TSIPRAS v VERMEY & THE EUROGROUPE: does the Syriza leader have two wild cards in his hand?

tsiprascards21915Did he capitulate, or buy time?

43.91% of Greeks chose not to vote in yesterday’s elections: so my polling sources who guesstimated 45% were pretty close – even though I thought the figure high.

On very much the ‘losing’ side, Yanis Varoufakis nevertheless talked complete sense when he observed that,
“It is a fact that this [troika] programme cannot work out – it’s a dead end”. So the obvious question remains: what is the point of the newly-reelected Syriza/ANEL Government other than to give a veneer of legality to the crypto-German eurogroupe bullies?

It should be fairly clear from my earlier post tonight that Maarten Vermey has about as much affinity with democratic elections as Stalin did with Trotsky. Just so we are all absolutely clear about this, the Dutchman has been given the power under the agreed MoU to overrule anything Alexis Tsipras might want to do, and to insist that all the myriad codicils of the Greek asset-stripping reform programme are carried through….otherwise, the Greek people face starvation.

However, the thought occurs to me that the one thing Vermey doesn’t have is force as his back-up.

Ever since the Syriza leader caved in to utterly illegal pressure from the Troika two months ago, I have debated at length with a broad spectrum of Greek friends and contacts why on earth he did it. Given a clear mandate to tell eurogrope where to stick their threats, he ignored it and capitulated. Why?

A clear majority of those with whom I correspond and speak believe there is ‘something we haven’t been told’. My instinct is to agree, but I have not the foggiest idea what the something might be. But over the last couple of days I’ve been going through the archives and mulling it over. I am left with two possibilities, and they are not alternatives.

  1. Tsipras bought time in order to get something very solid set up with Moscow. In a situation involving the general availability (and specific passage routes) of oil to NATO allies, faced with a fait accompli from Putin and Tsipras, I wonder how much power Maarten Vermey would really have. The dragging of Athens into an overtly Russian sphere of influence is one of the more unpleasant nightmares the US State Department has from time to time.
  2. Potty as it may sound, while Greece got itself into this mess by building defensive weaponry at the behest of NATO in general and Germany in particular, it is now on a per capita basis the best-armed eurozone member. Further, one thing that has kept Golden Dawn firmly in its place has been the position of the military since the crisis began: it has declared itself solidly behind Tsipras and Syriza. It is one thing for the army to take over from a democratically elected Greek government; it is entirely another for colonels to defend Greek sovereignty from the greed of self-appointed foreign interlopers.

This is nothing more than educated conjecture on my part. But I am left pondering the possibility of Tsipras dramatically raising the stakes without warning. Not only would such a move(s) render him a powerfully unifying figure in history; it would put both Brussels-am-Berlin and their American puppeteers in a parlous position.

53 thoughts on “TSIPRAS v VERMEY & THE EUROGROUPE: does the Syriza leader have two wild cards in his hand?

  1. The deal signed beween Greece and Russia was only 2 billion Euros, whereas Greek debt is 303 billion Euros, so the signing of a Russian deal is only a tiny drop in Greece’s ocean. But at least the deal will grease Greeces wheels for Tsipras to make sure he gets paid and of course receives the under the table payments that EVERY politician gets. Once again, don’t bet too much on something spectacular happening in the EU, well not from Greece anyway.


  2. Tspiras made overtures to Putin before the Eurogruppe stood on his throat, but no Kremlin gold was forthcoming. Why should Putin have put in (see what I did thar) then, when in a few months time with more assets sold off, Bailout IV and Grexit back on the agenda, he could get a bargain basement deail? Two military bases for the price of one.


  3. Dear John, did you not ever consider the possibility of Tsipras being just a puppet constructed to play exactly the role he is playing? C’est a dire to crush any resistance in Greece, permanently convert it to a colony and keep it serving as a test bed for advanced oppressive policies to be later used elsewhere in Europe.
    If the referendum result had been a YES, as he certainly hoped, the achievement would have been tremendous for Merkel and for the TINA doctrine. Something like “See, even the Greeks realized that there is no alternative”.
    But with a NO result they needed to really crush our moral. That’s why they made a much worse MOU and with these elections they finished us.
    The result for me is the equivalent of a raped woman taking her rapist as husband. Because Tsipras by not respecting the outcome of the referendum he violated democracy in the most blatant way.
    And reports I have heard from people who happened to know him as a young man all point to the fact he is the perfect character for a puppet public figure: no will of his own.


