en S&P Futures Bounce As VIX Hammered, Europe "Euphoric" <p>After sliding to 3 month lows on "car cartel" concerns yesterday, European stocks have rebounded after three days of declines, while oil extended gains after Saudi export cuts, with Brent rising above $49 and WTI just shy of $47. Asian stocks fell while S&amp;P futures rose 0.2% to 2,473, putting yesterday's <a href="">GOOGL drop on plunging Costs-Per-Click in the rearview mirror</a>. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="329" /></p> <p>Helping today's episode of global, pervasive complacency is the VIX which was hammered early by 3% in early Tuesday trading, down to 9.17. As <a href="">previewed on Monday</a>, the dollar rebounded after dropping to its lowest since August as investors await Wednesday’s U.S. interest rate decision; the greenback strength sent Gold lower for the first time in four days.</p> <p>US TSYs sell-off in relatively heavy volume after a large futures block trade in London hours and Bunds decline as strong German IFO data weighs. The dollar rallied from overnight low against G-10 and UST move helps USD/JPY trade through yesterday’s high. </p> <p>Most European industry sectors rose as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.5%, with banks leading the way as German 2s10s curve steepens and ahead of bank earnings later this week, helping the DAX regain some of the recently lost ground, although as the chart below shows it has a way to go before catching up with the MSCI World Stocks index which remains just shy of all time highs.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>Emerging-market equities fell after gaining in 10 of the past 11 days, on the back The greenback strengthened with the euro, which flirted once again with its highest level in two years after German business <a href="">confidence data beat expectations</a>. Saudi Arabia’s promise to further cut crude exports pushed Brent to under $1 of $50. Overnight, the Euro got a boost after ECB's Mersch stated monetary accommodation is still needed and ongoing expansion in the euro area offers confidence but stated that <strong>"risks to the euro area growth may be to the upside"</strong> and that headline inflation is dampened by weak energy prices, but added that underlying inflation is to rise gradually.</p> <p>The Euro got a boost as German business morale hit new high, with firms <strong>"euphoric" according to the Munich based Ifo economic institute that compiles the data from 7,000 of them in Europe's largest economy. </strong>"Hardly anything seems to be able to hit the German economy," Ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe added, saying German business was experienced in managing the impact of exchange rate moves following the euro's sharp rise.</p> <p>The Australian dollar rose less than 0.1 percent after erasing an earlier decline. Attention turns to two key events on Wednesday: June quarterly inflation data and a speech on the labor market and monetary policy from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe. Japan’s Topix index lost 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&amp;P/ASX 200 Index added 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.5 percent.&nbsp; The Hang Seng Index was little changed while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2 percent. Strong rally in base metals, led by copper with most noting potential demand growth from China; U.K. mining stocks supported through the equity open. </p> <p>The Fed starts a two-day meeting later in the day to discuss its monetary stance and the timing of its long-awaited balance sheet reduction, a plan most likely to be detailed in September. “Any major policy announcement is more likely when Chair Janet Yellen faces the press following the September meeting,” J&amp;E Davy Holdings Ltd. analyst David McNamara wrote in a note. “For now the Fed remain on track for a couple more rate hikes at least this year, with most members believing the recent softness in inflation to be temporary.”</p> <p>The political troubles of President Donald Trump’s White House continue to mount, with investigations into his pre-election links to Russia deepening. There is also growing anxiety about the United States hitting another debt ceiling in October with few moves to potentially offset that.</p> <p>"We may seem some consolidation here from the dollar but fundamentally our bearish view on it remains," UniCredit Global Head of FX Strategy Vasileios Gkionakis <a href="">told Reuters</a>. "What the Fed says tomorrow is the million dollar question... but the risk is that they sound a bit more cautious after the fourth consecutive downside surprise in inflation."</p> <p>Greek government borrowing costs meanwhile hovered near their lowest level since 2010, as the country sought to sell its first longer-dated bond in three years. Some five years since European Central Bank Mario Draghi pledged to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro, the debt sale by the euro zone's weakest economy is the clearest sign yet of the bloc's recovery from a crippling debt crisis.</p> <p>Elsewhere in rates, the yield on 10-year Treasuries increased two basis points to 2.27 percent, the highest in more than a week. Germany’s 10-year yield rose one basis point to 0.52 percent. Britain’s 10-year yield also added one basis point to 1.194 percent. France’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 0.763 percent, the first advance in more than a week. The gap between Italian and German 10-year bond yields narrowed to its smallest since December 2016 at 153 basis points.</p> <p>Companies scheduled to report earnings include AT&amp;T, Amgen and 3M. Economic data include conference board consumer confidence. </p> <p><strong>Market Snapshot </strong></p> <ul> <li>S&amp;P 500 futures up 0.1% to 2,470.50</li> <li>STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 381.00</li> <li>MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.2% to 159.17</li> <li>MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan down 0.09% to 526.11</li> <li>Nikkei down 0.1% to 19,955.20</li> <li>Topix down 0.3% to 1,617.07</li> <li>Hang Seng Index up 0.02% to 26,852.05</li> <li>Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,243.69</li> <li>Sensex up 0.03% to 32,257.09</li> <li>Australia S&amp;P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 5,726.60</li> <li>Kospi down 0.5% to 2,439.90</li> <li>German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to 0.514%</li> <li>Euro up 0.09% to 1.1653 per US$</li> <li>Brent Futures up 1% to $49.06/bbl</li> <li>Italian 10Y yield fell 1.7 bps to 1.763%</li> <li>Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.2 bps to 1.483%</li> <li>Brent futures up 1% to $49.06/bbl</li> <li>Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,252.28</li> <li>U.S. dollar Index unchanged at 93.98</li> </ul> <p><strong>Top Overnight News</strong></p> <ul> <li>Senate GOP Set to Roll the Dice on Health Vote at Trump’s Urging</li> <li>House Poised to Add Russia Sanctions With Curbs on Trump’s Power</li> <li>Alphabet Falls on Concern About Rising Google Traffic Costs</li> <li>Michael Kors to Buy Jimmy Choo for About $1.2 Billion </li> <li>German Business Climate Hits Record as Economy Proves Robust</li> <li>Saudi Alliance Says Qatar’s Action Not Enough to End Crisis</li> <li>Elon Musk Says Zuckerberg’s Understanding of AI Is ‘Limited’</li> <li>EU Asks Google, Facebook, Twitter to Make More Changes to Terms</li> <li>Copper Heads for Highest Close Since ‘15 as Rally Picks Up Steam</li> <li>Nasdaq Agrees to Acquire Sybentix to Beef Up Trade Surveillance</li> <li>Wal-Mart and JD Deepen Chinese Logistics, Customer Integration</li> <li>Beximco Pharma Gets FDA Approval for Methocarbamol</li> <li>Quants Unlock Iron Ore’s Secrets as BNP Says Yuan Is the Key</li> <li>Government Shutdown Odds Grow With GOP Border Wall Funding Bill</li> </ul> <p><strong>Asian markets maintained the mixed tone seen on Wall Street </strong>where earnings remained in focus and tech outperformed, which pushed the Nasdaq to fresh record highs before a continued drop in Alphabet's cost-per¬clicks resulted to an after-market pullback in futures. ASX 200 (+0.9%) outperformed as broad-based gains buoyed the index, while Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) traded indecisive and at the mercy of JPY price action. Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) and Hang Seng (Unch.) were choppy as concerns of tighter regulatory scrutiny persisted, and although the PBoC reduced its liquidity operation by more than half, this was still a respectable CNY 140bln injection. 10yr JGBs were flat amid an inconclusive risk tone in the region, while today's 40yr auction also failed to spur demand despite the b/c at its highest since February 2015, as this was also accompanied by a decline in lowest accepted prices. BoJ meeting minutes for June 15th - 16th meeting state that members agreed policy needs to be keep easy as price target is still distant. Highlights:</p> <ul> <li>Financial conditions were highly accommodative</li> <li>Inflation expectations remain in a weakening phase</li> <li>Overseas economies continue to grow at a moderate pace overall</li> <li>Japan's economy has been turning towards a moderate expansion</li> <li>One member said BoJ should set asset purchases as target</li> </ul> <p>ECB's Mersch stated monetary accommodation is still needed and ongoing expansion in the euro area offers confidence. Mersch also stated that risks to the euro area growth may be to the upside and that headline inflation is dampened by weak energy prices, but added that underlying inflation is to rise gradually.</p> <p><strong>Top Asia News</strong></p> <ul> <li>Ishiba Overtakes Abe as Top Choice for Japan Premier in Poll</li> <li>Indonesia Flags Risk of Forest Fires That Triggered 2015 Haze</li> <li>SoftBank Is Said to Mull Buying Stake in Bharti Airtel: CNBC</li> <li>HNA Is Said to Have Parked Shareholdings With Mystery Investor</li> </ul> <p><strong>European bourses trade green across the board, financials out-perform, likely a carry on to a strong Q2 earnings start for the banking stocks. </strong>German Ifo was the key piece of data for the morning, where beats were seen across the report. Despite earnings, stock specific news has largely been dictated by takeover talk, with Jimmy Choo confirming an offer from Michael Kors, being followed by reports that Shell and Softbank are among potential suitors considering bidding for renewable energy firm Equis for potentially USD 5bn. Fixed income markets were led by German paper in early trade, as a large sell order was followed by the aforementioned strong German Ifo data. BTP's have outperformed, after hitting a new high at 137.17, with the Italian yields still managing to hold above 2.00%.</p> <p><strong>Top European News</strong></p> <ul> <li>Ifo July German Business Confidence Index at 116.0, Est. 114.9</li> <li>UPM Falls, Pulling Down Stora Enso; DNB Sees Softness in Paper</li> <li>Kumba Resumes Dividend as Earnings Jump After Iron Ore Recovery</li> <li>Intertrust Shares Slump as Company Cuts Full-Year Margin Target</li> </ul> <p><strong>In currencies, </strong>EUR/USD saw a slight bid following the Ifo beat, marginally so, continuing to trade in the day's range, with similar price action seen in EUR/GBP, with the pair quickly retracing the move. The Kiwi saw some brief, rare selling pressure, amid news that New Zealand Officials stated that a contagious disease has been found in 14 cattle. With New Zealand being one of the top five largest exporters of beef, this weighed on the Kiwi dollar. The volatility in NZD led into early European trade, and despite NZD/USD bouncing ahead of 0.74, a Kiwi recovery was not seen in AUD/NZD, trading though overnight highs in the European session. A 1.07 test in AUD/NZD is possible, as the week's high is set to act as intra-day resistance. The Japanese risk event overnight was the BoJ meeting minutes for June 15th — 16th meeting; the highlight stating that members agreed policy needs to be keep easy as price target is still distant. Despite a modest uptick following the release, and some buying following, the 11.30/50 area continues to act as intraday resistance, and following the rejection of this level once again, the market has been pushed to look to test 110.60 lows.</p> <p><strong>In commodities, </strong>energy traders will await the API report following the wall street closing bell this evening, with Oil markets trading subdued following the OPEC led volatility yesterday. The precious metals trade marginally lower, as mild money flow into equities has been clear, further weighed upon by strong numbers out of Germany. Gold does trade at the top of a July uptrend however, slowing down around the 1257.50 area (23 June High).</p> <p><strong>Taking a look now at the day ahead</strong>, we will see house price data for May in the form of the FHFA House Price Index (+0.5% mom expected) and the S&amp;P House Price indices. We will also get the July readings for the conference board consumer confidence indicator (116.5 expected; 118.9 previous) and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (7 expected; 7 previous. Away from the data, the US secretary of Commerce will address the economic club of Washington and BOE Haldane speaks. Notable US companies reporting include: AMD, McDonalds, 3M, Texas instruments, Caterpillar, AT&amp;T and GM.