I Would Like to File
a Suspicious Transactions Report
on the entire 20th century
by Miles Mathis
Several major articles appeared in the mainstream in 2013 on money laundering in the artworld. A search on “art market money laundering” gives us a surprisingly long list, and on the first page of the search we find articles at The New York Times, Forbes, and – perhaps most surprisingly – USA Today. Although most of these articles are written as spin or damage control, some of them are relatively hard-hitting. For example, the one at USA Today ends like this:
Because there are few widows and orphans in the art market, there appears to be little need or public outcry to fix the system. Who is hurt? Nobody but artists who fail to willingly or adroitly play the game. And, perhaps, the culture itself, surrendering art to drug lords, oligarchs, money launderers and international vulgarians, and forcing the rest of us to admire what we might, given more rational values, disdain.That's from Michael Wolff, by the way. If you think I like reading that, you are right. Being one of the artists who has refused to play the Modern game, I find that paragraph a pleasant change from the normal newspaper fodder. But, as usual, I find even the strongest mainstream writing to be far too weak. You won't get the full story from reading the mainstream, which is why I am here.
All the writers from 2013 implied that money laundering in the art world was a relatively new phenomenon, one they had been clued into by the ever-rising prices at auction for current (not Old-Master) work. They also assured us that the problem was limited. Both these things are false. Modernism has been a money laundering scheme of one sort or another since the beginning. And I mean all of it. In other words, it is a manufactured market, manufactured to move large sums of money around without regulation and without suspicion.
In the article at The New York Times last May, we find this:
The art market lacks these safeguards. Roll up a canvas and it is easy to stash or move between countries; prices can be raised or lowered by millions of dollars in a heartbeat; and the names of buyers and sellers tend to be guarded zealously, leaving law enforcement to guess who was involved, where the money came from and whether the price was suspicious.
Governments around the world have taken steps to bring illegal activity to light. In February, for instance, the European Commission passed rules requiring galleries to report anyone who pays for a work with more than 7,500 euros in cash (about $9,825), and to file suspicious-transaction reports.As the art critic Robert Hughes said in his film The Mona Lisa Curse in 2009, “The art market is the largest unregulated market in the world.” That didn't just become true in the last decade: it has been true since the beginning. And please ask yourself this: what price paid for a Modern work since about 1925 hasn't been suspicious? I would like to file a suspicious transactions report on the entire 20th century. Where does one go to do that?
laundering it, inflating it, and mostly moving it out of the other fellas' pockets and into their own. Yes, the Rockefeller fortune originally came from Standard Oil, but they were into banking early on and joined forces with Chase Bank in 1930 – within months of the founding of MOMA. Please take note of that, since it is a huge clue here. Curiously, if you go to John D. Rockefeller's page at Wikipedia, you find no mention of Rockefeller's ties to Chase Bank. You will say he was 90 by then, but even Jr.'s page only has a couple of sentences on it. You have to go to David Rockefeller's page to get anything on Chase Bank, and it would be hard to divert you from that since David was President of the Bank by 1960. But they seem keen to skip over the early period in the '30s on everyone's page. They rush you past a few sentences on banking to give you a hundred paragraphs on philanthropy.
As a historical matter, many people then and now didn't understand why these rich old families that had previously been strictly old school should suddenly become so interested in Modern art. Just a couple of decades earlier, these plutocratic families had mocked and slandered the new art, calling it decadent and embarrassing. What had changed their minds? Had their tastes in art changed completely? Had they been convinced by the new art critics? That is the line we are sold, but it isn't what happened. What happened is that one of these financial men – we don't know who saw it first – surmised that this new art could be bought low and sold high. Traditional art was already high (for the time), so it would be more difficult to inflate further. But with their connections to government and Intelligence*, they saw they could create a new market for the new art from whole cloth. The market for Modernism was new and low, and it was not being controlled by anyone else (no other mob), so it was seen as a perfect opportunity.
