The Story of martin armstrong

Can a computer model predict the world economy?

The year is 2014: Europe is stumbling from one emergency summit to the next. America has gone crashing through the 15-billion-dollar debt ceiling. People are taking to the streets across the world because they have realized that something has been thrown off kilter; that the market economy is tearing a vast rift between the super rich and the masses; that the banks have spiralled out of control; that governments have lost their grip on public debt.

And after eleven years off the radar, a man resurfaces in Philadelphia, a man who used a computer model and the number pi in the nineties to predict economic turning points with astounding precision: Martin Armstrong predicted the exact date of the October crash in 1987, the demise of the Japanese bull market in 1990, the turning point for the US and European markets in July 1998 and the Nikkei crash in 1989. He was one of the wealthiest Wall Street market analysts and was named economist of the decade and fund manager of the year in 1998. But he refused to play along with the bankers’ game and warned his customers that “the club” was manipulating currency and silver markets. He quickly made powerful enemies: New York investment bankers, hedge funds managers, Salomon Brothers, Goldman Sachs. The FBI and SEC, US Securities and the Exchange Commission, started to show interest in his computer model. In 1999 he was arrested on charges of fraud which he still disputes to this day. He was incarcerated for seven years for contempt of court. After time in solitary confinement and threats against his mother, he signed a partial confession and was sentenced to a further four years.

This documentary film portrays a man returning to his life after eleven years in prison. It follows him as he meets his old partners for the first time and depicts his first public speech to people who are still prepared to travel from across the globe and pay handsome sums to hear him speak. The film shows him attempting to prove his innocence and expose the power of the New York banks.


Martin Armstrong’s career thus began with a complete error of judgement. Even at this young age, he tried to understand the system, to grasp the logic according to which each boom was followed by a bust. Was Niccolo Machiavelli right in his belief that history repeated itself because man’s passions remain the same? He analysed the financial markets, studied the history of business cycles, stock market crashes and global monetary systems. He visited libraries and collected historical data: gold prices, exchange rates. He played around with figures and dates, he divided the time span between the Rye House Plot in 1683 and the year of the bankers’ panic in 1907 (224 years) by the number of market crashes during this period (26) and ended up with an average of 8.6


Eight point six – the global economy appeared to be based on this 8.6-year cycle. He multiplied the cycle by six which gave him 51.6 years and once again it all fitted perfectly: Black Friday in 1869, the commodity panic in 1920, and the Second and Third Punic Wars. He divided, subtracted and multiplied and established that 8.6 years equalled three thousand one hundred and forty-one days: 3,141, the magic number pi times a thousand. Did pi perhaps also govern the markets or the actions and moods that manifested themselves in these markets?


Armstrong was sure of one thing: there is a geometry of time. He may not be able to explain why, but there is some order to the chaos that exists around us.


Martin Armstrong had just published the secrets of pi when FBI men stormed his office. Soon his accounts and those of his partners in London, Australia and Japan had been frozen. They were not to meet for twelve years. “Is financier Armstrong a Con man, a crank or a genius” asked the New Yorker headline in an eight-page article written as Armstrong was in a maximum security wing in New York. What are the judicial facts, the legal peculiarities and the juristic doubts involved here? And who could have profited from Martin Armstrong’s lengthy sentence behind US bars? And: what does all this say about a system on which we are all dependent in one way or another?


12 years after the demise of Princeton Economics Martin Armstrong is released from prison after he signed a coerced guilty plead. His new life commences with a “World Economic Conference” in Philadelphia. Only three months after his release, he’s back again. As if nothing had happened. As if there’d been no twelve years where he was deprived of the world. Martin Armstrong lectures to 350 people, who travelled especially to Philadelphia to see him. He speaks of his initial approach towards solving the global financial crisis, which he compares to the fall of the Roman Empire. And twelve years later, some of his former partners are back to perhaps resume operations where they’d left off. Will Martin Armstrong and his former partners join forces and re-establish Princeton Economics to make their distinctive mark on the desolate landscape of the financial sector?

