Sunday, 25 November 2012

Occupation Loan: 510 bn the German debt to Greece

by Demosthenes Koukounas

translated from "Epikaira" magazine by Pyrros

A brief presentation of the entire issue historically

510 billion EUR in realistic calculations, is the current level of German debt to Greece, which still remains after seventy years unpaid. This amount refers only to payments demanded and forcibly taken from the Greek state fund by the Germans during the Occupation. These are the so-called Occupation Loans, which have no relationship or connection with other requirements of the country from Germany, coming from humanities or physical disasters, war reparations and war compensations. This issue, of course, neither is new or unknown.
However, because there is some haze, perhaps because of the time that has elapsed and due to suspicious reasons or expediency, it is useful to make some clarifications to avoid any confusion. There are several sides in Greece, usually out of ignorance, not able to understand how important it is to seek and to recover the unpaid loans of occupation, far exceeding the external public debt of Greece.
If in our country there were worthy and responsible political leaders, this debt would not have remained unpaid to date. And it's not just a question to an overwhelming debt collected by a recalcitrant debtor. One who –until now-  systematically avoided to arrange or issue cash order. Due to the large size of this debt, it was the main condition for the consolidation of the Greek economy over the years. In several critical phases, if each Greek government took care to settle this German debt in any reasonable way, we would not need to resort to borrowing in order the Greek state to survive.
So, what pointedly is told by competent and incompetent especially from many ignorant or presumptuous contemporary Germans, the cause of Greek financial problem is the non-collection of German debt. Neither sordid welter of words like "we ate together" nor the cost of worthless politicians and voters relationship even gaps in the Greek administrative system with so much delay revealed today. Even any kind of unauthorized theft and kickbacks could withstand the Greek cash economy if we had received the unpaid loans from Germany.

 How did the occupying loans came up

Let us present a  very brief presentation of the entire issue historically.
 When Germany and Italy conquered Greece in the spring of 1941, the international Hague Conventions since 1907 provided for the part of the occupied state to pay for living expenses and maintenance of the occupying troops. Initially, the German and the Italian conquerors imposed arbitrary method of payment of these costs with the release of the so-called "occupation marks" and of  "Mediterranean" drachma, printed on demand. The pertinent of Greek occupation state reacted by in an uncontrolled way because of that currency in which the Bank of Greece was required to commute to the official Greek note to wearers. And finally three months later it was withdrawn completely (the occupying brand and Mediterranean GRD) all transactions of the conquerors with their suppliers and all other costs to Greece were made through the Bank of Greece.
In the course was found that continual bleeds from the Greek Treasury had an unjustified and size and were really unbearable. The corollary of this was to cover the costs of occupation by printing new Greek banknotes resulting  expands of inflation with direct primary consequence on food shortages. In November and December 1941, precisely because of the lack of food, especially Athens and other major cities have experienced unprecedented hunger, with many thousands of tragic victims to languish on the streets.
This spectacle seems that  moved some people abroad, even in Rome or Berlin. Thus developed a series of negotiations between German and Italian leaders but  in absentia occupying the Greek government, the power of which reached only to make certain representations. From these negotiations, the first for the Greek financial problem created by the occupation costs, came up the agreement of March 1942 in Rome.
Under this agreement, which was notified a few days later to the Tsolakoglou government, was determined that maximum occupation costs should not exceed a total of 1.5 billion drachmas for both conquerors. This was identified by themselves voluntarily. However, because they were asking and taking a lot more by the Bank of Greece, much larger amounts beyond what they themselves had set as maximum, ie 1.5 billion drachmas were classified as advances. And, indeed, according to the aforementioned Agreement of Rome, the conquerors undertook to return them to the Greek state.
These are, therefore, the occupying the loans, ie the more than the agreed ceilings withdrawals from the Bank of Greece. The two rulers agreed between them that the money will come back "later" in the Greek state. In the next phase was clarified that the repayment of such loans would be nil (interest free) at the end of the war.
The terms of the Treaty of Rome, which had retroactive effect from 1 January 1942, the then imposed mandatory occupying government Tsolakoglou, to which were announced on March 23, 1942, nine days after signing with a note from the German and Italian ambassadors to Athens . The enslaved government had no choice but to accept them.

