Saturday, July 22, 2017

YouTube Censors Video Showing US Airdropping Weapons Into ISIS’ Hands


(TFTP) Another YouTube video has been censored on the grounds that it violated the platform’s Community Guidelines—but the removal of this video does not protect viewers from nudity or crude language. Instead, it ‘protects’ viewers from the reality of United States foreign policy.

Alternative geopolitical analyst Mimi Al Laham, who goes by the name “Partisan Girl,” revealed on Twitter that one of her YouTube videos was flagged and removed upon review. “It documented US military airdrops falling into ISIS hands,” She wrote. “Truth is graphic content.”

A video on my channel just got censored by @youtube It documented US military airdrops falling into #ISIS hands! Truth is graphic content.

— Partisangirl 🇸🇾 (@Partisangirl) July 10, 2017

The notice from YouTube claimed the video was removed because it violated the platform’s Community Guidelines. In addition to the video’s removal, Partisan Girl also received a “strike” or penalty on her account—a YouTube user can receive up to three “strikes.”

The title of the video was “US airdrops weapons into #ISIS hands – #Syria Ayn Al Arab,” and the reason YouTube gave for removing it was that it contained “violent or graphic content,” that was posted in “a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner.”

“If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posting in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities. We review content on a case by case basis and will only make limited exceptions for appropriate educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific contexts, where the purpose of posting is clear.”

The thing is, while a video of the U.S. military dropping weapons right into the hands of ISIS may be shocking to some, it is hardly sensational. In October 2014, the Pentagon admitted that the U.S. airdropped weapons to ISIS that were reportedly intended for Kurdish fighters in Kobani, Syria, and insisted that “the wind” was to blame.

However, this is not the first time the United States—whether intentionally of negligently—has been caught helping the group it claims to be at war with. The most recent case came to light in June when a 2016 audit from the Department of Defense revealed that it could not account for $1 Billion in weapons and equipment.

Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s arms control and human rights researcher, noted that the latest audit is part of a troubling pattern that has been ongoing for years.

“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US Army’s flawed—and potentially dangerous—system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” Wilcken said. “It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State.”

In fact, the U.S. has given ISIS such a surplus of weapons and equipment, that some of those weapons are now being sold on Facebook by Islamic State militants. A report from 2016 revealed that Jihadis in Syria are using Facebook as a marketplace to buy, sell and barter a wide variety of American-made weapons and munitions ranging from rocket launchers to machine guns.”

In addition to support from Facebook, ISIS has also received ample support from YouTube. The platform has helped the militants by hosting their recruiting videos, while also helping the group by removing videos that reveal who is funding it, such as the one from Partisan Girl.

However, the subject of ISIS is not the only area where YouTube has questionable judgment. As The Free Thought Project has reported, YouTube also hosts thousands of videos with millions of views that are disguised as child-friendly content, while they actually promote violence, sex and pedophilia.

Follow Rachel Blevins on Facebook and Twitter.


War On Independent Media Explodes To Orwellian Levels – What Are You Going To Do When Your Favorite Websites Are Gone?


by Susan Duclos, All News Pipeline:

Google’s YouTube censorship practices have increased since the election of President Trump, to the point where their liberal “flaggers” are able to get videos removed from the public eye, demonetized, and in many cases creators’ entire channels completely disappear in restricted mode when reporting on the very same topics the MSM does, just not toeing their “official” narrative.


We will start with the latest example of YouTube allowing their “flaggers” or even worse, their “bots” to determine what gets seen and what doesn’t according to ideology, rather than “community guidelines.”

Before showing the latest example, let’s look at who the these “flaggers” are, compared to YouTube claims. In 2014, it was revealed that not only does YouTube have what they call a “global community of volunteer contributors,” given the ability to flag videos as inappropriate, or having violated some community guideline, but they also have “super-flaggers,” which includes “Around 200 people and organizations,” given the ability to “flag up to 20 videos at once,” supposedly to be “reviewed by YouTube staff.” (Sources – CNet, WSJ, Financial Times)

On YouTube’s own page, they claim: “*Please note that flagged videos do not automatically get removed. We have trained internal teams, fluent in multiple languages, who carefully evaluate your flags 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in time zones around the world.”

Lets put that myth about videos being “reviewed” before being removed, right now.

Mark Dice, with over one million subscribers, recently had a video of his titled “This is CNN,” showing a number of embarrassing CNN clips, publishing his video at a time where the news organization has been engulfed in a number of controversies, including publishing a fake news story that had to be deleted, retracted, apologized for and resulted in three high profile employees being forced to resign.

