(Excerpted from Chapter 5: Persian Gulf Rent-a-Sheik: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)
With a nuclear disaster still unfolding in Japan and revolution percolating through the oil-rich sands of the Middle East, the Rothschild/Rockefeller energy oligopoly which has enslaved humankind and decimated planet Earth for the last century is coming apart at the seams. The arrogance and stupidity of the self-proclaimed “illuminated ones”, who operate their energy matrix from the City of London, is being writ large for all to see.
While the Japanese tragedy loomed large, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) entered Bahrain to help the al-Khalifa petro-monarchy put down pro-democracy protests. This desperate coercion, condoned by Western powers, represents a last-ditch effort at salvaging the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – the neo-colonial modus operandi which I have discussed in recent columns.
The six GCC nations- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Oman- sit atop 42% of the world’s oil. The single-family monarchies that control them were hand-picked by the British Empire. They work in tandem with Israel to steal crude oil from the Arab people. They, not China or Japan, are the biggest purchasers of US Treasuries. Their interests lie not with their people, but with the City of London and Wall Street.
The bloodline elite of the six GCC nations are heavily invested in Western economies. High volume crude oil production keeps this investment capital flowing to Wall Street and the City of London while allowing the GCC elites to live opulent lifestyles. As Saudi Oil Minister Hisham Nazer put it, “We now have a mutual bond of self-interest and reciprocal security interests.”
As Western dependence on Third World resources has increased, it has become increasingly necessary for the international bankers and their corporations to include local elite cliques in their capital accumulation schemes, making a small group of local people extremely wealthy so that this group will cooperate in selling local resources cheaply to the West.
An example of this utilization of local elites as surrogates can be seen through the case of the richest man in the world. He is Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah- Sultan of Brunei- a tiny oil enclave on the island of Borneo, where Royal Dutch/Shell holds a virtual monopoly over the oil industry and has paid the Sultan well to keep it that way. The Sultan of Brunei is worth over $60 billion and lives in a 1,778-room palace.
These local elite, in turn, hand over their wealth to Western bankers for protection from devaluation and bank failure. This robs their home country of much-needed capital and often precipitates devaluation and debt crises. The US has itself become a debtor nation and owes its debts, in part, to these same Third World elites, who own trillions on deposit at large US banks, while their fellow countrymen live in abject poverty. Egyptian elites, for example, hold $60 billion in deposits in foreign banks, while the average Egyptian earns $650/year. In the case of the GCC, the amount of recycled petrodollars flowing back into Western investments is truly staggering.
The Saudis have over $600 billion invested abroad. Citigroup owns 33% of the Saudi American Bank but is itself now controlled by members of the House of Saud. In 1993 Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, owner of Saudi Commercial Bank, plunged $590 million into Citibank. Bin Talal now owns 17.34% of Citigroup, while Crown Prince Abdullah owns a 5.4% share, making them the bank’s two largest shareholders. Bin Talal is also the 2nd largest shareholder in Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, parent of both Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.
The Saudi Citigroup share purchases were facilitated by the Washington-based Carlyle Group, which is 20%-owned by the Mellon family that owned Gulf Oil and now owns a large chunk of Chevron Texaco. Carlyle is led by former Reagan and Bush Defense Secretary and Reagan NSC Chairman Frank Carlucci. George Bush Sr., James Baker III and former British Prime Minister John Major are senior advisers and board members at Carlyle. Bush Sr. served as Carlyle investment advisor to the bin Laden family until November 2001.
In 1995 Prince bin Talal teamed up with Canadian developer Paul Reichmann, Loews chairman Larry Tisch and Lebanese financier Edmund J. Safra- a close friend of war-criminal Henry Kissinger- to buy London’s Canary Wharf complex for $1.04 billion.
UAE ruling Sheik Zayed runs the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Much of its money is handled by private investment and equity firms like Carlyle Group and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette- which is 18% owned by the Saudi Olayan Group. Olayan also owns big chunks of JP Morgan Chase and CS First Boston. The director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority serves as Carlyle Group’s Asian adviser.
Bahrain plays a role in this petrodollar recycling, serving as the key unregulated offshore banking center for both the GCC sheiks and their international mega-bank partners. Bahrain is also home to the US Fifth Fleet and a large number of refineries, which process Saudi crude.
Lebanon had been the premier banking center of the Middle East in earlier days, but with Beirut reduced to rubble by Israeli shelling, merchant banking has moved to the duty-free port of Dubai in the UAE, now the biggest gold market on the planet. Investment banking is centered in Kuwait.
