The warrior monks who invented banking

•February 20, 2017 • 46 Comments

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http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38499883

On London’s busy Fleet Street, opposite Chancery Lane, is a stone arch through which anyone may step, and travel back in time.

A quiet courtyard houses a strange, circular chapel and a statue of two knights sharing a single horse.

The chapel is Temple Church, consecrated in 1185 as the London home of the Knights Templar.

But Temple Church is not just an important architectural, historical and religious site. It is also London’s first bank.

The Knights Templar were warrior monks. A religious order, with a theologically inspired hierarchy, mission statement, and code of ethics, but also heavily armed and dedicated to holy war.

How did they get into the banking game?

The Templars dedicated themselves to the defence of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem. The city had been captured by the first crusade in 1099 and pilgrims began to stream in, travelling thousands of miles across Europe.

Those pilgrims needed to somehow fund months of food and transport and accommodation, yet avoid carrying huge sums of cash around, because that would have made them a target for robbers.

Fortunately, the Templars had that covered. A pilgrim could leave his cash at Temple Church in London, and withdraw it in Jerusalem. Instead of carrying money, he would carry a letter of credit. The Knights Templar were the Western Union of the crusades.

We don’t actually know how the Templars made this system work and protected themselves against fraud. Was there a secret code verifying the document and the traveller’s identity?

The Templars were not the first organisation in the world to provide such a service. Several centuries earlier, Tang dynasty China used “feiquan” – flying money – a two-part document allowing merchants to deposit profits in a regional office, and reclaim their cash back in the capital.

But that system was operated by the government. Templars were much closer to a private bank – albeit one owned by the Pope, allied to kings and princes across Europe, and run by a partnership of monks sworn to poverty.

The Knights Templar did much more than transferring money across long distances.

As William Goetzmann describes in his book Money Changes Everything, they provided a range of recognisably modern financial services.

If you wanted to buy a nice island off the west coast of France – as King Henry III of England did in the 1200s with the island of Oleron, north-west of Bordeaux – the Templars could broker the deal.

Henry III paid £200 a year for five years to the Temple in London, then when his men took possession of the island, the Templars made sure that the seller got paid.

And in the 1200s, the Crown Jewels were kept at the Temple as security on a loan, the Templars operating as a very high-end pawn broker.

The Knights Templar were not Europe’s bank forever, of course. The order lost its reason to exist after European Christians completely lost control of Jerusalem in 1244, and the Templars were eventually disbanded in 1312.

So who would step into the banking vacuum?

If you had been at the great fair of Lyon in 1555, you could have seen the answer. Lyon’s fair was the greatest market for international trade in all Europe.

But at this particular fair, gossip was starting to spread about an Italian merchant who was there, and making a fortune.

He bought and sold nothing: all he had was a desk and an inkstand.

Day after day he sat there, receiving other merchants and signing their pieces of paper, and somehow becoming very rich.

The locals were very suspicious.

But to a new international elite of Europe’s great merchant houses, his activities were perfectly legitimate.

He was buying and selling debt, and in doing so he was creating enormous economic value.

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But this web of banking services has always had a darker side to it.

By turning personal obligations into internationally tradable debts, these medieval bankers were creating their own private money, outside the control of Europe’s kings.

Rich, and powerful, they had no need for the coins minted by the sovereign.

That description rings true even today. International banks are locked together in a web of mutual obligations that defies easy understanding or simple control.

They can use their international reach to try to sidestep taxes and regulations.

And, since their debts to each other are a very real kind of private money, when the banks are fragile, the entire monetary system of the world also becomes vulnerable.

We are still trying to figure out what to do with these banks.

We cannot live without them, it seems, and yet we are not sure we want to live with them.

Governments have long sought ways to hold them in check.

Sometimes the approach has been laissez-faire, sometimes not.

Few regulators have been quite as ardent as King Philip IV of France.

He owed money to the Templars, and they refused to forgive his debts.

So in 1307, on the site of what is now the Temple stop on the Paris Metro, Philip launched a raid on the Paris Temple – the first of a series of attacks across Europe.

Templars were tortured and forced to confess any sin the Inquisition could imagine. The order was disbanded by the Pope.

The London Temple was rented out to lawyers.

