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Are We Really in the Year 1714?

The Phantom Time Hypothesis

Students of the Middle Ages all know that the Holy Roman Empire was, in the words of Voltaire, ‘neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire’.

But did this agglomeration of medieval power and influence also saddle us with a bogus calendar?

Could an emperor – maybe two emperors, with the help of a friendly pope – have been responsible for shoving 297 years’ worth of utterly fictitious history into our collective consciousness, there to fester and cause problems for innocent historical researchers? What year is it, anyway?

To be clear: the Phantom Time Hypothesis, originally by Heribert Illig and Hans-Ulrich Niemitz1, states that the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto III, in collusion with Pope Sylvester II, misdated the Western calendar in order to celebrate the end of the first millennium – 297 years early.

This theory claims that Otto and others then filled in the ‘phantom time’ with some pretty interesting, but totally imaginary, history.

What do tree rings tell us about a possible media conspiracy? What was Charlemagne – ideal ruler, or corporate myth? What secrets does the Aachen treasure room hold in addition to Jesus’ underwear?

Inquiring minds want to know. The rest of you will just have to come along for the ride.

The Dark Ages – Who Turned Out the Lights?

The term ‘Dark Ages’ is in disrepute to describe the period between 500 and 1000 CE – Common Era. (For those unfamiliar with this politically correct term, the years are equivalent to ‘Anno Domini’, or ‘AD’2).

During this period, it was formerly believed, Western Europeans did very little that would interest historians, or indeed anybody not directly related to them.

They produced almost no literature, art, or cultural artefacts. They made no appreciable progress in agriculture or technology. They didn’t even have any interesting wars.

This bothered scholars.

What bothered them even more was that in the 7th, 8th, and 9th Centuries, there were no records to speak of.

Cities that one might assume to have been continuously inhabited, such as the German towns that were formerly Roman colonies, seem to have been empty of, say, market activity.

One could only conclude that, while there were obviously buildings there, churches and such, nobody ever came to town to sell a pig. Or at least, kept it a secret.

Then there were the Jews, who usually kept good community records. In the 6th Century, they were everywhere in Western Europe.

For about three centuries after that, they seem to have disappeared – only to show up again in exactly the same places. What could explain this? A shortage of parchment? A game of historical hide-and-seek?

By the 1980s, some people were taking a look at these historical puzzles, and asking themselves a few questions:

  • Why was there a three-century moratorium on building projects in Constantinople, of all places?
  • Is it reasonable to assume that Romanesque architecture was created more than half a millennium after the fall of the Roman Empire? Or that the Cathedral of Aachen was 200 years ahead of its time in innovation?
  • Where did everybody go?

In a number of fields – archaeology, history, palaeography – scholars had questions. Faced with the obvious answer that ‘we don’t know, it just happened’, they wrote their studies around the puzzles – until someone challenged their assumptions.

The resulting mini-firestorm of discussion has not resulted in a movement to change the calendar from 2011 to 1714, but the Phantom Time Hypothesis, as it came to be called, has provided food for thought.

The Least You Need to Know about the Middle Ages

Before examining the claims of the Phantom Time Hypothesis, it is well to review the following unquestioned facts about the Middle Ages:

  • Literacy was not widespread. Since most people could not read or write, the ability to do so equalled power. You could write down anything you liked, as long as your fellow literates did not challenge you.
  • There are thousands of recognised forgeries from the Middle Ages. People forged wills, history texts, land deeds, etc, etc. In these cases, it is usually fairly easy to answer the question cui bono?3
  • Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the biggest forgery factories during this period was the Church.
  • In this connection, it is well to mention the Donation of Constantine, a document which alleges that the Emperor Constantine (272-337 CE) died and left the pope in charge of vast amounts of land in Europe.
  • The usual date for this forgery is the 8th Century CE (if there was an 8th Century CE).
  • The Church did not only forge documents. Many, many churches throughout European Christendom have objects called relics – items which are said to have belonged to especially holy people, called saints, or to famous personages from the Christian Bible.
  • These items range from artefacts and utensils, such as the chains used to bind St Peter or the Crown of Thorns4, to more personal things such as body parts (John the Baptist’s head) and drops of blood5.
  • To accept every single one of these objects as genuine is a matter of faith. To question the chain of evidence in their provenance – could these really be the bones of the Magi in that box? – is a question of forensic science and, one might claim, common sense.
  • Churches at this time vied hotly for the possession of relics. A recognised relic was a sign of legitimacy for the owner. They were not above stealing these things from one another
  • Nobody at this period owned a clock. To find out what day it was, they asked a priest. It was the Feast Day of Saint So-and-So. This was either a working day, or a holiday. That ended the discussion.

