Cyprus Banks steal Depositors money

This is rather a long read. It is important that we all know the facts. If banks were properly regulated this would not have happened. It all started back in 2008 in the US and is still continuing. The question we all should be asking is, why is it those who created the problem never get punished?

Cyprus Steal The West’s Premeditated Bank Robbery

By Jeff Nielson 04/01/13

VANCOUVER, Canada (Bullions Bull Canada) — The veils have been removed. The open criminality of Western regimes is now on display for all the world to see. Bank robbery is now official government policy across the West with no debate and no voting.

As was noted in my original commentary on this government-perpetrated crime, it was immediately obvious that this was an entirely staged/scripted event. To fully comprehend the premeditated nature of this crime requires a detailed examination of the chronology.

December 10, 2012:

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the UK Bank of England jointly release a “position paper” titled “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.” Sounds wonderful: “resolving.” They are finally coming up with a plan to put the “Too Big To Fail” fraud factories out of our misery. Wrong.

This document is a blueprint for precisely the opposite: propping up these TBTF monstrosities forever. This manifesto was simply coming up with new “proposals for financing” — i.e. feeding the Beast. And one of these proposals was the “bail-in.”

…[Item 19] The introduction of a statutory bail-in resolution tool (the power to write down or convert into equity the liabilities of a failing firm)… [emphasis mine]

Why was there no rioting in the streets of the U.S. and UK? Why were there no scathing condemnations from our wonderful “free press?” In fact, why did the media not even mention the “bail-in” was now government policy for the U.S. and UK?

And what about our “leaders,” the politicians? Why did not a single one of these stalwarts in the U.S./UK utter so much as a “peep” about bank robbery becoming official government policy in the United States and United Kingdom?

Because when these traitor governments made this their “official policy” they never fully defined what they really meant by “bail-in.” Here is as close as the FDIC/Bank of England come to telling the truth:

…A bail-in tool would enable the U.K. authorities to recapitalize an institution by allocating losses to its shareholders and unsecured creditors…[emphasis mine]

Why were no UK politicians protesting the “bail-in?” Because when the Bank of England spoke of “allocating losses to…unsecured creditors” no one would have dreamed that what this central bank really meant was stealing the money out of peoples’ bank accounts.

It should be noted that while that provision was explicitly designated as applying only to “the U.K. regime” that it can be implicitly understood that it applies to the U.S. as well. While the provisions for “the U.S. regime” do not use the term “bail-in,” here is the vague language which was employed:

…Title II [of the Dodd-Frank Act] requires that the losses of any financial company placed into receivership will not be borne by taxpayers, but by common and preferred stockholders, debt holders, and other unsecured creditors… [emphasis mine]

December 10, 2012:

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the UK Bank of England jointly release a “position paper” titled “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.” Sounds wonderful: “resolving.” They are finally coming up with a plan to put the “Too Big To Fail” fraud factories out of our misery. Wrong.

This document is a blueprint for precisely the opposite: propping up these TBTF monstrosities forever. This manifesto was simply coming up with new “proposals for financing” — i.e. feeding the Beast. And one of these proposals was the “bail-in.”

…[Item 19] The introduction of a statutory bail-in resolution tool (the power to write down or convert into equity the liabilities of a failing firm)… [emphasis mine]

Why was there no rioting in the streets of the U.S. and UK? Why were there no scathing condemnations from our wonderful “free press?” In fact, why did the media not even mention the “bail-in” was now government policy for the U.S. and UK?

And what about our “leaders,” the politicians? Why did not a single one of these stalwarts in the U.S./UK utter so much as a “peep” about bank robbery becoming official government policy in the United States and United Kingdom?

Because when these traitor governments made this their “official policy” they never fully defined what they really meant by “bail-in.” Here is as close as the FDIC/Bank of England come to telling the truth:

…A bail-in tool would enable the U.K. authorities to recapitalize an institution by allocating losses to its shareholders and unsecured creditors…[emphasis mine]

Why were no UK politicians protesting the “bail-in?” Because when the Bank of England spoke of “allocating losses to…unsecured creditors” no one would have dreamed that what this central bank really meant was stealing the money out of peoples’ bank accounts.

It should be noted that while that provision was explicitly designated as applying only to “the U.K. regime” that it can be implicitly understood that it applies to the U.S. as well. While the provisions for “the U.S. regime” do not use the term “bail-in,” here is the vague language which was employed:

…Title II [of the Dodd-Frank Act] requires that the losses of any financial company placed into receivership will not be borne by taxpayers, but by common and preferred stockholders, debt holders, and other unsecured creditors… [emphasis mine]

The official policy of the U.S. government is precisely the same as that of the UK (hence the joint “position paper”). The FDIC simply didn’t articulate its own plans for bank robbery to the same degree. Put another way: There were seven sections detailing how the UK would “resolve” these “systemically important institutions” (but no mention of bank-robbery) versus only two sections for the U.S.

Now we come to the remainder of the chronology, which not only proves that the Cyprus Steal was planned (at least) as far back as December 2012, but that the fix was in: our traitor governments had already reached agreement with the traitor government of Cyprus to perpetrate this crime.

March 15:

The EU banking cabal and its puppet politicians “surprise” the world by announcing a plan to steal money out of the bank accounts of ordinary people in order to “recapitalize” a private bank in Cyprus, while a publicly owned bank would be liquidated and also fed to the private bank. Victimizing the people twice in order to temporarily prop up another reckless/insolvent fraud factory.

As noted previously, this was obviously a proposal intended to fail in this silly, two-act theater. This was proven by the zealous insistence of the European Central Bank that the original proposal must “magnify the hit” on smaller depositors. This would ensure maximum public outrage, and guarantee that the politicians would vote against it.

The ECB is the third member of the Western Troika, along with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. They were solely responsible for the final language of the original proposal; solely responsible for its rejection.

March 19:

Cyprus politicians (government and opposition alike) unanimously reject the “bail-in.” What a surprise!

March 21:

Stephen Harper, leader of Canada’s Conservative government officially tables the 2013 Canadian Budget, which makes the “bail-in” the official law of Canada.

[page 145] The Government proposes to implement a bail-in regime for systemically important banks…

As with the U.S. and UK, the Canadian document contains nothing but weasel-words that never fully define what “bail-in” really means — i.e. robbing peoples’ bank accounts to temporarily prop-up reckless/parasitic banks.

Is Stephen Harper the most stupid politician in the Western world? Two days after the government of Cyprus unanimously rejects bank robbery as a means to “recapitalize banks,” Harper makes this the official law of Canada. Would he really want to go into the next election as “Stephen Harper: Bank Robber of the West” or did Harper know something then, almost no one else knew?

March 25:

The government of Cyprus approves the “new and improved” Cyprus Steal amid reports that the Big Money had already been warned about this bank robbery, and had moved their own money out weeks/months ahead of time.

Now our picture is complete.

We have our traitor governments planning this bank robbery months in advance and warning the big-money oligarchs so they would not be affected. We have them then staging an “emergency.”

The TG’s then tell us that because of this “emergency” they need to instantly raise a lot of money, and so they don’t have time to fairly and systematically “tax” people with some broad, general levy; rather, they “need to” simply seize wealth from a particular group of targeted victims.

This time it was stealing money out of bank accounts. Next time it might be confiscating pensions. The blueprint (i.e. script) is now firmly in place:

  • (Secretly) plan the robbery.
  • Warn the Big Money (so all their wealth is moved to safety).
  • Announce/stage an “emergency.”
  • Perpetrate the theft.

The criminality of the West’s traitor governments is now a matter of record. Their written confessions are contained in official, public documents.

The question then becomes: What will be the response of the Sheep — i.e. the pseudo-citizens of these regimes? Will they simply sit back and submit to a “taxation regime” that has now abandoned even the pretense of legitimacy?

If the answer to that question is “yes” then one can only conclude the Sheep deserve to be robbed. They elect these traitor governments. They continue snoozing when the politicians publicly announce they plan on openly stealing from them. They allow themselves to be robbed.

You can’t help victims who refuse to help themselves.

What about the rest of us, the remaining citizens of these once-legitimate regimes? We have no choice but to protect ourselves — not with guns, but with our brains.

With first “MF Global” and now the Cyprus Steal we have incontrovertible proof that no paper asset is safe in the West. Period.

We must therefore divest ourselves of as much paper as possible, with “physical” gold and silver bullion being the best/safest option. Do not pump every last penny of your wealth into our “bubble” real-estate markets. They are all doomed to suffer major crashes.

Obviously, we will receive no further “warnings” from our governments. Source

 

‘It’s robbery!’ New Cyprus bombshell as Britons are told they may lose EVERYTHING over £85k

  • Bank of Cyprus will see 37.5% of deposits over £85k converted into shares
  • Laiki Bank customers are also reported to be facing the loss of 80%
  • Experts say there is a good chance that shares will be worthless

By Dan Atkinson And Ian Gallagher

March 31 2013

British expats in Cyprus face a near-total wipe-out of any deposits over £85,000 as the full nightmare  of the stricken island’s EU bailout became clear yesterday.

Although it was known that the wealthiest savers would take a  large hit from last week’s €10 billion (£8.5 billion) EU rescue deal, the loss is far greater than feared.

The blow will fall on customers of the country two biggest banks – Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank.

Bank of Cyprus savers will see 37.5 per cent of any deposits over €100,000 (£85,000) converted into shares in the bank, with a strong possibility that these will prove worthless. Another 40 per cent will be repaid only if the bank does well in future, while 22.5 per cent will go into a contingency fund that could be subject to further write-offs.

Laiki Bank customers are also reported to be facing the loss of 80 per cent of their deposits above the £85,000 limit.

An early bailout plan – highlighted by The Mail on Sunday two weeks ago – would have seen the losses shared across all bank customers, regardless of their balance.

However, that plan was voted down by the Cypriot parliament, leaving the country in urgent need of a new solution to raise its €5.8 billion contribution towards the bailout.

The deal – which was clinched last Monday between Cyprus, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund – made clear that richer bank customers would shoulder a much larger bill.

Although it is not known how many of the 60,000 British expats living  on the island have deposits of  more than £85,000, it is likely that a considerable number will be caught in the net.

Neil Hodgson, 48, who moved to Paphos, on the south-west coast of the island, six years ago, said he has lost nearly £200,000. The former farmer, who has two accounts with Bank of Cyprus, added: ‘I had more than €300,000 in my deposit account and €20,000 in my current account. When I went to the bank the other day I was told the total balance for both is €100,000.

‘They were unable to explain how this had been worked out but indicated I might get some back at a later stage.

‘I checked online and it confirmed that the €20,000 in my current account remains, but that I only have €80,000 in my savings account. It’s robbery, plain and simple.’

Laiki Bank customers are also reported to be facing the loss of 80 per cent of their deposits above the £85,000 limit

Banks in Cyprus are open for normal business but with strict restrictions on how much money their clients can access, after being shut for nearly two weeks

Mr Hodgson, from Newcastle upon Tyne, whose wife died two years ago, said he moved to Cyprus believing he was destined for a ‘happy life of semi-retirement’.

‘Our farm in Ayrshire was bought by a mining company and I came into a lot of money,’ he added. ‘We moved to Cyprus for the sunshine and easy life but it has turned into  a nightmare.

‘My big mistake was to move all my money here, but at the time things were very stable. Most of  the Brits here had the foresight to move their money in the last few months, but I genuinely thought it would be OK. I’m not sure what the future holds now.’

The Treasury has said it will  compensate any of the 3,000 British Service personnel facing losses.
Those hit hardest include thousands of wealthy Russians who  have deposited millions of euros on the stricken island. Peter Dixon, strategist at European bank Commerzbank, said: ‘These suggested new sacrifices being demanded of better-off depositors sound even worse than we assumed.

‘The problems in Cyprus are twofold. First, the central bank ignored the huge build-up of debt. There was a problem of mismanagement.

‘Secondly, the Cypriots essentially imposed these tough solutions on themselves and the eurozone rubber-stamped them.’

Last week markets took fright at suggestions that the Cyprus model could be a blueprint for future  bailouts elsewhere in Europe.

Those with less than £85,000 in the bank have also seen themselves hit by the bailout. Temporary capital controls have been imposed to stop residents taking cash off the island, including capping cash machine withdrawals at €300 a day.

At the same time, businesses have been told they will be unable to transfer more than €5,000 abroad without approval, while no one, including tourists, can leave the island with over €1,000 in cash.

Meanwhile, the spotlight has now swung to Slovenia, another small member of the single currency in which investors are losing faith.

Last week, the price it had to pay to borrow money jumped sharply as markets began to take account of the risk that the country may default on its debts. However, on Friday, finance minister Uros Cufer insisted: ‘We will need no bailout this year. I am calm.’

 

Dan Atkinson: How the euro turned into the biggest theft in history

For a currency that promised to provide a sure bet on a glorious future, the euro is turning into the biggest theft of people’s savings in Western Europe since the war.

Greece, Ireland, Portugal  and Spain were among the first  to be crushed by the fallacy of  a one-size-fits-all currency.  Now it is Cyprus’s turn, and the scale of losses for some savers  is eye-watering.

Last week, the latest Cypriot bailout proposals hinted at a 40 per cent levy on all deposits of more than €100,000, or £85,000. This weekend, it emerged that the true cost for those better-off depositors could be much closer  to 80 per cent. British expats feature prominently among those who will suffer from an effective confiscation of their assets.

Claims that the victims are shady Russian oligarchs have  a nasty whiff to them, and even  if some of the cash that will be taken is of doubtful provenance, that cannot justify the burden now being placed on the tiny island economy.

Smaller savers may not have been hit by a levy on their bank accounts, but they will be swept up in the economic storm that is sure to descend  on Cyprus as a result of such draconian measures.

It’s tempting to wonder why any troubled eurozone country like Cyprus was ever let into what was obviously a rich man’s club.

But that is unfair – the poorer members were welcomed with open arms, with the assurance that the euro would turn them into German-style economic titans. It was like persuading  a pauper to join a casino.

Yes, Cyprus let its banking sector balloon wildly and, yes, it is the Cypriot government that has dreamt up some of the more masochistic features of the various bailout plans.

But all this human sacrifice in the eurozone – austerity, mass unemployment, arbitrary bank account levies – is about saving the euro. You wonder how much pain there has to be before someone realises that what must be sacrificed is the euro itself. Source

Morici: The Insanity of the Cyprus Crisis

By Peter Morici 03/28/13

NEW YORK Cyprus did not manufacture its banking crisis. The European Central Bank and European Union bear that responsibility. Yet, Cypriots will pay the price for their dysfunctions.

Until recently, Cyprus was a prosperous island economy with robust tourism, shipping and a significant international banking sector. Its big banks, like others in Europe, attracted large overseas deposits and invested heavily in sovereign debt. In Cyprus, much of the money came from Russia and was invested in Greek bonds.

Like the United States, the large banks are subject to stress tests but with an important distinction. The Federal Reserve is responsible both for undertaking those tests and sustaining the operation and protecting depositors of large money center banks in a crisis. During the recent financial meltdown, the Federal Reserve printed billions of dollars to purchase souring bonds and the U.S. Treasury borrowed to inject new capital into large banks when their mortgage-backed securities failed.

In the eurozone, the European Banking Authority undertakes those stress tests, and in 2010 and 2011 — well aware of their considerable holdings in Greek bonds — determined Cypriot banks had plenty of capital to withstand a financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Greece was in the throes of a financial crisis. In February 2012, the European Central Bank and European Union, along with the International Monetary Fund, imposed a 53.5% haircut on all private bondholders — for all practical purposes, that sunk the large Cypriot banks and manufactured their crisis.

Unlike the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank lacks the authority to print money to rescue failing banks. European Banking Authority is an arm of the European Union, which lacks the borrowing authority of the U.S. Treasury and the taxing capacity to back up bonds. Hence neither the ECB nor EU is in a position to bail out the Cypriot banks without substantial contributions and consent from the largest and healthiest European economy, Germany.

Germany might be willing to extend ECB the authority to print money and the EU to borrow and tax to save banks in Frankfurt but not in Cyprus or just about anyplace outside Germany. Domestic politics prevent the German government from borrowing and taxing to bail out other troubled European banks and governments without extracting a high price from private actors. In Greece, those were private bondholders, which included banks spread throughout Europe but most heavily those in Cyprus.

Simply, Cypriot banks hardly have enough capital to cover their losses on Greek sovereign debt, and their economy is too small to afford the Cypriot government the borrowing and taxing capacity to rescue them.

In exchange for 10 billion euros in aid, the ECB and EU are demanding that Cypriot banks be downsized — banking in Cyprus can be no larger than the average for the entire European Union. Moreover, under eurozone rules, championed by Germany, austerity — cuts in government spending and strict limits on deficits — will be required.

In Cyprus, the loss of international banking will impose double-digit unemployment of perhaps as high as 20% because this small island economy cannot devalue its currency to attract new investment, as Iceland did after its crisis. Most laid-off workers, whose native tongue is generally Greek, have few employment options elsewhere in Europe.

Thanks to a crisis manufactured by the European Central Bank and European Union, with the help of the International Monetary Fund, Cyprus will join Spain, Portugal and Greece in a permanent recession.

Spain suffered a similar banking crisis premised on foreign money inflows and real estate loans and similar problems engineering a recovery. The contrast between Spain and Cyprus, which are locked into the euro, and Iceland, which has its own currency and recovered, plainly illustrates the euro does not make sense for these economies.

Germany’s prescription for all these economies is austerity. Observing failed experiences with those policies across the Mediterranean recalls the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

The bailout terms and prescriptions for restructuring imposed on Cyprus are nothing short of insane, and the only sane course would be for Cyprus and the other Club Med states to negotiate an orderly withdrawal from the euro. Source

The Great Cyprus Bank Robbery

Ron Paul

After Cyprus, the EU’s Attention Turns to Tiny Luxembourg

By Peter Coy

March 29, 2013

It’s getting hot in Luxembourg, a nation that’s something like Cyprus on steroids. Its population is smaller and its banking sector is bigger. If you thought it was risky for banks in Cyprus to have assets about eight times the national gross domestic product, then what is one to make of Luxembourg, where the multiple is nearly 23?

Worryingly for Luxembourg, there’s a new idea afloat that European Union nations, even small ones, should take responsibility for saving banks operating within their borders, instead of falling back on the EU for help. This week, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is president of the euro zone group of finance ministers, had tough words for the likes of Luxembourg and Malta in a joint Reuters-Financial Times interview:

Deal with it before you get in trouble. Strengthen your banks, fix your balance sheets, and realize that if a bank gets in trouble, the response will no longer automatically be: We’ll come and take away your problems. We’re going to push them back. That’s the first response that we need. Push them back. You deal with them.

Dijsselbloem later said that he did not intend to say that the original Cyprus plan to tax depositors of Cypriot banks should be a template for other bailouts.

Seemingly in response, the government of Luxembourg warned that the European Union risks hurting financial stability if it moves to isolate banking systems within national borders. “Luxembourg will therefore not adhere to policies that intend to renationalize elements of the single market,” the government said in an e-mailed statement, according to Bloomberg News.

In a March 27 statement, (PDF) the Luxembourg government said it is “concerned about recent statements and declarations” on financial systems and the “alleged risks” of over-dependence on banks. It pointed to the “very high solvency ratios” of the mostly international banks, insurers, and asset managers operating on Luxembourg soil.

Luxembourg has a population of about 520,000 people, making it no bigger than Albuquerque, N.M. It relied on financial services for 23.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2011, the highest proportion in Europe, according to the European Union’s statistics office. The figure for Cyprus was 8.9 percent. Assets of its banks are nearly 23 times as big as the national gross domestic product. That compares with a little over eight for Cyprus. Still, Luxembourg’s banks are far healthier than those of Cyprus, which were overexposed to Greece.

There’s no realistic way for Luxembourg to rescue its banking sector if serious trouble develops. That’s why for Luxembourg, shoring up the commitment to shared responsibility for bank bailouts is a matter of life and death. Source

 

European Austerity Costing Lives:

As the euro crisis wears on, the tough austerity measures implemented in ailing member states are resulting in serious health issues, a study revealed on Wednesday. Mental illness, suicide rates and epidemics are on the rise, while access to care has dwindled. Source

 

Financial Wars:

Attack is the Best Form of Defence

By Alexander GOROKHOV

The US has been using its best endeavours to create a Free Trade Zone with the European Union with a view to finally removing the remaining barriers to the penetration of American capital into Europe and, after engineering the collapse of the euro, to buy up Europe’s tastiest morsels using vastly inflated dollars under the pretext of saving the EU’s economy.Source

The criminals are protected and everyone else pays.

Believe me when I say no one wants to live in a Free Trade Zone.

 

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Published in: on April 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm  Comments Off on Cyprus Banks steal Depositors money  
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Violence erupts as general strike shuts down Greece

Oct. 19 2011

ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of rioting youths smashed and looted stores in central Athens on Wednesday during a big anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures that erupted into violence.

Outside parliament, demonstrators hurled chunks of marble and gasoline bombs at riot police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police said at least 14 officers were hospitalized with injuries. At least three journalists covering the demonstrations sustained minor injuries.

