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Is the Plan to Actually Have Greece Fail?

COMMENT: Pondering the continuing eurozone mess and the enslavement of Greece, one wonders if indeed the bailout(s) are designed to fail. The Financial Times article below features commentary from one observer who wonders about that possibility. (Kudos to “Pterrafractyl” for researching that one for us.)

Certainly, the plans to slash wages will inevitably depress the Greek economy still further. The proposed [mandatory] reduction in spending on medical care and pharmaceuticals will inevitably effect a quasi-eugenics program, in which the elderly and infirm will be culled from the herd.

This is a way of effecting a Nazi-style purge of Greek society, and doing so during a von Clausewitzian-style “post-war.”

(As we have seen in the past, the Nazi eugenics laws and programs were not only derived from intellectual schools regarded with great favor in the U.S. and U.K. [among other places], but the programs the Third Reich implemented were celebrated by American and British intellectuals.)

“Athens Told to Change Spending and Taxes” by Peter Spiegel,  Gerrit Wiesmann and Kerrin Hope [Financial Times]; CNBC.com; 2/24/2012.

. . . . “The pro­gram is much, much more ambi­tious than eco­nomic reform,” said Mujtaba Rah­man, Europe ana­lyst at the Eura­sia Group risk con­sul­tancy. “This is state build­ing, as typ­i­cally under­stood in tra­di­tional low-income contexts.” . . .

. . . .Among the mea­sures that must be com­pleted in the next seven days are reduc­ing state spend­ing on phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals by 1.1 bil­lion euros; com­plet­ing 75 full-scale audits and 225 value added tax audits of large tax­pay­ers; and lib­er­al­is­ing pro­fes­sions such as beauty salons, tour guides and diet centres. . . .

. . . . Mr Rah­man said the scale and the speed of the reforms demanded raised ques­tions about whether scep­ti­cal euro zone lenders were set­ting up Greece to fail some­time within the next year.

“Even if one under­stands the polit­i­cal imper­a­tive, the pro­gram is being set up to fail as many of the tar­gets will be impos­si­ble to achieve,” he said. . . .

COMMENT: It appears that some circles in Germany (and in some of the major financial houses of Wall Street) are expecting the Greek bailout to fail and (at least in some cases) seeing that as a good thing.

This raises more questions than it answers, including the possibility that someone could make a great deal of money by buying short on something that would be expected to plunge in value if Greece defaults.

If a Greek default, perhaps in combination with a Europe-wide recession, were to send the U.S. economy into recession, it would benefit the GOP candidates. As we have seen in the past, the Republican party is closely connected to the Underground Reich and the postwar Nazi diaspora.

The British and French are opposed to allowing Greece to go bankrupt.

“Secret German Plans for Greece to Go Bankrupt”; news.com.au; 2/20/2012.

. . . . The rumbling calls for Greece to face bankruptcy come amid fears that even this latest bailout will not be enough to stop the nation sinking further into debt.

Hence the secret plans for bankruptcy.

Officials say Greece’s public debt will still be 129 per cent of GDP in 2020.

Concern about continual bailouts has also reached Wall Street with rumours circulating that banks are preparing for a “credit event” soon after March 20 – that’s financial jargon used by credit agencies to mean a default or in even simplier terms someone unable to pay their bills.

March 20 is the deadline for Greece to pay  €14.5bn to creditors.

Inside Germany there are deep divisions over whether to continue to support Greece.

Bavaria’s finance minister Markus Soder said the stability of euro as a world reserve currency is more important than Greece’s welfare.

“It would be better if Greece stepped out of the euro,” he said.

Last week BankingNews.gr, a Greek language business news site claimed that “the actual position of Germany is that Greece should go bankrupt.” . . .

. . . . French premier François Fillon said it was “utterly irrepsonsible” to put the idea of a Greek default into play.

While Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said it would be a technical nightmare if Greece is forced out of EMU.

