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Monday, August 20, 2012

Iran/Hezbollah issue Warnings to Israel: "Tens of Thousands will perish if Attacked" (Aug 20, 2012)

Cairo uses illicit Sinai tanks to bargain for massive US aid

Israel’s deployment of an Iron Dome anti-missile battery in Eilat Sunday, Aug. 19, came five days after two Grad missiles were launched against its southernmost town. They exploded harmlessly.DEBKAfile’s military sources report they were primarily a warning to Egypt from al-Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorists to hold off even its minimal raids and arrests of suspected terrorists in northern Sinai.
The Egyptians have meanwhile moved a battalion of 19 Egyptian M60A-3 tanks into the peninsula, using the Islamist attacks on Egyptian and Israeli military targets of Aug. 8 as their pretext for violating the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty’s military protocols. Fearing the tanks are there to stay, Israel has asked the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department in Washington to intervene with Cairo and get them withdrawn.

Cairo never requested or received Israel’s permission to bring the tanks over.
Only when Jerusalem complained to Washington did Egyptian liaison officers contact IDF officers. They did not ask directly for permission only skirted around the tank issue by consulting IDF officers on the effectiveness of a tank offensive on the armed Islamists’ mountain strongholds, which Cairo shows no other sign of seriously contemplating. For now, Egypt is counting on Israel not making too much of a fuss so as not to be accused of obstructing efforts to fight terrorists.

On the diplomatic front, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and new Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sissi filed a complaint of their own in Washington. They accused Israel of frequently breaching the same military protocols over the years, each time the IDF used tanks around the Philadelphi pocket, Rafah and the Kerem Shalom crossing to fight off Palestinian terrorist attacks and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Those enclaves are marked D in the peace accords and barred to heavy weapons, like Area C in North Sinai on the Egyptian side of the border.

Israel is concerned that the Egyptians intend keeping the tanks on the Israeli border permanently or even adding some more as part of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood’s tactics for eroding the military clauses of the peace treaty with Israel until they are meaningless.

The Egyptian tank issue weighing on Cairo, Washington and Jerusalem has become additionally entangled in several broader issues: the war on terror, Cairo’s bid for lavish economic aid, President Barack Obama’s outlook on the Muslim Brotherhood’s grab for power in Cairo and signs that Egypt's new rulers are considering cozying up to Tehran. 

1. Egypt keeps on avoiding its promised major counter-terror offensive in Sinai even after losing 16 troops in a terrorist attack. Its actions are limited to small police raids on suspects, a couple of arrests here and there and impounding computers. Confrontations with armed gunmen and operations against their command posts are systematically avoided.

Indeed the armed Salafist gangs felt safe enough last Wednesday to raise their heads again and fire two Grad missiles against Israeli southernmost town of Eilat. According toDEBKAfile’s exclusive, counter-terror sources, Cairo got the message: Even minor police raids must stop or else the Islamists would seriously target Eilat and other parts of southern Israel, further complicating Egypt’s relations with the US and Israel.

The warning was taken seriously by the IDF high command, which Sunday night, Aug. 19, moved an Iron Dome missile defense battery over to Eilat.
2. Washington for its part is quietly pushing President Morsi to make good on his promise of a military operation to root out al Qaeda affiliates from central Sinai. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that the Egyptians don’t say this outright, but are hinting that they are waiting for President Barack Obama to order the release of substantial aid funds before embarking on this counter-terror offensive or withdrawing their tanks from Sinai. They are very clear about the amounts that would satisfy them: A grant of half a billion dollars from the United States and a US guarantee for an International Monetary Fund loan of $4.6 billion.
Our sources report that the Muslim Brotherhood regime needs an urgent influx of cash to pay public sector wages on Sept. 1.

3. President Morsi is holding another move in abeyance pending the Obama administration’s response to his urgent financial needs. He has not yet replied to Tehran’s official invitation for him to represent Egypt at the non-aligned summit of Muslim nations taking place in the Iranian capital on Aug. 30. The inference is that if Washington meets Cairo’s economic aid requests, Morsi with refuse Iran’s invitation; but if it falls short, the Muslim Brotherhood will start a process of rapprochement with Iran, the first since Islamist revolutionaries seized control of Tehran in1979-80.


