PressTV Interview with Peter Koenig
The Middle East Eye reports https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/dubai-switzerland-london-how-uae-became-smuggling-hub-blood-gold , there are no gold mines under Dubai’s sands with artisanal miners or children toiling away trying to strike gold. But there is the Dubai Gold Souk and refineries that vie with the largest global operations as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strives to expand its position as a major gold hub.
In recent years, the UAE, with Dubai in particular, has established itself as one of the largest and fastest-growing marketplaces for the precious metal, with imports rising by 58 percent per annum to more than $27bn in 2018, according to data collated by the Observatory for Economic Complexity.
With no local gold to tap, unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, the UAE has to import gold from wherever it can, whether it be legitimately, smuggled with no questions asked, sourced from conflict zones, or linked to organized crime.
The Sentry’s investigation (Sentry Investigations specialize in private and corporate investigations in the UK) found that 95 percent of gold officially exported from Central and East Africa, much of it mined in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, ends up in the Emirates.
Gold has become so important to Dubai’s economy that it is the emirate’s highest value external trade item, ahead of mobile phones, jeweler, petroleum products and diamonds, according to Dubai Customs.
And it is the UAE’s largest export after oil, exporting $17.7bn in 2019. Gold’s importance has only increased as Dubai’s oil reserves have dwindled and the UAE has tried to diversify its economy.
The Swiss connection
Dubai is not the only gold player with dirt, and even blood, on its hands.
“It is not just Dubai, it’s also Switzerland. The Swiss get large quantities of gold from Dubai. The Swiss say they are not getting gold from certain countries [connected to conflict gold], but instead from Dubai, yet the gold in Dubai is coming from these countries. Dubai is complicit, but Swiss hands are equally dirty as they can’t cut Dubai from the market,” said Lakshmi Kumar, policy director, at Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in Washington DC.
Switzerland is the world’s largest refiner, while [more than half] of all gold goes through the country at some point, according to anti-corruption group Global Witness. Switzerland’s trade is tied to the UK, which imports around a third of all gold.
Gold has become such an important commodity for the UAE, that it is the largest export after oil, exporting $17.7bn in 2019. But there is the other side to this story. A report by the UK’s Home Office and Treasury earlier in December also named the UAE as a jurisdiction vulnerable to money laundering by criminal networks because of the ease with which gold and cash could be moved through the country. Is this the case?
First, International Gold Laundering is a gigantic Human Rights abuse, foremost because laundered gold stems from many countries in Africa and South America where massive child labor is practiced. Children not only are put at tremendous risk working in the mines, in narrow rickety underground tunnels that could collapse anytime, and often do – but they are also poisoned on a daily basis by chemicals used in extracting gold ore from the rock, notably cyanide and mercury – and others.
Second, Gold laundering is an international crime, because it illegal and it is mostly run by mafia type organizations – where killing and other type of violence, plus sexual abuse of women – forced prostitution – is a daily occurrence.
There should be an international law – enforceable – issued by the UN – and enforced by the International Criminal Court against anything to do with gold laundering. Infractions should be punished. And countries involved in gold laundering should be held responsible – put on a black list for illegal financial transactions and for facilitating human rights abuses.
The United Arab Emirates — has no gold, so all of the $17.7 billion of their gold exports is being imported and “washed” by re-exporting it mainly through the UK into Switzerland and other gold refining places, like India. With a worldwide production of about 3,500 tons, there are times when Switzerland imports more gold than the annual world production, most of it coming from the UK, for further refining or re-refining, for “better or double laundering” – erasing the gold’s origins.
From the refinery in Switzerland, it goes mostly into the banking system or is re-exported as “clean” gold coming from Switzerland. And its origins are no longer traceable.
Worldwide about 70% of all gold is refined in Switzerland.
Gold mine production totaled 3,531 tons in 2019, 1% lower than in 2018. About 70% of all gold, worldwide is refined in Switzerland. So, it is very likely that the UK, receiving gold from United Arab Emirates, re-exports the gold to Switzerland, for re-refining, for further export to, for ex. India. – Coming from Switzerland it has the “label” of being clean. How long will this reputation still last?
