Secret Memos Expose Links Between Oil Companies And Iraq Invasion

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It has long been held that one of the biggest reasons for the invasion of Iraq was to carve up the oil by the oil industry. A new book titled Fuel on the Fire by Greg Muttitt exposes the link between the big oil companies and the invasion through a series of leaked memos.

Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

Graphic: Iraq’s burgeoning oil industry

The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.

The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as “highly inaccurate”. BP denied that it had any “strategic interest” in Iraq, while Tony Blair described “the oil conspiracy theory” as “the most absurd”.

But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture.

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

The minister then promised to “report back to the companies before Christmas” on her lobbying efforts.

The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq “post regime change”. Its minutes state: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.”

After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office’s Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: “Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future… We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.”

Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had “no strategic interest” in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was “more important than anything we’ve seen for a long time”.

BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf’s existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world’s leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take “big risks” to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world.

Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002.

The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq’s reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.

Last week, Iraq raised its oil output to the highest level for almost decade, 2.7 million barrels a day – seen as especially important at the moment given the regional volatility and loss of Libyan output. Many opponents of the war suspected that one of Washington’s main ambitions in invading Iraq was to secure a cheap and plentiful source of oil.

Mr Muttitt, whose book Fuel on the Fire is published next week, said: “Before the war, the Government went to great lengths to insist it had no interest in Iraq’s oil. These documents provide the evidence that give the lie to those claims.

“We see that oil was in fact one of the Government’s most important strategic considerations, and it secretly colluded with oil companies to give them access to that huge prize.”

Lady Symons, 59, later took up an advisory post with a UK merchant bank that cashed in on post-war Iraq reconstruction contracts. Last month she severed links as an unpaid adviser to Libya’s National Economic Development Board after Colonel Gaddafi started firing on protesters. Last night, BP and Shell declined to comment.

http://www.fuelonthefire.com

Not about oil? what they said before the invasion

* Foreign Office memorandum, 13 November 2002, following meeting with BP: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP are desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity to compete. The long-term potential is enormous…”

* Tony Blair, 6 February 2003: “Let me just deal with the oil thing because… the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It’s not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons…”

Source: Independent

2013: Let The Currency Wars Truely Begin

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Up until now the G20 countries were shafting each other quietly through various means of currency devaluation. Many new terms for printing money were added to the lexicon. Lately the rhetoric has begun to get more aggressive. ZeroHedge writes of the Russia’s Central Bank Chief’s warning that “the world is on the brink of a fresh currency war”. Along with gold repatriation stories, 2013 is shaping up to be a tough year ahead for Central Bankers.

It will not come as a surprise to anyone who has spent more than a few cursory minutes reading ZeroHedge over the past few years (back in 2009, then 2010, and most recently here, and here) but the rolling ‘beggar thy neighbor’ currency strategies of world central banks are gathering pace. To wit, Bloomberg reports that energy-bound Russia’s central bank chief appears to have broken ranks warning that “the world is on the brink of a fresh ‘currency war’.” With Japan openly (and actively) verbally intervening to depress the JPY and now Juncker’s “dangerously high” comments on the EUR yesterday, it appears 2013 will be the year when the G-20 finance ministers (who agreed to ‘refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies’ in 2009) tear up their promises and get active. Rhetoric is on the rise with the Bank of Korea threatening “an active response”, Russia now suggesting reciprocal devaluations will occur (and hurt the global economy) as RBA Governor noted that there is “a degree of disquiet in the global policy-making community.” Critically BoE Governor Mervyn King has suggested what only conspiracists have offered before: “we’ll see the growth of actively managed exchange rates,” and sure enough where FX rates go so stocks will nominally follow (see JPY vs TOPIX and CHF vs SMI recently).

Via Bloomberg:

The world is on the brink of a fresh “currency war,” Russia warned, as European policy makers joined Japan in bemoaning the economic cost of rising exchange rates.

Japan is weakening the yen and other countries may follow,”

 …

 The push for weaker currencies is being driven by a need to find new sources of economic growth as monetary and fiscal policies run out of room. The risk is as each country tries to boost exports, it hurts the competitiveness of other economies and provokes retaliation.

 Yesterday “will go down as the first day European policy makers fired a shot in the 2013 currency war,” said Chris Turner, head of foreign-exchange strategy at ING Groep NV in London.

 …

 The skirmish may lead to a clash of G-20 finance ministers and central banks when they meet next month in Moscow, three months after reiterating their 2009 pledge to “refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies.”

 While emerging markets have repeatedly complained about strong currencies as a result of easy monetary policies in the west, the engagement of richer nations is adding a new dimension to what Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega first dubbed a currency war in 2010.

Source: ZeroHedge

Pressure Mounts On Syria As US And French Troops Prepare To Enter

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The war rhetoric on Syria has mounted in recent days and the latest news from the Presstitutes is the Assad regime is ready to use chemical weapons. Reports are now surfacing of US and French troops massing on the Syria border.

