The Center for an Informed America NEWSLETTER #12
August 5, 2002
What's It Really All About?, Part II
Greetings to all subscribers!
Like Jared Israel, Michael Ruppert of From the Wilderness points an accusatory finger at Zbigniew Brzezinski. Ruppert is, of course, the most well-known of the September 11 'conspiracy theorists' -- and the one that conspiracy debunkers from The Nation, The Progressive, Z Magazine, the L.A. Weekly, and various other 'progressive' publications have repeatedly taken aim at.
In a posting entitled "How Stupid Do They Think We Are?," Ruppert quotes extensively from Brzezinski's 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and It's Geostrategic Imperatives. Ruppert casts the book as a blueprint for both the current war and it's triggering event -- the September 11 attacks.
Ruppert first references the opening lines of the book: "Since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power." He then summarizes Brzezinski's theory: "The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics. And the key to controlling the Central Asian Republics is Uzbekistan."
This supposed theory of Brzezinski's is obviously lifted directly from Sir Halford MacKinder, who expressed that very same sentiment 93 years before Brzezinski got around to doing so. Like Israel though, Ruppert provides no historical context for Brzezinski's words.
Unlike Israel though, Ruppert cites a number of other motivations for the war. In an introduction to a July 11 posting, he writes: "The need for major oil companies to monetize billions in investments in Central Asian oil fields has been cited frequently by FTW as one of the major motivations for U.S. complicity in the attacks of last September. Other motives have included economic control of an estimated $200 billion in cash generated by the opium trade from the region, geopolitical neutralization of potential threats to U.S. global dominance and, more recently, an apparently frenzied and progressively less coordinated effort to do whatever is necessary to sustain a failing U.S. economy."
There is little question in my mind that multiple goals are indeed being pursued in the so-called 'War on Terrorism.' In fact, it has been my experience that any significant course of action taken by the state is in pursuit of more than one goal, with multiple, interwoven motivating factors.
Ruppert has identified four goals being pursued. One of these is, of course, oil. This is examined in the July 11 FTW posting, "The Forging of Pipelineistan," by Dale Allan Pfeiffer. Therein the current status of various Central Asian pipeline projects is examined:
"Pipeline and oil deals seem to be spreading out all over Central Asia. The players include all of the major oil companies, especially those with close ties to the Bush Administration, along with Russian oil companies, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Central Asian republics themselves."
"Only the Afghanistan pipeline," says Pfeiffer, "seems to be moving slowly." In Michael Ruppert's introduction, this is attributed to the fact that military 'stabilization' of the country has proved more difficult than anticipated by the Bush mob.
The 'war' has, however, eased the way for any number of other pipeline projects:
"Projects are underway to ship energy north through modified Russian pipelines. The largest of these projects is a 980-mile pipeline from Kazakhstan's Caspian Sea oil fields across Kazakhstan and Russia to the Black Sea port of Novorossisk ... As reported by Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections website, the main client for this pipeline will be TenzigChevrOil, half of which is owned by Chevron, a quarter by ExxonMobil and a quarter by Russian and Kazakh partners.
"There are also several projects to either truck or pipe energy through Georgian territory, according to the DOE. Chevron has a strong interest in this option, along with Conoco. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency funded a $750,000 feasibility study by Enron for a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, through Azerbaijan and Georgia, to Turkey. Another feasibility study was completed by Unocal ...
"Chevron's involvement throughout the region is quite ubiquitous. Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections reported the company has invested more than $20 billion in Kazakhstan alone. From 1989 to 1992 National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was on the board of directors of Chevron, and was its main expert on Kazakhstan.
"Other projects are also underway, most of them ending with energy in Turkey ..."
A posting on the Toward Freedom website, "Oil and Empire: The Battle for El Dorado," by Greg Guma, fleshes out some more of the details of the various pipeline projects:
"For the major energy companies, the Caspian is a new 'el Dorado' ...
"Offshore drilling operations are underway in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and set to commence elsewhere. Major firms have also invested significantly in the future construction of oil and gas pipelines to distant ports and refineries. By 2010, the world's leading energy concerns expect to invest at least $50 billion in production and transportation.
