2 Apr 2011


For years my friends over at the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) have been claiming that the World Gold Council (WGC) is a puppet organization funded by the very banking cabal that suppresses the price of gold. In the early days of this 10 year old gold bull run most people brushed off GATA's comments as coming from people who wore "tin foil hats" and saw conspiracies in everything.

But nobody really gave a good explanation as to why the industry's largest gold advocate organization, the World Gold Council, was always touting the virtues of Gold Jewelry over and above the monetary purposes of gold in all their marketing campaigns. Millions of advertising dollars were spent glorifying the virtue of gold necklaces to enhance a woman's skin tones and how the gift of a gold bracelet was sure to lead to a lifetime of romance.

While the WGC was promoting gold via jewelry sales, the GATA Army was scouring government documents, writing letter to their elected officials, uncovering incriminating evidence and suing the guilty parties for their involvement in a vast conspiracy by banks and governments to serendipitously suppress the price of gold.

In a nutshell, the World Gold Council has stayed silent while the obvious market manipulations suppressed the price of the ONLY thing they were supposed to support...GOLD! All the while GATA has been busy freeing gold from the clutches of the rich and powerful that control the price on a daily basis.

The really twisted part of it is that where the World Gold Council has an operating budget in the multi-millions of dollars funded by donations from gold miners and banks, the folks at GATA operate on a shoe string budget funded by paltry donations from individual investors that are tired of being robbed by the bullion banks. Even given these facts the amazing truth is that...


So where does the World Gold Council stand now on supporting the price of gold? Clearly they have benefited from the monumental rise in the price of Gold so wouldn't you think they would go all out in support of Gold market issues that may help gold gain a stronger foothold in investment portfolios, support a higher price and stop the rampant market manipulation? NOT A CHANCE!

If there is one tool that is used most in the price suppression of Gold it is the concentrated paper gold selling that takes place on a daily basis on the COMEX and LME. As our good friend Jeffrey Christian of the CPM Group so eloquently put it... paper gold trades in multiples of 100 times the amount of physical gold. So when the CFTC presented the world with the opportunity to voice their opinion on whether this concentrated paper manipulation should be curbed or stopped which side do you think the largest Gold advocacy group came out on?


If you don't believe me just read the comment they posted on the CFTC website:


Here are some highlights:

"...the World Gold Council is concerned that the Proposed Rule extends beyond the legislative intent of the Act and, if implemented, could reduce or impair liquidity and trade in the gold market"

"the World Gold Council requests that the CFTC withdraw the Proposed Rule until after the CFTC is able to determine whether position limits are, in fact, necessary with respect to each of the Referenced Contracts and their economic equivalents."

"The World Gold Council encourages the CFTC to update the proposed definition of deliverable supply to reflect the more flexible settlement options for physically-settled commodity transactions, and thereby expanding the definition of deliverable supply"

"The World Gold Council also requests that any of the proposed regulatory and recordkeeping requirements associated with position limits and bona fide hedgers be delayed and phased in to the market."

As you can tell the World Gold Council is pulling out all the stops to try and destroy the CFTC position limits rule which would help free the price of gold from the market manipulators.

The big question: WHY is the WGC so against the implementation of Position Limits? The answer can be found in the "Investment Partners" portion on their website:


The World Gold Council is partners in the other powerful tool for gold market manipulation...the Gold ETF's and especially the KING of gold market rigging operations GLD!

For those who have not made the connection between Gold ETF's, the COMEX shorts and the price manipulators I ask you to read an article I wrote a few years back:

Who's The Little Man Behind The Curtain?

There has also been many articles about JP Morgan being both the Custodian of the largest Silver ETF (SLV) while at the same time the suspected huge COMEX silver short. As analyzed in the above article it is clear to me that the physical metal in the ETF's is being used to justify the large concentrated short positions that are used to rig the prices of gold and silver.

Interesting enough this same issue is highlighted in the letter written to the CFTC by Senator Carl Levin in support of Position Limits.


"The proposed rule would help put an end to excessive speculation and market manipulation in U.S commodity prices by creating the regulatory infrastructure needed to establish position limits across U.S. commodity trading venues, including futures and related derivatives markets, and across a variety of commodity related trades in agriculture, metals, and energy markets."

