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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lew Rockwell: A Return to Totalitarianism

The World's Central Banks Are Locked In A Currency War

Economic War
Currency war
World war

Gerald Celente

Despite Friday’s sharp drop as companies reported poor earnings results, the S&P 500 Index posted a gain last week. This week, vying for investors’ attention from the flood of generally weak earnings reports will be the Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Fed is 
highly likely to confirm on Wednesday that it is continuing the third round
 of aggressive stimulus in the form of bond buying, known as quantitative easing (QE), announced at the last meeting. That highly anticipated move 
by the Fed helped stocks to rally to the highs of the year, despite the most warnings issued by S&P 500 companies ahead of an earnings season in over a decade as companies lowered earnings expectations.

The QE program is part of the Fed’s battle against recession, given how weak the economy is — not to mention the threat of the impending fiscal cliff. But it is also a battle in a war against other central banks. The Fed has engaged in a massive amount of bond buying, yet as a percentage of the economy (GDP) the Fed’s actions pale in comparison to those of the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan.

Since mid-2008, when the world’s central banks aggressively applied stimulus through bond-buying programs and expanding the amount of assets on their balance sheets, the ECB has increased its holdings by 17% of GDP — more than doubling assets from 16% of GDP to 33% currently. The ECB’s balance sheet grew sharply after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, and then jumped further as the two “LTROs,” or three- year loan long-term refinance operations, took place in December 2011 and late February 2012. These most recent operations pumped more than 1 trillion euros into the banking system for the benefit of struggling Spanish, Italian, and other European banks.

LPL Financial

Over the same mid-2008 to current time period, the Bank of Japan increased the assets it holds by 11% of GDP, going from 20% to 31%, and the Bank of England took assets up by 14%, from 7% to 21%. The U.S. Fed accumulated assets equivalent to 12% of GDP, from 6% to 18%. Other central banks have assets relative to GDP well beyond that of the Fed, especially among the emerging markets. For example, the People’s Bank of China holds assets equivalent to about 25% of GDP.

Nearly all of the world’s major central banks have each engaged in a battle
 to provide aggressive stimulus of similar size relative to their economy.
 This similar percentage has been not merely to battle recession. It has also been to battle the currency impact of the actions by other central banks. While certainly not the only factor affecting currency values, the central bank actions pump more liquid money into an economy and has the tendency to weaken the currency relative to those of trading partners — unless the central banks of those trading partners are also engaging in a similar amount of aggressive actions. Those countries that have engaged in more bond-buying as a percent of their GDP than the U.S. Fed have seen their currencies depreciate relative to the dollar, while those that have done less have seen their currencies rise versus the dollar.

LPL Financial

The Fed’s efforts are aimed at both keeping interest rates low for borrowers to stimulate economic activity and keeping the dollar from appreciating versus trading partners and risking damage to the economy from falling U.S. exports.

At the last Fed meeting in mid-September, the Fed communicated its intention to maintain a stimulative policy through mid-2015. The Fed is unlikely to announce any change to its stance this week. Considering that
 it will likely take coordination by the world’s central banks when the time is right to begin to rein in stimulus, lest it result in a soaring currency that may imperil the recovery, it may be a very long time before the Fed feels it is able to begin to reverse the actions taken in recent years.

With the world’s central banks locked in a currency war, the winner may
be the precious metals asset class. Precious metals have the tendency to maintain their value relative to depreciating currencies. For example, the price of gold has roughly doubled since mid-2008, as central banks escalated their battle. The latest and unlimited round of QE by the Fed may be matched by other central banks. After all, the ECB stands ready to enact its unlimited OMT, Outright Monetary Transactions, created in September just ahead of the latest Fed announcement, and the yen fell last week as markets speculated the Bank of Japan would soon boost stimulus. This may likely result in a favorable environment for precious metals for an extended time frame.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/central-banks-are-locked-in-currency-war-2012-10#ixzz2A8i0qNu5

'Bailouts' are a means for total subjugation and EU control - Nigel Farage

Jordanian security concerned over rising terrorism

Amman’s concerns over the rise of Salafist-Jihadist extremism grew on Monday, after a Jordanian soldier was killed in clashes with eight armed militants illegally attempting to cross the border with Syria.

