August 14, 2001
HOSTAGES: A Multi-Part FTW Special
- Medellin Cartel Cofounder, Carlos Lehder:
A Free Man in Gov't. Charade?, -- "Wife" of Drug Lord
- American International Group, Arkansas,
ADFA, Contras, Goldman Sachs, Carlos Lehder and Coral
- Exposing CIA Covert Operations
[Part Two of a Multi-Part
Michael C. Ruppert
[© Copyright 2001, Michael
C. Ruppert and From the Wilderness Publications.
All Rights Reserved. May not be reprinted or redistributed
without the express permission of the author ]
[EDITORIAL NOTE - From
The Wilderness is a sole proprietorship and dba.
It is written and edited by one person; Me. I do almost
all of the research. Therefore, in the following story,
for both legal reasons and for better reading I have decided
to use the personal pronouns "I" and "me" instead of standard
editorial references in the third person.]
This series is dedicated to
Mark Swaney of the Ozark Gazette for his intellectual courage
and tenacity; to John McGlaughlin, the straightest and toughest
man who ever honestly carried a badge; to Celerino Castillo
III, with a heart bigger than his beloved Texas; to all
the young men and women, mostly minorities, who are serving
up to life in prison for crimes that don't remotely compare
to those of Carlos Lehder; and to all the innocents in Colombia
who stand at the brink of the next Vietnam War.
There are mounting holes in
the story of a woman, Coral Talavera Baca (henceforth referred
to by her maiden name Talavera), who has claimed to be the
wife of Medellin Cartel co-founder, Carlos Lehder, deepening
the mystery about relationships between her, Lehder himself,
the insurance giant American International Group (AIG),
and the Central Intelligence Agency. These new discrepancies,
including her prior confirmation of the authenticity of
documents now suspected of being forged, have raised the
possibility that the U.S. Government, in partnership with
AIG, has been deliberately planting false information in
the press to support the woman's claims about Lehder's reported
freedom and activities. Talavera has been simultaneously
described as either Staff Counsel for AIG's in house San
Francisco law firm or as its office manager.
In Part I of this series we
reported that other journalists, who have asked not to be
identified, had received the same documents we continue
to examine here. Some of those documents purport to be official
reports from the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Attorney's offices.
As FTW moves deeper into its multi-part investigation
- inspired by revelations of possible 1987-92 drug money
laundering involving AIG, Goldman Sachs and the Arkansas
Development Financial Authority (ADFA) - attention now focuses
on Talavera's employer, AIG. These events increased my interest
in the 1987 founding of Coral Reinsurance (Coral Re) by
AIG, Goldman Sachs (whose then Vice Chairman Robert Rubin
served as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration)
and ADFA. Lehder, arrested in 1987, was allowed to keep
almost $3 billion in assets in a move severely criticized
by Merkle. Where did that money go? Was it hidden it in
a major insurance company with cash flows large enough to
conceal it? This question, more than any other, except establishing
Lehder's current status, prompted me to begin this investigation.
What is known about the firm
which employs Talavera, who is not a lawyer, and permits
her to represent herself as "Staff Counsel" for its San
Francisco legal office while simultaneously representing
herself as the wife of a one-time cocaine cartel head? On
June 22, just two days after I had lunch with her and confirmed
that I was writing a story, a receptionist at Brown and
Boland, AIG's San Francisco in-house counsel, told me and
others that Talavera had fled her employment and gone to
Cuba. Yet the firm, located in the AIG building and using
AIG e-mail addresses, is currently announcing in new, dated
voice mail messages, that she is still the office manager.
FTW has also
conducted an extensive investigation into AIG and its predecessors,
including the C. V. Starr Insurance Companies, revealing
deep connections to US intelligence dating back to the Office
of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. These connections
include documented CIA operatives connected to drug smuggling
from Southeast Asia and a current board member, Frank Wisner,
Jr., whose father was a key figure in the creation of the
CIA. History, as well as AIG's current operations, suggest
that these relationships continue unabated today.
These connections may go a
long way toward explaining the behavior of Talavera, a woman
whose education, work experience and history apparently
do not qualify her to manage a legal office which, according
to AIG spokesman Michael Murphy, specializes in the international
operations of a company operating in 130 countries and with
year 2000 revenues of $46 billion.
While the mystery deepens
about the woman claiming to be his wife, the key question
as to whether or not Lehder is free remains unanswered.
In Part I of this series I
reported that through a number of vehicles including correspondence,
e-mails, a telephone listing in the name of Carlos Lehder,
tape recorded conversations and in-person statements Coral
Talavera had represented to a number of people, including
a retired DEA agent, me and others that she was the wife
of Medellin Cartel co-founder Carlos Lehder. In an on-the-record
interview and a legally tape recorded conversation she has
also vouched for the authenticity of documents that have
either been shown to be forged or are now seriously suspected
of being forged. She additionally made it clear that Lehder
was out of prison, working for the United States government
and directly connected to the CIA and the U.S. Treasury.
This scenario was circumstantially, but well supported by
statements from a number of credible sources, including
reporters, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Lehder's prosecutor
(former U.S. Attorney Robert Merkle). Their independent
statements gave credibility to many of Talavera's assertions.
And suspicion or belief has been widespread that Lehder
is, in fact, free -- regardless of Talavera's actions. All
this is in spite of the fact that Lehder has been officially
serving 55 non-parolable years in prison after giving testimony
of questionable value in the 1990 trial of former Panamanian
dictator Manuel Noriega. Noriega's prosecutor, Robert Mueller,
who put Lehder on the stand, has just recently been confirmed
to head the FBI.