The food issue

In the same agreement, there was also a second part which referred to nutritional issues. Although the conquerors, under the same international treaties that gave them the ability to require the payment of expenses of occupation, had an obligation to ensure the smooth reliable food of the Greek people, hitherto essentially blame the  Germans for the continued lack of food. Until then Greeks attributed the difficulties to the problems brought by the continued Allied blockade but it was lifted in early 1942 and in Greece was now a point of how would be organized to be sent food from abroad with the care of the International Red Cross.
The interest of the conquerors to feed the Greeks was rather pretext, because if the domestic agricultural production and livestock remained untouched by the occupying forces, the immediate survival would be assured. But the forced freezing or seizing of Greek food production for use of the conquerors, not only for consumption within the Greek territory, but also for exports to Germany, Italy and other occupied countries, Greece emptied of food.
While the limiting of the commitments of Greek agricultural production announced supposedly to protect the Greek population, actually began a further looting. This time Greece was used by German and Italian occupiers ... to finance the campaign of Rommel in North Africa. To the Greek state imposed, inter alia, the cost of movement in the territory, military units with final destination the eastern or North African front, the power, the shipment of vegetables, fruit and meat on the same front, while many thousands of men conqueror who survivors were injured or just tired of passing appropriate ... Greek tourist destinations for recovery and relaxation! It is very typical in the case of a new military hospital in Piraeus extraordinarily organized to accommodate more than a thousand "wounded" coming from North Africa because they had suffered from venereal diseases! And yet these costs were included in the hospital "ownership costs" and charged to Greece.
At the same time it was decided to build temporary roads, fortifications, ports and other similar works exclusively of military nature, the cost of which again  was imposed to the Greek state. These and other similar expenses charged also against Greece and, indeed, with Hitler's personal decision were  arbitrarily renamed from "occupation costs" to "reconstruction costs." Let's imagine that the heavy fortifications in Crete-Marshal Gkerig apired to make it impregnable and to transform to the new Malta-sore Greek people were called to pay with their currency, the drachma.

The negotiations of minister Gotzamanis

All these costs were but a wasteful management by the conquerors, especially the Germans, in matters not envisaged by international agreements. The impact was immediate and decisive for the Greek economy, which was dismantled, with a direct consequence of the expansion of monetary circulation, the corresponding burgeoning inflation and eventually extending hunger around the indigenous population and certainly the stagnation and misery. All this without the constant count continued humanitarian disasters. By the arbitrariness and violence of the occupier.
To address this growing situation then occupying government protested and caused the opening of new negotiations, first in Berlin and then in Rome, which began in September 1942. Greek shipping economists, technocrats and senior officials in the then finance minister Sot. Gotzamani, took part in these debates, but ultimately led to an impasse. Anyone who watched through the documents that survived-and published in my recent book entitled The Greek economy during the Occupation and the truth about the occupation loans versions-Heron, mainly from German archives and personal archives Gotzamani, the course of these discussions, sees the size of the Greek financial disaster at the time. The Italian side, which mainly had the direct responsibility of the class in mainland Greece, haunted by the fear of a global rebellion of the population, which could not be checked. The truth is that a short trip of Mussolini in Athens in July 1942, so personally found the size of food issue and the economic disaster led to the understanding of the problem but not the solution. Both the Italians and the Germans meant primarily to continue headlong economic backwash of Greece.
From these discussions with the representatives of the Greeks, the conquerors wanted nothing more than to drain any potential wealth was left the country,  particularly in the agricultural production. The solution of the food problem had been left out in the activity of the International Red Cross.

The Final Agreement

The discussions with the Greek delegation in Berlin, continued in Rome. There was no benefit for the Greek people, but had to convince the Italian side, led by German technocrats from Berlin, which settings should be followed. The real goal was not to improve the lives of the Greeks, but how to gain more from them.
Already in Berlin, since early October 1942, was decided that with the Italian consent the draining  of Greece would continue. The occupation minister Gotzamanis and the Greek  technocrats returned empty handed in Athens and the then Prime Minister Tsolakoglou refused to stay in power-he would be replaced by Professor K. Logothetopoulos. The two rulers agreed among them changes considered necessary upon the agreement of March 1942. Of utmost importance was given to the full satisfaction of the requirements of the German occupation army and the central executive options.
It was decided that the cash payments would continue by Greece, those multiples were calculated as costs of occupation. These amounts would be classified as advances and would form governmental borrowing for as long as the war lasted, after expiration would be returned to Greece without interest while the indexed base was determining. Meanwhile any imports would be offset out from Germany and Italy. For the last question two public companies were founded, one for a Greek-German  and one for Greek-Italian foreign trade and the Degriges and Sacig respectively.

