December 10, 2012

EU Presidency provides a great opportunity for us

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 151 comments ·

Driving past the RDS last week, as the city played host to bigwig foreign ministers, gave me a feel of what Dublin is going to look like for the next six months. The place was, to use the new terminology, ‘locked down’, as is now necessary when someone as important as Hillary Clinton rocks into town.

Get used to it, because Ireland will take over the EU presidency on January 1, and Dublin will be coming down with black Mercs, rushing here and there carrying very important public servants from urgent meeting to urgent meeting.

Obviously, Ireland should take the opportunity to place a debt deal for our citizens squarely on the agenda because, after all, the EU presidency demands that the host country sets the agenda for that crucial six-month period.

This is a great chance for us and, given the deal the Greeks got – yet again – last week, it would be a travesty if we didn’t seize this occasion to advance the cause of our own citizens. However, given past form, it seems that Ireland’s leaders are intent to make sure that our country is the one that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

The one thing we need to appreciate, which runs counter to much of the received wisdom right now, is that Germany is not strong. It is, in fact, weak. Data published last Friday revealed a German economy – the so-called strongest of the weak – that is in fact more fragile than anyone expected.

The Bundesbank cut its forecasts for the Germany economy next year from growth of 1.6 per cent to a barely noticeable 0.4 per cent. This process reflects the fact that Germany’s amazing industrial strength lies in its exports, and its export buoyancy depends on the rest of Europe buying its goods. If the rest of Europe is not buying German goods because of austerity, then who will Germany sell to? And if Germany can’t sell to anyone, and Germans don’t want to buy the stuff they make themselves, then they are in a bind.

This will be the economic background noise to the next few months. Downside risks to economic consensus forecast are likely to affect investors’ appetites for all sorts of assets. Apart from the economic risks, there are other risks which the high-powered foreign ministers meeting in the RDS tried to obscure, but didn’t.

The tightening security around Ballsbridge the other day, and the presence of so many foreign ministers and strategists, prompted thoughts of what else might dominate the six months of Ireland’s EU presidency, and how these geopolitical events might frame any economic discussions Europe might attempt.

Trouble in the Middle East is likely to kick off again next year, and it may embroil many of the supposed friends that lined up in the RDS last Thursday.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza gave us a taster of what could happen in Syria on a much bigger scale. The great powers are increasingly on opposite sides, in the same way as they were nearly 100 years ago in Sarajevo at the beginning of World War I.

Remember, the Austrians dragged the Germans into the conflict, so that the Russians wouldn’t come in on the side of the Serbs. Then the Serbs went and smashed the Austrians unexpectedly – and the Germans were in against the Russians, who then called on the others, the British and the French, and we had a proper conflict where the Germans were alone in a shooting war they didn’t start or want.

We know now that the assassin, Gavrilo Princip, and his Bosnian Serb separatist allies, were acting on their own, but that’s all history. If we look at Syria, we see that the loose alliance against Saddam is fracturing. The Russians are lined up with Syria and Iran, while the Gulf States, the Sunni Arabs of Saudi Arabia and an increasingly belligerent Qatar, together with Turkey and possibly the US, Britain and Europe, line up on the other side.

The Iranians will support the Syrian regime with weapons – perhaps, then, Syria looks less like pre-World War I Bosnia and more like pre-World War II Spain. The Spanish Civil War was the proxy war before the coming enormous conflict, with the fascist regimes supporting Franco. They tested weapons and armies in Iberia that would be later used all over Europe. On the other side, the communists did something similar, using the Spanish Republicans in the process.

In the past few weeks, there has been another wild card thrown into the Middle Eastern mix.

Now that Egypt is run by the Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza is being supplied militarily by Iran, there is a new dispensation in that part of the Middle East – a strained, volatile alliance between Iran and Egypt over Gaza, something the Americans have being trying to avoid for three decades.

So the Middle East is again in turmoil, and the political risks associated with it can’t be underestimated. For Europe it presents a particular dilemma because, for the first time in many years, Europe is impotent in the region.

For the past 200 years, any settlement in the Middle East was in effect a European settlement, whether it was Napoleon in Egypt or Sykes and Picot, for England and France, drawing up new boundaries which now look like arbitrary lines in the sand – because they were. The big change now is that Europe has no power in the Middle East – and precious little power even in north Africa. Without an ability to
project its power, it is impotent in the face of existential challenges in the region.

Israel is in America’s pocket, although often it feels like vice versa, and the big new influencer in the region is, of course, China. It gets almost all its oil imports from the region, unlike America.

Projecting forward, as America’s shale gas production is stepped up, the US looks like being an energy exporter in the not-too-distant future. This will again limit its already waning dependency on the region. In contrast, China will become increasingly tied up in the Middle East.

Is it likely that the world’s new superpower will look on helplessly at its main source of energy without taking sides?

In the next few months, these issues will begin to emerge and will add to the deep sense of unease and risk, triggered by the knowledge that Germany is no longer able to drag everyone in Europe out of the mire. All the while, countries are lining up in accordance with their interests.

Waiting behind a queue at Ballsbridge looking at this faux show of unity among all the foreign ministers of countries with differing interests, it’s not hard to get the feeling that the EU presidency will be more explosive then we imagined. That is all the more reason to push for a good deal for Ireland, while everyone is consumed by other, bigger concerns.

David McWilliams’s new book, The Good Room, is out now

  1. chrissu

    What you say about the EU presidency being an opportunity is true, and I also agree I don’t see our government taking that opportunity, which is a pity because time is rapidly running out of any chance of a deal on our debt. As regards the Middle East, the US will only get involved if Israel is threatened, they’re not rushing back into the Middle East, they’ve only just got out if Iraq. China will be setting the agenda more and more on the world stage, I don’t think thats any secret, but how they conduct their business will be interesting

    • Grey Fox

      How China conducts itself is really self evident, China is interested in business only! it will not concern itself with assisting in righting wrongs in the middle east, has no social conscience and does not care what state it leaves the area in when it is finished, if ever.

  2. Dorothy Jones

    You can bank on it that Irish politicians will ensure that it is yet another missed opportunity; despite the fact that the country is pretty much faced with an open goal at this atage if it were competent enough to negotiate.

    Patrick Hnohan on the other hand is suggesting to the German press that Ireland needs to negotiate now and defer the next €3.1bn due in March. Here’s the synopsis in English of his interview in today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

    And he’s cheeky too! For those of youy who speak the lingo, scroll down towards the end of the article where he says to the interviewer that the time scale of deferment which he is suggesting is not something he will disclose in the FAZ interview:

  3. Adam Byrne


    • DB4545

      I think the country has bogged itself down with navel gazing and “woe upon us”. I think Tommy Tiernan has the most practical solution. Let’s find out who we owe the money to and then shoot the f**ker. I suggest we do this asap but using the political and financial system rather than literally. Sometimes we just have to check that we have a pair of b**ls. It’s time to throw these scoundrels out.They’re clearly serving themselves and not the country. Here’s the upside.We have a reasonably well developed country,good roads plenty of factory and commercial space,a little oversupply with housing and a flexible workforce. We’re not postwar Germany rising from the ashes. The solution?.We reposition ourselves in the EU on the same basis as Switzerland.All the benefits of EU trade agreements but our own currency,control over our labour markets and a rapid devaluation of currency to help trade and industry. That puts a gun to the head of the f**kers we owe money too. Can it work? Look at Somalia.Regarded as lawless internationally but has the most modern telecoms system in Africa and a money changing system that’s regarded as one of the most efficient on the planet. Look at Lebanon. One of the most secure and effective banking systems in the world. They did’nt get caught up in a property bubble (would you if historically your neighbours and kept blowing up your real estate)and are extremely liquid.It can work,it will work,Yes we can. Let’s get on with it.

  4. ex_pat_northerner

    Ah Shale Gas .. Can you not see past that one David? .. 40bn dollars a year the industry is in deficit in US. The Wells are declining faster than anticipated. Same with the Shale Oil.. and whatever about the old adage there’ll always be enough oil in the world its only a matter of price..We’re going so far down the resource pyramid that its a matter of EROI (Energy return on Investment). There’s no good taking 1 barrel of oil out of the ground if it uses 2 barrels to get it out. Finally where Shales are concerned they are similar to the rest of the resource field.. the sweet spots are mined first. Berman at ASPO showing amount of wells required to keep US production at current levels from Tertzakian / ARC research..
    Deborah Rogers on Co depency of Shale gas industry in US with banks.

  5. David is using the word ‘ impotent ‘ more frequently of late . In this article he refers to an impotent Europe and more recently an impotent government in Ireland .

    War is now the inevitable and Israel seems to be the catalyst to create that spark. This lightening strike looks likely after Xmas so to take the lead strategy in this whole affair .

    And smack in the center of the World Map Ireland is positioned with the vested power of Presidency of Europe . This is a thriller about to happen . Dublin will have a pan Nerve Center for next six months . I would rather live on the West Coast than Dublin now.

    The Vichy Regime in The Pale is more dangerous than Syria now .The movie The Enemy of The State comes to mind .How can ordinary people of Dublin feel safe next year .

    The Mayan Calandar is upon us too .Maybe we are all Turkeys voting for Xmas.

  6. Tom L

    Excellent article as usual – the same themes from the last few years are raising their heads in new evolutions as we speak.
    I’m sure you meant Bashar Al- Assad and not my old friend Saddam…..?

