COMMENT: For some time now, we’ve been referring to Romney as “The VerMITTler”–the German word for “agent.” As the strange goings on at Bain capital attract more attention the term appears more and more appropriate.
In an incisive post, Joseph Cannon noted the presence at Bain of people with links to one aspect or another of the intelligence community, including people with links to the murderous El Salvadorean junta whose ARENA party was generously assisted in its efforts by elements of U.S. intelligence.
A follow-up story gives more insight into the nature of those at Bain. Note Cannon’s caveat about some of the sites from which his information is derived.
As indicated in our previous discussion, interests that place money “offshore” do not do so for altruistic reasons. The “offshore” milieu unites tax evaders, arms traffickers, drug traffickers, terrorists and organized crime syndicates. Offshore is also the province of intelligence services. These elements seem to be present at Bain.
Cannon notes the many links running between Bain and the milieu of the late Howard Hughes, whose operations were inextricably linked with the doings of the intelligence community and God only knows who else. Taken together, these links paint a picture of a synthesis of the overworld and the underworld.
With Hughes having become a recluse decades before his death and then remaining under the direction of his “Mormon mafia” security contingent, we view Hughes’ state of affairs as open to conjecture–how much do we REALLY know about the guy?
With regard to the large number of people and interests overlapping both Bain Capital and Hughes’ operations, we may be looking at a perpetuation of covert action capability and institutional continuity between the interests lurking behind the Hughes facade and elements operating within the Bain mantle.
Obviously, the Mormon connection may figure into this as well.
In addition to the elements cited in the first of Cannon’s posts about Bain, the VerMITTler’s business and its participants bring a number of things to mind in connection to Bain-linked elements, which include:
- Miguel Duenas, scion of another of El Salvador’s 14 families.
- Pancho Soler, another member of the El Salvadorian elite and alleged to be linked to the Howard Hughes milieu.
- Diego Ribadeneira, a former Ecuadorian foreign minister (Always remember the CIA’s profound connections to Latin America, as well as the overlapping links of the Underground Reich.)
- Frank Kardonski, a native of Panama and heavily involved with promoting that country’s business interests, interests that are inextricably linked with money laundering and other questionable activities. Kardonski bought Key Biscayne Bank from Nixon crony Bebe Rebozo. That bank has been alleged to have been a vehicle for contributions to Nixon’s campaigns from Howard Hughes. In light of the real possibility that Bain is a front for “Funny Money,” we note that Paul Manning notes that Rebozo’s bank was also a laundering vehicle for Bormann capital network money. ” . . . . . . . The German-South American group also had direct access to the Nixon White House through their representatives in Washington, and were proud of the fact that Bebe Rebozo was President Nixon’s closest friend. For, knowingly or unknowingly, Rebozo processed millions of their dollars through his Florida bank as part of normal commercial operations. . . .” (Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile by Paul Manning; p. 275.)
- Orit Gadeish, a former assistant to Israeli foreign minister Ezer Weitzman. (Like the presence of former Israeli intelligence asset Robert Maxwell, this connection may be part of the same political dynamic that binds Romney to Benjamin Netanyahu.)
- Frank William “Bill” Gay and Robert C. Gay. The former was Howard Hughes’ chief of staff, the latter his son and managing director of Bain Capital.
- Frank Morse, a former attorney for Howard Hughes and someone alleged to be on good terms with the CIA.
- Robert Bennett, associate and informant for Bob Woodward during the Watergate “investigation” and someone with links to the CIA and the Howard Hughes milieu.
EXCERPT: . . . We have already discussed Poma. He was one of the founders of the fascist ARENA party of Roberto D’Aubuisson — a party that ran the death squads which ruthlessly murdered anyone who challenged the oligarchy’s control. The CIA aided — arguably controlled — the death squads.
Miguel Duenas hailed from another of the 14 families [that run El Salvador]; in fact, the Duenas clan may have been the worst thing ever to happen to El Salvador. It turns out that Miguel Duenas — I presume that we’re dealing with the same fellow — ran the Banco Commericial of El Savador, which determined which farmers would and would not get credit. A nice little arrangement, this was; the Duenas family used it to control a massive share of the country’s cotton and coffee production. In a country where small farmers had once been allowed to own and work their own land, the Duenas clan expropriated their fields and reduced the farmers to near-slavery. The National Guard kept the serfs in line.
One of the most interesting names on our list is the late Frank Kardonski. Born in Panama, he created the Panaminian Stock Exchange, owned Tower Bank, and did much to promote Panama as a place of foreign investment. Of course, during this period (the 1980s), Panama became a haven for anyone hoping to launder drug loot.
Here’s the bit I like best:
In 1990, Kardonski’s family bought Key Biscayne Bank from Charles “Bebe” Rebozo, a longtime Key Biscayne resident and longtime friend of former President Richard Nixon.
Bebe Rebozo was the president’s hideously mobbed up pal, and his bank was a notorious haven for mafia money. Is the bank still used for such purposes? I don’t know. Perhaps readers in Florida can tell me more.
(A younger man named Frank Kardonski — who may be related to Romney’s old pal, judging from the facial resemblance — runs an airline that operates between Florida and Central America. Readers of Daniel Hopsicker will no doubt raise an eyebrow.)