"the proposed rule must make it clear that the new position limits will apply to derivative dealers and speculative traders that buy or sell commodity-related instruments, including index traders who trade commodity-related index swaps, and financial firms that sponsor commodity-related Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's) or Exchange Traded Notes (ETN's). These commodity-related financial instruments are designed to allow investors to profit from changes in commodity prices without having to purchase the actual commodities or manage a portfolio of commodity investments; they are inherently speculative and, in the aggregate, can have a significant effect on commodity prices."

These are some pretty big words aimed at our totally corrupt markets! And don't think for a minute that this came from some Congressional lackey that doesn't know what he's talking about or have any real power. Senator Carl Levin is the Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for the United States Senate. Basically, he's one of the leaders in the battle to take down the Banking Cabal!

I could go on for days about all the comments I read regarding the Position Limits Rule that were posted on the CFTC website as the true "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys" have come out of the wood work on this one. As the crooks at BlackRock commented..."The Commission's position limit proposal may well have the most profound impact on our clients, our business and the markets we use of any Dodd-Frank proposal the Commission has issued".


Make no mistake...the end of market manipulation means the end of un-backed fiat money as history has shown again and again that no un-backed currency can survive on it's own without controlling the prices of gold and silver.

The only question left is WHEN will the final ruling come down. Will it be implemented before the global market chaos hits or will is come after?

Either way something wicked this way comes so be ready.

And by the way...You can right a mighty industry injustice while at the same time helping to end the gold manipulation scam by donating to GATA here:


So send them a few bucks...they DESERVE it!


The stench of US default

That adorable skunk, Pepé Le Pew, is one of my wife Sue’s favourite cartoon characters. There’s something affable, even romantic about him as he seeks to woo his female companions with a French accent and promises of a skunk bungalow and bedrooms full of little Pepés in future years. It’s easy to love a skunk – but only on the silver screen, and if in real life – at a considerable distance. I think of Congress that way. Every two or six years, they dress up in full make-up, pretending to be the change, vowing to correct what hasn’t been corrected, promising discipline as opposed to profligate overspending and undertaxation, and striving to balance the budget when all others have failed. Oooh Pepé – Mon Chéri! But don’t believe them – hold your nose instead! Oh, I kid the Congress. Perhaps they don’t have black and white stripes with bushy tails. Perhaps there’s just a stink bomb that the Congressional sergeant-at-arms sets off every time they convene and the gavel falls to signify the beginning of the “people’s business.” Perhaps. But, in all cases, hold your noses. You ain’t smelled nothin’ yet.
I speak, of course, to the budget deficit and Washington’s inability to recognise the intractable: 75 per cent of the budget is non-discretionary and entitlement based. Without attacking entitlements – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – we are smelling $1 trillion deficits as far as the nose can sniff. Once dominated by defence spending, these three categories now account for 44 per cent of total federal spending and are steadily rising. As Chart 1 points out, after defence and interest payments on the national debt are excluded, remaining discretionary expenses for education, infrastructure, agriculture and housing constitute at most 25 per cent of the 2011 fiscal year federal spending budget of $4 trillion. You could eliminate it all and still wind up with a deficit of nearly $700 billion! So come on you stinkers; enough of the Pepé Le Pew romance and promises. Entitlement spending is where the money is and you need to reform it.
Even then, the situation is almost beyond repair. Check out the Treasury’s and Health and Human Services’ own data for the net present value of entitlement liabilities shown in Chart 2. 

