What is more scarce - gold or truth?

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What Is More Scarce - Gold Or Truth?

Dear reader -- this is going to take some time.   Sorry it will take a while to read what is here, and longer at the websites, but that's how it is sometimes when you're dealing with a paradigm shift.

Like me, you probably want to get rid of a fiat money system and abolish the Federal Reserve.   Like me, you may feel that the establishment of the FED was a conspiratorial, treasonous act.  But beyond all the ramifications of the current banking system, what kind of money would be best?

A lot of people favor returning to a gold standard.   That is probably a good idea.   One of the usual points made about gold is the idea of its scarcity.

When you read all the information from Lambert Dolphin's website about the treasure left behind by the Japanese, and you get some idea of the scope of probability (one person estimates treasure at a present value up to $10 trillion, though that may not all be gold), and you find out more of the behind-the-scenes involvement of people including MacArthur, Hoover, Birchers, the CIA, and many others, then you might begin to wonder if all the regular reports about gold are completely accurate.

And if you are even more like me, you might begin to think about the many other stories about fabulous gold finds that somehow get "lost".  And though much has been made about Swiss banks compensating victims of WWII, I still haven't found any information as to what the bankers did with the Romanov fortune -- at that time, possibly the largest fortune ever amassed, and including many foreign deposits and gold.

My information also suggests that diamond and gold mining is actually limited below existing capacity in order to control the market.

Buried in one of these articles was a one-sentence statement that the Phillipines "wealth was 'confirmed by World Metal Preciux which is owned by Swiss banks and which controls the world's gold supply.' ''   I wonder how many "gold bugs" know anything about World Metal Preciux.   I couldn't even find them on the internet using 8 different search engines.  But he said more: "(We are the world's richest country. But why are we begging)?'' Tagle said.  He said the country's wealth was ''confirmed by World Metal Preciux which is owned by Swiss banks and which controls the world's gold supply.''

The resigned Catholic priest said the World Bank was making the Philippines bow to its demands even as it was lending part of the Marcos gold to the country."

I can tell you something additional that isn't found directly in any of the articles but is somewhat mentioned twice.  Last fall, I was in a conversation with a man who had been hired by the Saudis to verify Marcos' gold claims, as they were most interested in acquiring it.   He spent a considerable amount of time on this project, practically living in the palace for a while.  He said the gold was there, it is real, but the international banking community prevented Marcos from being able to do anything with it.  A lot of it was subsequently lost.  Then the Saudis were bankrupted in the stock market crash back in the late '80s.

One of the articles quotes an researcher: "'We have no idea how much made its way to Japan, either overland from China, through Korea or by sea,' says Seagrave, who believes it is with this secret fund that the zaibatsu financed Japan's post-war economic 'miracle'."   I recently pointed out that there could be more to the story of the Deming success story in Japan than meets the eye.  What the author didn't know is that most of the Japanese banks and corporations are actually "owned" by international bankers.  So it could be a combination of factors.

"If Tagle's $10-trillion estimate of the Marcos wealth were true, the Marcoses would be around 111 times richer than ''the richest man in the world,'' Microsoft chief Bill Gates. Forbes Magazine in June estimated Gates' fortune at $90 billion." Actually, they would be *much* more wealthy than Bill Gates, whose "wealth" is based on a fiat money system.   Any comparison of actual gold value versus a "bank account value" is apples to oranges.  Besides which, Gates isn't the richest man in the world but the truly super-wealthy would very much like for you to believe he is.

If what I've been told is true, and the accounts in the articles that are linked are accurate (they seem pretty well researched), then the paradigm shift I arrived at was to realize that gold is not scarce -- at least, not in the way we have been taught.  The truly scarce commodity is information, accurate information.

My next long post will hopefully be able to tie together some of the insights here to events of the past few years.  Why are we letting the government put average people through hoops of all kinds, restrictions, loss of privacy, an insane monetary system, and more when the truly criminal activity is at a much higher level, often involving the banking establishment, government entities, etc.?