  4. No, they don’t like it up ’em, but then western ‘civilisation’ has learnt not to sh*t on it’s own doorstep, and if we go adventuring it’s with a partner in crime who still carries a big stick. Maybe they should just put the uniforms away and take up banking – thats where the action is now – as many of them do on leaving the service. I concede that there are other ways of looking at this.


  5. I’ve been wondering about the Greek military in all this for a long time but could never find anything written about it. I am shocked they are with the current government. I had thought for sure they would be 110% NATO, which is the US. If it is true they are supporters now will they be if more overt alliance with Russia comes to pass and if it does how can they remain in NATO. Point being how could the military support breaking and possibly leaving NATO? The idea seems absurd but admittedly I don’t know a thing about it. All I do know, or is it think I know, is that most every to military man in Europe is a NATO man through and through.


  6. For once i think your wrong John? yes he’s biding time but he’s also pushing the envelope open for how long & how far who knows, but in the long game. the cost of closing down every push against the system bankrupts it!morally & financial


  7. NATO= North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation. The Washington pitbull in Europe. There is no longer any reason for its existence, apart from it being the pork barrel/ gravy train for the Military Industrial complex and its bottom feeders.
    Especially since the end of the Soviet Union and the stand-down of the Warsaw Pact Forces,back in the 90’s.
    NATO needs a boogie man and a regular diet of war to keep the money rolling in.
    Putin and the phoney War on Terror fit the bill.
    Who believes in this horse stih any more ?. only the gullible.


  8. European governments have no power over NATO. Or perhaps it’s better said that they don’t have the balls to interfere. The entire Ukraine fiasco is premised upon NATO putting on the pressure and Euro governments sitting idly by. NATO is working relentlessly to scuttle the Minsk accord, Merkel’s baby. She keeps mouthing off on how it has to be implemented, and that’s it. Words. Post USSR NATO has been designed to strip governments of sovereignty, just like the EU.


  9. I hope you are right. You usually are. But I believe that Tsipras is a typical upper-middle class person who imagines life outside of the euro to be terrible. The euro is a status symbol that is worshiped by the upper-middle class. Due to his youthfulness and charm, people have been slow to realize that he is selling them out. Also, if he really had cards up his sleeve, the Left Platform would never have left, especially Lafazanis who is pro-Russian.


  10. The Americans will do what they did last time. According to the diaries of Anthony Crosland, the Americans couldn’t stomach the idea of a successful socialist (or even left-leaning) government.

    So they wheeled in the IMF.

    The job of the IMF on this occasion was to present Britain’s economic forecast to show that the country would be facing a deficit – and the demands of the IMF were that VAT would have to be raised in order to pay for the loans that the IMF would hand out to cover the deficit. This would effectively hobbled the Labour administration!

    What Crosland revealed was the fact that the figures from the Labour government were actually CORRECT – and in the following years were shown to be so. No crippling taxes and no swinging interest rates… no crippling of a socialist government needed… but hey, we’re talking facts here, not reality. American facts.

    So watch out for Corbyn if he is in power. You’ll not notice the dark hand of our Friends creeping across his mouth.


  11. “sitting idly by” – I doubt the Americans would be worried if the Europeans were rattling the bars of their cages and gnashing their teeth in frustration. After all, the mainstream media could speak of them sitting idly by…

    … beautiful, innit?


  12. There is always ‘something we haven’t been told’. We only get to find out what they want us to know. It’s pure manipulation and they are past masters at it. How do you think a few thousand control a few billion? We don’t stand a chance without some dramatic/catastrophic event changing the balance of power.


  13. It’s like the VW scandal… a “piece of software” (the kind of thing regulators are supposed to be knowledgeable about) was “discovered” after only six years. The Mainstream Media are whipping it up, as you can imagine. Sorry, that shoud read “the Mainstream Media are being whipped, as you can imagine.” With the German press with their caps in their hands saying “sorry, boss”.

    Well, it’s what regulators are for, isn’t it, not telling. We only get to find out what they want us to know… and don’t bet on a catastrophic event changing anything! Such events in the past have only seen them accrue more wealth and more power.


  14. I once bought a painting off Susan Crosland, his American wife. I still have it. Tony was bisexual, btw. The IMF by contrast is Byantine. They should change the branding to USA. Or drop Fifi Lowgrade and bring DSK back. Brawahahahahahaha.


