Allied World Assurance Company

The 9-11 Axis of Greed and Evil

Sightings from The Catbird Seat

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September 19, 2001

AIG Chairman Makes Plea

The Honolulu Advertiser

American International Group Inc. chief executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg wants the government to help hold down damage claims from the World Trade Center attack, according to a report by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. analyst Alice Schroeder.

AIG, the biggest insurer, has said its claims from last week’s attack would be about $500 million, and Schroeder said the cost may reach $800 million.

Greenberg, 76, who has run AIG since 1967, hopes to forestall litigation from the attack that destroyed the World Trade Center, which may increase insurers’ costs and delay paying claims, Schroeder’s report says.

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From Elite Watch – 911 Review:

Maurice R. Greenberg

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AIG

76 years old

#106 on Forbes Worlds Richest People

Net Worth: $3.4 billion

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November 27, 2001

AIG, Chubb, Goldman Sachs Establish New
$1.5 Billion Bermuda Insurer

Insurance Journal

American International Group and Chubb Corp have joined with GS Capital Partners 2000, L.P., an investment fund managed by Goldman Sachs & Co. to establish Allied World Assurance Holdings Ltd. with a total equity capital of $1.5 billion.

The holding company will operate Bermuda-based Allied World Assurance Company (AWAC) which is set up to underwrite insurance and reinsurance business worldwide.

The announcement, long rumored to be in the works, marks the latest entry in a growing number of new insurance ventures, mostly established in Bermuda, designed to take advantage of the anticipated rise in insurance rates and increased demand for coverage following the Sept. 11 attacks.

According to the announcement AWAC plans to be open for business “no later than December 3, 2001 in order to meet the demand expected in the January renewal period.”

AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg will be the Chairman of the holding company’s Board of Directors, and Chubb CEO Dean O’Hare will serve as Deputy Chairman.

AIG put up $291 million of the initial capitalization; Chubb and GS Capital each contributed $250 million. The remainder came from outside investors, including Swiss Re. Its CEO Walter B. Kielholz will also serve on the Board of Directors.

“Insurance markets have experienced unprecedented demand for a number of coverages, without which businesses cannot be operated prudently,” said Greenberg in a written statement. “AWAC will supplement existing market capabilities and capacity, providing a broad range of insurance coverages worldwide for businesses that have large and complex risks.”

The establishment of AWAC by companies the size of AIG, Chubb and Goldman gives even more validity to long-time reinsurance consultant Paul Waither’s view, expressed in an interview in September, that “The bigger ones will get bigger and will be able to realize higher premiums.”

Chubb’s participation in AWAC also raises questions about its continued support for legislation designed to tax Bermuda-based companies to eliminate “unfair tax advantages.”

O’Hare, along with Hartford’s CEO Ramani Ayer, has been one of the most persistent and vocal advocates for such legislation….

For more of AIG’s “unfair tax advantages”, GO TO > > > Act 221

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How Dare They!
While we have our hands on our hearts…

November 15, 2001

Insurance Industry Stands to Benefit from Changes Wrought by Sept. 11

By Christopher Oster, The Wall Street Journal

For Marsh & McLennan Cos., the Sept. 11 attacks have meant two very different things.

One is personal loss. The world’s largest insurance brokerage lost 295 employees who worked at the World Trade Center. “It was very painful for us, agonizing for loved ones and close friends,” Jeffrey W. Greenberg, Marsh’s chairman and chief executive, told employees at a memorial service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Sept. 28.

But in the days after the attacks, even as the company was sorting out who was safe and who had perished, it quickly became clear that Sept. 11 presented a tremendous business opportunity for Marsh and other strong players in the industry.

Within days of the twin towers’ destruction, Mr. Greenberg and top lieutenants began planning to form a new subsidiary to sell insurance to corporate customers at sharply higher rates than were common before Sept. 11. Marsh also accelerated plans to launch a new consulting unit to capitalize on heightened corporate fears of terrorism. Vice Chairman Charles A. Davis says the company is merely meeting new marketplace demands. “There’s a financial reward for doing that,” he says.