"The first big move was a $20 billion joint venture between Chevron and Kazakhstan, signed in 1993 to develop the huge Tenzig oil field on the Caspian coast. Three years later, ExxonMobil purchased a 25 percent share from the government. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium, including the Tenzig partners and Russia, will soon carry 750,000 barrels a day to the Black Sea coast.
"Another consortium focused on Azerbaijan's offshore fields. In 1994, BP Amoco, Lukoil, Unocal, Pennzoil, Statoil, and others joined with SOCAR, Azerbaijan's state oil company, to form the Azerbaijan International Operating Company in 2001. Bush family adviser James A. Baker III, who spearheaded George W. Bush's victory in the Florida election dispute, headed the US law firm representing this consortium, and sat on the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce advisory council, as did Vice President Cheney before him."
[Later in the posting, Guma reports that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a man with a long and sordid history of involvement in covert operations, frequently on behalf of the Bush family, is a "former co-chairman of the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce."]
"Prior to 9/11, the US government's preferred future route for oil and gas, known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) project, went from Azerbaijan through Georgia and then south to the Turkish coast ... National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is a former director of Chevron, a lynchpin of the BTC consortium with extensive operations in Azerbaijan. Until 2000, Vice President Cheney was chief executive at Halliburton Co., named a finalist in 2001 to bid on engineering work in the Turkish sector of the route."
Guma also provides a brief review of the initial entry of Unocal, and various other oil cartels, onto the Central Asian playing field, just after the fall of the Soviet Union:
"The negotiations began in the early 1990s, when energy giants, including ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell and Enron, paid top officials in Kazakhstan to secure equity rights in its huge oil reserves (up to 92 billion barrels). Unwilling to meet Russia's price for the use of its pipelines, the companies promised production and pipeline investments of $35 billion.
"Turkmenistan, which has possible reserves of up to 80 billion barrels of oil and 155 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, didn't want to be left out of this new Great Game. Thus, during a visit in March 1993, President Niyazov hired former US National Security Advisor Alexander Haig to encourage investments and soften the US stand on a pipeline via Iran. Within two years, Unocal, one of the world's largest independent oil and gas producers, was ready to step up. In June 1995, a Unocal delegation visited Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to discuss a pipeline through the latter. While visiting New York that October, Turkmeni President Niyazov signed an Afghan pipeline deal with Unocal and Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil."
The Taliban though, according to Guma, proved to be very difficult to do business with. Nevertheless, Unocal "refused to give up."
In 1997, "Still hoping to won over the Taliban, Unocal invited a delegation to visit corporate headquarters in Sugarland, Texas on December 4*. The Afghan visitors also met with State Department officials. But efforts to negotiate a deal failed, allegedly because the Taliban asked for too much money."
(* this was reported by the BBC: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/west_asia/newsid_37000/37021.stm)
Just after that, in February of 1998, was when Unocal Vice President John J. Maresca made his appeal to Congress for a regime change in Afghanistan.
Prior to working for Unocal, by the way, John "Pipeline" Maresca was a U.S. Special Ambassador to Central Asia. As the introduction to an article that Maresca penned for the Winter 1995 edition of Caspian Crossroads Magazine revealed: "Ambassador (ret.) John J. Maresca was formerly the United States negotiator for the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and was sent as a Special Envoy to open US relations with the newly independent states of the former USSR."
So just like Zalmay Khalilzhad, and probably Hamid Karzai as well, John Maresca has passed through that revolving door between employment at Unocal and high-level 'diplomatic' assignments in Central Asia.
Maresca's proposed solution to the regional conflict that he was supposed to be serving as a negotiator for was, amazingly enough, to build an oil pipeline: "If Azerbaijan does not seize on the possibility of building its oil pipeline across Armenia and Nakhchivan to the Turkish Mediterranean coast, it will be wasting what is a unique opportunity for ending the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh on acceptable terms. Once a decision is made to route the pipeline elsewhere, this opportunity will be lost forever. No other possible route can offer such benefits to both Azerbaijan and Turkey. It would truly be a 'Peace Pipeline.'"