  15. Spektre
    I may well be wildly wrong. As I said, the situation as is seems to me inexplicable, and so like Sherlock Holmes one must develop other hypotheses. My standard mode setting these days is non-acceptance of ‘official’.


  16. Halfkidder

    I say steady orn ol’ bean, you’ll have the NVE police on your case if you carry on like this.
    Btw, I agree with you 100%


  17. Maria
    There is a great deal to what you say. When he began putting Syriza together, many Greeks told me their greatest fear was that Alexei is a radical chique, but also a well educated rich boy. I did post in 2011 (in the face of more US/EU propaganda about his ‘rigid communism’) to the effect that my main fear was that Tsipras would turn to compromise.
    I think the europhilia thing is also about pride: the bourgoisie I encountered in Thessalonika and the Mani, for example, were utterly phobic about leaving the euro – as if that would be not only a Damocles moment, but also a reason for great shame at having “let down The Project”.
    When you add this to the standard EU/US mo (‘Those we wish to destroy shall be smeared’) Truth and Freedom have very little chance to emerge unscathed.


  18. John, bisexual or not – and I don’t mind if they are, to be honest, it’s nicer than piggies. Just as long as they’re up front about it (and have a good wash). You don’t happen to have a copy of his diary, do you? As you might have guessed, there’s zero information on the web.


  19. John !
    They are still at in the MSM.
    As I said in my last post ..it,s not that big a deal as far as the elites are concerned …. back in the 40s there was a song smith who came up with the line “mad dogs and English men go out in the midday son… “ can’t remember the rest but it was to the effect ,…some la-di-dah, would go pig sticking up the Khyber…This would cause knowing looks to be flashed about!.


  20. “The dragging of Athens into an overtly Russian sphere of influence is one of the more unpleasant nightmares the US State Department has from time to time.”

    On a connected note, I think the influx of refugees is coming via NATO member Turkey and it at the behest of the US who are saying to Merkel “Go with Putin and we leave the gates open” or else.

    high stakes indeed. They’re building a camp 500m from me soon.


  21. Telling news today .JCB looking to make 400 redundancies after experiencing huge reductions in market globally ,Russia,China,France etc.Their CEO said there is a slump worldwide . That’s the real world they’re in without the bullshit and spin.


  22. Gemma
    In the VW (or in fact possibly all EU vehicle) case the legislators are likely only worried about that the “Numbers” match the targets at the time of the testing. It would seem that this software adaptation knew (something to do with external connection of vehicle to the test equipment I think) when the test was being done and changed the engine settings accordingly
    Makes proper detection according to the rules ( test procedure) difficult if they involve the connection that has been detected


  23. + redcar,retailers closing shops ,shops widening aisle,spreading stock around & less stock.footfall down banks closing all is not well !
    Worse than Heath’s 3 day week,low hours low pay stagnating economy if that !


  24. On the VW subject: It’s entirely probable that the legislation only refers to pollutants found under specific situations so it may be entirely within the rules for VW to design the system specifically just to pass the test in those situations. After all people (esp politicians) can pass their uni degree exams and still be totally stupid the rest of the time, one test under set rules does not indicate anything other than ability to pass that test.


  25. Lampitt,

    Caterpillar a similar company has just recorded it’s 33rd consecutive quarterly decline in revenues!

    JCB is probably thought of as healthy in comparison.

    It appears to me, something that should carry a very large font health warning, that no growth in London but growth in midlands and north is a good indicator that the UK is heading for harder times.

    Especially as virtually every double fronted empty shop in and around Battersea has been snapped up and now occupied by an Estate Agent, it will be a real shame if these entities suffer from a down time, although London and especially Battersea and Nine Elms will have built a new town’s worth of very expensive proprty to sell shortly.

    I fear the magnificent Power Station is going to be obliterated by boring glass fronted flats.


  26. @Genna
    Excellent analysis, although I suspect that even if the U.S. deep state had not interfered, the Bank of England would have spiked Wilson’s government anyway. The BoE Governer made it clear to even such an establishment stalwart as Macmillan that the City and Bank ran the U.K. and that no Prime Minister could ever threaten the prolific rackets of the parasitical war-mongering usurers entrenched in the City of London.


  27. That is a very good point.

    After all, the MOT (in the UK at least) is valid on the day of the test; that it is good for a year only implies that the likelihood of a vehicle failing the test during that period is relatively small.

    What I will say is that it didn’t surprise me that the regulator took so long to come to their verdict: their fine was very close to the annual profits of VW.

