EU To Reduce Dependence On US Dollar As Sanctions Hit Trade With Iran

Source: https://eaworldview.com/

Plans to reduce European Union dependence on the US dollar have been rumoured for a while now, as China’s alternative to the Petrodollar continues to gain strength. The EU is not signing up to the move by Russia, China and the other BRICS bloc nations to replace the dollar but are thinking involvement with the emerging economies bid to break US economic hegemony will improve the 27 member Union’s ability to run an independent foreign policy without having to fear US bullying through sanctions for opposing Washinton’s attempts to dominate global political and economic events. The EU plan was unveiled on Wednesday by the European commission.

The proposal has gained support among European Union member states as companies in EU countries have felt presured to withdraw investments from Iran by the threat of punitive secondary sanctions from the US for any nation which permits its citizens or business community to trade with the Shi’ite Muslim theocracy.

The EU, unlike the US, wants to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran signed in 2015, but needs to deliver on its side of the bargain by increasing trade with Tehran. Less likely to be discussed in mainstream media is that European arms manufacturers, particularly those in Britain, Germany, France and, surprisingly perhaps, Sweden, will benefit greatly from a new arms race if they are in a position to supply both sides.

Iranian rulers are becoming impatient as the EU strives to create a financial mechanism to shield European exporters and importers from the effects of US sanctions on corporations, banks and individuals that continue to trade with Iran. US secondary sanctions can be applied on any European firm with links to the US market. I find this rather surprising as back in the 1960s when I studied economics, it was common knowledge that jurisdictions with lax trade regulation regimes like Panama or The Bahamas could be used to obfuscate paper trails and evade sanctions, tariffs and taxes.

The commission is perhaps reluctant to use Gibraltar’s port facilities for trans — shipping goods bound eventually for Iran because of the uncertain position of The Rock post Brexit. Instead Brussels is focusing on increasing the use of the euro in energy markets by creating a financial vehicle to facilitate settlement of oil contracts in the single currency, thus bypassing sanctions by avoiding any dollar transactions. Along with other such bilateral agreement systems, the plan is part of a longer-term move to “de-dollarise” the world economy.

Measures included in the EU policy involve using the euro as default currency in energy contracts agreed between EU member states and non-EU countries, as well as the creation of euro-denominated price benchmarks for crude oil. The EU is one of the world’s largest energy importers.

The commission press release also suggests the EU must develop “a full range of trustworthy interest rate benchmarks” in and a fully integrated instant payment system acceptable in all financial markets. The bloc will also seek to develop the role of the euro in foreign exchange markets.

In launching the long-term plan, EU economic affairs commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, said: “A wider use of the euro in the global economy yields important potential for better protecting European citizens and companies against external shocks and making the international finance and monetary system more resilient.”

The commissioner added these plans came “at a time where the recent global trends, the emergence of new economic powers along with the development of new technologies are supporting a potential shift towards a more diversified and multipolar system of several global currencies”.

Responding to the EU announcement an Iranian official said:
“Based on the news I recently received and was confirmed by a European commissioner, from now on, the EU is going to ditch the US dollar and just use the euro in the financial transactions of all European oil deals with other countries,” said Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said the amount of these transactions is more than €300 billion. “Previously, the EU used to pay 85 percent of the money for the oil it purchased from other countries in US dollars, but now with this new mechanism, all the money will be paid in euros,” he said.

Once the mechanism takes effect, the US dollar will be isolated as a global currency, and the US will no longer be able to use dollars in the current dominating way, Salehi added.

