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Audacious Quest for Gold - Daily News, Durban, S.A.

Section: GATA in the Press


A quixotic group of Americans is in Durban alleging a financial conspiracy it says is blighting the economies of gold producing countries, writes Des Parker.

The Gold Anti Trust Action committee hit town this week for the second time in 2001, alleging a widespread campaign to suppress "evidence" of a campaign to depress the gold price and promising bullion will soon bounce back.

GATA members (GATA) claim a powerful conspiracy exists to hold down the price of gold and yesterday they talked up a storm at the ICC Durban. A four man posse led by mild. mannered Texan chairman Bill Murphy unholstered a veritable arsenal of words and numbers to garner support for its view that top US Treasury and Federal Reserve officials, as well as a "cartel" of bullion trading banks, have held the gold price down since 1994. Now, said GATA member James Turk, the cartel was having increasing difficulty holding down the price.

"It must lose control at some time; it's inevitable, and then we will see gold return to where it should be several hundred and possibly even thousands of dollars an ounce," he said.

"It's a question of when, not if..."

Seeking support from an audience including members of the Zulu royal family, politicians from African gold-mining countries, unionists, local mining executives and executives, GATA speaker Frank Veneroso queried whether the damage done by a low gold price could be undone when the price returned to normal in a few years.

Civil action

"The jobs lost, the economic growth sacrificed, the dividends not earned... we may never get them back."

GATA is behind a US civil action seeking damages and relief from US government officials and the banks for gold market manipulation it says exceeds the legal or constitutional authority of the State and that has done economic damage to companies and economies of gold producing countries such as South Africa.

GATA maintains the cartel has fudged figures to hide "huge" amounts of gold central banks have lent to bullion banks, resulting in discrepancies between actual and reported bullion volumes held in their vaults.

With probably thousands of tons of the borrowed gold sold by bullion banks for jewelry GATA claims the cartel is holding down the market price so it can buy back bullion bars to square positions.

Conscious of his audience, Murphy for the second time this year described the adoption by the committee of the "enveloping horn strategy" of legendary Zulu leader King Shaka. The points of the horn were political and media inquiry with the legal action intended to deliver the coup de grace in the centre. However, Veneroso expressed concern at an apparent "spiking" by mainstream publications such as the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal of articles reporting the committee's "evidence".

"Flawed understanding" of the gold derivatives market lay behind the media cold shoulder, he maintained.