PART 2.1 - BIG BANG CIRCA 1954
And here, but for a number of curious coincidences, my involvement in this story may have also come to an end, too. However, in trying to understand the nature of the black gold market and to discover what was hidden behind the Secret Treaty, I began to uncover a welter of additional information.
For some time I had been in contact with a BBC journalist about a story wholly unconnected to World War II plunder and black gold. [i] This individual had, in the course of his own investigation, interviewed a former ONI and CIA officer following the latter’s release from custody by Austrian officials in late 1996. The meeting had occurred in a forest in Austria , for security reasons, I was told. The CIA man was Gunther Russbacher -- regarded by some as tricky and potentially deceitful but still others, including author Rodney Stich (Defrauding America) consider him very reliable and extremely knowledgeable in matters of a "black" nature. Russbacher, whose father was an Austrian officer in Nazi intelligence during the war, emigrated to the United States in, I understand, 1954 (although others have the date as 1950) and settled in Oklahoma City . Russbacher’s German connection fits the pattern.
In any event, Russbacher told the BBC journalist that huge quantities of Nazi gold had been shipped to South America , via Spain , just prior to the close of World War II. The loot had sat in South America for a number of years, but as soon as its existence became known to Israeli intelligence the plunder was immediately transferred to the Philippines and hidden, Russbacher said.
Over a year after my interview with Russbacher, I was put in contact with Ken Krohn, who I was told was a business associate of Russbacher's. I telephoned Krohn in California on 27 February 1998 , telling him I was conducting research into black market gold deals. He immediately asked if I had been speaking to Russbacher. At that time, I had not, and I told him so. Krohn then stated that he was a member of "Gunther's Team" and had acted in the role of "Stateside Anchor." Krohn then asked me to call him back the following Tuesday so that he could, in the meantime, refresh his memory from his files. He had, he said "names, dates, files. It'll make your hair curl."
On 3 March 1998 , we had a further lengthy telephone conversation. Gunther's Team was, Krohn indicated, part of the ongoing Nippon Star outfit headed by General John Singlaub. [ii] Russbacher's team consisted of five Americans and a handful of Filipinos, who between them had recovered in excess of 500 metric tonnes of gold stashed in the Philippines . The Philippine stash included bullion plundered by the Nazis as well as gold stolen from China during World War II. The gold recovered by Russbacher's team had, Krohn said, been sold to the Austrian National Bank at an 11.6% discount from the prevailing price of gold. Krohn added that the banker at the Austrian National Bank who handled the negotiations and transfer was Dr. Werner Metz. On the Philippine side, the deal was handled by Gabriel C. Singson, Chairman of the Philippine National Bank, acting on behalf of then- President Fidel Ramos. Krohn said that President Ramos's wife had travelled to Austria to get the "commission."
The intermediary who negotiated the deal between the two parties was, Krohn said, former U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim – who, Krohn said, was a relative of Russbacher. The Austrians wanted the gold to "support the Eurodollar," according to Krohn. He said that when he, together with Russbacher, and other members of the team, travelled to Austria , they were met at the airport by Austrian security. Russbacher was arrested and taken away, but Krohn and the rest of the team were merely roughed up and then flown back to the US on the first available flight. Krohn contended that Russbacher had double-crossed them all and had disappeared with everyone's commission.
Interestingly, Russbacher's former wife, Rayelan Russbacher, tells a tale that is identical to Krohn's account in all material respects, except as to the quantities of gold involved. In early May 2000, Rayelan Russbacher faxed me copies of about 30 documents relating to her former husband’s gold deal as described above. The code name for the transaction was “White Robe/150-920-458." The documents she faxed show that the intended transaction was, in fact, a series of between ten and 50 transactions, each involving a quantity of 2,500 metric tonnes of gold negotiated at a discount rate of 10% (rather than the 11.6% rate described by Krohn). Additionally, the commitments for these transactions could be “rolled over” and “extended” up to a total of 500,000 metric tonnes. A first “test” tranche of 2,500 tonnes with a face value of approximately US$30 billion was called for (giving a price of about $370 per ounce). This staggering deal, if consummated in full, had a price tag of US$6 trillion – equivalent to the current US national debt!
Kurt Waldheim's apparent involvement in this deal raises an additional aspect worth exploring, if only briefly. Waldheim was appointed Secretary General of the United Nations in 1971, a position he held until 1981. It is inconceivable that his background as a Nazi officer would not have been known to the US government, which would have thoroughly, albeit informally, vetted him at the time his name was thrown into the hat for the UN job. In all probability, details of his service in the Wermacht would have been available to US authorities -- and particularly the CIA -- and the Gehlen Org since at least 1955, when he took up his seat as the official Austrian delegate to the UN.