Unlike airlines, which are reeling as travelers hesitate to fly, insurers have seen improved financial prospects since Sept. 11. Insurers expect to have to pay out $40 billion to $70 billion in claims related to the attacks. That sounds daunting, but in fact, it is manageable for an industry that collectively has $300 billion in capital.

Moreover, in response to Sept. 11, insurers are already raising prices by 100% or more on some lines of commercial and industrial insurance. … For much of the 1990s, carriers had engaged in a price war, keeping premiums relatively low. The prospect of large payouts related to the attacks gave the industry grounds for demanding substantial increases….

Insurance stocks have jumped 7% since the attacks, outpacing the broader market, and the atmosphere in the industry is one of eager anticipation. Marsh set out to raise about $1 billion in outside money to capitalize in a new company. Investors volunteered six times that much, and dozens had to be turned away.

Amid these signs of robust health, however, the industry is stressing potential disaster as it pressures Congress for emergency aid. By the end of December, lawmakers are expected to approve legislation under which the government could have to pick up billions of dollars in claims related to future terror assaults in the U.S.

This federal backing would have tremendous financial value to insurers in the event of another disaster. And it would have an immediate impact, too, emboldening the industry to sell new terrorism coverage, for which it will charge higher premiums. Carriers collect their money now, while the government would help pay any claims later….

In the weeks after Sept. 11, newspapers carried numerous advertisements touting insurers’ intent to pay disaster claims promptly. Less well-known is how these companies plan to recoup much of the money they will be sending to policyholders….

The decade-long premium-price war had been ending before the attacks, as weaker insurers collapsed or retrenched and stronger ones began gradually to charge more. Now, faced with payouts related to Sept. 11, the healthier companies are demanding that their customers share the pain by paying higher premiums. Some insurance companies are so confident in this strategy that they are expanding operations. Since Sept. 11, at least seven insurers have sold additional shares of stock. An additional six, including Marsh, have formed new companies.

Among the new units is a Bermuda-based carrier put together by American International Group Inc., Chubb Corp. and investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. are creating another one. Since Sept. 11, insurers have raised a total of about $4 billion in new capital, to which they are adding a modest amount of their own money….

Since the attacks, aviation underwriters have raised premiums for airlines by 200% to 400%, according to insurance brokers. At the same time, the underwriters are canceling parts of airlines’ coverage for liability to third parties other than passengers in future terrorist acts.

U.S. airlines don’t have to worry about these increases immediately. The airline-bailout bill Congress approved after Sept. 11 included provisions under which the federal government for six months will pay any increases in commercial insurance and cover airlines’ potential third-party liability for terrorism. In the not-too-distant future, though, the airlines could collectively face billions of dollars in additional annual premiums.

New Surcharge

Led by giant AIG, insurers have offered airlines a new, more-expensive package to replace the rescinded terrorism coverage. The new price includes a $3.10-per-passenger surcharge. Lacking the backing of the U.S. government, numerous foreign airlines are buying the new coverage, which is expected to boost insurers’ revenue by a total of hundreds of millions of dollars a year….

Medium-sized and small corporate policyholders are also seeing premiums jump. One week after the attacks, Industrial Risk Insurers, a unit of General Electric Co.’s Employers Reinsurance unit, told textile manufacturer Johnston Industries Inc. that it wouldn’t renew Johnston’s property-insurance policies, which expired Oct. 31. Bill Henry, a vice president at the Columbus, Ga., company, says it wound up paying $1 million more to a European carrier for a year’s coverage … a 150% increase. The limit of the new policy is only $350 million, or half of what Johnston previously received from the GE insurance unit….

