. The cost of being shot with a stun gun ($26) or of probation services ($35 to $100 a month) or of an electronic ankle bracelet ($11 a month) is vacuumed out of the pockets of the poor. And all this is happening in what will one day be seen as the good times. Wait until the financial house of cards collapses again—what is happening in China is not a good sign—and Wall Street runs for cover. Then America will become Greece on steroids.

“We are a nation that has turned its welfare system into a criminal system,” write Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr in an Institute for Policy Studies report titled “The Poor Get Prison.” “We criminalize life-sustaining activities of people too poor to afford shelter. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world. And we institute policies that virtually bar them for life from participating in society once they have done their time. We have allowed the resurgence of debtors’ prisons. We’ve created a second-tier public education system for poor children and black and Latino children that disproportionally criminalizes their behavior and sets them early onto the path of incarceration and lack of access to assistance and opportunity.”

The corporate dismantling of civil society is nearly complete in Greece. It is far advanced in the United States. We, like the Greeks, are undergoing a political war waged by the world’s oligarchs. No one elected them. They ignore public opinion. And, as in Greece, if a government defies the international banking community it is targeted for execution. The banks do not play by the rules of democracy.

Our politicians are corporate employees. And if you get dewy-eyed about the possibility of the U.S. having its first woman president, remember that it was Hillary Clinton’s husband who decimated manufacturing jobs with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and then went on to destroy welfare with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which halted federal cash aid programs and imposed time-limited, restrictive state block grants. Under President Bill Clinton, most welfare recipients—and 70 percent of those recipients were children—were dropped from the rolls. The prison-industrial complex exploded in size as its private corporations swallowed up surplus, unemployed labor, making $40,000 or more a year from each person held in a cage. The population of federal and state prisons combined rose by 673,000 under Clinton. He, along with Ronald Reagan, set the foundations for the Greecification of the United States.

The destruction of Greece, like the destruction of America, by the big banks and financial firms is not, as the bankers claim, about austerity or imposing rational expenditures or balanced budgets. It is not about responsible or good government. It is a vicious form of class warfare. It is profoundly anti-democratic. It is about forming nations of impoverished, disempowered serfs and a rapacious elite of all-powerful corporate oligarchs, backed by the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history and a militarized police that shoots unarmed citizens with reckless abandon. The laws and rules it imposes on the poor are, as Barbara Ehrenreich has written, little more than “organized sadism.”

Corporate profit is God. It does not matter who suffers. In Greece 40 percent of children live in poverty, there is a 25 percent unemployment rate and the unemployment figure for those between the ages of 15 and 24 is nearly 50 percent. And it will only get worse.

The economic and political ideology that convinced us that organized human behavior should be determined by the dictates of the global marketplace was a con game. We were the suckers. The promised prosperity from trickle-down economics and the free market instead concentrated wealth among a few and destroyed the working and the middle classes along with all vestiges of democracy. Corrupt governments, ignoring the common good and the consent of the governed, abetted this pillage. The fossil fuel industry was licensed to ravage the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species, while being handed lavish government subsidies. None of this makes sense.

The mandarins that maintain this system cannot respond rationally in our time of crisis. They are trained only to make the system of exploitation work. They are blinded by their insatiable greed and neoliberal ideology, which posits that controlling inflation, privatizing public assets and removing trade barriers are the sole economic priorities. They are steering us over a cliff.

We will not return to a rational economy or restore democracy until these global speculators are stripped of power. This will happen only if the streets of major cities in Europe and the United States are convulsed with mass protests. The tyranny of these financial elites knows no limits. They will impose ever greater suffering and repression until we submit or revolt. I prefer the latter. But we don’t have much time.


Το παζλ της χρεοκοπίας μιας χώρας εν συντομία

Πράγματα που δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε και που το συστημικό κατεστημένο βαφτίζει συχνά ως “θεωρίες συνωμοσίας”


Το 2000 η Ελλάδα με τη βοήθεια της Goldman Sachs, συμφώνησε σε ένα πρόγραμμα χρηματιστηριακής δανειοδότησης (‘Αριάδνη’), το οποίο ανανεώθηκε με νέους όρους το 2001 και κατέληξε σε ένα δεύτερο πρόγραμμα (‘Αίολος’) που εξασφάλιζε χρήματα για την χώρα με αντάλλαγμα την παραχώρηση δικαιωμάτων από τη χρήση αεροδρομίων και τυχερών παιχνιδιών.

Η φύση του χρηματιστηριακού αυτού προϊόντος δανεισμού ήταν τέτοια, που παρουσίαζε το δανεισμό ως πώληση κάνοντας εφικτή την αποφυγή του συνυπολογισμού του δανείου στα κρατικά έξοδα και επιτρέποντας την εμφάνιση μικρότερου κρατικού ελλείμματος από το πραγματικό.

