Where the *Bleep* Is Germany’s Gold?

Germany's goldYou may have heard something about this story, but I think it’s important to take a few minutes to restate the facts clearly. In the modern news environment, stories come and go so fast – and in so many parts – that it’s very easy to get lost along the way.

So, here’s what we know so far:

  • In 2012, the Bundesbank (the central bank of Germany) asked to visit the vault of the Federal Reserve in New York, to view the 1,536 tons of gold they have stored there.
  • The Federal Reserve told them no. They were not allowed to see their gold.
  • In response, Germany said that they wanted 300 tons of their gold back.
  • The Federal Reserve said that they’d need seven years to get the gold back to Germany. (Something that should take them seven weeks, tops.)
  • One year later, the Fed has returned only 5 tons of gold to Germany. At this rate, it will take 60 years for the Germans to get less than one fifth of their gold back.

Though I don’t know precisely what, it is very clear that something strange is going on here… something that the prestigious central bankers want to keep away from the light of day.

Shipping 300 tons of metal is hardly a new and difficult technical challenge. Companies involved in metal trading do this all the time. Sure, gold requires extra security, but security is also something that lots of people know how to provide.

Give me half a percent as a premium, and I’ll have it arranged by next week!

The German Responses

The initial German response was the one mentioned above: Give us back our gold. But that happened over a year ago, after they weren’t allowed to see their gold. There have been further responses, following the very lame delivery of five tons.

These responses have come in just the past month or so:

The president of Germany’s top financial regulations group said that manipulation of gold and silver “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” (The Libor scandal was and is a big deal, and lots of lawsuits are underway over it.) That’s a big accusation.

Then, Deutsche Bank, the biggest German bank, dropped out of the London gold fixing pool; the group of bankers that set the official price of gold. This is also related to the investigations by European regulators into the suspected manipulation of precious metals prices by banks. Again, this is a very significant event.

Germany does not seem happy about what the Fed is doing to them. These responses may seem timid, compared to what you or I might do if someone refused to give us back our gold, but they very clearly show that the German banks are objecting. (What’s going on behind the scenes remains unknown to us.)

In addition to this, the Financial Times ran an article advising investors to demand physical delivery of their gold. Bloomberg published an article on gold price manipulation. Whether they were pushed to do this by the Germans remains an open question.

What’s Really Going On?

So, given what we know, the obvious question becomes, “What’s really going on?”

The first answer is that we simply do not know, but even that deserves a short comment:

We don’t know because central banks are above scrutiny. They operate in secret, insulated by governments.

In any honest business, we could learn something about what’s going on, but central banking is different. Its operators not only control the world’s money, but they do it secretly.

So, we can only guess as to what’s happening.

Most likely, however, is that all of Germany’s gold has been lent out and/or used as loan collateral multiple times and that the Fed is having a very hard time unwinding all those loans. If they just give the gold back, the collateral for hundreds (maybe thousands) of international loans goes away.

And when I say “lent out multiple times,” I am not speaking loosely. There is a financial trick called rehypothecation that allows bankers to use the same stack of gold as the collateral for simultaneous loans… over and over and over.

So, in order to pull Germany’s gold out of the lending game (and central banks do loan out gold), lots and lots of loans would have to be rehypothecated to other piles of gold, and that requires a lot of office work. Each bar of Germany’s gold could be involved in a dozen loans, each of which must be re-arranged.

This would account for the slowness of the Fed returning the gold back to where it belongs.

Of course, there are other possibilities. Maybe the Fed is just trying to punish Germany for some reason (they’ve messed with them in the past), or that the gold is simply no longer there – that the Fed or its friends sold it.

The Bottom Line

It would be wonderful to figure out what will happen next, but we’d have to base that on what’s really going on now, and we don’t know even that. As mentioned, central banks never have to tell.

The one thing we can be sure of is that the Federal Reserve and the Bundesbank are at odds. What will come from that is unknown, but this is a very significant problem between giants, and it is already producing consequences.