According to an official Jordanian Armed Forces source, Cpl. Muhammad Abdullah Manaseer al-Abbadi was killed Sunday night by members of Takfiri – a Salafist movement that condones acts of violence including suicide bombing, as a legitimate way to achieve political goals.

“Another armed Takfiri group using Kalashnikov rifles and guns tried to cross the border at midnight local time and clashed with the Jordanian forces but all of the group was arrested and one of them was critically injured,” according to Jordan’s Petra News Agency.

Jordan’s Information and Culture Minister Samih Maaytah said Abbadi’s death was the first in the ranks of the Jordanian army since the Syrian conflict began last March.

The news came just hours after authorities in the Hashemite Kingdom revealed they had foiled a major terror plot by a Salafist-Jihadist group linked to al-Qaida.

On Sunday night, Jordan’s General Intelligence Department said the authorities had arrested 11 locals with “clear ties to al-Qaida” on charges of plotting suicide bombings in shopping centers in Amman. The group then planned to target Western diplomats in a main assault in the city’s wealthy Abdoun district.

The 11 men were linked to al-Qaida in Iraq, the group which claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings of three hotels in Amman in 2005, security sources said.

The arrested men had consulted with al-Qaida bomb experts in Iraq before traveling to Syria and returning to Jordan with explosives and mortars, according to Petra News.

Radical Salafist cleric Abu Muhammad al-Tahawi accused security forces of fabricating the terror plot as part of an ongoing crackdown on the Salafist movement, the Jordanian daily Assabeel reported.

Following the 2005 Amman bombings, Jordan cracked down on the Salafist-Jihadist current that returned to the fore during the Arab Spring protests. Members of the movement took to the streets last March during pro-reform demonstrations, when they called for the imposition of Shari’a law.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Jordan has been concerned about spillover violence, as Salafist groups made several calls for Muslims to wage jihad against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Alawite regime.

Tahawi, who released a fatwa in June calling on Jordanians to wage jihad in Syria, has also spoken out in praise of the al- Qaida linked Jabhat al-Nusra terror group which has carried out several suicide attacks in Syria.

On Saturday, Tahawi announced that 250 Jordanian jihadists had joined the fight against Assad. According to the Arabic-language Jordan Zad news site, a source within the Salafist movement said that some of the Jordanian jihadists have assumed leading roles around Damascus, Aleppo, Daraa and Edlib.

In response, Amman has boosted security along the Syrian border in an attempt to prevent Salafist-Jihadist fighters crossing over, local security officials said last week.

As part of its new security campaign, the government has arrested a number of men it alleges have funded Salafist fighters entering Syria, the Jordan Times reported.

Last week, authorities detained two relatives of a former al-Qaida leader in Iraq – Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – as they attempted to return to Jordan after fighting Assad’s forces in Syria.

Zayed Sweiti and Firas al-Khalaylah are cousins of Zarqawi – who died in a targeted killing at the hands of the US Air Force in Iraq in June 2006.

They were arrested along with a third Jordanian jihadist named as Muhammad Najmi.

Most of Jordan’s jihadists consider themselves the inheritors of Zarqawi’s legacy, a recent report by the Jamestown Foundation found.

Dr. Shmuel Bar, director of studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, and an expert in the ideology and operational codes of Islamic fundamentalist movements, told The Jerusalem Post that Jordanian jihadist trends pose a threat to the Hashemite kingdom’s stability, which could in turn impact on Israeli security.

According to Bar, in recent years most of Jordan’s jihadist movements have shifted towards the country’s Palestinian constituency.

