America – The World’s Bully
By Larry Romanoff and posted with permission
- Iranian Oil & The US Banking System
- The Swiss Banking System
- The Japanese Yen and The Plaza Accord
- The RMB Exchange Rate
- International Financing
- The Financial Rating Agencies
- Bank Card Payment Systems
- Russian Art
- Europe’s Galileo GPS System
- What’s Yours is Mine
- Canada’s Softwood Lumber Industry
- Canada’s Northwest Passage
- Rice Marketing, American Style
- US Military Bases in Okinawa
- I Can Sue You, But You Can’t Sue Me
- Accounting Standards and Procedures
- French Embassy in Belgrade
- Airline passenger information
- US-UK Extradition Treaty
- If You’re Not With us, You’re Against us
In an article in the Dallas Morning News, Robert Jensen wrote, “In the debate about US war, the question often pops up: Should the United States be the world’s policeman? This is a case where the answer doesn’t matter, because it is the wrong question. The United States isn’t offering to be the world’s cop; US officials are acting as the world’s bully. The role of police is to uphold the law, but police don’t boast that they will respect only those laws they decide to respect. All this talk about being the world’s policeman helps obscure a simple reality: US policy-makers routinely ignore international law and act as rogues”.
America has always been a bully, realising its expansionist and commercial achievements by force or threats of force. When settlers first arrived in the Americas, they began by exterminating the indigenous populations, and continued to take whatever they wanted from that time on. The US fabricated excuses for wars with Mexico and Spain, and claimed half of Mexico, including what are now the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. From Spain, they took Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Philippines, Guam and the Caroline Islands. “Americans appear convinced that they have a God-given right, a destiny granted to them by their God, to simply take by threat or force whatever it is they desire.” This accurately describes US foreign policy since the days of the founding of the Republic, with no change for 200 years. Even worse, the Americans have always been afraid to attack strong nations, typically attacking only those with no ability to defend themselves, or states like Iraq which were weakened by decades of sanctions.
A majority of the world’s people regard America as a bully. In an international poll conducted in 2013, 20 nations representing two-thirds of the world’s population were strongly anti-American. The majority of the population in 15 of 19 nations saw the US as constantly bullying nations with military threats and the majority of people in 17 of 19 nations saw the US as totally ignoring international law. As one American wrote, “America wants to run the world. America will decide who lives and who dies, who rules and who is ruled, which regimes shall stand and which shall be changed. Not surprisingly, a lot of people aren’t too happy about this. The US is an international bully who cares only about its ‘national interest’ and couldn’t care less who gets hurt in the process. We are viewed as arrogant, selfish bullies.” Another American offered this gem: “everyone you trash on the way up will be waiting for you on the way down”. And they will indeed. When airliners crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9-11, people in many countries cheered and in some nations were dancing in the streets. Many felt “it’s about time someone gave the US a taste of their own medicine”. The American media totally censored all such sentiments.
News reporters claim it is not unusual today for Americans to be booed at conferences of many kinds. In a major international conference in Australia, China’s President Xi Jinping was heavily applauded while US President Obama received only loud boos and jeering. A journalist with the state TV network in South Africa spoke for many when he said of the US: “I think a lot of people just see a greedy bully”. When ABC News consulted journalists around the world about the way the United States is perceived, the theme repeatedly stated was that the US is concerned only by its own narrow interests and has no consideration for other nations. US State Department officials were sufficiently concerned about growing anti-American sentiment worldwide that they held a private conference to discuss the topic, but it was clear the Americans wanted only to manage public perception, with no intention of changing their underlying behavior.
The range of circumstances where the Americans threaten and bully other nations is virtually all-encompassing. US accounting “standards” are the only sensible ones, so the entire world should be bullied into adopting them. The US judicial and legal systems, the unregulated and destructive financial system, US-designed regulations in food additives and labeling, are all increasingly being forced upon the world. The US government has been bullying and threatening nations in Europe and Asia for decades now to accept US-produced GM seed. Aggressive American IP standards, unacceptable to many other nations in their format and details, form a major portion of the recently-proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, and were a clear attempt to bully Pacific nations into accepting a colonial master’s control of this entire vital area with no concern for the standards of other nations, intended only to enshrine into treaties the vast tapestry of American violations of the IP of others.
All of these areas are part of a widespread attempt to forcibly impose American so-called standards upon the world. The US comprises only about 4% of the world’s population, but increasingly American products, standards, regulations, systems, so-called “values”, and ways of doing things, are being forced onto the remaining 96% of the world that does not want them, using diplomatic and financial pressure and even threats of military force. And, as we will see, the Americans are not at all reluctant to bully other nations into do their bullying for them.
America has no ‘friends’ in the common usage of that word, and will bully and threaten friends and enemies equally. There is no safety in being a ‘friend’ of the US, as Canada, the UK, Germany and Japan and many other non-Western nations have learned. The only operating concept is what the Americans define as their “national interest”. We have not yet had an instance of the US launching a military invasion against a Western so-called friend, but that is only because bullying has so far been sufficient. It may not always be so.
Iranian Oil & The US Banking System
In 2012, US President Obama signed into law a new provision that the US must cut off a country’s financial institutions from the American banking system if that country continues to purchase crude oil from Iran. Some countries were offered a waiver from these measures because they had, as a result of prior American bullying, “significantly reduced” their oil purchases from Iran. The US has no hesitation in dictating to the nations of the world a list of the countries with which they are “permitted” to do business.
One recent example relates to the sudden frenzied attacks in 2013 and 2014 by the US Justice Department on foreign banks operating in the US, on the pretext of financing terrorism or encouraging “tax evasion”. These banks may or may not have assisted American citizens in avoiding tax but there was absolutely no evidence of involvement in financing terrorism. The truth was rather different and, while the US media refused to touch the issue, it was only foreign banks that were being targeted while Citibank and Goldman Sachs were outstandingly conspicuous by their absence in this frenzy, and indeed many politicians and others questioned the peculiar selection of banking victims. The truth emerged, though again the US government and media totally censored the facts, when documents were discovered to prove that US officials, working through the New York prosecutor’s office, had begun moves to cancel Standard Chartered’s US business license, an act which would have been potentially fatal to the bank’s survival. The reason was Iran, specifically that the US government, following its instructions from Israel and the Jewish lobby, wanted to financially isolate and bankrupt Iran in preparation for another US-sponsored revolution, an agenda some foreign banks, including Standard Chartered, did not share.
To give you an appreciation of how reporters spin events and the media create history that never existed, both parties covering up government crimes in the process, we can consider the article The Financial Times’ Andrew Hill wrote on the Standard Chartered issue. At the time, he was writing on the apology given by Apple’s Tim Cook to China for violating laws and cheating customers, acts Hill dismissed as a clever non-apology. Hill began his commentary with this statement:
“For a better example of contrition in the face of government pressure, take a look at the abject statement of apology the Chairman of Standard Chartered had to write after making remarks relating to the bank’s breaches of US sanctions rules that he admitted were “both legally and factually incorrect”.
Hill then printed the abject apology in full, in which the bank official admitted to willfully avoiding US financial sanctions on Iran. The conclusion we are to draw from Hill’s article is that the Chairman of Standard Chartered sincerely apologised for deliberate great wrongs of the bank while Tim Cook apologised insincerely for no wrongs committed by Apple. However, the truth was rather different. Tim Cook did indeed apologise insincerely for genuine wrongs and illegal acts committed by Apple, while the bank apologised very sincerely (and fearfully, I would add) for having done nothing wrong. Why would the bank do that? Well, here is the story behind the story, the part the Financial Times and Andrew Hill did not want to tell you:
Benjamin Lawsky, the Jew at the head of America’s New York Financial Services division claimed that when warned to cease dealings with Iran, a Standard Chartered executive replied: “You f—ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians.” That was when Lawsky decided, entirely outside the law, to revoke the bank’s business license, and it was only from extensive pleadings at the highest government levels that the bank was saved. And, of course, by the “abject apology” issued by the bank’s Chairman. This is a perfect example of how freely the Americans will bully anyone, with no regard whatever for law or justice, or even reason. But it is also a perfect example of how the public are duped by the media, with government crimes, atrocities, bullying, all manner of illegal acts buried in articles containing false statements or false impressions while omitting the crucial details. And, in so many cases, blaming the victim. According to Hill and the Financial Times, Apple was angelic while Standard Chartered was bad, but the truth was entirely the opposite of the spin. And I would repeat yet again that the only value in freedom of speech depends on having control of the microphone.
