This is why North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is so important. North Korea had test fired a total of 22 missiles so far this year, but this latest one showed that nobody on the globe is out of their reach. In fact, General Mattis is now admitting that “North Korea can basically threaten everywhere in the world”, and that includes the entire continental United States. In addition to hitting individual cities with nukes, there is also the possibility that someday North Korea could try to take down the entire country with an EMP attack. If the North Koreans detonated a single nuclear warhead several hundred miles above the center of the country, it would destroy the power grid and fry electronics from coast to coast.
I would like you to think about what that would mean for a few moments. Suddenly there would be no power at home, at work or at school. Since nearly all of our vehicles rely on computerized systems, you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere and nobody would be able to get to you. And you wouldn’t be able to contact anyone because all phones would be dead. Basically, pretty much everything electronic would be dead. I am talking about computers, televisions, GPS devices, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, refrigerators, credit card readers, gas pumps, cash registers, hospital equipment, traffic lights, etc.
For the first couple of days life would continue somewhat normally, but then people would soon start to realize that the power isn’t coming back on and panic would begin to erupt.
The intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea just launched traveled almost 1,000 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of 4,500 kilometers. We have been told for decades that this would never be allowed to happen, but now it has happened…
This is concerning for one big reason: according to General Mattis, the North Korean ICBM “went higher, frankly, than any previous” and “North Korea can basically threaten everywhere in the world.” This was confirmed by North Korea missile analyst, Shea Cotton, who cited Allthingsnuclear author David Wright, and who told the BBC that the initial estimates of the ICBM test mean that North Korea can now reach New York and Washington DC.
If we had been working hard to develop our anti-missile technology all these years, this wouldn’t be a problem.
But at this point we are way behind the Russians in this regard, and there is a very real possibility that a missile launched by the North Koreans could make it through the very limited anti-missile defenses that we do have.
Once upon a time, discussions about a North Korean EMP threat were mostly hypothetical, but now that has completely changed. North Korea has clearly demonstrated that they are able to deliver such an attack, and last September Kim Jong Un publicly admitted that North Korea intended to develop this capability…
But most reporters missed a key threat that appeared at the bottom of Kim’s public statement, when he bragged that North Korea had harnessed “a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack according to strategic goals.”
So now we know. Launching an electromagnetic pulse attacks against its enemies is one of North Korea’s strategic goals. And for North Korea, the United States is the top enemy.
And like I said earlier, all it would take would be a single well placed nuclear detonation to fry electronics from coast to coast. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
Theoretically, a sufficiently powerful bomb detonated at an altitude of 249 miles would wipe out all electronics in the US, save the southernmost top of Florida and the easternmost states – as well as affecting Canada and Mexico.
Without power, nothing would get distributed. That means that very rapidly there would be no food, no water and no medicine available in your community. An article posted by Fox News this week used the term “post-apocalyptic” to describe what we would be facing…
It all starts to sound very post-apocalyptic when you realize this means no lights or other electric-powered devices in homes and businesses, no water filtration, no regional food hubs, no transportation grid – none of the things we take for granted in modern civilization.
Like I stated earlier, things would be relatively fine for a few days, but then once everyone realizes that the power isn’t coming back on there would be chaos on a scale unlike anything we have ever seen before. The following comes from an article by Mac Slavo…
The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.
Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.
Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.
So what kind of a “mass die off” would we be talking about?
William Graham, chairman of the former EMP commission and its former chief of staff, Peter Vincent Pry, warned the hearing that such an attack could “shut down the US electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90 percent of all Americans.“
Others believe that the figure would be lower, but pretty much everyone agrees that the death toll would be in the millions.
This is one of our greatest strategic vulnerabilities, and our power grid could be hardened against an EMP attack for just a few billion dollars. This is something that I am pushing very hard for, but right now it is just not a priority for our leaders in Washington.
In fact, they have actually pulled funding from the commission that was looking into the EMP threat…
On Sept. 30, the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat of Electromagnetic Pulse to the United States of America shut its doors after a failure to secure funding from Congress.
Sometimes I find it difficult to come up with the words to describe how incredibly foolish Congress is being.
An EMP attack is a greater threat than ever before, and yet Congress didn’t even want to come up with a little bit of funding for the commission that was working on a plan to protect us.
This is yet another example that shows that we need new leadership on Capitol Hill, because right now the people that we have “representing” us in Washington seem to be completely and utterly clueless about almost everything.
