Saturday, January 7, 2017

How Fake News Can Work

Once upon a time, Greece was bankrupt.  Then some EU and German wizards came to revive Greece. Then it went to the next level of bankruptcy.  Then some more EU and German financial experts came to revive Greece.  Then Greece went to the next level of bankruptcy.

Then....fake news came to Greece.

The fake news surrounded this guy Artemis Sorras.  Sorras had this foundation called E N D.....an acronym to end-national-debt (catchy phrase, I will admit).

Sorras said that he had this foundation that had made many wise investments, and had accumulated 600-billion dollars of wealth.  Yeah, an awful lot of money.  How?  This was never told as part of the story.

He wanted to take his foundation (E N D) and flip it into a national Greek political party.  Party members would be able to then use the 600-billion dollars to repay their debts to the state (from the trust fund he'd set up).

Naturally, this got a lot of attention in 2012 when this started up.  A lot of Greeks just laughed because it did sound bogus.  Greeks are that way....they like a good epic story, with lots of humor built into the remarkable tale.

So, several hundred folks joined the party and got some documentation, which they presented to the authorities to cover their tax bills. They wanted the authorities to subtract the money from this 600-billion dollar foundation.

You would think that the Greek court system would quickly stand up....note the fake nature of this....and haul the guy off to jail.  Well...no.  Even with charges of disseminating false information....the court found a way to let him go free, and he just continued his whole gimmick.

For three years, the 600-billion dollar foundation talk continued on.  This week, a Greek prosecutor picked up the issue and has put charges back up....trying to force Sorras back into court, and somehow convince the court to lock the guy up.

How many Greeks believe the story?  No one ever says this statistic.  My humble guess is that less than 10-percent of the population believes the story.  If he'd started the story at one billion dollars....it might have been more believable.  But 600-billion?

What's the 600-billion dollars invested into?  US bonds.....or at least that's the general story told. How he accumulated this wealth?  Unknown, or at least that part of story has never been invented.

But it's such a good story.  Bankrupt nation, everyone forced into austerity, enormous frustration with politicians, journalists hyped to tell various stories (true and false), etc.  All of this leads to a public who would love a tale like this to be true.

My interest in this?  The legal system and Greece Supreme Court....worked hand in hand....to let the guy off the hook in 2013.  No one could find the right charge or the right evidence to do anything with the guy.  Even today.....I have my doubts that anyone can invent some way to jail the guy on some official charge.

It's such a good fake news story, that someone ought to write the manuscript to this and make it into a movie.  Fake news, bankrupt nation, national hero to disperse wealth to health a poor nation, politics, hyped up journalists, and lusty Greek women.  Well....yeah....I'd have to write some lusty Greek women into this plot to make it a total package.  I think even the great Greek epic writer Homer (who wrote Illiad and Odyssey) would be standing there and laughing his ass off at this tale and how fine a story was woven.

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