spiderwebptnetFirst rule of dealing with the spider at the centre: don’t touch the web

Pardon me for pointing this out, but is it not now 13 weeks since the eurogroupe (which is not quite the EC but definitely not a Troika either, ooooh nonononono) began its discussions with the Greeks on reform?

I think you’ll find it is.

And hush my mouth, but during that time has the Schäuble-Draghi-Drivelboom Troika triad of positively engaged negotiators done anything useful except leak falsehoods, turn Athens ideas down flat, and destabilise Greek banks to increase the pressure on Syriza?

I think you’ll find they haven’t.

And cut out my tongue that I should be so non-violently extremist, but do the new set of Trident nuclear proposals demonstrate any continuity whatsoever with the discussions that had been progressing during the last 13 weeks?

I think you’ll find they don’t.

And far be it from me to blow The Slog Trumpet too often, but did I not write way back on February 27th that:

‘Even the fairly large print of the Memorandum makes YV’s job impossible, and it isn’t helped by the obviously manipulated departure of bank deposits. Four months from now they will be back around the same table, and there is just one thing alone that might make Yanis’s hand stronger: Italy turning to sh*t – which it could do….and ought to do.

But if your main adversary is an Italian crook heading up the ECB, I wouldn’t hold your breath on it. In that four months, there’ll be 24/7 smearing and trolls, manufactured bank panics, and pretty much anything they can think of to take Syriza’s eye off the ball. Last month, a record €12.2 billion left Greek banks: that is more than any outflows experienced during any of the previous Greek crises and bailouts…’

And this on March 9th, quoting a Brussels mole:

“It is an open secret here that the eurogroupe had made their minds up to reject the paper out of hand. That much was crystal clear last Friday night. They never had any intention of agreeing to it – they would have rejected it whatever it had said. Because they didn’t make this clear last week, Greece has lost another day before facing the IMF payment next Friday. It’s all designed to put Athens in a corner with no escape.”

And this on March 10th:

‘…the attempt now is to snow-job the Greeks into submission. And the tactic is work, work, work.

Work to provide another reform list within two weeks. Work to provide more detail within three days. Then two days to find the second instalment for the IMF. Then another 3 days for the third, then four days for the fourth.

Dijsselbloem is a gobby little twerp who gives himself away with every brainlessly insensitive thing he says. At a Volkskrant Rally in Amsterdam at the weekend: “The Greeks have almost no money left in their money-box”, and his parting shot at Varoufakis yesterday, “We are wasting too much time….you have a huge amount of work to do over the coming days and weeks.”

You must work. You must pay. You must lose…’

And this on March 11th :

‘By far the biggest Greek creditor today is….the ECB. Schäuble fudges this by referring to the need “to include the lenders” in eurogroupe outcomes. It’s pure, timewasting poppycock: they’re the same people.’

I think you’ll find I did.

There really is only one overall conclusion to draw from this: the only intentions the three-pronged EU Devil ever had in forcing the current memorandum onto an ambushed Varoufakis were themselves threefold:

1. To waste time and ensure that the Greeks were kept running about trying to compromise with a bunch of Nazis whose idea of compromise is ritual humiliation. Think Dubcek in 1968, and you’re about there.

2. To destabilise the Syriza government in every way possible.

3. To talk gaily about progress and raise Greek hopes when the Spidermen never had any intention of doing anything except get Syriza out of the equation at the earliest opportunity.

In his speech of last night, the one thing Alexis Tsipras said that I simply couldn’t make sense of was his assurance that Athens and Brussels were “nearer than ever to a deal”. He himself openly stated that the “new” eurogroupe proposals were completely unacceptable, so how can those two supposed ‘facts’ be possible at the same time? Is it really possible that Tsipras doesn’t grasp that Draghi and Schäuble have been shielding the ball at the corner-flag in a blatant attempt to waste time? I doubt it.

I still maintain as a relative outsider and Grecophile that – despite all the leaks, muscle-flexing and spurious insults that the Troikanauts have handed out throughout this encounter – they have set out only to damage Greece’s fiscal position, not destroy its sovereign viability. This too says to me that they cannot afford for the latter to happen. If Greece opts for by far the best option open to it – default inside the eurozone – then the bad debt will spike bond yields throughout ClubMed, and the defiance will fan the flames of resistance to German-driven federalism in Spain, Italy and Portugal.

The Troikanauts really do not want that. I repeat: they are bluffing.

