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Archive for December, 2011

European gold: Sold? Pledged! Safe.

December 25, 2011 Leave a comment

A socialist Europe is deep in debt – but still has substantial gold reserves with various central banks. At least as per official records.

24 types of Statism. Currency mismanagement is part of Statist systems |  Popular cartoon based on original by Barry Deutsch; modification source and author not known  |  Click for original Barry Deutsch cartoon.

24 types of Statism. Currency mismanagement is part of Statist systems | Popular cartoon based on original by Barry Deutsch; modification source and author not known | Click for original Barry Deutsch cartoon.

Printing presses – all systems go

As Governments across the world, print more and more money, the 20th century idea of Trustworthy State is on its last legs. Increasingly, the (undeserved) trust that the State enjoyed with the masses in the 20th century, is now close to breaking point.

We may very soon see a situation, where people will accept only gold – and no paper currency. The entire structure of 20th century monetary system after WWII, was built on paper. In the last 60 years, people (except a few) have gradually forgotten the link between gold as a store of value.

A memory lapse of a link that is too important to forget.

Currency mismanagement is dead. Long live currency manipulation. |  Cartoonist - Michael Ramirez in April 16th 2009; source & courtesy - townhall.com  |  Click for larger source image.Currency mismanagement is dead. Long live currency manipulation. |  Cartoonist - Michael Ramirez in April 16th 2009; source & courtesy - townhall.com  |  Click for larger source image.

Currency mismanagement is dead. Long live currency manipulation. | Cartoonist – Michael Ramirez in April 16th 2009; source & courtesy – townhall.com | Click for larger source image.

Few people realize it, but Italy holds the world’s fourth biggest stockpile of gold, at 2,452 tonnes. That’s even more than France, and more than twice as much as China.

Only the U.S., Germany and the International Monetary Fund hold more.

The question here is whether some of the troubled European countries — such as Italy and France — are going to have to start selling off the national gold pile to meet their bills.

Some wonder if they already have.

Italy’s gold has a street value of about $123 billion — easily enough to cover this year’s $80 billion budget shortfall. Portugal’s $19 billion in bullion more than covers its $13 billion deficit. France has $122 billion worth of bullion, enough to make a massive dent in its $150 billion deficit.

Meanwhile, look at the people who actually have a lot of money — namely, the Chinese. I continue to suspect that, sooner or later, China is going to move some of its massive $3 trillion-plus reserves into gold, the only currency that no other country controls. At the moment, the richest Western countries, including the United States, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, hold between 60% and 80% of their entire reserves in gold.

The figure for China: Less than 2%. No, that isn’t a misprint.

When that bullion changes hands, it may be the moment when power shifts from the rulers of yesterday to the rulers of tomorrow. This is what happened a century ago, when plenty of that French, German and British gold ended up in the hands of the United States.

In the very short term, this may keep downward pressure on gold. The people who hold the world’s gold at the moment need cash, and may have to sell.

In the medium to longer term, it ought to be bullish. (via Will the Europeans have to sell their gold? – Portfolio Insights by Brett Arends – MarketWatch).


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Gold Prices – Blip, Dip or Flip

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

After two weeks of softness in gold prices, weak players with long positions are out. Asian buying support seen. Gold prices stable for four days.

European liquidity crisis behind gold 'dumping' by Euro-banks? 2ndlook thinks its gold from deposed Arab leaders (Tunisia, Egypt & Libya) which has found its way into markets. |  Cartoonist Mike Luckovich on Nov 29 2011; source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com  |  Click for larger source image.

European liquidity crisis behind gold 'dumping' by Euro-banks? 2ndlook thinks its gold from deposed Arab leaders (Tunisia, Egypt & Libya) which has found its way into markets. | Cartoonist Mike Luckovich on Nov 29 2011; source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com | Click for larger source image.

Three sides of the coin

The slide in gold prices has brought out Gold-Bust supporters and the Gold-Boom buyers in full force.

Is this US$300 drop in gold prices in the two weeks of December 2011,

Just a blip on the bull run in gold prices?

Or is it a medium term dip in gold prices?

