We’re All BCCI Now

I’ve been saying for a while that when everything finally unravels, it will probably be revealed that Citibank has been playing the same function as BCCI–the bank that served as the means for organized crime, terrorists, and the CIA to launder money in the 80s–once did.

Maybe I wasn’t so far off (h/t Gitcheegumee):

Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations‘ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.

Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

This will raise questions about crime’s influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations. Speaking from his office in Vienna, Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. “In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor,” he said.

Some of the evidence put before his office indicated that gang money was used to save some banks from collapse when lending seized up, he said.

72 replies
  1. qweryous says:

    OT…Gates gets a timeline from Karzai, I see your drawdown and trump it with:

    “At a joint press conference Tuesday at the presidential palace in Kabul, Hamid Karzai surprised the usually unflappable Gates when he knocked down President Obama’s attempt to get out of Dodge.

    Needling his American sugar daddy, the Afghan peacock observed: “For another 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources.””

    From the NYT LINK:

  2. qweryous says:

    More OT: The same NYT story reveals another stunning US intelligence failure.

    After eight years in Afghanistan we suddenly find that the Taliban PAYS it’s
    fighters more than the Afghan Army does!!!

    Not to worry as prompt action (after eight years that is) has been taken.

    “It seems late to realize this, but Gates told reporters he had only recently learned the “eye-opener” that the Taliban were able to attract so many fighters because they paid more. Generals in Afghanistan said the Taliban dole out $250 to $300 a month, while the Afghan Army paid about $120. So Gates has made sure that recruits get a raise to $240.”

    Full story at NYT LINK:

    All across America liquids spewed on monitors; tomorrow morning liquids to be spewed on papers.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah…about that. Haven’t read the story, but I’ll bet it doesn’t point out that the reason the Taliban pay better is that program(s) funding under the last administration bought off the Taliban so that U.S. supply vehicles could travel roads through Taliban-controlled areas.

      Of course the Taliban then paid folks to fire on our troops anyhow…

      There’s a lot more to that story than meets the eye.

      Oh yeah, one more thing: McCain “slipped” after Obama’s announcement about the escalation, saying that Karzai had a year to shape up or he could find himself assassinated. He backpedaled a bit when questioned about his comment by ABC’s Robin Roberts, but there it is. I think Karzai’s on a very tight leash even as he tries to pull on it.

      • qweryous says:

        It is a op-ed by Maureen Dowd.

        The statement ““It seems late to realize this, but Gates told reporters he had only recently learned the “eye-opener” that the Taliban were able to attract so many fighters because they paid more.” is there . If this statement is not corrected it is indeed a major intelligence failure.Either everyone but Gates knew it, or he is not alone in his failure to understand how the Taliban recruits fighters.

        Yes, payments from the American taxpayer to various government contractors have been diverted to the Taliban. Actually they have been channeled directly as transit taxes to use the highways. This has been well documented for a long time.It is not a novel idea in Afghanistan. Perhaps this is next months ‘EYE-OPENER’ that will be revealed to an astounded press corp.

        Anyone in the military recognizes what this statement about not knowing what the Taliban pays it’s recruits means. It means someone is not doing their job. This is the basic information: Why is the enemy fighting us ?
        For the troops this is a true WTF moment.

      • Mary says:

        That’s been happening under Obama’s admin as well. Reportedly supply contractors, who are taking contract $ and paying off the Taliban to leave their supply vehicles alone

        Story in The Nation: How the US Funds the Taliban

        @11 – his solution is to make jobs by making a bigger and bigger Afghan army. What could go wrong with that? /s

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As in borrowing too much from China, this sort of liquidity comes at a price. I wonder whether the DoJ or Treasury is hiring more or fewer staff for their anti-money laundering shops.

  4. bmaz says:

    I don’t see the problem; the drug cartels and kingpins are smarter, more honest and better businessmen than the grifters on Wall Street. We need them.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    It’s interesting to see this ooze its way out, no?
    I suppose the drug lords had no alternative but to save the banks; how could they launder all their money in the event of a bank collapse?

    it will probably be revealed that Citibank has been playing the same function as BCCI–the bank that served as the means for organized crime, terrorists, and the CIA to launder money in the 80s–once did.

    Citibank’s previous CEO was Robert Rubin, IIRC. Who was instrumental in moving through the dismantling of Glass-Steagall and implementing the CDO go-go-GO! insanity that has looted the USA.

    Wonder how much Eric the Dark Prince knows about Citibank’s laundering, although my assumption is that most of the black money was going in-and-out via ‘swaps’ through AIGFP in London, then also in NY where Wall Street took a cut.

    Quite the interesting news item, eh?

