Apr 022013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* POLITICAL FALLOUT BEGINS: FORMER CYPRUS PRESIDENT NAMED IN LOAN WRITE-OFFS LEADING TO BANKING INSOLVENCY

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

6070958

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. […]

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

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* LIST RELEASED WITH 132 NAMES WHO PULLED CYPRUS DEPOSITS AHEAD OF ”CONFISCATION DAY”

Source: SigmaLive

401 (1)Money transfers made within 15 days, namely from 1 until March 15. On Friday, March 15, had met the Eurogroup, which officially decided to impose a tax on deposits by companies and individuals in all financial institutions in Cyprus.

These 132 companies and individuals have withdrawn all deposits in euros, dollars and rubles, which were transferred to other banks outside Cyprus.

The disclosure of the list, which shows that the outflow of deposits from local banks other financial institutions outside Cyprus became massively raises suspicion that some had inside information about the decisions taken by the other 16 eurozone countries in exchange for financing deficits of the economy.

In listings, and the company is Loutsios & Sons Ltd, which carried 21 million deposit in a UK bank, while the owner of the company is alleged to have family ties with the President of the Republic, Nikos Anastasiadis.

The first column are names of companies and individuals in the second record of the amounts withdrawn in the third column refers to the amount withdrawn in the same currency, the currency in the fourth and the fifth and last column refers to the date of transfer. […]

READ / COMPLETE LIST@ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=el&u=http://www.sigmalive.com/news/local/38012&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://sigmalive.com/news/local/38012%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D965%26bih%3D699&sa=X&ei=IwZbUf6sH4S3hQelmYCQBA&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQ7gEwAA

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* VIDEO: HOW 1% ASSET-HOLES’ OFFSHORE TAX HAVENS HIDE $21 – $32 TRILLION

Source: Washington’s Blog

McKinsey Chief Economist James Henry leads explanation in this brilliant 53-minute video tour of how the 1% hide $21 to $32 trillion in tax havens. The US top seven banks hide over $10 trillion, many top US corporations claim income losses, while the bottom 90%’s tax burden increases – in part to pay top corporations’ tax refunds.

Only the middle class and poor pay taxes.

Since 1966, inflation-adjusted annual income for the bottom 90% of Americans increased just $59, while the 1% increased income average by $625,000, and the 1% of the 1% increased average incomes by $18,700,000 per year.

Our choices seem to be only two:

  • Surrender all previous Americans’ sacrifices for our freedoms, and damn our children to escalating psychopathic policies of war-murders and debt slavery.

The video is from Taxodus.

VIDEO / READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/03/video-how-1-asset-holes-offshore-tax-havens-hide-21-32-trillion.html

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* FOR CYPRUS, THE PAIN IS ONLY JUST STARTING

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

SerfsIf the suffering, yet docile, Cypriot serfs thought deposit confiscation would be the end of their problems under the European feudal system, they are about to be shocked. Because as part of their banking sector bailout, the country is set to get a “loan” from the Troika, a loan which comes with a Memorandum of Understanding, aka a “blueprint for austerity”, with dictates terms for government revenue increases and spending cuts (of the variety that nearly caused America’s leader to blow a gasket when he was describing the untold devastation that would result if the rate of acceleration in US budget spending dared to be slowed down even by a tiny bit). Today, a draft of the revised Cypriot MOU being prepared by the head of the IMF mission to the island nation, Delia Velculescu, leaked and can be found in its 24 page entirety here.

However, for the benefit of our Cypriot readers, here is the important part: the listing of the anticipated austerity tsunami coming, not to mention healthcare system, “pension reform” changes and other proposals the ECB and the IMF are imposing on Cyprus as part of their generosity to keep the recently insolvent country as a well-behaving serf in the Eurozone.

Key highlights:

  • Freeze public sector pensions
  • Increase the statutory retirement age by 2 years for the various categories of employees
  • Reduce preferential treatment of specific groups of employees, like members of the army and police force, in the occupational pension plans, in particular concerning the contribution to the lump-sum benefits;
  • Reduce certain benefits and privileges for state officials and senior government officials, in particular by
    suspending the right to travel first/business class by state officials,
    senior government officials and employees with the exception of
    transatlantic travel.
  • Increase excise duties on energy, i.e., on oil products, by increasing tax rate on motor fuels (petrol and gasoil) by EUR 0.07
  • Increase the standard VAT rate from 17% to 18%.
  • Introduce a tax of 20% on gains distributed to winners of betting by the National Lottery for winnings of EUR 5,000 or more
  • Increase fees for public services by at least 17% of the current values
  • Increase excise duties on tobacco products, in particular on fine-cut smoking tobacco, from EUR 60/kg to EUR 150/kg. Increase excise duties on cigarettes by EUR 0.20/per packet of 20 cigarettes.
  • Introduce a permanent contribution of 3% on pensionable earnings to Widows and Orphans Fund by state officials who are entitled to a pension and gratuity. Introduce a contribution of 6.8% on pensionable earnings by officials, who are entitled to a pension and gratuity but are not covered by the government’s pension scheme or any other similar plan;
  • Actuarially reducing pension entitlements from the General Social Insurance Scheme by 0.5% per month for retirements earlier than the statutory retirement age at the latest from January 2013, in line with the planned increase in the minimum age for entitlement to an unreduced pension to reach 65 (by 6 months per year), between 2013 and 2016;
  • Ensure a reduction of seasonal hourly paid employees by 992 from 1806 in 2012 to 814.
  • Implement a four-year plan as prepared by the Public Administration and Personnel Department aimed at the abolition of at least 1880 permanent posts over the period 2013-2016.
  • Ensure additional revenues from property taxation of at least 70 million by updating the 1980 prices through application of the CPI index for the period 1980 to 2012
  • Increase the statutory corporate income tax rate to 12.5%; Increase the tax rate on interest and dividend income to 30%.
  • Increase the bank levy on deposits raised by banks and credit institutions in Cyprus from 0.11% to 0.15% with 25/60 of the revenue earmarked for a special account for a Financial Stability Fund
  • Undertake a reform of the tax system for motor vehicles, based on environmentally-friendly principles, with a view to raising additional revenues, through the annual road tax, the registration fee and excise duties, including motor fuel duties.
  • Ensure a reduction in total outlays for social transfers by at least EUR 113 million through: (a) the abolition of a number of redundant and overlapping schemes such as the mothers allowance, other family allowances and educational allowances; and (b) the abolition of supplementary allowances under public assistance, the abolition of the special grant and the streamlining of the Easter allowance for pensioners.
  • Ensure a reduction of at least EUR 29 million in the total outlays of allowances for employees in the public and broader public sector by i) taxing pensionable allowances provided to senior government officials and employees (secretarial services, representation, and hospitality allowances) in the public and broader public sector  ii) reducing the allowances provided to broader public sector employees and reducing all other allowances of broader public sector employees, government officials and hourly paid employees by 15%; and iii) reducing the daily overseas subsistence allowance for business trips by 15%. Ensure a further reduction the subsistence allowance of the current allowance when lunch/dinner is offered by 50% (20% – 45% of overseas subsistence allowance instead of 40% – 90% currently paid).