Someone did not like CNN’s own idiocy being exposed by Dice, so they “flagged” his video and YouTube put it on private and locked it there, so that no one could see the video. Dice revealed what they had done publicly on Twitter highlighting @TeamYouTube, which is their social media account. The result was they restored his video after “reviewing” it, which begs the questions, 1)Who flagged it? 2)Why was it locked on private in the first place? 3)Had Dice not had a slew of followers nailing TeamYouTube on social media, making their unethical practices very public, would it have been restored?

Dice explains below:

feel I can safely make the assertion that YouTube is also allowing their liberal “flaggers” or “bots”to have videos demonetized also, simply because said video offended them or hurt their little feelings or programming, without the video in question even being reviewed by a human being that is part of YouTube’s staff. I can make this assertion because of the multiple instances where we have monetized a video, then at a later date, after ads had been running on it for some time, someone would “flag it” and then I would get notified by YouTube that the video was “not” approved for monetization because it was not “advertiser friendly.”

How do I know it was not reviewed by YouTube staff before they stripped monetization? Because after I appealed the demonetization, then they reviewed it, and approved it saying, why yes, it is advertiser friendly, meaning it did comply “with YouTube’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines,” and was “eligible for advertising.”

Just a couple examples shown below to prove my point and please note the subject matter, where in each case, they were flagged for ideology not guidelines, nor advertiser unfriendly content, there was no nudity, no cussing, no sexual content and no incitement to violence and violated none of YouTube’s terms or community guidelines as evidenced by the reversal after someone finally reviewed it.

Results after YouTube staff actually does review the video:

Another that was demonetized because someone flagged it, then after appeal was found be advertiser friendly after all.

Rather than going on providing a screen shot of each and every email individually, let me just show how often these flaggers or bots harass video creators and how YouTube continues to allow it:

Note– In some of those emails, 5 or 6 videos were demonetized at once (some of them had already been up and monetized for years), with a list that I then had to go through one by one to appeal separately.

YouTube’s so-called flaggers are abusing the system and have been for years, yet YouTube does nothing to correct this issue, allows them to continue to harass video creators simply because their ideology is different than those given the right to flag videos for YouTube. According to some, they have also set up bots to flag content, yet who sets the bots algorithms which seems to “flag” content that violates no gudelines?

Read More @


CIA Chief Warns: WikiLeaks Is Plotting To "Take Down America Any Way They Can"


Authored by Jason Ditz via,

CIA Director Mike Pompeo remains inconsolably hostile toward whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, insisting they are a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and are plotting to “take down America any way they can and find any willing partner to achieve that end.


Hostility to WikiLeaks has been a mainstay in the US government, as every administration faces the prospect of their covert misdeeds becoming a matter of public record, to their general embarrassment albeit rarely to the end of any meaningful reform.

President Trump had a positive attitude toward WikiLeaks during last year’s campaign, declaring “I love WikiLeaks.”

Pompeo insists he doesn’t feel the same way, and that US intelligence agencies need to find ways to fight the organization.

“I don’t love WikiLeaks,” Mr. Pompeo said Thursday.

Pompeo argued that the US needs to use the Espionage Act much more in going after leakers who aren’t actually foreign spies, though he stopped short of openly endorsing Espionage prosecutions against journalists for reporting on the leaks.

“You said that we have to recognize that we can no longer let Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us,” New York Times columnist Bret Stephens asked Mr. Pompeo.


“What does that in your mind imply, legislatively or operationally? Should we be enforcing the Espionage Act much more?”


“Yes,” Mr. Pompeo responded without hesitation.

When asked if publishers and journalists should be prosecuted for using state secrets, Mr. Pompeo answered:

“There’s an old aphorism that says that the law is entitled to every man’s evidence, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Mr. Assange did not respond privately to requests for comment Thursday but reacted to Mr. Pompeo’s latest claim in a series of tweets.

“What sort of America can be ‘taken down’ by the truth?” he tweeted.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Michigan Activist Sentenced to Jail for Distributing Pamphlet About Juror Rights


Today a Michigan judge sentenced a local activist to eight weekends in jail, plus $545 in fines, 120 hours of community service, and six months of probation, for passing out jury nullification pamphlets in front of the Mecosta County courthouse. Keith Wood, a former pastor and father of eight, was arrested in November 2015 and convicted last month of jury tampering, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Wood, who distributed a pamphlet published by the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), was initially charged with obstruction of justice, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and held on $150,000 bail. The felony charge was dismissed in March 2016.

The remaining charge applies when someone "willfully attempts to influence the decision of a juror in any case by argument or persuasion, other than as part of the proceedings in open court in the trial of the case." The only case pending on the day Wood was arrested involved an Amish man named Andy Yoder who was accused of illegally filling a wetland on his own property. Yoder ended up pleading guilty, so no jury was ever chosen for his trial. But Wood testified that he had taken an interest in the case and ordered the FIJA pamphlets after hearing about it.

