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Nine blows against the gold price suppression scheme
Published : October 27th, 2011
3231 words - Reading time : 8 - 12 minutes
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As some of you may know, the premise of my organization, the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, is that Western central banks, and particularly the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, have been manipulating the gold market for many years through several mechanisms -- outright sales of gold, leasing of gold, and underwriting the issuance of gold derivatives, essentially backstopping the short positions in gold that have been taken by their agents, the big investment houses that also work as bullion banks.

GATA has documented this extensively at our Internet site, GATA.org. We are not a "conspiracy theory" organization. Rather, we compile and publicize public records confirming or tending to confirm the manipulation of the gold market.

Why is the gold market manipulated by Western central banks?

It's because gold is a weapon more powerful than nuclear weapons -- an alternative currency that is not necessarily under any government's power, a determinant of the value of other currencies, interest rates, government bonds, and equities.

Having been raising questions about the gold market for 12 years now, I've realized that the disposition of government gold reserves is a secret more sensitive than the disposition of nuclear weapons. Indeed, under nuclear weapons control treaties, governments with nuclear weapons have sometimes shared that sort of information, even with hostile powers. But gold reserve information is far more tightly held, and most gold information provided officially is actually disinformation.

For the purposes of investors it is enough to know that we will never be permitted to know exactly where official-sector gold is and who really controls it. It may be all we can do to know where our own gold is and to make sure that we control it ourselves.

It's not just me saying that gold is supremely powerful in the world financial system. Lawrence Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary and off-and-on economics professor at Harvard, said pretty much the same thing in the study he wrote with University of Michigan economics professor Robert Barsky in the Journal of Political Economy in 1988, a study titled "Gibson's Paradox and the Gold Standard." This study is posted at GATA's Internet site:

http://www.gata.org/files/gibson.pdf

A few weeks ago, maintaining that his "Gibson's Paradox" study remains dispositive of the gold price issue, Summers provided the study to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman -- and did so by giving Krugman the link to it at GATA's Internet site. That's what Krugman wrote on his blog. So we know that former Secretary Summers is watching little GATA even today:

http://www.gata.org/node/10402

This close correlation among gold, interest rates, and government bond values is why central banks long have tried to control -- usually suppress -- the price of gold. For gold is the ticket out of the central banking system, the escape from coercive central bank and government power. As an independent currency, a currency to which investors can resort when they are dissatisfied with government currencies, gold carries the enormous power to discipline governments, to call them to account for their inflation of the money supply and to warn the world against it. Because gold is the vehicle of escape from the central banking system, the manipulation of the gold market is the manipulation that makes possible all other market manipulation by government.

The gold market manipulation operates through the largely surreptitious mobilization of Western central bank gold reserves and the gold nominally held by the major exchange-traded funds. If the manipulation was done completely in the open, as governments used to manipulate the gold market, through the gold standard and then through what was called the London Gold Pool, the Western central bank gold dishoarding scheme of the 1960s, the manipulation would fail, because then the world would understand that there is not a free market in gold -- or in any currency, any more than there is a free market in government bonds.

Much has happened in GATA's campaign to expose the gold price manipulation scheme since we met here in New Orleans a year ago. I'd like to review nine important developments for you.

1) GATA beat the Federal Reserve in federal court.

First and most important, GATA won its federal freedom-of-information lawsuit against the Federal Reserve in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

For several years GATA had been trying to get the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to release gold information. The Fed first denied this information to us on the grounds that it would compromise certain private "proprietary" interests. Of course such a denial, a denial based on "proprietary" interests, was in itself a confirmation that the U.S. gold reserve had been placed, at least partly, in other hands.

Responding to President Obama's declaration, soon after his inauguration, that the federal government would be more open, GATA renewed its informational requests to the Fed and the Treasury. These requests concentrated on gold swaps, a primary mechanism of gold price suppression. Gold swaps are trades of gold that allow one central bank to intervene in the gold market on behalf of another central bank without getting the latter central bank's fingerprints directly on the transaction.

