Monday, December 10, 2012

Part Two
© 2005 by Linda Minor

Part 2 - Scooter Libby’s Client
Marc Rich

Marc Rich
Amid rumors that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is close to indicting White House officials in the Plame leak case are reports that Scooter Libby was Judith Miller’s source of information. Part One of this series explored Libby’s “handler,” Leonard Garment, a Brooklyn attorney who ushered Libby into three different law firms. 

As an attorney in one of those firms, Libby represented his wealthiest and most mysterious client—Marc Rich. Only one of a myriad of Rich’s attorneys, Libby, nevertheless, worked for the metal and oil trader for a period of eighteen years. Understanding Marc Rich is essential in understanding Scooter Libby and the financial network which invaded Iraq.

Strategic Metals

Craig Copetas, Marc Rich’s biographer, who lumped his subject, Rich, into the category of the “Metal Men,” [1] attempted to trace Marc Rich’s mysterious background. Marc’s father, David Rich, a descendant of the Belgian Reich family who fled Europe during World War II, assisted by a Jewish placement agency, changed his family's surname to Rich. 
David Rich  engaged in an assortment of secretive businesses
  1. Jewelry distribution in Kansas City, Missouri; 
  2. Importation of burlap at Melrose Bag in the Bronx, New York; 
  3. Expansion into Sidec Overseas, S.A., a diversified agricultural import company which traded with Bolivian merchants; and 
  4. Setting up of the American Bolivian Bank in La Paz. 
All of this industry centered around the metal trade--Bolivia being a prime source of silver, zinc, antimony, lead, cadmium, tungsten, gold, and tin since the sixteenth century. In 1976 Bolivia added lithium, a necessary ingredient in nuclear weapons, to its stock of strategic minerals.

While his father was busy trading, young Marc was quietly attending school and going to summer camp. He graduated from the private “Rhodes School” in mid-town Manhattan in 1952, just ten years before a future commerce secretary, Ron Brown, would receive his diploma there.[2] 

An advertisement for the school in 1917 (above) sported photographs of selected members of its illustrious faculty, which included former Harvard and Columbia professor Adolphe Cohn; Alexis Irene du Pont Coleman, a scion of the gunpowder and chemicals family that owned Dupont; and Dr. Jose F. de Fernandez, recruited from New York’s Jesuit St. Francis Xavier College. Those years at Rhodes constitute the sum total of Marc Rich’s formal education, apart from a year or so of study at New York University. He dropped out of college in 1954 to begin his trading career at Hamburg-based Philipp Brothers.  

Philipp’s London office first opened in 1908. A New York branch appeared in 1927, just nine years before Rich’s boss, Ludwig Jesselson, arrived there from Germany. Philipps Brothers also had close connections to Spain and to Bolivia. David Rich—allegedly in connection with his burlap bag business—traveled frequently to La Paz and even set up a bank there, where the physical commodities business tends to be based, along with Brazil, Colombia and the Ivory Coast.[3] It is impossible to trade physical commodities without arranging for their transportation from one place to another at a time certain. 

Marc’s twenty years at Philipp Brothers was spent 
“buccaneering between North and South America, Africa and Europe…Copper was king at the time, and Rich was one of the metal’s crown princes…He went on to learn tungsten under the direction of Henry Rothschild and Steven Dale, a former British commando who was the tungsten expert….” [4] 
Rich’s reward was a posting to the Philipp Brothers office in Madrid as manager in 1967.  He used this outpost as a base through West Africa and the Middle East, and he gained contacts through his seat on the European management committee in Zug, Switzerland. 


Andre Meyer
In 1960 Jesselson, assisted by his friend Andre Meyer of Lazard Freres, merged the firm with Minerals & Chemicals (Minorco).  A second major change occurred in 1967—about the time Rich was arriving in Madrid—when Andre Meyer convinced Jesselson to merge with Engelhard Industries, owned by “Meyer’s friend and sometime business partner Charles Engelhard, the legendary inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger.” [5] 

Engelhard (sometimes called “The Platinum King”) also fabricated gold and other precious metals and lived in northwestern New Jersey’s aristocratic hunt country. His neighbors included Treasury Secretaries Douglas Dillon and Nicholas Brady—two partners in the Dillon, Read investment bank. Both Dillon, Read and Lazard Freres--as well as being favored investment arms of Rockefeller corporations and banks-- were also heavily involved in investments in the State of Texas, whose favorite son (Lyndon Johnson) had been in control of the Presidency since November 22, 1963.

Engelhard’s wife Jane was the daughter of a Brazilian diplomat, and her daughter, Annette Mannheimer, from a previous marriage (whom Engelhard adopted) married Samuel Pryor Reed, grandson of armaments tycoon Samuel F. Pryor. As Percy Rockefeller’s agent at Remington Arms in 1914, Pryor had a key position in mobilizing American industry, supervised by the War Industries Board, to manufacture and sell weapons to the Allies in World War I.

In “Who ‘Created’ Condi Rice?”—Linda Minor explored how Eugene Meyer, Jr. and Bernard Baruch used the War Finance Corporation and the War Industries Board “to administer minerals and materiel into a massive war machine.”  It was this war profiteering endeavor which first brought Samuel Bush (George H.W. Bush’s grandfather) into government operations—as discussed in “Money and Gunpowder, Part Two—A Place for Cannons”. [6]