</p> <p><strong>US Event Calendar</strong></p> <ul> <li>9am: FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.7%</li> <li>9am: S&amp;P CoreLogic CS 20-City MoM SA, est. 0.3%, prior 0.28%; CS 20-City YoY NSA, est. 5.75%, prior 5.67%</li> <li>10am: Conf. Board Consumer Confidence, est. 116.5, prior 118.9; Present Situation, prior 146.3; Expectations, prior 100.6</li> <li>10am: Richmond Fed Manufact. Index, est. 7, prior 7</li> </ul> <p><strong>DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap</strong></p> <p>There wasn't much heat in markets yesterday and we saw a day of mixed sentiment across broader European and US equity markets although the VIX did hit an intra day low of 9.26 (closed at 9.43) in late trading which would have been the all time low. The NASDAQ (+0.4%) hit fresh all time highs. If there was a story to keep on your radar it's that yesterday saw the US T-bill curve invert after a weak 3m auction. There's chatter that autumnal debt ceiling fears are creating some worries.</p> <p>Back to equities, in Europe the STOXX dipped by -0.2% on the day which can be traced to some weaker PMI data out yesterday (discussed further below). However the market dynamics were more uneven across regions: the DAX (-0.3%) and FTSE (-1.0%) both posted losses while the CAC (+0.2%) and FTSE MIB (+0.6%) rose on the day. To be fair the lows of the day were early in the European session and the rest of the day was spent slowly recovering. Most sectors posted a loss though with the Automobile sector as the worst performer at -1.2%, while the STOXX Banks index was the top performer as it gained +0.8% on the day ahead of a number reporting this week. Over in the US the S&amp;P 500 (-0.1%) and Dow (-0.3%) were both down. Nearly all S&amp;P 500 sectors were in the red although financials were the best performer and rose by +0.3% on the day, followed by IT (+0.25%).</p> <p>This morning in Asia, markets have been quiet and slightly on the softer side with the Nikkei (-0.1%), Kospi (-0.1%), Hang Seng (flat) and the 3 Chinese bourses down around 0.2-0.3%. Alphabet shares fell as much as -3.5% after hours last night after a disappointing earnings report. </p> <p>On the US political links with Russia, during a 2.5 hours Q&amp;A with Senate investigators, White House advisor Kushner denied he “…colluded with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so..”. That said, he also confirmed 4 contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign, but the “encounters were unmemorable”.</p> <p>The ongoing saga to repeal Obamacare also continues. Trump remains defiant, warning Senate Republicans that anyone who votes not to take up debate of the bill today is saying they are “fine with the Obamacare nightmare.” Realistically, Republicans have been struggling to find a replacement plan that can attract &gt;50 votes in the Senate, even though the party has a 52-48 majority. Nonetheless, Senator Cornyn appears to be fighting to the end, noting yesterday that “if for some reason we aren’t able to muster the votes tomorrow…it’s not the end of it….” For now, we wait and watch.</p> <p>Back to yesterday and over in government bond markets, we saw the German Bund curve unchanged to slightly lower across all maturity points (2Y: -2bps; 10Y: unch). OATs (2Y: -1bp; 10Y: unch) and BTPs (10Y:&nbsp; -2bps) also saw yields broadly flat to slightly lower across maturities, while Gilts saw yields rise across all points of the curve (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: +1bp). Over in the US Treasury yields were higher across all maturity points (2Y: +2bps; 10Y: +2bp).</p> <p>Over in FX markets, the US dollar index posted a rare recent gain (+0.2%) following two weeks where it has cumulatively dropped by over -2%. Sterling was also up on the day by +0.2%, while the Euro saw its rally pause for breath as it dropped by -0.2% on the day. Over in commodity markets crude oil was up on the day (WTI +1.4%) although other segments of the energy sector posted some losses. Oil was helped by Saudi Arabia pledging big export cuts and also Halliburton suggesting the shale boom was slowing. The metals sector saw precious metals flat to marginally lower (Gold: +0.0%; Silver -0.1%) while industrial metals were a mixed bag with copper gaining (+0.8%) while aluminium was lower (-0.1%).</p> <p>We also got a look at the latest CSPP numbers out yesterday. Net CSPP purchases averaged €145mn/day last week, well below the €361mn average since the program started. This was a very slow CSPP week, even&nbsp; by last summer's standards (only the Christmas break lull is comparable). With PSPP purchases at €12.1bn, the weekly CSPP/PSPP flow ratio dropped to 6% which is less than half of the historical average. However much of this may be noise due to the summer lull and it remains difficult to conclude much from these dynamics. Staying with credit, Michal Jezek on my team published a note yesterday on his views on credit curves in Europe. The piece notes that while credit curves are expectedly steep given the current macro environment and sound corporate fundamentals, future changes will depend on how good a macro outlook is being priced in already and what the contribution of ECB QE technicals has been. Given our views about the likely combination of macro fundamentals and market technicals going forward, we maintain a flattening bias. We also highlight key curve trade strategies around these views. </p> <p>Taking a look at yesterday’s calendar, the key numbers in Europe were the manufacturing, services and composite PMIs for France, Germany and the Eurozone. The Euro Area composite PMI disappointed as it pulled back more than expected (55.8 vs. 56.2 expected; 56.3 previous). As the services PMI reading was steady on the month as expected (55.4 vs. 55.4 expected; 55.4 previous), the fall in the composite can be largely attributed to the unexpectedly large drop in the manufacturing PMI (56.8 vs. 57.2 expected; 57.4 previous). France and Germany also saw their composite PMIs disappoint after dropping to 55.7 (vs. 56.4 expected; 56.6 previous) and 55.1 (vs. 56.3 expected; 56.4 previous) respectively. However France actually saw its manufacturing PMI unexpectedly rise to 55.4 (vs. 54.6 expected; 54.8 previous) while the drop in the composite was largely due to the fall in the services PMI (55.9 vs. 56.7 expected; 56.9 previous). Germany on the other hand saw both its manufacturing (58.3 vs. 59.2 expected; 59.6 previous) and services (53.5 vs. 54.3 expected; 54.0 previous) disappoint.</p> <p>Over in the US we also got the Markit PMI numbers, where the composite ticked up to 54.2 (53.0 previous) primarily off an unexpectedly large gain in the manufacturing PMI to 53.2 (vs. 52.3 expected; 52.0 previous) as services remained steady (as expected) on the month at 54.2. Away from PMIs the US also saw existing home sales data for June that came fell more than expected to 5.52m (vs. 5.57m expected; 5.62m previous).</p> <p>Taking a look now at the day ahead. In Europe we will open with various July confidence indicators out of France, which will be followed by the July IFO business climate (114.9 expected) and expectations (106.5 expected) readings for Germany. Over in the US we will see house price data for May in the form of the FHFA House Price Index (+0.5% mom expected) and the S&amp;P House Price indices. Thereafter we will also get the July readings for the conference board consumer confidence indicator (116.5 expected; 118.9 previous) and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (7 expected; 7 previous).</p> <p>Away from the data, the US secretary of Commerce will address the economic club of Washington and BOE Haldane speaks. Notable US companies reporting include: AMD, McDonalds, 3M, Texas instruments, Caterpillar, AT&amp;T and GM.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="800" height="450" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 2s10s 2s10s 2s10s. After Hours ASX 200 Australia Australian Dollar B+ Bank of England Bank of Japan BOE Bond Borrowing Costs Business CAC 40 China Conference Board Consumer Confidence Copper Crude Crude Oil Currency DAX 30 Debt Ceiling DnB Economic history of the Netherlands Economy Economy of the European Union Equity Markets Euro European Central Bank European Central Bank European Union Eurozone FDA federal government FHFA House Price fixed Foreign exchange market France Futures contract Germany Gilts Google Greek government Hang Seng 40 Index Inflation Janet Yellen Japan Jim Reid Kospi Markit McDonalds Monetary Policy MSCI World Stocks NASDAQ NASDAQ 100 New Zealand Nikkei Nikkei 225 Obamacare OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries People's Bank of China Precious Metals Price Action recovery Renminbi Republican Party Reserve Bank of Australia Reuters Richmond Fed Richmond Fed Manufacturing S&P 500 S&P/ASX 200 Saudi Arabia Senate SSE 50 STOXX STOXX Banks Topix Twitter Twitter U.S. Treasury US Dollar Index Volatility White House White House Yuan Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:49:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 600417 at Did The Dutch Central Bank Lie About Its Gold Bar List? <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Koos Jansen,</em></a></p> <p><em>Head of the </em><em>Financial Markets Division of the Dutch central bank, Aerdt Houben, stated in an interview for newspaper </em><em><a href="">Het Financieele Dagblad</a>&nbsp;published&nbsp;in October 2016</em><em>&nbsp;that releasing a bar list of the Dutch official gold reserves &ldquo;would cost hundreds of thousands of euros&rdquo;. In this post we&rsquo;ll expose this is virtually impossible - the costs to publish the bar list should be close to zero - and speculate about the far reaching&nbsp;implications of this falsehood.&nbsp;</em></p> <h3>Recap</h3> <p>This story started a couple of years ago. As I am Dutch and concerned not only about my own financial wellbeing but of my country as well, I commenced inquiring my national central bank about the whereabouts and safety of our gold reserves in late 2013. One of my&nbsp;first actions&nbsp;was submitting the local&nbsp;equivalent of a <a href="">Freedom Of Information Act</a>&nbsp;- in Dutch&nbsp;<a href="">WOB</a>&nbsp;-&nbsp;to De Nederlandsche Bank (<a href="">DNB</a>) in order to obtain all written communication of the past decades between DNB and the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York (<a href="">FRBNY</a>). In 2013 I knew a large share&nbsp;of the Dutch gold was stored at the FRBNY, which I deemed to be an unnecessary risk. In a crisis situation, for example, the US government would be able to confiscate Dutch gold stored on American soil. Unfortunately, DNB responded it&rsquo;s exempt from certain WOB requests under the <a href="">banking law from 1998, article 3</a>. (I thought the WOB hit a dead end, though recent developments have changed my mind regarding the legitimacy of the rejection. In a forthcoming post more on my WOB from 2013.)</p> <p>Subsequently, on 21 November 2014 DNB shocked the financial world by announcing it had covertly <a href="">repatriated 123 tonnes of gold from the FRBNY</a> vaults. Did&nbsp;DNB question&nbsp;the trustworthiness of the FRBNY like myself? Most likely, as I see few other reasons for repatriating, next to losing trust in the international monetary system itself. The gold wasn&rsquo;t sold in the Netherlands, as our&nbsp;gold reserves have remained unchanged at 612 tonnes since 2008. Apparently DNB felt&nbsp;safer having less gold stored at the FRBNY. Note, the FRBNY offers institutional clients to store gold&nbsp;<a href="">free of charge</a>, yet DNB favored&nbsp;to ship&nbsp;it home. From the <a href="">FRBNY website</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The New York Fed charges account holders a handling fee for gold transactions, including when gold enters or leaves the vault or ownership transfers (moves between compartments), but otherwise does not charge fees for gold storage.</p></blockquote> <p>In the <a href="">press release</a> DNB stated repatriating gold<em>&nbsp;&ldquo;may have a positive effect on public confidence</em>&rdquo;. Suggesting&nbsp;the Dutch public - or central bank or government - does not have full faith in the FRBNY as a custodian.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12048"><img alt="The-Netherlands-Official-Gold-Reserves-Locations2" class="wp-image-12048" height="164" src="" width="400" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 1. Locations Dutch gold before and after 21 November 2014.</em></p> <p>My focus on the Dutch gold,&nbsp;in a way partially mine as our official gold reserves are not owned but merely<a href=""> managed by DNB</a>,&nbsp;was sharpened in 2015. On 26 September of that year I visited the <a href="">Reinvent Money</a> conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. One of the speakers was&nbsp;<a href="">Jacob De Haan</a>&nbsp;from DNB&rsquo;s Economics and Research Division. In <a href="">his presentation</a>, De Haan repeatedly emphasized the importance of transparency in central banking.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-11170"><img alt="De Haan DNB 2015" class="wp-image-11170" height="249" src="" width="400" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 2. Slide&nbsp;by Jacob De Haan DNB, Reinvent Money conference 26 September 2015. Red frame added by Koos Jansen.</em></p> <p>Through my WOB experience, however, DNB appeared to be not transparent at all. Thereby, if DNB wants to be transparent and boost public confidence, why doesn&rsquo;t it publish a gold bar list? The publication of this list would provide one of the most important checks on the existence of the Dutch official gold reserves, as the list can then be cross checked with the inventory lists of gold ETFs and alike, possibly exposing multiple titles of ownership on single gold bars. And this act of transparency could be accomplished within minutes by uploading an excel sheet to the DNB website.