Saturday, July 31, 2010

An RFID Tag in Your Driver's License?

by Patrick J. Kiger

CNet News reports that New York state has begun offering enhanced driver's licenses embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, which can be read from a distance by a receiver device.

The new RFID driver's license, which will cost an additional $30 over the standard $50 licensing fee, will provide identification that can be used at the border in lieu of a U.S. passport, which these days is also RFID-equipped.

CNet says U.S. border officials will be able to scan the RFID-equipped license authorities to identify U.S. citizens entering the country from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. Intercontinental travelers will still need to produce a passport to enter the country.

In issuing the new licenses, New York becomes only the second state, following Washington, to offer RFID-equipped identification that can be used at U.S. border crossings. Such identification is part of the federal government’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which was mandated by Congress in 2004 after being recommended by the 9/11 Commission. The initiative is intended to control movement across the U.S. border by verifying the citizenship and identity of everyone entering the United States by land, sea or air from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

RFID tags are viewed with concern by privacy advocates and civil libertarians, who fear that they could be used for government surveillance as well as identity verification. Some also warn that RFID-enhanced documents are vulnerable to RFID hackers, who can intercept the signals and clone the chips for their own illicit use.

In response to these worries, the state of New York is mailing each one with a protective storage sleeve that prevents transmission, commented DMV spokesman Ken Brown, in a recent article in Newsday. Brown added that the only personal information contained in the tag is a number that would be meaningless except to Homeland Security agents.

Manufacturers are also now marketing specially designed RFID-blocking wallets to protect users from identity theft.

Monsanto: The evil corporation in your refrigerator

When we consider the rogue's gallery of devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporations, we generally come up with outfits like Microsoft, Bechtel, AIG, Halliburton, Goldman-Sachs, Exxon-Mobil and the United States Senate. Yet somehow, Monsanto, arguably the most devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporation in the world has been able to more or less skulk between the raindrops -- only a household name in households where documentaries like Food Inc. are regarded as light Friday evening entertainment. My house, for example. But for the most part, if you were to ask an average American for their list of sinister corporations, Monsanto probably wouldn't make the cut.

It should.

Founded by Missouri pharmacist John Francis Queeny in 1901, Monsanto is literally everywhere. Just about every non-organic food product available to consumers has some sort of connection with Monsanto.

Anyone who can read a label knows that corn, soy and cotton can be found in just about every American food product. Upwards of 90% of all corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically engineered seeds, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These genetically enhanced products appear in around 70% of all American processed food products. And Monsanto controls 90% of all genetically engineered seeds. In other words, Monsanto controls -- and owns patents on -- most of the American food supply.

When you consider, as Walletpop originally reported, that one-in-four food labels is inaccurate, that the F.D.A.'s testing is weak at best, then how can we trust one corporation to have so much control over our produce? The answer is, we can't.

Recently, a study by the International Journal of Biological Sciences revealed that Monsanto's Mon 863, Mon 810, and Roundup herbicide-absorbing NK 603 in corn caused kidney and liver damage in laboratory rats. Scientists also discovered damage to the heart, spleen, adrenal glands and even the blood of rats that consumed the mutant corn. A "state of hepatorenal toxicity" the study concluded.

This hasn't slowed down Monsanto's profit machine. In 2008, Monsanto cleared over $2 billion in net profits on $11 billion in revenues. And its 2009 is looking equally as excellent.

Author and food safety advocate Robyn O'Brien told me, "Monsanto is expecting gross margins in Q2 2010 of 62%, its corn and soy price mix to be up 8-10% and its glyphosate revenue to expand to an estimated $1 billion in gross profit by 2012, enabling Monsanto to further drive R&D into seeds and to price those seeds at a premium – further driving price increases on the farm and in the grocery stores."

This, O'Brien says, in the same year when farm income declined by around 34%.

Because Monsanto claims that its GMOs create higher yields and therefore comparatively higher revenues per acre for struggling American farmers, they're certainly a tempting option. On the surface, that is. Monsanto controls its seeds with an iron fist, so even if you happen to own a farm next to another farm upon which Monsanto seeds are used, and if those seeds migrate onto your land, Monsanto can sue you for royalties.

Additionally, if you use seeds from crops grown from Monsanto seeds, a process known as "seed cleaning," you also have to pay royalties to Monsanto or it will sue you. All told, Monsanto has recovered $15 million in royalties by suing farmers, with individual settlements ranging from five figures to millions of dollars each.

Back in 2004, farmer Kem Ralph served eight months in jail and was fined $1.3 million for lying about Monsanto cotton seeds he was hiding in his barn as a favor to a friend. They weren't even his seeds (yeah, that's what they all say!). By way of comparison, the fine in Ralph's home state of Tennessee for, say, cocaine possession, is $2,500.

In keeping with the Orwellian nature of modern marketing, one of the first phrases you see on the front page of the Monsanto website is "we help farmers." Funny. In a cruelly ironical way, that is.

In fairness, the argument in support of Monsanto is generally "it makes more food for lower prices." Of course this is a red herring. Basic economics proves that choice and competition create lower prices. Not monopolies. This applies not only to American grocery stores, but also in terms of feeding developing nations where food is scarcer. Moreover, stronger Monsanto herbicides, compatible with herbicide resistant seeds, are giving rise to mutant Wolverine-ish super weeds that have adapted and are rapidly spreading through the air to farms that don't use Monsanto GMOs, destroying obviously vulnerable crops. Say nothing of the inevitable mutant bugs that will adapt to the pesticides that are implanted into the Monsanto Mon 810 genetic code. And if further studies indicate similar organ damage in humans, the externalized costs to health care systems will begin to seriously out-weigh the benefits of cheaper food.

Ultimately, there are better, healthier ways to make cheaper food. Until then the best thing we can do is to demand further investigations and buy organic products whenever practical.

And if you can't afford to buy organic, O'Brien recommends, "A great first step, given how pervasive these ingredients are in processed foods that often use these ingredients to extend shelf life, is to reduce your exposure to processed foods and stick with pronounceable ingredients and foods that your grandmother would have served her kids."

Meanwhile, let's endeavor to make Monsanto a household name. But not in a good way.

On January 15, the Obama Justice Department launched an anti-trust investigation against the corporate behemoth over its next generation of genetically modified "Roundup Ready" soybean seeds. The very next day, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, which challenges the safety of genetically modified agricultural products -- the centerpiece of the Monsanto empire. If the investigation fails, farmers will have to switch over to the next generation of Roundup Ready seeds in 2014. And the cycle of corporate abuse and monopolization will continue.
Information Bureau: Five Arrows

The five arrows remain an enduring symbol of the Rothschild name. The first appearance of a bundle of arrows representing the family was in the Austrian patent for arms of 1817 that placed the brothers on the first rung of the nobility. In 1822, the brothers advanced yet further in the ranks of the Austrian nobility, becoming barons of the Empire.

Five arrows appear on the English grant of arms for which Nathan successfully petitioned in 1818 on behalf of himself and all his brothers and their descendants. Nathan's design incorporated a lion (rejected by the Austrians) grasping in its paw a bundle of five arrows.

Many members of the family began to adopt the motif of the five arrows. It appears in letterheads, on bookplates, on porcelain, in jewellery and in countless other decorative ways. Letterheads survive from the mid 19th century which show that some individuals preferred to see the arrows pointing upwards, in spite of the official description of the arrows approved by the Austrian heralds of arms. Although this was purely a matter of personal choice, a cross-channel split of opinion began to develop! The French family and bank gradually adopted 'arrows up' for all uses of the symbol, while the English remained faithful to the 'arrows down' version. So, within the Rothschild group of business, 'arrows down' are used for N M Rothschild & Sons, its subsidiaries and companies in which it has the predominant interest; 'arrows up' for Rothschild & Cie Banque, its subsidiaries and companies in which it has the predominant interest.

But why arrows at all?

