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FTR #284 Harken Unto Me: Business as Usual for the Bush Family

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NB: This RealAudio stream contains FTRs 284 and 285 in sequence. Each is a 30-minute broadcast.

1. The title of this program derives from one of George W’s petroleum industry connections, Harken Energy Corporation. Focusing on the business and political dealings of the Bush clan, the broadcast begins with discussion of Harken’s involvement in Colombia, and the controversy that involvement has stirred in that troubled nation. (“Harken Tightens Security in Colombia” by James Wilson; Financial Times; 3/17-18/2001; p. 8.)

2. “Harken Energy Corporation, the US oil and gas exploration company, has warned of increased security risks to its investments in Colombia, partly due to recent publicity surrounding the company’s links to President George W. Bush. . . . Cambio, a leading Colombian news magazine, devoted this week’s cover story to Mr. Bush’s ties to Harken and Colombia. Mr. Bush became associated with Houston-based Harken in 1986 when Harken bought Spectrum 7, the oil company of which he was president.” (Idem.) (Read more about the Bush family and the energy industry.)

3. Next, the program examines a major equity firm, the Carlyle Group, which employs both George H. W. Bush and many figures from his administration. (“Elder Bush in Big G.O.P. Cast Toiling for Top Equity Firm” by Leslie Wayne; New York Times; 3/5/2001; pp. A1-A14.)

4. Interestingly (and perhaps significantly), it was under the auspices of the Carlyle Group that Bush met with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during the 2000 presidential campaign, in order to discuss “American-Saudi business affairs.” (Ibid.; p. A1.) (In FTRs 214, 236 and 256, Mr. Emory suggested that the increase in the price of petroleum during the year 2000 might have been the result of deliberate manipulation, as a similar increase appears to have been in 1979-80. The Georges Bush were the beneficiaries of these respective manipulations.)

5. The Carlyle Group also employs former Reagan secretary of defense Frank Carlucci and Bush secretary of state James Baker, as well as political luminaries and movers and shakers in other countries. (Ibid.; p. A14.)

6. There is a serious question of conflicts of interest for George W. Bush and his administration. “‘Carlyle is as deeply wired into the current administration as they can possibly be,’ said Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit public interest group based in Washington. ‘George Bush is getting money from private interests that have business before the government, while his son is president. And, in a really peculiar way, George W. Bush could, some day, benefit financially from his own administration’s decisions, through his father’s investments.'” (Idem.)

7. Carlyle has also lent a hand to the younger George Bush. “Carlyle also gave the Bush family a hand in 1990, by putting George W. Bush, who was then struggling to find a career, on the board of a Carlyle subsidiary, Caterair, an airline-catering company.” (Idem.)

8. Next, the program highlights the hypocrisy of the national news media, obsessed with the pardons effected by Clinton during his last weeks. (“Many a U.S. President Pays the Pardon Piper” by Robert Scheer; Los Angeles Times; 3/6/2001; p. A17.) (For more about the Clinton pardon of Marc Rich, see also: FTR-277.)

9. The media outrage over Clinton’s behavior contrasts markedly with their tepid response to the more significant (and outrageous) pardons effected by George H.W. Bush. “But unforgivable is what former President George Bush did. He protected himself–a former Reagan administration official–in an ongoing investigation when he pardoned Reagan’s Defense secretary, Casper Weinberger, and the rest of the Iran-Contra gang of six. At the time, independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh bitterly charged that ‘the Iran-Contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed’÷by presidential fiat. Walsh called it ‘evidence of a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public’ and said that, ‘in light of President Bush’s own misconduct,’ he was ‘gravely concerned’ about Bush’s decision to pardon others.'” (Idem.)

10. At the urging of Jeb Bush, former CIA director Bush also pardoned Orlando Bosch, an anti-Castro Cuban with a CIA background. (Idem.)

11. Bosch was the head of CORU, an anti-Castro terrorist group that was part of what freelance Danish journalist Henrik Kruger called “the International Fascista.” (Find out more on the International Fascista.) The International Fascista, in turn, was involved with Operation Condor, an international assassination consortium. Arguably the most celebrated of Condor’s victims was former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier, killed by a bomb in Washington, D.C. in September of 1976. The elder George Bush was the head of the CIA at the time. FTRs 259 and 268 highlight the strong connections between Miami’s Cuban exile community, the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the Iran-Contra scandal and the forces mobilized on behalf of George W. Bush during the Florida “recount.”

12. Recently disclosed documents have revealed that Condor operatives were using a U.S. communications facility in Panama to liaise with their superiors. (“New Files tie U.S. to Deaths of Latin Leftists in 1970’s” by Diana Jean Schemo; New York Times; 3/6/2001; p. A6.)

13. “The cable said Condor nations ‘keep in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal zone, which covers all of Latin America. This U.S. communications facility is used mainly by student officers to call home to Latin America,’ the cable continued, ‘but it is also employed to coordinate intelligence information among the Southern Cone countries. They maintain the confidentiality of their communication through the U.S. facility in Panama by using bilateral codes.'” (Idem.)

14. The program excerpts RFA-20, setting forth the connection between operation Condor and Colonia Dignidad, a Nazi exile colony in Chile. (Secrets of the SS; Glenn Infield; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Stein & Day; ISBN 0-88029-185-0; pp. 205-7.) (Read more on Colonia Dignidad.)

15. “The trail then led to an enclave deep in the foothills of the Chilean Andes south of Santiago, an enclave known only as ‘the Colony’ to outsiders but officially named Colonia Dignidad (Noble Colony) by the Chilean government. Regardless of what name it is called, the secret colony is actually a Nazi stronghold that is protected by the Chilean government and which works very closely with the DINA [the Chilean secret police]. Informed sources within the Chilean government state that one of the responsibilities of the ex-Gestapo and ex-SS officers at Colonia Dignidad is to demonstrate nazi torture methods for the Chilean secret police and to instruct the DINA in such brutality. These sources verified that there is a detention camp for Chilean political prisoners within the colony. . . . The colony has its own airstrip, its own fleet of aircraft, and a private communications system. The elaborate communications system permits [ex-Luftwaffe officer Paul] Schaeffer and his colleagues to keep in radio contact with a ‘mother house’ in Sieburg [Germany] and with a mansion in Santiago that is filled with modern electronic communications equipment. (Ibid.; pp. 205-6.)

16. The possibility that the communications system at Colonia Dignidad may have been used by Condor operatives to communicate with the facility at Panama is one to be seriously considered. The broadcast concludes with another excerpt from RFA-20, discussing former Lyons [France] Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, and his work on behalf of Condor and elements of U.S. intelligence. (The Nazi Legacy: Klaus Barbie and the International Fascist Connection; Magnus Linklater, Neal Ascherson, Isabel Hilton; Copyright 1984 [HC]; Holt, Rinehart and Winston; ISBN 0-069303-9; p. 269.) (Read more on Barbie and his work for U.S. intelligence.)

17. Finally, as if to emphasize the many levels on which Barbie was now operating, a CIA report shows that the agency approved a meeting, organized by Barbie in 1977 in the tropical Yungas region of Bolivia, between representatives of the Chilean and Bolivian intelligence services. Barbie himself attended it. According to a Bolivian official who was there, the discussion centered around coordination between the two services and the promotion of Condor, a system of mutual aid between right-wing regimes in Latin America, promoted by the US to unify their anti-subversion activities. (Idem.)(Recorded on 3/18/2001.)

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