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FTR #1106 Reflections on the Passing of Peggy and Sterling Seagrave

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment. [6]

[7]

Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave

Intro­duc­tion: This broad­cast com­mem­o­rates the lives and pass­ing of Peg­gy and Ster­ling Sea­grave, inves­ti­ga­tors, jour­nal­ists, authors and heroes.

A periph­er­al inter­net search con­duct­ed while re-read­ing Gold War­riors [8] yield­ed the sad news that both Peg­gy and Ster­ling Sea­grave had passed. Peg­gy passed away in 2016 and Ster­ling in the spring of 2017.

Authors of a num­ber of ground-break­ing and over­lap­ping historical/political expos­es, they cul­mi­nat­ed their remark­able careers with Gold War­riors [8], which Mr. Emory feels is as impor­tant a book as has ever been writ­ten and is a MUST read for any­one gen­uine­ly con­cerned with the state of world affairs, past, present and future.

More admirable than even their con­sum­mate inves­tiga­tive and lit­er­ary skills is the fact that they con­tin­ued their research and report­ing in the face of seri­ous death threats and attempts, as well as lethal con­se­quences vis­it­ed on some of the par­tic­i­pants in the “Black Gold” trans­ac­tions and, appar­ent­ly, on some of those inves­ti­gat­ing the machi­na­tions of the nations, com­mer­cial insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als involved with the oper­a­tions.

(FTR #‘s 427 [9], 428 [10], 446 [11], 451 [12], 501 [13], 509 [14], 688 [15]689 [16] deal with the sub­ject of the Gold­en Lily pro­gram suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed by the Japan­ese to loot Asia. That loot was merged with Nazi gold, became the Black Eagle Trust, which not only financed Cold War covert oper­a­tions but under­wrote much of the post-war glob­al econ­o­my.)

[17]In FTR #‘s 446 [11] and 509 [14], we high­light­ed and reviewed the death threats and hands-on inter­fer­ence expe­ri­enced by the Sea­graves in response to their inves­ti­ga­tions. In 509 [14], we also not­ed the sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death of the hero­ic Iris Chang, who aid­ed the Sea­graves in their Gold War­riors [8] project. Hav­ing authored a book on the Rape of Nanking and work­ing on anoth­er about the Bataan Death March, Ms. Chang had crossed the very pow­er struc­ture delin­eat­ed at length, depth and detail in the Sea­graves vol­ume.

In our last vis­it with the Sea­graves, a 2009 inter­view that was the focus of FTR #689 [16]Ster­ling expressed anx­i­ety about the prox­im­i­ty of their res­i­dence in South­ern France to the Span­ish bor­der and the for­mi­da­ble pres­ence of Opus Dei in Fran­co’s for­mer domain.

The Vat­i­can’s rela­tion­ship to fas­cism, includ­ing Opus Dei, is high­light­ed in, among oth­er pro­grams AFA #17 [18].

The remark­able Sev­eri­no San­ta Romana, prime mover in the Black Eagle Trust oper­a­tions in the Philip­pines and the gold recov­er­ies in those islands was, in addi­tion to his work for U.S. intel­li­gence, an oper­a­tive of the pow­er­ful Vat­i­can order Opus Dei. It appears that Opus Dei was San­ta Romana’s pri­ma­ry affil­i­a­tion and his U.S. intel­li­gence con­nec­tions were deriv­a­tive.

With strong con­nec­tions in Spain, dat­ing to the Fran­co fas­cist regime (which main­tains pow­er­ful pres­ence in con­tem­po­rary Spain), Opus Dei is a major fac­tor in the con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal scene. Ster­ling opined in FTR #689 [16] that his and Peg­gy’s prox­im­i­ty to the Span­ish bor­der might expose them to vio­lence.

[19]His fear turned out to be pre­scient. On Christ­mas Day of 2011, he nar­row­ly escaped assas­si­na­tion while return­ing home. He felt that the attempt on his life may well have been moti­vat­ed by the pub­li­ca­tion of the Span­ish lan­guage edi­tion of Gold War­riors [8].

After detail­ing the attempt on his life, we set forth San­ta Romana’s rela­tion­ship with Opus Dei. San­ta Romana’s Opus Dei oper­a­tions were essen­tial for the fis­cal rein­force­ment of the Vat­i­can’s finan­cial insti­tu­tions, which ben­e­fit­ted from the Gold­en Lily-derived trea­sure from the Philip­pines.

1. The pro­gram begins by review­ing the death threats and intim­i­da­tion that the authors of Gold War­riors received over the pub­li­ca­tion of this and oth­er books.

Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; pp. X‑XI. [8]

. . . . Many peo­ple told us this book was his­tor­i­cal­ly impor­tant and must be published—then warned us that if it were pub­lished, we would be mur­dered. An Aus­tralian econ­o­mist who read it said, ” I hope they let you live.” He did not have to explain who “they” were.