Quake strikes Indonesia, child injured, houses damaged

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck 35 miles southeast of Palu on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Saturday injuring a child and damaging at least 48 houses just as residents were breaking the Ramadan fast, authorities said.

The quake was originally reported by the U.S. Geological Survey said as having a magnitude of 6.5. The depth was reported at 12.5 miles.

"The quake was felt strongly for 15 seconds in Palu as people were breaking the fast," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

"Initial information we received is the access to Kulawi (central Sulawesi) is cut and cars could not get through because there was a landslide. About 40 houses were damaged and a child was injured because the house's wall fell on him," he told Reuters by telephone.

He added that eight houses were "severely damaged" in a nearby area and said that in Indonesia's Aceh province four people died in a flash flood.

Later, a 5.9 magnitude quake struck 150 miles northeast of Ternate, in the Moluccas islands off Indonesia, at a depth of 29 miles, the USGS said.

The Sulawesi quake had no tsunami potential, said Subagiyo, an earthquake centre official in the capital Jakarta.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a destructive tsunami was not generated by the earthquake and that the Japan Meteorological Agency may issue additional information on the quake.

Morsi: Cairo stands by Gaza's side

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh tells Egyptian president that Hamas wants to cooperate with Egypt in combating terrorism in Sinai, emphasizing it does not want to be a force of instability in the region, but that the cooperation does not extend to "the Zionist enemy."
Daniel Siryoti, Mati Tuchfeld and Israel Hayom Staff

Hamas wants to cooperate with Egypt in combating terror in Sinai, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh that "Egypt's support is unwavering, Cairo stands by Gaza's side." Morsi telephoned Haniyeh on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Israel Radio reported that Haniyeh told Morsi that Hamas wants to cooperate with Egypt in combating terrorism in Sinai, and stressed that Hamas does not want to be a force of instability in the region. Haniyeh, however, noted that he has no intention of cooperating with the "Zionist enemy."

Meanwhile Egyptian Chief of Staff Gen. Sidki Sobhi, accompanied by senior officers, arrived in El-Arish in northern Sinai for a situational update on the current counterterrorism operations.

The Sinai region has been the scene of harsh fighting between the Egyptian armed forces and various terrorist groups that have used the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to turn the region into a planning ground for terrorist attacks. Following a brazen attack by militants on an Egyptian outpost that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, the Egyptian army stepped up its counterterrorism campaign and deployed additional forces to Sinai.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a holiday greeting to Jordanian King Abdullah on Sunday for Eid al-Fitr. "Relations between the Hashemite Kingdom and Israel are crucial for peace and stability in the region," Netanyahu said. Opposition Chairman MK Shaul Mofaz called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the holiday as well, and told him that the peace process must be renewed.

Israel Hayom

Unstoppable economic collapse is imminent

The sinister alliance of the Islamist-Marxist axis

Since the year 2000, there has been an increasing convergence between those who belong to the radical left and those who promote Islamism in the West. One of the key areas in cementing their rapprochement has been the Palestinian question. The new “alliance” was further reinforced during the past decade by the Iraq war, the Second Lebanon War, and the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2009.

Despite its current marginality, Palestine still remains the paradigmatic case of oppression for most left-wing militants today. Israelis, on the other hand, are not only the bad guys in this conflict; they are seen as the embodiment of capitalist-imperialist evil. Amazingly, this negative imagery has not been much affected by the Arab revolutions of 2011, despite their revelation of the cruelty, corruption, and utter cynicism of Arab regimes, highlighted by the ethnic cleansing and genocidal assault of the Assad regime on its own population in Syria.

