As Greek standards of living nose-dive, loans to households and businesses shrink still further, and Troika-imposed PSI discussions continue, there is one segment of the country's infrastructure that is holding up well. In a story on Zeit Online, the details of the multi-billion Euro new arms contracts are exposed as the European reach-around would be complete with IMF (US) and Europe-provided Greek bailout cash doing a full-circle into American Apache helicopters, French frigates, and German U-Boats. As the unnamed source in the article notes: "If Greece gets paid in March the next tranche of funding (€ 80 billion is expected), there is a real opportunity to conclude new arms contracts." With the country's doctors only treating emergencies, bus drivers on strike, and a dire lack of school textbooks and the country teetering on the brink of Drachmatization, perhaps our previous concerns over military coups was not so far-fetched as after the Portuguese (another obviously stressed nation), the Greeks are the largest buyers of German war weapons. It seems debt crisis talks perhaps had more quid pro quo than many expected as Euro Fighter commitments were also discussed and Greek foreign minister Droutsas points out:"Whether we like it or not, Greece is obliged to have a strong military".
Former Greek PM, and career politician, George Papandreou, is effectively retiring. Per Reuters: "Greece's former prime minister George Papandreou told his PASOK socialist party on Wednesday that he will step down as party leader and not seek re-election, a socialist deputy told Reuters. "He told us that he will resign as PASOK leader and that he will not run for prime minister again," said the deputy who attended a party meeting on the leadership succession. Papandreou stepped down as prime minister in November last year to make way for a coalition government to help Greece exit its biggest financial crisis in decades." Nothing like scurrying away in the last lifeboat just as your country is caught in the 21st century equivalent of the 22nd Catch, where your tax collectors, so critical for procuring the much needed tax revenue (sorry Greece, only America can "print" its revenues) are on what seems to be perpetual strike.
This stuff is funny. Especially when google translated...
Greek blog DosePasa has released several smoking gun documents in which Boston-based Hayman Private Equity (no relation to the Kyle Bass firm, at least none that we can find), discloses it intention to offer a E20 billion loan through a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to Greece at roughly LIBOR+125bps in February 2010. If the documents are proven legitimate, and with a plethora of executive-level signatures it appears they would be difficult to forge, Athens will likely now demand G-Pap's head on a platter, or at least a coherent explanation why he refused to do this transaction at massively beneficial to Greece terms, which most importantly, did not involve the IMF's austerity measures, which have been the source of so much consternation to date, not to mention a proximal cause for the biggest market drop in history.