Business as usual -- 9/11 and the fall of AmericaJerry Mazza
May. 26, 2006
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Under the guise of business as usual, consider the huge improprieties in the securities markets that went unnoticed before and immediately after 9/11/2001, contributing to the attacks’ awful success and America’s subsequent decline.
I’m talking about the insider trading behind the “put and call options” scandals that allowed certain individuals to pull in huge profits. Stated as simply as possible, put options were used on stocks that would be hurt by the attack, and call options were used on stocks that would benefit. In the put case you’re betting on a fall in the price of stocks; in the call case, you’re betting on a rise in the price of a stock.
Put options were made on the struck airlines, insurance companies and banks pre-and-through-9/11, as if someone had foreknowledge something bad was going to happen to bring down the price of the stocks. A 9-11 Research report on Insider Trading headlines the tale: “Pre-9/11 Put Options on Companies Hurt by Attack Indicates Foreknowledge.”
There were huge surges in the purchase of put options on stocks of the two airlines, specifically United and American, used and abused in the attack. In fact, American and United Airlines, each with two planes that disappeared that day, as early as September 6, were experiencing dramatic spikes in put options on days when their stock prices were stable. Bloomberg News reported put options on the airlines soared to an unbelievable high, 285 times their average.
What’s of interest is that in the time preceding 9/11 nobody noticed or bothered to connect dots in this buying/selling trend. It was “business as usual” while some group conducted a huge insider trading strike that ultimately ravaged the airlines financially, damaged America, killed 2,749 people, and proved very profitable to the perps, in the short and long run.
Who was at the controls watching? Or were those at the controls part of the problem?
When the market opened after the attacks, United Airlines stock fell a whopping 42 percent from $30.82 to $17.50 a share. American Airline’s stock fell from $20.70 to $18 per share. And millions were made by the scurrilous for personal profit or to finance the ops.
More than three days before the events that flattened the World Trade Center and damaged a sparsely occupied, recently fortified sector of the Pentagon, there was more than 25 times the previous average daily trading in a Morgan Stanley put option that made money when the giant financial institution shares fell below $45. Of course, Morgan Stanley had occupied 22 floors of the North Tower. Its stock dropped 13 percent when the market reopened. Nearby Merrill Lynch’s stock dropped ll.5 percent
The Bank of America on the 81st floor of the North Tower, the third largest US bank, showed a five times increase in put option trading on the Thursday and Friday before the attack, more than 5,900 contracts that would pay when the stock fell below $60 a share.
What’s more, there were huge surges in purchase of put options on stocks of reinsurance companies slated to cough up billions to cover losses from the attack, i.e., Munich Re in Germany and the AXA Group in France. Do you really think it was those bozos with box cutters that worked this out, Osama in his cave? Or could it possibly be some sophisticated homegrown types, connected to our Company?
Some of the Winners
Perhaps it’s no surprise, but Raytheon, maker of Patriot and Tomahawk missiles, watched its stock take off after the attacks. Purchases of call options contracts on Raytheon stock increased sixfold on September 10, 2001.
The Raytheon option contracts made money, if shares were more than $25 each. The price zoomed up nearly 37 percent to $34.04 during the first week after post 9/11 trading.
Parenthetically, Raytheon had also been hit with millions of dollars in fines for padding costs of equipment it sold to the US military. Raytheon also has a hush-hush subsidiary, E-Systems, whose clients include the CIA and NSA, the latter about to make a hostile takeover of the other.
And speaking of winners, include the five-year US Treasury Notes. They were bought in unusually high volume before the attack. The buyers realized sizable increases in the Notes’ value after the attack. But this is business as usual again. Some things go up and some go down—with a little help from happenstance and its perpetrators. Not surprisingly, this generated suspicion then an inquiry. What it all meant was something else.