Or is it a beginning of the end for the gold bubble?

All three sides marshall enough ‘facts’ and ‘data’ to sound convincing.

What is not told

What the mainstream media is not telling you, is being told – only on 2ndlook blogs – How Arab gold from Egypt, Tunisia and Libya that may have been dumped by European banks in the market.

As usual the market has the last laugh.

Gold for delivery in February (GC2G +0.51%) rose $8.60, or 0.5%, to $1,626.00 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange during Asian trading hours.

The rise put the metal on track for a second session of gains, after trading up 1.3% in Tuesday’s North American session.

Gold has been pressured in recent months, amid Europe’s deepening sovereign-debt crisis.

Year-end selling by funds and tight liquidity in European interbank money markets have also contributed to recent price falls.

Anne-Laure Tremblay, precious metals analyst at BNP Paribas, said increases in liquidity by central banks should support gold prices in 2012 and possible rises in inflation expectations.

“Gold should also be boosted by strong physical demand, notably in Asia and Europe,” Tremblay said.

However, she added that “with high uncertainty likely to remain a major feature of the markets, gold could be vulnerable to further episodes of price correction.”

BNP Paribas was forecasting gold to average $1,775 an ounce in 2012 and $2,150 an ounce in 2013. (via Gold futures extend gains in Asian trading – Metals Stocks – MarketWatch).

Is the US Treasury or the US Federal Reserve buying gold? This Chinese cartoonist seems to suggest that. |  Cartoonist Luojie, China Daily, China  on 9/28/2010 12:00:00 AM;  Source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com  |  Click for larger source image.

Is the US Treasury or the US Federal Reserve buying gold? This Chinese cartoonist seems to suggest that. | Cartoonist Luojie, China Daily, China on 9/28/2010 12:00:00 AM; Source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com | Click for larger source image.

Go East, young man

And here is one more take on the gold prices which seems to suggest that with Asian (read as India+China) demand strong as ever, this dip in prices is just a good buying opportunity.

2ndlook will go with that.

Paradoxically, optimism is actually bolstered by the widespread suspicion the slide was triggered by central bank selling — a once-radical idea now so generally accepted that the bullion bank UBS, usually very circumspect about official-sector activity, felt able to say on Friday that “larger moves were also likely taking place behind the scenes, judging from the considerable market chatter about official liquidation.”

The reasoning here: Once the abnormal, politically motivated selling ceases, gold will revert to a higher equilibrium.

But the most concrete reason for optimism emerged on Friday: It became apparent that the lows of Thursday had uncovered large Eastern physical demand.

UBS commented that “the physical market has now responded: Combined turnover on the [Shanghai Gold Exchange] this week has been consistently strong and is about 53% higher than the previous week’s, while demand from India is shaping up to be the strongest weekly offtake since early October.”

Over at LeMetropoleCafe, a correspondent reported very high local premiums for gold in the key gold-buying markets of China and India on Friday, suggesting strong local demand, and headlined: “Year-end gold menu: Bear Curry or Bear Chow Mein?” (via The East Is Gold? – Peter Brimelow – MarketWatch).


Anna dictates to Indian Polity – & the Voter

December 17, 2011 1 comment

When a lightweight like Anna Hazare starts dictating terms to Indian polity, the issue is no longer the Indian Parliament. It is the irrelevance of current political leadership.

India's bankrupt polity is allowing Anna Hazare to take the high ground - and get away with cacophony as agenda and ideology |  Cartoon by Manjul; source & courtesy - manjul.com | Click for source image.

India's bankrupt polity is allowing Anna Hazare to take the high ground - and get away with cacophony as agenda and ideology | Cartoon by Manjul; source & courtesy - manjul.com | Click for source image.

The Great Disconnect

No Indian political party has won a majority in the last 30 years based on merit. Not after Indira Gandhi’s win in 1980.

This is all the more remarkable as it takes just 15 crore votes to win a majority. From more than 70 crore voters. The size of the electorate in the last two elections has grown to 71.4 crore eligible voters (2009), up 6.4% (4.33 crore) from 2004. The number of votes polled increased to 41.72 crores against 38.75 crores in 2004.