    (Oh, what will George Will say on the Sunday am shows? Will Cokie scold and harrumph? Will Kristol smirk and shrug? Will this BCCI scenario, like all things in the newz, be framed simply in black-white terms of whether it ‘helps Obama’ or whether it ‘hurts him’? Because God forbid anyone actually speak about the underlying implications of having drug lords keep your banking system on life support; there might be too many limp bodies on the fainting couches of D.C.

    That would hardly be ‘polite’ and doesn’t leverage all the years of cocktail circuit repartee, does it?)

  6. bobschacht says:

    I’m just trying to catch up on the last two posts!

    1. As I wondered to Gitcheegumee on the last thread, I wonder who’s holding all the chits for the bail-out behind the bail-out?

    2. So, it is now established that Uncle Sam is a cheapskate? It has been known for six months or more that one of the biggest problems in Afghanistan is unemployment, and the $10/day weekend jihadis have been a well-known running joke amongst those who have been paying attention. Last June, the going rate was $8/day.

    We could solve the Taliban problem by setting up a Civilian Conservation Corps in Afghanistan. Which is pretty much what Ralph Lopez has been saying since at least last May (Jobs for Afghans). But wait, there’s more. From last August:

    General McChrystal Says Poverty, Lack of Jobs Drives Insurgency (USA Today, August 9,2009).

    Secretary Gates must be a bit slow on the uptake. Perhaps he’s a bit behind on his reading, because this bit of intelligence isn’t about bombs, or boots on the ground, or predator drones.

    Bob in AZ

  7. posaune says:

    Guess there won’t be many money-laundering prosecutions these days.
    Suspicious transfers to citibank noticed at DOJ? Not this week, people, citibank needs the money! gotta pay down that TARP! Hey, let’s get the contractors in Iraq to handle the deposits for citibank with all that drug money!

  8. Jeff Kaye says:

    The combination of banks, narcodollars, intelligence agencies and covert operations and terrorism has been explored in detail by various authors. The Guardian article is no surprise, except perhaps that the material is being aired in a major newspaper (albeit, not in the U.S.).

    One could check out the work of Peter Dale Scott, who has been exploring these issues for sometime.

    The US has also embarked on at least three major military campaigns — in Vietnam, Colombia, and now Afghanistan, where oil has been one of the factors in the US commitment, and oil lobbies among the groups urging engagement. Other campaigns which seemed unrelated to this concern — notably Kosovo — have also been interpreted by strategic realists as important to America’s oil “needs.”

    Whether by coincidence or not, these three major campaigns (as well as others) have all aligned the US on the same side as powerful local drug traffickers. Partly this has been from realpolitik — in recognition of the local power realities represented by the drug traffic. Partly it has been from the need to escape domestic political restraints: the traffickers have supplied additional financial resources needed because of US budgetary limitations, and they have also provided assets not bound (as the US is) by the rules of war. And partly (I believe) it has been from a concern to manage the drug traffic itself, and ensure that it will never fall under the control of another hostile power.

    These facts, however coincidental in origin, have led to enduring intelligence networks involving both oil and drugs, or more specifically both petrodollars and narcodollars. These networks, particularly in the Middle East, have become so important that they affect, not just the conduct of US foreign policy, but the health and behavior of the US government, US banks and corporations, and indeed the whole of US society.

    One could quote more, as Scott offers his work online “for legitimate public use or reproduction, though not for private gain.” But I think the quote above makes the point well enough.

    For a very finely drawn, up-close picture, the classic work is by U of Wisconsin professor Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.

    Here’s a bit from a 1990 (!) interview with McCoy. Remember, as he talks about the CIA, Afghanistan, the muhajedin, etc., that this is back when the U.S. and the Mujahadeen were allies fighting the Soviets (which also means, given the political line-up at the time, fighting most of the secular components in Afghan society).

    You get, then, an entire generation of covert action warriors used to dealing with narcotics as a matter of policy. In short, you get a policy and personnel which integrates covert action with narcotics. This manifests itself in a number of ways. First of all the Nugan-Hand bank. Not only was it moving money globally for the CIA, but it was the major money laundering conduit that was trimming funds up to Southeast Asia from Australia and linking the Golden Triangle heroin trade of Southeast Asia with the urban markets of Australia. In Afghanistan as well, this same distributing pattern that we saw in Laos emerges.

    This is one case that hasn’t been well studied. I’ve spoken to one correspondent for the Far East Economic Review which is a Dow-Jones Publication, Mr. Lawrence Lifschultz(?), a friend of mine, and what he found was something of a similar pattern that I found in Laos. He was a correspondent in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the Mujahadeen campaign and he wrote articles in the Nation and elsewhere describing this similar pattern. You’ve got Pakistani government officials very heavily involved in narcotics, you’ve got the Mujahadeen manufacturing heroin, they’re exporting it to Europe and the United States. They’re using it to support their guerrilla campaign. the Pakistanis and the CIA are complicitous on the level of (1) not doing anything or (2) actually getting involved in the case of some of the Pakistani elite. So, it’s a case where the Mujahadee operation becomes ultimately integrated with the narcotics trade and the CIA is fully informed of the integration and doesn’t do anything about it.

