Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A New Financial Scandal - Bigger Than LIBOR?

Last Monday, our Malcolm Massey, Neil Foster and Mark Anderson took a post-Bilderberg walk around the Grove Hotel to see what they could see. What they found was a meeting room with a Thomson Reuters display panel.
Thomson Reuters - nleashing the power
Malcolm Massey

The display panel with Thomson Reuters logo clearly marked was entitled "unleashing the power of our unified platform on financial markets".
A Bilderberg Agenda Item?
Why would Thomson Reuters advertise to Bilderberg Attendees? It is easy to see that Reuters would do so at a financial event for City of London traders or casino bank managers, but politicians and industrialists? How likely is it that the attending bankers were not already aware of the implications of Reuters trading platforms?
Was this just an advertisement, or were Reuters running some kind of presentation? Those who saw the room first hand certainly left with the opinion Reuters had given a presentation of some kind.
If that is the case, then the question becomes what is meant by "unleashing the power ... on financial markets?
Perhaps some news released by Bloomberg yesterday gives a clue what happens when Reuters trading platform is unleashed on financial markets, for we seem to have yet another global manipulation scandal on our hands, possibly even more significant than LIBOR.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that five whistleblowers who have been working as foreign exchange traders have stated that the $5 trillion foreign exchange market is rigged. They allege that the world's biggest banks have been systematically manipulating the foreign exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments and derivatives. The main target of this has been pension funds all over the world.
Not surprisingly the centre of this activity has been the City of London, just as with LIBOR.
The traders told Bloomberg that the banks were actively trading against their clients by making use of a 60 second window in which trading is supposed to be paused. The traders told Bloomberg that, "dealers colluded with counterparties to boost chances of moving the rates."
The Financial Conduct Authority, one of the bodies set up to replace the Financial Services Authority, says it is investigating and is speaking to the relevant parties.
Which platform is used to distribute the Foreign Exchange rates? None other than Thompson Reuters, as with LIBOR. The same Thompson Reuters which took part in Bilderberg.

Farewell Bernanke – Thanks For Inflating The Biggest Bond Bubble The World Has Ever Seen

Michael Snyder
Activist Post

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is on the way out the door, but the consequences of the bond bubble that he has helped to create will stay with us for a very, very long time.  During Bernanke's tenure, interest rates on U.S. Treasuries have fallen to record lows.  This has enabled the U.S. government to pile up an extraordinary amount of debt. During his tenure we have also seen mortgage rates fall to record lows. All of this has helped to spur economic activity in the short-term, but what happens when interest rates start going back to normal?

If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent, the U.S. government will suddenly be paying out a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt. And remember, there have been times in the past when the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt has been much higher than that. In addition, when the U.S. government starts having to pay more to borrow money so will everyone else. What will that do to home sales and car sales?

And of course we all remember what happened to adjustable rate mortgages when interest rates started to rise just prior to the last recession. We have gotten ourselves into a position where the U.S. economy simply cannot afford for interest rates to go up.  We have become addicted to the cheap money made available by a grossly distorted financial system, and we have Ben Bernanke to thank for that. The Federal Reserve is at the very heart of the economic problems that we are facing in America, and this time is certainly no exception.

This week Barack Obama publicly praised Ben Bernanke and stated that Bernanke has "already stayed a lot longer than he wanted" as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke's term ends on January 31st, but many observers believe that he could leave even sooner than that. Bernanke appears to be tired of the job and eager to move on.

So who would replace him? Well, the mainstream media is making it sound like the appointment of Janet Yellen is already a forgone conclusion. She would be the first woman ever to chair the Federal Reserve, and her philosophy is that a little bit of inflation is good for an economy.  It seems likely that she would continue to take us down the path that Bernanke has taken us.

But is it a fundamentally sound path?  Keeping interest rates pressed to the floor and wildly printing money may be producing some positive results in the short-term, but the crazy bubble that this is creating will burst at some point.  In fact, the director of financial stability for the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, recently admitted that the central bankers have "intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history" and he warned about what might happen once it ends...
"If I were to single out what for me would be biggest risk to global financial stability right now it would be a disorderly reversion in the yields of government bonds globally." he said. There had been "shades of that" in recent weeks as government bond yields have edged higher amid talk that central banks, particularly the US Federal Reserve, will start to reduce its stimulus.
"Let's be clear. We've intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history," Haldane said. "We need to be vigilant to the consequences of that bubble deflating more quickly than [we] might otherwise have wanted."
Posted below is a chart that demonstrates how interest rates on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds have fallen over the last several decades.  This has helped to fuel the false prosperity that we have been enjoying, but there is no way that the U.S. government should have been able to borrow money so cheaply.  This bubble that we are living in now is setting the stage for a very, very painful adjustment...

Interest Rate On 10 Year U.S. Treasuries

So what will that "adjustment" look like?

The following analysis is from a recent article by Wolf Richter...
Ten-year Treasury notes have been kicked down from their historic pedestal last July when some poor souls, blinded by the Fed’s halo of omnipotence and benevolence, bought them at a minuscule yield of 1.3%. For them, it’s been an ice-cold shower ever since. As Treasuries dropped, yields meandered upward in fits and starts. After a five-week jump from 1.88% in early May, they hit 2.29% on Tuesday last week – they’ve retreated to 2.19% since then. Now investors are wondering out loud what would happen if ten-year Treasury yields were to return to more normal levels of 4% or even 5%, dragging other long-term interest rates with them. They know what would happen: carnage!
And according to Richter, there are already signs that the bond bubble is beginning to burst...
Wholesale dumping of Treasuries by exasperated foreigners has already commenced. Private foreigners dumped $30.8 billion in Treasuries in April, an all-time record. Official holders got rid of $23.7 billion in long-term Treasury debt, the highest since November 2008, and $30.1 billion in short-term debt. Sell, sell, sell!
Bond fund redemptions spoke of fear and loathing: in the week ended June 12, investors yanked $14.5 billion out of Treasury bond funds, the second highest ever, beating the prior second-highest-ever outflow of $12.5 billion of the week before. They were inferior only to the October 2008 massacre as chaos descended upon financial markets. $27 billion in two weeks!
In lockstep, average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates jumped from 3.59% in early May to 4.15% last week. The mortgage refinancing bubble, by which banks have creamed off billions in fees, is imploding – the index has plunged 36% since early May.
If interest rates start to climb significantly, that will have a dramatic affect on economic activity in the United States.

And we have seen this pattern before.

As Robert Wenzel noted in a recent article on the Economic Policy Journal, we saw interest rates rise suddenly just prior to the October 1987 stock market crash, and we also saw them rise substantially prior to the financial crisis of 2008...
As Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker left the Fed chairmanship in August 1987, the interest rate on the 10 year note climbed from 8.2% to 9.2% between June 1987 and September 1987. This was followed, of course by the October 1987 stock market crash.
As Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan left the Fed chairmanship at the end of January 2006, the interest rate on the 10 year note climbed from 4.35% to 4.65%. It then climbed above 5%.
So keep a close eye on interest rates in the months ahead.  If they start to rise significantly, that will be a red flag.

