Federal Court Upholds the Herding of Demonstrators Into “Free Speech Zones”

Mac Slavo
August 8th, 2012
SHTFplan.com

There was once a group of men who established a fundamental law of the land that allowed the people of their new found country to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances. These founding fathers of that Great nation even went so far as to declare that the government itself could never make a law that would threaten to supplant these protections, which were reserved exclusively for the people. This concept of freedom of assembly and protest was so critical to protecting and preserving the liberty of the people that it was the very first law – the very first Amendment – proposed by the newly elected representatives of These United States of America and came into effect on December 15, 1791.

It’s frightening what just a couple of hundred years of politicking, self serving greed and expediency can do to a nation. Apparently, somewhere along the way, politicians and judges who hold their personal views in higher regard than those laws upon which this nation was founded, have taken it upon themselves to decide what’s best for the American people and that, perhaps, we have a little too much liberty:

A federal appeals court has upheld the creation of no demonstration zones, which prohibit free speech in certain public areas.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals released a ruling yesterday upholding a lower court’s decision that also declared such zones as being permissible. The opinion was penned by Judge Dennis Jacobs on behalf of a three judge panel that included Judges Pierre Leval and Debra Ann Livingston, two of whom are Republican judges appointed by George H.W. Bush.

The case surrounded an arrest that took place in 2004 when Michael Marcavage of Repent America and Steve Lefemine of Columbia Christians for Life attended the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden to address the large number of pro-abortion speakers at the event, including Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to court records, the two were standing on the public sidewalk holding signs when they were approached by police. The police officer informed the men that they could not stand in their particular location because it had been marked by officials as being a “no demonstration” zone.

When the men asked where they could go to engage in free speech activity, the officer directed them to a free speech zone located a block away from the entrance of Madison Square Garden. The area, which police had specifically erected for demonstrations, was the only location where expressive activity was allowed to take place during the event. Individuals of varying and opposite opinions were forced to stand together in one consolidated and caged area, which included a stage with a microphone.

Marcavage and Lefemine complied by walking away from the area alongside the officers and toward the zone that the NYPD had established. As they walked and were questioning the police about the purpose and reasoning behind the zones, they were placed under arrest for not relocating to the area fast enough.

“They took us to an abandoned warehouse where they funneled hundreds of people into cages that they had set up for this purpose,” Marcavage explained. “They treated us like cattle.

(source)

Only those who agree with the message being delivered at a particular political or public event are now authorized to assemble in or around these areas. Anyone else is relegated to the cattle cages out of view of the public, the media and the officials at whom their protest or grievance is directed.

These zones are the very antithesis of free speech.

And it’s not just judges ruling by decree that are stripping us of our right to assemble and protest. In fact, the 1st Amendment itself has been, per recent Congressional action, overridden by a new law that was passed earlier this year. The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act now allows national and local authorities to declare any venue they so choose as an “event of national significance,” at which point anyone who is found to be demonstrating in those areas can be charged under Federal criminal statutes.

Congress Criminalizes the Right to Free Assembly; Strips Basic Protections of First Amendment:

The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a government function with a federal offense if Secret Service is on the scene.

It’s not just the president who would be spared from protesters, either.

Covered under the bill is any person protected by the Secret Service. Although such protection isn’t extended to just everybody, making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest.

In the text of the act, the law is allowed to be used against anyone who knowingly enters or remains in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so…

Under that verbiage, that means a peaceful protest outside a candidate’s concession speech would be a federal offense…

With the definitions for “domestic terrorism” now taking on a broad scope and encompassing almost any activity deemed as such by the Department of Homeland Security and federal authorities, it is only a matter of time before peaceful demonstrators are not only detained for their criminal terroristic activities, but held indefinitely under US anti-terrorism laws like the National Defense Authorization Act.

That members of our Congress and appointed Federal judges would first create, then uphold, such laws designed to explicitly enact regulations in direct and overt violation of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is nothing short of a treasonous action.

It is, by all accounts, a betrayal of the people of this country and of the established laws of the land.

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Connect the Dots: Questions Raised About Senator Reid’s Connection to Bundy Ranch Dispute

Written by  Warren Mass

The standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deescalated on April 12, when the bureau announced that it will stop its operation to confiscate Bundy’s cattle.

