The last time somebody listened to a Bush, folks wandered in the desert for 40 years!
Bush familys dirty little secret
By Rick Wiles
Copyright: American Freedom News
President Bush recently signed an executive order to freeze the US financial assets of corporations doing business with Osama bin Laden. He described the order as a "strike on the financial foundation of the global terror network.
"If you do business with terrorists, if you support or succor them, you will not do business with the United States," said President Bush.
He didnt say anything about doing business with a terrorists brother or his wealthy financier.
When President George W. Bush froze assets connected to Osama bin Laden, he didnt tell the American people that the terrorist masterminds late brother was an investor in the presidents former oil business in Texas. He also hasnt leveled withthe American public about his financial connections to a host of shady Saudi characters involved in drug cartels, gun smuggling, and terrorist networks.
Doing business with the enemy is nothing new to the Bush family. Much of the Bush family wealth came from supplying needed raw materials and credit to Adolf Hitlers Third Reich. Several business operations managed by Prescott Bush the presidents grandfather - were seized by the US government during World War II under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
On October 20, 1942, the federal government seized the Union Banking Corporation in New York City as a front operation for the Nazis. Prescott Bush was a director. Bush, E. Roland Harriman, two Bush associates, and three Nazi executives owned the banks shares. Eight days later, the Roosevelt administration seized two other corporations managed by Prescott Bush. The Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, both managed by the Bush-Harriman bank, were accused by the US federal government of being front organizations for Hitlers Third Reich. Again, on November 8, 1942, the federal government seized Nazi-controlled assets of Silesian-American Corporation, another Bush-Harriman company doing business with Hitler.
Doing business with the bin Laden empire, therefore, is only the latest extension of the Bush familys financial ties to unsavory individuals and organizations. Now that thousands of American citizens have died in terrorist attacks and the nation is going to war, the American people should know about George W. Bushs relationship with the family of Osama bin Laden.
Salem bin Laden, Osamas older brother, was an investor in Arbusto Energy. the Texas oil company started by George W. Bush. Arbusto means Bush in Spanish. Salem bin Laden died in an airplane crash in Texas in 1988.
Sheik Mohammed bin Laden, the family patriarch and founder of its construction empire, also died in a plane crash. Upon his death in 1968, he left behind 57 sons and daughters the offspring he sired with 12 wives in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. About a dozen brothers manage Bin Laden Brothers Construction one of the largest construction firms in the Middle East.
Fresh out of Harvard Business School, young George W. Bush returned to Midland, TX, in the late 1970s to follow his fathers footsteps in the oil business. Beginning in 1978, he set up a series of limited partnerships Arbusto 78, Arbusto 79, and so on to drill for oil.
One of President Bushs earliest financial backers was James Bath, a Houston aircraft broker. Bath served with President Bush in the Texas Air National Guard. Bath has a mysterious connection to the Central Intelligence Agency.
According to a 1976 trust agreement, Salem bin Laden appointed James Bath as his business representative in Houston. Revelation about Baths relationship with the bin Laden financial empire and the CIA was made public in 1992 by Bill White, a former real estate business partner with Bath. White informed federal investigators in 1992 that Bath told him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role since 1976 the same year former President George Herbert Walker Bush served as director of the CIA.
During a bitter legal fight between White and Bath, the real estate partner disclosed that Bath managed a portfolio worth millions of dollars for Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz and other wealthy Saudis. Among the investments made by Bath with Mahfouzs money was the Houston Gulf Airport.
A powerful banker in Saudi Arabia, Mahfouz was one of the largest stockholders in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. BCCI was a corrupt global banking empire operating in 73 nations and was a major financial and political force in Washington, Paris, Geneva, London, and Hong Kong. Despite the appearance of a normal banking operation, BCCI was actually an international crime syndicate providing banking services to the Medellin drug cartel, Pamama dictator Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal, and Khun Sa, the heroin kingpin in Asias Golden Triangle.
The BCCI scandal implicated some of the biggest political names in Washington both Democrats and Republicans during the first Bush White House. The bank was accused of laundering money for drug cartels, smuggling weapons to terrorists, and using Middle Eastern oil money to influence American politicians.
The chief of the Justice Departments criminal division under former President Bush was Robert Mueller. Because the major players came out of the scandal with slaps on the wrists, many critics accused Mueller of botching the investigation. Mr. Mueller was recently appointed by President George W. Bush as the new Director of the FBI, replacing Louis Freeh who did nothing while William Jefferson Clinton allowed the Red Chinese to loot our national security secrets.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a division of the Justice Department, reviewed allegations by Bill White in 1992 that James Bath funneled money from wealthy Middle Eastern businessmen to American companies to influence the policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations. Robert Mueller, the new FBI chief, was in a senior position at the Justice Department at the time of the review.
