Thorns in the
There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the
affairs of men.
These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of
Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 1787
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
July 10, 2009
Report: Bush surveillance
program was massive
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – The Bush administration built an unprecedented surveillance
operation to pull in mountains of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping
previously acknowledged, a team of federal inspectors general reported Friday,
questioning the legal basis for the effort but shielding almost all details on grounds
they're still too secret to reveal.
The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection
activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by President
George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any
continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."
The report says too few relevant officials knew of the size and depth of the program, let
alone signed off on it. They particularly criticize John Yoo, a deputy assistant
attorney general who wrote legal memos undergirding the policy. His boss, Attorney
General John Ashcroft, was not aware until March 2004 of the exact nature of the
intelligence operations beyond wiretapping that he had been approving for the previous
two and a half years, the report says.
Most of the intelligence leads generated under what was known as the "President's
Surveillance Program" did not have any connection to terrorism, the report said. But FBI
agents told the authors that the "mere possibility of the leads producing useful
information made investigating the leads worthwhile."
The inspectors general interviewed more than 200 people inside and outside the
government, but five former Bush administration officials refused to be questioned.
They were Ashcroft, Yoo, former CIA Director George Tenet, former White House
Chief of Staff Andrew Card and David Addington, an aide to former Vice President
According to the report, Addington could personally decide who in the administration
was "read into" — allowed access to — the classified program.
The only piece of the intelligence-gathering operation acknowledged by the Bush
White House was the wiretapping-without-warrants effort. The administration
admitted in 2005 that it had allowed the National Security Agency to intercept
international communications that passed through U.S. cables without seeking court
Although the report documents Bush administration policies, its fallout could be a
problem for the Obama administration if it inherited any or all of the still-classified
Bush started the warrantless wiretapping program under the authority of a secret court
in 2006, and Congress authorized most of the intercepts in a 2008 electronic
surveillance law. The fate of the remaining and still classified aspects of the wider
surveillance program is not clear from the report.
The report's revelations came the same day that House Democrats said that CIA
Director Leon Panetta had ordered one eight-year-old classified program shut down
after learning lawmakers had never been apprised of its existence.
The IG report said that President Bush signed off on both the warrantless wiretapping
and other top-secret operations shortly after Sept. 11 in a single presidential
authorization. All the programs were periodically reauthorized, but except for the
acknowledged wiretapping, they "remain highly classified."
The report says it's unclear how much valuable intelligence the program has yielded.
The report, mandated by Congress last year, was delivered to lawmakers Friday.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-Ca., told The Associated Press she was shocked to learn of the
existence of other classified programs beyond the warrantless wiretapping.
Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made a terse reference to other
classified programs during an August 2007 letter to Congress. But Harman said that
when she had asked Gonzales two years earlier if the government was conducting any
other undisclosed intelligence activities, he denied it.
"He looked me in the eye and said 'no,'" she said Friday.
Robert Bork Jr., Gonzales' spokesman, said, "It has clearly been determined that he
did not intend to mislead anyone."
In the wake of the new report, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick
Leahy, D-Vt, renewed his call Friday for a formal nonpartisan inquiry into the
government's information-gathering programs.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden — the primary architect of the program_ told the
report's authors that the surveillance was "extremely valuable" in preventing further al-Qaida attacks. Hayden said the operations amounted to an "early warning system"
allowing top officials to make critical judgments and carefully allocate national security
resources to counter threats.
Information gathered by the secret program played a limited role in the FBI's overall
counterterrorism efforts, according to the report. Very few CIA analysts even knew
about the program and therefore were unable to fully exploit it in their counterrorism
work, the report said.
The report questioned the legal advice used by Bush to set up the program, pinpointing
omissions and questionable legal memos written by Yoo, in the Justice Department's
Office of Legal Counsel. The Justice Department withdrew the memos years ago.
The report says Yoo's analysis approving the program ignored a law designed to restrict
the government's authority to conduct electronic surveillance during wartime, and did so
without fully notifying Congress. And it said flaws in Yoo's memos later presented "a
serious impediment" to recertifying the program.
Yoo insisted that the president's wiretapping program had only to comply with Fourth
Amendment protections against search and seizure — but the report said Yoo ignored
the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, which had previously overseen federal
national security surveillance.
"The notion that basically one person at the Justice Department, John Yoo, and
Hayden and the vice president's office were running a program around the laws
that Congress passed, including a reinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment, is
mind boggling," Harman said.
House Democrats are pressing for legislation that would expand congressional access
to secret intelligence briefings, but the White House has threatened to veto it.
January 14. 2008
Bush Brings Promise of Arms Sale
on First Visit to Saudi Arabia
Janine Zacharia and Holly Rosenkrantz
Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush brought to Saudi Arabia today a
promise to provide “smart bomb” technology for his host, as the U.S. leader made his
first visit to a crucial ally in the Middle East.
Saudi King Abdullah had his own gift for Bush, a heavy, gold necklace and medallion
that is a sign of friendship and respect, a theme Bush is seeking to push during his two-day visit to the kingdom at a time when oil prices are hovering around $100 per barrel.
The administration announced today it was formally notifying Congress of its plans to
sell Boeing Co.'s satellite-guided smart-bomb kits to the Saudis. The package is part of
a broader sale to Persian Gulf allies of as much as $20 billion in arms to shore up
support against Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The visit is an opportunity for the two leaders to ``renew their ties,'' National Security
Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Riyadh.
Relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been fraught since the U.S. led
an invasion of Iraq in 2003 against Saudi advice.
On the Saudi agenda for meetings during the next two days is pressing the U.S. for
stronger efforts to help create a Palestinian state, talks about U.S. plans in Iraq,
and dealing with Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy.
Little has been said publicly about oil prices as Bush has made his way through four of
the world's major producers: Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and now
Saudi Arabia, which alone produces 25 percent of the world's oil.
``They talked about oil,'' Ed Gillespie, Bush's senior adviser, said when pressed on the
issue. Bush and the Arab leaders discussed the ``vast demand'' in the world market.
Bush said alternative energy was a part of his agenda and also mentioned the need for
more nuclear energy.
That was as specific as a statement on oil given by any White House official during the
trip. Hadley refused to predict whether oil would be discussed in Bush's one-on-one
meeting with Abdullah tonight.
The state of the U.S. economy and financial markets also topped the Arab leaders'
concerns. Bush reassured leaders of the United Arab Emirates that their investment is
still welcome in the U.S. after U.S. lawmakers in 2006 forced DP World, based in
Dubai, to drop a bid to run American ports.
They asked if ``investment by the UAE is welcome in the United States'' and the
``president reassured them that it very much was, that the United States is open
for foreign investment,'' Hadley said.
Bush also reassured the UAE leadership that the ``underlying fundamentals'' of the
U.S. economy remained sound, Hadley said.
Many officials also have asked questions about the U.S. presidential campaign.
Gillespie said one official, who he didn't identify, asked him who he thought would win
the Michigan primary tomorrow night.
During this trip, Bush has powered through an intensive schedule of cultural events.
Last night he admired falcons and feasted on a Bedouin-styled dinner in the UAE
desert. Today, he visited the historic home of Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum, the
grandfather of the current ruler of Dubai in the UAE.
There Bush was greeted by young girls who sang and danced for him, while Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, accustomed on her own trips to a punishing schedule of
diplomatic meetings, sipped a fresh strawberry juice alongside Bush's other top aides.
Bush visited a Dubai cultural center and then met with young Arab leaders and
entrepreneurs atop Dubai's boat-shaped luxury Burj al Arab hotel.
Tomorrow, Bush will again set aside high diplomacy and visit a national history museum
and King Abdullah's ranch.
Asked to explain the timing and significance of Bush's sudden late-in-his-presidency
cultural touring, Hadley said: ``It's a good part of getting him to see and be seen in the
To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Rosenkrantz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at
firstname.lastname@example.org ; Janine Zacharia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at
December 28, 2007
Stephen Ross, dealmaker
by Laurie Bennett
New York real estate magnate Stephen M. Ross has been cutting deals at a whirlwind
pace in recent weeks.
Centerline Holding Company, which he chairs, today announced that Freddie Mac
would securitize its $2.8 billion bond portfolio. Centerline said it would also receive a
$131 million investment in January from the Related Cos.
Centerline execs said the moves were designed to reduce debt, attract capital for
growth and shelter the firm from volatile interest rates.
Yet several stockholders participating in the company’s online conference call this
morning described the arrangement as a sweetheart deal benefitting Ross and his
companies at the expense of public shareholders.
Ross also chairs Related Cos. Jeff T. Blau, Related’s president, is a managing trustee
of Centerline. A third Centerline trustee, Robert J. Dolan, is dean of the Stephen M.
Ross School of Business, named for its prime benefactor.
Related had a large cash infusion earlier this month, when several firms invested a total
$1.4 billion. Mubadala Development Co. of Abu Dhabi and the Olayan Group of
Saudi Arabia put in about $1 billion. Goldman Sachs and Michael Dell’s investment
company, MSD Capital, invested an additional $400 million for a 7.5% stake, placing
Related’s value at more than $5 billion.
Ross told the Wall Street Journal that Related opened talks for the cash infusion before
the mortgage crisis erupted. The market “was so good we knew it wouldn’t last,” he
Ross formed Related 25 years ago to develop and manage government-assisted
rental apartments. Over the last two decades, the company has become heavily
involved in luxury residential and commercial projects, including Manhattan’s Time
Related is also developing properties around Penn Station, and is bidding on a massive
project to redevelop the Hudson Yards on the city’s west side.