Broadly speaking, Israel is still perceived by much of the Western left and by the Islamists as being “white,” Western, and alien to the Middle East. In other words, Israelis are seen as brutal colonialist invaders. The whole story of the Zionist project is disconnected from Jewish history and the centuries’-old link between the people of Israel and its historic homeland. The Palestinians (with only the feeblest of Israeli hasbara responses) have, by contrast, been successfully cast in the role of “Jews,” downtrodden and ruthlessly abused by Nazi-like Israelis. A key part of this campaign has been the corrosive depiction of Israel as an “apartheid state.” This libel is endlessly repeated throughout North America and Western Europe — in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, as well as France, Germany and Great Britain. As a consequence, the anti-Israeli obsession has steadily seeped into the European chattering classes, the free professions, the churches, and nongovernmental organizations. It is especially virulent in academia and very much in tune with the postcolonial zeitgeist.

Another weapon in this global anti-Zionist transformation is the growing effort to “Nazify” Israel and thereby invert the Holocaust. The abuse of Holocaust memory as a political weapon against the Jewish state has indeed become increasingly rampant in recent years along with the popularity of antisemitic conspiracy theories. The soft version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which evokes the all-powerful “Zionist Lobby” and the alleged hidden control of “Jewish moneybags,” is in fact far more common than many people realize.

Inverting the Holocaust. A placard depicting Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak as Nazis at an anti-Israel rally in Boston, 2009 (photo credit: CC BY dvanhorn, Flickr)

Anti-Semitism has been further stimulated by the growing worldwide influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the racist anti-Jewish material that is funded by Saudi Arabia and openly preached in the Middle Eastern, European and American mosques or is on sale in Islamist bookshops. The “decadent” Western culture that radical Muslims endlessly execrate is seen by jihadists as being controlled and dominated by Jews. This adds a particularly inflammatory dimension to Muslim anti-Semitism, which on this point has many affinities with the Neo-Nazi right. The message of the jihadists is indeed explicitly genocidal, but it is left-wing anti-Israeli rhetoric that gives it intellectual cover and respectability.

In the midst of the London Olympics, it was rather sobering to recall that a country like Great Britain remains today the world center of the academic boycott and also of trade union efforts to economically sanction Israel. Millions of trade unionists at least nominally support an economic boycott of Israel. For the moment it may be confined to produce coming from the West Bank, but the aim goes far beyond that. In recent years, the British TUC (Trades Union Congress) has acted as if it had been hijacked by the anti-Zionist Palestine Solidarity Committee. British academic unions have also passed resolutions that consistently denounce Israel as an “apartheid state.” If it were not for a legal opinion that pronounced such measures to be discriminatory, the effects would already have been far more severe. Among Western democracies, only in Britain has the boycott thus far achieved such a level of resonance — even though most Britons, if asked, would almost certainly reject it, and bilateral relations between the UK and Israel still remain fairly cordial.

The relations between France and Israel are also largely positive, but that did not prevent the lethal jihadi assault in Toulouse several months ago in which three Jewish children and a young rabbi were ruthlessly murdered in cold blood. In the two months that followed, aggressive anti-Semitic attacks in France by Muslims against Jewish adolescents surged dramatically. To even point to such naked violence in the current toxic atmosphere is to risk being labeled a “Zionist lackey,” an Islamophobe, or a racist, especially in bien-pensant leftist or liberal circles.

It should be recalled that Mohammed Merah’s brutal slaughter of innocent Jewish children in France was carried out in the name of the global jihad and “avenging Palestine.” The muted response to such atrocities in liberal “progressive” Western opinion is a badge of shame for those whose self-proclaimed banner is that of human rights.

Times of Israel

Climate models that predict more droughts win further scientific support

The United States will suffer a series of severe droughts in the next two decades, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Moreover, global warming will play an increasingly important role in their abundance and severity, claims Aiguo Dai, the study’s author.

His findings bolster conclusions from climate models used by researchers around the globe that have predicted severe and widespread droughts in coming decades over many land areas. Those models had been questioned because they did not fully reflect actual drought patterns when they were applied to conditions in the past. However, using a statistical method with data about sea surface temperatures, Dai, a climate researcher at the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research, found that the model accurately portrayed historic climate events.