But another aspect to this ongoing story is jumping: The blogosphere is alive with allegations that Senator Harry Reid (pictured), and his son, Rory, have motivations of their own for wanting Bundy’s cattle off the disputed lands.

Though the major media announced that a “deal” had been reached between Bundy and the BLM, Bundy explained what transpired differently in an interview with KLAS TV in Las Vegas: “There is no deal here. The citizens of America and Clark County went and took their cattle. There was no negotiations. They took these cattle. They are in possession of these cattle and I expect them to come home soon.”

The BLM stated in its statement released on April 12: “Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”

The BLM’s language made apparent that the bureau still regarded its actions “to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders” as being legally justified:

This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.

As William F. Jasper noted in his April 11 article about the standoff, however, there was more to the federal action to remove Bundy’s cattle from “public lands” (where they are, allegedly, damaging the “fragile” habitat of the protected desert tortoise) than has been widely reported:

According to Bundy, whose family has been ranching in the area since the 1800s, the BLM’s armed invasion and occupation of Nevada has nothing to do with protecting the tortoise and everything to do with running him off the land, as it has already done to all of the other ranchers in Clark County.

As for the BLM’s assertion that its actions “to remove illegal cattle” are legally justified, among the many points that Joe Wolverton II made in his April 12 article charging that the seizure of Bundy’s cattle was unconstitutional was this citation from Section 1 of the Nevada constitution, titled “Inalienable Rights”:

All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

Wolverton observed: “Despite the Nevada constitution’s capitulation to supreme federal authority (authority, remember, that does not exist in the Constitution) … it could be argued [that the above-quoted language from Section 1] supersedes the other article’s cession of state and popular sovereignty.”

That which is unconstitutional, therefore, cannot properly be called legal.

As the tension between Bundy and the BLM ratchets down, a number of conservative bloggers and pundits have raised questions about another angle in this case: Does the BLM want Bundy’s cattle off the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to free up the land for the construction of solar panel power stations?

That question was prompted, in part, by since-deleted information previously posted on the BLM website, information retrieved from Google’s cache.

The text of a BLM document retrieved from Google’s cache and posted by Liberty News Online contains the following chronology of events:

• “In 1993, some of the terms of Mr. Bundy’s grazing permit for the Bunkerville allotment were modified to protect the desert tortoise.”

• “In 1998, the United States filed a civil complaint against Mr. Bundy for his continued trespass grazing in the Bunkerville Allotment.”

• “In 1999, the Las Vegas Field Office Resource Management Plan designated the Bunkerville allotment as ‘Closed to Grazing’ to protect desert tortoise habitat.”

• “In March 2011, BLM counted 903 cattle from a helicopter spread out over approximately 90 miles in northeast Clark County within the Gold Butte area … 41 percent had either brands or earmarks registered to Cliven Bundy.”

• “In May 2012, the United States filed a Complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for Cliven Bundy’s trespass grazing within the Gold Butte area outside the Bunkerville Allotment.”

A PDF of the BLM’s document, “Regional Mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar energy Zone: Technical Note 444,” produced by the BLM in March, can be found online.

Technical Note 444 states that the “’Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone’ recommends a strategy for compensating for certain unavoidable impacts that are expected from the development of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) in southern Nevada.”

Technical Note 444 states: “The resource values found in the Gold Butte ACEC are threatened by: unauthorized activities, including off-road vehicle use, illegal dumping, and trespass livestock grazing ; wildfire; and weed infestation.” (Emphasis added.)

The above-referenced BLM “Technical Note 444” specifically mentions the Gold Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) 76 times. While the document expresses many environmental concerns, including “trespass livestock grazing,” it is important to keep in mind that the title of the document reveals the BLM’s ultimate objective, which is to create a “solar energy zone.”

One of the references listed in Technical Note 444 is “Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. FES 12- 24, DOE/EIS-0403,” published jointly by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The PEIS, notes TN 444, “assessed the impact of utility-scale solar energy development on public lands in the six southwestern states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.”

The BLM and the DOE’s joint venture is — stated concerns about tortoises aside — about the generation of solar energy.

An article published by The New American in September 20012 noted that Rory Reid, the eldest son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is the chief representative for ENN Energy Group, a Chinese firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.