White told a Texas court in 1992 that Bath and the Justice Department had blackballed him professionally and financially because he refused to keep quiet about his knowledge of an Arabic conspiracy to launder Middle Eastern money into the bank accounts of American businesses and politicians.
In sworn depositions, Bath admitted he represented four wealthy Saudi Arabian businessmen as a trustee. He also admitted he used his name on their investments and received, in return, a five- percent stake in their business deals.
Indeed, Texas tax documents revealed that Bath owned five percent of Arbusto 79 Ltd., and Arbusto 80 Ltd. Bush Exploration Company controlled the limited partnerships, the general partnership firm owned by young George W. Bush.
Although George W. Bushs Texas oil ventures were financial failures, his financial backers recovered their investments through a series of mergers and stock swaps. He changed Arbustos name to Bush Exploration, then merged the new firm into Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation in 1984.
The Bush-controlled oil business eventually ended up being folded into Harken Energy Corp., a Dallas-based corporation. Mr. Bush joined Harken as a director in 1986 and was given 212,000 shares of Harken stock. Bush used his White House connections to land a lucrative contract for the obscure Harken Energy Corp. with the Middle Eastern government of Bahrain. On June 20, 1990, George W. Bush sold his Harken stock for $848,000 and paid off the loan he took out to buy his small share in the Texas Rangers. The Bahrain deal was brokered by David Edwards, a close pal to Bill Clinton and a former employee of Stephens Inc. Shortly after Bush sold his stock, Harkens fortunes nose-dived when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Some critics claim young George was tipped off in advance by his father about the soon-coming Gulf War.
George W. Bush, however, worked wonders for Harken Energy Corp. before the stock collapsed. Using the Bush family name, he managed to bring much-needed capital investment to the struggling firm. George W. Bush traveled to Little Rock, AR, to attend a meeting with Jackson Stephens a powerful Arkansas tycoon who helped bankroll the state campaigns of young Bill Clinton. He first gained political prominence as a fund-raiser for President Jimmy Carter. Stephens was also deeply involved in the BCCI scandal by helping the corrupt bank take control of First American Bank in Washington, DC.
Jack Stephens didnt need an introduction to young George W. Bush. Mary Anne Stephens, his wife, managed Vice President George Bushs 1988 presidential campaign in Arkansas. Stephens Inc., the well connected brokerage firm owned by Jack Stephens, donated $100,000 to a Bush campaign fundraising dinner in 1991. When George W. Bush won the contested Florida election in 2000, Jack Stephens made a substantial contribution to the Bush inauguration. Recently, former
President Bush played golf on April 11, 2001, with Jack Stephens at the Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy in Little Rock. The former president told Stephens, Jack, we love you and we are very, very grateful for what you have done.
Perhaps the former president was thanking him for the money Stephens provided young George W. Bush. Stephens arranged for a $25 million investment from the Union des Banques Suisses. The Swiss Bank held the minority interest in the Banque de Commerce et de Placements, a Geneva-based subsidiary of BCCI.
Both Stephens and Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, a wealthy and well-connected Saudi real estate investor, signed the financial transaction. The Geneva transaction was paid through a joint venture between the Union Bank of Switzerland and its Geneva branch of BCCI.
The BCCI connection, therefore, linked George W. Bush with Saudi banker Khaled bin Mahfouz. Known in Arab circles as the kings treasurer, Mahfouz held a 20 percent take in BCCI between 1986 and 1990. Mahfouz is no stranger to the Bush family. He was a big investor in the Carlyle Group, a defense-industry investment group with deep connections to the Republican Party establishment. Former President Bush is a former member of the companys board of directors.
George W. Bush also held shares in Caterair, a Carlyle subsidiary. Sami Baarma, a powerful player in the Mahfouz-owned Prime Commercial Bank of Pakistan, is a member of the Carlyle Groups international advisory board.
President Bush certainly is aware of that his former Saudi sugar daddy is still financing Osama bin Ladens terrorist network. USA Today newspaper reported in 1999 that a year after bin Ladens attacks on US embassies in Africa, Khaled bin Mahfouz and other wealthy Saudis were funneling tens of millions of dollars each year into bin Ladens bank accounts. Five top Saudi businessmen ordered the National Commercial Bank to transfer personal funds and $3 million pilfered from a
Saudi pension fund to the Capitol Trust Bank in New York City. The money was deposited into the Islamic Relief and Blessed Relief - Islamic charities operating in the US and Great Britain as fronts for Osama bin Laden.
