The Shah of Iran and David Rockefeller

The article is excerpted from my forthcoming book, "Geopolitics: The Global Economy of Big Oil, Weapons and Drugs". The book will be published in March by National Liberty Press (1-866-317-1390). Copyright: Dean Henderson


In 1872 British Baron Julius du Reuter was granted an exclusive 50-year mining and communications concession in Persia by that country’s Peacock Throne monarchy. By 1921 the British government had installed Shah Mohammed Reza Khan in a palace coup. With their puppet Shah puppet in place, du Reuter’s firm, one of the British Empire’s most important tentacles, busied itself exploiting the rich oil reserves in what is now Iran.

The Anglo-Persian Oil Company grew swiftly, changed its name to Anglo-Iranian Oil, and then became British Petroleum (BP). During the last two decades of the 20th century the company speeded its global expansion taking over Britoil and Standard Oil of Ohio during the 1980’s. In the late 1990’s BP swallowed up Amoco and Atlantic Richfield (ARCO). du Reuter, whose family founded British news service Reuters, had created the behemoth BP Amoco.

In 1975 Anthony Sampson penned The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Made, bestowing the collective name “Seven Sisters” on the giant oil companies which throughout history sought to eliminate competitors and control the world’s crude oil. Sampson’s Seven Sisters were Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch/Shell and Gulf Oil. The Sisters wielded immense clout, but were about to get even more powerful. A frenzied round of consolidation at the dawn of the new millennium left only four of the seven standing.

Chevron swallowed Gulf Oil in 1984, Exxon and Mobil tied the knot in a record $75 billion deal in 1999 and Chevron married Texaco in 2000. Sampson’s Seven Sisters are now four and will henceforth be alternately referred to as "Big Oil" and the "Four Horsemen": Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, BP Amoco and Royal Dutch/Shell.

Nazis, Assassins and Operation Ajax

Prior to WWII du Reuter’s BP dominated the Persian oil patch. Following the war Britain dumped its puppet Shah in favor of his more pliable son Shah Reza Pahlevi, whose Nazi sympathies were less overt. By 1943 the US had established a military command in Iran and signed the Tehran Agreement, cutting the US half of the Four Horsemen a generous slice of the Iranian oil pie.

Iran was coveted for its expansive reserves of crude and remains the most geopolitically strategic Middle Eastern nation, bordering both the unprecedented Persian Gulf oilfields to the south and the vast, largely untapped Caspian Sea crude reserves to the north. The Rockefeller Chase Manhattan Bank owned the Bank Markazi, Iran’s Central Bank and big blocks of stock in the Four Horsemen. Chase made billions from Big Oil sales and recycled Shah petrodollars.

After World War II the Iranian people became increasingly hostile towards Big Oil. Anger was especially prevalent among oilfield workers of the Khuzistan region who formed the main constituency of the Tudeh (Masses) Party. In 1951 Tudeh formed a coalition with the National Front Party and elected Mohammed Mossadegh Prime Minister of Iran. Mossadegh, who first campaigned against Soviet occupation of northern Iran, became a vocal critic of Four Horsemen control over Iranian oil. He announced plans to nationalize BP interests in Iran. BP responded by organizing an international boycott of Iranian crude and called on two long-time associates for more drastic measures.

US Sec. of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, CIA Dir. Allen Dulles, both worked for the Washington law firm Sullivan & Cromwell before joining the State Dep't. The firm represented BP in the US and was legal counsel to J. Henry Schroeder Bank, the Warburg-controlled Hamburg bank that financed Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany. Allen Dulles was a lawyer for the Nazi combine I. G. Farben and headed the CIA-predecessor Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII. The Dulles brothers are cousins of the Rockefellers.

After WWII, Allen Dulles was OSS Station Chief in Berne, Switzerland, where he helped Swiss Nazi Francois Genoud transfer Hitler and Goebel trusts into Swiss bank accounts. In 1952 Dulles founded Banque Commerciale Arabe in Lausanne, Switzerland. The bank represented a pact between the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood-Benoist-Mechin, which is comprised of Saudi royal family members. Dulles was cutting a deal with Islamic fundamentalists.

Part of this Faustian bargain may have involved the House of Saud chieftains providing information to US intelligence on how to create mind-controlled assassins. The Muslim Brotherhood claims to have first perfected this technique during the 11th century Crusades when it launched a brutal parallel secret society known as the Assassins, who employed mind-controlled “lone gunmen” to carry out political assassinations of Muslim Saracen nationalists. The Assassins worked in concert with Knights Templar Christian invaders in their attacks on progressive Arabs, but were repelled.

The same year Dulles, himself a 33rd Degree Freemason and Knight Templar, formed his alliance with the House of Saud, the CIA launched its MK-ULTRA mind control program using LSD produced by the Warburg banking dynasty's Swiss Sandoz Laboratories. Dulles’ OSS assistant in Berne was James Warburg. With Sydney Gottleib at the wheel, MK-ULTRA sought to create a "Manchurian candidate", a mind-controlled assassin to be utilized for CIA black operations. The city of Lausanne, where Dulles cut his deal, also came to house a group commonly known as Nazi International, led by Nazi intelligence officer Otto Skorzeny.

