HOSTAGES: A Multi-Part FTW Special Investigation
* Medellin Cartel Cofounder, Carlos Lehder: A Free Man in Gov’t. Charade?,
— "Wife" of Drug Lord Speaks
* American International Group, Arkansas, ADFA, Contras, Goldman Sachs, Carlos
Lehder and Coral Reinsurance
* Exposing CIA Covert Operations
A.I.G. — Part Two of a Multi-Part Series
by Michael C. Ruppert
August 14, 2001
…FTW has also conducted an extensive investigation into AIG and its predecessors,
including the C. V. Starr Insurance Companies, revealing deep connections to
US intelligence dating back to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World
War II. These connections include documented CIA operatives connected to drug
smuggling from Southeast Asia and a current board member, Frank Wisner, Jr.,
whose father was a key figure in the creation of the CIA. History, as well as
AIG’s current operations, suggest that these relationships continue unabated
The seemingly mundane insurance business is, in fact, one of the primary weapons
of intelligence gathering around the world. And the founder of AIG, Cornelius
Starr, was an architect of its use in World War II. Consider these quotes from
a September 22, 2000 story by Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Fritz entitled,
"The Secret (Insurance) Agent Men."
"COLLEGE PARK, Md.–They knew which factories to burn, which bridges
to blow up, which cargo ships could be sunk in good conscience. They had pothole
counts for roads used for invasion and head counts for city blocks marked
"They weren’t just secret agents. They were secret insurance agents.
These undercover underwriters gave their World War II spymasters access to
a global industry that both bankrolled and, ultimately, helped bring down
Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
"Newly declassified U.S. intelligence files tell the remarkable story
of the ultra-secret Insurance Intelligence Unit, a component of the Office
of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA, and its elite counterintelligence
"Though rarely numbering more than a half dozen agents, the unit gathered
intelligence on the enemy’s insurance industry, Nazi insurance titans and
suspected collaborators in the insurance business. But, more significantly,
the unit mined standard insurance records for blueprints of bomb plants, timetables
of tide changes and thousands of other details about targets, from a brewery
in Bangkok to a candy company in Bergedorf. ‘They used insurance information
as a weapon of war,’ said Greg Bradsher, a historian and National Archives
expert on the declassified records. That insurance information was critical
to Allied strategists, who were seeking to cripple the enemy’s industrial
base and batter morale by burning cities
"Germany had 45% of the worldwide wholesale insurance industry before
the war began and managed to actually expand its business as it conquered
continental Europe. As wholesalers, or ‘reinsurers,’ these
companies covered other insurers against a catastrophic loss that could wipe
out a single company. In the process, the wholesaler learned everything about
the lives and property they were reinsuring. [emphasis, mine]"
"The men behind the insurance unit were OSS head William "Wild
Bill" Donovan and California-born insurance magnate Cornelius V. Starr.
Starr had started out selling insurance to Chinese in Shanghai in 1919 and,
over the next 50 years, would build what is now American International Group,
one of the biggest insurance companies in the world. He was forced to move
his operation to New York in 1939, when Japan invaded China. In the early
years of the war, the German insurance industry expanded its business as it
conquered continental Europe. Nazi insurance brokers who traveled with combat
troops during invasions also scoured local insurance files for strategic data."
On the special value of reinsurance as a vehicle for intelligence
gathering Fritz wrote:
"Such convoluted business dealings were traced largely through the work
of Ernest Stiefel, a member of the intelligence unit who diagrammed the way
insurance companies pooled their risks, invested in and insured each other
and, as a result, willfully or witlessly shared data about nations at war.
‘Stiefel mapped the entire system, said [Timothy] Naftali, a historian at
the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. "Each time
I take a piece of your risk, you’ve got to give me information. I am not going
to reinsure your company unless you give me all the documents. That’s great
Later in the story Fritz confirmed the value of reinsurance as a vehicle for
"With the Axis defeat imminent, U.S. intelligence officials focused
greater attention on ways the Nazis would try to use insurance to hide and
launder their assets so they could be used to rebuild the war machine…"
And how did Starr benefit from his service? Fritz writes:
"Starr sent insurance agents into Asia and Europe even before the bombs
stopped falling and built what eventually became AIG, which today has its
world headquarters in the same downtown New York building where the tiny OSS
unit toiled in the deepest secrecy.
Starr died in 1968, but his empire endures. AIG is the biggest foreign insurance
company in Japan. More than a third of its $40 billion in revenue last year
came from the Far East theater that Starr helped carpet bomb and liberate.
In The Shadow Warriors: OSS and the Origins of the CIA (Basic Books,
1983) author Bradley F. Smith shed more light on Cornelius Starr and the OSS.
"It [a secret intelligence operation in China] was formed in April 1942,
when [Bill] Donovan persuaded British insurance magnate C.V. Starr to let
C.O.I. (Covert Operations Intelligence) use his commercial and insurance connections
in occupied China and Formosa to create a deep cover intelligence network.
Although the State Department was nervous about the operation, Donovan went
ahead and, with the cooperation of the U.S. Army, bypassed the diplomats in
operating the communications system. Starr’s people handled their own internal
communication, then turned over their intelligence findings to [General Richard]
Stillwell’s headquarters for dispatch to the U.S. Starr, who was residing
in the U.S. at the time, provided these services to the Allied cause. Later
Starr became disgusted with what he considered Donovan’s inefficiency and
transferred his services to the British S.I.S. But the Starr-Donovan connection
worked in China at least until the winter of 1943-44.
"The establishment of the Starr intelligence network, an operation so
secret that it even escaped the attention of Chiang’s [Kai Shek] security
police (and of historians heretofore), was a major accomplishment for an intelligence
operation barely six months old" [p.133]
Read the rest of this article at From
[© Copyright 2001, Michael C. Ruppert and From the Wilderness Publications.
All Rights Reserved. May not be reprinted or redistributed without the express
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[EDITORIAL NOTE – From The Wilderness is a sole proprietorship and
dba. It is written and edited by one person; Me. I do almost all of the research.
Therefore, in the following story, for both legal reasons and for better reading
I have decided to use the personal pronouns "I" and "me"
instead of standard editorial references in the third person.]