Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I feel better now...FEMA Administrator Fugate Meets Top Israeli Official To Discuss Emergency Management Issues

Release Date: June 30, 2009

Release Number: HQ-09-077a

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate met today with Maj. Gen. Yair Golan of the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command (IDF/HFC), continuing to foster a working relationship with Israel and bolstering the exchange of information on common emergency management practices.

Administrator Fugate and Maj. General Golan will serve as co-chairs of an emergency management work group designed to discuss problems and issues and to exchange information on a variety of topics such as long-term community recovery, exercise programs, policies and procedures.

"I look forward to working with my Israeli counterpart as co-chair of an emergency management work group to improve emergency management practices in both countries," said Fugate. "These partnerships are critical in ensuring that we are incorporating best practices and also working towards greater public preparedness."

The IDF/HFC partners with the Israeli National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) on emergency management issues. IDF/HFC and NEMA work with FEMA under an emergency management work stream workgroup established under a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with DHS.

FEMA and Israel have had several exchanges of information over the past year. FEMA representatives attended the national preparedness exercise Turning Point 3 in Israel on June 1, 2009. In the past, Israel sent observers to the TOPOFF 4 national exercise in the United States, as well as personnel to participate in FEMA emergency management training.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Canada's Gold Mint Heist

Mint's $15.3 M golden dilemma: Was there a heist?

Gold coins that will be melted down at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa. The Mintsays it can't account for approximately $15.3 million in precious metals that seems to have vanished from its inventory in the 2008 fiscal year, according to a third party review conducted by Deloitte and Touche.

Gold coins that will be melted down at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa. The Mintsays it can't account for approximately $15.3 million in precious metals that seems to have vanished from its inventory in the 2008 fiscal year, according to a third party review conducted by Deloitte and Touche.

Photograph by: Pat McGrath, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — The distinct possibility that precious metals may have been stolen from the Royal Canadian Mint is "inexcusable," the federal minister responsible for the Crown corporation said Monday.

The findings of a long-awaited external audit, released earlier in the day, concluded that $15.3 million in missing gold is not the result of accounting or bookkeeping errors, raising even more questions about the whereabouts of the metals from what has been touted as one of the most secure facilities in Canada.

"The mint's still unexplained loss of precious metals is inexcusable," Transport Minister John Baird and Minister of State for Transport Rob Merrifield, whose department is responsible for the mint, said in a joint release. "The mint will be held accountable."

The Royal Canadian Mint says the precious metals seem to have vanished from its inventory in the 2008 fiscal year, according to the third-party review conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP.

External auditors have been working since early March to determine whether theft or an accounting error is behind an "unreconciled difference" between the mint's 2008 financial records and its physical stockpile of gold and other precious metals at its downtown Ottawa headquarters.

The report released Monday concluded that "the unaccounted-for difference in gold does not appear to relate to an accounting error in the reconciliation process, an accounting error in the physical stock count schedules, or an accounting error in the record-keeping of transactions during the year."

It is not clear at this stage whether any gold is physically missing from the inventory, the corporation said in a release. "All possible explanations for the inventory difference need to be investigated."

The Deloitte report identified three "areas for consideration" to explain the unaccounted differences:

- Gold may have been lost through the refining process. The auditor suggested a review of the technical processes used in the various aspects of refining.

- Errors in reconciling the financial records and the physical stockpile of precious metal in previous years, although it concedes "it would be difficult to complete such a review due to the passage of time, the availability of supporting documentation and the turnover of mint staff."

- The theft of the material and "potential inappropriate activities by both internal and/or external parties."

About 17,500 troy ounces of gold, which represents 0.32 per cent of the mint's stock, were unaccounted for, the report said. "A higher amount of gold should be on hand than the physical amount of gold counted," it said. (Gold is measured in troy ounces, which is heavier than the much more common avoirdupois ounce used for measuring weights in food.)

The $15.3-million figure is based on gold prices on Dec. 31, 2008, the mint's fiscal year-end date. At Monday's prices, the precious metals would be worth about $16.3 million.