The 8 day mini war between Israel and Gaza has come and gone and any attempts at provoking a wider regional conflict, one involving Iran (if indeed this was the intention), have failed. Which means the fallback plan – Syria – is back in play. And sure enough, as both the most recent naval map update, which shows a US aircraft carrier and a big deck amphibious warfare ship, both of which house thousands of troops and numerous offensive aircraft, and an RT news flash, indicating that thousands of troops have amassed near the Syrian shore confirm, the time for a US invasion may be near. The alibi? “Chemical weapons” of mass or non-mass destruction. In other words the Iraq playbook all over again.

From RT

The USS Eisenhower, an American aircraft carrier that holds eight fighter bomber squadrons and 8,000 men, arrived at the Syrian coast yesterday in the midst of a heavy storm, indicating US preparation for a potential ground intervention.

While the Obama administration has not announced any sort of American-led military intervention in the war-torn country, the US is now ready to launch such action “within days” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decides to use chemical weapons against the opposition, the Times reports.

Some have suggested that the Assad regime may use chemical weapons against the opposition fighters in the coming days or weeks.

“We have (US) special operations forces at the right posture, they don’t have to be sent,” an unnamed US official told The Australian, which suggested that US military troops are already near Syria and ready to intervene in the conflict, if necessary.

 

The alibi used by the “democratic” press to justify what may imminently be a land invasion? Chemical weapons:

The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the “precursor” chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.

Sarin is an extraordinarily lethal agent. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces killed 5,000 Kurds with a single sarin attack on Halabja in 1988.

U.S. officials stressed that as of now, the sarin bombs hadn’t been loaded onto planes and that Assad hadn’t issued a final order to use them. But if he does, one of the officials said, “there’s little the outside world can do to stop it.”

 

Tangentially, remember when Iraq was supposed to have warehouses full of “WMDs”, which story ended up being a fabricated lie. But at least Turkey is ready: after all NATO has already handed over various Patriot missiles to prevent a Syrian retaliation against the ruling Assad regime.

And just to make sure the escalation is complete, the French are coming.

France is preparing its special forces for a mission in war-torn Syria, French weekly magazine Le Point reports.

The mission would only involve a relatively small amount of special forces, and a number of NATO countries — including the UK and the US — would be involved. The mission would be modelled on the Western intervention in Libya, the magazine reports.

The action appears to be in response to fears that the regime is planning on using chemical weapons in the conflict. Earlier this week one US official told reporters that it was believed Bashar al-Assad’s forces had moved two key components of a deadly nerve gas in preparation for an attack (a later report refuted this, however).

Le Point says a large ground operation “is out of the question” and that a smaller action aimed largely at securing chemical weapon stockpiles.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today vowed a swift response if Assad’s regime used chemical weapons.

So putting it all together, it appears that once again the imminent escalation play is one where an antagonized Syria is forced to strike back, an act which “hopefully” will get Iran involved in the fray, and from there it is smooth sailing for both Israel and the “democratic” forces of the world.

The only wild card: Russia and China, both of which have made it very clear they have quite strategic interests in the Syria region on numerous prior occasions.

Source: ZeroHedge

Congo Worth $24 Trillion in Mineral Wealth

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Africa is a continent of war, conflict, poverty yet unbelievable wealth. It seems that the its wealth is the real source of thewar and conflict as the Western powers like to capitalize on the continents woes while slipping in to whisk away its treasures. Congo alone is worth according to CNBC is $24 trillion in mineral wealth alone. With a population of 4 million, that would mean each of its citizens owning $6 million. What are the chances of them seeing $1 worth.

Global financial markets don’t pay much attention to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They should. The central African country produces major quantities of tin and tungsten, about half of the world’s cobalt output and about three percent of the world’s copper and gold, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Consumer electronics makers would also be well-advised to watch developments in the war-torn nation, which is a key supplier of columbite-tantalite, or coltan for short—a mineral ore used to manufacture capacitors found in cellphones, tablet computers, laptops and practically every mobile device on the market today.

Like Sierra Leone with its notorious ‘blood diamonds’, DRC Congo has been blighted by the stigma of ‘conflict minerals’ ’ where the proceeds from resources extracted from mines controlled by government or rebel forces are used to fund war. ‘Conflict-free’ certification programs and legislation have sought to reduce market share of resources mined in war zones but convoluted supply-chain networks have allowed buyers to exploit loopholes in the system. 

Legislators in the U.S. have sought to close those loopholes.

On August 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to require companies to publicly disclose their use of conflict minerals that originated in the DRC or an adjoining country.

Under the rules, companies are required to disclose their use of conflict minerals that include tantalum, tin, gold, or tungsten if those minerals are ‘necessary to the functionality or production of a product’ manufactured by those companies, the SEC said.

But the industry has been slow to respond, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.

