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(The New York Times)   The New York Times wins the prize for dumbest headline of the day: "An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country?"   (nytimes.com) divider line 21
    More: Obvious, Afghan Mystery, Afghans, gold leafing, airliners, American officials, prizes, money launders  
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6900 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Dec 2012 at 1:18 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-12-16 11:10:52 AM
4 votes:
Why is that headline dumb?
2012-12-16 12:25:33 PM
3 votes:
ct.fra.bz
Please, subby, enlighten us on the simple economics of gold.
2012-12-16 02:15:53 PM
2 votes:
dl.dropbox.com

/What pallets of Hundred Dollar Bills might look like
//See! Bulky
2012-12-16 01:41:54 PM
2 votes:
mbillips: erstaff: jake_lex: Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.
Rats. Sinking ship.
US withdrawal in 2014.
People with money expect the Afghani government to fold not long after the Stars & Stripes are lowered, and a hardline Islamic regime to follow, Taliban II: Electric Boogaloo.
They are taking their money elsewhere.
Simple really.
-----------------------
By transferring gold? Do they get paid in gold in Afghanistan, and have to ship it to Dubai, instead of just wiring the money electronically? Your point about the future of Afghanistan may be correct, but that doesn't translate into gold shipments at all.


But it does translate in a sense.

If you consider the possibility of a change in the Afghan government coupled with the fact that with the lack of a larger country with a military presence there, the chances the religious zealots will take over again and simply take all assets as their own. If I had a commodity of any type that a possible new government might covet, I would be looking to move that too. If it was flat screen TVs, then there would be shipments of my inventory flying out of the Kabul airport daily to countries that do not have a penchant for seizing property (especially TVs) in the name of religious fanaticism.

Yes, the article was rather vague as to the reason why this gold movement is happening, but given H Karzai's recent temper tantrums, I would be thinking about moving shop out of Afghanistan if I were a business owner. This would include physical and financial assets. That country is consistent in a few things - inconsistency, upheaval and erratic behavior. It sure looks to be the beginning another cycle of that happening with recent events. 

Cya in 2024 Kabul. It was nice knowing ya.
2012-12-16 01:40:00 PM
2 votes:

mbillips: By transferring gold? Do they get paid in gold in Afghanistan, and have to ship it to Dubai, instead of just wiring the money electronically? Your point about the future of Afghanistan may be correct, but that doesn't translate into gold shipments at all.


Electronic money transfers are not big in Afghanistan. Most banking is done in cold, hard cash, or through precious metals. There are a few banks in Kabul which can handle money transfers, but don't expect them to get a lot of use by the locals.

Instead of conventional banking, the halawa system is in use, a network of brokers/moneylenders throughout the Islamic world. It's essentially an underground money transfer system, off the books as far as international law goes, and very hard to trace/track.

Also, the vast bulk of the global opium trade goes through Afghanistan. Billions in drug money, the money that funds the Taliban. The overwhelming majority of heroin in global commerce comes from Afghanistan. They aren't in a hurry to go to mainstream banking sources with money that's clearly dirty.

For every dinar going out in gold, expect several to be moving by halawa, and expect a lot of it to come from the opium trade.
2012-12-16 11:00:40 PM
1 votes:

dericwater: Mentat: PsyLord: [www.splotchy.com image 400x400]
/knows a thing or two about transporting gold

I don't think Pussy Galore would be able to operate out of Afghanistan.

\Pussy Galore

Isn't Pussy Galore from Diamonds Are Forever?


No.
2012-12-16 09:02:03 PM
1 votes:

jake_lex: Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.


No, the question is where does it COME from. Afghanistan doesn't have known active mines. The people there don't do business in gold bars. If you were concerned about currency collapse, you'd FIRST have to BUY gold somewhere else from the open market OUTSIDE the country. Well that means gold would be carried INTO Afghanistan, but there's no record of that.

They're saying it's money laundering- they're selling heroin and physically returning from the deal with gold bars, probably because they're untraceable, unlike currency. In the USA you can't go around trading gold like that without the IRS jumping on you. They'd start to ask where you GOT 37 gold bars and you probably have to plead the 5th because it's hard to say you just "found them".

The "laundering" part is that organized crime entities in another country can simply say "they came from Afghanistan, and they're mine". "It's part of my inheritance from a relative, I'm sure you haven't heard of him" and the questioning stops, because there's no expectation of banking documentation in Afghanistan.
2012-12-16 04:50:14 PM
1 votes:

LordOfThePings: roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul

Is it hewed or hewn?

[25.media.tumblr.com image 500x667]


Neither. "To hew" refers to striking an object with cutting blows. It is possible (but rather unlikely) that these bars were made by cutting a larger block down to size. It is FAR more likely that they were made by melting multiple smaller pieces into a single bar. After all, the melting point of gold is under 1100C; you can almost reach that on a campfire.