During a lunch meeting with
Talavera on June 20 of this year, she went on the record
with me stating that she had worked for AIG since 1994 and
that she also owned a currently existing company named Capital
Investment Group, Ltd. (CIG) in the Bahamas. She had earlier
written me, speaking for Lehder, stating that neither she
nor Lehder had any connection to Coral Re. In a 1999 tape
recorded conversation she had discussed her marriage to
Lehder and e-mail notifications allegedly sent by him introducing
her as his wife. My investigation since that time has proven
all of these assertions, and many others allegedly made
to colleagues or social contacts, are lies at worst, or
seriously suspect, at best.
One of the critical documents
discussed in Part I of this series was a U.S. Treasury "Report
of Investigation," the authenticity of which I had been
unable to ascertain despite repeated contacts with Treasury.
Since publication of Part I have received communication
from "Kincaid," a confidential legal source, who has obtained
an evaluation of that document from Lehder's current legal
team, that the document is not authentic. This was the same
document that, at the June 20 lunch meeting, Talavera went
on the record to evaluate, line by line, and state was a
real document that had been filed in a court case that she
would not disclose to me.
The purpose of this portion
of the on the record interview was to clarify Talavera's
relationship with a Bahamian investment company known as
Capital Investment Group, Ltd.
Although Bahamian law provides
great secrecy for corporations, I was able to learn in late
July that CIG in the Bahamas was "not listed" on government
records. Through a confidential source with Caribbean banking
connections, I was told that a banking official offered
four possible explanations for CIG's "lack of registry."
They include: the company was never formed; the company
failed to pay dues; the file was lost; and, the file was
lost intentionally at the request of the Prime Minister
or the Attorney General. Coincidentally, the largest single
shareholder in AIG, the Starr International Company (SICO),
owning 13.62% of AIG stock, is also headquartered in the
Information, developed while
looking further into Talavera's background now casts suspicion
on the 1999 reported birth of a son, allegedly fathered
by Lehder, as well as her employment history, education
and qualifications to manage a legal office. So, with the
exception of the statement that neither she nor Carlos Lehder
had anything to do with the founding of Coral Re, almost
all of Talavera's statements regarding her history have
been shown to be false. This now calls the Coral Re denial
into question as well.
All of this begs the question
as to why AIG would protect and employ a woman engaged in
these and other behaviors and with a history that could
only damage the company's reputation. The one fact of Coral
Talavera's life that has not been called into question by
any of the sources I have contacted is that Coral knew and
had a relationship with Carlos Lehder in the 1980s. The
suspicions of many that Lehder is free have not yet been
allayed. So these disturbing developments also drive home
the importance of a question that the US government still
has not answered. Where is Carlos Lehder and what motive
could the government -- or AIG -- have for wanting some
people to believe, or know, that he is free? If I am so
patently wrong in what I have reported in this investigation,
including the publication of the tape- recorded conversation
wherein Talavera openly talks about Lehder's freedom and
says that she is his wife, why doesn't the government just
deny it, produce Lehder, discredit Talavera and state that
the rest is pure bunk? Is there a legend -- a cover story
-- that the CIA and AIG are trying to protect for the benefit
of unknown third parties in other parts of the world?
Why would AIG spokesman Michael
Murphy have stated, after speaking with me and learning
of Talavera's representations regarding Lehder, that he
mentioned them briefly to her but did not pursue them because
he, "didn't want to pry"?
Coral Talavera's life has
improved dramatically since 1995, the year that she provided
San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb with documents
including federal grand jury transcripts that started an
investigation which subsequently established, through government
records and a CIA Inspector General report, that the CIA
was a hands-on player in the drug trade during the Contra
war years of 1982-88. According to records filed in a protracted
and contentious 1994 divorce case involving a previous husband
-- which I obtained from the court -- Talavera was working
as a legal secretary for the Oakland law firm of Hanna,
Brophy et al. Her salary was approximately $26,000 per year
and, according to a spokesperson for the firm which I also
visited recently, she was employed there for two years until
February, 1994. Hanna, Brophy specializes in Workman's Compensation
defense of insurance companies in California.
Confidential sources familiar
with Talavera led me to another law firm, Schmit, Morris,
Bitner and Schmit where she reportedly worked throughout
1995 and into 1996, also as a secretary. Representatives
of that firm refused to disclose any information unless
I presented written authorization from Talavera for them
to do so. Schmit, Morris is also a law firm exclusively
devoted to Workman's Compensation defense. It may be a single-client
firm representing AIG which may explain Talavera's "promotion"
to the in-house firm but I have been unable to confirm this.
Briefs and petitions filed
in Talavera's divorce also indicate that she was the mother
of one female child whose paternity was ultimately questioned
and later verified as being of Talavera's then husband.