Wood's lawyer, David Kallman, who plans to appeal the conviction, argued that distributing the pamphlets, which contained general information about jurors' rights, was protected by the First Amendment. He emphasized that Wood never discussed Yoder's case with passers-by at the courthouse.

At Wood's sentencing, Kallman argued that jail time was inappropriate, while the prosecution recommended a sentence of 45 days. After Wood's arrest, Mecosta County Prosecutor Brian Thiede said that the FIJA pamphlet is dangerous because "we would have a lawless nation if people were to vote their conscience."

FIJA has more on the Wood case here.


Think fake news is bad? Take a look at the even larger problem of fake medical research

T2017-HRR-Vaccine-pushers-discredit-SCIE (Natural News) Following the 2016 presidential election, far-Left journalists, Democrats and #nevertrump Deep State operatives invented a number of excuses as to why the “shoo-in” candidate, Hillary Clinton, really lost to GOP nominee Donald J. Trump. The Russians “hacked” the election. Trump “colluded” with Moscow to “steal” it. And Kremlin-planted fake news helped sway voters...


Monday, July 17, 2017

Russiagate Exposed: It’s a Fraud


The Truth that’s Being Hidden from the Public

Eric Zuesse

It has now been incontrovertibly proven that the time-stamps and other data in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) files that were leaked to Wikileaks are consistent with those files having been leaked by a person who was inside the DNC and not by an external hacker as has been presumed by all of the ‘news’-reports that this was a ‘hack’ of any sort — not from Russia nor from anywhere else outside the building, much less from outside the east coast time zone. There’s a very real scandal involved in this matter, but it is extremely different from the Russia-hack narrative, and it will be revealed here (for the first time anywhere) at the very end. But, first things first — and that’s what the previous investigators have now proven:

On July 9th, was published at Disobedient Media a report that not only discredits the ‘news’ reports that the Russian government (or anyone else in Russia) ‘hacked the election’ — discredits the very core of the Russiagate story — but that shows the ‘hacks’ were instead likelier leaks, to Wikileaks, by someone who had physical access to the computers at the Democratic National Committee, and who, in any case, was clearly and incontrovertibly operating only within the time-zone of America’s east coast — not at all in Russia, nor anywhere else outside that time zone.

In other words: it shows that the data itself provide indications that this was a leak instead of any hack at all: that the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray (who claimed to have picked up the data-recording device from the leaker in DC and brought it to his friend Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London) was correct when he had said that he picked the file up from an insider who gave it to him in Washington DC — that the data themselves are more consistent with that than with the ‘hack’ interpretation of the narrative of how Wikileaks obtained these data.

So, now we have not only Murray’s testimony about it, and we have not only my own investigation showing that Murray had, in fact, been in Washington DC at the very time he says he had picked up the information physically in DC from the leaker there, but we also now have — as of July 9th — the technical proof of its having likely been transferred to Wikileaks by means of a leak instead of a hack. Even the data that were transferred are entirely consistent with this having been a voluntary release of this information.

Consequently, any ‘news’medium, after July 9th, which still ‘reports’ about Russiagate, which so much as even just suggests that people in Russia ‘hacked’ these data from the DNC, are now the lowest order of fake ‘journalism’, not an authentic journalistic operation at all, but pure propaganda. How long will it take for that lie (the Russiagate-myth) to stop being published as being established truth by the U.S. (and its allied) ‘news’ media? But it continues to be embellished, as if that basic storyline is likely or even definitely true. It is much likelier false than true.

Here then will be presented, first of all, a generally good summary dated July 15th, of this important new information, a summary of what was published on July 9th by Disobedient Media; and I am here publishing a transcript that I have made of this video, which was uploaded to youtube on July 15th, in which, by means of questions and answers, the gist of the findings in the July 9th report and of how the findings had been obtained, is set forth, in that July 15th video, which is titled, “TV Exclusive: Forensic investigator says DNC computer hacked locally”:

A forensics expert has determined that the DNC computers were hacked locally by someone with physical access to the DNC network and not by someone far away like the Russians. This story was broken online by the hot new investigative website called Disobedient Media. The forensic expert handed over the information to the reporter Elizabeth Vos. Joining me this time out of Iowa City Iowa is the managing editor of Disobedient, Ethan Lyle; Ethan, welcome to the show.

Thank you.

Ethan, no one has been sitting on this story you guys are. Tell us how you got this information and what we know.

Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media’s associate editor — a man named Adam Carter reached out to her. And he had an analysis from somebody online named The Forensicator.

