Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 28, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

CRIME WATCH....From the department of interesting stories:

In 1934, the Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek was facing a twin threat - from the invading Japanese and from the Communist rebels of Mao Tse-tung. For safekeeping, his supporters sent 125,000 tons of Chinese gold to America and, in a covert deal with the president Franklin D Roosevelt, were given US bonds in return. The sum was so large that it led to the creation of Fort Knox and paved the way for America to abandon the gold standard.

But the bonds never reached China. The B-29 plane carrying them crashed shortly after stopping to refuel at Clark Air Base in the Philippines....

Is this true? Killjoys in the British criminal justice system say no:

[Graham Halksworth] and Slamaj, the man who had ostensibly received the bonds from the Mindanao tribesmen, claimed that Chiang Kai-Shek had given the Americans 125,000 tons of gold in the 1940s. But police inquiries on the London Bullion Market revealed that the cumulative total of all the gold mined in recorded history was only 63,500 tons by 1950. Even more damning, the documents contained zip codes which the US postal service introduced only in 1963 - and a Treasury Seal which was too modern. Furthermore, analysis showed that some of bonds had been produced on an inkjet printer.

That doesn't look good, does it? And who is this Halksworth fellow who was behind this?

He cut a sorry figure when he shambled to answer the door this week. A fat man, with a belt tied tight around his middle as though he were a sack of oats, balding, with a hearing aid behind his ear, wearing an incongruous sports top and slacks, he looked like someone who would not thrive in prison.

Ouch.

Kevin Drum 2:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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