The violence spread across the city centre, as at least 100,000 people marched through the Greek capital on the first day of a two-day general strike that unions described as the largest protest in years.

Police and rioters held running battles through the narrow streets of central Athens, as thick black smoke billowed from burning trash and bus-stops.

Wednesday’s strike, which grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down shops and schools, came before a parliamentary vote late Thursday on new tax increases and spending cuts.

International creditors have demanded the reforms before they give Greece its next infusion of cash. Greece says it will run out of money in a month without the C8 billion ($11 billion) bailout money from its partners that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund.

Most of the protesters who converged in central Athens marched peacefully, but crowds outside of parliament clashed with police who tried to disperse them with repeated rounds of tear gas. A gasoline bomb set fire to a presidential guard sentry post at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Parliament, while running clashes broke out in several side streets near the legislature and the capital’s main Syntagma Square.

Nearby, groups of hooded, masked protesters tore chunks of marble off building fronts with hammers and crowbars and smashed windows and bank signs. Scuffles also broke out among rioters and demonstrators trying to prevent youths from destroying storefronts and banks along the march route.

Vendors sold swimming goggles to rioters, who used them to ward off the tear gas.

Thousands of people watched the skirmishes, some standing on kiosk roofs to get a better view. Trash was strewn around the streets, and some protesters set clumps of it on fire.

In Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, protesters smashed the facades of about 10 shops that defied the strike and remained open, as well as five banks and cash machines. Police fired tear gas and threw stun grenades.

All sectors — from dentists, hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, pharmacists, teachers and dock workers — walked off the job before a parliamentary vote Thursday on new austerity measures which include new taxes and the suspension of tens of thousands of civil servants.

Flights were grounded in the morning but some resumed at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their strike plan from 48 hours to 12. Dozens of domestic and international flights were still cancelled. Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged work stoppages but kept buses, trolleys and the Athens subway system running to help protesters.

In Parliament, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told lawmakers that Greeks had no choice but to accept the hardship.

“We have to explain to all these indignant people who see their lives changing that what the country is experiencing is not the worst stage of the crisis,” he said. “It is an anguished and necessary effort to avoid the ultimate, deepest and harshest level of the crisis. The difference between a difficult situation and a catastrophe is immense.”

About 3,000 police deployed in central Athens, shutting down two subway stations near parliament as protest marches began. Protesters banged drums and chanted slogans against the government and Greece’s international creditors who have pressured the country to push through rounds of tax hikes and spending cuts.

“We just can’t take it any more. There is desperation, anger and bitterness,” said Nikos Anastasopoulos, head of a workers’ union for an Athens municipality.

Other municipal workers said they had no option but to take to the streets.

“We can’t make ends meet for our families,” said protester Eleni Voulieri. “We’ve lost our salaries, we’ve lost everything and we’re in danger of losing our jobs.”

Demonstrations during a similar 48-hour strike in June left the centre of Athens convulsed by violence as rioters clashed with police on both days while deputies voted on another austerity package inside Parliament.

Piles of garbage festered on Athens street corners despite Tuesday’s government order to garbage crews to end their 17-day strike. Earlier in the week, private crews removed some trash from along the planned demonstration routes, but mounds remained on side streets, along some of the march routes and in city neighbourhoods.

Protesting civil servants have also staged rounds of sit-ins at government buildings, with some, including the Finance Ministry, under occupation for days.

Most stores in the city centre, including bakeries and kiosks were shut Wednesday. Several shop owners said they had received threats that their stores would be smashed if they attempted to open.

The measures to be voted on come after more than a year and a half of repeated spending cuts and tax increases. They include new tax hikes, further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants and the suspension of collective labour contracts.

A communist party-backed union has vowed to encircle Parliament Thursday in an attempt to prevent deputies from entering the building for the vote.

The reforms have been so unpopular that even some lawmakers from the governing Socialists have indicated they might vote against them.

Meanwhile, European countries are trying to work out a broad solution to the continent’s deepening debt crisis, before a weekend summit in Brussels. It became clear earlier this year that the initial bailout for Greece was not working as well as had been hoped, and European leaders agreed on a second, C109 billion ($151 billion) bailout. But key details of that rescue fund, including the participation of the private sector, remain to be worked out. Source

EU raids banks amid suspicions they colluded

Oct. 19, 2011

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union’s competition watchdog said Wednesday it conducted unannounced inspections at several banks amid suspicions they may have colluded to manipulate euro interest rate derivatives.

The European Commission said it is looking into a possible cartel by companies active in the sector of derivatives linked to the Euro Interbank Offered Rate — a key interest-rate benchmark.

The Commission said the raids started on Tuesday, but didn’t name the firms whose premises it inspected.

There are trillions of euros in derivatives whose value is based on developments in the Euribor and they make up a significant slice of the profitable business of derivatives trading, which has grown exponentially in recent years.

The Euribor is set by a group of 44 banks and is based on the interest rates they charge for lending to other financial institutions.

Inspections, during which investigators collect documents that could aid their case, are an early step in EU competition probes and happen before the Commission starts an in-depth investigation into suspected cartels and other violations of EU competition law.

The inspections are another sign that competition watchdogs are stepping up their scrutiny of the financial sector as a result of the 2008 credit crunch and the European debt crisis.

Press reports earlier this year said that the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission were looking into suspected manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is a benchmark rate similar to the Euribor but used much more widely.

Earlier this year, the European Commission also opened an investigation into practices of some of the world’s largest banks in the market for credit default swaps, derivatives that act as a sort of insurance against default.Source

The US should be investigating their own banks including the Federal Reserve.

They lead to the downfall of Greece.

The International Monetary Fund is basically run by the US and other rich countries. It  is a horrid creature that should be eliminated as should the World Bank. Both are nothing more then a dictatorship that imposed massive hardship on countries. The  IMF Can Only Bring Misery.

For six decades, the World Bank and IMF have imposed policies, programs, and projects that:

  • Decimate women’s rights and devastate their lives, their families, and their communities;
  • Subjugate democratic governance and accountability to corporate profits and investment portfolios;
  • Trap countries in a cycle of indebtedness and economic domination;
  • Force governments to privatize essential services;
  • Put profits before peoples’ rights and needs;
  • Abet the devastation of the environment in the name of development and profit;
  • Institutionalize the domination of the wealthy over the impoverished – the new form of colonialism; and
  • Facilitate corporate agendas through the economic re-structuring of countries enduring conflict and occupation, such as East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Check out what they do in Africa.

The World Bank and IMF in Africa

Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

Greece Country Profile

If the US  can’t get you with the IMF, World Bank or Free Trade Agreements  — they send in the CIA.

One way or the other they will make your lives miserable and even kill you to get what they want. They even start wars to get what they want.

One has to wonder how many problems are still created by the CIA in other countries. They can  cause financial chaos to other countries as well. They manipulate elections in other countries and invent anything to overturn governments they do not like.

One has to wonder if those Masked folks in Greece that stir up violence, may be associated with the CIA.  The US does not like Socialism. That is one of their tactics they use often.

This fellow has a number of Videos that can be watched I recommend them all so you can get some insight into what the CIA is really like. They have not changed over the years only now everything they do is kept secret and always chalked up to National Security so no one can find out what they are up to.  Do take the time to watch as many of the Video with John in them.  Then maybe you will understand just how the US destroys other countries.

John Stockwell – CIA’s War on Humans

Feb 13, 2008

John R. Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving in the Agency for thirteen years serving seven tours of duty. After managing U.S. involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies, a book which remains the only detailed, insider’s account of a major CIA “covert action.”

Some things never change

More John Stockwell on the CIA and the Covert Action

John Stockwell on the Election of George H. W. Bush (1988)

This explains how they did many things as well, They had a lot of help from Israel in their horrific deeds against innocent people as well.

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

So look at the world around us today and you will notice nothing has changed only gotten worse and the US is still starting wars. They still interfere with other Governments. They still topple Governments they don’t like. Now they have more weapons like the IMF, World Bank, Free Trade, WTO etc.

I could bet a few dollars they have everything to do with the problems in Greece and many other EU countries deep in debt. Wars are also driving countries deep in debt.

Greek lawmakers vote in favour of new austerity bill

Oct. 20 2011

ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers have passed a deeply resented austerity bill that has led to violent protests on the streets of Athens, despite some dissent from one Socialist lawmaker.

The new measures include pay and staff cuts in the civil service as well as pension cuts and tax hikes for all Greeks. The bill passed by majority vote in the 300-member parliament.

Former Labor Minister Louka Katseli voted against one article that scales back collective labour bargaining rights. She voted in favour of the overall bill, but Prime Minister George Papandreou expelled her from the party’s parliamentary group. The move whittles down his parliamentary majority to 153.

The vote came after violent demonstrations that left one person dead and 74 injured. Source

Recent

World Wide Occupy Wall Street Protests

Pentagon Insider Says Green Light On Israel/USA To Strike Iran Within 2 Weeks

Jewish ‘Heroes’ Contest: “self-loving” Jew VS “self-destructive.

UN Member States Must Demand Action Against NATO War Crimes

Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels

We fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas, former NYPD detective testifies

Wall Street/Washington Protesters an Inspiration to Behold

Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 6:25 am  Comments Off on Violence erupts as general strike shuts down Greece  
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Update Haiti Earthquake January 20 2010

January 20 2010 Update

Haiti needs water, not occupation

The US has never wanted Haitian self-rule, and its focus on ‘security concerns’ has hampered the earthquake aid response

By  Mark Weisbrot

January 20 2010

On Monday, six days after the earthquake in Haiti, the US Southern Command finally began to drop bottled water and food from an air force C-17. US defence secretary Robert Gates had previously rejected such a method because of “security concerns”.

If people do not get clean water, there could be epidemics of water-borne diseases that could greatly increase the death toll. But the US is now sending 10,000 troops and seems to be prioritising “security” over much more urgent, life-and-death needs. This in addition to the increase of 3,500 UN troops scheduled to arrive.

On Sunday morning the world-renowned humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders complained that a plane carrying its portable hospital unit was re-routed by the US military through the Dominican Republic. This would cost a crucial 48 hours and an unknown number of lives.

On Sunday, Jarry Emmanuel, air logistics officer for the UN’s World Food Programme, said: “There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti … But most flights are for the US military.”

Yet Lieutenant General PK Keen, deputy commander of the US Southern Command, reports that there is less violence in Haiti now than there was before the earthquake hit. Dr Evan Lyon, of Partners in Health, a medical aid group famous for its heroic efforts in Haiti, referred to “misinformation and rumours … and racism” concerning security issues.

We’ve been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There’s no UN guards. There’s no US military presence. There’s no Haitian police presence. And there’s also no violence. There is no insecurity.

To understand the US government’s obsession with “security concerns,” we must look at the recent history of Washington’s involvement there.

Long before the earthquake, Haiti’s plight has been comparable to that of many homeless people on city streets in the US: too poor and too black to have the same effective constitutional and legal rights as other citizens. In 2002, when a US-backed military coup temporarily toppled the elected government of Venezuela, most governments in the hemisphere responded quickly and helped force the return of democratic rule. But two years later, when Haiti’s democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by the US and flown to exile in Africa, the response was muted.

Unlike the two centuries of looting and pillage of Haiti since its founding by a slave revolt in 1804, the brutal occupation by US marines from 1915 to 1934, the countless atrocities under dictatorships aided and abetted by Washington, the 2004 coup cannot be dismissed as “ancient history.” It was just six years ago, and it is directly relevant to what is happening there now.

The US, together with Canada and France, conspired openly for four years to topple Haiti’s elected government, cutting off almost all international aid in order to destroy the economy and make the country ungovernable. They succeeded. For those who wonder why there are no Haitian government institutions to help with the earthquake relief efforts, this is a big reason. Or why there are 3 million people crowded into the area where the earthquake hit. US policy over the years also helped destroy Haitian agriculture, for example, by forcing the import of subsidised US rice and wiping out thousands of Haitian rice farmers.

Aristide, the country’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown after just seven months in 1991, by military officers and death squads later discovered to be in the pay of the CIA. Now Aristide wants to return to his country, something that the majority of Haitians have demanded since his overthrow. But the US does not want him there. And the René Préval government, which is completely beholden to Washington, has decided that Aristide’s party – the largest in Haiti – will not be allowed to compete in the next elections (originally scheduled for next month).

Washington’s fear of democracy in Haiti may explain why the US is now sending 15,000 troops and prioritizing “security” over other needs.

This military occupation by US troops will raise other concerns in the hemisphere, depending on how long they stay – just as the recent expansion of the US military presence in Colombia has been met with considerable discontent and distrust in the region. And non-governmental organisations have raised other issues about the proposed reconstruction: understandably they want Haiti’s remaining debt cancelled, and grants rather than loans (the IMF has proposed a $100m dollar loan). Reconstruction needs will be in the billions of dollars: will Washington encourage the establishment of a functioning government? Or will it prevent that, channelling aid through NGOs and taking over various functions itself, because it of its long-standing opposition to Haitian self-rule?

But most urgently, there is a need for rapid delivery of water. The US air force has the capability to deliver enough water for everyone who needs it in Haiti, until ground supply chains can be established. The more water is available, the less likely there is to be fighting or rioting over this scarce resource. Food and medical supplies could also be supplied through air drops. These operations should be ramped up, immediately. There is no time to lose.

Source

Aid workers frustrated with relief effort. The people are frustrated.

Aid is still not getting to the people 9 days and many are still not getting help.

They need food, they need water, they need shelter, they need medical help.

The aid workers need transportation, they need equipment to work with.

They don’t need 15,000 military personnel.

Again MFS Doctors without Borders who are professionals in disasters have had six Planes Carrying Vital Medical Supplies Are Re-routed

January 20 2010

Six Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo planes loaded with vital medical material like antibiotics have been redirected to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This will delay MSF staff’s ability to treat patients who urgently need it.

Medical aid should be a priority

International aid may at be last trickling, painfully slowly, into the rubble-strewn centre of Port-au-Prince. But in this filthy shanty town half an hour’s drive away, where families sleep five or six to small shacks, next to none has arrived. And the poorest of the poor complain that their plight is being forgotten.

“We don’t have doctors, we don’t have food, we don’t have water,” said Louis Jean Jaris, a 29-year-old resident. “The aid comes to Haiti, but it goes elsewhere. In Cité Soleil we are all victims, just like everyone else, but compared to the rest of the country, we are a low priority. To the people in power, we are not considered to be victims.”

For the entire story go to HERE

If they are wondering why people are getting angry it’s no wonder. It has been 9 DAYS.

The US needs to get it’s bloody priorities straight. This is not a military invasion this is a rescue mission. Isn’t it? Or is it a military invasion just using the earthquake as an excuse.

US says will increase troops in Haiti to to above 15,000
January 21 2010
The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) will be stationed in Haiti.
Why, Why, Why?

Amid growing concerns of Latin American leaders over the presence of the US military in Haiti, Washington plans to send 4,000 troops to the quake-hit country.

A statement from the US Second Fleet Wednesday stated that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has made the decision to dispatch the troops.

The 2,000 sailors and 2,000 marines are from the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to the statement. Their deployment will increase the number of US troops in Haiti to above 15,000.

Three amphibious ships, the USS Nassau, the USS Mesa Verde and the USS Ashland, will support the latest mission, bringing the total number of US Navy and Military Sealift Command vessels to 20.

A 7.0-magnitude quake struck Haiti last week, killing at least 75,000 people and perhaps as many as 200,000. Almost 250,000 people were injured and around 1.5 million people are without shelter.

Meanwhile, the presence of the US military, which has taken command of distribution of humanitarian aid, has raised the ire of some South American leaders, with the presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela condemning the US role.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Haiti seeks “humanitarian aid, not troops.”

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez accused the US of seeking to occupy the quake-stricken nation. “The United States government is using a humanitarian tragedy to militarily occupy Haiti. I read somewhere that they even occupied the [presidential] palace.”

Bolivian leader Evo Morales said that he would seek UN condemnation of the “US military occupation.”

In Europe, France spoke out against the US role, demanding the United Nations to investigate and clarify the US military presence in Haiti.

Three days after the quake, US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince.

The US says its primary mission is to speed distribution of aid, in part by providing security at distribution points and escorting aid convoys.

In the past, Washington has been accused of interfering in Haitian internal affairs on many occasions. The US military played a role in the departure of the former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide before his second term was over in early 2004. Source

Seems this is preparing for war not aid. This should be questioned by everyone the world over.

People are wondering all over the world.  What is really going on?

Aid workers are having a difficult time, getting to where they are needed.

If the US is going to take control of everything they had better get it together and soon.

This is Hurricane Katrina all over again. Now I know for sure.

The time factor is a real indication. When people get angry they accuse them of being violent blah blah blah and so the story of BS goes.

They nor the UN or NATO have been good to Haitians in the past.

Military personnel wold make them feel fearful if anything.

How stupid do the US, UN and NATO think we all are?

Soldiers in Haiti told to stop handing out food

By Jim Michaels
January 20, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Food handouts were shut off Tuesday to thousands of people at a tent city here when the main U.S. aid agency said the Army should not be distributing the packages.

It was not known whether the action reflected a high-level policy decision at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or confusion in a city where dozens of entities are involved in aid efforts.

“We are not supposed to get rations unless approved by AID,” Maj. Larry Jordan said.

Jordan said that approval was revoked; water was not included in the USAID decision, so the troops continued to hand out bottles of water. The State Department and USAID did not respond to requests for comment.

Jordan has been at the airport supervising distribution of individual food packages and bottled water since his arrival last week. Each package provides enough calories to sustain a person for a day.

The food is flown by helicopter to points throughout the capital and distributed by paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. At the tent city, set up at a golf course, more than 10,000 people displaced by the Haitian earthquake lay under makeshift tents. Each day, hundreds of people, many young children, line up for a meal.

Tuesday morning, the helicopters came only with water. Soldiers carried boxes of water in the hot sun and supervised Haitian volunteers who handed the supplies out. Source

And to make it even more interesting.

Guantanamo Prepares For Thousands Of Haitian Refugees

This is a rescue mission, a humanitarian mission, not a military invasion which it seems it has become.

I read a story earlier that was fluffing up Israel, but back at home this is what they are doing. Aid workers are ‘being pushed out’ of Palestinian areas. Well isn’t that just fluffy. Considering they just flooded Gaza on January 18. They for the most part were not really helpful when it came to Haiti either. They for the most part were just as involved in past problems, as they assisted the US.

All of the above mentioned owe Haiti. I am sure some of the past deeds equal war crimes and crimes against humanity. They had better not fluff to much it makes them look like hypocrites.

Considering everything they have done, to those in Haiti in the past that is. It’s a long dreadful history.

Considering the size of Haiti, there must be something extremely important about it or the US and company would have allowed the people to be free. What is it that makes Haiti so special?

Could it be oil? Could it be it’s proximity to Cuba?

Help Haiti rebuild then leave them to be free. Stop stealing their resources. When they elect a new leader, don’t kidnap him.

Some how it reminds me all to often of Gaza and the West Bank.

Haiti: Small Victory for Shock Resistance

In response to the wave of criticism, the IMF has just issued a statement saying that they will try to turn the $100-million loan to Haiti into a grant.

__

Today, the IMF put out an announcement clarifying the terms of its new loan to Haiti–it’s “an interest-free loan of $100 million in emergency funds.” A spokesman for the IMF told me that “the US$100 million loan does not carry any conditionality. It is an emergency loan aimed at getting the Haitian economy back to function again…” The IMF’s managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a statement that the IMF would immediately work to cancel the entirety of Haiti’s debt ($265 million) to the fund: Source

February 22 2008

So what if anything has changed. Seems the earthquake is giving the US a reason to move in even more troops.  How convenient.  Haiti has something they want obviously if not oil, what?

Journalist Kim Ives on How Western Domination Has Undermined Haiti’s Ability to Recover from Natural Devastation Democracy Now!  Video and Transcript

Related

Haiti Oil discovered

Oil and minerals in Haiti(There is an enormous amount of information here)

Oil in Haiti – Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation

Haiti Has Larger Oil Reserves Than Venezuela Says Scientists (An Olympic Pool Compared to a Glass of Water)

Haiti Has Huge Resources of Gold and Iridium Says Former Dominican Petroleum Refinery President Leopoldo Espaillat Nanita

Recent

World aid agencies appeal to Israel to unlock Gaza

US Trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has started

Update on Haiti Earthquake January 19 2010

Israel floods Gaza villages, displacing a hundred families

Update on Haiti Earthquake January 18 2010

Spanish lawmaker’s photo used for bin Laden poster

Alarming glitch hits Facebook mobile accounts compliments of AT&T

The United States, Israel and the Retreat of Freedom

Haiti’s dead are being buried in Mass Graves

How Haiti’s Quarter Million Slaves Will Survive The Quake

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

Evidence Clearly Indicates Staged Attack on Detroit Flight

And this well, Just because I can.  Wake Up.

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on Update Haiti Earthquake January 20 2010  
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US-NATO Using Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

Pentagon’s Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies

By Rick Rozoff

September 22, 2009
Stop NATO

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2009 Year Book documented that international military expenditures for 2008 reached $1.464 trillion. The denomination in dollars is germane as the United States accounted for 41.5 percent of the world total.