Maresca made some other revealing observations in the Caspian Crossroads piece. He noted, for instance, that Central Asia is plagued by regional hostilities. And, he noted, "Even those areas where there has been no real fighting are filled with local mafia, bribe-seeking officials, potentially restless ethnic groups and loose gangs of roaming bandits. Ex-Soviet weaponry is found in abundance everywhere, the newly-independent governments are weak and subject to manipulation and no place can be called truly stable."
Clearly then, this is not the type of environment where the major oil cartels would choose to set up shop. Right? Not according to Maresca: "But oil is a high-risk business and oil men are historically used to making rational plans in even the most unpredictable environments."
This is, needless to say, the very same John Maresca who would, just a few years later, tell Congress that Unocal couldn't do business in Afghanistan until there was an internationally recognized government in place.
There is little doubt that Unocal (nor any of the other major oil interests) hasn't the slightest interest in the perceived legitimacy of the governments that they work with. All that matters is getting the pipelines built, and anyone who can further that goal is a worthy business partner. And anyone standing in the way of pipeline developments will be dealt with accordingly.
In February of 1997, Ambassador Maresca showed up at a conference sponsored by the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce. Also in attendance were former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Perle.
The Center for Security Policy described the goals of the conference as follows: "An important turning point may have been reached last week with regard to American policy toward the largest energy play of the 21st Century: the unimpeded flow of oil from the Caspian Sea to international markets. At an international conference on the subject held in Washington, the essential ingredient in achieving this strategically vital objective was identified by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and many others -- a robust U.S. relationship with the key country of the region, Azerbaijan." (emphasis in original)
Senator Byrd, a 'former' Ku Klux Klansman and without question one of the most powerful figures in Washington, delivered the keynote address to the conference:
"It is good to see American companies group together, and meet regularly to share ideas with policy makers and former policy makers, on America's interests and actions regarding the Caucasus, and with particular regard to Azerbaijan. Clearly, Azerbaijan and the Caspian region should be afforded a much higher priority on the U.S. international agenda ...
"The stakes at play in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey, as well as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, are huge ... If it is true that 2 to 3 million barrels of oil, and perhaps more, could flow daily from the Caspian region in the near future, then the development of the region compels the highest levels of attention of this city on a sustained basis. The most important war we have fought since Korea, from a geostrategic perspective, was the defense of Kuwait in 1991. That action was as much driven by the need to maintain secure supplies of oil from the Middle East as it was to punish naked aggression. The Persian Gulf region will continue to pose uncertainties, and it is imperative that America develop alternative energy sources to hedge against them."
There is no disputing the fact that virtually the entire Bush administration, and all of the energy companies that it is intimately tied to - including Enron, Unocal, Chevron and Halliburton - are up to their necks in Central Asian pipeline deals. So I would have to conclude that anyone who claims that oil isn't one of the motivating factors for this war needs to set the bong down and take another look at the available evidence.
I should also note here that Guma writes that Enron had a keen interest in a trans-Afghanistan pipeline: "With 3 billion already invested in a plan to build an electrical generating plant at Dabhol, India, it had recently lost access to plentiful liquid Natural Gas supplies from Qatar to fuel the plant. A trans-Afghani pipeline from Turkmenistan, terminating at the Pakistani city of Multan near the Indian border, looked like a promising alternative."
Guma also takes note of the deployment of U.S. forces throughout Central Asia: "Thousands of US soldiers [are] now deployed in former Soviet Central Asia, many of them on an Uzbekistan airfield near the Afghan border. Uzbek President Islam Karimov, a key ally, saw no need to set a deadline for their departure. It was easy to see why; Uzbekistan had been promised up to $150 million in loans and grants. Meanwhile, outside Krygystan's capital, military facilities [are] under construction at Manas international airport, eventually to house up to 3,000 troops. Slowly but surely, under careful western guidance, the region [is] being militarily transformed."
On January 11 of 2002, Patrick Martin of the World Socialist Web Site noted that the frenzied pace at which U.S. military bases are being constructed in Central Asia indicates planning for a long-term occupation of the region:
"Recent statements by US government officials and reports in the American and international press indicate that the Bush administration and the Pentagon are carrying out a military buildup in Central Asia whose objective is not merely support for the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, but a permanent military presence in the oil-rich region.
"The US government has acquired basing or transit rights for passage of warplanes and military supplies from nearly two dozen countries in Central Asia, the Middle East and their periphery, a projection of American power into the center of the Eurasian land mass that has no historical precedent.