“They don’t have the old currency sitting in the vaults ready to distribute. It’s not straightforward to leave the euro. It was built without exits,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

But could the Greeks kick themselves out of the Euro?

It’s entirely possible. In April Greece goes to the polls and there’s a chance the hard Left Syriza party could form government. . . .


14 comments for “Is the Plan to Actually Have Greece Fail?”

  1. That ‘old’ currency quote by the GB foreign secretary is absolutely absurd. Dave, as you’ve said for years the EU was forged to allow Germany to get done what they couldn’t get completely done nearly 70 years ago.Doesn’t matter if plans exist for Greece to fail or not-
    STILL we have virtually unlimited leverage via the shadow banking system, in which there are practically no hard assets backing the infinite layers of debt created, and which when finally unwound, will create a cataclysmic collapse of all financial institutions, where every bank is daisy-chained to each other courtesy of multiple layers of “hypothecation, and re-hypothecation ” and who knows what else.

    Posted by bambi | February 25, 2012, 3:31 am
  2. She’s the queen of Europe”:

    Germany finds itself back in power in Europe
    Germany is the unquestioned boss amid Europe’s debt crisis and economic woes. But the turnaround has inspired discomfort among its neighbors and among Germans.

    By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

    February 27, 2012, 6:45 p.m.
    Reporting from Berlin—
    For nearly 70 years, Germany’s grand national ambition has basically been not to have one.

    After losing two world wars and carrying out a horrific genocide, the country set to working its way back into the European fold, content to focus on rebuilding its shattered economy while dutifully leaving continental leadership to the likes of France.

    The plan has been a roaring success — so much so that, in one of history’s great ironies, Germany today finds itself right back where it wasn’t supposed to be: dominating Europe.

    As the region’s richest, most populous nation, with control over purse strings rather than panzers, Germany is the unquestioned boss amid Europe’s stubborn debt crisis and deepening economic malaise. But the turnaround has inspired a fair bit of discomfort and unease, not just among some neighboring nations but also among some Germans.

    “We have an ambivalent relationship with power,” said senior research fellow Ulrike Guerot of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. “We’ve never gotten it right.”

    Potentially the fate of the global economy now lies in Germany’s hands as it heads the effort to keep heavily indebted Greece (where people mutter about a “Fourth Reich”) from going under and pulling down other Eurozone countries with it. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel successfully steered approval for a $175-billion Greek bailout through the German Parliament, a deeply divisive measure for German taxpayers who will foot more than half the bill.

    Even so, President Obama and other world leaders are urging Germany to contribute even more to a permanent European bailout fund that might stanch the debt crisis — pressure that Merkel has so far resisted.

    The leadership role thrust onto Germany is turning out to be a minefield in many ways, complicated by the nation’s past. Berlin is caught in a classic damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t position, its every move fodder for critics eager to spot signs either of Teutonic belligerence or a failure to exercise power responsibly.

    The plan that Europe is pursuing to save the euro currency bears an unmistakably German stamp, with its insistence on solemn pledges of fiscal rectitude, stiff austerity measures and punishment for countries that stray. This week, nearly all of the European Union’s 27 nations are due to sign a pact on fiscal discipline that was largely written in Berlin.

    Despite the growing chorus of detractors and indicators showing that austerity is strangling economic growth in ailing nations, Merkel has refused to yield, and no fellow European leader has been strong enough to overrule her.

    “She’s the queen of Europe,” said Josef Joffe, editor of the newspaper Die Zeit.

    Let them eat baklava.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 27, 2012, 8:39 pm
  3. Pointless pain rains in Spain:

    Spain under pressure to enact more austerity after 2011deficit comes in higher than forecast

    By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 5:29 AM

    MADRID — Spain government’s faced heightened pressure Tuesday to enact further painful austerity measures, after figures showed the public finances in 2011 were in even worse shape than its already pessimistic predictions.