“Here is a man who I believe in my heart did absolutely nothing wrong. And I can tell you, even if he did, he did not deserve the treatment that he received.“
Larry Edelson, Gold Trader and Former Client
Martin Arthur Armstrong (born November 1, 1949 in New Jersey) is the former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd., once leading multinational corporate advisor with offices in Paris, London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Tokyo. He was hailed as Economist of the Decade and was Hedge Fund Manager of the year in 1998 after correctly forecasting the collapse of Russia that led to the implosion of Long Term Capital Management.
His advice has been sought by numerous governments with regards to the global economy from China to even the US Congress. Armstrong is the developer of the Economic Confidence Model based on business cycles and best known for calling the crash of 1987 to the very day.

M.A. Armstrong - A millionaire at the age of 15

At the age of 13, Martin Armstrong began working at a coin and stamp dealership and was a millionaire in 1965 at the age of 15. After becoming the manager of his employer’s store, he and a partner opened a collectors’ store when he was 21. After high school, Armstrong attended the RCA Institute and audited a few courses at Princeton, but he never earned a college degree. Over time, the forecasting became his business. Much of it was rooted in cycles research for which he  traveled to London to the British Museum Newspaper Library and put together daily historical data on prices and exchange rates. He constructed what he called an Economic Confidence Model (also called the “Pi” cycle model), which he relied on to predict an upturn in the price of commodities in the early days of 1977. He published long term forecasts, which are still monitored today by the financial press.
Armstrong progressed from gold coin investments to following commodity prices and collecting gold coins and antiquities. Armstrong was a frequent contributor to academic journals and often was sought for comment on financial topics. He was also chairman of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, an international research and educational institution, established in 1941 as a non profit corporation by economist Edward R. Dewey and dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of finding and analyzing recurring patterns.

“For $33.50, You Can Have a Minute With this Commodities Advisor”  

In 1983 Armstrong began accepting and fulfilling paid subscriptions for a commodity market forecast newsletter. He formed three corporations for the provision of commodity services: Princeton Economic Consultants, Inc. (“PEC”), Economic Consultants of Princeton, Inc. (“ECP”) and Armstrong Report, Inc. These corporations provided consulting services, seminar programs, written reports, telephone and telex messages, and account management services. In the nineties, Armstrong wrote a heavily researched but quixotically told two-volume account of the Great Depression called “The Greatest Bull Market in History.” On June 27, 1983, The Wall Street Journal featured in an article “For $33.50, You Can Have a Minute With this Commodities Advisor,” just how much his advise was worth.

On November 8, 1985, The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors (US) Mr. Beryl Wayne Sprinkel answered in a letter the concerns Armstrong addressed regarding intervention into foreign exchange markets.

In fall 1987, Armstrong was invited by the Brady Commission to share his views on the 1987 market crash, which he predicted to the precise day using his computer models. The target date of 1987.8 was precisely October 19th 1987, the day of the low. In June 1989, The Australian Financial Review published an article about Armstrong and his view on interest rates. In the Jan/Feb 1990 issue of “EQUITY” magazine, he was named “America’s top economist”. In July 1996, he was invited by the United States House Committee on Ways and Means for a testimony regarding global capital flows. On May 20, 1997, Armstrong reminded the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin, that his policy would increase volatility and provided insider favoritism. United States Department of the Treasury Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary, Timothy Geithner, responded in a letter on June 4, 1997, that the United States Department of the Treasury felt comfortable with their policy. Also in 1997, Armstrong was invited to advise the People’s Bank of China during the Asian Currency Crisis. In the April 1998 issue of the Journal “Share International”; he was forecasting the destabilizing effect of European Union on the world economy.
In 1998, Armstrong started to manage a hedge fund on behalf of Magnum Global Investments. Using his theory that boom-bust cycles occur like clockwork every 8.6 years, he correctly called Russia’s financial collapse in 1998 and also pointed to a peak just before the Japanese stock market, Nikkei 225, crashed in 1989. In the United Kingdom, a popular financial magazine Money Week, published an article on Martin Armstrong on March 27, 2007, titled “The Strange Case of the Jailed Market Genius”. In that article they highlighted the model had predicted a major top in financial markets for February 27, 2007, with the next major bottom being June 18, 2011. On October 12, 2009, the magazine The New Yorker published an extensive article on Martin Armstrong, titled “The Secret Cycle – Is the Financier Martin Armstrong a Con Man, a Crank, or a Genius?” Circular Reasoning: A Market for Pi in the Sky?

