أنياب العم سام تتخلع … إحصائيات في مستوى الفقر في أمريكا .. !!!

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الدب الأمريكي الهائج بدأت تتخلع أنيابه و مخالبه, نعم, إنه الفقر اللذي بات ينخر الجسد الأمريكي من الداخل, قد يبدو الأمر صعبا على التصديق بالنسبة للبعض, لكن الفقر قد بلغ مستويات كارثية, لا مثيل لها منذ أزمة الأسهم عام 1929, رغم أن خبراء وول ستريت يتحدثون بسخاء كبير عن إرتفاع أداء الأسواق المالية اللذي بلغ مؤخرا أفضل مستوياته على الاطلاق, فإن عدد الأمريكيين الذين يعيشون في فقر مذقع قد وصل الآن إلى مستوى لم تشهده أمريكا منذ 1960, نعم،أرباح شركات الأسهم و الأبناك الخاصة و أبناك الإستثمار ترتفع بشكل قياسي، لكن في نفس الوقت يرتفع معها عدد من الأمريكيين اللذين يعيشون على
كوبونات الطعام.
إليكم بعض إحصائيات الأزمة الإقتصادية و آثارها عند العم سام :

 وفقا لمكتب الإحصاء الأميركي، ما يقرب من واحد من بين كل ستة أمريكيين يعيش الآن في وضع إقتصادي تحت خط الفقر. عدد الأمريكيين الذين يعيشون في هذه الوضعيةقد وصل إلى مستوى لم يشهده منذ عام 1960.

 وفقا لمكتب الإحصاء الأميركي، أكثر من 146 مليون أميركي هم حاليا إما « فقراء » أو « من ذوي الدخل المنخفض ».

 ما يقارب 20 في المئة من جميع الأطفال في الولايات المتحدة يعيشون في مستوى تحت خط الفقر، وهي نسبة أعلى اليوم مما كان عليه الحال في عام 1975.

 الفقر وصل إلى مستويات كارثية في المدن،حيث ما يقارب 29.2 في المئة من الأسر الأميركية (خاصة بين السود) تعيش في حالة متواصلة من إنعدام الأمن الغذائي.

 للمرة الأولى على الإطلاق، أكثر من مليون تلميذ في المدارس العامة في الولايات المتحدة لا مأوى لهم. وقد ارتفع هذا العدد بنسبة 57 في المئة منذ العام الدراسي 2006-2007.

 تشرد العائلات بأكملها في منطقة واشنطن العاصمة (واحدة من أغنى المناطق في البلد بأكمله) قد ارتفع 23 في المائة منذ بدء فترة الركود الأخيرة .

 نتيجة الفقر و البطالة, وصل التفتت العائلي حدودا كارثية, فما يقارب من واحد من بين كل ثلاثة أطفال في الولايات المتحدة  يعيش في منزل بدون أب.

 حوالي 40 في المئة من جميع العمال العاطلين عن العمل في أمريكا  يعانون حاليا من البطالة لمدة نصف سنة على الأقل.

 بلغ عدد الأمريكيين اللذين يعيشون على نظام المساعدات الغذائية المسمى طوابع أو كوبونات الغذاء رقما قياسيا هذا العام حيث يناهز 48 مليون نسمة, للتذكير عندما تولى باراك أوباما فترته الرئاسيةالأولى، لم يتجاوز هذا العدد حوالي 32 مليون نسمة.

المحللون الإقتصاديون باتوا يتساءلون الآن, هل يجوز لهم أن يقيسوا أداء الإقتصاد الأمريكي بالإعتماد على الأداء الكاذب لفقاعة سوق الأسهم التي تتضخم حاليا بواسطة سياسة طبع النقود المتهورة اللتي يعتمدها رئيس بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي في الولايات المتحدة بن برنانكي و المسماة سياسة التيسير الكمي, أم بالإعتماد على مستوى المعيشة لدى الطبقة الوسطى اللتي قاربت على الإندثار من المجتمع الأمريكي, فإذا نظرنا للوضع من هذه الناحية, فلا يوجد هناك ما يدعو للإطمئنان, فالفقر يشتد داخل المجتمع الأمريكي شهرا بعد شهر و الطبقة المتوسطة اللتي كانت تعتبر الدعامة الرئيسية للإقتصاد تستمر في الإنكماش, و تبعا للإحصائيات فإن الأمور ليست على ما يرام بالنسبة لمعظم الأميركيين, و خلال السنتين الماضيتين, عاش الإقتصاد الأمريكي على آمال إنتعاش كاذبة, إعتمدت بالأساس على إغراق الأسواق الأمريكية بكميات مهولة من الدين من طرف  بنك الإحتياطي الفيدرالي على أمل أن يسهم ذلك في إعادة الحياة لإقتصاد داخلي شبه ميت, و لسوء الحظ, لم يعد من الممكن أن تستمر هذه الفقاعة في التضخم, بل لقد بدأت بالفعل أولى بوادر الإنفجار في الظهور بتزايد مطرد في معدلات البطالة حسب الأرقام الأخيرة, مما يدل على أن الإقتصاد الأمريكي سيكون على موعد مع مستويات ركود أشد و أقوى.
يبدو أننا نشهد بالفعل نهاية عصر الهيمنة الأمريكية, إقتصاديا على الأقل …!!

مهدي بوعبيد
18/04/2013

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The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America | Pakalert Press

Malgré les manipulations des chiffres du chômage et du taux d’industrialisation des USA et avec l’indice du Dow Jones qui n’arrête de pas de franchir les barres de ses propres records, la pauvreté frappe de plus en plus dans le pays et à un rythme cauchemardesque qui impose aux américains des styles de vie de plus en plus extrême, dans l’article ci-dessous, on parle d’un phénomène qui intéresse de plus en plus la presse américaine, Les Habitants des Tunnels, en effet de plus en plus d’Américains ruinés par la crise économique qui sévit dans le pays depuis 2008 et n’ayant plus de domicile choisissent de vivre dans les tunnels et les égouts des grandes villes Américaine, Las Vegas, New York, Kansas City, des familles entières avec leurs enfants (des bébés ..) n’ont plus les moyens de subsister ou se loger, s’installent dans les tunnels … entre temps, la Réserve Fédérale et son Chef BEn Bernanke continuent leurs Quantitative Easing et font pomper des milliards de dollars dans les banques privées …. Drôle de Monde ….. !!!!

By The Way, vous ne verrez pas ce genre d’infos passer sur BFM Business ou Fox News …. !!!