&nbsp;When I approached De Haan after the conference and asked why DNB doesn&#39;t put out&nbsp;a gold bar list, he offered me <a href="">he would look into it</a>. He gave me his email address and we agreed to stay in touch.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-11171"><img alt="Jan de Haan dnb" class="wp-image-11171" height="449" src="" width="400" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 3. 26 September 2015 at the Reinvent Money conference. On the left Jacob De Haan, on the right in the orange sweater Koos Jansen.</em></p> <p>Many months pasted, but after countless emails and phone calls DNB finally notified me it would not publish any&nbsp;gold bar list. So much for transparency! The following is what DNB <a href="">wrote me</a> on 11 August 2016 as the reason not to publish:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&hellip;we do not intend to publish a gold bar list. This serves no additional monetary purpose to our aforementioned transparency policy,&nbsp;however it would incur administrative costs.</p></blockquote> <p>Administrative costs? There hardly could&nbsp;be administrative costs as this list should be readily available in one or more spreadsheets, I reckoned. When confronting DNB with my logic&nbsp;<a href="">they replied</a> on 15 August 2016:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>DNB has internal gold bar lists, however the conversion of internal lists to documents for publication would create&nbsp;too many administrative burdens.</p></blockquote> <p>DNB claims to have &ldquo;<em>internal lists</em>&rdquo;, but creating &ldquo;<em>documents for publication</em>&rdquo; would create too many administrative burdens. I couldn&#39;t&nbsp;believe it. The only way this excuse would hold was if DNB&rsquo;s internal lists are non-digital, which then need to be either physically copied or manually inserted in spreadsheet software. However, it&rsquo;s highly unlikely DNB doesn&rsquo;t have a digital gold bar list <a href=";id=3A60%2f1&amp;pos=3">in this day and age</a>. Computers have been&nbsp;widely&nbsp;used since the eighties; that&#39;s more than thirty years ago. One the first applications that computers supported were spreadsheet programs&nbsp;designed for accounting. Roughly&nbsp;65 % of the international reserves of the Netherlands are held in gold. Would DNB still&nbsp;keep their&nbsp;precious gold records&nbsp;on pieces of paper?</p> <p>In my professional opinion the Dutch gold must&nbsp;be meticulously&nbsp;recorded in digital documents&nbsp;and thus publishing a bar list should cost nothing. But showing&nbsp;proof will strengthen&nbsp;my perspective. Up till now this post has been&nbsp;more or less a summary of my previous writings. Down below we&#39;ll zoom in on this material, and reveal why it&#39;s virtually impossible&nbsp;for DNB to gain any administrative burdens for&nbsp;publishing&nbsp;a&nbsp;gold bar list.</p> <h3>The Dutch Gold Is Fully Allocated</h3> <p>Let us&nbsp;establish the Dutch gold is fully <em>allocated</em>. According to the <a href="">London Bullion Market Association</a>&nbsp;(LBMA), which&nbsp;sets the<a href=""> global gold wholesale standards</a>, gold held in allocated accounts is [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Allocated Accounts: These are accounts held by dealers [/custodians] in clients&rsquo; names on which are maintained balances of uniquely identifiable bars of metal &lsquo;allocated&rsquo; to a specific customer and segregated from other metal held in the vault. The client has full title to this metal with the dealer holding it on the client&rsquo;s behalf as custodian.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Clients&rsquo; holdings will be identified in a weight list of bars showing the unique bar number, gross weight, the assay or fineness of each bar and its fine weight.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p></blockquote> <p>Clearly, allocated accounts&nbsp;contain&nbsp;uniquely identifiable gold bars owned by&nbsp;one specific client.</p> <p>DNB discloses&nbsp;the Dutch official gold reserves position according to the International Monetary Fund&rsquo;s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual version&nbsp;6 (<a href="">BPM6</a>). <a href="">From DNB</a> [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>De Nederlandsche Bank [DNB] publishes the balance of payments statistics according to the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) since October 2014.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="The%20figures%20for%20the%20Netherlands%20have%20been%20adjusted%20for%20the%20period%20since%202008.">More from DNB</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The figures for the Netherlands have been adjusted for the period since 2008.</p></blockquote> <p>BPM6 forces&nbsp;national authorities&nbsp;to distinguish between&nbsp;<em>gold bullion</em> and <em>unallocated accounts,</em>&nbsp;of which gold bullion can be held in allocated accounts. <a href="">The German central bank</a>&nbsp;wrote in June 2014 on adopting BPM6 &nbsp;[brackets added by Koos Jansen]:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The new rules are binding for the EU member states [which includes the Netherlands] by virtue of a Council regulation amended by the European Commission.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>With regard to reserve assets, gold transactions and positions will in future be subdivided into [1] gold bullion, which includes gold bars and allocated gold accounts, and [2] gold receivables, to which no specific gold holdings are assigned [unallocated accounts].</p></blockquote> <p>In the next chart we can see the ratio between gold bullion and unallocated accounts of all&nbsp;the Eurosystem&#39;s national central banks. The data has been sourced from the German central bank, as the BundesBank&#39;s&nbsp;website has the most user friendly&nbsp;interface. The Netherlands is said to hold 100 % in gold bullion.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12091"><img alt="Official Gold Reserves Eurosystem May 2017" class="wp-image-12091 size-medium" height="397" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 4. The Eurosystem&#39;s official gold reserves.&nbsp;The exact accounting structure&nbsp;of BPM6 on unallocated accounts is beyond the scope of this post. </em></p> <p>When asked directly, DNB replied all the Dutch official gold is indeed fully allocated. Accordingly, there should be lists from all custodians that show the uniquely identifiable gold bars owned by the Dutch state, as stipulated by LBMA guidelines.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12015"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 3.25.15 PM" class="wp-image-12015 size-medium" height="354" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p>Exhibit 5. In red it sates, &ldquo;I can inform you the Dutch gold is in physical form, &lsquo;gold bullion&rsquo; and thus allocated. In the data you can clearly see the Dutch have no gold swaps or receivables, as this would be unallocated.&rdquo; Jan Nieuwenhuijs and Koos Jansen are one and the same.</p> <p>Displayed above in exhibit 1, the Dutch gold is mainly stored abroad. Since November 2014 the breakdown by location is as follows: 31 % in Amsterdam at DNB headquarters, 31 % in New York at the FRBNY, 20 % in Ottawa at the Bank Of Canada (BOC) and 18 % in London at the Bank Of England&nbsp;(BOE).</p> <h3>The BOE And FRBNY Provide Clients A Gold Bar List In Digital Format</h3> <p>I&#39;ve inquired at the BOE if they furnish&nbsp;clients digital gold bar lists that comply with LBMA standards (more specific, with Annex H of the LBMA&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="">Specifications for Good Delivery Bars and Application Procedures for Listing</a>), and if clients are allowed to physically audit their precious metals at the BOE vaults. Brendan Manning of the Public Enquiries Group responded:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12009"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 11.59.37 AM" class="wp-image-12009" height="370" src="" width="550" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 6.</em></p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12010"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 12.00.11 PM" class="wp-image-12010" height="493" src="" width="550" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 7.</em></p> <p>We&nbsp;can read the BOE claims to provide clients a digital gold bar list that complies with Annex H of the LBMA&rsquo;s&nbsp;Specifications for Good Delivery Bars and Application Procedures for Listing, and clients are permitted to inspect their gold at the BOE.</p> <p>When approached with the same questions, the custodian&nbsp;bank&nbsp;in&nbsp;New York replied it&nbsp;couldn&#39;t comment on this subject. However, there is a bar list of gold stored at the FRBNY in the public domain. For the Gold Reserve Transparency Act (<a href="">2011, not enacted</a>) the US Treasury published two gold bar lists. The first list in excel sheet format covers the US official gold stored at Fort Knox, Denver and West-Point, which aggregates to 7,715 tonnes (<a href="">click</a> to download the list). The second list in PDF format covers the US gold stored at the FRBNY, which accounts for 418 tonnes (<a href="">click</a> to download the list starting on page 128). Below is a screenshot of the FRBNY list:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12100"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 9.39.58 AM" class="wp-image-12100 size-medium" height="929" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 8. Screenshot of the US gold bar list from the FRBNY.</em></p> <p>As shown&nbsp;the FRBNY list fully complies with LBMA standards: included is refinery brand, unique serial/melt number, gross weight, fineness, fine weight and year of manufacturing. At&nbsp;the bottom of exhibit 8 we read the original document name is &quot;<em>FRBNY Schedule of Inventory of Gold Held.xlsx</em>&quot;. The extension of the document name &quot;<em>.xlsx</em>&quot; means the file was created by <a href="">Microsoft Excel</a> software, which is the most commonly used spreadsheet application. So, either, the FRBNY keeps its bar lists&nbsp;in excel sheets, or is capable of converting their data to excel format. Kindly&nbsp;remember the US official gold reserves are owned by the US Treasury, not by the FRBNY. We may conclude the FRBNY is able to provides its clients, such as the US Treasury, gold bar lists in electronic format. There should be no problem whatsoever if DNB would ask the FRBNY for the&nbsp;Dutch gold bar list in excel format.</p> <p>The Bank of Canada didn&#39;t reply to my inquiries, but it doesn&#39;t matter at this point. It should be clear gold custodians keep their books electronically and fully comply with LBMA standards. I did find a hint of how the BOC operates. In 1997&nbsp;Professor Duncan McDowall and his team investigated all gold dealings by the BOC from 1935 until 1956 to evaluate&nbsp;if some of the gold stored in Ottawa had&nbsp;ever been intertwined&nbsp;with Nazi gold.&nbsp;McDowall&#39;s investigation is titled &quot;<em><a href="">Due Diligence: A report on the Bank of Canada&#39;s handling of foreign gold during World War II</a>&quot;. </em>One of the professor&#39;s observations with respect to the BOC&#39;s historical documents&nbsp;<a href="">reads</a> [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Fiduciary obligation is similarly represented in the Bank&#39;s [BOC] written dealings with its clients: the entitlement of any client to have a written confirmation of the disposition of the assets they have placed in the care of a bank. A good example of such an obligation in the context of this report would be the regular production of account statements that provided foreign central banks [i.e. DNB] with precise month-end and year-end reckonings of their earmarked gold holdings [allocated accounts] in Ottawa. ... Currency Division&#39;s reports on the arrival and departure of gold to and from these accounts therefore provided a meticulous record of foreign clients&#39; dealings with the Bank.</p></blockquote> <p>Even the BOC&#39;s gold books from before the war appeared to be&nbsp;impeccable. I assume&nbsp;the BOC&#39;s current custodial gold bookkeeping&nbsp;is&nbsp;as precise and meticulous now as it was then.</p> <h3>DNB Is Likely To Maintain A Gold Bar List in Digital Format</h3> <p>Which leaves us to speculate if DNB itself, as the fourth custodian, holds a digital bar list of the 190 tonnes stored in Amsterdam.&nbsp;Allow me to share&nbsp;why I think they do.</p> <p>The fact DNB repatriated 123 tonnes in November&nbsp;2014 from New York, shows they&#39;ve revived their&nbsp;affinity with gold. Few central banks have brought their gold home in recent years, which clearly makes DNB a physical gold advocate. No matter how you look at it, this can&#39;t be denied.</p> <p>While repatriating DNB took the opportunity&nbsp;to upgrade&nbsp;its vault room at the Frederiksplein in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Have a look at the DNB gold vault shelving system prior to November 2014 in the picture below:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12052"><img alt="DNB gold 2013" class="wp-image-12052 size-medium" height="356" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 11. DNB gold vault prior to November 2014. </em></p> <p>Now have a look at the new shelving system at the Frederiksplein. This next picture was taken after November 2014:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12053"><img alt="DNB gold vault" class="wp-image-12053 size-medium" height="365" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 12. DNB gold vault after November 2014.