Rothschild Banking Empire

by Edward Griffin

3 July 2005

To achieve an understanding of what you are about to read will require certain background information. Unfortunately there is no quick write-bite that can impart the necessary understanding, therefore I have included Chapter 11 of G. Edward Griffin's book The Creature From Jekyll Island. If you have not yet read this book I would suggest you obtain a copy and read it in its entirety. It is the undoubtedly one of the clearest and most concise books ever written on the subjects of money and banking.

Arch Stanton

Chapter Eleven


The rise of the House of Rothschild in Europe; the tradition among financiers of profiting from both sides of armed conflict; the formula by which war is converted into debt and debt converted back into war.

So far we have adhered closely to the subject of money and the history of its manipulation by political and monetary scientists. Now we are going to take a short detour along a parallel path and view some of the same historical scenery from a different perspective. As we progress, it may seem that we have lost our way, and you may wonder what connection any of this can possibly have with the Federal Reserve System. Please be assured, however, it has everything to do with it, and, when we finally return to that topic, the connection will have become painfully clear.


The focus of this chapter is on the profits of war and, more specifically, the tendency of those who reap those profits to manipulate governments into military conflicts, not for national or patriotic reasons, but for private gain. The mechanism by which this was accomplished in the past was more complex than simply lending money to warring governments and then collecting interest, although that was part of it. The real payoff has always been in the form of political favoritism in the market place. Writing in the year 1937, French historian Richard Lewinsohn explains:

Although often called bankers, those who financed wars in the pre-capitalist period ... were not bankers in the modern sense of the word. Unlike modem bankers who operate with money deposited with them by their clients [or, in more recent times, created out of nothing by a central bank-E.G.], they generally worked with the fortune which they themselves had amassed or inherited, and which they lent at a high rate of interest. Thus those who risked the financing of a war were for the most part already very rich, and this was the case down to the seventeenth century.

When they agreed to finance a war, these rich lenders did not, however, always attach great importance to the rate of interest. In this respect they often showed the greatest compliance to their august clients. But in return they secured for themselves privileges which could be turned into industrial or commercial profit, such as mining concessions, monopolies of sale or importation, etc. Sometimes even they were given the right to appropriate certain taxes as a guarantee of their loans. So though the loan itself carried a very real risk and often did not bring in much interest, the indirect profits were very considerable, and the lenders' leniency well rewarded. 1


No discussion of banking as a mechanism for financing wars would be complete without turning eventually to the name Rothschild. It was Mayer Amschel Rothschild who is quoted as saying: "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws."

Biographer Frederic Morton concluded that the Rothschild dynasty had: "...conquered the world more thoroughly, more cunningly, and much more lastingly than all the Ceasars before or all the Hiders after them." The dynasty was begun in Frankfurt, Germany, in the middle of the eighteenth century by Mayer Amschel Bauer, the son of a goldsmith. Mayer became a clerk in the Oppenheimer Bank in Hanover and was eventually promoted to junior partner. After his father's death, he returned to his home in Frankfurt to continue the fan-Lily business. Over the door hung a red shield with an eagle as a sign to identify the establishment. The German words for red shield are roth schild, so he changed his name from Bauer to Rothschild and added five gold arrows held in the talons of the eagle to represent his five sons.

The Rothschild fortune began when Mayer adopted the practice of fractional-reserve banking. As we have seen, he was not alone in this, but the House of Rothschild greatly surpassed the competition. That was due to his sharp business acumen and also because of his five most unusual sons, all of whom became financial power centers of their own. As they matured and learned the magic of converting debt into money, they moved beyond the confines of Frankfurt and established additional operations in the financial centers, not only of Europe, but of much of the civilized world.

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the brothers conducted important transactions on behalf of the governments of England, France, Prussia, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Naples, Portugal, Brazil, various German states, and other smaller countries. They were the personal bankers of many of the crowned heads of Europe. They made large investments, through agents, in markets as distant as the United States, India, Cuba, and Australia. They were financiers to Cecil Rhodes, making it possible for him to establish a monopoly over the diamond fields of South Africa. They are still connected with the de Beers. Biographer Derek Wilson writes:

"Those who lampooned or vilified the Rothschilds for their "sinister" influence had a considerable amount of justification for their anger and anxiety. The banking community had always constituted a "fifth estate" whose members were able, by their control of royal purse strings, to affect important events. But the house of Rothschild was immensely more powerful than any financial empire that had ever preceded it. It commanded vast wealth. It was international. It was independent. Royal governments were nervous of it because they could not control it. Popular movements hated it because it was not answerable to the people. Constitutionalists resented it because its influence was exercised behind the scenes-secretly."

Secrecy, of course, is essential for the success of a cabal, and the Rothschilds perfected the art. By remaining behind the scenes, they were able to avoid the brunt of public anger which was directed, instead, at the political figures which they largely controlled. This is a technique which has been practiced by financial manipulators ever since, and it is fully utilized by those who operate the Federal Reserve System today. Wilson continues:

Clandestinity was and remained a feature of Rothschild political activity. Seldom were they to be seen engaging in open public debate on important issues. Never did they seek government office. Even when, in later years, some of them entered parliament, they did not feature prominently in the assembly chambers of London, Paris or Berlin. Yet all the while they were helping to shape the major events of the day: by granting or withholding funds; by providing statesmen with an official diplomatic service; by influencing appointments to high office; and by an almost daily intercourse with the great decision makers.


Continual war in Europe created excellent opportunities for profit from smuggling scarce consumer goods past military blockades. Since the Rothschilds often financed both sides in a conflict and were known to have great political influence, the mere sight of the red shield on a leather pouch, a carriage, or a ship's flag was sufficient to insure that the messenger or his cargo could pass through check points in either direction. This immunity allowed them to deal in a thriving black market for cotton goods, yarn, tobacco, coffee, sugar, and indigo; and they moved freely through the borders of Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, Spain, England, and France. This government protection was one of those indirect benefits that generated commercial profits far in excess of the interest received on the underlying government loans.

It is generally true that, one man's loss is another man's gain. And even the friendliest of biographers admit that, for more than two centuries, the House of Rothschild profited handsomely from wars and economic collapses, the very occasions on which others sustained the greatest losses.


If one picture is worth a thousand words, then one example surely must be worth a dozen explanations. There is no better example than the economic war waged by the financiers of nineteenth-century Europe against Napoleon Bonaparte. It is an easily forgotten fact of history that Napoleon had restored law and order to a chaotic, post-revolutionary France and had turned his attention, not to war, but to establishing peace and improving economic conditions at home. He was particularly anxious to get his country and his people out of debt and out of the control of bankers. R. McNair Wilson, in Monarchy or Money Power, says:

It was ordained by him that money should not be exported from France on any pretext whatever except with the consent of the Government, and that in no circumstance should loans be employed to meet current expenditure whether civil or military.... "One has only to consider," Napoleon remarked, "what loans can lead to in order to realize their danger. Therefore, I would never have anything to do with them and have always striven against them."...

The object was to withhold from finance the power to embarrass the Government as it had embarrassed the Government of Louis XVI. When a Government, Bonaparte declared, is dependent for money upon bankers, they and not the leaders of that Government control the situation, since "the hand that gives is above the hand that takes ...... "Money," he declared, "has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency: their sole object is gain."

One of Napoleon's first blows against the bankers was to establish an independent Bank of France with himself as president. But even this bank was not trusted, and government funds were never placed into it. It was his refusal to borrow, however, that caused the most concern among the financiers. Actually, to them this was a mixture of both bad and good news. The bad news was that they were denied the benefit of royalty payments on fractional money. The good news was that, without resorting to debt, they were confident Napoleon could not militarily defend himself. Thus, he easily could be toppled and replaced by Louis XVI of the old monarchic dynasty who was receptive to banker influence. Wilson continues:

They had good hope of compassing his downfall. None believed that he could finance war on a great scale now that the resource of paper money had been denied him by the destruction of the Assignat. Where would he obtain the indispensable gold and silver to feed and equip a great army? Pitt [the Prime Minister of England] counted already on a coalition of England, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Spain,

(The Assignat was pure fiat money which rapidly became totally worthless in commerce and which all but destroyed the French economy.)

Sweden, and numerous small states. Some 600,000 men would be put into the field. All the resources of England's wealth-that is to say, of the world's wealth-would be placed at the disposal of this overwhelming force. Could the Corsican muster 200,000? Could he arm them? Could he feed them? If the lead bullets did not destroy him, the gold bullets would soon make an end. He would be forced, like his neighbors, to come, hat in hand, for loans and, like them, to accept the banker's terms....