"On January 9, US military personnel showed off their latest acquisition, a huge air base being built in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgystan, a landlocked country which borders China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and was once virtually inaccessible as far as American imperialism was concerned ...
"New US base agreements have also been concluded with Pakistan and two other former Soviet republics, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. US warplanes are already deployed at Kandabad air base at Karshi, Uzbekistan, backed by 1,000 US ground troops, and a US military assessment team has visited three potential bases in Tajikistan, at Kulyab, Khojand and Turgan-Tiube. American forces are stationed at several locations in Pakistan, and combat engineers are improving runways and erecting housing and other facilities for what is clearly intended as a long-term stay ...
"Kazakhstan, which holds the lion's share of the oil wealth of the Caspian basin, is reportedly offering several locations for possible US military bases. Turkmenistan is viewed as the prime location for the terminus of largely US-financed pipelines which would bring the oil and gas reserves of the region to the world market, possibly running across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean."
All of this U.S. military activity throughout the Central Asian republics is, according to Jared Israel, an effort to tighten the noose being drawn around the former Soviet Union, ultimately leading to a direct confrontation - quite likely a nuclear confrontation - with Russia.
The truth of the matter though is that every country being penetrated by U.S. military forces plays a key role in one or more of the various pipeline projects already underway or in the planning stages. And in order for U.S. actions in the region to provoke a direct confrontation with Russia, there would have to be some indication that the administration of Vladimir Putin has some sort of objections to the ongoing U.S. military ventures -- which certainly doesn't appear to be the case.
Israel paints a picture of there being a serious risk of a nuclear exchange with Russia, or with an alliance of Russia and China standing in opposition to U.S. global hegemony. Apparently in support of this scenario, one of the most recent postings on Emperor's Clothes is an article from the Moscow Times detailing the sale of thirty fighter jets to China.
Now I could, of course, note here that before perusing the posting, readers should keep in mind that nothing can really be concluded from the article except that some government/corporate official, who may have had a motivation to lie, told a reporter from the Moscow Times that such a deal had been made, if the official was accurately quoted in the story and if, since it is a translation, the article was correctly translated from the original Russian. But I will refrain from doing that.
Assuming that the report is accurate, I will though ask the question: so what?
The article contains an ominous quote attributed to Konstantin Makiyenko, the deputy head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies: "The Americans won't be roaming in the Taiwan Strait [after this deal]."
Oh, really? And why is that? Because with these thirty new fighter jets China will suddenly be emboldened and motivated to attack U.S. military vessels? I hardly think so. That is an exceedingly unlikely scenario for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that China's political and business elite have had extremely close ties to the Bush family for decades.
In a USA Today article posted February 18, 2002, Debbie Howlett writes: "When President Bush arrives in Beijing on Thursday, he'll embrace a policy that's something of a family tradition. Bush's approach centers on promoting U.S.-China economic ties. That's a course favored not only by his father, the first President Bush, but also by his uncle, Prescott Bush Jr., a longtime acquaintance of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. The Bush family's ties to China go back to 1974, when President Nixon named George Bush ambassador to China."
The chances that the Bush regime will provoke a direct confrontation with their Chinese business partners lay somewhere between slim and none. The same can largely be said of Putin's Russia -- unless, that is, the Russian military were to seize power from the Putin regime in a coup, which is conceivable given Vlad's blatant pandering to the West, and particularly to his buddy George.
It seems to me that promoting the notion of a direct military confrontation between "East and West" plays directly into the fears of those who have long envisioned a "Communist" attack upon the West, and at the same time gives false hope to those who cling to the belief that some force will arise to challenge the bid for U.S. global hegemony.
For the record, the threat that the world is facing is from global fascism, not global communism, and there certainly doesn't appear to be any outside force that is equipped to, or sufficiently motivated to, stop the juggernaut. As I have said before, if meaningful resistance is to come at all, it is to come from within -- and it better come soon, before the U.S. war machine unleashes a unilateral nuclear confrontation not with Russia, but with Iraq.
