By Theodore Shoebat
As the United States is sanctioning Venezuela, and as there has been talk about US intervention into Venezuela for regime change, there is a parallel that I cannot resist to make, and that is the one between what is being done to Venezuela and what the US did to Iran back in 1979. The pertinence of this parallel is that it sheds more light on the reality of how unchanged US foreign policy is, and thus how predictable it is. What the US has done, and still does, to the Middle East, she has also been doing, and still does, in Latin America. Since US foreign policy in Middle East helped spark a migrant crises in Europe, what do you think a US interventionist policy in Venezuela would lead to if it causes violence? Do not be surprised if there is a massive migrant crises at the US border thanks to US policy in Venezuela.
For example, the Bank of England recently blocked the officials of Venezuelan president Maduro from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold, according to a report from Bloomberg. According to a report from CNN International:
“The move by the Bank of England came after top U.S. officials urged the British government to help cut off Maduro’s access to his country’s assets, the report said, and instead steer them towards opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has claimed the presidency.”
The Bank of England has forbade the Maduro officials access to the gold on the basis that the true government of Venezuela is the one that the United States has contrived and backed, and that is the government of Juan Guaido. According to a report from the Guardian:
“The former chair of the foreign affairs select committee Crispin Blunt said the current Venezuelan central bank president was not legitimate, since he had not been appointed by the country’s national assembly.”
The British are controlling the gold and deciding who will possess it. With this, I cannot help but be reminded of how the US froze Iranian money deposited in the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1979. After the Iranian Revolution, the Ayatollah Khomeini appointed Mehdi Barzargan to be the new prime minister of Iran in November, 1979.
In the month before, the Shah of Iran moved to New York to be treated for cancer at the New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center. Carter, reluctantly (as the story goes), allowed the Shah entry into the United States, under pressure from Kissinger and David Rockefeller (who was very close to the Shah family). The Shah’s presence in New York angered the militants in Iran who used this as a way to make propaganda that the Shah was betraying Iran for the Americans. Carter was resistant to the idea of allowing the Shah entry on the fear that it would spark violence against US envoys in Iran. Carter, pressured by Kissinger and David Rockefeller, reportedly asked the question, “What are you going to recommend that we do when they take our embassy and hold our people hostage?” Such words prove that the Americans knew of consequences of bringing the Shah into the United States but did it anyway. Since governments never, if not rarely, do things out of compassion, the motivation behind bringing in the Shah seemed to be to provoke violence against Americans in Tehran. Eighteen months after the hostage crisis, Carter recounted his decision in an interview with the New York Times:
”I was told that the Shah was desperately ill, at the point of death … I was told that New York was the only medical facility that was capable of possibly saving his life and reminded that the Iranian officials had promised to protect our people in Iran. When all the circumstances were described to me, I agreed.”
While the decision was presented as one done from compassion, interviews with more than 50 people involved in the situation, proves that the occurrence had other things taking place behind the curtains. The move to allow entry for the Shah into New York was done under pressure from major lobbying power, inside and outside of the Carter administration, powerful figures like David Rockefeller, who was chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank; Henry A. Kissinger, who was secretary of State for Presidents Nixon and Ford; and John McCloy, a diplomat who ran the powerful law firm, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, and who was instrumental as a lobbyist for Operation Paperclip, in which Nazi scientists were brought into the United States by the thousands and given jobs for the US government.
Whats more, for six years the Shah had deliberately and successfully concealed his cancer condition from US intelligence, and even went so far as to hide this from American doctors. But, upon finding out about the Shah’s illness, the Americans wanted to bring him into a United States hospital. They made the idea of the Shah coming into the US as absolutely necessary for his health, as though the medical procedure could be done in no other country. According to the Shah’s doctor, the monarch needed to be treated promptly, but not as if he was ”at the point of death.” The decision to bring the Shah into the United States would be used by the militants in Tehran to justify attacking the US embassy. As the New York Times reported:
“It is possible that the militant students in Teheran might have found another excuse to seize the United States Embassy; certainly, they had tried before. But, as it turned out, the decision Carter made that Indian summer Sunday on the couch in his lodge at Camp David was the proximate cause of the takeover and all that followed”
Further proof that the Americans knew that by bringing the Shah into the US it would provoke an attack on the US embassy can be found in a letter written by David Rockefeller:
”I got a call on March 14, 1979 … from David Newsom (Carter’s Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs). Newsom said they had intelligence reports from Iran which suggested that, if the Shah were admitted to the United States, the American Embassy would be taken and it would be a threat to American lives.”
