(Excerpted from Chapter 1: David Rockefeller & the Shah of Iran: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf…)
Chase Manhattan issued letters of credit for all Iranian oil exports and monopolized deposits from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), even after Iran nationalized Four Horsemen oil interests to create NIOC.
Chase controlled the Pahlevi Foundation which owned an oil company, twelve Iranian sugar refineries, electronics firms, cemeteries, mines, industrial bakeries, the country’s General Motors franchise and a slew of banks including the Shah’s personal piggy bank – the Bank Omran. While “Omran” means “development”, the Pahlevi Foundation focused only on developing the fortunes of both the Shah and Chase Manhattan.
David Rockefeller, whose family controls majority interest in the bank, chaired Chase, now part of JP Morgan Chase. The Rockefellers added to their fortune during the Shah’s reign, taking in far more oil deposits in the country than it made in loans. By 1978 Iran had become the world’s fourth largest oil producer, supplying 18% of both Japan’s and West Germany’s oil, 50% of Israel’s and 100% of the South African apartheid regime’s. Yet the average Iranian worker languished in poverty.
Other Western banks behaved in similar fashion. This did not go unnoticed by Iran’s Central Bank Governor Al-Reza Nobari, who watched as his country sank deeper into debt while the Shah and his American bankers got filthy rich. Nobari declared, “All the banks knew that the Bank Omran was the Shah’s personal repository for his pocket money. But they went on lending to Bank Omran. Citibank lent, for example, $55 million to (the Shah’s sister) Princess Ashraf for a housing project. On the site of the housing project she built a palace.”
The Shah bought a share in Krupps, the huge German arms manufacturer. He owned numerous hotels in Tehran, houses in Beverly Hills, Manhattan, Acapulco and the Swiss Alps. He bought entire islands in the Seychelles and owned a race horse stud on a farm in Surrey, England. The standard of living of the average Iranian continued to head south.
In late 1978 the same Tudeh Party that launched the 1951 strikes in the British Petroleum oilfields of Khuzistan, initiated an occupation of the offices of Oil Services Company of Iran (OSCO) in the city of Ahwaz. OSCO was a tentacle of the Iranian Consortium. Soon afterwards, oilfield workers went out on strike. SAVAK agents were set into motion by the Shah to quell the resistance. Their brutality only inflamed the situation. The workers began to target Four Horsemen executives. Paul Grimm, Texaco’s Assistant General Manager, was gunned down in his car. George Link, Exxon’s General Manager, was nearly killed by a car bomb.
Ironically, the strike began at the very site where the Anglo-Persian Oil Company had first struck oil back in 1908. The strikes gained momentum, driving oil production down dramatically. Iran’s urban centers became embroiled in mass protests organized by Fedayeen and Mujahadeen revolutionary groups, which had sprung up in response to two decades of SAVAK annihilation of any loyal opposition party critical of the Shah. In this political vacuum the Iranian Revolution was beginning to play out.
Under orders from William Sullivan, who succeeded Richard Helms as US Ambassador to Iran, the Shah installed a military government headed by General Azhari. Sullivan was another “old hand” from Laos. There he had ordered US carpet bombing of Laotian cities even as a Pathet Lao victory became imminent. He had also been instrumental in the CIA effort to prop up the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.
On September 8th, 1978 3,000 protesters were massacred when Iranian troops under orders from General Azhari opened fire in the streets of Tehran in a macabre scene that became known as Black Friday. Two days later US President Jimmy Carter called the Shah to reaffirm his support. On Christmas Day 1978 Iranian oil exports ground to a halt. On New Year’s Eve, the Shah resigned. The “official story” was that his health was failing.
Oil prices shot up in Western nations, despite the fact that the Saudis had dramatically stepped up production, allowing the Four Horsemen to further stockpile crude. While most of the world’s governments were scrambling to contain wild oil price increases, Carter deregulated oil prices, allowing Big Oil and their investment banker partners to bid up the spot price of crude to record levels. Later it became known that despite the induced panic, oil supplies actually increased 6.6% in 1979. US consumers were overcharged $2 billion while Big Oil penciled in more record profits.
As the leftist “Committee of 60” took control of Iranian oilfields, the Shah was granted exile in Panama. David Rockefeller, along with Chase International Advisory Board Director Henry Kissinger and former Chase Chairman turned Saudi ARAMCO attorney John McCloy, ushered the Shah out of power. They first brought the Shah to the US, where he was “treated” at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York where David’s brother Lawrence Rockefeller was Chairman.
Iran’s interim Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan had attempted to get an independent doctor to examine the Shah, saying the monarch’s health seemed fine. He hinted at a coup orchestrated by Chase. The Shah later said that the CIA overthrew him. Few will ever know what type of “medical assistance” the Shah received at Sloan-Kettering, but he died shortly thereafter.
In 1978 General Robert Huyser, Deputy Commander of American Forces in Europe, had been dispatched to Tehran. Huyser presided over a council of Iranian generals on the top floor of the Tehran Hilton where a plan was hatched to ease the Shah out and seize power before either the Tudeh/National Front populists or the mullahs could seize power. The CIA also had a backup plan whereby General Oveisi, one of the Shah’s closest commanders, would seize the Khuzistan oilfields and declare independence. The USS Constellation battle group set sail from Subic Bay in the Philippines, arriving in the Arabian Sea to join other naval vessels.