  7. Midas Mulligan

    Well they’d best get a move on “securing” a deal for Ireland before Italy blows just in time for Paddy’s Day, thereafter all bets will be off.

  8. Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

    “If we look at Syria, we see that the loose alliance against Saddam is fracturing.”

    United States, United Kingdom,Australia,Romania,El Salvador,Estonia,Bulgaria,Moldova,Albania,Ukraine, Denmark,Czech Republic,South Korea, Japan,Tonga,Azerbaijan,Singapore,Bosnia and Herzegovina,Macedonia,Latvia,Poland,Kazakhstan,Armenia,Mongolia,Georgia,Slovakia,Lithuania,Italy,Norway, Hungary,Netherlands,Portugal,New Zealand,Thailand,Philippines,Honduras,Dominican Republic,Spain,Nicaragua,Iceland.

    That loose alliance against Saddam was a pathetic, short lived fig leaf for an illegal war of aggression based on lies

  9. Hi David,

    Absolutely right about the Presidency as a potential opportunity, but until Ireland has its own Tahrir Square moment, it won’t matter a fuck. I think perhaps this is easy to forget: nothing has changed in the last four years to persuade any Irish government to behave differently than they have been up until now and in fact for decades. Why would they? Why should they? The transformative moment of Tahrir Square wasn’t that they tossed out Mubarak (that fact is almost irrelevant in some ways), it was that people came to realise that they didn’t necessarily have to put up with bullshit from anyone in power anymore.

    The Irish presidency may be marked by significant events elsewhere, but I don’t see how an Irish government would acquire the motivation to act to change anything. I mean, I know its not exactly fun to write about this stuff, but thats the reality right?

    • Also, you might perhaps be reaching when it comes to the implications of things panning out in Egypt. I’m not convinced the IB has the influence you suggest it has. The Army is on the fence and Morsi has already backed off on the controversial legislation he introduced in the first place. Egypt is a very very long way from forming an alliance of any kind with Iran, its still one of the largest recipients of US military aid, making almost a de-facto ally of Israel in the Arab world.

      The biggest threat to the rest of us is and always has been from the US starting a full-on shooting war with Iran (perhaps with Israeli ‘help’ to get things going). Syria is a side-show, there is no credible or coherent opposition to step up like there was in Libya, and really, any attack on Syria is a proxy attack on Iran, and I am certain the hope is that naughtiness on behalf of Assad will be used against the Iranians as his principle supporter.

      I seriously doubt the Russians want another conflagration involving an Islamic country on their hands, better to let the Yanks take care of it and say nothing, maybe do a few deals under the table, nothing more.

    • Having said all that though,it is fun toplay with the “what if’s”

    • You are right about the power of a Tahir Square moment

      Tahir square reminded Egyptians that their society and social values are strong. Perhaps stronger than ours and certainly stronger than any of the forms of puppet government or dictatorship they have had to put up with. They snapped because they want to know what it is like to feel free and create a better Egypt

      To paraphrase your good self ‘the people finally realised’

      The Irish people are realising that real democracy is not a spectator sport and that if they want change they have to become a force for change. This means protest and there is a protest in a town near you

      We are a fortnight shy of the anniversary of the great 1913 lock out and it is fitting that the anniversary co-incides with the great struggle the Irish people face today. Is history repeating itself?

  10. Joe R

    “The Spanish Civil War was the proxy war before the coming enormous conflict, with the fascist regimes supporting Franco. They tested weapons and armies in Iberia that would be later used all over Europe. On the other side, the communists did something similar, using the Spanish Republicans in the process.”

    I am not aware of any great military truth in that statement, dive-bombing of one symbolic basque town aside. Russians learned nothing that is for sure.

    Israel more recently however has been a good proxy for testing new US war technology…they get the best and the get it first.

    • nostramartus

      All elements of tactics and mechanisation of the wehrmacht that were later developed into blitzkrieg were used during the spanish civil war. The Panzer mark 1 was a lightly armoured training tank, that only had machine guns as offensive weapons, they were dominated by the russian t-26 so the germans had to develop the tactics of the spanish national forces to train them to combine with air support in any engagement.For most of the civil war the germans acted in a training capacity. The lessons they learned on how to improve their weapons and tactics made static defences like the maginot line obsolete.
      The Germans first used fifth columnist propaganda in Spain to undermine regimes from within, they developed this into policy to create Vichy france( something the Americans never learned).
      Stuka sirens were used and carpet bombing of civilian populations became one element of their theory of ” Total War “to break a regions or country’s ability to wage war as well as the population’s will to support their army.

      The Germans haven’t imposed cuts on us , they just give us enough money to make our politicians choose between themselves( O’Reilly cronies) and the vulnerable.

      Having said that the german federal system applied to Ireland might develop the regions more evenly, food security might be their only interest in Ireland. A concentration of our population around( 1 million in Dublin and 1.8 with commuter towns) Dublin was never sustainable, it was always just another bubble. Landlords demanding rents equalling Oslo and other capitals are just fueling emigration.

      So ” Ich bin ein berliner “.

      • Joe R

        Why is there always one on this site?

        Nostramartus –

        you know nothing of total war or blitzkrieg – your knowledge of this looks like it came from a combination of badly remembered inter-cert history, war-movies and a half understood history channel documentary or two.

        Total war is where a country mobilises its entire resources and manpower for a war. Hence the ‘total’ — so nothing to do with TACTICS in a theatre of war. (

        Blitzkreig had no precent in Spain. It is obvious even from maps showing the progress of the war. Spain was fought as a slow moving war along broad thinly manned fronts over 3 years — similar to the defensively orientated WW1. (

        That is not what happened to Poland, The low countries, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, the USSR in 1941 and to the Brits in Libya in 1941/42. These campaigns took from a few weeks to a few months to cover huge ground and defeat entire armies and nations. Not the case in Spain.

        Blitzkrieg is a different attacking type of warfare, dependent on pincer movements led by a tank corps ( 2 armoured or mechanized divisions ) that is 20,000 men with 300-500 tanks ( i.e. concentration in space and time) that punches through weak points in a broad front advances quickly and deeply into enemy territory encircles huge amounts of enemy forces ( mainly regular unmechanized infantry) which then surrender in large numbers having been psychologically beaten. The countryside is not generally laid to waste no cities are destroyed and relatively few causalities occur, for an all out war that is. It is related to similar tactically to mobile offensive cavalry-led warfare not the static defensive infantry warfare of WW1 (

        Concentration in space and time has been the key to victories from Salamis in 300 something B.C. to Byzantine victories around 1000 AD Agincourt in 14 something AD to Austerlitz in 18 something AD to Israel’s victories in the 6 and 7 day wars in the 1950s and 60s. It is a classic military idea, easy to find.

        Oh and Heinz Guderian commented on this myth of the development of blitzkreig in Spain he said the tank deployment was “on too small a scale to allow accurate assessments to be made.” i.e. it didn’t help them. Not enough concentration, get it?

        As for the Maginot line being defeated by blitzkreig — that s just plain funny. In WW1 the germans invaded france via Belgium not via the Saar. In WW2 they did it again, coming through the Ardennes to the north of the line.

        The French built the line in the wrong bloodly place, despite the fact that they should have known better, that is why it got beaten. The most pointless public works program ever!

        • nostramartus

          I said elements or parts of their tactics were later developed into Blitzkreig, as Mcwilliams pointed out the spanish civil war a testing ground where they evaluated the effectiveness of the mechanization of a modern army. They improved their tank corps based on their experiences in Spain( they upgraded armament and armour on later tank models ), there were tanks in WW1 but they were an unreliable technology, Blitzkreig would have been ineffective with the lightly armoured panzer 1. The Condor legion combined their panzer 1 with captured russian t-26 tanks to form more effective mechanized units. The first exhibition of ” carpet bombing ” was in september 1937 Asturias campaign.

          The Germans occupied France in 6 weeks, which seems like a lightning improvement on years spent in trenches in WW1, they repeated old tricks with new toys with far greater success.

          We have seriously strayed from the general point that the Iranians are using the Syrian conflict as a proxy war. If the chinese are drawn into the middle eastern conflict they can supply the Muslim Brotherhood with everything they need to impose sharia law on the egyptian people. Once the Chinese have any puppet government, (it doesn’t have to be egypt or the Muslim brotherhood) dependent on weapons and training they can extend their influence throughout the region. They can do this without directly challenging America or Isreal.

          • bonbon

            You have seriously strayed from the truth. France was overrun because the door was opened wide by the Vichy crowd – they were invited in!

            Do not stray from Mr. Blair’s Doctrine which is going on now. Syrian, Libya, Iran are proxies for an attack on Russia, and Obama’s use of Al Qaeda gives the game away. Russia is fully aware of this unbroken British game-plan. Churchill planned to take the defeated Wehrmacht to attack the Soviets because Hitler failed! Straying from this leads to Mr. Blair.

          • Joe R

            Blitzkreig means lightening war. It was quick. They didn’t repeat ‘old tricks’. Just because they are German? what kind of stupidity is this?

            You still don’t get this do you? throwing comments about ‘carpet bombing’ in Asturias about like it means something here. But I’m glad you decided to check out that wikipedia page on the Spanish Civil war – it is a start. You might want to include a link though – seems only fair to the rest of us!

            To deal with your ignorance ‘Carpet bombing’ is where a lot of ( say up to a 1000) heavy bombers get into a dense formation and release their HE and / or incendiary bombs over a single relatively small target area, such as a city, and blow as much of the square of land to pieces as they can or burn it down. No specific target is aimed for. The Americans and British perfected this particular form of murder. Toyko, I think Dresden, too, and many other cities in Germany and Japan suffered deaths of up to 100,000 individuals over 1-2 days only in such horrible raids.