The Legal Case – Summary

Armstrong was indicted on September 29, 1999 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for an alleged fraud, where he was claimed to have been involved in a conspiracy with employees of Republic New York bank involving Japanese investors. In November 1999, several Japanese investors, such as the Amada Corporation, Japan’s largest manufacturer of metalworking machinery, and one of Armstrong’s clients, filed a lawsuit against Republic New York and two officers, accusing them of fraud. In the court papers filed, Amada sought recovery of at least $123 million plus punitive damages. The complaint made accusations of securities fraud against Republic New York, two subsidiaries and two officers. One officer was immediately suspended and one was replaced. Republic New York first tried to claim that its employees, who were illegally trading in accounts belonging to Armstrong, had conspired with Armstrong to hide their losses from the Japanese. However, after it became clear that the accounts did not belong to the Japanese investors but to Armstrong, as they had simply swapped their depreciated Japanese portfolios for low yielding Princeton Notes and not involving any funds management), Republic New York plead guilty on December 17, 2001, to fraud in federal court in connection with the fraud.

Republic New York agreed upon a restitution order on January 9, 2002 to pay $606 million in a civil settlement with 57 Japanese note holders to fully settle their claims. Its executives received immunity provided they returned all the money. Republic New York’s new parent company HSBC then applied for a lifetime gag order on Armstrong to prevent him from assisting the Japanese in lawsuits against them and to prevent Armstrong from revealing his version of the case.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Armstrong case file was lost when the September 11 terrorist attack obliterated its offices, in 7 World Trade Center. While Armstrong was in detention while awaiting trial, the court appointed receiver, Tancred Schiavoni, tried to get hold of the uncompiled model source code (p.4), which was Armstrong’s key to make all the accurate market predictions in the past, but Armstrong refused to turn this code over.
As Armstrong did not produce the assets or documents (source code) that were requested by the government, Judge Richard Owen ordered him jailed. While in most such cases, a person is held for contempt for 18 months at most, Judge Owen repeatedly reimposed the jail time, demanding the production of the materials. He was removed from the case by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after justices decided the case needed “a fresh look by a different pair of eyes.” Armstrong pressed for a speedy trial to be released, as there was no money missing after Republic New York paid the money back they had stolen. To prevent that, the government disgorged all of Armstrong’s lawyers and had him stripped of counsel as well as of the company. This took place in an extraordinary closed court proceeding, where the government had the press illegally removed from the courtroom on April 24, 2000. The Associated Press reported the incident and posed the question on April 26 2000, “wondering if the New Jersey market forecaster can get a fair trial.”
The government then created a civil contempt charge and despite the statute limiting such contempt to 18 months, he was kept in prison on contempt without lawyers, trial, or charges for over 7 years the longest federal civil contempt of court imprisonment in American history.

As the Wall Street Journal said in their January 8, 2009, “No Charge: In Civil-Contempt Cases, Jail Time Can Stretch On for Years,” there is no right to a jury trial in a civil contempt case. Unable to move to trial for such a long time, Marty didn’t see another way but to plead guilty.

For apparently destroying prison property, he was suddenly moved into solitary confinement (the “hole”) for 12 consecutive days and removed from his legal defense material that was critical for his trial. In a bargain plea, the government agreed to drop 23 of the 24 criminal counts, if he plead guilty on August 17, 2006 to one count of conspiracy. Specifically, “for merging/commingling investors’ accounts with his own trading accounts by Republic Bank’s suggestion but without informing the investors” (p.21). This ignored the fact that Republic New York confirmed in a letter in late 2001, replying to Japanese investors (who filed a complaint against them), “that Armstrong and his Princeton entities were contractually allowed to merge/commingle funds” as all accounts at Republic New York related to Armstrong or his Princeton entities were fully controlled by Armstrong (p.7). By ignoring these facts, the judge sentenced Armstrong on April 10, 2007, to an additional five years in prison.

