Greece – What You are not Being Told by the Media

With the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) due to come on-line this week, do you think China will step in to bail-out Greece? -LW


Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.

If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.

Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as “mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.

A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.

But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!

Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!

Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.

In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment – the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.

Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that’s exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates (“yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.

From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.

The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.

(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).

The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.

Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds’ yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.

Now, here is another fact that most people don’t understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country’s assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.

Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of “austerity” or “structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.

In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government’s budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.

So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government’s revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you “fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.

After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.

If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn’t have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

This is the essence of the New World Order — a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.

So, it’s time for the proud people of Greece to rise up like Zeus and say NO (“OXI” in Greece) to the greedy puppet masters, unpatriotic oligarchs, parasitic bankers and corrupt politicians.

Dear Greece, know that the world is praying for you and rooting for you. This weekend, vote NO to austerity. Say YES to freedom, independence, self-government, sovereignty, and democracy. Go to the polls this weekend and give a resounding, clear victory for the 99% in Greece, Europe, and the entire western world.

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Deception, Madness, Wars, Destruction, Financial Collapse? There’s an Alternative! | Round-op Alpha

June 14, 2015 – Round-op Alpha S.I.N.G.J.A.

International Announcement, for Immediate and Unlimited Distribution

Honorable rebels around the world, it’s been three months since our latest public communication with you but nonetheless we have been working hard every day. Our operation and campaigns are still active, make no mistake about it.

As you very well know, we make no false promises and when we set the initial date back in 2014 we also told you that that date may very well not be feasible given the size of our intentions and plans. After all, how many formations can you name that seek the arrest of all major high-ranking and high-profile criminals? There’s only one, it’s us.

The purpose of today’s announcement is to inform the world of the fact that there’s a very real and very fitting alternative to the ongoing and increasing deception, madness, wars, destruction and fear mongering for a financial collapse. In part this insanity is to be blamed on complicit establishment press outlets who constantly distribute toxic propaganda and false news reports but they are not the only ones to be blamed.

The increasing subversion campaigns in the alternative media are of equal importance when you want to understand why no significant results can be documented yet for a cause like ours. Make no mistake about it, in order to achieve the arrests of those earlier listed, and their entourages, as the alternative to the deception, madness, wars, destruction and fear mongering we are facing both media blocks who in general equally harm our cause and operation. Both media blocks fear us enormously and we can say this with total certainty because it is an obvious fact that they won’t even dare to debate about.

The prospect of actually getting top figures arrested is real, no matter what anyone tries to make you believe. The list of crimes is endless and only one for each listed individual is more than enough to have him or her jailed for life. You know it and we know it! There’s no denying this.

In conclusion of this June 14 announcement we want to inform you that we are creating a new awareness campaign for Round-op Alpha, it is an interactive campaign that will allow everyone to contribute to the creation and promotion of an actionable list of 50 high-profile individuals that need to be arrested FIRST and ASAP in order to divert society away from its current course. This condensed list shall function as the catalyst for the arrest of the rest of the (not yet) listed individuals and their entourages.

We salute you for your patience and support.

Round-op Alpha

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Five major banks guilty of currency manipulation, acting as a cartel

Is this the beginning of the end for the banking cartel? -LW


jpmorgan-foreign-exchange-investigationjpeg-0cb19_s878x630

Photo by: Seth Wenig
The shadows of a pedestrian is cast under a sign in front of JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York on Nov. 19, 2013. JPMorgan Chase on Nov. 3, 2014 said the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into its foreign exchange business. (Associated Press) **FILE**

 – The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 20, 2015

They called themselves “The Cartel” and used secret chat rooms to plot strategy and manipulate prices on the world’s trillion-dollar currency markets.

On Wednesday, the worst of the trading abuses came to light as four of the world’s biggest banks based in the U.S. and Britain agreed to pay record fines totaling over $5 billion after pleading guilty to criminally manipulating global currency market over a period of more than five years beginning in 2007.

Justice Department officials called the settlement “historic,” while the top executive of one of the banks caught up in the scheme, which involved a handful of traders, called it “an embarrassment to our firm.”

Traders at Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, and The Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to plead guilty to felony charges, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said during a May 20 press conference. It’s the first time in more than two decades that global banks have admitted to wrongdoing on such a scale.

“For more than five years, traders in ‘The Cartel’ used a private electronic chat room to manipulate the spot market’s exchange rate between euros and dollars, using coded language to conceal their collusion,” Ms. Lynch said. “They acted as partners — rather than competitors — in an effort to push the exchange rate in directions favorable to their banks but detrimental to many others.”

“The Cartel” traders coordinated their currency trades to manipulate the benchmark rates set at the two major daily snapshots of the eurodollar exchange rates, known as “fixes,” which take place at 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m., said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer. Those fixes are supposed to be reported by unbiased third parties, Mr. Baer said.