The clue is in the work of Moritz Oppenheim, the "painter of the Rothschilds". A sketch in oils depicts the story told by Plutarch of Scilurus who, on his deathbed, asked his sons - five are depicted by Oppenheim - to break a bundle of darts. When they all failed, he showed them how easily the arrows could be broken individually, cautioning them that their strength as a family lay in their unity.
The World Order A Study in the Hegemony of Parasitism
The history and practices of the parasitic financial elite
-- by Eustace Mullins, 1984 source: Yamaguchy Inc.

Chapter 1.1: Mayer Rothschild and the Five Arrows
Mayer Rothschild and his sons dominate European banking

Mayer Rothschild and the "Five Arrows"

In its issue of Dec. 19, 1983, Forbes Magazine noted that "Half of Germany's top ten banks are Frankfurt based." The modern world's financial system, an updating of the Babylonian monetary system of taxes and money creation, was perfected in Frankfurt-on-Main, in the province of Hesse. Mayer Amschel Bauer (later Rothschild) discovered that although loans to farmers and small businesses could be profitable, the real profits lay in making loans to governments. Born in Frankfurt in 1743, Mayer Amschel married Gutta Schnapper. He served a three year apprenticeship in Hanover at the bank of Oppenheim. During this period, he had occasion to be of service to Lt. Gen. Baron von Estorff. Von Estorff was the principal adviser to Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse, the wealthiest man in Europe. Frederick was worth from 70 to 100 million florins, much of it inherited from his father, Wilhelm the Eighth, brother of the King of Sweden. Baron von Estorff advised the Landgrave that Mayer Amschel showed an uncanny ability to increase money through his investments. The Landgrave immediately sent for him.

At this time, King George III [of England] was trying to put down the American Rebellion. His troops were being outfought by the hardy Americans, who were accustomed to wilderness battles. Mayer Amschel arranged for King George to hire 16,800 sturdy young Hessian soldiers from the Landgrave, a considerable addition to the Hesse's fortune. This advantageous relationship came to a halt with the sudden death in 1785 of the Landgrave, who was only twenty-five years old. However, Mayer Amschel attained absolute influence over his successor, Elector Wilhelm I, who, like Mayer Amschel, had also been born in 1743. It was said that they were like two shoes, so well did they go together. It was a pleasant change from Mayer Amschel's relationship with the former Landgrave, who had been a very difficult and demanding person. In fact, the Landgrave's sudden death had luckily placed Mayer Amschel in charge of the largest fortune in Europe.

As he prospered, Mayer Amschel placed a large red shield over his door of the house in the Judengasse, which he shared with the Schiff family. He took the name "Rothschild" from his sign. In 1812, when he died, he left one billion franks to his five sons. The eldest, Anselm, was placed in charge of the Frankfurt bank. He had no children, and the bank was later closed. The second son, Salomon, was sent to Vienna, where he soon took over the banking monopoly formerly shared among five Jewish families: Arnstein, Eskeles, Geymüller, Stein and Sina. The third son, Nathan, founded the London branch, after he had profited in some Manchester dealings in textiles and dyestuffs which caused him to be widely feared and hated. Karl, the fourth son, went to Naples, where he became head of the occult group, the Alta Vendita. The youngest son, James, founded the French branch of the House of Rothschild in Paris.

Thus strategically located, the five sons began their lucrative operations in government finance. Today, their holdings are concentrated in the Five Arrows Fund of Curacao, and the Five Arrows Corp. of Toronto, Canada. The name is taken from the Rothschild sign of an eagle with five arrows clutched in its talons, signifying the five sons.

The first precept of success in making government loans lies in "creating a demand", that is, by taking part in the creation of financial panics, depressions, famines, wars and revolutions. The overwhelming success of the Rothschilds lay in their willingness to do what had to be done. As Frederic Morton writes in the preface to "The Rothschilds":

"For the last one hundred and fifty years, the history of the House of Rothschild has been to an amazing degree the backstage history of Western Europe... Because of their success in making loans not to individuals but to nations, they reaped huge profits... Someone once said that the wealth of Rothschild consists of the bankruptcy of nations."

In "The Empire of the City", E.C. Knuth says:

"The fact that the House of Rothschild made its money in the great crashes of history and the great wars of history, the very periods when others lost their money, is beyond question."

On July 8, 1937, the New York Times noted that Prof. Wilhelm, a German historian, had said:

"The Rothschilds introduced the rule of money into European politics. The Rothschilds were the servants of money who undertook the reconstruct the world as an image of money and its functions. Money and the employment of wealth have become the law of European life; we no longer have nations, but economic provinces."

On June 4, 1879, the New York Times noted:

"Baron Lionel N. de Rothschild, head of the world famous banking house of Messrs. Rothschild & Co. died at the age of 71. He was son of the late Baron N.M. Rothschild who founded the house in London in 1808 and died in 1836. His father came to the conclusion that in order to perpetuate the fame and power of the Rothschilds, which had already become worldwide, it was necessary that the family be kept together, and devoted to the common cause. In order to do this, he proposed that they should intermarry, and form no marital unions outside the family. A council of the heads of the houses was called at Frankfurt in 1826, end the views of Baron Nathan were approved."

In "The Rothschilds: The Financial Rulers of Nations," John Reeves writes:

"The first occasion in which Nathan assisted the English government was in 1819, when he undertook the loan of $60 million; from 1818-1832 Nathan issued eight other loans totalling $105,400,000; he subsequently issued eighteen Government loans totalling $700 million. To the Rothschilds, nothing could have occurred more propitiously than the outbreak of the American revolt and the French Revolution, as the two enabled them to lay the foundation of the immense wealth they have since acquired.

The House of Rothschild was (and is) the ruling power in Europe, for all the political powers were willing to acknowledge the sway of the great financial Despot, and, like obedient vassals, pay their tribute without murmur.... Its influence was so all-powerful that it was a saying, no war could be undertaken without the assistance of the Rothschilds. They rose to a position of such power in the political and commercial world that they became the Dictators of Europe. To the public the archives of the family, which could throw so much light upon history, are a profound secret, a sealed book kept well hidden."

On July 27, 1844, [Giuseppe] Mazzini said, "Rothschild could be King of France if he so desired." The Jewish Encydopedia noted (1909 edition): "In the year 1848 the Paris house (of Rothschild) was reckoned to be worth 600,000,000 francs as against 352,000,000 francs held by all the other Paris bankers."

In "Jews and Modern Capitalism", Prof. Werner Sombart wrote:

"The principal loan floaters of the world, the Rothschilds, were later the first railway kings. The period of 1820 onwards became the 'Age of the Rothschilds' so that at the middle of the century it was a common dictum : There is only one power in Europe and that is Rothschild."

Hearst's Chicago Evening American commented, Dec. 3, 1923: "The Rothschilds can start or prevent wars. Their word could make or break empires." Reeves notes, "The fall of Napoleon was the rise of Rothschild." Napoleon was later slowly poisoned to death with arsenic by a Rothschild agent. They had no need of another "return from exile".

The New York Evening Post noted July 22, 1924, "The Kaiser had to consult Rothschild to find out whether he could declare war. Another Rothschild carried out the whole burden of the conflict which overthrew Napoleon."

The Kaiser's Chancellor, Bethmann-Hollweg, who actually precipitated World War I, was a member of the Frankfurt banking family, Bethmann, and a cousin of the Rothschilds.

Overturning the European Monarchs

After the fall of Napoleon, Salomon persuaded the ruler of Austria to issue patents of nobility to the five brothers. The Congress of Vienna was the emergence of the moth from its cocoon. The diktat of this Congress was a simple one -- the aristocracies of Europe must submit to our will, or they are doomed. The death sentence upon the noble lines of Europe was pronounced by those who had the will to carry out their edict. It took another century to perfect the work, not because the killers were weak, but because they wished to proceed cautiously, without revealing their full strength. In combat, the decisive weapon is the one your opponent does not know about.

It was not necessary to pronounce a death sentence upon the ruling families of America, because there were none. During the 19th century, a few descendants of colonial entrepreneurs had amassed wealth, and could afford a life of leisure and travel. They remained slavishly dependent upon Continental arbiters in every matter requiring personal taste and judgment. Because they had no guiding philosophy, and no program, this American "upper class" never made it to the top of the stairs. They remained "below stairs" as servants of the London princes of the World Order.

