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Extraordinary rap music from Puno, Peru

The group's name is Autoctonorap, they're from Puno and they mix Peruvian highland music, Spanish, Quechua and Aymara languages and their own rap. The lyrics speak of their pride for their city, for Lake Titicaca, for the region's history.

Exceptional work. IKN is proud to help diffuse this great music, especially for those who have a special place in their hearts for Puno. A standing ovation for Autoctonorap.

Kissinger's lies to cover up involvement with Pinochet's reign of terror

Henry and his latest floozey

I'm amazingly...... dude.

AP got the juice right here. Please go and read it all, but here are some timeline excerpts:

WASHINGTON – As secretary of state, Henry Kissinger canceled a U.S. warning against carrying out international political assassinations that was to have gone to Chile and two neighboring nations just days before a former ambassador was killed by Chilean agents on Washington's Embassy Row in 1976, a newly released State Department cable shows.


In the Sept. 16, 1976 cable, the topic of one paragraph is listed as "Operation Condor," preceded by the words "(KISSINGER, HENRY A.) SUBJECT: ACTIONS TAKEN." The cable states that "secretary declined to approve message to Montevideo" Uruguay "and has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter."


Kissinger has dealt with the issue indirectly. Writing in defense of Kissinger in 2004 when the issue arose, William D. Rogers, Kissinger's former assistant secretary of state, said Kissinger "had nothing to do with" a Sept. 20, 1976 cable instructing that the warnings to Chile, Argentina and Uruguay be canceled. Rogers died in 2007.

"You can instruct" the U.S. ambassadors "to take no further action" on the subject of Operation Condor, said the Sept. 20 cable by Harry Shlaudeman, assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs, to Shlaudeman's deputy.

The next day, on Sept. 21, 1976, agents of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet planted a car bomb and exploded it on a Washington, D.C., street, killing both former Ambassador Orlando Letelier, and an American colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Letelier was one of the most outspoken critics of the Pinochet government.

Venezuelan inflation

The first chart below shows the general level of inflation (black line, indexed to December 2007) and the individual components of the inflation index that have risen more than the average.

Now this second chart also shows the general level of inflation (black line, indexed to December 2007) and the individual components of the inflation index that have risen less than the average.
Also, it's worth pointing out here that salaries in Venezuela have risen to 164.5 if we take the same December 2007 month as our starting point and also give it a score of 100 (this includes the recent 10% rise in salaries for 2010, the only data not found in the Cenbank archives).

The upshot is that Venezuela is definitely more expensive to live if you enjoy alcohol and tobacco, if you eat in restaurants a lot and if you use "other services" (usually the non-essentials) a lot. Food is more expensive for everyone on an average scale, but clothes, cellphones and the utilities have dropped compared to salary buying power. All data from the Venezuelan Central Bank.


The Friday OT: Malcolm McLaren; Double Dutch

The only possible choice today.

To call this track innovative is a severe understatement. So many of the techniques used today are founded in this song and I remember being blown away by the sheer, wild difference of it as a young'un back then on first listening (and viewing). You think some guy talking over a bass-driven backing track just appeared out of nowhere? Nope, it needed people like McLaren to push it into the musical worldview. Totally audacious when released and even now it holds up to the passage of time. Damn good track.

We'll miss you, Malcolm. Duck duck duck.

UPDATE: Check out the evergreat ten percent, who plumped for McLaren's superb "Deep In Vogue" as his Friday! track. Strike a pose, suckaz.

Trading Post (melted mozzarella edition)

AuEx Ventures ( up 7.1% at $3.61 on good volumes for once in this ticker's life. Today's overview NR seems to have woken the stock up. Long Canyon resource update, where are you?

B2Gold ( up 4.8% at $1.52. Ka-Ching! Thank you, please call again.

TheNewCrystallex (EC.v) up 1.4% at $0.365. can it be? If that nice mailer who used the word 'dickhead' while explaining to me its assets were worth at least 60c a share is right, this stock can't possibly be lagging where it is right now, still under 40c and on low volumes. Wow...perhaps that nice mailer is wrong after all? Hoodathunkit, eh....

Antares Minerals (ANM.v) up 5.9% at $3.05. To those that thought its run was over, I suggest you talk to the owl:

Piñera talks the talk

wristwatch is not gold

We'll find out later if he walks the walk.

There's a good interview with new Chilean Prez Piñera in Argentina's Clarín today, recorded while he was in Argentina this week on a state "hello I'm new round here nice to meet you" goodwill visit to Klishtinalandia. Those versed in the tongue of Cervantes would do well to click through and read the whole thing, but in this post I'd like to emphasize just one Q&A from the article. Here it is translated:

How will you lead your government in relationships with the rest of the region?

"We have to learn to have good relationships, including with countries whose government have different philosophies. Relationships should be of the State and the people, not based in political or ideological agreements or divergences. In Latin America one sees different economic development models and democratic models, for example countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua follow one model. Another model is followed by Mexico, Colombia, Brazil or Chile. Each country is free to choose its path. For this the French are very wise when they say, "Vive la difference. Chile believes in democracy, the alternance of power, strong political parties, freedom of expression, separation of powers, a social market economy and integration in the world economy. My country believes in a society with greater equality of opportunities and social justice. My government will continue to strengthen these values."