Let me ask you: Who was Adam Carter? Adam Carter got this and gave it to you guys; who is he?

He’s an independent journalist [who had, in fact, long been working on this case]. And, so, [as Carter called to Vos’s attention] an anonymous blog of a forensic analyst looked at the data, and he had noticed that because of the transfer-speed and the timing of those transfers [it was actually only one transfer], that they were [the person was on the] east coast, and they [the files] had to have been accessed in the east coast. They were initially copied in the east coast, he guaranteed [the person actually demonstrated, not ‘guaranteed’] that … the likelihood of it [the file] being accessed initially from anywhere but the east coast, is impossible [proven so, by that analyst, “the forensicator”].

So, what that means in layman’s terms is again that the DNC computer network which the media tells us and the DNC tells us was hacked by the Russians, … that it was physically accessed by someone within close proximity of the DNC?

Correct. Given metadata and … the transfer and the stop times in between them, the only likely scenario is that it was accessed from inside of the Local Area Network of the DNC or with a USB drive into a computer [in] which you would have to be inside the building.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist because there’s a lot more work to be done here, but … those computers were hacked five days prior to Seth Rich’s untimely demise if I’m not mistake, is that not correct?

That’s correct and it’s important to state that this does not indicate that Seth Rich was the person that accessed the files, because they [the DNC] won’t turn over their logs to the FBI. There’s no way to tell which credentials were used to get into the system.

Since you have broken this story online, has anyone in law enforcement reached out to you?

No, they have not.

Anyone from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times?

Absolutely not. (3:51)

At this stage, this cover-up by the government and press is even bigger than the crime by the pro-Clinton DNC insiders (which had used, as I’ll indicate, the chief PR agency for NATO, to do this — to generate and spread this lie) who are trying to provoke even more fear and hatred of Russia than they already have cooked-up and generated. Adam Carter on July 16th, said that “The MSM have kept this hidden from viewers for almost 150 days”, but certainly it has been hidden now, after it was conclusively proven, on July 9th.

Here, then, are the openings of those more detailed sources reporting on this, first being the news-report by Elizabeth Vos, and then the original analysis by The Forensicator (which report Vos was restating well in non-technical terms):


New Research Shows Guccifer 2.0 Files Were Copied Locally, Not Hacked

9 July 2017, Elizabeth Vos

New meta-analysis has emerged from a document published today by an independent researcher known as The Forensicator, which suggests that files eventually published by the Guccifer 2.0 persona were likely initially downloaded by a person with physical access to a computer possibly connected to the internal DNC network. The individual most likely used a USB drive to copy the information. The groundbreaking new analysis irrevocably destroys the Russian hacking narrative, and calls the actions of Crowdstrike and the DNC into question.

The document supplied to Disobedient Media via Adam Carter was authored by an individual known as The Forensicator. The full document referenced here has been published on their blog. Their analysis indicates the data was almost certainly not accessed initially by a remote hacker, much less one in Russia. If true, this analysis obliterates the Russian hacking narrative completely.

The Forensicator specifically discusses the data that was eventually published by Guccifer 2.0 under the title “NGP-VAN.”  This should not be confused with the separate publication of the DNC emails by Wikileaks. This article focuses solely on evidence stemming from the files published by Guccifer 2.0. …

Guccifer 2.0 NGP/VAN Metadata Analysis


8 July 2017: Thanks go out to Elizabeth Vos at Disobedient Media who was the first to report on this analysis; her article can be read here. Thanks also to Adam Carter who maintains the web site — the one stop shop for information that relates to Guccifer 2.0. You can reach Elizabeth and Adam on Twitter.


This study analyzes the file metadata found in a 7zip archive file, 7dc58-ngp-van.7z, attributed to the Guccifer 2.0 persona. For an in depth analysis of various aspects of the controversy surrounding Guccifer 2.0, refer to Adam Carter’s blog, Guccifer 2.0: Game Over.

Based on the analysis that is detailed below, the following key findings are presented:

• On 7/5/2016 at approximately 6:45 PM Eastern time, someone copied the data that eventually appears on the “NGP VAN” 7zip file (the subject of this analysis). This 7zip file was published by a persona named Guccifer 2, two months later on September 13, 2016.

• Due to the estimated speed of transfer (23 MB/s) calculated in this study, it is unlikely that this initial data transfer could have been done remotely over the Internet.

• The initial copying activity was likely done from a computer system that had direct access to the data. By “direct access” we mean that the individual who was collecting the data either had physical access to the computer where the data was stored, or the data was copied over a local high speed network (LAN).

• They may have copied a much larger collection of data than the data present in the NGP VAN 7zip. This larger collection of data may have been as large as 19 GB.  In that scenario the NGP VAN 7zip file represents only 1/10th of the total amount of material taken.