One happy postscript to these events resulted from a UK courtroom. The Americans weren’t satisfied with their own leverage in bullying Iran with financial sanctions, but bullied the UK government to adopt the same illegal tactics. In the event, the Iranians sued the UK government in the European Court of Justice, claiming that sanctions employed against them by the UK were ‘wrongly imposed‘, and the court agreed, leaving the UK facing a potential bill of $4bn in damages for being the Americans’ poodle once too often. A few more of these, and the British might learn their lesson and begin ignoring the Americans – who absolutely will not pay their court bill for them. But then the Americans had to pay their own damages for this one illegality since Iran also sued the US government. In the Autumn of 2016, it was revealed that Iran had succeeded in its lawsuit against the US for the illegal confiscation and freezing of Iranian bank assets in the US, with reports that planeloads of cash totaling nearly $2 billion had been flown to Iran from the US in settlement of Iran’s claims. Officials of the Treasury Department attempted to put the best light on these refunds, stating they were “necessitated by the effectiveness of U.S. and international sanctions regimes over the last several years in isolating Iran from the international financial system“. In other words, our great success in stealing your money made it necessary for us to return it. Does that make sense to you? No, me neither, but then this is America and things are different here. However, the real issue was that Obama and other White House officials admitted they were on the verge of losing the lawsuit and would have been liable for as much as $10 billion to Iran because of accrued interest, so they panicked and filled airplanes with cash in the hopes of appeasing Iran.
The US also applied so-called “sanctions” against Iran for blocking seditious US broadcasts into the country, freezing or confiscating all of Iran’s assets in Western countries, obviously with the compliance of its Western allies. But in their vindictiveness the Americans extend a much longer reach that includes any nations, persons or corporations dealing with Iran. The US threatened to apply financial sanctions against China for purchasing Iranian oil, including cutting off access to the US financial system by the Chinese government and all Chinese corporations, and levied fines against a Chinese bank for having transactions with Iran. Any corporations anywhere in the world that do business with Iran are automatically targeted for “punishment”, as are their respective governments. If an African firm engages in commerce with Iran, the US will attempt to seize that firm’s assets anywhere in the world, in complete violation of all laws, and will threaten economic sanctions against that firm’s government as well. If any of these firms have operations, staff or assets in the US, the Americans will simply seize the assets and file criminal charges against the staff on some fabricated basis of ‘trading with the enemy’. If assets exist in other Western nations, the US will bully those countries to freeze or seize all assets, simply on the basis that the US wants to starve Iran into submission and expects compliant assistance from the rest of the world.
In fact, the US tried for years to force foreign banks to assist in its efforts to throttle Iran’s economy, but the banks were loath to abandon profitable business solely for US political objectives and with no benefit to them. Finally, the US government abandoned all pretense at playing by any rules or following any suggestion of law, by arbitrarily levying billions of dollars in “fines” for those banks refusing to sever all ties with Iran. Lloyds Bank was fined almost US$350 million, and Deutsche Bank and one or two others paid US$620 million, to be followed by a long list of others. A Chinese bank was included with a so-called “fine” of about US$150 million, followed by threats that all Chinese firms especially including the major Chinese oil companies would be barred from any access to the US banking system. And in fact, the US government made many prior attempts in secret to bully its banks into refusing to deal with Chinese companies.
The Swiss Banking System
For decades, the US has refused to accept rules or laws of any nation that didn’t correspond to the American best interest or didn’t permit Americans full access to whatever they wanted. One of these areas was Switzerland’s banking system and related laws that were founded on privacy and security. The US without success bullied Switzerland and its banks for years, demanding access to account information, and finally discovered an approach that worked. Under a pretense of (a) seeking those avoiding US income taxes and (b) locating those who fund “terrorism“, the Americans began a coordinated prosecutorial and judicial offensive, targeting Swiss banks resident in the US, levying huge fines and threatening their entire investment base in the US. Under the onslaught, and to shield the remainder of its 300 or so banks from US prosecution, the Swiss government was finally forced to amend its secrecy laws to permit US government agencies full access to account data. Those who believe the US has an “independent judiciary” might care to re-think that position.
The Japanese Yen and The Plaza Accord
By the 1980s, Japan had become a severe concern to US commerce, having entered most US industrial sectors with higher quality, better design and engineering and often more attractive prices. Many major US corporations were losing market share and hemorrhaging red ink with no sign of relief, and the US was running high trade deficits as well. After years of exerting mostly unsuccessful bullying pressure on Japan for export restraints, the US turned its attention to prying open what it viewed as a closed Japanese market. Largely failing here as well, the US then directed its focus on forcing Japan to renovate its economy on a macro level, including extortionate attempts to affect Japanese domestic savings and investment balances. Failing in these efforts as well, the US eventually found an ideal solution: The Americans forced Japan to accept a revaluation of the Japanese Yen – the famous “Plaza Accord” – as a result of which the Yen nearly tripled in only a few years, crippling Japan’s economy – a condition from which it has never recovered.
The RMB Exchange Rate
As with Japan, when the US found itself hopelessly outclassed by China’s manufacturing efficiency and prices and, experiencing increasing trade deficits with China, it mounted an almost overwhelming campaign of pressure and propaganda in attempts to force China to revalue the RMB upward, by at least 25% to 40%. US politicians and officials from the President and State Department to the US Embassies and MNCs, AmCham and many other American groups all jumped onto this same wagon and rode it for years. The US media continued an incessant onslaught of carping criticism of China’s currency policies, noting in detail all manner of economic and political threats the US government held in hand to force China to effectively commit economic suicide in order to preserve US economic supremacy. The volume and strength of the pressure was truly astonishing, as was its consistency and duration. It continued without letup for years, with a concerted and coordinated effort by all US newspapers, columnists, reporters and others, all working to pressure China into relenting. Possibly the worst of this emanated from the Jew Paul Krugman, the fake Nobel Economics prize winner, the NYT’s “Renminbi Rambo”. Among his many flagrantly dishonest articles, Krugman claimed at one point that China was executing “the greatest currency manipulation in history”, or words to that effect – while the US was engaged in its QE1, 2 and 3, which was in reality “the greatest currency manipulation in history”.
It is a great tribute to the strength and maturity of China’s Central Government that it did not capitulate to the Americans in this years-long dishonest and repugnant bullying crusade to derail China’s economy and development. And in the end, the Americans were forced by circumstances to admit that China’s RMB had never been substantially over-valued. A continued effort would have served only to further discredit US politicians and officials as it did so many American economists like Krugman – one of the more foolishly vocal proponents of this insane policy.
In 2016, Russia planned to issue about $3 billion in foreign bonds, its first international issue in several years, and invited a flock of European and Chinese banks to bid on the bonds. But at the time, the Jews controlling the White House were irritated at Russia for frustrating their recent attempts to take over the government of the Ukraine and Russia’s Crimean military base. Therefore, the State Department servants went immediately to work, warning American banks against participating in Russia’s “politically risky” bond deal, with implied threats that failure to comply could be dangerous to their health. But the commissions on $3 billion are much more than nothing, and the American banks were reported to be “weighing their options” in spite of the threats. Of course, the US attempted to put pressure on the European banks as well, with the same veiled threats to their financial health in the US market if they dared disobey the Imperial Master. The State Department also issued an additional warning of “reputational” risks to any bank daring to return “to business as usual with Russia”.
A bit earlier, in 2014, all foreign banks were ordered! to cooperate with the US Treasury department – in any way demanded, even if that cooperation were against the laws of their own country – to help identify foreigners with large amounts of cash. The pretense was that some of these individuals might owe taxes to the US, but there was no documentation to support that claim, nor would such evidence be presented due to concerns of “privacy and national security”. The US Treasury was simply on a fishing trip, for reasons unclear at the time. For the foreign banks, failure to comply – with actions that were in most cases clearly illegal – would result in an arbitrary 30% withholding tax on all their banking profits in the US. A French official said, “That’s shocking, how can they do that?” One foreign banker said, “There is no reciprocity, it’s a one-way street. It really is financial imperialism on the part of the USA”. The US simply passed a law stating that about 100,000 foreign financial institutions in more than 100 countries were “required to report” to the US Treasury whatever information was requested. But of course, as with virtually all actions by the Americans, this one is also a one-way street; the US has very firm laws that prohibit US banks from providing any information to foreign governments, even on their own foreign citizens.
