Admittedly the politically and personally painful moments which we have experienced in parliament during this term are multiplying.
In my capacity as Speaker of the House, I sent a letter to the President of the Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos and to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (see in French :http://cadtm.org/Lettre-de-Zoe-Konstantopoulou-Le), noting that it is my institutional responsibility to emphasize and underline that the conditions this bill is being introduced under allow no guarantees of compliance with the constitution, no protection of the democratic process or the exercise of legislative power of parliament, nor a conscientious vote by members of parliament (see post-scriptum in http://cadtm.org/Greece-The-Consequences-of-the). Those conditions are blatant blackmail by foreign governments of European Union member States on this government and on the members of parliament. The legal measures are introduced without any possibility of amendment by the parliament as was acknowledged by the Justice Minister, whom I honor and respect deeply, as he knows; their implementation would result in a major intervention in the functioning of justice and the exercise of the fundamental rights of the citizens, tearing down both the functioning of Greek democracy as a social state under the rule of law in which there is a separation of powers according to the Constitution, as well as the preservation of the principle of fair trial.
Ministers are being coerced into introducing legal measures whose contents they do not agree with, but which they are directly opposed to, in this respect the statement by the Justice Minister was telling, and members of parliament are being coerced into voting them, while they too are opposed to their contents, and in this respect every statement by members of parliament in the two parliamentary groups which make up the parliamentary majority was also telling.
All this is happening under the direct threat of a disorderly default and reveal that, in truth, this bill which foreign governments and not the Greek government have chosen as a prerequisite, is an attempt at the completion of a dissolution, since this bill contains a major intervention into the third independent function, which is justice. This bill attempts to undermine the functioning of justice and is lifting basic guarantees to a fair trial and basic and fundamental rights of citizens.
I consider it my institutional duty to react as Speaker of the House as well and to ask my counterparts in all the parliaments of the member States of the European Union, as I have done in the past and as I did in my letter to the President of the European Parliament (see http://cadtm.org/Letter-Addressed-to-President-of ), to react and to take a stand against this dissolution.
Likewise in my letter to the President and the Prime Minister, which I am going to enter in the minutes, I have asked them to formally inform their counterparts of the coercive and forceful conditions under which this vote has occurred.
Minister, I am addressing you in my capacity of the previous parliamentary term. I have addressed you before in this capacity, when I congratulated you for the bills you introduced and especially for your pioneering legislation on the prison system. I am addressing you from the capacity with which I was honored by the parliamentary group of SYRIZA and the current Prime Minister, then opposition leader Mr. Alexis Tsipras, the capacity of the head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group for transparency, justice and human rights and from this capacity I tell you that it is evident that no one in the parliamentary group of SYRIZA endorses the provisions of this bill because the parliamentary group of SYRIZA during the previous period as well, had expressly objected to and strongly opposed this same law, which ironically, is being introduced in an identical form, as it had been introduced by your predecessor Mr Athanassiou, and is being accelerated in a shocking way by the creditors in order to put the nail in the coffin of one more expression of democracy.
Because just like they have attempted to turn the NO of the Greek people into a YES in both the communiqué of the Euro Summit as well as in the previous law introduced here again through emergency procedures last Wednesday, so they are attempting to convert the 93.12% NO of lawyers as recorded in a nationwide referendum for the first time in early December 2014, into a YES.
These deprecating moves against democratic expression are entirely symbolic on the level of a referendum of lawyers and on the level of a nationwide referendum of citizens so that there is no doubt that the message which is being sent by the creditors is that democratic processes are futile, that direct democracy as expressed by citizens or professionals (lawyers, in this case), is irrelevant.
It is clear that what is being attempted is the obliteration of both the government and the parliamentary groups that support it, through blackmail. It is clear that what is being directly questioned is democracy in our country. What is asked of us, what is asked of me, Minister, by the creditors is, in reality, to issue, if I could, a seal that would say, “Greek Parliament” and hand it over to them in order to validate their diktats.
It is not acceptable that after SYRIZA and the committee for justice, rights and transparency struggled so fiercely against the undemocratic manipulation of the 800 pages in the article that was the measures of November 2012, the government be forced by blackmail and humiliation (that is the intention) to now introduce 977 pages, in two articles, one of which contains 1008 articles of the Civil Procedure code and the other 130 articles incorporating a European directive, many of which are 2 and 3 pages long. The government of the left cannot be forced to introduce such abbreviated and condensed, urgent articles, with suffocating deadlines, articles it has consistently denounced in the past.