Government Aid

While aggressively raising premiums, the insurance industry has been busy seeking relief in Washington. Ten days after the attacks, a delegation of chief executives, including AIG’s Maurice R. Greenberg, the father of Marsh’s Jeffrey Greenberg, descended on the capital to lobby President Bush and lawmakers.

The industry leaders sounded an alarm that reinsurance companies – which spread corporate risk by selling insurance policies to the insurance industry – were moving to cancel terrorism-related reinsurance coverage. The big primary carriers told the politicians they would eliminate almost all terrorism coverage unless the government stepped into the role of the reinsurers.

Without this coverage, many lenders would hesitate to finance everything from factories to new real estate development, the insurance executives warned their Washington hosts. Large area of the economy could grind to a halt.

The pitch worked. Congress in now expected to approve a mechanism that will guarantee that if there are huge future terrorism liabilities, taxpayers will help pay them….

“This is not a bailout,” says Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, home to several large carriers. Rather, the government is proposing to serve as a “backstop” to encourage underwriters to provide terrorism coverage, he says….

Marsh & McLennan see vast opportunity in this fast-changing environment. The company is primarily an insurance broker, not an underwriter. As a result, it has limited exposure to Sept. 11 property and liability claims. It took a $173 million charge for the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, to cover costs related to the attacks. A big piece of that was for payments to families of its own injured and dead employees.

Marsh’s Mr. Greenberg knows well the dangers of appearing opportunistic in the wake of catastrophe. He gained this experience after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, which until Sept. 11 was the industry’s costliest disaster. Then a vice president at his father’s AIG, the younger Mr. Greenberg wrote an internal memo saying that Andrew was “an opportunity to get price increases now.” After the memo was leaked to the media, Florida regulators imposed a moratorium on premium-rate increases.

This embarrassment didn’t stop Jeffrey Greenberg, now 50 years old, and his subordinates at Marsh from swiftly scouring the post-Sept. 11 business landscape for new opportunities.

The World Trade Center attacks were a devastating blow to the company, which has its headquarters in midtown Manhattan. About 1,900 Marsh employees worked in the twin towers. Within an hour of the attacks, the company had set up a phone bank to assemble information about the missing. Counseling sessions and memorial services were held daily for weeks.

Modest Disruption

From a business perspective, the disaster caused only modest disruption for Marsh, which has 57,000 employees worldwide. On the evening of Sept. 11, Mr. Davis, Marsh’s vice chairman and chief of its MMC Capital arm, sent a fax to Mr. Greenberg’s home that accounted for the unit’s employees – they were all safe – and suggested the formation of a new subsidiary that would underwrite corporate policies.

“We were absolutely thinking about the impact [of the attacks] and what the opportunities were in front of us,” says Mr. Davis, who came to Marsh from Goldman Sachs three years ago.

At a Sept. 18 meeting, 20 executives from Marsh’s operating companies discussed the new terrain in their industry. Participants noted the premium increases already being announced and cancellations of terrorism coverage. Policy-holder demand was as strong as ever, meaning prices could only rise.

There was strong support for Mr. Davis’s idea for a new company. It wouldn’t be the first time Marsh gave birth to an underwriter. In the mid-1980s, it launched Ace Ltd. and Excel Capital, now known as XL. Those moves came in response to some established insurers ceasing to write liability coverage in the wake of huge jury awards for asbestos-related illnesses and big judgments against corporate directors and officers. Both Ace and XL went on to become publicly traded. Marsh retains small stakes in them.

Marsh raised its initial fundraising plan for the new carrier by 50%, to $1.5 billion. But that still wasn’t enough to accommodate all of the investors lining up for a piece of the action. GE’s GE Asset Management unit and TIAA-CREF, the national teachers’ pension-fund manager, were among those allowed to buy stakes. Many others were turned away.

As the investor list was being winnowed, Mr. Greenberg was stirring another pot. He called L. Paul Bremer, a former U.S. ambassador at large for counterterrorism, who had joined Marsh a year earlier.

