Former Puppet (aka President) George W. Bush: Felon, High Traitor to the Constitution, Bill of Rights.
George W. Bush's presidency is the culmination of a family dynasty fueled by Texas oil in the 1950s and 1960s, propelled skyward by Washington hubris in the 1970s and 1980s, and fattened by Saudi petrodollars in the 1990s. September 11 and the wars that followed brought to light the hypocrisy of a family whose wealth and power depended in large part on the good graces of theocratic dictators and casual abusers of human rights.
No country helped the Bushes more than Saudi Arabia, the home nation of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers. It was the presence of the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia that originally enraged Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda. In the year preceding the attacks, money flowed freely from Saudi Arabia to a good friend of the hijackers in San Diego, some of it indirectly from the wife of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S.
Not surprisingly, the pursuit of Saudi terrorism links has been repeatedly stalled. The U.S. permitted relatives of Osama Bin Laden to fly out of the country quickly after the attacks, before the FBI could interview them. President Bush redacted 28 pages of the Congressional 9/11 report, most regarding Saudi funding. The reluctantly launched terror financing investigation in December 2002, focused on hundreds of millions of Saudi dollars, has produced few significant indictments.
To scrutinize Saudi Arabia too closely would be to alienate a much-trumpeted "moderate" force in the Middle East, put extremely valuable military bases at risk, and threaten a Bush-Saudi union whose unparalleled wealth and power depend on two things: stability among volatile anti-Western Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, and continued ignorance in the U.S. of the extent of this policy dictating partnership. Exposing Saudi nationals engaged in terrorism could jeopardize both and bring down a codependent dynasty built, literally, on sand.
Big Footsteps to Follow
The Bush control castle's foundation goes back three generations, and ties together Wall Street, Germany, Houston, Washington, and Saudi Arabia. In the 1920s Prescott Bush, already wealthy from family ties to the Rockefellers, joined his father-in-law, firm, Harriman & Co. It's holdings included Union Bank and Dresser Industries, whose assets were frozen during WW2 for continuing to do business with Hitler. Prescott remained on the board for 22 years, and served as a U.S. Senator from 1952 -1963). His son George H.W. Bush took one of his first jobs with Dresser in Texas after graduating from Yale in 1948, and in 1953 co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation in Houston.
In 1954 he began drilling off islands in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that were later used as a base for CIA staging and supply raids on Cuba in advance of the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Years later, all Securities and Exchange Commission filings for Zapata Off-Shore between 1960 and 1966 disappeared.) According to internal CIA documents, Zapata emerged from a collaboration between George H.W. Bush and a covert CIA officer who resigned his agency position to go into private business, but who continued to work for the CIA under commercial cover. After making contact with the CIA, George H.W. Bush's fortunes moved to Washington. In 1966, after stints as president and chairman, he sold his interest in Zapata and was elected as a Texas Congressman.
George W. Bush followed in his father's footsteps, graduating from his alma mater, Yale, in 1968. That would do it for his father's footsteps for a while: Although George H.W. Bush had served honorably as a pilot in World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross after being shot down, the younger Bush immediately enrolled in the Texas Air National Guard, avoiding serving in the Vietnam War.
George W. Bush got the lowest possible score on the Guard aptitude test, but went right to the top of a substantial waiting list. Bush stayed in the Guard for nearly six years, although there is no record of his performing Guard duties from May 1972 to May 1973. More than thirty years later, flawed news reports about he and his buddy James Bath's activities during that time rocked CBS News and got Dan Rather fired. In October 1973, Bush left the Guard early with an honorable discharge to attend Harvard Business School. While George W. Bush was at Harvard, his father was building power in Washington. In 1973, George H.W. Bush became the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and from October 1974 to November 1975 he was the chief of the United States Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China.
The watershed year in the nascent Bush presidential saga was 1976, when its defining patterns emerged: The father topped off a power structure in Washington, the sons and their friends began managing the import of Saudi money, and George W began his string of business flops and bailouts. George H.W. Bush had just become Director of Central Intelligence, though he'd had symbiotic dealings with CIA heads since the '50s, where he first connected with the wealthy and influential Saudis, training the Royal Palace Guard. Back home in Texas, George W. Bush's National Guard buddy James Bath was installed as the U.S. financial representative of Salem Bin Laden -- Osama bin Laden's brother -- and he did the same for Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz. George W. Bush finished business school and came home to Texas, where he promptly got a DUI.
In 1977, James Bath, flush with funds from his new Saudi friends, bought a $50,000 stake in Arbusto, a George W oil venture, followed years later by $25,000,000 from the same source, in George W's Harken Energy debacle. Bath also acquired an aviation company, and brokered around $150 million in private aircraft deals in the 1970s, including one with Ghaith Pharoan. who would own "substantial stock" in the Bank of Commerce and Credit International. BCCI eventually collapsed in the largest bank fraud in history.