In a dispute over the property settlement it was alleged
that she had stolen the seal of a notary public and forged
a deed giving her sole title to a piece of real estate that
was later judged to be community property. This fact lends
credibility to allegations made by a number of people, who
asked not to be identified, that she was the likely source
of the forged documents. Those include forged newspaper
stories and magazine articles, alleged memoranda from an
unspecified U.S. Attorney's Office, a faked custom printed
invitation to a birthday party allegedly sent by Lehder,
photographic surveillance reports (including one purporting
to be of her newborn son, Carlo), and the Treasury report
which was described as "consistent with similar reports"
by a source familiar with Lehder's case. [Some of these
documents are posted on the FTW web site at
It was also alleged in the
divorce settlement that Talavera had deliberately placed
the name of someone other than the real father, her then
husband, on the birth certificate of her daughter. Even
though she told me, during a 1998 unsolicited phone call,
initiated by her, that she was going to have a child by
Lehder, people who knew her during the period state that
she was never pregnant. As Talavera's story fell apart I
checked birth records in two Bay Area counties and found
no recorded births listing Talavera as the mother aside
from the 1992 birth of her one known daughter. Yet, in the
1999 taped conversation with Castillo, Talavera specifically
referred to a purported news story entitled Beauty and
the Beast which described a society function which Talavera
and Lehder allegedly attended in 1999, "just three days
after the birth of her son." During the conversation
with Castillo, Talavera did not dispute this reporting about
the birth. Instead she went to lengths to castigate the
mean-spirited people who had written the story for calling
Lehder, her husband, a beast. Asked by Castillo what paper
had written the story Talavera stated on the tape, "Aw,
who the hell knows?"
One document that seems beyond
Talavera's ken, however, is a completely rewritten and re-typeset
article from the August, 2000 issue of Architectural
Digest, in which the 1,000 word story about the Ixtapa,
Mexico home of a Levi Strauss executive was completely rewritten
with copy about the new home of Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Lehder.
In numerous conversations and in written correspondence
I found Talavera to be a good communicator, at times very
good, but her writing did not reach the style and skill
of the professional journalist who had to rewrite the story
and make the copy fit exactly into the same photograph-filled
layout before faxing it to me. Indeed, there is nothing
in Talavera's educational or employment background, that
I have found, to indicate such skill. In fact, her statements
to colleagues about her education also reveal more glaring
holes in her story.
Acting again on information
from confidential sources who have worked with Talavera,
I learned that she had allegedly told people that she had
BA and MBA degrees from St. Mary's college in the Bay Area.
Lacking the ability to quote these sources by name I cannot
confirm whether she made the representations or not. However,
a check with the registrar at St. Mary's has revealed that
she earned a BA in Liberal Arts in 1988 but has subsequently
earned no advanced degrees of any kind. The registrar's
office also stated that Talavera was currently enrolled
in a graduate program but that it is not an MBA program.
All of these revelations prompted
me to recontact Coral's "former" employer on August 3 to
see what I could learn about her employment at AIG. It was
then that I heard the voice messages informing me that she
was still there. These messages, recorded within the last
three weeks by senior attorneys Robert Brown and Larry Kloenhamer,
both specifically refer callers to Office Manager Coral
Talavera if the caller needs immediate assistance. A switchboard
operator also confirmed Talavera's current status with AIG.
Another interesting fact is that, on his current resume
with the California State Bar Association, Robert Brown
states that he is a Vietnam-era veteran of U.S. Army Special
Forces. There is abundant evidence linking Special Forces
to covert CIA operations and drug smuggling during the Vietnam
Credible sources with longstanding
legal and business experience are perplexed to explain Talavera's
apparent meteoric professional rise between 1992 and 1996.
Asked about the transition from legal secretary at a Workman's
Comp defense firm to office manager for the firm handling
some of AIG's international operations, a legal expert with
more than 20 years of experience in a variety of law offices
summed up general reactions to Talavera's rise saying, "It's
The question as to what AIG
knew and when it knew it gets stickier with the fact that,
in no less than ten e-mail messages to me, Talavera had
a signature block reading, "Coral Talavera, AIG Staff Counsel,
121 Spear Street, Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94105. [An
example of this can be viewed on my web site at www.copvcia.com].
The legal expert told me that this practice would be illegal
in the state of Florida. A spokeswoman for the California
State Bar Association told me on August 5 that the use of
the term was, at best, misleading. She referred me to the
San Francisco County District Attorney's office which subsequently
stated that the action could be a violation of California's
Business and Professions Code. Although Talavera was quick
to point out in a number of conversations that she was not
an attorney, the use of the term in official correspondence,
might give AIG's overseas clients a different impression.
I have left three messages
at AIG's law offices in San Francisco seeking clarification.
At press time no calls have been returned. The current voice
mail messages refer to Talavera as the "office manager."
So what is known then about
the firm which employs Talavera and permits her to represent
herself as Staff Counsel for its San Francisco legal office
while simultaneously representing herself as the wife of
a one-time cocaine cartel head?
Is it possible that AIG's
CEO Hank Greenberg, a legendary stickler for detail and
hands-on manager, would permit such activity, including
the representation about owning an offshore investment company
that might compete with AIG? In a June interview, AIG spokesman
Michael Murphy, head of AIG operations in the Bahamas and
reported to be Greenberg's right-hand man said, "Whenever
there's the slightest hint of anything improper or of misuse
of funds, [AIG CEO Hank] Greenberg is the first guy
to lead the posse and clean house." I placed one follow-up
call to Murphy's office for further clarification but it
was not returned.
I was able to locate two sources
in the insurance industry who were familiar with AIG and
ask them if Talavera could be doing all this without Greenberg's
knowledge. One response was short and direct, "The possibility
that this is going on without Greenberg knowing is less
The second source was a bit
more diplomatic. "M.R. Greenberg is a legendary leader.
All current and former AIG employees know he is not only
a visionary but a detail oriented person on all aspects
of the firm's business activities worldwide. The General
Counsel of AIG, Ernest Patrikis, was the senior legal officer
of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and given the scrutiny
AIG is subject to, it would surprise me if Mr. Greenberg
was not aware. Sometimes, however, in a big company things
slip by, but when he becomes aware, the situation is addressed
The seemingly mundane insurance
business is, in fact, one of the primary weapons of intelligence
gathering around the world. And the founder of AIG, Cornelius
Starr, was an architect of its use in World War II. Consider
quotes from a September 22,
2000 story by Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Fritz
entitled, "The Secret (Insurance) Agent Men."