The US, whose concern after WWII quickly turned to a growing Communist bloc of nations led by the Soviets and Mao's Chinese revolutionaries, also cut a deal with the Nazi Gehlen spy organization. With help from Lucio Gelli, who founded the P-2 Italian Freemason Lodge, US intelligence laid down a “rat line” by which several Nazi War criminals, including the Butcher of Lyon, Klaus Barbie, escaped to South America. Other Gehlen operatives and Nazi scientists were absorbed into the new CIA. Dr. Herman Erben, fled to Mexico where he was a CIA spy, financing his activities through morphine sales. In the early 1950’s Erben migrated to Iran just in time for the “Operation Ajax”.

After failed negotiation attempts in Tehran with the populist Mossadegh led by Averell Harriman and Vernon Walters, the Dulles Brothers took charge of a joint CIA/MI6 smear campaign painting the Iranian leader in the most brilliant colors of Red. When this anticommunist rhetoric failed to convince the Iranian people to turn on their popular leader, a military expedition was organized.

Financing for the CIA coup, code named Operation Ajax, came from Deak & Co., founded by OSS operative Nicholas Deak. Deak & Co. was the largest currency and gold bullion trader in the US after WWII and financed CIA adventures in Vietnam and the Belgian Congo through their Hong Kong gold monopoly.

Operation Ajax was led by H. Norman Schwartzkopf, father of the Gulf War General of same name, and Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Pres. Teddy Roosevelt. A palace coup was organized in 1954 and led by Shah loyalist Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi. Mossadegh was deposed and the Shah flew into Tehran from exile in Rome seated next to Allen Dulles. The Four Horsemen had their puppet back in the National Palace. Kermit Roosevelt stayed in Tehran, his CIA Deputy Director of Plans income soon augmented by a new job as salesman of military aircraft for Northrop Corporation.

The Standard Oil Trust

In 1952 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a report detailing collusion and price-fixing on the part of the Four Horsemen. Titled “The International Petroleum Cartel”, the report detailed secret production quotas, joint ventures, marketing agreements and other evidence of Horseplay. BP and Royal Dutch/Shell had exclusive marketing commitments to Exxon and Mobil, who had especially cozy relations even before their recent merger.

During WWII the Rockefeller family controlled 20.2% of Exxon, 16.34% of Mobil and 11.36% of Amoco. These companies all emerged from the “supposed” dissolution of the Standard Oil Trust, a process that began in 1892 when the Ohio Supreme Court ordered Standard Oil of Ohio, head of the Standard Oil snake, dissolved.

John D. Rockefeller moved his headquarters to New York to circumvent the ruling, but Americans, led by populist writer Ira Tarbell, became increasingly hostile to the Standard Oil monopoly. In 1906 the US charged Standard with violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. On May 15, 1911 the US Supreme Court declared, “Seven men and a corporate machine have conspired against their fellow citizens. For the safety of the Republic we now decree that this dangerous conspiracy must be ended by November 15th.”

The breakup of Standard only increased the wealth of the Rockefellers, who took a 25% interest in each of the new companies. Standard Oil of New York merged with Vacuum Oil to form Socony-Vacuum, which became Mobil in 1966. Standard Oil of Indiana joined with Standard Oil of Nebraska and Standard Oil of Kansas and in 1985 became Amoco. In 1972 Standard Oil of New Jersey became Exxon. In 1984 Standard Oil of California joined with “trust babies” Pennzoil and Standard Oil of Kentucky, then swallowed up Gulf Oil, to become Chevron. Standard Oil of Ohio retained the Standard Oil brand until it was bought out, along with Amoco and Standard baby ARCO, by BP, creating BP Amoco.

The Justice Dep't. responded to the 1952 FTC report by bringing an anti-trust case against the U.S. faction of Big Oil. Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco and Gulf hired Sullivan & Cromwell, but the hotshot lawyers were never needed. Ten days before the coup against Mossadegh‘s democratically elected government, Pres. Eisenhower dismissed the FTC case on national security grounds. Ike granted the Horsemen immunity from prosecution under anti-trust law, while his envoy former Pres. Herbert Hoover traveled to Tehran to help Big Oil and their puppet Shah establish the Iranian Consortium, which consisted of the Four Horsemen and French oil giant Compaignie Francaise de Petroles (now Elf Total Fina). BP held a 40% share.

The cartel established production quotas, which applied not only to Iran, but also to all oil-producing nations. Quotas allowed them to avoid competition among themselves and control the price of oil. Oil industry scholar John Blair, who was instrumental in prodding the FTC to conduct its inquiry, noted that from 1950-72, production in eleven Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries expanded at exactly equal rates.

When Eisenhower left the White House he took up residence on a 576-acre farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He didn’t buy the land. Nor did he pay for construction of outbuildings or the livestock that soon inhabited them. He didn’t even pay for the hired help. Ike’s dream retirement was bankrolled by Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison, two Texas oil billionaires who share interests with the Rockefellers in Texas and Louisiana oilfields. Their good will towards Eisenhower extended to Ike's Sec. of Treasury Robert Anderson, who enacted a quota system limiting oil imports, which helped Big Oil knock out their smaller US competitors. Anderson became an executive at ARCO and received a $900,000 piece of oil-rich west Texas property from Rockefeller‘s Texas strawmen.

