Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Has George Bush reached the 'jump the shark' moment in his Presidency, the point where everything starts to go downhill? Has he become a laughingstock because his whole life has been a web of corruption, and now it falls to him to pretend to clean up corporate corruption in order to allow Wall Street to continue to fleece the rubes? Is his speech on corporate wrongdoing his version of Nixon's 'I am not a crook', a statement that became the object of so many jokes that it became a symbol of Nixon's Presidency? There is so much corruption surrounding Bush and his Administration that it is almost impossible to know where to begin. Leaving aside things like Cheney and Haliburton, and White and Enron, consider:

  1. Bush quite clearly was involved in insider trading violations with respect to the disposition of his Harken Energy stock. The whole incident was swept under the rug by the regulator appointed by George Bush's father, who was then of course President. The regulator was Richard Breeden, who has amazingly been appointed to act as the court-appointed monitor in the SEC's civil fraud suit against WorldCom, one of the companies that has gotten into obvious trouble, and one which the Bush Administration appears to be focussing on in order to possibly save the skin of Bush's good friend, 'Kenny Boy' Ken Lay, a man who Bush famously denied knowing when the Enron mess first surfaced.

  2. Harken's auditor was, incredibly, Arthur Andersen. The Harken scam was to sell a subsidiary to a related company at an inflated price, thus keeping the stock price high enough for the insiders, including Bush, to get their money out before the rubes found out about the scam. We therefore have Bush involved in both insider trading violations (the run-of-the-mill kind involving late or lost filings and the real serious kind involving taking special advantage of privileged information) and fraud involving accounting (in which Bush is deeply implicated as he was on Harken's audit committee). I hope that American journalists don't allow themselves to be sidetracked by the insider-trading issue, as the Bush plan seems to be to hide the really serious problem, the accounting shenanigans, behind the technical form-filing issues. Of course, the real irony in all this is that it is the accounting problems that Bush is now forced to speak against, and this kind of serious criminal behaviour is one of which Bush has intimate hands-on knowledge. It is as if John Gotti had to give a speech against gangsterism.

  3. The whole fake war on terror is benefitting no company more that Carlyle, Bush's father's company, and a company in which Bush himself may hold an interest. In any event, Bush stands to personally gain from inheriting part of his father's interest in Carlyle. On the morning of September 11, Carlyle was having a reception for one of the main owners of Carlyle, the brother of Osama bin Laden. As I've said before, this is as if one of the main military contractors supplying arms to the United States during World War II was jointly owned by Roosevelt's father and the brother and family of Hitler. This is so deeply weird that it is impossible to understand how it isn't a big issue. If the bin Laden family is no longer involved in Carlyle, I'd like to see real proof. What if one of the main reasons for Osama bin Laden's actions was to drum up business for the family firm?

  4. Bush's early business dealings involved a Saudi businessman named Khalid bin Mahfouz, a man who has been associated with Islamic charities allegedly supporting al-Qaeda. He is a key figure as he was involved in Harken, Carlyle, and these Islamic charities. Here's the kicker. Bin Mahfouz's family is close to the Al-Amoudi family, which owns Delta Oil. Bin Mahfouz's oil company, Nimir Petroleum, has been involved in joint ventures with Delta Oil, including ventures in Central Asia. The families are also connected in their partnership in the Saudi firm The Marei Bin Mahfouz & Ahmed Al Amoudi Group of Companies & Factories. Delta Oil was heavily involved in the original Unocal plans to build a pipeline through Afghanistan (also note the involvement of the Crescent Group, described as 'the premier industrial and financial conglomerate in Pakistan', an involvement that I find very interesting). It was this pipeline that did not get built presumably because of the intransigence of the Taliban (there is a good timeline showing how Unocal was competing in the 1990's with an Argentine firm called Bridas to get the rights over the Afghan pipeline). Of course, some have speculated that the war in Afghanistan was at least partially motivated by the desire of U. S. officials close to U. S. oil interests to effect a 'regime change' to an Afghan government more easy to negotiate with. Even more amazing is that Delta Oil and Nimir Petroleum are still involved with U. S. oil giants Texaco, Unocal, Amerada Hess and Frontera Resources in developing Central Asian oil projects. Khalid bin Mahfouz thus personally ties together Osama bin Laden, Carlyle, Unocal, and George Bush, and may even be the 'smoking gun' that explains the very odd U. S. decision to have a war in Afghanistan when none of the September 11 terrorists came from Afghanistan.