• This initial copying activity was done on a system where Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) settings were in force. Most likely, the computer used to initially copy the data was located somewhere on the East Coast.

• The data was likely initially copied to a computer running Linux, because the file last modified times all reflect the apparent time of the copy and this is a characteristic of the the Linux ‘cp’ command (using default options).

• A Linux OS may have been booted from a USB flash drive and the data may have been copied back to the same flash drive, which will likely have been formatted with the Linux (ext4) file system.

• On September 1, 2016, two months after copying the initial large collection of (alleged) DNC related content (the so-called NGP/VAN data), a subset was transferred to working directories on a system running Windows. The .rar files included in the final 7zip file were built from those working directories.

• The computer system where the working directories were built had Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) settings in force. Most likely, this system was located somewhere on the East Coast.

• The .rar files and plain files that eventually end up in the “NGP VAN” 7zip file disclosed by Guccifer 2.0 on 9/13/2016 were likely first copied to a USB flash drive, which served as the source data for the final 7zip file. There is no information to determine when or where the final 7zip file was built.


The Guccifer 2 “NGP VAN” files are found in a password protected 7zip file; instructions for downloading this 7zip file can be found at

Technical note: the size of the 7zip file is 711,396,436 bytes and the MD5 sum is: a6ca56d03073ce6377922171fc8b232d.

This .7z file contains several .rar files – one for each top-level directory, as shown below.

The times shown above are in Pacific Daylight Savings Time (PDT). The embedded .rar files are highlighted in yellow. The “*” after each file indicates that the file is password encrypted.  This display of the file entries is shown when the .7z file is opened. A password is required to extract the constituent files. This aspect of the .7z file likely motivated zipping the sub-directories (e.g. CNBC and DNC) into .rar files; this effectively hides the structure of the sub-directories, unless the password is provided and the sub-directories are then extracted. …

Finally, here, is the issue of NATO’s role in this. Elizabeth Vos’s article goes on to say:

This article focuses solely on evidence stemming from the files published by Guccifer 2.0, which were previously discussed in depth by Adam Carter.

Disobedient Media previously reported that Crowdstrike is the only group that has directly analyzed the DNC servers. Other groups including Threat Connect have used the information provided by Crowdstrike to claim that Russians hacked the DNC. However, their evaluation was based solely on information ultimately provided by Crowdstrike; this places the company in the unique position of being the only direct source of evidence that a hack occurred.

The group’s President Shawn Henry is a retired executive assistant director of the FBI while their co-founder and CTO, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which as we have reported, is linked to George Soros. Carter has stated on his website that “At present, it looks a LOT like Shawn Henry & Dmitri Alperovitch (CrowdStrike executives), working for either the HRC campaign or DNC leadership were very likely to have been behind the Guccifer 2.0 operation.” Carter’s website was described by Wikileaks as a useful source of primary information specifically regarding Guccifer 2.0.

She had gotten that information from the founder of Disobedient Media, William Craddick. However, Craddick’s assumption that Soros was involved in this particular operation is not supported by any evidence he links to or otherwise cites. Craddick’s article, which was published back on 5 April 2017, “Cyber Firm Behind “Russian Hacking” Claims Has Ties To Soros-Supported Think Tank”, simply assumed that the Atlantic Council was a Soros operation. The actual fact is that the Atlantic Council is far bigger than Soros or any other single billionaire who backs it. And, all that Craddick actually shows is that the cyber firm behind the ‘Russian hacking’ claims has ties to the Atlantic Council. That’s a very big difference: this was, in fact, a NATO-connected operation, not merely an operation by one billionaire who is behind NATO. The Atlantic Council is the main PR agency for NATO; it actually was set up in 1961 by founders and associates of NATO for that very purpose. So, to mention Soros’s name as the alleged source for this particular smear-Russia operation is a big mistake, and is importantly misleading. If Soros has had anything to do with this operation (‘Russiagate’), then neither Craddick nor his Disobedient Media has, as of yet, presented any evidence of it. For them to not only state such a connection in their ‘news’ story, but to headline that ‘news’ report with “Soros” instead of with “NATO,” is irresponsible, a major error on their part, especially because their ‘news’ report provided no evidence for that allegation, and also because Craddick and his website appear to be tragically ignorant of the most fundamental fact about the Atlantic Council — its being NATO’s chief propaganda-arm.

Russiagate isn’t merely a fraud and a smear by the Democratic Party; it is a fraud and a smear by NATO. NATO represents the entire U.S. aristocracy — not merely that aristocracy’s Democratic Party contingent, but both contingents (and certainly not just one billionaire, such as Soros).

