Apr 26

parthenon

Capital Controls Arrive: Greece Begins Confiscating Deposits Of “Small Debtors” (ZeroHedge, April 26, 2015):

Last week, the Greek government issued a decree which called for local governments to transfer excess cash to the central bank so that Athens would be able to pay pensions, salaries, and the IMF. The move is expected to raise as much as €2 billion to help keep the country afloat while the country’s “amateurish, time-wasting gambler” of a FinMin feebly attempts to find some kind of middle ground with his EU counterparts and as PM Tsipras pulls out all the stops including the old EU Summit sideline end-around with Merkel and the wild card energy gas pipeline advance from Gazprom (which may portend the dreaded “Russian pivot”).

If the “temporary” local government reserve sweep constitutes what we have branded “soft” capital controls, we now have the first evidence that the “hard” variety may have arrived because as Kathimerini reports, Greek debtors are having their deposits seized in lieu of payment. Continue reading »

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Apr 26

Flashback:

Germany’s BND Cooperated With NSA As Merkel Denied Knowledge


Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) Berlin
The new Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) building in Berlin

NSA spied on EU politicians and companies with help from German intelligence (Ars Technica, April 24, 2015):

Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested.

The BND realized as early as 2008 that some of the selectors were not permitted according to its internal rules, or covered by a 2002 US-Germany anti-terrorism “Memorandum of Agreement” on intelligence cooperation. And yet it did nothing to check the NSA’s requests systematically. It was only in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive NSA and GCHQ surveillance, that the BND finally started an inquiry into all the selectors that had been processed. Continue reading »

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Apr 25

greek gold

Is Greece About To “Lose” Its Gold Again? (ZeroHedge, April 25, 2015):

When it comes to the topic of Greece, most pundits focus on two items: i) when will Greece finally run out of confiscated cash, and ii) will Greece fold to the Troika (and agree to another bailout(s) with even more austerity) or to Russia (and agree to the passage of the Russian Turkish Stream pipeline, potentially exiting NATO and becoming the most important European satellite of the USSR 2.0) once that moment arrives.

And yet what everyone appears to be forgetting is a nuanced clause buried deep in the term sheet of the second Greek bailout: a bailout whose terms will be ultimately reneged upon if and when Greece defaults on its debt to the Troika (either in or out of the Eurozone). Recall that as per our report from February 2012, in addition to losing its sovereignty years ago, Greece also lost something far more important. It’s gold:

To wit:

Ms. Katseli, an economist who was labor minister in the government of George Papandreou until she left in a cabinet reshuffle last June, was also upset that Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal. Continue reading »

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Apr 25

Merkel Tsipras

Germany Prepares For “Plan B”, Says Greece Would “Need Not Only A Third Bailout, But Fourth, Fifth Or Even More” (ZeroHedge, April 25, 2015):

It has been a very disturbing 24 hours for Greece.

It all started during yesterday’s surprisingly short, just one hour long Eurozone finmin meeting in Riga, where Yanis Varoufakis not only got the most “hostile” reception yet being called “a time-waster, gambler, and amateur“, but for the first time one minister openly said that maybe it was time governments prepared for the plan B of a Greek default. This happened after Jeroen Dijsselbloem slammed the door on Varoufakis’ proposal for early cash after partial reforms.

“A comprehensive and detailed list of reforms is needed,” Dijsselbloem told a news conference following a meeting in Riga. “A comprehensive deal is necessary before any disbursement can take place … We are all aware that time is running out.” Continue reading »

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Apr 23

parthenon

Forget “Grexit”, “Grimbo” Has Arrived (ZeroHedge, April 23, 2015):

If you didn’t know any better you might think “Grimbo” was a new Sesame Street character. Far from being the name of something that brings smiles to the faces of young children however, it’s actually the latest one-word take on the likely outcome of Greece’s protracted, painful negotiations with creditors, which will continue tomorrow in Riga where progress is, according to pretty much everyone that will be involved, unlikely. The new term follows in the footsteps of the classic (but now tired) “Grexit” and its underrated predecessor “Graccident,” and refers to two of the four outcomes Citi imagines are possible in the unfolding Greek drama. Here, via Citi, are the scenarios that would constitute Grimbo: Continue reading »