The above four multi-trillion-dollar liability balls are staggering in their implications. Remember first of all that the nearly $65 trillion of entitlement liabilities shown above are not some estimate of future spending. They are the discounted net present value of current spending should it continue at the projected demographic rate (importantly, it is much higher than the annual CPI + 1 per cent used as a discounter because demand for healthcare rises much faster than inflation). And while some Honorable Congressional Le Pews would counter that Medicaid is appropriated annually and therefore requires no discounted reserve, those words would surely count as “sweet nothings,” believable only to those whom they romance every several years at the polls. The incredible reality is that the $9.1 trillion federal debt that constitutes the next-to-tiniest ball in our chart is nothing compared to unfunded Medicaid and Medicare. It is like comparing Pluto to Saturn and Jupiter. The former (the $9.1 trillion current Treasury debt) does not even merit planetary status in our solar system of discounted future liabilities. It’s really just a large asteroid.
Look at it another way and our dire situation becomes equally revealing. Suppose that the $65 trillion of entitlement liabilities were fully funded in a “lockbox,” much like Social Security is falsely imagined to be. Just suppose. And say the cost of that funding (Treasury debt) was the same CPI + 1 per cent that was used to produce the above discounted present value in the first place. Actually, that’s not a bad guesstimate for the average yield of all Treasury debt. If so, then the interest expense on the $75 trillion total debt would equal $2.6 trillion, quite close to the current level of entitlement spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What do we pay now in interest? About $250 billion. Our annual “lockbox” tab would rise by $2.35 trillion and our deficit would be close to 15 per cent of GDP! The simple conclusion would be this: Unless you want to drastically reduce entitlement spending or heaven forbid raise taxes, then Pepé, you’ve got a stinker of a problem.
Previous Congresses (and Administrations) have relied on the assumption that we can grow our way out of this onerous debt burden. Perhaps we could, if it was only $9.1 trillion, as shown in Chart 2. That would be 65 per cent of GDP and well within reasonable ranges for sovereign debt burdens. But that is not the reality. As others, such as Pete Peterson of the Blackstone Group and Mary Meeker, have shown much better and for far longer than I, the true but unrecorded debt of the US Treasury is not $9.1 trillion or even $11-12 trillion when Agency and Student Loan liabilities are thrown in, but $65 trillion more! This country appears to have an off-balance-sheet, unrecorded debt burden of close to 500 per cent of GDP! We are out-Greeking the Greeks, dear reader.
If so, and if the US were a corporation, then it would probably have a negative net worth of $35-40 trillion once our “assets” were properly accounted for, as pointed out by Mary Meeker and endorsed by luminaries such as Paul Volcker and Michael Bloomberg in a recent piece titled “USA Inc.” However approximate and subjective that number is, no lender would lend to such a corporation. Because if that company had a printing press much like the US with an official “reserve currency” seal of approval affixed to every dollar bill, that lender/saver would have to know that the only way out of the dilemma, absent very large entitlement cuts, is to default in one (or a combination) of four ways: 1) outright via contractual abrogation – surely unthinkable, 2) surreptitiously via accelerating and unexpectedly higher inflation – likely but not significant in its impact, 3) deceptively via a declining dollar– currently taking place right in front of our noses, and 4) stealthily via policy rates and Treasury yields far below historical levels – paying savers less on their money and hoping they won’t complain.
If I were sitting before Congress – at a safe olfactory distance – and giving testimony on our current debt crisis, I would pithily say something like this:
“I sit before you as a representative of a $1.2 trillion money manager, historically bond oriented, that has been selling Treasuries because they have little value within the context of a $75 trillion total debt burden.
Unless entitlements are substantially reformed, I am confident that this country will default on its debt; not in conventional ways, but by picking the pocket of savers via a combination of less observable, yet historically verifiable policies – inflation, currency devaluation and low to negative real interest rates. Our clients, who represent unions, cities, US and global pension funds, foundations, as well as Main Street citizens, do not want to be shortchanged or have their pockets picked. It is incumbent, therefore, in order to preserve the integrity of the US Treasury market along with its favourable global interest rates, and to promote a stable US economy, that entitlement spending be reduced, and that future liabilities be addressed in terms of healthcare and Social Security cost containment. You must attack entitlements and make ‘debt’ a four-letter word.”
Thank you, and like Pepé Le Pew, why don’t you try changing your stripes or at least pretend you’re a French-speaking cat. The odour in these chambers is all too familiar and a skunk needs all the help it can get.


