Sunday, July 7, 2019

House of Mellon Part V: A Distant Cousin

In a recent email exchange, a reader dropped a most interesting name on your humble researcher: Jim Mellon. Of course, long time readers of this blog are well aware that Recluse is obsessed with all things related (har har) to the famed Pittsburgh dynasty. For decades now, they have been among the most powerful and well connected families in this nation. Family patriarch Thomas Mellon established the Mellon Bank in 1869. By the onset of the twentieth century, it had become one of the most profitable financial institutions in the United States outside of New York City.

From there, the Mellons would branch out into a host of other industries. Mellons and their capital helped establish AlcoaGulf OilWestinghouse, and Rockwell International (a major defense contractor with extensive ties to both the US intelligence community and far right, as was noted before here), among others. Companies like HeinzKoppers, and General Motors also received early financial backing from the Pittsburgh dynasty as well. 

Probably the most famous (or infamous, depending upon one's point of view) Mellon was Andrew, who took over management of the family bank around 1873. While Judge Thomas Mellon may well be the family patriarch, it was his son Andrew who turned the family into one of the wealthiest in the world. His financial prowess eventually led to Andrew being appointed the US Secretary of the Treasury in 1921. Mellon would go on to become one of the longest serving Treasury Secretaries in the history of the nation, serving from 1921 until 1933. During this time frame he oversaw both the boom years of the Roaring Twenties and the stock market crash of 1929 that ushered in the Great Depression. As was noted before here, there is much dispute as to how much blame Andrew Mellon deserved for the latter.

Andrew Mellon
At the onset of World War II, the Mellons managed a spot on the ground floor of what would become one of the boom industries of the twentieth century and beyond: intelligence. Numerous Mellons and their in-laws would sign up with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the WWII-era predecessor to the CIA. Among the most noteworthy were Andrew's son, Paul; and son-in-law, David Bruce. Bruce in particular was a close aide to OSS founder and director William "Wild Bill" Donovan who would become the station chief in London, arguably the spy agency's most important station during the war. Bruce was divorced from Ailsa Mellon Bruce in 1945 (on Hitler's birthday no less), but Bruce maintained contacts with the Mellon clan for years afterwards. And indeed, some of the contacts may have been related to intelligence operations.

David Bruce
For instance, Bruce was in contact with the enigmatic William Mellon Hitchcock in London during the early 1960s while Bruce was serving as the US ambassador there. Hitchcock was reportedly living in London at the time as part of various business ventures he was engaged in, but appears to have spent much of his time investigating a sex ring exposed by the Profumo Affair. This particular ring involved both British and Soviet intelligence. As was noted before here, it appears that Bruce himself had approached Hitchcock via a mutual friend to investigate the tangled web of Profumo, which ultimately brought down the government of Harold Macmillan and threatened to ensnare the presidency of JFK.

Not long after returning to the US, in 1963, Hitchcock shifted gears and became the principal financial patron of LSD guru Timothy Leary (he met Leary through his sister, Peggy, who was having an affair with the former Harvard professor). Hitchcock eventually broke with Leary during the mid-1960s, but he was not yet done with LSD. Indeed, he had become the de facto banker for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the largest LSD syndicate in the world at the time (noted before here). By the late 1960s, he became involved with the uber-spooky Resorts International (noted before here), which President Donald Trump would become the CEO of during the 1980s.

While there is much dispute as to whether Hitchcock had some type of relationship with the US intelligence community, there is no such ambiguity concerning another Mellon heir of the same generation. Richard Mellon Scaife has openly acknowledged to funding Forum World News, a CIA front, during the 1970s. This is likely only scratching the surface of Scaife's deep funding. As was noted in my examination of the Cercle complex (which can be here and here), Scaife also contributed heavily to various organizations linked to the uber intelligence-connected complex, which counted several former CIA directors (and their European counterparts) as members.

Richard Mellon Scaife
Elsewhere, Scaife became one of the leading financiers for the American conservative revival that kicked off during the 1970s. Everything from the pro-life movement to The Clinton Chronicles was graced by Scaife's largess. Much more information on these activities can be found here.