Perhaps the best example was in 2015 when Britain (and almost everybody else) rushed to sign up as founding members of the new China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In the event, every country of consequence signed up – except for the Americans, who would self-immolate before joining anything where China was leading, leaving the US out in the cold. The Americans, in a public statement that must surely have had thousands of government officials all over the world rolling on the floor in laughter, raised concerns about whether this China-led body “would meet the standards of the World Bank”. From the UK Guardian: “The US administration made clear in no uncertain terms its displeasure about Osborne’s decision to join the AIIB. A US official told the Financial Times: “We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China, which is not the best way to engage a rising power.” Naturally, the American way of dealing with “a rising power” is to attempt to destroy it, but here are the British eager to join the club. The US also fretted that China might have some control over the bank’s activities, a reasonable assumption since China was making by far the largest investment, but the Americans failed to mention the control stranglehold they have on the World Bank. For those who don’t know, the World Bank’s regulations require an 85% majority to permit changes, but the US holds a 17% stake, meaning it has an absolute veto and full control, in spite of the fact that its financial contribution is limited. The Americans did launch a frantic worldwide campaign (that included veiled threats) to discourage all countries from participating, but to no avail. In the end, the best they could do was make pathetic, miffed noises about how this new institution should “incorporate the high standards of the World Bank“, a vain hope since the World Bank’s only standard is the bleeding of underdeveloped countries.
The Financial Rating Agencies
Another favorite US method of bullying nations financially to ensure compliance with the Imperial Prerogative is by using the American securities rating agencies like Moody’s as tools of extortion, to the point where these rating agencies have lost all reliability in their field and are seen primarily as extortion tools of the US State Department to ensure American political domination. Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor, most often coordinate their activities, often to the chagrin of weaker nations. One of their methods, whenever a country – friend or foe – dares disobey the imperial hegemon – that country will suddenly discover its securities have suddenly fallen several categories in the financial rankings, and downgraded from positive or stable to negative, thereby increasing their financing costs – often from US banks, by significant margins. Since these three firms control about 95% of the international ratings markets, their influence is substantial, even though their methods and ethics have become increasingly questionable.
To say these firms operate with a double standard is to badly underestimate the frauds involved. When Enron and other US firms were only days from bankruptcy, their ratings were still high, serving only to eviscerate all the trusting small investors who believed what they were told. Prior to the 2008 financial collapse, Moody’s rated the weakest and most dangerous American firms and securities at the highest levels, maintaining those ratings right through the collapse. More recently, Moody’s rated Greece at a level that was truly laughable, given that Greece was a financial basket case, at the time possibly only weeks from bankruptcy and an exit from the Euro. Yet in early 2016, Moody’s suddenly downgraded China’s debt ratings while reducing its category from stable to negative – at the same time having done precisely the opposite for Greece, apparently claiming that country’s economy was much more stable and reliable than was China’s. However, in this case, Moody’s wasted their time. China’s Finance Minister shrugged off both Moody’s and their ratings, stating that “We don’t care much about the ratings”, and noting that both the international and domestic financial markets ignored Moody’s completely. The impetus for the change in rankings was the insistence of the Jews controlling the White House to force China to carry out huge economic reforms that would both benefit American (and Jewish) firms and destroy China’s economy, such measures including the disposition of the assets of all Chinese state-owned companies to US firms, and a permanent closure of much of China’s development infrastructure including steel mills, aluminum smelters and more. When China once again refused to commit economic suicide to please the Americans, they employed Moody’s as a tool in the hope of damaging China’s international financial reputation and greatly increasing China’s financing costs. Fortunately, they failed.
Moody’s is also not beyond serious criminal extortion, accompanied by the full protection of the US State Department. At one point, according to an article in Huanqiu, “Moody’s once bullied a German insurance giant, Hannover Re, by offering free rating services and seeking future paid services. When Hannover Re refused, Moody’s rated the company anyway and kept the rating very low for two years in a row. As Hannover Re continued refusing to pay, Moody’s suddenly downgraded Hannover Re to the lowest rating, causing a massive stock dump and forcing the company to sign a contract with Moody’s and accept its rating services.”
Bank Card Payment Systems
The issue here is that China has developed a national system to facilitate the use of bank-issued debit and credit cards, unsurprisingly a system designed to reflect China’s standards. Also unsurprisingly, China’s UnionPay network was designed to operate according to these national requirements. These standards govern the methods and the electronic language by which these cards function, including the encryption methods and proprietary standards as well as the rapid development of chip-enhanced smart cards which are much safer for consumers than are the magnetic-strip cards used in the US. Naturally, the Americans are displeased that China should be so bold as to dare to define the standards to be used within its own banking system, and are demanding that China “open up” its clearing service market to American banks, meaning that China should abandon its clearing systems in their entirety and adopt the American version.
In an article in late 2014, Caixin, the China mouthpiece of the US Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), wrote a long article ostensibly by staff reporters Li Xiaoxiao and Zhang Yuzhe, indirectly condemning China for this apparent anti-world progress attitude and gleefully suggesting China might experience “the sting of a legal slap from the WTO“. Caixin whines that while China’s standards are used by UnionPay, they are “incompatible” with those of VISA and MasterCard, which is of course contrary to the will of God and therefore an abomination. According to Caixin, “Critics of the standards have accused the government of using the standards as technical barriers designed to protect UnionPay’s market position”, quietly forgetting that precisely the same environment exists in the US where American standards are in fact “technical barriers” that function primarily to protect US businesses from competition.
One (probably non-existent) “VISA technician” who naturally “asked to remain anonymous“, said “Ideally there should be one unified standard“, without noting that this ‘standard’ should of course be the American one, the systems of all other nations being replaced with the American system to facilitate their financial colonisation. Another (probably fictitious) source, this one at MasterCard, apparently said “When various interests have different interests, the government needs to find a balance“, again without noting that this ‘balance‘ would be the adoption of the US system. According to Caixin, “another source at MasterCard who also asked not to be named, said industry standards in every country should treat all companies with impartiality“. Caixin tells us that “MasterCard officials have no problem with the Chinese government’s interest in developing standards of its own“, but what isn’t fair is that the Chinese standards match what UnionPay uses instead of what VISA and MasterCard use. Therefore, by using its own standards and systems, China is “giving Chinese competitors a clear advantage“, and of course this isn’t “fair“. Unspoken in all of this is of course the clear fact that any foreign company wanting to enter the US must entirely adopt the American systems. The US would never consider revamping its banking or any other systems or regulations to ease the entry of foreign firms. None of these media commenters care to point out that if you want to do business in the US, you do it their way or not at all, but this rule is apparently automatically voided when the Americans want to come to your country.
In real life, there is nothing either sinister or unfair about China’s actions with respect to bank cards, nor are preference or protection being given to either UnionPay or other Chinese firms. Li Xiaofeng, a central bank official, said “Any company that issues bank cards denominated in yuan should be required to follow China’s standards for the industry. Opening up the clearing service market does not mean we have to give up self-developed, proprietary standards or cater to foreign bank card companies by using their standards. All foreign and domestic card organizations will be treated the same (in China). There will be no separate standards for foreign companies“. An official at China’s central bank said, “Every country has its own clearing system, and China should have its own. It does not have to follow the standards of Visa and MasterCard.” But according to our AmCham apologist Caixin, “non-Chinese bank card companies are hitting bumps” while trying to expand their international reach into China, because they must adapt to China’s systems and base their clearing facilities inside the country – the same requirements as exist in the US, though we don’t hear Caixin sobbing for the fate of Chinese companies trying to operate in America. It would be appropriate to wonder why not. And in fact, UnionPay has been treated unfairly outside China. In one case, Visa ordered all merchants using its POS card machines outside China to stop routing transactions through UnionPay, meaning that all Visa and MasterCard cards issued in China must be cleared in US dollars rather than yuan.