An unaccounted for difference in silver also was identified, the report noted.

Despite the $15.3-million inventory difference, the mint still says a "record profit is projected" for 2008.

The government said late Monday that it has "instructed the board to withhold all bonuses payable to executives until this matter is resolved to our satisfaction."

The annual report and financial statements have been submitted to the auditor general's office and are expected to be approved by the mint's board of directors in early July.

The ministers have also ordered the mint to report on its precious metals inventory on a quarter basis, rather than twice-annually. "Our government is committed to effective governance and accountability to Canadians," they explained.

The corporation said the unreconciled precious metals only relate to metals owned by the Royal Canadian Mint, and not to the stockpile owned by the mint's customers stored in Ottawa.

"All individual customer holdings and metal deposits entrusted with the Royal Canadian Mint are secure and have been fully accounted for," the corporation said.

On March 23, the Crown corporation sent a letter to Minister of State for Transport Rob Merrifield, whose department is responsible for the mint, saying the mint had lost track of the metals.

Ian E. Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, said Monday the mint continues to work with third parties to assist the corporation in its review of specific aspects of its operations.

"We have also requested the RCMP's assistance to investigate the matter and the mint has committed to fully co-operate with them."

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Caroline Poulin said Monday that the police force's review is "ongoing."

The opposition parties told Canwest News Service that the situation reflects the government's "gross incompetence."

"Either they've got to admit that they've got somebody stealing the gold, or they're incompetent and they lost $15 million worth of gold because they're not very good at refining and re-refining," NDP finance critic Thomas Mulcair said.

He chastised the Crown corporation for releasing the report after the House of Commons adjourned.

"Again, it's again a scandalous inability to handle the public interest and the public purse. It's shocking."

Liberal transport critic Joe Volpe said he's holding the ministers responsible for the issue and called for their resignation.

"It does beg the question: when is the minister leaving? When is the chairman of the mint leaving? When are they going to change the CEO?" he asks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rothschild and Freshfields founders had links to slavery, papers reveal

By Carola Hoyos

Published: June 26 2009 23:32 | Last updated: June 26 2009 23:32

Two of the biggest names in the City of London had previously undisclosed links to slavery in the British colonies, documents seen by the Financial Times have revealed.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the banking family’s 19th-century patriarch, and James William Freshfield, founder of Freshfields, the top City law firm, benefited financially from slavery, records from the National Archives show, even though both have often been portrayed as opponents of slavery.

Far from being a matter of distant history, slavery remains a highly contentious issue in the US, where Rothschild and Freshfields are both active.

Companies alleged to have links to past slave injustices have come under pressure to make restitution.

JPMorgan, the investment bank, set up a $5m scholarship fund for black students studying in Louisiana after apologising in 2005 for the company’s historic links to slavery.

The archival documents have already prompted one of the banks named in the records to take action in the US.

When the FT approached Royal Bank of Scotland with information about its predecessor’s links with slavery, the bank researched the claim, updated its own archives and amended the disclosures of past slave connections that it had previously lodged with the Chicago authorities.

But it is the disclosures about Mr Rothschild and Mr Freshfield that are likely to prompt the biggest stir.

In the case of Mr Rothschild, the documents reveal for the first time that he made personal gains by using slaves as collateral in banking dealings with a slave owner.

This will surprise those familiar with his role in organising the loan that funded the UK government’s bail-out of British slave owners when colonial slavery was abolished in the 1830s. It was the biggest bail-out of an industry as a percentage of annual government expenditure – dwarfing last year’s rescue of the banking sector.

The chief archivist of the Rothschild family papers, Melanie Aspey, reacted with disbelief when first told of the contents of the records, saying she had never seen such links before.

Niall Ferguson, Laurence A.Tisch professor of history at Harvard and author ofThe World’s Banker: A History of the House of Rothschild, said the documents showed “how pervasive slavery was in the structure of British wealth in 1830”.