And it makes perfect sense why Bernanke is looking to hand over the reins of the Fed at this point.  He can probably sense the carnage that is coming and he wants to get out of Dodge while he still can.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

Millions of Lloyds customers will soon be locked out from using TSB branches or face £5-a-time fee

Millions of loyal Lloyds TSB customers will soon find themselves locked out of the bank branches they have used for years.
Many face having to stump up extra charges or wait days for their money to arrive in their accounts.
Over the coming months, 632 former Lloyds TSB branches, along with five million customers, will be shunted into a new bank called TSB to comply with a European Commission ruling.
Irritating: Lloyds customers will soon have to face waiting days for their cash to arrive in their bank accounts if they deposit in a TSB branch
Irritating: Lloyds customers will soon have to face waiting days for their cash to arrive in their bank accounts if they deposit in a TSB branch
The shake-up means people who remain Lloyds customers, but whose local branch becomes a TSB, face being forced to travel miles to do their banking.
They will also be hit with a £5-a-time fee if they pay in cash or reduce their credit card balances at the old branch, and will be banned from paying cheques into TSB branches.
Experts fear some Lloyds customers have no idea about the changes. Derek French, of the Campaign for Community Banking, says: ‘Many people probably haven’t realised what’s happening yet, but when it dawns on them it could turn into a very serious problem.
‘It is going to be very inconvenient for people — especially for those in areas where there is no other Lloyds TSB branch nearby.’
After the shake-up, Lloyds customers who want to make a deposit in their Lloyds account using a TSB branch will now have to wait days for their cash to arrive — meaning they face losing out on interest. Previously, the money arrived on the same day.
Credit card holders will also face delays, increasing the risk of penalty charges. Lloyds TSB customers who use TSB cash machines will also be barred from checking balances, receiving statements, making bill payments or paying in cash as they could previously.
A spokesman for TSB says Lloyds customers should use internet banking instead and that Lloyds will still have 1,300 branches.
He says: ‘While we are really sorry some customers may be inconvenienced if their local branch is transferred to TSB, Lloyds will still have one of the largest branch networks of any High Street bank. For most customers, there will be a Lloyds in the vicinity.’
More than 1,200 towns and large villages in the UK have been left without a bank, and 900 have just one branch remaining, according to a recent report by the Campaign For Community Banking.
Last year alone 288 bank branches shut as banks continued to push customers online to save cash or to counter services at the likes of the Post Office.
In many areas the closures have sparked protests from disgruntled customers and business account holders who face long journeys to do their banking.

The Derivative Bubble Becoming The Boomerang Could Take Down the Central Banks?

I have been listening to Max Kaiser, Paul Drockton, Gerald Celente and Robby Noel. They do very well 99 percent of the time. They are very credible and have much knowledge of the working of inside the Financial system. I been a student of the late Bob Chapman who spo9ke his mind and spoke from his gut. Not from the knowledge of reading Wall Street Publications. He knows how to read the wild cards in play the bankers do not control. He has predicted the derivative bubble will take down the Central Bankers and not so much the economies. The people and the nations will recover and the bankers will be in jail. What happened in Iceland is a microcosm of the things to come for the puppet leaders and the financial oligarchs.
Kaiser, Drockton, Noel and Celente are very good. But they all have a blind spot to really step back and see things for what they really are and the reality of the derivative bubble. They have been looking at things as insiders too long. They have not stepped back far enough to see the whole picture. Here is what they fail to understand about the derivative bubble. The derivative debt is over 1.5 quadrillion dollars. This is more money owed than is in actual existence on planet earth.
Second is the Derivative Debt is owed by these central bankers. They are insolvent living off bailouts of QE3 and QE infinity. The Federal Reserve Bank is in trouble because Venezuela, The State of Texas and Germany have all requested their gold on deposit to returned.  The Central Bank has been stonewalling returning the gold or not allowing Germany to visually see their gold.
Than we have the money being stolen from personal private banks accounts called a bail-in to prop up the Banksters to hide their insolvency. In he States the US Government is salivating over what is left. They want to steal of the Private pension funds. The people are broke. They will not be able to afford Obamacare or those Carbon taxes. The Fed cannot keep printing money out of thin air to fund the US Government. Soon hyperinflation will kick in making those paychecks to federal employees worthless. Many not showing up for work will cause the collapse of the US government and the final destruction of the dollar. Why? Because the growth of government, uncontrollable spending, the national debt and unfunded liabilities over 60 trillion cannot be sustained adding to the implementation of Obamacare being a fiscal train wreck might be the final nail in the coffin.
The fiat currency the central bankers used to fund to control the nations and their people might have a unintended consequence turning into quicksand that can start to make the central banks sink they did not see coming.
This is why they need a war and to disarm the American people of privately owned firearms. They have not been able to have the distraction of a major world war. Without their war of conquest. When the the economies and the currency collapses because the derivative bubble. Without a distraction or the American people not being disarmed. The puppet politicians and the bankers who back them all face arrest and prison time. That will be the least of their troubles.
The derivative debt which Bankers demand austerity, higher taxes and the turning over the infrastructure to pay off this derivative debt. QU3 and QE infinity buying up these toxic assets will come to an end if there is not a major distraction to divert people’s attention from the financial crimes. I do not see that happening. I see the people saying “no” to these bankers using fraud of the derivatives to blow out economies.
The derivatives the bankers created is their aquillies heel being a boomerang. The weapon they plan to use to enslave free humanity with slavery of a debt based currency forever working for the bankers to pay of a derivative debt mathematically impossible to pay off. This will be the weapon that will turn on them. They got away so long with the scam. It is just a matter of time what goes around comes around.
 That’s Karma
Wealth and power does not mean the Bankers will escape from justice. Arrogance and pride comes before the fall. These derivatives will boomerang against them. They know it. That is why they are desperate to start a conflict. Without a distraction, they are going down because justice always prevails.

GAO: Taxing Bitcoin

Following up on my previous post, The IRS Takes a Bite Out of Bitcoin (May 2, 2013): GAO, Virtual Economies and Currencies: Additional IRS Guidance Could Reduce Tax Compliance Risks (GAO-13-516):
Recent years have seen the development of virtual economies, such as those within online role-playing games, through which individual participants can own and exchange virtual goods and services. Within some virtual economies, virtual currencies have been created as a medium of exchange for goods and services. Virtual property and currency can be exchanged for real goods, services, and currency, and virtual currencies have been developed outside of virtual economies as alternatives to government-issued currencies, such as dollars. These innovations raise questions about related tax requirements and potential challenges for IRS compliance efforts.
This report (1) describes the tax reporting requirements for virtual economies and currencies, (2) identifies the potential tax compliance risks of virtual economies and currencies, and (3) assesses how IRS has addressed the tax compliance risks of virtual economies and currencies.