Europe’s Galileo GPS System
GPS was very much a war-based technology. The original US GPS was designed as a two-tier military system that would provide high-precision location signals to US military users, and be made available at a degraded capacity for civilian and foreign military use. It was designed with the capability to limit signal strength or completely block transmission while still supplying precise signals to the US military, and also with a clever feature whereby GPS position information could be made significantly inaccurate at will, thereby eliminating its value to anyone but the US military. Therefore, in 1999, the European Union devised plans for an independent European system – Galileo – a new generation of technology, far more precise and accurate than the American technology and that would be not be subject to the vagaries of US military and political control. The EU’s position was that Galileo was a neutral technology, not military, and would be made available equally to all nations and users. EU officials fought hard against American demands to change their original plans for the system.
The Americans’ prime concern was to maintain GPS capability while denying it to other nations but Galileo would have rendered this impossible. It would not only have been better than the US system in all respects, but the US would have lost not only global dominance but the invaluable battlefield advantage of denying GPS signals to the enemy. Being determined to “level the playing field” by having sole military control of all GPS signals in the world, and faced with European refusal to budge, the Americans informed the EU that if they launched any GPS satellites under the Galileo system, the US would shoot them all down. And, the Europeans, cowardly and unwilling to call the bully’s bluff, capitulated, and agreed to a different modulation and frequency that would permit the US total control over both systems. It will forever be a shameful blot on the European escutcheon that they so weakly submitted to the Americans and killed one of the most socially useful projects of the century, solely to maintain American military supremacy. When completed, Galileo was two generations old and essentially useless. Not long after the EU capitulation to Washington, China severed its relationship with Galileo and decided to build its own Beidou GPS system which the Americans cannot control.
Russia has a collection of ancient Jewish religious literature that once belonged to a now-deceased rabbi with no heirs, and that has been in Russia’s possession for more than 100 years. But an unrelated Jewish organisation in the US wanted this collection and filed suit in a US court for its possession. The American court was happy to oblige, issuing a judgment that ordered Russia to surrender the literature forthwith, and further ordering Russia to pay this Jewish organisation $50,000 a day until the collection is received in the US. Russia has failed to comply, this failure of course providing justification for the Americans to ‘legally’ seize Russian assets in the US at the same rate of $50,000 a day.
Of course, the US has no legal jurisdiction whatever over Russia, but laws have never been of much concern to the Americans. The Magnitsky Act passed by Congress authorised US authorities to arrest and seize the assets of any Russian they place on a “We Don’t Like Him” list, without recourse to a court or indeed any law at all.
Bank Deposits in Cyprus
One example of this supra-national arrogance was in evidence during the financial crisis in Cyprus, where the international Jewish bankers seized billions in assets owned by the Russian state and Russian citizens, on a flimsy and illegal basis and without recourse. Cyprus was a favorite country for Russians to hold bank deposits, for various reasons, and this was one of the most astonishing asset seizures in history. The Cyprus government was indebted to a level where it was simply unable to repay its loans but instead of negotiating a compromise, the Jewish bankers, determined to obtain their pound of flesh, forced the government of Cyprus to cover its debt by raiding the personal bank accounts of its citizens, depleting them in amounts ranging from 30% to 80%. The bankers then used that agreement to further push the Cyprus government to raid all the bank accounts held in Cyprus by the Russian state and by Russian citizens, illegally seizing billions of dollars of Russian funds, and without recourse.
What’s Yours is Mine
In a surprising number of situations, the US government will simply ignore applicable law and seize any assets as either a negotiating tool or as extra-judicial punishment where it has no legal basis to resort to the courts. Several branches of the US government commonly resort to this seizure action to force cooperation, which is often successful since after the seizure, a defendant has no available assets to pay for legal counsel and risks total loss and imprisonment. Perhaps more damning, and certainly dirtier, the US government will often attempt to escape direct liability for its criminal activity by forcing American banks and foreign banks in the US to do their dirty work of this illegal sequestration or seizure. Many banks have complained of extortionate threats by various elements of the White House, compelling them to freeze or seize foreign-owned assets under the pretense of unspecified commercial justification. One might expect these actions would occasionally place the banks in a vulnerable legal position, but things are different in America: for one, no lawyers will accept these cases, especially not after receiving visits from either the Treasury Department or the FBI, and in any case the ‘independent‘ US judiciary will almost inevitably refuse to hear any cases involving seizures of foreign assets. This is called ‘rule of law’ in America.
One bullying tactic the US government increasingly displays in frightening amount is the extra-judicial seizure of the US assets of any company or nation it doesn’t like, without resort to criminal or civil judgments where such asset seizures might be legal. The US increasingly uses this pre-emptive illegal negotiating tool, (euphemistically called “sanctions”), often claiming with no substantiating evidence that the owner supports terrorism or “illegally” does business with countries the US doesn’t like. The US also bullies other nations into doing the same. When targeting a nation for regime change, the US will seize all that government’s assets in the US (and anywhere else) and provide them to the nation’s US-supported “insurgent group” which it magically recognises as “the real government“. Venezuela was one recent example where the US simply seized all that nation’s reserves on deposit, and other national assets, and pretended to give them to their choice of Venezuela’s fake “President”, a man not elected and not accepted by his own country. According to the US State Department, the effort to locate and freeze these assets is done with the intention of “draining the financial lifeblood” of individuals, companies or small nations that meet with Imperial disapproval. Many countries, like Canada and the UK, have been bullied into US-drafted legislation that directs them to freeze assets “upon the request of a foreign state” (read US). Both Canada and the UK tell us that “for reasons of privacy and commercial confidentiality“, they cannot provide details.
This is actually a much larger issue than appears above. The American Empire may be lacking in scruples, but certainly not in imagination or shame. In one recent case, the UK Guardian was compelled to sadly report that “A ‘Deeply concerned’ Obama imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials” – by ordering the seizure of all assets in the US and anywhere else of a list of officials and legislators in Venezuela. Their sin? Officials of the Venezuelan government, with open defiance, were frustrating American attempts to destabilise and overthrow their government. They brazenly arrested US-sponsored agents and CIA operatives who were causing violence and political unrest. Even more recklessly, Venezuela dared to reveal the names of those individuals and document publicly their connections to the CIA and the State Department. Since most of this extraterritorial criminality and offense of sovereignty operated out of the US Embassy in Caracas on diplomatic passports, Venezuela also demanded the US reduce its diplomatic staff in the country by more than 80%, and gave the Americans only two weeks to comply. That was brave of them. In retaliation, the US State Department immediately (1) issued a travel ban on all officials of the government of Venezuela, forbidding them even to travel to the US to appear at UN meetings which are normally sacrosanct and protected from such cheap political interference; (2) Ordered the seizure of all assets held in the US – and elsewhere – by any and all officials and members of the government of Venezuela, whether personal, corporate or government. The official reason issued from the White House through Jacob Lew, Obama’s Jewish treasury secretary, was that Venezuela was “squandering financial resources by chasing American criminals“, wasting money “that could be invested in the Venezuelan people“. More than this, these actions of Venezuelan officials “undermine public trust in democratic institutions” and were of course “a violation of the human rights to which Venezuelan citizens are entitled“. No idea how, since Venezuela was ‘violating‘ only Americans. If you need a translation, this means the US has a right to freely interfere in the internal governmental and political affairs of any nation, to the extent of inciting violence and overthrowing the government, and any such victim government frustrating this Imperial interference is, at least according to the Americans, violating the human rights of its own citizens. And the Americans, protectors of the Venezuelan people by divine appointment, were compelled to take action by illegally seizing the total personal assets of every person in the Venezuelan government and preventing them from purchasing a ticket on any airline anywhere in the world. American rule of law at its finest.
Following from the above, the US frequently resorts to rather childish and petty obstruction in the cause of its Imperial majesty. It will often refuse entry to the US for individuals travelling from disfavored nations to attend sessions of the United Nations or other such international obligations. The US frequently bullies many other nations to refuse travel visas for foreign officials from nations that transgress Imperial Directives, in all cases attempting to create a worldwide net of punishment. This is not a minor point. The State Department will use the facilities of the CIA to identify not only government officials but the members of their families, all relatives, and even personal friends, subjecting all to the same travel bans as well as credit card, banking, and other restrictions. The US media are generally aware of these practices but the topic is heavily censored and will appear nowhere. This is one of the prime sources of content for the Americans’ “no-fly” list, and why they refuse to release any information of the names on that list; the international political fallout would be fatal. Americans (and others) seem to believe the no-fly list contains only the names of American citizens who are potential terrorists presenting a danger to the flying public. You needn’t be very smart to realise this cannot possibly be true. Credible reports suggest that list contains more than one million names – rather more than the number of terrorists in the US, who probably number between three and five on any given day, and all of which are resident in the White House.