Bank for International Settlements

CHART 1  ** Federal Reserve Directors: A Study of Corporate and Banking Influence ** Staff Report, Committee on Banking,Currency and Housing, House of Representatives,94th Congress, 2nd Session, August 1976.
[You will see later why measures like this are designed to catch only certain types of criminals.  Otherwise, they infringe on legitimate privacy and property rights.   However, as long as people accept the idea that a government has the right to put in place currency movement restrictions, for instance, then it's hard to see how much freedom is really lost in these pointless police state tactics.]

Straw bill widens terrorism definition; Measures allow prosecution of green activists and hackers
Richard Norton-Taylor; Friday December 3, 1999; The Guardian - UK

New powers will be given to the law enforcement agencies - the police and customs to seize funds and property of those suspected of involvement in terrorism or money-laundering. For the first time, they will be able to seize cash at borders.
[Maybe back during the Know Your Customer banking brouhaha, you weren't aware that you could avoid most of the problems by opening an account with a private bank.]

Wall Street's Corruption Scandal
A Senate probe has covered up a huge Wall Street cash-wash, which routinely concealed and converted trillions (yes, trillions) of tainted dollars.
Exclusive to The SPOTLIGHT
By Martin Mann

Congress scheduled a series of hearings into money-laundering last month, but then adjourned them on the second day, apparently frightened by what it had uncovered. What researchers unearthed amounted to a vast financial underworld in which leading Wall Street banks routinely "stashed" trillions of dollars for thousands of unsavory clients from some of the world's worst badlands.
[Yeah, and they do the same thing for elected officials, corporate chiefs, heads of state, etc.   You and me, not so likely.]

Led by Chase Manhattan, the financial flagship of the Rockefeller empire, most major U.S. money centers maintain so-called private "banking facilities" for special customers with at least $1 million in cash to squirrel away.
[There are also plain old private banks that aren't part of the big-name bunch.  They like to be much more discreet and low-key.]

"Private banks cater to clients who don't just want to bank their funds; they need to hide them," said Axel Immern, an independent investment  adviser.
[Don't assume that hiding funds necessarily means the account belongs to a mafia boss.  The same thing goes for a lot of people who are considered pillars of society.]

Often a New York private banker will cater to this need by setting up a so-called "private investment company" (PIC) for his client in a  "secrecy area" like the Caymans, where covert money management is protected by law.

A PIC is a front, an offshore shell company. Its registered owner is another shell company based in Panama or Switzerland. The private banker in New York controls both fronts. The name of the real owner of the money is now thoroughly walled off from prying regulators, tax collectors or 'most importantly' criminal investigators.

Banks call such setups "fiduciary accounts." The name of the depositor does not even appear in the private bank's own accounts, where he is listed  only under a code such as CC (Confidential Client) 2201.

That was the code used by Amy Elliott, a Cuban-born vice president of Citibank's private banking division, to hide the $100 million or so in  drug payoffs and other rakeoffs deposited with her by Raul Salinas, brother of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas.

Citibank also arranged to have the dirty cash brought in by Salinas laundered into offshore accounts. This is best done through conduits called "concentrated transfers" in which a client's money is mingled with Citibanks' own funds.

That makes tracing such accounts "Just about impossible," Mrs. Elliot admitted in her appearance before the Senate subcommittee headed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

That Raul Salinas is serving time in Mexico for murder, while under investigation for a number of other crimes, does not affect the case, Mrs. Elliott told the assembled committee.

"Keep in mind that of the seven or eight [secret] PICs I managed at Citibank, the Salinas account was by no means the most important. It was one of the smallest and least active," Mrs. Elliott explained.

Mrs. Elliott's boss, Citibank executive Edward Montero, subsequently testified that Citibank managed "some 40,000" stealthy private accounts.
[This is 40,000 accounts handled by Citibank alone.  And that's just what he would admit to, and under the terms that are being used.   Because PICs set up like this aren't the only way one can do private banking or off-shore banking.]

"How much suspect cash do those accounts represent? If, as Elliott suggested, most of them are 91larger and more active' than the $100 million belonging to the Salinas family, we're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of fugitive funds here," says financial writer Bodo Thalmann.
[Okay, now we are getting into something else that is important.   Remember when I wrote before that there is no way most drug money was really pieces of green paper being passed around.   Estimates are that pieces of paper called money only represent about 5% of the value of all financial transactions. When he says "cash" of hundreds of billions of dollars, I think we are talking more like those banking transactions that move numbers around from one column to another -- i.e., credit.  And that's why I commented, back when Salinas got caught in the first place, that he must have done something "wrong" and he was outed as a result.  After all, his account was small for his banker.]

