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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:47 AM
Original message
The CIA and Riggs Bank
The CIA and Riggs Bank
A Wall Street Journal story that the press gang should chase.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Friday, Jan. 7, 2005, at 1:10 PM PT

"Follow the money" could be Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn R. Simpson's motto. His sophisticated dispatches from the banking/terrorism/money-laundering/organized crime nexus routinely advance well-covered subjects.

On the last day of 2004, Simpson published a Journal story about the Justice Department's investigation of purported money-laundering at Riggs Bank, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Previous news reports had connected Riggs to the dubious financial machinations of Saudi diplomats and despots from Africa and South America, including Chile's former maximum leader, Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Banking regulators fined Riggs $25 million last year for its violations, the institution put itself up for sale, and a Justice Department investigation was started.

Simpson's Dec. 31 pieceinexplicably appearing on Page A-4 instead of A-1locates what may be the common denominator shared by Riggs, the Saudis, the Africans, and the South Americans: the Central Intelligence Agency.

Citing unnamed U.S. government officials and people familiar with Riggs operations, Simpson reports that the bank has enjoyed a "relationship" with the CIA for some time. "That relationship, which included top current and former Riggs executives receiving U.S. government security clearances, could complicate any prosecution of the bank's officials, according to private lawyers and former prosecutors," he writes. By "complicate" one can safely assume that Simpson means "make impossible." He writes:
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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
1. Pinochet's "four false passports"
Chilean Judge Probes Pinochet's Passports

Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile - Investigators said Friday that Gen. Augusto Pinochet had several phony passports, the latest allegation facing the embattled former dictator who's facing trial on kidnapping and homicide charges.

Judge Sergio Munoz said he and a team of investigators found four passports apparently issued to the former dictator with false identities during a search of his office this week.

Munoz is investigating the disclosure by a U.S. Senate committee tha Pinochet kept deposits of up to $8 millions in secret accounts at the Riggs Bank in Washington.

He said he also uncovered evidence that Pinochet had bank accounts in other countries as well, but he didn't elaborate.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. Northern Laundromats for Politically Exposed Person (PEP)
The Bush Gang has been protecting their own by claiming "national security" for a long time. Journalists who ask about this usually see their careers short-circuit.

Northern Laundromats for Southern Fat Cats

By Miren Gutirrez
*Inter Press Service
August 20, 2004

The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) estimates that up to 1.5 trillion dollars is laundered annually around the world; much of this is laundered by rich institutions in rich countries, rather than by tropical offshore centres.

In the world of high finance, PEP is not a stimulant to keep you awake on the trading floor; it means "politically exposed person." Handling a PEP bank account is big, though risky business. Ask Riggs. The bank based in Washington has recently been punished by federal bank regulators with a record 25 million dollar fine for handling PEPs improperly and for managing accounts of questionable origin held by foreigners.

The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) estimates that up to 1.5 trillion (1,500 billion) dollars is laundered annually around the world. Much of this is laundered by rich institutions in rich countries, rather than by tropical offshore centres. Where does it come from? Money laundering is widely defined as inserting money of illegal origin into the legal financial system. The origins can include drug dealing, illegal arms trafficking and bribery.


The report says that these accounts which contained as much as 700 million dollars were kept open from 1995 to earlier this year with little concern that money flows seemed inappropriate. "Riggs was clearly aware of the corruption concerns associated with Equatorial Guinea," says the Senate report. The Senate report quotes a Riggs analysis prepared for a 2002 loan request as saying: "Allegations of human rights abuses following the announcement of the coup in March have been well documented, and have elicited international condemnation. However, any hesitancy on the part of the U.S. or European countries towards Equatorial Guinea will be temporary, due to the rising importance of the oil sector."


More money is laundered in New York and London than anywhere else in the world, says Marchant in a written interview. "Also, much of the money that is laundered in poorer countries is done by banks which are branches, subsidiaries or affiliates of banks in major countries such as the U.S. and the UK." A BBC report published March 2002 says "London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Frankfurt and of course Switzerland have their own thriving offshore businesses. And many crooks prefer dealing with the big places, where the sheer volume of money changing hands covers their tracks."