But it is Bahrain which is home to the vast multi-billion dollar pool of money market funds derived from GCC/Four Horsemen petrodollar revenues. Most banks in Bahrain are foreign-owned and all US mega-banks have operations there. Many of Bahrain’s banks are owned by GCC elite and serve as a major conduit in the petrodollar recycling process. The Kuwait Burgan Bank, for example, owns a 28% stake in one of Bahrain’s largest banks- the Middle Eastern Bank.
The most powerful firm in Bahrain is Investcorp, which took big stakes in Saks Fifth Avenue, BAT, Tiffany, Gucci, Color Tile, Carvel Ice Cream, Dellwood Foods, New York Department Store of Puerto Rico, Circle K and Chaumet. Investcorp was co-founded in 1983 by Bahrain ruling family scion Sheik Khalifa bin Sulman al-Khalifa- who also owned a big chunk of the infamous BCCI. A recent Investcorp prospectus lists the Bahrain Minister of Finance as an owner.
Investcorp’s chairman is Abdul-Rahman Al-Ateeqi, former Oil and Finance Minister of Kuwait. Its Vice-President is Ahmed Ali Kanoo of the wealthy Saudi Kanoo family, which is worth an estimated $1.5 billion. Former Saudi Oil Minister Sheik Yamani was one of Investcorp’s founding shareholders, along with seven members of the Saudi royal family. Investcorp has its eight-story headquarters in Bahrain, along with a Park Avenue New York office and a Mayfair district office in London.
Sheik al-Khalifa’s partner in launching Investcorp was Nemir Kirdar, the bank’s president who was in charge of Chase Manhattan’s Persian Gulf operations. Numerous Investcorp senior executives are Chase alumni as well.
Many Investcorp purchases turned out to be flops and there is a shady side to the bank. French jeweler Chaumet executive Charles Lefevre said Investcorp fudged Chaumet numbers to entice shareholders while trying to pawn its shares off at a higher price to other Persian Gulf investors. Another complaint alleged that Investcorp attempted to loot the Saudi European Bank in Paris.
Investcorp board member Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, a reclusive Saudi billionaire, invested heavily in George W. Bush’s Harken Energy. So did Bahrain’s ruling Sheik al-Khalifa. Bush and co-owner Dick Cheney morphed their Arbusto Energy into Harken when Bush friend James Bath provided them with $50,000 in seed money.
Bath owned Skyway Aircrafts and was under investigation by the DEA for working with GCC sheiks in flying $100 bills to the Cayman Islands. Since Bath often borrowed money from Saudi Sheiks Khalid bin Mahfouz- BCCI’s largest shareholder- and Mohammed bin Laden, these wealthy Saudis likely provided the $50,000 in seed money to launch what became Harken Energy.
Bin Mahfouz and bin Laden helped Harken sign an exclusive offshore oil drilling agreement just prior to the Gulf War. In January 1990 President Bush Sr. had approved preferential trade status for the Iraqi regime. That very same month Harken Energy was awarded the biggest offshore oil concession ever in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Bahrain.
Other notable Harken investors included the Ft. Worth-based Bass brothers, the South African Rupert family, the Harvard Endowment Fund, and Rothschild lieutenant George Soros. In 1989 the government of Bahrain abruptly cut off talks with Amoco concerning the same oil concession after Emir al-Khalifa decided to grant it instead to Harken Energy at the urging of Mobil’s Middle East operation’s chief Michael Ameen. Financing for the project was arranged by Bush Jr. friend Jackson Stephens, the Arkansas owner of Worthen Bank who was instrumental in bringing BCCI to the US and who donated $100,000 to the Bush Sr. 1988 Presidential Campaign.
New York attorney Allen Quasha and his father William Quasha of Manila helped swing the Harken deal with Bahrain. In 1961 Bill Quasha helped George Bush Sr. secure rights to drill the first oil well in Kuwait via Zapata Offshore Oil Company. Later Quasha served as legal counsel to the CIA drug laundry Nugan Hand Bank in the Philippines. His son Allen became the biggest stockholder in Harken. The Quasha’s own 21% of a Swiss company controlled by the South African Rupert family, who were major backer’s of that country’s former apartheid regime.
Just one month before Iraq invaded Kuwait, George W. Bush sold 66% of his stake in Harken Energy at a 200% profit. While stock analysts like Charlie Andrews of 13D Research were putting out “buy” recommendations on Harken, on June 22, 1990 Bush cashed in $840,000 in Harken stock, later saying he “sold into good news”. Bush knew that Harken had violated the terms of a loan package and was now on the ropes financially. Five weeks later Harken reported a $23 million loss and its stock price crashed.
