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FTR #412 The Engineer Intends To Wreck The Train

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Intro­duc­tion: FTR#412 doc­u­ments a fright­en­ing polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic sce­nario involv­ing an impend­ing fis­cal cat­a­stro­phe for the Unit­ed States that, in turn, por­tends a dev­as­tat­ing polit­i­cal cri­sis. In sev­er­al recent broad­casts, Mr. Emory has used the phrase “the engi­neer intends to wreck the train” in order to describe the eco­nom­ic and for­eign poli­cies adopt­ed by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion. Begin­ning with a col­umn by bril­liant New York Times eco­nom­ic colum­nist Paul Krug­man, the broad­cast high­lights his use of almost iden­ti­cal phrase­ol­o­gy to express the view that the rad­i­cals in the admin­is­tra­tion intend to pro­duce “a fis­cal train wreck” with their sui­ci­dal tax cut­ting poli­cies.

This “fis­cal train wreck,” in turn, is designed to force the elim­i­na­tion of social pro­grams that the Amer­i­can peo­ple would not oth­er­wise sup­port. In this con­text, one should not fail to note Mr. Emory’s past obser­va­tions that this admin­is­tra­tion is the point ele­ment of the dead­ly Bor­mann organization—quite lit­er­al­ly a Third Reich gone underground–and is designed to sub­ju­gate or destroy the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.

At the core of this gam­bit is the goal of bank­rupt­ing the U.S. by slash­ing rev­enues and draw­ing the coun­try into a pro­tract­ed and cost­ly mil­i­tary strug­gle against the Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion of the Earth Island—themselves serv­ing as proxy war­riors for the Under­ground Reich.

Giv­ing numer­i­cal sub­stance to the dimen­sions of the approach­ing eco­nom­ic deba­cle, the broad­cast sets forth some tru­ly daunt­ing num­bers from a Finan­cial Times article—impending deficit totals of $44,200bn or ten times the pub­licly held nation­al debt. Com­par­ing the behav­ior of the Amer­i­can pow­er elite with that of their French coun­ter­parts in the run-up to World War II, the pro­gram reca­pit­u­lates doc­u­men­ta­tion that the French defeat in World War II was wel­comed and engi­neered by a polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic Fifth col­umn.

That Fifth Column’s ide­o­log­i­cal and struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic affin­i­ty with the Third Reich dis­posed them against the demo­c­ra­t­ic inter­ests of their own coun­try. Sim­i­lar­ly, the pro­found struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic ties of this country’s pow­er elite to the Bor­mann group and to the Sau­di financiers of Al Qae­da are moti­vat­ing their con­scious rush to ruin.

The sec­ond side of the pro­gram deals with the issue of off­shore tax havens and their func­tion­al and his­tor­i­cal rela­tion­ship to the eco­nom­ic sub­ver­sion of democ­ra­cy. In par­tic­u­lar, the use of tax havens has facil­i­tat­ed the col­lab­o­ra­tion of US cor­po­ra­tions with rogue regimes such as that of Sad­dam Hus­sein.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The French elite’s use of Swiss bank accounts to avoid tax­es and the eco­nom­ic sac­ri­fice they were demand­ing of oth­ers; the Bush administration’s rever­sal of Clin­ton poli­cies that would have increased eco­nom­ic trans­paren­cy and reduced the use of off­shore finan­cial safe­havens; Sad­dam Hussein’s use of off­shore bank­ing to hide the ill-got­ten gains he accu­mu­lat­ed from West­ern cor­po­ra­tions offi­cial­ly enjoined from deal­ing with him; Don­ald Rumsfeld’s dodg­ing of a reporter’s ques­tion con­cern­ing the Sad­dam flight cap­i­tal; Saddam’s use of an account with the Ban­co del Got­tar­do (part of the Al Taqwa com­plex) as a repos­i­to­ry for much of his mon­ey; the mys­te­ri­ous death of a Swiss lawyer hired to help rec­ti­fy the account­ing of Saddam’s mon­ey in the Ban­co del Got­tar­do account.

Cor­rec­tion: In some of the ancil­lary dis­cus­sion for FTR#412, Mr. Emory incor­rect­ly iden­ti­fies Johann Von Leers as a mem­ber of the par­ty that left the Fuehrerbunker with Mar­tin Bor­mann. It was Wern­er Nau­mann, not Von Leers, who was with Bor­mann and Hitler Youth leader Arthur Axmann. Both Nau­mann and Von Leers were key aides to Pro­pa­gan­da Min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels, and Nau­mann was named to suc­ceed Goebbels. Both Nau­mann and Von Leers lat­er worked for the post-war Nazi under­ground in the Mid­dle East and else­where. Von Leers is alleged to have told French intel­li­gence that Bor­mann was alive in Latin Amer­i­ca. For more about Nau­mann, Von Leers and com­pa­ny, see: Dream­er of the Day: Fran­cis Park­er Yock­ey and the Post­war Fas­cist Inter­na­tion­al. (Autono­me­dia, copy­right 1999 [SC].)