He could not put his hands on 2,000,000, so empty was the Treasury and so depleted the nation's stock of metallic money. London waited with interest to see how the puzzle would be solved. Napoleon solved the puzzle quite simply by selling off some real estate. Those crazy Americans gave him E3,000,000 for a vast swamp called Louisiana.


Napoleon did not want war, but he knew that Europe's financial rulers would not settle for peace-unless, of course, they were forced into it by the defeat of their puppet regimes or unless, somehow, it would be to their monetary advantage. It was in pursuit of the latter tactic that he threatened to take direct possession of Holland, which then was ruled by his brother, King Louis.

Napoleon knew that the Dutch were heavily in debt to the English bankers. If Holland were to be annexed by France, this debt would never be repaid. So Napoleon made a proposal to England's bankers that, if they would convince the English government to accept peace with France, he would agree to leave Holland alone.

The negotiations were handled by the banker, Pierre-Cesar Labouchere, who was sent by the Dutch, and the English banker, Sir Francis Baring who was Labouchere's father-in-law. Although this was an attractive proposal to the bankers, at least on a short-term basis, it was still against their nature to forego the immense profits of war and mercantilism. They revised the proposal, therefore, to include a plan whereby both England and France would combine forces to destroy the newly independent United States and bring at least half of it-the industrial half-back under the donmination of England. The incredible plan, conceived by the French banker, Ouvard, called for military invasion and conquest followed by division of the spoils. England would receive the northern states, united with Canada, while the southern states would fall to France. Napoleon was to be tempted by offering him the awesome title of "King of America." McNair Wilson tells us:

Labouchere wrote to Baring on March 21, and enclosed a note for [British Foreign Secretary] Wellesley dictated by Ouvrard which ran:

"From a conqueror he (Napoleon) is becoming a preserver; the first result of his marriage with Marie Louise will be that he will make an offer of peace to England. It is to this nation's (i.e., England's) interest to make peace, for it has the command of the sea; on the contrary, it is really in the interest of France to continue war, which allows her to expand indefinitely and make a fresh fleet, which cannot be done once peace is established. Why does not the English Cabinet make a proposal to France to destroy the United States of America, and by making them again dependent on England, persuade Napoleon to lend his aid to destroy the Iffe-work of Louis XVI?... It is to her (England's) interest to conclude peace and to flatter Napoleon's vanity by recognizing his work and his imperial title ...... The Cabinet discussed the proposals and approved them. Wellesley at once hurried to Baring's house to give him the good news.... The Dutch would be able to pay and would be compelled to pay in gold.

Unhappily Napoleon found out what was afoot and took somewhat strong objections to the plan of a joint attack on the United States. He arrested Ouvrard, dismissed and exiled Fouche, and published the whole story, to the grave distress of Wellesley and Baring.

It must not be concluded from this that Napoleon was a paragon of virtue or a champion of honest money. His objection to the bankers was that their monetary power was able to threaten the sovereignty of his own political power. He allowed them a free hand while they served the purpose of the state. Then, when the need for military financing subsided, he would condemn them for making "unholy profits" and simply take it from them in the name of the people. If the bankers protested, they were sent to prison.

And so the battle lines were drawn. Napoleon had to be destroyed at all costs. To make this possible, the Bank of England created vast new amounts of fiat money to "lend" to the government so it could finance an overpowering army. A steady stream of gold flowed out of the country to finance the armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria. The economy staggered once again under the load of war debt, and the little people paid the bill with hardly a grumble because they hadn't the slightest knowledge it was being charged to their account. Wilson concludes the story:

The bankers won. Louis XVIII was restored by British arms and British diplomacy to the throne of his ancestors. Loans were placed at his disposal, though Napoleon had left a France which enjoyed a credit balance. A year later the man whom every King and every banker in Europe,called "usurper" won back his throne with 800 men and without the firing of a single shot. On this occasion he had no option but to raise a loan for the defense of France. The City of London [banking district] accommodated him with E5,000,000. With this sum he equipped the army which Wellington defeated at Waterloo.


One of the most fascinating and revealing episodes to be recorded by Rothschild biographers concerns the smuggling of a large shipment of gold to finance the Duke of Wellington who was attempting to feed and equip an army in Portugal and in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France.

It was not at all certain that Wellington would be able to defeat Napoleon in the coming battle, and the Duke was hard pressed to convince bankers and merchants in Portugal and Spain to accept his written promises-to-pay, even though they were officially guaranteed by the British government. These notes were deeply discounted, and Wellington was desperate for gold coin. It was at this point that Nathan Rothschild offered the services of himself and his brothers. With an efficient smuggling apparatus already functioning throughout Europe, he was able to offer Wellington much better terms while still making a magnificent profit. But, to accomplish this, the gold had to pass right under Napoleon's nose. Frederic Morton describes the scene:

There was only one way to route the cash: through the very France England's army was fighting. Of course, the Rothschild blockade-running machine already had superb cogs whirring all over Germany, Scandinavia and England, even in Spain and Southern France. But a very foxy new wheel was needed in Napoleon's capital itself., Enter Jacob-henceforth called James-the youngest of Mayer's sons.

James was only nineteen years old but was well trained by his father in the art of deception. He arrived in Paris with a dual mission. First, he was to provide the French authorities with a false report about the British gold movement, with just enough truth in it to sound convincing. He presented the government with falsified letters indicating that the English were desperate to halt the flow of their gold into France. The ploy paid off when the French authorities then actually encouraged the financial community to accept British gold and to convert it into commercially sound banknotes. Second, James was to serve as a vital link in a financial chain stretching between London and the Pyrenees. He was to coordinate the receipt of the gold into France, the conversion of that gold into Spanish banknotes, and the movement of those notes out of the country on their way to Wellington. All of this he did with amazing dexterity, especially considering his youth. Morton concludes:

In the space of a few hundred hours Mayer's youngest had not only gotten the English gold rolling through France, but conjured a fiscal mirage that took in Napoleon himself. A teen-age Rothschild tricked the imperial government into sanctioning the very process that helped to ruin it....

The family machine began to hum. Nathan sent big shipments of British guineas, Portuguese gold ounces, French napoleons d'or (often freshly minted in London) across the Channel. From the coast James saw them to Paris and secretly transmuted the metal into bills on certain Spanish bankers. South of the capital, Kalmann [another of Mayer's sons] materialized, took over the bills, blurred into a thousand shadowed canyons along the Pyrenees-and reappeared, with Wellington's receipts in hand. Salomon [another son] was everywhere, trouble-shooting, making sure the transit points were diffuse and obscure enough not to disturb either the French delusion or the British guinea rate. Amschel stayed in Frankfurt and helped father Mayer to staff headquarters.

The French did catch a few whiffs of the truth. Sometimes the suspicious could be prosperously purged of their suspicion. The police chief of Calais, for example, suddenly was able to live in such distracting luxury that he found it difficult to patrol the shoreline thoroughly....While Napoleon struggled his might away in the Russian Winter, there passed through France itself a gold vein to the army staving in the Empire's back door.

At a dinner party in later years, Nathan casually summed up the episode as though it were merely a good piece of routine business. He said:

"The East India Company had E800,000 worth of gold to sell. I went to the sale and bought it all. I knew the Duke of Wellington must have it. The government sent for me and said they must have the gold. I sold the gold to them, but they didn't know how to get it to the Duke in Portugal. I undertook all that and sent it through France. It was the best business I have ever done."


The final outcome of the battle at Waterloo between Wellington and Napoleon was crucial to Europe both politically and economically. If Napoleon had been victorious, England would have been in even greater economic trouble than before. Not only would she have lost international power and prestige, but even at home, her subjects would have been further disgruntled over such great personal and financial wartime sacrifices. Her defeat almost surely would have resulted in not being able to repay the great amounts she had borrowed to conduct the war. In the London stock exchange, therefore, where British government bonds were traded along with other securities, everyone waited anxiously for news of the outcome.