The US has bullied many countries into refusing to host websites that are politically disagreeable to American ideology or that disclose embarrassing information. It bullied companies in all Western nations to refuse payment mechanisms that fund these websites, and pressured financial firms like PayPal, VISA and Mastercard to refuse to process payments.
The Americans bullied the UK government into demanding the Guardian newspaper destroy all its hard drives containing information leaked by Edward Snowden, and delivered open political and military threats to all nations likely to consider granting him asylum. In an almost surreal demonstration of aggressive stupidity, authoritative sources documented that US Vice-President Kerry issued a threat to Central and South American nations that if any of them did grant Snowden asylum, the US federal courts would file charges of drug trafficking against that nation’s consular officials in the US, and further that all petroleum deliveries to their nation would be halted. It bullied the Austrian government to force the emergency landing of a diplomatic aircraft in which it believed Snowden to be a passenger, in a blatant violation of all international law. In March of 2015, Glenn Greenwald wrote of the then-continuing saga of Edward Snowden, relating that at the time Germany’s Vice-Chancellor was asked publicly why Germany didn’t permit Snowden (who is dearly loved in Germany for revealing the extensive NSA espionage in their country) to obtain political asylum in Germany. According to international law, the act of granting asylum would automatically negate Snowden’s status as a fugitive from US justice, leaving him safe. But the Vice-Chancellor replied that the US had threatened Germany with various retaliations if they dared do such a thing. Germany backed down. The US has done this many times, mostly to nations that are seen as friends.
Canada’s Softwood Lumber Industry
There is another, and rather more disturbing, category of US bullying, that consists of deliberately attacking a nation’s companies to punish their government for refusing to comply with American colonial demands on virtually any issue. We have read of the US-engineered financial devastation of Canada’s softwood lumber industry, where the real issue was government-levied charges for timber rights. When offering lumber harvesting rights to an area of forest, the US government operates an auction where lumber companies bid for those rights. Canada follows a different pattern and levies an independently-decided flat fee. Because of this, the US charges are higher than those in Canada, raising US lumber costs and rendering the US lumber industry less competitive. When the US failed in its attempts to force Canada to adopt the American auction system, the Americans arbitrarily levied the massive and illegal “import duties” against the Canadian lumber firms, in fact punishing the firms for their government’s refusal to comply with American political demands. Moreover, the duties were paid not to the US government but to the American lumber companies, in fact and reality to “reimburse” them for their loss of profits “caused” by Canada having a different lumber fee system. Of course, all these actions were illegal as determined by the WTO and other trade organisations, and the WTO ruled that the US must refund to Canada more than $5 billion in fees. But the Americans refused, stating they would “negotiate” the refund with Canada. The Americans simply ignore any law that proves inconvenient.
Canada’s Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along the northern coast of Canada through internal waterways among Canadian Arctic islands. Transit through this passage could save thousands of miles of travel for ships that are too large to transit the Panama Canal and must travel around the Southern tip of South America. The Canadian government, and all other nations, have always considered this passage and its waterways and islands as part of Canada’s internal waters, but the US has recently refused to accept Canada’s position, claiming the passage is an international waterway. A few years ago, Canada was outraged to discover that the US had sent its nuclear submarines through Canada’s Northern waters, even being so bold as to publish photos of the USS Charlotte surfaced at the North Pole. The American version of events is that Canada’s claims can be ignored unless Canada is prepared to invest heavily to defend its waters with military hardware. If you need a translation, this means “Our warships will continue to violate your territory and sovereignty at will, unless and until you can build up a military infrastructure powerful enough to stop us.” With friends like this, Canada doesn’t need enemies.
Rice Marketing, American Style
I once saw part of an agreement presented to Japan by the US government for the purchase of 100,000 tons of American rice. In itself, this might not be unusual, but the contract had a provision prohibiting Japan from re-selling this rice on the open market. You didn’t need much of an imagination to connect the dots. The Japanese do not like American rice. They don’t care for the smell and they don’t like the taste. They won’t buy it, and they won’t eat it. On a prior occasion the US bullied Japan into purchasing a similar amount of American rice and, since it was worthless to the Japanese, they just quietly sold it off on the world markets – effectively competing with the US on their own product. This time the Americans were a bit smarter, inserting the prohibition against resale. Since the Japanese wouldn’t eat it, they could toss it into the ocean or feed it to the pigs, but the Americans would have their sale. State-sponsored marketing at its finest.
I have seen literally hundreds of examples of US trade bullying that cover most of the spectrum of human existence, many involving American-style marketing, but most of which fail to reach the eyes and ears of the media. The rice is actually a minor item compared to most. The US has bullied Japan on everything from aircraft purchases to banking – and not only Japan; the US bullies every nation. Without these gangster tactics, American exports might well fall to zero.
US Military Bases in Okinawa
Japan has been bullied into accepting 50 military bases and about 50,000 US troops on Okinawa, which have been a constant source of friction for decades. Okinawa has threatened to secede more than once, because of the devastation to the islands. The residents also deeply resent the high crime rate of US troops and their immunity to local laws. More than one Japanese Prime Minister has come to power with a promise to mitigate the situation and remove some of the US bases, but in each case, he discovered himself quietly removed from power a short time later. Bullying at its finest, with little apparent concern for ‘democracy‘ or the will of the people, either.
The Japanese government has for years faced bitter complaints from the residents of the destructive effect of these bases to their environment and way of life. The problems have involved extreme noise pollution, contamination, huge areas littered with unexploded munitions from years of live-fire artillery practice, and the many complaints of rapes and murders by American servicemen. The problems are exacerbated by the base agreement that renders Americans immune to local laws, which means effective police action is almost never taken and that Okinawa officials have no more power to affect these matters than does the Japanese government itself.
I Can Sue You, But You Can’t Sue Me
At the time of writing, the European Union was negotiating an understanding with the US about the NSA’s surveillance, in part about stopping the spying but in part about the US complying with EU law and enabling legal redress in the US courts for Europeans whose rights may have been infringed. Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice and rights commissioner stressed that US concessions on legal redress were central to Brussels’ demands because Americans can go to the European courts if they feel their rights are infringed, but Europeans cannot do this in America. “For two years I have asked for reciprocity,” said Reding. “I couldn’t get that. It needs a change of US legislation and the administration has always told me they couldn’t get that through.” The US has bullied all European nations to permit American citizens to use European courts for redress against European companies or governments, but has steadfastly refused to grant European citizens the right to sue American firms or the US government in America. Once again, as President Obama so clearly stated, “So long as the playing field is level, America will always win.“
Accounting Standards and Procedures
China has had a long-running dispute with the US over access to audit documents, where US regulators have been looking to forcibly export their accounting standards and regulations worldwide, the temperature escalating considerably in early 2014 when a US judge ruled that the Chinese sections of the Big Four accounting firms should be suspended from practicing in the United States, as punishment for lack of cooperation. In effect, the judge is bullying the Chinese accounting firms into compliance by threatening to remove their ability to sign off US audit reports, thereby eliminating their value to their clients and imposing potentially destructive losses of income, with the added pressure of causing grave difficulty for clients.
It is true that several Chinese companies listed on US stock exchanges have been embroiled in accounting scandals, and we cannot fault the SEC for wanting to delist troubled firms, but nations can have widely divergent laws and accounting regulations which require diplomatic rather than legal solutions. What is standard in one country may be unacceptable in another and, while the Americans are the leaders in vocal protestations about openness and transparency when it pleases them, they are also the leaders in invoking privacy or national security concerns in limiting precisely such transparency when it becomes inconvenient. It is absolutely true that if China demanded these documents whose release were illegal in the US, the Americans would tell China to go fly a kite. In particular with this accounting dispute is the SECs demand for working papers that are confidential under Chinese law, and with good reason. The information contained in those working papers involves rather more than supporting lists of numbers; full access to this content could be virtually priceless to a competitor and, hypocritical protestations notwithstanding, this book contains ample evidence that the US government has never held itself above such cheap tricks to aid the commercial success of its large firms. The SEC didn’t disclose the names of the firms in which it had an interest, but court documents revealed the nature of the businesses involved which, for example, included a Chinese solar panel manufacturer. The US government has made no secret of its intention to never yield solar cell supremacy to China, and access to the full range of audit work papers from Chinese manufacturers would be invaluable to an American firm.
