Archive for the Portugal Category

US torture report exposes European powers’ involvement in CIA crimes [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Albania, Austria, Belgium, CIA, Croatia, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, George W. Bush, Germany, Greece, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iceland, Italy, Libya, National Security Agency / NSA, NATO, NSA, Poland, Police State, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Torture, Turkey, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on December 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alex Lantier
12 December 2014

The publication of the US Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture has exposed the European powers’ complicity in ghastly crimes of US intelligence. Even though European states’ complicity in CIA torture and rendition operations has been documented for nearly a decade, no European officials have been held accountable.

In 2005, the Council of Europe tasked former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty with preparing a report on secret CIA prisons in Europe. He released two reports, in 2006 and 2007, documenting the complicity of dozens of European states in setting up facilities for illegal CIA rendition and torture. The states involved included Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Albania.

The existence of approximately 1,000 CIA flights and of secret prisons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Bucharest (Romania), Antavilas (Lithuania), and Stare Kiejkuty (Poland) has since been confirmed.

Nonetheless, after the US Senate recognized CIA use of the grisliest forms of torture — including murder, sexual assault, sleep deprivation and forcing inmates to stand on broken limbs —officials across Europe reacted by insisting that they should enjoy immunity.

Top officials of the Polish government, which is appealing a July ruling against it over its role in CIA torture by the European Court on Human Rights, denounced the report. “Certain secrets should stay that way,” said Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Polish prosecutors have been investigating the case for six years, including a two-year investigation of former Polish intelligence chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, without bringing any charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was waterboarded as soon as he arrived at Stare Kiejkuty. One medical officer there noted: “We are basically doing a series of near-drownings.”

Other detainees at Stare Kiejkuty, which housed Saudi, Algerian and Yemeni detainees, were subjected to mock executions with a power drill while standing hooded and naked.
Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski lamely claimed that CIA officials did not explain how they planned to use their secret prisons in Poland. “It was a question as we saw it only of creating secret sites,” he said, adding that he closed down the facility in 2003 because “the Americans’ secret activities began to worry” Polish authorities.
Lithuanian officials confirmed that the black site named “detention center Violet” by the US Senate report appears to be the Lithuanian detention center near the capital, Vilnius, identified in a 2009-2010 parliamentary investigation. Lawmaker Arvydas Anusauskas told Reuters, “The US Senate report, to me, makes a convincing case that prisoners were indeed held at the Lithuanian site.”

Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi detainee now kept at Guantanamo Bay, has stated that he was kept and tortured at the site. Washington paid the Lithuanian government $1 million to “show appreciation” for operating the prison, according to the US Senate report, though the funds were reportedly paid out through “complex mechanisms.”

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius has asked Washington to confirm whether or not the CIA tortured prisoners at its secret prisons in Lithuania.

British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the issue of torture and Britain’s role in rendition flights to countries including Libya, saying that it had been “dealt with from a British perspective.” He told the public to trust British intelligence to police itself, as official investigations had “produced a series of questions that the intelligence and security community will look at … I’m satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues.”

In fact, the CIA torture report has revealed the advanced state of collapse of democratic forms of rule not only in the United States, but also in Europe. What has emerged across Europe since the September 11 attacks is the framework of a police state far more technically powerful than even the most ruthless dictatorships of twentieth-century Europe. The methods deployed as part of the “war on terror” will also be used against opposition in the working class to unpopular policies of austerity and war.

European governments participate in the digital spying on telecommunications and Internet activities of the European population, carried out by the US National Security Agency and its local counterparts, as revealed by Edward Snowden. They also are planning joint repression of social protests, based on talks between German federal police, France’s Gendarmerie, and other security forces with the European Commission.

“During my investigation, people called me a traitor and said I was making things up,” Marty told the Tribune de Genève. “The Europeans disappointed me. Germany, the United Kingdom, and many others blocked the establishment of the truth. In fact, most European countries actively participated in a system that legitimated large-scale state crimes.”

“I think we must recall, and it is very important, that this operation, this anti-terrorist policy, was decided and carried out under the aegis of NATO,” Marty told Swiss television channel RTS.

“The United States invoked Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that if one member of the alliance is attacked militarily [e.g., as Washington claimed, on September 11], all NATO members are required to come to its aid,” Marty said. Once this was accepted, he added, “there were a whole series of secret accords between the United States and European powers. And all the European countries pledged to grant total immunity to CIA agents, which is manifestly illegal.”