Edward Bernays had just opened his public relations shop in 1919, and by 1923 his technique of controlling markets was already being used by the top firms. I wouldn't be surprised if it were on a suggestion of Bernays that the Rockefellers and other rich families began investing in Modern art. We know from what they have said, as well as from what they have collected, that they care nothing for the art object itself. From the beginning, it was only the financial possibility of the art object that interested them.
So what was the financial possibility of these art objects? Was it simply by propaganda and price inflation that the Rockefellers and others hoped to profit? That is the line we are sold by the art historians, but, again, it doesn't even begin to wash. Buying low and selling high cannot explain the progression of the art market in the 20th century, not with all the propaganda and market control in the world.
I am not accusing David Geffen of anything here, I am just using him as an example. I don't know for sure whether his purchase was fake or real, and neither do you. All we have is a report in the press, and the press is taking his word for it (and Sotheby's, say). I am not a criminal investigator for the Justice Department, and have no way of researching David Geffen's purchases for legitimacy. But to anyone who tells me, “Miles, that is just more conspiracy theory – we have no evidence that things like that could be happening,” I answer, “read the articles at The New York Times, Forbes, and USA Today, my friend.” Things like that are happening, and very rich people are getting caught doing it. David Geffen's name is not (yet) involved, that is true, but we now know for sure that very large art purchases are not what we have been told. We now know that many of them are in whole or in part fake. They are paper transactions that only appear to be about art. They are really about drugs, gambling, or money laundering.
Besides that, we now know that many or most things we read in the papers or see on TV aren't true. We have been lied to about everything else, so why should we believe what they tell us about these auction house records and gallery sales? They have faked the records of just about everything else, so why couldn't they fake these purchase records? Of course they could. And we know from mainstream news reports that part of the art market is fake. I am simply suggesting that most or all of it is. I don't have any specific evidence it is, since I don't have access to the records. Only a criminal investigator could dig out specific evidence, and we don't have any indication that is being done on a large scale, or will be done. But anyone who studies the 20th century for very long will find loads of prima facie evidence for it. Anyone with any sense will find pointers to it everywhere, and I have been showing you those pointers for more than a decade. I am showing you more here.
If you don't wish to take my word for it, you can listen to this federal judge:
“Money laundering in the art world should be considered a big problem,” says Judge Fausto Martin De Sanctis, a federal judge who is releasing a book on the subject this month. In Money Laundering through Art: a Criminal Justice Perspective, he argues that international justice systems, regulatory bodies and police forces are inadequately equipped to detect and investigate such criminal activity. “Proceeds from various crimes can be easily laundered through the purchase of works of art thanks to a big loophole—a lack of awareness and regulation,” he says.He should know, since he has presided over convictions in large money laundering scams (see, for example, the Ferreira case).
Despite supplying us with information like this, these mainstream sources nonetheless try to whitewash the subject. In the same article at The Art Newspaper, we are assured that:
A sense of perspective is in order, says the former federal agent Robert Wittman, who now runs a private consultancy. “Is art used to launder money? Sure it is. But the foundations of the art world are based on real collectors buying real art. Money laundering is part of the criminal underworld—it’s on the fringes.” Robert Storr, the dean of the Yale University School of Art, agrees. He says that, although there is opportunity, “not everybody becomes a crook. Suspecting the entire art world of massive fraud and larceny, as politicians are prone to do, is like suspecting every waiter at a five-star restaurant of stealing champagne and caviar or hogging tips.”You have to laugh. They must really think we are stupid, expecting us to take the word of a Yale art dean and a federal agent. Are these guys supposed to be disinterested parties? And that last sentence is especially rich. Given what the art world is, why wouldn't anyone suspect it of massive fraud and larceny? If it quacks like a duck and fouls the bathtub like a duck, it is probably a duck. And by the way, Robert, I have worked at a five-star restaurant: every waiter is stealing champagne and caviar and hogging tips. They are also pissing in the coffee of Yale deans and federal agents, whom they know good and well are involved in much more massive fraud and larceny than they will ever get a shot at.
