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Thank you Greek Citizens for showing the Empire, the New Reich, that votes do matter!
What a miracle! Again the Greeks after bringing the term Democracy into the world, show that the idea of a SOVEREIGN NATION still has an appeal. The Diktat of Federalization without true Representation is coming to a halt. The only ones who lack this understanding are Americans who voted in a Congress that refuses to listen.
The outcome of the vote in Greece is exactly what I predicted, and the Greeks now know that no matter how much pain will happen next, and no matter which Government’s promises will go unfulfilled they can bring their vote to the table and a lot more if necessary.
The gangster banksters and their political henchmen like Dijsselbloem, Juncker, Merkel, Gabriel, Hollande, and many others of the so called self proclaimed New Progressive Era mini executors have been put on notice by popular count.
Brussels be aware of the Greeks bearing gifts! IN SHORT: DEMOCRACY ONE – BRUSSELS ZERO
The Brussels elite like the American Congress, will resist with all measures available to them, but the European Bull has woken up, and the rest of the more or less civilized world is now waiting for the Bison to start roaming throughout the lands.
Enjoy this bit of philosophy with a track from Lindsey Stirling below.
Here is the rest of the story!
We regularly get to read that the Greeks lived beyond their means when the debt crisis broke out. A report by the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt, which examined the causes of the debt crisis commissioned by the Greek Parliament, gives a very different picture. Since 1980, the Greek Government expenditure in relation to gross domestic product (GDP) is lower than the European average. Only one department scored higher than the European average: Defense.
The report states that the excessive Greek defense expenditures account for as much as 40 billion euros of the total accumulated debt between 1995 and 2009. Although, since the debt crisis there has been severe cuts in defense spending, Greece continues with a defense budget of 2.2% of GDP, well above the average of European NATO members. Which stands at 1.5% of GDP. Greece is one of the only European country that meets, the pushed ahead by NATO’s 2% of GDP for defense spending. In the group of European NATO countries only Estonia (2%) and Great Britain (2.2%) meet that standard. While the Greek economy has shrunk, heavy defense spending has also fallen by one third, from 6 billion euros in 2010 to 4 billion euros in 2014.
In the youngest Greek proposal to the Troika – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – there would be another 200 million euros pruned in the defense budget and the Greek Government spokesman stated that those savings “with pleasure” could be even bigger . But interests at home and abroad make further reductions in the Greek defense expenditure not evident.
According to a report in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, which “circles of European negotiators’ quote”, the IMF rejected a proposal by the European Commission to the required savings in the lowest pensions worth 400 million euros, to be replaced by equal savings in Defense. The IMF denied this message, but it is noteworthy that the focus of the IMF in negotiations lies heavy on the reduction of pensions of the population and a higher tax collection. Military expenditures were rarely under fire -amazing- because defense in Greece took a relatively significant very big bite out of the public budget.
Historic High Defense Spending.
Behind the astronomical military spending lies a long history. After the German occupation, during World War II, came to Greece from 1946 to 1949 it turned into a bloody civil war. The returned from exile anti-communist government battled against the former communist resistance. This war was the direct reason for the promulgation in 1947 of the Truman Doctrine by the eponymous American president. Countries which felt threatened by communist expansion, could now count on United States help. Similarly, the Greek government.
While the rest of Western Europe with American money re-built their economy, the focus was on military investment in Greece. Greece, during the Cold War, became a front state in the fight against communism and enjoyed massive US military aid. From the mid-1950s the reduced US support for the military burden landed on the Greek shoulders.
The increasing tensions between Greece and Turkey – however both NATO members – meant that military expenditures were pushed even further. The year after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 the defense budget was nearly tripled (from 807 million dollars to 2.2 billion dollars). By the early 1980s, military expenditure represented by the Greeks was 7% of GDP!
Territorial disputes and the discovery of oil in the Aegean resulted in sour relations with Turkey, which prompted Ankara and Athens into an arms race. According to the Swedish Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Greeks in the period 1974 to 2010 spent 218.5 billion on defense. If Greece would have limited its military spending to the average of the European NATO countries (1.5% of GDP), it would have had 108 billion euros to save.
Greek military spending pushed up domestic and international tensions. In 2006, the then government released plans to reserve the next decade 27 billion euros for arms purchases. According to the then Minister of Defense, a part of that money was earmarked to pay off old debts, but still 27 billion euros is a huge amount for Greece. Arms companies from countries like the United States, Germany and France were keen to go and catch as much as possible of that huge arms budget.