“Funny you should ask,” Mr. Bremer says he responded to Mr. Greenberg’s query about new business opportunities.

Mr. Bremer had been working on a plan for a crisis-consulting practice for several months. “It was clear to both of us that he should accelerate the introduction of that practice,” Mr. Greenberg says.

On Oct. 11, Marsh announced the formation of a new consulting unit, with Mr. Bremer at its head. Two weeks later, Marsh unveiled a partnership between its new unit and Versar Inc., a counterterrorism-service provider. The partnership will assess chemical and bioterrorism risks for corporate clients.

Copyright © 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

< < < FLASHBACK < < <

EPA Office of Inspector General

Semiannual Report to Congress
April 1 – September 30, 1996

Section 3 – Prosecutive Actions

Company Settles Imputed Interest Claims

On September 24, 1996, Versar, Inc. (Versar), entered into a settlement agreement with EPA and the United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of North Carolina, to resolve allegations that Versar prematurely billed the Agency for subcontractor costs. Versar agreed to reimburse the government $47,941 for the imputed interest on the use of the prematurely billed costs and the administrative costs of the investigation. Versar further agreed to ensure that all current and future officers, managers, and contracts management and billing employees receive required training regarding proper implementation of billing policy and procedures; to monitor on a monthly basis its government contracts to ensure compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation; and to submit to EPA annual certifications that all terms and conditions of the agreement have been met.

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April 30, 2002

Chubb CEO O’Hare to retire,
profits up on rate hikes

By Bill Rigby

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chubb Corp.‘s (CB) Chief Executive Dean O’Hare on Tuesday announced his intention to retire within the next 12 months, as the insurer reported quarterly profits up 13 percent, boosted by higher premiums.

Chubb’s shares rose 4 percent, to $76.15 on the New York Stock Exchange, nearing their $79.50 52-week high, as O’Hare forecast higher profits next year.

“Chubb’s earnings are in the early stages of a major turnaround,” said O’Hare, on a conference call with analysts. “I want to go out at the beginning of a golden era for Chubb, not just before the end of one.”

O’Hare’s announced intention to retire comes as Chubb, one of the leading U.S. business insurers, enjoys a surge in insurance premium rates, after a decade of declines. The Sept. 11 attacks only served to accelerate price increases.

O’Hare, who will turn 60 in June, has been CEO of Chubb, for 14 years. He joined the firm 39 years ago.

Chubb is starting the search for a new CEO immediately. O’Hare who will stay on as CEO until a successor is found.

“I was a little surprised,” said Williams Capital Group analyst Michael Paisan. “But now’s the time to bow out, as Chubb is firing on all cylinders.”

The Warren, New Jersey-based firm reported first-quarter net profits of $198.2 million, or $1.15 a share, up from $175 million, or 97 cents a share, a year earlier.

“The hard market has arrived, we helped bring it about,” said O’Hare on the conference call.

“We were better prepared for it than most of our competitors, and we are reaping the benefitsbig time.

Next year would be even better for Chubb, O’Hare said, as rate increases make a full impact on the bottom line.

“If you think 2002 will be good, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” O’Hare said. . . .

© 2002 Reuters

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October 13, 2002

How to Tally the Costs of War?


With President Bush threatening to attack Iraq, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, an old friend of the president and his father, expressed his solidarity in a speech last week to the nation’s property-casualty insurers. He cautioned that a war with Iraq could be long and costly, but he received a warm response from the insurers, gathered at a conference in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

One of those applauding was Dean R. O’Hare, chief executive of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, an insurer of businesses, homes and cars. Mr. O’Hare talked later about the business and economic implications of a war.

Q. Why do you favor attacking Saddam Hussein?

A. This is an evil guy who is intent upon destroying us. And I think we need to extinguish him before he gets us. As for my fellow C.E.O.’s in the industry, I think you’re going to find there are some people pretty much in favor of a pre-emptive strike and others who are not. Generally, I think the consensus of the people at the meeting, at least the people I spoke with, was that President Bush is doing the right thing.

