Apr 012013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


By Michael Snyder, Activist Post


What would you do if you woke up one day and discovered that the banksters had “legally” stolen about 80 percent of your life savings?  Most people seem to assume that most of the depositors that are getting ripped off in Cyprus are “Russian oligarchs” or “wealthy European tycoons”, but the truth is that they are only just part of the story.

As you will see below, there are small businesses and aging retirees who have been absolutely devastated by the wealth confiscation that has taken place in Cyprus.  Many businesses can no longer meet their payrolls or pay their bills because their funds have been frozen, and many retirees have seen retirement plans that they have been working toward for decades absolutely destroyed in a matter of days.

Sometimes it can be hard to identify with events that are happening on the other side of the globe, but I want you to try to put yourself into their shoes for a few minutes.  How would you feel if something like this happened to you?

For example, just consider the case of one 65-year-old retiree that has had his life savings totally wiped out by the “wealth tax” in Cyprus.

His very sad story was recently featured by the Sydney Morning Herald:

”Very bad, very, very bad,” says 65-year-old John Demetriou, rubbing tears from his lined face with thick fingers. ”I lost all my money.”

John now lives in the picturesque fishing village of Liopetri on Cyprus’ south coast. But for 35 years he lived at Bondi Junction and worked days, nights and weekends in Sydney markets selling jewellery and imitation jewellery.

He had left Cyprus in the early 1970s at the height of its war with Turkey, taking his wife and young children to safety in Australia. He built a life from nothing and, gradually, a substantial nest egg. He retired to Cyprus in 2007 with about $1 million, his life savings.

He planned to spend it on his grandchildren – some of whom live in Cyprus – putting them through university and setting them up. There would be medical bills; he has a heart condition. The interest was paying for a comfortable retirement, and trips back to Australia. He also toyed with the idea of buying a boat.

He wanted to leave any big purchases a few years, to be sure this was where he would spend his retirement. There was no hurry. But now it is all gone.

”If I made the decision to stay, I was going to build a house,” John says. ”Unfortunately I didn’t make the decision yet.

”I went to sleep Friday as a rich man. I woke up a poor man.”

You can read the rest of the article right here. […]

READ @ http://www.activistpost.com/2013/03/this-is-what-it-feels-like-to-have-your.html



By Tyeler Durden, zerohedge


A few days ago, when news hit that Cyprus has begun investigating who the people were who had managed to pull cash out of nation’s insolvent banks, both during the capital control “blackout” period and previously, we asked “how much longer will the rule of law remain in Cyprus once full blown class warfare is unleashed, and the 99% are generously handed the list of the 1% who were “informed” enough to pull their money from the flaming sovereign equivalent of Bernie Madoff, while every other uninsured depositor is facing losses of up to 80%, and soon 100%?” We may get the answer much sooner than expected, as the first iteration of this list: one naming the beneficiaries of millions of loans written off by the now insolvent Cyprus banks and therefore indirectly responsible for the “impairment” of the banks’ depositors, was released yesterday by Greece’s daily Ethnos newspaper. But what virtually assures substantial political fallout is that among the people listed is Cyprus’ former president, George Vassiliou.

Kathimerini summarized the situation as follows:

A list of Cypriot companies and politicians that allegedly had millions of euros in loans written off by the three Cypriot lenders at a center of an unprecedented banking crisis on the Mediterranean island has been forward to Cyprus’s parliamentary ethics committee after its publication in Greece’s daily Ethnos newspaper.

According to the revelations, Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki) and Hellenic Bank — which were earlier this week acquired by Greece’s Piraeus Bank — has forgiven companies, MPs and local authority officials millions of euros in loans over the past five years. The list reportedly features the names of politicians from all Cypriot parties except Social Democracy (EDEK) and the Social Ecology Movement (KKO).