1. Begin­ning with the con­cept from which the title of the pro­gram is devel­oped, the broad­cast sets forth a col­umn by Paul Krug­man of The New York Times (a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty.). In numer­ous recent broad­casts, Mr. Emory has used the phrase “the engi­neer is out to wreck the train” to describe the direc­tion of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and the forces that dri­ve it. For some time, the For The Record series has advanced the work­ing hypoth­e­sis that this admin­is­tra­tion is a front for the Under­ground Reich, with the goal of the polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and/or phys­i­cal destruc­tion and/or sub­ju­ga­tion of the Unit­ed States as its goal. By mani­a­cal­ly reduc­ing the fed­er­al bud­get and dra­mat­i­cal­ly increas­ing fed­er­al expen­di­tures, the GOP extrem­ists are going to destroy the coun­try. Now, the notion that “the engi­neer intends to wreck the train” is not just Mr. Emory’s refrain.

“ ‘The lunatics are now in charge of the asy­lum.’ So wrote the nor­mal­ly staid Finan­cial Times, tra­di­tion­al­ly the voice of sol­id British busi­ness opin­ion, when sur­vey­ing last week’s bill. Indeed, the leg­is­la­tion is dou­bly absurd: the gim­micks used to make an $800-bil­lion-plus tax cut car­ry an offi­cial price tag of only $320 bil­lion are a joke, yet the cost with­out the gim­micks is so large that the nation can’t pos­si­bly afford it while keep­ing its oth­er promis­es.”

“Stat­ing the Obvi­ous” by Paul Krug­man; The New York Times; 5/27/2003; accessed at; www.NYTimes.com.

2. Mr. Krug­man sug­gests that “a fis­cal train wreck” is indeed intend­ed.

“But then maybe that’s the point. The Finan­cial Times sug­gests that ‘more extreme Repub­li­cans’ actu­al­ly want a fis­cal train wreck: ‘propos­ing to slash fed­er­al spend­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly on social pro­grams, is a tricky elec­toral propo­si­tion, but a fis­cal cri­sis offers the tan­ta­liz­ing prospect of forc­ing such cuts through the back door.’ Good for The Finan­cial Times. It seems that stat­ing the obvi­ous has now, final­ly, become respectable.”

Idem.

3. “It’s no secret that right-wing ide­o­logues want to abol­ish pro­grams Amer­i­cans take for grant­ed. But not long ago, to sug­gest that the Bush administration’s poli­cies might actu­al­ly be dri­ven by those ideologues—that the admin­is­tra­tion was delib­er­ate­ly set­ting the coun­try up for a fis­cal cri­sis in which pop­u­lar social pro­grams could be sharply cut—was to be accused of spout­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s] Yet by push­ing through anoth­er huge tax cut in the face of record deficits, the admin­is­tra­tion clear­ly demon­strates either that it is com­plete­ly feck­less, or that it actu­al­ly wants a fis­cal cri­sis. (Or maybe both.)”

Idem.

4. “Here’s one way to look at the sit­u­a­tion: Although you wouldn’t know it from the rhetoric, fed­er­al tax­es are already his­tor­i­cal­ly low as a share of G.D.P. Once the new round of cuts takes effect, fed­er­al tax­es will be low­er than their aver­age dur­ing the Eisen­how­er admin­is­tra­tion. How, then, can the gov­ern­ment pay for Medicare and Medicaid—which didn’t exist in the 1950’s—and Social Secu­ri­ty, which will become far more expen­sive as the pop­u­la­tion ages? (Defense spend­ing has fall­en com­pared with the econ­o­my, but not that much, and it’s on the rise again.)”

Idem.

5. “The answer is that it can’t. The gov­ern­ment can bor­row to make up the dif­fer­ence as long as investors remain in denial, unable to believe that the world’s only super­pow­er is turn­ing into a banana repub­lic. But at some point bond mar­kets will balk—they won’t lend mon­ey to a gov­ern­ment, even that of the Unit­ed States, if that government’s debt is grow­ing faster than its rev­enues and there is no plau­si­ble sto­ry about how the bud­get will even­tu­al­ly come under con­trol.”

Idem.

6. “At that point, either tax­es will go up again, or pro­grams that have become fun­da­men­tal to the Amer­i­can way of life will be gut­ted. We can be sure that the right will do what­ev­er it takes to pre­serve the Bush tax cuts—right now the admin­is­tra­tion is even skimp­ing on home­land secu­ri­ty to save a few dol­lars here and there. But bal­anc­ing the books with­out tax increas­es will require deep cuts where the mon­ey is: that is, in Med­ic­aid, Medicare and Social Secu­ri­ty.”