Mehdi BOUABID

15/04/2013

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Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities?  It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City.  As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding and so is homelessness.  In addition to the thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night.  The federal government tells us that the recession “is over” and that “things are getting better”, and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight.  So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?

The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America

When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network of underground tunnels beneath the streets of Kansas City, I was absolutely stunned.  I have relatives that live in that area.  I never thought ofKansas City as one of the more troubled cities in the United States.

But according to the Daily Mail, police recently discovered a network of tunnels under the city that people had been living in…

Below the streets of Kansas City, there are deep underground tunnels where a group of vagrant homeless people lived in camps.

These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.

Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.

The saddest part is the fact that authorities found dirty diapers in the areas near these tunnels.  That must mean that babies were being raised in that kind of an environment.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the nation.  In recent years, the tunnel people of Las Vegas have received quite a bit of publicity all over the world.  It has been estimated that more than 1,000 people live in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city…

Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.

But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.

Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.

Could you imagine living like that?  Sadly, for an increasing number of Americans a “normal lifestyle” is no longer an option.  Either they have to go to the homeless shelters or they have to try to eke out an existence on their own any way that they can.

In New York City, authorities are constantly trying to root out the people that live in the tunnels under the city and yet they never seem to be able to find them all.  The following is from a New York Post articleabout the “Mole People” that live underneath New York City…

The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It’s more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.

The New York Post followed one homeless man known as “John Travolta” on a tour through the underground world.  What they discovered was a world that is very much different from what most New Yorkers experience…

In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.

Even as the Dow hits record high after record high, poverty in New York City continues to rise at a very frightening pace.  Incredibly, the number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

In many of our major cities, the homeless shelters are already at maximum capacity and are absolutely packed night after night.  Large numbers of homeless people are often left to fend for themselves.

That is one reason why we have seen the rise of so many tent cities.

Yes, the tent cities are still there, they just aren’t getting as much attention these days because they do not fit in with the “economic recovery” narrative that the mainstream media is currently pushing.

In fact, many of the tent cities are larger than ever.  For example, you can check out a Reuters video about a growing tent city in New Jersey that was posted on YouTube at the end of March right here.  A lot of these tent cities have now become permanent fixtures, and unfortunately they will probably become much larger when the next major economic crisis strikes.

But perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the massive number of children that are suffering night after night.

For the first time ever, more than a million public school children in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

So if things are really “getting better”, then why in the world do we have more than a million public school children without homes?

These days a lot of families that have lost their homes have ended up living in their vehicles.  The following is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes interview with one family that is living in their truck…

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter. And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ‘em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?

But after watching a news report or reading something on the Internet about these people we rapidly forget about them because they are not a part of “our world”.

Another place where a lot of poor people end up is in prison.  In a previous article, I detailed how the prison population in the United States has been booming in recent years.  If you can believe it, the United States now has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has about 5 percent of the total global population.

And these days it is not just violent criminals that get thrown into prison.  If you lose your job and get behind on your bills, you could be thrown into prison as well.  The following is from a recent CBS News article

Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions’s Equal Protection Clause.

Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the originaldebt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.

The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors’ prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, “It’s like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor.”

If you are poor, the United States can be an incredibly cold and cruel place.  Mercy and compassion are in very short supply.

The middle class continues to shrink and poverty continues to grow with each passing year.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty.  And if you throw in those that are considered to be “near poverty”, that number becomes much larger.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

For many more facts about the rapid increase of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.

But even as poverty grows, it seems like the hearts of those that still do have money are getting colder.  Just check out what happened recently at a grocery store that was in the process of closing down in Augusta, Georgia

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

Can you imagine watching that happen?

But of course handouts and charity are only temporary solutions.  What the poor in this country really need are jobs, and unfortunately there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States since the recession ended.

In fact, the employment crisis looks like it is starting to take another turn for the worse.  The number of layoffs in the month of March was 30 percent higher than the same time a year ago.

Meanwhile, small businesses are indicating that hiring is about to slow down significantly.  According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses in the United States are extremely pessimistic right now.  The following is what Goldman Sachs had to say about this survey…

Components of the survey were consistent with the decline in headline optimism, as the net percent of respondents planning to hire fell to 0% (from +4%), those expecting higher sales fell to -4% (from +1%), and those reporting that it is a good time to expand ticked down to +4% (from +5%). The net percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve was unchanged at -28%, a very depressed level. However, on the positive side, +25% of respondents plan increased capital spending [ZH: With Alcoa CapEx spending at a 2 year low]. Small business owners continue to place poor sales, taxes, and red tape at the top of their list of business problems, as they have for the past several years.

So why aren’t our politicians doing anything to fix this?

For example, why in the world don’t they stop millions of our jobs from being sent out of the country?

Well, the truth is that they don’t think we have a problem.  In fact, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson recently saidthat U.S. trade deficits “don’t matter”.

He apparently does not seem alarmed that more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down in the United States since 2001.

And since the last election, the White House has seemed to have gone into permanent party mode.

On Tuesday, another extravagant party will be held at the White House.  It is being called “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul”, and it is going to include some of the biggest names in the music industry…

As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.

And so who will be paying for all of this?

You and I will be.  Even as the Obamas cry about all of the other “spending cuts” that are happening, they continue to blow millions of taxpayer dollars on wildly extravagant parties and vacations.

Overall, U.S. taxpayers will spend well over a billion dollars on the Obamas this year.

I wonder what the tunnel people that live under the streets of America think about that.

This article first appeared at The Economic Collapse.

Source : http://www.pakalertpress.com/2013/04/11/the-tunnel-people-that-live-under-the-streets-of-america/

 

Wealth Inequality in America

Suivez bien cette présentation, elle vous permettra de comprendre l’envergure de la différence entre les différentes classes sociales aux Etats-unis, entre les 1% et les 99%, et quand vous aurez fini, imaginez un peu à quoi ça doit ressembler dans les pays du tiers monde, vous finirez par comprendre que ce foutu monde ne tient plus debout et que le glas du capitalisme et du néolibéralisme brut et sauvage va bientôt sonner … !!!

Pénurie de munitions aux US !!!

Pénurie de Munitions au états-unis, les américains n’ont plus confiance en l’avenir et se préparent au moment ou le cirque va péter … !!!

Le Mexique veut impérativement auditer ses réserves d’Or stockées à la Banque d’Angleterre … !!!| SilverDoctors.com

L’Or, tout le monde en parle, tout le monde en cherche, il est maintenant question de Souveraineté pour les pays, le navire économique est entrain de chavirer et les issues possibles se réduisent à la garantie des véritables richesses, les métaux précieux et non les billets de banques qui très bientôt ne serviront à rien …. l’impact est de plus en plus imminent et on va tous rigoler bien comme il faut … et le Spectacle va être édifiant …..!!!!

