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When people speak of Greek oligarchs, we are talking about a conflation of issues.

  1. The political elite thought they had carte blanche to take bribes from oligarchs and international finance because of the law forbidding arrest for ministers and deputies (a law in place to correct the junta's habit of imprisoning political opponents).

  2. The shipping sector which cannot be taxed and will never be taxed beyond the ship tonnage it already pays.

  3. The banking sector which is largely an offshoot of shipping (i.e. shippers started the banks).

  4. Greece's distribution system for goods, which is organized vertically across sectors, by the same cabal. This needs to be broken up so that distributors from outside Greece can service retailers.

  5. The black market: cigarettes and fuel.

#1 is paramount and the one most easily addressed.
#3 controls #4 because you can't compete with the current distribution system unless you, ONE, reform regulations that prevent a challenge to the system, and TWO, fund that challenge through private banks.
#5 is just going to war with racketeers, which presents its own set of problems at the level of police and national security.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:08:42 AM EST
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Could end up like Mexico or Colombia...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:13:44 AM EST
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Or perhaps Italy, in which the likeliest version is a few show arrests, and beyond that, if anyone truly threatens, a prosecutor or judge fear for their lives.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:18:09 PM EST
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Perhaps Syriza's least bad option is to take a page from their opponents play book and hire their own private security forces to 'protect' their ministers. This would not create a new police force that could be subverted by the next conservative government. It could obviously lead to civil war, but that might be the only way any fundamental change will occur.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:46:10 PM EST
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I can't believe the discussion is veering in this direction, to be honest.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:49:26 PM EST
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You know since you have this leg injury your commentary has gotten downright apocalyptic. We're still quite a way from civil war.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:51:28 PM EST
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Six weeks on 60mg of prednisone and chronic sleep deprivation hasn't helped my mood, I agree. And I certainly would not advocate civil war for anyone. But effective preparations might be the best preventive. If Syriza does not push some initiatives to collect taxes and prosecute criminality out of fear of the assassination of the prosecutors, judges or even cabinet ministers that becomes a serious problem for the survival of the state. If this government is brought down by violence or the threat of violence from the right that would already be a de facto civil war that the government lost. The existing police and security apparatus seems highly problematic in their effectiveness and reliability in both protecting the new government and ensuring that its laws and actions are enforce as it is. Yet time is of the essence.

My preference has always been to try to think things through to their conclusions, however ugly that might get. Then, worse come to worst, you at least have considered, and perhaps made some preparation for such an eventuality. A small but highly capable group of security personnel whose loyalty, as a group, is highly likely could do a lot to prevent worse coming to worst. I have to wonder what Lloyds or other reinsurance companies would charge per million of coverage of top officials of the Syriza government against loss due to assassination or unexpalined disappearance over the next two years. I have never had much patience with the "I'd hate to think XXXXX" approach and my observation has too often been that that is exactly what should have been thought about. To wit, in the USA, JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X, for starters.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:00:14 PM EST
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And I share Migeru's concern that Greece could end up like Columbia. I would hate to see that. It would be a victory for fascism.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:09:36 PM EST
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Even if Syrizia would win a civil war, talking about  a victory would be misplaced. So they put their right wing allies in charge of the military and the man in charge of reforming the police thought most of their leadership. If they instead tried to bypass the police with their own security force they'd instead fan  the flames. Saying that I'm not worried would be a lie, but in a lot of situations preparing for a war makes it more likely.
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 04:01:33 AM EST
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taught most of their leadership. I think I'll just give up on typing.
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 05:36:38 AM EST
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Then they should task him with addressing the problem effectively. In for a penny...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 05:55:05 AM EST
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No, there is one more group, and a critical one: The construction, IT, and media (this is pertinent: these folks own all of the major private media in the country between them) moguls that oligopolize Greek state procurements and are involved in various privatizations. This includes but is not limited to, people from categories 2, 3 and 5. These are people like:
  • G.Bobolas, and his various construction and engineering companies, involved in almost every major public infrastructure (from highways to gold mining to garbage disposal),
  • S.Kokkalis (ditto for the telecom, informatics and network projects),
  • Kopelouzos and Mytilinaios in Energy and mining etc,
  • Melissanidis (a gangster and former petrol smuggler now shipping magnate, who bought the State Lottery and football pool company after it was privatized at the dictate of the troika)
these people and a few scores like them are powerful but controllable and vulnerable.
Then there are the Latsis and Vardinogiannis families (pretty much involved in everything) - who are almost like a shadow government in terms of real power

Hit these people (or most of these people) with fines and (where possible) criminal charges, along with categories 1,3, 4 and 5 and SYRIZA will be winning every election from now til 2020 with huge majorities

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 02:29:39 PM EST
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