Idem.

7. “The pain of these ben­e­fit cuts will fall on the mid­dle class and the poor, while the tax cuts over­whelm­ing­ly favor the rich. For exam­ple, the tax cut passed last week will raise the after-tax income of most peo­ple by less than1 percent—not near­ly enough to com­pen­sate them for the loss of ben­e­fits. But peo­ple with incomes over $1 mil­lion per year will, on aver­age, see their after-tax income rise 4.4 per­cent. The Finan­cial Times sug­gests this is delib­er­ate (and I agree): ‘For them,’ it says of those extreme Repub­li­cans, ‘under­min­ing the mul­ti­lat­er­al inter­na­tion­al order is not enough; long-held views on income dis­tri­b­u­tion also require rad­i­cal revi­sion.’”

Idem.

8. “How can this be hap­pen­ing? Most peo­ple, even most lib­er­als, are com­pla­cent. They don’t real­ize how dire the fis­cal out­look real­ly is, and they don’t read what the ide­o­logues write. They imag­ine that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, like the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, will mod­i­fy our sys­tem only at the edges, that it won’t destroy the social safe­ty net built up over the past 70 years. But the peo­ple now run­ning Amer­i­ca aren’t con­ser­v­a­tives: they’re rad­i­cals who want to do away with the social and eco­nom­ic sys­tem we have, and the fis­cal cri­sis they are con­coct­ing may give them the excuse they need. The Finan­cial Times, it seems, now under­stands what’s going on, but when will the pub­lic wake up?”

Idem.

9. High­light­ing the cat­a­clysmic dimen­sions of what the admin­is­tra­tion is doing, The Finan­cial Times set forth the dead­ly dimen­sions of the fis­cal impact of the Bush tax cuts. One should not over­look the fact that this infor­ma­tion is from a report com­mis­sioned by the Trea­sury Depart­ment, sup­pressed by the admin­is­tra­tion, and ignored by the US media.

“The Bush admin­is­tra­tion has shelved a report com­mis­sioned by the Trea­sury that shows the US cur­rent­ly faces a future of chron­ic fed­er­al bud­get deficits total­ing at least $44,200bn in cur­rent US dol­lars. [Empha­sis added.] The study, the most com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment of how the US gov­ern­ment is at risk of being over­whelmed by the ‘baby boom’ generation’s future health­care and retire­ment costs, was com­mis­sioned by then trea­sury sec­re­tary Paul O’Neill. But the Bush admin­is­tra­tion chose to keep the find­ings out of the annu­al bud­get report for fis­cal year 2004, pub­lished in Feb­ru­ary, as the White House cam­paigned for a tax-cut pack­age that crit­ics claim will expand future deficits.”

“Report Warns of Chron­ic US Deficits” by Per­onet Despeignes; The Finan­cial Times; 5/29/2003; p. 1.

10. “The study asserts that sharp tax increas­es, mas­sive spend­ing cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoid­able if the US is to meet ben­e­fit promis­es to future gen­er­a­tions. It esti­mates that clos­ing the gap would require the equiv­a­lent of an imme­di­ate and per­ma­nent 66 per cent across-the-board income tax increase. . .”

Idem.

11. “Mr. O’Neill, who was fired last Decem­ber, refused to com­ment. The study’s analy­sis of future deficits dwarfs pre­vi­ous esti­mates of the finan­cial chal­lenge fac­ing Wash­ing­ton It is rough­ly equiv­a­lent to 10 times the pub­licly held nation­al debt, four years of US eco­nom­ic out­put or more than 94 per cent of all US house­hold assets. [Empha­sis added.] Alan Greenspan, Fed­er­al Reserve chair­man, last week bemoaned what he called Washington’s ‘deaf­en­ing silence about the future crunch.’”

Idem.

12. “The esti­mates reflect the extent to which the annu­al deficit, the nation­al debt and oth­er wide­ly report­ed, back­ward-look­ing data are becom­ing archa­ic and mis­lead­ing as mea­sures of the government’s sol­ven­cy. Mr. [Kent] Smet­ters, now a Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia finance pro­fes­sor, said tax cuts were only a frac­tion of the imbal­ance, and that the big­ger prob­lem ‘is the whole [bud­get] lan­guage we’re using.’ Lau­rence Kot­likoff, an expert on long-term bud­get account­ing alleged in a recent Boston globe edi­to­r­i­al that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion sup­pressed the research to ease pas­sage of the tax-cut plan.”

Idem.