  5. Of course, we mustn't forget Enron . . . .

  6. Here is my original posting on Harken (I haven't checked to see if all the links still work, but you'll get the idea), an issue which I considered important months ago but which seemed not to concern too many people (I even wrote more on the subject, but never published it, thinking that no one cared, and may try to dig it up):

    BUSH/HARKEN/BCCI/CIA/BIN LADEN/ENRON (amended to add, in italics, more evidence of easy corruption): George W. Bush (Bush 43) made his first real money out of shares he acquired in Harken Energy, a worthless oil exploration company that became valuable when it was granted oil exploration rights in Bahrain, rights it obtained because Bush 43's father, then-President George Bush (Bush 41) was pals with the Sheikh of Bahrain (Bush 43 got the Harken shares when Harken acquired the worthless shares in Bush 43's own company, an acquisition which was clearly made to get use of the connections of Bush 43, through his father, Bush 41). Harken was partially owned by Union Bank of Switzerland (USB) (to which Enron Online trading operations have recently been sold), which, with the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), owned Banque de Commerce et de Placements, which invested $25 million in Harken, a deal arranged through the auspices of infamous financier, Jackson Stephens. (Remarkably, the financing also involved a critical investment from Harvard Management Company which manages the investments of Harvard University, an extremely odd type of investment - and as it turned out, a very bad one - for such an endowment.) Khalid bin Mahfouz, currently under house arrest in Saudi Arabia at the behest of the U. S., was: 1) a big original investor in BCCI; 2) involved in the Carlyle Group with the family of bin Laden and Bush 41; and 3) a big funder of the projects of bin Laden, sometimes through the use of Islamic charities. USB and BCCI sold their interest in Harken to Saudi real estate developer Abdullah Bakhsh, who is linked to bin Mahfouz and to Ghaith Pharaon, a front man for BCCI. James Bath was: 1) a flying (or, perhaps more accurately, non-flying) pal of Bush 43; 2) an original partner in Harken; 3) a probable CIA liason to Saudi Arabia (and Bush 41 used to head the CIA and probably worked for the CIA prior to that); 4) a business representative for bin Laden's half-brother, who was killed in a mysterious airplane crash in 1988, and possibly a representative of bin Laden's father; 5) operator of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Limited, a company based in the Cayman Islands which may have obtained planes from the CIA and which was owned by bin Mahfouz; and 6) an investor in Main Bank of Houston with Pharaon and bin Mahfouz. BCCI was in effect an early version of al-Qaida, intended to make money by committing fraud in Western countries and use some of the money to fund Islamic terrorist operations against the West. When Harken started to fail, Bush 43 sold his shares in violation of insider trading rules, violations that were whitewashed by regulators appointed by Bush 41. (Of course, Bush 43 has appointed his own regulators who turned a blind eye to the depredations of Enron.) We can see how Bush 43 was financially tied to Bath through Harken, and Bath was tied to the CIA, bin Laden's half-brother, and bin Mahfouz, and bin Mahfouz was in turn tied to BCCI and to bin Laden. The bin Laden family is closely tied to the Bush family through their shared interest in Bush 41's company, Carlyle (a company in which Bush 43 still probably holds an interest), which is poised to make a fortune off the massively increased defence spending entailed by the new war on terror involving attacking countries who are said to have had some sort of relationship with bin Laden (I imagine that there is much laughter in the boardrooms that Carlyle will do so well by being involved in chasing bin Laden) . Bin Laden was set up by the CIA as a leader of the 'freedom fighters' in Afghanistan, and is said to have met with a CIA representative as recently as the summer, probably betraying that bin Laden still has a relationship with the CIA. When the FBI started to get too close in their investigation of bin Laden, Bush 43 told them to back off, and Bush 43 now uses his bogus world war against bin Laden to advance U. S. oil/drug interests around the world, including those of Enron (a company heavily involved in the proposed pipeline through Afghanistan, and generally in the development of the Eurasian petrochemical deposits, particularly with respect to transporting energy to India and beyond, an issue which raises the possibility that special efforts were made by the Bush 43 administration in an effort to stave off the bankruptcy of Enron), and to hide the stench of his regime's dirty involvement in the Enron debacle. Bush 43's involvement with Enron, despite his assertions that he hardly knows Kenneth Lay, go back at least until 1986 or1987, when Harken and Enron were involved in an oil development together. Enron helped to finance the legal shenanigans that got Bush 43 appointed President by the U. S. Supreme Court. And so it goes . . . .

What all this means is that the fundamental problem with the 'election' of George Bush is finally coming to the fore. He was a drunken drug-addled frat boy who was cleaned up and set to run as President for one reason: to completely and totally represent the interests of a very small group of plutocrats who had very specific plans to enrich themselves at the expense of the American people. The reason the same people keep coming up in the Bush biography is that it is only these people who matter. He works for this group with such undivided attention that he can allow everything else in the country to fall apart just as long as his friends continue to rake in the cash. His whole life has been a demonstration of the type of corruption which he now has to rail against.