Grexit Daily News – 28 July 2015


28 July 2015  — Should we all kick Varoufakis while he is down?

Today has been a bad day for Yanis Varoufakis. After the revelation of contingency planning for a parallel currency or IOUs or a Drachma precursor, almost the entirety of international and Greek media have homed in on Yanis. Is this correct and should we pursue Yani now to eliminate him politically or even indict him? There have been some private suits against him already alleging criminal offences.

It should be clear to everyone reading my blog that I am hugely disappointed in Varoufakis and I did state at the time of the Greferendum that we will probably live to see the leadership of the current government brought before a special court at some point in the future, if events led to chaotic Grexit.

Nonetheless, this smells a bit like a witch-hunt and I will tell you why. The opposition has been on Varoufakis case for a while now, and it has been hugely helped by Yanis (and his team’s) habit of branding all dissenters as ‘Internal Troika’. For all the protestations of seeking dialogue, Yanis has done a fair bit of insulting people, rather than engaging with them. Anyway, Syriza members (there have been many today, including ministerial colleagues) turning on Varoufakis too smells of opportunism.

How convenient would it be to marginalise Varoufaki and accuse him of everything, absolving Syriza in general and Tsipras in particular. Even though I do not want to see Varoufaki emerge as a leader of some new anti-austerity coalition, I do not want to see Tsipra emerge as the ‘virgin’ in this sordid affair either. It was Tsipras who went to announce the criminal Greferendum and he is ultimately responsible both for the failed ‘negotiations’ and the chaos that followed the end of the programme and the imposition of capital controls.

If we agree that Varoufakis should not (politically) survive this, we should concede that neither should Tsipras.

Also, special courts and criminal accusations never end well, for anyone. There might be things of a criminal nature Varoufakis is responsible for, predominately due to ignorance and arrogance, but his faults are political and ought to be judged as such.

Anyone old enough to remember the 1989 indictment of Andreas Papandreou to the Special Court should get what I mean.

The country did not come out of the ‘Catharsis’ judicial experiment feeling cleaner.

Let us not be distracted from the serious problems of our economy and country by engaging in another round of ‘court drama’.




24 thoughts on “Grexit Daily News – 28 July 2015

    • ylvanilsson says:

      You´re right, of course. Tsipras should take his part of the blame. But blame game apart, it´s not unreasonable to want to discuss what went so horribly wrong and you will then be focusing on Varoufakis for obvious reasons.
      In my mind, having covered the EU as a journalist for more than 20 years, Varoufakis´ (and Tsipras´lack of understanding of how the EU works, is key to the end result:
      Know who you´re dealing with – isn´t that the first lesson of gaming theory?


  1. Indict him? For what?

    the international media have honed in on him, because he has just told the world how his plan B looked like, which he said in today’s FT was mentioned when he handed over to the new finance minister, but nobody wanted to listen.

    So generally his plan has been given the thumbs up as a relatively good contingency plan by everyone who is looking for it from the outside.

    What is his crime?

    I know it seems to be a bit rougher, the game of politics in Greece, and Syriza-hating media in Greece seems finally have found something something which they hope will stick, if they repeat it often enough. Although, it will not work, if the international media think V has made a relatively decent job of it.


  2. mikenetherlands says:

    I will never, never kick Yanis down and always will see him as a nobel man and a good old friend although I never met him. Ok, I didn’t agree with him, in the same way you did iGlinavos. But I hope my postings always showed respect for him.

    But Yanis didn’t caused this crisis! He is not an criminal.
    I agree comply with eurogate, what is the crime? And with iGlinavos, it’s political.

    Agree or don’t agree political with SYRIZA, but don’t use Yanis as an lightning rod!


  3. Stalin versus Trotski

    Fidel versus Che and now,

    Alexis versus Yanis.

    The classic struggle between a power hungry party leader and a rebellious idealist.

    If history repeats itself, the party leader wins. No matter what we try.


    • mikenetherlands says:

      You are right Pim. Supreme Court, Investigation, non-political figures should face criminal charges, this does’t sound good. This is Greece. And Greece is not radical left. Greece is conservative. Look what happend to Giorgios Papakonstandinou. Neither a motive or any reliable proof. A suspended misdemeanor conviction for the tampering charge.

      These movements are like an firework on an summer evening. After the last rocked rocket only silence remains . I am afraid the whole SYRIZA movement is like our Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF), that was also an mass hysteria in 2002 in Holland.

      The end of the LPF is an said story, someone murdered the also flamboyant person Fortuyn. I hope yanis has an better future, but a am afraid that his nice, luxury life will never be the same……


      • Mike, we should not discuss Dutch politics here. The examples you give mean nothing to the Greek or the international followers. At present our Parliament has 16 parties including split-offs. We are governed by morons.

        But of course we are not the only ones. Donald Trump is running for president and that is really frightening me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. LeaNder says:

    Prosecution. That’s nonsense of course. Besides doesn’t he have immunity? But who the fundholders and investors were and what was on their mind listening to him would have been interesting.