Massive Capital Wave Approaches Gold

Capital waves control the direction of markets; they are flows of money, the liquidity that dictates direction. There is nothing like a good gold rally because it is driven by fear. As I will explain this coming rally is shaping up with considerable force, the capital wave to hit this market sector will be a monumental event. You will want to be on this wave with as much capital as you dare to commit to precious metal mining stocks and gold (include silver).
Generally speaking the fundamental picture for gold, silver, gold & silver miners around the world has never looked better. Australia is a leading global gold producer and the quarry at the base of Asia so our prospects look better than excellent going forward. Many of our miners are making fantastic progress on plant upgrades and new projects. They have been exploring and working with new vigour over the past decade as conditions improved for the industry.
The gold price has also allowed for balance sheet restructure as debt is retired. It has forced the closure of almost all of the old hedging, exposing the industry to the full upside on future gold price rises. It has stimulated a new range of up and coming companies seeking to produce precious metals. We have world class mineral provinces, not all exploited as yet. These companies possess state of the art technologies that will unearth monster mineral deposits in Australia and offshore and make fortunes for themselves and investors.
We have some world class international miners and a range of world class operators in the smaller stocks down through the ranks. This game is heating up. Conclusion: Local gold sector developments and the global financial climate could not be more positive for the local industry, the Australian listed gold and silver miners. The only problem is keeping up with the changes in this fluid investment climate.

What will drive this capital flow?
Gold is looking ready to break out and run strongly yet again as debt markets gear up for another round of trouble. A banking crisis could breakout at any time which is why I am keeping at least one foot in this market at all times. One needs a core position in case we wake up one morning and gold has jumped $40 over night at the launch point of a mega run. Massive amounts of debt have to be rolled over in the next three months; Portugal and Spain have come back into the limelight for all the wrong reasons lately.
The European support package is a ticking time bomb; as it slowly runs out of time there is insufficient time or growth to dig many nations out of trouble. QE2 in the US is to be removed in the next few months along with the protection and support this brings to the markets short term.
The central banks are still buying back gold because this essential reserve asset adds stability to the monetary system. The authorities continue to search for a solution to workable regulation that might stop a repeat of the GFC. They are up against a chronic structural imbalance due to the largest debt bubble in history. Now to a story that illustrates this point perfectly.
News just to hand, the new Irish government has come out fighting on the tough measures and interest rate proposed by the EU on its bailout package. Ireland wants the senior bond holders (such as foreign banks, bond funds and insurance companies) of their embattled banks to share in the pain, take a haircut. These banks have been very heavily reliant on the Irish Central Bank and the ECB for short term funding in recent months. The Irish government wants / needs a longer term solution that also involves recapitalization; they don't see that the Irish tax payer should take the whole loss via tough austerity measures including rising taxes which do not produce growth.
Maybe reports are right that this is a political ploy by the Irish government to gain a better medium term deal from the EU however there are other complications. The German public have sent a clear message to Chancellor Angela Merkel that they do not want to continue to bail out Europe. Spain is reported to be building a firewall to protect it from the woes across the border in Portugal. This is starting to sound like "every man for himself" as conditions unravel.
Mismatch of policy, for insurers and the banks, between Basel 3 and European Solvency 2 regulations are also creating issues. Solvency 2 policies make longer maturity bonds more expensive to hold for the insurers (as investors) and yet banks need to issue longer term debt to comply with Basel 3 regulations. Thanks to the withdrawal of mega Funds like PIMCO and other large players; liquidity is reduced in the debt markets. Talk of haircuts and default equates to devastating losses for bond investors that have put up real money.
This is a deleveraging cycle as the debt bubble slowly (we hope) deflates. Is there really any hope this will unravel slowly enough to avoid a rush for the exits? There is simply less money in the debt markets, decreasing supply yet demand for debt is increasing. Old debt has to be rolled over and new debt still adds to the load. That's a serious structural disequilibrium, a delicate balance is required - not a free for all which would result in a crisis very quickly.
Yet rising demand and the more accurate factoring of risk are pushing up yields. Rising yields reduce the value of bonds. This is what we are facing - massive competition for capital and a rising cost of capital. The Central Banks do not control this type of interest rate rise they only have their own policy to control. Rising rates in this case means rising credit spreads between the CB rates and what investors demand in order to take on the risk of investment.
Geopolitical issues in the Middle East continue to add upward pressure to oil prices and therefore inflation. Weather events and drought continue to cause havoc to food prices adding additional inflationary pressure. Everything is perfectly aligned for gold and gold stocks at this point in history. So where are gold stock s right now and are they already overbought? The short answers are; nowhere much and no. Of course in any liquidity crisis equities normally sell off and so the gold stocks can be subject to short term selling. If or when this happens it is time to buy aggressively.
It is a long call to assume that I or any other commentator can predict the exact launch point for gold or the Australian gold sector. I am on record announcing the exact break out for gold on a number of occasions in the past 5 years however this is not to say my record is 100%. It is much easier to analyse short term bounces and pullbacks as achieved in my newsletter on occasion. I can say with certainty that gold is very well supported near these levels and that these gold stocks are undervalued by comparison.

