Thursday, March 26, 2009

AIG is CIA from its inception, another Siamese twins

AIG is CIA from its inception, another Siamese twins

Insurance and covert mission airlines: perfect together if you're the CIA and AIG. AIG's airplane business and its ties to covert U.S. operations documented...

We previously reported on Sir Allen Stanford's aviation fleet and its curious links to covert U.S. intelligence operations. American International Group (AIG) is also in the aviation business and its subsidiary, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), is one of the largest aircraft leasing businesses in the world.

Last year, ILFC's CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, a Hungarian émigré who founded ILFC in 1973, attempted to buy back ILF from AIG. As a $65 million donor to the Smithsonian's Dulles annex, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles International Airport is named for Udvar-Hazy. The SR-71 Blackbird spy plane among other large aircraft, are on display at the annex. Udvar-Hazy, one of the world's richest men, may still get his wish to reacquire ILFC as AIG attempts to come up with much-needed cash. In 2006, Udvar-Hazy was one of the members of the official U.S. delegation to Hungary that was led by part-Hungarian New York Governor George Pataki to mark the 50th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the country.

Questions remain as to why a company primarily involved in insurance would have taken over an aircraft leasing business that leases Airbus and Boeing passenger jet liners to airlines, the super wealthy, and Hollywood stars. The answer may be found in AIG's classified files that would put the spotlight on AIG's clandestine work for U.S. intelligence since the company's founding in 1919 in Shanghai as American Asiatic Underwriters by Cornelius Vander Starr, the uncle of President Clinton's chief prosecutor, Kenneth Starr. In 1992, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg took over majority shares in the company from Starr.

Greenberg, a close confidante of Henry Kissinger, was once considered by Clinton to head up the CIA after James Woolsey's departure in 1995 and Greenberg named Kissinger as chairman of AIG's International Advisory Board. AIG's one-time Vice Chairman was Frank G. Wisner, Jr., son of veteran Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and CIA veteran Frank Wisner, a one-time liaison to British agent Kim Philby, who later turned out to be a top Soviet spy. The senior Wisner allegedly committed suicide in 1965 using his son's shotgun.

A check of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings show that ILFC leased aircraft to three large U.S. airlines that have been involved with various CIA and U.S. military operations for a number of years: World Airways, Tower Air, and Evergreen International Airlines.

In 1978, the Canadian press revealed that World Airways Chairman and President E. J. Daly gave funds to the international environmental movement Greenpeace. There was just one hitch. In return, Daly apparently arranged for two CIA agents to join Greenpeace expeditions aimed against whaling and U.S. nuclear tests in Amchitka, Alaska in 1971 and 1977. Some Greenpeace members voiced opposition to the strings that came with Daly's money.

In 1975, upon the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, World Airways was the last flight out of Saigon. During the first Gulf War, the airline flew 300 flights into the Persian Gulf region, bringing in troops and supplied during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. World Airways also flew into Somalia during Operation Restore Hope.

In 2006, protests against World Airways use of Shannon Airport in Ireland to ferry U.S. troops back and forth to Iraq resulted in the airline bypassing Ireland and using Frankfurt as an alternate stopover. Shannon was also used by a number of CIA-leased "extraordinary rendition" aircraft used to transport kidnapped alleged "terrorists."

World Airways, after going public, attracted significant Malaysian investment and captured a lucrative cut-rate Tel Aviv-New York passenger route that particularly catered to "Yeshiva" students and their families. World Airways President Charles Pollard, who championed the Tel Aviv route but later abandoned it, told The Jerusalem Post in 1995 that "Tel Aviv is becoming the gateway to the Near East and the Far East."

Tower Air was also used by the Pentagon to shuttle troops to the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield and Storm.

Evergreen International Airlines was part of a network of covert CIA airlines that was founded by George A. Doole, Jr., a veteran CIA agent. In the CIA's network were Air America, Air Asia, Civil Air Transport, Intermountain Aviation, and Southern Air Transport. Pinal Air Park, near Marana, Arizona, was the base for Doole's Evergreen International's maintenance operation and a storage facility for 60 boneyard airliners, some of which may have been used after 9/11 for CIA detainee renditions.

From CIA airlines to covert operations using its American International Assurance Asian (AIA) unit as cover in Asia, AIG has plenty to answer for. Unfortunately, for the American taxpayers, those answers will be buried in classified files that will never see the light of day.