Monday, July 18, 2011

Goldman Sachs and Israel's 'work of God', destroying the nation-states in the US, EU to build the NWO, ruling the world from Jerusalem

650 Years Ago: How Bankers Rigged the First, and Worst, Global Financial Crash.

Six hundred and fifty years ago came the climax of the worst financial collapse in history to date. The 1930s Great Depression was a mild and brief episode, compared to the bank crash of the 1340s, which decimated the human population.

The crash, which peaked in 1345 A.D. when the world's biggest banks went under, "led'' by the Bardi and Peruzzi companies of Florence, Italy, was more than a bank crash -- it was a financial disintegration. Chroniclers reported, "all credit vanished together,'' most trade and exchange stopped, and a catastrophic drop of the world's population by famine and disease loomed."

Like the financial disintegration hanging over us , that one of the 1340s was the result of 30-40 years of disastrous financial practices, by which the banks built up huge fictitious ``financial bubbles,'' parasitizing production and real trade in goods. These speculative cancers destroyed the real wealth they were monopolizing, and caused these banks to be effectively bankrupt long before they finally went under.

The critical difference between 1345 and 1995, was that in the fourteenth century there were as yet no nations. No governments had the national sovereignty to control the banks and the creation of credit; or, to force these banks into bankruptcy in an orderly way, and replace fictitious bank credit and money with national credit. Nor was the Vatican, the world leadership of the Catholic Church, fighting against the debt-looting of the international banks then as it is today; in fact, at that time it was allied with, aiding, and abetting them.

The result was a disaster for the human population, which fell worldwide by something like 25 percent between 1300 and 1450 (in Europe, by somewhere between 35 percent and 50 percent from the 1340s collapse to the 1440s).


This global crash, caused by the policies and actions of banks which finally completely bankrupted themselves, has been blamed by historians ever since on a king -- poor Edward III of England. Edward revolted against the seizure and looting of his kingdom by the Bardi and Peruzzi banks, by defaulting on their loans starting in 1342. King Edward's national budget was dwarfed by that of either the Bardi or Peruzzi; in fact, by 1342 his national budget had become a subdepartment of theirs. Their internal memos in Florence spoke of him contemptuously as ``Messer Edward''``we shall be fortunate to recover even a part'' of his debts, they sniffed in 1339.

A ``free trade'' mythology has been developed by historians about these ``sober, industrious, Christian bankers'' of Italy in the fourteenth century``doing good'' by their own private greed; developing trade and the beginnings of capitalist industry by seeking monopolies for their family banks; somehow existing in peace with other merchants, and expiating their greedy sins by donations to the Church. But, goes the myth, these sober bankers were led astray by kings (accursed governments!) who were spendthrift, warlike, and unreliable in paying their debts which they forced the helpless or momentarily foolish bankers to lend them. Thus, emerging ``private enterprise capitalism'' was set back by the disaster of the fourteenth century, concludes the classroom myth, noting in passing that 30 million people died in Europe in the ensuing Black Death, famine, and war. If only the ``sober, Christian'' bankers had stuck to industrious ``free trade'' and prosperous city-states, and never gotten entangled with warlike, spendthrift kings!

The Real Story

Two recent books help to turn over this cover story, though perhaps that is beyond the intention of their authors. Edwin Hunt's 1994 book The Medieval Supercompanies: A Study of the Peruzzi Company of Florence, establishes that this great bank was losing money and effectively going bankrupt throughout the late 1330s, as a result of its own destructive policies -- in Europe's agricultural credit and trade in particular -- before it ever dealt with Edward III.

``Indeed, the great banking companies were able to survive past 1340 only because news of their deteriorated position had not yet circulated....''

Even if we accept the highest figures ever given for Edward III's 1345 default against the bankers of Florence, the debt to them of the city government of Florence which they controlled, was 35 percent greater, and those bonds also defaulted.

More revealing is the latest work of the historian of Venice, Frederick C. Lane, Money and Banking in Medieval and Renaissance Venice. This work shows that it was Venetian finance which, by dominating and controlling a huge international ``bubble'' of currency speculation from 1275 through 1350, rigged the great collapse of the 1340s. Rather than sharing the peace of mutual greed and free enterprise with their ``allies''-- the bankers of Florence -- the merchants of Venice bankrupted them, and the economies of Europe and the Mediterranean along with them. Florence was the fourteenth century ``New York,'' the apparent center of banking with the world's biggest banks. But Venice was ``London,'' manipulating Florentine bankers, kings, and emperors alike, by tight knit financial conspiracy and complete dominance of the markets by which money was minted and credit created.

As long ago as the 1950s, in fact, one historian Fernand Braudel consciously demonstrated that Venice, leading the Italian bankers of Florence, Genoa, Siena, etc., willfully intervened from the beginning of the thirteenth century to destroy the potential emergence of national governments, ``modern states foreshadowed by the achievements of Frederick II.'' Frederick II Hohenstauffen was the Holy Roman Emperor in the first half of the thirteenth century, an able successor of Charlemagne's earlier achievements in spreading education, agricultural progress, population growth, and strong government. The great Dante wrote De Monarchia in a vain attempt to revive the potential of imperial government based on divine law and natural law, which had been identified with Frederick's reign.

Wrote Braudel:

``Venice had deliberately ensnared all the surrounding subject economies, including the German economy, for her own profit; she drew her living from them, preventing them from acting freely.... The fourteenth century saw the creation of such a powerful monopoly to the advantage of the city-states of Italy ... that the embryo territorial states like England, France and Spain necessarily suffered the consequences.''

In addition to what Braudel shows, Venice intervened to stop the accession of the great Alfonso the Wise of Spain, as successor to Emperor Frederick II.

This triumph of ``free trade'' over the potential for national government, rigged the fourteenth century's global human catastrophes, the worst onslaught of death and depopulation in history. It was not until the Renaissance created the French nation state under Louis XI, 100 years later, and then England under Henry VII, and the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabel, that the human population could recover.

Population: The Fundamental Measure

The clearest measure of the destruction wrought by the merchants and bankers of Venice and its ``allies'' in the financial crash of the fourteenth century, is shown in Figure 1. What had been 400-600 years of increasing population growth in Europe, China, and India (altogether, three-fourths of the human population) was reversed. The world's population collapsed. Famines, bubonic and pneumonic plagues, and other epidemics killed more than 100 million people.

Wars raged throughout Eurasia; Mongol armies alone slaughtered between 5 and 10 million people. This depopulation did not begin with the 1340s banking crash, although it accelerated after that for nearly a century. The policies of Venetian-allied finance were already reversing human population growth for 40-60 years before their speculative cancer completely exhausted what it monopolized, bringing on the 1340s rolling crash of all major banks which had not collapsed earlier.

How did free enterprise finance, with no government able to control it, collapse all the economies of the Eurasian continent? How could banks concentrated in one part of Europe -- tiny on the scale of modern banks work such a global catastrophe?

A Cancer on Production

In the eleventh, twelfth, and into the thirteenth centuries the growth and development of population both in Europe and particularly in China was accelerating. China's population doubled in 200 years during the ``neoConfucian'' renaissance of the S'ung Dynasty, to 120 million; the population density of northern France and northern Italy began to approximate the levels these regions have today. After the collapse and depopulation of the Roman Empire long before (300-600 A.D.), Europe's population had been growing at a steadily increasing rate for 700 years up to 1300 A.D., due to huge increases in the amount of agricultural land productively cultivated. In addition, there had been several periods in which the rural technologies for using the plow, seed, animal power, water power, and wind power, leaped forward. Classical education of youth in monastery schools (oblates) was spreading up through the twelveth century, when the great cathedral building movement arose in France. These advances spread particularly rapidly due to the impetus of Charlemagne and his English and Italian allies from 750-900, and then again from 1100-1250, the period of the Hohenstauffen Holy Roman Emperors in Germany, Italy, and Sicily, ending with Frederick II.

But about the turn of the fourteenth century, the growth of food production and of population stopped in Europe. (China's population was already being devastated, on which more below.) There were major famines (multiple successive crop failures or extreme shortages) in 1314-17; in 1328-29; and in 1338-39. One historian concludes that:

``we gather from (the Italian chronicler) Villani's statements that a scarcity of more or less severe character put in an appearance about three times each decade. About once each decade the scarcity became so intense as to assume the proportions of a famine.''

The most productive rural regions of northern Italy and northern France began to be depopulated from about 1290 onward, while the towns and cities' population merely stagnated. (The Milan region was the counterexample, due to aggressive construction of government infrastructure, water control works, 3,000 hospital beds in the city for 150,000 people).

The production of wool in England began to decline from about 1310. English and Spanish wool were the basis of European clothing production, although cotton cloth was just beginning to be produced.

``In England, beginning with the reign of Edward I (1291 to 1310) and reaching a climax with Edward III, the Bardi and Peruzzi had acquired a status that gave them a practical monopoly of the procuring and export of wool....''