Voting percentages have come down by 25% – from nearly 80% in 1960’s to around 55% now. Though improbable, lower voter turnouts could also be due to the better enrollment – compared to previous elections. Does this mean a disconnect between Indian leadership and Indian voters?

Or more ominously, between the political system and its users.

It is rather interesting to note how the Left players are trying to take centre stage, as they are losing relevance and votes across India.  |  Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; Posted On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 05:20:44 AM; source & courtesy - mumbaimirror.com  |  Click for source image.

It is rather interesting to note how the Left players are trying to take centre stage, as they are losing relevance and votes across India. | Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; Posted On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 05:20:44 AM; source & courtesy - mumbaimirror.com | Click for source image.

Featherweight Champ

In such a vacuum, a light-weight like Anna Hazare has become the ‘conscience’ of India.

Anna Hazare’s empty idea of using super-policemen, raises an important question.

Who will guard the guards?

Anna Hazare has camouflaged his Talibanic idea of punishment, prisons, flogging by using Indian props like anshan (fasting) and satyagraha (protests).

And using a huge poster of Gandhiji as backdrop.

Going in … or coming in?

An Indian political analyst, draws interesting parallels between JP’s movement of the 70s and Anna’s protests now (highlights extracted below).

Similarities apart, there are big differences, too.

For one, JP’s movement was rooted in a stagnant Indian economy, recovering slowly from the depredations of the British Raj – unlike India of today, which is a more robust economy. Without contest or argument.

For another Indira Gandhi dominated Indian politics – like no one does today. BJP and Congress are at parity today – unlike in the 70’s. In fact, at the State level, BJP is today a stronger party than the Congress.

BJP is jobless after the 'Anna-baba" combo became the main opposition - feels cartoonist Ajit Ninan  |  Posted On Friday, June 03, 2011 at 06:06:10 AM in mumbaimirror.com  |  Click for source image.

BJP is jobless after the 'Anna-baba" combo became the main opposition - feels cartoonist Ajit Ninan | Posted On Friday, June 03, 2011 at 06:06:10 AM in mumbaimirror.com | Click for source image.

JP, as a leader cut his teeth against the British Raj – and steeped in the development of Indian polity and power systems. Unlike Anna Hazare, who is greenhorn. Ideologically or otherwise.

And that is one thing that puzzles me.

Why is a politically strong party like BJP, trying to find shade under Hazare’s banner?

Now for the similarities.

Anyone watching the one day fast of Anna Hazare on Sunday would have been struck by the image of him sitting on the dais with prominent politicians around, as if he was holding a darbar.

Flanking him, on either side, were two senior politicians from polar opposite ends of the ideological spectrum: Arun Jaitley of the BJP on his left and Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) on his right. Other politicians, such as Sharad Yadav, A.B. Bardhan, Yerran Naidu all became just supporting cast in this theatre.

Some of those who have long memories about the Indian political scene, however, will not be particularly shocked, or even surprised. We have been here before. In 1977, after the lifting of the Emergency, both enthusiastically joined the campaigning against Indira Gandhi. The CPI(M) never formally merged with the Janata Party, but were willing followers of Jayaprakash Narayan, who was the mentor and guide of the Opposition.

Indira Gandhi’s suspension of democratic and fundamental rights for a year and a half had traumatised the country and when the elections were announced, all that suppressed antipathy burst forth. The people were not so much supporting the newly formed Janata Party but opposing her and her son. Jayaprakash Narayan, with his saintly image of being above mere party politics, emerged as the spearhead of the anti-Congress movement and helped form the Janata Party, consisting of socialists, Jan Sanghis and disgruntled Congressmen. The CPI(M) had a lot of misgivings about both JP and the Janata Party, but such was its hatred of Indira Gandhi that it went along.

That Opposition unity did not last long — the inner contradictions were just too powerful — and the Janata Party government collapsed two years later, paving the way for the eventual return of Indira Gandhi. But the concept of the joint, anti-Congress opposition had taken root.