The “vast majority” of U.S. companies are not yet ready for the new rules that go into effect in less than two years, IHS isuppli pointed out in an exhaustive study released on October 25. “The industry appears to be unprepared, given that about 90 percent of firms so far have not produced the data, declarations, or documentation that will help fulfill regulatory requirements detailing the presence of such minerals in their supply chains,” the firm said.

As of August, the percentage of electronics component manufacturers with available conflict minerals information amounted to only 11.3 percent of the peer group, according to the IHS Parts Management Service, accounting for just 17.1 percent of active electronic components on the market.

IHS estimates that 15 cents’ worth of tantalum was contained in every smartphone shipped when Dodd-Frank was originally signed in 2010.  In 2012, this would amount to $93 million worth of tantalum in smartphones alone. The firm has been gathering information on conflict minerals for more than two years from a database on more than 300 million electronic, electromechanical and fastener components used in commercial and military applications.

$24 Trillion Mineral Wealth

A striking endnote from IHS estimates the value of DRC Congo’s mineral wealth at as much as $24 trillion, which stands in stark contrast to almost three-quarters of the population who live below the poverty line — a clear case, some might argue, where a developing country’s resources wealth has morphed into a resources curse.

A question for the immediate term is to what degree the unrest will affect production from major assets run by listed global miners.

Though the most recent bout of unrest in Congo threatens the eastern minerals-rich Kivus region near the Rwandan border, any impact will likely be limited as M23 rebels, reportedly backed by Rwanda, may have achieved their “primary strategic and commercial aims” by capturing Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, said Philippe de Pontet, Africa Director at political risk advisor Eurasia Group, in a report on Nov. 22. 

“This limits the immediate commercial impact to the Kivus region, the world’s largest source of coltan – also known as tantalite, a crucial input in many electronic devices,” de Pontet said. The region is also home to Toronto-listed gold miner Banro Corporation’s Twangiza gold mine which entered commercial production on September 1.

“Absent a major escalation, or a plausible but unlikely army mutiny (or assassination) that topples President Kabila, we do not envision direct impacts on copper/cobalt producers concentrated in (southern province of) Katanga,” de Pontet added.

However, AngloGold Ashanti’s Mongbwalu gold asset is a “bit more exposed should conditions worsen,” the risk consultancy said. “The threat of escalation beyond North Kivu, while not our base case, cannot be discounted.”

(Read More: Despite High Gold Prices, Supply Will Lag: AngloGold CEO)

AngloGold has held the Mongbwalu concession — with proven reserves of 2.5 million ounces — since 1998 and has had a presence there since 2004, but insecurity has hampered work, meaning that construction is only now getting under way, Reuters reported in April.

The world’s third-biggest mining firm partnered with Congo’s government to build the industrial gold mine in a vast zone deep in the hills of Ituri, a district in the central African state still recovering from a bloody ethnic conflict that ended in 2003, Reuters said.

Source: CNBC , IHS iSuppli

 

 

US Further Sanctions To Prevent Trading With Iran With Gold

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Now that Obama has gotten the election out of the way, he is free to concentrate his efforts on forcing Iran into a war. Turkey is now in the sights of the US as it has recently gotten around sanctions against Iran by purchasing oil using gold. Now the US Senate is considering more sanctions to prevent Iran from trading.

 

Currency wars are set to intensify as the US Senate is considering new sanctions against Iran that would prevent Iran getting paid for its natural resource exports in gold bullion.

The new sanctions aimed at reducing global trade with Iran in the energy, shipping and precious metals sectors may soon be considered by the U.S. Senate as part of an annual defense policy bill, senators and aides said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The sanctions would end “Turkey’s game of gold for natural gas,” Reuters reported a senior Senate aide as saying, referring to reports that Turkey has been paying for natural gas with gold due to sanctions rules.

The legislation “would bring economic sanctions on Iran near de facto trade embargo levels with the hope of speeding up the date by which Iran’s economy will collapse,” the aide said.

Last week Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has revealed a critical detail about a widely discussed Turkey-Iran gold trade boom, disclosing that the Islamic republic was exporting gas to Turkey in exchange for payment in gold bullion. 

It is also reported that Iranians are buying Turkish gold with the Turkish Lira, which is deposited into their bank accounts in exchange for Turkey’s natural gas purchases, the deputy prime minister said at midnight Nov. 22 during a parliamentary session. 

Iran cannot transfer monetary payments to Iran in U.S. dollars due to U.S sanctions against the country’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

Iran has been forced to shun the international financial system and the petrodollar as means of payment and turn to the international gold market to ensure it gets paid for its natural resources in order to prevent absolute economic collapse.

The law of unintended consequences may apply here and should the Iranian currency and economy collapse there is likely to be a war with Israel and turbulence in the Middle East akin to, if not worse, than that seen in the 1970’s.

 

Source: ZeroHedge

Did John Bolton Admit To The US Fighting Wars For Oil

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This interview on Fox News sounds like Fmr US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, admitting the US fought wars to secure oil supply. But we all knew that anyway 😉

Iran has made little secret of its desire to gain hegemony in the region of the Persian Gulf, the critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.