</em></p> <p>Obviously, DNB made the structures&nbsp;more robust by switching from wooden shelves to what looks to be iron. DNB consulted the BOE for a new&nbsp;shelving system as the BOE has an identical system since&nbsp;many years prior to&nbsp;2014. Have a look at a photo from the BOE&#39;s gold vault below:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12054"><img alt="BOE gold vault" class="wp-image-12054 size-medium" height="342" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 13. BOE gold vault&nbsp;prior to November 2014. </em></p> <p>Compressed:</p> <ul> <li>DNB repatriated 123 tonnes, worth roughly 22 billion euros, from the FRBNY somewhere in the months prior to&nbsp;November 2014, exposing&nbsp;a deep and renewed affinity with gold.</li> <li>DNB must have received a digital list from New York with the bars transported, as we know the FRBNY keeps its records in an electronic configuration.</li> <li>While repatriating&nbsp;DNB&nbsp;consulted with the BOE for&nbsp;a robust shelving system in order to upgrade&nbsp;the vault room in Amsterdam, which reaffirms&nbsp;DNB&#39;s careful attention&nbsp;for the gold they store.</li> </ul> <p>Judging from the actions above I dare to say DNB had meticulously, and thus electronically, inventoried the&nbsp;67 tonnes already stored in Amsterdam before November 2014, or registered&nbsp;this metal when the batch from New York arrived. So very likely all gold stored in Amsterdam is properly recorded in digital format.</p> <p>A summary of the previous three chapters before we continue:</p> <ol> <li>All the Dutch official gold reserves are held in allocated accounts and thus there are&nbsp;bar lists available, which comply with LBMA standards, from all custodians.</li> <li>We may conclude&nbsp;all custodians save and distribute their bar lists&nbsp;electronically.</li> </ol> <h3>&nbsp;</h3> <h3>Het Financieele Dagblad</h3> <p>Meanwhile, I was interviewed by <a href="">Het Fiancieele Dagblad</a>, the Dutch version&nbsp;of the Financial Times, on 27 September 2016 for a weekend special on gold. In the interview I told two FD journalists about my views on gold and my curious encounters with DNB. The next day one of the journalists wrote me he would interview <a href="">Aerdt Houben</a>, Head of DNB&#39;s Financial Markets Division, for the same gold special and invited me to share&nbsp;what I would ask Houben in his seat. I wrote back I would inquire about the gold bar list and if DNB had ever physically audited all the Dutch gold, among other topics.</p> <p>In <a href="">Het Financieele Dagblad (FD)</a>&nbsp;from 28 October 2016 the&nbsp;interview with Houben&nbsp;reads:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>FD: Some people are worried the Dutch gold might be gone.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Houben: To a certain degree the people should have trust in us. We are transparent about how much gold we hold and the locations.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>FD: Are there any reports and bar lists on this, if so: why aren&rsquo;t those public?</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Houben: The content of the reports is also being checked by our accountants for our annual report. But the gold bar lists that would costs hundreds of thousands of euros. Because many people would&nbsp;have to check the contents and the many updates that are required.</p></blockquote> <p>In part Houben said the same as DNB mailed me months before, while specifying the administrative burdens would be several hundreds of thousands of euros<em>.</em>&nbsp;By now we know this is a fallacy.</p> <p>Regarding the &ldquo;<em>reports</em>&rdquo; as mentioned in the FD: according to Houben these &ldquo;<em>reports</em>&rdquo; (whatever they are) are checked by DNB&rsquo;s accountants for the annual report and presumably should proof&nbsp;the existence of the Dutch gold. However, in <a href="">DNB&rsquo;s annual report 2016</a> there is no mentioning of such gold related &ldquo;<em>reports</em>&rdquo;, or any&nbsp;gold auditing for that matter. What are these &ldquo;<em>reports</em>&rdquo;? And in case&nbsp;these are audit reports, why aren&#39;t those public?</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s address the arguments for DNB&#39;s&nbsp;excuse in the FD: &quot;<em>because many people would&nbsp;have to check the contents and the many updates that are required&quot;&nbsp;</em>. This is nonsense. For&nbsp;a proper audit, indeed, the bar lists would have&nbsp;to be checked against the physical inventory at the BOE, FRBNY, BOC and DNB. But, if the Dutch&nbsp;gold is audited by now, what additional checks would have to be done for publishing the bar list? Neither are any &quot;<em>updates</em>&quot; required&nbsp;as everything has been&nbsp;allocated since 2008. All DNB&#39;s justifications have fallen apart.</p> <p>I asked DNB in November 2016 by email, what exactly are the &ldquo;<em>reports</em>&rdquo; mentioned in the FD special, and why can&rsquo;t DNB publish the gold bar list as provided by the BOE (the one custodian openly stating to provide clients a bar&nbsp;list)? DNB replied [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12076"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 8.53.48 PM" class="wp-image-12076 size-medium" height="498" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 14. </em></p> <p>In the red frame it reads:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In response to your messages I can inform you DNB has internal overviews of her gold possessions. These are being checked by external accountants [presumably this means&nbsp;the Dutch gold is audited]. As stated previously, DNB considers publishing a&nbsp;gold bar list to serve no monetary purpose. Thereby, creating a bar list for publication would be costly regarding the different formats delivered by our custodians. This means we will not respect your request&nbsp;for obtaining the gold bar list.</p></blockquote> <p>I presume&nbsp;DNB tries to communicate the gold has been audited, but how does one audit gold without a gold bar list that complies with LBMA standards? Only when cross checking bars with an inventory list that discloses all physical&nbsp;characteristics of the bars&nbsp;can audits be performed competently. Bar lists that comply with LBMA standards are indispensable for a physical audit.</p> <p>Relying on audit documents (&quot;<em>reports</em>&quot;?) drafted by&nbsp;custodians is forgery. A physical audit has to be executed by a third party (not the&nbsp;owner and not&nbsp;the custodian). Common practise in the gold industry is to count 100 % and weigh 2 % of all&nbsp;bars at least once a year for an audit (source <a href="">Bureau Veritas</a>).</p> <p>I don&#39;t believe it would take DNB any effort to convert the different list formats by its&nbsp;custodians. It&#39;s all digital and can be converted into one file within seconds. (Though publishing the bar list in different formats is&nbsp;fine too.)</p> <p>By and by, publishing a gold bar list does serve a monetary purpose as it confirms how much monetary gold as nation truly holds. Without public bar lists countries&nbsp;can more easily create false&nbsp;data.</p> <p>Sadly, in the email dated&nbsp;5 January 2017 (exhibit 14) DNB&nbsp;told me it&nbsp;won&#39;t reply to me anymore with respect to their bar list.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">haha. DNB paper &ldquo;gold and secrets&quot;. Openness is our new policy.&nbsp; <a href=""></a><a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; BullionStar (@KoosJansen) <a href="">October 26, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <p>In the&nbsp;Tweet above it reads in Dutch:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Secrets. In the past&nbsp;a central bank was proud of it. Nobody was allowed to know how much gold we had and where it was stored. But the age&nbsp;of central banks cherishing their image of a closed fortress is long gone. Openness is our new policy.</p></blockquote> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>The question is, who&#39;s not telling the truth here? That would be DNB, for sure, and possibly also the BOE and FRBNY.</p> <p>Just to be clear, the amount of gold leased out by DNB is nil. In 2012 the Dutch Minister Of Finance, De Jager, declared in congress&nbsp;DNB had ceased all gold leasing&nbsp;activities by&nbsp;2008. <a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12066"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.20.22 AM" class="wp-image-12066" height="183" src="" width="575" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 15. <a href="">Kamervragen 2012</a>. In red, De Jager states, &quot;No. DNB has notified me it&nbsp;ceased lending gold in 2008.&quot;</em></p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12071"><img alt="Gold Bullion vs Unallocated Accounts The Netherlands" class="wp-image-12071 size-medium" height="390" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 16. Gold bullion vs unallocated accounts for&nbsp;the Netherlands. Since January 2013&nbsp;the Dutch state holds solely gold bullion. </em></p> <p>Again, all&nbsp;the Dutch gold is allocated, and yet DNB declared&nbsp;in a&nbsp;newspaper the bar list can&#39;t be published because it would cost &quot;<em>hundreds of thousands of euros</em>&quot;<em>&nbsp;-</em>&nbsp;this has&nbsp;appeared to be an&nbsp;embarrassing statement and<em>&nbsp;</em>truly blows DNB&#39;s credibility. If DNB doesn&#39;t wish to disclose its bar list, for whatever reason, it would have done&nbsp;wise not to comment at all on this issue.</p> <p>But why all the&nbsp;nonsense? Time to speculate. We&#39;ll run through a few scenarios: <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Scenario 1)</strong> Publishing a bar list might limit DNB&#39;s future flexibility to intervene&nbsp;in financial markets. Currently, DNB hasn&#39;t got any&nbsp;gold leased out.&nbsp;But if the bar list would be published, my central bank would be obstructed in future covert leasing&nbsp;activities.</p> <p>Suppose, the gold price spikes in five&nbsp;months from now. DNB, <a href="">or multiple central banks in concert</a>, decide to lease out monetary gold in order to&nbsp;calm the physical market. When the leases would be undone several years later, surely&nbsp;the bars returned will&nbsp;not be the ones lend out. Following this scenario, when a&nbsp;bar list is published <em>now</em> it would be inaccurate in a few years time; showing bars that are long gone, and can show up on private gold ETF inventory lists.</p> <p>If readers&nbsp;question wether&nbsp;central bankers are capable of&nbsp;&#39;not telling the truth&#39;, consider what&nbsp;DNB&#39;s Governor said&nbsp;in an interview early 2012 <a href="">when asked if he would repatriate any gold from the FRBNY</a>. His answer was firm: &quot;<em>No&quot;</em>. However, shortly&nbsp;after, DNB started to prepare repatriating by&nbsp;reinforcing its headquarters. A new security barrier was&nbsp;constructed around the compound. DNB confirmed to me this was done to prevent any trucks from crashing&nbsp;the building. Likely, the Governor&nbsp;&#39;did not tell the truth&#39; in the interview for strategic reasons.</p> <p><strong>Scenario 2)</strong> It&#39;s possible the BOE claims to provide its clients gold bar lists and auditing rights, but in reality it doesn&#39;t. Meaning, DNB doesn&#39;t&nbsp;have a bar list from the BOE that complies with LBMA standards, which forces them to come up with excuses whenever confronted. This scenario could mean custodial gold at the BOE (and FRBNY) has been&nbsp;embezzled.</p> <p>In 2016 economist&nbsp;<a href="">Guillermo Barba</a>&nbsp;pressured the&nbsp;Banco de México to publish a gold bar list of the Mexican gold stored at the BOE. In <a href="">February 2017</a>&nbsp;Banco de México delivered Barba a list, but it didn&#39;t satisfy LBMA standards by far. Surely this was done on purpose, because how the list&nbsp;was distributed can never have been how the BOE keeps it. So prior to distribution parts of the list were edited. Barba pressured <em>Banxico</em> once more and received a new list in <a href="">March 2017</a>&nbsp;(click <a href="">here</a> to download the list). But neither did the new list satisfy LBMA standards! The column in&nbsp;the list that&nbsp;reads &quot;<em>serial number</em>&quot;, doesn&#39;t&nbsp;disclose the serial numbers physically inscribed on the bars, which makes them uniquely identifiable,&nbsp;<a href="">but shows&nbsp;the BOE&#39;s internal numbering</a>. In my opinion Barba was&nbsp;fooled twice by Banxico. Or Banxico was fooled twice by the BOE.</p> <p>In July 2014 the Australian central bank (RBA) published its&nbsp;bar list of gold&nbsp;stored at the BOE&nbsp;<a href="">due to intense efforts by gold blogger Bullion Baron</a>. But alas, the RBA gold bar list does not&nbsp;disclose unique serial numbers (click <a href="">here</a> to download).</p> <p>My colleague <a href="">Ronan Manly</a> tried to obtain a gold bar list from the&nbsp;Irish central bank (CBI); gold stored at the BOE. The CBI&#39;s first response was:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The record concerned does not exist or cannot be found after all reasonable steps to&nbsp;ascertain its whereabouts have been taken, ...