Bankers, Drugs, and 9/11:
A Convergence of Convenience
By: Alex Babaie
On June 29, 2010, Bloomberg ran an interesting investigative piece by Michael Smith that was ignored by much of the mainstream media. In the article, Smith details a widespread criminal conspiracy that banking giant Wachovia engaged in with Mexican drug cartels, laundering up to $300 billion dollars in drug money before federal prosecutors took action.
Wachovia eventually agreed to settle with the Justice Department for a measly $160 million dollars, and assured the US government that they would take additional steps to fight money laundering by Mexican drug cartels. (1)
This should come as little surprise in the world of "Too big to fail", with a growing fraudulent-foreclosure scandal exposing a culture of lawlessness that has taken root in major US financial institutions. The reason bankers love the "War on Drugs" is simple. Drug cartels have billions of dollars of profits that need to be laundered or invested. Banks and Wall Street investors extrapolate huge fees from the many financial transactions drug cartels engage in while laundering money. They are also able to loan out more money with the influx of cash from drug cartels. Some economists have even speculated that drug money kept certain banks afloat during the 2007 financial crisis. While it is impossible to measure the profits that Wall Street and major US banks derive from drug dealers, the Wachovia case points to it being in the billions.
In the Bloomberg article, it mentions that the Wachovia investigation began on April 10, 2006, after a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, situated 500 miles east of Mexico City. (2)
Mexican soldiers searched the plane after its crew began acting suspicious, inside they found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. Mexican prosecutors later found that the DC-9 and perhaps 50 other planes were bought with funds laundered by drug cartels through Wachovia and Bank of America. While this began the investigation into the banks, it also raised disturbing questions. The Saint Petersburg Times of Florida traced the plane to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, where it had taken off on April 5, 2006. (3)
The plane was apparently tied to SkyWay Communications LLC. Journalist Daniel Hopsicker later found FAA records indicating the plane had once been owned by Royal Sons LLC, and its last registered owner had been Frederick Goffen. Goffen was once an appointee of Texas Congressman Tom Delay, who is ironically now serving a three year prison sentence for charges of money laundering. (4)
Royal Sons LLC has its own bizarre story. It housed its planes in Huffman Aviation's hangar at the Venice Municipal Airport in Venice, FL. Huffman Aviation was the infamous flight school that 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi both attended in 2000. Hopsicker and other journalists point out strange dealings between Royal Sons LLC and business interests in Venezuela and Colombia, both major drug hubs. Some believe that Royal Sons LLC may have ties to the CIA. Investigative reporter Barry Hopsicker found that another company housed out of the Huffman Aviation hangar was Brittania Aviation, a company which has been able to secure lucrative multi-million dollar deals with the federal government despite holding little known assets, having one listed employee, and virtually no corporate history. Britannia Aviation is likely a CIA front company, Huffman Aviation and the Venice Municipal Airport both seem to have ties to the CIA as well. Interesting that two of the 9/11 hijackers would be training in these facilities.
In the weeks preceding 9/11, Newsweek and other publications began publishing reports that some of the hijackers received training at US military installations. Three of the hijackers had listed their address on drivers licenses and car registrations as the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, known as the "Cradle of U.S Navy Aviation". (5)
Why was there a convergence of terrorists, drug dealers, and companies tied to the Central Intelligence Agency at this small airport in Venice, Florida? Why did three of the alleged 9/11 hijackers list a Naval Air Station as their address? Why did Wachovia and Bank of America help launder millions of dollars for drug cartels that led to the purchase of a DC-9 thats last registered owner was an appointee of imprisoned money laundering congressman Tom Delay? Why has there been no serious effort to find the pilot of the DC-9?
A few days ago I watched a 2008 interview with former CIA officer Robert Baer that is available on You Tube. At the end of the interview, Baer details his firsthand knowledge of a financial investor who had received prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and sold off his stocks before "it went down". Baer claims that this investor's brother worked in the Bush White House. Shortly after 9/11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission noted that numerous put options had been placed on American and United Airlines in the weeks before the attacks. (6)
They later claimed that there was no evidence that anyone on Wall Street had prior knowledge of the attacks or engaged in insider trading based on said knowledge. Given Wall Streets exposed ties to drug dealers and their numerous other financial transgressions, compounded with veteran CIA officer Robert Baer's personal knowledge of insider trading based on 9/11 foreknowledge, it appears that the SEC investigation may not have been completely forthcoming with the truth.