Posts Tagged ‘Arab oil embargo’

h1

BCCI bankrolled the father of the “Islamic bomb”

March 15, 2013

Founded by a Pakistani banker with prominent Gulf investors, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) became a depository of wealth acquired by Arab officials during the oil embargo against the U.S. in the 1970s.

BCCI took their profits and invested in fraudulent enterprises.  According to History Commons, BCCI also set up a charitable foundation in the 1980s which gave most of its money to A.Q. Khan, the scientist created the first nuclear bomb ever possessed by an Islamic country—Pakistan:

1981 and After: BCCI Charity Front Funnels Money to A. Q. Khan’s Nuclear Program

In 1981, the criminal BCCI bank sets up a charity called the BCCI Foundation. Pakistani Finance Minister Ghulam Ishaq Khan grants it tax-free status, and it supposedly spends millions on charitable purposes. Khan serves as the chairman of the foundation while also running the books for A. Q. Khan’s Kahuta Research Laboratories. Ghulam Ishaq Khan will be president of Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. (Levy and Scott-Clark, 2007, pp. 126-127) BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi announces that he will donate up to 90% of BCCI’s profits to charity through the foundation, and he develops a positive reputation from a few well-publicized charitable donations. But the charity is actually used to shelter BCCI profits. Most of the money it raises goes to A. Q. Khan’s nuclear program and not to charitable causes. For instance, in 1987 it gives a single $10 million donation to an institute headed by A. Q. Khan. Millions more go to investments in a front company owned by BCCI figure Ghaith Pharaon. (Beaty and Gwynne, 1993, pp. 290-291) An investigation by the Los Angeles Times will reveal that less than 10% of the money went to charity. (Los Angeles Times, 8/9/1991) BCCI uses other means to funnel even more money into A. Q. Khan’s nuclear program.

Later on, Khan sold nuclear secrets to rogue regimes to develop their own nuclear programs.  BCCI has also been implicated in financial deals with Osama Bin Laden, and Khan’s men may have shared nuclear information with Al Qaeda.

Just a few weeks ago, Khan, who formed a political party of his own, announced a coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.  What could go wrong?

Thanks to Twitter user @RushetteNY for suggesting coverage related to this topic.

Advertisements
h1

Golden Chain document named Sheikh Yamani

October 17, 2012

Elderly Arab male in suit with dyed hair and goatee

Sheikh Ahmad Turki Zaki Yamani served as Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia (1962-86), OPEC Secretary General (1968-69), and as a former director of Saudi Aramco.  Sheikh Yamani played a central role in the 1973 Arab oil shock.

But the Arab oil embargo wasn’t Sheikh Yamani’s only act of economic aggression against the West.  If you accept the credibility of the Golden Chain document which named the financial sponsors of Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11, then Yamani is also culpable for funding Al Qaeda.

Additional background on both Yamani’s role in the embargo and the eventual discovery of the Golden Chain document comes to us from the website calibratedconfidence.com:

…The 1970s oil embargo is evidence enough that the U.S. economy is vulnerable to attack by politically motivated financial operators. BCCI [Bank of Credit and Commerce International] co-founder Sheikh al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi initiated the embargo as a way to retaliate against the United States for providing military aid to Israel, which had just fought a coalition of Arab states in a war that broke out in October 1973. As Sheikh al-Nahyan has said, the idea for retaliating against the United States with an embargo came to him in consultations with his BCCI co-founder, Abedi.

The details of the plan were worked out with Sheikh Ahmad Turki Yamani, then the Saudi minister of petroleum; and Sheikh Abdel Hadir Taher, the governor of the Saudi state oil company Petromin. Both of those Sheikhs were also shareholders in BCCI. And the mammoth oil profits that these Sheikhs earned from the embargo were, to a large extent, delivered to BCCI, which opened for business just before the embargo went into effect. It was, in fact, this new oil money that made BCCI a powerhouse in the world of finance and a giant criminal enterprise capable of plundering the U.S. economy throughout the latter half of the 1970s and the 1980s.

Henry Kissinger once said that the oil embargo was “one of the pivotal events in the history of the [twentieth] century.” Kissinger was not referring to BCCI, but the emergence of BCCI as destructive criminal element was certainly an important outcome. And it is not out of the question that some of the acts that BCCI subsequently perpetrated against the United States were, like the oil embargo, motivated to some extent by ideology and the by the resentment that the sheikhs felt as a result of the 1973 Arab war with Israel. After all, a principal tenet of both Salafi Islam (the brand of Islam subscribed to by the sheikhs behind both BCCI and the oil embargo) and radical Shiite Islam (subscribed to by a number of BCCI’s key executives) is that Muslims should fight their enemies by “plundering their money.”