His comments came one day after the EU commission presented its plan to reduce the dollar’s overwhelming dominance of the global economy and to strengthen the role of the euro, particularly for energy transactions. There will be a lnee jerk reaction from the left of US politics, to blame Donald Trump for this development, the EU have already accused the Trump Administration of weaponising the reserve currency, although that is unfair because the US has used its position as holder of the reserve currency as a political weapon since the 1960s. In fact the move towards de-dolarisation, led by China, Russia and Iran, has been going on for some years now, the initial moves having been made early in the Obama era, though even before Obama took office there was widespread dissatisfaction with the way the USA used dollar dominance to influence political developments outside its borders. It has alredy attracted many trading partners, perhaps US economic belligerence is an attempt to combat this. If so it is the wrong approach.

European capitals have become increasingly frustrated with the global dominance of the dollar as a reserve currency, which hands the United States unparalleled diplomatic and economic power in a globalized world. This hostility was exacerbated when economic sanctions imposed on Russia after it’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Many European nations were hit harder by those sanctions than Russia.

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Company Wants To Implant Microchips In “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Workers

Not so long ago the idea that thousands of people would volunteer to have microchips implanted into their hands seemed like something out of a TV series about a dystopian future society, but it is already becoming a reality.  Thousands of fanatical technology worshippers, as crazily devoted to their deity as any medieval religious cult it seems, have already had microchips implanted, by a Swedish company. There is a near stampede to get chipped and the company behind the scheme claims it is now working with very large global employers to implement RFID chipping on the corporate level.

Jowan Osterlund, CEO of the company, Biohax, recently told a UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph  that they have been talking with a “major financial services firm” that has  “hundreds of thousands of employees”

from The Daily Telegraph:

Biohax, a Swedish company that provides human chip implants, told the Telegraph it was in talks with a number of UK legal and financial firms to implant staff with the devices.

One prospective client, which cannot be named, is a major financial services firm with “hundreds of thousands of employees.”

Global corporations face increasing criticism of their authoroitarian management cultures and cavalier attitudes to  ethical and human rights issues. And with horror stories about hacking and cyber attacks constantly in the news, the corporate paranoia of these security-obsessed corporations is driving a rush to adopt this sort of technology.  If all of your employees are chipped, you will always know where they are, and you will always know who has access to sensitive areas or sensitive information. Current RFID technology is not like GPS however, it has limited range and cannot be used to track people outside the workplace. But emplyees smart phones and other internet enabled devices are designed to do that.

According to Osterlund, Biohax, the procedure to implant a chip takes “about two seconds”, and it is usually implanted in the hand

A syringe is used to place the chip in an area between the thumb and forefinger, according to the report. Osterlund said the procedure is similar to ear piercing and takes “about two seconds.” The microchips operate via “near field communication” technology, similar to what is used by no-contact bank cards.

“In a company with 200,000 employees, you can offer this as an opt-in,” Osterlund told the Telegraph.

Right now, many companies use security badges, and many of us are familiar with working in organisations that issue chipped identity cards. Biohax and tech fans say implanted chips are no different except that unlike security badges, which can be lost, stolen or forged,  or taken off and locked in a desk drawer, an implanted chip is much more permanent and much more secure, and that is one of the big selling points.  The following is what the chief medical officer of Biohax recently told Fox News

“The chip implant is a secure way of ensuring that a person’s digital identity is linked to their physical identity. It enables access management in a way that protects individual self-sovereignty and allows users to control the privacy of their online activity,” Dr. Stewart Southey, the Chief Medical Officer at Biohax International, told Fox News.

Of course once this technology starts to be implemented, there will be some workers, and one would hope, almost 100% of trade union leaders that will object. But if it comes down to a choice between getting the implant or losing their jobs, how many workers do you think will choose to become unemployed?

(Subversive types might be interested to know if they obtain a circular neodymium magnet about 15mm diameter and atach it with the north pole next to the skin with surgical tape, leaving it in place for 48 hours, it will effectively neutralise the chip. Doing this might get you fired of course so make sure your union will support you)

Some people will sacrifice their jobs before they will accept this return to medieval serfdom, but given the ease with which corporate propaganda has persuaded people to accept Microsoft’;s ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ operating system, shift so much of their personal data to an electronic networking medium that offers less security than a prison without walls or use a search engine or a social media platform that will not just track users around the web after they leave those sites, but also invade your personal files and mine data from them that can be used to build ‘psychological profiles’ of us and enable people who buy that information to ‘target’ us more efectively with advertising, persuading the masses to accept being chipped is not going to be a hard sell..