Their self-abasement not only manifested itself in an unusually high rate of suicide, but also in the slower forms of self-destruction, alcoholism, drug addiction, and homosexuality. Homosexuality is not so much a type of sexual drive as it is the expression of deeper needs, the desire for self-degradation, or the seeking of a partner whom one can humiliate and degrade. It could hardly be unexpected that such a "ruling class" would eagerly hail the twentieth century crusade to enthrone Communism as the vehicle of the World Order.

In their quest for wealth, the Rothschilds did not overlook either the small farmer or the stockpiling and wholesaling of grain. They developed a "farm loan" system which has been the curse of the farmers for more than a century. R.F. Pettigrew noted in the British Guardian, "This system of banking (causing the ultimate ruin of all those who cultivate the soil) was the invention of Lord Overstone, with the assistance of the Rothschilds, bankers of Europe."

One of their greatest triumphs was the successful outcome of the Rothschilds' protracted war against the Russian Imperial Family. The family name of the Romanovs was derived from Roma Nova, New Rome. It embodied the ancient prophecy that Moscow was to become "the New Rome." The family originated with Prince Prus, brother of Emperor August of Rome, who founded Prussia. In 1614, Michael became the first Romanov Czar.

After the fall of Napoleon, the Rothschilds turned all their hatred against the Romanovs. In 1825, they poisoned Alexander I; in 1855, they poisoned Nicholas I. Other assassinations followed, culminating on the night of Nov. 6, 1917, when a dozen Red Guards drove a truck up to the Imperial Bank Building in Moscow. They loaded the Imperial jewel collection and $700 million gold, loot totalling more than a billion dollars. The new regime also confiscated the 150 million acres in Russia personally owned by the Czar.

Of equal importance were the enormous cash reserves which the Czar had invested abroad in European and American banks. The New York Times stated that the Czar had $5 million in Guaranty Trust, and $1 million in the National City Bank; other authorities stated it was $5 million in each bank. Between 1905 and 1910 the Czar had sent more than $900 million to be deposited in six leading New York banks: Chase, National City Bank, Guaranty Trust, J.P. Morgan, Hanover, and Manufacturers Trust. These were the principal banks controlled by the House of Rothschild through their American agents: J.P. Morgan and Kuhn, Loeb Co. These were also the six New York banks which bought the controlling stock in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1914. They have held control of the stock ever since.

The Czar also had $115 million in four English banks. He had $35 million in the Bank of England, $25 million in Barings, $25 million in Barclays, and $30 million in Lloyd's Bank. In Paris, the Czar had $100 million in Banque de France, and $80 million in the Rothschild Bank of Paris. In Berlin, he had $132 million in the Mendelsohn Bank, which had long been bankers to Russia.

None of these sums has ever been disbursed; at compound interest since 1916, they amount to more than $50 billion. Two claimants later appeared, a son, Alexis, and a daughter, Anastasia. Despite a great deal of proof substantiating their claims, Peter Kurth notes in "Anastasia" that: "Lord Mountbatten put up the money for court battles against Anastasia. Although he was Empress Alexandra's nephew, he was the guiding force behind Anastasia's opposition." The Battenbergs, or Mountbattens, were also related to the Rothschild family. They did not wish to see the Czar's fortune reclaimed and removed from the Rothschild banks.

Kurth also notes:

"In a 1959 series on the history of the great British banks, for example, the Observer of London remarked of Baring Brothers, 'The Romanovs were among their most distinguished clients. It is affirmed that Barings still holds a deposit of more than forty million pounds that was left them by the Romanovs.' Anthony Sampson, editor in chief, said no protests were made. This story is generally considered to be true."

Rothschild Interests in England

In the early 19th century, the Rothschilds began to consolidate their profits from government loans into various business ventures, which have done very well. Fortuitous trading on the London Stock Exchange after Waterloo gave Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild a sizeable portion of the "consols" [bonds] which formed the bulk of the deposits of the Bank of England. Joseph Wechsberg notes in "The Merchant Bankers":

"There is the Sun Alliance life insurance company, most aristocratic of all insurance companies, founded by Nathan Rothschild in 1824; Brinco, the British Newfoundland Corp., founded by the British and French Rothschilds in 1952; the Anglo-American Corp., Bowater, Rio Tinto and others."

Not only does the bank rate of the Bank of England affect the interest rates in other nations; the price of gold also plays a crucial role in the monetary affairs of nations, even if they are no longer on the gold standard. The dominant role played by the House of Rothschild in the Bank of England is augmented by another peculiar duty of the firm, the daily 'fixing' of the world price of gold. The News Chronicle of Dec. 12, 1938, describes this ritual:

"The story of the gold-fixing has often been told. How every weekday at 11 a.m. the representatives of five firms of bullion brokers and one firm of refiners meet at the office of Messrs. Rothschild (except on Saturday) and there fix the sterling price of gold. There is, however, a great deal of activity which lies behind his final act -- this centralization of the demand for, and the supply of gold in one office and the fixing of the price of gold on that basis. A price of gold is first suggested, probably by the representative of Messrs. Rothschild, who also acts for the Bank of England and the Exchange Equalization Account."

The banking houses privileged to meet with the Rothschilds to set the world price of gold are known as "the Club of Five". In 1958, they were : N.M. Rothschild, Samuel Montagu, Moccata and Goldsmid, Sharps Pixley, and Johnson Matthey.

In 1961, the London Accepting Houses operating by approval of the Governor of the Bank of England were :

These chosen firms rule the financial establishment in "the City" of London.

In 1961, the leading business groups in England were listed by Wm. M. Clarke as:

  1. Morgan Grenfell Ltd. (Lord Bicester) the Peabody J.P. Morgan firm
  2. Jardine Matheson
  3. Rothschild-Samuel-Oppenheimer [group], comprising Rio Tinto, British South Africa Co., Shell Petroleum, Brinco (British Newfoundland Corp.)
  4. Lazard Brothers, Shell, English Electric, Canadian Eagle Oil
  5. Lloyd's Bank
  6. Barclay's Bank
  7. Peninsular & Orient Lines
  8. Cunard
  9. Midland Group -- Eagle Star -- Higginson (Cavendish-Bentinck)
  10. Prudential [Assurance Co.]
  11. Imperial Chemical Industries
  12. Bowater
  13. Courtauld's
  14. Unilever

Although this list shows the Rothschild group as only one of fourteen, in fact they hold large positions or influence in the other groups of this list.

In 1982, the principal directorships held by the London Rothschilds were :

  • Lord [Jacob] Rothschild -- N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Arcan N.V. Curacao, chairman Rothschild's Continuation, and Rothschild Inc. USA.
  • Edmund Leopold de Rothschild -- N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Alfred Dunhill Ltd., Rothschild Continuation, Rothschild Trust, Rothman's International, chmn Tokyo Pacific Holdings N.V.
  • Baron Eric Rothschild -- N.M. Rothschild & Sons
  • Evelyn de Rothschild -- chmn N.M. Rothschild & Sons, DeBeers Consolidated Mines Ltd. South Africa, Eagle Star Insurance Co., chmn The Economist Newspaper Ltd., IBM UK Ltd., La Banque Privee S.A., Manufacturers Hanover Ltd., Rothschild Continuation Ltd., chmn United Race Courses Ltd
  • Leopold de Rothschild -- N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Alliance Assurance Co., Bank of England, The London Assurance, Rothschild Continuation Ltd., Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG Switzerland, Sun Alliance and London Assurance Co., Sun Insurance Office Ltd.

The British firms comprising the major basis of the Rothschild fortune are: Sun Alliance Assurance, Eagle Star, DeBeers, and Rio Tinto.

Eagle Star's directors include:

  • Duncan Mackinnon, of [S.G.] Hambro Investment Trust
  • Earl Cadogan, whose mother was a Hambro
  • Sir Robert Clark, chairman Hill Samuel Co.
  • Marquess Linlithgow (Charles Hope) whose mother was a Milner -- he married Judith Baring
  • Evelyn de Rothschild
  • Sir Ian Stewart of Brown Shipley Co., who has been parliamentary private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer since 1979.