    Obama’s embrace of the Nixonian “just war”/”just peace” (see this famous speech by Richard Nixon on Vietnam and the “Silent Majority”, Nov. 3, 1969) is among other things, an alibi for U.S. history on this — and current practice. Of course the people running the banks and this country are like mobsters. That’s because they are mobsters. — Of course I don’t mean everyone in government, or even the majority. I mean the people who hold the power… the power to keep this country at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are now promising years more war and occupation.

    Yesterday, I got confirmation from Lt. Commander Brook DeWalt at Guantanamo that Appendix M, Army Field Manual interrogations have or are taking place at Guantanamo. He would no be more specific. This means that torture still takes place at Guantanamo: isolation, sensory deprivation, drugs, sleep deprivation, sensory overload, “climate adjustment” etc.

    I remember how I felt when Bush made his decision to go into Iraq: I know we were deeply screwed for years to come, politically. I knew many many Iraqis would die, and U.S. soldiers too. I felt sick as this hell was unleased. That’s how I feel about Obama’s decision, sick, and disgusted with a country that can stand back and let this happen, even find it admirable, make Obama into a matinee icon. Shame on the Nobel committee, shame on the U.S. press, and shame on America as a whole.

    Forgive the rant, but sometimes one just can’t hold it in. Thanks, Gitcheegumee and EW for publicizing the important Guardian article.

    • sporkovat says:

      In short, you get a policy and personnel which integrates covert action with narcotics.

      good to remember, as firepups sometimes debate the surface rationales concocted by Presidential speechwriters, without regard for the vastness of the iceberg that is submerged.

    • kindGSL says:

      I feel the same way.

      I remember way back when telling my husband I was talking to lawyers on-line (I think it was you) and he wouldn’t allow that such a thing was even remotely possible.

      I have a sinking feeling like it was all for naught. I gave up a lot to expose the Bush administration, so far it hasn’t worked out very well for me.

  9. Jeff Kaye says:

    OT, but somehow up this alley…

    According to an article in the Daily Mail, six UK doctors will release a report sharply criticizing the Hutton Inquiry investigation into the supposed suicide of British scientist and weapons expert David Kelly in 2003. They are also petitioning the British High Court to reopen the inquest into Kelly’s death.

    Kelly was reportedly believed to be behind a leak to “the source of a [BBC] story that Tony Blair’s government ‘sexed-up’ its dossier on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      We had a conversation about that a few days ago. The article pointed out that Lord Hutton was not experienced as a coroner, whereas one of these six doctors asking to reopen the case is both legally and medically qualified, a QC and an expert on coroner’s law.

      He pointed out that suicide could not be presumed, but had to be proven. In that regard, he remarked that slitting the wrists would have been known to any first year medical students as a remarkably unreliable way to bleed to death, and Dr. Kelly would have known that. The wounds seemed superficial and the apparent amount of blood loss was minor. And there was the inconvenient fact that the level of drugs in his body appeared to reflect a normal dose, which was inconsistent with the number of empty packets strewn about the body.

      Those six doctors were convinced that the facts sufficiently conflicted with the conclusion of suicide so as to justify reopening the case.

  10. Mauimom says:

    Unfortunately almost all of the American public probably has NO IDEA what BCCI was.

    And the percentage of folks in the MSM who know about it is probably less.

    If it doesn’t involve mistresses and the Appalachian Trail, who cares?

    • Jim White says:

      Looks to me like BofA had their fingers in the till. The Ocala name caught my eye. That’s the name of a town just about 30 miles from here. Definitely not a financial center. It is a center for the horse industry but has no other high end activity. The entity itself smacks of the special vehicles Enron was fond of creating.

    • scribe says:

      Before getting too wound up about this, take a minute to think it through. It is entirely possible for entities buying and selling (interests in) property to sell the same property twice, particularly when the properties are identified only by their designations on a tax map or by an account number.

      I once represented a client who had, years before, bought a number of parcels of relatively remote, vacant land in the anticipation that development would spread there and he could either build a retirement place or sell them for a profit. These parcels were remote enough that they were only served by “paper streets” – streets which existed only on a map filed to show the plan of future development.

      Long story short, the rules for development changed and there was no way his original plans were going to come to pass. Zoning now required a much lighter density. Interstingly, the new zoning allowed that people willing to buy and build there could buy additional land not contiguous to their own and slap a conservation easement on it to qualify for their lot’s density requirement. So, there was still a market for my client’s properties. He sold them by the tax map designations to a couple buyers. A couple lay within the bounds of a new state park, so the government bought those. Unfortunately, the lawyer and paralegal drafting the deeds to sell all these parcels screwed up the property designations on the deeds. The result was that my client sold several of the properties twice, and some of them not at all.