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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Order of the Gag:
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. "I want to spend more time with my family."
"Especially seeing how if I talk there won't be no family to spend time with."

Stuff like this appears to be a big motivator:

Halliburton Corporation's Brown and Root is one of the major components of


by Michael C. Ruppert
Copyright 2000

FTW October 24, 2000 - The success of Bush Vice Presidential running mate Richard Cheney at leading Halliburton, Inc. to a five year $3.8 billion "pig-out" on federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans is only a partial indicator of what may happen if the Bush ticket wins in two weeks. A closer look at available research, including an August 2, 2000 report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) at, suggests that drug money has played a role in the successes achieved by Halliburton under Cheney's tenure as CEO from 1995 to 2000. This is especially true for Halliburton's most famous subsidiary, heavy construction and oil giant, Brown and Root. A deeper look into history reveals that Brown and Root's past as well as the past of Dick Cheney himself, connect to the international drug trade on more than one occasion and in more than one way.

This June the lead Washington, D.C. attorney for a major Russian oil company connected in law enforcement reports to heroin smuggling and also a beneficiary of US backed loans to pay for Brown and Root contracts in Russia, held a $2.2 million fund raiser to fill the already bulging coffers of presidential candidate George W. Bush. This is not the first time that Brown and Root has been connected to drugs and the fact is that this "poster child" of American industry may also be a key player in Wall Street's efforts to maintain domination of the half trillion dollar a year global drug trade and its profits. And Dick Cheney, who has also come closer to drugs than most suspect, and who is also Halliburton's largest individual shareholder ($45.5 million), has a vested interest in seeing to it that Brown and Root's successes continue.

Of all American companies dealing directly with the U.S. military and providing cover for CIA operations few firms can match the global presence of this giant construction powerhouse which employs 20,000 people in more than 100 countries. Through its sister companies or joint ventures, Brown and Root can build offshore oil rigs, drill wells, construct and operate everything from harbors to pipelines to highways to nuclear reactors. It can train and arm security forces and it can now also feed, supply and house armies. One key beacon of Brown and Root's overwhelming appeal to agencies like the CIA is that, from its own corporate web page, it proudly announces that it has received the contract to dismantle aging Russian nuclear tipped ICBMs in their silos.

Furthermore, the relationships between key institutions, players and the Bushes themselves suggest that under a George "W" administration the Bush family and its allies may well be able, using Brown and Root as the operational interface, to control the drug trade all the way from Medellin to Moscow.


It is clear that everywhere there is oil there is Brown and Root. But increasingly, everywhere there is war or insurrection there is Brown and Root also. From Bosnia and Kosovo, to Chechnya, to Rwanda, to Burma, to Pakistan, to Laos, to Vietnam, to Indonesia, to Iran to Libya to Mexico to Colombia, Brown and Root's traditional operations have expanded from heavy construction to include the provision of logistical support for the U.S. military. Now, instead of U.S. Army quartermasters, the world is likely to see Brown and Root warehouses storing and managing everything from uniforms to rations to vehicles.

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InvisibleBallots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. time to take a close look at what the CIA actually does, and who it works
for - I think the answers will surprise us.
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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. More disclosure about the seminal career of Aldrich Ames and
his cabal is called for, I think.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. "We're a legitimate business now. A very big business" - M. Corleone
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InvisibleBallots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. lol! very good point, leveymg
I could not have said it better, thank you.
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gandalf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. What they do? Search for the truth...
because the truth will set us free
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Al-CIAda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. Creating reality
"Some of these journalists relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services from simple intelligence- gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements Americas leading news organizations.