Clodius and Reichenbach

Carl Clodius

Horst Reichenbach

At the same time, was decided to impose control of Greek budget in order to achieve economies of just about to be able to draw funds left. Both conquerors appoint a special envoy who would undertake to check the exact sizes of the Greek economy and to get at the appropriate action. These were the Noimbacher and D'Agostino, who took more power than ambassadors Altenmprouk and Ghizi, potential  At the same time they were appointed as financial experts, led by skilled diplomat Carl Clodius.
All they had special powers and granted full power in the subordination Greek economy. In today's terms would liken them to the members of the troika (IMF, ECB, EU), the key decisions of which are taken arbitrarily and abusively. The correlations are in some cases absolute,as the power of the Greek political authorities is ignored, as it was then. What power and authority had then Clodius,  has today Reichenbach and something similar happens with Noimbacher and Fouchtel. With a small, unfavorable to the current Greece difference: That sovereignty was abolished due to de facto military defeat and occupation, and now de jure, by decision of the Greek Parliament.

The height of the occupation loan

Because at times much has been said about the occupation loans especially for the amount they represent, it would be very useful to make an objective-scientific, I would say, computation, in order to know the actual amount. This task is left to more skilled economists and is quite unfortunate that to date no one has been found responsible of any tier to do so or a responsible politician to appoint a committee of experts a thorough study.
As soon as the occupation ended, the responsible institutional body, the Bank of Greece, based on the accounts kept, identified the total payments received from the beginning to the conquerors throughout the period of occupation. The total amount involved in Germany is 1,617,781,093,648,819 Drs After deducting according to international legal possession charges as agreed with their conquerors, while Germany received as advances apart from these,  1,530,033,302,528,819 GRD and Italy respectively GRD 157,053,637,000
These amounts  are just the so called occupation loans, which should-in agreements of March 1942 and December 1942 –have been returned by the end of the war. This is the capital of the occupation loan the nominal value and was the basis for calculating the debt when the payment would take place, because the exact amount to be exported to the measure of indexed drachma. Here now the question is what is the determining rule.
The Bank of Greece in order to have at the time an initial assessment, used the method of matching the price of the gold coins.It was determined that the total debt of Germany for the occupation loans amounted to 3,670,610 sovereigns.
At first sight this method seems reasonable, but it is not representative, because the official price of gold pound was different from the unofficial-and of course it was lower. Moreover, the agreement imposed by the conquerors did not prescribe a specific method of indexation, and especially when the intended occupation period was extremely complicated. Therefore, the search of fair valuation of debt should follow safer calculation.
The aspect that the calculation of the occupation loan is not correct if done with the base of the golden pound was first argued by Professor Angelopoulos, insisting that more rational and representative is that of the dollar. In the case -he added-, in its assessment of the capital defined for Germany at $ 151 million by 1964. It should be added 177 million dollars in interest from January 1, 1942, namely a total of 328 million dollars.
But if we rely on the Agreement of March 1942, concluded between the Germans and the Italians in Rome, the charge should not start from that date, because it is clearly stated that the reimbursement payments are interest-free. And we can not ignore that agreement, because on it rests the Greek claim. Otherwise, selectively ignoring certain conditions, we risk to weaken our position and give arguments for non-compliance.
On the other hand, the assessment of Professor Angelopoulos is not rational, because it uses methods that actually reduce the total debt by taking false start of the debt to $151 million, which in April 1964 amounted to 15,100,000 pounds, or thus in 2012 to 4,530,000,000 euros. Further, according to Angelopoulos, in April 1964 the amount with interest included, for Germany always reached 32,800,000 sovereigns, so with the same proportions (ie interest rate of 4% and an annual compound rate) in 2012, the total debt will wouls be 215,513,819 gold coins or euro 64.654.145.587. This is the estimate of Mr Angelopoulos for the German occupation loans due to Greece.
However, this calculation has two main drawbacks. As mentioned above, a) ignores the condition of an interest-free repayment at the end of the war and b) calculates interest rate of 4%. Perhaps in 1964, when he made his calculations, this interest rate was normal, but when it comes to government loans it should be 2.5% and not more.
Selecting this low interest of 2.5% and starting the compound interest from 1964, a date which forthwith-that at the end of the war meaning when the Paris Peace Conference took place- the German state should return the payments had been received as excess of expenses under the occupation period, clearly under loan form and with unreserved commitment to refund, we arrive at another amount.
But the assessment of Professor Angelopoulos in 1964 as much as the one of the  occupying minister Gotzamanis in  1952 (about 240 million U.S. dollars) are incorrect. They both Ignore the proper valuation of the necessary indexation base, which actually is quite complicated. We need only to recall how extreme and sudden prices of key species were increased at the time, especially if we take into account that real commodity prices extremely abstained from the officials and how hard it is to be represented, to be taken as a basis calculation. For this reason we sought a different methodology.
Our research is oriented differently, then, with a mix of formal and actual prices on food and household items, the real price of gold pound on the open market, taking into account the values ​​of the sold real estate, and other indicators, including German debt of Greek exports to Germany during the occupation, we ended up at a different figure. Thus, the actual valuation of  the occupation debt came the day German troops withdrew to a total of 100 billion, not including war reparations and indemnities.
This is the exact amount and it is certain that if once the Greek government decided to address the issue and a special committee is appointed to investigate in depth, then they will fully verify our estimation.
Moreover, it should be noted that the term of short  return period on loans exceeded when the quasi loan agreement became due. This happened when the Peace Conference of 1946took place and since the loans are interest bearingso that the initial capital of EUR 100 billion to date, with a low interest rate of 2.5%  reaches 510,033,165,000 euros.
Therefore, this amount should have been paid by the postwar German state but it neglected to do so. Under the guise of dismemberment, they invented a series of arguments to avoid repaying the occupying loans with the tolerance or complicity of the allied governments. Several years after the Peace Conference invented the argument that Germany was unable to sign the Final Peace Treaty while they were dismembered. If it was a bona fide debtor West Germany, over the intervening 44 years to unify could have paid its fair share of attributable albeit gradually. But refrained to do so, such as avoided in subsequent years, later it was consolidated and could not rely on similar allegations.

