See No Evil–BNL Skates

(Excerpted from Chapter 14: Saddam’s Banker in Atlanta: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

From July 27-29, 1989, a week before the FBI raided BNL Atlanta offices, the bank wired large amounts of money to BCCI through Morgan Guaranty Trust.  On August 4th, the day of the raids, William Hendricks III, a top official at the Bush Justice Department, resigned to take a job with a law firm representing BNL.

There he joined former Carter Attorney General Griffin Bell, who had earlier brokered the BCCI takeover of National Bank of Georgia; and William Rogers, former Nixon Secretary of State and Eisenhower Attorney General.  Bell was retained by George Bush during the Iran/Contra hearings and worked for EF Hutton when that company was accused of check-kiting in 1985.  Bell represented Exxon during the Valdez oil spill, stumped for AH Robbins during their Dalkon Shield controversy and went to bat for Dow Corning when it came under scrutiny for its bogus silicone breast implants.  Rogers came to the rescue of Saudi Intelligence Chief Adham during the BCCI investigations.

Bush Justice Department official Joe Whitley quietly stepped down to join an Atlanta law firm representing Matrix-Churchill.  For his efforts Whitley was named US Attorney for Atlanta by Attorney General Richard Thornburgh the day after Iraq attacked Kuwait.  Whitley replaced William Barr, who moved up to replace Thornburgh as Attorney General.  Thornburgh named Roberto Martinez, the lawyer representing Chilean arms dealer Carlos Cardoen, as US Attorney for Miami. [598]

BNL’s New York auditor Louis Messere was shredding documents during the FBI raid. A few days after the raid, Italian military attaché to Baghdad Colonel Guiseppe Schiavo was gunned down at his home in Turin.  Former Citigroup executive Paolo Di Vito took charge of damage control at BNL Rome on the recommendation from Henry Kissinger.  US Ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia aided in the Rome sanitation effort.

Bush Justice Department hacks served up BNL’s Atlanta manager Christopher Drogoul as fall guy in the ensuing cover-up.  BNL official Franz von Wedel put a serious dent in this strategy when he testified that Drogoul had acted on advice from the bank’s consultants- Kissinger Associates.  Drogoul was debriefed for six weeks by a government BNL investigative task force led by Arthur Wade, who testified under oath that RD&D was a CIA front for BNL/Iraq transactions.  Yet official court transcripts show a “no response” to this question.  Customs officials who tried to call Dale Toler, the NSA spook who headed of RD&D, were disconnected immediately. [599]

Justice sent a memo to the Federal Reserve telling it not to provide 70 BNL-related documents to House Banking Committee Chairman Henry Gonzalez (D-TX), who launched the most thorough investigation of BNL to date.  The Federal Reserve also blocked Gonzalez’ attempts to find out who really owned Iraq’s Central Bank.  The National Advisory Council, headed by Bush Treasury Secretary James Brady, withheld minutes of its 1989-1990 meetings on BNL from the Gonzalez hearings. The fiery Gonzalez, who was threatened at the San Antonio airport for his inquiry by G. Gordon Liddy, concluded, “The US has no regulatory oversight on the $800 billion known as ‘Foreign Financial’, much of which is tied to the drug trade”. [600]

NSA Kissinger Associate Brent Scowcroft and (Texas) Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher ignored invitations from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Don Riegle (D-MI) to testify about BNL.  Scowcroft invoked “executive privilege” in dodging similar requests from both House Banking and House Judiciary Committees.  Six days before Christopher Drougal was indicted, Henry Kissinger stepped down from BNL’s advisory board.  That same day Iraq surrendered in the Gulf War.

Atlanta Federal Circuit Court Judge Marvin Shoob, who heard the Justice tirades against Drogoul, shared Gonzalez’ suspicions, once stating, “Smoke is coming out of every window.  I have to conclude the building is on fire.”  Shoob stepped down from the BNL case in October 1992, issuing a 15-page statement exposing a CIA/BNL Rome cover-up.  In a parting shot, Judge Shoob refused to sentence five defendants who plea bargained with prosecutors, describing them as “bit players and pawns in a far more wide-ranging conspiracy”.