Minister, I know that by addressing you I am knocking on an open door, because you have consistently fought against such regulations, you have consistently expressed and thoroughly analyzed
This is the victory they want to turn into defeat and destruction in order to once again send the message that we must legislate through fear. Mr Juncker said it today, shamelessly: “fear,” he said, “has led to the agreement”; and is it ever possible for this to be accepted and tolerated in a European Union, which has as its statutory principle the welfare of peoples and societies, the protection of rights and the shielding of democracy?
Minister, the NO of the lawyers on the 2nd and 3d December 2014 meant and still means NO to fast-track foreclosures, NO to auctions and forced expulsions, NO to mock trials on paper to prevent the hearing from proceeding, NO to the further degradation of justice, which is a pillar of democracy, it means NO to a further undermining of the constitutional rights of citizens.
When in the summer of 2014 Mr. Hardouvelis brazenly undertook the obligation to compensate for any consequences of judicial rulings which would annul memorandum provisions, the then opposition, the justice committee and the department of justice of SYRIZA were the first to step forward and say this could not be tolerated. Yet it is that very same bill that is being forced through with blackmail. So it would be good for my colleagues and comrades, whom I honor without exception, not to forget their own commitments and speak of an agreement. Coercion is not an agreement, blackmail is not an agreement, the aim to force the complete subordination of a democratic country to the will and demands of other governments and other countries, is not an agreement.
And we must not forget our commitments because at some point we might forget everything and we might begin referring to the content of this bill as if it was our own. It is not our own, it is not the wish and the will of the government. This is also made evident, Minister, by the fact that you have set up a special committee to examine another draft code of Civil Procedure.
And it is not even the wish of members of parliament, who will vote in favor and belong to parliamentary groups supporting the government. It is not their wish to apply these inhumane measures, which leave citizens (borrowers especially) completely defenceless in front of the banks (see post-scriptum in http://cadtm.org/Greece-The-Consequences-of-the ).
Minister, you know it, but perhaps citizens do not know this well, that the head of the committee that drafted this code was Mr Chamilothoris, who was responsible for the monstrous memorandum law 4055 of 2012, which has been collectively denounced not only by bodies but also by lawyers and representatives of the judiciary and which SYRIZA has pledged to repeal but also, that members of the drafting committee of this legislation which is now being accelerated are legal advisors of the banks. That is who the members of the legislative drafting committee that was formed by the memorandum governments are and there should be no doubt that the objective served is precisely, once more, to hand over of the property of the citizens to the banks, that is the servicing of the banks and the bankers at the expense of citizens.
We must not open the door to allow this objective to be implemented, an objective promoted by the adoption today of this Code of Civil Procedure and here I would ask you specifically and my colleagues who are lawyers, to speak frankly; passing legislation is not a trivial thing, it is not a temporary thing and not a joke. This framework is becoming State law for the first time and indeed, in the form of a code. It is becoming State law that the Greek State is giving way to the banks and ranks after the banks in auction procedures. It is becoming State law that workers give way to the banks and rank after the banks at auctions. It is not enough to say that we vote now and will make sure they will not be applied. When we attempt to stop them from being applied, they will tell us, “but you voted for it”; moreover we know that we ourselves will not be in office permanently, whatever our present position.
This is a piece of legislation that goes into force on 01/01/2016. That proves both that there is no urgency and that it can be discussed under normal conditions but also it raises major concerns in relation to the future aspirations and achievements of those who seek to overthrow this government and to humiliate the political forces that support it, and to prevent them (us) from standing tall in the minds of citizens and of society.
Colleagues, as a member of parliament for SYRIZA I could never vote for this bill; as one formerly in charge of the committee for the control of parliamentary work in issues of justice, transparency and human rights of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA, from which position I fought for three years to stop the memoranda attack on justice and civil rights but also the memoranda orgy of corruption and vested interests, I could never vote for this bill; as a lawyer, I could never vote for this bill and as Speaker of the House, I could never legalize procedures which will make Parliament merely decorative, which waive the guarantee function of Parliament, circumventing the conscience of parliamentarians and ultimately discarding democracy. Thank you.
Translated by Zoe Mavroudi and CADTM.