What would America look like with absolutely no electricity? Could you survive in a world with no lights, no cell phones, no computers, no televisions, no ATMs, no cash registers and no refrigerators? Such a world is not as far away as you might think. A very powerful nuclear blast directly over the center of the continental United States could potentially fry electronic equipment from coast to coast, and it would take months or even years to fully restore power. During that time, the entire country would be plunged into chaos and experts tell us that tens of millions of Americans would die. But even if we are never attacked by a nuclear weapon in that manner, scientists assure us that it is inevitable that a massive electromagnetic blast from the sun will produce a similar result someday anyway. In fact, back in 1859 a giant solar storm that came to be known as “the Carrington Event” fried telegraph machines all across North America and Europe. If a similar event happened today, life as we know it would be brought to an abrupt halt, and chaos would ensue from coast to coast.
In two days, a bold new movie will be released in theaters that portrays what the aftermath of such an event would look like in this country. It is entitled “AMERIGEDDON”, and it was directed by Mike Norris, the son of Chuck Norris. You can view the official trailer for the film right here…
I wish that more movies like this would come out, because most of what Hollywood produces these days is absolute garbage. Our entertainment-addicted society needs films like this that educate and inform, and I hope that as many Americans as possible get a chance to see it because this threat is very real.
In 2001, Congress established a commission to study the EMP threat, and those on the commission examined this problem quite extensively for a number of years. In 2008, members of the commission reported to Congress that they had come to the conclusion that the consequences of such an event would be absolutely catastrophic for this nation…
In 2008, the commission warned that “a high altitude nuclear explosion is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences.” If such an attack were to cause a nationwide blackout lasting as long as a year, up to 90 percent of the American people could die due to starvation, disease and societal collapse.
Personally, I think that the 90 percent figure is too high.
But what if it was just 50 percent of all Americans that died? We are still talking about the most horrific disaster in U.S. history by a very wide margin, and it would essentially mean the end of the Republic.
So what has Congress done about this threat?
Next to nothing, and this has many of the experts quite upset.
Ours is an electronic civilization. Electricity runs everything, including the economy. Electricity sustains the lives of 320 million Americans.
Terrorists could inflict “The greatest injury on the greatest number” by attacking the national electric grid and blacking-out all the life sustaining critical infrastructures.
A nationwide blackout would, in effect, turn the “off switch” for the United States. A terror blackout that lasts one year could kill so many people and cause such chaos that the lights might never come back on.
No less than two congressional commissions, the EMP Commission (2008) and the Strategic Posture Commission (2009) and numerous independent studies, including the recent books Lights Out and Blackout Wars, warn that an attack on the grid is an existential threat. A terror blackout could have such catastrophic consequences as to challenge the continued existence of our civilization.
And remember, no attack is even necessary in order for the power grid to be brought down. In fact, most Americans have absolutely no idea that our planet barely missed being fried by a massive EMP burst from the sun in both 2012 and 2013. Those two “near misses” were both extremely close, and if either of them had hit us directly you would not be reading this article today.
AMERIGEDDON, coming to theaters nationwide May 13, 2016, has been described as “the movie the establishment doesn’t want you to see.” Showing what happens when a not-so-future U.S. government conspires with the United Nations to stage an attack on the energy grid, AMERIGEDDON depicts a country ruled by martial law in which citizens are stripped of their constitutional rights and their guns. A group of patriots fight back and rescue the country from slipping into irreversible chaos.
AMERIGEDDON’s release in an election year is not coincidental. The film illustrates a dystopian future all patriots must guard against and is a call to action to preserve the Second Amendment and stop executive rule by fiat. Director Mike Norris, son of Chuck Norris, asks for like-minded Americans to support the film.
“The fact that a recent poll showed a majority of Americans are enraged with the federal government points to a frenzy of unrest with the dictatorial way in which our country has been run,” said Norris. “My family has long been involved in protecting the rights of Americans. We are concerned about the future and and see this film as a call to action. We urge people to join us in theaters and show Hollywood and politicians that true patriots will fight for their rights and want to see their values represented on-screen.”
A collaboration between Norris and entrepreneur and writer Gary Heavin, AMERIGEDDON seizes on fact-based threats and asks the ultimate question, “What happens when government turns on the people it’s supposed to protect?”
The sad thing is that the experts tell us that we could go a long way toward protecting our power grid from an EMP event for just a few billion dollars.
But there is absolutely no urgency among our leaders to get this done. They would rather waste our tax dollars in thousands of other ways.
And unfortunately, there is not much urgency to address this threat among ordinary Americans either. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I would like to touch on one. There seems to be a belief among many Americans that God would never allow something this bad to happen to us since we are so special. Of course this is complete nonsense, and anyone that doubts this should check out my new article in which I point out the parallels between modern America and Nazi Germany.
Over the years, I have repeatedly written about this EMP threat. There is a chapter in “Get Prepared Now” about it, and I extensively warn that a day of reckoning is coming for America in my new book.
Sadly, most people are not listening.