From 1150 onward, the famous Champagne Fairs had been the hub of trading in cloth and clothing, ironwork, woodwork, wool, agricultural implements and food for all of Europe; year round fairs were held in six cities in the Champagne region around Paris. Merchants had been accustomed to make profits of 34 percent annually in hard cash and goods trading here. The Venetian and Florentine bankers intervened into these fairs with large amounts of credit, bank branches, and with luxury goods ``from the East,'' and took them over. By 1310, an Italian banker from Lucca boasted that he could raise 200,000 French livres tournois in credit on the spot at the Fair of Troyes but the actual trade in physical goods at the fairs was declining. Hunt's analysis of the successive sets of books of the Peruzzi bank shows that the Florentine bankers expected 810 percent annual profits up to 1335. This was far above the rate at which the physical economy of Europe was producing real surplus, and that physical rate of production was falling. The Venetians expected much higher rates of profit still, for reasons outlined below.

``At the end of the thirteenth century a slowdown in trade hit commodities first; credit operations kept going longer, but the fairs went into severe decline,''

In the late 1330s, the beginning of the 100 Years War between England and France led to the clothing industry of Flanders the main clothing production region of Europe being boycotted and completely shut off from wool; by the late 1340s, this industry was in complete decline, and was actually moving out of the towns and cities into tiny ``cottage industries'' in the countryside.

On top of all this, from the 1320s on, there was a ``massive flight of silver oltremare (``over the sea,'' that is, to Venice's maritime empire in the Middle East and Byzantium) which upset the equilibrium of Europe in the midfourteenth century.'' Venetian exports of silver from Europe from 1325-50 equalled ``perhaps 25 percent of all the silver being mined in Europe at that time.'' Standard silver coin had been the stable currency of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe, and of England, since Charlemagne's time. This massive export from Venice to the East ``created chronic balance of payments problems as far away as England and Flanders,'' and severe problems in making payments in trade. France ``was emptied of silver coinage.'' King Phillip's mintmaster estimated that 100 tons of silver had been exported ``to the land of the Saracens'' (the Islamic Middle East).

So production of the most vital commodities in Europe had been severely reduced, and the trade and circulation of its money completely disrupted, over decades before the 1340s crash, by Italian banks which appeared to be making usurious rates of profit. ``The Florentine supercompanies resembled very closely in their operations the huge international grain companies of today, such as Cargill and Archer-Daniels Midland,'' writes Hunt. ``They used loans to monarchs to dominate and control trade in certain vital commodities, especially grain, and later wool and cloth.'' Their dominance and speculation progressively reduced the production of these commodities.

We can see this in more detail, but keeping in mind that the story of the Florentine bankers and the fourteenth century crash and Black Death, is itself a coverup. These bankers were operating on an international scale limited to Western Europe and some Mediterranean islands. The maritime/financial empire of Venice -- and Venice only -- was speculating on the scale of all of the Eurasian landmass, and on this evidence alone, it had to be the merchants of Venice which rigged the devastation and depopulation of the majority of the human race in the fourteenth century. The Florentine bankers were sharks swimming in Venice's seas. The catastrophe of the Black Death in Europe, so often described, was exceeded by death rates in China and Islamic regions under the homicidal rule of the Mongol Khans from 1250, until nearly 1400. The Islamic chronicler Ibn Khaldun wrote:

``Civilization both in the East and the West was visited by a destructive plague which devastated nations and caused populations to vanish.... Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind.''

Venice was also the ``banker,'' slave market, and intelligence support service for the Mongol Khans.

The Black Guelph

The Bardi, Peruzzi, and Acciaiuouli family banks, along with other large banks in Florence and Siena in particular, were all founded in the years around 1250. In the 1290s they grew dramatically in size and rapaciousness, and were reorganized, by the influx of new partners. These were ``Black Guelph'' noble families, of the faction of northern Italian landed aristocracy always bitterly hostile to the government of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne, 500 years earlier, had already recognized Venice as a threat equal to the Vikings, and had organized a boycott to try to bring Venice to terms with his Empire. Venice in 1300 was the center of the Black Guelph faction which drove Dante and his co-thinkers from Florence. In opposition to Dante's work De Monarchia, a whole series of political theorists of ``Venice, the ideal model of government'' were promoted in north Italy: Bartolomeo of Lucca, Marsiglio of Padua, Enrico Paolino of Venice, etc., all based on Aristotle's Politics which was translated into Latin for the purpose. The same ``coup'' made the Bardi, Peruzzi, etc. Black Guelph banking ``supercompanies,'' suddenly two or three times their previous size and branch structure. Machiavelli describes how by 1308, the Black Guelph ruled everywhere in northern Italy except in Milan, which remained allied with the Holy Roman Empire, and was the most economically developed and powerful city-state in fourteenth century Italy.

The charter of the Parte Guelfa openly claimed that it was the party of the papacy, and with Venice, the Black Guelph openly pushed for the Popes to change usury from a mortal sin to a venial (minor) sin. Lane remarks that the Venetians seemed to enjoy an effective exemption from the Catholic Popes' injunctions against usury, and also from their ban on trading with the infidel -- the Seljuk and Mamluk regimes of Egypt and Syria.

A century earlier, in the 1180s, Doge (Duke) Ziani of Venice had provoked hostilities between the two leaders of Christendom, the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, the grandfather of Frederick II. Doge Ziani, in time-worn Venetian style, then personally mediated the ``Peace of Constance'' between the Pope and the Emperor. The doge got his enemy, Emperor Frederick, to agree to withdraw his standard silver coinage from Italy, and allow the Italian cities to mint their own coins.

Over the century from that 1183 Peace of Constance to the 1290s, Venice established the extraordinary, near-total dominance of trading in gold and silver coin and bullion throughout Europe and Asia, which is documented in Frederick Lane's book. Venice broke and replaced the European silver coinage of the Holy Roman Emperors, the Byzantine Empire's silver coinage, and eventually broke the famous Florentine ``gold florin'' in the decades immediately leading into the 1340s financial blowout -- which blew out all the financiers except the Venetians.

Privatization

The Black Guelph bankers of Florence did not simply loan money to monarchs, and then expect repayment with interest. In fact, interest was often ``officially'' not charged on the loans, since usury was considered a sin and a crime among Christians. Rather, like the International Monetary Fund today, the banks imposed ``conditionalities'' on the loans. The primary conditionality was the pledging of royal revenues directly to the bankers -- the clearest sign that the monarchs lacked national sovereignty against the Black Guelph ``privateers.'' Since in fourteenth century Europe, important commodities like food, wool, clothing, salt, iron, etc. were produced only under royal license and taxation, bank control of royal revenue led to, first, private monopolization of production of these commodities, and second, the banks' ``privatization'' and control of the functions of royal government itself.

By 1325, for example, the Peruzzi bank owned all of the revenues of the Kingdom of Naples (the entire southern half of Italy, the most productive grain belt of the entire Mediterranean area); they recruited and ran King Robert of Naples' army, collected his duties and taxes, appointed the officials of his government, above all sold all the grain from his kingdom. They egged Robert on to continual wars to conquer Sicily, because through Spain, Sicily was allied with the Holy Roman Empire. Thus, Sicily's grain production, which the Peruzzi did not control, was reduced by war.

King Robert's Anjou relatives, the Kings of Hungary, had their realm similarly ``privatized'' by the Florentine banks in the same period. In France, the Peruzzi were the cooperating bank (creditor) of the bankers to King Philip IV, the infamous Franzezi bankers ``Biche and Mouche'' (Albizzo and Mosciatto Guidi). The Bardi and Peruzzi banks, always in a ratio of 3 to 2 for investments and returns, ``privatized'' the revenues of Edward II and Edward III of England, paid the King's budget, and monopolized the sales of English wool. Rather than paying interest (usury) on his loans, Edward III gave the Bardi and Peruzzi large ``gifts'' called ``compensations'' for the hardships they were supposedly suffering in paying his budget; this was in addition to assigning them his revenues. When King Edward tried forbidding Italian merchants and bankers to expatriate their profits from England, they converted their profits into wool and stored huge amounts of wool at the ``monasteries'' of the Order of Knights Hospitalers, who were their debtors, political allies, and partners in the monopolization of the wool trade. It was the Bardi's representatives who proposed to Edward III, the wool boycott which destroyed the textile industry of Flanders -- because by 1340 it was the only way to continue to raise wool prices in a desperate attempt to increase King Edward's income flow, which was all assigned to the Bardi and Peruzzi for his debts! Genoese bankers largely controlled the royal revenues of the Kingdom of Castille in Spain, Europe's other supplier of wool, by 1325.

In the first few years of the 100 Years War, which began in 1339, the Florentine financiers imposed on England a rate of exchange which overvalued their currency, the gold florin, by 15 percent relative to English coin. Edward III, in effect, now got 15 percent less for his monopolized wool. Edward tried to counterattack by minting an English florin: the merchants, organized by the Florentines, refused it, and he was defeated. By this action, the Bardi and Peruzzi themselves, in effect, provoked Edward's famous default, and demonstrated his complete lack of sovereignty at the same time.
Even the famous account, by banker and chronicler Giovanni Villani, of Edward III's default which triggered the final crash, acknowledges that his debt to the Bardi and Peruzzi included huge amounts he had already paid -- the curious arithmetic of the IMF to Third World debtors today:

``The Bardi found themselves to be his creditors in more than 180,000 marks sterling. And the Peruzzi, more than 135,000 marks sterling, which ... makes a total of 1,365,000 gold florins -- as much as a kingdom is worth. This sum included many purveyances made to them by the king in the past, but, however that may be....''