</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Your request was referred to two divisions within the Central Bank of Ireland, ...&nbsp;Both divisions have confirmed that they do not hold any such records which fall within the scope of this part of your request. Accordingly, this part of your request is refused.</p></blockquote> <p>Eventually, <a href="">after the BOE tried to block the request from CBI</a>, Manly&nbsp;was duped with <a href="">this</a> file. All it really contains is a bar total and the total in fine ounces:</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12116"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 1.31.01 PM" class="wp-image-12116" height="124" src="" width="400" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 17. Central bank of Ireland&#39;s gold account at the BOE. </em></p> <p>As far as I know, there has never been a serial number of a gold bar stored at the BOE released in the public domain. It can be&nbsp;the BOE is routinely deceiving its clients by distributing incomplete bar lists.</p> <p>In the past, the central bank of Austria (OeNB) has&nbsp;failed to audit its&nbsp;gold&nbsp;at the&nbsp;BOE. The&nbsp;Austrian Court of Audit&nbsp;(<a href="">Der Rechnungshof</a>) wrote in <a href="">a report</a>&nbsp;in 2015 [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>... the gold depository contract with the depository in England [BOE] contained deficiencies.&nbsp;With respect to the gold reserves stored abroad, internal auditing measures were lacking.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The OeNB had no appropriate concept to perform audits of its gold reserves. &hellip;</p></blockquote> <p>Was the OeNB blocked entrance from BOE vaults in 2015?</p> <p>There is proof FRBNY clients have not been able&nbsp;to audit their gold in New York, at least not in 2007. The German <a href="">Bundes Rechnungshof</a>&nbsp;released <a href="">a report</a>&nbsp;in 2012 on the safety of the German gold abroad. Although the&nbsp;report is heavily redacted, on page 10 we read German auditors were not allowed entrance in the FRBNY gold vault to inspect their precious metals, nor were any other clients:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A possibility for the owners to physically record&nbsp;the holdings of their gold is not provided in the terms and conditions. According to the FRBNY, it&#39;s a long-term practice not to allow the owners to inspect their assets in the interest of a safe working and control process. It has confirmed to the Bundesbank that these conditions for gold custody&nbsp;also apply to all other clients&nbsp;that store&nbsp;gold at the FRBNY.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In response to repeated requests from the internal auditors of the Bundesbank, their representatives were given the opportunity to enter the vault system in June 2007&nbsp;to get an impression of the safety precautions.&nbsp;However, the employees were not given access to the vault&nbsp;compartments, but only to an entrance hall. An examination&nbsp;of gold was therefore not possible.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>[Four redacted paragraphs&nbsp;follow]</p></blockquote> <p>Clearly the Germans were blocked from auditing their metal, and for decades all FRBNY clients&nbsp;had suffered the same fate. Not surprisingly, after the developments&nbsp;between the OeNB, BOE, Bundesbank and FRBNY both European central banks decided to repatriate significant shares of their gold stored overseas. And&nbsp;both repatriate over the course of multiple&nbsp;years, which accentuates the friction between the custodians and their clients.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-11473"><img alt="gold-storage-overview-oenb-2015-2020" class="wp-image-11473 size-full" height="346" src="" width="610" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 18. Why OeNB hasn&#39;t repatriated 140 tonnes of&nbsp;gold from the UK within a few months is a mystery.</em></p> <p>Maybe&nbsp;DNB has experienced the same obstructions in New York as the Germans and hence decided to repatriate.</p> <p><strong>Scenario 3)</strong> DNB just doesn&#39;t feel like publishing a gold bar list.</p> <p>Who&#39;s to say what the truth is? If readers can think of&nbsp;an additional scenario please comment below.</p> <p>My final conclusion is that DNB is lying about its gold bar list, which is worrisome as it shouldn&#39;t be necessary, or things behind the scenes are more convoluted and DNB is being lied to by its custodians, which is even more worrisome.</p> <p>In short, producing a bar list that complies with LBMA standards should be child&#39;s play. And only proper&nbsp;lists can grant us the safety of all&nbsp;the official gold reserves stored at the BOE and FRBNY. As of March 2017 the BOE and FRBNY stored an aggregated 10,821 tonnes of gold, of which the majority is&nbsp;monetary gold.</p> <p>The Bundesbank, OeNB and DNB all claim their gold is audited by now, but none of them has ever released an audit report. The German central bank&nbsp;wrote me it doesn&#39;t publish its audit reports &quot;<em>since Deutsche Bundesbank and its partners have agreed to maintain confidentiality with regard to the audits&quot;. </em>More secrecy and central bank collusion, no&nbsp;surprises there.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-12103"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 12.14.48 PM" class="wp-image-12103 size-medium" height="315" src="" width="651" /></a></p> <p><em>Exhibit 19. Email by BuBa&#39;s press division.</em></p> <p>Until&nbsp;central bankers are fully&nbsp;transparent about their gold dealings we can have but mere&nbsp;distrust in them.</p> Atomic physics Australian Central Bank Australian central bank Austrian Court of Audit Bank of Canada Bank of England Bank of England Bank of New York BOE Bundesbank central bank of Austria Central Banks Currency Division De Haan De Nederlandsche Bank De Nederlandsche Bank Deutsche Bundesbank DnB DNB DNB's Financial Markets Division DNB’s Economics and Research Division Dutch central bank European Commission European Union Federal Bank of Germany Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank Federal Reserve Bank of New York Federal Reserve Bank of New York Financial Markets Division Foreign Central Banks Freedom of Information Act Gold Gold reserve Gold standard International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund Ireland Irish central bank Jacob de Haan London Bullion Market Association Matter Mineralogy Netherlands Netherlands Bank New York Fed New York Fed Newspaper None pdf Precious Metals Precious metals Reality Reserve Bank of Australia Transparency Twitter Twitter U.S. Treasury US government Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:18:03 +0000 BullionStar 600416 at Michael Kors Buys Jimmy Choo For $1.2 Billion <p>Michael Kors announced it has agreed to acquire iconic shoemaker Jimmy Choo for £896 million ($1.17 billion), as the US company seeks to offset slower growth in its core handbag business. As part of the recommended all cash acquisition the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Jimmy Choo will be acquired by JAG Acquisitions (Michael Kors Bidco), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Michael Kors. </p> <p>Each scheme shareholder will receive 230p in cash for each Jimmy Choo share, valuing Jimmy Choo’s existing issued and to be issued ordinary share capital at just under $1.2 billion. The offer price of 230p is final and will not be increased, except that Michael Kors Bidco reserves the right to increase the amount of offer price if there is an announcement on or after date of this announcement of an offer or possible offer for Jimmy Choo by a third party offeror or potential offeror.</p> <p>In a statement, Michael Kors described itself as “the ideal partner for Jimmy Choo,” saying it would “support the growth of Jimmy Choo through retail store openings and further development of its online presence as well as through an expanded assortment of additional fashion product offerings.”</p> <p>Michael Kors, like its luxury retail rivals, has struggled for years to entice American shoppers to pay full price for its handbags amid fierce price competition and an environment of heavy discounting that has pressured profits. Sales of handbags are lagging as women have traded down to smaller, less-expensive purses.</p> <p><img src="" width="518" height="378" /></p> <p>As we <a href="">reported at the end of May</a>, Michael Kors announced a turnaround program as part of which it would close 100 to 125 of its full-price retail stores and renovate existing stores. The company also cut the number of products it sends to department stores, which tend to offer deep discounts, and is trying to get more creative with its designs to get consumers to pay more. But, <a href="">as the WSJ reports</a>, pressure has mounted on Michael Kors to find new avenues for growth after Coach Inc. COH -0.39% in May agreed to buy Kate Spade &amp; Co. for $2.4 billion, in a bid to tap younger consumers to offset slower growth in the handbag market. That market has slowed to about 2% growth from as much as 15% six years ago, according to Craig Johnson, an analyst at Customer Growth Partners.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Jimmy Choo has also struggled with the same discounting problems in U.S. department stores that Michael Kors is facing, although the brand has been helped by a stronger performance in markets like the U.K., China and Japan, where the Jimmy Choo name still carries weight. While upscale women’s shoes remain its core business, Jimmy Choo has been branching out into men’s shoes as it looks for growth. The company has about 150 directly operated stores, leaving what analysts have said is a long runway for bricks and mortar expansion. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last year, the shoemaker turned £364 million in sales, up almost 15% from a year earlier.</p> </blockquote> <p>Shares of Jimmy Choo - which was popularized by Sex and the City and whose shoes and boots sell for as much as £2,995 - were up 17% Tuesday morning, has been on the block since April, when European investment fund JAB Holding Co. said it was putting the luxury shoemaker up for sale as it looks to focus on its restaurant and coffee holdings.</p> <p>Jimmy Choo directors, who have been so advised by BofA Merrill Lynch and Citi as to the financial terms of the acquisition, intend unanimously to recommend offer to Jimmy Choo shareholders. Michael Kors has received an irrevocable undertaking to vote in favor of scheme at the court Meeting and the resolutions to be proposed at the general Meeting from JAB Luxury, Jimmy Choo’s majority shareholder, in respect of 263.7m Jimmy Choo Shares representing ~67.66% of the existing ordinary share capital of Jimmy Choo in issue on July 21 2017.</p> <p>Commenting on the deal, Piper Jaffray (neutral on Michael Kors) said it is all cash but won’t be accretive on a GAAP basis till FY 2020, noting that Michael Kors management wants to fuel the growth of Jimmy Choo to $1b (~2x today’s base) by leveraging its luxury positioning across regions/categories. The bank sees the potential for Jimmy Choo to be a bigger luxury brand in time with right leadership, but need to better understand the “path towards accretion.” It added that the timing of this bid comes as a bit of a surprise given Kors new 2020 plan, expected M&amp;A to have come later given the focus to turn around the namesake brand.</p> <p></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1200" height="684" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business China Choo Clothing Coach, Inc. Culture Fashion GAAP Gay men Japan Jimmy Choo Jimmy Choo Ltd KORS Luxury brands Merrill Merrill Lynch Michael Kors Sandra Choi UN Court Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:58:45 +0000 Tyler Durden 600415 at Former CIA Director Calls For A Coup If Trump Fires Mueller <p>In the most vocal opposition to president Donald Trump yet, former CIA Director John Brennan said that if the White House tries to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, government officials should refuse to follow the president orders, as they would be - in his view - “inconsistent” with the duties of the executive branch.</p> <p><strong>"I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out. </strong>I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future," Brennan <a href="">told CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum</a>, effectively <em>calling for a coup against the president </em>should Trump give the order to fire Mueller.</p> <p>The exchange is 43 minutes into the clip below:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>(F<a href="">ull transcript here</a>)</em></p> <p>Brennan appeared alongside his former colleague, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and both men who served in the Obama administration, told Blitzer they have total confidence in Mueller. "Absolutely. It was an inspired choice- they don't come any better, " Brennan said adding that "<strong>If Mueller is fired, I hope our elected reps will stand up and say enough is enough</strong>." Some have responded with questions where Brennan's devotion to the Constitution was in the aftermath of the events in Benghazi.</p> <p>Falling back on his neocon roots, James Clapper, who has waged a long-running vendetta with Trump, once again warned about Russian interference in US affairs. When asked about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer and others, he responded: "I'm an old school, Cold War warrior and all that - so I have, there's truth in advertising, great suspicions about the Russians and what they do. A lot of this to me had kind of the standard textbook tradecraft long deployed by Russians. It would have been a really good idea maybe to have vetted whoever they were meeting with."