DeBeers directors include:

Spiro is also a director of Rio Tinto, Hambros Bank, Barclays Bank, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

DeBeers interlocks with Anglo-American Corp. of South Africa, of which Harry F. Oppenheimer is chairman, and Anglo-American Gold Investment Co. of which Julian Ogilvie Thompson is chairman, and Harry F. Oppenheimer director.

DeBeers interlocks with Hambros Bank, whose chairman is Jocelyn Hambro; directors are R.N. Hambro, C.E. Hambro, Hon. H.W. Astor; Sir Ian Morrow, chairman UKO Int. and The Laird Group, International Harvester, Rolls Royce, and the Brush Group; J.M. Clay, director of the Bank of England; Mark Weinberg, and Sidney Spiro.

Rio Tinto's chairman is Sir Anthony Tuke; he is also chairman Barclay's Bank, and member [of the] Trilateral Commission. Directors are Lord Shackleton, Lord Privy Seal, chairman RTZ Dev. Corp.; Lord Charteris of Amisfield, grandson of Earl of Wemys, married to daughter of Viscount Margesson, private secretary to Queen Elizabeth, director of Claridge's Hotel, and Connaught Hotel; Sir David Orr, chairman Unilever; and Sidney Spiro, Hambros Bank.

The principal Rothschild firm is Sun Alliance Assurance, which Nathan Mayer Rothschild founded in 1824, with Sir Alex Baring, Samuel Gurney, and Sir Moses Montefiore, with an initial capital of five million pounds.

  • The chairman of Sun Alliance is Lord Aldington (Toby Low) who is also chairman Westland Aircraft, director of Citibank, Citicorp, and GE Ltd
  • Lord Aberconway, dep. chairman
  • H.V.A. Lambert, chairman Barclay's Bank
  • Earl of Crawford (Robert A. Lindsay), whose mother was a Cavendish -- he is also chairman National Westminister Bank, former private secretary to the Secretary of Treasury. Minister of State for Defense, Minister of State for Foreign and Commercial Affairs
  • Lord Astor, whose mother was the daughter of Earl of Minto -- he is the former chairman of The [London] Times
  • Sir Charles Ball, of Kleinwort Benson, also director of Chubb & Sons., Barclay's Bank, Cadbury Schweppes
  • Sir Alan Dalton, director Natl. Westminster Bank
  • Duke of Devonshire -- his mother was a Cecil, one of England's three ruling families since the Middle Ages
  • Sir Derek Holden-Brown, chairman Allied Breweries, director Hiram Walker
  • J.N.C. James, trustee Grosvenor Estates, which owns large sections of London
  • Henry Keswick, chairman Matheson & Co.
  • Lord Kindersley, exec. director of Lazard Bros., director of Marconi, English Electric, British Match, Swedish Match
  • Sir Peter Matthews, chairman Vickers
  • J.M. Ricchie, chairman British Enkalon, director of Vickers, Bowater Ltd.
  • Evelyn de Rothschild, chairman N.M. Rothschild & Sons.

The Rothschilds have had a large position in Vickers for many years. Chairman is Sir Peter Matthews, also director Lloyd's Bank and Sun Alliance. Directors are T. Neville; Baron Braybrooke; Earl of Warwick (the Salisburys, one of three ruling families in England); Sir Alastair Frame, chief exec. Rio Tinto Zinc, director of Plessey & Co. UK, and the Atomic Energy Authority. The chairman of Vickers in 1956 was Edward Knollys, son of the private secretary to King Edward VII forty years, and George V for 5 years.

Rothchild Interests in America

For more than a century, a widespread belief has been deliberately fostered in the United States that the Rothschilds were of little significance in the American financial scene. With this cover, they have been able to manipulate political and financial developments in this country to their own advantage. In 1837, the Rothschilds let their American representative, W.L. & M.S. Joseph, go bankrupt in the Crash, while they threw their cash reserves behind a newcomer, August Belmont, and their secret representative, George Peabody of London. Bermingham notes in "Our Crowd":

"In the Panic of 1837, Belmont was able to perform a service which he would repeat in subsequent panics, thanks to the hugeness of the Rothschild reservoir of capital, to start out in America operating his own Federal Reserve System."

After 1837, August Belmont (Schönberg) was publicly advertised in the financial press as the American representative of the Rothschilds. When Belmont participated in a financial operation, everyone knew that the Rothschilds were involved. When Belmont took no part, and the transaction was handled by J.P. Morgan & Co., and/or by Kuhn, Loeb Co., everyone "knew" [that is, "assumed"] that the Rothschilds were not involved.

George Peabody had established his business in England through his connection with Brown Brothers (now Brown Bros. Harriman and Brown, Shipley). He had become an unidentified agent for Lord [Nathan] Rothschild as early as 1835. Although there is no statue of George Peabody in the Wall Street area, there is one in London, just opposite the Bank of England. George Peabody became "the favorite American" of Queen Victoria. His old lunchbox occupies a prominent place in the London office of Morgan Stanley to this day.

By 1861, George Peabody had become the largest trader of American securities in the world. To put pressure on the Lincoln government, he began unloading them and driving prices down. At the same time, [Junius?] Morgan, allied with Morris Ketchum, was depleting the American gold supply by shipping it to England. He ran the price from $126 ounce to $171 ounce, reaping a good profit, and putting more financial pressure on the Lincoln government. This was one of many financial operations directed by the Rothschilds for their own political and financial goals. As George Peabody had no son to take over his firm, he took on Junius Morgan as partner; Junius' son John Pierpont Morgan, became known as "the most powerful banker in the world", although his principal role was to secretly carry out commissions for the House of Rothschild.

The New York Times, Oct. 26, 1907, noted in connection with J.P. Morgan's actions during the Panic of 1907:

"In conversation with the New York Times correspondent, Lord [Nathaniel] Rothschild paid a high tribute to J.P. Morgan for his efforts in the present financial juncture in New York. 'He is worthy of his reputation as a great financier and a man of wonders. His latest action fills one with admiration and respect for him.' "

This is the only [?] recorded instance when a Rothschild praised any banker outside of his own family.

On March 28, 1932, the New York Times noted:

"London : N.M. Victor Rothschild, twenty-one-year-old nephew of Baron Rothschild, is going to the United States soon to take a post with J.P. Morgan & Co., it was learned tonight. It is usual for progressive British bankers to send their young men to western states temporarily, one of the most notable believers in the practice being the Anglo-American banking house of J. Henry Schroder & Co."

The Morgan-Rothschild connection explains the otherwise incomprehensible mystery of why J.P. Morgan, famed as "the most powerful banker in the world", left such a modest fortune at his death in 1913, a mere $11 million after his debts were secured. Although the present members of the Morgan family seem financially secure, none of them is counted among the "big rich".

In "Brandeis, A Free Man's Life", Arpheus T. Mason notes:

"Young Adolph Brandeis (Justice Brandeis' father) arrived in New York, travelled for awhile in the East and then went on to the Midwest. Young Brandeis' pleasure and facility in travel were greatly enhanced by the companionship of a young friend of the Wehles then on a business trip to the United States to secure information about American investments for the House of Rothschild. Thanks to his companion's contacts and letters of introduction, Adolph saw places and met people not accessible to most foreigners."

Bermingham notes in "Our Crowd":

"In the autumn of 1874, Baron Rothschild summoned Isaac Seligman to his office -- some $55 million of U.S. Bonds were to be offered by three houses, the House of Seligman, the House of Morgan, and the House of Rothschild."

This was the first time that the Seligmans had been asked to participate in an issue with the Rothschilds. They were more than grateful, and thus another ally of the Rothschilds began to operate in America.

A notable advantage of J.P. Morgan's work for the House of Rothschild was the carefully cultivated belief that Morgan, if not openly "anti-Semitic", avoided participating in operations with Jewish banking firms, and that his firm would not hire anyone of Jewish background. It was the same deception which Nathan Mayer Rothschild had hired Morgan's predecessor, George Peabody, to perform in London. It was a traditional belief on Wall Street that if you wished to deal with a "gentiles only" firm, you went to J.P. Morgan; if you wanted a Jewish firm, there were a number of houses available, but the most influential, by far, was Kuhn, Loeb Co. In either case, the customer was never made aware that he was dealing with an American representative of the House of Rothschild.