Now yeah for sure there's a decent dose of politik-speak in there, but overall it's a good answer. Ostensibly at least, the dude is out to be part of Latin America and not part of imposing the arrogant North's idea of freedom on Chile's brother countries. Everybody knows that a billionaire rightwinger such as Piñera isn't cut from the same cloth as a lefty such as Chávez, but he's making the right noises so far. Piñera gets a pass mark from IKN this week, let's hope it continues.

The inside track

Back with another one of our occasional looks at insider trades, with two today worthy of comment. Firstly, we note that Eike Batista is buying small ($1.5m or so is small for him) lumps of Ventana Gold ( and topping up his large position on the open market:

Ventana Gold Corp. (VEN)

As of April 8th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Apr 08/10 Apr 05/10 63X Master Fund Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 75,200 $10.208
Apr 08/10 Apr 01/10 63X Master Fund Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 79,000 $9.676

That smacks of confidence.

On the flipside, what are the people running Baja Mining ( trying to tell us?

Baja Mining Corp. (BAJ)

As of April 8th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Apr 08/10 Apr 07/10 Thody, Graham Campbell Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.830
Apr 08/10 Apr 07/10 Low, Kendra Leigh Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -80,000 $0.800
Apr 08/10 Apr 07/10 Low, Kendra Leigh Direct Ownership Common Shares 51 - Exercise of options 80,000 $0.350
Apr 08/10 Apr 07/10 Low, Kendra Leigh Direct Ownership Options 51 - Exercise of options -80,000
Mar 25/10 Mar 24/10 Glanville, Ross Owen Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -120,000 $0.750
Mar 25/10 Mar 24/10 Glanville, Ross Owen Direct Ownership Common Shares 51 - Exercise of options 210,000 $0.350
Mar 25/10 Mar 24/10 Glanville, Ross Owen Direct Ownership Options 51 - Exercise of options -210,000 $0.350

Not one but three insiders are telling us that selling at the levels seen in the last few days is a good idea. Do you see a red flag here too, or are you daltonian?

DYODD, dude.

Mo' Medoro (MRS.v)

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post about the travails of Medoro Resources (MRS.v) in Colombia and the dispute over ownership of the Frontino gold mine, the Frontino unions and locals sent out another NR yesterday. Here it is.

Sintramienergetica, Segovia Section: Press Release From the Rightful Owners of Frontino Gold Mines

Sintramienergetica, Segovia Section -

1. We, the worker's union, the people of Segovia, the creditors and the retirees are the rightful owners of Frontino Gold Mines as fully documented by a legal deed of 1979 that is readily and publicly available at the courts. This legal deed leaves no doubt whatsoever that we are the rightful owners of Frontino Gold Mines. The Canadian company Medoro is well aware of this fact but nevertheless fails to disclose it to Canadian authorities as well as to the Colombian people.

2. In the last days defamatory remarks by Medoro and especially by Mr. Iaicon Serafino Iacono have been made, that portray us as a marginal group that does not represent the Colombian people. We want to make clear that we represent the entire population for which reason this press release has been signed by the leaders of the Colombian National Worker's Union. Mr. Serrafino Iacono and Medoro Resources are clearly outsiders that hardly seem to understand the needs of the Colombian people. Frontino Gold Mines is a Colombian national treasure owned by Colombians and we will under no circumstances allow it to be taken by a foreign company. The proceeds from Frontino Gold Mines are urgently needed to improve the miserable life conditions and poverty of the region where even basic needs of life are absent. Medoro Resources is trying to take our only asset the welfare and livelihood of an entire region. We will not allow this to happen.

3. Medoro Resources has failed to disclose in its filings with Canadian authorities the existence of this legal deed as well as the existence of a lawsuit against it. We will take national and international legal action against Medoro to prevent what is legally ours from being taken from us. We ask all Colombians and Canadians to support us in our fight for survival and for better living conditions against Medoro Resources. We will also take legal action against those people who finance Medoro Resources and Mr. Serafino Iacono.

4. The Central Union of Workers (CUT), FUNTRAENERGETICA, (National Federation of Workers), SINTRAMIENERGETICA, (National Federation of Workers), and SINTRAMIENERGETICA, Segovia Section, the people of Segovia, and the entire region emphatically reject the claims on our assets by Medoro Resources, and are outraged that this Canadian company would attempt to take a Colombian treasure that is rightfully owned since 1979 by the pensioners, active workers, and the regional community. We call upon all national and international workers' organizations, the world-wide mining community, and all free people to show solidarity against Medoro Resources, and ask them to stand with the workers against this gross violation of their legal rights. We will not stand down, and will fight for our survival.

Dairo Rua, Presidente, Sintramienergetica Segovia Section

Raul Sosa Avellaneda, National President of Sintramienergetica

Tarcisio Mora Godoy, National President, CUT, FUNTRAENERGETICA

Joaquin Romero, President, CUT

For what it's worth, I really don't know which side is right and which is wrong on this issue. What I do know is that MRS.v has a whole heap of legal woes coming its way if it wants to take control of Frontino and the case is likely to drag on for years.

Fortuna Silver ( Do Not Complicate Your Life

While all around the super secret whisperers do their extremely inside top-secret thing on a whole bunch of bullshit scam stocks that will never get anywhere, your humble scribe runs numbers, does spreadsheets, identifies best-of-breed miners and buys them. Then holds them.

