Sunday, November 23, 2014




Privatization of public water, sewer systems could be fast-tracked under N.J. bill


The backwash pumps at the Newark Watershed facility in West Milford are shown in this 2012 file photo. Such publicly-owned water systems could be sold to private companies without a referendum, under a bill pending before the state senate. (Star-Ledger file photo)

Seth Augenstein | NJ Advance Media for By Seth Augenstein | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comThe Star-Ledger
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on November 06, 2014 at 7:35 AM, updated
November 06, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Trenton voters were given the opportunity to sell the city’s water system to a private company in 2010. The $80 million sale was defeated in a 4-to-1 landslide.

At Tuesday’s polls, hundreds of voters in tiny Sussex Borough overwhelmingly rejected a similar sale of their public system to private hands, while Haddonfield in Camden County solidly approved selling its deteriorating system to New Jersey American Water.

But such direct public mandate on water and sewer sales may become a thing of the past, as a bill in the Legislatures allowing public entities to fast-track selling water and sewer systems that serve millions advances this fall.

The sponsors of the “Water Infrastructure Protection Act” say it’s a way to get desperately-needed investment into water systems that have been neglected to the breaking point by government owners. The bill’s opponents warn that it’s an attempt to turn private profits of public infrastructure at the expense of taxpayers – who themselves will end up paying for the purchase prices with each flush of the toilet.

“The legislature should reject this transparent attempt by private water companies to fleece ratepayers while cutting the public out of important decisions about the management and ownership of their water resources,” said Jim Walsh, New Jersey Director of Food & Water Watch, a non-profit watchdog which advocates for public health.

“This bill removes important consumer protections by accelerating the sales of publicly owned systems, limiting voters involvement in the process, and forcing the Board to go along with negotiated contracts that could potentially be harmful for ratepayers,” said Stefanie Brand, the director of the state’s Division of Rate Counsel. “We urge that this bill not be voted out of committee.”

Currently, a public entity must put a potential sale directly to the public in the form of a referendum. But the bipartisan bill, sponsored by State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) and State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), would put together a new process by which a municipality could seek to designate its system as in disrepair – and get approvals from both the Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities to sell it directly to a private company.

“In its own way, it’s as important as the renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund,” said Kyrillos. “It’s a big deal for the state in terms of environmental problems, and economic growth.”

Any system within a combined-sewer overflow, being within a critical water supply area, having a potential for sodium intrusion, or being deficient in drinkability or pressure could be put up for sale, according to the bill. Kyrillos could not give an estimate of how many systems would fall into the categories, but the overflows alone are present in 21 of the biggest New Jersey cities, and the critical water areas extend in a curving arc through central and southern New Jersey, according to DEP documents.

Critics contend those categories are too broad. And it’s not just environmentalists who oppose the bill. The New Jersey State League of Municipalities has lobbied against the legislation, warning against its possible long-term effects. Bill Dressel, the executive director of the group, contends that that a water system is a local government’s “most valuable asset” – and voters should have the direct say as to whether it is sold.

“It’s at the essence of local government,” Dressel said. “The League is concerned about the authorization of a sale of a water utility asset without voter approval.”

The state’s Division of Rate Counsel, which represents ratepayers across New Jersey, blasted the bill in written testimony as the bill was voted out of the senate budget and appropriations committee in October. The cost of buying the systems will be passed on with increased rates, said Brand, the division’s director.

“This bill … has the potential to allow investor-owned utilities to run wild with bid prices in an effort to submit the highest bid,” said Brand. “Meanwhile, ratepayers will be required to pay for the full purchase price in rate, and will pay for these higher bids.

“If the utility knows in advance that the entire purchase price will be recoverable from ratepayers, it will have no incentive to submit a reasonable bid or negotiate a reasonable purchase price,’’ she added.

The bill could affect a majority of the water systems in New Jersey. Publicly-owned water systems account for 321 of the 593 community water system in the state, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. The remaining private systems span a range from the massive United Water and New Jersey American Water systems which each serve more than half a million people, down to tiny water systems serving just a few dozen mobile homes.

An Oct. 20 legislative financial analysis of the bill cited that the federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that New Jersey’s water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure will need $41 billion investments over the next 20 years.