Le Mexique veut impérativement auditer ses réserves d’Or stockées à la Banque d’Angleterre … !!!

Mehdi BOUABID

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MEXICO’S FEDERAL AUDIT DEMANDS PHYSICAL INSPECTION OF SOVEREIGN GOLD HOLDINGS HELD AT BOE!

*BREAKING
Guest Post, by Guillermo Barba

Today we have an exclusive note on this blog: the Mexican Superior Audit of the Federation (“ASF” in Spanish), in its Report of Supreme Audit Results of the 2011 Public Account” delivered last week to the Chamber of Deputies, gave a stern “recommendation” to the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) to audit the Bank of Mexico’s gold reserves held in London at the Bank of England.

The reason is one of the most important issues we have addressed here: the gold reserves of Mexico.
As you may recall, last year we informed that after four months of legal wrangling with Banxico, it was forced to give us the information about the supposed physical location of Mexico’s sovereign gold holdings.  In the disclosure, we discovered that 95 percent of the Mexican gold reserves (about 125 tonnes) were abroad, and almost all (99%), in London, England.The ASF has determined that Mexico should “make a physical inspection with the counterparty that has the gold under its custody, in order to be able to verify and validate its physical wholeness and thecompliance with the terms and conditions of dealing with this Asset…” It was verified by the ASF that this has never been done by Banxico.
Well, the ASF documented the purchase of 100 tonnes of gold that was made in 2011, for a total of 4,543 million dollars.
In its report, the ASF says that a confirmation of the operation was made with the counterparty, but also “found that Banxico has not conducted physical inspections to gold to verify compliance with the terms of acquisition and the conditions regarding its storage, in order to be certain of the physical custody of this asset.” Our emphasis.
Moreover, the central bank only has documents which establish the terms and conditions, the dates of the transactions and payment vouchers. That’s all.
In other words, Banxico invested 4.5 billion dollars and released the money without making any confirmation of the existence of the gold purchased, or of the location of the vaults where the gold bars were supposed to be held. Mere “paper gold”.
The ASF states that the Central Bank gave them some arguments on why they did not consider any verification as necessary, and assured them that the gold reserves were under the custody of “a prestigious financial institution”. It seems that Banxico has a “blind faith” regarding such an institution.
According to the report, the Bank of Mexico said that the metal seller “only” offers services to other central banks and monetary authorities, and “places gold in custody in a bank of the United Kingdom” who “sets strict standards for weight and purity which gold bars must meet, in order to be received  under custody.” Almost a religious act for Banxico.
In this blog it’s been documented that this custodian is none other than the famous Bank of England, which is supposed to provide its services on an “allocated basis”. That is, that customers have, or should have, a list of every ingot owned with serial number and stamped certifications of purity.
Banxico has none of these lists. Last year it could not answer a single question made by this journalist, through a legal “Request for Information”, about the number of bars that make up the Mexican gold reserves. The central bank only said that “due to the variability of the content of gold in the bars, it is not possible to specify with certainty the exact number of bars purchased.” Oops!
All this makes us wonder if Banxico is really complying with the mandate of Section I of Article 19 of the Bank of Mexico Act: that the reserve shall be composed of “The currencies and gold owned by the Central Bank, free of all liens and whose availability is not subject to any restriction”.
Is there no restriction on gold bullion that has not even been proved to exist? Isn´t Banxico breaking its own law?
The institution headed by Agustin Carstens wished to be excused for this irregularity, and reported that it is a common practice to perform such operations, and that an inspection such as that recommended by the ASF would have a“significant cost”.
Nevertheless, the ASF has insisted under its official “recommendation” number 11-0-98001-02-0154-01-001 (they made only two recommendations, and this was the first): Bank of Mexico should “make a physical inspection with the counterparty that has the gold under its custody, in order to be able to verify and validate its physical wholeness and thecompliance with the terms and conditions of dealing with this Asset…” It was verified by the ASF that this has never been done by Banxico.
No doubt. This is very delicate and Banxico has gotten into this problem unnecessarily.
Therefore it is important for Dr. Carstens to stop being evasive and decide not only to verify our gold but to order its complete repatriation to the country. It would not be the first nation to do so.
This is the very same story that Germany lived just months ago.
There, the German court of auditors (Bundesrechnungshof) demanded also in 2012 that the Bundesbank undertake an audit of its gold reserves.
By the way, a German parliamentarian, Philipp Missfelder, wished to inspect the German gold bars held at the N.Y. Fed, and the N.Y. Fed could not, or did not wish to, tell him which bars belonged to the Germans.
In Mexico we need to bring home all our gold. These ingots are national treasures and we should claim them as an act of sovereignty. There is no reason for them to remain abroad.
Instead of selling our golden reserves, as Banxico has been doing for several months now, it should take this buying opportunity to acquire much more. In this blog, we’ll be informing in the weeks to come if these gold bars have been located in our Mexican territory, England or NY.

Meanwhile, we have to remember that this global financial crisis is far from over, and that it is essential for us to have “in hand” the small gold shield we decided to buy. Not doing so means that we are unnecessarily exposed to expropriation and the real possibility of waking up tomorrow with a “hang over”, after a “dream of gold”.

Originally Posted at Guillermo Barba’s blog

Source : http://www.silverdoctors.com/mexicos-federal-audit-demands-physical-inspection-of-sovereign-gold-holdings-held-at-boe/

 

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Créteil : un architecte se suicide devant le centre des impôts | ActuWiki

Ce père de famille s’est tiré une balle dans la tête après avoir laissé un mot à l’accueil du centre de Créteil. Il devait 26 000 € au fisc.

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«Tous les jours, il recevait des recommandés, des courriers des impôts, il semblait criblé de dettes. » Dans cet immeuble cossu et tranquille de l’avenue du Général-Leclerc à Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne), une voisine revoit les va-et-vient réguliers du facteur. Un peu plus tôt dans l’après-midi, hier vers 14h30, cet architecte de 55 ans s’est rendu au centre des impôts de Créteil et, dans la cour du bâtiment, s’est tiré une balle dans la tête avec un revolver calibre 38 chargé de six balles.