On February 1st, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran from his exile in Paris and began planning a revolution. On February 14th, a mob of Marxist terrorists stormed the US embassy and 100 Americans were made hostages. The Iranian government had two ministers quickly negotiate their release, a move that gave more credibility to Tehran. The Shah knew that his time as (as they called him) Shahanshah (”King of Kings, Light of the Aryans and Vice Regent of God’’), was over, and he looked for refuge outside of Iran.
David Rockefeller, even though he knew of the dangers of bringing the Shah into America, lobbied for and facilitated the entry of the Shah into the United States. King Hassan of Morocco remarked that it would be awkward for the Shah to be in the United States on account of the upcoming Islamic summit conference that was going to take place in Marrakesh. In other words, it was obvious that bringing the Shah into the US would provoke the people to violence, specifically in Iran. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the infamous advisor to Carter, also lobbied for the Shah’s entry and collaborated with David Rockefeller to make it happen. Kissinger also got heavily involved, stating in a speech at a Harvard Business School dinner that it was morally wrong for the United States to treat the Shah ”like a Flying Dutchman looking for a port of call.” The ”Flying Dutchman” reference turned up in newspaper editorials for months thereafter.
John J. McCloy also partook in the lobbying for the Shah’s entry. His past positions ranged from the president of the World Bank to High Commissioner to Germany after World War II where he lobbied for clemency for Nazi war criminals. McCloy’s New York law firm, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, represented the Pahlevi family in many legal matters and also represented David Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank. Moreover, McCloy was a former chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank. Using his connections, McCloy began to send letters to top officials in the State Department and the White House. As Cyrus Vance recounted: “John is a very prolific letter writer. The morning mail often contained something from him about the Shah.”
Supposedly, Carter was completely against the idea of bringing the Shah into the US and even exploded with cuss words. ”I don’t curse much,’’ Carter said, ”but this time I blew up. I said: ‘Blank the Shah! I’m not going to welcome him here when he has other places to go where he’ll be safe.'” But politicians began to push for the Shah’s entry, such as Senators Charles Percy, the Illinois Republican, and Claiborne Pell, the Rhode Island Democrat. Carter’s popularity declined heavily. The predicament was that if the Shah was prohibited from entering, the people who saw him as an ally would express anger; if he was allowed entry, those who saw him as a tyrant would have protested about human rights abuses. Supposedly, Carter chose to believe in the idea that the new government in Iran was secular and was not under the control of the Khomeini, and that the new Iranian government under Prime Minister Barzargan could protect the embassy, regardless of intelligence reports proving otherwise. As the New York Times reported:
“Yet another factor in the decision was the President’s understanding – or, rather, misunderstanding – of the political realities in revolutionary Iran. Carter and his aides put their faith in the promises of the secular leadership there, rather than recognizing that the religious leadership held the real power. They chose, for example, to believe that Mehdi Bazargan’s Government would be willing and able to make good on its repeated promises to protect the United States Embassy — this in spite of repeated warnings from American diplomats that the admission of the Shah would make those promises unreliable.”
The Shah was, at this time, in Mexico where he was being treated by two French doctors. In late September of 1979, Joseph Reed, David Rockefeller’s assistant, requested from Dr. Benjamin H. Kean, a tropical-disease specialist, to examine the Shah’s condition in Cuernavaca. Dr. Kean had learned from Robert Armao, a lobbyist close to the Shah family, about the Shah’s history of cancer. Dr. Kean then recommended that the Shah go through extensive tests to complete the diagnosis and proposed that it be undertaken at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center or one of several other hospitals in the United States. On October 18th, Reed told Newsom that the Shah had cancer.
Within hours the lobbyists for the Shah’s entry into the US were capitalizing on the situation. The Shah’s condition was discussed at a meeting with Carter and his senior foreign-policy advisers at the White House. In Brzezinski’s notes of the meeting, there is the following quote from Carter: ”We ought to make it clear that the Shah is welcome as long as the medical treatment is needed.’’ Carter later recounted that the medical equipment and treatment the Shah needed was available only in New York and that the Shah was ”at the point of death.’’ But, Dr. Kean later argued that this was not true, and that the treatment could have been done in Mexico. As the New York Times reported:
“However, Dr. Kean, in a recent interview, contended that that was not what he had told Dr. Dustin. His opinion at the time, Dr. Kean said, was that it would be preferable to have the Shah treated at New York Hospital, or elsewhere in the United States, but that if necessary, it could be done in Mexico or virtually anywhere. Dr. Kean also said he told Dr. Dustin that the Shah had to be treated within ”a few weeks,” not necessarily within a few days. Thus, on two counts, Carter was apparently misinformed about what Dr. Kean had actually proposed.