Of course both of GATA's informational requests were denied again. But through our Washington lawyer, William J. Olson (http://www.lawandfreedom.com), GATA brought an appeal of the Fed's denial, and this appeal was routed to a full member of the Fed's Board of Governors, Kevin M. Warsh. Warsh denied GATA's appeal but in his letter to our lawyer he let slip some stunning information:

http://www.gata.org/files/GATAFedResponse-09-17-2009.pdf

Warsh wrote that among the gold information being kept secret by the Fed was "information relating to swap arrangements with foreign banks on behalf of the Federal Reserve System."

So there it is: The Federal Reserve today -- right now -- has gold swap arrangements with "foreign banks," and the public and the markets must not be permitted to know about them.

Ten years ago Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and the general counsel of the Federal Open Market Committee, Virgil Mattingly, vigorously denied to GATA, through two U.S. senators who had inquired of the Fed on our behalf, that the Fed had gold swap arrangements, even though FOMC minutes from 1995 quote Mattingly as saying the U.S. indeed has engaged in gold swaps:

http://www.gata.org/node/1181

But now the Fed has admitted such arrangements, if only inadvertently.

As GATA was not willing to let Fed Governor Warsh's letter be the last word on access to the Fed's gold records, on December 31, 2009, we sued the Fed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the Freedom of Information Act. The Fed told the court that the Fed really could not find many records involving gold. Implausible as this was, the judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle, denied GATA's request to interrogate Fed officials under oath about what seemed to us to be their grossly inadequate search.

Whereupon the judge reviewed, privately in her chambers, the few documents the Fed had submitted, and on February 3 this year she ruled that the Fed indeed could keep secret all but one of those documents. She ordered the Fed to disclose that one document to GATA within two weeks.

On February 18 this year, heeding the court's order, the Fed released the document -- the minutes of the April 1997 meeting of the G-10 Gold and Foreign Exchange Committee. The minutes showed government and central bank officials from around the world conspiring in secret to coordinate their gold market policies. The minutes of that meeting are posted at GATA's Internet site:

http://www.gata.org/node/9623

Perhaps of equal importance, the Fed claimed not to be able to find minutes of any other meeting of the G-10 Gold and Foreign Exchange Committee. The Fed is probably hiding such minutes because they are even more incriminating.

Thus GATA's lawsuit established that, despite its denials, the Fed has many gold secrets after all, many gold documents the Fed won't let the public see. Our lawsuit also managed to pry a couple of those secrets loose and publicize them -- first, that the Fed has gold swap arrangements with foreign banks, and second, that at a secret meeting in 1997 the Fed was conspiring with other central banks to coordinate their gold market policies and that there was never any announcement of this undertaking.

Almost as gratifying to us was that, since the court found that the Fed illegally withheld from us the minutes of the secret G-10 Gold and Foreign Exchange Committee meeting, the Fed was ordered to pay court costs to GATA, which the Fed did in May, sending us a check for $2,870. An image of that check also is posted at GATA's Internet site:

http://www.gata.org/node/9917

2) The cables from the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Two months ago it was disclosed that the government of China knows all about the gold price manipulation scheme and that the United States government knows that China knows.

This disclosure occurred through the release by the Wikileaks organization of three diplomatic cables sent from the U.S. embassy in Beijing to the State Department in Washington.

One U.S. Beijing embassy cable, dated April 28, 2009, summarizes a commentary in the Chinese newspaper Shijie Xinwenbao (World News Journal), a newspaper published by the Chinese government's foreign radio service, China Radio International. The cable has been posted at GATA's Internet site:

http://www.gata.org/node/10380

The cable translates the Chinese government newspaper's commentary as follows:

"The United States and Europe have always suppressed the rising price of gold. They intend to weaken gold's function as an international reserve currency. They don't want to see other countries turning to gold reserves instead of the U.S. dollar or euro. Therefore, suppressing the price of gold is very beneficial for the U.S. in maintaining the U.S. dollar's role as the international reserve currency."