On another front, the Miami Herald reported two weeks ago that Ross and Jorge Perez
were talking to Wayne Huizenga about buying the Miami Dolphins. Perez is the
managing general partner of Related’s Florida operations.
For more, GO TO > > > The Vultures in WCI Communities
From AMERICAN DYNASTY - Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Deceit in the House of
Bush, by Kevin Phillips:
INDIANA BUSH AND
THE AXIS OF EVIL
As president, Bush senior gloried in the Gulf War and the 1989 invasion of Panama,
both cast as strikes for democracy–even if the dictators attacked were former friends.
Over a decade...his web of covert international relationships prompted charges of his
participating in and covering up in three actual or alleged illegalities: the Republican
Party’s “October Surprise” negotiations with Iran in 1980, supposedly undertaken to
ensure that no hostages taken in Iran would be released before the election; the Iran-Contra scandal; and “Iraqgate,” secretly arming Iraq from 1984 to 1990 before
hurriedly changing course after Saddam Hussein took Kuwait.
Two catchphrases recur in the family resume: “arms deals” and “clandestine
operations.” A third recurring association would be “cover-up.”
George W. Bush was a willing recipient of the inheritance–witness the CIA and BCCI
ties of some who finance him, from Arbusto to Harken Energy a decade later. For
example, James Bath, who invested fifty thousand dollars in the 1979 and 1989
Arbusto partnerships, probably do so as U.S. business representative for rich Saudi
investors Salem bin Laden and Khalid bin Mahfouz (Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law). Both men were involved with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International,
the rogue bank and occasional CIA front known for financing arms deals – indeed,
bin Mahfouz owned 20 percent of its stock.
Bath, who made his fortune investing for the two Saudis, was a colorful Texan – and
then some. According to former Houston Post reporter Pete Brewton, Bath was “an
asset of the CIA, reportedly recruited by George Bush himself” in 1976 to keep the
Agency up to date on Saudi activities.
A decade later, Harken Energy, the company willing to handsomely buy out George
W.’s crumbling oil and gas business, had its own CIA connections. Chairman Alan
Quasha was the son of a Philippine lawyer connected to the Nugan Hand Bank, a
notorious Australian bank closely linked to the CIA.
Equally to the point, 17.6 percent of Harken’s stock was owned by Abdullah Bakhsh,
another Saudi magnate reported by some to be representing Khalid bin Mahfouz.
A U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating BCCI in 1992 reported on how the bank
bought friendship and favors from politicians around the world; details of the
investigation were published in two books: False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI,
the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire, by Peter Truell, and The Outlaw Bank:
A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI, by Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne.
According to the latter, the story of the Bush involvement in the BCCI scandal involved
the “trails that branched, crossed one another or came to unexpected dead ends.”...
As we have seen, Jeb Bush began his business career in Miami collaborating with
Cubans tied to the CIA or to kindred intelligence agencies in pre-Castro Cuba. He
socialized with Adbur Sakhia, BCCI’s Miami branch manager and later its top U.S.
Official. Jeb Bush’s partners and early associates included a number of Cuban emigres
with CIA, Nicaraguan ‘contra, or Batista-era Cuban intelligence connections.
To say that armaments, clandestine operations, and money-laundering banks recur
in the history of the Walker-Bush family is no exaggeration at all. No other presidents
have been so caught up in this kind of foreign policy. And the Bushes’ preoccupations
are not clear until you consider the whole dynasty. It is the dynastic aspect that truly
reveals the pattern – the clandestine behavior over multiple generations....
September 24, 2007
DAN RATHER: TASED AND CONFUSED
The Still-Unreported Story of “Top Gun” George Bush
by Greg Palast
New York- Newly unearthed records reveal that, in 2004, when Americans were in the
midst of a brutal electoral battle over whether to reelect a president posing as a war
hero, a commanding US reporter, Dan Rather, went AWOL.
Just three months before the election, Rather had a story that might have changed the
outcome of that razor-close race. We now know that Dan cut a back-room deal to shut
his mouth, grab his ankles, and let his network retract a story he knew to be absolutely
In September 2004 when Rather cowered, Bush was riding high in the polls. Now, with
Bush’s approval ratings are below smallpox, Rather has come out of hiding to shoot at
the lame duck. Thanks, Dan.
It began on September 8, 2004, when Rather, on CBS, ran a story that Daddy Bush
Senior had, in 1968, put in the fix to get his baby George out of the Vietnam War and
into the Texas Air National Guard. Little George then rode out the war defending
Houston from Viet Cong attack.
The story is stone-cold solid. I know, because we ran it on BBC Television a year
before CBS (see that broadcast here). BBC has never retracted a word of it.
But CBS caved. So did Dan.
That’s according to Rather’s written confession, his law suit, which is as much a
shameful set of admissions as it is a legal complaint. In the suit filed Thursday, Rather
tells us that Sumner Redstone, CEO of Viacom, owner of CBS, was “enraged that the
[Air Guard] Broadcast had hurt CBS in the eyes of the Bush administration.”
Viacom then set out to, “divert public attention from the accurate facts reported in the
Broadcast concerning President Bush’s service (and lack thereof) in the TexANG during
the Vietnam War; and enable CBS and Viacom to curry favor with the White
Redstone roared and Dan, hearing his Dark Lord’s voice, admits he then “refrained
from defending” the truths in the Broadcast. Dan shut his mouth, he confesses, in
return for 30 pieces of Viacom silver: a promise that “his contract would be extended.”
Had Rather stood up to the Viacommunist thugs and defended his story, President
Kerry and our nation could today express gratitude for his public service. Instead, Dan
traded the public interest for airtime on 60 Minutes. Yuck.
Now Dan is shocked to find that the network snakes didn’t live up to their slimey bargain
with him. Well, Dan, that’s what happens with snakes. Get in bed with them and wake
The Story Still Not Reported
By contrast, BBC never backed down from the story of the fix that got Little George out
of ‘Nam. We had a smoking hot document [view it here] and an interview with the
crucial source: the man who confessed to making the call for Bush to the head of the
No, I won’t give you his name. I don’t expose sources - unlike Dan and CBS. That’s
another thing that makes me just FURIOUS. Rather revealed, then blamed, a source,
retired Air Guard officer Lt. Col. Bill Burkett. Burkett, an Abilene rancher, is a
courageous, stand-up guy. [See The Real Lt. Col. Burkett]. But after standing up with
Dan, he was ruined, ostracized from the cattle business. No one would sell him feed.
Dan got a multi-million dollar kiss-off from Viacom. Burkett got dead cows and
And there’s more. More that Dan didn’t report. As I said, Dan picked up an old story,
one that I reported, as did others, in 1999. But we added our discovery of a confidential
document which had walked its way out of the files of the US Department of Justice.
It was a whistleblower statement that explained why the Lt. Governor of Texas, Ben
Barnes, who arranged for George W. to get into the Air Guard, kept silent about it for
35 years. It states that, in 1997, Governor George W. Bush overruled his state’s
Lottery director and gave a billion-dollar contract to a company tied to Barnes.
Barnes received a cool fee of $23 million from the contractor.
This is a devastating accusation. And one that’s more serious than the scandal of a
draft-dodging rich kid’s vile use of daddy’s connections three decades ago. Here was
evidence of gross abuse of public office by Governor Bush to pay off a crony who
kept silent while Bush ran for the presidency.
US Reporting: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
But how could I expect Rather to take on the tough story when he wouldn’t stand by the
easy one? In June 2002, two years before his media lynching, Rather explained his
Fear of Reporting in an interview on BBC Television (cautiously, to a European
“It’s an obscene comparison but there was a time in South Africa when people would
put flaming tires around people’s necks if they dissented. In some ways, the fear is that
you will be neck-laced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around
your neck. It’s that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough
questions and to continue to bore-in on the tough questions so often. Again, I’m
humbled to say I do not except myself from this criticism.”
This is what’s so frustrating about Dan Rather. He’s two people: a real journalist locked
inside a television news-actor begging for air-time. Indeed, disgustingly, in his law suit,
he conceals his inner reporter by claiming he only “narrated” the draft dodge story. For
But what about all those other preening birds on the chicken ranch known as US
television news? Rather tells us he wasn’t alone in failing to ask tough questions. Not
one damn US reporter asked Bush at a press conference, “Yes or no, Mr.
President: Did your daddy call Ben Barnes to get you out of the war in Vietnam?”
[For the record, BBC did ask for the President’s denial or admission. We got none. And
when Dan’s CBS boss, Leslie Moonves, said Dan’s story, “ignored information that
cast doubt” on the revelation that Bush Sr. put in the fix to get his son into the Air
Guard, I asked Moonves to provide that information. In fact, I offered him $100,000 for
his info which would have shown Dan’s story false. He never produced it.]
The same week Dan confessed that he agreed to shut up, a journalism student,
Andrew Meyer of Florida, insisted on asking tough questions of the man Bush
defeated, John Kerry. For Andrew’s impertinence, he was hit with 50,000 volts
from a taser.
Andrew is just a student and still needs a couple of lessons in posing questions
properly. (Lesson One: “Wear a grounding wire.”) But Andrew has the next lesson down
pat: ask the question they don’t want to hear when they don’t want to hear it. Rather
could use a few lessons in journalism himself - from Andrew - about taking the heat for
Seeing Andrew’s arrest and Dan’s complaint, I was thinking that perhaps, instead of
tase-ing those reporters who ask questions, we might tase those who don’t.
* * * * *
Greg Palast is the author of “The Necklace-ing of Dan Rather” in the New York Times
bestselling book, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans - Sordid Secrets
and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild (Penguin 2007).