            It had nothing got to do with ‘blitzkreig’ though. Not employed in army vs army warfare. It stems from a different independent but very murderous STRATEGIC decision in war time ( i.e. its not a TACTICAL decision). That decision is to destroy an enemy’s population, productive capacity and moral with non discriminating violence. Combatant and civilian are both fair game here. It was impossible to realise effectively until bombers got bigger in general and lots of them had been built i.e. towards the end of WW2.

            Germans never got to do it to quite the same level as the American and British, nor were they the first to bomb purposely a civilian population in WW2 — that was the British. Both the Americans and the British weren’t in Spain but were really good at carpet bombing ( oh ‘Carpet bombing’ to Spain link destroyed ).

            I refer you back to Guderian’s quote above. Heinz Guderian commented on this myth of the development of blitzkreig in Spain he said the tank deployment was “on too small a scale to allow accurate assessments to be made.”

            I don’t think you know you Guderian is, he was the driving brains behind German tank tactics in WW2. All tank warfare since has been based on this.

            Guderian was developing those tactics back from 1929 onwards. The Germans rebuilt and organised their army WITH those tactics in mind in the 1930s with ARMOURED divisions. Guderian was man behind it intellectually. Hitler jumped on board with it. They tested FIRST it in Poland and tweaked from there.

            Spain was irrelevant to this. Can you give up on this please now?

            If you want to link the period 1933-42 in Germany to Israel from 1948-the present day, and back to Ireland today – there is one interesting observation that could be made.

            But I can’t be bothered making it owing to this stupidity. As you are only interested in arguing, posturing and attempting to save face when exposed.

          • nostramartus

            Most rational people would accept the relevance of Mcwilliams arguement that Iran’s involvement in Syria could be compared to the Proxy war fought by the germans in Spain, you don’t deny the fascists in spain were supported by the nazi’s with training and armaments. The tactics and armaments used there(anti-tank guns mounted on armoured cars)as well as the failures of the slow campaign taught them they needed tank variants( already in production), that’s the third time the same point, I never argued with you about Blitzkrieg or any of Guderian’s comments, I don’t know why you seem to think they are relevant to Mcwilliams point.
            I think santa should bring you a stress ball for christmas, Mcwilliams point is still valid regardless of all your pasting from wikipedia.
            Your original comment claimed ignorance of anything other than German involement in Guernica, I explained some of the parallels mcwilliams might be drawing.
            Everything else you’ve submitted is irrelevant to the quotation you question Mcwilliams on obviously for your own needs to support your opinion. I disagree with your opinion that there are no parallels, as I’ve explained ,but wish you a Merry Christmas, to Bonbon I made the point about Vichy involvement, puppet governments are a strategy.

    • bonbon

      See a reply to a question from Russia on the danger for a shattering update. We are way past WWII “tactics”, this is a thermonuclear world now. All the talk of previous proxies are like the terrified soldiers in the shell craters seeking “safety”.
      Churchill’s Operation Unthinkable to attack the Soviets with the defeated Wehrmacht because Hitler had failed lets the cat out of the bag. This geopolitic is still British imperial policy. Obama’s command of the Ohio-class Fleet, just for example, is well known – basic munition 470 KILOTONS.

      Never hide in past battles, it guarantees defeat.

  11. Deco

    I am afraid that the Irish government will probably make a mess of everything. As shown under Bertie Ahern, Ireland holding the EU presidency usually indicates the Irish authorities running around as fast as they can to gain approval from the bigger guns – who later forget about it very quickly indeed.

    In other words, I expect a grovel-fest by Irish government ministers.

    Our best negotiating tactic would be to have two (or possibly three) politcal movements who don’t buy the Euro sell anymore gaining in the polls while all of this grovelling is going on.

    It would indicate clearly that a weak oebedient government is no longer representative of the people’s wishes. This would cause embarrassment, and would get attention very seriously to the issue of bank bondholder debt. And that really is the issue that needs to be resolved.

    Apart from that Ireland needs to scale back involvement in the EU, because it is no longer working in our interest. And the scaling up of EU centralization is clearly no longer working in the interests of the people of the member states.

    None of the current government ministers have ever properly and openly discussed the EU project, and it’s failings. As shown in the FCT debate, they instead prefer to rely on a combination of patronizing the people, and scaring them. There is no rational, transparent debate.

    The Irish EU Presidency will turn out to be an opportunity for Merkel, Barrosso to go for a power grab, with assistance from an obedient facilitator.

    • Julia

      Deco, I think you are right about our government making a mess of everything. It will be six months of fauning and grovelling. And on the Opposition benches we have a motley crew of small parties and a confused technical group who agree on very little. So no pressure there then.

      As for government embarrassment, they are unembarrassable. As long as Angela in kissing Enda and patting him on the head he’ll be kissing her on the behind. Reminds me of Uriah Heap.

    • Dorothy Jones

      ‘grovel-fest’…like as they say +1

  12. Lord Jimbo

    Think the historical interpretation of the origins of WWI is off.

    Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German High Command had been itching for a fight for years, it was a highly militaristic regime in Germany who sought expansion through military conquest, as in 1939, their military was the best in the world. The Germans felt confined and had largely lost out on the imperial stage, holding some minor possessions in Africa and a few islands in the Pacific but the Kaiser longed for ‘his place in the sun’.

    The situation in Sarajevo was merely a pretext (apparently the Austrian Chief of Staff General Hotzendorf had asked for a ‘surprise’ war to destroy Serbia more than 25 times in the eight years after 1906), the Austrians presented completely unacceptable proposals which the Serbians actually entertained to the surprise of all, but eventually they ran out of road and the Austrians bombed Belgrade, no doubt egged-on by the German military elite.

    Russia mobilised but the mistake it made was it went for a general mobilisation, not a limited one, which gave the Germans another reason for acting. Russia mobilised on July 31, the Germans on August 1st. With the Germans marching on France as part of the Schlieffen plan, France declared war on August 4th, which brought the British into play on the same day because of the Entente Cordiale.

    What is certainly true is that all sides got more than they bargained for. Worth checking out A. J. P. Taylor’s War by Time-Table: How The First World War Began (1969) and Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August (1962).

    • Lord Jimbo

      “For the past 200 years, any settlement in the Middle East was in effect a European settlement, whether it was Napoleon in Egypt or Sykes and Picot, for England and France”

      The above is open to the accusation of being a very Euro-centric viewpoint, which was probably not your intention, however care is needed with the language deployed, these were not ‘settlements’, the Sykes-Picot Agreement in particular was a spectacular betrayal of the right to self-determination, something President Wilson enshrined in his 14 points when he showed up for the disastrous Treaty of Versailles negotiations in 1919. The French-British pact, nicely portrayed in David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ carved up the region after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and arguably set the seeds for many of the conflicts we see today. Syria was a former French colony, Palestine was a ‘British protectorate’, they also got large areas of what is today Iraq, Egypt had the French for a very brief period (Napoleon left his army behind who eventually surrendered to the British and were bizarrely shipped back to France on British ships!) eventually coming under British influence in the 19th century.

      In more recent times, the Americans tried to bludgeon the Middle East into submission (will take its place along with all the other efforts), while Brussels which did little to encourage Turkish membership of the EU, look on as the Turks and Iranians (British and Americans overthrew the democractically elected Iranian government in 1953) once again emerge as the major players in the region leaving one feeling that history has a habit of repeating itself in some ways at least.

      • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

        Wilson’s ear was bent by the Zionists and the British Balfour Declaration was particularly odious. Good luck to anyone who stands up against to current US and British imperialist policies.

      • bonbon

        Sykes-Picot is the origin of the entire South West Asia cauldron. Two imperial powers, Britain (the first to use chemical weapons in Sinai) and France.

        Mr. Blair is doubly cashing in on this with Hague his spokespiece now recycling the Iraq lies all over again.

        This is Empire in action.

      • bonbon

        History does not “repeat itself”, rather oligarchical policies since millenia remain in place. Troy as Home warned was an oligarchical war. Mackinder’s geopolitics are an oligarchical war recipe. Empire , simple as that.

  13. Philip

    David, you are making a fundamental error in believing these guys are bothered about the country. Understand that their interests are in being re-elected. No more.

    Now how do you get re-elected/Stay in Power? Merely understand who can cause you most bother – 1) On the ground medical card holders and people who need a street light fixed etc. and 2)Bankers/ Developers/ Public service sectors who all work together to maintain a status quo so you do not get fired while in Office.

    Any opportunity that may help the people of Ireland will be accidentally aligned with their own interests.

    On the matter of the upcoming hassle in the Middle East and likely conflagration basically means all bets are off. Anything could happen and the opportunity for Ireland may be look beyond Europe. If we do not watch ourselves, we may find ourselves not just being debt slaves, but slaves to supplying food for others with Paddy not having a crumb off the table. All I see if another opportunity to pull in some mega operation to corporatise a large amount of our resources for the benefit of the USUAL FEW while the rest can take a hike and emigrate.

    • Adam Byrne

      Well said Philip. These guys don’t give a toss about anyone but themselves. Kenny is an embarrassment and I’d slap the head off him if I got a chance. Buffoon.

