Jolly Grain Giants

(Excerpted from Chapter 14: Saddam’s Banker in Atlanta: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

In October 1988 Henry Kissinger joined the board of Continental Grain, the French Fribourg family-controlled private firm that was the second largest grain company in the world until its 1999 merger with Cargill.  Cargill is the grain trade’s biggest fish and is privately held by the Minneapolis-based Cargill and MacMillan families.

Cargill Continental now controls over 50% of the world’s grain trade.  It is one of four giant privately held companies that have quietly monopolized the world’s grain business since the mid 1800’s.  Cargill Continental, the French Louis Dreyfus, the Brazilian Bunge and the Swiss Andre constitute the Four Horsemen of grain.  Dan Morgan’s book Merchants of Grain is an excellent expose of these grain dynasties.

In 1989 Bush Secretary of State James Baker ordered Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeuter to increase credits to Iraq via the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) after Eagleburger, Robert Kimmitt and Iraq’s CCC lobbyist and CIA agent Kevin Kattke lobbied for a $1 billion CCC loan.  Kattke got help from Oliver North and TGS International, an Arlington, Virginia firm named for CIA old hand Ted Shackley. [578]

Gerald Bull was paid by Saddam for his super gun efforts with money from these CCC loans, for which BNL served as conduit.  BNL worked through one of three banks who handle all CCC business in the Middle East- National Bank for Cooperatives of Denver, Morgan Guaranty and First City Bank of Houston, whose Priory of Sion chair Robert Abboud now chaired the US/Iraq Business Forum.  Morgan Guaranty was the US clearing agent for both Iraq’s Central Bank and BNL. [579]

Cargill Continental and the other grain giants were the main beneficiaries of the taxpayer-guaranteed CCC loans through grain sales to Iraq.  Continental, with Kissinger on its board, also used BNL to finance Yugoslavian grain shipments. In 1988-89 BNL financed Russian Exportkhleb purchases of grain from Cargill, Continental, Louis Dreyfus and Conagra.  A favorite middleman for Cargill deals with Iraq was the Turkish Entrade, a subsidiary of Enka Holdings, Bechtel partner on Iraqi construction projects and LTV partner on NATO missile programs in Turkey.

Another grain giant middleman favorite was Amman Resources, owned by Jordanian shipping merchant and CIA contact Wafai Dajani.  Dajani worked with Norwegian shipping giant Gearbulk through their jointly held Araba Holdings to ship Iraqi goods into the Jordanian port of Aqaba.  Dajani was close to the American Wheat Association, the Rice Council, USDA and the French Louis Dreyfus grain giant.  Dreyfus also received BNL financing to ship CCC grain to Iraq. Some was delivered on their own substantial fleet of cargo ships.  Other times the shipper was Araba Holdings.

Dajani is the straw man for US agribusiness interests in the Middle East.  He runs joint ventures with Comet Rice of Houston and the British sugar giant Tate & Lyle.  Eighty percent of all BNL CCC shipments went through Amman Resources or another of Dajani’s companies, which include Wafai Dajani & Sons, Araba Holdings and Aqaba Packing.  Dajani was a close friend of Jordan’s late King Hussein. His brother was the country’s Minister of Interior.  His family had long been the agent for Mobil in Jordan.

Dajani also worked with Carlos Rosa’s Armiberica of Portugal and A & L Management Services of Cyprus in shipping Howitzers, ammunition and small arms to Saddam Hussein.  Later when BNL-Atlanta fired manager Christopher Drougul, who served as the fall guy for the BNL ordeal, Dajani hired him as a $50,000/year consultant.  Drougal maintained that BNL was part of an Italian-American covert operation to arm Iraq.  When the BNL case came to trial a number of small-time Cargill employees were singled out as un-indicted co-conspirators, while the Big Grain fish swam under the net.

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

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