Metalor is the world’s largest gold refinery – established in Switzerland. And they are absolutely secretive, do not say where they buy their gold from, because the Swiss Government does not require the origin when gold enters Switzerland.
Once it is refined – the origin can no longer be determined, because gold does not have a DNA.
The Sentry’s investigation found that 95 percent of gold officially exported from Central and East Africa, much of it mined in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, ends up in the emirate, through what’s known as blood gold: gold obtained through brutal mining practices and illicit profits, including the use of children, how do you see this?
Yes, this is absolutely true.
As mentioned already before – much of the gold from Africa / Central Africa, Ghana and South America, notably Peru, is blood gold. Of course, it passes through many hands before it lands in a refinery in the UK, Switzerland or elsewhere, and therefore is almost untraceable.
But, the company that buys the gold, like Metalor, they know exactly where the gold is coming from, but, as mentioned before, since the Swiss government does not require the importing company to divulge the origin of the gold – the human rights abuses will never come to light, or better – to justice.
It is estimated that up to 30% of all gold refined in Switzerland is considered blood gold. Imagine the suffering, disease, and even death – or delayed death through slow reacting chemicals like cyanite and mercury.
However, if there is no international law – a law that is enforced – that puts the criminals to justice – and put countries that facilitate gold laundering on an international list – for the world to see – and hold them accountable, with for example financial sanctions, little will change.
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)
Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
thanks Peter – you are a wealth of information about global situation – great article
Blood Gold? Some important history:
“File not found”
Try copy and paste into search bar?
These are not useful links except to users named slavko, and even then the chances are minute.
apologies. I guess i should have reduced such to my own words from an old book but that would take away or reduce the original. Cantelon has some important history to share. I will add more in a follow up comment.
ln 1934, when legislation was passed prohibiting the American public from owning gold currency, the door was
left wide open to the foreign holders of American dollars to claim gold in exchange for their paper. But even before this international stage was set, Representative Louis T. McFadden (R-Pa.), Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency, made statements on June 10 of 1932 which indicated America’s gold was already moving back to Europe. His statements were recorded in the Congressional Record and pages 140-174 in H. S. Kenan’s book entitled The Federal Reserve Bank. Representative McFadden speaks of those on the other side of the water with a strong banking “fence getting the currency of the Federal Reserve Banks-exchanging that currency for gold and transmitting the gold to the foreign confederates.” McFadden named the dates on which America’s gold was shipped to Germany:
On April 27, 1932, $750 thousand in gold was sent to Germany. One week later another $300 thousand in
gold was shipped to Germany the same way. In the middle of May of that year, $12 million in gold was
shipped to Germany. . . . Almost every week there was a shipment of gold to Germany-these shipments are not made for profit. Representative McFadden referred also to the comments of Senator Elihu Root:
Long before we wake up from our dreams of prosperity through an inflated currency, our gold which could
have kept us from catastrophe will have vanished, and no rate of interest will tempt it to return. In his report to Congress, Louis McFadden asked the question, Why should our depositors and our government be
forced to flnance the munition factories of Germanv and Soviet Russia? Representative McFadden continued,
Gold was taken from the entrusting American people and was sent to Europe. In the last several months
$1,300,000,000 in gold has been sent to Europe every dollar of that gold once belonged to the people
of United States and was unlawfully taken from them. As I weighed the words of Louis McFadden and other
Iawmakers, I also witnessed the fantastic scene of America’s vanishing gold. The record was unbelievable:
1949 – $24,500,000,000
1958 – $21 ,593,000,000
1959 – $20,478,483,000
196l – $ 17,667,587,000
1965 – $ 13,733,000,000
On and on the gold drain went, unabated. Then came the crisis in the spring of 1968. We were living in Europe
at that particular time. On March 14, hysterical crowds of people crowded, screamed, and scrambled their ways to the windows of the banks of England, and to the bank windows of the sub-basements of Paris to exchange their paper for gold. On one single day, the crude and the cultured, the peer and the peasant, carried off 200 tons of the precious metal. They stored it in secret places of their homes and deposited it in various banks in strongboxes labeled with fictitious names. On that day Senator Everett Dirksen in conversation with Secretary of the Treasury Fowler, William McChesney Martin, and a dozen other senators said,
We have reached the bottom of the barrel.
