Rigging the system for plunder and profit
Stanley Sporkin: BP's Ombudsman Fixer - by Stephen Lendman
Some call him Stanley the Fixer, Catherine Austin Fitts for one, a former high level government and Wall Street insider, now editor of Solari.com and running Solari, Inc., an ethical online investment firm specializing in preserving family wealth. Besides on her own firm and a wealth of information on important topics, her site provides extensive coverage of Sporkin, including unanswered questions about him.
On September 5, 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported that BP hired him as ombudsman "to hear worker complaints from Alaska and elsewhere in the US," a move to quiet criticism about company operations, given its history of safety and environmental violations, and long record as a serial scofflaw, making daily headlines for the past two months and sure for much longer, keeping Sporkin hyperactive on the job.
"I'll report them as I see them," he said when appointed. "My mandate is to do whatever is necessary to ascertain the facts about and identify solutions for problems that exist today as well as those likely to become issues in the future."
According to Kim Eisler in his Washingtonian.com July 16, 2007 article headlined, "Stanley Sporkin Does Things His Way:"
Sporkin "landed a very big client, BP America, and has been seen around town with (its then) president Bob Malone in tow....attempting to guide (him) through a maze of Capital Hill hearings and state inquests (concerning investigation(s about the company) over everything from Alaska pipeline failures to refinery fires and lost....worldwide CEO in a scandal."
Sporkin calls his job troubleshooting, "leading a team of investigators through the charges and countercharges," using his longtime fixer influence. While his compensation isn't known, "it's said to be substantial - more than (he) ever made during his years as a judge or at the CIA and SEC."
Who then is Sporkin, and what about his dark side? More on the latter below.
He's been a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in its Washington, DC office, involved in corporate governance, other litigation matters, arbitration and mediation services. He's also a member of the Gavel Consulting Group with other former judges and senior government officials, and served as counsel to Wall Street Management & Capital, Inc.
Earlier, he served 20 years with the SEC, the last seven as Director of Enforcement, another five years as CIA General Counsel (under William Casey during the Iran-Contra years - more on that below), and 14 years as a US federal judge for the District of Columbia. He's also a CPA and consummate fixer, given his high-level insider connections, now BP's ombudsman representing its interests, not workers or what benefits them. That's cover for his real job.
Serving Wealth and Power Interests
Sporkin made his reputation doing it, including judicially harming Hamilton Securities, approving its takeover, locking out its staff, and seizing its software and databases - its innovative system to save taxpayers billions of dollars in government-guaranteed mortgage loans, what might have prevented the housing crisis and mortgage fraud, what profiteers engineered collaboratively with Washington, as well as the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, likely to way surpass it before recovery.
A Case History of Sporkin Shenanigans
Catherine Austin Fitts founded and was president of The Hamilton Securities Group, a Washington DC-based investment bank and financial software firm. She explained its establishment as follows:
While serving as Assistant Housing Secretary and FHA Commissioner at HUD (under GHW Bush), she "tried (in vain) on numerous occasions to persuade (HUD Secretary) Jack Kemp and his staff not to propose new policies that would result in the abrogation of government contracts or contractual obligations with respect to financial assets."
Had she succeeded, it might have prevented the housing bubble, mortgage fraud, and spillover financial crisis, destroying the wealth, jobs, home ownership, and futures of millions of Americans, what didn't happen by chance, what was engineered and implemented over years to let Wall Street and other profiteers earn billions at the public's expense.
In 1990, Fitts left HUD to found Hamilton months later, several years afterward winning a competitive bid to serve as the Federal Housing Insurance Administration's financial advisor, executing, from 1994 - 1997, $10 billion in mortgage loan sales as well as strategic services for the agency's $500 billion mortgage and mortgage insurance portfolio, using revolutionary techniques greatly benefitting HUD and millions of taxpayers. On Solari.com, she then explained what happened, saying:
"One day I was a wealthy entrepreneur with a beautiful home, a successful business and money in the bank....The next day I was hunted, living through 18 audits and investigations and a smear campaign directed not just at me but also members of my family, colleagues and friends who helped me."
She believes it "originated at the highest levels," putting her through more than two years of "serious physical harassment, and surveillance, (including) burglary, stalking, having house guests followed, and (finding) dead animals left on (her) doormat."
What most people think can't happen in America, in fact, does, to anyone challenging corporate or government power - trashing the rule of law for their own interests, cleverly manipulating the public not catch on, or when it does, it's too late.
In Fitts' case, Hamilton's business and future opportunities were systematically wiped out, what led her to found Solari.com, focused on ethical investment, to help individuals and families protect their assets by understanding how dark Wall Street/Washington forces collaboratively drain investors and communities.