Jacob Schiff, who brought the Kuhn, Loeb firm to its preeminent role in American finance, was born in the Rothschild house at 148 Judengasse, Frankfurt, which the Rothschilds shared with the Schiff family. In 1867, Abraham Kuhn and Solomon Loeb, two Cincinnati dry goods merchants, founded the banking house of Kuhn, Loeb. In 1875, Jacob Schiff arrived from Frankfurt to join the firm. He married Therese, Solomon's daughter. He also brought a large amount of Rothschild capital into the firm, enabling it to expand tenfold. In 1885, Loeb retired; Jacob Schiff ran the firm from 1885 to 1920, when he died.

At no time has the House of Rothschild ever indicated publicly that it had any interest in the firm of Kuhn, Loeb Co. George R. Conroy stated in Truth magazine, Boston, Dec. 16, 1912:

"Mr. Schiff is head of the great private banking house of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., which represents the Rothschild interests on this side of the Atlantic. He has been described as a financial strategist and has been for years the financial minister of the great impersonal power known as Standard Oil. He was hand-in-glove with the Harrimans, the Goulds and the Rockefellers in all their railroad enterprises and has become the dominant power in the railroad and financial world of America."

This is one more revelation of the hidden power of the Rothschild interests in America. Not only has it directed the Rockefeller enterprises from the time that National City Bank of Cleveland, a Rothschild bank, financed the early expansion of Rockefeller's South Improvement Co. which enabled him to crush his competitors through illegal railway rebates, but it has also been the power behind the scenes of the Harriman fortunes, now Brown Brothers Harriman. It explains the frequent appointments (never elections) of W. Averell Harriman, the dominant power in the Democratic Party, while his partner's son, George [H.W.] Bush, is the Republican vice-president, a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States. [elected president in 1988 --ed]

It explains the secret writing of the Federal Reserve Act by Paul Warburg of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., and the even more secret deals which caused it to be enacted into law by Congress. It explains how the United States could fight World War I with:

Meanwhile, Paul's brother, Max Warburg, headed the German espionage system and another brother was German commercial attache in Stockholm, traditional listening post for warring nations. Jacob Schiff had two brothers in Germany who were financing the German war effort. It was a classic case of a "managed conflict", with the Rothschilds manipulating both sides from behind the scenes. At the Versailles Peace Conference, Bernard Baruch was head of the Reparations Commission, Max Warburg, on behalf of Germany, accepted the reparations terms, while Paul Warburg, Thomas Lamont and other Wall Street bankers advised Wilson and the Dulles brothers on how "American" interests should be handled at this all-important diplomatic conference.

Rothschild Interests in South Africa

The Rothschilds had decided upon the formula of a "managed conflict" for the First World War because of the difficulty they had encountered in defeating the Boers [in South Africa] from 1899 to 1901. After illegally annexing the Transvaal in 1881, the British had been turned back with a resounding defeat at Majuba by Paul Kruger. In 1889, because of the discovery of vast wealth in gold and diamonds in South Africa, the Rothschilds came back to loot the nation with 400,000 British soldiers pitted against 30,000 "irregulars" -- that is, farmers with rifles -- whom the Boers could put into the field. The Boer War was started by Rothschild's agent, Lord Alfred Milner, against the wishes of a majority of the British people. His plans were aided by another Rothschild agent, Cecil Rhodes, who later left his entire fortune to the furtherance of the Rothschild program, through the Rhodes Trust -- a by no means infrequent denouement among Rothschild agents -- and the basis of the entire "foundation" empire today.

The British fought a "no prisoners" scorched earth war, destroying farms and mercilessly shooting down Boers who tried to surrender. It was in this war that the institution of "concentration camps" was brought to the world, as the British rounded up and imprisoned in unsanitary, fever-ridden camps anyone thought to be sympathetic to the Boers, including many women and children, who died by the thousands. This genocidal policy would next be used by the Rothschild-financed Bolsheviks in Russia, who adopted the Boer War concept to murder 66 million Russians between 1917 and 1967. There was never any popular reaction to either of these atrocities, because of the control of media which makes discussion of these calamities a taboo subject.

The career of Lord Alfred Milner (1854-1925) began when he was a protégé of Sir Evelyn Baring, the first Earl of Cromer, partner of Baring Bros. bankers, who had been appointed Director General of Accounts in Egypt. Baring was then the financial advisor of the Khedive of Egypt. Since 1864, Milner had been active in the Colonial Society, founded in London in that year. In 1868, it was renamed the Royal Colonial Institute, and was heavily financed by Barclays Bank, and by the Barings, Sassoons and Jardine Matheson, all of whom were active in founding the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, and who were heavily interested in the Asiatic drug traffic.

The staff economist of the Royal Colonial Society was Alfred Marshall, founder of the monetarist theory which Milton Friedman now peddles under the aegis of the Hoover Institution and other supposedly "rightwing" think-tanks. Marshall, through the Oxford Group, became the patron of Wesley Clair Mitchell, who then taught [Arthur] Burns and Friedman.

In 1884, Alfred Milner augmented the work of the Royal Colonial Society with an inner group, the Imperial Federation League; both groups now function as the Royal Empire Society. Vladimir Halperin, in "Lord Milner and the Empire", writes: "It was through Milner and some of his friends that the Round Table Group came into being. The Round Table, it should be said, is an authority to this day on all Commonwealth interests." He states that Milner raised a considerable sum for the work of the Round Table, including 30,000 pounds from Lord Astor, 10,000 pounds from Lord Rothschild, 10,000 pounds from the Duke of Bedford, and 10,000 pounds from Lord Iveagh. Milner launched a magazine called the Empire Review, later called the Round Table quarterly.

Halperin also notes another contribution of Milner:

"He played an important part in the drafting of the famous Balfour Declaration in December of 1917. It is a fact, that, with [Arthur] Balfour, he was its co-author. As far back, as 1915, Milner had realized the need for a Jewish National Home, and had never ceased to be warmly in favor of its creation. Milner, like Lloyd George, Amery, and many others, saw that the Jewish National Home could also contribute to the security of the Empire in the Near East."

The Milner Round Table later became the Royal Institute of International Affairs / Council on Foreign Relations combine which exercises unopposed control for the World Order over foreign and monetary policy in both the United States and Great Britain. Milner trained a group of ambitious young men who became known as his "Kindergarten". It included:

  • John Buchan, future Gov. General of Canada
  • Geoffrey Dawson, later editor of the Times, and prominent supporter of [German] "appeasement" with the "Cliveden Set" (led by Lord Astor, who owned the Times)
  • Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess, Lord Lothian, the youngest member of the Kindergarten. He served as private secretary to Lloyd George from 1916-20, and was given credit as largely responsible for the German provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. His Who's Who goes on to say that he played an important part in dealing with India, all dominions, and the United States. He was Ambassador to the United States 1935-40, and was a close friend of Waldorf and Lady Astor
  • George Jeachim Goschen, a Liberal who was hailed as the greatest Chancellor of the Exchequer, head of the Cunliffe Goschen banking house with Lord Cunliffe, Governor of the Bank of England. Goschen was also chancellor of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh; his brother, Baron Sir Edward Goschen was Ambassador to Berlin when Bethmann-Hollweg told him that the Belgian Treaty was a mere "scrap of paper"
  • Leopold S. Amery, who had two sons, Leopold, who was executed as a traitor in 1945, and Julian, who married Prime Minister Harold MacMillan's daughter, and served as leftwing correspondent on the Spanish Front 1938-9, Churchill's personal representative to Chiang Kai-Shek, 1945, Round Table Conference on Malta, 1955, Council of Europe, 1950-56. The senior Leopold Amery is described as "a passionate advocate of British imperialism"; he was on the staff of the Times, and wrote a 7 vol. history of the South African War for the Times; served in the Cabinet from 1916-22, MP 1911-45, first Lord of Admiralty, 1922-24, Secretary of State for India, 1940-45, and arranged for India to have independence. He was a trustee of the Rhodes Trust.