It's funny, because both Wittman's and Storr's comments are so easy to deconstruct. They think they are fooling us, I guess. They think we are still naïve enough to be diverted by such “earnest” denials, but the form of their denials is a dead giveaway. Wittman says, “the foundations of the art world are based on real collectors buying real art.” But wait, why would he need to say that? No one (before me, here) had implied that the collectors were fake and that the transactions were fake. He was being asked about money laundering, which is a much more limited accusation. It would be like your mother asking you, “Did you hit your sister?” and you answering, “No, and I didn't kill her either, or bury her under the oak tree.” Wittman's reply is pathological and incriminating in and of itself, and any good psychologist would be able to see right through it.
The same applies to Dean Storr, who says, “suspecting the entire art world of massive fraud and larceny. . . .” But neither the writer nor anyone else was accusing the entire art world of massive fraud or larceny. The Dean was being asked about money laundering, which everyone on both sides in these articles assumes is limited. From what we have read, even the Justice Department thinks it is limited. Even the judge who wrote the book thinks it is limited. Not even Judge De Sanctis or Michael Wolff had suggested that the entire art world was involved. So Storr, like Wittman, is actually revealing more of his hand than we had asked to see. Their denials act as subconscious confirmations.
This is just one more reason why I do believe the entire art world is a massive fraud, and that all the Modern collectors and purchases are fake. I no longer believe that the foundations of the art world are based on real collectors buying real art. I have known since the beginning that the art was not real art, since I have eyes. I have seen it in person and I know it isn't worth ten dollars, much less millions. And I had long believed the collectors were phonies. But only recently had I begun to expect they were fake.
my recent papers on CIA control of art. It has been known by some that the CIA was controlling art at least back to WWII. It was known because they have admitted it. The only reason I didn't know it is because I hadn't read the right mainstream sources. These sources were partially buried and hard to find, as you might expect. I finally dug them out or tripped over them. This control of art was spun as a cultural weapon of the Cold War, but I showed that interpretation was false. So why was the CIA controlling art? Since the CIA is just a tool of greater powers, it was these greater powers controlling art. In this case, it was the Rockefellers and others controlling it. But again, why? Why would they be interested in controlling art? I saw immediately it must be for financial reasons, but I couldn't at first see the specific method. I still didn't understand how that much price inflation was possible, propaganda or no propaganda, CIA or no CIA. Unless the CIA was forcing rich people to buy art at gunpoint, I didn't see how these little pieces of nothing could be inflated into the tens of millions.
And then it hit me: they weren't. None of it was real. The shows weren't real, the auctions weren't real, and the prices weren't real.
Tom Wolfe told us in The Painted Word in the mid-'70s that the art market was a closed circle of just a few hundred people. But his book was also a diversion: he didn't tell us the whole truth. Even those few hundred were just hires and actors. It is like the phony off-track betting parlor that Paul Newman's character sets up in the movie The Sting. The “big con” requires hiring dozens of con artists and actors to fool anyone who wanders into the place. This is what the Modern art market originally was, and the big con was not against any clueless buyers, it was against the Justice Department, FDIC, SEC and any other bank regulators. It immediately gave banks a way to move very large sums of money around without oversight. It was so successful that it expanded decade by decade, pulling in more actors and inflating the art more and more to cover ever larger cons.
Eventually, due to its convenience, the government itself began using Modern art to hide transactions it wished to conceal. At that point, there was no longer any reason to regulate, or anyone left to be a regulator. A tool had been invented that everyone wanted to use. In this way, it is like the computerized voting machines. Although we now know elections have been stolen with them, no one appears to want to regulate them, even those who lost. Why? Because the tool is so useful. It is so perfectly anti-democratic no one in government wants to lose it.
This explains why the artwork itself is beside the point. It is just a transaction symbol, like a betting chip. It simply represents the amount of the con. This also explains the look of the modern gallery. No one has understood why these places look like a gutted warehouse.
And, as it turns out, the regulators were not very suspicious. Because government and regulator types don't tend to care a fig about art, it was the perfect place to hide. Even when these regulators saw cans of excrement and cows' heads going for tens of millions of dollars, they still weren't suspicious, apparently. I suppose they read the arts section of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal and just assumed all these rich people were mad. That is what the arts section has been written to make them think since the 1930s.
