Puppet Masters

War Whore

Rial Attack! International speculators manipulate Iranian currency downwards

Iran's currency plunged 17 percent on Tuesday, hitting an all-time low of 37,500 against the U.S. dollar and extending a one-week decline that has lopped off more than a third of the currency's value.

The collapse of the rial marks yet another effect of the international sanctions that have hammered the $480 billion economy. Reports of ordinary Iranians exchanging the rials for gold have increased as trading volumes on Tehran's main gold exchange jumped nearly 20 percent in a single session on Monday.

Iran's government blamed the currency's tumbling value on "speculators."

Comment: Ellen Brown explains what's really going on in Web of Debt:
International Pirates Prowling in a Sea of Floating Currencies, p.218

Countries around the world have been caught in the same trap that captured Mexico. Henry C. K. Liu calls it the "Tequila Trap." He also calls it "a suicidal policy masked by the giddy expansion typical of the early phase of a Ponzi scheme." The lure in the trap is the promise of massive dollar investment. At first, returns are spectacular; but as with every Ponzi scheme, the returns eventually collapse, leaving the people massively in debt to foreign bankers who will become their new economic masters. The former Soviet states, the Tiger economies of Southeast Asia, and the Latin American banana republics all succumbed to these rapacious tactics. Local ineptitude and corrupt politicians are blamed, when the real culprits are international banking speculators armed with tsunami-sized walls of "credit" created on computer screens.

Targeted countries are advised that to attract foreign investment, they must make their currencies freely convertible into dollars at prevailing or "floating" exchange rates, and they must keep adequate dollars in reserve for anyone who wants to change from one currency to another. After the trap is set, the speculators move in. Speculation has been known to bring down currencies and national economics in a single day. Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, writes:
The media tends to identify these currency crises as being the product of some internal mechanism, internal political weaknesses or corruption. The linkages to international finance are downplayed. The fact of the matter is that currency speculation, using speculative instruments, was ultimately the means whereby these central bank reserves were literally confiscated by private speculators.
While economists debate the fiscal pros and cons of "floating" exchange rates, from a legal standpoint they represent a blatant fraud on the people who depend on a stable medium of exchange. They are as much a fraud as a grocer's scales with a rock on it. If a farmer's peso was worth thirty cents yesterday and is worth only five cents today, his dozen eggs have suddenly shrunk to two eggs, his dozen apples to two apples. The very notion that a country has to "defend" its currency shows that there is something wrong with the system. Inches don't have to defend themselves against millimeters but peacefully co-exist with them side by side on the same yardstick. A sovereign government has both the right and the duty to calibrate its medium of exchange so that it is a stable measure of purchasing power for its people.

In the Eye of the Cyclone, p.302

Iran announced that it would be opening an oil market (or "bourse") in Euros in March 2006, sidestepping the 1974 agreement with OPEC to trade oil only in U.S. dollars. An article in the Arab online magazine Al-Jazeerah warned that the Iranian bourse "could lead to a collapse in value for the American currency, potentially putting the U.S. economy in its greatest crisis since the depression era of the 1930s." Rob Kirby wrote:
[I]f countries like Japan and China (and other Asian countries) with their trillions of U.S. dollars no longer need them (or require a great deal less of them) to buy oil . . . [and] begin wholesale liquidation of U.S. debt obligations, there is no doubt in my mind that the Fed will print the dollars necessary to redeem them - this would necessarily imply an absolutely enormous (can you say hyperinflation) bloating of the money supply - which would undoubtedly be captured statistically in M3 or its related reporting. It would appear that we're all going to be "flying blind" as to how much money the Fed is truly going to pump into the system . . . .
Compounding the problem, Iran and other oil producers began moving from dollars to other currencies for their oil trades. If oil no longer has to be traded in dollars, a major incentive for foreign central banks to hold U.S. government bonds disappears. British journalist John Pilger, writing in The New Statesman in 2006, suggested that the real reason for the aggressive saber-rattling with Iran was not Iran's nuclear ambitions but was the effect of the world's fourth largest oil producer and trader breaking the dollar monopoly. He noted that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had done the same thing before he was attacked. In an April 2005 article in Counter Punch, Mike Whitney warned of the dire consequences that were liable to follow when the "petrodollar" standard was abandoned:
This is much more serious than a simple decline in the value of the dollar. If the major oil producers convert from the dollar to the euro, the American economy will sink almost overnight. If oil is traded in euros then central banks around the world would be compelled to follow and America will be required to pay off its enormous $8 trillion debt. That, of course, would be doomsday for the American economy. . . . If there's a quick fix, I have no idea what it might be.
Interest and Islam, p.406

