Safari Club

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Group.png Safari Club  
(Deep state milieuHistory Commons SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Toegangspoort van de Mount Kenya Safari Club TMnr 20014548.jpg
Entrance of the Mount Kenya Safari Club where the group first met
FormationSeptember 1, 1976
Founder• Alexandre de Marenches
• Nematollah Nassiri
Parent organizationDeep state/Supranational nature
Typeintelligence agency
Membership• France
• Egypt
• Saudi Arabia
• Iran
• Morocco
A 'supranational deep state' - an informal international intelligence agency formed as a result of increasing pressure to expose wrongdoing by the US intelligence agencies and a consequent decision to seek alternative, more private organisations from which to operate.

The Safari Club was a key deep state milieu in the development of the Supranational Deep State.


The Safari Club was formed at a time when pressure for reform was building in the USA, and it seemed like the CIA was no longer a secure base from which to operate with impunity. The motives for the group's formation are well sumarised by the following unguarded remark of the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki bin Faisal:

“In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.”
Turki bin Faisal [1]


Alexandre de Marenches initiated the pact with messages to the four other countries — and to newly independent Algeria, which declined to participate.[2](1965-1968)

The original charter was signed in 1976 by leaders and intelligence directors from the five countries:[3][4]

As the Safari Club was beginning operations, former CIA Director Richard Helms and agent Theodore Shackley were under scrutiny from Congress and feared that new covert operations could be quickly exposed.[5] Peter Dale Scott has classified the Safari Club as part of the "second CIA"—an extension of the organization's reach maintained by an autonomous group of key agents. Thus even as Carter's new CIA director Stansfield Turner attempted to limit the scope of the agency's operations, Shackley, his deputy Thomas Clines, and agent Edwin P. Wilson (executor of the "Arms for Libya" weapons deal) secretly maintained their connections with the Safari Club and the BCCI.[6][7]


The Safari Club was involved in political intrigues in many countries in the 1970s, mostly in Africa and the Middle East. For instance, a rebellion in Zaire was put down by Moroccan and Egyptian troops, using French air support. It also played a role in the US-Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979.[8]

Winding up

The group's end date of 1980 is speculative. It seems "to have disappeared by the time de Marenches stepped down from being head of French intelligence in 1982."[9]


Related Quotations

Document:The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld“the brainchild of Count Alexandre de Marenches, the debonair and mustachioed chief of France’s CIA. The SDECE (Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage)... Worried by Soviet and Cuban advances in postcolonial Africa, and by America’s post-Watergate paralysis in the field of undercover activity, the swashbuckling Marenches had come to Turki’s father, King Faisal, with a proposition... [By 1979] Somali president Siad Barre had been bribed out of Soviet embrace by $75 million worth of Egyptian arms (paid for... by Saudi Arabia)”
Supranational deep state/History“The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations. With the official blessing of George Bush as the head of the CIA, Adham transformed.. the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a worldwide money laundering machine.”Joseph Trento2005


Known members

All 5 of the members already have pages here:

EgyptStrategically important due particularly to the Suez canal.
FranceA European nation, former colonial power, permanent seat on the UNSC
IranIran possesses the 4th largest oil reserves of any nation state.
Saudi ArabiaLongtime political ally of the USA, Saudi Arabia possesses larger easily accessible oil reserves than any other nation state.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworldpaper10 March 2014Peter Dale ScottAn recommended and highly referenced overview of the deep state in action centering on the complex milieu of Khashoggi, the BCCI, and the Safari Club.
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Two articles and radio shows with large citations from Joseph Trentos book 'Prelude to Terror':

  1. The Safari Club and the ‘Islamic Bomb’ Youtube
  2. The Safari Club Youtube
  1. Ibrahim Warde, The price of fear: the truth behind the financial war on terror (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 133. cf. Lacey, Inside the Kingdom, 66, 72, 76.
  2. Cooley, Unholy Wars, p. 17.
  3. Heikal, Iran: The Untold Story (1982), p. 113.
  4. Cooley, Unholy Wars, p. 15.
  5. Trento, Prelude to Terror (2005), p. 113–114. "Shackley, who still had ambitions to become DCI, believed that without his many sources and operatives like Wilson, the Safari Club — operating with Helms in charge in Tehran—would be ineffective. Shackley was well aware that Helms was under criminal investigation for lying to Congress about the CIA in Chile. Shackley had testified before the same grand jury. Unless Shackley took direct action to complete the privatization of intelligence operations soon, the Safari Club would not have a conduit to DO resources. The solution: create a totally private intelligence network using CIA assets until President Carter could be replaced."
  6. Peter Dale Scott, "Launching the U.S.Terror War: the CIA, 9/11, Afghanistan, and Central Asia", Asia–Pacific Journal 10(12), 16 March 2012.
  7. Trento, Prelude to Terror (2005), p. 314. "The Safari Club was run by the Saudis. It was a club to serve their purposes through the CIA. Shackley and Wilson were not members; only nations could belong. Shackley and Wilson were men who served the club in exchange for power, influence, and money."
  8. pp.15-17