Japan’s loot­ing of Asia, and the hid­ing of this war-gold in Amer­i­can banks, is close­ly linked to the issue of Holo­caust gold hid­den in Swiss banks. Reveal­ing the secrets of either is a dan­ger­ous busi­ness. Jean Ziegler, a Swiss pro­fes­sor and par­lia­men­tar­i­an, did much to expose five decades of offi­cial amne­sia in his book The Swiss, the Gold and the Dead. After pub­lish­ing it and tes­ti­fy­ing in 1998 before the U.S. Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee about Jew­ish assets in Swiss banks, he was charged with ‘trea­son’ by Swiss Fed­er­al Pros­e­cu­tor Car­la del Ponte. The charge was brought by twen­ty-one financiers, com­mer­cial lawyers, and politi­cians of the far right, many of them major stock­hold­ers in large Swiss banks. They accused Ziegler of being an accom­plice of Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions who “extort­ed” vast sums of mon­ey from Switzer­land.

Ziegler is only one of many who have been per­se­cut­ed for putting ethics before greed. Christophe Meili, a Union Banque Suisse (UBS) secu­ri­ty guard, was threat­ened with mur­der and the kid­nap­ping of his wife and chil­dren after he tes­ti­fied before a U.S. Sen­ate com­mit­tee about doc­u­ments he res­cued from UBS shred­ders. He and his fam­i­ly were giv­en asy­lum in Amer­i­ca.

We have been threat­ened with mur­der before. When we pub­lished The Soong Dynasty we were warned by a senior CIA offi­cial that a hit team was being assem­bled in Tai­wan to come mur­der us. He said, ‘I would take this very seri­ous­ly, if I were you.’ We van­ished for a year to an island off the coast of British Colum­bia. While we were gone, a Tai­wan hit team arrived in San Fran­cis­co and shot dead the Chi­nese-Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Hen­ry Liu.

When we pub­lished The Mar­cos Dynasty we expect­ed trou­ble from the Mar­cos fam­i­ly and its cronies, but instead we were harassed by Wash­ing­ton. Oth­ers had inves­ti­gat­ed Mar­cos, but we were the first to show how the U.S. Gov­ern­ment was secret­ly involved with Mar­cos gold deals. We came under attack from the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment and its Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice, whose agents made threat­en­ing mid­night phone calls to our elder­ly par­ents. Arriv­ing in New York for an author tour, one of us was inter­cept­ed at JFK air­port, pass­port seized, and held incom­mu­ni­ca­do for three hours. Even­tu­al­ly the pass­port was returned, with­out a word of expla­na­tion. When we ran Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion queries to see what was behind it, we were grudg­ing­ly sent a copy of a telex mes­sage, on which every word was blacked out, includ­ing the date. The jus­ti­fi­ca­tion giv­en for this cen­sor­ship was the need to pro­tect gov­ern­ment sources, which are above the law.

Dur­ing one harass­ing phone call from a U.S. Trea­sury agent, he said he was sit­ting in his office watch­ing an inter­view we had done for a Japan­ese TV network—an inter­view broad­cast only in Japan­ese, which we had nev­er seen. After pub­lish­ing The Yam­a­to Dynasty, which briefly men­tioned the dis­cov­ery that is the basis for Gold War­riors, our phones and email were tapped. We know this because when one of us was in a Euro­pean clin­ic briefly for a med­ical pro­ce­dure, the head nurse report­ed that “some­one pos­ing as your Amer­i­can doc­tor” had been on the phone ask­ing ques­tions.

When a brief extract of this book was pub­lished in the South Chi­na Morn­ing Post in August 2001, sev­er­al phone calls from the edi­tors were cut off sud­den­ly. Emails from the news­pa­per took 72 hours to reach us, while copies sent to an asso­ciate near­by arrived instant­ly. In recent months, we began to receive veiled death threats.

What have we done to pro­voke mur­der? To bor­row a phrase from Jean Ziegler, we are “com­bat­ing offi­cial amne­sia.” We live in dan­ger­ous times, like Ger­many in the 1930’s when any­one who makes incon­ve­nient dis­clo­sures about hid­den assets can be brand­ed a “ter­ror­ist” or a “trai­tor. . . .”

Despite the best efforts of the Amer­i­can and Japan­ese gov­ern­ments to destroy, with­hold, or lose doc­u­men­ta­tion relat­ed to Gold­en Lily, we have accu­mu­lat­ed thou­sands of doc­u­ments, con­duct­ed thou­sands of hours of inter­views, and we make all of these avail­able to read­ers of this book on two com­pact discs, avail­able from our web­site www.bowstring.net [no longer online–D.E.] so they can make up their own minds. We encour­age oth­ers with knowl­edge of these events to come for­ward. When the top is cor­rupt, the truth will not come from the top. It will emerge in bits and pieces from peo­ple like Jean Ziegler and Christophe Meili, who decid­ed they had to “do some­thing.” As a pre­cau­tion, should any­thing odd hap­pen, we have arranged for this book and all its doc­u­men­ta­tion to be put up on the Inter­net at a num­ber of sites. If we are mur­dered, read­ers will have no dif­fi­cul­ty fig­ur­ing out who “they” are. . . .

