Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paul McCartney to Breakup-Obsessed Beatles Fans: Leave Yoko Alone!               

Paul McCartney to Breakup-Obsessed Beatles Fans: Leave Yoko Alone!

Yoko Ono didn't break up the Beatles? What?
Next, will they be trying to convince us that David St. Hubbins' girlfriend, Janine, didn't break up Spinal Tap?
Yet here is Paul McCartney, in conversation with David Frost, telling fans they need to leave Yoko alone. "She certainly didn't break the group up; the group was breaking up," he told Frost in a conversation set to air Nov. 9 on Al Jazeera's English channel. ""I don't think you can blame her for anything... When Yoko came along, part of her attraction was her avant-garde side, her view of things, so she showed him another way to be, which was very attractive to him. So it was time for John to leave; he was definitely going to leave..."
For a second there, it kind of sounded like McCartney was saying Ono broke up the band—but just by attracting Lennon to a different aesthetic model, not by sitting around on the floor during the Let It Be sessions.
Yoko, John, and PaulEither way, few Beatlemaniacs would dispute the general truth of what McCartney is saying: that it doesn't take an interfering wife or girlfriend to bust up a group when pretty much anyone who ever joined a rock band has a healthy ego that is a ticking time bomb all by itself.
If blame is going to be assigned, Macca would much rather pin it on a businessman, Allen Klein. "I was fighting against the other three guys who'd been my lifelong soul buddies. I said I wanted to fight Klein," McCartney tells Frost, even throwing a mock-jab at the late Klein with his fist.
He further takes the high road with Ono in the interview by saying that without her influence, he doubts Lennon could have written "Imagine," one of the highlights of his post-Beatles career.
Needless to say, this contention of McCartney's will have little effect on the eternally polarized views Beatlemaniacs have about Ono... nor will it do much to diminish the use of terms like "Yoko effect" and "Yoko syndrome" among young musicians who need a handy symbol for outside relationships affecting intra-band alliances.
On the Urban Dictionary website, you can see "Yoko syndrome" described as "scapegoating of the latest party to become involved with an object of popularity that is now in decline." More directly, "Yoko Onoing" is defined as "the action of one's significant other who tears apart the group of friends."
McCartney and Yoko (Getty Images)Of course the Fabs had proved perfectly fractious without outside influences. Ringo Starr was first to quit the band, during the White Album sessions, though he was quickly lured back from his impromptu vacation. George had his own walkout during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, which were tense enough even before disputes over Phil Spector's remix. It's often been noted with some irony that when McCartney announced the dissolution of the Beatles at the time his McCartney solo album came out in 1970, he was the only member of the group who'd never left at some point, prior to that.
Whatever McCartney says, it will be hard for many fans to erase the mental image of Ono setting up a mattress under the piano in the Beatles' recording studio—still No. 1 on the list of Rock Band Significant Other no-nos, just ahead of No. 2, which involves letting Janine St. Hubbins manage the band.
Ultimately, fans may care less about McCartney urging them to call the dogs off Ono after 42 years than about another statement in the Frost interview, which may count as burying the lead:
"I'd like to retire soon, and the way things are going I might be able to."
Who can fans blame for that? Maybe Heather Mills—for not soaking Paul for even more in the divorce, thereby allowing him to continue living comfortably enough that he won't be forced to entertain us till his dying day. Better enjoy those three-hour live shows while you can, Macca-holics.

THE MURDER OF JOHN F. KENNEDY, Jr               
AN UPDATE by Sherman H. Skolnick