Earlier this month the Congressional Research Service in the U.S. reported that American weapons sales abroad reached $37.8 billion, or 68.4 percent of all global arms transactions. The next largest weapons supplier was Italy at $3.7 billion, less than one-tenth the U.S. amount. Russia was third at $3.5 billion. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, asserted that Germany had superseded Britain and France and become the world’s third largest weapons exporter.

Western nations in general and the U.S. overwhelmingly among them dominate the global arms market.

21st century weaponry is daily more technologically advanced, more linked with computer networks and satellite communications, and progressively approaching a blurring of conventional and strategic, terrestrial and space-based capabilities.

And in the U.S. and allied nations the notion of so-called preemptive warfare has advanced precariously to include cyber and satellite attacks that can cripple a targeted nation’s communications, control and air defense centers, thus rendering it both helpless and toothless: Not able to fend off attacks and unable to retaliate against or even forestall them with a secure deterrent force.

The vast preponderance of American and other NATO states’ arms are sold to nations neither in North America and Europe nor on their peripheries.

They are sold to nations like Saudi Arabia, India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Egypt, Taiwan, South Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Kuwait, the Philippines, Morocco and other Western client states and military outposts far removed from the much-vaunted Euro-Atlantic space.

The weapons along with the military technicians, trainers and advisers that inevitably accompany them are spread throughout nations in geostrategically vital areas of the world, near large oil and natural gas reserves and astride key shipping lanes and choke points. In many instances Western-fueled arms buildups are accelerating in nations bordering Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. Geopolitics in its most transparent, cynical and brutal manifestation.

The growing sales of Western arms in the Persian Gulf, the South Caucasus, South America (Chile and Colombia most pronouncedly), Africa, Far East Asia and the South Pacific (Australia in the first instance) are an integral element of American and general Western plans to gain access to and domination over world energy resources.

The campaign is not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the international energy market.

The overarching objective is to control the ownership, transport and consumption of energy worldwide. To determine who receives oil and natural gas, through which routes and at which prices. And to dictate what the political and military quid pro quo will be for being invited to join a U.S.-dominated international energy transportation and accessibility network.

Those who are allowed to exploit, sell and transit hydrocarbons to the Western and ultimately world market are levied for a handsome share of their energy-derived revenues for unprecedented acquisition of arms and for the stationing of U.S. and other NATO states’ military forces on their soil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000 percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in the span of a few years.

A United Press International report of August 25, 2009 estimated that Middle Eastern nations would purchase $100 billion worth of arms over the next five years, with the lion’s share going to the oil-rich Western client states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

There are six major areas in the world that the United States and its allies have targeted in history’s largest scramble for hydrocarbons and, it’s important to remember, against a recent backdrop of diminishing energy consumption, plunging prices and both the discovery and presumption of oil and natural gas reserves hitherto unexploited.

They are the Persian Gulf, the southern rim of the Caribbean Basin, the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Western Africa, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Ocean and adjoining parts of the South Atlantic Ocean.

The first two were the private preserves of Washington and Western Europe until the Iranian revolution of 1979 in the first example and in the second the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 and subsequent developments in that country and in nearby Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

South American oil and gas are no longer available to Washington on its own terms. Though Venezuelan and Ecuadoran officials have voiced the suspicion that the U.S. has recently acquired the use of seven new military bases in neighboring Colombia in part to seize the region’s energy resources.

The U.S. belatedly compensated for the loss of Iran after the overthrow of its proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, thirty years ago by invading neighboring Iraq in 2003.

The announcement of the Carter Doctrine in January of 1980, which bluntly affirmed that the U.S. would wage war for control of Persian Gulf energy resources and by extension those in other parts of the world, codified then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s threat five years earlier to go to war over oil after the Arab petroleum boycott of 1973-1974.

President Carter’s State of the Union address in 1980 included the following comments:

“This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East….Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

The reference to an outside force at the time was the Soviet Union, much nearer the Persian Gulf than the United States. It was later used against a nation in the Gulf, Iraq in 1991, and now is aimed at Iran, another Persian Gulf country.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in the same year that the U.S. and its NATO and Gulf allies first applied the Carter Doctrine, 1991, areas that for several decades had been off limits to the West now became open frontiers for a new oil rush. The Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions most immediately.

The Gulf of Guinea, where America is planning to soon import 25 percent of all its oil – high-grade crude shipped straight across the Atlantic Ocean on tankers – is the center of plans going back to the beginning of this century for what is now Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S.’s first new regional command since Central Command (CENTCOM), which itself was set up in 1983 as an upgrade of the Carter administration’s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East, and the NATO Response Force.

In addition to securing West African oil, U.S. and NATO military expansion in the region also aims at denying it to nations like China and Russia. The practice of acquiring oil wells abroad and of denying them to competitors played no small role in triggering the two world wars of the last century.

The Arctic oil and natural gas bonanza is arguably among the main world developments of the new millennium and an analogous situation obtains in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Oceans.

Three news reports of the past week, one American and two Russian, provide an idea of the magnitude of what is at stake.

On September 17 United Press International ran a feature called “Amid Africa’s oil boom, U.S. binds ties” which included these observations:

“Potentially major oil strikes announced by an American-led consortium and a British company in West Africa have bolstered the region’s reputation as the world’s hottest energy zone.

“It has also become the focus of the U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies….”

The “U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies” is a phrase that warrants being pondered deliberately and within historical perspective. Even the bellicose brusqueness of Kissinger’s war-for-oil advocacy and the Carter Doctrine pale in comparison to the strategic scope of what is now underway.

The same article added these details, pertaining to both ends of the African continent:

“The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday its deepwater Venus 1B well off the coast of Sierra Leone had hit paydirt and formed one of two ‘bookends’ 700 miles apart across two prospective basins that extend into waters controlled by Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

“These could each contain 150 million to 1 billion barrels of oil, according to Anadarko’s CEO Al Walker.

“One of Anadarko’s consortium partners, Tullow Oil of Britain, which has a vast array of licenses in Africa, recently announced a new potentially important discovery in its Ngassa field in Uganda.”

The United Press International report sums up the situation in a single effective sentence: “In the scramble for new oil reserves as the planet’s older fields become depleted, the U.S. military has become a predominant force in U.S.-African relations.”

A billion barrels of oil is not an insignificant figure, yet far more is being fought over in an area where there is a serious rival with one of the world’s two major nuclear arsenals and strategic nuclear triads.

The Voice of Russia on September 15 revealed that “British Petroleum, Europe’s second largest oil company, estimates that the Arctic Ocean may hold around 200 billion barrels of oil resources, about a half of the world’s prospective hydrocarbons. This is the main reason behind a sharp surge of interest in the Arctic ‘oil pie.'”

According to a recent estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal, the world’s largest petroleum exporter, Saudi Arabia, possesses approximately 267 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Arctic Ocean, whose reserves have yet to be explored in any thorough manner, may be home to even more.

In May the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of a study on the Arctic which estimated that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its oil may be in the Arctic Circle.

If the British Petroleum figure cited above is closer to the truth, the U.S. Geological Survey estimate is woefully conservative.

With the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap and the navigability of the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history opening up the area for energy exploitation, the U.S. released National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 12, 2009, which contained these claims:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Sixteen days later NATO abruptly convened a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland and then Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments included:

“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….”

Alluding to the fact that of the five formal claimants to Arctic territory – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway – only the first is not a member of the bloc, Scheffer said, “NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.”

On September 16 the Voice of Russia featured an article on Antarctica which reported that “British geologists have discovered a wide array of oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands….Edinburgh-based British Geological Survey Agency…experts insisted that as much as 60 billion barrels may be recoverable on the shelf. If these estimates prove right that may well rival the world’s oil-rich nations, not least Libya and Nigeria.

“The late 1970s saw breaking news about a spate of lucrative oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands – deposits that experts insisted were 13 times as much as those in the North Sea at the time.

“Many believe that the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina with almost 1,000 servicemen killed in the hostilities was all about oil and gas fields in the South Atlantic.”

On May 11 of this year Britain submitted a claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for one million square kilometers in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.

As early as October 23, 2007 The Scotsman reported that “the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor.”

Britain is two hemispheres, the west and south, away from the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, which lie off the southeastern coast of Argentina.

The Russia source quoted earlier warned:

“Given London’s unwillingness to try to arrive at a political accommodation with Buenos Aires, a UN special commission will surely have tougher times ahead as far as its final decision on the continental shelf goes. And it is only to be hoped that Britain will be wise enough not to turn the Falkland Islands into another regional hot spot.”

In April of last year the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, through some combination of select compliance and procedural negligence if not complicity, granted Australia – Britain’s, the U.S.’s and increasingly NATO’s main outpost in the South Pacific – 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean so that the nation’s territory, in the words of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson as quoted by Agence France-Presse on April 21, 2008, “expanded by an area five times the size of France,” which could “potentially provide a ‘bonanza’ in underwater oil and gas reserves.”

The expansion of Australia’s seabed borders included the Kerguelen Plateau around the Heard and McDonald Islands, which extend southwards into Antarctica. As such Australia became the first nation to be granted exclusive property rights in the ocean.

In the Caspian Sea Basin and its neighborhood, which takes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and the turbulent and explosive Caucasus, Azerbaijan last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of what was called the Contract of the Century in 1994, engineered by the United States and Britain to open up the Caspian region to Western energy companies.

In the interim several oil and natural gas transit projects – the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco natural gas pipelines – have been launched.

The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but the West – the U.S. and its EU allies – is well on its way to replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through Turkey where all of the three pipelines mentioned above end.

Plans for what has accurately been called a Peace Pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and to India and China were heavy-handedly quashed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her successor.

Caspian energy supplies are only to flow west to Europe and east to Asia by routes under Western control if the U.S. and its partners have their way.

The Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan on September 16 reproduced parts of a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband had begun the process with the Contract of the Century, to President Ilham Aliyev from which the following is excerpted:

“The development of the Azeri-Chiraq-Gunashli offshore oilfields, and the
subsequent formation of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), was a landmark event in international oil and gas development, as well as a great success for international energy diplomacy.

“Promotion of international energy security remains critical for the Eurasia region. In this regard, the July 13 signing of the Nabucco inter-governmental agreement was a major milestone in our joint efforts to open the Southern Corridor, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe.

“We hope that Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other interested countries will be able to build on this momentum and agree on those remaining issues needed to make the southern corridor [Nabucco] a reality.

“Azerbaijan is on the threshold of a new and even more promising phase of energy development, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and other leaders in the region to develop new oil and gas resources and new routes to bring those resources to market.”

New routes mean any other than Russian ones.

The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline is to branch out through Ukraine – where the reverse flow of Russian oil has been cut off – and from there to Poland and the Baltic Sea city of Gdansk.

The Russian South Stream project to transport natural gas from Russia to Greece and the Balkans and then to Central Europe is being undermined by the Nabucco pipeline. The Nord Stream pipeline planned to deliver Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea is also under assault, with pro-Western figures in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland accusing it of being a security and even a military threat.

Never before in history have all parts of the world been so intensely fought over simultaneously as they are currently.

Nothing less than uncontested, irreversible global domination is what is being sought by the West – the United States and its NATO, Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern allies and clients.

Possession of energy supplies and control of their destinations and transit routes are an essential part of that strategy and will be enforced through a military machine that has penetrated most of the world and is still expanding.

Source

Map of Oil Reserves, Consumption and Producers

Well I knew this years ago. All one had to do was follow the trail of oil, gas, mining and wars.  Just have to connect the dots is all.

Their quest for resources however is causing a great deal of pollution. War, Free Trade, WTO, IMF are all connected to their quest for control over resources. They all have lead to pollution in many countries including their own.  Their corporations are the ones who are polluting.

They are killing and polluting for resources.  They are power hungry and suffering from a total lack of morality.

They are killing the entire planet.  They are the cause of Global warming.

They dump their garbage in third world countries. They poison their water and their land. They could care less who suffers or dies.

How blind are those people who, elect these politicians to their Governments? The US has been the worst of the culprits, but the followers are just as guilty.

Follow the Corporations that Pollution, Wars, Free Trade, WTO, IMF.

One doesn’t have to a genius to figure it out just well read. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of adding things up.

It’s like putting a puzzle togeather.

They all connect.

Pollution in Africa compliment if the IMF

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2002 in US

Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

Pollution Costs Trillions Annually

US Air Testing Bombs

Depleated Uranium Information

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human experiments and WMD

The world’s worst radiation hotspot

How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

A Few of the World’s most polluted places

Alberta Oil Sands a Pollution Nightmare

Depleted Uranium – Far Worse Than 9/11

Depleted Uranium Dust – Public Health Disaster For The People Of Iraq and Afghanistan

By Doug Westerman
May 3, 2006

In 1979, depleted uranium (DU) particles escaped from the National Lead Industries factory near Albany, N.Y.,which was manufacturing DU weapons for the U.S military. The particles traveled 26 miles and were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear physicist. This discovery led to a shut down of the factory in 1980, for releasing morethan 0.85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere every month, and involved a cleanup of contaminated properties costing over 100 million dollars.

Imagine a far worse scenario. Terrorists acquire a million pounds of the deadly dust and scatter it in populated areas throughout the U.S. Hundreds of children report symptoms. Many acquire cancer and leukemia, suffering an early and painful death. Huge increases in severe birth defects are reported. Oncologists are overwhelmed. Soccer fields, sand lots and parks, traditional play areas for kids, are no longer safe. People lose their most basic freedom, the ability to go outside and safely breathe. Sounds worse than 9/11? Welcome to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Jawad Al-Ali (55), director of the Oncology Center at the largest hospital in Basra, Iraq stated, at a recent ( 2003) conference in Japan:

“Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with 2 cancers – one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney–he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. Dr Yasin, a general Surgeon here has two uncles, a sister and cousin affected with cancer. Dr Mazen, another specialist, has six family members suffering from cancer. My wife has nine members of her family with cancer”.

“Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning. They have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most, however, cancer of the lymph system which can develop anywhere on the body, and has rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also common.”,

“We were accused of spreading propaganda for Saddam before the war. When I have gone to do talks I have had people accuse me of being pro-Saddam. Sometimes I feel afraid to even talk. Regime people have been stealing my data and calling it their own, and using it for their own agendas. The Kuwaitis banned me from entering Kuwait – we were accused of being Saddam supporters.”

John Hanchette, a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University, and one of the founding editors of USA TODAY related the following to DU researcher Leuren Moret.  He stated  that he had prepared news breaking stories about the effects of DU on Gulf War soldiers and Iraqi citizens, but that each time he was ready to publish, he received a phone call from the Pentagon asking him not to print the story.  He has since been replaced as editor of USA TODAY.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, The World Health Organization’s chief expert on radiation and health for 11 years and author of an unpublished study has charged that his report ” on the cancer risk to civilians in Iraq from breathing uranium contaminated dust ” was  also deliberately suppressed.

The information released by the U.S. Dept. of Defense is not reliable, according to some sources even within the military.

In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying,

“The [US government’s] Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body.”

At that time Dr. Durakovic was a colonel in the U.S. Army.  He has since left the military, to found the Uranium Medical Research Center, a privately funded organization with headquarters in Canada.

PFC Stuart Grainger of 23 Army Division, 34th Platoon. (Names and numbers have been changed) was diagnosed with cancer several after returning from Iraq.  Seven other men in the Platoon also have malignancies.

Doug Rokke, U.S. Army contractor who headed a clean-up of depleted uranium after the first Gulf War states:,

“Depleted uranium is a crime against God and humanity.”

Rokke’s own crew, a hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. He stated:

“When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,”

After performing clean-up operations in the desert (mistakenly without protective gear), 30 members of his staff died, and most others”including Rokke himself”developed serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems.

“We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension.

Yet the D.O.D still insists such ingestion is “not sufficient to make troops seriously ill in most cases.”

Then why did it make the clean up crew seriously or terminally ill in nearly all cases?

Marion Falk, a retired chemical physicist who built nuclear bombs for more than 20 years at Lawrence Livermore Lab, was asked if he thought that DU weapons operate in a similar manner as a dirty bomb.

“That’s exactly what they are. They fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way.”

According to Falk, more than 30 percent of the DU fired from the cannons of U.S. tanks is reduced to particles one-tenth of a micron (one millionth of a meter) in size or smaller on impact.  “The larger the bang” the greater the amount of DU that is dispersed into the atmosphere, Falk said. With the larger missiles and bombs, nearly 100 percent of the DU is reduced to radioactive dust particles of the “micron size” or smaller, he said.

When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Falk was more specific:

“I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”

When a DU round or bomb strikes a hard target, most of its kinetic energy is converted to heat ” sufficient heat to ignite the DU.  From 40% to 70% of the DU is converted to extremely fine dust particles of ceramic uranium oxide (primarily dioxide, though other formulations also occur). Over 60% of these particles are smaller than 5 microns in diameter, about the same size as the cigarette ash particles in cigarette smoke and therefore respirable.

Because conditions are so chaotic in Iraq, the medical infrastructure has been greatly compromised.  In terms of both cancer and birth defects due to DU, only a small fraction of the cases are being reported.

Doctors in southern Iraq are making comparisons to the birth defects that followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. They have numerous photos of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, and the list of deformities goes on an on.  Such birth defects were extremely rare in Iraq prior to the large scale use of DU. Weapons. Now they are commonplace.  In hospitals across Iraq, the mothers are no longer asking, “Doctor, is it a boy or girl?” but rather, “Doctor, is it normal?”  The photos are horrendous, they can be viewed on the following website

Ross B. Mirkarimi, a spokesman at The Arms Control Research Centre stated:

“Unborn children of the region are being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA.”

Prior to her death from leukemia in Sept. 2004, Nuha Al Radi , an accomplished Iraqi artist and author  of the “Baghdad Diaries” wrote:

“Everyone seems to be dying of cancer. Every day one hears about another acquaintance or friend of a friend dying. How many more die in hospitals that one does not know? Apparently, over thirty percent of Iraqis have cancer, and there are lots of kids with leukemia.”

“The depleted uranium left by the U.S. bombing campaign has turned Iraq into a cancer-infested country. For hundreds of years to come, the effects of the uranium will continue to wreak havoc on Iraq and its surrounding areas.”

This excerpt in her diary was written in 1993, after Gulf War I (Approximately 300 tons of DU ordinance, mostly in desert areas)  but before Operation Iraqi Freedom, (Est. 1,700 tons with much more near major population centers).  So, it’s 5-6 times worse now than it was when she wrote than diary entry!!   Estimates of the percentage of D.U. which was ‘aerosolized’ into fine uranium oxide dust are approximately 30-40%. That works out to over one million pounds of dust scattered throughout Iraq.

As a special advisor to the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr. Ahmad Hardan has documented the effects of DU in Iraq between 1991 and 2002.

“American forces admit to using over 300 tons of DU weapons in 1991.  The actual figure is closer to 800.  This has caused a health crisis that has affected almost a third of a million people.  As if that was not enough, America went on and used 200 tons more in Bagdad alone during the recent invasion.

I don”t know about other parts of Iraq, it will take me years to document that.

“In Basra, it took us two years to obtain conclusive proof of what DU does, but we now know what to look for and the results are terrifying.”

By far the most devastating effect is on unborn children.  Nothing can prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved fetuses ” scarcely human in appearance. Iraq is now seeing babies with terribly foreshortened limbs, with their intestines outside their bodies, with huge bulging tumors where their eyes should be, or with a single eye-like Cyclops, or without eyes, or without limbs, and even without heads. Significantly, some of the defects are almost unknown outside textbooks showing the babies born near A-bomb test sites in the Pacific.

Dr. Hardan also states:

“I arranged for a delegation from Japan’s Hiroshima Hospital to come and share their expertise in the radiological diseases we

Are likely to face over time. The delegation told me the Americans had objected and they decided not to come. Similarly, a world famous German cancer specialist agreed to come, only to be told later that he would not be given permission to enter Iraq.”

Not only are we poisoning the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are making a concerted effort to keep out specialists from other countries who can help.  The U.S. Military doesn”t want the rest of the world to find out what we have done.

Such relatively swift development of cancers has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the US military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991. Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.
Just 467 US personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served in the first Gulf War now have medical problems.

Although not reported in the mainstream American press, a recent Tokyo tribunal, guided by the principles of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law, found President George W. Bush guilty of war crimes. On March 14, 2004, Nao Shimoyachi, reported in The Japan Times that President Bush was found guilty “for attacking civilians with indiscriminate weapons and other arms,”and the “tribunal also issued recommendations for banning Depleted Uranium shells and other weapons that indiscriminately harm people.” Although this was a “Citizen’s Court” having no legal authority, the participants were sincere in their determination that international laws have been violated and a war crimes conviction is warranted.

Troops involved in actual combat are not the only servicemen reporting symptoms. Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah.

“I got sick instantly in June,” said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. “My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach.”

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, UMRC founder, and nuclear medicine expert examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

If so, the men – Sgt. Hector Vega, Sgt. Ray Ramos, Sgt. Agustin Matos and Cpl. Anthony Yonnone – are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.

The 442nd, made up for the most part of New York cops, firefighters and correction officers, is based in Orangeburg, Rockland County. Dispatched to Iraq in Easter of 2003, the unit’s members had been providing guard duty for convoys, running jails and training Iraqi police. The entire company is due to return home later this month.