“Diego Ribandinarea” should actually be spelled Diego Ribadeneira. I believe that Romney’s reference goes to the Diego Ribandinarea who became Ecuador’s ambassador to Peru and previously served as foreign minister. I’ve seen no derogatory information about this guy. Of course, the CIA has a long history in Ecuador; see here and here. In 2008, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, charged that that the CIA controls that country’s military intelligence service and much of the police. Judging from the brief bio here, Ribadeneira seems to have devoted his life to diplomatic service, not business — so it’s a little odd to see Romney mention him as the co-founder of an American venture capital firm. (Could we have the wrong Diego...?)
The only online reference to Pancho Soler — another offspring of the El Salvadoran aristocracy — occurs in this rather wild tale, set in the 1970s, when Pancho was a young Harvard grad and good friend to the son of the brutal (CIA-backed) Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somosa. The story concerns Howard Hughes, who made a bizarre journey to Nicaragua after being “kidnapped” from his infamous Las Vegas hideaway.
(Sources differ as to whether Hughes left voluntarily. At roughly the same time he changed lodgings, the Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever” was shot in Vegas. In that movie, bad guys kidnap a millionaire obviously modeled on Hughes. In other words, life and art imitated each other simultaneously.) . . . .
. . . .1. Soler. Bain Capital co-founder Pancho Soler apparently had something to do with arranging Hughes’ sojourn in Nicaragua in the 1970s. (Side note: Did you know HH was there for the big 1972 earthquake? A long time ago, the L.A. Times claimed that the poor old guy rode out the big one bouncing around in the back seat of a car parked on a Managua side street.)
2. Kardonski. Another Romney partner, Frank Kardonski, took over Bebe Rebozo’s old mafia bank in Key Biscayne. As this bio puts it:
One of the ways that Rebozo helped Nixon was to obtain large campaign contributions from Howard Hughes.
Long story there. You already have the gist of it.
3. The Gays. As noted, Bain’s Managing Director was the son of the guy who managed Hughes’ business affairs — during the time when American spooks were quietly taking over the day-to-day running of Hughes’ company. As we shall see, Frank “Bill” Gay controlled much of Hughes’ money after the old man’s death. The importance of this fact will soon become clear.
But before we get to that, let’s add to our list of Romney/Hughes links:
4. Morse. Frank Morse ran a Bain company. He is — not to mince words — a CIA-friendly attorney who represented Howard Hughes during the key period described above. After that stint, Morse worked for Adnan Kashoggi and Larry Kolb, the agent for Miles Copeland who got close to both Khashoggi and Muhammed Ali. (I’ve corresponded a bit with Kolb, who describes his adventures in a fascinating book called Overworld; see these previous posts. An interesting guy, to say the least.) Nowadays, Morse is working with Robert C. Gay.
5. Bennett. Robert Bennett, now a Senator, has close links to Mitt Romney, as discussed in this previous post. Bennett previously was a CIA guy, running a front company called Mullen & Co.
The famous (or should-be-famous) Lukoskie memo, uncovered by writer Jim Hougan and published in his book Secret Agenda, reveals that Bennett was a source of Watergate-related information for Bob Woodward — who, suitably grateful, kept the CIA out of the Washington Post’s Watergate coverage. (The CIA’s fingerprints are all over Watergate, if you look closely.) Hougan thinks that at least some of the “Deep Throat” information came from Bennett, not Mark Felt. To this day, Woodward doesn’t like to talk about his interactions with the spook who became a senator.
Bennett, almost needless to say, played a key role in the saga of Howard Hughes. When given the opportunity to work for Hughes, Bennett shut down Mullen & Co. in less time than it took you to read this sentence. . . .
...well, I’m still not entirely sure what Bennett did on a day-to-day basis. Although Bennett held the title of Public Relations Director for Summa, Hughes’ company, he seems to have done a remarkably lousy job. The only publicity Hughes got in those days was negative. Evidence indicates that Bennett helped to arrange Project Azorian, which used a Hughes ship, the Glomar Explorer, to raise a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine.
There are even more Romney/Hughes connections. Right now, though, you must be asking: What does it all mean?
To be honest, I’ve not been able to dope out the reason why so many Romney/Bain associates have histories going all the way back to the weird world of Howard Hughes. Maybe we’re looking at a surreal chain of coincidences. But one guy has tried to cobble together a theory that ties it all together: The aforementioned Paul Drockton.
As noted earlier, I’m quite wary of conspiracy buffs like Drockton; he inhabits a world in which I do not feel comfortable. That said, we must give credit where due: His Theory of Romney — or should we call it a Theory of Hughes? — just may hold water. At the very least, I hope his work will inspire further research. [Update: Turns out it doesn’t hold water very well at all. Please see the additional material at the end of this post.]
That theory — which you can read here — is pretty simple: The Mormon Mafia looted Howard Hughes’ holdings after the old man died. Bain may have provided a mechanism for the Big Howard Hughes Snatch Job.
In 1953, Hughes — hoping to do an end run around the IRS — transferred his stock in Hughes Aircraft to the charitable Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1985, GM bought Hughes Aircraft from the Institute for more than five billion dollars.
You’d think that Hughes Medical would now be one very well-heeled charity. But you’d be wrong. Ten years ago, its holdings had dwindled to $15.8 million. During that time, the Institute was under the management of our old friend Bill Gay, who died in 2007.
A lot of dough seems to have slipped through that guy’s fingers. Oops.
Drockton asks: “How much of the Medical Institute’s money was managed by Bain Capital?” It’s a fair question. As you may recall, during this time period the managing director of Bain was Robert C. Gay, Bill Gay’s son. It’s not out of the question to suppose that Dad invested the money with sonny-boy.