The plan generated a great deal of controversy because Clark County officials voted to sell ENN the public land for $4.5 million, a figure far below its $38.6-million appraised value.

It is important to recognize that the land on which Bundy grazes his cattle is not the same land that ENN sought near Laughlin, which is over 200 miles away. However, the Bundy grazing land is within the BLM’s Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, an area the BLM and DOW also want to use for “utility-scale solar energy development,” whether constructed by ENN or someone else. As blogger and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 8th District Rodney Lee Conover recently wrote:

As part of the plan for the Dry Lake solar zone, any solar developers are expected to pay into a fund to “mitigate” the Gold Butte area. However, the “mitigation” activities can’t take place with cattle grazing in the area. If the mitigation doesn’t take place, no money for the BLM.

Conover’s assertions are supported by the BLM’s document entitled “Cattle Trespass Impacts,” which states that grazing by Bundy’s cattle “impacts” solar development, more specifically the construction of “utility-scale solar power generation facilities” on “public lands.”

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” an article by Kit Daniels posted by Infowars quoted the document.

Motivations are not always easy to prove, but in this case, Senator Reid’s hand has shown up more than once. The BLM’s principal deputy director, Neil Kornze, previously served as Senator Reid’s senior policy advisor. And we have noted Rory Reid’s role as the chief representative for China’s ENN Energy Group, which has sought to develop solar energy in Nevada. Whether these suspicions are proof of wrongful or illegal acts remains to be seen.

However, one thing is evident from what has transpired in Nevada: The federal government has reneged on a long-standing arrangement made by a rancher in good faith by which he and his family have earned a living for generations. In so doing, they have run roughshod over the rights of a U.S. citizen and have employed constitutionally dubious means to do so. If justice prevails, some judge with respect for the Constitution may follow the example of Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada. Last year — in the case of U.S. v. Hage — Jones issued an impassioned preliminary bench ruling in which he charged federal officials of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with an ongoing series of illegal actions against Nevada rancher E. Wayne Hage. Jones described the bureaucrats’ actions as “abhorrent” and a literal, criminal conspiracy.

Which is a pretty apt description of the BLM’s recent actions against Cliven Bundy.

Related articles:

Last Man Standing: Nevada Ranch Family in Fedgov Face-off

Bundy’s Case: Feds Do Not Own the Land Where His Cattle Graze

BLM’s Seizure of Nevada Rancher’s Land Rights Unconstitutional

Harry Reid Bolsters Son’s Interests in Chinese Solar Plant Deal

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Rolls-Royce Secures Deck Machinery Contract for Tugs

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a £19m contract to deliver deck machinery for four ocean going tugs, designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions, for Dutch company ALP Maritime Services.

The vessels will be constructed in Japan by Niigata Shipbuilding & Repair.

The vessels are being developed for towing large structures like oil rigs and floating production units over long distances. The bollard pull for each of the four vessels will be 300 tons and they will be equipped for anchor handling.

John Knudsen, Rolls-Royce, President Offshore, said: “This project is a good example of how our solid industry know-how makes us a partner of choice for innovative ship owners and design  teams. The new vessels will place ALP Maritime Services in the elite division for large offshore towing operations across the world.”

The deck machinery delivered from Rolls-Royce will include a complete low pressure winch solution and a stern roller. The towing/anchor handling winches are specially developed in cooperation with the ship designer and owner. The supply of rudder and steering gear is also included in the Rolls-Royce scope.

Intended for world-wide operations, the vessels will be delivered from Japan by Q1 2016. They will be of Ulstein design SX157, developed especially for this project.

Tore Ulstein, Ulstein Group, Deputy CEO, said: “This is a very important contract involving activities in a new market for us and with a new customer. The contract is a result of close cooperation with the shipyard, the ship owner and our partners in the Norwegian maritime cluster, a cooperation we will work to develop further in the years to come.”

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Gulf of Mexico: Noble Energy Hires EMAS for Gunflint Project

EMAS, the operating brand of Ezra Holdings received a Letter of Agreement (LOA) from Noble Energy for the Gunflint Project in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM).

Under the terms of the agreement EMAS’s Subsea Services division, EMAS AMC has been nominated to perform the offshore installation of pipelines, umbilicals and ancillary equipment for the Gunflint Project in the Mississippi Canyon area of the US GoM in water depths in excess of 2,000 metres. The pipelines will be installed with EMAS AMC’s flagship vessel the Lewek Constellation while the EMAS Marine Base in Ingleside, Texas will be used to perform the pipe stalking and fabrication of various subsea structures.