In Mr Freshfield’s case, the records reveal that he and his sons had several slave-owner clients, mostly based in the Caribbean. The lawyers acted as trustees of the owners’ estates and in one case tried to claim unpaid legal fees for the firm through the government scheme set up to compensate owners after abolition.

Nick Draper, a University College London academic who examined the documents, which will now form the basis of a comprehensive British slavery database at UCL, said the records would hopefully promote a better understanding of of the significance of slavery in Britain.

“We need to fill the gaps between those who deny slavery’s role and those who believe Britain was built entirely on the blood of slaves,” he said.

Both Rothschild, the bank, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer were quick to point to their predecessors’ anti-slavery credentials.

Rothschild said Nathan Mayer Rothschild had been a prominent civil liberties campaigner with many like-minded associates and “against this background, these allegations appear inconsistent and misrepresent the ethos of the man and his business”.

Freshfields said James William Freshfield was an active member of the Church Missionary Society, “which was committed to ... the abolition of the slave trade”.

Apologies and acknowledgements

Several institutions have apologised for, or acknowledged, their links to slavery including:

In March 2002, Deadria C. Farmer-Paellmann, a lawyer and activist, launched an unsuccessful legal action against Aetna , a healthcare benefits company, and others for unjust enrichment through slavery. Legislation in California and Illinois prompted several companies to research their past and some to apologise and make atonement gestures.

In mid-2000 Aetna, prompted by Ms Farmer-Paellmann, was one of the first to apologise for insurance policies written on slaves 140 years earlier.

In 2002, New York Life, the insurer, donated documents about the insurance it sold to slave owners in the 1840s to a New York library. It also backed educational efforts.

In 2005 JPMorgan, the investment bank, apologised that two of its predecessors in Louisiana – Citizens Bank and Canal Bank – had mortgaged slaves. The bank made its research public and set up a $5m scholarship fund for African- American pupils.

Lehman Brothers apologised in 2005 for its predecessors’ links to slavery, whileBank of America said it regretted any actions its predecessors might have taken to support or tolerate slavery.

Wachovia Bank, since acquired by Wells Fargo, also apologised for its predecessors having owned and profited from slaves. It set up a programme offering $1bn in loans for black car dealerships.

In October 2001 students at Yale University pointed out its past links with slavery. The university noted it had already founded the Gilder-Lehrman centre for the study of slavery.

Brown University has set up a commission to look into links with slavery and how it should make amends.

In 2006 Tony Blair, prime minister, expressed “deep sorrow” for the UK’s role in the slave trade.

Last week the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution apologising for slavery and segregation.

Trailer for "The New World Order Conspiracy"

Movie trailer for "The New World Order Conspiracy", an upcoming political documentary from Resistance Video (aenfroy87). This hard hitting documentary will be one of the most powerful attacks on the new world order and reveal the globalists' plans for world government. This is a great movie to show to friends and family who are still beginners on the subject. It will be released in HD on google video and youtube late this summer.

Fighting the New World Order: Information Revolution 2009

The information revolution has begun! This is a set of new clips from 2009 exposing the new world order, Barack Obama, and the fraudulent Federal Reserve system. Watch as great American patriots like Alex Jones, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Jeremy Scahill, Jesse Ventura, Dennis Kucinich, Gerald Celente, Peter Schiff and Ron Paul speak truth to power. The information you will see in these clips is still pushed as a minority opinion by the corporate controlled media. You be the judge.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Equity in Household Real Estate from 1952 - 2009

Fascinating chart showing the total level of Equity in Household Real Estate from 1952 - 2009.

click for bigger chart

Source: Bianco Research

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tennessee Lawmakers Allow Guns In Bars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Handguns will soon be allowed in bars and restaurants in Tennessee under a new law passed by state legislators who voted to override the governor's veto.

The legislation that takes effect July 14 retains an existing ban on consuming alcohol while carrying a handgun, and restaurant owners can still opt to ban weapons from their establishments.