13. The 9/11 attacks con­sti­tute an event as com­pli­cat­ed as they are impor­tant. In FTR#’s 344–346, Mr. Emory pre­sent­ed his view that the attacks could be viewed as “Pearl Har­bor meets the Reich­stag Fire.” They were, indeed, a sneak attack by a hos­tile for­eign pow­er (the “vir­tu­al state” that is the Under­ground Reich.) It was also uti­lized by an inter­nal Fifth Col­umn that was con­nect­ed to the attack­ers through struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships. The attacks have been used to insti­tute the foun­da­tions of fas­cism. Reca­pit­u­lat­ing dis­cus­sion from FTR#366 and FTR#372, this broad­cast com­pares the attacks to the Ger­man inva­sion of France in World War II. The Ger­man inva­sion was not a “provo­ca­tion” as such, but it was used to imple­ment fas­cism in France. (The Fran­co-Ger­man axis that opposed the Amer­i­can inva­sion of Iraq is reflec­tive of the foun­da­tions of the events pri­or to, dur­ing, and after World War II.) The first side of the pro­gram con­cludes with review of a pas­sage writ­ten in 1944 by Pierre Cot, the French min­is­ter of avi­a­tion in the peri­od lead­ing up to World War II.

“Enough evi­dence has been pub­lished already to prove that France was stabbed in the back by those who saw in Hitler the new St. George who would slay the Com­mu­nist drag­on. When Pierre Lazareff, for­mer edi­tor-in-chief of Paris Soir (the French news­pa­per with the widest cir­cu­la­tion), reports roy­al­ists as say­ing: ‘We need the defeat to wipe out the Repub­lic;’ when Elie Bois, for­mer edi­tor of the Petit Parisien (the most influ­en­tial polit­i­cal news­pa­per), reports great indus­tri­al­ists admit­ting to him, dur­ing the win­ter of 1939–1940, that a plot had been orga­nized to replace the demo­c­ra­t­ic regime by a ‘gov­ern­ment of author­i­ty’ and that this plot pre­sup­posed a Nazi vic­to­ry; when Ana­tole de Monzie writes, in a book passed by the cen­sor of the Vichy gov­ern­ment, that Mar­shal Petain said in Feb­ru­ary, 1940: ‘They will appeal to me in the third week in May’; when Genevieve Tabouis tells of the work accom­plished in the Parisian salons by the Fifth Column’s ‘brigade mondaine’; when Hen­ri de Ker­il­lis, for­mer offi­cer and nation­al­ist deputy, expos­es the inroads of the Fifth Col­umn in the con­ser­v­a­tive and mil­i­tary cir­cles which he knew; when Hen­ry Tor­res reveals to us what was going on in the offices of the offi­cial pro­pa­gan­da . . . we have every rea­son to accept their affir­ma­tions, which tal­ly so per­fect­ly with the events.”

Tri­umph of Trea­son; by Pierre Cot; Copy­right 1944 [HC]; Ziff-Davis; p. 63.

14. A very impor­tant arti­cle by inves­tiga­tive reporter Lucy Komis­ar under­scores the struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships main­tained by the French pow­er elite in the pre-World War II peri­od. (Again, lis­ten­ers are referred to FTR#272 for an under­stand­ing of these events.) One should in this con­text the sig­nif­i­cance of the Swiss tax haven for the eco­nom­ic realpoli­tik of the French oli­garchs. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the Amer­i­can pow­er elite’s abil­i­ty to secret their cap­i­tal abroad (while the coun­try is eco­nom­i­cal­ly dec­i­mat­ed) is not one to be too read­i­ly dis­missed. It is Mr. Emory’s view that the atti­tude of sig­nif­i­cant ele­ments of the US eco­nom­ic elite is sim­i­lar to that of their French coun­ter­parts in the run-up to World War II. It is worth not­ing that the title of Ms. Komisar’s arti­cle char­ac­ter­izes the issue of off­shore bank­ing as a “Secret Threat to Amer­i­ca.” Amen.

“In Novem­ber 1932, deputy Fabi­en Albertin took the floor of the Nation­al Assem­bly in Paris to denounce tax eva­sion by emi­nent French personalities—politicians, judges indus­tri­al­ists, church dig­ni­taries, and direc­tors of newspapers—who were hid­ing their mon­ey in Switzer­land. ‘The min­is­ter of finance knows very well that for ten years, the con­cern of all his pre­de­ces­sors has been to track down this fraud . . .’ he declared. ‘How­ev­er, till now, the infor­ma­tion one has got­ten has been extreme­ly vague. When doc­u­ments arrive, they are rep­re­sent­ed only as num­bers. Employ­ees of the banks don’t know the names of account hold­ers. These names are known only to the direc­tor of the bank, who the clients for­bid to cor­re­spond with them, so anx­ious are they to pre­serve anonymi­ty.’”