It, therefore, must have come as a shock to Waldheim to see his name in headline banners in the world's press, linked to Nazi war crimes. Details of these allegations were provided to the New York Times by the US Justice Department and appeared in that newspaper in an article published on 13th March 1994 . Coincidentally -- if one believes in coincidence, Father Christmas and the tooth fairy -- it was at this precise point in time that the Russbacher bullion deal was about to be signed (much the same situation as the Times newspaper article that appears to have scuppered Johnston's deal with Credit Lyonnais that was outlined earlier). Interestingly, Russbacher's colleague, Michael Blinston, who was overseeing the deal, sent a fax to Russbacher in late February 1994 in which he voiced his concerns that a "Mr. Pruit," who represented the London office of Citibank, had arrived in Manila with an authorised "buy order" to purchase the gold on offer.
Suspicious, Blinston wondered whether their deal was "being delayed on purpose to allow Citibank to take the deal from us?" He then adds that it "sounds familiar does it not???" (See the "Russbacher" Appendices) In any event, on 15th March 1994 , two days after the Waldheim allegations hit the headlines, the Central Bank of the Philippines finally issued an authorised offer to sell the gold to the Austrian central bank. One can speculate that a CIA faction other than the one to which Russbacher belonged decided to try and scupper the deal and, perhaps, arrange to have its own team get awarded the contract instead. Such gamesmanship is not uncommon to large transactions, and, in this case, truly prodigious amounts of money were involved.
It is also of interest that one of those involved in this transaction was referred to in documents as “Philippine Passport – L-506511” and now identified as Imelda Marcos. Her role was not as seller but as an intermediary who would accrue a fee of .25%.What is intriguing about this deal is the total quantity involved. Shown in the exhibits to this manuscript is a letter from the Knights of Malta entitled “Lansdale Project,” which states in the fifth paragraph: “Reference 500,000 MT: The reaction on the 500,000 MT will also be discussed during the meeting.” The meeting referred to was a “sit down” by the “ Washington people” to discuss the “ramifications” of another Lansdale transaction. Significantly, this letter was part of Peter Johnston’s papers, although Peter had absolutely no knowledge of Gunther Russbacher and his involvement in a similar (or the same) transaction. The connection is, clearly, Imelda Marcos, who had a finger in both Peter Johnston’s and Russbacher’s deal.
Some while after my discussions with Ken Krohn, I was able to make contact with Russbacher directly. On 30 August 1998 , we spoke for the first time by telephone. This call was followed by two further telephone conversations. Russbacher listened as I repeated Ken Krohn's recollection of events. He asked what I knew of the background to the story. I repeated what I had learned from the BBC journalist -- that Nazi gold had been shipped to South America where it had been discovered by the Israelis, forcing its relocation to the Philippines in 1954 -- and that this led to a "Secret Agreement." [iii][iv]
Russbacher responded to my description with an emphatic "Boom!" After a pause, he asked if Krohn had given me names. I said he had. Russbacher then asked if I knew "who the facilitator was" I responded by asking him whom he meant. He evaded my question and seemed relieved that I didn't appear to know about Waldheim's role in the transaction. After confirming that he was aware of Singlaub and his role in Nippon Star gold recoveries, Russbacher said he preferred not to answer any more questions. This was a sensitive subject, he said. According to both Krohn and Rayelan Gunther Russbacher, (who, as you will see from the exhibits used his full, original Austrian name of Russbacher Erz Herzog von Esterhaszy) is a member of the Templar Knights.
In an email message dated 15 August 1998 , Rayelan told me that the 500 MT transaction arose following an approach to Russbacher by Sam Nicanor, a Filipino citizen who she believed was also a covert contract agent for one of the American intelligence agencies or groups. She added that at that time, “Sam was arranging a gold transfer that involved gold that was not the Austrian treasury…. It was gold that belonged to the founder of Krupp.”