Britain's foreign aid madness: Cuts at home, but we STILL hand out more than every other G8 country

  • Between 2011 and 2012 several countries reined in foreign aid budgets
  • But cash-strapped Britain didn't and spends 0.56% of national income
  • Britain's aid make us the 'soft touch' of the international community
Austerity-hit Britain is spending a larger share of its wealth on foreign aid than any other G8 member nation, despite making huge spending cuts at home, a report revealed yesterday.
The G8 'accountability' review showed that between 2011 and 2012 several countries decided to rein in their foreign aid budgets. Japan, Italy and the US chose to focus on helping their own citizens, handing out a smaller percentage of their national income than the year before.
Italy was even given a 'red light' warning for failing to meet 'internationally agreed targets'. But cash-strapped Britain spent 0.56 per cent of national income on aid against 0.19 per cent in the US and just 0.03 per cent in Russia.
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Aid: Barack Obama has reduced US spending on foreign aid to 0.19 per cent of national income while Britain under David Cameron (right) has increased overseas spending to 0.56 per cent
Aid: Barack Obama has reduced US spending on foreign aid to 0.19 per cent of national income while Britain under David Cameron (right) has increased overseas spending to 0.56 per cent

Cuts: Russia under Vladimir Putin (right) spends only 0.03 per cent of national income on aid while Britain is set to hit 0.7 per cent this year
Cuts: Russia under Vladimir Putin (right) spends only 0.03 per cent of national income on aid while Britain is set to hit 0.7 per cent this year
And we are now on course to spend 0.7 per cent of our national income on overseas aid by the end of this financial year, despite dropping a plan to enshrine that commitment in law.
The report, published as David Cameron hosted the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, will renew complaints that Britain's aid commitments make us the 'soft touch' of the international community.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said: 'These figures prove that the Government wishes to burnish its moral credentials at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.
'Britain's foreign aid budget is rising while hospital accident and emergency departments, libraries and other public services are being cut back or closed.'
Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, a longstanding critic of the Government's foreign aid commitments, said: 'Other countries are making more sensible decisions about their priorities given the tough economic times we are in. We are now the mugs of the world. We're spending money we haven't got.
'They are making sure their spending across the board is being cut, not just on domestic things. I'm afraid it proves that our argument that if we do it everyone else will follow suit is just pure humbug.'

Mr Davies also rejected Mr Cameron's argument that Britain's lead on aid boosted its standing on the world stage. 'We'd be chairing the G8 whether or not we were giving this amount of money,' he insisted.
'It is a nonsensical argument. The truth is the Prime Minister made a promise he should not have made.
'He has now boxed himself in but he should be brave enough to say he made it in good faith but the economic situation is now so much more tough and more difficult than anyone anticipated that he has to react.'
The UK's aid spending stood at 0.56 per cent of national income in 2011/12, or £8.55billion, rising to £8.813billion in 2012/13. But the total is soaring this year to £11.554billion, or 0.7 per cent of national income, and will go up to £12.162billion in 2014/15.
Shake: Mr Obama and Mr Putin staged a show of unity at a G8 press conference last night, despite deep divisions over how to end the slaughter in Syria
Shake: Mr Obama and Mr Putin staged a show of unity at a G8 press conference last night, despite deep divisions over how to end the slaughter in Syria
Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It's absurd that the UK continues to increase the size of its aid budget far faster than the rest of the G8 despite the huge financial pressures at home.
'If the Department for International Development made better use of its existing budget and cut out lots of waste and bureaucracy, ministers could achieve even more abroad without increasing the burden on hard-pressed British families.
'Countries in far better economic health aren't spending anywhere  near as much of their national income on overseas aid, so it beggars  belief that our Government is still hiking the amount of our money it is committing.'
However Brendan Cox, from the IF campaign against global hunger, said: 'UK governments deserve real credit for delivering aid increases that have helped save millions of lives.
'But with one in eight people in the world going hungry it is high time that other countries also stepped up to the mark and provided the cash they have promised.'
Last week, Mr Cameron attempted to justify Britain's aid spending, insisting: 'National interest is not just about standing up for yourself but standing up for what's right.
'When a country like Somalia fractures and breaks, that affects us, not just in the terrorism threatened on our streets, or the flows of mass immigration but in the piracy off the Horn of Africa that affects British trade.
'When there is instability in the Gulf it affects us too – because 100,000 British citizens live there.
'On the other hand, as nations develop and as their middle class grows – that presents huge opportunities for an exporter like Britain.
'We made the decision to protect the aid budget because I believe this commitment is in Britain's long-term interests. Yes, this is a moral issue, but it is an economic one too.'

Village in M'sia in panic over bigfoot print

Bigfoot-like footprints in Negeri Sembilan (Getty) 
Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - ABOUT 200 Bigfoot-like footprints have been discovered at a village near the state of Negeri Sembilan, causing panic among villagers, reported Malay-language newspaper Harian Metro.
Villager Adnan Pungut, 48, claimed he discovered the footprints when he was clearing rubbish and wood at his rubber estate at 3pm on Saturday.
"I immediately informed the others because I was scared. I told the other villagers and all of us went back to the area.
"We found 200 footprints that were about the same size and tried to follow them," he was quoted as saying.
"Based on the footprints, we can assume that the creature has two legs and weighs more than 100kg," he said.
According to Adnan, further checks by villagers found that the creature could be headed towards a nearby forest.
The report stated that the villagers decided not to pursue the creature as they were afraid.
"We will let the authorities handle it as the animal could be endangered," Adnan said.

Dolphin 'dies after China tourist abuse'

Dolphin 'dies after China tourist abuse'
A dolphin has died in China after tourists hoisted it out of the water to pose with it for photographs, state media said Tuesday, provoking outrage online.
Images posted online showed a group of tourists manhandling the grey creature, which washed ashore on a beach Sunday in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, the state-run Shanghai Daily reported, adding that it later died of "excessive bleeding."
The dolphin might have collided with a fishing boat before it became stranded, the paper quoted an expert as saying.
But instead of trying to help the distressed animal, a crowd of bathers gathered in the water to pose with it, images posted online showed. Several men lifted the dolphin above the water as one of them flexed his muscles for the camera.
Users of China's Twitter-like social media service Sina Weibo reacted with outrage at the photographs on Tuesday.
"When even the basic respect of life is lost, I just want to say, how can I be proud of you, China?" one user said in a typical comment.
"Chinese style tourism is not about relaxation, but for showing off where one has been... Only by posting the pictures and getting praise and compliments, can the tourist feel he didn't spend the money in vain," another said.
"Dolphins, as highly evolved mammals, have an IQ only a little lower than humans. But those people in the pictures are worse than pigs," wrote another.
China, which has a growing animal rights movement, does not currently have any laws to protect non-endangered animals.

