Help GATA as it returns to press Congress for answers


By Reginald H. Howe
July 17, 2000

Dotting sides of buildings in Paris are many little
plaques proclaiming, "Ici est tombe...." They mark spots
where members of the Resistance fell during the street
fighting that preceded the liberation of Paris in
August 1944. Close inspection of nearby wall areas
often reveals bullet scars.

Yet many French display a certain ambivalence toward
these signs, as much of this fighting was done by late
arrivals to the resistance movement, which not
surprisingly attracted a huge upsurge of support after
the Allied landings in Normandy. Only a relative
handful of French joined the fight early during the
darkest days of occupation and Vichy, and they
frequently met horrible fates outside of public view.

One of these, the historian Marc Bloch, is remembered
by Eugen Weber in "My France" (Harvard, 1991, p. 244
ff). Bloch, a brilliant scholar born to privileged
parents and married to a wealthy woman, fought for the
full duration of World War I in the French infantry.
Called up as a reservist in 1939, he became, after the
fall of France, a full-time underground organizer and a
leader of the Franc-Tireur group in Lyon, the
resistance capital of France. Betrayed by a
collaborator, he was arrested in March 1944 and
tortured. In June, as the Germans prepared their
withdrawal, he was put on a truck with 26 other
prisoners and taken off to be shot. By some miracle one
young man in the group lived to tell the tale,
including Bloch's effort to reassure him during the
ride: "They're going to shoot us. Don't be afraid; it
doesn't hurt. It will happen fast."

In an academic paper delivered in 1927 at a conference
in Oslo, Bloch advocated the study of comparative
history, noting: "Mais ces textes, il faut songer a
aller les chercher." Weber, himself an academic aware
of the practical requirements for conducting research,
gives a translation and adds an important note (p.
247): "If documents are to be sought out, you not only
have to think of going to look for them, you also have
to have the means to do it."

Bloch did, and he traveled to the great libraries and
universities of Europe to pursue his historical
studies. Still, however fortunate his personal and
professional circumstances, Bloch's life is testimony
to strong feelings about right and wrong together with
an equally strong sense of personal honor. He chose to
fight on principle come what may rather than to await
the first signs of victory.

His is an example with some relevance to present gold
bugs. Of course they do not face the same physical
dangers. But their views rest very much on studies in
comparative history, particularly of monetary systems
in different places at different times. Their struggle
in its broadest sense is for freedom -- a worldwide
economic freedom that is not possible without an
international monetary system based on a permanent and
shared standard of value.

Gold bugs cannot be truly understood apart from the
fundamental values to which they are committed:
personal integrity and honest dealing. Today they are
vastly outnumbered by public and private forces with
far more resources and huge stakes in continuing the
system of unlimited fiat money -- impermissible under
the Constitution of the United States -- that they have
erected largely for their own benefit.

Few give the gold bugs much chance for ultimate
victory. Their ranks are thin as many of their natural
allies, including gold mining companies and nations
rich in gold resources, remain aloof from the fray.

Worse still, governments in some gold mining nations,
notably Canada and Australia, seem intent on
replicating the dishonor of Vichy, not that this course
has done much for their paper currencies. The Clinton
administration pretends concern about South Africa's
many problems but spares no effort in secret to
undermine prices for gold, that nation's leading

And everywhere central banks and international
financial institutions, created to make the gold
standard operate more effectively, work assiduously to
prevent its return. These institutions, controlled by
the major industrial nations, prefer for their own
selfish reasons to impoverish developing countries
rather than to allow their development under sound
money regimes based on gold.

Tyranny spawns resistance, and the tyranny of the paper
dollar is no exception. Organizations favoring some
sort of return to sound money based on gold or silver
exist all over the globe. Among these is the Gold Anti-
Trust Action Committee, a recent upstart that began as
an effort to unmask price manipulation in the world
gold market. Today it is a major Internet hub through
which gold bugs from all over the world exchange lots
of relevant ideas and information as well as market
intelligence. What is more, GATA is a force for action,
warning of the dangers lurking in a gold market
manipulated by huge volumes of paper gold derivatives,
and pressing Congress, central banks, and other public
agencies and officials to take effective action against
these abuses before they erupt in a financial

GATA is the brainchild of Bill Murphy and Chris Powell.