“Off­shore Bank­ing: the Secret Threat to Amer­i­ca” by Lucy Komis­ar; Dis­sent; Spring/2003; p. 1.

15. “He said, ‘If one reads the Swiss news­pa­pers this morn­ing, one sees that pub­lic opin­ion in Switzer­land dreads the mas­sive shrink­ing of sums that have been deposit­ed in its banks—of which it enjoys exclu­sive prof­it.’ There had been a raid on a build­ing on the Rue de la Tremoille in the aris­to­crat­ic dis­trict of the Champs-Ely­sees, where offi­cials of a Swiss bank had a five-room apart­ment. Police had passed through a crowd of impa­tient clients in the wait­ing room, entered the office, and seized all avail­able doc­u­ments. Albertin argued that the oper­a­tion should have occurred ear­li­er, as the busi­ness had gone on with­out inter­rup­tion for ten days. Even so, the police col­lect­ed 245,000 French francs, 2,000 Swiss francs, and even more impor­tant, an index, a cash­book, a file, and ten large note­books with two thou­sand names.”

Ibid.; pp. 1–2.

16. “A par­lia­men­tar­i­an shout­ed, ‘We want to know them!’ Albertin answered, ‘the min­is­ter knows . . .’ But the finance min­is­ter declared, ‘Ah! No! Mr. Albertin, I don’t know this list at all.’ And Albertin replied, ‘I am going to sat­is­fy your curios­i­ty. Some will say, ‘Ah! You social­ists are hap­py to dis­hon­or polit­i­cal adver­saries and show that there are class­es in soci­ety!’ Yes, there are class­es. And in this scan­dal, the rul­ing elite of soci­ety shows its self­ish­ness and unwill­ing­ness to obey French law!’”

Ibid.; p. 2.

17. “His list includ­ed deputies, sen­a­tors, and judges, whose role, he point­ed out, was to make and apply the laws. He called them men of ‘a par­tic­u­lar­ly tick­lish patri­o­tism’ who, he not­ed with irony, ‘prob­a­bly are unaware that the mon­ey they deposit abroad is lent by Switzer­land to Ger­many.’ That Switzer­land was Hitler’s banker was already known. [Hitler did not actu­al­ly assume the chancellor’s posi­tion until his appoint­ment in Jan­u­ary of 1933, a cou­ple of months lat­er.] Albertin not­ed sar­don­ical­ly that such peo­ple nev­er made loans to the French defense effort. He added that the list includ­ed a dozen gen­er­als, even the comp­trol­ler of the army. He began to name the names of the tax evad­er elite, includ­ing two bish­ops, who he said, ‘though their king­dom isn’t of this world,’ were able to rec­on­cile their oaths of pover­ty with the desire to shel­ter their for­tunes. There were also man­u­fac­tur­ers of auto­mo­biles and fur­ni­ture.”

Idem.

18. “ ‘Names!’ cried a deputy. ‘The Peu­geot broth­ers,’ Albertin replied. The fur­ni­ture mak­er was Lev­i­tan. He moved on to Hen­ri­ette Fran­cois Coty, of the famous per­fume fam­i­ly, who ran a news­pa­per, L’Ami du Peo­ple (Friend of the Peo­ple), and a M. Sape­tre, whom Albertin took for the pub­lish­er of Le Matin (Morn­ing). Albertin declared, ‘There is noth­ing more painful, sad­den­ing, and trag­ic, noth­ing that can dis­cour­age the mass of French work­ers more deeply than to see every day the men who direct and inspire French opin­ion in the columns of their big dailies call for the nation’s finan­cial patri­o­tism, tell of sac­ri­fices to be asked of civ­il ser­vants and war vic­tims . . . and on their own part, cheat.’”

Ibid.; pp. 2–3.

19. “Swiss bankers were stunned by the rev­e­la­tions of their clients’ names. They feared that unless they could block future expo­sure, they might lose the deposits peo­ple had stashed with them to avoid pay­ing their own coun­tries’ tax­es. To make sure that account own­ers’ names could nev­er be made pub­lic again, in 1934, the Swiss con­fed­er­a­tion made it a crime for a bank employ­ee to vio­late the secre­cy of clients’ iden­ti­ties. Bank secre­cy was born; even law enforce­ment on the track of thieves could not pierce it. The elites of France and else­where could rest easy. Tax­es would bur­den only the poor and mid­dle class­es. . . .”

Ibid.; p. 3.

20. Fur­ther down in the text of the Dis­sent arti­cle, Ms. Komis­ar dis­cuss­es the amount of wealth of US-based multi­na­tion­als that is believed to be in tax havens, as well as the per­cent­age of over­all world wealth secret­ed in these repos­i­to­ries.

