James Howard Kunstler – Where the hell did all the gold go?
If the FBI can track down two homicidal Chechen nobodies inside of forty-eight hours of their Boston bombing caper, you kind of wonder how come the Bureau can’t detect the odor of racketeering, insider trading, and wire fraud in this month’s orchestrated smackdown of the gold futures markets, including the parts played by the Federal reserve, one or more too-big-to-fail banks, self-interested big money players such as George Soros, slumbering regulators at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and tractable editors at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
Of course, US Attorney General Eric Holder, who oversees the FBI, has done a fair imitation of a Brooks Brothers store window mannequin for four years, but surely somewhere in the trackless labyrinth of American law enforcement there exists some dogged rogue investigator with a filament of nagging curiosity who might piece together the clunky train of events that may amount to the financial crime of the century.
For instance, it can’t be so difficult to determine who was behind the several hundred ton mass dump of paper gold contracts a week or so ago. There must be a pretty simple record of the transaction, retrievable with a warrant or a subpoena. Whatever entity did it — still ostensibly unknown — knowingly generated losses in the neighborhood of a billion dollars for itself.
Was this just the cost of doing business? Or a favor owed, say, from a bank to its godfathers at the Fed, carried out to make the dollar look relatively a lot less unsound than it really is?
Or a ruse to allow the custodians of bullion in US depositories re-acquire at bargain prices gold that has been stealthily hypothicated into oblivion?
Or just to divert attention from their inability to make good on contracted deliveries of actual physical gold.
No official has yet answered why the Federal Reserve Bank of New York told the German government a couple of months ago that it would take seven years to return that country’s gold held in safekeeping (across the ocean from the Russians) since the Cold War. The NY Fed must have a vessel under contract that makes the proverbial slow boat to China look like an ICBM.
Doesn’t anybody want some answers to these questions, including how come the two aforementioned major newspapers published front-page stories calculated to justify, if not provoke, the most extreme negative sentiment in the precious metals markets, seemingly coordinated with Goldman Sachs advisories to short those markets?
And what about a glance at the trading records to see who executed massive naked shorts? Wouldn’t it be interesting if they were the same parties as the dumpers? And why? — other than a strenuous intervention in the markets to make those markets look unreliable? Does anyone even remember that the purpose of financial exchanges is to verify and authenticate the clearing of trades to provide confidence that markets are honest so that real business can be conducted?
What the interveners have accomplished is only to prove that the gold and silver derivatives markets are unreliable. They may have smashed the trade in that kind of paper, but only achieved a firmer divergence between the derivatives markets and the bullion markets where, for example, the premiums on delivery of silver ounces makes the price exactly equal to the pre-smackdown price. Anyway, nobody believes that the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) or that the New York Commodity Exchange (COMEX) can deliver.
Meanwhile, runs on bullion contracts were starting to uncover a contagion of swindling in precious metals obligations that pervaded the western banking system. It was not a coincidence that the smackdown happened three weeks after the Dutch bank ABN Amro notified clients that it would only satisfy demands for redemptions of gold held in its custody with equivalent cash payments. “No gold for you today!”
A fair inference based on subsequent events would be that all the custodians of physical gold bullion have misreported their holdings. And now that actions by the European Union and its agents have ventured into the dangerous territory of plain confiscation, there is not a whole lot of faith throughout the western world by people who are paying attention that an account of any kind in any financial institution is safe. There is good reason to fear runs on everything.
Because the smackdown organizers pulled off their operation in a panic, they probably ignored the potential further negative consequences of their stratagem, namely, a worsening loss of confidence in banks generally and in the trade of abstract financial instruments in particular, including currencies.
Nervous public officials may be brooding on imminent “bail-ins” and currency controls, but the public may be ready to bail themsevles out of the prevailing banking model into things that have been considered more money than “money” for a few thousand years, namely real gold and silver.
The basic fact remains: there isn’t enough to go around.