Sir Allen Stanford, the former Texas and Florida billionaire who owned Antigua-based Stanford International Bank and the global Stanford Financial Group before he was charged with bilking investors out of $7 billion in a Ponzi scheme, is pleading amnesia in his trial in the U.S. District Court in Houston. Stanford claims he does not remember anything before he became hooked on pain killers after he was beaten by another inmate in federal prison.
Meanwhile, ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is sitting in languishing in a Panamanian prison cell, not eligible for house arrest usually afford those who are over 70 years of age. Noriega was transferred from France, where he served a prison sentence for money laundering. Noriega spent 22 years in prison in the United States and France for drug smuggling and money laundering after being arrested by U.S. troops who invaded Panama in 1989. Noriega was captured after being granted asylum in the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio in Panama City, however, President George H. W. Bush, who ordered Operation Nifty Package, the military invasion of Panama and arrest of Noriega, ignored the Vatican chancery's diplomatic status when he ordered U.S. troops to apprehend Noriega on legal Vatican territory.
After several Panamanian banks were cited as laundering money for the Colombian cartels, the drug money launderers began to shy away from Panama. It was about the same time that Allen Stanford, chased from Montserrat after a crack down there on money laundering, moved his operations to Antigua, where he changed the name of his original Montserrat operation, Guardian International Bank, to Stanford International Bank.
CIA sources told WMR that Stanford's Antigua bank began laundering money for the Colombian and Panamanian drug cartels after it was discovered that the regime installed by Bush in Panama, headed by President Guillermo Endara and Vice President Gullermo "Billy" Ford, was deeply involved in drug money laundering using a network of banks in Florida that were, in turn, linked to Jeb Bush, Bush's son and future governor of the state.
Endara was a director of one such bank, First Interamericas Bank. His vice president, Ford, was co-founder of Dadeland Bank in Miami. Endara, a corporate attorney, represented Panamanian corporate tycoon Carlos Eleta, who acted as the go-between for a $10 million transfer from the CIA to the Endara-led opposition against the Noriega-selected presidential candidate in the 1989 election.
Eleta, who was arrested in the United States for drug smuggling, was released with all charges dismissed after Bush ordered the invasion of Panama. The New York Times was a champion for the Bush invasion of Panama and the arrest of Noriega. However, the paper was forced to eat crow when it was forced to run the following headline on June 12, 1990: "A Thin Paper Trail in Noriega Inquiry -- U.S. Finds Few Documents Tying Ex-Leader to Drugs."
The Spanish government asked the Endara regime to helo it investigate over 100 companies in Panama suspected of laundering drug money for Spanish drug syndicate heads. Panama ignored the Spanish request. Endara also ordered his government not to cooperate with a U.S. Senate investigation of a shipment of weapons in 1989 by Israel's Mossad through Panama to the Medellin cartel in Colombia.
Noriega was arrested and imprisoned by the United States and France because of the knowledge he had of the Bush family's ties to CIA drug smuggling involving the two major Colombian cartels -- Cali and Medellin. In fact, the First Interamericas Bank, for whom the U.S.-installed Endara served as a director,was owned by Gilberto Rodrigues Orejuela, the leader of the Cali cartel. The bank also laundered money for Jorge Ochoa of the Medellin cartel. While the United States could never find any documentation linking Noriega to drug money laundering, for which he was sentenced to prison in the United States and France, it had ample evidence of the CIA and Bush connection to the Colombian cartels through the Panamanian and Florida banks. Other CIA banks in Florida that facilitated drug money laundering included Great American Bank of Miami, City National Bank of Miami, and National Bank of Homestead.
In 1982, Vice President Bush headed the presidential task force on drugs. In what could be likened to the fox guarding the hen house, Bush immediately began facilitating the importation of drugs to bolster the CIA's off-the-books slush funds for such operations as arming the Nicaraguan contras, feathering Noriega's nest in Panama, and dealing with the Cali and Medellin cartels. Jeb Bush was the main go-between for the CIA and the Nicaraguan contras who were funded with drug proceeds from key Cuban-Americans in Florida. A few military officers assigned to Bush's White House drug task force resigned in disgust when they discovered the true nature of Bush's drug running operations.
Two people alive today are intimately familiar with the Bush family's links to CIA drug smuggling, however, Stanford says he has amnesia and 77-year old Noriega is sitting in a Panamanian military prison unable to tell his side of the story to the world.
President Obama is comfortable with the status quo. Stanford was a major contributor to his 2008 presidential campaign, while Noriega may have some information on one suspected CIA drug money launderer, Donald Beazley, the president of one of the CIA-and Jeb Bush-linked banks in Florida, Colombian-owned City National Bank of Miami. The bank ultimately collapsed in a major fraud scheme. Beazley was also a principal officer of the CIA's drug money laundering Nugan Hand Bank based in Australia. Coincidentally, Madelyn Dunham, a vice president for the Bank of Hawaii for escrow accounts and hush-hush CIA payments to America's favorite Asian dictators, was aware of the Nugan Hand pay-offs and dubious other transactions. Dunham's grandson is Barack Obama.