What Happened To America's Golden Boy. WHO BENEFITS? That is a question that should be asked following a political assassination, or even when foul play is suspected. The monopoly press, from the time of Abraham Lincoln to date, never asks THAT QUESTION. Common Americans are to be fed from a bottomless garbage can of "lone assassin", or "accident" rubbish.
John F. Kennedy, Jr., most would have to admit, was charming and articulate, and had none of the ghosts and scandals in his closet that others of his relatives seem to have had or have. If he ran for important public office, he most likely would sweep the field if not just giving every other candidate a hard time.
There are two reasons for his death, one being the main one and then, for some, an alternative. Main reason:
His family knew he planned, on August 1, 1999, to announce, that like his father, he was going to run for President. His relatives, however, warned him that the U.S. Secret Service would not and could not protect him and they did not protect his father. The head of what is now called the U.S. Secret Service, Lafayette C. Baker, was part of the plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln. ["The Lincoln Conspiracy" by Balsiger, was also a movie in the 1970s.]
The presidential guards likewise permitted an assassin to murder President James Garfield and President William McKinley. Both were anti-British, pro-American at a time when Great Britain persisted in their schemes to take back this Continent as their puppet colony [an ongoing plot from the time of the War of 1812 to now.] Further, the Secret Service allowed a plot to go forward to disable or murder in 1981 newly-elected President Ronald Reagan. A so-called "lone assassin", Hinckley, part of a family close to oil-soaked family of George Herbert Walker Bush, then Vice President, was blamed. A trial that might have brought out inconvenient facts was cut short by a purported insanity plea by the would-be "lone assassin". Two TV network reporters stated live that there were shots from another gunman, a matter never repeated on the air but never rescinded.
John F. Kennedy, Jr., made one grave mistake. He trusted the presidential campaign officials of Albert Gore, Jr. to know that JFK Jr. planned to announce on August 1, 1999, that he was going to run for President. That would have interfered with the plans of Gore as well as George W. Bush, the Texas Governor. The Gore campaign reportedly promised total secrecy, a pledge they never kept. The Elder Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, was reportedly part of the scheme to assassinate President Kennedy. According to the book not allowed for many years to be openly sold in the U.S., "Farewell America", the oil industry wanted President Kennedy dead, dead, dead. JFK wanted the oil cartel's tax dodge, the oil depletion allowance, to be cancelled. [The book was written under the pen-name "James Hepburn" by the French CIA that infiltrated the plot. In the 1970s, I and another assassination researcher were the only ones to get copies into the U.S. Alas, I have only one copy left now.] What's that? So you did not know or believe books are suppressed in the U.S.? Too bad for you.
The latest front for the oil fraud, George W. Bush, likewise would most naturally have an interest in the demise of JFK, Jr. George W. just before the fatal plane take-off, somehow was near the New Jersey airport where JFK Jr. kept his plane without proper security. A coincidence?
After all, JFK Jr. was a captivating speaker and would have most likely swept the field of Presidential candidates. Conservatives and liberals, both could join together to support America's Golden Boy.
According to our best, long-time reliable sources, Jr.'s sister, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg likewise warned her brother that running for President would be a death warrant. Nevertheless, she reportedly said she would support his plans. After his death, reportedly feuding with the Kennedy family, she did not go to the family get together. Her family reportedly threatens to silence her with a "Marilyn Monroe" needle, by a psychiatrist to change her views. [Remember, Marilyn Monroe was planning to go public at a press conference with details of her sex episodes with President Kennedy and brother Bobby, Attorney General. A psychiatrist reportedly gave her the "needle".]
To understand why and how the Kennedy family financially benefits by not fighting or exposing the cabal murdering their family members, visit our website, the four part series, What Happened to America's Golden Boy. Have you forgotten the attempt in 1964 to murder Teddy Kennedy by a sabotaged plane crash? Or the frame up in 1969 at Chappaquiddick?
An alternative reason, which some accept, is that JFK Jr. was going to run, not for President but for U.S. Senator from New York. Thus interfering with the plans of what we call The Dragon Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.[Visit our website.] Visit, as well, various websites of the Clinton Body Count. Upwards of a hundred eyewitnesses have been "suicided", "accidented", or plain murdered, who knew too much about the criminality of the CIA couple known as Bill and Hillary. So, as an alternative, if Jr. were planning to run for U.S. Senator from New York, who benefits from his demise? Hillary. So you think that she did not know or suspect early on that her original opponent, Rudy Guiliani, was going to remove himself from the Senate race, because of cancer treatment, or marital scandal? Hillary reportedly knew that when Guiliani was Chief Federal Prosecutor in New York, he reportedly covered up plenty in the worldwide cases called the "Pizza Connection". The Rodham family reportedly are tied to Gambino crime family in Pennsylvania. Visit our website: "The Government-Criminal Connection". Hillary's original opponent, Rudy, was plenty blackmailable.
The FBI covered up the bombing of JFK Jr.'s plane. We obtained the details of the secret FBI report which was not to have been disclosed for 30 years. {Naive people heckle me claiming they cannot "find" it on the FBI's website. See: Golden Boy on our website, Part 4.] Within 48 hours of the time the FBI knew we had their secret report, they mysteriously announced, without explanation, that henceforth all public visitors would be cancelled to the Bureau's headquarters in Washington, D.C. They claimed unspecified "terrorists" were threatening them. By the way, Hillary put me and my TV show assistant, Joseph Andreuccetti, on an "enemies list" falsely labeling us as "domestic terrorists". A crooked, blackmailable federal judge in Chicago dismissed our case without legal formality against Hillary and others.
The National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, released a report claiming the JFK Jr. plane crash was due to "pilot error". Over the years, the federal crash investigators have covered up several sabotaged plane crashes. For details on the long-time lies and frauds of the NTSB, visit our website story "Air Crashes, Black Boxes, and Unsafety Boards".
John F. Kennedy, Jr. was murdered before he could get to his planned announcement of August 1, 1999. If he lived and ran for President, he would have been 40 years old just after the 2000 Presidential election. Slightly younger than his father when he ran for President. Has the murdering of the Kennedy would-be dynasty ended with the rub-out of Jr.? We intend to post more updates on What Happened to America's Golden Boy. Stay tuned. .

Part One
By Sherman H. Skolnick
Moderator/producer Chicago public access Cable TV Program "Broadsides", on since 1991, chairman/founder, Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts since 1963.

