Friday, March 21, 2008

The Oppenheimer Dynasty

Part 4: The Form & Structure of International Capital

The third powerhouse that controls Africa and Asia is the Oppenheimer family. The Oppenheimers hold the financial whips in Africa with their vast and limitless riches and influences in governments. They own 80 percent of the South African economy with De Beers Diamond Mines at Kimberly and Debswana (De Beers Botswana) ruling the roost.

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, is 45% owned by mining conglomerate Anglo American. It sold US$5,7bn worth of rough diamonds in 2004 through its marketing arm, Diamond Trading Company. Kimberley, in South Africa in the Northern Cape Province is the site of De Beers’ oldest mining operations.

De Beers controls around 70 percent of the worldwide rough diamond supplies, through its own mines, joint venture mines and purchases from third party competitors. It is alleged that Israeli companies front for the Oppenheimers in some instances. The war of Sierra Leone, which left Britain with the record of the highest seller of diamonds in the world (even though they have no mines of their own!), has convinced the world that wars are for profit.

Sir Ernest Oppenheimer (1880-1956) was a Jew from Friedberg, Germany, British by naturalization and South African by residence. He was born of a father who was a cigar merchant. In 1917, he founded Anglo American Corporation together with an American engineer, W.L. Honnold. It was with capital chiefly raised from British (Rothschilds) and American (J. P Morgan, a financial agent of the Rothschilds) sources – hence the company name.

Fellow Jews who were Americans provided the capital with the condition that Oppenheimer’s first choice for the company’s name, ‘African-American’ was to be changed to Anglo-American because African-American would suggest on their side their dark-skinned fellow countrymen and could result in ridicule. Anglo American Corporation is a reflection of the imperial and colonial designs of the Oppenheimer family arising out of the relationship the family it had with the British South African Company – BSAC and Cecil John Rhodes.

In 1919 he founded Consolidated Diamond Mines of South West Africa Ltd. He became so powerful, that he took over De Beers Corporation in 1929 from the successors of Cecil John Rhodes in 1929. He then founded another corporation, the Diamond Corporation Ltd. In 1930, he founded the Rhodesian Anglo American Corporation to exploit the rich copper deposits in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

The Oppenheimers were sponsored in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by the Rothschilds family banking and finance group. Ernest Oppenheimer was an early member of the Bavarian Illuminati, which had been founded using money from the Rothschild family. Ernest’s children and grandchildren are said to have been inducted into Freemasonry since then.

A subsidiary of mining giant Anglo American from 1917, Johannesburg Consolidated Investments (JCI), founded in 1889, is deeply linked to the history of the South African English newspapers during apartheid. JCI assisted mining tycoons (who were obviously whites) to establish or acquire newspapers. Independent Newspapers, South Africa’s largest newspaper group, traces its history back to 1889 when Francis Dormer established the Argus Printing Company, which had close links with mining magnate Cecil Rhodes. The Argus Printing Company was renamed Argus Newspapers Ltd after it was taken over by Anglo American. Anglo American ended its ties with Argus Newspapers in 1994 when it sold 31% of its stake to Tony O’Reilly, the owner of Independent Newspapers and Media of Ireland.

The power of the Oppenheimers' financial and corporate empire is a direct descendent of the arch-imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes. Even more, Anglo American Corporation has never lacked in influential friends in the major capitals of the Western world. When the company was founded in 1917, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer could count on one of America's most important financiers - Herbert Hoover, who later became President of the United States of America. Even more: British knights litter the boardrooms of Oppenheimer's principal companies, and both British and French branches of the Rothschild family are represented on the board of De Beers. Oppenheimer's father, Ernest and his uncle, Bernhard were both knighted for the services to Empire in the First European War, and when Sir Ernest visited London for his seventy-seventh birthday there was lunch at Buckingham Palace. The British Royal family and the Oppenheimers, by chance, share the same stockbrokers, Rowe & Pitman. In 1984 Anglo added a special sheen to its tiara by taking a substantial stake in that firm before it merged into Mercury Securities in 1986, one of the big financial services groups gearing for the deregulation of the city of London (Pallister 1989:10).

The qualities of British life most admired in Oppenheimer in Anglo circles were those that built and sustained the Empire.