Both Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood – which Bar said is more radical than its Egyptian counterpart – and the Salafist movement, are groups dominated by Jordanians of Palestinian descent, including Zarqawi’s mentor, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, currently in prison for financing a terrorist group.

When the US killed Zarqawi, the Muslim Brotherhood declared him a shahid, or martyr – a move that angered the Jordanian authorities, Bar said.

He added that while the Jordanian government is currently successful at disrupting terror attacks, Amman foils about 100 terror plots every year. If Jordan becomes sufficiently destabilized, “there could be a danger to Israel,” Bar said.

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, its Egyptian counterpart, the Jordanian Salafist- Jihadist movement and Assad’s regime in Syria are all acting to destabilize Jordan, he said.

On Sunday Tahawi said his group had planned a terrorist attack against Israel, but the plot had failed.

The Palestinian terror group Hamas is also active in Jordan.

Last year, Israel indicted Palestinian Hamza Muhammad Yusuf Othman for establishing a covert Hamas paramilitary cell to attack Israeli targets in Jordan – including kidnapping Israeli civilians and diplomats in Amman and firing shells from Jordan into Israel.

Jerusalem Post


An Australian mint has called in the Federal Police after being shown evidence by Seven News that its gold bars are being counterfeited.

The investigation uncovered Chinese 'forgery factories' that will churn out fake bullion and even Australian coins, for a fraction of their face value.

Just one of the bars (seen below) should be worth more than $1700.

"There are some poor people out there who have gone and bought these products thinking they've got a bargain and have actually been ripped off," Ron Currie from the Perth Mint said.

At Wenzhou, in China's south east, a suspicious discovery is made after taking a tour of one factory that makes medals and badges - there are thousands of samples.

On the front is stamped "Perth Mint Australia", on the back are kangaroos - a close copy of the actual design used by the mint.

The worker doesn’t hold back when quizzed about the procedure.

"First we did the silver plating, then the gold plating," he said.

What should be valued at $510,000, is actually counterfeited gold bars that Seven News paid $300 for (300 pieces at $1 each).

Mr Currie says while the number reaching Australia is relatively small, the damage can be significant - but there are tell-tale signs.

"If it looks like a deal that's too good to refuse - you should refuse it. Secondly the quality - the quality is nowhere near as good as the real product," he said.

"We'll of course follow it through and take it up with the Australian Federal Police.

"The Australian Federal police are very helpful and are very interested in stopping counterfeits or copies coming into Australia."

China has long forged Western products, but this is altogether different because it has the potential to do so much harm.

Yahoo News


They are not military chaplains, they are sons of satan

Despite the fact that homosexual “marriage” is not recognized by the federal government, America’s military chaplains are being forced to put aside their religious beliefs and perform same-sex ceremonies on U.S. bases.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is demanding an end to such coercion and blames President Obama for the attack on chaplains’ religious beliefs.

Inhofe is the second highest ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He admits that some chaplains have opted out, but only with the understanding that their refusal to follow orders will mean the end of their careers. The senator considers the Navy the most hostile to the religious freedom of chaplains.

Inhofe told WND’s Greg Corombos further frustration flows from the inability of active duty military to publicly disagree with their orders.

“You won’t find many active chaplains who will tell you the truth about this because you know what will happen to them if we do,” Inhofe said. “But you get the retired chaplains, I don’t know of one exception that isn’t outraged by this and saying that government can’t come along and dictate the moral principles that they have always had – both before their current career and up to the present time.”

So who is demanding that chaplains check their scriptural bearings at the chapel door? Inhofe said top military brass and civilian leaders at the Pentagon may be enforcing these policies, but he said responsibility lies in just one place.

“It’s the president,” said Inhofe. “I keep hearing Democrats say, ‘Well, this isn’t what the Pentagon wants.’ The Pentagon answers to the commander in chief. The commander in chief if the president of the United States. So he’s the one responsible.”

In response to this pressure on the chaplains, Inhofe and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., are introducing the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act.