The Milner-Rothschild relationship was described in Terence O'Brien's biography, "Milner", p. 97:

"Milner went to Paris on some business with Alhponse de Rothschild.... Business calls in the City included a formal visit to Rothschilds.... weekend with Lord Rothschild at Tring, and visit with Edward Cecil, Lord Salisbury at Hatfield.... while spending a weekend with Lord Rothschild at Tring a Press Lord gave him a sleepless night (no further explanation given) ..... talks with Rothschild."

Milner attended a Zionist dinner given by Lord Rothschild, sitting next to Lawrence of Arabia, who interpreted for him in a talk with King Feisal [of Saudi Arabia --ed]. On p. 364, O'Brien notes, "Milner lost no time in recreating his links with the City. He went first to Rio Tinto which reelected him to its Board and before long Rothschild asked him to be its chairman." Rio Tinto was one of the key firms in the Rothschild empire. Herbert Hoover was also appointed a director of Rio Tinto; he would soon be asked to head the "Belgian Relief Commission" which prolonged World War I from 1916 to 1918.

The Milner role in starting the South African War is described in "British Supremacy in South Africa". Chap. 1 is headed "Sir Alfred Milner's War," explained as follows :

"On 19 March Chamberlain telegraphed to him, 'The principle object of His Majesty's Government in South Africa is peace. Nothing but a most flagrant offense would justify the use of force.'" P. 22, "Milner had come to believe that war with the Transvaal was both inevitable and desirable .... Milner had at last convinced Chamberlain that British supremacy in South Africa would be jeopardized unless the power of the Transvaal was broken."

There is the evidence that Rothschild's Round Table minion, Milner, cold-bloodedly precipitated the Boer war for his master's gain.

John Hays Hammond, chief mining engineer for the House of Rothschild, also was sent to South Africa to precipitate the war. He formed the "Uitlanders Reform Committee", with Lionel Phillips, head of gold and diamond mining firm Eckstein -- the Corner House; George Farrar of East Rand Property Mines; and Col. Frank Rhodes, brother of Cecil Rhodes. The Committee was financed by Abe Bailey, Solly Joel, Barney Barnato, and the Ecksteins, all of whom were big winners in the partition of the gold and diamond properties after the war. During this activity, Hammond was arrested by Paul Kruger, sentenced to death for promoting revolution, and was allowed to leave only after paying a $100,000 fine. He was then hired by the Guggenheims at $500,000 year salary, and in 1921 became chief lobbyist for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

Copyright © Eustace Mullins

Money Laundering and the Global Drug Trade are Fueled by the Capitalist Elites

Global Research, July 21, 2010

When investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker broke the story four years ago that a DC-9 (N900SA) "registered to a company which once used as its address the hangar of Huffman Aviation, the flight school at the Venice, Florida Airport which trained both terrorist pilots who crashed planes into the World Trade Center, was caught in Campeche by the Mexican military ... carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine destined for the U.S.," it elicited a collective yawn from corporate media.

And when authorities searched the plane and found its cargo consisted solely of 128 identical black suitcases marked "private," packed with cocaine valued at more than $100 million, the silence was deafening.

But now a Bloomberg Markets magazine report, "Wachovia's Drug Habit," reveals that drug traffickers bought that plane, and perhaps fifty others, "with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.," Wachovia and Bank of America.

The Justice Department charge sheet against the bank tells us that between 2003 and 2008, Wachovia handled $378.4 billion for Mexican currency exchanges, "the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history."

"A sum" Bloomberg averred, equal to one-third of Mexico's current gross domestic product."

Since 2006, some 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. Thousands more have been wounded, countless others "disappeared," torture and illegal imprisonment is rampant.

In a frightening echo of the Reagan administration's anti-communist jihad in Central America during the 1980s, the Bush and now, Obama administration has poured fuel on the fire with some $1.4 billion in "War on Drugs" funding under Plan Mérida. Much of that "aid" is destined to purchase military equipment for repressive police, specialized paramilitary units and the Mexican Army.

There is also evidence of direct U.S. military involvement. In June, The Narco News Bulletin reported that "a special operations task force under the command of the Pentagon is currently in place south of the border providing advice and training to the Mexican Army in gathering intelligence, infiltrating and, as needed, taking direct action against narco-trafficking organizations."

One former U.S. government official told investigative journalist Bill Conroy, "'Black operations have been going on forever. The recent [mainstream] media reports about those operations under the Obama administration make it sound like it's a big scoop, but it's nothing new for those who understand how things really work'."

But, as numerous investigations by American and Mexican journalists have revealed, there is strong evidence of collusion between the Mexican Army and the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels. A former Juarez police commander told NPR in May that "the intention of the army is to try and get rid of the Juarez cartel, so that [Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman] Chapo's [Sinaloa] cartel is the strongest."

The cosy relations among the world's biggest banks, drug trafficking organizations and the U.S. military-intelligence apparatus is not however, a new phenomenon. What is different today is the scale and sheer scope of the corruption involved. As Michel Chossudovsky points out,

"This trade can only prosper if the main actors involved in narcotics have "political friends in high places." As legal and illegal undertakings are increasingly intertwined, the dividing line between "businesspeople" and criminals is blurred. In turn, the relationship among criminals, politicians and members of the intelligence establishment has tainted the structures of the state and the role of its institutions, including the military." (The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Montreal:Global Research, 2010, pp. 195-196)

While the Bloomberg story should cast new light on highly-profitable links amongst major financial institutions and narcotrafficking organizations in what may be protected drug rackets green-lighted by corrupt officials, media silence, particularly by outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and theFinancial Times, threaten to propel what should be an international scandal into a one-off news item scheduled for a trip down the memory hole.

"Cocaine One"

If, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman claims "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist," then perhaps too, drug cartels work their "market magic" with their own "hidden fist" or, as the Russians like to say akrysha, a web of protectors--and facilitators--drawn from business, finance, organized crime and the secret world of intelligence.

Dubbed "Cocaine One" by Hopsicker, the DC-9 was curious for a number of reasons, not least of which was the fact that "one of the chief shareholders" of a dodgy outfit called SkyWay Aircraft "is a private investment bank in Dallas which also raised funds for a Mexican industrialist with reported ties to a Cali and Juarez Cartel narcotics trafficker."

More curious still, the airline kitted-out its fleet with distinctive colors and a seal "designed to impersonate planes from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security." And when he learned that "SkyWay's genesis can be traced to In-Q-Tel Inc., a secretive, Arlington, Va., investment group owned, operated, and financed out of the black box budget of the Central Intelligence Agency," well you can bet corporate media ran themselves ragged investigating that!

To top it off, when another drug plane crash landed in the Yucatan Peninsula eighteen months later and broke apart, a Gulfstream II business jet (N987SA) that spilled "4 tons of cocaine across a muddy field," Hopsicker reported that it had originated from the same network and used the same source for its financing, the "Casa de Cambio Puebla SA, a country-wide network of currency exchanges."

And to make matters even more intriguing from a parapolitical perspective, after searching through FAA records Hopsickerdiscovered that the Gulfstream II business jet "was owned by a secretive Midwestern media baron and Republican fund-raiser, who had a business partner who, incredibly, owned the otherAmerican drug plane, the DC-9, recently busted in Mexico."

In fact, as Bloomberg investigative journalist Michael Smith learned years later, these were the same planes and samecurrency exchange which Hopsicker reported back in 2007 traffickers had used to purchase drug jets with funds laundered through Wachovia.

"One customer that Wachovia took on in 2004 was Casa de Cambio Puebla SA," Smith wrote. The Puebla, Mexico currency exchange was the brainchild of Pedro Alatorre, a "businessman" who "had created front companies for cartels."

Alatorre, and 70 others connected to his network, were seized in 2007 by Mexican law enforcement officials. Authorities discovered that the accused drug money launderer and airline broker for the cartels controlled 23 accounts at the Wachovia Bank branch in Miami and that it held some $11 million, subsequently frozen by U.S. investigators.

