Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Covert Finances: Pinnacle and After

One of the successors of BCCI was Pinnacle Banc Group, whose flagship is the First Bank of Cicero, Illinois. Fof a long time, the key figure behind that bank was Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, who was also head of IOR, the Vatican Bank. Under him, an Italian criminal syndicate known as P-2 looted the Vatican Bank. Pinnacle has also been deeply involved in the financial schemes of Roger D’ Onofrio, a former C.I.A. paymaster in Italy. D’Onofrio was charged in Italy in 1995 of dealing in stolen drugs, nuclear triggers, other radioactive materials, US securities, drugs, and arms. It is said that he also dealt in exceptionally high quality counterfeit currency. In the past he acted as a C.I.A. paymasters for operatives and business partners. According to Sherman Skolnich, John Tarullo, who is connected to the Cicero bank and wasonce a member of London Gold Pool helped the C.I.A. and several criminal organizations, and D’Onorio –who could well still be C.I.A.—transport stolen gold. He was murdered after Skolnich discussed these operations on a Chicago TV show.

The Cicero bank is also entangled in ventures with the C.I.A.’s Household International and Household Ban, Marcinkis, and the Giannini family. SISMI, Italian intelligence, is also involved in some of the C.I.A./Pinnacle ventures. Wallace Lieberman , a likely Mossad asset, was found near the Cicero bank in 1991. It was said that, on behalf of Israel, he was trying to shakedown the Pinnacle partners. Perhaps he was trying to obatain the release of Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy. Pollard’s family was in Chicago at the time, and Ariel Sharon had just been there. Subsequently his son, Barry, faced treason charges.
Enron and C.I.A.

When BCCI eventually collapsed, Enron became the C.I.A.’s chief vehicle for laundering money. Some Enron operations were to morph into Clearstream International, a bank that most likely has C.I.A. ties. Another C.I.A. front was Coopers and Lybrand, where many former agents can be found. Maria Carlucci, wife of former Deputy Director Frank Carlucci also worked there.

Clifford Baxter retired as vice chairman of Enron in May 2001. He was probably eased out because he had complained to Kenneth Lay about the creation of 2,800 partnerships where Enron debt could be parked, thus creating the impression that the firm was generating more revenue. Early in the morning of January 25, 2002, he was found dead in his Mercedes, dead of an apparently self-inflicted wound to the head. The Sugar Land police immediately labeled it a suicide as did the coroner, who did not wait for the results of a police investigation.

Baxter had made $30,000,000 in unloading his Enron stock and was in the process of upgrading to something bigger than his 72 fool yacht. There was no evidence presented that his fingerprints were on the typed suicide note or the spent shell casing. The autopsy suggested he may have fallen down to the left before his death. He was shot with rat shot, though one would wonder if someone with that much wealth would do his own exterminating. Days before, he was discussing the possible need for a bodyguard.e had agreed to testify before a Senate committee and a House Committee was also interesting in calling him.

If he was only going to testify about unorthodox accounting procedures and the use of off-shore partnerships, it is difficult to understand why his life was in danger or why he might commit suicide. All of this soon became part of the public record, and there was no way of getting details on the off-shore entities. If he knew anything about how the George W. Bush campaign financed its operations during the Florida electoral dispute, he might have been in some trouble. It is likely that the Bushes spent 40 million dollars from Carlos Lehder, founder of the Medellin drug cartel and that the money was laundered through Enron to James Baker III and Governor Marc Racicot. The Montana governor is said to have used the money to buy the assistance of south Florida Democratic leaders in preventing an effective recount.. The drug lord has been in a federal prison and then mysterious disappeared.

It is well known outside the United States that Enron was negotiating with the Taliban before September 11, 2001 over what Afghanistan would be paid to permit two pipelines bearing Caspian gas and oil to cross the country. Baxter may have been able to shed light on this and he could have been privy to Enron’s role in complex transactions aimed at propping up the sagging stock market. There was a close relationship between Enron and the C.I.A., with the C.I.A. loaning the firm a number of its agents. Some speculate that C.I.A. software was used to invest about $7 billion in missing Enron funds. Former German minister of Technology Andreas von Bulow has charged that there was about $15 billion in insider trading investment profits on the events of 911. Marc Racicot, former attorney general and governor of Montana, has been identified with the drug trade across the Canadian border int a Chinook Reservation, but key witnesses have turned up dead or were intimidated into silence.

Enron played a bigger role than another firm in election George W. Bush. Second in importance was Halliburton, particularly through its subsidiary of Kellogg, Brown ,and Root. This firm has had multiple linkages with the international drug trade, and it can only be assumed that it has played this role at the behest of the intelligence community. It played a major role in the drug trade through Turkey and Kurdistan and has close ties with the Russian underworld.