The Capitol Trust Bank is run by Mohammad Hussein al-Amoudi. His lawyer is Democratic Party bigwig Vernon Jordan, close friend of former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, the Arab who cosigned the $25 million cash infusion into George W. Bushs Harken Energy Corporation, appointed Talat Othman to manage his 17.6 percent share in Harken Energy Corp. Othman, a native Palestinian, is president and CEO of Dearborn Financial Inc. an investment firm in Arlington Heights, IL.
Bakhsh also bought a 9.6 percent stake in Worthen Banking Corporation, the Arkansas bank controlled by Jack Stephens. Abdullah Bakhshs share was the identical percentage as the amount of shares sold by Mochtar Riady, the godfather of the wealthy Indonesian family with close ties to the Chinese communists, Bill Clinton and evangelist Pat Robertson. Bakhsh is represented by Rogers & Wells, a well-connected Republican law firm in New York whose partners include former Secretary of State William P. Rogers.
Independent investigator reporter David Twersky reported in the early 1990s that Othman had a seat on Harkens board of directors and met three times in the White House with President George Herbert Walker Bush. Organized by Chief of Staff John Sununu, Othmans first meeting with President Bush at the White House was in August 1990, just days after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
There exist to this day an Arab-Texas connection. Khalid bin Mahfouz, financier of both George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, still maintains a palatial estate in Houston, TX. Former President George Bush also lives in Houston. James Bath, Texas political confidant of George W. Bush, managed to obtain a $1.4 million loan from Mahfouz in 1990. Bath and Mahfouz, along with former Secretary of Treasury John Connally, were also co-investors in Houstons Main Bank. Bath was also president of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Ltd, a Texas air charter company registered in the Cayman Islands. According to published reports in the early 1990s, the real owner was bin Mahfouz. When Salem bin Laden, Osama brother, died in 1988, his interest in the Houston Gulf Airport was transferred to bin Mahfouz.
Since Osama bin Ladens bloody attack on America on September 11, the federal government has moved quickly to freeze bank accounts connected to Osama bin Laden, Khalid bin Mahfouz, and a host of Islamic charities.
Perhaps federal agents should freeze the financial assets of the Bush family too. It would not be the first time Bush-family assets were seized by the US government for trading with the enemy.
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Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger
Wednesday October 31, 2001
It is hard to imagine an address closer to the heart of American power. The offices of the Carlyle Group are on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, midway between the White House and the Capitol building, and within a stone's throw of the headquarters of the FBI and numerous government departments. The address reflects Carlyle's position at the very centre of the Washington establishment, but amid the frenetic politicking that has occupied the higher reaches of that world in recent weeks, few have paid it much attention. Elsewhere, few have even heard of it.
This is exactly the way Carlyle likes it. For 14 years now, with almost no publicity, the company has been signing up an impressive list of former politicians - including the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker; John Major; one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi and several south-east Asian powerbrokers - and using their contacts and influence to promote the group. Among the companies Carlyle owns are those which make equipment, vehicles and munitions for the US military, and its celebrity employees have long served an ingenious dual purpose, helping encourage investments from the very wealthy while also smoothing the path for Carlyle's defence firms.
But since the start of the "war on terrorism", the firm - unofficially valued at $3.5bn - has taken on an added significance. Carlyle has become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president's father. And, until earlier this month, Carlyle provided another curious link to the Afghan crisis: among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden.
The closest the Carlyle Group has previously come to public attention was last May, when a Seoul-based employee called Peter Chung was forced to resign from his £100,000-a-year job after sending an email to friends - subsequently forwarded to thousands of others - boasting of his plans to "fuck every hot chick in Korea over the next two years". The more business-oriented activities of Carlyle's staff have been conducted much more quietly: since it was founded in 1987 by David Rubenstein, a policy assistant in Jimmy Carter's administration, and two lawyer friends, the firm has been dispatching an array of former world leaders on a series of strategic networking trips.
Last year, George Bush Sr and John Major travelled to Riyadh to talk with senior Saudi businessmen. In September 2000, Carlyle hired speakers including Colin Powell and AOL Time Warner chair Steve Case to address an extravagant party at Washington's Monarch Hotel. Months later, Major joined James Baker for a function at the Lanesborough Hotel in London, to explain the Florida election controversy to the wealthy attendees.
