Conservatives hooked “Birch Gold” in the run-up to the debt-ceiling crisis

Over the past several years, prominent conservatives including Dr. Ron Paul, Steve Bannon, and Ben Shapiro have been promoting gold and gold-backed assets to their audience. One company in particular, Birch Gold Group, has garnered notable public endorsements from all of these figures, each involved in multiple marketing activities.

Birch Gold is one of a number of smaller outlets pushing the precious metal to a conservative audience. Where large, well-established companies like State Street offer “GLD,” a gold-backed electronically traded fund (ETF) that is among the largest such funds in the world, Birch offers “physical gold” in the form of coins and other gold-based products.

One line of products called “goldbacks” resemble laminated banknotes from the 19th century, each themed around Nevada, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wyoming. company website It claims to contain “very fine layers of 24 karat gold protected by layers of durable polymer.” Birch’s other subsidiary, BitIRA, offers Bitcoin-backed IRA products to a similar audience.

It was Birch Gold was established in Los Angeles in 2003 by Iraqi-born Laith Paul Al-Sarraf. The company occupies offices in Burbank, across the street from the Warner Bros. studio. The company’s name is an apparent reference to the John Birch Society, the group founded in 1958 by candy magnate Robert Welch and named after John Birch, an American soldier killed by Chinese Communists at the end of World War II in 1945. It was “the first casualty of the war.” Third World War”, and the group has maintained a paranoid and staunchly anti-communist stance in the decades since.

Teller, now 53, rose to prominence in the 1990s with the rise of the Internet pornography industry, when his company, Cybernet Ventures, introduced a payment and age verification service called Adult Check. San Fernando Valley, home of Birch Gold and Cybernethistorically stronghold the pornography industry, as well as the so-called “Armenian RussianOrganized crime activity.

Mr. Al-Sarraf founded the company with his partner Vartan “Marty” Sarkisov. Sarraf and Sarkisov, who is an Armenian-American, have co-founded several business ventures over the years. Forbes estimated Adult Check’s 2001 revenue was approximately $320 million. According to online records, the company was dissolved in late 2011.

Mr. Al-Sarraf, who appears to be the principal owner of Birch Gold according to 2018 court records, has not solicited the media spotlight in connection with his business with Birch Gold. Instead, the company’s spokesperson, English-born Philip Patrick, steps up, who claims he was a private wealth manager at Citigroup in London, where he “saw the dangers of bypassing government and socialist policies firsthand.” Patrick joined Birch Gold in 2012 as a Precious Metals Analyst Repeat guest on Bannon’war roomPodcast series containing inflation warnings.

Bannon’s endorsement has been featured prominently on the Birch Gold website, where he recently promoted a multi-volume report titled “Stephen K. The end of the dollar empire. ” The report discusses, according to Bannon’s description in the videos, inflation and the constant pressure on the dollar that may result from geopolitical challenges from Russia, China and the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa),

Steve Bannon has been interested in gold and cryptocurrency for a long time. In 2005, he Action With children’s movie star Brock Pierce to develop Internet Gaming Entertainment, who sold a sort of “digital gold” product within the World of Warcraft video game. Players in Asia “mine” assets at lower rates and then sell them to players in the West at higher rates – a process called “mining.”gold cultivation. Bannon helped attract a $60 million investment in the company from Goldman Sachs, his former employer.

John L. Thornton, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and Prof Close friend From Bannon, he is now CEO of Barrick Gold, the world’s second largest gold producer. A source familiar with the matter who wished to remain anonymous said Thornton played a significant role in choosing Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as national security advisor in 2017, an appointment that famously lasted just 22 days.

In addition to Mr. Bannon, Birchgold is truly a “who-it” of both conservative and liberal gold advocates Validatorsincluding Ben Shapiro (Daily Wire Editor), Dan Bongino, Candace Owens, Ron Paul, Dinesh D’Souza, Michael Savage, Larry Elder, Jordan B. Peterson, Ben Carson, Matt Walsh, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Graham Allen, Jackson Hinkle and Kirk Cameron, Lance Walnow.

Wallnau is a senior member of the New Apostolic Reformation, a Christian nationalist movement that has been identified by many as having played an important role in the January 6 Rebellion. Authored Article to the Birch Gold website stating that the presence of gold was “evidence” of intelligent design. Many also ties with the National Policy Council, which also played a role in organizing and executing the 2021 rebellion. The company also regularly promotes content featuring “Celebrity Gold” Peter Schiff, Jim Rickards, and Steve Forbes.

Carlo Vartan, an American of Armenian descent, is currently CFO of Birch Gold. From 2013-2015, Vartan Servants As CFO of MCW Energy (also based in the San Fernando Valley), a company that manages hydrocarbon extraction projects and distributes fuel to gas stations in Los Angeles. The company’s extraction efforts use tar sands located near Vernal, Utah, and have been the subject of a controversy there. MCW Energy, which changed its name to Petroteq Energy in 2017, was founded by Aleksandr Blyumkin, a fuel distributor originally from Ukraine.

