Don Francisco Vasques de Coronado, would thou wert with us at this hour! Your search for the Seven Cities of Cibola, where according to legend gold was as plentiful as styrofoam hot cups at a working session of the Practicing Law Institute, has finally neared fruition in, of all venues, the Senate Caucus Room. Who could have imagined that the Senate Watergate inquest — Water Pik, I call it — would have ranged as far as the fabled Treasure of the Aztecs?
John W. Dean III has testified that in return for having been helpful as attorney for the recalcitrant Mr. Jim McCord, pyramid-builder F. Lee Bailey asked John Mitchell to help a client of his who happens to have 292 bars of gold weighing 80 pound each (worth by my count $14,307,998 at the $42 official price, and $43,264,659 at last week’s $127 free market price, F.O.B. London) and wishes to make “arrangements” with the government by which the gold could be turned over to the Treasury without his client being prosecuted for holding the metal. The bullion was supposedly from “an old Aztec cache” hidden on the White Sands, New Mexico, rocket range. Mitchell asked H.R. Haldeman whether such “arrangements” could be arranged. H.R. was “non-responsive.” “Fray Motolinia,” says archaist Edward Dahlberg in The Gold of Ophir, “a mild and good man, blamed the Spaniards for the 10 plagues in Mexico. The worst, the monk said, was the gold mines where the Aztecan laborer had to toil until he perished. He was compelled to furnish all the materials for the mines and even his own food. Often he ran for 30 leagues with the little maize he had and died on the way. For half a league from Oaxaca, the principal mining town, the ground was so bleached with human bones that one could not go in that direction without stepping on skeletons.”
And yet this administration, which loves lucre more than life, and lately has been doing its damnedest to bleach the ground of Cambodia with human bones. was non-responsive. How non-comprehensible.
But if the truth be known, Bailey’s clients may be sitting not on an old Aztec cache at all, but on an infinitesimal portion of the greatest fortune ever assembled in the history of civilization as it knows us.
April last, after the Senate voted to permit Americans to own gold for the first time since 1934, Del Schrader, a staff writer of the staid, conservative Herald-Examiner, was invited to attend a “confabulation” of old “Confederates” — sons and grandsons of the elite Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society of Southrons which was formed immediately after Appomattox to fill a war chest to finance a second civil war that would take place when the South would Rise Again. The “Confederates,” who range in age from 67 to 91, told Schrader that in 1865 the 13 members of the Circle’s Inner Sanctum, including General William C. Quantrill and Colonel Jesse James, vowed that they would tithe, beg, borrow, and steal to add to the $7 billion worth of gold in the Confederacy’s hidden reserves (cf. the scene in Gone With the Wind in which the ladies of Georgia are asked to donate their jewelry to The Cause) in order that Civil War II “could be fought on a cash-and-carry basis so that international war lords and bankers would not realize usurious profits from blood lost on the battlefield.”
By stealing millions worth of gold from Jay Gould, by infiltrating mines around the world, falsifying production figures and smuggling the metal into the U. S., suborning mine and stamping mill employees to larceny over a period of 51 years — until in 1916 the cabal decided Civil War II wasn’t going to happen in their time and disbanded — the Knights of the Golden Circle were able to collect over one billion ounces of gold, an amount roughly equal to the world’s total known recoverable reserves in 1973, Russia excluded.
The total cache would be worth $43 billion, or twice the value of what’s left in Fort Knox, if it could be sold to the Treasury at the official price, $131 billion if it could be smuggled to Zurich disguised as gnome suppositories minus a nominal charge for postage and handling. Eat your heart out, Jean Paul Getty, Howard Hughes, and Aristotle Onassis.
Let’s see here, according to the old-timers, at the former official price of $35 the ounce there’s $4 billion in Montana and Idaho, $2.5 billion in Texas, $500 million in California, $500 million in the Dakotas, $630 million in New Mexico, $330 million each in Nevada and Utah, $175 million in Arizona, $500 million in Colorado, $333 million in Oregon, $175 million in Washington, $500 million in Mexico, $333 million in New England, $63 million in the Canary Islands, lots more in Canada, and — start digging: $1 billion in New York.
“The Golden Circle spared no expense in burying its stolen or accumulated gold,” says Jesse James III of Banning, California, grandson of who do you think. “It employed the best engineers and the most modern equipment. My daddy said a white laborer was seldom employed in building a depository. Indians or Negroes were preferred because they could keep their mouths shut… The depositories were booby-trapped from all directions and more than one snooper has been blown into a million pieces.”