Even larger revenue flows came to the Vatican in the collection of its church contributions and tithes. Under John XXII, the Black Guelph Pope from 1316-1336, ``papal tithes skyrocketted,'' reaching the apparent value of 250,000 gold florins per year. All were collected by agents of the Venetian banks (for France, the largest source of papal revenue) and the Bardi bank (for everywhere else in Europe except Germany). They charged the Vatican sizable ``exchange fees'' to transfer the collections.

``Only they [the Venice-allied bankers] had the reserves of cash at Avignon [in France, temporary seat of the papacy for about 70 years] and in Italy, to finance papal operations. They transferred collections from Europe, and loaned them to the Popes in advance.''

Thus, Venice controlled the papal credit, and the continuing hostilities between the papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors.

Perpetual Rents

In Italy itself, these bankers loaned aggressively to farmers and to merchants and other owners of land, often with the ultimate purpose of owning that land. This led by the 1330s to the wildfire spread of the infamous practice of ``perpetual rents,'' whereby farmers calculated the lifetime rent-value of their land and sold that value to a bank for cash for expenses, virtually guaranteeing that they would lose the land to that bank. As the historian Raymond de Roover demonstrated, the practices by which the fourteenth century banks avoided the open crime of usury, were worse than usury.

In the Italian city-states themselves, the early years of the fourteenth century saw the assignment of more and more of the revenues of the primary taxes (gabelle, or sales and excise taxes) to the bankers and other Guelph Party bondholders. From about 1315, the Guelph abolished the income taxes (estimi) in the city, but increased them (estimi) on the surrounding rural areas into which they expanded their authority. Thus, because the bankers, merchants, and wealthy Guelph aristocrats did not pay taxes -- instead, they made loans (prestanze) to the city and commune governments. In Florence, for example, the effective interest rate on this Monte (``mound'' of debt) had reached 15 percent by 1342; the city debt was 1,800,000 gold florins, and no clerical complaints against this usury were being raised. The gabelle taxes were pledged for six years in advance to the bondholders. At that point, Duke Walter of Brienne, who had briefly become dictator of Florence, cancelled all revenue assignments to the bankers (defaulted, exactly like Edward III).

Thus were the rural, food-producing areas of Italy depopulated and ruined in the first half of the fourteenth century. The fertile Contado (county) of Pistoia around Florence, for example, which reached a population density of 6065 persons per square kilometer in 1250, had fallen to 50 persons/square kilometer in 1340; in 1400, after 50 years of Black Plague, its population density was 25 persons/square kilometer. The famines of 1314-17, 1328-9, and 1338-9 were not ``natural disasters.''

Some of the famous banks of Tuscany had failed already in the 1320s: the Asti of Siena, the Franzezi, the Scali company of Florence. In the 1330s, the biggest banks, with the exception of the Bardi, (the Peruzzi, Acciaiuoli, Buonacorsi) were losing money and plunging toward bankruptcy with the fall in production of the vital commodities which they had monopolized, and which their cancer of speculation was devouring. The Acciaiuoli and the Buonacorsi, who had been bankers of the Vatican before it left Rome, went bankrupt in 1342 with the default of the city of Florence and the first defaults of Edward III. The Peruzzi and Bardi, the world's two largest banks, went under in 1345, leaving the entire financial market of Europe and the Mediterranean shattered, with the exception of the much smaller Hanseatic League bankers of Germany, who had never allowed the Italian banks and merchant companies to enter their cities.

Already in 1340, a deadly epidemic -- unidentified but not bubonic plague -- had killed up to 10 percent of many urban populations in northern France, and 15,000 Florentines had died out of 90-100,000 that year. In 1347, the Black Plague, which had already killed 10 million in China, began to sweep over Europe.

Venice, the World's Mint

``Venice,'' wrote Braudel:

``was the greatest commercial success of the Middle Ages -- a city without industry, except for naval-military construction, which came to bestride the Mediterranean world and to control an empire through mere trading enterprise. In the fourteenth century she was in the ascendant to her greatest periods of success and power.''

And most importantly, Frederick Lane writes:

``Venice's rulers were less concerned with profits from industries than with profits from trade between regions that valued gold and silver differently.''

Between 1250 and 1350, Venetian financiers built up a worldwide financial speculation in currencies and gold and silver bullion, similar to the huge speculative cancer of ``derivatives contracts'' today. This ultimately dwarfed and controlled the speculation in debt, commodities, and trade of the Bardi, Peruzzi, et al. It took all control of coinage and currency from the monarchs of the time.

The banks of Venice were deceptively smaller and less conspicuous than the Florentine banks, but in fact had much greater resources for speculation at their disposal. The Venetian financial oligarchy as a whole, which ruled a maritime empire through small executive committees under the guise of a republic, centralized and supported its own speculative activities as a whole. The ``Republic'' built the ships and auctioned them to the merchants; escorted them with large, well-armed naval convoys of their empire, with naval commanders responsible to the ``Committee of 10'' and the magistrates for the convoys' safety. This same oligarchy maintained several public mints and did everything possible to foster the centralization of gold and silver trading and coinage in Venice.

As Frederick Lane demonstrates, this was the dominant trade of Venice by no later than 1310. Like today's ``mega-speculators'' in currencies and derivatives, such as the Morgan and Rothschild-backed George Soros and Marc Rich, the Venetian banks and bullion-dealers were backed by large pools of capital and protection.

The size of the Venetian bullion trade was huge: twice a year a ``bullion fleet'' of up to 20-30 ships under heavy naval convoy, sailed from Venice to the eastern Mediterranean coast or to Egypt, bearing primarily silver; and sailed back to Venice bearing mainly gold, including all kinds of coinage, bars, leaf, etc.

The profits of this trade put usury in the shade, though the merchants of Venice were also unbridled in that practice.

One astonishing speech to the Council of 10 by Doge Thomasso Mocenigo, from a time after the 1340s financial crash, goes further. Compare the magnitude of these figures to those discussed earlier for the Papacy, for England, for Florence (keeping in mind that the Venetian standard coin, the gold ducat, was roughly comparable to the Florentine gold florin):

``In peacetime this city puts a capital of 10 million ducats into trade throughout the world with ships and galleys, so that the profit of export is two million, the profit of import is two million, export and import together four million [from the two annual voyages, 40 percent profit --PG].... You have seen our city mint every year 1,200,000 in gold, 800,000 in silver, of which 5,000 marks (20,000 ducats) go annually to Egypt and Syria, 100,000 to your places on the mainland of Italy, to your places beyond the sea 50,000 ducats, to England and France each 100,000 ducats...''

How was this possible? Not by private enterprise, but by imperial Venetian ``state usury.'' The gold from the East was being looted out of China (until then the world's richest economy) and India by the murderous Mongol empires, or being mined in Sudan and Mali in Africa and sold to Venetian merchants, in exchange for greatly overvalued European silver. The silver from the West was being mined in Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary, and sold more and more exclusively to Venetians with bottomless supplies of gold at their disposal. Coinages not of Venetian origin were disappearing, first in the Byzantine empire in the twelfth century, then in the Mongol domains, then in Europe in the fourteenth century.

Crusades and Mongols

The so-called Christian Crusades (the first in 1099, the seventh and last major one in 1291) had had only one strategic effect: expanding and strengthening the maritime commercial empire of Venice to the East. Venice provided the ships to take the Crusaders to the Middle East; Venice loaned them money, and Venetian Doges often told them what cities to try to capture or sack. Through the Crusades, Venice gained effective control of the cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Acre in Lebanon and Lajazzo in Turkey, and strengthened its domination of commerce through Constantinople. These were the coastal entry-points for the ``Silk Routes'' through the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions to China and India. During the Mongol Empires (1230-1370), these routes were virtual ``Roman Roads'' maintained by Mongol cavalry.

The empire of the Mongol Khans was for a century the largest and most murderous empire in human history. The Mongols eliminated, by slaughter and disease directly in their domains, perhaps 15 percent of the world's population, and destroyed all the greatest cities from China west to Iraq and north to Russia and Hungary -- including all the trading cities whose competition bothered Venice.

The strategic alliance between Venice and the Mongol Khans, up to and through the financial collapse of the 1340s, has been treated as a historical curiosity of the adventures of Marco Polo's family.


But it gave Venice final control of the trade to the East, and along with the trade through Egypt for the gold mined in Sudan and Mali, it gave them huge amounts of gold with which to dominate world currency trading in the decades leading to the financial disintegration of the fourteenth century.

The Mongols, in their genocidal rule of China, looted all the gold of S'ung China and of the part of India under their control, replacing it with silver currency, and for the lower castes (i.e., the Chinese), with paper money.
Mongol middlemen met Venetian merchants at the Mongol-ruled Persian trading cities of Tabriz and Trebizond, and the Black Sea port of Tana, and traded gold for silver from Europe. A large-scale trade in slaves from Mongol domains was associated with this currency trading. This was the so-called ``tanga gold,'' from the tanghi or uncoined pieces bearing the seal of the Mongol Khans, as well as bar and leaf gold. The silver was in small Venetian ingots called sommi, which ``were the common medium of exchange throughout the Mongol and Tatar Khanates.... [T]he demand for silver in the Far East was continually increasing,'' writes Lane. ``The Venetians were able to raise the price of silver despite the existence of record quantities'' coming to Venice from Europe.