Readers may or may not be shocked to learn that corruption and cronyism, in broad terms, was alive and well in Cyprus in the months and years leading to the failure of the local banking system with its publicly elected politicians at the very forefront:

According to Ethnos, Bank of Cyprus wrote off the 2.8-million-euro loan of a hotel with ties to the communist-rooted Progressive Party (AKEL) and forgave significant portions of many other loans. For instance a national labor union is said to have been forgiven 193,000 euros of a 554,000-euro loan. An unnamed company was forgiven 110,000 euros from a 1.83-million-euro loan, a prominent deputy of the centrist Democratic Rally (DISY) party saw 101,000 euros of a 168,000-euro loan written off and a company owned by the brother of a former minister of the conservative Democratic Party (DIKO) had 1.28 million euros of a 1.59-million-euro loan written off.

The list refers to several other MPs and the mayor of large city who allegedly had significant portions of their loans forgiven by Bank of Cyprus. Companies linked to a member of the bank’s board, to the daughter-in-law of a DIKO deputy and several others also appear to have been offered significant loan relief by the Bank of Cyprus.

As for Laiki Bank, it is said to have written off several loans taken out by MPs of AKEL and DISY. The bank also appears to have written off 5.8 million US dollars in debt from a company whose majority shareholder is said to be a well-known Cypriot politician. The ex wife of a senior ministry official and a company owned by a local ambassador also appear to have been facilitated.

Today, as the fallout avalanche from the release of the list begins to accelerate, we get even more information courtesy of Cyprus-Mail, which names none other than a company majority-owned by the former president, as being a direct beneficiary of the broke banks’ depositor-funded generosity:

The government yesterday reaffirmed its intention to fully investigate the banking sector, as a list surfaced with names of current and former state officials who allegedly had their loans written off by banks.

The list, published in Greece, contains the names of former and current MPs as well as other prominent individuals, including former president George Vassiliou. According to the report, Vassiliou held a 51 per cent stake in a company that agreed to have $5.8 million written off.

And now that Cyprus is broke and facing a depression it is probably a good time to do some serious Monday Morning quater-bailouting:

The government said the matter would be investigated as part of a wider probe into what caused the collapse of the island’s economy and banking system. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-30/political-fallout-begins-former-cyprus-president-named-loan-write-offs-leading-banki



By Tyler Durden, zerohedge


There are many lessons and implications from the Cypriot crisis (we list 25 here). Among the most important is that conditionality is back, energetically, which is very important when considering the circumstances under which other, bigger, countries might access ESM or OMT. We believe, like BNP’s James Mortimer-Lee, that the market has been too complacent, seeing OMT and “whatever it takes” as unconditional – that’s wrong. A second lesson is that a harsher line is being taken by the core. This partly reflects more effective firewalls, so that core countries are more willing to “burn” the private sector, where doing so does not represent a serious systemic risk. Cyprus may not be a template, but we have seen enough to glimpse what the new pan eurozone bank resolution system could look like. Risk for certain classes of stakeholders in banks has risen. We are a long way from seeing the eurozone crisis resolved.

Via Paul Mortimer-Lee, BNP Paribas,

There are many lessons to be learned from the Cyprus bailout, and plenty of implications for how things may develop in the future. We list 25 here, but there are more.

Lesson 1: Do not underestimate the ability of the eurozone to do the right thing – after all the alternatives are exhausted;

Lesson 2: Eleventh hour deals can often lead to mistakes and have unintended consequences. The decision to haircut depositors under EUR 100k was a pothole the Troika fell into. It questioned the integrity of the EUR 100k deposit guarantee;

Lesson 3: The disappearance of Mario Monti from the scene has reduced the influence the South has on decisions about the future of the euro; […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-30/25-lessons-cyprus-deal



Source: Spiegal Online

Jeroen Dijsselbloem: The Euro Group president has been under fire this week for suggesting bail ins might be applied outside of Cyprus in the future.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem: The Euro Group president has been under fire this week for suggesting bail ins might be applied outside of Cyprus in the future.

