Sunday, July 26, 2015

The New German Plan for the Takeover of Europe

There's a lot of buzz right now around a certain bizarre article that appeared on (confirmation of basic facts here) purporting to quote former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis talking about a certain Plan B. The context is a conference call (with "members of international hedge funds"), allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont. Apparently, the call was recorded, and Ekathimerini obtained a transcript of the recording (or, perhaps, an actual copy of the recording):
In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds that was allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given the okay by Tsipras last December – a month before general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas “overnight” if necessary, Kathimerini understands.
Wolfgang Schäuble
According to the FT version of this story, the Greek Central Bank, upon invocation of Plan B, "would immediately lose its independence and be placed under government control. Its governor, Yannis Stournaras, would be arrested if, as expected, he opposed the move."

Under Plan B, operatives working for Varoufakis would hack into the General Secretariat of Public Revenues website, collect taxpayer registration numbers (AFMs), then map each AFM to a newly created, “parallel” electronic bank account, one for each AFM. Afterwards, the Greek government would then send each taxpayer a special PIN number so they can transact with their surreptitiously created “parallel account” (thereby bypassing the banking system controlled by the ECB). Supposedly, cell phone apps would facilitate a transition to the thus-created parallel banking system.

But there were problems. According to Varoufakis:
Okay, so problem number one: The general secretary of information systems on the other hand was controlled by me, as minister. I appointed a good friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine who had become professor of IT at Columbia University in the States and so on.  I put him in because I trusted him to develop this.
At some point, a week or so after we moved into the ministry, he calls me up and says to me: 'You know what? I control the machines, I control the hardware, but I do not control the software. The software belongs to the troika-controlled General Secretary of Public Revenues. What do I do?'
Amazingly, the software running the Greek Central Bank is under the control of the creditors (the "troika"). To take back control of the banking system, the Greeks would have to hack their own banks: not just the data, but the software. The software is controlled by Brussels.

But wait, it gets better.

In the Ekathimerini story, Varoufakis talks about Wolfgang Schäuble (the German Finance Minister):
Schäuble has a plan. The way he described it to me is very simple. He believes that the Eurozone is not sustainable as it is. He believes there has to be some fiscal transfers, some degree of political union. He believes that for that political union to work without federation, without the legitimacy that a properly elected federal parliament can render, can bestow upon an executive, it will have to be done in a very disciplinary way. And he said explicitly to me that a Grexit is going to equip him with sufficient bargaining, sufficient terrorising power in order to impose upon the French that which Paris has been resisting. And what is that? A degree of transfer of budget-making powers from Paris to Brussels.
None of this is hard to believe. Anyone who has read Schäuble's widely quoted public statements (going back years) knows he believes the Eurozone needs to be a fiscal union (with power to decide on levels of government spending, levels of government debt; possibly also taxation), and not merely a monetary union (as it is now). But fiscal policy (budget-making) is a matter of sovereignty. It's inherently a political matter. Schäuble would usurp that through non-democratic means.

We may never know who leaked the Varoufakis transcript, but it seems likely the leak was designed to alert the French (and others, of course) to what Schäuble has in mind, which is a German-led takeover of Europe, basically. Using banks, not tanks.

Of course, Schäuble is just one man; he doesn't speak for Germany. At this point, he's arguably a rogue figure. But then, so was Hitler, at one point.

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