Meanwhile, one fact that leapt out at me from all this was the date 1954. It could easily have been a coincidence, but then again it might have a distinct bearing on Peter Johnston's story. It is of interest, too, to learn that it was the year 1954 when Mossad boss, Isser Harel, travelled to Washington to meet with CIA Director, Allen Dulles. The result of the meeting was the beginning of an intelligence “partnership” between America and Israel that would soon benefit the smaller nation with a plethora of state-of-the-art technical spying equipment. What it did not do, obviously, was assign Israel any secrets of the American atomic weapons programme that was heavily protected by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as well as prevailing US espionage laws. [v]
The 1954 date also eventually led me to wonder if there were any trails leading to Martin Bormann and his huge hoard of Nazi plunder. At that time, Bormann was living in Argentina under the special protection of its dictator, Juan Peron. Peron was cast out of power in 1955 and fled to Spain to live in safety where he could count the $1.5 billion fortune he had amassed from corruption and “donations” made by the new Nazi paymaster, the former Reichsleiter, Martin Bormann. Was it conceivable that Bormann had learned of a forthcoming plot to oust Peron and so took action to secure his assets? It is admittedly a fanciful idea that has no factual backing whatsoever. Still, it is often by such curious “brainstorms” that meaningful connections are unveiled. The Bormann connection would later prove of considerable importance to my investigation.
Of significance too, was that Ken Krohn stated that the quantity of gold recovered by the Russbacher team was “nearly” 400 metric tonnes. This is a very interesting figure. In the international black market, quantities of “AU” (gold) are often used as an identifier to a given transaction. A wise seller will, if unsuccessful the first time around (as often is the case), re-offer the bullion in multiple smaller volumes -- or in tranches -- to camouflage the fact that the gold has been offered in a previous, failed, transaction. As an example of identification by quantity, a large block of gold originating from Thailand continues to re-appear periodically in the black market and is immediately identified by its quantity - marginally above 5,000 metric tonnes.
I will return to the Russbacher–Krohn and Bormann connections shortly.
[i] Chemical and electromagnetic mind control technology.
[ii] For a background on Singlaub and Nippon Star, see Sterling Seagrave The Marcos Dynasty (London: Macmillan, 1988) at 395-396. I must also offer my thanks to Gunther Russbacher's former wife, Rayelan, who has assisted in my research and who donated a number of invaluable documents from Gunther Russbacher's files.
[iii] The implication I have drawn from this "Secret Agreement" is that the Israelis were given a percentage of profits. To some, this may sound a cynical interpretation on my part. To those who doubt, I would recommend reading Loftus and Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews (St. Martin's Press, 1994) to understand how Israel blackmailed Western nations in order to survive during the critical years of its existence. Of note in this regard is that one of the certificates Johnston had access to was issued by the Bank of America, dated November 1984, in the name of Chaim Herzog.
[iv] It is a fact that Israeli agents were in hot pursuit of Martin Bormann (and Mengele) at this time. Bormann had control of a vast fortune of Nazi assets and loot, including the "bulk of the treasure that had made up the financial reserves of the Deutsche Bank," according to Paul Manning, Martin Bormann - Nazi in Exile. Manning had access to an FBI surveillance report that stated "At the end of 1954, Martin Bormann was seen in Mina Clavera, Cordoba in the company of two men with Spanish surnames. He was calling himself Jose Perez. "Bormann's head of security, Heinrich Mueller, in order to put investigators off the scent, periodically would leak stories to the press that Bormann's body had been located. In one case, in 1955, the remains of an "Israeli agent who had gotten to close to his target" were exhumed. Manning at 213.
[v] See Gordon Thomas, Gideon’s Spies, (London: MacMillan, 1999) at 29,30 and 81.
PART 2.2 - MARCOS GOLD
In any event, I had already begun looking at stories about Marcos gold with a great deal more interest. I was also struck by the fact that of all the certificates in the possession of Dr. Damanik accessed by Johnston , the oldest was a gold certificate in the name of Ferdinand Marcos. This was dated 9 September 1956 and was for a "deposit" of 7,120 metric tonnes of AU issued by Swiss Bank Corporation (Schweizerische Bank Gesellschaft M.H.C.). This was some years before Marcos was elected as a senator and years before climbing his way to the presidency of the Philippines . It was in the "early fifties" that Sterling Seagrave has Marcos collaborating with Japanese-American investigator Minoru Fukimatsu as he interviewed over 300 witnesses to gold burial troves in the Philippines . Both men also accessed secret Japanese government archives. Seagraves adds that Fukimatsu "came up with a map and in November 1953, began digging. " [i]
Over twenty years later, the CIA had become a partner with [then] President Marcos in shipping vast quantities of gleaming gold bars -- bearing the triple A “chop” (a term used to describe hallmarks) -- to Australia (and elsewhere), courtesy of the Nugan Hand Bank, which flew the bullion into the giant CIA/NSA facility at Alice Springs. [ii] The gold thereafter disappeared at about the same time that one now internationally well-known Australian media man began his spectacular march to global tycoon-ship. [iii] Meanwhile, papers in my possession show that another Australian bank was selected to hold a very large stockpile of Marcos gold. This is none other than Peter Johnston's bank -- Westpac.