Exhibit One:

And by the way, see that little note in the bottom left of the chart? That's when dumbass Louis James (Casey's Mini-Me) told his flock to get out of FVI. According to the latest edition of his mumblings he's still waiting on a $2 price to get back in the stock. Hey Louis, it might happen you know.......if FVI does a 2-for-1 split some time soon.

Don't listen to the get-rich-quick brigade. Buy quality and stick with it. Do not complicate your life. DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is... year to date, in US Dollars and in Euros.

Year to April 6th is shown here. If we get bang up to date, gold in USD right now stands at 1,157/oz and gold in Euros at 863/oz. This means that year-to-date, gold has risen 3.5% in US Dollar terms and 11.3% in Euro terms.

Meanwhile, the Euro has sunk 11.9% versus the dollar in the same period (from USD=EUR0.67 to USD1=EUR0.75)

The conclusion: In 2010 gold is still lagging pricewise in Euros compared to the USD, but only slightly. In general terms gold is displaying its normal tendency of neutrality to currencies, which is exactly what we should expect from it.


Malcolm McLaren

A sad day. Here's AP.

Rest In Peace.

Here's Madame Butterfly (which I'm listening to while writing these words with the heaviest of hearts):

Eight gold miners shot dead in Colombia

From AFP in Spanish here, or below excerpted from the always excellent Colombia Reports in English:

Eight gold miners were shot and killed late Wednesday in the department of Cauca when a group of camouflaged men opened fire on them as they exited the mine.

The mayor of Suarez, the municipality where the incident took place, said that the gunmen had fired indiscriminately upon ten miners who were leaving a gold mine, killing eight, wounding one, and leaving one missing, reports RCN Radio.

Authorities learned of the incident through the testimony of the only known survivor, who said he faked his death to escape.

Crime scene investigators and officials from Colombia's Prosecutor General's office, who have already arrived to the area to recover the bodies and begin their investigation, pointed towards the FARC's 30th Front as potential culprits.

However, according to a Colombian military official in the region, the incident is more likely the result of a dispute between local miners. "The forensic team has already arrived and begun their investigation, but we think that this is about a vendetta, about revenge between CONTINUES HERE

But don't worry, you can ignore facts and just remember what Franky "5 star hotels on foreign trips give you a great idea of the country" Holmes told you about Colombia: Ain't no pol risk in the mining industry no more. Right?

Medoro Resources (MRS.v): The can of corn mans the pumps

On Monday, IKN noted the very, very large difference of opinion regarding the Frontino Gold Mine between Medoro Resources (MRS.v) (Part of the Giustra&Keep Show, with fraudulent sycophant Cassandra marching to orders) that's trying to buy the mine via its liquidator and the Union and citizens living and working at the site who claim they are 'the true owners' of the mine. As well as the ownership dispute, the miners and their unions also charge MRS.v and friends of running a dirty tricks campaign, trying to label them as terrorists and all such stuff.

So on Tuesday, the Colombian government came out with...yep surprise.....a statement supporting the Canadian side of the spat and rejecting the Frontino locals' arguments. I mean, don't want to be labelled as FDI-unfriendly, do we? The next thing we know is that The Can of Corn is pumping this governmental statement for all it's worth and trying to breath life into the flailing share price. Here's an example, taken from this morning's 'Canaccord Morning Coffee' publication:

Medoro Resources* (MRS : TSX-V : $0.68), Net Change: 0.05, % Change: 7.94%, Volume: 5,129,123 More gold for the MRS's? Medoro went on a tear in early trading on very heavy volume following news that the Colombian government supports its acquisition of Frontino. On April 5, 2010, the Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy issued a press release supporting Medoro Resources recently proposed acquisition of Frontino Gold Mines. The press release states that this transaction “clears the way for a better future for more than three thousand families in the municipalities of Segovia and Remedios whose livelihoods depend on gold mining. It further noted, “These negotiations are a demonstration of investor confidence in Colombia and, moreover, will result in social advancements for the region as well for the mining industry of the country." Frontino, which has been producing gold since the mid-19th century, filed for bankruptcy protection back in 2004, after gold prices fell, violence in the area increased, and the company's pension liabilities and payroll became unsustainable. Since then, the bankruptcy court has failed to find a buyer. On March 31, Medoro announced that they had agreed to pay about $200 million to buy Frontino’s assets. The payment will go to a fund to ensure full payment of all pension entitlements and payroll liabilities. The deal also insures the stability of the current workforce of the company; Medoro has agreed to continue to employ 1,600 workers for one year. According to Frontier’s legal advisor Luis Fernando Alvarado, the gold produced about 55,000 ounces of gold in 2009 from its various mines at an approximate cost of $400 an ounce. He also said that in 2009 the company posted net profit of $8-9 million. Medoro is a gold exploration, development and mining company with a primary emphasis on Colombia. It operates the producing Mineros Nacionales gold mine located in Zona Baja at Marmato and is conducting an exploration and infill drilling program at its Marmato Project to upgrade and expand its gold resources there. It also holds a 100% interest in concessions in Venezuela where working to obtain exploitation permits and has interests in gold exploration properties in Mali.