“ . . . The mon­ey involved is mon­u­men­tal. Secre­cy havens have 1.2 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and hold 26 per­cent of the world’s wealth, includ­ing 31 per­cent of the net prof­its of U.S. multi­na­tion­als. Accord­ing to Mer­rill Lynch & Gem­i­ni Consulting’s ‘World Wealth Report’ for 2000, one third of the wealth of the world’s ‘high net-worth indi­vid­u­als’ (as banks like to call them), near­ly $6 tril­lion out of $17.5 tril­lion, may now be held off­shore. Some $3 tril­lion is in deposits in tax haven banks and the rest is in secu­ri­ties held by IBC’s and trusts. Experts believe that as much as half the world’s cap­i­tal flows through off­shore cen­ters. The Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) says that between $600 bil­lion and $1.5 tril­lion of illic­it mon­ey is laun­dered annu­al­ly, equal to 2 per­cent to 5 per­cent of glob­al eco­nom­ic out­put. These off­shore cen­ters awash in mon­ey are the hub of a colos­sal, under­ground net­work of crime, fraud, and cor­rup­tion.”

Ibid.; p. 7.

21. The same tax havens and off­shore finan­cial repos­i­to­ries are main­stays of cor­po­rate maneu­ver­ing, ter­ror­ist-financ­ing, drug-deal­ing and weapons traf­fick­ing. The remark­able Lucy Komisar—showing more mox­ie and char­ac­ter than the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of Amer­i­can journalists—braced sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld about Sad­dam Hussein’s use of off­shore havens to bank his ill-got­ten gains.

“It hasn’t been report­ed in the U.S. press—until here, now—but in Milan, Italy’s chief pros­e­cu­tor has obtained thou­sands of doc­u­ments that show how for more than 20 years Sad­dam Hus­sein used the West­ern bank and cor­po­rate secre­cy sys­tem to laun­der bribes skimmed from oil rev­enues to pay his secu­ri­ty forces and buy West­ern arms dur­ing inter­na­tion­al embar­goes. The key countries—whose gov­ern­ments open­ly allow these mon­ey-laun­der­ing sys­tems to exist—were Switzer­land, Liecht­en­stein, Pana­ma and Nas­sau. Cor­po­rate reg­is­tra­tions and bank accounts there use ‘straw men’ and secre­cy rules to cov­er up true own­ers of com­pa­nies and accounts.”

“Rums­feld Queried on Off­shore Bank­ing Reform” by Lucy Komis­ar; The Amer­i­can Reporter; 5/27/2003 [Vol. 9, No. 2112]; p. 1.

22. “On Tues­day (May 27), Defense Sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld was at the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions in New York, and I asked him what the U.S. planned to do about this sys­tem that financed and armed Washington’s lat­est neme­sis. This was the ques­tion: ‘It’s been shown by inves­ti­ga­tions by the pros­e­cu­tor of Milan in Italy, which has got­ten thou­sands of doc­u­ments about banks accounts in Europe, par­tic­u­lar­ly Switzer­land and Liecht­en­stein and then also Pana­ma, that these were the accounts through which Sad­dam Hus­sein hid the rake-offs he was get­ting from West­ern com­pa­nies that were buy­ing his oil—that allowed him to get mon­ey for weapons over the 80’s and 90’s. This bank and cor­po­rate secre­cy is what allowed this to hap­pen. I assume the Amer­i­cans know about this. Are you going to do any­thing about this sys­tem that allows them to get weapons ille­gal­ly?’”

Ibid.; pp. 1–2.

23. “For the record, Rumsfeld’s answer: ‘The Depart­ment of the Trea­sury has been work­ing with oth­er coun­tries and attempt­ing to locate the assets that the Sad­dam Hus­sein fam­i­ly and regime have placed in oth­er coun­tries. They found some, and I’m sure they have not found addi­tion­al sums, and I’m sure they’re work­ing on it.’”

Ibid.; p. 2.

24. Ms. Komis­ar notes that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion has qui­et­ly reversed the Clin­ton administration’s efforts at lift­ing the cur­tain of secre­cy on this cur­tain of finan­cial secre­cy.

“Rums­feld clum­si­ly side-stepped the ques­tion, because the Bush admin­is­tra­tion has reversed the Clin­ton-era pol­i­cy that attempt­ed at least min­i­mal reforms of the off­shore sys­tem. It has blocked Euro­pean efforts to pierce bank secre­cy by allow­ing tax author­i­ties to share infor­ma­tion on non-res­i­dents’ bank accounts. It does not want to change the off­shore sys­tem because its cor­po­rate and wealthy sup­port­ers use it to evade tax­es.”

Idem.