Most people just seem to believe that everything is going to be okay somehow.
But as far as this EMP threat is concerned, the experts assure us that it is absolutely certain that a massive burst from the sun will inevitably fry our electronics someday even if we are never attacked with a nuclear device. In addition, sources in the intelligence community are telling us that foreign hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and that someday they could bring down our power grid with just the push of a button. This is something that Ted Koppel is so alarmed about that he wrote an entire book about it.
So I don’t know why Barack Obama doesn’t want to do anything about this.
And I certainly can’t figure out why Congress doesn’t want to do anything about this.
It is almost as if a cloud of insanity has descended upon the land and nobody can think straight.
Let us hope that our leaders wake up and start addressing this threat, because someday we will most certainly have to deal with an event of this nature.
What would you do if the power grid went down and never came back up? One of these days, and it could be a lot sooner than most people think, we will all wake up in a country without electricity. And considering how utterly dependent we have become on technology, that is a very frightening scenario to consider. How would Americans react if nothing worked? Just imagine a world where everything electronic is dead. I am talking about lights, cell phones, computers, televisions, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, credit card readers, gas pumps, cash registers, refrigerators, hospital equipment etc. When the power goes out for a few hours, that can be a major inconvenience, but what if it went out all over the nation and it didn’t come back on for months or even years? This is one of the greatest potential threats that the United States is facing, and yet very few people are even talking about it.
An electromagnetic pulse attack could potentially send our nation back to the 1800s in a single moment, but very few of us are equipped to handle life without technology. Tech guru John McAfee recently wrote an article in which he expressed his belief that 90 percent of the population would be dead within 2 years of such an attack…
You may think that is an unreasonably high estimate, but it turns out that it is the exact same number that the EMP Commission used in their report to Congress back in 2008…
What would a successful EMP attack look like? The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown.
In 2009 the congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, whose co-chairmen were former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concurred with the findings of the EMP Commission and urged immediate action to protect the electric grid. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council reached similar conclusions.
So what has Barack Obama done to protect us from such an attack?
But there are others in the government that are very, very concerned about this threat. For example, NORAD recently moved back into Cheyenne Mountain, and the potential for an EMP attack was given as the primary reason for the move…
The Pentagon is moving the headquarters for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) back into Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colo., a decade after having largely vacated the site.
Why the return? Because the enormous bunker in the hollowed-out mountain, built to survive a Cold War-era nuclear conflict, can also resist an electromagnetic-pulse attack, or EMP. America’s military planners recognize the growing threat from an EMP attack by bad actors around the world, in particular North Korea and Iran.
An EMP strike, most likely from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, would destroy unprotected military and civilian electronics nationwide, blacking out the electric grid and other critical infrastructure for months or years. The staggering human cost of such a catastrophic attack is not difficult to imagine.
For years, most experts have assumed that an EMP attack would be conducted by exploding at least one nuclear weapon high up in our atmosphere. And that could definitely happen someday. But now governments all over the world are working on other ways to deliver an EMP strike, and many of them do not involve nuclear weapons at all.
The U.S. government is among those that have been doing this kind of research. The U.S. Air Force now reportedly has the capability to conduct an EMP assault against individual buildings or power stations. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
For years, scientists have been attempting to create such a weapon as part of Champ, or the Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project.
Now, the US Air Force claims it has advanced the technology, and says it can deploy it using the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM).
There are fears a well targeted attack could knock out multiple power stations.
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works.
And we also know that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have also been developing EMP weapons. This next excerpt comes from DefenseNews…
The possibility of man-made EMP events has grown in tandem with the technological sophistication of America’s adversaries. It is widely known that both Russia and China already have this capability, and both countries have carried out serious work relating to the generation of EMP in recent years as part of their respective military modernization programs.
Now, rogue states Iran and North Korea may not be that far behind. Iran, for example, is known to have simulated a nuclear EMP attack several years ago using short-range missiles launched from a freighter. North Korea, meanwhile, has acquired the blueprints to build an EMP warhead, and in July of 2013, a North Korean freighter made it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico with two nuclear capable missiles in its hold.
Why are these other nations developing these technologies?
Iranian military documents describe such a scenario–including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States.
Thus, Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell for Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom. For the first time in history, a failed state like Iran could destroy the most successful societies on Earth and convert an evolving benign world order into world chaos.
And it wouldn’t take much to completely disrupt electricity generation in America. In a previous article, I discussed a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report which made the following jaw dropping statement…
“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”
Are you starting to get the picture?
We are far more vulnerable than most people realize.
And even if we are never attacked by an EMP weapon, scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a massive solar storm will produce a similar result someday anyway. Back in 1859, a massive solar storm that came to be known as “the Carrington Event” fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America.
