(Note from the Editor – Over 20 years ago, I was working for a company while endeavoring to build a church in California [preachers need to work many times] and in the process we worked on a transaction of enormous size – $26.5 Trillion Dollars and it was deeply involved with the CIA and our Government. It was under code name “Project Hammer” and the actual code word for the project was “EFG Jacobi.” After the deal closed the US Government froze the money. Many people don’t realize that they have two sets of books, one for the public and one for their clandestine operations around the world. We never got paid. I met Ambassador Lee Wanta (http://eagleonetowanta.com) about this time and since we had similar experiences with the Government theft of funds meant for the American People, I have stayed in touch with him for many years. This article is from http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/projecthammerreload/titlepage1.htm written by David Guyatt who has intimate knowledge of these matters as the article will show. I kept a daily log on this for 8 years until we felt it would never pay out. Ambassador Wanta has a Court Order to release his money but powers are still refusing to do so. We are attempting to arrange a meetingh with him and President Trump so the new Treasury Secretary can seize the funds he has [$32.5 Trillion] which will pay off the national debt and finance the infrastructure for this country. There is a desperate attempt in the ESTABLISHMENT, the Democrat Party, some Republicans, and the Main Streem Media to divert our attention from the true story that you can read here and on the website of the Ambassador.)
[Please view the list of links exposing the GLOBAL BANKING SYSTEM which is fighting to keep control – http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_globalbanking.htm#menu]
[More links to depositions, documents and more regarding this global deception – http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_fed05a.htm#inicio]
Project Hammer Reloaded – Part 1
BACKGROUND ON “COLLATERAL TRADING”
These vast pools of unvouchered slush funds are applied to finance a wide variety of clandestine activities that include:
It is also whispered that, in the case of the Project Hammer program at least, a percentage of the proceeds generated from this secretive activity found its way into the pockets of VIPs and well-known politicians.
Names associated with such corrupt behavior are carried on the wind; but if one listens attentively, the names George Bush, Sr, and Jim Baker III are just discernible to the trained ear.
An example of the type of project on which these funds are expended is the trading programme known as “EFG Jacobi” – a predecessor of Hammer – that I understand was used largely to finance military facilities and related operations at the top-secret US base located at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in central Australia.
The reasons for this deflection are many, but not least is the fact that the asset bases on which these programmes usually operate are also said not to exist – at least in the quantities that they actually do. The assets in question are large volumes of gold and lesser amounts of platinum plundered by the Nazis and Japanese during World War II.
The fact that gold has been the one stable commodity used to back and support the issuance of currency over the decades means that it has been subject to considerable government and central bank secrecy. It was only in 1997 that the Bank of England decided to lift this veil of secrecy and allow the London bullion market a degree of openness. But that openness did not include coming clean about the true amount of gold in existence, which is far larger than official figures allow.
Because of this and the extremely covert nature of related trading programmes, comprehensive details of the programmes’ operations and the financing techniques employed have remained hidden from public view. At least this was the case prior to the publication of part one of this series, The Project Hammer File. 1 This essay is the result of further examination of the techniques and activity of Project Hammer, and now places additional important material into the public domain.
Project Hammer 2 (Reloaded) remains a high-level state secret in a number of countries including the USA. This was confirmed de facto by the CIA in its refusal to release any relevant information following my Freedom of Information Act request in February 2001. The exemption used by the CIA to reject my request was that relevant material is “properly classified pursuant to an Executive Order in the interest of national defense or foreign policy”. 2
Project Hammer also stands out because proceeds from the trading activity were illegally diverted by major banks. Confirmation of this is provided by Brigadier-General Erle Cocke in his April 2000 affidavit. In this, General Cocke was asked about the involvement of former US Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, who was retained to investigate what had happened to (and also to recover) the missing funds.
Asked if Bentsen “had the government’s interest in closing this whole problem” and if he had “ever had a discussion” with Bentsen, Cocke replied:
Cocke was then asked if “they would like to finish it”, and he responded:
One can conclude that the banks that diverted this money were too powerful for any agency of the US government to tackle. It also helped that suitable and substantial “incentives” were provided to former high-level Bush (Sr) Administration figures to bring their influence to bear quietly to ensure that action against the banks was not taken.
Although not part of the sanctioned plan for Project Hammer – which was to generate funds to pay off debts on bullion certificates issued by certain metal trusts – the funds were siphoned off surreptitiously in order to rescue numerous major US and other banks that by the latter half of the 1980s were tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. 3
The banks only had themselves to blame for their imminent collapse. Reckless lending to Third World nations for over a decade or more, combined with the raw greed of senior bank executives, had caused unparalleled damage to the world’s banking system. The inability of indebted Third World nations to repay their massive debts could have been – in fact, was – foreseen, but was ignored.
The spiral of gluttony had taken prisoner the faculty of prudence and reason as bank executives, seeking their next bonus and promotion, pleaded with sovereign nations to take loans they did not need and ultimately could not repay. Nor was it unusual for some of the funds on loan to find their way into the private bank accounts of corrupt state officials – “diversions” that were known about in the boardrooms of the top banks, but ignored as “business as usual”.
By the end of the 1980s, big banks including Citibank, Chase Manhattan, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), England’s Midland Bank and many, many others were in dire straits. In all but name, they were bankrupt. The possibility of a prolonged series of collapses of the world’s top banks – a sort of “domino theory” of finance – was regarded in some quarters with palpable fear. The entire Western banking system was rocking when it should have been rolling along nicely.
Somewhere, someone – nobody knows who (or at least no one is saying) – took the decision to bail out the banks and save the banking system by diverting Project Hammer funds for this purpose. Those banking executives who caused the problem in the first place weren’t confronted by their mistakes or held to account by their shareholders but, instead, continued to collect their million-dollar pay cheques, boost their bonus payments and profit shares, flick ash off their Cuban cigars, quaff bottles of expensive Cheval Blanc and slap each other on the back in delighted relief.
One of those sighing relief was almost certainly Citibank’s John Reed. Another one quite likely to have been cultivating a quiet exhalation was Hongkong and Shanghai Bank boss Sir William Purvis.
The assets in question were a vast horde of gold and lesser quantities of platinum plus not inconsiderable amounts of loose gemstones which had been grabbed by the Nazis and the Japanese during World War II.
A large volume of this loot found its way to the Philippines where it was hidden in numerous treasure sites by the Japanese occupiers, who planned to recover it after the war.
But it didn’t quite work out the way the Japanese had planned. They lost the war, along with the Philippines – which, it seems, they had been fairly confident of being allowed to keep in a negotiated truce with the Allies.
In their place, the OSS – the wartime forerunner of America’s spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – began recovering the bullion plundered from a dozen or so nations. This bullion formed what became known as the “Black Eagle” fund, which was part of a secret agreement eclipsed behind the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement.
Consequently, the metal was placed under the care of OSS (and later CIA) operative Severino Garcia Santa Romana, who put it under the control of numerous corporate entities he formed for the purpose. These entities, in turn, proceeded to establish 176 bank accounts in 42 different countries in which to deposit these assets under private treaty agreement.
Confirmation of this came from General Cocke, after this was put to him:
Santa Romana died in 1974, and following his death his former attorney and trustee was able to “acquire” considerable portions of Santa Romana’s estate by illicit means.
The lawyer was Ferdinand Marcos, who went on to become President of the Philippines and a favorite friend of the United States until his overthrow in 1986. The acquisition of these assets helped give rise to stories of “Marcos gold” – a legend that was supplemented by additional later recoveries of WWII gold and other loot using a Filipino Army battalion under the overall command of Marcos henchman General Fabian Ver.
But Marcos was not the sole illegitimate beneficiary of war loot once controlled by Santa Romana.
Another was the late Baron Krupp who, I have been told, also gained access to some of these assets. Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that Santa Romana, prior to his death, was apparently associated with former US President and head of the CIA, George H. W. Bush, and “had some contact” with Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida.
(See the history of the Global Collateral Accounts HERE)
The certificates bear the names of prominent, and in some cases infamous, individuals – usually heads of state – as beneficiaries. However, these named owners were and are not the legal beneficiaries but, rather, were cat’s-paws used to muddy the waters concerning the true origin of the bullion. Nor did the banks that held the assets own them, but they could and did use them in support of their off-balance sheet activity – to the point of irresponsibility.
It should not be forgotten that this gold and platinum hoard was stolen and that, under international law, every effort should have been made to return it to its rightful owners – rather than secretly stash it in bank vaults for use in Cold War covert operations. And although it can reasonably be argued that the true owners could never be traced – since the greater quantity of the bullion was privately owned (rather than being central bank bullion) – it is clear that the ends dictated the means.
And even though numerous nations around the world were to benefit from post-war reconstruction based on the use and application of this war booty, the price of this apparent largesse was for these nations to be moulded into Uncle Sam’s image. As they say in America’s boardrooms, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”.
In examining the techniques employed in setting up Project Hammer, one is struck not just by the complexity of it but also by the way the banks and intelligence agencies involved structured things to shield themselves from responsibility (and lawsuits, no doubt) by utilizing subterranean networks, each working at “arm’s length”.
Piecing these techniques and networks together has been an arduous, painstaking task, but the process has further unveiled a shadow world of parallel finance usually only known to those initiated into it.
General Cocke then added that involvement in Project Hammer extended to:
Cocke’s involvement with clandestine CIA activities dates back many years. At the very least, he is known to have been involved with the CIA’s Nugan Hand Bank. For example, US Treasury records obtained by veteran journalist and author Jonathan Kwitny show Cocke as the registered “person in charge” of Nugan Hand’s Washington office. 6
Cocke also indicated in his affidavit that he was regularly contacted by the CIA for expert assistance over the years and was usually debriefed by them following overseas travel. Despite this, a Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA made on behalf of this writer was dismissed with the statement that “no records responsive to your request were located” – which is not entirely the same thing as saying that no records exist. 7
It also appears that the CIA is not the only one that cares to deny knowledge of General Cocke. Another is former Citibank CEO and Chairman John Reed, who, in a sworn affidavit dated 5 December 2000, stated he had “no knowledge of any persons named Erle Cocke, Jr, or Barrie D. Wamboldt”. Both the CIA and Citibank’s John Reed hold at least one major advantage over General Cocke: they are alive and he is dead; and while it is true that the dead can’t lie, it is also true that they can’t rebut anyone’s testimony–sworn or otherwise. 8
In his deposition, Cocke states that although he had never “met” John Reed, he had attempted on numerous occasions to speak with him, but was continually rejected:
The “we” Cocke was referring to, besides himself, was Paul Green, a “long-time real estate lawyer in New York” with “50 years practice”, who “had done most of his real estate dealings through Citibank”.10
Green also did some of his banking business with Citibank at its Fifth Avenue, New York, branch under account FOCUS #946 963 94.
According to Cocke, Paul Green was an outside counsel for Citibank and went back,
Asked if Green was involved in the purchase and sale of collateral instruments, Cocke replied:
News in late March 2003 revealed that the Empire State Building had just been sold by casino king Donald Trump and the heirs of shady Japanese billionaire Hideki Yokoi for US$57.5 million.
Yokoi (who, at the time, was serving a prison sentence and had secretly negotiated the transaction through a middleman) and his partner Trump had gained ownership of the building in 1991 for US$42 million. Little is known about Yokoi’s World War II activities.
The building last changed hands four decades earlier in 1961, when it was acquired by real estate tycoon Harry Helmsley from the Prudential Insurance Company in a sale-leaseback deal. The world-renowned skyscraper was built on land owned by the Astor family and sold to the DuPonts in 1929.
Construction of the Empire State Building began in 1930. John Jacob Astor was one of the first Americans to become involved in the opium trade, from which his later fortune derived. This he invested in Manhattan real estate. The architects of the Empire State Building were Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates – designers of One Bankers Trust Plaza, the HQ of Bankers Trust, together with the Credit Lyonnais building in New York City.
It is of more than passing interest that one law firm represents many of the “actors” who appear in this story. That firm is White & Case. Amongst numerous notable achievements listed on its website background/history is its representation of the DuPont Group in its sale of the Empire State Building in 1954 for the princely sum of US$51.5 million.
As we noted earlier, almost 40 years later, in 1991, the building sold for the less than princely sum of US$42 million. I am not certain how the real estate investors define investment performance over the years, but an aggregate loss of US$9.5 million over the course of 37 years doesn’t usually constitute an investment accomplishment by any standard I know.13
Meanwhile, a brief review of White & Case’s client list tell us that they also represented,
But White & Case’s most “enduring” client is Bankers Trust Company, a J. P. Morgan-controlled bank which the law firm was “centrally involved” in forming back in 1903.
The ancestor of all trust companies is England’s Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, which dates back to 1868 and was conceived by one of the foremost legal minds of the day, Lord Westbury. The current Lord Westbury, Richard Bethell, will appear later in this story.
But first, let’s step through the looking glass and examine one of the early Hammer deals, which General Cocke believed:
THE HUGHES PORTAL
By the mid-1980s, with paper assets nearing US$100 million, he became involved in collateral trading and by late 1989 entered the realm of Project Hammer.
During the autumn of 1989, Hughes was approached by Peter Seaman, the President and Chairman of a small investment bank called Nantucket Holding Company. Seaman had developed an arrangement with Ecoban Limited, a small merchant bank with offices in London and New York City that specialized in emerging market-debt and the A’forfait market.16
Seaman, using Nantucket Holding Company, concluded an agreement by which Ecoban would purchase US$100 million worth of documentary letters of credit issued by the head offices of Citibank NA and the Chase Manhattan Bank NA. Hughes had access to these bank credits via a US$50 billion “commitment” extended to him by the Bankers Trust Company.
To fund the purchase, Ecoban needed the support of a bank and turned to Midland Bank Aval Limited (MidAval), the forfaiting subsidiary of Midland Bank Group International Trade Services (MiBGITS).
MidAval, once wholly owned by Midland Bank, had, shortly before commencing with the Hammer transaction, concluded a private agreement with Sir William Purvis, Chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, wherein HSBC purchased a controlling equity stake in MidAval. This meant that MidAval was 60% owned by HSBC and 40% owned by Midland Bank.17
Accordingly, on 12 October 1989, MidAval issued a letter agreeing to purchase “$100 million with rolls until funds are exhausted of documentary letters of credit”18
An earlier MidAval letter (dated 25 September 1989) stated that they,
The reference to “Lugano” was deleted in later letters at the specific request of Nantucket’s Peter Seaman, as detailed in his 11 October 1989, letter to Brian Fitzpatrick, the Managing Director of Ecoban Limited. Lugano was of some considerable importance – as we shall see later – but not least because it was at Union Bank of Switzerland in Lugano where, according to Dan Hughes, the actual trading of the Hammer programme took place.
Meanwhile, MidAval’s letter was addressed to Jardine, Emett & Chandler, New England, Inc., in Boston, USA, which acted as an agent for MidAval. On the strength of MidAval’s signed and authorized letter, Jardine, Emett & Chandler issued its own “Request for collateral instruments” under its letterhead. This letter, dated 12 October 1989, bore the reference “Midland Bank Aval Limited for Ecoban Limited”.
To close the circle, Dan Hughes had earlier instructed his attorney, Oswald (Ozzie) Howe, Jr, of the Miami law firm Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston, Dunwoody & Cole, to cause to be issued a sight draft, dated 6 October 1989, drawn on the Southeast Bank NA, Miami, and payable to Bankers Trust Company, for the sum of US$50,000. A further sight draft was issued in the amount of US$25,000, at the request of Bankers Trust.
Following this sequence of events, nothing happened and no draws were made against the sight drafts issued by Southeast Bank in favour of Bankers Trust.
But on 18 October 1989, Hughes received a time and sequence confirmation from Joan Johnson, Vice President and Operations Manager of the Security Pacific bank in Los Angeles, which Hughes believes activated his transaction through a “back door” arrangement which would cut him out of his commission.19 Thereafter, Peter Seaman point-blank and inexplicably refused to speak with Hughes again.
General Cocke was an experienced banker from a long line of bankers and was a former full-time US representative at the World Bank.
Intimately familiar with the operational techniques of trading programmes, he was asked:
The stock way all big banks, all central banks, change within themselves and curtail their balances, build up their peaks and then sell it.
He went on to explain that “most of it is done in a four-week program to be technically correct” and involved the trading of banking instruments – usually known as “collateral” – that are heavily discounted and then sold off.
MAPPING THE COVERT CONNECTIONS
A one-time President and CEO of Ecoban Finance Limited in New York was Jim Demitrieus, who more recently was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Ixnet/IPC, which was acquired by Global Crossing in June 2000.
Global Crossing was one of the US firms that recently suffered a spectacular collapse together with Worldcom, Enron and the accountancy firm Arthur Andersen. All were subjected to a welter of media attention for what was believed to have been unparalleled insider trading activities by senior executives.
Earlier in his career, Demitrieus,
Of interest here is the little known fact that Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, New York, was a recipient of gold bullion from Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in January 1984.
It is not clear from Mr Demitrieus’s available vitae if this was the same time period he was the Senior Vice President of Drexel’s bullion business, but I am informed this is probably the case. Before that, Demitrieus “held senior-level financial positions with Freeport-McMoRan, ITT and Arthur Andersen”. 21
Significantly, Freeport-McMoRan, back when it was Freeport Sulphur, positively heaved with CIA and elite heavy-hitters – not to mention persistent whispers of its involvement in the recovery of plundered gold stashed in Indonesia, where Freeport had the world’s largest copper mining operation.
Over the years, the Freeport senior management has included such luminaries as Augustus “Gus” Long, Chairman of Texaco, who did “prodigious volunteer work for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital” – which has been described as a “hotbed of CIA activity”.22
Another director was Robert Lovett, who has been described as a “Cold War architect” and was once an executive at the old Wall Street bank of Brown Brothers Harriman. He also served as an Under Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of War and Secretary of Defense. He was a best friend of Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman (and Warren Commission member) John J. McCloy.
The Chase Manhattan and Citibank connection to Freeport was further enhanced by the board appointment of Godfrey Rockefeller, brother of James Stillman Rockefeller who was appointed Chairman of Citibank (then known as First National City Bank, or FNCB for short) in 1959. (Note, too, that Chase Manhattan and Citibank are the exact same two banks that were to issue the Project Hammer documentary letters of credit.)
Godfrey Rockefeller was a one-time trustee of the Fairfield Foundation that financed a variety of CIA “fronts”. Meanwhile, Stillman’s cousin, David Rockefeller, was Chairman of Chase Manhattan and regarded as the “goliath of American banking”. 23
By a strange coincidence of fate, it was Robert Lovett and John J. McCloy who, together with Robert B. Anderson, formed Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson’s team of financial experts concerned with tracking WWII gold looted by the Axis powers.
Indeed, Lovett and McCloy were responsible for negotiating the secret agreement hidden behind the Bretton Woods Agreement concerning the establishment of the Black Eagle trust that was to make use of plundered WWII bullion in the postwar years. 24
Kock’s boss at Midland was Comte Herve de Carmoy, a Frenchman and a leading light on the Trilateral Commission. He left Midland in 1988 to take up the position as the most senior executive of Belgium’s massive transnational company, Société Générale.
He was replaced as head of Midland International by John Louden, a multilinguist who had an unfortunate speech impediment – leading wags in the bank to say of him that he could stutter in seven languages. De Carmoy’s departure was followed by that of both Cuckney and Kock, after what Gerald James describes as “funny practices” relating to a loss of £100 million involving all three men. 26
Although a similar amount to the MidAval’s Project Hammer transaction, this sum of £100 million cannot have been the same money for two reasons. Firstly, the Hammer amount was in dollars and not pounds, and was discounted at approximately 4% over the prevailing one-year interest rate (LIBOR–the London Interbank Borrowing Rate).
For US banks of the standing of Chase and Citibank, at that time a market rate of perhaps one quarter of 1% – or, at most, one half of 1% – was applicable. Four per cent was unheard of by a very long shot indeed. Secondly, at least a year separated the two movements of money.
Even so, there are notable connections between the MidAval CEO Ian Guild and Herve de Carmoy (who was known in the bank as “Herve the Swerve”).
Following the takeover of Midland Bank by HSBC, MidAval had its name changed to HSBC Forfaiting Limited. It was dissolved in February 2000. Former staff had long since scattered with the four winds. IndoSuez Aval Limited is likewise now defunct.
Documents and other exhibits in support of this story are available HERE.
Project Hammer Reloaded – Part 2
MAPPING THE COVERT CONNECTIONS
THE KESWICK-JARDINE CONNECTION
The document describes plans, then alleged to be in preparation, for a coup to occur during the 1999 South African general election. Whilst the coup did not happen, the document is of significance because it describes members of – and entities aligned with – the group who wished to disrupt the ruling African National Congress (ANC) political party. 38
A large part of this document outlines the alleged involvement of Executive Outcomes (EO), the British-based private security company that is part of the Palace Group of companies. A few days prior to this document being made available, I had published charts showing the “network” of the Palace Group that formed the London end of the associated South African intelligence group known as the Eastcorp Syndicate.
This group was headed by Rolf van Rooyen and Riaan Stander – both South African intelligence operatives who were deeply involved in Project Hammer. Not only were the London and South African networks closely aligned, but in some cases they also shared the same executives. 39
One of the entities appearing on the Cryptome.org document as a member of the London network/Palace Group is Jardine Fleming of Hong Kong, listed under “Banking and Investments”. Two lines beneath appears the name Defense Systems Ltd – a division of the arms manufacturer, Vickers.
Jardine Fleming is also listed in the same document as a “role player”, a few lines beneath the name of Tony Buckingham – the high-profile head of Executive Outcomes. In an accompanying financial report it is revealed that EO used account number 600774426 at Jardine Fleming Bank Limited, located at Port Moresby, Hong Kong. The account, rendered as at 15 May 1998, held a balance of US$36 million, and included Tony Buckingham among those authorized to sign cheques on the account.
Jardine Fleming Bank Limited was established in 1970 as a joint venture between the huge transnational company, Jardine Matheson Limited, and British merchant bank, Robert Fleming. Jardine’s 50% stake in this Hong Kong bank was exchanged in 1999 for a direct 18% stake in Robert Fleming, which in April 2000 was sold to the Chase Manhattan Corporation – the holding company of what is now the huge US bank of J. P. Morgan Chase.
But a year later, in May 2001, the magicians’ musical chairs were in use again when it was announced that Jardine Fleming Bank was to be sold by J. P. Morgan Chase to Standard Bank. The transfer of ownership occurred on 3 July 2001, with the renaming of Jardine Fleming Bank to Standard Bank Asia Limited, but trading was under the new name of Standard Jardine Fleming Bank Limited.
Of considerable significance is the fact that, at the time that Jardine, Emett & Chandler – the firm of Boston insurance brokers mentioned earlier – issued its letter on behalf of MidAval, seeking collateral instruments, it was owned by Jardine Matheson Limited. Meanwhile, Jardine Resources Limited, with an address in the Isle of Man, was a business entity used by Rolf van Rooyen for collateral trading programme and other activities. The Isle of Man also boasted a branch of Jardine Fleming Bank Limited.
Jardine Matheson Limited, originally formed over 170 years ago, created a fortune from the China opium business. Since that time it has diversified enormously and remains the family fiefdom of the Keswick family, descendants of the firm’s co-founder, William Jardine.
The Keswick clan, in addition to having had family members awarded the chairmanship or directorship of such notable international companies as Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, Rio Tinto Zinc and Samuel Montagu (the London merchant bank that was part of the Midland Bank Group, itself now owned by HSBC), is also able to boast having had family members as the head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and decades-long membership of the Court of the Bank of England.
Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) was founded in 1873 by Hugh Matheson, the co-founder of Jardine Matheson. In 1995, RTZ acquired a minority ownership in Freeport McMoRan. Anglo American (which has long had very close ties with RTZ), together with De Beers, is the fiefdom of the Oppenheimer family, which owns a significant piece of Lonrho. These three intertwined conglomerates dominate the precious metals and mining world – amongst achieving other notable accomplishments. For example, the Oppenheimers’ Minorco holding company is believed to be the single largest investor in the United States.
Minorco, founded in 1981, was quick to obtain an interest in America’s then biggest bank, Citibank, whose CEO, Walter Wriston, together with Citibank’s principal attorney, Robert Clare, a partner of the powerful law firm of Shearson & Sterling, both accepted invitations to sit on the Minorco board. 40
According to the authors of the book Dope, Inc., the Keswick family controls a substantial part of the world’s narcotics trade and uses HSBC, the bank it is said to control, to “provide centralized rediscounting facilities for the financing of the drugs trade”.41
How true this is remains unknown to this writer, but it is known that Li Ka-shing – the Chinese billionaire who owns a 3% stake in Jardine Matheson Limited and has sat on the board of HSBC – has been accused of being a member of Chinese intelligence as well as being associated with the narcotics trade. 42
Indeed, the latter allegation arose repeatedly during my investigation of Project Hammer, while the use of HSBC as an “authorized six-point laundry” was also mentioned. Meanwhile, the description of “centralized rediscounting facilities” referenced by the authors of Dope, Inc. is suggestive, to this writer at least, of collateral trading techniques.
Such connections are almost endless, it seems. Take, for example, the rise to fortune of Peter Munk, Chairman of Barrick Gold which was formed in Toronto, Canada, in 1983, with the majority stake being held by the Saudi royal family middleman and arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi. Khashoggi had long been associated with Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and the so-called Marcos gold.
Indeed, so trusted was he that Marcos had him fronting for two “eclipsed” Marcos accounts – one in the name of Etablissement Mabari with the private Swiss bank of Lombard Odier & Cie, and the other in the name of Etablissement Gladiator at COGES Corraterie Gestion SA, Geneva.
Of interest, too, is the fact that Sir Henry Keswick is reported to have been responsible for “lifting” Munk to a new career, although he also received patronage from Australia’s now-deceased multi-billionaire businessman Sir Peter Abeles. 43
Sir Peter received considerable attention in Jonathan Kwitny’s excellent book, The Crimes of Patriots, because of his alleged Mafia connections and close association with Bernie Houghton and Michael Hand in the CIA drug smuggling laundry, the Nugan Hand Bank – which also arranged to ship gold bullion surreptitiously for Marcos.
At this point, it is worth reminding readers that Brigadier-General Erle Cocke – whom I referenced earlier concerning his affidavit detailing his knowledge and involvement in Project Hammer – was reported by Kwitny to be a key player in the Nugan Hand Bank.
And Project Hammer is said to be a general continuation of Nugan Hand Bank activity.
Activities such as the one we have been discussing are made to operate on an “arms length” basis to confuse and also to ensure deniability.
Following these subterranean and diverse threads can easily perplex the investigator, and patience and persistence are required to arrive at the reality that is hidden behind all the smoke and mirrors. The story of Puffin Investments is a case in point.
During a number of extensive telephone interviews with the Canadian, Barrie Wamboldt, it was hinted that it would be worthwhile to look into the activities of an Alan Shepherd and a firm of his called Puffin Investments. Readers will remember that Barrie Wamboldt was involved with Project Hammer and had worked with General Cocke and Paul Green to recover Project Hammer funds.
Puffin Investment Company Limited, a Bahamas company, was owned by Old Harrovian Alan Shepherd, who had connections to the British royal family resulting from generous donations he made to the Royal Windsor Horse Show, of which he was vice president.
In March 2001, Shepherd and Puffin Investments were involved in a High Court action initiated by the Financial Services Authority – the government watchdog – for enticing investors to put up money for a “sham” investment trading programme. According to the Sunday Express newspaper, reporting on the court case, up-front fees paid by investors on the promise of massive returns were not repaid. 44
A week later, on 1 April 2001, the Sunday Express carried a further report detailing a lawsuit against Alan Shepherd, his American wife Sherry and previous Conservative Party “grandee” Sir Edward du Cann, who was the former Chairman of City merchant bank Keyser Ullman.
Sir Edward was earlier involved in Tradeswind, an arms trading company in which he was a director with Tiny Rowland of Lonrho fame and the Egyptian, Ashraf Marwan – known as “Dr Death”. Earlier in his career, du Cann served as Chairman of Lonrho, thus working alongside board directors such as British MI6 luminary Nicholas Elliot. 45
Shepherd, his wife Sherry and du Cann were being sued for £1.25 million in a dispute involving the search for “one of the world’s most fabulous buried treasures”. The treasure in question was “30 tons of gold statues, bullion, doubloons and precious stones”, stolen by Scottish pirate Captain William Thompson. The treasure was currently valued at £500 million.
The lawsuit was brought by Richard Bethell of the Bermuda-based Hart Group, who alleged that Shepherd and du Cann were guilty of “misrepresentations” over an agreement for the provision of various “services” to Shepherd’s planned treasure hunt.
One cannot help but be reminded of stories that have circulated in the past concerning gold plundered by the Japanese during WWII and hidden in the Philippines – later to be recovered and “laundered” as treasure retrieved from Spanish galleons that had sunk while traveling from Peru to Spain. A variation of this story is the recovery of lost “pirate treasure” – otherwise known as gold – on the Cocos Islands.
Richard Bethell – elevated to Lord Westbury following the recent death of his father – is a former SAS and Scots Guards officer and, like Alan Shepherd, an Old Harrovian. The Hart Group, of which he is the Chief Executive Officer, is one of a number of companies that form the Global Marine Security Systems Company (GMSSCO).
A distinct cynic – as this writer has become – would easily conclude that a marked similarity in structure exists between GMSSCO and Rolf van Rooyen’s South African Eastcorp Syndicate that was closely allied with the London network of Executive Outcomes.
For example, companies belonging to the Eastcorp Syndicate also had a maritime and security theme.
Lord Westbury is currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of Defense Systems Limited (DSL), which, as we have already seen, is an integral member of the London network of the Palace Group (named so because of its close proximity to the royal family’s official London residence, Buckingham Palace). 46
Moreover, Executive Outcomes has been described as “the advance guard for major business interests engaged in a latter-day scramble for the mineral wealth of Africa”. 47
This is a particularly incisive description, and readers of the first part of this series will recall that one aspect of Project Hammer apparently involved the disappearance of substantial quantities of gold reserves, as well as stocks of De Beers diamonds, just prior to the takeover of the Republic of South Africa in 1994 by Nelson Mandela and the ANC. This theft has become known as “apartheid’s missing billions”.
Defense Systems Limited has a client list that comes straight from the top drawer and includes oil and gas companies like British Petroleum, Shell and British Gas of the UK and Amoco, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Texaco of the United States. Major mining and mineral extraction companies such as Canada’s Cambior and De Beers and Anglo American of South Africa also feature, as does the giant US construction firm, Bechtel.
Another client is Canadian-based Ranger Oil, which by happy coincidence is the same name as an entity that forms part of the Palace Group and which is run by arms trader Mick Ranger.
By miraculous good fortune, Mick Ranger was also a board member of Bridge SA – one of the entities formed and run by Rolf van Rooyen and Riaan Stander. Meanwhile, Sandline, which many knowledgeable insiders believe is Executive Outcomes by another name, has a client base that includes Rio Tinto Zinc.
DSL is now owned by Armor Holdings, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida, but is still headquartered in London. This affiliation seems, on the face of it, to be a particularly binding one, for Armor Holdings is said to have its very own US spook-type “network”. 48
The senior executives of Armor Holdings are predominantly bankers of one strain or another. Take, for example, Thomas W. Strauss, formerly a Vice Chairman of Salomon Brothers, the Wall Street investment bank that was once minority owned by the Oppenheimers’ Anglo American and De Beers strategic holding company, Minorco. 49
Until 1993, Salomons owned the controlling interest in the Bank of New York, which, as you will recall, is the current affiliated clearing bank of Gregory Serras’s Vanguard Capital. Today, Salomons is owned by Citigroup. 50
We might also mention Armor Holdings director Burtt R. Ehrlich, whose family securities firm, Ehrlich and Boger, is owned by Cater Allen Bank of the Channel Islands, which specializes in “offshore finance”; likewise, Nicholas Sokolow, formerly a partner in the Wall Street firm of Coudert Brothers, and Warren B. Canders, a former Senior Vice President of Orion Bank Ltd, a merchant bank owned by the Royal Bank of Canada.
A subsidiary of Armor Holdings is the very shadowy United States Defense Systems, Inc. (USDS), which on paper is based in Chantilly, Virginia, although its real operating headquarters are in Manassas, Virginia.
