Angela Merkel blames Cypriots for bankers’ gamblings

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 26, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that the new rescue program for Cyprus is “right” because it forces “those who have caused the problem.” to take “responsibility” for their actions. In saying this Merkel blames the people of Cyprus for the debt incurred into by the very same banks the German leader so strongly attacks publicly but defends in private.

The head of the German government was said to be “satisfied” with the result reached this weekend, after seven days of media controversy, political unrest and turmoil that followed in the stock market and that stopped the conditions of the first bailout from taking place.

The plan as it is now known includes a 40% charge on depositors who may not even see their savings ever again. According to the plan imposed by the European Union, Cyprus will liquidate both the Laiki and Cyprus Banks and has already mandated the confiscation of almost half of the funds in accounts with more than 100,000 euros.

“The result reached is right and puts the onus on those who have created the problem. Way it should be,” Merkel argued in a brief meeting with media in Langenfeld.

She added that she is “happy” that a “fair division of the burden” has been achieved with Cyprus temporarily bribing its way out of a financial collapse by stealing 7,000 million euros from its people, while the European Union supposedly lends the country 10,000 million euros.

“First, banks must take responsibility. On the other, it has become clear that Cyprus can count on the solidarity of the European countries,” said Merkel. The Chancellor said in this regard that the EU will support Nicosia in the “difficult road” ahead. In other words, Merkel sees the Cypriot people as responsible for the banks gambling on behalf of the Mediterranean nation, whose people will now suffer greater pain than those in Greece, for example.

Hungary Kicks out Monsanto and IMF

THE AUTOMATIC EARTH | SEPTEMBER 8, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I would label my personal knowledge of Hungary as wanting, if not painfully incomplete. It’s not an easy country to come to grips with, not least of all of course because Hungarian doesn’t look like any western language we know with the possible exception of Finnish. I did visit just after the Wall came down, and remember huge contrasts, almost paradoxes, between rural poverty and a capital, Budapest, that was much richer than other capitals such as Prague, a leftover of Budapest’s status as meeting place between western and eastern diplomats and businessmen.

The riches were not for all, though, the city center was full of beggars and panhandlers, mostly Roma. To keep up the paradox, Mercedes sold more luxury models in Hungary than just about anywhere else back then, reportedly mostly also to Roma; just not the same.

In the years since, precious little attention has been and is being devoted to the former eastern bloc countries in the Anglo press. We know most of the countries are now members of the European Union, but only a few have been allowed to enter the hallowed grounds of the eurozone.

One thing I did pick up on last year was the news that Hungary’s PM Victor Orbán had thrown chemical, food and seed giant Monsanto out of the country, going as far as to plow under 1000 acres of land. Now, I have little patience for Monsanto, infamous for many products ranging from Agent Orange to Round-Up, nor for its ilk, from DuPont to Sygenta, all former chemical companies that have at some point decided they could sell more chemicals than ever before by applying them on and inside everyone’s daily food. Patenting nature itself seems either unworthy of mankind or its grandest achievement. I don’t care much for either one. So Orbán (who has a two-thirds majority in parliament, by the way) has my tentative support on this one.

This is from July 22, 2011, International Business Times:

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Maize Fields

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. Unfortunately, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without them knowing it.

Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said. During their investigation, controllers have found Pioneer and Monsanto products among the seeds planted.

It’s remarkably hard to find sources on this, ironically. It’s even harder, even more ironically, to find anything that mentions the Wikileaks report on the connections between the US government and the chemical/seed industry. Which is curious, in my opinion; it’s not as if there’s nothing newsworthy in the topic. Just about the only thing I could find was this from Anthony Gucciardi at NaturalSociety.com.

US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops

The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto. [..]

Perhaps the most shocking piece of information exposed by the cables is the fact that these U.S. diplomats are actually working directly for biotech corporations like Monsanto. The cables also highlight the relationship between the U.S. and Spain in their conquest to persuade other nations to allow for the expansion of GMO crops. Not only did the Spanish government secretly correspond with the U.S. government on the subject, but the U.S. government actually knew beforehand how Spain would vote before the Spanish biotech commission reported their decision regarding GMO crops.

It doesn’t look like Orbán and Hungary have a lot of support in their fight against Monsanto and GMO in general on the political front. But that still does little to explain the radio silence.

There was more international reporting earlier this year, when Orbán again faced up to two other major forces, in this instance the IMF and the EU. On January 1, the Hungarian parliament and president signed a new constitution into law. And it contains a number of things that the Troika members don’t like. In particular, they are probably at odds with taxes levied on bank transactions, and especially central bank transactions. Not the kind of thing the IMF is likely to ever agree with. It all gets clad in protesting (the EU even threatens with courts) the independence under fire of the central bank, the media and other parts of Hungarian society.