Il avait auparavant laissé un mot à une employée de l’accueil : « Vous avez voulu ma peau, vous l’avez. »

Il ne travaillait plus depuis des années

Selon des sources concordantes, l’homme, marié et père de deux adolescents, devait près de 26000 € au Trésor public. Le centre des impôts, qui abrite la Direction départementale des finances publiques, a fermé ses portes pour la journée et une cellule psychologique y a été mise en place. En fin d’après-midi, les employés sortaient au goutte-à-goutte du périmètre mis en place par la police : certains n’avaient « rien vu, rien entendu »; d’autres, comme Florence, venue faire une formation, avaient été mis au courant une heure après le drame. « On a souvent des gens agités qui se présentent à l’accueil, mais on n’avait jamais vu un tel drame. Apparemment, il a demandé à voir une employée en particulier, mais il n’a pas attendu longtemps. Il devait être vraiment désespéré. »

« « Je l’ai aperçu de loin et j’ai entendu une forte détonation », décrit Kevin, agent au service du courrier. Mes collègues de l’accueil sont choqués, voire traumatisés. » Une enquête « aux fins de recherche des causes de la mort » a été ouverte.

Des voisins de l’architecte-urbaniste qui s’est donné la mort, habitant de longue date non loin de chez lui, assurent qu’il ne travaillait plus depuis des années : « Pendant une période, il partait en province la semaine et revenait le week-end. Mais ça fait longtemps qu’il n’a plus de travail. Je le rencontrais souvent dans la journée. Il emmenait son fils au judo et s’occupait de l’intendance d’une partie de l’immeuble : dès qu’on avait un souci, on allait le voir. » Ce voisin décrit un homme gai lors de son emménagement dans les lieux il y a presque vingt ans, devenu triste au fil des ans, mais qui ne se laissait toutefois pas aller. Son adresse personnelle était aussi celle de son entreprise d’ingénierie et de bureau d’études. « Christian n’était pas bien, on essayait de l’aider. J’avais rendez-vous avec lui cet après-midi. J’ai attendu une heure et demie et puis je suis parti », affirme ce proche, dévasté par le drame.

Source : Le Parisien

http://actuwiki.fr/actu/13650

 

 

Merde aux banquiers! | Le Devoir

Merde aux banquiers! | Le Devoir.

Le jugement de cour est passé presque inaperçu, la semaine dernière. Mais il est de taille. Selon un tribunal de l’Association européenne de libre-échange, l’Islande avait le droit, lorsque ses banques se sont effondrées en 2008, de refuser de rembourser ses épargnants étrangers.

Ce jugement répond à une question cruciale : l’argent public doit-il sauver ou non des banques en faillite ? Après la chute de la première banque privée du pays, Landsbanki, l’Islande avait dû nationaliser en catastrophe son système bancaire. Par la suite, décision avait été prise – les politiciens se voyant un peu forcés par un peuple en colère et des référendums sans équivoque – de dire « merde » aux banquiers… et par la même occasion à leurs victimes étrangères.

 

***

 

L’Islande, c’est ce minuscule pays insulaire (325 000 habitants) qui, dès 2008 et avant tous les autres, a connu les affres de la crise économique et financière. Au cours des années 2000, et jusqu’à ce fatidique automne 2008, une gigantesque bulle s’était formée dans ce pays.

 

Quelques banques de Reykjavik avaient réussi à attirer, de façon plus ou moins honnête, les économies et les investissements de sociétés et d’épargnants étrangers, la plupart britanniques et hollandais, qui étaient venus alléchés par des taux d’intérêt extraordinaires.

 

Dans les magouilles de ces fastes années, beaucoup d’Islandais avaient trouvé leur compte. Avant leur « divine colère » de 2008-2009, ils avaient longtemps fermé les yeux sur les manoeuvres lucratives des Icesave et autres Landbanski, entreprises financières dirigées par des chefs hautement « créatifs » dans leur recherche de débouchés internationaux.

 

Fin 2007, l’ONU rapportait qu’avec un produit intérieur brut de 40 000 euros par habitant, les Islandais jouissaient du niveau de vie le plus élevé du monde. Chômage inexistant, dette minime, croissance annuelle de 5 %. Avec un secteur bancaire envahissant qui avait supplanté les activités traditionnelles du pays (pêche).

 

Fin 2008, la bulle éclatait. Les banques faisaient faillite, laissant des dettes équivalant à plusieurs centaines de milliers de dollars par habitant… et le niveau de vie s’effondrait de près de 20 % en quelques mois.

 

***

 

Il y a quelques jours sur Al-Jazeera anglais, en provenance de Davos, on pouvait voir une interview d’Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, président islandais réélu pour un quatrième mandat en juin 2012 (notamment parce qu’il a pris la part « du peuple » dans ce scandale bancaire).

 

Extrait de cette entrevue du président Grimsson : « Pourquoi considère-t-on que les banques sont les saintes chapelles de l’économie moderne ? La théorie que vous devez payer pour sauver les banques, selon laquelle les banquiers peuvent jouir de leurs propres bénéfices et de leur succès, mais que ce sont les gens ordinaires qui doivent payer pour leurs échecs, au moyen des impôts et de l’austérité… cette théorie, eh bien, les gens ne l’accepteront pas sur le long terme, dans des démocraties éclairées. »

 

On ne saurait mieux critiquer la doctrine de l’austérité, appliquée scrupuleusement par des pays comme la Lettonie (5,5 % de chômage avant la crise, 14 % aujourd’hui), le Royaume-Uni ou l’Irlande, régulièrement cités en exemple par les tenants de la rigueur fiscale. L’Irlande qui a connu vers la même époque des malheurs similaires, mais qui – à la différence de l’Islande – a remboursé scrupuleusement les créanciers étrangers, augmentant la dette nationale de façon astronomique… L’Irlande dont le taux de chômage, début 2013, reste aux alentours de 15 %.

 

Et l’Islande en 2013 ? Le pays des Vikings n’a pas seulement dit « merde » aux banquiers véreux. L’État islandais a refusé de suivre les doctes conseils des spécialistes de Londres et de Bruxelles ; il n’a pas fait de la réduction du déficit et des privilèges des banques une priorité absolue ; il a même défié le droit européen. Il a dévalué radicalement sa monnaie (oui, ce petit pays farouchement indépendant dispose toujours de sa devise), et ne s’en trouve que mieux aujourd’hui.

 

Le niveau de vie des Islandais a certes baissé : les week-ends à Paris sont plus rares, les importations de luxe également. Mais le chômage est retombé sous les 8 %, et après l’épouvantable purge de 2008-2009, la croissance a repris à 3 ou 4 % par an. Le pays, au contraire de tous les voisins qui ont traversé des épreuves semblables, est résolument sur la voie de la récupération totale.

 

Et s’il y avait une autre façon de faire face à la crise ?

