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on October 29, 2013
After reading this book cover to cover, I find it valuable merely as an introduction to the BIS, which is barely written or spoken about in the financial press or with regard to monetary history in textbooks.

However, the author's myriad references to a seeming 'brotherhood' of elites, coupled with only a cursory review of the personalities of founding bankers Montagu Norman, Hjalmar Schacht, Per Jacobsson and others, beg the question over the existence of deeper secretive issues regarding the BIS that the author presumably prefers to avoid.

I.E. The book leaves the reader wondering 'just to whom -- or *what* -- is the ultimate loyalty of the actors surrounding the BIS owed?' The author leaves this core issue inconveniently unexplored. In this day of increasing transparency regarding the existence of secret societies and their overt influences over global political and economic affairs, it is not enough for this author to just claim that technocrats practice fidelity to their own professional class...and that alone. Exploring more esoteric subject matter within this book wouldn't have been outside the confines of sober academic inquiry, especially considering the wider stakes involved.

The perennial sense of 'alchemy' practiced by the higher-up bank(st)ers such as those who confer regularly in the unaccountable meetings of the BIS clearly has very longterm goals. Hence why the BIS manages to stick around despite what the author lists as various functions reaching obsolescence. Thus, the 'friendships' bonding the likes of Norman & Schacht then, or Bernanke & King now, extend deeper than what this book's prose allows for, which ultimately serves to the detriment of illuminating (pun intended) its subject matter.

"Tower of Basel" is shining a prescribed, albeit politically correct, tactically limited light upon an institution that's gathering increasing global attention in an Internet age where invaluably rare historical texts are easier to access online for the inquiring mind --gnostic or otherwise.

Little wonder, then, that other Establishment-approved writers of global finance such as Liaquat Ahamed endorse "Tower of Basel". "Basel", along with Ahamed's anesthetizing "Lords of Finance" and Neil Irwin's "The Alchemists", serve to limit the realms of discussion regarding international finance, its history and its actors to safer, exoteric topics that can quite frankly be gleaned off of flacid Establishmentary journalistic periodicals such as The Financial Times or The Economist. Readers should therefore also consider more thorough, courageous authors such as René Guénon, Julius Evola, Guido Preparata, Carroll Quigley, Antony Sutton, Joseph P. Farrell, William Engdahl, Ellen Hodgson Brown, Peter Levenda, Eustace Mullins, Daniel Estulin and Michael Hoffman, on the issue of banking, its history, and what our modern notion of money is ultimately being used for.
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on June 16, 2013
This book is a must-read if you are interested in money and banking, and it probably should be read by everyone. Even though I consider myself reasonably well-informed when it comes to money, banking, investments, economics, etc., I had no more than a vague awareness of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). This book is a real eye-opener. After all they did, it is amazing that it was not demolished after WWII (but that is part of the story, of course). It is certainly not a feel-good summer beach read, but it is interesting, and I think it tells an important story. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtains at the BIS, move along, nothing to see here...
This is a jaw-dropping story, and after decades of doing a lot of reading, I don't say that about many books. And just for the record, I'm not a shill for the author or anyone else, I was not aware of the author before reading this book. Interesting, informative, and more than a bit disturbing. I highly recommend it.
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Not only is this Secret Bank exempt from the taxes and oversight of any nation in the world, but also has been that way since it was founded in 1930. This is the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) which is based in Basel Switzerland but does not answer to Swiss authorities or anyone else. It is the world's Central Bankers own bank.

Learning about this super secret Super Bank will add much credence to the conspiracy theory of the bankers trying to create a New World Order. It's like a shadow world government that is so powerful and useful that no nation in the world is willing to try and control or shine the spot light into its dark recesses.

The world's most exclusive and powerful club has only eighteen members most of whom are men. The power and influence they exercise is almost unbelievable. It is said the Nazi's didn't invade Switzerland because they didn't want to cut off their access to this institution, which is where they shipped much of the wealth they striped from the nations they invaded.