Serfdom Up Ahead?

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An article by Michael Krieger of Libery Blitzkrieg blog sums up the global financial system and what lies ahead if we don’t react now. Krieger makes the point that things are going to get much worse than 2008 and no amount of money printing will work this time. The levels of corruption are staggering and more and more people are awakening which is quite disturbing to the global elite.

The Tipping Point
Serfdom has simply been pushed too far.  Globally.  What we are about to witness, incredibly, is not just a change in the way that one or two countries or even a specific region of the world operates.  No, what we are about to witness is a complete transformation globally, a change that I believe will be incredibly positive and will ultimately free us from the shackles upon the minds of humanity as a species.  The internet has allowed us to connect with one another in a manner never before possible, and this tool has permitted us to blast through the lies of the global elite that is desperately trying to hang on to control.  Whether it was the intention from the outset or not, what globalization has created is a very small class of incredibly wealthy people that are extraordinarily corrupt as a group and also above the law.  They are able to hide enormous amounts of money.  They are able to insider trade.  They are able to deal drugs.  They can do whatever they want, yet if anyone below them does the same they are prosecuted in a manner that resembles Medieval torture.

Many people say to me, “but Mike, aren’t things always corrupt, hasn’t it always been this way?”  To this I answer yes and no.  Of course within any complex societal and political structure there will be elements of corruption.  This is obvious.  However, there are cycles of corruption and degrees.  At some point, particularly toward the end of a cycle where globalization creates this “super corrupt class” of individuals roaming the planet doing as they please with us pawns, you reach a tipping point.  That tipping point has already been reached.  What we are witnessing now all over the world are merely the effects of that tipping point clashing with the corrupt global elite that refuses to budge an inch and reform even though it is in their best interest to do so.  No, they are so arrogant and criminal after decades of doing what they please with zero consequences they would rather attempt to implement a global police state rather than deal with the nightmare of their actions and make the world a better place.  Therefore, it is up to us, as a species, to reclaim what is our birthright.  Freedom.

As I wrote the other day on twitter, what we have today is not Socialism or Capitalism, it is Ponzism.  I am talking on a global level.  Basically every country and every region.  The biggest pitfall we must avoid as a species is allowing the global power structure to pit us against one another.  These guys don’t fight wars, they send you to fight them.  Don’t fall for it.  Their number one trick once things get bad within their own nations is to attempt to create a war.  This checks two very important boxes for them.  First, it creates a distraction for the general public and even makes them think that they are part of a team that needs to be cheered.  It’s like a big football game but with thousands or millions dying on the field.  Second, it allows the government to do pretty much anything they want in the name of “winning the war” or “national security.”  This is exactly why the “war on terror” was the perfect war for a kleptocratic elite.  It is a war with no end, so theoretically they can constantly claim war as an excuse for taking away civil liberties.  The problem for them at the moment though is that the American people are waking up to this scam.  Therefore, a larger and much deadlier war is in their best interests.  If it is in their best interest you can be sure it is in our worse interests. Therefore, we must do everything we can to prevent it.

China
Unless you have been living under an economic rock for the past six months, you are aware that China is in the midst of a serious economic slowdown.  As I have said for years and continue to say, this is not a small bump in the road.  This is a major contraction.  Similar to the U.S., China had a choice in the 2008 slowdown.  They could have taken the hit and moved toward measures to rebalance the economy away from an over emphasis on investment and construction spend and toward consumption, but they did nothing of the sort.  Rather, they doubled down on their prior mistakes and mal-investments in an epic bet on the ponzi economy.  After a brief sugar high, this has now failed.

So with the economy back in steep decline, the authorities fear pumping massive stimulus in as they did four years prior due to their justifiable fears of sparking rampant inflation.  Meanwhile, thanks to social networking, citizens have become more aware of the incredible corruption and theft of their leadership, whether in the political or business world.  They are increasingly acting out about it and it is becoming so blatant that even China’s legendary control of media is unable to direct the plot.  The most recent outburst came from the Foxconn (a major supplier to Apple) factory in Taiyuan, China which employs 79,000 people.  While details are sketchy, most accounts point to the riot, which reportedly involved 2,000 people, being sparked by a fight between security guards and workers.

Of course, China’s leadership was well aware of all of this before the Foxconn incident came onto the scene, so what is a good authoritarian regime to do?  Well, you attempt to direct the rage and angst to an outside enemy.  In this case Japan.  Zerohedge has a great report on the anti-Japanese violence and hatred that burst onto the scene recently.  The link to their piece Postcards from a Furious China really says it all.