Kyrillos, the co-sponsor, counters that any sales will not happen “willy nilly” – and many other people in the Garden State already have taps and toilets supplied by private companies.

“Many, many, many people in New Jersey have private water utilities,” the senator said. “And they pay a reasonable price that’s overseen by the BPU.”

Sarlo, the other sponsor of the bill, did not return a call.

Jeff Tittel, the director of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter, said the rejection of privatization efforts in Trenton in 2010 and Newark in 2012 have led to the bill to make it easier to get around public scrutiny.

“Many towns and public utilities want to privatize water and sewer services for short term financial gain which will mean long term problems for their residents,” Tittel said. “This legislation is trying to silence residents since they know the public is against these privatizations because with privatization we see higher costs, worse services, and at times threats to public health and safety.”

Seth Augenstein can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SethAugenstein. Find on Facebook.


Ukraine: Secretive Neo-Nazi Military Organization Involved in Euromaidan Sniper Shootings

Global Research, November 22, 2014

21st Century Wire and Global Research


--> Yanoukovitch, ousted president of Ukraine
This article –which recounts the events of the November Euromaidan 2013 Sniper Shootings was first published in March 2014

The events in Ukraine since November 2013 are so astonishing as almost to defy belief.An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors) Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has been driven from office, forced to flee as a war criminal after more than three months of violent protest and terrorist killings by so-called opposition.

His “crime” according to protest leaders was that he rejected an EU offer of a vaguely-defined associate EU membership that offered little to Ukraine in favor of a concrete deal with Russia that gave immediate €15 billion debt relief and a huge reduction in Russian gas import prices. Washington at that point went into high gear and the result today is catastrophe.

A secretive neo-nazi military organization reported linked to NATO played a decisive role in targeted sniper attacks and violence that led to the collapse of the elected government.

But the West is not finished with destroying Ukraine. Now comes the IMF with severe conditionalities as prerequisite to any Western financial help.

After the famous leaked phone call of US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland  with the US Ambassador in Kiev, where she discussed the details of who she wanted in a new coalition government in Kiev, and where she rejected the EU solutions with her “Fuck the EU” comment,[1] the EU went it alone. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier proposed that he and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, fly to Kiev and try to reach a resolution of the violence before escalation. Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski was asked to join. The talks in Kiev included the EU delegation, Yanukovich, the three opposition leaders and a Russian representative. The USA was not invited.[2]

The EU intervention without Washington was extraordinary and reveals the deeping division between the two in recent months. In effect it was the EU saying to the US State Department, “F*** the US,” we will end this ourselves.

After hard talks, all major parties including the majority of protesters, agreed to new presidential elections in December, return to the 2004 Constitution and release of Julia Tymoshenko from prison. The compromise appeared to end the months long chaos and give a way out for all major players.

The diplomatic compromise lasted less than twelve hours. Then all hell broke loose.

Snipers began shooting into the crowd on February 22 in Maidan or Independence Square. Panic ensued and riot police retreated in panic according to eyewitnesses. The opposition leader Vitali Klitschko withdrew from the deal, no reason given. Yanukovich fled Kiev.[3]

The question unanswered until now is who deployed the snipers? According to veteran US intelligence sources, the snipers came from an ultra-right-wing military organization known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO).

IMAGE: Members of UNA-UNSO marching in Lviv.

Strange Ukraine ‘Nationalists’

The leader of UNA-UNSO, Andriy Shkil, ten years ago became an adviser to Julia Tymoshenko. UNA-UNSO, during the US-instigated 2003-2004 “Orange Revolution”, backed pro-NATO candidate Viktor Yushchenko against his pro-Russian opponent, Yanukovich. UNA-UNSO members provided security for the supporters of Yushchenko and Julia Tymoshenko on Independence Square in Kiev in 2003-4.[4]

UNA-UNSO is also reported to have close ties to the German National Democratic Party (NDP). [5]

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO “GLADIO” organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media. [6]

According to these sources, UNA-UNSO have been involved (confirmed officially) in the Lithuanian events in the Winter of 1991, the Soviet Coup d’etat in Summer 1991, the war for the Pridnister Republic 1992, the anti-Moscow Abkhazia War 1993, the Chechen War, the US-organized Kosovo Campaign Against the Serbs, and the August 8 2008 war in Georgia. According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. “These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces. THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, forget about the window dressing nationalists, these are the men behind the sniper rifles,” these sources insist. [7]