The group also hatched plans in the chat room to protect themselves at other times during the day by agreeing to hold off buying or selling dollars and euros, he said.

Analysts said the penalties marked a victory for the government and reflect a broader effort by the Justice Department, long criticized as reluctant to prosecute big banks, to tackle financial misconduct.

The banks blamed the currency manipulation scheme on a few bad actors.

“The lesson here is that the conduct of a small group of employees, or of even a single employee, can reflect badly on all of us,” said Jamie Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan, in a statement.

Citi Chief Executive Michael Corbat said nine employees had been fired and others disciplined in the wake of the settlement.

“The behavior that resulted in the settlements we announced today is an embarrassment to our firm, and stands in stark contrast to Citi’s values,” he said. ” … We will learn from this experience and continue building upon the changes that we have already made to our systems, controls, and monitoring processes.”

The four banks will pay a combined $2.5 billion in criminal penalties to the Justice Department for illegal manipulation of currency rates between 2007 and 2013. The Federal Reserve is imposing an additional $1.6 billion in fines, as the banks’ chief regulator.

Britain’s Barclays is paying an additional $1.3 billion to British and U.S. regulators for its role in the scheme, and Switzerland’s UBS has agreed to plead guilty to manipulating key interest rates and will pay a separate criminal penalty of $203 million.

Federal prosecutors called out UBS in Wednesday’s press conference as a chronically bad actor.

UBS has a “rap sheet” that cannot be ignored, said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.

“Within the past six years, the department has resolved criminal investigations of UBS three times, resulting in non-prosecution or deferred prosecution agreements,” she said. “UBS also has entered into civil and regulatory settlements on multiple occasions within the past few years. Enough is enough.”

Department of Justice officials say the banks have each agreed to a three-year period of corporate probation, which will require regular reporting to authorities and cessation of all criminal activity. All banks are to continue cooperating with the government’s ongoing criminal investigations, and the plea agreements do not prevent the Obama administration from prosecuting culpable individuals for related misconduct.

“The penalty all these banks will now pay is fitting considering the long-running and egregious nature of their anticompetitive conduct,” Ms. Lynch said. “It is commensurate with the pervasive harm done.”

*Brennan Weiss contributed to this report, which was based in part on wire service reports.

 

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The hidden history of Bob Rae’s government in Ontario

Note: This article is from 2010. Bob Rae’s NDP government was elected in 1990 (25 years ago). Let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat itself with Rachel Notley’s NDP government in Alberta. -LW


GERALD CAPLAN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 08 2010, 11:06 AM EDT
Last updated Monday, Nov. 15 2010, 2:17 PM EST

 


When the NDP won government in Ontario exactly 20 years ago, it constituted the greatest advance for social democracy in North American history.

It’s true that British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba had all elected NDP governments and that progressives had won small victories in various parts of the United States. But none of them (I hope this doesn’t hurt their feelings) mattered in the same way Ontario then did. It was the economic heartland of Canada, the home of much of Canada’s industry and finance. What happened in Ontario impacted all Canadians. Now it was under the control of Bob Rae and the New Democrats.

Reflecting this reality, within months Mr. Rae’s government faced an unrelenting, brutal four-year onslaught that was unprecedented in Canadian history.

The attacks came from all sides. It is no exaggeration to say hysterical fear-mongering and sabotage was the order of the day. Launched within the very first year of the new government, the attackers included every manner of business big and small, both Canadian and American-owned, almost all private media, the police (especially in Toronto), landlords and lobbying/government relations firms. Their goal was clear, and they had the money and power to achieve it.

They were determined to undermine the government every step of the way, to frustrate the implementation of its plans and to assure its ultimate defeat. In all three goals they were successful. The considerable achievements of the government – often forgotten or dismissed – were wrought in the face of a deep recession and ferocious obstruction.

The tactics were not necessarily subtle. Though the Soviet Union was ignominiously imploding, right-wing columnists such as Diane Francis and Barbara Amiel actually resorted to old-fashioned red baiting, smearing the government as “red” or “communist.” And after the new finance minister’s very first meeting with the banking community , a bank vice-president told him, in the presence of an aide: “Nice speech, Mr. Minister, but we’re going to kill you.” And they did.

Conrad Black was a leading executioner. Lord Black swore loudly that on principle he’d never invest in Ontario under an NDP government. Other corporate interests threatened a virtual strike of capital unless the government relented on its intentions to introduce higher business taxes and to strengthen union rights, environmental regulations and equity programs.

Mr. Rae and treasurer Floyd Laughren made themselves easily accessible to business representatives, many of whom ran Canadian branch plants of huge American multinationals, only to be threatened with capital blackmail. The premier was warned that their U.S. head offices weren’t about to invest further in Ontario unless the government abandoned most of the programs it had run on.

