Democratic Debacle – Austerity Bites at Greece’s Public TV Network

 

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(Photo’s credits to tvnz.co.nz)

By now the vast majority of the world is quite aware of the current financial status of the Greek state, and the enormous loans that they owe to the cartel of private banks that make up the European Central Bank and European States.

On June 11th, one of the oldest Greek public broadcast network, ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation), known as the “Greek BBC” was closed by the Greek government as a penny-pinching measure in the continuing cuts to the public sector imposed by austerity measures, and in what the Guardian has dubbed “a cultural calamity”.

The company, founded in 1938, survived World War II and the fascist military junta that ruled from 1967 to 1974, but it, and its 2,700 employees, could not survive the democratic-strangling grasp of the European Union and its banking cartel. To many ERT was considered to be the most neutral of broadcasters and its international channel “ERT World” was a direct connection of information for the growing Greek diaspora on what was going on in their homeland.

It would be very appropriate, although not entirely accurate, to label these measures as draconian, as the term derives from the ancient and extremely oppressive Greek code of Dracon (Athenian Law Code), which judged swiftly, punished harshly and prescribed death for almost any criminal offence.

Despite being as lethal, however, unlike the judgement passed during that period the austerity measures imposed by the European Union upon Greece are not based on morality or law, but instead seem to be intended as a punitive and disciplinary measure to be applied in the “West” where workers have become too empowered and where are no longer as easily exploitable.

As such, austerity measures are designed to punish the working and middle class, forcing them to be more “flexible” and accept jobs with lower salaries and longer hours, lower working conditions, and lower benefits such as pension and/or healthcare. The heavy indebtment of European nations also allows the banks and incredibly powerful private corporate interests, backed by the International Monetary Fund, to put pressure on governments to privatize those services and industries that have traditionally been under state control – public transportation, education, water, gas and electricity, healthcare etc.

Greece itself has been forced to comply to raising €1.8 bn from privatisation of government services by the end of September as well as the forced unemployment of more than 4,000 civil servants by the end of the year and the cutting 15,000 state jobs by 2015 as part of their bailout plancommitments.

Being so far removed from its direct consequences, the vast majority of people do not realize the severity of the measures that have been imposed on Greece over the past four years. Those measures have been directly responsible for the downgrading of the country from a “developed nation” to an “emerging market” by the MSCI index – the first of such occurrence in the world’s history.

It is also important not to forget that the some of the same individuals running the banks which own large parts of the European Central Bank, are the same who are responsible for falsifying Greece’s records. The perfect example of such a person would be Mario Draghi who was vice-president of Goldman Sachs and a member of the firm-wide management committee from 2002 to 2005 which are, coincidentally, the years in which most of Goldman’s shady deals with Greek politicians took place. Draghi is now the President of the European Central Bank and former Goldman Sachs employees virtually control the financial sector of almost any European Union nation.

The European Central Bank, another crucial player in the sovereign debt drama, is under ex-Goldman management, and the investment bank’s alumni hold sway in the corridors of power in almost every European nation, as they have done in the US throughout the financial crisis. Until Wednesday [November 16th, 2011], the International Monetary Fund’s European division was also run by a Goldman man, Antonio Borges, who just resigned for personal reasons.” – Stephen Foley

It should be pointed that, far from being a conspiracy nut-head, Foley is actually a journalist for the British newspaper “The Independent“, one of the most highly respected on the planet.

The Greek people have been blind-sided in allowing the collusion of their government officials with some of the most powerful private banking interests on the planet. Now, heavily in debt, those interests are adding insult to injury as they made huge sums of money from first aiding Greece cover its debt through derivative swaps, and are not making huge sums of money on interests of a debt crisis they themselves are responsible for engineering.

How can we expect people who have such strong ties to private interest to serve the interest of the public and, more to the point, to be in charge of such immensely influential public institutions? Aaah… I remember now, the European Central Bank is not public indeed. Until the people demand that the ECB be dismantled and replaced with a public bank, and that all public institutions are run by those who do not seek to serve private interests, the European Union will follow the course led by the Unites States in becoming a land in which corporations are people, and people will simply become tools.

 

Ruben Rosenberg Colorni

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