Thirty-seven other states have similar laws.

The state Senate voted 21-9 on Thursday against Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto, a day after the House also voted 69-27 to override.

They overrode critics, including Bredesen, who said it's a bad idea to have guns and alcohol in close proximity.

Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.

Of the roughly 218,000 handgun permit holders in Tennessee, 278 had their permits revoked last year, records show. Since 2005, state records shows nearly 1,200 people have lost their permits.

Revocations are issued for felony convictions, while permits can be suspended for pending criminal charges or for court orders of protection.

Madoff's Mentor - THE MATCH KING

By Liaquat Ahamed
Sunday, June 21, 2009


Ivar Kreuger, the Financial

Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals

By Frank Partnoy

PublicAffairs. 272 pp. $26.95

Human nature being what it is, at any given moment there is always a certain amount of embezzlement going on in a country's banks and businesses. Though the volume of all this larceny increases in good times, only during a financial crisis does its full magnitude come to light.

Every period of economic turmoil throws up its signature crook. It may be too early to select today's emblematic fraudster, but I suspect that, when the votes are finally in, Bernie Madoff will walk away with the prize. During the stock market crash of 2000-01, the name to reckon with turned out not to be that of an individual but a whole company, Enron. And the man who more than anyone else came to epitomize the global crisis that began in 1929 and culminated in the Great Depression was Ivar Kreuger.

"The Match King," by Frank Partnoy, is the story of Kreuger. Starting out in the match business in Sweden, he emerged on the European financial scene in the early 1920s when he decided to branch out into international banking. After World War I, most countries had a hard time borrowing in international capital markets. Kreuger decided to exploit his position as a leading European businessman by acting as a go-between, raising capital in New York and lending it to countries desperate for dollars. In return, he required from each borrowing nation a monopoly over the manufacture of matches. Among the governments with which he struck such deals were those of Ecuador, Peru, Poland, Greece, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania and even France and Germany. By 1929 he had reputedly become the third-richest man in the world.

Even when the Great Crash hit, he seemed to weather the storm reasonably well, successfully completing a $125-million deal with Germany at the end of 1929. But as the stock market kept falling, Kreuger found it more and more difficult to raise capital. Rumors spread that his accounts were riddled with inconsistencies and that he was being investigated by Swedish authorities. He was able to stave off bankruptcy only when $100 million in Italian government bonds miraculously appeared in his safe. On March 12, 1932, the public woke up to the news that he had shot himself through the heart in Paris. A few weeks later the Italian bonds were revealed to be forgeries.

All of which makes for a fascinating story. Partnoy, a former investment banker, now a professor of law at the University of San Diego, does a yeoman's job of leading us through the various financial machinations that kept the Kreuger empire afloat. Along the way, much is made of how Kreuger manipulated his auditor, a hapless, almost comical New Yorker by the name of Albert D. Berning, whom Kreuger alternately charmed, bullied and bribed not to ask too many questions.

But what goes on between a man and his accountant is poor raw material for drama. When it comes to financial crimes, the general reader is interested less in the complex mechanics of how they are committed than in the personality of the criminal. The fascination of someone like Madoff, for example, lies not in how he fabricated his transactions but in trying to get behind that sphinx-like smile to unmask the man who was able to sustain so vast a lie for so long.

Kreuger was no less interesting. He had six or seven residences, a hotel suite in London, apartments in Berlin, New York and Paris, through which he supposedly rotated a string of mistresses. From his office he would try to impress visitors by apparently fielding calls from Mussolini and Stalin -- all of them, it turned out, bogus. In an interview with the Saturday Evening Post, he declared that he owed his success to three things: "One is silence; the second is more silence; while the third is still more silence."

