Rule by troika

When no single party won an outright majority at the May 6 general election, Greece held a second election on June 17.

The stock, bond and money markets were ecstatic when the right-wing New Democracy topped the poll and immediately formed a three-party coalition with Pasok, the social democratic party, and the Democratic Left party.

But who really rules Greece six weeks after the election? The elected Greek government or the troika, the unelected representatives of the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank.

Troika representatives arrived in Athens last week for negotiations on the bail-out terms. Now they have decided to stay on.

In effect, they have taken control of the Greek economy on behalf of the European banks. In the process, they have usurped the parliament, the recent elections and the rights of the Greek people.

Since the overthrow of the Greek military junta in 1974, the organisation of Greece’s economy has been a function of the  elected government. That was 38 years ago. Today the Euro-banks want to punish the Greek people and skin their living standards to the bone. All to be accomplished a matter of weeks. I can’t see it myself.


A right-wing social democrat from the ALP emailed me to say that my piece about Sweden’s flirtation with the Nazi regime was 70 years ago and that the Swedish social democrats have changed since then.

No, they haven’t. Let the record speak for itself.

In December 2001 the Swedish social democrat government of Prime Minister Hans Goran Persson (PM from 1996 to 2006) secretly entered an agreement with the Bush regime and the CIA to “render” to asylum speakers.

Egyptians Ahmed Agiza and Mohomed al-Zari were snatched by the Swedish secret police, handed to the CIA who flew them to Cairo where they were subjected to the most barbaric forms of torture.

Both were subsequently found to have no connection whatsover with al-Qaeda or the September terror attacks on New York and Washington.

In November 2006, the UN Human Rights Committee condemned the Swedish Government’s complicity with rendition, ruling that it had violated the global torture ban when it allowed the CIA to remove the two suspects to Egypt to be tortured.

Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, commented: “The UN ruling shows that we are slowly but surely getting the truth about European complicity in illegal US renditions.”


More of the truth surfaced via Julian Assange’s Wikileaks and the details of the Swedish government’s perfidious conduct became world news (along with the exposure of the Polish government).

Assange was accumulating enemies at a fast rate: they included the Pentagon, the CIA, the Swedish social democrats whose carefully constructed image had been publicly blighted.

The Swedish conservative government which succeeded the social democrats made an ex gratia compensation payment to Agiza and al-Zari of three million krona (about half a million Oz dollars).

My point is this: the Swedish social democrats had no ideological difficulty consorting with Hitler’s Third Reich throughout World War Two and no difficulty working hand-in-glove with Bush’s “war on terror” in 2001. To their eternal credit, other European nations, and political parties, took a different line on Hitler and CIA rendition.

Sexual encounters

Some feminists have joined the anti-Assange campaign saying that he had unprotected sex – didn’t use a condom – when he had sex with two adult Sweden women and should therefore be compelled back to Stockholm “to face his accusers”. No doubt there are questions about his sexual conduct which require investigation, but why won’t Swedish police conduct their questioning in London as Assange has offered? Why the insistence that he be extradited like a common criminal to Sweden – where he isn’t charged with anything – to answer “rape” charges?

Assange is fighting for his life while the two Swedish women are fighting for their honour. Every single attempt to conduct a public or private settlement over their regrettable sexual encounter has been rebuffed. Why?  Why can’t the consenting adults who had sex, albeit without condoms, find a way to stop Assange being gifted to the Pentagon where he will be put on a treason trial with US serviceman Bradley Manning and face a life (and death) in jail?


The defence of Julian Assange is a question of political and moral principle. What’s so notable in Australia – his homeland – is that the defence of Assange comes mainly from individuals in the law, the media, academia and among people of strong civic values from all walks of life. Notably, however, there has been no systematic or organised campaign for Assange from the state or federal parliamentary parties, Labor, Liberal or National.

A few years ago Foreign Minister Bob Carr wrote to President Bush seeking clemency and an early release for jailed Canadian multi-millionaire publisher Conrad Black, the former owner of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Jerusalem Post and convicted kleptomaniac.

Bob for PM? Oh dear, what have we come to? 

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