In order to understand the historical origin of this operation, I have explained that here. In order to understand the economic interests that are behind it, I’ve explained that here.

CORRECTION (& SUMMARY): The initial version of this news-report was too certain that there is no way that a possibility exists that this was a hack instead of a leak. I have revised the opening here in order to rectify that false assumption that it couldn’t even possibly have been a hack. What remains of this article is that not only Craig Murray’s testimony, but also the data themselves, are consistent with the leak-interpretation of the information-transfer’s source, and — the most important thing in this news-report — that the ‘news’-articles that have been published which allege this to have been a hack from Russia are sourced from operatives of NATO’s main PR agency, the Atlantic Council.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Russiagate Exposed: It’s a Fraud was originally published on Washington's Blog


“Bigger Systemic Risk” Now Than 2008 - Bank of England


“Bigger Systemic Risk” Now Than 2008 - Bank of England

 - Bank of England warn that "bigger systemic risk" now than in 2008
- BOE, Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) concerns re financial system
- Banks accused of "balance sheet trickery" -undermining spirit of post-08 rules
- EU & UK corporate bond markets may be bigger source of instability than '08
- Credit card debt and car loan surge could cause another financial crisis

- PRA warn banks returning to similar practices to those that sparked 08 crisis
- ‘Conscious that corporate memories can be shed surprisingly fast’ warns PRA Chair

bank-of-england.jpgBank of England sees bigger financial risks than in 2008

Editor Mark O'Byrne

Stark warnings have been issued by the Bank of England and its regulatory arm, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

In less than one week the two bodies issued papers and speeches to warn industry members that many banks are showing signs of making the same mistakes that led to the 2008 financial crisis - the outcomes of which are predicted to be worse than those seen just nine years ago.

Increased risks have been noted at different ends of the financial system, from the European corporate bond markets right through to retail lenders.

The Bank of England’s ‘Stimulating Stress Across the Financial System’ was released last week. It looks at how it will assess risk in future studies on the European corporate bond market. It concludes that the corporate bond market could create more instability during the next financial shock than it did in the crisis of 2008.

Just two days before this stark warning, the PRA’s chief-executive Sam Woods told lenders that they were on thin ice with their innovations designed to reduce their capital requirements and buoy earnings. Woods said that whilst their innovations “might meet the letter of the regulation” they must not be “designed to circumvent the spirit” of banking rules.

Bank of England's Woods accused banks of engaging balance sheet trickery to “circumvent the spirit” of post-financial crisis rules.

Both warnings over both sets of practices is yet another reminder of the stark difference of interests between taxpayers, regulators and the banking industry.

News of institutions circumventing regulations and non-bank corporate lenders creating more risk in the system begs the question if the financial system as we know it will ever be fit for purpose in terms of looking after the needs of borrowers and savers. It also rises concerns about how safe the banks are for depositors and whether banks are 'safe for savers?'


Balance sheet shenanigans

One of the ‘innovations’ being used by banks is the very same that was used in the run-up to and exacerbated the 2008 financial crisis. It is the use of special purpose vehicles which are used to hold riskier assets in order to free up capital.

Woods told the news conference:

“We have noticed that some institutions are now moving on-balance-sheet financing to off-balance-sheet formats using special purpose vehicles, derivatives, agency structures or collateral swaps.”

Practices such as these are being done in order to reduce the burden of new rules which have come or are coming into play. The Bank of England and the regulatory authorities are close to completing and implementing the reforms that were agreed to following the 2008 crisis.

However the changes designed to make banks less risky have meant margins are being squeezed from two directions, both by new regulations and record low interest rates.

The regulators’ concerns over these practices are that they circumvent a regulation designed to protect taxpayers from yet another bank bailout. These are the ring fencing rules much lauded about following the financial crisis. They require that those banks and building societies with more require financial institutions with more than £25bn of deposits to tie off their retail divisions from the riskier investment banking units by 2019.

This is the most costly of the reforms being put into place, rumoured to have a price tag of billions of pounds.

Widespread illiquidity leads to panic

Meanwhile, on the other side of the market (but still as entwined and as risky as banks’ circumvention tactics) the Bank of England study has shown that they have some significant concerns about the effects of non-bank lenders in a stressed market, particularly on corporate funding rates and their impact on the real economy.

The central bank is primarily concerned that those dealers making markets in bonds will not be able to cope with panic-selling levels by investors. The study found that 2008 levels of weekly mutual fund redemptions  (1 percent of assets under management) could increase corporate bond interest rates for companies with high credit ratings by about 40 basis points.


Dealers might struggle to absorb these sales if redemptions are only a third higher, an event which the study described as "an unlikely, but not impossible, event”.