It would appear that the Mellon family's "special" relationship with the US intelligence community has continued well into the twenty-first century. Christopher Mellon served on the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, eventually become the Staff Director. Later, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, at the time the Pentagon's highest ranking intelligence post. In recent years, he has become a prominent proponent of UFO Disclosure, and is actively involved with Tom DeLonge's To the Star Academy of Arts and Sciences. Christopher's brother, Matthew, was a cryptocurrency billionaire and financial patron of the alt-right before his bizarre death in 2018. More information on the Brothers Mellon can be found here and here.

You Don't Mess Around With Jim

And that brings us to Jim. This particular Mellon is not related to the American branch of the family. Rather, he is a distant cousin from the Old Country. The Mellons of Pittsburgh hailed from Ireland, and later departed there for the States. Jim's family also left Ireland around the same time, but opted to relocate to Scotland instead. But despite the gap of centuries and the Atlantic Ocean, Jim Mellon eventually established ties with at least one member of the Pittsburgh branch. He corresponded for a time with Paul Mellon, the son of Andrew and a former OSS man.

Paul Mellon
As far as intelligence connections are concerned, Jim likely had closer links in his immediate family. His father, Sir James, was a longtime British diplomat who appears to have occasionally been involved with intelligence-related activities. As a diplomat's son, Jim Mellon spent many of his formative years in embassies. No doubt he encountered many spooks in the process. But beyond this, he is also a graduate of Oxford University. Oxford of course has a longstanding reputation as being a popular recruiting ground for both MI5 and MI6.

Sir James Mellon and his wife
Families ties to one of the wealthiest and most intelligence-connected (and Anglophilic) families in the States? A diplomat for a father who at a minimum would have dealt regularly spooks in various embassies? And admittance to an elite university routinely used to recruit for the secret services? Certainly Mr. Mellon has all of the makings of an MI6 man. And indeed, his business career would have an uncanny knack for taking him to emerging markets in geopolitical sensitive spots across the globe.

Upon graduating Oxford in 1979, Mellon went to work for GT Management (which was eventually taken over by Invesco). He was briefly detailed to Hong Kong before being moved to the company's San Francisco offices. He would spent the next four years in San Fran. It would appear that some of the zeitgeist there rubbed off on Mr. Mellon. Of late, he's become a major investor in various life extension ventures, and even wrote a book on such things. Life extension is of course a major obsession of Silicon Valley and Mellon still maintains a residency in San Francisco.

In 1984, he left GT with one of its co-founders, Richard Thornton, who was then setting up his own investment house. Mellon returned to Hong Kong during that year to take over the office of what became Thornton Management. Mellon then left Thornton Management and Hong Kong four years later a millionaire before he had even turned 30.

In 1990 he co-founded his own firm, Regent Pacific, based in Hong Kong. It quickly earned the nickname the "Vulture Fund" due to its reputedly unscrupulous practices. Mellon truly became an international player when he began investing heavily in Russia in the immediate aftermath of privatization efforts in 1994. Mellon made ample use of the chaos, often buying up vouchers for Russian stocks for pennies. All told, Mellon spent some $2 million on these investments during that year, and within six weeks said investments were worth $17 million. By 1997 these investments were worth nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

During that same year, Mellon purchased a stake in Hambros Bank. Hambros was not just any bank, but had in fact been one of the most powerful financial institutions in the UK for much of the twentieth century.
"As part of the system and at the core of English financial life have been seventeen private firms of merchant bankers who find money for established and wealthy enterprises on either a long-term (investment) or a short-term ('acceptances') basis. These merchant bankers, with a total of less than a hundred active partners, include the firms of Baring Brothers, N.M. Rothchild, J. Henry Schroder, Morgan Grenfell, Hambros, and Lazard Brothers. These merchant bankers in the period of financial capitalism had a dominant position with the Bank of England and, strangely enough, still retain some of this, despite the nationalization of the bank by the Labour government in 1946. As late as 1961 a Baring (Lord Cromer) was named governor of the bank, and his board of directors, called the 'Court' of the bank, included representatives of Lazard, of Hambros, and of Morgan Grenfell, as well as of an industrial farm (English Electric) controlled by these."
(Tragedy & Hope, Carroll Quigley, pgs. 499-500)

Hambros Bank then was clearly in very exclusive company. Unsurprisingly, both the bank and the Hambro family had extensive ties to the UK intelligence community. Sir Charles Hambro, a Bank of England director by age 30 and eventual chairman of Hambros, became the head of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during WWII. The SOE was tasked with carrying out the UK's covert operations and other dirty tricks during that era. Much more information can be found on it here.