What happened to the Loans

The so-called occupation loans, which within the absurdity of the conquerors had claimed from a country of constraint capabilities  such as Greece and managed to break so fundamentally Greek economy, the Greek governments have failed so far to collect. Ooccasionally they made ​​some similar action but without results.
Already in the Peace Conference in Paris in 1946, the then Greek government tried to save the topic, along with war reparations and indemnities. Germany was then an assembled state and, were dismembered into separate occupation zones, so the requirement that Greece was not possible to set. Instead, in what concerns in Italy, the issue was raised and after various fluctuations and Greek state was satisfied in this chapter later.
The fate of the Greek claim to Germany should typically be set to satisfy when the Treaty of Peace was signed, something impossible as long as the country was divided into East and West. However, after the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, gradually began to develop bilateral economic relations with Greece, but the German leaders did not consent to the arrangement of debt on the grounds that they were not obliged to do so. At various periods, the Greek government raised the issue without being able to change the German attitude.
In November 1952 he returned to Greece after he managed to obtain amnesty, S. Gotzamanis the finance minister during the occuoation, ending years of outlawry abroad. Upon arriving in Athens, came to argue that the Greek government should not abandon its occupation loans and ought to ask for repayment.
At the time, the Greek Alert,  party of Marshal Papagos, was in power did not formally requested the repayment of  the occupation loans since the London Conference in 1951 had declared that the signing of the Peace Treaty was prerequisite.
Nevertheless, the request was repeated on several occasions and the renewal of a negative response from West Germany leveled with another financial facilitation. The issue came up again openly in early 1964, when in power was  the government of the Union of the Centre. Followed three new “knocks” to the German Federal Government by Angelo Angelopoulos, Andreas Papandreou and Evangelos Savvopoulos respectively, without positive result.
In recent years, the publicity of the occupation loan from Germany claiming, comes up every now and then especially after our country was at the epicenter of the financial crisis with all its attendant. In particular, the attitude of modern Germany is causing stronger Claiming.
However, this kind of Greek requirement is not subject to limitation as some at the german side support to avoid the payment, because the mere fact that at times the theme is reset by the Greek side, even though for general reasons have not resorted to judicial proceedings, excludes the limitation.
Something more, we would add: It's a matter of honor for modern Germany, the leadership of which is presented haughty towards Greece because it was found in economically weak position to repay the actual debt towards her. And it's so real, literally soaked in blood, so today's leaders become reprehensible when the index finger aimed at Greeks so poignantly and clearly unethical. Hopefully this story, rather than stand with dignity and objectivity in the study of the historical object, we had to pay more attention to the emergence of smallness scored by the Germans during the occupation.
The fact that the postwar Greece-rather than emotional reasons because of the general sympathy for contemporary Germany or even on grounds of inability of its own respective governments, did not persistently claim the repayment of the occupation loans- does not mean that they cease to be a debt of honor for a country claiming a hegemonic position in the European Union.