Personally, I will never let anyone embed a chip in my body.  But just like with so many other things (sic), most of the population will simply choose to accept the “new technology” because everybody else is doing it. We have already accepted contactless payment cards. Initially we were told the contactless feature on newly issued cards was only for payments up to £30 in Britain, but on holiday in Europe recently I noticed restaurant staff were trying to used it for bills of over €100, and a car hire clerk tried to use it for a €400 payment. And as a former IT professional who worked on securing systems for years, I can tell you this technology is highly insecure. My bank gives me the option of not enabling the feature but many banks are now insisting contactless is the preferred method of use. It’s the future, they chorus in a bid to make us feel inadequate.

OK, if you are affluent and are only buying a sandwich for lunch and end up paying for the tuna and mayo wrap and diet coke the person behind you at the till is having, it doesn’t hurt much but consider what could happen if somebody on a tight budget had their contactless card details skimmed. The equipment needed to ‘skim’ these cards and steal account details is very cheap and easy to obtain.

Here’s a query that was posted on a tech forum earlier this year: When my old debit card expired and a new one was sent, it came with this new feature. I wanted a way to disable it since each time I was scanning my RFID access card in my wallet, the detectors at work were picking up the debit card too. They’d beep twice and sometimes get confused. Not only this, but while my bank promises it’s secure, I’d rather not have a feature I don’t intend to use on the off-chance that it’s not.

Most methods of disabling the contactless feature on a debit or credit card involve physically mutilating the card, which I don’t like the idea of. A less destructive method is to locate where the rfid chip is positioned in your card and put a half inch square of copper tape (available from gardening stores or websites) over it on the back of the card.

In my experience when corporate businesses, the banks or technology companies tell us some innovation is for our benefit, either making life more convenient, or our finances more secure, in reality it is for their benefit. In my omnibus page Cashless Society I have reported many times on moves to eliminate the use of coinage and banknotes in the developed nations. It is claimed the reasoning behind this is to reduce crime and make financial activity more convenient. In fact a big part of the push to dump cash is to enable the electronic tracking of even our smallest purchases, the better to divine our habits and lifestyle choices from collected data.

Nothing is ever what it seems to be and RFID chip implants are no different. Apart from privacy issues and the principle of personal liberty, we must ask, as Marcus Tullius Cicero did two thousand years ago, Cui Bono. Who benefits? I’ll give you a clue, it isn’t people like you or me.

Elites Losing The War On Cash? Sweden U-Turns On ‘Cashless Society’ Agenda

image: https://gsiexchange.com/

Sweden was until now proudly leading the advance in the War On Cash, the neo – Maoist ruling elite had pushed the idea that a cashless society, with all financial activity moved to electronic media would protect citizens from crime and be more convenient. There was no mention when the idea was pitched by politicians and bankers that in a cashless society we would completely surrender control of our money to banks, and our privacy in financial matters to government security agencies. Yes, every electronic financial transaction is recorded, your spending habits are tracked, and while disreputable organisations like Google, Facebook and Twitter will sell that information to anybody who can afford to pay, governments can use it against you in many other ways.

In a surprise turnaround Sweden’s Riksbank this weekend has  become the first central bank in the 21st century to take concrete measures to ensure that cash does not disappear as a means of payment from the financial system, in opposition to corporate efforts to force retail customers away from cash. To achieve that the Riksbank proposes, in a document published on its website, to mandate that all banks and financial institutions continue to offer cash services.

The policy initiative comes in response to a recent proposal suggestion by the Riksbank Committee that only the country’s six major banks should be obligated to continue offering cash services.

