Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, January 3, 2004day link 

 Santa Romana
I just ran into this article about "Project Hammer - Covert Finance and the Parallel Economy". And, well, I'm always interested in good conspiracy stories and possible scenarios for what is going on behind the scenes. But here it sticks a little deeper, as I happen to know some of the players in the story. Project Hammer is apparently a high-yield investment program of gargantuan proportions that was run by intelligence operatives and shadey bankers. Dealing with amounts that, as it says, would challenge whatever reality you had about international banking, just by their fantastic and unbelievable amounts. Multi-trillion dollar funds.
"Research shows that gold recovered by the forerunner to the CIA--the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)--was deposited in Citibank (and many other banks, too), not in the name of the OSS or CIA but in the name of one of their operatives, Severino Garcia Santa Romana.

On his death in 1974, some--but not all--of Romana's "assets" appear to have been illegally acquired by former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, who was at one time Santa Romana's attorney. According to Santa Romana's widow, her husband gave Marcos a limited Power of Attorney for use solely in the Philippines, since he travelled abroad regularly. It seems that Marcos somehow made use of this to gain control over Santa Romana's gold and other assets.

It also appears likely, based on documents in this writer's possession, that considerable quantities of gold once held by Santa Romana were later placed under the control of former CIA covert operator Major-General Edward Lansdale. However, these assets were lodged with the Union Bank of Switzerland. Again, it is worthy of note that they were placed in Ed Lansdale's name, not in the name of a US Government agency. These assets are very clearly off the books.

Large quantities of gold held by Citibank remained in the account names of Severino Garcia Sta. Romana and José Antonio Diaz de la Paz (the latter being a well-known alias for Santa Romana) under reference codes "Fanerst King Fisher" and "Burgst Harbor King" respectively.3 These have been the subject of a legal wrangle between Santa Romana's heirs and Citibank's John Reed.

The fact that the gold held by Citibank and others may not have been in the name of the Central Intelligence Agency or the Federal Reserve--but, rather, was in Santa Romana's name--may have been all Citibank needed to wriggle out of a poorly crafted question."

Severino Santa Romana's widow's name is Luz Santa Romana. I've met her several times. Mindblowing of course that this frail little old philippino lady would be potentially the richest person in the world. She was the primary heir as well as the executor of the estate of Severino Santa Romano. We're talking about 1.3 trillion dollars in gold and cash in well-documented accounts. Yeah, ok, most "normal" people will instantly get overwhelmed with disbelief and will stop listening, after hearing such outrageous amounts and fantastic stories. But, well, confirmations keep appearing from many corners. And, personally, after spending time with some of the key people, my initial disbelief gradually turned into the realization that things probably were pretty much like they presented them.

Luz re-married to Jim Brown, an American businessman who had already spent years researching such matters. And together they went to work on trying to access her inheritance. And they were having loads of problems with it. One time after another it was really close, but the bank pulled out at the last moment, suddenly deciding they needed another piece of paper that wasn't available. Or an assortment of other strange things happened.

It isn't very strange of course. If we're talking about a behind the scenes operator, moving around large sums of ill-begotten wealth, which is used for dealing arms, covert operations, bailing out banks behind the scenes, etc, and some of the funds incidentally were still in his name when he died, it is not just going to be handed over to his little old widow in a plastic bag. Because the people who were using it didn't consider it his personally, whatever it said on the accounts. And the amounts are so large that they can only be moved around very carefully without crashing national economies. You can't just go and withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars and put them in a briefcase. Anyway, Jim and Luz didn't even succeed getting a few million withdrawn. Because, of course, if they succeeded at that, they could much better demand the rest. Besides, the point is that the funds mostly weren't there any more. They had been snatched up by some of the people who were used to playing with them, plus by some people who found ways of gettting their clammy hands on some of them, like Marcos.

My reasons for being interested was in part that these were otherwise normal and pleasant people, and they were having problems they needed help with. Some rather weird, interesting and unusual problems, but still. Secondarily, in case they did happen to get access to even a portion of the lost billions, I could certainly think of ways of helping them flow them in good directions. I'm not thinking of myself, but rather, you could make a hell of an influential non-profit organization with just a very small chunk of the amounts we're talking about. So, in part what I did was to invite a group of people to think together about how one might do that, and how we could present it. And a team of dedicated folks worked for several months and came up with a draft plan for the New Civilization Foundation. The general idea was to support viable distributed alternatives to the oppressive and centralized way things otherwise are done.

I handed the plan to Luz and watched her as she read it over carefully. She didn't blink over the suggested 10 billion dollar yearly budget. As a matter of fact she nodded and said she'd really like to support it, but she had to apologize that it unfortunately wasn't possible at that exact moment.

It didn't particularly get much closer. Luz passed away now a couple of years ago. Jim is her heir, so in principle it is all in his hands. But increasingly unlikely. And he's tired of trying. So, he's concentrating on his book about the whole affair. Here's the simple site I set up for him earlier. The book was initially the "insurance policy". He would publish it, with all the juicy details and names and documents, if the banks didn't cooperate. Well, they didn't and probably won't. And bringing the story to light is more where Jim is at now. The book has grown from the initial one volume to four volumes. He hopes to make the actual publishing happen shortly, and I'm working on a new version of the site for him.
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