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Apr 22

gazprom

EU charges Gazprom with ‘abusing’ market position in Central & Eastern Europe (RT, April 22, 2015):

Russia’s biggest gas utility, Gazprom, was hit with an antitrust case by European Union regulators for “abusing” its dominant position and overcharging customers for gas supplies. The investigation against the Gazprom has been ongoing for 2 years.

“We find that it (Gazprom) may have built artificial barriers preventing gas from flowing from certain Central Eastern European countries to others, hindering cross-border competition,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. Vestager said there is no political element to the case. Continue reading »

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Apr 22

Mario Draghi (Wikipedia):

“Draghi was then vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of the firm-wide management committee (2002–2005). A controversy existed on his duties while employed at Goldman Sachs. Pascal Canfin (MEP) asserted Draghi was involved in swaps for European governments, namely Greece, trying to disguise their countries’ economic status.”

From the article:

The bottom line – it’s over! Absent Russian ‘loans’ or Chinese infrastructure deals, the “Cyprus”-ing will begin shortly which perhaps Greek depositors will front-run better than the Cypriots.”


Draghi Satan

ECB Prepares To Sacrifice Greek Banks With 50% Collateral Haircut (ZeroHedge, April 21, 2015):

In what seems like a coincidental retaliation for Greece’s pivot to Russia (and following Greece’s initiation of capital controls), the supposedly independent European Central Bank has decided suddenly that – after dishing out €74 billion of emergency liquidity to the Greek National Bank to fund its banks – as The NY Times reports,the value of the collateral that Greek banks post at their own central bank to secure these loans be reduced by as much as 50%, and the haircut scould increase if negotiations with Europe remain at an impasse. As we detailed earlier, this is about as worst-case-scenario for Greece as is ‘diplomatically’ possible currently, and highlights an increasingly hard line by The ECB toward The Greeks as the move will leave banks hard-pressed to survive.

As we laid out earlier, according to Bloomberg, the ECB staff proposal lays out three options to reduce central-bank risk: “the scenarios envisage returning haircuts to the level before late last year, when the ECB eased its collateral requirements for Greece; to set them at 75 percent; or to set them at 90 percent. The latter two options could be applied if Greece is in an “orderly default” under a formal ECB program or a “disorderly default,” CNBC said, without further elaborating on those terms.Continue reading »

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Apr 21

Surely Polish taxpayers will be happy to pay $9 billion for a missile defense system.


20150421_patrioty_0

Sabre-Rattling Soars: Poland Buys US Patriot Air Defense System, Gold Pops (ZeroHedge, April 21, 2015)

Just days after Russia lifts sanctions on Iran and prepares to send its S-300 missile defense system, it appears Washington has retaliated. As TASS reports, Poland – on Russia’s doorstep – has decided to buy the US Patriot air-defense system (made by Raytheon) for a total cost of around $9bn: “The US proposal has been found to be more profitable from the viewpoint of Poland’s security and implementation of commitments within NATO framework.” Washington, keen to ensure Warsaw signed up with Raytheon, has decided to loan Poland a battery of Patriots until the deal is signed.

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Apr 21

Russian President Putin and Greek Prime Minister Tsipras attend a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow

Greece May Sign Russia Gas Deal As Soon As Today (ZeroHedge, April 21, 2015):

It appears that Herr Schaeuble will be left in the cold disappointed as following comments from the Greek energy minister that a deal is coming “soon,”  it is being reported that:

*RUSSIA MAY SIGN GAS LINK ACCORD W/ GREECE TODAY: ROSSIYA 24
*GREECE MAY GET LOANS USING RUSSIA GAS TRANSIT GUARANTEE: MILLER

According to Gazprom’s CEO comments on Greek TV, following his meeting with Greek PM Tsipras, Russia will guarantee 47BCM/YR of gas via Greece with the link to be built by a Russian-European group at a cost of around €2 billion.

