Of those at the top of food chain, so to speak, a small collection of families dictates both domestic and foreign policy — mainly through fuelling war and conflict for the good of the military and pharmaceutical industries, and to a greater extent, corporate and central banks.
Five families, in particular, have made a killing off killing — from the enormously lucrative business of debt it creates to the industries feeding off the plundering of world resources — and therefore control the world.
Perhaps the most well-known among those five are the Rothschilds, whose dominance of central banks, nefarious insider trading, and nearly invisible hand in world governance — without consideration for the greater good — frequently earns the blanket description, evil.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s dealing in rare coins and antiques in Frankfurt, Germany, in the 1760s earned a rich patronage, allowing him to broaden his focus to include banking by the 1790s. In its 2005 list of 20 of “The Most Influential Businessmen” of all time, Forbes describes Rothschild as “a founding father of international finance,” who “helped invent modern banking by introducing concepts such as diversification, rapid communication, confidentiality and high volume.”
Carrying on the various aspects of the family businesses, Rothschild’s five sons “effectively formed a multinational bank.”During the Napoleonic Wars, they facilitated “loans to warring regimes and traded in cotton, arms, and wheat in defiance of Napoleon’s ban on British exports” — cementing the family’s prominence in political circles as well as influence over governmental affairs. Nathan Mayer Rothschild formed the eponymous bank in London and financed the Duke of Wellington’s interests during those wars.
Estimates of the Rothschild family’s net worth vary greatly, in part because Mayer Amschel dictated a male-only inheritance structure in his will, forcing female descendants into family marriages to maintain their grasp on wealth. Additionally, the sheer number of family members and locations of Rothschild financial and business dealings make assessing the totality of family wealth virtually impossible — though it’s rumored to be in the hundreds of billions.
Cloaked in secrecy for centuries, rumors concerning the Rothschild family run the gamut — including the widely held suspicion it maintains a degree of control over the U.S. federal reserve. One defining fact about the Rothschilds — noted by both establishment historians and so-called conspiracy theorists, alike — has been its astonishing abilities to not only maintain such a high degree of wealth and influence, but to keep numerous businesses under family control over such a long period of time.
Mergers and partnerships aid have absolutely assisted the Rothschilds’ rise to power, such as the 2012 purchase by the Rothschild Investment Trust of a 37 percent stake in Rockefeller Financial Services — which cemented the family’s financial ties to the second dynasty in this list.
Son of a conman, John Davidson Rockefeller effectively began to solidify his American empire after buying out several partners who owned Cleveland’s largest oil refinery in 1865 — which became the foundation for the formation of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio in 1870. By then purchasing rival refineries and distributing its oil around the world, Standard — and Rockefeller — established a staggering monopoly on the industry, cornering some 90 percent of America’s refineries and pipelines.
Rockefeller’s pursuit of the market extended to every facet of Standard’s business, and “In order to exploit economies of scale, Standard Oil did everything from build its own oil barrels to employ its own scientists to figure out new uses for petroleum by-products,” according to History.com. Simply labeling Standard Oil a monopoly not only undercuts the company’s breadth, but downplays the savage and covert tactics Rockefeller employed to maintain its control over American oil.
Thanks in part to a series of 19 articles by Ida Tarbell, published in 1902 by McClure’s Magazine, the U.S. attorney under Pres. Theodore Roosevelt sued Standard Oil of New Jersey under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Over the course of the 1908 trial, Standard Oil’s dubious practices came to light — including secret deals with railroads, corporate spies, and bribes of elected officials, among other things.
Rockefeller “was accused of crushing out competition, getting rich on rebates from railroads, bribing men to spy on competing companies, of making secret agreements, of coercing rivals to join the Standard Oil Company under threat of being forced out of business, building up enormous fortunes on the ruins of other men, and so on,” the New York Timessummarized in 1937.
Though the trial resulted in the fractioning of Standard Oil into 34 companies, the government permitted the original stockholders, including Rockefeller, to keep their ownership stakes while putatively acting as competitors. Thus, the monopoly effectively continued for at least another decade afterward, though it arguably lives on in the exertion of power by companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and BP — just a few of those resulting from the official destruction of the Standard Oil empire.
Called “history’s richest man” by Forbes in 2014, at the time of John D. Rockefeller’s death in 1937, “his assets equaled 1.5% of America’s total economic output. To control an equivalent share today would require a net worth of about $340 billion, more than four times that of Bill Gates,” whom the publication listed as the world’s richest man at the time of the article.
Other estimates imagine Rockefeller’s worth closer to $400 billion, and considering his habit of shady business practices, it wouldn’t be difficult to believe some of his fortune remained secreted away from the public spotlight.