The Crusades also consolidated the alliance of Venice and its allied Black Guelph-ruled cities, the Papacy, and the Norman and Anjou kings, against the Holy Roman Empire centered in Germany, which Dante and his allies were struggling to restore to its potential. By the late thirteenth century, the Mongols were a conscious part of this Venetian-led alliance, and the Mongol rulers of Persia even proposed Crusades to the European kings and the Popes! Pope John XXII granted Venice alone the license to trade with the infidel Mamluk sultans of Egypt in the 1330s. This was overvalued European silver and Mongol slaves for gold from Sudan and Mali.

"Derivatives"

Thus, in the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Venice provided all the coinage and currency-exchange for the largest empire in history, which was looting and destroying the populations under its rule. Venice had taken over the currency trading and coining of what remained of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the Mamluk Sultanates in North Africa. Venice, over this period, took the East off a gold standard and put it on a silver standard (it was the richer region of the world, and being more intensively looted). It took Byzantium and Europe off a 500-year old silver standard and put them on gold standards.

And the Venetian financiers and merchants were making annual rates of profit of up to 40 percent on very large, overwhelmingly short-term (six-month) investments, in a world economy characterized at its most productive, by perhaps 34 percent annual rates of real physical ``free energy'': surplus wealth (see Figure 2). The other Black Guelph Italian bankers' operations were subsumed by Venetian financial manipulations, but they were also realizing rates of profit far above the rate of physical reproduction of the economies of Europe. Because of the dominance of these speculative cancers, all the major real physical economies were shrinking.

What was the effect of this Venetian global currency speculation on the European economies before the 1340s crash and the Black Death? It was the short-term vise that caught the other European bankers and rigged the crash itself.

From 1275-1325, the ratio of the average gold price, to the average silver price, steadily rose, though with continual short-term fluctuations, from about 8:1 to, finally, about 15:1. In this period, Europe's large production of silver was looted through Venice's command of Mongol and African gold. ``Venice had the central position as the world's bullion market,'' writes Lane, ``and attracted to the Rialto (the bridge area which was Venice's ``Wall Street'') the acceleration of buying and selling stimulated by the changing prices of the two precious metals.'' From 1290 into the 1330s prices rose sharply for the most crucial commodities.

In this process of quickening speculation, Venice ``ensnared all the surrounding economies, including the German economy'' where production of silver, iron, and iron implements was concentrated. By the 1320s, Venetian merchants no longer even travelled to Germany to trade: They compelled German producers and merchants to come to Venice and take up lodgings near the large Fondaco dei Tedeschi (``Warehouse of the Germans'') where their goods were stored for sale. Venetian bankers on the Rialto (and Venetian bankers alone in the world at this time) made cashless bank transfers among merchants' accounts, allowed overdrafts and gave credit lines on the spot, created ``bank money,'' and speculated with it. They did this not out of cleverness, but by simple control of currency speculation worldwide: They had the reserves.

In fact, the famous ``bills of exchange'' of the Florentine bankers, were really a crude form of the ``derivatives contracts'' of the 1990s speculative cancer. The Bardi, et al. charged fees to those involved in trade, for exchanging currencies, since there were so many regional and city currencies. These exchange fees were a cost looted out of all production and trade, and a usurious profit to the bankers. But the banker made the ``bills of exchange'' even more expensive, to hedge against their own potential losses in currency fluctuations being manipulated by Venetian bullion merchants. Thus bills of exchange in the fourteenth century cost 14 percent on average, worse than borrowing at interest (usury).

Venice switched Europe to gold by force of looting silver. England, for example, from 1300-1309 imported 90,000 pounds sterling in silver for coining; but from 1330-1339, it was only able to import 1,000 pounds. ``But in Venice there was no lack of silver at all in the 1330s.'' The Florentine bankers, with their famous gold florin, enjoyed great speculative profits in this process.

However, from 1325-1345, the process was reversed. The ratio of gold price to silver price, dominated by Venetian manipulation, now fell steadily from the 15:1 level, back down to 9:1. When the price of silver started rising in the 1330s, there was an unusually large supply of silver in Venice! And through the 1340s, ``the international exchange of gold and silver greatly intensified again,'' Lane shows, and there was another wave of sharp commodity price increases.

Now the Florentine bankers were caught, having loans and investments all over Europe in gold, whose price was now falling.

After Venice triggered the fall of gold with new coins in the late 1320s, the Florentines did not attempt to follow suit until 1334 when it was too late; the king of France did not follow until 1337; and last came the pathetic effort of the king of England in 1340, mentioned above.

As Lane shows:

``The fall of gold, to which the Venetians had contributed so much by their vigorous export of silver and import of gold, and in which they found profits, hurt the Florentines. In spite of their being the leaders of international finance ... the Florentines were not in a position, as were the Venetians, to take advantage of the changes that took place between 1325 and 1345.''

Venetian superprofits in global currency speculation continued right through the bank crash and financial market disintegration of 1345-47 which they had rigged, and beyond.

In the period 1330-1350, the Black Death of bubonic and pneumonic plague had spread through southern China, killing between 15 and 20 million people, as the Mongols' looting process came to exhaustion. The Mongols' ``horse culture'' (they grazed huge herds of horses for hunting and warfare) had destroyed the infrastructure of agriculture wherever they went. It had also moved the population of Plague -- carrying rodents from the small area of northwest China where it had been isolated for centuries, down into southern China and westward all the way to the Black Sea.

In 1346, Mongol cavalry spread the Black Death to towns in the Crimea, on the Black Sea, and from there it was carried by ship to Sicily and Italy in 1347, and spread throughout Europe. The European population had stagnated for 40 years while becoming more concentrated into cities, where water and sanitation infrastructure had decayed. In Florence, for example, all the city's bridges had been built in the 13th century, none in the fourteenth. Nutritional levels had already fallen as grain production declined. During the Crusades, the practice of classical education in monasteries had been viciously attacked by the ``preacher of the Crusades,'' Bernard of Clairvaux, and his Cistercian order. In 1225, the Vatican had finally forbidden the presence of young students oblates in monasteries. Europe's broadest form of education had disappeared.

After the financial crash and the entry of the Plague, Europe's population fell for 100 years, from perhaps 90 million, to roughly 60 million.

No More Venetian Methods

God allows evil, so that we will become better by fighting it, said Gottfried Leibniz, who founded the science of physical economy in the seventeenth century. The Black Death in Europe destroyed the Malthusian idea that fewer people would mean better life for the survivors -- against it, came the Renaissance idea of the dignity and sanctity of each individual life. The chronicler Matteo Villani wrote in the 1360s:

``It was assumed, on account of the lack of people, that there would be an abundance of everything the law produces. But on the contrary, because of man's ingratitude, everything was in unusually short supply ... and in some countries there were terrible famines. It was thought there would be a profusion of clothing and of everything the human body needs besides life itself, and just the opposite occurred. Most things cost twice as much or more than they did before the plague and wages increased disjointedly to double.''


The marked price rises in the aftermath of the Black Death and subsequent epidemics, lasted more than a generation. This then led to a sharp deflation and collapse of wages from about 1380.

After 1400, in the years which led to the Golden Renaissance, political forces turned against the methods of the Italian free enterprise bankers. In 1401, King Martin I of Aragon (Spain) expelled them. In 1403, Henry IV of England prohibited them from taking profits in any way in his kingdom. In 1409, Flanders imprisoned and then expelled Genoese bankers. In 1410, all Italian merchants were expelled from Paris. When Louis XI became King of France in 1461, he organized national forces to make it the first strong and sovereign nation state. Along with the development of ports, roads, and support for the cities, Louis XI insisted on a single, standard national currency, created and controlled by the crown. For both Louis XI and England's Henry VII in the same period:

``mercantilist forms of economic nationalism were combined with a pronounced hostility to Italian techniques of credit and clearing.''


The preceding article above is a short version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.
by Paul Gallagher
Printed in the American Almanac, September 4, 1995
http://members.tripod.com/~american_...c/pbgbardi.htm

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Specifics here about treatment of Jews in Europe, and also Military/Credit-based fiat currency during the Great Crusades.

The "German Crusade"

The First Crusade ignited a long tradition of organized violence against Jews in European culture. While anti-Semitism had always existed in Europe, the First Crusade marks the first mass organized violence against Jewish communities. Setting off in the early summer of 1096, a German army of around 10,000 soldiers led by Gottschalk, Volkmar, and Emich of Leiningen, proceeding northward in the opposite direction of Jerusalem through the Rhine valley, began what is known as "the first Holocaust", or pogrom.
The preaching of the crusade inspired further anti-Semitism.

The Christian conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of a Christian emperor there would supposedly instigate the End Times, during which the Jews were supposed to convert to Christianity. In parts of France and Germany, Jews were perceived as just as much of an enemy as Muslims: they were thought to be responsible for the crucifixion, and they were more immediately visible than the far-away Muslims. Many people wondered why they should travel thousands of miles to fight non-believers when there were already non-believers closer to home.