The book contains an introduction and sixteen information packed chapters contained in three major sections. Those chapters are titled "The Bankers Know Best, A Cozy Club in Basel, Hitler's American Banker, An Arrangement with the Enemy, The German Phoenix Arises, The Rise of the Desk-Murders, The Tower Arises, The Second Tower, The All-Seeing Eye, (despite the familiar sounding names this is not "Lord of the Rings") and the Citadel Cracks."

"The Tower of Basel reaches only eighteen stories above the city skyline, but the fate of the biblical tower-builders should give the bankers pause. For When God saw their work, he confounded their speech and introduced a multitude of tongues. The builders could no longer understand one another. The construction work stopped, they were dispersed and their town vanished into history."

The bank is fighting for its survival by trying to evolve into a socially responsible institution. "Secrecy, opacity, and unaccountability--like gold--are embedded in the bank' DNA. The bank may find it can't continue as it has since its birth.

This in a wonderful investigative report on one of the most secret and powerful institutions in world history. A reader doesn't have to like economics or banking to be mesmerized by this highly readable expose.
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on October 29, 2013
The creation of international and intergovernmental institutions in the 20th Century and their accountability is a fruitful area for research, and the Bank for International Settlements is one of the most opaque of these. Throw in some Nazis and you have the makings of a really interesting story, which this book tells, at least partially. The BIS survives as a relic, though hardly an ossified one, of another era, continually re-inventing itself, seeking ways to be relevant, and providing a strictly unaccountable venue for the clubbable appointed to run the international financial "system" to gather. One wonders: what is the BIS for? And, who is it for?

The context should not be lost: in the great clash of ideologies and the struggle for dominance, mechanisms to ensure international financial stability emerged for the convenience of governments, corporations, and financial institutions. At the core of the BIS story and many others about the creation of global governance organizations is the driving ideology of a few elites for whom transparency and accountability matter little, nor, apparently, ideology. In the world of global finance, the inconvenience of having served a total war machine is immaterial to your clubbability, as LeBor shows.

The violent decades of financial and political turmoil preceding WWII certainly must have conditioned the thinking of these elites in their search for predictability and minimization of risk. The BIS is another example of the solution they pursued: supra-governmental institutions governed by the few, operating quietly, chock-a-block with attractive, multi-lingual, highly educated boffins who serve the central bank governors flocking to BIS meetings regularly (nothing on the details of the wine cellar available for these meetings, but that would be an interesting appendix in a subsequent edition). The BIS is another of hundreds, probably thousands, of examples of global organizations seeking to supersede the rule of law and democratic governance in favour of a set of universal values favoured by elites. In fact, not fancying yourself part of the global elite is now viewed dimly, as a recent article in the Harvard Business Review shows ("Join the global elite" May 2013).

In 1944, Norway proposed the liquidation of the BIS, an proposition that was widely supported and roundly trounced. The alignment of totalitarian ideals with the ideology of centralized global institutions merits much more exploration, and Tower of Basel is an excellent contribution to this growing field of inquiry and an enjoyable read.
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on January 8, 2015
Useful fodder for the conspiracy theorists only this isn't a conspiracy theory. The Bank of International Settlements is real and its power pervasive. It gives some level of comfort that world's financial system is being overseen by very intelligent and competent individuals until it is revealed they are accountable to no one, its workings shrouded in secrecy and protected by a labyrinth of international laws that guarantee its inviolability. This is the embodiment of the say, fact is stranger than fiction. A good read.
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on October 2, 2013
In recent times when conscription or the "draft" was legal and many were sent to both Europe and Asia to defeat both Germany and Japan, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) was directly aiding these enemies of the West by funding arms production and Genocide by being a Gateway for stolen and looted gold reserves of conquered European countries to murder millions, simply because the paperwork was in order. Even though the OSS used the BIS for intelligence purposes, the bank had leaks and the head of the Bank during these times was even an American, yet the human cost makes this organization culpable of Crimes Against Humanity in so many ways, yet almost nothing was done to even recognize this travesty of international justice.

