How the US Uses War to Protect the Dollar

The Gods of Money

William Engdahl (2015)

The first video is a 2015 presentation by William Engdahl about his 2010 book The Gods of Money. It focuses on the use of US economic and military warfare to maintain the supremacy of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

As his point of departure, he begins with the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement, in which the Allied powers agreed to use the gold-backed US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In 1971 when Nixon was forced to end the gold standard,* the gold-backed US dollar was replaced by the “petrodollar.” According to Engdahl, it was so named because of a secret agreement the US made with Saudi Arabia – in return for a guarantee that OPEC would only trade oil in US dollars, the US guaranteed the Saudis unlimited military hardware.

In this way, oil importing nations (most of the world) were forced to retain substantial US dollar reserves. This was the only way they could provide their economies with a continuous supply of oil.

The petrodollar remained supreme until the mid-1980s, when the collapse of the US Savings and Loan industry (a pre-cursor of the 2007 banking collapse) raised concerns in Europe that the US was failing as a super power. Fearing the US economy was collapsing, they created the euro and the Eurozone, to prevent the Soviet Union or China from filling the power vacuum.

The financial warfare unit of the US treasury responded by feeding hedge fund manager and currency speculator George Soros secret information that enabled him to lead an attack on the British pound. This, in turn, destabilized the British economy to the point the UK no longer qualified to join the euro.

In 1997 the US Treasury and Soros made a a similar attack on economies of Southeast Asia (Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines) that attempted to use currencies other than the dollar as their reserve currencies.

In 2010, after the US government had run three years of $1 trillion deficits, China, Russia and Japan announced their intention of selling US Treasury bonds (which the US government sells to finance its debt) to increase their euro reserves. Concerned this placed the US dollar on the brink of catastrophic collapse, the US Treasury and Soros attacked the Euro directly by collapsing the Greek economy. The mechanism Soros used was to direct his hedge funds to dump the sovereign treasury bonds that financed Greek debt.** When the European Central Bank announced its commitment to a Greek bail-out, the US Treasury and Soros followed up with an attack on Irish, Spanish and Portuguese sovereign bonds.


*A US economic crisis led to massive foreign demand for US dollar redemption that threatened to deplete US gold reserves.

** The immediate effect of bondholders dumping Greek bonds raised interest rates on Greek debt to a level that threatened to bankrupt their government.

 

 

The second clip is a Guns and Butter radio interview with Engdahl. It focuses on a second area the Gods of Money covers, namely the long US battle to abolish their private central bank (aka the Federal Reserve) and end the ability of private banks to create money out of thin air (see How Banks Create Money Out of Thin Air).

After a brief explanation of fractional reserve banking, whereby 97% of our money is created by private banks, Engdahl traces the history of the First Bank of the United States, created by Alexander Hamilton in 1791. The latter was the first US central bank, 80% owned by private (mostly Rothschild-controlled) banks in the City of London and 20% owned by the US government. President James Madison’s refusal to renew the bank’s charter in 1811 would result in Britain and the US going to war in 1812.

When the war ended in 1815, the American war debt was so substantial, the US had no choice but to charter the Second Bank of the United States, which once again was 80% controlled by London banks.

In 1832, Andrew Jackson refused to renew the bank’s charter, and the US had no central bank between 1832 and 1913. In 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson secretly colluded with the global banking establishment to create the Federal Reserve.

Both Lincoln and Kennedy challenged the exclusive role private banks play in creating the US money supply – Lincoln by issuing greenbacks (rather than borrowing money from private banks) to pay for the civil war and Kennedy by issuing silver certificates directly redeemable by the US Treasury. In both cases, Engdahl feels their defiance of the international banking establishment played a role in the decision to assassinate them.

Populism: America’s Largest Mass Democratic Movement

 

populist-moment

The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America

by Lawrence Goodwyn

Oxford University Press (1978)

Book Review

The Populist Moment describes the rise and fall of the 19th century populist movement, the largest mass democratic movement in US history. At its zenith during the 1896 election, the populist People’s Party had two million members.

Author Lawrence Goodwyn credits the rise of the agrarian populist movement to two major factors: 1) the unwillingness of the Eastern banking establishment to issue adequate credit to small family farmers and 2) the sudden contraction of the money supply caused by pressure on the post-Civil War government to repay bonds it floated for $450 million of treasury notes (aka Greenbacks) Lincoln used to pay for the Civil War.