      I had to start a lawsuit to get it all resolved (something like a dozen people had toget served), in essence to reform the deeds to give everyone what they’d contracted to buy and undo the double sales. It went pretty smoothly – it was a paperwork exercise, really – save for one party’s lawyer who decided he wanted to be an asshole and get the property he’d bought, for free. We had a bit of a wrangle, but even that worked out.

      But, remember, the guy selling the properties was selling stuff he owned. He was a lawyer who paid a lot of attention to everything he did. He had a lawyer who does hundreds of real estate transactions a year, and an equally-skilled paralegal, doing the transaction for him. And it slid through. How much more likely is it to happen when you have the tranactions done by office drones without any interest other than getting their paychecks and escaping the cubicle farm? How many times have you tried to get a straight answer from your mortgage or insurance companies, got something resembling one, and known immediately it was wrong?

      So, just because the allegation is “fraud” does not mean it actually is. “Stupid” and “knucklehead” can figure easily into it. But it still has to be looked at aggressively, and that’s why we have lawsuits.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      People familiar with the mortgage machine’s innards say problems were industrywide.

      “If you look at the way these structures were built up, there were supposed to be safeguards at every step to make sure all these things were done properly,” said O. Max Gardner III, a lawyer in Shelby, N.C., who represents financially troubled consumers. “When you see so many problems across the country with the total inability to produce the documents, then it really makes you wonder: did they really do this?”

      This is so The Producers!


      Springtime for banksters and B of A! Winter for you and for me! (Is that Geithner in the front row at 2:35 and 3:10?)


      Hello, a missing puzzle piece! Why can’t foreclosers produce the note? Where’d it go? This is part of the MERS mess that Cynthia Kouril here on FDL (Does MERS Registration and Mortgage Fractionalization Extinguish Mortgage Rights?) and Matt Taibbi (Waking up to discover the mortgage market was a giant criminal enterprise) and others have been writing about. I got interested and followed links and comment threads down the rabbit hole one day, and I ended up reading things from personal horror story mortgage fraud anecdotes on up to a NY Times article about a NY Supreme Court judge throwing a spanner in the foreclosure works when he saw things like lenders assigning an employee to wear two different VP hats, one to wear when signing over an unperforming mortgage with their left hand and one to wear when receiving it with their right, then submitting affadavits to the court that they had followed legal procedures to create a new copy of a lost original note so the foreclosure could go ahead (see this comment I made at the time on Daily Kos). That was one crazy rabbit hole. (I tried to sum up some of what I learned in another comment.)

      Note the comment from Cynthia that has had me waiting ever since for some good s* to finally hit the fan:

      A home that you livein is exempt property in bankrupcy, so are your clothes and you pots and pans and other such basic things.

      The way your mortgae holder gets your house when you go bankruot is through forclosure. Not as part of the bankrucy estate.

      If the promissory note becomes unsecured and the homeownere declares bankrupcy, in theory the promissory note gets settled for whatever pennies on the dolar the other unsecured creditors get. then the home would theoretically be owned free and clear.

      faced with this, banks will BEG for cram down.

      Oh ans since folks are wising up and demanding that MERS or the servicer produce the original hand signed not (rather than a Xerox copy) and MERS doesn’t seem to have done such a craker jack job af filing such things….. Maybe the promissory notew will go “Poof” in a bankrupcy as well.

      Tjis is potentially huge

      What if there is no clear title to any of the MERS mortgages? I wish Elizabeth Warren would take up this cause for us. My fear is that since the story broke, masters of the universe are busily rewriting the rules to cover their asses. I notice that the provision in the House’s financial reform bill to cram down mortgages failed.

      I hope Cynthia posts on this.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Forgot to mention Goldman Sachs pushing all the bad mortgages with one hand while also taking out AIG CDSs on them to fail. Thus they get their toobigtofail fat toxic asses covered and get rid of competitors like Lehman in one fell swoop. (Goldman alum Paulson finds Lehman expendable, but not AIG which he uses to funnel billions of 100-cents-on-the-dollar dollars to Goldman to pay off their bets.) Two birds, one stone, no fingerprints! Matt Taibbi has been writing on this.