It seemed like only yesterday when I spoke on monetary matters when America had $26 billion in gold in her treasuries. By June 30 of 1971, it had been reduced to $10.5 billion.
Those transactions were most likely to settle debts between country’s, (that’s what gold was used for), it may just have been repatriation debts settled by the world court but then used politically to make a statement and then act on that statement.
Politics ruined the human race and the examples are starting to add up.
Why did the people of Europe and Britain crowd hysterically into their banks on March 14,1968,to exchange $240 million in paper for 200 tons of gold? They could not eat their gold for food. They could not wear it for clothes. It was too heavy to carry on the streets as a legal tender or medium of exchange. Why did they prefer to have the precious metal in place of their paper money? The answer was extremely clear. They were afraid
that their paper would be canceled with the stroke of a legislative pen. It would be as worthless as the German
marks of 1923 when it took a wheelbarrow load to buy a simple sandwich or hot dog. The average man knew his paper money was becoming of less and less value. Americans could recall 1937 when $30 a month would put food on the table for a family of four. By 1947, the same food would cost $43. By 1957, it would cost $72. Then $100, and inflation continued unchecked.
The British, too, looked at their paper with its diminishing value. The record was indeed far from encouraging.
The monetary facts offered little hope for the survival of their paper. In 1930, the official value of the pound was
$4.86. In 1952, $2.82; in 1967, $2.40. In May of 1973 on the streets of Tokyo, I stared with incredulity at the spectre of inflation in Japan. Ground beef that was selling in October for $1.40 per pound was now $2.87; orange juice was over $3.00 per glass; steak, $ 16.00per pound. In less than a year the price of real estate had doubled, and wool had tripled. Hashimoto, Secretary General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party tried in vain to reason with the flnancial giants of his country. He concluded that those in a position to affect the inflation were too strong and beyond control.The problem of inflation was worldwide. Since World War II, the currencies of over 100 nations had been devalued, some many times. I recalled a 1959 address by Robert Anderson, Secretary of the Treasury. He bluntly spelled out the technique of inflation:
Suppose tomorrow morning I want to write a check for $100 million, and the treasury does not have the money. I call the Federal Reserve Bank and ask, “Will you loan us $100 million at 3.5% for six months
if I send you over our note to that effect?” The officer of the Federal Reserve Bank would naturally say, “I
will.” He would merely create that much money subject to Reserve requirements by crediting our account
in the sum and accepting the government note as an asset. When I finished writing checks for $100 million,
we would have added 100 million to the nation’s money supply. This, he added, is one of the principles
by which the 1940 dollar has shrunken to 4l cents with a quadrupling of our money supply.
Nations continuing programs of war and welfare and other costly programs, were forced to continue borrowing
money. America increased her federal budget 84% in a five-year period. By going deeper in debt, she also increased her money supply 47%. Consequently, the buying power of the dollar continued to fall ever lower. In certain countries of the world, it was overwhelming. In Argentina, inflation increased 289% in a five-year period. ln Brazil, over 500%. In Java, 1000%. As the cry of inflation was heard around the world and received with genuine alarm, governmental leaders strove in vain to curb this economic disease that would spell death to all systems eventually. In September 29, 1972, the Dallas Times Herald showed that in that particular year inflation had increased
Great Britain- 12.5%
West Germany -6.0%
Ludwig Erhard, Germany’s Minister of Finance at the close of World War II, had said,
Give us depression or problems, but not inflation, for it spells eventually certain death to any economy.
Erhard knew that inflation, allowed to continue, was like sending a pilot across the ocean with a plane in which was insufficient fuel. There came unavoidably a point of no return when the pilot found he had insufficient fuel to take him to either shore.
Cantelon pgs 48 &49
There really is no “enforceable” world authority, its in name only, as we shall soon find out.
Sure there is, money, either metal, paper, wood, or fluff is the enforceable world authority, and since Peter lined up the actors, is one surprised that London, like an old worn stinky shirt, has skin in the game, and blood on the pick.