Bush didn’t report his timely Harken Energy stock sale until March 1991. This was illegal, but Bush claimed the SEC had misplaced the forms and was never prosecuted. In 1993 Bush stepped down from Harken’s board. With heavy financial backing from Enron, he became Governor of Texas.
Bush was defended during the Harken scam by Baker Botts lawyer Robert Jordan, who was paid back in 2000 with an appointment as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The forgiving SEC chief during the Harken debacle was Richard Breeden, one of Bush Sr.’s biggest political supporters. SEC counsel was James Doty, another Bush supporter who helped George W. buy the Texas Rangers baseball team.
When George W. Bush merged Harken with Spectrum 7 Energy, he brought in Investcorp insider Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, who bought 17.6% of Harken through a Netherlands Antilles holding company. Some say Baksch was a front man for Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz. Baksch was a major investor at the Bahrain-based Investcorp, which was launched by former Chase Manhattan executives. In 1988 he looted an Arab bank in London.
Bakhsh was also accused of looting the Al Saudi Banque of Paris when it collapsed in 1988 just ahead of the strikingly similar collapse of BCCI. Bakhsh is a shareholder in First Commercial Financial Group, a Chicago-based commodity futures trading firm which was sanctioned by US regulators for check-kiting and fraud. Just before the Gulf War broke out, Investcorp sold a 25.8% share to an Iraqi company, despite a Bahrain law prohibiting such transactions.
The Saudis and Kuwaitis are the clear leaders in GCC overseas investments. The Kuwaiti Investment Authority has over $250 billion invested abroad and is the biggest foreign investor in Japan and Spain. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase handle Kuwaiti investments in the US, where the al-Sabah clan owns stock in each of the 70 largest firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Their US holdings include 100% of Occidental Geothermal, 29.8% of Great Western Resources, 100% of the Atlanta Hilton Hotel, 45% of the Phoenician Hotel and 11% of Hogg Robinson.
In Germany they own 14% of Daimler-Chrysler, 25% of Hoechst (the Nazi IG Farben spin-off and the world’s 2nd largest pharmaceutical company), 20% of Metallgesellschaft and part of German retailer Asko. In Italy they own 6.7% of Afil, the Agnelli family holding company which owns Fiat and several other endeavors. In the UK Kuwait owns St. Martin’s Properties and 5.4% of Sime Darby. In Malaysia their K-10 company owns the biggest newspaper- the New Straits Times Press. In neighboring Singapore, the Kuwaitis own 10.6% of Singapore Petroleum, 37% of Dao Heng Holdings and 49% of the securities firm J. M. Sassoon.
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), was technically nationalized in the early 1980’s, but remains close to its former parents- Chevron Texaco and BP Amoco- selling these two Horsemen oil at a discount. KOC made wealthy the al-Sabah emirs and the al-Ghanim family, who acted as the company’s agent for decades. By 1966 KOC bought a Danish subsidiary and became the first Middle Eastern oil company to retail gasoline in Europe. KOC has been the most aggressive GCC firm in its overseas downstream investments. In 1982 it bought hundreds of Q8 gas stations across Europe. By 1987 it owned over 5,000 gasoline retailers in Europe and South Asia. Just last week KOC was awarded a contract to build oil refineries in South Korea.
The Kuwaitis even bought into one of the Four Horsemen- BP Amoco. As of 1988 they owned a 22% share. They have since reduced their share to 9.85%, still a controlling interest. They purchased the Naples, Italy refining operations of Mobil, own nearly 4% of ARCO (now part of BP Amoco), and 2.39% of Phillips Petroleum (now merged with Conoco). In Spain the Kuwaitis operate the Torras Hostench chemical firm. In Japan they operate Arabian Oil.
All told GCC investments in Western banks and corporations total in the trillions. The bulk of this is invested in long-term US and Japanese government bonds. The GCC sheiks are crucial to floating the entire house of cards that is the global economy. Their guaranteed purchases of US debt, which has largely been accrued through defense spending in the Persian Gulf region, keep the US dollar strong and prevent the international financial architecture from crumbling. The emirs and their elite friends also bankroll CIA covert operations, while re-balancing their trade surpluses with the West through the purchase of US weaponry to protect their oil fiefdoms.
Events in Japan and the Middle East have exposed the fragile position of the Rockefeller/Rothschild energy oligopoly. Their nuclear option found itself quite literally on shaky ground. Their GCC puppet oil monarchs are embattled and circling the wagons. Now is the time to get serious about a 21st century green energy renaissance controlled not by the City of London “illuminated ones”, but by the people.
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.deanhenderson.wordpress.com