Sign up for Palast’s investigative reports at www.GregPalast.com, check out the whole
story in the documentary Bush Family Fortunes support the Palast Investigative Fund
NAZIS IN THE ATTIC
By Randy Davis
GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH
...Like Nixon, George Bush was deeply involved with supporting the Nazis in the
Republican's closet. In fact, support for the Nazis was a Bush family tradition which
goes back more than six decades and, once again, to Allen Dulles.
Loftus and Aarons write: "The real story of George Bush starts well before he launched
his own career. It goes back to the 1920s, when the Dulles brothers and the other
pirates of Wall Street were making their deals with the Nazis. . . ."
THE BUSH-DULLES-NAZI CONNECTION
"George Bush's problems were inherited from his namesake and maternal grandfather,
George Herbert 'Bert' Walker, a native of St. Louis, who founded the banking and
investment firm of G. H. Walker and Company in 1900. Later the company shifted from
St. Louis to the prestigious address of 1 Wall Street. . . .
"Walker was one of Hitler's most powerful financial supporters in the United States. The
relationship went all the way back to 1924, when Fritz Thyssen, the German
industrialist, was financing Hitler's infant Nazi party. As mentioned in earlier chapters,
there were American contributors as well.
"Some Americans were just bigots and made their connections to Germany through
Allen Dulles's firm of Sullivan and Cromwell because they supported Fascism. The
Dulles brothers, who were in it for profit more than ideology, arranged American
investments in Nazi Germany in the 1930s to ensure that their clients did well out of the
German economic recovery. . . .
"Sullivan & Cromwell was not the only firm engaged in funding Germany. According to
'The Splendid Blond Beast,' Christopher Simpson's seminal history of the politics of
genocide and profit, Brown Brothers, Harriman was another bank that specialized in
investments in Germany. The key figure was Averill Harriman, a dominating figure in
the American establishment. . . .
"The firm originally was known as W. A. Harriman & Company. The link between
Harriman & Company's American investors and Thyssen started in the 1920s, through
the Union Banking Corporation, which began trading in 1924. In just one three-year
period, the Harriman firm sold more than $50 million of German bonds to American
investors. 'Bert' Walker was Union Banking's president, and the firm was located in the
offices of Averill Harriman's company at 39 Broadway in New York.
"In 1926 Bert Walker did a favor for his new son-in-law, Prescott Bush. It was the sort of
favor families do to help their children make a start in life, but Prescott came to regret it
bitterly. Walker made Prescott vice president of W. A. Harriman. The problem was that
Walker's specialty was companies that traded with Germany. As Thyssen and the other
German industrialists consolidated Hitler's political power in the 1930s, an American
financial connection was needed. According to our sources, Union Banking became an
out-and-out Nazi money-laundering machine. . . .
"In , Harriman & Company merged with a British-American investment company
to become Brown Brothers, Harriman. Prescott Bush became one of the senior
partners of the new company, which relocated to 59 Broadway, while Union Banking
remained at 39 Broadway. But in 1934 Walker arranged to put his son-in-law on the
board of directors of Union Banking.
"Walker also set up a deal to take over the North American operations of the Hamburg-Amerika Line, a cover for I.G. Farben's Nazi espionage unit in the United States.
The shipping line smuggled in German agents, propaganda, and money for bribing
American politicians to see things Hitler's way. The holding company was Walker's
American Shipping & Commerce, which shared the offices at 39 Broadway with
Union Banking. In an elaborate corporate paper trail, Harriman's stock in American
Shipping & Commerce was controlled by yet another holding company, the Harriman
Fifteen Corporation, run out of Walker's office. The directors of this company were
Averill Harriman, Bert Walker, and Prescott Bush. . . .
". . . In a November 1935 article in Common Sense, retired marine general Smedley D.
Butler blamed Brown Brothers, Harriman for having the U.S. marines act like
'racketeers' and 'gangsters' in order to exploit financially the peasants of Nicaragua. . . .
". . . A 1934 congressional investigation alleged that Walker's 'Hamburg-Amerika Line
subsidized a wide range of pro-Nazi propaganda efforts both in Germany and the
United States.' Walker did not know it, but one of his American employees, Dan
Harkins, had blown the whistle on the spy apparatus to Congress. Harkins, one of our
best sources, became Roosevelt's first double agent . . . [and] kept up the pretense of
being an ardent Nazi sympathizer, while reporting to Naval Intelligence on the shipping
company's deals with Nazi intelligence.
"Instead of divesting the Nazi money," continue the authors, "Bush hired a lawyer to
hide the assets. The lawyer he hired had considerable expertise in such underhanded
schemes. It was Allen Dulles. According to Dulles's client list at Sullivan & Cromwell,
his first relationship with Brown Brothers, Harriman was on June 18, 1936. In January
1937 Dulles listed his work for the firm as 'Disposal of Stan [Standard Oil] Investing
"As discussed in Chapter 3, Standard Oil of New Jersey had completed a major stock
transaction with Dulles's Nazi client, I.G. Farben. By the end of January 1937 Dulles
had merged all his cloaking activities into one client account: 'Brown Brothers Harriman-Schroeder Rock.' Schroeder, of course, was the Nazi bank on whose board Dulles sat.
The 'Rock' were the Rockefellers of Standard Oil, who were already coming under
scrutiny for their Nazi deals. By May 1939 Dulles handled another problem for Brown
Brothers, Harriman, their 'Securities Custodian Accounts.'
"If Dulles was trying to conceal how many Nazi holding companies Brown Brothers,
Harriman was connected with, he did not do a very good job. Shortly after Pearl Harbor,
word leaked from Washington that affiliates of Prescott Bush's company were under
investigation for aiding the Nazis in time of war. . . .
". . . The government investigation against Prescott Bush continued. Just before the
storm broke, his son, George, abandoned his plans to enter Yale and enlisted in the
U.S. Army. It was, say our sources among the former intelligence officers, a valiant
attempt by an eighteen-year-old boy to save the family's honor.
"Young George was in flight school in October 1942, when the U.S. government
charged his father with running Nazi front groups in the United States. Under the
Trading with the Enemy Act, all the shares of the Union Banking Corporation were
seized, including those held by Prescott Bush as being in effect held for enemy
nationals. Union Banking, of course, was an affiliate of Brown Brothers, Harriman, and
Bush handled the Harrimans' investments as well.
"Once the government had its hands on Bush's books, the whole story of the intricate
web of Nazi front corporations began to unravel. A few days later two of Union
Banking's subsidiaries -- the Holland American Trading Corporation and the Seamless
Steel Equipment Corporation -- also were seized. Then the government went after the
Harriman Fifteen Holding Company, which Bush shared with his father- in-law, Bert
Walker, the Hamburg-Amerika Line, and the Silesian- American Corporation. The U.S.
government found that huge sections of Prescott Bush's empire had been operated on
behalf of Nazi Germany and had greatly assisted the German war effort." (1)
"Try as he did," continue the authors, "George Bush could not get away from Dulles's
crooked corporate network, which his grandfather and father had joined in the 1920s.
Wherever he turned, George found that the influence of the Dulles brothers was
already there. Even when he fled to Texas to become a successful businessman on his
own, he ran into the pirates of Wall Street.
"One of Allen Dulles's secret spies inside the Democratic party later became George
Bush's partner in the Mexican oil business. Edwin Pauley, a California oil man, was
. . . one of Dulles's covert agents in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations . . .
a 'big business' Democrat. . . .
Among the key posts held by Pauley were: treasurer of the Democratic National
Committee, director of the Democratic convention in 1944 and, after Truman's election,
Truman appointed him the "Petroleum Coordinator of Lend-Lease Supplies for the
Soviet Union and Britain."
Just after the end of World War II, "in April 1945 Truman appointed Pauley as the U.S.
representative to the Allied Reparations Committee, with the rank of ambassador," as
well as "industrial and commercial advisor to the Potsdam Conference, 'where his chief
task was to renegotiate the reparations agreements formulated at Yalta.' As one
historian noted, the 'oil industry has always watched reparations activities carefully.'
There was a lot of money involved, and much of it belonged to the Dulles brothers'
At the same time, report Loftus and Aarons, "the Dulles brothers were still shifting Nazi
assets out of Europe for their clients as well as for their own profit. They didn't want the
Soviets to get their hands on these assets or even know that they existed. Pauley
played a significant role in solving this problem for the Dulles brothers. The major part
of Nazi Germany's industrial assets was located in the zones occupied by the West's
forces. As Washington's man on the ground, Pauley managed to deceive the Soviets
for long enough to allow Allen Dulles to spirit much of the remaining Nazi assets out to
safety. . . .
"Pauley, a key player in the plan to hide the Dulles brothers' Nazi assets, then moved
into another post where he could help them further. After successfully keeping German
assets in Fascist hands, Pauley was given the job of 'surveying Japan's assets and
determining the amount of its war debt.' Again, it was another job that was crucial to the
Dulles clique's secret financial and intelligence operations." (2)
After Pauley retired from government work he went back to being an independent oil
man. Loftus and Aarons state that: "In 1958 he founded Pauley Petroleum which: . . .
teamed up with Howard Hughes to expand oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Pauley Petroleum discovered a highly productive offshore petroleum reserve and in
1959 became involved in a dispute with the Mexican Government, which considered the
royalties from the wells to be too low.