Goodwyn also blames the systematic failure of commercial banks to issue adequate credit for the ultimate consolidation and centralization of farming in the US, leading to the eventual rise of industrial agriculture.

The Call to Prohibit Private Banks from Issuing Money

The populist movement started in Texas in 1878 as the Alliance. At first the group focused on forming cooperative buying committees, trade stores and crop insurance schemes to circumvent the crop-lien system that caused so many farmers to lose their land. Their chief organizing strategy was to send farmer-lecturers throughout Texas and eventually other parts of the South, Midwest and West. The banks, railroads, grain elevators and supply merchants responded by secretly conspiring to freeze them out. In turn the Alliance formed the People’s Party, whose main platform called for ending commercial banks’ ability to issue money.*

Goodwyn provides a detailed state-by-state history of the leadership struggles in the Alliance and in the People’s Party. Both made concerted efforts to reach out to Negro farmers and tenant farmers and to industrial workers, represented by the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor, in the cities.

Overcoming Cultural Oppression

The book concludes by tracing the rise of the liberal and progressive movements that followed the demise of the People’s Party. The primary focus of these later movements has been to “humanize” industrial capitalism – as opposed to attacking the fundamental structure of capitalism (like populist movement). Goodwyn blames the absence of comparable mass movements in the twentieth century on the profound psychological oppression that occurs in modern industrialized society.

According to Goodwyn, the values of the corporate state totally dominates modern American intellectual life, as citizens of industrialized society are taught rules of conduct (in schools, churches and the media) that intimidate them and condition them not to rebel.  The Alliance overcame these cultural barriers by training and dispatching farmer-lecturers to teach farmers collective self-confidence and self-assertion – ie that the banks, rather than farmers themselves, were responsible for their predicament. Up to this point in time, no democratic mass movement has attempted a similar program of mass education.


*Contrary to popular belief, money used to run the global economy isn’t issued by governments but by private banks. Although most people think banks only loan out money they hold on deposit, loans are actually  created out of thin air via a bookkeeping entry.  Because this is where roughly 97% of money comes from, private banks have ultimate control over the amount of money in circulation. They exert enormous political power by shrinking the money supply to cause recessions and expanding it to cause inflation. See How Banks Invent Money Out of Thin Air , Stripping Banks of Their Power to Issue Money and 97% Owned

All Wars are Bankers’ Wars

john adams quote

All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars

Michael Rivero (2013)

Film Review

The purpose of war, according to this brief documentary by radio host Michael Rivero, is to force central banks on countries that try to issue their own money.He makes a compelling argument, illustrated by numerous historical examples. The film’s main value, in my view, is in dispelling common misconceptions about where money comes from. Contrary to popular belief, western democracies don’t issue the money they use to run government services. They borrow the money at interest from privately owned central banks. In the US, this private central bank is called the Federal Reserve.

The American Revolution

Rivero begins by quoting Benjamin Franklin, who saw George III’s Currency Act as the main trigger for the American Revolution. The Currency Act prohibited colonists from using colony-issued currency. Instead they were required to use English bank notes. The latter were borrowed at interest from the England’s private central bank, the Bank of England. This interest payment amounted to a de facto tax on each and every financial transaction.

After the Revolution, the new American government returned to issuing its own currency. This ended in 1791, when Alexander Hamilton persuaded Congress to appoint a private central bank to finance government services. The First Bank of the United States was funded (at interest) by the Bank of England, which was controlled by Nathan Mayer Rothschild.

The War of 1812

Plagued by inefficiency and corruption, the First Bank of the United States was so unpopular that Congress ignored Rothschild’s threats and refused to renew its charter in 1811. Rothschild, whose control over British money enabled him to control both the economy and Parliament, had warned that Britain would declare war to re-colonize the US unless Congress renewed the charter. Although the US won the War of 1812, they were forced to charter the Second Bank of the United State in 1816 to repay their massive war debt. American’s second central bank lasted until 1832, when voters returned Andrew Jackson to a second term based on a campaign promise to shut it down.

The Civil War

From 1832-1862, the so-called “free banking era,” all banks were state charted. In 1862 Lincoln created a national system of banks to fund the federal government and issue currency. When he authorized the US Treasury to issue $150 million in interest-free “greenbacks,” the London Times called for the destruction of the US because of the major threat this posed to the global economy (i.e. international bankers). To punish Lincoln, England and (and France) would provide financial and material support to the southern Confederacy.

Government-issued currency ended for good in when the Wall Street banks conspired with Woodrow Wilson to create a permanent (private) central bank. The Federal Reserve Act was  written in secret by the US banking establishment and rammed through Congress during the 1913 Christmas recess.