Europe
Like the Middle East, the Southern countries of Europe have been in and out of rage now for almost two years.  The most recent explosions onto the streets of Greece and Spain are particularly disturbing since the inept clownish leadership on the Continent had supposedly “solved” the crisis for the third time just a few weeks ago.  Or was it the fourth time?  Really, who’s counting anymore…

Let’s start with Spain.  While Greece is still on fire, Spain is where the real action is due to the size of its economy and the importance it has to the political EU hacks.  Not only were there enormous protests this week in the capital Madrid in reaction to austerity measures, but there is also a very significant secession movement picking up steam in Catalonia.  This isn’t about leaving the euro, this is about leaving Spain!  For those that aren’t aware of Spanish geography, Catalonia is the wealthiest region in Spain and it is where Barcelona is located.  First, we saw enormous protests in Catalonia about a month ago, which I covered here.  Now we see that last night the regional parliament approved a referendum on independence that will apparently be voted on during regional elections on November 25.  Reuters covers the story here.

While this is hugely important, let’s not overlook the massive demonstrations in Madrid this past week.

Now let’s talk Greece.  I think a lot of people brushed off this week’s protests as “oh it’s just the Greeks in the streets again.”  This is a mistake.  These demonstrations were different and here is why.  From the UK’s Guardian:

 
 

In a departure from other mass protests, members of the police force, army, navy and judicial system joined public and private sector employees on the streets. One police officer, who preferred not to give his name, said the Greek state “should feel deep shame” at imposing cuts on the very people whose protection it sought.

Once the people that are being paid to defend the regime start opposing the regime it is game over.  It appears we are there in Greece.  Full article here.

The United States
This is the big one of course.  While we have seen outbursts from the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements ever since the banker coup of 2008, these movements have not been as sustained as demonstrations in other parts of the world.  This is about to change.  I am firmly of the view that the Obama Administration has pulled out every  trick in the book in order to get reelected this year, and that this strategy will probably succeed.  What I think the vast majority of people voting for him as well as investors fail to comprehend is that once this guy gets in and doesn’t need to worry about getting reelected he will leave everyone outside of his puppet masters out in the cold.  You think he has been bad for the poor and middle class so far via his inflationary policies?  Well you haven’t seen anything yet.  I believe there is a decent chance he will push “austerity” on the public as soon as he is reelected.  All the suckers that voted for him will be up in arms and the only ones that will be protected, as usual, will be the crony capitalists that own him.  Even if he doesn’t do this, his other option is merely to keep spending and force The Bernank to print more money.  The cost of living will surge and the poor and middle class will get crushed no matter what.  I covered this in my recent piece “2013: When Money Printing Meets Supply Constraints.”  The American Spring will get going in 2013.

 Just Say No…to War
The writing is on the wall folks.  The global economy is headed back down into depths that will prove worse than 2008, and this time no amount of money printing and propaganda will be enough to hold things together.  TPTB know this.  We need to remember that this isn’t just a battle between the masses within our distinct nations and the 0.01% of oligarchs that have used the past four years to harvest more of our wealth.  This is also a battle between humans collectively and themselves.  We need to grow up as a species and take charge of our destiny.  We need to stop falling for their tricks and fighting their stupid wars while they hide in their castles, parliaments and skyscrapers.  The first thing we need to do is say no.  No more.  It’s time to evolve.

US: This Is Where Most Of Your Taxes Go

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Over half of the US budget goes directly or indirectly to war !

US: The Initiation of War With Iran Could Be Helped Along, Wouldn’t Be First Time.

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Patrick Clawson gave an interview at the Washington Institute suggesting that US/Isreal may need to give the war with Iran a “helping hand”, after all Clawson said, Iranian submarines that go down may not come back up.

Its not the first time the desire for war was given a helping hand.

Iran: Naval Power Amassing In Persian Gulf For Iran Attack

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In support of Israel’s preemptive strike on Iran, the US and UK have amassed an armada of naval vessels. Many reports have come out that Iran will attempt to close the Straits when attacked. The battle to keep the Straits open will be of major economic importance to the West.

An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Cruisers, aircraft carriers and minesweepers from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.

Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s oil traded by sea.

A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most congested international waterways. It is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is bordered by the Iranian coast to the north and the Oman to the south.

In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise.

The big war games excercise will be followed by Iran testing out its own capabilities.

In addition, commanders will also simulate destroying Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile batteries.

In the event of war, the main threat to the multi-national force will come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps navy, which is expected to adopt an “access-denial” strategy in the wake of an attack, by directly targeting US warships, attacking merchant shipping and mining vital maritime chokepoints in the Persian Gulf.

Defence sources say that although Iran’s capability may not be technologically sophisticated, it could deliver a series of lethal blows against British and US ships using mini-subs, fast attack boats, mines and shore-based anti-ship missile batteries.

Next month, Iran will stage massive military manoeuvres of its own, to show that it is prepared to defend its nuclear installations against the threat of aerial bombardment

Obama is meeting Netanyahu to discuss Iran but Netanyahu is itching to go ahead.

The main naval exercise comes as President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, today to discuss the Iranian crisis.

Many within the Obama administration believe that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections, an act which would signal the failure of one of Washington’s key foreign policy objectives.

…..

