Europe‘s current crisis is more than economic. Between the German government advocating a dangerous austerity policy and European authorities lacking any other suggestions, it is clear that the 2008 financial crisis is no longer solely responsible for the downward spiral of Europe.
The GDP for countries in Europe has fallen by a considerable amount: 5.3% for Greece, 3.9% for Portugal, 4.1% for Cyprus, 2.3% for Italy, and 2% for Spain. This is without even mentioning the recession into which France is entering. In the first quarter of this year, the European Union economy contracted by 0.7%, or one percent when only taking into consideration the eurozone.
If it was only the 2008 economic crisis that was responsible for all this, Europe would not be one of the only one to suffer so much. For example, the United States, the birthplace of this crisis, registered a 1.9% increase in their economy in 2013 [fr] while their unemployment rate was at its lowest in four years.
Europe, which for a long time has aimed to maintain growth that compares favorably with United States, now finds itself completely lost among incoherent policies and disputes between countries[fr].
One of the main reasons for this current instability in Europe is the evident failure of the European policy authorities when their proposals seem more than enigmatic. Restricting interchange fees as proposed by Michel Barnier, the European Union Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, is a perfect example of the Commission taking measures that will not have any concrete impact.
Capping interchange fees, bank charges paid by retailers when they make a card payment, would not only increase personal bank charges [fr], as the banks would want to recuperate the money lost by this cap, but the retailers profit margin will also increase, as they rarely lower their prices just because their costs have decreased.
The other significant issue which has notably accelerated the decline of Europe is the restricted austerity policy which the majority of EU countries have undertaken. It would be more logical for Europe to take inspiration from the countries that have pulled through, i.e. the United States, in order to stimulate the market rather than only focusing on reducing the deficit.
Youth unemployment rate in Europe between 2005-2013 via Les Crises – public domain
The most frustrating aspect about this issue is that the majority of the European leaders agree on this point, but no one dares to confront the life-long defenders of austerity, also know as « Sparkurs » [de] in Germany and its strict chancellor, Angela Merkel [fr]. But there are also critics of austerity on the German side. Last week, Gilles Moëc, head economist at Deutsche Bank, admitted to the news outlet Agence France-Presse that “there were some errors” [fr] in the selected strategy.
However, it’s not as if the Merkel method was fully tried and tested, in fact, it was far from it. Portugal, for example, had never been in such a terrible state until it was subjected to the European austerity policy. In two years, its unemployment rate increased by 5.3%, its budget deficit by 1.1%. As for its public debt, it’s now 123% higher than its GDP.
Julio Salazar Moreno, Secretary-General of Spanish worker’s trade union, USO, believes that the countries within the European Union need to stop with the austerity policy [pt], according to online newspaper Público:
Os países da União Europeia (UE) têm de parar “de uma vez por todas” com a aplicação de medidas recessivas, porque os cidadãos, alerta, estão a viver no limite dos sacrifícios
The countries within the European Union (EU) must refrain from enforcing austerity policies “once and for all” because the alert citizens are living at the very limits of their possible sacrifices.
The sledgehammer approach is just as inefficient for Greece, claims Gregor Gyzi, a president from a left-wing parliamentary group in Germany, Bundestag, by addressing the Greek readers [el] of news247:
οι επιβληθείσες, κυρίως από την γερμανική κυβέρνηση, περικοπές σε μισθούς και συντάξεις, οι απολύσεις και οι ιδιωτικοποιήσεις, όχι μόνο ώθησαν την Ελλάδα σε βαθιά ύφεση και κοινωνικά προβλήματα, αλλά κατέστησαν και αδύνατη την επιστροφή των δανείων στο εγγύς μέλλον
Imposed primarily by the German government, salary and retirement cuts, redundancies and privatisations, are not only going to push Greece into a major recession and cause social problems, but its also going to make loan repayments equally impossible.
Emigration figures for Europe are also far from surprising. In two years, 2.5% of the Portuguese population left the country. Who would have said ten years ago that today many Europeans would leave the continent to work in countries like Angola or Brazil?
Facing this alarming development, it is even more depressing to hear the responses of others, like that of the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, also the former minister of the Eurogroup, who recently gave his thoughts on the European crisis [fr] and concluded that what Europe needs is some “TLC”: a statement which speaks for itself.
“Reporter Assassinated?” was AMERICAN FREE PRESS’s Issue 27, page 1 story describing the mysterious “accident,” just before investigative journalist Michael Hastings was going to go underground to avoid government agents trying to silence him. There is new information uncovered by AFP’s investigators, however, that tells the chilling rest of the story about the latest weapons in the Obama administration’s war on journalists and whistleblowers, who have the courage to tell the truth.
Now, another brave whistleblower has come forth. He is Richard Alan Clarke, the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States, serving under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Clarke confirmed AFP’s suspicions about Hastings’s “accident.”
According to Clarke, the car crash, which occurred on June 18, was “consistent with a car cyber attack.” There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers—including the U.S.—know how to remotely seize control of a car.
“What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag. . . . You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard. . . . So . . . I think whoever did it would probably get away with it,” Clarke said.
