BRICS will create a bank to end hegemony of Europe and the U.S.

The bank will be the headquarters for trade in multiple currencies which do not include the dollar or the euro as references.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 27, 2013

The first day of the fifth annual summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was dedicated to the bilateral relations of its members, and it served to meet the intent of the five members on Wednesday who issued a joint statement on the commissioning of a bank, which would serve as a counterweight to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The BRICS consider both institutions excessively controlled by Europe and the United States.

Issues such as decision-making or the contribution of each member are yet to be decided, which will likely prevent the release of the specific plans for the bank today, ahead of the meeting of Finance Ministers.

The creation of a joint fund of foreign exchange reserves will be another issue on the table, and the establishment of a self-study center and a business council of the BRICS.

Furthermore, the investments that BRICS make in Africa will be one of the key issues to be addressed at the summit today. “The association of the BRICS and Africa for the development, integration and industrialization” will be the slogan used to bring everyone together during the discussion.

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, stressed the importance of economic relations between the five and the mainland during his speech to businessmen from all members in the Business Forum of the BRICS.

“The African continent is recognized as the second fastest growing after Asia,” Davies recalled, citing the need for infrastructure as one of the attractions for investing in Africa at this time of economic crisis in Europe and the U.S..

A study by the Standard Bank, the BRICS trade with Africa rose last year to 340,000 million dollars, far exceeding the number of exchanges between the five economies of the group.

Moreover, the currency swap agreement reached by Brazil and China has a value of 30,000 million dollars, said the president of the Brazilian Central Bank, Alexandre Tombini, in the South African city of Durban. “The objective is to facilitate trade between the two countries regardless of international financial conditions,” said Tombini.

The agreement is valid for three years and protects trade between the two economies against dollar fluctuations and international financial turmoil.

The Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters that, along with their counterparts from the BRICS, he proposed to the presidents of their countries to create an agreement of the same type in a multilateral way among all partners.

In the intense round of bilateral meetings which marked the first day of the summit, South African President and summit host, Jacob Zuma, met with colleagues from China, Xi Jinping, Russia, Vladimir Putin, and Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. For his part, the president of Brazil did the same with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Rousseff meets today with the president of China, the largest trading partner of Brazil, according to Brazilian sources who are part of the  country’s delegation in South Africa.

Moreover, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) today took an opportunity to urge the BRICS to stop the Syrian conflict and to require an “immediate cessation” of “indiscriminate” violence against civilians. In a statement, HRW called for India, Brazil and South Africa to “pressure” to Russia and China, which have good relations with Damascus to “suspend weapons sales and assisting the Syrian government.”

BRICS countries account for about 42 percent of the world’s population and nearly 45 percent of the labor force on the planet, according to the group’s own figures. In 2012, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa accounted for 21 percent of world’s GDP and trade between them reached a total of 282,000 million.

More Austerity as a “Solution” to Austerity?

By KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS | IT’S OUR ECONOMY | FEBRUARY 21, 2013

As the economy shows signs of recession, the leeches return. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have issued a new report calling for even deeper austerity. It is not what the economy needs as it stagnates and sputters toward a possible new collapse. Their report combined with President Obama’s State of the Union, the sequestration and Republican dogma are all combining to bring on another round of budget cuts, which will only make recession more likely.

It is important to put the current economic debate in context. Dr. Jack Rasmus, an economist who gets it right more than any other we are aware of, provides the framework with his in-depth analysis of the US GDP over the last 15 months.  He summarizes the present dismal situation:

“Nearly the entire European Union, including its core economies of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are all now clearly mired in recession. The Euro southern periphery is in a bona fide depression. Japan has entered its third recession since 2008. China, India, and Brazilian growth rates have fallen by half. And the US in the fourth quarter 2012 has come to a virtual economic standstill, the second time in two years in which a quarterly GDP recorded virtually no growth.”

Rasmus predicts “The dual strategy of capitalist politicians across the globe—of QE and money injections into the banks and financial system combined with austerity for the rest—has clearly failed and will continue to fail even more visibly.” Rasmus foresees a double dip recession, with the shrinking US GDP of the last quarter as a harbinger of things to come.