“These are amazing results, especially since these soldiers were military police not exposed to the heat of battle,” said Dr. Asaf Duracovic, who examined the G.I.s and performed the testing.

In a group of eight U.S. led Coalition servicemen whose babies were born without eyes, seven are known to have been directly exposed to DU dust. In a much group (250 soldiers) exposed during the first Gulf war, 67% of the children conceived after the war had birth defects.

Dr. Durakovic’s  UMRC research team also conducted a three-week field trip to Iraq in October of 2003. It collected about 100 samples of substances such as soil, civilian urine and the tissue from the corpses of Iraqi soldiers in 10 cities, including Baghdad, Basra and Najaf. Durakovic said preliminary tests show that the air, soil and water samples contained “hundreds to thousands of times” the normal levels of radiation.

“This high level of contamination is because much more depleted uranium was used this year than in (the Gulf War of) 1991,” Durakovic told The Japan Times.

“They are hampering efforts to prove the connection between Depleted Uranium and the illness,” Durakovic said

“They do not want to admit that they committed war crimes” by using weapons that kill indiscriminately, which are banned under international law.”

(NOTE ABOUT DR. DURAKOVIC;  First, he was warned to stop his work, then he was fired from his position, then his house was ransacked, and he has also reported receiving death threats.  Evidently the U.S. D.O.D is very keen on censoring DU whistle-blowers!)

Dr. Durakovic, UMRC  research associates Patricia Horan and Leonard Dietz, published a unique study in the August 2002 issue of Military Medicine Medical Journal. The study is believed to be the first to look at inhaled DU among Gulf War veterans, using the ultrasensitive technique of thermal ionization mass spectrometry, which enabled them to easily distinguish between natural uranium and DU.  The study, which examined British, Canadian and U.S. veterans, all suffering typical Gulf War Syndrome ailments, found that, nine years after the war, 14 of 27 veterans studied had DU in their urine. DU also was found in the lung and bone of a deceased Gulf War veteran. That no governmental study has been done on inhaled DU “amounts to a massive malpractice,” Dietz said in an interview.

The Japanese began studying DU effects in the southern Iraq in the summer of 2003. They had a Geiger counter which they watched go off the scale on many occasions. During their visit,a local hospital was treating upwards of 600 children per day, many of which suffered symptoms of internal poisoning by radiation.  600 children per day? How many of these children will get cancer and suffer and early and painful death?

“Ingested DU particles can cause up to 1,000 times the damage of an X-ray”, said Mary Olson, a nuclear waste specialist and biologist at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington D.C.

It is this difference in particle size as well as the dust’s crystalline structure that make the presence of DU dust in the environment such an extreme hazard, and which differentiates its properties from that of the natural uranium dust that is ubiquitous and to which we all are exposed every day, which seldom reaches such a small size.  This point is being stressed, as comparing DU particles to much larger natural ones is misleading.

The U.S. Military and its supporters regularly quote a Rand Corp. Study which uses the natural uranium inhaled by miners.

Particles smaller than 10 microns can access the innermost recesses of lung tissue where they become permanently lodged. Furthermore, if the substance is relatively insoluble, such as the ceramic DU-oxide dust produced from burning DU, it will remain in place for decades, dissolving very slowly into the bloodstream and lymphatic fluids through the course of time. Studies have identified DU in the urine of Gulf War veterans nine years after that conflict, testifying to the permanence of ceramic DU-oxide in the lungs.  Thus the effects are far different from natural uranium dust, whose coarse particles are almost entirely excreted by the body within 24 hours.

The military is aware of DU’s harmful effects on the human genetic code. A 2001 study of DU’s effect on DNA done by Dr. Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., indicates that DU’s chemical instability causes 1 million times more genetic damage than would be expected from its radiation effect alone.

Studies have shown that inhaled nano-particles are far more toxic than micro-sized particles of the same basic chemical composition. British toxicopathologist Vyvyan Howard has reported that the increased toxicity of the nano-particle is due to its size.

For example, when mice were exposed to virus-size particles of Teflon (0.13 microns) in a University of Rochester study, there were no ill effects. But when mice were exposed to nano-particles of Teflon for 15 minutes, nearly all the mice died within 4 hours.

“Exposure pathways for depleted uranium can be through the skin, by inhalation, and ingestion,”  writes Lauren Moret, another DU researcher. “Nano-particles have high mobility and can easily enter the body. Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles pass through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood.

“When inhaled through the nose, nano-particles can cross the olfactory bulb directly into the brain through the blood brain barrier, where they migrate all through the brain,” she wrote. “Many Gulf era soldiers exposed to depleted uranium have been diagnosed with brain tumors, brain damage and impaired thought processes. Uranium can interfere with the mitochondria, which provide energy for the nerve processes, and transmittal of the nerve signal across synapses in the brain.

Based on dissolution and excretion rate data, it is possible to approximate the amount of DU initially inhaled by these veterans. For the handful of veterans studied, this amount averaged 0.34 milligrams. Knowing the specific activity (radiation rate) for DU allows one to determine that the total radiation (alpha, beta and gamma) occurring from DU and its radioactive decay products within their bodies comes to about 26 radiation events every second, or 800 million events each year.  At .34 milligrams per dose, there are over 10 trillion doses floating around Iraq and Afghanistan.

How many additional deaths are we talking about? In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the UK Atomic Energy Authority came up with estimates for the potential effects of the DU contamination left by the conflict. It calculated that “this could cause “500,000 potential deaths”. This was “a theoretical figure”, it stressed, that indicated “a significant problem”.

The AEA’s calculation was made in a confidential memo to the privatized munitions company, Royal Ordnance, dated 30 April 1991. The high number of potential deaths was dismissed as “very far from realistic” by a British defense minister, Lord Gilbert. “Since the rounds were fired in the desert, many miles from the nearest village, it is highly unlikely that the local population would have been exposed to any significant amount of respirable oxide,” he said.  These remarks were made prior to the more recent invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, where DU munitions were used on a larger scale in and near many of the most populated areas.  If the amount of DU ordinance used in the first Gulf War was sufficient to cause 500,000 potential deaths, (had it been used near the populated areas), then what of the nearly six times that amount used in operation Iraqi Freedom, which was used in and near the major towns and cities?  Extrapolating the U.K. AEA estimate with this amount gives a figure of potentially 3 million extra deaths from inhaling DU dust in Iraq alone, not including Afghanistan. This is about 11% of Iraq’s total population of 27 million. Dan Bishop, Ph.d chemist for IDUST feels that this estimate may be low, if the long life of DU dust is considered.  In Afghanistan, the concentration in some areas is greater than Iraq.

What can an otherwise healthy person expect when inhaling the deadly dust? Captain Terry Riordon was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces serving in Gulf War I. He passed away in April 1999 at age 45. Terry left Canada a very fit man who did cross-country skiing and ran in marathons. On his return only two months later he could barely walk.

He returned to Canada in February 1991 with documented loss of motor control, chronic fatigue, respiratory difficulties, chest pain, difficulty breathing, sleep problems, short-term memory loss, testicle pain, body pains, aching bones, diarrhea, and depression. After his death, depleted uranium contamination was discovered in his lungs and bones. For eight years he suffered his innumerable ailments and struggled with the military bureaucracy and the system to get proper diagnosis and treatment.  He had arranged, upon his death, to bequeath his body to the UMRC.  Through his gift, the UMRC was able to obtain conclusive evidence that inhaling fine particles of depleted uranium dust completely destroyed his heath.  How many Terry Riordans are out there among the troops being exposed, not to mention Iraqi and Afghan civilians?

Inhaling the dust will not kill large numbers of Iraqi and Afghan civilians right away, any more than it did Captain Riordan. Rather, what we will see is vast numbers of people who are chronically and severely ill, having their life spans drastically shortened, many with multiple cancers.

Melissa Sterry, another sick veteran, served for six months at a supply base in Kuwait during the winter of 1991-92. Part of her job with the National Guard’s Combat Equipment Company “A” was to clean out tanks and other armored vehicles that had been used during the war, preparing them for storage.

She said she swept out the armored vehicles, cleaning up dust, sand and debris, sometimes being ordered to help bury contaminated parts. In a telephone interview, she stated that after researching depleted uranium she chose not to take the military’s test because she could not trust the results.  It is alarming that Melissa was stationed in Kuwait, not Iraq.  Cleaning out tanks with DU dust was enough to make her ill.

In, 2003, the Christian Science Monitor sent reporters to Iraq to investigate long-term effects of depleted uranium. Staff writer Scott Peterson saw children playing on top of a burnt-out tank near a vegetable stand on the outskirts of Baghdad, a tank that had been destroyed by armor-piercing shells coated with depleted uranium. Wearing his mask and protective clothing, he pointed his Geiger counter toward the tank. It registered 1,000 times the normal background radiation. If the troops were on a mission of mercy to bring democracy to Iraq, wouldn”t keeping children away from such dangers be the top priority?

The laws of war prohibit the use of weapons that have deadly and inhumane effects beyond the field of battle. Nor can weapons be legally deployed in war when they are known to remain active, or cause harm after the war concludes.  It is no surprise that the Japanese Court found President Bush guilty of war crimes.

Dr. Alim Yacoub of Basra University conducted an epidemiological study into incidences of malignancies in children under fifteen years old, in the Basra area (an area bombed with DU during the first Gulf War). They found over the 1990 to 1999 period, there was a 242% rise.  That was before the recent invasion.

In Kosovo, similar spikes in cancer and birth defects were noticed by numerous international experts, although the quantity of DU weapons used was only a small fraction of what was used in Iraq.

FIELD STUDY RESULTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

Verifiable statistics for Iraq will remain elusive for some time, but widespread field studies in Afghanistan point to the existence of a large scale public health disaster. In May of 2002, the UMRC (Uranium Medical Research Center) sent a field team to interview and examine residents and internally displaced people in Afghanistan.  The UMRC field team began by first identifying several hundred people suffering from illnesses and medical conditions displaying clinical symptoms which are considered to be characteristic of radiation exposure.  To investigate the possibility that the symptoms were due to radiation sickness, the UMRC team collected urine specimens and soil samples, transporting them to an independent research lab in England.

UMRC’s Field Team found Afghan civilians with acute symptoms of radiation poisoning, along with chronic symptoms of internal uranium contamination, including congenital problems in newborns. Local civilians reported large, dense dust clouds and smoke plumes rising from the point of impact, an acrid smell, followed by burning of the nasal passages, throat and upper respiratory tract. Subjects in all locations presented identical symptom profiles and chronologies. The victims reported symptoms including pain in the cervical column, upper shoulders and basal area of the skull, lower back/kidney pain, joint and muscle weakness, sleeping difficulties, headaches, memory problems and disorientation.

Two additional scientific study teams were sent to Afghanistan. The first arrived in June 2002, concentrating on the Jalalabad region. The second arrived four months later, broadening the study to include the capital Kabul, which has a population of nearly 3.5 million people. The city itself contains the highest recorded number of fixed targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. For the study’s purposes, the vicinity of three major bomb sites were examined. It was predicted that signatures of depleted or enriched uranium would be found in the urine and soil samples taken during the research. The team was unprepared for the shock of its findings, which indicated in both Jalalabad and Kabul, DU was causing the high levels of illness. Tests taken from a number of Jalalabad subjects showed concentrations 400% to 2000% above that for normal populations, amounts which have not been recorded in civilian studies before.

Those in Kabul who were directly exposed to US-British precision bombing showed extreme signs of contamination, consistent with uranium exposure. These included pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous.  How many of these people will suffer a painful and early death from cancer? Even the study team itself complained of similar symptoms during their stay. Most of these symptoms last for days or months.

In August of 2002, UMRC completed its preliminary analysis of the results from Nangarhar.  Without exception, every person donating urine specimens tested positive for uranium contamination. The specific results indicated an astoundingly high level of contamination; concentrations were 100 to 400 times greater than those of the Gulf War Veterans tested in 1999.   A researcher reported. “We took both soil and biological samples, and found considerable presence in urine samples of radioactivity; the heavy concentration astonished us.  They were beyond our wildest imagination.”

In the fall of 2002, the UMRC field team went back to Afghanistan for a broader survey, and revealed a potentially larger exposure than initially anticipated. Approximately 30% of those interviewed in the affected areas displayed symptoms of radiation sickness.  New born babies were among those displaying symptoms, with village elders reporting that over 25% of the infants were inexplicably ill.

How widespread and extensive is the exposure?  A quote from the UMRC field report reads:

“The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by uranium.”

In Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, UMRC lab results indicated high concentrations of NON-DEPLETED URANIUM, with the concentrations being much higher than in DU victims from Iraq. Afghanistan was used as a testing ground for a new generation of “bunker buster” bombs containing high concentrations of other uranium alloys.

“A significant portion of the civilian population”? It appears that by going after a handful of terrorists in Afghanistan we have poisoned a huge number of innocent civilians, with a disproportionate number of them being children.

The military has found depleted uranium in the urine of some soldiers but contends it was not enough to make them seriously ill in most cases. Critics have asked for more sensitive, more expensive testing.

————————————

According to an October 2004  Dispatch from the Italian Military Health Observatory, a total of 109 Italian soldiers have died thus far due to exposure to depleted uranium.  A spokesman at the Military Health Observatory, Domenico Leggiero, states “The total of 109 casualties exceeds the total number of persons dying as a consequence of road accidents. Anyone denying the significance of such data is purely acting out of ill faith, and the truth is that our soldiers are dying out there due to a lack of adequate protection against depleted uranium”. Members of the Observatory have petitioned for an urgent hearing “in order to study effective prevention and safeguard measures aimed at reducing the death-toll amongst our serving soldiers”.

There were only 3,000 Italian soldiers sent to Iraq, and they were there for a short time.  The number of 109 represents about 3.6% of the total.  If the same percentage of Iraqis get a similar exposure, that would amount to 936,000.  As Iraqis are permanently living in the same contaminated environment, their percentage will be higher.

The Pentagon/DoD have interfered with UMRC’s ability to have its studies published by managing, a progressive and persistent misinformation program in the press against UMRC, and through the use of its control of science research grants to refute UMRC’s scientific findings and destroy the reputation of UMRC’s scientific staff, physicians and laboratories. UMRC is the first independent research organization to find Depleted Uranium in the bodies of US, UK and Canadian Gulf War I veterans and has subsequently, following Operation Iraqi Freedom, found Depleted Uranium in the water, soils and atmosphere of Iraq as well as biological samples donated by Iraqi civilians. Yet the first thing that comes up on Internet searches are these supposed “studies repeatedly showing DU to be harmless.”  The technique is to approach the story as a debate between government and independent experts in which public interest is stimulated by polarizing the issues rather than telling the scientific and medical truth. The issues are systematically confused and misinformed by government, UN regulatory agencies (WHO, UNEP, IAEA, CDC, DOE, etc) and defense sector (military and the weapons developers and manufacturers).

Dr. Yuko Fujita, an assistant professor at Keio University, Japan who examined the effects of radioactivity in Iraq from May to June, 2003,  said : “I doubt that Iraq is fabricating data because in fact there are many children suffering from leukemia in hospitals,” Fujita said. “As a result of the Iraq war, the situation will be desperate in some five to 10 years.”

The  March 14, 2004  Tokyo Citizen’s Tribunal that “convicted” President Bush gave the following summation regarding DU weapons: (This court was a citizen’s court with no binding legal authority)

1.   Their use has indiscriminate effects;

2.   Their use is out of proportion with the pursuit of military objectives;

3.   Their use adversely affects the environment in a widespread, long term and severe manner;

4.   Their use causes superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering.

Two years ago, President Bush withdrew the United States as a signatory to the International Criminal Court’s statute, which has been ratified by all other Western democracies. The White House actually seeks to immunize U.S. leaders from war crimes prosecutions entirely. It has also demanded express immunity from ICC prosecution for American nationals.

CONCLUSIONS:

If terrorists succeeded in spreading something throughout the U.S. that ended up causing hundreds of thousands of cancer cases and birth defects over a period of many years, they would be guilty of a crime against humanity that far surpasses the Sept. 11th attacks in scope and severity. Although not deliberate, with our military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have done just that.  If the physical environment is so unsafe and unhealthy that one cannot safely breath, then the outer trappings of democracy have little meaning. At least under Saddam, the Iraqi people could stay healthy and conceive normal children. Few Americans are aware that in getting rid of Saddam, we left something much worse in his place.

Source

Congratulations NATO. You are Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

You leave this “gift of death” everywhere you go.

European Commission plans sanctions for wayward bankers – reports

March 4 2009

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer

The European Commission wants Europe to set up a sanctions regime for banks and bankers that flout industry rules, according to plans to be published on March 4 2009, AFP reported.

The proposal is part of plans for a major shake-up of European supervision of the financial sector based on recent recommendations from an expert panel headed by former IMF director Jacques de Larosiere.

In a media statement on March 4, the EC said that it was calling on EU leaders to further step up co-ordinated European action to fight the economic crisis.

In its communication to the European Council summit on March 19 and 20, the Commission sets out proposals for building on the extensive support already being given to the real economy and to employment.

The Commission’s communication unveils a comprehensive reform of the financial system based on the de Larosiere report.

“It shows how a clear and united commitment to this ambitious programme can pave the way for the EU to give a global lead at the G20 summit in London on April 2,” the EC said.
EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “The Spring European Council must send a strong signal to citizens, businesses and the world. Yes, there is a way out of this crisis. Yes, Europe has the unity, the confidence and the determination to win this battle. We must forcefully implement the agreed recovery plan in a coordinated way. We must use the single market to the full.

“Today we are asking EU leaders to agree on a comprehensive action plan. To do everything possible to protect our citizens from unemployment. To clean up financial markets on the basis of the de Larosiere Report. And to pave the way for Europe to lead by example and by persuasion as we approach the G20 summit in London,” Barroso said.

The Commission’s communication begins with an overview of the measures taken since autumn 2008 which have prevented the meltdown of the European banking industry and thus prevented countless bankruptcies and job losses.

It urges member states to act quickly to restore confidence and get bank lending flowing again, in particular by implementing the guidance the Commission issued on February 25 2009 on removing impaired assets from banks’ balance sheets.

“The Commission endorses – and asks EU leaders to endorse – the key principles set out by the de Larosiere Group,” the EC statement said.

The Commission calls for a supervisory system combining much stronger oversight at EU level with maintaining a clear role for national supervisors.

It backs the Group’s proposal to set up an early warning body under ECB auspices to identify and tackle systemic risks.

The Commission supports the Group’s recommendation for a core set of regulatory standards throughout the EU.

In April, the EC will bring forward initiatives already in the pipeline on hedge funds, private equity and remuneration structures.

Following an impact assessment, the Commission will put forward to the June European Council a detailed timetable for further measures based on the de Larosiere report.
It will bring forward proposals in the autumn on the new supervisory framework and on issues including: liquidity risk and excessive leverage; further reinforcing protection for depositors and policy holders; and effective sanctions against wrongdoing.

The communication points to good first results of the European Economic Recovery Plan. The overall fiscal support to the economy from European and national measures and from automatic stabilisers amounts to at least 3.3 per cent of GDP over the 2009-2010 period.

An annexe summarises 500 national measures and concludes that they are broadly in line with the principles that recovery action should be timely, targeted and temporary.

The Commission calls on EU leaders to endorse clear principles for further action, in line with the single market, with open trade worldwide, with building a low carbon economy and with returning to sustainable public finances as soon as possible.

The Commission repeats its call for Member States to agree on the targeted investment of five billion euro in energy interconnections and broadband.

The Commission’s contribution calls for member states to step up efforts to tackle unemployment – which could approach 10 per cent in 2010 for the first time since the 1990s – and social exclusion.

“These efforts will also help maintain demand and prevent further job losses.”  They should be a central plank of national stimulus plans, the EC said.

The Commission invites member states to use measures such as financial support for temporary working-time arrangements, boosting income support for unemployed people, lowering non-wage costs for employers and boosting investment in skills and retraining.

At European level, the EC calls for rapid approval of its proposal to allow an immediate increase of 1.8 billion euro in advance payments under the European Social Fund.

The Commission also sets out a road map towards the European Employment Summit in Prague in May, which should agree on further concrete measures to save jobs and create them in the sectors of the future.

The Commission will organise a series of workshops with all key stakeholders in different member states in the approach to the summit.

The EC asks EU leaders to agree on a number of areas “where Europe can and should give a firm lead” on April 2 at the London G20 summit, building on the success it achieved by speaking with one voice at the Washington Summit in November 2008.

“The EU should make a united push to improve the global financial and regulatory system, focusing on: better transparency and accountability; appropriate regulation of all financial actors; tackling difficulties caused by uncooperative jurisdictions; boosting international supervisory cooperation; and reforming the IMF, Financial Stability Forum and World Bank,” the EC statement said.

“Europe should also promote global recovery by calling for a review of the global impact of fiscal measures taken so far, by promoting open trade and by inviting the London Summit to launch a multilateral initiative on trade finance and to reaffirm the Washington commitment to the Millennium Development Goals,” the EC said.

Source

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on March 6, 2009 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on European Commission plans sanctions for wayward bankers – reports  
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IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia

By Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga,
December 24 2008

Yesterday evening, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) board confirmed an international loan to Latvia.