Instituting a system of government-owned banks may sound radical in the United States, but some countries have already done it; and other countries are ripe for radical reform. Rodney Shakespeare, author of The Modern Universal Paradigm (2007), suggests that significant monetary reform may come first in the Islamic community. Islamic reformers are keenly aware of the limitations of the current Western system and are actively seeking change, and oil-rich Islamic countries may have the clout to pull it off.

As noted earlier, Western lenders got around the religious proscription against "usury" (taking a fee for the use of money) by redefining the term to mean taking "excessive" interest; but Islamic purists still hold to the older interpretation. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a state-owned central bank and has assumed a lead role in adopting the principles of the Koran as state government policy, including interest-free lending. In September 2007, Iran's President advocated returning to an interest-free system and appointed a new central bank governor who would further those objectives. The governor said that banks should generate income by charging fees for their services rather than making a profit by receiving interest on loans.

That might have been one covert factor in the persistent drumbeats for war against Iran, despite a December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate finding that the country was not developing nuclear weapons, the asserted justification for a very aggressive stance against it. A paper titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," released in September 2000 by a politically influential neoconservative think tank called the Project for the New American Century, linked America's "national defense" to suppressing economic rivals. The policy goals it urged included "ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential 'rival' or viable alternative to America's vision of a 'free market' economy." We've seen that alternative models threatening the dominance of the prevailing financial establishment have consistently been targeted for takedown, either by speculative attack, economic sanctions or war. Iran has repeatedly been hit with economic sanctions that could strangle it economically.


A Jobs Report Conspiracy?

© The Economic Collpase Blog
Well, isn't that convenient? The Obama campaign desperately needed the last employment report to be released before the election to show that the unemployment rate had fallen below 8 percent, and somehow it magically happened. Even though non-farm payroll employment only increased by 114,000 last month (not enough to even keep up with population growth), the official unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. So how did that happen? Well, the unemployment number is not based on the survey of employers that showed that 114,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. Rather it is based on a survey of households. And that survey showed that the total number of Americans employed last month increased by a whopping 873,000 - almost eight times the number that the employer survey showed. That figure for September (873,000) was the biggest one month increase in 29 years. And it just happened to come at the exact perfect time for Barack Obama. So was there a jobs report conspiracy? Examine the evidence and decide for yourself.

The number of Americans with a job fell by 195,000 in July.

Then it fell by another 119,000 in August.

But somehow in September it miraculously exploded in the other direction and 873,000 jobs were added to the economy?

If you believe that, I have a bridge that I want to sell you.

Somehow, the largest increase in jobs in 29 years happened just when Barack Obama needed it the most.

Nah, that doesn't sound fishy to me at all.

We are being told that a big reason for the huge increase was the number of Americans working part-time for "economic reasons". That number surged from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September.

Why the sudden jump?

Nobody can really explain it.

And if you look at the U6 unemployment rate, nothing has really changed at all. U6 is still at 14.7 percent just like it was last month.

But the media is not going to talk about the U6 rate. Instead, all of the headlines are going to be about "7.8 percent".

According to the survey of employers, the U.S. economy added fewer jobs in September than it did in August, and it added fewer jobs in August than it did in July.