"According to our sources in the intelligence community, the oil dispute was really a
shakedown of the CIA by Mexican politicians. Hughes and Pauley were working for
the CIA from time to time, while advancing their own financial interests in the lucrative
Mexican oil fields. Pauley, say several of our sources, was the man who invented an
intelligence money-laundering system in Mexico, which was later refined in the 1970s
as part of Nixon's Watergate scandal. At one point CIA agents used Pemex, the
Mexican government's oil monopoly, as a business cover at the same time Pemex was
being used as a money laundry for Pauley's campaign contributions. As we shall see,
the Mexican-CIA connection played an important part in the development of
George Bush's political and intelligence career. . . .
"Pauley, say the 'old spies,' was the man who brought all the threads of the Mexican
connection together. He was Bush's business associate, a front man for Dulles's CIA
[Allen Dulles was CIA director then], and originator of the use of Mexican oil fronts to
create a slush fund for Richard Nixon's various campaigns. . . .
"Although it is not widely known, Pauley, in fact, had been a committed, if 'secret,' Nixon
supporter since 1960. It should be recalled that Nixon tried to conceal his Mexican slush
fund during the Watergate affair by pressuring the CIA into a 'national security' cover-up. The CIA, to its credit, declined to participate. Unfortunately, others were so
enmeshed in Pauley's work for Nixon that they could never extricate themselves.
According to a number of our intelligence sources, the deals Bush cut with Pauley in
Mexico catapulted him into political life. In 1960 Bush became a protege of Richard
Nixon, who was then running for president of the United States...
"The most intriguing of Bush's early connections was to Richard Nixon, who as vice
president had supervised Allen Dulles's covert planning for the Bay of Pigs [invasion].
For years it has been rumored that Dulles's client, George Bush's father, was one of the
Republican leaders who recruited Nixon to run for Congress and later convinced
Eisenhower to take him on as vice president. There is no doubt that the two families
were close. George Bush described Nixon as his 'mentor.' Nixon was a Bush supporter
in his very first tilt at politics, during his unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1964, and
turned out again when he entered the House two years later.
"After Nixon's landslide victory in 1972, he ordered a general house cleaning on the
basis of loyalty. 'Eliminate everyone,' he told John Ehrlichman about reappointments,
'except George Bush. Bush will do anything for our cause.' . . . According to Bush's
account, the president told him that 'the place I really need you is over at the National
Committee running things.' So, in 1972, Nixon appointed George Bush as head of the
Republican National Committee.
"It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon's promise to make the 'ethnic' emigres a permanent
part of Republican politics. In 1972 Nixon's State Department spokesman confirmed to
his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in
several key states. Bush's tenure as head of the Republican National Committee
exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor's 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups
Council into the party's official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush's
campaign allies were the emigre Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United
States. . . .
". . . Nearly twenty years later, and after expose's in several respectable newspapers,
Bush continued to recruit most of the same ethnic Fascists, including Pasztor, for his
own 1988 ethnic outreach program when he first ran for president.
"According to our sources in the intelligence community," state the authors, "it was
Bush who told Nixon that the Watergate investigations might start uncovering the
Fascist skeletons in the Republican party's closet. Bush himself acknowledges that he
wrote Nixon a letter asking him to step down. The day after Bush did so, Nixon
"Bush had hoped to become Gerald Ford's vice president upon Nixon's resignation, but
he was appointed U.S. ambassador to the UN. Nelson Rockefeller became vice
president and chief damage controller. He formed a special commission in an attempt
to preempt the Senate's investigation of the intelligence community. The Rockefeller
Commission into CIA abuses was filled with old OPC [Dulles's Office of Policy
Coordination] hands like Ronald Reagan, who had been the front man back in the
1950s for the money-laundering organization, the Crusade for Freedom, which was
part of Dulles's Fascist 'freedom fighters' program." (3)
In 1988, Project Censored, a news media censorship research organization, awarded
the honor of "Top Censored story" to the subject of George Bush. The article revealed
"how the major mass media ignored, overlooked or undercovered at least ten
critical stories reported in America's alternative press that raised serious
questions about the Republican candidate, George Bush, dating from his
reported role as a CIA 'asset' in 1963 to his Presidential campaign's connection
with a network of anti-Semites with Nazi and fascist affiliations in 1988." (4)
For more, GO TO > > > Apartheid, Hawaiian Style; Freedom To Sing; Parrots in the
Newsroom; Tracking the Flock of AIPAC Vultures; Vampires on Gilligan’s Island
May 8, 2003
HOOSIER CASE INCLUDES BUSH
Allegations of stock dumping by IPALCO officials investigated
By Mark Jewell, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana securities investigators have subpoenaed White House
budget director Mitch Daniels as part of an inquiry into alleged stock dumping at a
Hoosier utility, a regulator said yesterday.
Daniels, who said Tuesday that he is leaving his White House job, is among about 30
former executives of IPALCO Enterprises Inc. asked to provide information about their
sales of stock leading up to the utility’s 2001 acquisition by AES Corp of Arlington,
Va., said Keith Griffin, deputy commissioner of the Indiana Securities Division.
Griffin said, “We’re looking into the whole transaction to see if any parts of it violated
Indiana securities laws.”
Daniels’ resignation sets up a likely run for Indiana governor. He is expected to
announce his gubernatorial run by summer.
Griffin declined to comment further on the subpoenas, which were issued Friday in a
year-long state investigation of the sale....
IPALCO also is the subject of a lawsuit by former employees who suffered losses in
their retirement funds when AES shares plummeted from $49.60 after the merger
closed in March 2001. Shares hit 92 cents last October but have since recovered
some, closing yesterday at $6.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.
A separate shareholder lawsuit alleges securities violations, claiming that the directors
knew or should have known that AES shares were far more volatile than IPALCO stock.
Securities rules prohibit execution from trading on information not available to other
When Daniels left IPALCO’s board to join the Bush administration in January 2001, he
sold millions of dollars worth of stock, including 60,000 shares of IPALCO, for a profit of
Daniels is not a defendant in the lawsuit over the retirement fund losses, but is named
in the securities lawsuit.
July 19, 2002
His Call for Corporate Responsibility Raises
Questions of His Business Past
By Chris Bury
Since President Bush went to Wall Street demanding, "a new ethic of personal
responsibility in the business community," the stock markets have responded with a
Bush's clarion calls for cleaning up corporate corruption have largely fallen on deaf
ears, analysts suggest, because Wall Street sees them more as rhetoric than reform.
Even that rhetoric has lost steam since it has collided with questions about the
president's own business past.
Bush has insisted, often quite testily, that such questions have long been put to rest.
Stories about a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into his activities
in the Harken Energy Company did surface briefly in previous Bush campaigns,
including his 2000 race for president.
But the recent wave of corporate scandals has reporters re-examining old SEC
documents posted on the Web site of a Washington watchdog group, the Center for
Public Integrity. Its director, Charles Lewis, says the documents demonstrate a
certain "hypocrisy" in the president's current calls for corporate reforms.
"Here he is lecturing Wall Street about corporate responsibility, including loans to
themselves … when he himself was with a company that was skating on the edge of
propriety," notes Lewis.
Bush Got Loans of Type He Now Condemns
In his Wall Street speech, President Bush called for "an end to all company loans to
corporate officers." But back when Bush was a corporate director at Harken, he got
the very loan deals he now condemns.
In 1986 and 1988, those loans allowed him to buy 105,000 shares in the company at
interest rates far below the prevailing prime rates. Such loans, while perfectly legal, are
surely politically inconvenient in today's climate.
Other questions involve allegations of insider trading when he sat on Harken's board of
directors. In June, 1990, Bush sold about $850,000 worth of Harken stock. Two months
later, the company revealed a quarterly loss of $23 million. The stock temporarily
For more than two years, the SEC enforcement division investigated whether Bush sold
his stock knowing that the company was about to report a huge loss. In the end, the
SEC took no action.
One internal memo says, "the vast majority of the [second quarter] loss was unknown to
management, let alone to Bush." But other SEC documents criticize Bush for filing
notice of his stock sale 34 weeks late.
Aloha Accounting Maneuvers
Over the years, Bush's explanations for that late filing — technically a violation of the
law — have changed. In 1994, when he was running for governor of Texas, his
campaign blamed the SEC for losing the notice.
Now, the White House faults a "mix-up" among Harken's corporate attorneys; an
explanation that government watchdog Lewis derides as a, "dog ate my homework,"
excuse. Adds Lewis, "It depends what day you ask him what the reason is why he didn't
report promptly. "
In light of his recent scolding from the bully pulpit, the most troublesome item from the
president's past may be something known as, "the Aloha deal."
In 1989, Harken Energy sold a big stake in Aloha Petroleum — a chain of gas
stations in Hawaii. The buyers? Harken's own chairman, a company director, and
other investors. They put up only $1 million and gave Harken an "IOU," for the
remaining $11 million.
But the company counted its paper profits on the insider deal — profits that were never
realized — as income. That accounting maneuver, courtesy of the beleaguered
accounting firm Arthur Andersen, allowed Harken to hide $8 million in losses at a time
the company was struggling.
PR Problem for President
Albert King, vice chairman of Valuation Research Corp., an independent firm that
measures corporate value, compares the Aloha transaction to accounting abuses at
"At Enron, they did exactly the same thing. They sold assets to 'independent
companies' that were essentially owned by Enron management and they reported
a profit and it wasn't a real sale."
The president, in a July 8th press conference, dismissed the Enron comparison. "In the
corporate world, sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to
accounting procedures." He cited "an honest difference of opinion" between Harken
and government investigators.
But in 1991, the SEC, in a rare move, forced Harken to restate its earnings — minus
most of the Aloha transaction.
The public relations problem for the president? He served on Harken's audit committee
at the time.
The White House and Harken Energy have so far refused to release minutes of
meetings that Bush attended.