Exactly 10 years later, the CPI(M) and the BJP got together again. They formed the two crutches of support to V.P. Singh who had walked out of the Congress. His agenda was also corruption-related, since the Rajiv Gandhi government was being accused of receiving kickbacks in a defence deal. In his rallies, he used to pull out a piece of paper and proclaim that he had the number of Rajiv Gandhi’s secret Swiss account where the kickbacks were deposited. The gimmick worked with the crowds, but when it came to voting, Singh’s Janata Dal got only 143 seats compared to the Congress’ 197. Rajiv Gandhi declined to form the government and with the help of the BJP (85) and the CPI(M) (33) and others, Singh became the Prime Minister. His government too fell after a year.

In both the above cases, the central anti-Congress figure — JP and Singh — had a few things in common. Both appeared Gandhian, in their demeanour and body language. Both were regarded as clean and both were seen as uninterested in political office and the loaves and fishes that come with it. JP had never contested an election and Singh, though a politician, managed to carve out an aura as being above the common fray. Indeed, soon after he was invited to form the government, when the Janata Dal met in the Central Hall of Parliament, he proposed the name of Devi Lal as the Prime Minister. India loves those who spurn power — they may harbour ambitions, but these ambitions should never be publicly aired. Singh became the hero of the moment.

Mr Hazare, too, fits that mould. He is a social worker who appears to have “Gandhian” traits — simplicity, no apparent lust for power, a willingness to fast etc. He has never stood for elections. He speaks in moral aphorism. The optics are also Gandhi-like: see him sitting at Rajghat, alone in his struggle. It is made for television. Never mind if he proposes public flogging of those who drink alcohol or is prone to the occasional gaffes; his followers don’t care. It is also quite possible they agree with him and his worldview wholeheartedly.

The fragmented Opposition, which finds it difficult to stick together and take on a government even as incompetent as this, has latched to him as not merely a mascot but also the man who will show the way. The BJP has not been able to put the UPA on the mat, but it has the cadre and the organisation skills; the CPI(M) is shaken by the drubbing it got but it has workers. Mr Hazare suits them both.

Who can forget BJP president Nitin Gadkari asking Mr Hazare to lead so that his party can follow? There is a good chance that some of the smaller parties, such as the Janata Dal (United), Telugu Desam Party and even the Akalis have misgivings about him and his programme, but for the moment they are keeping their counsel. Sunday’s event was a good opportunity for them to come and attack the Congress and they jumped at it. It was like a pre-election rally, with Mr Hazare too going for Manmohan Singh’s jugular. Janata Party, Janata Dal, Jan Lokpal Bill; the broader agenda remains the same.

Major state elections are to be held in the coming year and soon after that preparations for the general election will begin. (via Everyone’s invited to Anna theatre | The Asian Age).


2ndlook posts

External posts

Sexual Abuse Of Minors – Netherlands Report

December 16, 2011 1 comment

Under the guise of charity, are hundreds of thousands cases of sexual abuse. Is this a result from centuries of sexual repression in the Desert Blocinstead of individual moral failure, as alleged.

Sexual repression by design in The Desert Bloc  |  Cartoonist - Mike Peters; source & courtesy - gal.darkervision.com  |  Click for source image.

Sexual repression by design in The Desert Bloc | Cartoonist - Mike Peters; source & courtesy - gal.darkervision.com | Click for source image.

Church in crisis

In the last 10 years, the Christian Church – across all factions, Catholic, Protestants and others have massed their evangelical agents for ‘conversions’ in the Indian faith ‘market’.

Interestingly this coincides with a crisis in the Church.

Sexual abuse of minors

A damaging investigation across most countries in the West has dripped horrific incidents and stats of sexual abuse of minors across the West. By the Church – and even ‘secular’ or ‘liberal’ charities. Appointed for investigations in Netherlands,

The commission estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 minors were sexually abused while in the care of Catholic institutions such as orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries, between 1945 and 1981, with offences ranging from the very mild to the serious, including rape.

Most of the cases involved mild to moderate abuse, such as touching, but it said that it estimated there were “several thousand” instances of rape.