In other circumstances, when a world leader has required such aid, medical specialists and elaborate equipment have been flown to him. But, because of the presumed urgency of the Shah’s case, this option was never considered. For the same reason, according to Dr. Kean, Dr. Dustin declined Dr. Kean’s proposal that he go to Mexico to examine the Shah himself. No second opinion was sought.”
Carter reportedly ordered that the Iranian government be informed about the Shah’s condition and his coming to New York. On Oct. 21, the American diplomat L. Bruce Laingen, and Henry Precht, the man in charge of the State Department’s task force on Iran, had a meeting in Tehran with Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi. Yazdi, Precht recounted later, did not believe that the Shah’s ailments were as serious as some made it out to be. The Iranian officials then proposed that an Iranian doctor examine the Shah. But this was never done. The Iranians knew the danger of bringing the Shah into the United States, with Yazdi giving the warning: “You’re opening a Pandora’s box with this.”
The next day, Carter received a letter from Secretary of State Cyrus Vance proposing that the Shah be allowed entry into the United States. Carter accepted the proposal. Word was quickly made to Mexico. The Shah arrived in New York on October 22nd where he underwent surgery.
On November 1st, Prime Minister Barzargan went to Algiers and discussed the Shah’s presence in New York. This event sparked suspicion in Tehran and on November 4th the US embassy was stormed in what would be known as the notorious US Embassy hostage crisis. The revolt moved against Barzargan and two days later he was ran out of office and replaced by Abolhassan Bani-Sadr. “On November 4, the Iranian militants stormed the Embassy,” recounts the major overlord of the Carter and Reagan administrations Zbigniew Brzezinski, “and two days later Barzargan was forced out of office.” As the new prime minister, Bani-Sadr made the decision that the Iranian government would withdraw its assets from the United States. Bani-Sadr justified his decision by pointing to Kissinger’s and David Rockefeller’s backing of the Shah.
With the American hostage situation in Tehran taking place, the US government froze all assets in American banks belonging to the Iranian government. Chase Bank, which was chaired by David Rockefeller — the one who wanted so badly for the Shah to enter the US — seized Iran’s deposits. Over $8 billion (Iran says $14 billion) were seized. The strategy that was used to justify this was to point to “the big mullah theory.” This “theory” argued that because the Iranian government had nationalized so many of its corporations, and some of these corporations took loans from American banks, these American banks could then by default seize the money in the accounts belonging to all these corporations, on the justification that any number of them had loans to pay back. As the CS Monitor explains:
“The big mullah theory holds that because Iran’s revolutionary government has seized or nationalized so many Iranian corporations, American banks can set off the deposits of these institutions against Iranian loans in default. In other words, any Iranian account is fungible — usable against any Iranian loan. If Iran Air, for instance, owes money to a bank, then the bank could take the deposit of any Iranian commercial bank to pay off that loan.
Such banks as Chase Manhattan, Bank of America, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, and Citibank apparently are eager to declare Iranian loans in default in order to attach Iranian deposits or other assets to offset these debts.”