Latvia will receive EUR 7.5 billion (LVL 5.27 billion) worth of financial support, writes LETA.

The European Union plans to allocate a medium-term loan to Latvia worth up to EUR 3.1 billion (LVL 2.18 billion).

Also participating in issuing Latvia the loan is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – EUR 1.7 billion (LVL 1.19 billion), Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway – EUR 1.8 billion (LVL 1.27 billion), and the World Bank – EUR 0.4 billion (LVL 0.28 billion).

The European Reconstruction and Development Bank, the Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia will allocate Latvia another EUR 0.5 billion (LVL 0.35 billion), which is a total of EUR 7.5 billion (LVL 5.27 billion).

The loan will be issued to Latvia gradually over the next three years.

Source

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia  
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Did being part of the EU protect them from the Financial Crisis

Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal

December 10th, 2008

By Alex MacDonald

In a sign of the severity of the economic downturn, ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, announced plans to close two U.S. steel processing plants and lay off several hundred workers in the European Union.

ArcelorMittal plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., by the end of April and plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Hennepin, Ill., sometime in the future, although no date was disclosed. The two closures will result in 545 job losses, 260 of which are located at the N.Y. plant and 285 of which are located at the Illinois plant.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal rolled out voluntary redundancy programs in Europe over the past week or so that would eliminate 3,550 mostly white-collar jobs through voluntary layoffs. The company is eyeing 6,000 job cuts in Europe out of 9,000 job cuts globally.

The closures and layoffs are in line with the company’s plans to cut 35% of its global steel production capacity during the fourth quarter and saving $1 billion annually by cutting 3% of its global workforce.

Both steel plants supply the auto market, where demand has slumped so dramatically that the U.S.’s three largest car manufacturers are now seeking federal government funds to avert bankruptcy.

The closures are part of ArcelorMittal’s global restructuring program to weather the economic downturn.

The decision to close ArcelorMittal Lackawanna was “purely an economic business decision based on the extraordinary economic conditions we face today,” the company said in a statement.

The Lackawanna plant has inherent disadvantages due to its location that lead to higher costs, longer customer lead times, and higher inventory levels than other ArcelorMittal finishing facilities in the US, the company said.

Meanwhile, at Hennepin, “the company had to make the tough decision to close the…facility, consolidate operations and move production to other ArcelorMittal facilities in the U.S.” in order to remain competitive.

ArcelorMittal now has announced plans to lay off 19% of its U.S. salaried workforce of 15,543 people and has announced more than half of its planned job cuts in Europe.

The United Steelworkers union and other relevant stakeholders were notified about the plant closures and job layoffs. They are now negotiating with the Luxembourg-based company to arrive at a compromise.

Jim Robinson, the director of USW’s District 7 said the union was aware that ArcelorMittal faced operational issues at the two plants but was surprised by the company’s decision to close the plants.

“They called us before they announced but we did not know this specifically” beforehand, he said.

Robinson dismissed views that ArcelorMittal has underinvested in the plants. “I don’t think the issue is lack of investment over time, I think it’s an issue of the company’s overall strategy.” He declined to elaborate further.

ArcelorMittal is one of many steelmakers globally that have announced production cuts and layoffs. U.S. Steel Corporation (X), the world’s tenth-largest steelmaker by volume, announced last week it would temporarily idle an iron ore mining facility and two steel works. The move will affect 3,500 employees.

Corus, Europe’s second largest steelmaker by volume and the European arm of India-based Tata Steel Ltd (500470.BY) has cut production by 30% and has shed about 500 jobs from the U.K.

In Europe, ArcelorMittal is seeking voluntary redundancies equal to 1,400 jobs in France, 800 in Belgium, 750 in Germany, and 600 in Spain. Most of them are white collar jobs. ArcelorMittal’s American depositary shares recently traded up 8.9% to $25.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Company Web site: http://www.arcelormittal.com

Source

EU businesses expect 1 million job losses in 2009

Brussels – European Union businesses called Monday for a cut in interest rates amid predictions that the bloc’s economic slowdown could lead to more than 1 million jobs being lost in 2009.

BusinessEurope, which groups national business federations from 34 European countries, also called on governments to ensure a continued flow of credit and to approve structural reforms aimed at improving the continent’s competitiveness.

According to its latest Economic Outlook, EU gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to grow by just 0.4 per cent in 2009, compared to 1.4 per cent this year, with exports, imports and private consumption levels all slowing.

Unemployment is predicted to increase from 7 per cent to 7.8 per cent, with the loss of 1.1 million jobs, compared to a net job creation of more than 2 million in 2008.

“The most fundamental preoccupation of the business community is obviously the way in which the impact of the financial market turmoil will play out,” the paper said.

“Even though a fully-fledged credit crunch has not yet appeared in Europe, uncertainty about the impact for companies and consumer markets has increased tremendously.”

Source

SEMI Europe calls for investment to avoid mass job losses in semiconductor industry

December 10 2008

During the third SEMI Brussels forum, SEMI Europe declared that the decline in the European semiconductor industry could potentially put half a million European jobs at risk. SEMI Europe presented its White Paper to EU officials and urgently appealed for the EU and national policymakers to invest to support the European semiconductor industry citing the industries importance to the health and global competitiveness of the EU economy.

The equipment/materials producers and the semiconductor device manufacturers contribute around €29 billion to the EU economy and provide around 215,000 jobs. The European semiconductor industry is also a significant contributor to the GDP in EU countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

“If semiconductor manufacturers leave Europe, indigenous equipment & materials producers will face an uncertain future”, said Franz Richter, Chairman of the SEMI European Advisory Board. “The current economic crisis and rising unemployment underscore the urgent need to safeguard jobs in the European semiconductor industry. Supporting a robust and competitive semiconductor industry in Europe is critical to keeping jobs in Europe across all industries and supporting key European economies.”

The decline of the market share even during the increase in total volumes sold reflects that manufacturing is changing and moving away from Europe because of the unfavourable global level playing field conditions. The European equipment and materials manufacturers that supply the semiconductor industry with machinery and parts are for the most part small or medium-sized European businesses that heavily rely on the future European semiconductor industry to guarantee their own future and the 105,000 jobs they embody.

Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.

Source

Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis

December 11 2008

By Robert Hetz

MADRID,

Spain’s car industry, which became Europe’s third largest, thanks to a cheap workforce, has lost cost advantage and could shrink as companies slash costs at foreign plants and save politically-sensitive jobs at home.

As executives at multinational manufacturers weigh up Spain’s ageing factories, relatively high wage costs and weak competitiveness against their own domestic markets and cheaper alternatives, the country’s plants are clear targets as the credit crunch saps demand all over the world.

“The big decisions are being taken abroad, not here, and managers in London, Paris and Detroit prefer to close a plant here and not in their home market,” said the director of one Spanish parts plant, who asked not to be named.

Unlike Germany, France or Italy, Spain’s auto industry has no nationally-owned car maker and little control over decisions on the future of its 18 foreign-owned plants, which employ around 70,000 people.

And unlike the case of Britain, Spain’s plants are older and less productive, and the country lacks a more skilled workforce or much tradition of home-grown research and development.

Global car makers, also including Peugeot, Opel and Volkswagen, built most of their Spanish plants in the 1970s when Spain was a low-cost backwater, well placed to serve Northern European markets.

Since the 70s, Spain has lost its price advantage as living standards have caught up with the European average. In 2007, per capita income overtook that of Italy. At the same time, new competitors have emerged as low-cost manufacturing centres.

Spain’s auto-sector salaries averaged 22.83 euros ($29.64) an hour last year, above the European average and around three times the 6.93 euros in Poland and 8.83 euros in the Czech Republic, Europe’s new manufacturing hubs, alongside North Africa.

NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT

Renault plans to make 200,000 cars at its plants in North Africa in 2010 and double that within a couple of years, overtaking production from its Spanish operations.

The global credit crunch has hurt demand for new cars across Europe, with new car registrations in November falling 36.8 percent in the UK, 18 percent in Germany, 30 percent in Italy and 50 percent in Spain.

With some 84 percent of cars built in Spanish plants for export, manufacturers are finding fewer financial or political reasons for remaining in the country as international competition rises.

Spanish plants are ideal candidates for the inevitable cuts across Europe, head of Ford Espana Jose Manuel Machado said, as salaries rise and productivity fails to rise at a similar rate.

Machado’s comments came before the U.S. company announced production cuts of 120,000 units at its Almussafes plant in Valencia, and the temporary layoff of 5,200 workers.

Job cuts are expected from most of the major manufacturers, with more than 60 filings listing potential layoffs by private companies made to the government, which may affect up to 40,000 workers, Spain’s main union UGT said.

As Spain’s unemployment rate soars to the highest in the European Union and the economy nears recession, the government is keen to keep the industry, which accounts for around 5 percent of gross domestic product, in the country.

Spain has earmarked 800 million euros for the sector as part of measures worth a total of around 50 billion euros to stimulate the economy.

But this aid may not be enough.

“It’s a good gesture from the government, but obviously the amount of money is insufficient. It would be less than 80 million euros per manufacturer,” said Jose Antonio Bueno of consultancy Europraxis.

The sharp fall in new car sales in Spain has also affected the manufacturers’ showrooms and spare parts centres throughout the country.

Concessions for new and second-hand cars and garages employ around 278,000 people in Spain, and 16,000 of those jobs are at risk, the association for the sector, Ganvam, estimates.

“Four years ago we sold two or three cars a day, but now its not even two a week,” said Adela Benito, who has worked in a Madrid-based Renault showroom for 20 years. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Additional reporting by Tomas Gonzalez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

Source

Swedes want government bailout for Volvo

In a new survey just released, 68 percent of Swedes want to see the Swedish government bail out its beleaguered carmaker Volvo. Although Volvo is owned by US carmaker Ford, Swedes would like its government to temporarily take control of the nation’s iconic firm, as many residents fear Volvo may disappear entirely from Sweden in the near future.

The Local newspaper reports that support for government intervention is piling in from all sides of the political arena. Some 65 percent of those polled who support the bailout side with one of the governing Alliance parties, and 73 percent of all left bloc voters approve of a government bailout.

Peter Larsson of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers points out that Volvo’s current crisis is not minor. “One thing is certain, there are no dollars on their way over the Atlantic,” Larsson said, referring to the massive problems currently faced by the “Big Three” US carmakers – Ford, Chrysler, and (Saab-owner) General Motors.

Rolf Wolff, dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University, told The Local: “If Volvo Cars disappears as a base for industrial knowledge and skills, then Sweden will never again be a part of the auto industry. All the knowledge and skills would be lost, and with it all future associated development potential would be gone.”

Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s minister of trade and industry, has expressed doubts whether the government would be able to better manage Volvo than the car firm itself. For now, the issue has been placed on the political back burner, but the crisis at Volvo and Ford goes on.

Source

This is just the tip of the iceburg.  Seems no one is safe from the Financial Crisis. Not even EU members.

There are 27 member of the European Union.

austria 1. Austria
belgium 2. Belgium
UK 3. UK
denmark 4. Denmark
germany 5. Germany
greece 6. Greece
ireland 7. Ireland
spain 8. Spain
italy 9. Italy
luxembourg 10. Luxembourg
netherlands 11. Netherlands
portugal 12. Portugal
finland 13. Finland
france 14. France
sweden 15. Sweden
cyprus 16. Cyprus
czech 17. Czech Republic
estonia 18. Estonia
hungary 19. Hungary
latvia 20. Latvia
lithuania 21. Lithuania
malta 22. Malta
poland 23. Poland
slovakia 24. Slovakia
slovenia 25. Slovenia
bulgaria 26. Bulgaria
romania 27. Romania

EU members and when they joined.

1952 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands

1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

1981 Greece

1986 Portugal, Spain

1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2007 Bulgaria, Romania

Source

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

EU, Iceland, Canada Suffering Fall Out, Caused By US Crisis

Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

The £2trillion question for British economy

Europe catches America’s financial disease

How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

Economist, deregulation and loose fiscal policies lead to Meltdown

World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

Ryanair to appeal EU’s ‘corrupt’ support of Alitalia takeover

Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

Starting to remind me of the Corruption in the US where the Crisis started.

IMF Grants Malawi $77 Million Loan

IMF Grants Malawi $77 Million Loan to Cushion Trade Shocks

By Frank Jomo

December  5 2008

The International Monetary Fund granted Malawi a one-year loan facility of 10.8 billion Malawi kwacha ($76.8 million) to help it adjust to trade shocks caused by rises in fuel and fertilizer prices in the first half of 2008.

The loan, which falls under the lender’s Exogenous Shocks Facility, will allow Malawi to draw $51.4 million immediately, the IMF said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

“The facility will help to contain the pressure on the balance of payments and rebuild external reserves,” according to the statement.

Source

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on IMF Grants Malawi $77 Million Loan  
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Pakistan Promises IMF to Raise Rates If Reserves Drop and Eliminate Electricity subsidies

By Michael Dwyer and Khalid Qayum

December 3 2008

Pakistan’s central bank promised the International Monetary Fund as part of a $7.6 billion bailout that it will increase interest rates further if the nation’s foreign reserves drop too low.

The State Bank of Pakistan said its benchmark rate “will be raised earlier” than the monetary policy statement due at the end of January 2009 if reserves fall below an agreed monthly floor, according to the loan arrangement between the IMF and Pakistan. The Washington-based lender posted the agreement on its Web site.

Pakistan, denying blame for last week’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, was forced to turn to the IMF for a bailout after its foreign reserves shrunk 75 percent in a year to $3.45 billion. The IMF fell short of saying when it would allow restrictions on share trading to be removed, upsetting some investors who are awaiting the implementation of a 20 billion rupee ($255 million) government fund to help lift stocks.

“The stock market should be opened to allow free movement of capital,” said Farid Khan, director of equities at Credit Suisse Pakistan Ltd. in Karachi. “Focusing on the foreign- reserve position, while important, can damage the capital market and foreign investment.”

The Karachi Stock Exchange has prohibited investors from selling shares below their Aug. 27 closing prices, after the benchmark index fell 35 percent earlier this year. Ending the ban and “the use of public funds to support the stock market will be decided after reaching understandings with Fund staff,” the IMF said.

‘Tightening’ Policies

Pakistan’s economy may expand as little as 3 percent this fiscal year in response to a “tightening” of macroeconomic policies and a deceleration of growth in the nation’s trading partners, the IMF said. That would be the slowest pace since 2000, when South Asia’s second-largest economy grew 2 percent.

In order to secure the IMF loan, Pakistan’s government and central bank have also agreed to eliminate electricity subsidies by the end of June 2009 and to continue to adjust fuel prices to reflect international prices. That should reduce the budget deficit as a proportion of gross domestic product to 3.3 percent by 2009-10 from 4.2 percent in 2008-09 and 7.4 percent this year, the IMF said.

“Many of the major targets set by the IMF, including reducing the fiscal deficit and maintaining foreign reserves will bring discipline to the government,” said Samiullah Tariq, head of research at InvestCapital & Securities Ltd. in Karachi. “The IMF conditions aim at lifting the control of the government and the central bank over the fiscal targets.”

Interest Rates

The central bank’s net foreign-asset floor for the end of December, a breach of which would trigger the commitment to increase interest rates, has been set by the IMF at $1.165 billion. The level for March 2009 has been set at $671 million.

“Interest rate policy will be sufficiently flexible to protect the reserves position and bring down inflation,” the IMF said. “The program envisages a significant tightening of monetary policy.”

Governor Shamshad Akhtar on Nov. 12 raised the central bank’s key rate by 2 percentage points to 15 percent, describing the move as “the toughest decision of my life.” Inflation accelerated to near a 30-year high in October, with consumer prices soaring 25 percent from a year earlier.

The IMF has approved more than $40 billion of loans in recent weeks to prevent the global financial crisis and recession from undermining the stability of developing nations. Ukraine, Serbia and Iceland have already got funds from the IMF. Belarus has requested $2 billion and Turkey may also agree to emergency funding.

Pakistan completed its last IMF program in 2004 with a credit rating from Standard & Poor’s of B+, four levels below investment grade. S&P cut the nation’s rating to CCC on Nov. 14, one day before the latest IMF loan was announced, citing a risk of default on external debt payments.

Source

Pakistan Obtains $7.6 Billion Bailout Loan From IMF

By Khalid Qayum

November 25 2008

Pakistan obtained a $7.6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund to help prevent the country defaulting on its debt.

The State Bank of Pakistan, which this month raised its benchmark interest rate to 15 percent from 13 percent, has committed as part of the aid to “further tighten monetary policy as needed,” the IMF said in a statement in Washington yesterday. South Asia’s second-largest economy will be able to immediately draw upon $3.1 billion of the loan, it said.

President Asif Ali Zardari, facing pressure from the U.S. to step up the fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents along the border with Afghanistan, needs IMF financing to prop up Pakistan’s ailing economy. The nation’s foreign-exchange reserves have shrunk 75 percent in 12 months to $3.45 billion and economic growth is forecast to slump to a seven-year low.

Pakistan’s rupee gained 0.44 percent against the dollar to a seven-week high of 78.70, as of 11:15 a.m. in Karachi. The currency has declined as much as 26 percent this year as foreign investors spooked by the global credit crunch withdraw funds from emerging markets. The yield on the benchmark 9.6 percent bond due August 2017 held at 15 percent.

The loan from the IMF “will ease constraints on foreign currencies and it will boost the confidence of overseas and domestic investors,” said Samiullah Tariq, an economist at InvestCapital & Securities Ltd. in Karachi. “Now investors know that there will be a lot more fiscal discipline.” He said he expects rupee to strengthen to 75 against the dollar in a month.

Global Recession

The IMF has approved more than $40 billion of loans in recent weeks to prevent the global financial crisis and recession from undermining the stability of developing nations. Ukraine, Serbia and Iceland have already got funds from the IMF. Belarus has requested $2 billion and Turkey may also agree to emergency funding.

“The Pakistani economy was buffeted by large shocks during fiscal year 2007 and 2008, including adverse security developments, higher oil and food import prices and the global financial turmoil,” said IMF Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato. “By providing large financial support for Pakistan, the IMF is sending a strong signal to the donor community about the country’s improved macroeconomic prospects.”

Pakistan expects the IMF loan will help it win additional aid from a group of other lenders and donor nations, including the U.S., U.K., China and Saudi Arabia. The group’s Nov. 17 meeting in Abu Dhabi adopted a “work plan” for financial help to Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry has said.

‘Significant Tightening’

To secure the IMF loan, Pakistan agreed to a “significant tightening of fiscal policy” and an end to central bank financing of the government. Pakistan plans to reduce its budget deficit to 4.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 from 7.4 percent in the past financial year, according to the Washington-based lender.

The cost of insuring a $10 million Pakistani government bond against the risk of default has more than doubled since the end of September to $2.28 million a year from $987,000 per annum, according to CMA Datavision.

Last week Pakistan’s government said the country’s $150 billion economy was expected to expand 4.3 percent in the fiscal year ending June 2009.

Growth is easing after central bank Governor Shamshad Akhtar on Nov. 12 increased interest rates by the most in more than a decade to curb inflation, which jumped to a 30-year high of 25.33 percent in August.

Pakistan completed its last IMF program in 2004 with a credit rating from Standard & Poor’s of B+, four levels below investment grade. S&P cut the nation’s rating to CCC on Nov. 14, one day before the latest IMF loan was announced, citing a risk of default on external debt payments.

Source

Published in: on December 3, 2008 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Pakistan Promises IMF to Raise Rates If Reserves Drop and Eliminate Electricity subsidies  
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Pakistan gets $7.6 billion loan package from IMF

Supporters of Pakistan's opposition party Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Moment for Justice, take part in a rally against the U.S. missile strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas, Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Protesters urged Islamabad to sever ties with the United States over the strike _ highlighting the risks for Washington as it seeks to eliminate extremists along the Afghan border yet also support Pakistan's democratically elected government.
Supporters of Pakistan’s opposition party Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Moment for Justice, take part in a rally against the U.S. missile strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas, Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Protesters urged Islamabad to sever ties with the United States over the strike _ highlighting the risks for Washington as it seeks to eliminate extremists along the Afghan border yet also support Pakistan’s democratically elected government. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
By Chris Brummitt
November 25, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Pakistan, the front-line state in the battle against Islamist terrorism, has won final approval for a $7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to help stave off a possible economic meltdown.

The IMF said a first installment of $3.1 billion will be transferred immediately to the nuclear-armed country, which is battling surging violence by Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants and is increasingly seen in the West as key to stabilizing neighboring Afghanistan.

The IMF said the Pakistani economy had been badly hit by the worsening security situation, higher oil and food import prices and the global financial and credit crisis.

“By providing large financial support to Pakistan, the IMF is sending a strong signal to the donor community about the country’s improved macroeconomic prospects,” said IMF acting Chairman Takatoshi Kato in a statement released after the decision Monday in Washington, where the fund is based.

Pakistan’s young government had been reluctant to go to the IMF but had little choice after close allies — the “United States, China and Saudi Arabia” — turned down pleas for significant bilateral aid.

In mid-November, the IMF announced it had reached a preliminary agreement on the deal.

