The Bush-Bin Laden Connection

Feds Looked Into G.W. Bush-Bin Laden Connection In '92.
Part One -- Bush Said Friend's Arbusto Investment Was His Own, Not Saudi Money. Friend "Declined To Comment For The Record."

(Houston Chronicle. June 4, 1992) "Federal authorities are investigating the activities of a Houston businessman -- a past investor in companies controlled by a son of President Bush -- who has been accused of illegally representing Saudi interests in the United States.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network -- known as FinCEN -- and the FBI are reviewing accusations that entrepreneur James R. Bath guided money to Houston from Saudi investors who wanted to influence U.S. policy under the Reagan and Bush administrations, sources close to the investigations say.

FinCEN, a division of the U.S. Department of Treasury, investigates money laundering. Special agents and analysts from various law enforcement agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Customs Service, are assigned to work with the FinCEN staff.

The federal review stems in part from court documents obtained through litigation by Bill White, a former real estate business associate of Bath.

White contends the documents indicate that the Saudis were using Bath and their huge financial resources to influence U.S. policy. Such representation by Bath would require that he be registered as a foreign agent with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In general, people required by law to be registered are those who represent a foreign entity seeking to influence governmental
action or policy. An Annapolis graduate and former Navy fighter pilot,
White, 46, claims that Bath and the judicial system, under the veil of national security, have blackballed him professionally and financially because he has refused to keep quiet about what he regards as a conspiracy to secretly funnel Saudi dollars to the United States.

White became entangled in a series of lawsuits and countersuits with Bath , who for some six years has prevailed in the courts. White says the legal action has financially devasted him and Venturcorp Inc., the real estate development company in which he and Bath were partners.

"In sworn depositions, Bath said he represented four prominent Saudis as a trustee [one of whom was Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen] and that he would use his name on their investments. In return, he said, he would receive a 5 percent interest in their deals. Tax documents and personal financial records show that Bath personally had a 5 percent interest in Arbusto '79 Ltd., and Arbusto '80 Ltd., limited partnerships controlled by George W. Bush, President Bush's eldest son. Arbusto means bush in Spanish. Bath invested $50,000 in the limited partnerships, according to the documents. There is no
available evidence to show whether the money came from Saudi interests.

"George W. Bush's company, Bush Exploration Co., general partner in the limited partnerships, went through several mergers, eventually evolving into Harken Energy Corp., a suburban Dallas-based company. Bush, known informally as George Jr., is a shareholder and director of Harken, which has been granted lucrative offshore drilling rights off the coast of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. One of the top shareholders of Harken, a public company, is Saudi businessman Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. Bush said that to his knowledge, Bath 's investment was from personal funds, and no Saudi money was invested
in Arbusto .

Bath, 55, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, declined to comment for the record. Spokesmen for FinCEN and the FBI also declined to comment."
According to a 1976 trust agreement, drawn shortly after Bush was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen appointed Bath as his business representative in Houston.

Binladen, along with his brothers, owns Binladen Brothers Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East.

According to White, Bath told him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role with Saudi Arabia since 1976. Bath has previously denied having worked for the CIA. In a sworn deposition, Bath said he was the sole director of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Ltd., a company that a court document shows is owned by Khaled bin Mahfouz. Bin Mahfouz had been a major shareholder in the Bank of Credit and Commerce
International, a banking empire that has been accused of money laundering and of using Mideast oil money to seek ties to political leaders in several countries.

Mahfouz and his family own the National Commercial Bank of Saudi
Arabia. In 1990, Bath bought the Express Auto Park garage at Hobby Airport for $8.4 million, which included a $1.4 million loan provided by Mahfouz, according to transaction documents. Bath received a 5 percent interest in the companies that own and operate Houston Gulf Airport after purchasing it on behalf of Binladen in 1977. After Binladen died in 1988, his interests in the airport were taken over by Mahfouz, according to court documents. --Jerry Urban, 6/4/92

Bush Has Spent More Than $100 Million In Food Aid For Afghans This Year

"If Afghanistan is to be taken on, however, the United States must absorb its complexities and learn the lessons of past failures there -- its own as well as those of others. Afghanistan is more than a terrorist camp overseen by an implacably fundamentalist regime. It is also the site of one of the world's greatest humanitarian crises, with up to 1 million people in danger of starvation this year.