Liquefying the Metals Trade

The metals Marc Rich brokered prior to 1973, from the aspect of national defense, were very strategic ones. Originally, such trading had to be done in the field, as it necessarily involved physical delivery of the metal at a specific location and time. Eventually, however, futures contracts were devised for most metals, allowing financial trading to take place at the commodities exchange. Before 1973, oil had never been traded on the futures markets, but things began to change in March of that year when President Nixon imposed price controls on oil. As reported in Time Magazine on March 19:
Inflation seems once again to be getting out of hand, despite repeated assurances from the President and Treasury Secretary George Shultz that Washington retains ample authority to crack down on price boosters. There was even more concern last week after the Government reported that in February the unadjusted wholesale price index jumped 1.9%, the biggest monthly rise in 22 years. With that, in an obvious attempt to regain its credibility, the Administration reached for its vaunted ‘stick in the closet’ and re-imposed direct controls on the nation's 23 biggest oil companies.”
Shah Pahlavi of Iran
Little mention was made of the price controls on oil, however, as food prices continued to soar through the summer. Marc Rich, however, knew that Middle Eastern oil producers were fuming because the dollar devaluation in 1971, combined with the price controls, had resulted in a net loss of income to them. At that point, through trading contacts with the royal Pahlavi family of Iran, Rich began to ship Iranian oil to Spanish refineries. He bought $150 million worth of crude oil at $5 above spot, only to be forced to sell by his bosses in New York, who panicked before the embargo set in. [7]

Harry Oppenheimer
Virtually all the trading done at Phibro (as Philipp Brothers was called after the Minorco merger) was extremely secretive.  Minorco, S.A. (Luxembourg) was then the international trading and investment arm of the Oppenheimer mining interests—trading in diamonds, gold and other precious materials. Engelhard and Harry Oppenheimer were bosom buddies, who first met in South Africa. Just as Engelhard played a vitally strategic role in maintaining a predictable level of necessary metals for the United States’ needs for coinage and national defense purposes, the Oppenheimer family had long performed the same functions for the British Empire.

Diamonds are Forever

Prior to the diamond discoveries in South Africa in the 1860’s, the supply of that precious gem was feared to be in danger of depletion.  Author Edward Jay Epstein relates:
Rough diamond
According to the records of the British East India Company, Jewish traders controlled virtually the entire world diamond traffic by the end of the eighteenth century. The Brazilian fields, however, were becoming rapidly depleted of diamonds, and no more diamonds were coming out of India.  Just as it appeared that the world might run out of diamonds, the South African mines were discovered in the eighteen-sixties. The ten leading Jewish merchants in London, fearing that the market would be flooded with South African diamonds, quickly formed a syndicate to buy up all of the production from these new mines. A number of the merchants in this syndicate had also acquired large stock holdings in the De Beers monopoly itself. One of the merchants who took the lead in arranging the deal with Cecil Rhodes was Dunkelsbuhler. Dunkelsbuhler brought into his London company a sixteen year old apprentice from Friedberg, Germany. [8] 
Ernest Oppenheimer, son of a cigar merchant, was that young boy sent to South Africa as a buyer for Anton Dunkelsbuhler in 1901. “German by birth, British by naturalization, Jewish by religion, and South African by residence," he became the “prototype of the multinational businessman.” [9]

Oppenheimer created Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM) of South West Africa in 1917 by first setting up Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa in London with some assistance from his brothers and the House of Morgan. He offered to give each major German investor shares in Anglo-American in exchange for their holdings in the “forbidden zone” in Namibia, which he held in a South African corporation. With this leverage he convinced De Beers to trade him a share of stock and a seat on the board in exchange for an interest in his properties. By 1929, he and his cousins had become a powerful force in the diamond monopoly. With support from Lord Rothschild, whose bank still owned a large block of stock in De Beers, he was named chairman and added De Beers to his Anglo-American Company.

In order to maintain the monopoly, even though demand for diamonds during the depression was nil, Oppenheimer closed his mines but continued to buy from whatever source was presented to the company. By 1937 De Beers had stockpiled some 40 million carats, about a 20-years supply. Threatened with bankruptcy, he decided to create a market himself. 

He first found industrial applications for poor-quality diamonds in manufacturing--diamond grinding wheel—which became an indispensable tool for mass production. Oppenheimer sent his son Harry to New York City to work with Madison Avenue strategists on a campaign touting the four “C’s” of diamond perfection—cut, color, clarity, carat—helping sales to increase more than 50 percent in two years. A new custom was declared—diamond engagement rings—with the slogan “a diamond is forever,” a slogan adapted by Ian Fleming for one of his James Bond novels.

The Gold Fix

London first became the world gold center in 1671 when Moses Mocatta arrived from Amsterdam. His bank, called Mocatta & Goldsmid, would begin operation in 1684, a mere ten years before the Bank of England was established. Mocatta would act as broker for buying and selling foreign gold that arrived at the Bank of England. Great Britain first adopted a formal gold standard in 1816. Nathan Mayer Rothschild had his first bullion dealings with the Bank of England in 1824; then Pixley & Abel began operating in 1852, followed the next year by Samuel Montagu & Company. Germany and the U.S. adopted the gold standard early in the 1870’s. Most countries, however, suspended gold payments once World War I commenced, and the gold standard collapsed. At war’s end in 1919 London became the center for “fixing” the price of gold twice a day in a formal meeting at the Rothschild offices in New Court, St. Swithins Lane in London.

Britain, devastated by economic depression, abandoned the gold standard in 1931, though the United States kept the price of gold fixed at $20.67 per ounce until 1933, when America prohibited gold exports, ended convertibility of dollars into gold, and mandated that all gold held by citizens be exchanged for dollars. In January 1934 the price of gold was devalued to $35 per ounce, and the gold standard resumed. London continued its fixings until the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, when they were suspended for almost fifteen years. 

The task of keeping the sterling price of gold at $35 per ounce became increasingly more difficult as the market grew. As early as 1961 the Bank of England had to occasionally sell from its reserves on the fix to hold the $35 per ounce. This led to the creation of the gold pool—an alliance between central banks—to maintain the $35 level. The pool worked well until 1965, when private buying of gold began to exceed mine supply, forcing central banks to sell reserves into the market to hold the price steady.