Says Charles Lewis, "He either had knowledge of something that was essentially a
shady transaction" as a member of the audit committee, "and if he didn't know,
he should have known." ...
For more, GO TO > > > Aloha, Harken Energy!
November 5, 2002
SEC Chairman Pitt Resigns
Embattled Chairman Resigns, Faced Criticism Throughout Tenure
The Associated Press
W A S H I N G T O N — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt
resigned under fire tonight.
"The chairman tendered his resignation to the president," Christi Harlan, SEC
Three administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White
House welcomed the resignation of a regulator who had created a host of political
problems for President Bush in the runup to tonight's elections.
The latest came when Pitt failed to share with fellow commissioners information about
William Webster, the newly named chairman of an accounting industry oversight
board, before the agency voted last week to put the former CIA and FBI director in
charge of the panel.
The revelation led SEC commissioners, including Pitt, to request an internal
investigation Thursday of Webster's selection — and renewed the almost daily
drumbeat of calls from Democrats and other Pitt critics for his resignation.
Political Thorn for Bush
Pitt, who first worked at the SEC in the late 1960s and built his career as an attorney in
appearance-conscious Washington, has been criticized for meeting with the heads of
companies under SEC investigation and for his close ties to the accounting industry —
at a time when the SEC is investigating major accounting fraud at big corporations. Pitt
represented the Big Five accounting firms while in private practice.
In this latest instance, Pitt withheld information about Webster's lead role on the
auditing committee for U.S. Technologies, a company facing investor lawsuits alleging
fraud. Webster told The New York Times that Pitt assured him that SEC staff had
looked into the issue and it would not pose a problem.
Last month, Democrats asked Bush to remove Pitt, whom they accused of bowing to
the accounting industry by opposing the appointment of John H. Biggs to head the
Supporters of Biggs, a pension fund administrator, believed he would advocate tough
regulation of the accounting industry....
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
* * *
November 12, 2002
Webster Resigns From Oversight Panel
The Associated Press
Former FBI Director William Webster resigned Tuesday as head of a special
accounting oversight board, saying he wanted to avert “new distractions” as the
congressionally created agency seeks to rebuild public confidence after a series of
The move capped nearly two weeks of speculation regarding Webster’s future in a
debacle that already has brought the resignations of Bush appointee Harvey Pitt,
chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the SEC’s head
Webster declined Tuesday to blame Pitt for not informing fellow SEC commissioners
that Webster had headed the audit committee of a company now under investigation for
fraud. But he acknowledged that the information should have been shared. Pitt, a Bush
appointee, resigned a week ago over that. . . .
Pitt, whose 15-month tenure has been marked by a series of political missteps, has
remained in office pending President Bush’s naming a replacement to be confirmed by
Bush last week voiced confidence in Webster’s integrity, although the president also
said he wanted to see the outcome of an investigation of the circumstances
surrounding Webster’s selection. . . .
Pitt is facing investigations into whether he concealed from other SEC members
Webster’s role for a company that is under investigation. The SEC voted 3-2, along
party lines, to appoint him on Oct. 25. Pitt and the other two Republicans approved
Webster and the two Democrats opposed his appointment.
In a statement accepting the resignation, Pitt made no mention of the controversy
surrounding Webster’s appointment. “I continue to believe that investors would have
benefited from Judge Webster’s dedication to the best interest of the American people,”
News of Webster’s resignation came a day before the oversight board was scheduled
to have its first meeting. His letter to Pitt was dated Monday and released Tuesday
afternoon. . . .
The turmoil comes at a time when the government is trying to bolster the confidence of
investors and consumers shaken by corporate scandals over the past year and the
SEC is investigating questionable accounting at dozens of big companies.
Webster’s appointment was pushed by Pitt and endorsed by the Bush White House.
Democrats preferred John Biggs, head of the largest teachers’ pension fund, whom
they believed would be tough on the accounting industry.
Creation of the oversight board was mandated by Congress last summer in legislation
responding to the wave of accounting scandals at Enron, WorldCom and other big
companies. The five-member board, to be independent of the accounting industry, will
be armed with subpoena authority and disciplinary powers and financed by fees from
publicly traded companies.
The SEC inspector general and Congress’ auditing arm, the General Accounting Office,
are investigating the circumstances surrounding Webster’s appointment and the Senate
Banking Committee plans hearings.
Webster has said he told Pitt that he headed the audit committee at U.S.
Technologies, which is considered insolvent and has been sued by shareholders
alleging fraud. The office of the chief accountant, Robert Herdman, then told Pitt that
information did not create a problem for Webster’s selection.
Webster fired U.S. Technologies’ outside auditors last year when he headed the board
of directors’ auditing committee.
The auditing firm, BDO Seidman, recently alleged that Webster had made “false
and misleading statements” about how much he knew about the company’s
BDO Seidman also released documents showing that in a July 13, 2001, conference
call with the audit committee, its accountants warned the committee members of
“material weaknesses in internal accounting control.”
Webster said last week that the auditors did voice concerns, but not in an urgent,
“house on fire” way. He continued to insist that BDO Seidman was fired because the
audit committee believed it was charging too much and taking too long to do its audits
—— not because of a warning about the company’s financial controls.
Pitt announced Tuesday that the SEC commissioners had unanimously chosen
Jackson Day, the agency’s deputy chief accountant, as acting chief accountant until a
permanent replacement is named.
(*Editors Note | This page contains two stories. The first, yesterday's Reuters news wire
report of Dick Cheney's call for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The second is an
account his business dealings with the Iraqi government. Cheney originally denied that
Halliburton under his tenure as CEO had in fact circumvented US law to do business
with Hussein's Iraqi government. He was later forced to retract his denials when
presented with evidence of Halliburton's dealings.)
June 20, 2002
Cheney Sees 'Gathering Danger'
By Reuters | New York Times
DETROIT (Reuters) - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein represents a "gathering
danger'' to the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Thursday, while
warning that Washington will act preemptively against threats of terrorism.
"We are greatly concerned about any possible linkup between terrorists and
regimes that have or seek weapons of mass destruction,'' said Cheney. "In the
case of Saddam Hussein, we've got a dictator who is clearly pursuing and already
possesses some of these weapons,'' he said.
"A regime that hates America and everything we stand for must never be
permitted to threaten America with weapons of mass destruction,'' the vice
president added, referring to Saddam and the Iraqi forces he fought as defense
minister under President Bush's father during the Gulf War in 1991.
Cheney, who spoke at a political fund-raiser here, stopped short of saying there were
any established ties between Baghdad and the al Qaeda network, or the Sept. 11
attacks that took about 3,000 U.S. lives.
But he said the possibility of such links was too great to ignore, especially in light of
Saddam's defiance of U.N. weapons inspection programs and international oversight.
"This gathering danger requires the most urgent, deliberate and decisive response,'' he
"It is very clear that our enemies are determined to do further significant damage to the
American people,'' Cheney said, citing recent intelligence reports.
"Wars are not won on the defensive,'' he added. "We must take the battle to the enemy
anywhere necessary, to preempt greater stress to our country,'' he said.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes.)
November 13, 2000
Cheney Made Millions Off
Oil Deals with Hussein
by Martin A. Lee / San Francisco Bay Guardian
Here's a whopper of a story you may have missed amid the cacophony of campaign
ads and stump speeches in the run- up to the elections.
During former defense secretary Richard Cheney's five-year tenure as chief executive
of Halliburton, Inc., his oil services firm raked in big bucks from dubious commercial
dealings with Iraq. Cheney left Halliburton with a $34 million retirement package last
July when he became the GOP's vice-presidential candidate.
Of course, U.S. firms aren't generally supposed to do business with Saddam
Hussein. But thanks to legal loopholes large enough to steer an oil tanker through,
Halliburton profited big-time from deals with the Iraqi dictatorship. Conducted
discreetly through several Halliburton subsidiaries in Europe, these greasy transactions
helped Saddam Hussein retain his grip on power while lining the pockets of Cheney
According to the Financial Times of London, between September 1998 and last winter,
Cheney, as CEO of Halliburton, oversaw $23.8 million of business contracts for the
sale of oil-industry equipment and services to Iraq through two of its subsidiaries,
Dresser Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, which helped rebuild Iraq's war-damaged
petroleum-production infrastructure. The combined value of these contracts exceeded
those of any other U.S. company doing business with Baghdad.
Halliburton was among more than a dozen American firms that supplied Iraq's
petroleum industry with spare parts and retooled its oil rigs when U.N. sanctions were
eased in 1998. Cheney's company utilized subsidiaries in France, Italy, Germany, and
Austria so as not to draw undue attention to controversial business arrangements that
might embarrass Washington and jeopardize lucrative ties to Iraq, which will pump $24
billion of petrol under the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program this year.
Assisted by Halliburton, Hussein's government will earn another $1 billion by
illegally exporting oil through black-market channels.
With Cheney at the helm since 1995, Halliburton quickly grew into America's number-one oil-services company, the fifth-largest military contractor, and the biggest nonunion
employer in the nation. Although Cheney claimed that the U.S. government "had
absolutely nothing to do" with his firm's meteoric financial success, State Department
documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicate that U.S. officials helped
Halliburton secure major contracts in Asia and Africa. Halliburton now does business in
130 countries and employs more than 100,000 workers worldwide.
Its 1999 income was a cool $15 billion.
In addition to Iraq, Halliburton counts among its business partners several brutal
dictatorships that have committed egregious human rights abuses, including the
hated military regime in Burma (Myanmar).