But just last week Mr Netanyahu signalled that time for a negotiated settlement was running out when he said: “The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

Source: Telegraph

UK: Defence Minister Sacked For Not Supporting Iran Attack

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The Daily Mail ran a story of how the UKs Defence Minister Nick Harvey was removed from his position by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg because he did not support an attack on Iran. Sounds like war with Iran is a foregone conclusion as this adds more evidence of such a move. These kind of stories and coming thick and fast. Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak appeared to hint that he believed the US would join his country in the pre-emptive attack.

Former Armed Forces Minister Sir Nick Harvey told friends that he  was fired in the reshuffle to allow Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg  to sign Britain up to an Israeli-US preventive strike to take out Iran’s nuclear installations.

Friends of Sir Nick – who was handed a knighthood just days later – say that he could have embarrassed the Lib Dem leader by being too critical of Israel’s actions if he had still been in the key Ministry of Defence post.

The row broke as sources confirmed that British intelligence agents are already deeply involved in attempts to discover Iran’s nuclear secrets.

It is also understood that the US has asked Britain to provide frigates to patrol the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil passes.

The sacking of the respected  Minister took MPs and Army top brass by surprise.

But when approached by The Mail on Sunday, Sir Nick confirmed he had considered his sacking was linked to mounting speculation of a pre-emptive strike on Iran and the expectation that UK forces would be drawn in afterwards. However, the MP went  on to say he had since discounted  that theory.

………

The reshuffle earlier this month came amid renewed speculation  that Israel is planning to launch a  unilateral attack to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Only last weekend, Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak appeared to hint that he believed the US would join his country in the pre-emptive attack.

There were also reports that  US President Barack Obama was  poised to set out the ‘red lines’ that would trigger an American attack if Iran continued to press ahead with its nuclear programme.

MoD sources yesterday confirmed that contingency talks over the dispatch of Royal Navy minesweepers to the Gulf had already been held.

…..

‘Clegg could adopt a position of agreeing to disagree, raising his objections to the Prime Minister but saying go ahead.’ 

 

Petrodollar and World War III

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Who benefits?

Banks Profit From War

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“The question was how should we manoeuver them into firing the first shot. It was desirable to ensure the Japanese be the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt as to who were the aggressors.”

– Henry Stimson, Secretary of War. November 1941.

US: Why It Always Ends In War

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After an extraordinary expansion of US debt, war is inevitable. Below will outline a few reasons why? Of course the politicians do what they are told as always by the banking elites. What better way to deal with a broken monetary system than introduce chaos.

ZeroHedge have outlined the reasons why the US would welcome a war right now.

The old war against terror propaganda is losing ground to alternative news and opinion now available because of the Internet Reformation. Frankly, few people believe anything from either the American government or its establishment propaganda outlets and this is a frightening situation to the power elite that rules America.

Due to the growing economic crisis, the government needs to take strong actions that could be violently resisted by large segments of the US population unless a major financial or military crisis can be used as an excuse and cover for coming dictatorial actions. Simply stated, there are not enough police and military in the US to control the population should an insurrection take place. A major war in the Middle East can provide a casus belli for a direct assault against US private wealth, liberties, benefit programs and opposition by the power elite.

For example, the imposition of a military draft will dramatically cut unemployment rates as well as limit inner-city crime and outrage over cuts in domestic spending and welfare. Remember, austerity is needed and a draconian cut in Social Security and benefit programs must be engineered against the 50 percent of the population who receive some type of government benefits.

In addition, gold will need to be confiscated. Forced retirement investment into collapsing dollar denominated Treasury obligations must be required when foreign investors stop buying US debt. Stronger TSA authority, drones and harsh domestic controls will need to be implemented for the duration of the conflict in order to squelch domestic opposition. Taxes must be raised, penalties and fines must be doubled and tripled at the federal, state and municipal levels and finally, severe limitations on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly will be forced on the American people, along with gun control and limited access to Internet news and communications.

Finally, a major, long-term war in the Middle East will provide an excuse for the deferment and rescheduling of US debt obligations owed to nations and governments that oppose the US/Israel war in the Middle East. For the $1 trillion owed to China and many Middle East nations, this is effectively debt repudiation.

China too would benefit from the US going to war.

China wants to see the US weakened long-term as a world power and a major war in the Middle East will do this. They also need a reason to dump US Treasury debt and an excuse to avoid the blame of the coming broader repudiation of US debt. The Chinese people will be justifiably outraged that the Chinese government and central bank accumulated $1 trillion in US debt, although there were legitimate global trading reasons and domestic economic justification for this over-concentration in US debt and dollar obligations.

A Middle East war would avoid direct military action between the US and China while protecting both US and Chinese politicians from the coming Treasury debt repudiation, Chinese dump and global run on the dollar and Treasuries.

Who is going to be the ultimate winner?

Who is guaranteed to win regardless of the outcome of the war and whether it can be contained? The Anglo-American financial elites and the bankers always win every conflict regardless of the military outcome. This is the history of the 20th century and I see no reason that will change now.