So what The Can of Corn is putting forth is the shiny-happy-holding-hands version, verbatim from the government of Colombia and its pally pals over at MRS.v (and, of course). But what da boyz over at The Can of Corn know full well but daren't possibly put into print is:
1) The government of Colombia has no say at all in this matter. Not only is the case bound to end up as an ownership dispute in front of the Colombian judiciary, but said judiciary is totally separate from the country's executive. And to labour the point, the Colombian judiciary has shown time and time again over the past eight years that it's not at all afraid fo standing up to Uribe's bullyboy gov't and passing judgements that are embarrassing to the admin.

2) Ownership disputes of lands, properties, businesses etc can (and most often do) lasts quite literally years and years without resolve and can often get dragged through decades. In this case, there's a $200m price tag in play and that's a lot of moolah. Don't think for a second that a simple statement by a simpleton minister is going to decide this one.

But The Can of Corn can't go round telling the truth, y'see....what it has to do is pump as hard as it can before....oh looky!...the truth starts seeping out. It needs to pump hard now to get its underwater clients out and sold to you retail saps, so expect a few more rose-tinted proclamations from the shysters in the weeks to come. IKN confidently predicts that this story will all end in tears., so don't be one of the ones left crying, yeah?

Suspicious actions by Agoracom

In the light of the OSC action against online pumper's paradise and illegally acting bullboard host Agoracom, some strange things are happening over at that site

  • Top example concerns Evolving Gold (EVG.v), a company that paid the grandaddy bullshit pumper Peter Grandich thousands of dollars per month to pump, pump and pump again its message while Grandich was at Agoracom. Now that the Grandichrat has left the sinking ship, by some sheer coincidence Agoracom has wiped its Evolving Gold discussion board clean off the map. Go there now and all you get is an innocent "oh, we don't have a hub for this stock" message, where before it was the pump central for Grandich's shiller activities. Can you smell fish? Yeah, me too.
  • But Evolving Gold is not the only example. Firestone Ventures (FV.v) was a paying client of Agoracom until recently. It too had a hub at the site. Now it too has all its records wiped clean and Agoracom claiming that it doesn't cover the stock.
  • This is also true for ATW Gold (ATW.v), the notorious pump-job promoted by Peter Grandich at the top of his voice in 2008 and 2009 (cos they paid the charlatan), only to be found out last year as a front bullshit liars, mining ineptitude and inside trading activity nothing short of criminal. It too has had its hub disappeared by Agoracom.

Those are just three this author found on a quick flyover of this scammy bullboard operator. If you know of any more, feel free to send over a headsup.

Longtime sparring partner and 100% good egg sez_me_man chimes in with another (in comments section below and re-pasted here):

Hey Otto,

Grandich erased history on Geologix as well. (GIX.TO).

Not all history disappears, however. From "top pick" to not a word.

Keep up the fine investigative reporting.


My one and only post on Canadian bank gold stocks

Following swiftly on from the high-pitched shilling regarding some silver trader whistleblower called Maguire (as mentioned previously, we're not going there again), we now have a lot of high-pitchedness about Scotia Mocatta and how its vaults are empty of gold when they're supposed to be full of gold. We are told this as an absolute fact because somebody's brother saw the empty room. So let's just clear this one up as well.

1) Gimme a freakin' break and stop mailing me the tinfoilhat bullshit written by GATA, or Jim dumbass Willie, or the Ron Paul "War Room" (oh my) or the waste of bandwidth known as zero hedge or any other place this silliness crops up.

2) As I wrote to A. Person just yesterday (and don't want to repeat the mail exchange umpteen times, so let's just do it here), doubting the amount of reserves that any given country says it has is missing the point, be that Fort Knox for the USA, some vault in Canada, the dollars supposedly held by Argentina in its central bank or whatever other example. What all these countries have is a papertrail that can be used to convince that what they say is true. In the end it's just a very small and rather inconsequential corner of the much larger confidence trick we know as money. But that's nothing new! The Italian goldsmiths and bankers worked out how to fraction money in the 17th century. We were born into this system and we'll all die out of it and it won't change, so you'd be better off fighting another battle than doing a Quijote vs Windmill on this.

And by the way, I know that by taking this viewpoint in public, the 'more reactionary' (ahem) readership will start thinking that if this humble scribe doesn't want to be part of the solution he must be part of the problem, with the result of being labelled an illuminati spokesperson in about two weeks' time (or whatevs). So if you fancy going down that line of thought, let's just pre-empt by shouting "DUMBASS" in your face right now.

Chart of the day is.....

....Peru's manufacturing growth by month, 2009 and 2010.

click to enlarge

The Feb 2010 number came out this week and was the first decent upmove in manufacturing since 2008. The most noticeable is that manufacturing output (according the the liars at INEI at least) managed to beat its 2008 level too. If you take Feb 2009's -6.7 and Feb 2010's +7.2%, just on simple countback the 2008 number is beaten by 0.5% (which isn't exactly right of course, but won't be out by very much).

So Peru is recovering. This is good. So Peru will be screaming 10%+ manufacturing growth numbers during the April to August period this year due to the pisspoverty of its 2009 and simplistic comparisons. This is not so good, so remember that smarter dudes out there will be using 2008 as their benchmark, not 2009.


Where the oil comes from (guest post)

My man setty over at his blog settyblog (friends only, sorry) wrote this post today. After asking nicely he let me re-post it here. So here it is. Enjoy.

Where The Oil Comes From

U.S. government and news preoccupation with Venezuela isn't just because the country is ostensibly leftist. It's got much more to do with Venezuela's role as the U.S.'s second-most important oil supplier.