With that in mind, we can look at some of the other denials posted in these recent articles. At the Art Newspaper, we find this:
“I’ve honestly never heard of using art for money laundering,” says the New York-based Old Master dealer Richard Feigen. Thomas Gibson, a London dealer, says: “Personally, we have never been approached to launder money.” Mary Sabbatino, the managing director of New York’s Galerie Lelong, says: “When I read [about the Nahmad case in] The New York Times, I thought I must really work in a different art world.” James Roundell, a UK-based Old Master dealer and the chairman of the Society of London Art Dealers, says: “From what I’ve read, the Nahmad situation seems to be more of a gambling problem than a money-laundering one.”Right. Feigen has never heard of using art for money laundering. He's a smart guy: couldn't he come up with something better than that? He might as well have said, “I've honestly never heard of money laundering. Or art.” All these denials are frankly pathetic, and read closely are just another tip-off that the accusations are true. Only guilty people respond like this. We should hook them up to a lie-detector test.
Which takes us back to Michael Wolff's comment above, in that first quote. He said that since no widows or orphans are in the art market, it is a low priority for regulation. Cute, but again false. Wolff is either misdirecting or he hasn't done his research. All this fraud is connected, and you can get a quick hint how it is interconnected by reading Matt Taibbi's recent exposés in Rolling Stone. I suspect that Taibbi has also been paid in the past to misdirect, but he is letting some of it hang out here. In short, money laundering by the banks, either via the art market, the porn market, the drug market, the arms market, or whatever, must be tied to price fixing scandals like LIBOR and the related muni-bond fixing, stock market manipulation, and commodities fixing. The more ways they have to hide large transactions, the better able they are to run these other schemes. Any money you can successfully launder can't be tied to fraud. If it is successfully laundered, that just means it looks clean to regulators. And, as we know, widows and orphans have been devastated by all these schemes. We now know the banks are stealing from pension funds, from municipal funds, from IRA's, and directly from individual accounts. This hasn't just been devastating to rich investors, it has been even more devastating to the retired, to small municipalities, and to poor people who can't afford to invest in anything. As the treasury is looted to cover all these bank thefts, the middle and lower classes take the brunt of the blow. They are the ones who get the bills for the various bail-outs, not the rich.
Wolff also glosses over the damage to real artists, throwing only one passing clause to those who “fail to willingly or adroitly play the game.” But it isn't a game to us, Michael, it is our lives. Many natural artists have committed suicide, and many others have had their lives ruined. Beyond that, the re-definition and co-option of art hasn't just forced viewers “to admire what we might, given more rational values, disdain.” It has also robbed those viewers of a living contemporary art that they would both admire and value. Five or six generations of art and artists have been prevented or destroyed on purpose, and replaced by a manufactured field of fraud and larceny. Wolff's tone doesn't even begin to address the enormity of that.
In conclusion, I have to hope I have finally hit bottom here. I keep going further down the rabbit hole, but can't imagine another level below this. I thought I had hit bottom with the CIA revelations, but I was still one floor up. It can't get any worse than art as a completely manufactured market, can it? Can it? Well, actually, it can. The Muses like to send me easy information, and just by sitting here a while longer I was able to hit another sub-level, without trying very hard at all. I paused for lunch, came back to this paper, and almost immediately the elevator began descending once more. To show how little diligence the regulators have, I will show another obvious clue they have missed – a clue hiding in plain sight at Wikipedia. By far the most expensive painting ever sold is Cezanne's Card Players.