"COLLEGE PARK, Md.—They
knew which factories to burn, which bridges to blow up,
which cargo ships could be sunk in good conscience. They
had pothole counts for roads used for invasion and head
counts for city blocks marked for incineration.
"They weren’t just secret
agents. They were secret insurance agents. These undercover
underwriters gave their World War II spymasters access to
a global industry that both bankrolled and, ultimately,
helped bring down Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
"Newly declassified U.S.
intelligence files tell the remarkable story of the ultra-secret
Insurance Intelligence Unit, a component of the Office of
Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA, and its elite
counterintelligence branch X-2.
"Though rarely numbering
more than a half dozen agents, the unit gathered intelligence
on the enemy’s insurance industry, Nazi insurance titans
and suspected collaborators in the insurance business. But,
more significantly, the unit mined standard insurance records
for blueprints of bomb plants, timetables of tide changes
and thousands of other details about targets, from a brewery
in Bangkok to a candy company in Bergedorf. 'They used insurance
information as a weapon of war,' said Greg Bradsher, a historian
and National Archives expert on the declassified records.
That insurance information was critical to Allied strategists,
who were seeking to cripple the enemy’s industrial base
and batter morale by burning cities…
"Germany had 45% of the
worldwide wholesale insurance industry before the war began
and managed to actually expand its business as it conquered
continental Europe. As wholesalers, or 'reinsurers,'
these companies covered other insurers against a catastrophic
loss that could wipe out a single company. In the process,
the wholesaler learned everything about the lives and property
they were reinsuring [emphasis, mine]…
"The men behind the insurance
unit were OSS head William "Wild Bill" Donovan and California-born
insurance magnate Cornelius V. Starr. Starr had started
out selling insurance to Chinese in Shanghai in 1919 and,
over the next 50 years, would build what is now American
International Group, one of the biggest insurance companies
in the world. He was forced to move his operation to New
York in 1939, when Japan invaded China. In the early years
of the war, the German insurance industry expanded its business
as it conquered continental Europe. Nazi insurance brokers
who traveled with combat troops during invasions also scoured
local insurance files for strategic data…"
On the special value of reinsurance
as a vehicle for intelligence gathering Fritz wrote:
"Such convoluted business
dealings were traced largely through the work of Ernest
Stiefel, a member of the intelligence unit who diagrammed
the way insurance companies pooled their risks, invested
in and insured each other and, as a result, willfully or
witlessly shared data about nations at war. 'Stiefel mapped
the entire system, said [Timothy] Naftali, a historian at
the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs.
"Each time I take a piece of your risk, you’ve got to give
me information. I am not going to reinsure your company
unless you give me all the documents. That’s great intelligence
Later in the story Fritz confirmed
the value of reinsurance as a vehicle for money laundering:
"With the Axis defeat imminent,
U.S. intelligence officials focused greater attention on
ways the Nazis would try to use insurance to hide and launder
their assets so they could be used to rebuild the war machine..."
And how did Starr benefit
from his service? Fritz writes:
"Starr sent insurance agents into Asia
and Europe even before the bombs stopped falling and built
what eventually became AIG, which today has its world headquarters
in the same downtown New York building where the tiny OSS
unit toiled in the deepest secrecy.
Starr died in 1968, but
his empire endures. AIG is the biggest foreign insurance
company in Japan. More than a third of its $40 billion in
revenue last year came from the Far East theater that Starr
helped carpet bomb and liberate.
"In The Shadow Warriors:
OSS and the Origins of the CIA (Basic Books, 1983) author
Bradley F. Smith shed more light on Cornelius Starr and
"It [a secret intelligence
operation in China] was formed in April 1942, when
[Bill] Donovan persuaded British insurance magnate C.V.
Starr to let C.O.I. (Covert Operations Intelligence)
use his commercial and insurance connections in occupied
China and Formosa to create a deep cover intelligence network.
Although the State Department was nervous about the operation,
Donovan went ahead and, with the cooperation of the U.S.
Army, bypassed the diplomats in operating the communications
system. Starr's people handled their own internal communication,
then turned over their intelligence findings to [General
Richard] Stillwell's headquarters for dispatch to the
U.S. Starr, who was residing in the U.S. at the time, provided
these services to the Allied cause. Later Starr became disgusted
with what he considered Donovan's inefficiency and transferred
his services to the British S.I.S. But the Starr-Donovan
connection worked in China at least until the winter of
of the Starr intelligence network, an operation so secret
that it even escaped the attention of Chiang's [Kai
Shek] security police (and of historians heretofore),
was a major accomplishment for an intelligence operation
barely six months old" [p.133]
The War Conspiracy
(Bobbs-Merrill, 1972) by Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D. of UC Berkeley
is a book few Americans have seen. The compelling and meticulously
documented history of the creation of the Vietnam War was
rushed from bookstores and shelves almost as soon as it
was published. Scott, author of Deep Politics and the
Assassination of JFK, The Iran-Contra Connection
and Cocaine Politics is an expert on the interface
between covert operations and the international drug trade.
In Chapter Six of The War Conspiracy, entitled "Opium,
the China Lobby, and the CIA," Scott traces the connections
between drug trafficking in Southeast Asia and American
intelligence operations. There are detailed references to
C.V. Starr and connections with some figures, like CIA veteran
Paul Helliwell, who have been irrevocably and blatantly
tied to the drug trade. Those connections also lead directly
into the so-called "China Lobby" and firms identified as
either CIA proprietaries or "affiliates" such as Sea Supply,
Inc. (run by Helliwell), Civil Air Transport (CAT), a CIA
proprietary, Civil Air Transport Co., Ltd. (CATCL) -- a
separate firm not owned by but affiliated with the CIA through
CAT-- and Air America, an evolution of Civil Air Transport.