Q. What impact do you foresee on the economy and the insurance business?

A. You’ve got to look at it as a negative impact. I don’t think the impact is going to be enormous. But it’s obviously going to have an impact on oil prices. We’ve lived through things like that before. I wouldn’t even try to quantify it. But you can’t view it as a positive. I think you could conceivably see us go from very small growth to a very, very small decline. I don’t see anything more at this point. If there’s a slowdown in the economy, obviously you’re going to see a slowdown in certain lines of insurance coverage, workers’ compensation, for example.

Q. Don’t you worry about the possibility of counterattacks by terrorists in the United States?

A. That certainly is a possibility. But I don’t think this is going to be a long and costly war. I think it’s going to be quick and dirty. I think you need to talk in terms of months. But I think that in three months you have him out of power. I don’t think you’re going to have the level of retaliation here in the United States that some people are forecasting. There’s always the potential for it. But I don’t think we’re going to have a situation where you have multiple occurrences. This is going to be a very high-tech war, and very one-sided.

Q. Since insurance coverage for terrorism has been withdrawn from most policies after 9/11, what effect would a new terrorist attack have on insurers?

A. A lot of policies have terrorism insurance included, but they don’t have the same level of coverage they used to have. The 9/11 attacks will probably end up costing the insurance industry something in the neighborhood of $50 billion. If we had another one like that, my guess is that the amount of insured losses would be in the neighborhood of $15 billion. But there has been no lessening of coverage for terrorism in terms of workers’ compensation insurance. If workers are injured or killed as a result of terrorism, the insurance companies would have to pay. Trying to control our possible losses, we’re all being very careful in terms of insuring big groups in any one location. Before 9/11, no one ever thought you could have an attack where 3,000 people would be snuffed out. Now, we wouldn’t dream of insuring 1,500 or 2,000 employees in a high-profile building in a major city. It’s the possibility of the aggregate loss. People can get the coverage, but not from any one insurance company.

Q. You took the lead in calling the World Trade Center attack an act of terrorism, which at the time was covered in most insurance policies. In a war with Iraq, would you regard any counterattacks, for insurance purposes, as terrorism or as war, which is not routinely covered?

A. Any retaliation, I think, would come under the heading of war, not terrorism. Workers’ compensation coverage would not be affected. The coverage is there regardless. But as far as property here in the United States or multinational holdings, they would definitely have a war exclusion. If you had a war and somebody dropped a bomb on a plant — here or anywhere — and destroyed it, you wouldn’t have any coverage….

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Lewis Paul Bremer III, also known as Jerry Bremer (born Sept 30, 1941) was named Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for post-war Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq to replace Jay Garner on May 6, 2003. He arrived in Iraq on May 11.


Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Bremer was educated at Yale University (earning a B.A. in 1963) and went on to earn a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University in 1966. That year he joined the Foreign Service as Officer General in Kabul, Afghanistan, later continuing his education at the Institute d’Etides Politiques of the University of Paris, where he earned a Certificate of Political Studies (CEP)….

During the 1970s Bremer held various domestic posts with the State Department, including posts as assistant to Henry Kissinger from 1972-76. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Oslo from 1976-79, returning stateside to take a post of Deputy Executive Secretary of State where he remained from 1979-81. In 1981 he became Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to Alexander Haig.

Ronald Regan appointed Bremer as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1983 and Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism in 1986. Bremer retired from the Foreign Service in 1989 and became managing director at Kissinger Associates, a worldwide consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger. More recently he has been employed as Chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting, a risk and insurance services firm which is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.

Bremer was appointed Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in 1999. In late 2001, along with former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Bremer co-chaired the Heritage Foundation’s Homeland Security Task Force, which created a blueprint for the White House’s Dept. of Homeland Security.

