Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Iran Situation

Iran's bourse is back on track. The price of gold is rising--rapidly. I wonder why.

The last person who set out a plan to trade oil in euros was Saddam Hussein. The question: will Bush / the neocons / the Israelis attack Iran with Bush's approval ratings as deep in the toilet as the presently are (30 percent).

By the way, you can read Iranian President Ahmadinejad's much-discussed 19-page letter to President Bush here. Ahmadinejad appears to want to talk. What do Bush and the neocons want to do?

Iranian Oil Bourse Opens for Business: A Final Step
Toward US Dollar Collapse & Preemptive Nuclear Strike

Infowars | May 9, 2006
By Daniel L. Abrahamson

The impending opening of the Iranian International Oil Bourse (IOB), set to commence trading next week on the island nation of Kish, strongly increases the chances of an imminent nuclear American-Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear and financial facilities. The electronic oil bourse, much discussed by terrorism expert Webster Tarpley, appears ready to launch in the coming weeks or even days. Because it will offer oil in euros, it may trigger the rapid collapse of the U.S. dollar.

Over the past four days, the Western media has finally ended their blackout and acknowledged the possibility of an imminent dollar collapse, as gold reaches nearly $700 an ounce.

On Friday, May 5, the Associated Press covered the oil bourse with their article “Iran wants oil market in Euros.” The article warns of a rapid decline in the
dollar while feebly attempting to minimize the importance of the oil bourse.

Nevertheless, the AP quotes a top Wall Street analyst who gives a far more realistic assessment: “But if one day the world's largest oil producers allowed, or worse demanded, euros for their barrels, ‘it would be the financial equivalent of a nuclear strike,’ said A.G. Edwards commodities analyst Bill O'Grady.

‘If OPEC decided they didn't want dollars anymore,’ he added, ‘it would signal an end of American hegemony by signaling an end to the dollar as the sole reserve currency status.’

Incredibly, some neocon warmongers are now openly calling for a strike on Iran because of the bourse.

On May 8, Bush apologist Jerome Corsi penned an editorial entitled “Iran Signs It’s Own Death Warrant.” Corsi is the same GOP hack who helped sponsor the Swift Boat ads & wrote Unfit for Command during the staged 2004 presidential election. In his article he admits a major reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq was the oil-for-euros policy of Saddam Hussein, and warns of China’s interest in the oil bourse.

He then goes further, predicting an imminent U.S. attack: “If Iran wants also to seriously threaten the dollar's position as a dominant foreign reserve currency, a war becomes almost certain. The Iranian oil bourse may never be mentioned by U.S. policymakers as a official reason the United States decides to go to war with Iran, but it may end up being the straw that broke the camel's back.”

According to Forbes, the bourse may open this week. In their May 7 coverage, they suggest the electronic oil market is ready for trading: “Iran's oil ministry on Friday also made a move to establish an oil-trading market denominated in euros instead of U.S. dollars, granting a license for the bourse, according to a report from the country's state-run television.”

Warren Buffett who is a well known Rothschild banker is predicting demise, Bill Gates, George Soros are all predicting economic demise. The Forbes coverage echoes another article from April 26, when the Iranian state media reported their oil-for-euros market will open some time in the next week. Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh made the announcement at the 10th General Assembly of International Energy Agency and consultations with OPEC member states.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting the bourse will not open for another two months, based on quotes from President Ahmadinejad.

So assuming the bourse opens sometime between now and the next two months, how might it disrupt the fragile geopolitical balance which has reached near Cuban Missile crisis proportions?

Clearly the economic threat of the Iranian Oil Bourse is one of the main motives behind the pending US invasion, rather than the bogus official claims of a nuclear threat. The National Intelligence Estimate from the US State Department acknowledges Iran is at least 10 years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Even the more hawkish estimates from within the White House estimate Iran is at least three years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

On April 30, Al-Jazeerah reported the oil bourse has widespread international support, and “Some of the major oil-producing countries such as Venezuela (which
has boosted its economic ties with Iran) and a few of the larger oil consuming countries, most notably China and India, have already announced their support for
the IOB.”