A run on gold in March 1968 resulted in suspension of gold selling in London for two weeks—reopening with prices thereafter fixed in dollars rather than sterling. The gold price, free to float, was set twice a day, morning and afternoon. London’s action was followed two years later by President Nixon, who in August 1971 repudiated the United States’ obligation to redeem its dollars in gold. By the end of 1974, gold had soared from $35 to $195 per ounce.

Gold is a stabilizing influence in global trade, useful in maintaining a level of confidence in the government’s ability to ensure the value of investments both at home and abroad. The author previously mentioned the importance of gold in an article called “Taking the Golden Eggs.” The strategic value of other metals was discussed in “Who “Created” Condi Rice?”  These two articles are part of an ongoing project by this author to describe the historical trail that has been taking America and the rest of the world into a new world order—a centralized order where local control no longer exists. Implicit in this new world order is the recognition of one absolute truism:  Power comes from controlling vital and strategic commodities. The countries which are the sources of those commodities must, therefore, be dominated and not allowed to exercise any form of independence or nationalism.
A Citizen of the World

Marc Rich fits snugly into this new world order. Jack Quinn, Rich’s lead attorney in charge of obtaining a pardon from President Clinton, explained the crime for which Rich was convicted on CNN’s Larry King program:
This case arose out of a complicated series of oil transactions that occurred during the time when we had price controls on oil. And, in essence, what happened was that Marc Rich and major United States oil companies, including Arco, had linked domestic transactions to foreign transactions in an effort, admittedly, to circumvent those price controls. I think they were trying to do so lawfully. But what they tried to do was to find a way to get the real value out of a price of oil. [10]
For years Howard Safir, working for Rudy Giuliani as his New York City police commissioner and later as chief of operations for the U.S. Marshals Service, had been tracking Rich down from one country to another. Safir told Larry King:
He was hard to get because he had a great deal of influence in a lot of countries, and we were pretty much restricted to just a few countries where we could apprehend him. He had a Bolivian passport, he had a Spanish passport. The Israelis were very clear they weren't going to help us apprehend him. So it was very difficult to get him, plus he had a lot of money….You know, Marc Rich is one of those people who considers himself a citizen of the world, inconvenienced by the petty laws of nations. And the message that this sends is outrageous. [11]
Such “world citizenship” makes perfect sense, of course, to those persons who make their livelihood from global trade—what can best be termed the merchant adventurer class which brought us slavery, tobacco, rum, spices, and last but not least, opium.


[1] A. Craig Copetas, Metal Men:  How Marc Rich Defrauded the Country, Evaded the Law, and Became the World’s Most Sought-After Corporate Criminal (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2001).

[2]  Steven A. Holmes, Ron Brown: An Uncommon Life (New York:  John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000).  According to Holmes, the school was a favorite preparatory academy for sons of middle-class black families.

[3]  The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 1984.

[4]  Copetas, Metal Men, 80.

[5]  Judith Ramsey Ehrlich and Barry J. Rehfeld, The New Crowd:  The Changing of the Jewish Guard on Wall Street (New York:  Little, Brown and Company, 1989), 197. 

[6]  This series will be continued as time permits. Interested readers are encouraged to read George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography—by  Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin—for more detail about the Pryor family’s link to the Bush network, which revolves around the Brown Brothers Harriman investment bank, Rockefeller banking and oil interests, and investments of the Payne and Whitney families.

[7]  Mark Honigsbaum, The Observer, May 13, 2001.

[8]  Edward Jay Epstein in The Rise and Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982).  (This book appears online at Epstein’s website.)  Epstein adds: "Until the early part of the eighteenth century, the entire world's supply of diamonds came from India. The caravans that brought them across Arabia traded these rare stones to Jewish traders in Aden and Cairo for gold and silver. The traders then resold them to Jewish merchants in Venice, Lithuania, and Frankfurt. It was a natural enterprise for the Jews scattered throughout central Europe: Since they were moneylenders, they had to concern themselves with assessing, repairing, and selling gems that had been offered to them as collateral for loans. They also had close connections with the Jewish trading centers in the Ottoman Empire through which all the Indian diamonds passed…. When the Jewish diamond merchants and workers were forced by the Inquisition to flee from Lisbon and Antwerp, they resettled in Amsterdam. Since cutting factories required no equipment except for hand tools, which were portable, the Jews instantly transformed Amsterdam into the diamond center of Europe. By the middle of the seventeenth century, Jewish diamond merchants helped finance the Dutch East India Company, which organized its own trade route to India. So Amsterdam then replaced Lisbon as the port of entry in Europe for India's diamonds.  Just as the fields in India began to cease yielding diamonds, more were discovered in 1725 in Brazil. The Dutch maneuvered to gain control of this traffic, but now they had to contend with the rise of British sea power. By the mid eighteenth century, the British had almost completely taken over the trade in diamonds, both from India and Brazil. As the trading center for uncut diamonds shifted from Amsterdam to London, so did the Jewish diamond merchants…. The Jewish traders sent the diamonds to cutting factories that had been re-established in Antwerp, and from there, the jewels were sold to all the royal courts of Europe. To select and evaluate these diamonds, the courts chose Jewish gem experts, who became known as ‘Court Jews’ "

[9]  Ibid.

[10]  Transcript of "Larry King," February 8, 2001 broadcast at CNN website. 

[11]  Safir indicated as well that in 1986 Rich “had a lawyer from East Germany offer $225 million for him and Pinky Green if the prosecutions were wiped out.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Nexus Between Politcs and Policy

©2005 by Linda Minor

The best defense is a good workup.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson had no trouble knowing the difference between truth and falsehood. In a New York Times piece that appeared July 2003 the former ambassador flatly stated:
"President Bush's assertion that Saddam Hussein was seeking to acquire uranium from the African nation of Niger was false and should have been known by the Bush administration to be false."
The White House handlers then tried to punish Wilson for daring to call a lie a lie by instigating Robert Novak to leak classified information that Wilson's wife was an undercover CIA operative.