The SEC Investigates
After the attacks, the SEC sent a list of the following securities firms around the world in search of information on them: American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways airlines, Martin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp., AIG, American Express Corp, American International Group, AMR Corporation, AXA SA, Bank of America Corp, Bank of New York Corp, Bank One Corp, Cigna Group, CNA Financial, Carnival Corp, Chubb Group, John Hancock Financial Services, Hercules Inc., L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., LTV Corporation, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., MetLife, Progressive Corp., General Motors, Raytheon, W.R. Grace, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Lone Star Technologies, American Express, the Citigroup Inc., Royal & Sun Alliance, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., Vornado Reality Trust, Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co., XL Capital Ltd., and Bear Stearns.
This list came out of an SEC Secret Probe of companies used by a group of speculators who were Israeli citizens and who sold “short” these stocks, which could be expected to fall in value as an outcome of the impending attacks. The speculators operated out of Toronto, Canada, and Frankfurt, Germany, stock exchanges and their profits were stated to be “in the millions of dollars.”
An interesting quote from this article tells us, “It is widely known that the CIA uses the Promis software to routinely monitor stock trades as a possible warning sign of a terrorist attack or suspicious economic behavior. A week after the Sept.11 attacks, the London Times reported that the CIA had asked regulators for the Financial Services Authority in London to investigate the suspicious sales of millions of shares of stock just prior to the terrorist acts. It was hoped the business paper trail might lead to the terrorists.”
So, after the fact, this huge number of trades finally rang a bell at the CIA. Hmmm. And then . . .
Another interesting fact came from an October 19, 2001, San Francisco Chronicle article that the SEC, after a long silence, took the unprecedented action of deputizing hundreds of private officials in this investigation. Lest you think this posse of high-level private sector players would get the bad guys, think again.
As former LAPD Detective, author of Crossing the Rubicon, Michael Ruppert points out, “What happens when you deputize someone in a national security or criminal investigation is that you make it illegal for them to disclose publicly what they know. Smart move. In effect, they become government agents and are controlled by government regulations rather than their own conscience.
“In fact, they can be thrown in jail without a hearing if they talk publicly. I have seen this implied threat time and again with federal investigations, intelligence agents, and even members of the United States Congress who are bound so tightly by secrecy oaths and agreements that they are not even able to disclose criminal activities inside the government for fear of incarceration.”
In short, the posse was bound and gagged. Then, as Ruppert noted, the story was quietly buried in a 9/30/2001 New York Times article, claiming “benign explanations are turning up” in the SEC investigation.
The activity in put options was blamed on “market pessimism,” but it didn’t explain why the airlines stock prices didn’t mirror the same market pessimism. Also, the fact that above the millions made in these transactions, some $2.5 million of the put options were unclaimed after 9/11. Somebody got cold feet. Obviously the purchasers knew they were part of a criminal conspiracy and didn’t want to get caught red-handed picking up the profits at that point.
Ruppert Points to CIA Top Brass
At the Here In Reality site, there is an article titled “Suppressed Details of Criminal Insider Trading Lead Directly into the CIA’s Highest Ranks.” Equally important is its sub-headed “CIA Executive Director ‘Buzzy’ Krongard managed firm that handled ‘PUT’ options on United Airline Stock.” The piece is written again by Michael Ruppert.
In his own inimitable police report prose, he wrote, “Until 1997 A.B. ‘Buzzy’ Krongard had been Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown. A.B. Brown was acquired by Banker’s Trust in 1997. Krongard then became, as part of the merger, Vice Chairman of Banker’s Trust-AB Brown, one of 20 major U.S. banks named by Senator Carl Levin this year as being connected to money laundering.
“Krongard’s last position at Banker’s Trust (BT) was to oversee ‘private client relations.’ In this capacity he had direct hands-on relations with some of the wealthiest people in the world in a kind of specialized banking operation that has been identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as being closely connected to the laundering of drug money.
“Krongard joined the CIA in 1998 as counsel to CIA Director George Tenet. He was promoted to CIA Executive Director by President Bush in March of this year . BT was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999. The combined firm is the single largest bank in Europe. And, as we shall see, Deutsche Bank played several key roles in events connected to the September 11 attacks.”
