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Governance

Iceland’s ex-PM Cleared of Negligence. But What’s Really Going On?

Stephen:  Iceland’s financial crisis continues to unravel with this story below. But something is still not sitting comfortably with me despite – or because of – this latest news.

Iceland’s former PM is the only politician in the world to be taken to court over his or her role in the 2008 financial crisis (read: “ongoing”). He is also the only person in the world who appears to have been taken to court for playing any role in it.

Naturally, my first thought is that this decision today is politically-driven, for the world’s big banks and the cabal continue to wash their hands of any and all responsibility for the collapse of the banking system – no matter the country. You’ve also got to factor in some bullying and blame shifting here from bigger, more powerful countries: the UK and the US, where the whole Lehman Brothers collapse began.

But it has also made me wonder if our politicians are really to blame? Seriously, could any of them have ever stopped the crisis from happening? Sure, some of them are in cahoots with the cabal, but if the PM of such a tiny, historically non-influential country is taken to court, we should all be loudly demanding that the owners of every bank in the world also are charged, stand trial, and are held accountable. (This should come to pass soon anyway, based on what we are hearing from all our sources…)

Secondly (and why I remain confused), is that nowhere in this story, nor any other mainstream news outlet I have pro-actively searched in the last week or so, have I been able to find ANY confirmation of the video story we posted last week which stated that the current Icelandic government had forgiven the mortgage debts of all its residents.

Nor is there even a press/media announcement or anything related to mortgage forgiveness on the Icelandic Government’s official website.

I have even written to Iceland’s Economic Affairs and Finance departments via their websites – as has Geoffrey West for his Cosmic Vision News program. Yet no one has come back to either of us in the past week to answer our question: can someone please confirm that your nation’s government forgave the mortgages of its citizens? One would think if they had, they would be telling the world.

So did this mortgage forgiveness  in Iceland really happen at all? If anyone has a relative in Iceland it would be great if they could contact them and find out what the true story is and let us all know…

Meanwhile, as this story indicates, the country’s ex-PM’s only apparent crime was “not holding emergency cabinet meetings” to discuss the unfolding banking crisis. So he really wasn’t to “blame” for the crisis after all, was he?

Which takes me back to my first point: those who are responsible should be facing court instead – and very, very soon. 

Iceland ex-PM Geir Haarde Cleared of Bank Negligence

Former prime minister found guilty of failing to hold emergency cabinet meetings in runup to financial crisis. But court clears him of more serious charges

By Rupert Neate, The Guardian  – April 23 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/23/iceland-geir-haarde-found-guilty

Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland and the only politician in the world to face prosecution for his role in the 2008 financial crisis, has been found guilty of failing to hold emergency cabinet meetings in the runup to the crisis. But he was cleared of three more serious charges, which could have jailed him for two years.

Haarde, who served as prime minister between 2006 and 2009, had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, including gross negligence over the government’s failure to prepare for the impending disaster. e

Haarde attacked the guilty verdict as “absurd”, and accused the judges of bowing to political pressure. “It is obvious that the majority of the judges have found themselves pressed to come up with a guilty verdict on one point, however minor, to save the neck of the parliamentarians who instigated this,” he said outside the country’s specially convened Landsdómur criminal court in Reykjavik.

Haarde was the first person in history to stand trial at the 15-judge court, which was created in 1905 to hear any charges brought against ministers.

Haarde fell from power after the country’s three biggest banks collapsed, the country’s economy went into meltdown, and the government was forced to borrow $10bn (£6.3bn) to prop up its economy.

During the trial, he said: “None of us realised at the time that there was something fishy within the banking system itself, as now appears to have been the case.

“I think it’s illogical to think that I or anyone else in the government could have reduced the size of the banks to a greater extent than was done at the time.”

Haarde was instrumental in transforming Iceland from a fishing and whaling backwater into an international financial powerhouse before the credit crunch caused the economy to crash almost overnight.

He was accused of failing to rein in the country’s fast-growing banks, whose paper value before the crash had ballooned to 10 times the gross domestic product of the island state of 320,000 people.

The country’s three biggest banks – Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki – went bust within weeks of each other after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US sparked the credit crunch, in 2008.

Haarde, 61, was also cleared of charges related to his failure to prevent the contagion from spreading to the UK by not insisting that Icelandic banks ringfence their overseas operations. The crisis sparked a diplomatic row with the UK as the demise of Landsbanki brought down its British internet banking arm, Icesave, leaving British councils, universities and hospitals more than £1bn out of pocket.

Gordon Brown, the prime minister at the time of the collapse, accused Haarde of unacceptable and illegal behaviour over its failure to guarantee to reimburse UK customers of the bank. The British government stepped in to protect most savers, at a cost of £3.2bn, but it is continuing to demand compensation from Iceland to cover the cost.

The crisis also led to the demise of the British retail investor Baugur, which owned stakes in House of Fraser, Debenhams and Woolworths

SOURCE from Stephen (2012 Scenario)

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