This trick, that would have intimidated a man whose grasp of truth versus fiction was less firm, infuriated Wilson, who, instead of backing off, continued to confront those he labeled:
Why did Joe Wilson continue to confront the Bush administration in the wake of disclosures that his wife worked undercover for the CIA? In Socratic response, the former Ambassador would pose yet another question:
Did we go to war under false pretenses?
Wilson was the first person with any clout who had publicly questioned the veracity of the reason Bush gave for precipitating the war in Iraq. Bush claimed in only sixteen words inserted into a speech he gave that Iraq and Saddam possessed actual weapons of mass destruction. Tying the invasion of Iraq to the accusation that it possessed such weapons was an essential legal (not just political) ingredient in being able to finance the war and to collect private loans and claims through the United Nations. (“The Course of Deception.”)

Wilson focused on 
  1. the political aspect of the leak and  
  2. who was orchestrating it.
Where Politics Intersects with Policy

It did not matter to him what legal or financial agenda was used to justify the motives of those who revealed the classified information to the public. He only wanted the truth, and, as he stated in his book, published in 2004, 
“truth may be found at the nexus between policy and politics in the White House.”
That nexus, according to Wilson, was Dick Cheney's office, where the Vice President with his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, set out to do the “workup” on Wilson that led to the “outing” of Plame. It was a political motive that created a vile policy that dragged the United States into a brutal war, attacking in the process those who would tell the truth about the non-existence of nuclear weapons that justified their attack on Iraq at that time. Perhaps there was a personal motive as well, since the war in Iraq put millions of dollars into the pockets of Cheney's former pals at Halliburton, who benefited from their contracts in that war.

A "Wilson" Problem

The strategy the two men set up in Cheney's office was, as Wilson put it, “to confront the issue as a 'Wilson' problem rather than as an issue of the lie that was in the State of the Union address.” Thus, in the months following the publication of Wilson’s July 2003 article, Scooter Libby openly called Wilson “an ‘asshole playboy’ who went on a boondoggle ‘arranged by his CIA wife’”--an outright lie created to attack the only man who stood in the way of getting away with the pretense given for invading Iraq, and they tried to hide behind the defense that they "did not know the undercover status of Valerie Plame, and therefore, though they may have disclosed her name, they did not commit a crime."

This intimidation was designed to silence Wilson and prevent any further inquiry into who stood to benefit from the war ignited by their lie. But it did not work. Instead, Wilson looked into other men who may have been used as tools to do the leaking ("John Hannah and David Wurmser, mid-level political appointees in the vice president’s office, have both been suggested as sources of the leaks"), and then concluded:
Time will tell if that defense which strikes me as sophistry and a legal refuge for scoundrels — holds up.
Use of the word “sophistry” by the classically educated ambassador clearly implies that Wilson suspected Scooter Libby to be, like the Sophists who convicted Socrates, in the employ of someone other than duly elected officials of the Republic. [3] To find out who could have been backing their actions necessitates the following research into the network from which they rose.

Scooter Libby's Network
Irving Lewis Libby, Jr., was born in Connecticut in 1950, grew up in Miami Beach, Florida, attended Andover, then Yale, followed by law school at Columbia in Manhattan. His father, known as Irve L. Libby, was a successful men's clothier, active in the National Association of Retail Clothiers and Furnishers. He started out running Nat Greenblatt stores in New Haven and Gemmill-Burnham in Hartford, Connecticut, before relocated his home in 1952 to Washington, D.C. when he bought Grosner's.

Irve L. Libby of Grosner, Inc., men's clothing store

Since becoming an attorney in 1975, Libby passed back and forth between the public and private sectors, with various assignments in the “government” coordinated through his former Yale professor, Paul Wolfowitz. During the private phase of his legal career his guide and mentor was none other than Leonard Garment, who succeeded John Dean as White House counsel for Richard Nixon following the Watergate disclosures.

Though Leonard Garment was Brooklyn born and educated, both his parents were born in Minsk, Russia and spoke Yiddish.[4] Garment received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Brooklyn University and landed his first job as a lawyer in 1949 only one subway stop from his Brooklyn home, at the law firm of Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander—then known as Mudge, Stern, Williams & Tucker.[5]

He was still there fourteen years later when Richard Nixon became the firm’s senior partner — a rise in status brokered by two corporate executives — Elmer H. Bobst and Donald M. Kendall

Bobst, chairman of Warner-Lambert Pharmaceuticals (for many years a major client of Mudge, Stern), had first met Nixon in 1952 while campaigning with Dwight Eisenhower, then president of New York’s Columbia University. Bobst and his wife, the former Mamdouha As-Sayyid, a Lebanese social scientist at the United Nations, established a trust fund for Nixon’s daughters, Julie and Tricia, and also became the largest contributors to the Nixon library in California and its New York satellite at the Bobst archive collection at NYU. [6] 

The Bobsts were intimately connected to a myriad of tax-exempt medical and pharmaceutical cancer-related research societies whose boards of directors linked them with a fascinating group of political cronies who achieved passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971. [7] The purpose of this federal statute was to create government funding for cancer research separate from existing research facilities and thus to funnel money through grants to the favorite universities of the persons who were appointed to sit on the cancer boards.  [8]

Such “charitable” conglomerates also afford a means for wealthy persons not only to launder money through non-taxable charities, but at the same time to achieve a high level of prestige for themselves as “philanthropists”. This financial model was set up centuries ago and is still followed today with great success. The descendants of the oligopolists who designed the model are today based in central Europe—namely Switzerland—where the major pharmaceutical corporations, as well as “world peace” organizations, World Court, World Bank, and last but not least the Bank for International Settlements have their headquarters.