For two decades, Bremer has been a regular at Congressional hearings and is recognized as an expert on terrorism and internal security….

Administrator of Iraq

Following the removal of Jay Garner as civilian administrator of Iraq, Bremer was appointed as the chief U.S. executive authority in the country. Unlike Garner, Bremer was not a military man, as a result was expected to bring unique political and diplomatic skills that many had accused Garner and other military leaders of lacking. Though Garner’s experience was largely praised, Bremer’s appointment was criticized by some human rights groups, who note that while chairing the National Commission on Terrorism, Bremer advocated relaxation of CIA guidelines which restrict working with individuals and groups who have a record of human rights abuses.

As administrator of Iraq, Bremer’s job is to oversee the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq until the country is deemed to be in a state in which it can be once again governed by Iraqis. Upon the advice of his subsidiaries, Bremer is empowered to issue decrees to modify Iraq’s society and infrastructure. Some notable decrees have included his outlawing of the Ba’ath Party, removing all restrictions on freedom of assembly and establishing a Central Criminal Court of Iraq.

On July 13, 2003 Bremer approved the creation of an Iraq Interim Governing Council as a way of “ensuring that the Iraqi people’s interests are represented.”

The council members were appointed by Bremer, and were chosen from prominent political, ethnic, and religious leaders who had opposed the government of Saddam Hussein. Though the council was given several important powers (such as the appointment of a cabinet), Bremer retained veto power over their proposals.

Bremer’s office is a division of the United States Department of Defense, and as Administrator he reports directly to the United States Secretary of Defense….

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September 9, 2003

Meet the New Iraqi Strongman: Paul Bremer

Thugs in Business Suits
By Robert Fisk,

Paul Bremer’s taste in clothes symbolises “the new Iraq” very well. He wears a business suit and combat boots. As the proconsul of Iraq, you might have thought he’d have more taste. But he is a famous “anti-terrorism” expert who is supposed to be rebuilding the country with a vast army of international companies – most of them American, of course – and creating the first democracy in the Arab world. Since he seems to be a total failure at the “anti-terrorist” game – 50 American soldiers killed in Iraq since President George Bush declared the war over is not exactly a blazing success – it is only fair to record that he is making a mess of the “reconstruction” bit as well.

In theory, the news is all great. Oil production is up to one million barrels a day; Baghdad airport is preparing to re-open; every university in Iraq is functioning again; the health services are recovering rapidly; and mobile phones have made their first appearance in Baghdad. There’s an Iraqi Interim Council up and hobbling.

But there’s a kind of looking-glass fantasy to all these announcements from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the weasel-worded title with which the American-led occupation powers cloak their decidedly undemocratic and right-wing credentials.

Take the oil production figures. Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, the US commander in Iraq, even chose to use these statistics in his “great day for Iraq” press conference last week, the one in which he triumphantly announce that 200 soldiers in Mosul had killed the sons of Saddam rather than take them prisoner. But Lt-Gen Sanchez was talking rubbish. Although oil production was indeed standing at 900,000 barrels per day in June (albeit 100,000bpd less than the Sanchez version), it fell this month to 750,000. The drop was caused by power cuts – which are going to continue for much of the year – and export smuggling.

The result? Iraq, with the world’s second-highest reserves of oil, is now importing fuel from other oil producing countries to meet domestic demands.

Then comes Baghdad airport. Sure, it’s going to re-open. But it just happens that the airport, with its huge American military base and brutal US prison camp, comes under nightly grenade and mortar attack. No major airline would dream of flying its aircraft into the facility in the circumstances….

Open universities are good news. And few would blame Bremer for summarily firing the 436 professors who were members of the Baath party. … But then it turned out that there wouldn’t be enough qualified professors to go round….