In the period from 2003 to 2007, Greece was the fourth leading importer of arms in the world and in the period from 2008 to 2012, the fifteenth. The volume of imports between the two periods fell by 61%, but remained unnecessarily high. Greece meanwhile was stuck with a military equipment which it did not need and/or for which it could not afford the operating and maintenance costs. During the historic visit to Greece by Turkish President Erdogan in 2010, the Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Pangalos let it slip that he felt “national shame” every time he “feels obligated to buy weapons we do not need.”
Germany is not only a major creditor of Greece, but also the European country that has benefited the most from the many Greek arms purchases. Germany accounts for 15% of Greece’s arms imports. France follows with 10% in second place. Great pressure to cut defense was never there. On the contrary, especially the German submarine deal in 2010 (the purchase of two submarines and the upgrading of a third submarine worth 1.3 billion euros), symbolizes the German hypocrisy. However, 2010 is indeed the year of the first European aid package for Greece worth 110 billion euros in loans, which were mainly used to repay European banks (and save).
Stelios Fenekos, a 52-year-old Vice Admiral in the 22,000 strong Greek navy, resigned in protest with the following words:
“How can you tell people that we buy new submarines at the same time that they decided to prune their wages and pensions.“
Twicemodern Comment: Try selling that to the US Congress!
He referred to the recently imposed 5% savings on pensions to cope with the crisis. According, Fenekos felt moreover it was about a useless purchase and the Greek navy was unable to maintain the submarines. The 2010 purchase agreement on the submarines came on top of a previously concluded contract for the purchase of four other German submarines. Altogether it was a sum of around 3 billion euros. Also in the year 2010, France signed arms contracts with Athens worth 800 million euros.
There appeared several press reports – based on Greek and European political sources – that the arms contracts were even a precondition for German and French support for the European financial rescue package for Greece. In any event, it is clear that the defense budget has been largely spared of savings. In 2010, the military budget yielded 0.2% of GDP, around 457 million euros. That seems a lot, but it is significantly less than what the Troika introduced for cuts in social spending (1.8 billion euros). The Greek Parliament passed in 2012, the freedom to support a budget that would save additional 2 billion in social spending, while contributing to NATO could rise by 60 million euros and defense spending by 200 million euros.
As a major creditor, the German government requires strict government savings from Greece, but they usually do not discuss defense. The German government does not level with the press about German arms contracts with Athens. That has everything to do with entrenched economic interests. Germany is the country that has benefited most from the Greek defense spending. A spokesman for the German government recently explained that she was confident that Athens sole responsibility will consider meaningful cuts in military spending, but that it cherishes the fundamental expectation that agreements will be respected.
With some of those contracts kickbacks were involved. That was the case for the submarine contract, for which 62 million euros in bribes was reserved. The German company Ferrostaal was later sentenced to a fine of 140 million euros, but the terms of the contract changed nothing. Rheinmetall also paid bribes to a modernization package for armored vehicles and was given a fine of 37 million euros. Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann, the arms company that sold to Greece in 2009 new Leopard tanks, is suspected of having paid bribes, but continues to deny these charges.
These tanks were indeed there for years to no avail. There was no money left for ammunition, which was supplied by Rheinmetall until 2014. Corruption and bribery gave Greece a lot of surplus military equipment.
So the Greek army has more Leopard tanks (353) than the German (225). In total, the Greek army even employs 1,600 tanks, four times more than Germany.
Right-wing Defense Minister.
Although the leftist Syriza has always advocated for heavy defense cuts it turns out – now that the party is in government – it is not easy to make effective changes.
The military – from 1967 to 1973 governed the country – is a conservative and powerful bastion. At too high savings the government would immediately lose the support of the army. Defense is also the only ministry in the hands of Syriza’s small right-wing nationalist coalition partner, ANEL. The Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, is not only a nationalist but also dreams of a strong army. One of his first actions in January 2015 was the modernization of the reconnaissance aircraft worth 500 million euros! The answer to the criticism of the opposition was that this was necessary to continue to observe the NATO tasks.
Our commentary: Did I not tell you previously that the Colonels are waiting in the wings in their suits and ties?
Twicemodern Commentary and Opinion:
How many members of the US CONGRESS are supported by the US Military Industrial Complex? Is it time for Americans to dig into their obscure continuous wars and military funding without the real political will to win even a single real battle? GET REAL! MAKE THEM ACCOUNTABLE!
IMAGINE and THINK ABOUT HOW MANY REAL NEW ROADS, BRIDGES, RAIL TRACKS could be constructed with those savings? Or how about giving the money back to the citizens for the overpayment they gave to the political hacks! Maybe it is time to put a hefty monetary fine on the wallets of those hacks! SAY ACCOUNTABILITY!
Think about HOW MANY JOBS you CAN CREATE WITH YOUR VOTE!