These Swiss banks, corporations and non-governmental organizations mentioned above control not only the legal drug trade, but the illegal one as well.  The best way to illustrate how the illegal drug trade is controlled politically is to look at Donald Kendall’s instrumental role in Nixon’s promotion to senior partner of Mudge, Rose in 1963. Kendall, then President of Pepsi-Cola,
 "offered the firm a large retainer if it would make the services of the former Vice President available to his company, which was then in the throes of a drag-out sales battle with Coca-Cola for the cola championship of the world.” [9]
Refining opium in Laos
Pepsi, as a result of Nixon’s détente policies, would eventually control the market in the Soviet Union and China. [10] Pepsi, through Chinese entrepreneur Huu Tim Heng, disguised its heroin refinery in Laos by building a bottling factory on the outskirts of Ventiane, of which Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma’s son, Panya, was president. Construction of the plant began in 1965 by Heng and two other Chinese financiers with funding from USAID.  According to Alfred McCoy, Heng used “his Pepsi operation as a cover for purchases of chemicals vital to the processing of heroin, such as ether and acetic anhydride, and for large financial transactions.” [11]

The Quaker’s “second-class characters”
Once he had been bought and paid for by these ambitious tycoons, Nixon, putty that he was, became easily molded into whatever shape was convenient for those directing the strategy to elect him in 1968.  It is no accident that the law firm chosen to coordinate this campaign was the counsel in the United States for the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (Swisse), S.A. in Geneva. [12] Randall H. Guthrie, who handled the Paribas account in the United States, once told a prospective corporate takeover target being raided by a competitor Guthrie represented: 
“Gentlemen, … you are about to be raped.
Now, why don’t you lay back and enjoy it?” [13]

Guthrie’s sardonic sense of humor was evidenced by a standing joke he shared with international banker and money launderer Michele Sindona, who made numerous visits to Guthrie’s New York office to discuss financial matters involving Paribas. Questioned by Sindona about “the odd Quaker,” whose name had mysteriously appeared in the first position on the door, Guthrie laughingly cautioned Sindona not to become involved in any investment schemes Nixon was peddling for his “oilman client” or the other “second-class characters” he represented. [14]

Guthrie operated within a more cultured milieu, mingling as he did with financiers such as Jean Reyre of Paris, who in 1968 headed an investment syndicate comprised of Paribas (of which Reyre was then managing director), Hambros Bank of London and Lehman Brothers of New York. These foreign investors attempted to join with Sindona as manager in founding a new Italian investment bank which aspired to greatness in international commerce. [15]

David M. Kennedy
Every attempt at this goal, however, failed as a result of—Sindona claimed—interference from Italian leftists such as Enrico Cuccia, head of Mediobanca, Italy's government-owned financial institution. Sindona whined that Cuccia had spread “false rumors” of his laundering Mafia funds through the Chicago commodity exchanges.  Another participant in the money-laundering scheme was Nixon’s first Treasury Secretary David M. Kennedy, formerly president of the Continental Illinois Bank, another illustrious client of Mudge, Rose.

Blackfriars' Bridge, London
More than a decade later, facing prison first in New York and then in Italy, Sindona was still being represented by Mudge, Rose, with the firm’s attorney John J. Kirby assisting other counsel in defending him on charges of fraud, perjury and misappropriation of funds following the looting of Franklin National Bank of New York (purchased by Sindona in 1972).  It was this New York bank failure which triggered the collapse of the Vatican Bank in 1974 and the subsequent death of Robert Calvi, the Vatican banker found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge in London. [16] Kirby just happened to be in Milan, Italy for court hearings on July 11, 1979, when Giorgio Ambrosoli, liquidator for Sindona’s Banca Privata, was murdered by a confessed hit man from Long Island, New York, who fingered Sindona as the man who had hired him.[17]

So here you have a quick snapshot of the upstanding law firm where Leonard Garment spent more than two decades as a lawyer.  He had another, much shorter career as well—before 1949—as a jazz musician, an occupation shared with fellow clarinet and tenor saxophone player Alan Greenspan. [18] It was Garment, in fact, who first brought Greenspan into public life by introducing Nixon before the 1968 election to the erstwhile reed man and aspiring economist—graduate of Neocon strongholds, New York University and Columbia.  When Garment and law partner John Mitchell accompanied Nixon to the White House in 1969, Greenspan trailed behind as an adviser, later being named chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.  
It was all one big happy family. Then there was Watergate.

After the Fall
Garment, amazingly untouched by the scandal, remained in Washington, giving direction to Gerald Ford, particularly with regard to “Jewish issues,” which he had coordinated for Nixon.  He brought in the Republicans’ first Jewish fund-raiser, Detroit businessman Max Fisher, who quickly set up a back channel of communications between Nixon and Golda Meir of Israel.  Fisher and Garment arranged for Meir to talk to Nixon at the White House in September 1969. [19] According to his Who’s Who biography:
David Ben-Gurion with Max Fisher
“Fisher's life was changed by a trip to Israel with the United Jewish Appeal in 1954 [when he first met David Ben-Gurion]. The experience led to a lifelong commitment to both Israel and the Jewish community at large. He raised money, made donations and held leadership positions in such important organizations as the Council of Jewish Federations (1969-1972), United Israel Appeal (1968-1971) and the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel (1971-1983).”
For seven years Garment would work alongside Fisher, coordinating public relations with Israel and with American Zionists, first for Nixon and later for Gerald Ford. They were particularly busy in early in 1970 preparing for a visit by French President Georges Pompidou and his wife, to no avail. 