Simpson and Bowles come into this situation recommending the wrong prescription – more cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other social programs, as well as closing corporate tax loopholes.  They want to cut $2.4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade, $1.5 trillion more than President Obama has called for and this is on top of the $2.7 trillion in reductions that have already been implemented causing the most rapid fall in deficit to GDP ratio since World War II. All of this means an ‘Obama recession’ becomes more likely.

No doubt Republican dogma of shrinking federal government and low taxes deserve a lot of the blame, but President Obama does as well.  His State of the Union address kept the Grand Bargain of cuts to essential programs along with closing corporate tax loopholes on the table.

Dr. Richard Wolff cuts through the rhetoric of “fiscal cliff,” “austerity” and “market” to pinpoint who benefits from austerity, writing that those who own the “US public debt are easy to list: large banks, insurance companies, large corporations, wealthy individuals and central banks around the world. Austerity justified as satisfying ‘the market’ in fact serves those US creditors first and foremost.”

Multiple  commentators have noted President Obama’s sly language on Medicare cuts and his silence on protecting Social Security. Symptoms of a sick health care system continue to show.  Executive salaries at non-profit hospitals continued to rise despite a frail health care system. And though the US ranks dead last in male life expectancy and near the very bottom in prevention of premature deaths, infant mortality, total health care coverage, number of practicing doctors, and prevention of deaths due to heart disease among developed nations; we may begin to look better in the international rankings soon – not because health care is improving here but because bankers are now demanding privatization of European heath care systems which will bring their outcomes down too.

The more we learn about Obama’s Treasury Secretary appointment, Jacob Lew, the less hopeful we are of decent policies coming from his leadership.  Confirmation hearings have brought out his Romney-like economics: personal investment in the Cayman Islands,  creating foreign tax havens for customers when he was at Citi, and that prior to Citi, when he was an executive at NYU, he steered students to expensive Citigroup loans. Of course, we remember his $950,000 bonus when Citigroup was bailed out. It seems impossible for Americans to trust Lew’s economic ethics and plutocratic economic behavior.

All this talk about austerity comes as we learn that the Federal Reserve continues to bailout the big banks, not only by pumping $85 billion each month into banks through Quantitative Easing, but court documents revealed that the Fed also forgave $7 billion in mortgage security losses by Bank of America. Bailouts continue but outside of the public eye and should lead to more calls for Fed transparency, which is unlikely to come from the two Wall Street parties.

And, austerity comes at a time when new census analysis shows that during the Obama ‘recovery’ only the rich got richer; the poorer got poorer.  According to a new analysis by Emanuel Saez. perhaps the leading economist on incomes in the world, from 2007-2009 the “average  real income for the bottom 99% . . . fell sharply by 11.6%, . . . by far the largest two year decline since the Great Depression.” And new data covering 2009-2011 indicate that “Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%. Hence, the top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery.” [Emphasis added.] We got a glimpse into the rigged system this week when it was reported that Facebook, which made $1 billion in profits, will be paying no income taxes, indeed will receive a $429 million refund. Why? Tax deductions allowed for executive pay in stock options.

And, don’t believe that the rich getting richer will create jobs. The claim that the wealthiest are job creators has been proven to be a myth. Another myth exploded in this week’s news was that it was important to pay CEO’s exorbitant pay to prevent their unique talents from being lured away. Both myths are not consistent with the facts.

What will another economic collapse cost us?  The GAO issued a report this week that indicated the last collapse cost the US economy $22 trillion; that is about 1.5 years of total GDP.  And, most of that came on the back of homeowners suffering from the housing collapse.

What is the alternative? Countries that are breaking from the Washington Consensus are showing the way. This week an analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research of Ecuador found “government’s taking control of the Central Bank, implementation of capital controls, increased taxation of the financial sector, and other regulatory reforms. It concludes that these played a major role in bringing about Ecuador’s strong economic growth, increased government revenue, a substantial decline in poverty and unemployment, and other improvements in economic and social indicators.”  Unemployment has fallen to 4.1 percent, the lowest level in 25 years and poverty has been cut 27 percent below its 2006 level.