If true that UNA-UNSO is not “Ukrainian” opposition, but rather a highly secret NATO force using Ukraine as base, it would suggest that the EU peace compromise with the moderates was likely sabotaged by the one major player excluded from the Kiev 21 February diplomatic talks—Victoria Nuland’s State Department.[8] Both Nuland and right-wing Republican US Senator John McCain have had contact with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Svoboda Party, whose leader is openly anti-semitic and defends the deeds of a World War II Ukrainian SS-Galicia Division head.[9] The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the “Social National Party of Ukraine” and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations in Ukraine such as UNA-UNSO.[10]

One further indication that Nuland’s hand is shaping latest Ukraine events is the fact that the new Ukrainian Parliament is expected to nominate Nuland’s choice, Arseny Yatsenyuk, from Tymoshenko’s party, to be interim head of the new Cabinet.

Whatever the final truth, clear is that Washington has prepared a new economic rape of Ukraine using its control over the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

IMF plunder of Ukraine Crown Jewels

Now that the “opposition” has driven a duly-elected president into exile somewhere unknown, and dissolved the national riot police, Berkut, Washington has demanded that Ukraine submit to onerous IMF conditionalities.

In negotiations last October, the IMF demanded that Ukraine double prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, that they lift a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich agriculture lands, make a major overhaul of their economic holdings, devalue the currency, slash state funds for school children and the elderly to “balance the budget.” In return Ukraine would get a paltry $4 billion.

Before the ouster of the Moscow-leaning Yanukovich government last week, Moscow was prepared to buy some $15 billion of Ukraine debt and to slash its gas prices by fully one-third. Now, understandably, Russia is unlikely to give that support. The economic cooperation between Ukraine and Moscow was something Washington was determined to sabotage at all costs.

This drama is far from over. The stakes involve the very future of Russia, the EU-Russian relations, and the global power of Washington, or at least that faction in Washington that sees further wars as the prime instrument of policy.

Writer F. William Engdahl is a geopolitical analyst and the author of “Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order”.


[1] F. William Engdahl, US-Au├čenministerium in flagranti ├╝ber Regimewechsel in der Ukraine ertappt, Kopp, February 8, 2014, accessed in

[2] Bertrand Benoit, Laurence Norman and Stephen Fidler , European Ministers Brokered Ukraine Political Compromise: German, French, Polish Foreign Ministers Flew to Kiev, The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2014, accessed in

[3] Jessica Best, Ukraine protests Snipers firing live rounds at demonstrators as fresh violence erupts despite truce, The Mirror UK, February 20, 2014, accessed in

[4] Aleksandar Vasovic , Far right group flexes during Ukraine revolution, Associated Press, January 3, 2005, Accessed in

[5] Wikipedia, Ukrainian National Assembly Ukrainian National Self Defence, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, accessed in

[6] Source report, Who Has Ukraine Weapons, February 27, 2014, private to author.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Max Blumenthal, Is the US backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine?, AlterNet February 25, 2014, accessed in

[9] Channel 4 News, Far right group at heart of Ukraine protests meet US senator, 16 December 2013, accessed in

The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research


The Privatization of Detroit: Massive Termination of Water Services

Judge Refuses Reconsideration in Class Action Lawsuit to Halt Water Shut-offs. Bankruptcy plan designed to further impoverish Detroit residents