On his third birthday, he stood and saluted. Do three year olds understand great turning points in history? He stood there as the flag-draped coffin of his father was slowly drawn past. His only son watching the funeral of John F. Kennedy, assassinated 35th president of the United States. He knew as he grew up that it was his mother's wish that for their safety, no statements be made by them contradicting the big lie of the government, that a "lone assassin" blew out the brains of his father, right in front of numerous witnesses. Thereafter, dozens, if not hundreds of material witnesses were themselves murdered, such as the CIA patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald's murderer, Jack Ruby, and a long list.
John F. Kennedy,Jr. knew that dark forces opposed the terrible truth. His father was ouraged on going along with a disaster shortly after taking office. The Bay of Pigs fiasco, April,1961. President Kennedy fired Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles who reportedly muttered under his breath to JFK, "Traitor". Was there justification for political murder and if so, when,if ever, will the high-level forces go "public"? The President vowed to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the wind.
Too many assassination researchers are busy writing and selling books with conspiracy theories, and videos of the same, or setting up paid lectures and seminars, to go beyond describing what took place in Dealey Plaza. As a non-commercial assassination researcher, when I come to some political assassination seminars I am appalled how I am treated by supposed friends and acquaintances. They hoot and heckle me when I try to ask a question beyond which way the bullets went in Dealey Plaza.
When I discuss the rationale of the ultra-rich for this bloody deed:
1. Such as John F. Kennedy and his friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were closet communists, at least the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and various Directors of CIA believed that.
2. Although Kennedy once explained he was only nominally a Catholic, there were the controllers of America, if not the world, who believed the U.S. should not have a Catholic President. That has been the prevailing view from the downfall of Al Smith as presidential candidate in the 1920s to this very day. And the same forces opposed Jews on the U.S. Supreme Court and the two that did somehow get on the high court after World War Two who were removed. Justice Abe Fortas was removed by a trumped up scandal. Justice Arthur Goldberg was arm-twisted into resigning from the high court and serving instead on the United Nations. They were perceived as making too "liberal" decisions for the common man.
3. Those who call the shots, who govern us NOT by the consent of the governed, were and are afraid of the Vatican connection. Such thinking was involved in blaming certain factions centuries ago for the Gunpowder Plot in England and the period of great bloodshed with Oliver Cromwell.
4. The strongest justification for blowing out Kennedy's brains in an open car was that his his charm and language, he was causing a bad psychological view to sweep the great unwashed of America: that the era of the common man has arrived, a dangerous and seditious idea to those who rule by deceit and trickery while promising ordinary people a so-called "Bill of Rights". Some loudmouths proclaim a new "Bill of Rights" is needed to smash the "Bill of Wrongs". In federal courts, long-dominated from the early years of this nation by multi-millionaire banker-judges, the U.S. Constitution too often is a mirage and a dead letter. Americans of European lineage say, it is dangerous to bother the people from the high windows.
5. And there are and were some with Jewish surnames, not necessarily followers of Judaism, who believed and still believe. that no Kennedy should occupy the White House. They have put a "blood libel" on the entire Kennedy family: that "Founding Father" Joseph P.Kennedy was pro-Hitler as U.S. Ambassador to London up to 1940,and was viciously anti-Jewish. Using his London office, Ambassador Kennedy brokered a deal between Nazi chemical monopoly I.G. Farben and Rockefeller's Standard Oil of New Jersey. To share the profits of business and this deal was made actually THREE WEEKS AFTER THE ONSET OF WORLD WAR TWO in September, 1939. This unholy arrangement, which went on while ordinary people of U.S. and Germany killed each other, shared the profits by two supposed enemy corporate entities all during the conflict, done by fraudulently backdating the deal with Kennedy's help to several weeks BEFORE the Nazis attacked Poland. (See: "The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben" by Joseph Borkin.)
AND: some pointed to the fact that the Kennedy fortune was built, in part, with mobster aid, by Joe Kennedy supplying smuggled in booze into the U.S. all during Prohibition, done by Joe Kennedy on behalf of British royalty who wanted the profits from their Scottish brands of spirits. This was done through a little known French island in the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway. During the war, as shown by little mentioned court records, U.S. ships returning from war-time England after delivering weapons, brought back booze on behalf of Joseph P. Kennedy's liquor distribution network, Somerset Importers Ltd. At the time of the murder of President Kennedy, the Kennedy family booze distribution, Somerset, fell into other hands. Yet, the Kennedy's continued to profit from five out of every eight booze label goods distributed in the U.S. This was admitted to me, on tape, by a Somerset managerial official.
A thinly-disguised, so-called "fictional" movie of such happenings of an Irish patriarch with gangster and espionage links in conflict with his son the President, somehow causes the President to be murdered. The movie "Winter Kills" was suppressed from distribution in the U.S. by the Kennedys, according to a tape interview I did with a major movie producer who produced that film.
6. Further, some with quite an impressive list of apparently documented facts,want to blame JFK's murder on Israel. They point to the fact that Kennedy, as U.S. Senator in 1957, made statements opposing the aspirations of the then new State of Israel. And further, that Chicago gangsters, supposedly Jewish, aided the American CIA, in the Dallas murder. ["Final Judgment" by Michael Collins Piper.]
John F. Kennedy, Jr. grew up, well-educated, having some knowledge of this factual backdrop. He was aware that his uncle Edward Kennedy was nearly assassinated in the summer of 1964, in being one of the few survivors of a sabotaged plane crash. Teddy as a result wears a back brace. John-John as he is called is aware that his uncle Robert F. Kennedy opposed the CIA. In fact, in March, 1967, Bobby touched off a tremendous scandal wherein there were identified numerous foundations, set up by prominent families, as conduits and pass-through of CIA clandestine funds for covert projects. {Thereafter, I and my associates started an on-going, intensive project to find out how it worked and continues to work up to this date.]
John-John was aware, that although publicly agreeing with the "lone assassin" finding of the Warren Commission, uncle Bobby Kennedy secretly vowed, if elected President, he would bring to justice the high-level perpetrators of the Dallas murder. Bobby was himself assassinated in June, 1968, just after winning the important California presidential primary. Supposedly by a "lone assassin".
Like his father and two uncles, John F. Kennedy, Jr., intended to run for president. NOT WAY INTO THE FUTURE BUT IN THE 2000 election! It was supposed to be a deep, deep secret until about August 1, 1999. Like the tragedy with his uncle Bobby, John-John secretly vowed, if elected President, to bring the cabal that murdered his father to the gallows and a national firing squad, a punishment upon guilty verdict to be provided by a special tribunal set up for the purpose.
George Herbert Walker Bush heard about it through his cronies at CIA and vowed to stop John-John. By the way, a little known FBI document shows the elder Bush played some role in the cover up of the murder of JFK. Old man Bush's son, George W.-----could he win in 2000 against a non-scandal scarred John F. Kennedy, Jr.? On the other hand, the campaign camp of Presidential Candidate Albert Gore, Jr. is baffled. Would this tend to flatten out Gore's plans? The very few Democrats trusted to know, or somehow who knew, believed America's Golden Boy, would dispose of all opposition and take the Democrat Party to victory in 2000 and traditional Democrat Party values. After all, some consider CLinton a closet Republican by how he has damaged the Democrat Party.
The Vatican gave its blessings to John-John but promised to stay out of the picture so as not to trigger the traditional bigots in the U.S. John F. Kennedy, Jr., however, was toying with the idea of running as an independent, third party candidate, to deal with the anguish of many Americans unhappy with both political parties.
John-John was worried that the U.S. Secret Service could not and would not protect him. He rightfully believed that what is now called the U.S. Secret Service was complicit in the murder of President Abraham Lincoln. (See: "The Lincoln Conspiracy" by Balsiger.] They were complicit in the murders of President Garfield and McKinley as well as the murder of his father. For the good of the nation, he told his closest confidants, he would risk it. Like his father, he was ready to use his charm and language to give the idea that the era of the common man has arrived.
All this was snuffed out by the apparently ritual murder of John F. Kennedy, Jr., typical of the espionage assassins who do their bloody trick on anniversaries:
July 16, 1999: Anniversary of apparent missile shoot-down of TWO Flight 800, covered up by Bill Clinton in 1996 so as not to interfere with the Presidential election, this with the complicity of the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board. Two days later is the anniversary of the frame-up of Teddy Kennedy, 1969, regarding Chappaquidick. John Jr.'s uncle Teddy was somehow trapped into getting blamed for the death of a "boiler room" women, Mary Jo Kopecne, one of a group of women keeping records on colored cards, at the 1960 Democratic Convention. Robert Kennedy in charge of the "boiler room" developed a system to indicate what convention delegates could be bought with sex or money and such, so as to make brother John the convention winner for sure. This date in 1989 was when the Vatican's giant soybean operation in the U.S. was destroyed by Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill with the aid of directors of the Chicago Board of Trade who bribed five Chicago federal judges to torpedo the aspirations of Ferruzzi, the Vatican's American company. {The confession of bribery by a Board of Trade director made to me and a witness is part of the undisputed federal court record.] More about this in Part Two. The ritual murder of John F. Kennedy, Jr. near the anniversary date of the Ferruzzi debacle, sends a message to would-be justice seekers. But the Vatican has not forgotten or forgiven what was done to their company by the unholy dealings.
And about this date in 1978, John D. Rockefeller 3rd was assassinated near the Rockefeller compound in upstate New York. I was the only reporter to make inquiry of possible foul play. AND about this date in 1996, Amschel Rothschild, about to be designated as the new head of the family worldwide fortune and empire, was assassinated in Paris and written off as a suicide but the Paris police say it was not suicide.
[I and my associates have developed expertise in airplane sabotage inquiries, sharing details with experts worldwide. My book in 1973, "The Secret History of Airplane Sabotage", was greatly opposed by the airline industry that caused the book to be stopped in the printing cycle. No copies of the book are now available.]