In 2008, a Miami federal grand jury indicted Alatorre, now awaiting trial in Mexico along with three other executives, charging them with drug trafficking and money laundering, accusing the company of using "shell firms to launder $720 million through U.S. banks." The Justice Department is currently seeking Alatorre's extradition from Mexico.

According to Bloomberg, "Puebla executives used the stolen identities of 74 people to launder money through Wachovia accounts." Jose Luis Marmolejo, the former head of the Mexican attorney general's financial crimes unit told Smith, "Wachovia handled all the transfers, and they never reported any as suspicious."

Some $300,000 was transferred by Wachovia to a Bank of America branch in Oklahoma City. With cash in hand Bloomberg reports, traffickers "used the funds to buy the DC-9 through Oklahoma City aircraft broker U.S. Aircraft Titles Inc." When queried by Smith about the sale, "U.S. Aircraft Titles President Sue White declined to comment."

Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the Wachovia case said in a press release that "Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations."

Yet, as Hopsicker wrote nearly three years ago, "the politically-explosive implications of the scandal may explain why American officials have been reluctant to move against, or even name, the true owners of the planes and basically 'turned a blind eye' to the American involvement exposed by the drug trafficking seizures."

As of this writing, no Americans have been criminally charged in the cash-for drug planes banking conspiracy.

"Troubled Assets" or Something More Sinister?

When Wells Fargo bought Wachovia, once America's fourth largest bank in 2008 at the fire-sale price of $12.8 billion, the bank and its former CEO, Kennedy "Ken" Thompson, who "retired at the request of the board" before the full-extent of the financial meltdown hit home, were in deep trouble.

Before the Wells takeover, Wachovia had been on a veritable shopping spree. After the firm's 2001 merger with First Union Bank, Wachovia merged with the Prudential Securities division of Prudential Financial, Inc., with Wachovia controlling the lion's share of the firm's $532.1 billion in assets. This was followed by the bank's purchase of Metropolitan West Securities, adding a $50 billion portfolio of securities and loans to the bank's Lending division. In 2004, Wachovia followed-up with the $14.3 billion acquisition of SouthTrust Corporation.

Apparently flush with cash and new market clout, Wachovia set it sights on acquiring California-based Golden West Financial. Golden West operated branches under the name World Savings Bank and was the nation's second largest savings and loan. At the time of the buy-out, Golden West had over $125 billion in assets. For Wachovia however, it was a deal too far.

With an enormous housing bubble fully inflated, and a new speculative merger-mania in full swing, one can only surmise that the need for liquidity at any price, had driven banking giants such as Wachovia to play dumb when shadier, yet highly-profitable transactions, such as the "arrangement" with Casa de Cambio Puebla SA, were involved.

Bleeding cash faster than you can say "mortgage backed securities," Wachovia was on the hook for their 2006 $26 billion buy-out of Golden West Financial at the peak of the housing bubble, a move that BusinessWeek reported generated "resistance from his own management team" but ignored by Thompson.

Why? "Because no one outside of Thompson and Golden West CEO Herb Sandler seemed to like the deal from the moment it was announced," a company insider told BusinessWeek.

While the buy-out may have given Thompson "the beachhead in California he had long desired ... the ink was barely dry on the Golden West deal in late 2006 when the housing bubble in markets including California and Florida began to deflate."

Hammered by the housing bust, Wachovia's share price, which had risen to $70.51 per share when the Golden West deal was announced had slid to $5.71 per share by October 2008. In other words, Wachovia, along with the world's economy, began circling the proverbial drain.

However you slice it, although it was clear that the Golden West deal had gone south quicker than you can say "credit default swaps," this didn't seem to stop Wachovia from paying "smartest guy in the room" Thompson $15.6 million in total compensation in 2007, a year after the fatal Golden West transaction. Nor did these losses stop the bank from showering Thompson with a severance package worth nearly $8 million.

But was something else going on here?

Wells Fargo bank admitted in a signed Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the federal government that they would not contest charges brought by the Justice Department in itsindictment of the bank.

The banking giant was forced to admit charges by prosecutors that "On numerous occasions, monies were deposited into a CDC [Casa de Cambio] by a drug trafficking organization. Using false identities, the CDC then wired that money through its Wachovia correspondent bank accounts for the purchase of airplanes for drug trafficking organizations. On various dates between 2004 and 2007, at least four of those airplanes were seized by foreign law enforcement agencies cooperating with the United States and were found to contain large quantities of cocaine."

Bloomberg reported that Wells Fargo, in the wake of the settlement "declined to answer specific questions, including how much it made by handling $378.4 billion--including $4 billion of cash--from Mexican exchange companies."

There was however, more than "troubled assets" and charges of money laundering to the story. In fact, the purchase of these drug planes have been tied to some of the Bush administration's most secretive "War On Terror" programs.

Drug Flights, CIA Renditions. Just Another Day at the Office!

Replicating a pattern used by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, the secret state used a network of cut-outs and legitimate businesses to transport prisoners to Agency black sites for "special handling."

During Iran-Contra it was "guns in, drugs out." Today one might say its "drugs in, tortured prisoners out." The results however, were the same; egregious crimes and lawbreaking on a staggering scale.

Subsequent investigations by Narco News revealed that "this particular Gulfstream II (tail number N987SA), was used between 2003 and 2005 by the CIA for at least three trips between the U.S. east coast and Guantanamo Bay, home to the infamous 'terrorist' prison camp," Bill Conroy reported.

"In addition," Conroy wrote, "the two SkyWay companies are associated with individuals who have done highly sensitive work for the Department of Defense or U.S. intelligence agencies, public records show and Narco News sources confirm."

According to AFP, the Mexican daily El Universal said "it had obtained documents from the United States and the European Parliament which 'show that that plane flew several times to Guantanamo, Cuba, presumably to transfer terrorism suspects,'" the French newswire reported.

The plane was carrying "Colombian drugs" bound for the U.S. for the "fugitive leader of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman," when it crashed in the Yucatan.

According to El Universal, the Federal Aviation Administration's "logbook registered that the plane had traveled between US territory and the US military base in Guantanamo," and that its last registered owner was "Clyde O'Connor in Pompano Beach, Florida."

The Independent confirmed separately in January of this year that "Evidence points to aircraft--familiarly known as 'torture taxis'--used by the CIA to move captives seized in its kidnapping or 'extraordinary rendition' operations through Gatwick and other airports in the EU being simultaneously used for drug distribution in the Western hemisphere."

Hugh O'Shaughnessy, confirming earlier reporting by Bill Conroy and Daniel Hopsicker said that "a Gulfstream II jet aircraft N9875A identified by the British Government and the European Parliament as being involved in this traffic crashed in Mexico in September 2008 while en route from Colombia to the US with a load of more than three tons of cocaine."

While O'Shaughnessy got the tail-number and date wrong, he's correct when he states that U.S. intelligence assets "continue the drug dealing they indulged in during the Iran-Contra affair of the Reagan years."

Narco News, citing DEA sources, learned that the crashed Gulfstream loaded with four tons of cocaine "was part of an operation being carried out by a Department of Homeland Security agency."

However in a later report, Mark Conrad, a former supervisory special agent with ICE's predecessor agency, U.S. Customs, toldNarco News that the crashed Gulfstream used to transport drugs and prisoners was controlled by the CIA and "that the CIA, not ICE ... [was] actually the U.S. agency controlling the ... operation. If this were the case, then "any individuals or companies involved in a CIA-backed operation, even ones that are complicit in drug trafficking, would be off limits to U.S. law enforcers due to the cloak of national security the CIA can invoke."

In other words, a jet purchased by drug traffickers with funds laundered through an American bank and used in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program may have been part of aprotected drug operation by U.S. intelligence agencies. An operation furthermore, whose purpose is still unknown.

This report tracks closely with evidence uncovered by Peter Dale Scott. In a recent piece in Japan Focus Scott wrote that "it is not surprising that the U.S. Government, following the lead of the CIA, has over the years become a protector of drug traffickers against criminal prosecution in this country."