The European powers’ participation in the CIA torture program underscores the utter hypocrisy of the humanitarian pretensions used to justify operations ranging from NATO wars in Syria and Libya to this February’s NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in Ukraine.

The ferocious opposition of the European ruling elites to attempts to bring this criminality to light is the clearest indication that the democratic rights of the population cannot be secured by appeals to any section of the state. The defense of the population’s democratic and social rights is a question of the revolutionary mobilization of the working class in an international struggle against European capitalism.

Article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/12/euto-d12.html

Rebellion against banks rocks Spain [Workers World]

Posted in Greece, Police, Police brutality, Portugal, Spain on January 23, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Catalinotto on January 23, 2014

A mid-January mass rebellion in one neighborhood of a mid-sized city in north-central Spain beat back a rightist City Hall government and sparked solidarity protests in nearly 50 other cities. This first working-class victory since the capitalist crisis exploded in 2008 has turned the name of the area — Gamonal — into a cry of resistance that could reverberate from Athens to Detroit.

Historically an independent village, Gamonal later developed as the industrial area of the city of Burgos and became its main working-class residential neighborhood, filled with apartment houses. The capitalist collapse of 2008 closed the factories and left 80 percent of Gamonal’s residents unemployed.

Burgos is a city of 180,000 people. Like most of Spain today, the whole city suffers high unemployment. Growing poverty has replaced working-class stability. As in the U.S., many were evicted, their homes turned over to the banks, so that now most people between 30 and 55 years old are living with their parents. In addition, the parents’ pensions have been frozen by the national government, which is enforcing “austerity” on behalf of the biggest European banks.

The right-wing Popular Party — which governs the Spanish state — also heads the city government of Burgos. To fill the coffers of a powerful construction company, this government ordered a large street to be torn down and replaced by an unneeded boulevard.

Besides squandering $11 million and slowing traffic, the new setup eliminated already scarce and inexpensive parking spots. The plan was to replace them with expensive private parking spaces beyond the reach of the unemployed residents. They would cost up to $26,000 for a 40-year lease. ­(publico.es, Jan. 14)

Many left analysts have said this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the drop that overflowed the vase. It was one abuse too many.

Gamoral’s community organization said 5,000 residents joined a demonstration on the afternoon of Jan. 13. When it was over, some 2,000 remained and occupied the construction area to prevent machinery from entering. (publico.es, Jan. 13 and 14) The next night, police began to attack and arrest demonstrators at random, with no restraint on their brutality.

Instead of stopping the protests, the police assault just brought out more people, who became furious with the police and with the banks that own the city — much as the banks now own Detroit in the U.S.

Leftist groups called solidarity demonstrations in at least 46 cities in all regions. The state authorities insulted and baited the demonstrators, charging them with planning violent and barbaric acts.

Most of those joining the demonstrations were workers fed up with the rapid impoverishment of a quarter of the ­population.

Burgos Mayor Javier Lacalle blamed the resistance on “outside agitators” from “ultra-left groups” who came from other parts of the Spanish state. It turned out, however, that all those arrested were from Burgos, and for once the corporate media contradicted the authorities. The mayor finally conceded and said the demolition and construction would stop, as the city could not guarantee safety at the site.

The residents are celebrating the victory, which they know may only be temporary, and are continuing to demand the mayor resign and that the 46 residents still held in prison as of Jan. 19 be released. Those on the left analyzing “the lessons of Gamonal” can’t resist remarking that the street (“la calle”) beat Lacalle.

The group Red Roja, paraphrasing a remark by Argentine/Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara about the Vietnamese liberation struggle, called for “two, three, many Gamonals.” (redroja.net, Jan. 18)

Many of Spain’s 6 million unemployed are undoubtedly hoping that Gamonal is no accident. And given the similar situation throughout Greece and Portugal and in many other European and U.S. cities under the gun of the banks’ austerity, if this is the start of a general rebellion, why should it stop at Spain’s borders?