</p> <p>Clapper was also asked about Trump's comparison of the intelligence community to Nazi Germany. <strong>Clapper said he called the President-elect nine days before he left the Obama administration saying he "couldn't let that reference pass" and it was an insult to him, CIA Director John Brennan and the workforce</strong>. "That was a terrible, insulting affront, not just to me or John, we get paid the big bucks, but I'm talking about the rank and file, men and women, patriots and intelligence community -- that was completely inappropriate and over the top - <strong>I had to do something about it."</strong></p> <p>And so he did: on the call Clapper said Trump asked him to "to put out a statement rebutting the contents of the dossier which I couldn't and wouldn't do. It was kind of transactional" referring to a dossier that alleged ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. It was not clear if he wouldn't and couldn't do it because the contents were legitimate, in his view, or because the dossier is what started the whole "Russian collusion" narrative in the first place. Curiously, Clapper saw it as a favor to Trump not to issue a statement: Clapper was asked by Blitzer why he didn't put out a statement replying: "The whole point of the dossier by the way was we felt an obligation to warn him to alert him to the fact it was out there. That was the whole point."</p> <p>It was not clear if James Comey, whose subsequent leak to the NYT led to the appointment of Mueller, would have applied the same reasoning when asked by Trump to rebut the dossier's contents. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="749" height="417" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Central Intelligence Agency Donald Trump Donald Trump Germany James Clapper James Comey Links between Trump associates and Russian officials national intelligence Obama Administration Obama administration Paul Manafort Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections United States White House White House Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:39:53 +0000 Tyler Durden 600401 at Can Britain Afford To Be A Hard Power? <p><em><a href="">Authored by Matthew Jamison via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><strong>Recently the UK Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence unveiled their brand new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at a cost of 3 Billion Pounds. This at a time when UK national finances are under heavy pressure and the country has been experiencing seven years of severe austerity.</strong></p> <p><img height="317" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><strong>It has recently come to light that in true Ministry of Defence fashion (poor project management &amp; wasteful spending, duplication, poor planning, lack of oversight and accountability) the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">true costs</a>&nbsp;are set to rocket even further for more aircraft needed to be able to land properly on HMS QE.</strong> How very British. The decision to go ahead with a brand new and very expensive aircraft carrier for the UK at a time of acute social and economic headwinds has been hailed by some as an exciting new weapon in Britain&#39;s hard power arsenal that will allow Britain to &laquo;punch above her weight&raquo; in world affairs and global power projection rankings in Jane&#39;s Weekly.</p> <p><strong>Some however question if Britain can really afford such an expensive project such as a new aircraft carrier</strong> when the Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly said during the recent General Election that there was no magic money tree for nurses, police, firefighters, doctors, in essence all public sector workers &ndash; yet there is 1 Billion Pounds for the DUP and 3 Billion Pounds for a new aircraft carrier that perhaps given the cost and the reality of Britain&#39;s position in the world could have been done without. The cost goes to the heart of the politics of reality and a realism that is sorely lacking in British foreign &amp; defence policy. <strong><em>Can the country really afford such an object when 3 Billion Pounds could have been a major boost to a National Health Service under severe strain? Or imagine what 3 Billion Pounds could do to improve social housing? Or 3 Billion Pounds invested in a National Bank dedicated to helping the carers of those suffering from Alzheimer&#39;s and/or Dementia?</em></strong></p> <p>The decision to go ahead with the HMS Queen Elizabeth<strong> exemplifies everything that is currently wrong and indeed utterly divorced from reality with the current Government. </strong>It goes to the heart over the debates surrounding what kind of country Britain really is, wants to be and should be. Is Britain in reality a strong, successful, competent&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">hard military power</a>&nbsp;with an indispensable, irreplaceable military role to play in world affairs as former Prime Minister Tony Blair would have the country believe with his vision of British foreign policy? Or is it a country with some sections of its public and establishment divorced from reality, still living in a bygone imperial era clinging tenaciously to a shameful period of time in British history and politico-cultural-militarist narratives that are just simply false?</p> <p>Is it in reality a country with tremendous assets mainly within the soft power field of the arts and humanities such as language, culture, entertainment, acting, drama, academia, museums, libraries, sport, music as well as cutting edges in science, technology and engineering. However beyond that sphere of soft power the British have quite a mixed and mediocre record. <strong>The British economy is the most unproductive in the G7, one of the most unproductive economies in the OECD</strong>. British efficiency and rigour are substandard as is the work ethic to a great degree. Very little proper thought, planning and analysis goes into project management in Britain. The quality of good management and leadership in Britain is sorely lacking whether it be in the political, governmental, economic, or indeed military sphere. Nothing ever really works properly or functions correctly in Britain from its transport infrastructure, customer services, public services etc.</p> <p><strong>Which brings us back to the decision to build this aircraft carrier at such a huge cost in the first place. What is Britain trying to prove?</strong> Why must its Ministry of Defence spend billions upon billions of taxpayers money creating weapons of mass destruction, &laquo;boys toys&raquo;, when there are so many internal problems in the country crying out for social and economic redress. Further more Britain has become a disruptive force in world affairs. It has steadily taken on the role of disruptor in what was seen as the traditional Western Alliance of North America and Europe. At this time of acute international challenges and turbulence in world affairs it is Britain which has become a major contributor to such turbulence and has added to the complexity of the problems facing the international community, not lessened those problems. With this new found role Britain must be treated accordingly. The British have sadly played up to all the worst stereotypes regarding Britain during this period and have demonstrated on a massive scale how unreliable, undependable and two faced they can be. <strong>All the brand new, multi-billion pound shiny aircraft carriers (that don&#39;t even properly work once set out to sea) in the world will not be able to gloss over that fundamental truth of regarding the collective, national character.</strong></p> <p>Perhaps it is time for future British Governments to disabuse themselves of the vanity and pretentiousness that previous British Governments both Labour and Tory have exhibited regarding Britain&#39;s military power. <strong>Perhaps it is time to face facts and come to terms with reality. Britain can have a significant role to play within the soft power sphere. But as a hard power, taking part in massive American led military interventions whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and allowing an incompetent and poorly governed Ministry of Defence to continually waste so much taxpayers money as if they had a guaranteed government/taxpayer &laquo;Magic Money Tree&raquo; must be brought to an end.</strong> Furthermore at this time of extreme economic and social challenges that Britain is facing it would be a very wise course of action indeed if Britain were to focus a lot more of its time, resources and energy on putting its own house in order rather than spending vast amounts of money on maintaining a non-essential, non-vital role as a very junior, supporting member of the American Western Alliance.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="620" height="328" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Aircraft carrier American Western Alliance Economy of the United Kingdom ETC Europe G7 Iraq Military of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Ministry of Defence National Health Service National Health Service OECD Politics Reality Royal Navy Strategic Culture Foundation UK Royal Navy United Kingdom Western Alliance of North America and Europe World Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600412 at "Time Is Running Out" - China Is Planning For A Crisis Along North Korean Border <p>Despite Chinese officials reassurance that <strong><em>&quot;military means shouldn&rsquo;t be an option,</em></strong>&quot; <a href="">WSJ reports </a>that <strong>China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea </strong>and realigning forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a <strong>potential crisis across their border, including the possibility of a U.S. military strike</strong>.</p> <p>While all eyes in America are once again distracted by &quot;Russia&quot;-related narratives and the dismal GOP efforts to replace, repeal, re-who-knows-what Obamacare, the threat of North Korea has not gone away... and neither has China&#39;s preparations. As President Trump stepped up the rhetoric, pressuring China to do more to &#39;solve&#39; the North Korean problem, and threatening military action to halt Kim&#39;s nuclear weapons program ambitions, it is clear that<strong> China has used this crisis to not just prepare for potential problems with North Korea but to reinforce military forces elsewhere</strong>.</p> <p><a href="">The Journal writes </a>that a review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts who have studied the preparations show that <strong>Beijing has implemented many of the changes in recent months after initiating them last year</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Recent <strong>measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts</strong>, according to the websites.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>China&rsquo;s <strong>military has also merged, moved and modernized other units in border regions</strong> and released details of recent drills there with special forces, airborne troops and other units that experts say could be sent into North Korea in a crisis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They include a live-fire drill in June by helicopter gunships and one in July by an armored infantry unit recently transferred from eastern China and equipped with new weaponry.</p> </blockquote> <p>China&rsquo;s Defense Ministry didn&rsquo;t respond directly when asked if the recent changes were connected to North Korea, saying only <strong>in a written statement that its forces &ldquo;maintain a normal state of combat readiness and training&rdquo; on the border</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="435" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>While Chinese authorities have been preparing for North Korean contingencies -</strong> including economic collapse, nuclear contamination, or military conflict - according to U.S. and Chinese experts who have studied Beijing&rsquo;s planning, perhaps more intriguing, as Mark Cozad, a former senior U.S. defense intelligence official for East Asia, now at the Rand Corp, explains..</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>China&rsquo;s contingency preparations &ldquo;go well beyond just seizing a buffer zone in the North and border security.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, China is not letting a good crisis go to waste. Coad goes to note:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Once you start talking about efforts from outside powers, in particular the United States and South Korea, to stabilize the North, to seize nuclear weapons or WMD, in those cases then I think you&rsquo;re starting to look at a much more robust Chinese response.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to make me place bets on where I think the U.S. and China would first get into a conflict, it&rsquo;s not Taiwan, the South China Sea or the East China Sea: I think it&rsquo;s the Korean Peninsula.