EDITORIAL: On Club Asteria, FxPowerPro And DisasterClub — And What The U.S. State Department Could Do To Contain The Danger Posed By The Talk Gold Ponzi And Criminals’ Forum And Others Of Its Ilk Worldwide
Let’s start with the chaos in Egypt this week. Protesters have streamed into the streets to demand that President Hosni Mubarak step down after three decades of autocratic rule. The government initially reacted by shutting down the Internet. As tensions rose, protesters, activists and journalists covering the events were beaten. Some of the protesters were killed.
When a government shuts down the Internet and starts chilling its people and journalists, it’s for a reason: It does not want the world to witness events, and it wants journalists to know they’ll pay a price for trying to report anything other than the government line to the masses. State-run TV beamed images of tranquility, not images of unrest. When the chaos became impossible to sanitize or ignore, the government blamed events on impure thinkers and their media lackeys, planting the seed that “foreign agendas” were at work.
It was the cue the loyalists needed to start threatening journalists with death by beheading. Fearing for their safety, the journalists abandoned the immediate turf — but not the story. They started reporting from “undisclosed locations.” The word was still getting out, just not the pictures in the degree desired.
The immediate events in Egypt, of course, are much more serious than, say, the immediate events at the TalkGold Ponzi scheme and criminals’ forum. Even so, some of the parallels are striking.
The Egyptian government, for example, is trying to control the message. So is the TalkGold forum, which wants the Ponzi shills and criminals who’ve involved the worldwide masses in one catastrophic fraud scheme after another to know they have a safe haven. TalkGold also wants the critics to know the Mods regard them as naysayers and trolls who can be “banned” without notice, rather like the Mubarak regime regards those muckraking reporters and their “foreign agendas.”
It won’t work at TalkGold for the same reason it won’t work in Egypt: People still have eyes and ears and the ability to be discerning. There may be only one Tahrir Square in central Cairo to control, but “undisclosed locations,” voices, cell phones, cameras and reporters’ pads and tape recorders are in plentiful supply. They can’t be controlled.
Egypt’s bid to control the message has resulted in a catastrophic PR problem on top of a political crisis. Meanwhile, TalkGold’s ineptitude, ham-handedness and arrogance has set the stage for its own PR disaster. You can read about it on RealScam.com, which sides with the afflicted masses, not the people who’d afflict the masses.
While state-run TV in Egypt is airbrushing the dangers of autocratic rule and beaming images of tranquility as the country’s inhabitants try to figure out how they’ll get by for yet-another year on the wages of poverty, TalkGold is airbrushing the economic and security dangers of viral criminality and seeking to tranquilize (and recruit) the masses by using flowery language and even flattery to tell them that opening an account with an offshore payment processor and sending money to any one of hundreds of schemes is their ticket out of the ranks of hopelessness.
Poster “Ken Russo,” for example, would have the people of Egypt — and the poverty-stricken people of the United States and other countries — know that the latest “program” he is promoting is one of the “best” he has ever seen.
One of “Ken Russo’s” current favorites is Club Asteria, which claims to “care” and contends that its “100,000 PLUS MEMBERS CAN’T BE WRONG.” Meanwhile, Club Asteria further claims to “Empower our Members” and to “help expatriates and immigrants to become more successful in their personal and professional lives and enable them to send money home to their loved ones.”
Tugging at heartstrings, Club Asteria further claims that “[t]hrough our philanthropic efforts we make an immediate difference for struggling individuals, families and communities by focusing on improving nutrition, housing, health care and education.”
That performing legitimate due diligence on Club Asteria is virtually impossible doesn’t seem to compute with “Ken Russo” and other affiliates. The mere fact the “program” is being promoted on TalkGold is reason enough to avoid it. Any business the company generates from TalkGold likely is radioactive. Club Asteria, for example, could find itself in possession of money that has flowed from fraud scheme to fraud scheme. Even if Club Asteria were legitimate, the fact it is being promoted on TalkGold puts it at one of the principal intersections of crime and fraud.
About the only good thing about the Internet being down in Egypt this week while its people took to the streets was that “Ken Russo” and his fellow promoters couldn’t sell Club Asteria and other highly questionable “programs” to the disaffected Egyptian masses. (On a side note, one of the companies named in a Forex lawsuit by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC) just days ago announced on TalkGold that the shutdown of the Internet in Egypt had disrupted its ability to interact with Egyptian clients and other clients in the region. A poster purporting to represent FXOpen — under an underlined heading of “Arabic Live Chat Disruption” — noted that “[o]ur hopes and prayers go out to the Egyptian people.”)
And even as the Egyptian government is inciting violence against journalists — to the degree that the U.S. Department of State issued a special statement on the matter — the TalkGold forum is banning posters who speak ill of Ponzi and fraud schemes that are gathering untold sums of money, channeling cash to some of the darkest corners of the Internet and keeping people in financial bondage.