The Washigton Post

Why has work almost stopped on the new ECB Frankfurt headquarters?

A new two-fingered skyscraper is rising up from the Frankfurt horizon. Already delayed and running over the initial €500 million cost, these new Towers of Babel have become infamous for Occupy protests – and associated eurotaxpayer demands to know why the m word will probably be a b word in terms of costs by the time roughly 2,500 employees are housed in the new building, which is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Ten days ago, The Slog received this email from a well-placed observer in Frankfurt (extract):

‘Is it possible for you to ask the Bankfurt mole to confirm or deny that there’s a work stoppage at the new ECB building inFrankfurt/Osthafen since c. mid July? Maybe they’re analysing whether they need it in the future. Or they already know that they don’t.’

As it happens, the Bankfurt Mole contacts me, not the other way round: he is a bloke largely on Transmit, and I rather suspect he’d be insulted to be asked such a question. Predictably, I’ve put it to him – and since then the phone hasn’t started ringing. But a further question to the architectural observer above elicited this:

‘A guy who comes along the construction site fairly frequently is wondering why there are almost no construction vehicles for the past few weeks. He also says the face of the building shows no progress for the past few weeks.’

All a bit sample-of-one and vague…as so many stories are at the outset. But further digging made my nose twitch.

Regular Sloggers will remember that last year I posted about the exponentially rising cost of LTRO: Long Term Refinancing Operations. The ECB already admits to a €1 trillion bill, but as euobserver rightly observes:

‘…what the ECB cannot solve is the core issue of having to steer one monetary policy for 17 different economies which are growing further apart….the general feeling at the moment is that at the top level, they are not 100% sure it will work.’

Have some eurocrats begun to get cold feet about the need for a new ECB building? The architect involved Coop Himmelblau
(Blue Skies Cooperative) didn’t want to talk about it at all. The ECB itself referred me to some obscure Brussels number with a message that never seemed to stop being a message, no matter how many times one rang it.

Although the ECB New Premises Newsletter had been appearing more or less monthly, it sort of petered out in March of this year.

Type in the headline ‘New ECB building in Frankfurt’ to Paperboy.com, and no results come up. Not one. As by now a veteran observer of non-stop PR hubris when it comes to EU penis structures, I can tell you that usually, such a search would show up at least half a dozen results.

Even searching at the Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung about this scored 0 results.

So, what else is a newshound to do in the end but ring some Frankfurt numbers? OK, this isn’t scientific – and my German is sprained these days bordering on fractured – but using Google earth and some imagination, the feedback today from those offices in close proximity to the new Tower of ECB strength was as follows:

* Very little work is taking place

* Saw no men on site last week

* Seems normal to me – nothing much happening

* Sorry, never notice either way

* Funny that, I’d been wondering the same thing.

Look, I’m not saying this is The Big Clue. But I can tell you that there is no industrial dispute involved. So the question remains: why is Supermario’s Spire of Mammon stuck at the 37th floor? Have the workers all started speaking in tongues, and deserted the site in terrified confusion? Or has some contrarian accountant in Brussels called a halt to proceedings, given the likelihood that the new ECB headquarters will never be needed?

I think we should be told.

Diary of deception and distortion

Israel a ‘cancerous tumor’ and Middle East’s biggest problem, Iranian supreme leader says

Muslim world, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, immediately after the international community condemnedPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for making similar comments.

“The great powers have dominated the destiny of the Islamic countries for years and… installed the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world,” semi-official Iranian IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei saying in an Eid al-Fitr speech marking the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan.

“Many of the problems facing the Muslim world are due to the existence of the Zionist regime,” he charged.

Khamenei’s comments on Sunday came two days after Ahmadinejad marked al-Quds day on Friday by calling for the elimination of the “insult to all humanity” that is Israel, and said that its very existence is a crime against humanity.

Iranian news agency Press TV provided an English translator for Khamenei’s remarks, but the translator made no mention of the “Zionist tumor.”