"A recent spectacular example" Scott tells us, drawing on research from his forthcoming book, is the curious case of CIA Venezuelan asset, General Ramon Guillén Davila.

General Ramon Guillén Davila, chief of a CIA-created anti-drug unit in Venezuela, was indicted in Miami for smuggling a ton of cocaine into the United States. According to the New York Times, "The CIA, over the objections of the Drug Enforcement Administration, approved the shipment of at least one ton of pure cocaine to Miami International Airport as a way of gathering information about the Colombian drug cartels." Time magazine reported that a single shipment amounted to 998 pounds, following earlier ones "totaling nearly 2,000 pounds." Mike Wallace confirmed that "the CIA-national guard undercover operation quickly accumulated this cocaine, over a ton and a half that was smuggled from Colombia into Venezuela." According to the Wall Street Journal, the total amount of drugs smuggled by Gen. Guillén may have been more than 22 tons. (Fueling America's War Machine: Deep Politics and the CIA's Global Drug Connection (in press, due Fall 2010 from Rowman & Littlefield).

Scott adds that "the United States never asked for Guillén's extradition from Venezuela to stand trial; and in 2007, when he was arrested in Venezuela for plotting to assassinate President Hugo Chavez, his indictment was still sealed in Miami. Meanwhile, CIA officer Mark McFarlin, whom DEA Chief Bonner had also wished to indict, was never indicted at all; he merely resigned."

But the stench of Iran-Contra, like that of the CIA's torture program, as with earlier secret state machinations with drug cartels never went away; in fact, like a cancer, one managed drug operation seamlessly metastasized into another.

Greasing the Wheels

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODOC) state in their 2010 Annual Report that "money-laundering is the method by which criminals disguise the illegal origins of their wealth and protect their asset bases in order to avoid suspicion of law enforcement and to prevent leaving a trail of incriminating evidence," and that financial institutions, particularly U.S. and European banks are key to efforts to choke-off illicit profits from the grisly trade.

The trouble is these institutions, along with U.S. intelligence agencies, are the problem.

UNODOC estimate that profits derived from narcotics rackets amount to some $600 billion annually and that up to $1.5 trilliondollars in drug money is laundered through seemingly legitimate enterprises.

Part of the fallout from capitalism's economic meltdown has been that "drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis," The Observer disclosed late last year.

Antonio Maria Costa, UNODOC's director, told the British newspaper he saw evidence that proceeds from the illicit trade were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year and that "a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result."

The UN drugs chief said that in "many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital." And with markets tanking and major bank failures nearly a daily occurrence, "liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor."

According to Costa, "Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities... There were signs that some banks were rescued that way."

Web of Corruption

Although the UN's top anti-narcotics official declined to identify either the countries or banks that have benefited from the murderous trade, a web of corruption envelops the entire financial sector of the capitalist economy as the quest for "liquid assets" trumps everything.

Martin Woods, once director of Wachovia's anti-money-laundering unit in London told Bloomberg, "It's the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy." Woods told the magazine he "quit the bank in disgust" after executives "ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia's branch network."

Despite warnings from the Treasury Department since 1996 that Mexican currency exchanges were laundering drug money through U.S. banks, "Wachovia ignored warnings by regulators and police, according to the deferred-prosecution agreement,"Bloomberg reported.

"As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk," the bank admitted in court. "Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business."

At the bank's anti-money laundering unit in London, Woods and his counterpart Jim DeFazio in Charlotte, NC told Smith "they suspected that drug dealers were using the bank to move funds."

Former Scotland Yard investigator Woods, said he "spotted illegible signatures and other suspicious markings on traveler's checks from Mexican exchange companies," and that he sent copies of his report to the U.K.'s Financial Services Authority, the DEA and U.S. Treasury Department.

But rather than being rewarded for his diligence, Woods told Smith "his bosses instructed him to keep quiet and tried to have him fired." In one meeting, "a bank official insisted Woods shouldn't have filed suspicious activity reports to the government, as both U.S. and U.K. laws require."

According to a whistleblower suit filed with an employment tribunal in London, Barrons reported last year before the Wachovia scandal broke, that Woods claimed "his bosses bullied and demoted him, then withdrew his reports of other suspicious activities in Eastern Europe."

It gets worse. Woods' complaint alleges "that Wachovia staff may have even tipped off Mexican-exchange clients about his laundering suspicions," and the veteran investigator told Wachovia officials "he feared for his safety."

In response, bank spokesperson Mary Eshet said at the time, "Wachovia believes that it has acted appropriately in its business dealings, and Mr. Woods' claims to the contrary are without merit."

Meanwhile, on the American side of the pond, 21-year FBI veteran DeFazio said "he told bank executives in 2005 that the DEA was probing the transfers through Wachovia to buy the planes." The bank ignored his warnings and continued along on their merry way until their indictment.

The law enforcement veteran told Bloomberg, "I think they looked at the money and said, 'The hell with it. We're going to bring it in, and look at all the money we'll make'."

The former Scotland yard investigator added, "If you don't see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you're missing the point."

But Wachovia wasn't the only large financial institution "missing the point." Bloomberg also revealed that Bank of America and the London-based "HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank by assets," American Express Bank, Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc., as well as "the world's largest money transfer firm," Western Union were also up to their eyeballs in dubious transactions.

In 1994 for example, American Express paid $14 million to settle with the federal government after "two employees were convicted in a criminal case involving drug trafficker Juan Garcia Abrego."

Yet between 1999-2004, Bloomberg reported "the bank failed to stop clients from laundering $55 million of narcotics funds, the bank admitted in a deferred-prosecution agreement in August 2007 ... and paid $65 million to the U.S. and promised not to break the law again." Charges were dismissed a year later under terms of the agreement.

And back in 2004, The Independent disclosed that "HSBC, the UK's largest bank, have been slammed for lax money-laundering procedures in a report by a US Senate subcommittee."

Journalists Hugh O'Shaughnessy and Paul Lashmar revealed that "the UK-based multinational stands accused of laxity in the fight against money laundering, drug trafficking, corruption and terrorism, notably in the oil-rich African state of Equatorial Guinea."

"In one of the few cases" when the scandal-plagued and now-shuttered Riggs Bank "seems to have properly followed US anti-money-laundering legislation," Riggs formally asked HSBC and a Spanish bank, Banco Santander, "to divulge the identities of the owners of two companies that kept accounts with them and that were receiving suspicious wire transfers totalling in excess of $35m (£20m). The banks refused to say who the owners were."

Bloomberg disclosed that "federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009." Authorities contend that "Mexican drug dealers used shell companies to open accounts at London-based HSBC."

Nevertheless, neither bank were accused of wrongdoing by the federal government and both firms denied any involvement in money laundering schemes.

Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton told Smith that they "strictly follow the government rules." Norton said, "Bank of America takes its anti-money-laundering responsibilities very seriously," a fact not readily apparent from Bloomberg Marketsinvestigation.

Both Norton and HSBC spokesman Roy Caple told Smith that "[privacy] laws bar them from discussing specific clients."

And so it goes.

Fallout? What Fallout!

In the wake of Wachovia's admission to federal prosecutors, Wells Fargo will pay "$160 million in fines and penalties, less than 2 percent of its $12.3 billion profit in 2009."

"If Wells Fargo keeps its pledge," Bloomberg reports, then "according to the agreement [the federal government will] drop all charges against the bank in March 2011."

Why might that be? Large banks are immune from vigorous prosecution for violating the Bank Secrecy Act "by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory."

Veteran Senate investigator Jack Blum, who led probes into the Iran-Contra drug connection and the CIA's favorite shadow bank during the 1980s, the Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI) toldBloomberg, "the theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks."

"There's no capacity to regulate or punish them because they're too big to be threatened with failure," Blum says. "They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they're caught."

Meanwhile as the bodies pile up, there's no jail time for executives and the assets of firms that could charitably be described as part of a "continuing criminal enterprise" haven't been seized; only a slap on the wrist and a promise to "do better next time."