The crusaders moved north through the Rhine valley into well known Jewish communities such as Cologne, and then southward. Jewish communities were given the option of converting to Christianity or be slaughtered. Most would not convert and as news of the mass killings spread many Jewish communities commited mass suicides in horrific scenes. Thousands of Jews were massacred, despite attempts by local clergy and secular authorities to shelter them. The massacres were justified by the claim that Urban's speech at Clermont promised the crusaders would not be punished by God for killing non-Christians of any sort, not just Muslims. It is worth noting that although the papacy abhored the purging of Muslim and Jewish inhabitants during the said Crusade, the crusader's zealous and murderous rampage continued for centuries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade

In economics, military fiat is one of three ways to guarantee the value of money, credit money and commodity money being alternatives - but both relying to some degree on the fiat. True fiat money has no trust or product value of its own, but is backed only by military fiat, i.e. the capacity to collect taxes by force, or require conversion of some other resource (e.g. oil, iron, labor) into that currency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_fiat

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Closely related topic of the Knight's Templar Bankers during the Crusades:

TEMPLAR BANKERS

History

The first of the military orders, the Knights Templar or Poor Knights of Christ were founded in 1118 in the aftermath of the First Crusade to help the new Kingdom of Jerusalem maintain itself against its defeated Muslim neighbors, and to ensure the safety of the large numbers of European pilgrims that flowed towards Jerusalem after its conquest.

Their name alludes to their historical headquarters in the Mosque of Omar (a.k.a. "Dome of the Rock") on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This they renamed Templum Domini. Represented on one of their seals, the structure was believed to be a remnant of the Temple of Jerusalem, and was the model for many Templar churches in Europe, for example the Temple Church in London. See also Raphael's painting The Marriage of the Virgin on show in the Brera Gallery, Milan.

The Templars used their immense wealth with skill and wisdom. Not only did they make substantial strategic investments in land and agricultural pursuits, but they also invested in basic industries which provided the essential ingredients for the massive expansion in building, both lay and ecclesiastical, which began to change the face of Europe. Using their own commercial insights as well as techniques which they adopted from their Muslim opponents in the east, they developed the concept of financial transfer by 'note of hand' into something like its modern equivalent, developed the bankers cheque and the pre-cursor of the credit card. This latter development arose from the financial needs created by the medieval equivalent of the 'package tour industry' - the pilgrimage trade. Whether to Rome, Jerusalem or Compostela, pilgrimage was a long, arduous and expensive enterprise for the pilgrim and a source of immense profit for the Church and innkeepers, ferrymen and others en route.

The pilgrim would be wary of carrying large sums of money as he travelled, for fear of robbery, extortion or unforeseen accident. The answer was simple; seek out the master of the local Templar commanderie and deposit sufficient funds with him to cover the estimated cost of the return journey, including travel, accommodation and ancillary costs such as alms and gift-giving to the important ecclesiastical sites en route and at the final destination. In return for the financial deposit, the Templar treasurer would give the traveller a coded chit as a form of receipt and as a means of exchange. At each overnight stop, or where alms or offerings had to be given, the pilgrim would hand his chit to the local Templar representative who would pay any dues outstanding, re-code the chit accordingly and return it to its owner. When the pilgrimage was over and the weary traveller had returned home, he would present the chit to the Templar treasurer who had first issued it. Any balance of credit would be returned in cash, or if the pilgrim had overspent he would be presented with the appropriate bill.

The entire pilgrimage trade policed by the Templars, who also acted as the bankers for this form of travel, bears a startling resemblance to the modern package tour industry. The modern equivalent of the Templar chit is, of course, the credit card.

Templar banking practise was not restricted to the pilgrimage trade, they also arranged safe transfer of funds for international and local trade, the Church and the State. In the medieval era it was forbidden for Christians to charge interest on loans and therefore money lending as a profession had been traditionally restricted to the Jews. This did little to enhance the reputation of the Jews as a racial group, which was already jeopardised by the persistent allegation that they were 'Christ killers'.

The Knights Templar found a way around this restriction which allowed them to lend considerable sums of money at interest without being subjected to the charge of usury. It was quite permissible to charge rent for the leasing of a house or land, so the Templars used this principle in their money lending and charged 'rent' rather than interest for their services rendered. The rent was payable at the time the loan was granted and was added to the capital sum borrowed. By this euphemism the Templars avoided being brought before the courts on the un-Christian charge of usury. Templar wealth was such that their financial services were not only sought by the merchants and landowners of feudal Europe, but by the princes of the Church and State.

They lent to bishops to finance church building programmes; to princes, kings and emperors to finance state works, building programmes, wars and
crusades. Within the twin embrace of financial security and safe travel, Europe began to transform itself. Safe and effective trade over longer distances led to the accumulation of capital and the emergence of a newly prosperous merchant class, the urban bourgeoisie. The new-found wealth of the city merchants changed the balance of power still further in favour of the towns and cities. With the peace and tranquillity of the countryside now ensured by the activities of the Knights Templar the feudal lords began to lose the raison d'etre on which their power was based.

The Order of the Knights Templar, despite its relatively short life span, was the major instrument of transformative change in medieval Europe. The Templars brought many blessings of knowledge and technology from their Arab opponents in the Holy Land, that conferred immense benefits on the European population. The Gothic cathedrals that arose from their knowledge of sacred geometry still adorn the European landscape and form a permanent series of 'prayers in stone' that raise their spires skyward in silent supplication. When taken as a whole, rather than studied in isolation, the various activities of the Knights Templar are like a huge mosaic of individual pieces which together form a picture which accurately predicted the future.

The order was not merely the medieval pre-cursor of the modern multi-national conglomerate but was in many respects an early embryonic form of the European Union.

However, success, wealth and power stimulated jealousy and resentment, especially from those who were heavily in debt to the order.

INTRODUCTION TO THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR

Over a period of 200 years, the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon — the Knights Templar for short, which began as a 9-man team of well-intentioned noblemen, dedicated to defending the Holy Land from the Saracens, became the most powerful — and most secretive — organization in history.

These warrior monks owned many fabled religious treasures including, it is said, the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus as he perished on the Cross, and they were also thought to be the guardians of that most revered of all Christian relics, the Holy Grail.

The Templars possessed immeasurable wealth. Kings of Europe came to them cap in hand to negotiate loans. They created many fundamental aspects of today’s international banking system like the bank note and letters of credit. Yet faithful to their solemnly sworn vows of poverty, the individual members of this secret society were penniless.

But when the Knights Templar was destroyed in the 14th century, their incredible riches vanished into thin air. To escape persecution by King Philip of France, the Templars’ treasure — and their enormous fleet moored at La Rochelle — simply disappeared. To this day, its whereabouts has never been discovered.

History books also describe how the Templars were in possession of a mysterious "great secret". Some historians have suggested this merely related to their connection with the grail. But more recent accounts have painted a different picture. This "great secret" may have been a particular knowledge which, if revealed, would undermine our fundamental view of Christianity itself.

Prince Llewelyn was patron to Hywel Voel who was a Druid and Bard. Hywel Voel wrote of Prince Llewelyn's involvement with the Knights Templar and the Ordre de Seon. Our records show that in 1271 A.D. Hywel commanded those trusted scribes and clerks who owed allegiance to him, to begin the task of compiling what was left of the known mystical knowledge of the Llewelyn family into ordered volumes. It is said that Hywel was the first to collect The Thirteen Treasures. He also caused The Owl, to be created. This was the first Grimoire or spell book of our tradition. The accumulation and recording of this knowledge, was no mean feat, for the political climate of those years was not conducive to study, travel or teaching.

TEMPLAR BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

The transformative effect of Templar activity upon European culture and commerce was remarkable and yet many modern Church historians still accuse the order of being formed of illiterate knights. The so-called 'illiterates' developed sophisticated and coded means of communication which transcended the linguistic barriers which otherwise would have fragmented and diffused the commercial impact of their activities. Among the principal items of their trading activities were those which we would describe in modern terms as 'technology and ideas'. The Templar communication network was the principal route by which knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, herbal medicine and healing skills made their way from the Holy Land to Europe. Among the technological advances brought back by the warrior knights were mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the telescope and a financial instrument which they acquired from the Sufis of Islam, known as 'the note of hand'.

Equally mysterious are accounts claiming that the organisation never really died at all. The end of the Templars was signified by the execution of their the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, who was roasted alive before a chanting mob in Paris in 1314. But some historians believe they simply changed their name and went underground. Evidence has ever been cited which links famous figures from more recent history with the Order — hundreds of years after it officially ceased to be. Sir Isaac Newton is named as one. The great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama journeyed with the Templar cross insignia on his sails, as did Christopher Columbus. Evidence even suggests that the Templars discovered America some 80 years before Columbus.

