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October 03, 2006

Another Great Moment: New York Stock Exchange chairman Grasso visits Colombia - 1999


Republican drug trafficking week continues, in spite of massive scandals rocking Washington. I am trying to put a picture together based on the recent history of drug trafficking, terrorism and the big-rolling activities of top players in Washington.

Consider 'The Real Deal: The Ultimate New Business Cold Call.' 18 February 2002
Catherine Austin Fitts, Narco-Dollars For Dummies (Part 3):
How The Money Works In The Illicit Drug Trade

A Real World Example:
NYSE's Richard Grasso and the Ultimate New Business "Cold Call"

Lest you think that my comment about the New York Stock Exchange is too strong, let's look at one event that occurred before our "war on drugs" went into high gear through Plan Colombia, banging heads over narco dollar market share in Latin America.

In late June 1999, numerous news services, including Associated Press, reported that Richard Grasso, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange flew to Colombia to meet with a spokesperson for Raul Reyes of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the supposed "narco terrorists" with whom we are now at war.

The purpose of the trip was "to bring a message of cooperation from U.S. financial services" and to discuss foreign investment and the future role of U.S. businesses in Colombia.

Some reading in between the lines said to me that Grasso's mission related to the continued circulation of cocaine capital through the US financial system. FARC, the Colombian rebels, were circulating their profits back into local development without the assistance of the American banking and investment system. Worse yet for the outlook for the US stock market's strength from $500 billion - $1 trillion in annual money laundering - FARC was calling for the decriminalization of cocaine.

To understand the threat of decriminalization of the drug trade, just go back to your Sam and Dave estimate and recalculate the numbers given what decriminalization does to drive BIG PERCENT back to SLIM PERCENT and what that means to Wall Street and Washington's cash flows. No narco dollars, no reinvestment into the stock markets, no campaign contributions.

It was only a few days after Grasso's trip that BBC News reported a General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress as saying: "Colombia's cocaine and heroin production is set to rise by as much as 50 percent as the U.S. backed drug war flounders, due largely to the growing strength of Marxist rebels"

I deduced from this incident that the liquidity of the NY Stock Exchange was sufficiently dependent on high margin cocaine profits (BIG PERCENT) that the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange was willing for Associated Press to acknowledge he is making "cold calls" in rebel controlled peace zones in Colombian villages. "Cold calls" is what we used to call new business visits we would pay to people we had not yet done business with when I was on Wall Street.

I presume Grasso's trip was not successful in turning the cash flow tide. Hence, Plan Colombia is proceeding apace to try to move narco deposits out of FARC's control and back to the control of our traditional allies and, even if that does not work, to move Citibank's market share and that of the other large US banks and financial institutions steadily up in Latin America.

Buy Banamex anyone?

I strongly believe that the war on drugs should be suspended because the "law enforcement" isn't really separated from the "drug traffickers" at most levels. But the cynical embrace, addiction, if you will, of the financial sector to money laundering, makes up a serious problem apparently at the core of our democracy, and our foreign policy. Citigroup bought Banamex, a huge Mexican bank flush with cocaine profits, starting in the 1980s. The Feds didn't see a problem. NarcoNews won a legal battle with Citigroup / Banamex over their reporting in 2001. Those are some nice documents.

The American conservative-libertarian philosophy applied to Plan Colombia is best represented by Justin Raimondo way back before 9/11. Justin Raimondo: COLOMBIA – A VIETNAM FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM. February 7, 2000


Before I go any further, let us put aside the hypocritical and completely unconvincing rhetoric about the "War on Drugs" – nobody but nobody believes a word of it. If we have to pour billions into every Third World hellhole that cultivates illegal drugs and markets them to US consumers, then we will have to invade all of South America, as well as large parts of Asia. Is the bipartisan coalition backing the Colombian adventure prepared to launch such a global war? What utter nonsense. No, our deepening intervention in Colombia has nothing to do with waging a war on drugs and everything to do with ensuring that important US corporations, such as America Online Time-Warner, involved in commercial ventures dependent on regional stability, have their investments protected – with a little help from American taxpayers. When the President of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Grasso, travels to the isolated jungle hamlet of La Machaca to meet with Paul Reyes, Colombia's chief guerrilla commandante, what else are we to make of it?