“It stipulates and states specifically that chaplains shall not be ordered or required to perform any ceremony that is contrary to the moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain’s faith group,” Inhofe explained. “It further says that property under the jurisdiction of (the Defense Department) shall not be used to perform a marriage or involving anything other than the union of one man and one woman.”

Inhofe said he knows for a fact that military brass don’t like the way the military culture is trending, but they don’t speak out publicly because of the chain of command. Inhofe concedes that following orders is a vital part of what makes our armed forces work effectively, but he also advocates protection of their speech rights.

“What I’d prefer is for these generals and high ranking officials to say publicly what they really feel and have the courage to do that,” Inhofe said. “Then go ahead and do what they’re commanded to do.”

Inhofe said the best way to change the orders from the top is to change the commanders in chief.


Japan to join currency wars as exports slump

Remember Gerald Celente?

The country's exports plunged 10.3pc in September from a year ago, dimming hopes of rapid recovery in the Far East. Exports to Europe crashed 21pc. Shipments to China fell 14pc as the Diaoyu-Senkaku islands dispute led to a slump in car sales. Honda, Mazda, and Nissan all saw sales plunge near 30pc as Chinese consumers boycotted Japanese brands. Nomura said the export slump will push country into full recession.

Stephen Jen from SLJ Macro Partners said the global storm is drifting eastwards into Asia, opening a "third chapter" of the crisis that will last well into 2013. "Many analysts have declared that the low in the global economic cycle is in place. We are not convinced," he said, prediticting a rise in currency protectionism.

Japan is the awakening giant in this conflict. The yen has risen 30pc against China's yuan, 65pc against the euro, and 80pc against Sterling since 2008. Tokyo is itching to fight back.

Yen strength is Japan's curse. It rises on safe-haven flows during global downturns, choking the economy. This stems from Japan's bitter-sweet role as top creditor with $3 trillion of net assets.

Hans Redeker from Morgan Stanley says this pattern may soon change as political upheaval in Tokyo and surging public debt of 245pc of GDP usher in an era of devaluation.


Syrian Conflict Part of Mideast 'Geopolitical Game' – Lavrov

Some countries are apparently interested in fueling violence in Syria as part of a “geopolitical remapping” of the Middle East, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“It appears that every time the hope for progress in the Syrian situation arises, somebody attempts to prevent it from calming down and deliberately fuels the continuation of the bloodshed and civil war in Syria,” Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Monday.

Lavrov cited some unspecified opposition groups as telling Russia that Western countries urge them to continue the resistance, “to fight for their rights with arms until [President Bashar al-Assad’s] regime falls.”

The minister was especially critical of the terrorist tactics used by the opposition as a wave of attacks targeting senior government officials and pro-Assad forces had recently swept through the country.

The Syrian conflict has claimed up to 30,000 lives since March 2011, according to latest US estimates.

The West and some Arab countries are pushing for Assad’s ouster while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying that the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

According to Lavrov, the Syrian conflict is “part of geopolitical remapping of the Middle East, where various players attempt to safeguard their interests.”

Assad, who is widely viewed as a close ally of Iran, has been unfairly made “a scapegoat” in this “big geopolitical game,” Lavrov said.

He defended Assad by calling him “a guarantor of the security of national minorities, among them Christians, who have been living in Syria for centuries.”

"By the most conservative estimates our Western partners quote in confidential contacts, he still enjoys support of at least a third of citizens as a man who vowed to prevent Syria's transformation into a state where minorities will be simply unable to live and exist," the Russian minister said.

Lavrov reiterated that foreign “recipes” would never provide a long-lasting and reliable solution to the Syrian conflict, and expressed hope that the visit of UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to Russia next week would help outline steps toward dialogue between warring parties in Syria.

Brahimi, who held talks with Assad in Damascus on Sunday, has urged the Syrian government and the opposition to cease fire for the duration of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which starts on Friday.