Health services? Well, yes, the new Iraqi health service is being encouraged to rehabilitate the country’s hospitals and clinics. But a mysterious American company called Abt Associates has turned up in Baghdad to give “Ministry of Health Technical Assistance” support to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and “rapid response grants to address health needs in-country”. It has decreed that all medical equipment must accord with US technical standards and modifications – which means that all new hospital equipment must come from America, not from Europe….

Of course, Iraqis protest at much of this. They protest in the streets, especially against the aggressive American military raids, and they protest in the press. Much good does it do them. When ex-Iraqi soldiers demonstrated outside Bremer’s office at the former Presidential Palace, US troops shot two of them dead. When Falujah residents staged a protest as long ago as April, the American military shot 16 dead. Another 11 were later gunned down in Mosul. During two demonstrations against the presence of US troops near the shrine of Imam Hussein at Karbala last weekend, US soldiers shot dead another three.

“What a wonderful thing it is to speak your own minds,” Lt-Gen Sanchez said of the demonstrations in Iraq last week. Maybe he was exhibiting a black sense of humour.

All this might be incomprehensible if one forgot that the whole illegal Iraqi invasion had been hatched up by a bunch of right-wing and pro-Israeli ideologues in Washington, and that Bremer – though not a member of their group – fits squarely into the same bracket. Hence Paul Wolfowitz, one of the prime instigators of this war – he was among the loudest to beat the drum over the weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist – is now trying to deflect attention from his disastrous advice to the US administration by attacking the media, in particular that pesky, uncontrollable channel, Al-Jazeera. Its reports, he now meretriciously claims, amount to “incitement to violence” – knowing full well, of course, that Bremer has officially made “incitement to violence” an excuse to close down any newspaper or TV station he doesn’t like….

Why don’t the occupation authorities realise that Iraq cannot be “spun”? This country is living a tragedy of epic proportions, and now – after its descent into hell under Saddam – we are doomed to suffer its contagion. By our hubris and by our lies and by our fantasies – including the fantasies of Tony Blair – we are descending into the pit.

For the people of Iraq, the next stage in their long suffering in under way. For us, a new colonial humiliation, the like of which may well end the careers of George Bush and Tony Blair, is coming.

Of far more consequence is that it is likely to end many innocent lives as well….

For the complete article:

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October 17, 2000

Blackstone Group & 7 World Trade Center

New York, NY – Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, the global real estate investment and management arm of The Blackstone Group, L.P., announced today that it has purchased, from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, the participating mortgage secured by 7 World Trade Center, a commercial office complex controlled by real estate developer Larry Silverstein.

But before the building can rise further that the substation, major financing issues have to be resolved by Larry Silverstein, who controls the long-term lease on 7 World Trade Center as well as the World Trade Center complex.

The good news for Mr. Silverstein is that the company that insured 7 World Trade, Industrial Risk Insurers, has indicated that it will make a full payment under its $861 million policy. But it’s not clear whether Mr. Silverstein can use those proceeds to start building without first reaching an agreement with the mortgage holder on 7 World Trade Center, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors.

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Blackstone – Kissinger McLarty Associates – American International Group

Kissinger McLarty Associates has a “strategic alliance” with the Blackstone Group….

In fact the alliance also incorporates Maurice Greenberg’s American International Group, as per this press release on February 21st 2000:

American International Group, Inc. (AIG), The Blackstone Group L.P. and Kissinger Associates Inc. announced the establishment of a new venture to provide financial advisory services to corporations seeking high-level independent strategic advice. … The venture will operate globally and will take advantage of the existing relationships between the partners:

AIG has an ownership interest in Blackstone and is an investor in several of Blackstone’s private equity funds;

AIG and Blackstone have a joint venture, specializing in restructuring and M&A advisory services in selected Asian countries;

Henry Kissinger chairs both AIG’s International Advisory Board and the advisory boards of several AIG-sponsored Infrastructure Funds….”

Indeed: “In 1998, American International Group (“AIG”) acquired a 7% non-voting interest in The Blackstone Group for $150 million and committed to invest $1.2 billion in future Blackstone-sponsored funds.”