Libyan war of 2011, supporting the Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi. Since that war was engineered by the US, this means that Qatar was our ally. They did a job for us. How did we pay them? That's right. But since the payment was made privately – via a private art sale – the US government doesn't have to admit it is paying these countries to wage war for them. You will say that the painting came from the Greek billionaire George Embiricos, not from the US, so this theory doesn't pan out. But that is just more laundering, since Embiricos is a shipping magnate and US ally himself. He wanted Libya overthrown just as much as we do, since he was competing with Libyan shipping. Libya is right across the Mediterranean from Greece. Embiricos was probably promised control of Libyan shipping. That was just a guess, based on nothing but a quick glance at Wikipedia entries, but upon doing a web search, I find I was nearly right. It was the right to ship Libya's stolen oil that Embiricos was buying. Libya was overthrown mainly for their oil, of course, but that oil has to be shipped out on tankers, tankers owned by Embiricos. So do you really think it is a coincidence that the world's most expensive painting went in 2011 – the year of the Libyan war – from one major player in the war to another? No, this art sale was a decoy, meant to cover the transfer of money from Greece to the US to Qatar. By laundering the money through a private sale, the middleman there can be taken out. No one need know the US had anything to do with the movement of this 300 million.
You might say, “If I were the Al Thanis in Qatar, I would rather have the 300 million. Screw the Cezanne.” But you still don't understand. The Cezanne painting is immaterial. George Embiricos sent them the actual painting, but he could just as easily have sent them a betting chip or a slot machine token or a lottery ticket. It isn't the object that matters, it is the value printed on the piece of paper that accompanies the object. Think of it this way: when banks transfer money, they don't actually transfer gold or even dollar bills. They transfer debits and credits. Numbers in a machine. You can be sure that Qatar got both the painting and the numbers in the machine. Again, the painting is just a decoy. They want you to think that the value attaches to the painting, but it doesn't. The painting just accompanies the number transfer in the machine, you see. So the laundering here is a bit different than the laundering that is admitted in these smaller scams. In these smaller scams, money from a dirty transaction is rebooted into a clean transaction. The dirty money therefore disappears to any regulator. But in the mainline Modern art scam, there isn't a switch like that. Instead of a switch, you have a long-running decoy. You create a permanent fake commodity behind which you can hide any transaction. So the US can send 300 million to Qatar, hide that behind a Cezanne, and no one is the wiser. And they actually hide two payments in one transaction, since they don't have to admit that Greece paid them anything for the shipping rights to the Libyan oil, either.
I encourage you to notice one other thing before we move on. At Wikipedia and the mainstream sources, it looks like Embiricos was the seller and Qatar the buyer. But as we have seen, the truth is actually the reverse. In this transaction, it is Embiricos that is buying the right to ship the oil. Qatar is selling their military services, for which they expect payment. It is Qatar that is getting paid and Embiricos that is paying. In the specific transaction, the money is moving from Embiricos to Qatar. So this system of laundering not only creates a decoy, it creates a reversal. Although money appears to be going from left to right, it is really going from right to left. Remember that, because you can apply it to other big art sales. While it may look like a rich guy is buying a painting, what is really happening is that the rich guy is being paid for some service. That is how he is getting rich. That is how these rich guys can seem to be blowing hundreds of millions on worthless paintings, while getting even richer. Modern art isn't an investment, it is a hidden direct payment.
This explains why Modern art is under such low security in the museums, and why rich families so often give it away to these museums. Divorced from the transaction, the art object is worthless. Once you separate it from the numbers in the machine, it is back to being a zero-value composite of wood and oil. Say you go into MOMA and steal what you think is a million-dollar painting. Can you get a million for it? No, and it has nothing to do with its fame or its “heat.” The problem is, since you aren't a banker or billionaire, you have no way of investing that decoy with value. You have no promissory power, so for you, the artwork is worthless. You can't put any numbers into the machine, so the work has no accompanying value, you see. On its own, it has no value. It has value only for these rich people who can use it as a decoy for their illicit payments. Outside that realm of illicit payments, it is nothing but a framed bit of linen. To say it another way, it is not the painting that is being traded. Something else is being traded, and the painting is just the wrapper for that something else. If you steal the wrapper, you only have a wrapper. The wrapper on its own is worth nothing.
Besides that, if you steal a famous Modern art work, you only have a thing that you can use as a decoy for a payment. But you don't want to pay someone, do you? No, you want to be paid. The reversed transaction won't do you any good, will it? In stealing the art, you thought you were stealing a left-to-right transaction, but you have really stolen a chit for a right-to-left transaction. You have just stolen a potential debit, not a credit.