Jeff Berwick, Founder of DollarVigilante on Monday’s Episode of Intellihub with Shepard Ambellas June 17 8:00 PM

Unbound Radio

A dollar vigilante is a free market individual who protests the government monopoly on money and financial policies such as fractional reserve banking and un-backed fiat currencies by selling those same fiat currencies in favor of other assets, often including gold and precious metals.
”A dollar vigilante is a free market individual who protests the government monopoly on money and financial policies such as fractional reserve banking and un-backed fiat currencies by selling those same fiat currencies in favor of other assets, often including gold and precious metals.”
by Avalon
June 18, 2013
Jeff Berwick, founder of, was the featured guest on UnboundRadio’s Intellihub broadcast with Shepard Ambellas on June 17, 2013 at 8 PM EST.
LISTEN to the broadcast NOW

Surviving & Prospering during and after the Dollar Collapse

”A dollar vigilante is a free market individual who protests the government monopoly on money and financial policies such as fractional reserve banking and un-backed fiat currencies by selling those same fiat currencies  in favor of other assets, often including gold and precious metals.”
Quoting directly from The Dollar Vigilante website on Jeff’s remarkable background:
A self-described financial freedom fighter, Jeff Berwick founded Canada’s largest financial website,, in 1994. The company expanded worldwide into 8 different countries and had a market capitalization of $240 million USD at the peak of the tech bubble. He was the CEO from 1994 until 2002 when he sold the company and still continued on as a director afterwards until 2007. was and still is used by nearly a million investors. After Stockhouse, Berwick went forth to travel the world by sailboat but after one year of sailing his boat sank in a storm off the coast of El Salvador. After being saved clinging to his surfboard with nothing but a pair of surfing shorts left of his material possessions he decided to travel the world as spontaneously as possible with one overarching goal: See and understand the world with his own eyes, not through the lens of the media. During this time he met and spoke with a plethora of amazing people, from self-made billionaires to some of the brightest minds in finance – as well as entrepreneurs running street noodle carts in Shanghai and Tacos Al Pastor stalls in the smallest of towns in Mexico. He also read everything he could find on how the world really works politically and financially – a pursuit he continues to this day. He is now the founder and Chief Editor of The Dollar Vigilante, a free-market financial newsletter with its groundings in Austrian economics. Source: The Dollar Vigilante
During the interview with Shepard Ambellas, the topics covered included Jeff’s outlook on the coming economic collapse and ways to prepare and survive it. Interestingly, this includes exiting the United States, which many people have probably seriously considered. It is important to note that Jeff works with a group of like-minded people whose bios are on the site – for example:
The Dollar Vigilante (TDV) is a joint-venture publication founded by two respected free-market speakers and analysts in the financial sector, Jeff Berwick and Ed Bugos.  Both Jeff and Ed consider themselves financial freedom fighters and have written extensively in the past about the ongoing and impending collapse of the US dollar based financial system.  They joined forces to publish TDV, a publication and community for dollar crash survivors. Source: Who Is TDV
A great article on posted April 5, 2013 features Jeff Berwick in a FOX News appearance just after the Cyprus Banking Crisis hit. The article Jeff Berwick Blasts Central Banking in Mainstream Media Appearance talks about the quick announcement made by Jeff, that the first Bitcoin ATM would be opening up in Cyprus, to help the people there get their wealth off the grid, and get rid of their government backed fiat currency.
Some of the topics covered by Jeff at are:
  • “The Big Picture” – A regular review and analysis of the latest happenings from the entire global financial and political sphere.
  • “Economic Analysis” – Coverage of important economic trends that will include the monthly money supply report in which our chief analyst, Ed Bugos, reviews changes in money and banking policies, from an Austrian economics viewpoint, emanating from the world’s major central banks
  • Investment and portfolio recommendations on how to keep the wealth you have and increase it in today’s confusing and fast moving times
  • Specific stock recommendations in gold and silver stocks as well as other areas which may perform well including agriculture and energy
  • “Expatriation of Ass & Assets” – News and information on how to expatriate both your physical self and your financial wealth.  From planting flags in a few different countries in which to place your gold and cash to ideas and insights into topics such as the best places to purchase a 2nd home, for incredibly cheap, in order to avoid some of the social uprising about to spread.  Other topics of interest include how and where to get a 2nd passport.
  • “Survival & Health News & Notes” – News, tips and information on such topics as self-sufficiency (eg. food storage, living off the grid), self-defense, health and other items we consider to be just as important as your financial and residential status – especially if you are going to be in the best shape possible to survive the coming storm
Jeff’s The DollarVigilante YouTube channel and Facebook account can keep you up to date on his activity. People interested in Registering can do so at the Registration Page on has information on Expatriation Resources, Retirement Resources and Subscriber Write-ups on the following Countries. Source: TDV Resources
  • Argentina 
  • Barbados 
  • Brazil 
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Chile 
  • Dominican Republic
  • Estonia 
  • Guatemala 
  • Malaysia 
  • Mexico 
  • Myanmar 
  • New Zealand 
  • Paraguay 
  • Panama 
  • Thailand 
  • Uruguay
You can also check out Jeff’s Blog at for great articles.
UnboundRadio want to extend our thanks to Jeff Berwick for being a guest on Intellihub with Shepard Ambellas, which was broadcast June 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM EST located on
An upcoming event scheduled for Thursday, October 24 at 8:30am – October 25 at 6:00pm is The Silver Summit 2013
The Silver Summit is the world’s premier silver event. At 11 years running it includes all things silver! Explorers, producers, coin and jewelry dealers, newsletter and writers will fill the booths while the gurus of the Silver world educate and deliver advice for Silver investors. This conference is a must attend for anyone involved in the Silver sector and is sure to be a brilliant two day event. Source:
Cambridge House International Inc YouTube
Founded in 1995 Cambridge House International Inc. has grown to be the world leader in producing resource investment conferences, specifically in the mineral exploration sector. The conferences are held throughout North America and bring together the industry in efficient two-day events. Exhibitors are made up of public companies involved with mineral exploration, oil & gas, clean technology along with media, and service providers. Attendance attracts a mix of novice to expert retail, accredited and institutional investors. Top CEO’s, hedge fund managers, newsletter writers, trends forecasters, geologists, investing celebrities and industry analysts deliver strong messages and knowledge from behind the podiums to educate and inform these investors. The conferences are a monumental place for networking, investment discovery, education and enjoyment! Source:
Jeff Berwick – The Dollar Vigilante – @Cambridge House Live – June 2012
Published on Jun 4, 2012
3,158 views June 18, 2013 at 9:45 AM  and  founder Jeff Berwick speaks with Jonathan Roth of Cambridge House Live at the World Resource Investment Conference – June 3-4, 2012. Topics include the global economy, gold and silver, inflation, liberty, anarchy and Jeff’s prediction for the coming collapse of the global financial system. Please visit:


The views expressed in articles are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the will not be held responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in articles. reserves the right to remove articles from the website. Posted 06–18–2013 at 14:50 PM
Avalon is an Investigative Journalist and Strategist working for 

Obama Cans Regulator Who Crossed Wall Street

The Obama Administration is quietly firing Commodity Futures Trading Commission head Gary Gensler, who ran afoul of big banks by pushing for greater government oversight.

Photo via Flickr/Diane Miller/Creative Commons License

The ouster comes in the midst of controversy over a proposed CFTF rule, strongly supported by Gensler, that would extend U.S. regulation to swaps--a kind of derivative exhange--involving firms founded or doing business in the United States. This means that foreign banks and hedge funds would face the same regulations as U.S. ones when trading in swaps with U.S. parties.
Wall Street fiercely opposes this regulation on the grounds that it discourages trade. Yet, supporters insist the regulation is necessary to give a modicum of oversight to vast swaths of the derivatives market marred by the same lack of regulation that paved the way for the 2008 economic collapse.
Gensler was set to meet with European regulators June 20, and his dismissal could seriously jeopardize this proposal, the Huffington Post reports.
This is not the first time Gensler has clashed openly with bankers. The Huffington Post describes his tenure:
A former Goldman Sachs executive who was viewed skeptically by some liberal lawmakers when he was first nominated in 2009, Gensler has become perhaps Wall Street’s leading foe as he has sought to curb risk and expand transparency and competition in the previously opaque market for a type of derivatives known as swaps.
Gensler has transformed a once-unknown agency to one at the forefront of financial regulation as CFTC rules are shaking up a marketplace unaccustomed to government supervision. His rules threaten to decrease profits at the nation’s largest banks as formerly unregulated activities are forced to comply with provisions that help buyers compare prices and compel banks to stump up more cash to back their trades.
Gensler will be replaced by former senate staffer Amanda Renteria, who worked briefly for Goldman Sachs and has little financial oversight experience.