German Court Demands Bundesbank Audit Sovereign Gold Holdings

German Court Demands Bundesbank Audit Sovereign Gold Holdings

Tyler Durden's picture

The German court of auditors (Bundesrechnungshof) has demanded that the Bundesbank undertake an audit of its gold reserves.  In an 'audit-the-fed' style effort, the court wants to ensure that the nearly 3400 tons of gold is in fact in existence - 'because stocks have never been checked for authenticity and weight'. Furthermore, the Bundesbank's gold is stored in three other vaults around the world: The Bank of England, The Bank of France, and the US Federal Reserve. The court questions the practice of relying on a written confirmation from the custodians (foreign central banks). The decision means negotiating with the three foreign central banks for physical verification but in anticipation, the Bundesbank has begun the process of shipping 50 tons per year from the Fed back to Germany for the next three years.

Germany's apparent (unchecked and unverified) gold holdings are second only to the USA's (just as unaudited levels)...

Via Spiegel:
Germany has the second largest gold reserves in the world, nearly 3400 tons. Supposedly, anyway. Because stocks have never been checked for authenticity and weight. Now, the Federal Court has asked the Bundesbank to examine the gold reserves abroad regularly.

The German central bank gold is safely stored in vaults in Frankfurt, New York, Paris and London. Checked really but apparently no one. The Federal Court has the Bundesbank now anyway required regular inspection and inventory of the vast gold reserves abroad. The auditors explain this in a report on Monday has become known to the budget committee of the Bundestag with the "high value of gold holdings."

The samples stored at other German banks stocks were also never by the Bundesbank itself or by other independent auditors "added physically and for authenticity and weight" checked. Actually talk on the subject numerous theories - so should the U.S. gold reserves at Fort Knox have long been looted.

The Bundesbank has on the USA's second largest gold reserves in the world. End of 2011 there were 3396 tons, worth 133 billion euros. After the soaring price of gold is likely to reach about 142 billion euros currently even. Secures the gold bars by the Bundesbank in own vaults in Frankfurt as well as at three bearing points abroad: The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in New York, Bank of France in Paris and the Bank of England in London.

Bundesbank gets tons of gold from New York

The Court had determined the order of the Bundestag that the Federal Bank reviews its overseas gold reserves stored exactly. It is disputed whether the Bundesbank experienced for years practice sufficient to rely only on a written confirmation to the gold bars by the foreign central banks.

The Court recommends that the Bundesbank to negotiate with the three foreign central banks the right to physical verification of stocks. With the implementation of this recommendation, the Bundesbank has begun according to the report. They also decided to bring in the next three years to 50 tons each of the past at the Fed in New York gold to Germany to get it here to undergo a thorough examination. In the report, several points are blackened. In effect, the paper is not clear exactly how much gold is in which foreign central bank.

The information held in the Federal Bank headquarters holdings consist of 82,857 according to the report bullion stored mostly in sealed containers with 50 bars, which are kept in four separate locked safe boxes. Part of it (6183 bar) stored on open shelves, therefore in a separate vault - the so-called gold chamber. To secure the gold it says in the report: "The vault closure is double, the inner seals and the gold chamber under a triple lock."



