ENTER THE RABBIT HOLE: A Détournement by Derek Swannson
[Editor’s Note: This essay by Derek Swannson became the voice-over transcript for the documentary film of the same name, which can be found on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/1KumLgto_eo ]
Introduction: WHY DIG DEEPER?
The Rabbit Hole can be found at the intersection where deep politics and high weirdness meet in a head-on collision. It’s the psychic abyss that opens up when you discover things about the world that seem like manifestations of pure evil. Like how the Rockefellers used their ill-gotten oil monopoly fortune to fund anti-human endeavors such as MKUltra and Operation Gladio. Or how the CIA’s Project Artichoke was designed to create just the sort of patsy assassin that Lee Harvey Oswald claimed he’d been made into — which, if true, made the appointment of ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles to the Warren Commission the political equivalent of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, and then allowing that fox to write the official history of chickens.
Another Warren Commission appointee, Gerald Ford, had coincidentally co-owned a modeling agency with a guy named Harry Conover, who at that time was married to the famous World War II pin-up girl, Candy Jones, who would later claim she’d been tortured and exploited as an MKUltra courier. What are we supposed to make of that — or of the weird fact that the Navy Rear Admiral who commanded the U.S. naval fleet during the false flag Gulf of Tonkin Incident on August 4th, 1964, happened to be the dad of The Doors’ famous frontman, Jim Morrison?
I’ve been burrowing deep into the Rabbit Hole for almost thirty years now — ever since I interviewed William Randolph Hearst Junior as a young journalist and found myself face-to-face with the most appalling example of the human species that I’d yet encountered. In my experience, the ruling capitalists are a vicious bunch. Inflamed by greed, seething with unwarranted egotism, incapable of empathy or self-criticism, and made indifferent to human suffering by the numbing insularity of their obscene wealth, they’ll fuck you over with the same lack of guilt that a pampered house cat feels when slaughtering a mouse.
But we’re not mice, and the world doesn’t belong to the ruling capitalists and their whorish henchmen any more or less than it belongs to you and me. This video series is dedicated to exposing their Deep State stratagems, in the hope that exposure will lead to widespread social activism and political reform. But of course, this is exactly the sort of project that usually gets suppressed by U.S. corporate media outlets, so I don’t expect many people to watch it.
You might ask: “Why do it then? Why keep going deeper into the Rabbit Hole when what you find there is so thoroughly depressing?” My usual answer is that I don’t like being lied to. I want to know how the world really operates before I die. But there’s more to it than that. It has something to do with the Jungian concept of shadow work. As Carl Jung wrote: “One does become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” I’m convinced that our only path toward collective enlightenment is to confront our collective darkness and expose it to the light of public consciousness. If we try to avoid or ignore the shadow side of society, it will only get worse.
You don’t have to just take my word on this — or even Doctor Jung’s. The Toronto scholar and public intellectual du jour, Jordan B. Peterson, goes a long way toward justifying any random trip down the Rabbit Hole with what he says here:
JORDAN PETERSON: The world is carnage — a place of carnage, but that… that… you can accept that. And if you can’t accept it, then what that means is that you’re not integrated enough — because if you’re integrated enough, then you can accept it. It’s like the test of the integration. So your character isn’t forged sufficiently if you cannot tolerate that. And it’s not like it’s an easy thing to tolerate. Often what people do is they just don’t think about it. They just push it out of their mind. And no wonder! But they pay for that with shallowness, and with self-contempt, and with the inability to bear suffering nobly.
So if you’re up for finding out a little bit more about the world you thought you knew — if you’re ready for a skanky glimpse at “the God of Terror who dwells in the human soul” (that’s Jung again) — then here we go….
Part One: THE DEVIL OR THE DEEP STATE
The majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are not interested in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.
— Harold Pinter, Nobel Lecture, 2005
In his 2018 State of the Union address, President Trump was applauded by craven congressional ass-kissers as he took credit for the huge gains — in employment and in the stock market — that had occurred since his election. He was then awarded an even bigger round of applause — a standing ovation from the Republican side of the room, actually — as he talked up his tax cuts, which will overwhelmingly benefit the rich at a time when the richest 1% of Americans already own over 40% of the nation’s wealth. This comes after decades of prior legislative favors, regulatory coup d’états, and jurisprudence giveaways (like the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision) that have helped the rich amass their wealth at the expense of almost everyone else.
On the third day after Trump’s State of the Union address, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 666 points — its worst day since Trump took office. That happened on a Friday. The following Monday, the Dow shed another 1,175 points — the most points it had ever dropped in a single day (although not the biggest one-day drop on a percentage basis; that record still belonged to the 1987 Black Monday crash, generally thought to have been caused by the then relatively new — and still little-understood — program trading bots).
The stock market is so massively manipulated — and now dominated by sneaky high-frequency trading algorithms — that predicting where it will go next is a motley fool’s game, unless you happen to have insider information. But it seems likely — to me, at least — that the Dow’s 666-point drop signaled the end of the market’s historic nine-year bull run. Why do I say that? Well, even if you’re not superstitious, or a believer in the occult, you have to admit it’s a bit odd that the peak of the previous bull run in the world markets occurred on October 31st, 2007 (Halloween, of course…) and after that, the S&P 500 — the world’s most widely tracked index — kept falling until it hit rock bottom at 666 on March 6th, 2009. That was the day to get back into stocks for this latest bull run — buying in at 666, the devil’s number, the Mark of the Beast. So when the Dow dropped 666 points on February 2nd, 2018, it could have been a signal to all the Wall Street demons to reverse direction — to sell their long positions and go short.
All those 401(k), retirement, pension, and college savings accounts that President Trump was talking up? They’re low-hanging fruit, ripe for the harvest from a Luciferic gang of short-selling financial marauders.
You could never get away with any plot line so outrageous and unsubtle if you were writing fiction, but if you’re just reciting the weird facts… well, who can argue? 666. You almost have to believe that someone (or some thing) massaged the numbers. But who could really accomplish that? Was it the devil, or the Deep State?
We’ll probably never know for sure… but if you’re curious, I’ll be taking a look at some of the more likely culprits in what comes next.
Debt is a happiness killer. None of us can be truly happy if we’re saddled with debt.
Forbes magazine estimates there are just over 2,000 billionaires in the world today. According to a 2017 Oxfam report, the world’s top eight billionaires own as much wealth as “half the human race.” If you want to know who runs the world, you can start right there — at the top of the pyramid — but you have to assume that at least some of those 2,000 billionaires are just doofus inheritors of their extreme wealth (like the second generation Walmart heirs), without much power beyond the ability to hire and fire their maids and chauffeurs at will. Others might not be billionaires at all (or at least they don’t advertise it), but they nonetheless belong among the ranks of the power elite.
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say there are eight or nine thousand people at the top. Some you’ve probably heard of, others you haven’t: the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the Koch brothers, George Soros, Larry Fink, Ray Dalio, Robert Mercer, Peter Thiel, whoever…. They’re the coddled vampires of this world — the ones who feed off the rest of us.
The shadowy netherworld of the global financial system plays a huge role here, of course. To be a major player in that system — among the upper 1% — you have to keep your conscience in a suitcase (like Alfred Jarry’s King Ubu). You’ll be dealing with governments, multinationals, intelligence agencies, arms dealers, drug cartels, and terrorist groups. Global finance is organized as another pyramid, with the Bank for International Settlements (or BIS) at the top. The BIS is privately-owned by 60 central banks, representing countries around the world that make up roughly 95% of world GDP. From its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, the BIS acts as a mother ship bank for those 60 central banks, with a balance sheet of over 240 billion dollars.
During World War II, the BIS was used as a trading center for gold looted by the Nazis. Its Headquarters Agreement states that the BIS is inviolable and has complete immunity from all laws worldwide, giving it absolute monetary power. It’s a Free State with its own police force — like Vatican City, the City of London, or the District of Columbia. From within that Free State, decisions are made about global interest rates and the worldwide money supply. Those decisions travel down through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, down through the privately owned central banks (like the Federal Reserve), down through the national and regional banks, and finally, down to the bottom of the pyramid, where all the real wealth originates — labor, natural resources, scientific breakthroughs, and technological innovations — all of it exploitable, all of it vulnerable to being snatched up and turned into more wealth for the bankers and their billionaire overseers.