The U.S. had net imports of oil, coal refined products and electricity from 62 countries in 2009. This diversity conceals the concentration of suppliers.

Data provided by the U.S. Department of Energy also mask the importance of imports from Venezuela. This page, updated monthly, ignores both U.S. exports and (because the statistical series started in the 1940s, before the Virgin Islands was a major U.S. import point), treats the U.S. Virgin Islands as a foreign country. Since Venezuela provides two thirds of the crude for the Hovensa refinery on St. Croix, that takes many Venezuela barrels out of the ranking.

This U.S. Commerce Department data is the first place I've found that adds up U.S. net exports and imports of oil tallied by country and by dollar value, rather than by barrels. It turns out that the biggest net suppliers to the U.S. in 2009 were:

Canada $54.1 billion (25% of total)
Venezuela $26.4 billion (12%)
Saudi Arabia $21.5 billion (10%)
Nigeria $18.7 billion (9%)
Mexico $17.5 billion (8%)
Russia $13.1 billion (6%)
Algeria $10.6 billion (5%)

That's 75% of the oil imports coming from seven countries.

To understand the importance of a diversity of suppliers to a consumer like the United States, I highly recommend this documentary. In particular the part around 8:48.

What do subscribers get from The IKN Weekly?

Well, here's an example. This section is found in IKN42, dated February 21st 2010:

Antares Minerals (ANM.v): Ducks in line

I want to take a moment to emphasize my confidence in the current investment in Antares Minerals (ANM.v). Yes, I am long. Yes, it’s already a top pick selection. Yes, the whole investment was outlined in the NOBS report in IKN32 (if you’re new round here and want a copy, just say the word). But every now and again, and it doesn’t happen very often, my feelings on a stock go from strong buy to “man, I just have to pound on the table about this one as hard as I possibly can”. The last time it happened was in Dynasty Metals in December 2008 (DMM was at $1.40 or so at the time). There have been a few other occasions but I don’t want to fill up this report with “hey-look-at-me-aren’t-I-wonderful” types of commentary about past trades that have worked out well.

The point is that Antares has that “ducks in line” feeling about it, right here and right now. Therefore this short section is the sound of me banging on the table about the stock and waiting to see how the next few chapters of new resource number plus PDAC plus Xstrata at Las Bambas plus continued strength in copper plus beginnings of market awareness in ANM all combine.

Since that was written, six weekends have passed us by. Here's the price chart from then til now.

The IKN Weekly never has more than 15 stocks recommended as it's far too easy to "pick" 150 stocks, later claim massive wins on one or two of them and ignore the other duffers. As for Top Pick stocks, there are only two right now. One is ANM, (above) and the other is up 232.1% in less than a year. But it's likely that a third will be added soon.

IKN49 is out at its normal time, next Sunday afternoon EST. It'll cost you U$25 for a single month to find out what it can do for you so if you feel like giving it a whirl, the PayPal button is over there at the top right of the blog. (where you can also find a link to the first 30 editions of The IKN Weekly as free downloads).

Promo completed, have a nice day.

News roundup (we skirt the issues and rip the tissues)

Why do we love Bananama Republic so much? Here's why. Panama's finest blog, BR is to LatAm blogosphere as Messi is to futból.

Wave Journal has been adding tons of great photos of the Peru surfing scene to his blog recently. Check out the latest, a dreamy sunset shot of a choptop and its friends on board. And scroll down for the rest cos it's worth your time.

Robert Funk has a good post on the already rising doubts Chileans have about their new Piñera government. With the new administration's über-close ties to business, many people suspected that "friendly deals" (let's say) would line the pockets of ministerial friends & families; those suspicions are beginning to look well-founded.

Eight Colombians arrested as spies in Venezuela. Avoid the MSM claptrap, avoid the lefty rantings, get a decent balanced view of the episode from top indy media channel Colombia Reports right here.

Dynasty Metals (

It's funny how the anti-DMM hatemail sent non-stop to this humble scribe has suddenly dried up these last few days, innit?

C'mon, dumbasses, send me another. I always have a great laugh at your inane pretzel logic and total ignorance of all things Ecuador. I mean, it'll break up your day of watching porn movies while your mother downstairs watches daytime teevee, right?

A nice early morning rally in junior miners.....

....and if you're portfolio net long you're probably sitting on nice gains too. Unless, of course you're stupid enough to have Ecometals (EC.v) as a component, in which case you're probably feeling like a dumbass again.

Meanwhile, as an example of what non-dumbasses invest in, check out the move in Lumina (LCC.v) this morning....

...on the back of this news release, the first thing of substance from the company in several ages. And DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is.....

...South American military spending per capita by country, 1998 and 2008.

From this post over at Structurally Maladjusted where you'll find out lots lots more. So you'll hear all about the arms buildup in Venezuela this week, but not so much about Chile's and Colombia's. That's cos they buy from the USA. Your introduction to LatAm geopolitics starts with an F-16.


All hail Ecuador Insensato

A new interwebnetpipes site to recommend, thanks to kind reader 'S' and his headsup. The site is Ecuador Insensato, a welcome dose of Spanish language snark and satire on the country (and for my taste, even better than Venezuela's Chigüire Bipolar). Check out the site today for yourself and don't miss out on reports such as:

Correa Celebrates His Birthday Via Facebook
The President organizes a virtual party to avoid adulations and scandals

Beach Resort Opened For Upper Classes With Social Conscience
High-level government workers and NGO reps praise this new tourism experience

Ecologists Propose New Mining Economy
The plan is to mine as much money as possible from international organisms

All those and much much more. A great place for news about the underbelly of Ecuador. As from today Ecuador Insensato joins our blogroll, over there on the right. Enjoy.

