BNL

Lo, the poor taxpayers. They think their tax money is often being wasted or stolen. But they can study the uses of their tax monies by the federal government for a year and they would not exhaust the myriad, complex ways in which their tax dollars are not only wasted and stolen but turned directly against their interests, rights and well-being.

Here is one taxpayer boomerang for you to consider. Cong. Henry Gonzalez (D-TX) is the chairman of the House Banking Committee which is investigating just how the Iraqi government obtained so much material from the United States during the Eighties. It is well recorded that the Reagan-Bush Administration decided in the early Eighties to support Iraq in its illegal invasion of Iran. This support was political, diplomatic, military, financial and also facilitative of other nations doing the same thing. When a Congressional Committee tried to prohibit financial credits for. Iraq in June 1990, Bush opposed this legislation.

What Gonzalez is probing is how American soldiers were exposed to serious risk “by missiles or chemical weapons” derived from U.S. businesses and guaranteed by the American taxpayer.” The immediate focus of his Committee `s inquiry is the Atlanta office of an Italian bank, known as BNL. This bank was apparently able to extend loans of some $3 billion that financed the sale of chemicals, specialty steel products, electronic components and other products right under the nose of the Federal Reserve and state banking officials.

The Federal Reserve and Justice Department have been blocking, thus far, Gonzalez’s committee from securing 70 BNL-related documents which it has subpoenaed. The Justice Department argues that they are refusing to do so because they have a criminal investigation underway — an excuse that Gonzalez says, for Congress, is constitutionally unacceptable.

Then Gonzalez made this disclosure in the Congressional Record: The Committee has obtained “a memorandum that indicates a top-ranking administration official from a Cabinet-level Department had knowledge that BNL was used for purchasing military goods. This administration official was concerned that the revelation of BNL. financing, of military articles would be bad for his particular program, because it would cause considerable adverse congressional reaction and press coverage. The official wrote: ‘In the worst case scenario, congressional and other investigators would find a direct link to

financing Iraqi military expenditures, particularly the Condor missile.”

What is clearly known as that BNL, together with other U.S. banks, participated in the Commodity Credit guarantee program of’ the federal government to enable Iraq to buy $5.5 billion in farm products. This taxpayer guarantee program freed up a like amount of foreign exchange by Iraq to buy technology from all over the world.

These, taxpayer subsidized or guaranteed programs, by the way, are not restricted to Iraq; They, and others like them, have been going on, without adequate regulatory supervision, for many gears with many military regimes throughout the world.

Another taxpayer subsidized federal agency, the Export-Import Bank, not only helped finance U.S. company sales of technology to Iraq, but also provided a $200 million insurance policy to cover exports to that country.

Iraq has defaulted on over $2 billion of these federally guaranteed loans and you, the taxpayer are the guarantor.

In its December 18, 1990 issue, the Village Voice, not to mention other mainstream national publications, published reports showing that U.S. companies, licensed, supported or condoned by the Reagan-Bush Administration and backed by some members of Congress from both parties, were selling parts and products to Iraq’s military machine.

After the Gulf war is over, your member of Congress should be asked three questions: (1) Who in the Reagan-Bush Administration was responsible or failed to do anything about these corporate practices? (2) What did your member of Congress do about such porous business export trade from the U.S.? and (3) What is your member of Congress proposing be done about it in the future?

Remember the sage who said: “Those who do not learn from history will be condemned to repeat it.” Profits are still very much part of the nutrients of war, and not just oil profits.

Recent Posts