RIA Novosti

Lebanon army deploys in Beirut and Tripoli

The Lebanese army has deployed on the streets of Beirut and Tripoli in a bid to calm deadly tensions.

Several people were killed in gunfights between pro- and anti-Syrian factions in Tripoli on Monday after the death of a senior security official on Friday.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has been in Beirut for talks with President Michel Suleiman about the murder of Wissam al-Hassan.

She also met Prime Minister Najib Mikati in an apparent show of support.

Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a leader of the Western-backed 14 March opposition bloc, was also expected to meet the president later.

Over the weekend, Mr Suleiman rejected an offer of resignation from Mr Mikati - a Sunni Muslim who heads a cabinet dominated by the pro-Syrian Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah and its allies.

The decision prompted Mr Siniora to warn: "The Lebanese people won't accept, after today, the continuation of the government of assassination."

He made the remarks at the funeral of the security official killed on Friday, Gen Wissam al-Hassan, who had close links to the 14 March alliance and the family of its leader, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Opposition MPs were on Tuesday boycotting parliamentary sessions.Resignation calls

On Monday, the army urged "all political leaders to be cautious when expressing their stances and opinions" and in attempting to mobilise public action "because the fate of the nation is at stake".

The army is a widely respected institution in Lebanon that has often been required to stand between the country's diverse political and religious factions.

The violence comes after the funeral of Gen Hassan - a Sunni and the head of the intelligence branch of the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

He was an outspoken critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - who is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam - and was killed in a car bomb on Friday, along with his bodyguard and at least one other person.

Opposition figures blamed the attack on the Syrian government.

On Monday, dozens of people set up camp outside Mr Mikati's office, calling for his resignation.

Gen Hassan led an investigation into the assassination in 2005 of Mr Hariri's father, Rafik, which implicated Damascus.

He also organised the recent arrest of Michel Samaha, a former minister accused of planning a Syrian-sponsored bombing campaign in Lebanon.

Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in the wake of Rafik Hariri's murder, ending a 29-year military presence.

Thousands attended Gen Hassan's funeral on Sunday, which became a political rally against both Mr Mikati and Syria.

Police scuffled with a group of protesters who attempted to storm the prime minister's office, and overnight into Monday protesters set up road blocks in Beirut, prompting exchanges of gunfire.


Hillary Clinton communicate with the dead spirit

You are right the bible talk about it:

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them.

Leviticus 20:27

Did U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton communicate with the dead spirit of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt just this week?

If you believe her husband, Bill Clinton, the answer would be yes.

On Wednesday, Mr. Clinton appeared in New York City at a dedication ceremony for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.

In his remarks, the former president said his wife “was known to commune” with Eleanor Roosevelt, who died in November 1962, and that Roosevelt gave Hillary a message for him this week.

“A special thanks to the members of the Roosevelt family who are here,” Mr. Clinton said. “And the one who is not, Eleanor, who made sure that the four freedoms were included in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.”

“I know that because, as all of you famously learned when I served as president, my wife, now the secretary of state, was known to commune with Eleanor on a regular basis,” he continued. “And so she called me last night on her way home from Peru to remind me to say that. That Eleanor had talked to her and reminded her that I should say that.”

The Bible has plenty to say about communicating with the dead and dabbling with mediums, psychics, fortunetellers, witchcraft, astrology and characters such as the devil and his wicked demons. Find out specifics in this autographed, No. 1 best-seller that champions the truth of God!

Video of Clinton’s speech can be seen at the CNS News website.

This is not the first time a connection between Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt has been made.

Author Bob Woodward claimed in his 1996 book “The Choice” that Hillary engaged in imaginary conversations with Mrs. Roosevelt as well as Mahatma Gandhi as a therapeutic exercise.

And while she was campaigning for president in 2007, then-Sen. Clinton said she found inspiration in the words of Roosevelt.

“She said, ‘You know, if you’re going to be involved in politics you have to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros,’” she told an audience of female political activists, according to the New York Daily News.