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/01/23/rebellion-banks-rocks-spain/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

“James Clapper, EU play-acting, and political priorities” by Glenn Greenwald [Guardian]

Posted in Bolivia, CIA, Evo Morales, France, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Portugal, Spain, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions on July 11, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– Fixations on denouncing Edward Snowden distract, by design, from the serious transgressions of those who are far more powerful –

July 3, 2013

The NSA revelations continue to expose far more than just the ongoing operations of that sprawling and unaccountable spying agency. Let’s examine what we have learned this week about the US political and media class and then certain EU leaders…

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/clapper-lying-snowden-eu-bolivia

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

Guns Versus Trade: U.S. and China Rivalry over Africa’s Riches [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Africa, Angola, Chattel Slavery, China, France, Genocide, India, Japan, Portugal, Russia, U.K. on June 5, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Asad Ismi

May 26, 2013

In my report on France’s invasion of Mali published in the March issue of The Monitor, I wrote that, “According to U.K. journalist John Pilger, ‘A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria, and Niger. The invasion has almost nothing to do with ‘Islamism,’ and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the U.S. and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Palestine.

The U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) has built a network of compliant African regimes ‘eager for American bribes and armaments.’ In 2012, Africom staged Operation African Endeavour, with the armies of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the U.S. military. As Middle East specialist Tony Cartulucci explains,

‘It is no coincidence that, as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali and Syria, with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

“The economically weak imperialist Western alliance has now staked its future on an endlessly expanding world war for resources that entails its re-colonization of the Global South [especially Africa]. This is a level and scale of violence that could result in a nuclear confrontation with the main countries that this resource war is aimed at: China, India, and Russia.”

According to Dr. J. Peter Pham, an advisor to the U.S. Defence and State Departments, a main objective of AFRICOM is:

“protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance — a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.”

Andrei Akulov, writing on the Global Research website, adds that:

“It’s an open secret that AFRICOM was created to counter the growing presence of China in Africa… Stiff competition for strategic resources like oil, gas, uranium, gold, or iron is the specific feature of the situation in Africa… The mission of AFRICOM is to push China and other rivals — like Russia, for instance — out of the continent or at least to cripple their access to the resources.”

China’s economic involvement in Africa has expanded enormously in the last decade. Beijing has focused on obtaining long-term agreements that guarantee it access to African resources in exchange for generous Chinese aid, credits, and soft loans for African countries, along with China’s construction of roads, schools, housing, hospitals, and railways, among other infrastructure in Africa.

China imports half of its oil requirements (2.6 million barrels per day) and one-third of this comes from African countries. China’s trade with Africa was worth $166.3 billion in 2011, with African exports to China increasing massively to $93.2 billion from $5.6 billion over the last 10 years. Beijing offered African countries $20 billion in loans in July 2012 for the 2012-2015 period, twice the amount it had given in the previous three years.

In 2008, China announced a $3 billion program in preferential loans and expanded aid for Africa, which was in addition to $3 billion in loans and $2 billion in export credits provided by Beijing earlier. According to Akulov, China’s soft loans and credits are

“greatly appreciated by African countries… Chinese aid [to Africa] is rendered with no strings attached and usually spent on infrastructure projects that raise grassroots living standards. The most frequently cited example is Sinopec, China’s state oil company. It has acquired oil concessions in Angola and is rebuilding the country’s transport infrastructure, hospitals, and state buildings. China is now viewed by most African countries as a more attractive economic partner than the U.S. or any other Western country.”

It is not hard to outshine the West in Africa, given the horrifying record of Western nations there. As I have documented in my Monitor article “The Ravaging of Africa” (October 2002) and the radio documentary of the same title (2007), U.S. imperial strategy towards Africa has devastated the continent. The strategy has aimed at creating an unstable, war-wracked, poverty-stricken continent in order to ensure a stable and prosperous West.

The U.S. has concentrated on extracting the maximum amount of wealth from Africa at the lowest cost. This has been achieved through the perpetration of a virtual holocaust created by the fomentation of 14 wars and World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment programs (SAPs) imposed on 36 countries. The wars have killed more than 8.5 million Africans and the SAPs have led to an estimated 21 million deaths by systematically demolishing African economies and their health and education services. This military and economic assault has exposed Africa to the looting of its resources by Western multinational corporations. The wars, SAPs, and corporate plunder have resulted in the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from Africa to North American and European nations.

Most African exports to the West take the form of raw materials, and the wars have helped keep their price artificially low since the armies need to sell these minerals for whatever money they can get in order to buy weapons. A considerable number of the weapons are also bought from Western arms manufacturers.

The SAPs imposed by the U.S.-dominated World Bank and IMF have transferred more than $229 billion in debt payments from sub-Saharan Africa to the West since 1980. This is four times the region’s 1980 debt. Like the wars, SAPs also help keep raw material prices low by enforcing the expansion of such exports to the West. The value of primary African exports has fallen by about half since 1980.