        • AitchD says:

          While my ‘comment’ appears to be OT, your comment makes me want to mention these things (again, after a year). During the last two oil-price spikes (2005 after Katrina and in 2008), two invisible phenomena took place. First, and more provable, was the windfall vigorish taken by the credit-card banks as consumers used their plastic at the pumps. That is, the banks were getting additional billions from the 2-3 points they take off the top of every plastic transaction, as thick gravy since they do nothing to earn those additional margins. It’s my guess that the 2005 spike allowed the banks to continue to operate despite the impending bust, which the resulting maxed-out plastic would bring sooner than later. The other phenomenon during last year’s gas-price hike (not provable as such) was the complete shutting down of the pipelines and access to Nashville, Charlotte, and Atlanta – the three largest metro regions in that part of the South. There was no gas for days. Was it a dry-run test of the people to see if they would panic and riot, as an excuse to bring on a version of martial law? What in fact happened was that people used the web and local posting boards and Google maps to inform each other of where there was gas, how long it would last there, when more would be available, and so on, constantly and instantaneously updated. There were no violent incidents beyond the Oh-yeah? Yeah! Oh-yeah? Yeah! kinds of blowing off steam. Praise the Net and pass the wireless bandwidth!

        • fatster says:

          I linked to an interesting article comparing the U.S. mortgage/housing crisis with the experience in Canada on the next thread @ 41. You might find it interesting. Good stats and graphs

      • Hmmm says:

        Yeah, I was thinking of the MERS mess when I linked. And I’m with you, this is a potentially huge but underreported thing, and I’m waiting with bated breath to see how it develops.

        That said, I’m not sure making all those mortgages just go away is what we want to happen. I mean sure, I’m as much of a fantasy-world-utopian as anybody else, and very sympathetic to homeowners in dire financial situations; heck, I’m unemployed myself. But what might happen to the already severely weakened monetary and financial systems if suddenly the net worth of all the mortgage lenders in the US went very very negative gives me real pause.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          A moment of geek: “Mort gage” = old French for “death pledge”

          I’ve got four death pledges (and they were actually “affordable house program” county government subsidies available only to the poor, with very tight regulations–if I made more money I wouldn’t have qualified), so I’d be delighted if the s* would hit the fan. I believe every house here in this sweetheart marriage of county-developer-mortgager 200-house development (KB and Countrywide) has either defaulted or is underwater. And pricing? Go figure. There’s one iconic spot here with three houses at the end of a cul-de-sac. The house on the right is empty and for sale, marked down from the original 2005 $240,000 to $139,000, and the house on the left, empty and for sale, is marked at $164,000, down from the original $286,000 in 2005 but also down from the fantasy price of $318,000 noted for that same house in October (per real estate web site which sources that to public records with an error in the address number). What’s up with that? Nobody’s lived in that house since school closed last spring and the renters moved out, and certainly nobody moved in in October. I expect it’s one of those two-hatted VP deals to create a new note for court proceedings, but what do I know. The house in the middle was permitted illegally by the county right on top of an ancient hollow oak tree that the major use permit required to have a protective 25-foot buffer (measured out from the canopy edge). Literally on top, under the canopy, over the roots. Apparently priceless = worthless = invisible. A giant hollow invisible tree. Though apparently the owner of that house thinks it’s worth something because she’s still there:

          (The word on the hillside is NATURE, you can see it in the original on the county website)

          My outraged sense of fair play would be delighted too if the banks who got their rigged bets covered for these fraudulent mortgages to fail would at least lose the mortgages. For once if crime would not pay! I’m one of the ones who never wanted the bailout in the first place and am not happy to watch the stock market go up again, because it seems to me it’s an indication of the insane debt/fraud balloon getting blown up again, completely unrelated to real wealth, real goods–jobs and products. Jon Stewart in his smackdown of Jim Cramer had the smartest thing to say, “When are we going to realize in this country that our wealth is work. That we’re workers…” If the bubble machine could be stopped, maybe the banks would get back to something real, like real money = real work, and real resources being finite and criticlly endangered, and this very real planet expiring because of very real climate change, in part due to deforestation, which we can’t quite put in perspective since our counties and our nation depend on unsustainable growth. God, I am so pissed at Obama! He had all the support in the world to change our lemming ways, but he’s turned his back on all that. Nobody here but us lemmings, even in the White House. This isn’t democracy, unless you’re a corporate person, of, by and for you. I’m sick of it. Put Wendell Berry in charge:

          When I hear the stock market has fallen,
          I say, “Long live gravity! Long live
          stupidity, error and greed in the palaces
          of fantasy capitalism!” I think
          an economy should be based on thrift,
          on taking care of things, not on theft,
          usury, seduction, waste, and ruin.
          My purpose is a language that can make us whole,
          Though mortal, ignorant, and small.
          The world is whole beyond human knowing.

          — Wendell Berry

  11. browngregbrown says:

    “evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system”

    let us not forget the other end of the pipe: money from the financial system then flowed to all sorts of fraudulent schemes.

    One has to wonder when stories from the powerful don’t make sense, is it just poor cover for voluntary or coerced illegal, immoral, or unethical activity.