The report gives us hope finding: “Ecuador’s success shows that a government committed to reform of the financial system, can – with popular support – confront an alliance of powerful, entrenched financial, political, and media interests and win.” By the way, Raphael Correa won re-election on Sunday by a landslide with more than 60% of the vote in a race with 8 candidates.  Is there any US politician that wants to get on the side of the people?

Panamanian people temporarily defeat sale of Colon Free Zone land

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 25, 2012

Not even the heavy hand with which President Ricardo Martinelli governs Panama was able to stop The People there from protesting the sale of publicly owned lands. The strength of a movement supported by social and trade unions last week twisted the arm of the government and obligated Martinelli to reverse a law that sought to sell the lands over which Panama host its Colon Free Zone.

Panamanian authorities no longer promote the privatization of land in the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), which has offered trade tax exemption — the highest in America — for the past 43 years. The Colon Free Zone is  located in the strategic Caribbean end of the Panama Canal.

Despite the assurance from President Martinelli, who stated that Panama will not sell the lands, protesters decided to keep on watching any move that may hint the opposite situation from the part of the government. The protesters remain on the streets of the city of Colon, which is located 80 kilometers north of Martinelli’s offices. The strength of the opposition to the sale of public lands has already left three people dead.

A message sent through Twitter directly President Martinelli, attempted to ensure that the movement does not grow any larger, after protesters paralyzed the Free Zone in recent days. “If the people do not want the lands sold, the sale will be repealed,” wrote Martinelli on Tuesday night, after checking the ineffectiveness of the efforts of his ministers.

On Monday, part of the Panamanian cabinet failed in their attempt to negotiate with the protesters to stop violent clashes between activists and police. “Some people have died,” he said José Ricardo Fabrega, a Panamanian Minister when commenting on the impact of the conflict generated around the so-called Law 72.

Not even the curfew decreed by President Martinelli was enough to stop the people from showing their opposition to the sale in this port city, which is famous for its Free Zone, a market for foreigners in the middle of an environment of poverty that affects most of the the Panamanian citizens. As much as a third of the people in Panama are considered as living in poverty today.

Workers and residents shut down the dollars factory this week, which is a platform of foreign traders (Arabs, Lebanese, Indians and Venezuelans) who perform services for Colombia, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean. The population of the Colon Free Zone knows of the coexistence with smuggling and that the biggest gains stay in private hands despite the fact that the economic activity in the region accounts for 7% of GDP.

Most of the 31,000 workers who run the Colon Free Zone come from the capital, but still defended it with ‘teeth and nails’. It was a chance to win a pulse against Martinelli and for that the people counted with the support from trade associations from all around the country. That support helped Panamanians succeed in the effort to avoid the acquisition of these public lands by foreign interests.

The 87 characters written by Martinelli, who was visiting Japan on the other side of the world, represent the surrender. This time it was not enough to have 42 congressional allies. Additionally, police repression and the use of military tactics did not work out either. In fact they only served to raise the anger of the protesters

The power of the business class became too small when compared to the popular response, which is driven by anger against the president. Some of the last polls show that as much as 75% of Panamanians believe that Martinelli is governing only for the rich classes and favoring foreign investors.

The damage done on Martinelli’s image is clear. The President is about a year and a half from leaving office, since the Panamanian constitution does not allow reelection. But despite the constitutional ban, builders’ unions and transporters, who are key parts of the Panamanian economy, remain alert.

College students went to the streets on Wednesday and blocked some major roads of the capital. Meanwhile, a new government delegation prepares to return to Columbus and negotiate with local protesters following the path laid out by Martinelli on his tweet.

The Free Zone was established in 1948 to commercially exploit the site of the Panama Canal. Since then, thousands of companies around the world have a base of operations there. The area receives over 250,000 visitors a year and has 1,751 companies.

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Japan is reeling between economic and nuclear crises

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 23, 2012

The earthquake that shook Japan last year is not the only origin of the shock waves the country is now experiencing. The economic crisis has also shaken the Asian nation. During the first semester of the current fiscal year, the Japanese had a historic fall in exports, which in turn resulted in the largest fiscal deficit.