There are those who maintain that the Order of the Knights Templar are still in existence today, though under another name. Throughout Europe, its members are still thought to meet secretly to discuss unknown business, conduct arcane rituals and plot our destiny behind closed doors. The order of warrior monks who were to become one of the most powerful and controversial organisations in European medieval history, were known by a variety of names; the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, la Milice du Christ or, more commonly, the Knights Templar.

http://www.tylwythteg.com/templar.html

Robert Bruce carried out a decidedly half-hearted campaign against the Templars in his realm. Indeed, there is little evidence of any activity that could even be called persecution: "only two interrogatories of Templars have been found, in neither of which is any crime admitted" Certainly, legends that connect the Scots to the Order are widespread. Printed material is ripe with suggestions of asylum. Addison mentions in passing that many Templars "escaped in disguise to the wild and mountainous parts of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland"

Foucalt’s Pendulum recognizes the widespread notion that "the Templars fled to Scotland," and The Temple and the Lodge goes so far as to suggest that vast Templar riches, which disappeared from France, were shipped from the Siene through Galway and Limerick to Argyll, Scotland

http://members.gntech.net/bubba/z2000templars.htm

There is considerable evidence to suggest that they continue to exercise control over the banking system they created in the 13th century. Distinguishing themselves during the Crusades, the Templars were rewarded with lands the size of some European counties. Luxembourg was in fact a one-time Templar landholding, which explains why Victor Hugo, an alleged Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, sought asylum there during his period of exile. The land referred to today as Luxembourg was owned by the Templar families Guise and Lorraine, who ran their own secret society affiliated with the Templars. Freemasons, and Rosicrucians known as the House of Guise and Lorraine.

The name 'Rosicruscian' is derived from 'rosy cross'. A red cross on a white background was worn by the Templars on the battlefield. It also has affiliations with the Knights Hospitaller (from which the word 'hospital' is derived) and with the International Red Cross, which appears to be a front organisation for the secret brotherhood. Far from engaging in strictly humanitarian activities, the Red Cross has been caught supplying arms to the Tamil Rebels in Sri Lanka and the Zapatista rebels in Mexico.
As for today's scene, the weight of evidence supports the theory that brotherhood organisations such as Freemasonry control an array of multinational corporations including the Seven Sisters oil cartel, through the brotherhood families Rockefeller and Rothschild, along with many of the multinational corporations, which own and control a number of subsidiaries operating under assumed names. The Templar 'double red cross' contained in the company logo for the Rockefeller-controlled oil giant Exxon is an obvious brotherhood symbol.

http://www.jainsamaj.org/literature/global-060704.htm


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And so here we are today...

and more from that great thread

The Simpleton posted

There is a very good book "The Calamatous 14th Century" highlighting many aspects of the times. It did not go into finance, but what it brought most to light was the terrible scourge of mercenaries.

The rise of mercenaries, first were built to travel as military experts and consultants from war to war. Before long, however, they were paid in pillage, making them like Vikings, laying waste to the land. After that, they began to gain such power that they must be continually paid off, and began to unseat Dukes and even Kings with regularity. On the ground level, all that meant was unending famine, murder, rape, turmoil.

Unlike how many people here perceive it, there WAS no sanctuary. None. No one who buried gold in their backyard prospered against those who did not. In the 50-100 years, 5 generations of unending war, famine, tryranny, and disruption, anything anyone could possibly set aside would have been stolen, eaten, or used up. Gold will not help you when they burn your children in front of you to learn where it is hidden.

Nor was country living a special insurance against such times. The cities had higher boom-busts, but the farms and farmers were endlessly, relentlessly, sacked and taxed. Dispersed as they must be, they had no practical defense.

Moral? Don't count too much on your metals to save you, be it gold or lead. If you've seen "Cold Mountain," it was Cold Mountain and worse, every day for a lifespan, a period so long that before it ended, the times previous were entirely forgotten, a mere myth of a thing called "order", passed like Arthur and Charlemange to Avalon.

This is why mercenaries were so ruthlessly put down and never allowed to raise their heads since the rise of Nations and Kings were finally able to put the lid on them in the 1600s by becoming the more ruthless than the ruthless. Now we have mercenaries rising in hundred thousands in Iraq, funded by spoil. Where will they go when they have learned this little trick and the spoil is spoiled? They do not create, only steal. To live they must go where people have, and work, and produce. Do not get started on this road, my friends, or you will be eternally sorry. This is why there is an Army and an Army order and Army Law. It's not a restriction, it's the preservation of the State and of Society itself. The last defense of civilization before Bosnia and Sudan. I was very disappointed in the Abu affair which undermines this last veil of order. Once an army ignores rules of order, what is there but spreading anarchy? Once a Nation takes the stop-gap of not facing itself, its own truth, and hiring mercenaries to do what is not otherwise permitted, what is this but buying anarchy itself? This is exactly what the Dukes of the 14th century did, and one by one they were trampled, eaten alive by the genie they unleashed. It was 200 years before the genie was returned to the bottle. Let us not make the same mistake.

In many ways, the middle ages were no worse than the Age of Rome. At many points and places, there was order and plenty, places where after the Vandals and Goths, libraries and universities were rebuilt and civilization discovered. But this bright middle period, so like Rome, was swept back into utter darkness with the 14th century. This is the part of the medieval period closest to us, which so rightfully deserves the name "Dark Ages." And it happened because of what we're doing, right now, this very minute and every minute of every day for most of your life.

You might look into it. What WAS of any help during this period. It's very illuminating.


more from K


I'm pleased that some of you have kept this thread alive. I feel that the topic of the historical crusades is very relevant to today -- and the lessons of its cause and legacy are almost always misunderstood today.

Who 'profited' from the Great Crusades?

Who suffered?

Who was it meant to SAVE?

Where were the Jewish people, the Muslims during this time frame?

Where were the Christian Italian Roman bankers, and the Knights Templar?

Who won?

Where are those winning/losing --
parties/religions/countries today perhaps?

Who is IN CHARGE today and might also gain from another great crusade?

Does anyone really care? -- Just joking of course...

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About the Crusades and their legacy of hatred:

The mid 7th century to the mid 10th century CE saw the gradual expansion of Islam. Half of the Christian world was conquered by Arab armies; this included countries in which Christianity had been established for centuries, such as Egypt, southern France, southern Italy, Sicily, Spain, Syria, Turkey, etc. 4

By the late 10th century, Europe and the Middle East were divided into Christian and Muslim spheres of influence. Christian pilgrims from Europe regularly visited Muslim-controlled Jerusalem in reasonable safety. Such pilgrimages were very popular. The were believed to be one of the major acts by which a person could limit their exposure to the tortures of purgatory after their death.

By the middle of the 11th century, Christianity had formally split: The Emperor/Bishop of Constantinople and the Bishop of Rome had mutually excommunicated each other. Christendom was divided between the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, the Turks defeated the latter at the Battle of Manzikert. This left Constantinople exposed to attack from Muslims. Meanwhile, Christians were being ambushed during their pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Emperor Alexius asked Pope Urban II for assistance. On 1095-NOV-27, the Pope called on Europeans to go on a crusade to liberate Jerusalem from its Muslim rulers. "The first and second wave of Crusaders murdered, raped and plundered their way up the Rhine and down the Danube as they headed for Jerusalem." 1 The "army" was primarily composed of untrained peasants with their families, with a core of trained soldiers. On the way to the Middle East, they decided that only one of their goals was to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. A secondary task was to rid the world of as many non-Christians as possible - both Muslims and Jews. The Crusaders gave the Jews two choices in their slogan: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!" 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed as the first Crusade passed through. Some Jewish writers refer to these events as the "first holocaust."

Once the army reached Jerusalem and broke through the city walls, they slaughtered all the inhabitants that they could find (men, women, children, newborns). After locating about 6,000 Jews holed up in the synagogue, they set the building on fire; the Jews were burned alive. The Crusaders found that about 30,000 Muslims had fled to the al Aqsa Mosque. The latter were also slaughtered without mercy.

The Roman Catholic church taught that going to war against the "Infidels" was an act of Christian penance. If a believer was killed during a crusade, he would bypass purgatory, and be taken directly to heaven. By eliminating what might be many millennia of torture in Purgatory, many Christians were strongly motivated to volunteer for the crusades. "After pronouncing a solemn vow, each warrior received a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a soldier of the Church." 3

These mass killings were repeated during each of the 8 additional crusades until the final, 9th, crusade in 1272 CE. Both Christians and Muslims believed that they were fighting on God's side against Satan; they believed that if they died on the battlefield they would be given preferential treatment in Heaven. Battles were fought with a terrible fierceness and a massive loss of life. Over a 200 year period, perhaps 200,000 people were killed. The Muslim warrior Salah a-Din subsequently recaptured Jerusalem from the Christians.

By the end of the crusades, most European Christians believed the unfounded blood-libel myths -- the rumor that Jews engaged in human sacrifice of Christian children. A long series of Christian persecutions of the Jews continued in Europe and Russia into the 20th century. They laid the foundation for the Nazi Holocaust.