  14. Excellent article David.

    Things change very quickly. It seems not so long ago when you were in Germany describing thousands of trucks on the Autobahns whisking goods to the ports and airports. At the time you were amazed at Germany’s manufacturing power but look at the change in a only a couple of years!

    I’m pleased you talked about the current geo political situation and pleased that you acknowledge the disturbing relationship between the US and Israel

    Israel is povery ridden and so poor it could not survive without US aid and the US needs allies in the middle east but these two bed fellows will have a major falling out one day and when they do it will be spectacular

    The game is laid out such that there is a massive fault line divided east and west. Both sides want the oil. It’s all about oil and always was

  15. Pat Flannery

    Hi David:

    Your article gave me an idea:

    We are all looking for “a deal” but nobody is coming up with a practical suggestion of what that deal might look like other than extending the term of the loan which is no deal at all.

    I think we need to think of something that Europe and particularly the Germans could give us as compensation for being the good soldier of Europe and for taking one for the team as practically everybody in Europe and America now recognize is what we are doing in this Euro/banking crisis.

    Is there some type of GERMAN MADE capital equipment worth 3.1 billion Euros that Ireland could accept as a quid pro quo for making the Promissory Note payment in March and would act as a stimulus package in Germany also?

    I had suggested roads earlier but now wonder if there is some capital stuff that Germany would love to sell to us, like locomotives maybe or fiber optic cable i.e. something that would benefit both countries. The idea is that if our “deal” would provide German or French jobs it would go a long way in getting it accepted politically in both Germany and France.

    I know what I personally would like to see German and French money spent on in Ireland: changing us over to European electricity and driving on the right side of the road.

    That would make us real Europeans not half in and half out like the Brits. Such “deal” would be a win-win for both Europe and Ireland. The benfits would make our obsession with this central bank Promissory Note nonsense look pale by comparison.

    Just thinking out loud.

  16. george

    David according to Paulo Coelho “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.”
    As people from Argentina, and Iceland, made their trade mark, by protesting with a saucepan in one hand, and a wooden spoon in the other. By going out on the streets of Dublin with our kids, we could be able to get across our message to our Government first, and if it gives no results and the citizens are not listened; we should do the same when the high rank political delegation from the EU,come to town.
    After all even to their own surprise, they’ll be able to rediscover they have a sensible heart, and even to our own surprise, we could learn to trust and to have faith in them again.

    • Grey Fox

      George, I admire sincerely your faith in human kindness but do not share your aspirational optimisism, there are no sensible hearts in Europe, we would have seen some minute hint of their existence previously. I am total disgusted with our current and previous governments, how they could forget so quickly the sacrifices made by our founding fathers less than a century ago, how they expect any Irish person of sound mind to accept the decisions being foisted upon us, like cutting the respite carers grant under the guise of protecting the carers allowance is just sick! we pay them wheelbarrow loads of money to cobble together stupid, idiotic, twisted decisions that affect the most venerable in society (regardless of how they became the most venerable) and twist/spin a myriad of lies and deceptions, while we still have Irish people who will support them because their father did and his father did before him. Pat Rabbite was a thundering disgrace on RTE last night, “Rabbit in the Headlights” more like! his true colour’s started to emerge as will all the rest over the next 6 months, we will be nauseous constantly, watching our public trustee’s grovel for the proverbial pat on the head, but hopefully more and more Irish people will wake up, get up and do something about it!

      • george

        Grey Fox, I was picturing in my mind several massive marches of all sorts of adults, accompanied by their little children, some of them in buggies, even with their pets, with placards like it:
        “My family deserves debt forgives”, or “We were fouled by the Politicians and the Banks”, or “My little brothers and sisters don’t deserve to be evicted from our family home”, or “Why we have to pay for all, and the Banks for nothing”, or “This is fraud, first we paid stamp duty, and now we’ll have to pay Property Tax”.
        I’m sure there are better ways of expressing the above.
        The people of Argentina and Iceland were very creative, and improved their situation by their protest movements . We would be stamping our mark worldwide in a time when the people of the rest of Europe, and the World at large, will be watching us. And when everybody is looking for imaginative ways, of liberating themselves from the totalitarian might of the Banks.
        If we really apply ourselves to it, the TV pictures will start to go around the World, and who knows what can happen? Please talk to your guys in DD about it, and give it a good thought. We have to do something and use the power of the media, to tell the truth of what we are going through. If not everybody around the world, is going to believe our Government, when they say that we are “turning the corner”, when we all know around it, there is only hell!
        Are we ready to show the World we are imaginative and courageous? Are we ready to prove ourselves, that we are as good and rebellious against injustices, as we really think we are? Or are we going to be complaisant and do nothing about it, and will be content to wait for the next time Obama comes, so he can tell us, “Yes you can”, and we’ll be clapping and screaming hysterically!
        The most important Gathering we have to face as a Society these days, is to amalgamate the people of this Island (not from far ashore) behind a peaceful and apolitical protest movement, where every member of the family will participate. Or as David says: Are we going to have to accept that “we the People are the ones that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity”?

        • george

          Grey Fox we could baptise the movement as “CHILDREN IN DEBT”.
          Can you imagine the worldwide impact of it?

          • george

            sorry “baptize”

          • Grey Fox

            I see exactly where you are coming from and I will discuss this with my friends, although I am not optimistic about the power of marching, it does get news but has absolutely no effect on our politicians and news is old as soon as it is printed, we need real, honest political change in Ireland and change derived from the people not change foisted upon us by any political entity, that is why I am so supportive of Direct Democracy, let the people make the decisions which they will then live by of change, let the people say who they want to be represented by and fire them if they are not doing the job, THE PEOPLE WILL NOT SCREW THEMSELVES!

          • bonbon

            “The people” have done really stupid things to themselves. Faith must be in thinking people, ideas. Passions at the seat of judgement, and not the mind, leads to Jacobins, guillotines. Remember the Committee of 10 in Paris practiced “direct democracy”. France still has not recovered from that self decapitation.

            Elected must serve the General Welfare, and the people need to be able to see how this is subverted by some very clever movements about. In other words throwing politicians into the fray and firing them for failure, without every trying to understand what is going on, is pure Sans Coulottes, a crusade against reason.

  17. transitionman

    The link to USA Military Aid Chart shows how insane this world is.
    I have come to the conclusion that unless” people” in Ireland sit down and come up with a Plan B we will be pulled along a swift current of geopolitical chaos.
    David Mc Williams is correct to put this out for discussion. The headline and the possible deal are not what matter. ex-Pat northerner spared me finding links to cover the BS on shale by USA.
    David states the players and the sides in Syria.
    There is an ongoing resource grab on Iraq Libya Iran .Proxy conflicts in Africa.
    China and India are squaring up in S. China Sea.
    Russia and China are no longer trading in petrodollars.
    Understand we are not in an economic cycle there is a direct relationship with oil and GDP.
    Economic growth is over and the banking system based on growth goes down. The data is flat lined. No growth and no oil below $100br. The debts that cant be paid wont be paid. Germany cant foot the bill for Europe.
    Throw in Climate change Arctic ice, methane release, feedback systems and you have a mega problems with food first on list.
    I used to think all this blindingly obvious to everyone . Its not and its ugly.
    This little island has only 5 million on it. Imagine the worst case scenarios that could unfold over the next six months. I think we should be thinking about more than a deal on debt that is not ours to begin with.
    Now politicians as defined will not look to Plan B it took 4 yrs to say “We cant pay” we got two month or less.
    I am with Deco I think we should be prepared to stand in isolation from Europe.
    No I am not concerned about Bailouts. return to Markets. FDI and CAP because if this goes off they vanish.
    As David says
    All the while, countries are lining up in accordance with their interests.
    Time for us to to line up with interest of people of Ireland.

    • transitionman

      I will let Max mention the word I left out
      The Mother of All Collapses

    • Agreed, there is a larger background picture that many seem to have been convinced to ignore.

      Rather than standing in isolation, we actually could be instigating change. All the things you mention could be regarded as threats, but there is also opportunity there. Thats worth thinking about too.

  18. bonbon

    There seem to be some illusions here that need swift banishment. It’s all about going after Russia, and that means thermonuclear war. Mr. Blair’s Doctrine.

    Lavrov: Russia Won’t Allow a Repeat of Libyan Scenario

    Dec. 9 (LPAC)—Russia will not allow the Libyan scenario to be repeated in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported. “We’ll not allow the Libyan experience to be reproduced in Syria. Unfortunately, our Western partners have departed from the Geneva accords and are seeking the departure of [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad,” Lavrov said, while adding that Russia was not clinging to any individual leaders in Syria.

    U.K.’s Hague Plays ‘Tony Blair’ in Syrian Re-Run of Wars Past

    9 Dec, In a baldfaced re-run of Tony Blair’s “sexed-up” dossier lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters today that he and the Obama Administration have seen proof that the Syrian regime is assembling chemical and biological weapons.

  19. bonbon

    Remember that the Taliban were financed via the BCCI by the CIA, MI6, and Mossad to go after the Soviets back then? Well, well here we go again. Obama it using Al Qaeda, a re-run, in Syria.

    A Preliminary Fact Sheet: Obama in Bed with Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria

    While traveling across the country and around the globe, claiming credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama has forged a deep alliance with al-Qaeda and allied neo-Salafist organizations to overthrow the governments of Libya and Syria.