He was released from prison on September 2, 2011. On April 18, 2012, Armstrong wrote an open letter to the former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission receiver, Mr. Tancred Schiavoni. Armstrong provides an overview of his version of the case.

Unlocking the mystery of coins

the forecaster interactive - Bonus Video

Martin Armstrong started collecting coins as a young boy. His enduring interest in numismatics brought him his first wealth and set him on the path of to commodities trading and eventually the development of the Economic Confidence Model, which he traces back to ancient Rome.

Watch the full video and more additional materials on our interactive platform.

Martin Armstrong about his discovery

“PI is the absolute perfect cycle. It is the way energy moves, is why we are born, we live and we die, is the ultimate knowledge of the theory of everything.“

"Nobody can watch everything everywhere 24hrs a day and then interpret it to be always correct. You can attribute such super-human ability to me, accuse me of manipulating the entire world, ignore me as an anomaly, or plagiarise me and pretend you are the smartest person alive. Others have tried so desperately to rob this technology from me to make a fortune or to just try to undo the accomplishments. None of this will change the simple fact that perhaps there is another way and the world just may not be flat after all. In their personal greed, they cannot stop for one second and see that they are only part of the cycle and are the evil invisible hand that keeps society trapped in a vortex of corruption unable to ever escape to the next level of the game we call life."
"I understand I have an expiration date. If this were my theory, I would shut-up, make as much as I can, and run to some remote island and wait for the mushroom cloud to dissipate. However, since this is my discovery, rather than a predetermined theory, then I feel I have an obligation to pass it along at least for my own posterity. So yes, we will go public and I have just brought in a CEO to head the company with decades of experience as an institutional client for several major firms over the years. What we have up is still in the testing phase and we will be moving that to a more stable platform that is secure for we have to take into account the tactics of the NSA. It is my hope to get ready to go public and pass my discoveries on so this level of analysis will continue when I am no longer here. Hopefully, this major effort will finally get people to comprehend that analysis cannot be personal opinion – we are really all connected. It is time that analysis departs on the next train to get out of this primitive age of opinion that is not much different from when medicine bled patients to get the disease out even if a common cold."
"The answers lie in the study of TIME, not personal opinion of someone being smarter than another or dumb luck. We all have a shelf-expiration date like a bottle of milk. With every single advancement in knowledge, there is resistance, punishment, and death. They burned Bruno alive at the stake for insisting that the sun was the center and the earth revolved around it along with the planets. The teachers of Einstein said he was a dreamer that would amount to nothing. TIME is the fourth dimension. Einstein’s entire theory of relativity is about TIME. Yet with all of this, people resist, hate my guts, accuse me of manipulating the world, all because it conflicts with what they WANT to believe. When we just recently published the Cycles of War report last year, there were people who said it was absurd and a joke for nobody could predict war in such a manner. The closed mind is what keeps us in a perpetual cycle of war. We cannot advance until we take that first step to understand TIME. Einstein wrote:
Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.
TIME is far more than just cyclical analysis. There are those who can try to find cycles and then make a forecast. However, that is still just a flat model that does not embrace the four-dimensional space-time element. There is much more to this than just determining a single frequency. TIME unifies everything and nothing could function, move, or exist without TIME. A single cell can do nothing by itself without movement that requires TIME. Life could not exist without TIME, yet we do not bother to even explore thanks to prejudice and fear of what we might bump into in the middle of the night."