In 1957 the Airdale Corporation which owned 100 per cent
of Air America changed its name to Pacific Corp. In 1976
CIA General Counsel Lawrence Houston testified before the
Senate's Church Committee looking into intelligence abuses
about CIA Air operations. When asked what the one single
holding company, above all others, was at the top of CIA
proprietary and contract air operations, he identified Pacific
Corporation. According to published reports, Houston also
testified that the CIA also had interests in investment
and insurance companies.
Pacific Corp -- which one
source has told me is currently insured by AIG -- and the
CIA have, in the 1990s, been connected with the "laundering"
of some 28 C-130 military transport aircraft into the hands
of private, forest fire, air tanker contractors in the U.S.
Subsequently, many of those C-130s turned up all over the
world. Some were directly involved in drug trafficking and
one in particular, operated by Aero-Postale de Mexico, was
seized with a billion dollars in cocaine aboard in Mexico
City in 1996. [See FTW, Vol I, No 10 - Dec,
A key figure in the post-war
operations was lawyer Tommy Corcoran, a legendary "fixer"
in the Roosevelt Administration, who went on to represent
Nationalist Chinese financial interests after the Communists
took power in 1949. Corcoran and Helliwell worked closely
together in Asia. One of the critical and well-documented
U.S. responses to the Communist takeover was to fund remnants
of the Chinese Nationalist army -- who had fled into Burma,
Thailand and Laos -- with opium. Much of that money, along
with the drugs, found its way into the U.S. As noted by
writers like the late Jonathan Kwitny of The Wall Street
Journal in The Crimes of Patriots (Penguin, 1987)
and by Professor Alfred McCoy of the University of Wisconsin
in The Politics of Heroin (1972, 1991, Lawrence Hill
Books), Helliwell paid the troops using five-pound "sticky"
bars of heroin. Helliwell later went on to head Castle Bank
and Trust in Florida and the Bahamas and then was heavily
involved with The Nugan Hand Bank in Australia and the U.S.
Both banks have been heavily linked in official investigations
to both drug trafficking and money laundering while also
moving money for the CIA.
In The War Conspiracy Scott
"For it is a striking fact
that the law firm of Tommy Corcoran, the Washington lawyer
for CATCL and [China Lobbyist] T.V. Soong, had its
own links to the interlocking worlds of the China Lobby
and of organized crime. His partner W.S. Youngman joined
the board of U.S. Life and other insurance companies, controlled
by C.V. Starr (OSS China) with the help of Philippine and
other Asian capital. Youngman's fellow-directors of Starr's
companies have included John S. Woodbridge of Pan Am, Francis
F. Randolph of J. and W. Seligman, W. Palmer Dixon of Loeb
Rhoades, Charles Edison of the postwar China Lobby, and
Alfred B. Jones of the Nationalist Chinese government's
registered agency, the Universal Trading Corporation. The
[Senate] McClellan Committee heard that in 1950 U.S.
Life [later part of AIG] (with Edison as a director)
and a much smaller company (Union Casualty of New York)
were allotted a major Teamsters insurance contract, after
a lower bid from a larger and safer company had been rejected,
[Jimmy] Hoffa was accused by a fellow trustee, testifying
under oath before another committee, of intervening on behalf
of US Life and Union Casualty, whose agents were Hoffa's
close business associates Paul and Allen Dorfman…
"We find the same
network linking CIA proprietaries, war lobbies, and organized
crime, when we turn our attention from CAT to the other
identified supporter of opium activities, Sea Supply,
Inc. Sea Supply, Inc. was organized in Miami, Florida, where
its counsel, Paul E. Helliwell, doubled after 1951 as the
counsel for C.V. Starr insurance interests, and also as
the Thai consul in Miami..."
The historical connections
to CIA covert or proprietary air operations are interesting
in light of the fact that AIG proudly announces in its 2000
annual report that with 494 full-sized jets -- 89 of which
it manages itself -- it owns "the world's most modern
fleet of aircraft." AIG customers include major airlines
and a number of air transport companies. AIG also reported
that in 2000 it leased additional aircraft "to a number
of established customers" in South America.
CIA proprietary ownership
or interest in companies is very difficult to detect. But,
it has been proven by writers like Scott and many other
researchers who combed through the paperwork that surfaced
during the Iran-Contra scandals of the 1980s, where Air
America assets were laundered into companies like Southern
Air Transport and Evergreen Air. The single largest stockholder
in AIG, the Starr International Company (SICO), holds 13.62%
of AIG stock. Aside from knowing that Maurice Greenberg
owns 21.86% of SICO (source, SEC) we may never be able to
find out who, or what, owns the rest.
They Even Put It In
In September 1997 a group
of business and labor executives* reviewed and made recommendations
on the use of sanctions by the President of the United States
to influence world events. One of those executives was Oackley
Johnson of AIG. The group, called the Sanctions Working
Group (SWG) of the Department of State's Advisory Committee
on International Economic Policy, having completed its review
of the way the White House has imposed sanctions on foreign
governments, completed a detailed report which was sent
to the State Department by the Committee head, Michael Gadbaw
of General Electric. The advisory panel called for massive
revisions in the way sanctions were selected and imposed
in foreign affairs to punish or induce foreign governments
to behave the way the U.S. wants.
