Love & Hate
by Richard W. Hughes
outside, the Madrid Bar looks no different than any other watering
hole on Bangkok's Patpong Road. But step inside and one enters
a dark world of societal misfits, heat-seeking mercenaries, out-and-out
spooks and the merely semi-diaphanous. If you wanted to make
an in-depth tour of the bars and bordellos of Thailand, any of
the Madrid regulars would make a perfect guide.
Madrid bar was where Ted Doyle merged his business
interests with Lee Wolf.
The Madrid was
that kind of place. You couldn't stay too long without losing a few
brain cells. And if you did leave with halo intact, you had no business
being there. But no matter how twisted, how crazy the night
became, regulars knew the drill – never drop your guard. With
feline or friend, never forget to feel for the Adam's apple.
In 1995, Ted Doyle was just one among many
Madrid raconteurs. Each with a song about the Cong. But Teddy was
different. He was a man with a mission – helping Melbourne
lawyer Max Green launder millions from a looted trust fund account – and
in the process, helping himself to a quid or two, too.
That night, Doyle took a seat at the Madrid
bar, next to American gem dealer, Joseph Schall. The bearish Doyle
naturally attracted attention, with "Love" tattooed on the knuckles
of one hand and "Hate" on the other. And just to reinforce the image,
a 25-ct. sapphire watched his back from a ring on one finger. It
was that sparkle that caught Schall's eye. "Nice Ceylon," Schall
remarked. Without a word, Doyle yanked the ring off and slid it down
the bar. Over the course of a few drinks, Schall explained he had
an office in one of Bangkok's biggest gem houses and the pair made
a date to meet the next day.
And show he did – with plenty of dough.
Over the next few months, Doyle was a regular, plucking out one fine
gem after another, but always paying in cash installments of US$50–75,000
Eventually, the odor of Doyle's money reached
stench level. It wasn't as though Schall didn't want to sell to Doyle,
but having been in the business for years, the situation reeked of
money laundering. And so Schall stepped back, watching to see what
would happen next.
A replacement was not long in coming. In
November 1995, Doyle ran into Lee Wolf.
Understand. Doyle never lacked for lip. But
over the course of the next five hours, he was reduced to nods and
monosylabic grunts as Wolf waxed ecstatic on how he, with his fluent
Thai, held the key to Bangkok's gem kingdom. Doyle swallowed it whole – hook,
line, sinker – and angler's elbow.
Thus it happened. Amidst the Patpong banter
of building bank accounts for distressed damsels, the ill-fated duo
of Doyle and Wolf parried the Jesus of all gem deals. Within just
two short years, US$20 million of Max Green's money would wash across
their palms – some flowing up to Laos, all ebbing back out
again – like a mekong whisky-nam-soda mix – pissed slowly
out to sea. And as that water reached Phnom Penh, it blended with
the blood of Max Green's lifeless body. But we are getting ahead
Wolf's Pacific East Trading Company Ltd., spitting
distance from Patpong Road. Although nondescript from
the outside, millions of Max Green's dollars once passed
through this location. Today it is closed due to unpaid
bills, with Wolf said by one observer to be "cooking
over a much smaller flame."
Just who was Max Green? Here
was a man with the moxie to loot millions from a trust account,
but so ordinary looking that he couldn't have attracted the attention
of a good waiter in a good restaurant. Perhaps that was his secret.
Nobody ever dreamed he could do what he did.
Max Green, a nerdy Bill Gates look-alike.
Green was born in 1952, growing
up in Sydney, Australia. He graduated from law school and in 1976
moved to Melbourne, where he took a job as solicitor in a respected
law firm. That same year, he married Louise Giselle Baron, daughter
of a wealthy Melbourne property developer. 1981 saw him join the
board at the fashion jewelry company, Emma Page. By 1984, he had
left the bar and taken a full-time position at Emma Page. 1985–89
were spent in Austin, Texas, handling the company's US operations.
Upon returning to Melbourne, Green went
back to practicing law. On 1 April, 1991, Max was brought in as
a partner at the private law firm of Gary Vernon Shugg. In 1992,
Shugg also hired Ted Doyle, whom he had met years earlier, to develop
a computer system.
Doyle allegedly brought in another associate,
Alex Hoffman. In 1994, Hoffman opened a Kiev office for Shugg & Green,
but in November 1995, was arrested amidst allegations of money
laundering, document fraud and arms smuggling, with some of the
weapons heading for Cambodia. The workings of the Kiev office remain
a mystery to this day. While Hoffman was later acquitted, one witness
told police: "The idea was quite clear that [the office] was to
attract clients for money-laundering purposes."
Shrug and Grin
The august firm of Shugg & Green
was not long for this world. In July 1995, Shugg was found guilty
of 17 counts of misuse of clients' funds and disbarred for five
years. The company was placed into receivership with debts of A$2
million. Shugg later set up business in London. Max Green was never
charged. Shugg later told an associate he had "gone patsy for Green."
|Digging in the dirt at
Laos' Huay Xai sapphire mine. Photo: © R.W.
The "beaut" project
Shortly after the demise of Shugg & Green,
Max learned from his brother, Phillip, of a loophole in Australian
tax law that allowed inexpensive equipment purchases to be entirely
depreciated in the first year. And so he pitched a scheme whereby
investors would buy such equipment and lease it to Melbourne's
City Link tollway project. For every dollar invested, a further
$4 would be borrowed from a Hong Kong finance company, allowing
investors to claim 100% of the interest payments as a tax deduction.
The suggested result was that investors would recoup in both profit
and tax advantages well in excess of 15% of their original investment
each year. This caused one to declare: "It looks like a beaut!" More
than A$42 million was eventually sunk into the scheme.
Clients' money was placed into a trust
fund. But Green secretly moved the dough into another account he
controlled. From there, funds were transferred abroad to accounts
in the Bahamas, the Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, etc., a veritable
who's who of financial tomfoolery. To hide his tracks, Green paid
interest into the trust fund, while producing forged documents
that showed "purchase" of construction equipment.
Over $10 million headed straight into the
Bangkok accounts of Lee Wolf. Some believe Doyle's name was not
used on the transfers because his name was in police databases
Mud from a stone
Doyle later claimed that Green spent
US$20 million on gems, stones that Doyle said were later sold by
Max in Israel. But no trace of either the money or Green's gem
sales in Israel has ever been found.
The operation could have gone something
like this: a few million in illegal cash is sent to Thailand for
the purchase of gems. But since gems are not liquid assets, most
likely the quid pro quo was for the newly purchased gems
to be bought back after a decent interval, perhaps by a third-party
cutout seemingly unconnected to the original seller, with a small
percentage as the trade. Say $1,000,000 in gems is sold to the
moneyman, and later sold back for $800,000, the difference being
the "rental fee" for the period between their sale and the buyback.