Chris, a newspaper editor in Connecticut, writes a
political column syndicated statewide.

Bill is "Le Patron" and "Midas" at Le Metropole Cafe
( He started at wide receiver
for the Boston Patriots in 1968. Now, as in his playing
days, standing just over 6 feet and weighing under 190
pounds, Bill looks like a soccer player, but we are
talking American football here.

Bill is used to playing against much larger opponents,
guys like Ernie Ladd (6-foot-9, 290 pounds) and Hall of
Fame players Buck Buchanan (6-7, 270), Bobby Bell (6-4,
228) and Willie Lanier (6-1, 245). Playing in Bill's
own position a few years later against the Oakland
Raiders, Darryl Stingley was paralyzed for life with a
neck injury on a perfectly legal tackle by Jack Tatum,
also known as "The Assassin."

Not long ago in his hometown of Dallas, someone stole
Bill's car, and a few days later thugs attacked him on
the street. Some evidence suggests that these were
efforts at intimidation. If so, the perpetrators
misjudged their target, who, with jaw bruised if not
broken, quickly rose from the pavement to return to his
work for GATA. (Lui, il est tombe, mais il s'est leve

GATA's May 10 meeting with the speaker of the House of
Representives and other officials in Washington, its
subsequent publication and distribution of the Gold
Derivative Banking Crisis report, and its June mission
to the Financial Times World Gold Conference in Paris
all followed. I was privileged to participate in all
these endeavors.

What's next on GATA's agenda?

This decision is for Bill Murphy and Chris Powell to
make, subject to the contraints imposed by GATA's
limited resources. One idea is to engage me as a
consultant, again depending on available funds. The
proposed compensation, covering out-of-pocket expenses
plus a modest stipend for time and effort, would give
me more time and resources to pursue gold-related
subjects of mutual interest.

What is more, it would make The Golden Sextant mildly
profitable, enhancing its content and extending its
life as a free service unencumbered by advertising,
cookies, or other revenue-raising gimmicks.

Once derided as a "two-man army," GATA now counts many
successful business and professional people among its
growing band of supporters. More than a few hold (or
held prior to retirement) important positions in
finance or mining.

Working to expose gold market manipulation, GATA is
fighting for a true free market in gold. The original
focus has broadened with its growth to include other
investment issues relating to gold as well.

Nor does GATA ignore gold's monetary role, for it
recognizes that most gold bugs are interested not just
in making money from gold but also in making gold money
for the benefit of all, as the framers of the
Constitution intended.

There is a sequel to stories like Marc Bloch's. He and
others like him kept the flame of the French Republic
burning, later to be fanned by those who joined the
resistance movement as the tide of the war turned.
Thus, when General de Gaulle made his triumphal address
at the Hotel de Ville in Paris on Aug. 25, 1944, he
could claim that the French people had freed
themselves, starting the myth upon which a unified
France escaped Allied military occupation and rebuilt
herself after the war. The Vichy regime became an
aberration, null and void, never recognized as a legal
government of France.

Working to restore gold to its rightful place both at
the center of the international payments system and in
the American constitutional order, gold bugs are
soldiers for economic freedom, which in the end is an
essential component of political freedom too. They keep
alive concepts, ideas, and values that have fallen out
of fashion, that are no longer taught in schools and
colleges, but that nevertheless embody the wisdom of
the ages.

Without the gold bugs, the collapse of today's
worldwide system of unlimited fiat money is likely to
lead to dark times indeed. With them, if they do their
job well now, the collapse can instead be turned into a
springboard from which to restore principles of sound
money and public integrity long absent from the world
and national stages.

Whether to contribute to GATA is something people must
decide for themselves. My possible economic interest in
the matter is declared. All I ask is that those who
enjoy my commentaries think about making a contribution
to this organization, which has already done so much
for gold and gold bugs.

General Patton liked to suggest that wars are best
fought not by dying for your cause but by making the
other guy die for his. Assisting GATA is the best way
that I know to try to put an "Ici est tombe l'ESF" on
the side of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington,
or to achieve the ultimate victory of justice over
greed, an "Ici est tombe Goldman Sachs" at 85 Broad
St., New York, N.Y.