Credit Cards Cancelled
Recently in the Marshall Islands in early February, 2005,
people on holiday, tourists, and the local population, were
unable to get credit from their banks or merchants by using their
credit cards. They were unable to pay for purchases or
accommodation at any Hotel on the Marshall Chain of Islands
because the US Patriot Act currently prevents certain financial
acts taking place if it deems them to be aligned to money
laundering or not able to be controlled . Links between the
central Pacific nation’s main bank and a key partner bank
were cut as a result.
And so, between the Bank of Marshall Islands and US-registered
Citizens Security Bank of Guam, they disconnected the electronic
identification system that allows the use of credit cards in the
islands. Consequently, Hotels, merchants and outlets on the
island have refused to take credit cards for payments, stating
that their respective companies financial safety was in danger.
Phil Marshall, an official with Robert Reimers Enterprises, owner
of many outlets in the US said, "This will impact on all tourism
and is a crisis for all industry."
Citizens Security Bank (CSB) removed the credit card
verification and other services to the Bank of Marshall Islands
because under the Patriot Act they can be fined millions of
dollars. The Act, introduced in the wake of the September 11,
2001 terrorist attacks, is designed to boost the ability of US
intelligence and law enforcement agencies to disrupt terrorist
funding and activities.
It notably imposes tight restrictions on links between banks
registered with the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
(FDIC) and foreign banks. Although the Marshall Islands is a
close ally of Washington and its national budget is about 60 per
cent funded by the US government, the Bank of Marshall Islands is
not a US bank and does not have FDIC status.
The Marshall Islands Banking Commissioner insisted the
Citizens Security Bank action did not "bear any reflection on the
safety and soundness of Bank of Marshall Islands." He also said
the local bank had a "functioning" anti-money laundering program
to protect against possible misuse of the institution by
criminals or terrorists."
Without the CSB’s electronic verification network, the
domestic airline "Air Marshall Islands", major businesses and all
hotels stopped accepting credit cards, causing financial chaos.
Marshall Islands officials and another local bank, the Bank of
Guam, joined in talks on setting up an alternative electronic
credit card verification service but the Bank of Guam indicated
that the earliest it could start its merchant credit card service
was February 28, That meant local businesses would be without
credit card authorisation services for two weeks.
This surely is a wake-up call as to how easily financial
markets can be held to ransom, how devastating a money crash
could be, and how easily a New World Order strategy could be
implemented as a result of this happening on a global scale.