The history of the CIAs involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception . . . . - Carl Bernstein, 1977

The Times reported that over the last twenty years, the CIA owned or subsidized more than fifty newspapers, news services, radio stations, periodicals and other communications facilities, most of them overseas. These were used for propaganda efforts, or even as cover for operations. Another dozen foreign news organizations were infiltrated by paid CIA agents. At least 22 American news organizations had employed American journalists who were also working for the CIA, and nearly a dozen American publishing houses printed some of the more than 1,000 books that had been produced or subsidized by the CIA. When asked in a 1976 interview whether the CIA had ever told its media agents what to write, William Colby replied, "Oh, sure, all the time."

The Myth of the Liberal Media
The Propaganda Model of News
Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky demolish one of the central tenets of our political culture, the idea of the "liberal media." Instead, utilizing a systematic model based on massive empirical research, they reveal the manner in which the news media are so subordinated to corporate and conservative interests that their function can only be described as that of "elite propaganda."



The Propaganda Model of News
(60 min)

An excellent discussion about how the news is sculpted to present a certain viewpoint of events around the world. Featuring Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman and Justin Lewis.

Download 32.6MB

uly 23, 2003
(20:17 min)

Paul Moran died after a suicide bombing in Iraq. He was a reporter for ABC, and one of the strongest voices along with Judith Miller of the New York Times, to claim Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. At his funeral it raised eyebrows whenCIA, FBI, and other secret agents popped up to pay their respects. In this report, an investigation in how the secret service operates within the mainstream media.

Watch Online

Download 23MB (8:15 min)
Gary Webb broke the story of the CIAs involvement in cocaine.

Brian Springer
Video, 1995, (60 min.)

Using the 1992 presidential election as his springboard, documentary filmmaker Brian Springer captures the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of politicians and newscasters in the early 1990s. Pat Robertson banters about "homos," Al Gore learns how to avoid abortion questions, George Bush talks to Larry King about halcyon -- all presuming they're off camera. Composed of 100% unauthorized satellite footage, Spin is a surreal expose of media-constructed reality.
Download 574MB

Bill Moyers "The Secret Government"
aired on PBS in 1987 and is as good as anything on the tape. Bill Moyers is one of the most recognizable and celebrated journalists whose approach to investigative journalism is highly respected. Known for his award winning PBS documentaries, in this segment he interviews several different people involved with the CIA and other government agencies who speak about various U.S. foreign policy covert and overt operations that took place during the Cold War era. His documentary gives quite an overview of what has actually happened in the last 50 years regarding the founding of the National Security Agency and the CIA. (22:04)

Download part1 2.94MB
and part2 2.66MB

Download 40MB (10:53 min)
During wartime, media & government become one

Download 30MB (8:07 min)
Savage oppression backed by U.S. ignored by news outlets.

Download 16MB (4:17 min)
The CIA, the oily elite and their manipulation of foreign policy.

Download 18MB (4:53 min)
The unholy alliance of General Electric& NBC.

Many more videos avail. for download here-
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Minstrel Boy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
7. BCCI, meet Riggs. Riggs, meet BCCI.
Thanks emad. I haven't time to read the slate piece now, but will. I wonder: is the name of Jonathan Bush mentioned?

The mainstream reports the dots, it just fails to connect them.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The mainstream reports the dots, the CIA disconnects them
whenever that suits a disconnected President.

Wonder which bank the Agency and its privatized spin-offs will use next? Cover already blown at Citicorp, SunTrust, NCB SA, Al Taqwa, Nuggen-Hand, Steffens, BofA, CreditSuisse, Texas Commercial Bank, Houston Main Bank, etc.

Where can they stash the Xmas Club cash now?

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. 9/11 relatives sue bank in terror attacks - Riggs
Islander joins action accusing Washington's Riggs National Bank of aiding al-Qaida backers
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Lawyers for Sept. 11 families suing the Saudis have filed a related class-action legal action accusing a major bank here of aiding financial backers of the al-Qaida terrorist group through negligence.

The bank, Riggs National Bank, was fined $25 million in May for failing to properly monitor millions of dollars in Saudi financial transactions, including withdrawals now being investigated for possible connections to terrorism.