Attacking the US and Israel, he said that Iran should know that the United States and the Zionist regime are the “enemies of the Islamic [nation] and in fact they are the hegemonic powers that are the enemies of the Islamic [people].”

Noting that the two nations “do not pity the Islamic [people]” and that they are both trying to cause “disruptions”, he prayed, “May God humiliate the enemies of the Islamic [people].”

Khamenei commended Muslim support for the “people of Palestine,” saying that this year other nations were more coordinated with the Iranian people than in previous years and that in some countries the “domination of the remnants of the tyrannical regimes” stopped people from showing their support for “Palestine,” calling it a “current that will continue.”

Perhaps referring to covert efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, Khamenei said the Iran’s “enemies” make use of “more intricate tactics day by day and they are making use of their utmost efforts.” Despite their attempts, he said, “They have failed to overcome and they will not be able to actually overcome the Islamic [people].”

The Times of Israel

Spies in the sky spark privacy fears

Drones, unmanned surveillance and search-and-destroy aircraft initially developed by the military are now being deployed for commercial use.

A new generation of small, low-cost drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has been rapidly developed on the back of miniaturised global positioning and camera technology first developed for smartphones.

But while law enforcement agencies around the world are investing billions of dollars in drones, there are fears their growing use poses a major threat to personal privacy.

Police and governments in markets such as the United States, Russia and Europe are this year placing large orders. The drone maker General Atomics, which is based in the US and expected to launch an unarmed version of its Predator drones later this year, regards the Middle East and Latin America as particularly promising markets for the new breed of commercial drones.

In the US, drones have patrolled the border with Mexico for almost two years. The defence department is reported to have last year sent its drones across the border to shadow Mexican drugs traffickers.

Between now and 2020, Russia is expected to spend about US$13 billion (Dh47.75bn) on unmanned aircraft, some of which are to be used to monitor marches and demonstrations. Drones also form a key part of the European Commission's $410 million plan to improve border security.

Last year's industry forecasts predicting the global market for drones would reach $94bn over the next 10 years may turn out be underestimates as they fail to take full account of the rapid deployment of the vast range of unmanned aircraft now generally referred to as "drones".

The largest drone, the Israeli-made Eitan, has a 26-metre wingspan and is about the size of a Boeing 737. By contrast, the hand-launched AeroVironment Raven weighs 1.8kg and has a wingspan of only 1.4 metres.

These latest drones already cost a fraction of the price of conventional aircraft, to an extent a result of advances made in smartphone technology.

Microprocessors developed for the smartphone and computer tablet market by the British chip designer Arm are perfect for small drones due to their low power consumption and compact size.

Smartphones also use inertial sensors and sophisticated satellite-linked global position systems to detect their geographical location together with high-quality miniaturised digital video and stills cameras.

Airborne communication systems costing hundreds of thousands of dollars can now be replaced by chip sets costing less than $20. This new level of miniaturisation is thought to have enabled the Pentagon to develop a tiny drone named the Nano Hummingbird, which is designed for stealth surveillance. It has a wingspan of only 16.5 centimetres and weighs less than a single AA battery.

Civilian researchers at Wright State University in Ohio have even gone one better and produced a "butterfly" prototype with a 12.7cm wingspan and claim to be on the path to making a surveillance drone bigger than a fly.

The fact that the US Federal Aviation Administration is planning to allow the commercial use of drones in 2015 has already alerted citizens rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (Aclu).

A report titled Protecting Privacy From Ariel Surveillance published in December stated: "We need a system of rules to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this technology without bringing us a large step closer to a 'surveillance society' in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinised by the authorities.

"The amazing continual decreases in the prices of electronics that have become normal in our time all but guarantee that the surveillance technologies attached to UAVs will become less expensive and yet more powerful - and with mass production, the aircraft that carry those electronics will become inexpensive enough for a police department to fill the skies over a town with them."

The US air force is already reported to be testing a system called Gorgon Stare using multiple video cameras to simultaneously overlook all the citizens of a town.