But there were other 1954 "coincidences" that were also equally striking. Not least was the fact that the London Bullion Market, which had closed at the onset of war in 1939, suddenly decided to re-open on 22 March 1954 . Even before World War II began, England was financially barren. Joseph Kennedy, who was the then US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, reported that England had no gold, whatsoever, of her own. Six years of harrowing global warfare could only have worsened that already bleak economic picture. But by 1954, apparently, there was sufficient gold "in play" to warrant the revival of the London Bullion Market. Where did the gold come from? Was it just that South African production had reached sufficient levels to make trading gold in London economically viable once more, or did insiders know something the rest of us weren't privy to?
Paul Manning -- the highly respected Pulitzer Prize nominee journalist -- in his book on Martin Bormann and the mystery of disappeared Nazi assets and war plunder notes" the economic bastions of power that he [Bormann] established in the neutral nations of the world in 1944 were the bedrock enabling the West German government to rise from defeat, once they had again become masters of their destiny after the Treaty of Paris in 1954." [iv] In other words, the vast amount of Nazi assets and loot that had disappeared when Martin Bormann fled to South America in 1945 were quietly repatriated to the newly created Federal Republic of Germany following the Paris Treaty of 1954.
Whatever else might have happened in 1954 (including the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and the arrival in Saigon of top CIA strategist Edward Lansdale, who fought deadly battles against French military intelligence for control of the region's opium business), one event cannot be overlooked. This was the first ever meeting of the Bilderberg group during 29-31 May 1954. [v] That first meeting was dominated by American, British and then German participants who filled 36 of the available 67 slots. This is not the place to go into detail about the Bilderberg conferences, except to note for those who are unfamiliar with the Bilderberg group that it is a very powerful elite Western forum that is surrounded by almost impenetrable secrecy. The group was headed by one-time SS probationary member, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands , until he resigned in disgrace following publication of the story about his acceptance of kickbacks in the Lockheed bribe scandal. Bernhard was shown to have accepted $1 million as far back as 1962.
In the light of the foregoing, it is hard not to conclude that some form of “secret treaty” may well have been signed in 1954 that involved the recovery of World War II plunder -- both European and Asian -- and that a portion of it was subsequently used in US military and intelligence "black operations." I note that most of the certificates that Peter Johnston had access to through Dr. Damanik are dated between 1980 and 84 -- the very period when the CIA was actively participating in laundering Marcos bullion. [vi] All these certificates represented cashes of gold and platinum. Three certificates, one of which was dated 1963 and the two others with dates of August and December 1972, were for cash deposits denominated in Swiss francs, Canadian dollars and US dollars and running into many tens of billions in equivalent US dollars.
This is interesting, because author Sterling Seagrave in The Marcos Dynasty observes that Marcos was able to secure "… large loans using as collateral gold bullion that he was as yet unable to get out of the Philippines." [vii] But how large is “large”? The "International Transaction Obligation" certificate that Johnston had access to, issued by the Union Bank of Switzerland , was dated 17 January 1963 , and was for SFR 92.625 billion. Moreover, this certificate is in the name of “Adnan Kasogi” and bears the "Special Code”: “Panama Fusse King." Although Khashoggi's name has inevitably been misspelled, it is interesting to note that he was "Ferdinand's pal and Imelda's disco partner, fellow Lockheed agent and business associate of Kodama."[viii]
The ability of Marcos to secure loans against gold still stashed on the Philippines is not without a historical precedent. In his best-selling book A Man Called Intrepid, author William Stevenson discusses the gold reserves shipped by France to the French island of Martinique – located off the American coast. He says that these reserves amounted to 50 million ounces, or approximately 1,550 metric tonnes constituting the bulk of French gold reserves. The British greatly feared that Vichy France under Petain would release this gold to the Nazis. At the time, England was bankrupt. Intrepid devised a plan to steal the gold from Martinique , but this proved difficult. Instead, he decided it was just as easy to effect “control” over the gold by subjecting it to a naval quarantine and showing that it was feasible to capture it if necessary. The idea was to then use the gold to support US loans to Britain for the war effort, which one historian quipped was “an exercise in constructive blackmail.” [ix] Interestingly, I asked the Foreign Office historian who researched and wrote the September 1996 “History Notes – Nazi Gold: Information from the British Archives” what happened to the Martinique gold. She had no idea, she said. It remains unclear if the plan was carried through or shelved, although the latter seems more likely.