Approval of the recommendations
was unanimous from the business community and opposition
was unanimous and acerbic from organized labor representatives
who sent their dissent separately to the State Department.
The report, they said, cared about nothing but the financial
interests of major U.S. Corporations.
As an Appendix to the report,
which was found at http://www.usaengage.org/studies.html,
Footnote 4 following Tab 5 listed valid U.S. foreign policy
objectives. It states: This report addresses sanctions
undertaken pursuant to laws or regulations that authorize
or mandate unilateral economic sanctions in order
to achieve a foreign policy objective.
"The foreign policy objectives
may include the transition to democracy, opposing terrorism
or support of terrorist activities, sanctioning drug production
and transit or trafficking, supporting human and worker
rights and religious freedom, opposing proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction, and protecting the environment."
The language "support of terrorist
activities" is ambiguous. It could mean that the U.S. would
punish those who support terrorist activities or that it
might support terrorist activities itself. The drug trafficking
language also catches the panel on the horns of a dilemma.
As defined in the American Heritage dictionary, to sanction
something means to "grant authoritative permission or approval."
A secondary meaning means "to punish." In government documents
and reports, especially those laying out or recommending
policy, every word is reviewed dozens of times. Lawyers
and decision makers sign off on every aspect. Drafts usually
circulate for weeks before final approval. This language
may mean exactly what it says. And if there is ambiguity
then it must have been intended.
The whole purpose of From
The Wilderness is to teach the world that it is
a specific intent of Wall Street and the U.S. government
to give authoritative permission and approval to the drug
trade to ensure that drug profits -- the money -- comes
back under the control of the people who sanctioned the
trade to begin with. Is that what Coral Talavera is doing
at AIG? I e-mailed Oackley Johnson at AIG and asked him
to comment on the report. At press time he has not responded.
I have also solicited (again) comment from AIG Corporate
offices on the content of this story. Also no response.
But I hope to have something from them for Part III in September.
AIG has also been connected,
albeit indirectly, to a major money laundering case. As
the insurance carrier for the Bank of New York (BoNY) they
are defending BoNY in a suit filed this year by BoNY shareholders
charging mismanagement of the bank. That suit arose from
revelations (See FTW Vol II, No.7, 9/99) in
the major media that BoNY had been involved in laundering
between $7 and $10 billion in criminal money out of Russia
during the 1990s under its Chairman, Thomas Renyi. A credible
source has told me, but I have not been able to confirm
it, that AIG also insures the U.S. Department of Justice
which was charged with investigating BoNY and which decided
not to file criminal charges in 1999.
Perhaps no one knows more
about your life, not even your immediate family, than the
various companies who insure you. Your health, finances,
work history, medical records, driving habits and almost
every other aspect of your life is recorded in insurance
files and records. Is this necessarily something you want
available to the CIA or any part of the government? Remember
that the CIA doesn't operate under the law or respect privacy.
What happens then when a giant like AIG winds up insuring
parts of the government or major businesses that violate
your rights or break the law?
- Members of the Sanctions Working
Group of the State Department's Advisory Committee on
International Economic Policy: -- Mark Anderson,
AFL-CIO * Harvey Bale, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Assoc. * Steven Beckman, United Auto Workers * Seddik
Belyamani, Boeing * Fred Bergsten, Institute for International
Economics * Thomas Block, Chase Manhattan Bank * Carol
Brookins, World Perspectives * Anthony Corso, Mobil
*Greg Farmer, Northern Telecom * Isaiah Frank, Johns
Hopkins (SAIS) * Don Fuqua, Aerospace Industries Association
* R. Michael Gadbaw, General Electric * R. Harkin, United
Technologies * Robert Hormats, Goldman, Sachs International
* Nancie Johnson, DuPont * Oackley Johnson, AIG * Robert
Johnson, Phelps Dodge & Morenci * Dale Jones, Halliburton
* Robert Kapp, US-China Business Council * Frank Kittredge,
National Foreign Trade Council * Mary Lou Lackey, Motorola
* T. Lee, AFL-CIO *Charles Levy - Wilmer, Cutler and
Pickering *Clement Malin, Texaco * Rebecca Mark, Enron
Development *Joel Messing, Cigna *Robert Niemeth, Pfizer
* G. Staley, Toys R Us * Roger Swanson, US-Japan Business
Council * Sandra Taylor, Eastman Kodak * Robert Vastine,
Coalition of Service Industries * Alan Wolff, Dewey
- AIG has the largest market capitalization
(total value of all shares) of any insurance or financial
services organization on the NYSE -- $198.4 billion in
2000. It has operations in 130 countries.
- Ranked #7 on Forbes Super 100 list of companies.
After GE, Citigroup, BankAmerica, Exxon, IBM and Ford.
- The largest U.S. underwriter of commercial
and industrial insurance.
- Operates AIG Financial Services Group,
which sells investments, international asset management
and "advisory" services.
- The largest seller of retirement annuities
in the U.S. through its acquisitions of SunAmerica and
American General in 1999 and 2001 respectively.
- AIG is licensed to operate banks in three
countries, including the US (1999) and also issues credit
- Originally formed as the Asia Life/C. V.
Starr Companies in the 1930s by founder Cornelius Starr
who served with the OSS during World War II. The Starr
corporation shared the same office building as OSS headquarters
in New York, and functioned as an intelligence conduit
on shipping, manufacturing and industrial bombing targets
in Asia and Germany throughout WW II. [The Los Angeles
Times, Sept. 22, 2000]
- Early business centered primarily in China
and Asia. Starr interests centered in Asia and Panama.