A report produced out of the University of California, Los Angeles warns drones can easily be equipped with high-power zoom lenses that increase the chances individuals will come under the close scrutiny of the authorities without even knowing it. Aclu, meanwhile, reports the military is developing radar technologies that can track "human targets" even when they are inside buildings.

According to its report, this widespread use of surveillance drones by law enforcement agencies could cause grave psychological harm. "Psychologists have repeatedly found that people who are being observed tend to behave differently and make different decisions than when they are not being watched."

This effect is so great a recent study found "merely hanging up posters of staring human eyes is enough to significantly change people's behaviour", said the Aclu report.

Nonetheless, the number of drones has begun to grow at an exponential rate as both their cost and size continue to decrease.
The National


A massive € sculpture (identical to the one in front of the European Central Bank) was dismantled and removed from the Frankfurt International Airport in Germany Thursday.
The official explanation is ‘the plastic parts are getting weak after 11 years and the terminal needed the space‘.

Does € sculpture’s removal from the Frankfurt Airport indicate Germany is preparing for a surprise return to the Deutsche Mark?

German workers dismantle a Euro sculpture in front of a terminal at the Frankfurt International Airport yesterday. The sculpture is an exact copy of the one standing in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) in downtown Frankfurt and was made after a design by German artist Ottmar Hoerl. The 15m high blue and yellow sculpture was standing in front of the terminal for 11 years but plastic parts were getting weak and an extension of the airport rail to another terminal needed the space.

Silver doctors

Soros sell stocks and Invest $130 Million in Gold

There is a truism in investing that says if you want to succeed, then follow the money and invest in what the rich invest in. Therefore, it is very interesting to American investors when on Aug. 16, a new report on George Soros, global investor and consulting adviser to the Obama administration, sold his stake in U.S. financial stocks and with the proceeds, purchased $130 million in gold. This move is also coming at a time when the Dow just crossed over 13000, and is touching its highest levels since April of 2008.

Soros, who manages funds through various accounts in the US and the Cayman Islands, has reportedly unloaded over one million shares of stock in financial companies and banks that include Citigroup (420,000 shares), JP Morgan (701,400 shares) and Goldman Sachs (120,000 shares). The total value of the stock sales amounts to nearly $50 million.

What’s equally as interesting as his sale of major financials is where Soros has shifted his money. At the same time he was selling bank stocks, he was acquiring some 884,000 shares (approx. $130 million) of Gold via the SPDR Gold Trust.

When a major global player with direct ties to the White House, Wall Street, and the banking system starts off-loading stocks and starts stacking gold, it suggests a very serious market move is set to happen. - SHTFPlan.com
View slideshow: Soros sells equities and buys gold even as stock markets reach four year highs

Gold is not the only commodity the Soros empire has invested in outside the equity markets. In March of 2011, Soros's Management Fund purchased enough grain elevators and food production sites to become the U.S.'s third largest conglomerate in the food industry.

Just a week ago, Reuters announced that the Federal Reserve had as recently as 2010, coordinated with major U.S. banks to prepare contingency plans for a complete financial collapse. Additionally, in June of this year, a rumorspread by credible sources indicated that Pimco and JP Morgan Chase were cancelling vacations for workers in preparation for an economic collapse.

While the stock markets are reaching new four year highs, the underlying foundation of these stocks are not very strong, and the low volume in the markets signals that very few retail investors are actually participating in the summer rally. Thus the low volume, positive trading that is taking place in July and August leaves the markets wide open for a massive correction, or at the very least, new selling pressures when seasonal volume picks up later in the month and into September.

The rich historically have more information available to them than the average investor does, and it has been prudent over time to follow closely what the major traders do. Thus it is extremely concerning to the American people, and for the future of the U.S. financial system, when global investor and political insider George Soros divests himself from all financial stocks, especially at a time when many of them they are trading at four year highs, to instead purchase gold in what appears to be a prelude for a new crash in equities, and a resumption of the gold bull market.