The seller is happy, with a nice percentage for the rental. The
moneyman is also happy, since his money is now seemingly clean
and can be moved abroad without fear.
Map of Southeast Asia, showing the
location of the Huay Xai mine in Laos. Illustration © R.W.
Trevor John "Ted" Doyle was born in 1946
in Melbourne, Australia. At age 17, he joined the Australian Army,
where he was reputedly a member of the elite Special Air Service
(SAS). While in the army, he claimed his duties included spying
on Vietnam War protesters. He also acquired a taste for heroin,
which eventually led to his imprisonment and military discharge
Ted Doyle continued to raise police attention.
His photograph and fingerprints were first posted with Interpol
in 1969. In 1974, Doyle left Perth for Bali, learning the local
language and eventually marrying the daughter of a high-ranking
Indonesian general, a connection that he later used in his attempts
at gem dealing. By 1977 Doyle was back in Melbourne, and later
reported destitute in Europe, where he contacted the Australian
embassy for repatriation. He was also placed on a watch list because
of his habit of losing his passport.
Back in Australia, he got into journalism,
working on a variety of papers, including The Age, the Melbourne
Times, and ABC radio. 1985–86 saw him working
for smaller papers. At some point in the 1980's, he ran into lawyer
Gary Shugg. Shugg led to Green, and after that, nothing was ever
…and the Wolf Man
Lee Wolf was born in 1956 and grew up
on a farm in Clifton, Texas. After graduating high school, he became
a hard-hat diver, first in the Gulf of Mexico, then in Singapore
and the Gulf of Thailand. His diving ceased following a severe
case of the bends. By the early 1980's, he was in Bangkok, enrolled
in a strict six-month Thai language course operated mostly for
Christian missionaries. Although the Thai language training was
to come in handy later on, Lee was never again known to associate
In the mid-1980's, Wolf's cousin asked
him to be the Thai agent for his jewelry business. This led to
the establishment of Pacific East Trading Co. in 1986. But the
company did little until Max Green and Ted Doyle entered the picture.
Let the good times roll
When Max's millions hit Bangkok, Doyle
and Wolf quaffed life from a Maxie-sized mug. The bell at the Madrid
never stopped ringing. Not only did they buy rounds for the entire
bar, but the pair thought nothing of spending US$10,000 a night
to hire an entire Patpong nightspot in which to entertain friends.
So easy was the money that one time US$50,000 cash literally spilled
out of a hole in Teddy Doyle's suit coat pocket as he hopped on
the back of a motorbike.
Sources reported that once when a safe
was opened at Pacific East Trading Co., it contained a bundle of
US$100 bills the size of a small television. Doyle allegedly received
parcels from Max Green containing travelers' checks from a Melbourne
travel company. One contained $49,400 in 257 checks, wrapped in
bundles of $5000. Each bundle had a different name on the checks.
Doyle allegedly signed each check twice and then cashed them at
a local bank. But giving money to Teddy Doyle was like asking a
rabbit to deliver a carrot. There was bound to be a bit of nibbling
along the way.
In April 1997, Doyle and Wolf set up Gem
Houses of Asia to spend Green's cash. At a presentation at Bangkok's
exclusive Oriental Hotel, they outlined plans to create a market
niche for black and boulder opals. The project involved a cutting
factory in Khao Yai. On one occasion, Australian police say, an
Australian opal company brought opals worth millions for an exhibition
to their Bangkok shop, staffed by bar girls as assistants. Along
with so many other projects, funding for this dried up shortly
after Max Green's death. The duo was also involved in high-profile
charity events in Thailand.
Pandora's jewel box
Someone once described a mine as "a
hole in the ground owned by a liar." That certainly applies to
the Huay Xai mine in Laos, for these backwater sapphire diggings
have had a troubled history indeed.
Lying along the Mekong River, the Lao mines
were first discovered in 1890. Along with small dark blue gems,
red garnets were also found. Taking them to be rubies, a Thai official
went out and bought the best ruby he could find. This he sent to
the Thai king, with a note saying it came from Huay Xai. Alas,
the deception was eventually discovered; his fate is not recorded.
Flash forward a few decades. Since the
1960's, a variety of companies have rolled the dice at Huay Xai, including
Czechs and Thais, with one French miner even diving into a sinkhole
in the nearby Mekong River to recover gems. But most Lao sapphires
were small, and with bright blue heated geuda sapphires
from Ceylon flooding the market, little attention was paid to the
In 1994, Bjarne Jeppesen and his wife,
New Zealand national, Julie Bruns, founded Gem Mining Lao PDR (GML)
with Lao-born American, Somkhit Vilavong. They were granted a 15-year
concession from the Lao government to mine at Huay Xai. Until then,
Jeppesen, a Danish citizen, had had a career as a builder in northern
Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), along with stints hunting
crocodiles and chartering ships. His experience with mining was
limited to a brief go at gold mining in PNG, and poking for amethyst
in southern Laos.
the jig at Gem Mining Lao's Huay Xai mine, Laos.
Photo: © R.W.
I first visited Huay
Xai in 1996. Taking a small boat across the Mekong from Chiang
Khong in Thailand, I hired a trishaw out to the mines, a few kilometers
south of town. Along the way, my driver related that a farang (foreigner)
was operating the mine. However, locals didn't like the situation
much, since they had lived on the land for generations, but were
now not permitted to work it.
My arrival at the mines was greeted by
suspicion. Jeppesen was on site, and not the least bit happy I
was taking pictures. But after a short chat, he accepted my academic
credentials and agreed to show me around, explaining that they
were just doing test diggings and would have a full processing
plant up shortly. As I returned to town, I thought about Jeppesen's
paranoia. This was certainly a curious sapphire mine.
Back in town, one answer was waiting. The
manager of the small hotel where I was staying offered to sell
me sapphire, and the next morning laid a few kilos of rough out
on the table. This was obviously not GML's official sales arm.
The material may have been poached by locals digging illegally
on the concession property. More likely, it was stolen by someone
working at the mine.
June 1997 saw me back for a further foray
to the mines with my wife and daughter. First we visited GML's
Huay Xai offices, where we asked about Jeppesen, but were told
he was away in the Lao capital, Vientiane, and could not be contacted.
When we asked about visiting the mines, the company official said
it would be impossible. So I did what I always do when someone
tells me I can't go somewhere. I go anyway. We piled into a nearby
trishaw and again headed out to the mines.
This time, however, our arrival was expected.
While I snapped a picture or two from a distance, a rifle-toting
guard approached and made it clear that if I did not cease and
desist, a bullet from his weapon would be shortly headed my way.
Not wishing to destroy a perfectly good lens, I obeyed. As we drove
back to town, an uneasy feeling again gnawed at me – this
was one curious sapphire mine. And in the words of the immortals,
it was to get "curiouser and curiouser."