As James Bill explained:
The… admission of the shah into the United States … triggered the subsequent taking of American diplomats hostage. On the morning of November 14, 1979, just ten days after the hostages were taken, President Carter, acting on the advice of Secretary of Treasury G. William Miller, froze all Iranian governmental assets in American banks. Like so many other of the key actors, Miller had ties with the Chase Manhattan Bank and with Iran. … The timing of the freeze announcement was crucial to Chase Manhattan. On November 5 the Iranian Central Bank had telexed Chase instructing them to make the forthcoming interest payment of $4.05 million due on November 15 from the surplus funds available in their London office. This interest was owed on a $500 million loan [of questionable legality] negotiated in January 1977 with the shah’s government. …Once it had declared the $500 million loan in default Chase Manhattan then used “cross-default” clauses in the contract to declare all other loans to Iran in default. “Chase then seized Iran’s deposits to offset these loans. When the dust had cleared, Chase had no loans to Iran left on its books”
So in other words, David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan Bank, knowing full well that allowing the Shah entry into the United States would trigger a hostage crisis in the embassy, pushed for the Shah’s arrival into the US, and then when the hostage situation commenced, his bank then seized Iranian assets. $20 million was seized from the Shah’s sister Princess Ashraf’s account with Chase Manhattan Bank, and on October 1980 the money was passed to a bank account that benefited John Shaheen, a colleague close to the head of the CIA, Bill Casey. As journalist Robert Parry reported:
“The bank deal that Cyrus Hashemi and John Shaheen had discussed for months took final shape two days after Reagan’s Inauguration. On January 22, 1981, Shaheen opened the Hong Kong Deposit and Guaranty Bank with $20 million that had been funneled to him through Jean Patry, the Rockefeller lawyer in Geneva who was fronting for the Shah’s twin sister, Princess Ashraf.”
Also as Parry has reported:
“The new Iranian government … wanted Chase Manhattan to return Iranian assets, which Rockefeller put at more than $1 billion in 1978, although some estimates ran much higher.”
The seizing of Iranian assets was justified under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and these powers had just been transferred to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the work of Brzezinski and his colleague, the American nationalist and war monger Samuel Huntington. Journalist Robert Dreyfuss quoted Randy Kau, the Federal Emergency Management Agency official placed in the Treasury Department, as saying:
“We at FEMA had this plan to freeze the Iranian assets two weeks before we did it, and I spent the entire two weeks on the phone trying to kill the rumors that we would do it.”
In other words, there were people who knew that certain US officials and lobbyists were conspiring a money-grab, and the people in FEMA were working to shrug off these remarks and make them look stupid. But it was no conspiracy theory, just as it is no conspiracy when people say that the US policy plans for Venezuela is about controlling oil.
There was another motivation behind seizing Iranian accounts: oil. On February of 1979, the Iranian government began a policy of selling its oil independently of the Western oil powers. By freezing Iranian assets, it made it more difficult for Iran to sell its oil independently. As John “Snader” McCloy (who later changed his name to John Jay McCloy), who was an attorney for Chase Manhattan Bank and major oil companies (like Exxon), said about impeding Iranian oil sales: “It could halt the lion’s share of trade denominated in dollars. Because most oil [and all OPEC] commerce is conducted in dollars, this would make it difficult for Iran to sell much oil.” As Anthony Morton Solomon, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs, recounted: “Our central concern that morning was the dollar.”
So lets compare what happened with Iran to whats happening with Venezuela. The Bank of England is freezing the gold preserves of the Venezuelan government, just as Chase Bank seized Iranian government assets. The United States wanted to impede the Iranian oil market, and today the US is punishing Venezuela to control her oil. As the war monger John Bolton — who pushed for regime change in both Iraq and Syria — recently admitted:
“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
Bolton also implied the corporatist interest in the US policy on Venezuela when he said that removing Maduro was most important because he was bringing “countries with interests hostile to ours” into Venezuela, ousting him would be a “potential major step forward” for “business” opportunities in the Latin American country. Trump also reflected this mentality for US policy when he said back in 2012: “I’m interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don’t take the oil, no interest”.
In other words, the blender of devastation that is US foreign policy that brought in the horrifically violent chaos in the Middle East, the shadow of this monster is hovering over Latin America. What is also interesting about the US’ decision on the Shah was how much John Snader McCloy was involved, and the reason why this is interesting is that this is the same McCloy who also lobbied for the reindustrialization of Germany after World War Two, and the remilitarization of Germany, a high point of which we are seeing today.
The lobbyists who conspired for the Shah’s entry into the United States knew that it would cause a hostage crises, and they did it anyway. They claimed that their motivation was compassion for the Shah, but how could someone like McCloy, who lobbied in defense of Nazis, do anything out of compassion? Governments do things for money while compassion and justice are forsaken. What was the motivation? Well, since they knew that a hostage crises would ensue as a result of bringing in the Shah, and since they (including people working for Chase Manhattan Bank, such as McCloy and Rockefeller) took advantage of the situation to seize Iranian accounts, I think its obvious what their motivations were. While planning for bringing the Shah into the US, David Rockefeller, in the words of Kai Bird, “dipped into his private funds to pay Chase Bank and [McCloy’s law firm] Milibank”.