Zoe Konstantopoulou Greek human rights lawyer and politician of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza). On 27 January 2015 she was nominated Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament. She was elected to the post on 6 February 2015 with the record number of 235 out of 300 votes
Other articles in English by Zoe Konstantopoulou (6)
RT March 05 2014
Estonian foreign ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.
Paet told RIA-Novosti news agency that he talked to Catherine Ashton last week right after retiring from Kiev, but refrained from further comments, saying that he has to “listen to the Continue reading
Global Research Editor’s Note
On the 20th of February, according to reports, more than twenty protesters were killed by professional snipers. This was not a spontaneous event resulting from clashes between protesters and riot police, nor was it marked by an exchange of gunfire between the police and the Neo-Nazi militia.
The sniper killings had the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation. They happened within ‘the space of a few hours”. Moreover, the killings coincided with the meetings of President Viktor Continue reading
By: William Engdahl
Since December last year, Turkey has been rocked by a series of arrests and waves of allegations that the government of AK Party Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is riddled with corruption. Erdogan, a scrappy political infighter for all his eccentricities, has fought back and accused “foreign powers” of standing behind his now-arch enemy, former Imam Fethullah Gülen, considered by the US Embassy in Ankara to be the most powerful man in Turkey. What is unfolding across Turkey is far more interesting than your ordinary politician graft scandal. It is an open warfare, not for the future of democracy in Turkey—there is hardly a trace of that. Rather, it is a surrogate battle between East and West for the future of a pivotal land at the geopolitical crossroads between Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
The clash domestically inside Turkey is between the Justice and Police versus family and cronies of Erdogan. In reality it is a kind-of surrogate warfare between a faction in Washington of CIA and hard-core Dick Cheney neo-conservatives whose man in Turkey is Fethullah Gülen. Opposed to this formidable team if Erdogan, determined to survive, and an emerging alliance of Iran, China and even Putin’s Russia.
Fethullah Gülen, whose movement spans the globe and also has huge influence inside the Continue reading
Βy Chris Carlson – 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group
[Monday, January 13, 2014] Israeli authorities have seized emergency tents provided by the United Nations to shelter families whose homes were demolished by the army last week, according to a UN press release.
image: Wiki Commons
The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) reports that the release, issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (OCHA), states that the tents were provided to the Bani Manieh families from Jiftlik, in Jericho, after the Israeli army demolished all their residential and livelihood structures on Wednesday.
13 structures, belonging to three families of the Bani Manieh community, were destroyed by the army, displacing 26 people, including 15 children.
The army claims that the area was a military training zone.
The Jordan Valley makes up about 29% of the West Bank, and Israel is simultaneously trying to empty the region of its Palestinian Arab citizens, as it attempts to keep control over the area in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians refuse to allow any Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and assert that this land is vital to their economy and statehood.
|Paul Craig Roberts
To inform people is hard slugging. Everything is lined up against the public being informed, or the policymakers for that matter. News is contaminated by its service to special interests and hidden agendas. Many scientists or their employers are dependent on federal money. Even psychologists and anthropologists were roped into the government’s torture and occupation programs. Economists tell lies for corporations and Wall Street. Plant and soil scientists tell lies for agribusiness and Monsanto. Truth tellers are slandered and persecuted. However, persistence can eventually win out. In the long-run, truth sometimes emerges. But not always. And not always in time.
I have been trying to inform the American people, economists, and policymakers for more than a decade about the adverse impacts of jobs offshoring on the US economy. The word has eventually gotten out. Last week I was contacted by 8th grade students competing for their school in CSPAN’s StudentCam Documentary Contest. They want to interview me on the subject of jobs offshoring for their documentary film.
America is a strange place. Here are eighth graders far ahead of the economics profession, the President, the Congress, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, and the financial press in their understanding of one of the fundamental problems of the US economy. Yet, people say the public schools are failing. Obviously, not the one whose students contacted me.
Is it too late? I know much, but not all. So this is not the final word. I think it might be too late. When skilled jobs are sent abroad, the skills disappear at home. So do the supply chains and the businesses associated with the skills. Things close down, and abilities are lost. Why take a major in collage for a job that is offshored. A culture disappears.
