BLUE DELTA INVESTIGATIONS, LLC

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Cody, Wyoming

 

 

 

SECURITY ADVISORY FOR CLIENTS TRAVELING TO EUROPE

Guillermo D. Jalil, M.S.

Wealthy Europeans closing bank accounts and moving funds to North American, Caribbean and Asian Financial Centers.  Europeans are in panic; closing financial accounts in Europe.  Counterparties are waiting to exit.  Most of the funds are converted to US dollars.  Singapore and Hong Kong are major beneficiaries.  Panama is receiving a large influx of financial wire activity by wealthy French seeking to buy property. 

 

Please review our updated numbers on Site 1.  Site 2 and 3 are on update status.

20 June 2012; Our security advisories are usually available only to our clients.  This security advisory is posted as a service to our clients, and a courtesy to others, who may be traveling to Europe on business or for pleasure.  Recent developments has created serious concerns over personal security.

The banking and monetary crisis in Europe has accelerated in severity; beyond all public expectations.  There's an ongoing bank run in Greece.  Withdrawals from Greek banks and financial institutions are now over $1B USD per diem.  Bank runs in Spain are now picking up in frequency and severity.  As a result, burglaries are skyrocketing.  Families are in distress.  There are parents are dropping off their children at police stations or selling them off for lack of money for food.  There are Greeks, lined up by the thousands, waiting for food handouts at soup kitchens, churches, and in parks.

Use of traveler's checks is severely reduced due to expected banking disruptions.  South European merchants are demanding a 10-20% premium when accepting traveler's checks.  Few, if any, Greek merchants are accepting them.  Even in Spain, the use of traveler's checks has reduced greatly.  German merchants accept travelers checks but prefer cash.  In most restaurants in Europe, using a traveler's check involves an added fee to the bill.  If you are a creature of habit and must use them, then cash them in at a local American Express office, and then use cash.  At least there, you won't need to wait in line at a bank, among many others, to have access to cash.

Take a printed copy of your itinerary in case there are internet disruptions.

Consider renting a cell phone from your carrier for use in Europe.  Remember that texting often functions even when phone calls are not possible.  Cell phone service is exceptionally reliable in Europe.  If a financial disruption occurs, the systems may be overwhelmed.

The most frequent incident of street crime against tourists are pickpocket related incidents; particularly in Southern European areas of the EU.  Avoid contact with crowds.  We recommend the Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack. 

In Greece and Spain, do not depend on the availability of cash at ATM machines.  Many ATM machines are coming up empty.  There are lines at the machines, and security in a problem.  Although the problem is severe in Greece, due to the ongoing bank run, the lines at the ATM's are unpredictable in Spain.

As our associate advised, the modern day bank runs involve bleeding at both ends.  Yes, the depositors are withdrawing cash and closing out accounts.  The central banks are able to deal with this without a problem.  The real bank run involves the departure of counterparties; those who are keeping the banks afloat.  This type of bank run is more serious because it's silent and out of public view.  If the counterparties leave, the European financial crisis may elevate to threatening the very infrastructure of the European system distribution systems.  The threat of the counterparty abandonment may be triggered by the drop in debt ratings.  If you're caught in Europe when this happens, it may lead to disruptions in food and fuel distribution and certain choke points.  Distribution of commodities may not stop completely.  The issue lies in your location respective to the distribution of necessary commodities at any particular time.  Add the lack of backup, as a result of foreign travel, and the lack of fluency in foreign languages, then difficulties may be encountered if left unaware.  It comes down to timing and location.  The solution is to leave yourself an out in planning.

Leaving yourself out means the following:

  • Carrying one day supply of food in your luggage (dates, olives, olive oil, canned fish, etc.) for snacking.

  • Be cognizant of the nearest embassy of your country.

  • Locate areas that are food secure.

  • Schedule travel time at wineries, farms, and the countryside.