    The higher than anticipated budget deficit is likely to spell yet more bad news for a country that’s expected to slide back into recession at a time when it’s already reeling from a sky-high unemployment rate of nearly one in four — it’s even worse for young people with around half out of work. Spain’s banks are also under pressure, having suffered big losses when a property boom imploded.

    On Monday, the government revealed that its budget deficit for 2011 came in at 8.5 percent of national income. Though slightly lower than 2010’s equivalent of 9.3 percent, it’s higher than the 8 percent forecast the new conservative government issued after taking power in December. The conservatives had already raised the forecast from the previous Socialist government’s 6 percent.

    The higher than expected 2011 outcome is likely to ratchet up the pressure on the new government to announce more deficit-cutting measures if it’s to get the budget deficit down to the stated goal of 4.4 percent of gross domestic product this year, unless it gets some relief from the EU in the form of an easier 2012 target.

    The government recently denied a news report that it had exaggerated its unofficial estimate of the 2011 deficit so as to improve its chances of getting easier terms from the European Union.

    Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said the figures showed that the government was “not exaggerating” with its initial 8 percent estimate.

    The center-right Popular Party took power in December after scoring a landslide win in November elections as Spaniards fed up with what is now a near 23 percent jobless rate punished the previous Socialist government.

    The new government has said it will present a new full-blown 2012 budget by the end of March. It is there that Spaniards can almost certainly expect some degree of fresh, stinging pain.

    This is also a good point to note Krugman’s constant reminder that it was a housing bubble that wrecked Spain’s finances and, pre-crisis, Spain was considered a model country in terms of budget discipline. That’s something most austerity-addled economists seem to forget.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 28, 2012, 9:30 am
  4. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203833004577249831718108646.html

    FEBRUARY 28, 2012
    S&P Declares Greece in Default

    Greece became the first euro-zone member officially to be rated in default, 13 years after the single European currency was adopted to strengthen the European Union.

    Standard & Poor’s cut Greece’s long-term credit rating to selective default from double-C. The move was expected, as S&P said this month that it would consider Greece in default if it added “collective-action” clauses to its sovereign debt, effectively forcing all bondholders to accept a bond-swap offering. …

    Posted by R. Wilson | February 28, 2012, 10:50 pm
  5. As always, Mr. Wilson, when viewing S & P’s pronouncements, we must remember that the firm is owned by the McGraw family and they are longstanding members of the Bush milieu.

    With austerity mania reigning–we might think of the company name as “the standard is poor[er].”

    Posted by Dave Emory | February 29, 2012, 3:51 pm
  6. @R. Wilson and Dave: Well, the Greek default could be worse…for JP Morgan and the other banks that sold billions in credit default swaps on that Greek debt. Not only do they get a chance to avoid having to pay out on all that default-insurance they sold (because it’s a weird “selective” default), it’s the banking giants’ own representatives that get to secretly make this decision:

    How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street

    Politics / Global Debt Crisis 2012 Feb 24, 2012 – 12:40 PM

    By: Ellen_Brown

    In an article titled “Still No End to ‘Too Big to Fail,’” William Greider wrote in The Nation on February 15th:

    Financial market cynics have assumed all along that Dodd-Frank did not end “too big to fail” but instead created a charmed circle of protected banks labeled “systemically important” that will not be allowed to fail, no matter how badly they behave.

    That may be, but there is one bit of bad behavior that Uncle Sam himself does not have the funds to underwrite: the $32 trillion market in credit default swaps (CDS). Thirty-two trillion dollars is more than twice the U.S. GDP and more than twice the national debt.

    CDS are a form of derivative taken out by investors as insurance against default. According to the Comptroller of the Currency, nearly 95% of the banking industry’s total exposure to derivatives contracts is held by the nation’s five largest banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs. The CDS market is unregulated, and there is no requirement that the “insurer” actually have the funds to pay up. CDS are more like bets, and a massive loss at the casino could bring the house down.

