does Mohamed Atta have in common with Carlos Salinas?
tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches. New books, new documentaries, saturated
airwaves. Filled with sound, filled with fury, signifying—most of them—more or
have we learned?
decade into the 21st Century. No rocket cars, no hovercraft, no trips
to Mars. A world without Robocops. And the keen new insight is one we’d
The social network. The innovation for which the decade will be
remembered is Facebook.
drug traffickers, stolen car exporters, accountants, and terrorist hijackers
have in common? Criminals have social networks too.
Interlocking social networks.
basis for organized crime—relationships—is always the same, across time, space,
Social notes from all over
a week shepherding a film crew from French ARTE-TV doing a 2-hour documentary
for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack around Venice Florida.
thought they were looking for the story the mainstream media “overlooked.”
paint-by-numbers time. “Here we are where Mohamed Atta learned to fly. Here we
are with one of his flight instructors. Is it true they weren’t well-liked?”
all a misunderstanding. A Gallic misconception.
I spent a month in Venice with a well-known writer from Ireland. He is doing a
major book about 9/11. It is coming this fall.
the 9/11 attack Secretary of State Colin Powell promises a government “white
paper” that will be a “summary of evidence.” It is another empty promise. It is
left to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to make the case against Osama Bin
says, “Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization with ties to a global network."
global network assisted the terrorist cadre. Shadowy, undefined. But global.
Active everywhere from Venice, Florida to Dublin, Ireland…
global network I think he had in mind.
South of the border
and Raul Salinas grow up on the Mexican border, opposite Laredo Texas. Their
father is in charge of Mexican Customs along the border. In a country notorious
for smuggling, the post soon makes him one of Mexico’s richest men.
December 18, 1951, major Mexico City dailies reported that two children, Raul,
5, and Carlos, 3, and an 8-year old playmate found a .22 rifle in the closet,
and played a ‘game’ with the 12-year old maid, an Indian named Manuela. She
knelt down. They executed her.
three year old, Carlos, is quoted saying, “I killed her with one shot. I am a
Carlos grows up to be president his biography will be purged of this
Every newspaper account of the incident disappears from
libraries across Mexico. His official biography states the 8-year old companion
did the killing.
is all just a misunderstanding.
They are making the truth disappear.
Friends in the Tower
flight school with a blue-awning training terrorists to fly in the summer of
busted in the Yucatan with 5.5 tons of cocaine in April of 2006…
believe the government, there is no connection.
pre-existing criminal network in Venice is not a factor in the story of the 9/11
attack; the fact that
Venice Florida is home base for Mohamed Atta’s terrorist cadre is nothing but mere
Frederic Geffon in St. Petersburg Florida owns 5.5 tons of cocaine. At least, he
owns Royal Sons Inc., and through some sleight-of-hand the bankruptcy trustee
calls illegal, he’s also got a plane, a DC9 (N900SA).
officials at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Intl Airport are instructed not to let
the plane take off. But Geffon has friends in the tower, friends in high places.
The plane takes off anyway, and leaves the country. So far so good!
days later his plane gets busted. 5.5 tons of cocaine just happens to be on his
Geffen’s company is located at 224 E Airport Ave in Venice, the hangar where
Huffman Aviation, right next door, parks its planes. Huffman Aviation’s owner,
of course, is Wally Hilliard, a retired insurance executive from Green Bay
Out out damed spot-of-bother
weeks after Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi begin training at Wally Hilliard’s
flight school, Wally faces a “spot of bother.”
Learjet is confiscated by DEA agents at Orlando Executive Airport. They find 43
lbs. of heroin onboard. Oops! After that, they won’t give Wally back his plane.
federal judge won’t either. The judge rules that Wally is not an “innocent
things have not gone completely dark for Wally Hilliard...
doesn’t go to prison!
many guys whose plane gets busted with 43 lbs. of heroin can say that?
For that matter, Frederic Geffon doesn’t go to prison either.
How many guys with a plane busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine can say that?
If Wally 'friends' Fred, will Fred 'friend' him back?
Wally Hilliard and Frederic Geffon in the same “social network?”
“friends” Fred on Facebook, will Fred “friend” him right back?
the government just finds it difficult to explain things like this to people
who, you know, aren’t cleared for that kind of information.
like you and me.
the government thinks its like what the Jack Nicholson character says in "A Few
Good Men:" “You can’t handle the
sort of thing. You think?
documented and decades-long criminal activity in Venice is completely unrelated
to the terrorist’s presence there, if you believe the government.
a coincidence that, probably, doesn't even rise to the level of a
The Richest Man in Mexico & The Lord of the Skies
Gonzalez is the richest man in Mexico.
his post in the federal government to amass a fortune steering state money to
his trucking firm. He is the essence of power in Mexico: wealth based on graft,
on pillaging the national treasury.