And the last grandmaster of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, was brought to the centre of Paris and publicly burned to death.

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really interesting article..the “official” history of the templars and banking..

“But Temple Church is not just an important architectural, historical and religious site. It is also London’s first bank. The Knights Templar were warrior monks. A religious order, with a theologically inspired hierarchy, mission statement, and code of ethics, but also heavily armed and dedicated to holy war.”

dedicated to holy war..

“By turning personal obligations into internationally tradable debts, these medieval bankers were creating their own private money, outside the control of Europe’s kings. Rich, and powerful, they had no need for the coins minted by the sovereign.”

and thats how it started..

401

UAE: “We’ll settle Mars by 2117”

•February 20, 2017 • 11 Comments

giphy

https://www.rt.com/viral/377437-mars-colony-uae-plan/

The United Arab Emirates has officially entered the space race to Mars, with the oil rich nation launching a new program designed to settle humans on the Red Planet by 2117.

The Arab nation established its space agency only in 2014, but the government has since poured millions of dollars into raising the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center on the desert sands.

In its three years of existence, the nascent agency has linked arms through formal agreements with other space-faring nations, such as the US, Russia, and China.

Now UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum hopes that, with the Mars Project 2117, the agency can help build the “first inhabitable human settlement” in the next 100 years.

The long-term project will focus on boosting the UAE’s space research capacity, with a view to making the wealthy Persian Gulf country one of the top players vying for a place on Mars.

A team of Emirati scientists and engineers will also be charged with streamlining efforts as well as drawing up a blueprint for Red Planet colonies.

It comes in the same week that Dubai hosted the fifth World Government Summit on social, economic and futuristic developments.

Sheik Mohammed said he expected UAE to be involved in a journey to benefit future generations. He has also since tweeted a number of images that appear to be design concepts for Mars settlements.

“The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality,” he said on Tuesday.

———

what a call..with a 100 year window.. 🙂

“The United Arab Emirates has officially entered the space race to Mars, with the oil rich nation launching a new program designed to settle humans on the Red Planet by 2117.”

“black” projects..

“A team of Emirati scientists and engineers will also be charged with streamlining efforts as well as drawing up a blueprint for Red Planet colonies.”

sure..

401

Russia to share intelligence with Philippines

•February 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Mikhail Klimentyev via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016.

http://www.oann.com/russia-to-share-intelligence-with-philippines-train-duterte-guards/

Russia’s top security official on Thursday offered the Philippines access to an intelligence database to help it fight crime and militancy, and training for the elite forces assigned to protect President Rodrigo Duterte.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council and Vladimir Putin’s top security adviser, made the offer during a meeting between Russian and Philippine security officials in Davao, where he was visiting Duterte at his home city.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Russia had invited the Philippines to join a database-sharing system to help combat trans-national crime and terrorism, which he said could help track Islamist militants and their financial transactions.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Lorenzana said there were “very strong” links between Islamic State and militants in the Philippines.

Patrushev’s trip underlines Russia’s intent to capitalize on a radical recalibration of foreign policy under Duterte, who harbors resentment of the Philippines’ deep-rooted ties to the United States.

Duterte has made strong overtures towards China and Russia.

He praised Putin’s leadership when he met him at an international summit late last year. He also he talked at length to Putin about what he called U.S. “hypocrisy”.

Lorenzana said security officials from both sides also discussed law enforcement cooperation, including anti-piracy and anti-narcotics exercises by coastguard and police.

The two countries were working on a military technical cooperation agreement, he said, and Russia offered to provide enhanced training for troops protecting Duterte.

Duterte will visit Moscow in May.

“We are keen on signing a defense cooperation agreement,” Lorenzana said of that trip.

Lorenzana said last week Russia was interested in selling military equipment to the Philippines, like drones, helicopters, rifles and submarines.

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rodrigo and vlad..sitting in a tree..

“He praised Putin’s leadership when he met him at an international summit late last year. He also he talked at length to Putin about what he called U.S. “hypocrisy”.

rodrigo is near the top of the elites shit list..

“Russia had invited the Philippines to join a database-sharing system to help combat trans-national crime and terrorism, which he said could help track Islamist militants and their financial transactions.”