NASA says that there is a 12 percent chance that a similar solar storm will hit us within the next ten years, and if that happens the consequences will be absolutely catastrophic…
NASA is warning that there’s a 12 percent chance an extreme solar storm will hit Earth in the next decade, sending out massive shock waves that would knock out grids across the world.
The economic impact of this doomsday scenario could exceed $2 trillion — or 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
I don’t know why more people aren’t concerned about this. There are things that the federal government could do to harden our electrical grid, but they aren’t doing them.
This is a foreseeable danger, but our “leaders” are not taking it seriously.
And even if nobody ever purposely attacks us, scientists insist that it is only a matter of time before the sun unleashes an electromagnetic pulse that fries our electronics. In fact, we have had some very close calls in recent years. The following is an excerpt from a book that I co-authored with Barbara Fix entitled “Get Prepared Now“…
Most people have absolutely no idea that the Earth barely missed being fried by a massive EMP burst from the sun in 2012 and in 2013. And earlier in 2014 there was another huge solar storm which would have caused tremendous damage if it had been directed at our planet. If any of those storms would have directly hit us, the result would have been catastrophic. Electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. In essence, life as we know it would have ceased to exist – at least for a time. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it is inevitable that it will happen again.
It amazes me that such a small percentage of the population is taking this threat seriously.
An electromagnetic pulse could bring down our entire society in a single moment at any time, and all of the experts assure us that it will happen someday.
But our politicians are just sitting on their hands and most Americans mock the idea that we need to be concerned about this.
So what do you think? Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
Is this the beginning of the end for the eurozone? For years, European officials have been trying to “fix Greece”, but nothing has worked. Now a worst case scenario is rapidly unfolding, and a “Grexit” has become more likely than not. On Sunday, the European Central Bank announced that it was not going to provide any more emergency support for Greek banks. But that was the only thing keeping them alive. In order to prevent total chaos, Greek banks have been shut down for at least a week. ATMs are still open, but it is being reported that daily withdrawals will be limited to 60 euros. Of course nobody knows for sure if or when the banks will reopen after this “bank holiday” is over, so needless to say average Greek citizens are pretty freaked out right about now. In addition, the stock market in Greece is not going to open on Monday either. This is what a national financial meltdown looks like, and the nightmare that has been unleashed in Greece will soon start spreading to much of the rest of Europe.
This reminds me so much of what happened in Cyprus. Up until the very last minute, politicians were promising everyone that their money was perfectly safe, and then the hammer was brought down.
The exact same pattern is playing out in Greece. For example, just check out what one very prominent Greek politician said on television on Saturday…
“Citizens should not be scared, there is no blackmail,” Panos Kammenos, head of the government’s coalition ally, told local television. “The banks won’t shut, the ATMs will (have cash). All this is exaggeration,” he said.
One day later, the banks did get shut down and ATMs all over the country started running out of cash. The following comes from CNBC…
Despite a tweet from Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that his government “opposed the very concept” of any controls, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said later Sunday that he had forced the country’s central bank to recommend a bank holiday and capital controls.
The Athens stock exchange will also be closed as the government tries to manage the financial fallout of the disagreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Greece’s banks, kept afloat by emergency funding from the European Central Bank, are on the front line as Athens moves towards defaulting on a 1.6 billion euros payment due to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.
So what is the moral of this story?
Never trust politicians – especially when a major financial crisis is looming.
All over Greece, people are taking photos of very long lines at the ATMs that actually do still have some cash. Here are just a couple of examples…
Of course those that were smart enough to see this coming took their money out of the banks long ago. And even as late as last week, people were pulling more than a billion euros out of the banks every single day. Without direct intervention by the European Central Bank, most Greek banks would have totally collapsed by now…
Customers have been withdrawing money in vast quantities ever since Syriza came to power, fearing that if Greece is thrown out of the single currency their euro savings will be converted into drachma – likely to be worth far less.
In the last week, the sums being taken out have risen to well over one billion euros a day, moved either to foreign banks or stashed in notes under mattresses.
It has been a slow and steady run on Greece’s banks which is now speeding up – for the finish line may well be in sight. Until now, the country’s banks have been kept afloat by €88 billion in loans from the European Central Bank.
So now that the banks are shut down, what happens next?
Needless to say, economic activity in Greece is going to come to a grinding halt. In addition, very few foreigners are going to want to travel to Greece or deal with Greece financially until this crisis is resolved somehow…
An extended bank shutdown and tough capital controls will likely wreak further havoc on the Greek economy by scaring away tourists and chilling commercial activity.
And with Greece unable to borrow from financial markets, and apparently unwilling to strike a deal with the only institutions prepared to lend it money, it will find itself sliding rapidly towards exit from the euro.