Some of the spooky ways the government can “get you” have been uncovered by AFP, but were first revealed by Dr. Kathleen Fisher, a program manager at the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who wrote recently:
Modern vehicles consist of between 30 and 100 embedded control units [ECUs], essentially small computers . . . designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other within a vehicle without a host computer. Researchers from [the University California, San Diego] and the University of Washington showed they could take over all of the functionality of the car that’s controlled by software. And in a modern automobile, that’s pretty much everything . . . breaks . . . acceleration . . . even the steering.
[There are] a variety of ways of [remotely controlling a target vehicle] without physically touching the car. These attacks involved infecting the computers and repair shops . . . or hacking into the blue tooth system, or using the cell phone network [or GPS, OnStar, etc.].
The most ingenious attack . . . used the stereo system in the car. The researchers were able to craft an electronic version of a song that played just fine in your household stereo system or on your personal computer. But when you put that on a CD and played it in the car CD player, it took over total control of your automobile. Yeah right—pretty scary, huh?
ECUs are the ubiquitous targets of Stuxnet, Flame and other computer malware designed by Israel and the U.S. to control and destroy vehicles, electric power plants, water and sewage systems, airplanes, drones—everything. Your only defense against Big Brother’s plots is courageous whistleblowers, journalists—and, in the words of Washington—Divine Providence.
Bradley Manning: Truth on trial?
We examine the implications of Manning’s trial and speak exclusively to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Listening Post Last Modified: 15 Jun 2013 12:07. Email Article. Print Article. Share article. Send Feedback. This week, a special edition of the …
See all stories on this topic »The Bradley Manning Matter
Fog City Journal
Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army soldier, admitted sending 700,000 government documents to Wikileaks in 2010. It was the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Manning is now charged under Articles 92 and 134 of the Uniform Code of …
See all stories on this topic »WikiLeaks releases transcript of critical US film
WikiLeaks said it had not participated in the making of We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a film by Alex Gibney that focuses on the website’s controversial founder Julian Assange and its chief informant Bradley Manning. Photo: AFP. Also Read.
See all stories on this topic »Weekly Wrap-Up on Week 2 of Bradley Manning’s Trial
With the identity of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower behind disclosures on National Security Agency top secret surveillance programs, forming a backdrop that dominated the news, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial entered its second week. Another …
See all stories on this topic »Interview with Chase Madar on Bradley Manning and US transparency
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2015 – Journalist Chase Madar of The Nation, is a civil rights attorney in New York and the author of The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower (Verso). As an expert on the courtmartial of Bradley …
See all stories on this topic »The Whistleblower’s Guide to the Orwellian Galaxy: How to Leak to the Press
Daniel Ellsberg, Mark Felt, Jeffrey Wigand, Sherron Watkins, Bradley Manning, and now… Edward Snowden. (He’s just the latest informant caught in the web of government administrations that view George Orwell’s 1984 as an operations manual.) But while …
See all stories on this topic »For Snowden, a Life of Ambition, Despite the Drifting
After handing over the documents, he told The Guardian of his admiration for both Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is now on trial for providing 700,000 confidential documents to WikiLeaks, and Daniel Ellsberg, who disclosed the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
See all stories on this topic »Military Judge Runs A Shell Game
Public access to the Bradley Manning court-martial doesn’t exist in any meaningful sense, despite the demands of the U.S. Constitution or the Manual for Courts Martial United States (MCM) published by the U.S. Dept. of Defense, which is the prosecutor.
See all stories on this topic »Julian Assange: a year in the embassy
“What we don’t want to see is him ending up the same way as Bradley Manning — detained without trial, abused in prison and now facing life imprisonment.” Manning, a 25-year-old US soldier, is being court-martialled for passing the war logs and cables …
See all stories on this topic »Assange: America is at the precipice of turnkey totalitarianism
Bradley Manning’s trial began on Monday last week, three years after he was arrested. The United States Department of Justice has admitted that its even larger investigation into WikiLeaks and myself continues. Despite this, or perhaps even because of …
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This was a long time in coming but was always on the cards
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been charged with taking financial advantage of France’s richest woman, elderly L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, in a scandal over illegal campaign funding.
Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation on Thursday, his lawyer told AFP, adding that he would immediately appeal.
This comes after the former president was unexpectedly summoned for a face-to-face encounter with staff members of Bettencourt, over claims he accepted funds from Bettencourt to illegally finance his 2007 election campaign. Sarkozy has repeatedly denied the allegations.
A statement given by the prosecutor in the city of Bordeux after the hearing explained that “Nicolas Sarkozy, who benefits from the presumption of innocence, had been notified that he has been placed under formal investigation for taking advantage of a vulnerable person in February 2007 and during 2007 to the detriment of Liliane Bettencourt.”
The claims do not come as a complete surprise, as the former president was already questioned by judges in November, but they chose not to pursue a full investigation. The suspicions date back to three years ago when a woman working for Bettencourt as an accountant allegedly spotted plans for a large cash withdrawal to be made with the intention of supporting Sarkozy’s presidential campaign.
Liliane Bettencourt, 90, is France’s richest and the world’s third richest woman. Her mental frailty supposedly played a part in how the investigation is being framed.
Although Sarkozy has left major politics, he continues to remain a potential conservative candidate for the next presidential race in 2017