It was well known that the Rothschilds had developed a private courier service that was used, not only to transport gold and other tangible cargo, but to rapidly move information that could be useful in making investment decisions. It was expected, therefore, that Nathan in London would be the first to know the name of the victor after the cannon smoke had cleared from the battlefield. And they were not to be disappointed. The first news of Wellington's victory arrived in Brussels around midnight on June 18, 1815, where a Rothschild agent named Rothworth was waiting in readiness. He immediately mounted a fresh horse and set off for the port of Ostend where a boat was standing by to speed him across the channel to London. In the early hours of June 20, the exhausted messenger was pounding on Nathan's door, a full twenty-four hours before Wellington's own courier, Major Henry Percy, arrived.

At least one friendly biographer claims that Nathan's first act was to deliver the news to the Prime Minister, but that government officials were hesitant at first to believe it, because it ran contrary to reports they had received previously telling of serious British setbacks. At any rate, there is no doubt that Nathan's second act of the morning was to set off for the stock exchange to take up a position at his usual pillar.

All eyes were upon him as he slumped dejectedly, staring at the floor. Then, he raised his gaze and, with pained expression, began to sell. The whisper went through the crowded room, "Nathan is selling?" "Nathan is selling!" "Wellington must have lost." "Our government bonds will never be repaid." "Sell them now. Sell. Sell!"

Prices tumbled, and Nathan sold again. Prices plummeted, and still Nathan sold. Finally, prices collapsed altogether and, in one quick move, Nathan reversed his call and purchased the entire market in government bonds. In a matter of just a few hours, he had acquired the dominant holding of England's entire debt at but a tiny fraction of its worth.


Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of England, wrote a book in 1844 called Coningsby. It was a political novel in which the author expressed his views about contemporary issues. One of the strong characters in the book was a financier named Sidonia, but every detail of Sidonia's actions was an exact replica of the real Lord Rothschild, whom Disraeli greatly admired. In the guise of a novel, we read about Rothschild's emigration from Germany, his family and banking ties throughout Europe, his handling of the gold for Wellington, and his financial coup after Waterloo. Then Disraeli wrote:

"Europe did require money, and Sidonia was ready to lend it to Europe. France wanted some; Austria more; Prussia a little; Russia a few millions. Sidonia could furnish them all.... It is not difficult to conceive that, after having pursued the career we have intimated for about ten years, Sidonia had become one of the most considerable personages in Europe. He had established a brother, or a near relative, in whom he could confide, in most of the principal capitals. He was lord and master of the money market of the world, and of course virtually lord and master of everything else. He literally held the revenues of Southern Italy in pawn; and monarchs and ministers of all countries courted his advice and were guided by his suggestions."

That Disraeli was not exaggerating was made clear by the boast of James Rothschild himself. When U.S. Treasury agents approached him in Paris in 1842 with a request for a loan to the American government, he said to them: "You have seen the man who is at the head of the finances of Europe."

There have always been men who were in a position to make private fortunes out of cooperating with both sides in a war. The Rothschilds were not unique in this, but they no doubt perfected the art and became the personification of that breed. They were not necessarily evil in a moral sense. What preoccupied their minds were not questions of right or wrong but of profit and loss. This analytical indifference to human suffering was aptly described by one Rothschild when he said: "When the streets of Paris are running with blood, I buy. " They may have held citizenship in the country of their residence, but patriotism was beyond their comprehension. They were also very bright, if not cunning, and these combined traits made them the role model of the cool pragmatists who dominate the political and financial world of today. Disraeli well described this type when he wrote of Sidonia:

He was a man without affections. It would be harsh to say he had no heart, for he was susceptible of deep emotions, but not for individuals.... The individual never touched him. Woman was to him a toy, man a machine. It would seem that an absence of patriotism and a cold, analytical outlook would lead financiers to avoid making loans to governments, particularly foreign ones. Private borrowers can be hauled into court and their assets confiscated to make good on their debts. But governments control the legalized use of force. They are the courts. They are the police. Who will seize their assets? The answer is another government. Speaking of a relatively modern example of this principle, Ron Chernow explains:

The new alliance [between the monetary and political scientists] was mutually advantageous. Washington wanted to harness the new financial power to coerce foreign governments into opening their markets to American goods or adopting pro-American policies. The banks, in turn, needed levers to force debt repayment and welcomed the government's police powers in distant places. The threat of military intervention was an excellent means by which to speed loan repayment. When Kuhn, Loeb considered a loan to the Dominican Republic, backed by customs receipts, Jacob Schiff inquired of his London associate Sir Ernest Cassel, "If they do not pay, who will collect these customs duties?" Cassel replied, "Your marines and ours."

One of the great puzzles of history is why governments always go into debt and seldom attempt to put themselves on a "pay-as-you-go" basis. A partial answer is that kings and politicians lack the courage to tax their subjects the enormous sums that would be required under such an arrangement. There is also the deeper question of why the expenditures are so high in the first place.

Given the mentality of the world's financial lords and masters, as Disraeli described them, it is conceivable that a coldly calculated strategy has been developed over the years to insure this result. In fact, the historical evidence strongly suggests that just such a plan was developed in eighteenth-century Europe and perfected in twentieth-century America. For the purposes of hypothetical analysis, let us identify this strategy as The Rothschild Formula.


Let us imagine a man who is totally pragmatic. He is smarter and more cunning than most men and, in fact, holds them in thinly disguised contempt. He may respect the talents of a few, but has little concern over the condition of mankind. He has observed that kings and politicians are always fighting over something or other and has concluded that wars are inevitable. He also has learned that wars can be profitable, not only by lending or creating themoney to finance them, but from government favoritism in the granting of commercial subsidies or monopolies. He is not capable of such a primitive feeling as patriotism, so he is free to participate in the funding of any side in any conflict, limited only by factors of self interest. If such a man were to survey the world around him, it is not difficult to imagine that he would come to the following conclusions which would become the prime directives of his career:

1. War is the ultimate discipline to any government. If it can successfully meet the challenge of war, it will survive. If it cannot, it will perish. All else is secondary. The sanctity of its laws, the prosperity of its citizens, and the solvency of its treasury will be quickly sacrificed by any government in its primal act of self-survival.

2. All that is necessary, therefore, to insure that a government will maintain or expand its debt is to involve it in war or the threat of war. The greater the threat and the more destructive the war, the greater the need for debt.

3. To involve a country in war or the threat of war, it will be necessary for it to have enemies with credible military might. If such enemies already exist, all the better. If they exist but lack military strength, it will be necessary to provide them the money to build their war machine. If an enemy does not exist at all, then it will be necessary to create one by financing the rise of a hostile regime.

4. The ultimate obstacle is a government which declines to finance its wars through debt. Although this seldom happens, when it does, it will be necessary to encourage internal political opposition, insurrection, or revolution to replace that government with one that is more compliant to our will. The assassination of heads of state could play an important role in this process.

5. No nation can be allowed to remain militarily stronger than its adversaries, for that could lead to peace and a reduction of debt. To accomplish this balance of power, it may be necessary to finance both sides of the conflict. Unless one of the combatants is hostile to our interests and, therefore, must be destroyed, neither side should be allowed a decisive victory or defeat. While we must always proclaim the virtues of peace, the unspoken objective is perpetual war.

Whether anyone actually put this strategy into words or passed it along from generation to generation is not important. In fact, it is doubtful it has ever worked that way. Whether it is the product of conscious planning or merely the consequence of men responding to the profit opportunities inherent in fiat money, the world's financial lords have acted as though they were following such a plan, and this has become especially apparent since the creation of the central-bank Mandrake Mechanism three centuries ago.

The "balance-of-power" question is particularly intriguing. Most history texts present the concept as though it were some kind of natural, social phenomenon which, somehow, has worked to the benefit of mankind. The implication is that it's just wonderful how, after all those European wars, no nation was strong enough to completely dominate the others. When the United States emerged from World War II with exactly such power, it was widely deplored, and massive political /financial mechanisms such as foreign aid and disarmament were set in motion to restore the balance. This has become almost a revered doctrine of international democracy. But the overlooked consequence of this sentimental notion is that wars "between equals" have become the permanent landscape of history.

This does not mean that every war-like group that comes along will find easy financing from the lords and masters. It depends on whom they threaten and how likely they are to succeed. In 1830, for example, the Dutch were facing an uprising of their subjects in Belgium. Both the ruling government and the revolutionaries were dependent upon the Rothschilds for financing their conflict. The Dutch rulers were reliable customers for loans and, just as important, they were reliable in their payment of interest on those loans. It would have been foolhardy to provide more than token assistance to the rebels who, if they came to power, quite likely would have refused to honor the debts of the former puppet regime. Salomon Rothschild explained:

"These gentlemen should not count on us unless they decide to follow a line of prudence and moderation.... Our goodwill does not yet extend to the point of putting clubs into the hands that would beat us, that is, lending money to make war and ruin the credit that we sustain with all our efforts and all our means."