When the Greek banks finally do reopen, which of them will still be solvent?
Will some of them need “bail-ins”?
Will account holders be forced to take “haircuts” like we saw in Cyprus?
For the moment, what we do know is that the banks will all be shut down until at least July 6th. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a national referendum to be held on July 5th. The Greek people will get a chance to vote on whether or not the latest creditor proposals should be accepted. But the funny thing is that Tsipras and the rest of Syriza are already encouraging the Greek people to vote no…
Greece’s parliament has voted in favor of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ motion to hold a referendum on the country’s creditor proposals for reforms in exchange for loans, the Associated Press reported. Tsipras and his coalition government have urged people to vote against the deal, throwing into question the country’s financial future.
The vote is to be held next Sunday, July 5. It has raised the question of whether Greece can remain in Europe’s joint currency, the euro.
So why hold a referendum if you just want everyone to vote no?
It is because Tsipras does not want to solely shoulder the blame for what comes next. A “no vote” would essentially be a vote to leave the euro and go back to the drachma. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
Should Greeks vote against the new bailout, most economists believe Greece will be forced to quit the single currency and return to the drachma. The country could even eventually be forced out of the EU, though Greek politicians have long argued a Grexit would not be the automatic result of default.
However, next week’s referendum is likely to be billed as, in effect, an in-out vote on the euro.
If Greece does default and ends up leaving the euro, the short-term economic consequences for Greece will be catastrophic.
But the rest of Europe will feel a tremendous amount of pain as well. In fact, we are already getting a sneak peek at coming attractions. As we approach Monday morning in Europe, Asian stocks are crashing big time, and European futures are absolutely cratering. It should be very interesting to see how Monday plays out.
In addition, the euro is already way down in early trading. If Greece does ultimately leave the euro, the value of the euro is going to plunge like a rock. As I have warned repeatedly, the euro is heading for parity with the U.S. dollar, and at some point it will drop below parity.
And once Greece is out, everyone is going to be speculating who the “next Greece” will be. Expect bond yields for Italy, Spain, Portugal and France to go skyrocketing.
Just a couple of days ago, I issued a red alert for the second half of 2016. We are entering a period of time when the global financial system is beginning to unravel. Most people still have a tremendous amount of faith in the system and assume that those running it are fully capable of keeping it from collapsing. In fact, many have accused me of being crazy for suggesting that the global financial system is in imminent danger of imploding.
A very wise man once said that “pride goeth before destruction”. Our arrogance and our blind faith in the fundamentally flawed systems that we have established will contribute greatly to our undoing.
Events are starting to accelerate greatly now, and it is just a matter of time before we see who was right and who was wrong.
If you still have money in European banks, you need to get it out. This is particularly true if you have money in southern European banks. As I write this, the final details of the Cyprus bailout are being worked out, but one thing has become abundantly clear: at least some depositors are going to lose a substantial amount of money. Personally, I never dreamed that they would go after private bank accounts in Europe, but now that this precedent has been set it should be apparent to everyone that no bank account will ever be considered 100% safe ever again. Without trust, a banking system simply cannot function, and right now there are prominent voices on both sides of the Atlantic that are loudly warning that trust in the European banking system has been shattered and that people need to get their money out of those banks as rapidly as they can. Even if you don’t end up losing a significant chunk of your money, you could still end up dealing with very serious capital controls that greatly restrict what you are able to do with your money. Just look at what is already happening in Cyprus. Cash withdrawals through ATMs have now been limited to 100 euros per day, and when the banks finally do reopen there will be strict limits on financial transactions in order to prevent a full-blown bank run. And of course anyone with half a brain will be trying to get as much of their money as they can out of those banks once they do reopen. So the truth is that the problems for Cyprus banks are just beginning. The size of the “bailout” that will be needed to keep those banks afloat will just keep getting larger and larger the more money that is withdrawn. Cyprus is heading for a complete and total banking meltdown, and because the economy of the island is so dependent on banking that means that the economy of the entire nation is going to collapse. Sadly, similar scenarios will soon start playing out all over Europe.
So if you hear that a “deal” has been reached to “bail out” Cyprus, please keep in mind that the economy of Cyprus is going to collapse no matter what happens. It is just a matter of apportioning the pain at this point.
According to the New York Times, it looks like much of the pain is going to be placed on the backs of those with deposits of over 100,000 euros…
The revised terms under discussion would assess a one-time tax of 20 percent on deposits above 100,000 euros at the Bank of Cyprus, which has the largest number of savings accounts on the island. Because the Bank of Cyprus suffered huge losses on bets that it took on Greek bonds, the government appears to be taking depositors’ money to help plug the hole.