Let us return to the Marcos documents. To my mind, the peculiarities in this story abound and multiply. The 1963 Swiss franc cash certificate was issued just months after Prince Bernhard received his first known kickback from Lockheed -- which was being used as a "cloak" by the CIA to funnel political bribe money all over the world. [x] The certificate is in the name of Marcos's friend, Adnan “Kasogi,” a "fellow Lockheed agent" of Yoshio Kodama. The latter was, as Sterling Seagrave clearly demonstrates, a rear admiral in the Japanese Navy during World War II as well as a member of the Japanese Yakuza crime clan.
More significant still is the fact that Kodama worked for the Japanese prince who headed the Japanese secret service and who was overlord of the Japanese plunder teams known as "The Golden Lily." The Golden Lily operated in Mukden in Manchuria , but had its headquarters in Manila , the capital of the Philippines . Kodama was tasked with "shepherding masses of war loot in naval vessels ahead of him under the watchful eye of naval officers seconded to him." [xi] The loot had been plundered from all over Asia under Kodama'a authority and was moved "up the coast of Borneo through Brunei to the Philippines ," where it was eventually buried. [xii]
The two other cash certificates Johnston was involved with were: an International Certificate titled "Commercial Deposit" issued by the Royal Bank of Canada for Can$ 9.36 billion dated 12 August 1972 in the name of Hosni Mubarak and an international certificate entitled "Obligation of Certificate International Certificate of Deposit" issued by the Bank of England, dated 15 December 1972 in the name of Mao Tze-Tung for US$16.62 billion. 1972 was an interesting year. First, President Nixon had closed the gold window only a year before, in 1971, thereby disconnecting the US dollar from gold. It is also the year Nixon was re-elected and met, in February, with Chinese leader Mao Tze-Tung in Peking (now Beijing ). One individual familiar with a great many of Marcos’s secret gold transactions claims that Nixon gave China 200,000 metric tonnes of gold in exchange for an agreement that China would “stay out of any Asian expansion for fifty years.” [xiii] Interestingly, my own records also show a number of gold transactions involving China but the nature of its involvement is less than clear.
Of interest in regard to the Lockheed bribe scandal is the fact that Lockheed's European Sales Director, Dutchman Fred Meuser, had been a member of Prince Bernhard's wartime air force squadron. Of equal significance, I think, is the fact following the war, Meuser "… joined Lockheed, became a naturalised American citizen and in 1954 was transferred to Geneva ." [xiv]
Another member of the Lockheed bribe team was Nicholas Deak, a former OSS/CIA officer who formed the money-broking firm of Deak & Co. Through this company, Lockheed funnelled funds to Yoshio Kodama and then on to senior Japanese political figures, including Prime Minister Nobosuke Kishi -- one of Kodama's protégés. [xv] Nicholas Deak’s company later joined forces with Lionel C. Perera, who founded the money firm of Perera, Manfra & Brookes. This led to the formation of Deak & Co, Perera, Manfra & Brookes. As a young US Army Major, Lionel Perera was attached to the Chief of Military Government Finance Office at Third Army in Germany at war's end, where he interviewed Colonel Rauch. Rauch, an SS colonel, was responsible for hiding the Reich Bank gold reserves and other war loot in the Bavarian Alps in the weeks prior to the end of the war. [xvi]
In any event, while Lockheed's Fred Meuser may have been the European expert at political bribery, the CIA's Edwin Wilson was certainly an expert at political blackmail. Wilson , coincidentally, also operated out of Switzerland for many years. Wilson 's close buddy in the spook agency, Frank Terpil, told author, Jim Hougan, that "Historically, one of Wilson 's Agency jobs was to subvert members of both houses [of Congress] by any means necessary…" [xvii] Wilson 's technique of influence normally involved sexual blackmail. VIPs would be "coerced by living out their sexual fantasies in the flesh… A remembrance of these occasions [was] permanently recorded via selected cameras… The technicians in charge of filming…[were] TSD [Technical Services Division of the CIA]. The unwitting porno stars advanced their political careers, some of [whom] may still be in office." [xviii] Wilson 's skill in these matters dated back to the 1950s, when he took over a network of homosexual and paedophile rings from CIA asset and McCarthy Committee counsel Roy Cohn. [xix]
Yet, Europeans needed no teaching about the art of political blackmail and bribery -- a practice they had polished and refined for hundreds of years. An instructive example of this skill is featured in the story of Italian financier Florio Fiorini, former Director of Finance of ENI, the huge state-owned Italian Oil Company. Fiorini, who was later arrested and imprisoned for "fraudulent bankruptcy," was ousted from ENI for his attempts to salvage Roberto Calvi's ailing Banco Ambrosiano -- the bank most closely associated with the Vatican Bank, headed by American-born Bishop Paul Marcinckus. Readers may recall the volume of persistent reports of the Vatican Bank's involvement in laundering looted gold from World War II -- a charge the Vatican Bank denies.