That prompted a reaction from Sweden’s competition watchdog, which argued that the plan would distort competition as it would affect only a few of the nation’s banks. In response, the Riksbank has opted to apply the rule to “all banks and other credit institutions that offer payment accounts.”

There was also a disagreement between the RiksbankCommittee (a political overseer,) and the central bank’s senior management over what deposit facilities should be offered. While the Committee recommended that banks should only be obliged to provide deposit facilities to businesses, the Riksbank believes it is important for banks to also offer deposit services to private citizens:

“This is a service that consumers can reasonably expect of credit institutions. There must also be symmetry between withdrawal and deposit facilities. In the Riksbank’s view, there is otherwise a risk that the possibilities for individuals to make deposits will decrease even further in the future. For most consumers, it would also be difficult to understand why they can withdraw cash from an account but not make deposits.”

For yearsnow, both the ultra progressive Swedish the government and the Riksbank management have been pushing for a “cashless society.” The Riksbank has over 1,000 articles posted on its website on the “cashless society“. The emphasis worked: between 2013 and 2017, the amount of cash in circulation dropped by 35%, earning Sweden a reputation as the world’s “most cashless nation”.

Many of Sweden’s bank branches had stopped handling cash altogether, but now will have to begin doing so again. Many of them are not happy about it arguing that access to cash should be the sole responsibility of the state and not private banks.

“To secure access to cash is a collective good that the state should reasonably be responsible for,” the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority said. It’s an opinion that’s shared by ATM provider Bankomat, which argued that it should be the state’s responsibility to ensure that citizens have access to cash since the handing of notes and coins is such an important — and expensive — part of a country’s infrastructure.

Shops and restaurants, could also be affected by a suggestion that retail operations which provide public services, such as pharmacies, transport services, food shops and petrol stations, should also “be included in an obligation to accept cash.”

One likely result of this is that many people who struggle to navigate the digital system, or who don’t have credit cards, in particular the elderly, no longer have to fear finding themselves locked out of the country’s payment system.’ There is also that section of society known as ‘the underclass – and yes Sweden does have them despite government efforts to present the nation as a socialist utopia in which things like poverty, crime, prostitution and begging are unknown. Sweden’s parliament has also launched a review on the impact of going cashless too quickly as it excludes the financial needs of the elderly, children and tourists who rely on cash.

It is a dramatic u-turn for a country that not so long ago was further along the path toward eliminating cash than just about any other advanced economy. Sweden enlisted its citizens as largely willing guinea pigs in an economic experiment that was doomed from the start — negative interest rates. People quick on the uptake will have worked out in such a system we, the punters pay the bank to gamble with our hard earned. But a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) has its limits with consumers as long as cash remains an alternative because while you have to pay for the privilege of having money in the bank, stuffing it in a matress or under the floorboards is free. And that is the true explanation of the eagerness to eliminate cash. It was not for our protection or our convenience, but to make stealing from us easier for banks, financial services companies and governments.

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Why The Western Democracies Are Failing


For too long the democratic nations of the world, which are mostly in North America and Europe, with some outposts such as Autralia, have followed the lead of The United States of America both economically and socially. And the USA has been leading us to disaster for fifty years.

Forget this week’s utter fiasco of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the upreme court, and the utterly pathetic attempt by the Democrats to prevent President Tump’s nominee’s conformation. It doesn’t matter whether Brett Kavanaugh becomes a justice of the Supreme Court or not; one more Deep State lackey will change nothing.

For years, the Courts and elected assemblies of has looked the other way as the banking cartel colaborated with central banks and global corporations to rob one class of citizen (ordinary, working people) and reward another (the elite).

As a result, the American economic empire faces a catastrophic crisis as wealth concentrates in fewer hands, and the debts of the have nots (both nations and individuals, become overwhelming. The resurgence of nationalism in Europe is one symptom, the increasing number of regional conflicts and rising tensions between the western democracies and the non – democratic eastern bloc, is another. And the upsuge in Islamic fundamentalism is the third and probably the most dangerous. All this is being played out to the accompaniment of internal schisms, social breakdowns, and dangerous political scuffles.