The IMF, meanwhile, has learned the same lesson that subordinated Greek and Cypriot bondholders took on board over a year ago: Berlin’s Schäuble and Frankfurt’s Draghi cannot be trusted to honour promises.

News broke earlier this evening that a meeting has taken place (confirmed by both parties) between Spain’s radical Podemos Party, and several IMF representatives. For obvious reasons, neither side would comment on the content of the talks. But I’d bet a Pound to a penny that this is Lagarde’s bruised and tarnished US lending machine sussing out early what the likely next Spanish Government Party really thinks. And my hunch is that they’ll choose to stay out of it. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

I suspect that Merkel and Schäuble would welcome that decision. As for Draghi, who knows? It is a tangled web these arachnoids weave. But when it comes to bite, Troika2 is more common house spider than deadly tarantula. So long as Syriza stays out of the parlour while blowing hard at the web , the Greeks have nothing to fear….and the EU has everything to fear.

Related from The Slog archives: The importance of building bridges


  1. The ECB actions are for regime change ,,, may as well invade and bomb Greece it is so much easier to effect this.
    Previous Greek governments bound Syriza before thet were elected knowing full well Greece was alrready bankrupt.
    The troika knowingly went along with the second point and now desire the first all to preserve their EZ project.

    From that last point Syriza are dumb not to realise this and declare default and call the troika bluff because why persist with holding Greece in this state in all perpetuity unless it benefits them.

    For the future Greece best to break the shackles now because the future starts once you have done this and yes the west will try to persecute you on every turn but look east I do not think you will be treated any worse.


  2. Why a Sovereign & Independent country would wish to be part of the European project eludes me.?
    Especially if they sign up to the Euro currency.
    When a country cedes control of its currency creation, it loses all control of its economy and is at the mercy of external currency manipulators.
    Its economy and State assets can be looted and pillaged at will by those outsiders.
    The ECB and IMF are no different from back-street extortionate pawnbrokers. First they make easy credit available to a country , as the cheese in a trap. Then they pounce for their pound of flesh. They demand to sell off State assets, (privatisation) to enable repayment of these extortionate loans.
    These are MAFIA tactics pure and simple and a means to conquer, subjugate and plunder a country.
    CUI BONO,(who benefits) The private bondholders of the 1% plutocracy of course.
    Entry to the European project can be likened to Lord Salisburys description of copulation.
    The pleasure is fleeting, the position ridiculous and the cost, extortionate.
    The solution to the Greece debacle is not rocket science. Default and claim odious debt, revert to the Drachma and turn East to the BRICS and the Shangai Cooperation Organisation. Their geographical position is ideal for this move.
    The Western Financial structure is a failed construct and near ready to implode due to uncontrolled criminality and corruption.


  3. The EU was a Nazi concept, a Europe controlled from Berlin, and Germany will not rest in its march for dominance. Starting with the weaker countries, one by one they will be picked off and their assets taken, until the 4th Reich achieves by stealth what previous armies failed to do. Merkel’s show of empathy towards Cameron is a front to help him win an ‘in’ referendum. There will be no meaningful reformation.


  4. Even if this pantomime that’s being played out were to be the end of the single currency, it isn’t an end to the EU, they will blunder along without the Euro, that can be re-introduced at a later date. No on ever leaves.


  5. .Meanwhile newly empowered Dave on a Wave wants world corruption purge. Good luck with that one Cameldung how many years now since the EU balanced the books..?


  6. Of course SYRIZA realizes this. The problem is that politically inside Greece it would be better to be driven to default by Troika, not opt for it: the poll numbers aren’t there.

    We question the poll numbers since there’s only one independent pollster, and the rest of the polls are conducted by an oligarch press with every reason to pressure SYRIZA. But no one knows…


  7. FIFA is corrupt, no question, but the “FIFA scandal” is nothing to do with FIFA and everything to do with the USA normalizing its new self-granted power to arrest anyone anywhere in the world in defiance of international law. In other words, de-establishing international law. Be careful in what you cheer for.


  8. John
    Not nice …But this is hoe more and more folk are waking up to!
    This: f’fellow takes my breath away quote “The body governing football has faced appalling allegations that suggests it is absolutely riddled with corruption.” Best Cum I’ve had in years!
    Bladder has a weak one!..pissing in all directions.
    I hope he get doesn’t get too close to Germain the Angel ( flottenstopper, I don’t think so.. they are still flooding in).
    They must look on us European folk with complete contempt …. get in, bang out a few and you can take over their housing.
    Who is doing the big funding and travel arrangements. I have said it before .”They are mostly military age group! and fit”.
    Our own army is being molded into a multicult militia.