For the wealthy, these museums are like museums of old coins. These are the coins they used to use, but have since retired. And by giving away these old coins to the museums, they have lost nothing of value. You will say, “Sure they have, if they didn't give them to the museums, they could sell them for millions at Sotheby's.” But you still aren't getting it. If a rich person hangs an expensive painting in his house, that painting isn't a symbol of money he has spent, it is a symbol of money he has been paid. Remember the reversal I just showed you? Yes, the rich person could then use that painting as a decoy in a new transaction, but if he did, he would be using it as a decoy for a payment. In giving away a decoy for a payment to a museum, he isn't giving away anything of value. After he gives away the decoy, he still has the numbers in his bank account. That is where the real money is, not with the decoy. Yes, if he needs to make another illicit transaction, he will need another decoy, but the rich have decoys running out their ears.
They can manufacture decoys out of anything, and have.
Which of course gives a whole different spin to charity and charitable trusts and so on. If you think about it, you will see that the wealthy are making huge amounts of money by giving away things that we think are expensive, but that are actually worthless. They are getting huge tax write-offs for what they are calling charity or public service, when in reality they are just donating old wrappers to the museum.
The saddest part is that all this is completely unnecessary. Let's go back to the Cezanne example to see what I mean. Has the US really fooled anyone with regard to its involvement in the Libyan war? Has it fooled its enemies? Has it fooled the public? Has it fooled the regulators? No. Everyone knows Qatar sold us their airforce and ground troops. It was reported in the mainstream (see the link above). Everyone knows that Greek shipping is involved in moving out the stolen oil. If the US just skipped the whole art decoy plan, taking money from Greece and giving it to Qatar, nothing would change. In other words, the US was going to do what it did in Libya regardless, so why not just do it right out in the open? Why all this cloak and dagger bullshit, lying to the public when it isn't even necessary? The public was split on the war, and waging it right out in the open would not have changed that split one iota. In short, you had those who thought it was OK to invade another country and those who didn't. Many people no doubt think it is OK for countries to invade one another, if they can get away with it. They think life is like that – it is a competition – and countries have always done this. Others think otherwise. They think that countries should be sovereign and left alone. So that is the split. Do you think any of those in the second category were fooled by telling them we were invading Libya for humanitarian reasons? Do you think because we hid behind NATO and fake art deals, anyone in that second category went, “Wow, I guess invading countries is OK in that case. Murdering the leaders of countries is OK in that case. Breaking all international law is OK as long as you do it behind the cloak of NATO and behind fake art deals.”? No. Not one person was fooled by that. And if the public wasn't fooled, Congress was even less fooled. Congress didn't fail to stop the war because they were fooled, they failed to stop the war because they didn't have the power to stop it. Congress has been eviscerated by the Intelligence community and now doesn't have the power to stop an illegal parade. There is no regulation of the military or even the military budget, and no oversight. So there are no regulators to fool. The military and Executive and Intelligence do whatever they want. Congress and the people have been against them since at least 1971, but it hasn't mattered. International sentiment has been against US aggression since the 1950s, but it hasn't mattered.
So the destruction of art hasn't been necessary. These fake sales aren't necessary. The whole con isn't necessary. I say to them, “Go ahead and be an Empire if you want. Invade the whole fucking world if that is what you have to do. But leave art out of it. Did Alexander have to destroy all art and every artist in order to invade Persia? Did Julius Caesar have to destroy art before he conquered Omnia Gallia? Did Napoleon have to kick David and Ingres and Gros and Gerard and Prud'hon out in the snow, refilling the Louvre with slashed canvases and soup cans, before he overwhelmed Prussia? No, and a thousand times no. Not even Hitler was crazed enough to think he could or should destroy art history in order to make it easier to conquer Poland or France. Only the shallow psychopaths that run this country have been shameless enough to stoop so low.