And last but not least:

  • Increase excise duties on beer by 25% from EUR 4.78 per hl to EUR 6.00 per hl per degree of pure alcohol of final product. Increase excise duties on ethyl alcohol from EUR 598.01 to EUR 956.82 per hl of pure alcohol. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-01/cyprus-pain-only-just-starting

READ CYPRUS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (pdf) @ http://mignatiou.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/EU_DraftMemorandumforCyprus-01APRIL20131.pdf

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* DEBT = SERFDOM

By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

ultimate-power

Debt-serfdom and the dominance of Financial Power are two sides of the same coin.

Let’s be clear about three things:

1. Too Big to Fail financialization is the metastasizing cancer that has crippled democracy and capitalism.

2. Financialization feeds on expanding debt and cannot survive without it.

3. Debt is serfdom. I have covered this in depth for years:

The New Road to Serfdom: A Negative-Equity Mortgage (May 9, 2006)

The Company Store, Debt and Serfdom (October 24, 2008)

Debt-Serfdom Is Now the New American Norm (October 18, 2011)

The Origins of American Debt-Serfdom (October 19, 2011)

EU Fiscal Union = EU Debt Serfdom (December 7, 2011)

Debt Serfdom in One Chart (May 4, 2012)

By Incentivizing Debt, We’ve Guaranteed Debt-Serfdom and Stagnation (June 12, 2012)

The Road to Debt-Serfdom (January 25, 2013)

There are three key dynamics to debt-serfdom:

A. The serf is never free of debt, i.e. he/she is programmed to being indebted for life.

B. Most of the serf’s income is devoted to servicing debt.

C. Most of the debt is unproductive: marginal-utility college education, needless auto loan, leveraged McMansion that loses value in the inevitable speculative bust, and so on.

There are many ways to state these fundamentals and shelfloads of books have been written to describe the many mechanisms of financialization and serfdom, but we can summarize the dynamics in a few additional points:

4. Financialization requires a corruptible, highly centralized State that enables the extreme concentration of financial assets and power. Recall that debt is the banks’ primary asset; every loan a debt-serf takes adds to the banks’ wealth and power:

5. This creates a feedback loop: the more concentrated the financial wealth and power, the more readily it can corrupt/influence the Central State to grant it quasi-monopolies and the privileges needed to gather even more concentrated power. This additional power makes it even easier to buy control of the State machinery. Democracy is reduced to a PR facade.

6. The Financial Powers need the Central State to encourage debt, which is the lifeblood of financialization. Without the State enabling and pushing debt (student loans, subsidized mortgages, mortgage interest deductions, Federal deficit spending funded by Treasury debt, etc.), the Financial Powers (i.e. the Dark Side) would be unable to continue concentrating wealth and power via metastasizing financialization, i.e. the dependence on ever-greater debt and leverage to generate profits, growth and taxes. […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/debt-serfdom.html

Apr 012013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE YOUR LIFE SAVING CONFISCATED BY THE GLOBAL ELITE

By Michael Snyder, Activist Post

bankster-chess

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

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* POLITICAL FALLOUT BEGINS: FORMER CYPRUS PRESIDENT NAMED IN LOAN WRITE-OFFS LEADING TO BANKING INSOLVENCY

By Tyeler Durden, zerohedge

cyprus-criminal-central-bank-2

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

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* 25 LESSONS FROM THE CYPRUS ‘DEAL’

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

729-cyprus-620x349

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

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 * BAIL-IN BLUES: LUXEMBOURG WARNS OF INVESTOR FLIGHT FROM EUROPE

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

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* CYPRUS HAS FINALLY KILLED MY THAT EMU IS BENIGN

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

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* AS THE GOVERNMENT STAGGERS, REPRESSION WILL MOUNT

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/

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* DISMANTLING TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS: DAY 3 AT THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN TUNIS

By Michael Levitin

posters-of-world-social-article

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