Fusion Investigates: How did America’s police departments lose loads of military-issued weapons?

 

Haunting images of local police officials using military-issued equipment to quell protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have raised new concerns about the Pentagon’s controversial program to equip local and state police departments with military surplus weaponry.

The program, now under White House review, has been plagued by messy bookkeeping, bureaucratic confusion and scores of missing weapons.

Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon’s “1033 program” for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.

More troubling yet is the possibility that some of the missing weapons, which were given to local police departments as part of a decades’ old government program to equip cops for the wars on terrorism and drugs, are actually being sold on the black market, Lynch said. Continue reading

Europe braced for any gas crisis as Russia sanctions escalate

The showdown with Russian president Vladimir Putin comes at moment of surging global supplies of LNG, which can be diverted to European markets and reduce the Kremlin’s political leverage. The price of LNG in Asia has crashed from $20 to $11 per British thermal unit since February.

The pan-EU group Gas Infrastructure Europe said the network of LNG terminals in Britain and the Continent is currently operating at just 20pc of its full capacity. It could in theory boost flows by 160bn cubic metres (BCM), if there is available gas.

This is more than Russia’s entire shipments, which reached 155 BCM last year. The European network of pipelines does not cover every region and would leave pockets in eastern Europe without supply.

“We have a lot of free capacity in LNG in Europe. It would be extremely difficult to replace Russian gas in a just a few months but it is possible to raise supply,” said one official. Continue reading

James Turk: Above Ground PHYSICAL Gold Stocks Likely a Lot Smaller Than Commonly Believed

GoldMoney has released an interview with Chairman James Turk about his study of the above-ground global gold stock, gold’s role as money, and the coming fiat currency collapse. They discuss the discrepancies between official gold stock figures and the study’s carefully calculated figures, going all the way back to Roman times and using the year 1492 as a pivotal calculation point — which was when the Spanish Empire began its imports of gold deposits discovered in the Americas. In contrast to the widely referenced number of 171,000 tonnes of above-ground gold, James’s study suggests that it is actually closer to 155,000 and therefore overstated by about 10%.

Video Source: James Turk: Above Ground PHYSICAL Gold Stocks Likely a Lot Smaller Than Commonly Believed (Silver Doctors)

US Households Are Not “Deleveraging” – They Are Simply Defaulting In Bulk

Lately there has been an amusing and very spurious, not to mention wrong, argument among both the “serious media” and the various tabloids, that US households have delevered to the tune of $1 trillion, primarily as a result of mortgage debt reductions (not to be confused with total consumer debt which month after month hits new record highs, primarily due to soaring student and GM auto loans). The implication here is that unlike in year past, US households are finally doing the responsible thing and are actively deleveraging of their own free will. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and to put baseless rumors of this nature to rest once and for all, below we have compiled a simple chart using the NY Fed’s own data, showing the total change in mortgage debt, and what portion of it is due to discharges (aka defaults) of 1st and 2nd lien debt. In a nutshell: based on NYFed calculations, there has been $800 billion in mortgage debt deleveraging since the end of 2007. This has been due to $1.2 trillion in discharges (the amount is greater than the total first lien mortgages, due to the increasing use of HELOCs and 2nd lien mortgages before the housing bubble popped). Continue reading