All in the family
While all this was occurring, the Doyle/Wolf
axis was busy with Max Green's money, as well as selling rubies
and sapphires to Indonesia's military elite. According to Wolf: "…there
was a lot of 'mad money' being spent by Indonesia's wealthy. They
did not care what anything cost as long as the quality was top
and the size or carat weight was larger than their peers."
Wolf and Doyle were also involved in the
Lao sapphire mine. They had negotiated a royalty agreement with
Bjarne Jeppesen's Gem Mining Lao (GML) whereby gems were sent from
Laos to Wolf and Doyle's Pacific East Trading Co. for sale in Bangkok.
But few sales took place.
At some point, Wolf and Doyle were reported
to have loaned between US$2.7 million and US$3.5 million to GML.
The investment was not necessarily "mad money." While the Huay
Xai deposit never produced the big flash stones of Mogok or Sri
Lanka, it was unmatched in the bread-and-butter jewelry sizes of
half carat and below. Better yet, the paydirt layer was a relatively
shallow six to eight meters. Mining at Huay Xai was like scooping
up coffee beans, with sapphire everywhere in the drainages. The
vast majority would cut 1–5 mm stones, with 20% requiring
no heat treatment. Even with a large-scale mining operation, reserves
were said to be sufficient for 25 years.
By 1998, through a series of transactions,
GML was supposedly acquired by Asia Sapphires Ltd. (ASL), a company
then listed on Canada's Vancouver Stock Exchange. Executive directors
were Bjarne Jeppesen and his wife, Julie Bruns, but the public
float was actually the creation of Gary Shugg, who lurked quietly
beneath the surface. Shugg, who by now had purchased Belize citizenship
for A$60,000, had become involved in the mine via his old mate
ASL was no mere shell. According to Australian
geologist, Brian Senior, who did a detailed mapping of the sapphire
reserves, many of the people involved were sincerely interested
in developing what promised to be a world-class sapphire deposit.
But Shugg, prevented from open participation due to his disbarment
in Australia, really held the reins.
And all was not well in sapphire land.
Brian Senior described to the author how an entire size sampling
of sapphire rough went missing from a locked concrete building
overnight during his initial geologic study and Jeppesen confirmed
that theft was an ever-present problem.
February 1999, ASL announced a US$1.99 million investment by Swarovski,
a large Austrian gem company. But the whole project was already
falling apart. When Jeppesen and Bruns did not receive their promised
shareholding, they quit ASL, just about the same time that Gary
Shugg's London-based "dissident" group attempted a board takeover.
Each side traded charges, with Shugg and his proxy, Ian Webb, suggesting
that Jeppesen was mismanaging the company. As evidence, Shugg cited
the fact that one of Jeppesen's advisors, Harold Christensen, had
earlier been sentenced to eight months' jail in Western Australia
in 1995 for his role in a share-price support scam with a gold-mining
company, Paragon Resources. He failed to mention his own tarnished
their part, Jeppesen and Bruns claimed that they were being subject
to a hostile takeover, with Shugg illegally diverting millions
of shares to a Liechtenstein-based company. About this time, equipment
at the mine turned up sabotaged. Sorting jigs were sliced up with
cutting torches and the Lao sapphire project was in similar tatters.
heat reached its peak on 28 May 2000, when Jeppesen and Bruns fled
to Thailand amidst allegations of missing gems. Renting a house
in Bangkok, the couple stayed eight months, then departed for Denmark.
Lao government later convicted the couple in absentia for theft
and misappropriations related to GML and sentenced them to 20 years.
Perhaps two months after their departure, quantities of Huay Sai
sapphire allegedly appeared in Chanthaburi's gem market.
Jeppesen and Bruns fled Laos, they left behind unpaid bills, few
friends and a letter appointing their security chief, Kerry Danes,
to handle all GML's affairs. Danes agreed. He also cosigned a letter
from Jeppesen accusing members of the Lao government of corruption.
With our 20–20 hindsight, we can safely state something that
even Danes would now agree to – this was not a good move.
sapphire from Huay Xai, Laos. Was this the cause of
Max Green's death, or just an excuse for it? Photo: © R.W.
On December 23 2000, the husband-and-wife
team of Kerry and Kay Danes was detained and accused of involvement
in the theft of 130 kg of rough sapphire from the Vientiane office
Danes was general manager of Lao Securicor, a company that provided
a security guard for GML's Vientianne office. Shortly after his
detention, his wife Kay Danes was nabbed attempting to walk into
Thailand with over US$50,000 in cash stashed in her bag, something
she later described as the couple's life savings. Another US$98,000
was later frozen in local bank accounts. Despite the fact that Danes had declared the money (which was returned six months later) and was in the presence of an Australian Embassy official, she was arrested.
At the time of their arrest, Kerry Danes
was reportedly on "leave without pay" from the Australian Army, where
he had served many years, most with the elite SAS. The arrest of
the Danes became a cause célèbre for many
Australians, who demanded their country sever diplomatic relations
unless the couple was immediately released. But the Lao government
stood firm, and on 28 June, 2001 fined the couple and sentenced them
to seven years in jail. The charges notably did not include gem smuggling or theft. By this time, Christensen, too, had seen
the writing on the jailhouse wall, and had fled to Thailand.
Eventually, months of diplomatic pressure
paid off. The Danes were released from jail on 5 October 2001.
Still not permitted to leave the country, they decamped at the
residence of Australian ambassador to Laos, Jonathan Thwaites.
The Lao government issued a pardon on 6 November 2001 and
they exited the same day.
As a condition of their release, the Danes
agreed to pay A$1.1 million in fines and compensation, the payments
to be made in four equal installments. Few, however, expected the
Danes to pay. This was largely a face-saving exercise for the Lao government, who could then show to the world that they had not unjustly imprisoned the couple.
With the release of the Danes, the Huay
Xai mine remains in limbo. French, South Korean (Buhae Industrial
Corp.) and Lao companies are said to be operating concessions today.
Who gave Max the ax?
I know what you're thinking. Who axed Max?
But in a question such as this, what is important is not who did
the deed, but who bought the bullet. The $42 million-dollar question.
Certainly there were a number of people
who had good reason to speed Max Green's departure to the next
lifetime. From ex-partners to ex-investors to ex-lovers, those
with a motive could fill a city phone book.
When asked, Lee Wolf suggested that "in
the end [Max] had double crossed and taken money off the wrong
people; Mafia types usually have only one answer for this type
of behavior." Ted Doyle dismissed speculation that he was involved
in Max Green's murder: "Yeah, I'm always in for
killing people who give me money. Meanwhile there's a foolscap
sheet of people Max took money off who nobody seems interested
in. Some of them are not very nice people.
"I have been offered some flaky arrangements
during my time but Max beat them all…. A very fine piece
of monofilament was attaching Max Green to the planet. You are
talking about a very sick soul who played with the wrong people…
the course of trade, Max got killed before he could pay his last
bill. It makes it rather difficult for people to pay their bills.