Returning now to Ruppert's list of motivating factors for the war, it certainly does appear that his inclusion of the control of oil and gas reserves is merited. Either that, or it is just an uncanny coincidence that all of the targets of America's wrath since September 11 - Afghanistan, Venezuela, Colombia, and soon Iraq - are either drenched in oil, or are sitting in the way of an oil pipeline.
It is equally clear that geopolitical domination is a goal of this war, as is acknowledged in most of the postings referenced in this newsletter and the previous one.
Ruppert also lists a goal that very few seem to want to talk about -- control of the Central Asian opium trade. That is a motivating factor that has largely been ignored by, among others, The Emperor's New Clothes.
Control of the world's illicit drug production and distribution networks has been a covert goal of countless CIA and military operations around the world for decades. It would be naive to think otherwise.
It has been rather obvious for some time now that drug consumption patterns in this country are very closely tied to ongoing covert operations. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, when the CIA became deeply immersed in the Southeast Asian opium trade, heroin use in this country skyrocketed.
In the 1980s, with the CIA actively involved in the Central and South American coca trade, cocaine use skyrocketed, both in powder form and in the newly-introduced 'crack' form -- which was targeted at America's 'inner cities.' In the 1990s, with the CIA active in the opium trade with its business partners, the KLA, heroin became suddenly chic.
With the CIA and the U.S. military now well established in the opium-rich Central Asian republics, you can bet that heroin use will grow exponentially in the coming years.
According to the highly regarded LeMonde Diplomatique, the international drug trade rakes in from $300-$500 billion dollars a year -- from 8-10% of world trade. And drug profits are just a portion of the total revenue derived from various organized criminal activities. The total profits from all organized crime could run as high as $1 trillion, or as much as 20% of world trade. These vast amounts of cash generated by criminal enterprises are a key component of the world economy.
This is not, you see, money that flows through an alternative economy, outside of 'official' channels. All of it is laundered through supposedly legitimate entities, primarily banks and large corporations. And the vast majority of that money comes, not surprisingly, to the USA, which LeMonde dubbed "international financial crime's number one partner."
The April 2000 LeMonde article, written by Christian de Brie, provided the following overview of international money laundering: "Financial crime ... is a coherent system closely linked to the expansion of modern capitalism and based on an association of three partners: governments, transnational corporations and mafias ...
"Big business complicity and political laissez faire is the only way that large-scale organized crime can launder and recycle the fabulous proceeds of its activities ...
"Politicians are directly involved and their ability to intervene depends on the backing and the funding that keep them in power. This collusion of interests is an essential part of the world economy ...
"All this would be impossible without the power of the state and international and regional organizations, especially their ability to keep restrictive regulations to a minimum, to abolish or override such rules as do exist, to paralyze inquiries and investigations or put them off indefinitely, and to reduce or grant amnesty from any penalties ...
"More than anything else, banks and big business are keen to get their hands on the proceeds - laundered - of organized crime ... the world's financial brains ... are the people whose help the criminal organizations need if they are to launder all this money and recycle it through legal channels.
"... Americans have a considerable lead over their competitors, not only in know-how, but also in the vast financial and logistical resources they are able to make available to their multinationals; these include the secret services of the world's most powerful state apparatus ..."
Actually, the "secret services" of the state don't really need to be made available to the multinationals; they are the multinationals -- or perhaps more accurately, they are the hidden face of the multinationals. The CIA and its brethren are, and always have been, the covert warriors of corporate America. That is the reason for their existence.
The CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the DIA, the ONI, the NSA, and all the rest of the alphabet agencies, are essentially the covert armies of American monopoly corporate capitalism. And part of their job is to make sure that those hundreds of billions of dollars in soiled money end up in the right pockets.
Michael Ruppert has said, quite succinctly, that: "The CIA is Wall Street, and vice versa." In support of that thesis, he notes the CIA affiliations of some Wall Street notables, such as John Foster and Allen Dulles, William Casey, Clark Clifford, and David Dougherty.
In fact, the CIA evolved from the OSS, which in turn evolved from the so-called "Old Boys" network, which was largely composed of Wall Street lawyers and bankers. For instance, the Dulles brothers were, due to a series of timely deaths and resignations, the senior partners at Sullivan & Cromwell, probably the most powerful law firm on Wall Street.