There’s one more thing I forgot to mention about Germany and its demands for the Bundesbank to do an audit of its gold, and its’ one of those things that makes one inhale strongly.
In the previous series of blogs about this topic, I presented two basic options by which one could interpret the growing demands in Germany, not only by the German people, but by the institutions and agencies of the German government, to demand that its central bank, the Bundesbank audit its gold, namely,
1) that the rift was between the Bundesbank on the one hand, which remained firmly within the financial orbit and power structure of the Anglo-American financial oligarchy in London and New York, and on the other hand, the institutions of the German government, which were buckling to increasing domestic pressure from Germans justifiably concerned about the west’s financial system and the growing dictates from Brussels that Germans should bail out Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. On this view, no such audit or repatriation will ever take place, and we can all breathe easily as the New World Order plans of the New York Wall Street globalists marches smoothly onward; or,
2) that the rift between the German government and the Bundesbank was only apparent, and a bit of theater, and in actuality the Bundesbank may indeed be bolting to a certain degree from the stable.
Well, if you find the second possibility unlikely, even in view of the possibilities outlined in previous blogs, then consider this interesting article from Zero Hedge:
Why Did The Bundesbank Secretly Withdraw Two-Thirds Of Its London Gold?
Well, remember those secret gold swaps that were strongly hinted at by Herr Lars Schall? This, I suspect, is what we’re looking at here, and as the above article suggests: a “making good” on the gold supposedly in the vaults of the New York Federal Reserve via the Bank of England. It is a move calculated, perhaps, to satisfy the Germans and the German government…
…which it won’t. But the real trick here is the implicit assumption that has been undergirding virtually every article – from Max Keiser to Zero hedge – that has been covering the German gold audit story, and appreciating it for the truly huge story that it is: a major defection within the post-war financial structure of the West, or, as I would prefer to see it, as yet more evidence of the factional infighting among its key components.  This implicit assumption is that there is not enough gold even to cover the growing German demands for repatriation… indeed, there probably isn’t enough gold to cover all the re-re-re-rehypothecation…
…but there probably is a lot more gold than is stated to officially exist... and if that ever becomes generally known, then the geopolitical game changes yet again, and there are, as yet, not enough people in the general population that know that part of the story, though it is well known to certain elites of the UK, USA, China, Japan, and…of course….Germany…
On that view, an old secret detente has broken down, and some old markers are being called in…

- Giza Death Star Community

Why Did The Bundesbank Secretly Withdraw Two-Thirds Of Its London Gold?              

Why Did The Bundesbank Secretly Withdraw Two-Thirds Of Its London Gold?

Tyler Durden's picture

Two days ago we reported that the German Court of Auditors demanded that the German Central Bank, the Bundesbank, verify and audit its official gold holdings consisting of 3,396 tons, held mostly offshore, namely New York, London and Paris, at least according to official documents. It also called for repatriation of 150 tons in the next three years to perform a quality inspection of the tungsten gold. Today, in a surprising development, via the Telegraph we learn that none other than the same Bundesbank which is causing endless nightmares for all the other broke European nations due to its insistence for sound money, decided to voluntarily pull two thirds of its gold holdings held by the Bank of England. According to a confidential report referenced by the Telegraph, Buba reclaimed 940 tons, reducing its BOE holdings from 1,440 in 2000 to 500 in 2001 allegedly "because storage costs were too high." This is about as idiotic an excuse as the Fed cancelling its reporting of M3 in 2006 because "the costs of collecting the underlying data outweigh the benefits." So why did Buba repatriate its gold? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has an idea.
The shift came as the euro was at its weakest, slumping to $0.84 against the dollar. But it also came as the Bank of England was selling off most of Britain's gold reserves – at market lows – on orders from Gordon Brown.

Peter Hambro, chair of the UK-listed gold miner Petropavlovsk, said the Bundesbank may have withdrawn its bullion in self-protection since it did not, apparently, have its own specifically allocated bars in London. "They may have decided that the Bank of England had lent out too much gold, and decided it was safer to bring theirs home. This is about the identification. Can you identify your own allocated gold, or are you just a general creditor with a metal account?"

The watchdog report follows claims by the German civic campaign group "Bring Back our Gold" and its US allies in the Gold Anti-Trust Committee that official data cannot be trusted. They allege central banks have loaned out or "sold short" much of their gold.

The refrain has been picked up by German legislators. "All the gold must come home: it is precisely in this crisis that we need certainty over our gold reserves," said Heinz-Peter Haustein from the Free Democrats (FDP).
Speculation aside, the fact that central banks, and even banks of central banks (i.e., the BIS), have long lent out gold, is no secret to anyone, traditionally to satisfy short-term physical gold confirmation claims upon a spike in demand, usually associated with a liquidity shortage (when the value of gold as monetary collateral truly shines). The problem with this rehypothecation scheme is what happens when the counterparty suddenly finds themselves insolvent, the gold has since been re-re-rehypothecated, and nobody really knows whose gold it is any more. This becomes a drastic problem when a counterparty in a collateral chain suddenly goes broke... like MF Global did last year, and the lawsuits started flying trying to determine whose gold is where. Needless to say, it was the London office of MF Global that was at fault for breaching a rehypothecation chain (because only in London was there no collateral haircut limit on rehypotehcation), and once physical delivery demands arose, nobody could locate bar XYZ with a given serial number.
That, or the Bundesbank merely foresaw the ultimate unwind of the failed European mercantilist experiment at the start, and refused to leave its most precious asset in the hands of the banker oligarchy which it knew would do everything in its power to procure said gold once the feces hit the fan. Sure enough, BUBA's 'non-denial' denial confirms this too:
The Bundesbank said it had full trust in the "integrity and independence" of its custodians, and is given detailed accounts each year. Yet it hinted at further steps to secure its reserves. "This could also involve relocating part of the holdings," it said.
Yet what is left unsaid in all of the above is that Germany has done nothing wrong! It simply demanded a reclamation of what is rightfully Germany's to demand.
And here is the crux of the issue: in a globalized system, in which every sovereign is increasingly subjugated to the credit-creating power of the globalized "whole", one must leave all thoughts of sovereign independence at the door and embrace the "new world order." After all this is the only way that the globalized system can create the shadow cloud of infinite repoable liabilities, in which we currently all float light as a binary feather, which permits instantaeous capital flows and monetary fungibility, and which guarantees that there will be no sovereign bond issue failure as long as nobody dares to defect from the system in which all collateral is cross pledge and ultra-rehypothecated... for the greater good. Until the Buba secretly defected that is.
And this is the whole story. Because by doing what it has every right to do, the German Central Bank implicitly broke the cardinal rule of true modern monetary system (never to be confused with that socialist acronym fad MMT, MMR or some such comparable mumbo-jumbo). And the rule is that a sovereign can never put its own people above the global corporatist-cum-banking oligarchy, which needs to have access to all hard (and otherwise) assets at any given moment, on a moment's notice, as the system's explicit leverage at last check inclusive of the nearly $1 quadrillion in derivatives, is about 20 times greater than global GDP. This also happens to be the reason why the entire world is always at most a few keystrokes away from a complete monetary (and trade) paralysis, as the Lehman aftermath and the Reserve Fund breaking the buck so aptly showed.
We are confident that little if anything will be made of the Buba's action, because dwelling on it too much may expose just who the first country will be (or  already has been) when the tide finally breaks, and when it will be every sovereign for themselves. Because at that point, which will come eventually, not only Buba, but every other bank, corporation, and individual will scramble to recover their own gold located in some vault in London, New York, or Paris, or at your friendly bank vault down the street, and instead will merely find a recently emptied storage room with humorously written I.O.U. letters in the place of 1 kilo gold bricks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Navigating The Deep, Dark Web