After the revolution was resolved by negotiation rather than by arms, the new government in Brussels was a natural target for financial takeover. James Rothschild laid out the strategy that has become the model of such operations ever since:

Now is the moment of which we should take advantage to make ourselves absolute masters of that country's finances. The first step will be to establish ourselves on an intimate footing with Belgium's new Finance Minister, to gain his confidence ... and to take all the treasury bonds he may offer us.


Wars, great and small, have always been a plague to Europe, but it was not until they were easy to finance through central banking and fiat money that they became virtually perpetual. For example, the following war chronicle begins immediately following the formation of the Bank of England which, as you recall, was created for the specific purpose of financing a war:

1689-1697 The War of the League of Augsberg

1702-1713 The War of Spanish Succession

1739-1742 The War of Jenkin's Ear

1744-1748 The War of Austrian Succession

1754-1763 The French and Indian War 1793-1801

The War against Revolutionary France 1803-1815

The Napoleonic Wars

In addition to these European conflicts, there also were two wars with America: the War for Independence and the War of 1812. In the 126 years between 1689 and 1815, England was at war 63 of them. That is one out of every two years in combat. The others were spent preparing for combat.

The mark of the Rothschild Formula is unmistakable in these conflicts. The monetary scientists often were seen financing both sides. Whether ending in victory or defeat, the outcome merely preserved or restored the European "balance of power." And the most permanent result of any of these wars was expanded government debt for all parties.


By the end of the eighteenth century, the House of Rothschild had become one of the most successful financial institutions the world has ever known. Its meteoric rise can be attributed to the great industry and shrewdness of the five brothers who established themselves in various capitals of Europe and forged the world's first international financial network. As pioneers in the practice of lending money to governments, they soon learned that this provided unique opportunities to parlay wealth into political power as well. Before long, most of the princes and kings of Europe had come within their influence.

The Rothschilds also had mastered the art of smuggling on a grand scale, often with the tacit approval of the governments whose laws they violated. This was perceived by all parties as an unofficial bonus for providing needed funding to those same governments, particularly in time of war. The fact that different branches of the Rothschild network also might be providing funds for the enemy was pragmatically ignored. Thus, a time-honored practice among financiers was born: profiting from both sides.

The Rothschilds operated a highly efficient intelligence gathering system which provided them with advance knowledge of important events, knowledge which was invaluable for investment decisions. When an exhausted Rothschild courier delivered the first news of the Battle of Waterloo, Nathan was able to deceive the London bond traders into a selling panic, and that allowed him to acquire the dominant holding of England's entire debt at but a tiny fraction of its worth.

A study of these and similar events reveals a personality profile, not just of the Rothschilds, but of that special breed of international financiers whose success typically is built upon certain character traits. Those include cold objectivity, immunity to patriotism, and indifference to the human condition. That profile is the basis for proposing a theoretical strategy, called the Rothschild Formula, which motivates such men to propel governments into war for the profits they yield. This formula most likely has never been consciously phrased as it appears here, but subconscious motivations and personality traits work together to implement it nevertheless. As long as the mechanism of central banking exists, it will be to such men an irresistible temptation to convert debt into perpetual war and war into perpetual debt.


Now that you have a thorough understanding of the Rothschild formula and exactly what war represents to the bankers and financiers, here is an article that has a very nice summation of the current economic situation in America. More importantly this article describes the evolving adversarial relationship between America and China.




By: Al Cronkrite

Decades ago when American industry was thriving and unions were strong, General Motors (GM) succumbed to the United Autoworkers demands for yearly wage increases and generous retirement benefits for their workers. The costs were passed on to consumers in higher automobile prices. As the ravages of contrived globalism impacted the market and foreign manufacturers unencumbered by exorbitant labor costs became a factor, price competition tugged at the noose that threatened to hang the industry.

Now GM has reported a loss of over a billion dollars for the first quarter of 2005 and blames the cost of health insurance for over a million employees, retirees and dependents as a large factor.

Since what once was good for GM was considered good for the nation the opposite must also be valid since the Federal Government finds itself in a similar situation with total unfunded indebtedness of $53 Trillion. These figures tend to stifle the mind, but it is pertinent to point out that $11 Trillion is equal to the entire Gross Domestic Product of the nation. The 53 Trillion obligation amounts to $473,456 per household. Like GM this increase is largely attributed to under funding Social Security and Medicaid obligations.

Back in 1971 Ping-Pong diplomacy seemed like an innocent way to foster a dialogue with the reclusive Chinese. After all it was a game in which they excelled and it would provide them an arena to exhibit their prowess. Purposely overshadowed by Ping-Pong diplomacy was the secret visit to Premier Chou En-lai by procurer Henry Kissinger setting the stage for President Nixon's adulterous negotiation.

It was this meeting that created what may now be GM's panacea. Unfortunately there is no such alternative for the nation itself, it is mired in a debt that must be shouldered by the hapless citizens who allowed it to be incurred.

If GM declares bankruptcy and closes its American operations leaving the employees that built the company with little or nothing, there is a possibility GM may re-invent itself in China becoming a low cost competitor to the Japanese and others that have been violating American markets. GM is not a newcomer to China's economy. They already employ over 13,000 Chinese workers and have an excellent reputation as a high quality automaker. Their Web page claims the relationship goes back 80 years.

In 2004, GM sold 492,014 vehicles from its Chinese operations. The 386,000 vehicles sold in 2003 produced a profit of $437 million compared to a U.S. profit of $811 million on 5.6 million units! Profits for the first quarter of 2004 came in several hundred percent higher creating a gigantic profit differential between the Chinese market and the competitive US market. In China there are currently 8 vehicles per 1000 residents as compared to 584 in Europe and 940 in America. The potential is huge. GM plans to produce 1.3 million vehicles in China by 2007.

As long as GM's American operation is viable the union will not allow Chinese built GM cars to be sold in America. However, it is obvious that bankrupting the American operations would be a brilliant strategic move offering the opportunity to get out from under a huge pension and healthcare obligation and eventually to supply the American market from China.

Our government has a stopgap organization called the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). It was created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 which protects many private-sector pension plans by securing funds from healthy company plans to support those that fail. However, there is a limit to the viability of this plan and when that limit is reached, guess who will pick up the tab. You guessed it - the American taxpayer.

It appears this little known government agency will become much more active and better know as more large American corporations are forced to opt out of their responsibilities. United Airlines has already defaulted on a $9.8 billion obligation to 134,000 employees and other air carriers are destined to follow suit. If GM goes under their health care tab is in the $5.6 billion dollar range.

In March 1, 2005 testimony Bradley D. Belt, Executive director of PBGC, estimated that as of late last year the total underfunding of insured single-employer plans was over $450 billion, the largest in history.

For those who despise corporate welfare the foundering of these plans might be considered beneficial but for those who planned on their support it is an entirely different matter. The manufacturing sector which is being purposely eliminated has by far the largest rate of default and workers who have spent their entire lives working and accumulating retirement assets will receive far less from PBGC than they were promised by the original plan. There will be no health care, severance pay, vacation pay or insurance.

Following World War II when China was remote and conflicted, the opinion was commonly expressed that China would be the next nation to be feared. Today, it appears that prediction is coming true. China is home to a billion industrious people. Many have never experienced the sweet taste of affluence but burning in their breast is the fire of hope and with their mind's eye they see a vision of progress.

This industrial inferno is being fueled by America's lifeblood and the flow was begun by the cancer of American leadership. The disease has metastasized and the blood flow is now greater. Not only are our jobs being exported but along with them our wealth is going as well. The Trade Deficit provides a gage to the massive flow of dollars over the Pacific and the huge leverage this transfer brings to the Chinese. The massive dollar deficit combined with the loss of an increasing number of corporate entities promises to reduce the nation to poverty.

Like United Airlines, General Motors may be the first American automobile manufacturer to go under - others will follow. Autoworkers in China are paid $.78 per hour and as they learn to make quality parts, competition will force the industry to relocate. Ford and Chrysler face the same set of problems that plague GM.