  12. oldhippiejan says:

    Every poor, average, working-stiff imprisoned on a piddling drug charge should be freed tomorrow. Another fine example of that good old American principle of the double standard.

  13. human says:

    @ Hmmm December 13th, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Catherine Austin Fitts has been researching our missing money and fantastical accounting methods for nearly two decades.


    In addition, you certainly have to consider that Afghanistan opium production went from about 300 to over 3000 tons per year right after we invaded.

    She has some good pieces on narco-dollars also.

  14. OldFatGuy says:

    The real fun with this is going to come when the DEA wants to flap it’s wings and go after this drug lord or that drug lord just how much cooperation they get in the future from these banks in these cases.

    But then again, that’s a moot point if you beleive some of the folks out there that in reality the drug lords and our own government are and have always been in cahoots with each other any way, and the DEA actions are all just window dressing for the public anyway.

    Hard to watch all this 11 dimensional chess going on.

  15. AitchD says:

    These are your brains on money.

    I recall, or it was just my cynical impression, that John Kerry backed down his Senate subcommitee’s investigation (20 years ago?) when he was getting (too?) close to something. Maybe he made a Faustian bargain and the devil reneged.

  16. Gitcheegumee says:

    I just used the search engine here and EW has 10 threads about BCCI.

    On one thread,I’m not sure if its one of the EW threads,but I recall posting that this financial heist was BCCI redux,part II.They just came back to finish the job.

    Same cast of characters-most especially the Saudis, that bought up the failed S&L’s of the ’80’s-under Poppy Bush,with son Neal’s assisstance.One of those acquisitions became Citibank.

    Now, imho, a lot of this is tied into AIG. The Saudis sold the ports to AIG a few years ago-they also bought the Chicago NASDAQ.(Madoff basically founded NASDAQ,btw.)To my recollection, we were never given full disclosure on the bailout money to AIG. Hmmh, could the pushback against screening cargo discussed here recently have implications we had not considered? Jus sayin’.

    And,without putting too fine a point on it, I have read that the Chicago Mercantile was a laundering conduit for Asian narcotics money.(Not implying the Saudis are involved in the CME,however.)

    And you thought Risen’s article was disjointed?

    (WAY too much holiday “cheer” for me,last evening. Mea maxima culpa)


      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Many thanks, fatster.

        Yeterday,when my thoughts were more coherent-and cohesive- I participated in one of the Seminal threads, about auditing the Federal Reserve.

        There were some excellent comments about the need for transparency -and the Fed pushback against doing so.

        In light of the subject on this thread-reported late last night, the testimony of Kohn to Congress(July ’09) is even more interesting.

        In particular the fact that the GAO does NOT audit certain transactions with certain countries,and banking institutions..BTW,we never were able to determine just WHO the Feds have hired to do their inhouse audits.

        I found the recent financial hiccup regarding the Saudis interesting because of its timing.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          “I found the recent financial hiccup regarding the Saudis interesting because of its timing.”

          Update of December 7, 2009:

          The Kuwait Investment Authority’s exit from Citigroup comes as another Gulf sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, may have to overpay on about $7.5 billion worth of the Citi’s shares it’s committed to buy at $31.83 a piece in a deal struck two years ago.

          The UAE-based investment fund, also known as ADIA, committed in November 2007 to pump billions into Citi in return for an 11% dividend up to March next year when it has to start buying the bank’s common stock.

          Inner City Press

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      AIG and Saudis,dated December,2008:

      Anerican International Group also completed the sale of its private banking business, AIG Private Bank Ltd., to Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments. The acquirer paid about $253 million for the assets, and another…

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Aabar Investments
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        Aabar Investments PJSC is an investment fund owned through a series of subsidiary companies by the Abu Dhabi Government. Head quartered in Abu Dhabi, it is a public joint stock company listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

        Founded in 2006, it core founding investors are the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Sovereign Wealth Fund of Abu Dhabi), and Mubadala Development* Company.

        Aimed at its foundation around a core mandate to develop an Oil and Gas business with focus on exploration and production, Aabar has since has made a series of strategic investments in other areas:

        Daimler AG: largest single shareholder with 9.1%.[1]
        Mercedes GP: 30%, alongside Daimler AG holding of 45.1%, to take control of Brawn GP
        Tesla Motors: purchased 40% of Daimler AG’s near 10% holding in Tesla Motors.[2][3]
        Virgin Galactic: 32% (This is one of Branson’s holdings)

        *Mubadala has Carlyle managing one of its investment portfolios,according to their Wiki page.

  17. Gitcheegumee says:


    Will We Finally See the John Kerry Who Investigated BCCI Again?
    By: emptywheel ON Friday February 13, 2009 3:41 pm RANK: 110
    John Kerry has hired the guy who claims that Kerry went easy on the BCCI investigation. Does this signal a return to Kerry’s more courageous stance of his youth?
    Read Post…

    NOTE: This EW thread discusses your point about Kerry’s backing down on BCCI.