The result of centuries of conflict among followers of the three Abramic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) was a "deep mutual hatred" and mistrust among the three faiths. Memories of these genocides still influence relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims to the present time.
Among many Jews and Muslims, the term crusade evokes visions of genocide, mass murder, and mass extermination of innocent people. However, among many Christians it has become a positive term, frequently used to refer to mass rallies and campaigns to win converts - as in the Billy Graham Crusades. Out of respect for the victims of the "first holocaust," we recommend that the term be only used to refer to the wars of the Middle Ages.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_cru1.htm

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Note also the chronology for these terms of language, still with us today.

money - c.1290, "coinage, metal currency," from O.Fr. moneie, from L. moneta "mint, coinage," from Moneta, a title of the Roman goddess Juno, in or near whose temple money was coined; perhaps from monere "advise, warn," in the sense of "admonishing goddess," which is sensible, but the etymology is difficult. Extended early 19c. to include paper money.

usury - c.1303, from M.L. usuria, from L. usura "usury, interest," from usus, from stem of uti (see use). Originally the practice of lending money at interest, later, at excessive rates of interest.

Jew (n.) - c.1175 (in plural, giwis), from Anglo-Fr. iuw, from O.Fr. giu, from L. Judaeum (nom. Judaeus), from Gk. Ioudaios, from Aramaic jehudhai (Heb. y'hudi "Jew," from Y'hudah "Judah," lit. "celebrated," name of Jacob's fourth son and of the tribe descended from him. Replaced O.E. Iudeas "the
Jews." In uneducated times, inexplicable ancient artifacts were credited to Jews, based on the biblical chronology of history: e.g. Jews' money (1577) "Roman coins found in England." In Greece, after Christianity had erased the memory of classical glory, ruins of pagan temples were called "Jews' castles."
jew (v.) - "to cheat, to drive a hard bargain," 1824, from Jew (n.) (cf. gyp, welsh, etc.). The campaign to eliminate it in early 20c. was so successful that people began to avoid the noun and adj., too, and started using Hebrew instead.

Templar - M.E., from Anglo-Fr. templer, O.Fr. templier, member of the medieval religious/military order known as Knights Templars (c.1118-1312), so called because they occupied a building near Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

http://www.etymonline.com/m7etym.htm

Medieval Terms

...USURY The interest charged on a loan. Forbidden by church law (based upon biblical injunction). Commonly used by Knight Hospitallers and Knight Templars in Later Medieval Times.

http://www.veling.nl/anne/templars/Medieval_Terms.html

1)Early Loans And Interest Were Based On Agricultural Produce
From about 30,000 BC human existence became more refined until social and economic forms of agriculture appeared around 10,000 to 7,500 BC. This took the form of hoe gardening done mainly by women and led to matriarchal based societies.

From around 6,000 BC the horse was tamed and sheep, goats and cattle were domesticated so that by 5,000 there existed a mixed culture based on animal breeding and hoe gardening. The great plough revolution starting about 4,500 was complete by 4,000 BC. enabling the first city civilizations to arise, and the introduction of writing shortly after, led to a developing "social technology".

Loans in the pre-urban societies were made in seed grains, animals and tools to farmers. Since one grain of seed could generate a plant with over 100 new grain seeds, after the harvest farmers could easily repay the grain with "interest" in grain. (Suggested graphics here showing 1 wheat seed, next to a sheaf of wheat with the large number of new seeds which could be generated by that 1 seed) Also since just so much seed grain could possibly be used, there were natural limits to this lending activity.

When animals were loaned interest was paid by sharing in any new animals born. (graphics - a male and female cow/sheep/goat, and the offspring) The Sumerians used the same word - mas - for both calves and interest. A similar Egyptian word meant to give birth. What was loaned had the power of generation, and interest was a sharing of the result. Interest on tool loans was paid in the produce which the tools had helped to create.

2)The Oriental Usury Error On Lending Metals
The social organization taken by the developing urban communities in Egypt, Assyria, and Sumeria is known as the Ancient Oriental System. It embraced the idea of a living King as the divine representative and savior, able to organize the welfare of mankind through a powerful Royal household exercising centralized control over the economy. Compulsory labor was required for public works and Pharaohs instructed what and how much to plant and how much of the harvest would be stored. Agricultural and metallic commodities (mainly barley and silver) by weight served as the primitive money system in these societies.

The ancient orient made a momentous innovation, allowing usury to be charged on loans of metals, with the interest to be paid in more metal. This was particularly a problem with agricultural, as opposed to loans for commercial or trading purposes. The conceptual error treated inorganic materials as if they were living organisms with the means of reproduction. But metals are "barren" - they have no powers of generation and any interest paid in them must originate from some other source or process.


4)Aristotle (384-322 BC) Formulated The Classical View Against Usury
Aristotle understood that money is sterile; it doesn’t beget more money the way cows beget more cows. He knew that "Money exists not by nature but by law":

"The most hated sort (of wealth getting) and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange but not to increase at interest. And this term interest (tokos), which means the birth of money from money is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth, this is the most unnatural." (1258b, POLITICS)

And he really disliked usurers:

"...those who ply sordid trades, pimps and all such people, and those who lend small sums at high rates. For all these take more than they ought, and from the wrong sources. What is common to them is evidently a sordid love of gain..." (1122a, ETHICS)

http://www.appropriate-economics.org..._interest.html

Organization :The Templars were organized as a monastic order, following a rule created for them by Bernard of Clairvaux, the founder of the Cistercian Order. The Templars were well-connected and quickly became prime movers in the international politics of the Crusades period. In time, they were endowed with several extraordinary Papal bulls (see Omne Datum Optimum) that permitted them, among other things, to levy taxes and accept tithing in the areas under their direct control, facilitating their quick rise to institutional power.

There were four divisions of brothers in the Templars:

the knights, equipped as heavy cavalry
the sergeants, equipped as light cavalry and drawn from a lower social class than the knights
farmers, who administered the property of the Order
the chaplains, who were ordained priests and saw to the spiritual needs of the Order.

At any time, there were approximately 10 people in support positions for each Knight. There were brothers devoted only to banking, as the Order was often trusted with precious goods by participants in the Crusades.

Banking

The Knights involvement in banking over time grew into a new basis of money as Templars became increasingly involved in banking activities. It is some indication of their powerful political connections that the Templars' involvement in usury did not lead to more controversy within the Order and the church at large.

The Templars' political connections and awareness of the essentially urban and commercial nature of the Outremer communities naturally led the Order to a position of significant power both in Europe and the Holy Lands. Their success attracted the concern of many other Orders and eventually that of the nobility and monarchs of Europe as well, who were at this time seeking to monopolize control of money and banking after a long chaotic period in which civil society, especially the Church and its lay Orders, had dominated financial activities. The Templars' holdings were extensive both in Europe and the Middle East, including, for a time, the entire island of Cyprus.

Money and military -- inseparable?

The tangled history of military and money relationships led in the mid-19th-to-mid-20th centuries to a variety of critiques of the use of military fiat. Some saw an evolution to political consultation, others saw the increased concentration of power as a sign that this consultation was only skin-deep, and that the bureaucracy and military's habits would be increasingly aligned and in opposition to public will.

Marxist economists generally hold that military fiat is in practice held exclusively by members of the ruling class and used for its own interests against that of the working class. This has led to the broad range of debates regarding socialism, communism, and the duty of the state to use its political and economic power for the benefit of all. Questions of this nature merge into those of political science in general.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_fiat

I don't have answers so I am only posing questions here, through the LONG VIEW of TIME...

and another k post

[QUOTE]Who 'profited' from the Great Crusades?

"Venice,'' wrote Braudel: "was the greatest commercial success of the Middle Ages -- a city without industry, except for naval-military construction, which came to bestride the Mediterranean world and to control an empire through mere trading enterprise. In the fourteenth century she was in the ascendant to her greatest periods of success and power.''
``Venice's rulers were less concerned with profits from industries than with profits from trade between regions that valued gold and silver differently.''

``The Florentine supercompanies resembled very closely in their operations the huge international grain companies of today, such as Cargill and Archer-Daniels Midland,'' writes Hunt. ``They used loans to monarchs to dominate and control trade in certain vital commodities, especially grain, and later wool and cloth.'' Their dominance and speculation progressively reduced the production of these commodities.

The Crusades also consolidated the alliance of Venice and its allied Black Guelph-ruled cities, the Papacy, and the Norman and Anjou kings, against the Holy Roman Empire centered in Germany, which Dante and his allies were struggling to restore to its potential. By the late thirteenth century, the Mongols were a conscious part of this Venetian-led alliance, and the Mongol rulers of Persia even proposed Crusades to the European kings and the Popes!

Pope John XXII granted Venice alone the license to trade with the infidel Mamluk sultans of Egypt in the 1330s. This was overvalued European silver and Mongol slaves for gold from Sudan and Mali.

Venice was also the ``banker,'' slave market, and intelligence support service for the Mongol Khans.

More revealing is the latest work of the historian of Venice, Frederick C. Lane, Money and Banking in Medieval and Renaissance Venice. This work shows that it was Venetian finance which, by dominating and controlling a huge international ``bubble'' of currency speculation from 1275 through 1350, rigged the great collapse of the 1340s.
Venetian superprofits in global currency speculation and manipulation continued right through the Florence bank's crash and financial market disintegration of 1345-47 which they had rigged, and beyond.

So only the bankers and merchants of Venice profited continually, like an eagle is said to fly through a storm.


Who suffered?

In 1208 Pope Innocent III called for a Crusade--this time against a country of fellow Christians. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians, rose to prominence in what is now southern France, but was then a patchwork of city-states and principalities beholden to neither king nor bishop. They infiltrated the highest ranks of society and posed a major threat not only to the Catholic church but also to secular authorities as well.