SAVAK Terrorism and US Multinationals

Wherever the Four Horsemen gallop the CIA is close behind and Iran was no exception. By 1957 the Company, as intelligence insiders know the CIA, created one of its first Frankensteins- the Shah’s brutal secret police known as SAVAK. Kermit Roosevelt, the Mossadegh coup-master turned Northrop salesman, admitted in his memoirs that SAVAK was 100% created by the CIA and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency that acts as appendage of the CIA. For the next 20 years the CIA and SAVAK were joined at the hip when it came to matters of Persian Gulf security.

Three hundred fifty SAVAK agents were shuttled each year to CIA training facilities in McLean, Virginia, where they learned the finer arts of interrogation and torture. Top SAVAK brass were trained through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Public Safety Program, until it was shut down in 1973 due to its reputation for turning out some of the world’s finest terrorists. In 1963 when JFK was assassinated SAVAK Chief Hassan Pakravan joined the Shah in Tehran to celebrate Kennedy’s death. CIA, MI6 and Mossad supported 30 paramilitary groups in Iran and provided support to Shah-loyalist groups.

Popular anger towards Big Oil, the Shah and his new police state resulted in mass protests. The Shah dealt with the peaceful demonstrations with sheer brutality and got a wink and nod from Langley. From 1957-79 Iran housed 125,000 political prisoners. SAVAK “disappeared” dissenters, a strategy being replicated by CIA surrogate dictators in Argentina and Chile. The SAVAK campaign of terror climaxed on June 15th, 1963 when over 1,000 people were butchered by SAVAK forces in what became known as the 15th of Khordad Massacre. In 1974 the director of Amnesty International declared that no country had a worse human rights record than did Iran. The CIA responded by increasing its support for SAVAK.

A small group of elite families close to the Shah assumed total control of the Iranian economy. The Aalam, Sadri, Bakhtiyari and Eqbal families were part of this tiny but powerful aristocracy, as were the Rafsanjanis, who owned thousands of hectares of pistachio groves and whose son Hashemi would be Iran’s President. Under the Shah’s reign, the Rafsanjanis made millions in real estate transactions, selling much of their land to the throngs of multinational corporations who flocked to Tehran, where they were awarded tax holidays, exemptions of duties on imported machinery and low-interest U.S.-taxpayer-guaranteed Export-Import Bank loans.

In 1971 the Shah held an extravagant coronation to celebrate the 2,500-year anniversary of the Peacock Throne. Guests included Chase Manhattan insider John McCloy and George Ball, the long-time State Dep't. hack who was now a senior partner at Lehman Brothers. Chase Manhattan, the Bank of America and Morgan Guaranty had been doing business in Iran for a very long time. Now they were joined by a horde of other banking giants. In 1968 Citibank bought a 35% stake in Bank Iranian and Manufacturer's Hanover Trust, led by Minos Zombanakis, became especially involved in Iranian affairs. Chase Chairman David Rockefeller presented the Shah with a hunting rifle and bought up Iranian art. Soon Chase had a 35% share of the Industrial Credit Bank of Iran. Bankers flocked to the Hilton and Intercontinental Hotels in Tehran to put together loan deals, which led to huge contracts for the multinational corporations which these same banks controlled.

B.F. Goodrich, Allied Chemical and Amoco established huge petrochemical joint ventures in Khuzistan. Chase Investment, Diamond Agatel, Mitsui and Hawaiian Agronomic built an agro-industrial complex. The world’s first aluminum smelter popped up at Arak in a joint venture between Reynolds, Kaiser, British Metal and General Cable. Dow Chemical, FMC and John Deere set up agribusiness operations, while Cargill, Continental and other international grain giants flooded the Iranian market with US taxpayer-subsidized wheat, corn and feed grains.

Iran, which had been totally self-sufficient in foodstuffs, now embarked upon an export-led development strategy that benefited a handful of Tehran elite and their multinational partners. Cotton, sugar cane and sugar beet cultivation for export replaced traditional subsistence crops like maize and rice with the help of USAID funding. In 1961, before this “White Revolution”, 79% of Iranian agriculture was for domestic consumption. Ten years later only 50% of production stayed in country while the other half was exported. Most multinationals operating in Iran went through either Chase Manhattan or Bank Omran, which became known at the USDA as “the Shah’s bank”.

Food deficits weren’t far behind and soon Iran found itself importing basic foods like wheat and corn to feed its increasingly urbanized population. Destitute farmers, plowed under by foreign agribusiness, flooded into Tehran and other large cities. In 1963 there had been over 40,000 villages in Iran. When the Shah was deposed in 1979 there were less than 10,000. The population of Tehran doubled during the 1970’s, with many of the newcomers living in the growing shantytowns. Ironically, many built their shanties out of US military crates, which were now arriving daily.

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