Not breathing affects your ability to write checks."
The killing field
If you had to pick a
kill zone, you could do no better than Cambodia's capital
of Phnom Penh. Thirty years of civil war had left a country teetering
on the brink. This is the Wild Wild East. Guns as common as pencils,
law enforcement MIA and lives bought and sold for little more
than a pack of fags.
In March 1998, Max Green planned a visit
to Singapore and Hong Kong. At the last minute, he added a stopover
in Phnom Penh. We do not know why, but whoever played travel agent
probably also acted as undertaker.
On 24 March, Max Green checked into Room
511 at the Sofitel Cambodiana. Between the hours of 3:57 and 5:57
PM, he made a number of calls. The first was to Ted Doyle's mobile
phone in Thailand. Next he rang his business associate, Bill Lewski's
home in Australia, but did not get through. He then tried Lewski's
office, but again could not get through. At 4:53 PM he reached
Lewski at his home. At 5:55 PM, Max again rang Doyle's mobile phone,
but did not get through. He then called Doyle's office in Bangkok.
hotel maid saw Green in his room at 6:10 PM. Two hours later he
dined alone in the hotel's first-floor restaurant. The next morning
at 7:30 AM, he passed the front reception desk and headed
upstairs for a cup of coffee in the coffee lounge. This was the
last the world saw of Max Green.
Between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM, someone entered
Max Green's room. We do not know who because, although the hotel
did have security cameras, either the tape went missing or the
floor wasn't yet hooked up. His visitor was apparently expected.
The next day at 2:20 PM, a maid approached
Room 511. It should have been empty, its occupant on an 11:00 AM
flight to Hong Kong. But beneath the brass room number plate, the
privacy light still glowed red. The cleaner rang the doorbell.
There was no answer. Opening the door, she saw the key in the power
box and heard the television. Gingerly, the maid entered, but stopped
after seeing a man's feet on the bed. Assuming him to be asleep,
At 3:00 PM she returned with her supervisor.
They rang the bell again and entered. The lifeless body of
Max Green lay face down on the bed, rouge staining the pillow with
something that once was, but was no longer. The back of his head had been smashed
against the floor, his face bashed against a stone table, so badly disfigured as to be
unrecognizable. A necktie twisted around his throat delivered
an apparent coup d'grace. On the floor was Max Green's gold Cartiér watch. Cash, credit cards and passport
remained in the room safe. All that was missing was his laptop
computer – that, and his life.
Outside the hotel, visible from Max's window,
muddy water flowed down Mekong River. All the way from Laos, pissed slowly out to sea…
Maxie – poor, poor Maxie – you
forgot the first rule – you let your guard down. You forgot
to feel for the Adam's apple.
The muddy Mekong River at the town of Huay Xai, Laos. Photo: © R.W.
Shortly after speaking to Max Green in Phnom
Penh, Ted Doyle boarded a flight from Bangkok to London. In 2001,
he was said to have suffered a serious motorcycle accident while
on his way to Khao Yai with his son, Arta. One associate said: "Doyle
was a terrible driver, and in Thailand, that ain't a good thing."
Gary and Veronique Shugg were said to be
living in the West End of London.
Lee Wolf took the ups and downs in stride.
As he told a friend, "You figure when you get a million or two,
you'll be set for life. In reality, it don't take long to spend
that." He told the author in late 2002 that he was trying to "put
the wheels back on my wagon."
Following his death, Green's body was brought
back to Melbourne for burial. Shortly after the funeral, his remains
were exhumed under court order, just to make sure it really was
Max buried in that grave. Yes, the body was that of Max Green.
The location of Max's millions, and his laptop, remains a mystery.
big tip of the hat to Joseph Schall for hours of conversations
and background info. Also to Lee Wolf of Bangkok, who for the
first time has spoken publicly about the Max Green affair. My
buddies William Larson and Edward Boehm pulled yeoman editorial
duty. Other private sources helped, but prefer to remain anonymous.
And thanks to all those who continue to contact me with further
clues to the Max Green mystery.
author of the classic Ruby & Sapphire and
has over 25 years' experience in the gem trade, much of that
in SE Asia.
Guide (2002, Vol. 21, No. 1, Part I, January–February,
pp. 4–9, 16). This web edition contains material
and updates not found in the original.
Published sources on the Max Green saga
include well over 100 articles in everything from Time magazine
to major Australian newspapers, along with the following books:
- Conroy, Paul (2000) Lawyers, Gems and
Money: The Max Green Murder and the Missing Millions. Melbourne,
Information Australia, 268 pp.
- Conroy, Paul, (2002) 10
Months in Laos: A Vast Web of Intrigue, Missing Millions
and Murder. Melbourne, Crown Content, 166 pp.
- Danes, K. (2002) Deliver
Us from Evil: Bad Things do Happen to Good People.
North Melbourne, Vic., Crown Content, xx, 278 pp.
Cast of characters
The Max Green saga involves a
bewildering variety of players, a veritable forest of mirrors.
For the amateur sleuths out there, I list below many of the personalities
and companies. Similar to SETI (the
computerized search for extraterrestrial intelligence, an effort
where the computational work is distributed across millions of
computers around the world), perhaps if we all put our heads together,
a better understanding of this curious case can be forthcoming.
Towards that end, the
author would be happy to hear from anyone who can shed further
light on this case. Such information will be held in strictest
confidence if so desired. Please indicate this in your messages
to me. If anyone finds errors in this report, again, please contact the
Keep in mind that most of the
people and companies on this list are guilty of nothing more
than being peripherally associated with Max Green, the Lao
sapphire mines or one of the other major players in this drama.
- Louise Giselle Baron: Wife of Max
- Brett Batchelor: Elected to board
of ASL in 1999 as part of the "dissident" slate; said by one
source to have turned up at the GML office in Vientiane three
weeks before the 30 April, 1999 ASL meeting with Michael
Sullivan and two Thai lawyers. Allegedly armed with fake documents,
they unsuccessfully attempted to push Jeppesen & Co. out
of ASL at that time.
- Lindsay Norman Birrell: Lawyer,
finance director of ASL; stuck with Jeppesen when Shugg first
began his takeover bid of ASL, but then changed his mobile phone
number and moved out of his flat in London to live with a lady
in North Kent after telephoning Minews to
say that he was being followed by men in dark glasses. Shortly
after this he joined the ASL dissidents and repeated their mantra
that Jeppesen had nicked some stones.
- Simon Brewer: Board member of Hanover
- Julie Bruns: Wife of Bjarne Jeppesen;
former executive officer of ASL.
- Harold Jeffrey Christensen: Jeppesen's
assistant, former general manager of the Perth Stock Exchange.
He had earlier been sentenced to eight months' jail in Western
Australia in 1995 for his role in a 1988 artificial share-price
support scam with a gold-mining company, Paragon Resources.