Opposition and nationalist lawmakers have criticized the government for turning to the fund, saying the IMF will impose “austerity measures” that will hurt ordinary Pakistanis, two-thirds of whom live on $2 dollar a day or less.

“This IMF loan the government is getting is in fact poison, and the nation has been forced to drink it,” said Javed Hashmi, a senior figure in the main opposition party, told reporters.

The loan removes the most pressing risk facing the country — that it would not be able to repay dollar-denominated government bonds due to mature early next year, said Muzammil Aslam, an economist at the Pakistani securities firm KASB.

Aslam and other economists said Pakistan’s government had already made some tough decisions, such as hiking the prices of fuel and electricity.

Many Pakistani economists and commentators argued that the country had no choice but to turn to the IMF. They say it is now critical that the money is well spent — always a worry in corruption-prone and chaotic Pakistan.

The IMF said in return for the money Pakistan had agreed to phase out energy subsidies, boost taxes and implement other money saving reforms. It said the World Bank would put in place a “comprehensive” social security net to shield the poor from any cuts.

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, President Asif Ali Zardari said the loan was “a difficult pill, but one has to take medicine to get better,”

The loan will immediately boost Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves, which have seen a rapid decline that has seen the value of the rupee fall some 20 percent since March, and enable it to pay off foreign-denominated debt due to mature soon.

The currency has clawed back some ground in recent weeks as it became clear that the IMF would step in.

The country is also wracked by power cuts, the costs of essential goods are soaring and the stock market has plummeted amid waning investor confidence.

Pakistan is one of a number of countries including Hungary and Ukraine that has sought IMF assistance in the wake of the global credit crunch. However, its strategic importance in the U.S.-led war against terrorism makes its financial and political stability particularly critical for the international community.

U.S. officials say that militants sheltering in its lawless northwest are behind much of the violence in Afghanistan, where a resurgent Taliban threaten the success of the U.S.-led mission there seven years after the invasion.

They also say that al-Qaida’s leadership — including Osama bin Laden — has managed to regroup in the region, and is possibly plotting attacks on the West.

Pakistan’s army is batting militants in several parts of the northwest but some Western analysts and officials suspect elements within the security forces of sympathizing with the extremists.

Officials in Peshawar said Tuesday that gunmen kidnapped a Pakistani working on a U.S.-funded aid project in the region.

Police said the attackers seized the man from a convoy of relief vehicles in the Dir region on Monday. Other aid workers escaped after villagers fired on the attackers.

The U.N.’s World Food Program said the victim was distributing wheat and cooking oil on its behalf. WFP spokesman Amjad Jamal said the food was paid for by the U.S. government.

Jamal said it was unclear if Taliban militants were behind the kidnapping and that WFP had received no demands.

Source

If it were not for the war next door to them and the fact the US continues to attack them, they probably wouldn’t need  help. War after all does cost a lot.

Stopping the Attacks on Pakistani soil by the US, would be in everyone’s best interest.

“If America doesn’t stop attacks in tribal areas, we will prepare a lashkar [army] to attack US forces in Afghanistan,” tribal chief Malik Nasrullah announced in Miran Shah, north Waziristan’s largest city. “We will also seek support from the tribal elders in Afghanistan to fight jointly against America.”

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 9:33 pm  Comments Off on Pakistan gets $7.6 billion loan package from IMF  
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Germany to provide a 308-million euro loan to Iceland

November 22 2008

BERLIN,

Germany said on Saturday it would provide a 308-million euro loan to Iceland’s deposit guarantee fund so it could pay back savings of German clients of Kaupthing bank, which was taken over by the Icelandic state last month.

The International Monetary Fund this week approved a $2.1 billion loan for Iceland. The loan had been held up due to a dispute between Iceland, Britain and the Netherlands over how to repay savers with deposits in frozen Icelandic accounts.

German savers also had money locked up.

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told Tagesspiegel daily the German savers would get their money back in full.

The German loan would total 308 million euros, the amount savers in Germany had held at Kaupthing

Iceland was caught in the global financial crisis as its currency plunged and its financial system crashed last month under the weight of tens of billions of dollars of foreign debts incurred by its banks, three of which failed.

Britain, the Netherlands and Germany issued a statement last week saying they would provide “pre-financing” to help Iceland meet foreign deposit obligations. The IMF, in a conference call on Thursday, estimated those obligations at $5-6 billion.

A British finance ministry source said Britain would lend Iceland 2.2 billion pounds ($3.27 billion). The Netherlands said it was working on aid to help cover 1.2 billion ($2.63 billion) to 1.3 billion euros of Dutch deposits held in Icelandic accounts.

Kaupthing said last week it hoped to pay back customers of German operations in the next few days or weeks.

Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin has implemented a temporary moratorium for the German unit of Kaupthing and the bank said it had been working on an agreement with the German government in recent weeks.

(Reporting by Andreas Moeser; Writing by Kerstin Gehmlich)

Source

BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved

Iceland’s Economic Meltdown is a big Flashing Warning Sign

Published in: on November 23, 2008 at 6:47 am  Comments Off on Germany to provide a 308-million euro loan to Iceland  
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Iceland’s Economic Meltdown is a big Flashing Warning Sign

A lesson in who not to listen too and what doesn’t work.

Iceland followed the prescriptions of a right-wing ideologue, and its economy paid a severe price.

November 17, 2008

by Toby Sanger for Alternet

Iceland — better known for its geothermal hot springs, abundant fish, all-night raves and eclectic musicians such as Björk and Sigur Rós — has now become renowned for something else: It is the first catastrophic, and perhaps most unlikely, casualty of the 2008 economic and financial meltdown.

Corporate taxes were cut from 50 percent down to 18 percent. Privatization and deregulation were driven directly through the prime minister’s office, and the major banks were privatized.

Iceland is now essentially bankrupt after the government took over its three major banks to prevent them from failing. It owes more than $60 billion overseas, about six times the value of its annual economic output. As a professor at London School of Economics said, “No Western country in peacetime has crashed so quickly and so badly.”

What on earth happened to get Iceland and its banking sector into such a state?

It turns out that Iceland, despite its coalition governments and Nordic social values, became a poster child for neoconservative economic policies inspired by Milton Friedman during the past decade. Friedman himself visited Iceland in 1984 and participated in what was described as a “lively television debate” with leading Socialists. This inspired a generation of young conservatives who came to power through the Independence Party in 1991 and have run its government through different coalitions since then.

Friedman may be dead now, but the economic and financial collapse of 2008 is becoming a real-life battleground of his theories against those of the other giant of 20th century economics, John Maynard Keynes, and their respective followers. Will financial market bailouts put the economy back on track, or are more extensive reform and a more active role for the government needed?

Keynes’ analysis was complicated and nuanced. The work for which he’s best known, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, provided a theoretical basis for the economic reforms of the New Deal era — investments in public works and deficit spending that helped countries recover from the Great Depression.

While Keynes did not dismiss the role of monetary policy in countering an economic downturn, some of his followers, notably recent 2008 Nobel economics prize winner Paul Krugman, in relation to Japan, have focused on the possibility of a “liquidity trap” that makes traditional monetary policies, such as cutting interest rates, ineffective.

Keynes’ theories, though often misapplied, provided the basis for most macroeconomic policies in the capitalist world from the 1930s until the 1970s when the oil-price shock and stagflation hit.

Friedman, in his Monetary History of the United States, argued that the Great Depression was primarily caused by negligence by monetary authorities, such as the US Federal Reserve, who didn’t do enough to respond to an ordinary financial shock by expanding the money supply.

Friedman and his Chicago school of economics then very successfully spearheaded a reaction against Keynesianism, largely defining economic policy since the 1980s. The main policy prescriptions — restricting the role of government, deregulation, privatization, cutting taxes, low inflation and the benefits of free markets — were encapsulated in the “Washington consensus” and imposed with missionary zeal by IMF economists around the world.

While Friedman’s narrow form of money supply monetarism was quickly abandoned in the early 1980s, most governments have relied primarily on monetary instead of fiscal policy for stabilization of their economies over the past few decades. This turned Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve and an advocate of Friedman’s policies, into the most important economic policy maker in the world.

Although Greenspan was never elected, had no particular expertise in economics and was a disciple of the fringe ideology of libertarian Ayn Rand, he was able to use his considerable power to endorse tax cuts and deregulation. He is now widely considered to share the blame for creating the conditions that resulted in the current economic collapse.

Greenspan’s successor as chair of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is also a follower of Friedman, but he is an accomplished economist. Coincidentally enough, one of his areas of expertise was in the economics of the Great Depression; he once boldly stated that the Federal Reserve was responsible for causing the Great Depression and making banking panics during it “much more severe and widespread.”

Bernanke is now one of the people in charge of what is probably the most expensive experiment in human history: trying to avert another Depression, using economic policies inspired by Friedman. The cost of this to the US Treasury so far has already reached well over $1 trillion and continues to rise.

So how did the much smaller but perhaps more ambitious experiment with Friedmanite economic policies fare in tiny Iceland, one of the most physically isolated countries in the world with a population of only 320,000?

Under the leadership of Prime Minister David Oddsson and explicitly inspired by Friedman, Iceland’s neoconservative young Turks implemented a radical (but now familiar) program of privatization, tax cuts, reductions in spending and deficits, inflation targeting, central bank independence, free trade and exchange rate flexibility. Corporate taxes were cut from 50 percent down to 18 percent. Privatization and deregulation were driven directly through the prime minister’s office, and the major banks were privatized.

Economic missions and reports on Iceland issued by the influential International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) largely praised and encouraged these reforms, often disregarding the rising risks for its financial sector until recently.

It wasn’t as if everyone was unaware of the growing dangers of these policies. In 2001, Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel prize in economics and one of the leading lights of the “New Keynesian” school of economics, wrote a remarkably prescient paper for the Central Bank of Iceland. In the paper, he raised alarm about a vulnerable, small, open economy such as Iceland suffering from a severe financial and economic crisis from such policies. In the absence of reforms in the “global financial architecture”, Stiglitz outlined a set of regulatory and tax measures that Iceland should implement “both to reduce the likelihood of a crisis and to help manage the economy through a crisis.”

Stiglitz’s paper has invaluable advice that should have been considered by any nation — and especially Iceland — but it appears these recommendations were ignored. The right-wing reformers certainly didn’t change their course. Why would they? Life was good and getting better in the small island state, with showrooms full of fancy cars and booming real estate, business and financial industries.

At first, the policies appeared to be very successful. The economy grew at a strong pace, rising until Iceland achieved one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. In 2007 it also topped the score for the United Nation’s Human Development Index.

Iceland rocketed to the top 10 in the indexes of economic freedom designed by the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation. It was lauded by the conservative Cato Institute for its flat taxes, privatization and economic freedoms. The institute also criticized Naomi Klein for not mentioning Iceland (along with Ireland, Estonia and Australia) as an example of success in her book about the rise of disaster capitalism, The Shock Doctrine.

Icelandic banks and businesses, with the support of their government, expanded aggressively overseas, particularly into the UK and the Netherlands. The banking industry and private businesses flourished and created a number of new billionaires on the island.

Then it all came crashing down.

Inflation and short-term interest rates escalated to 14 percent, and Iceland’s currency lost half its value. Now Iceland has an external debt equivalent to about $200,000 per person with virtually no prospect of repaying it.

Iceland’s economic collapse wasn’t caused by the subprime crisis or by the Wall Street shenanigans in the biggest economic powerhouse in the world. Instead, it was caused by the same Friedman-inspired economic policies being independently applied in one of the smallest countries in the world.

Back in the United States, it appears that Washington’s experiments with Friedman-inspired economic policies are not meeting with much success. Each action taken by the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve until mid-October was met with a further decline in stock prices.

Stock markets didn’t start to recover until European nations moved to effectively nationalize their major banks. This move was quickly followed by Washington, although it is far outside of what Friedman advocated. It is also diametrically opposed to a number of the 10 economic policy commandments of the old “Washington Consensus”. While stock markets may recover, or continue more along their roller-coaster ride, we have yet to see how far down these Friedmanite free market policies will take the real economy of people’s jobs, incomes and living standards.

What is somewhat incredible is the apparent lack of remorse or self-reflection and doubt being expressed by the ideologues who put these policies in place. Amazingly, many neocons continue to argue that the financial collapse was caused by regulations that were too strong, or by a confluence of unlikely events, including a rise in “leftist attitudes”.

There seems to be a belief among many that a financial market bailout will soon relieve the credit crunch caused by the subprime fiasco and then we can go back to business as usual. We don’t need to look too far back in time or too far abroad to see how misguided these views are. Clearly it is time to broaden our horizons, learn from Keynes and successful New Deal economic policies, and consider other imaginative solutions to our economic crisis.

Toby Sanger is an economist with the Canadian Union of Public Employees and a contributor to the Progressive Economics Forum blog.

Source

BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved

November 20 2008

By Alex Elliot

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just confirmed that it will extend the requested USD 2.1 billion loan to Iceland, according to MBL.is.

In addition to this, the Finns, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes intend to lend Iceland some USD 2.5 billion. Reuters quoted a senior Finnish politician as saying that the Norwegians will provide USD 631 million of that sum; but it is not yet known how the rest will be split between Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

Earlier today, the Finnish business paper, Kauppalehti stated that in addition to the above loans, the Icelanders are also likely to receive a USD 500 million loan from Russia and funding from Poland, the Faroe Islands and the European Union.

IceNews will bring further details on the implications of this news as it comes to light over the next days.

Source

Iceland gets $2.1 billion loan from the IMF

By Robert Daniel

Nov. 20, 2008

The International Monetary Fund approved a two-year standby arrangement for Iceland, in which the country will receive a $2.1 billion loan, the agency said on Thursday.

Additional loans totaling as much as $3 billion have been secured from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

The Faroe Islands will also lend Iceland $50 million.

The IMF will provide $827 million of its loan immediately with the rest in eight installments of $155 million each. Iceland will repay the loan during 2012 through 2015, the agency said.

Source

Nice to see the other countires coming to the aid of Iceland.

Lets hope things improve.

Considering everything they have been through, they need their friends.

The people in Iceland are good people and desrve to be treated as such.

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved  
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World Bank Promotes Fossil Fuel Pollution

One thing leads to another and yet another. One story can lead to some valuable information.

Anyone who has been reading “Did You Know” has noticed there are many things on the IMF and the World Bank. Their policies have contributed to Social problems and Corporations being allowed to go into countries and do some rather devastating damage, to countries who receive the loans.

Monsanto has devastated Indian cotton farmers for example. Of course they have also been involved in many other  problems as well.

There are other corporations that are equally as bad but, for the moment I will just use them as an example.

The World Bank and IMF in many cases, as a part of the agreement to get a loan,  stipulate the markets in the recipient country must open their markets up to some of these not so wonderful corporations, among other stipulations which can vary from one recipient country to another.

In Iceland they had to raise their interest rates to 18%. Of course this I found rather odd, considering during the Financial Crisis of late every other country is lowering them.

After reading the story below I of course went for a wander and found a few things.

So I am sharing my findings with you.

I love to share especially when it comes our planet and our environment.
Time to see green in the red
By James Blunt
November 17, 2008

This year, I have visited more than 180 cities on my world tour, and wherever I went — from Aberdeen to Auckland — one thing never failed to amaze me: air conditioning. It was blasting at sub-arctic levels in nearly every hotel I stayed, when most times it would have been just as easy — and better for the environment — to open a window.

To me, hotel air conditioning is a small but telling reminder of the luxuries we have grown so accustomed to in an age of prosperity but could often do without. They are things — like SUVs, or fish caught half a world away or even disposable hand wipes — that barely improve our daily lives but, altogether, are taking a terrible toll on our planet.

So, as we read  in newspapers like Metro about the economic slowdown, I wonder if there might be a silver lining in such grim news: The possibility that after a period of so much consumption, we might cut back a bit on extravagances we don’t need, and give our over-worked planet a bit of a breather?

I realize that many people roll their eyes when a celebrity preaches about the environment — or rescuing baby seals, or any other worthy cause. (I don’t like preaching, either, and — contrary to what you might have read in the tabloids — I don’t think of myself as a celebrity).
As an army officer and a musician, I have had the privilege of seeing some of the planet’s natural treasures. Sadly, I have also seen the way that we abuse it by dropping bombs and building shopping malls.

I don’t pretend to be an environmental expert, but I am learning. Before my concerts, we screen a preview of An Inconvenient Truth, the remarkable documentary by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore

I am installing solar panels at home, and for every ticket to one of my concerts sold online, we plant a tree.

I’m a supporter of The Big Ask.

It is a campaign by Friends of the Earth to get govern­ments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions — the main cause of global warming. Thanks to them, the European Union is now debating laws that would force members to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. If approved, it would be the most ambitious plan in the world, and just might convince the U.S., China and others to come aboard.

Unfortunately, some politicians are pointing to the economy and saying that now is not the time to fight global warming. I think they have it backwards: We cannot afford to wait any longer. Global warming is a problem that is only going to get worse, and more costly to fix, the longer we delay. By joining The Big Ask, you can remind our leaders that the environment should not depend on the stock market.

And one more thing: next time you switch on the air conditioning, think about cracking a window open instead.

Source


Well I had to go and see what the “The Big Ask” was all about. Curiosity you know.

Seems the Friends of the Earth do numerous things.
Fuel Poverty being one of them.
November 13

Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged have lodged an appeal today (13 November 2008) against last month’s High Court ruling that the Government has not broken the law over its failure to tackle fuel poverty.

The High Court gave Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged permission to appeal because the case raised difficult and novel legal questions.  The organisations have asked the Court of Appeal to reconsider the issues and order that the Government release previously secret fuel poverty documents.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said:

“We believe the Government has acted unlawfully by failing in its legal commitment to end the suffering of fuel poverty. The Government must introduce a massive programme to cut energy waste, slash fuel bills and ensure that people heat their homes and not the planet.”

Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser for Help the Aged, said:

“The intention of Parliament to end fuel poverty was very clear in legislation – it must happen.  The Government has to come up with a fresh fuel poverty strategy immediately to end the suffering of millions of vulnerable people.  Low income households need crisis payments simply to get through the coming winter, but in the longer term, the energy efficiency of our homes must be improved.”

Although the Government is legally bound to do all that is reasonably possible to eradicate fuel poverty for vulnerable households by 2010 and for all households by 2016, five million households in the United Kingdom will struggle to heat and power their homes this winter. The number of households in fuel poverty has now reached the highest level in ten years.
Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth and are calling on the Government to develop a far more effective and comprehensive programme of domestic energy efficiency to simultaneously end suffering from fuel poverty and tackle climate change.

Unfortunately this problem is not limited to just the UK.  It is a problem in many other countries as well.

This I found to very interesting.

Brown urged to U-turn on $1.6bn contribution to disastrous climate funds

April 11 2008

Civil society groups from around the world are today (Friday 11 April 2008) calling on the World Bank to withdraw its proposal to establish climate investment funds ahead of this weekend’s spring meetings in Washington, due to concerns the fund will be used for carbon offsetting schemes including industrial-scale tree plantations, coal projects and other polluting, energy-intensive industries and could undermine international efforts to tackle climate change.

The World Bank this week detailed its plans for the funds, which are being set up outside the United Nations Frame Convention on Climate Change [1] and into which the UK will channel its $1.6 billion Environmental Transformation Fund.

Friends of the Earth International climate campaigner Joseph Zacune said: “Gordon Brown’s decision to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money on the World Bank’s disastrous climate funds is set to do much more harm than good by undermining UN, developing country and community-based efforts to address climate change.

“The World Bank is responsible for major emissions through its financing of dirty fuel projects around the world – putting it in charge of multi-billion dollar climate funds is like putting a mafia don in charge of law and order.”

The World Bank Group is the largest multilateral lender for fossil fuel projects, spending around $1 billion per year in financing for the oil and gas industry. This week the Bank approved a $450 million loan for the 4,000 megawatt Tata Mundra coal project in Gujarat, India which is expected to emit 23 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The World Bank’s climate investment funds are expected to be worth between $7 and $12 billion. The US, UK, and Japan originally proposed the funds with a view toward their approval at the G8 summit in Japan in July 2008.

The Bank’s funds are also earmarked for tropical rainforest countries taking part in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. This global offsetting scheme would allow rich countries and their corporations to buy up carbon locked in developing country forests in order to pollute as usual at home. The proposals have been opposed by Indigenous Peoples who would have their land rights undermined.

The Group of 77 and China criticised the proposed funds at UN climate talks in Bangkok last week.

The World Bank’s own Extractive Industries Review (EIR) in 2004 recommended that the Bank “phase out investments in oil production by 2008”.

Notes

[1] Details on these new climate funds became available this week on the World’s Bank website

[2] Bernaditas Muller, chief negotiator for the Group of 77 and China, stated, “The governance of these funds is also donor-driven. There is clearly money for climate actions, which is the good news, but the bad news is it is in the hands of institutions that do not necessarily serve the objectives of the Convention.”

