Senator David Norris' address to Seanad Eireann (the Irish Senate)

In Sept. 2007, fourteen months before Ireland's bank bailout, I resigned from my position as the Risk Manager of UniCredit Bank Ireland. I did that in order not to incriminate myself. I have spent the last 4 years seeking justice. On Feb. 23rd., 2010, I was fortunate to have Senator David Norris raise the matter in Seanad Eireann (the Irish Senate), and request a response from the Minister of Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan. Senator Norris concluded by stating that:
"...there is ministerial responsibility in this matter. This is a grossly serious matter which has been reported to the Financial Regulator. A man has lost his job as a result. He honourably resigned. The degree of breach was 40 times the accepted margin. This is a disaster. If we are not prepared to face the issue and investigate it when it has been laid before the House, there is absolutely no hope for the financial system or its reputation worldwide...How can the Financial Regulator investigate himself? He was in breach of his responsibility."
In Nov. 2011, Emma Alberici, Europe correspondent for ABC TV, told my story as part of her documentary 'Going Rogue' which featured Nick Leeson and Sir John Vickers among other interviewees. It is ironic that at a time when the Irish tax-payer is bailing out un-secured bond holders, my story which occurred in Dublin, is deemed of interest to the Australian TV license payer. Please click on 'play video' on the following link:
VRT, Belgian state-TV, aired this interview with me on March 6th., 2013. My Interview begins in minute 27:
Het verdriet van Europa: Zeepbellen blazen (The sadness of Europe: Bursting bubbles)
VRT, Belgian state-TV, released extra footage of my interview on March 8th., 2013. (in English):

Monday, 27 June 2011

'Truth, Threats and the IMF' - Golem XIV's blog posting today

Although some of us might not like to admit it, Greece's fate might hold some clues as to what is in store for us in Ireland. Golem XIV's blog posting of this morning does not make for encouraging reading.

"Three men spoke out this last week, between then they paint a picture of our crisis: John Lipsky, Acting Head of the IMF, Greek Deputy Prime Minister, Theodorus Pangalos and Mervyn King Governor of The Bank of England.

According to the Greek Deputy Prime minister, Theodoros Pangalos, Greece "may have trouble"  passing some of the reforms which the IMF and the EU have said are non-negotiable pre-requisites for any further bail out money. According to the Guardian today Mr Pangalos believes the Parliament may reject certain of the key measures the IMF and EU insist upon.

And insist they do. At a crisis meeting of European Finance Ministers in Luxembourg a week ago, the Acting Head of the IMF, Mr John Lipsky, made the IMF's position very clear,

"...Europe is at a "crossroads. The euro area needs to strengthen economic governance and may need to be more intrusive in terms of national structures."
The IMF has, for some time been in favour of relieving citizens within nations of their democratic right to determine their own economic path and instead to centralize economic decisions in to a Europe level Financial and economic authority.

In Mr Lipsk's whole speech he never once uses the word 'People', nor citizen, nor democracy. (Full text here) Not once. What he did say was,

" Greece, a mission is currently in the field, working closely with the authorities to identify the policies needed to underpin the adjustment program going forward."

Helping "the authorities" with their "adjustment program...."  I think it is worth noting that Mr Lipsky was the IMF's man dispatched to Chile in 1978 once Allende had been violently overthrown and Pinochet took control. In the aftermath of that coup 2700 political opponents of Pinochet were murdered and 27 000 or so were incarcerated many of whom were tortured.

Mr Lipsky did not return home in protest at what the Pinochet regime was doing. He worked, 'helping the authorities' with their 'adjustment program'.  A job he did for two years before returning to New York. Mr Lipsky, when not at the IMF, is a JP Morgan man. He was their Chief economist and then the head of their Investment Bank. Mr Lipsky believes that,

" problems require global solutions. In our increasingly interconnected world, we need policies that are right for the national interest and right for the global interest."
Whose interest do you think Mr Lipsky has in mind when he says 'national' interests? The people, whom he never mentions or the financial class and their banks? What do you think Mr Lipsky sees as being 'right' for the 'global interest'?  What is a global interest? I feel certain it's not mine or yours. But it could quite possibly match nicely with the interests of the banks he has worked for and the class who own and profit from those banks.

