Behind the Ban: Terrorism, Oil or Central Banking?


by Ellen Brown
February 6, 2017
President Donald Trump’s three-month executive order banning immigration from seven countries seems to be targeting the wrong ones. So concludes a February 3 article on Washington’s Blog titled “The Bigger Picture of Trump’s Muslim Ban.” The list omits countries with direct links to terror attacks on Americans (CNN names Saudi Arabia, Egypt the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon) while targeting countries that have never been linked to such attacks (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen). Why?

It seems the Trump administration got the list from the Obama money administration, which got it from the Bush administration, which evidently got it from a neoconservative think tank in the 1990s. According to CNN:

“The seven Muslim-majority countries targeted in President Trump’s executive order on immigration were initially identified as “countries of concern” under the Obama administration. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Sunday pointed to the Obama administration’s actions as the basis for their selection of the seven countries. Trump’s order bars citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days. “There were further travel restrictions already in place from those seven countries,” Spicer said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Washington’s Blog adds:
Six out of the 7 countries on the list – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria – were targeted for regime change by the U.S. 25 years ago. The 7th country – Lebanon – dodged a bullet, and Yemen replaced it.
Noteworthy for its absence from the list is Saudi Arabia. Per Washington’s Blog:
Saudi Arabia … is the world’s largest sponsor of radical Islamic terrorists. The Saudis have backed ISIS and many other brutal terrorist groups. And the most pro-ISIS tweets allegedly come from Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia is the hotbed of the most radical Muslim terrorists in the world: the Salafis (both ISIS and Al Qaeda are Salafis). And top American terrorism experts say that U.S. support for brutal and tyrannical countries in the Middle east – like Saudi Arabia – is one of the top motivators for Arab terrorists.…
Admittedly, there are ISIS jihadis in Syria, Libya and Iraq. But they are only there because the U.S. and our allies created the conditions that allowed them to form and then metastasize. Neither ISIS nor Al Qaeda were in those countries before the Iraq and Libyan wars and the U.S. and its allies started supporting Syrian “rebels“.…
As for Iran, the CIA admits that the U.S. overthrew the moderate, suit-and-tie-wearing, Democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. He was overthrown because he had nationalized Iran’s oil, which had previously been controlled by BP and other Western oil companies. As part of that action, the CIA admits that it hired Iranians to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its prime minister. If the U.S. hadn’t overthrown the moderate Iranian government, the fundamentalist Mullahs would have never taken over.

Why These Seven Countries?
Iraq, Syria, Iran and Libya were targeted in the infamous policy paper titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," published in 2000 by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative think tank linked to the Defense-Intelligence establishment and the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  Its members included Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Dick Cheney, Vice President under George W. Bush; Paul Wolfowitz, former World Bank president and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; and Richard Perle, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs under Reagan. In its policy paper, PNAC called for "the direct imposition of U.S. 'forward bases' throughout Central Asia and the Middle East, with a view to ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential 'rival' or any viable alternative to America's vision of a 'free market' economy." 

The paper called for increased military spending to achieve these goals, which it said would be unlikely without “a new Pearl Harbor.”

 “Any potential ‘rival’ or any viable alternative to America's vision of a ‘free market economy’” can be read as any alternative that threatens the right of giant transnational corporations to extract profits globally. Those profits would include oil, but as has been pointed out, it would be cheaper just to buy the oil than to go to war over it. Oil is also a tool for forcing countries that don’t have it into perpetual debt to Western financial interests trading in US dollars “backed” by oil; but Islamic Middle Eastern countries do have their own oil, and they have resisted penetration by Western financial schemes, largely on religious grounds. “Usury” or interest (riba), the powerful extractive tool of the Western international banks, has been declared illegal by Islamic republics. They are also not open to the nearly-quadrillion dollar derivatives market, which requires global acceptance to avoid capital flight into the safer banks of nonparticipating countries.

Making the World Safe for Derivatives?
According to US Gen. Wesley Clark (retired) , the  decision to take out seven Islamic countries had been made by 2001. In a 2007 “Democracy Now” interview, he said that about 10 days after September 11, 2001, a general told him that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq; and that later the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. These were the new “rogue states.” 