[3] A new report “World Bank: Climate Profiteer” from the Institute for Policy Studies, shows how the World Bank’s growing engagement in carbon markets is dangerously counter-productive. The Bank’s $2 billion, and growing, carbon finance portfolio is forging a path through the $60 billion international carbon market toward a dirty energy future. While the World Bank continues to fund greenhouse gas-emitting coal, oil and gas projects, it skims an average 13% off the top of carbon deals. The report is available on the IPS website

(There are a number of reports at the IPS website , about the World bank worth reading. ( Challenging Corporate Investor Rule ) is one of them. There are about 5 or 6  reports on the World Bank . They do help pollution increase. There are other reports on pollution like (Radiation) as well.

Do be sure to check it out. There is a wealth of information there.

[4] More information is available including Third World Network’s critique on these funds.

See also Bretton Woods Project “World Bank climate funds: a huge leap backwards” .

Source

The Environment belongs to all of us and we must protect it.

Then we also have this type of pollution as well. War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

World Bank, IMF loans not universally welcomed

World Bank, IMF loans not universally welcomed

November 17, 2008

India has the opportunity to borrow $30 billion from the IMF, in addition to $9 billion over three years from the World Bank to help it cope with the financial crisis. Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia says of the IMF loans: “with reserves of $200 billion, we really don’t need this”. However, he said that the World Bank needs to go further.

The Nigerian lower chamber in the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, on Thursday asked the Nigerian federal government to reject a $3 billion World Bank loan offer, the official News Agency of Nigeria reported on Friday. Dino Melaye, a member of the House in a motion sponsored along with 77 others, said previous loans from the bank had not been judiciously utilized for the provision of infrastructure. Deputy Speaker Usman Nafada, said the loan offer was another trap cycle of modern economic slavery.

See also:“Meeting global commitments to provide development assistance … paramount” – World Bank on financial crisis

Source

And we also have this.

Korea Rules Out Tapping IMF Loan

The World Bank and IMF in Africa

The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on World Bank, IMF loans not universally welcomed  
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Iceland Abandoned

By HANNES H. GISSURARSON

November 17 2008

Brown’s actions helped to worsen the island’s financial crisis.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland

As recently as last year, Iceland was considered an economic success story. After 16 years of free-market reforms, it was one of the world’s 10 richest and freest countries. Efficiently managing its fish stocks — elsewhere operated with huge losses — it also enjoyed a strong pension system. Massive tax cuts had led to strong economic growth and rising tax revenues. At the same time, extensive privatization generated about $2 billion for the state, allowing it to pay off most of its debt. The newly privatized banks were flourishing. Income distribution was relatively even, and the poverty level one of the lowest in Europe. Like other Nordic countries, Iceland was a stable democracy under the rule of law.

Then, in the first week of October 2008, all went wrong. The three main Icelandic banks collapsed and the government took over their domestic branches. It is still unclear what will happen to their foreign operations. The local currency, the krona, went into free fall. Foreign trade came to a standstill, as it became almost impossible to transfer money to and from the country.

Why did the international financial crisis hit Iceland so hard? A plausible answer is that Iceland’s banks were oversized: With assets worth more than 10 times the country’s GDP, the Icelandic Central Bank simply could not act as their only lender of last resort. In hindsight, Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority should perhaps have demanded much earlier that financial institutions significantly scale down their foreign operations.

While some Icelandic bankers may have behaved recklessly, there is another side to the story. In 1994, Iceland joined the European Economic Area, a free-trade zone that unites the 27 EU member states with Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The idea was that any company based within the EEA could operate freely throughout the area, provided it followed the rules.

The Icelandic banks took this seriously and began operations in other European countries, working under EEA regulations. Efficient, aggressive and technologically advanced, they often offered better terms than their competitors, undoubtedly causing some resentment.

At the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, the Icelandic banks were quite solvent. They had almost no subprime loans. But there was a foreseeable liquidity problem. When the Icelandic Central Bank tried to obtain credit lines from other central banks in the EEA, it was refused almost everywhere. Suddenly, it did matter where the banks had their headquarters. Once the financial markets realized that there was no credible lender of last resort in the Icelandic financial system, a run on the banks became almost inevitable.

One or two of the Icelandic banks might have survived, though, if on Oct. 8 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had not used the country’s antiterrorist law to take over the assets and operations of two Icelandic banks in the U.K., Kaupthing and Landsbanki. The Icelandic Ministry of Finance and Central Bank even found themselves briefly on the list of terrorist organizations published on the Web site of the British Treasury, alongside al Qaeda and the Taliban.

These British measures significantly worsened Iceland’s financial crisis. The island’s banking system and foreign trade collapsed. Unsurprisingly, banks are reluctant to transfer money to and from “terrorists.”

Mr. Brown justified his draconian actions by saying that the Icelandic government was unwilling to honor its legal obligations to British depositors of Icelandic banks. There is no evidence for this charge. To the contrary, the Icelandic government repeatedly asserted that all legal obligations to depositors in the EEA area would be honored. These obligations are covered by the Icelandic Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund set up under EEA rules. The fund is an independent body, guaranteeing all deposits up to about €20,000. However, if the fund is unable to fully meet its obligations, then there is no requirement, under EEA rules, for the Icelandic government to step in.

Prime Minister Brown also talked darkly of last-minute bank transfers from England to Iceland. Whether that is true or false remains to be seen. But interestingly, the last-minute transfer of $8 billion from Lehman Brothers in England to America in September did not land the U.S. Treasury or the Federal Reserve on the British list of terrorist organizations.

Having helped to bring down two of the three Icelandic banks, Mr. Brown, using the position of London as a financial center and his country’s influence in the IMF and the European Union, demanded that the Icelandic government go far beyond what the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund is obliged to do under EEA rules. The prime minister, fearing that the fund does not have sufficient means, insisted that the Icelandic government must guarantee foreign deposits in Icelandic banks. Late Sunday, Reykjavik succumbed to this pressure and agreed to reimburse European savers for up to about €20,000. This might put a debt of perhaps $10 billion on the shoulders of 310,000 people, close to 100% of the country’s GDP.

The central banks in the EEA that refused to come to the assistance of the Icelandic Central Bank probably did not anticipate the damage their inaction would cause even beyond Iceland’s shores. And Prime Minister Brown probably did not understand that bringing down the Icelandic banks would inflict much higher costs on British depositors than if he had stayed calm and participated in resolving the situation.

Little wonder that Icelanders these days feel rather abandoned by their European friends.

Mr. Gissurarson is a board member of Iceland’s central bank and a professor of political philosophy at the University of Iceland.

Source

Well Mr. GissurarsonI I have to agree with you. Seems Iceland was in the process of doing everything within their power to resolve the problem.  What Brown did certainly didn’t help matters any. The EU, Iceland and Canada all started falling together.

Icesave may have been a problem but it of course was  a Privately owned bank. Iceland itself at the time was not in control of it. The owner however was.

Brown punishing a country because of a privately owned bank, was over stepping his bounds for sure.

The Government in Iceland was working to remedy the problem. Brown was in my opinion in to much of a hurry.

Iceland certainly is not a terrorist country and should not have been treated as such.

From October -There is more in my November Index as well.

New State-Run Glitnir Bank Established

Iceland’s Kaupthing Prepares Lawsuit against Britain

Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO

Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

Iceland ‘working day and night’

Salaries hit by Icelandic bank Collapse

Fear on streets of Reykjavik as country can only go to IMF for financial bailout

UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland’

Iceland government seizes control of Landsbanki

Icelands, Icesave freezes deposits and withdrawals

EU, Iceland, Canada Suffering Fall Out, Caused By US Crisis

The Icelandic Government program with the IMF

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ICELANDIC PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE:

Reykjavik, Iceland

November 17 2008

In the wake of the recent international financial turmoil, Iceland’s economy is facing a banking crisis of extraordinary proportions. The economy is heading for a deep recession, a sharp rise in the fiscal deficit, and a dramatic surge in public sector debt – by about 80%. Potentially substantial capital outflows could lead to a further large loss in the value of the króna. In the context of the high leverage in the economy, this would produce massive balance sheet effects and a substantial contraction in domestic activity. The immediate challenges are, therefore, to restore a functioning and viable banking system, and to stabilize the króna. Looking further ahead, the challenge will be to reduce a very high level of public debt, by embarking on a process of sustained fiscal consolidation.

Banking sector restructuring and insolvency framework reform
The Icelandic government is committed to progressing a sound and transparent process as regards depositors and creditors in the intervened banks. Constructive work is being carried out towards comparable agreements with all international counterparts for the Iceland deposit insurance scheme in line with the EEA legal framework. Under its deposit insurance system Iceland is committed to recognize the obligations to all insured depositors. This is done under the understanding that prefinancing for these claims is available by respective foreign governments and that Iceland as well as these governments is committed to discussions within the coming days with a view to reaching agreement on the precise terms for this prefinancing. Furthermore, it is recognized that the payment by the new banks of the fair value for the assets transferred from the old banks is a key factor in the fair treatment of depositors and creditors in the intervened banks. Accordingly, we have instituted a transparent process involving two sets of independent auditors to establish the fair value of the assets. More generally, the fair, equitable and non-discriminatory treatment of depositors and creditors will be ensured in line with applicable law.

The bank regulatory framework and supervisory practice will be reviewed to strengthen the safeguards against potential new crises. Previous senior managers and major shareholders in intervened banks who are found to have mismanaged the banks should not assume similar roles for at least three years.

The insolvency framework to manage deleveraging and recovery in the banking, corporate and household sectors in an efficient manner will be reviewed.

Fiscal policy
Preliminary estimates suggest that the gross cost to the budget of honoring deposit insurance obligations and of recapitalizing both commercial banks and the Central Bank of Iceland could amount to around 80 percent of GDP and the general government deficit will be 13.5 percent of GDP in 2009. Overall, gross government debt could rise from 29 percent of GDP at end-2007 to 109 percent of GDP by end-2009. The net cost will be somewhat lower on the assumption that money can be recovered by selling assets from the old banks.

In order not to exacerbate the recession, the fiscal deficit will be allowed to widen to the extent that this is driven by higher expenditures and lower revenues due to the effects of the economic cycle. But given the high financing need and the dramatic increase in public sector debt, a planned discretionary fiscal relaxation in 2009 will be significantly scaled back.

The intention is to reduce the structural primary deficit by 2–3 percent annually over the medium-term, with the aim of achieving a small structural primary surplus by 2011 and a structural primary surplus of 3½-4 percent of GDP by 2012. A thorough analysis of the fiscal framework will be conducted and recommendations made, including on how local government finances can be better aligned with the governments’ overall fiscal plans.

Monetary and exchange rate policy
The immediate challenge facing the Central Bank of Iceland is to stabilize the króna and set the stage for a gradual appreciation. It can be expected that the króna will face near-term risks of pressure when the normal functioning of the foreign exchange market is restored. Extraordinary measures are therefore needed to deal with short-term risks and prevent substantial capital outflows.

In the very short-run, we intend to adopt the following pragmatic mix of conventional and unconventional measures:
• To raise the policy interest rate to 18 percent. The Central Bank stands ready to increase it further, but it is unclear that higher interest rates alone will suffice to stem capital outflow.
• Tight control over banks’ access to Central Bank credits will be maintained to avoid excessive liquidity being drawn down through this route.
• The Central Bank stands ready to use foreign reserves to prevent excessive króna volatility.
• Furthermore, the Central Bank is willing to temporarily maintain restrictions on capital account transactions. Such restrictions have considerable adverse implications and the intention is to remove them as soon as possible.

This process of normalization and lower inflation and interest rates can start as soon as the króna stabilizes in the foreign exchange market, all demand for foreign exchange in respect of current account transactions is met in the foreign exchange market, and there is no longer need to support the market by drawing on the reserves. Following the above mention actions, the króna could strengthen quickly and annual inflation will have fallen to 4½ percent at end-2009. Additional strengthening of the króna and further disinflation is expected in 2010. This will allow us to begin to ease control over Central Bank’s credit volume and increasingly rely on the policy interest rate as the primary monetary policy instrument, in the context of a flexible exchange rate policy.

Incomes policy
It will be important to have a national consensus consistent with the objectives of the macroeconomic program. Historically, income policy in Iceland has been very effective, with past agreements supporting the economic adjustment when difficult circumstances demanded it. Social partners recognize the need to enter an agreement that is commensurate with the severity of the situation.

Publishing and Parliamentary Procedure

A Letter of intent was sent to the IMF on November 3, signed by the Minister of Finance and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank. The Executive Board of the IMF will put Iceland’s plan on its agenda on Wednesday November 19. At the same time IMF’s Staff Report will be published.

Today, November 17, the plan was put before the Parliament and will be discussed there later this week.

A special information Web Page has been opened as a part of the Web Page of the Prime Minister’s Office, http://www.forsaetisraduneyti.is/Aaetlun_um_efnahagsstoduleika/. Among its contents are the Letter of intent in Icelandic and English, explanatory texts on every article of the LOI and other relevant information.

Source

Published in: on November 17, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Comments Off on The Icelandic Government program with the IMF  
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Serbia securing a USD 516 million from IMF

November 16 2008

Budapest.

Serbia has become the latest eastern European country to seek support from the International Monetary Fund, securing a USD 516 million standby loan to help stabilise its economy and boost investor confidence.Unlike Hungary and Ukraine, which want immediate access to huge IMF loans.

Serbia says it will use the money only to avert any as yet unforeseen difficulties, The Irish Times reported.

“We’ve reached a 15-month standby agreement,” said Serb finance minister Diana Dragutinovic. “This programme will allow us to draw funds only if we need them. We believe we will not need the money… It will strengthen foreign investor confidence, while giving us all a sense of security.”

Serbia’s dinar currency and foreign reserves have slumped in the last month, driving it into talks with the IMF, and analysts have warned of economic problems and a possible run on the dinar.

The Serb central bank announced yesterday that growth in 2009 would slow to 3 per cent from 7 per cent this year, down from a previous forecast of 3.5 per cent and, as part of the IMF deal.

Belgrade agreed to cut government spending.  As a result, Serbia is expected to reduce its budget deficit and rate of inflation.

“Serbia should be able to withstand financial difficulties that are coming but this will very much depend on whether Serbia implements much stronger and more credible policies than in the past,” said the head of the IMF mission to Belgrade, Albert Jaeger.

Source

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British study links IMF loans to tuberculosis

This if from July 21 2008 but seems to be relevant even now.

LONDON

Austerity measures attached to International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans may have contributed to a resurgence in tuberculosis in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, researchers said on Tuesday.

Governments may be reducing funding for health services such as hospitals and clinics to meet strict IMF economic targets, the British researchers said.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine, found that countries participating in IMF programmes had seen tuberculosis death rates increase by at least 17 percent between 1991 and 2000 — equivalent to more than 100,000 additional deaths. About one million new cases were recorded during the same period.

Nations that received money from other institutions with less restrictive economic conditions attached had seen a nearly 8 percent drop in tuberculosis death rates, David Stuckler and colleagues at the University of Cambridge said.

“IMF lending did not appear to be a response to worsened health outcomes; rather, it appeared to be a precipitant of such outcomes,” they wrote.

But an IMF spokesman questioned whether the study took into account the instability following the break-up of the Soviet Union, and said it takes time for the disease to develop so the mortality rates could be linked to something previously.

“If the IMF had not stepped in to help the post-communist countries, the declines in health spending would likely have been more pronounced and disease generally more severe,” IMF spokesman William Murray said in an email.

Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease typically attacking the lungs that kills an estimated 1.6 million each year around the world.

The emergence and spread of drug-resistant germs makes treating it much harder and could make the disease even deadlier. Parts of the former Soviet Union are some of the hardest hit by drug-resistant TB.

The researchers used a statistical model to compare tuberculosis rates for 21 post-Communist countries along with the timing and length of IMF loans to other lending programmes.

Even when considering population changes, war, inflation and other factors that can lead to new cases, the researchers found that rising TB rates correlated closely to when IMF funding began.

The size of a loan and length of time a country participated were also important, according to the study that analyzed IMF programmes in the region and TB rates between 1991 and 2000.

“We tested a lot of competing explanations and none could account for the patterns,” Stuckler said in a telephone interview. “We are not saying the IMF loans are the only determinant but they help explain some of the patterns.”

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox and Sami Aboudi)

Source

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Korea Rules Out Tapping IMF Loan

November 16 2008

By Lee Hyo-sik

President Lee Myung-bak ruled out the possibility of utilizing IMF money, Sunday, citing Korea’s sufficient foreign exchange reserves and the bitter memory of the bailout following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

After attending the G20 summit in Washington Saturday, Lee said that the government will not need to turn to the Washington-based organization for funds, stressing the nation can ride out the current economic difficulties on its own.

“The government has decided not to use an IMF loan because if we receive money from it, everyone will see that as a sign of trouble. We had no choice but to ask for dollars from the IMF 10 years ago, but the situation is completely different now,” the President noted.

He then said the financial institution should reform itself drastically to regain creditability among its member economies. “In a meeting with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told him that the way the IMF treated troubled economies 10 years ago tarnished its image because it imposed a range of stringent conditions that did not help the recipients much. I urged him to spare no effort to overhaul the organization to be reborn as a trustworthy international entity,” Lee stressed.

Additionally, Bloomberg quoted Deputy Strategy and Finance Minister Shin Je-yoon as saying that Korea will not tap the IMF for loans because the nation has sufficient foreign exchange reserves and other lines of credit it can draw upon.

It also reported that Shin said the Korean government may introduce more fiscal stimulus measures to boost domestic demand and thus spur growth amid growing concerns of a global recession and its fallout on Korea.

“If circumstances worsen, we are ready anytime to take more action. We want to stimulate domestic demand by using fiscal policy. We still have much room to implement such measures,” the newswire quoted Shin as saying.

His remarks come at a time when the world’s 13th largest economy is facing increasing downside risks in the wake of a global economic downturn as domestic demand continues to deteriorate, failing to offset falling outbound shipments.

Major research institutes at home and abroad project that Asia’s fourth largest economy will expand by below 4 percent next year, with UBS floating the possibility of only 1.1 percent growth. The state-run Korea Development Institute projected that the economy will grow 3.3 percent from a year earlier, while Samsung Economic Research Institute put Korea’s 2009 growth rate at 3.6 percent.

However, the government has pledged to propel growth to the 4 percent range, create 200,000 jobs and post a current account surplus of $5 billion next year through a $26 billion stimulus package, equal to 3.7 percent of GDP. The package includes 11 trillion won in additional spending to initiate public infrastructure projects, and three trillion won in tax cuts.

The Bank of Korea has also slashed the benchmark seven-day repurchase agreement rate by 1 percentage point to 4 percent since late last month in a move to ease a liquidity shortage and minimize the economic downturn.

Source

Belarus threatens to quit IMF

November 16 2008
Cash-strapped Belarus has said it may turn its back on the International Monetary Fund if the organization refuses to give it a US$ 2 billion loan.

The hard-line President of the former Soviet state, Aleksandr Lukashenko, issued the warning in an interview to the Wall Street Journal, which was broadcast on Belarusian TV on Friday.

“We survived without IMF loans before, during the severest of times” he said. “If they deny it now, we will build our co-operation with the IMF accordingly”.

This means the country would likely to sever ties with the IMF, often described as the international lender of last resort.
“I have told the government and the chairman of the National Bank that if they don’t help us in our situation – which is not as bad as in other countries to which they [the IMF] give loans – why should we co-operate?” Lukashenko said.

The hard-line leader added that as a member of the IMF, Belarus had regularly contributed money to the fund and taken part in its meetings.

“So what for do we need it all, if we are treated like this?” the Belarusian president concluded.

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Icelanders Take to Streets to Protest Government’s IMF Loan Failure

By Tasneem Brogger and Helga Kristin Einarsdottir

November  14 2008

Icelanders will take to the streets in their thousands tomorrow to protest the government’s failure to clinch a $6 billion International Monetary Fund-led loan while countries in less dire economic straits jump the IMF queue.

Weekly protests in downtown Reykjavik may swell to 20,000 soon, or 6 percent of the population, said Andres Magnusson, chief executive of the Icelandic Federation of Trade and Services. The islanders are venting their anger on politicians as prices soar, the krona collapses and the economy goes into reverse.

“Enormous mistakes were made, but those who made them are still in the same place,” said Hildigunnur Runarsdottir, a music composer who has attended five protests since the country’s banking system collapsed last month. “They don’t seem to be doing anything at all about the situation.”

The Atlantic island, which had the fifth-highest per capita income in the world last year, needs the money to finance imports and revive the banking system. Central bank forecasts that the economy will contract 8.3 percent next year may prove optimistic if the loan isn’t approved soon, said Lars Christensen, chief analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen.

This “isn’t sustainable,” Christensen said. “You can’t starve the economy, and that’s what the government’s doing at the moment. Every day that passes makes the economic outlook worse.”

`Depressed’

Many retailers are relying on credit from their suppliers to keep their shops stocked.

“I have a long-standing relationship with suppliers, who have given me 30-60 days credit,” said Gudrun Steingrimsdottir, who runs a lingerie store in central Reykjavik. “If the situation persists another month, I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Trouble is, neither does anyone else.

“The main thing that is creating unrest is that the government doesn’t come forward and inform the public what is on the agenda,” Magnussen said. “Nobody can get any information.”

