June 21, 2009 – Purely speculative musings on a couple of trendy topics.
By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond
It’s been about two weeks now since this story broke, which sounds like a plot from a thrilling novel. Two “Japanese” men are caught in Italy, attempting to enter Switzerland with $134.5 billion in U.S. bonds hidden in the false bottom of a suitcase (or suitcases).
My gut feeling when I first read about this story was that the bonds were authentic. I based that conclusion primarily on my belief that nobody would attempt to pass that quantity of counterfeit bonds. (I have since learned that people have attempted to pass considerably larger quantities of bogus securities.) Nevertheless, a buyer of such bonds, which have serial numbers and provenances, would surely make every effort to authenticate them before shelling out $134.5 billion, would they not? And the circumstances of this mystery conformed to a long-held observation of mine, which is that major lenders to the U.S. are trapped in a Catch-22 situation. They are already on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of loans to the U.S., yet as the U.S. debases its currency through spending and trade deficits, those loans diminish in value, resulting in certain losses for the lending countries. However, if those lending countries attempt to openly sell the debt they already hold, the value of that debt will plummet even faster. So the only way a large holder of U.S. debt can escape this trap is to sell that debt covertly.
It just so happens that Japan is one of the three or four largest holders of U.S. debt in the world, with something like $800 billion of it. Thus, a covert sale of $134.5 billion of that debt would not be an outlandish figure, especially if such a sale were merely the first of several planned sales.
In addition, the nationalities of the couriers were purportedly Japanese, although I have my doubts about that because I saw purported passport photographs of the two men and neither looked particularly Japanese.
Since this story broke it has only become more mysterious, with increasing numbers of questions and still no trustworthy answers. Some people claim the bonds are authentic, while others, including a spokesman for the U.S. Treasury, claim they are counterfeit. I’ve seen purported photographs of the seized bonds, which I don’t trust.
Here’s the most interesting part. There has been no publicly acknowledged effort by U.S. authorities to examine and authenticate the bonds. Nor have any counterfeit charges been levied against the couriers. Nor has Italy claimed any sort of penalty from the smuggling of the bonds, even though its law permits such a recourse if the bonds are indeed authentic. If the bonds are counterfeit, then the couriers should be charged with a crime; if authentic, then Italy is entitled to a windfall; yet neither has happened.
Moreover, it now appears that both the bonds and the couriers have vanished, along with any further news on the matter, as if the whole mystery is being deliberately “disappeared.”
Here’s what I think. I still believe those bonds are authentic, but I don’t believe the photographs shown of the bonds are genuine. I still believe that those bonds emanate from Japan and that Japan may have been trying to sell them quietly. Just days before this story broke, Japan reaffirmed its confidence in the U.S.’s fiscal health and its bonds. It’s not uncommon for people and nations to say one thing while their actions reflect the exact opposite of that they say.
I think that Italy may have concluded that the bonds are authentic and belonged to the government of Japan. I cannot imagine Italy asserting its law to confiscate 40% of the value of those bonds, which would amount to $53.8 billion, from another nation, especially a powerful one like Japan. That would border on an act of war. Instead, I can imagine that Italy might have sent the couriers and their bonds back home.
The last thing the U.S. needs right now is a lot of news suggesting that either countries are covertly selling their U.S. debt, or that counterfeiters are manufacturing hundreds of billions of dollars of phony debt certificates. The wisest strategy, especially in today’s climate of reflexive official secrecy about everything, is to say nothing, which is pretty much what has happened in the U.S. The U.S. politicians and media, both of which are on the same team today, have remained utterly silent about this mystery.
But there is one final mystery that doesn’t quite fit into my speculation outlined above. Less than three months ago, in March, the U.S. Treasury announced that its TARP (bailout) fund had $134.5 billion remaining in it. That is the exact same value of the bonds seized in Italy. I’m not sure how that coincidence fits into this mystery, but it seems too significant to be a mere coincidence. I mean, the numbers involved are identical to four significant figures!
The faux uproar over the “fraudulent” Iranian election strikes me as so contrived and choreographed. I don’t know any more about that election than anyone else. It may have been rigged or not. It doesn’t really matter to me. But there are some compelling points to consider before jumping to the conclusion that the election is fraudulent.
Again, I don’t know much about the election in Iran. What astounds me is the facility with which the powers-that-be have been able to whip up the U.S. and European populations into a frenzy of protest against the “fraudulent” Iranian election, when the protesters have no more proof than do I that a fraud has been perpetrated. Indeed, they are acting like wind-up marionettes, not unlike all the “patriotic” Americans who were whipped up into a frenzy of anti-Iraqi sentiment after 9/11. (Even Mr. Cheney now admits that there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11.)
What is particularly ironic and hypocritical is that the U.S.’s elections are far from pristine. The U.S. and its citizens are hardly on morally firm ground from which to declare an election on the opposite side of the world to be fraudulent.
Well, according to this piece, the “official” story now is that the U.S. bonds are counterfeit, but since the couriers were merely carrying them and not attempting to perpetrate a fraud with the bonds, they and their bonds were set free, whereabouts now unknown. Yet, in April a similar attempt was made to smuggle bonds from Italy into Switzerland (is a pattern emerging?), but on that occasion the bonds were seized, as reported in this news snippet,
In the incident of April this year, an Italian man tried to carry forged Japanese treasury bonds worth a total of 20 billion dollars into Switzerland, on the request of a Japanese person. The bonds were seized by the Italian Financial Police.
It appears that sometimes Italy seizes forged bonds and sometimes it does not. Oh, those whimsical Italians! With the revelation of the April incident, this story just became even more intriguing. There seems to be a lot of concealing smoke being introduced into the air.
Well, in his latest post, Mr. Benjamin Fulford seems to agree with my suspicions about the “U.S. bonds.” When I saw the purported passport photos of the couriers, I thought to myself that one looked Filipino and one looked Chinese – neither looked Japanese. Mr. Fulford says the exact same thing! Moreover he insists the bonds are authentic, which I have believed all along, and he even provides a credible photo of, if not one of the bonds itself, a letter attesting to their authenticity, shown below.
According to this article, the U.S. has officially recognized Ahmadinejad as Iran’s duly elected president. Despite the CIA’s efforts to undermine the election, the U.S. has not challenged the results, which I view as a tacit admission by the U.S. that the election was trustworthy, even if heavy-handed.
Information surrounding the Iranian election is slowly emerging. According to this article, agents for the U.S. and France have apparently admitted being ordered by their superiors to stoke unrest following the election.