Historical Comparison
When the HUI rallied in late 2007 into March 2008 the Australian gold sector was selling off. We failed to reach new highs as the ultra-savvy international investors bailed out of Australia. Debt market conditions had deteriorated badly in the second half of 2007 and this increased risk on Australian assets. Funds were liquidating assets ahead of the massive GFC sell off which saw Australian gold stocks get hammered.
The Australian gold stocks reversed sharply off the 2008 lows and have still not regained the share price levels attained in the highs of May 2006. Many individual stocks have gone on to new highs I am just talking about the sector as a whole. My thesis, based on continued gold price rises, increased earnings and new resource upside is that this sector will reach these old highs at the top of the rally directly ahead of us now. It may not start for a few months and then again who can tell exactly?
Here is the point I am making in visual form, the red circle at the top of this chart is at 200 whereas the current level of the emerging producers is at just 112! The 200 level was the pinnacle of a 12 month rally whereas the current level is sitting toward the middle (or end?) of a consolidation period. Gold topped at US$730 and A$960 in March 2006, well below current profitability levels with gold hovering around A$1400. Put it another way - gold was A$960 with this index at 200 in early 2006 and now with gold at around A$1400 we see the index languishing at 112.
We are sitting on a rising support trend line and all this tells me this sector is cheap right now. Our full data base, newsletter updates and other investment tools are for Members only. Even deeper research is reserved for our Gold Members in our educational portfolio which is developing in real time along with investment rationale for these sorts of investments. I can reveal to you that the only thing holding this gold segment back is sentiment. [Gold Membership is currently on special and we have added new payment options in our store. Old clients are still on the data base and are entitled to a client loyalty bonus.]
We are currently marching up strongly and only just above that major rising support line marked in red. All three sub-sector charts at GoldOz, like the one you see in this article are sitting on or near this type of support. They are in the free area of GoldOz. Will the current manifestation of the debt imbalance in Europe drive gold demand sharply higher soon? It did last year when the Greek situation broke out as fears of contagion took hold of sentiment. Gold was very heavily bought in Europe. Imagine what would happen if panic buying took hold in China! Physical demand will spill over into the gold stocks sooner or later it is just a question of timing. This is what we work on as this situation evolves.
The gold stocks in Australia are trading well; from juniors to larger producers I see price behaviour consistent with the beginning, or preliminary stages of a broad rally. I am up sharply this year and the educational portfolio I am detailing in my newsletter is now up nearly 13% in two months using an average of only 1/3rd of the capital. This has been achieved quite comfortably in a flat gold stock environment as the sector gears up for its run. The amount of capital invested here is growing as selected stocks reach safer buy levels. As an educational point I am selecting a range of stocks, techniques and strategies within the portfolio.
If you are not in gold or gold stocks this is a great time to act do not delay. This is not a time for the faint-hearted. If you are partly or fully invested do not get shaken out of the quality stocks. Buy these dips you will thank yourself later if you do. Investors and traders can make great gains even in current market conditions - we are proving this weekly. Keep a close eye on these gold web sites for updated intelligence from my peers, most are great thinkers and work hard to bring you their research and technical analysis.

