Sunday, November 27, 2011

So Who Took Over Greece This Time? It Wasn't The Persians, Italians Or Turks. Germans? Fascists?


I'm guessing most Americans have forgotten every they ever knew about Rhodes beyond, maybe the Colossus of. I went for a visit once... hated it. I'm guessing it's a much cooler place to go during the summer and I was there late in December and the weather was terrible and I had just come from far friendlier Turkey. Rhodes is part of Greece but it's right off the coast of Turkey. The two countries have fought over it since 478 BC when the Rhodians joined the Athenian League, and since 1947 it's been part of Greece. One of my oldest friends, a Turk, has the deed to the Library of Rhodes. No, really... his family has always owned it. In fact, they used to own the whole island, or were the pashas of it or something like that. The library, which contains the ancient work of Hipparchos-- either the original formulas for geometry of trigonometry-- is run by the Greek government now. But my friend Omar is recognized as the "owner," although there isn't anything he can do with it that's different what you or I could.

Turkey and Greece aren't the only countries that have a history of fighting over Rhodes. Italy-- going back to Roman times-- was a major player there. And in 1912 their seized the island from the collapsing Ottoman Empire. When Italy switched sides during World War II, the Germans occupied Rhodes before the British could move in. The Greeks had been part of the Ottoman Empire but achieved independence in 1829, with the help of Britain, France and Russia. The first 2 kings-- after the first president, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kapodistrias, at least a Greek national, was assassinated-- were Bavarian and Danish. Early in World War II the Greeks defeated Italy and the Germans, annoyed, had to move in and take over the place.

After the Germans withdrew there was a civil war from 1944 'til 1949. The Brits and Americans supported the anti-Communist forces, forces that fought for and served the interests of the 1% and turned increasingly fascist as time went on. Ironic, considering who had just been vanquished. And that long, bitter civil war left Greece relatively polarized. And now the Germans are back... but they're called the E.U. or the Eurozone. They just deposed an elected prime minister and replaced him with a "technocratic" government to watch over Germany's extensive financial interests in the country. Oh and the "technocratic" government includes fascists that make Jim DeMint look like a moderate. Mark Ames enlightened us-- starting with this photo:

See the guy in the photo there, dangling an ax from his left hand? That’s Greece’s new “Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks” Makis Voridis captured back in the 1980s, when he led a fascist student group called “Student Alternative” at the University of Athens law school. It’s 1985, and Minister Voridis, dressed like some Kajagoogoo Nazi, is caught on camera patrolling the campus with his fellow fascists, hunting for suspected leftist students to bash. Voridis was booted out of law school that year, and sued by Greece’s National Association of Students for taking part in violent attacks on non-fascist law students.

With all the propaganda we’ve been fed about Greece’s new “austerity” government being staffed by non-ideological “technocrats,” it may come as a surprise that fascists are now considered “technocrats” to the mainstream media and Western banking interests. Then again, history shows that fascists have always been favored by the 1-percenters to deliver the austerity medicine.

This rather disturbing definition of what counts as “non-ideological” or “technocratic” in 2011 is something most folks are trying hard to ignore, which might explain why there’s been almost nothing about how Greece’s new EU-imposed austerity government includes neo-Nazis from the LAOS Party (LAOS is the acronym for Greece’s fascist political party, not the Southeast Asian paradise).

Which brings me back to the new Minister of Infrastructure, Makis Voridis. Before he was an ax-wielding law student, Voridis led another fascist youth group that supported the jailed leader of Greece’s 1967 military coup. Greece has been down this fascism route before, all under the guise of saving the nation and complaints about alleged parliamentary weakness. In 1967, the military overthrew democracy, imposed a fascist junta, jailed and tortured suspected leftist dissidents, and ran the country into the ground until the junta was overthrown by popular protest in 1974.

That military junta-- and the United States support for it (for which Clinton apologized in 1999)-- is a raw and painful memory for Greeks. Most Greeks, anyway. As far as today’s Infrastructure Minister, Makis Voridis, was concerned, the only bad thing about the junta was that it was overthrown by democracy demonstrators. A fascist party was set up in the early 1980s in support of the jailed coup leader, and Voridis headed up that party’s youth wing. That’s when he earned the nickname “Hammer.” You can probably guess by now why Greece’s Infrastructure Minister was given the nickname “Hammer”: Voridis’s favorite sport was hunting down leftist youths and beating them with, yes, a hammer.