Hamilton Securities Litigation - Enter Sporkin
By trying to prevent the housing bubble and mortgage fraud, Hamilton was targeted by numerous lawsuits, including Ervin relator for United States v. Hamilton Securities (Qui Tam).
In March 1998, through his appointed Special Master trustee, then US District Court Judge Sporkin approved the court's takeover of Hamilton, and seizure of its software and databases.
As presiding judge in the Ervin Qui Tam case, he "extend(ed) the seal almost four years, without evidence of any wrong doing," despite a confirming FBI investigation and HUD IG audit verifying it. He also let government prosecutors argue contradictory positions, coached Ervin's attorneys from the bench, and may have been involved in why critical transcripts were missing.
Yet he resigned from the bench when Hamilton's legal documents and information about his Ervin Qui Tam case management and other litigation became available online. At the same time, he was involved in the falsified affidavit (http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/wilson102703.pdf), relating to former CIA and Naval Intelligence operative Edwin P. Wilson's conviction (what later got media attention), Wilson having been charged with shipping 42,000 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya's Moammar Qadaffy in 1977, then hiring Green Beret experts to instruct his agents on their use.
Wilson's defense was that his company, Consultants International, got CIA referral business, and was sanctioned by the Agency to gather intelligence, including about Qadaffy's access to Soviet military equipment. It didn't dismiss the case, but raised doubts in the minds of jurors.
Charles A. Briggs was CIA's third highest ranking official at the time he signed a declaration saying "According to CIA records, with one exception while he was employed by Naval Intelligence in 1972, Mr. Edwin P. Wilson was not asked or requested, directly or indirectly, to perform or provide any services, directly or indirectly, for CIA," later confirmed as falsified and untrue.
Yet as CIA General Counsel at the time, Sporkin certified the affidavit and affixed the Agency's seal, then had it notarized in Fairfax County, VA and presented it as evidence, the jury convicting Wilson on all counts.
On January 20, 2000, the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb headlined, "Back Channels: The Intelligence Community - Never Mind," saying:
"Nearly 17 years after former CIA officer and arms merchant Edwin P. Wilson was convicted of smuggling 20 tons of high explosives to Libya, the Justice Department conceded in a motion filed last week that a critical government affidavit used to convict (him) was inaccurate."
All along, Wilson insisted he was framed, his lawyer, David Adler (a former CIA agent) finding evidence to prove it. As a result, in October 2003, federal Judge Lynn Hughes reversed his conviction, ruling that prosecutors "deliberately deceived the court, (thus) double-crossing a part-time informal government agent" after he left the Agency, Sporkin playing a material role in his conviction as CIA General Counsel when it was decided to hang him out to dry with falsified evidence.
As an insider and skilled attorney, he had to know, willingly went along, and later was appointed to the federal bench, rewarded for his involvement in lawlessness.
On November 1, 2003, the Washington Post reported (click here) that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility began investigating his alleged misconduct in Edwin Wilson's conviction, as a result of Judge Lynn Hughes' reversal because of falsified evidence, what Sporkin likely knew, yet certified, but was never charged.
Fitts asked "What if anything did the Hamilton litigation, and litigation related to the Wilson conviction, have to do with (his) resignation from the bench" after her firm's legal documents became public, exposing his role in the case.
Perhaps also his involvement in Iran-Contra, Sporkin still CIA General Counsel, and may have drafted the secret DOJ-CIA Iran-Contra Memorandum of Understanding sanctioning Agency drugs trafficking covertly, what investigative journalist Gary Webb later revealed in "Dark Alliance," his explosive book about CIA complicity in illegal drugs, the agency's longstanding practice to help fund its operations, besides tens of billions more in black budget allocations, once estimated at over $50 billion annually by a former Agency insider.
Access these links for more information:
CIA's Global Drugs Trafficking
CIA's longstanding drugs trafficking connection way precedes its secret 1982 "memorandum of understanding" with the Justice Department - what Director William J. Casey arranged with Attorney General William French Smith, Sporkin, of course, Casey's General Counsel, so he had to know and be involved.
In his books, including Cocaine Politics and Drugs, Oil and War, as well as other writings, Peter Dale Scott has provided detailed information on the CIA-drugs connection, one article stating:
"Since at least 1950 there has been a global CIA-drug connection operating more or less continuously," relating to numerous "deep events" like JFK's assassination, the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, Iran-Contra, and CIA's involvement with the mob, using it for "supportive counterviolence....where Communist forces have appeared strong."
"The global drug connection is not just a lateral connection between CIA field operatives and their drug-trafficking contacts. It is more significantly a global financial complex of hot money uniting prominent business, financial and government as well as underworld figures," a sort of "indirect empire (subverting) existing government," Iran-Contra one of many examples.