Japan nuclear evacuation will be 'long term'

Residents of evacuated areas near Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have been warned that they may not be able to return to their homes for months as Japan's nuclear crisis stretched into a third week.
The neighbourhoods near the plant will remain empty "for the long term", Yukio Edano, the country's chief cabinet secretary, said on Friday.
Though he did not set a timetable, he said residents would not be able to return permanently "in a matter of days or weeks. It will be longer than that". 
The Japanese government has been coming under pressure from many quarters to expand the evacuation zone, said Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Yamagata.
Nuclear workers are struggling to regain control of the damaged plant, 240km north of the capital, Tokyo, with radiation in water in an underground tunnel more than 10,000 times above normal levels found in reactors, the plant operator told the Kyodo news agency on Thursday.
"Radiation levels are also being tested in the ocean, a few hundred metres from the plant, and have been found to be high," our correspondent said.
"The latest is that they also tested some beef from 70km away from the power station - and that was above the legal limit. Still safe for human consumption, officials said, but still above the legal limit."

Nuclear regulation
French president Nicolas Sarkozy called for global reform of nuclear regulation during a visit to Tokyo on Thursday.
He proposed a conference could be hosted by France, which relies on nuclear power to meet 75 per cent of its energy needs.
"We must look at this coldly so that such a catastrophe never occurs again," he said.
Naoto Kan, Japan's prime minister, welcomed the gesture of solidarity: "I told him a Japanese proverb: 'a friend who comes on a rainy day is your true friend,' and thanked him for coming to Japan from the bottom of my heart."

Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Yamagata, said that Kan is soon expected to visit the disaster areas.

"He is scheduled to visit the city of Rikuzentakata in the Iwate Prefecture, which is the hardest hit area," she said.

"However, he has been criticised by many for scheduling this trip too late."

Economic impact
Officials also announced that Japan will take control of the embattled Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the damaged Fukushima plant, in the face of mounting public concerns over the crisis and a potential compensation bill that Bank of America-Merrill Lynch estimated could run to $130bn.
"If the stake goes over 50 per cent, it will be nationalised. But that's not what we are considering," an unnamed government official told Mainichi newspaper. 
The injection of public funds "will allow the government to have a certain level of management involvement", said the paper's source. 
The company, the largest electric power corporation in Asia, has been criticised over its release of information since the crisis began. But reports of the bail-out were not enough to stop its share price sliding 10 per cent in early trading.
In other sectors, Japan's business confidence was reported by the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey as being bolstered by improvements in production and overseas demand over the past several months. But analysts expect confidence to fall sharply as companies tally the economic costs of the disaster.
Japanese stocks are expected to draw support after the yen slipped to a fresh three-week low against the dollar, trading at 83.62 yen against the dollar on Friday morning. 

US orders media silence over Bahrain

Mourners shout anti-government slogans and wave Bahraini flags during a funeral march for Sayed Ahmed Shams, 15, on March 31in Saar
President of Bahrain’s Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab says the US media have been ordered not to cover news on the government’s brutal crackdown on Bahraini people.
Reports from the Center’s colleagues in the United States say “In the US some news agencies and TV stations were asked not to report on Bahrain and not to embarrass [President Barack Obama’s administration,” Rajab told Press TV.
He went on to say that the US and the Western governments have chosen to keep silent over ongoing atrocities in Bahrain due to their support for the country’s authoritarian regime.
According to unconfirmed reports, over 420 people have been arrested during ongoing protests in the kingdom, Rajab pointed out.
The Bahraini protesters continue to demand the ouster of the 200-year-old-plus monarchy as well as constitutional reforms.
At least 25 people have been killed and about 1,000 others injured during the government-sanctioned crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators.
Joined recently by police units and troops from Saudi and the United Arab Emirates, the Bahraini government forces have launched a deadly crackdown on the popular revolution that began to sweep the Persian Gulf island on February 14.
The Saudi-backed forces have recently been sighted while destroying religious and historical monuments of the Muslim Persian Gulf state.
On Wednesday, the Human Rights Watch accused Bahraini forces of using violence against people that had already received injuries during earlier attacks.
The rights body said it had documented several cases in which the forces had “severely harassed or beaten” patients under medical care in the country’s Salmaniya hospital in Manama.