2. Next, we excerpt FTR #689. [16] The remark­able Sev­eri­no San­ta Romana, prime mover in the Black Eagle Trust oper­a­tions in the Philip­pines and the gold recov­er­ies in those islands was, in addi­tion to his work for U.S. intel­li­gence, an oper­a­tive of the pow­er­ful Vat­i­can order Opus Dei. It appears that Opus Dei was San­ta Romana’s pri­ma­ry affil­i­a­tion and his U.S. intel­li­gence con­nec­tions were deriv­a­tive.

With strong con­nec­tions in Spain, dat­ing to the Fran­co fas­cist regime (which main­tains pow­er­ful pres­ence in con­tem­po­rary Spain), Opus Dei is a major fac­tor in the con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal scene. Ster­ling opined in FTR #689 [16] that his and Peg­gy’s prox­im­i­ty to the Span­ish bor­der might expose them to vio­lence.

3. Ster­ling’s fears about Opus Dei and his and Peg­gy’s prox­im­i­ty to the  turned out to be pre­scient. On Christ­mas Day of 2011, he nar­row­ly escaped assas­si­na­tion while return­ing home. He felt that the attempt on his life may well have been moti­vat­ed by the pub­li­ca­tion of the Span­ish lan­guage edi­tion of Gold War­riors [8].

“Ster­ling Sea­grave, 1937–2017;” versobooks.com; 7/31/2017. [20]

. . . . Sea­grave will be remem­bered warm­ly by Ver­so staff for his live­ly cor­re­spon­dence. In a 2011 email, he described an attempt on his life that fol­lowed the Span­ish pub­li­ca­tion of Gold War­riors: 

A hired thug tried to mur­der me on the ser­pen­tine road lead­ing up to our iso­lat­ed house on the ridge over­look­ing Banyuls-sur-Mer, and near­ly suc­ceed­ed.  (We’ve had sev­er­al seri­ous death threats because of our books.) The road was very nar­row in places, with tar­mac bare­ly the width of my tires. At 10 pm Christ­mas night, in 2011, after vis­it­ing Peg­gy at a clin­ic in Per­pig­nan, as I turned the final hair­pin, I clear­ly saw a guy sit­ting on a cement block path lead­ing up to a shed for the uphill vine­yard. He was obvi­ous­ly wait­ing for me because we were the only peo­ple liv­ing up there on that moun­tain shoul­der.  He jumped up, raised a long pole, and unfurled a black fab­ric that total­ly blocked the nar­row­est turn ahead of me. I tried to swerve to avoid him (not know­ing whether he also had a gun), and my right front dri­ve wheel went off the tar­mac and lost trac­tion in the rub­ble.

The car teetered and then plunged down through a steep vine­yard on my right side, rolling and bounc­ing front and rear, 100 meters into a ravine where it final­ly came to rest against a tree. Thanks to my seat­belt and air bag, I sur­vived. I don’t know how many con­cus­sions I got on the way down, but I man­aged to squeeze out the driver’s door and fell onto the rub­ble. I got up on my left hand and knees, but my right shoul­der caved in. (Turned out lat­er that I had frac­tured my right shoul­der, and all the lig­a­ments there had torn loose.) I passed out and remained uncon­scious for 14 hours.  After 12 hours, a vigneron dri­ving up the next morn­ing saw my wrecked car and body.

 He called the Gen­darmerie on his portable, and I was hoist­ed out uncon­scious by a chop­per and flown to an old Vic­to­ri­an-era hos­pi­tal in Per­pig­nan where they did noth­ing but keep me doped on mor­phine for two weeks — no X‑rays or seri­ous med­ical care.  Final­ly, friends in Banyuls got me (and Peg­gy) trans­ferred to a clin­ic on the beach there, where Peg­gy and I shared a room while we both recov­ered. I got my right shoul­der lig­a­ments fixed by an excel­lent sur­geon in Per­pig­nan.  (Peg­gy did not know it then but she had an ear­ly stage of can­cer.) I still have a hair­line frac­ture in my right shoul­der.

