Why, exactly, did we go to war in the Gulf? The answer remains
murky, but perhaps we can find one explanation by examining the
strong and ominous Kuwait Connection in our government. (I am indebted
to an excellent article in an obscure New York tabloid, Downtown,
by Bob Feldman, "The Kissinger Affair," March 27.) The Sabahklatura
that runs the Kuwait government is immensely wealthy, to the tune
of hundreds of billions of dollars, derived from tax/"royalty" loot
extracted from oil producers simply because the Sabah tribe claims
"sovereignty" over that valuable chunk of desert real estate. The
Sabah tribe has no legitimate claim to the oil revenue; it did nothing
to homestead or mix its labor or any other resource with the crude
It is reasonable to assume that the Sabah family stands ready to
use a modest portion of that ill-gotten wealth to purchase defenders
and advocates in the powerful United States. We now focus our attention
on the sinister but almost universally Beloved figure of Dr. Henry
Kissinger, a lifelong spokesman, counselor, and servitor of the
Rockefeller World Empire. Kissinger is so Beloved, in fact, that
whenever he appears on Nightline or Crossfire he appears
alone, since it seems to be lese-majeste (or even blasphemy)
for anyone to contradict the Great One's banal and ponderous Teutonic
pronouncements. Only a handful of grumblers and malcontents on the
extreme right and extreme left disturb this cozy consensus.
In 1954, the 31-year-old Kissinger, a Harvard political scientist
and admirer of Metternich, was plucked out of his academic obscurity
to become lifelong foreign policy advisor to New York Governor Nelson
Aldrich Rockefeller. Doctor K continued in that august role until
he assumed the mastery of foreign policy throughout the Nixon and
Ford administrations. In that role, Kissinger played a major part
in prolonging and extending the Vietnam War, and in the mass murder
of civilians entailed by the terror bombings of Vietnam, the secret
bombing of Cambodia, and the invasion of Laos.
Since leaving office in 1977, Dr. Kissinger has continued to play
a highly influential role in U.S. politics, in the U.S. media, and
in the Rockefeller world empire. It was Kissinger, along with David
Rockefeller, who was decisive in the disastrous decision of President
Carter to admit the recently toppled Shah of Iran, old friend and
ally of the Rockefellers into the United States, a decision that
led directly to the Iranian hostage crisis and to Carter's downfall.
Today, Kissinger still continues to serve as a trustee of the powerful
Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as a counselor to Rockefellers' Chase
Manhattan Bank, and as a member of Chase's International Advisory
Committee. Kissinger's media influence is evident from his having
served on the board of CBS, Inc., and having been a paid consultant
to both NBC News and ABC News. That takes care of all three networks.
But Kissinger's major, and most lucrative role, has come as head
of Kissinger Associates in New York City, founded on a loan obtained
in 1982 from the international banking firm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus
and Company. Nominally, Kissinger Associates (KA) is an "international
consulting firm" but "consultant" covers many sins, and in KA's
case, this means international political influence-peddling for
its two dozen or so important corporate clients. In the fullest
report on KA, Leslie Gelb in the New York Times Magazine
for April 20, 1986, reveals that, in that year, 25 to 30 corporations
paid KA between $150,000 and $420,000 each per annum for political
influence and access." As Gelb blandly puts it: "The superstar international
consultants [at KA] were certainly people who would get their telephone
calls returned from high American government officials and who would
also be able to get executives in to see foreign leaders." I dare
say a lot more than mere access could be gained thereby. KA's offices
in New York and Washington are small, but they pack a powerful punch.
(Is it mere coincidence that KA's Park Avenue headquarters is in
the same building as the local office of Chase Manhattan Bank's
subsidiary, the Commercial Bank of Kuwait?)
Who were these "superstar international consultants?" One of them,
who in 1986 was the vice chairman of KA, is none other than General
Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor under President
Ford, and, playing the exact same role under George Bush, serving
as the chief architect of the Gulf War. One of the General's top
clients was Kuwait's government-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation,
who paid Scowcroft for his services at least from 1984 through 1986.
In addition, Scowcroft became a director of Santa Fe International
(SFI) in the early 1980s, not long after SFI was purchased by the
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation in 1981. Joining Scowcroft on the SFI
board was Scowcroft's old boss, Gerald Ford. One of SFI's activities
is drilling oil wells in Kuwait, an operation which, of course,
had to be suspended after the Iraq invasion.
Brent Scowcroft, it is clear, has enjoyed a long-standing and lucrative
Kuwait connection. Is it a coincidence that it was Scowcroft's National
Security Council presentation on August 3, 1990, which according
to the New York Times (February 21) "crystallized people's
thinking and galvanized support" for a "strong response" to the
Iraq invasion of Kuwait?
Scowcroft, by the way, does not exhaust the Republican administrations'
revolving door among Kissinger Associates. Another top KA official,
Lawrence Eagleburger, undersecretary of state under Reagan, has
returned to high office after a stint at KA as deputy secretary
of state under George Bush.
Also vitally important at KA are the members of its board of directors.
One director is T. Jefferson Cunningham III, who is also a director
of the Midland Bank of Britain, which has also been a KA client.
The fascinating point here is that 10.5 percent of this $4 billion
bank is owned by the Kuwait government. And Kissinger, as head of
KA, is of course concerned to advance the interests of his clients
which include the Midland Bank and therefore the government
of Kuwait. Does this connection have anything to do with Kissinger's
ultra-hawkish views on the Gulf War? In the meantime, Kissinger
continues to serve on President Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board, which gives Kissinger not only a channel for giving advice
but also gives him access to national security information which
could prove useful to KA's corporate clients.
Another KA client is the Fluor Corporation, which has a special
interest in Saudi Arabia. Shortly before the August 2 invasion,
Saudi Arabia decided to launch a $30 to $40 billion project to expand
oil production, and granted two huge oil contracts to the Parson
and Fluor corporations. (New York Times, August 21)
One member of KA's board of directors is ARCO Chairman Robert O.
Anderson; ARCO, also one of KA's clients, is engaged in joint oil-exploration
and oil-drilling in offshore China with Santa Fe International,
the subsidiary of the Kuwait government.
Other KA board members are William D. Rogers, undersecretary of
state in the Eisenhower administration, and long-time leading Dewey-Rockefeller
Republican in New York; former Citibank (Rockefeller) Chairman Edward
Palmer; and Eric Lord Roll, economist and chairman of the board
of the London international banking house of S.F. Warburg.
Perhaps the most interesting KA board member is one of the most
Beloved figures in the conservative movement, William E. Simon,
secretary of treasury in the Nixon and Ford administrations. When
Simon left office in 1977, he became a consultant to the Bechtel
Corporation, which has had the major massive construction contracts
to build oil refineries and cities in Saudi Arabia. In addition,
Simon became a consultant to Suliman Olayan, one of the wealthiest
and most powerful businessmen in Saudi Arabia. Long a close associate
of the oil-rich Saudi royal family, Olayan had served Bechtel well
by getting it the multi-billion contract to build the oil city of
Jubail. In 1980, furthermore, Olayan hired William Simon to be chairman
of two investment firms owned jointly by himself and the influential
Saudi Prince Khaled al Saud.
Bechtel, the Rockefellers, and the Saudi royal family have long
had an intimate connection. After the Saudis granted the Rockefeller
dominated Aramco oil consortium the monopoly of oil in Saudi Arabia,
the Rockefellers brought their pals at Bechtel in on the construction
contracts. The Bechtel Corporation, of course, has also contributed
George Shultz and Cap Weinberger to high office in Republican administrations.
To complete the circle, KA director Simon's former boss Suliman
Olayan was, in 1988, the largest shareholder in the Chase Manhattan
Bank after David Rockefeller himself.
The pattern is clear. An old New Left slogan held that "you don't
need a weatherman to tell you how the wind is blowing." In the same
way, you don't need to be a "conspiracy theorist" to see what's
going on here. All you have to do is be willing to use your eyes.