By Bill Wilson
Net Right Daily
Iceland is free. And it will remain so, so long as her people wish to remain autonomous of the foreign domination of her would-be masters — in this case, international bankers.
On April 9, the fiercely independent people of island-nation defeated a referendum that would have bailed out the UK and the Netherlands who had covered the deposits of British and Dutch investors who had lost funds in Icesave bank in 2008.
At the time of the bank’s failure, Iceland refused to cover the losses. But the UK and Netherlands nonetheless have demanded that Iceland repay them for the “loan” as a condition for admission into the European Union.
In response, the Icelandic people have told Europe to go pound sand. The final vote was 103,207 to 69,462, or 58.9 percent to 39.7 percent. “Taxpayers should not be responsible for paying the debts of a private institution,” said Sigriur Andersen, a spokeswoman for the Advice group that opposed the bailout.
A similar referendum in 2009 on the issue, although with harsher terms, found 93.2 percent of the Icelandic electorate rejecting a proposal to guarantee the deposits of foreign investors who had funds in the Icelandic bank. The referendum was invoked when President Olafur Ragnur Grimmson vetoed legislation the Althingi, Iceland’s parliament, had passed to pay back the British and Dutch.
Under the terms of the agreement, Iceland would have had to pay £2.35 billion to the UK, and €1.32 billion to the Netherlands by 2046 at a 3 percent interest rate. Its rejection for the second time by Iceland is a testament to its people, who feel they should bear no responsibility for the losses of foreigners endured in the financial crisis.
That opposition to bailouts led to Iceland’s decision to allow the bank to fail in 2008. Not that the taxpayers there could have afforded to. As noted by Bloomberg News, at the time the crisis hit in 2008, “the banks had debts equal to 10 times Iceland’s $12 billion GDP.”
“These were private banks and we didn’t pump money into them in order to keep them going; the state did not shoulder the responsibility of the failed private banks,” Iceland President Olafur Grimsson told Bloomberg Television.
The voters’ rejection came despite threats to isolate Iceland from funding in international financial institutions. Iceland’s national debt has already been downgraded by credit rating agencies, and now those same agencies have promised to do so once again as punishment for defying the will of international bankers.
This is just the latest in the long drama since 2008 of global institutions refusing to take losses in the financial crisis. Threats of a global economic depression and claims of being “too big to fail” have equated to a loaded gun to the heads of representative governments in the U.S. and Europe. Iceland is of particular interest because it did not bail out its banks like Ireland did, or foreign ones like the U.S. did.
If that fervor catches on amongst taxpayers worldwide, as it has in Iceland and with the tea party movement in America, the banks would have something to fear; that is, the inability to draw from limitless amounts of funding from gullible government officials and central banks. It appears that the root cause is government guarantees, whether explicit or implicit, on risk-taking by the banks.
Ultimately, such guarantees are not necessary to maintain full employment or even prop up an economy with growth, they are simply designed to allow these international institutions to overleverage and increase their profit margins in good times — and to avoid catastrophic losses in bad times.
The lesson here is instructive across the pond, but it is a chilling one. If the U.S. — or any sovereign for that matter — attempts to restructure their debts, or to force private investors to take a haircut on their own foolish gambles, these international institutions have promised the equivalent of economic war in response. However, the alternative is for representative governments to sacrifice their independence to a cadre of faceless bankers who share no allegiance to any nation.
It is the conflict that has already defined the beginning of the 21st Century. The question is whether free peoples will choose to remain free, as Iceland has, or to submit.
Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.
Source: Net Right Daily
“We who also Attacked Parliament…”
A glaring inconsistency in the charges against the Reykjavik Nine is frequently pointed at: the nine were actually part of a group of over thirty, which itself was part of a movement of thousands. Here we publish the translation of a statement signed by over seven-hundred (at time of writing) other participants of the so called ‘Cutlery Uprising’. Their analysis is sharp and their demands clear: drop the charges against the nine accused, or charge us all. The president of Iceland’s Parliament Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir received this statement by hand on 24 June 2010.
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To the Icelandic State,
Iceland is so far the only State in the West where the response of the people in the streets to the economic crisis has had direct consequences in the field of public politics: On 20 January 2009 performance, we initated, together with thousands of others, an attack on the parliament (The Althing at Austurvöllur Square). This was an unarmed attack and not made in order to cause harm to any humans – the clear and noisy deprecation towards the acting parliament, however, involved a large number of deliberate violations of laws and regulations. Thousands disobeyed the requests of the police, after the yellow ribbon that was stretched around the house was broken.
Many disobeyed repeatedly and many got into some minor fights with police officers who emptied their weapons stores in order to supress the potentially revolutionary situation. Some of us were arrested.
The aim of the attack was to achieve changes in Icelandic society, which is in deep trouble, not just because of the capital crisis that began in October 2008, but also because of what could be called earlier attacks on the parliament, attacks that were committed against the public interest for private interests of the few.
On 1 February 2009 the parlamentary majority collapsed and the government was owerthrown. Our attacks played a key role in making this happen.
The State and its instruments, particularly the judicial system and the police, know that they are helpless against such a mass movement. Holders of State power know quite well that its unsecure exixtence is built only on temporary and amendable agreement with the people from time to time.
The State, however, can not mask its fury against the people who thus forced the government to step down. The judicial system now tries to apply the well known strategy called divide and rule: On 2 March a charge was issued against a group of nine persons who are alleged to have, on 8 December 2008, violated the first paragraph of article 100 of the Criminal Code which reads: “Anyone, who attacks the parliament, so that its autonomy is endangered, sends out messages with that same purpose, or obeys such a message, shall be subject to imprisonment for not less than 1 year, and the penalty can be imprisonment for life, if the guilt is very severe. “
The State Prosecutor tries to disguise the actual charges and facilitates the media to distract the debate, among other things by spicing the charge with other, unrelated, allegations – bitten ear and strained thumb. By applying article 100 of the Penal Code, for the first time since the public protested against Icelandic membership in NATO in 1949, the Prosecutor does not seek compensation for strained thumbs. The Prosecutor´s real intention is to send this message: The people’s intervention in State affairs is criminal activity.
By directing charges to nine relatively unknown individuals, the Prosecutor chooses an opponent that he considers himself able to deal with, and hopes at the same time to get the thousands of people from all sectors of society, who were involved in similar actions of protest, to participate in a silent accessory. This is how political persecution takes place.
We want the State to be aware that we, who participated in the opposition against the government in the winter of 2008-2009, among other things by violating the law, regard the government’s attack on the group of nine as an attack on ourselves and the thousands who protested that winter. The nine persons are our partners and allies in the struggle against the rightly labelled Masters of the police: Violent government and the oppressive capital to which the State provides its services. Our solidarity will not be broken by selecting nine from the group, or four, or one.
We insist that the State should waive the charges against the group of nine. If the Prosecutor thinks he lacks a reason to change policy in this case, it may, for example, be taken into consideration that at the time of the attack a serious threat the autonomy of the Parliament was not posible, due to the fact how holders of wealth and power had already undermined this very autonomy by successful attacks from within. The Prosecutor could also look to a long standing tradition of not pressing charges for individual incidents in trade conflicts.
Otherwise, we expect the Prosecutor to show the consistency to release charges against anyone who attacked the parliament during the winter 2008-2009, including us who sign this Statement.
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Source: Saving Iceland
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