While Partnoy takes us through a maze of accounting shenanigans -- off-balance sheet debts, nonvoting shares, the network of offshore companies through which all the money was funneled around the world -- for most of this book Kreuger remains a lifeless figure, an unfortunate victim of the author's clunky and cliché-ridden prose, which sometimes reads like a Harlequin romance. Here, for example, is Kreuger's first meeting with his accountant: "Ivar met A.D. Berning and the men looked into each other's eyes. Ivar couldn't have been more pleased." Only in the last couple of chapters, as Kreuger spends days on end locked in his private suite, muttering and nerving himself to suicide, does Partnoy finally seem to find his voice and partially succeed in bringing this infamous swindler to life.

Liaquat Ahamed is the author of "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gerald Celente on Russia Today: The FEDERAL RESERVE is the Problem NOT the Solution

June 19, 2009 at 11:12 am

by: The Smoking Argus

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Gerald Celente, head of the “Trends Research Institute” who has accurately forecast a mind-boggling number of events based on the study of both social and economic data appeared on the television program “Russia Today”. When asked whether or not the FEDERAL RESERVE should be given “super-regulator” status as proposed by the Obama Administration, Mr. Celente goes on to explain how the FEDERAL RESERVE and its ability to print an endless supply of “money” via FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE Dollars is the root cause of the current global economic malady.

Related Posts

Comparing Various War Expenditures

Yesterday, we looked at the costs of various one time events versus the bailouts. It took one year of bailouts to rack up the debt totals of 206 years of war, westward expansion, space exploration, etc.

The chart we created omitted numerous conflicts (WWs, the Civil War, etc.) and I was curious as to actual costs of them, adjusted for Inflation.

Reader Ernst Mayer turned me on to this analysis by Stephen Daggett, a specialist in Defense Policy and Budgets. Daggett’s table (shown below) gives you our war spending details, but — spoiler alert – no other military engagement remotely compares to the financial costs of WWII. Total inflation adjusted spending: over 4.1 trillion dollars. That was about 36% of GDP.



Years of War SpendingPeak Year of War Spending
Total Military Cost of War in Millions/Billions of DollarsWar Cost % GDP in Peak Year of War
American Revolution

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


101 million

1,825 million

War of 1812

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


90 million

1,177 million

Mexican War

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


71 million

1,801 million

Civil War: Union

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


3,183 million

45,199 million

Civil War: Confederacy

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


1,000 million

15,244 million

Spanish American War

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


283 million

6,848 million

World War I

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


20 billion

253 billion

World War II

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


296 billion

4,114 billion


Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


30 billion

320 billion


Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


111 billion

686 billion

Persian Gulf War /a/

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


61 billion

96 billion

Iraq /b/

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


616 billion

648 billion

Afghanistan/GWOT /b,c/

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


159 billion

171 billion

Post-9/11 Domestic Security (Operation Noble Eagle) /b/

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


28 billion

33 billion

Total Post-9/11–Iraq, Afghanistan/GWOT, ONE /d/

Current Year $

Constant FY2008$


809 billion

859 billion



Costs of Major U.S. Wars
Stephen Daggett, Specialist in Defense Policy and Budgets
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service Report for Congress (RS22926)
24 July 2008

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Britain to take over Turks and Caicos Islands following corruption allegations

The Turks and Caicos Islands are set to return to direct British rule as early as Wednesday after an inquiry found the overseas territory was rife with political corruption.

Whitehall is due to impose direct rule over the Turks and Caicos islands as early as Wednesday after a Commission of Inquiry found the British overseas territory rife with corruption.
Premier Michael Misick's residence Villa Belview at Leeward, Providenciales Photo: TROPICAL IMAGING

A British governor will take over daily rule for at least two years in the restoration of a colonial-style government and the constitution of the group of Caribbean islands will be suspended after allegations were heard of systematic corruption involving current and past politicians and a widespread culture of fear.

At the heart of the row is Michael Misick, the former prime minister, who allegedly built up a multi-million-dollar fortune after being elected in 2003 through a series of loans from banks and deals with property developers for land owned by the Crown.

Gordon Wetherell, the British governor, will take executive and legislative authority from the House of Assembly and a series of police investigations will begin into allegations of skulduggery in business and nepotism.