Vartan then worked in the aluminum industry, for recycling company Real Industry (now Elah Holdings, Inc., after the 2018 bankruptcy). He then served as Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity for Unity Aluminum, a division of Braidy Industries, in Ashland, Kentucky. The Braidy Mill project has become controversial because of it links To Oleg Deripaska, the Russian aluminum oligarch, who also did the links To Kentucky Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. After working with Unity Aluminium, Vartan joined Birch Gold in 2017.

Modern promotion of gold by conservatives dates back to Franklin Roosevelt’s departure from the gold standard in 1933, as previously reported in depth in Washington Spectator (We see: Paranoia on parade). In recent years, conservatives like Glenn Beck have been known to run ads for gold products on his television and radio variety shows. But the amalgamation of conservative voices around Birch Gold raises questions about why this company, in particular, appeals to all of them.

Posted by Birch Gold Group on Jul 3, 2014. The photo is of four smiling men in business suits holding hands with palms up.  The caption says,

Part of the answer may lie in geopolitics. Since 2014, Birch has been hinting at the possibility of a shift towards gold from Russia, China and the BRICS countries. On July 3, 2014, the company published an article titled “Is the BRICS bloc heading towards adopting the “anti-dollar alliance”?

In the same month, the company wrote a post titled, “Chinese gold standard?And in February 2015, they followed it up with “Is Russia heading to the gold coin?While fear-mongering is standard practice for gold-promoting companies, the subsequent alignment of prominent conservatives with Birch indicates more coordinated activity.

As Congress prepares for a showdown over raising the debt ceiling, several prominent conservatives have done so pointed out They will hold the hypothetical hostage possibility of extracting cuts in Social Security, Medicare and more aid to Ukraine. Any possibility of a US debt default would result in a downgrade of the country’s credit rating; It will be the actual default devastating effects the global economy and the dollar in particular. A “perfect storm” for gold hackers, this scenario would fulfill the long-held prophecy that reckoning would one day come for the dollar.

It has always been Vladimir Putin Connection To create a BRICS bloc currency for settlements between countries that might want to operate outside of sanctions imposed by the US and Europe in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine.

Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Poszar recently suggested that Putin, in response to G7 nations capping the price of Russian oil at $60, might try to sell oil at the rate of two barrels to one ounce of gold, effectively undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. the scientist. Bozar suggested that such a move could raise the price of gold from $1,800 to $3,600 an ounce. That was the idea echo Written by Sergei Glazyev, Russian economist and politician Drove The country’s efforts to create a BRICS currency. This effort is calledBretton Woods III(referring to the 1944 conference that established the current global financial system, as well as Nixon’s subsequent abandonment of the gold standard in 1971), orGolden Ruble 3.0. “

Plumbing works have also begun to enable such settlements between banks. mBridge projecta collaboration between the BIS Hong Kong Innovation Center, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Bank of Thailand, the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China and the Central Bank of the UAE, will allow participating countries to make settlements between each other while bypassing the SWIFT (Society for Communications) payment transfer network. global interbank finance) and any associated Western sanctions.

While the possibility of a US debt default is widely considered impossible, such a scenario has long been part of the right-wing apocalyptic fiction literature. Although the kind of total collapse that the dollar skeptics envision is unlikely to be fully realized, there is significant danger in the notion that they could team up with Russia and China in pursuit of such an idea. There is mounting evidence of this Saudi Arabiathe The United Arab EmiratesAnd Israel You might also go along with such an effort.

Mr. Al-Sarraf is also associated with Many other companiesMost of them are located in Southern California, including a hospital called Melody Memorial Animal Hospital. In the past, he was said to spend most of his time at a nonprofit called Pooch Heaven, which helps rescue dogs on his 820-acre farm outside Los Angeles. Other past entities, most likely related to Cybernet and AdultCheck, include “Sluts Cash, LLC” and “Cyberstrip Live, Inc.” Court records indicate that Mr. Sarraf and his ex-wife, Shirley Ann Sarraf, divorced in 2020. An amateur radio license, NW9Y, was issued to Sarraf by the FCC in 2013, which he currently holds.

Whatever the outcome of the debt-ceiling standoff, conservatives will certainly continue to push gold and cryptocurrency increasingly into the future. It’s worth noting, for now, that one company, with its odd history and backstory that seems out of step with conservative values, has garnered support from much of the Putin-aligned right.

The author would like to thank and acknowledge the many open source researchers who contributed information to this story.

Dave Troy is an investigative journalist who focuses on exposing threats to democracy. Based in Baltimore, his background as a technologist interested in studying online extremism provides him with a unique perspective. His work has appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and he is a Fellow of the New America Foundation front lines in the future. Dave writes regularly about information warfare, history and politics. He is the host of the podcast Dave Troy presents, He speaks regularly at conferences on disinformation, extremism and information warfare. Contact information is available at

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