Alfred M. Lilienthal described the February events as follows:

Phantom for Israel
“The indignation with which the presidents of American Jewish organizations received word of the cancellation of their New York meeting with President Pompidou can appropriately be described as "chutzpah," the Yiddish word for colossal gall. Weeks before the visit, organized Jewry had gone into action. On January 28 a Jewish delegation visited New York's Mayor Lindsay to make certain there would be no reception there for President Pompidou. A few days later plans were advanced for picketing demonstrations in New York, Westchester County, Chicago, and other cities on the Pompidou route. It was then that certain congressmen, led by Israelists Bertram Podell and Lester Wolff — both [Congressmen] of New York, called for a boycott of the French President's address to the Joint Session of Congress. A full-page advertisement under the aegis of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] which called for Phantoms for Israel to counterbalance Mirages for Libya and was signed by 64 Senators and 243 Representatives, added to the rising temperature.” [20]
Mirages for Libya

Nixon—whether acting on behalf of the American government or at the behest of his former law firm—made a special effort to soothe the couple’s ruffled feathers. Mudge, Rose’s ties to Banque Paribas (founded by James Rothschild in 1872) may have extended to a hidden connection to Pompidou, a former professor personally selected by Guy de Rothschild to be general director of Rothschild Frères before he became President of France, replacing Charles de Gaulle. Both De Gaulle and Pompidou were virulently antagonistic to the interests of the State of Israel—which was, coincidentally, being financed by Guy’s cousin Edmond. [21]

Gerald Ford’s short-lived administration saw the promotion of youthful Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld into public view, as described in an article by Linda Minor, "The Halliburton Riddle."

And a few illegal scoundrels
Garment and Fisher found it expedient to wander away from Washington in order to take care of other pressing problems, although both “court Jews” (as they were sometimes called) actively campaigned for Ford’s reelection in 1976. Once Ford was defeated, Garment returned to his job at Mudge, Rose, which had taken Nixon's name off its masthead.

Fisher was already bogged down in attempting to rescue the Israeli government from a potentially devastating political scandal. In May 1975 Fisher had become chairman of United Brands, a corporation which his predecessor, Eli M. Black, had created from the old CIA-connected United Fruit Co., in which Fisher was a large shareholder. 

Fisher was called in to run United Brands after Eli Black ...
“created a major mystery by smashing a quarter-inch-thick glass window in his Manhattan office and plunging through it to his death on the pavement 44 floors below. Black's relatives said that they knew of nothing that might have driven the executive, who was a descendant of ten generations of rabbis and a former rabbi himself to take his life.” [22]
Black’s self-murder came on the heels of a very bad year for him and the company— suffering from a $47 million corporate loss on sales of more than $2 billion.  Black also found himself
“at the center of an about-to-break case of international bribery that might topple the government of Honduras, hurt U.S. relations with Latin America and cause United Brands still greater losses,” according to the disclosure in Time magazine, which elaborated: “Under its former name of United Fruit Co., United Brands' banana operations had been synonymous with Yanqui imperialism; United Fruit was widely known as el pulpo, or the octopus.” 
Possibly the money disappeared down the same black hole, described later in the same article, which reveals the
“latest developments in a complex contretemps that involves, besides the state of Israel, a Baron de Rothschild, a shady Swiss bank with a record of ties to the Mafia, secret Liechtenstein trust accounts, a hero of the World War II Hungarian underground and scores of millions in missing funds.”
Sounds like a review for the latest Robert Ludlum thriller.  But no, this is non-fiction!

Tibor Rosenbaum
It seems that the International Credit Bank (I.C.B.) in Geneva, created by Tibor Rosenbaum
“was singled out by Life magazine in 1967 as one of the Swiss banks that accepted funds that the Mafia had skimmed from casinos in the U.S. and the Bahamas, then recycled into Mob-controlled American businesses.  At the same time, Rosenbaum, who played a major role in rescuing many of his fellow Jews during the Nazi occupation of his native Hungary, developed close relations with Israeli leaders. I.C.B. financed oil deals and huge, hushed arms transactions for Israel. Rosenbaum was also highly respected by many Jews around the world, who often used his bank to deposit funds for investment in Israel; indeed, until February he was treasurer of the World Jewish Congress.” [23]
Could it be that those Catholic Mafiosi suspected someone of skimming their share of the profits and using them for Israeli defense? Could they have taken their revenge out on Rabbi Black perhaps?  Unfortunately for us, dead men don’t tell tales. [24]

It was only a few months after the dust had settled from the Italian-Israeli mafia gang war that Garment’s name surfaced in connection with the Sindona case.  In fact, he was actually working on the case with white-collar-crime specialist Robert Kasanof, of another New York law firm, only one month after Gerald Ford was defeated (December 1976), at the same time his own wife, Grace Garment, who had been missing for seven weeks, committed suicide in a Boston hotel room, though her body was not identified for almost a week after her death. [25]  Despite the obvious trauma Garment must have suffered, he continued to work on Sindona’s case. 

More visible than Garment, however, was his associate John J. Kirby, Jr., who handled court appearances while Garment spent his time behind the scenes, lobbying with friend Daniel Patrick Moynihan to make sure that the U.S. Attorneys with whom they had been negotiating on an ad hoc basis would not be replaced once the Carter administration moved into office in 1977. [26]

Scooter Libby, listening to the wild tales Len Garment, his career mentor, may have  regaled him with, perhaps e thought he could never rise to such heights himself. 

But then, there was Marc Rich.



[1] All quotes from Wilson: Joseph Wilson, Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Led to War and Exposed My Wife's CIA Identity (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2004), 441-2  An excerpt from the book appears online at Southern Cross Review website.

[2]  The search for truth was the mission which motivated Socrates in the fourth century B.C., and it was his probing which was rewarded with the hemlock cocktail, specially prepared by the sophists of his day.  The decline of Athenian democracy was advanced by paid “intellectuals,” who acted as mouthpieces of hidden oligarchs who compensated them.  Today’s Neocon network is identical to the Athenian network of sophists who destroyed that republic.