Mr Lipsky feels Europe, his Europe of banks and financial interests, are at a cross roads.  One road leads to a free market utopia where we don't talk of 'citizens' or 'people' or 'democracy', but focus instead on what is 'right' for the 'global economic interest'. And of course only those who live in that global world of global banks, global finance and global agreements can possibly know what is best. And therefore they must be left alone, unquestioned by the ignorant mob, to decide what is best for the global economy and the 10 percent of Europe and America who own upwards of 80% of it.

Down the other path lies what? I would call it democracy, the rule of law and policies designed to build a better and fairer economy which serves its people rather than forcing the people to serve it. But the financial class and our intellectually challenged politicians won't have us believing that sort of thing. They see the democratic path, the path of making the banks  pay their own debts, of making the Bond holders, take their own losses quite differently. they want us to be afraid of it.

The most recent IMF report into the European crisis published last week, concluded,

"It will be essential to bring the unproductive debate about debt reprofiling or restructuring to closure quickly."
Why is it essential? 'Unproductive' for whom? Funny that it is so 'essential', that your debate and mine, the Democratic debate, must be closed down and quickly.

And such sentiments are not restricted to the IMF. Our own political class are betraying us and our democracy as well.  Greece's Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Pangalos, in an interview with the Spanish paper El Mundo, said if the IMF imposed austerity measures are not accepted and implemented NOW,

“the next day the banks will be surrounded by terrified people who would try to withdraw their money, while the army would turn out tanks in the streets .... There would be riots everywhere, the shops will be empty, some people jumped from windows … And all this would be disastrous for the eurozone as a whole."
This is a re-run of the threats made by Hank Paulson when he bullied the US Congress in to passing the 700 billion dollar TARP bail out of America's banks in 2008. Same threats. Tanks and anarchy, but with the added frisson of mass suicide. What kind of dark, lurid fantasies is this man fed and who by?

That Pangalos is making such open threats is sad. He is a scion of one of the powerful ruling families of Greece. As is the Prime Minister of Greece. A small number of families rule and own Greece.

Pangalos's grandfather  was military dictator of Greece in 1926. In his youth Pangalos rebelled against his family and became a Left wing firebrand. I listen to him now, as an old man, and I see him as an emblem of the failure of the old political order and class of Post War Europe.  Left and Right they are captured by the Free Market Ideology and afraid of anything that questions or threatens it.

His message is simple, 'Do what the bankers and the financial class want or it will be tanks on the streets.'

And then there is Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England.  This week he said something far more important than anyone else. As quoted in the FT, he said,

“Right through this crisis from the very beginning ... an awful lot of people wanted to believe that it was a crisis of liquidity,” Sir Mervyn said. “It wasn’t, it isn’t. And until we accept that, we will never find an answer to it. It was a crisis based on solvency ... initially financial institutions and now sovereigns.”
 He continued,
“Providing liquidity can only be used to buy time,” Sir Mervyn said. “Simply the belief, ‘oh we can just lend a bit more’, will never be an answer to a problem which is essentially one about solvency.”
In short - the bail outs WILL NOT WORK.  What is more they were never going to work. They were only ever about buying time. But not for us. Not for you and me.

On the one hand I want to kiss Mr King for standing up and speaking the truth. On the other I want to ask him why he waited? Why so long Mr King? What kept you?

I'll also make one small prediction. If Mr King keeps saying this, the global financial class will start a smear campaign against him. Rumours will start about his health and his judgement. People will start to suggest that he has perhaps become a bit senile and soft in the head.

Now let's put these three things together. What Mr King has told us is that the financial class has known and does know, that the bail outs are not about recovery. They are about saving a system that has made 1% of the Western World unimaginably rich and powerful. Beyond all measure and perhaps beyond reasonable restraint.

What Mr Lipsky says, tells us the Global Financial class doesn't care. They are out to protect the system which makes them what they are and gives them what they have. Mr Lipsky does not even see people like you and me. We are not part of his concern.

And those who we elected, Mr Pangalos and his like are spent, decrepit afraid and morally rancid.

We must look to each other now, or go down to ruin each of us alone."