Whilst the study states that this was an incomplete exercise in assessing the risk in the system, it was clear that it had raised cause for concern namely due to such risks creating a feedback loop between individually safe parts of the market that amplified the shock.

"Nevertheless, it has allowed a scenario to be explored in which large-scale redemptions from open-ended investment funds trigger sales by those funds, with resulting spillover effects to dealers and hedge funds."

Concerns over how widespread illiquidity can lead to panic amongst investors is fresh in regulators’ and institutions’ minds following the episode post-Brexit vote when there was a run on real estate funds and a temporary ban was placed on withdrawals following the surge in redemption requests.

There is little reason why, given the right set of economic circumstances, such an event wouldn’t happen in the corporate bond market.

Currently there are two events in the near future which could prompt a sell-off in corporate bonds.

The first is a potential reduction in the monthly €60 billion of securities the ECB currently buys. Should they decide to reduce these then investors may dump bonds in favour of equities, cash or gold.

The second potential problem is of course Italy. The general election is due to happen before next May and should Eurosceptic party, the Five Star Movement, win then we are likely to see panicked bond selling.


Worries about corporate bond markets or balance sheet shenanigans by banks do not seem to be causing much concern amongst the UK electorate and savers. But a quick snapshot of how finances look at a household level should be provide a much needed wakeup call.

A decade on, what damage can be done

Woods’s speech about the state of banks’ clever balance sheets was ultimately about their desires to return ‘to the punchbowl’ as they try to boost credit and risk. The chief executive said that his organisation had seen"a shift in credit risk appetite as lenders compete with each other to find ways of widening the pool of available borrowers, increasing the size of loans available to them, or reducing the credit premium charged for inherently more risky loans.”

The state of the things at a retail level is somewhat terrifying. Household lending is growing at 10.3% a year – outpacing the 2.3% rise in household income. The total credit owed by UK consumers at the end of April 2017 was £198 billion, with credit card borrowing at a record £67.7 billion. The BOE is so concerned that it has told lenders to set aside £11.4 billion to protect against defaults.

More concerning about the state of household debt is that Bank of England data shows 15.75pc of all new mortgages taken out in the first quarter of 2017 were for terms of 35 years or more.

But, the latest growing area of debt is car financing. £58 billion of car dealership finance. Just £24 billion of this comes from banks. The rest is from other lenders, such as dedicated motor finance firms. They do not have to follow the strict lending rules on having capital buffers to cover losses like banks do – a development the Bank of England is concerned about.

It has been ten years since the last interest rate hike. A decade is a long-time, enough time for the market to welcome in a new generation of borrowers who are unfamiliar with higher interest rates and the dangers of borrowing. Most concerning is it seems no matter who they borrow from, they are disinterested in the state of regulatory demands.

It has been more than a decade since 60+ banks and building societies were issued a similar warning in 2004. Many failed to listen to the warnings given.

"As survivors, societies here today ought to be well aware of the warning signs, but I’m conscious that corporate memories can be shed surprisingly fast…I would observe that part of the reason why only 44 societies are attending this conference rather than the 60+ that came to its equivalent in 2004 lies in the fact that many of those societies were unaware of, or failed to control, the risks they were taking."

- Sam Woods of PRA

Similarly aware of this lack of insight, the Bank of England recently asked lenders how these new borrowers affected the banks’ credit-scoring models, as the banks themselves are the first line of defence when it comes to protecting the economy (and taxpayers) against increased risk.

Sam Woods’s speech last week suggest that banks and building societies are most likely unconcerned with the risk these new borrowers bring to the system.

In May, the British households borrowed £1.7 billion in May, higher than the £1.4 billion that forecasters expected and the £1.438 billion borrowed in April. This rapid growth of consumer credit will pose a risk to banks when the economy falters and borrowers struggle to repay the loans.


These warnings from the Bank of England and the PRA just serve to remind us that there is little in the financial system which is not exposed to the highly speculative and risky lending practices of those charged with looking after our savings and investments.

Even if some banks are listening to the warning cry of the regulators, the level of debt in the financial system in the UK and most western countries is completely unsustainable.

Ultimately all of the above means that your personal finances and your savings held in deposit accounts are at risk. The risk is that when authorities move to bailout the next bank who enjoyed the punch a bit too much, your savings may be confiscated in bank deposit bail-ins.

Why do we like physical gold and silver? Because when you buy it in the right way, you own it outright.

When you own physical gold and silver coins and bars which is allocated, segregated and in your name, it cannot suffer a 'haircut' or be confiscated by bankrupted financial entities. Bullion coins and bars are yours and carry no counter party risk if you take insured delivery or store in the safest vaults in the world.