Project preparation activities have already started and offshore works are scheduled to be carried out during 2015.

“I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to Noble Energy for their vote of confidence by awarding this important project to us,” said Mr Lionel Lee, EMAS’s Group CEO and Managing Director. “The Gunflint project is another significant milestone for us as it is a testament to the growth and current capabilities of EMAS AMC. It affirms that our combined engineering and asset capabilities, including our flagship construction vessel Lewek Constellation, are being endorsed by the industry to execute challenging subsea projects anywhere in the world. It is also the second major contract awarded to us by Noble Energy, following our successful work for the Noble Tamar Project and I look forward to working with Noble again and deliver a mutually successful outcome on Gunflint.”

The Group has secured more than US$300 million subsea contracts since the beginning of 2014, with the subsea backlog standing at more than US$1.4 billion to date.

Press Release, April 11, 2014

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The Paul Craig Roberts Dilemma: World War Or The End Of The Dollar

by Paul Craig Roberts via The Institute for Political Economy,

Is the US or the World Coming to an End?
It will be one or the other

2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States.

Two pressures are building on the US dollar. One pressure comes from the Federal Reserve’s declining ability to rig the price of gold as Western gold supplies shrivel and market knowledge of the Fed’s illegal price rigging spreads. The evidence of massive amounts of naked shorts being dumped into the paper gold futures market at times of day when trading is thin is unequivocal. It has become obvious that the price of gold is being rigged in the futures market in order to protect the dollar’s value from QE.

The other pressure arises from the Obama regime’s foolish threats of sanctions on Russia. Other countries are no longer willing to tolerate Washington’s abuse of the world dollar standard. Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system to inflict damage on the economies of countries that resist Washington’s political hegemony.

Russia and China have had enough. As I have reported and as Peter Koenig reports here http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38165.htm Russia and China are disconnecting their international trade from the dollar. Henceforth, Russia will conduct its trade, including the sale of oil and natural gas to Europe, in rubles and in the currencies of its BRICS partners.

This means a big drop in the demand for US dollars and a corresponding drop in the dollar’s exchange value.

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear, the US economy has not recovered from the downturn in 2008 and has weakened further. The vast majority of the US population is hard pressed from the lack of income growth for years. As the US is now an import-dependent economy, a drop in the dollar’s value will raise US prices and push living standards lower.

All evidence points to US economic failure in 2014, and that is the conclusion of John Williams’ April 9 report.

This year could also see the breakup of NATO and even the EU. Washington’s reckless coup in Ukraine and threat of sanctions against Russia have pushed its NATO puppet states onto dangerous ground. Washington misjudged the reaction in Ukraine to its overthrow of the elected democratic government and imposition of a stooge government. Crimea quickly departed Ukraine and rejoined Russia. Other former Russian territories in Ukraine might soon follow. Protesters in Lugansk, Donetsk, and Kharkov are demanding their own referendums. Protesters have declared the Donetsk People’s Republic and Kharkov People’s Republic. Washington’s stooge government in Kiev has threatened to put the protests down with violence. http://rt.com/news/eastern-ukraine-violence-threats-405/ Washington claims that the protests are organized by Russia, but no one believes Washington, not even its Ukrainian stooges.

Russian news reports have identified US mercenaries among the Kiev force that has been sent to put down the separatists in eastern Ukraine. A member of the right-wing, neo-Nazi Fatherland Party in the Kiev parliament has called for shooting the protesters dead.

Violence against the protesters is likely to bring in the Russian Army and result in the return to Russia of its former territories in Eastern Ukraine that were attached to Ukraine by the Soviet Communist Party.

With Washington out on a limb issuing threats hand over fist, Washington is pushing Europe into two highly undesirable confrontations. Europeans do not want a war with Russia over Washington’s coup in Kiev, and Europeans understand that any real sanctions on Russia, if observed, would do far more damage to Europeans. Within the EU, growing economic inequality among the countries, high unemployment, and stringent economic austerity imposed on poorer members have produced enormous strains. Europeans are in no mood to bear the brunt of a Washington-orchestrated conflict with Russia. While Washington presents Europe with war and sacrifice, Russia and China offer trade and friendship. Washington will do its best to keep European politicians bought-and-paid-for and in line with Washington’s policies, but the downside for Europe of going along with Washington is now much larger.