A separate tax of 4 percent would be assessed on uninsured deposits at all other banks, including the 26 foreign banks that operate in Cyprus.
Does that sound bad to you?
Well, if a deal is not reached, there is a possibility that those with uninsured deposits could lose everything. According to Ekathimerini, EU officials are telling Cyprus to choose between a “bad scenario” and a “very bad scenario”…
The main question surrounds the future of the island’s largest lender, Bank of Cyprus. If unsecured deposits (above 100,000 euros) at all Cypriot banks are taxed then large savings at Bank of Cyprus are likely to be taxed between 20 and 25 percent. If the levy is not imposed on deposits at other lenders, the haircut for Bank of Cyprus customers will be much larger.
The option of a full bail in of Bank of Cyprus depositors is still on the table. As with the Popular Bank of Cyprus (Laiki), which is to go through a resolution process, the full bail in option could lead to deposits above 100,000 euros being lost. The only compensation for unsecured depositors will be shares in the “good” bank that will be created by a possible merger between the “healthy” Laiki and Bank of Cyprus entities.
When asked by Kathimerini how the Cypriot economy will survive if all company and personal deposits above 100,000 euros disappear from the country’s two biggest lenders, the EU official said: “Unfortunately, Cyprus’s choices are between a bad scenario and a very bad scenario.”
So what percentage of the deposits in Cyprus are uninsured deposits?
Well, nobody knows for sure, but according to JPMorgan close to half of the total amount of money on deposit in EU banks as a whole is uninsured.
Do you think that some of those people will start moving their money to safer locations after watching how things are going down in Cyprus?
They would be crazy if they didn’t.
And if you think that “deposit insurance” will keep you safe, you are just being delusional.
According to CNBC, very strict capital controls are coming to Cyprus. These rules will apply even to accounts that contain less than 100,000 euros…
Financial controls are coming. Depositors with less than 100,000 euros may not lose their money outright, but they won’t like the restrictions–no matter how much they have in the bank. Limits on withdrawals, limits on check cashing, and perhaps even outright conversion of checking accounts into fixed term deposits are coming (translation: you don’t have a checking account, you have a bond from the bank).
A lot of people are going to lose a lot of money in Cyprus banks, and a significant percentage of them are going to be Russian.
And as I wrote about the other day, you don’t want to have the Russians mad at you.
According to the Guardian, Moscow is already considering various ways that it might “punish” the EU…
“Then, of course, Moscow will be looking for ways to punish the EU. There are a number of large German companies operating in Russia. You could possibly look at freezing assets or taxing assets. The Kremlin is adopting a wait and see policy.”
Could this be the start of a bit of “economic warfare” between east and west?
One thing is for sure – the Russians simply do not allow people to walk all over them.
Meanwhile, things in Cyprus are getting more desperate with each passing day. Because they cannot get money out of the banks, many retail stores find themselves running low on cash. In a few more days many of them may not be able to function at all…
Retailers, facing cash-on-delivery demands from suppliers, warned stocks were running low. “At the moment, supplies will last another two or three days,” said Adamos Hadijadamou, head of Cyprus’s Association of Supermarkets. “We’ll have a problem if this is not resolved by next week.”
But do you know who was able to get their money out in time?
According to the Daily Mail, the President of Cyprus actually warned “close friends” about what was going to happen and told them to get their money out Cyprus…
Cypriot president Nikos Anastasiades ‘warned’ close friends of the financial crisis about to engulf his country so they could move their money abroad, it was claimed on Friday.
Overall, approximately 4.5 billion euros was moved out of Cyprus during the week just before the crisis struck.
Wouldn’t you like to get advance warning like that?
Well, at this point it does not take a genius to figure out what to do about any money that you may have in European banks. The following is from a recent Forbes article by economist Laurence Kotlikoff…
Whatever happens, no one is going to trust or use Cypriot banks. This will shut down the country’s financial highway and flip Cyprus’ economy to a truly awful equilibrium in a replay of our own country’s Great Depression, which was kicked off by the failure of one-in-three U.S. banks.
Cyprus is a small country. Still, the failure of its banks could trigger massive bank runs in Greece. After all, if the European Central Bank is abandoning Cypriot depositors, they may abandon Greek depositors next. A run on Greek banks could then spread to Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy and from there to Belgium and France and, you get the picture, to other countries around the globe, including, drum roll, the U.S. Every bank in each of these countries has made promises they can’t keep were push come to shove, i.e., if all depositors demand their money back immediately.
We’ve seen this movie before. And not just in real life. Every Christmas our tellys show It’s a Wonderful Life in which banker Jimmy Stewart barely saves his small town from economic ruin arising from a banking panic.