In fact, Wall Street's private banks are estimated to hide an eye-popping $21.5 trillion in such deviously deodorized deposits, according to an unpublished estimate by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the prestigious international economic monitor.
[Yep, definitely numbers not pieces of paper.  So why am I harping on it?   Mainly for two reasons.   First, because this means that at some level, the bankers have got to be in on it.  Secondly, because it also helps explain my other big gripe -- the international drug business is most lucrative to people who you wouldn't suspect of carrying suitcases of cash around.]


Why does such vast wealth go underground? The Citibank executives at the Senate hearing could offer only halting and lame explanations to that question, arguing that some very affluent clients feared being "kidnapped" or "extorted" if their riches were publicly displayed.

"That's nonsense," snorted Thalmann. "Such deep secrecy is not contrived to hide wealth from 'kidnappers.' It is meant to hide these trillions from  the law."
[While in principle I believe bank accounts should be private -- and I don't believe that currently most of them are 4th Amendment protected regardless of what KYC critics said -- it is undoubtedly true that "deep secrecy" is not to hide wealth from kidnappers or extortionists.   At least, not directly.  Hiding trillions from "the law"?  That's a rather all-encompassing indictment.  But at least with these kinds of accounts, you won't have to worry about the expiring currency proposal!]

The Senate's money-laundering hearings shied away from exploring such potentially explosive issues. This populist newspaper, however, will continue its investigation of this stunning financial mystery that has robbed taxpayers of trillions of dollars.
[Oh poopie -- what a lame finale....."robbed taxpayers of trillions of trillions of dollars"???   In other words, because some people are well positioned to keep a good deal of their wealth out of the hands of the U.S. government, they are "robbing taxpayers"??  That's the politics of greed that got us an income tax in the first place -- oh, those rich people ought to be penalized for making money by paying taxes while the rest of us little poor folks deserve better.

On the other hand, what really bugs me is that the super-wealthy know that it's stupid to play the tax game.   They are set up with trusts, off-shore accounts, etc.   All the while, most of them go around acting like socialists who think the government should take care of everyone, which entails two things: ever more credit, and the evil tax game for us poor people.

P.S.  The truly super-wealthy have it so well hidden that you most likely won't even find them on a list of the world's richest people.  Very little is in their name, and a lot of double sets of books are used.  They have their business set up to ensure privacy that is not afforded to the average person or company.]

"The Golden Age of Crime: Why international drug traffickers are invading the global gold trade"
[This article wouldn't copy.   What I found particularly interesting was that in one part of the article, it suggested that the large numbers of gold transactions between Columbia and Panama was depressing prices while elsewhere, the exact opposite idea was mentioned -- Columbian drug lords were paying "exorbitant prices" for gold.]

[This is the link to the webpage that Lambert has set up primarily about the gold in the Phillipines.  You will find these articles very fascinating -- especially the book excerpts, which I most highly recommend although some of it gets bogged down in relating historical information about the Japanese, or about Marcos' past.]

[Some of the articles are cut and pasted a little bit below, to give some perspective and insight.  But reading everything over on the net side is best.  There are a few minor divergences in some of the accounts but they are insignificant.  Also, be aware that sometimes a person is reporting what they were told, which may or may not be true even if accurately repeated.]

According to Curtis, Paxton and the Agnews were very accommodating and had explained how his $2 billion share of the Japanese war booty could easily be smuggled into the United States, "without violating any laws or paying any taxes." Curtis said the Birch Society also informed General Ver that they would guarantee to launder for President Marcos the first $20 billion in gold recovered from the sites. Beyond $20 billion, the Society suggested a plan by which the gold would be offered secretly to Arab oil states in exchange for oil; Ferdinand could then sell the oil to Japan, receiving clean money.