US orders media silence over Bahrain

Mourners shout anti-government slogans and wave Bahraini flags during a funeral march for Sayed Ahmed Shams, 15, on March 31in Saar
President of Bahrain’s Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab says the US media have been ordered not to cover news on the government’s brutal crackdown on Bahraini people.
Reports from the Center’s colleagues in the United States say “In the US some news agencies and TV stations were asked not to report on Bahrain and not to embarrass [President Barack Obama’s administration,” Rajab told Press TV.
He went on to say that the US and the Western governments have chosen to keep silent over ongoing atrocities in Bahrain due to their support for the country’s authoritarian regime.
According to unconfirmed reports, over 420 people have been arrested during ongoing protests in the kingdom, Rajab pointed out.
The Bahraini protesters continue to demand the ouster of the 200-year-old-plus monarchy as well as constitutional reforms.
At least 25 people have been killed and about 1,000 others injured during the government-sanctioned crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators.
Joined recently by police units and troops from Saudi and the United Arab Emirates, the Bahraini government forces have launched a deadly crackdown on the popular revolution that began to sweep the Persian Gulf island on February 14.
The Saudi-backed forces have recently been sighted while destroying religious and historical monuments of the Muslim Persian Gulf state.
On Wednesday, the Human Rights Watch accused Bahraini forces of using violence against people that had already received injuries during earlier attacks.
The rights body said it had documented several cases in which the forces had “severely harassed or beaten” patients under medical care in the country’s Salmaniya hospital in Manama.

Foreign Banks Tapped; Fed’s Secret Lifeline Most at Crisis Peak

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s two-year fight to shield crisis-squeezed banks from the stigma of revealing their public loans protected a lender to local governments in Belgium, a Japanese fishing-cooperative financier and a company part-owned by the Central Bank of Libya.
Dexia SA (DEXB), based in Brussels and Paris, borrowed as much as $33.5 billion through its New York branch from the Fed’s “discount window” lending program, according to Fed documents released yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Dublin-based Depfa Bank Plc, taken over in 2007 by a German real-estate lender later seized by the German government, drew $24.5 billion.
The biggest borrowers from the 97-year-old discount window as the program reached its crisis-era peak were foreign banks, accounting for at least 70 percent of the $110.7 billion borrowed during the week in October 2008 when use of the program surged to a record. The disclosures may stoke a reexamination of the risks posed to U.S. taxpayers by the central bank’s role in global financial markets.
“The caricature of the Fed is that it was shoveling money to big New York banks and a bunch of foreigners, and that is not conducive to its long-run reputation,” said Vincent Reinhart, the Fed’s director of monetary affairs from 2001 to 2007.
Separate data disclosed in December on temporary emergency- lending programs set up by the Fed also showed big foreign banks as borrowers. Six European banks were among the top 11 companies that sold the most debt overall -- a combined $274.1 billion -- to the Commercial Paper Funding Facility.
Those programs also loaned hundreds of billions of dollars to the biggest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc. andMorgan Stanley. (MS)
The discount window, which began lending in 1914, is the Fed’s primary program for providing cash to banks to help them avert a liquidity squeeze. In an April 2009 speech, Bernanke said that revealing the names of discount-window borrowers “might lead market participants to infer weakness.”
The Fed released the documents after court orders upheld FOIA requests filed by Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, and News Corp.’s Fox News Network LLC. In all, the Fed released more than 29,000 pages of documents, covering the discount window and several Fed emergency-lending programs established during the crisis from August 2007 to March 2010.

Public Outrage

“The American people are going to be outraged when they understand what has been going on,” U.S. Representative Ron Paul, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Fed, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
“What in the world are we doing thinking we can pass out tens of billions of dollars to banks that are overseas?” said Paul, who has advocated abolishing the Fed. “We have problems here at home with people not being able to pay their mortgages, and they’re losing their homes.”
David Skidmore, a Fed spokesman, declined to comment. Fed officials have said all the discount window loans made during the worst financial crisis since the 1930s have been repaid with interest.
The Monetary Control Act of 1980 says that a U.S. branch or agency of a foreign bank that maintains reserves at a Fed bank may receive discount-window credit.
“Our job is to provide liquidity to keep the American economy going,” Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve’s regional bank in Dallas, told reporters today. “The loans were all paid back and they were well-collateralized.”