The IMF and EU, like the tandem team of Monsanto and Washington before them, act like schoolyard bullies. It’s become their standard MO, and it usually works. Portraits of Orbán as a fool, a reckless idiot and a dangerous populist, on par with that of Hugo Chavez or newly found international enemy Rafael Correa, are much easier to find than those links to Wikileaks Monsanto cables. It would be good to see Orbán continue to stand up to the IMF bullies, but he may not have that choice. They can simply financially bleed him dry, like they have so many other countries and their leaders. It’s a time tested model.

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Global Bank Run Begins in Greece

by Ferry Batzoglou
Spiegel Online
December 6, 2011

Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending — and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.

Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. “In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale,” he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.

With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn’t managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: “Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth.”

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

The raid on bank accounts stems from deep uncertainty in Greek households which culminated in early November during the political turmoil that followed the announcement by then-Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou of a referendum on the second Greek bailout package.

Papandreou withdrew the plan and stepped down following an outcry among other European leaders against the referendum, and a new government was formed on Nov. 11 under former central banker Loukas Papademos. That appears to have slowed the drop in bank savings, at least for the time being.

Bank Withdrawals Worsening Crisis

Nevertheless, the Greeks today only have €170 billion in savings — almost 30 percent less than at the start of 2010.

The hemorrhaging of bank savings has had a disastrous impact on the economy. Many companies have had to tap into their reserves during the recession because banks have become more reluctant to lend. More Greek families are now living off their savings because they have lost their jobs or have had their salaries or pensions cut.

In August, unemployment reached 18.4 percent. Many Greeks now hoard their savings in their homes because they are worried the banking system may collapse.

Those who can are trying to shift their funds abroad. The Greek central bank estimates that around a fifth of the deposits withdrawn have been moved out of the country. “There is a lot of uncertainty,” says Panagiotis Nikoloudis, president of the National Agency for Combating Money Laundering.

The banks are exploiting that insecurity. “They are asking their customers whether they wouldn’t rather invest their money in Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Germany.”

Nikoloudis has detected a further trend. At first, it was just a few people trying to withdraw large sums of money. Now it’s large numbers of people moving small sums. Ypatia K., a 55-year-old bank worker from Athens, can confirm that. “The customers, especially small savers, have recently been withdrawing sums of €3,000, €4,000 or €5,000. That was panic,” she said.

Marina S., a 74-year-old widow from Athens, said she has to be extra careful with money these days. “I have no choice but to withdraw money from my savings,” she said.

Bad Loans

The shrinking Greek bank deposits compare with bank loans totalling €253 million. Analysts say the share of bad loans could rise to 20 percent next year, or €50 billion, as a result of the recession. This in turn will worsen the already pressing liquidity problems faced by Greek banks.

Nikos B., a doctor in the Greek military, has had enough of the never-ending crisis his country is going through. While the 31-year-old has a secure job, repeated salary cuts have made it increasingly hard for him to make ends meet.

He needs most of his money to make loan repayments for a small car. “How can I clear my account? There’s hardly anything in it,” he says. He started learning German two months ago and wants to leave Greece. “As soon as possible!”

Nikos pauses and looks down. He quietly utters words that must be painful for a proud Greek. “It would be best to change nationality.”

Bankers Play the Fear Card on Economic Outlook

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
September 6, 2011

Any time a major bank releases a report saying a given course of action is too costly, too prohibitive, too blonde, or simply too impossible, it is nearly guaranteed that that is precisely the course of action about to be undertaken. Which is why all non-euro skeptics are advised to shield their eyes and look away from the just released report by UBS (of surging 3 Month USD Libor rate fame) titled “Euro Break Up – The Consequences.”

UBS conveniently sets up the straw man as follows: “Under the current structure and with the current membership, the Euro does not work. Either the current structure will have to change, or the current membership will have to change.” So far so good. Yet where it gets scary is when UBS quantifies the actual opportunity cost to one or more countries leaving the Euro. Notably Germany. “Were a stronger country such as Germany to leave the Euro, the consequences would include corporate default, recapitalisation of the banking system and collapse of international trade.

If Germany were to leave, we believe the cost to be around EUR6,000 to EUR8,000 for every German adult and child in the first year, and a range of EUR3,500 to EUR4,500 per person per year thereafter. That is the equivalent of 20% to 25% of GDP in the first year. ” It also would mean the end of UBS, but we digress. Where it gets even more scary is when UBS, like many other banks to come, succumbs to the Mutual Assured Destruction trope made so popular by ole’ Hank Paulson : “The economic cost is, in many ways, the least of the concerns investors should have about a break-up. Fragmentation of the Euro would incur political costs. Europe’s “soft power” influence internationally would cease (as the concept of “Europe” as an integrated polity becomes meaningless).