With these facts in mind, it is possible to follow the arguments of the Phantom Time Hypothesis.

The Phantom Time Hypothesis – An Outrageous Conspiracy Theory?

The Phantom Time Hypothesis, as advanced by German researcher Heribert Illig, and expanded by Dr Hans-Ulrich Niemitz of the Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur in Leipzig, claims the following:

  • The Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII caused his scribes to recopy Byzantine historical documents from the old writing style, called majuscule, into the new writing style, called minuscule. Once this was done, the old books were destroyed.These facts are not in dispute. The Phantom Time Hypothesis claims that this undertaking provided a tempting opportunity to rewrite history – a temptation that Constantine VII did not resist.
  • Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (related to Constantine VII through his, Otto’s, mother, Theophanu), in connivance with Pope Sylvester II (né Gerbert d’Aurillac), decided to convince everybody they were living at the end of the First Millennium, because it was a wonderful opportunity for positive PR. Besides, Otto liked the idea of reigning in the Year 1000. It was such a nice, round number.
  • The fact that these leaders moved the calendar by 297 years made it possible to invent an entire dynasty – to wit, the Carolingian period. Otto III modelled his reign after that of his ‘hero’, Charles the Great. If the Phantom Time Hypothesis is true, Charlemagne is as fictional as Prester John6.

From the evidence, it is obvious that Constantine, Otto, and Sylvester had means, motive and opportunity to perpetrate what they may not have regarded as a crime. But is there any evidence that they did so?

Although there is no ‘smoking gun’ in the form of, say, a confession – they would hardly have left a notarised statement lying about – there are some suspicious facts. One of these is the whole controversy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

Heribert Illig first noticed that when the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582, it was necessary to omit ten days to make up for the fact that the old Julian year was actually about ten minutes too long7.

These ten days (and a few more omitted since 1582) account for the reason Russian Christmas is later than Western Christmas8.

However, calculations based on the year that the Julian calendar was introduced (45 BCE) suggest that it should have been 13 days, not 10.

The figure of 10 suggests that the Julian calendar had been in operation for about 340 years less than the 1,626 years you would expect to find between 45 BCE and 1582 CE. Perhaps there is something wrong with the count of these years?

On the other hand, if the calendar had been correct in 325 CE, then ten days would be the correct number to omit.

As the detractors of the Phantom Time Hypothesis theory point out, this happens to be the date of the Nicene Council, which had so much trouble figuring out when Easter was.

The detractors figure that settles that – they claim the Gregorian calendar makers were only trying to get the calendar to agree with the state of affairs back in the 4th Century, when they first set the Easter date (though not without a lot of arguing).

Not so, replied Professor Niemitz, who points out that there is a problem with the placement of the equinoxes as well as the date of Easter:

Some historians have noticed this contradiction, but they solve it this way: the scholars in Caesar’s time reckoned a different date for the equinox (the day in spring, where day and night have the same length). Yet it can be proved that the Romans used the same date for the equinox as we do today, i.e. the 21st of March. — from ‘Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist?‘ by Hans-Ulrich Niemitz.

That, of course, is not that. Those who oppose having their minds messed with by inquiring Germans have raised other objections to the Phantom Time Hypothesis. Phantom Time Hypothesisers have replied to them. Let the reader judge.

How Many Holes Are There in This Theory?

It’s a very simple question, isn’t it? How could anyone insert time into a chronology? We know how much time has passed since the death of Caesar, right? We can prove this independently? Let us see.