It was a remarkable occasion: Grasso and Reyes met for two and a half hours. What did they talk about? The Associated Press reported that Grasso, in 'his first visit with a rebel chief," underscored the commitment of "the world financial community " to the stalled negotiations between the rebels and the Colombian government. Here was the living symbol of the world capitalist system holding out a promise of peace and collaboration with the last of the Marxist revolutionaries holed up in his jungle hideout, and announcing that he hoped his visit would "mark the beginning of a new relationship between the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia] and the United States." Inviting Reyes to join the global economy, he sought to reassure that this would not be a betrayal of socialism but only a refinement: "We talked about economic opportunity and how developed and developing markets around the world were broadening the participation of ownership, the democratization of capitalism." While Grasso stated that he wanted to keep his deliberations with Reyes private, the AP article went on to report that the FARC "although ostensibly Marxist," doesn't "oppose foreign investment or free market mechanisms as long as social justice is guaranteed." On the other hand, we are told that "critics of the FARC's peasant-based leadership say it is out of touch with the modern world and needs to better grasp how the international economy works." This should give us a good enough inkling of how the Grasso-Reyes dialogue went:

REYES: "The situation here is intolerable. The peasants have no land, and the elites run the show for their own profit. That is why we are fighting for socialism."

GRASSO: "Never mind all that old-fashioned Marxist stuff, we can give you socialism with cell phones – if you'll just turn your country over to us. After all, what can you do to build socialism here in this god-forbidden jungle? Listen, Paul, we're all socialists now – haven't you ever heard of the Third Way? Instead of being doctrinaire and stubborn and living in this little shanty, you and your comrades could be living it up in Bogota, investing in the stock market and talking on your cell phone. Hey, listen, why not come and visit the Stock Exchange? I'll show you around and we'll do lunch. And who knows If we're lucky, another move by the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates may send stock prices soaring – and then you can get to see real socialism in action!"


Unconvinced, Reyes and his guerrillas fight on, increasingly confident that they don't have to compromise or temporize in their battle for total power. In Washington, meanwhile, the Clinton administration is getting serious, putting Colombia at the top of its foreign policy agenda – in what may perhaps ultimately prove to be the most shameful aspect of a perfectly depraved Administration..


White House drug czar General Barry McCaffrey has become the War Party's chief publicist and spokesman in the Latin American theater of operations. As the Administration's point man, he dismissed rising complaints by top defense officials as organizational jealousy, averring that "everybody tried to get aboard this mule in Sunday's New York Times. But the same piece describes these unnamed critics as opposed to the operation per se, as not only "decidedly unenthusiastic about the military's growing role in the antidrug effort" but also gravely "worried that it may be dragged deeper into the civil war that has ravaged Colombia for almost 40 years." McCaffrey admitted that "there wasn't a huge fight among agencies over this package": what the huge fight is about is whether the mule should go forward at all, or whether it is likely to throw whomever is foolish enough to mount it.


While the Republicans are screaming "who lost Colombia?" and General McCaffrey is pushing for the militarization of the antidrug effort, with strong Administration backing, law enforcement officials are more cynical. The Times cites anonymous officials as suggesting that the Colombian government could take measures that would cost nothing, such as "taking cellular telephones away from jailed traffickers so they cannot operate from prison." Oh, now I get it: while we send 30 sophisticated UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to Colombia at a cost of more than $400 million, drug traffickers are making deals on their cell phones from the comfort of their Colombian jail cells........
Posted by HongPong at October 3, 2006 02:01 AM
Listed under Conspiratoria , History , International Politics .

Soon learnt, soon forgotten... Jeremy

Posted by: Jeremy at November 21, 2006 04:11 PM

Soon learnt, soon forgotten... Jeremy

Posted by: Jeremy at November 21, 2006 04:12 PM

Soon learnt, soon forgotten... Jeremy

Posted by: Jeremy at November 21, 2006 04:12 PM

To measure other people's corn by one's own bushel... Prudence

Posted by: Prudence at November 24, 2006 12:33 AM