And Maurice Greenberg sits on Blackstone’s Domestic Advisory Board….

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September 11, 2003

9/11 Insurers Sue al-Qaeda, Iraq, Saudis, Iran, Syria, Sudan Wires

WASHINGTON – After the disaster comes … the lawsuit.

A group of insurance companies says it filed complaints Wednesday not only against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, but also the governments of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Sudan for their alleged responsibility in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

This one day after a federal judge in New York allowed separate 9/11 suits to go forward against airlines and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operated the World Trade Center, for their alleged negligence in “allowing” the attacks to take place.

The earlier suit was filed by 70 individuals, survivors of 9/11 victims or those injured actually in the terror attacks at the World Trade Center.

Wednesday’s lawsuit was filed by “dozens of insurance companies, acting as members of five large insurance groups – Chubb, American Re, Zurich American, One Beacon and Crum & Foster” – in U.S. District Court in New York. A companion suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.

The suits seek to recover damages the companies paid out, or reserved for payment, for losses in the terror attacks. The firms say that amounts to $3.5 billion in property damages, $500 million in workers’ compensation benefits and damages in 412 wrongful death and personal injury claims.

The complaint, which requests a jury trial, alleges a number of federal crimes, including violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Damages under RICO are trebled.

In addition to bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Islamic governments, the suits name a number of other alleged terrorists and organizations, as well as “charitable” and financial groups allegedly linked to such organizations.

‘Saudi Arabia Knew’

“Defendant Saudi Arabia has long provided material support and resources to al-Qaeda, including financial and logistical assistance,” the complaint says.

“According to intelligence experts and officials of the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia has channeled literally millions of dollars to al-Qaida, predominantly through various Saudi based ‘charities’ under the government’s effective control,” the complaint adds, “including defendant Muslim World League, al-Haramain Foundation, International Islamic Relief Organization, Benevolence International Foundation, Bless Relief (Muwafaq) Foundation, Rabita Trust and World Assembly of Muslim Youth

“Defendant Saudi Arabia knew, or should have known, that al-Qaida and affiliated FTOs (foreign terrorist organizations designated by the State Department), persons, organizations, commercial entities and other parties would materially benefit from those contributions, and use the funds received from those ‘charities’ to finance terrorist attacks against the United States, its nationals and its allies.”

Saudi officials have vigorously denied links between their government and terror organizations, despite published reports from U.S. government sources suggesting such connections. The Saudis have demanded, so far unsuccessfully, that the Bush administration make public any evidence supporting the allegation.

The lawsuits are expected to run up against a number of significant roadblocks, including the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.

FSIA permits terror claims against foreign governments, but only if plaintiffs “establish a claim or right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the court.”

In the case of the foreign governments, such evidence could only exist in U.S. intelligence reports. If such evidence indeed exists, the government has historically been reluctant to produce it.

Successful plaintiffs may also seize foreign government assets in the United States under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. But subsequent administrations have been reluctant to tolerate lawsuits that complicate foreign policy, or that might invite foreign governments to retaliate with their own legal proceedings.

For example, a group of U.S. military prisoners of war from the first Gulf War successfully sued Iraq in a Washington federal court for “unspeakable” torture endured while in Iraqi custody.

However, Congress gave the president authority in April to exempt any state sponsor of terror from TRIA, and President Bush exercised that authority in regard to Iraq last May.

Earlier this year, a federal judge “reluctantly” told the U.S. POWs that they could not collect damages, despite their treatment and despite their successful lawsuit.

Private “charitable” or financial organizations, on the other hand, could prove softer targets.

The Bush administration has identified a number of such organizations since the Sept. 11 attacks as providers of “material support” to terrorist groups, and has frozen their assets in the United States and abroad.

The organizations possess no sovereign immunity in U.S. courts….

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.# # #













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Last Update October 19, 2004, by The Catbird