Italy Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?

Update :
The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing (The Business Insider)
US Treasury says bonds seized in Italy are fakes (Reuters)
The US Bearer Bonds ‘Coincidence’ (Must-read)
The Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine

Ok, this was rumored several days ago, but now I can find actual news reportsat least, outside the US:

Milan (AsiaNews) – Italy’s financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US$ 500 million each, plus ten Kennedy bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollar each.

Those sound like Bearer Bonds – at least the Kennedy ones do.

We no longer issue those (nor does pretty much anyone else) for obvious reasons – they’re essentially money and can be had in VERY large size, making them great vehicles for various illegal enterprises.

But folks: This is $134.5 billion dollars worth.

If they’re real, what government (the only entity that would have such a cache) is trying to unload them?

If they’re fake, this is arguably the biggest counterfeiting operation ever, by a factor of many times. I’ve seen news about various counterfeiting operations over the years that have made me chuckle, but this one, if that’s what it is, is absolutely jaw-dropping.

The cute part of this is that if the certificates are real Italy just got a hell of a bonanza – their money laundering laws provide for a statutory 40% penalty for failure to declare instruments and cash in excess of $10,000 Euros, which means they’d garner a close-to-$40 billion dollar windfall.

That ought to help their budget problems!

Notice, by the way, that the US Media has totally ignored this story – even though the securities in question are allegedly US instruments.

Gee, I wonder why? Might the authorities know they’re real and be just a wee bit nervous that disclosure of a sovereign attempting to covertly dump nearly $140 billion in debt could cause a wee bit of panic, given that we’re running nearly $200 billion a month in deficits?

Inquiring minds want to know what’s really going on here.

Read moreItaly Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?

London’s Metropolitan Police accused of waterboarding drug suspects

The claims are part of an investigation which includes accusations that evidence was fabricated and suspects’ property was stolen

Metropolitan Police officers subjected suspects to waterboarding, according to allegations at the centre of a major anti-corruption inquiry, The Times has learnt.

The torture claims are part of a wide-ranging investigation which also includes accusations that officers fabricated evidence and stole suspects’ property. It has already led to the abandonment of a drug trial and the suspension of several police officers.

However, senior policing officials are most alarmed by the claim that officers in Enfield, North London, used the controversial CIA interrogation technique to simulate drowning. Scotland Yard is appointing a new borough commander in Enfield in a move that is being seen as an attempt by Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, to enforce a regime of “intrusive supervision”.

The waterboarding claims will fuel the debate about police conduct that has raged in the wake of hundreds of public complaints of brutality at the anti-G20 protests in April.

The part of the inquiry focusing on alleged police brutality has been taken over by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is examining the conduct of six officers connected to drug raids in November in which four men and a woman were arrested at addresses in Enfield and Tottenham. Police said they found a large amount of cannabis and the suspects were charged with importation of a Class C drug. The case was abandoned four months later when the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not have been in the public interest to proceed. It is understood that the trial, by revealing the torture claims, would have compromised the criminal investigation into the six officers.

Read moreLondon’s Metropolitan Police accused of waterboarding drug suspects

Royal Canadian Mint lost tens of millions in precious metals

Tories call in Mounties over mint’s missing millions

Canada’s money-makers can’t find tens of millions in precious metals that are shown on the books

Employees work June 8, 2009 at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, where there are worries security could have been breached following the revelation that a large amount of precious metals recorded on the books is missing. The mint uses gold, silver, platinum and palladium in its operations.

OTTAWA – The federal government has asked the RCMP to launch an investigation into the tens of millions worth of precious metals that have gone missing from the Royal Canadian Mint.

The announcement comes after an external audit was launched to reconcile the mint’s records with the physical stock of metals.

And it comes after the Star revealed today that the value of the missing metal was worth more than $10 million.

“I think we are all very concerned,” said Rob Merrifield, minister of state for transport, the department responsible for the mint.

Merrifield said he “instructed” mint staff today to call in the Mounties to assist with the ongoing audit, which has been under way since early March.

Read moreRoyal Canadian Mint lost tens of millions in precious metals

Air France crash killed two of the world’s “most prominent” illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking foes

Pablo Dreyfus

The puzzling crash of Air France’s Flight 447 killed two of the world’s “most prominent” illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking foes, according to a little-noticed report.

In a revelation sure to fuel conspiracy theories over the plane’s demise, the report reveals that two key figures in the neverending internecine battle against global arms and drug trafficking perished when the plane abruptly fell out of the sky. Both were particularly active in efforts to stem illegal arms trading in Latin America.

A 39-year Argentinian man, Pablo Dreyfus, was said to be a major player in an effort by Brazilian authorities to stop flow of arms to drug gangs in Rio. He was a consultant for Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based thinktank.