I attribute the event to stay­ing too long in one place, so the spooks even­tu­al­ly tracked me down.  We had been liv­ing for years on a sail­boat, mov­ing from Hol­land to Britain to Por­tu­gal to Spain and final­ly to France, where we found — in Cat­alo­nia — an ide­al vil­lage at the Mediter­ranean end of the Pyre­nees. In ret­ro­spect, I’m sor­ry I agreed to move ashore for Peggy’s sake, and sold the beau­ti­ful 43-foot boat I had  built from a bare hull. It was very com­fort­able, but Peg­gy want­ed a house. We nev­er did find the right house in Banyuls — so we spent 18 years restor­ing a 13th cen­tu­ry Tem­plar ruin on the shoul­der of the moun­tain.  Made me an easy tar­get. Def­i­nite­ly a bad deci­sion. I think it was the Span­ish edi­tion of Gold War­riors that made me the easy tar­get. 

4a. Next, we present the Sea­graves cov­er­age of San­ta Romana’s Opus Dei mem­ber­ship:

Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; pp. 245–246. [8]

. . . . Author­i­ta­ti­ave souces in Spain with strong ties to the Philip­pines have now con­firmed that San­ty was actu­al­ly a secret agent of the Vat­i­can. San­ty did have ties to the wartime U.S. under­ground in the Philip­pines, over­seen for Gen­er­al MacArthur by Gen­er­al Whit­ney, Gen­er­al Willough­by, and Colonel McMick­ing. After the war, San­ty did work in har­ness with Lans­dale and the CIA. But his real loy­al­ty was to the Vat­i­can. Sources close to the Mani­la arch­dio­cese always insist­ed that San­ty was “work­ing for the Vat­i­can,” and was not a CIA agent.

Our Span­ish sources have now told us that San­ty was “train­ing for the Church” before the war. Giv­en that he had been mar­ried twice already, with chil­dren from both mar­riages, in a coun­try where divorce was ille­gal, he was a bigamist. So he was clear­ly not train­ing for the priest­hood. Instead, long before the Japan­ese inva­sion, San­ty became a lay mem­ber of one of the Vatican’s mil­i­tant orders. There are a num­ber of these, the most promi­nent being the Jesuits, the Domini­cans, and Opus Dei. The sources refuse to be explic­it about which order San­ty direct­ly worked for, argu­ing that ulti­mate­ly he was work­ing for the bish­ops and car­di­nals in charge of the Vatican’s finan­cial office. But we have estab­lished that he was with Opus Dei. . . .

4b. San­ta Romana’s Opus Dei oper­a­tions were essen­tial for the fis­cal rein­force­ment of the Vat­i­can’s finan­cial insti­tu­tions, which ben­e­fit­ted from the Gold­en Lily-derived trea­sure from the Philip­pines.

Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; p. 252. [8]

. . . . Because of the key role played by San­ty [Sev­eri­no San­ta Romana], as the gold was recov­ered and moved to banks through­out the world, a major por­tion went to the Vat­i­can bank and oth­er banks tied to the Vat­i­can, as we describe in Chap­ters 4 and 8.

It is now clear that this is why San­ty was treat­ed with such respect by bankers who came to see him at his Mani­la Hilton suite, although he remained a secre­tive fig­ure and was nev­er the sub­ject of a mag­a­zine pro­file in the Philip­pines or any­where else. It was not his con­nec­tion to the CIA that gave him invis­i­bil­i­ty, but his posi­tion as an agent of the Vat­i­can secret ser­vices, fil­ing the cof­fers of the Vat­i­can bank. Dia­grams of the “Umbrel­la” orga­ni­za­tion that moved much of the gold, which we repro­duce on our CDs, show that secu­ri­ty was pro­vid­ed both by the CIA and by the Ital­ian Mafia. Col­lab­o­ra­tion in Europe between the Mafia and the OSS began on the eve of the war, and con­tin­ued through­out. OSS agents were smug­gled into Italy through Sici­ly. In return, at the end of the war, top Mafia fig­ures were released from Amer­i­can pris­ons and allowed to return to Italy, where they helped the CIA and the Vat­i­can pro­mote can­di­dates of the Chris­t­ian Democ­rats, to pre­vent the Com­mu­nist Par­ty from gain­ing con­trol of Italy’s gov­ern­ment.

Santy’s stature in the Vat­i­can finan­cial hier­ar­chy must have been assured by his role in restor­ing sol­ven­cy to banks linked to the Vat­i­can. . . .

5a. In a tran­si­tion­al ele­ment to our next pro­gram, we note that the late author Iris Chang had an endorse­ment of the Sea­graves’ work on the cov­er of Gold War­riors“The Sea­graves have uncov­ered one of the biggest secrets of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry.”

5b. In the acknowl­edge­ments sec­tion of Gold War­riors, the authors thank Iris Chang for her sup­port:

Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; p. 273. [8]

. . . . We are espe­cial­ly indebt­ed to Iris Chang, Ignatius Ding, and Jesse Hwa, for their unstint­ing sup­port and encour­age­ment through­out. . . .