Το 2001, αμέσως μετά την είσοδο της Ελλάδας στην ΟΝΕ, η Goldman Sachs βοήθησε κρυφά την Ελλάδα να δανειστεί δισεκατομμύρια, σύμφωνα με ανθρώπους που γνωρίζουν τους τρόπους συναλλαγών. Αυτή η συμφωνία, που είχε μείνει κρυφή από το ευρύ κοινό επειδή έγινε ως πράξη αγοράς νομίσματος και όχι ως πράξη δανεισμού, βοήθησε την Αθήνα να προσεγγίσει τα Ευρωπαϊκά στάνταρ για το έλλειμμα την ίδια στιγμή που συνέχιζε να ξοδεύει πέρα από τις δυνατότητές της.

Παρά τα οφέλη από την νομισματική ένωση της Ευρώπης, η γέννηση του ευρώ εμπεριείχε μια καθαρή παρατυπία: χώρες όπως η Ιταλία και η Ελλάδα εισήλθαν στην νομισματική ένωση με μεγαλύτερα ελλείμματα από τα επιτρεπτά με βάση την συνθήκη δημιουργίας του ενιαίου νομίσματος. Αντί να αυξήσουν τους φόρους και να μειώσουν τα έξοδα, ωστόσο, αυτές οι κυβερνήσεις μείωσαν τεχνητά τα ελλείμματά τους με παράγωγα.
Με την βοήθεια της JP Morgan η Ιταλία έκανε κάτι παρόμοιο. Παρά τα διαρκώς υψηλά ελλείμματα, το 1996 με ένα τέτοιου τύπου παράγωγο, «διόρθωσε» τον προϋπολογισμό ανταλλάσσοντας νόμισμα με την JP Morgan με μια ευνοϊκή συναλλαγματική ισοτιμία, ουσιαστικά τοποθετώντας περισσότερα χρήματα στα χέρια της κυβέρνησης. Ως αντάλλαγμα, η Ιταλία δεσμεύτηκε για μελλοντικές πληρωμές που δεν φαίνονταν στο παθητικό της.

Στην Ελλάδα, το οικονομικά «μαγικά» ήταν πιο πολλά. Με κάτι που θα μπορούσε να παρομοιαστεί σαν πώληση γκαράζ σε εθνικό επίπεδο, οι Έλληνες αξιωματούχοι ουσιαστικά υποθήκευσαν τα αεροδρόμια και τις εθνικές οδούς για να πάρουν το χρήμα που χρειάζονταν.

Η «Αίολος», νομικό πρόσωπο που ιδρύθηκε το 2001, βοήθησε την Ελλάδα να μειώσει το χρέος στον ισολογισμό εκείνη την χρονιά. Ως μέρος της συμφωνίας, η Ελλάδα πήρε χρήματα σε ρευστό με αντάλλαγμα την δέσμευση για μελλοντικές πληρωμές προσγείωσης σε αεροδρόμια της χώρας. Μια παρόμοια συμφωνία το 2000 με την ονομασία «Αριάδνη», «κατάπιε» τα εισοδήματα που είχε η κυβέρνηση από τα κρατικά τυχερά παιχνίδια. Παρόλα αυτά η Ελλάδα χαρακτήρισε αυτές τις συναλλαγές ως πωλήσεις, όχι δάνεια, παρά τις αμφιβολίες που προήλθαν από ορισμένες κριτικές.

Από τα παραπάνω συμπεραίνουμε ότι:

1) Τέτοια «τρυκ» απόκρυψης του πραγματικού ελλείμματος εφαρμόστηκαν και σε άλλες χώρες όπως στην περίπτωση της Ιταλίας, μέλος της ευρωζώνης, με την βοήθεια της JP Morgan, και

2) Η Goldman Sachs αποδεδειγμένα πλέον ήξερε τουλάχιστον από το 2000, δηλαδή εδώ και τουλάχιστον μια δεκαετία, το πραγματικό έλλειμμα της Ελλάδας.

Καθώς οι Νο1 και Νο2 διεθνείς επενδυτές στο Χρηματιστήριο Αθηνών τυχαίνει να είναι παράλληλα και μεγαλομέτοχοι στη Goldman Sachs αλλά και μεγαλομέτοχοι στους 3 βασικούς οίκους πιστοληπτικής αξιολόγησης, σημαίνει, ότι αποκλείεται οι οίκοι αξιολόγησης όλα αυτά τα χρόνια να μην ήξεραν την πραγματική κατάσταση της Ελληνικής οικονομίας, δηλαδή το πραγματικό μέγεθος του ελλείμματος. Παρόλα αυτά τα CDS ήταν σε χαμηλά επίπεδα και επέτρεπαν στην Ελλάδα να δανείζεται με χαμηλό επιτόκιο.