Criminal Malpractice: Fitch Blasts China, Predicts Implosion

Fitch says China credit bubble unprecedented in modern world history ... China's shadow banking system is out of control and under mounting stress as borrowers struggle to roll over short-term debts, Fitch Ratings has warned. Fitch warned that wealth products worth $2 trillion of lending are in reality a "hidden second balance sheet" for banks, allowing them to circumvent loan curbs and dodge efforts by regulators to halt the excesses. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: China is the coming monster on the international stage. A real capitalist success story.
Free-Market Analysis: At the end of this article, we'll reveal where the "malpractice" mentioned in this headline lies. But first, at the risk of repeating ourselves, let us remind readers, "We told you so."
For years we've been writing that the Chinese Miracle is nothing more than the Japanese Miracle writ large and that it would have a similarly messy end. This seemed obvious to us, and increasingly to others.
Some background. Western powers, especially the US, made a deal with Japan in which Japan printed money and then funneled that money to the US, especially, to fund the US deficit. In return, Japanese products were facilitated in the US and the Japanese economy boomed.
The result was that the Japanese economy was further Westernized and huge multinationals emerged out of Japan. The US did well, also, funding its vast military-industrial complex for a decade.
When the Japanese Miracle sputtered, the same sort of deal was made with China. And that has been underway for what looks like at least two decades. Now the Western powers are gearing up to do this in Africa. Probably won't work. But there are obviously efforts underway and we've written about them a good deal.
In part, we figure attention is turning to Africa because the Chinese Miracle is beginning to fizzle. It seems to be running down now just the way the Japanese one did. Central bank stimulation can only go so far before it ruins an economy, and the Chinese economy is in a fair bit of trouble now.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
We've explained for years, in the face of a tidal wave of mainstream China adulation – that the Chinese model of capitalism was a kind of Potemkin Village. It appeared to be competitive but at the top it was nothing of the sort. The ChiComs were in power and are still in power and when and where it mattered there was only an appearance of competition.
We're supposed to believe that after thousands of years of poverty, authoritarianism and warfare, the Chinese socialist model managed in 30 years to bring peace and prosperity to 1.3 billion people. Not really ...
The engine of the Great Chinese Boom is not, unfortunately, the hard work and intelligence of a cohesive, wise and ancient culture but likely the incredible monetary stimulation of the modern Chinese central bank. The great Chinese prosperity was probably in large part no more than a credit bubble, the biggest the world has ever seen. And now Fitch is saying the same thing. Here's more:
The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying tougher times ahead. "The credit-driven growth model is clearly falling apart. This could feed into a massive over-capacity problem, and potentially into a Japanese-style deflation," said Charlene Chu, the agency's senior director in Beijing.
"There is no transparency in the shadow banking system, and systemic risk is rising. We have no idea who the borrowers are, who the lenders are, and what the quality of assets is, and this undermines signalling," she told The Daily Telegraph.
While the non-performing loan rate of the banks may look benign at just 1pc, this has become irrelevant as trusts, wealth-management funds, offshore vehicles and other forms of irregular lending make up over half of all new credit. "It means nothing if you can off-load any bad asset you want. A lot of the banking exposure to property is not booked as property," she said.
Concerns are rising after a string of upsets in Quingdao, Ordos, Jilin and elsewhere, in so-called trust products, a $1.4 trillion (£0.9 trillion) segment of the shadow banking system. Bank Everbright defaulted on an interbank loan 10 days ago amid wild spikes in short-term "Shibor" borrowing rates, a sign that liquidity has suddenly dried up.
"Typically stress starts in the periphery and moves to the core, and that is what we are already seeing with defaults in trust products," she said. Fitch warned that wealth products worth $2 trillion of lending are in reality a "hidden second balance sheet" for banks, allowing them to circumvent loan curbs and dodge efforts by regulators to halt the excesses. This niche is the epicentre of risk.
All this will be familiar to Daily Bell readers. We've been writing about the lack of transparency, about the impossibly vast central banking-fueled real estate expansion, about how the ChiComs themselves will do anything to keep the bubble expanded because a contraction may cause the entire system to collapse.
Years later, Fitch agrees. With tens of millions in resources, prestigious contracts for analysis around the world, top young minds from the best colleges ... Fitch has brought its tremendous acumen to bear and discovered ... what? Things the Internet has warned about for years.
We're not that brilliant, of course. We don't need to take any bows. We just apply the Austrian, free-market paradigm. It allows us to see clearly what's taking place in this weary world.
But credit agencies like Fitch resolutely refuse to use the model. This is a kind of crime; these agencies should be sued for a deliberate lack of competence. All of them missed the Great Crash of 2008-2009, as well.
In fact, from what we recall, not a single Wall Street agency or researcher anticipated the greatest downturn since the Great Depression. Neither did Ben Bernanke, who defended the credit bubble right up until it collapsed.
Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul warned about it. But they called him a crank. Still do. But the Austrian, free-market business cycle model has predicted everything taking place today. Not Keynes. Not Gesell. Not Bernanke.
Even now, some five years later, the top men of these ratings agencies are consistently surprised by the world's ongoing macro-failures. We're supposed to be surprised, too. But we're not.
It is the crime of the modern age, the real scandal of the 21st century, that economics and the securities industry continue to resolutely ignore the one paradigm that works.
Conclusion: The real malfeasance lies with the West's top money-men, the self-described globalists who have installed this dysfunctional central banking system around the world and continually insist on its efficacy, even as it bankrupts country after country.

