Hey! Randy

Archive for January, 2009

Just the Way They Like It

Posted by heyrandy on January 31, 2009

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, Daniel Estulin, TrineDay, 2007.  340pp. , index, endnotes.

In conspiracy theory circles the Bilderberg Group is always an object of much discussion.  Founded in 1954 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the group has met annually ever since.  The meetings are always held in a five star hotel in a small city of the main road.  Security is extreme.  On film I saw on YouTube said the group always meets in “five star accommodations amid ten star security.”  The meeting are private; attendance is by invitation only.  The location is revealed only a week before the meeting.  The meeting gets very little coverage in the mainstream media.

Estulin states that his purpose is to “tear the mask off the Bilderberg group.”  He succeeds somewhat, but, even as he admits, there is still much to learn.  The Bilderbergers do everything in their power to keep it that way.  Estulin points out that there is never an  official statement issued, discussions and presentations are not recorded or transcribed, and note taking by participants, while not forbidden, is discouraged.  The code of silence is honored.

Much of what Estulin writes is available from  other sources (e.g., YouTube, where there is a lot of video).  But the book does give us a summary of the discussions of the 2005, 2006, and 2007 meetings.  There are copious photographs of the attendees, some documents reproduced, and lists of the participants.

Estulin’s sources are the real issue.  It is the nature of the matter that verification is difficult.  How do we check behind Estulin?  How do we check behind anyone who writes about such groups?  There would be no conspiracy if this were all done in the open.

But this leads to the question, “Why is this done in secrecy?”  The official answer from the group is to allow the participants to speak freely without fear of attribution.  Estulin asks why can’t we know what the attendees say; they all are leader of giant corporation, principal journalists, government officials, and university administrators; people who all affect our lives.

Estulin’s book is not just limited to discussion of the Bilderberg Group.  He spends considerable time discussing the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral commission.  Both of these groups are prominent in conspiracy theory.  Here too he does not reveal anything that is not already known by those who are interested in finding out, but for those who are just beginning to look into this matter it will be helpful.

Estulin spends several chapters discussing his intrigues in tracking the conspiracy.  He relates how he was detained for questioning by airport security.  Nothing came of it when he insisted that they either charge him with a crime or let him go.  He was released.  In another chapter, he tells of getting a cryptic postcard that lead him  to a meeting with a acquaintance of poor repute.  Suspicious of the matter Estulin retains his own security force of ex KGB agents.  They arm him with a pistol, apparently not concerned with any violation of local gun laws.  The meeting never takes place. Another intrigue is his almost walking into an empty elevator shaft after meeting with a contact.

The book is filled with photographs of attendees during breaks in the sessions.  While interesting, most of the 51 pages of photograph are collages of attendees talking to each other as they stroll about the grounds between sessions.  There is even a photo of David Rockefeller eating alone.

This book will be most useful to those beginning to sort through the various groups that meet in private.  Whether or not the Bilderberg group is a cabal will be denied by the group.  Until the group is examined by the mainstream media (unlikely, since the major media owners are often in attendance) the discussion of the group will remain entirely within conspiracy theory circles.  This is just the way the Bilderbergers like it.

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Behind the Bank

Posted by heyrandy on January 10, 2009

The Crimes of Patriots A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA, Jonathan Kwitny, W.W. Norton, 1987. 424 pgs, index.

How do banks begin?  For what purpose do banks exist?  Why use an obscure bank?  These question are seldom asked by most bank customers.  We tend to assume that all banks are much the same.  It is only a matter of convenience as to which bank to use.  There is a  lot more to banking than we know.  There is the operations of banks that we see, but beneath the surface there is in some banks operation that you are not allowed to see.

The Nugun Hand Bank was one such operation.  Founded in Australia by Frank Nugan, an Australian, and Michael Hand, an American, the bank was curious from its inception.  Kwitny, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, traces, what he can, of the banks origins, operations, demise, and aftermath.

The bank, it seems (no one knows for sure) was designed to enable people to evade taxes, evade currency export restrictions, and to launder money.  Almost all the bank’s operation outside of Australia were illegal.  Record keeping of deposits and loans often consisted only of a slip of paper kept in a file drawer.  The morning after Nugan’s 1980 suicide, the key officers of the bank went through the files and destroyed and carted off large quantities of records.  They didn’t need to hurry:  the police did not bother to show up at the offices until several days later.  This is just the beginning of a series of bungled attempts to investigate the bank.  There would be two more

Kwitny raises many questions regarding the bank:  Why were so many retired high ranking U.S. military officers involved as officers of the bank, yet they all claim no knowledge of the illegalities?  Why was the bank able to operate for so long and in so many countries without government authorities taking notice?  Why did so many depositors fail to file claims to try to recover some of their money?  What was the relationship of the bank with the Australian Intelligence and Security Organization?

These are all intriguing questions, but Kwitny does not answer them, at least not directly.  He hints at money laundering–the bank had a branch in the Golden Triangle are of Thailand–but doesn’t give the proof that shows the bank was actually helping the narcotics trade (although it is difficult to see why this branch existed, illegally under Thai law, if it was not to move around drug money.)  Kwitny also tries to implicate the CIA, saying the bank was a conduit for CIA funds.

The issue of the retired military officers is quite odd.  Were these men that naive?  Didn’t they investigate the bank and its principals before joining?  Why were they so willing to lend their names and prestige to this nascent operation?  Many of these men tried to lie their way out of any responsibility but changed their story when they were confronted with documents and, in one instance, a tape recording of a company meeting.

The bank was a magnet for former (?) intelligence operatives.  One especially colorful character was an expatriate American who operated a sleazy restaurant and bar in Sydney’s red light district.  There is nothing unusual about this until it is pointed out that the place is frequented by most visiting U.S. elected and appointed officials.  As Kwitny notes, no one goes the for the food.

The Nugun Hand Bank is a dead issue.  Nugun is dead–this was reconfirmed by an exhumation!–and Michael Hand has disappeared.  From my one internet search, it seems that Hand is still missing.  This may be the way everyone wants the situation to remain.

The book concludes with an after word by Earl Yates, USN (ret.)  Yates was President of Nugan Hand in the U.S.; the operation was nothing but a mail drop near Washington, DC.

I found the story interesting, but the unanswered questions are a major weakness in the book.  The book’s strength is to alert us to the sub rosa world of international banking.


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