Friday, 4 April 2014


Whether it's Spain, Greece or the United Kingdom, once proud nations have had their strategic state industries, wealth, assets, cultures and futures systematically stripped and sold-off to pay for the damage wreaked by greedy investment banksters and their friends in politically low places.

It's Friday. It's financial. It's Friday Financial with JULIAN SAYER.

Banksters have stripped countries of their assets and brought misery to millions.

In every region of the world I can think of, the sovereignty and wealth of each nation is being sold to the highest bidder.

The once proud people of each country are having it sold from beneath them. Each nation, and the people within it, are under attack, not from the so called terrorists we hear so much about, but from within the financial markets that demand their pound of flesh.

In every country, the people who run the Government have largely decided they no longer wish to serve the country's best interests, but prefer instead to serve the interests of the chosen few; the billionaires, the hedge funds, and the investment banks. They are in the process of gorging themselves on the sales of assets, houses and nationalised industries all around the world. The general public is being short changed in every respect.

Here in the UK whether it's the Royal Mail or LloydsTSB, the taxpayers' assets are being sold to help keep the nation's debts under some sort of control. You can argue the rights and wrongs of selling all the state's assets, but when you do, at least get fair value.

There is no doubt that the Royal Mail sale reeks of desperation and mismanagement. Royal Mail shares are currently more than 70% higher than the 2013 sale price. The investment bank that advised the Government made millions, even Mr Osborne’s best man had his finger in the pie. Everybody involved made a nice little turn, with the exception of the taxpayer who lost out to the tune of £750m. A full breakdown of the sale can be found here;

Anti-riot police clash with demonstrators at the end of a march dubbed "Disobedience 2014" in Barcelona on March 29, 2014. (Image courtesy of RT, AFP Photo/Quique Garcia).
This has been going on in every country. As the debts around the world get bigger, both individuals and countries are having to sell their assets.

You can see the sales mounting up all around, and this is nowhere more evident than in the European Union (EU.)

When the dust settles and historians write their accounts of the economic plunder that has occurred, right at the top of their list will be the depression like conditions in Southern Europe. I could have chosen Greece, Italy, Portugal or numerous other countries, but the one I want to use to illustrate exactly what is happening is  a country a lot of Brits have a liking for ....Spain.

When you think of Spain's plight since 2007, think the UKs recession and times that by five! Spain was hit particularly hard following the 2007/08 financial crash, their property bubble burst, the construction industry folded and unemployment soared.  Spain has now seen six straight years of job destruction. Some 198,900 jobs disappeared in Spain last year, and 3.5 million have vanished since the country's crisis began in 2008.

There are 1,832,300 households in Spain where nobody has a job. That is 1.36 percent more than a year earlier. Some 686,600 households in Spain have no income at all — not even social security. That is twice the figure seen in 2007, or before the crisis struck.

More than 3.5 million in Spain have been out of work for at least a year. Some 2.3 million people have been out of work for at least two years. Some 69,000 found work in 2013, but unemployment actually rose in the final three months of the year.

Spain's new jobs are of poor quality. The number of ongoing positions in Spain fell by 269,000 in 2013 while the number of temporary contracts rose by 81,300. Some 69,000 found work in 2013, but unemployment actually rose in the final three months of the year. This is because the number of 'active' people in Spain — those working, or seeking employment — actually fell by 267,900 last year, leaving a smaller pool of people fighting for the same jobs.

Many people - especially those in the 16–35 age group - have simply given up looking for work, or have left the country to look for work elsewhere. They are therefore no longer included in the official figures. Working Spaniards put in 5.86 million hours of overtime every week from October to December, up 18.4 percent on a year earlier. With this huge unemployment came the pain, some 350,000 families have been forced out of their homes since the property market crashed in 2008. The full horror of this disaster can be seen here;

The Spanish economy has been destroyed, families have been torn apart, and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes. These homes (and many villas) built in the property boom now lie on the Spanish banks' balance sheets. Spanish banks are burdened with as much as 40 billion euros of repossessed houses and are under increasing pressure to sell as prices fall.

Spanish banks acquired the assets after companies and homeowners defaulted during the country’s worst economic slowdown in 50 years. Spain was forced to seek a European bailout for the industry and reduced the number of savings banks to seven from 45.

Spain's Banco Popular just released earnings showing a 19.6% rise in non-performing loans at 1.2 billion euros. This is the highest bad loan ratio on record at 14.27%. Spanish Banks need to start raising some money to repair their balance sheets ready for the EU stress tests later this year. How they will do this is selling these properties to investment funds and hedge funds. As the Spanish banks’ juiciest real estate assets are quietly transferred onto the books of the world’s largest financial institutions. Shopping malls, office buildings, industrial estates (for those with a voracious appetite for risk) and residential properties… all are being snatched up at bargain basement prices, at prices as much as seventy per cent below their original value.

The list is growing and features some of the biggest names in global finance – names such as Blackrock, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Spain’s Santander, Bill Gates, New York hedge fund Davidson Mempner Capital Management LLC, and Venezuelan billionaire financier Juan Carlos Escotet.

When the financial crisis hit the banks were saved by the tax payers billions, in return those banks have slowly been starving the very people that saved them. Bank lending has dropped to a perilous rate, their balance sheets are loaded with bad loans while the super-rich are circling, buying up whatever takes their fancy. Be it Spanish property, Greek railways or soon to be Ukraine pipelines, the plunder is remorseless. As a said I could have chosen just about any country to illustrate this;

This tale is mirrored in just about every country not only in Europe, but around the world. There are no figures, but millions of families have had their lives ruined, children are living in poverty, and communities torn apart. Yet the men who caused this tragedy are set to literally make trillions of euros on the back of this misery.

Has this huge transfer of assets helped their economies, no, not at all. Their debts are still growing, unemployment is still a huge issue. The deficit Eurozone countries (Ireland just as Greece, Spain just as Portugal) are still in chains, caught up in a negative cycle between un-payable debts, insolvent banks, recessionary forces and mindless universal austerity.

If you don't think this matters to people in the UK then you are very much mistaken. It is now a global economy. What the people of the UK and every nation must grasp, is that their elected Governments are meant to protect their interests, and not the interests of the chosen few. Too many times countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal have unelected Governments, brought in by the troika who have different agendas. Can the ECB, IMF and EU really have Spanish interests at heart when deciding what has to be sold to balance the books?

The EU is doomed to fail.  It is in a hopeless position because it cannot do what needs to be done. It’s thus condemned to hard times and blighted lives, especially for the young in the South - Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal. It will be burdened with internal nightmares while another tragedy unfolds on its eastern border in Ukraine. Europe will take a generation to get over this, if indeed it ever does!

While the pain will continue for years to come, those responsible have made billions and offer no help or solution. Protests and civil unrest have only just begun.

Following my article of Friday 12th March titled "loaded dice in the world's casino" it looks like you can add the stock market to the list of rigged markets. It's a crazy world, and it's all about greed and money.

Having written pretty much all of this this week's blog, I was just about to send this off to Harry, when I read this. It pretty much goes along with everything I have said, but what is surprising is that it's the right wing Daily Mail the published it!


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