The financial crisis in the Euro zone and North America, greatly decreased the amount of products that Japan was able to send abroad which together with the costly imports of crude oil gave the island’s economy a double punch right on the face. The explosion and collapse of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima complex not only caused the contamination of most of the food and water on the island, but also meant that Japan had to increase imports of oil to satisfy its energy needs.

In the period from April to September, the trade deficit in what is considered the third world economy, surged 90.1 percent year on year and stood at 3.22 trillion yen (31,200 million euros), the highest since 1979, when the Ministry of Finance began compiling the results of this indicator.

Behind this decline was the drop in exports, a pillar that supports about 40% of Japan’s gross domestic product and has been handicapped primarily by lower demand due to the global economic crisis. Japanese exports fell sharply especially in Europe, where they were down 16.1%, with significant losses in countries like the UK (-26.3%), Italy (-31.4%) and Germany (-11, 7%), and Japanese traditional sectors such as semiconductors, electronic devices or vehicles.

Japan posted its first trade deficit in this period with the European Union, which registered at 92,100 million yen (890 million euros), according to preliminary data released Tuesday. In the case of Spain, in the spotlight because of its debt crisis, Japan closed the fiscal semester with a trade deficit of 59.259 million yen (573 million euros), the result of a fall in exports of 19.3%, while imports increased by 13.7%.

To this scenario, Japan had to add the difficult situation with China, which is Japan’s largest trading partner. The two countries began a  territorial dispute that resulted in the worst bilateral tension in years and is reflected in the decline in demand for Japanese products in the Chinese mainland.

In the first six months of the current fiscal year, exports from Japan to the second largest economy contracted by 8.2% over the same period last year, while imports rose 2%. The consequence was a growing deficit of 1, 53 trillion yen (14,800 million euros). The drop was even more pronounced in the month of September, when the conflict with China escalated and there was a wave of demonstrations against Japan all over China. Some protestors even attacked Japanese-owned companies.

Sales for that month, which originated in Japan, suffered a setback of 14.1%, while imports increased by 3.8% over the same month of 2011. The general decline in Japanese exports was also influenced by the strengthening of the yen, which is seen by many investors as a refuge in times of economic uncertainty. The value of the Yen caused Japanese manufacturers to get a smaller return for their products.

The slowdown in exports stopped Japan’s economic recovery after the setback at the devastating tsunami and nuclear accident in March 2011. Imports from Japan increased between April and September by 2.6% year on year to 35.38 trillion yen (EUR 342.537 million), largely due to an increase of almost 10% on the purchase of energy resources.

Japan used to get around 30% of its power from nuclear plants, but after the Fukushima explosion, and with nearly all of its nuclear plants out of service, the country had to buy more oil to power up its thermal power plants. Crude oil imports increased by 8.3% in the first half of the fiscal year, while purchases of liquefied natural went to 24.3%.

Unfortunately, the crisis is all but ending for Japan. New reports as recent as last week, state that Unit 4 from the Fukushima Nuclear Complex, which currently holds more than 1,500 nuclear fuel rods, is near complete collapse. If the total decimation of the nuclear reactor is completed, the deadly radiation would make it imperative to evacuate the whole island. The amount of radiation could be so serious, that it could make much of the world completely uninhabitable.

As reported on NaturalNews.com:

“According to the Secretary of former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the ground beneath Unit 4 has already sunk by about 31.5 inches since the disaster, and this sinking has taken place unevenly. If the ground continues to sink, which it is expected to, or if another earthquake of even as low as a magnitude six occurs in the region, the entire structure could collapse, which would fully drain the cooling pool and cause a catastrophic meltdown.”

As it turns out, Japan’s economic problems are not necessarily what is attracting the attention of the country and the rest of the world.

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If no one believes in the recovery, why are Europe and the world Trying?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 23, 2012

I don’t know you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about the financial collapse. The financial crisis we are now in was predicted long ago, and those predictions were correct. So why hasn’t it happened? First of all, it is happening. In fact it began a while ago. While many people expected to have a sudden collapse, which dragged the world into a whole, the fall of the international financial system was not planned to take place that way. Second of all, the financial collapse was planned to occur slowly and painfully, not only because the elites that planned it are financial sadists, but also because that is the only way to carry out their plan successfully.