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Apr 20

Greece Financial Crisis Riots
Riots in 2011

… to be repeated in 2015 (?)

Related info:

After Pillaging Pensions, Greece Raids Utilities To Repay Troika; Bonds Plunge As Bank Run Accelerates


Stunned Greeks React To Initial Capital Controls And The “Decree To Confiscate Reserves”, And They Are Not Happy (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2015):

Earlier today, following weeks of speculation, Greece finally launched the first shot across the bow of capital controls, when it decreed that due to an “extremely urgent and unforeseen need” (ironically the need was quite foreseen since about 2010, but that is a different story), it would be “obliged” to transfer – as in confiscate – “idle cash reserves” located across the country’s local governments (i.e., various cities and municipalities) to the Greek central bank.

Several hours later the decree which was posted in the government gazette has finally percolated among the population, and the response to what even ordinary Greeks realize is now the endgame, is less than exuberant. Continue reading »

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Apr 20

Gazprom-Logo

As Gazprom CEO Arrives In Athens, EU (Coincidentally) Files Anti-Trust Charges Against Russian Giant (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2015):

As the head of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, arrives in Athens tomorrow (for talks with Greek PM Tsipras about “current energy issues of interest,” which we suspect will include finalizing the “Turkish Stream” pipeline heralded by many as Greece’s potential get-out-of-Troika-jail-card), he will face an increasingly anxious European Union. Fresh from its suit against Google, the WSJ reports, the EU’s competition regulator plans to file formal antitrust charges against Russia’s state-owned gas company OAO Gazprom on Wednesday. This re-opens a suit from 2012 saying that it suspected the company of abusing its dominant position in those countries’ natural-gas supply. It appears Europe is getting nervous…

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Apr 20


19.04.2015

Description:

http://GeoengineeringWatch.org
The citizens of Italy have now set the standard for organized protests against the climate engineering nightmare in our skies. This April 18th demonstration in Bologna, Italy sets the stage for the upcoming March Against Geoengineering planned for April 25 in various locations around the world. Those who do not have organized anti-geoengineering protests in your area should try to attend one of the countless Earth Day events that have also been organized for April 25th. The human race faces countless challenges that are converging from every direction, but of all the threats currently descending on us the most dire and immediate of all is climate engineering. We have the power to expose and stop the ongoing geoengineering insanity if we work together in this all important battle, make your voice heard. We extend our most sincere gratitude to “Reclaim The Planet” (http://riprendiamociilpianeta.it) for organizing this outstanding event. Our gratitude also goes to all the citizens who helped with the demonstration in Bologna that is featured in this 4 minute video.
Dane Wigington Continue reading »

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Apr 20

As a side note:

If you take advice from Krugman, then you are either a bloody idiot, …

Paul-Krugman-Keynesians-Fail

… or an elite puppet (or both).


–  Did Greece Just Launch Capital Controls: “Mandatory Cash Transfer” Decreed Due To “Extremely Urgent Need” (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2015):

We warned last week that capital controls were inevitable and it apears the first steps have been taken (very quietly):

  • GREECE ISSUES DECREE: LOCAL GOVTS OBLIGED TO TRANSFER DEPOSIT RESERVES AT CENTRAL BANK

So, following the pension fund raid, the Greek government is now centralizing all Greek cash citing an extremely urgent and unforeseen need.”.

One wonders if this is per Krugman’s advice?