Why, you might well ask.

If you work by the hour, the boss can buy your time. That’s what it really means to say someone is “rich” – he has more time because he can control not only his own, but yours, too.

Somebody who had $1,000 worth of stocks in 1971 could buy approximately 250 of the average working man’s hours. Today, that $1,000 worth of stocks is worth about $28,000… which, at today’s $26-per-hour average, will buy 1,077 hours of the typical working man’s time – four times as much as in 1971.

In other words, compared to the wage earner, the capitalist is four times as rich.

Invert it, and you see about the same thing. A working man would have had to labor for 212 hours to buy the 30 Dow stocks in 1971. Today, his time is much less valuable; he has to sweat for over 1,100 hours to buy the Dow.

It is this hollowing out of the middle class (not the middle class in the British sense, where the class system is much more complicated,) that is behind the chaos in the democratic world. The group in the middle is getting smaller, the’poor’ are growing exponentially in number and the rich are getting richer and more out of touch with the realities other classes face. It cannot end well.

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A Profound Danger To The Dollar’s Reserve Status?

This blog and our larger sibling The Daly Stirrer have since 2012 been following moves in the international community, led by Russia and China to replace the US dollar as the global reserve currency, a status that has prevailed since 1974 when the USA concluded an agreement with Saudi Arabia, then totally dominant as the world’s largest oil producer, that all oil trades would be carried out in dollars – this was the birth of the petrodollar.

This agreement has since then given the USA a huge advantage over its trading partners, but the balance of power in the world has shifted with the break up of the Soviet Union, the liberalisation of China and the emergence of China as an economic power and of Russia as a major supplier of oil and gas.

You can follow the whole currency wars sage at our omnibus page, Currency Wars, and, while The Daily Stirrer is on a break, check out the latest development in the currency wars at Zero Hedge

America Takes A Step Closer To Becoming A Cashless Society

cashless
Piture: The Guardian

If you order a beer at a Flatstick pub in Seattle, Washington, don’t try to pay with $10 bill — you’ll walk away thirsty. It’s not that the US state of Washington has started charging Scandinavian prices for booze, but that Flatstick, a hot new mini-chain in the Pacific Northwest, does not accept cash. Neither does Bluestone Lane, an east coast coffee chain with locations in New York, Philly and D.C. Patrons there have to pay with plastic or an app called LevelUp.

Cashless commerce is popping up around the country, particularly in restaurants catering to a younger crowd, the kind of university brainwashed millenials who think its cool to make life easy for rip off merchants by relying on contactless cards or smart phone apps to pay. It seems millenials are more likely to leave home without any greenbacks, or even a wallet, and instead choose to live life with a smartphone and a few credit or debit cards attached. Or perhaps due to the abject failure of the education system these dorks haven’t mastered the basic arithmetic needed to use csh transactions.

Businesses who’ve gone cashless rave about the results. Flatstick owner Sam Largent told me plastic-only reduces error rates during times of complex accounting, such as calculating tips when shifts change. I’m not sure why customers should care about that but then in Europe your waiter is not likely to shoot you for tipping too little.

The value of cash transactions sank 7% from 2010 to 2015, according to The Nilson Report, while credit and debit card payments increased by nearly 50%. Meanwhile, ATMs, which had their 50th birthday last year, are disappearing around around the world, signaling the decline of the “cash run.”

Cash-free environments aren’t brand new. Political establishments have been pushing the idea of cashless lives for decades, the better to keeep tabs on the spending habits of individuals. Airlines went cashless a long time ago (for meals and other onboard purchases), and many other businesses are only taking automated payments (it gives them an excuse to fire another human being.) And with the meteoric rise of friend-to-friend payment apps like Venmo, Zelle and Splitwise, we’re no longer throwing $20 bills on the table after a meal (or handing over cash or checks to roommates for the gas bill).

