Kermit Roosevelt

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Kermit RooseveltJr. "was the Roosevelt who took the illustrious American political family into a starring role in one of the Central Intelligence Agency's most infamous and spectacular operations - the overthrow of the Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, the first successful ouster of a foreign ruler in CIA history." [1] A few years later he went on to found the African Wildlife Foundation.

His father "Kermit Roosevelt is a member of the founding Executive Committee representing NYZS" (New York Zoological Society). [2]

"Kermit Roosevelt was a grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and a distant cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was born in Buenos Aires where his father, also Kermit, worked in banking and shipping, but grew up in upstate New York. After attending Harvard, he taught history before joining the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, during the war. After a spell in Egypt for the OSS, he moved seamlessly into the new espionage organisation, and swiftly moved up the ranks. Though he was always based in Washington, he had frequent spells abroad, mostly to the Middle East. ...
"In 1979, as the Shah in turn was driven out, he published Countercoup: the struggle for the control of Iran. The book had to be recalled for revision after allegations of libel by BP, the successor company to Anglo- Iranian. More important, however, is Roosevelt's portrait of how US intelligence worked at a time when covert operations went through virtually on the nod, without oversight." [3]

"In 1951 Prime Minister Mossadegh roused Britain's ire when he nationalized the oil industry. Mossadegh argued that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves which had been exclusively controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The company later became known as British Petroleum (BP).

"After considering military action, Britain opted for a coup d'état. President Harry Truman rejected the idea, but when Dwight Eisenhower took over the White House, he ordered the CIA to embark on one of its first covert operations against a foreign government.

"The coup was led by an agent named Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. The CIA leaned on a young, insecure Shah to issue a decree dismissing Mossadegh as prime minister. Kermit Roosevelt had help from Norman Schwarzkopf’s father: Norman Schwarzkopf." [4]

"AMY GOODMAN: You are listening to Democracy Now!, the War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman on this 50th anniversary of the C.I.A.-backed coup that overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh. We're talking to Stephen Kinzer. He is author of a new book, All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. In a minute, we're going to go to old film about the coup where former C.I.A. agents talk about their role in it. But talk about the man in the C.I.A. who spearheaded this, Kermit Roosevelt.
"STEPHEN KINZER: One of the reasons I wanted to write this book was because I've always been curious about exactly how you go about overthrowing a government. What do you do after you choose an agent and assign a lot of money? Exactly how do you go about doing it? Kermit Roosevelt really is a wonderful way to answer that question. What happened was this: Kermit Roosevelt, who as you said was Teddy Roosevelt's grandson, was the Near East director for the C.I.A. He slipped clandestinely into Iran just around the end of July 1953. He spent a total of less than three weeks in Iran--that's only how long it took him to overthrow the government of Mossadegh. And one thing that I did realize as I was piecing together this story is how easy it is for a rich, powerful country to throw a poor, weak country into chaos. So what did Roosevelt do? The first thing he did was he wanted to set Tehran on fire. He wanted to make Iran fall into chaos. So he bribed a whole number of politicians, members of Parliament, religious leaders, newspaper editors and reporters, to begin a very intense campaign against Mossadegh. This campaign was full of denunciatory speeches and lies about Mossadegh, dated and passed, without bitter denunciations of Mossadegh from the pulpits and in the streets, on the houses of Parliament. Then, Roosevelt also went out and bribed leaders of street gangs. You had a kind of "Mobs 'R' Us," mobs-for-hire, kind of situation existing in Iran that that time. Roosevelt got in touch with the leaders of these mobs. Finally, he also bribed a number of military officers who would be willing to bring their troops in on his side at the appropriate moment. So when that moment came, the fig leaf of the coup was, as you said, this document that the Shah had signed, rejecting the prime ministership of Mossadegh, essentially firing him from office. Now, this was a decree that was of very dubious legality since in democratic Iran only the Parliament could hire and fire prime ministers. Nonetheless, the idea was that this decree would be delivered to Mossedegh at his house at midnight one night and then, when he refused to obey it, as he probably would, he would be arrested. That was the plot. But what happened was that the officer that Kermit Roosevelt had chosen to go to Mossdegh's house at midnight, presented the decree firing Mossadegh and preparing to arrest him but other, loyal soldiers stepped out of the shadows and arrested him. The coup had been betrayed. The plot failed. The man who was supposed to arrest Mossadegh was himself arrested. And Kermit Roosevelt woke up the next day with a cable from his superiors in the C.I.A. telling him, My God, you failed, you better get out of there right away before they find you and kill you. But Kermit Roosevelt, on his own, decided that he would stay. He figured, I can still do this, I was sent here to overthrow this government, I'm going to make up my own plan." [5]

Roosevelt, Kermit. Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979. [pb] 1981. "Clark comment: The book details the planning and execution of Operation Ajax, the American-British operation which overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953 and restored the Shah to his throne. Roosevelt was the American case officer for the operation and was on the scene in Teheran to oversee its successful implementation." [6]

[12] Revolutionary Iran Ramazani, R K. : John's Hopkins University Press, 1986 In 1953 very few Americans had ever heard the name of Kermit Roosevelt, and today certainly no American recalls the name with the exception of the odd history student or two. But just as certainly, key CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt installed the Shah Reza Pahlavi's royal family in power while taking out the democratic rule of Mossadegh. It is interesting to note that British imperial power could not interest Truman in the Mossadegh coup, while Eisenhower farmed out the job to the Dulles brothers within a matter of days subsequent to taking presidential power - the reason?

It also seems that Kermit was a member of "Le Cercle... a secret transnational intelligence and direct action group, that, according to all accounts, is funded by the CIA." "Circle members Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner, William Colby, Stefano Delle Chiaie, Giulio Andreotti, General Stilwell, and probably Karel Meulmeester have all been involved in the creation or maintenance of the Stay-Behind networks. Circle members Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner, and Kermit Roosevelt were members of the Knights Templar. Circle members Alexandre de Marenches and Kermit Roosevelt set up the Safari Club." [7]

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  1. Advisory Board, Roosevelt Institution, accessed September 22, 2007.

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