This latest U.S.-imposed economic and military holocaust follows the 400 years of ravage and blight unleashed by the brutal slave trade carried out by Britain, Portugal, France, and the United States, as well as the century of ruthless Western colonialism in Africa, both of which helped build the U.S. and European economies at the expense of the lives of up to 500 million Africans.

This is the proper context to use when comparing the current activities of the West and China in Africa. Unlike the U.S. and European nations, China has inflicted no such horrors on Africa and has usually compensated African countries fairly for their raw materials. A particular case in point is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The U.S. instigated the invasion of the DRC by Rwanda and Uganda in 1998 and the subsequent slaughter of more than six million Congolese, while the SAPs imposed on the DRC have impoverished the country. The Congo is the richest country in Africa in terms of mineral resources, and the invasion has opened these to looting by Western mining companies.

In contrast, China signed a deal with the government of the DRC in 2007 committing $20 billion for desperately needed infrastructure and development projects in exchange for access to Congo’s resources. This is the biggest single Chinese investment in Africa.

The China-DRC agreement was reached between La Générale des Carrières des Mines (Gécamines), the DRC’s state-owned mining company, and several Chinese state enterprises. These include China’s Eximbank, the China Railway Engineering Company (CREC), and Sinohydro.

The agreement creates a mining joint-venture between Gécamines, CREC, and Sinohydro, to be called Socomin, in which the Chinese hold 68% of the shares and Gécamines 32%. Eximbank has invested $9 billion in Socomin including $3.25 billion in mining investment and $6 billion for infrastructural development.

The $9 billion is part of a $20 billion package of loans to be made available over 2011-2014. Of the $9 billion, a third will go to develop the DRC’s mines. The remaining $6 billion is a soft loan (backed by the DRC’s mineral deposits) to finance new roads, railways, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres, two universities, hydro-electric dams, airports, and vocational training centres. In return, China gets 10 million tonnes of copper and 400,000 tonnes of cobalt. As the BBC puts it,

“It’s a barter deal — what the Chinese side loves to call ‘win-win’. Not aid with strings attached, like Western powers have given DR Congo over the years.”

Adds Congolese journalist Antoine Riger Lokongo, writing on Pambazuka News, the most prominent website for African political affairs:

“The Chinese deal is an ‘infrastructure development resources-backed finance (IDRF)’ deal, a kind of barter/trade which will not leave the DRC saddled with debts… How can you kick-start the development of the DRC after 15 years of a war of aggression without basic infrastructures? Clearly, this is where you start. China is ready to put a larger amount of money into the DRC than any other country… China will help the DRC break free from the stranglehold of neocolonialism.”

So, summing up, to plunder the DRC’s resources the U.S. arranged the killing of six million of its people and the impoverishment of the rest, whereas to gain access to the same resources China has offered the country $20 billion. There is no doubt that the Chinese role in Africa is an incredible improvement over 500 years of Western slavery, genocide, and plunder.

Not surprisingly, the World Bank and Western governments have opposed the China-DRC deal. As Albrecht Conze, the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, explained:

“It is like the West being the Congo’s foster parents… The rising world power China could cause trouble, too – by providing billions of dollars in loans without imposing conditions or controls in return for access to the country’s valuable natural resources. Beijing has already used this method in neighbouring Angola, where it now controls [sic] much of the oil production.”

In Angola, the U.S. fomented a vicious 27-year long civil war (Africa’s longest war) which ended in April 2002. The conflict killed 500,000 people and shattered the country. Three and a half million Angolans (a third of the population) were displaced by the war and up to 15 million land mines covered Angola’s arable land, making agriculture hazardous. As a result, fertile Angola has had to import half its food requirements and 82% of Angolans lived in poverty. Like the Congo, Angola is rich in mineral wealth, being Africa’s second largest oil producer.

As Indira Campos and Alex Vines, researchers at the conservative think-tank Chatham House based in London (U.K.), describe it:

“Angola has enjoyed a period of sustained peace since April 2002. From having one of the most protracted conflicts in Africa, Angola has within five years become one of the most successful economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Fuelled by record-high international oil prices, Angola has experienced exceptionally high growth rates in recent years. Rapid post-conflict reconstruction has become the government’s priority. China has in particular played an important role in assisting these efforts. Chinese financial and technical assistance has kick-started over 100 projects in the areas of energy, water, health, education, telecommunications, fisheries, and public works.”