The recent developments

Lately, occupation loans. are becoming a popular subject, although they often are confused, usually out of ignorance, with the issues of war reparations or compensations. The chapter of the occupation loans is perfectly clear and after the war has not been made the slightest payment by Germany. Instead-and this may be the biggest proof of the validity of the Greek claim;, the other borrower of occupation  loans, Italy, since many years has repaid its debt.
Eminent foreign economists have only recently confirmed the German debt. The German Professor Albrecht Ritschl has assured the undeniable existence of the German debt, while the Frenchman Jacques Depla has spoken of a height of 575 billion euros.
There can be no doubt, and I think that only the Greek governments have neglected to collect the due from Germany. The fear is now that the current Greek government, even the Greek Parliament, to be blackmailed or  forced to resign formally of the German debt, if it has not already done this behind the scenes. Of course, this would constitute treason, but every Greek can hope that neither such betrayal has happened nor Germany will eventually look much discredited ...


Wednesday, 21 November 2012


By Charis Argyropoulos

This video, which viewing was prevented by the German government as "politically harmful", lead the initiator and responsible for this video, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, president of the Social Democrats and former minister in Portugal, to the
German Embassy in Lisbon to protest, stating that is not going to back down, and he is determined to show the video to the German people, to whom it is addressed.

What seems clear: Greece is not the only country to have been targeting ... The same determination, the same arguments, the same methods! So how to show the German people who want to be foolred and bombarded daily with a bunch of lying, creating the familiar stereotype of the lazy South?


By Charis Argyropoulos

This video, which viewing was prevented by the German government as "politically harmful", lead the initiator and responsible for this video, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, president of the Social Democrats and former minister in Portugal, to the German Embassy in Lisbon to protest, stating that is not going to back down, and he is determined to show the video to the German people, to whom it is addressed.

What seems clear: Greece is not the only country to have been targeting ... The same determination, the same arguments, the same methods! So how to show the German people who want to be foolred and bombarded daily with a bunch of lying, creating the familiar stereotype of the lazy South?

Monday, 19 November 2012

The german talent: the talent of making enemies

The talent of making enemies

Nikos Kiaos from the Journal of the authors of 5/11/2012

The trump card is the card that wins everything else. One such card was "offered" by the leaders of China to Greece to play the game with their partners- lenders, the European Commission, and the IMF.
How did they offer it? The Chinese Prime Minister clarified, one month ago, to the German Chancellor that if the eurozone does not keep Greece within it, then China country would immediately sell all the European bonds it holds.
Even stressed that China has made investments in Greece of 30 billion euros, with a plan to do more than  40 billion EUR in Europe. Not to proceed, he said, to an exit of Greece from the eurozone, otherwise there will be a clear problem with the German investments and securities in China.
Greek media remained silent, or rather concealed the threat made by Beijing to Germany. Not all. Only in the "VIMA" of October 21 N. Hilas wrote: "On Thursday (18 -10 -2012) in the Bundestag the Left (Die Linke) parliamentary party spokesman Gregor Gizi revealed the threat that China will sell immediately all Europe's debt if the eurozone fails to keep Greece with in the lines. "
What we did not read or heard in Greece, was "offered" by the Germans. The "Stern" magazine  on 11/10/12 reported the threat made by the Chinese prime minister, explainig thus the shift in the attitude of Ms Merkel towards Greece and remarked: "It is the trump card of Greece and they do not exploit it."
After Mrs. Merkel, Mr. Schäuble said on 14/10/12 in Singapore that "Greece will not go bankrupt." Returning from Tokyo, the meeting of the IMF and the contacts with Chinese and other ... The shift of Chancellor was expressed in the German parliament as the warmest praise for the "reform will" of Prime Minister Samaras, while the leader of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, who was in favor of Greece leaving the eurozone, now smiled awkwardly ..
On 17/10/12 the "Bertelsman Foundation", the most serious in Germany, in a report said that the exit of Greece from the euro would cost in the best case scenario, 615 billion euros in Germany and in the worst 17 trillion euros worldwide.
The "puzzle" or the frame is filled with the statement of the head of Unicredit Bank, T. Vime, "VIMA": "I do not know even one serious banker who would like to fly the country from the eurozone. Quite the opposite, in fact we feared that Greece would decide itself the 'Exit'."
Meanwhile, we hear constantly in Athens by the three government partners, the radios, televisions and newspapers for "negotiations." Yet the "trump card" that "Stern" says , remains untapped. Incompetence, negligence, subjection, lost opportunity? Let this attitude be interpreted as one thinks.
Thursday, 15 November 2012

