Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The SWIFT System: A Potential Weapon in the Hybrid War

The acronym SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) has once again popped up in the global media headlines. Experts usually describe SWIFT as an international, interbank network for transmitting information about payment transactions.

The society was founded in 1973. By that time the post-war monetary system established in 1944 in Bretton Woods had virtually collapsed. The dollar as well as other currencies had been divorced from gold, and the printing presses at the US Federal Reserve and other Western central banks were furiously at work. The volume of international payments had increased sharply. The traditional systems for sharing data about payment transactions (the teletype, telegraph, and telephone) could not cope with the increased traffic.

It was necessary to draw upon the latest technology in order to centralize the isolated channels used to exchange information. Two hundred thirty-nine banks from 15 countries worked together to set up an organization devoted to solving this problem. SWIFT is a cooperative society, established under European law, with a head office in Brussels. Currently almost 11,000 institutions from over 200 countries, including 9,600 banks, are members of SWIFT. Every year 2.5 billion payment orders are transmitted through the SWIFT network, which processes billions of dollars each day.  (more...)


How the banking system was weaponized:

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