Another consultant for Small Arms Survey also died in the crash, “Ronald Dreyer, a Swiss diplomat and co-ordinator of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence who had worked with UN missions in El Salvador, Mozambique, Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Angola,” according to Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

“Both men were consultants at the Small Arms Survey, an independent think tank based at Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International Studies,” the Herald reported. “The Survey said on its website that Dryer had helped mobilise the support of more than 100 countries to the cause of disarmament and development.”

Dreyfus and Dreyer were reportedly traveling to Switzerland to “present the latest edition of the Small Arms Survey handbook, of which Dreyfus was a joint editor.”

Dreyfus advocated for “stringent labeling” of ammunition produced by weapons companies, the paper said. He averred that such labeling would greatly aid the tracking of arms acquired by criminals.

Read moreAir France crash killed two of the world’s “most prominent” illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking foes

Global News (04/11/09)

Old NASA Tapes Reveal Stunning New Moon Images; Resolution Unparalleled (KTVU)

US accused of covert operations in Somalia (Observer):
Dramatic evidence that America is involved in illegal mercenary operations in east Africa has emerged in a string of confidential emails seen by The Observer.

Treasury tells US investors to buy American (Telegraph):
US private investors are to be encouraged to “Buy American” as a number of financial houses prepare to launch investment bonds that will allow individuals to part-fund the American government’s $1 trillion (£682bn) toxic asset clean-up. (Yes, we can … buy worthless garbage.)

Nigeria oil unrest ‘kills 1000’ (BBC News):
Violence in Nigeria’s oil region left 1,000 people dead and cost $24bn (£16bn) last year, a report says, according to an official and activist.

Sending a Brutal Message About Human Rights (Washington Post):
For 3 1/2 years, Morales has been scouring and digitizing an extraordinary trove of millions of documents discovered by chance in a rotting warehouse. The archive contains the secret files of Guatemala’s notorious national police agency.

Israel wants time limit on Iran nuclear talks (AFP):
“What is certain is that neither Israel, nor the Arab countries, Europe and the United States can tolerate an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon,” Silvan Shalom said. (Israel has at least 150 nuclear weapons.)

North Carolina, Colorado Banks Shut as 2009 Failures Reach 23 (Bloomberg):
The Washington-based FDIC insures deposits at 8,305 institutions with $13.9 trillion in assets. The FDIC’s insurance fund, used to reimburse a bank’s customers as much as $250,000, tumbled 45 percent in the quarter. The fund fell to $18.9 billion after 25 lenders closed last year. (So do not think for one moment that your money is safe!)

Global News (04/10/09)

US military blew up pigs to test body armour (Telegraph):
American military researchers have blown up live pigs dressed in body armour in an attempt to study the link between roadside bomb blasts and brain injury.

Fed Said to Order Banks to Stay Mum on ‘Stress Test’ Results (Bloomberg)

IMF: German economy to contract by 5% in ‘09 (Inquirer):
BERLIN — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now sees the German economy shrinking 5.0 percent this year, a sharp downward revision from the 2.5 percent contraction forecast in January, the weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday.

The dark side of Dubai (Independent):
Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging.

Russia furious with EU over Twitter revolution (Independent):
Moscow backs Moldovan President after he accuses Romania of supporting coup

GM, Chrysler Ratings Are Cut by S&P as Deadlines Loom (Bloomberg):
April 10 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC had ratings cut on some of their debt by Standard & Poor’s as the automakers face government deadlines to restructure or file for bankruptcy.

Microsoft fined $388 million over patent breach (Times Online)

EU warns China over increasing steel exports (Telegraph):
A simmering trade conflict between Europe and China is nearing the boil as state-supported Chinese steel companies ramp up capacity despite drastic cuts by the rest of the world.

Aso’s $153 Billion Boost to Japan Economy May Incur `Massive’ Future Cost (Bloomberg):
“Aso is very optimistic” on that jobs creation number when you compare it with Obama’s plan, Daley said. “When you throw $150 billion at an economy in one year, you will see an effect. It will not be long term, nor sustainable.”

Obama to Push Immigration Bill as One Priority (New York Times)

Gold price to break $1000 as people scrap gold jewellery for cash (Telegraph):
Gold may reach a record this year as demand for a hedge against inflation outpaces an expanding scrap supply and weaker usage by jewellers, according to researcher GFMS.

Read moreGlobal News (04/10/09)

Global News (03/29/09)

– NZ Women: No dating, thanks, just sex (Sunday Star Times):
Dating culture is dead – instead, young New Zealand women are regularly getting drunk and cruising around in packs looking for men to have sex with. That’s one of the findings of a TVNZ Sunday investigation into the sexual behaviour of New Zealand women.