Others are being even more blunt with their warnings. For example, Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament, is warning everyone to get their money out of southern European banks while they still can…
The appalling events in Cyprus over the course of the past week have surpassed even my direst of predictions.
Even I didn’t think that they would stoop to stealing money from people’s bank accounts. I find that astonishing.
There are 750,000 British people who own properties, or who live, many of them in retirement down in Spain.
Our message to expats now that the EU has crossed this line, must be: Get your money out of there while you’ve still got a chance.
And Martin Sibileau is proclaiming that if you still have an unsecured deposit in a eurozone bank that you should have your head examined…
What are depositors of Euros faced with today? Anything but a clean bet! They don’t know what the expected loss on their capital will be, because it will be decided over a weekend by politicians who don’t even represent them. They don’t really know where their deposits went to and they also ignore what jurisdiction they really belong to. Finally, depositors are paid mere basis points for their trust in the system vs. the 20% p.a. Argentina offered in 2001 (thanks to the zero-interest rate policies of the 21st century). In light of all this, I can only conclude that anyone still having an unsecured deposit in a Euro zone bank should get his/her head examined!
So where should you put your money?
I don’t know that there is anywhere that is 100% safe at this point. But many are pointing to hard assets such as gold and silver. The following is what trends forecaster Gerald Celente had to say during one recent interview…
“People always say to me, ‘Mr. Celente you are always talking about gold. What are you going to do with gold when everything collapses and there is no money?’ Well, let’s say you are a Cypriot and all of the ATM machines are out of money and the banks are closed? Do you think those pieces of silver are going to buy you what you need? Do you think that ounce of gold is going to get you what you want?
That’s the real money. There is no other money. When it all comes down, gold and silver are the only things you have to buy what you need, get what you want, or even get out if you need to.”
I used to tell people that putting their money in U.S. banks was safer than putting it other places because U.S. bank deposits are covered by deposit insurance up to a certain amount.
But now we see that deposit insurance means absolutely nothing. If they decide to “tax” (i.e. steal) your money from your bank accounts they will just go ahead and do it.
So what should we all do?
Personally, I think that not having all of your eggs in one basket is a wise approach. If you have your wealth a bunch of different places and in several different forms, I think that will help.
European officials are openly admitting that the two largest banks in Cyprus are “insolvent“, and it is now being reported that Cyprus Popular Bank only has “enough liquidity to cover the next few hours“. Of course all banks in Cyprus are officially closed until Tuesday at the earliest, but there have been long lines at ATMs all over Cyprus as people scramble to get whatever money they can out of the banks. Unfortunately, some ATMs appear to be “malfunctioning” and others appear to have already run out of cash. You can see some photos of huge lines at one ATM in Cyprus right here. Some businesses are now even refusing to take credit card payments. This is creating an atmosphere of panic on the streets of Cyprus. Meanwhile, the EU is holding a gun to the head of the Cyprus financial system. Either Cyprus meets EU demands by Monday, or liquidity for the banks will be totally cut off and Cyprus will be forced out of the euro. It is being reported that European officials believe that the “economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what“, and that it would be okay to let the financial system of Cyprus crash and burn if politicians in Cyprus are not willing to do what they have been ordered to do. Apparently European officials are very confident that the situation in Cyprus can be contained and that it will not spread to other European nations.
Unfortunately, European officials are losing sight of the bigger picture. If the largest banks in Cyprus are allowed to fail, it will be another “Lehman Brothers moment“. The faith that people have in banks all over Europe will be called into question, and everyone will be wondering what major European banks will be allowed to fail next.
Meanwhile, European officials have already completely shattered confidence in deposit insurance at this point. Everyone now knows that when there is a major bank failure that depositors will be expected to share in the pain. Expect to see “bank jogs” all over southern Europe over the coming weeks.
The banks in Cyprus had been scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, but very few people expect that to actually happen at this point. In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that EU officials are actually thinking about shutting down the two biggest banks in Cyprus and freezing their assets…
Finance ministers for the 17 euro countries are considering a plan to shutter the two biggest banks in Cyprus and freeze the assets of uninsured depositors, said the four officials, who asked not to be named because the talks are ongoing. The ministers are holding a teleconference tonight.
Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl (CPB) and the Bank of Cyprus Plc would be split to create a so-called bad bank, one of the officials said. Insured deposits — below the European Union ceiling of 100,000 euros ($129,000) — would go into a so-called good bank and not sustain any losses, while uninsured deposits would go into the bad bank and be frozen until assets could be sold, said the four officials.
Losses to unsecured creditors, including uninsured depositors, could reach 40 percent under the plan, which has support from the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The proposal, a version of which was rejected last week, is considered a better option than taxing insured deposits or allowing Cypriot banks to collapse in a disorderly fashion if they lose access to ECB aid, the officials said.