Across many fronts, Washington is emerging in the world’s eye as duplicitous, untrustworthy, and totally corrupt. A Securities and Exchange Commission prosecuting attorney, James Kidney used the occasion of his retirement to reveal that higher ups had squelched his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other “banks too big to fail,” because his SEC bosses were not focused on justice but “on getting high-paying jobs after their government service” by protecting the banks from prosecution for their illegal actions. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/09/65578/

The US Agency for International Development has been caught trying to use social media to overthrow the government of Cuba. http://rt.com/news/cuba-usaid-senate-zunzuneo-241/

This audacious recklessness comes on top of Washington’s overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the NSA spying scandal, Seymour Hersh’s investigative report that the Sarin gas attack in Syria was a false flag event arranged by NATO member Turkey in order to justify a US military attack on Syria, Washington’s forcing down Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presidential plane to be searched, Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the misuse of the Libyan no-fly resolution for military attack, and on and on. Essentially, Washington has so badly damaged other countries’ confidence in the judgment and integrity of the US government that the world has lost its belief in US leadership. Washington is reduced to threats and bribes and increasingly presents as a bully.

The self-inflicted hammer blows to Washington’s credibility have taken a toll. The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington’s crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington’s absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11. Airport security failed four times in one hour, more failures in one hour than have occurred during the other 116,232 hours of the 21st century combined. For the first time in history the US Air Force could not get interceptor fighters off the ground and into the sky. For the first time in history Air Traffic Control lost airliners for up to one hour and did not report it. For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story. The left-wing fell for it, because they saw the story as the oppressed striking back at America’s evil empire. The right-wing fell for the story, because they saw it as the demonized Muslims striking out at American goodness. President George W. Bush expressed the right-wing view very well: “They hate us for our freedom and democracy.”

But no one else believed it, least of all the Italians. Italians had been informed some years previously about government false flag events when their President revealed the truth about secret Operation Gladio. Operation Gladio was an operation run by the CIA and Italian intelligence during the second half of the 20th century to set off bombs that would kill European women and children in order to blame communists and, thereby, erode support for European communist parties.

Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington’s crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, “Zero.” You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU961SGps8g&feature=youtu.be

Zero was produced as a film investigating 9/ll by the Italian company Telemaco. Many prominent people appear in the film along with independent experts. Together, they disprove every assertion made by the US government regarding its explanation of 9/11.

The film was shown to the European parliament.

It is impossible for anyone who watches this film to believe one word of the official explanation of 9/11.

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

China and Russia protested but accepted Libya’s destruction even though it was to their own detriment. But Iran became a red line. Washington was blocked, so Washington decided to cause major problems for Russia in Ukraine in order to distract Russia from Washington’s agenda elsewhere.

China has been uncertain about the trade-offs between its trade surpluses with the US and Washington’s growing encirclement of China with naval and air bases. China has come to the conclusion that China has the same enemy as Russia has–Washington.

One of two things is likely: Either the US dollar will be abandoned and collapse in value, thus ending Washington’s superpower status and Washington’s threat to world peace, or Washington will lead its puppets into military conflict with Russia and China. The outcome of such a war would be far more devastating than the collapse of the US dollar.

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US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal

04/04/2014
by Tyler Durden

On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

  • *U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL
  • *U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS
  • *U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.

As we explained earlier in the week,

Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and “heaven forbid” gold) and shortly other “regional” currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.

If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,”

And here is Voice of Russia, “Russia prepares to attack the Petrodollar:

The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America’s economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom’s natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency .

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.

First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must should ditch the dollar. “ They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries, ” he said.

Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “ I’ve spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don’t mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that ”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.

Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed’ decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 – which is still taking its toll on the world – started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said.

It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange. In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that “ it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies “. Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.

Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.

It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We’ll soon find out.

Finally, those curious what may happen next, only not to Iran but to Russia, are encouraged to read “From Petrodollar To Petrogold: The US Is Now Trying To Cut Off Iran’s Access To Gold.”

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