The big push is on to convert Greece into a bastion of liberal democracy and godlessness. At least this is what the latest news from Athens presages. Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras may have gone one step too far in his quest to undermine the Orthodox church. Already under fire for failing at nearly every one of his campaign promises, Tsipras could only be stepping this far with assurances from Washington and NATO. Read on, if you care about Greece at all.
Yesterday, when I went to pick up my little boy from school in downtown Heraklion, people were lining the streets for some parade or event unbeknownst to me at the time. Then I heard the unmistakeable deafening roar of a jet fighter slashing the skies along the waterfront. At the moment I was unsure why an F-16 would be performing aerobatics back and forth along Crete’s northern shore, but the aircraft set off car alarms and scared the birds as it rolled and flew upside down 100 ft off the deck. Kids and dogs were spellbound, and I at first though the Turkish Air Force might be attacking. Now it’s clear, though: the air show was a subliminal message to Cretans of the power that rules the skies over often defiant Crete.
Now I find out (late) that a Guardian story from the day before told of the Greek government cutting off state pay to priests, a move that is sure to reverberate in the man’s little rat ears unless my guess is wrong. The Guardian story frames the situation:
“The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, an atheist, has said he was determined to overhaul the Greek state’s complex ties with the church. Progressives have long spoken of the need to separate church and state with the “historic” accord now being seen as key to achieving both.”
First let me say, the Greeks should have known an atheist leader would not be working toward saving the Orthodox nation and its people from evildoers, but this is a point for later. Tsipras’ message and his mission are clear now. First and foremost, the Greek Prime Minister means to destroy the religion. Secondly, he intends to carve up church assets to deliver them to the same people buying up Greek assets through privatization. Finally, the hotels and other assets the Orthodox Church in Greece owns may soon be delivered to German, British, and American corporations on a platter. But let me take one assertion at a time here.
Having been failed by every government since the “Reign of the Colonels” back in the 60s and early 70s, the Greek people have only had the church to turn to. As is the case in most Eastern European countries, once the crooked politicians and business opportunists take their cut, the average citizen is left with nothing but faith. And faith has sustained 600,000 here on Crete, with nothing whatever from politicians. While western mainstream media tends to side with atheist Tsipras (naturally), the fact of the Orthodox Church of Greece’s (OCG) wealth and tax burden never seems to be shown accurately. Those behind Tsipras fuel resentment by claiming the OCG does not pay enough taxes, but they seldom delve into what the church does for society with that wealth.
This report in the Journal of Religion, State, and Society by Lina Molokotos-Liederman delves into the effects of the economic crisis on the OCG. While the study leans toward promoting separation of church and state in Greece, the fact the financial crisis has strapped the OCG does come out. It is the giving and additional stress put on the church we must focus on in order to see Tsipras’ move for what it is. The OCG does not have the same tax burden normal business does, but normal businesses in Greece do not.
Now, let’s look at who stands behind this. The IMF, the World Bank, the Germans, all those who forced unbelievable austerity on Greeks – they want Tsipras to get rid of all those priests on the government payroll, but more importantly, they want to get their hands on the land and businesses the OCG owns. This Reuters story slips up and reveals how the banksters already cut Orthodox priests to the bone salary wise. It also tells how the Tsipras government started its move to destroy the church as far back as 2011. A paragraph from that piece explains a part of the situation:
“Under the terms of an international bailout that saved Greece from bankruptcy, the government is cutting pay which for a typical parish priest is about 1,000 euros a month. Athens will also fund only one new priest to replace every 10 who retire or die, causing shortages in remote parishes during a deep recession when the flock most needs help.”
Here’s the gist of Tsipras’ mission: cut to the bone. In Greece, about 80% of the people believe in God. This is the highest figure in Europe, maybe anywhere. The OCG and the faithful priests who depend on assistance from the state are the “ministers” of help and hope for most Greeks. End of story. Tsipras and his Anglo-European friends in the banking business need to destroy this bond. Now let’s get to the “why” of this most recent Tsipras move.
We can glean the truth of these matters by reading between the lines of corporate controlled western media. This Bloomberg report, for instance, tries to paint the Greek privatization situation in Tsipras’ favor by minimizing the monies raised by privatization to reduce Greek debt. Bloomberg says the leftist Syriza government “only” managed to raise €7.8 billion euros of an expected €50 billion plus euro selloff. The August report tells of the €1.1 billion gleaned from selling 67 percent stake in the Thessaloniki Port to Deutsche Invest Equity Partners GmbH and others I’ll not frame here. The story also mentions a key privatization move, the sale of 66 percent of the country’s natural gas-grid operator to Snam SpA, Enagas International SLU, and Fluxys SA for 535 million euros.
Why do I say this second deal is “key” for our understanding the truth in Greek economic and secular matters? Well, a story I wrote for my travel news site Argophilia bears mentioning here. While the opinion piece keys in on conglomerates TUI and tour operator Thomas Cook eyeballing assets on Crete, my research led me to a prominent figure in Donald Trump’s administration, and Wall Street privateer named Wilbur Ross (pictured), who also happens to be the U.S. Commerce Secretary. Ross, who’s famous for making billions off bankruptcies, is also knee deep in Greek investments. But what’s damning for him and his colleagues here are his ties to Thomas Cook through his fund Invesco Asset Management Ltd. As it turns out, Ross was (and probably still is through proxies) the largest stakeholder in something called Navigator Holdings, a liquefied gas shipping company.
Photographers snapped pictures of the U.S. Commerce Secretary alongside Prime Minister Tsipras just the other day (see image above). So, isn’t it interesting that Bloomberg has reported the sale of Greece’s offshore natural gas to Enagas International SLU (in part), which provides natural gas transportation services? While I can’t yet find the link between Ross’ Navigator or other LNG shipping concerns, I did find a linked character named Rikard Scoufias, who was Country Manager Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) until last year. He was the head of global affairs for BP. This report from Capital Link the maritime industry glows with applause for Wilbur Ross from speakers vested in Enagas, Fluxys, and Snam, etc. Just to let you catch you up with my level of awe, let me cite from the CV of this Scoufias fellow, according to the PDF from the Capital Link document of 2016, the TAP exec is also:
“Executive Director of a global think-tank created by Shell, J&J, Unilever, Microsoft, and IBM to drive thought leadership on business’ role in society, a board member at the British Royal Institute for International Affairs and a founding member of the EU’s climate change panel.”
Now let me try and wind all this up for you. The forces of evil (Satan maybe) are lined up to destroy the last vestiges of hope for all devout Orthodox Greeks (and Russian ones, too). In so doing, they will carve up not only the spiritual richness of humanity, but they will snap up anything held in trust for humanity from the Greek Orthodox Church properties, to the legacy of Greek business represented in ports, manufacturing, hotels and tourism, shipping, and natural resources. These evil men – and I cannot find too many women in the mix – operate a U.S. president, a Greek Prime Minister, leaders across Europe and the Americas, most of Africa, and they are in collusion with most Asian governments too.
It’s a great big conspiracy theory, I know, but you prove to me it is not. “It just so happens” has been taken too far in this latest Tsipras move. I only hope the OCG and the people refuse to let “them” get away with it. Greece may be the last bastion of faith and hope on the planet, for all we know. And the Hellenic Air Force buzzing Heraklion 20 times the other day? I think this is meant as a subliminal message to resistance on Crete. “We have more power than the original Nazis” could be the message of air power used in such a way. For Cretans, remember, the last Germans to invest here were eventually banished back in World War II.
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Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
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