The marketplace is still competitive and even the largest corporations must seek cost reductions. Failure to do so will quickly end their existence. General Motors and Toyota are close competitors with GM being only slightly larger. Ironically, Toyota is a creation of the American marketplace. Their growth at the expense of American manufacturers set a precedent for China by draining wealth from America.

International corporations rooted in American soil but scheming to legally disenfranchise their American employees exhibit the same deterioration in moral standards that is rampant in society at large. Nevertheless, the problems they face are often a result of decisions made in the political arena that can be traced to the clandestine cabal bent on world domination.

In a 2003 Atlantic Monthly article entitled "The Bubble of American Supremacy" George Soros wrote "International relations are relations of power, not law; power prevails and law legitimizes what prevails." This principle is being successfully carried out in meetings of the Bilderbergers and other similar groups that regularly convene to set policy for the New World Order. In early May this group of powerful scalawags met in absolute secrecy in Rottach-Egern, Holland to discuss such heady subjects as how the world should deal with European-American relations following the invasion of Iraq, the global economy, the oil crisis, incipient war with Iran, a United Nations world tax, the elimination of Christian dissent and other initiatives that will set world policy. These are the world's most powerful people. Neo-Cons attend in disproportionate numbers. The American Constitution becomes wastepaper under their accumulated power. They intend to control the world.

Avarice is a powerful weapon and bankers who control the world's wealth use it with great skill. If General Motors closes its American operations and moves to China avarice will be the impetus. But General Motors did not originate the circumstances that dictate such a move. Those are controlled by the leaders of the Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Club of Rome and other powerfully intertwined groups that set the rules and arrange the playing field.

American voters have long since lost control of the ship of state. America is soundly under the thumb of the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the Wolfowitzs, and the Greespans. The news is selected and presidential candidates are chosen by unelected power centers. The deck is stacked. American voters will get the same agenda with either of the two major political parties and gullible citizens will continue to support them.

As the rape of America progresses most of our manufacturing base will leave the country and move to lower cost venues. Failure to do so will be tantamount to suicide. As this corporate migration continues the retirement accumulations of the employees will be decimated and the PBGC arm of America's Socialist government will assume massive, albeit watered down, responsibility.

American sovereignty is a charade. Charlotte Iserbyt provides the details that allow the United Nations to mandate the closure of domestic army bases while at the same time our young men and women are fighting in Iraq under the authority of this same foreign entity. America's wealth and power is being used to support the utopian hegemonic dreams of an elite cabal and we are being robbed and enslaved in the process. Bankruptcy and responsibility for war crimes may not be too far in the future.

Rational solutions to the problems that beset us are regularly submitted by a variety of pundits but the power centers are not looking for solutions. The overrunning of our borders is being ignored by our President because it is part of the plan of the cabal to bring America to its knees. The burgeoning national debt that threatens to overwhelm us is ignored because we are in the process of being overwhelmed on purpose. The euphemistic War on Terror provides a setting for endless, useless wars that drain our wealth and taint our youth. Rampant immorality at the highest levels of our government is a harbinger to the end of the nation.

General Motors is only the beginning. We are primed for much more of the same.

The conspiratorial octopus has several tentacles around America: Our culture has been destroyed by uncontrolled immigration and anti-Christian social pressure; our strength has been sapped by a series of useless, unwinable wars; interior forces have intentionally destroyed our educational system creating an illiterate, controllable population; treasonous leadership has betrayed us into international treaties that are robbing us of our industrial base and threaten our existence as a sovereign nation. Today we are a Balkanized, undisciplined, technology heavy monstrosity that is quickly descending into poverty and chaos.

Now, dear reader, this piece would not be complete without reference to the verity of the immutable Laws God gave to Moses. These Laws, the same today, tomorrow, and forever, are God's own loving solution to the evil anarchic opinions of fallen men. Human brilliance and secular amorality are not antidotes for the strife that afflicts the world. Instead they are its source. The cabal that seeks to control the world has usurped the authority of the Living God. They will not succeed; but those that have supported them in the process and many who are innocent will all share in the chaos they have created.

Can there be any doubt that China and perhaps the rest of Asia is being set up as the next evil empire that will require an all out war to resolve? Now comes the interesting part, the next article is about American base closures and cosolidations around the globe.

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Al Cronkrite is a free-lance writer from Florida. He a is regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Al Cronkrite can be reached at:

Published in the June 3, 2005 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright ? 1997 - 2005 Ether Zone.


Now here is a rather curious article on the consolidation of American military bases.


Bases, Bases Everywhere

by Tom Engelhardt

Pentagon Planning in Iraq, 2003-2005

The last few weeks have been base-heavy ones in the news. The Pentagon's provisional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list, the first in a decade, was published to domestic screams of pain. It represents, according to the Washington Post, "a sweeping plan to close or reduce forces at 62 major bases and nearly 800 minor facilities" in the United States. The military is to be reorganized at home around huge, multi-force "hub bases" from which the Pentagon, in the fashion of a corporate conglomerate, hopes to "reap economies of scale." This was front page news for days as politicians and communities from Connecticut (the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton) and New Jersey (Fort Monmouth) to South Dakota (Ellsworth Air Force Base) cried bloody murder over the potential loss of jobs and threatened to fight to the death to prevent their specific base or set of bases (but not anyone else's) from closing - after all, those workers had been the most productive and patriotic around. These closings - and their potentially devastating after-effects on communities - were a reminder (though seldom dealt with that way in the media) of just how deeply the Pentagon has dug itself into the infrastructure of our nation. With over 6,000 military bases in the U.S., we are in some ways a vast military camp.

But while politicians screamed locally, Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon never thinks less than globally; and, if you throw in the militarization of space, sometimes even the global has proven too small a framework for its presiding officials. For them, the BRAC plans are just one piece of a larger puzzle that involves the projection of American power into the distant lands that most concern us. After all, as Chalmers Johnson has calculated in his book, The Sorrows of Empire, our global Baseworld already consists of at least 700 military and intelligence bases; possibly - depending on how you count them up - many more. Under Rumsfeld's organizational eye, such bases have been pushed ever further into the previously off-limits "near abroad" of the former Soviet Union (where we now probably have more bases than the Russians do) and ever deeper into the Middle Eastern and Caspian oil heartlands of the planet.

The Bush administration's fierce focus on and interest in reconfigured, stripped down, ever more forward systems of bases and an ever more powerfully poised military "footprint" stands in inverse proportion to press coverage of it. To the present occupants of the Pentagon, bases are the equivalent of imperial America's lifeblood and yet basing policy abroad has, in recent years, been of next to no interest to the mainstream media.

Strategic Ally

Just in recent weeks, however, starting with the uproar over the economic pain BRAC will impose (along with the economic gain for those "hubs"), bases have returned to public consciousness in at least a modest way. This month, for instance, the Overseas Basing Commission released a report to the President and Congress on the "reconfiguration of the American military overseas basing structure in the post-Cold War and post-September 11 era." The report created a minor flap by criticizing the Pentagon for its overly ambitious global redeployment plans at a time when "[s]ervice budgets are not robust enough to execute the repositioning of forces, build the facilities necessary to accommodate the forces, [and] build the expanding facilities at new locations."

In other words, the global ambitions of the Pentagon - and the soaring budgets that go with those ambitions - are beyond our means (not that that means much to the Bush administration). The report's criticism evidently irritated Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and so the report, already posted at a government website, was promptly taken down after the Defense Department claimed it contained classified information, especially "a reference to ongoing negotiations over U.S. bases in Bulgaria and Romania." (As it happened, the Federation of American Scientists had posted the report at its own site, where it remains available to all, according to Secrecy News.)

Perhaps in part because of BRAC and the Commission report, numerous bits and pieces of Pentagon basing plans - even for normally invisible Romania and Bulgaria - could be spied in (or at the edge of) the news. For instance, last week our man in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai, came calling on Washington, amid some grim disputes between "friends." On the eve of his departure, reacting to a New York Times article about a U.S. Army report on the torture, abuse and murder of Afghan prisoners in American hands, he essentially demanded that the Bush administration turn over Afghan prisoners, both in-country and in Guantanamo, to his government, and give it greater say in U.S. military operations in his country. For anyone who has followed the Bush administration, these are not just policy no-no's but matters verging on faith-based obsession. Having with dogged determination bucked the International Criminal Court, an institution backed by powerful allies, Bush officials were not about to stand for such demands from a near non-nation we had "liberated" and then stocked with military bases, holding areas, detention camps, and prisons of every sort.

