Saturday, October 1, 2011

Icelandic Indications, Forestry and Fracking

Iceland is dealing with the financial crisis, and part of that is holding people responsible.
Of those responsible in Ireland, a small select group of bankers, politicians and senior civil servants, they are not being charged, they have been moved into NAMA.

People say that the establishment link between politicians and property developers is a conspiracy theory, but the connections are clearly there.

Bertie Ahearn has instead of facing an investigation about links with property developers and banks has become a paid advisor to Parker Green International, a multi-national property developer.

We will not benefit enough from natural resources like the Corrib gas field, but we are also in danger of losing other resources like our state forestry, Coilte, in a drive to privatize state assets to bail out the banks.

Now Bertie Ahearn is working for the International Forestry Fund, financed by Hevetica Wealth AG - their intention is to take over Coilte, and get an area twice the size of County Meath at a bargain price from the new coalition Government.

Neil Ginty has written at length about this issue. Its not just trees and land though, this is state owned property, minerals will lie under the earth, but we do not know what is there because the survey done is not subject to the freedom of information act.

"Pat Carey’s signing off of the Corrib gas line on Election Day marked what many considered one last act of treason in giving the go ahead for Shell to build infrastructure that will pump gas from the west coast to their interconnectors in Britain."

Bertie is being paid by a foreign company who want to purchase an area twice the size of County Meath!! Is it just me or is there something wrong about this?

The driving force behind the planned sale of state assets is Colm McCarthy. 
His report wants to sell pretty much everything to the highest bidder.
As well as being a lecturer in UCD, Mr McCarthy also works with the ERSI and DKM Economic consultants.

Also on the board of DKM is Annette Hughes - a former BP employee. Ms Huges is an expert on energy, with particular focus on interactions with demographics and regional development - one sees what that means in Mayo. 
She is also on the board of FÁS as well as being a Director of DKM.

This takes us back to the issue of resources, and the looming threat of fracking, a very destructive means of extracting minerals, and the ownership of vast tracts of land, that when privatized means we the people if we protest can be done for trespass.

We need to stop this happening. We need to hold those responsible for the financial crisis responsible, and certainly not put them into new positions of power to do further damage.

If default happens, so be it. If we need to revert to our own controllable currency so be it.
Iceland was warned that it would never borrow again if it failed to honour the debts of its financial sector. 
But the country already seems to have been forgiven by the markets. 
The Icelandic government issued $1bn in sovereign debt in June at an interest rate of around 6 per cent. 
This was twice oversubscribed by investors. The contrast with Ireland, which assumed responsibility for all the liabilities of its bust banking sector, is stark. 
Thanks to Dublin's blanket bailout, total government debt is now more than 100 per cent of GDP, four times pre-crisis levels. 
And Ireland's reward from the markets has been a rise in the cost of insuring its sovereign bonds. Iceland's currency depreciation also looks good by international comparisons. 
Latvia doggedly kept its peg with euro after the 2008 crash and has experienced a catastrophic 25 per cent decline in GDP and seen unemployment reach 22 per cent.
The economic policy orthodoxy through this crisis supported by McCarthy and others – sale of national assets and pushed by ratings agencies and European politicians alike – has demanded that the national governments honour the private debts of their banking sectors, protect their exchange rates, eschew capital movement restrictions, and impose massive austerity to earn back the confidence of bond markets. 
Much of that wisdom was ignored by Reykjavik. And the early signs are that Iceland is doing quite well - it is a model that has been working, and it should be this model we adopt. Part of that is accountability, which again in Ireland is failing badly.
Also, our media is failing to address these issues. McCarthy is a commentator on RTE, but no-one elected him - why does an unelected person get to decide to sell of national assets?

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