So according to the survey of employers, the employment situation in the United States is getting worse.

But according to the household survey, we just had the greatest month of job creation since the first term of Ronald Reagan.

Something does not add up.

And as I have written about previously, the unemployment rate would actually be up around 11 percent instead of 7.8 percent if not for the millions of workers that the government claims "dropped out of the labor force" over the past few years because they became too discouraged to look for work.

So unemployment in America is still a massive crisis, but the media is boldly proclaiming that things are getting better and that we are on the road to recovery.

Of course Obama looks like the cat who ate the canary today. He is just thrilled with the "7.8 percent" number.
Magic Wand

Is John Major Jenkins a New Age COINTELPRO Patsy?

John Major Jenkins has made a point of claiming to be the sole originator of the 2012 "Mayan galactic alignment" hypothesis. Jenkins has gone to great lengths to present himself as a scientist and his theories as based in hard science. But first:

I. Who is John Major Jenkins?

A. Background

Online Jenkins is touted as a "leading expert in the mysteries of ancient Mesoamerican cosmology and calendars."

He is also touted (and touts himself) as the "originator of the '2012 alignment theory'"

Jenkins describes himself as an "independent researcher who has devoted himself to reconstructing ancient Mayan cosmology and philosophy" and as "a visiting scholar, [who] has taught classes at The Institute of Maya Studies in Miami, The Maya Calendar Congress in Mexico, The Esalen Institute (more on that below), Naropa University and many other venues both nationally and abroad", though the term "scholar" should be read lightly as he apparently completed only one semester of college as stated in this online article: "How John Major Jenkins, Jonathan Zap and Terence McKenna met during a Weekend of High Strangeness in 1996":

Comment: As to why the Powers The Be wish to promote ideas about the "End of the World" see:

2012 - On The Eve Of Destruction?

How is the World Going to End in 2012?

Chaos and Consent: The Logistics of the One World Government


National Bank of Canada foreclosing Americans' homes over credit card debt

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The National Bank of Canada is attempting to foreclose upon hundreds of American families' homes in California over old credit card debts, according to a published report.

Bay Citizen reporter Rick Jurgens writes that the bank's debt collection unit, Credigy Receivables, began filing foreclosure lawsuits recently that take advantage of a loophole in California's laws that lets them go directly for a debtor's home even if that property was not offered as collateral for a loan.

Jurgens explained that one of the people targeted by the new legal tactic is 71-year-old Helen Jones, an Oakland resident who lived in her home for 37 years before Credigy sued in 2010 over $1,636 in credit card debt her ex-husband ran up. She claimed the bank offered to settle the debt and drop the foreclosure for $7,000, and that she ultimately paid them $3,800 just to get it all over with.

EU Commission chief Barroso calls for federation of European nation-states

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EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called for the EU to evolve into a "federation of nation-states".

Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Barroso said such a move was necessary to combat the continent's economic crisis.

He said he believed Greece would be able to stay in the eurozone if it stood by its commitments.

Mr Barroso also set out plans for a single supervisory mechanism for all banks in the eurozone.

He called the plans a "quantum leap... the stepping stone to the banking union".

Surprise! Manufactured currency crises are very useful for concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands...

Comment: Barroso, Unelected 'Prime Minister of Europe': European Union is an empire


The Fed's QE Infinity: What is it all about?

We print money for free, then loan it to you at interest. If you misbehave, we'll not loan it to you at all.
QE3, the Federal Reserve's third round of quantitative easing, is so open-ended that it is being called QE Infinity.

Doubts about its effectiveness are surfacing even on Wall Street. The Financial Times reports:
Among the trading rooms and floors of Connecticut and Mayfair [in London], supposedly sophisticated money managers are raising big questions about QE3 - and whether, this time around, the Fed is not risking more than it can deliver.

