Sunday, October 21, 2012

Iran/Contra-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Rmoney Secret Fraud Ties

Hardly surprising, is it?

What a country.

Employees of Romney Family's Secret Bank Tied to Fraud, Money Laundering and Drug Cartels

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis, The Free Press

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with his wife, Ann, and son, Tagg, at his primary night event in Manchester, New Hampshire, April 24, 2012. (Photo: Cheryl Senter / The New York Times)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with his wife, Ann, and son, Tagg, at his primary night event in Manchester, New Hampshire, April 24, 2012. (Photo: Cheryl Senter / The New York Times)

As previously reported in by the Columbus Free Press,
the Romney family, namely Mitt, Ann, G Scott and Tagg Romney, along with Mitt's "6th son" and campaign finance chair have a secretive private equity firm called Solamere Capital Partners. This firms ties to Romney's campaign and bundlers is already well documented, along with its connection to the manufacture and distribution of voting machines. What is not as well documented is a subsidiary of that private equity firm hiring employees of a failed firm tied to a Ponzi scheme that has a long history of money laundering for Latin American drug cartels and to the Iran-Contra scandal.

As reported by ThinkProgress, Solamere Capital Partner's subsidiary Solamere Advisors is a investment advisory group, providing advice to Solamere clients and boosting sales. Would-be corporate pugilist Tagg Romney is a director. According to the New York Times, all but one of its 11 employees came from the Charlotte office of the Stanford Financial Group, the US investment arm of convicted felon R. Allen Stanford's offshore banking and fraud network that comprised a host of companies including the Stanford International Bank, Stanford Capital Management, The Bank of Antigua, Stanford Trust and Stanford Gold and Bullion. Three of these employees, Tim Bambauer, Deems May, and Brandon Phillips, rece ived incentive compensation related to their direct sales of securities linked to a fraud that brought down this banking network.

Tim Bambauer has left his position as managing partner at Solamere Advisors. May and Phillips remain employed as partner and chief compliance officer respectively.

Allen Stanford is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence for convictions on 13 counts of fraud. His companies were placed in receivership. $8 billion of Stanford's stolen money has yet to be recovered and the victims are in court to recover those funds and incentive pay bonuses to Stanford employees (including Bambauer, May and Phillips) for fraudulently getting people to invest in an operation that later bilked many of them out of their life's savings.
Stanford's shady history and criminality did not begin with the fraudulent investments that lead to his downfall, nor was it unknown at the highest level of United State's Government. In a 2006 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, the US Ambassador to Antigua advised "Embassy officers do not reach out to Stanford because of the allegations of bribery and money laundering. The Ambassador managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford during the breakfast. For his part, Stanford said he preferred to conduct his business without contacting the Embassy, resolving any investment disputes directly with local governments. It is whispered in the region that Stanford facilitates resolution with significant cash contributions."
Similarly investigations by the SEC, FBI and Scotland Yard into Stanford's empire stalled or failed all the way back to the 1980s. The Independent Newspaper in the UK alleges that Stanford's network was on the FBI's radar for more than 20 years. Stanford set up his first offshore bank in 1986, just as Eugene Hausenfaus, shot down while gun running for the CIA in Nicaragua, was being connected to another company named Stanford, in this case the "Stanford Technology Trading Group" owned by Richard Secord, Albert Hakim, and 4 unknown other persons, perhaps including Allen Stanford.
According to Iran-Contra Whistleblower Al Martin (Lt. Cmdr. USNR ret.) "Anything with the name Stanford on it belonged to Secord". When finally brought to trial, Stanford employed the same defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, as Iran-Contra defendant Oliver North.
As the Iran-Contra explosion crippled the CIA's Caribbean bank of choice, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Stanford's offshore banking empire was using the same techniques and embracing the same moral category of clients. Stanford's banks were known to have laundered money from the Juarez Cartel and alleged to have done so earlier for the Medellin Cartel, and one of his private planes has been seized by the Mexican government in a drug case.
On top of legal woes in the United States and Mexico, the London Daily Telegraph reported that Stanford's Venezuelan offices were raided by Venezuela's military intelligence over claims that its employees were paid by the CIA to spy on the South American country. When asked about this in a CNBC interview which was cited in a story by independent journalist Tom Burghardt, Stanford declined to comment on any involvement with the CIA rather than outright deny it.
All of the these dealings by Stanford, and the complicity of his employees in facilitating them, was public information before January 2010, when Mitt Romney addressed the first full meeting of Solamere's investors. Yet his son Tagg chose to hire into his family these alleged white collar criminals as soon as Stanford's criminal empire collapsed. The Romney family stands by the new employees associated with their secret bank, as evidenced by Tagg's response to interview questions from ThinkProgress regarding Solamere's ability to reign them in: "Hey guys, We're done here".