Some 300,000 people in the capital, Kabul, survive on U.N. food deliveries, and the United States has spent more than $100 million to subsidize food aid this year alone.

After four years of drought and two decades of war, the countryside is an economic wasteland, and cities already have been reduced mostly to rubble.

The Taliban's medieval oppressiveness has made it unpopular among many Afghans, but the political alternatives to it are hardly credible. And though it is isolated from almost the entire world, the Taliban still has backing in Pakistan, an unstable neighbor ruled by a military regime that now has nuclear weapons." --Wash. Post, 9/15/01

Seeds Of Terrorism Planted In Afghanistan During Reagan-Bush Administration

"...It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland and its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with his genitals stuffed in his mouth.

But by then Bin Laden had turned against his American sponsors, while US-sponsored Pakistani intelligence had spawned the grotesque Taliban now protecting him. To punish its wayward Afghan offspring, the US subsequently forced through a sanctions regime which has helped push 4m to the brink of starvation, according to the latest UN figures, while Afghan refugees fan out across the world. All this must doubtless seem remote to Americans desperately searching the debris of what is expected to be the largest-ever massacre on US soil - as must the killings of yet more Palestinians in the West Bank yesterday, or even the 2m estimated to have died in Congo's wars since the overthrow of the US-backed Mobutu regime.

"What could some political thing have to do with blowing up office buildings during working hours?" one bewildered New Yorker asked
yesterday...." --Guardian, 9/15/01


Acting State Department Spokesperson Charles F. Hunter announced yesterday [7/30/01] that $27 million from the State Department's Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund has been authorized "to respond to unexpected and urgent humanitarian emergencies in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Afghanistan."

$6.5 million of these new funds will be allocated to assist displaced Afghans in the South Asian region, including Pakistan, Iran and
Afghanistan, and $5 million will be on reserve for immediate response to unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs. These funds will help to relieve the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of Afghans escaping from the barbaric treatment of the Taliban regime and the worst drought to hit the region in thirty years.

Many have fled to Pakistan where they have only found death and starvation in refugee camps. Women have suffered disproportionately under the military rule of the Taliban which has enforced
restrictive decrees banning women from leaving their homes unless
accompanied by a close male relative, ban women and girls from attending school, and have even denied women the right to work to feed their starving children.

The emergency aid for refugees that was announced yesterday is in
addition to the $43 million in assistance for internally displaced Afghans announced in May by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. In his May announcement, Secretary Powell stated explicitly that the aid would be dispensed through the United Nations and NGOs, not through the Taliban. [See relevant Colin Powell quote re Taliban in WOMENSNEWS story below.]

The Feminist Majority has been urging the increase of humanitarian assistance to Afghans, especially women and children who are at peril for their lives. At the urging of the Feminist Majority, 13 U.S. Senators, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), sent a letter to Secretary of State Powell urging the provision of emergency assistance to help both internally displaced Afghans and Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. The Feminist Majority has also been
working with Senator Barbara Boxer, (D-CA) and Senator Feinstein to develop legislation which would provide more funding for health and education programs and income generation for programs to help women and their families in Afghanistan and living as refugees in Pakistan. Thousands of individuals have already sent letters, petitions, and e-mails through FM's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. --FDN, 7/31/01 (more).

Reagan-Bush Said To Have "Nurtured" Bin Laden

"In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's attacks, US authorities and the media are once again declaring that Osama bin Laden is responsible. This is possible, although, as always, they present no evidence to back up their claim. But the charge that bin Laden is the culprit raises a host of troubling questions.

Given the fact that the US has declared this individual to be the world's most deadly terrorist, whose every move is tracked with the aid of the most technologically sophisticated and massive intelligence
apparatus, how could bin Laden organize such an elaborate attack without being detected? An attack, moreover, against the same New York skyscraper that was hit in 1993?

"The devastating success of his assault would indicate that, from the
standpoint of the American government, the crusade against terrorism has been far more a campaign of propaganda to justify US military violence around the world than a conscientious effort to protect the American people.