What distinguishes these seven countries from others that are also Islamic and that have more direct links to terrorist attacks on Americans? One suspicious difference is that they are not members either of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland, or of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which has enforced rules requiring member countries to open their borders to speculative derivative schemes.

The relevance of the WTO was explained by Greg Palast in an August 2013 article titled “Larry Summers and the Secret ‘End-game’ Memo.” In the late 1990s, he wrote, the endgame was the deregulation of banks so that they could gamble in the lucrative new field of derivatives. To pull this off required, first, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the 1933 Act that imposed a firewall between investment banking and depository banking in order to protect depositors’ funds from bank gambling. But the plan required more than just deregulating US banks. Banking controls had to be eliminated globally so that money would not flee to nations with safer banking laws. The “endgame” was to achieve this global deregulation through an obscure addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization, called the Financial Services Agreement. Palast wrote:

Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods–that is, my cars for your bananas.  The new rules ginned-up by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in "bads" – toxic assets like financial derivatives.
Until the bankers' re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders.  The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives "products."

And all 156 nations in the WTO would have to smash down their own Glass-Steagall divisions between commercial savings banks and the investment banks that gamble with derivatives.
WTO members were induced to sign the agreement by threatening their access to global markets if they refused; and they all did sign, except Brazil. Brazil was then threatened with an embargo; but its resistance paid off, since it alone among Western nations survived and thrived during the 2007-2009 crisis. As for the others:

The new FSA pulled the lid off the Pandora's box of worldwide derivatives trade.  Among the notorious transactions legalized: Goldman Sachs . . . Worked a secret euro-derivatives swap with Greece which, ultimately, destroyed that nation.  Ecuador, its own banking sector de-regulated and demolished, exploded into riots.  Argentina had to sell off its oil companies (to the Spanish) and water systems (to Enron) while its teachers hunted for food in garbage cans.  Then, Bankers Gone Wild in the Eurozone dove head-first into derivatives pools without knowing how to swim–and the continent is now being sold off in tiny, cheap pieces to Germany.

Besides the WTO, the seven “rogue” nations were not members of the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, home to the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the body regulating banks today. In 2009, the heads of the G20 nations agreed to be bound by rules imposed by the FSB, ostensibly to prevent another global banking crisis. Its regulations can make or break not just banks but whole nations. This was first demonstrated in 1989, when the Basel I Accord raised capial requirements a mere 2%, from 6% to 8%. The result was to force a drastic reduction in lending by major Japanese banks, which were then the world’s largest and most powerful creditors but were undercapitalized relative to other banks. The Japanese economy sank along with its banks and has yet to fully recover.

Among other game-changing regulations under the FSB are Basel III and the new bail-in rules. Basel III has imposed crippling capital requirements on public, cooperative and community banks, coercing their sale to large multinational banks. The “bail-in” template requires giant systemically risky banks to avoid insolvency by “bailing in” creditors – including depositors – turning deposits into bank stock, effectively confiscating them.

Will Fight Them or Join Them?
All of these rules require universal acceptance to avoid capital flight into safer nonparticipating banks abroad. But the targeted “rogue nations” have not bought into the private central banking system with its apex in Switzerland and control centers in London and New York. They have (or had) their own state-owned national banks that can issue the credit of the state on behalf of the state, leveraging public funds for public use without paying a massive tribute to private middlemen. Before they were embroiled in war, Libya, Iraq, and Syria provided free education at all levels, free medical care, and subsidized housing. Iran too provides nearly free higher education and primary health care.

As explained by John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hitman, countries not laboring under an unrepayable debt to an extractive private banking system are brought into submission in more forcible ways. Hence the 25-year assaults on these “rogue” nations.

But Donald Trump is a businessman and a “disruptor.” He has been called the “wrecking ball,” taking down old established systems. The best way to prevent terrorist threats might be to take a wrecking ball to this decades-old policy inherited from his establishment predecessors, and recognize our resource-rich Middle Eastern neighbors as business partners rather than economic threats. 


Researcher, lawyer and author Ellen Brown is founder of Public Banking Institute, a fellow with Democracy Collaborative, and a sought after speaker in New Economic circles, the author of Web of Debt and The Public Banking Solution.  She frequently publishes in Huffington Post, TruthDig and other online sources.