Tsipras-Krugman

As Bloomberg reports: Continue reading »

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Apr 20

Golden Dawn

Greek Neo-Nazi Party Trial Begins On Hitler’s Birthday; Supporters Attack Witnesses (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2015):

Somewhat ironically, given that April 20th is Hitler’s brithday, one of Greece’s most important political trials against current and former MPs and members of neo-nazi Golden Dawn started this morning. Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and 68 other defenders stand trial on felony charges for having established a criminal organization, having committed several racists attacks and murder and the procession of weapons. The trial takes place in a special courtroom built inside high security prison Korydallos in western Athens. Several antifascists groups and Golden Dawn supporters gathered outside the prisonand violence broke out leading to the decision, two hours after the trial began, to adjourn until May 7th 2015  for “procedural reasons.”

 

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Apr 19

–  Tesco chairman warns companies will quit UK in event of EU no vote (RT, April 19, 2015)

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Apr 18

The Greek “White Knight” Emerges: Putin To Give Athens €5 Billion For Advance Gas Pipeline Fees (ZeroHedge, April 17, 2015):

With Greece teetering on the edge of insolvency and forced to raid pension and most other public funds, ahead of another month of heavy IMF repayments which has prompted even the ECB to speculate Greece should introduce a parallel “IOU” currency, a white knight has appeared out of nowhere for Greece, one who may offer $5 billion in urgently needed cash. The white knight is none other than Vladimir Putin. “Just because Greece is debt-ridden, this does not mean it is bound hand
and foot, and has no independent foreign policy,” Putin said previously.

Russian President Putin and Greek Prime Minister Tsipras attend a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow

According to Spiegel, citing a senior figure in the ruling Syriza party, Greece is poised to sign a gas deal with Russia as early as Tuesday which could bring up to €5 billion into the depleted Greek coffers.

The move could now “turn the tide” for the debt-stricken country according to a senior Greek official. Continue reading »

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Apr 17

>Varoufakis-DrachmaLagarde-VaroufakisTroika By Syriza

The ECB Is Considering A Parallel Greek Currency (ZeroHedge, April 17, 2015):

As we first reported yesterday, one of the proposed measures to be implemented in Greece just before, or during its default and/or exit from the Eurozone, in addition to pervasive capital controls of course, is the implementation of a parallel “currency”, or as explained yesterday, a government paying its citizens with IOUs. Continue reading »

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Apr 17

You can’t make this stuff up!!!


Greece Is About To Be ‘Fixed’ For Good (ZeroHedge, April 17, 2015):

What could possibly go wrong?

Just wait until he tells the Greek PM that “debt doesn’t matter.” Continue reading »

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Apr 17

Varoufakis-Drachma

Greece May Pay Wages And Pensions In IOUs (ZeroHedge, April 16, 2015):

Earlier today we said the following about the Greek government’s rapidly deteriorating cash situation:

So it’s either pay salaries and pensions or pay the IMF which is tragically ironic because Athens has already gone the route of plundering pensions to make payments to its creditors, the only difference is that now, instead of “borrowing” money from the public coffers and hoping to pay it back in the interim before anyone actually gets shorted, you’re talking about simply not paying people at all (or paying people with IOUs which would be the hilarious rough equivalent of conducting repos with individual citizens) which needless to say could turn into an untenable social and political issue virtually overnight, not to mention the fact that if the government defaults you would almost certainly see the imposition of capital controls in order to stem the inevitable deposit flight. Athens owes nearly €2 billion in public sector wages and pensions at the end of the month.  Continue reading »

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Apr 17

draghi prayer

Mario Draghi, Collateral Scarcity, And Why The ECB Will Soon Buy Corporate Bonds (ZeroHedge, April 16, 2015):

Mario Draghi, perhaps blinded by confetti, doesn’t see a scarcity of collateral while HSBC thinks that’s a bit “strange,” and Morgan Stanley doesn’t really see what the problem is even as their own analysis shows that it is now “impossible” for Germany to fully implement their portion of the program under the capital key. Meanwhile, FT thinks it’s possibly important that thanks to the absurd consequences of NIRP-dom, the ECB may soon take the plunge into euro corporate credit sending yields on corporate bonds negative.

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