The islands, at the southern tip of the Bahamas chain, lure some 300,000 tourists a year to the sandy beaches and coral reefs, and have long served as a tropical playground for celebrities such as Keith Richards and Bruce Willis.

But a nine-month inquiry chaired by Sir Robin Auld, a retired judge, was established in January after a Commons committee visited the island to investigate "good governance" and reported that a culture of fear existed among the islands' 30,000 residents. It heard that Mr Misick was transformed from local solicitor to international jet-setter in five years at the helm of government. Mr Misick resigned in March after Sir Robin published a highly critical interim report.

One of the star witnesses in the inquiry was Mr Misick's estranged wife, LisaRaye McCoy, an American actress. She alleged that the premier had wooed her with Rolls-Royces, private jets and champagne in a lifestyle far beyond his modest salary as a prime minister. More damagingly, the former model alleged that she earned hundreds of thousands of pounds for promotional activities for the islands' tourist board - a department that came under Mr Misick's remit.

The inquiry also heard that allegations that publicly-owned Crown land had been acquired and sold on for profit to developers.

The former premier, who has condemned the move to strip the territory of its independence, was seeking a ruling at the High Court in London that the suspension of the constitution – and with it the right to a trial by jury – violated human rights.

Mario Hoffman and Cem Kinay, two of the biggest investors in the islands, are also challenging the return to direct rule, and will learn today if an attempt to expunge allegations from the inquiry report using the courts in Grand Turk, the capital, has been successful.

A £62 million luxury resort and hotel development in Salt Cay, an undeveloped island, featured prominently at the public hearings. Work has ground to halt on the site amid the legal uncertainties of the transfer of power.

Mr Hoffman, a Slovak banker, complained that his investment in the complex has been jeopardised by the inquiry. "The commission has never asked me any questions about or sought any clarification of the evidence I have presented to them," he said.

Georgia Dunn, a local resident, made a series of objections over Mr Hoffman to the Auld inquiry. A descendant of the original planters on the island, she owns a lease on Salt Cay and does not want to make way for the new property.

The current prime minister, Galmo Williams, petitioned the governor last week for a general election in October. The governor rejected the request and made clear that the push for direct rule would not be derailed.

Phoenix crop circle may predict end of the world

Crop circle experts believe the latest pattern to be discovered, a phoenix rising from the flames in Wiltshire, may give a warning about the end of the world.

Phoenix crop circle: Phoenix crop circle may predict end of the world
The 400-foot design was discovered in a barley field in Yatesbury near Devizes Photo: M & Y PORTSMOUTH

The 400-foot design was discovered in a barley field in Yatesbury near Devizes and depicts the mythical phoenix reborn as it rises from the ashes.

Investigators claim more formations are referencing the possibility of a cataclysmic event occurring on December 21, 2012, which coincides with the end of the ancient Mayan calendar.

The Mayans believed civilisation exists within a series of earth cycles of 144,000 days each with the 13th expiring in December 2012, resulting in Armageddon.

Crop circle enthusiast Karen Alexander, from Gosport, Hants, said: "The phoenix is a mythical creature which symbolises rebirth and a new era in many cultures across the world.

"Within the crop circle community many believe the designs are constantly referring to December 21 and its aftermath.

"This could be interpreted as the human race or earth rising again after a monumental event.

"The patterns are becoming more intricate with every find and it is exciting to think how they are going to evolve by the time we get to 2012."

Recent crop circles have included giant jelly-fish and one image discovered in Wiltshire in June which experts dubbed the most 'mind boggling' they had ever come across.

The formation, measuring 150ft in diameter, is apparently a coded image representing the first 10 digits, 3.141592654, of pi.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

' Worst economic collapse ever'

In 2009 were going to see the worst economic collapse ever, the Greatest Depression, says Gerald Celente, U.S. trend forecaster. He believes its going to be very violent in the U.S., including there being a tax revolt.