Madoff's UK unit was "warehouse for stolen money": liquidators' representative

Accused swindler Bernard Madoff (front) enters the Manhattan federal court house in New York March 12, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - U.S. fraudster Bernard Madoff used his London-based company to "warehouse" huge amounts of money stolen from the Ponzi scheme and buy luxury items for himself, a court heard on Wednesday.
The liquidators of UK-based Madoff Securities International Limited (MSIL) began a civil case in London's High Court on Monday against defendants including Madoff's brother Peter and his son Andrew, as well as Stephen Raven, chief executive of the UK unit, and Bank Medici founder Sonja Kohn.
The case by the liquidators, who are trying to recover $80 million, centers on loans between Madoff's London and New York operations and payments by the UK firm to Kohn for research, and the extent of the liability of the directors of the London unit.
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence for his Ponzi scheme, which was revealed in 2008 and which is estimated by Irving Picard, the trustee seeking money for Madoff's victims, to have led to $17.3 billion of investor losses.
"Mr. Madoff was warehousing very, very large amounts of stolen money in his directors' account in London," said Pushpinder Saini QC, representing the liquidators.
"The London directors allowed him to use the directors' account as his personal bank account in London. (That) assisted him in making purchases of luxury items using MSIL's accounts."
Saini said claims by directors of the UK firm not to know about Madoff's fraud "doesn't get them off the hook" as they "ought to ask questions" about the firm's payments.
"Between 2005 and 2008 the directors were happily sending it (the money) over to New York where it was used for fictitious T-bill trading," he said.
"So absurd was the situation that Mr. Madoff had to make payments to the (UK) company so they could pay him the interest (on the loans)."
In 2009 Reuters revealed that Madoff had moved nearly $160 million of his own assets to his British-based firm in 2007, via the allotment of two sets of new shares in the firm.
In a statement on Tuesday Raven's lawyer said, "As far as the London operation was concerned it was a legitimate proprietary trading business, well capitalised with what the directors believed was a small part of Mr. Madoff's wealth, undertaking an honest trading business.
"The claims that Mr. Raven and his co-directors breached their duties to the company are plainly wrong and are based solely on the wisdom of hindsight."
Britain's Serious Fraud Office said in 2009 that it had begun investigating Madoff's British operations but it dropped the probe the following year.
Saini also said on Wednesday that payments made to Kohn for research were "hidden from auditors" and that the research she provided was "worthless" and a "sham".
Kohn has in the past denied knowledge of Madoff's fraud and claimed instead to be a victim.
The case comes as Picard battles in the courts to recover money for victims and stop Madoff-related litigation that he believes interferes with his own. According to his website, Picard has recovered $9.3 billion for victims.
The High Court case is scheduled to continue on Thursday.
(Reporting by Laurence Fletcher; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

Peter Schiff: Too Big To Fail Banks Will Fail Again

Peter Schiff: US economy is “completely phony”, take away cheap money & it implodes

Bank of America Whistle-blower Bombshell: “We Were Told to Lie” to Rip Off Borrowers

Bank of America whistle-blowers detail horrid schemes to fleece borrowers, reward staff for foreclosures.

Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid their staff bonuses for deliberately pushing people into foreclosure: Yes, these allegations were suspected by any homeowner who ever had to deal with the bank to try to get a loan modification – but now they come from six former employees and one contractor, whose sworn statements were added last week to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
“Bank of America’s practice is to string homeowners along with no apparent intention of providing the permanent loan modifications it promises,” said Erika Brown, one of the former employees. The damning evidence would spur a series of criminal investigations of BofA executives, if we still had a rule of law in this country for Wall Street banks.
The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards, was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners (to date, active permanent modifications number about 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner famously described HAMP as a means to “foam the runway” for the banks, spreading out foreclosures so banks could more readily absorb them.

These Bank of America employees offer the first glimpse into how they pulled it off. Employees, many of whom allege they were given no basic training on how to even use HAMP, were instructed to tell borrowers that documents were incomplete or missing when they were not, or that the file was “under review” when it hadn’t been accessed in months. Former loan-level representative Simone Gordon says flat-out in her affidavit that “we were told to lie to customers” about the receipt of documents and trial payments. She added that the bank would hold financial documents borrowers submitted for review for at least 30 days. “Once thirty days passed, Bank of America would consider many of these documents to be ‘stale’ and the homeowner would have to re-apply for a modification,” Gordon writes. Theresa Terrelonge, another ex-employee, said that the company would consistently tell homeowners to resubmit information, restarting the clock on the HAMP process.
Worse than this, Bank of America would simply throw out documents on a consistent basis. Former case management supervisor William Wilson alleged that, during bimonthly sessions called the “blitz,” case managers and underwriters would simply deny any file with financial documents that were more than 60 days old. “During a blitz, a single team would decline between 600 and 1,500 modification files at a time,” Wilson wrote. “I personally reviewed hundreds of files in which the computer systems showed that the homeowner had fulfilled a Trial Period Plan and was entitled to a permanent loan modification, but was nevertheless declined for a permanent modification during a blitz.” Employees were then instructed to make up a reason for the denial to submit to the Treasury Department, which monitored the program. Others say that bank employees falsified records in the computer system and removed documents from homeowner files to make it look like the borrower did not qualify for a permanent modification.
Senior managers provided carrots and sticks for employees to lie to customers and push them into foreclosure. Simone Gordon described meetings where managers created quotas for lower-level employees, and a bonus system for reaching those quotas. Employees “who placed ten or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month received a $500 bonus,” Gordon wrote. “Bank of America also gave employees gift cards to retail stores like Target or Bed Bath and Beyond as rewards for placing accounts into foreclosure.” Employees were closely monitored, and those who didn’t meet quotas, or who dared to give borrowers accurate information, were fired, as was anyone who “questioned the ethics … of declining loan modifications for false and fraudulent reasons,” according to William Wilson.
Bank of America characterized the affidavits as “rife with factual inaccuracies.” But they match complaints from borrowers having to resubmit documents multiple times, and getting denied for permanent modifications despite making all trial payments. And these statements come from all over the country from ex-employees without a relationship to one another. It did not result from one “rogue” bank branch.
Simply put, Bank of America didn’t want to hire enough staff to handle the crush of loan modification requests, and used these delaying tactics as a shortcut. They also pushed people into foreclosure to collect additional fees from them. And after rejecting borrowers for HAMP modifications, they would offer an in-house modification with a higher interest rate. This was all about profit maximization. “We were regularly drilled that it was our job to maximize fees for the Bank by fostering and extending delay of the HAMP modification process by any means we could,” wrote Simone Gordon in her affidavit.
It is a testament to the corruption of the federal regulatory and law enforcement apparatus that we’re only hearing evidence from inside Bank of America now, in a civil class-action lawsuit from wronged homeowners, when the behavior was so rampant for years. For example, the Treasury Department, charged with specific oversight for HAMP, didn’t sanction a single bank for failing to follow program guidelines for three years, and certainly did not uncover any of this criminal conduct. Steven Cupples, a former underwriter at Bank of America, explained in his statement how the bank falsified records to Treasury to make it look like they granted more modifications. But Treasury never investigated. Meanwhile, the Justice Department joined with state Attorneys General and other federal regulators to essentially bless this conduct in a series of weak settlements that incorporated other bank crimes as well, like “robo-signing” and submitting false documents to courts.
These affidavits, however, should return law enforcement to the case. William Wilson, the case management supervisor, alleges in his statement that this “ridiculous and immoral” conduct continued through August of 2012, when he was eventually fired for speaking up. That means Bank of America persisted with these activities for at least six months AFTER the main, $25 billion settlement to which they were a party. So state and federal regulators could sue Bank of America over this new criminal conduct, which post-dates the actions for which they released liability under the main settlement. Attorneys general in New York andFlorida have accused Bank of America of violating the terms of the settlement, but they could simply open new cases about these new deceptive practices.
They would have no shortage of evidence, in addition to the sworn affidavits. According to Theresa Terrelonge, most loan-level representatives conducted their business through email; in fact, various email communications have already been submitted under seal in the Massachusetts civil case. State Attorneys General or US Attorneys would have subpoena power to gather many more emails.
And they would have very specific targets: the ex-employees listed specific executives by name who authorized and directed the fraudulent process. “The delay and rejection programs were methodically carried out under the overall direction of Patrick Kerry, a Vice President who oversaw the entire eastern region’s loan modification process,” wrote William Wilson. Other executives mentioned by name include John Berens, Patricia Feltch and Rebecca Mairone (now at JPMorgan Chase, and already named in a separate financial fraud case). These are senior executives who, if this alleged conduct is true, should face criminal liability.
Bank accountability activists have already seized on the revelations. “This is not surprising, but absolutely sickening,” said Peggy Mears, organizer for the Home Defenders League. “Maybe finally our courts and elected officials will stand with communities over Wall Street and prosecute, and then lock up, these criminals.”
Sadly, it’s hard to raise hopes of that happening. Past experience shows that our top regulatory and law enforcement officials are primarily interested in covering for Wall Street’s crimes. These well-sourced allegations amount to an accusation of Bank of America stealing thousands of homes, and lying to the government about it. Homeowners who did everything asked of them were nevertheless pushed into foreclosure, all to fortify profits on Wall Street. There’s a clear path to punish Bank of America for this conduct. If it doesn’t result in prosecutions, it will once again confirm the sorry excuse for justice we have in America.
This article originally appeared on: AlterNet