This same McCloy who wanted the Shah in the United States was the same McCloy who issued amnesty for German industrialists convicted of war crimes. He was also in favor for Germany rearming itself, of course under the justification of a Russian threat. John J. McCloy, alongside the US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, convinced Truman to enable Germany to keep its industry and military capacity. On November of 1949, a group of German lawyers tied to major industrialists for IG Farben — including Nazi war criminal Otto Ambros, who ran horrific slave labor camps for the company — requested a meeting with John Snader McCloy. They met at McCloy’s office at the IG Farben complex. The lawyers told McCloy that if the US was going to seriously fight the Soviet Union, they needed the German Nazis who were currently in prison at Landsberg. The lawyers told McCloy that the Nazis in the prison were simply “political prisoners” and deserved release.
After the meeting, McCloy sent a memo to the legal department of the Allied High Commission, asking if “after sentences were imposed by military tribunal,” he, as US high commissioner, could review the sentences. McCloy was then told that, as far as the prisoners at Landsberg went, he had the authority to do whatever he saw fitting. Back in America, the former Nuremberg prosecutor general, Telford Taylor, found out what McCloy was doing and wrote him a stern letter saying that the Nazi war criminals at Landsberg “are without any question among the most deliberate, shameless murderers of the entire Nuremberg List, and any idea of further clemency in their cases seems to me out of the question.” McCloy never responded. McCloy then put together the Advisory Board on Clemency for War Criminals to examine the criminals’ sentences. A powerful former Nazi lieutenant general, Hans Speidel, who was an advisor to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and lobbyist for German rearmament, personally contacted McCloy and told him: “[If] the prisoners at Landsberg were hanged, Germany as an armed ally against the East was an illusion.”
During this time, the idea that the Soviet Union was going to invade Western Europe was seriously discussed in the Pentagon. It was claimed that to help the fight against the Russians, the US needed to bring in thousands of Nazi scientists, in what would be known as Operation Paperclip. On July 14th, 1950, the commander of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base wrote to Colonel Donald Putt, a champion for Operation Paperclip: “Due to the threat of impending hostilities in Europe and the possibility that forces of the USSR may rapidly overrun the continent, this command is concerned with the problem of the immediate implementation of an evacuation program for German and Austrian scientists.” If these scientists were to “fall into enemy hands… they would constitute a threat to our national security.” So the crimes of the Nazis were overlooked for the cause of ‘American interests.’ The justification of ‘fighting the Soviets’ was used to back other Nazis in Operation Gladio, in which the US and NATO conspired to spark nationalism in Europe and backed European nationalist and Nazi paramilitaries supposedly to fight the Soviets in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. Arming paramilitaries and lobbying for German rearmament, all under the pretext of fighting Russia, are both politically linked.
McCloy was working for the remilitarization of Germany, while others were working to spark nationalism in Europe, specifically Western Europe and Turkey. The goal entailed the rise of German militarism, for which McCloy was conspiring and lobbying for German rearmament and clemency for Nazi war criminals. McCloy and his ilk was lobbying for the rise of the next Reich, just as US officials have been helping to bring back the Ottoman Empire by making Turkey the second most armed country in NATO. Nationalism is indeed rising in Germany, much thanks to the migration crises which was a result of US foreign policy in the Middle East and which has been used to stir up white fright (the use of fears that are amongst White populations towards minority or foreign populations for a particular political end). The spark towards a nationalist surge in Germany has been the goal of NATO going all the way back to the Cold War, so the goal of Operation Gladio is seeing its incarnation.
But lets go back to Venezuela. If US foreign policy acted as a catalyst towards the migration crises in Europe, which helped in the rise of European nationalism, what would US intervention in Venezuela lead to, but another migration crises? Only this time it would not be a problem in Europe but in the US, with scores of migrants wanting to come to the US. And just as the migrant crises of 2015 sparked nationalist and tribalist sentiment, so would a migrant crises from Latin America to the United States also be used as perfect propaganda fodder for American nationalism and tribalism. If the torrent of US policy brings about violence in Venezuela, and you are going to support it, do not be outraged when you see migrants from Venezuela trying to get in through the ports of entry at the border. But you will be surprised, and you will act angry and rageful, and some politician, with a tongue as black as the oil that bleeds out of the earth as much as the bodies killed for oil, will take you in as tools with nationalist jargon and claptrap, only to yet again demonstrate the domination of corporatist and Darwinist interests.