It is a financial and corporate empire that was built on African impoverishment. It is a structure built on blood and sweat of Africans who are the poorest of the poor. What will it take to bring this empire under control? Oppenheimer and his financial empire represent a government within a government. For example: The Oppenheimer dynasty "is as powerful and tightly knit as anything…" as said by the authors of ‘SA Inc: The Oppenheimer Empire’ (David Pallister, Sarah Stewart and Ian Lepper).

Anglo American Corporation, with business interests acquired colonially in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, is best described as the successor to the BSAC, also called the Charter Company. It is then not a coincidence that the building of its former Zimbabwe headquarters is called Charter House.

De Beers has in Namibia rare and exclusive rights to trade all of Namibia's diamonds and, effectively, to decide the price it will pay the country for them. It also has the power to curtail production by imposing purchasing quotas and to reduce prices. Its largest customer is Maurice Tempelsman, a leading New York diamond merchant and in August 2002, he was reported to have offered has offered to obtain a secret offshore loan of US$80-million for Namibia if, and only if, the government agrees to drop its plan to check the prices De Beers pays for its diamonds against the prices available on the open market.

The key player in the world diamond market is the shadowy South African mining house of De Beers, which is the central player in the diamond-selling cartel, the Central Selling Organization (CSO), a sort of OPEC for engagement rings. Diamonds are remarkably reliant on sentiment; the natural value of diamonds is well below the real price, with the value being driven up by aggressive advertising. The CSO controls roughly two thirds of diamond sales, which naturally gives it a strong influence on the price.

De Beers are a diamond mining operation, who through their selling arm control two thirds of the diamond market. They have been indicted by the US commerce department for price fixing industrial diamonds, although the case collapsed, no board member will go to the US. They have a large cross shareholding with Anglo-American, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has several of the British great and good on the stock exchange.

Anglo American has a reputation for funding the South Africa’s liberal Federal Progressive Party and the predecessor of the Democratic Party/Alliance – the main opposition to the ruling party, ANC. It has owned and subsidized the English press in South Africa. African liberation and nationalist movements had also been perceived as threats to the stability of the diamond cartel.

The Oppenheimers also control merchant bank Henry Ansbacher & Company Ltd (London) through the First National Bank (FNB) of South Africa Ltd, which acts as a holding company for many Oppenheimer international banking interests.

In theory, Anglo American and De Beers are two separate entities although the Oppenheimers, who own a controlling interest in both companies, treat them as a single empire, Anglo-De Beers. The Anglo-American Company provides De Beers with "technical services" such as mine managers, engineers, architects, bookkeepers, lawyers, and public relations advisers. These technicians nominally remain on the payroll of Anglo-American and are only on "loan" to De Beers. In fact, they operate the mines, supervise the logistics, make the financial arrangements and hire personnel for De Beers. They report directly through a global telex system to a suite of offices on the fourth floor of 44 Main Street, Johannesburg, South Africa, called simply "Diamond Services".

Diamond Services is in reality Oppenheimer's staff for running the diamond cartel. It is composed of only about a dozen men. The strategic objective of the staff is to preserve the delicate equilibrium between the world supply and world demand for diamonds. To achieve this balance, the staff uses its detailed knowledge of all diamond prospecting possibilities to determine when new diamond mines will be brought into production-or closed-and the level of production. It also formulates plans for dealing with possible competitors, either by making arrangements with them or buying them out directly. And it closely monitors all aspects of the far-flung diamond business.

In England, the Oppenheimer family controls the distribution of gem diamonds through the Diamond Trading Company, which is headed by the cousin of Harry Oppenheimer, Sir Philip Oppenheimer and operated by Monty Charles. Also, in England, the Oppenheimer family controls the Charter Company, which in turn, owns substantial interests in some of the supposedly independent mining companies with which the Diamond Trading Company has an arrangement to buy diamonds.

For example, Charter owned 25 percent of the Selection Trust Company, which held diamond concessions in Ghana and other West African countries and sold these diamonds to the Diamond Trading Company.

In Luxembourg, the Oppenheimer family has a subsidiary called Boart International that holds, in turn, controlling interest in some of the largest manufacturers of diamond drilling equipment in the world. Through this Luxembourg Corporation, it is able to dominate the entire industrial diamond business. Moreover, through a subsidiary in Ireland called the Shannon B Corporation, it is able to control the distribution worldwide of diamond abrasive powders for industry.