[3] With regard to Wilson’s statement above, and  his decision to entitle his book “politics of truth,” see one of Plato’s Dialogues where it is stated: “…how melancholy, if there be such a thing as truth or certainty or possibility of knowledge—that a man should have lighted upon some argument or other which at first seemed true and then turned out to be false, and instead of blaming himself and his own want of wit, because he is annoyed, should at last be too glad to transfer the blame from himself to arguments in general: and for ever afterwards should hate and revile them, and lose truth and the knowledge of realities.”  Plato, Phaedo, Part III.

[4] The 1920 U.S. Census shows the family of John Garment living at 277 Pennsylvania Avenue in Brooklyn four years before Leonard was born.  John Garment worked as a “ladies tailor” proprietor.  The apartment building tenants were overwhelmingly Russian Jews—both John and his wife Jennie having been born in Minsk.

[5]  Brooklyn Law School’s first forty years was under the sponsorship of the blue-blood upstate St. Lawrence University, whose trustees “had for years been operating the Law School as a profit center, or, in the parlance of law school educators, as a cash cow—milking the school’s earnings and preventing the law school from building even a modest endowment…”  In 1943 St. Lawrence “announced plans to shut Brooklyn Law School down. Later, a legal historian would write:  ‘Perhaps St. Lawrence did not fully realize how much it meant to people struggling for a living to have their [children] enter the professional class and secure No sacrifice was too great for this....The great service of the Brooklyn Law School was that it offered a professional education for those who would have found it very difficult and often impossible to get it elsewhere.’  … St. Lawrence’s liquidation plan galvanized many of them [alumni] into action. They saved the school from extinction, but at great cost. Judge [William H.] Carswell and Dean Prince negotiated the repurchase of the school’s assets from St. Lawrence so that the school could continue to operate as an independent institution.”
The bulletin also recognizes Leonard Garment among a list of less recognizable fellow alumni:  “During [the early 1960’s]…, the School continued to produce talented lawyers who would have very distinguished careers:  • Second Circuit Judge Frank Altimari • District Judges Henry Bramwell, Leo Glasser, Arthur Spatt, Mary Johnson Lowe, Sterling Johnson, Jr., and Edward Korman • State Court Judges Allen Beldock, William Thompson, Gilbert Ramirez and Bernard Fried • White House Counsel Leonard Garment • Public Servants David Dinkins, Herman Badillo, Benjamin Ward, Howard Golden, Nicholas Scopetta • Poverty law pioneer Edward Sparer • City Bar Association President and Proskauer partner Robert Kaufman • Metromedia Executive Vice President Stuart Subotnick • Professors Richard Farrell, Nancy Fink, Martin Hauptman, and Robert Pitler.”

[6]  Speaking at the dedication ceremony for The Nixon Center, funded by the Bobsts’ foundation, Tricia Nixon Cox stated:  “An extraordinary person whose life personified the idea of being dedicated to worthy causes was Elmer Holmes Bobst. He was a self-made man whose intelligence, character, loyalty, patriotism, courage and generosity in many areas, including education and cancer research, made him an embodiment of the American dream. A mentor and father-figure to my father in all seasons since 1953, Elmer Bobst, or Uncle Elmer as Julie and I called him, was also a singular friend, who with his wife Mamdouha shared my father's vision of a more just and peaceful world -- a world made possible by hard-headed detente, enlightened self-interest, and a strong America; a world in which democracy would flourish and open new doors to peace and freedom.  Today Mrs. Bobst, a renowned humanitarian, continues the journey faithfully and ably, forwarding the sterling ideals she shared with her husband and with my father. To further these ideals, and in the spirit characterized by my mother as onward and upward, Mrs. Bobst is going to have built on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California, the Elmer and Mamdouha Bobst Building, which will house the Center for Peace and Freedom. (Applause.) I know that my parents would have been deeply moved by Mrs. Bobst's magnificent gesture, because it was their wish to honor this exceptional friendship in a very meaningful way that would benefit our generation and future generations.”  Leonard Garment also told an almost incoherent story of a night he and Nixon spent together in the Bobsts' pool house in 1965, in an interview with Brian Lamb of Booknotes.

[7]  See National Cancer Act history

[8]  See website called Smokers History, linked to other pages. 

[9]  Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business:  The Corporate-Political Money-Power Game (New York:  Avon Books, 1974), 140.

[10] According to Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs website © by the President and Fellows of Harvard College:  “PepsiCo divisions also expanded their operations to new areas of the world, including the former USSR (where PepsiCo was the first foreign consumer product to be sold) and the Peoples Republic of China.” 

[11]  Alfred W. McCoy, with Cathleen B. Read and Leonard P. Adams II, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York:  Harper & Row, Publishers, 1972), 187.

[12]  Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business, 141.

[13] Ibid.  Quoted from Joseph C. Goulden, The Superlawyers (New York: Weybright and Talley, 1971) at 221.

[14] It’s possible this “oilman” client may have been associated with El Paso Natural Gas, a long-term client of the firm.  In 1969 Attorney General John Mitchell “purchased through a law partner a stock interest in El Paso Natural Gas Company” simultaneously with the Justice Department’s dismissal of anti-trust charges against El Paso.  In addition to granting this personal reward for services rendered, El Paso had contributed, along with the Gulf Resources and Chemical Co., to the secret slush fund Mitchell managed for CREEP.  Rodney Stich, Defrauding America (1994), 23.

[15] In 1963, president of the Banco di Credito Commerciale e Industriale was Junio Valerio Borghese.  The bank had been the very first one owned by Sindona.  Under Borghese the bank was involved with the son of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo, with Franco's government in Spain, and reactionary circles in the Vatican and the Christian Democratic Party. Ultimately the bank collapsed, but someone covered for the inept Borghese.  See Jack Greene and Alessandro Massignani, The Black Prince and the Sea Devils:  The Story of Valerio Borghese and the Elite Units of the Decima Mas (Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 2004).

