Recovered History: BCCI, BNL, GW Bush and Iraq
Recovered History: BCCI – BNL - Kissinger – Bush & Iraq
From Sam Smith's Undernews E-Mail Newsletter
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CHRIS FLOYD, COUNTERSPIN
- The opening of a long-delayed civil suit in a . . . involves our old friends, BCCI, the international bank that served as the front for a global crime ring involving top officials and Establishment worthies in dozens of "civilized" nations. BCCI ran guns to Saddam and other heavies, funded Pakistan's illegal nuclear weapons program, laundered drug profits, peddled prostitutes, doled out bribes, served as a conduit for covert CIA operations--and, through its connections to the bin Laden family, gave George W. Bush a sweetheart loan of $25 million to bail out one of his many business failures.
One of the respectable organizations tainted by the ring was the Bank of England, which was the financial regulator for BCCI when the front finally collapsed in 1991--leaving its legitimate creditors some $11 billion in the hole. Not surprisingly, some of these victims filed suit against ye olde B of E, claiming that its oversight of BCCI left something to be desired. But successive British governments--including the plagiaristic poodle-led pack currently in power--have fought for years to quash the lawsuit, the Observer reports.
That's because the trial could open a can of particularly grubby worms concerning the UK government's extensive canoodling with BCCI. A host of worthies are expected to be grilled in the dock, including John Major, former UK prime minister and current business partner of George Bush I in yet another secretive international front that profits from war, weapons, violence, repression and the greasing of highly-placed palms: the Carlyle Group. . .
The Italian bank BNL was one of BCCI's main tentacles. BNL's Atlanta branch was the primary funnel used by the first Bush Administration to send millions of secret dollars to Saddam for arms purchases, including deadly chemicals and other WMD materials supplied by the Chilean arms dealer Cardoen and various politically-connected operators in the United States like, weapons merchant Matrix Churchill. (As always with the Busha Nostra, geopolitics--in this case, helping Saddam wage aggressive war against Iran--and crony profits go hand in hand. Once the war was over and Iran was left a shattered hulk, with millions dead and displaced, the useful idiot Saddam was expendable, swiftly morphing from good buddy into budding Hitler.)
As soon as the BNL case broke, President Bush I moved to throttle the investigation. He appointed lawyers from both Cardoen and Matrix to top Justice Department posts--where they supervised the officials investigating their old companies. Meanwhile, White House aides applied heavy pressure on other prosecutors to restrict the range of the probe--especially the fact that Bush cabinet officials Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger had served as consultants for BNL during their pre-White House days as spear-carriers for yet another secretive international front that profits from war, weapons, etc., etc. - Kissinger Associates.
Which brings us to the judicial appointment. One of the White House aides who unlawfully intervened in the BNL prosecution was a certain factotum named Jay S. ByBee. Last week, said factotum was nominated by the current warmer of the Oval Office seat, George W. Bush, to a place on the federal appeals court--a lifetime sinecure of perks and power. Well done, thou good and faithful servant!
[FBI director Robert Mueller was a top Justice Department official as the BNL fiasco unfolded. The full story of this seedy period has yet to emerge]
The focus of [Rep. Henry] Gonzalez's investigation was a massive $5.5 billion bank fraud that the Justice Department pinned on Christopher Drogoul, the lowly Atlanta branch manager of Italy's state-owned Banca Nazionale del Lavom. Benefiting from U.S. government export credit guarantees, the Atlantic bank lent the money to companies all over world that were supplying Saddam Hussein with weapons manufacturing gear and other goods. In his defense, Drogoul - backed by Gonzalez - claimed he was merely the instrument of a secret U.S. policy to aid Saddam Hussein. Rejecting that notion, the Justice Department indicted Drogoul on 347 counts of fraud and related charges in 1991. As the presidential campaign heated up, Gonzalez bombarded the White House, the State Department, and the intelligence agencies with subpoenas, obtaining reams of sensitive diplomatic cables and internal memos documenting the U.S. "tilt" toward Iraq. It was these documents (as well as Brent Scowcroft's secret trip to China only weeks after the Tianananmen massacre in June 1988) that prompted Bill Clinton to charge, during the final days of the campaign, that President Bush had been "coddling dictators."
Nearly four years and several grand juries later, however, the Clinton administration has swept its "Iraqgate" investigation under the rug. The Final Report, issued by attorney general Janet Reno on January 17, 1995, and written by Reno deputy John Hogan, amounts to little more than a whitewash of the entire affair. In every case it examined, the report concluded there had been no violation of law. And in a classified addendum, subsequently rendered public, the intelligence community and the executive branch were exonerated of having "illegally armed Iraq," despite extensive evidence of intelligence community involvement unearthed by the Gonzalez investigation and the U.S. Customs Service.
SAM SMITH, SHADOWS OF HOPE, 1994:
[Clinton] appears willing to ignore the great residue of Reagan-Bush offenses, especially those growing out of the war on drugs and attempts to gag and intimidate government and defense workers. And he seems similarly disinterested in unclosed cases of political racketeering such as those involving BCCI and BNL. Said one activist lawyer who has met with Attorney General Reno: "She's closing her ears to all of that." Reno, who was clearly more interested in protecting law enforcement agencies than in finding the truth about the Waco massacre, also early bought the Bush administration line in the BNL bank case. She agreed to a plea bargain by Christopher P. Drogoul, the former Atlanta manager of the Italian bank who had claimed that US intelligence officials were aware of loans made to Iraq. Reno declared that she did not think the case had been mishandled by the Bush administration, despite a federal judge's charge that Drogoul and his Atlanta bank colleagues were "pawns and bit players" in a secret deal to provide arms for Iraq and that the Clinton administration's exoneration of its predecessors was only possible "in never-never land."
MORE ON THE BUSH-BCCI-IRAQ CONNECTION