Approximately one and a half years ago I came across the Thoughts! of ANOTHER. Up until that moment, I shared the "hard money socialist" views of many in the online precious metals community. I sincerely believed in the gold standard and even gave bimetallism consideration. However, if I may borrow from my friend Hedy Lamarr, since that moment my mind has been a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. Essentially, I've become bizarro Steve Jobs:
FOFOA has stated that the words of Another (and FOA) are "the kind of inside information that never made it into the history books and still resides at the level of former Oil Ministers and National Security Advisors." That's pretty high on the pecking order. Kind of makes you wonder who they were, no? Well, this post will not delve into the subject matter of ANOTHER's thoughts or FOA's gold trail for that matter. However, it will in fact take their words nearly at face value, and from that perspective, I'll present my attempt to decipher their secret identities based on anecdotal and historical evidence. So, lets dive right in.
There are two clues as to ANOTHER's identity which significantly narrow the field of candidates. First and most important, ANOTHER was English. FOA told us so in his antepenultimate post. He was heated and anger driven in response to ORO's incoherent babble, or as FOA put it, the "words of a fool."
FOA:"I will say this for the record: Another is English and not Islamic!" -- Link
FOA's emotions got the best of him at that moment, and betrayed the location of ANOTHER's batcave, which may have ultimately influenced their final disappearance. In that same exchange, FOA reveals additional clues about himself, but I'll work back to that. The second important clue, and most obvious, is ANOTHER's clear connection with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and his personal knowledge of the top secret Saudi oil for gold trade.
The BIS is the clearing house for the central banks of the world. They deal in currency and gold, and operate out of this building in Basel, Switzerland:
Image taken from BIS.org
According to Edward Jay Epstein's fascinating 1983 article in Harpers Magazine, the "unabashed purpose of [the BIS's] elite monthly meetings is to coordinate and, if possible, to control all the monetary activities in the industrialized world." They are run by a highly secretive group, mostly composed of European central bank governors. An example of BIS secrecy: "In 1944, following Czech accusations that the BIS was laundering gold that the Nazis had stolen from occupied Europe, the American government backed a resolution at the Bretton Woods Conference calling for the liquidation of the BIS. The naive idea was that the settlement and monetary clearing functions it provided could be taken over by the new International Monetary Fund." Sounds like America needed Michael Fassbender on the case instead of the IMF... Bottom line - this is where the Saudi trade was initiated.
Epstein describes the hierarchy of the BIS: "artfully concealed within the shell of an international bank, like a series of Chinese boxes one inside another, are the real groups and services the central bankers need - and pay to support." There is the board of directors, high level committees, and the ultimate "chinese box called the Group of Ten or simply the 'G-10'."
As of 1983, right around the time of the Saudi's secret deal, the G-10 was composed of eleven (go Alex Smith! We saw this coming when we drafted you #1!) members "representing the eight European central banks, the U.S. Fed, the Bank of Canada, and the Bank of Japan. It also has one unofficial member: the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority." Wow! Epstein got the goods for this article. What separated membership in the ultimate Chinese box?
"The prime value, which also seems to demarcate the inner club from the rest of the BIS members, is the firm belief that central banks should act independently of their home governments."
This is not an easy position to hold for an Englishman says Epstein, as the "Bank of England is under the thumb of the British government." But nevertheless, one Englishman was still admitted to this group. "Lord Richardson [BoE governor 1973-1983] was accepted by the inner club because of his personal adherence to this defining principle. But his successor, Robin Leigh-Pemberton, lacking the years of business and personal contact, probably won't be admitted to the inner circle."
So there you have it. There was one Englishman in the inner circle, and it was Lord Gordon Richardson, the former head of the Bank of England. Richardson's role at the BIS is confirmed on their website here. He served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors twice! From 1985-1988 and again from 1991-1993. I'm pretty sure number 2 is a member of the inner circle.