Paul Gillis, yet another unbiased American Professor at Peking University, wrote “Ultimately, the only way this gets settled is if China agrees that companies that list in the US are subject to all US securities laws”. Maybe, but the question is not about US-listed companies being subject to all US laws, but about the US forcing their standards on other nations without regard for their position. And it must be said that this process should work in reverse; all US companies listed in or operating in China must then be subject to all Chinese law, but unfortunately they often decline, citing their primary obligation to American law. Gillis added, “For those companies that are too sensitive for that, like some large SOEs, China should pull their US listings”. In this case, I concur. Chinese firms should resist the temptation to list on US exchanges so long as Imperial Obeisance is part of the listing fee. There is no advantage to China to be bullied into colonisation. Why go where you’re not wanted?
French Embassy in Belgrade
When President Reagan launched his 1986 bombing raid on Libya, France refused the use of its airspace to what was clearly an unjustified aggression, and forced the Americans to take a much longer route from airfields in the UK. When the US planes reached Libya, they made a point of dropping bombs so close to the French Embassy that the building was damaged, all windows blown out and all communications disabled. Just a friendly reminder. The US did the same with the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade as punishment for a lack of enthusiasm for the destruction of Yugoslavia.
Airline passenger information
In its bid to own and control all information about every living person on earth, and under the pretense of looking for terrorists, the US demanded that all European nations provide data about passengers on flights originating in the European Union – which was against all European and international law. After a decade of bullying and refusals, the European Union finally relented and passed new laws to permit this invasion of privacy of their citizens. The US now receives 19 pieces of information on each passenger, including name, citizenship, passport, contact information, payment details, credit-card numbers, travel agency, itinerary and baggage information, and can retain them for up to 15 years.
And there’s more. Any airline flight passing over – or near – the US, even if not destined for America, must still hand over that same volume of information on every passenger or be refused transit through US-controlled airspace. It is also a certainty that compliant nations like Canada and Australia already provide this information without the knowledge of their citizens. The US is in the process of solidifying a database containing all details of all passengers flying every day on every airline in the world – and coordinating it with all data otherwise collected by the NSA, the CIA, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, mobile phones and more.
Even worse for some nations with servile Right-Wing governments like Canada and the UK, the US will have the power to determine the status of purely domestic passengers as well. This infringement on their sovereignty gives the United States unprecedented power about who can board planes, through a program that was never even discussed with, much less approved, by the Canadian or UK governments and which transfers the authority of screening passengers from domestic airlines directly to the US Department of Homeland Security. Canadian airlines were already checking their flight manifests against the US no-fly list, but now transfer all travelers’ personal information to US Homeland Security 72 hours before takeoff. The no-fly list is compiled by the FBI and contains the names of unknown hundreds of thousands of people the US government says should be denied flight privileges, in almost no cases due to concerns of terrorism. The US refuses to disclose either the names or the causes for inclusion on this list, as always claiming reasons of “national security.” The danger now is that unknown persons in the DHS or other US agencies can maliciously place on their list anyone from any country, and prevent that person from ever boarding an airline again, even to fly within or leave his own country. In practice, it has proven virtually impossible to get one’s name removed from that list even in cases of simple error.
US-UK Extradition Treaty
In the recent past, the UK was bullied by the Americans into executing an extradition treaty in which it agreed to extradite anyone from that country simply on the request of the US, with no evidence or documentation necessary, an agreement which had the direct effect of extending US legal jurisdiction into the UK. However, extradition in the reverse direction was much more complicated, requiring documented evidence of crimes. It seems that American lawyers drafted the agreement and simply forced their UK poodles to sign it. The UK is now experiencing deep regrets over the treaty, and wants to renege; the US objects. This will increasingly involve all nations, with or without extradition agreements which in any case are increasingly ignored. It is not comforting that US Justice Department’s Richard Downing recently warned that desired individuals (he claimed “international cyber-criminals”) are becoming more difficult to grab, claiming that “extradition difficulties and evidence-gathering are obstacles” to stopping them, “particularly in less technically-advanced countries“. What that means, is that the US will soon openly ignore all international rule of law and simply send in agents to surreptitiously kidnap and export anyone in any nation. All the signs point in this direction, and the US has no reputation for backing off such policies once implemented.
If You’re Not With us, You’re Against us
When the US doesn’t like someone, you aren’t permitted to like them either. When the US put Iran onto its list of countries slated for “regime change“, nobody was permitted to do business with Iran. Nobody. American firms and citizens of course would be fined and imprisoned since they were within easy reach. US firms operating outside the US were subject to the same restrictions. But the US also bullied European nations and corporations into avoiding Iran, threatening to seize their assets in the US and to file criminal charges against their US subsidiaries or preventing access to the US market for their products. With China, the US went an extra step and threatened to shut down all Chinese banks operating in the US and deny access to any part of the US financial system if China continued to buy oil from Iran. Of course, all these actions violate international law, but US legislators gave themselves permission to do so.
The US also imposed “sanctions” against several energy companies, including a Chinese firm, for selling refined petroleum products to Iran, and brought a criminal action against Chinese firm ZTE for selling telecom hardware to Iran. Even more, US government officials bullied an American law firm for defending ZTE in the US court, claiming the US firm valued money more than the “legitimate security concerns of the US government“, and demanded the law firm drop ZTE as a client, leaving us with a position where rapists, murderers, bank robbers and even US bankers and politicians are entitled to legal representation when charged with an offense, but Chinese firms have no such right. Of course, the US has no direct jurisdiction over Chinese companies, but will exploit any possible weakness to bully the firms into submission. And in practice, the more seriously the American government violates the legal rights of foreign companies or governments, the more intense the pressure they will place on lawyers to refrain from defending these cases. And, it appears, the more intense the pressures on the judges and courts to refuse to hear the cases. We can think back to Citibank’s gold robbery in China, and the concerted efforts by the White House, the Treasury, the US FED, and the courts, to ensure Citibank would never be called to account for its crimes. This is the same quality of fascist fear that existed during the McCarthy era, with a helpless public subjected to lawlessness, intimidation and extortion.
The Americans are notorious for gathering the support of allies in their constant petty political squabbles with other nations and also to support their bullying efforts against other nations. From a fear that China was taking over the world of communications and internet infrastructure, the US government, largely through Gary Locke, who was US Commerce Minister before being sent to China as US Ambassador, bullied the American Internet firms and ISPs to do no business with Huawei and ZTE. The American government also bullied Australia into rejecting Huawei’s participation in the country’s new Internet infrastructure, and exerted extreme political pressure on South Korea to avoid Huawei. The US bullied the European Union in the same way, threatening various reprisals if the Europeans disobeyed. When the US government banned all products from Chinese electronics firm Huawei, the Australian government concurrently announced a ban on Huawei participating in its proposed $36 billion high-speed Internet network, claiming a responsibility to “protect its integrity” from Chinese cyber-attacks. Australia reported considerable US political pressure to make this decision, as did many European nations. But they don’t stop there. When the Americans cannot compete with China, which today is almost all of the time, they turn their attention to spitefully damaging China’s international position and commercial products in any nation where they can exert diplomatic or military pressure to bully the local government. In Europe in 2016, the US bullied local governments and paid labor unions to conduct an anti-China street protest, hoping to have 5,000 people demonstrating against Chinese steel simply because Chinese firms can produce at lower cost.
They did the same with solar (photo-voltaic) panels, bullying all US firms to reject Chinese products and levying punitive tariffs on imports, then proceeded to bully the Europeans into doing the same, again threatening reprisals if the Europeans failed to obey, in a pathetic and juvenile attempt to damage China’s worldwide supremacy in solar energy. The US levied enormous and unconscionable duties of nearly 350% on Chinese solar panels, in clear violation of all international rules, then bullied the EU and other Western nations to do the same. Almost inevitably the Americans will attempt to bully all the Western countries, and many undeveloped nations as well, to initiate similar tariffs, in clearly deliberate attempts to completely destroy industries in other nations that are more efficient than American firms. They have done the same for decades in attempting to control the exports to China of any technology by any country in the world. Exports to China of even simple PC micro-processors were banned for many years. The products or materials needn’t be for military use in China, the Americans have simply been determined to keep China in the high-tech dark by any means possible. US restrictions on high-tech exports to China are “strict and extensive“, and have exacerbated trade imbalances between China and the US. They also damage China’s trade relations with other nations because the US State Department exerts substantial diplomatic and even military pressure (or threats) on the Europeans and other nations to follow the US lead.