Messi 4, Arsenal 1

In 21 minutes he tears apart one of the best teams in Europe and makes it look easy, then adds a fourth goal just before the end for the fun of it. As a pal said, "It's like me playing against my three year old boy".

We are not worthy.

UPDATE: Watch for yourself, here's the match summary video:

Trading Post (three strikes and you're out edition)

TheNewCrystallex (EC.v) down 3.8% at $0.375. What? Another delay to the sale of its asset to the company run by the EC.v ex-CEO? Whatever can it all mean? (cue giggling-in-background sound effects as market passes judgement on the saps still long).

Carpathian Gold ( up 10.7% at $0.415 on strong volumes after a couple of weeks of nothingness. I'll never understand how this fashion mentality works.

Vena Resources ( down a penny at $0.33 as the market tries to work out whether the share-backed credit line news out today is good news or not. Well yeah it is, actually. It means that VEM has no need to drop trousers and apply KY Jelly in Toronto or Vancouver. The re-structuring continues apace here. The other good thing to note is that last week's big volume surge wasn't just a single flash in the pan, with today's 400k+ shares traded pretty typical of recent action. This is good, as it lets weak hands depart without worrying the rest of us.

Antares Minerals (ANM.v) up 5.9% at $2.70 and that oh gosh feeling just gets stronger.

Pediment Gold ( down 3.2% at $1.51. Yesterday PEZ popped a great move on strong volumes and I'm sure it was because the stock was featured by Mickey Fulp in his latest Mercenary Musing. The report was available to his (free to join) subscribers all last weekend and now that I'm allowed to link it to others, here's a link to go get your own copy. It's a great report by the way, but find out why for yourself. This Fulp guy moves markets.

Rio Alto (RIO.v) doing a Lazarus

When RIO.v touched 92c just a few days ago, I was all shock-n-awe and wrote as much to a couple of pals. Well one wrote back to me this morning on the same thread with "..Will it touch .72? or .64?...".
Yup, that's a selloff. Maybe we got news coming soon about a possible financing? It's certainly the right time ballpark-wise.

One to watch, I own, not selling, DYODD, dude.

Argentina: New car sales point to economic recovery

News from the ACARA auto chamber of commerce in Argentina today is that new car sales had a record for the March month. The first quarter of 2010 has also set a new all-time record.

This is strong news on the consumer front for the country. For sure the inflationary spiral helps people unbutton their purses perhaps more quickly than they would normally, but there's no denying that people have money to spend down there. With GDP numbers also bouncing up in very much the same way as the rest of the region, reports of Argentina's economic implosion are greatly exaggerated...for a couple of years, anyway.

Thom Calandra and Ecometals (EC.v): Birds of a feather

The Ecometals/Goldmarca 10 year chart: Notice anything slightly suspicious about
its share price movements? If you don't, I have this great bridge
for sale so drop me a line and we can discuss details.

La plus ça change.........

After yesterday's
post on the subject, this humble scribe actually got round to reading the 2005 SEC complaint against Thom Cassandra last night (instead of just the litigation letter). And hoodathunkit!! Would you believe that he was in cahoots with Goldmarca, the company that later decided to completely change its way of doing things (oh yes oh yes whatever makes you doubt that?) just by changing its name to Ecometals (EC.v) and pretending the past never happened? Cut to 2010, Cassandra is running the same kind of newsletter as he was when shopped and Ecometals/Goldmarca continues to scam the market with its bullshit about being the next Aurelian here, and sales of properties that never happen there, and sales of manganese that never happen over there.

Strange how these crooks seem to attract each other, innit? Here's the relevant extract from the SEC complaint. In point of fact, the Goldmarca deal was a minor act compared to the rest of the illegal trades Cassandra was pulling (known as scalping), but the fact he was mixed up with these Ecometals scamsters and that company is still getting away with its bullshit is almost too funny so let's just run with this example:

"In addition to his scalping transactions, Calandra received undisclosed consideration in the form of substantially-discounted stock from two companies that he profiled in TCR (The Calandra Report), Goldmarca and IMC Ventures. Calandra purchased discounted shares in Goldmarca and IMC Ventures from a Canadian stock promoter that Calandra knew was associated with both companies. On October 28, 2003, Calandra purchased 155,000 shares of Goldmarca at $0.23 per share, a 39% discount from the market price of $0.38 per share. Similarly, he purchased 70,000 shares of IMC Ventures on the same day, at the discounted price of $0.37 per share, a 59% discount off of the company's market price of $0.91 per share.

Calandra then provided the companies with positive publicity in TCR. He wrote on multiple occasions about both Goldmarca and IMC Ventures, but never disclosed his receipt of discounted shares to his readers.