    • AitchD says:

      Kerry had asked a very high-ranking military officer why we can’t perform surgical strikes on the cocaine factories. The officer told Kerry he’s naive, but not in those words, saying Kerry has an unrealistic notion of what our bombing technology is capable of doing. Right. No one used his testimony on a split screen a few months later when the TV showed bombs going down chimneys in Iraq (not that those videos were very truthful, either).

        • AitchD says:

          Hi-tech drone attacks are predicated on the implied threat that anything the US military deploys should be construed as evidence of much more sophisticated weaponry that’s ready if needed.

          • thatvisionthing says:

            Blogger: US air strikes kill ‘exactly 30′ enemies every time
            By Daniel Tencer
            Friday, December 11th, 2009 — 12:24 pm

            When it comes to air strikes against the Taliban, there’s something about the number 30, says the Security Crank blog.

            The unnamed military affairs blogger has published a list of recent air strikes against militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an amazing pattern has emerged: It seems that just about every time an air strike is reported in the news, the Taliban casualty figure cited is 30.

            Raises hand “I know! I know! I know!”

            ’60 Minutes:’ U.S. Military as Bad as Taliban
            By Kyle Drennen
            October 29, 2007 – 18:10 ET

            MARC GARLASCO: There’s this macabre kind of calculus that the military goes through on every air strike, where they try to figure out how many dead civilians is a dead bad guy worth.

            SCOTT PELLEY: Marc Garlasco knows the calculus of civilian casualties as well as anyone. At the Pentagon, he was chief of high-value targeting at the start of the Iraq war. He told us how many civilians he was allowed to kill around each high-value target–targets like Saddam and his leadership.

            GARLASCO: Our number was 30. So, for example, Saddam Hussein. If you’re going to kill up to 29 people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that’s not a problem. But once you hit that number 30, we actually had to go to either President Bush or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

            Has anyone asked Gates if there’s a “30” policy? It’s probably got Rumsfeld’s authorization on it. If more than 30 were dead, would it require a paper trail of authorizations? 30 or less, if there’s a stink you can chalk it up to bad apples?


            PELLEY: Garlasco says, that before the invasion of Iraq, he recommended 50 air strikes aimed at high-value targets: Iraqi officials. How many high-value targets were taken out in those strikes?

            GARLASCO: None of the targets on our target list were actually killed.

            PELLEY: How many civilians were killed in those strikes?

            GARLASCO: We’re looking at…a couple of hundred civilians, at least.

            PELLEY: A couple of hundred civilians?

            GARLASCO: Uh-huh.

            PELLEY: And not a single bad guy killed?

            GARLASCO: That’s right.


            Our journey took us through Afghanistan up the Shomali plain, north of the capital, Kabul. The Taliban are active here, so we hired Panjshiri mercenaries to cover our trip. The scene of the air strike is a village in the hills above Kapisa Province. We found the dead buried in a cornfield. There were no enemy combatants. It was four generations of one family, all killed in the air strike: An 85-year-old man, four women and four children, ranging in age from five years to seven months. One boy survived. The night of the bombing, seven-year-old Mujib happened to be staying with his uncle, Gulamn Nabi.

            GULAMN NABI ( translated ): Some of the bodies were missing a hand or a leg or half a head. We recognized one of them only by the clothes she was wearing.

            PELLEY: And who was the person you recognized?

            NABI: It was Mujib’s mother.

            MUJIB ( translated ): I saw my mom, my sisters, and my brother and my grandfather were dead. And our house was destroyed.


            PELLEY: There is one young boy who is the sole survivor from that house, a seven-year- old boy named Mujib. We asked him what he thought of the Americans. And as you might expect, he said, I hate them.

            • thatvisionthing says:

              Wait, that’s curious for my thesis, that 30’s the top number you can kill without a permission paper trail. According to the transcript, the top number is 29, not 30, that for 30 you have to get permission from Secy of State or President. Maybe these press stories are DOD bureaucratese for “My butt is covered, I got permission.” What’s that word Scahill used in his recent Erik Prince story, “graymail”? …or maybe that tells us these are Blackwater hits?

              Scahill: Prince Is Conducting Graymail
              By: emptywheel ON Friday December 4, 2009 10:12 pm

              Prince is revealed not just as owner of a company that covertly provided contractors to the CIA for drone bombings and targeted assassinations, but as an actual CIA asset himself. While the story appears to be simply a profile of Prince, it might actually be the world’s most famous mercenary’s insurance policy against future criminal prosecution. The term of art for what Prince appears to be doing in the VF interview is graymail: a legal tactic that has been used for years by intelligence operatives or assets who are facing prosecution or fear they soon will be. In short, these operatives or assets threaten to reveal details of sensitive or classified operations in order to ward off indictments or criminal charges, based on the belief that the government would not want these details revealed.