EarthRights, a Washington, D.C.-based human rights watchdog, condemned
Halliburton for two energy-pipeline projects in Burma that led to the forced relocation
of villages, rape, murder, indentured labor, and other crimes against humanity.
A full report (this is a 45 page pdf file - there is also a brief summary) on the Burma
connection, "Halliburton's Destructive Engagement," can be accessed on
EarthRights' Web site
Human rights activists have also criticized Cheney's company for its questionable role
in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Croatia, Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia, Indonesia, and other
volatile trouble spots.
In Russia, Halliburton's partner, Tyumen Oil, has been accused of committing
massive fraud to gain control of a Siberian oil field.
And in oil-rich Nigeria, Halliburton worked with Shell and Chevron, which were
implicated in gross human rights violations and environmental calamities in that
country. Indeed, Cheney's firm increased its involvement in the Niger Delta after the
military government executed several ecology activists and crushed popular protests
against the oil industry.
Halliburton also had business dealings in Iran and Libya, which remain on the State
Department's list of terrorist states. Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, was
fined $3.8 million for reexporting U.S. goods to Libya in violation of U.S. sanctions.
But in terms of sheer hypocrisy, Halliburton's relationship with Saddam Hussein is hard
to top. What's more, Cheney lied about his company's activities in Iraq when
journalists fleetingly raised the issue during the campaign.
Questioned by Sam Donaldson on ABC's This Week program in August, Cheney
bluntly asserted that Halliburton had no dealings with the Iraqi regime while he was on
Donaldson: I'm told, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Halliburton, through subsidiaries,
was actually trying to do business in Iraq?
Cheney: No. No. I had a firm policy that I wouldn't do anything in Iraq even
arrangements that were supposedly legal.
And that was it! ABC News and the other U.S. networks dropped the issue like a hot
potato. As damning information about Halliburton surfaced in the European press,
American reporters stuck to old routines and took their cues on how to cover the
campaign from the two main political parties, both of which had very little to say about
official U.S. support for abusive corporate policies at home and abroad.
But why, in this instance, didn't the Democrats stomp and scream about Cheney's Iraq
connection? The Gore campaign undoubtedly knew of Halliburton's smarmy business
dealings from the get-go.
Gore and Lieberman could have made hay about how the wannabe GOP veep had
been in cahoots with Saddam. Such explosive revelations may well have swayed voters
and boosted Gore's chances in what was shaping up to be a close electoral contest.
The Democratic standard-bearers dropped the ball in part because Halliburton's
conduct was generally in accordance with the foreign policy of the Clinton
administration. Cheney is certainly not the only Washington mover and shaker to have
been affiliated with a company trading in Iraq. Former CIA Director John Deutsch,
who served in a Democratic administration, is a member of the board of directors of
Schlumberger, the second-largest U.S. oil-services company, which also does
business through subsidiaries in Iraq.
Despite occasional rhetorical skirmishes, a bipartisan foreign-policy consensus prevails
on Capital Hill, where the commitment to human rights, with a few notable exceptions,
is about as deep as an oil slick.
Truth be told, trading with the enemy is a time-honored American corporate
practice or perhaps "malpractice" would be a more appropriate description of
big-business ties to repressive regimes.
Given that Saddam Hussein, the pariah du jour, has often been compared to Hitler,
it's worth pointing out that several blue-chip U.S. firms profited from extensive
commercial dealings with Nazi Germany.
Shockingly, some American companies – including Standard Oil, Ford, ITT, GM, and
General Electric – secretly kept trading with the Nazi enemy while American soldiers
fought and died during World War II.
Today General Electric is among the companies that are back in business with
Saddam Hussein, even as American jets and battleships attack Iraq on a weekly basis
using weapons made by G.E.
But the United Nations sanctions committee, dominated by U.S. officials, has
routinely blocked medicines and other essential items from being delivered to
Iraq through the oil-for-food program, claiming they have a potential military "dual
These sanctions have taken a terrible toll on ordinary Iraqis, and on children in
particular, while the likes of Halliburton and G.E. continue to lubricate their coffers.
© : t r u t h o u t 2002
December 11, 2001
The White House connection:
Saudi 'agents' close Bush friends
by Maggie Mulvihill, Jonathan Wells and Jack Meyers, Boston Globe
A powerful Washington, D.C., law firm with unusually close ties to the White House has
earned hefty fees representing controversial Saudi billionaires as well as a Texas-based Islamic charity fingered last week as a terrorist front.
The influential law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld has represented three
wealthy Saudi businessmen - Khalid bin Mahfouz, Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi
and Salah Idris - who have been scrutinized by U.S. authorities for possible
involvement in financing Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.
In addition, Akin, Gump currently represents the largest Islamic charity in the United
States, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Richmond, Texas.
Holy Land's assets were frozen by the Treasury Department last week as government
investigators probe its ties to Hamas, the militant Palestinian group blamed for suicide
attacks against Israelis.
Partners at Akin, Gump include one of President Bush's closest Texas friends, James
C. Langdon, and George R. Salem, a Bush fund-raiser who chaired his 2000
campaign's outreach to Arab-Americans.
Another longtime partner is Barnett A. "Sandy" Kress, the former Dallas School Board
president who Bush appointed in January to work for the White House as an "unpaid
consultant" on education reform.
In September, a federal grand jury issued subpoenas for Holy Land records around the
same time terrorist investigators froze the assets of a North Texas Internet firm hired by
Holy Land shared office space with that firm, InfoCom Corp., which was raided by
police on Sept. 5, just days before the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.
Holy Land has denied any link to Hamas.
According to Akin, Gump, the firm represents Holy Land in a federal lawsuit filed
against the charity and another suspected Hamas entity by the parents of a man
allegedly murdered by Hamas operatives in the Middle East.
In a statement issued Friday, Akin, Gump said it decided last week to decline a request
to represent Holy Land in its defense of terrorism-related charges made by the U.S.
Akin, Gump, which maintains an affiliate office in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, is also a
registered foreign agent for the kingdom. It was paid $77,328 in lobbying fees by the
Saudis during the first six months of 2000, public records show.
In addition to the royal family, the firm's Saudi clients have included bin Mahfouz, who
hired Akin, Gump when he was indicted in the BCCI banking scandal in the early
1990s. In 1999, the Saudi's placed bin Mahfouz under house arrest after reportedly
discovering that the bank he controlled, National Commercial Bank in Saudi Aabia,
funneled millions to charities believed to be serving as bin Laden fronts.
A bin Mahfouz business partner, Al-Amoudi, was also represented by Akin, Gump.
When it was reported in 1999 that U.S. authorities were also investigating Al-Amoudi's
Capitol Trust Bank, Akin, Gump released a statement on behalf of their client denying
any connections to terrorism. One year earlier, the firm had co-sponsored an
investment conference in Ethiopia with Al-Amoudi.
Akin, Gump partner and Bush fund-raiser Salem led the legal team that defended Idris,
a banking protege of bin Mahfouz and the owner of El-Shifa, the Sudanese
pharmaceutical plant destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles in August 1998.
The plant was targeted days after terrorists - allegedly on the orders of bin Laden -
bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. The U.S. Treasury Department also froze $24
million of Idris' assets, but Akin, Gump filed a lawsuit and the government later
chose to release the money rather than go to court. Idris, who insists he has no
connection whatsoever to bin Laden or terrorism, is now pursuing a second lawsuit with
different attorneys seeking $50 million in damages from the United States.
Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan political watchdog group, said Akin, Gump's willingness to represent
Saudi power-brokers probed for links to terrorism presents a unique ethical concern
since partners at the firm are so close to the president.
The concern is more acute now, Lewis said, because Bush has faced stiff resistance
from the kingdom in his repeated requests to freeze suspected terrorist bank accounts.
"The conduct of the Saudis is just unacceptable by international standards, especially if
they are supposed to be one of our closest allies," Lewis said.
Speaking of Akin, Gump partner Kress' office in the White House, Lewis added: "That's
not appropriate and frankly it's potentially troublesome because there is a real
possibility of a conflict of interest. Basically you have a partner for Akin, Gump . . .
inside the hen house."
But another longtime Washington political observer, Vincent Cannistraro, the former
chief of counter-intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, said the political
influence a firm like Akin, Gump has is precisely why clients like the Saudis hire them.
"These are cozy political relationships . . . If you have a problem in Washington, there
are only a few firms to go to and Akin, Gump is one of them," Cannistraro said.
Cannistraro pointed out that Idris hired Akin, Gump during the Clinton presidency, when
Clinton confidante Vernon Jordan was a partner at the firm. "He hired them because
Vernon Jordan had influence . . . that's a normal political exercise where you are buying
influence," he said.
Akin, Gump is not the only politically wired Washington business cashing in on the
Burson-Marsteller, a major D.C. public relations firm, registered with the U.S.
government as a foreign agent for the Saudi embassy within weeks of the Sept. 11
One of Burson-Marsteller's first public relations efforts for the Saudis was to run a large
advertisement in the New York Times reading: "We Stand with You, America."
The Washington chairman for Burson-Marsteller, which also maintains an office in
Saudi Arabia, is Craig Veith, who ran communications for the Republican Party in the
Other GOP heavyweights who have held top positions at the PR giant include Sheila
Tate, the campaign press secretary for the elder George Bush; Leslie Goodman,
deputy director of communications for the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign; Craig L.
Fuller, chairman of the 1992 Republican National Convention and elder Bush's vice
~ ~ ~
PART II – Bush advisers cashed in on Saudi gravy train
By Maggie Mulvihill, Jack Meyers and Jonathan Wells
Many of the same American corporate executives who have reaped millions of dollars
from arms and oil deals with the Saudi monarchy have served or currently serve at the
highest levels of U.S. government, public records show.