Since 2002, China has given Angola $15 billion in soft loans for hundreds of projects, leading to an “impressive resurgence of the country’s economy and infrastructure” after 27 years of U.S.-instigated civil war. Angola is China’s biggest trading partner in Africa and its largest source of foreign oil imports.

Asad Ismi is the CCPA Monitor’s international affairs correspondent. He is author of the highly acclaimed radio documentary “The Ravaging of Africa” which has been aired to an audience of about 30 million people. For his publications, visit http://www.asadismi.ws

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/guns-versus-trade-u-s-and-china-rivalry-over-africas-riches/5336381

Europeans protest austerity at May Day rallies [Reuters]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, France, Greece, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Italy, May 1, Portugal, Sarkozy, Spain on May 4, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS | Tue May 1, 2012 7:42pm BST

ATHENS (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of workers across southern Europe protested against spending cuts at May Day rallies on Tuesday, before weekend elections in Greece and France where voters are expected to punish leaders for austerity.

Unions in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Greece used the traditional marches to express anger over a savings drive across the euro zone, aimed at shoring up public finances but criticised for forcing countries deeper into recession…

…President Nicolas Sarkozy attracted almost 100,000 to a rival Paris rally for “real workers” after the largest union, the CGT, advised members to vote him out of power on Sunday, the first time a union has openly urged a vote against a candidate.

In Madrid, tens of thousands headed in the rain to the main square waving signs opposing cuts, while thousands turned out in Lisbon. In Athens around 5,000 workers, pensioners and students marched with banners reading “Revolt now” and “Tax the rich”.

Greece will vote on Sunday in a parliamentary election that risks derailing the international bailout keeping the country afloat by punishing the parties that backed the package.

…Maria Drakaki, 45, a public sector worker whose salary has been cut [said]…”There’s no way I’m voting for one of the two main parties…”

DESPAIR

The marches come against a backdrop of growing frustration towards austerity that more fiscally conservative northern euro zone members say is necessary to bring deficits down to meet EU limits and end the debt crisis.

Unemployment has soared and loan defaults are on the rise. In Italy there are frequent reports of suicides as people lose their jobs or their businesses fail…

…In Portugal, thousands of people rallied in Lisbon, some with placards saying “Stop the robbery, no more stolen wages”.

The 700,000-strong CGTP union, which refused to sign a pact on labour market reforms required under a 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout this year, rallied across Portugal under the slogan “Against exploitation and impoverishment, for a policy change”.

“Austerity is not a solution for Portugal or Europe,” said Joao Proenca, chief of the UGT union, the second biggest. “The pivotal issue is to promote job creation.”

Portugal is implementing tough austerity measures, which have deepened its recession and pushed unemployment to all-time highs of around 15 percent.

Spain’s jobless rate rose to near 25 percent in the first quarter, more than double the EU average, as the economy sank into recession. Some economists, including those at the International Monetary Fund, have questioned whether deep cuts should be made at the expense of growth.

POOR GETTING POORER

In Greece, repeated rounds of cuts have slashed wages and pensions and deepened a recession that is now in its fifth year. Private sector wages shrunk by a quarter last year alone and one Greek youth in two is out of work.

“These politicians cannot help us,” said Dina Bitsi, 58, a pensioner with two unemployed sons. “They approved the austerity package and the bailout. We are turning our backs on them.”

The two biggest Greek parties, the Socialist PASOK and the conservative New Democracy, have ruled Greece for decades but are expected to struggle to win enough support to renew their pro-bailout coalition…

(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris, Andrei Khalip in Lisbon, Deepa Babington in Athens, Philip Pullella in Rome, Paul Day in Madrid and David Cutler in London; writing by Anna Willard; editing by Elizabeth Piper and Philippa Fletcher)

[Excerpted by Zuo Shou]
Full article link: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/01/uk-protests-greece-idUKBRE8400CA20120501

A European Market Blow [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Argentina, EU, European Union, Greece, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, USA, USSR on December 10, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Carlos Pereyra MELE (Argentina) | 26.11.2011

“Market Blow is a term which appeared in Argentina in 1989 and it refers to an irregular institutional change caused by pressure being exerted by economic agents through some market mechanisms such as: inflation, stock-outs, massive withdrawals from bank accounts, interest rates increase, lock outs, etc. The market blow has been considered like a Coup d´état” – Wikipedia.

