FINANCIAL BONANZA BEHIND THE 9/11 TRAGEDY
Who are the financial actors behind the WTC?
by Michel Chossudovsky www.globalresearch.ca Spring 2004
On October 17, 2000, eleven months before 9/11, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, of The Blackstone Group, L.P, purchased, from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, the participating mortgage secured by World Trade Center, Building 7.1
April 26, 2001 the Port Authority leased the WTC for 99 years to Silverstein Properties and Westfield America Inc. The transaction was authorized by Port Authority Chairman Lewis M. Eisenberg.
This transfer from the New York and New Jersey Port Authority was tantamount to the privatization of the WTC Complex. The official press release described it as "the richest real estate prize in New York City history". The retail space underneath the complex was leased to Westfield America Inc.2
On 24 July 2001, 6 weeks prior to 9/11 Silverstein took control of the lease of the WTC following the Port Authority decision on April 26.
Silverstein and Frank Lowy, CEO of Westefield Inc. took control of the 10.6 million-square-foot WTC complex. "Lowy leased the shopping concourse called the Mall at the WTC, which comprised about 427,000 square feet of retail space."3
Explicitly included in the agreement was that Silverstein and Westfield "were given the right to rebuild the structures if they were destroyed". 4
In this transaction, Silverstein signed a rental contract for the WTC over 99 years amounting to 3,2 billion dollars in installments to be made to the Port Authority: 800 million covered fees including a down payment of the order of 100 million dollars. Of this amount, Silverstein put in 14 million dollars of his own money. The annual payment on the lease was of the order of 115 million dollars.5
In the wake of the WTC attacks, Silverstein is suing for some $7.1 billion in insurance money, double the amount of the value of the 99 year lease.6
Silverstein Properties Inc. is a Manhattan-based real estate development and investment firm that owns, manages, and has developed more than 20 million square feet of office, residential and retail space.
Westfield America, Inc. is controlled by the Australian based Lowy family with major interests in shopping centres. The CEO of Westfield is Australian businessman Frank Lowy.
The Blackstone Group, a private investment bank with offices in New York and London, was founded in 1985 by its Chairman, Peter G. Peterson, and its President and CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman.
In addition to its Real Estate activities, the Blackstone Group's core businesses include Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory, Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory, Private Equity Investing, Private Mezzanine Investing, and Liquid Alternative Asset Investing.7
Blackstone chairman Peter G. Petersen is also Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Chairman of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His partner Stephen A. Schwarzman is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Peter G. Petersen is also named in widow Ellen Marianiís widow civil RICO suit filed against. George W. Bush, et al.
Kissinger McLarty Associates, which is Henry Kissingerís consulting firm has a "strategic alliance" with the Blackstone Group "which is designed to help provide financial advisory services to corporations seeking high-level strategic advice." (www.blackstone.com) .
* * *
1 Business Wire, 17 October 2000
2. See Paul Goldberger in The New Yorker, May 20, 2002.
3 C. Bollyn, "Did Rupert Murdoch Have Prior Knowledge of 9/11?" Centre for Research on Globalization, globalresearch.ca, 20 October 2003.
4. Goldberger, op cit
5, Associated Press, 22 November 2003. See also Die Welt, Berlin, Oct 11, 2001.
6. Alison Frankel, The American Lawyer, Sept 3 2002
7 Business Wire, op cit
* * *
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO403B.html
This article was published in Issue 7 of Global Outlook, Spring 2004.
A 9-11 Conspiracy Hypothesis
I've known Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian political economist, for a dozen years, since I first read an op-ed by him in the International Herald Tribune while I was vacationing in France. We've never met, but we regularly e-mail back and forth with the latest poop on what's really going on in the world. In 2002 he wrote a book about what was really, really behind the 9-11 attack on the WTC, "War and Globalisation, The Truth Behind September 11." It is more or less consistent with what I've believed all along about the neo-cons and the Project for a New American Century. I can't evaluate the details of Michel's research, but since that is what the Kean Commission has been doing with all the material it has been going over, and will soon interview President Bush on the subject, I told Michel I would give him a shot here. For a link to the book summary click: http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html. But before you go there, read his most recent article about the stroke of luck a group of well-known Americans had in making a WTC deal just six weeks before 9-11. Coincidences are always the stuff of conspiracy theories.