As the currency fell and imports shrank, the inflation rate reached an 18-year high of 15.9 percent in October. Delays in sealing a loan package mean the central bank can’t return the currency to free float. The bank now holds daily krona auctions, with the currency trading for 178 against the euro on Nov. 12, compared with about 90 kronur per euro at the start of the year. The traded volume at that auction was 13.8 million euros.

“What I notice is how depressed people have become,” said Steingrimsdottir. “We know nothing. People seem to have lost all hope.”

IMF Rescue

The IMF is withholding approval of its $2.1 billion loan until other lenders agree to fulfill their commitments to a wider bailout, Fund spokesman Bill Murray said on Nov. 11.

Norway has pledged 500 million euros ($635 million), the Faroe Islands 300 million kronor ($50 million) and Poland $200 million. That leaves Iceland well short of the $6 billion it says it needs.

Complicating talks are U.K. and Dutch demands that the government repay depositors at the Internet unit of Iceland’s collapsed Landsbanki Island hf. Those debts may amount to as much as 5.5 billion pounds ($8.2 billion), the size of Iceland’s economy, according to a report by Jon Danielsson, an economist at the London School of Economics.

“By comparison, the total amount of reparations payments demanded of Germany following World War I was around 85 percent of GDP,” Danielsson said.

Iceland’s government has accepted it will have to reach a negotiated solution to the dispute with the U.K. and the Netherlands to get the IMF loan, the newspaper Morgunbladid said yesterday, without saying where it got the information.

Envy

Icelanders are shooting envious glances at Eastern Europe where Hungary and Ukraine received loans from the IMF within two weeks of asking. Iceland has little to show for its efforts, six weeks after its banking system started to collapse.

“It’s worrying enough that they’re not getting the $6 billion they’re talking about, but the fact they’re not even getting the $2 billion is very worrying,” Christensen said. “It’s amazing that Ukraine is able to get a $16 billion loan, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and Iceland is not able to pull it off.”

Ukraine had its $16.4 billion loan from the IMF approved on Nov. 6. Hungary said on Nov. 11 it’s already drawn on the first 4.9 billion euro ($6.16 billion) tranche of its IMF-led 20 billion-euro loan.

While the IMF loans to Hungary and Ukraine make up less than 20 percent of those countries’ gross domestic products, Iceland needs loans worth more than its entire GDP to repay debts built up through five years of economic boom.

“We should have turned the music down when the party got out of hand,” Runarsdottir said.

Source

Bottom line, it all started in the US.

Iceland has be hit extremely hard and things don’t seem to be improving.

Protests against Crisis in Iceland Get out of Hand
November 10 2008

People ganged up on police during the latest in a series of protests outside Iceland’s Althingi parliament in central Reykjavík on Saturday. Police were having problems with keeping the situation under control and one man was arrested.

From the protests on Saturday, November 8. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Demonstrators were demanding actions to improve the economic situation, Fréttabladid reports.

“There is nothing wrong with people protesting in a democratic society but one also has to differentiate between legal peaceful demonstrations and riots,” Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde told Morgunbladid. “A demonstration is in real danger of becoming a riot when the parliament building is pelted with stones.”

Among actions undertaken by protestors was raising the Bónus supermarket-chain flag (a pink piggybank on a yellow background), from the parliament building roof.

Haarde said his government was trying to inform the public on the status of the situation as quickly as possible—lack of information is one of the issues angering demonstrators—with regular press conferences, via the websites of the ministries and elsewhere.

“People who ask for information should be able to receive it,” Haarde stated.

Source

More on Protests

One problem leads to yet another.

Iceland Cuts Funds to Foreign Aid

Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir presented yesterday a strategy for limiting expenses at her ministry in light of the economic depression, including cutting funds to development assistance.

Well you do what you have to do.

By Alex Elliott
November 13 2008

Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, Icelandic Foreign Minister, says she is hopeful the negotiations currently underway in Brussels to work out a satisfactory settlement with the British and Dutch governments over Icesave compensation can be completed tonight or tomorrow, MBL.is reports.

Stod 2 television news reported this evening that the Icelandic delegation has adjourned the meeting until midnight, when their conclusions may be delivered. According to sources, the British government is reported to be demanding the equivalent of ISK 600 billion (USD 4.7 billion) to pay British Icesave customers up to the EUR 20,000 state guarantee. If an agreement is reached, it is thought Iceland will be free to take control of Landsbanki’s UK assets and sell them – generating crucial revenue. The burden on the Icelandic tax payer will likely be less than feared.

The Foreign Minister said in an interview with the Icelandic state broadcaster RÚV, that the government has received a very clear message on just how important it is to resolve the Icesave issue with the Dutch and British. It is important for the entire European economy. A lot is at stake if the issue is not successfully resolved very soon, she said.

Source

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 6:02 am  Comments Off on Icelanders Take to Streets to Protest Government’s IMF Loan Failure  
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Japan to offer $100bn to help IMF meet funding demands

November 14, 2008

Japan is preparing to offer $100 billion (£68.3 billion) of its foreign exchange reserves to bolster the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) coffers, government sources have told The Times.

Senior government sources in Tokyo added that Japan’s proposals at today’s Group of 20 industrialised and emerging nations meeting in Washington could go beyond the huge financial endowment to the IMF and would seek to make Taro Aso, Japan’s Prime Minister, the “Gordon Brown of Asia”.

Among Mr Aso’s reading material for the 11-hour flight to the US capital, is a proposal from within his own party that suggests establishing a vast “World Stabilisation Fund” that would invite contributions from forex reserves held by governments everywhere.

Kotaro Tamura, a ruling party MP, said: “By showing that Japan is taking a lead in saving the world and by becoming more aggressive in offering solutions to the financial crisis, Mr Aso could be a star – he would be respected like Gordon Brown.”

The immediate Japanese offer to the IMF, expected to be unveiled today in Washington, is designed to increase substantially the IMF’s ability to lend to emerging economies savaged by the global financial crisis.

Countries in Eastern Europe have already been forced to accept loans from the IMF, but economists are giving warning that the risk of meltdown could soon emerge in Asia. Japan is already the second-largest donor to the IMF, and has the world’s second-

largest coffer of foreign reserves – some $980 billion.

Mr Aso, will announce the offer at today’s G20 meeting, but government sources say that he will “gauge the mood of international co-operation” before suggesting any further measures.

Finance ministry sources confirmed that Mr Aso was “preparing to demonstrate Japan’s commitment to global financial stability through its foreign reserve strength”, and that “the ability of the IMF to lend aggressively through this crisis must be a priority”.

Although details of the plan have not been widely disclosed throughout the Government, it is understood that the reserves – already mostly held in the form of US Treasuries – would be offered as collateral for the IMF as it attempted to raise funds as emergency needs arise.

Japan is proposing to lend about 10 per cent of its reserves to ensure that the IMF is itself able to meet its funding demands.

However, the loan will need to be structured carefully, said Japanese government sources, so that the facility does not actually lead to a sell-off of US Treasuries in an already unstable market.

The Japanese Government is privately hoping that its actions will prompt other nations with hefty foreign reserves to make similar offers to the IMF, though it is likely to stop short of making an explicit demand that others follow suit.

China, with even larger reserves than Japan, is viewed as a likely candidate to provide collateral, as are Middle Eastern oil producers.

Source

Japan Bailing out the IMF Alrighty then.

One thing leads to another and another:

  1. So now countries have to bailout the IMF
  2. Who is bailing out countries
  3. Who need bailouts
  4. To bailed out their banks
  5. Who need bailouts
  6. Because of the US mess.

How interesting it all is.

Before you know it the Countries who Bailed out the IMF will need bailouts to pay for the money given to the IMF for Bailouts.

So who will be left to Bail them out I wonder?

Japan should just cut out the middle man and bailout the countries on it’s own.

That would save money in the end I am sure.  Middle men always have to get a cut out of any transaction.

Iceland’s rescue package flounders

By David Ibison in Stockholm

November 12 2008

An international bail-out of crisis-hit Iceland appeared to be unravelling last night as the International Monetary Fund withheld official backing for the $6bn plan. Iceland has also been left with a $500m shortfall in the funds for the plan that it had hoped to raise from other international donors.

Iceland agreed a $2.1bn (€1.7bn, £1.4bn) loan with the IMF on October 24 that was due to be approved by its board last Tuesday but which was delayed until the following Friday, postponed again to Monday and has now been put back to an unknown date.

IMF approval is crucial as Sweden, Denmark and Norway have said they will only offer loans to Iceland once the IMF package and an associated economic stabilisation plan have been agreed by its board.

The delay at the IMF’s head office comes at the same time as Iceland has failed to raise the full sum it needs to stabilise its economy. A government official said: “There is a $500m gap.”

There are deep suspicions in Iceland that the UK government has put pressure on the IMF to delay the loan until a dispute over the compensation Iceland owes savers in Icesave, one of its collapsed banks, is resolved.

Össur Skarphédinsson, acting foreign minister and ministry for industry, told the Financial Times: “I spoke to representatives of the UK who said that before they could assist us they would have to have clarity on other outstanding issues. I was left in no doubt what they were talking about.”

No explanation for the delay has been provided by the IMF and Gordon Brown, prime minister, said yesterday that he supported the IMF loan.

A government spokesman said London had “in no way blocked the IMF’s loan to Iceland. In fact the UK government fully supports the IMF’s loan and looks forward to a swift resolution of this issue”.

However, Wouter Bos, Dutch finance minister, suggested there was a link between the IMF plan and compensation disputes with Iceland, which also involve the Netherlands. He told Dutch television that The Hague would oppose the IMF plan until their compensation dispute was resolved. “Luckily we have powerful allies as Britain and Germany have the same problem with Iceland,” he is reported to have said.

Iceland is seeking to make up the $500m shortfall with a loan from the US, Japan, Russia or China, but has not had a response to its appeal for help, the official said.

The IMF delay and the failure to raise the necessary funds has left Iceland unable to boost its foreign exchange reserves and unable to re-float its currency, undermining international confidence in its struggling economy after its banking system collapsed last month.

“Iceland is stuck in limbo. It clearly needs a new monetary and exchange rate framework, but it needs the IMF for that,” said Paul Rawkins, senior director at Fitch Ratings, the credit rating agency.

Source

Has IMF Not Received Formal Request from Iceland?

November 11 2008

The Swiss representative on the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims the board has not received any formal request of assistance from Iceland, known as a letter of intent. Iceland’s Prime Minister says such a letter was sent one week ago.

“To this date, no formal request [from Iceland] has been received by the fund’s board,” the Swiss representative on the IMF board, Thomas Moser, wrote to Fréttabladid in an email yesterday, adding that Switzerland is generally positive towards assisting Iceland.

Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde told Fréttabladid that a letter of intent, signed by Iceland’s Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen and Central Bank governor and chairman Davíd Oddsson, was sent to the IMF on November 3.

“I don’t know how this could be. There must be some kind of an in-house system which controls what documents are sent with express delivery to the board,” Haarde said, adding that the IMF is a large and unwieldy institution.


Haarde said that since the letter of intent was sent, Icelandic authorities have been expecting their request to be discussed by the board.

Icelandic authorities suspect that their dispute with Britain and the Netherlands in regards to the Icesave deposits may be the cause of the delay, although they are not certain of the matter. Haarde requests an explanation from the IMF board as to why Iceland’s letter of intent has not been discussed yet.

IMF’s decision on Iceland’s application for an emergency stabilization program has been postponed thrice, as reported yesterday.

Acting Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson told RÚV that he is certain that British authorities were causing the delay. British authorities however claim that they support Iceland’s application from a loan from the IMF wholeheartedly.

A spokesperson from the British Chancellery, who was not named, told ruv.is, that Iceland could on the other hand not expect special treatment from the IMF. The fund’s regulations are very clear and state that applicants must have reached an agreement with their loan granters.

Fréttabladid reports that the agreement between Iceland and an the IMF which was presented in late October has at least 30 items, the 19th of which was increasing the policy rate to 18 percent, according to an announcement from the Central Bank.

Source

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 6:37 am  Comments Off on Iceland’s rescue package flounders  
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Russia says IMF inadequate

November 10 2008

Russia’s finance minister reiterated Moscow’s call for reforming global financial institutions, saying in comments televised Monday that the International Monetary Fund was inadequate as a crisis manager.

Alexei Kudrin spoke ahead of a meeting of top international financial ministers Saturday in Washington to discuss the deepening global crisis.

Russia has proposed creating new international agencies to replace or take on some of the functions of existing ones, like the IMF or the World Bank. Moscow has said those organizations do not adequately represent some of the larger economies such as China and Russia.

“We are absolutely sure that today the current system of institutions used for crisis settlement, including the IMF, are inadequate,” said Kudrin in comments on the state-funded English language network Russia Today.

Kudrin called for a new agreement along the lines of the Maastricht Treaty, the 1992 treaty that paved the way for the euro, that would obligate nations to meet a certain set of budget and economic criteria in order to prevent new crises.

Russia has been hard hit by the global crisis, with economic growth forecasts slashed and its stock markets losing some two-thirds of their value since the start of the year.

The Kremlin has laid the bulk of the blame with the United States.

On Friday, a top Kremlin aide suggested the IMF’s role be reduced to that of an ordinary financial institution.

“The IMF should work as a bank, not as a project finance institution. It should not act as a manager in countries it lends to,” Arkady Dvorkovich told a news conference. “It should put forward financial conditions on loans, not political ones.”

Source

Well it seems this treaty didn’t exactly prevent the Financial Crisis.
But for what it’s worth. Take a look.

Maastricht Treaty

Published in: on November 11, 2008 at 7:52 am  Comments Off on Russia says IMF inadequate  
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In Pakistan -Sherpao seeks parliamentary debate on IMF loan issue

November 10 2008

PESHAWAR: Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) Chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said on Sunday that International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan issue should be debated at length in Parliament before taking loan from the IMF.

Addressing a press conference at his Peshawar residence after a party meeting, Sherpao said that economic crisis had further worsened due to deteriorating law and order situation in the country, necessitating an in-depth discussion in Parliament on the IMF loan before the government took a final decision on taking loan from the IMF.

The PPP-S leader said Pakistan should give a befitting replying to those attacking sovereignty, integrity and solidarity of the country. Sherpao demanded that 14-point resolution passed by Parliament after a joint in-camera session should be implemented.

Though the whole world is facing financial crisis, Pakistan is suffering from the worst one than other countries, Sherpao said.

He said that he was not invited to Pak-Afghan Jirga held recently in Islamabad. However, he added, such jirgas were useful for both the countries. He said more jirgas should be held to restore peace in the region.

Earlier, the PPP-S meeting condemned US missile attacks on the Pakistani territory, including Waziristan. staff report

Source

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 5:57 am  Comments Off on In Pakistan -Sherpao seeks parliamentary debate on IMF loan issue  
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Dutch, British block IMF loan to Iceland – NRC


November 7 2008

The Netherlands and Britain are blocking a €2.1bn loan from the International Monetary Fund to Iceland pending agreement on compensation for Dutch and British savers, the NRC reports on Friday.

The paper says Icelandic MPs were told at a meeting in Brussels that the loan would not be approved until the financial aspects of compensating hundreds of thousands of savers has been worked out.

Sources at the Dutch finance ministry have confirmed the veto off the record but refuse to comment officially. Nor would British officials comment, the paper says.

Yesterday, Iceland’s prime minister Geir Haarde said that the IMF loan and the repayment agreement were ‘two separate issues which should not be linked,’ the paper said.

Dutch savers have some €1.6bn on deposit at Icesave which they cannot access.

Meanwhile, the conflict between the government, the province of Noord-Holland and 22 local councils over their claims against Iceland escalated on Friday. In total, local governments have some €400m in Icesave.

Finance mnister Wouter Bos and the queen’s commissioner in Noord-Holland have been embroiled in a public spat over the province’s determination to go it alone in trying to recover its money.

On Friday home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst said the government had used a royal decree to annul local government claims to Landsbanki property abroad. ‘Their behaviour is hindering the difficult and complex discussions with the Icelandic government,’ she said.

Source

Maybe Iceland should just declare bankruptcy.

Seems all the way around things just are getting more ridiculous.

All the banks have being going through the same thing but it seems Iceland is really being hung out to dry.

Of course I have little or no trust when it comes to the IMF at any rate.

Maybe not getting a loan from them is a “good thing”.

There certainly seems to be a lot of manipulation going on when it comes to Iceland.

A few tid bits.

Iceland to Receive Unexpected Loan from Poland

Norwegian loan to Iceland confirmed

Iceland lifts interest rates to record 18% to secure IMF $2bn loan

Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO

Unbowed Icelandic PM sends a strong message to UK

Iceland ‘working day and night’

UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose

The worst of all was being treated as a Terrorist country.

Browns actions have not helped in any way.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland’

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 5:17 am  Comments Off on Dutch, British block IMF loan to Iceland – NRC  
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Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

November 9 2008

Latvia has been forced to bail out its second largest bank over the weekend and may soon need a rescue by the International Monetary Fund as the financial crisis engulfs the Baltic region, and much of Scandinanvia.

Premier Ivars Godmanis stunned the country by announcing that Parex banka had been half-nationalised in an attempt to head off a serious crisis in the face of escalating capital flight from the country.

“We have to do everything to avoid trouble, not only for specific banks, but for the banking system as a whole,” he said.

Mr Godmanis said Latvia was examining a raft of measures to rescue the economy, including possible aid from the IMF and European Union. Iceland, Hungary, and Ukraine have already obtained loans for the IMF.  Iceland awaits IMF decision on Monday

Latvia is facing a brutal recession after years of torrid credit growth and one of the most extreme property bubbles in Eastern Europe. The economy contracted by 4.2pc in the third quarter.

House prices have fallen 21pc over the last year, according to Global Property Guide. The swing from boom to bust has been made worse by heavy use of mortgages in euros, Swiss francs, and yen.

The rating agencies have rushed through a spate of downgrades in recent days for the Baltic trio of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, warning that heavily reliance on short-term foreign funding has left them dangerously exposed to the global squeeze.

“If the situation were to worsen, Latvia could be forced to seek balance-of-payments support from the EU or the International Monetary Fund,” said Kenneth Orchard, senior analyst at Moody’s

“The global liquidity crisis will probably cause a shock to the Latvian banking system, which will reverberate throughout the rest of the economy. Unless there are major improvements in the European syndicated loan market by early 2009, the government will be forced to take remedial action.”

Oskars Firmanus, head of the Latvian consultancy Paus Konsults, said the Parex rescue had badly shaken depositors in Riga. “It has come as a big surprise. The bank has been very secretive and did not tell anybody there was a problem. People have been lining on the streets over the weekends trying to get their money out of ATM machines,” he said.

Swedish banks have large exposure to the Baltic market, adding to their woes as the industrial downturn hits Scandinavia.

The IMF warned in a recent report that the Baltic operations of Stockholm’s banks “could cause a credit crunch in Sweden itself” if the closure of the wholesale capital markets continues for much longer. Total lending to Eastern Europe by Swedish banks is equal to 25pc of the country’s GDP.

Swedbank dominates lending in Latvia and Estonia, while SEB is the biggest lender to Lithuania. The share price of the two banks have fallen by 70pc from their peak.

Source

Check November Index For all IMF Loans

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Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 4:22 am  Comments Off on Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region  
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Iceland awaits IMF decision on Monday


A decision on whether or not Iceland will receive its requested loan from the IMF has been delayed again for two days. The decision is now expected on Monday.

The Icelandic PM says he is entirely confident that the USD 2.1 billion loan will be granted, and that a wider 6 billion dollar rescue package will be agreed upon as a result.

The delay is blamed on IMF coordination with the Nordic countries. Some sources claim the IMF is waiting for the Nordic countries to commit money beforehand; while others claim the Nordic countries are waiting for the IMF’s confirmation before they pledge support.

PM Geir H. Haarde believes the weekend’s hurdles will be easy to conquer – although, if true, it could potentially become a frustrating situation.

Norway and the Faroe Islands have already pledged to lend Iceland money. The final rescue deal is expected to include cash from the IMF, the Nordic bloc, the UK, Netherlands and Poland. The participation of the USA, Russia and the European Central Bank has not yet been confirmed or denied.

The Prime Minister denies credible rumours that the delay is caused by IMF unease over Iceland’s ongoing negotiations with the Netherlands and the UK over frozen savings accounts.

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Published in: on November 8, 2008 at 3:23 am  Comments Off on Iceland awaits IMF decision on Monday  
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Iceland to Receive Unexpected Loan from Poland

November 7 2008

Polish authorities will participate in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic stabilization program for Iceland, which has yet to be accepted by the IMF board, by granting Iceland a USD 200 million (EUR 155 million) loan.

This was confirmed by Magdalena Kobos, a spokesperson from the Polish Ministry of Finance, to Bloomberg news agency.

According to Bloomberg, Iceland is likely to receive an IMF-led emergency loan of around USD 6 billion (EUR 4.7 billion). In addition to Poland, the Scandinavian countries, Britain and the Netherlands will participate in granting the loan to Iceland.

According to late-breaking news from visir.is, Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde announced at a governmental meeting this morning that he had not been made aware of Poland’s intentions to offer Iceland a USD 200 million loan.

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Published in: on November 8, 2008 at 3:13 am  Comments Off on Iceland to Receive Unexpected Loan from Poland  
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