The Guardian 13 April, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

US Dollar versus Euro!

The Guardian article "US Dollar V Euro" points out that US domination rests on overwhelming military superiority, and also on the control of world economics through the dollar. A lot of that power comes from OPEC oil being traded in US dollars.

When Iraq government in 2000 challenged that monopoly by trading oil in euro, it had to be stopped by a war, and proof of its significance was that immediately it had the power, US changed Iraq oil to the dollar basket.

But the pressure on the dollar is increasing. The article highlighted the recent trade deficit as US$500 billion, but Richard Heinburg, writing of the endangered US dollar, in August 2004, put the latest deficit as US$700 billion (Nexus Dec-Jan 2005).

Professor Jiang Yuechun, Director of World Economic Studies, Chinese Institute of International Studies, writing of the effect of the Iraq war on World Economy, gave the US deficit as US$304 billion. The Washington Post, July 2003 updated deficits of US$455 billion in 2003 and expected US$475 billion in 2004.

Jiang stated that the US stock market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell in three consecutive years, and as a result there has been a huge loss in investments. He calculated that for every US$10 increase in oil prices there would be a decline of 0.5% in US economic growth. The world price is now US$55 a barrel. The IMF warned that the economic growth had been halved by the Iraq war.

The Guardian article stated if France, Germany, Russia, Japan and OPEC oil countries shifted even a small portion of their dollar reserves to euros, the US would face a crisis in its economy. This is happening. Iran Financial Times (25-2-2002) reported that more than half of Forex Reserve Fund had gone from dollars to euros. Business Week (17-2-2003) reported that Russia’s Central Bank in the past year had doubled euro holdings from 105 to 205 of US$48 billion foreign exchange reserves. The reason given: "Returns on dollar instruments very low. Other currencies pay more".

Financial Times (14-1-2004) found that over the past year the euro had risen more than 205 against the dollar. The Guardian article is of the opinion that if OPEC were to decide to accept the euro only for its oil, the US economic dominance would be over.

Richard Heinburg in his article, "Onward to Iran and the War on Tyranny" (Nexus April-May 2005), quoted from a report in Iran Mania 25 December 2004 of plans by Iran to establish an oil exchange to make Iran the hub for oil deals in the region. It was to be operational by March 2006.

Heinburg quoted from an article by William Clark, "The real reason why Iran is the Next Target" (27-10-04), commenting on the oil exchange project. "… international buyers will have a choice of buying a barrel of oil for US$50 on the NYMEX and IPE — or purchase a barrel of oil for E37 — E40 via the Iranian Bourse.

"A successful Iranian Bourse would solidify the petroeuro as an alternative oil-transaction currency."

Tehran’s action could cause a dollar crash; USA knows they must try to stop it and time is running short.

Seymour Hersh, in New Yorker (24-31 January 2005), reported that US commando teams have been in Iran for months selecting targets. Senator Rick Santorum is working on "Iran Freedom and Support Act", bill to prepare Americans for attack on Iran. He told Fox News "By supporting the people of Iran, and through greater outreach to pro-democracy groups, we will hopefully foster a peaceful transition to democracy in Iran. It is futile to work with the Iranian government."

Scott Ritter, former US marine and UN inspector for weapons in Iraq, on 18th February 2005, told a packed house in Capital Theatre, Washington State, that he had inside information that Bush had "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005.

Iran is increasing the size of its seven million Basiji militia forces and plans a guerilla campaign. It has military and economic agreements with Russia and China. Iran has the Russian Sunburn cruise missile, specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defence system and said to be the most lethal anti-ship weapon in the world. If Bush or Israel bomb Iran, American and Australian warships in the Persian Gulf would be sitting ducks.

Vic Williams,
Willagee, WA

Political legacy of Pope

The negative aspects of the papacy of Karol Wojtyla were so widespread as not merely to reverse the positive aspects of the Second Vatican Council but to reverse decades, even centuries, of thinking world wide. He took fine care to make this negative thinking, or rather Wojtyla thinking to last even beyond the reigns of popes to come by his stacking of the College of Cardinals with men (and no women of course) of his own ilk.

The decadent dogmas on the place of women and the enormous layer of anti-communism serves to drive millions into medieval superstition or deprive liberal elements of the church, such as the liberation theologians of the right to air their views, much less to spread them.

Whilst we regard religion as a private matter as far as the state is concerned, it is time to realise that as far as the Party is concerned, religion has become, more than ever before, the enemy of the working class.

The Guardian is doing well to be supportive of religious people who take a progressive stand on many issues — some, like those in the Philippines, even giving their lives to this struggle. It is also painting a correct picture of the negative aspects of religion, both philosophical and political, as in the April 6 issue with the article by Peter Symon on evolution and creationism and the report of "The God Racket under Bush".

Thus superstition can be shown in its true light as the enemy of socialism and communism without unnecessary alienation of liberal and progressive movements within the church.

Thomas Gleeson
Mt Pritchard, NSW

Out-of-sight, out-of-your-mind

The Four Corners program on ABC about Cornelia Rau was a chilling look at Australia’s detention system.

It is difficult to believe that we put refugees, even children, in such places as Baxter. Most of the asylum seekers, around 90 percent, are eventually proved to fit our narrow "refugee" criteria. Others are also shown to be good people who are in need of a safe permanent home, having fled for "non-allowed" reasons such as war.

Isn’t it amazing that we of the Lucky Country provide these traumatised people with "off-shore", "out-of-mind", "no expense spared" camps in Nauru and Christmas Island and "out-of-your-mind" desert camps on the mainland.Will it take the story of one wrongly imprisoned Australian to make us look again at what we are doing year after year to innocent men, women and children?

Elaine Smith
West Haven, NSW

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