First it was applied to emerging countries and countries depending on the South; there they were imposed by: Washington´s agreement- Free Market – Unpayable Foreign Debts – A financial system out of control-Central Banks out of State Control, a model created and publicized by the elite of “trilateralism”, which began to exist during the 70s, then it strengthened with “Re[a]gan-Thatcher Era” and it reached its splendor [sic] with the so[-]called neoliberalism after the fall of the URSS [Soviet Union]. Today the elites of this model are turning up a notch and sending it back with their emerging economies along the eurozone. As we say about Hollywood movies: Any resemblance to reality is mere coincidence.

Nowadays the PIIGs (Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece) are themselves suffering from the development of all policies implemented in their region, through which they were foolish into a fake reality of growth. Along with it, the EU became a tool to mainly increase German´s exports, and subsequently, French exports through the development of a free commerce system along the union. For this objective, the EU lent money to these countries, paved the way for their important companies to be taken over by German and French enterprises with the support of the European Central Bank and administrative regulations stated from Brussels. The PIIGs, were included into a model in which [a] small elite of countries outrageously got richer and the ideological argument being used was that the European Union promised eternal prosperity; by shielding and sweeping away all crisis [sic] in Europe, as well as all threatening nationalisms. These were the times of Spain ranked as “8th world economy”, or and Ireland shown as an example of emerging countries.

Today…this has collapsed like a house of cards, and the trilateralist´s elite, in order to keep their privileges, ask for the elimination of any sovereignty trace[s] in the states and they have clearly resorted to a Coup d´état or Market Blow with the implementation of “Technocratic Administrations” in the PIIGs, all done by imposing their elite members as claimed by: Joao Durao Barroso, chairman of the European Commission, in May last year when he announced that unless austerity measures were accepted, democracy was at risk in Greece, Spain and Portugal. In a new and deeper intervention, on September 28th, 2011, the European Parliament approved measures of greater scope which undermined the possibilities of each country to set and manage their own budgets and debts. Has Italy voted Mario Monti for Berlusconi and Greece gone for Lucas Papademos to replace Papandreu? None was elected in lawful elections, both are former members of European Financial Organizations, academically trained in USA, members of Trilateral Commission and Goldman Sachs, just to say that with them in power the PIIGs are unquestionably under the control of any dictates given by the IMF, CEB, EU. This has already happened in Third World economies, and now it is happening in Europe, being these dictates [are] associated with austerity and privatization. All governmental functions are nullified and privatized, all national assets sold. The nation–state concept is steadily dismantled. Finally, the main functions left to governments are those of police suppression of its own people and tax collection to be given to banks.

It is a sad farewell to nations´ autonomy, the free will of the people, any advance towards more democratic, socially-compromised, direct, participative and representative ways of participation, which ultimately aim at achieving the will of its people and legitimately seek for welfare and happiness.

There was an attempt to impose this model of “Technocratic Administrations” in Argentina in 2002, when the IMF proposed one of its members [–] “an expert in Argentine´s economy” [–] to guarantee the enforcement of dictates of the trilateralist´s [sic] elite. The breaking-off with that agency saved us from a greater social disaster, like the one we were driven into by neoliberalism. There is still hope lying ahead in the reactions coming from European societies, whose destinies have been aggressively changed, by confronting and democratically defeating these coup ´s supporters.

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/11/26/a-european-market-blow.html

Bankers’ coup puts anti-worker ‘technocrats’ in charge of Italy, Greece [Workers World]

Posted in Belgium, Bulgaria, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, EU, France, Germany, Greece, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Italy, Japan, Labor strike, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, US imperialism, USA on November 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Catalinotto
Published Nov 17, 2011 9:35 PM

Thousands booed rightist billionaire and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi following his resignation as Italy’s prime minister on Nov. 11. A week earlier, Prime Minister George Papandreou, whose popular support plummeted after he agreed to austerity measures, was forced to resign from the leadership of Greece, ending a political dynasty that had lasted for three generations.

These powerful politicians were pushed out of office not by popular upheaval, however, but by order of the imperialist banks that dominate Europe and the United States. They had shown they were incapable of executing austerity measures that the bankers needed in order to make the working class pay all the costs of the financial crisis.

The so-called technocrats named to form new governments in both countries will be even more under the thumb of finance capital than billionaire Berlusconi and the compliant Papandreou. The technocrats’ task is to impose austerity measures that will cut workers’ social benefits and wages as they allow the payment of usurious interest rates to these same banks.