"In physics, we build upon the knowledge and discoveries of each person who went before us. In the social sciences, it is all about lies, manipulations, and opinions. Nobody seems to care to discover HOW something functions – only HOW to make it function as they would like to see (Marx-Keynes-Government). This is the curse of mankind. This is what plagues our soul and retards our advancement. Until we take that one last giant step for mankind as Neil Armstrong said, we will forever remain trapped in a violent and corrupt world with no hope of ever seeing the real light of day. There is a whole new dawn awaiting us in knowledge and understanding. It is a mind twister – but this is a journey we simply have to take. It is indeed TIME that awaits our exploration. And as for my critics who cannot fathom cyclical analysis, well, knowledge is not for everyone. Einstein said it best: “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” This is the secret to cyclical analysis but it is truly a mind changer. I promise we will go public to protect these systems and those who are clients can help to ensure that this technology remains for us all – not for some dark corner of humanity.
“The guys weren´t happy about all the stuff he was writing in his reports about them. So he is a player in the market, he exposed that market, but he is also outing this other major market players.“
Nigel Kirwan
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Thomas Sjoblom; is a trial lawyer and litigator in Washington D.C., specialize in defending people charged with securities fraud by the SEC and DOJ. He represented Martin Armstrong for many years without getting payed because Armstrong was not allowed any money to pay for his defence. In Sjoblom´s point of view, this case held not one piece of evidence that Martin Armstrong himself was engaged in fraud. For more information please visit www.tvs-law.com
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Larry Edelson; is a commodities advisor and former client of Armstrong, who lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand. He has known Armstrong since 1980 and was soon fascinated by the accuracy of his forecasts. When Armstrong went to jail, he stood ready to finance Princeton Economics International and to take it out of receivership and keep it going. But he says that Tancred Schiavoni, the court-appointed receiver, told him: “I don´t care how much money you have to finance the operations. We want the source code.”
2
Oliver Brown; was an employee at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York City. He operated the law-library at the MCC as an education specialist and met Martin Armstrong at his daily visits to the library. He declared in court that in his 30 years at the Bureau of Prisons, he has never seen the policies and processes so manipulated as in this case. He says: MCC’s protocols and policies were not followed for Martin Armstrong.
3
Barclay Leib, fund manager and market analyst in New York, specialised in hedge fund research and asset allocation. Before he worked for Martin Armstrong as the Assistant to the Chairman, he asked some people in the business what they knew about him. Some people at Goldman Sachs told him that Marty was a big metals trader and that they had bumped up against him a few times in the market - and that most of the time he ended up winning.
4
Michael Campbell; is one of the most respected business analysts in Vancouver. His radio show “Money Talks” on the Corus Radio Network is Canadas top rated business show. Michael Campbell followed Martin Armstrong´s work since the early eighties. He has been convinced of the accuracy of his forecasts since Armstrong predicted the high of the Nikkei Index in 1989 quite ahead of time– and was absolutely correct. Campbell uses Armstrong´s forecasts even today and invited him to his show in 2013.
5
Tony Godin; is an IT-specialist living and practicing in Perth, Australia. He was the programmer for Armstrongs Princeton Economic International (PEI) and built the internal IT-security system. He programmed a network that reacted with self-destruction on any interference from outside. When some of the PEI-Systems were under attack, he built honey traps and tracked the intruders back to certain IT-adresses in Langley, Virginia - where the CIA has its headquaters.
6
Nigel Kirwan, used to be one of Martin Armstrong´s closest associates  before the FBI stormed the offices of PEI worldwide. He still believes that Martin Armstrong is a spectacular goods trader and that he had so many enemies in the market because he never “joined the club”. He lives in Byron Bay, Australia, where he just had to sell his house, because his reputation is in tatters due to his association with Martin Armstrong.