    It could, at least, unless the casino is rigged. Whether a “credit event” is a “default” triggering a payout is determined by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), and it seems that the ISDA is owned by the world’s largest banks and hedge funds. That means the house determines whether the house has to pay.

    The Houses of Morgan, Goldman and the other Big Five are justifiably worried right now, because an “event of default” declared on European sovereign debt could jeopardize their $32 trillion derivatives scheme. According to Rudy Avizius in an article on The Market Oracle (UK) on February 15th, that explains what happened at MF Global, and why the 50% Greek bond write-down was not declared an event of default.

    If you paid only 50% of your mortgage every month, these same banks would quickly declare you in default. But the rules are quite different when the banks are the insurers underwriting the deal.


    It’s good to be the King:

    02/28/2012 | 04:36pm
    ISDA Panel To Review Greek CDS Trigger Query

    NEW YORK — A special committee of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association has agreed to review recent developments in Greece’s debt restructuring as a potential “credit event” that might trigger $3.2 billion of credit-default swaps on Greece for payouts.

    The move may result in the country being officially declared in breach of its obligations to bondholders somewhat sooner than expected–even though Greece hasn’t failed to honor payments and its restructuring deal with private creditors isn’t yet complete.

    ISDA said in a statement Tuesday that, as secretary to the so-called Determinations Committee that decides such matters for the CDS market, the committee will hold a meeting at 1100 GMT Thursday to determine whether to force payers of CDS protection on Greek sovereign bonds to compensate buyers.

    The Determinations Committee said Monday it had until 1700 GMT Wednesday to either take up the request sent by an anonymous party to the committee or reject it.

    The anonymous request asked the committee to consider whether moves that could force private investors to forgive 53.5% of the face value of Greek debt, while the European Central Bank got a better deal, constitutes mandatory subordination that should allow holders of CDS to collect compensation.

    The ECB and national central banks “benefited from a change in the priority of payments as a result of the Hellenic Republic exclusively offering them the ability to exchange out of their eligible instruments prior to the [private creditor] exchange and [expected] implementation of” the collective-action clauses, the request read.

    Under the 2003 Credit Derivatives definitions published by ISDA, a change in the payment priority ranking of any obligation, causing its subordination, is one of the events in restructuring that can trigger CDS for payouts–as long as it results from a deterioration in creditworthiness.

    The decision makers’ identities and their credentials are a closely guarded secret of the firms those individuals represent and of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, a trade body for swaps that convenes a 15-member committee every time such a determination is requested of it.

    ISDA’s Determinations Committee for Europe comprises 10 voting dealer banks and five major investment firms named by ISDA. A supermajority of 12 must agree for a decision to be binding on CDS held by parties who have signed up to be bound by ISDA protocols.

    The dealer firms constitute some of the largest investment banks in the world, and one committee member represents each. They are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale and UBS. Meanwhile, the investment firms are similarly influential: BlueMountain Capital, Citadel, D.E. Shaw, Elliott Management Corp. and Pacific Investment Management Co.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 29, 2012, 7:08 pm
  7. @Pterrrafractyl–

    Great work! When posting articles, it would be a good guard against link decay to put the title of the work in the text on the site.

    That way, if the record is expunged online, it’ll still be here.

    Posted by Dave Emory | February 29, 2012, 8:27 pm
  8. @Dave: Good reminder. Link decay is an example of the 2nd law of internet thermodynamics. Information gets lost forever. :-(

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 29, 2012, 9:27 pm
  9. I’m sure they were being completely objective:

    Greece Default SWAPS Don’t Have to Pay: ISDA
    By Abigail Moses – Mar 1, 2012 9:01 AM CT

    Default insurance on Greek debt won’t be paid out, the International Swaps & Derivatives Association said after it was asked to rule whether part of the nation’s $170 billion bailout was a credit event.

