Mike Hartman: Government intervention against gold is obvious

Section:

8:30p ET Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

A few notes about the wonderful Reuters story appended
here....

* They're not diving into the deep and risking their
lives for U.S. Treasury bonds or Federal Reserve notes.

* The imperial regime of Philip IV of Spain is long gone
but the money he coined is still more than good at the
bar and everywhere else.

* Spanish royal regulations against smuggling didn't
have much effect nearly 400 years ago. If invoked by
a monarch posing as the head of a republic, will the
Trading With the Enemy Act and the International
Emergency Economic Powers Act be that much more
effective today?

* The wealth whose recovery is described here was
extracted from Central and South America and so much
more of it remains there for extraction, and yet the
countries occupying that area insist on being not only
poor but even slaves to the currency of a foreign power.
Go figure.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

Treasure Hunter Mel Fisher Leaves Trail of Gold

By Laura Myers
Reuters
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticleSearch.aspx?
storyID=137359+24-Aug-2005+RTRS&srch=Atocha

KEY WEST, Fla. -- Hundreds of millions of dollars in silver bars,
emeralds, and gold chains have already been recovered from the
Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, sunk during a Florida Keys
hurricane in 1622.

But the mother lode of treasure discovered by Mel Fisher two decades
ago may not have finished yielding its fortunes, his heirs believe,
and there may be more to come.

"It's still a trail of gold," said Mel Fisher's son Kim, 49, chief
executive of Key West-based Mel Fisher's Treasure, the umbrella firm
of the family's 30 related companies.

The 110-foot (33.5-metre), 600-ton Atocha -- one of a fleetladen
with priceless gold, silver, emeralds, and Catholic artifacts --
sank on Sept. 5, 1622, near the Marquesas Atoll, about 35 miles (56
km) southwest of Key West, off the southern tip of the Florida
peninsula. On board, 260 passengers died, while five survived by
clinging to the mizzenmast.

Mel Fisher, known for saying "today's the day," and his family
searched for the Atocha treasure for 16 years, weathering daunting
debts and ridicule.

In a life-changing moment 20 years ago, they found treasure from the
Atocha worth an estimated $200 million to $400 million at the time,
and Kim Fisher believes loot worth a further $500 million still lies
in the ocean.

In its long quest to find the Atocha, the family even endured the
tragic death of oldest son Dirk and his wife on July 20, 1975, when
the salvage boat Northwind capsized during the night -- 10 years to
the day before the treasure hoard was found. Dirk had located some
of the Atocha's 11-foot (3.4-metre), 3,600-pound (1,633-kg) bronze
cannons just days before. Diver Rick Cage was also lost.

"It was devastating," Kim told Reuters. "We almost threw in the
towel. We decided Dirk would want us to continue. I think it
actually made us try harder."

On July 20, 1985, a magnetometer capable of tracking cannons and
cannon balls revealed a seabed target at a 55-foot (16.8-metre)
depth.

Divers Andy Matroci and a colleague discovered 1,041 silver bars and
hundreds of boxes, each with 3,000 coins. Other treasure included
127,000 silver coins, 700 emeralds and likely contraband consisting
of 2,500 lighter stones, heavy gold chains and jewelry, silver and
crucifixes.

Ninety percent of the original mother lode has been distributed to
investors, crew and the Fisher family.

But Kim Fisher estimates there is another $500 million worth of
undiscovered treasure.

Among the suspected riches would be 300 silver bars weighing 80
pounds (36 kg) each, 100,000 coins, eight to 10 bronze cannons and
treasure from the stern castle, an area of the ship where the riches
of nobility, clergy and first-class passengers were stored.

"There were 35 boxes that the Church had on board. They always had
good stuff," Kim said.

Much of the treasure was contraband.

St. Augustine, Florida-based historian Eugene Lyon, who researched
the Atocha on a trip to Spain for Mel Fisher, believes that most of
the treasure's emeralds, for example, were smuggled.

"Smuggling was not just a cottage industry but a national industry.
Some of these Spanish wrecks were carrying way above what they were
supposed to be carrying," added Jim Sinclair, 48, a St. Augustine,
Florida-based marine archeologist who worked as a Fisher treasure
hunter during the mid-1980s.

Diver Matroci, 50, recently found a 9-inch, 22-carat gold chain and
more than 30 coins. "We're finding treasure all the time," he said.

Matroci still captains a crew of five on the 100-foot (30.5-metre)
salvage vessel Magruder, working shifts of about 12 days, depending
on the weather. They use sensors such as magnetometers to scan the
sea bed. Each find is tagged using global positioning systems.

"Mel gave me a career I never knew existed and 25 years later I'm
still doing it," said Matroci, who's logged more than 21,000 hours
underwater.

Mel Fisher, known to his crews as the optimistic "Uncle Dad," died
of bladder cancer in 1998 at age 76.

He became a cult hero among salvagers when he won a U.S. Supreme
Court victory in 1982, three years before the actual discovery, over
ownership of the treasure if he found it. The U.S. government had
claimed that it was the owner of any treasure because, under common
law, it was the successor to the prerogative rights of the monarch
of England, but the court ruled 5-4 that any treasure belonged to
Mel Fisher.

These days, Spain often lays claim to any likely treasure found from
the wreck of one of its old sailing ships.

"With treasure finds now, the status is that it's a lawsuit from the
time you find it," said David Paul Horan, the attorney who
represented Fisher in his legal battles.

Key West last month celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Atocha
treasure find with a rowdy bikini contest. Middle-aged men and women
swilled rum and Coke and danced the hokey-pokey.

"It's all part of my father's legacy. If you have a dream, go for
it," Kim said.

"My dad's last words to me were, 'Don't let the small stuff bother
you.' I still do the same things I always did. I never used to worry
about money. It really hasn't made any difference. It's an
incredible thrill to find gold and emeralds. It's too much fun to
quit."

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