In fact, Deutsche Bank was heavily involved in the 9/11 “put options” transactions. The Deutsche bank building still stands today at the WTC site, heavily veiled behind a black metal screen, perhaps in shame, about to be torn down, and not by controlled demolition. That may remind too many people of Towers 1, 2, 6, and 7.
The CIA, the Brokers and Banks
This unholy “business as usual” nexus of Wall Street brokers, banks and the CIA, includes additional key players from government, as Ruppert points out:
John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were designers of the CIA. Allen met with Nazi leaders as station chief in Berne, Switzerland, and tended to their investments. He was also CIA chief, fired by President John F.Kennedy for the “Bay of Pigs” fiasco. John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State under Eisenhower. Both Dulles brothers were lawyers in Wall Street’s most powerful law firm, Sullivan, Cromwell. Politics, the CIA and Wall Street, some trifecta.
Ronald Reagan’s CIA director, Bill Casey, an OSS vet, was chief weasel during the Iran-Contra years. Under Nixon, he was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Profession: Wall Street lawyer, stockbroker.
The former Stock Exchange VP, David Doherty, was also a retired General counsel of the CIA.
George HW Bush, president from 1989 to 1993, CIA Director for 13 months from ’76-7, is now a highly paid consultant to the Carlyle Group, in which he shared joint investments with the bin Laden family. Carlyle is also one of the nation’s top defense contractors.
Buzzy Krongard, former executive director of the CIA, was formerly chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown, a former vice chairman of Banker’s Trust.
John Deutch, retired CIA director, was a Citigroup board member (said bank documented repeatedly for laundering drug money, buying in 2001 Mexican drug-money launderer, Banamax).
Nora Slatkin, retired CIA executive director was a Citibank board member.
The redoubtable Maurice “Hank” Greenburg, former CEO of AIG insurance, still manages from a distance one of the world’s largest capital investment pools, and was actually offered up as possible CIA director, and was exposed by Michael Ruppert as having longstanding connections to CIA drug trafficking and covert operations. Also, AIG stock managed to bounce back extremely well since the 9/11 attacks. And so on.
The rest is history, the century’s biggest story, with business as usual doing its thing, including insider trading, money laundering, even terrorist funding as a way of life and death. And 9/11 triggering the fall of America from democracy into a theocratic police state manipulated by money managers and multi-national corporate honchos.
Having gotten away with mass murder, it was just a hop, skip and a jump for our present Bush Boyz to Afghanistan, Iraq, and next stop, Iran, and then what? Your guess is as good as mine, but probably not as good as Ruppert’s, who’s telling folks these days to buy gold as a hedge against the dying dollar and head for a secure place in the hinterlands.
I don’t know if that answers the question of survival for people living from paycheck to paycheck, on fixed incomes, in credit card debt, or struggling to hold on to their savings and/or portfolios. For the rest, the rich, the filthy rich and even richer, the “have-mores” as W fondly calls them, the point is moot. Bush and the Republicans will take care of them.
And if not George, could it be Jeb as once there was George Herbert Walker, who put his arm around Clinton, and so on. For those folks, there will be tax cuts abounding, an ever increasing upward mobility, perhaps into the Rapture with their cuckoo Conservative Christian allies.
For the rest of us, well, you get the picture. Monkey business as usual. It’s a killer. Perhaps something really unusual needs to happen to the usual and its monkeys to change it all. Somebody yell out, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore," like the visionary newsman Howard Beale in Paddy Chayefsky’s great 1976 screenplay Network. Link to the whole monologue. It’ll fire you up.
And who knows, you, yes you, out there in cyberspace, the next Tom Paine or Tom Jefferson, FDR, JFK, MLK, Mr. Anonymous, could be the spark of something new, to lead the justice brigade to knock on the doors of power and tell business as usual where to go.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer residing in New York. Reach him at [email protected]