Another gold-related cable sent from the U.S. embassy in Beijing, dated December 4, 2008, quotes commentary published the previous day in the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper, People's Daily, as saying the United States and Europe are likely to restore a gold standard while they have most of the world's official gold reserves, before Eastern nations can get enough gold to back their own currencies with.

The third cable from the U.S. embassy in Beijing, dated February 8, 2010, quotes commentary published that day in the China Business News newspaper in Shanghai saying China suspects that there will be a devaluation of old U.S. dollars, the kind of dollars it holds in its foreign exchange reserves, when it comes time to convert them to new U.S. dollars backed by gold.

The second and third cables have been posted at GATA's Internet site here:

http://www.gata.org/node/10416

China is probably acting on its knowledge of the Western gold price suppression scheme.

3) The class-action lawsuit against silver price manipulation.

Late last year several class-action lawsuits were brought against JPMorganChase charging manipulation of the silver market. The lawsuits were based largely on the testimony of London silver trader Andrew Maguire, whose complaint of market manipulation was presented by GATA to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission at a hearing on March 25, 2010.

Last month the complaints in the lawsuits were consolidated in a single statement filed with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and this consolidated complaint detailed the mechanics of the manipulation and even identified traders who carried it out and their specific trades.

According to the consolidated complaint:

-- MorganChase already had a large short position in silver when it acquired another large short position upon the investment house's acquisition of the failed New York brokerage Bear Stearns in 2008. This, the complaint says, gave MorganChase hugely disproportionate influence in the silver market.

-- The lawsuit says MorganChase used "fake" and "spoof" trades to manipulate prices downward, particularly in advance of contract expiration dates, when MorganChase held put options, which became more valuable as the price of silver was driven down.

-- The lawsuit says MorganChase reduced its short position following the May 25, 2010, hearing of the CFTC, in which GATA's complaints of gold and silver market manipulation figured heavily.

-- And the lawsuit says MorganChase regularly engaged in uneconomic trading activity in silver whose only purpose was price manipulation.

The consolidated complaint in the silver manipulation lawsuit against MorganChase is posted at GATA's Internet site:

http://www.gata.org/node/10448

If the silver lawsuit against MorganChase survives a summary judgment motion, it may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the plaintiffs and their lawyers. It may also liberate the silver market from the domination of one big player that is an agent of the U.S. government.

4) Confirmation that central bank gold sales equaled leased gold.

In his German-language book "Secret Gold Policy," published in the last year, market analyst Dimitri Speck reported that gold sold by Western central banks since 2001 was equaled by the leased gold returned to them:

http://www.gata.org/node/9349

This strongly supports suspicions long expressed by GATA that the supposed central bank gold sales of the last decade were not sales at all, just cash settlements for leased gold that could not be recovered by the central banks without exploding the gold price upward and bankrupting the investment banks that had leased the gold. That is, the supposed "sales" did not really put any real metal into the market, a suspicion supported by the steady rise of the gold price even as all that central bank gold supposedly was being sold.

5) The German central bank admitted secret gold activities.

Late last year the German journalist Lars Schall pressed the German central bank, the Bundesbank, for clarification about the German gold reserves, and particularly about whether the Bundesbank had undertaken gold swaps with the United States. Schall sent the Bundesbank 13 questions. But the Bundesbank brushed him off, even as the Bundesbank seemed to acknowledge meddling surreptitiously in the gold market:

http://www.gata.org/node/9363

The Bundesbank replied to Schall as follows:

"... Particularly with respect to the confidential nature of information about where gold holdings are kept, we are unable to go into any greater detail concerning exact locations and the quantities stored at each of these. Likewise, owing to the strategic nature of the activity, we are not at liberty to provide you with more detailed information about gold transactions."

That is, Germany's gold is a crucial part of gold market manipulation, the subject of secret "strategic" transactions, most likely with the United States.

6) A gold price manipulation scheme public relations blunder.

Exchange-traded gold funds are very popular. Yet the bullion bank HSBC is not just custodian for the gold of investors in the main gold ETF, whose trading symbol is GLD, investors who want their asset to appreciate in value; HSBC is also the biggest known short in the gold market. This is a grotesque conflict of interest.