The late Harry Oppenheimer was personally able to control this vast corporate complex, though he had only a small percent of the equity in it, through an ingeniously constructed pyramid of ownership. At the top of the pyramid was a private firm called E. Oppenheimer and Son. The chief shareholder in it was the late Harry Oppenheimer and his children, Nicholas and Mary Slack. The principal asset of E. Oppenheimer and Son was ten percent of the shares of the Anglo American Corporation. This block of stock was sufficient to give the Oppenheimer family undisputed control of it, since another 41 percent of the stock was held in the treasury of De Beers, which was controlled by the Oppenheimer family.

By some estimates, Oppenheimer's collection of multinationals is bigger than ITT, Nissan, Unilever or Siemens. According to Peter Schmeiser (1989);
The structure of Oppenheimer's empire is dizzyingly complex and nearly impenetrable to outsiders. He wields his power indirectly, through pyramided holding companies, interlocking shareholdings and a myriad of cross-directorships. As a result of this strategy, few people are aware that in the last two decades scores of businesses in the United States, Europe and Australia have been founded or purchased with Oppenheimer capital and are managed by Oppenheimer loyalists while maintaining no legal ties to South Africa.

At the next level of this complex structure, Anglo American held a 52 percent interest in an investment trust called Anamint. Anamint, in turn, held 26 percent of the shares of De Beers - a cross holding that allowed the late Harry Oppenheimer to appoint the board of directors of both companies.

The pyramid then dramatically widens with De Beers and Anglo American owning pieces which when combined are tantamount to a controlling interest in seven of the largest conglomerates in South Africa. These investments, which included AngloGold, AngloGold Ashanti, Anglo Platinum, Anglo Coal, Mondi (paper and packaging) and Johannesburg Consolidated Investment (JCI), encompassed most of the mining and industrial economy of South Africa: the companies, which themselves are holding companies, owned more than half of all the gold mines, the major insurance companies, the largest privately owned steel company in Africa, and virtually the entire petrochemical industry in South Africa. An investigation of the holdings of the Oppenheimer Empire found that it exercised direct control over 900 major companies in South Africa.

Finally, at the base of the pyramid, Anglo American controlled two international companies-Mineral and Resources Corporation in Bermuda and Charter Consolidated in Britain, which together dominate mining companies on all five continents.

Because public investors owned stock in most of these corporations but did not exercise control, the pyramid structure permitted the Oppenheimer family to expand the reach of his empire without diminishing his personal hold over it. Because of this enormous leverage over these interlocking companies, he can act with swiftness and, if necessary, stealth, in acquiring new properties.

The financial holdings of the Anglo-De Beers corporate pyramid provide the means for protecting the diamond invention in adverse times. When new diamond strikes are made, it can orchestrate their purchase using its corporate intermediaries. When there is a temporary decline in retail sales of diamonds, it can use its financial reserves to buy back diamonds in the pipeline to prevent any decline in price. When influence is needed in diamond producing nations, it can use corporations in controls in those countries to provide incentives to their leaders not to infringe on the diamond invention. Like pawns on a chess board, the swirl of corporations in the complex are used to safe guard the all-important queen in the game: the diamond cartel.

By the end of 2003, Anglo American Corporation is operating in 67 countries through seven main business units and is now headquartered in London, Britain after having listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. South Africa alone is contributing 29% of its profit mix.

As De Beers penetrated and took control of all aspects of the world diamond trade, it also assumed many protean forms. In London, it operated under the innocuous name of the Diamond Trading Company. In Israel, it was known under the all-embracing mantle of "the syndicate." In Antwerp, it was just called the CSO-- initials referring to the Central Selling Organization (which was an arm of the Diamond Trading Company). And in Black Africa, it disguised its South African origins under subsidiaries with such names as the Diamond Development Corporation or Mining Services, Inc. At its height, it not only either directly owned or controlled all the diamond mines in southern Africa, it also owned diamond trading companies in England, Portugal, Israel, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland. It was De Beers of course that organized the Japanese campaign as part of its worldwide promotion of diamonds.

Carnegie by Peter Krass
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr by Ron Chernow
The Death of the Banker: The Decline and Fall of the Great Financial Dynasties and the Triumph of the Small Investor by Ron Chernow
The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family by Ron Chernow
The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow
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Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids by Jim Marrs
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Wulf Schwartzwaller, "The Unknown Hitler" by, Berkeley Books, 1990
Dr. Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopaedia of the Third Reich (McGraw-Hill Inc., 1976)


Anonymous said...

Well done dude. You clearly know the history of Ernest Oppenheimer.

Anonymous said...

Mind-blowing information - to say the least.