The generosity of the Birch Society in making such an offer to Ferdinand Marcos and Fabian Ver can only be fully savored by keeping in mind that the gold in question was stolen from banks, governments, religious organizations, and private individuals throughout Asia, that the Marcoses were simultaneously swindling the U.S. government, private banks, and numerous individuals out of hundreds of millions of dollars that were salted in offshore accounts, that Ver was in direct charge of the imprisonment, torture, and murder of dissident Filipi-nos97and at that very moment, according to all evidence available, was getting ready to entertain kidnapped U.S. congressional witness Primitive Mijares by having his teenage son's eyeballs plucked out of their sockets.

Now that his part in the Yamashita Gold project had collapsed and his equipment was forfeit, Curtis could not pay back the borrowed money, and he found himself facing a federal indictment on charges brought by members of the Birch Society that Curtis had obtained the funds under false pretenses. The absurdity of the Society's position was not apparent at the time to anyone but Curtis.

After declaring publicly in 1975 that the Yamashita Gold story was a hoax, Ferdinand resumed recovery efforts with renewed energy. The Teresa II site was emptied. Seven years later, in 1982, two men, one of them a full-time CIA officer, were flown in Ferdinand's helicopter to the Bataan beach palace in Mariveles, where they were taken into "the left tunnel," which was 80 feet wide, "as long as a football field," and stacked with gold bars. The gold bars were "standard size" but had "AAA" markings, and were said to have been retrieved from the Teresa II site. The two men were shown the gold vaults in 1982 because the CIA had become involved in helping Ferdinand move and market the treasure.

The webpage titled ''US connection'' brings Marcos' financial contributions to US politicians, including former US President Ronald Reagan, into the supposed conspiracy. It claims there were sensitive documents, detailing Marcos' political payments, which were seized in 1986 by US Customs and kept hidden from the American public. ''Monies from the Philippine intelligence funds were channeled through cut-out companies for election campaigns of several Presidential candidates and various California politicians,'' the page reads. It adds that Marcos also blackmailed US politicians by ''deliberately transmit(ti ng) US-aid money back to their election war chests.''

Subj: South China Morning Post; Date: 11/2/99 10:32:18 AM PST;
Published on Sunday, October 31, 1999
SUNDAY AGENDA; Secret of Hirohito's hidden billions

It contains all the elements of a political thriller: family squabbles, power struggles, duplicity and murder. It involves a huge pile of treasure - bullion worth billions stashed all over the world - and secret operations to retrieve it. It promises a sequel. And best of all, it is all true.

So say Sterling and Peggy Seagrave, in their latest work, The Yamato Dynasty (Bantam Press, $150), an incisive biography of five generations of Japan's imperial family since the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Their most controversial claims, however, centre on the country's longest-reigning emperor, Hirohito, who died in 1989.

The book claims to reveal for the first time the imperial family's alleged role in Japan's wartime looting of Asia - a covert operation named Golden Lily that was headed by Prince Chichibu, a brother of Hirohito, and involved the military, the secret service, underworld figures and  businessmen.

It aims to expose the extent to which Washington and Tokyo supposedly collaborated to keep this secret and deceive the world into thinking the fighting had left Japan too poor to compensate its victims meaningfully.

It dashes once and for all assumptions that the imperial family was a fossilised symbol removed from day-to-day decisions during the war.

It also says that the people involved in Hirohito's exoneration of war crimes - including General Douglas MacArthur and former US president Herbert Hoover - walked away from the occupation with huge amounts of gold.

"I think this is going to turn out to be one of the great scandals of the century," Sterling Seagrave says matter-of-factly.

In a phone interview from his home in Europe, the former journalist explains how he and his wife first stumbled across information that would lead them on an 18-year investigation of the Japanese imperial family. He tiptoes around exactly where he lives because of possible retaliation over the latest revelations.

"In the course of working on a book about the Marcoses [The Marcos Dynasty] we discovered how much of the Japanese war loot Ferdinand Marcos had recovered," Seagrave says. "At the time we didn't really understand too well how the looting operation had occurred during World War II. We assumed there was collaboration between the Japanese army and the Japanese underworld. It was only after we published the book that we realised there were a number of imperial princes involved in the looting."