Στην συνέχεια όμως συμβαίνουν τα εξής:

Στα μέσα του Οκτωβρίου του 2009 η Goldman Sachs πρότεινε στην Ελλάδα τη χρήση ενός νέου χρηματιστηριακού προϊόντος το οποίο θα διευκόλυνε, σε σημαντικό βαθμό, την κάλυψη των τεράστιων δανειακών της αναγκών για το υπόλοιπο του 2009 και για το 2010, δεδομένου ότι στο διάστημα αυτό έληγαν παλαιότερα ομόλογα πολύ μεγάλης αξίας.

Ωστόσο η πρόταση της Goldman δε βρήκε θερμή ανταπόκριση από την ελληνική πλευρά. Λίγες ημέρες αργότερα η εταιρία πιστοληπτικής αξιολόγησης Fitch, υποβάθμισε την πιστοληπτική ικανότητα της Ελλάδας σε Α- από Α, σπρώχνοντας την στα όρια της εξόδου της από την ‘Α εθνική’ κατηγορία πιστοληπτικής βαθμολογίας. Παράλληλα, στο χρηματιστήριο της Νέας Υόρκης καταγράφηκαν μαζικές πωλήσεις της μετοχής της ΕΤΕ οι οποίες μεταφέρθηκαν και στο Χρηματιστήριο Αθηνών, οδηγώντας το σε σημαντική πτώση ενώ ταυτόχρονα αυξήθηκαν οι τιμές των ελληνικών CDS, μειώθηκαν οι τιμές των ελληνικών ομολόγων και αυξήθηκε το επιτόκιο και κατά συνέπεια το κόστος δανεισμού της Ελλάδας.

Στις πρώτες ημέρες του Νοεμβρίου μία αποστολή της Goldman Sachs έφτασε στην Αθήνα με σκοπό να μεταπείσει την ελληνική πλευρά και να κλείσει τη νέα συμφωνία χρηματιστηριακού δανεισμού, στην οποία περιλαμβάνονταν πρόταση για λήψη κεφαλαίων από την Τράπεζα της Κίνας με αντάλλαγμα μερίδιο στην ΕΤΕ αλλά και τον ΟΣΕ.

Όσο οι διαπραγματεύσεις ήταν σε εξέλιξη η τιμή της ΕΤΕ στη Νέα Υόρκη άρχισε να αυξάνεται προκαλώντας άνοδο και στο ελληνικό χρηματιστήριο. Ταυτόχρονα σταμάτησε και η πίεση στην αγορά ομολόγων και CDS. Οι διαπραγματεύσεις δεν κατέληξαν σε συμφωνία με την ελληνική πλευρά να απορρίπτει την πρόταση της Goldman οριστικά.

Την επομένη, σχεδόν, της απόρριψης της συμφωνίας καταγράφηκαν αθρόες πωλήσεις μετοχών της ΕΤΕ στο χρηματιστήριο της Νέας Υόρκης αλλά και μετοχών της Alpha, της Eurobank και τελικά συνολικά του τραπεζικού κλάδου του Χρηματιστηρίου Αθηνών, ενώ οι τιμές των CDS απογειώθηκαν, οι τιμές των ελληνικών ομολόγων βούλιαξαν και τα επιτόκια δανεισμού πήραν την ανιούσα οδηγώντας την Ελλάδα όλο και πιο κοντά στην αδυναμία αναχρηματοδότησης του χρέους της.

Στις 12 Δεκεμβρίου η Fitch προχώρησε σε νέα υποβάθμιση της πιστοληπτικής ικανότητας της Ελλάδας βαθμολογώντας την με BBB+ και οδηγώντας την έτσι εκτός Α εθνικής κατηγορίας στην αγορά ομολόγων, ενώ το χτύπημα έγινε ακόμη πιο σημαντικό καθώς η Fitch δήλωσε πως επόμενες υποβαθμίσεις ήταν πιθανές. Στο χορό των υποβαθμίσεων μπήκαν οι άλλοι δύο γίγαντες πιστοληπτικής αξιολόγησης, S&P και Moody’s, υποβαθμίζοντας την Ελλάδα μέσα στο Δεκέμβριο, προκαλώντας έτσι ένα γενικό ξεπούλημα των κρατικών ομολόγων της και πυροδοτώντας την απογείωση του κόστους δανεισμού της.

Δηλαδή για σχεδόν 10 χρόνια δεν υπήρχε κανένα πρόβλημα με τα επιτόκια, παρόλο που γνώριζαν οι πάντες το πραγματικό μέγεθος του ελλείμματος, αλλά παρουσιάστηκε τον Οκτώβριο του 2009 όταν «όλως τυχαίως», η Ελληνική κυβέρνηση απέρριψε νέα πρόταση της Goldman Sachs για ένα νέο χρηματιστηριακό προϊόν.