* Power of finance capital *

In the Nov. 3 Workers World, Deirdre Griswold wrote that researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, had done an analysis using a powerful computer database with information on millions of global financial transactions. The analysis showed that “a mere 147 companies controlled nearly 40 percent of the monetary value of all transnational corporations,” thus placing the world capitalist economy in the hands of fewer financiers than ever.

This concentration brings with it political power. Look at who the replacement prime ministers are.

In Greece, it’s Lukos Papademos. Educated in the U.S., he was a governor of the Bank of Greece from 1994 to 2002 and vice president of the European Central Bank from 2002 to 2010.

In Italy, it’s Mario Monti, an economist and former member of the European Commission. Like most “technocrats” brought in during these kinds of crises, he has a reputation of being “honest.” That means he has not been caught stealing from his banker bosses.

Papademos and Monti are both members of the Trilateral Commission, which U.S. banker David Rockefeller founded in 1973 for discussions among leaders of the imperialist U.S., Western Europe and Japan, and the Bilderberg Group, which organizes an annual conference of about 140 business and political leaders of North America and Western Europe.

Their membership in these elite and exclusive groups shows that both are acceptable to banking circles in both Europe and the U.S. Neither has a popular political following in the countries they will lead — more proof that the imperialist ruling class has little use for even formal democracy when it comes to the really big questions, like paying interest to the banks.

With the crisis so severe, the imperialist bankers put their own employees in government office, rather than a slightly less reliable politician. These unelected governments plan to pass austerity plans that — if not resisted — will inflict pain on the working class for at least the next 10 years.

As November began, Papandreou had raised the possibility that Greece would hold a referendum to consult the Greek people on the austerity agreement he had made with the French and German leaders. This provoked an apoplectic response from the Euro heads. They screamed, “No, no, no!” Papandreou withdrew the referendum and was on his way out.

* Big Lie obscures cause of crisis *

The corporate media, not just in Europe but in the U.S., have promoted a Big Lie to explain the Euro crisis. But the crisis is not the fault of “lazy workers” in the Mediterranean countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece) nor of high spending on social services in those countries. The capitalists and their pundits promote this lie in an attempt to divide the workers of northern from southern Europe while attacking all social benefits, including health care, pensions and even education.

The world capitalist downturn that began with the bursting of the housing bubble in the U.S. in 2007 and the financial near-collapse in the fall of 2008 caused an economic downturn throughout Europe. It hurt the economies of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy more than those of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The banks started charging higher interest rates for loans to countries with the weaker economies, claiming that the risk of default was greater there. The big banks in France and Germany saw these loans as a source of higher profit, and counted on a bailout if default loomed. The U.S. investment firm Goldman Sachs got in on the deal too, creating investment instruments that hid the extent of Greek debt.

By 2009, Greece had to agree to an austerity plan that the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — now called “the Troika” — imposed on it. The result was layoffs, as cuts in spending led to closed schools and hospitals, a new recession and an unemployment rate now more than 16 percent. By this fall, default loomed again.

Not only the European banks but also Greece’s own banks and capitalists were responsible. Besides avoiding taxes, in the last few years 2,000 businesses that had been located in Greece moved to Bulgaria, where labor costs were one-quarter that in Greece. Another 800 will leave in 2011. That’s how the capitalist market rules.

No one expects the world economy to suddenly have a major upsurge, certainly not one that reverses unemployment.

Should Italy, whose economy is seven times as large as Greece’s, fail to pay the debt, this would have a much larger impact on the big imperialist banks, on the eurozone and on the European Union’s future. Accordingly, news of Italy is starting to dominate the media, which had been focused on Greece.

* Workers’ fightback *

Resistance to this new assault on the working class is the order of the day in both countries. In Greece, where the workers’ resistance has been at a higher level than elsewhere in Europe, there have been dozens of general strikes and demonstrations over the past two years.

These forces — which mainly follow the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the union federation PAME — have already rallied against the new “national unity” bankers’ regime, made up of Papandreou’s PASOK party, the rightist New Democracy and the small, fascist-like Laos Party.

Of the parties in Parliament, only the KKE and the more reformist left grouping, Syriza, have refused to join the government.

In Italy, the severe austerity is just beginning. The new planned belt-tightening will cause more unemployment as well as a loss of social services. Resistance can be expected.

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Article link: http://www.workers.org/2011/world/euro_1124/