All notoriety aside, Rockefeller stands as a testament to self-education, with his only formal training being a ten-week course in accounting — though it remains a matter of conjecture what good could have been accomplished had he focused his craftiness on other pursuits.
In 2015, the approximately 200 descendants comprising the Rockefeller family were conservatively estimated to have a combined net worth of $11 billion — placing the dynasty well below the top of the list of America’s richest, at #22.
Grandson David Rockefeller was, in 1954, among the founding members of the Bilderberg Group — whose highly secretive annual meetings have long been fodder for theories that ultra-elite families seek to gain or maintain control of world governments.
A panic inundated the U.S. in 1893, partly resulting from fear about the flow of the country’s surplus gold to foreign nations — but John Pierpont Morgan seized the opportunity to ‘save’ the economy and restore confidence in the dollar. Morgan had followed in his father’s footsteps in the banking industry, and formed J.P. Morgan & Company in 1895 — which, in effect, rescued the gold standard.
In an agreement with then-President Grover Cleveland, Morgan “led a syndicate of bankers” — which, incidentally, included Rothschild — “to sell U.S. bonds to buy back gold from foreign investors. The firm offered the bonds for sale at $112.25 and sold out the entire issue in New York within 22 minutes,” according to J.P.Morgan.com.
With that gold and bond exchange, Morgan controlled the U.S.’ gold supply — allowing him the flexibility to then finance the creation of U.S. Steel, after an offer to buyout Andrew Carnegie for a price in excess of the U.S. government’s entire budget. After threatening Westinghouse — which had employed Nikola Tesla’s electricity using alternating current — with a patent infringement lawsuit, Morgan gained control of the emerging electric light industry and formed General Electric.
Morgan’s unethical, cutthroat business practices — the creation of monopolies by eliminating competition, maximizing profits by slashing jobs and reducing wages, and lack of workplace safety — became known as ‘morganization.’ In fact, figures like Morgan became known as ‘robber barons’ for such tactics — their uninhibited greed fueled a severe stratification of wealth and became a popular target for muckraking journalists.
And his attempts to profit while exerting influence didn’t stop there. In an investigation afterward, it was revealed America had entered World War I, not for political and policy concerns, but for the profits of the banking and munitions industries.
Senator Gerald P. Nye, who headed the eponymous Nye Committee, vowed at the outset, “when the Senate investigation is over, we shall see that war and preparation for war is not a matter of national honor and national defense, but a matter of profit for the few.”
As it turned out, U.S. banks, including Morgan’s, lent over 100 times as much money to allied countries than it had to adversaries — and in order to protect those loans, the financiers urged the Wilson Administration to come to the aid of their allies by joining the war. Dubbed the “merchants of death,” arms manufacturers were again rumored to ally with the Morgans in the buildup to the second world war.
Recent rumors have suggested a far comfortable relationship than the public would prefer, between what is now JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve. Despite the U.S. abandoning the gold standard, the New York Fed still houses the country’s precious metals in a fifth sub-basement — across the street from JPM’s own fifth sub-basement-situated gold vault. As Business Insider noted about the ZeroHedge report, which brought the seeming less-than-coincidental locales back into the spotlight in 2013, the public at large will likely never know if a tunnel exists connecting the two gold vaults.
Considering the sheer number of military conflicts Americans would rather their government not have been part of over the last century, the old allegations of Morgan family war profiteering become quite pertinent.
Pierre Samuel, Sieur du Pont de Nemours was a French economist whose protean political views both led him to be imprisoned during the French Revolution, when his views were found to be too moderate, and later to play an instrumental role in negotiating French side of the Louisiana Purchase.
After being held as a prisoner of war during the French Revolution, Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours fled to the United States, where he founded the empire responsible for such ubiquitous inventions as nylon, Teflon, and Kevlar, beginning with a gunpowder mill in Delaware.
After becoming the largest supplier of gunpowder to the U.S. military in the early 1800s, DuPont began manufacturing dynamite, growing to such incredible proportions — through collusion with its competition in the “Powder Trust” to fix prices — its monopoly on the industry was broken up under the Sherman Antitrust Act. However, similar to J.P. Morgan, DuPont’s supposed breakup allowed the family to maintain dominance over the munitions industry; and during the first world war, it supplied nearly 40 percent of all munitions used by allied forces.
Its ventures as military munitions supplier expanded from that point, and the company played a key role in the Manhattan Project’s development and production of the first atomic bomb — which the U.S. readily used to decimate Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. DuPont reportedly produced 4.5 billion pounds of military explosives used over the course of that war.
