Remember when finance went openly football a decade ago: German fans shouted: “Without Angie, you wouldn’t be here,” referring to multibillion-dollar ‘bailouts’ under Merkel. “We’ll never pay you back,” retorted Greek fans. “We’ll never pay you back.”
The present Queen of England has reigned over English wars that have murdered at least 70 million people throughout their present and former ‘colonies’. Much of it during Europe’s ‘peace’. Since it’s our blood being poured, we do not count among the slaughtered of their ‘World Wars.’
The ‘First World War’ or European Tribal War, 1914-18, which killed millions, is said to have begun in the boardrooms of the German Siemens and US General Electric Corporations as they fought to redivide the world’s markets.
Whenever such dinosaurs do mega-battle on each other, new opportunities arise to delink – extricate ourselves from their underdevelopment of our economies. History suggests such ‘World Wars’ have been ‘good’ for us, with our economies developing minus European diktat at such times. The bad news is of course millions are killed. We are not naif enough to believe this in wars to end all wars, but we may hope such sacrifice is not in vain, and a new world, beyond capitalism, may inevitably emerge.
As yet another ‘economic crisis’ stares us down, capitalists concentrate further to control our economies. As Asia’s production increases, ‘wars’ are spread to perpetuate their grip. Yet wars could always blaze into real revolutions, if they slip the manoeuvring of the devil’s apprentices who spark them.
The fiasco in Greece provides an unfolding blueprint. Used by Europeans as originators of civilization (pronounced ‘syphillization’) and democracy, Greece was arm-twisted to override its parliament and elections, and hand over sovereignty to a few European bankers. The battle, however, was not between Greeks and Germans, as portrayed by the media, but between German banks representing corporations like Siemens, Bayer, Deutsche Telekom, and Greece’s future.
Many of the bankers now in charge of Europe’s economies were linked to US investment banker Goldman Sachs. In 2001, just after Greece was allowed entry to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped their government noiselessly borrow billions. Hidden from public view, the deal was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, and helped Athens meet Europe’s deficit rules. In return, Greece paid Goldman and other banks hundreds of millions of dollars to help hide huge Greece debts, presumably from their EU overseers.
Cooking Growth Rates
“Financial instruments” developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing not just in Greece, but Italy and elsewhere. Banks pumped cash upfront in return for future government payments, with such liabilities then left off the books. Greece paid Goldman $300 million in fees for arranging a 2001 transaction, trading away its own airport fees, highways and lottery proceeds for years to come! Such Greek deals given mythological names: the airport deal was labeled Aeolos, after their god (or pimp) of the winds! The lottery deal was called Ariadne, goddess (or brothel madam) of labyrinths!
This revelation of the fixing of the Greek economy’s growth rate, etc., continued a battle between European and US banks and corporations. Goldman’s bribery of European governments was revealed only after Germany’s Siemens was exposed by US authorities in December 2008. (Bribery was allowed by German law until just recently: US and English corporations of course do the same thing, using different euphemisms.) Siemens agreed to pay $800 million –for violating US foreign bribery law. It separately paid $800 million to German authorities, but the scandal also led to international bribery investigations.
Siemens’ bribing of various Greek governments from the late 1990s to 2007 was exposed, and cost Greece 2 billion euros. In January 2011, 15 Greek politicians ‘greased’ by Siemens were named. In March 2012, Greece settled out-of-court: Siemens was to write off 80 million euros in “unpaid arrears” owed by the Greek government, paying them 90 million, and spending 100 million in “new” investments in Greece, promising to “consider” future investments.
The New York Times reported: Wall Street’s economic schemes in Europe mimicked the subprime scam in the US, and had “worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece,” undermining “the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.” In deals across Europe, banks fronted cash in return for future government payments, with liabilities unrecorded. A Greek economist noted: “Politicians want to pass the ball forward, and if a banker can show them a way to pass a problem to the future, they will fall for it.” Greece thus owed major banks 100s of billions of dollars!
A 1996 ‘derivative’ brought the Italian budget into line despite its high deficits, by “swapping currency with JPMorgan at a favorable exchange rate, effectively putting more money in the government’s hands.” In return, Italy promised future payments, again not recorded as liabilities. In 2000, European finance ministers “fiercely debated” whether derivative deals used for creative accounting should be disclosed, and decided not to.
In 2005, Goldman sold an interest-rate swap to the National Bank of Greece, the country’s largest bank. All such deals “were perfectly legal.” Few rules govern how nations borrow money: “The market for sovereign debt – the Wall Street term for loans to governments – is as unfettered as it is vast.”
The International Monetary Fund’s capital markets surveillance unit, which monitors “vulnerability in global capital markets,” claimed they could do little. But it is the US-Treasury-controlled IMF – World Bank that first sets up the straitjacket on what become gospel for our economists: deregulation and privatization.
Such loansharks or drugpushers get you hooked to squeeze you dry. If you refuse to pay, then wars in various forms are declared with corporate ‘free’ media leading the attack. Lazy, profligate, unreliable, deceitful! – slander usually reserved for Black workers – were then flung on Europe’s once ‘civilized’ Greeks.
Surely, the world is sick of these English word and world wars.