401

Inside Europol

•February 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

europol-logo

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38957246

In a light, airy office on the ground floor of Europol’s brutalist headquarters in The Hague, David Ellero, one of its senior officials, is reflecting on how the organisation has changed since he joined in 2007. In those days, some people confused Europol with Interpol and others thought it was just an annoying part of the EU’s bureaucratic machinery.

“Our counterparts, or the investigators in the member states, didn’t really know what we did,” Ellero says.

Now, the European Police Office, to give it its official title, is recognised across the law enforcement world, with a budget of almost £100m, and a workforce of more than 1000, to match.

Its effectiveness certainly isn’t lost on the UK government, which is preparing to start negotiations about Britain’s role in Europol after the country leaves the EU. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has said that the agency plays an “incredibly important role in keeping us safe in Europe”.

“The phone rings quite often,” says Ellero, with typical understatement.

A former detective – much of his career was spent in Italy investigating Mafia killings – he now heads a department tackling the top organised crime groups across the Continent.

“For a criminal to communicate with his counterparts across Europe it takes a second on WhatsApp.

“We need to make sure that… police (can act) at the same speed even if they have different judicial set-ups and and even if they speak different languages,” adds Ellero, pointing out that “even pickpockets” operate transnationally.

The main function of Europol, which started work in 1999, is to act as a hub for the exchange of intelligence between 750 global agencies. It also oversees databases containing tens of millions of pieces of information on criminals, offences and suspect vehicles, and it helps co-ordinate crime-fighting operations against drug dealers, human trafficking gangs and terrorists.

Outside Europol, other pan-European intelligence systems help in the fight against crime including the Schengen Information System (SIS). Although the UK is not among the 26 countries that have open borders under the Schengen agreement it can access the database which records cross-border movements and associated intelligence.

In 2015, the SIS was interrogated three million times by law enforcement officers across Europe with 64 million “alerts” placed on the system every day relating to stolen vehicles and missing children to foreign fighters returning to Europe from Syria and Iraq.

Indeed, one of the fastest-growing areas of work at Europol involves countering the spread of propaganda from terrorist groups and extremists. A 26-strong team in the Internet Referral Unit spends each day combing the web for material and then persuading social media companies and service providers to remove it.

The head of the unit, Vincent Semestre, likens it to “emptying the ocean with a spoon”. He says they’ve identified 91 internet platforms that have contained extremist content, more than 50 of which have co-operated with Europol in deleting the material.

Over the past 18 months the team’s most intense periods of work have come after terror attacks in Europe, when it’s had to act quickly to prevent the spread of extremist images, videos and postings.

“You need to have capacity in-house, which is understanding this ideology in its original language: which means staff speaking Arabic, speaking Russian, speaking Turkish,” says Semestre, who worked for the French judicial police before joining Europol.

———

“The main function of Europol, which started work in 1999, is to act as a hub for the exchange of intelligence between 750 global agencies. It also oversees databases containing tens of millions of pieces of information on criminals, offences and suspect vehicles, and it helps co-ordinate crime-fighting operations against drug dealers, human trafficking gangs and terrorists.”

a hub?

“You need to have capacity in-house, which is understanding this ideology in its original language: which means staff speaking Arabic, speaking Russian, speaking Turkish,”

skill sets..

401

Images 19/2/17

•February 19, 2017 • 69 Comments

_94069636_bransonobama

lots of images this week..so what were these two lads up to?

trumpclimatechangefake

note the symbolism in the background at the signing ceremonies..thats a pentagram..

20170129_arms_1

click to enlarge..

mt-hunger-games_1

🙂

nato

now i see it..

c3lgxhexaael1_f

game plan..

main_14_14

do you know this creature?

beauty-and-the-beast-belle-emma-watson-dan-stevens-01-670-380

hes about to star in a movie with a hogwarts graduate..

16427478_1498277250183829_603316311758835012_n

*sigh

vrg_jbareham_flotus_lede_sized_fin_scrubbed-0

michelle with the one eye..ALL must submit..

why

magazine cover from ireland..subtle?

joyvilla_grammyawards

now thats courage..or rampant attention seeking..

santigold_grammyawards

when i go to the grammys i always wear my 3 headed snake dress..

van-jones-in-varietys-inauguration-issue

van has a plan..

http-prod-static9-net-au-_-media-network-home-streams-2017-02-15-23-36-140217_kim_env2_sp

the “LOL” female assassin?..or does is it deeper? lol?

