FBI says search for fabled gold in Pennsylvania ended up empty; other parties believe otherwise

This Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, Dennis Parada, right, and his son Kem Parada stand at the site of the FBI's dig for Civil War-era gold in Dents Run, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)
This Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, Dennis Parada, right, and his son Kem Parada stand at the site of the FBI's dig for Civil War-era gold in Dents Run, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)
Short Url
Updated 25 June 2021

FBI says search for fabled gold in Pennsylvania ended up empty; other parties believe otherwise

FBI says search for fabled gold in Pennsylvania ended up empty; other parties believe otherwise
  • Legendary gold cache was supposedly US government gold “stolen during the Civil War” and hidden in a Pennsylvania cave
  • Court documents show the FBI sought a federal judge permission to dig, fearing Pennsylvania would seize the treasure

An FBI agent applied for a federal warrant in 2018 to seize a fabled cache of US government gold he said was “stolen during the Civil War” and hidden in a Pennsylvania cave, saying the state might take the gold for itself if the feds asked for permission, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
The newly unsealed affidavit confirms previous reporting by The Associated Press that the government had been looking for a legendary cache of gold at the site, which federal authorities had long refused to confirm. In any case, the FBI said, the dig came up empty.
The AP and The Philadelphia Inquirer petitioned a federal judge to unseal the case. Federal prosecutors did not oppose the request, and the judge agreed, paving the way for Thursday’s release of documents.
“I have probable cause to believe that a significant cache of gold is secreted in the underground cave” in Dent’s Run, holding “one or more tons” belonging to the US government, wrote Jacob Archer of the FBI’s art crime team in Philadelphia.
Archer told the judge he needed a seizure warrant because he feared that if the federal government sought permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to excavate the site, the state would claim the gold for itself, setting up a costly legal battle.
“I am concerned that, even if DCNR gave initial consent for the FBI to excavate the cache of gold secreted at the Dent’s Run Site, that consent could be revoked before the FBI recovered the United States property, with the result of DCNR unlawfully claiming that that cache of gold is abandoned property and, thus, belongs to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” the affidavit said.
Archer also revealed allegations against a legislative staffer who, he wrote, tried to get some of the loot for himself.
In 2013, the affidavit said, the legislative staffer contacted a pair of treasure hunters who had identified the likely site of the gold. The staffer “corruptly” offered to get the treasure hunters a state permit to dig “in return for three bars of gold or ten percent” of whatever they recovered. The staffer said he was acting on behalf of others in state government, according to Archer, including “someone who controlled money going to DCNR and someone working in the Pennsylvania governor’s office.”
No one has been charged in connection with the case, and federal prosecutors say they consider the matter closed. A spokesperson for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources declined comment.
The FBI had long refused to explain exactly why it went digging on state-owned land in Elk County in March 2018, saying only in written statements over the years that agents were there for a court-authorized excavation of “what evidence suggested may have been a cultural heritage site.”
According to the affidavit, the FBI based its request for a seizure warrant partly on the work done by the treasure hunters, who had made hundreds of trips to the area. The father-son duo told authorities they believed they had found the location of the fabled Union gold, which, according to legend, was either lost or stolen on its way to the US Mint in Philadelphia in 1863.
After meeting with the treasure hunters in early 2018, the FBI brought in a contractor with more sophisticated instruments. The contractor detected an underground mass that weighed up to nine tons and had the density of gold, the affidavit said.




Shutterstock treasure hunt illustration image

That amount of gold would today be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Archer wrote that he also spoke with a journalist, identified as “Person 3,” who had done extensive research on a Civil War-era group called the Knights of the Golden Circle. The KGC, Archer wrote, was a secret society of Confederate sympathizers that had purportedly “buried secret caches of weapons, coins, and gold and silver bullion, much of which was stolen from robberies of banks, trains carrying payroll of the Union Army during the Civil War and from northern army military posts, in southern, western and northern states.”
Archer said that a turtle carving found on a rock near the proposed dig site was “very likely ... a KGC marker for that site.”
Archer wasn’t able to confirm the US Mint had actually missed any expected shipments of gold because the Mint did not have records for the Civil War period, the affidavit said.
The FBI apparently did not indicate to the judge, in writing, what it found at the site, according to the documents unsealed Thursday. A spokesperson for the US attorney’s office in Philadelphia said that no such document was filed with the court because the dig came up empty.
Dennis and Kem Parada, co-owners of the treasure-hunting outfit Finders Keepers, have said they believe the FBI found gold at the site. They are seeking thousands of pages of FBI documents about the investigation as well as video files of the dig.
Their attorney, Bill Cluck, said the court documents revealed Thursday simply raise more questions.
He noted the warrant granted by US Magistrate Judge Richard Lloret gave FBI agents permission to dig from 6 a.m to 10 p.m. But residents have told of hearing a backhoe and jackhammer overnight — when the excavation was supposed to have been paused — and seeing a convoy of FBI vehicles, including large armored trucks.
In addition, it is telling that the FBI never checked back with the contractor whose sensitive instruments had indicated the possible presence of gold to ask what went wrong, said Warren Getler, the journalist identified as “Person 3” in the affidavit.
“Did the science really go wrong? I am not so sure about that,” said Getler, author of “Rebel Gold,” a book exploring the possibility of buried Civil War-era caches of gold and silver.
“Why did they send four or five armored cars after the fact?” he asked. “Why did they work under cover of darkness? Why did they kick us off the mountain at 3 p.m. that day when we were supposed to be working as partners?”
The FBI assertion of an empty hole is “insulting all the credible people who did this kind of work,” Dennis Parada previously told the AP. “It was a slap in the face, really, to think all these people could make that kind of mistake.”


Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months

Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months
Updated 24 September 2021

Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months

Indian man on bail must wash women’s clothes for six months
  • Lalan Kumar will have to buy detergent and other items needed to provide six months of free laundry services to about 2,000 women in the village
  • Kumar, who washes clothes for a living, was arrested in April on charges including attempted rape

PATNA: An Indian man accused of attempted rape has been given bail on condition that he wash and iron the clothes of all women in his village for six months.
Lalan Kumar, 20, will have to buy detergent and other items needed to provide six months of free laundry services to about 2,000 women in the village of Majhor in Bihar state, under the ruling made Wednesday.
Kumar, who washes clothes for a living, was arrested in April on charges including attempted rape, Santosh Kumar Singh, a police officer in Bihar’s Madhubani district, told AFP.
No date has been set for his trial.
“All the women in the village are happy with the court decision,” Nasima Khatoon, the head of the village council, told AFP.
“It is historic. It will boost respect for women and help to protect dignity,” added Khatoon, one of the village dignitaries who will monitor Kumar.
Women in the village said the order had made a positive impact by making crime against women a subject of discussion in their community.
“This is a remarkable step and a different kind of punishment that sends a message to society,” said Anjum Perween.
India’s rape laws were overhauled after a 2012 gang rape in New Delhi but the number of offenses remains high, with more than 28,000 rapes reported in 2020.
Police have long been accused of not doing enough to prevent violent crime and failing to bring sexual assault cases to court.


UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane

UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane
Updated 24 September 2021

UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane

UK court jails blind Paralympian for gluing self to plane
  • James Brown, 56, climbed on top of a British Airways plane during an Extinction Rebellion protest at London City Airport and superglued his hand to the roof
  • London's Southwark Crown Court sentenced him to 12 months in prison for causing public nuisance

LONDON: A British court on Friday sentenced a former Paralympian gold medallist to a year in jail for gluing himself onto the roof of a plane at a climate protest.
James Brown, 56, was born in Northern Ireland and won two gold medals for Great Britain and a bronze for Ireland in cycling at the Paralympics. He is registered blind.
He climbed on top of a British Airways plane during an Extinction Rebellion protest at London City Airport and superglued his hand to the roof.
A judge at London’s Southwark Crown Court sentenced him to 12 months in prison after a jury found him guilty of causing a public nuisance.
Judge Gregory Perrins told Brown the sentence showed those “tempted to seriously disrupt the lives of ordinary members of the public in the way that you did and then seek to justify it in the name of protest” that “they will face serious consequences.”
Extinction Rebellion said he would spend at least six months behind bars, slamming the ruling as “a dangerous judgment for our right to free speech, our right to protest and for those who campaign on environmental issues.”
Lawyer Raj Chada, who acts for the group, said they would be appealing the sentence.
Alanna Byrne, of Extinction Rebellion UK, said fellow activists were “shocked and devastated” but called Brown “a hero to us all.”
Prosecutors said the protest action disrupted flights for more than 300 passengers, costing the airline around £40,000 ($55,000, 47,000 euros).
Brown was one of hundreds of activists who attempted to lay siege to the east London airport to protest against an expansion project.
The group’s colorful protests have attracted a mass following since it was formed by UK academics studying the effects of harmful carbon emissions on Earth.
It calls for the British government to take a more radical approach to reducing emissions.
Last month, Extinction Rebellion held a series of protests in the City of London financial district amid a heavy police presence.
An offshoot group, Insulate Britain, on Friday blocked access to the port of Dover, demanding the government step up action insulating homes.


Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020

Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020
Updated 24 September 2021

Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020

Recently discovered pharaonic coffin arrives at Expo Dubai 2020
  • The wooden coffin of ancient Egyptian priest Psamtik was discovered in the country’s Saqqara Antiquities Area
  • Earlier, the pavilion received a collection of replicas of King Tutankhamun

DUBAI: An archeological Egyptian coffin has arrived in Egypt’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and will be displayed for the six-month period of the event, Emirates News Agency WAM reported.