Μέσα σε ελάχιστο χρονικό διάστημα οι οίκοι αξιολόγησης υποβάθμισαν την Ελλάδα και απογείωσαν το κόστος δανεισμού της.

Με λίγα λόγια, όσο η Ελλάδα «δήλωνε υποτέλεια» στην Goldman Sachs, παραχωρώντας οικονομικά ανταλλάγματα επί Ελληνικού εδάφους, δεν υπήρχε πρόβλημα με τον δανεισμό. Μόλις όμως η νέα Κυβέρνηση θεώρησε ότι δεν μπορεί να συνεχίζει να παραχωρεί τέτοιου είδους δικαιώματα, γιατί κανείς δεν θα μπορούσε να προβλέψει που θα οδηγούσε κάτι τέτοιο μελλοντικά, οι διεθνείς banksters-κερδοσκόποι έβαλαν μπρος όλους τους μηχανισμούς τους (οίκοι αξιολόγησης, ΜΜΕ με τίτλους τρόμου κ.λ.π.), προκειμένου να δείξουν ποιος είναι το αφεντικό και ότι δεν υπάρχει άλλος τρόπος να μην καταρρεύσει η χώρα, παρά να συνεχίσει να παίζει με τους όρους που αυτοί θέλουν.

Επιπλέον, όλοι όσοι είχαν αγοράσει από νωρίς CDS και τα πούλησαν κερδίζοντας την ώρα του κινδύνου είχαν πάρει ένα ρίσκο. Η κίνησή τους δύο πράγματα μπορεί να σημαίνει: ή ότι έκαναν μία σωστή πρόβλεψη ότι η Ελλάδα κάποια στιγμή θα καταρρεύσει ή, ότι είχαν την εσωτερική πληροφόρηση ότι η χρεοκοπία έρχεται. Τώρα πολλοί αναρωτιούνται πιο από τα δύο έκανε η Goldman Sachs.

Η Αμερικανική τράπεζα Goldman Sachs που οργάνωσε το δείπνο της Ακρόπολης έχει πολλαπλή σχέση με την Ελλάδα. Είναι από την μία συνεργάτης της Ελλάδας γιατί διαχειρίζεται ένα μέρος των ομολόγων της, δηλαδή του δημόσιου χρέους της και από την άλλη έχει πελάτες μεγάλα hedge funds που επενδύουν υπέρ ή κατά της Ελλάδας.

Μέσα στις μεγάλες επενδυτικές τράπεζες, όπως στην Goldman Sachs, υπάρχουν τα ονομαζόμενα σινικά τείχη. Κάθε τμήμα μίας τράπεζας χωρίζεται από τα υπόλοιπα με σινικά τείχη έτσι ώστε η μία πληροφορία να μην μπορεί να μεταφερθεί από το ένα τμήμα στο άλλο. Έτσι αν ένα τμήμα εργάζεται για να βοηθήσει το χρέος της Ελλάδας και άρα γνωρίζει από μέσα την οικονομική κατάσταση της χώρας δεν πρέπει να δώσει πληροφορίες σε άλλο τμήμα που εργάζεται για να βγάλει κέρδος από την Ελλάδα, για παράδειγμα.

Ο Ντικ Μποβέ, γνωστός τραπεζικός αναλυτής στις ΗΠΑ, σε συνέντευξη του υποστήριξε ότι είναι πιθανό στην περίπτωση της Ελλάδας τα σινικά τείχη να έπεσαν σε κάποιες επενδυτικές τράπεζες όπως η Goldman Sachs. Το απίθανο θα ήταν να μην έπεφταν μάλλον.

Από την αρχή της κρίσης, τα μεγάλα ΜΜΕ προσπάθησαν να υποβαθμίσουν την σημασία αυτής της ιστορίας για να ρίξουν το φταίξιμο της χρεοκοπίας αποκλειστικά στους “διεφθαρμένους” δημοσίους υπαλλήλους, τους συνδικαλιστές και γενικότερα τους “τεμπέληδες” Έλληνες που ζούσαν πέρα από τα όρια των δυνατοτήτων τους.

Αυτή η προπαγάνδα συνεχίζεται ακόμα και σήμερα, μετά από τις αλλεπάλληλες αποτυχημένες πολιτικές που κατέστρεψαν τη χώρα και οδήγησαν στην ανέχεια εκατομμύρια Έλληνες και κορυφώνεται λίγο πριν οι απεσταλμένοι της τρόϊκας των δανειστών επιβάλουν νέα μέτρα, ενώ τα συστημικά φερέφωνα συχνά αποκαλούν τέτοιες ιστορίες ως “θεωρίες συνωμοσίας”.