Protest Advocate Water Access Is Basic Right, After City Of Detroit Starts Cutting Service
Federal bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes continued his anti-people legal reasoning by denying a motion to reconsider his decision not to halt water shut-offs in Detroit.
Since January some 31,000 households have been subjected to a concerted policy of massive terminations of water services. Even though officials of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) claim that most customers paid their designated arrears allowing a reconnection of service, there still remains an undetermined number of people who are living without water or have been forced to re-locate.
Earlier in June, a spokesperson for emergency manager Kevyn Orr told the Detroit Free Press that the termination of water services was an integral part of the City of Detroit’s restructuring. For weeks officials at the DWSD denied there was a problem until protests and a public outcry drew global attention to the conditions prevailing in the majority African American municipality.
In fact this policy of large-scale termination of water services was the subject of demonstrations throughout the summer. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition held weekly pickets and marches, known as Freedom Friday, outside the DWDS headquarters on Randolph street downtown, extending from June through late Aug.
The weekly marches gained nationwide support in that it drew participation from those across the southeast Michigan region as well as people coming into the city for conferences and solidarity work. In late July, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) held a national gathering at Wayne State University and took time out to hire a bus that traveled downtown to participate in the Freedom Friday protests.
These efforts peaked on July 18 when thousands rallied and marched across downtown in conjunction with the Netroots Nation Conference which convened at Cobo Center that same week. Members of the National Nurses United (NNU), who were in town for the Netroots summit, assisted in the mobilization of the conference delegates where the gathering of bloggers and various types of social media activists closed down the meeting in order to join the struggle for water and against emergency management in the streets.
Earlier on July 15, an objections hearing to the so-called “plan of adjustment” was held in federal bankruptcy court where over 50 people out of over 600 objectors, representing retirees, homeowners, city workers and community residents, spoke out in opposition to the bankers’ plan to further exploit and oppress the people of Detroit. Kris Hamel, representing the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, condemned the emergency manager Kevyn Orr and the federal courts for allowing thousands of households to be subjected to the shutoffs when financial institutions, which took $537 million out of the DWSD system through interest rates swaps that were terminated in 2012, remained unscathed by the court.
Following the week of objections in the federal court and mass demonstrations in the streets that drew international press coverage as well as acts of solidarity, the DWSD officials under the direction of the emergency manager, declared a 15-day moratorium on shut-offs. This moratorium was extended for additional period as a class-action lawsuit was filed on July 21 seeking relief on behalf of victims of the shutoffs along with four community organizations: the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, the People’s Water Board (PWB), Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO) and the local chapter of the National Action Network (NAN).
Federal Judge Rhodes Favors Banks, Dictatorial Rulers Against the People’s Interest
This motion for reconsideration was submitted in response to the dismissal of the class-action lawsuit that was filed in July aimed at halting water shut-offs and imposing a water affordability plan in Detroit. What emerged from the finding of a people’s legal team working on behalf of the victims of the shutoffs and the four concerned organizations was that the DWSD system was broken as result of the usurious and predatory lending policies of four major financial institutions: Loop Financial, Chase Bank, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.
With the abandonment of thousands of former industrial, commercial and residential structures in Detroit, water pipes were broken through decay, scrap metal collectors who act as scavengers stripping vacant structures as well as direct sabotage. Due to the lack of resources and poor management, water main leaks and broken pipes results in untold amounts of waste in the system. Nonetheless, it is the people of Detroit who have been subjected to paying the costs of this dysfunctional system.
Judge Rhodes claimed again that he lacked authority to order a halt to the termination of services yet even if he did the jurist said that there was no legal right within United States law to affordable water. Such a statement speaks volume on the actual character of modern-day capitalist society.
In an article on the most recent ruling published by the Metro Times on Nov. 21, it says that “In the 24-page supplemental opinion, Rhodes considered both sides of the argument, determining that even if he found his court had the authority to weigh in on the issue, he still would’ve denied the request, saying ‘there is no constitutional or fundamental right either to affordable water service or to an affordable payment plan for account arrearages.’”
Strangely enough, the ruling denying the reconsideration of his earlier decision, the judge acknowledges that Mayor Mike Duggan’s putative “10-point plan”, where payment arrangements could be made on a revised and purportedly more affordable basis, was insufficient in its approach to solving the problem.
This same Metro Times report quoted the ruling saying that “Because the poverty rate in the City is about 40%, this is likely to be a large group. To address this need, the 10 Point Plan relies on a patchwork combination of charity and public funds. Unfortunately however, there has been no analysis of whether the available resources will be sufficient to address this need over the long term. Section 904 of the bankruptcy code forecloses to the Court the issues of whether and how to address this important and urgent need. Still, the Court urges the City to examine the issue with the sense of urgency that it deserves.”
Millions for Consultants, Yet No Water for the People
This decision was handed down amid more controversy surrounding the nearly $200 million in consultancy fees billed by the political engineers of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Jones Day Law Firm, Orr’s former employer, has billed the city over $52 million in legal fees.
By November, $177 million in such consultancy fees had been sent to the City of Detroit. Costs are continuing to rise as the pro-bankers “plan of adjustment” is being jeopardized even prior to the full exit from bankruptcy.
Rhodes has ordered mediation sessions surrounding the high cost of the unnecessary bankruptcy proceedings which are scheduled for Dec. 3-4. Meanwhile, as the cold weather creates harsh conditions for Detroit residents, water shutoffs are continuing along with tax foreclosure notices to thousands of households further threatening the majority African American and working class population with basic survival.
Even if the City of Detroit is allowed to exit bankruptcy by the end of the year, austerity and increasing impoverishment of the people will continue. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is preparing for the next phase of the struggle aimed at fighting the budget and service cuts that will continue to be imposed on the people.