The Al-Jazeerah article, entitled “Petro-Euro: A reality or distant nightmare for U.S.?” warned that the Iranian oil bourse could sink the U.S. dollar and lead to the rise of the euro as the world’s reserve currency: “Such a move 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.”

The same article mentions how Saddam Hussein’s decision to trade oil for euros in 2000 may have been a major trigger for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Al-Jazeerah also quotes American security expert William Clark as predicting that “if Iran threatened
the hegemony of the U.S. dollar in the international oil market, the White House would immediately order a military attack against it.”

Before this week, the mainstream media had tried desperately tried to blackout news about the bourse. A small mention came in a UPI article from April 25, while an April 2 piece in the San Francisco Chronicle warned, “the bourse would rival the New York Mercantile Exchange and International Petroleum Exchange in London -- the twin centers of the oil-trading world. They quoted the cogent analysis of finance scholar Krassimir Petrov, who wrote, “The Iranian government has finally developed the ultimate 'nuclear' weapon that can swiftly destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire."

Why would Iran’s oil exchange present such a threat to the U.S. dollar and worldwide economy?

The dollar accounts for more than two thirds of all central bank reserves worldwide because all international oil transactions have to be in US Dollars. This reserve status creates a constant demand for dollars, despite the underlying weakness of the
U.S. economy. Hence, central banks are willing to overlook the massive trade and budget deficits are expanding with on-the-books Federal debt at record highs over 9 trillion and a fiscal gap estimated at $72 trillion.

But the United States is an economy on life support and nearing default, ravaged by agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, and MFN trade status with China (all under the auspices of the WTO). The industrial and machine tools factories in America have been eviscerated, with Ford posting a quarterly loss of 1.2 billion. GM posted a quarterly loss of $325 million and both companies had their bonds cut to junk status back in 2005.

Ravaged by capital flight, mired in debt, and borrowing $2 billion a day just to stay afloat, the U.S. economy is increasingly reliant on this petrodollar reserve status. The vast size of U.S. liabilities means that any threat to the dollar hegemony could result in a rapid currency collapse, sinking the world into recession. Hence the dire threat of the Iranian Oil Bourse, which may put an end
to the fiat currency charade that began after the US defaulted on its gold payments in 1971.

On Wednesday May 3, the dollar fell to one-year lows against the euro and the lowest level since 1970 against the Canadian dollar. A Telegraph article entitled “Dollar drops as great sell-off looms” described the impending currency crisis as the dollar
loses its role as the world’s reserve currency: “Greenback liquidation comes amid growing concerns that global central banks and Middle East oil funds are quietly paring back their holdings of US bonds… Gold leapt to a 25-year high of $660.95 an ounce on fears the dollar decline could spiral out of control, disrupting the global financial system.”

The demise of the dollar looms as the Federal Reserve stopped releasing M3 money supply numbers on March 20. Some unconfirmed internet rumors claim the Fed
recently ordered 2 trillion greenbacks printed. While such reports may seem outlandish, new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech in 2003: “"The
US government has a technology called a printing press that allows it to produce as many US dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

A February 6 article in the London Telegraph expounded on Bernanke’s reputation as an inflationist. Discussing Bernanke’s position, they wrote: “Ultimately, the Fed can flood the system by buying any kind of asset, or even dropping bank notes from helicopters, he said. The speech earned him the epithet ‘Helicopter Ben’"

Even before Bernanke took over, Alan Greenspan helped direct the Fed’s desperate scheme of raising interest rates 15 times since June 2004, vastly increasing liquidity, and debasing the value of the U.S. dollar.

The Financial Times reported on May 16 that the dollar was facing a freefall collapse, in an article entitled “Fears for dollar as central banks sell US assets.” The article explained the recent sell-off in the dollar was triggered by dollar divestiture by the European central banks: “The world's central banks were net sellers of US assets in March for the first time since September 2002, according to figures that may hint that the recent rebound in the dollar will be temporary. Central banks sold a net $14.4bn in U.S. assets during the month, the largest sale since August 1998, the U.S. Treasury revealed.”

Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin recently warned of a dollar collapse on April 21 at the opening spring session of the International Monetary Fund. He said “Russia cannot consider the dollar as a reliable reserve currency because of its instability. This currency has devalued by 40% against the euro in recent years.” Two years ago Russia had nearly 90% holdings in U.S. dollars and today that proportion has fallen to below 80%

The same IMF conference featured the release of the 2006 World Economic Outlook, which warned of a U.S. dollar collapse due to global trade imbalances, spiraling U.S. debt, and the demise of the petrodollar reserve standard. The report stated, "global current account imbalances are likely to remain at elevated levels for longer than would otherwise have been the case, heightening the risk of sudden disorderly adjustment".

“Disorderly adjustment” is the newest banker euphemism for the hyperinflationary spiral and worldwide economic depression which will accompany a dollar collapse.

On that same day of April 21, Sweden’s Riksbank recently cut their dollar holdings in half, instead favoring Euros. Reuter reported that, “The Riksbank's move to increase its euro holdings to 50 percent of its reserves follows comments by Gulf central banks in recent weeks that they are considering increasing the share of the euro in their reserves.

Back in February, South Korea shocked the currency markets when they announced a move away from dollar-denominated assets. CNN reported, “The world's fourth-largest stockpile of reserves that has traditionally been held in U.S. debt…announced its plans to diversify into other currencies.”

Recently, currency shocks hit Iceland and New Zealand and may portend a global financial meltdown in its growing stages.

Within hushed circles on Wall Street, the impending dollar crisis has been long predicted. In a closed-door meeting in 2004, the chief economist at Morgan Stanley, Stephen Roach, predicted “economic Armageddon.”

The Boston Herald article reported Roach’s comments as follows: “His prediction: America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic "Armageddon…Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that ‘we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual Armageddon.’" Furthermore, globalist banker & billionaire Warren Buffett is warning of a global financial collapse and the precipitous drop in the dollar in a recent Forbes Magazine. Buffett has personally bet at least $20 billion against the U.S. dollar, and said the following: "The rest of the world owns $10 trillion of us, or $3 trillion net. If lots of people try to leave the market, we'll have chaos because they won't get through the door."

The article went further: “A continuing fall in the dollar ‘could cause major disruptions in financial markets. There could be unpredictable side effects. It could be precipitated by some exogenous event like a Long-Term Capital Management,’ Buffett says, referring to the 1998 collapse of a steeply leveraged hedge fund.”

Warren Buffett is strongly linked to the Rothschild banking syndicate, and Buffett brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Lord Jacob Rothschild’s Buckinghamshire estate in 2002. Buffett’s dire warnings likely represent the sentiments of the Rothschilds and others in European financier dynasties dominating the New World Order overclass; those who hope to use a worldwide depression to seize assets,
depopulate the planet of “useless eaters,” and create a unipolar biometric police state.

Billionaire software kingpin and Bilderberg member Bill Gates, who recently hosted Chinese police state head President Hu, is also shorting the dollar. Last January, Bloomberg quoted Gates predicting a collapse in the U.S. currency. He said, “I’m short the dollar. The ‘ol dollar, it’s gonna go down… It is a bit scary.
We're in uncharted territory when the world's reserve currency has so much outstanding debt.”

The article continued: “Gates's concern that widening U.S. budget and trade deficits are undermining the dollar was echoed in Davos by policymakers including European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.”

Billionare investor and Bilderberg member George Soros recently predicted a U.S. recession in 2006 or 2007. Soros believes a the U.S. housing bubble will soon collapse the Fed cannot keep the dollar propped up. Soros told the press, “Europe is growing relatively well... but a hard landing in the U.S. will be associated with a decline in the dollar which would hurt the European economy,"

It appears the bottom may already be falling out from under the financial house of cards. The fiat currency ponzi scheme, bloated by hundreds of trillions in leveraged derivatives, hedge fund manipulations, and unregulated currency speculation, appears doomed.

In order to stave off the collapse, the Cheney-led shadow government and their Anglo-American financiers appear ready to launch a nuclear strike on Iran, destroying the oil bourse and shutting off oil shipments at the Straits of Hormuz. The larger invasion of the Middle East appears to be a plan to limit oil supply and spike prices, as Iraq is now a net importer of oil since the US/UK invasion.