Eight years before its collapse , twenty C.I.A. agents were on loan to Enron. These agents trained other employees in intelligence matters, with a view to increasing interntaional sales."It was the C.I.A. trained employees and C.I.A. insider information that made it possible for Enron to force its will on the citizens of Dabhol," claimed a retired C.I.A. agent. The people of that part of India were almost forced to accept an electricity generating plant they did not want. This may just have been a case of using the C.I.A. in industrial espionage, a parctice that began with President George H. W. Bush. . Whether the corporation was tied to the government and the C.I.A. cannot be determined with any certainty.
Ken Lay was a Pentagon official under Nixon, and board member Frank Wisner, son of a man who was present when the agency was created. The corporation was almost created by Bush Sr., in that it grew by capitalizing on his deregulation of energy. From the beginning, it funded right-wing think tanks and pursued national objectives by seeking to gain control of energy resources abroad. In return, it was rewarded with a huge contract as a result of the First Gulf War, Desert Storm. Enron has had a very close relationship with a technology services corporation named DynCorp. Founded in 1943, it has become a major public contractor, dealing with Pentagon, State Department, and F.B.I.. Herbert APug@ Winokur of Enron was its chairman for a time and former head of the C.I.A., James Wolsey served on its board. It is particularly active in Columbia, allegedly helping the C.I.A. and Pentagon root out the drug trade and drug crops.

In January, 2002, four of C.I.A. employees on loan from the agency
and a former F.B.I. agent formed Secure Solutions International, which worked on contract with Enron. David M. Cromley's, their leader, had been head of business analysis for Enron. One wonders if he ever used the government’s Echelon commuications’ monitoring program in this task or other C.I.A. tools. The Houston Chronicle claimed to have information that this was the case. Was this software used in parking assets off shore or in generating what former German Minister of Technology, Andreas von Bulow guestimated to be $15 billion in inside trader profits.

Apparently some Enron money was moved to the Cook Islands, because the Bush people wanted “A quick folding tent”that could be taken down almost without a trace. Some of this money was routed through Saudi-controlled Five Star Trust in Houston for use in the 2004 ele3ction. It was reported that $29,000,000 was used to pay techni C.I.A.ns to poses as Homeland Security and F.B.I. agents and go to various counties to adjust county-wide electronic voting mechanisms. Five Star Trust has been accused of also funnelling money to Osama bin Laden.

Catherine Austin Fitts is a former Reagan sub-cabinet member who was hired by the George H.W. Bush administration to deal with funds seized in various financial frauds, including BCCI. Her job was expanded to include tracking down missing federal money. By 1996, she was looking for $4.4 trillion dollars, much of which was stolen from HUD. In that year, she said the Ahonest people@ were removed from HUD and the Department of Justice set out to shut down her firm. She wondered how all that money could ever be laundered, and then she noted that J.P. Morgan-Case , Arthur Anderson, Lockheed, and Dyn Corp were heavily represented at Enron and that suddenly massive and unaccounted amounts of money started flowing through Enron. It was the perfect entity for money laundering with over 3000 subsidiaries. There were over 700 subsidiaries in the Caymen Islands alone. What occurred soon thereafter was the classic “pump and dump” operation on the Enron stock. It might be recalled that the operators tied to Ollie North were masters of pump and dump schemes. Operating through foreign entities, they would be hard to trace. She noted that the government’s dealing with the collapse of Enron was highly irregular.

Its imminent collapse was clear but none of the normal steps that should have been taken occurred before bankruptcy was filed. Enron and its accountant Arthur Anderson were permitted to shred documents at will. She assumes that many important documents are now under the protection of Swiss bank secrecy law. The firm was even permitted to have gold derivatives and bullion transferred at will. After the filing, no effort was made to seize cash payments for on-going government contracts. As almost any newspaper reader knows, the firm was also given a quarter of a billion dollars in tax rebates. Pitts noted that when Noriega was arrested, the US government used PROMIS software to track down and seize $2 billion in his assets. This was not done with Enron. The US government knew of the 700 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and of other subcontracting firms there. The government of the Cayman Islands offered to help, but the Department of Justice never filed a request for assistance.

Fitts looked to the Senate investigation of the collapse for evidence that there was no real interest in getting at the truth. A professor who headed an internal Enron audit testified that no notes were taken of his meetings but that a very carefully written summary memo was produced afterward. She called him a typical “white shoes” respectable fellow who had no idea what was going on and was there to give the internal probe some legitimacy. The Senate did not press him. It treated Herbert “Pug” Winokor with kid gloves. He headed the Enron board’s finance committee and headed DynCorp. He said he had been lied to and they left it at that. She said Dyn Corp. uses the most advanced PROMIS software, has access to everyone’s bank account and other financial dealings, and and could quickly make anyone look like a criminal. She thought “Pug” was today’s J.Edgar Hoover. She is now past 80 and has lost all faith in government.

Former Enron CEO Ken Lay died of a heart attack on July 5, 2006 in Aspen. He had been convicted but not sentences for fraud. Dying before the sentencing meant that his assets , wherever they are secreted away, will remain with his family. While Lay wass alive and before the sentencing, a restitution order could have been found had prosecutors been able to find Judge Sim Lake, who had presided. On July 12, Neil Coulbeck 53, died a suicide in woods outsided London. He had been head of an Enron affiliate in Scotland and his information was considered essential in the UK case against Enron. There were complaints that he had been “hounded” by the F.B.I.. One would think that the F.B.I. would treat a potentially friendly witness better. The F.B.I. has recently been granted extraterritoriality rights in the UK.

Since the fall of BCCI, the C.I.A. has used a number of private banks to launder money. One was Hamilton Bankin Miami, which folded in 2006. It was said to handle money from drug and arms transactions as well as the stashes of crooked Latin American politicians. There are also C.I.A. fronts in the Cook Islands, and the George W. Bush campaign used a bank there in 2004. The advantage there is that there are no rules and banks can be disassembled over night.

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