My Comment:  Yet His Majesty is welcoming illegal immigrants when he could not care less about impoverished American Citizens.  His compassion is a nothing but a lie, and it is not to assist the immigrants.  It is the continued destruction of the United States, and that is just what President Kennedy warned us about. 

The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research

De-Dollarization: Is BRICS a Viable Alternative to the U.S. Dominated World Economic System?

Interview with Asam Ismi of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Global Research, November 22, 2014

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor

Economist and Geopolitical analyst Peter Koenig talks to Asad Ismi

1. Is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) a viable alternative to the present U.S.-dominated world economic system and does it have the potential to replace it? Are we witnessing the birth of a new international economic order in BRICS and the Russia-China energy deal?

The BRICS have a great potential to become a viable alternative to the dollar dominated economic system. The creation of the BRICS development bank is an indication in this direction. The bank could temporarily even act as a BRICS Central Bank and when the time comes issue a new BRICS currency, for example the Bricso. Together the BRICS account for almost 30% of world GDP and for about 45% of the world population. However, the US is using any means they can to destabilize the BRICS one by one. Take Brazil, though Dilma Rousseff has won easily the first round of elections, but after Washington’s slandering her government for corruption and high indebtedness – the usual non-substantiated arguments – her campaign had to work hard until reason prevailed. I’m confident, people’s trust will confirm her in the second round.

There is a massive effort of de-dollarization going on by the BRICS, led by Russia and China, the two strongest BRICS members. Since June 2014 regular and sizable ruble – yuan swaps have taken place to free the two countries from the traditional trading currency, the US dollar. In early July this year, after meeting with Vladimir Putin, Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of the Russian Central Bank, declared in an international media event, just before her impending meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank of China in Beijing, “We are discussing with China and our BRICS partners the establishment of a system of multilateral swaps that will allow to transfer resources to one or another country, if needed. A part of the currency reserves can be directed to [the new system]“, – thus announcing the emergence of an international anti-dollar alliance.

This signals the beginning of a new monetary system which eventually will issue its own currency, possibly a basket of currency, akin to the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of the IMF that could gradually replace the dollar as a reserve currency. This is in fact already happening. Ten years ago, the world’s reserves consisted to about 90% of dollar denominated securities. Today that figure has shrunk to 60%.

Indeed it is high time that a new monetary and economic system replaces the current FED-BIS (Bank for International Settlement)-Wall Street dollar denominated predatory casino scheme that has in the last 100 years alone largely contributed to – and benefitted from – two world wars, impoverished our planet, socially and environmentally. This system is at the verge of a larger abyss than the depression of the 1930s.

The global amount of outstanding derivatives is estimated way above 700 trillion dollars – global GDP is about US$ 72.6 trillion (est. 2014). Five of the largest US banks alone have each more than 40 trillion in derivative exposure. If they decide to call in their debt at one or in part, it would for sure create a worldwide tsunami with a resulting collapse of our western monetary system. Today 6 US banks control two thirds of all banking assets (in 2008 the figure was just over 40%).

Add to this calamity that in 2008 the too-big-to-fail banks were ‘bailed out’ by public money, according to the new Todd-Frank banking Act, future insolvent banks have to rescue themselves by ‘bail-ins’ – confiscating money from depositors and shareholders. A similar law has recently been approved by the European Commission (EC). – The world at large can only hope that a new monetary system will emerge soon to reign in the atrocities of our western greed economy.