Here is an idea for the Department of State and Secretary Hillary Clinton: Warn Americans — and other peoples of the world — about sites such as TalkGold. Mention them at a Congressional hearing. Instruct U.S. diplomats the world over to inform their host governments about the security and economic dangers posed by TalkGold and a sea of similar sites. Tell elected officials that the State Department is serious about monitoring sites that are keeping people in human bondage by spreading financial misery globally. Define Talk Gold as a global pariah, an enterprise without a state that would be proud to claim it. Inform the world regularly that the only form of diplomacy on TalkGold is robbery without a gun.
TalkGold has been named repeatedly in court filings that identify it as a place from which fraud schemes are openly pushed. The ink on recent CFTC lawsuits that identify two of TalkGold’s paid Forex advertisers as the purveyors of unregistered offerings targeted at U.S. citizens is barely dry, and yet the unabashed cheerleading continues.
The alleged AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme, which also was pushed from TalkGold, gathered at least $110 million. It caught the attention of the U.S. Secret Service and resulted in civil and criminal probes that could put people in prison for decades, and yet the unabashed cheerleading continues.
All the autosurfs prominently touted on TalkGold are just recycled forms of ASD, which itself allegedly was a recycled form of 12DailyPro, which the SEC smashed five years ago this month.
It’s the same thing with Pathway To Prosperity, yet-another alleged scheme promoted on TalkGold that gathered tens of millions of dollars and could put people in jail for decades. All of the HYIPs promoted on TalkGold are just recycled forms of Pathway to Prosperity, which was busted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Legisi, which was busted by the SEC after the U.S. Secret Service infiltrated its operations by using an undercover operative. The state of Michigan also used an undercover operative in the Legisi probe.
The best way to deal with TalkGold and similar sites is to tell the world that they promote global criminality and rank illicit profits above human rights and common human decency.
Like Egypt in its current state, TalkGold is not about freedom — financial or political. It is about the institutionalization of corruption. If TalkGold were an oncological hospital, its doctors would be cheerleading for the cancer to spread and its nurses would be rooting for the highest death rate because intervening to cure the disease and comfort the afflicted would be bad for institutional and personal profits.
A purported Forex program known as FxPowerPro currently has a 20-page thread on TalkGold. Among other things, FxPowerPro is claiming that “YOUR STABILITY IS OUR PURPOSE.” Its website appears to come from an editable script kit used by hundreds of sites globally, and it says it will accept any sum between $5 and $20,000. FxPowerPro proudly displays a link the the TalkGold forum.
A few days ago an eagle-eyed PP Blog reader passed along some information about yet-another incongruous program known as “Disaster Club.” Disaster Club appears to be a new wrinkle on cash-gifting schemes. It purports to arrange member-to-member “grants,” asking visitors if they’d like to turn a “One-Time $100 into $17,700.”
Bizarrely, Disaster Club uses a presentation by which it names four hypothetical members: “Job,” and “Cain, Abel and Eve.”
“After joining the Club you will receive the name of your assigned member, and each week on Monday you are to send a grant in the amount shown in the grant schedule directly to that assigned member,” Disaster Club says.
“Should you join the Club between Tuesday and Sunday, send your grant as soon as you receive your assigned name, do not wait until Monday,” Disaster Club coaxes. “Every grant thereafter will be sent according to the Monday schedule. To create a cash explosion from your home three members will each be given your name to send their $100 grants to ($100 X 3 = $300) and each stage you will keep the stated amount shown from the amount you received from the 3 members $100 + $100 + $100 = $300 you keep $50. Then according to the grant schedule shown, you are to send your grant directly to the same member (Job), and the same three members (Cain, Abel and Eve) will each send their grants directly to you.”
Disaster Club purports to be headquartered in Florida and claims to be a “club that allows like minded members to pool their resources together to help the hurting and homeless victims of any Disaster in any State, or even help others anywhere in the world.”
The “opportunity” does not appear to have its own thread at TalkGold yet, but there are plenty of disasters already waiting there for its readers. Just don’t expect to get a warm reception if you have a “foreign agenda” — you know, like those muckraking enemies of the Mubarak regime in Egypt.
Although it’s not likely you’ll be threatened with beheading at TalkGold, you might get deleted if you tangle with “Ken Russo” and others and challenge readers to use their heads for something other than a hat rack.
There is nothing decent about Talk Gold and its cancer-spreading cousins worldwide. Only the broadest public-awareness campaign can succeed against the threats they pose to the governments of the world and billions of Internet users globally — and the U.S. State Department could make a difference by describing the criminal forums as places from which human rights are set up to be trampled 24/7/365.
Any true diplomat from any country worldwide who spent so much as 15 minutes on TalkGold could see the danger to countries, governments and citizens worldwide. The world’s diplomatic corps are uniquely positioned to do something the world’s law-enforcement corps cannot do: be at all places at all times.
A sustained effort by the world’s diplomats to identify and monitor the fraud sites — and openly share the information with the people of the world — could go a long way toward containing a plague that only will mushroom into a catastrophe if left alone.