Denials or not, Peter Johnston was also kind enough to hand me his files for other bullion transactions he was involved with before he became entangled with Dr. Damanik's Secret Treaty transactions. In one of these deals, Johnston met with Imelda Marcos and others representing her interests to negotiate buying various quantities of metal. One of these transactions involved a large quantity of gold (at least 7,500 metric tonnes) held by the Dresdner Bank, Frankfurt . Johnston was given a written authority by the then current account holder, Alfredo De Ramos, to validate how much metal was in the account and if it was free from all liens and encumbrances. The account was in the name of "Ramon Poirrotte/Alfredo de Ramos," and showed the client code as "UEB Industries Mex." [xx]
Johnston duly arranged for Dresdner Bank to be contacted and given the signed authority to verify the account. In a fax dated 6 November 1995 to his Philippine partner, Johnston stated:
"Dresdner Account - Ramos.
1) The account is intact.
2) There is a lien against the deposit fixed at 80% of the value. This encumbrance involves the Australian government and an unknown government.
3) The Dresdner Bank request an 'upfront' payment of 20% of the deposits value before full negotiations can be implemented.
4) There has been a previous enquiry by a Swiss lawyer approximately three months ago. This person is now missing, presumed dead."
Johnston closed his message by saying:
"Our buyer is reluctant to proceed in light of the above. Do you wish to 'open' negotiations with alternative buyers?"
The reply he received the following day is brief and to the point:
"It is true the account was used by the Government of Australia and Singapore , but it matures this year, 1995, or matured already. This is according to the holder/signatory. Also, there is a written agreement between the bank and the governments and this contract is with the bank…"
The fact that a Swiss lawyer had disappeared and was now presumed dead, just for having earlier probed this account, seems to have attracted little interest on the part of Johnston's partner. Johnston had earlier been confidentially advised that the proceeds of the Dresdner Bank account were to be divided as follows:
1) Dresdner Bank
2) Peoples [sic] Republic of Germany
3) Peoples Republic of the Philippines
4) United States Government
6) Owner/holder signatory
Other documents make it clear that the name in which the Dresdner Bank account is held, i.e. Ramon Poirrotte, is also known as Jose Antonio Diaz, of the Monte Carlo registered Diaz and Poirrotte Enterprises. This is none other than Don Severino Garcia Sta. Romana, a legendary OSS officer who died in 1974. In fact, Romana had numerous aliases and worked closely with Edward Lansdale in the Philippines during the early fifties to put down the Huk uprising. Even though the Huks were not considered any sort of danger and were not expected to seize power, they were put down with great brutality. At the forefront of everyone's mind, presumably, was the great troves of bullion and gems stashed in locations that the Huks had occupied.
Don Severino Romana's Dresdner Bank deal referenced above was merely the tip of a far larger iceberg. Other related transactions totalled over 90,000 metric tonnes of gold. Over 30,000 metric tonnes of this were represented by gold bullion certificates held in an account at the Union Bank of Switzerland , Zurich , in the name of Maj. Gen. Edward Lansdale. [xxi] That such quantities of gold exist outside of official channels is staggering, because, according to official figures, no more than 135,000 metric tonnes of metal has been mined since 4,000 B.C. However, things, as we have seen, are not always what they seem to be. The official mining figures do not, and never have, included gold from China , Southeast Asia , India or Russia . Nor are they accurate as to gold quantities in countries that they purport to include in the count. For example, Pope Clement possessed a staggering fortune as far back as 1334 that included 25 million gold florins. [xxii] Such sums of gold do not figure at all in the historical mining statistics provided by official sources, which are either uninformed about the true volume of gold available or, more likely, engaging in a disinformation campaign for nefarious reasons.
A Filipino newspaper, The Inquirer, featured an article published in 1998 entitled "Soldiers of Fortune" revealing that 96 members of the 16th Infantry Battalion had signed a joint affidavit declaring that, together with members of the 51st Engineering Brigade, they had -- between 1973 and 1985 -- recovered over 60,000 metric tonnes of gold from thirty out of 172 Japanese treasure sites. Both Army units operated in complete secrecy as part of "Task Force Restoration," which was headed by Marcos's closest henchman, Fabian Ver.