Navigating The Deep, Dark Web

from the dig-in dept  

We recently ran an excerpt from Cole Stryker's new book, Hacking the Future about the importance of anonymity. Here's the second excerpt from this book, our latest book club selection. This time it's about navigating parts of the web that not everyone knows about... We'll be hosting a chat with Stryker in the near future, to be announced soon.

I first heard whispers of the deep Web on 4chan. It was often positioned by active users as a place where even the most hardened /b/tard (a nickname for heavy users who hang out on 4chan's "random" board a lot) can find things to shock the system. The deep Web is depicted there as the submerged portion of an iceberg. The Web that we know is the tip, and the massive portion underwater is the deep Web.

"I've just come back from the deep Web," they say, "and look what I found." They share ghastly images and stories, perpetuating the legend of this vast underbelly among underbellies. In these conversations I was led to believe that the deep Web—also called the invisible Web, the darknet, undernet, and several other sinister-sounding names—was home to the sort of content that would get you thrown in jail if it were ever traced back to you. This is true, to an extent, but technically the deep Web comprises anything that isn't crawlable by major search engines like Google. This can mean dynamic URLs that have a long string of parameters that might confuse spiders (the software that "crawls" Web sites to index them for search). Any content that's behind a pay wall or other password authentication is technically included in the deep Web. This would include your e-mail or a pay-to-view newspaper Web site. Any content that lies behind a form, like a survey or poll, often can't be crawled. Some sites purposefully exclude spiders using robots.txt, a file that tells spiders to steer clear of certain Web pages for various legitimate, legal reasons. Pages that are made up of flash content obviously can't be crawled because there's no raw text on the page. So to say that the deep Web is the seedy back alley of the Internet is not entirely accurate.

However, there are parts of the deep Web, accessible only with the use of certain anonymizing software, where baddies sometimes hang out. The deep Web is rife with readily available child pornography, terrorist rhetoric, drug and sex trade—all manner of taboo and hateful communication.

One such piece of anonymizing software is called the Onion Router, or Tor, briefly mentioned earlier. Tor reroutes communications coming from your computer around the world across a distributed network of volunteer-run nodes that make up the Tor Network. Tor passes users' traffic through three servers before sending it along to its destination. The network was originally sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research to help military agents abroad bypass firewalls and other "censorware" in countries like China. For this reason, some speculate that the service is routinely monitored by the U.S. government and cannot be trusted.

Technically, Tor is not an anonymizing service so much as an obfuscating one. Tor alone can't keep anyone anonymous; it's merely one item in the smart anon's tool belt. Tor works to anonymize your Internet connection, but can also be applied to specific programs. The most popular program used in tandem with Tor is the Internet browser. The Tor team has built a Firefox extension that applies several "onion-like" layers of obfuscation to data communicated through Firefox. Because Tor routes your traffic around the world, it's not very fast. The more people volunteer to contribute their machines as nodes, the faster Tor will get.

I thought I'd check it out for myself. I downloaded the Tor software, ran the executable file, and installed the software. When I ran the program, within seconds a browser window opened saying, "Congratulations. Your browser is configured to use Tor. Please refer to the Tor Web site for further information about using Tor safely. You are now free to browse the Internet anonymously." I typed in a URL I found on 4chan for an underground deep Web portal called Hidden Wiki, waited about thirty seconds (an eternity in the era of Wideband and FIOS), and a blank page popped up, reading "Looking for Hidden Wiki?" The last two words were blue, indicating a hyperlink, so I clicked it, and up popped a page that looked just like Wikipedia. A sidebar listed the categories that are available to browse: blogs, books, political advocacy, but also drugs and underage erotica. I clicked on a link called "Killer for Hire."

This can't possibly be for real, can it?
You can call me Slate. All you need to know is that I am well trained and can perform what you need done. I do not need to know your situation with the hit and prefer not to. I’m hired when you want to make sure that the hit doesn’t get traced back to you.
  • Minimum age for hit is 18.
  • I do not care of the gender of the hit.
  • I do not kill pregnant women.
  • I do not torture the target.
  • If hit is a political figure, or is in law enforcement (judges, policemen) there will be an additional fee.
  • For an additional fee, I can set it up as a “suicide” or an “accident”
  • Hit will take place within 4 weeks.
  • Hits outside of the continental US will require an additional 2 weeks of logistics and $5000 in travel fees.
  • Once the hit has been made I will message you with a picture or a video and the remaining balance must be paid in full.
A second hit-man site sounds like a Hollywood Russian mafioso wrote it. "It is mutual interest to make everything anonymously," he warns, insisting, "it is not a joke." He gives careful instructions on how to pay through Bitcoins (more on this soon) and reiterates the need for total anonymity on both sides of the transaction. "I don't know you and you don't know me." If these sites are jokes, they are convincingly conceived. Moving on from the hit men, there are firearm salesmen, hackers for hire ("destroy your enemies!"), an extensive list of Bitcoin traders, illegal gambling sites, white supremacist blogs, whistle-blowing blogs, new world order conspiracy chat rooms, transnational activists, Anonymous operation forums, hacker/phreaker communities, and porn. Oh, the porn. Genital mutilation, necrophilia, zoophilia, watersports, etc. Anything you can imagine is at your fingertips. Which brings us to child pornography. I don't have the guts or inclination to click through to any of these sites, but they're there. And according to people hanging out on 4chan, the stuff available from the Hidden Wiki is only a shallow fraction of what's out there were one prone to dig deeper.