After the hammer, he graduated to law school– and the ax; was expelled from law school; and worked his way up the adult world of Greek fascist politics, his ax tucked under the bed somewhere. In 1994, Voridis helped found a new far-right party, The Hellenic Front. In 2004’s elections, Voridis’s “Hellenic Front Party” formed a bloc with the neo-Nazi “Front Party,” headed by Greece’s most notorious Holocaust denier, Konstantinos Plevis, a former fascist terrorist whose book, “Jews: The Whole Truth,” praised Adolph Hitler and called for the extermination of Jews. Plevis was charged and found guilty of “inciting racial hatred” in 2007, but his sentence was overturned on appeal in 2009.

By that time, Makis “Hammer” Voridis had traded up in the world of Greek fascism, merging his Hellenic Front Party into the far-right LAOS party, an umbrella party for all sorts of neo-Nazi and far-right political organizations. LAOS was founded by another raving anti-Semite, Giorgos Karatzeferis-- nicknamed “KaratzaFührer” in Greece for alleging that the Holocaust and Auschwitz are Jewish “myths,” and saying that Jews have “no legitimacy to speak in Greece.” The Anti-Defamation League is going ballistic about it; for some reason, the media hasn’t taken notice, except in Israel.

...Looking back at the last-minute maneuvers, it seems pretty clear that Papandreou’s decision to fire all the military leaders on the day he announced his referendum on austerity-- his attempt to counterbalance Western banker power and local military power with democratic people power–was essentially an imperialist power-struggle in an uppity colony, whose inhabitants are seen as little more than sources of extraction for banker profits. So we have the creditor nations trying to buy off the military as Banker D(efault)-Day approaches, and Papandreou trying to counter that by both bending to their will, realizing he’s through, and trying to save himself by empowering the people in his country. But Papandreou was far too weak and far too compromised. Ultimately he was no match; he never had a chance. And the popular will of Greece’s citizens is barely an afterthought.

This is how bankers deal with banana republics; it’s how they ran their colonies. Take care of the military, give them gifts and get them in your pocket. The people only exist to be extracted. And when they squeal, characterize them the way the Brits characterized the Irish during the Great Famine: lazy, profligate, it’s all their own fault, what they need is more painful medicine and a swift kick in the ass… for their own good, of course.

And just in case it wasn’t clear to everyone, Forbes magazine came out in favor of a coup. Here is how one Greek columnist reported it:

“Instead of pouring euros down the drain, it would be much wiser for Germany to sponsor a military coup and solve the problem that way.” No, this extract is not from a fascist blog. It is from Forbes magazine and it’s just another one of the provocative articles that follow this insane ongoing anti-Greece campaign of international media.

In the end, the bankers and the West got their coup. And they didn’t need an ugly military spectacle to make it happen. Papandreou was overthrown, the referendum was withdrawn, an austerity regime put in place to carry out the bankers’ demands, without democracy getting in the way. Nice ‘n’ clean.

Not only did the West get its coup, but fascists like Makis “Hammer” Voridis got what they’ve been struggling for all their lives: Power, and vindication for far-right nationalism over democracy.

That’s where we are today. Greece drowning in debt, its democracy broken, and despite fighting the Nazis in World War Two, and taking back democracy from a fascist junta in 1974-- in the end, it was the EU and the Western banks that put a guy like Makis “Hammer” Voridis, the guy who patrolled his law school with a makeshift ax, in power, administering banker-pain.

The implications of the EU and bankers forcing Greece, the birthplace of democracy, to cancel a popular plebiscite as “irresponsible,” forcing instead an austerity regime composed partly of neo-Nazis fascists to administer more “pain”-- is something that should frighten the shit out of everyone. Because like it or not, we’re all in the cross-hairs of the same banking interests, and we’re all going to face it again and again. Greece just happens to be the first in line.

And Italy too? Looks that way. And that's not peripheral.

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