It also said that from the end of World War II until 2010, “several tens of thousands of minors were subjected to mild, serious and very serious forms of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Roman Catholic Church”.

But it said sexual abuse was no more prevalent in Catholic institutions than in similar ones run by other groups.

“Sexual abuse of minors is widespread in Dutch society,” the commission said.

The findings appear to paint a picture of wider abuse in the Netherlands even than in Ireland, in a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Europe and the United States and forced Pope Benedict to apologise to victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The investigation was commissioned by the Conference of Bishops and the Dutch Religious Conference in 2010 after cases surfaced involving paedophile priests in the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Wim Deetman, a Protestant former education minister and former mayor of The Hague who led the commission.  (via Catholic Church sexually abused tens of thousands children in Netherlands: Commission – The Times of India).

The problem may not be the priests - but the system of sexual repression that the Church fosters. |  Cartoon by David Reddick; source & courtesy - aintnogod.com  |  Click for larger image.

The problem may not be the priests - but the system of sexual repression that the Church fosters. | Cartoon by David Reddick; source & courtesy - aintnogod.com | Click for larger image.

Is charity an excuse

This pattern of charity that is a cover for sexual misbehaviour recently claimed a life.

Peter Roebuck, a cricket player-coach-writer recently jumped to his death from his 6th floor hotel room in South Africa. After receiving a suspended sentence in a British court for not-so deviant behaviour with his South African trainees, he emigrated to Australia.

Similarly, in India too, we have seen these various do-gooders use their ‘charity’ work to gain access to unwilling sexual partners.

Consider

Promoted by the Desert Bloc ‘system’ is

Sexual repression in the masses

– An impossible marriage mechanism with a crazed alimony system

– Antagonistic and confrontational gender relations

– A flourishing prostitution industry

– A distorted religious system that promotes celibacy

Charity seems like a façade for gaining access to sexual partners in all these cases. The cause may be sexual repression and not dubious charity. Not surprisingly, under Desert Bloc maya, these cases continue to be projected as individual moral failures.

Instead of deviant behaviour, triggered by denial of human sexuality.

By Desert Bloc societies.


Among The Unbelievers

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Tom-tomming truimphalist growth of Christianity in India, coupled with a huge increase in NGO funding from Christian West, a grim picture of a ‘Hindu’ India under siege is being painted.

The Church retains its hold over the masses by inducing guilt. |  Cartoon By Rex F. May; Uploaded on February 02, 2011; source & courtesy - toonpool.com | Click for larger source image.

The Church retains its hold over the masses by inducing guilt. | Cartoon By Rex F. May; Uploaded on February 02, 2011; source & courtesy - toonpool.com | Click for larger source image.

The Church In India

Missionary propaganda in the last few years has painted a picture of truimphalist growth of Christianity in India. Coupled with a huge increase in NGO funding from the Christian West, a grim picture of a ‘Hindu’ India under siege is being painted.

Kill in the Name Of Christ

The bigger problem with Christianity is not the worship of Christ – but murder, war, genocide in the name of Christ.

Or in modern times, murder, war, genocide by the Christian West in the name of progress, democracy, freedom, etc.

The State and the Church

There are studies that point this growth in Christian numbers and funding started at the behest of George W.Bush. Yet there is another reality.

The Devil in Priest's clothing  |  Cartoon By Constantin Ciosu - Romania; Source & Courtesy - toonpool.com; uploaded on July 06, 2008  |  Click for larger source image.

The Devil in Priest's clothing | Cartoon By Constantin Ciosu - Romania; Source & Courtesy - toonpool.com; uploaded on July 06, 2008 | Click for larger source image.

Most of the Christian West has lost faith in the Church – and what the Church gains in India, it loses in the West. The Church also needs to tom-tom its success to keep the cash spigots open. Thus the ‘success’ of the Church leaves a lot open to questions.

Many questions.

And one concern

Since Judaism, Christianity and Islam share common Desert Bloc roots, it is also not surprising that the Evangelical Church also reflects concepts similar to the Darul Islam (Islamic lands), Darul Harb (Non-Islamic Lands at War with Islam), Darul Aman (Lands at Peace with Islam).