One way to check the date of things is by using radiocarbon dating to determine the age of artefacts. Detractors of the Phantom Time Hypothesis point this out, and say, ‘Pish and tosh. We know how old things are from carbon dating.’

The problem with this: radiocarbon dating uses dendrochronology to calibrate itself, and dendrochronology has a few problems of its own.

Dendrochronology is dating things by examining tree rings. Trees lay down rings season by season. This growth varies according to prevailing conditions. If enough is known about the age of the tree, its location, conditions, etc, the wood can be used for dating.

Problems: there are not many trees that are old enough; there are not many trees of the same species; wood from buildings may have been lying around for a long time, may have been reused, etc.

It turns out that dendrochronologists have been using written sources to help ‘correct’ their timelines9.

This might be a problem if we want to use dendrochronology to correct a written source.

Another way to check the date of things is to go by the stars, which are not susceptible to falsification by ambitious emperors and clerics.

Unfortunately, the debate is still on as to whether written accounts of such phenomena as eclipses are accurate – or whether historians eager to correct their own timelines have been grasping at straws.

‘This looks like Halley’s comet, so it must have been that year…’ The jury is still out as to whether this information can clear up the question. The research required would be massive.

Another objection to the Phantom Time Hypothesis is that Europe did not exist in a vacuum. If someone had changed the calendar, wouldn’t anyone else – say the Muslims? – have noticed?

It is hard to say. Some areas of early Islamic history might actually be simplified by the discovery that the Western dates had been altered.

It might explain inscriptions on early Islamic coins – the ones that showed Muhammed meeting with a Persian emperor who supposedly died a century before. Similar claims are made about ‘missing time’ in Jewish records.

Another possible means of comparison would be Chinese history – which is notably long, with accurate astronomical observations10.

All these areas would require an enormous amount of research either to validate or refute the theory, research that is unlikely to be undertaken by anyone not interested in rewriting the timeline.

A theory is a theory because it is not an undisputed fact. A theory is a possible explanation. Does the Phantom Time Hypothesis fit this description? Yes.

Could it be definitively proven/disproven? Possibly. Is anyone interested enough to do the research? Time will tell.

Charles the Great as Media Invention?

The greatest surprise of the Phantom Time Hypothesis is the assertion, by Niemitz and others, that Charlemagne was an invented character who lived in an imaginary time.

This claim startles at first – after all, Charlemagne was the subject of no fewer than two medieval biographies (although both were written after his death).

Inventing heroes is hardly a new human enterprise, but Otto III not only revered Charlemagne, he found his body.

According to Otto Lomello, who was there when the tomb of the great Carolingian was opened in the numinous Year of Our Lord 1000:

So we went in to Charles. He did not lie, as the dead otherwise do, but sat as if he were living. He was crowned with a golden crown and held in his gloved hands a sceptre; the fingernails had penetrated through the gloves and stuck out. Above him was a canopy of limestone and marble. 

Entering, we broke through this. Upon our entrance, a strong smell struck us. Kneeling, we gave Emperor Charles our homage, and put in order the damage that had been done. Emperor Charles had not lost any of his members to decay, except only the tip of his nose. 

Emperor Otto replaced this with gold, took a tooth from Charles’s mouth, walled up the entrance to the chamber, and withdrew again. – Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, VII, book III, 3211

Allegedly, other emperors later visited this tomb. In 1165, Friedrich Barbarossa removed the remains and had them interred in a sarcophagus (allegedly) belonging to Caesar Augustus.

Friedrich II (allegedly) put the bones in a casket of gold and silver. (He put something in there, but at this point, it is not safe to say what12.)

People visit these relics of Charlemagne in Aachen, just as they visit the other great Aachen relics, the ones which are displayed every seven years: St Mary’s cloak, Christ’s swaddling (baby) clothes, St John the Baptist’s beheading cloth, and Christ’s loincloth (or undergarment).

Perhaps it requires a conspiracy theory to doubt the authenticity of these items. Perhaps not. If one can be invented, cannot the other?

Reputable historians, of course, assume Charlemagne to have been a real person – an amazingly talented king who expanded the Frankish empire and accomplished many wonderful things.