Problem w/those is that they can be diluted to the point of worthlessness unless the occupier is talented enough to craft the product themselves, unfortunately the population is not ready to attempt such things so they settle for an inflated asset to complete their transactions.
The separation of inequality is well under way.
Switzerland The Neutral involved in dirty business?
Romantically idolized (especially by Americans) as the glorious ‘Confederatio Helvetica’, decentralized ‘neutral’ country full of weapons where “the Second Amendment is fully realized”? Neutral country full of neutral institutions and corporations: BIS, Nestle etc?
How come this ‘neutral’ country, glorified by ‘neutral’ ideologues, is filthy and almost always helps the West and capitalism and imperialism?
Sweden is another Country deeply connected to the hegemon. The ‘spotless’ image of this Country is about to take some major hits in the near future…
Meet the Wallenberg family…According to Financial Times, it is the most powerful dynasty of Europe, if not the world, …
I get it, but as with all issues of such nature, there is also the question of what happens to these children without the gold mining. If you ask the children themselves, they probably prefer the gold mining to the alternatives, which often include starvation.
It’s like the current drive to vaccinate children at zero risk of dying of covid in lost mountain villages who will never see a doctor in their lives except for this one time. After that we will abandon them to their chances with malnutrition, contaminated water, and what not….
Know the history of the Nizam and his 500 hundred wives?
Wealth and Poverty
Why, I asked myself repeatedly, did so many American leaders, both in church and in the classroom of the college, speak strongly in favor of world socialism? E. Stanley Jones, in his The Choice Before Us, declared,
God reached out and put his hand on the Russian Communist. Communism is the only political position that
really holds the Christian position.
In one sense, I found it very difficult to comprehend a man like E. Stanley Jones writing lines that seemed to endorse Communism. On the other hand, I reminded myself of the years that he had spent in India. In 1953, speaking for many days on the club grounds of Lucknow, I saw the results of this man’s work in that city of north central India. Undoubtedly Jones was moved by the scenes of squalor and poverty that plagued the masses of that great nation. He must have contrasted the poor and the hungry with the abnormal wealth of such men as the Nizam of Hyderabad, a descendant of the Mogul emperors, who ruled over 15 million poverty stricken subjects for decades. Reputedly, he had more wealth than any other man in the world, with a net income of $ 15 million annually. Much of his wealth came from the fabulous valley of Golconda, one of the world’s richest diamond mines. The Nizam had 500 wives, and he gave his favorite one a gold Rolls Royce. He ate all of his meals off golden plates, and boasted that the English displayed 24 golden plates in London, while he had golden place settings for 150 guests. One of his favorite diamonds was the l82r/zcarat diamond that he used for a paperweight. He sat in chairs and relaxed on couches of solid gold, and had a carriage of gold built that was not usable because of its weight.
If Stanley Jones endorsed socialism, it was perhaps because he had stood among the beggars and hungry children in the shadow of the Taj Mahal. It was without doubt the most beautiful tomb in the world. It was built by the Indian ruler, Shah Jahan, as a memorial to his favorite wife, Muntaz-i-Mahal, which means “Bride of the Palace.” It took 20,000 workmen 21 years to erect the Taj, and when the workmen finished the delicate tasks of carving their rnarble and alabaster into 70-foot domes rising 150 feet high, they undoubtedly gazed at the slender minarets, supposedly built as towers for prayer, mirrored in the reflecting pools beside the tomb, and then turned to Shah Jahan for their reward. Did he give them a smile of appreciation or rr hand of gratitude? No, the payment they received for their hard work was the ugly point of the soldiers knife that pierced their eyes. Shah Jahan wanted to make sure no other monarch would ever again have a Taj as beautiful as his.