It is another matter that the worst wars in Islam were between Darul Islam or Darul Aman kingdoms.

A recent evangelical report extracted below highlights how ‘India’s Christians live among one billion Hindus.’ And why or what is the problem with that?

India’s church has grown and is getting larger. It now comprises over 70 million members, according to Operation World. That makes it the eighth largest Christian population in the world, just behind the Philippines and Nigeria, bigger than Germany and Ethiopia, and twice the size of the United Kingdom. Unlike believers in those countries, however, India’s Christians live among one billion Hindus.

Operation World counts 2,223 unreached people groups in India, over five times as many as there are in China, the next most unreached nation.

Across the vast nation, a visitor hears of unprecedented numbers of people turning to Christ. Operation Mobilization, one of India’s largest missionary groups, has grown to include 3,000 congregations in India, up from 300 in less than a decade.

A hospital-based ministry in north India has seen 8,000 baptisms over the past five years after a decade of only a handful. Operation World‘s detailed statistics show that the Indian church is growing at a rate three times that of India’s Hindu population.

The 2001 Indian census placed Christians at just over 2 percent of India’s population. But currently, Operation World puts the figure near 6 percent and notes that “Christian researchers in India indicate much higher results, even up to 9 percent.”

No one can be certain of such trends in this vast and complicated country. Religion statistics are poor, and enthusiastic reports from mission organizations may reflect only local conditions.

Todd Johnson, director of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity, says he has opted for more conservative estimates than Operation World‘s. The center’s Atlas of Global Christianity estimates 58 million Indian Christians, not 70 million. Most of the difference lies in Operation World‘s “unaffiliated” category. The unaffiliated may be part of independent fellowships, or be “insider” Hindu or Muslim followers of Christ. (via India’s Grassroots Revival | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction).

India’s belief in the benign West, if it is not a tragedy, is definitely a comedy,

Arab Spring – Is the West After Gold?

December 14, 2011 1 comment

In the last 60 years, the West has lost ‘market share’ in gold from more than 50% to nearly 20% of global gold reserves!

(Cartoon courtesy - cagle.com; Cartoon by John Darkow, The Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri.).

(Cartoon courtesy - cagle.com; Cartoon by John Darkow, The Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri.).

Rivers – shallow and dry

Arab Spring protests have petered out into directionless change – and the outlook seems bleak.

The unspoken element in these regime changes is the ‘personal’ wealth of the Egyptian and Tunisian rulers.

After Ben Ali, the Tunisian leader came to France, fleeing from his own country, the French Government seized a plane reputedly containing 1.5 tons of gold – that ‘belonged’ to the Tunisian ruler.

Gaddafi’s assets have been frozen in UK, USA and Switzerland.

Mubarak’s wealth

Estimates abound.

There is a lower range estimate of US$ 2-3 billion – which most reject as too conservative. CNN’s Tom Foreman puts in an astounding figure of US$40 billion-75 billion. Based on a video transcript, ‘Mubarak is worth somewhere between $40 billion and $75 billion, CNN’s Tom Foreman estimates’. An unsubstantiated report, estimates Mubarak’s gold holdings at US$ 9 billion.

Average prices of gold in February 2011, were in the region of US$45 million per tonne of gold. That would be 2000 tons – one of the largest hoards in the world. More gold than the national reserves of any country – except the Top 5 reserves.

Just carting around 2000 tons of gold – or its cash equivalent would be inviting trouble.

More on Egyptian gold

As the legs on Mubarak’s throne wobbled, gold prices also wobbled downwards – significantly?

Now why would that happen?

Egypt is not a major producer of gold. Production from the Sukari mines (started production in Jun 2009) is now at 1 ton – expected to go up to 14 tons (500,000 oz). Miniscule in comparison to global output at more than 2000 tons.

Alexander Nubia, a Toronto-based mining operator owns gold exploration properties at Abu Marwat that is expected to start production next year – with a potential of 500,000 oz – i.e. another 14 tons.

Total production in Egypt – less than 30 tons.