But we can start them back up, right? Perhaps not. When a First World country exports its technology and know-how abroad to a Third World country in order to benefit from lower cost labor, how does the First World country get the work back? Living standards and the cost of living in Third World countries are much lower than in First World countries. The populations of First World countries cannot pay their mortgages, car payments, student loans, medical care, and grocery bills with the wages of Third World countries.
When First World wages drop, mortgage, car, credit card, and student loan payments do not drop. Americans cannot live on Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian wages. Once the technology and know-how is transferred, the low wage country has the advantage in the absence of tariff protection.
For America to revive, our economy would have to be walled off with high tariffs, and subsidies would have to be provided in order to recreate US industry and manufacturing. But many corporations now produce offshore, and America is broke. The government has been $1 trillion dollars in the hole each year for the last 5 years.
Jobs offshoring diminished the US tax base. When a job is sent abroad, so is that job’s contribution to US GDP and tax base. When millions of jobs are sent abroad, US GDP and tax base cannot support government spending levels. To the extent that there are any replacement jobs, they are in lowly paid domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks, and hospital orderlies. These jobs do not provide a tax base or consumer spending power comparable to manufacturing jobs and tradable professional services such as software engineering and information technology.
Republicans and increasingly Democrats, as both parties are dependent on the same sources of campaign contributions, blame “entitlements.” By entitlements they mean welfare.
In fact, entitlements consist of Social Security and Medicare. Entitlements are funded by the payroll tax, approximately 15% of payroll. The fact that a person pays the payroll tax all his working life is why the person is entitled to Social Security and Medicare if they live to retirement age. Welfare, such as food stamps and housing subsidies, are a small part of the federal budget and are not entitlements.
Every since President Reagan was betrayed three decades ago by Alan Greenspan and David Stockman, both of whom sold out to Wall Street and raised the Social Security payroll tax above what was needed to pay Social Security benefits in order to protect Wall Street’s stock and bond portfolios from exaggerated deficit fears, Social Security payroll tax revenues have exceeded Social Security payments. As of today, Social Security revenues exceed payments to beneficiaries by an accumulated $2 trillion. The money was used by the federal government to pay for its wars and other spending programs. The Social Security Trust Fund holds non-marketable IOUs from the Treasury. These IOUs can only be made good from an excess of tax revenues over expenditures or by the Treasury selling $2 trillion in bonds, notes, and bills and paying off its IOUs to the Social Security Trust Fund. This is not going to happen.
The Federal Reserve could not care less about the US population. The Fed was established for the purpose of protecting and aiding banks. Currently, the Fed, as if America were a Banana Republic which America appears to be becoming, is printing one thousand billion dollars per year in order to support the banks and to finance the federal deficit.
This is bad news for Americans, as it means that their fiat money is being created at a far greater rate than the demand for the dollar. The implication for our future is a drop in the dollar’s value. As there are no jobs, a drop in the dollar’s value means high inflation on top of unemployment and double the misery of the Great Depression.
As bad as this is, it is minor compared to the destruction of the planet’s environment. Online information shows that the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is in crisis after the BP spill and use of Corexit, a dispersant used to hide, not clean up, the spilled oil. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Gulf-ecosystem-in-crisis-a-by-Dahr-Jamail-Corporation-BP_Ecosystems_Gulf-Oil-Spill-Disaster_Gulf-Shrimping-Industry-131020-15.html
The Fukushima catastrophe has hardly begun. Yet already the radioactive water pouring into the Pacific Ocean has made fish dangerous to eat unless a person is willing to accept a higher risk of cancer.
Fukushima has the potential of making Japan uninhabitable and of polluting the air, water, and soil of the US with radioactivity. Yet the crisis is seldom mentioned in the US media. In Japan the government just passed a law that could be used to imprison Japanese journalists who report truthfully on the dire situation.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the online information about Fukushima.. According to the presstitute media, Americans face threats from Iran nd Syria and from whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden. The real threats are simply not in the news.
If you search Fukushima, you will find information that the presstitute media hides from you. See for example, http://www.globalresearch.ca/28-signs-that-the-west-coast-is-being-absolutely-fried-with-nuclear-radiation-from-fukushima/5355280
There are a number of other threats to the environment on which our lives depend. One is the effort to extract more productivity from the soil by use of GMOs. Monsanto has altered the genes of several crops so that the crops can be sprayed with RoundUp to eliminate weeds. The results have been to deplete the soil of nutrients, to destroy the micro-biology of the soil so that new plant diseases and funguses are activated, and to produce superweeds that require heavier doses of the glyphosate in RoundUp. The heavier dose of RoundUp worsens the aforementioned problems. US agricultural soil is losing its potency.