While Japan's war aggression is well documented, much less has been written about its plundering and the people killed to keep hideaways secret. According to the Seagraves, many POWs prisoners of war and Japanese soldiers were buried alive in vaults they dug for the booty, which included gold bullion, gems and artefacts. Others died when the ships they were on were scuttled so the treasure could be hidden at sea.

That it has taken so long for the imperial family to be implicated is not surprising because, according to Seagrave, "nobody had looked beyond Hirohito himself".

Seagrave says nobody had done a study of Prince Chichibu, who until now was believed to have sat out the war recuperating from tuberculosis in an estate near Mount Fuji, or Prince Takeda, a cousin of Hirohito who, Seagrave says, oversaw the collection and concealment of Japan's war loot, or any of the others, like Prince Asaka, an uncle of Hirohito who commanded the rape of Nanking.

The authors contend that Hirohito appointed Chichibu head of Golden Lily (named after one of the emperor's poems) in 1940, with Takeda as his deputy. According to their sources - participants and other eyewitnesses, as well as Chichibu's retinue - the two apparently travelled to China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Philippines, looting treasures and supervising their transport to Japan using ships disguised with hospital crosses.

The imperial family's actual role in Golden Lily was never apparent for several reasons, Seagrave says. "For example, Prince Takeda used a nom de guerre everywhere he worked in Asia during the war, so people who came into contact with him knew him by different names. This has taken us nearly 20 years to figure out," he says.

But the couple was able to pinpoint Takeda and others by putting together information gleaned from various sources.

"People who described Takeda to us physically knew he was a prince, but they didn't know which prince he was and weren't quite sure what his relationship was to Hirohito," Seagrave says. "It turned out there were actually uncles, cousins and brothers all there [involved in the plundering] at the same time."

After the war, the story takes a more sinister turn when US forces led by MacArthur occupied Japan, raising expectations that, among other things, democracy would flourish, the zaibatsu conglomerates that had bankrolled Japan's warmongering would be dissolved, and the guilty would be brought to justice.

But those hopes proved premature when Allied investigators proclaimed - falsely, the Seagraves say - Japan to be bankrupt, removing from it the duty of paying meaningful reparations.

In comparison with Germany, which has provided US$30 billion (HK$233 billion) in compensation over the years, Japan has paid only US$2 billion.  According to Seagrave, "British PoWs received only US$48 each. Most victims got zero".

MacArthur also allowed Hirohito's own accountants to audit the emperor's wealth - which they hugely underestimated at US$100 million, a point that has been noted by others.

In addition the Supreme Commander Allied Powers announced that after taxes and other penalties, Hirohito had only US$42,000 in cash - a laughable figure in the Seagraves' opinion.

Not only did the imperious general downplay Japan's and the emperor's net worth but, the authors contend, he went out of his way to make Hirohito seem innocent of any war crimes by forcing wartime prime minister General Hideki Tojo and other officers to perjure themselves by claiming exclusive responsibility for the war.

But MacArthur was not alone. His aide, General Bonner Fellers, Hoover, and US ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew were also in on the conspiracy to exonerate Hirohito, the Seagraves say.

And Hirohito was not the only member of the imperial household to escape punishment. None of his family was tried for war crimes.

Why the deception? MacArthur and a clique of right-wing Americans (financiers included) wanted Hirohito to remain in power so they could hold him hostage to their demands, the authors argue. They needed to protect US interests in Japan, including massive loans and business investments made before the war. They also wanted a shield against communist expansion in the East.

"Hoover wanted conservative, anti-communist Japan to be America's political, commercial and financial ally in Asia," the Seagraves write.  "Tokyo would be the Asian base for the Republican Party and its Wall Street supporters."

Even if the sham had stopped there, Tokyo and Washington would have enough reason now to take up the cudgels; there is likely to be a surge of reparation claims, for one. But there is more.

The Seagraves contend that while Washington was declaring Japan to be insolvent, between 1945 and 1948 agents of the Office of Strategic Services (which became the CIA in 1947) and US Army officers were led by an OSS officer, Severino Garcia Santa Romana, in the recovery of billions of dollars worth of war loot from mountain caves in the Philippines.

Gold bullion emptied from vaults were deposited in 176 bank accounts in 42 countries, they add. And some of this bounty ended up lining the pockets of Hoover and MacArthur.

