January 5, 2015

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OPINION - Is George Papandreou a loose cannon or a Washington "plant"?

By John Ward  (The slog) -  As the new Metroanalysis poll in Greece shows Syriza extending its lead to nearly 7%, there are mixed responses in the country to the formation of a new Party, ‘Allagi’, by former Pasok leader George Papandreou.

Three viewpoints are circulating:

1. It’s a petulant move by Papandreou to take revenge upon Venizelos, but it won’t take off: GP’s spineless performance in 2010 still makes him at best a controversial politician among Greeks – at worst, he’s reviled.

2. It’s a dangerous move doomed to failure… but it will take more votes from Syriza than New Democracy and Pasok. Papandreou hopes to create a ‘third force’ Party that will put him back into power as a Syriza Coalition Party that will reassure both Greek voters and Brussels-am-Berlin.

3. Papandreou is being backed to US/EC money to spike a lurch to the Left. If it’s possible to spike a lurch.

There’s more potential substance to the last rumour above than initially meets the eye. Apart from the obviously close links GP has always had with Old Establishment America, there have been signs for some time that he is being worked from behind.

Just over two years ago, The Slog posted a piece condemning a Huffington Post piece ‘written by’ Papandreou that offered nothing but Stepford paranoia and meek acceptance of the US/EU Song for Europe. Several Greek opinion leaders I approached at the time opined that George had written the piece under orders and direction from elsewhere.

There also remains the mystery/accusations surrounding the real size of the Greek debt in 2009, and the question of whether Papandreou was encouraged to ‘big up’ the problem in order not only to speed the process of greater fiscal control from Berlin Brussels, but also to more generally wake the EU up to the need for a bailout.

It is alleged that at some point during talks in the 2009-10 period, Berlin requested a smaller meeting with the Greeks. At this meeting, three sources (two Greek and one German) say, the small German delegation made an astonishing observation: the situation would “have to look more desperate” in order to justify a bailout to the other eurozone members.

That is to say, only widespread fear of the entire eurozone being damaged would get the member States to pile in with bailout monies.

The scandal blew up into something bigger when, during 2011, Elstat employees testified to support how the size of the deficit had indeed been inflated; by this time, Papandreou had left Office… the real culprit was almost certainly our old friend Venizelos – who, when it comes to collaboration, is indeed very zealous. But many still allege that GP cooperated with the original Berlin idea.

Also highly probable is that German banks were very heavily exposed to Greek debt at the time: this too is an obvious further motive for the ruse.

So there is a connection there; and if I was a high-ranking CIA officer, it is what I’d do. But at the minute, it must remain in the file marked Informed Speculation.

What we can say for certain is that PASOK’s hysterical condemnation of Allagi’s formation suggests that they fear it will hurt them more than most. MEP Eva Kaili called Papa’s decision “immoral and insane political act” and “a cold-blooded attempt to fragment PASOK” in order to set up his “own personal and privately-owned party.

We shall see.

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