    This fiasco also allowed the US banks to short VW and make a killing – whilst costing the Germans a degree of prestige. Whatever economic collapse that will happen (apart from a few glitches like 2007/8) will be when the German economy finally crumbles from the vampire-like dealings of the US. With nothing left to suck on, the US will finally collapse as many parasites die when the host dies.


  28. It seemed to me at the time of his capitulation, Tsipras was just getting swamped by the enormity of it all.
    Instead of standing outside of himself and trying to be dispassionate (and how many of us can do that) he just got to the point where he couldn’t think straight.
    Whilst the horrible fate offered Greece by Troika was not what he wanted, it was an evil they could understand; and of course “it might magically not end up so desperate” … The leap into the unknown, however, had no safety net that he could imagine.
    Will he do different this time, I hope so. But he can interpret his mandate both ways. The early days of his leadership where he and Varoufakis fought the good fight before they nobbled Yanis as he got off the bus before the final, or his 180 degree volte-face surrender after winning the referendum. He can interpret the will of the people any way he chooses.
    I fear he will go for the devil he knows. He is not poor and desperate, he has things he wants to safeguard.


  29. Sorry, I missed your comment earlier.

    The point I made was that the regulators should have known about this technology. They aren’t there to check the number of nails in the horses’ shoes these days.

    This was a fit-up.


  30. Indeed so, but the City and the Bank of England still like that comfy feeling one gets from knowing one lives in a democracy. Even if that democracy extends just as far as the walls of their club rooms…

    N is next to ‘m’ and from the tone of your comment, it was obvious that it was a mistake.


  31. I think the Greeks also have a great psychological need to be part of Europe, unlike the Arabs, Turks and Africans that they despise.


  32. @ eryx-t

    I agree. Tsipras being an EU agent is a strong possibility. With support for the traditional Greek parties falling in recent years, it was obvious that the EU would need to control those parties on the left and right that attracted protest votes. That meant Syriza on the left. I’m sure the likes of Siemens and VW could be called upon to use the slush fund companies that they have set up to support Mutti Merkel.


  33. @ Gemma

    Stop arguing over forecasts and look at what actually happened, see the link below:


    From my memory the peak in the budget deficit as a percentage of national income was greater than the 7% indicated in the graph. However, let’s not argue and accept 7%. At the time, when there were capital controls in place, this was a huge deficit and soaked up a large proportion of national savings. The Left were of course keen to increase the deficit. The resulting fall in corporate investment would eventually have driven the private sector into the ground.

    Of course, the budget deficit as a proportion of national income has been as high or higher twice since, in the early 90s and after the implosion of Brown’s ‘economic miracle’. That size of budget deficit was only sustained because the removal of capital controls in 1979 meant that Britain could import huge amounts of foreign capital. This is what we have done over 35 years. The UK has flipped from being one of the world’s major creditors to being a debtor. In fact currently the net capital inflow into the UK is at record levels. Thank God that debt is largely denominated in sterling which the Bank of England will let slide to parity with the dollar.

    Some people might like the idea of being used by the Chinese to test their nuclear power plants or for the centre of London to be owned by people who have plundered the natural resources of their countries. I don’t.


  34. Yes, quite so. Tsipras comes from the very haute-bourgeois class that cannot envisage life outside the eurozone. This explains a lot about his sensitivity to that view.


  35. Thanks for the link, Chris, it was a neat summary of current problems in Britain’s government spending.

    I couldn’t see anything that preceded 1970 though… and my comment focussed on the mid sixties.

    One or two alarming statements from the article you quoted: “Borrowing of £70 billion is equivalent to just under £1,100 per head of UK population. It is similar to the amount spent by the Department for Education” (ouch!!) and “As a result, debt is a much larger sum of money. Public sector debt is forecast to be £1,532 billion (i.e. £1.532 trillion), or 80% of national income in 2015/16. This is equivalent to around £24,000 per person in the UK” – that’s a killer. Whilst the graph depicting deficits is heading downwards, hopefully, that only means the debt isn’t mounting up so fast. Plus that deficit needs to be reduced to negative numbers just to counteract all the cumulative interest payments…

    It really ain’t looking very nice, is it?

    But back to my thoughts – do you have a link to Crosland’s diary?? Or a copy you’d not mind lending out??