"The loot was earmarked for secret anti-communist operations during the Cold War," Seagrave says.

"What this means is that there is now incontrovertible evidence of collusion between America and Japan, while millions of war victims went without any form of compensation to this day."

Seagrave's calm, steady voice belies the excitement he must have felt when he found what he says is proof of this unholy alliance. "It's only as this book began to come into its final form [in the past two years] that things dovetailed - to the extent we knew beyond question there had been collusion," he says.

"We were doing research at the Hoover Library in California and the MacArthur Memorial Library in Norfolk, Virginia. At both places we suddenly came across documents, personal notes, diaries, entries and also some annotations that confirmed the link between General MacArthur's staff in Tokyo and the people in the Philippines making these recoveries. That led us to the bank documents that showed the Japanese war loot in bank accounts in the name of Herbert Hoover and of General MacArthur."

How much did they profit from the war? "We know that when Herbert Hoover died, his son had to get permission from the American Treasury to sell US$100 million in gold bullion that was in his father's bank account," says Seagrave, adding that he has yet to calculate the exact amount MacArthur had in his account.

But, he continues, "we do know MacArthur had an account with millions of dollars in gold in it at the Hong Kong branch of the Sanwa Bank. He held this account jointly with Hirohito. If that isn't collusion at the highest level . . ."

According to Seagrave, the US has kept its role "in all of this very, very secret".

But, "we got some documents connected to the CIA, who were involved in the Santa Romana bank accounts. These were people who in the last 20 years or so have been trying to get their hands on some of the gold deposits, for their own benefit".

What are their names? "I'd rather leave that for the next book," Seagrave says, estimating that the sequel, which will focus on the revelations about Golden Lily, will be out in 18 months. "I need to have enough documentation so that I can't get challenged at this point legally."

Seagrave's caution is understandable, considering the furore this book could cause in Washington and in Tokyo (though, to date, there has been nothing but stony silence). Already, however, the wheels of justice may be starting to turn with new legal action being taken by war victims.

"What's happening now is that various PoWs and their lawyers are grouping together in what could become something equivalent to the tobacco industry class-action suit," Seagrave says.

"I think it could end up being a suit against the zaibatsu on the one hand and the Japanese Government on the other.

"But, eventually, I think it's going to involve the US Government for collusion."

The Seagraves are also taking no chances by revealing before they are ready the names of other players in this game of political poker. No doubt they will also sleep easier as their web of researchers and sources expands. "There might be people who become outraged and decide we have to be murdered but it's not going to be that easy . . . murdering me is not going to stop this story coming out."

After Seagrave's 1986 publication of The Soong Dynasty, in which he revealed Chiang Kai-shek's underworld links, he and his family went into hiding because of death threats. Seagrave, who grew up in Burma and has spent his career investigating East-West history, is also the author of Lords Of The Rim, which is about overseas-Chinese networks. Peggy Seagrave, with whom he worked to produce Dragon Lady, a book about the Dowager Empress Ci Xi, will be collaborating on the sequel to The Yamato Dynasty.

No doubt treasure hunters will take a close interest. As the Seagraves point out: "In the Japanese holocaust, millions were killed and billions were stolen, but the loot vanished. One of the great mysteries is what happened to the billions of dollars' worth of treasure confiscated by the
Japanese army from a dozen conquered countries."

Chichibu had much of the plunder sent to him in the Philippines, where it was hidden in 172 "imperial" locations for later shipment to Japan, the authors say. In Japan, loot was stashed in several places, including Nagano, where the 1998 Winter Olympics were held.

"We have no idea how much made its way to Japan, either overland from China, through Korea or by sea," says Seagrave, who believes it is with this secret fund that the zaibatsu financed Japan's post-war economic "miracle". He also contends a member of the imperial family has confided that the army had amassed more than US$100 billion in loot (in 1945 dollars), much of it salted away in the Philippines, where "it will take a century to uncover".

Seagrave also believes "there are small repositories all over the place, because individual officers or groups of officers managed to siphon off a certain amount of loot".

"The equivalent of what were then the imperial sites in the Philippines are known to exist in Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Celebes. It's possible there were some in Malaya as well," he says.