Moreover, both bin Laden and the Taliban mullahs, whom the US accuses of harboring him, were financed and armed by the Reagan-Bush administration to fight pro-Soviet regimes in Afghanistan in the 1980s. If they are involved in Tuesday's operations, then the American CIA and political establishment are guilty of having nurtured the very forces that carried out the bloodiest attack on American civilians in US history." --WSWS, 9?13/01

Bush Gave Afghanistan $132 Million To Date This Year

TASHKENT, Aug 08, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) -- The George W. Bush
administration is to provide additional financial assistance to the people of Afghanistan. The sum will amount to 6.5 million dollars, as offcially reported by the information department of the Uzbek Embassy in the United States. The total volume of U.S. financial help to Afghanistan will amount to over 132 million dollars this year. Thus, the USA will become the world's biggest financial source for Afghanistan."

Bush Gives Afghanistan/Taliban $43 Million In Spite Of Colin Powell's
Statement Taliban "Support Terrorism"

(WOMENSENEWS)-Sept. 11, 2001. The Bush administration has given Afghanistan $43 million including $10 million for "other livelihood and food security programs," a reference to the ruling Taliban's ban on poppy cultivation that dramatically changed the economy of the war-torn nation.

The poppy is the source of opium and the crop had provided significant revenues to Afghan farmers. The aid was described as humanitarian. In addition to being an ally in the U.S. war against drugs, the Taliban also has banned the education of girls and women. It has banned women from professions and from most outside-the-home employment, even with international relief agencies. It has
banned women from seeing male doctors and it prevents women from practicing medicine.

Colin Powell, in announcing the gift, said the administration
hoped that the Taliban "will act on a number of fundamental issues that separate us: their support of terrorism, their violation of internationally recognized human rights--especially their treatment of women and girls--and their refusal to resolve Afghanistan's civil war through a negotiated settlement." He also called on other nation's to join the U.S. with "dispatch and energy."

Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban
The Los Angeles Times

Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.

That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that "rogue regime" for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban's estimation, are most human activities, but it's the ban on drugs that catches this administration's attention.

Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998.

Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at
a time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over Bin Laden. The war on drugs has become our own fanatics' obsession and easily trumps all other concerns. How else could we come to reward the Taliban, who has subjected the female half of the Afghan population to a continual reign of terror in a country once considered enlightened in its treatment of women?

At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan where, in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights.

Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha , and they may not leave the house without being accompanied by a male family member. They've not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that matter.

The lot of males is better if they blindly accept the laws of an extreme religious theocracy that prescribes strict rules governing all behavior, from a ban on shaving to what crops may be grown. It is this last power that has captured the enthusiasm of the Bush White House.

The Taliban fanatics, economically and diplomatically isolated, are at the breaking point, and so, in return for a pittance of legitimacy and cash from the Bush administration, they have been willing to appear to reverse themselves on the growing of opium. That a totalitarian country can effectively crack down on its farmers is not surprising. But it is grotesque for a U.S. official, James P. Callahan, director of the State Department's Asian anti-drug program, to describe the Taliban's special methods in the language of representative democracy: "The Taliban used a system of consensus-building," Callahan said after a visit with the Taliban, adding
that the Taliban justified the ban on drugs "in very religious terms." Of course, Callahan also reported, those who didn't obey the theocratic edict would be sent to prison.

In a country where those who break minor rules are simply beaten on the spot by religious police and others are stoned to death, it's understandable that the government's "religious" argument might be compelling. Even if it means, as Callahan concedes, that most of the farmers who grew the poppies will now confront starvation. That's because the Afghan economy has been ruined by the religious extremism of the Taliban, making the attraction of opium as a previously tolerated quick cash crop overwhelming. For that reason, the
opium ban will not last unless the U.S. is willing to pour far larger
amounts of money into underwriting the Afghan economy.

As the Drug Enforcement Administration's Steven Casteel admitted, "The bad side of the ban is that it's bringing their country--or certain regions of their country--to economic ruin." Nor did he hold out much hope for Afghan farmers growing other crops such as wheat, which require a vast infrastructure to supply water and fertilizer that no longer exists in that devastated country. There's little doubt that the Taliban will turn once again to the easily taxed cash crop of opium in order to stay in power. The Taliban may suddenly be the dream regime of our own war drug war zealots, but in the end this alliance will prove a costly failure. Our long sad
history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates the
futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession.

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