Of course this doesn't prove anything. But there is some additional evidence that leans in the direction of Lord Richardson being ANOTHER. Here is a link to a speech Lord Richardson gave to the house of Lords in 1987. A lengthy excerpt:
"In thinking about the solution I find that it is helpful if one can look at how the imbalances began. In my view they began in the divergent policies taken on the one hand by the United States and on the other hand by the other major industrial countries in the 1980s. The United States went for monetary contraction and massive fiscal expansion; the other industrial countries went for monetary restraint with a parallel fiscal restraint. I believe that the root of the imbalances lies in that divergence.
The growth of demand in the United States in the 1980s compared with its growth in the other developed countries has been dramatic. Demand grew at something like twice the rate in the United States through the 1980s compared with the other developed countries, and imports into the United States expanded almost two-and-a-half-times as fast as imports into other countries.
In those circumstances the budget deficit appeared, a trade gap yawned wide open and the United States, in order to supply the deficiency of its own domestic savings, sucked in savings from the rest of the world, where it is fair to say they were available partly by reason of the constrained fiscal policies being pursued in those other countries. But the scale of that sucking in of savings was enormous and the imbalances are there clear to see for everybody and they are unsustainable.
It is clear that the United States cannot go on calling on the rest of the world's savings at that rate to supplement its own deficiencies. It is clear too that a massive disequilibrium between the industrial countries cannot form the base for sustained growth and stability in the world. Beyond that, the disequilibrium between the economies has meant that we have had a switchback in the dollar, first rising to unsustainable levels and then subsequently having the possibility emerging of a downward correction of an excessive kind unless the appropriate policy measures are taken.
But the fact is that the United States has basic problems, and those basic problems are excessive consumption and inadequate domestic savings. They have been borrowing more than they save and they have been spending more than they produce. As a matter of analysis, that has to be corrected through an intermediate time-scale. The domestic savings gap, which has been running at something like 100 billion dollars in recent quarters, has to be closed in that time-scale.
Speaking again analytically that can only happen if for an extended period of time domestic consumption in the United States is below domestic production. In order to allow the trade flows to rebalance themselves room must be made for exports. On the other side complementary measures must be taken, and in the surplus countries domestic consumption has now got to exceed for a period of time domestic production. That is the only way in which the balance can be re-established."
That sounds familiar. Could be ANOTHER. But what else might there be? How about age? We know that ANOTHER was elderly, given the way he often spoke about the freegold transition taking place in "your lifetime" rather than his own. Lord Richardson passed away at the age of 94. That would place him at 81 when ANOTHER started posting in 1997. It is reasonable to assume that an 81 year old may not be as concerned with jeopardizing his positioning at the international table by posting top secret information on the internet. We know that Richardson was a veteran of WWII.
FOA: This person does not know me or my associates. Indeed, most of us let blood for this country in a war long gone...You are not part of the same country I served!
FOA is referring to America here, but it is fair to say the Allies bled for each other. Is he implying ANOTHER served as well? Could be. There is some other information that I have dug up which shows Richardson voicing concern over gold, but I think I've made a reasonable case. The key element that is missing is the FOA connection. Who is FOA and how did he become so close a confidant to ANOTHER? This is where my theory may split with others. I understand that many believe FOA to be American, but I think this could be misdirection.
FOA signed off in his penultimate post as "Sir Douglas, Your Trail Guide." I don't know many Americans that refer to themselves as Sir, but that's neither here nor there. What is here and there, is the man who served as Secretary to Her Majesty's Treasury from 1974-1983 and UK Alternate Executive Director at the IMF from 1976 onward. One Sir Douglas Wass, born 1923, veteran of WWII, Princeton graduate, and distinguished British civil servant.
Coincidence? Maybe. But I wonder if the secretary of the treasury and the head of the central bank had much interaction over their coinciding ten year terms? Sir Douglas can still be found participating in lectures at the British Academy. He is 88. In 2008 he published a book titled "Decline to Fall: The Making of British Macro-Economic Policy and the 1976 IMF Crisis." Excerpts are available here.
I have yet to research Sir Douglas Wass' work more thoroughly.
So are Lord Gordon Richardson and Sir Douglas Wass ANOTHER and FOA? You tell me.
Special thanks to Screwtape Files for lending me the soapbox