Such a scenario would be an utter disaster.
How would you feel if you woke up someday and 40 percent of your life savings was suddenly gone?
According to Greek newspaper Kathimerini, European officials are also openly discussing the possibility of a Cyprus exit from the eurozone if a suitable bailout agreement is not worked out…
The possibility of Cyprus exiting the eurozone was discussed during teleconference involving technocrats from the Euro Working Group on Wednesday, Kathimerini understands.
A reliable source told Kathimerini that the technical implications of a euro exit, as well as the adoption of capital controls were debated by the Euro Working Group officials during the teleconference.
As I mentioned above, European officials seemed resigned to the fact that there will be an economic collapse in Cyprus “no matter what”, and so letting Cyprus leave the euro would not make that much of a difference. Either way, the banks are going to have to be “reorganized” and capital controls will be imposed…
In detailed notes of the call seen by Reuters, the group’s chair Austria’s Thomas Wieser said: “The economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what. Restrictions on capital will probably be imposed.”
Never before have we seen European officials impose such a harsh ultimatum with such a short deadline. It is almost as if they want to boot Cyprus out of the euro. The following comes from a recent CNBC report…
In stark twin warnings on Thursday, the European Central Bank said it would cut off liquidity to Cypriot banks and a senior EU official made clear to Reuters that the bloc was ready to see the bankrupt island banished from the euro in the belief it could then contain damage to the wider European economy.
And European officials are even publicly talking about the possibility that Cyprus will soon need to start using “their own currency”…
In Brussels, a senior European Union official told Reuters that an ECB withdrawal would mean Cyprus’s biggest banks being wound up, wiping out the large deposits it has sought to protect, and probably forcing the country to abandon the euro.
“If the financial sector collapses, then they simply have to face a very significant devaluation and faced with that situation, they would have no other way but to start having their own currency,” the EU official said.
This is absolutely shocking. Everyone always thought that Greece would be the first to leave the euro, but now it looks like it might be Cyprus.
However, there is still a chance that Cyprus may find a way to comply with EU demands. Politicians in Cyprus are frantically searching for a way to raise the needed cash without raiding private bank accounts. The following is what CNN is saying about the latest efforts…
Leaders of Cyprus’ political parties agreed Thursday to create an “investment solidarity fund,” which would issue bonds backed by state and church assets.
The plan was due to be discussed by the Cypriot government and parliament on Thursday evening, but few details were available and it was not clear how much the fund would be worth.
According to Reuters, other proposals have been under consideration as well…
The government said a “Plan B” was in the works.
Officials said it could include: an option to nationalize pension funds of semi-government corporations, which hold between 2 billion and 3 billion euros; issuing an emergency bond linked to future natural gas revenues; and possibly reviving the levy on bank deposits, though at a lower level than originally planned and maybe excluding savers with less than 100,000 euros.
At this point it is unclear whether any of those proposals will turn out to be acceptable to European officials.
In fact, the tone of European officials has noticeably changed from previous bailout efforts. They now seem much more willing to play hardball. For example, just check out what German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is saying about the situation in Cyprus…
German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the ZDF public broadcaster on Tuesday night (19 March) he “took note with regret” of the Cypriot parliament’s rejection of the bailout deal, but insisted that the terms will stay the same.
Asked if the eurozone was willing to let Cyprus go bust, he answered: “Well, we are much more stable in the eurozone – we took measures to protect ourselves from the risks of contagion … but I don’t want to have any of this.”
He added: “It is a serious situation, but this cannot lead to a decision that makes absolutely no sense, to rescue a business model that has failed. Cyprus has a banking sector that is totally oversized and this made Cyprus insolvent. And nobody outside Cyprus is to blame for it.”
Schaeuble knows that the EU is holding all of the cards and that Cyprus is doomed without their help…
“The Cypriot state cannot fund itself on the markets. Its two largest banks are insolvent and are being kept afloat with emergency funding from the ECB, but only on the condition that there will be a long-term rescue programme. If this condition is no longer met, Cyprus will no longer be solvent and this is something Cypriot decision makers must know”
But the truth is that the EU can’t really afford to allow major banks to fail or for a single member to leave the eurozone. If either of those things happen, the confidence game that has been holding the European financial system together will begin to rapidly evaporate.
If the EU thinks that they can abandon Cyprus without the crisis spreading to the rest of southern Europe they are just being delusional.
At least there are a few politicians in Europe that understand what is happening. Nigel Farage, a very outspoken member of the European Parliament, is telling people to get their money out of banks in southern Europe as quickly as they can. He is warning that a great collapse of the European financial system is coming and that people need to get prepared for it…
So what do you think?
Do you believe that we are on the verge of a major financial collapse in Europe?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…