Mint moves to halt possible 'run' on gold

Mint moves to halt possible 'run' on gold

OTTAWA — To halt a possible “run” on the gold it safeguards for private businesses, the Royal Canadian Mint is reassuring customers their deposits are fully accounted for and in secure vaults as the investigation continues into as much as $20 million in lost precious metals.

Since the scandal broke last week, some precious metals market advisers have been trying to instigate “some kind of a run” on the custodial accounts of the Ottawa mint and other mints around the world, said Jon Nadler, senior metals market analyst with with Montreal-based Kitco, one of the world’s leading precious metals bullion dealers.

“I cannot name names, but I’ve seen a number of forums and blogs and newsletter alerts from people who claim to be market analysts and saying, ‘You should take delivery of everything that’s in storage, no matter who you keep it with because of things like this,’” Nadler said in an interview Friday, calling the tactic “pathetic.”

The federal government this week ordered the mint to call for an RCMP criminal probe, after a four-month external audit was unable to reconcile the unaccounted-for gold and other precious metals at the mint’s Sussex Drive headquarters. Mint insiders tell the Citizen the missing metals could be worth as much as $20 million. The RCMP continues to review the request for an investigation. The audit findings are expected to be made public next week.

In the cut-throat world of international bullion refining and minting, any loss of confidence in the mint’s reputation as a world-class operation could threaten future business.

For Kitco, which stores some of its gold and precious metals at the mint as well as some of its clients’ metals, the unaccounted-for gold mystery is “clearly not an issue,” said Nadler.

Letters, he said, were sent to the company and other custodial customers June 4, a day after the Citizen broke the story, in which mint chief operating officer Beverley Lepine assured them, “all individual customer holdings and metal deposits entrusted with the Royal Canadian Mint are secure and have been fully accounted for.”

Whatever the outcome of the audit and anticipated police probe, people knowledgeable with mint operations say it’s unlikely the gold was stolen, and certainly not all at once.

Referring to the blockbuster 2003 gold-heist movie The Italian Job, Nadler said, “people tunnelling under vaults and making off with mass quantities of gold and walking out the front door, this just doesn’t happen.”

In a Friday blog posting on the website of the International Business Times, Nadler wrote: “Some over-zealous alarmists need to get a grip and learn how vaults, insurance policies, and such operate in the real world. Until then, we can only call them saboteurs. Anyone who listens to them is sadly misinformed.”

In the later interview, he said, “I can appreciate this atmosphere of post-Madoff mania, but at the same time, when you have a government entity that you’re dealing with and they have a hundred years of track record under their belt, your worry level is certainly misplaced. We’re quite comfortable sleeping at night and so are our clients.”

Meanwhile, mint chairman James Love says one possible, but unconfirmed, explanation for the mystery is a programming problem with a new computer system used to track the mint’s precious metal reserves.

In a media interview this week that attracted scant coverage, Love said, “it’s still possible that it is some sort of a programming error in that system. Obviously frauds and security breaches happen, so we haven’t ruled anything out. But we simply don’t believe that that’s the sort of thing that happened.”

Further, the issue may be traced to a decision not to re-refine an estimated 90 tonnes of slag for residual gold not captured during the initial refining process. Because of the huge demand for gold last year, there was no time, explained Love.

“An estimate was made at the year end as to what the value of the gold in this slag would be, and it was thought that this could explain a significant portion of this reconciliation difference. The amount of gold that was determined to be in that slag was significantly higher than the estimate that was originally used,” he said in the report.

“That went a significant distance in reconciling the rolling inventory to the physical count, but certainly not far enough from our point of view.”

It’s not clear what happened to the slag.

The initial discrepancy at issue was less than 0.5 per cent of the gold that had flowed through the facility last year, Love said.

Nadler said though he is not privy to the external audit findings, “I’m reasonably sure that it’s an accounting issue and literally a reconciliation issue, where a shipment was either short or diverted or what have you. Even if it’s proven to be actual malfeasance, I’m sure that the coverages that they have in place are ample to make (up) any particular shortfall.”