First in a series

The news about Gladio first broke in the Italian press, in August 1990, at the time of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait; and immediately touched off a political earthquake on the continent. As they say, bad news travels fast. Shock turned to outrage as Europeans learned that for decades the CIA and NATO had been sponsoring terrorist attacks in the democratic nations of Europe. All of which, as noted, was blamed on the communists. The purpose of Gladio had been to strike fear into the population of Europe, and thus, to weaken the left-wing parties.

If this sounds like fantasy to the reader, it is only because the US media, to this day, has never informed the American people about the CIA’s long and ugly history of staging international terrorism. Here in the US, it is euphemistically known as “counter-terrorism.” Although the average American is ignorant of the fact, most Frenchmen probably also know that under Gladio, the CIA lent support to an attempted putsch against French President Charles de Gaulle in 1958 by reactionary elements of the French army. The renegade French forces were opposed to de Gaulle’s controversial decision to end to the French military occupation of Algeria. Most of the people of France probably also know about the CIA’s involvement in at least one other conspiracy to assassinate de Gaulle in the mid-1960s; but which fortunately failed.[13] De Gaulle survived some thirty assassination attempts. At the time, the CIA’s involvement caused a near rupture in US-French relations. De Gaulle reacted angrily by pulling France out of NATO, and ordered US military forces out of France. The US was compelled to move NATO headquarters from Paris to Mons, in Belgium. Nor did the American people hear the truth about what really happened. In fact, they still do not know, because the US press has never informed them.

Given this brief background, one must ask: Were the French trying to send a wake-up signal to the American people when they leaked the following shocker about 9/11 to the world press? In October 2001 the prestigious French paper Le Figaro reported that in July 2001, just two months before 9/11, Osama bin Laden received dialysis treatments and other medical care for a serious kidney ailment at the American Hospital in Dubai, one of the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf.[14] At the time, bin Laden was a wanted man, and had been indicted by the US Department of Justice for the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Yet, according to the detailed report in Le Figaro, the Americans treated bin Laden as a VIP guest. The Al Qaeda leader arrived with a retinue that included his personal physician, a nurse, four bodyguards, and at least one of his lieutenants. Bin Laden reportedly held court in his hospital suite, welcoming members of his large family, Saudi officials, and even the local CIA station chief, who evidently was a well-known figure in the tiny country. The CIA official was evidently seen entering bin Laden’s room. Immediately after leaving, he caught a flight back to the US. The article in Le Figaro was closely followed by a story in The Guardian (UK), which added more details. It noted that bin Laden’s Saudi guests had included Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence. The story also named French intelligence as the source of the story in Le Figaro, and added that the information was leaked because the French were “keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere.”[15] If the story is accurate, it means Osama bin Laden was a US intelligence asset right up until the morning of 9/11. There is no other possible interpretation. In which case, the American people have been seriously misled, indeed, have been fed a pack of lies, about the events of that horrible day. I would add: there were no retractions. Le Figaro stood by its story. Meanwhile, the US media played dumb and never even reported it.

But I digress. Back to AIG/Kroll. In 2005, the government of Brazil formally indicted Kroll’s chief Brazilian executive Eduardo Sampaio and five other Kroll employees on criminal charges, including bribery and various breaches of Brazil’s data privacy laws. Sampaio reportedly escaped arrest by fleeing the country.[16]

In 2006 another Kroll affiliate made the news for “unacceptable billing practices” while representing the failed energy giant Enron in court.[17] The Enron Corporation had collapsed in late 2001 amidst allegations of fraudulent accounting; then, in January 2002, hired Kroll Zolfo Cooper to handle its chapter 11 proceedings. The US Trustee Program, which administers bankruptcy cases, uncovered the billing irregularities after Kroll sought an additional fee of $25 million for its services. The firm had already received a cool $100 million for scavenging the Enron corpse but wanted more, even as stockholders received nothing. Evidently, the folks at Kroll thought no one would notice a mere $25 million, which is chump change compared with the $30 billion in inflated energy costs that Enron gouged from the state of California in 2000-2001. All of which must be good: because Enron got away with it. According to economist Paul Krugman, emails confirmed that Enron had rigged the markets.[18] The heavily Democratic golden state has yet to recover from what must be viewed as a partisan attack.

Also in 2006: a whistleblower named Richard A. Grove went public with stunning testimony about his involvement with the Greenberg empire, an up-close-and-personal experience, Grove says, that nearly cost him his life.[19] During the period leading up to 9/11, Grove worked as a salesman for Silverstream Software, an enterprise company which marketed designer solutions to a number of Wall Street firms, including Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Banker’s Trust, Alex Brown, and Morgan Stanley. According to Grove, Silverstream “built internet transactional and trading platforms,” designed “to web-enable the critical business functions of Fortune 500 companies, basically integrating and making available on the web the disparate legacy applications and mainframes while simultaneously streamlining workflow and traditional paper processes.” The “end result [was] a lower cost of operation and more efficient transactions because inefficiencies such as people were being taken out of the loop.”[20]

Grove was so successful as a salesman that (he claims) he became a millionaire before the age of thirty. He only realized, later, that the software he sold might have enabled fraudulent trading in the hours before and possibly during the 9/11 attacks. The most advanced software of all went to Marsh & McClennan, which, he says, placed an order in 2000 for a technological solution “beyond what we had done for any of the above-named companies; insofar as it would be used to electronically connect Marsh to its major business partners via internet portals, for the purpose of creating ‘paperless transactions’ and expediting revenue and renewal cycles.” Grove inked the software deal with Marsh & McClennan in October 2000. After which, his employer Silverstream stationed a team of 30-40 technicians in the client’s offices in WTC 1, led by several software developers who proceeded to design and build the software package “from the ground up.” During this period, Grove served as liaison between Silverstream & Marsh to insure that the software would perform as specified. The team worked around-the-clock, seven days a week, to meet Marsh’s pre-September 11, 2001 deadline. The end result was “a specific type of connectivity that was used to link AIG and Marsh & McLennan, the first two commercial companies on the planet to employ this type of transaction.”[21]

Grove says he first noticed fiscal irregularities in October 2000 when he and a colleague helped “identify about $10,000,000 in suspicious purchase orders.” Marsh’s chief information officer, Gary Lasko, later confirmed that “certain vendors were deceiving Marsh … selling … large quantities of hardware that were [sic] not necessary” for the project. But Grove did not worry too much about this at the time; nor did he run into personal trouble until the spring of 2001, when he learned, while negotiating a license renewal contract with Lasko, that his own employer, Silverstream, was over-billing Marsh “to the tune of $7 million, or more.” Grove brought the matter to the attention of Silverstream executives, but was told to keep quiet and mind his own business. A Marsh executive advised him to do the same. By this point, a number of Marsh employees had earned Grove’s trust and when he shared his concerns with them, they agreed that “something untoward was going on.” Grove names these honest employees in his testimonial: Kathryn Lee, Ken Rice, Richard Breuhardt, John Ueltzhoeffer, in addition to Gary Lasko, all of whom perished on 9/11.[22] Incidentally, a simple check confirmed that these names do indeed appear on the fatality list of World Trade Center victims.[23]