Consider your hotel stay to be in a small town within a thirty minute train ride from a major city.  If anything goes seriously wrong, you won't be exposed to tear gas, protests, serious disruptions and the area is more food secure.

As the number of European banks are downgraded, and the frequency of the downgrades increase in frequency, consider this seriously as an indication of deeper seated problems. 

Use credit cards when available, and hold onto cash as much as possible.  Eat the 1-3% fees if credit cards are accepted.  You must consider, if there's a systemic hiccup in the financial system, that electronic payment systems may be dysfunctional before your return.  Cash will be king if the electronic forms of payment, such as credit cards, aren't working. 

South European jurisdictions are more prone to protests, random acts of violence, infrastructure disruptions, and distribution problems.  Regardless of what is reported in the media, there are EU border controls increasingly instituted and this is causing bottlenecks in travel.  In addition, checkpoints are more common with the primary purpose to control capital flight.  The excessive bank withdrawals are serving as noise camouflage for large scale money laundering transfers.  Since many depositors are withdrawing what amounts to life savings, money launderers increased the amount of transfers that are normally reduced to several thousand Euros.  The cross-border transfers of cash within the EU are the primary targets of the checkpoints.  Be careful that violence may result if you're near a money launderer if he or she is stopped by authorities, at a cross border checkpoint.  Lastly, don't accept to carry or hold anyone's luggage.

If you're an American with plans for Europe, consider American hotels that have sites at your points of interest.  For example, Best Western is relatively inexpensive, consistent, and in almost all locations in Spain.  There are at least three locations in Madrid.  An American hotel may provide you more flexibility in paying, since you'll be returning to a country that's not embroiled in a currency crisis at this time.  If you're stuck in Europe as a result of a financial hiccup, then consider travel to areas that are more food secure.  This means to migrate to agricultural areas that are less dependent on refrigeration and power dependent means to store food.  For example, Toledo is a thirty five minute train ride, about seventy kilometers, from Madrid, and the hotel costs and food expenses are reduced. 

Do not leave the hotel windows open even when staying in the upper floors.  It is common for thieves to scale the walls up to ten(10) stories to commit theft.

Bring copies of your passport.

Avoid protests.  If your hotel is near a protest in progress, then please close the windows.  Noxious gases released by authorities may blow in through the window.  Carry eye wash.

Carry a drop wallet in case your are robbed.  This is a wallet with expired credit cards, small denominated paper currency, coins, and photocopies of your passport.  If robbed, this is the wallet you drop.  Throw the wallet in one direction and then run in the opposite direction.

Portugal is experiencing financial hardship and slow moving collapse.  Renting an automobile involves taking a toll road from the airport to your destination.  In many cases, there are no toll booths.  They were taken down as a cost saving measure.  This means you must pay the toll at a local post office within two business days.  If you fail to do this, you may face a police action.  Upon returning the rental car to the airport, you must take a toll road.  This means you will fail to pay the toll, since there's no post office at the airport.  A police action will result since you won't be able to pay the toll.  Most of these problems are happening with increasing frequency in Northern Portugal.  The rental cars don't have transponders.  Sometimes it pays to hire a driver and his car for the day.  You'll save money on parking, tolls, and avoiding those pesky police actions and fines, as a result of not paying your toll fees within two days.

Take down your facebook page whilst you're on holiday.  Please visit this advisory about Facebook:  http://bluedeltainvestigations.com/before_you_travel_internationally.htm

If there's trouble while you're visiting Europe, please reach us via text, email, fax or phone, if you need to a place to stay.  For clients only, we offer arrangements that don't include use of a hotel.  As for clients, please advise if you run into any trouble.  If available, we may arrange for your pickup, overnight stay at a local apartment or perhaps stay with a local family in Europe. 

As for the milk in Europe, please drink the refrigerated milk while you're there.  France offers unpasteurized milk through a vending machine, and its of excellent quality.  The milk sold at convenience stores throughout Southern Europe, in unrefrigerated flexible metal containers are re-pasteurized many times over.  It's causing kidney and other complications, according to two licensed Physicians in Spain who would not go public with their concerns.  New immigrants and tourists, traveling with small children, often feed this milk to their families; unknowing of the possible risks. 