7 residents, 1 nurse die in nursing home shooting (AP):
7 residents, 1 nurse killed in NC nursing home shooting; Suspect faces 8 murder counts

Le Pen repeats slur that Nazi gas chambers were a ‘detail’ (France24):
Jean-Marie Le Pen, MEP and leader of France’s far-right Front National, outraged assembled members of the European Parliament by repeating his assertion that the Nazi gas chambers were “a mere detail” in the history of the Second World War.

Suicide watch for soldiers in Iraq (Telegraph):
An unprecedented “suicide watch” has been launched by commanders at Britain’s main military base in Iraq following the deaths of three soldiers.

Mexican drug violence spills over into US (Times Online)

Pakistan intelligence agency elements must stop support for Taliban, al-Qaeda: US (Telegraph):
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, said that elements within the Inter-Services Intelligence agency must end their support for Islamic militants.

Read moreGlobal News (03/29/09)

Global News (03/28/09)

Militants attack Nato supply terminal in Pakistan (Independent)

Thousands flee Fargo ahead of floodwaters (Independent):
The National Weather Service targeted the crest near 42 feet, but said it was still possible the river could rise to 43 feet – the same level at which the levees are built to protect the city and nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago.

Russia deploys new nuclear cruise missiles (Independent)

Russia plans military force to patrol Arctic as ‘cold rush’ intensifies (Guardian):
Countries in the northern hemisphere are vying for control of the polar region, which is thought to contain up to a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.

Canada says will defend its Arctic (AFP):
The Canadian government on Friday reaffirmed its Arctic claims, saying it will defend its northern territories and waters after Russia earlier announced plans to militarize the North.

Is there any gold inside Fort Knox, the world’s most secure vault? (Times Online):
“It has been several decades since the gold in Fort Knox was independently audited or properly accounted for,” said Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman and former Republican presidential candidate, in an e-mail interview with The Times. “The American people deserve to know the truth.”

The Dance of the Trillions to Shore up Banks, Bankers, and Gamblers (Global Research)

Merkel warns on further stimulus (Financial Times):
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, will warn leaders of the world’s largest economies next week against pumping too much money into reviving global growth, saying that such action would create an unsustainable recovery.

Ruth Madoff took $2m from London office before collapse (Independent)

Fears police tactics at G20 protests will lead to violence (Guardian)

Read moreGlobal News (03/28/09)

Global News (03/27/09)

Suicide attack on Pakistan mosque kills 50 (Times Online):
A suicide bomb attack on a packed mosque in the volatile tribal regions of Pakistan has killed nearly 50 people and left dozens of others wounded, in the latest wave of violence to hit the country.

US tent cities highlight new realities as recession wears on (Guardian)

North Korea rocket launch: First pictures of launch pad (Telegraph)

Japan’s guided-missile destroyers head for Sea of Japan ahead of DPRK’s rocket launch (Xinhua)

China reacts with fury to US military report (Telegraph):
China has reacted with fury to a US government report on Beijing’s military power which claimed it was altering the military balance in Asia.

Australia quashes China bid for Oz Minerals (Financial Times):
The Australian government on Friday cited national security concerns to block a A$2.6bn ($1.8bn) bid by China’s Minmetals for Oz Minerals, fuelling doubts about Beijing’s ability to secure backing for other deals in the resource-rich country.

Britain sees 40 per cent rise in cash lost to Brussels, National Audit Office says (Telegraph):
The National Audit Office found that Britain’s net cash contribution to Brussels jumped by 40 per cent to more than £4billion between 2006 and 2007. In the same year, the total value of reported irregularities rose by 20 per cent to €1,392 million (£1.3billion) across all European Union countries, a report published today finds.

Bank of England: It’s time to call a halt, Prime Minister (Telegraph)

Mounties accused of ‘cooking up’ story (Toronto Star):
VANCOUVER–Four Mounties “collaborated to fabricate” their story to justify their conduct when Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died while in their custody, a lawyer told a public inquiry yesterday.

Madoff Liquidator Says $2.6 Billion Will Pay Victims of Fraud (Bloomberg):
March 27 (Bloomberg) — The agency liquidating Bernard Madoff’s brokerage says the $2.6 billion it has on hand is enough to satisfy all legitimate claims by victims of the money manager’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

Two more quit AIG as depth of bonus anger emerges (Guardian):
Two senior European bosses have resigned from AIG citing a “hostile” environment as the insurer faces a public backlash over multimillion-pound bonus payouts.

Most electronic voting isn’t secure, CIA expert says (Boston Herald)

Read moreGlobal News (03/27/09)