The settlement has paved the way for the company to bid for public procurement tenders in Greece, but it has also highlighted the unsavoury business practices of leading German firms. "There's a level of hypocrisy here that is hard to miss," said Dimitris Papadimoulis. "Corruption in Greece is frequently singled out as a cause for waste but at the same time companies like Ferrostaal and Siemens are pioneers in the practice. A big part of our defence spending is bound up with bribes, black money that funds the [mainstream] political class in a nation where governments have got away with it by long playing on peoples' fears."
This submarine purchase was not the only case of German and French pushing military sales on Greece. Since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Greece has spent 216 billion euros on armaments. The purchases included German submarines, Mirage fighter jets from France and F-16 jets from the U.S. and 1,300 tanks. Greek military contracts have always been the greatest source of corruption, payoffs, kickbacks and secrecy. The bribery by major military corporations infects every level of the military. Continuing scandals surrounding military contracts have rocked most pre-Syriza administrations.
As a proportion of GDP, Greece spends twice as much as any other EU member on defence. "Well after the economic crisis had begun in Greece, Germany and France were still trying to seal lucrative weapons deals even as they were pushing us to make deep cuts in areas like health,' said Dimitris Papadimoulis, who now represents Syriza in the European Parliament.
"Just under 15% of Germany's total arms exports are made to Greece, its biggest market in Europe" Papadimoulis said, "Greece has paid over --2bn ( -1.6bn) for submarines that proved to be faulty and which it doesn't even need. It owes another --1bn as part of the deal. That's three times the amount Athens was asked to make in additional pension cuts to secure its latest EU aid package." According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), France is not far behind. Some 10% of its total arms sales go to Greece, which is a member of NATO. From 2002 to 2006, Greece was the world's fourth biggest importer of conventional weapons. It is now the 10th. "If there is one country that has benefited from the huge amounts Greece spends on defence it is Germany," said Papadimoulis.
These military expenditures from Greece to Germany and France were funded by German and French commercial banks. That is why, when the scale of Greece's high levels of indebtedness became apparent the Europeans embarked on a 'bailout' program to assist Greece by using the funds generated by the bailout program to pay off the commercial debts owed by Greece to the French and German commercial banks. That turned the commercial debt into a debt of the European citizens, not the banks.
The burden of these debts is those which haunt the current negotiations. The rest of Europe and the IMF is now paying for the German and French military exports to Greece which have been shifted from the commercial banks to the ECB and analogous institutions. The complicity of the corrupt Greek politicians was instrumental in allowing this to happen which is why PASOK and New Democracy were turfed out of office and Syriza installed in their place. It is a great mistake to view the situation in which Greeks find themselves by only examining the Greek elites. The Eurotrash elites of Europe, including the Eurotrash Greek elites, and their banks are generally to blame, not the suffering Greek people.Germany's Special Role In Greece's Plight
An important reason for Greece's penury, beyond Greek corruption and mismanagement over its economy in the post war years, is the failure of Germany to pay to Greece the money its owes Greece for is actions during the Second World War. German activity in Greece resulted in two kinds of debt -- a massive program of crimes against humanity and mind-boggling barbarism by the German occupying forces against Greek civilians and villages and by taking money from Greece's Treasury as a forced loan to cover the costs of the German Occupation. Neither of these sums has been repaid to Greece. The Greeks have ended up paying for the German occupation during the war.
It might be useful to examine a few of the German attacks on the Greek people to understand the depth of German depravity in the 1940s. There ae many more.The Massacres of Kondomari, Alikianos and Kardanos in Crete:
The first of these massacres occurred early in the war. On the second of June 1941, General Oberst Kurt Student ordered his paratroopers to execute all the male inhabitants of the town of Kondomari in Crete as punishment for opposing the German attack on the island two days earlier, where the local inhabitants fought alongside the 21st and 22nd New Zealand Infantry Battalion in defence of Crete. While the New Zealanders were treated as prisoners of war, the Germans decided to set an example to the Greeks. They gathered all the citizens of the town (men, women and children) and machine-gunned all the men; about 60 in all. They then razed the town and burned the fields. The next day the Germans killed another 180 residents of nearby Kardanos and slaughtered all the livestock; all houses were torched and razed Nearby villages such as Floria and Kakppetro a similar fate Two months after the first execution, the Germans gathered 118 more civilians at a bridge over the Keritis River near Alikianos and shot them after forcing them to dig their own graves. The commander of the paratroopers, Horst Trebes was awarded the Knight's Cross for his actions that day and General Student went before a British military tribunal after the war and was sentenced to five years in prison but was given a medical discharge so he had to serve no time. No reparations were ever paid for any of this despite a series of Greek appeals.The Viannos and Amari Massacres:
At the Cretan Resistance continued the Germans pursued their policy of atrocities against the civilian population of Crete. On September 14-16 1943 Lt.-General Friedrich-Wilhelm Mueller ("The Butcher of Crete") ordered the mass extermination of the civilians in twenty villages in the Viannos region of Crete. Over 500 civilians were killed in a two-day period and the villages were looted, burned and the crops destroyed. The German soldiers killed everyone over the age of sixteen. General Mueller was captured at the end of the war and tried and executed by the Greeks in 1947. No one else was tried for these killings and the German Government refused to pay any reparations. General Mueller also was held to be the man who commanded the Holocaust of Amari in Crete ion August 22, 1944 when German troops massacred 164 of the males in nine villages in the Amari region and razed and burned all the buildings, killed the livestock and destroyed the crops.Ne reparations have ever been paid.
The Massacres of Mousiotitsas, Kommeno and Lingiades:
On the 16th of August 1943, General Hubert Lanz whose troops were based in Phillipada in Epirus in Western Greece ordered his men to destroy the village of Kommeno, claiming the civilians had threatened two German officers. The Germans started off by massacring one hundred and fifty-three men, women and children between the ages of one to seventy-five in Mousiotitsas on July 25th because of the discovery of a cache of weapons near the village. They then moved to Kommeno. Under the command of Lt. Koviak the German soldiers arrivedvery early in the morning at the town of Kommeno and surrounded it. They blocked the roads, and erected machine guns at the entrances and exits of the village. The mountain troops then murdered anyone who could not flee: 317 people, 172 women and 145 men were killed. Ninety-seven were under fifteen years of age and fourteen were over sixty-five. Thirteen were only one year old. Thirty-eight people were burnt in their houses. One hundred and eighty-one houses were destroyed. At the end of the slaughter, the German soldiers assembled in the town square where they ate their lunch and had their beers surrounded by the corpses of the civilians They left their empty beer cans and rubbish next to the bodies.
They then moved to neighbouring villages. Over 200 people were massacred. Among them were all those inhabitants of Lingiades who had not fled to the mountains. In this single village 87 civilians were killed, including year-old babies and old people over the age of ninety. Eventually General Lanz was tried at the Nuremburg Court and given a short sentence. When he left jail, he became a prominent figure in post war Germany. No reparations were ever paid.
The Massacre at
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