Greg Palast has been in Central Africa this week working on a film for the BBC about “vulture” capitalists, but he still found time to appear on Russia Today’s The Big Picture presented by left-wing talk show host Thom Hartmann. In the interview Palast claimed that Greece’s “right-wing government”, having “screwed things up”, secretly hired Goldman Sachs to fix the books so that Greece could gain entry to the euro.
There are one or two things wrong with Palast’s account, not least the fact that the ruling party in Greece from 1993-2004 (Greece joined the eurozone in 2001 and replaced the drachma in 2002) was PASOK – the SOCIALISTS.
Here’s what Palast had to say about Greece (skip to 1.30):
“Greece exploded but people should know that it was Goldman Sachs that lit the fuse… To join the euro currency Greece’s right-wing government secretly hired Goldman Sachs to come up with a scheme to hide its massive deficit. See, you can’t be in the euro if your deficit is more than 3% of GDP. The right-wing Greek government had screwed things up badly so they hired Goldman and paid them nearly half a billion dollars.”
The socialist government of Kostas Simitis secured entry to the euro thanks to some creative accounting and an eagerness among the other countries to bring them on board. Goldman Sachs did indeed devise an elaborate currency swap to help the Simitis government mask the true debt and keep the deficit below the 3% threshold, but that was after they’d already joined the euro.
Contrary to Palast’s claims, it fell to the right-centre New Democracy party, elected to office under Kostas Karamanlis in 2004, to undertake a major financial audit of the previous socialist administration’s dodgy accounts.
Still, why let facts get in the way of your propaganda? That the BBC still thinks this agenda-driven left-wing activist is worth hiring says much about the corporation’s journalistic integrity and impartiality.