Staff recruited by USDS are usually former military types or specialists with criminal intelligence backgrounds and possessing surveillance skills. They are usually told they will be working in support of Department of Defense programmes and will require a DoD security clearance.
Operations in the past have included surveillance of US citizens during Fourth of July events at Capitol Mall in DC. 51
BIN LADEN AND SAUDI ARABIAN LINKS
Unsurprisingly, no answer to the question has been posted. 52
Had this been the first bin Laden connection, it is likely I would have ignored it. However, the name had already arisen during a deposition given by Rolf van Rooyen to German police in 1995, following his detention and questioning. At that time, he admitted to being “involved” with a Jean Ruiz, of Saudi Finance. 53
Saudi Finance (Saudifin), headquartered in Geneva, owned a controlling interest in Banque Al Saoudi via the Paris-based holding company, Saudi Arab Finance Corporation. Banque Al Saoudi was, according to a 1999 PBS Online Frontline story, one of the principal international financing vehicles for the bin Laden family.
Interestingly, in 1989 – in the early stages of Project Hammer’s timeline – Banque Al Saoudi would have collapsed in bankruptcy had it not been for the timely intervention of the French central bank, the Banque de France, which shored it up prior to a partial takeover by none other than Banque Indosuez, which decided to change its name to Banque Française pour l’Orient.
A year later, the bank merged with the Mediterranée Group. Of note is the fact that a subsidiary, Saudifin SA, was active in Panama until 1997, when it was dissolved. 54
Moreover, the Frontline story revealed that both Banque Al Saoudi and Banque Indosuez were “instrumental” in financing a portion of Middle East weapons contracts during the 1970s and 1980s.
Meanwhile, those who are familiar with the story of black gold will recall that Dr Ole Bay was the controller on behalf of the CIA and US Treasury in the YAB/42 bullion transaction that involved then President Marcos of the Philippines. This transaction was structured to use cut-outs including Navegocian Global SA and DuPont, along with other CIA conduits, to make it ostensibly a private, non-government transaction.
The transaction code YAB/42 is also instructive. Not only does “YAB” spelled backwards yield the name “BAY” but, altogether, 42 “major trusts were tapped to help fund” the deal. Coincidentally, 42 is also the number of countries in which Santa Romana gold was deposited in the immediate post-WWII years to form the Black Eagle fund, discussed earlier. 55
One of the more salient facts about the Puffin Investments fiasco is that Alan Shepherd’s American wife, Sherry, is the daughter of Dr Ole Bay. Dr Bay is known to have been the “Master Wizard” who arranged and ran the Project Hammer trading programme.
According to one former intelligence source familiar with the inner workings of Project Hammer, Dr Bay had told him that the ultimate responsibility for Hammer lay with the CIA and the US Treasury, and that Robert Rubin – who later became US Treasury Secretary – acted as Dr Bay’s “gofer” on the project. Robert Rubin is now a director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Citigroup.
If one had to choose a word to describe these apparently diverse connections, that word would surely have to be “incestuous”.
Currently, Li Ka-shing (whom we mentioned earlier) is bidding to purchase control of the global communication network giant, Global Crossing (which was also mentioned earlier), via a joint venture of Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia. Representing Ka-Shing’s bid to take control of Global Crossing was the powerful neo-conservative attorney, Richard Perle, who sought a nod of approval from the Pentagon for the deal.
Perle, who is one of the present Bush Administration “think-masters”, is close to Bush Senior, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and to others on the Defense Policy Board, which he chaired. A recent story by legendary investigative reporter Sy Hersh revealed that Perle had furtively met with a leading Saudi investor in Marseille, France, on 3 January 2003, in what was seen as an attempt to gain private financial advantage from the planned war on Iraq.
A furious Perle responded to the report by calling Hersh a “terrorist”. The meeting was arranged on Perle’s behalf by none other than Adnan Khashoggi (whom we mentioned earlier). Khashoggi also attended the meeting.
Khashoggi, a trusted adviser to the Saudi royal family, is one of the “high net worth individuals” whose past investments have been handled by Mayo Shattuck, formerly head of Alex. Brown (also mentioned earlier). It is of passing interest that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz took a 10% stake in Citigroup (also mentioned earlier) back in 1991, following a cash “infusion” of US$400 million, which was eclipsed from view by The Carlyle Group which acted as the facilitator for the investment.
In 1997, Mayo Shattuck was made Trustee of the Bronfman (also mentioned earlier) family fortune. He resigned as CEO of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown on 12 September 2001, the day following the tragic events in New York City and Washington, DC – the day that has come to be known as “9-11”. 56
On 13 September 2001, news reports began circulating of suspicious stock market transactions that suggested prior knowledge of the events that were to take place on 9-11.
Short sales of airline and insurance stocks that sharply fell in price in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy were later traced back to Alex. Brown.