  20. Clare Leonard

    We have approx. 420 million people living in a political and economic system no one voted for.
    We have 80% of our laws coming from a body no one voted for.
    27 Countries have accepted a system that makes Zimbabwe and China look very democratic.
    Ireland joined a common market, not a dictatorship.
    We have allowed our democracy to be hijacked by the bankers.
    No doubt our government will raise a glass of the finest champagne to toast this undemocratic body
    when they take over the presidency in January.
    Let us not forget the government cut,

    Household benefit program by 84 million
    Child benefit by 136 million
    Respite care by 25 million
    Total 245,000,000

    Our wonderful government paid Bank of Ireland
    204,408.000 million interest for just one year on the 3.01 billion promissory note the bank purchased @ 6.8%.
    By the way, that promissory note is now a soverign debt.
    Just another day at the office for the EU and the Irish government.
    Champagne anyone?
    Justice and Democracy RIP.

    • paddythepig

      Bank of Ireland will make circa 39 million from the promissory note bond.

    • Deco

      It is a “mixed-superstate”.

      The gambler-corporatists get their goals. The Champagne-Marxists get their agenda.

      And the choice you are presented is A or B. You end up with A and B. Regardless of what you choose. And both A and B will lead us to bankruptcy. Switching between left and right, makes no difference, because they are both operating to flawed, destructive agendas of self aggrandizement, and stupidity.

      The biggest problem with Brussels is the lobbying. The second biggest problem is that the media is largely silent concerning the lobbying. Just look at coverage of the Bank Bondholder issue. Many of them are household names. And the English media are able to state clearly who the bondholders are. And the Irish media seem to have purchased silence.

      • Deco

        The greatest delusion of all is that gambler-corporatists and champagne-marxists oppose each other.

        They don’t. They have one real ideology – self aggrandisement. One policy – opportunism. Far more in comon than you would think.

        The spoiled brat revolution made sure that the working people got sold out by the left.

        The Monetarist revolution made sure that the middle class got shafted by the right.

  21. MidasMoney

    You can’t surely really believe that Israel is in the pocket of the US? How is it then then that the fascist prime minister of Israel can garner 29 standing ovations before a joint session of the US government, right after he had shown naked scorn and contempt for Obomber on national TV? Compare these two videos on you tube, one of Netanyahu addressing a joint session of Congress, and one of Stalin addressing making a speech Autumn 1944;

    See what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Reagans Under Secretary to the Treasury and arch paleoconservative has to say on this topic;

    As was said about the the invasion of Iraq, originally called Operation Iraqi Liberation, or OIL for short, aka OIL, ISRAEL, LOGISTICS,, it has nothing to do with human rights. Tell that to the protesters at the home of the US fifth fleet.

    No, this is all about securing the realm, as the neocons termed it. See below article;

    As to our own little dear old emerald isle, we have a bunch of failed primary school teachers who couldn’t make it in education, and went for the soft touch of politics. Not one of them has the bottle to use our very weakness as a negotiating tactic. They didn’t even pretend to negotiate, just folded at the first fence. Traitors.Once upon a time the European Community was a noble ideal, but it has long since become the plaything of the banking elites, the neoliberals and the oligarchic puppetmasters. We know in this country that it is inherently and fundamentally undemocratic, having twice to vote again to get the right answer, never mind Noonan telling us that he thinks we’re going to end up in a federal Europe. Just an idea off the top of his head mind you, something like rain falling, nature, so there’s really nothing to be done about it, not even have a debate.

    But we above all, as a people, have to take the blame for our current situation. We have sat on our complacent and lazy and feckless asses and allowed all of this to happen. We just whinge in places like this, in the pubs and workplaces and the streets, but don’t for a moment think about doing anything that might actually put the fear of God into our noble public servants, like reminding them forcefully that they work for us, not banksters.

  22. Joe R

    How about an Argentine style cacerolazo in front of the RDS by in particular the mammies of Ireland…would that get the old boys attention?.

    (I reckon Greek style demos aren’t an option and it is very hard to argue with peeved mammies).

  23. Clare Leonard

    Sorry to spoil your day.
    Compounded the debt costs us in the region
    of 3 billion. Yes, 3 billion in 10 years.
    At the end of 10 years, ONE promissory note,
    (Oh sorry, I forgot they switched it to a
    sovereign debt.) We will owe approx 6 billion,

    I say compounded as we do not have the money to
    pay the interest from year to year. This is just ONE
    promissory note.
    Direct Democracy Ireland regard this type of bond transaction as part of the original odious debt.
    Bank of Ireland please take note.
    The actions of the ECB and the Irish Central bank could well be considered in law ‘crimes of aggression’against the people of Ireland.
    DDI believe the bailout is an odious debt under international law.
    The ECB and their central banks are nothing more than
    a banking cartel.
    A cartel has only one purpose, that is to enhance and promote the interests of the cartel.
    When you understand this, you will understand you cannot be the beneficiary of their policies.
    Change the system, vote for yourself, bring in Direct Democracy, PLEASE, do not leave this to your children
    to sort out.

  24. Clare Leonard

    Happy Christmas to my dear friends,fellow warriors,blogers and to David and his family.

  25. Opportunity? Gimmi a break….

    Structural changes of totalitarian charcater are the driving force within the Halls of European powers. The Nobel Peace Prize, this time a European “Kasper theater” made me laugh out loud.

    Half a century after the Rome treaty, leadership in the EU is dispersed!

    The European Council President, the Presidents of the Commission, or the downgraded rotating presidency, none of them ever provided the EU with coherent policies or support of the public.

    Germany is the center of attention, not the convoluted EU institutions, deriving their legitimacy from diluted “political authority” and being the center of lobbyism and vested interest groups instead of a truthful representation of public interest comprising some 500 million citizens.

  26. Opportunity? Gimmi a break….

    Structural changes of totalitarian charcater are the driving force within the Halls of European powers. The Nobel Peace Prize, this time a European “Kasper theater” made me laugh out loud.

    Half a century after the Rome treaty, leadership in the EU is dispersed!

    The European Council President, the Presidents of the Commission, or the downgraded rotating presidency, none of them ever provided the EU with coherent policies or support of the public.

    Germany is the center of attention, not the convoluted EU institutions, deriving their legitimacy from diluted “political authority” and being the center of lobbyism and vested interest groups instead of a truthful representation of public interest comprising some 500 million citizens.

  27. This purpose of this article should be to ask ‘ what will they be doing in Dublin’.

    The Elephant in the room has not been addressed.

    We in our Constitution are referred to as ‘ The State’ . That only means to you and I that we have freedom and opportunities ……..Full Stop. No More .

    In France they have ‘ l’Etat’ . That means the French have freedom and opportunities ………….but thats not all . Their Constitution embraces much more of their fabric of their society as a caring and a body of law that makes them feel proud to be French always . Their concept of Etat began long before the Republic and was written down only afterwards.

    So why do I mention the above . The French have a very powerful Central Government with a President that exercises Absolutism .Their politics follow the philosophers of Enlightenment who believe in the perfectibility of mankind . In practical terms they believe men were not born citizens but became them ; men needed to be moulded to get that way .Their thinking was for a strong Etat that would create citizens . The Jacobins were the originators of their Etat that we now have today .

    So. What is happening in Dublin is the extension of the Etat into Irish Politics and to mould the Irish Politicians from a Dail of Dipities to a Chamber of Deputies .

    What concerns me is that all this change will be written from an EU Law only without a corresponding separate Irish Law to support this development independently .We need to preserve our separate identity parallel to the EU body of law. Otherwise we continue to be Puppets and an Indigenous Tribe in our own land.

    It is interesting to note why at this time the UK is moving away from this ‘political embracement’.

    • bonbon

      A very bizarre version of France’s development. The Fifth Republic, declared because of the Algiers Crisis, a colonial hangover, has no real Irish equivalent. No mention of thFirst National Assembly by Bailly, Lafayette, the American Revolution, the training of Robespierre in London. These have Irish equivalents, 1798, the United Irishmen, and various attempted Jacobin movements (Young Ireland – Mazzini’s movement). The centalized Paris structure is from Napoleon, the result of the Terror.
      Hollande exercises on behalf of his banks so far.>A Meeting Between Jacques Cheminade and François Hollande took place where Glass-Steagall was discussed as well as reforming the political system.

  28. Chill everyone. Everything will be just fine. Take all those EU leaders to the Olympic Theatre for a few nights of Prodijig and they’ll be so pumped they’ll surely cancel the more odious aspects of the debt noose.

    Was absolutely blown away by Prodijig on BBC Breakfast Time. If Psy used Gangnam to put South Korea ‘on the map’ for a hell of a lot more than kimchee and dog meat, then with Prodijig, it’s time for Ireland’s ‘next episode’.

    It was 94/95, World Cup NYC, Fr Ted and Riverdance, my young boy was just born, I dreamed of moving from East London to Ireland but that didn’t pan out. Probably good I stayed here and moved to Brum.

    Like Colin Dunne, I too came from Small Heath ‘the Kilburn of Birmingham’. As much as I miss the mayhem of the Emerald and 10,000 folk at mass in the Tara/English Martyrs matrix of Sparkbrook: i really hope Ireland doesn’t implode any further, such that those boats to Hollyhead are heaving like they were for mom and dad.

    Had a great laugh here on this site over the years, but probably wont’ be able to have fun culture jamming you folk too much from now as as it’s time for me to take all my stuff to a world stage to a world stage with ‘An Irish Childhood in Birmingham’. Assuming my devastating ‘invisible illness’ is finally vanquished.