If traveling to Europe, please keep in mind the local foods that don't require refrigeration.  Olive oil, olives, dried figs, nuts, canned fish products, real Gouda and Romano cheese, and bread.  Also consider canned cheese and other canned products found in ethnic stores outside the tourist district.  Nuts are plentiful and somewhat inexpensive.  Bring a nut cracker in your checked in luggage. These items are found at reduced prices in Arab sections of town.  For example, there's an Arab section of the town of Granada, Spain, where these items are found in abundance at cheap prices.  Take these issues into consideration if there's a financial disruption that may interfere with Just In Time (JIT) Delivery systems.

If you must go to Europe, do it sooner than later.  If you have existing plans to go within the next three months, then just go.  If you haven't scheduled a trip and must go to Europe, then please consider traveling to Northern European countries where there's greater financial stability. 

For those who intend to stay in Europe over six months, please consider arrangements for temporary food storage that will last at least two weeks in case of a serious currency crisis or trade disruptions.  Borders within the EU may become more salient, as South Europeans attempt to migrate to Northern European countries.  Further, capital controls may be instituted to avoid hemorrhaging currency from the EU.  The Swiss are instituting reverse capital controls to slow down the buying of the Swiss Franc.  Expect the unexpected as the currency crisis grows in severity.  Expect to function and travel, using cash, in case the banking crisis exacerbates during your stay. 

Bring all necessary prescriptions with you to Europe.  Don't assume that your medication is available.  There are no supply problems in Northern Europe at this time.  Greece in particular is hard hit with a lack of open or properly supplied pharmacies.  Many closed due to supply disruptions or lack of ability to obtain supplies on insufficient credit.

Tensions are likely to increase in Turkey and Eastern European countries as Syria deteriorated in full scale civil war.  Russia has sent warships to defend their security interests in Syria; namely the Tartus naval base that serves as a re-supply depot.

When taking a taxi, please pay attention to the taxi number.  As you enter the taxi, always say the number in a sentence.  Say something such as, "This taxi number is 235.  I once lived at 235 Main Street.  What a coincidence."  This cements the number into your mind.  It also notifies the driver that you won't forget the number. 

If its a hot day and the taxi's windows are down, the vehicle may have maintenance issues as indicated by the malfunctioning the air conditioner.  Just choose another taxi that is in better shape.

If you're a client and planning to travel to Switzerland, ask us about the currency advisory involving the Swiss Franc.  Please revisit the previous advisories to compare forecasts to current events.  Please visit the new site and login for data.

While you're there, perhaps email us the number of times a restaurant doesn't charge you Value Added Tax (VAT).  We find this as an indicator of retaliation against authorities for their austerity measures. 

If you are to engage in an act of charity, please consider donating directly to a group that perform the direct services. 

Watch out for the bar bill scam in Southern Europe, as in Miami, FL.  A tourist meets two pretty women who leads him to a bar.  The bar bill comes out to $1000.  The bouncer and the bartender doesn't permit him to leave until the bill is paid.  If you're accompanied by someone of the same gender, the accomplice will pay his side of the bill without complaining.

Eastern Europe is experiencing increased anti-immigrant crime, as in Russia.  The violence occurs in subways, public places, and restrooms.  Bring your own toilet paper.  People are stealing the toilet paper from restrooms, and municipalities are not inclined to replace it as often.

Italy may be the next in the news with persistent currency and debt problems.  The major financial difficulties, and increase in street crime, are found in Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Italy.

Remember to smile, and to say, "thank you" and "excuse me."

Considering the above, why not stay within CONUS and visit a national park?  The Europeans come here to visit our national parks for good reason--they are a beautiful places to spend your holiday.  Don't feed the bears.

BIS 9 May 2012, 31 May 2012, 4 June 2012

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