The Bush-Bin Laden Connection
by HOUSTON CHRONICLE
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
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.
federal review stems in part from court documents obtained through
litigation by Bill White, a former real estate business associate
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
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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
yesterday...." --Guardian, 9/15/01
"FEMINIST DAILY NEWS" SAYS POWELL INDICATED $43 MILLION
IN BUSH AID WOULD NOT BE "DISTRIBUTED" BY TALIBAN
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
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,
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
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
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
By ROBERT SCHEER
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
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
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
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
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
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
history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates
futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession.
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