Rumors still circulate about DuPont’s possible role in the prohibition of hemp and cannabis, due to its breakthrough patent of nylon and a process for using wood pulp to manufacture paper in 1937. While both products could facilely be replaced by hemp, which arguably would have severely limited DuPont’s massive profits, those rumors have yet to be either summarilyproven — or thoroughly debunked.
DuPont also claims infamy as the second largest producer of genetically-modified corn and soy in the world and has seeds in cold storage inside Norway’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault — itself the subject of countless theories — designed to be able to replant the earth should an apocalyptic event come to pass.
One of the largest family dynasties, the du Pont clan’s estimated 3,500 members “own the nation’s oldest billion-dollar family fortune,” according to Forbes.
Documents declassified in 2003 revealed Yale Skull and Bones society member, Prescott Sheldon Bush — George W.’s grandfather — could have been prosecuted for providing aid and comfort to the enemy for nefarious business dealings during the build up to, during, and after World War II. As the Guardian reported in 2004, the National Archives documents“show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis’ plans and policies, [Prescott Bush] worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler’s rise to power.”
That description only vaguely scratches the surface of both the Bush family’s and U.S.’ apparent involvement in possible criminal activity surrounding the second world war. Though entire books are devoted to the subject, a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government and Bush family in 2004 claimed both materially benefited from slave labor at Auschwitz — and because the government knew what was taking place, it should have bombed the camp, the Guardian reported.
A petition asking for an opinion from the Hague reportedly stated, “From April 1944 on, the American Air Force could have destroyed the camp with air raids, as well as the railway bridges and railway lines from Hungary to Auschwitz. The murder of about 400,000 Hungarian Holocaust victims could have been prevented.”
At the heart of the case, brought by two survivors, was an executive order signed in January 1944 by Pres. Roosevelt mandating the government to take all steps necessary to save European Jews — which, lawyers said, “was ignored because of pressure brought by a group of big American companies, including [Brown Brothers Harriman], where Prescott Bush was a director,” said the Guardian.
Whether Bush had actually been a Nazi sympathizer or had just grossly capitalized on the Nazis extreme human rights abuses will probably never be known with certainty, though both the Bush family and U.S. government deny all allegations in the matter.
One stunning conspiracy Bush did, in fact, take part in that did prove true — involving the same Bush-led companies as in the Nazi matter, as well as those of other families on this list — has been so lost to history, it’s often discussed as rumor. There was, indeed, a plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship by most of the magnates on this list and others — and were it not for the suspicions of renowned Marine General Smedley Butler, the coup would have succeeded.
Feeling threatened by Roosevelt’s New Deal, wealthy businessmen organized The American Liberty League and in 1934, approached Butler with what they felt to be a tantalizing offer — $3 million up front and $300 million subsequent to the success of the coup, which would involve 500,000 veterans of the first world war.
“The League was headed by the DuPont and JP Morgan cartels and had major support from Andrew Mellon Associates, Pew (Sun Oil), Rockefeller Associates, EF Hutton Associates, US Steel, General Motors, Chase, Standard Oil, and Goodyear Tires,” CounterPunch explained.
Funding for the coup would be secreted away by Prescott Bush’s Union Banking Corporation and Harriman Brothers Brown — the same companies with strikingly apparent ties to the Nazis. As revealed later, Bush’s connections to Hitler had been a draw for those plotting the fascist coup, and they later claimed the Nazi-headed German government had offered to assist materially in the plan.
Though the plotters’ brazen plan would almost certainly have failed on its own, Butler’s secret testimony before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee revealed the group’s intent to install a fascist dictatorship of a similar vein to Germany’s — complete with concentration camps.
“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy,” wrote U.S. Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, in a 1936 letter to Roosevelt. “I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime … A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions.”
Over 4,300 pages of testimony were collected by the McCormack-Dickstein Committee — part of the House Un-American Activities Committee — until its disbanding at the end of 1934. Butler, who pretended to accept the plot in order to gather as much information as possible, provided key evidence in the investigation.
“In the last few weeks of the committee’s official life it received evidence that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country … There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if financial backers deemed it expedient,” the Committee’s report stated.
Indeed, propaganda had so readily touted the League for its, albeit hollow and obviously false, claims it would help the common worker and restore so-called American ideals, researching the plot has been difficult even for historians. TIME Magazine, the New York Times, and other publications have so whitewashed the plotted coup as to make it appear theory instead of proven fact.
In what might be the most revealing aspect of the planned coup, no one — not a single business or businessman involved — was ever prosecuted over the matter. No criminal charges were levied, no repercussions handed down — nothing.
Most telling of all is the same families — for all their dirty deeds to an actual, planned coup d’état — remain thoroughly entrenched as the American economic aristocracy today.
“War is a racket,” Butler famously wrote. “It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
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