The wooden coffin of ancient Egyptian priest Psamtik was discovered in the country’s Saqqara Antiquities Area, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

It is decorated with a floral collar and two falcon heads.

A drawing of sky goddess Nut also appears on the coffin where she spreads her wings and holds a feather in each hand as a symbol of right and justice. 

The coffin is also inscribed with offerings and speeches surrounded by two rows of gods. 

Earlier, the pavilion received a collection of replicas of King Tutankhamun, including his golden mask, sarcophagus, the special festive chair, and the golden king's throne.


Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day

Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day
Updated 23 September 2021

Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day

Google flies the flag for Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day

RIYADH: Search giant Google updated its logo with a doodle to mark Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day on Thursday.
The change featured a fluttering Saudi flag encased in a domed sky.
The mostly green design includes the company name in a slightly italicized font.
Google, the most popular search engine in the world, often changes its distinctive logo to commemorate special occasions.
Last year’s edition of the national day logo was similar in many respects, but there were minor tweaks.
The color of the flagpole went from last year’s gold to black, and the clouds now also have a more clearer outline. The typography was also different a year before, with the site name in a bolder font and without italicization.
This year Arab News is celebrating the Kingdom’s national day with Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and has produced a comprehensive deep dive into one of the most culturally significant landmarks of Saudi Arabia’s past and future.


Did she know? Lebanese diva ignites Twitter storm by posing with Israeli make up artist

A photograph of Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim apparently posing with an Israeli make-up artist in the UAE sparked a social media storm over the weekend. (Screenshot)
Updated 20 September 2021

Did she know? Lebanese diva ignites Twitter storm by posing with Israeli make up artist

A photograph of Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim apparently posing with an Israeli make-up artist in the UAE sparked a social media storm over the weekend. (Screenshot)
  • Some critics predicted the former Miss Lebanon would say she did not know he was from Israel, but others said what difference does it make if he is
  • Lebanon is technically still at war with Israel; the countries have no official ties and Lebanese citizens are forbidden from traveling there

LONDON: A photograph of Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim apparently posing with an Israeli make-up artist in the UAE sparked a social media storm over the weekend.

“Lebanese model and actress Nadine Njeim is pictured with an Israeli make-up artist in UAE. Likely his customer. Is this another case of ‘Oh, I didn’t know’!?” Twitter user Lebanon News and Updates (@LebUpdate) wrote in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday alongside the photograph.

In a subsequent Tweet, he said: “It is confirmed that she was his customer, according to his TikTok video. It is obvious that famous people do not simply choose random makeup artists without some background research on his/her work and experience.”

The messages provoked a number of shocked and angry responses on Twitter.

“Nadine Njeim they are asking for models in Tel Aviv,” a user called Mimo wrote.

Another, called Adam, simply tweeted three puking-face emojis, as others chimed in. Some critics predicted that Njeim, a former beauty queen who was crowned Miss Lebanon in 2004, would say she did not know the makeup artist was from Israel. But other people said so what if he is?

“I am so tired of this backward mentality and these people,” a Twitter user called Romy wrote. “When they’re not destroying Lebanon with their foreign allegiance and ideology they spend their time online on their iPhones stalking people to see if an Israeli breathed near them, and then bully them or get them in trouble.”

Another, 961Iceberg, wrote: “Every time you walk into a hairdresser salon or makeup artist studio, make sure you ask them for a full-blown bio including birth certificate, passports, visas issued and associations with other humans on earth.”

Lebanon is technically still at war with Israel. The countries have no official ties and Lebanese citizens are forbidden from traveling there. In March, a Lebanese social-media activist who had served 10 months of a three-year prison sentence for “collaborating” with Israel was granted bail and released after appealing the verdict.

In 1993, just three years after the end of the Lebanese Civil War, and with Israel still occupying the south of a country, a photograph of Lebanese beauty queen Ghada Turk smiling alongside 17-year-old Tamara Porat, Miss Israel, caused public outrage in Lebanon and much criticism in the local media.

In 2015, a selfie taken during a Miss Universe pageant and posted by Miss Israel that included Miss Lebanon, Miss Japan and Miss Slovenia cause a “you do not represent Lebanon” hashtag to go viral. Two years later, Miss Lebanon Amanda Hanna, a dual citizen of Sweden and Lebanon, was stripped of her title a week after winning when it emerged she had previously visited Israel using her Swedish passport.

However, under President Michel Aoun the Lebanese government has engaged in border talks with the Israelis. And in 2020, Lebanon’s prosecutor general decided not to charge fugitive former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn over a visit to Israel in 2008.

It is unknown whether Njeim, who obtained a UAE 10-year Golden Visa in May, has any another citizenship or passport, or what consequences she might face should she return to Lebanon.

The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco signed agreements with Israel last year, dubbed the Abraham Accords, to normalize relations with Israel.