In the end, the best-laid US military schemes failed and Ayatollah Khomeini and his mullahs filled the power vacuum before the CIA could. But to the CIA’s mind it could have been much worse. The Company far preferred the Islamic fundamentalists to the Arab nationalists represented by the Tudeh, Fedayeen and Mujahadeen Parties in Iran.
Within a few years of the Iranian Revolution, the CIA was helping Ayatollah Khomeini identify nationalist leaders so he could target leftists who had formed the Committee of 60, which led the Iranian revolution. In 1983 the CIA and British MI6 supplied a long list of Tudeh Party members to Khomeini. The Ayatollah unleashed a reign of terror against the left; assassinating, torturing and imprisoning over 10,000 Tudeh members and supporters. In 1989 many of those imprisoned were sentenced to death.
The Israelis courted the mullahs as well. Throughout the 1980’s Israeli pilots trained their Iranian counterparts on F-4 Phantom fighter planes at secret bases in Germany. Mossad continued to fund and arm Barzani’s PUK Kurd faction in their covert war against Iraq. As recently as 2002 German Customs officials seized an Israeli shipment of weapons bound for Iran.
As the mullahs took power, Chase Manhattan called in a $500 million loan to Iran, claiming the country had defaulted. Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan had offered to repay the loan. He met with Carter NSA Zbigniew Brzezinski seeking a rapprochement. But Brzezinski, a Rockefeller protege, had other plans for Iran. US Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan accused Brzezinski of trying to sabotage US/Iran relations following the Shah’s departure. Sullivan complained, “By November 1978, Brzezinski began to make his own policy and establish his own embassy in Iran.”
While President Carter tried to calm the situation, Chase froze $10 billion in Iranian assets, so Iran could not repay the $500 million loan. In addition, according to Iran’s Central Bank Markazi Governor Ali Nobari, Chase whisked all of the Shah’s assets out of Iran. Nobari later found that Chase had swindled Iran on interest payments for years.
Chase later seized the $10 billion it froze, while Swiss authorities refused to return $25 billion, which the Shah had stolen from the Iranian Treasury over the years. To add insult to injury the Shah had departed the country with an additional $4 billion in Iranian Treasury assets.
Wealthy Shah-loyalists converted their rials into heroin before fleeing the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The US State Department confirmed this fact after the 1980 trial of SAVAK agent Sharokh Bakhtiar, whose father had founded the Shah’s brutal secret police. Bakhtiar spilled the beans on this scheme and revealed SAVAK’s use of heroin money to later finance counter-revolution in Iran. He said the CIA allowed wealthy Iranians to smuggle their heroin into the US using diplomatic pouches. Iranian revolutionaries cracked down on the heroin trade, which had thrived under the Shah.
In 1978 the IMF bailed out the neighboring Turkish government where the Gray Wolves, the terrorist arm of the Turkish fascist movement, had long curried Iranian heroin to Europe through Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and to the Middle East through Syria and Lebanon. The Milan, Italy-based Stibam Corporation played a big role in the weapons for smack trade from its headquarters in the Banco Ambrosiano building. Stibam worked closely with the CIA and sent Company arms to Somalia, Taiwan and the Philippines. Both Stibam and Banco Ambrosiano are connected to the Italian P-2 Freemason Lodge which funds fascist terror networks worldwide.
The Gray Wolves also worked with Sikh separatists in India who grew poppies in Khalistan to fund their CIA-backed war on the socialist Indian government of Jawaharlal Nehru, whose spiritual adviser was Mahatma Ghandi. Sikh leader Jagjit Singh Chanhan was a British intelligence asset and a member of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Nazi International, which Allen Dulles helped bolster through his Saudi-backed Banque Commercial Arabe. It was Chanhan who assassinated Mahatma Ghandi.
Banco Ambrosiano was headed by Michele Sindona, who was close to the Gambino crime family and offered $1 million for President Nixon’s re-election campaign. The Vatican Bank owned a big chunk of Banco Ambosiano and held a large stake in Nixon Treasury Secretary David Kennedy’s Continental Bank of Illinois. Kennedy and Sindona were good friends and Kennedy served as director at Sindona’s Luxemborg-based FASCO International, which was a conduit for CIA aid to P-2 and the Italian far right. In 1974 the US Ambassador to Italy awarded Michelle Sindona with “Man of the Year” honors at a Rome ceremony.
Another of Sindona’s close confidants was Robert Armao, who was President of the Vatican Foundation of St. Benedict, Cyril and Methodius. Armao was a long-time Rockefeller lieutenant. He served as Chief of Protocol for Chase Manhattan’s most important depositor, the Shah of Iran. In 1978 Kennedy’s well-looted Continental Bank went under, costing US taxpayers billions. Bank of America bought its remains for a pittance. When Banco Ambrosiano failed in 1982 Armao organized a rescue of the shady bank.
The financial deceptions of Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan combined with Carter’s refusal to return the Shah to Iran to face justice to precipitate the Iranian hostage crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran, which lasted a year and a half. It was Stibam Corporation that facilitated the secret arms-for-oil deal between Israel and Iran that, along with the agreement by a Chase-led consortium of banks to unfreeze Iranian assets, ended the hostage crisis. Royal Dutch/Shell and BP delivered oil to Israel, the CIA delivered arms to the Ayatollah and Banco Ambrosiano financed the transaction.
In November 2001, the Iranian government reopened the mothballed US Embassy that once housed Richard Helms & Company The new tenant is a history museum aptly named Den of Spies.
Dean Henderson is the author of five books:Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @www.hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com