How much is a life?

11-11-2012: A man killed himself with a broken glass, cutting his throat in front of a crowded square. He died in a lake of blood. A friend of mine was there, talking to that 30 year old man until he passed away. Another victim of the "crisis". Another mother's son dead to so as the banks to be saved! This is our 21st century civilization!!!

11-13-2012A 35 year old woman jumped from the roof ending such her life as she couldn't stand to financial problems she was facing.΄

11-14-2012: Brutally chose the 20 year old girl to put an end to her life. After the horror of the tragedy revealed in a dark strait of Melissia territory in Athens. The 20 year-old girl who was unemployed ablaze herself.

Around 9 pm Tuesday, the police informed that residents near the Melissia territory, behind the hospital Amalia Fleming, heard a woman screaming in the darkness and saw a flash while listening to one muffled noise. Some perceived a black object was stationary on the road. The more adventurous who approached froze at the sight of the charred corpse. This morning a middle-aged neighbor went to declare the disappearance of a 20-year daughter. He was shown the gruesome forensic photography. The father acknowledged weeping his daughter. According to what have become known, the victim was an unemployed girl who lived on the Mavromichalis street . (source:

The German Consul hunted by workers in Greece

A warm welcome accorded to the envoy of Angela Merkel, Hans Fouchtel, employees in municipalities out of the Thessaloniki International Exhibition.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

The "fire" was lit after the statement of Hans Joachim Fouchtel that "1,000 Germans  can do the job of 3,000 Greeks" today in Thessaloniki, the second day of the proceedings of the third Greco-German Assembly, protesters who had gathered in the building of the  Thessaloniki International Exhibition, attacked members of the German delegation with water bottles, hunting the German consul, Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier.

The demonstrators had gathered from early morning to protest for the statements of Fouchtel and managed to enter the site in attendance of members of the Assembly of unguarded area of ​​the TIF.


The arrogance of the Germans against the Greeks has generated much anti German feeling of the Greek people, which most likely will not have good results!
Thursday, 8 November 2012

Parliament passes urgent austerity package by slim margin

poverty is the worse kind of violence

Greece's Parliament in the early morning hours on Thursday passed a Memorandum-mandated austerity package worth 13.5 billion euros that envisions further cuts in public sector salary scales, pensions and tax hikes, along with labour sector liberalisation and the opening of various so-called "closed" occupations.

The single-article draft bill was ratified in the 300-MP Parliament with a majority of 153 votes for and 128 against, with 18 voting present. Only one MP did not vote.

While the assembly met in the parliament, thousands of protesters had encircled, by early evening, Syntagma Square. The planned rally of GSEE and ADEDY was impressive in volume and pulse with the participation of the world beyond all precedent.

Unfortunately once the Syntagma Square gathering "marred" by hooded various episodes.


Merkel Outraged about Greeks on Strike; She May Consider to Impose Curfew?

Posted by  in PoliticsSociety
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stunned 200 parliamentarians and journalists in Europe Parliament when she fiercely opposed Greeks launching strikes and protests.