The bank lost $12 billion in deposits and was involved in weapons trade, drug trafficking, money laundering, and the Iran-Contra scandal. Thanks to his activities with BCCI, Mahfouz would eventually pay a $225 million settlement to avoid being prosecuted on federal fraud and racketeering charges. Pharoan, after being indicted on BCCI-related federal racketeering and conspiracy charges, would flee. In 1977, though, Bath's clients looked clean enough for George H.W. Bush -- just back to Texas after finishing at the CIA -- to join the board of the bank where Bath was depositing their money.
In 1978, George W. Bush decided he was ready once again for his father's footsteps, and he ran for Congress. He lost and returned to Arbusto, which he renamed Bush Exploration after the company developed a reputation for failure. The Bush family's fortune multiplied in the 1980s. In 1981, George H.W. Bush was inaugurated as Vice President. The Reagan administration quickly embarked on a covert paramilitary war against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, while James Bath strengthened the ties between Texas, Washington, and Saudi Arabia. Bath had, for instance, recently become president of an aviation company owned by BCCI director Khalid bin Mahfouz.
George W. Bush, however, was going nowhere. In 1983, Spectrum 7 -- a company run by two major Reagan-Bush supporters -- bailed out George W. Bush's failing Bush Exploration Co. Three years later -- despite a Harvard degree and a father in the White House -- 40-year-old George W. still had yet to succeed in business. Furthermore, his wife was threatening to leave him over his drinking. His brothers had already made more impressive strides: Jeb, younger by seven years, had already opened overseas branches for a Texas bank, and Neil was making six figures with his own exploration company. But 1986 would be a turning point for George W. Bush. He quit drinking, and he learned how to make money from oil--even if his father's friends were still bailing him out.
In 1986 his Spectrum 7 skidded to the brink of bankruptcy, and an oil company named Harken absorbed it. Bush joined Harken's board and received $600,000 in Harken stock in return for his Spectrum 7 shares. A month later, the endowment of George W. Bush's business school alma mater, Harvard University, bought $2 million worth, or 30 percent, of Harken shares and invested $20 million in Harken projects. In 1987, with Bush on the board and Harvard's infusion in its coffers, Harken put out a stock offering. The offering was underwritten by a company owned by billionaire Jackson Stephens, BCCI's pointman in the U.S., and major contributor to George H.W. Bush's presidential campaign.
Through Stephens, Bush's interests merged with those of corrupt Saudis. First, Stephens Inc. sold 5 percent of Harken to Union Bank of Switzerland for $25 million in 1987. Union Bank once partnered with BCCI in a Geneva bank, and Union also helped BCCI dodge money-laundering laws by flying cash out of Panama in private jets. When Swiss banking rules forced Union to divest from Harken, Stephens sold Union's Harken shares to a Saudi tycoon named Sheikh Abdullah Taha Bakhsh.
Bakhsh became Harken's third-largest investor with a 17 percent stake, and he had -- like George W. Bush's pal James Bath -- represented the financial interests of Salem Bin Laden in the 1970s and 1980s. Bakhsh was also an associate of indicted BCCI front man Ghaith Pharoan. It was this triumvirate of Bakhsh, Bath and Pharoan that prompted a federal financial crime unit to investigate in 1992 whether Bath allowed Saudi wealth to influence U.S. policy under President George H.W. Bush.
One of Bakhsh's first moves at Harken was to put Talat Othman on the board, where he joined George W. Bush on the audit committee. In the 2000s, Othman would give a benediction at the Republican National Convention and sit on a board with Yacub Mirza, a central figure in the largest domestic terror-financing investigation in U.S. history. But in 1990, he'd play an important role in bailing out Harken, which was already losing money, despite having the president's son on the board.
Bush found his way onto another board in February 1990, thanks to Frederic Malek, a friend of President George H.W. Bush. Malek gained notoriety in the early 1970s as an axe-man for President Nixon. At Nixon's behest, Malek assembled a list of Jews at a government statistical agency for potential dismissal. (He would later be fined $100,000 by the SEC for a kickback scheme between his Thayer Capital Partners and the treasurer of Connecticut.) Malek convinced The Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm founded in 1987, to put George W. Bush on the board of Caterair, a company Carlyle had bought dirt-cheap. Northwest Airlines, where Malek was a director and vice chairman, was a major customer of Caterair at the time. Dan Briody, author of The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group, said that the administration returned the favor through "FAA restrictions and things like that for the airline business." CaterAir tanked while George W. Bush was on the board.
Later in 1990, Harken, despite having little capital for offshore drilling, beat out Amoco for a huge contract in Bahrain. The billionaire Bass brothers, who had contributed $226,000 to George H.W. Bush's cause in the past two years, underwrote the cost of drilling in return for a "piece of the action."