The Hambros family originated from Denmark. Before becoming head of the SOE, Sir Charles oversaw its operations in Scandinavia. During the Cold War, both Sir Charles and his bank would continue to provide covert support to MI6 in that region of the world.
"Norway had one of the world's biggest merchant navy fleets, sailing to all the great seaports of the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and China... MI6 also helped the Norwegians establish a separate shipping company, Egerfangst, to undertake operations... They could draw on the support of Sir Charles Hambro and his merchant bank, Hambros, which had a substantial stake in the Norwegian shipping empire, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of finance. Hambros Bank had a long-standing financial interest in Norway and Scandinavia, and Sir Charles had been controller of SOE's Scandinavian section with another influential Hambros director, Harry Sporborg, as its head. Hambro had also chaired the Anglo-Norwegian Collaboration Committee which co-ordinated resistance plans."  
(MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Stephen Dorril, pgs. 524-525)
Sir Charles
The above-mentioned Harry Sporborg was a future member of the Cercle complex as well as Shield, a private intelligence network established by Brian Crozier during the 1970s. More information can be found on Sporborg here. But moving along.

I bring up the Hambro connection to Scandinavia because Sir James Mellon, Jim's father, was not only the UK's ambassador to Denmark during the mid-1980s, but also had longstanding ties to the nation. A Danish speaker, Sir James had briefly attended Aarhus University during the early 1950s and would find his way back to the country time and again over the years.

All of this makes Jim Mellon's relationship with Hambros Bank all the more curious. Upon becoming a shareholder in the institution, he immediately launched an attack on the board of directors. Mellon's criticism of the bank is generally credited with the break up that occurred in 1998, with much of the institution being sold to the French Société Générale, one of the largest banks in Europe. At the time Baron Hamro, the son of Sir Charles, was still involved with the bank in some capacity. However, Hambro family influence had declined steadily since that Hambros had dissolved their family trust in 1986. This led to Sir Chippendale "Chips" Keswick being appointed chairman during that year, a post he held until 1998 when the bank was sold. Sir Chips is a member of the Keswick family that has long controlled Jardine Matheson, a major player in Asian markets for nearly two centuries.

Sir Chips
Jardine has long been headquartered in Hong Kong, raising the possibility that their was already bad blood between Mellon and Sir Chips prior to the former's involvement in Hambros. Upon acquiring his stake in Hambros, Mellon came to the conclusion that the Keswicks were running the bank like their own fiefdom. The fallout from Mellon's criticism of Sir Chips was such that Sir James had to intervene to smooth over the assorted ruffled feathers. Was Mellon then dispatched to Hambros to force out the Keswicks, whose management had run what had previously been one of the most powerful banks in Europe into the ground? And what of the possibility that Sir James had had prior dealings with the Hambro family? Has this possibly led to Mellon's intervention into the bank? This researcher firmly believes there is much more to this story, though unfortunately the dissolution Hambros has drawn far less notice than it should have.

Getting Political

Mellon had generally avoided politics until the twenty-first century. During the tale end of the '00s, he became a staunch supporter of future Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron, in turn, has some curious connections to the Mellon family of Pittsburgh. His father-in-law, Lord William Waldorf Astor III, is the son of the Lord Astor ensnared in the Profumo Affair. That Lord Astor was on friendly terms with David Bruce and encountered William Mellon Hitchcock at times as well. Lord Astor was the scion of the fabulously powerful Anglo-American Astor family, of which I've written more on here. Indeed, the Astors and Mellons have likely had dealings with one another for decades if not centuries now. 