In 1992 Shoob’s replacement Judge Frederick Lacey issued a statement denying the need for a special prosecutor because there was “no evidence of CIA involvement in arming Saddam Hussein”.  Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) accused both Lacey and Attorney General William Barr, who appointed Lacey, of having conflicts of interest.  Schumer said of the Lacey dismissal, “I think it’s a run around the facts.”[601]

Barr colluded with Lacey in denying repeated Congressional requests to appoint an independent counsel to investigate BNL, the first such denial by an Attorney General since the independent counsel provision was created in 1978.  Rep. Jack Brooks (D-TX) accused Barr of stonewalling, while House Banking Committee Chairman Gonzalez prepared a House Resolution calling for Barr’s impeachment on obstruction of justice charges.  Rep. Charlie Rose (D-NC) stated, “I believe documents have been falsified, government officials have lied to Congress and there has been a cover-up by the White House.”

As the chorus of dissent grew louder, Barr ordered FBI Director William Sessions to open an investigation by his agency into BNL connections higher up the political and economic food chain.  Four days later Justice announced that it would launch a separate investigation into the Attorney General’s use of his expense account.  Someone was sending Barr a not so subtle message.  The FBI probe never got off the ground.

Lacey, Barr and Thornburgh all have close ties to the intelligence community.  Lacey was formerly one of seven judges who sit on the super-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), which issues quick warrants for NSA electronic and phone intercepts.  Another former FISA judge Albert Bryan is Grand Master of the Freemason Lodge in Washington, DC, the most powerful in the nation. [602]  Chairman Gonzalez accused CIA cover-up point man Thornburgh of, “delaying the BNL indictments and repeatedly trying to have the investigation of the committee obstructed and curtailed under the false pretense that it would endanger national security.”

In 1993 President Clinton issued a statement exonerating Bush officials of wrong doing in the BNL case after his Justice Department blocked attempts by Christopher Drogoul’s lawyers to subpoena George Bush, Lawrence Eagleburger and James Baker III.  Federal Judge Marvin Shoob said Clinton’s conclusion could only be reached in “never-never land”.  Clinton then refused to release executive branch documents to the Gonzalez investigation.  Clinton’s rush to clear the decks had much to do with protecting the First Lady.

From 1990-92 Hillary Clinton, a Wal-Mart director, was also corporate agent and board member at LaFarge Corporation, an affiliate of Kennametal, one of the companies illegally arming the Iraqis through BNL.  According to a letter from US Attorney Marianne Gasior to Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Kennametal was shipping its arms to Iraq via the Ordnance Center at LaFarge’s Marblehead Peninsula facility in Ohio.

In the end lead counsel Griffin Bell won a $400 million settlement for BNL. US taxpayers- already reeling from Iraqi defaults on BNL, CCC and EIB loans- got the bill, while corporations and bankers partied with Saddam in Baghdad.

Dean Henderson is the author of five books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel.  You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column


One response to “See No Evil–BNL Skates

    Large amounts of money transferred and top official at Justice Department lands a cushy job he’s probably not qualified for.
    William Hendricks III has a reunion with former partners in crime, and they start plotting their next crime.
    Damage control guns down Italian military attache on recommendation from Henry Kissinger.
    Fall guy is blamed by the higher-ups who didn’t want to accept blame for taking advice from Henry Kissinger and is fired.
    The fiery Gonzalez launches an investigation, which is unfortunately torpedoed by the Federal Reserve.
    Iraq learns that Henry Kissinger has stepped down from the BNL board and decides to surrender.
    Federal circuit court judge smells smoke and issues a 15 page statement exonerating lower-downs from taking the rap for the higher-ups.
    The facts are given the runaround.
    Justice is obstructed by stone wall.
    FBI investigation ordered, announced, canceled.
    Justice is obstructed and national security is re-established.
    President Clinton issues a statement from Never Never Land to protect the First Lady.
    Hillary Clinton illegally arms the Iraqis, makes a killing.
    Taxpayers foot the bill.

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