Perhaps the most notorious site available through Tor is the Silk Road, a black market where users can find 340 different illegal drugs: weed, cocaine, heroin—a digital bazaar of pills, tabs, and powders. If I wanted, I could easily order up a smorgasbord of illicit substances and have it delivered within a few days. You have to pay a Bitcoin just to browse the site—its inaccessibility keeps out most looky-loos. The site doesn't have everything, of course. You won't find any chemicals that are easily weaponized. Sellers promote their wares through a reputation system that isn't much different from the one popularized by eBay. The site only accepts Bitcoins, which, along with mandatory Tor usage, help to ensure the anonymity of buyers and sellers. The Silk Road is one of many hubs for black-market drug trade on the deep Web. It's difficult to tell if the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) is going to crack down on this sort of thing, or if we're peering into the future. Anonymizing applications and efforts to pierce such software seem to be progressing apace.

Freenet is another piece of software used to mask identity online. It's been downloaded over 2 million times. Freenet's creator, Ian Clarke, is concerned about the freedom to communicate. He grew up in the south of Ireland in the ‘80s in a family of Protestants, whom he says are fastidious about staying out of Irish politics. From a young age he was interested in understanding people who held different views.
I remember reading [Sinn Féin' leader] Gerry Adams's autobiography at a time when most people considered him a terrorist. I can remember that if he was interviewed on TV they had to use an actor to do a voiceover, because it was illegal to broadcast his actual voice. It wasn't that I agreed with Gerry Adams' beliefs or actions, but I did feel that it was far more productive to understand where people are coming from, to try to step into their shoes, rather than simply demonizing them, which was official government policy at that time. It left me with a strong sense of the futility of censorship, and the value of free communication.
My experience with Freenet's "Linkageddon," one of several directories, is similar to that of Tor's Hidden Wiki. Some of it is innocuous (Bob Chapman's Financial Analysis), some of it funny (Anti–Harry Potter fundamentalists), and some of it horrific (ubiquitous underage porn). Everything looks like an old Geocities page.

Clarke describes Freenet like a decentralized postal system, where people carry each other's mail. For instance, you need to get a letter to your friend Bob in Boston, and your friend Diane is going to Boston for a business trip. You give Diane your letter and have her hand off the letter to James, who happens to live in Bob's neighborhood. The system is decentralized and doesn't rely on any one person more than the others. If Bob can't deliver your letter, you might ask Cheryl, who will be passing through Boston as well. The advantages to this system are such that James doesn't have to know who's sending the letter, and there's no central postal hub that can restrict the delivery of mail through censorship or incapacity. According to research by Freedom House, Freenet is one of the most popular anonymity systems used in China. This was no accident. Clarke says that he intended for the software to be used by activists.

Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.

Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.

