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Here’s the one thing: When the media completely ignores the biggest fraud in history, conspiracy theories are born.
We’ve told you about the two middle-aged guys with Japanese passports who were stopped by Italian police after trying to enter Switzerland with $134 billion worth of U.S. Treasury bonds.
This broke June 1. Since then the under-reporting and misreporting of the story has the bohemian grove-type crowd licking their chops, and they’re probably already registering URLs for their next conspiracy Web site.
Under-reporting means no facts. No facts means there will be speculation. And speculation ends up looking like this — from a Bloomberg columnist:
"Are these would-be smugglers agents of Kim Jong-Il stashing North Korea’s cash in a Swiss vault? Bagmen for Nigerian Internet scammers? Was the money meant for terrorists looking to buy nuclear warheads? Is Japan dumping its dollars secretly?"
So we know the questions. But what are the facts? There aren’t many, but at least 10 reliable news sources are reporting that the bonds are fake.
Our Bureau of Public Debt suggests they’re bogus and here’s the quote from the Treasury: "Based on the picture we’ve seen via the Internet, the securities are crude fakes."
The Internet? Possibly the biggest scam in history and the best you can do is a Google search? Please, don’t work too hard on this one, guys — geez.
The apparent lack of investigating in this story is leaving all the questions unanswered. Questions like: If these bonds were so obviously fake, why would it take two weeks for that information to come out?
This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill scam. This is huge. Why are they ignoring it? This makes Bernie Madoff look like a petty thief. If economies were for sale, these two guys could buy Slovakia, Croatia and Mongolia.
It’s so big that if real, confidence in the dollar would plummet. But apparently, it’s not big enough for the authorities to bother holding onto these guys.
Our researchers couldn’t find any wires or major dailies carrying official word on whether these two men are still in custody. Reports from the Financial Times and at least two credible Japanese papers suggest they were released.
If you make a mistake on Turbo Tax, the IRS is at your door in 10 minutes (unless you’re Tim Geithner). But if you get caught with $134 billion in U.S. bonds, the reaction seems to be: "Whatever. If you guys have to go, that’s cool. No need to stay in jail. We’ll talk about this later."
Where the heck are these guys? Why doesn’t anyone know? Why aren’t the Italian police releasing any information or at least verifying that they know?
With so many questions left unanswered, we’re left with speculation.
There’s talk of four possible scenarios:
• It’s just a couple of dopey schlubs acting alone
• The mob and Venezuela are working together. Venezuela hates the U.S. government and wants to collapse the economy. And the mob (not necessarily the Italian mob, but maybe a Russian or Japanese syndicate) wants money to do it
• Another government, such as China, Japan, Great Britain or Russia, wants to dump their money quietly, but don’t want to collapse the dollar
• Our government is double-dealing. They are personally dumping debt, because they know about the possible deflation of the dollar. Could they be running a separate set of books? I mean, other than the ones we already know about
But those are just guesses. No one is answering any questions and if this story just dies, mark my words, in two years, when our dollar really starts to lose its value and we can’t sell our bonds, this conspiracy theory will gain power and we’ll have to listen to yet another drug-induced Charlie Sheen theory.
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