Assuming they WERE cut and "to hew" is the appropriate verbiage, general preference in most style manuals is for hewed to be used as a verb and hewn to be used as an adjective or adverb. Since this is an adjective describing the bars of gold, one would use "hewn". In fact, "Rough-hewn" instead of "Roughly hewed" is correct.
2012-12-16 02:53:26 PM
1 votes:

Silverstaff: Rats. Sinking ship.

US withdrawal in 2014.- People with money expect the Afghani government to fold not long after the Stars & Stripes are lowered, and a hardline Islamic regime to follow, Taliban II: Electric Boogaloo.

They are taking their money elsewhere.- Simple really.


History shows otherwise.

When the Soviets left Afghanistan, the country did not immediately fall to the Taliban. The Soviet supported Afghan government still did quite well, much better than most expected. They only fell after the Soviet union collapsed and the Soviet money and provisions stopped flowing to Afghanistan. It's often suggested that had the Soviet money and provisions continued, the Taliban would never have taken the country.

The point being, so long as we keep sending planeloads of cash and weapons to Karzai, he's going to continue to be the strongest force in the country - by far. It's a lot cheaper for us to send money than send soldiers, and we don't want the Taliban to take over.

So we'll keep sending money, Karzai and his pals will stay in power, the Taliban will continue to be an annoyance, but have almost no chance of retaking the country.

So why are people shipping their gold out of the country? Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense? In fact, it might be termed, "a good question".
2012-12-16 01:41:29 PM
1 votes:
I don't think it's so hard to figure out. U.S. forces don't control anything in Afghanistan outside the capital city of Kabul and they'll be leaving soon. Businessmen who live in the city know what will happen to them when the Taliban re-assert their little slice of Islamic hell-on-earth there. So, they are planning to leave before they get shot, hung or beheaded as collaborators. (Not that the Taliban will even need that excuse. They'll just steal anything not nailed down)
2012-12-16 01:31:53 PM
1 votes:

Silverstaff: jake_lex: Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.

Rats. Sinking ship.

US withdrawal in 2014.

People with money expect the Afghani government to fold not long after the Stars & Stripes are lowered, and a hardline Islamic regime to follow, Taliban II: Electric Boogaloo.

They are taking their money elsewhere.

Simple really.


I just woke up and this was obvious.
Toss in money laundering from the drug trade and tax evasion.
2012-12-16 01:30:04 PM
1 votes:

Silverstaff: jake_lex: Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.

Rats. Sinking ship.

US withdrawal in 2014.

People with money expect the Afghani government to fold not long after the Stars & Stripes are lowered, and a hardline Islamic regime to follow, Taliban II: Electric Boogaloo.

They are taking their money elsewhere.

Simple really.


The article asks where the gold comes from as well. Why do the Afghans have all this gold when they don't produce gold themselves?

I assume it's payment for the drugs they do have.
2012-12-16 01:27:45 PM
1 votes:
I'm surprised it took this long for those with money to GTFO.
2012-12-16 01:26:52 PM
1 votes:

Silverstaff: jake_lex: Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.

Rats. Sinking ship.

US withdrawal in 2014.

People with money expect the Afghani government to fold not long after the Stars & Stripes are lowered, and a hardline Islamic regime to follow, Taliban II: Electric Boogaloo.

They are taking their money elsewhere.

Simple really.


By transferring gold? Do they get paid in gold in Afghanistan, and have to ship it to Dubai, instead of just wiring the money electronically? Your point about the future of Afghanistan may be correct, but that doesn't translate into gold shipments at all.
2012-12-16 01:24:36 PM
1 votes:
Did anyone happen to see Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney in the area?
2012-12-16 01:24:00 PM
1 votes:

jake_lex: Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.


Rats. Sinking ship.

US withdrawal in 2014.

People with money expect the Afghani government to fold not long after the Stars & Stripes are lowered, and a hardline Islamic regime to follow, Taliban II: Electric Boogaloo.

They are taking their money elsewhere.

Simple really.
2012-12-16 01:23:04 PM
1 votes:
www.splotchy.com
/knows a thing or two about transporting gold
2012-12-16 01:07:37 PM
1 votes:
Hahahahahahahaha . . . hmm

/Don't get it.
2012-12-16 01:01:12 PM
1 votes:
For many reasons wars are waged,
In modern years and times of old;
For many reasons anger raged,
None so stupid as for wealth and gold.

-Author unknown
2012-12-16 12:57:04 PM
1 votes:
Yeah, I'm not following what's so dumb about that at all. I guess subby is trying to say that it's fairly obvious why you'd want to get gold out of Afghanistan, but if there are sudden, large, unexpected transfers of gold out of the country, it is worth asking why.
2012-12-16 12:37:31 PM
1 votes:
Huh?
 
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