[16]  See BBC story about Calvi’s death.

[17] Nick Tosches, Power on Earth:  Michele Sindona’s Explosive Story (New York:  Arbor House, 1986), 263.

[18] “Even as a saxophone player in a 1940s swing band, Alan Greenspan had a passion for staying in control.  While some of his fellow musicians smoked marijuana or snorted stronger drugs, the future chairman of the Federal Reserve Board kept track of the band's money.  ‘Some people used to complain that the band was smoking these funny hand-rolled cigarettes,’ recalls Washington lawyer Leonard Garment, another sober-sided member of the touring ensemble. ‘But Alan was clean as Clark Kent: he handled the books and never ran a deficit.’”  Time Magazine, April 18, 1994. 

[19]  Peter Golden, Quiet Diplomat:  Max M. Fisher (New York:  Herzl Press, 1992), 195.

[20] Alfred M. Lilienthal, “The Zionist Connection II:  What Price Peace?” (1983). 

[21] The ownership of Paribas has since changed, according to a website which indicates that Nadhmi Auchi’s firm, “General Mediterranean Holdings SA (GMH SA), is stated to be ‘based in Luxembourg, with offices in London, and has business interests in banking, hotels, construction and real estate.’ Yet it is believed that his holdings are far more diverse, sharing ownership in more than 120 companies across the world from British aviation to Kuwaiti energy. For all he is worth, secrecy appears to be a mainstay of Auchi’s business. When in the 1980s socialists took power in France ordering all banks to pass information on the accounts of their customers to the government, it was Auchi’s firm in conjunction with the French bank Paribas that enabled accounts for the super wealthy to remain secret by purchasing a bank in Luxembourg. Later Auchi took a controlling interest in Banque Nationale de Paris which later merged with Paribas to become BNP Paribas, the bank of choice for Saddam Hussein when funneling billions of dollars of often corrupt Oil for Food transactions. In 2003 Auchi was convicted by a French court of illegally accepting more than $120 million in oil kickbacks during the first Gulf War, oddly enough profiting from the Kuwaiti side. And to this date Auchi continues to attract mystery if not controversy. Auchi is the primary financial sponsor of Tony Rezko, wiring $3.5 million to the Syrian-American just one month before the Rezkos purchased land adjacent to Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s home (some speculate Obama received part of the property at a discount). Both properties were sold by the same seller. Rezko, an early and substantial fundraiser for Obama, has since been convicted of fraud and bribery and has become a source of endless pain for the Obama campaign. Perhaps Rezko could have learned a thing or two from Auchi.” 

[22] Transactions of this type are traded in Chicago, and the exchange where they are transacted has undergone tremendous revamping in the last few years. Wikipedia tells us: “The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) (often called "the Chicago Merc," or "the Merc") is an American  financial and commodity derivative exchange based in Chicago. The CME was founded in 1898 as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board. Originally, the exchange was a non-profit organization. The exchange demutualized in November 2000, went public in December 2002, and it merged with the Chicago Board of Trade in July 2007 to become CME Group Inc. The Chief Executive Officer of CME Group is Craig S. Donohue. On August 18, 2008 shareholders approved a merger with the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

[23] The Rothschild to which reference was made in the Time article was Guy’s cousin, Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild, who created his own “philanthropic” foundation in Geneva in 1982, though the personal foundation of his grandfather, Baron Edmond Benjamin, was set up in 1973.  See a Markus Angelicus article about individual Rothschild assets, as well as the website for Edmond’s charities.  The Baron had also created the Caesarea Foundation in 1962 to fund Israel’s first university, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  See a most interesting panegyric website dedicated to glorification of the Baron. Both Edmonds were descended from James Mayer de Rothschild, founder of the French branch of the five original Rothschild banks.  For a history of the French bank, see Anka Muhlstein, Baron James: The Rise of the French Rothschilds (New York:  The Vendome Press).

[24]  Another expose in Time magazine in 1975 revealed three simultaneous scandals: “In Washington, federal energy officials confirmed suspicions that overcharges by oil suppliers during last year's period of Arab embargo and shortage had cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, much of which the Government has ordered refunded. In New York City, United Brands, famous for its Chiquita bananas, admitted bribing officials of Honduras, setting off an uproar that threatens government stability in that country. In Tel Aviv, the indictment of a highly placed Israeli executive on charges of siphoning cash out of the country opened up a story of troubles in a Geneva bank that could cause heavy losses to investors round the world.

[25] Paul Hoffman, Lions of the Eighties:  The Inside Story of the Powerhouse Law Firms (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1982), 63. See also Book Notes interview of Leonard Garment (promoting book, Crazy Rhythm, at C-Span website. 

Nick Tosches, Power on Earth:  Michele Sindona’s Explosive Story (New York:  Arbor House, 1986);

[26] According to Paul Hoffman, that ad hoc judicial selection committee designed by Garment and Moynihan “soon was expanded into a formal judicial screening panel… [and] had national implications.”  The implications of the judicial screening model are clearly apparent today, as the U.S. Senate considers the current nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court John G. Roberts, Jr.  Roberts is a member of the Federalist Society, an organization that has grown from the informal vision hatched by Len Garment and friends during Moynihan’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1976.   Fellow campaigners Irving Kristol and William E. Simon set in motion a funding mechanism called the Institute for Educational Affairs, to provide seed money for the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, organized in 1982 and fronted by three young law students.  Money poured in from “charitable” foundations that have become so ubiquitous in today’s politics. Paul Hoffman, Lions of the Eighties:  The Inside Story of the Powerhouse Law Firms (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1982),  63. Also see and Martin Garbus, "A Hostile Takeover," The American Prospect vol. 14 no. 3, March 1, 2003.