Regardless of what the motives of BCCI’s founders were in the past, it is clear that most of them are, to this day, major players in the global financial system. They have more than enough firepower to inflict damage on the U.S. markets. And, as the French intelligence report noted, “directors and cadres of the bank [BCCI] and its affiliates, arms merchants, oil merchants, Saudi investors” have been among the most important financial supporters of America’s Enemy Number One – Al Qaeda.

By way of introducing just a few of the billionaire BCCI figures who support Al Qaeda, I need to relate a story about Benevolence International, the Al Qaeda front that was accused by the U.S. government of having contacts with people trying to obtain nuclear weapons for Osama bin Laden.

* * * * * * * *

In 2002, U.S. soldiers stationed in Sarajevo raided the local offices of Benevolence International and found a document that referred to the “Golden Chain” – an elite club of twenty Saudi billionaires whom Osama bin Laden had identified as his most important financiers. These financiers not only delivered large sums of money to the prospective nuclear weapons proliferators at Benevolence International, but can correctly be understood to have been among Al Qaeda’s founding fathers.

Some highly regarded authors, such as Steve Coll, who is otherwise quite reliable (though arguably a bit over-reliant on his Saudi sources), have suggested that the Golden Chain members funded Al Qaeda only in its early years. This is false. Most of them continued to support Al Qaeda after bin Laden declared war against the United States and after Al Qaeda carried out the 9-11 attacks.

The Golden Chain document has, meanwhile, received virtually no attention from the media, perhaps because it would seem a bit “crazy” to suggest that Al Qaeda is a movement whose most important operatives are not rag-tag fringe fanatics living in caves, but rather the crème de la crème of Saudi society – the people who control much of the world’s oil wealth, the people who own the most powerful manufacturing conglomerates, and the biggest Saudi banks, and the biggest hedge funds, and the biggest stock brokerages, and the Saudi stock exchange itself.

One of the names on the Golden Chain list?  Sheikh Yamani himself.  Yamani struck at us once through the Arab oil embargo.  Is it so hard to believe that he would have attempted an encore performance by funding Osama bin Laden?

h1

Blistered by the Arab oil embargo

October 16, 2012
Price controls caused run on service stations

Gas station line during the Arab oil embargo

Thirty-nine years ago today, OPEC announced the price hikes that would result in the oil crisis of 1973.  U.S. attempts to limit the price of gasoline resulted in supply shortages and long lines at American gas stations.  The instigators of the Arab oil embargo were rewarded for their mischief-making by obtaining concessions on Israeli troop withdrawals negotiated by the U.S.

Here’s the official history from the State Department:

The OPEC Oil Embargo, which lasted from October 1973 to March 1974, posed a major threat to the U.S. economy. Moreover, the Nixon Administration’s efforts to address the effects of the embargo ultimately presented the United States with many foreign policy challenges.

During the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced an embargo against the United States in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military during the war. OPEC members also extended the embargo to other countries that supported Israel. The embargo both banned petroleum exports to the targeted nations and introduced cuts in oil production. Several years of negotiations between oil producing nations and oil companies had already destabilized a decades-old system of oil pricing, and thus the OPEC embargo was particularly effective.

Implementation of the embargo, and the changing nature of oil contracts, set off an upward spiral in oil prices that had global implications. The price of oil per barrel doubled, then quadrupled, leading to increased costs for consumers world-wide and to the potential for budgetary collapse in less stable economies. Since the embargo coincided with a devaluation of the dollar, a global recession appeared imminent. U.S. allies in Europe and Japan had stockpiled oil supplies and thus had a short term cushion, but the longer term possibility of high oil prices and recession created a strong rift within the Atlantic alliance. European nations and Japan sought to disassociate themselves from the U.S. Middle East policy. The United States, which faced growing oil consumption and dwindling domestic reserves and was more reliant on imported oil than ever before, had to negotiate an end to the embargo from a weaker international position. To complicate the situation, OPEC had linked an end to the embargo to successful U.S. efforts to create peace in the Middle East.

To address these developments the United States announced Project Independence to promote domestic energy independence. It also engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts among its allies, promoting a consumers’ union that would provide strategic depth and a consumers’ cartel to control oil pricing. Both of these efforts were only partially successful.

The Nixon Administration also began a parallel set of negotiations with OPEC members to end the embargo, and with Egypt, Syria, and Israel to arrange an Israeli pull back from the Sinai and the Golan Heights. By January 18, 1974 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had negotiated an Israeli troop withdrawal from parts of the Sinai. The promise of a negotiated settlement between Israel and Syria was sufficient to convince OPEC members to lift the embargo in March 1974. By May, Israel agreed to withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Rather than supporting energy independence that would prevent American foreign policy from being held hostage by the Arab world again, Democrats and environmentalists have continued limiting energy production at every turn over the years by prohibiting ANWAR drilling, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, imposing a moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling, pushing for heavy taxes on oil companies and gasoline, keeping excessively long permitting processes for building new oil refineries or authorizing hydraulic fracturing, and by fabricating doomsday scenarios about peak oil.