Egypt is also not a major buyer of gold. Total annual consumption of gold in Egypt is around 50 tons – about 3 weeks of India’s consumption.

Is it that players in the market expected Mubarak’s gold hoard to be dumped into the market?

Libyan Treasures

Libya’s official gold holdings are in the similar range as Egypt’s – some 143 tons. International bodies have estimated Libya’s reserves higher than 143 tonnes.

In March 2011, the IMF estimated Libya’s reserves even higher but the official amount remained 144 tons that were registered by Gaddafi-controlled Libya’s Central Bank.

This apart, Gaddafi surrounded himself with some gold trinkets – pistols, golf clubs, etc. After the capture and killing of Gaddafi, it is unclear the where and what of Libyan gold.

The Fall Of USSR

Western media has been tom-toming how Xerox and fax machines were behind the Soviet collapse.

Not quite. The real story …?

A lot of Nazi and Soviet gold came into the markets, it is surmised, during the 1999-2005 Central Bank Gold Sales agreement – which was put in place to depress gold prices. These depressed gold prices, that coincided with price declines in oil, platinum and other commodities, bankrupted the Soviet economy – and not Xerox and fax machines.

Is Arab gold the reason for this mayhem of regime changes?


2ndlook posts

External posts

Looking Back At Arab Spring

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Is the Arab world going to get a better deal? Was it empty rage – or is there a road-map?

Who was toppling these puppets? | Cartoonist - Saieb Khalil; source & courtesy - doroob.com | Click for larger source image.

Who was toppling these puppets? | Cartoonist - Saieb Khalil; source & courtesy - doroob.com | Click for larger source image.

Gushing coverage

Nine months ago, the gushing coverage of Arab Spring  in the mainstream media bordered on hyperbole. Mainstream media boosted these ‘protests (which) may have now acquired a life of their own’ and ‘sweeping changes … coming to the Arab lands, where authoritarian regimes are the norm’ and how ‘present protests, could be a game-changer’.

Throwing cold water on an overjoyed world of Twitterati, Chatterati, Bloggerati, Paparazzi was in danger of being called cynical – even as they claimed credit for this ‘change.’

Egypt’s influential Al Ahram ran this column 3 months ago, pretty much confirming that the Arab Spring was another round of games between Arab puppets and their Western masters. Will Russia’s support to the Syrian regime mean anything?

It is clear now the whole Arab Spring is not as spontaneous as appeared at first glance. While the regimes across the region were indeed corrupt and dictatorial, they were all supported by the West. But so was the opposition.

The moment came when they were perceived as passed their due date, and with the neocons in office by 2000 and PNAC’s “new Pearl Harbour” on the horizon, it was possible to proceed with Yinon’s plan to create dynamic chaos in the Middle East. The Arab Spring is, in an eerie way, a natural conclusion to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A sort of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, American style.

It has taken various forms so far, with a breezy boot to Zein Al-Abidine bin Ali in Tunisia, a pair of handcuffs to Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a burnt face to Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, impending assassination to Gaddafi, and who-knows-what to Al-Assad. The only ones to escape unharmed are the Gulf sheikhs and the kings of Morocco and Jordan, who are so compliant that they need only a tap on the shoulder to do Washington’s bidding. Oh yes, Algeria’s President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika is still hanging on, but not even the neocons dare to overthrow him and reopen civil war wounds from the 1990s.

That is not to denigrate the revolutionaries across the region, nor to dismiss their heroic struggles to achieve independence in the face of the Western intriguers. Among the prominent new leaders are Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Tunisia’s Rachid Ghannouchi and Egypt’s Essam El-Erian. Their popular Renaissance and Freedom and Justice parties are projected to win the plurality of seats in upcoming elections, and they have no use for the imperialists. Then there is rebel military leader in Tunisia Abdullah Hakim Belhaj who plans to take the US to court for torturing him and then rendering him to Libya. There are few secular heroes in the region that can vie with the long-suffering Islamists. (via Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | Russia’s Middle East dilemma).

If only the Arab spring was better equipped – with ideas that mattered.

Instead of empty rage.


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