Seagrave says it is hard to say where else the loot may be hidden, because in many cases wartime inventories fell into the hands of the Marcoses or those who worked with them.

"But we have photographic evidence of site maps of these 172 sites and we know one-third of them that have not been recovered," he says.

As to why countries have not made concerted efforts to reclaim their stolen property, the Seagraves in part blame the tumultuous scramble for independence after the war.

But they also point to ongoing operations - in the Philippines, for instance, groups are trying to uncover loot at an army base in Rizal, southeast of Manila.

In Nagano, however, Seagrave says: "I think the loot has simply been left there as national treasure."

Perhaps it will be needed if Seagrave's dream is to come true. "All these people who've been cruelly treated and whose lives have been deformed by their experience during the war were simply cheated, very often by their own governments after the war in collusion with Japan," he says. "I hope the war victims in the end get what they should have had all along, which is some justice."

Published in the South China Morning Post. Copyright A9 1999. All rights reserved.

What happened to gold?

Most of the gold bars, and other treasure dug up by the soldiers were allegedly re-minted at the Central Bank.  From 1983 to 1985, Tamaraw Security Services allegedly transported some of the gold bars via Cathay Pacific and American President Lines.

Tamaraw was owned by the late Fabian Ver, Marcos' closest military adviser and former Armed Forces Chief of Staff. The bars were reportedly shipped to Johnson and Matthiey's, a renowned gold assayer.
''The Swiss would become accomplices or co-conspirators (in money laundering) if they continued to deny the existence of these Marcos accounts and gold deposits even if there were solid and
corroborating evidence presented to them,'' Pimentel said.
[This one is the most questionable, IMO.]

Have You Heard Of Vatican Gold?
The Inquirer (October 29, 1999)

     DAVAO CITY--A former Catholic priest here claims to have evidence that the alleged Marcos gold horde is composed of World War II ''Yamashita gold and Vatican gold.''
     Ex-priest Marcelino Tagle of Bataan, a former director of Caritas Manila and one of the nation's ''Ten Outstanding Young Men'' in 1967, said in a recent interview that the nation ''should benefit'' from the Marcos gold, which he estimated at ''10 trillion dollars.''
     Ten trillion dollars is 10 times more than the gross national product of China in 1998; around 127 times more than the GNP of the Philippines last year; and almost 10 times the combined worth of the world's 200 richest known billionaires in 1999.  ''I am ready to substantiate and defend my claims for the benefit of the Filipino people,'' Tagle said when told that his claims were preposterous.
     The former priest said he once served as an adviser of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and administrator for the estate of another man whom he claimed was the source of the Marcos gold.
     But because Marcos was allegedly able to gain control of the gold certificates and cover the paper trail, according to Tagle, ''it is almost impossible to recover them without piecing the various
pieces like a mosaic.''
     Tagle said the gold certificates and bullion were deposited in at least 15 countries.
     How the Vatican and Yamashita treasure reached the Philippines is a story that, he claims, involves two of the century's most influential personalities--Adolf Hitler and Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Royal gold
Tagle said the Vatican gold included ''gold bars captured by Hitler (which belonged) to the royalties of Europe of which the Vatican was the trustee.''
     It also included ''royal gold'' which the British reportedly shipped to Singapore for safekeeping in the event that Hitler would conquer all of Europe.  Tagle said the Vatican entrusted the treasure to a certain Fr. Jose Antonio Diaz, who assumed several names when he moved to the  Philippines. One of his aliases, according to Tagle, was ''Col. Severino Sto. Romana.''   Tagle said Sto. Romana hired the young Marcos as his lawyer and trustee. He said the Sto. Romana gold was ''actually more than the Marcos gold, about $50 trillion, but this treasure is tied up with the Marcos gold.''
     Tagle, co-administrator of the Sto. Romana estates, said the Yamashita treasure was recovered through the help of MacArthur and Yamashita's wife.
     But an estimated 400,000 metric tons from both the Marcos and Sto. Romana gold, he said, ''are still in the country, hidden in caves.''