***

François Brousseau est chroniqueur d’information internationale à Radio-Canada. On peut l’entendre tous les jours à l’émission Désautels à la Première Chaîne radio.

Iceland Crise en Islande

Bankrun sur l’or physique – Egalite et Réconciliation

Bankrun sur l’or physique – Egalite et Réconciliation.

Après les Allemands, ce sont les Suisses qui veulent rapatrier leur Or … serait-ce le début de crash de la confiance Or-Monnaie imposée par le système bancaire et financier … ???!!

La Suisse s’apprêterait à rapatrier son or à son tour

Cette fois ci c’est la Suisse qui est concernée avec le mouvement « The Swiss Gold Initiative » lancé par 4 membres du parlement Suisse en mars 2012, mouvement qui exige le rapatriement de l’or détenu par la banque nationale Suisse (source).

90 000 personnes soutiennent ce mouvement, or dés qu’il atteindra 100 000 personnes, le parlement Suisse devra organiser un référendum.

Ce mouvement affirme que les Suisses devraient avoir le droit de donner leur avis sur 3 points :

- le fait de garder les stocks d’or de la nation en Suisse ;

- de pouvoir empêcher la banque nationale Suisse de vendre tout ou partie des réserves d’or du pays ;

- d’imposer à la banque nationale Suisse de détenir au minimum 20 % des réserves en or physique.

Pour le moment la banque nationale Suisse n’a pas souhaité révéler ou se situent les stocks d’or du pays mais ce mouvement, dès qu’il atteindra les 100 000 personnes, l’y obligera certainement.

Nous parlons ici de 1040 tonnes d’or physique…

Les États n’ont visiblement plus confiance dans les banques centrales (New York Fed et Banque centrale d’Angleterre), censées détenir l’or physique pour le compte de nombreux États.

On comprend pourquoi quand on s’aperçoit que l’Allemagne mettra 7 ans à récupérer de la FED de New York, de la Banque centrale d’Angleterre et la Banque de France, ce qui ne représente qu’une petite partie de la totalité de son stock d’or.

Comment est il possible que 7 ans soient nécessaire pour expédier le stock d’or de l’Allemagne ?

L’or n’y est peut être tout simplement plus, comme l’affirme le GATA, prêté aux banques d’affaires et vendu sur les marchés pour maintenir les cours sous pression et sauvegarder encore un temps la confiance dans le système monétaire d’argent « papier » non convertible.

Si l’or n’y est plus (tout ou partie) d’où viendra t-il ? Peut-être qu’un début de réponse se trouve dans l’intervention commune de la France et des USA au Mali, le pays d’Afrique le plus riche en or ? Timing troublant au demeurant…

Fabrice Drouin Ristori

lingots-11

» Attaque de la finance

» Attaque de la finance.

Attaque de la finance

Monsieur Dupond, après une longue carrière d’exploitation capitaliste, a réussi à se constituer une épargne pour améliorer l’ordinaire une fois l’âge légal de la retraite passé ou, le cas échéant, pour survivre des fois que l’État ait fait faillite d’ici-là. Comme il est patriote, Monsieur Dupond décide d’aider l’État français à se financer en plaçant ces économies sur l’OAT 2,25% 25 octobre 2022, obligation émise pour de vrai le 31 octobre dernier [1].

Il faut dire que des emprunts d’État, il y en a. C’est la maladie classique des social-démocraties : elles sont en permanence tiraillées entre une cette part de leur électorat qui réclame des services publics gratuits (i.e. financés par l’impôt) et ceux de leurs électeurs qui rechignent à raquer pour les autres. Du coup, afin d’assurer la réélection de l’équipe en place et une fois les trésors du génie fiscal épuisés, la social-démocratie se met à créer des dettes. Mieux encore, elle a même trouvé un moyen de justifier scientifiquement ses penchants clientélistes grâce à John Maynard Keynes : créer du déficit et de la dette, c’est une politique de croissance ™ et donc, c’est bien ; gérer son budget sainement, c’est de l’austérité ™ et donc, c’est mal.

Bref. Le 31 octobre 2012, Monsieur Dupond achète pour 100 euros (multipliez ce chiffre et les suivants comme bon vous semble) d’OAT 2,25% 25 octobre 2022 en vertu de quoi, l’État s’engage à lui verser 2,25 euros d’intérêts par an pour chacune des 10 prochaines années et à lui rembourser ses 100 euros en octobre 2022. Naturellement, ces intérêts seront fiscalisés soit au taux du prélèvement libératoire de 24%, soit au barème progressif de l’impôt sur le revenu et devront également être amputés de 15,5% de prélèvements sociaux : ce qui signifie que l’État pourrait récupérer jusqu’à 39,5% des intérêts qu’il paye à Monsieur Dupondvia son administration fiscale.

Il est important de noter qu’à ce stade, du point de vue de l’État, l’opération est définitivement bouclée : quoiqu’il arrive, il dispose désormais de 100 euros qui lui coûteront 1,36 euros par an (2,25 euros d’intérêts dont il récupère 89 centimes sous forme de taxes) et qu’il devra rembourser à Monsieur Dupond en octobre 2022 [2].

Évidemment, dix ans c’est long et il est tout à fait possible que Monsieur Dupond ait finalement besoin de son argent entre temps. Fort heureusement pour lui, les obligations ont ceci de pratique qu’elles se revendre au marché de l’occasion – i.e. le marché secondaire par opposition au marché primaire sur lequel Monsieur Dupond a prêté de l’argent à l’État. Tous le problème est de savoir à quel prix.

Par exemple, en octobre 2015, notre obligation à 10 ans sera devenue une obligation à 7 ans et il est tout à fait possible que le niveau des taux d’intérêt à 7 ans à cette date ne soit pas de 2,25% mais de 3%. Du coup, pour refourguer son obligation, Monsieur Dupond sera obligé de baisser son prix de vente de manière à ce que les 2,25 euros d’intérêts annuels payés par l’État permettent à l’acquéreur d’obtenir un rendement de 3% (sinon, bien sûr, il ira voir ailleurs). En l’occurrence, Monsieur Dupond devra vendre son obligation à 95,3 euros et donc subir une perte en capital de 4,7%.