2. How will the BRICS system be better for the Global South than the U.S. one?

A “BRICS system” would offer a healthy alternative to the highly indebted and defunct dollar system, where money is printed at will. It would be detached from the Wall Street – BIS clearing system (SWIFT) and would allow trading in countries’ own moneys with currency swap arrangements between respective central banks. Today, though steadily declining, most trading is still denominated in dollars and has to transit through a US bank and the BIS clearing system. Under the FED-BIS-WS banking system currencies – and gold – are subject to exchange rate and interest manipulations.

For example, the ruble has lost 22% of its value since the beginning of 2014 and 15% in the last quarter alone. There is no economic reason for that, other than anti-Russia propaganda and currency manipulation, since the Russian economy is despite the ridiculous ‘sanctions’ on more solid ground than that of the US. Call it ‘sanctions’ – if you will – for not bending to the political demands of Washington on Ukraine. The western MSM would like you to believe that this is the result of the Russian caused Ukraine crisis which is driving investors away. Western media continue to ignore that Kiev’s gang of thugs, a Nazi government, was created and is supported and funded by Washington and its western puppets.

In the meantime, the BRICS and some other countries, including Argentina, have started denominating their contracts and trading in local currencies already some time ago, thereby considerably circumventing exposure to the fraudulent dollar system. A solid alternative currency may also become an alternative reserve currency – a deed for which countries around the world, especially China, Russia and India, have called for years.

Recently Beijing has offered the EU to deal with China directly through respective central banks’ currency swaps, thereby avoiding the oppressive claws of the dollar. Outrageous penalties, like the 9 billion dollar ‘fine’ to the French BNP-Paribas for dealing with sanctioned Iran might not have happened if the US would not have had a claw on the French bank because of its obligation to transit – and hold accounts – in the US banking system.

3. What is the potential for a BRICS currency to replace the U.S. dollar?

The chances are good that a BRICS currency, or let’s call it a solid alternative currency based on the combined economy of sound nations will eventually displace the dollar as ‘world currency’ – in other words as currency of reference and major reserve currency. Once the new money is established with a secure exchange and transaction system, replacing SWIFT, it is very likely that many countries that so far do not dare abandoning the dollar – for fear of sanctions – might join the new money pool, thereby strengthening it. As I said before, it is high time that the currency of worldwide theft, abuse and exploitation – the US dollar – financial instrument for endless wars and economic terrorism, be replaced with a currency of peaceful endeavors that respects national sovereignty – a currency that works for the people, not for the elite of a few.

4. To what extent will the recent Russia-China energy deal undermine the U.S. dollar? Will China pay for Russian gas in Yuan and not the dollar?

The Russia –China US$ 400 billion energy deal, signed in May this year will by 2018 have some 38 billion cubic meters of gas flow through the so-called ‘Holy Grail’ pipeline from the largest gas producer, Russia, to the largest energy user, China – is many things at once: it is, of course a symbolic step in the process of decoupling hydrocarbon trading from the dollar, as it foresees payments in local currencies, rubles and yuan. It sidesteps the traditional dollar denomination for hydrocarbon trading. It is symbolic, because Russia’s total hydrocarbon trading per year alone amounts to about one trillion dollars. But it is a demonstration to the world that Russia and China, at the verge of war in the 1960s, are morphing into a strong alliance in trade, politics and defense. In that sense yes, the gas deal is clearly undermining the dollar.

Prior to the signing of this gas treaty, during a special meeting on 24 April, Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, declared that in the future Russian enterprises will be subject to a “currency switch executive order”, under which a certain percentage of contracts will be denominated in rubles. Whether and when the level will reach 100% is largely a question of the partners’ willingness to deal in ruble. This directive has been enhanced by Russiya Bank’s parallel declaration that the ruble is fully backed by gold.

5. What is the significance of the $100 billion development bank set up by BRICS? Can it replace the World Bank? How will it be better for the Global South than the World Bank?

For now it is a symbolic step away from the Washington Consensus of the WB and IMF neoliberal approach to development financing – away from privatizing of public goods and services, like water supply and health and education services – I would hope.
The development bank is not yet operational, but from my understanding will likely concentrate on infrastructure development and enhancement (transportation, energy distribution, telecommunication and so on), energy exploration and exploitation, including alternative clean energy – and social services.