Bond traders declared that slashing government programs to reduce the deficit was a prerequisite to Ontario borrowing at competitive rates, even though Ontario’s deficit was equivalent to that of Conservative-run Alberta. Suddenly the entire media was fixated on the government’s threatened credit ratings, never mind that Ontario had the only Standard & Poor’s AAA rating in the country. The Social Credit government in British Columbia, the Conservatives in Alberta and Robert Bourassa’s Liberals in Quebec all had lower credit ratings. Yet only in Ontario was the government threatened.

NDP government decision-makers, while innocent about so much, at least understood that the corporate world was not given to bluffing. Time after time they responded to the endless corporate blackmail by compromising on policies and commitments. In this way, they alienated many of their own followers but without ever appeasing business interests. They never could.

Some business protests bordered on the disloyal. Hysterical landlords took out an ad in The Wall Street Journal warning Americans not to invest in “leftist Ontario.” Others demanded the complete repudiation by the government of its most cherished legislation, as when several coalitions of powerful business interests, managed by government relations firms such as Hill & Knowlton, demanded the NDP scrap its entire plan to amend the Labour Relations Act. This was the kind of class warfare Lenin might have admired, especially since the government had already withdrawn many of its intended changes in order to meet business criticism.

One front organization, the “All-Business Coalition,” won headlines for warning that amendments the government had already disavowed would cost 450,000 jobs and cost $20-billion in investment. All the while the same groups were deliberately frightening investment away from the province.

Hostility to these fictional amendments also led to unusual solidarity among Toronto’s rival newspapers. Of course hostile editorials were fully expected. Less predictable were the full-page statements in the press denouncing the labor amendments. Even more unprecedented was the delegation consisting of the publishers of all three dailies who appeared in the premier’s office to express their hostility in person. The media in general played a key role in mobilizing perpetual hostility to the government, with business columnists regularly stirring up their readers while the Toronto Sun especially wallowed in the sheer joy of unrestrained excess and fabrication.

Throughout the five years of the Rae government, the Sun was its most powerful and effective foe, doing everything in its considerable power to damage the government. It repeatedly set the agenda for the entire media, even though competing reporters knew much of it was sheer hooey. The Sun gleefully sensationalized embarrassing facts, mere rumors, vicious innuendos and obvious lies, with no attempt to discriminate among them.

Perhaps the most chilling and underestimated of the government’s enemies were the Toronto police, whose actions at times bordered dangerously on virtual insubordination against the civilian authorities. Here too certain newspapers and radio commentators repeatedly and deliberately inflamed angry officers against the government. Most successful was the Sun’s ongoing, systematic campaign to drive a wedge between the government and the Toronto police force, sometimes with the collusion of the police themselves.

The Sun and senior Toronto police officials maintained a troubling relationship. In one particularly outrageous episode, they colluded in smearing an NDP appointee to the police board on the very evening of her swearing-in. The Sun published intimate information on the appointee that could come, many thought, only from the office of the chief. Sun readers then began their 1991 Victoria Day weekend with a huge banner headline proclaiming “COP COMMISSIONER PART OF OPP PROBE”. The story claimed the new appointee had been discovered in a car in the middle of the night with a very shady operator connected to an even shadier operator.

It was a blatant frame-up. On Victoria Day itself, the Sun came clean . They publicly acknowledged the sheer impossibility of anyone confusing the police commission member with the real passenger the OPP had found in the car. A Sun reporter described an “undeclared but very real state of war that exists between the new, NDP-appointed members of the police board and the great majority of the Metro [Toronto]force.” But that was pure mischief. The only war was the one the Sun was methodically fomenting.

The government introduced regulations that substituted the Constitution for the Queen in the oath that cops had to swear. Many media swiftly exploited the occasion to further exacerbate tensions between the police and the NDP. Yet the change had actually been initiated by the previous Liberal government and had been recommended by a committee consisting mainly of police. Their work had been completed when the NDP took office; the Rae government was simply implementing their recommendations.

I documented these facts publicly after interviewing numerous police reps, every one of whom supported the new oath. Nor could they see what the big deal was about. I asked the Toronto Sun, CFRB radio and CFTO-TV, who had most flagrantly misled the public on the issue, to demonstrate good faith by apologizing. Not one admitted the slightest fault. Good faith was in short supply in those years.

There are a world of studies yet to be written about the Ontario NDP’s difficult and controversial years in office, none more important than the nature of the saboteurs who organized their very own Ontario coup. This includes much of the business community, government relations firms, the media and the police. There are lessons to learn here about the limits of left-wing politics in Canada. None of them are encouraging if you are a left-winger.

 

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Benjamin Fulford: Was World War Three Called Off?

Ben talks about the banking and government changes that are becoming more and more visible, each and every day. This is exciting! -LW

 

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