            • thatvisionthing says:

              Thing to add, politics, the fact that all of this is done in our name. Cenk Uygur posted on the 60 Minutes story, and included a poll.

              When Do We Become Terrorists?
              Posted Oct 31st 2007 5:10AM by Cenk Uygur

              The question is at what point does our killing of civilians cross the line? Why are terrorists the bad guys when they kill civilians and we are the good guys when we do the same? …is there a limit to how callous we are about civilian casualties?

              How many civilian deaths would are you authorize to kill a high value target?
              0 54%

              As many as it takes 29%
              1-10 12%
              1-29 5%
              Total Votes: 320

              How many American civilian deaths would you authorize to kill a high value target?
              0 68%

              As many as it takes 17%
              1-10 13%
              1-29 2%
              Total Votes: 315

              Funky democracy.

              • thatvisionthing says:

                I wish Rachel Maddow would cover this. I wish someone would go after the “30” policy, there’s got to be paperwork.

  18. Gitcheegumee says:

    Wall Street Journal: “the District Court of the Southern District of New York froze more than $2 billion of Iranian accounts in Citigroup last year “in what appears to be the biggest seizure of Iranian assets abroad since the 1979 Islamic revolution.”

    Reality Chex

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        fatster, there’s a nifty little site that has been compiling info on Citigroup for a long while now. It’s the most definitive compilation of all things Citi related -for several years now ,its been up and running.

        Here’s the link:

        Inner City Press — Reporting and Taking Action from the South …Inner City Press is a non-profit organization headquartered in the South Bronx of New York City which is active in the fields of community reinvestment, …
        http://www.innercitypress.org/ – Cached – Similar
        What’s New on Site
        How to Contact Us
        Citigroup Watch
        About Us Search This Site
        The Wells Fargo Watch
        Bank Beat
        More results from innercitypress.org »

          • fatster says:

            And here’s something else for you. Citigroup may return billions in bailout funds. Seeing is believing, however, and negotiations could still fall apart. Link.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            The Herculean fight by corporatisits to defeat labor unions and workers’ rights for the past thirty years certainly is explained by the adherents of Plutonomics,wouldn’t you say?

            fatster, I have not seen Moore’s Capitalism yet,where this is apparently discussed, but I thank you so much for these links.

            The MSM,enablers in chief to disinformation, have acquiesced by NOT reporting ANYTHING about it. But, when you consider that one of the richest Saudis -Sheik Bin al Talaweed-who owns huge chunks of Citibank (8.5%)also owns huge chunks of American media(5% voting stock in CNN) ,well,now that would be a conflict of interest, right?

  19. goldstandard says:

    I’ve brought this issue up for years and finally it’s getting the press it deserves. Remember that CIA rendition jet that crashed on the California/Mexico boarder a couple of summers ago? When the fire fighters got there they found seven tons of cocaine burning in it and the LA Times had reported it.

    Now fast forward to our war on terrorism, or is it? Some cartel or group associated with the highest of political powers has to keep the drugs flowing out of that region to keep their black op’s programs going. Ever wonder why we just didn’t burn down the poppy fields and teach these people to grow corn or soybeans? It’s always about the money and I’m not surprised it took the UN this long to figure this out.

    • PJEvans says:

      They used to grow fruit and, I think, grain, and had livestock.

      Having wars come through for twenty or thirty years doesn’t help farming. Neither does having remote-controlled drones blowing up farmhouses.

      • Nell says:

        On the world-historical human-influenced botany scale, Afghanistan is a center of food/crop diversity.

        They had/have a complex system of irrigation channels that are now next to useless because (1) the lines were neglected and damaged in the constant war that started when the U.S. backed the mujahedeen, and (2) an entire generation of farmers, now two, has grown up in full-out war and is more knowledgeable about and interested in doing that than farming.

        Now, granted, there’s been a warrior culture there for hundreds of years, and maybe the poppy growing has given the incentive and funding to rebuild the irrigation. But Afghans are one of the most food-insecure peoples on earth, dying of hunger and stunted by malnutrition.

  20. parsec says:

    The BCCI empire began to unravel after a freshman senator* began to investigate Latin American drug cartels. It was a job nobody else wanted to bother with. By following the money he discovered BCCI’s role in financing international crime(the names Noriega and Medellin came up)and what we now know as “terrorist” activity. For his trouble he was later derided in a political campaign as knowing nothing about terrorism.

    *John Kerry

  21. Gitcheegumee says:

    “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

    ~ Cree Indian Proverb

    Nor can we eat oil.

Comments are closed.