It is also worth observing that almost no modern fiat currency monetary unions have broken up without some form of authoritarian or military government, or civil war.” So you see: save the euro for the children, so we can avoid all out war (and UBS can continue to exist). The scariest thing, however, by far, is that for this report to have been issued, it means that Germany is now actively considering dumping the euro.

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Biometrically Identifiable Gesture Technology

If you believe fingerprinting or picture ID’s are invasive forms of technology, wait until you read this.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 20, 2011

If you have never seen the documentary Shadow Government, I honestly recommend it. It details the latest information regarding the use of technology to create a global identification system of biblical proportions. In this system that is being built as we wonder “why I have to give my fingerprint to obtain a driver’s license”, every single human being will be accounted for; no exceptions.

The variety of technologies available to effectively identify anyone at work, at the gym, at public events, in Court houses and even at home, is simply mind blowing. However, the producers and buyers of these so-called security enhancing tools do not stop thinking about new ways to get the highest paid contracts from private companies or the government.

The latest example of invasive identification technology is Biometric Signature ID, Inc’s BioSig-ID. According to the manufacturer’s description, BioSig-ID is a “Multi-Factor Identity Proofing Technology”; the best of its kind. This earned the company the trust of a variety of organizations going from sectors such as healthcare, the financial and banking systems, online education, cloud computing, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

The BioSig-ID is known for its capacity to gather information such as mouse movement patterns, typing speeds, user gestures, and other personal characteristics to fully identify the person who intends to access information or use a piece of equipment.

Biometric Signature ID announced recently it received approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its latest patent which will be added to the large collection of technology-based identification tools it produces. The BioSig-ID technology collects movements made with various devices such as a mouse, touchscreen markings, fingers and body movements to create a biometric multi-factor password used for identification purposes.

Convenience is the name of the Game

As it often happens, the use of BioSig-ID as well as other invasive technologies, is presented not as a threat to personal privacy, but as a “convenient way to stay safe” or to keep data and information safe. In other examples of privacy violations we encounter the entertainment industry which managed to create products such as video game consoles that record the users movements as a biometric human fingerprint. Kinect, the device that is inside Microsoft’s XBox, allows users to play by just moving their bodies. “The console detects movement and recognizes people through a camera and various sensors installed on the device.” Isn’t that convenient?

Along with video gaming are the infamous full body scanners, which are supposed to keep us all safe from terrorism, but that instead are one of the most invasive forms of technology ever created. The scanners not only render full naked images of the passengers that allow their privacy to be violated -there is an opt out chance- but also bathes them with poisonous doses of radiation. See information on the scanners’ radiation amounts here. Read about full body scanner backscatter radiation here. Learn about radiation flux here.

Creating a need for invasive identification technologies

The amount of biometric-based identification technology production and consumption has increased exponentially in the last decade or so. This does not mean, however, that the use of these technology is so young. Military and technology contractors have been working on ways to fully identify individuals for a long time. In most cases, technology such as the one developed by Biometric Signature ID has been used in highly sensitive places in companies and military installations.

The success of this technology relies on the fact that a market was created -as it happens with many products- to assure its adoption. The evil part is that people’s fear and government policy are also used to push the production and sale of biometric identification. By the time consumers get to know about its existence, it has already been tried and tested for many years. In the case of BioSig-ID, the product was tested initially by The Tolly Group.

As we cited before, many organizations and companies adopt this kind of technologies under the safety excuse. Data safety, information safety, access to premisses safety, web access safety and so on. In the healthcare business, for example, the DEA requires electronic prescription of controlled substances, another failure of the infamous war on drugs. DEA uses this technology to authenticate access to patients’ records.

In the banking and financial markets, both private institutions and government offices use biometric identification to “bring security and safeguard customer information, reduce fraud, etc. It has not worked very well, though, as millions of customer credit card information has been stolen from those very same institutions and neither the hackers nor the banks have been held accountable for endangering the privacy of their customers.

Education has not escaped privacy violation. Both physical and online educational organizations adopted biometric and other invasive identification technologies to “guarantee” the correct accreditation of students as well as for registration and payment controls. Universities and other learning online-based institutions offer classes online which require signing in with more than one fingerprint.

New internet-based services such as Mobile and Cloud computing will pile on the number of consumers and users of Bi0Sig-ID and similar validation tools. As all content migrates to the “Cloud” and the corporations and the government become more empowered by centrally controlling information and how people access it from work or home, biometric identification systems will be key to mandate certified entrance to those “Clouds”. The idea to have a unique internet ID, as it has been proposed by government officials in several countries is suddenly appearing more and more realistic.

And if you are a government employee, as many are nowadays, and more will be in the near future, get ready to give every single piece of information your body emits. In Mexico,  all federal government employees had to submit to biometric identification recognition in order to keep their jobs. All over the world, government implement security protocols that include the use of Government Identity Cards or Credentials to access and manage information.

E-IDs are already available in countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Morocco and Spain.