Fed seen keeping options open on pace of bond buying

By Alister Bull
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve policymakers will likely announce on Wednesday that they will keep buying bonds at a monthly pace of $85 billion, while keeping their options open to scale back the program later this year if the U.S. labor market continues to improve.
Economic data since the 19 officials met in May has been mixed. Employment growth was steady and consumers kept spending despite the drag of tax hikes and government spending cuts. But inflation slowed further beneath the Fed's 2 percent target.
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will announce its decision at 2 p.m. EDT Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference 30 minutes later.
"Should the outlook improve as the Fed expects, then it may continue to lay the groundwork for a tapering of purchases at upcoming FOMC meetings," Michael Gapen, an economist with Barclays in New York, said.
"However, should the data evolve more in line with our forecast, then we see the Fed as refraining from tapering until the first quarter of 2014," he wrote in a note to clients. Barclays currently expects weaker 2013 GDP growth than the Fed has forecast.
Bernanke will likely take care to draw a bright line between the possibility of a slower pace of bond purchases, which would still add stimulus to the economy, and an actual tightening of monetary policy that would take it away.
The U.S. central bank has held overnight interest rates near zero since December 2008 while more than tripling its balance sheet to around $3.3 trillion with its bond buying.
Economists expect rates to stay on hold until 2015, but the view of the lift-off date in financial markets has shifted forward since Bernanke fired up speculation last month that the Fed could soon curb its asset buying.
The chairman is also likely to be quizzed on his future plans after President Barack Obama hinted in an interview on Monday that Bernanke was ready to step down once his current term expires on January 31, 2014.
Any change in how officials describe inflation that places more stress on recent low readings could signal a desire to push back expectations of bond tapering. Bernanke's comment on May 22 that the Fed could begin to curtail purchases at one of its "next few meetings" rocked financial markets and drove bond yields sharply higher.
The consumer price index was up 1.4 percent in May from a year ago. But the PCE price index, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge, rose just 0.7 percent in the 12 months through April, the most recent reading, less than half the Fed's target.
The Fed in recent months has played down the threat that low inflation could be a harbinger of a damaging deflation and has argued that inflation would head back toward the 2 percent goal.
Still, many economists think the central bank would be loath to ease up on its stimulus until inflation turns higher.
In its last statement on May 1, the Fed acknowledged inflation had been running "somewhat below" its goal, but noted that longer-term inflation expectations had remained stable.
"The most important moving part is how the Fed characterizes inflation. At the May meeting, they studiously avoided discussing the drop in inflation," Vincent Reinhart, Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. economist, said.
Minutes of the May meeting revealed a wide split among policymakers. A "number" of the 19 supported slowing the pace of bond purchases as early as this week's policy meeting. But "most" wanted evidence the recovery was proceeding before scaling back; this group also argued for the Fed to be ready to raise the pace of purchases if needed.
In the end, the Fed inserted language into its statement to explicitly acknowledge that bond buying could be dialed up as well as down if the recovery faltered as it sought to preserve its policymaking flexibility.
No change in that language is expected on Wednesday.
The central bankers will also release a quarterly summary of economic projections, including forecasts for growth, inflation and unemployment, plus when they each think the Fed should start raising interest rates.
The Fed says it will not lift rates until unemployment hits 6.5 percent or lower, provided that the outlook for inflation stays under 2.5 percent. The U.S. jobless rate in May was 7.6 percent, and economists do not expect the threshold to be met for a couple of years.
(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Leslie Adler)

Nikkei outperforms Asian stocks as Fed looms

By Ian Chua
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday, thanks to a positive lead from Wall Street plus a softer yen, outperforming the rest of Asia which anxiously seeks clarity on the Federal Reserve's next policy step.
Major currencies were mostly subdued ahead of the end of the Fed meeting. A policy statement is due at 1800 GMT (1400 EDT) and Chairman Ben Bernanke will brief media half an hour later.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> eased 0.3 percent, led by a 1.3 percent fall in mainland Chinese stocks <.csi3000>. Share markets in Hong Kong (.HSI) and South Korea (.KS11) were also lower.
Tokyo's Nikkei average (.N225) bucked the region's softer trend to rise 1.1 percent as exporters such as Honda Motors benefited from a softer yen. Gains in Japanese stocks followed a rise of 0.8 percent in the U.S. S&P 500 index (.SPX).
"Speculation about the Fed's decision is still keeping investors on the sidelines, so volume may be low. But Wall Street's optimistic stance on the Fed outcome is serving as a tailwind to Japanese stocks," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Bernanke has the opportunity to soothe market jitters about a possible scaling back of the bank's $85 billion monthly bond-purchase program. But nobody is sure how markets will interpret his stance.
The quantitative easing policy has helped fuel a global rally in stock markets and recent talk of a pullback in stimulus has knocked major indexes off their highs.
Indeed, the MSCI index has dropped about 8 percent since May 22 when Bernanke told Congress that a decision to dial down its bond-buying program could come in the "next few meetings" if the U.S. economy maintained its momentum.
Emerging markets, commodity currencies and U.S. Treasuries were among the hardest hit as investors rushed to take profits in a reaction that many analysts have described as overblown.
"We expect the chairman to highlight that tapering is not necessarily tightening, but instead is a slowing in the pace of accommodation," said Michael Gapen, analyst at Barclays Capital.
"Whether the chairman succeeds in convincing markets that tapering is conditional on incoming data, as opposed to a foregone conclusion, and that a willingness to taper should be separated from the remaining components of the exit strategy remains an open question," he wrote in a note.
With the Fed outcome looming, currency investors retreated to the sidelines. That saw the dollar just a touch firmer against a basket of major currencies (.DXY).
Against the yen, the dollar was flat at 95.21, holding onto recent gains, while the euro was also little changed at 127.45, following a near 1-percent rally on Tuesday.
The euro bought $1.3390, remaining near a four-month peak of $1.3416.
Commodities were also marking time with U.S. crude flat at $98.40 per barrel and copper at $7,004 per metric ton.
Gold was steadier at $1,365 an ounce, following a 1.2 percent slide on Tuesday amid uncertainty about the Fed outcome.
(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo; Editing by Eric Meijer and Richard Borsuk)