The slow financial collapse allows the perpetrators to slowly bite off pieces from the grand pie, inflicting lethal but manageable pain and damage into the world’s economic and financial systems. This tactic in turn prepares the field for further deterioration and acquiescence from the public and the governments who they control. The kind of financial terrorism carried out by the largest financial entities in the history of the world, which are controlled by the smallest amount of people ever, makes it possible to successfully materialize the elite’s dream to create the most powerful monopoly of money and resources while they present themselves as the saviors.

The truth however, is that they are not saving anyone but themselves. While they buy off politicians and buy up land and essential resources for pennies on whatever currency they want, governments continue to fail to hold them accountable for their crimes. In fact, the bureaucrats in governments are faithful accomplices of the elites. Only one country has been able to partially defeat these monopoly men, and that country is Iceland. After kicking the bankers out, Iceland is now racing on the path of recovery, with a growing economy that simply sparked to life after telling the bankers that the illegal debt they had put under Iceland’s name was not theirs.

Iceland did what no other country had the guts to do: let the banks fail. Four years later, the country is being praised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That’s right. One of the most important globalist organizations who are out to destroy countries like Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, congratulates Iceland for doing the right thing. The Icelandic people did not need to go through austerity programs, they did not lose millions of jobs and neither did they have their pensions or retirement accounts looted by the bankers. “The recovery has been quite impressive. GDP growth has picked up in the last couple of years and is now running around three percent a year,” says Franek Rozwadowski, a visitor from the IMF.

On the other side of the road there are countries like Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, all of which chose to follow the bankers’ path to destruction. Spain has increased its debt dramatically in a supposed effort to curb the government’s deficit, imposed massive austerity measures, looted pension and retirement accounts, cut public jobs, accumulated a 24% unemployment rate, “rescued” its banks at least twice, adopted deadly economic policies as ordered by Brussels, but still is on its way to the financial precipice. The same model has been used by Greece, Italy and Portugal, who are following Spain on their way to social collapse. It is estimated that the Spanish debt will reach  23 billion euros by the end of the year, with no hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The main reason for this is that the pact completed between the Spanish government and Brussels never intended to take Spain out of the dark tunnel. As explained in the documents obtained from the World Bank, the collapse of most European nations is part of a well-crafted plan that the elite has applied over and over again throughout the world. It happened in small countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, mid-size countries like Argentina, and now in larger economies like Spain, the United States, France, Italy, Greece and others.

As it turns out, the so-called bailouts are not such things. They are more like acquisitions. As explained by Journalist and researcher Greg Palast — who broke the story about the World Bank’s plan — the idea is to secretly repossess the assets of every country in the world. This is achieved through a bribery system in which the global bankers buy off the politicians in different countries so that they adopt IMF and World bank policies that intend to destroy their economies. Once the policies have been adopted, the bankers begin to slowly but surely subtract the resources of those countries unnoticeably, mainly through financial aid programs and trade agreements.

The mistaken belief that a recovery will come out of the current austerity measures and financial bailouts stems from the well engineered propaganda campaign orchestrated by the banking system and the main stream media, who have gone from denying that there is a crisis to accepting there is one and that the same bankers who caused it, who planned it, are going to be the saviors. Little do most people know that the kind of crisis we are now going through is part of the plant to carry out a planet wide extortion scheme through which the globalist banking elite once again walks away with significant amounts of resources.

The difference is that this time the looting is not limited to once small or mid-sized nation, but to several large countries in Europe and the world. Greek islands are now for sale to the best bidder, because the country cannot pay its debt. Guess who will come to the rescue? The monopoly men will come and buy the islands for cents on the Dragma. The same situation will happen in Spain, once Mariano Rajoy requests the financial rescue. So if you are asking yourself why is it that the economy isn’t getting better despite the continuous assurances that everything on the books is being done to get to that point, the truth is that the banker plan does not contemplate a recovery. At least not one where everyone will have the opportunity to thrive.

Read the complete interview given by Greg Palast after learning about and getting the World Bank’s secret documents that detail how the global financial entities destroy nations.

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