    The group said the European Central Bank’s exchange of Greek bonds for new securities exempt from losses being imposed on private investors hasn’t triggered $3.25 billion of outstanding credit-default swaps. ISDA’s determinations committee, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Pacific Investment Management Co., said the switch didn’t constitute subordination, one of the criteria for a payout under a restructuring event.

    “The situation in the Hellenic Republic is still evolving” and today’s decisions “do not affect the right or ability to submit further questions,” ISDA said in a statement. The decision is not an expression of the committee’s “view as to whether a credit event could occur at a later date,” the association said.

    A swaps payout may still happen if Greece uses collective action clauses on private investors who refuse to take so-called haircuts on their debt holdings, according to ISDA’s rules. Officials including former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet have opposed triggering swaps because they’re concerned traders would be encouraged to bet against failing nations and worsen Europe’s debt crisis.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 1, 2012, 8:17 am
  10. Unexpected deficits = sanctions. The nEU normal:

    Spain Warns It Will Miss 2012 Deficit Target

    MADRID March 2, 2012 (AP)

    Spain’s prime minister said Friday that his recession-ridden country will miss its deficit goal for this year, risking sanctions from the European Union.

    The announcement came as the government reported more grim economic news: a big rise in claims for jobless benefits last month and a new forecast that Spanish economic output will fall 1.7 percent this year, worse than the 1 percent forecast recently by the EU and the 1.5 percent predicted just weeks ago the Bank of Spain.

    Unemployment — now at 22.9 percent — will hit an average 24.3 percent this year, the government said.

    Spain’s government deficit will reach 5.8 percent of economic output this year, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said after an EU summit in Brussels. That is much higher than the 4.4 percent Madrid had promised to the other states in the 27-nation bloc.

    However, Rajoy said Spain still aims to cuts its deficit to 3 percent in 2013, which would bring the country back in line with the bloc’s fiscal rules. He didn’t say how his EU counterparts reacted to the higher deficit, but insisted that he was committed to austerity.

    Rajoy’s acknowledgment doesn’t come as a surprise, as Spain sailed far past last year’s deficit target. Instead of 6 percent of gross domestic product, the 2011 deficit reached 8.5 percent.

    However, it puts Madrid on collision course with the EU and its partners in the euro currency union, which have focused on austerity as the best way of fighting off a crippling debt crisis.

    Rajoy spoke in Brussels after a summit of European leaders. On the new deficit goal, he said “I did not consult other European leaders and I will inform the Commission in April,” he said. “This is a sovereign decision by Spain.”

    In Madrid, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos announced the 1.7 percent GDP contraction forecast and said the economy will shrink in the first two quarters of this year and possibly in the third too, before starting to pick up. He blamed subdued domestic consumption, higher oil prices and a slower world economy.

    He said unemployment will rise over the short term as labor market reforms passed by the new government take time to kick in and encourage employers to hire.

    “There is an issue of confidence at stake here,” Altafaj Tardio said. He added that the Commission still wants Madrid to provide details on why last year’s deficit was so much higher than expected — and what it plans to do about it this year — before the end of the month.

    The Commission’s reluctance to give Spain more leeway means the country risks being slapped with financial penalties of up to 0.2 percent of GDP.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 2, 2012, 9:10 am
  11. German-Foreign-Policy.com has as recent piece on the ongoing privatization push in the finacially distressed eurozone areas. It looks like Deutsche Bank and German government agencies are leading the development of that push and the push is building. This is getting absurd. It is once again worth pointing out that currency unions (or any other type of soveriengty-sharing agreement) just will not function when the most powerful members can cannibalize the economies of the weakest members when they fall on hard times. It’s a serious systemic moral hazard. To some extent this is a meta-criticism that applies to virtually all of the economic systems we’ve seen humans flail about with historically. But the formalization of an international debtor’s prison – one that rewards international loan-sharking where the creditor makes money on both the debt bubble export splurge and the post-bubble-burst asset-seizures – has to be one of the more morally hazardous economic paradigms we’ve seen. Legalized international loan-sharking is apparently going to become an even bigger part of the battlefield global community of tomorrow.