In Luxembourg, leaders are warning that applying the Cypriot bailout model — a levy on bank deposits — to other crisis-plagued countries could lead to a flight of investors from Europe. But the EU is considering the option anyway.

The debate over this week’s “bail in” of bank account holders in Cyprus as part of the country’s debt crisis bailout is continuing to simmer in Europe. In Luxembourg, Finance Minister Luc Frieden has warned that the example set in Cyprus by taxing people holding €100,000 ($129,000) or more in their accounts could drive investors out of Europe.

“This will lead to a situation in which investors invest their money outside the euro zone,” he told SPIEGEL. “In this difficult situation, we need to avoid anything that will lead to instability and destroy the trust of savers.”

Earlier this week, Euro Group President Jeroen Dijsselbloem sparked an enormous controversy after stating that the solution found in Cyprus could be applied throughout the euro zone in the future.

The remark triggered immediate criticism from his predecessor as head of the Euro Group, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. “It disturbs me when the way in which they tried to resolve the Cyprus problem is held up as a blueprint for future rescue plans,” Juncker told German public broadcaster ZDF earlier this week. “It’s no blueprint. We should not give the impression that future savings deposits in Europe might not be secure. We should not give the impression that investors should not keep their money in Europe. This harms Europe’s entire financial center.” […]

READ @ http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/luxembourg-warns-of-investor-flight-from-europe-a-891672.html



By Amborse Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

If Cyprus tries to claw back competitiveness with an 'internal devaluation', it will drive unemployment to Greek levels (27pc) and cause the economy to contract so fast that the debt ratio explodes Photo: AP

If Cyprus tries to claw back competitiveness with an ‘internal devaluation’, it will drive unemployment to Greek levels (27pc) and cause the economy to contract so fast that the debt ratio explodes Photo: AP

The punishment regime imposed on Cyprus is a trick against everybody involved in this squalid saga, against the Cypriot people and the German people, against savers and creditors. All are being deceived.

It is not a bail-out. There is no debt relief for the state of Cyprus. The Diktat will push the island’s debt ratio to 120pc in short order, with a high risk of an economic death spiral, a la Grecque.

Capital controls have shattered the monetary unity of EMU. A Cypriot euro is no longer a core euro. We wait to hear the first stories of shops across Europe refusing to accept euro notes issued by Cyprus, with a G in the serial number.

The curbs are draconian. There will be a forced rollover of debt. Cheques may not be cashed. Basic cross-border trade is severely curtailed. Credit card use abroad will be limited to €5,000 (£4,200) a month. “We wonder how such capital controls could eventually be lifted with no obvious cure of the underlying problem,” said Credit Suisse.

The complicity of EU authorities in the original plan to violate insured bank savings – halted only by the revolt of the Cypriot parliament – leaves the suspicion that they will steal anybody’s money if leaders of the creditor states think it is in their immediate interest to do so. Monetary union has become a danger to property. […]

READ @ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9957999/Cyprus-has-finally-killed-myth-that-EMU-is-benign.html



By Augustine Zenakos, borderlinereports

Photo: Achilleas Zavallis/UNFOLLOW

Photo: Achilleas Zavallis/UNFOLLOW

Greece’s coalition Government is in danger of coming apart. The general numbness, which followed the summer national elections, is giving way to renewed anger and despair. Faced with SYRIZA, the left-wing coalition that is again on the rise, the Government is certain to play the hand it knows best: Its Far-Right column will again take the lead and shift the focus to issues of “law and order”, “legality”, the “protection of democracy from extremists on all sides”, even “terrorism”.