In Canada Civil society, the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability https://cnca-rcrce.ca/. has asked the federal government for the creation of an independent ombudsman/woman about such issue, knowing that near 70% of al Mining Major Companies are registrered in the Toronto stock exchange market. No doubts that where there is illegal or “artisanal” mining there is also a corporation mining just nearby. A very good way to control production and bypass any local or national state law….Big Corporations have the real power, and this is every day more real, since the reign of the Nation-State era (UNO…) is at stakes to say the least.
continued part 3
Too Much or Not Enough
In spite of the fact that the U.S. government had in creased its money supply 47% in a five-year period, and other nations were doing the same thing, still there were those who cried it was not enough. Between 1954 and 1965, world trade had doubled. I sat with a thousand delegates in the International Board of Trade in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel of New York listening to the speakers struggle with their unsolved problems. World trade had reached the staggering figure of $159.2 billion. The currencies and credits with which they had to carry on this volume of trade was little more than 67.3 billion. By 1973, the volume of trade in the free world was $367 billion. I talked with Mitchell Sharpe, then Minister of Finance for Canada, and some of the American leaders. These men realized that the currencies being used were outmoded and insufficient for the modern day. They pointed out that the system was medieval, serving acceptably in the olden days when communities were small and self-contained, but thoroughly inadequate for the present. The leaders of the nations involved
in trade spoke of the nightmarish task of trying daily to adjust the varying exchange rates between the currencies from country to country on a day-to-day basis. They clamored for a single system of standardized value large enough in volume to allow world trade to move forward in an orderly fashion.
ln 1967, two years following that International Board of Trade meeting in New York, the world leaders met in
Rio. In discussing the inadequacy of the present world money systems to carry on world trade, Guido Carli from Rome suggested ersatz money which would resemble paper gold which was to be presented to the world the following year. I was back in America when the announcement came.It was March 31, 1968. Most of the world reacted with amazement at the announcement that came from Europe stating that the nations of the world were ready to transact business with a new medium of exchange known as “paper gold.” But to all who follow the trend of monetary matters, the announcement was no surprise. For days there was a
feeling in the air that something momentous was coming. An editor wrote in the Financial Times,
Something sinister is going on.
With great interest, I followed the comments and reactions of world leaders. Carl Schiller, Germany’s financier, stated,
There’s a worm in the apple somewhere.
Pierre Paul Schweitzer seemed pleased. Schweitzer, the nephew of Albert Schweitzer, was an elite Protestant,
born in Alsace-Lorraine, who had served as number-three man in the Bank of France, and had been elected managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Some declared that when paper gold was presented to the world on that March morning, Schweitzer declared,
Gentlemen, we are right on schedule.
72% of the nations in the IMF were considered underdeveloped. Schweitzer seemed especially dedicated to the task or policy of taking from the rich to give to the poor.
This naturally made him popular with the majority in the IMF, who were elated at the prospect of acquiring some of America’s wealth regardless of the measures.
Cantelon pgs 50-51
and last but not least the creme de la creme:
Why the Announcement from Europe?
Many Americans, startled by the announcement of paper gold, were asking, “Why has this declaration come to us from the bankers of Europe? Why did we have to hear it first from the lips of the spokesmen representing the gold pool so integrated with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund?”
The attitude of the average man on the street was one of absolute helplessness. In olden days, banking had been a rather personal matter between himself and a trusted friend. It had changed with the passing of time until it was with an institution equally trusted and respected. The local banker was indeed his friend and would discuss with sincerity the personal financial needs of any of his clients. But banking had become much more than a localized or even nationalized institution. In a single lifetime it had seemingly taken on an ominous new form of world control. A question began to arise in the hearts of millions of Americans. “Why can’t we retain our financial destiny in our own hands? Why can’t banking be a personal matter between man and his banker as in the past? Why must it be in the international courts and the arenas of the world?”
In searching for the answers to those questions, I seemed lo find a twofold answer. Logic and wisdom could explain with clarity the reasons for a world bank. But there was a dark side, which, when properly considered, revealed an invisible government with an amazing power that planned world control in a sinister fashion.
My thanks and compliments, Peter, for bringing this cockroach to the light.
Unfortunately there are many more.
Normally I’m quite optimistic, but really, do you think that legislation will change much? There are parties involved that you may not want to deal with. Though I understand your argument.
But keep up the good work. Lift more stones to get the cockroaches into the light. We will help you in spreading the words.