Maybe this problem will go away. But if it doesn’t, it could become very, very significant.

And how that will affect each of us – well, that’s a very good question.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Unstable Element that Messes Up the Inflation/Deflation Debate

inflation/deflationI was recently asked to sit on an expert panel, analyzing an inflation/deflation debate between Harry Dent and Peter Schiff. Sitting with me on the panel were Doug Casey, Chris Mayer, and Karim Rahemtulla, as well as Messrs Dent and Schiff.

All of these guys spend prodigious amounts of time on financial analysis, and I don’t, so I wondered what I could bring to the party.

As I ran the subject through my mind, however, I realized something important had been left out of the analysis – something that I added to the panel and which I’d like to explain here. It was…

The Black Box

Without question, the central player in US markets (even world markets) is the Federal Reserve Bank. Every serious financial analysis concerns itself with Ben Bernanke and his successor Janet Yellen; indeed they have to, as the Federal Reserve single-handedly holds up the US stock and housing markets.

But when we talk about the Federal Reserve (or “the Fed,” for short), we are overlooking something very important:

Bernanke and Yellen are mere employees of the Federal Reserve, not the owners. And we don’t know who the owners are.

If you’re new to this subject, that may sound ridiculous, and I can’t blame you for thinking so. But, the fact is, we really don’t know. The US government doesn’t own it and isn’t telling who does.

We do know that the Fed is a private banking group that has been given a monopoly on the creation of US currency, and the list of its owners is a closely held secret.

The true owners are almost certainly reflected in the roster of Primary Dealers who skim from US dollars (actually Federal Reserve Notes) as they are being made, but we really don’t know much more than that. There was a list that circulated in about 1930, but that was a long time ago.

So…

Who are the people that Bernanke and Yellen take orders from? We don’t know.

What do these people want? We don’t know.

What are their long-term asset positions? We don’t know.

Who might they protect, aside from themselves? We don’t know.

If things get rough, will they obey politicians? Probably not, but we don’t know.

Our closest view of these people came from Professor Carroll Quigley, who said that he was given access to their records in the early 1960s. This is what he wrote in his book, Tragedy & Hope:

It must not be felt that the heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up, and who were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks.

In another passage, he writes:

The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole… Each central bank sought to dominate its government by its ability to control treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence co-operative politicians by subsequent rewards in the business world.

So, was Quigley telling the truth? I don’t really know, but Quigley maintained an excellent reputation. This wasn’t a man given to wild stories.

And if Quigley did tell the truth in 1966, is it still true?

I don’t know that either, and that’s the point!

There’s a fundamental factor in our financial analysis that is completely unknown to us.

Presuming…

Okay, presuming that Quigley was telling the truth and that his information remains close to true… and presuming that when push comes to shove, the Fed will ignore politicians… it seems likely that the Fed (who is buying up the rights to lots of real estate at the moment) will pull the plug at some point.

The purpose of pulling the plug will be two-fold: To reset an untenable economic system and to consolidate their position in a deflation. (Deflation, with its flood of loan defaults, transfers assets from borrowers to lenders.)

After that, and with some friendly legislation, they can print with abandon (“$10,000 checks for everyone!”) and reset their system.

Presuming, of course, that the suckers (that’s you and me) keep obeying the rules of their rigged game.

So…

This was my contribution to the great inflation/deflation debate.

There is excellent financial analysis being done by bright, competent, and brave men and women. But we must also remember that a large black box sits in the center of our analysis, and we don’t know what’s happening inside of it.

The people who can see inside of that black box – and there are some, whose secrecy is protected at the highest levels – have a gigantic advantage over all other investors and analysts. And so long as the inside of that box cannot be seen, the insiders will maintain that advantage.