New Democracy, the leading political party in Greece’s coalition Government, has taken on a form that would have appeared strange a few years ago. On the one hand, it is supported by the “modernizers” of the 1990s. These are the architects of Greece’s “European perspective”, traditionally identified with the left-of-center-come-neoliberal PASOK party, that has seen its strength crumbling ever since Giorgos Papandreou called in the IMF. Having come to political prominence in the era of Costas Simitis’s governments, who still exerts a strong personal influence, these people have been instrumental in holding up the web which interweaves the interests of major oligopolies in all financial sectors with the legislature, the judiciary and the Media. It is not that they are the only corrupt ones around, far from it. But they are the ones that through the 1990s consolidated corruption and upgraded it from a sort of provincial clientelism to a rationalized system of economy and government. These politicians are still in Berlin’s sphere of influence, and in that respect the current government headed by New Democracy can be seen in the same geopolitical light as the Simitis governments.

On the other hand, New Democracy is still a home to the populist, nationalistic Right, where in fact Prime Minister Antonis Samaras belongs, and retains its bonds with the Far-Right and fascist organizations. (Prominent New Democracy MPs come from the Ultra-Right party LAOS, which disintegrated after lending support to austerity policies, including the Parliamentary Spokesman Makis Voridis who at one time served as Youth Secretary of EPEN, a fascist party, succeeding in fact Nikos Michaloliakos, founder and General Secretary of neonazi Golden Dawn.)

This cohabitation of “modernizers”, who descend from Center-Left PASOK, and nationalist Rightists with strong bonds to the Far-Right and fascism, was forged by the crisis and is plainly a desperate attempt by a political system that has been running things for decades to hold on to its power.

The thing is, they are not doing a very good job. The coalition government is in danger of coming apart, and this danger is growing by the day. The general numbness which followed the summer national elections and the show of support by Berlin and the troika is progressively giving way to renewed anger and despair among people who see their living standards painfully decreasing for the foreseeable future. And the government is running out of cards to play, as talk of “development” seems to increasing numbers of people to be nothing more than a thin veil masking an outright sell-out of the country’s resources, enforced through unrelenting Media misinformation and brutal police suppression of dissent. (The news from Cyprus doesn’t help, as the whole rationale sounds like a bad replay of George Papandreou’s arguments four years ago.) […]

READ @ http://borderlinereports.net/2013/03/19/as-the-government-staggers-repression-will-mount/



By Michael Levitin


TUNIS, Tunisia—Energy has been running high in Tunis this week, partly because the city is still reeling from the February assassination of the country’s lead social and political opposition figure, Chokri Belaid. On Thursday night, a thousand people gathered on the central Avenue Habib Bourguiba – site of the Tunisian Revolution, which began the Arab Spring – to rally in remembrance of the man many called the “Arab Chavez” for the hope he represented in leading the country toward genuine democracy.

But the other source of vibrancy on the Tunis streets is the World Social Forum, now in its third day, which drew tens of thousands of students, trade unionists, academics and activists from across the Arab world and around the globe, injecting a cosmopolitan atmosphere here that reaffirmed Tunisia’s important symbolic and political role on the world stage.

The classrooms at the El Manar University campus have been filled all week with talks and workshops aimed at growing a global activist network that builds off the momentum of the Arab Spring and the worldwide social movements of 2011. One of the most impacting meetings took place Thursday, when more than 100 people filled a lecture hall, organized by the coalition Stop Corporate Impunity, to hear an array of speakers on a panel called “Confronting the Power of Transnational Corporations and Unpacking the Global Investment, Trade and Financial Regimes.”

Stop Corporate Impunity formally declared itself as an organizing body last June at a gathering in Rio. Since then, some 150 organizations have joined the coalition, which seeks to radically realign the relationship of power between corporations and people by establishing mechanisms to prosecute transnational companies that break laws and damage communities and ecosystems with impunity. The goal is to work towards a global framework where mega-corporations are eliminated altogether.

“What we are witnessing with corporate power is actually a crime against humanity on a major scale, but we don’t yet have the instruments to deal with those crimes,” said Brid Brennan, who works with the Transnational Institute, which helped organize the coalition. One of the instruments being developed is an international People’s Tribunal that will be able to bring legal cases against destructive, as-yet-unaccountable corporations. […]

READ @ http://www.occupy.com/article/dismantling-transnational-corporations-day-3-world-social-forum

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