As in his other scalping transactions, Calandra sold the majority of his shares of Goldmarca and IMC Ventures immediately after touting the companies in TCR, making total profits of $52,022.75 and $61,496, respectively.

pretty, shiny stones (reprise)

To celebrate the announcement by Constitution Mining (CMIN.ob) to move forward on its deal with fellow scam stock Seabridge Gold (SA) ( last night, on the 300k oz Au gold asset (that's as dubious as a 43-101 could ever be without lapsing into regulatory default) IKN offers a reprise of the post first published about this deal back in late 2009, "Pretty Shiny Stones".


What you have to imagine are two people sitting opposite each other, both with a pile of things next to them. One has a pile of 20,000 smooth, pretty pink stones. The other has a pile of 20,000 smooth, pretty blue stones.

The first one says, "I'll swap 10,000 of my pink stones for 10,000 of your blue stones."

The second one says, "OK", and they do just that.

Then the first one says, "Hey, sell me one of your blue stones for a dollar."

The second guy does that. Then the guy looks down, sees the other 9,999 blue stones he has left and thinks, "Hey! I'm rich! If those are worth a dollar each, that means i have U$9,999. Cool!".

Then second guy thinks some more. "HEY! I got 10,000 pink stones too! I just swapped them 1-for-1 with the blue stones...they must be worth a dollar each, too! I got U$19,999 here...WAY COOL!".

So second guy decides to try and buy a few more pink stones. "Hey, sell me one of your pink stones for a dollar", he says to guy number one.

But guy one says "Nope...i want $2 cash for my stones."

Second guy says, "Not Fair!".

First guy says, "Yes it is...think about it. If you pay $2 for one of my pink stones, you can say that those 10,000 you already have are worth $20,000, not just $10,000."

Second guy sees the logic and buys a pink stone for two dollars.

So then the first guy says, "Hey, how much for another one of your blue stones?"

Second guy is catching on quickly and says, "Three dollars!"

1st guy: "DEAL!"

Then a third guy comes walking along. He sees the two friends having a good time and laughing with each other and says, "Hey, what you doing?"

1st guy: "We're selling pretty shiny stones. Want to buy one?"

3rd guy: "How much?"

1st guy: "Well, here's the deal. You buy one of mine for $5, but then he'll pay you $6 for the same stone as soon as we've done the deal."

3rd guy looks at 2nd guy and says, "Really?"

2nd guy: " make a dollar, just like that."

So the three guys do the deal and 3rd guy is really happy. "Hey!", he says...I gotta tell my friends about this! Do you mind if I invite some other people to play?".

"NOT AT ALL!" say guy 1 and guy 2 in unison, smiling big, wide smiles.

Etc etc etc etc etc

And now a news release from today.


Seabridge Gold reports that it has entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent to sell all of its interests in certain Nevada exploration properties, including Seabridge's Castle-Black Rock Project, to Constitution Mining Corp. for consideration exceeding US$7 million consisting of: (i) staged payments of US$3.0 million in cash; (ii) a US$1.0 million convertible debenture; and (iii) 3.0 million common shares of Constitution Mining. Closing of the transaction (expected on or about January 22, 2010) is subject to completion of final due diligence by Constitution, regulatory approval and execution of a binding definitive agreement. A previous agreement to sell these properties to another party for US$5 million has expired.

The US$3.0 million in cash is payable as follows: US$200,000 immediately, US$800,000 on Closing of the sale of the properties, US$1.0 million on February 28, 2010 and the obligation to pay the final US$1.0 million will arise under a secured promissory note due on the first anniversary of Closing together with accrued interest at 8% per year.

The US$1.0 million two-year debenture is due on the second anniversary of Closing and accrues interest at 8% per year payable quarterly. The debenture can be redeemed by Constitution at any time prior to maturity upon payment of US$1.25 million. If not redeemed, the debenture and any accrued interest are convertible by Seabridge into common shares of Constitution at US$1.00 per share.

Constitution's obligations under the promissory note and the debenture will be secured by the properties.

The 3.0 million common shares of Constitution will be issued as follows: 1.0 million common shares on Closing, and an additional 2.0 million common shares on February 28, 2010 but held in escrow and released to Seabridge on the third anniversary of Closing or upon confirmation that the properties host a measured and indicated gold resource of 1.0 million ounces or greater, whichever is earlier.

Constitution Mining is a publicly-traded exploration company with large holdings of alluvial gold deposits in the Gold Sands district of Peru. The Company is currently engaged in a program of pitting and test-mining to determine the feasibility of large-scale mining of this resource.

Seabridge holds a 100% interest in several North American gold resource projects. The Company's principal assets are the KSM property located near Stewart, British Columbia, Canada and the Courageous Lake gold project located in Canada's Northwest Territories.

As the old saying goes, two scams are better than one.

Question of the day

Is Greg Weeks capable of writing a post in his blog supposedly about Latin America without mentioning either the USA, Cuba or Venezuela? Does he have the mental strength to tear away from his obsessions for just one post? Will a little pan-regional balance ever seep into his world? After all, we're talking about an academic here and not some one-track-minded nutbar, right?


Inquiring minds etc......

(in other words Greg, it's getting rather boring and you're better than this)

Chart of the day is....

...the price of copper registered by the use of weekly candles.

I like charts when they have a simple story to tell. I like this chart. Do not complicate your life. Do not listen to the Casey dumbasses.