Naturellement, le raisonnement symétrique est également vrai : si, en octobre 2015, Monsieur Dupond cherche à revendre son obligation alors que les taux à 7 ans sont à 1,5%, il réalisera une plus-value d’environ 5 euros par rapport à ses 100 euros initiaux (et devra au passage s’acquitter de 34,5% d’impôts sur ce montant). De ce qui précède, le lecteur est invité à retenir deux choses. Règle numéro 1 : d’une manière générale, dire que les taux des obligations montent est strictement équivalent à dire que leur prix baisse (et inversement) ; c’est le même phénomène vue d’un angle différent. Règle numéro 2 : du point de vue du débiteur – ici l’État – rien ne change ; que les taux ou les prix montent ou baissent, il continue à payer ce qui était prévu au départ.

Or, voilà qu’en octobre 2015, le gouvernement français s’apprête à clôturer son 40ème exercice fiscal en déficit d’affilée. Les caisses sont vides, les entreprises et les contribuables mettent la clé sous la porte ou fuient vers des cieux plus cléments, le chômage et les prestations publiques qu’il implique explosent… Bref, l’État français est en quasi-faillite : on ne sait pas encore s’il répudiera unilatéralement tout ou partie de sa dette ou s’il se contentera de revenir au franc pour le dévaluer (et donc rembourser en monnaie de singe, ce qui revient au même) ; ce qui semble de plus en plus probable, c’est que les créanciers de l’État risquent de passer à l’essoreuse.

Du point de vue de Monsieur Dupond, naturellement, c’est un gros problème : non seulement il pressent que sa retraite par répartition a déjà été répartie dans d’autres poches que les siennes mais, en plus, il comprend parfaitement que les fameux marchés financiers, c’est lui. Monsieur Dupond a beau faire habituellement preuve d’un flegme à toute épreuve, les hurlements de panique de Madame Dupond ne l’y aident pas. Alors Monsieur Dupond cherche à vendre son obligation ; quitte à la brader, quitte à perdre la moitié de ses économies : il préfère ça à la ruine totale.

Seulement voilà, la situation financière de l’État n’est un secret pour personne et déjà, les créanciers – la caisse de retraite de Monsieur Durand, la compagnie d’assurance qui gère le contrat d’assurance-vie de Monsieur Michel, le fonds d’investissement sur lequel Monsieur Leblanc a placé son épargne – se précipitent pour se débarrasser de leurs titres. Du coup, les prix s’effondrent et les taux s’envolent. C’est à ce stade que la cavalerie des agences de notation, toujours en retard de trois plombes depuis qu’elle est devenue une annexe du régulateur, arrive et dégrade la note souveraine de la France. Bien sûr, personne ne les croit mais les quelques investisseurs qui n’avaient pas encore cédé à la panique se voient maintenant contraints par la loi de liquider leurs positions.

Sur le marché obligataire, c’est O.K. Coral. Les derniers investisseurs craquent et réalisent des pertes énormes en cédant leurs obligations alors que seuls quelques hedge funds acceptent encore de les racheter à des prix dérisoires. Plusieurs compagnies d’assurance ont déjà fait faillite et la plupart des régimes de retraite complémentaire sont aux abois tandis que plus aucune entreprise française – sans parler des banques – n’arrive à emprunter un centime sur les marchés.

Alors que Monsieur Dupond réalise à peine qu’une vie de travail vient de partir en fumée, les politiciens, dûment relayés par les médias, défilent devant les caméras de télévision pour expliquer à quel point cette « attaque contre la France » est intolérable, pour dénoncer l’action nuisible des « spéculateurs », pour vouer aux gémonies la « finance folle, mondialisée et dérégulée. » Mais rassurez-vous : ce scénario apocalyptique n’est que pure fiction.

> le blog de Georges Kaplan

 

Field of dreams: Israel’s natural gas – FT.com

Field of dreams: Israel’s natural gas – FT.com.

مقال جد مهم للفايننشال تايمز : حقول الأحلام : الغاز الطبيعي في إسرائيل

المقال يوضح جملة من الحقائق حول الأسباب الغير مباشرة للعدوان على قطاع غزة :

اولها : ان هذه الحقول المكتشفة من الغاز الطبيعي في المنطقة البحرية المواجهة للقطاع تقدر قيمة احتياطياتها بحوالى 140 مليار دولار على مدى 30 عام , اى حوالى 4.5 مليار دولار كل عام ….!!!

ثانيها : ان الهيئة الجيولوجية الامريكية قدرت حجم الاحتياطيات فى المنطقة الممتدة من مصر الى تركيا بحوالى 120 تريليون قدم نصيب الكيان الصهيونى منها 40% اى حوالى 48 تريليون قدم مكعب فى الجملة …. !!!

طبعا اكتشاف الغاز الطبيعى فى المياة الاقليمية لفلسطين المحتلة امر مهم للصهاينة ومفيد, و بالتالي يصبح أساس هذه الحرب كما هو الأمر دائما هو السيطرة على الموارد الطبيعية التي تمثل ثقل إستراتيجي هام جدا في منطقة شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط, ليس فقط لإسرائيل, بل كذلك لتركيا, مصر, لإيران, لروسيا, للصين و بالقطع لسوريا مما قد يفسر شيئا ما دواعي ضرورة إسقاط النظام السوري و إنهيار دولة حزب البعث …. !!!

 

Field of dreams: Israel’s natural gas

After decades of importing every drop of fuel, Israel has struck it rich, uncovering vast reserves of natural gas in the Mediterranean

Tamar Natural Gas Field, a view from a chopper, 130km west of Haifa, Israel©Lihee Avidan

The Sedco Express drilling rig above the Tamar gas field in the Mediterranean

The black and yellow helicopter heads north from Tel Aviv, passing over empty beaches, a yacht harbour and a string of sprawling seafront residences that house some of Israel’s wealthiest families. After a few minutes the pilot makes a sharp turn to the left and steers his ageing Bell 412 towards the open sea.

For more than half an hour, all there is to see is the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Then suddenly a hulking mass of brightly painted steel rises from the midday haze. Towering more than 100m above the water, this is the Sedco Express, a drilling rig that has been operating in this stretch of ocean for almost three years. As the helicopter touches down on the landing pad, we see a small blue and white Star of David flag fluttering in the wind. It is the only sign that the Sedco Express sits atop one of the greatest treasures that Israel has ever found. Far below, connected to the rig by a slender steel pipe that runs through 1,700m of ocean and another 4,500m of rock and sand, lies a vast reservoir of natural gas known as the Tamar field.