Not long after Karzai made this demand, "an American official alarmed at the slow pace of poppy eradication" leaked to the New York Times a cable written from our Kabul embassy to Secretary of State Rice on May 13 indicating that his weak leadership - previously he had only been lauded by administration officials - was responsible for Afghanistan's rise to preeminence as the model drug-lord-state of the planet. ("Although President Karzai has been well aware of the difficulty in trying to implement an effective ground [poppy] eradication program, he has been unwilling to assert strong leadership, even in his own province of Kandahar.") And then, of course, State Department officials publicly came to his defense. On arrival in the U.S., he found himself refuting this charge rather than on the offensive demanding the rectification of American wrongs in his country.

At a White House welcoming ceremony, our President promptly publicly denied Karzai the Afghan prisoners and any further control over American military actions in his country. As in Iraq, the Bush administration's working definition of "sovereignty" for others is: Stay out of our way. ("As I explained to [President Karzai], that our policy is one where we want the people to be sent home [from Guant?namo], but, two, we've got to make sure the facilities are there - facilities where these people can be housed and fed and guarded.") But the Afghan president was granted something so much more valuable - this was, after all, the essence of his trek to the U.S. - a "strategic partnership" with the United States which he "requested." (The actual language: "Afghanistan proposed that the United States join in a strategic partnership and establish close cooperation.") Great idea, Hamid! And quite an original one.

Of course, the term is ours, not Karzai's, and we already have such "partnerships" with numerous nations including Japan, Germany, and Greece. But Afghanistan is none of the above. The "partners" in this relationship are the country that likes to think of itself as the planet's "sole superpower" - its global "sheriff," the "new Rome," the new imperial "Britain" (Britain itself now being a distinctly junior partner providing a few of the "native" troops so necessary for our Iraqi adventure) - and the country that, in the UN's Human Development Report 2004, was ranked the sixth worst off on Earth, perched just above five absolute basket-case nations in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the equivalent of declaring a business partnership between a Rockefeller and the local beggar.

In the somewhat vague, four-page Joint Declaration of the United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership issued by the two partners while Karzai was in Washington, along with the usual verbiage about spreading democracy and promoting human - perhaps a typo for "inhuman" - rights in Afghanistan and throughout the Central Asian region, there were these brief lines:

"It is understood that in order to achieve the objectives contained herein, U.S. military forces operating in Afghanistan will continue to have access to Bagram Air Base and its facilities, and facilities at other locations as may be mutually determined and that the U.S. and Coalition forces are to continue to have the freedom of action required to conduct appropriate military operations based on consultations and pre-agreed procedures."

The Afghans may get no prisoners and not an extra inch of control over U.S. military movements - note that "continue to have the freedom of action required. based on. pre-agreed procedures" - but they do get to give, which is such an ennobling feeling. What they are offering up is that "access" to Bagram Air Base "and facilities at other locations." (The language is charming. You would think that the Americans were at the gates of the old Soviet air base waiting to be let in, not that it was already fully occupied and a major American military facility.) Nothing "permanent," of course, especially since Afghan students in recent protests over mistreated Korans at Guantanamo were also complaining about American bases in their country; and no future treaties, since Karzai might have a tough time with parliament over that one. Afghans tend to be irrationally touchy, not to say mean-spirited, on national sovereignty issues. (Think of the Soviet occupation.) Just a simple, honestly offered "request" and a "joint declaration" - somebody must have been smoking one - that quietly extends our rights to base troops in Afghanistan until some undefined moment beyond the end of time.

Spanning the World

Base news has been trickling in from the 'stans of Central Asia - formerly SSRs of the old Soviet Union - as well. After the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, for instance, we rushed an official into the country - no, not the Secretary of State to celebrate the spread of democracy, but our globe-trotting Secretary of Defense, who hustled into that otherwise obscure land just to make sure that Ganci Air Base (named not for some Kyrgyzstani hero, but for Peter Ganci, the New York City fire chief killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks) in the capital of Bishkek was still ours to use (as it is).

In the Uzbekistan of grim, authoritarian Islam Karimov, our ally in the war on terror (who received his third visit from Rumsfeld in 2004), the Bush administration, we're told, is wrestling with a most difficult problem in the wake of a government massacre of demonstrators: bases versus values (John Hall, "U.S. wrestles with bases vs. values in Uzbekistan," Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 29). After all, while the White House values the spread of democracy, the Pentagon considers Camp Stronghold Freedom, the former Soviet base we now occupy there - "The air-conditioned tents at the base. are laid out on a grid, along streets named for the thoroughfares of New York: Fifth Avenue, Long Island Expressway, Wall Street." - to be valuable indeed. And then there's that handy matter of stowing away prisoners. Uzbekistan is one of the places where the U.S. has reportedly been practicing "extraordinary rendition" - the kidnapping of terrorist subjects and the dispatching of them to countries happy to torture them for us. Here's a guess: whether Karimov (to whom the Chinese leadership gave a giant smooch last week) remains in office or not, in the modern "Great Game" in Central Asia expect us to remain in the aptly named Camp Stronghold Freedom. (I'd like to see someone try to pry us out.)

In Africa this last week, there was news too. The Bush administration was promising to pour ever more "soldiers and money into its anti-terrorism campaign [there], including in Algeria and chaotic Nigeria, both oil-rich nations where radical Islam has a following." ("Oil-rich" is the key phrase in that sentence, in case you missed it.) "The new campaign," writes Edward Harris of AP, "will target nine north and west African nations and seek to bolster regional cooperation." American officials, calling for a "budgetary increase" for anti-terror military aid to the area, are now evidently comparing the vast "ungoverned" desert expanses of the Sahara "to Afghanistan during Taliban rule, when Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror group thrived." Talk about ambition. Quick, someone report them to the Overseas Basing Commission before anything else happens!

While the Pentagon is planning to shut-down bases all over the U.S., it's like a shopaholic. It just can't help itself abroad. Rumors of future base openings are multiplying fast - base workers from Connecticut, New Jersey, and South Dakota take note for future travel planning - in the impoverished former Warsaw Pact lands of Southeastern Europe, which are also conveniently nearer to the oil heartlands of the planet than our old Cold War bases in places like Germany. UPI, for instance, reported last week that the Pentagon was eyeing bases on Romania's scenic Black Sea coast and that the Romanians (whose plans for a world class, Disney-style Dracula theme park seem to have fallen through) were eager to be of well-paid service in the war on terror. Then a Romanian general confirmed that base negotiations were indeed well along: "General Valeriu Nicut, head of the strategic planning division for the Romanian general staff, said on Wednesday after an international military conference on security issues that the U.S. would set up two military bases in Romania within one year." He was promptly demoted for his efforts. (Perhaps it was as a result of Rumsfeld's pique.) No one on either side is denying, however, that base negotiations are underway.

Meanwhile in neighboring Bulgaria, the Defense minister was claiming that the U.S. would soon occupy three bases in that land and the Deputy Defense Minister, chairing the talks none of us knew were going on between the two countries, "told journalists that Washington is also interested in placing storehouses," assumedly to be filled with pre-positioned military supplies, there too. Earlier in the year, the U.S. head of NATO forces had spoken of the possibility of our occupying five bases in Bulgaria - and all of them (so far) are hanging onto their jobs.

To the Southeast, there were yet more basing rumors in a volatile area where, last week, a massive 1,700 kilometer-long pipeline bringing Caspian oil from Baku in the former SSR of Azerbaijan to Ceyhan in Turkey via the former SSR of Georgia, was officially opened for business. The pipeline, as Pepe Escobar of Asia Times pointed out, is little short of a "sovereign state"; its route, carefully constructed to cut both Russia and Iran out of the Caspian oil loop, ends "right next door to the massive American airbase at Incirlik" in Turkey. The presidents of all three countries attended the opening ceremonies in Baku, while an Azerbaijan newspaper reported that the "U.S. and Azerbaijani governments on April 12 agreed on the deployment of U.S. military bases. Under the agreement, the U.S. forces will be deployed in Kurdamir, Nasosnaya and Guyullah. Various types of aircraft will be deployed at all the three bases, which have runways modernized for U.S. military needs." The report was promptly denied by the Azerbaijani defense ministry, which under the circumstances probably means little.

In neighboring Georgia, our goals have been somewhat more modest. With U.S. military trainers already in and out of the country to help bring Georgian forces up to speed in the war in terror, and - thanks to the Rose Revolution - a friendly government in place (the salaries of whose top officials are now "supplemented" by a fund set up by George Soros), a push had been on to rid the country of its last two Russian military bases. This week an agreement to vacate them by 2008 was announced.

Bases in Iraq: 2003-2005

And mind you, all of the above was just the minor basing news of the week. The biggest news had to do with Iraq. Bradley Graham of the Washington Post published a rare piece in our press on American bases in that country (Commanders Plan Eventual Consolidation of U.S. Bases in Iraq). As a start, he revealed that, at the moment, the "coalition" has a staggering 106 bases in the country, none with less than 500 troops on hand, and that figure doesn't even include "four detention facilities and several convoy support centers for servicing the long daily truck runs from Kuwait into Iraq."

With just over 160,000 coalition troops on hand in Iraq that would mean an average of about 1,600 to a base. Of course, some of these bases also house Iraqi troops, various Iraqis needed by U.S. forces - translators, for instance, who, when living outside such bases, are being killed off by insurgents at what seems to be a ferocious rate - and some of the hordes of contractors "reconstructing" the country, including the thousands and thousands of hired guns who have flooded in and are constantly at risk. Some American bases like Camp Anaconda, spread over 15 square miles near Balad (with two swimming pools, a first-run movie theater, and a fitness gym) or Camp Victory at the Baghdad International Airport, are vast Vietnam-style encampments, elaborate enough to be "permanent" indeed.

It is, by the way, a mystery of compelling proportions that American journalists, more or less trapped in their hotels when it comes to reporting on Iraqi Iraq (given the dangers of the situation), have seemed no less trapped when it comes to reporting on important aspects of American Iraq. We know, for instance, that even a year and a half ago the American base construction program was already in "the several billion dollar range," and such bases had long been at the heart of Bush administration dreams for the region; yet since April 2003 there have been only a few very partial descriptions of American bases in Iraq in the press - and those are largely to be found in non-mainstream places or on-line.

Given what's generally available to be read (or seen on the TV news), there is simply no way most Americans could grasp just how deeply we have been digging into Iraq. Take, for instance, this description of Camp Victory offered by Joshua Hammer in a Mother Jones magazine piece:

"Over the past year, KBR contractors have built a small American city where about 14,000 troops are living, many hunkered down inside sturdy, wooden, air-conditioned bungalows called SEA (for Southeast Asia) huts, replicas of those used by troops in Vietnam. There's a Burger King, a gym, the country's biggest PX - and, of course, a separate compound for KBR workers, who handle both construction and logistical support. Although Camp Victory North remains a work in progress today, when complete, the complex will be twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo - currently one of the largest overseas posts built since the Vietnam War."

There has not, to my knowledge, been a single descriptive article in a major American paper during our two-year occupation of Iraq that has focused on any one of the American bases in that country and I don't believe that the American public has any idea - I certainly didn't - that there were at least 106 of them; or, for that matter, that some of them already have such a permanent feel to them; that they are, in essence, facts-on-the-ground long before any negotiations about them might begin with a "sovereign" Iraqi government.

In any case, Graham reports that, according to the latest Pentagon plans, we would focus our Iraqi bases - once called "enduring camps," now referred to as "contingency operating bases" (but never, never use the word "permanent") - into four "hubs" ("BRAC for Iraq"), none too close to major population centers - "the four are Tallil in the south, Al Asad in the west, Balad in the center and either Irbil or Qayyarah in the north."

"Several officers involved in drafting the consolidation plan said it entailed the construction of longer-lasting facilities at the sites, including barracks and office structures made of concrete block instead of the metal trailers and tin-sheathed buildings that have become the norm at bigger U.S. bases in Iraq.

"The new, sturdier buildings will give the bases a more permanent character, the officers acknowledged. But they said the consolidation plan was not meant to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq. The new buildings are being designed to withstand direct mortar strikes, according to a senior military engineer."

This plan is being presented - hilariously enough - as part of a "withdrawal" strategy. It seems we are (over what will have to be interminable years) planning to turn the other 100 or so bases over to the Iraqi military (itself a bit of a problematic concept). For this, of course, "no timetable exists." Once the massive bulk of bases are let go, only those 4 (or - see below - possibly 5) bases will remain to be dealt with; and, in that distant future, while maintaining "access" to our former Iraqi strongholds, we will withdraw to our bases in Kuwait from which we will practice what one colonel interviewed by Graham termed "strategic overwatch." (Given the intensifying insurgency in Iraq, this seems like nothing short of a Pentagon pipe dream.)

The future of a fifth base, the Camp Victory complex, headquarters of the U.S. military in Iraq, remains "unresolved." After all, who wouldn't want to keep a massive complex on the edge of the Iraqi capital, though the military has proven incapable thus far of securing even the road that runs from Camp Victory (and Baghdad International Airport) into downtown Baghdad and the Green Zone. Today, it is the "deadliest road in Iraq," perhaps the most dangerous stretch of highway on the planet, which of course says something symbolic about the limits of the Pentagon's plans to garrison the globe.

Naturally, these four (or five) bases aren't "permanent," even if they are about to be built up to withstand anything short of an atomic blast and have the distinct look of permanency. The problem is, as Maj. Noelle Briand, who heads a basing working group on the U.S. command staff, commented to Graham, "Four is as far as we've gone down in our planning."

The word "permanent" cannot be spoken in part because all of the above decisions have undoubtedly been taken without significant consultation with the supposedly sovereign government of Iraq with whom the Pentagon is undoubtedly just dying to have one of those strategic partnerships as well as a "status of forces agreement" or SOFA. The SOFA is considered a future necessity since it would essentially give American troops extraterritoriality in Iraq, protecting them from prosecution for crimes committed and offering them impunity in terms of actions taken. No Iraqi government, however, could at present negotiate such an agreement without losing its last shred of popularity.

Still, congratulations to Graham for giving us an important, if somewhat encoded, version of the Bush administration's latest basing plans for Iraq. But here's the catch, these "latest" Pentagon plans look suspiciously like some rather well-worn plans, now over two years old. Unfortunately, our media has just about no institutional memory. As it happens, though, I remember - and what I remember specifically is a New York Times front-page piece, Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq, by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt that was published on April 19, 2003, just as the Bush administration's Iraq War seemed to be successfully winding down. Since next to nothing else of significance on the subject was written until Graham's piece came out last week, it remains a remarkable document as well as a fine piece of reporting. It began:

"The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region, senior Bush administration officials say.

"American military officials, in interviews this week, spoke of maintaining perhaps four bases in Iraq that could be used in the future: one at the international airport just outside Baghdad; another at Tallil, near Nasiriya in the south; the third at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, along the old oil pipeline that runs to Jordan; and the last at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north."

Let's just stop there and consider for a moment. In April 2003, the Pentagon was looking for long-term "access" to four bases; at the end of May 2005, it's revealed that the Pentagon is looking for long-term "access" to. four bases. After two years and billions of dollars worth of base construction, the general distribution of these bases remains relatively unchanged. In fact, the base chosen for the Shiite South at Tallil remains the same. One of the four bases mentioned in the Times' account of 2003, at Baghdad International Airport, now Camp Victory, is the "unresolved" fifth base in the Post's 2005 account; in the West, H-1 has been replaced by Al Asad in the same general area; in the Kurdish North, Bashur (2003) has been replaced by either Qayyarah or Irbil, approximately 50 kilometers to the south; and Balad, north of Baghdad, is assumedly the non-urban version of the 2003 Airport choice. In other words, between 2003 and 2005, the numbers and the general placement of these planned bases seems to have remained more or less the same.

"In Afghanistan, and in Iraq," Shanker and Schmitt wrote, "the American military will do all it can to minimize the size of its deployed forces, and there will probably never be an announcement of permanent stationing of troops. Not permanent basing, but permanent access is all that is required, officials say." This was, of course, at a moment when Bush administration neocons expected to draw down American forces rapidly in a grateful, liberated land.

Shanker and Schmitt then put the prospective Iraqi bases into a larger global context, mentioning in particular access to bases in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, and Bulgaria, and adding:

"[T]here has been a concerted diplomatic and military effort to win permission for United States forces to operate from the formerly Communist nations of Eastern Europe, across the Mediterranean, throughout the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and across Central Asia, from the periphery of Russia to Pakistan's ports on the Indian Ocean. It is a swath of Western influence not seen for generations."

Three days after the Shanker/Schmitt report was front-paged, Donald Rumsfeld strongly denied it was so at a Pentagon news conference reported in the Washington Post (U.S. Won't Seek Bases in Iraq, Rumsfeld Says) by Bradley Graham. His piece began:

"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday the United States is unlikely to seek any permanent or 'long-term' bases in Iraq because U.S. basing arrangements with other countries in the region are sufficient. 'I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting,' Rumsfeld said. 'The likelihood of it seems to me to be so low that it does not surprise me that it's never been discussed in my presence - to my knowledge.'"

And, for the next two years, that was largely that. The Times hasn't seriously revisited the story since, despite the fact that their original front-page piece was groundbreaking. You would think it a subject worth returning to. After all, despite everything that's happened between May 2003 ("Mission Accomplished!") and the present disastrous moment in Iraq, the Pentagon is still planning on those four bases. Coincidence? Who knows, but might it not be worth at least a blip on the inside pages somewhere?

An Empire of Bases

As the Overseas Basing Commission indicated in their recent report, such global basing plans are nothing if not wildly ambitious and sure to be wildly expensive (especially for a military bogged down in fighting a fierce but not exactly superpower-sized enemy in one part of a single Middle Eastern country). When we take the bits and pieces of the global-base puzzle that have sprung up like weeds between the cracks in recent weeks and try to put them together into a map of the Pentagon's globe, it looks rather like the one described by Shanker and Schmitt in 2003.

Begin with those prospective bases in Romania and Bulgaria (and while you're at it, toss in the ones already in existence in the former Yugoslavia); make your way southeastwards past "Pipelineistan," keeping your eye out for our Turkish bases and those possible future ones in Azerbaijan; take in the 4 or 5 bases we'd like to hang onto in the embattled Iraqi heartland of the Middle East (not to speak of the ones we already control in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and elsewhere in the region); take a quick glance at "oil-rich" North Africa for a second, imagining what might someday be nailed down there; then hop over base-less Axis of Evil power Iran and land at Bagram Air Base (don't worry, you have "access") or any of the other unnamed ones in Afghanistan where we now have a long-term foothold; don't forget the nearby Pakistani air bases that Gen. Pervez Musharraf has given us access to (or Diego Garcia, that British "aircraft carrier" island in the Indian Ocean that's all ours); add in our new Central Asian facilities; plot it all out on a map and what you have is a great infertile crescent of American military garrisons extending from the old Soviet-controlled lands of Eastern Europe to the old Soviet SSRs of Central Asia, reaching from Russia's eastern border right up to the border of China. This is, of course, a map that more or less coincides with the Middle Eastern and Caspian oil heartlands of the planet.

Put in historical terms, in the last decade-plus, as the pace of our foreign wars has picked up, we've left behind, after each of them, a new set of bases like the droppings of some giant beast marking the scene with its scent. Bases were dropped into Saudi Arabia and the small Gulf emirates after our first Gulf War in 1991; into the former Yugoslavia after the Kosovo air war of 1999; into Pakistan, Afghanistan, and those former Central Asian SSRs after the Afghan war of 2001; and into Iraq after the invasion of 2003. War in Iraq, in turn, has spawned at least 106 bases of various sizes and shapes; while a low-level but ongoing guerilla conflict in Afghanistan has produced a plethora of fire bases, outposts, air bases, and detention centers of every sort. It's a matter of bases and prisons where there is opposition. Just bases where there isn't. This, it seems, is now the American way in the world.

Most Americans, knowing next to nothing about our global bases or the Pentagon's basing policies, would undoubtedly be surprised to learn that ours is an empire of bases. In fact, our particular version of military empire is perhaps unique: all "gunboats," no colonies. Nothing has been of more concern to the Pentagon-centered Bush administration abroad than bases, or of less concern to our media at home. Despite two years of catastrophic setbacks, the ambitions of the Bush White House and the Pentagon evidently remain remarkably unchanged and wildly ambitious - and, I suspect, the rule of inverse media interest still holds.

[Special research thanks go to Nick Turse.]

June 2, 2005

Tom Engelhardt [send him mail] is editor of, a project of the Nation Institute. He is the author of several books, including The Last Days of Publishing: A Novel and The End of Victory Culture.

Copyright 2005 Tom Engelhardt


Now you have the whole picture. The bankers create war for profit as they consider war the ultimate profit making situation. The state of war allows for complete, willing, domination of the people and economy.

The next great adversary presented to America will be an "evil", "rapacious" China, a country that knowingly tricked us economically. China will be presented as an evil and duplicitous country that destroyed America's economy by stealing its jobs, technology and factories. After several contrived events of aggression by China and because of the American military might, China will feel the need to mount a first strike at US military power as a last resort to prevent America from destroying them in the same manner as the US has done to many other countries around the globe. So what a surprise when China finally resorts to a nuclear strike, the targets will be conveniently consolidated, in highly concentrated military targets that only a blind weapons targeting officer could miss.

One of the first lesson learned in WWII was the need to disperse military men and equipment to avoid having them destroyed en masse. Consolidation of military resources is a "blunder" of well known and understood proportions. In the present nuclear age only fools or traitors would undertake such centralization of military men and equipment on large installations. This sham of need for large concentrated military installations is being presented to the incredibly stupid and gullible bovina as a need to protect our military from terrorist. The idea being put forth is that these concentration will be more easily defended from attack by the currently depleted forces of the military. We are supposed to believe that somehow terrorist cannot attack and penetrate huge fortified centralized installations. The planet is littered with the remnants of huge fortified military installations that proved absolutely useless when the war finally came to the countries that built them. Discounting the bogus terrorist threat, have we all forgotten the fact that other powers have nuclear missiles that will be able to easily target such centrally massed military installations, easily making large radioactive holes in our military defense?

Does anyone remember the last time this happened open such a large scale? It occurred in a place called Pearl Harbor. Due to our centrally massed ships, aircraft and equipment, America suffered a tremendous initial loss of its military power. Of course Pearl Harbor was a casus belli for the central bankers to motivate a highly pacific, but gullible American bovina into entering the most destructive war the planet had ever seen.

So how do you think this will all play out with China? Here is a clue: the current military plans are to close ALL the naval installations on the west coast and have one huge naval base in Puget Sound centered around Bremerton, Washington. ALL of Westpac including their carriers and submarines will be centrally located in a tiny region that can easily be neutralized by a single, large, nuclear weapon. Does anyone want to take bets on how many of the Westpac ships, especially "boomers", will be in port when the first strike finally arrives on America's shores? Gee, where were the majority of the Navy's capital ships of the Pacific located on the morning of December 7th 1941?

If you don't think these economic parasites will use nuclear weapons or start a nuclear war then you need to go back and review the last 60 years of nuclear power, especially the development and testing of these weapons. Just prior to the first test explosion of a nuclear weapon a large number of the scientist working on the Manhattan project felt that there was a fifty-fifty chance that the reaction would continue out of control and the result would be the atmosphere would catch on fire and incinerate the planet; yet someone somewhere made the decision to go ahead and test the bomb anyway. Now think for a moment, can anyone really believe such a decision was left up to a foolish, old, cripple in a wheel chair?

Once again we face the probability of a monumental, global war that will result in millions of deaths around the planet the only difference is that this time it will be kicked off with nuclear weapons. Conveniently the end result of China's decimating initial strike(s) on the centrally massed nuclear weapons and delivery systems of the front line American military will prevent the escalation of an all out nuclear war. China will quickly expend its limited supply of nuclear weapons taking out America's large stock of nukes. This will leave both countries depleted of nukes requiring a more so-called "conventional" war to be fought.

No doubt there will be years of continual conflict and profit before any "victory" can be achieved by any of the powers involved. Unfortunately for Americans, they will find that they are the ones slated to be the "losers" of this approaching world war. It is sobering to realize that these money men have had sixty some years of finding ways to capitalize on promoting a nuclear conflict without destroying themselves in the process. They have over half a decade of testing to prove that a nuclear war is "survivable" - at least for those who are allowed the proper precautions. The elite's only problem may arise form an unexpected situation where the war actually escalates to the point where they too are destroyed along with the chessboard and all the pieces, but clearly they faced that same possibility when the first atomic bomb was tested, so they have proven themselves to be more than willing to take the ultimate gamble on such odds.

For a more complete picture of the plan in its fictionalized and sanitized form, read Orwell's 1984. This was how the plan was originally envisioned before the advent of the nuclear age.


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