We can assume that Carlyle pays well. Neither Major's office nor Carlyle will confirm the details of his salary as European chairman - an appointment announced shortly before he left the House of Commons after the election - but we know, for the purposes of comparison, that he is paid £105,000 for 28 days' work a year for an unrelated non-executive directorship. Bush gives speeches for the company and is paid with stakes in the firm's investments, believed to be worth at least $80,000 per appearance. The benefits have attracted political stars from around the world: former Philippines president Fidel Ramos is an adviser, as is former Thai premier Anand Panyarachun - as well as former Bundesbank president Karl Otto Pohl, and Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the SEC, the US stock market regulator.
Carlyle partners, who include Baker and the firm's chairman, Frank Carlucci - Ronald Reagan's defence secretary and a former deputy director of the CIA - own stakes that would be worth $180m each if each partner owned an equal slice. As in many areas of its work, though, Carlyle is not obliged to reveal the details, and chooses not to.
Among the defence firms which benefit from Carlyle's success is United Defense, a Virginia-based contractor which makes vertical missile launch systems currently on board US Navy ships in the Arabian sea, as well as a range of other weapons delivery systems and combat vehicles. Carlyle's other holdings span an improbable range, taking in the French newspaper Le Figaro and the company which bottles Dr Pepper.
"They are big, and they are quiet," says David Mulholland, business editor of Jane's Defence Weekly. "But they're not easy to get information out of, [but] United Defense are going to do well [in the current conflict]." United also owns Bofors, a Swedish munitions manufacturer.
Carlyle has said that it does not lobby the federal government, thus avoiding a conflict of interest when, for example, Carlucci met Rumsfeld in February when several important defence contracts were under consideration. But critics see that as a matter of definition.
"It should be a deep cause for concern that a closely held company like Carlyle can simultaneously have directors and advisers that are doing business and making money and also advising the president of the United States," says Peter Eisner, managing director of the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit-making Washington think-tank. "The problem comes when private business and public policy blend together. What hat is former president Bush wearing when he tells Crown Prince Abdullah not to worry about US policy in the Middle East? What hat does he use when he deals with South Korea, and causes policy changes there? Or when James Baker helps argue the presidential election in the younger Bush's favour? It's a kitchen-cabinet situation, and the informality involved is precisely a mark of Carlyle's success."
The world of private equity is an inherently secretive one. Firms such as Carlyle make most of their money buying firms which are not publicly traded, overhauling them and selling them at a profit, so the process by which likely targets are evaluated is much more confidential than on the open market. "These firms certainly don't go out of their way to get into the headlines," says Steven Bell, chief economist at Deutsche Asset Management. "They'd rather make a splash in Institutional Pensions Week. The aim is to realise very high returns for your investors while exerting a high degree of control over the company. You don't want to get into the headlines when you force the management to fire a director."
The process has worked wonders at United, and this month the firm announced plans to go public, giving Carlyle the chance to cash in its investment.
But what sets Carlyle apart is the way it has exploited its political contacts. When Carlucci arrived there in 1989, he brought with him a phalanx of former subordinates from the CIA and the Pentagon, and an awareness of the scale of business a company like Carlyle could do in the corridors and steak-houses of Washington. In a decade and a half, the firm has been able to realise a 34% rate of return on its investments, and now claims to be the largest private equity firm in the world. Success brought more investors, including the international financier George Soros and, in 1995, the wealthy Saudi Binladin family, who insist they long ago severed all links with their notorious relative. The first president Bush is understood to have visited the Binladins in Saudi Arabia twice on the firm's behalf.
The Carlyle Group does not employ anyone at its Washington headquarters to deal with the press. Inquiries about the links with the Binladins (as most of the family choose to spell their name) are instead referred to someone outside the company, on condition he is referred to only as "a source familiar with the relationship". This source says: "I can confirm the fact that any Binladin Group investment in Carlyle has been terminated or is being terminated. It amounted to a $2m investment in the Carlyle II Fund, which was anyway a very small portion of a $1.3bn fund. In the scheme of the investments and in the scheme of the business of either party it was very small. We have to get this into perspective. But I think there was a sense that there were questions being raised and some controversy, and for such a small amount of money it was something that we wanted to put behind us. It was just a business decision."
But if the Binladins' connection to the Carlyle Group lasted no more than six years, the current President Bush's own links to the firm go far deeper. In 1990, he was appointed to the board of one of Carlyle's first purchases, an airline food business called Caterair, which they eventually sold at a loss. He left the board in 1992, later to become Governor of Texas. Shortly thereafter, he was responsible for appointing several members of the board which controlled the investment of Texas teachers' pension funds. A few years later, the board decided to invest $100m of public money in the Carlyle Group. The firm's magic touch was already bringing results. Today, it is proving as fruitful as ever.