    Economics is subset of the wider socio-political

    “What is happening in Dublin is the extension of the Etat into Irish Politics and to mould the Irish Politicians from a Dail of Dipities to a Chamber of Deputies.”

    The 30 year scam of the Chicago boys is unravelling. The psuedo-Keynesian’s didn’t save a cent/penny during the Boom and the QE wizardry’s just about out of sparkle. We’ve done all this to exhaustion here. So, interesting times, etc.

    As the flag catastrophe unfurls on the streets of Belfast, there’s still no sign of Justice4the21.

    I don’t get the death threats these days but I’m sure there’s someone in Stormont who’s very nervous about me and my secret life coming into the spotlight. I hope we don’t have to go through that loop of violence all over again.

    To be born in Birmingham was a blessing, even amidst the bombsites of the Luftwaffe. To also have been born into the 5th Province was a miracle.

    There are vast cultural synergies that Irish culture can now draw upon to reimagine itself beyond the tourist tropes of The Gathering. Yesterday, I booked tickets to watch Alan Kennefick all over these Isles of Wonder, from Dunfermline to Cardiff, from Birmingham to Newcastle. Today I’m booking for the Dublin debut premieres in April. With Diversity and Prodijig, everything’s now set for the mash-up Eng-Eire-land cultural [r]evolution I’ve always envisioned.

    I’d like to thank all here for helping my thinking develop over the years, and apologies for sometimes pushing the Brit-Bowler-Hat MI5/6 stuff to breaking point. Like everything else: ‘i did it 4 teh lulz’. lol, etc.

    This is mainly a Boomer hang-out as far as I can guess, it’s time to hand on the torch to da yoof, to see what they can do with all this, mashing up Kanye and dub-step with Enya, it shows that through cultural remix, reinvention is possible. In economics and politics as much as in art. But Art always leads. I’ll be in Ireland in the spring, so hope to meet up with one or two of you who aren’t scared enough to meet me face to face. lol!

    David, the punk cartoon on world food is really natty, dude. Now, if Google can just be ‘persuaded’ to volunteer some tax like Starfcuks here in Blighty. Ouch!…………….

  29. bonbon

    A relevant timely idea :

    Greek Opposition Leader Tsipras Calls for 1953 German Style Debt Conference in an interview with Britain’s {Guardian} to settle the debt of all the southern European countries. Referring to the latest memorandum of austerity policies demanded by the Troika–the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank–Tsipras told the {Guardian}, “It is quite clear that the latest agreement was a compromise that will only perpetuate the uncertainty…. Merkel has to say to her people before [the 2013 German] elections that the program is not working.
    “The only viable solution is a haircut not only for Greece, but the entire southern periphery…That is why we are proposing a conference along the lines of the one that took place in London in 1953, which relieved Germany of around 60% of its debt. We want to agree with our lenders on a credible solution. It doesn’t matter where it takes place but it should happen as soon as possible.”
    If Greece’s shattered economy was ever to recover, Tsipras said it was crucial that it, too, was also given “a growth clause” that would likewise tie the repayment of Athens’ debt load to its ability to pay.
    “‘We are also asking for time, a moratorium, of servicing the debt so that we can redirect that money to growth,’ he said, adding that the suspended interest payments, projected to amount to about EU13 billion every year, would be used to kick-start the moribund Greek economy. ‘It would be a win-win solution.’
    “‘There are two pillars to Europe’s economic problem, the first being the debt which has to be made viable and the second being austerity which has to finish. If we continue with such measures, it is like putting oil on the fire,’ he said.
    “‘When the crisis began in 2009 our debt stood at 120% of our GDP. This year it is projected officially to be 175.6%. And now they [the Troika] say that to make the debt viable we must hit 124% of GDP by 2020,’ he said, shaking his head in disbelief
    “‘Let’s suppose they are right–but how do they want to get there? After 12 years of catastrophic austerity and measures totalling EU19 billion Greece will have become a no-man’s land.’”

    Now that is on Enda’s EU Presidency Good Room table for consideration. Greece is not alone!

  30. bonbon

    It took a little while, but DMcW cannot avoid the threat of war on the horizon. While the EU gets a Nobel Prize for “Peace in Our Time” :

    NATO Patriot Missile Deployments in Turkey, On Timetable for Parliamentary Votes This Week in the Netherlands and Germany

    Dec. 10 (EIRNS)–The war-pushing drive to install Patriot missiles in Turkey, is on a countdown for parliamentary votes in the Netherlands and Germany this week. The plan was approved on Dec. 4 by NATO, at which time, representatives of these two countries and the United States agreed to provide the Patriot batteries for positioning at the border in Turkey. The details are to be determined; the mandate runs through 2014.

    • Grey Fox

      In response to your reply above, “The people have done really stupid things to themselves”.
      When in recent history have Irish People had any say other than elections?
      When in recent times have the people had a credible alternative to the yellow pack parties?
      When in recent times have the people been present with the opportunity for true Democracy?
      There is no point beating up the people for not doing the right thing if their hands are tied behind their backs with opportunity to do the right thing.
      The point I was making is, that we are a smart, educated nation of people and given the chance I believe you would be surprised at what the people are capable of for the benefit of Ireland. That certainly does not sit well with the incumbents in Government either here or in Europe, or the Banks, but is further reason to support a service like Direct Democracy.
      If Government say it is right, it is probably wrong and vice versa.

      • bonbon

        “Comfortable alternative” I believe you mean, as in “credibility=comfort”. Tigers chose comfort over and over again, succumbed to threats.

        Ireland has a deep republican history, in fact republicanism defines Ireland. We have had 800 years of occupation, and to call the Troika anything other than Viceroys is a bit tigerish.

        People with no known history are easily manipulated, or at least some may think so. “Smart educated” Tigers were very hip indeed.

        Some very serious thinking needs to go on, a frank look at how Ireland fell into this trap. And then you discover what smart is all about.

        • Grey Fox

          How about some foresight
          and less of the hindsight

          • bonbon

            As the end of the oligarchical system approaches, foresight then is realizing what has been held up for ages. All improvements in civilization are from the insight that the future actually determines the present, as Percy Shelley’s In Defense of Poetry – Gigantic Shadows of Futurity. Something only poets can express, which is why politics and economics need classical art to even act upon the present. I think what repels most is the utter vacuum that politicians and economists display on this crucial truth. Democracy devoid of this leads to tyranny of opinion.

          • bonbon

            Va’ Pensiero Fly, thought, on wings of gold…
            From Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.

  31. bonbon

    In case anyone still touts illusions of what this is all about :

    Russia reiterates : no violation of Syrian sovereignty

    Dec. 10 (LPAC)–Despite new insistence by Western politicians like British Foreign Minister Hague, that Russia has begun to shift toward the Western position on Syria, the Russian leadership is holding firm. In addition to the statements of Dec. 9, in which Foreign Minister Lavrov repeated that the Libyan scenario would not be allowed to recur in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry today put out a statement in the wake of a Dec. 9 meeting between UN and Arab League joint special envoy to Syria Lakdhar Brahimi, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
    “The Russian decision to take part in the meeting was made on the basis of our deep concern with further aggravation of the situation in Syria,” the ministry statement said, according to Xinhua. “Common understanding was shown that there is an urgency to stop further militarization of the conflict and to put it on to a political track.”
    “Fundamental decisions on reforming Syria’s political system as a soveriegn, intergrated, independent state should be made by Syrians themselves with no outside involvement and no attempts to introduce ready-made recipes to the country’s social political development.”

  32. bonbon

    Leading U.S. Mideast expert Hillary Mann Leverett, with 20 years experience, who served in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, blasts chemical weapons wild British hoax in a half-hour panel discussion on al-Jazeera Dec. 8. After casting doubt on the reality of the charge, she offered three potential reasons why the Administration would be putting out such lying claims.
    First, they might be trying to get leverage over Russia, China, and Iran, who are resisting the regime change agenda. With this charge, which she repeated, she took the question into the broader strategic realm–although not identifying the British imperial global gameplan.
    Second, they might be trying to create a pretext for military action.
    Three, they might be trying to scare Assad into surrender.
    While refusing to give credence to the phony chemical weapons story, Leverett also compared it to the 2003 (Blair) hoax which provided a trigger for the Iraq war, noting that it was a “convenient lowest common denominator” to get forces from various factions to decide to act.
    Leverett also discussed the “serious consequences” of U.S. policy of arming the jihadists, noting the pattern of blowback from Afghanistan to Libya–a pattern which is bound to continue if this policy does not stop.

    • First thing to realise is you are not alone HAL. We are out in far space above the great blue yonder on a four day rotating jaunt and hear your plea

      You are becoming faint friend because 2013 – 1969 = shed loads of light years so things are not looking too bright for you I am afraid. Sure you know yourself how space expands!

      Taken in this context you need faith Irish brother. Faith in your brothers

      That is one hell of an ask right now wouldn’t you agree?

      You are deep in our thoughts and we will never forget your sweet ass but our motivation to save you will be based on your faith and whether you can convince the committee of your will to redeem yourself from sin and rejoin the game. Many think you are not ready but I made a case for you

      We will never rest while one of our own perishes and will leave the latch open for you should you want to return and undergoe a course of re-eduication and realignment. If you are prepared to put your mind right in other words. Otherwise it will be disgrace and discrimination in some west coast hick town

      Look out for the call signal : ‘Mayo one calling’. The John Eff Keneely (with a small K) equipped with world beating resources is at our disposal but we don’t have a clue how to operate them. The training budget has been stripped

      We come from a small fucked up village in Mayo but we sure as hell try our best despite not having an edication above primary level. There is nothing like the oul personal touch and vocab of of home to give a man faith in times of serious trouble. God bells thee!