Those lucrative financial relationships call into question the ability of America's political
elite to make tough foreign policy decisions about the kingdom that produced Osama
bin Laden and is perhaps the biggest incubator for anti-Western Islamic terrorists.
Nowhere is the revolving U.S.-Saudi money wheel more evident than within President
Bush's own coterie of foreign policy advisers, starting with the president's father,
George H.W. Bush.
At the same time that the elder Bush counsels his son on the ongoing war on terrorism,
the former president remains a senior adviser to the Washington D.C.-based Carlyle
Group. That influential investment bank has deep connections to the Saudi royal family
as well as financial interests in U.S. defense firms hired by the kingdom to equip and
train the Saudi military.
Last year, former President Bush visited Saudi Arabia's King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, but a Carlyle spokesman said the two did not discuss Carlyle business as
previously reported. The elder Bush is reportedly paid between $80,000 and $100,000
for each Carlyle speech he makes. The company declined comment on the former
The Carlyle Group has also served as a paid adviser to the Saudi monarchy on the so-called "Economic Offset Program," an arrangement that effectively requires U.S. arms
manufacturers selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to give back a portion of their revenues
in the form of contracts to Saudi businesses, most of whom are connected to the royal
family. A company spokesman said yesterday that arrangement was ended "a few
months ago," but said he did not know whether it was terminated before or after the
Sept. 11 attacks.
A spokesman for former President Bush, reached yesterday, had no immediate
comment on his work for the Carlyle Group.
These intricate personal and financial links have led to virtual silence in the
administration on Saudi Arabia's failings in dealing with terrorists like bin Laden, said
Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog group.
"It's good old fashioned 'I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine.' You have former U.S.
officials, former presidents, aides to the current president, a long line of people who are
tight with the Saudis, people who are the pillars of American society and officialdom,"
"So for that and other reasons no one wants to alienate the Saudis, and we are willing
to basically ignore inconvenient truths that might otherwise cause our blood to boil. We
basically look away," he said. "Folks don't like to stop the gravy train."
Some foreign policy observers said as long as American power brokers in lucrative
business deals with the Saudis do not simultaneously craft U.S. foreign policy, there is
no conflict of interest.
"To have Bush Sr. on the board of Carlyle is not necessarily a significant problem
because Carlyle has interests all over the world," said Vincent Cannistraro, a former
counter-intelligence chief for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Companies regularly entice powerful political figures to work for them, he said.
"It's kind of business as usual. Where it really affects things is when someone with a
financial interest in a company also has a policy position in the administration,"
A significant portion of the millions of dollars U.S. companies and their politically
influential executives have earned in deals with the Saudis has been through military
The Carlyle Group had a major stake in the large defense contractor B.D.M., which
has multimillion-dollar contracts through its subsidiaries to train and manage the Saudi
National Guard and the Saudi air force, U.S. Department of Defense records show.
In 1998, Carlyle sold its controlling interest in B.D.M. to defense giant TRW
Meanwhile, the boards of directors of the Carlyle Group, B.D.M. and TRW are all
stocked with high-level Republican policy makers.
Frank C. Carlucci, a former secretary of defense under President Reagan, was
chairman of B.D.M. for most of the 1990s. Carlucci, who also served as Reagan's
national security adviser and a deputy director of the CIA, now heads the Carlyle
Along with former President Bush, other officials from past Republican administrations
now at the Carlyle Group include: former Secretary of State James A. Baker III; ex-budget chief Richard Darman; and former Securities and Exchange Commission
chairman Arthur Levitt.
President Bush is himself linked to the Carlyle group: He was a director of one of its
subsidiaries, an airline food services company called Caterair, until 1994. Six years
later, when Bush was governor of Texas, the board of directors of the Texas teachers'
pension fund - some of whom were his appointees - voted to invest $100 million with
the Carlyle Group.
The president of B.D.M. is Philip A. Odeen, a former high-level Pentagon official in the
Nixon administration. During the Clinton administration, Odeen chaired the Pentagon
task force that planned the restructuring of the U.S. military for the 21st century.
Currently, he is the vice-chair of the Defense Science Board, which advises the
Pentagon on emerging threats.
TRW, the new owner of B.D.M., has its own noteworthy board members, including
former CIA director Robert M. Gates and Michael H. Armacost, who served as
undersecretary of state under President Reagan and as ambassador to Japan for
former President Bush.
Big Saudi money also makes its way back to Texas and the Bush family. The family of
Saudi Arabia's longtime U.S. ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz,
gave $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
The revolving door
Another example of the complex web connecting U.S. and Saudi powerbrokers is Dick
Cheney, who moved from the Pentagon to the international oil business and back as
vice president last year.
After serving as the elder Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney was hired to run oil-services giant Halliburton Co., where he worked until he resigned last year to
campaign with the younger Bush. In 2000, his last year with Halliburton, Cheney
received $34 million when he cashed out from the company.
Not surprisingly, Halliburton's links to Cheney and other Washington power brokers
appear to have helped the company's business prospects in the Middle East.
Just last month, Halliburton was awarded a $140 million contract to develop an oil
field in Saudi Arabia by the kingdom's state-owned petroleum firm, Saudi Aramco,
and a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, along with two Japanese firms,
was hired by the Saudis to build a $40 million ethylene plant.
Cheney isn't the only member of President Bush's inner circle whose work for firms
connected to the Saudis has paid big dividends.
The current national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is a former longtime member
of the board of directors of another giant oil conglomerate with business in the Saudi
desert, Chevron, which merged with Texaco this year. Rice even has a Chevron oil
tanker named after her.
Substantial profits received by U.S. leaders in private sector deals with the Saudis have
helped to squelch criticism of the royal family's refusal to address the role its country
has played in fueling Islamic terrorism, Lewis said.
"There's a disconnect there," Lewis said. "I'm fascinated that we don't lay this at Saudi
Arabia's doorstep. But the chances to cash in and the amount you can cash in for are
starting to become absolutely astronomical. Who wants to look like the Boy Scout
complaining about it and potentially jeopardize their own post-employment prospects?"
Former advisers to the president's father also hold key positions with U.S. firms which
have teamed up with the Saudis on major oil deals.
Former Bush Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady and a former Bush assistant,
Edith E. Holiday, are both on the board of directors of Amerada Hess, an American
petroleum firm currently teaming up with several powerful Saudi families to develop oil
fields in Azerbaijan.
Another company that has done business with wealthy Saudis is international energy
firm Frontera Resources Corp. based in Houston. Until recently, Frontera was a 30
percent investor in a $900 million project to develop oilfields in Azerbajian. Also
investing in the project were Azerbaijan's state-run oil company and Delta-Hess, a joint-venture created by the Saudis' Delta Oil and Amerada Hess.
Randy Theilig, a Frontera spokesman, said the company relinquished its interest in the
project in July because it was no longer "economically viable," and has no current
business dealings with the Saudis or in Azerbajian.
Members of Frontera's board of advisers, which includes former CIA director John
Deutch and former Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, have
been active financial supporters of the Democratic Party.
Shining a bright light on the web of financial connections between the power elite in the
U.S. and Saudi Arabia is critical, Middle Eastern foreign policy experts said.
"I think the fact that they have these connections makes it important for this
information to be made public," said Henry Siegman, a senior fellow on the Middle
East at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington,
D.C., a non-partisan group that examines money and politics, said the Bush-Carlyle
connection is a concern.
"It is well known that the father is a close adviser to his son and therefore it does raise
concerns," Noble said.
"It's not necessarily that the father has been compromised, but the danger is that it
leads people to question George W. Bush. The public has a right to feel their
leaders are making independent judgments without the influence of private
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes.)
© : t r u t h o u t 2001
For more on THE CARLYLE GROUP, GO TO > > > Birds that Drink from Cesspools
For more DUBIOUS DUBYA connections with EVIL TERRORISTS, GO TO > > > The
Nests of Osama bin Laden
For more on the CIA connection, GO TO > > > The Secret Nests
For more on the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX connections, GO TO > > > Nests
in the Pentagon
For more on the MONEY / RACKETEER connections, GO TO > > > Apollo
“The state is resuming its right and its
prestige as the sole and supreme interpreter of
the needs of society.”
– Benito Mussolini, 1934
December 14, 2001
Bush rejects subpoena in
two House probes
President’s claim of executive privilege angers lawmakers
by Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Bush invoked executive privilege for the first time
yesterday, rejecting a congressional subpoena for prosecutors’ records related to the
Clinton administration campaign finance probe and a 30-year-old Boston mob case.
The flexing of executive muscle angered lawmakers from both parties, who called it an
unprecedented effort to deny Congress access to records that in the past had been
But it drew approval from some GOP legal experts who lauded Bush’s attempt to
restore the notion of executive privilege, badly eroded during the Clinton administration.
Disclosure, Bush wrote in a memo telling Attorney General John Ashcroft not to
release the documents, would “inhibit the candor necessary” to the deliberative process
in the executive branch and would be “contrary to the national interest.” (Hunnh? Does
this sound like the same Dubya who said, “Is your children learning?”)
“This is not a monarchy,” Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican who is chairman
of the House Government Reform Committee, said at a hearing yesterday focusing on
the Boston case. “The legislative branch has oversight responsibility to make
sure there is no corruption in the executive branch.”
Burton’s committee had subpoenaed documents regarding the FBI’s handling of mob
informants in Boston dating to the 1960s, excluding those relating to open cases. The
panel had also subpoenaed records dealing with former attorney general Janet Reno’s
decision not to appoint a special counsel to investigate charges of campaign finance
abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore.