Now we come to chemtrails, branded another “conspiracy theory.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemtrail_conspiracy_theory However, the US government’s efforts to geo-engineer weather as a military weapon and as a preventative of global warming appear to be real. The DARPA and HAARP programs are well known and are discussed publicly by scientists. See, for example, http://news.sciencemag.org/2009/03/darpa-explore-geoengineering Search Chemtrails, and you will find much information that is kept from you. See, for example, http://www.globalresearch.ca/chemtrails-a-planetary-catastrophe-created-by-geo-engineering/5355299 and http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org
Some describe chemtrails as a plot by the New World Order, the Rothchilds, the Bilderbergers, or the Masons, to wipe out the “useless eaters.” Given the amount of evil that exists in the world, these conspiracy theories might not be as farfetched as they sound.
However, I do not know that. What does seem to be possibly true is that the scientific experiments to modify and control weather are having adverse real world consequences. The claim that aluminum is being sprayed into the atmosphere and when it comes to earth is destroying the ability of soil to be productive might not be imaginary. Those concerned about chemtrails say that weather control experiments have deprived the western United States of rainfall, while sending the rain to the east where there have been hurricane level deluges and floods.
In the West, sparse rainfall and lightening storms without rain are resulting in forests drying out and burning down. Deforestation adversely affects the environment in many ways, including the process of photosynthesis by which trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. The massive loss of forests means more carbon dioxide and less oxygen. Watershed and species habitat are lost, and spreading aridity further depletes ground and surface water. If these results are the consequences of weather modification experiments, the experiments should be stopped.
In North Georgia where I spend some summers, during 2013 it rained for 60 consecutive days, not all day, but every day, and some days the rainfall was 12 inches–hurricane level–and roads were washed out. I received last summer 4 automated telephone warnings from local counties not to drive and not to attempt to drive through accumulations of water on the highways.
One consequence of the excess of water in the East is that this year there are no acorns in North Georgia. Zilch, zero, nada. Nothing. There is no food for the deer, the turkeys, the bear, the rodents. Starving deer will strip bark from the trees. Bears will be unable to hibernate or will be able only to partially hibernate, forced to seek food from garbage. Black bears are already invading homes in search of food.
Unusual drought in the West and unusual flood in the East could be coincidental or they could be consequences of weather modification experiments.
The US, along with most of the world, already had a water problem prior to possible disruptions of rainfall by geo-engineering. In his book, Elixir, Brian Fagan tells the story of humankind’s mostly unsuccessful struggle with water. Both groundwater and surface water are vanishing. The water needs of large cities, such as Los Angeles and Phoenix, and the irrigation farming that depends on the Ogallala aquifer are unsustainable. Fagan reminds us that “the world’s supply of freshwater is finite,” just like the rest of nature’s resources. Avoiding cataclysm requires long-range thinking, but humanity is focused on immediate needs. Long-range thinking is limited to finding another water source to deplete. Cities and agriculture have turned eyes to the Great Lakes.
Los Angeles exists because the city was able to steal water from hundreds of miles away. The city drained Owens Lake, leaving a huge salt flat in its place, drained the Owens Valley aquifer, and diverted the Owens River to LA via aqueduct. Farming and ranching in the Owens Valley collapsed. Today LA takes water from the Colorado River, which originates in Wyoming and Colorado, and from Lake Perris 440 miles away.
Water depletion is not just an American problem. Fagan reports that “underground aquifers in many places are shrinking so rapidly that NASA satellites are detecting changes in the earth’s gravity.”
If the government is experimenting with weather engineering, scientists are playing God when they have no idea of the consequences. It is a tendency of scientists to become absorbed by the ability to experiment and to ignore unintended consequences.
Readers have asked me to write about Fukushima and chemtrails because they trust me to tell them the truth. The problem is that I am not qualified to write about these matters with anything approaching the same confidence that I bring to economic, war and police state matters.
The only advice I can give is that when you hear the presstitute media smear a concern or explanation as “conspiracy theory,” have a closer look. The divergence between what is happening and what you are told is so vast that it pays to be suspicious, cynical even, of what “your” government and “your” presstitute media tell you. The chances are high that it is a lie.