ARGENTINA AT THE CROSSROADS: CORPORATE SOVEREIGNTY OR NATIONAL ...September 2, 2014
Last week I blogged about Agentina's struggles with vulture hedge funds and about its lawsuit against a Dutch bank for its part in the LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) scandal. You'll recall that some of Argentina's sovereign securities were tied to the LIBOR rate, and hence, rate-fixing and collusion amounted to, in that nation's case, a manipulation of its sovereign securities, which raised the thorny question: how many issues of that nation's bonds were so tied? and the larger issue: how many other nations' securities are so affected?
In that context, there's a thought-provoking article by Ellen Brown over at Global Research that is worth considering, even though one might have issues with some of her own positions:
There's several things to notice in her analysis, but I want to draw your attention to these paragraphs:
"Global financiers and interlocking megacorporations are increasingly supplanting governments on the international stage. An international bankruptcy court would be one more institution making that takeover legally binding and enforceable. Governments can say no to the strong-arm tactics of the global bankers’ collection agency, the IMF. An international bankruptcy court would allow creditors to force a nation into bankruptcy, where territories could be involuntarily sold off in the same way that assets of bankrupt corporations are.
"For Argentina, says Salbuchi, the likely prize is its very rich Patagonia region, long a favorite settlement target for ex-pats. When Argentina suffered a massive default in 2001, the global press, including Time and The New York Times, went so far as to propose that Patagonia be ceded from the country as a defaulted debt payment mechanism.
"The New York Times article followed one published in the Buenos Aires financial newspaper El Cronista Comercial called “Debt for Territory,” which described a proposal by a US consultant to then-president Eduardo Duhalde for swapping public debt for government land. It said:
[T]he idea would be to transform our public debt default into direct equity investment in which creditors can become land owners where they can develop industrial, agricultural and real estate projects. . . . There could be surprising candidates for this idea: during the Alfonsin Administration, the Japanese studied an investment master plan in Argentine land in order to promote emigration. The proposal was also considered in Israel.
Salbuchi notes that ceding Patagonia from Argentina was first suggested in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, as a second settlement for that movement."(Italicized emphasis added)
For those of you who have been following Catherine Austin Fitt's analysis, this squares perfectly with it: liabilities are being moved into the "legacy systems", i.e., national sovereignties, and equity is being moved into private and corporate hands, all via the mechanism of expanding credit to governments, hooking them on the debt heroin, and when they cannot repay, forcing that government into a kind of national bankruptcy in which hard assets of that government are sold off and "privatized." One can imagine a Patagonia under the rule of, say, Goldman Swag or JP Bilk. For sure, there would be massive development of infrastructure, manufacturing, and plenty of jobs. What there would not be is any recognition of hard won individual rights.
You'll note something else too: Argentina was targeted because of the policies of - here it comes - Juan Domingo Peron:
"Salbuchi traces Argentina’s debt crisis back to 1955, when President Juan Domingo Perón was ousted in a very bloody US/UK/mega-bank-sponsored military coup:
"Perón was hated for his insistence on not indebting Argentina with the mega-bankers: in 1946 he rejected joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF); in 1953 he fully paid off all of Argentina’s sovereign debt. So, once the mega-bankers got rid of him in 1956, they shoved Argentina into the IMF and created the “Paris Club” to engineer decades-worth of sovereign debt for vanquished Argentina, something they’ve been doing until today."
Thus, in this long historical context, President Fernandez's recent actions are entirely understandable, as is Argentina's move to make its own central bank and not a bank in New York responsible for service on its outstanding sovereign debt according to the 2005 agreement:
"Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds."
But this does not solve Argentina's long term monetary problem. The real question now for that country is how to maintain its national sovereignty against some very powerful corporate and banking players. After all, the West/USA can always send in the "payment enforcers" in the guise of some trumped up event. But there's the rub... the playbook is old, it's well-known, and it hasn't been working too well lately, and if current trends continue, if Iceland wasn't invaded, it's not likely most of South America will be either. But in the meantime, Argentina still faces some powerful opposition.
And for that, Argentina will need new friends and allies... And they can be found.
... Watch for Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi to be hosting President Fernandez in Beijing and Moscow, and for the Russian and Chinese leaders to be enjoying the the delights of Buenos Aires and a nice formal dinner at the Casa Rosada in the near future.
See you on the flip side.