In December of 2015, US President Obama publicly scolded Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for his government’s agreement to lease to a Chinese firm the usage of part of the Australian port of Darwin, without first obtaining permission from the US government! The Australian media were replete with reports of the country’s Prime Minister being berated by US President Obama for not having obtained prior permission from the Imperial Master before doing business with China. Then in late 2016, Australia’s government suddenly decided to block the sale of the country’s largest energy grid to a group of Chinese firms, a blatant protectionist move that would certainly harm relations between the two countries, this decision closely following the refusal of another purchase by a Chinese consortium to purchase the country’s largest agricultural land owner, cattle company Kidman & Co. These actions were not entirely a surprise since there was hell to pay a year earlier when Australia granted the Chinese lease on port Darwin. The US Ambassador to Australia John Berry said “The US fully respects the process and decisions on foreign investment made by the Australian government”, while simultaneously informing that same Australian government that the decision-making process was based entirely on obtaining prior US approval. Berry also noted that “national security” must always be taken into account in cases of foreign direct investment, without specifying the precise security risks to Australia in the selling of a cattle ranch. Nor did he bother stating precisely how or why it was any of the Americans’ damned business what Australia did.
Similarly, in the middle of 2016, British PM Theresa May suddenly announced a delay in the signing of a contract to commence construction of the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor project, the announcement coming on the very evening prior to the signing, with widespread complaints of American pressure to remove China from the project on the imaginary basis of Britain’s ‘national security‘. The Americans were miffed because the prior UK government had made serious efforts to solicit Chinese investment in the British economy and, to the great dismay of the White House, agreed at the same time to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. To the chagrin of the Americans, the nuclear project was eventually approved, but they at least had the satisfaction of upsetting China and knowing they could bully the UK Prime Minister. A bit earlier, the Dutch company Philips had agreed to sell its lighting components business to a Chinese firm, but the Americans exerted enormous political pressure to block the sale because Philips had some R&D operations and a large portfolio of patents in a US company, which the Americans did not want China to obtain. Philips could probably have pulled those operations out of the US and then proceeded with the sale, but the US would have retaliated in dozens of other ways and shut Philips products out of the US market. Both the Europeans and the Chinese are expressing strong resentment against this blatantly political interference that has as its only purpose an American determination to control access to technology by other countries. In other words, the Americans have assumed the authority to tell a Dutch company it cannot sell technology to a Chinese company, resorting to bullying threats of losing access to the American market.
All the tales we hear about the US promoting fair trade or a level playing field are fairy stories for children; the reality is very different. Whenever the Americans find themselves falling behind in some area of technology, as they do with increasing frequency, they not only bully their own companies to avoid competitive foreign goods, but will mount a campaign to bully the rest of the world into doing the same. This process occurs equally as often to prevent other nations from challenging American dominance in any field or to prevent other nations from progressing. The US bullied all Western nations into levying extremely high duties on Chinese solar panels, not because American companies were competitive but to prevent China from taking the lead in a high-technology area. It often occurs as well with minor political disputes where the Americans will try to enlist the cooperation of all other nations to bully and punish Venezuela or Peru for disobedience to the imperial master. Typical of the “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us” pathology, any nation wanting to be part of the American camp must accept most portions of US foreign policy which includes a huge commercial element. Bullying all other nations to accept Monsanto’s Frankenstein GM seed is another similar category.
The concept of extra-territorialism, extending one’s reach beyond one’s own borders, is a specialty of the Americans, sometimes leaving the rest of the world marveling at their capacity for self-delusion. In one case that truly staggers the imagination with the depth of American arrogance was an occasion when the US government disagreed with a decision made by a Scottish court. In that case, several US senators contacted the Scottish government to demand the arrangement of sessions where American senators would fly to Scotland to interrogate the Scottish court as to the reasons for its decision. In another celebrated case involving Conrad Black, the former head of the Hollinger newspaper empire, the US court’s main victory was to convict Black for an action that occurred in Canada and would have been well outside US jurisdiction. US military vessels will stop and search any ships in international waters, on any pretense, in complete disregard of international law and where they have no jurisdiction.
In another similar case, the US White House arranged to have a US court file criminal indictments against a Chinese businesswoman for allegedly doing business with and having financial ties to North Korea, as well as announcing “sanctions” against her and the trading company for doing business with a country the Americans have placed on their black list. The Chinese Foreign Ministry voiced its disapproval of the US attempting to use its domestic laws “to impose ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ over Chinese entities or individuals“, but the Americans pay no notice and do this with increasing regularity. In this case, the White House is experiencing difficulty in destroying North Korea without China’s assistance, these ‘long-arm’ actions intended to increase pressure on China to cooperate with US ambitions to destabilise North Korea, by attacking innocent Chinese citizens. In this case, the Americans claimed, with no evidence whatever, that this woman had “masked hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions” to help develop North Korea’s ballistic-missile capabilities. Of course, the greatest problem the US has with North Korea is in the fact that Pyongyang has working nuclear missiles that very effectively prevent their launching another Korean war, and they want China to pressure the North Koreans to surrender their missiles in exchange for nothing. Those missiles are the only thing that has prevented Korea from being obliterated, as Iraq and Libya discovered. Given that the Americans are cowards and will never attack a country that can defend itself, many more nations need nuclear missiles, and quickly.
The US uses all its political, diplomatic and military muscle to browbeat other countries into accepting worldwide jurisdiction for all US laws. US lawyers have told me with gleeful approval that their government is rushing to set precedents for many moves of this kind in an attempt to establish US law as the prevailing jurisdictional force in all countries. Increasingly, US courts are affirming their jurisdiction over events and people outside the US, and the US government will then use its muscle to force extradition and to seize foreign assets in the US or force foreign government allies to do the same. There is no legal justification or precedent for most of these actions that appear based only on a disregard for any inconvenient law, domestic or foreign. It is simply an attitude of “if we want you, we’ll get you”. Through widespread bullying and an illegal assumption of powers, the US is extending worldwide not only its legal jurisdiction but the capriciousness of its civil courts and the virtually total lack of protection of rights due to the Patriot Act and other legislation. This is so true today that many parties resort to the US courts for claims totally unconnected with the US in any way but where US courts will claim jurisdiction and grant judgments in areas where they have no legal jurisdiction. All this is an attempt to forcibly export American laws and jurisdiction into all nations, to function as the world’s court and legal system.
As well, the US has a disturbing tendency to feel free to simply enter any sovereign nation to execute the forcible seizure any person of interest to them, without experiencing the inconveniences of local laws. In too many instances the Americans act as the bounty hunters did in their own land in the past, in a time when there were no laws and success was the only judge of propriety. In fact, more than 20 years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled that it was perfectly lawful for Americans to kidnap citizens on foreign soil and “deport” them anywhere, even in situations where the US had an extradition treaty. However, as the BBC pointed out, “the accepted route for bringing to court suspects who are living outside of the jurisdiction of the requesting state is extradition, not kidnapping“, a distinction the Americans appear not to appreciate. At the time of writing, court judgments are outstanding in Germany and Italy against many Americans, many of them employed by the CIA, for kidnapping and other crimes committed on European soil. The US of course refuses to extradite its own citizens to other nations, especially in circumstances where the crimes they committed were ordered and planned by the US government itself. If these actions don’t fit the definition of ‘rogue state’, I can’t imagine what would.
In March of 2014, US courts ordered the Government of Argentina to pay US$185 million to a British company, BG Group, for forgone profits arising from the country’s economic crisis in 2001. The Argentinian government changed the basis of its gas prices from US dollars to Argentinian pesos and froze gas prices during the crisis, in an attempt to bring stability to its economy. According to the Americans, no foreign government has the right to take any actions that might affect the profits of an American multinational company, regardless of circumstances. In this case, the US government has absolutely no jurisdiction over the actions of a foreign government, nor any responsibility for the losses of a foreign company, but the US courts simply assumed jurisdiction, claimed to have arbitrated the dispute according to Argentinian law, and left the matter with an American court to assess damages. If Argentina refuses to comply, the US will simply confiscate any of Argentina’s assets in the US. This issue was appealed to the US Supreme Court which determined that “the arbitrators’ determinations were lawful“.