The rumor for decades has been that he is the link between the drug
business and the government.
President of Mexico between 1988 and 1994 is Carlos Salinas. During that time
forty-six reporters are murdered in Mexico.
drug figure, Juan Espattagozo, alias “El Azul” goes to work for Carlos Hank
family’s trucking and shipping company, TMM, in 1992.
Mexico’s biggest drug baron at that
time was Amado Carrillo. He will die during botched plastic
surgery. But while he is alive, he is the Lord of the
Along with Carlos Hank Gonzalez, Amado is a major investor in Grupo TMM,
according to U.S. intelligence.
from Grupo TMM enters California with 4.5 tons of cocaine. Another is caught in
Jalisco with 2 tons. According to the DEA, a TMM boat in 1998 offloads a ton of
cocaine in the Florida Keys.
The two men also have a big stake in Mexico's
Operation White Tiger
Gonzalez’s son is Carlos Hank Rhon. The thing to remember about him is: Hank
sojourn in Asia he lands in Mexico City with twelve suitcases filled with
jewels, ocelot pelts, and ivory tusks. He keeps a rare white Siberian tiger as
Tijuana gossip columnist makes fun of him in print, Jorge’s bodyguards cut him
down with Uzis.
to prison. Not Hank.
A DEA investigation of the Hanks called Operation White Tiger
accuses the family of having illicit business partnerships with some of the
world's most infamous drug smugglers. The report accuses the Hank family of
being narco-kingpins who launder money through Laredo National Bank.
The Washington Post, quoting
parts of the report, says the Hank family "poses a significant criminal threat
to the United States."
In 1993 a Cardinal is murdered
in his car at the airport in Guadalajara. Afterwards the killers of Cardinal
Jose Ocampo saunter over to board a Mexicana flight.
It is being held at the gate
for their arrival. Onboard is Hank Rhon. The men fly back to Tijuana together.
When the killers are caught, Hank is not charged.
An aquatic interlude during which the crew abandons ship
Jan. 5, 1992, and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter is slicing through the Windward
Passage, the sweep of warm blue Caribbean Sea separating Cuba from Haiti.
Coast Guard cutter, the Campbell, is looking for the MV Harbour, a Chilean
freighter steaming for Baltimore under a Panamanian flag carrying a cargo of
zinc. Drug agents think a shipment of cocaine may be aboard.
close to midnight when the Harbour heaves into view. The Coast Guard cutter
radios for permission to board. The Harbour douses its lights, and radios back,
“We’re on fire and sinking.”
crew is abandoning ship. They have been trying to scuttle the Harbour.
Coast Guard crewmen scramble
aboard and put out the fire. Someone started it in the engine room. The Coast
Guard finds three feet of water below decks. Another few minutes and the ship
will go down. They stop the flooding in time, and begin to dig through the zinc.
find 5 tons of cocaine. It is at the time the Coast Guard's third-largest
cocaine seizure in history.
the Harbour sailed to Chile from Peru, it was known as the Golden Hill, the
Coast Guard learns. Then it was re-registered and renamed The Harbour by a
Chilean company, headed by a Chilean shipping magnate named Manuel
A Black Eye, a Florida Company & a Creative Solution
forward to 2006. The
company that really owned the DC9 busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine is Skyway
Communications. According to Skyway’s bankruptcy trustee, Fred Geffon,
a Skyway principal, was, illegally, just “borrowing” the plane.
Skyway’s chief shareholder is Argyll Equities LLC, a private investment bank in
tiny Boerne, Texas (pop. 7,500).
is in the business of providing “creative financial solutions globally.”
example of Argyll’s creative financial solutions, according to documents filed
with the SEC, is arranging for Mexican businessman Jose Serrano Segovia, who
now "owns" the shipping line Grupo TMM, to get a $17 million “loan.”
to The Santiago Times, an English language newspaper in Chile, Serrano
turns around and provides a “creative financial solution” of his own, to “Chilean
narcotics trafficker Manuel Losada, who is linked to both the Cali and Juarez
Losada is arrested in the Chilean capital of Santiago, the paper reports, “He is
linked to a shipment of five tons of cocaine, which U.S. drug enforcement
officials in Miami intercepted on the vessel Harbour, as it headed toward
“Mexican newspaper El Universal de Mexico connected Losada to the Juarez Cartel
of Mexico, referring to him as the Chilean narcotics trafficker, in September
1997,” said the Santiago Times.
Losada and Jose Serrano deny any connection to the Juarez Cartel.
Equities LLC owns nearly 21 million shares of SkyWay stock that is totally and utterly
Investment-wise, this could be considered something of a black eye... unless
there are other considerations involved.