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Does the Romney Family Now Own Your e-Vote? By Gerry Bello, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Free Press

And who woulda guessed that the MSM wouldn't have immediately jumped into the fray to defend the scion of wealthy wealthy wealthy
politically/media-connected wealth?

The Washington Post’s Embarrassing Ryan Defense

One of the paper's blogs calls his soup kitchen stunt par for the course. It is sorely mistaken.

The Washington Post's embarrassing Ryan defense 

(Credit: Associated Press)
 This article originally appeared on BagNewsNotes.

In the Washington Post “Reliable Source” blog yesterday morning, the authors make the point (Political photo ops: From Reagan to Paul Ryan, the game every candidate plays) that Paul Ryan’s photo op at a soup kitchen last weekend was nothing more then par for the course. In their minds, the Ryan campaign manipulating its way into a charity’s kitchen after the meal was over and washing already clean dishes was hardly different from images of Clinton jogging, or Bush clearing brush on his Texas ranch, or Obama shooting hoops, or Reagan sitting on a horse.
Well, I can understand the media wanting to absolve itself of responsibility in enabling the Ryan photo op and distributing the pictures, as we detailed last week, but in this case (pardon the pun), these comparisons don’t wash. (A ca-ching, however, for accompanying the article with a photo-op slideshow as click bait.)

Reliable Source asks:

Were you shocked to learn those photos of Paul Ryan washing dishes at a soup kitchen were basically staged? The VP candidate got blowback this week from the charity president, who claimed the campaign “ramrodded” its way into a dining hall that wasn’t even serving at the time. But if it had been, would the photo op have been much less fakey-fake?
Well, for starters, that first line is a straw man since I doubt anything a politician does from a persuasive standpoint (including lying to the American people through his or her teeth for months on end) is going to “shock” the American people. The key term in the paragraph, though, even if the authors put quotes around it, is ramrodding.
That “ramrodding” is what’s in the pudding that can’t be scrubbed away, no matter how much Sno-ee you pour on it … Now, if Ron and Nancy had helped themselves to those horses and then trespassed on private land after talking their way past some lowly groundskeeper, then we’d be talking.
Horses and basketball aside, though, let’s take an even stronger example. When Bush, the war hawk, landed on an aircraft carrier in a fighter plane to show off his (and America’s) bulge, or later, to hang up a banner on another carrier declaring “Mission Accomplished,” those were photo ops, too, ones that carried deadly implications for the future of the country. But you know what? It was clear, even in those instances, that Bush was spinning — that he was putting on a show.
The thing is — and here’s where Ryan’s judgement and Ryan’s performance went so wrong — in a photo op, there is a clear understanding between the politician and the photographer, the photo editor, the publisher and, ultimately, the citizen that the image is theater — and that, in the production of that theater or impressionistic bit of character fiction, basic reality wasn’t tampered with and no animals were harmed.

Why the soup kitchen case is so egregious, on the other hand, is because Ryan fully and willfully expected the audience consuming the imagery to believe that a homeless dinner was going on or, at least, an official cleanup of that dinner was in progress, signifying that Ryan was — in contrast to sitting on a horse or running laps around the White House — actually participating in a public, humanitarian ritual. In contrast to Reagan and the rest, this was not theater, it was Ryan manipulating our trust in the underlying reality of the situation in a not just personal and private, but a “civic deception.”
And in terms of “do no harm”?
Ryan not only fabricated the circumstances, but in doing so, he put in jeopardy the integrity, the credibility and the responsibility of not just the people associated with that charity, but (hello, Reliable Source!) every journalist, photojournalist and media organization aware of the deceit but expected to play along. Isn’t that libel?
I’m so sorry it’s Washington’s premier news institution that forces me to have to spell this out in such frank terms, but the Ryan photo op was much less theater than it was fraud.
Michael Shaw is a Clinical Psychologist, an analyst of visual journalism, and a frequent lecturer and writer on how politicians and the media frame political imagery. He founded BagNews in 2003. Follow him on Twitter @BagNewsNotes

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