25. “Rums­feld would know how that works, because he was CEO of G.D. Sear­le & Co. a world­wide phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny, and of Gen­er­al Instru­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, which deals in broad­band tech­nolo­gies. Inter­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions rou­tine­ly use the off­shore sys­tem for ‘trans­fer pricing’—corporatespeak for the prac­tice of mov­ing book­keep­ing entries around the globe so they can report near-zero prof­its to the IRS. He said that when funds are need­ed in Iraq, the U.S. ‘will rely on frozen assets in the U.S. and oth­er coun­tries.” But to be frozen, they have to be found. And to be found, the U.S. will have to fol­low the trails set out in the Milan documents—to chal­lenge the bank and cor­po­rate secre­cy of friend­ly allies such as Switzer­land, Liecht­en­stein, Pana­ma and Nas­sau.”

Idem.; p. 3.

26. “Rums­feld says that in the new Iraq, ‘Mar­ket sys­tems will be favored,’ the U.S. ‘will encour­age moves to pri­va­tize state-owned enter­pris­es’ and that it is devel­op­ing a plan for the oil indus­try based on trans­paren­cy.’” The inter­na­tion­al oil busi­ness is noto­ri­ous for using secret off­shore accounts to move prof­its and also to bribe gov­ern­ment offi­cials for access to oil fields. Trans­paren­cy would make that dif­fi­cult.”

Ibid.; p. 3.

27. “Ear­li­er this month, Rep. Hen­ry Wax man (D‑California) released doc­u­ments show­ing that Hal­libur­ton, while it was head­ed by Vice-Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney, set up off­shore sub­sidiaries in places such as the Cay­man Islands to guide its deal­ings with Iraq, Iran and Libya, which were under US embar­go.”

Ibid.; p. 3.

28. “If the Bush admin­is­tra­tion is seri­ous about trans­paren­cy, if it’s seri­ous about not want­i­ng Iraq’s new oil barons to use the same off­shore sys­tem that skimmed prof­its for their pre­de­ces­sors, it had bet­ter recon­sid­er its pro­tec­tive atti­tude toward shell com­pa­nies and secret bank accounts.”

Idem.

29. The pro­gram con­cludes with a look at a man char­ac­ter­ized in a recent book as the “Cashier of Sad­dam.” This individual—Elio Bor­radori– deposit­ed much of Saddam’s wealth through a bank account in the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do, inti­mate­ly linked to the Bank Al Taqwa com­plex.

“A finan­cial advis­er to Sad­dam Hus­sein has revealed how the Iraqi dic­ta­tor chan­neled hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds into secre­tive off­shore com­pa­nies. For more than 10 years Elio Bor­radori, a com­pa­ny trustee in the tax havens of Liecht­en­stein and Lugano, Switzer­land, man­aged the huge com­mis­sions’ and ‘con­sul­tan­cy fees’ from the Iraqi dictator’s arms deals and devel­op­ment con­tracts. The mon­ey was fun­neled into com­pa­nies con­trolled by Saddam’s appointees through Pana­ma, the Bahamas and Switzer­land. It is thought to have part­ly fund­ed the Dictator’s palaces and lav­ish lifestyle.”

“Banker Who Hid Saddam’s Mil­lions” by Stephen Grey, Nick Field­ing, Jon Ungoed-Thomas, Edin Hamz­ic, Pao­lo Fusi, Eben Black; Sun­day Times [Lon­don]; 4/13/2003.

30. “Many of the mil­lions moved in and out of an account code­named ‘Satan”, which was orig­i­nal­ly over­seen by a rel­a­tive of Sad­dam. He was Saad al-Mah­di. But he made the mis­take of falling out with Sad­dam and was exe­cut­ed, pos­si­bly for pil­fer­ing from the Satan account. A Swiss lawyer took over some of the com­pa­nies; oth­ers went into the hands of Barzan Ibrahim Has­saan al-Tikri­ti, Saddam’s half-broth­er.”

Idem.

31. “Just before the first Gulf War in 1991, almost 1 bil­lion pounds was moved from Satan and oth­er accounts to be hid­den around the world. Ital­ian police last month iden­ti­fied 300 mil­lion pounds in one account in Gene­va. The net­work of off­shore com­pa­nies remained active long after Unit­ed Nations sanc­tions were imposed on Ira at the end of the war. The Sun­day Times has uncov­ered more than 1,000 doc­u­ments, some of which con­firm Borradori’s role. They also pro­vide indi­ca­tions of export deals relat­ing to Das­sault and Thom­son-CSF, two French arms com­pa­nies (then state owned), and to Russ­ian firms. Although many of the doc­u­ments relate to the 1980’s, oth­ers sug­gest activ­i­ty in the mid-1990’s. The mate­r­i­al will be a fil­lip to inves­ti­ga­tors in Italy, Switzer­land and Liecht­en­stein try­ing to untan­gle the web of trans­ac­tions in the hunt for Saddam’s bil­lions.”

