and The Nation
have published some new and disturbing information about Bain and Romney's hidden financial assets. I also strongly advise you to read this piece
Josh Marshall describes the new information as "Kryptonite
I’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it.
Ironically, Marshall himself probably will not get at the full truth, although he may well print more of it than others will. A writer in his position can go only so far.
The question before us is a simple one: What is
Bain? This post won't offer a definitive answer, but it will offer a starting point to anyone who wants to research a startling possibility: Bain began life as a money laundry for the CIA.
Romney's hidden loot.
First, let's summarize the summary offered by Ben Adler of The Nation:
What is in Romney’s offshore accounts? He has sheltered much of his wealth in tax havens such as Bermuda, but he has not disclosed anything about those investments.
The man has hidden his money from the tax collector very assiduously, and may well be even more affluent than most now believe. (His wealth is currently estimated to be $250 million.)
Why is Romney still being paid by Bain Capital? He left the firm more than ten years ago. Given its varied investments, could the fact that he is still being paid by them create a conflict of interest in office? Shaxson writes, “Though he left the firm in 1999, Romney has continued to receive large payments from it—in early June he revealed more than $2 million in new Bain income.
The money is coming from offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands.
Why has Romney opened foreign bank accounts, such as a Swiss account with $3 million that appeared on his 2010 returns but not his 2011 returns?
Romney has a $102 million Individual Retirement Account. No-one has any clear idea as to how someone could amass that kind of IRA. Wikipedia
confirms that, during the years Mitt was with Bain,
...the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA)...raised the maximum annual contribution to $2,000 and allowed participants to contribute $250 on behalf of a nonworking spouse.
The limit is up to $5000 now. Sorry, but $102 million
just seems out of the question.
Let's get back to the Nation piece. Here's where things get really
weird. (I've added paragraph breaks to aid readability.)
Did Bain serve as a tax haven for foreign criminals? As Shaxson explains, “Private equity is one channel for this secrecy-shrouded foreign money to enter the United States, and a filing for Mitt Romney’s first $37 million Bain Capital Fund, of 1984, provides a rare window into this.
One foreign investor, of $2 million, was the newspaper tycoon, tax evader, and fraudster Robert Maxwell, who fell from his yacht, and drowned, off of the Canary Islands in 1991 in strange circumstances, after looting his company’s pension fund.
The Bain filing also names Eduardo Poma, a member of one of the ‘14 families’ oligarchy that has controlled most of El Salvador’s wealth for decades; oddly, Poma is listed as sharing a Miami address with two anonymous companies that invested $1.5 million between them.
The filings also show a Geneva-based trustee overseeing a trust that invested $2.5 million, a Bahamas corporation that put in $3 million, and three corporations in the tax haven of Panama, historically a favored destination for Latin-American dirty money—’one of the filthiest money-laundering sinks in the world,’ as a US Customs official once put it.”
Okay, this really is looking filthy. And spooky.
It is now pretty much universally acknowledged that Robert Maxwell
was "spooked up" -- specifically, that he had been recruited by Mossad. His background with the Israeli services was revealed by Israeli agent Ari Ben-Menashe and confirmed by two British MPs -- the liberal George Galloway and the conservative Rupert Allason (who, as "Nigel West," writes about spy stuff), as well as authors Seymour Hersh and Gordon Thomas.
Respected journalist John Loftus -- who has very good Israeli sources -- determined that Maxwell covertly engineered military aid to Israel in 1948, as the state first came into existence.
The close proximity of his death to these allegations heightened interest in Maxwell's relationship with Israel, and the Daily Mirror published claims that he was assassinated by Mossad after he attempted to blackmail them.
For a very detailed account of the Israeli "hit," see here
. The piece is written by Gordon Thomas, whom I don't trust -- but his primary source appears to be former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky, whose books I admire. A strange story, this: Maxwell apparently was killed by the very nation he midwived.
A side note:
Thomas makes a further allegation which offers an eerie foretaste of the present Stuxnet controversy. He alleges that Maxwell helped make sure that governments around the world (including the USSR) used a case management software called PROMIS, developed in the United States. The Israelis and the CIA had put "backdoors" in the software which allowed outsiders to gain access to the database. All of this occurred in the 1980s, when people were a lot more naive about hacking.
