Friday, January 13, 2012

An Interview with Azrael

Last year I became aware of a website called People's Dinar is a Joke, a site about pumpers and gurus.  (People's Dinar is a forum modeled after Dinar Vets.  It was created shortly after a big split over two unauthorized conference calls.  Much of this information is available in my post "The Pumpers" from back in September.)  It was created by a man known as Azrael.  His writings have served as an inspiration for this blog, and I want to thank him for that and for taking the time to answer a few questions about himself and his experience in the dinar world. 

Sam I Am:  Tell us a little about your background.

Azrael:  I am originally from the Northeast, I now live in Southern California, moved out here for work about 7 years ago. I went to school for engineering but never used that formally. I spent most of my career as a strategic risk analyst for some large financial companies mostly doing consumer credit risk analysis and building models to predict credit worthiness. The team I was working on designed some pretty cool products back in 2003-2004, and unfortunately I worked myself out of a job but it actually was a great thing for me looking back as I was paid two years salary and benefits to not work in the same sector through a non-compete agreement that was enforced. Looking for something to do, I came to California to help a small start-up software company that a friend had begun with his brother. Through that venture I became a subject matter expert in the field of RFID from both the hardware and software perspectives and worked for many large players in the hospitality/entertainment as well as the health care industries. Unfortunately like many start-ups after a few years the company ran out of money so I was left to start consulting to a variety of small business in Southern California and at the same time I started to focus a bit more on something I had done as a hobby in the past, Stock Option trading. Recently I have found that to be much more profitable in this economy and have switched to doing it as my primary source of income.

Sam I Am: You have a reputation as a no nonsense guy. Is that due to your personality or your experience as an investor or both?

Azrael:  Well I take that as a compliment, I think some may find my style to be too direct for their liking but it is how I have always handled myself and at my age it may be too late to change. I am analytical by nature. I break things down to the most basic elements and then see what the true story is. I have always been able to see solutions to problems that are more simple than what many may like them to be, even if the solution is not sexy or cutting edge. I hate hype and I see through the “sales” pitch that occurs on many investments. At the end of the day I think the biggest tool you have is to use common sense and if something isn’t making sense, if there is no documentation or proof, then you should continue on in your search for the right solution.

As an investor, I have made money and lost money over the years. I find that there are a lot of opportunities out in the market if you search for them. Some are riskier than others, but the rewards are also much greater. Everyone has a level of risk tolerance that they are comfortable with, for some like my dad it is conservative, happy with 2% yearly in a CD and only Blue Chip Stocks that return a healthy dividend. Others are gamblers and they will be up big and down big all within a short time frame. For me, I try and see opportunities where I can minimize the risk while still taking advantage of the upside. To me the dinar is a prime example. To me this is a real currency, I own it, I have it in my possession. If I need to sell it I will take a loss that I can live with. At any time I can go and sell it back. By the same token at anytime it could revalue and be worth much more than I paid for it.

Sam I Am:  When did you learn about the dinar?

Azrael:  I learned about the dinar through some partners I had in various other investments. At the time I thought they were crazy but I went along. We started off very small in the grand scheme of things. Of course I was told you have to buy “RIGHT NOW!!” because it was going to revalue any day. We also bought VND at the same time but much less quantity as it did not have the same upside. Again from a risk standpoint it was a good bet since we actually had physical currency in our possession.

Sam I Am:  How did you get started on the dinar forums?

Azrael:  Ahhhh, dinar forums….back in September of 2010 my partners wanted to increase our dinar holdings. At that point I started to do some research and came across a few sites that had been created. My first venture was into….I read through some of the postings, was intrigued at the number of users and the information both good and bad that was posted within. It wasn’t until I ventured into the chat side that I really got interested in the Dinar investment as a whole. I was amazed/shocked at both the number of people involved but also the information that was being shared within these chats. For the first month or so I just lurked. I was interested to see and figure out who actually knew what they were talking about versus who was spewing nonsense or partial truths. At the time DV was really the big dog and Adam Montana had really created a business model that we have seen repeated many times over the past 12-14 months by several other sites which we can talk about.