    The Greek Warrior
    How a radical finance minister took on Europe—and failed, Ian Parker

    Personally I find there are many contradictions and paradoxes in his articles and public statements, and yes, maybe he is misunderstood, as he claims. The German weekly Die Zeit recently reported that we misunderstood him. For whatever reason, he claims, he never wanted any money from Germany, that’s quite in tune with his critique (in hindsight?) of the deal in 2010. But it seems the Greek central bank is pretty empty. Thus, how would it have worked?

    Could that he is misunderstood be the result of the fact that he occasionally gambles with resentment, and vague conspiracy theories, like the idea that Germany’s only intention behind the Eurozone was to dominate Europe financially ? Some over here may have indeed read some of the articles on his blog. I would assume that Schäuble can delegate something like that. And maybe did, to get a grasp of his partner.

    If he wants me to understand the parallels between our wars in the last century and our more underhanded surplus economical wars against the rest of Europe, he has to make it more clear. Or will there be no evidence due to the semi-secret discussion setting, he reported about? Are we thus more responsible for the Greek crisis then the Greece itself? How would it have worked without money in 2010? Did we maybe force Greece behind the scene forced Greece to enter the Eurozone even earlier? Create the rules to force the rest of Europe into surrender? Yes, I am still puzzled. And I still would seriously like to understand.

    I may take a look into the publications of Maynard Keynes, maybe that helps. Meaning I do not understand the parallel of the Greece crisis with Versailles and the UK-China opium war. Maybe I will after.

    Last but not least.
    I seriously hope that the new deal, if there will be one anyway, and at the moment it looks better, will more seriously consider the Greek facts on the ground instead of operating purely on a one-size-fits all basis. And no, I am no fan of austerity politics, but I am also not quite sure if I am a fan of inflation. That could indeed be a sensitive topic over here. I am pretty sure there will be some type of debt restructuring. Could there have been earlier? Had the approach been more sensitive to other states needs. I have no idea, and I am sure we will never know.

    Besides, I liked Yorgos Avgeropoulos, documentary mentioned in the above article a lot, but I don’t recall Yanis got that much attention in it. A little yes, no doubt. But hardly the attention he managed to get during the last month.


    • LeaNder says:

      Besides, we are told, maybe misinformed:

      But: sure there will be some type of debt restructuring.

      We were told over here, there was something like that already earlier.


  5. LeaNder says:

    Sorry, didn’t proofread.

    Two things stick out now: “the Greece”, hopefully correct tag or “the Greek”

    And since he is indeed an interesting man, but yes admittedly I had to copy his name:
    Yorgos Avgeropoulos’ documentary


  6. V is playing silly games with his mysterious Plan B… presumably with a hidden purpose.

    If he really wanted to set up an efficient and reliable electronic payment system independent of (and yet compatible with) “the banks”, he could have made a deal with PayPal or so. It even works for small domestic and international payments out-of-the-box without any modification at all (though some customisation could be useful for various reasons, and could be implemented without any risk of prosecution).

    Why invite an old schoolfriend to hack into tax computers, only to find that 1,000 guys (!?) would be needed to make it all work, and who would trust that system. Such a convoluted solution doesn’t make sense as an emergency backup for the banks – a minimal insight in electronic payment technology suffices to see that.


    • LeaNder says:

      erik, I seem to vaguely recall he worked for a company involved in this type of matters as consultant or something.

      The guy is a prof, I found that pretty outraging actually Leaving a friend “high and dry” came to my mind. Personally, I considered this the worst thing of the whole interview. Did he ask his friend if he wanted to be outed that way. I doubt.

      One of the basic ideas i got in the post 911 universe was the image of “rooms full of mirrors”.
      Meanwhile, after all this time and quite a bit of attention, I cannot help if someone describes his partners in talks as gamblers trying to do something, I cannot help but wonder if he is mirroring, or to use the accurate term in psychologically, “in the grasp of transference”. Without serious reflection.

      And now, I finally obey Iannos request. To not kick a man that is already on the ground, figuratively. But yes, the closer I look the more irritated I become.


  7. LeaNder says:

    Iannos, as someone with a background in the humanties and a specific love for theater and it’s history catharsis, is one of my favorite terms.

    Not too long ago I stumbled across the blog of, kleingut, Klaus Kastner, this may be the most relevant fact from his profile: “Retired after 40 years in banking in 6 countries.” If I recall correctly his interest in Greece results from being married to a Greek woman. I like his pretty unemotional or non-ideological ways of dealing with matters. And not that it is important, only since his name may sound German, he is Austrian. This is what he had to say on the issue:

    Yanis Varoufakis: “Si Tacuisses, …”

    “What shocked me was the absolutely careless way in which Varoufakis reported on the issue. When the coordinator of the call, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, reminded him that “there are certainly others listening”, Varoufakis responded “I know. I know they are. And even if they do (i. e. tell others about it), I will deny I said it”. Well, at long last we have an explanation why Varoufakis was so adamant after the ‘fingergate’ that “I never gave the finger. I’ve never given the finger ever. It was a gesture I’ve never made in my life” (only to post a video the next day which proved that he had given the finger).”