Which raises the question, what is it intended to deliver? As suggested in an earlier article here, QE3 is not likely to reduce unemployment, put money in the pockets of consumers, reflate the money supply, or significantly lower interest rates for homeowners, as alleged. It will not achieve those things because it consists of no more than an asset swap on bank balance sheets. It will not get dollars to businesses or consumers on Main Street.
Eye 1

Senate investigation finds Homeland Security spying wasted billions, watched citizens, abused civil liberties - but does nothing about it

Capitol Building
A Senate investigation finds the post-9/11 big government intelligence program is a bloated bureaucracy and infringes civil liberties

The government has wasted billions of dollars on an intelligence-sharing program created after 9/11 that is infringing on Americans' civil liberties and using vast resources for functions that have nothing to do with terrorism, a Senate report has found.

The report is "a scathing evaluation of what the Department of Homeland Security has held up as a crown jewel of its security efforts," reports the Associated Press. "The report underscores a reality of post-9/11 Washington: National security programs tend to grow, never shrink, even when their money and manpower far surpass the actual subject of terrorism. Much of this money went for ordinary local crime-fighting."

The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee reviewed more than 600 of the intelligence program's reports and found the giant bureaucracy surrounding the program produced almost nothing that had to do with countering terrorist threats.

World War: U.S. discussing unilateral strikes on 'terrorist groups' In Africa

© AFP/Getty Images
As al-Qaida has fragmented, U.S. officials have turned their attention to loosely affiliated groups that present threats of their own. Officials tell The Washington Post that among the steps being considered are drone strikes aimed at terrorists based in North Africa.

During a "series of secret meetings in recent months," the White House began to "consider for the first time whether to prepare for unilateral strikes" aimed at terrorist groups operating in North Africa, The Washington Post writes this morning.

The real reason US fears Iranian nukes: They can deter U.S. attacks

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
© John Moore/Getty Images
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sits with his delegation before addressing the UN General Assembly in New York.
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham echoes a long line of US policymakers: Iran must not be allowed to deter US aggression

In the Washington Post today, Richard Cohen expresses surprise that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "starting to make some sense" and "wax rationally". Cohen specifically cites this statement from the Iranian president last week:
"Let's even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?"
Cohen's surprise notwithstanding, numerous Iranian leaders, including Ahmadinejad, have long made the same point. And it's a point so obvious it should not even need to be made. No rational person takes seriously the claim that Iran, even if it did obtain a nuclear weapon, would commit instant and guaranteed national suicide by using it to attack a nation that has a huge nuclear stockpile, which happens to include both the US and Israel. One can locate nothing in the actions of Iran's regime that even suggests irrationality on that level, let alone suicidal impulses.

That Iran will use its nuclear weapons against the US and Israel is rather obviously the centerpiece of the fear-mongering campaign against Tehran, to build popular support for threats to launch an aggressive attack in order to prevent them from acquiring that weapon. So what, then, is the real reason that so many people in both the US and Israeli governments are so desperate to stop Iranian proliferation?

Syria, the Story So Far

"Today, many Americans are asking - indeed I ask myself," Hillary Clinton said, "how can this happen? How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated, and at times, how confounding the world can be."

The Secretary of State was referring to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya September 11 that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. US intelligence agencies have now stated that the attackers had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Yes, the world can indeed be complicated and confounding. But we have learned a few things. The United States began blasting Libya with missiles with the full knowledge that they were fighting on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. Benghazi was and is the headquarters for Muslim fundamentalists of various stripes in North Africa. However, it's incorrect to claim that the United States (aka NATO) saved the city from destruction. The story of the "imminent" invasion of Benghazi by Moammar Gaddafi's forces last year was only propaganda to justify Western intervention. And now the United States is intervening - at present without actual gunfire, as far as is known - against the government of Syria, with the full knowledge that they're again on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. A rash of suicide bombings against Syrian government targets is sufficient by itself to dispel any doubts about that. And once again, the United States is participating in the overthrow of a secular Mideast government.