After lurking for about a month and reading a lot, one name kept coming up that seemed to actually do research and seemed to know what he was talking about…Scooter. Well I also found it quite funny that every time he came into the DV chat room he was treated like a rock star and finally I decided to engage him one night and see if he was the real deal. I think if you ask him he will tell you we immediately clicked as I was grilling him with hypotheticals that went beyond the typical “rate and date” stuff and we had a great discussion that night and afterwords quickly became friends and now over a year later I consider him like family regardless of what happens with this Dinar investment of ours.

About the time that I started to get involved in the DV chat, as I was learning about who the big players were, the TerryK’s and the Frank’s of the world, the so called “pumpers”, was also the same time that there was a major split and People’s Dinar was started after the brush-up with Tony, Checkmate, SteveI, Viper and Adam Montana, all stemming over conference calls being posted that were not DinarVet sanctioned. As I sat back and watched it was quite comical to see this all unfold, clearly you could see why this was being done and the outcome was predictable. In the end it’s all about money, greed if you will. Adam Montana had created a true business where he could profit from his members both pre-RV and post-RV and it was only a matter of time before someone copied him, and Checkmate (Dan) and Tony were perfectly suited with their backgrounds in Multi-Level Marketing (MLM). People’s Dinar was formed, it was an exact clone of DinarVets, there was fighting between sites, people banned from one site or the other, it was all silly and fun depending on where you sat. At that time I started to see that there were some smart people who were involved in this investment and I was very lucky to make those friendships early on and I still have that same core group that I stay in touch with today. I don’t frequent the forums at all anymore. I have not been inside a chat room that is not privately run by someone I know in about 9 months. I just got tired of seeing how desperate so many people were for this to happen and how many people were unable to think for themselves and use common sense to see through the nonsense.

Sam I Am:  Can you give me a rundown of the gurus and your opinions? Adam Montana, SteveI, Frank Villa, Dan Atkinson, GET Team, Okie

Azrael:  That’s quite a list you just ran off but I think you are missing a few. As anyone who has read my writings in the past knows, I believe that anyone who has a public dinar site is a guru or wants to be a guru in some regard. Whether they are in it for money, for ego, or for reasons we don’t yet know, they want to have followers, they want to pretend to know more than they do and they have an agenda of some kind. Now as far as the people on your list, let’s break it down, and again this is my opinion….

Adam Montana: Smart guy, you can’t fault him.  He at one time had the largest dinar site and he was making money. I think he thought this would be done a long time ago and he would be well on to phase II of his plan post RV helping people with their new found wealth. Unfortunately he did not make adjustments like so many other business do in the face of new competition, Yahoo and Google as an example. This issue I have with Mr. Montana is in how he treats the members of his site. He has no loyalty to them at all. On top of that his VIP program where he basically is trying to get people to offshore their funds into Belize is very suspect in my opinion and I would caution anyone who plans to go along that route. I can only see that ending badly with either you losing all your money through fraud, losing your money plus jail time for tax evasion, or both. I think what bugs me the most about Adam Montana is not that he is shady, nor that he has no actual sources for information and his site adds little value to the community. What I find absolutely disgusting is how he handled the whole situation involving Scooter a few months back. Here is a guy who gave volumes of actual fact based information and insights to a site and asked nothing in return and Adam Montana hung him out to dry all because Scooter would not remain exclusive to his site…and when Scooter’s friends stepped in and called Mr. Montana out he had no response at all that was worth a darn. I think if you look back at the final nail in the coffin at that site it was the incident. Soon after most of his mods quit and he was left with not much of a user base. There is a reason his chat room went from having on average over 300 people in it at a time to now it’s basically empty.

