Thanks to the fantasy of bitcoin, Wall Street dreams, and the ruling class’s constant propaganda war versus gold, the paper market for gold — as run by the CME, LBMA, and BIS cartel — is now increasingly bearish. But demand is still high in the United Arab Emirates where a large proportion of illegally produced and smuggled gold finds a ready market.
Long a hub for smuggled gold, the United Arab Emirates only recently pledged to curtail its illegal gold imports based on US regime action over Venezuela.
A recent gold windfall for bin Zayed however has been the kidnappings in Nigeria with thousands of ounces in ransom gold paid to bandits in exchange for the return of young students. The Nigerian government claims the bandits were repentant and so returned the students, but no doubt a large amount of Nigerian gold – most mined illegally – helps them feel that way.
The Nigerian government may deny it, but the illegal gold trade has been a staple earner for the government, particularly via its gold trade relationship with the Bin Zayed regime.
Nigeria has attempted to address the artisanal gold issue via PAGMI, an initiative to formalize and contain illegal and unsafe gold mining, while the kidnappings in the remote northeast seem an unintended consequence. The government has not handled the situation well, and the government’s ill-inspired hoopla about the production of London good-for-delivery bars must seem like red meat to a lion.
Meanwhile the western media has gone to great length to avoid mentioning the role of gold as payment for ransom, in Nigeria. The New York Times article does not mention gold at all, and other western articles refer only to a shutdown of Nigerian gold mining in the kidnap-affected region. Unlike US dollars, gold cannot be marked or traced, has real lasting value, and gold is a liquid asset anywhere in the world, even when the power is out, or internet down.
All of the above has been aggravated by the US destabilization of Northern Africa and the Sahel region since 2011, where the United States and France have created failed states there in an attempt to retain access to resources from regions they’ve traditionally plundered. Mali, Niger, and Trump’s disastrous Western Sahara ‘deal’ — over and above the NATO/US destruction of Libya — has contributed to roving bands of gangsters and weaponry flooding an already unstable sub-Sahara.
As for Nigeria, the government has many complex issues with regard to its remote northeast region… far too complex to address here. But of one thing we can be certain: no one in Washington will be of any help. And expect the contrary going forward in all matters of State, everywhere.