A short story of how a country can default in a few days

An example of what the systemic establishment calls as “conspiracy theory” and a story from the recent past we must not forget


In 2000, Greece agreed with Goldman Sachs in a funding program (Ariadne), which has been renewed with new terms in 2001 leading to a second program (Aeolos), to supply money to the country. Greece granted the lenders the rights in using airports and gambling.
The nature of this financial product was such that, lending appeared as selling and allowed Greece to exclude the amount of loan from the state expenses, thus display lower public deficit than the real one.
Indeed, from NY Times:
“In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.
For all the benefits of uniting Europe with one currency, the birth of the euro came with an original sin: countries like Italy and Greece entered the monetary union with bigger deficits than the ones permitted under the treaty that created the currency. Rather than raise taxes or reduce spending, however, these governments artificially reduced their deficits with derivatives.
But with the help of JPMorgan, Italy was able to do more than that. Despite persistently high deficits, a 1996 derivative helped bring Italy’s budget into line by swapping currency with JPMorgan at a favorable exchange rate, effectively putting more money in the government’s hands. In return, Italy committed to future payments that were not booked as liabilities.
In Greece, the financial wizardry went even further. In what amounted to a garage sale on a national scale, Greek officials essentially mortgaged the country’s airports and highways to raise much-needed money.
Aeolos, a legal entity created in 2001, helped Greece reduce the debt on its balance sheet that year. As part of the deal, Greece got cash upfront in return for pledging future landing fees at the country’s airports. A similar deal in 2000 called Ariadne devoured the revenue that the government collected from its national lottery. Greece, however, classified those transactions as sales, not loans, despite doubts by many critics.”
Therefore, the conclusions so far are:
First: such “tricks” of hiding the real deficit were applied in other countries too, like Italy, member of the eurozone, with the “help” of JP Morgan, and
Second: was proved that Goldman Sachs knew at least since 2000 the real figure of Greece’s deficit.
Since No1 and No2 international investors in Athens stock market (Norges Bank Investment, Black Rock), are also key shareholders in Goldman Sachs and key shareholders of the three biggest rating agencies, means that, the rating agencies knew very well what was the real situation of the Greek economy all these years, i.e., the real deficit figure. However, CDS were in low-level, allowing Greece to borrow at low interest.
However, the story continues differently, as follows:
In the mid-October of 2009, Goldman Sachs suggested to Greece a new financial product which would ease, at great extent, the huge borrowing needs of the country for the rest of 2009 and 2010 since some older bonds, of huge value, were expiring during that period.
However, Goldman’s proposal was not accepted by the Greek side. A few days later, Fitch downgrades Greece from A to A-, leading the country out of the top rating category. At the same time, stocks of the National Bank of Greece were sold massively in the NY stock market, as well as, subsequently, to the Athens stock market leading general index to a significant fall. At the same time, the price of Greek bonds was falling, the price of Greek CDS and interest was rising, as well as the cost of lending for Greece.
During the first days of November, a team of Goldman Sachs arrived in Athens to persuade the Greek side change its mind and close a new deal of financial lending, according to which the Bank of China would be involved in lending Greece, gaining some share in the National Bank of Greece and in the Greek Organization of Railroads, as a return.
While the negotiations were in process, the stock price of National Bank of Greece was rising in NY and Athens stock markets. At the same time, the pressure on Greek bonds and CDS stopped. Eventually, negotiations were not successful, as the Greek side rejected Goldman’s proposal for good.
Nearly the next day of this rejection, massive stock selling of the National Bank of Greece was recorded again in NY stock market, as well as stocks of the big Greek banks Alpha and Eurobank, and finally, stocks of the whole Greek banking sector. Prices of the Greek bonds rapidly dropped while Greek CDS and loan interest were rising rapidly, bringing Greece closer to default, as it was more and more difficult to re-fund her debt.
On December 12, Fitch downgrades Greece further, rating the country with BBB+, while announced that further downgrades are possible. S&P with Moodys followed, downgrading Greece during December. The result was a massive selling of Greek bonds and skyrocketing of country’s lending cost.
This means that, for at least 10 years there was no problem with interest, despite that everyone knew the real deficit figure, but the problem suddenly appeared in 2009 when, “accidentally”, the Greek government rejected Goldman Sachs’ proposal for a new “financial product”. Within a short time, rating agencies downgraded Greece skyrocketing her lending cost.
In other words, as long as Greece was playing the game of Goldman Sachs, giving economic benefits inside the Greek territory, there was no problem with lending. When the new government stopped giving such benefits, probably because no one knew where would lead in the future, international banksters-speculators mobilized every mean that they had (rating agencies, media etc.), in order to show who is the boss and that there is no way for the country to avoid default, except of playing with their rules.
Since the beginning of the crisis, mainstream media tried to downgrade the significance of this story and put the blame for default exclusively to the “corrupted” public servants, labor unions and generally “lazy” Greeks who lived beyond their means.
Propaganda continues even today, despite the ongoing failed policies that ruined country and led millions of Greeks to poverty, and peaks every time that the lenders are about to impose new destructive measures, while the systemic mouthpieces often call such stories as “conspiracy theories”.


