The Icelandic President listens to the voice of the people January 5, savella 2010 The Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimson refused to sign the Ice-save bill, savella which would have obligated the Icelandic tax-payer to pay unconditionally for the debts of the Ice-save division of Landsbanki, savella a private bank, savella which had collapsed in 2008. Savella A large percentage of the Icelandic people had signed a petition for the president not to sign the bill and the president listened. Last week the Icelandic parliament approved the Icesave package with a very thin majority. The members of the Parliament had been under strong pressure to make this decision, savella although most disagreed with it personally. The Icelandic government in turn had been for many months under strong pressure by the IMF, savella the British and Dutch government as well as from the European Union, savella to agree to a payment of the Icesave debts without the preconditions the Icelandic parliament had set in a previous decision for a conditional repayment. The conditions had been, savella that Iceland would pay as a percentage of national income. Savella In other words the parliament had agreed to pay, savella but only so much that it wouldn´t hurt the Icelandic economy. The British and Dutch governments, savella under pressure of the international financial elites represented in the IMF, savella however, savella didn´t allow for any reasonable conditions. Savella They wanted the total surrender and if Iceland couldn´t make the payments they wanted the surrender of all Icelandic natural resources to them. In other words Iceland would have to become an exploited colony again, savella as in the times of the Danish rule. National sovereignty would have been a thing of the past, savella a short past which had lasted only from 1944 til 2008. The Icelandic parliament and the government gave in to the pressure, savella since it had been made clear to them, savella that if Iceland wouldn´t surrender unconditionally it would have meant a declaration of war (an economic war, savella probably). Savella The Icelandic minister of finance actually said so in a press interview. The Icelandic government knew from very recent experience, savella what this would mean. Right at the beginning of the banking crisis, savella Iceland had been put on the list of terrorist supporting countries – right next to Iran. Savella Subsequently all Icelandic assets in Britain were frozen, savella and the last and the largest Icelandic bank, savella which had not yet been bankrupted then and might have possibly weathered the storm, savella went down. All financial lines to Iceland were cut. Savella No payments could be made to and from Iceland. Savella After three weeks Icelandic retailers warned that they were running out of food and were unable to import anything, savella because of the international financial boycott on the country. Savella Fuel supplies for the fishing industry would have run out after a few months as well. Savella Without fish or any other food, savella the country would literally have to starve. However, savella in spite of all those threats the vast majority of the Icelandic people do not want to give in. Savella They see the Ice-save debts as not belonging to them, savella but to the corrupt banks and their owners. One thing, savella that´s especially unfair is that the Ice-save part of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki was fully controlled by British bankers. The director of Icesave, savella Mark Sismey-Durrant, savella was an important well-integrated British banker, savella a member of the “Worshipful Company of International Bankers”, savella the British banker guild. Savella There he was a member of one of the standing committees: Charity and Education Committee Bill Whitehead (Chairman) Gerald Ashley George Copus Stanley Hurn Anthony Rhodes Mark Sismey-Durrant Eric Stobart Sean Taylor Bob White Sismey Durrant started his career as an international banker at one of the largest British banks: the Hongkong-Shanghai-Banking-Corporation, savella HSBC. The HSBC “advisors” had been responsible for talking the Icelandic government into privatizing the banks in 2003. Savella Five years later those banks crashed, savella and they crashed the countries´economy. Before the privatization Icelandic banks had been in public hands. Savella One belonged to the central government others to the communities around the country, savella others to farmers associations or pension funds. By recycling all national income through those public banks all the great Icelandic infrastructure had been built up, savella from roads to tunnels to hydro-electric energy and thermal energy to warm our houses and public buildings. Savella All of this had been built before the privatization, savella none of it was built with foreign money. Iceland already had two large aluminum factories, savella only the third one was built by foreign investment going through the private banks. The banks had privatized on the advice of foreigners. The most destructive one, savella Icesave, savella was run by a foreigner and the collapse had occured because of foreign speculation with the Icelandic krona. And now the Icelandic people are supposed to pick up the tab? Until last week nearly a quarter of the population had signed a petition for the president not to sign the bill, savella which had been accepted by the parliament. Savella The Icelandic president listened. Savella He didn´t sign. Savella He wants the people to decide in a referendum what should be done. Of course the Icelandic mass-media, savella like all mass-media fully in the hands of the elites, savella is now busy at work convincing people that they would have to agree to pay debts they haven´t made. Savella We are now told night and day that all hell will break loose if we don´t. Savella For if the British and the Dutch governments don´t like the decision of the Icelandic people, savella even before the people have spoken, savella then they will go to courts. Savella And supposedly the courts will have us pay far, savellafar, savella far more. How much more they can make us pay, savella I can´t see. As far as we know, savella the per capita debts on the people of Iceland because of Icesave is even now greater than the per capita debts the allies put unto the heads of the German people after WWI. Savella This, savella by the way, savella was one of the reasons for the total destruction of the German financial system, savella the German economy and later on the rise of Nazism. And then there is still the threat of another international boycott. Time will tell, savella what will happen. At the moment the decision of the Icelandic president was a victory for the people, savella a victory for real and direct democracy. Savella Original piece can be found at: