Kennedy and ..... Khomeini??
Just finished reading Robert Dreyfuss' Hostage to Khomeini. It's an interesting book, or at least the first half of it certainly is. Past the midpoint, the book unfortunately drifts off into blanket condemnations of everything which the author does not understand (especially concerning arcane Mideast religious sects like the Sufis). Sweeping generalizations for which little or no supporting evidence is provided are in fact quite characteristic of writers who have been apprenticed into the trade of journalism by the likes of Lyndon LaRouche. Thankfully, however, the first half of the book is packed with enough (accurate) information to make it a worthwhile (if not invaluable) resource.
"Death to America!" (Iran, 1979)
Most students of the 1979 Iranian Revolution concede that this seeming "fundamentalist Islamic, Death-to-the-USA Revolution" was in reality a British-led (i.e., BP and BBC) covert op, with ample support, backup and logistics provided by the unwittingly American taxpayer compliments of the CIA and NSC Director Zbigniew Brzezinski. Broadly speaking, the goals of the covert op were to:
- Renegotiate BP's concessions to the Persian oil fields on "friendly" terms (the concessions were up for renewal in 1978).
- Keep Iran from developing its own technological base, especially in the area of nuclear power.
- Provide price-support for a sagging U.S. dollar by precipitating another "oil embargo" crisis a-la 1973 (thereby inflating global demand for otherwise worthless U.S. Federal Reserve Notes).
U.S. Special Forces led an utterly botched and
pathetic "rescue" attempt on April 24-25, 1980
A more distant goal may have been to pressure West Germany and France away from forming a joint monetary union known as EMS which could have challenged the hegemony of the IMF. There are two schools of thought on why the American hostages were taken at the U.S. Embassy in November 1979. One is that the Carter administration, which had secretly begun shipping arms to Khomeini earlier that year (and which would eventually blossom into Iran-Contra later in the 1980s), was tardy in delivering on some of its promises. The hostages were taken as ransom until Washington could make good on its promised arms shipments. The other school of thought is (again) that Washington "permitted" the hostages to be taken so as to escalate an international crisis, with the goal in mind of driving West Germany and France away from the EMS. Dreyfuss leans towards the latter model, I still haven't made up my mind yet.
It's interesting to note that documents uncovered at the U.S. State Department indicate that central planners in Washington had anticipated entering into financial "recycling" arrangements with Iran as early as 1973 (much like the recycling agreements in place with the Saudi kingdom), although for some reason the Shah never took the bait. Perhaps this too contributed to his downfall.
Italian oil magnate Enrico Mattei was
murdered in a plane crash on Oct 27, 1962
The most interesting revelation from this book, though, is just how long the Shah truly was a thorn in the side of British Petroleum. In 1953, the Italian government formed a state-owned oil company called ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi) and put the flamboyant entrepreneur Enrico Mattei in charge of the venture. The idea was to gradually wean Italy off dependence on the Anglo-American oil consortium (aka, the "Seven Sisters") by developing natural resources and by contracting with outside firms. ENI aggressively pursued oil deals with, among others, the Soviets throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Mattei's sins in Iran go back a long, long way. ENI was in fact the first company to contract for oil concessions with the short-lived, democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh, who came to power in Iran in 1953. Mossadegh was soon thrown out of power in a CIA coup led by Kermit Roosevelt (son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt), but by 1957 Mattei was back in Iran cutting deals with the Shah. Mattei proposed a new joint venture (Societe Irano-Italienne des Petroles, or SIRIP) to develop a previously unexplored 8,800 square-mile area of Iran. The Shah signed the deal in August, 1957, and in March, 1961, Italy's first-ever oil tanker (the "Cortemaggiore") unloaded 18,000 tons of Persian crude at the Italian Adriatic Sea port of Bari.
Washington was, to say the least, very alarmed.
The original orders to take out the Shah and put Khomeini in
power came in 1962 from President John F. Kennedy himself.
The Anglo-American oil cartel promptly swung into high gear to counter the growing threat. In early 1961, soon after assuming the presidency, Kennedy sent Averell Harriman (of Bush-Nazi banking fame) to Iran to present U.S. demands to the Shah. The demands were quite simple: don't cut any deals with the Soviets, and don't cut any deals with Italy's ENI. Perhaps because Iran has been a defacto British protectorate (or, perhaps, colony) ever since 1905 and perhaps because it was the CIA that brought the Shah to power in the first place in 1953, Washington thought it appropriate to pursue "diplomacy" -- at least initially -- with Tehran in this case. As fate would have it, Mattei was not nearly so lucky: the head of ENI soon met with an untimely death later the next year (1962) in a plane crash over Lombardy, Italy.
During his 1961 meeting with the Shah in Iran, Harriman forced the Shah to accept Ali Amini, a Washington puppet, as his new prime minister. Predictably, Amini and the Shah did not exactly hit it off, and in 1962 the Shah traveled to propose a new deal to Kennedy: the Shah would oust Ali Amini as his prime minister, but henceforth he (the Shah) would take his marching orders directly from Washington. Kennedy agreed. Upon his return to Iran, the Shah promptly fired Amini, and -- just as promptly -- reneged on his end of the bargain, enraging Kennedy in the process.
Long gas lines once again graced America's cities and
streets following Khomeini's 1979 Revolution
At this point, a man named Teymour Bakhtiar enters the picture. Bakhtiar was a known asset of British intelligence and was appointed (by the British) as the head of Iran's deaded secret police, the SAVAK, in 1957 (shortly following the putsch that brought the Shah, and British Petroleum along with him, back into power). Bakhtiar was dismissed from his post in 1961 by a suspicious Shah, and later fled to Switzerland in 1962 when directly confronted, face-to-face, by the Shah with evidence of his treason.
Later that same year (1962), President Kennedy called General Bakhtiar to Washington for a high level strategy session. The ostensible reason for Bakhtiar's trip from Switzerland was to receive medical treatment, but his first stop in the U.S. was at the Kennedy White House. The subject of the meeting was how to undercut the Shah's power in Iran. The means they settled on to accomplish this goal: a man now known to history as Ruhollah Khomeini.
And lo and behold! 1963 would find the Ayatollah Khomeini back in Iran, leading the charge against the Shah's industrial modernization program (dubbed the "White Revolution").
And what of the poor Enrico Mattei? How do we know that it was the CIA that was behind his untimely murder, and not just some random act of God? Consider the following facts:
- Earlier in 1962, his plane had been deliberately sabotaged. The sabotage was discovered at the last moment, by chance, by his pilot.
- Immediately upon Mattei's death, CIA Station Chief in Italy, Thomas Karamessines, suddenly disappeared and fled the country (although he would later surface to make a cameo appearance in Chile during Henry Kissinger's September 11, 1973 overthrow of the democratically-elected Allende government).
- Karamessines detailed report on Mattei's death, dated October 28, 1962, remains classified as "top secret" by the U.S. Government to this day.
- Perhaps slightly less suspicious, although still noteworthy, is that Director of Central Intelligence at the time, John McCone, had a stake in Standard Oil of California (Chevron) worth over $1 million (1962 dollars).