    Patterned after the Treuhand

    (Own report) – German government agencies and the Deutsche Bank are pushing for the privatization of public property in the southern European crisis countries. In Greece, the state-owned foreign trade promotion agency “Germany Trade and Invest” (GTAI) acts as a “consultant” for the “Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund” (HRADF) which, since the end of March, has all the property titles on Greek state assets and is preparing their sales. The HRADF is patterned after the German Treuhand (Trust Fund), which is accused of having squandered the national wealth of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the aftermath of 1990. It is benefiting from the “German experience in the privatization and restructuring process of the newly formed German states,” according to the German Ministry of Economics. The GTAI agency, which, in the search for new investors, is collaborating with its Greek counterpart “Investment in Greece” sees “attractive investment opportunities” in real estate and natural resources, in water supply, in infrastructure and in the OPAP, the largest betting and gambling company in Europe and Greece’s third largest enterprise. The Deutsche Bank is participating in OPAP’s privatization. The bank has assisted in similar processes in other countries and according to its research team, comprehensive privatizations need to be carried out all over Europe.
    Privatization Experience
    The Deutsche Bank has participated in privatizations, imposed within the framework of the Euro crisis, also in Portugal. To receive financial aid, Portugal, like Greece, was compelled to relinquish public assets under German pressure. The Deutsche Bank was involved in the re-privatization of the BPN, the Portuguese bank, nationalized in the course of the crisis. The Deutsche Bank also served as a consultant for the energy group China State Grid in its acquisition of the Portuguese REN power grid group, as well as for the Chinese enterprise, Three Gorges, in its acquisition of the Portuguese electricity supplier, EDP. The Bank has also been active in privatizations in Great Britain. It assisted in the sale of the Northern Rock Bank, nationalized in 2008 when it was threatened with collapse, to the Virgin Money bank.
    Considerable Potential
    The Deutsche Bank considers its involvement, as a consultant for the privatization of state assets, as a lucrative business “Even though the topic has been on the economic policy agenda for at least twenty years, there is still considerable privatization potential in a number of EU countries,” according to its recently published “Revenue, competition, growth” report.[1] That publication details the “potential for privatization in the Euro area,” appraises European national economies country by country and sector by sector hardly missing potentials for privatizations: “In principle, there are also benefits to be had from the privatization of government services of general interest, e.g. water supply and water disposal, healthcare facilities and non-sovereign administrative tasks.” The paper also provides concrete numbers. It lists potential revenues from the sale of Italian state assets and from granting concessions to be between 150 and 210 billion Euros.
    Conflicting Balance Sheet
    However, the ambitious German expectations have not been fulfilled everywhere. In February, Greece revised its forecast and is now expecting privatization revenues worth only 19 rather than 50 billion Euros by 2015. Berlin is reacting with more pressure on this slowdown of Greek privatizations. Generally, Athens is not resolutely removing alleged “obstacles” to investment projects, according to a memo leaked to the press in March to expose the Greek government.[2] Economic Minister Philipp Rösler has recently confirmed that Berlin is demanding a speedup of privatizations.[3] Last year, however, the Spanish government had also stopped selling shares of its Madrid and Barcelona airports, for which the German companies Fraport and Siemens had been bidding. The Spanish government hopes to achieve higher revenues within an improved economic climate, rather than in the current crisis. It will not sell its national lottery for the time being. According to the EU, IMF and European Central Bank troika, Portugal and Ireland are fulfilling the privatization plan with a volume of five and three billion Euros respectively.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 22, 2012, 11:35 pm
  12. Awwww…look at the thugs nice fellows helping the old people cross the street. What a ray of sunshine these Golden Dawn folks are with all that charity. And their calls for sending illegal immigrants to forced labor camps, well that’s just warms my heart. How generous must these Golden Dawn fellows be, what with Greece acting as the entry point for ~9 out of 10 of the illegal immigrants entering the EU…a forced labor program that gives those precious jobs to prisoners demonstrates a profound level of compassion. It’s always darkest before the dawn, especially when it’s mourning morning in Athens:

    Analysis: Secretive far-right party taps into Greeks’ anger, fear

    By Renee Maltezou

    PIRAEUS, Greece | Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:15pm EDT

    (Reuters) – In the port of Piraeus, dozens of young men with shaven heads and black t-shirts packed a small room one evening to hear Golden Dawn’s dream of a Greece purged of foreigners, its borders sealed with landmines.

    “We want all illegal immigrants out, we want to take their stench out of this place,” said Frangiscos Porihis, an election candidate for the ultra-nationalist and highly secretive party.

    “They shouldn’t be here and they will leave one way or the other – the good or the bad way,” he told the Piraeus meeting.

    With Greece deep in economic and social crisis, the party is promising voters in next month’s elections to start by expelling illegal immigrants – before moving on to the legal ones.

    Nevertheless, Golden Dawn denies it is neo-Nazi, although its leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos did introduce himself to Athens city council last year with a Nazi salute.

    With its anti-foreigner message plus some welfare parcels for a few of Greece’s many needy, Golden Dawn has emerged from obscurity in the last few months and now seems certain to enter parliament comfortably when the nation votes on May 6.

    Flanked by bookshelves lined with books on Aryan supremacy and nationalism, the Piraeus audience listened in rapt attention. Leaflets declaring “Not a single unemployed Greek, not a single illegal immigrant in Greece” lay on tables, alongside manifestos proclaiming “Greece belongs to Greeks”.


    Golden Dawn’s rhetoric resonates with Greeks who blame rising crime on the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants flocking to the country’s porous borders.

    Nine out of 10 illegal immigrants entering the European Union in 2010 arrived in Greece, largely from Turkey by land or sea. Last year Italy took the top spot due to a jump in arrivals of people fleeing the Arab Spring upheaval.

    Nevertheless, Greece has more than one million immigrants, legal and illegal, in a country of 11 million people.

    “It’s not that Greeks became right-wing overnight,” said Thomas Gerakis, head of the Marc pollster group. “They just want to send a message to the political system as a whole.”

    Golden Dawn’s candidates are not career politicians; they include farmers, shepherds, workers and retired army officers.

    The party has no recognizable names apart from its leader Mihaloliakos, who served in the Greek special forces and was elected to the Athens city council in 2010 – giving the Nazi salute on his first appearance there last year.

    “Golden Dawn has the advantage of being invisible,” said a political analyst, who declined to be named. “Apart from Mihaloliakos, even I don’t know any of the other faces in the party and I’m in the business. That works as a protective shield for them.”

    Polls show the party taking between 4.1 and 5.7 percent next month. Much of that has come at the expense of the nationalist LAOS party, whose ratings plummeted after it joined the outgoing coalition government last year. It later quit after refusing to accept the austerity conditions of Greece’s latest bailout.


    Golden Dawn’s manifesto is less benevolent than the good-neighbor image its food drive has helped to cultivate. Illegal immigrants must be immediately arrested and deported, and legal immigrants eventually expelled as well, the group says.

    It wants crimes committed by immigrants to fall under a special category, with their sentences carried out in special detention centers where the immigrants are put to work.

    “There are people who have been living in a building for 40-50 years and they suddenly realize that it’s only them and maybe another family and that the rest are third-world foreigners who live in groups of 30-40 in one apartment,” said Panagiotaros.

    The group has little sympathy for the political class. Politicians behind Greece’s crisis must be hauled before a special court, jailed and their property seized, the group says, while any Greek refusing to join the conscript army will be stripped of their citizenship and exiled.

    Despite the comparisons with neo-Nazism, Golden Dawn has paradoxically tapped into anti-German sentiment by attacking the bailout package from the EU and International Monetary Fund and what it calls German domination of Europe.