- 1951 - Changed name to American Life Insurance
- Acquired major U.S. insurance companies
in the 1950s and 60s.
- 1967 - Incorporated as American International
- 1969 - First public offering.
- First western insurance company to create
joint ventures with Hungary, Poland and Romania in the
- In 1980 established joint venture with
the People's Insurance Company of China.
- First insurance company licensed to do
business on its own in Japan (1952), Mainland China (1990),
and Vietnam (2000).
- Member and staunch supporter of the World
Trade Organization. During 1997 WTO negotiations, AIG
collaborated directly with Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin
to negotiate Asian financial, investment and trade agreements
covering 102 countries, which one report described as
bullying and marked by "messages back and forth from
Geneva to Washington, and… reports, between the US Treasury
and American International Group." [Third World
Economics, No. 175, 16-31, 12/97].
- During the 1990s involved with U.S. investment
in Russia (overseen by Goldman Sachs and The Harvard Endowment)
through Brunswick Brokerage. Secured a $300 million OPIC
(Overseas Private Investment Corporation) guarantee for
a Russian investment fund. [Paul Likoudis, Editor, The
- AIG has "joint venture" interests in Latin
America through ZonaFinanciera with Citibank which in
May 2001 purchased Mexico's Banamex and will be placing
reported drug money launderer and trafficker Roberto Hernandez
on its board of directors.
- AIG insures more than half of the major
- The world's "market leader" in leasing
and remarketing of advanced technology commercial jet
aircraft - "the most modern fleet of aircraft in the
world. " With 2000 revenues of $2.44 billion AIG owns
a fleet of 494 jets, 89 of which it "manages" itself.
Clients include airlines in U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia,
the Middle East and South America where, in 2000, it leased,
"additional aircraft to a number of established customers."
Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, 75 -- Chairman
and CEO of American International Group (AIG)
- WWII, Served with US Army Signal Corps
and Army Rangers
- LL.B., New York Law School, 1950
- Korean War, Investigated reported massacres
at POW camps run by UN/US personnel
- Elected AIG President in 1962, CEO in 1967
and Chairman in 1989.
- Former Chairman and Director of the New
York Federal Reserve Bank.
- Forbes 111th richest man in
the world (More than $4 billion net worth)
- Vice Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations
- Vice Chairman, Center for Strategic and
- Member, Board of Directors, New York Stock
- Member, Trilateral Commission
- Member, The Bilderberger Group
- Chairman, The Nixon Center
- Chairman, U.S.-China Business Council
- Chairman, The Starr Foundation
- Accompanied President George Bush on his
trade mission to China in 1992
- Major contributor to The Heritage Foundation
- Name floated by Senator Arlen Specter to
become CIA director in 1995 (Reported in U.S. News
and World Report - 2/20/95)
AIG Board's Board of Directors as Reported
to the SEC
- M. BERNARD AIDINOFF -- SENIOR COUNSEL,
SULLIVAN & CROMWELL (Attorneys). Director since 1984
-- Age 72. [NOTE: Sullivan and Cromwell is the
legal firm that was home to Eisenhower Secretary of State
John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen Dulles, who was
a key OSS leader during WWII and who served as CIA Director
under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.]
- ELI BROAD -- CHAIRMAN, SUNAMERICA
INC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of AIG). Director since
1999 -- Age 67.
- PEI-YUAN CHIA -- RETIRED VICE CHAIRMAN,
CITICORP AND CITIBANK, N.A. Director since 1996 -- Age
- MARSHALL A. COHEN -- COUNSEL, CASSELS
BROCK & BLACKWELL (Barristers and Solicitors); FORMER
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THE MOLSON COMPANIES
LIMITED. Director since 1992 -- Age 66.
- BARBER B. CONABLE, JR. -- RETIRED;
FORMER PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK, AND FORMER MEMBER, UNITED
STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Director since 1991 --
- MARTIN S. FELDSTEIN -- PROFESSOR
OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY; PRESIDENT AND CHIEF
EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
(Nonprofit Economic Research Center), Director HCA and
TRW. Director since 1987 -- Age 61.
- ELLEN V. FUTTER -- PRESIDENT, AMERICAN
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY Director, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Company Consolidated Edison, Inc. (also serves as Trustee
of Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.), J.P.
Morgan Chase & Co. Director since 1999 -- Age 51.
- MAURICE R. GREENBERG -- CHAIRMAN
AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AIG, Director, Transatlantic
Holdings, Inc. ('Transatlantic'), which is owned 60.0
percent by AIG. Also serves as Chairman of Transatlantic,
a director, President and Chief Executive Officer of C.V.
Starr & Co., Inc. ('Starr'), and a director of Starr
International Company, Inc. ('SICO') and International
Lease Finance Corporation ('ILFC'); Starr and SICO are
private holding companies (see 'Ownership of Certain Securities');
ILFC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AIG. Director since
1967 -- Age 75.
- CARLA A. HILLS -- CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF
EXECUTIVE OFFICER, HILLS & COMPANY; FORMER UNITED
STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE. (Hills & Company provides
international investment, trade and risk advisory services).
Director, AOL Time Warner Inc., Chevron Corporation, Lucent
Technologies Inc. Director since 1993 -- Age 67.
- FRANK J. HOENEMEYER -- FINANCIAL
CONSULTANT; RETIRED VICE CHAIRMAN, PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE
COMPANY OF AMERICA. Director, Carey Fiduciary Advisors,
Inc. Cincinnati, Inc. Director since 1985 -- Age 81.