Against the possibility that the House will follow the Senate’s action and that President Agnew will sign the law rescinding gold prohibition, the old-timers are beginning to plan what to do with their hoard. “We’ll first try to cut a deal with the U.S. government. Say, it would give us 10 per cent tax free and safe from do-gooder bureaucrats. We’d take our 10 per cent and establish scholarships for the much-maligned Indians and descendants of Negroes and Mexicans who worked on our ancestors’ depositories. We’d preserve historical landmarks. And we’d financially aid non-Communist pacifist groups because the Knights of the Golden Circle which amassed this fortune believed only war lords and international bankers profit from war.”
No sooner had Dean spilled the refritos about F. Lee and his Aztec pefl than James informed Schrader that the gold in question was actually part of what the old Confederates called their “Alamogordo Cache.” “Everything seems to be turning up these days in the Watergate hearings,” says Jesse James III.
Indeed, indeed. Let us look at Bailey’s role again. The Boston attorney’s clients include these two:
a) James McCord, for whom, as long as he was represented by the superbly suntanned Gerald Alch, Esq., an employee of Bailey’s, mum was the word on the subject of Watergate derring-didn’t.
b) Mr. or Messrs. X, individual(s) with access to the Alamogordo Cache of the Knights of the Golden Circle.
In consideration of his work in “dealing” with client (a) Bailey approaches the administration to obtain a dispensation for client (b), but is rebuffed. Shortly thereafter, Bailey unaccountably loses his ability to “deal” with client (a). Client (a) fires Bailey’s firm and writes the letter to Judge Sirica that becomes the crucial first squeal that leads to the current Senate hearings and Dean’s testimony revealing the existence of and non-responsive treatment accorded to client (b).
Meanwhile, we should note, Bailey himself is indicted by the administration for alleged fraudulent activities in concert with Florida Kosmetic King Glenn Turner.
Is it possible that client (a) let the Watergate cat out of the bag because the administration was non-responsive to the boon requested on behalf of client (b)?
Is it significant that McCord has acted, in effect, as hatchet man against the administration on behalf of the guardians of the Alamogordo Cache?
Has Bailey been indicted because he Knows Too Much?
Has the Southern Strategy been checkmated by the Southron Strategem?
As you ponder these questions, let me leave you with some thoughts about gold.
The two great movements of the modern age are science and exploration. Science grew out of alchemy, whose goal was to magically transmute base metal into gold. Exploration was conducted largely to discover extant sources of gold. Gold was valued because of its unique ability to energize the society that possessed it through its power to regulate money. Governments cannot regulate the value of money. All they can do is make more of it or confiscate some of it. But they cannot raise or lower the total value of all money. Only gold can do that. It is often said that gold has no “intrinsic value.” On the contrary, it is the only material manifestation we are aware of that does have intrinsic value; it has only intrinsic value; and all other things and non-things have only extrinsic value, relative to each other.
Why, after all, if Roger Bacon wanted to transmute base elements into something, didn’t he try to turn them into digital wristwatches, which undoubtedly would have gone like hotcakes in those days; or cream cheese, upon which the perennially starving populace could have eagerly munched; or colored floral print toilet paper, which you probably could have flogged to royalty at a nifty profit; or plastic high explosives, which could have been used to hijack castles; or De Tomaso Panteras, which would have been good for cruising for tricks on the King’s Road. Whyever gold?
Because he believed that the magician was the conduit through whom the values of the impalpable world were to be imposed on the values of the all-too-palpable one here at hand, and that gold was ordained, by dint of its beautiful uselessness. to be deployed against any system of worth that overvalues utility as against beauty. In the United States today, a successful alchemist would be ipso facto a felon. The chief significance of the gold legislation pending in the House is that it would legalize alchemy.
Does the saga of the Knights of the Golden Circle sound like a lot of hogwash to you? Perhaps so, though it is intriguing to wonder whether there is a connection between it and the bath a whole lot of swine seem to be taking these July days. Maybe it is simply the purposively flimsy explanation the macrocosm is fronting at this point for the fact that suddenly hundreds of thousands, if not hundreds of millions, of fine ounces Troy of the solar metal have been brought out of nowhere into play in the political soap opera by who else but that stone Philosopher, modern alchemy’s Mr. Big, the Master of Confabulation.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 11, 2020