Mining news from Colombia, the new politically riskless zone according to Thom Calandra and other mining analyst idiots

Ok, folks, let's play Spot The Difference: Can you see any slight discrepancy between this press release from Medoro Resources on March 31st:

TORONTO, March 31 /CNW/ - Medoro Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: MRS) is pleased to announce that it has signed an asset purchase agreement (the "Agreement") with Frontino Gold Mines Ltd. ("Frontino") represented by its duly appointed and legally confirmed liquidator and legal representative, Mr. Luis Fernando Alvarado, to acquire all of the assets of Frontino, located near the city of Segovia, approximately 220 kms north of Medellin in Antioquia, Colombia. The Agreement has been authorized and approved by the advisory board of Frontino, which includes the Liquidator. CONTINUES HERE

And this press release from those calling themselves the true owners of Frontino:

SEGOVIA, COLOMBIA--(Marketwire - April 5, 2010) - This press release is in answer to the public statement of the Canadian company Medoro Resources, dated 31-March-2010, in which Medoro claims to have signed a purchase agreement for the assets of Frontino Gold Mines (Colombia).

"On behalf of the worker's union, the creditors, and the people of Segovia, who are the legal owners of Frontino Gold Mines - we do not know of any such agreement, nor will we recognize any such agreements," said Dairo Alberto Rua, Presidente, Sintramienergetica of Segovia.

"I believe the same statement by Medoro also suggests that Medoro has other plans for workers currently employed by Frontino Gold Mines. On behalf of the entire population and the worker's union, will firmly and decisively oppose any such plans by Medoro," said Alfredo de Jesus Tobon Alvanes, Presidente, ASOACREF.

"We know exactly the worth of Frontino Gold Mines, and will not allow Medoro and persons to take our assets at a price that is a tiny fraction of its true value," Dairo Rua continued.

"On behalf of the owners of Frontino Gold Mines, we want the world to know that we will never accept any such agreements with Medoro, whose behavior has caused great upset, concern and unrest in the area. We believe that Mr. Luis Fernando Alvarado Ortiz and Medoro Resources are trying to create chaos and fear in the mining district of Segovia," said Alfredo de Jesus Tobon Alvanes.

"Only a general assembly of the current creditors (shareholders) can make any decisions in regards to the assets of Frontino Gold Mines. It is very clear that Mr. Luis Fernando Alvarado Ortiz is neither a creditor nor an owner of Frontino Gold Mines and therefore has no right to make decisions," said Alfredo de Jesus Tobon Alvanes. "Our ownership rights are fully documented by a number of legal deeds."

"A criminal complaint against Mr. Serafino Iacono has been filed with the Prosecutor General of Colombia for alleged false and malicious statements made against the workers and owners of the assets of Frontino Gold Mines," said Mr. Rua.

"A coalition consisting of the workers, owners, and creditors of Frontino Gold Mines, along with the Segovia City Council and the people of the region, strongly and unanimously reject the attempts by Medoro Resources to take what is rightfully and legally ours, and demand that our voices be heard and that the law be respected," said Mr. Rua.

For more information, please contact

Dairo Alberto Rua
Cell: 313 645 4601 / 311 333 9560

But of course, Colombia is this wonderful new, shiny heaven for Canadian junior miners, isn't it? You see, this is the kind of crap company that the fraudster Thom Cassandra* pumps to his greenhorn flock, as according to that illegal trader anything that Frank Giustra touches turns immediately to gold. I vomit.

UPDATE: Answering a reader's mail. Yes, when I used the words "fraudster" and "illegal trader" to describe Calandra I wasn't joking. Here's the SEC litigation release:


Litigation Release No. 19028 / January 10, 2005

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Thom Calandra, Case No. C05 00135 JCS (N.D. Cal. filed January 10, 2005)


The Securities and Exchange Commission today brought and settled civil fraud charges against Thom Calandra, a former columnist for the Internet website CBS The Commission alleges that Calandra profited by secretly selling stocks shortly after his investment newsletter's positive recommendations of the stocks caused their prices to rise. In settling the matter, Calandra, who lives in Sausalito, California, will pay over $540,000 in disgorgement and penalties.

According to the Commission's complaint, filed in the Northern District of California, Calandra made over $400,000 in illegal profits through a practice known as "scalping"-buying shares of thinly-traded, small-cap companies, writing highly favorable newsletter profiles recommending the companies to his newsletter subscribers, and then selling the majority of his shares when the increased demand generated by his favorable columns drove up the stock price. From March to December 2003, Calandra followed this "Buy-Write-Sell" pattern for 23 different stocks that he covered in The Calandra Report, without disclosing his actions to his readers.

In addition, the Commission alleged that Calandra failed to tell his readers that he had received compensation from a stock promoter affiliated with two mining companies that Calandra profiled in The Calandra Report. The compensation took the form of heavily-discounted shares in the two companies-shares which Calandra later sold at a substantial profit after the stock prices rose following his favorable newsletter write-ups.

Calandra, without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, has agreed to a permanent injunction from further violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws (Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder), and from further violations of Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, which prohibits the non-disclosure of compensation received for providing publicity about a security. Calandra also will disgorge $416,109.58 in illegal trading profits and prejudgment interest and will pay a civil penalty of $125,000.

But hey, this is 2010 so feel free to trust the dude now that he's doing something completely different with his time these days by..... errr........
writing highly favorable newsletter profiles on thinly-traded, small-cap companies and recommending the companies to his newsletter subscribers.

*According to the Greek myths, after being cursed by Apollo nobody ever believed Cassandra's predictions again. source.