401

South Korea agency deleted 17,000 comments to combat “fake news”

•February 19, 2017 • 2 Comments

south-korea-agency-deleted-17000-comments-to-combat-fake-news

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/16/South-Korea-agency-deleted-17000-comments-to-combat-fake-news/2351487274760/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts&utm_medium=5

Concern about fake news and the uncontrollable growth of online rumors is going global, and in South Korea the national election commission is tackling the problem by targeting the comments sections of websites.

But the move is being criticized as censorship, local news service Media Today reported Thursday.

According to Open Net, a nongovernmental South Korean organization advocating freedom and openness of the country’s Internet, the crackdown on fake news is an “exercise of cyber-censorship.”

In early January, the national election commission announced plans to tackle defamation and “propaganda” online.

On Feb. 7, Lee Chul-sung, South Korea’s police chief, said “fake news are to be subject to investigation by police.”

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also blamed fake news, or the deliberate promotion of political falsehoods, for “misrepresenting” him ahead of a possible presidential campaign in South Korea.

Ban dropped out of the presidential race after making several public appearances.

The national election commission was already actively monitoring online rhetoric on political candidates during South Korea’s 20th legislative elections in 2016.

The commission deleted more than 17,000 comments online in compliance with South Korea’s elections law, according to Media Today.

Removed content included questionable rumors about the illegal enrollment of a ruling party lawmaker to a university, and a meme of lawmaker Yoo Seung-min that depicted him as a pre-modern Korean eunuch.

Open Net said the “excessive” policy should be improved in order to prevent suppression of free speech and to not adversely affect legitimate press reporting.

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“the national election commission is tackling the problem by targeting the comments sections of websites.”

fake news is one thing..attacking and deleting comments which are opinons is a police state..see where this is heading?

“the move is being criticized as censorship”

duh..

and here is your sunday morning joke:

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also blamed fake news, or the deliberate promotion of political falsehoods, for “misrepresenting” him ahead of a possible presidential campaign in South Korea.Ban dropped out of the presidential race after making several public appearances.”

its never the candidate or the policies..no no..must be fake news or those pesky russians..

401

Russia boosts US Treasury bill holding after Trump’s election win

•February 19, 2017 • 7 Comments

58a59a53c3618881508b4572

https://www.rt.com/business/377552-russia-trump-us-treasuries/

The Central Bank of Russia bought significantly more American Treasury securities in the two months after Donald Trump was elected president, according to data from the US Treasury Department published on Thursday.

The data from the Treasury shows that in November and December Russian investment in US government debt soared by 15 percent to $86.1 billion.

Before Trump’s election win, Russia had been steadily selling off US T-bills. From January to October last year, Russian holdings slumped from $96.9 billion to $74.6 billion.

The increase in November was the largest monthly purchase since relations between Moscow and Washington deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis. For comparison, in April 2014, Russia held US Treasury bills worth $116.4 billion.

The last time the Russian Central Bank made such investments in US debt was in August 2011, when it bought $11.8 billion worth of American bonds.

The two largest holders of the US debt, Japan, and China, significantly reduced their holdings after Trump’s election. Japan sold off $40 billion, while China cut its holdings by $57 billion to the lowest level in almost six years.

However, China had slashed its US debt holdings in the six months before Trump’s election to prop up the falling yuan, selling off $180 billion in 2016.

“China is a massive player in our market and can move the markets whether they are a buyer or seller. If 10-year yields are going to trade to 3 percent this year, China will be the catalyst,” Tom di Galoma, managing director of government trading and strategy at Seaport Global Holdings told Bloomberg. On Thursday, the yield on the US 10-year note was 2.477 percent.

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its all about the timing..russia moves in..

yin and yang..

“The two largest holders of the US debt, Japan, and China, significantly reduced their holdings after Trump’s election. Japan sold off $40 billion, while China cut its holdings by $57 billion to the lowest level in almost six years.”

401

 
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