The BRICS development bank may initially also serve as a BRICS central bank, especially in case of issuing a combined currency; and perhaps also take over some of the roles pertaining to the IMF, like balance of payment assistance – hopefully with human rather than with the IMFs draconian conditions.

Remember, today China is clearly in the BRICS driver’s seat with an interest to harvest the benefits of the group’s synergies and comparative advantages, a collection of countries geographically and culturally apart and distributed around the globe. Their relationships and trading among each other may make the benefits for each larger than the sum of its parts.

Whether the new BRICS development bank will eventually replace the WB and maybe the IMF depends largely on the way the new bank sees economic development, whether their policies and fields of action are attractive to borrowers and address their people’s demands. – That means that people clearly do not like to see their corrupt leaders becoming richer, while their water and sanitation services are being privatized, their natural resources being exploited by foreign corporations for a pittance and their government operations being ‘structurally adjusted’, leaving masses of people jobless, their social safety nets being abolished or stolen, with reduced wages and pensions. These neoliberal pro-cyclical policies should definitely not be part of the new BRICS economic development bank.

6. Please comment on the significance of the recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its expansion to include India, Pakistan and Iran.

The 13th annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – SCO – held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 11-12 September, may be a hammer for the west. It was attended by the heads of state of Russia, President Putin, China, President Xi Jingpen and Iran, President Rouhani. The group’s membership, currently consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is poised to be expanded to include India, Pakistan and Iran. Mongolia is another likely candidate.

The Oriental Review, an Open Dialogue Research Journal, reports, “The reasoning behind the need for expansion is obvious. If the SCO is to have real weight on the international arena and become a truly prestigious organization that is able to rival NATO, it requires additional members. If India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia were all to become permanent members, which looks likely, the group would then control 20 percent of the world’s oil and half of all global gas reserves. On top of that, the bloc would represent about half of the world’s population. This would fortify SCO’s reputation as a dominant organization. Additionally, Turkey could become a member as well. Its leadership has long been seeking to join and Turkish-speaking governments are likely to support their petition.”

If Turkey, a NATO member, would join the SCO, this would clearly be a conflict and nail in NATO’s coffin – a blow to western powers.

The journal goes on – “The aggressive nature of Western actions towards Russia has certainly united the SCO members. What links them all – whether members or observers – is the rejection of Western-dominated institutions, such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, which are all US-based. The SCO, like the BRICS with their Development Bank, sees itself as a forum against the Western dominated global order.”

The SCO summit concluded that economic cooperation between members should be enhanced, which includes further economic integration. The concept bodes particularly well for China’s idea of a new Silk Road Economic Belt that might expand westwards to include Germany, as per a personal proposal of President Xi to Madame Merkel in March 2014.

Hence, the Oriental Review concludes and I concur, the ambition to create a truly dominant organization free of any Western influence may become a reality in the near future. I would like to add – this cannot happen fast enough in order to stop US-led western aggressions and financial terrorism around the world.

7. Are the recent U.S. war moves in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine and the U.S. pivot to Asia aimed at preventing the consolidation of alliances such as BRICS?

These moves – or rather military aggressions – have multiple purposes. A primary purpose is ‘regime change’ of all those governments which do not align with Washington’s imperial ideology. In the Middle East, and elsewhere for that purpose, the idea is to sow chaos and strive between different ethnic groups and religions. Make no mistake, the ISIS, the latest so-called ‘terror caliphate’, and all its predecessors – were and are all created and funded by Washington. Their purpose is to destabilize countries and then to justify US intervention to ‘salvage’ what’s left of the mess.

In other words, to bring about ‘regime change’ – just see the recent turmoil in Iraq and Syria – and to some extent also Ukraine. In Ukraine the White House literally orchestrated a coup in February this year and installed, financed and armed a regime of Nazi thugs in Kiev which is now committing the most atrocious war crimes in the eastern Ukraine Donbass area, killing thousands of civilians – so far more than 3,700 – mostly women and children and causing a flood of so far more than 1.2 million refugees into Russia. In this latter case the ‘pivot’ to Asia is expanding NATO basis ever closer to Moscow’s doorstep – and to take over – like in looting – an extremely resource rich country that has been the cradle of historic Russia. Obviously, Mr. Putin, the Kremlin and the Russian people do not like to see this vicious take-over of their brothers and sisters and their ancient lands.