Their game is called Financialization. The goal is to get as many people as possible at the bottom of the pyramid into just the right amount of debt — not so much that they give up and die (or declare bankruptcy), but not so little that they can easily pay it off. The ideal situation is to have them slowly but steadily trading away their real wealth for more and more loans and mortgages — new debt contracts papering over the financial holes left by old debt contracts, each contract requiring fees and interest payments that suck away at the debtors’ real wealth like “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money…” as journalist Matt Taibbi once memorably described the machinations of Goldman Sachs.
The interest paid on all those debts gets sucked from the bottom of the pyramid straight back up to the top, with every bank involved getting a portion along the way. And the really wonderful thing, for the bankers, is that 90% of the money they loan out is now digital — just ones and zeroes in a computer network’s ledger system — and the rest is fiat currency, backed by nothing. It’s almost as easy for the central banks to increase the money supply as it is for you or me to change the numbers in an Excel spreadsheet. That’s why the cost of almost everything (except TVs) is always going up. The bankers want to see some inflation in every nation’s economy — via increases in the money supply — because inflation, for them, is the next best thing to outright theft. Inflation is really about ensuring that your wages will buy less and less. That makes it easier for the bankers to exploit the labor and resources at the bottom of the pyramid, by forcing more people there to take on more debt.
That’s why one person could support a family with a regular job thirty years ago, but now both adults in the family have to work — or one person has to work two full-time jobs — just to pay for food, utilities, and a modest place to live. Soon, the kids and the family dog will also have to start slaving away — all just so some asshole banker can have new slate tiles in his gourmet kitchen, or spend the weekend partying on some Mafia hovercraft scooting around Hawaii.
(And why, you might ask, do TV prices keep dropping while the cost of almost everything else is going up? Well, the virtual authorities want you to have a TV. As Bill Hicks said: “Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.” TV promotes a false consciousness that keeps you clueless and docile, easier to manipulate with propaganda.)
Financial fuckery of this kind is the primary source of all the misery in the world today. But it obviously works out swell for the bankers and for anyone else loaded with excess capital. Meanwhile, unjust laws, military and police forces, and criminalized intelligence agencies have been put into place to keep the people at the bottom of the pyramid suppressed, enforcing an ever-widening moat between the rich and the poor that will ensure that there’s never a crowd at the top — just eight or nine thousand vile, unrepentant, bloodsucking greed-monsters.
Like the old Gershwin song goes, it’s “Nice work, if you can get it.”
So, to sum up: debt is a weapon, used to control nations and their citizens by the psychopaths and intraspecies predators at the top of the pyramid. When a nation’s government can’t print its own money, and instead funds its deficits with debt, a simple manipulation of interest rates can create economic booms, or recessions and depressions. All it takes is a word from Basel — or in America’s case, the Fed. It doesn’t matter whether you, personally, have taken on debt; your nation’s leaders have already committed you to a huge debt burden without your consent. It’s a debt that will never be fully repaid — a debt that will be passed on to you and your children and their children’s children in countless ways: not just with rising taxes, but also with disintegrating infrastructure, an inadequate healthcare system, and the gutting of social safety net programs like Medicare, unemployment insurance, and Supplemental Security Income — which will eventually lead to mass starvation, riots, wars, and so forth. Any reasonable country would do everything it could to avoid putting its people into debt to those extortionists, the bankers. But as we all know, our top politicians and lawmakers can always be bought off — or blackmailed into submission. That’s the trouble with democracy, with communism, with socialism, with any –ism or system of government, really:
Too many bad guys rise to the top.
Debt is, by its very nature, a cancer on economic growth. As debt levels rise, it consumes more capital by diverting it from productive investments into debt service. As debt levels spread through the system, it consumes greater amounts of capital until it eventually kills the host.
— Lance Roberts, “There Will Be No Economic Boom”
Due to skyrocketing college tuition rates, more and more of our children are entering the workforce already in debt up to their eyeballs. For most, that means there’s no time to travel, or experiment with alternative ways of earning a living. As soon as they graduate, they’re forced to trade in their hopes and dreams for mind-numbing work routines and a subscription to Netflix.
Forbes magazine recently estimated that “the average American household with student debt owes about $49,000. Graduates in their twenties spend more than $350 per month, on average, on student loan payments and interest. Since the average ‘entry-level’ job was worth about $50,000 a year in 2016 for new graduates, ‘truly average’ college grads in America can expect to see their earnings garnished by between eight and ten percent for roughly ten to twelve years after they graduate.”
That’s assuming you can find a decent job and keep it, which is no sure thing in our post-industrial, financialized economy. Even with a college degree, you might find yourself working as a dog groomer at your local Wee Beasties Pet Emporium, or as a men’s denim specialist at Macy’s. And thanks to lobbyist-crafted legislation signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1998, unlike almost any other type of debt (such as home mortgages, car loans, or extortionary medical bills), student loans are now almost impossible to discharge through bankruptcy procedures.
So student loans might be better described as indentured servitude contracts, rather than debt, because there’s no escaping them.
It doesn’t end there. Credit card debt is piling up nationwide. Health insurance costs have doubled, or even tripled, for many middle-class families since the oxymoronic Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010 (although it’s been a tax-subsidized boon for others). And if you were foolhardy enough to buy a home in a state with high property taxes, you might have found those taxes being used against you to make your home unaffordable. That’s what happened to me in New Jersey, where a long history of government corruption has resulted in some of the highest property taxes in the nation. “The Sopranos” was filmed there for a reason.
It’s no coincidence that our collective financial fate has grown worse as the technocracy has assembled its ever-evolving surveillance horror show (as revealed to us by those two exiled enemies of the State, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, among many other brave whistleblowers…). As former Assistant Secretary of Housing, Catherine Austin Fitts, has explained:
CATHERINE AUSTIN FITTS: When you look at what’s happening with debt, something very new is happening in the last twenty years that we’ve never seen before. We’ve seen debt used as a control mechanism, and we’ve seen financial entrapment of nations — and economic hits on nations using debt — for centuries. So the game is old as the hills. But when you combine digital systems — y’know, payment systems, phone systems… with, um, artificial intelligence and relational databases, and now the cloud — what you’re talking about doing is being able to run economic hits at the individual level, globally. Okay? So — and this is why the Snowden revelations were so important — because if you look at them in combination with debt, we’re talking about a much more invasive entrapment system. That system can now literally reach through sovereign nations and start controlling everything from municipalities to households directly.
Corporations like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Microsoft have become the eyes and ears of an Orwellian Big Brother that’s forever spying on us. The technology for totalitarianism is already in place. It’s only a matter of time before someone (or some thing) turns the key.
I’m disgusted by what we’ve become in America. I truly believe there is brain death in this country. Everything we see is designed to sell us something. The only thing they want to do is take our money.
— John Carpenter, Writer-Director of They Live
There’s an argument to be made that John Carpenter’s campy but politically-subversive sci-fi satire, They Live, was deliberately suppressed right after George H.W. Bush and his dim-witted sidekick, Dan Quayle, won the 1988 Presidential election. They Live was inspired by Ray Nelson’s short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning,” which had caught Carpenter’s eye after being adapted into graphic novel format in 1986. The original story depicts a colonizing force of butt-ugly space aliens hypnotizing the people of Earth into subjugation, primarily through the use of television and subliminal advertising. (We didn’t have smartphones back then, but I’m sure the aliens would have glommed onto those, too… or even invented them for us.)
Carpenter’s brilliant twist was to turn the aliens into Young Republicans and other assorted corporate sell-outs who, when viewed through a pair of magic Ray-Bans, look like skin-flayed, bug-eyed, Upper One-Percenters. In other words, Yuppie Skeletor Motherfuckers aligned with the U.S. political establishment at a time when Reaganism and Thatcherism was all the rage. Carpenter has described the film as counter-propaganda — a way of “giving the finger to Reagan when nobody else would.” He’d carried a small but intense hope that it would help persuade American voters not to elect another union-busting, middle-class-hosing, Deep State stooge as their president. Tragically, for all of us, that’s not the way things turned out.
They Live was the weekend’s top-grossing film when it debuted on November 4th, 1988, four days before the election. It was generally well received by film critics (with the notable exceptions of those two pro-establishment propaganda outlets, The New York Times and The Washington Post). The movie easily made back its four million dollar investment over the first weekend. By the second weekend, it was in fourth place at the box office, earning an additional 2.7 million — pretty decent numbers for those days.
They Live’s distributor, Universal Pictures, had been running an ad campaign that depicted a skeletal alien in a suit and tie standing behind a podium, as if campaigning to a crowd of unseen voters from beneath a sleek toupee that bore an eerie resemblance to Dan Quayle’s real hair. Soon after Bush and Quayle won the election, co-star Keith David observed: “Not that anybody’s being paranoid but… suddenly you couldn’t see (They Live) anywhere — it was, like, snatched.” They Live supposedly bombed at the box office after its second weekend, but a film can’t make any money when it’s not showing anywhere. You have to wonder if then-President Reagan called in few a favors from his film industry pals like Lew Wasserman and Jack Valenti to get They Live pulled from theaters. It’s since become a cult classic that’s looking more and more like a documentary every day.
Okay, hold on here a minute… I have an update: On April 22nd, 2018, my friend Matt Alford got in touch with John Carpenter and asked him for his thoughts on this They Live suppression theory. Matt’s a British academic and the co-author (with Tom Secker) of National Security Cinema, so he has the kind of credentials that seemed likely to elicit a response from Carpenter (even though Matt has been known to wear goofy hats, dress up as Pocahontas, and cavort in public with Pussy Riot’s parents). Carpenter ended up replying to Matt on Facebook. In their email exchange, Carpenter explained that They Live’s rapid disappearance from theaters was likely just due to bad marketing. According to him, the studio executives were surprised when They Live opened at #1 at the box office during its first weekend and “they got so excited” that they “decided to tie the film to the elections and changed the ads the second week to being more political than the original ads.” When the picture art changed, it changed the dynamics. “Meanwhile, they had already dialed back the ad buy, anticipating a not great response to the movie. The combination of smaller, black and white ads in the movie sections that didn’t reflect the ad campaign made for confusion.” Carpenter concluded: “Some things are not dramatic — just stupid.”
Of course, even John Carpenter would have no way of knowing if They Live’s marketing director had been given a tap on the shoulder and told to deliberately screw up the ad campaign so the movie wouldn’t reach a wide audience. Stranger things have happened via Operation Mockingbird and its offshoots — but that’s another story.
Part Two: CASUALTY BENEFITS
All this stuff fits into one big matrix: intelligence operations and drug trafficking, politicians and terrorists, military spending and Mob money laundering, UFO hoaxes and Men in Black, computer software back doors and savings & loan failures, corporate espionage and insurance fraud, corrupt judges and wandering bishops, private security firms and very public false flag events… it’s all tied together. This is the Deep State.
— from Crash Gordon and the Illuminati Underground
Those who use mass media to mind-fuck the public are just as evil as those who ramp up inflation and debt to rip-off the public. Some corporations and government agencies do both. I’m sure you can come up with your own examples, but let me tell you a story about Marsh & McLennan, Kroll, AIG, and a Mormon lawyer on a plane, because I think it neatly encapsulates everything that’s gone wrong with America in the last twenty years.
I met the Mormon lawyer in 2008, when we both took the same trip to China. He told me he was working as a legal advisor at a hedge fund. Basically, it was his job to tell a bunch of greedy sociopaths how much they could get away with without running into trouble with the law. (If they had the potential to make a huge profit and a few laws stood in their way, I’m assuming it was also the Mormon lawyer’s job to help them skirt around those laws.)
During the long plane flight back to New York, we got into a discussion about AIG, the “too big to fail” insurance and financial services corporation that had been primarily responsible for the 2008 financial coup d’état, which had erased trillions of dollars in shareholder equity from the global markets. People had lost their homes, their jobs, their life savings — all in a matter of months. AIG had kicked-off that economic meltdown by selling massive amounts of insurance, known as credit default swaps, without properly hedging their downside risk or setting aside sufficient capital reserves. As is so often the case with insurance companies, they were happy to sell their policies and rake in the fees, but when disaster struck and it was time to pay the claims, well — they decided they’d rather weasel out of their obligations and socialize the losses.
AIG would be bailed out with 184.6 billion dollars from American taxpayers (nearing bankruptcy, AIG was only valued at 15.4 billion dollars in the stock market at the time of the acquisition). And the thing that particularly galled me, as I told the Mormon lawyer, was that AIG had just announced that a big chunk of that bailout money — 165 million dollars — would be used to pay AIG employees their year-end bonuses, even though the actions AIG had taken during that same year had crashed the global economy.
“If I buy stock in a company that later goes bankrupt, no one bails me out,” I griped to the Mormon lawyer. “I just have to eat the losses. The employees at AIG are in a similar position. They invested their time and labor into a company that should’ve gone bankrupt. So why should the American taxpayers be giving them bonuses on top of their regular paychecks? They’re lucky they still have jobs.”
The Mormon lawyer revealed to me then that his wife worked for AIG. He assured me she was lovely and blameless. Then he asked me a weird question that seemed out of context:
“You probably had a pretty good time in college, right?”
“Sure, I had a great time in college,” I told him. Although I was often drunk and generally promiscuous, I still managed to get good grades and graduate with a degree in economics.
“Well, college wasn’t so much fun for us,” the Mormon lawyer said with a frown. “We’re both Mormon, so we didn’t drink alcohol or go to parties. We just studied really hard, all the time. But our reward for all that studying is that now we work at companies where the salaries are just like anywhere else, but we can count on getting bonuses every year that compensate us for all the hard work we’ve put in. If those bonuses are taken away, then we’re not being rewarded for studying harder than the rest of you.”
My first thought was, What a steaming pile of elitist bullshit! But I tend to be polite on long plane flights, so I didn’t call him on it. Instead, I simply said to the Mormon lawyer that maybe it was okay that his wife was getting a bonus (or his multiple Mormon wives, for all I knew…), but there was no way in hell any bonuses should be handed out to those scheming AIG employees who’d been dealing in toxic, unsecured credit default swaps. They should be getting prison sentences instead. I don’t remember much from the rest of our conversation — it happened around ten years ago, after all — but I’ve never forgotten that lame justification:
We studied harder than you, so we get to work for companies that are ruining the world.
It may not be possible to live in this world without being implicated in its evils, but I mean, c’mon… you shouldn’t go around acting superior when you’re complicit in criminal conspiracies against your fellow humans.
In case you didn’t know, American International Group (or AIG) started out as a subsidiary of C.V. Starr & Co., a global insurance and investment firm founded by Cornelius Vander Starr in Shanghai, China, around 1919. Starr was an American businessman who also happened to work as an operative for the Office of Strategic Services (or OSS) in their ultra-secret Insurance Intelligence Unit during World War II.
(Here’s a fun fact: Cornelius Vander Starr was the uncle of Kenneth Starr, the prissy, uptight solicitor general who tried to impeach President Clinton for jizzing all over Monica Lewinsky’s pretty blue dress. As if to flaunt his hypocrisy, Kenneth Starr later joined the legal team defending a soon-to-be-convicted billionaire pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, against charges that he was raping and exploiting a bevy of underage girls.)
The OSS, of course, was the wartime predecessor of the CIA. So it’s a sure bet that Cornelius Vander Starr had deep ties to U.S. intelligence agencies throughout his long career as the founder of what was to become the world’s largest commercial insurer. Some researchers have even gone so far as to suggest that AIG is a CIA asset company, which routinely functions as a front for their cut-out operations. But I’m not sure I’m ready to go there, because that would then beg the question:
“Did the CIA deliberately plunge the U.S. economy into a recession in 2008?”
That’s kind of like asking if the CIA had something to do with the Kennedy assassinations, or with the September 11 attacks. It seems likely (they certainly did nothing to stop those national tragedies), but there’s no way to get any clear answers to those questions, because no one at the CIA (or the Mossad) is going to be raising a hand and saying, “Uhm, sorry… that was our bad. We’re the evil bastards who did that shit. But now, thanks to people like Oliver Stone and Peter Dale Scott, we’ve seen the error of our ways, and we promise we won’t be doing any more shit like that shit, ever again.”
(On a lighter note, I find it interesting that a disproportionate number of Mormons work for the CIA. You can look it up if you don’t believe me. Thanks to Fox Business host, Lou Dobbs, they even have their own hashtag: #MormonMafia.)
The dying Cornelius Vander Starr chose Maurice “Hank” Greenberg as his “hand-picked successor” in 1968. Greenberg took over the company just a year before AIG went public, making him an exceedingly wealthy man. It’d be safe to assume Greenberg also took over Starr’s intelligence agency connections and continued to build on them.
(Think that sounds far-fetched? In 1996, Senator Arlen Specter nominated Maurice Greenberg as a candidate for the directorship of the CIA during the first Clinton administration. Although the job eventually went to George Tenet instead, Specter wouldn’t have made the suggestion if Greenberg hadn’t already had extensive dealings with the CIA — as we can infer from the shady history of ex-CIA director George H.W. Bush.)
While serving as CEO and chairman of AIG from 1968 to 2005, Greenberg was also a chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a deputy chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, and a major shareholder in the Blackstone Group, Kroll, and Marsh & McLennan. He’s also been a long-time friend of Henry Kissinger, as well as the oldest and largest paying client of Kissinger’s consulting firm, Kissinger Associates.
(Greenberg and Kissinger were still alive and surly at the time I was writing this essay, both well into their nineties — perhaps because they’ve had access to advanced Illuminati medical technology and harvested organs from kidnapped college grads who failed to make their student loan payments. Their lizard-skinned pal, David Rockefeller, made it past a hundred before he finally croaked.)
According to Noam Scheiber in his article, “Sins of the Son,” for New York magazine, Greenberg had built up AIG into the most monstrous conglomerate in the insurance industry by overseeing, among other morally dubious schemes:
NOAM SCHEIBER: …a brutally efficient claims division — the part of an insurance company that determines whether the company will pay up on a policy — which kept the number of claims paid out to an absolute minimum. In one famous episode, an AIG subsidiary (along with a handful of other companies) insured the producers of the Broadway musical Victor/Victoria against the event that the show’s star, Julie Andrews, would be unable to perform because of illness. According to the Wall Street Journal, the policy cost about $150,000 and promised up to $2 million for missed performances, and $8.5 million if Andrews had to drop out of the show altogether. But when Andrews missed a series of shows, costing the producers more than $1.5 million at the box office, the AIG-led consortium refused to pay, insisting that Andrews had provided two false answers in the health questionnaire she filled out when purchasing the policy.
Some might say Greenberg was in the business of betrayal, lying to separate people from their money. He seemed to enjoy being the predatory king of the insurance industry, but in 2005 Greenberg was forced to resign from AIG by “the big bad wolf of Wall Street,” New York’s then attorney general, Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer had gone out of his way to prove that several of the world’s largest brokers and insurers were conspiring to rig quotes for commercial clients in an effort to maximize commissions, stifle competition, and cheat their customers. More specifically, Spitzer had charged Greenberg and AIG’s chief financial officer, Howard I. Smith, with civil fraud, alleging that they’d personally conceived and negotiated deals with Berkshire Hathaway to create the appearance of insurance reserves where none existed, while engaging in other sham transactions to disguise their underwriting losses.
AIG ended up paying more than 1.6 billion dollars to settle the fraud charges in February of 2006. A year earlier, a similar lawsuit brought by Spitzer against the world’s then-largest insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan, had resulted in an 850 million dollar settlement and the ouster of Marsh & McLennan’s CEO, Jeffrey W. Greenberg — Maurice Greenberg’s son.
A predilection for accounting fraud apparently runs in the family.
(It’d be fair to say that Spitzer had it in for the Greenbergs. He’d told Marsh & McLennan’s directors, “If your company wants a settlement that permits survival, a threshold demonstration of reform means transition to new leadership.” Essentially, he was calling for Jeffrey Greenberg’s metaphorical head on a pike. New Yorkers know what came next: Spitzer was elected governor in 2007, but he’d screwed himself out of that job by 2008. You have to wonder who tipped off the public to Spitzer’s predilection for prostitutes. It would be fair to say that the Greenbergs had it in for Spitzer — but then again, so did a lot of other white-collar criminals. Swindle the public for a billion dollars or more and we’ll give you a pass, but you’d better not get caught screwing around outside your marriage while you hold a public office. That’s what the mainstream media has taught us: kinky sex with your socks on is bad, but wanton thievery on a massive scale is A-okay.)
Between AIG and Marsh & McLennan, Spitzer had clawed back roughly two-and-a-half billion dollars from those two Greenberg-run companies to compensate the clients they’d ripped off. So we’re talking serious fraud, because you have to assume that the settlement amount was only a small fraction what they really got away with. The Greenbergs are obviously people you don’t want to do business with — unless you’re in deep with the Deep State.
It’s also obvious that AIG didn’t mend its ways after its directors ousted Maurice Greenberg in 2005. He remained one of the largest investors in AIG and he was primarily responsible for AIG’s entry into the credit default swap business that doomed the company in 2008. As Igor Greenwald at Forbes magazine wrote:
IGOR GREENWALD: AIG got to death’s door by denying the financial reality all around it. And Greenberg is a reality denier like few others. Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone has called his lieutenant, Joe Cassano, who ran the AIG-FP subsidiary that sold the ill-fated default swaps, “Patient Zero” of the global financial epidemic. If so, Hank Greenberg was the infection… he forgot to tell new management that Cassano had carte blanche to gamble with the company’s balance sheet.
Cassano was such a bully, according to Michael Lewis, that when subordinates belatedly learned that the mortgage derivatives on which they’d written protection were vastly toxic they only had the courage to urge him not to write any more, but not to start cutting their already massive exposure.
And after Cassano walked away from the global financial wreckage with hundreds of millions in his bank account, he had the gall to tell the inevitable crisis postmortem panel that AIG’s losses were caused by its auditors and regulators, suggesting all that subprime exposure would have worked out just fine if AIG had been left alone. It was basically a preview of Greenberg’s claims against the government.
About those claims: In 2011, Maurice Greenberg sued the federal government (and thus U.S. taxpayers) for 25 billion dollars, contending that AIG had been overcharged for the bailout that had rescued it from bankruptcy. Never mind that in 2010, Greenberg had cashed in 278 million dollars worth of AIG stock that would have been worth nothing if the government hadn’t stepped in. And never mind that Greenberg had paid yet another multi-million dollar fine, in 2009, to settle an SEC investigation into his further adventures in accounting fraud. Greenberg’s personal net worth floats somewhere between three and four billion dollars, but he sued because he was super-pissed that the government had charged AIG a 14% interest rate on its bailout funds, when some bailed out banks were charged less. Jon Stewart responded to that on “The Daily Show” by calling Greenberg a “rich and shameless” crybaby:
JON STEWART: Your loan terms were worse than the banks’ because you were insolvent. You should know how that works — you’re an insurance company. Putting the screws to people in their lowest moments is what you do. So the essence of Greenberg’s argument appears to be the banks got special treatment that AIG did not get, to which I say welcome to the f-cking world, buddy, because that’s what we’ve been mad about forever. You’re angry that they wouldn’t lend to you at less than 14 percent? Yeah, we hate it too, only we call it having a credit card. And we don’t sue over those rates, because we can’t.
In my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA.
— Dennis Dayle, former chief of DEA CENTAC
You might think that ripping-off your clients for a few billion dollars, then initiating the sequence of events that crashed the global economy, and subsequently suing U.S. taxpayers for 25 billion in the litigious equivalent of a hissy fit would be more than enough criminal activity for any one man to get up to during his lifetime — but you’d be mistaken in that assumption. Hank Greenberg very likely used AIG to get into the drug money laundering business in a big way, as well. Here’s where the Rabbit Hole gets deep and starts branching off into dozens of dark and depressing passageways. There’s not enough time to properly explore them all here, but just to give you a glimpse, I’ll focus on one particular office manager (or “Staff Counsel” as her business card described her) hired by AIG at their in-house San Francisco law firm in 1994 — a woman known as Coral Marie Talavera Baca Lehder.
Let’s just call by her maiden name, Coral Talavera, for short….
Coral Talavera was the Latina femme fatale who contacted journalist Gary Webb in 1995 to offer him the secret federal grand jury transcripts that got him started on his famous “Dark Alliance” series for the San Jose Mercury News, in which he reported that the Reagan-endorsed Contra rebels in Nicaragua (acting with the full knowledge and protection of the CIA) had been selling crack cocaine on the streets of Los Angeles to finance their vicious insurgency against the socialist Nicaraguan government. You can watch Coral Talavera being played by Paz Vega in Kill The Messenger, a film about Gary Webb that flopped at the box office due to a screwed-up marketing campaign and a quick retraction from movie theaters that bore some similarities to the inept marketing of They Live.
Former LAPD officer and investigative journalist, Michael Ruppert, followed up on Gary Webb’s research and contacted Coral Talavera because he’d heard she was engaged to Carlos Lehder — the co-founder, with Pablo Escobar, of the Medellin Cartel. I’ll tell you more about Carlos Lehder’s strange history in a moment, but while I’m doing that, you should be asking yourself this: Why would AIG permit a sexy young Latina (who is not a lawyer), to represent herself as Staff Counsel for its in-house San Francisco law firm? Could it have anything to do with her close, personal connection to one of the world’s most notorious cocaine barons?
Maybe it was only coincidence. Some people just seem to luck into their connections: for instance, the actor Tommy Lee Jones had Al Gore as his roommate at Harvard (and CIA entertainment liaison officer, Chase Brandon, as his cousin); and Carlos Lehder had George Jung as his cellmate at the minimum-security Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury, Connecticut. Some of you might be asking, “Who the hell is George Jung?” Others might recall that Johnny Depp portrayed him in the biopic, Blow, which is all about George’s crazy exploits with Carlos back in the seventies and eighties, when those two feckless, fun-loving entrepreneurs were responsible for importing roughly 85 percent of all the cocaine coming into America.
But before all that got started, George was doing time at Danbury in 1974 for being a pot smuggler who got caught with over 600 pounds of primo bud while staying at the Playboy Club in Chicago. Carlos was in for stealing cars, but he had some grandiose ambitions about becoming a full-on drug lord. After they got out of prison in 1975, the two aspiring criminals seemed to complement each other perfectly: George had a network of pot-smuggling pilots already in place, at a time when flying small planes below radar level (and landing on dry lake beds) was an easy way to get drugs across the U.S. border; he also had Hollywood connections that would help turn cocaine into a status symbol on par with champagne and caviar. And Carlos had some serious Colombian connections that could give him access to a near-infinite supply of cheap cocaine. Back then, you could buy a kilo of coke in Colombia for four or five thousand dollars and then sell it in the U.S. for sixty grand. George and Carlos went into business together — along with some other fine folks like Pablo Escobar, Barry Seal, and some helpful agents at the CIA and the DEA. Soon, they were making millions on a daily basis.
The movie made their partnership look fun while it lasted. Unfortunately for George, Carlos also happened to be a Hitler-obsessed megalomaniac with a mind like a ruthless industrialist. In 1978, he betrayed George by stealing his Hollywood connections and forcing him out of their joint operation. Carlos then used some of his excess capital — around 4.5 million dollars — to buy up most of an island in the central Bahamas called Norman’s Cay, which he transformed into his base of operations (or into a lawless, drug-fueled, orgy-hosting private fiefdom — depending on who you talk to…). Located just over 200 miles off the coast of Florida, Norman’s Cay had its own airstrip — which made for easy refueling of the drug-smuggling planes coming in from Colombia, before flying on to the U.S. — and just as important, the island was a tax haven that came with easily bribed Bahamian government officials and very few residents or tourists, largely due to the fact that no one wanted to go swimming off its shores: the crystal blue water surrounding the island was always swarming with hammerhead sharks.
(It’s worth mentioning here that the single largest shareholder in AIG, until its 2008 taxpayer-funded bailout, was the Starr International Company — which is controlled by Maurice Greenberg, of course, and headquartered in nearby Bermuda — another island tax haven surrounded by sharks.)
With the Norman’s Cay operation in full swing, Carlos was soon elevated into the skuzzy ranks of the world’s billionaires.
In retrospect, putting George Jung and Carlos Lehder together in the same Danbury prison cell almost seems like divinely-sanctioned destiny (especially if you share the Gnostic belief that a hostile, jealous god, known as the Demiurge, created this calamitously fucked up world and now rules it, maliciously, with the help of a puppeteered power elite made up of people like Hitler, Carlos Lehder, Maurice Greenberg, and Henry Kissinger…). Everything just fell into place for Carlos and George. The world generously provided them all the sex, drugs, and discretionary income they could handle.
But then poor Carlos had a run of bad luck. A 1983 NBC news report shamed the corrupt Bahamian government officials into finally taking action. They froze all the cocaine-trafficking-related bank accounts they could find and shut down the Norman’s Cay operation. Carlos went on the run in the Colombian jungle, where he fell sick with a fever (hallucinating that he was surrounded by monkeys jerking off to sad eighties hair metal power ballads). He was finally captured and extradited to America in 1987. At his 1988 trial, U.S. prosecutor Robert Merkle stated that Carlos Lehder was to cocaine smuggling what Henry Ford (another Hitler booster) was to cars. As a reward for his Henry Ford-ish business acumen, Carlos was handed a life sentence, plus 135 years, without possibility of parole.
His old partner, George Jung, ran afoul of the law in 1994, after getting caught with nearly a ton of cocaine in Topeka, Kansas. George drew a 60-year sentence, but he was released in 2014 — after serving less than 20 years — and rumors suggest that Carlos has been a free man for even longer. In 1992, in exchange for his agreement to testify against the Panamanian military dictator (and long-time CIA asset), Manuel Noriega — fondly known as “Old Pineapple Face” among Panama’s beleaguered citizens — Carlos Lehder’s sentence was reduced to a total of 55 “non-paroleable” years. But “non-paroleable” apparently meant different things to different people. The previously mentioned US prosecutor, Robert Merkle, told Michael Ruppert in 2001 that he’d been “speculating for years that Lehder was free.”
Which brings us back to Coral Talavera. On June 28th, 1998, retired DEA Agent Celerino Castillo met Talavera at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills that featured Gary Webb as a speaker. According to Castillo (talking to Michael Ruppert, who was also at the fundraiser): “She said, straight out, that she was engaged to Carlos Lehder.” When Castillo asked her what Carlos was up to, Talavera allegedly said, ‘Oh, he’s out of jail and selling drugs to the Russians for the CIA.’”
Castillo is the author of Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War. In a later phone conversation with Coral Talavera, which Castillo recorded, Talavera claimed that Carlos Lehder had been released from prison in March of 1995 and they were married in the fall of 1998. When Ruppert asked Castillo about the possibility of Talavera running an elaborate ruse, Castillo replied:
CELERINO CASTILLO: Look. You almost have to go to more trouble to justify the notion that (Lehder’s) in prison than you do to justify the position that he’s out…. (Coral) had a powerful position at AIG that would be jeopardized if she were exposed as making this up. Why would someone go to all this trouble to make people think she’s his wife? It’s not something you would put on a résumé…. What does she gain by that? I know that some people insist he’s still in jail but why won’t the government just say so? Instead, you have this big mystery that only deepens the legend. Who benefits from that? Who profits from the confusion?
When Carlos Lehder was tried and sentenced in 1988, he was allowed to keep almost 3 billion dollars worth of assets in a move that was severely criticized by the prosecuting attorney, Robert Merkle. Where did all that money go? Michael Ruppert has suggested that it might have been hidden in a major insurance company with cash flows large enough to conceal it. He was talking, of course, about AIG.
Ruppert felt like he’d taken a step closer to the truth when he was tipped off to a company called Coral Reinsurance (or Coral Re) in Barbados. It had been founded in secret by AIG in 1987 — the same year that Carlos Lehder had been apprehended and extradited to America. Its two primary shareholders, in addition to AIG, were Goldman Sachs and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, which, according to Ruppert, had been “voluminously linked” to allegations of drug money laundering during that whole Iran-Contra clusterfuck featuring Barry Seal (who’d been operating out of the Mena Regional Intermountain Airport in Arkansas — Bill Clinton territory).
Was it just another coincidence then, that Coral Reinsurance featured Coral Talavera’s name? Reinsurance companies cover other insurers against catastrophic losses that could wipe out a single company; it’s a way for insurance companies to pool their risk. But reinsurance companies also can be used to commit accounting fraud (as we saw in the lawsuit that Eliot Spitzer brought against AIG for is criminal use of Berkshire Hathaway’s General Re), or they can be used to hide and launder drug money, as Coral Talavera pointed out to Michael Ruppert one day while they were having lunch. Talavera insisted that neither she nor her husband, Carlos, had anything to do with Coral Re — but then she would, wouldn’t she, if three billion dollars was at stake.
And just like the selling of crack on the streets of Los Angeles to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, you have to assume that none of this could have happened without the full knowledge and protection of the CIA.
Other journalists have already established AIG’s deep connections to US intelligence agencies. (Here’s another fun fact: One AIG board member, Frank Wisner Jr., had a dad who’d been a key figure in the creation of the CIA; Frank Wisner Senior had been in charge of the Operation Mockingbird program, among other dubious accomplishments.) As Michael Ruppert wrote: “The seemingly mundane insurance business is, in fact, one of the primary weapons of intelligence gathering around the world.” Cornelius Vander Starr was an architect of its use during World War II and Maurice Greenberg has continued that use up to the present day — with the only difference being that now the weapon of intelligence gathering seems to be directed at us — ordinary citizens, just trying to live our ordinary lives with our small, ordinary pleasures. As Ruppert concluded in Part Two of his “Hostages” investigation into Coral Talavera and AIG, published on August 14th, 2001:
MICHAEL RUPPERT: Perhaps no one knows more about your life, not even your immediate family, than the various companies who insure you. Your health, finances, work history, medical records, driving habits and almost every other aspect of your life is recorded in insurance files and records. Is this necessarily something you want available to the CIA or any part of the government? Remember that the CIA doesn’t operate under the law or respect privacy. What happens then when a giant like AIG winds up insuring parts of the government or major businesses that violate your rights or break the law?
Ruppert had plans to write a Part 3 to his investigation, but he soon found himself distracted by a much bigger criminal conspiracy: the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Part Three: THE PROFITS OF DOOM
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
— William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Not all that surprisingly, AIG and Marsh & McLennan also had some weird connections to the September 11 attacks, back when the Greenbergs were running those companies. Richard Grove and James Corbett have already done a great job of tracing those connections. I’ll be attempting to summarize and expand upon what they found here, but if you want the full story, you should definitely check out the links to their websites (https://tragedyandhope.com/ and https://www.corbettreport.com/).
JAMES CORBETT: Marsh & McLennan is a diversified risk, insurance, and professional services firm with over $13 billion in annual revenue and 57,000 employees. In September of 2001, 2,000 of those employees worked in Marsh’s offices in the World Trade Center. Marsh occupied floors 93 to 100 of the North Tower, the exact area of the impact and explosion.
In the year prior to 9/11, Marsh had contracted with SilverStream Software to create an electronic connection between Marsh and its clients for the purpose of creating “paperless transactions.” SilverStream had already built Internet-based transactional and trading platforms for Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Bankers Trust, Alex Brown, Morgan Stanley, and other financial services firms that were later involved in 9/11, but this new project was unlike anything that had been attempted before.
Richard Grove, the salesperson who handled the Marsh & McLennan project for SilverStream, explained in his Project Constellation:
RICHARD GROVE: In 2000 SilverStream was contracted by Marsh to provide a technological solution beyond what we had done for any of the above-named companies; insofar as it would be used to electronically connect Marsh to its major business partners via Internet portals for the purpose of creating “paperless transactions” and expediting revenue and renewal cycles — and built from the ground up at the client’s site.
SilverStream provided a specific type of connectivity that was used to link AIG and Marsh & McLennan — the first two commercial companies on the planet to employ this specific type of transaction — and, in fact, Marsh was presented with something called the ACORD Award in the summer of 2001 for being the first commercial corporation to do so…. And what you should take away from that is this: it means that no other companies were doing this type of transaction, so the question in your mind should be, “What then were Marsh and AIG doing, and why did they need to leverage technologies that no other commercial entity on the face of the earth needed to conduct business?”
Once securing the contract, SilverStream then stationed approximately 30-to-40 developers at Marsh, and this team was led by two-to-three managers, with whom I liaised to ensure delivery of the “solution” that was promised. The development team worked regularly into the night, if not all night, and sometimes worked seven days a week, in order to adhere to Marsh’s indicated pre-September 11th deadline.
But it wasn’t long before severe irregularities in the billing of the account led Richard Grove into a deeper mystery about the software and the work he was engaged in:
RICHARD GROVE: I first noticed fiscal anomalies with respect to the Marsh.com project when I was in a meeting on the 98th floor in October of 2000 with a gentleman named Gary Lasko. Gary was Marsh’s North American Chief Information Officer, and that particular afternoon a colleague and I helped him identify about 10 million dollars in suspicious purchase orders — after I recognized that certain vendors were deceiving Marsh and, specifically, appeared to be selling Marsh large quantities of hardware that were not necessary, as this was later confirmed by Gary. In the spring of 2000, I brought my concerns up to executives inside of SilverStream and I was urged to keep quiet and mind my own business. I went to an executive inside of Marsh and he advised me to do likewise…. But then I mentioned it to a few executives at Marsh who I could trust — like Gary Lasko… and Kathryn Lee, Ken Rice, Richard Breuhardt, and John Ueltzhoeffer — people who became likewise concerned that something untoward was going on.
The concerned colleagues I just mentioned were murdered on September 11th, and the executives who expressed dismay at my concerns are alive and free today.
I feel that it’s no coincidence, as the Marsh executive who urged me to drop my line of inquiry made sure that his personnel, who I just mentioned, were in the office bright and early for a global conference call before the staff meeting upon which I was to intrude — a conference call which I was informed this executive in question conducted, but attended from the safety of his Upper West Side apartment.
JAMES CORBETT: The global conference call with Marsh’s IT staff on the morning of 9/11 — a meeting that included the staff who were investigating the suspicious billing on the SilverStream deal — was confirmed in a 2006 interview with Marsh’s then-Chief Information Officer, Ellen Clarke.
Richard Grove had been asked to attend the meeting but was stuck in traffic on the way to the Towers when the attack began. His friends at Marsh were not so lucky: 294 Marsh employees — including all of the participants in the conference call in the North Tower — died that morning. Meanwhile, the Marsh executive who had scheduled the meeting — the same one who had asked Grove to drop the issue of the billing anomalies — was safe in his apartment, attending the meeting via telephone.
So what was the Marsh.com project really about? Why was it so important for it to be finished before September 11th, and what kind of transactions did it enable? More importantly, what information was lost when the data center on the 95th floor of the North Tower suffered a direct hit on 9/11 and the buildings were demolished?
Was the revolutionary electronic trading link between AIG and Marsh & McLennan being used to funnel money through the World Trade Center at the time of the attack? Were the attack perpetrators hoping that the destruction of marsh’s data center — on the 95th floor, at the dead center of the North Tower explosion — would conceal their economic crime?
One piece of corroborating evidence for the idea comes from author and researcher Michael Ruppert, who reported in 2004 that immediately before the attacks began, computer systems in Deutsche Bank, one of SilverStream’s other e-link clients, had been taken over from an external location that no one could identify.
Ruppert spoke of what he’d discovered in a Skype interview that can be found here (Terror Trading 9/11):
MICHAEL RUPPERT: Within, I would guess — I’d have to go back and look at the book, but it was no more than a week of the attacks — I was being contacted by a lot of people, from inside official sources, who were raising a lot of questions. This one particular person was extremely credible. They absolutely convinced me they had been an employee of Deutsche Bank in the Twin Towers, and they told me very clearly that in the moments right before the attacks and during the attack — there was a 40-minute window between the time the first plane struck the World Trade Center and the second plane — that Deutsche Bank’s computers in New York City had been “taken over.” Absolutely co-opted and run. There was a massive data purge, a massive data download, and all kinds of stuff was moving.
And what this person said, very clearly, was that no one in the Deutsche Bank offices in the towers at the time had the ability to prevent what was going on from any of their terminals.
In the week leading up to 9/11, the put options on American Airlines and United Airlines were twenty-five times higher than average. (For those who don’t already know, put options are basically time-sensitive bets on a fall in stock prices.) After the attacks, the shares of American Airlines and United and other publicly traded companies impacted by 9/11 fell by over forty percent, resulting in gains for the put option holders of several hundred million dollars. (Michael Ruppert estimated that the global trades made with foreknowledge of 9/11 resulted in profits that ran into the billions.) On the surface, it looked like the largest insider trading crime ever committed, so the securities commission looked into it. What they found was that a single institutional investor had purchased 95 percent of the United Airlines puts on September 6th through the Chicago Board Options Exchange. That institutional investor was Alex. Brown & Sons — a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank and a user of SilverStream’s network infrastructure technology — whose former Chairman and CEO until 1998 had been Alvin Bernard “Buzzy” Krongard. It just so happened that Buzzy had been made the Executive Director of the CIA on March 16th, 2001. (While he was at the CIA, Buzzy used his influence to help Blackwater get its first black contract. You might recall how well that worked out.)
So was it insider trading? You tell me….
If the eye could see the demons that people the universe, existence would be impossible.
— Talmud, Berakhot, 6
You might think your boss is bad news, but at least he hasn’t scheduled a meeting for you at the exact time that he knows a United Airlines jet will be slamming into corporate headquarters. At least he wasn’t off playing golf with Warren Buffet in Nebraska — like so many of the executives from Marsh & McLennan on 9/11 — while you were forced to choose between being charbroiled in a cloud of flaming jet fuel, or jumping from a 96-story window to do a fatal face-plant on the sidewalk. A lot of bosses are assholes, but the executives at Marsh took the asshole boss concept to a whole new level.
The chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting, L. Paul Bremer, serves as a perfect case in point. He’s another one of those guys who must have studied harder than the rest of us, because Bremer has been at the forefront of ruining the world, while getting paid the big bucks to do it, for a very long time now.
RICHARD GROVE: Before I move on to some other important topics and experiences, I’d like to share with you some insight about the Who, How, and Why of September 11.
Without getting into the sordid details of why the towers were brought down through controlled demolition, and making the connections between the associated risks and costs of asbestos removal, and the infamous decision made by the terrorists to take a money-losing operation and turn it into a money-making, never-ending war, I’ll offer this sample:
First, I would not that L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer — who was in charge of the coalition reconstruction element of the post-9/11 Hegelian plan being carried out in Iraq — used to work for Heinz Kissinger (better known to the public as Henry). Bremer was also the one who announced the capture of Saddam Hussein. Lucky guy! And he was responsible for approximately 10 billion dollars unaccounted for in Iraq reconstruction money, which was donated by way of U.S. taxpayers’ blood, sweat, and tears. In fact, I’ve seen the accounting protocols, or rather lack thereof, that went on in Iraq. It’s a complete fraud of the American taxpayers… open, unguarded flatbed trucks with bricks of billions of U.S. dollars out in the open, driving around without anyone keeping track of where they’re going, or who was receiving the money.
But here’s what you probably don’t know… L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer’s last gig before capitalizing on the Iraq war was at Marsh & McLennan, where “Jerry” was the CEO of Marsh’s risk management collective.
Y’know, it’s interesting that no one else has noticed that Marsh was at the heart of 9/11, and despite being woven into almost every aspect of the events, few question Marsh’s role in any of it.
In the years preceding the September 11 attacks, Bremer had been one of America’s most vocal propagators of the so-called “terror threat to the United States homeland.” In 1999, he’d been appointed Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism by House Speaker (and serial child molester) Dennis Hastert. That commission’s final report — titled “Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism” — was released in June of 2000, just a year before the attacks. And as James Corbett noted:
JAMES CORBETT: Just a few months before the attacks, in February of 2001, Bremer got up to talk about the Bush administration in his speech, saying, “What they will do is stagger along until there’s a major incident and then suddenly say, ‘Oh my God, shouldn’t we be organized to deal with this?’”
And then, lo and behold, on 9/11/2001, the very area of the World Trade Center where his offices and the offices of the other Marsh & McLennan workers were situated, happened to be the exact area that was struck by the airplane running into the World Trade Center. And don’t worry… Paul Bremer was safe and sound NOT in his offices that morning, like so many of the other executives who otherwise would’ve — or even should have, by all rights — been there in the World Trade Center that morning. Many of which were, for example, away playing golf with Warren Buffet in Nebraska, where they just happened to be dropped in on by George Bush later that day, or people like George Bush’s first cousin, Jim Pierce, who was working in the World Trade Center, whose offices… uh, who had actually scheduled a meeting on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center that morning but, the night before, changed the location of that meeting to the Millennium Hotel, from which he actually watched the plane running into the World Trade Center, where 12 of the people that he was supposed to be meeting with perished in that meeting. So a very interesting turn of event’s for the President’s first cousin.
But… but then again, talking about Paul Bremer… he was not in his offices that day, so he did not have to worry about the death and destruction that was taking place there. He was in the air heading towards New York and was diverted, because of the ground stop, to Baltimore and very quickly he appeared in NBC, in Washington, in order to cement the official narrative of the events of 9/11 on national TV.
You can bet that Bremer was watching the 9/11 snuff videos all morning, just like the rest of the nation, but when he went on NBC he didn’t even mention the fact that his World Trade Center office was just above where the second of the two planes struck, killing 295 of his co-workers, plus an additional 63 contractors who worked at Marsh & McLennan (including the people involved in the SilverStream technologies meeting that Richard Grove was heading to that morning…). All those people died in horrible, frightening circumstances, but there was Bremer — popping up on NBC only three hours later — to sell us the official narrative of 9/11 in a voice that was utterly emotionless.
What a prick… Henry Kissinger’s lapdog. No different, really, than a psychopathic fireman who goes around committing arson so he can look heroic while doing his job.
Bremer was also connected to some companies that should have figured into any honest investigation of the World Trade Center’s destruction, as independent researcher Jeremy Rhys has detailed in his very informative video, “9/11 Conspiracy Solved”:
JEREMY RHYS: So Bremer not only worked inside the building, but had offices directly in the impact zone of the South Tower where Flight 175 would hit. He missed work on 9/11 to give us the official story on national television, and went on to be the Iraq Occupation Governor. You really can’t get more connected to 9/11 than that. Oh wait — you can — sorry… I forgot to mention that Bremer was also the former manager for Kissinger Associates, he was a member of the board for Akzo Nobel, the parent company of International Paint Company, which produced a fire-proofing application for skyscrapers called Interchar. Bremer was also on the international advisory board for the Japanese mining and machinery company, Komatsu, which at the time had been involved in a joint venture agreement with Dresser Industries, the oil services intelligence front where Prescott Bush Sr. and George H.W. Bush got their start with Neil Mallon.
Anyway, the Komatsu/Dresser mining division operated from 1988 to 1997, and in July 1996, it patented a nano-thermite demolition device that could “demolish a concrete structure at high efficiency while preventing a secondary problem due to noise, flying chips and dust, and the like.
James Corbett and Slavoj Žižek made some interesting observations that — in my opinion, at least — neatly sum up things here:
JAMES CORBETT: In a roundabout way, perhaps the 9/11 Comission reveals more than it lets on when it tries to dismiss key insider trades with the pithy observation that the traders had no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda. If those. If those with foreknowledge of the attacks weren’t connected to al-Qaeda, what does that say about the identity of the real 9/11 perpetrators?
SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: Capital has to circulate, to reproduce itself, to expand, to multiply itself… and for this goal anything can be sacrificed, up to our lives, up to nature, and so on. Here we have a strange unconditional injunction, and a true capitalist is a miser who’s ready to sacrifice everything for this perverted duty.
Authority has always attracted the lowest elements of the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum.
— P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores
You may know Kroll Inc. from Ronan Farrow’s recent article in The New Yorker, which explained how Harvey Weinstein had used Kroll and another corporate espionage company called Black Cube (“an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies”) to spy on — and harass — the women Weinstein had been sexually abusing. It sounds like an incredibly shitty thing for a major corporation to be doing (right up there with the sex trafficking of Bosnian kids at DynCorp), but trust me, Kroll has been doing shitty things for a lot longer than that.
A New York businessman named Jules Kroll founded Kroll Inc. as a “corruptions consultancy business” in 1972. Corruptions consultancy was a pretty good business to get into back then — as any Brooklyn Mafia Don could have told you. Today, Jules Kroll is a billionaire and his namesake company is known as “The CIA of Wall Street” due to all the former CIA, FBI, DEA, and British intelligence agents that it employs. Think James Bond in a gray flannel suit, with a degree in forensic accounting from Yale and an ungovernable lust for insider trading schemes.
By 1991, Kroll was considered so successful at doing what it does that Kuwait hired the company to track down the billions of dollars in assets that had been looted from the Kuwaiti people by Saddam Hussein. Kroll was also hired to go after the stolen millions in the offshore bank accounts of Philippine ex-President Ferdinand Marcos and Haitian psychopath extraordinaire, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
Despite those lucrative contracts, Kroll was having some accounting problems in the early 1990s — not unlike the larger accounting problems that its notorious, number-fudging client, Enron, experienced later, after ripping off the state of California for an estimated 30 billion dollars in energy overcharges. By 1993, Kroll was on the verge of bankruptcy. But then… Maurice Greenberg swooped in with a huge infusion of cash that essentially made Kroll an AIG subsidiary (at least until Marsh & McLennan acquired Kroll in 2004, in a deal valued at almost two billion dollars — but hey, even with that deal, the Greenbergs still managed to keep Kroll in the family…).
Insurance companies and intelligence agencies seem to go together like uhm… I don’t know… [show Reese’s peanut butter cup commercial clip] Crocodiles and piranhas? Cocaine and heroin? Man-eating sharks and a vacationing Santa Claus? Hell, I’m running out of similes here, but you can probably sense where I’m going with this. Once AIG had a large stake in Kroll, the shady deals ramped up and the big bucks started rolling in for both companies.