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>As<a href=""> The Journal further notes</a>, <strong>Beijing also appears to be enhancing its capability to seize North Korean nuclear sites and occupy a swath of the country&rsquo;s northern territory if U.S. or South Korean forces start to advance toward the Chinese border</strong>, according to those people. That, they say, would require a much larger Chinese operation than just sealing border, with special forces and airborne troops likely entering first to secure nuclear sites, followed by armored ground forces with air cover, pushing deep into North Korea.<strong> It could also bring Chinese and U.S. forces face to face on the peninsula for the first time since the war there ended in 1953 with an armistice</strong> - an added complication for the Trump administration as it weighs options for dealing with North Korea.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 294px;" /></a></p> <p>China has long worried that economic collapse in North Korea could cause a refugee crisis, bring U.S. forces to its borders, and create a united, democratic and pro-American Korea. <a href="">But as WSJ&#39;s Ben Kesling&nbsp; reports,</a> <strong>China&rsquo;s fears of a U.S. military intervention have risen since January</strong> as Pyongyang has test-fired several missiles, including one capable of reaching Alaska. In a notably outspoken article written in May, retired Maj. Gen. Wang Haiyun, a former military attaché to Moscow now attached to several Chinese think tanks, made his view clear (while carefully noting he did not speak for the PLA)...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>China should &ldquo;draw a red line&rdquo; for the U.S.</strong>: If it attacked North Korea without Chinese approval, Beijing would have to intervene militarily.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Time is running out,... We can&rsquo;t let the flames of war burn into China.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>China should demand that any U.S. military attack result in no nuclear contamination, no U.S. occupation of areas north of the current &ldquo;demarcation line&rdquo; between North and South, and no regime hostile to China established in the North, his article said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;If war breaks out, China should without hesitation occupy northern parts of North Korea, take control of North Korean nuclear facilities, and demarcate safe areas to stop a wave of refugees and disbanded soldiers entering China&rsquo;s northeast,&rdquo;</strong> it said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Beijing&rsquo;s interests &ldquo;now clearly extend beyond the refugee issue&rdquo; to encompass nuclear safety and the peninsula&rsquo;s long-term future, said Oriana Skylar Mastro, an assistant professor at Georgetown University who has studied China&rsquo;s planning for a North Korean crisis.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<strong>China&rsquo;s leaders need to make sure that whatever happens with (North Korea), the result supports China&rsquo;s regional power aspirations and does not help the United States extend or prolong its influence</strong>,&rdquo; Ms. Mastro said.</p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, China may appear to be preparing for a North Korean crisis... but is really building its capabilities should President Trump decide the time is right for more international distractions.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="718" height="521" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Aftermath of the Korean War China China’s Defense Ministry China’s military China–South Korea relations East Asia East China eastern China Foreign relations of Korea Forms of government Georgetown University International relations KIM Korean conflict Member states of the United Nations North Korea North Korea North Korea–South Korea relations Obamacare Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Republican Party Republics South China South Korea Trump Administration War Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:47:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600403 at "Shrinkflation" - How Food Companies Implement Massive Price Hikes Without You Ever Noticing <p>Do you ever get the sense that your favorite steak at that Quick Service Restaurant of your choice keeps getting thinner and thinner all while your check size at the end of the night continues getting larger and larger.&nbsp; Well, it is.&nbsp; How else are publicly traded chains going to continue to deliver margin growth to wall street in the midst of rising labor costs, rising commodity costs and shrinking customer traffic?</p> <p>As a new study in the U.K. just revealed, shrinking portion sizes among food manufacturers is actually way more common than you might think and you probably never even noticed it.&nbsp; In fact, according to data from the Office for National Statistics, <strong>over 2,500 consumer products in the U.K. shrunk in size over the past five years despite being sold for the same price.</strong></p> <p><a href=" - Shrinkflation.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 343px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But it's not just food manufacturers that are shrinking portions while maintaining price as many consumers goods items from chocolate to coffee to toilet paper are all experiencing the same trends.&nbsp; Known in grocery circles as 'liar packs', <strong>shrinking portion sizes became an attractive alternative to simply raising prices back during the great recession when consumers became particularly sensitive to price.&nbsp;</strong> Of course, the net effect is exactly the same but it's much more difficult to notice that fine print on the bottom corner of the packaging than it is the price tag at check out.&nbsp; Per <a href="">The Telegraph</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Mark Jones, a food and drink solicitor at Gordons law firm, said: <strong>“Shrinkflation was borne out of the recession and has gathered staggering pace since 2009. </strong>The ONS’s report confirms this. Against the back drop of a weak economy, commodity prices have been rising over the last five years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The recession made people very price sensitive and you can see the evidence of that by looking at the impressive growth of discount retailers in the last five years, no retail sector has grown faster.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Suppliers and retailers do not want to raise the ‘on the shelf’ price, but both have had to adapt to increasing commodity prices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Shrinking the size of the products being sold, whether that is toilet paper, chocolate or cleaning products, is just another way of pushing through a price increase, but in a more subtle way.</strong> How many of us noticed Andrex reduce the number of sheets on a toilet roll from 240 to 221?”</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=" - Shrinkflation 3.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 423px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And here is the breakdown by month over the past 5 years:</p> <p><a href=" - Shrinkflation 2.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 377px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But it's not just British consumers getting duped by "shrinkflation" as all the same games are played in the U.S. markets as well.&nbsp; For example, who is actually going to notice that <a href="">10 sheets of paper are missing</a> from the Bounty rolls on the right versus those on the left?&nbsp; Yet, assuming that both packages are sold at the same price this small reduction in size equates to a substantial 9% price hike on a per sheet basis.</p> <p><a href=" - Shrinkflation 4.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 500px; height: 354px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, these containers are completely identical aside from some tiny print in the bottom right hand corner.</p> <p><a href=" - Shrinkflation 5.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 500px; height: 600px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Conclusion: Caveat emptor...there is a whole army of Harvard MBAs working in consumer goods companies all around the world whose sole mission in life is to get you to pay more for less without ever noticing.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="652" height="373" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Commodity Economy Euthenics Harvard Hygiene Marketing Marxian economics Pricing Recession Sanitation Toilet paper Toilets Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600406 at "Deeply-Flawed Western Economic Models" Are Undermining The Worst Global Recovery In History <p>With stocks at record highs, seemingly proving that everything must be awesome in the world, Chris Watling, chief executive of Longview Economics, <a href="">shocked CNBC on Friday</a> by reminding them that <strong><em>&quot;this is undoubtedly the lowest quality economic recovery we have seen globally... full stop.&quot; </em></strong></p> <p>The reason is simple, Watling continued,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&quot;the economic model is deeply flawed and the system in the west is deeply flawed, particularly in the English speaking part of the world and it needs to change.&quot;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The Longview Economics CEO explained that a debt-laden global economy could be vulnerable to looming interest rate hikes because,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;This is a world that is more indebted than it was before the global financial crisis in 2007, there&#39;s no productivity growth, asset prices are very elevated, a lot of debt that corporates have built up has gone to share buy backs (and) the number of &#39;zombie companies&#39; has doubled since 2007.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" bgcolor="#131313" height="315" src=";byGuid=3000638424&amp;size=530_298" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Watling&#39;s warnings<a href=""> confirm bond-king Bill Gross&#39; recent warning</a> that the<strong> course of global central banks toward tightening policy could be detrimental for the economic recovery.</strong> He argued that raising interest rates would increase the cost of short-term debt that corporations and individuals currently hold.</p> <p>When asked whether an imperfect system constituted a clear and present danger for the financial markets, Watling replied:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;Whatever you want to call it doesn&#39;t really matter but these sorts of things always unwind when you tighten money. The problem is judging what is tight? And that is sort of the million dollar question.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Will that pain begin in October?</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="492" height="263" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bill Gross Business Central Banks Credit Debt Global Economy recovery Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600344 at FBI Seized Crushed Hard Drives From Home Of Wasserman-Schultz' IT Aide <p>Over the past few months, the story of the Awan brothers has been largely ignored by mainstream media. However, the Pakistani-born brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan are at the center of a criminal investigation by U.S. Capital Hill Police and the FBI.&nbsp; While official charges have not yet been filed, allegations of wrong doing vary from simply overcharging taxpayers for congressional IT equipment to blackmailing members of Congress with secrets captured from emails. </p> <p>The Awan brothers were Pakistani IT specialists, whom worked for more than 30 house and senate democrats, as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The substantial scandal has raised questions about who may have been passed data which the Awans had access to, given Pakistan's history of collaborating with a number of foreign countries who have demonstrated past willingness to influence U.S. politics.</p> <p>Now, per an exclusive report from the <a href="">Daily Caller</a>, we learn that the twisted plot surrounding the Awan brothers has grown even more interesting as <strong>FBI agents have reportedly seized a number of "smashed hard drives" and other computer equipment from their former residence in Virginia.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, </strong>according to an individual who was interviewed by Bureau investigators in the case and a high level congressional source.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into <strong>“serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network”</strong> by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.</p> </blockquote> <p>Makes you wonder whether they used the official <a href="">BleachBit hammer</a> to destroy the hard drives.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Awan" width="600" height="305" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apparently the hard drives were first discovered by a Marine Corps veteran after he rented a house in Lorton, Va. that belonged to the Awans.&nbsp; <strong>Upon moving in, the Marine found a trove of abandoned computer equipment in the garage, much of which had been destroyed, and called the FBI to take a look.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>One of the new tenants — a Marine Corps veteran married to a female Navy Officer — said he found <strong>“wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The tenants called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and, not long after, FBI agents arrived together with the Capitol Police to interview them and confiscate the equipment. The Marine spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his wife’s naval career, saying she doesn’t want to be associated with a national security incident.