But cash is a long away from dead, and as usual we find governments and mainstream media are deploying fake news to advance their agenda. The US Federal Reserve said in 2016 that 35% of U.S. transactions were still made in cash although 42% of UK transactions are still in cash. Numbers for other European countries, with the Scandinavian countries leading the race to dystopia while the nations of southern and eastern Europe cling to their banknotes.. And the amount of cash being used around the world continues to rise. Plus, there are still many of obstacles to going cashless.

For starters, the estimates suggest that around 7% of the populations of developed nations still do not use banking facilities. In other words, they live an all-cash life, so would be entirely shut out in a cashless society. Some also like the anonymity that comes with paying cash. Others use cash for budgeting reasons (when you’re out of cash, you stop spending – simples).

Still, on a global scale, eliminating cash offers some intriguing possibilities. Merely the elimination of large denomination banknotes, which the EU has done, makes life much harder for large-enterprise criminals, like drug dealers according to technocrats. OK, it’s far more conspicuous to carry around large piles of small bills, but wire transfers between banks in Switzerland and The Cayman Islands present no problems. And if you connect through a VPN the transaction is untraceable. People who claim that if all financial transactions were electronic, hiding crime would become much more difficult are takling bollocks. They either have little understanding of how the internet works (or how much of it is invisible to the World Wide Web,) or they are on the side of the big league criminals and corporate pirates.

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Russia Says Time Has Come To Ditch The Dollar

Saturday 25 August

Picture: https://woodgatesview.files.wordpress.com/

As the US State Department unveiled the latest round of sanctions on Russia yesterday,  while the trade war with China that has seen tariffs imposed on a wide range of Chinese goods shows no sign of easing, Moscow signalled its intention to respond to this latest attack on its economy. In particular, the Russian government announced it is accelerating efforts to abandon the American currency in trade transactions, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

The time has come when we need to go from words to actions, and get rid of the dollar as a means of mutual settlements, and look for other alternatives,” he said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, he told RT.

“Thank God, this is happening, and we will speed up this work,” Ryabkov said, explaining the move would come in addition to other “retaliatory measures” as a response to a growing list of US sanctions. It is time mainstream media in the west started reporting accurately what is going on. The official position of the US is that their sanctions are in retaliation for various Russian acts such as meddling in the US election process, but in reality the USA is trying to protect its position as issuers of the reserve currency, while Russia, China and a number of emerging economies resent the way the US uses the reserve currency to dictate matters in global trade.

Previously, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has said that a growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar as a medium in global oil trades and other transactions.

“There is a common understanding that we need to move towards the use of national currencies in our settlements. There is a need for this, as well as the wish of the parties,” Novak said.

According to the minister, it concerns both Turkey and Iran, with more countries likely to join the growing dedollarization wave.

Our reporting of this long running news thread tends to confirm his view.

“We are considering an option of payment in national currencies with them. This requires certain adjustments in the financial, economic, and banking sectors,” he said. Last week, we reported that the Kremlin was interested in trading with Ankara using the Russian ruble and the Turkish lira. India has also vowed to pay for Iranian oil in rupees. Some economists argue that modern technology removes the need for a reserve, the speed with which computer systems handle currency trades and conversions eliminated administrative bottlenecks.

Meanwhile, the world’s rapidly growing second-largest economy and Washington’s trade nemesis, China, has been taking steps to challenge the greenback’s dominance with the launch of an oil futures contract backed by Chinese currency, the petro-yuan. This is fully reported elsewhere in this page. China and Iran have already agreed to stop using the dollar in global trade as China has ramped up purchases of Iranian oil in defiance of US sanctions. India, Pakistan, the EU, Australia and Japan are also known to have made petr-yuan contracts.

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