Bain and death squads.
It has been well-known for decades that the CIA has had close ties to the 14 families -- mostly late 19th century immigrants from Europe -- who financially commandeered El Salvador and who, for more than a hundred years, have run the place like feudal lords. In 1987, former CIA officer John Stockwell
gave a talk that may have some relevance to the Vanity Fair piece referenced above.
Now we're pouring money into El Salvador. A billion dollars or so. And it's a documented fact that the... 14 families there that own 60% of the country are taking out between 2 to 5 billion dollars - it's called de-capitalization - and putting it in banks in Miami and Switzerland.
Markos Moulitsas, of Daily Kos fame, comes from a wealthy family in El Salvador, although his is not one of the fourteen. He also has a strange background with the CIA. Nevertheless -- and we must give credit where due -- Daily Kos published, back in 2008, a seminal work
on Romney's connection to the Poma family and the death squad backers.
If you're my age, you'll remember the death squads, whose murderous depredations outraged and politicized quite a few young Americans. (Including myself.) The Salvadoran terrorists created some extremely ugly headlines around the world, especially when they assassinated Archbishop Romero. They also murdered American nuns
, as documented in the photo seen here.
Horrors like these caused the Carter administration to withhold military assistance to El Salvador. Assistance arrived nonetheless, covertly, by way of Israel
. The Israelis also used computers (even then!) to track politically active Salvadorans.
El Salvador's death squads were run by a fascist Army intelligence officer named Roberto D'Aubuisson, founder of the ARENA party, which was so far to the right that even the Reagan administration found it politically expedient to back the Christian Democrats -- at least in public, temporarily. Nevertheless, America's reactionaries, including Senator Jessie Helms, were firmly in the corner of ARENA.
It was not a secret that American intelligence
aided the death squads. D'Aubuisson bragged about being funded by the CIA.
In 1984, the Christian Science Monitor
The CIA and military advisers have helped organize, trained, financed and advised Salvadoran army and intelligence units engaged in death squad activities and torture.
Also, the Washington Post reported on October 6, 1988 that the
Reagan administration depended on commanders of right wing death squads.
The U.S. shared some intelligence with them. U.S. intelligence officers
developed close ties to chief death squad suspects while death squads
killed several hundred a month and totaling tens of thousands.
Throughout the 1980s, many articles were published detailing the links between the CIA and the death squads; this page
offers a grim selection. Much of this bloody history is now forgotten. It shouldn't be.
Eventually, ARENA came to power in 1988, and instituted a murderous campaign against leftists, intellectuals, priests and nuns; the party ruled with the proverbial iron first for two decades.
According to a 1985 CIA intelligence assessment, "Behind ARENA's legitimate exterior lies a terrorist network led by D'Aubuisson henchmen and funded by wealthy Salvadoran expatriates residing in Guatemala and the United States."
One of the powers behind ARENA was and is billionaire Ricardo Poma, a relative of Eduardo, listed above. Ricardo runs the Grupo Poma
, which owns much of El Salvador. From Wikipedia
Ricardo Poma is a close friend of Mitt Romney and was an early investor in Bain Capital
From a speech
that Romney gave in 2007:
I owe a great deal to Americans of Latin American descent. When I was starting my business, I came to Miami to find partners that would believe in me, and that would finance my enterprise. My partners were Ricardo Poma, Miguel Duenas, Pancho Soler, Frank Kardonski, and Diego Ribandinarea.
"I came to Miami to find partners who would believe in me..." This phrasing conjures up the absurd image of Mitt Romney picking Miami pretty much at random, flying into town, and then asking random strangers: "Will you believe in me?" Of course, grown-ups know that life does not work that way.
(translated via Google) confirms that the same money which founded the death squads was also used to get Bain off the ground.
Bottom line: It is looking very much as if Bain was set up (in 1984) to help American and Israeli intelligence launder money for paramilitary aid and covert operations.
More to come. Lots more.