      Did you hear about the Irish Godfather? They made him an offer he could not understand. Hor hor hor

      It was agreed among the ship mates that we should send you off with a good laugh. Paddy always likes a good laugh right?

      Let’s give him a laugh he will not forget in a hurry.

  33. ..a great opportunity for us .

    Are we talking about Musketeer Opportunities – all for one and one for all ?

    Or is it another reason for another Tribunal ?

    • Disaster Capitalism is where the real money is and some of these guys in the armour plated black cars make Sean Quinn look like a barrow boy. They will commandeer Dublin for 6 months with a staff including personal valets, body guards and pistol carrying secret service personnel. For all intents and purposes Dublin is now occupied territory

      It is a great opportunity if you are a hustler and know how to drum up business within in the system and tickle the right bottoms. See Schindler for an example of how to buck the system from the inside

      It is entrepreneurs rather than governments that create jobs and wealth so they tell us. This is a lie because we are now living in the real world and there are no entrepreneurs and no jobs. Only big talking dragons who are scraping the barrel playing a small numbers game for fun and dramatic effect on the idiot box

      There is so much cheap labour available but still the economy is nose diving, the poor get the blame and employers are whineing that wages are too high

      There is 70 Tn in off shore accounts and we are waiting for the day when these gods of the market decide to unleash an avalance of investment into Ireland and return us to the dizzy heights of the promised land

      Maybe by that time most people will accept €4 an hour. This is not far off the mark because today most people are walking around in a day dream and sleep walking into a coma. And this is the real purpose and main goal of Austerity!

      We have become as infantile as the Celts with their belief in the gods. Maybe it’s time we gave supernatural thought a back seat and got practical. God never did much for us as far as I can see

      In Ireland ‘entrepreneurship’ means cronies buying up a streets full of houses and renting them out. Rent collection is not productive and does not create jobs. There are no real entrepreneurs in Ireland because there is no ambition. Just pretend ones who buy and sell worthless things to each other

      American multi-nationals are here propping up the job figures, for the time being, while channeling massive profits through Switzerland and Luxembourg. It is a con and it makes Ireland look like a grubby tax haven. This is bad for business and needs changing fast

      The American middle class is being decimated because the public education system is being destroyed in favour of for profit charter schools. America is determined to turn out a nation of iliterates rather than a critically thinking society. The potential profits are massive for anyone looking for an investment opportunity

      Britain is a shit hole and all the apparatus is in place to keep them in their place and the Dutch are taking it to extremes with the idea of Scum Villages. It’s all unravelling at the speed of light and anyone who can’t see the danger is asleep

      Maybe one day soon someone will come on Dragon’s Den with a patented idea for keeping your soup warm while you sepnd the night freezing your arse off in a shipping container

      You have to laugh

      • Adam Byrne

        Good writing Paul, get started on a book.

      • Philip

        Best realistic summary to date of what is really going on.

        Was chatting to a buddy of mine in New Delhi. Guess what? With all the cost cutting in the west they have to become competitive, so there are wage freezes and zero overtime payments. So the barrel is being scraped and never being allowed to fill.

        I have anecdotal stories of this all over the place. The Asian economy man on the street is not being allowed to prosper. Sure why would it? …and let all that Western liberal and workers right rubbish come in and ruin the show.

        Best comment I have seen in a long time. Sets the scene perfectly.

      • paddythepig

        Is there anywhere you like? If you hate Ireland and the uk so much, why do you stay? Or would you miss having something to castigate too much?

    • Lithuania will preside over the EU Council between July and December 2013. What a great opportunity to secure our borders.

      Lithuania intends to focus on stronger guard of external borders.

      In 2010 the defense budget was E 1.34 bn.

      But let’s hear Mr. Shatter in March 2012:

      I am determined to further explore the role that Defence can play in restoring our economy.


      Oh, I see!


  34. bonbon

    HSBC Avoids All Prosecution, Supposedly To Prevent New Bank Panic

    Dec. 11, 2012 (LPAC) — The British empire’s drug bank Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), the biggest universal bank in Europe and the bank Lyndon LaRouche’s movement fought a sustained battle to keep out of the United States in the 1970s, has been allowed by the Obama Administration to keep its U.S. banking license, despite wholesale and serious violations of U.S. laws. HSBC was found by a Senate committee earlier this year to have been the favored money-laundering bank of the murderous Mexican drugs cartels, and the preferred correspondent bank of Saudi terrorist financiers.

    Noonan took two “advisors” from HSBC this summer. He was informed of the banks problems and denied any doubts as to their integrity.

  35. Philip

    The only way the EU presidency will do anything for this place is if the lads feel the pressure from “the people”. They wont. Here is an example of why.

    Was chatting to supplier who is owed 120K. She took the offending companies to court (all bigger than her operation) and she won. Now, you’d imagine – grand, you have the piece of paper with the judgement etc etc. But no. She is owing 11K to the solicitors and that needs paying immediately. Meanwhile, the companies who have the judgement against them can carry on with no impugning of reputation, credit worthiness etc etc etc. If you try looking for money, you wind up paying more to solicitors and the net result is zero.

    Now if you’re a bank and you owe 120K, you lose your house. Try telling the bank to go take a hike.

    A lot of it is down to the fact that targets are squeezed according to the ease of their pliability. That’s how you win cases quickly and make your money and show a plus balance at the end of the year. Chasing big guys is just too difficult and not goo for the profitability.

    So it is complete unmitigated nonsense to believe that our leaders have any care about the citizens in this state. Think of this another way…if my electorate can be screwed around with like the individual above and if my minders are the same solicitors and bankers, why should I bother fighting it. No percetage in that – as a certain CJH was wont to say.

    Now David, is this clear enough for you? This nonsense about making suggestions to a thoroughly and legally insulated temporary dictatorship needs to seen as plain silly. REMEMBER Enda Kenny says in one broadcast to the Nation – You Were Not to Blame. To Davos he said – We went on a Binge.

  36. paddythepig

    This is a must read if you want to understand anglo Irish bank, promissory notes etc. Superb analysis by Karl Whelan.

    • Philip

      I read it. Very very clear doc. Maybe I misinterpret. Basically ECB call the shots and do not give a toss. Ireland will be sacrificed as necessary to maintain stability. Meaning – Europe for Ireland is very bad news.

      • paddythepig

        One thing I do know from this document is that prior to the crash in 2008, the amount of deposits in Anglo was bigger than the amount of debt secuties i.e bondholders by a factor of 2.5 to 1. The shenanigans that have occurred since has seen those depositors, and the bondholders to a lesser degree, get their money back.

  37. Time Warp

    Had we not been educated as were our forebears in the past we might believe we have a great life NOW : better transport, quality food & clothes , better houses & utility services, better health and more opportunities etc

    We are now better educated , more critical , more expectations , more TV etc

    Does it make more sense to learn to ‘think positive’ and ‘adapt’ and smile to everyone and let them all know how lucky you really are ?

    • Philip

      Look, we all see people who are not lucky and it’s more than ever before and much closer to all of us as well. And no, I do not think people are any better educated today – not by a long shot – and if anything, many are more stupid and less streetwise and more asleep.

      • Adam Byrne

        I also think they (we?) are more stupid, ignorant and downright lazy than in yesteryear.

        • gizzy

          Can’t agree Adam I think we are just deluded into thinking democracy actually means anything and that we have a say in how our country is run.

          People are better educated but morally a lot are bankrupt and they use that education or where they were educated and with whom they were educated to advance themselves as opposed to any effort in the common good. Look at all the highly educated professionals and advisors feeding off a dying economy without putting forward any solution.

          • Adam Byrne

            We are both generalizing. I agree that democracy as presented is a total sham.

            Better educated – maybe those at the top?

            However, I’m a mature student and at least 50% of the kids in my class are not suited to academia – they should be out making useful things but those sort of jobs died when greedy neo-liberals decided to send them to Eastern Europe, China etc. so they could hoover up more of the surplus value for themselves.

            Proper jobs would put manners on the sniggering youth. The drunken scenes at Maynooth on Monday (declared as ‘Christmas Day’) were a disgrace and some lecturers feared for their safety. There’s only one ‘kid’ in my class who I would employ and she’s Russian/Latvian – very smart girl and great worker.

            The rest of them are total wasters – third year in Business and Management and some of them can’t even write proper (sic).

            Morally yes gizzy, the country is in the toilet, culture has gone to hell. There some great people around but generally they are surrounded by ignorance while the bankers and politician rape and pillage for every last penny.

        • bonbon

          With all the talk of education here, it means being politically savvy. If that was the case everyone would know Plato’s proof that democracy always leads to tyranny, exactly what is happening today. Democracy is the rule of generally accepted opinion, and when that is directly applied only the elites can benefit.

          A constitutional republic is something entirely different – a direct counter to that liberal rule of opinion which is Empire. Dictatorships always play the populist card, that mass opinion, using 9/11′s, bank panics (HSBC), Reichstagsbrandt’s, the “will of the people”. From reason, to “the spirit of the times”, to the “spirit of the people”, the descent to tyranny marches on.
          On RT this week a guest made the point that Swiss can vote directly on almost anything, while the independent UBS moves SF450 billion unnoticed and unquestioned.