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,” the Marine said. “It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>For those who have managed to avoid this story, <strong>Imran was first employed in 2004 by former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) as an “information technology director”, before he began working in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005.</strong></p> <p>The family was paid extremely well, with <strong>Imran Awan being paid nearly $2 million working as an IT support staffer for House Democrats since 2004.</strong> Abid Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were each paid more than $1 million working for House Democrats. <strong>In total, since 2003, the family has collected nearly $5 million.</strong></p> <p>The staffer’s services were so important to congressional members, that on March 22, 2016, eight democrat members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a letter, requesting that their staffers be granted access to Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). Of those that signed the letter were representatives Jackie Speier (CA) and Andre Carson (IN), the second Muslim in Congress, both of whom employed the Awan brothers.</p> <p>The brothers were also employed by members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, such as: Jackie Speier (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Joaquín Castro (D-TX), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). Lieu has since openly called for leaks by members of President Trump's administration despite the fact that he may until recently have been under surveillance by a foreign entity.</p> <p><strong>One bombshell that has been all but ignored by the main stream media is that Imran Awan had access to<a href=""> Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s iPad password</a>, meaning that the brothers also had direct access to the notorious<a href=""> DNC emails</a>.</strong></p> <p>The <strong>brothers are accused of removing hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment from congressional offices, including computers and servers, while also running a procurement scheme in which they bought equipment, then overcharged the House administrative office that assigns such contractors to members.</strong></p> <p>Some congressional technology aides believe that the Awan’s are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, due to the fact that these representatives have displayed unwavering and intense loyalty towards the former aides.</p> <p>Of course, if Republicans and/or members of the Trump administration hired foreign-born IT specialists who were suspected of committing a laundry list of federal crimes and then smashed a bunch of hard drives just before skipping town...we're sure the media would still gloss right over it in much the same way they're doing for the the Democrats in this instance.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="598" height="365" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Awan BleachBit Capitol Police Congress Criminal Investigative Service Daily Caller News Foundation Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Florida former Democratic National Committee Free software House Committee on Foreign Affairs Imran Information Technology national security Permanent Select Committee Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Senate Software System software Trump Administration Trump's administration U.S. Capital Hill Police United States Marine Corps Wassermann wireless routers Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600341 at Hero Imams? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Khadija Khan via The Gatestone Institute,</em></a></p> <ul> <li><strong>More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams </strong>-- from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths -- in a move that may be unprecedented, <strong>are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe</strong> by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.</li> <li><strong>The idea seems to have shaken extremists to the core. They have been sending these imams death threats.</strong></li> <li>It is therefore high time, as mankind faces a crucial turning point, that people will pull together and support any voices of peace such as those of the marching imams, and restrain any hands that would try to sabotage their noble mission.</li> </ul> <p>More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams -- from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths -- in a move that may be unprecedented, are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.</p> <p>It is ironic that while the &quot;liberal&quot; world has been busy in Canada <a href="" target="_blank">lavishing millions</a> on the &quot;Foreign Terrorist Fighter&quot; Omar Khadr, and in the US pampering extremists such as Linda Sarsour -- an <a href="" target="_blank">apologist for ISIS</a> and Islamist terrorism who <a href="" target="_blank">calls for a &quot;jihad&quot; on the president</a>, and whose tweets include <a href="" target="_blank">racist comment</a>s such as &quot;How many times to we have to tell White women that we do not need to be saved by them? Is there a code language I need to use to get thru?&quot; -- that <strong>the press has largely ignored these courageous Islamic leaders.</strong> They have travelled from six major European countries and launched a peace march in Europe to show the masses that some Muslims, at least, do condemn terrorism and want nothing to do with terrorists who murder in the name of Islam.</p> <p><strong>Many consider their efforts a brave stand to win back the trust of those in the West who are justifiably angry about the recent wave of terrorist attacks in United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Israel, Germany, the United States and across much of the world.</strong></p> <p>These imams, from different Islamic faiths, have done an extraordinary job in unequivocally denouncing the terrorists by <a href="" target="_blank">visiting the sites of terror attacks</a> to pay homage to victims of terrorism in Europe.</p> <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="margin-bottom: 5px; max-width: 600px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="max-width: 600px; border: 1px solid black;"><img border="0" height="400" src="" width="600" /><br /> <p style="font-size: 82%; margin: 4px 6px;">Hassen Chalghoumi (pictured at center on January 8, 2015), the imam of Drancy Mosque in suburban Paris, is leading a peace march of more than 60 Islamic leaders and imams, to denounce Islamic terrorism and pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><strong>The idea seems to have shaken extremists to the core. They have been sending these imams <a href="" target="_blank">death threats</a>.</strong></p> <p>It is not only violent extremists, however, who pose threat to peace efforts and the West. At least what they do can be seen. <strong>Possibly more harmful are non-violent Muslims, such as Linda Sarsour, who, in order to prey upon naïve admirers of other cultures, continue to feed to the world a <a href="" target="_blank">narrative of Muslim victimhood</a>, apparently to try to whip up hostile sentiments.</strong></p> <p>Sarsour for instance, recommends <a href="" target="_blank">launching a jihad</a> against the current US administration by calling its members &quot;white nationalists&quot;, &quot;fascists&quot;, and &quot;Islamophobes&quot;. She has also been sending her warm wishes to Assata Shukar, a woman who murdered an American policeman, then, after escaping from prison, fled to Cuba.</p> <p><strong>It is painful to see such people stoking the fire to support extremists -- especially while heroic imams go on a peace mission, only to face threats from extremists.</strong></p> <p>It is also painful to watch such extremists invoke well-worn words such as jihad and sharia -- words the meaning of which is known all too well in the Muslim world -- and then later try to paint these words -- presumably for gullible Westerners -- as symbols of warm-and-fuzzy non-violent &quot;resistance&quot;.</p> <p><strong>Even though it is partially true that in Islam, jihad is considered a struggle against oneself to eliminate the evils within oneself, if you speak to anyone in the Muslim world and ask what jihad is, that is not the answer you will get.</strong></p> <p>There are <em>hadiths</em> [the deeds and saying of the Prophet Muhammad], taken literally by hardline Muslims, that order the need for jihad against infidels:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.... (<a href="" target="_blank">Sahih Muslim Book 041, Number 6985</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>or:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah. (<a href="" target="_blank">Hadith Muslim 30</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>There are verses in the Quran that state:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. (Quran 2:191-193)</p> <p>So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory - We will bestow upon him a great reward. (Quran 4:74)</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>What is <em>not</em> addressed is how a majority of Muslims have been radicalized over the years by extremist clerics who know nothing about peace. </strong>They have apparently adopted a literal interpretation of many versus to take over the non-Muslim world and impose on mankind an Islamic version of religion.</p> <p>It is also ironic that extremists can take time from their busy schedules to send death threats to these peaceful imams, but never have any problem with people such as Sarsour -- perhaps because they are not in her cross-hairs and possibly share the same ideology.</p> <p><strong>Organizations that are supposedly &quot;non-violent&quot; such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (<a href="" target="_blank">ISNA</a>), nevertheless represent an ideology, the sole purpose of which is to impose Saudi, Taliban, or Iran-like Sharia law on the world.</strong></p> <p>Both the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR, as well as Britain&#39;s Islamic Relief and 80 other organizations, for example, were added to the <a href="" target="_blank">United Arab Emirates&#39; list</a> of designated terrorist organizations in 2014. Presumably, all are the fonts from which violent Islam grows. Many on the list, such, as Hezbollah and Boko Haram, already are violent.</p> <p><strong>These views in Islam no longer have anything to do with the great mystic philosophers, such as Rumi, Saadi and Ibn el Arabi, who considered even the weakest soul an extension of Allah, thus demanding love and respect for all, and with no ambitions of ruling anyone or taking control of the world.</strong></p> <p>Anyone who is trying to sell Islam and Sharia, which represent an extremist ideology, as something non-militant, only exposes himself or herself as trying to fool the world.</p> <p><u><em><strong>It is also important to keep in mind that extremists consider peaceful Muslims apostates</strong></em></u>. <a href="" target="_blank">Mansoor Hallaj</a> for example, who was gruesomely <a href="" target="_blank">tortured and executed</a>, is a symbol of how these extremist Muslims have savaged anyone who tried to offer a &quot;kinder, gentler&quot; version of Islam.</p> <p>The only reason that modern-day people -- from both East and West -- are aware of the violent aspect of jihad is that they have seen bloodbaths and massacres wherever the phrase &quot;Allahu Akbar,&quot; &quot;Allah is the greatest,&quot; was chanted.</p> <p><strong>Therefore, the word jihad in the current historical context can only trigger suspicion and anger against anyone who announces jihad as a wish.</strong></p> <p>Extremist Muslims have, in fact, played this game for decades in the West and also in the Muslim world. They have not only poisoned the minds of their own youths against other faiths, but are also preparing them to commit violence against people of other faiths in a bid to take over the world through &quot;jihad&quot;.</p> <p><strong>Now they have realized that they may be starting to lose the game: many youths have started to question their activities while many governments in the West are running programmes to integrate the brainwashed young people into their societies.</strong></p> <p>The notion of &quot;Us vs. Them&quot; is beginning to fall apart and finally the world seems to be coming out of the decades-long chaos and cold war(s) that begin after 1940s.</p> <p><strong>It is therefore high time, as mankind faces a crucial turning point, that people will pull together and support any voices of peace, such as those of the marching imams, and restrain any hands that would try to sabotage their noble mission.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="579" height="332" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Belgium Council on American-Islamic Relations Criticism of Islam France Gatestone Institute Germany Hizballah Islam Islam and violence Islamic Society of North America Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic terrorism Islamism Israel Jihad Linda Sarsour Muslim Brotherhood Religion Religion Religious controversies Religious terrorism Taliban United Kingdom US Administration Wahhabism War Tue, 25 Jul 2017 07:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600410 at