I suggest that if the public knew of these shenanigans, the cry of "Hell no, we won't go!" would have evolved much earlier from the conscripts and draftees of that time..

This book is a revelation. It shows when sheltered by international treaty, with no checks and balances, or audits of actions, an officious form of corruption leads to actions that would imprison mere mortals such as you and I. The adage that "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" is proven here.

It is a tough read, in some cases, as the German industrial leaders, knowing that the war was lost, established foreign investment channels to be used in the re-industrialization of Germany under a new Reich. This did not happen, but the reindustrialization of Germany did, with the same industrialists that fed the Nazi war machine, after some went to prison for a few months, regained their industrial power and positions.

It is even suggested in this book, that the bombing raids against German industry, at the cost of many thousand of air crew, was influenced, somehow by the BIS, as few German chemical works were bombed.

After reading this book, consider the reality of how much sooner the European War and the Asian War would end if the BIS was forbidden to deal with both countries and deny them banking facilities, and these rules still operate today and are still protected by international treaty from any investigations into BIS's affairs.

What secrets must be located within BIS's records and libraries!

This book is a terrific read, and is accompanied by footnotes that refer to actual documents, some of which are no longer secret and available on the internet, and all support the premise that this bank, originally set up to manage WWI German reparations, then run by the Germans themselves, has outlived its original purpose almost a century later.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how the world actually works as opposed to how we are told it works.
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on April 10, 2015
Traces the growth of the international world finance system created by the leading central banks to provide international payment and liquidity mechanisms. Basically the system evolved from a financial cartel and today is sort of a shadow financial system operating in parallel with the large public finance entities like the IMF. It's an insiders' insider club.
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on June 16, 2014
A fantastic revelation about one of the most secretive and private financial world banks you’ve probably never heard of. The author does a remarkable job of writing a compelling and quite thorough expose about this private club of elites which will undoubtedly change the way you think about global finance. It’s a must read for anyone who thought they had read or heard just about everything there is to know about finance.
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on July 8, 2013
In 1946 Democratic Congressman Jerry Voorhies was running for his sixth term in Congress, his GOP opponent was Richard Nixon, Nixon won a a new political star was born. Voorhies was an opponent of the American Federal Reserve and the Basel, Switzerland based Bank for International Settlements. The BIS is the subject of this fine book by Adam Labor, and needs to be read by all serious students of history. The author points out the Bank of England chief Montagu Norman and Germany's Hjalmar Schacht wre long standing members of the BIS board and very close friends as well. American Thomas McKittrack was also a very important player in the bank's operation and behind the scences go between the Allies and NAZI's. Tragedy & Hope by Carroll Quigley and Trading with The Enemy by Charles Higham are excellent sources for more one information on the behind the scenes activities of the the various nations during WW2. The BIS is very active today and very powerful and is not responsible to anyone, except it self. 4 Stars
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VINE VOICEon July 10, 2015
Adam LeBor has rendered an important public service with his well written and researched book on the history, purposes and functions of a sovereign international bank headquartered in Basel, Switzerland.

In my readings about our own Federal Reserve Bank it occurred to me that there must somewhere exist an organizing International "central bank." Well, I found it in this book about the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel. It provides and coordinates financial transfers, regulations, supervision, research and information for its member national central banks. It also hosts the regular Basel meetings of member central bank chiefs.

Mr. LeBor's writing flows like a good mystery story. Naming names, times, places, events, national affiliations and reasons behind the founding and development of the BIS to the top tier of world banking. But there is more. Mr. LeBor not only gives the history of the BIS but also of twentieth century European financial politics and America's involvement. This includes money transfers, payments and exchange rates, national espionage during WWll, Cartels, and trade agreements (treaties) that eventually lead to the development of the European Union and an European monetary unit (Euro).
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