  36. chrisB

    “this was a huge deficit and soaked up a large proportion of national savings”
    This is exactly back the front. Govt deficits INCREASE non Govt national savings. They are not soaked up. But this shows the level of confusion about this subject

    “In fact currently the net capital inflow into the UK is at record levels” and “Britain could import huge amounts of foreign capital” I think you are confused here as well. The Uk does not need capital to run a deficit or to spend. It’s required reserves and these can be created out of thin air as and when required. Bond issues are just a hangover from the gold standard days. But being monetary sovereign the Govt will always find buyers find their bonds. I suggest you read a book like the 7 economic frauds by Warren Mosler.


  37. @gemma
    “This is equivalent to around £24,000 per person in the UK” – that’s a killer”

    No it is not. It will be the Uk’s savior. Unlike Greece the UK is monetary sovereign so rising Govt debt within reason is good not bad. Its allow the non Govt sector to net save for a start. Without this its not possible


  38. Agree 100%. He willingly capitulated. Even after the vote went the wrong way. And I’m sure he will be very well looked after for the great work done.

    But Greeks have no one to blame but themselves. The only option was / is to leave the Euro. Otherwise they will be destroyed. Maybe when the ruling class own everything of value they will be thrown a few crumbs. But it will be too late then.


  39. RJ! Just because Britain has a measure of control over its own currency does not mean that it can spend money like the US and expect everybody else to pay for their excesses.

    If interest rates should be forced upwards (which the BoE will NOT do) then the UK is going to be in a dangerous corner.

    You had your chance, and making excuses for it by saying you have control over your currency isn’t going to help. Just making a currency stronger or weaker wouldn’t do much when a country is under pressure from external forces over which the country has no control. In fact, such control has had little effect in a crisis, as was the case when sterling was forced out of the EMU.


  40. I tend to believe that Tsipras was constructed out of SYRIZA by some local elites group after all the old political establishments were burnt. Tsipras as a person was ideal because he will do whatever they tell him and without any trace of shame. I believe Dragasakis and a few others are the core group.
    When Greece was deep in crisis and the SYRIZA party was not yet able to react the elites promoted the Golden Dawn nazis as an expression of discontent. Then Tsipras, Dragasakis and a few others toured the world presenting themselves. When SYRIZA was ready they blocked Golden Dawn from extending to the middle classes by organising 3 killings (one young leftist singer to create outrage and two unknown middle class young boys to stop the feeling of safety that GD was selling).
    So the Tsipras construct was played by the EU and by the US. The US side maybe led them to believe they would have their support to bargain for a better agreement. It is possible that Tsipras and Merkel always assured each other that they wanted an agreement but they would have to persuade their partners and in order to do so they would have to shake them a bit. The Germans wanted to crush any resistance and believed they could do so without being exposed. But they were exposed and that to me seems as something the US wanted and achieved. Germany is the country with the biggest resistance to the TPP. France and Italy also played for the US side.
    One question remains about Varoufakis: was he in the same game or he was hired to give an impressive performance and then take the blame. I give slightly more chances to the second hypothesis but still can not decide.
    The sad reality in Greece is that we now have a parliamentary dictatorship. Yes, that’s it. For 3 consecutive elections and one referendum Greek voters voted anti-MOU and got more and more MEPs voting FOR the MOUs. Now it is total domination. Almost no representation of the people’s will in the parliament. Is this democracy?
    Of course the euro currency is the biggest obstacle. People tend to cling on whatever seems like gold. they do not realize gold-like international money means poverty and return to the middle ages.


  41. @jemma

    You are completely wrong about this. Don’t believe everything you read. The UK is not like a household but many treat it as one. Since moving off the gold standard and floating their currency the UK Govt is completely monetary sovereign. That’s what the euro is really all about. To remove control for MS Govts and hand it back to the markets.

    Read Warren Moslers book mentioned above. You can verify it yourself if you understand simple double entry book keeping and what a financial asset and the matching financial liability is.

    But in simple terms focus on the financial asset (money or bonds held by us) not the exactly equal financial liability (the bond liability or BoE reserves debt liability held by the treasury) and then it becomes much clearer.


  42. JW, Tsipras might have been presented with a Syria/Yugoslavia/Libya/Ukraine “democracy” scenario for Greece “in case he…”. Anything else needed? Or would you believe that anybody from “friends and allies” in such an “implementation” would care about the Greeks beyond the asset stripping booty? His “coming in line” just delayed the inevitable planned destruction of the Greek state mechanism until other targets in the area are “dealt with” and hydrocarbs/resources are finally plundered per se. One at a time.


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