Idem.

32. “Bor­radori, who said he met Sad­dam in per­son sev­er­al times retired some years ago to live qui­et­ly in Switzer­land. But a Lugano court case brought by the al-Mah­di fam­i­ly, and the mys­te­ri­ous death of one of the lawyers involved, revealed doc­u­ments relat­ing to Saddam’s secret net­work of com­pa­nies. Now 75 and liv­ing on the south­ern shores of Lake Lugano, Bor­radori admit­ted he was Saddam’s bank­ing advis­er. . . .”

Idem.

33. “ . . . By 1977 the net­work of com­pa­nies and num­ber of deals had grown so extensive—with both overt and covert operations—that al-Mah­di was sent to Europe to over­see them, under the con­trol of al-Tikri­ti, who was then the over­all head of Saddam’s finan­cial net­work . . . The main enti­ty was Mediter­ranean Enter­pris­es Devel­op­ment Projects (Lugano), which had branch­es in New York, Tokyo, Lon­don, Paris and oth­er cen­ters. It in turn con­trolled about 300 oth­er com­pa­nies, main­ly in Liecht­en­stein and Pana­ma.”

Idem.

34. “Three key com­pa­nies, called Dumyn­ta, Radis­tal and Tech­noser­vice Inter­na­tion­al (Vaduz), were among those that received com­mis­sions and con­sul­tan­cy fees, han­dling at least 300 mil­lion pounds in the 1980’s. Some pay­ments, how­ev­er, were stag­gered over the life of the con­tracts and stretched into the 1990’s. There were, for exam­ple, com­mis­sion pay­ments relat­ed to a mis­sile site near Mosul, in north­ern Iraq, which, accord­ing to Ital­ian author­i­ties, was not com­plet­ed until the mid-1990’s—even though such work was sup­posed to stop after the Gulf War.”

Idem.

35. “To cov­er the tracks, much of the mon­ey passed through account num­ber 70513 at the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do in Nas­sau in the Bahamas—the Satan account. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s] One bank­ing slip indi­cat­ed a pay­ment as recent­ly as Decem­ber 1998. There were 47 oth­er bank accounts linked to the off­shore net­work. Bor­radori was usu­al­ly pres­i­dent and sig­na­to­ry for the com­pa­nies, and the day-to-day trans­ac­tions were han­dled by an accoun­tant for him. But the man in con­trol for the Iraqi regime was al-Mah­di. Some­thing of a play­boy, al-Mah­di jet­ted around Europe, while in Iraq, Sad­dam used some of the mil­lions to build extrav­a­gant palaces . . . Sad­dam, how­ev­er, appears to have sus­pect­ed al-Mah­di of steal­ing from the accounts. He was sum­moned to Bagh­dad and behead­ed for theft and behav­ior dis­re­spect­ful to Islam . . . .”

Idem.

36. After the death of Al-Mah­di, his fam­i­ly hired a lawyer to inves­ti­gate the miss­ing mon­ey in the Satan account. That lawyer, Gian­lu­ca Boscaro, died under sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances.

“ . . . Years after the death of al-Mah­di, his fam­i­ly decid­ed to pur­sue some of the mil­lions that had washed through the net­work of off­shore com­pa­nies. They hired Gian­lu­ca Boscaro, a Swiss lawyer, to bring a case which named, among oth­ers, Borradori’s accoun­tant and oth­er trustees . . . Through the legal action, Boscaro secured evi­dence of how, at least in part, Sad­dam had siphoned off a for­tune and hid­den it around the world. Increas­ing­ly para­noid about his own safe­ty, Boscaro told one friend that should any­thing unto­ward hap­pen to him, the doc­u­ments should be brought to pub­lic atten­tion.”

Idem.

37. “In the midst of the legal action in August last year, Boscaro, an adven­tur­ous man in his for­ties, died while tak­ing time off from the case to relax in the foothills of the Pied­mont moun­tains. At around 7:30 pm on a clear sun­ny evening, he was float­ing high in the sky beneath a paraglid­er. Sud­den­ly the canopy seemed to stall. Boscaro plunged to his death. It is a dan­ger­ous sport and such acci­dents are not uncom­mon, but offi­cials who exam­ined the canopy noticed cords were dam­aged. Police con­clud­ed it was an acci­dent, although friends of Boscaro dis­pute their find­ings. Acci­dent or mur­der? It may nev­er be known. But for Sad­dam, the end was near­ing. With­in months coali­tion troops ere on their way to Kuwait. How­ev­er, the many mil­lions Sad­dam siphoned off for his own pur­pos­es may nev­er be ful­ly traced, let alone recov­ered.”

Idem.