Credits The Forecaster Movie

Directed and Edited by

Marcus Vetter

Co-Director

Karin Steinberger

Director of Photography

Georg Zengerling

Camera

Michele Gentile

Legal Advisor

Albert Kitzler

Associate Producers

Anne Walser
Jennifer Schense
Ulf Meyer

Producers

Ulli Pfau
Michael Heiks
Marcus Vetter

Art Director

Michele Gentile

Hand Drawings

Stephan Klotz

Original Music

Sven Kaiser

Location Sound

Aljoscha Haupt

Sound Design

Lena Zagikyan

Re-Recording Mixer

Jonathan Schorr

With
(in Order of Appearance)

Ofer Cohen
Vicky Armstrong
Danielle White
Larry Edelson
Ida Armstrong
Sam Colavita
Anthony Godin
Michael Campbell
Barclay Leib
Nigel Kirwan
Justin Pfeiffer
Neill Macpherson
Jana Aspray
David Glovin
Tomas V. Sjoblom
Lesslie Macpherson
Georg Sperber
Oliver Brown

and

Martin Armstrong

Editing

Marcus Vetter
Michele Gentile
Georg Zengerling

Assistant Editors

Hannes Jo Rühle
Leon Füngers
Alan Attridge

Dialogue Editing

Aljoscha Haupt

Foley Artist

Peter Deiniger

Foley Disposition

Inken Griese

Foley Studio

Cine Impuls

Color Grading

Elmar Weinhold

Additional Music

Jens Ole Huercamp

Visual Effects Supervisor

Michele Gentile

Junior Animators

Leon Füngers
Sascha Schmidt

Animation Supervisor Soul Pix

Frank Sennholz

Additional Animators Soul Pix

Nils Dechenthin

Post Production Supervisor

Georg Zengerling

Post Production Advisor

Peter Pfanner, Timeline Studio
Stefan Bingeser

Additional Legal Advisors

Stefan Lieberum
F. Robert Stein, Pryor Cashman LLP
W. Wilder Knight II, Pryor Cashman LLP

Englisch Translators

Dr. Jo Van Vliet
Babelfisch Translations

Media Consultant

Florence Olara

Camera Engineers

Georg Zengerling
Achim Johne

HD Post Production

POST-FX

Animation Studios

Bukera Pictures
Soul Pix

Sound Mix

K13 Kinomischung

Post Production Studio

Bukera Pictures

DCP Mastering

POST-FX

Title and Credit Design

Michele Gentile
Leon Füngers


Webdesign & Concept

Ulf Meyer addictive film

Executive in Charge of Production

Hans-Jürgen Bubser

Bookkeeping Eikon

Boris Hoffmann-Plato

Bookkeeping Filmperspektive

Dietmar Neubrand

Controlling Eikon

Tina Schröder

Interns

Konstanze Ramsperger
Lulu DeBoer
Oliver Markgraf
Alona Rudolph


Researchers

Sonja Blaschke
Konrad Edge
Fakhri Hamad

Transcription Services

Scarlett Lorenz
Francisco Barata
Max Herbert
Ulf Meyer
Christiane Gentile
Wena Sanchez

Stringers USA

Decker Campbell
Ann Williams

Court Transcription

Alan Attridge

Line Producer Eikon

Jan Bullerdieck

Line Producer Filmperspektive

Annette Burchard

Line Producer SWR

Thomas Lorenz

Creative Producer TV Plus & Crossmedia TV Plus

Addick Addicks

Line Producer TV Plus

Christiane Enders

Production Assistant Eikon

Heike Menzel

Set Photos

Alan Attridge
Georg Zengerling

Archival Footage

Family Footage Armstrong
PEI Footage Armstrong Economics
Getty Images
Shutterstock
Bloomberg News
ITN Sources
Bukera Pictures

With Thanks to

Timo Baur
Tom Burchard
Walter Bressert
Harry Gröner
Michael C. Falker
Gesine Füngers
Christiane and Nocola Gentile
Davide and Samuel Gentile
Chris McGinty
Marc Hug, Filmgalerie Stuttgart
Michelle Jacquemai
Pierre Johne
Katharina Sophia Mercedes
Denise Kalipciyan
John Lemon
Beate Nonhoff
Jürgen Ott
Philip Peterson
Erwin Pletsch
Sabrina and Benjamin Rothenbacher
Harold Sampson
Gökhan Salici
Mary Schense
Patricia Schormann
Juvelier Seeger
Polly and Slatko Stürmer
Milan Stürmer
Ashley Warren
Jan Christoph Wiborg
Gisela Wendel
Ursula Klotz
Kostümparadies Weinundbrot
Edda Sert
Anna Boeckh
Carina Cavegn

Special Thanks to

Martina Zöllner
Dr. Christoph Hauser

Commissioning Editors

Gudrun Hanke-El Ghomri SWR
Kai Henkel SWR
Barbara Biemann NDR
Claudia Bucher ARTE

A Co-Production of
 
In Cooperation with
Funded by

© Filmperspektive 2014