The suit charged that Riggs officials "impeded the battle against terrorism and substantially contributed to the terrorists being permitted to evade detection."

Riggs has been under investigation since regulators reportedly traced the "charitable contributions" to the hijackers two years ago. Since then investigators have discovered tens of millions of dollars in questionable transactions at Riggs by Saudi diplomats.

more ...

:hi: everybody

Who's that lawyer representing the Saudis?
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. James Baker III
He stays busy, the velvet hammer does. Didya know he also works for the Iraqis?

Debt deal is a boon for Iraq

Other creditors likely to follow Paris Club plan

By William Neikirk
Tribune senior correspondent
Published December 17, 2004

WASHINGTON -- An informal group of industrial nations called the Paris Club may have almost as much to say about Iraq's eventual recovery from war as all the armed forces now arrayed throughout the country.

A month ago this little-known, 48-year-old organization of financial representatives from 19 countries approved a plan for forgiving 80 percent of Iraq's $38.9 billion debt owed to its member countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Japan and Russia.

Now everyone else who lent money to Iraq may have to go along. Iraq's other creditors, including its neighbors in the Middle East, some European countries not in the Paris Club and private commercial creditors, are feeling the squeeze to accept the 80 percent debt-forgiveness formula on the more than $80 billion Iraq owes them.

Acceptance would confirm the extraordinary leverage of an organization that operates behind closed doors, poring over the debt details of countries that cannot afford to make payments. Since 1956, it has approved 385 debt-relief plans.


Approval of the debt-relief plan by the Paris Club was a foreign policy victory for President Bush and attested to the political and financial skills of his emissary, James Baker, a former secretary of state and secretary of the treasury.

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BikeWriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
11. Riggs Bank is run by *'s uncle! n/t
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
12. World Muslim League
U.S. Ready To Fine Riggs Bank

The SAR contains no explanation for the January 2003 transaction. A source close to the Saudi embassy said the money was reimbursement for expenses related to a summer 2003 visit here by World Muslim League officials from around the world. The travel and lodging for the visit was arranged by the embassy's Office of Islamic Affairs, the source said.

Another SAR concerns a $6 million check drawn on the Saudi embassy's Riggs account and deposited into the personal account of Ahmed A. Kattan, the No. 2 official at the embassy, on Oct. 19, 2001. In transactions on Oct. 22 and Oct. 24, Kattan had $5.5 million wired out of his account to two men operating a private school in Cairo. The transfers triggered an SAR because Egypt at the time of the transfer was viewed by the U.S. government as lacking anti-money-laundering safeguards.

An embassy source said the $6 million transfer was of personal funds for private purposes.

Riggs internal investigators also found a $50,000 payment in October 2001 from the embassy to the American Muslim Council, whose founder, Abdurahman Alamoudi, was charged last September with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Libya, which then was designed by the United States as a sponsor of terrorism. The check was deposited in a Morgan Stanley account after being endorsed by Alamoudi without reference to the council, according to an SAR filed by Riggs. An embassy source said the payment was part of the embassy's long-standing practice of donating money to charities and nonprofit organizations.

Another SAR details more than $17 million in payments last August from the account of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense and Aviation to Ibrahim Shorbatli in Saudi Arabia. Riggs determined that the ministry had been paying Shorbatli $4 million each quarter. Saudi officials told Riggs that the money was for building palaces in Saudi Arabia and that Shorbatli coordinates construction projects for Bandar, but in the SAR Riggs said it could not determine the ultimate use of the funds. The transaction was previously reported in Newsweek.

An embassy source said the money was for a government construction project in Saudi Arabia.

Bandar and his staff were out of the country yesterday and could not be reached, nor could a spokesman for the embassy. An embassy source who asked not to be identified because he is not the official spokesman said diplomats there continue to cooperate with every aspect of the FBI investigation. The source said that as recently as two weeks ago the FBI met with embassy officials and expressed no concern that Saudi officials had done anything wrong or illegal.

Riggs and Equatorial Guinea
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