- RICHARD C. HOLBROOKE -- FORMER UNITED
STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS; FORMER VICE CHAIRMAN,
CREDIT SUISSE, FIRST BOSTON. Elected February 7, 2001
-- Age 59.
- EDWARD E. MATTHEWS -- VICE CHAIRMAN
-- INVESTMENTS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES, AIG. Director,
Transatlantic. Also serves as a director of Starr, SICO
and ILFC, -- Director since 1973 -- Age 69.
- HOWARD I. SMITH -- EXECUTIVE VICE
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, AIG. Director,
Transatlantic, 21st Century Insurance Group ('21st
Century'), which is owned 62.8 percent by AIG. Also serves
as a director of Starr, SICO and ILFC -- Director since
1997 -- Age 56.
- THOMAS R. TIZZIO -- SENIOR VICE
CHAIRMAN -- GENERAL INSURANCE, AIG. Director, Transatlantic.
Also serves as a director of Starr and SICO. -- Director
since 1986 -- Age 63.
- EDMUND S.W. TSE -- VICE CHAIRMAN
-- LIFE INSURANCE, AIG. Also serves as a director of Starr
and SICO. -- Director since 1996 -- Age 63.
- JAY S. WINTROB -- PRESIDENT AND
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SUNAMERICA. Director, Anchor
National Life Insurance Company and First SunAmerica Life
Insurance Company, wholly-owned subsidiaries of AIG. Also
serves as a director of Starr and SICO -- Director since
1999 -- Age 44.
- FRANK G. WISNER -- VICE CHAIRMAN
-- EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, AIG. Director, EOG Resources, Inc.
-- Director since 1997 -- Age 62. [NOTE: Wisner
is the son of former CIA deputy Director, Frank Wisner,
Sr. who was present at the creation of the CIA. As head
of the Office of Policy Coordination, the forerunner of
the CIA's Directorate of Operations. Wisner, Sr. once
boasted, "I can play the media like a mighty Wurlitzer."
In a 35 year career with the State department, Wisner,
Jr. served as U.S. Ambassador to India, the Philippines,
Egypt and Zambia.]
- FRANK G. ZARB -- CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION OF SECURITIES DEALERS, INC. AND THE NASDAQ
STOCK MARKET, INC. -- Elected February 7, 2001 -- Age
- AIG is a client of Henry Kissinger and
Associates. Kissinger is the Chairman of AIG's International
[© Copyright 2001, Michael
C. Ruppert and From the Wilderness Publications.
All Rights Reserved. May not be reprinted or redistributed
without the express permission of the author ]
On or about August 16, 2001 FTW subscribers
will be able to visit a secure are of our web site and download
selected portions of the taped conversation between Coral
Talavera and Celerino Castillo. Watch the FTW web site for
exciting new features -- for paid subscribers only! If you
are a subscriber, please make sure that we have your e-mail
address to send you your passwords.
Ten Thousand, Two Hundred and
Seventy-Seven Subscribers and
Long-Term Supporters Who Responded To Our Special Plea For
Help Last Month
Thanks To You, FTW
Will Be Around For Yet A While Longer…
Telling The Truth
Filling The Void
Taking The Risk
Shining The Light
Building The Map
Coming Next Month:
More on Carlos Lehder * The History of Coral Reinsurance
* A Look at ADFA * Fallout From Part II… Stay Tuned for
Effective immediately, in
order to reduce costs, all FTW subscribers
who are on-line with e-mail will be receiving their monthly
issues over the Internet.
In order to continue to bring
you the news and information that you have made it so clear
you want, it is essential that we cut monthly printing and
The recent loss of an investor,
after he pledged to support a publishing project FTW
had invested almost $30,000 in, nearly put us out of business.
That investor, a high school classmate, moved and took his
family out of Southern California and has not been heard
Last month we issued a plea
for help to two hundred of our oldest subscribers for financial
assistance. The response has been overwhelmingly positive
and we have decided to fight on. This month's issue is proof
For those of you who have
not been with us from the start, following are some of the
stories we have brought you since March, 1998.
We are not out of the woods
yet but let's pray that this is still only the beginning.
- Two years of groundbreaking coverage
on the Vietnamization of Colombia.
- Three years of reporting on the
channeling of drug profits through Wall Street.
- The first news entity to publish
the entire deposition of Adm. Thomas Moorer admitting
sarin gas use in SE Asia.
- Exclusive coverage on the contents
of a CIA IG report (10/98) admitting direct CIA involvement
in the drug trade.
- Expanded coverage of the CIA illegally
transferring military aircraft to private companies that
were later used to smuggle cocaine in the 1990s.
- The connection between the crack cocaine
epidemic and massive foreclosures of HUD financed homes
in South Central Los Angeles. (Ethnic Cleansing)
- The first US news entity to report
in detail on connections between the KLA and the heroin
- An exclusive two-part series connecting
Dominican drug lords to money laundering through the Democratic
- The first US news agency to fully
explore the massive looting of Russia through the Bank
of New York and link it to the drug trade.
- Gov George Bush flying in a Texas state
airplane once owned by Barry Seal (picked up by the
- Perjury committed by Deputy Attorneys
General in the conviction of Edwin Wilson.
- The Democratic Party's Presidential Drug
- The 9th Circuit Court Affirming
Contra Leaders Claims of CIA Sanction for Drug Trafficking.
- Promis Software (2000).
- The Bush-Cheney Drug Empire.
- European Economic Conference on US Economy
- (dateline Moscow).
- Massive Holes in the U.S. Position on the
Shootdown of Missionaries in Peru