Why Henry Kissinger can't spell
Carlos Salinas is President of
Mexico until 1994. As he approaches the end of his six-year term, Carlos
Salinas’ future looks rosy. He is a top candidate to head the new World Trade
Organization. He has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Dow Jones.
Kissinger salutes him for having “quelled corruption and brought a gifted group
of highly skilled technocrats into office.”
Salinas has a claim to be hailed as one of the great men of the 20th Century,”
gushes The Economist in London.
shortly before leaving office, Jose Ruiz Massieu, a long-time partner of the
Salinas family, is murdered in Mexico City. The shooter trips and drops his gun
while fleeing from the scene, and is caught.
shooter says he was hired to kill Massieu by Raul Salinas, the President’s
Raul is arrested for corruption, for murder, for all-around
turpitude. The next day Citibank in New York files a criminal referral.
accuse Raul of having $200,000 of suspicious funds in his bank account, but neglect to mention the hundreds of million just transferred to Switzerland
from Salinas account.
Nobody get charged with anything, understand.
Nobody does time.
just a trifle, a misunderstanding.
A charge of "Inexplicable Enrichment"
a savvy move, Carlos appoints the murdered man’s brother to investigate the
Ruiz Massieu had joined the Salinas Administration’s War on Drugs just a month
ago, but when he is stopped in the airport in Newark, New Jersey for failing to
declare a suitcase full of money, more than $9 million is found in his U.S. bank
account. It was deposited during Mario's month as one of Mexico’s drug fighters.
his six years as President, press reports suggest Salinas may have salted away
as much as $5 billion in ill-gotten gains.
Kissinger is not waxing eloquent about Carlos' gifted group of technocrats much.
Maybe he is concentrating his efforts in other directions.
Salinas goes to prison. Carlos flees Mexico.
next few years disgraced former president Salinas is spotted in Boston, in
Montreal, Costa Rica, the Caymans, and Cuba. He goes to Canada. Then he
vanishes, and re-surfaces finally in an unlikely spot: Ireland.
has no extradition treaty with Mexico. But that’s not why he came.
settles in Dublin, a city bathed in damp, cold mist. He came to Ireland for the
Straight talk about a blacker reality
Swiss investigators become
interested in Raul Salinas’ huge Swiss bank accounts in 1995.
They interview a
former accountant for the Cali cartel living in hiding in the U.S., and learn
that after American agents working with Mexican cops busted a five-ton shipment
of Cali cartel cocaine in Acapulco, Raul Salinas intervened
and got the cartel their cocaine back.
The Swiss bank
investigators discover Raul Salinas was paid more than half a billion dollars to
move cocaine through Mexico using railroad cars and trucks belonging to TMM.
The Swiss are puzzled by
the U.S. government’s lack of interest in the matter.
An assistant to Mexico’s
Attorney General secretly investigates Carlos Salinas. He escapes to the U.S.
and writes a book about the Salinas family’s ties to narco-traffickers. “The
U.S. public is very naïve about the drug business,” he says.
think Mexico has bad guys. Colombia has bad guys. They think the bad guys are
all across the border. And U.S. law enforcement reinforces this ‘thinking.’ But the money from this
illegal activity is in U.S. banks. So why aren’t U.S. banks the bad guys?"
"This is stupid.”
Canada’s ambassador to
Mexico causes a stir with some equally blunt talk, telling a reporter that the U.S. War
on Drugs is a bad joke.
“I think the pressure on
Mexico from the U.S. is just a game that the American government plays for
political reasons,” says Ambassador Marc Perron. “It hides a much blacker
reality in that country (the U. S.)”
He didn't say the war on drugs
is stupid. But he is forced to resign his position anyway, and step down.
"Man up" already on the $500 mil, dude.
die down. Several years later, Carlos Salinas returns to Mexico to flog his
memoirs, which he has written to clear his name. While he is there a secret
recording of a phone conversation from prison of his brother, Raul Salinas, to
their sister surfaces.
recording Raul is telling his sister that Carlos needs to ‘man up’ about the
hundreds of millions in Swiss bank accounts. The money belongs to Carlos, he
tells his sister.
shows enormous cowardice. The money is his. And then he says he doesn’t know
anything about it.”
tape is broadcast on every TV station in Mexico. Press reports say Carlos looks
probably wants to say that it is all just a trifle, a misunderstanding.
one in Mexico is listening. Are
they listening in Ireland, when Carlos returns?
the big book on 9/11 by a famous author living in Ireland comes out on the 10th
anniversary of the attack, what will it say?
Mexican drug cartels make $30 billion transporting drugs to the U.S. drug market
each year,a highly-placed source tells me, the American drug lords make $120
not a trifle. But it is a misunderstanding.