Tag Archives: GIS

Terrorism and the money-trail mirage

GIS statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

French investigators suspect that the perpetrators of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris used prepaid debit cards to cover their expenses. New measures will be proposed by the European Commission next month to make it harder to finance such operations, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.

This “action plan” will outline a series of steps, including legislation, for consideration by the next European Union finance ministers’ meeting in February, according to the Commission’s Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.

France is proposing to cap the sums that can be loaded onto prepaid cards, and to curb the conversion of virtual or crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin into legal tender. The French also claim that Bitcoin allows anonymous transactions that cannot be monitored, which happens not to be true.

Two aspects of this issue are striking.

Since the 9/11 attacks, Western governments have insisted that finances are the Achilles heel of international terrorism, which would wither once the money flow is cut off. The financial services industry has been doing its utmost to shut down these flows for 15 years – to little effect. Perhaps the lesson is that there is nothing significant to shut down. Terrorism is not particularly expensive. Attacking the money trail sounds good, but distracts us from the real threat.

Another, cynical aspect should not be ignored. Cash and crypto-currencies have become a thorn in the side of certain central banks and governments. Cash makes it more difficult for governments to control people’s behavior or for central banks to misappropriate savings by applying negative interest rates. The same applies to crypto-currencies, which compete with legal currencies and thus force monetary policies to become more efficient. In this sense, fighting terrorism could just be another pretext for protectionism.

I am reminded of a popular Twitter meme showing a herd of sheep staring out of a pen. Mummy sheep asks: “Kids, do you know why we are permanently surrounded by those barbed-wire fences?” Baby sheep compliantly answers: “I do, Mummy – it’s to keep the terrorists out, so we can all enjoy our freedom.”


Read the original statement “Terrorism and the money-trail mirage” here -> GIS


Europe and Australias backward steps

Prince Michael of Liechtenstein: Europe and Australia's backward step
Prince Michael of Liechtenstein: Europe and Australia’s backward step

Europe and Australia’s backward steps | GIS Statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein. Australia’s Parliament has just passed new draconian legislation which carries threats of the former communist police states, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein in his most recent GIS statement. The legislation, passed by a huge majority on October 1, 2014, provides that anybody, including journalists or whistleblowers, who discloses information relating to a ‘Special Intelligence Operation’ faces up to 10 years in jail. Any security operation, internally or abroad, can be declared as ‘special’ by the attorney general without any independent judge.

Read the full statement by clicking here.

GIS World Report 2014

GIS-world-report-2014

GIS World Report 2014 – by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein | This resume is based on reports from our worldwide experts and our own research, looking at today’s main issues and concentrates on key global events which are likely to be of further interest. Topics are covered regionally and by subject headings which include economics, defence and security and politics. The Geopolitical Information Service (GIS) is a network that provides expertise and insights on geopolitical trends for international corporations, governments and their agencies and other institutions.

Download the full report here (PDF)

The Destruction of Savings

Cover page Bild-Zeitung. June 6, 2014
Cover page Bild-Zeitung. June 6, 2014
On June 6, 2014, Germany’s largest tabloid newspaper, Bild, appeared with the headline ‘How bad can poverty get in old age?’ (Wie schlimm wird die Altersarmut?), writes Marc Zahn, Director & COO at Industrie- und Finanzkontor in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. In the text they use the word ‘Zins-Klau’ a slang expression for ‘stealing interest’. All this in response to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to lower the refinancing rate to 0.15 per cent and the deposit rate to minus 0.1 per cent. Europe’s governments and the ECB are afraid of deflation. It is believed that this measure can push up inflation towards 2 per cent. Will that help? Is Bild right? … Read the entire blog here -> GIS expert Mark Zahn: “The Destruction of Savings”
GIS stands for Geopolitical Information Service. It is a global intelligence service providing independent, analytical, fact-based reports from a team of experts around the world. We provide our clients with access to expert insights in the fields of geopolitics, economics, defence, security and energy. GIS experts provide scenarios on significant geopolitical events and trends. They use their knowledge to analyse the big picture and provide a valuable recommendation of what is likely to happen next in a way which informs long-term decision-making.