This doesn’t make financial analysis pointless, of course, but it does leave it with a large “unknown” factor.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Is Bitcoin More Dangerous than “Cartel Money”?

bitcoin cartel moneyI’m going to use a couple of passages from the Bible (the original set of moral standards for our Western civilization), followed by an examination of both Bitcoin and cartel money, to see how they hold up in comparison.

As for my use of the term “cartel money,” it’s the best short description I know for the dollars, euros, yen (and so on) that we use in our daily commerce. They are produced by secretive and monopolistic groups of private banks. That rather precisely matches the definition of cartel.

Principle #1: For wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

I think by now we have all heard the big accusation against Bitcoin – that it is used for “money laundering” – made especially by the money cartels (the European Central Bank first).

First off, that doesn’t make sense to me. A currency is supposed to be neutral – that is its purpose. So, accusing a currency of money laundering is like jailing a knife for murder. But, that’s not precisely the point we’re addressing here.

Rather, the question is: do the cartels do the same thing that they condemn?

You bet they do!

Read this story on HSBC. Then read this one on Wachovia. These banks laundered hundreds of billions of dollars – knowingly – for violent drug lords. And it gets worse: No one from either bank went to jail. Neither bank was shut down. Neither bank suffered more than a minor fine.

So, how much of a concern can money laundering really be to the cartels and their politician partners? Clearly none, or very close to none.

And, since the cartels accuse Bitcoin of being used for bad things, let’s be clear about the situation: Every mafioso on the planet uses cartel money. So do all the drug smugglers, terrorists, and pornographers.

Does Bitcoin accuse the money cartels? Nope. Bitcoin has no official operators to speak for it at all.

It is true that many Bitcoin users accuse the cartels of being manipulators, but, at least for now, there is no Bitcoin cartel that is even capable of manipulating the currency.

So, round one goes to Bitcoin: The cartels very clearly condemn themselves, and Bitcoin clearly does not.

Principle #2: Everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light.

When Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto posted his Bitcoin paper in 2008, he laid everything open for all to see. Then he wrote the Bitcoin program and left it “open source,” so anyone could see the programming.

The process of creating cartel money, on the other hand, is mostly hidden, purposely confused, and isn’t even taught to most Econ majors. And if you think that’s just my opinion, here’s one from the esteemed economist John Kenneth Galbraith:

The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.

The argument is made, of course, that the process of creating dollars, etc. is very complicated, and that people don’t understand it because of that.

I don’t think that’s true, but even so, let’s compare it to Bitcoin: Making bitcoins is also complex, but Bitcoin enthusiasts have been working night and day to explain their new currency and how it works. I’ve seen them cornering people at birthday parties, trying to make them understand.

Round two goes to Bitcoin also. Bitcoin wants to be seen and known, and the cartels surely do not.

It all comes down to the reason “why.”

Satoshi Nakamoto began the original Bitcoin document by saying that he wanted to, “allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” He goes on to say that he was creating,

an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.

In other words, Satoshi wanted to remove the necessity of one man ruling another in the area of money. Furthermore, he did it, then went away.

As for the motives of the cartel, we can’t really tell. The visible heads of the Federal Reserve are certainly not the owners of the Federal Reserve, and the US government refuses to reveal the names of the owners.

Perhaps the closest real examination of their motives comes from a renowned professor who worked for them for a few years. Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown – and a major influence on none other than Bill Clinton, wrote this in his book Tragedy & Hope:

The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank… sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent rewards in the business world.

So, was Quigley right? I have no solid proof that he is, but he would be an awfully hard witness to impeach. One substantiation that comes to mind is a recent comment by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. In the midst of a political fight, he complained, “The banks own the Senate.”

That’s not really proof either, but it is interesting.

You can make up your own mind on the banks, but Satoshi’s motives are fairly well beyond question.

I think it is clear that from a moral standpoint, Bitcoin is far, far better than cartel money. (As are silver and gold.)

So, the next time you hear someone calling Bitcoin dangerous and evil, don’t let them get away with it!

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com