The men on board the Sedco Express are busy testing the field’s multiple wells in preparation for the long-awaited day next April, when a US-Israeli consortium will start pumping the gas onshore. With reserves of almost 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Tamar field is a hugely valuable asset for the Israeli economy. Discovered in January 2009, it was the biggest gas find in the world that year, and by far the biggest ever made in Israeli waters. But the record held for barely two years. In December 2010, Tamar was dwarfed by the discovery of the Leviathan gasfield some 20 miles farther east – the largest deepwater gas reservoir found anywhere in the world over the past decade. The two fields, together with a string of smaller discoveries, will cover Israel’s domestic demand for gas for at least the next 25 years, and still leave hundreds of billions of cubic feet for sale abroad. The government take from the gasfields alone is forecast to reach at least $140bn over the next three decades – a staggering sum for a relatively small economy such as Israel’s.

Experts are convinced that Tamar and Leviathan will not be the last big Israeli discoveries. They point to the US Geological Survey, which estimates that the subsea area that runs from Egypt all the way north to Turkey, also known as the Levantine Basin, contains more than 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Israeli waters account for some 40 per cent of the total. Should these estimates be confirmed through discoveries in the years ahead, Israel’s natural gas reserves would count among the 25 largest in the world, on a par with the proven reserves of Libya and ahead of those of India and The Netherlands. For decades a barren energy island, forced to import every drop of fuel, Israel today stands on the cusp of an economic revolution, fuelled by the vast riches that lie below its waters.

. . .

It is a revolution that has gripped ministerial offices and corporate boardrooms alike. Since the discovery of Leviathan, the country has been in the midst of an intense and often controversial debate over how best to use the new resources at its disposal. All the classic dilemmas associated with hydrocarbon discoveries have resurfaced, though often with a surprising Israeli twist. Should the gas be exported or used at home? What share of the new wealth belongs to the government and what to the companies that made the discoveries in the first place? And how far should Israel go towards turning itself into a “gassified” national economy, in which power stations, homes, industry and the transportation system alike all run on natural gas?

A final issue, and perhaps the most poignant of all the questions facing Israeli policy makers, is how the discoveries will affect the country’s standing in the region. Some worry that fields such as Leviathan will become a focal point for tensions, and perhaps even a target for Israel’s many enemies. Others hope that the gas will serve as a force for good, and help Israel build economic and political bridges to its neighbours, some of whom remain as energy-starved as Israel was until recently.

The Sedco rig sits on top of the Tamar field©Lihee Avidan

The Sedco rig sits on top of the Tamar field, which has almost 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

The recent discoveries are so large, and have come so swiftly, that some Israelis are having difficulty adjusting to the new reality. Even hardened energy executives speak of a “miracle” when discussing Israel’s natural gas story; others have resorted to the heavens to explain the new-found wealth. No less a figure than Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, recently compared the discoveries to “manna from heaven” – the mystical food that sustained the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert.

Yet for all the talk of divine intervention, the discovery of Leviathan, Tamar and other fields would not have happened without the fierce determination of men like Gideon Tadmor. A cheerful, rotund 49-year-old, he is widely regarded as the pioneer of Israel’s natural gas industry.

Tadmor trained as a lawyer and dabbled in the property business before deciding more than two decades ago that it was time to turn his attention to oil and gas exploration. It was not the most promising line of business. Like all Israelis, Tadmor was only too familiar with the famous complaint made by Golda Meir, and repeated endlessly since then. “Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses,” the then prime minister remarked at a banquet in 1973. “He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil.”

Over the years that claim became an article of faith for many Israelis. The country’s conspicuous lack of natural resources chimed with the broader national narrative of a state struggling and succeeding against the odds. It even served to heighten Israeli pride in the country’s economic and military achievements, which frequently outshone those of nearby countries rolling in oil wealth. But, for many decades, Meir’s complaint was also borne out on the ground, which stubbornly refused to yield all but the tiniest amount of hydrocarbons.

Gideon Tadmor, pioneer of Israel’s natural gas industry, on the Sedco rig©Lihee Avidan

Gideon Tadmor, pioneer of Israel’s natural gas industry, on the Sedco rig

The years of failure meant there was no competition when Tadmor started knocking on the doors of the Israeli government to request exploration licences. His company, Avner Oil & Gas, started drilling for oil onshore in 1991, before moving into the deep waters close to the Israeli coastline and eventually pushing on into even greater depths. “We had looked at the vast success and activity [of gas exploration] in Egypt,” he tells me, sitting in the conference room of his headquarters north of Tel Aviv. “We all felt that the geological trend would not stop at the political border – and should extend into Israeli waters.”

Drilling in deep waters, however, required not only deep pockets but also profound technical knowhow. Neither was at the disposal of the Israeli upstarts. Tadmor and his partners decided to bring in a strategic partner, launching a quest that turned out to be fraught with more obstacles than anything the company had experienced to date. “It was an endless process. We were willing to look everywhere. We knew that finding a strategic partner would be fundamental for success, because in Israel there was no expertise.”

Tadmor and his partners thought they had a compelling geological story: they were proposing to drill in an area that showed much the same characteristics as the nearby Egyptian waters where discoveries had been made. Yet they were turned down again and again, fuelling suspicions that the big oil groups in Europe and the US were unwilling to risk their vital relationship with Arab countries by investing in Israel: “There is no question about it. Anyone who knows anything about this industry knows that there is an overwhelming geopolitical consideration with top companies when they decide to enter or exit a country,” says Tadmor. “Even during the best times, when Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo accords in 1993, it was very obvious that for many of the big players there were geopolitical considerations that clouded their approach towards Israel.”

. . .

Geopolitical considerations, of course, have been at the heart of the oil and gas industry almost from the beginning. As the target of an Arab oil boycott, Israel itself was forced to learn the hard way that energy security and national security are closely entwined. Already scrambling to secure supplies, the country was dealt another rude shock in 1973, when Arab oil producers responded to Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur war by launching a sweeping oil embargo. It was a move that shaped the country’s energy policy for years to come, instilling in Israeli leaders a desperate desire for energy independence.

“A big part of the policy community in Israel was hugely affected by the Arab oil boycott in the early 1970s,” says Brenda Shaffer, an expert on Israeli energy policy at the University of Haifa. “It made people here give an almost disproportionate importance to holding energy volumes.”

A quarter of a century later, Tadmor and his partners felt they were finally close to delivering those volumes. Without money and expertise from abroad, however, Israel’s hydrocarbon potential would remain untapped for many years if not decades. And without a strategic partner or other signs of progress, Avner Oil risked losing its offshore exploration licences. It was time for desperate measures: “We sent a guy to Houston for three months with one mission. I told him: go to Houston, open the phone book and go through it company by company. Call every one of them, and bring us a partner.”