You have to tell them, ‘It is not right, that every time I go on strike when a privatization is due,  it is not right that a railway company is not able to pay its employees due to the ticket fares, it is not OK if the government ministries do not cooperate with each other, it’s not OK if one has a taxation system, but not paying taxes.”
I assume, that the aversion and the lack of understanding for the frustration and anger of austerity-ridden Greeks, have very much to do with the former DDR-mentality of Frau Merkel, where even basic labour rights were forbidden and hardly one dared to whisper “b” when Honnecker was singing ”A”.
Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Greeks say NO to new austerity. Watch live

Huge gathering outside the Greek Parliament House at Syntagma Square. Athenian Greeks anti-austerity protest.

Greece flirts with tyranny and Europe looks away

Kostas Vaxevanis speaks to journalists as he awaits the beginning of his trial in Athens. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Greek democracy is in peril and much of the fault lies with the EU's hard stance

When those madcap Scandinavian satirists awarded the Nobel peace prize to the European Union, they let everyone in on the joke by praising its commitment to "reconciliation, democracy and human rights". If the committee's 2012 citation were anything other than a spoof, you would have read denunciations of the rise of oppressive state power and neo-Nazism in Greece from concerned Euro commissioners long before now.
The EU denounces threats to freedom of speech in Viktor Orbán's Hungary with vigour. European politicians worry with good reason about the fate of independent institutions that stand in the way of the rabble-rousing regime. They notice the fascistic element in the new Hungarian right's flirtations with antisemitic and anti-Roma hatreds and its willingness to indulge the revanchist fantasy that Hungary can regain the lands it lost after the First World War. On the fate of Greek democracy there is silence, however, although there is much that Europe's leaders might talk about.
You spot the pressure points of a failing state by looking at what it censors. In the case of Greece, the authorities' prosecution last week ofKostas Vaxevanis showed that he had hit a pressure point with the accuracy of a doctor sticking a needle into a nerve. While Greeks live with austerity without end, while Greek GDP has shrunk by 4.5% in 2010 and 6.9% in 2011, and will shrink by a predicted 6.5% this year and 4.5% in 2013, the list of the names of 2,000 Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland Vaxevanis published, suggested that the well-connected were escaping the burdens that fall on the masses.
"Instead of arresting the tax evaders and the ministers who had the list in their hands," thundered Vaxevanis in a call to arms that stirred the blood, "they're trying to arrest the truth and freedom of the press."
His acquittal on privacy law charges, though welcome, was less important than it appeared. It did not mean that freedom of the press was secure in Greece. Even in good times, independent journalism has rarely been a force in the land. Most Greek TV stations and newspapers are owned by either the state or plutocratic corporations, neither of which likes seeing corruption exposed. The leftwing daily, Eleftherotypia, which for all its faults and flirtations with terrorism at least challenged the oligarchs, filed for bankruptcy last year.
Few of the employees of the remaining Greek news organisations reject the notion that they should keep quiet in the interests of holding on to their pay cheques. The state is hounding too many of those who do. "We still have freedom of expression recognised by the law at a theoretical level," said Asteris Masouras, one of the free speech monitors at Global Voices. "On a practical level, well..." And he proceeded to give me a list of instances of menacing forces intimidating reporters that would go on into the New Review section if I ran it in full.
Where to begin? How about the self-defeating austerity policies the troika of the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund have forced on Greece? The authorities used an old warrant to arrest Spiros Karatzaferis, after the journalist threatened to reveal confidential emails, that might have explained how the troika's alleged "rescue package" had pushed the country into depression.
Police brutality is another pressure point, undoubtedly. The Greek left makes persistent allegations of collaboration between the supposed forces of law and order and the thugs in the neo-Nazi Golden Dawnmovement. The Guardian ran reports that the police had beaten up anti-fascist demonstrators after they had confronted Golden Dawn. Yes, I know leftists call everyone "fascists" from headteachers to their mums and dads, but as Golden Dawn is building a mass movement while marching under a swastika, the term is correct on this occasion. The following day, Greek state TV replaced Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimi, the presenters of its morning news show, after they told managers they planned to follow up the Guardian's claims. Another state TV reporter, Christos Dantis, has joined the ranks of the vanishing journalists. His editors assigned him to cover the celebrations of the centenary of the liberation of Thessaloniki from Ottoman rule. He was about to report on popular protests against the presence of the Greek prime minister and president in Greece's second city when his masters turned off the camera and cut to a more amenable hack.