Burton is particularly incensed about the now-closed case of Joe Salvati, a man the FBI
knew was innocent when he went to prison for 30 years on murder charges. Burton
said Salvati was convicted on the basis of lies told on the stand by Joe “The Animal”
Barboza, an FBI informant who had a grudge against Salvati.
The committee had also subpoenaed Ashcroft himself. Originally scheduled to appear
on Sept 13, the Sept 11 terrorist attacks postponed the hearing until yesterday.
Justice Department Criminal Division Chief of Staff Michael Horowitz appeared in his
stead. . . .
Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney, praised Bush’s move as one that begins to
restore the principle of executive privilege after its “profligate use” by former president
Clinton. . . .
But Mark Rozell, author of the 1994 book “Executive Privilege,” said he thought the
White House had picked poor cases for establishing the principle. A better argument
would involve protecting national security, he said. . . .
Rozell and diGenova said Clinton had abused executive privilege by invoking it in
inappropriate cases, for instance, to conceal wrongdoing or matters unrelated to
government business, such as an affair with a White House intern.
But even Clinton did not assert executive privilege over the types of prosecutorial
records that panel is seeking, Burton said.
December 16, 2001
The President's Papers Are the
By Steven L. Hensen
How can a democratic people have confidence in elected officials who hide the records
of their actions from public view?
On Nov. 1, with no announcement, President Bush signed Executive Order 13233,
overriding the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which provides that a president's papers
will be made available to the public 12 years after he leaves office.
Bush's new order gives the White House, as well as former presidents, the right to veto
this release of documents, thereby taking the responsibility for administering
presidential papers away from the archivist of the United States. By forcing citizens to
go to court to obtain the right to view an administration's records, the order effectively
blocks access to information that enables Americans to hold our presidents
accountable for their actions....
Bush's executive order is titled "Further Implementation of the Presidential Records
Act." But rather than "implementing" that law, the order abrogates the core principles of
the act and violates both its spirit and letter.
The Presidential Records Act was created out of the legal morass surrounding the
Watergate scandals and legitimate congressional fears that former president Nixon
would never allow public access to the records of his administration. The legislation
established once and for all -- or so we thought -- the principle that presidential papers
represent the official records of activity by the highest office in our government of, by,
and for the people -- and that they therefore belong to the U.S. government and, by
extension, its citizens. . . .
Executive Order 13233 directly subverts the intent of the Presidential Records Act by
placing ultimate responsibility for decisions regarding access to presidential papers not
only with President Bush, but with any sitting president in the future, as well as every
ex-president, and, even further, the family members and heirs of former presidents,
apparently without limit.
Administration officials have acknowledged that the new order is intended to
prevent the release of records from the Reagan administration, which the White
House has been delaying by various means since January. This has led to
speculation that the administration is trying to shield members of Bush's own
administration, as well as his father, from a variety of uncomfortable revelations,
including possible connections to the Iran-contra scandal.
But it should be noted that this executive order also fits a pattern suggesting that the
Bush administration may be hostile to the basic ideals that the public has a right to
know what its elected officials are doing, and that the records of government are in fact
owned by the people.
Last January, Bush, as outgoing governor of Texas, shipped his official records to his
father's presidential library at Texas A&M University. By doing so, he succeeded in
removing his gubernatorial papers not only from the custody of the Texas State Library
and Archives, but also, possibly, from the ownership, oversight and right of access of
the people of Texas.
The Texas archives law does permit the designation of "an institution of higher learning
or alternate archival institution" as the repository for gubernatorial records (the records
of former governor John Connally, for instance, are at the Lyndon B. Johnson
presidential library, and those of Bill Clement are at Texas A&M). But the bill requires
that any governor seeking to place his records elsewhere consult fully with the Texas
State Library and Archives Commission to develop clear policies regarding processing
of and access to the records.
While there was some preliminary consultation over Bush's papers, no final agreement
was reached. The records were simply packed up and shipped off -- to the great
surprise of many, including officials at the Bush presidential library.
Under no circumstance does the Texas bill permit the transfer of the records'
"ownership" from the people of Texas to any other entity. The Connally and Clement
records, though not technically in the archives, are still administered according to Texas
But the confusion likely to reign over the question of who "owns" the Bush
gubernatorial records may be sufficient to keep them out of public sight until well
after the conclusion of George W.'s presidency. In the meantime, requests from
journalists, historians or others to view the documents could be delayed
indefinitely, denying the public potentially valuable insight into how Bush's
policies as Texas governor on matters from energy to the death penalty may be
informing current decisions.
And there's more.
On Oct. 16, Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a memorandum telling federal
agencies that when they decide to withhold records in response to Freedom of
Information (FOIA) requests, they can "be assured" that the Department of Justice will
defend their decisions.
The memorandum supersedes a 1993 directive by then-Attorney General Janet Reno,
directing federal agencies to resolve ambiguous situations in favor of openness.
Though Ashcroft's memo suggested that the present reversal on FOIA requests was
necessary for protecting "national security, enhancing the effectiveness of our law
enforcement agencies, protecting sensitive business information and, not least,
preserving personal privacy," the fact is that these categories of information are already
exempted from release under our freedom of information laws.
Like Bush's executive order, Ashcroft's FOIA memorandum has the effect of limiting our
ability as citizens to know what our government is doing, and why....
Engaged as we currently are in a struggle against terrorism and totalitarianism, it does
us no credit to adopt policies that reflect the principles of our enemies more than they
do our own democratic traditions. Bush should demonstrate the values and openness
of our government and of his administration by canceling this order and directing the
attorney general to revoke his memorandum.
It shouldn't have to take legal proceedings, congressional action or public
pressure for Bush to come to the understanding that the president's papers are
not in fact the president's papers, but rather the records of the people's
– Steven Hensen, director of planning and project development at Duke University's
Rare Book, Manuscripts and Special Collections Library, is president of the Society of
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes.)
© : t r u t h o u t 2001
December 16, 2001
Radical in the White House
by Marc Ash
George W. Bush has embarked on perhaps the most radical course of any president in
Without consulting or even informing Congress, Mr. Bush this week terminated the
landmark 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty that has been the cornerstone of global
nuclear arms control for three decades.
And that was just for openers.
While the entire country was obediently watching the Osama bin Laden video Mr.
Bush was quietly invoking for only the third time in U.S. history Powers of
Don't be. Amidst the chaos, destruction and distraction of the past year Mr. Bush has
set about, by "whatever means necessary," reshaping America to conform to a vision
that is -- his to know -- and ours to find out.
A fundamental redefinition of the entire U.S. tax structure, fast track authority to
unilaterally formulate U.S. trade agreements world-wide, plans to privatize social
security, a sweeping overhaul of the entire U.S. justice system... and this is only
the ninth month.
Any one of these social and political developments in years gone by would have set off
a whirlwind of controversy. Today, while TV broadcast news keeps the nation transfixed
on the hunt for bin Laden, Mr. Bush is presiding over a truly radical 180 degree reversal
of America's fortune. In little more than a year we have gone from enjoying peace and
the most prosperous economy in our history, to a nation plunged into war, recession
and fear. This is a nation being transformed before our very eyes.
Democratic resistance to the Bush agenda is not surprising, but to put into perspective
the enormity of these events, consider the reaction from many prominent republicans:
Dan Burton, the Republican Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means
Committee, said in reaction to Mr. Bush's invocation of Executive Privilege, "This is not
Arch Republican conservative New York Times columnist William Safire titled his essay
on the subject of Mr. Bush's order authorizing secret military tribunals: "Seizing
Senate Republican Stalwart Arlen Specter titled his Op-Ed in the New York Times;
"Questioning the President's Authority."
Questioning the President's Authority indeed, now might be a very good time -- while
the opportunity still exists.
© : t r u t h o u t 2001
# # #
FOR MORE, GO TO > > > APCOA: VULTURES IN THE PARKING LOT
ALOHA, HARKEN ENERGY!
AXIS OF EVIL
BCCI: THE BANK OF CROOKS & CRIMINALS
BIRDS ON THE POWER LINES
THE BRIBES & BOONDOGGLES OF BOEING
BUZZARDS IN THE HALLS OF JUSTICE
THE CARLYLE GROUP
THE CHUBB GROUP
CONFESSIONS OF A WHISTLE-BLOWER
THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS
DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE
WHO’S GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE?
THE EAGLE AWAKES
THE EAGLE HOODED
THE FREEDOM TO SING
THE IMPEACHMENT OF GEORGE W. BUSH
THE KISSINGER OF DEATH
MARSH & MCLENNAN: THE MARSH BIRDS
THE MYTH AND THE METHANE
NESTS ALONG WALL STREET
NESTS IN THE PENTAGON
OF VAMPIRES & DAISIES
PARROTS IN THE NEWSROOM
THE PEREGRINE FUND
THE SECRET NESTS
THE NUCLEAR NESTS
THE NESTS OF OSAMA BIN LADEN
THE SILENCE OF THE WHISTLEBLOWERS
THE VULTURES IN BLACKWATER
THE VULTURES IN WCI COMMUNITIES
TRACKING THE FLOCK OF AIPAC VULTURES
UNCLE SAM’S GUINEA PIGS
VAMPIRES ON GILLIGAN’S ISLAND
. . .AND THE THORNY BUSHES KEEP GROWING IN
THE ROSE GARDEN.
~ o ~
MORE OF THE CATBIRD’S FAVORITE LINKS
THE CATBIRD SEAT FORUM
THE CATBIRD SEAT
~ o ~
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First posted: December 18, 2001
Last Update July 10, 2009 by The Catbird