With these Vatican "bones" laid to temporary rest, we can now briefly return to the previously mentioned and instructive story of Florio Fiorini. During his enforced retreat at Champ Dollon, Fiorini set about writing a book revealing his knowledge of insider dealing and political corruption in Italy and elsewhere in Europe since the early 1970s.[xxiii] This included his revelations regarding the infamous "Protection Account" maintained by UBS Lugano, which was established for the specific purpose of bribing Italian (and other European) political parties and senior political figures. [xxiv] All those European banks and businesses that were heavily engaged in political corruption had devised a method of generating the large amount of slush funds required, without harming their own balance sheets. This, Fiorini said, was a "very simple, bomb-proof system which made the central banks pay…"
This bomb-proof system was in operation from 1967 until 1981 and revolved around the foreign exchange market that Fiorini describes as a "rigged roulette wheel," and involved seven major European transnationals. [xxv][xxvi] These were nicknamed the "Band of Seven" and were "the terror of the central banks." The Band of Seven included, according to Fiorini, "myself from ENI; Sexauer of the Deutsche Bank; Semadeni of the Swiss Bank Corporation; Voroscilov of the Russian Vanhestorgbank; Roger Fiss of Citibank; Cadario of Renault Finance [and] Pellegrini of the Union Bank of Switzerland . [xxvii]
Working in harmony -- often using inside information -- and in great secrecy, the Band of Seven was able to manufacture large profits by manipulating the various national foreign exchange rates. This was possible because the exchange rates were "fixed" -- a situation that allows large speculative forays by an insider group who know the central banks will intervene to support and stabilise that rate. In effect, this is equivalent to the central banks placing money in a large container and handing it over to the seven players. [xxviii]
The unalterable consequence of these covert manipulations is that the taxpayers in those countries, forced to defend their currencies, actually provide the money that is used to suborn and corrupt their own political leaders. [xxix] Fiorini admits the amounts garnered in this manner were "moderate," a mere $15k a day, or $300k per month, to "feed the starving of the parties," but adds that these were dollars of the "seventies," and worth "four times today's value."
Of more than passing interest in these matters is Dr. Alfred Hartmann, who had run the Banque de Commerce et de Placement (BCP), Geneva , for many years. As Fiorini explains in his story, the large sums of money earned by the Band of Seven's market rigging activities were laundered through the BCP. Hartmann was also the Vice Chairman and General Manager of Rothschilds Bank A.G.[xxx] and the vice president of the CIA connected Inter Maritime Bank. [xxxi] The BCP is also said to have played a part in the Iran-Contra affair.
This cannot come as any great surprise, for Hartmann was known as a long-term CIA asset. His contact or "controller" was none other than Edwin Wilson, the CIA operative who we earlier learned specialised in gay and paedophile blackmail stings against political targets -- presumably those politicians who couldn't be bought as a consequence of the Band of Seven's market manipulations. He is also known to have specialised in creating financial “fronts” for the CIA. Dr. Hartmann, meanwhile, would later become a senior executive in BCCI, the bank that provided a full service to drug lords, gun-runners, terrorists, gangsters and the US and European intelligence community. BCCI also had the dubious distinction of corrupting members of both Houses of Parliament (and Congress) at a time when "brown-envelope" payments of cash of the Al Fayed variety had yet to hit media headlines. [xxxii]
[i]Seagrave, Sterling , The Marcos Dynasty (London: MacMillan, 1988) at 139. Seagrave additionally reveals on page 306 that a Japanese treasure map for the "Teresa II " site totalled 777 billion yen in 1944 values. At that time the exchange rate was about 3.50 yen to the dollar. For those who wish to calculate weights and prices it is as well to know that the world price of gold was set at $35.00 per ounce and that there are 32,150 ounces to each metric tonne.
[ii] Ibid at 316.
[iii] Following the discovery of the "suicided" Frank Nugan and the subsequent failure of the Nugan Hand Bank, the CIA moved its Marcos gold laundering activities to Nugan Hand's successor, the Hawaii-based Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong (BBRDW). Many of the former Nugan Hand key executives and consultants moved en bloc to BBRDW, although Ronald Rewald -- a long time CIA asset with the code name "Winterdog" -- was selected to be the head man. This was due to Rewald's gilt-edged connections through sport, principally polo. Included in the list of dignitaries Rewald had access to were the Sultan of Brunei, one of the wealthiest men in the world. See, Seagrave and also Rodney Stich, Defrauding America, generally, for background on Nugan Hand and BBRDW.
[iv] Manning, Paul, Martin Bormann-Nazi in Exile (Lyle Stuart Inc, 1981), at 292.
[v] A list of participants is available in Robert Eringer's short but excellent book The Global Manipulators (Pentacle Books, 1980).