At one point the present Lord Astor was having an affair with Rachel Whetstone, a public relations exec who was a key member of Cameron's entourage before the affair strained relations. Whetstone is the granddaughter of Sir Antony Fisher, a British business man most well known for founding libertarian-centric think tanks across the world. One of the most well known is the Manhattan Institute, which he co-founded with future CIA director William Casey. According Jane Meyer in Dark Money, Richard Mellon Scaife was for years the think tank's largest financial contributor. As Fisher founded nearly 150 right wing think tanks, this is likely not the only time Fisher and Scaife's paths crossed. This raises the possibility that Whetstone's mother, who is quite devoted to Fisher's causes, had encountered Scaife at some point as well.

Rachel Whetstone
In more recent years, Mr. Mellon has become a staunch Eurosceptic and crucial backer of Brexit. Mellon is known to have donated at least £100,000 to Brexit efforts during 2015. But beyond this, he is also a business partner of Arron Banks. Banks is a co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign and was for a time one of the largest donors to Nigel Farage's UK Independence Party (UKIP). Curiously, Jim Mellon is reportedly the man who first introduced Banks to Farage.

Arron Banks
As noted above, Mellon and Banks are business partners. As of 2016, Banks owned a 25% stake in Manx Financial Group, which Mellon is the founder and chairman of. Manx Financial is named after the historic language of the Isle of Man. Both Banks and Mellon have considerable ties to the island. A holding company linked to several businesses Banks is involved with is based there. As for Mellon, he is both the largest property owner and employer on the island.

Superficially, there is a rather obvious reason why men like Banks and Mellon would be attracted to the Isle of Man: it is one of the leading tax havens in the world. Regular readers of this blog are probably more familiar with the mythology surrounding the island, however. Until relatively recent times, the old ways were still preserved on this tiny island. Frazer once noted:
"... In the Isle of Man, one of the fortresses in which the Celtic language and lore longest held out against the siege of the Saxon invaders, the first of November, Old Style, had been regarded as New Year's Day down to recent times. Thus Manx mummers used to go round on Hallowe'en (Old Style), singing, in the Manx language, a sort of Hogmanay song which began 'Tonight is New Year's Night, Hogunnaa!' One of Sir John Rhys's Manx informants, an old man of sixty-seven, 'had been a farm servant from the age of sixteen until he was twenty-six to the same man, near Regaby, in the parish of Andreas, and he remembers his master and a near neighbor of his discussing the term New Year's Day as applied to the first of November, and explaining to the younger men that it had always been so in old times. In fact, it seemed to him natural enough, as all tenure of land ends at that time, and as all servant men began their service then.'...
(The Golden Bough, James George Frazer, pgs. 731-732)

The Isle of Man was also a long time stronghold of the fairy faith as well. Walter Evans-Wentz still found it going strong during the early twentieth century when he was researching his classic work on fairies and the Celts.

While I have no evidence to indicate that this contributed to Mellon's fixation with the Isle, the American Mellon family has long maintained eccentric interests: Andrew Mellon was a high ranking Freemason (noted before here), while the family has sponsored occultic architecture (noted before here) in both Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.  And then there's William Mellon Hitchcock's time as a major LSD guru and Christopher Mellon's obsession with UFOs. There are even indication that Matthew Mellon subscribed to the Dark Enlightenment (noted before here). Jim Mellon picking up some curious beliefs from his American cousins would hardly be the strangest thing a Mellon has embraced. So while taxes were surely the driving factor in maintaining a residency there, I find it curious that Mellon went so far as to become the largest land owner on the island.

And so concludes this look at yet another powerful, and likely intelligence-connected, member of the Mellon clan. A big thank you again to the reader who altered me to this particular incarnation. There are just to many Mellons for one researcher to keep track of without a little help now and again. But I do my best and, as always, stay tuned dear reader until next time. 

1 comment:

  1. what are your thoughts on the purported connections between ufos and faeries coming back into vouge with missing 411 and what not? any speculation on the connection between the manx land and the ufo obsession?