The only question remaining is why these mainstream sources are partially spilling the beans, and why they are doing it now. If the rich people control the CIA and the CIA controls the press, how do these stories get out? For many decades, they didn't. But in the past five years, stories that are very unflattering to the big dogs seem to be getting through, not only regarding this money laundering in art, but on many other major issues. How and why is that happening? I would link these revelations in art to the revelations we have seen about the NSA recently, from Snowden, as well as the earlier and broader revelations from Assange. I read all these events as signs of a split. The Rockefellers and their allies appear to be losing control of at least one part of the greater Intelligence apparatus. This is a predictable outcome of an Intelligence that has gotten too large. I have shown in recent papers that all told, the Intelligence agencies now comprise something in excess of six million people. That number of agents is simply too great to maintain overall cohesion.
The powers-that-be like the fact that the US is large and spread-out. It makes it harder for us to organize, march, and resist. But they are confronting a similar problem within their own constructions. The CIA and other government organizations have gotten so large and spread-out, they are impossible to control. The CIA is like an amoeba that has grown too large: it must split. We are seeing signs of this split. One part of the internal apparatus has apparently decided it doesn't like the direction the country is going – for whatever reasons it may have – and we are seeing signs of revolution from within. As I have put it before, the Praetorian Guard looks to be restless. It doesn't approve of what its Caesars are doing. This revolutionary faction seems to have partial control of the press, and the ability to plant stories. The old guard families like the Rockefellers seem to be finding this to be very inconvenient for their plans. They are running scared. This is why we are seeing large ammunition purchases by DHS, IRS, FEMA, and ATF, as reported at places like Infowars. Those currently in control of the government are not as scared of a popular revolution as they are of an internal coup.
To put it in rough terms, it looks like the DHS/NSA/banks are scared of some faction of CIA/military that is resisting them. And a large part of this war is financial, as you would expect. So it is not that the CIA has suddenly taken an interest in art history. After all this, I am not naïve enough to believe that. What we are seeing is one part of the CIA attacking the financial interests of the banks, including this money laundering via the Modern art market.
For many decades, the CIA was content to take orders, undermining any attempt by the Justice Department or other agencies to investigate various criminal activity by the rich families they served. After all, the CIA has been more powerful than Justice almost from the beginning, and since at least 1960 has been capable of doing that. But after 2001, some in the CIA/military seem to have come to the conclusion it had all gone too far. The power and reach of this faction seems to have increased year by year since then, and they are now having a real effect.
Or that is my current analysis. Despite the fact that many probably think I am a cynic or a pessimist, just the opposite is true. As you can see from my track record, I have always been far too optimistic, trying to read every sign in a good light. I try to insert a ray of hope into even the darkest places, which a psychologist could read as either a sign of health or as a sign of desperation. Since I know myself better than any psychologist could, I will tell you it is probably a bit of both. However that may be, it is always good to know the truth. The truth is very ugly here, but it is still the truth. Discovering the truth is always exhilarating, even when it is stinking and putrid. Identifying the problem always gives one a whiff of hope, since only a problem that is out in the open can be solved. We can at least hope that this splinter group is able to rein in the worst excesses of the Caesars, and that if they succeed in overthrowing Nero and the current Claudian dynasty, they don't replace it with a clone. That is, we should pray they skip the Galbas and Othos, elevating immediately a Trajan. I would love to think that they would just leave us alone, dismantling large parts of the government as useless, but at this point in history I don't see that in the cards. The current bad guys won't be kept down by a Congress or a voting bloc. It will take other powerful individuals to do that, and our only hope is that these powerful individuals are more benevolent to the citizenry than the last lot. Not all governments or leaders in the past have preyed upon their people so shamelessly, and it is altogether possible that the splinter group is tired of seeing this country run by malevolent fascists. It doesn't have to be.
*The Rockefellers had mostly gotten past their government problems by 1930, having either bought out the regulatory agencies, or having simply become more powerful than the agencies.
ISDAfix Manipulation: Libor's Twin Brother - Conspiracy of Collusion and Price-Fixing - Screwing Around with World Interest Rates - ICAP's Brokers of Treasure Island - The Absurdity of Our Financial Infrastructure
Modern art was CIA 'weapon'