- Elias Christianos: Adelaide-based
Australian involved in opal, chrysoprase and sapphire mining
in Australia and elsewhere. Jailed in 1991 for perjury. Later
involved with GML to subcontract the mining operations at Huay
Xai and receive all stones over a certain size (the larger ones)
in exchange for paying the whole of the operating and office
costs at Huay Xai. The remainder of the stones were retained
by GML to satisfy its contracts, including the one with Swarovski.
This arrangement started in July 1999 and ceased in October 1999.
Christianos' companies, Gembank and Yerilla Gems Pty. Ltd., have
been involved in court cases in Australia for nonpayment of debts.
2005, Christianos was involved with the float of another sapphire
mining venture, Australis
Mining. In October 2005 the Australian
Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) applied to the
Supreme Court of New South Wales for orders seeking the winding
up in insolvency of Australis Mining Corporation Limited and
Australis Mining Operations Qld Pty Limited amid charges that
the company was mismanaged. Another of his companies is Nikiticorp, which is now involved with Australis. See more details here (examine the announcements).
following Christianos biography (which conveniently leaves unmentioned
the Lao chapter and his previous perjury conviction) was found
on the company website:
Alternate Director - Elias Christianos
Mr Christianos (aged 57 years) has spent his lifetime working
in all aspects of the gemstone industry, including mining
and marketing opals, diamonds and sapphires. His working
life began in 1958 in the family mine at Eight-Mile Diggings,
Coober Pedy, South Australia where large opal discoveries
were made. He first commenced mining sapphires at Anakie
Gem Fields, Queensland in 1972 and after running a number
of offshore mines, established offices in Bangkok and Chanthaburi,
Thailand for the sale of rough sapphires. Junior Mining
Operations Pty Ltd, Queensland was incorporated in 1978
initially to buy sapphires and market them through the
Thailand and Hong Kong offices before becoming a sapphire
Mr Christianos retains a significant shareholding
in the Company through his interest in Nikiticorp (L) BHD.
Also on the board of this company were
Robert R. Coenraads and Ted Tzovaras (see below).
- George Christianos: Third-generation
of the gem-mining Christianos clan; involved with Australis
Mining, as well as mining in Laos and elsewhere.
- Robert R. Coenraads: Australian
gemologist/geologist who assisted Brian Senior with a geologic
study of the Huay Xai sapphire deposit. Later involved in a controversial
sapphire mining venture in Australia (Australis Mining) with
Elias Christianos and Ted Tzovaras.
- Denys L.H. Cole: Board member of
Hanover Co. Ltd.
- Kerry & Kay Danes:
Lao Securicor officials, arrested, charged and later sentenced
to seven years in jail in Laos for the theft of sapphires from
GML; later released and now living back in Australia (see story
above). Since returning to Australia, Kay Danes has written of her experiences and worked
tirelessly to ensure that prisoners around the world are
treated in a humane manner. In March 2008, Kay published her third book, Families Behind Bars, which documents her struggle to improve the conditions of prisoners following her release. This might sound like a cliché, but one needs fire to temper steel. Her work following her release shows how struggle can change a life, and how just one life can change the world. The following says it all:
Families Behind Bars
Published by New Holland Publishers [Australia]
Kay Danes will take you to some of the most evil dungeons on our planet and tell you stories right out of a gothic horror novel. Her characters are not evil sociopaths who come from wacky dysfunctional families – trapped in a world of hopelessness and despair – many are ordinary people just like you and I.
Families Behind Bars will make you cry, it will cause you despair – but it will also inspire and offer you the hope that nothing is impossible.
In 2000 Kay and her husband Kerry were wrongfully imprisoned in Laos. While languishing in a squalid prison, waiting for her government to secure their freedom, Kay promised her fellow inmates that if she ever escaped that hellhole – she would help raise awareness about the appalling conditions they faced, rightfully or wrongfully, and the unimaginable suffering their families endured, often forgotten or shunned by society.
Families Behind Bars is the story of Kay's battle to fulfill that promise and to help families who have loved ones detained overseas.
The people in this book are real. Some are high-profile prisoners, such as David Hicks, Michael Connell and Schapelle Corby, but for each celebrity inmate there are dozens whose stories are equally tragic and never told – but should be.
- Mick Dempster: Former hired hand
for GML; fled Laos in Feb. 1998; according to a published account,
he feared for his life after allegedly angering businessmen and
government officials by trying to stop them from stealing millions
of dollars worth of sapphires from the mine. Dempster said: "They
wanted me out after they realized their pilfering was going to
slow down to a trickle." Dempster told the author in Dec. 2009 that he accidentally stumbled over a security guard one evening and the next he knew, the Lao police were talking about throwing him in the can for three months for "assault." Thus Dempster
thought it best to get the hell outta Dodgeburi.
- Trevor John "Ted" Doyle: See story
above. Following a short stint in Indonesia, Doyle was said to
have moved to Hastings, England with his Balinese wife. This
information was current as of July 2005. Doyle reportedly died in the UK (or NE Thailand) about 2010.
- Andrew Doyle: Ted Doyle's brother;
operated a photo studio on the second floor of Pacific East Trading
Co.; said to still be living in Bangkok.
- Nigel David Edwards: Stockbroker
at T. Hoare, now Cannaccord Capital, who helped with fundraising
for Asia Sapphires, Ltd.; elected to board of ASL in 1999 as
part of the "dissident" slate.
- Paul E. Elmer: Production manager
at Wolf and Doyle's Opal Factory at Khao Yai, Thailand
- Mary Flipse: Legal advisor for
GML, based in Vientiane at the firm of Dirksen
Flipse Doran and Le, with her husband, Todd Dirksen.
- Madam Fong Sing-Yee: Person who
received money from Somchai Ketkothin via transfer at the Wing
Han Bank Limited in Hong Kong; later said to be fictitious.
- Marcus Foster: Director of Hanover
Continental, which shared offices with Shugg just off Oxford
St. in London, UK.
- Simon Fox: In charge of computers
and electronic transfers at Pacific East; Australian friend of
Ted Doyle's; said by one source to have once been jailed in Florida
on a weapons charge. Used to stay at the Swiss Lodge on Convent
Rd., where Doyle and Wolf kept rooms.
- Max Green: See story above.
- Alex Hoffman: Caught up in arms
deal with Shugg & Green (see story above)
- Don Ingles: Mine manager for GML.
Both he and Mick Dempster had previously been living in Hua Hin,
- Phil Jackson: Ex-hotel manager
who was said to have worked/lived for a period at Pacific East
Trading in Bangkok.
- Timothy Mark James: Board member
of Hanover Co. Ltd.