Pope Innocent boasts that they took five hundred towns and castles from the heretics, and they generally butchered every man, woman and child in a town when they took it. Noble ladies with their daughters were thrown down wells, and large stones flung upon them. Knights were hanged in batches of eighty. When, at the first large town, soldiers asked how they could distinguish between heretics and orthodox, the Cistercian abbot thundered: "Kill them all, God will know his own," and they put to the sword the forty thousand surviving men, women and children. It is the Catholics of the time who tell us.
From this came -- the future 'Inquisitions'.
http://www.infidels.org/library/hist...hapter_23.html

Nutritional levels had already fallen as grain production declined. During the Crusades, the practice of classical education in monasteries had been viciously attacked by the ``preacher of the Crusades,'' Bernard of Clairvaux, and his Cistercian order. In 1225, the Vatican had finally forbidden the presence of young students oblates in monasteries. Europe's broadest form of education had disappeared.

On top of all this, from the 1320s on, there was a ``massive flight of silver oltremare (``over the sea,'' that is, to Venice's maritime empire in the Middle East and Byzantium) which upset the equilibrium of Europe in the midfourteenth century.'' Venetian exports of silver from Europe from 1325-50 equalled ``perhaps 25 percent of all the silver being mined in Europe at that time.'' Standard silver coin had been the stable currency of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe, and of England, since Charlemagne's time. This massive export from Venice to the East ``created chronic balance of payments problems as far away as England and Flanders,'' and severe problems in making payments in trade. This massive export from Venice to the East ``created chronic balance of payments problems as far away as England and Flanders,'' and severe problems in making payments in trade. France ``was emptied of silver coinage.''

So production of the most vital commodities in Europe had been severely reduced, and the trade and circulation of its money completely disrupted, over decades before the 1340s crash, by Italian banks which appeared to be making usurious rates of profit.

Rather than sharing the peace of mutual greed and free enterprise with their ``allies''-- the bankers of Florence -- the merchants of Venice bankrupted them, and the economies of Europe and the Mediterranean along with them. Florence was the fourteenth century ``New York,'' the apparent center of banking with the world's biggest banks. But Venice was ``London,'' manipulating Florentine bankers, kings, and emperors alike, by tight knit financial conspiracy and complete dominance of the markets by which money was minted and credit created.

``The fall of gold, to which the Venetians had contributed so much by their vigorous export of silver and import of gold, and in which they found profits, hurt the Florentines. In spite of their being the leaders of international finance ... the Florentines were not in a position, as were the Venetians, to take advantage of the changes that took place between 1325 and 1345.''

In 1346, Mongol cavalry spread the Black Death to towns in the Crimea, on the Black Sea, and from there it was carried by ship to Sicily and Italy in 1347, and spread throughout Europe. The European population had stagnated for 40 years while becoming more concentrated into cities, where water and sanitation infrastructure had decayed. In Florence, for example, all the city's bridges had been built in the 13th century, none in the fourteenth.

``It was assumed, on account of the lack of people, that there would be an abundance of everything the law produces. But on the contrary, because of man's ingratitude, everything was in unusually short supply ... and in some countries there were terrible famines. It was thought there would be a profusion of clothing and of everything the human body needs besides life itself, and just the opposite occurred. Most things cost twice as much or more than they did before the plague and wages increased disjointedly to double.''

The marked price rises in the aftermath of the Black Death and subsequent epidemics, lasted more than a generation. This then led to a sharp deflation and collapse of wages from about 1380.

Thus, emerging ``private enterprise capitalism'' was set back by the disaster of the fourteenth century. Also in passing that 30 million people died in Europe in the ensuing Black Death, famine, and war.



Who was it meant to SAVE?

No one, only the wealth and power of Venice Bankers.

And it curtailed the rise of Islam
The mid 7th century to the mid 10th century CE saw the gradual expansion of Islam. Half of the Christian world was conquered by Arab armies; this included countries in which Christianity had been established for centuries, such as Egypt, southern France, southern Italy, Sicily, Spain, Syria, Turkey, etc. So the Crusades saved these lands for the Church of Rome.


Where were the Jewish people, the Muslims during this time frame?

King Phillip's mintmaster estimated that 100 tons of silver had been exported ``to the land of the Saracens'' (the Islamic Middle East).

On the way to the Middle East, they decided that only one of their goals was to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. A secondary task was to rid the world of as many non-Christians as possible - both Muslims and Jews.

The Crusaders gave the Jews two choices in their slogan: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!" 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed as the first Crusade passed through. Some Jewish writers refer to these events as the "first holocaust." Once the army reached Jerusalem and broke through the city walls, they slaughtered all the inhabitants that they could find (men, women, children, newborns). After locating about 6,000 Jews holed up in the synagogue, they set the building on fire; the Jews were burned alive. The Crusaders found that about 30,000 Muslims had fled to the al Aqsa Mosque. The latter were also slaughtered without mercy. During the Crusades, the entire Jewish population of Cologne was destroyed.

The Roman Catholic church taught that going to war against the "Infidels" was an act of Christian penance. If a believer was killed during a crusade, he would bypass purgatory, and be taken directly to heaven. By eliminating what might be many millennia of torture in Purgatory, many Christians were strongly motivated to volunteer for the crusades. "After pronouncing a solemn vow, each warrior received a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a soldier of the Church." 3

These mass killings were repeated during each of the 8 additional crusades until the final, 9th, crusade in 1272 CE. Both Christians and Muslims believed that they were fighting on God's side against Satan; they believed that if they died on the battlefield they would be given preferential treatment in Heaven. Battles were fought with a terrible fierceness and a massive loss of life. The Muslim warrior Salah a-Din subsequently recaptured Jerusalem from the Christians.

By the end of the crusades, most European Christians believed the unfounded blood-libel myths -- the rumor that Jews engaged in human sacrifice of Christian children. A long series of Christian persecutions of the Jews continued in Europe and Russia into the 20th century. They laid the foundation for the Nazi Holocaust.

The result of centuries of conflict among followers of the three Abramic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) was a "deep mutual hatred" and mistrust among the three faiths. Memories of these genocides still influence relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims to the present time.


Where were the Christian Italian bankers, and the Knights Templar?

They were refining their arts, preparing to go underground, change names and appearances, continue to pursue the ‘plan’ maybe again and yet again? It seems to me that the remnants of the ancient Greek and Roman bankers had gone to Italy and Germany. They understood well things such as fractional reserve lending and currency devaluation, cash flows and money supply. Most financial terms in the English lexicon came from Rome, not Judea or Hebrew.

The Knights Templar had apparently learned many of their ways from the Sufis. Consumer credit, credit cards, trade associations and multinational corporations were perhaps their contribution to the future world banker’s and credit merchant skills.

Who knows, with a slight adjustment, maybe these old initial Templar divisions have just evolved into today….

Before.................... Today

the knights........... = military and police forces
the sergeants....... = resource harvest/mining and manufacturing corporations
farmers................ = agribusiness and food distribution
the chaplains........ = mass media, education, science/medicine and orthodox religion
Lending.....................= finance, insurance, leasing, mortgages(L. meaning: 'dead-stake')

But some say that the Knights Templars were closely related ideologically to the Cathars. It is then a bit ironic that the Templars were tortured and persecuted, forced to go underground about 100 years after the destruction of the related Cathars.


Who won?

The chief ‘Powers That Be’ of the Financial Industry and Orthodox Christian Churches circa the 14th century -- they ‘won’ perhaps.

So among many Jews and Muslims, the term 'crusade' evokes visions of genocide, mass murder, and mass extermination of innocent people. However, among many Christians it has become a positive term, frequently used to refer to mass rallies and campaigns to win converts - as in the Billy Graham Crusades.


Where are those winning/losing --
parties/religions/countries today perhaps?
Who is IN CHARGE today
and might also gain from another great crusade?

Me, I don’t know, ask the IMF, multinational corporations, arms dealers, any of the New World Order advocates maybe?

Perhaps today, a parallel to Florence is New York and the USA Banking centers, old Venice is perhaps today like the European Commonwealth. Maybe both the USA and Nato are like old Venice. I can only speculate on how it will end up. China is likely now as the Mongols were, complicit to go along with it all again in a new role perhaps. The Middle East is now much like it was then, resource rich and desirable for world power's utility. Saudi Arabia is perhaps now like the old Sultans, still always willing trading partners with the world bankers, just as long as they get their 'fair' cut.

Our own leaders warn us that ‘this war will not end in our lifetimes’. And that sort of warning is unheard of -- except in -- the old CRUSADES.

In some ways the Crusades were perhaps the first of the WORLD WARS. It was a serial religious war as well, so it’s adherence was based upon FAITH and the levels of hatred and genocide exceeded those of any rational understanding. The strife was less about nation states and nationality -- than personal belief structures and the control of promised land ‘sacred sites’.

The financial collapse to follow the Crusades resulted largely from currency exchange valuation and commodity speculation, along with control of territory for a monetary empire. It is during that period of financial collapse that most of the loss of life occurred in Europe, due to the combined effects of famine and plague. Some feel that this 'die off' was part of the intended 'final solution’ and a way back to eventual prosperity.

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