On the Other Hand...

Know Your Banker

by Jim Davies

It could be the most sinister threat to human liberty since Hitler; it's a fast-developing international proposal that every bank in the world shall implement a program innocently entitled "Know Your Customer."

I think it's high time you and I knew our Bankers.

A recent Press release from the Libertarian Party said it well: "A new government directive will force banks to spy on their customers and report any 'unusual transactions' to federal investigators...

"Under the so-called Know Your Customer rule, bank tellers can quiz you about where you got the money and how you plan to spend it. And if your answers sound suspicious, they can report you.

"This new regulation will turn your local bank into a branch of the federal government's civilian surveillance apparatus. It's the ultimate invasion of your financial privacy." The Release said, correctly, that all this would be "an illegal, warrantless search that violates the Fourth Amendment." The Fourth outlaws all except "particular" searches, with sworn warrants.

Paper, Control and Taxes

So that we each don't have to draw our own water, grow our own food etc it's essential to trade, and so to have a medium of exchange that we call "money". And money should have intrinsic value, so that the receiver can choose when to spend it as well as how.

Step by step in our own time, however, money with intrinsic value - gold and silver, primarily - have been replaced by bits of paper that have none. The convenience is fine, but it comes at a terrible price.

The price is that he who controls the paper controls its value. More: he ultimately controls its users, you and me. He can (and has) outlawed the use of forms of money different from what he issues, and in many countries has even embedded a metal strip in the bits of paper so as to track its passage through airport metal-detectors. Government people just love controlling other people.

Paper money isn't the end of it, however, it's just a stage in the gradual and very alarming process of enslaving the population any government is alleged to serve and protect. It still has the great disadvantage (for the controllers) of being usable in the underground economy; that is, in transactions carried out without the benefit of government knowledge, control, regulation or tax.

Their long-term objective is to abolish even that form of cash. It's many decades since bills of face value over $100 were printed, and eventually we may have to buy only with electronic means, such as credit and debit cards. The big advantage of those is that at the touch of a button (after the banks have all been brought into line) every single sale or purchase any of us make will be available for scrutiny by any government spy at any time of the night or day, with the aid of number-crunching computers than can mash through millions of records a minute looking for any pattern of interest to the snoop.

In turn, that abolition of privacy will lead to the end of today's voluntary tax system; the Feds will know exactly what we took in and gave out, and will merely issue a debit instruction to our banker and send us an e-mail to tell us how much they stole from us. That won't happen next year, but give it a decade or so, and that is exactly where they are heading.

Thus will a once proud, independent and free people have been re-enslaved.

Customer Knowledge

Here's what the international community of governmental snoops, liars and thieves is hoping to foist on the world's producers in the near term. Read it, weep, and then take action to resist! Nothing is inevitable! The info comes from reports put out by the "Financial Action Task Force", or FATF, and by the Federal Reserve (eg "Supervision and Regulation", 6/30/97.)

- All financial transactions are to be monitored, and every cash transaction over a certain thresh-hold ($100?!) as well as every interaction with a bank will require identification. That's with any bank, worldwide.

- Anyone not providing ID will not be allowed to deal with a bank. No cash deposits or withdrawals, no safe-deposit boxes, no stock-transfer services.

- "Electronic ID" techniques, perhaps including the new bio-ID cards, are encouraged.

- Transactions will be compared to previous patterns or "profiles" and anything out of the ordinary, flagged for attention; all automatically, by computer.

- Transporting cash - and gold - across international borders will be further limited, and gold acquisitions will be monitored and regulated.

- Bank customers will be required to reveal all sources of revenue, and accounts will be monitored to compare such statements with actual deposits.

- Banks will not be allowed to inform their customers when "suspicious activity" reports have been filed on them to the governments concerned.

These horrendous invasions of privacy have not been implemented yet. But once passed into law, it will be too late. In the 1930s, Germans were subjected to some of them; the prudent moved their money to other countries just in time.

For implementation, the proposals need the agreement of all governments and all banks. Guess what: no banker will agree, if his customers close their accounts.

© Copyright Jim Davies 1999

Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.

The above is Edition # 291

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