But there is more to destabilizing the BRICS and the pivot to Asia — practically maneuvering of Ukraine into civil war, planting chaos in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria — than meets the eye. It is the end game, full spectrum dominance – the full achievement of the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century) – meaning complete control of the world’s resources, people and economies. Already in the 1970s Henry Kissinger, one of the patriarchs of elitist and neoliberal thinking and perhaps the greatest war criminal still alive, spoke these infamous words, “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world”. These words resonate today stronger than ever.

8. How fragile is the U.S. economy? ls it in danger of collapsing soon due to its heavy debt load?

The US economy is as fragile as can be. It is basically a balloon of hot air, ready to implode. This is partly due to its enormous debt – 105% of GDP (US$ 17 trillion, est.2014) – and unmet obligations – 127 trillion, about 8 times GDP; no other country in the world has this level of actual debt and foreseen but uncovered obligations.

Today the economy of the United States is a mere house of cards. It consists to more than 50% of the war and security industry and related services and industries. In other words, the US has a GDP of destruction – with the hope that after a country has been destroyed to rubble, its citizens killed or reduced to misery – US corporations will be called to rebuild and rescue what’s left. As per Robert Zoellick, former World Bank President ….. “As in Iraq, we hope to be part of rebuilding Libya, when the war ends” – and we all know who controls the World Bank.

As the world at large takes gradually note of the emptiness of the US economy, of the nakedness of the US emperor, so to speak, people and countries are wishing and hoping – some are even calling – for an alternative monetary and economic system, as their reserves and international contracts are in peril.

Adding to the fragility of the US economy is its banking system. As mentioned before, it is again at the verge of a collapse – this time with considerably more serious consequences than in 2008 of which repercussions are still felt today around the globe – 6 years later. – Many ‘expert’ estimates predict a stock market slump of up to 70% in the very foreseeable future, vs. about 50% in 2008. Consequences of unemployment, housing dispossessions, hunger and disease – sheer misery are unfathomable.

However, there is a strong feeling that these cyclical economic collapses and disasters are not just unpredictable random events inherent in our economic system. They are rather planned events – planned by the masters of the system – the FED, Wall Street, BIS, the financiers of this world – so that the rich can get richer and the poor will get poorer. This phenomenon was already observed during the economic slump of the 1930s. The middle class is diminishing. The abyss between rich and poor grows worldwide – towards a world of a distinct corporate and finance elite and a mass of serfs to scurry about complying with the wishes and desires of the masters.

But it’s not too late. We the People can stop it. We must wake up and become conscious.

9. Is there anything else you consider important and would like to add?

People beware of the Mass Media and their outrageous lies!

The Mainstream Media, or commonly called MSM, is a weapon as criminal and killing as the US / NATO war machine with its European puppets. The MSM are in the hands of 6 giant Judo-Anglo-Saxon media corporations. They literally control 90% of the information officially dished out to the common citizen. Their news are copied and replicated throughout the world, translated into whatever language is suitable and needed.

They work and are paid for the financial and corporate elite, especially the military / security and financial complex. – They dupe people into believing that they are in pursuit of peace, protecting you from terror, preventing villains like Russia and China from taking over the world, when in reality it is thanks to Russian and Chinese diplomacy and economic pressures that the world has so far escaped WWIII.

Already Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, said – A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

That’s the level of lying we are exposed at today – far surpassing Orwell’s 1984 doomsday scenario. Our thinking has been brainwashed and manipulated to the point where a lie is more comfortable and easier to believe than the truth.

There are few media that are worth watching or listening to. One of them is TeleSur of South America, with home in Venezuela. It broadcasts around the world, has top reporters and journalists stationed and reporting directly from the hotspots, with in-depth analyses, connecting the dots and areas of interest – something that is hard to find these days. TeleSur can be seen in most of the Southern Hemisphere, including in parts of the US, and everywhere on internet.

We have to wake up – awaken to a consciousness of peace and solidarity – seeking the truth from uncommon sources, like the present one, TeleSur and others on internet, rather than submitting to the steady drip of indoctrination by the mainstream media.

Becoming conscious of people, societies, the environment – the truth around us – that’s my wish for humanity.
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