Source: ZeroHedge

Iranian Bill To Blockade Straits Of Hormuz In Return For Sanctions

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Well, what would you expect. Iranian lawmakers are preparing a bill to blockade the Straits of Hormuz for tankers destined to countries that have taken sanctions against Iran. The EU is blocking all oil contracts with Iran from next sunday. Just when oil prices had dropped, it looks now like they will go through the roof if this comes to pass.The big question then is how does the West respond, War?

A member of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) said that Iran will close the Hormuz Strait if the economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic take effect.

Arsalan Fathipour in an interview with Alalam News Network said that the recent oil price fall will not last for long.

“We take the control of the Hormuz Strait. If we are supposed to be sanctioned, we will not allow a drop of oil to pass through the strait,” he said, Fars News Agency reported.

“In such a situation, oil price will surge and we will see that those who have imposed sanctions will not be able to be accountable for their people,” he noted.

He noted that Iran can find new customers for oil.

Iran has stored up imports and hard currency for a “battle” against EU sanctions, officials said on Sunday, the day that the measures aimed at pressuring the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program take effect.

Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said the country has stockpiled the population’s daily needs to reduce the impact of the embargo hitting the oil and banking sectors.


Source: en.trend.az

Likely Attack Dates On Iran

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As the USS Enterprise makes its way through the Suez Canal, the US will shortly have 3 aircraft carriers in position in the Gulf. Israel cabinet has approved a strike on Iran. Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to airbases in its territory along Iran’s northern border for potential use in a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

ZeroHedge has calculated the most likely dates of attack based on the new moons (when most attacks begin) for the year ahead. Although certainly not a foregone conclusion, anyone who has being paying attention would agree it does look very likely that once the war machine gets going, its hard to stop.

See also Banks love war.

Remember our debt expansion chart below. What always happens?

US Readies Navy In The Gulf

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BusinessInsider has reported that the US is getting its final pieces in place in the Straits of Hormuz. With threats from Iran that it will close the Straits with mines etc if attacked, the US is now moving in minesweepers.

The global signs of a coming military conflict with Iran continue to build, and today the U.S. Navy made clear its intentions by announcing it’s sending four additional mine countermeasure shipsto the Strait of Hormuz.

Stars and Stripes reports the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he’s sending the mine ships in addition to four airborne mine countermeasure helicopters.

Iran has already warned that one of its first steps in closing the Strait of Hormuz, and choking off 40 percent of the world’s oil supply, will be to mine the strait and deploy its fleet of small electronic submarines.

To get “ready” Greenert is also bringing upgrades to mine neutralization vehicles, submarine torpedoes, optics, and weapons to counter the swarm maneuvers employed by the Iranian navy.

This move will double the number of minesweepers in the Persian Gulf, but Greenert declined to call the deployments a surge, as when forces are built up for a planned operation, instead telling reporters: “I’m not going to define it as a surge. You called it a deployment, how’s that”

The four ships, the Sentry, Devastator, Pioneer, and Warrior will join the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain from San Diego. Their departure date has not yet been announced, as part of operational security.

They will likely be transported by the Navy’s heavy-lift ships which travel at about 16 mph.

Zerohedge has reported that the USS Enterprise has departed this weekend and will be in the Gulf in a few days.

After the Enterprise leaves Sunday, three Norfolk-based guided-missile destroyers will head out Monday — the USS Porter, USS Nitze and USS James E. Williams.

The strike group is commanded by Rear Adm. Ted Carter Jr.

Carrier Air Wing 1, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, will be embarked aboard the Enterprise.

The Enterprise was launched September 24, 1960, by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. and commissioned November 25, 1961.

Its record of high-profile service began with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Since then, it has served in countless missions around the world.

Marc Faber: War With Iran Almost Inevitable, Be In Precious Metals

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With anti-Iran rethoric heating up everyday, including recent statements from Obama where nothing was off the table, Marc Faber has called war with Iran as “almost inevitable”.

Swiss money manager and long term bear Marc Faber, aka “Dr Doom”, says political risk in the Middle East has increased significantly with war between Iran and Israel “almost inevitable”, and precious metals and equities investments offer some safety.

“Political risk was high six months ago and is higher now. I think sooner or later, the U.S. or Israel will strike Iran – it’s almost inevitable,”

……..

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed no signs of backing away from possible military action against Iran following a Monday meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Say war breaks out in the Middle East or anywhere else, (U.S. Federal Reserve chairman) Mr Bernanke will just print even more money — they have no option…they haven’t got the money to finance a war,” said Faber.

“You have to be in precious metals and equities … most wars and most social unrest haven’t destroyed corporations – they usually survive,” he said.

You can’t argue with common sense.

The 66 year-old, who has earned the moniker “Dr Doom”, earlier told the conference that the likelihood of war in the Middle East was boosted by Western powers’ imperatives of keeping China in check, given its dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

“The Americans and the western powers know very well they cannot contain China economically…. but one way to contain China is to switch on and switch off the oil tap from the Middle East,” he said.

