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For Russia, Change Comes SWIFTly

Russia’s SPFS will gain clients across Iran, Turkey, China and the rest of its close trading partners.

The Duran

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


During the ruble crisis of 2014/15 Russia announced in the wake of U.S. and European sanctions over reunifying with Crimea that it would begin building a domestic electronic financial transfer system, an alternative to SWIFT.

That system, System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS), is not only now functioning in Russia, according to a report from RT it now handles the financial transfer data for more than half of Russia’s institutions.

According to Anatoly Aksakov, head of the Russian parliamentary committee on financial markets:

The number of users of our internal financial messages’ transfer system is now greater than that of those using SWIFT. We’re already holding talks with China, Iran and Turkey, along with several other countries, on linking our system with their systems,” Aksakov said.

“They need to be properly integrated with each other in order to avoid any problems with using the countries’ internal financial messaging systems.”

This is a follow up to last month’s boast by the Russians that their system was seeing a lot of international interest.  How much of this is boast and how much of it is reality remains to be seen, but the important point here is that the minute the U.S. weaponized SWIFT for use in its foreign policy, something like this was bound to occur.

China has its own internal system.  And other countries are building theirs as well.

The SWIFT Cost

A common theme on this blog is that control is an illusion.  Power is ephemeral.  The best way to exercise your power is to have it but never use it.  Because once you do use it you define for your enemies the costs of their lack of compliance to your edicts.

And if there is one thing humans are good at it is responding to known incentives.  Once we can calculate the cost of one behavior over another we can then decide which one is more important to us.

Once costs of staying in SWIFT rise above the benefits of building your own alternative, you build an alternative.

SWIFT is a market power similar to a CEO having billions in restricted stock in their company.  A lot of hay is made about the net worth of people like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.

Quoting their net worth by multiplying their known holdings times the current price of the stock is useless.  Because they can’t sell it.  It is market power or perceived wealth that evaporates the moment they signal to the market their intention to sell.

In reality, if they tried to sell their stock all at once the value of the stock would plummet as buyers would run for the hills and they would realize far less than their stated net worth before the selling began.

So, if anything they are a captive of their own success, needing to manage the creation carefully to avoid damaging its reputation, market position and, ultimately, its business.

SWIFT is a monopoly system, a monopoly born of convenience and inertia thanks to it being neutral to whims of international political spats.  Enter the late stage of imperial thinking in the U.S. where our control over world affairs is waning first in the hearts and minds of various people around the world and then in policy and you have the beginning of the end of SWIFT as the only international financial transfer system.

Back in 2010, I remember Jim Sinclair banging his shoe on the table about our threatening Switzerland over opening up its customer data looking for ‘tax cheats’ under FATCA.  He said then that the Obama administration was idiotic for doing this.

This is where I got the maxim, once you go nuclear you have no other option.

And he was right.

Then Iran was cut out of SWIFT in 2012 to effect regime change which also failed.  And that woke the world up to the reality.  The U.S. and Europe will attempt to destroy your livelihood if you dare oppose its unilateral demands.

Our political and financial elites, The Davos Crowd, will stop at literally nothing to ensure your compliance.

Too bad that SWIFT is just code.  It’s just an encrypted messaging system.  And like the push to stifle alternative voices on social media – de-platforming Alex Jones and Gab for examples – the solution to authoritarian control is not fighting fire with fire, but technology.

And that’s exactly what Russia has done.  They applied themselves, spent the money and wrote their own code.  Code is, after all, hard to control.

De-coding SWIFT’s Power

It is also what is happening all over the Internet communications supply chain right now.  The infrastructure independent content producers need to resist corporate control is being built and will see their businesses rise as so many more people are now woke to the reality of the situation.

As Russian banks and businesses reap the benefits of no longer existing under SWIFT’s Sword of Damocles, others will see the same benefits.

I’ve been making this point all year, the more the Trump administration uses tariffs and sanctions to achieve its political goals the more it will ultimately weaken the U.S.’s position worldwide.  It won’t happen overnight.

It will build, gradually, steadily until one day the threat will no longer be there.

We may have already reached that moment as President Trump has ruled out pressuring SWIFT to cut Iran out of the system.  Too bad his evil Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin doesn’t agree with him.

But, Mnuchin is living in the past, he doesn’t respect the resistance that’s forming to U.S. financial hegemony.  He will though when it proves ineffectual.

Russia’s SPFS will gain clients across Iran, Turkey, China and the rest of its close trading partners.  This will accelerate the de-dollarization of Russia’s main trade, hydrocarbons, since many of these countries are major buyers of Russian oil.

When you hear the announcement from a German bank under sanctions from the U.S. for trading in Russian energy that it will use SPFS as its transfer system, that will be the real wake up call to the markets.

Change then will comes, forgive the obvious pun, swiftly.


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Olivia KrothShaun RameweSlavonacjohn vieiraVince Dhimos Recent comment authors
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Zviad Gamsakordia
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Zviad Gamsakordia

The world needs to have a secure banking/monetary transfer system that is independent of any country big or small. Otherwise bigger countries would enslave smaller ones using nasty practices such as sanctions and monetary blockades.
this will send a signal to the US and its allies that enough is enough.

Ruca
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Ruca

Good for you Russia

Normski
Member
Normski

Necessity is the mother of invention!.

Guy
Member
Guy

Pun forgiven as it is so appropriate in light of the result of bullying .Trump is going to learn through the school of hard knocks ,that international politics is not the same as building golf courses .

Vince Dhimos
Guest

So far the only obstacle is the failure to find a Eurpean host for the SWIFT replacement.

john vieira
Guest

If attitudes do not change a European host will be found. Social media is about to get their comeuppance also as many people are not to happy with their “censorship” drive and alternatives WILL be sought out…

Slavonac
Guest
Slavonac

Yet again we find proof that no matter which president, US does not change its international politics of sanctions, regime change and war against those who do not comply with “you are either with us or against us”. The recent UN resolution on US Cuba embargo seem to have not been understood by the powers behind the Union of States. 189 against 2 countries openly rejected the US foreign policies and left the US nearly alone against the whole World and what did the US do? promising more of the same policies! The same can be expected with the SWIFT… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

That’ll tie a knot in the ZioYank sicko [email protected]’ devil tails!!

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

The Russian Government is working very carefully to ameliorate and sustain its position on the global markets. No harsh moves to be expected here.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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