  9. @elenitis.
    The FIFA/Sepp Blatter corruption scandal has other ulterior motives.
    First was the imminent expulsion from FIFA of Israel due to attacks on Palestinian soccer players and the fielding of teams in competition from illegal Israeli settiements in the Occupied West Bank.
    It is common knowledge that US Foreign policy is at the behest of Israel thru’ their lobbying control by AIPAC.
    The secondary motive was to disrupt the Russian staging of the 2018 World Cup and further isolate Russia from the West.
    Remember the despicable Western media denigration of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
    Sepp Blatter is a sideshow distraction for the gullible.


  10. Why a Sovereign & Independent country would wish to be part of the European project eludes me.?
    Salford lad,but do these countries get a “democratic” vote? as we are aware if sovereign countries vote and it doesn,t meet the EU,s wish they are told to vote again until it comes out to the EU satisfaction! for me the EU is the most undemocratic organization I can think of,remember its allways jam tomorrow.


  11. At the risk of being seen as pedantic JW, Dubcek was harrased and tyrannised by International Socialists not National Socialists. No argument from me that the tactics are identical.


  12. Spot on SL. It’s all part of the anti Putin agenda.

    Have you noticed how the chocolate puppet in Kiev has been ramping things up in Donetsk on the eve of the G7 summit so Obongo can keep the Euro-weenies in line on sanctions? And how the tactical first use of nukes is being broadcast for the Ukraine and the Middle East?


  13. Just as well that Italy is shaped like a boot then, with the amount of sh*t that it will be turning into it couldn’t possibly all fit into a shoe.


  14. A skillful politician frequently appears to say something significant without saying anything at all. These last two days prove that Tsipras is a wordsmith master.
    All we know for sure is that if a deal is worked out,which is more than likely, Greece will sell its soul to the “company store” better known as Troika .


  15. There is no bank run in Greece.

    Various taxes have come up for payment, in instalments, and another one is due soon.

    Greeks are a cash people, less paying by credit card.

    The EU is demanding SYRIZA cut pensions by 3.5 per cent.

    In the UK, the flat rate pension cuts the state pension amount, far more than that next year for over half of the new pensioners.

    Cutting less what is already the lowest state pension for all rich nations bar Mexico (source OECD).

    Cutting Pension Credit also for those with a bit of savings in life after a lifetime in work.

    You might care to sign the petition and share it widely, to show up the Tory lie that welfare cuts will not hit pensioners nor effect pensioner benefits.


  16. Why do these countries want to host the World Cup? Clearly it is purely for “prestige” since the costs of running it far outweigh the financial benefits. The Yanks may be happy to embarass Putin, but maybe the Russians might not be too unhappy to lose it given their present economic difficulties. Anyway I would be more impressed if the FBI spent a bit more time jailing a load of banksters, FIFA is indeed just a side-show in comparison.


  17. O/T but a thought just occurred to me, how will the CIA use the drug trade for cash if there isn’t any cash in a cashless society?
    The drug trade will evaporate surely? That won’t be tolerated I’m sure…..


  18. @Chris – Unbelievable! There seems to be no limit to the bare-faced theft these cnuts will carry out. Paying National Insurance all one’s life in the expectation of receiving a decent pension in retirement was apparently a way of paying interest to private banks on a fraudulently incurred “National Debt”. It is interesting that this assault on some of the most vulnerable is being spearheaded by “Lord” David Freud, an investment “banker” from the City. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this upstanding man of the people became involved in “Welfare Reform” when appointed by a certain Anthony Lynton Blair. To quote from his Wiki page (probably after extensive adjustment by Bell Pottinger).

    “David Freud’s involvement in welfare reform makes him the target of those who oppose reform, in late 2006, Freud was appointed by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to provide a nominally independent review of the British welfare to work system. [3] His subsequent recommendations called for expanded private sector involvement to contain the cost burdens on working people of all income levels, for substantial resources to be found to help those on Incapacity Benefit back into “economic activity” and for single parents to be assisted to enable them to find paid employment and enhance their living standards.”

    Charming fellow.


  19. FIFA the victim of geo politics? What jurisdiction do you prefer? The cynicism here is world class.


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