Lazy Ouzo-Swilling, Olive-Pit Spitting Greeks Or, How Goldman Sacked Greece

by Greg Palast for In These Times

Here’s what we’re told:Greece

Greece’s economy blew apart because a bunch of olive-spitting, ouzo-guzzling, lazy-ass Greeks refuse to put in a full day’s work, retire while they’re still teenagers, pocket pensions fit for a pasha; and they’ve gone on a social-services spending spree using borrowed money. Now that the bill has come due and the Greeks have to pay with higher taxes and cuts in their big fat welfare state, they run riot, screaming in the streets, busting windows and burning banks.

I don’t buy it.  I don’t buy it because of the document in my hand marked, “RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION.”

I’ll cut to the indictment:  Greece is a crime scene.  The people are victims of a fraud, a scam, a hustle and a flim-flam.   And––cover the children’s ears when I say this––a bank named Goldman Sachs is holding the smoking gun.


This is an adaptation of an excerpt from Vultures’ Picnic, Greg Palast’s new book, out next week, an investigator’s pursuit of petroleum pigs, power pirates and high-finance fraudsters. Read the first chapter or just get the book here.


In 2002, Goldman Sachs secretly bought up €2.3 billion in Greek government debt, converted it all into yen and dollars, then immediately sold it back to Greece.

Goldman took a huge loss on the trade.

Is Goldman that stupid?

Goldman is stupid—like a fox. The deal was a con, with Goldman making up a phony-baloney exchange rate for the transaction.   Why?

Goldman had cut a secret deal with the Greek government in power then.  Their game:  to conceal a massive budget deficit.  Goldman’s fake loss was the Greek government’s fake gain.

Goldman would get repayment of its “loss” from the government at loan-shark rates.

The point is, through this crazy and costly legerdemain, Greece’s right-wing free-market government was able to pretend its deficits never exceeded 3 percent of GDP.

Cool. Fraudulent but cool.

But flim-flam isn’t cheap these days: On top of murderous interest payments, Goldman charged the Greeks over a quarter billion dollars in fees.

When the new Socialist government of George Papandreou came into office, they opened up the books and Goldman’s bats flew out.  Investors’ went berserk, demanding monster interest rates to lend more money to roll over this debt.

Greece’s panicked bondholders rushed to buy insurance against the nation going bankrupt.  The price of the bond-bust insurance, called a credit default swap (or CDS), also shot through the roof.  Who made a big pile selling the CDS insurance?  Goldman.

And those rotting bags of CDS’s sold by Goldman and others? Didn’t they know they were handing their customers gold-painted turds?

That’s Goldman’s specialty.  In 2007, at the same time banks were selling suspect CDS’s and CDOs (packaged sub-prime mortgage securities), Goldman held a “net short” position against these securities. That is, Goldman was betting their financial “products” would end up in the toilet. Goldman picked up another half a billion dollars on their “net short” scam.

But, instead of cuffing Goldman’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein and parading him in a cage through the streets of Athens, we have the victims of the frauds, the Greek people, blamed.  Blamed and soaked for the cost of it.  The “spread” on Greek bonds (the term used for the risk premium paid on Greece’s corrupted debt) has now risen to — get ready for this––$14,000 per family per year.

Euro-nation, the secret Geithner memo, and the Ecuador connection

Why did the Greek government throw its nation’s fate into Goldman’s greasy hands?  What the heck was in the “RESTRICTED” document? And why did I have to take it to Geneva, to throw it down in front of the Director-General of the WTO for authentication, a creepy French banker I otherwise wouldn’t bother to spit on, and then tear off to Quito to share it with the grateful President of Ecuador?

To give you all the answers would require me to write a book.  I have:  Vultures’ Picnic––in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Fraudsters.

It’s really quite important to me that you read it, that you get it now.  That’s a funny statement, I suppose, from an author.  But if you’ve been reading my stories in The Guardian or watching my reports on BBC Newsnight, you’ve gotten the facts; but I really want to let you inside the investigations, to cross the continents with me and follow down the leads so that you can get a full picture of The Beasts.  The Beasts and their trophy wives, intelligence agency go-fers, political concubines and bone-breakers.  And besides, it’s enormous fun when it’s not scary as sh*t.