Historian Will Durant, while acknowledging the legends surrounding this ‘greatest of medieval kings’, considers his battles and social reforms in detail.

Durant describes Charlemagne this way:

‘He was of German blood and speech, and shared some characteristics of his people – strength of body, courage of spirit, pride of race, and a crude simplicity many centuries apart from the urbane polish of the modern French13.’

Could the truth about this greatest king since Arthur lie somewhere in between total acceptance of the received version, and the assumption that the monarch was invented out of whole cloth?

Much more research would be needed – and the past is a dodgy character, kind of hard to pin down.

What Difference Does It Make?

What difference does it make if the Phantom Time Hypothesis is real? None at all. Calendars will still bear a date in the 21st Century. No one will be sued.

It is extremely doubtful that anyone will suggest that Otto III be burned in effigy, or that the Kaiserdom in Aachen be desanctified.

It makes no difference at all. If the Holy Roman Emperor sneaked in 297 years’ worth of made-up history, the only people who will care are a handful of medievalists, who might possibly say, ‘Oh, that’s why I can’t find the sheep count.’

It makes no difference, because timekeeping is a social construct. There is no Y2K problem here. The planet moves as it moves, independent of Western notions of marking the days.

It is an interesting conundrum, however, and one that might make the historian reflect that our works and pomps might not be as time-honoured as we think they are. The distant past might not be as distant as we imagine.

Oh, and a lot of our ancestors were liars.

Read for Yourself

To follow the argument for the Phantom Time Hypothesis, read ‘Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist?‘ by the late Prof Dr Hans-Ulrich Niemitz.

Those who wish to investigate more deeply, and who can read German, may enjoy this web page, entitled ‘Fantomzeit‘, by Fabian Fritzsche.

Don’t read German? How about that elegant amalgam of German syntax and English vocabulary (well, sort of) that proliferates on the internet?

A little patience and good will renders this charming addition to the discussion both informative and suggestive for further research.

For a thorough discussion of the architectural issues involved (as well as a tour of the calendar problem from Julius Caesar on), see ‘The Invented Middle Ages‘ by Heribert Illig.

Refutations of the Phantom Time Hypothesis have not actually been very thorough or painstaking, being mostly of the scornful variety. Most arguments available online, at any rate, are nicely summed up in this article on the ‘Straight Dope‘ site.

Although the Phantom Time Hypothesis meets with general disbelief on the part of official scholarship (perhaps because this theory meets with general disbelief), it is difficult to find accessible texts that explain in detail why it is unlikely to be true.

For a more serious negative critique of the Phantom Time Hypothesis, you may need to read German (again).

Physicist Stephan Matthiesen’s commentary, Erfundenes Mittelalter – fruchtlose These! [transl. ‘Invented Middle Ages? A Fruitless Thesis!’], which appeared in the journal Skeptiker in 2001, offers refutations of major points of the theory as put forth by Heribert Illig, and characterises Illig’s writing style as ‘tiresome’ (‘ermüdend’).

In this article, Matthiesen is replying specifically to Illig’s version of the theory, and not to Niemitz’s. Whether scholars will continue to take the time to refute this theory, or merely move on to other questions, remains to be seen.

via http://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A85654957 / References:

1. Others have since chimed in.

2. This Entry discusses a controversy over timelines. In order to keep things straight and avoid confusion, the term ‘CE’, or Common Era, will be used.

The Entry is taking no definitive stance as to the veracity of Dr Niemitz’s claims about the inaccuracy of this dating, the correctness of the calculations of Dennis the Short, or the search for the Historical Jesus.

3. Latin for ‘Who is getting something out of this?’ or in modern terms, ‘Follow the money’.

4. At one time, there were at least two Crowns of Thorns, and about 700 separate thorns, all duly venerated. Many of these thorns were only third class relics, though.

5. Some of these liquefy, in their containers, on certain feast days.

6. Prester John was famous in the Middle Ages, but not a real person. He was reputed to be a descendant of the Magi and ruler of a fabulous kingdom. The fabulous part was right.