- Bjarne Jeppesen (sometimes spelled
Jeppeson): Danish national who, with his New Zealand wife, Julie
Bruns, formed Gem Mines Lao PDR (GML). According to Jeppesen,
he arrived in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in late 1959; in 1962 started
a building career, where he erected two country schools for the
Australian Government. Spent three months as an assistant manager
on a rubber plantation in the Gulf of Papua, then went on to
become a crocodile hunter. Between 1962–72 he became the
most successful builder in PNG, building over 500 flats, a few
houses, and eventually owning 105 units outright. He then started
investing in ships. Left PNG in 1974. Jeppesen spent ten months
in 1975–76 in Darwin. Later involved in mining amethyst in Champassak
Province in southern Laos before forming GML to work the Huay
Xai sapphire deposit.
- Somchai Ketkothin: Days before
Green went to Cambodia, he requested his bank to transfer US$1.5
million to the account of Somchai Ketkothin at the Wing Han Bank
in Hong Kong. That money then was transferred to the account
of one Madam Fong Sing-Yee, a name which later proved fictitious.
- Erhardt E. "Eddie" Koslowski: Friend
of Ted Doyle's in Bangkok.
- Somsavat Lengsavad: Lao Foreign
Minister involved in the jailing and prosecution of the Danes;
relieved of his duties in February, 2002. According to one source,
he was paid money, promised shares in ASL and a percentage of
the mine take by an important member of ASL to arrange for the
ouster of Jeppesen and Bruns.
- William Lewski: Max Green's Melbourne
associate. Lewski's company, Australian Property Custodians Pty.
Ltd. was involved with Max Green's tax deferment scheme; Lewski
is also said to have loaned Max Green US$250,000 for investment
in the Lao sapphire mine Green allegedly told Lewski he wanted
$1,000,000 and if Lewski couldn't provide it all, he would get
the balance from "his friends in the CIA." Green also wanted
Lewski to invest in a sea-cucumber farm in Vanuatu. Lewski has been accused of other shady business deals, which were detailed on Australian TV on 4 March, 2013 (A Betrayal of Trust).
- Fernanda Macleod: Consultant to
Hanover Continental Ltd.
- Roger Maddock: Board member of
Hanover Co. Ltd.
- Geoff Nettle: Lawyer representing
the plaintiffs in the Melbourne court case surrounding the loss
of Max Green's millions. He referred to the scheme in court as
a "you-beaut investment scheme with an upfront tax kicker."
- Douglas Panther: Involved with
importing opals for Pacific East Trading Co.
- John Adrian Tremanyne Rodd (Lord
Rennell of Rodd): Scottish rugby international of years past,
once chairman of Asia Sapphires Ltd.
- Weerapong Sanpote: Elected to board
of ASL in 1999 as part of the "dissident" slate.
- Joseph Schall: Bangkok gem trader
who sold Ted Doyle gems in 1996.
- Brian R. Senior: Independent geological
consultant to ASL & director of Panamex
Resources Inc.; performed geological study of the Huay Xai sapphire
province with Australian gemologist, Robert Coenraads.
- Gary Vernon Shugg: Former partner
of Max Green; later involved in Asia Sapphires Ltd., said to
be wanted by Australian police on charges stemming from theft
from a legal trust fund in 1993–1994. Warrants said to have been issue for
his arrest in September 1999. As of December 2005, Shugg was
thought to be living in London's West End (UK) with his wife, Veronique. In Jan. 2006, two sources reported that Shugg had undergone a sex-change operation and now goes by the name of Miss Gina Ramsey. As of April, 2010, "Gina" Shugg was reportedly living in Cragg Vale, Halifax, England.
- Veronique Beatrix Shugg (nee Groenestein): Board
member of Hanover Co. Ltd. and wife of Gary Shugg.
- Michael Allen Sullivan: Elected
to board of ASL in 1999 as part of the "dissident" slate
- Jonathan Thwaites: Australian ambassador
- Ted Tzovaris: Elias Christianos'
lawyer in Laos; later appointed to represent the Danes. Later
involved in a controversial sapphire mining venture in Australia (Australis
Mining) with Elias Christianos and Robert Coenraads.
- Somkhit Vilavong: Lao-born American
partner of Jeppesen and Bruns in GML. Said by one party to have
won US$10 million in the NY State Lottery, but later lost it
all through bad investments.
- Bounmaly (Bounmali) Vilavong: Deputy
head of the Lao Foreign Investment Management Committee; he has
been linked with attempts to take over the GML mine.
- Michael Wansley: Australian accountant
who was murdered in March 1999 while negotiating a debt restructure
of a Thai sugar mill.
- Ian Charles Webb:
CEO of ASL as part of the "dissident" slate ; prior to that he
was an officer in the British Navy.
- Warren Wiesse: American cutter
involved in Huay Xai, in charge of cutting at GML.
- David Lee Wolf (sometimes spelled
Wolfe): See story above. Contrary to rumors, very much alive and kicking as of August 2013.
- Warrick Zealey: Australian business
associate of Lee Wolf during the 1980s and early 1990s; worked
with him in Bangkok.
Cast of Companies
- Armand Associates Ltd.: Bahamas
company incorporated 17 May, 1996. Purchased from Mossack
Fonseca and Co., a business involved in the formation of offshore
companies. Said to be effectively controlled by Wolf, Doyle and
- Aroni Colman: Max Green's law firm.
Sapphires Ltd. (ASL): See story above; started life
in 1966 as Kalco Valley Mines Ltd.; changed name in 1975
to Consolidated Kalco Valley Mines Ltd.; again changed name
in 1979 to Brace Resources Ltd.; changed name yet again in
1988 to International Brace Resources Ltd., which was declared
inactive by the Vancouver Stock Exchange in 1996; reactivated
in 1997 as Prescott Resources Inc.; changed name to Asia
Sapphires Limited in 1998. Company had three subsidiaries:
Asia Sapphires (Barbados) Limited ('Asia Barbados'); Gem
Mining Lao PDR Co. Limited ('GML'); Asia Sapphires (Sales)
Limited ('Asia Sales'). GML was wholly owned by Asia Barbados.
- Australian Property Custodians Pty.
Ltd.: Company managed by William Lewski.
Mining: In early 2005, Elias Christianos helped float this
sapphire mining venture in Queensland, Australia. By October
2005 it was near bankrupt amid
charges that the company was mismanaged.
Also on the board were Robert R. Coenraads and Ted Tzovaras
(see Cast of Characters above). Christianos was the major shareholder
of Australis Mining, via a Malaysia-based holding company.
- Buhae Industrial Corp.: Korean
Co. that invested in the Lao sapphire mine at Huay Xai in October,
1998. The company was established in 1979 and originally involved
in telecommunications projects with American, Japanese, French
and Canadian companies. It was also previously involved in a
failed ruby mining venture at Luc Yen, Vietnam.
- Champion Wood Investment Lao PDR:
Vientiane-based company operated by Bjarne Jeppesen, circa 1992.
- CL Custodians Pty. Ltd.: Yet another
of Max Green's shell companies.