After the relatively ineffectual, but still scary, 1993 truck bomb attack on the World Trade Center’s North Tower, Kroll was awarded a contract to update security at the entire World Trade Center complex — a contract that Kroll held onto right up to the September 11 attacks. One of Kroll’s managing directors, Jerome Hauer, also happened to supervise Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Office of Emergency Management — a heavily fortified office known as “The Bunker” that was located on the 23rd floor of World Trade Center 7.
You remember what happened to Building 7, right? Hauer was also the guy who hired John Patrick O’Neill — the FBI’s ex-chief of counterterrorism — as head of security at the World Trade Center. Jeremy Rys explains why that’s relevant:
JEREMY RHYS: One FBI agent, who was actually the world’s leading expert on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda at the time, quit his job in disgust and outrage after his reports on possible terrorists receiving flight school training in Florida kept being ignored. John O’Neill would later be killed in the 9/11 attacks themselves just three weeks after starting a job as head of security at the World Trade Center — a role he was still being trained for at the time. John O’Neill’s history within the FBI, particularly his investigations into state-sponsored terrorism, are enough to make anyone suspect that his “accidental death” in the World Trade Center on 9/11 may have, in fact, been a murder and a cover-up for what he knew. O’Neill would certainly would have had a lot to tell us about bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and whether or not they could have actually pulled this attack off alone. And he was an extremely credible witness.
And remember the anthrax that started arriving in everyone’s mail six days later? Demonstrating amazing prescience, Jerome Hauer had warned the Bush White House to go on Cipro — the anti-anthrax drug — on 9/11. Hauer must have had anthrax on his mind because he’d worked at SAIC’s Center for Counterterrorism Technology and Analysis in 1999 alongside Steven Hatfill — the biodefense researcher who, for a while, was the FBI’s prime suspect in the anthrax mailings. Fortunately for Hatfill, Hauer went on to become the Coordinator of the National Institute of Health’s investigation into the anthrax deaths. Hauer’s conclusion? Bin Laden did it — even though the five anthrax deaths were caused by a silica-impregnated “hyper-weaponized” form of anthrax, known as the Ames strain, that only the U.S. military and the U.S. federal government possessed.
So, to sum up, Kroll had unrestricted access to all three of the buildings that were destroyed on 9/11 — the very same buildings they’d been tasked to protect. And one of Kroll’s managing directors was a friend of Steven Hatfill (and the co-presenter, with Hatfill, of a lecture about “Building a ‘Biobomb’” at the Council on Foreign Relations in May of 1998).
Nothing suspicious about any of that, right?
When the Twin Towers and Building 7 collapsed — at near free-fall speed — our horny New York City hero, Eliot Spitzer, was in the unique position of being able to bring the full power of the New York Attorney General’s office to bear on the investigation (and potential prosecution) of the true criminal cabal behind the September 11 attacks. He could have done more to help heal our nation’s traumatized collective psyche than perhaps any other single person. But Spitzer did nothing like that.
Why not? you might ask. Well, in a large part, the answer seems to hinge on Spitzer’s close friendship with a guy named Michael Cherkasky.
Cherkasky was one of Spitzer’s old mentors from their days together in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, when it was overseen by Robert Morgenthau. Cherkasky and Spitzer had worked together on a number of cases, including a Mob sting operation in Chinatown that netted 12 million dollars in fines from the Gambino crime family. They were like the Starsky and Hutch of Manhattan DAs.
However, Cherkasky had also led investigations into the wildly venal Bank of Credit and Commerce International (or BCCI), and the murky 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In both of those investigations, Cherkasky had uncovered connections to corrupt officials high up in the CIA, FBI, and British intelligence. That discovery must have soured Cherkasky on the criminal justice system, because not long after those cases were closed he left the Manhattan DA’s office, after putting in 16 years, and took a job in the private sector.
And you can bet Eliot Spitzer must have felt a little awkward, after he saw how central a role that Kroll might have played in the September 11 attacks, because the President and CEO of Kroll Risk Consulting Services at that time was none other than… can you guess?
His old buddy Michael Cherkasky.
And wait… it gets even better. After Jeffrey Greenberg was ousted from Marsh & McLennan in 2004 at Spitzer’s behest, guess who became Marsh’s new CEO?
That’s right… Michael Cherkasky.
Conclusion: THE TROUBLE WITH KAKISTOCRACIES
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
So it wasn’t just the Neocons and Zionists who benefited from the September 11 attacks. Wall Street investment banks, insurance companies, military contractors, and private intelligence agencies benefited, too. If you follow the money, that’s where it goes: into the pockets of those who already have too much — the greedy, power-mad psychopaths at the top of the pyramid who are waging a covert war against the rest of us.
As Cenk Uygar has described the situation: “If you’re already part of this system, well, you got there through the corruption. So you don’t dislike the corruption. You love the corruption.”
When you have at least thirty or forty years of insurance conglomerates like AIG and Marsh & McLennan conspiring with intelligence agencies like the CIA and Kroll, aided and abetted by crusty old war-mongering farts like Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, what you wind up with is a relatively small, evil cabal of swindlers exploiting a whole nation of the swindled.
Or as James Corbett put it, talking about AIG’s 2008 bailout:
JAMES CORBETT: …certainly the government could not allow that information to come out, or at least the people who were implicated in those deals could not allow that information to come out, therefore AIG could not be allowed to fail. Because if it did, all of its deals would unravel, and unravel in a very public way. So that certainly makes sense that the government would come in and nationalize the company in order to cover up all of it, and to make sure that none of that ever got thoroughly investigated or seen through to the end. Because, well, you have to keep all of these bailout shenanigans undercover and under wraps, because the public just can’t know this information. Well, a very convenient excuse, anyway. So if 9/11 was used to hide fraudulent transactions and vast amounts of money that were being funneled and moved around on that day, then perhaps the Crash of ’08 was also used to hide some of the dirty dealings of some precarious companies like AIG that suddenly found themselves in dire straits.
Of course, it hasn’t stopped there. Over the years, as those elite swindlers have used their ill-gotten billions to buy off most of our elected politicians (or used their intelligence agency connections to blackmail into submission our very few too-rich-or-too-principled-to-buy politicians), what we’ve ended up with is a kakistocracy — a government run by the worst people, by the least qualified, or the most vicious, kleptocratic, and unprincipled — which explains a lot, doesn’t it?
A kakistocracy quite naturally leads to an economy with two classes of people: the insiders and the outsiders. The insiders — people who make the rules and therefore benefit from them — are constantly subsidized by the outsiders — people who don’t make the rules and therefore end up getting screwed by them. Catherine Austin Fitts calls this “tapeworm economics.” Like a tapeworm, a parasitic worm that feeds off its host, the insiders engineer the economy to drain it for their own benefit… to fatten the tapeworm.
And as Catherine Austin Fitts explained earlier, that’s why the issue of privacy, in regard to our personal data, is so important when you look at it in combination with debt. James Corbett elaborates:
JAMES CORBETT: …what is the ramification of an insurance company, any insurance company, being tied at the hip, or perhaps even puppeteered, by elements of the intelligence agencies? Insurance companies know more about you than pretty much anyone else. They who you are, they know where you live, they know where you work, they know about your medical history… they know all sorts of detailed information about your lives. So just as that information about infrastructure, about buildings, about all of that information was so valuable to the CIA (OSS), for example, during World War II when they were looking for good targets to attack and to burn enemy cities to the ground… well, think about an intelligence agency that’s part of a greater police state control grid that is trying to completely control every aspect of your daily life and know everything about you. It only makes sense that they would want to puppeteer, or in some way team up with, something like an insurance company that is watching over everything you do. And unfortunately, with the connections to companies like Kroll, which has long been known as the “Wall Street CIA” — basically a private spy firm for hire that unfortunately has also been implicated in things like 9/11 and was running security at the World Trade Center, etc. — well, when you start to amass that kind of power in the hands of the “Band of Brothers” of the board of a group like AIG, you start to look at some very, very serious concentrations of power that inevitably lead to abuses of power, as if there would be any other way to wield that power than in the interests of the few against the interests of the many.
Of course, insurance companies have nothing on the new technocracy giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Those corporations can actually know more about us than we know about ourselves. And so far, the implications for that unfettered access into our private lives doesn’t bode well, because the people at the top of those corporations are obviously bent on enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else.
Amazon, for instance, has become one of the world’s first publicly traded companies with a trillion-dollar market cap, and yet it effectively paid zero federal income taxes in 2017. In fact, Amazon has received more than one billion dollars in government tax breaks while over ten percent of its workforce has been receiving taxpayer-funded food stamps because Jeff Bezos — the world’s richest man — refuses to pay those workers a living wage.