7. 11 minutes and 15 seconds, to be more exact.

8. In Russia, the Gregorian calendar was first adopted by the Soviet Union. The Russian Orthodox Church continues to follow the Julian calendar.

9. Also, for complicated reasons, keeping a lot of their data secret. This has frustrated researcher Lars-Åke-Larsson, who has done extensive work with dendrochronology in a (so far futile) attempt to refute the Phantom Time Hypothesis.

10. Is refuting this theory as simple a matter as stating, with Stephen Dutch of the University of Wisconsin, that ‘…there’s absolutely no way you can just drop 297 years from the calendar in the last 2,000 years and not notice it’?

11. Quoted from Wikipedia, Aachen Cathedral, accessed 26.04.11 (CE).

12. The whole question of what Charlemagne’s body was doing sitting up in his tomb is interesting. What Otto was doing, allegedly, was looking for the crown of Hungary, to give to the new Hungarian king. Romanian sources variously date the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathians to the 7th or 10th Century.

Non-believers in Phantom Time say half the historians in Romania just couldn’t count. Otto ‘found’ the crown. He also ‘found’ a body that smelled bad, but was miraculously uncorrupted after a very long time.

One researcher, John F Moffit, believes it might have been a wax effigy, like those at Madame Tussaud’s. It might be worth noting that incorruptible corpses have different traditional meanings in Eastern and Western Europe.

In the West, if a corpse didn’t rot, its owner was holy. In the Balkans, a corpse found not to have decomposed in about 20 years was considered to be a vampire, and dealt with accordingly. (This practice continued into at least the early 20th Century.)

http://humansarefree.com/2017/01/are-we-really-in-year-1714-phantom-time.html

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The Sinister Agenda Behind the Washington War On Cash

1.01.2017 Author: F. William Engdahl

4213123312It’s kinda sneaking up on us like an East Texas copperhead pit viper. It began to get some wide attention in 2016, with prominent economists and financial media suddenly talking about the wonderful benefits of a “cashless society.” Then the government of Narenda Modi completely surprised his citizens by suddenly announcing withdrawal of larger denomination currency notes from circulation, forcing Indians to put their cash into banks or lose it. Now, everywhere we turn, it seems, someone is arguing the Nirvana benefits of a cashless, “digital” money world. It reminds me in an eerie way of a statement attributed to then US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger in the 1970’s. He reportedly stated, “If you control oil, you control entire nations; if you control food, you control the people; if you control money, you control the entire world.” Consider the following in this regard.

Modi and a USAID ‘Catalyst’

On November 8, 2016 in a surprise televised address, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi announced that, within a deadline of days, all Indian currency notes of 500 and 1,000 Rupees must be put in a bank account and exchanged for smaller denomination notes. At today’s exchange rate 1,000 Rs is roughly equal to $15. This would perhaps be equivalent to the US Treasury outlawing all cash notes larger than a $10 bill.

Overnight, Modi’s government de facto outlawed an estimated 86 percent of all cash in circulation by value. People had 50 days to hand in the notes or they become worthless. Yet the government, despite stating it would issue new, more secure 500Rs and 1000Rs bills, had nowhere near the equivalent value of new notes ready for replacement. They say it may take up to a year to print enough, which means confiscation, de facto. Faked opinion polls with slanted questions done only via smart phone apps of which only 17% of the population has access, claimed that “90% of Indians approve” the demonetization.

Yet it’s far worse. India is an underdeveloped country, the largest in the world in population terms with more than 1.3 billion people. By demanding Indians turn in all 500Rs and 1,000Rs bills to banks, Modi is forcing major change in how Indians control their money in a country high on the corruption scale where few trust government let alone private banks, and prefer to deal strictly in cash or hoard gold for value. Nearly half the population, some 600 million Indians, do not hold a bank account and half of those, some 300 million Indians, lack a government identification, necessary to open an account.