Protecting-Your-Savings-In-The-Coming-Bail-In-EraAccess Bail-in Guide



Credit market a bigger systemic risk than during 2008 crisis: BOE - Reuters

Bank tackles lenders balance sheet trickery - FT Adviser

Related Content

“Financial Crisis” In 2017 Or By End Of 2018 – Prepare Now

UK At ‘Edge of Worst House Price Collapse Since 1990s’

UK Inflation is no longer in stealth mode



News and Commentary

Gold inches up as prospects for slower U.S. rate hikes weigh on dollar (

Gold marks highest settlement of the month, up 1.5% for the week (

Asia shares rise on accommodative Fed (

Dollar Bears’ Case Grows Stronger as Wagers on Fed Hikes Fade (

ECB Expected to Use July Decision to Quell Investors’ Taper Temper (


Gold and Silver Gain Over 1% and 2% on the Week (

Speculators Sour On Gold And silver, Which Means The Bottom Is Near (

Hedge Funds Are Losing Faith in Precious Metals (

Financial-Crisis-Style Carmageddon Descends on Houston (

Chinese Silk Road Advances - Purchases Ports Worth $20B In Year (

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

17 Jul: USD 1,229.85, GBP 940.71 & EUR 1,074.03 per ounce
14 Jul: USD 1,218.95, GBP 940.54 & EUR 1,067.92 per ounce
13 Jul: USD 1,221.40, GBP 944.51 & EUR 1,071.05 per ounce
12 Jul: USD 1,219.40, GBP 947.60 & EUR 1,064.29 per ounce
11 Jul: USD 1,211.90, GBP 938.98 & EUR 1,063.68 per ounce
10 Jul: USD 1,207.55, GBP 938.63 & EUR 1,060.11 per ounce
07 Jul: USD 1,220.40, GBP 944.47 & EUR 1,068.95 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

17 Jul: USD 16.07, GBP 12.30 & EUR 14.02 per ounce
14 Jul: USD 15.71, GBP 12.11 & EUR 13.76 per ounce
13 Jul: USD 15.95, GBP 12.34 & EUR 14.00 per ounce
12 Jul: USD 15.83, GBP 12.31 & EUR 13.82 per ounce
11 Jul: USD 15.51, GBP 12.02 & EUR 13.61 per ounce
10 Jul: USD 15.22, GBP 11.82 & EUR 13.36 per ounce
07 Jul: USD 15.84, GBP 12.29 & EUR 13.88 per ounce

Recent Market Updates

- Video – “Gold Should Probably Be $5000” – CME Chairman Duffy
- India Gold Imports Surge To 5 Year High – 220 Tons In May Alone
- “Silver’s Plunge Is Nearing Completion”
- China, Russia Alliance Deepens Against American Overstretch
- Silver Prices Bounce Higher After Futures Manipulated 7% Lower In Minute
- Precious Metals Are “Best Defence” Against Bail-ins In Economic Crisis
- Buy Gold Near $1,200 “As Insurance” – UBS Wealth
- UK House Prices ‘On Brink’ Of Massive 40% Collapse
- Gold Up 8% In First Half 2017; Builds On 8.5% Gain In 2016
- Pensions Timebomb In America – “National Crisis” Cometh
- London Property Bubble Bursting? UK In Unchartered Territory On Brexit and Election Mess
- Shrinkflation – Real Inflation Much Higher Than Reported
- Goldman, Citi Turn Positive On Gold – Despite “Mysterious” Flash Crash

Important Guides

For your perusal, below are our most popular guides in 2017:

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Switzerland

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Singapore

Essential Guide to Tax Free Gold Sovereigns (UK)

Please share our research with family, friends and colleagues who you think would benefit from being informed by it.


Special Offer - Gold Sovereigns at 3% Premium - London Storage

We have a very special offer on Sovereigns for London Storage today. Own one of the most popular and liquid of all bullion coins - Gold Sovereigns - at the lowest rates in the market for storage.


  • Limited Gold Sovereigns (0.2354 oz) available
  • Pricing at spot + 3.0% premium
  • Allocated, segregated storage in London
  • Normally sell at spot gold plus 6.75% to 10%
  • One of most sought after bullion coins in the world
  • Mixed year, circulated bullion coins
  • Minimum order size is 20 coins

These coins are at a very low price and with limited amounts at these record low prices we expect them to sell out very fast.

Call our office today

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ten secrets about America


... that will make you wonder where all the freedom wentIt’s no secret the definition of ‘freedom’ in America has changed a great deal in recent decades. While 9/11 was a major turning point, setting in motion a slew of changes to the American mindset and to the legal framework which governs the contract between the State and the people, our natural rights have been under assault for generations.Couple this with the dumbing down of the American citizenry, and ‘We the People&...