During Sporkin's CIA tenure, it was the covert CIA operation, involving illegal arms sales to Iran and drugs trafficking to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, the Agency and Reagan administration repeatedly disrupting official investigations until political scandal erupted in late 1986, exposing what, in fact, went on, but not enough to curtail what CIA continues to this day globally. Nor did it imprison its operatives, Bill Breeden, a former minister, the only figure incarcerated - not Ronald Reagan, GHW Bush, William French Smith, John Negroponte, Elliott Abrams, John Poindexter, Oliver North, Stanley Sporkin, or others. William J. Casey died in 1987.
In 2003, the IMF estimated global money laundering at between $590 billion - $1.5 trillion a year, much of it linked to drugs trafficking, $500 billion alone from the elicit (US-controlled) Afghanistan opium trade (plus tens of millions more from hashish), most of it laundered through US and European banks, mainly the largest, but others as well worldwide, perhaps including Australia's Nugen Hand Bank.
Sporkin may have been "Slimey Affirm," the code name connection to the Australian bank, an investigation later revealing its involvement with CIA and organized crime, including drugs trafficking, money laundering, arms dealing, theft, tax evasion, and financing CIA's war in Laos, eventually causing its collapse.
Fitts asked if Sporkin "shut down honest businesses to protect government crime....narcotics trafficking," and facilitate money laundering, what at least he knew about at CIA, his job to provide legal cover if needed.
Collaboratively with HUD, Wall Street, and the Fed, what was his role in the housing bubble, mortgage fraud, and their connection to drugs trafficking and money laundering, in combination destroying poor communities throughout the country? What does he know about government black budgets and their funding, perhaps over $1 trillion annually, many trillions cumulatively, from stolen taxpayer dollars?
Why did BP hire him as ombudsman, a man with a history of CIA involvement, signing off on a falsified federal court affidavit, and targeting legitimate businesses to facilitate massive government fraud and market manipulation?
Was he asked to work for or against BP worker interests? Is his role to whitewash company safety violations, 760 of them called "egregious and willful," according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis? Did he ignore, downplay, or suppress years of shoddy maintenance and environmental destruction? Is he involved in punishing employees who express concerns? What does he know about harmful company practices and top officials involved? Why is he handsomely compensated? Is it for complicity in a cover-up.
Why aren't the media asking tough questions and demanding answers? What could he have done to prevent perhaps the greatest ever ecological disaster?
When will we get straight answers from him, his boss, other BP officials, top administration ones, and the president, a man who talks plenty and says nothing? When will accountability replace government and corporate crime? The public has a right to know.
One of the Best Lawyers
On November 1, 2003, Washingtonian.com writer Kim Eisler headlined, "30 of Washington DC's Best Lawyers," saying:
"Washington is home to some of the world's best," listing the top 30, ones to call on if ever get arrested, a subpoena, or worse, among them Stanley Sporkin, saying "It isn't every day that you can buy the services of a federal judge - legally." He's one of the few retired federal ones in private practice, besides being a consummate insider/fixer, who also "trained many of the top securities lawyers in Washington" when at SEC.
Jamie Gorelick also made the top 30, a well-connected former Clinton Deputy Attorney General, now representing BP in congressional inquiries into the Gulf disaster, and perhaps significant lawsuits it's facing.
Yet she was also compromised as Fannie Mae vice chairwoman when the housing bubble was inflating and company accountants falsified signatures, erasing $9 billion in losses, she earning over $25 million for her services before leaving in 2003 to become a partner at WilmerHale.
She was also one of the 9/11 whitewash commission members, and in 2007 represented BP in another oil spill case, this one in Alaska.
In Washington and corporate board rooms, the powerful take care of their own, targeting anyone in their way, proving the myth of the rule of law, operating outside it from one top position to another, serving the privileged at the expense of beneficial social change.
A Final Comment
Catherine Austin Fitts bears testimony to how to take on the system and win. Despite her Hamilton Securities experience, she regrouped successfully through Solari.com and Solari, Inc., a private company "focused on ethical investment and preserving family wealth....offering a unique perspective on the global financial system and on the political economy," through the Solari Report, Solari Report Digest, and wealth of information on her site, including her personal expertise offered honestly and honorably, a rare commodity in today's investment world. She explains her dedication as follows:
"Long ago, I made a promise that I would never act against the best interests or the excellence of my own people - that I would do my best to ensure that we were worthy of the stewardship of our world and that we did our best to leave a better (one) for generations yet to come. To make and keep such a promise is to understand that money and position are tools, not goals, and that death is not the worst thing that can happen."
Like the mythical Lazarus, she arose in better than ever form, offering subscribers what they're hard pressed to find elsewhere at a time honest advice is badly needed, and too few in the investment world provide it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.