Major financial analysts are now warning of $100 a barrel oil, which will further increase the artificial demand for dollars and perhaps stave off a dollar collapse. Daniel Eustulin and Jim Tucker reported back during the 2005 Bilderberg, the New World Order announced the coming $120 a barrel oil at the secret world government conference.

In June 2005, Eustulin wrote, “A British Bilderberger noted that oil at $120 a barrel will greatly benefit Britain and the U.S., but that Russia and China would be the biggest winners.” Eustulin also described the strong sentiment for moving away from the dollar and toward the euro for the world currency.

The insane plan to attack Iran with nuclear weapons will likely backfire, producing massive financial upheaval and a potential Armageddon. The inflation caused by $120+ a barrel oil will likely shock markets and the dollar will collapse regardless. The neocon endgame, which envisions an apocalyptic “World War 4” conflict against Russia and China, might become inevitable.

The Anglo-American oligarchs and their shadow government moles inside the Pentagon are desperate to stop the Iranian bourse and seize control of the oil in the tiny region Khuzestan (containing 90% of Iran’s oil wealth). The possibility of a false-flag terror attack or joint Israel-U.S. strike during the months of May or June appears more grave than ever before.

Recent mainstream reports of TOPOFF 2 drills in Chicago and a wave of other drills in May and June may indicate the final planning for a synthetic terror attack is complete.

Additionally on July 18, the Defense Department is wargaming a military strike on Iran. The Asia Times reports, “This particular ‘war game’ is the fifth in a series that has also included exercises related to a purported avian-influenza pandemic and a crisis in Pakistan.’

Will the Iranian Oil Bourse be the final straw that inspires one of these drills to go live? Will the potential dollar collapse usher in the next stage in insane neocon push toward World War Three?


May 10, 2006
Letter From Tehran

The president of Iran wants to talk - why don't we?
by Justin Raimondo

As the UN Security Council comes to grips with the issue of Iran's determination to join the nuclear club, and the question becomes the focus of a debate in the U.S. similar to that which preceded the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written a letter to President George W. Bush that has been described, variously, as "rambling," a "diversion," and "doesn't address the dispute over Iran's enrichment of uranium."

That was before the full text became available, however, and we can see that this latter accusation is untrue. Here is what President Ahmadinejad has to say about his country's drive to acquire nuclear technology:

"Why is it that any scientific and technological achievement reached in the Middle East region is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime? Is not scientific R&D one of the basic rights of nations?

"You are familiar with history. In what other point in history has scientific and technical progress been a crime? Can the possibility of scientific achievements being utilized for military purposes be reason enough to oppose science and technology altogether? If such a supposition is true, then all scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc., must be opposed."

A "diversion"? To the contrary, framing the issue in the context of Israel's opposition to Iran's nuclear ambitions, President Ahmadinejad addresses the issue directly and honestly, which is more than we can say for the Americans, not to mention the Israelis – and where, pray tell, is his answer? Why is it that everything that goes on in the region must be seen in the context of the effect it has on Israel? And what are the limits of the restrictions placed on Iran and other nations when it comes the development of "dual use" technology?

What's clear enough, however, is that these restrictions do not apply to Israel, which, as everybody knows, possesses nukes. Much is made of the possibility that Iran, facing sanctions, has threatened to drop out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty – yet we hardly hear that Israel refused to sign it in the first place.

It's downright odd that the letter was not made available immediately to the American public; the various excerpts published by Western newspapers were carefully edited to highlight Ahmadinejad's opposition to the Iraq war, as well as his comments on the Holocaust and his call for the U.S. to live up to its self-proclaimed Christian and liberal values. But editors have left out certain key passages – although, to be fair, it is an 18-page document – that might be surprising, even illuminating, to Western readers.