Frank Villa: Frank is someone that I did not have a lot of exposure to, simply because his reputation was not great when I started to get involved, and the stuff I read was all a little bit too much based on religion and God doing this for us. I am a spiritual person, not hugely religious, but I find that in many of these forums and chats that people put too much faith in a higher power and they pray for this to save them, when in actuality they need to continue to work and find as many ways possible to make their way in the world and if the dinar RVs then all the better.

SteveI: Steve is someone who was clearly out of his element when thrust into the forefront as a site owner. I think he was brought in for the IT side of things when PeoplesDinar started, I think he quickly realized he was in over his head as far as both what it took to run a site but also dealing with his partners Tony and Dan. I think we all saw how quickly he snapped. For me I knew several of his Moderators who would show me the things he would say to them and to be honest it was gross at times how he would talk to people. Again, I think he realized after the fact that the goal of his partners was to make money both now and after the RV and I am not sure how comfortable he was with their ideas. I do believe that Steve is a good Christian man and runs his site today for the betterment of his members even if the site has shrunk considerably from its heyday.

The G.E.T. Team: Are they still in the intel business? Honestly I don’t think they are, I don’t see a lot from them these days since they lost some of their key contributors

OOM/Okie Oil Man: This is a hard one, because to be honest, because in my opinon that is not the real Okie’s site. It seems to me that the real Okie has not been on boards, chats or calls for a very, very long time, but again that is just an opinion I and others have talked about. Anyone with half a brain could tell from the start that someone hijacked his persona and is using the reputation and following that Okie created. The people at that site are smart, Bulldog, ScottiG, not sure if they have any real sources for intel or just make it up as they go along but I know that it is not the real Okie that was around a year ago, just go back and read older posts and you will see a vast difference in style.

PTR/Dan/Tony: These are the current kings of the dinar intel world. DO I think they have some resources? Yes. Do I think they tend to embellish, hype, and pump as much as possible?  Heck yes. If you look at their backgrounds in the MLM world, if you look at their progression from DinarVets to People’s Dinar to PTR you can see this was all part of a plan. The fact they used to rip into Adam Montana and his VIP pay side so much, but yet when push came to shove what do they do? They start Backstage Pass and charge members for access to calls and special chats. Now don’t get me wrong, it does cost money to run a site, the biggest cost is the inclusion of a chat room with the capacity to do several hundred people. But at the end of the day Tony and Dan are still making money each month and it’s enough money to make it worthwhile. The biggest thing to me that is of concern is this post RV event they will be having. Anyone who plans on going should proceed with caution. First, you have no idea the validity of the options that will be presented to you for investment. And secondly, if you think for one second that Dan and tony will not be paid a commission for every dollar you invest into one of their vendors at that event you are crazy.

Sam I Am:  You created the site People's Dinar is a Joke where you did a brief comparison of dinar gurus and cult leaders. How did you arrive at that conclusion?

Azrael:  It was very evident to me from spending time in chat rooms that people were elevating certain individuals to god-like status, you could see it in how people would react when someone walked into a room who they thought had information of intel, all things would stop, everyone would need to stop typing so that this “guru” could drop his knowledge on the group. Look at the following these people have versus the actual real information they have provided, it is truly cult-like. I did an article that was posted where I get very in depth about this topic and I wish more people would read it so that the understand more and can start to think for themselves rather than just follow a few people blindly. The saddest thing about this whole investment is that there truly are many people involved in it who need this to happen. Times are tough, we all have our ups and downs, but people were told this was a quick fix, well there is no such thing in life as a quick fix. If someone tells you every day that something is going to happen but they can’t tell you why, then can’t reveal their sources, they quote documents and articles that they can’t reproduce, they talk about events that they were not personally involved in and know little about, when they stretch the truth to the point it is non-believable, and when they simply gloss over and move on when what they say doesn’t happen and then get angry at you for questioning them….well I can tell you in my eyes that is a cult.

Sam I Am:  Look into your crystal ball and tell me how you think this investment will play out in 2012?