    Set up in 1992 and relaunched in 2007, the party admires Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas, who refused to surrender to the Axis powers in 1940.

    Members say discipline and years of unwavering dedication are required to win acceptance. One said it can take up to three years to become a member – starting first as a supporter, then as trial-members before joining the “family”.

    “For the Communists we are Nazis, for the Socialists we are fascists and for the conservatives we are extreme right,” said Nas, a Golden Dawn member who declined to give his last name. “Let them call me what they want. I do what I do with honor.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 25, 2012, 8:11 pm
  13. Greek exit polls May 6th 2012, show greek neo nazi party gaining seats
    “The Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party will enter parliament for the first time in nearly 40 years, exit polls showed on Sunday as ballots closed in an early election that could derail the country’s reforms.

    The party is calculated to win between six and eight percent of the vote on rising immigration and crime concerns, comfortably above the three-percent threshold required for to enter parliament.

    The group reacted jubilantly and claimed the result would translate into more than 25 deputies in the 300-seat parliament, a stunning blow to mainstream parties.

    “A new nationalist movement dawns,” Golden Dawn said on its website.

    “Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have dynamically joined the national cause for a great, free Greece,” it said.

    Once part of the country’s political fringe, the Hryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) had already made headlines in 2010 by electing its leader to the Athens city council on a wave of anti-immigration tension in the capital’s poorer districts.

    In the two years that followed, with Greece sinking deeper into recession and over a million people out of job, Golden Dawn’s strength grew further.

    Now they appear to have multiplied their support tenfold.

    With Greece the main entry-point for irregular migration to Europe, thousands of migrants unable to cross to other EU states due to legal constraints have created urban ghettos in Athens, Patras and other cities.

    Hostility from local residents has spiked in recent months with the deterioration of an economic crisis that has brought recession and hundreds of thousands of job losses in Greece.

    Migrants are also blamed for increased muggings, car thefts and break-ins”


    and from the AFP

    Posted by leif | May 6, 2012, 11:53 am
  14. When Wolfgang Schauble is playing the ‘good cop’, you know you’re in a bad spot:

    Greek Reporter
    Merkel Rules Out More Greek Aid

    by Andy Dabilis – Feb 16, 2014

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the biggest contributor to $325 billion in two bailouts to save Greece, has ruled out a third, although Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that with a 1.5 billion euro ($2.05 billion) primary surplus that his country now doesn’t one anyway.

    Merkel overruled her Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who had said Greece might need another 10-20 billion euros ($13.63-$27.26 billion) before the May elections held for Greek municipal offices and the European Parliament, the newspaper der Spiegel reported.

    Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and his coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists, are trailing the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) whose leader, Alexis Tsipras, has predicted will win and eventually come to power.

    He is opposed to the terms of $325 billion in two bailouts imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) and said he wouldn’t repay the money.

    Schaeuble had wanted to give the ailing Greek government a “demonstration of solidarity” by committing this spring to further support from Europe after the May 25 poll.

    “He sees the danger that without the prospect of further aid, radical parties in Greece could make big gains in the election,” leading the government in Athens to collapse, the magazine reported.

    Besides SYRIZA, the anti-austerity ultra-extremist far-right Golden Dawn party is a solid third in polls even though its leaders have been jailed on charges of operating a criminal gang.

    It said Merkel’s own domestic political concerns led her to veto the move over fears that the Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) could benefit from a fresh debate about aid for Greece.

    The AfD, which wants to abandon the euro and return to the deutschmark, was formed last year and failed to win any seats in September’s general election but scored seven percent in a recent poll, far above the three-percent hurdle for seats in the European Parliament.

    We probably shouldn’t be surprised that the pro-austerity ‘bad cop’ policies pushed by leaders like Merkel are also pro-vigilante. We also probably shouldn’t be surprised if some of those vigilantes end up in office.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 17, 2014, 10:28 am

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