“So occasionally, I’ll be sitting somewhere and I’ll be listening to someone perhaps not saying the kindest things about me. And I’ll look down at my hand and I’ll sort of pinch my skin to make sure it still has the requisite thickness I know Eleanor Roosevelt expects me to have,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton is not the only one who has been claimed to communicate with the deceased.

WND reported Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker of the House, claimed she heard from the spirits of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul at the White House.

Here’s what Pelosi said about her supernatural experience at the White House a few years ago, when it was occupied by George W. Bush: “He’s (Bush) saying something to the effect of we’re so glad to welcome you here, congratulations and I know you’ll probably have some different things to say about what is going on – which is correct. But, as he was saying this, he was fading and this other thing was happening to me.

“My chair was getting crowded in. I swear this happened, never happened before, it never happened since. My chair was getting crowded in and I couldn’t figure out what it was, it was like this. And then I realized Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, you name it, they were all in that chair, they were. More than I named and I could hear them say: ‘At last we have a seat at the table.’ And then they were gone.”

And in 2009, WND reported on a study indicating Democrats are far more in touch with the dead than Republicans, and they also visit fortunetellers more often.

The number of Americans who say they have interacted with a ghost has doubled in the last 13 years, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed in its “Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths” report.

Approximately 18 percent of respondents said they have seen or been in the presence of a ghost, compared with only 9 percent in 1990 and 1996. Likewise, 29 percent of respondents felt that they had been in touch with someone who has already died, compared with 17 percent in 1990 and 18 percent in 1996.

The results also show that Democrats are far more likely to believe in supernatural phenomena than Republicans.

“Conservatives and Republicans report fewer experiences than liberals or Democrats communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and consulting fortunetellers or psychics,” Pew reported.

According to the study:
36 percent of Democrats report being in touch with someone who is dead, compared with only 21 percent of Republicans.
21 percent of Democrats say they have seen a ghost, compared with only 11 percent of Republicans.
22 percent of Democrats say they have consulted a fortuneteller, compared with 9 percent of Republicans.
30 percent of Democrats say they believe in reincarnation, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.
31 percent of Democrats say they believe in astrology, compared with 14 percent of Republicans.
31 percent of Democrats view yoga as a spiritual practice, compared with 15 percent of Republicans.
30 percent of Democrats say they believe in spiritual energy, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.


Financial transaction tax for 10 EU states

The European Commission has backed plans from 10 countries to launch a financial transactions tax to help raise funds to tackle the debt crisis.

The 10 countries include France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The nations want to push ahead with the tax after failing to win support from all members of the European Union.

The UK has been especially vocal in its opposition to the tax, which it feels would hit the City of London particularly hard.

The remaining countries that have signed up to the tax are Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia.

"I am delighted to see that 10 member states have indicated their willingness to participate in a common financial transaction tax (FTT)," said Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

"This tax can raise billions of euros of much-needed revenue for member states in these difficult times.

"This is about fairness - we need to ensure the costs of the crisis are shared by the financial sector instead of shouldered by ordinary citizens."Every little helps?

The EU failed to get agreement for a transactions tax from all 27 member states in June, but leaders from France, Germany, Italy and Spain all agreed at the time to push ahead with plans for the tax.

A number of states have said they are not against the tax in principle, but would not agree to implement it unless it was adopted across all global financial centres.

The idea is to impose a small charge on transactions of currencies, bonds and shares traded at banks and financial institutions. Although each charge would be small, the number of transactions made means the total revenues raised could be significant.

The Commission has estimated such a "Robin Hood" tax could raise 57bn euros ($74bn; £46bn) a year, if it were applied across the entire EU.

Governments across Europe have been implementing drastic austerity measures to cut debt levels, and taxing banks is seen by some as an important way to raise revenues, particularly while the economic recovery remains so fragile.

Opponents argue that unless it is adopted universally, the tax would drive business to financial centres that did not impose the tax.