  For lack of documents
     The heirs of Sto. Romana were unable to recover the assets ''for lack of original documents and (because of the) nature of the accounts (which required) full cooperation of nominees and trustees
constituted by the late President Marcos.''
     Appearing before the Senate blue ribbon committee on Oct. 14, 1997, Tagle said Marcos, as lawyer and chief trustee of Sto. Romana, ''succeeded in isolating the nominees or trustees of the gold certificates from the physical assets--so much so that it is almost impossible to recover them without piecing the various pieces like a mosaic.''  Tagle said the ''Marcos gold'' was ''not stolen from the Philippine government.''
     Instead, said the former priest, Marcos abused his authority by using the Central Bank to transact the gold.
     Tagle, who is presently in Davao City as consultant of gold prospectors, said he was ready to substantiate his claims.
     He allegedly went into exile in the United States in September 1969 because the Marcoses were displeased about his leading a protest against graft and corruption in the Bureau of Customs.
     He resigned from the priesthood and married. He is now chair and chief executive officer of International Consultex Inc., a New York-based mining, consultancy and engineering firm.

A lot of money
The Senate is conducting public hearings on the Marcos wealth, revolving around a $13.4-billion Swiss bank account once allegedly kept by Irene Marcos Araneta. Former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez is presenting the evidence.
     ''Chavez knows what he is talking about,'' said Tagle, adding that the Marcos wealth was so huge that even Marcos' widow Imelda did not know its exact worth.

The Inquirer (October 29, 1999)
     HONOLULU--There is allegedly around $100 billion worth of Marcos wealth stashed all over the globe, including US Treasury and Federal Reserve notes, as well as assets being kept by the Vatican.
     So testified business magnate Don Enrique Zobel, who yesterday appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee at the Philippine consulate here to ''open a Pandora's box.''
     ''This is the first time the US Treasury has been mentioned as a depository of at least a portion of the Marcos wealth,'' said Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., head of the investigating panel, after Zobel's four-hour long testimony.
     The businessman also showed the committee a photocopy of what he said was a $161-million US Treasury note in Marcos' name.
     Asked by Pimentel why he thought it took until this year for a government body to question him, Zobel said: ''I don't know, but an educated guess is the government doesn't want the Filipino people to know the truth.''
     He also said Marcos did not want his wife Imelda and children to know the extent of his wealth.
     According to Zobel, when Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr., learned about the gold deposits, he allegedly blurted out in Filipino: ''Why didn't our father tell us about this?''
     'The way I saw it, he never knew that his father had that much money or that much gold,'' Zobel said.

'Enough to start a war'
     The Marcos gold was worth so much that a US contact of Zobel's said that the dictator's wealth was sought after by other countries, according to the businessman.
     Zobel said his contact told him that the US government believed the fortune was large enough to finance or start a war.
     Marcos produced a ''thick folder'' containing gold deposit certificates amounting to more than $35 billion, based on the prevailing market price of $400 per ounce, Zobel said.
     ''I felt they were authentic. There was no question about that,'' he said.
     ''I scanned through the (certificates). I was openly interested in the (number of) ounces and the location, and the locations were all over the world,'' he said.
     ''You name any country in the world. They even had the Solomon Islands. And of course, Switzerland,'' Zobel said.

Saudi bankers
     Zobel said he found it very curious that a day after Marcos told him about the gold, two senior officials of the National Bank of Saudi Arabia contacted him and told him to tell Marcos that they would buy the strongman's gold at a 40-percent discount.
     Zobel said he communicated their offer, but Marcos said he would only agree to sell at a discount of 30 percent. The bankers then left.
     ''The (US) government really got mad at the situation. They didn't want Saudi Arabia to get that gold since it was enough to finance a war,'' according to Zobel.
         Tagle wants the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to explain what happened to the 132,000 metric tons of gold deposited in New York.  A metric ton of gold is worth around $10 million, according to Tagle.  ''Tayo ang pinakamayaman na bansa sa buong mundo. Tapos nagpapalimos tayo (We are the world's richest country. But why are we begging)?'' Tagle said.  He said the country's wealth was ''confirmed by World Metal Preciux which is owned by Swiss banks and which controls the world's gold supply.''
     The resigned Catholic priest said the World Bank was making the Philippines bow to its demands even as it was lending part of the Marcos gold to the country.

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