Here’s a taste of Chapter 12 – The Generalissimo of Globalization – from the film-enhanced eBook edition.  [And more on the 1% Greece-ing us, check out the upcoming issue of In These Times.]

Note:  I will be in Chicago for In These Times on November 29, part of our 15 city tour that begins this coming Sunday, November 13, in Portland, then moves to San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Denver, Boulder, New Mexico, Albuquerque, Chicago, Madison, New York, DC, Houston, Burlington, and Atlanta. Find out more info here.


Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

Get it now!
For more information about Palast’s brand new book and his book-signing events in your city, go to

The Official Bankster Dictionary

As people in China told me, “At least when bankers lie to us here, everyone knows that they’re lying. No one believes these lies to be the truth. In the US, you guys actually believe that the lying bankers are telling you the truth.

In the shady underground world of banking, doing wrong means doing right, up is down, and left is right. I often struggle to understand why so many people employed by the banking industry have so much difficulty reaching the same conclusion as the Economic Policy Journal’s Robert Wenzel that people employed by this modern day Slave Master called the global banking system should abandon their employers never to come back as “the moral and ethical thing to do” until the banking industry can change the system into from an immoral system of theft to a moral system of honesty. One of these reasons undoubtedly is due to the lies that the global banking cartel run by the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers have disseminated through the global and media academic system. Their propaganda has been so strong that with financial language, they literally have turned meanings upside down. So to help people understand financial language more clearly, with acknowledgement to WilliamBanzai7 for creating the first three chapters of the Offical Bankster Dictionary, below please find the macro installment of “The Official Bankster Dictionary” to help you understand what really is going on in the world of banking today.

I recently just returned from a week-long business trip to China, and in discussing the propaganda and hypocrisy of bankers with people I encountered during my trip, one thing was very clear. Chinese people consider themselves to be more knowledgeable about the monetary system than Westerners. They informed me that everyone in China knows that government produced economic statistics are a lie and that no one takes what bankers say in the media to heart. However, many people in China told me that it’s a farce that Western bankers tell lies to the world and expect the rest of the world to be foolish enough to believe their lies. Perhaps this is why even university Chinese students laughed in Tim Geithner’s face when Geithner visited them in 2009 and told them that the Federal Reserve had a “strong dollar policy”. As people in China told me, “At least when bankers lie to us here, everyone knows that they’re lying. No one believes these lies to be the truth. In the US, you guys actually believe that the lying bankers are telling you the truth.”

US Federal Reserve = European controlled private bank.

Central Bank = Counterfeiting Ring Leader

Nobel Prize Winning Economists = Banking Shill Propaganda Puppets, by and large, awarded with Ivy League tenure, that a 3rd-grader well schooled in monetary truths can generally discredit.

Criminal Underworld Currency Counterfeiters = Competitors that must be arrested and jailed.

Savings Account = Devaluation Account, Cash Advance for Gambling Division

Gambling = Banking Primary Business Line

Fraud = Banking Secondary Business Line

Las Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City = Model for running business operations.

Inflation = Currency Devaluation through anti-free market manipulation of interest rates.

Fractional Reserve System = Fractional Expansion Citizen Bankruptcy System, BSE (Biggest Scam Ever)

Futures Markets = Manipulation Casino, SkyNet Three-Card Monte Scam

Pablo Escobar, Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, The Ochoa Hermanos, Yakuza = Cash Cows

El Subcomandante Marcos aka Delegado Zero = Anti-poverty activist that must be wacked and shut up

Independent Media = Terrorist

Mass Media = Allies

Allen Stanford, Bernie Madoff = Occasional Patsies and Necessary Fall Guys to appease the public’s ire at us.

Stock Markets = Manipulation Casino, SkyNet Three-Card Monte Scam

Commercial Investment Firm Rating of “Buy” and Hold” = Contrarian Indicator to SELL!

Commercial Investment Firm Rating of “Sell” = Contrarian Indicator to “BUY!”

Barbarous Relic = USD, Euro, Yen

Beta = Empty Statistic meant to impress naïve investors

Insider Trading = Mechanism we can utilize to build wealth and remain immune from proesecution but for which we will send common peasants to jail.

Diplomatic Immunity = Not a United Nations privilege but a privilege given to all of us to commit as much fraud and crime as possible without the slightest hint of ever being sent to jail.

Loan = Usury

Credit Card = Debt accumulation card

USD, Euro, Yen, etc. = Fantasy Digital Idea made real by banksters to control humanity

Women’s Liberation Movement = Expansion of Tax Base from only men to men AND women

Income Taxes = Wealth Transfer from citizens to owners of central banks.