- Covara Pty. Ltd.: Company with
Green and Doyle.
- Finsbury Trust Ltd.: One of Max
Green's offshore companies; apparently also associated with Ted
Doyle and Gary Shugg.
- Geddeson Finance Pty. Ltd.: Trust
company established in 1993 by Max Green as a mortgage provider;
Green is said to have diverted A$1.8 million from the fund to
his private account.
- Gem Mining Concessions Ltd.: Company
established by Jeppesen and Harold Christensen via Cayman Island
agents, Pagent-Brown & Co.
- Geddeson Finance Pty. Ltd.: Company
established by Green in 1993 as a mortgage provider. $1.8 million
invested by clients was diverted by Green.
- Gem Houses of Asia: Company set
up by Ted Doyle and Lee Wolf to cut and sell opal.
- Guernsey Holding Ltd.: Another
Max Green shell company, this one based in Guernesy, UK.
Company Ltd. (HCL; formerly Hanover Continental
Ltd.): Irish registered company with Shugg, Doyle and
Wolf as directors, established 21 March 1997, office set
up two months later with Lord Rennell of Rodd as Chairman.
Fernanda Macleod listed as consultant on letterhead; now
incorporated in Jersey. [on 24 Jan. 2007, the Jersey Financial Services Commission published this note].
- Howarth: Accounting firm that signed
off on Max Green's tax scheme.
- Intan Permata Gems: Ted Doyle's
Jakarta-based gem company.
- LMJ Pty. Ltd.: Company associated
with Max Green.
- Max Green & Associates: Account
used by Max Green to launder money.
- Mona Trust Ltd.: One of Gary Shugg & Max
Green's offshore companies; based in Ireland.
- Montague Lynch Capital: Nonexistent
Hong Kong company from which Max Green claimed he was borrowing
- Monthien Thong: One of two Thai
companies that had a two-year lease to mine sapphire at Huay
Xai, prior to GML.
- Nikiticorp: Yet another of the companies linked to Elias Christianos.
- Opal Factory: Boulder opal cutting
factory near Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, owned by Lee Wolf
and Ted Doyle. Opened January 1997; now closed.
- Orient Finance Ltd.: One of Max
Green's offshore companies.
- Pacific East Trading Co. Ltd.:
Lee Wolf's company.
Resources Inc.: Company associated with ASL and Shugg's
Hanover Co. Ltd. Listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange 30 May,
1997, delisted 30 Nov., 2001; involved in exploring
for minerals in Laos.
- Piyamitr: Bangkok gem wholesaler
where Joseph Schall worked selling gems in Bangkok.
- Poppy Industries: Cosmetics company
peripherally involved with Aroni Colman, Max Green's law firm.
- Prescott Resources Inc.: See ASL
River Minerals Inc.: Formerly Panamex Resources
Inc. Yet another of the companies Gary Shugg has been involved
- Sark Corporate Services: Sark,
Channel Islands based company connected to Mona Trust.
Lao: Security company owned by Jardine-Matheson.
Supposedly $85,000/month PTT money funneled from that to
Laos; the Lao branch was closed after the Danes' arrest.
- Silam Holdings: Company that lost
A$1.19 million in Max Green's investment scam. When this was
revealed, a joke when round that Silam stood for "Shit I've Lost
- Silvers/Kosters Productions: Max
Green sent A$57,000 into the account of this company that was
making the movie Dead End in Melbourne.
Austrian gem giant invested US$1.993 million in Lao sapphire
- S.Y.: One of two Thai companies
that had a two-year lease to mine sapphire at Huay Xai, prior
- Thai Naga: Company set up by Ted
Doyle and Lee Wolf.
- Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI):
Paid US$80,000 a month from April to Sept., (2000?) for 24-hour
a day security to the Danes' private company, DP Protection Services. Manager
Daily in Thailand said the payments were illegal and used
to launder money for Ferrier Hodgson Ltd., the Australian accountancy
firm in charge of restructuring the debt of TPI. The need for
security followed the death of Australian accountant, Michael
Wansley, who was murdered in March 1999 while negotiating a US$450
million debt restructure at a sugar mill in Thailand. KPMG provided subsequent evidence to both the Lao and Thai Court that countered the claim made by Manager Daily newspaper, supporting the fact that the Danes' operation and business dealings were wholly legitimate and that no laws in Thailand had been breeched.
A: Spy vs. Spy
intelligence-gathering agencies are as necessary
as I believe them to be, then they must repay
our blind trust and acknowledge that there may
always be moments in all secret organizations
when tyranny manages to slip its leash."
Jesus Angleton, former
counterintelligence chief of the CIA
Almost immediately following
the death of Max Green, rumors about intelligence-service
connections to his money laundering surfaced. It was
variously suggested that he and/or Doyle/Wolf had CIA,
DEA or other intelligence-service contacts, depending
on precisely which version of the legend one chose
to believe. All who knew him agreed that he had a passion
for spy novels, so perhaps this story was merely a
function of his imagination. According to Max Green's
Melbourne associate, William Lewski, Green claimed
that his Thai partner, Lee Wolf, worked for the CIA,
something that Wolf has strenuously denied. Lewski
testified that Green asked him for US$250,000 to help
buy a $1,500,000 share in the Lao sapphire mine. As
the kicker, he said that the CIA was interested in
the Lao sapphire project as a strategic foothold, a "bolthole" near
China's southern border. Lewski agreed after Green
produced documents showing the CIA was to effectively
guarantee the payment of $1.5 million to Green through
a Luxembourg bank account.
While it may seem preposterous
at first, CIA involvement in Australian money-laundering
and political chicanery does have a well-documented
The Nugan Hand Bank
On January 27, 1980, Australian
Frank Nugan's body was found slumped over the wheel
of his Mercedes near Lithgow, some 90 miles inland
from Sydney. A rifle lay in one hand; his brains littered
the sedan's interior. Next to the body on the seat
lay a bible, with a pie wrapper tucked inside bearing
the names of William Colby, former head of the CIA,
and US congressman, Bob Wilson, senior Republican on
the US Armed Services Committee and a 26–year
veteran of the intelligence subcommittee.
On the surface, Nugan's death
was a simple suicide, but in the following months and
years, a massive financial scandal unraveled involving
a bank that served as a money-laundering conduit for
spies, assassins, dictators, dope and weapons smugglers
Nugan was partners with American
ex-Green Beret, Michael Hand, in a bank that numbered
among its directors and associates a virtual who's
who of the CIA and US military/intelligence community.
These were people like William Colby (ex-CIA Director),
General Edwin Black, General Erle Cocke Jr., General
LeRoy Manor and Admiral Earl Yates. At the periphery
were such notables as Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines,
Richard Secord and Edwin Wilson, lifelong CIA operatives,
each of whom would later surface in the Iran-Contra
scandal of the 1980's.