US Treasury Gold – Is It There?

gold-wallGold Silver Worlds – by Gary Christenson
The official gold holdings (rounded numbers) of the US Treasury Dept. are as follows (link is here):  
US Treasury Gold physical market
Does anyone really think that gold is unencumbered, unleased, and actually physically there?  Yes, I know…
a)   They would not lie to us, right?
b)   The official numbers must be true, right?
c)   They seem like trustworthy people, right?
d)   Why wouldn’t it be there?
Glad you asked that question.  Why wouldn’t it be there?  Gold is a bit like an “anti-dollar.”  The Federal Reserve creates new dollars by the trillions – dollars are their product.  Gold has been real money for 5,000 years world-wide.  Federal Reserve notes have been passed off as money for a few decades, and in that time they have lost most of their value as measured against commodities such as wheat, gasoline, and cigarettes.
It could have been worse!  Western central banks (officially) and governments sold a considerable sum of gold during the 1990s to help repress the price of gold and to slow the apparent decline in the value of paper money.  They also “leased” an unknown amount of gold to bullion banks who also sold that gold into the market.  The leases are still “on the books” so the central banks officially still own the gold, even though it is probably long gone – likely to China, Russia, India and the Middle East.
Yes, central banks and governments have motive, means and opportunity to suppress the price of gold.  They want to support their product (dollars, euros etc.) and to defeat the competition – gold.  If you were a central banker or treasury official who was inflating his currency and consequently reducing its purchasing power, wouldn’t you want to suppress the price of gold to delay recognition of your involvement in the devaluation process?
So why not just do an audit?  This is a simple question with a complex set of answers.  Here are a few.
a)   The US gold has not been audited in over 50 years.  This must seem strange to any thinking person but it appears unlikely to change.
b)   If the Treasury agrees to an audit and the gold is not there, the result will be much unpleasantness – possible indictments, damaged reputations, social unrest, chaos, disillusionment, and destroyed trust – and there is plenty of disillusionment and destroyed trust already.
c)   If the Treasury performs an audit and the audit claims the gold is actually there, will anyone believe the results of the audit?  Is it truly unencumbered – not sold, leased, or hypothecated?  Would we even believe an audit had been actually performed?
d)   If the Treasury acknowledges the lack of a credible audit for over 50 years, and then says “we don’t think it is necessary,” will anyone take them seriously?
e)   The Treasury might claim an audit would be too expensive, but the US government probably wastes the cost of an audit every few hours, so that explanation is likely to sound hollow and stupid.
Bottom line:  The whole subject of an audit is fraught with potential trouble for both the Treasury and the Fed.  The simple solution is to stonewall the audit question and “extend and pretend.”
The problem is that the questions just won’t die.  GATA has researched the subject thoroughly and suggests that much of the Treasury gold is probably gone.  Eric Sprott has examined the export numbers (official US government export data) and concluded that somehow the US exported about 4,500 tons of gold more than can reasonably be accounted for.
Germany asked for their gold back – a measly 300 tons – and was told it would take seven years to return their gold.  It the gold was physically in the vault and unencumbered, it should have taken a few weeks at most.  Seven years – really?  This must seem strange to any thinking person.
From Bill Holter:  I would like to address the biggest (in my mind) conspiracy theory (fact) of all.  It has been “said” for nearly 60 years that the U.S. has 8,400 tons of gold left.  First off, there has been no audit done since 1956, not even Senators or Representatives (except for one time in the ’70′s for glance) have been allowed to actually see the gold.  “Trust us” is what the population has heard, “trust us” is what foreigners are told…trust us, trust us, trust us.  The problem is that so much anecdotal evidence has been dug up by GATA and others.  Eric Sprott just last month looked at the U.S. gold export numbers going back 10 years or more and found that 4,500 tons OVER AND ABOVE what are reported as production has been shipped out.  Where did that gold come from?  When looked at with your 3rd grade mind in gear, there is no way that the gold is really there.
… Forget about all of the past official memos uncovered.  Forget all of the evidence that GATA has uncovered over the last 15 years.  Forget that Germany asked for their gold and were told “wait 7 years.”  Forget that gold and silverprices have not acted like any other market since the mid 90’s and those prices have now crashed 3 times in the face of massive demand.  Forget that 2 of the smash downs occurred WHILE the CFTC was supposedly “investigating” the silver market.  Forget that 40% of the world’s total gold production was sold in reckless fashion in less than 12 trading hours (who would, could, do this?)  FORGET IT ALL!  …trust us.  …  All of this “conspiracy stuff” when put together rather than separately makes sense.”
I don’t know how much of the US Treasury gold remains, but I have two (only slightly serious) suggestions:
a)   A very large number of readers on the site have voted over the past several months regarding what % of the gold they think remains in the US Treasury.  The choices were all of it, most of it (>75%), about half (40% to 75%), some (20% – 40%) or very little (<20 21="" 40="" 60="" about="" and="" another="" b="" believe="" clearly="" do="" less="" little="" nbsp="" not="" official="" readers="" remains.="" remains="" story="" than="" the="" very="">Only 3% think it is all there.
  A weighted average suggests that the voters on this site believe approximately 20% of the gold physically remains and is unencumbered. b)  Nixon temporarily closed the “gold window” almost 42 years ago.  Since that time, the official CPI shows that the dollar has lost about 83% of its value.  For simplicity, let’s assume that 17% of the dollar’s purchasing power remains, and assume that 17% of the gold remains.
We don’t know how much of the gold remains.  Does it really matter?
Do any of the following matter?
a)   Government promises
b)   Central bank promises
c)   Integrity of politicians
d)   Integrity of hundreds of present and past Treasury employees
e)   Backing for $Trillions in debt besides “full faith and credit”
f)    A possible solution to the massive debt problem of the US government.  If the gold is still there, value it at some large number, say $15,000 – $30,000 per ounce, and then back the dollar with gold.  This is not my idea – some very intelligent people have advocated it.  If the gold is mostly gone, this option is less likely.
  • Fort Knox:  Per the voting and dollar devaluation “method” – assume about 20% of the official gold remains – physically in the vaults, unencumbered, not hypothecated or leased to bullion banks.  Yes, I know, this is not defensible, scientific, statistically significant, or verifiable.  But it sounds about right to me.
  • Denver:  Assume about the same
  • West Point:  Assume about the same
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York:  Ask the Germans!  Assume very little remains.
How much physical gold do you have?  How much do you want when you contemplate nearly $17,000,000,000,000 in official US government debt, another $100 – $200 Trillion in unfunded liabilities, and nothing backing that unbelievable amount of debt except the “full faith and credit” of what is clearly a government that won’t balance a budget and must resort to printing dollars to pay its bills?
How much gold do you have stored in a secure (off-site) facility? Learn more about physical gold outside the banking system.
GE Christenson  |  The Deviant Investor