“I happen to think the Middle East will go up in flames,” he said.

 

Why Banks Love War

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 As the situation in Iran intensifies daily, we must always remember the expression

…follow the money…

Banks can’t make money from debt free people. Who benefits from War? It’s a great way to get people in debt. Both sides. FACT.

The Petrodollar System Explained

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Below is an article from MarketOracle which explains the PetroDollar system. The original article itself questions the wisdom of sanctions on Iran which will force nations away from trading oil in petrodollars and would eventually lead to a collapse of the dollar as the worlds reserve currency. In fact I wrote already about Iran trading oil with India in gold and how Russia has dropped dollars when trading with Iran.

A cynic might suggest that the elites running the US knows that Iran sanctions would lead to a collapse in the dollar forcing a default which would get rid of its debt and the US citizens couldn’t hold them responsible or war.  According to chart below, every period of expansion in debt resulted in WAR. But then again, I’m not a cynic 😉

The Petrodollar System

To explain this situation properly, we have to start in 1973. That’s when .President Nixon asked King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to accept only US dollars as payment for oil and to invest any excess profits in US Treasury bonds, notes, and bills. In exchange, Nixon pledged to protect Saudi Arabian oil fields from the Soviet Union and other interested nations, such as Iran and Iraq. It was the start of something great for the US, even if the outcome was as artificial as the US real-estate bubble and yet constitutes the foundation for the valuation of the US dollar.

By 1975, all of the members of OPEC agreed to sell their oil only in US dollars. Every oil-importing nation in the world started saving its surplus in US dollars so as to be able to buy oil; with such high demand for dollars the currency strengthened. On top of that, many oil-exporting nations like Saudi Arabia spent their US dollar surpluses on Treasury securities, providing a new, deep pool of lenders to support US government spending.

The “petrodollar” system was a brilliant political and economic move. It forced the world’s oil money to flow through the US Federal Reserve, creating ever-growing international demand for both US dollars and US debt, while essentially letting the US pretty much own the world’s oil for free, since oil’s value is denominated in a currency that America controls and prints. The petrodollar system spread beyond oil: the majority of international trade is done in US dollars. That means that from Russia to China, Brazil to South Korea, every country aims to maximize the US-dollar surplus garnered from its export trade to buy oil.

The US has reaped many rewards. As oil usage increased in the 1980s, demand for the US dollar rose with it, lifting the US economy to new heights. But even without economic success at home the US dollar would have soared, because the petrodollar system created consistent international demand for US dollars, which in turn gained in value. A strong US dollar allowed Americans to buy imported goods at a massive discount – the petrodollar system essentially creating a subsidy for US consumers at the expense of the rest of the world. Here, finally, the US hit on a downside: The availability of cheap imports hit the US manufacturing industry hard, and the disappearance of manufacturing jobs remains one of the biggest challenges in resurrecting the US economy today.

There is another downside, a potential threat now lurking in the shadows. The value of the US dollar is determined in large part by the fact that oil is sold in US dollars. If that trade shifts to a different currency, countries around the world won’t need all their US money. The resulting sell-off of US dollars would weaken the currency dramatically.

So here’s an interesting thought experiment. Everybody says the US goes to war to protect its oil supplies, but doesn’t it really go to war to ensure the continuation of the petrodollar system?

The Iraq war provides a good example. Until November 2000, no OPEC country had dared to violate the US dollar-pricing rule, and while the US dollar remained the strongest currency in the world there was also little reason to challenge the system. But in late 2000, France and a few other EU members convinced Saddam Hussein to defy the petrodollar process and sell Iraq’s oil for food in euros, not dollars. In the time between then and the March 2003 American invasion of Iraq, several other nations hinted at their interest in non-US dollar oil trading, including Russia, Iran, Indonesia, and even Venezuela. In April 2002, Iranian OPEC representative Javad Yarjani was invited to Spain by the EU to deliver a detailed analysis of how OPEC might at some point sell its oil to the EU for euros, not dollars.

This movement, founded in Iraq, was starting to threaten the dominance of the US dollar as the global reserve currency and petro currency. In March 2003, the US invaded Iraq, ending the oil-for-food program and its euro payment program.

There are many other historic examples of the US stepping in to halt a movement away from the petrodollar system, often in covert ways. In February 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), called for a new world currency to challenge the dominance of the US dollar. Three months later a maid at the Sofitel New York Hotel alleged that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her. Strauss-Kahn was forced out of his role at the IMF within weeks; he has since been cleared of any wrongdoing.

War and insidious interventions of this sort may be costly, but the costs of not protecting the petrodollar system would be far higher. If euros, yen, renminbi, rubles, or for that matter straight gold, were generally accepted for oil, the US dollar would quickly become irrelevant, rendering the currency almost worthless. As the rest of the world realizes that there are other options besides the US dollar for global transactions, the US is facing a very significant – and very messy – transition in the global oil machine.

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