    And yes, that is only one the items I consider slightly paradox or contradictory in Yanis actions. And here is why.

    Obviously there is a huge difference concerning the missing transparency on the Eurozone level. But here he has no problem to talk with people, he doesn’t even have an idea about? Apart from the fact that they may be investors more or less involved in the Greece crisis?

    What game did he think he was playing now? Pretend his reputation? After all he had a plan?


    • LeaNder says:

      Sorry, I am gone now:

      But this was wrong: Pretend his reputation? Protect his reputation, at all means?

      In this highly misguided way?


      • Leak was carefully planned? I think it was, because previous efforts to talk about plan B gained no traction in the media.

        So, invite some hedgefund managers, tell them a cloak and dagger story about hacking into foreign controlled computers at the ministry of finance, leak story subsequently, and everybody sits up and listens. Genius.

        Now, everybody is talking about exactly what V wanted us to talk about. Alternative payment systems and parallel currencies.

        Liked by 2 people

      • mikenetherlands says:

        And, I have to say, it is really an clever system. When you use the numbers of the taxpayers you have in fact new personal bank accounts. The numbers are unique. And, you have the tax-system connected to each transaction. So, tax evasion is impossible. The only problem is, in my opinion that the payment in fact a junkbond is. Value zero. But, maybe something interesting for the future.

        I don’t know if this is carefully plant. Anyway, persecuting kills every discussion. Instate of having an interesting discusion about this plan we are discussing, in my opinion nonsensical criminal allegations!
        That will not help the discussion forward.

        In my opinion this whole matter have noting to do with kicking Varoufakis while he is down. It is simply no far play. How can anybody in Greece, were changes despaired are needed, be an game changer? You end up in court if you try to be one. The discussion need to be only political!


  8. I just took a nap and I had a strange dream…

    — Scene 1

    Question: Which character is most despised in the Gospels???

    — Scene 2

    V is the unjustly prosecuted martyr… I’m beginning to feel sympathy.

    The whole prosecution case gets a lot of press coverage.

    The case comes in parliament for a debate, V has immunity as MP, and I bet that his immunity won’t be lifted for such a trifle. During the debate, it accidentally comes to light that the tax system is controlled not by the Finance Minister, as everybody would expect, but by the troika. (At least that’s what V says in the teleconference; it has been denied by EU Commissioner Moscovici; I guess the truth will be somewhere in between i.e. operated by the ministry with audits by the troika).

    — Scene 3

    Answer to the Gospel question: Zacchaeus the tax collector.

    — Scene 4

    V is the hero of the day in the press and on TV… he brought to light that the Greek tax system is under control of the despised foreign occupiers.

    (I wake up)


    • mikenetherlands says:

      The small problem in this theory is that Greece is out of our newspapers. The “scandal” was one day in the news. Here the people are “Greece tired”, convinced that SYRIZA is an bunch of idiots (for right wing till left wing) and we have holidays here.

      The only thing I have read today in the Volkskrant (left-wing newspaper), is a article that Greece made the euro stronger written by Melvyn Klaus. (Even the upper- cardinal Tsipras has left has extrem -left has his left -wing views and has become minister of reforms.)

      So, All Quiet on the northern Front.


  9. As far as I can tell, Varoufakis is being prosecuted for thought crimes. That should trouble everyone.

    Two good articles to read are Phillipe Legrain in the Guardian and Mohamed A. El-Arian in Market Watch about ther persecution of Varoufakis.


    • LeaNder says:

      Phillipe Legrain:
      A century ago, the British empire used to administer China’s customs service, collecting taxes that helped to service the country’s foreign debts. This exploitative quasi-colonial arrangement, which only came to an end after the Chinese revolution in 1949, is a source of resentment even today.

      Greece is in a similar situation. The general secretariat of public revenues within the finance ministry is “controlled fully and directly by the troika” – the institutions representing its creditors – according to Varoufakis.

      Yes, Varoufakis claims that the troika controls the Greece tax system. Would it have been very hard to confirm in Bruxelles? Find out what exactly he alluded to? It surely wouldn’t have hurt. Would it?


      I think El-Arian, is wrong. But to publish on Project Syndicate may help to spread it widely. Because it is not that the media targets Varoufakis instead of concentrating on Greece, but that Varoufakis pulls all the attention away from the problems in Greece by his self-justifications and grandstanding.
      Why do so many articles spread via Syndicate sound so similar. As if written by the same anonymous writer.


      Greece, the Sacrificial Lamb, JOSEPH E. STIGLITZJULY 25, 2015

      I watched the documentary about Tsipras on ARTE, now I vaguely understand what Iannos problem may be. The closest the left could get to power over here would be in a social democrat / Green Party coalition, and maybe we are lucky. Although, yes ironically enough I am a liberal or leftist, vaguely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s