October 30, 2012 3:53 PM EDT
Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.
Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.
Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.
STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.
An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. Details for the call are listed in the release.
BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.
The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.
The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.
Note: Additional information and comments from Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Jay Rasulo, senior executive vice president and CFO, The Walt Disney Company, regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, are attached.
Investor Conference Call:
An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. To listen to the Webcast, turn your browser to or dial in domestically at (888) 771-4371 or internationally at (847) 585-4405. For both dial-in numbers, the participant pass code is 33674546.
The discussion will be available via replay on the Disney Investor Relations website through November 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM EST/2:00 PM PST.
About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media, and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of over $40 billion in its Fiscal Year 2011.
About Lucasfilm Ltd.
Founded by George Lucas in 1971, Lucasfilm is a privately held, fully-integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company's global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production; LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties; Lucasfilm Animation; and Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties and businesses. Additionally, Lucasfilm Singapore, produces digital animated content for film and television, as well as visual effects for feature films and multi-platform games. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain statements in this communication and the attachments may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements relate to a variety of matters, including but not limited to: the operations of the businesses of Disney and Lucasfilm separately and as a combined entity; the timing and consummation of the proposed merger transaction; the expected benefits of the integration of the two companies; the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical fact. These statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Disney and Lucasfilm regarding future events and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Neither Disney nor Lucasfilm undertakes any obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
  • legal or regulatory proceedings or other matters that affect the timing or ability to complete the transactions as contemplated;
  • the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully;
  • the possibility of disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships;
  • the possibility that the merger does not close, including but not limited to, due to the failure to satisfy the closing conditions;
  • any actions taken by either of the companies, including but not limited to, restructuring or strategic initiatives (including capital investments or asset acquisitions or dispositions);
  • developments beyond the companies' control, including but not limited to: changes in domestic or global economic conditions, competitive conditions and consumer preferences; adverse weather conditions or natural disasters; health concerns; international, political or military developments; and technological developments.
Additional factors that may cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are set forth in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Disney for the year ended October 1, 2011, under the heading "Item 1A—Risk Factors," and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Disney.
As we just announced, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and its world class portfolio of creative content – including the legendary Star Wars franchise – along with all of its operating businesses, including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
George Lucas is a visionary, an innovator and an epic storyteller – and he’s built a company at the intersection of entertainment and technology to bring some of the world’s most unforgettable characters and stories to screens across the galaxy. He’s entertained, inspired, and defined filmmaking for almost four decades and we’re incredibly honored that he has entrusted the future of that legacy to Disney.
Disney has had a great relationship with George that goes back a long way – with Star Wars theme attractions in our parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo. This acquisition builds on that foundation and combines two of the strongest family entertainment brands in the world. It makes sense, not just because of our brand compatibility and previous success together, but because Disney respects and understands – better than just about anyone else – the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively to drive growth and create value.
Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney’s strategic priorities. It is a sustainable source of branded, high quality creative content with tremendous global appeal that will benefit all of Disney’s business units and is incredibly well suited for new business models, including digital platforms. Adding the Lucasfilm IP to our existing Disney, Pixar and Marvel IP clearly enhances our ability to serve consumers, strengthening our competitive position -- and we are confident we can earn a return on invested capital well in excess of our cost of capital.
Star Wars in particular is a strong global brand, and one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with hundreds of millions of fans around the globe. Its universe of more than 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years offers infinite inspiration and opportunities – and we’re already moving forward with plans to continue the epic Star Wars saga.
The last Star Wars movie release was 2005’s Revenge of the Sith – and we believe there’s substantial pent up demand. In 2015, we’re planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the “Disney-Lucasfilm” brand. That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years. We’re very happy that George Lucas will be creative consultant on our new Star Wars films and that Kathleen Kennedy, the current Co-Chair of Lucasfilm, will executive produce. George handpicked Kathy earlier this year to lead Lucasfilm into the future. She’ll join Disney as President of Lucasfilm, reporting into Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and integrating and building the Star Wars franchise across our company.
Our successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel prove Disney’s unique ability to grow brands and expand high-quality creative content to its fullest franchise potential and maximum value.
We’ve leveraged Pixar’s terrific characters and stories into franchises across our company – from feature films to consumer products online games, major attractions in our theme parks, and more.
The 2006 Pixar acquisition delivered more than great Pixar content -- it also delivered the means to energize and revitalize the creative engine at Walt Disney Animation – which was crucial to our long term success. Animation is the heart and soul of Disney and our successful creative resurgence will be on full display this weekend when Wreck-It-Ralph opens in theaters across the country.
Our acquisition of Marvel three years later combined Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and an integrated business structure that maximizes the value of creative content across multiple platforms and territories. Our first two Marvel films – Thor and Captain America grossed a total of more than $800 million at the box office. This year, Marvel’s The Avengers grossed more than $1.5 billion to become the world’s third highest grossing movie of all time – and an important and lucrative franchise for us.
We’re looking forward to a robust slate of new Marvel movies – starting with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World next year, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. And, as we announced previously, Joss Whedon is writing and directing Avengers 2 and developing a Marvel-based series for ABC.
Pixar and Marvel both fit our criteria for strategic acquisitions – they add great IP that benefits multiple Disney businesses for years to come, and continue to create value well in excess of their purchase price. The acquisition of Lucasfilm is in keeping with this proven strategy for success and we expect it to create similar opportunity for Disney to drive long-term value for our shareholders.
We’re clearly excited about this move forward. We believe we can do great things with these amazing assets….we have a proven track record of maximizing the value of our strategic acquisitions…. and we’re poised to do the same with this one.
Lucasfilm, and more specifically the Star Wars franchise, fits perfectly within the Disney portfolio of intellectual properties and the strategic and financial implications of this acquisition are compelling. Our team has spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating this deal and we have concluded we are uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Lucasfilm’s IP in a manner that can generate substantial value for our shareholders above and beyond the purchase price.
In this transaction we will acquire rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, a highly talented and expert team, Lucasfilm’s best-in-class post production businesses, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, and a suite of cutting edge entertainment technologies. Our valuation focused almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis.
There are a number of ways our company will derive value from Lucasfilm’s intellectual property—some of which can be realized immediately while others will accrue to us over time. George and his team have built Star Wars into one of the most successful and enduring family entertainment franchises in history, as well as one of the best selling licensed character merchandise brands in the U.S. and around the world. However, we believe there is great opportunity to further expand the consumer products business. Today, Star Wars is heavily skewed toward toys and North America. We see great opportunity domestically to extend the breadth and depth of the Star Wars franchise into other categories. We also plan to leverage Disney’s global consumer products organization to grow the Star Wars consumer products business internationally.
Let me note that in 2012 Lucasfilm’s consumer products business is expected to generate total licensing revenue that is comparable to the roughly $215 million in consumer products revenue Marvel generated in 2009, the year in which we announced our acquisition. With renewed film releases, and the support we can give the Star Wars property on our Disney-branded TV channels, we expect that business to grow substantially and profitably for many years to come.
We also expect to create significant value in the film business. We plan to release the first new Star Wars film in 2015, and then plan to release one film every two to three years. These films will be released and distributed as part of our target slate of 8-10 live-action films per year, and will augment Disney’s already strong creative pipeline for many years to come. Lucasfilm has not released a Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith in 2005. However, adjusted for inflation, as well as growth in both international box office and 3D, we estimate the three most recent Star Wars films would have averaged about $1.5 billion in global box office in today’s dollars. This speaks to the franchise’s strength, global appeal and the great opportunity we have in the film business.
We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business. These initiatives were also considered in our valuation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, consisting of approximately fifty percent cash and fifty percent in Disney stock. Based on Friday’s closing price of Disney stock, we expect to issue approximately 40 million Disney shares in this transaction. We continue to believe our shares are attractively priced at current levels and therefore, we currently intend to repurchase all of the shares issued within the next two years-- and that’s in addition to what we planned to repurchase in the absence of the transaction.
Our valuation of Lucasfilm is roughly comparable to the value we placed on Marvel when we announced that acquisition in 2009. Our Lucasfilm valuation is almost entirely driven by the Star Wars franchise, so any success from other franchises would provide upside to our base case. I realize it may be a challenge for you to quantify our opportunity given the limited amount of publicly available information. But to give you some perspective on the size of the Lucasfilm business-- in 2005, the year in which the most recent Star Wars film was released, Lucasfilm generated $550 million in operating income. We’ve taken a conservative approach in our valuation assumptions, including continued erosion of the home entertainment market, and we expect this acquisition to create value for our shareholders.
In terms of the impact on our financials, we expect the acquisition to be dilutive to our EPS by low single digit percentage points in fiscal 2013 and 2014 and become accretive to EPS in 2015.
Our capital allocation philosophy has been consistent since Bob took over as CEO. In addition to returning capital to shareholders, we have invested, both organically and through acquisitions, in high quality, branded content that can be seamlessly leveraged across our businesses. Our acquisition of Lucasfilm is entirely consistent with this strategy, and we’re incredibly excited by the prospect of building on Lucasfilm’s successful legacy to create significant value for our shareholders.

The Walt Disney CompanyZenia Mucha818-560-5300
Source: The Walt Disney Company

Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?

Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?

How the richness of technology led to the poverty of imagination.