Two months ago HSBC responded to concerns about its custodianship of GLD's gold, but in doing so the bank committed a revealing public relations blunder.

HSBC invited CNBC reporter Bob Pisani for a tour of HSBC's gold vault in the London area. Pisani and his camera operator were placed in a van whose windows had been covered up and then they were driven around for a while and blindfolded and led into the vault. The blindfolds were removed and they saw a lot of gold bars, and Pisani was given one to hold up for the camera and represent as a bar belonging to GLD.

But some sharp-eyed gold bugs recorded Pisani's report, transcribed the hallmark and serial number of the bar Pisani held up, and determined that it actually belonged not to GLD at all but to another gold ETF:

http://www.gata.org/node/10368

http://www.gata.org/node/10372

http://www.gata.org/node/10427

Of course that didn't prove any impropriety on HSBC's part -- only that it's very easy for the world's biggest gold short to merge the gold it is vaulting for customers of its fractional-reserve gold banking system and to apply the gold to the most pressing gold demand of the day -- which, on that particular day, was to fool a television reporter and his audience.

7) Mexico bought gold paper instead of gold itself.

In May this year Mexico's central bank announced that it recently had purchased 93 tonnes of gold, bringing its gold reserves to 100 tonnes. But last month the Mexican journalist Guillermo Barba interrogated the Bank of Mexico about that gold purchase and found that the bank refuses to disclose where it is keeping those 93 tonnes and indeed does not even know the form of the gold it purchased. Barba's report can be found on GATA's Internet site:

http://www.gata.org/node/10481

As it turned out, in purchasing gold this year the Bank of Mexico didn't really buy gold at all. Rather, the Bank of Mexico became only an unsecured creditor of banks that are members of the London Bullion Market Association, home of the fractional-reserve gold banking system.

8) This month GATA gained much mainstream media recognition.

First, a popular program on the History Channel, "Brad Meltzer's 'Decoded,'" interviewed me in an episode about concerns that the U.S. gold reserve at Fort Knox, Kentucky, is impaired or even empty:

http://www.gata.org/node/10535

And last Saturday the Financial Times, the most establishment of the world 's financial newspapers, published a column by its U.S. managing editor, Gillian Tett, dealing largely with GATA's claims of gold market manipulation:

http://www.gata.org/node/10591

Tett wrote:

"It would be foolish simply to deride or ignore GATA. … Some of its points have at least a grain of truth. Even if you find it hard to believe that central bankers would be dastardly enough to create a plot -- or competent enough to do what GATA claims -- the fact is that global commodity markets are pretty murky, central banks are often opaque, and Western rhetoric about 'free' markets is often hypocritical. Those issues merit far more debate, not just among journalists but central bankers too."

The foremost commodity market newsletter writer in the world, Dennis Gartman, pronounced himself "stunned" by the legitimacy the Financial Times had just conferred on GATA:

http://www.gata.org/node/10610

That made two of us.

9) The common disparagement about gold soon may be self-defeating.

Gold is being disparaged in a particular way. You may have heard it. It is said that even with its steady rise in price over the last decade, gold has not come close to keeping pace with inflation -- that gold is a terrible hedge against inflation.

Eventually it is going to occur to people: Why not? Why hasn't gold kept up with inflation? GATA is ready with the answer.

Gold has not kept up with inflation because Western governments found ways of vastly increasing what the world thinks is the supply of gold without having to go through the trouble of mining it – found ways of dishoarding and leasing it from central bank reserves and, through bullion banks, to issue certificates of deposit against gold that doesn't exist, gold its buyers never claimed for delivery, gold that is only an obligation of a bullion bank that never actually bought the metal for its customers. Perhaps half to three-quarters of the world's gold is this imaginary kind.

As Eastern central banks and gold investors throughout the world begin to realize that they don't really own and control gold unless it's in their own hands or in the hands of very close friends, it may not be a good time to be short.

 

 

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