When he presented his shock announcement, Modi pitched it in terms of going after India’s black economy. Soon he shifted gears and was praising the benefits of a “cash-less society” to enable Indians to enter the digital age, appealing to younger Indians, savvy in smart phones and digital networks, to convince the older of the benefits of online banking and consuming. The drastic demonetization declaration was planned by Modi and five other inner-circle ministers in complete secrecy. Not even the banks were told before. The question is what is behind, or rather who is behind this drastic form of monetary shock therapy?

Beyond Cash

The answer is as sinister as it is suggestive of a larger global agenda by what I call in one of my books the Wall Street “Gods of Money.” The Modi cash-less India operation is a project of the US National Security Council, US State Department and Office of the President administered through its US Agency for International Development (USAID). Little surprise, then, that the US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner in a December 1, 2016 press briefing praised the Modi demonetization move stating, “…this was, we believe, an important and necessary step to crack down on illegal actions…a necessary one to address the corruption.”

Keep in mind that USAID today has little to do with aiding poorer countries. By law it must follow the foreign policy agenda of the President’s National Security Council and State Department. It’s widely known as a conduit for CIA money to execute their dirty agendas abroad in places such as Georgia. Notably, the present head of the USAID, Gayle Smith, came to head USAID from her post as Senior Director at the US National Security Council.

German economist and blogger, Norbert Haering, in an extensive, well-documented investigation into the background of the bizarre Modi move to a cash-less India, found not only USAID as the key financial source of the project. He also uncovered a snake-pit of organizational vipers being funded by USAID to design and implement the India shock therapy.

USAID negotiated a co-operation with the Modi Indian Ministry of Finance. In October, 2016 in a press release USAID announced it had created and funded something it named Project Catalyst. The title of their report was, “Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership.” Its stated goal it said was to bring about a “quantum leap” in cashless payment in India.

They certainly did that. Maybe two quantum leaps and some.

If we dig a bit deeper we find that in January, 2016, USAID presented the Indian Finance Ministry a report titled, Beyond Cash: Why India loves cash and why that matters for financial inclusion. Financial “inclusion” for them means getting all Indians into the digital banking system where their every payment can be electronically tracked and given to the tax authorities or to whomever the government sees fit.

Astonishingly, the report, prepared for USAID by something called the Global Innovation Exchange, admitted that “97% of retail transactions in India are conducted in cash or check; Few consumers use digital payments. Only 11% used debit cards for payments last year. Only 6% of Indian merchants accept digital payments…Only 29 percent of bank accounts in India have been used in the last three months.” The US and Indian governments knew very well what shock they were detonating in India.

The Global Innovation Exchange includes such dubious member organizations as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a major donor to the Modi war on cash initiative of USAID. It also includes USAID itself, several UN agencies including UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR. And it includes the US Department of Commerce and a spooky Maclean, Virginia military contractor called MITRE Corporation whose chairman is former CIA Director, James Rodney Schlesinger, a close associate of Henry Kissinger.

The USAID Project Catalyst in partnership with the Indian Finance Ministry was done, according to the USAID press statement, with a sinister-sounding organization called CashlessCatalyst.org. Among the 35 members of CashlessCatalyst.org are USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, VISA, MasterCard, Omidyar Network of eBay billionaire founder Pierre Omidyar, the World Economic Forum-center of the globalization annual Alpine meetings.

War on Cash

However, a most interesting member of the USAID Project Catalyst together with the Indian Ministry of Finance is something called Better Than Cash Alliance. In point of fact the US-government-finance Project Catalyst grew out of a longer cooperation between USAID, the Washington-based Better Than Cash Alliance and the Indian Ministry of Finance. It appers to be the core public driver pushing the agenda of the global “war on cash.”

India and the reckless (or corrupt) Modi government implementing the USAID-Better Than Cash Alliance agenda is clearly serving as a guinea pig in a mass social experiment about how to push the cash war in other countries. The Better Than Cash Alliance is described by the UNCDF, which is its Secretariat, as “a US $38 million global alliance of governments, private sector and development organizations committed to accelerating the shift from cash to electronic payments.”

The Better Than Cash Alliance website announces that the alliance, created in 2012, is a “partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.” It’s housed at the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in New York whose major donors, in turn, surprise, surprise, are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MasterCard Foundation. Among the Better Than Cash Alliance’s 50 members are, in addition to the Gates Foundation, Citi Foundation (Citigroup), Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development, and Visa Inc.