Shocking images show desperate New Yorkers digging through dumpsters for food as downtown Manhattan embarks on fourth night without power

  • Families, elderly people and young residents were seen sifting through garbage outside a Key Food supermarket in the East Village yesterday
  • Store had discarded piles of food that had gone bad after Hurricane Sandy
  • Both Lower East Side and East Village neighborhoods have been in dark since Monday and power isn't expected to be restored before tomorrow
  • Death toll passes 90 and continues to rise.

New Yorkers have resorted to digging through filthy dumpsters for food ahead of their fourth night without power and, for many, without water.
Shocking images captured groups of residents sifting through garbage outside a Key Food supermarket at Avenue A and East 4th Street in the East Village yesterday.
Families, elderly people and young residents were seen climbing into the dumpster hunting for whatever they could find to eat.

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

How the greeks created western civilization

How the greeks created western civilization
Bruce Thornton

In the classics departments of today’s universities, Bruce Thornton says, the Greeks are accused of stealing their achievements from black Egyptians, of oppressing their wives and daughters, and of hypocritically speculating about freedom while holding slaves. Most of all, classic Greek culture has come under attack precisely because its glorious achievement, extended into history, is what defines the West and makes it distinct. In Greek Ways, Thornton clears away these misconceptions. Writing with wit and erudition, he discusses in fascinating detail those areas of Greek life - sexuality and sexual roles; slavery and war; philosophy and politics - that some modern critics have made into “contested sites.” Perhaps more importantly, he also reclaims the importance of those core ideas the Greeks invented, ideas about human fate and purpose that have shaped the modern world. Nearly seventy years ago, Edith Hamilton published The Greek Way, a book that educated two generations of readers about the debt we owe the handful of city-states that developed “the spirit of the West” some 2500 years ago. Bruce Thornton’s Greek Ways is for our time what Hamilton’s book was for a prior era: a classic inquiry holding up a mirror to Greek culture in which we can see ourselves.

Friday, 2 November 2012



Abstract: Thereafter some inconvenient background for the G8 at Camp David. Who does that Merkler take herself for?
Hitler started his career in 1920 as a pawn of the antijewish plutocrat Henry Ford, and Dr H. Schacht, himself a pawn of JP Morgan. By turning the Peoples of Europe into the serfs of banksters, and of some the world’s richest, and most evil men, Merkel is pursuing a similar project. Thus she is morphing into Hitler, Time magazine Man of the Year of 1938.
Some will scream: “Merkel into Merkler? Not so, are you crazy? Merkel does not hate Jews!” Well, maybe she does not hate Jews,but she sure does act as if she hated the Greeks. To death, literally. And soon, all other Europeans, with the same machine she is killing Greeks with.
Hitler was viewed by most, until 1938, as a saint and a genius. Did not he bring the Volkswagen? VW is doing very well, indeed, and maybe all too well (it now owns Porsche, which founded it, at Hitler’s urging, and some localities in Greece buy more of the most expensive Porsche… Than anywhere else in the world… An indication, among many, that Greece corruption is partly tied in to some Teutonic manipulations).  
The evidence is that Germany profitted most from the present European Monetary Union. So why does it now want those who profitted less to commit socio-economic suicide, after living on their knees?
Things changed with Hitler in 1939, when France’s call to arms against Hitler bore fruit. In any case, the mechanism is exactly the same as in the 1930s: a plutocratic machine of some of the world’s richest men is devouring all in the way, and the German Chancellor finds righteous reason to enforce that disgusting repast.
(Speaking of righteous, Germany did not pay reparations to Greece after WWII commensurate with the devastation and occupation it visited on that country: a few dozen millions, when the reality is more like a trillion.)
Hitler advertized himself as a man of peace. Was not he following the analysis and implied prescriptions of Keynes in “The Economic Consequences Of Peace“? Keynes decried the Versailles Treaty. Keynes had observed in 1919 that France insisted to make Eastern Europe independent of Germany. Thus French obstinacy (re)created the nations of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, etc… This, observed Keynes, was a threat to the great German Reich, and thus to peace. Hitler, comforted by creatures such as H. Schacht, head of the German Central Bank, but, more fundamentally, a pawn of JP Morgan, knew that American industrialists and bankers would support him.