Activities of the Nugan Hand
- Looting of savings accounts of
bank customers, many of whom included US military
personnel enticed into depositing their money in
the bank by Nugan Hand's ex-US military directors
- Arms trafficking in Africa and
- Movement of Marcos' millions out
of the Philippines
- Payoffs and money laundering in
the "Mr. Asia" heroin scandal in Australia and the
UK, where a number of the players ended up murdered
Under the table
The CIA's interest in Australia
included more than kangaroos. In the center of the
vast Australian continent is one of America's most
important overseas military assets – the Pine
Ostensibly a part of the US
space program, this operation near Alice Springs is
no mere space station. Indeed, it was considered so
vital to US interests in the 1970's that the CIA took
extreme protection measures. Such measures included
the overthrow of Australia's government.
Gough Whitlam was elected prime
minister of Australia in 1972 under the Labour Party
banner. His election marked a break with the past.
Whitlam refused to endorse the pro-Vietnam War policies
of his predecessor. In addition, he quietly closed
an Australian intelligence listening post in Singapore.
And then he began to question just what was going on
at Pine Gap. The latter was to be his downfall.
By March of 1973, Whitlam began
to wonder if Australia's Security Intelligence Organization
(ASIO) had, to paraphrase CIA spycatcher, James Angleton, "slipped
its leash." So much so, that the government's Attorney
General, Lionel Murphy, led a raid on the ASIO offices.
Let us pause for a moment and
put this in perspective. Imagine the director of the
FBI, at the behest of the president, leading a raid
on CIA headquarters in Langley. Yes… now you
have the idea. This was war.
By 1975, the knives were truly
drawn. Whitlam continued his independent stand, sacking
the head of Australia's overseas intelligence agency,
accusing the man of deceiving him about the organization's
work in East Timor, where Indonesia's military dictators,
with the blessing of Henry Kissinger and the US government,
were on a killing spree.
Finally, the CIA and ASIO saw
their opening. Whitlam had appointed John Kerr to the
ceremonial post of governor-general. Unbeknownst to
Whitlam, the post held secret power. According to Australian's
constitution, the governor-general held the power to
appoint and dismiss the prime minister. On November
11, 1975, citing a budget crisis, Kerr did just that,
taking the previously unheard-of step of dismissing
Whitlam, the elected prime minister. If the event had
happened in Italy or some third-world nation, it would
have been called by its rightful name – a coup
The truth later came out. Unbeknownst
to Whitlam, Kerr had long ties to the CIA, having worked
with its predecessor, the OSS in 1947, and maintaining
those ties right through the 1970's. As for Pine Gap,
the installation was actually set up to download critical
spy satellite transmissions regarding Soviet and Chinese
missile launches, as well as intercepting communications
from around the world (the Greeks once accused the
US of listening in on their phone calls via Pine Gap).
In examining this operation,
my jaundiced eye cannot but notice that, like so many
other CIA escapades, it was a failure, actually reducing,
rather than increasing American security.
so? Let's take a look at some of the signature CIA
operations of the past 40 years. Agency efforts to
remove Castro from power in Cuba resulted in the siting
of Russian missiles on the island, which brought the
world to the brink of nuclear destruction in the early
1960's and the eventual assassination of the US president
(JFK). The SE Asian wars in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
produced millions of casualties and the rise of the
Khmer Rouge. CIA
support for US oil companies in Iran resulted in the
1953 removal of elected prime minister Mossadegh and
installation of the Shah. This in turn brought
the nightmare regime of Ayatollah Khomeini to power.
The CIA helped boot the Soviets out of Afghanistan,
but we now must deal with one of their creations, Osama
bin Laden. Indeed, as a nation, all America seems to
have gained from these battles is more insecurity and
a never-ending heroin/cocaine jones.
to ex-CIA agent, Ralph McGehee (1983), whose 25-year
career included many postings in SE Asia:
Committee [a post-Watergate congressional committee
empowered to examine the CIA], after an exhaustive
review, concluded that the Agency acted more as
the covert action arm of the Presidency than as
an intelligence gatherer and collator. Its final
report said the CIA was heavily involved in covertly
sponsoring the publication of books and that over
the years until 1967 it had in some way been responsible
for the publication of well over 1,000 books – a
fifth of these in the English language. According
to the Church Committee, the Agency was running
news services, had employees working for major
press organizations, and was illegally releasing
and planting stories directly into the U.S. media.
Frequently these stories were false and were designed
to support the Agency's covert action goals.
So what of the operation to "protect" Pine
Gap? Christopher Boyce, son of an FBI agent, worked
at TRW in southern California, where his job included
transferring information between the supersecret Australian
base and CIA headquarters. News of CIA infiltration
of Australian labor unions and surreptitious attempts
to sway public opinion Down Under passed daily across
his computer screen. Eventually his revulsion reached
the point where he asked a friend to sell the information
to the Soviet Union, a case later immortalized in the
book and movie, The Falcon and the Snowman. He
did this not out of any love of communism or the Soviet
Union, but out of disgust at the hypocrisy of his own
government (Lindsey, 1979).
In concluding our discussion
of possible CIA involvement, perhaps it is best to
close with some words from former US president, Harry
Truman, who was responsible for setting up the CIA.
Truman had the following to say just a month after
For some time
I have been disturbed by the way [the] CIA has
been diverted from its original assignment….
I never had any thought when I set up the CIA that
it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger
operations…. We have grown up as a nation,
respected for our free institutions and for our
ability to maintain a free and just society. There
is something about the way the CIA has been functioning
that is casting a shadow over our historical position,
and I feel that we need to correct it.
S. Truman, December 22, 1963
Was the CIA
really backing Max Green? I remain agnostic on the
question. But based on the evidence, there is enough
of a stink about both his affairs and those of the
CIA in Australia and SE Asia to warrant further investigation.
For further information
on CIA involvement in Australia and SE Asia, see the
- Corn, David (1994) Blond
Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades. New
York, Simon and Schuster, 509 pp.
- Friedrich, John (1991) Codename
Iago. Port Melbourne, William Heinemann Australia,
- Kwitny, Jonathan (1987) The
Crimes of Patriots: A True Story of Dope, Dirty
Money, and the CIA. New York, W.W. Norton,
424 pp. [covers the Nugan Hand bank]
Alfred W. (1991) The
Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia: CIA Complicity
in the Global Drug Trade. Brooklyn, New
York, Lawrence Hill Books, 635 pp.
- McGehee, Ralph (1983) Deadly
Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA. Sheridan
Square Press; 2nd printing, 1999, Ocean Press,
Hoboken, NJ, 231 pp.
- Lindsey, Robert (1979) The
Falcon and the Snowman. New York, Simon
and Schuster, 359 pp.
- Stich, Rodney and Russell, T.
Conan (1995) Disavow:
A CIA Saga of Betrayal. Hallmark Publishers,
Reno, NV, 392 pp.
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6 September, 2013->