Wachovia’s Loans

Wachovia Corp. was the only U.S. bank among the top five discount-window borrowers as the crisis peaked.
The company, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, borrowed $29 billion from the discount window on Oct. 6, in the week after it almost collapsed, the data show. Wachovia agreed in principle to sell itself to Citigroup Inc. on Sept. 29, before announcing a definitive agreement to sell itself to Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) on Oct. 3. The Wells Fargo deal closed at the end of 2008.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Mary Eshet declined to comment on Wachovia’s discount-window borrowing.
Bank of Scotland Plc, which had $11 billion outstanding from the discount window on Oct. 29, 2008, was a unit of Edinburgh-based HBOS Plc, which announced its takeover by London-based Lloyds TSB Group Plc in September 2008.
The borrowings in 2008 didn’t involve Lloyds, which hadn’t completed its acquisition of HBOS at the time, said Sara Evans, a spokeswoman for the company, which is now called Lloyds Banking Group Plc. (LLOY)

‘Historic’ Use

“This is historic usage and on each occasion the borrowing was repaid at maturity,” Evans said. “The discount window has not been accessed by the group since.”
Other foreign discount-window borrowers on Oct. 29, 2008, included Societe Generale (GLE)SA, France’s second-biggest bank; and Norinchukin Bank, which finances and provides services to Japanese agricultural, fishing and forestry cooperatives. Paris- based Societe Generale borrowed $5 billion that day, and Tokyo- based Norinchukin borrowed $6 billion.
Jim Galvin, a spokesman for Societe Generale, declined to comment.
“We used it in concert with Japanese and U.S. authorities in the purpose of contributing to the stabilization of the market,” said Fumiaki Tanaka, a spokesman at Norinchukin.

Bank of China

Bank of China, the country’s oldest bank, was the second- largest borrower from the Fed’s discount window during a nine- day period in August 2007 as subprime-mortgage defaults first roiled broader markets. The Chinese bank’s New York branch borrowed $198 million on Aug. 17 of that month.
“It was just routine borrowing,” said Dale Zhu, head of the Bank of China New York branch’s treasury.
Two Deutsche Bank AG divisions borrowed $1 billion each, according to a document released yesterday.
Arab Banking Corp., then 29 percent-owned by the Libyan central bank, used its New York branch to get at least 73 loans from the Fed in the 18 months after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed. The largest single loan amount outstanding was $1.2 billion in July 2009, according to the Fed documents.
The foreign banks took advantage of Fed lending programs even as their host countries moved to prop them up or orchestrate takeovers.
Dexia received billions of euros in capital and funding guarantees from France, Belgium and Luxembourg during the credit crunch.

‘High-Quality’ Collateral

The Fed loans were “secured by high-quality U.S. dollar municipal securities,” and used only to fund U.S. loans, bonds and other financial assets, Ulrike Pommee, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail.
“The Fed played its role as central banker, providing liquidity to banks that needed it,” she said, adding that Dexia’s outstanding balance at the Fed has been reduced to zero. “This information is backward-looking.”
Depfa was taken over in October 2007 by Hypo Real Estate Holding AG, which in turn was seized by the German government in 2009.
“Since the end of May 2010, Depfa is not making use of the Federal Reserve Discount Window,” Oliver Gruss, a spokesman for the bank, said in an e-mailed statement. He declined to comment further.

Dollar Assets

Many foreign banks own large pools of dollar assets -- bonds, securities and loans -- funded by short-term borrowings in money markets. The system works when markets are calm, said Dino Kos, former executive vice president at the New York Fed in charge of open-market operations. In times of stress, banks can be subject to sudden liquidity squeezes, he said.
“They are playing with fire,” said Kos, a managing director at Hamiltonian Associates Ltd. in New York, an economic research firm. “When the market dries up, and they can’t roll over their funding -- bingo, you have a liquidity crisis.”
The potential for dollar shortages remains. As the Greek fiscal crisis roiled financial markets last year, the Fed had to open swap lines with the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England and two other central banks to make more dollars available around the world. That move was partially the result of U.S. money market funds shrinking their exposure to European bank commercial paper.