After three months, only two companies remained on that list. Neither seemed too keen, but Tadmor decided to take his lawyer and fly out to Houston all the same. “At the time the price of oil was $15 per barrel. That meant no one was taking any aggressive decisions to enter new countries. The environment was very, very problematic,” he recalls. Indeed, the macroeconomic environment was not the only inauspicious sign. As his plane taxied towards the runway at Tel Aviv airport, Tadmor spotted something unusual: “All of a sudden I see a black cat running down the aisle. It was a chaotic situation. The stewardesses were running after the cat with a blanket, trying to catch it. We eventually turned back, and the cat was handed over. But one passenger decided to leave the plane. She said: ‘With a black cat on the plane, nothing good can happen.’”

The plane returned to the runway and started accelerating for take-off. Then Tadmor had a second nasty surprise: “I hear a huge blast – one of the engines had exploded!” It was a near-miss: had the engine blown up in the air, the plane might well have crashed, putting a premature end to both Tadmor and Israel’s best hope of finding gas in the Mediterranean. “I told my lawyer: ‘I don’t know if anything good will come of this experience.’ But everything that came out from this trip was good.”

locational map of Leviathan and Tamar gas field in Israel

In fact the ill-omened trip to Houston produced a deal with a small Oklahoma-based exploration company called Samedan Oil Corporation. Samedan was too small to worry about its relationship with Arab oil ministries, but large enough to seek expansion abroad. It would later change its name to Noble Energy, and emerge alongside Avner and Delek, an Israeli conglomerate, as one of the three leading players in the Israeli natural gas boom (Delek later bought out Avner, but kept Tadmor on to run the combined group). To this day, the three groups control most of the big fields discovered in the Levantine basin, with Noble holding the largest individual stake in fields such as Leviathan, Tamar and Yam Tethys.

The partners drilled their first well in 1999, in a field known as Noa. They found gas, but the quantity was too small to allow immediate commercial exploitation. A year later, in a nearby field known as Mari-B, they were successful, uncovering a field that contained about a trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Four years later, the gas started to flow to the mainland where it was used to generate electricity.

Tadmor and his partners had proved that Israeli waters did contain natural gas, and that these reserves could be exploited profitably. But the discoveries at Yam Tethys were a mere taste of things to come. In January 2009, a consortium that again included Noble, Delek and Avner, along with Isramco and Alon, two Israeli companies, found Tamar. The following year came Leviathan, the discovery that finally catapulted Israel into the big league. Speaking days before the drilling that confirmed the huge find, Yitzhak Tshuva, the Delek chairman and one of the wealthiest men in Israel, made a bold pronouncement: “This is geopolitical power that Israel needs now more than ever,” he said of the natural gasfields. “Israel will become a big international player, and it will have geopolitical power vis a vis many countries.”

. . .

One of the men whose task is to marshal that power is Uzi Landau, the minister for energy. A slim, wiry man with a raspy voice and a hawkish political outlook, Landau is at pains to accentuate the potential political benefits not just for Israel but for the wider region. The minister says he is keen to export some of the country’s natural gas to Jordan and the Palestinian territories: “We believe this will not only be good business, but also highly important for coexistence. This will eventually help a peace agreement. Natural gas is also important for the political level. We wish to develop our relations with the region,” he says.

Uzi Landau, Israel’s energy minister, at his office in Jerusalem©Lihee Avidan

Uzi Landau, Israel’s energy minister hopes the gas discoveries will promote peace in the region

Landau points out that Israel is already busy deepening its political and economic relationship with Cyprus, which has itself found large gas deposits in waters adjacent to the Israeli discoveries. There is even talk of building a gas pipeline to Cyprus, and of connecting the Israeli power grid to the divided island through an undersea cable. But not everyone is convinced that Israel’s natural gas riches will be a force for regional integration. The northern fields such as Tamar and Leviathan, for example, are not far from the disputed line that separates Israeli and Lebanese territorial waters. Hizbollah, the Lebanese Shia group that is one of Israel’s most committed enemies, has already accused Israel of stealing Lebanese gas. Farther to the south, snaking its way through the Sinai Peninsula, is another example of the pitfalls created by regional gas diplomacy: the pipeline that carries Egyptian gas to Israel.

Initially hailed as a sign of friendship and co-operation, the pipeline has since emerged as an object of hate for many Egyptians, who resent the sale of cheap gas to Israel at a time when Egypt itself faces chronic energy supply problems. The pipeline has been blown up no fewer than 14 times during the past 18 months, and the supply deal has now in effect been cancelled.

“We tend to think that countries that hold a lot of oil and gas are very powerful. But if you look at it more carefully, you see that this is a double-edged sword. Countries that have large volumes of oil and gas tend to have a lot more problems. They tend to get involved in conflicts more often than other countries. There is a tendency towards war,” says Shaffer, the energy analyst from Haifa University.

She points out that Cyprus is once again at loggerheads with Turkey over the recent gas discoveries, and that Israel, thanks to its new alliance, may yet find itself drawn into the escalation: “The gas finds have already defrosted the frozen Cypriot conflict. So Israel is now finding itself involved in a conflict that it has never been involved in before.”

But fear of conflict is not the only worry associated with the gas. As delighted as they are over the recent finds, Israeli officials say they are only too aware of the “resource curse” that afflicts countries with abundant natural resources, whereby the discovery of great natural wealth is often followed by disappointing economic growth and an erosion of competitiveness.

“We have to be very careful not to think that with natural gas there is no more need to continue in the same direction of the past: to focus on education, focus on research and development and to do whatever we can to solidify the social fabric of our society,” argues Landau. He points out that “the political leadership of our country is very sensitive to that problem”, but warns that the country will have to be careful “not to fall into that pit”.

For the time being, Israeli leaders can claim with some justification that their response to the new-found wealth has been measured and sensible. There has been a notable emphasis on sustainability, not least in the way the state intends to use the new resources. Though it will take years before the government will reap meaningful gas revenues, it has already set up a sovereign wealth fund to manage part of the new wealth. The fund, which follows the model set by Norway, is expected to swell to $80bn by 2040, and is intended to provide a financial cushion for future crises. But some of the expected government take (“some” meaning about $60bn over the next three decades) will flow straight into the state budget to fund education projects and bolster national security.

For a state that spent so many decades as an economic backwater, and that continues to rely on financial support from the US, this new largesse will take some getting used to. The same pleasing challenge faces Tadmor and the handful of other businessmen who believed in Israel’s gas potential long before the first drills broke through to fields such as Leviathan.

“It has topped all my expectations,” says Tadmor.“So what I need to do now is raise my expectations,” he adds with a grin.

Tobias Buck is the FT’s Jerusalem bureau chief