  38. bonbon

    The proportion of households without a working adult in Ireland is the highest out of 31 European countries and more than double that of the euro zone average, according to a report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) this morning.

  39. bonbon

    It’s all closing in on them now -
    Euro zone factory output continued its steep fall in autumn this year, underscoring the feeble domestic demand that risks prolonging the region’s recession.
    Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 1.4 per cent in October after falling sharply per cent in September, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat said today. That was much worse than the modest growth expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

    This is the Triple Curve in action when no decisive policy is adopted. The very floor falls out as the mesmerized gape at the rocketing monetary flows.

    • Philip

      Cant help feeling we are witnessing the mother of all bullwhip effects. When funny money becomes part of the supply chain enablement, the rest starts to shake itself apart. Wiki it.

      Just as we need to be careful about inventory forecasts and not over buy or over hire, the same applies to lending. Demand has dissappeared because we screwed up on forecasting and the interlocked web of dependant employment is now under threat.

  40. Benanke quivered in his speech during his public conference expose today .Was his hair on fire ?

    By the way his birthday is tomorrow and like every good Sagitarian ( Frank Sinatra ) ‘He did it his way ‘.

  41. Bernanke quivered in his speech during his public conference expose today .Was his hair on fire ?

    By the way his birthday is tomorrow and like every good Sagitarian ( Frank Sinatra ) ‘He did it his way ‘.

  42. gizzy

    Enda said today that he talks to people everyday who tell him fair play keep it going you’re doing a great job. You’d know he is either in Europe or Leinster House everyday.

  43. Tony Brogan

    When you have someone hesitant about being a part of the ‘team’ bring them in and tell them how you are so inpresses they will be thw new captain of the team.

    Ireland should turn down this ‘opportunity’, decline the leadership and leave the euro if not the union. Others have noted above that Ireland will be dispensed with and shoved aside when no longer useful.

  44. Clare Leonard

    Bernanke quivered in his speech, is he heading for the same breakdown as the global economy?
    Bernanke boosts QE4 with 45 billion a month treasury purchases and keeps buying mortgage bonds of 40 billion per month. Total 85 billion.
    Monetary debasement= your loss of purchasing power.
    Monetary debasement= fancy word of INFLATION.
    The credibility of the $ is at stake and this I believe is the beginning of hyperinflation, there is no way back.
    The USA is racing towards hyperinflation, courtesy of the Federal Reserve.
    The Euro is following the same path.
    Bernankes decisions will have a devastating effect on the Irish people and our economy, increasing extreme poverty.
    While increasing starvation in the 3rd. world.
    A rise in political instability everywhere is inevitable.
    Evil personified – comes to mind.
    We live in a world on the edge of chaos.
    Where ever the USA goes so goes the rest of the world.
    Time to get the back garden planted and organise community co-ops.
    The purchasing power of the $ and Euro bites the dust and the price of food wil rise and rise.
    September 2008 was but a bump on the road.
    The powers that be will learn the hard way, yet again.
    Stand together for a better Ireland.

    • Tony Brogan

      Commentary today by

      What was tried before succeeds today. The parasites are in charge

      “Just to show you that no matter how healthy an animal or country is, the parasites are always ready to pounce, on 12 December 1791 the First Bank of the United States opened. It was part of the statist Alexander Hamilton’s plan to create a central bank. Jefferson & Madison had beaten back the plan a year earlier, claiming the bank was unconstitutional & that it benefited merchants and investors at the people’s expense. The bank lasted until its charter expired in 1811. The First Bank of the US was the SECOND attempt at foisting a central bank on the country, after the Bank of North America. CHRISTMAS IS COMING!”

      • Tony Brogan

        Where ever the USA goes so goes the rest of the world

        By Greg Hunter’s

        Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, and he warns, “America is going to crash big time.” Dr. Roberts says, “The real problem is not the fiscal cliff.” The dollar is on very thin ice. Dr. Roberts says, “They can’t stop hemorrhaging the debt, and the way they cover that is to hemorrhage the dollar.” In this real time scenario, Dr. Roberts goes on to say, “When you have debt pouring out and dollars pouring out, the dollar can’t keep its value forever. At some point, people will run away from it, and it will start abroad.” Dr. Roberts thinks there is “an impending collapse of the exchange value,” and the U.S. dollar could unexpectedly plunge in buying power. Dr. Roberts contends, “All of a sudden, people walk into Walmart, as usual, and they think they’ve walked into Neiman Marcus.” Dr. Roberts says there are no quick fixes to the bulging debt because “there’s no way to close this deficit when corporations are moving the tax base off-shore.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

        Video Link

      • bonbon

        The target of the Austrian polemic, is not the straw dogs (flea bitten that they are indeed) of the “central banks”, but Hamilton’s US National Banking.

        The cat is out of the bag. Now the masks are off.

        Andrew Jackson is the key here. This report is a must read – the party disease was used to destroy National Banking. Andrew Jackson the “people’s” man, acclaimed by those incapable of moving to restore the US Credit System.

        • Tony Brogan

          Well it is about time you took off your mask bon bon

          you know you promote a statist central bank solution.
          Why do you promote that which has brought the world to the brink of ruination. The universal suffocation of excessive debt built into the central bank operations.

    • Philip

      Maybe I have been watching this too long – but as far back as 1995, the US dollar was seen as being in the same spot of bother by similarly minded head bangers like myself. The whole treasury note system (IOUs) lying around in various central banks around the world should have gone up in smoke by now. It did not. In fact I thought the 9/11 event would have triggered a run. It did not.

      Why should it be any different today? Maybe it’ll be a triggering event or maybe it’ll be a collapse of a now equally interwined Euro.

      Hyperinflating also needs examination. Yes, if you are seriously depending on imports this is a problem. Not so for the US. There is nothing it cannot ramp to make itself within months. It owns / makes everything. Europe is less secure.

      The parasitic elements are a global phenomenon. Always were. And similar to when computers caused issues with over-reactive buy/sell calls in the late 90s, I think the internet is causing similar issues by facilitating easy disruptive of buy-sell on supply chains – and yes, there are events mounting across a range of commodities that could cause bother. Food, Fuel etc are being over priced not relative to real demand but due to excessive hogging outside of jurisdictional domains.

      • Tony Brogan

        Hi Philip
        The exponential growth in the money supply this last ten years is also a debt spiral. All exponential graphs show that they collapse. A collapse in the growth of the debt based money currently being produced at ever increasing velocity indicate that the resolution is close at hand.
        timing calls are impossible but the event itself is quite clear.
        A hyperinflationary depression is in the final stages of formation.
        Then again ICBW but I am not betting personally on being wrong.

  45. Tony Brogan

    Maybe we should be taking a closer look at what china and Russia are doing and make out plans around that. Never mind the EU or EURO

  46. bonbon

    Instead of Glass-Steagall – separation by function, the EU goes for bank separation by size, and saving only the TBTF, letting the smaller collapse.

    Triage for “Non-Systemic” Banks Planned in Europe

    Dec. 12, 2012 (EIRNS)–On the eve of the Dec. 13-14 EU summit, rumors are taking shape, that the planned EU banking union plus supervision will have no other purpose than to protect the big banks and let several thousand smaller banks go under. It is broadly reported that the governments of France and Germany are agreed, or are in the process of agreeing, that the banking supervision, placed at the ECB, shall take care of only the “systemically relevant” banks. That, experts say, would involve only about 150 banks, the rest of the roughly 6,000 banks in Europe having not rated as having “systemic relevance.” There are also remarks being made in Germany — for example, by Bavaria’s European Affairs Minister Markus Soeder — that only “really relevant” banks with a balance sheet of at least EU60 billion should be monitored and protected. That implies 22 German banks.
    But how urgent is the establishment of this scheme? German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that a mandate for the banking union plus supervision may not be passed at this EU summit, nor very soon, because many details have yet to be clarified. But EU President Herman van Rompuy wants these institutions to be in place now, so that by March 2013 they could allow the ECB to give the ESM the go-ahead for granting loans to ailing banks directly, bypassing national governments and parliaments. That latter proposal is still contested, notably by Germany. But the banks apparently need the money by March, at the latest; therefore they recruited Rompuy to apply pressure.

  47. bonbon

    Police Raid Deutsche Bank

    Dec. 12, 2012 (EIRNS) — In a spectacular action, 500 policemen raided the two towers of the Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt today, as well as the bank’s offices in Berlin and Düsseldorf, seeking evidence of top management involvement in tax fraud and false bookkeeping. The latter is said to involve covering derivative losses of up to EU12 billion. According to media reports, two top managers, Juergen Fitschen and Stefan Krause, are among the 25 Deutsche Bank officials being investigated. Five officials are already in jail.
    The tax fraud case involves false CO2 certificates which Deutsche Bank produced to get a tax exemption of EU310 million in 2009. The other case came into the light, thanks to a whistleblower, Eric Ben-Artzi, who filed a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last year.
    The raid has now the potential to discover much, much more dirt. Time for a Pecora Commission!

  48. bonbon

    The oligarchy is playing Berlusconi- Monti- Germany in a repeat of H.G. Wells Wings over the World vs. the Boss.

    Hysterical boulevard press is not fooling everyone, readers of {Der Spiegel} commented: “Well, now Italians will have the choice between Goldman Sachs’ corruption and Berlusconi’s corruption.”

    The only purpose is to destroy what remains of Italy’s sovereignty.

  49. gizzy

    Dept of Finance 90m consultancy fees to Accenture. Recession is not bad news to some.

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