From Dillon Read, a formidable Wall Street investment firm, came such notables as James Forrestal. Another Wall Street titan and CIA/OSS luminary was Frank Wisner. Both Forrestal and Wisner later ended up the victims of what were said to be suicides, but which didn't really look like suicides.
But that's not really relevant here. And neither, I suppose, is the fact that both Sullivan & Cromwell and Dillon Read were key players in funneling vast amounts of money to the Third Reich. But I thought I'd mention it anyway.
The point is that the United State's intelligence network, from before there ever was a CIA, has existed for the purpose of doing corporate America's dirty work -- allowing those who call the shots to keep their hands clean and maintain an aura of legitimacy and respectability.
Those at the top of the corporate heap, in other words, behave very much like one would expect a mafia 'Don' to behave: presenting themselves as respectable business men while their underlings, out of public view, perform the thuggery necessary to maintain and validate a fundamentally corrupt economic system.
The difference is, of course, one of scale. Don Corleone could casually order the assassination of someone who was threatening his operations; Unocal or United Fruit can casually order an entire country bombed into submission.
It is not the case that intelligence operatives and mafioso have merely rubbed shoulders over the years. They are in fact largely one and the same.
And it is not the case that the CIA has only occasionally immersed itself in the trafficking of drugs as a convenient way to illicitly finance covert operations. There is far more to it than that. The control of drug traffic is a goal in and of itself, and it serves a variety of functions.
As I said earlier, there are virtually always multiple goals being pursued. Never was that more clear than when crack cocaine emerged from nowhere to ravage the 'inner cities' of America.
The most frequently cited motivation for CIA complicity in trafficking crack cocaine was to generate funding for the illegal and immoral 'Contra' war in Nicaragua*. Another goal was generating liquid capital to feed the hungry beast known as Wall Street.
(*The Memory Hole is currently in the process of uploading the entire 1987 Kerry report on "Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy," which contains a wealth of evidence of Contra-era CIA drug trafficking: http://thememoryhole.org/kerry/)
Yet another goal, and one that the state was wildly successful in attaining, was the decimation of African-American neighborhoods, via the horrendous levels of violence that accompanied the introduction of crack cocaine, and by the criminalization of an entire generation of young African-Americans.
Another goal was to exacerbate racial tensions, creating false divisions in the population and thereby facilitating control of the huddled masses. Similarly, crack cocaine greatly aggravated gang rivalries and empowered gang leaders, further dividing a potentially 'hostile' population -- just as, Michael Ruppert has noted, opium was used during the so-called Opium War to fragment Chinese society.
Still another goal was to create the impression of rampant lawlessness, thereby generating popular support for reactionary sentencing legislation, unabashedly militarized police forces, skyrocketing incarceration rates, and various other manifestations of an overt police state.
The point of this discussion is that the CIA, and its Wall Street handlers, are strongly motivated to control as much of the world's illicit drug trade as possible -- both for the ability to use the drugs as weapons by targeting them at specific population groups (both at home and abroad), and for the vast amounts of liquid capital that they generate.
One purpose to which these proceeds are put, according to Ruppert and other researchers, is as a ready source of cash to pump into Wall Street any time the numbers need a boost.
Just after the September 11 attacks, the Guardian noted the existence of a so-called "plunge protection team," established by an Executive Order signed by Ronald Reagan. The purpose of the secretive, high-power team is to pump money into the stock market when needed in a crisis.
As Richard Wachman and Jamie Doward wrote: "The US Federal Reserve and Wall Street's powerful investment banks are preparing to spend billions of dollars to support the US stock market, which opens this week for the first time since last Tuesday's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
"A secretive committee - the Working Group on Financial Markets, dubbed 'the plunge protection team' - includes bankers as well as representatives of the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and the US Treasury. It is ready to co-ordinate intervention by the Federal Reserve on an unprecedented scale."
(http://www.observer.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,552535,00.html; the text of the Executive Order can be found at: http://envirotext.eh.doe.gov/data/eos/reagan/19880318.html)
Well ... what can I say? Once again, I have run out of time without completing this lengthy rant. I am therefore forced to once again carry it over to the next newsletter, in which I will do my best to wrap this up ... unless, that is, I decide to just take the rest of the month off and head out to the ranch ....