In another case, the US Department of Justice launched an investigation of Rolls-Royce following allegations that its executives bribed officials in Indonesia to win aircraft engine contracts. Rolls-Royce is a foreign company, not an American one, and the US has no jurisdiction over that company’s actions that occurred entirely in another foreign country. These events or actions are entirely outside not only US jurisdiction, but outside of US concern; it is not America’s business to oversee or control what Rolls-Royce does in Indonesia, but the Americans disagree. According to US law, the paying of bribes to foreign officials is illegal, and the US Department of Justice will now investigate whether a British company is in violation of US law. Rolls-Royce will be forced to pay the entire costs of this probe and investigation and could potentially be fined many hundreds of millions of dollars by US courts, as well as other penalties, criminal prosecution, commercial litigation by GE, Boeing and other American aviation firms, and restrictions on future business contracts within the US. What better way to eliminate the main competitor for US manufacturers of aircraft engines? And of course, all US aviation companies are renowned for the bribes and other considerations they have paid for decades in precisely the same context. The only new development is that the US government now pays the bribes on behalf of these firms, sometimes disguised as military aid and sometimes not disguised at all.
The US is presuming to dictate to foreign governments the content of their commercial rules, laws and regulations, demanding they adopt US practices. Those nations refusing to comply with the Imperial Master, like the UK, will find their multinational corporations, like Rolls-Royce, financially crippled or bankrupt. Those nations – virtually all, in the case of banking – refusing to adopt US regulations and permit free US extraterritorial reach, will find their banks financially crippled or bankrupt. When Canada refused to adopt the US standard for forest leases, the US acted to financially cripple or bankrupt all Canadian forest industry firms. When China refused to cease its commerce with Iran, the US trumped up a charge to financially cripple a Chinese bank in the US. When China took action to stabilise its OTC vitamin market, the US immediately fabricated charges and levied outrageous and illegal fines intended to bankrupt a Chinese medical firm. When China refused a wholesale adoption of US accounting methods and standards, the US attacked the Big Four accounting firms, exposing them to financially crippling sanctions.
These events are not isolated instances of inappropriate actions on the parts of the companies themselves, but of their national governments in refusing to be forcibly colonised by the US. All US extraterritorial actions are related and stem from the same cause – world domination and colonisation – a blatant attempt to forcibly impose US regulations on all the world’s nations and achieve the surrender of national sovereignty to the European Zionists behind the US. This is the case with all the rhetoric on IP protection, banking, accounting standards, takeover regulations, the TPP, and all examples listed above. There are hundreds more. It is a pattern that has been playing out for years and is becoming more viciously intense each year. Evidence is especially clear within China, with enormous pressure exerted by the US State Department, diplomatic staff, AmCham, US multinationals and many more players, in clear attempts to force China’s entire legal, commercial – and political – standards into the US mold.
I could provide hundreds of examples of the US government attempting to universalise all of its commercial and legal practices, acting to forcibly impose them on other nations with scant regard for law or ethics. All the claims about the US playing fair, following a rule of law, wanting a level playing field, are fabricated propaganda without a shred of truth. The US government is in every sense the world’s bully, an essentially lawless organisation bent only on domination. In actions that are not only irrational but often illegal, American courts often presume imaginary jurisdiction in extending their reach to levy fines on companies in any nation, for actions that did not occur in the US and which were legal in the countries where they occurred.
With Canada’s software lumber, what was being protected was the “right” of American firms to make a desired level of profit, and when Canada’s government refused to amend its domestic commercial policies to correspond, the US used its power to plunder the Canadian firms and forward the funds to the US lumber companies. In order to pretend to a “rule of law” in these situations, the US government often uses its courts to levy the “fines” or other political punishment, thereby claiming all was done according to the law. Unfortunately for many firms and governments, US financial awards are not only irrational but often illegal, the American courts presuming imaginary jurisdiction in extending their reach to levy fines on companies in any nation, for actions that did not occur in the US and which were legal in the countries where they occurred.
This is precisely the same pattern the US followed with its pressure program on international banking, done under the pretense of searching for American tax evaders. But tax evasion was never the issue; the real intent was to extend the extra-territorial reach of US financial legislation into all nations. After years of effort, the US finally broke Switzerland’s banking secrecy provisions and obtained “legal” right to all Swiss banking records by attacking Swiss banks with resident US operations and fining them hundreds of millions of dollars each on the fabricated pretense of their foreign branches or head offices conspiring to defraud the IRS. Since the foreign governments resisted to the end the US pressure to adopt American methods, laws and “rules of the game”, the US government extorted billions of dollars from their US operations disguised as legal penalties. The message was clear: either all nations adopt US financial regulations and permit an American reach directly into their financial system – over-riding each country’s national sovereignty – or the US government would bankrupt every foreign bank operating in the US.
Paul Craig Roberts, a former high-level US Treasury official and widely-read author, wrote an article stating that the US Government is the most complete criminal organization in human history. Listen to Dr. Roberts:
“Unique among the countries on earth, the US government insists that its laws and dictates take precedence over the sovereignty of nations. Washington asserts the power of US courts over foreign nationals and claims extra-territorial jurisdiction of US courts over foreign activities of which Washington or American interest groups disapprove. Perhaps the worst results of Washington’s disregard for the sovereignty of countries are the power Washington has exercised over foreign nationals solely on the basis of terrorism charges devoid of any evidence.
Consider a few examples. Washington first forced the Swiss government to violate its own banking laws. Then Washington forced Switzerland to repeal its bank secrecy laws. Allegedly, Switzerland is a democracy, but the country’s laws are determined in Washington by people not elected by the Swiss to represent them. Consider the “soccer scandal” that Washington concocted, apparently for the purpose of embarrassing Russia. The soccer organization’s home is Switzerland, but this did not stop Washington from sending FBI agents into Switzerland to arrest Swiss citizens. Try to imagine Switzerland sending Swiss federal agents into the US to arrest Americans. Consider the $9 billion fine that Washington imposed on a French bank for failure to fully comply with Washington’s sanctions against Iran. This assertion of Washington’s control over a foreign financial institution is even more audaciously illegal in view of the fact that the sanctions Washington imposed on Iran and requires other sovereign countries to obey are themselves strictly illegal. Indeed, in this case we have a case of triple illegality as the sanctions were imposed on the basis of concocted and fabricated charges that were lies. Or consider that Washington asserted its authority over the contract between a French shipbuilder and the Russian government and forced the French company to violate a contract at the expense of billions of dollars to the French company and a large number of jobs to the French economy. This was a part of Washington teaching the Russians a lesson for not following Washington’s orders in Crimea.
Try to imagine a world in which every country asserted the extra-territoriality of its law. The planet would be in permanent chaos with world GDP expended in legal and military battles. Neo-conned Washington claims that as History chose America to exercise its hegemony over the world, no other law is relevant. Only Washington’s will counts. Law itself is not even needed as Washington often substitutes orders for laws as when Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State (an unelected position) told the President of Pakistan to do as he is told or “we will bomb you into the stone age.” [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5369198.stm]. Try to image the Presidents of Russia or China giving such an order to a sovereign nation. In fact, Washington did bomb large areas of Pakistan, murdering thousands of women, children, and village elders. Washington’s justification was the assertion of the extra-territoriality of US military actions in other countries with which Washington is not at war.”
I would add here the observation that Americans are almost never aware of these or any similar events. They have no access to this information because the US media are heavily censored for political content. Americans are subjected on a daily basis to a literal flood of fabricated stories and misinformation about nations the US government and its puppet-handlers want to disparage, but nowhere will we ever find the truths about the behavior of the US government, its agencies, and its MNCs in other countries. The censorship is virtually total on these matters and, to paraphrase Howard Zinn, if the media and history books delete all such events, Americans have no way of knowing what they don’t know.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
His full archive can be seen at
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Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Blue Moon of Shanghai, Moon of Shanghai, 2023
Biden’s existential angst in UkraineJanuary 9, 2023
Great article, Larry! Thanks for having it on your site, Amarynth.