Gold = Bankster Kryptonite

Silver = Bankster Kryptonite

Truth = Banker Kyrptonite

Rising Gold & Silver Prices = Hated situation that makes it difficult to manipulate asset prices and that must therefore be controlled.

Lies & Deception = Bankster Standard M.O.

Free Markets = Fairytale story like Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy to be taught in business schools worldwide.

Drug Lords and Underground Crime Syndicates = Provider of global banking liquidity and huge year-end bonuses

Parasite = Favorite insect

Capitalism = Dead system that was killed by Central Banking but false scapegoat we can blame when we cause economic crashes and despair

Miscellaneous Charges = Small Monthly Charges to siphon off money from bank accounts that customers will never notice or complain about

Computer = Vehicle to rig all stock markets and commodity markets with HFT programs that execute trades not possible if executed by humans and if executed in a clear and transparent market.

Boom = Unsustainable price distortions caused by interest-rate manipulation and market rigging.

Bust = Opportunity to make money twice as quickly as in a boom!

Market Crash = Engineered event to ensure the peasants will never accumulate enough wealth to rebel against us.

Rising Markets on Mondays or Tuesdays into OpEx Fridays =Ruse to sucker more people to go long in order to fleece them by the time Friday arrives.

Declining Markets on Mondays or Tuesdays into OpEx Fridays=Ruse to sucker more people to go short in order to fleece them by the time Friday arrives.

Presidents and PMs = Best puppet and marionette allies to be rewarded handsomely after they leave office (see Tony Blair and the current POTUS)

Superior Judges, SCOTUS = Made Men

War = Double Bonus! Opportunity to devalue money at faster rate than during peace time and opportunity to accumulate more wealth from interest charged on war appropriations.

Universities, Colleges and MBA programs = Re-education camps to indoctrinate students into fairytales of non-existent free markets, non-existent capitalism, and lies about how stock markets, real estate markets and economic cycles really work. Alternative meaning = best mechanism to bury young adults in a mountain of debt before their work life even begins so we can control them.

Economic Journals and University Tenure = Carrot dangled in front of economic professors to ensure that they repeat to the world the “official” party line.

Key Economic Indicators = False manipulated statistics designed to dumb down citizens into believing economy is recovering even as we increase their economic suffering

Ben Bernarnke = Shakespearean clown.

Conspiracy = Best Word to Discredit Truth about the global monetary system when the truth somehow escapes our censorship algorithms and makes it to the mainstream media we control.

Machiavelli = Role Model

Ivy League Schools = Indoctrination Camps for media representatives and professors we will send to brainwash other global regions into believing our propaganda

CNBC = The Cartoon Network.

Goldman Sachs = Rookie Farm Camp for global criminal banking syndicate.

World Bank & IMF = Banks used by Western countries to impose crushing debt on developing nations to stunt their growth.

Bailout = Transfer of Wealth from citizens to us.

TBTF = Lie used to ensure we can perpetuate fraud and to pass legislation that would never pass under normal circumstances unless we use the TBTF threat.

Quantitative Easing = Currency Devaluation.

Fiat Currency = Worst Possible Idea

Propaganda = Daily Financial News Feed

ATM Machine = Only banking invention in the last century that has improved peoples’ lives instead of making them worse.

Debt Forgiveness = PsyOps Term that makes it appear we are being benificient towards humanity when in reality, the amount of debt forgiveness probably could not equal the amount of money we have stolen from humanity through inflation, currency devaluation, income taxes, and other unjust taxes meant to transfer wealth to us.

Compartamentalization = Process to keep good people working as cogs in the machine within the banking industry ignorant of the fact that they are inflicting massive harm upon society.

Sound Money = Bankster Extinction Level Event. End of modern day immoral banking thievery system and event that would necessitate bankers having to find real jobs to earn wealth instead of merely building wealth by transferring wealth from everyone else to themselves. Also known as physical gold, physical silver, and the medium that allows citizens to call the banksters’ bluff in their monetary devaluation scheme and that allows citizens to fight back against corrupt banksters.

Please feel free to post more Bankster glossary terms in the comments section below as if more people truly understood the deliberate deception built into bankster language today, perhaps everyone would react to criminal bankers in the same manner as Chilean citizen Matias Rojas in this video. And for those of you out there that don’t believe that we have the power to end the immoral, unethical fractional reserve banking system today, if you want to achieve something, never say the words “no”, “won’t”, and “impossible”, don’t let those that say “can’t” stand in your way, believe, persist, and never give up, and in the end, you will discover that together we can change the world for the better. Let’s end this corrupt, unethical, immoral modern day slavery system bankers call the fractional reserve banking system together because it is our moral imperative to do so and because we can.


Submitted to by smartknowledgeu on 05/02/2012 03:57 -0400




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