[vi]See Seagrave, Sterling , The Marcos Dynasty at 340.
[vii] Ibid at 345.
[viii] Ibid at 375.
[ix] Stephenson, William, A Man Called Intrepid (London: MacMillan, 1976) at 352-7.
[x] Extracted from Peter Dale Scott's unpublished (and unnamed) book-length manuscript on Nazi gold and Operation Sunrise.
[xi] Seagrave at 118.
[xiii] This individual adds: “The fear that America had over China 's crossing the border in Korea was that China would invade Formosa and the Philippines , leading to a nuclear war.”
[xiv] Sampson, Anthony, The Arms Bazaar (Coronet Books, 1977).
[xv] Ibid at 263-279.
[xvi] Sayer, Ian and Botting, Douglas, Nazi Gold (London: Mainstream Publishing, 1998).
[xvii] Hougan, Jim, Secret Agenda as related in The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska , John DeCamp (Nebraska: AWT, Incorporated, 1992).
[xix] The CIA operation directed at corrupting members of Congress and other public figures and opinion makers was called "Operation George Orwell." This operation achieved nation-wide scope on 4 July 1980 .
[xx] These and many other papers given me by Peter Johnston are stored in a secure location.
[xxi] Confidential documents in my possession.
[xxii] Patton, Guy and Macness, Robin, Web of Gold (Sigwick & Jackson, 2000) at 248.
[xxiii] The ENI/Fiorini story is extracted from a translated copy of L'Espresso, 21 March 1993 .
[xxiv] Prior to 1975, the slush funds gathered in this manner were stashed at the Banque de Commerce et de Placement, Geneva , 70% owned by ENI and later sold to UBS. By 1979, BCP had been sold to BCCI.
[xxv] In ENI's case, the influence on the foreign exchange market was enormous because it possessed 25% of the US dollars then circulating in Italy -- "it paid 50% of the National Power Bill." This provided ENI with immense financial clout.
[xxvi] Interestingly, Fiorini says the "system" became operative again, for a short while, in 1992. His reference, obviously, was Britain 's "Black Wednesday," which resulted in the resignation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a cost of £10 billion and more to defend sterling against predators -- one of whom was hedge fund guru, George Soros.
[xxvii] The number "seven" in this connection appears to be a very rich vein. For example, according to an article in McClure’s Magazine, August 1911, entitled “The Seven Men,” John Moody had this to say:
“Seven men in Wall Street now control a great share of the fundamental industry and resources of the United States . Three of the seven men, J.P. Morgan, James J. Hill, and George F. Baker, head of the First National Bank of New York belong to the so-called Morgan group; four of them, John D. and William Rockerfeller, James Stillman, head of the National City Bank, and Jacob H.Schiff of the private banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb Company, to the so-called Standard Oil City Bank group. The central machine of capital extends its control over the United States ...The process is not only economically logical; it is now practically automatic.”
Besides this, it is a fact that it is a convention that many of the data provided by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency focus only on the seven largest US banks. As at the third quarter 1998, these were: Chase Manhattan, Morgan, Citibank, Nations Bank, Bankers Trust, Bank of America and First National Bank of Chicago . Make of this what you will.
[xxviii] Fiorini reveals that the central banks were aware of this game, but since it "did sometimes happen from time to time that we gave the [central] banks a hand," the band of seven was "tolerated."
[xxix] Manipulations were not just focused on the FOREX market. Another "wheeze" was the bullion market, which was dominated in Switzerland by the Russian Vanhestorgbank. In this case, Veroshilov would provide advance warning that he was going to (for example) place 100 thousand ounces of gold on the market. This information enabled the group to sell gold short first thing in the morning and then buy it back at noon , netting a healthy profit along the way.
[xxx] Rothschild Bank AG has a long history of criminal relationships and suspect transactions. It was, for example, the bank chosen by Conservative Central Office to stash the £200 million or so received from grateful arms manufacturers during the Iran-Iraq War. This created a dilemma for the Tory Party. The funds could not be repatriated to the UK , because they were illegal. The interest earned on them, however, could be brought back to the UK . This interest totalled approximately £20 million a year and comprised the vast bulk of Tory Party funding during the late eighties and early nineties.
[xxxi] Hartmann was also Chairman of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), Zurich and worked for the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
[xxxii] Allegedly included in those well-known persons appearing at BCCI's Leadenhall Street headquarters for handouts and favours were Lord Callaghan (good for, allegedly, £25,000 cash – transferred by brown paper envelope), David Steel and Jeffrey Archer, according to a former BCCI's cashier.