World War I and II

According to Rivero, World War I was also a banker’s war, intended to punish Germany for the strict limitations it imposed on its central bank. At the end of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to repay all the war debts of the other European countries, even though Germany hadn’t started the war.

Crushed by this war debt, the only way Hitler could salvage the German economy was to abolish Germany’s central bank and return to interest-free government-issued currency. This move, which infuriated international bankers, resulted in rapid Germany re-industrialization when the rest of the developed world was mired in deep economic depression. It was lauded internationally as the “German miracle.”

Meanwhile in 1933, American bankers and industrialists plotted a “Bankers’ Putsch,” an attempted military coup against Roosevelt. Their goal was to install corporate fascism in the US, along the lines of Mussolini’s government in Italy. General Smedley Butler, the war hero they enlisted to lead the coup, foiled it by exposing it to the House McCormick-Dirkson Committee. The largely pro-business committee instituted a cover-up, until journalist John Spivac uncovered their secret report in 1967.

Breton Woods

In 1946, following World War II, forty-four nations signed an agreement at Breton Woods New Hampshire for the US dollar to replace the British pound as the world’s reserve currency. This was done with two stipulations: 1) that the US dollar would be redeemable for gold at a price of $35 an ounce and 2) that the Federal Reserve wouldn’t issue more dollars than they could redeem in gold.

Because the Federal Reserve is a private banking network, the federal government has no control whatsoever over the quantity of US dollars they issue. In 1971, it became obvious that the Fed was issuing far more dollars than it could redeem (the vast majority of money the Fed creates is electronic money – only about 3% is in notes and coins*). When France asked to redeem its dollar reserves for gold, Nixon unilaterally suspended the gold standard agreed at Breton Woods.

The Birth of the Petrodollar

At this point the US dollar became a “fiat” currency, theoretically back by nothing. In reality, it was backed by oil, through a complex agreement whereby the US agreed to “defend” countries (i.e. not destabilize or declare war on them) if they committed to buying and selling oil in dollars, aka “petrodollars.”

According to Rivero, the US invasion against a long list of Muslim countries is an indirect result of this agreement. Islam prohibits lending money at interest. As Rivero points out, none of seven Muslim countries retired General Wesley Clark has identified as targets for US military aggression (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon) had private central banks prior to US invasion and occupation.**

Historical Inaccuracies

Apart from several minor historical inaccuracies (eg the purpose of Executive Order 11110 that John Kennedy signed in 1961 and Nixon’s alleged pledge of the National Park system as security on US debt), the film serves as an excellent introduction to the hidden role played by private banks in issuing and controlling the global money supply.

 


*See 97% owned
**Retired General Wesley Clark first revealed the existence of this campaign to conquer the Middle East and North Africa during a Democracy Now interview in 2007.

photo credit: Serfs UP ! Roger Sayles via photopin cc

Also posted at Veterans Today

The Battle for Public Control of Money

(This is the second of a series of posts about ending the right of private banks to issue money.)

The Secret of Oz (William Still 2009) primarily addresses the long battle to strip banks of their power to issue money. In the US, this struggle dates back to the Revolutionary War.

The title refers to socialist writer L. Frank Baum’s 1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. According to numerous scholars, the book is loaded with symbols related to monetary reform, the core demand of the Populist movement and the 1896 and 1900 presidential bids of Populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

The yellow brick road represented the gold standard, the Scarecrow represented farmers and the Tin Man represented industrial workers. The Wicked Witch of the West was Cleveland banker J.D. Rockefeller and the Wicked Witch of the East New York banker J.P. Morgan. The Cowardly Lion depicted William Jennings Bryan, who abandoned the call for monetary reform. The Emerald City represented (government issued) greenback money and Dorothy’s silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers in the movie) represented Bryan’s call to introduce silver coins to ease the money shortage during the 1890s depression.

Still traces the politics of monetary reform back to 30 AD, when a Nazarene carpenter engaged in violent direct action in a Jerusalem synagogue to evict the private bankers who sold silver coins which were used to pay a compulsory temple tax.

He also explores the use of state-controlled money in the American colonies and the early United States. He focuses particular attention on periods in which private banks deliberately shrank the money supply to trigger depressions (to increase profits or achieve specific political objectives), as well as efforts by Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson to end private corporate control of money.

Both Jackson and Lincoln oversaw periods in which federal and/or state government issued debt-free money.