Yes, the letter is filled with references to religion, and he does say that Western liberalism is "shattering" and has "failed." His own brand of clericalism is upheld as the only alternative: but these are the parts of his letter addressed to his own people, I think it's fair to say. He is apparently having some trouble on the home front, and seeks to justify his policies – including his foreign policy pronouncements – in religious terms. Insofar as he discusses the religious aspect of all this, however, his message is conciliatory: it stresses the common threads that, intertwined, make up the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, three religions
joined at the very roots.

As for the significant passages that are left out, these fall into two categories: those that express sympathy for the West, and those that make some very specific accusations. Skillful propagandist that he is, President Ahmadinejad links the former to the latter, as in the passage that starts out this way:

"September Eleven was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies."

By the way, there is not a word about this statement in Western media reports about the letter: instead, we get headlines like "Iranian Letter Lambastes Bush," "Iran Letter Faults U.S., Makes No Nuclear Proposals," and "A Dead Letter, but Shrewdly Timed." The one major exception was the Chicago Tribune, which ran the head: "Let's Talk, Iranians Tell Bush."

This underscores another section of the letter, in which the Iranian president makes his debut as a media critic, putting his critique of Western news outlets during the run-up to war with Iraq in some pretty familiar terms. After excoriating the media for ratcheting up the climate of fear that accompanied 9/11, he writes:

"In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly – for the public to finally believe – and the ground set for an attack on Iraq."

Just as the canard that Iraq possessed WMD was accepted as an article of faith by the stenographers who call themselves American journalists, so similar fabrications about Iran are being readied for unveiling by the same crowd. Judith Miller may no longer be writing for the New York Times, but there are no doubt platoons of accommodating news hounds more than willing to take her place as a major conduit
for the War Party's lies.

President Ahmadinejad is hardly done with his media critique, however: he continues his comments about 9/11, and makes an astonishing accusation. After expressing his sympathy for the U.S., he goes on to question why no one charged with protecting the
American people was ever put on trial: and it is true that not a single U.S. government official was so much as fired, let alone charged with dereliction of duty.
Some Western critics of the Bush administration's handling of the 9/11 crisis note this, too, but Ahmadinejad's questioning of this curious fact goes much further:

"All governments have a duty to protect the lives, property, and good standing of their citizens. Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection, and intelligence systems – and even hunts its opponents abroad. September 11 was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services – or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess…."

Surely it was more than a guess, however, that prompted certain Western media outlets, including Fox News, to claim that one intelligence service in particular may have had advance notice of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a four-part series run in mid-December, Carl Cameron – a reporter not known for his hostility to either the Bush administration or Israel – reported:

"Since Sept. 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new PATRIOT anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are
'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'"

It looks like they're watching Fox News in Tehran – or else the Iranian intelligence service, which is so good at culling secrets from the U.S., knows something the American public doesn't.

The Iranian letter goes into the history of U.S. depredations in Iran, and agrees that Saddam was indeed a "murderous dictator." Ahmadinejad even admits that the people of the region are glad he's gone, but then goes on to point out that the U.S. supported him against Iran.

My point is that there is clearly room for some sort of dialogue, if not rapprochement. Iran formally insists that it seeks nuclear power only for peaceful purposes, and the letter of the NPT supports their right to do so. The realities of the Middle East's precarious balance of power dictate that we recognize the reasons for the Iranian determination to forge ahead on this front: Israel, after all, is now the only nuclear power in the region. Tehran is pursuing a policy of deterrence – the same strategy the U.S. employed against the USSR for as long as the Cold War
lasted. And it worked. No wonder the Iranians are so eager to pursue it: the alternative is to leave the entire region open to the possibility of an Israeli first strike, which, in today's political climate, is not at all inconceivable.

As othercommentators have pointed out, the prospect of Iran acquiring nukes does not mean the end of the world. It means that the natural tendency of nations to achieve a balance of power will, in this case, be fulfilled, and that the Middle East will muddle along, just as the East bloc and the West did for all those years, without actually engaging in a nuclear exchange. In any case, no one country will be able to
engage in nuclear blackmail.

Israel is in a frenzy to prevent this development, for it would mean that their strategic position would be considerably diminished. It would not, in any sense, mean the annihilation of the Jewish state. What Americans have to decide is whether going to war to preserve Israeli nuclear hegemony in the region is worth it.

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