Recently the European Central Bank, which has held negative interest rates for more than a year, allegedly to stimulate growth in the Eurozone amid the long-duration banking and economic crisis of almost nine years, announced that it will stop printing the €500 note. They claim it’s connected with money laundering and terror financing, though it ominously echoes the Modi India war on cash. Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, whose shady role in the 1990’s rape of Russia through his Harvard cronies has been documented elsewhere, is calling for eliminating the US $100 bill. These are first steps to future bolder moves to the desired Cash-less society of Gates, Citigroup, Visa et al.

US Dual Standard: Follow the money…

The move to a purely digital money system would be Big Brother on steroids. It would allow the relevant governments to monitor our every money move with a digital trail, to confiscate deposits in what now are legal bank “bail-ins” as was done in Cyprus in 2013. If central banks move interest rates into negative, something the Bank of Japan and ECB in Frankfurt are already doing, citizens have no choice than to spend the bank money or lose. It is hailed as a way to end tax avoidance but it is far, far more sinister.

As Norbert Haering notes, “the status of the dollar as the world’s currency of reference and the dominance of US companies in international finance provide the US government with tremendous power over all participants in the formal non-cash financial system. It can make everybody conform to American law rather than to their local or international rules.” He adds, referring to the recent US Government demand that Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank pay an astonishing and unprecedented $14 billion fine, “Every internationally active bank can be blackmailed by the US government into following their orders, since revoking their license to do business in the US or in dollar basically amounts to shutting them down.”

We should add to this “benevolent concern” of the US Government to stimulate a War on Cash in India and elsewhere the fact that while Washington has been the most aggressive demanding that banks in other countries enact measures for full disclosure of details of Swiss or Panama or other “offshore” secret account holders or US nationals holding money in foreign banks, the USA itself has scrupulously avoided demanding the same of its domestic banks. The result, as Bloomberg noted following the suspiciously-timed Panama Papers offshore “leaks” of May, 2016, is that the United States is rapidly becoming the world’s leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners.

Perversely enough, in 2010 the US passed a law, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FACTA, that requires financial firms to disclose foreign accounts held by US citizens and report them to the US IRS tax office or the foreign banks face steep penalties. The EU signed on to the intrusive FACTA despite strong resistance. Then, using FACTA as the model, the Paris-based OECD drafted an even tougher version of FACTA in 2014 to allegedly go after tax avoiders. To date 97 countries have agreed to the tough OECD bank disclosure rules. Very few have refused. The refusers include Bahrain, Nauru, Vanuatu—and…the United States.

World’s Biggest Tax Haven

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, a financial wizard or a Meyer Lansky to see a pattern. Washington forces disclosure of secret bank accounts of its citizens or companies abroad, while at the same time lifting control or disclosure inside the United States of private banking accounts. No surprise that such experienced private bankers as London’s Rothschild & Co. have opened offices in Reno Nevada a stone’s throw from Harrah’s and other casinos, and according to Bloomberg, is doing a booming business moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, or Switzerland which are subject to the new OECD international disclosure requirements, into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt from those disclosure rules.

Rothschild & Co. Director, Andrew Penney noted that as a result, the United States today, “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world.” Today Nevada, Meyer Lansky’s money laundering project of the 1930’s with established legalized gambling, is becoming the “new Switzerland.” Wyoming and South Dakota are close on the heels.

One area where America’s institutions are still world class is in devising complex instruments of financial control, asset theft and cyber warfare. The US War on Cash, combined with the US Treasury and IRS war on offshore banking is their latest model. As Washington’s War on Terror had a sinister, hidden agenda, so too does Washington’s War on Cash. It’s something to be avoided at all costs if we human beings are to retain any vestige of sovereignty or autonomy. It will be interesting to see how vigorously Casino mogul Trump moves to close the US tax haven status. What do you bet he doesn’t?

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
http://journal-neo.org/2017/01/21/the-sinister-agenda-behind-the-washington-war-on-cash/

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