Azrael:  I believe in this investment, first and foremost. I am an investor, I did not look at this as a quick fix, an overnight home run, or a lottery ticket. I did my research, I know that oil is a commodity that the entire world needs, I look at the prices of oil on the futures market, I look at the position Iraq is in, what other things they potentially bring to the table and I see an enormous potential for them to be the country in the ME that all the others emulate. I then look at what the surrounding countries currencies are valued at. Most will point to Kuwait and that is a good start. Kuwait does not have nearly the reserves that Iraq has but they have a solid infrastructure and a large port. They are well over $3 in value. Does this mean Iraq should come out at $3 or better, I don’t know. I came into this investment with the expectation that anything over $0.10 and I would be happy. In my gut I always thought it would come out between $1.00-2.00. Now I know that there are people who will tell you a wide range of numbers and they can justify their number. It’s all good, but it’s also just a guess and no one will know until it happens. I will say that if people don’t realize that this is a chance for the entire world economic system to be reset then they are not looking at what is going on globally. That is the only thing I can point to that would make it seem like it could come out at a much higher rate initially, as a trigger event for the reset to occur and for a shifting of money on a much broader scale worldwide. Regardless of what it comes out at, people should be happy with the results. I know people may not like to hear that, but even at $.10 that is still a 100x return on your investment, and I don’t care how long you held it for it’s a good return.

I think we have seen a lot of progress in the past year, and especially in the last few months. The country is moving in the right direction and will come back on the world stage at some point. I have heard some people tell me we are close. These are people who are not gurus, they are not in chat rooms, they have connections and insights that make sense. Close could mean tomorrow, close could mean after the election or sometime right before. I know this is going to happen at some point so I just sit and wait. No one knows when or how this will occur. Sitting on forums and chats 8-10 hours a day praying that this will happen because you really need it to will not make it happen any sooner. I think if you hold dinar you made a good choice. If you have stopped the rest of your life from moving forward until this RVs, well you are doing yourself and your family a disservice.

Sam I Am:  Anything else you want to add?

Azrael:  Just that there are a lot of things in this investment that people have taken as gospel that are simply not true. That needs to be pointed out and hammered home.

1) The Kuwaiti RV - it did not happen the way people are saying it did, they use that as a reason this will happen when the circumstances are apples and oranges, as Studley pointed out nicely in a chat two nights ago
2) That the UN/IMF can force Iraq to RV.....they cannot, and people who say they can and that there are documents to support them are full of shit, show them to me cause I have looked for many many hours
3) Iraq will become a full member of the WTO and for them to do so their currency has to be valued at $1 or higher....FALSE and there is no proof of it will be years before Iraq is a full member of the WTO....again, people accept this as gospel with no links to any articles or proof

Bottom line, no one knows the rate, no one knows the could come out at a low number and rise, but I feel it has to be at least $1 in order for Iraq to function, maybe higher....the issue is that if it comes out too low big business will swoop in an buy up the country overnight

Also, another thing that is bugging me is people talking about Shabs saying Iraq could support a rate of $12+....again no links, no proof, plus most people in this investment have no clue of simple economics.  Just think logically what that would would be 3X what the most valuable currency is today.  Same thing when people say the Kuwaiti RV went as high as $9. 

I just want people to realize that the biggest thing they need to do is to think for themselves.  They can't just follow these gurus blindly.  They have to question - are these people real and do they know what they are talking about?  Elevating them to a pedestal is ridiculous.  And I mean all gurus, the Dan's and the AM's as well as the BondLady's and the Medics.  If someone is always wrong about dates, if someone can't provide links to news articles, if someone cannot get the facts of history straight how can you follow them?

And please please please, I respect you have faith in God but even God would not want you to quit your life and wait on this to revalue, and that is what many people have done.  I know that it's a hard economy, but even God wants you to keep trying....many of these people, if this does not happen I don't know what they will do.  And I am not a religious person, so I apologize if that offends people.

Sam I Am:  Okay, thanks for your time

Azrael: Any time

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