Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #438 Christmas Bushes: Business As Unusual

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For mem­bers of the Bush fam­i­ly, every­day is Christ­mas. They are the recip­i­ents of enor­mous largesse, the prod­uct of busi­ness as unusu­al. This pro­gram details the rela­tion­ships that char­ac­ter­ize this busi­ness as unusu­al. One of the pri­ma­ry ele­ments of dis­cus­sion con­cerns a busi­ness milieu that revolves around Neil Bush, one of George W. Bush’s broth­ers. Neil Bush, in turn, is deeply involved with one Jamal Daniel, a well-con­nect­ed Syr­i­an-Amer­i­can who func­tions as a con­tact point between the Bush fam­i­ly and the rul­ing fam­i­lies of many of the Mid­dle East­ern oil-pro­duc­ing nations. The Neil Bush/Jamal Daniel rela­tion­ship forms part of a con­stel­la­tion of busi­ness­es com­prised of sev­er­al over­lap­ping com­mer­cial concerns—chief among them New Bridge Strate­gies. New Bridge Strate­gies and its relat­ed busi­ness­es are cen­tered on Haley Bar­bour, the new­ly elect­ed gov­er­nor of Mis­sis­sip­pi. It is with­in the con­text of this struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships between the GOP, the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, Amer­i­can petro­le­um firms and the Mid­dle East­ern oil-pro­duc­ing nations that the events of 9/11 grew to fruition.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: For­mer Bush (Sr.) Sec­re­tary of State James Bak­er’s role in restruc­tur­ing Iraqi debt; Bak­er’s rela­tion­ship with the Car­lyle Group; the Car­lyle Group’s over­lap­ping inter­ests and per­son­nel with the New Bridge Enter­pris­es crew (includ­ing Car­lyle co-founder Ed Math­ias); Neil Bush’s asso­ciate John How­land; for­mer SEC chief Ed Bree­den; How­land’s con­flict­ing busi­ness inter­ests; Mile­stone Mer­chant Part­ners (part of the New Bridge nexus); the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the accounts of the Sau­di embassy (held in the Bush-con­nect­ed Rig­gs Bank); the rela­tion­ship between the Texas/GOP/Bush/Middle East­ern eco­nom­ic con­nec­tions and the milieu of the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids.

1. The dis­cus­sion begins by high­light­ing the fact that Sau­di Ara­bia has pledged $1 bil­lion in aid for the rebuild­ing of Iraq. (There are indi­ca­tions that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and the Saud­is may well have estab­lished a quid pro quo—the Saud­is sup­port the Bush adven­ture into Iraq and the Bush admin­is­tra­tion cov­ers up the Sau­di role in 9/11. Note that Iraq was a sec­u­lar, Arab fas­cist state with a Shi­ite Mus­lim major­i­ty dom­i­nat­ed by a Sun­ni minor­i­ty. View the anno­tat­ed pro­grams for a more com­plete pre­sen­ta­tion of this hypoth­e­sis.)

“Well, the num­bers are in and the num­bers don’t lie. At the Madrid aid con­fer­ence, Sau­di Ara­bia pledged $1 bil­lion in new loans and cred­its for Iraq—and Ger­many and France pledged new dol­lars. . . .”

(“The End of the West” by Thomas Fried­man; The New York Times; 11/2/2003; p. 1.)

2. Under­tak­ing dis­cus­sion of the struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships join­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and its most impor­tant mem­bers with the oil-pro­duc­ing nations of the Mid­dle East, the broad­cast sets forth James Bak­er’s posi­tion as over­seer of Iraqi debt restruc­tur­ing. In par­tic­u­lar, this por­tion of the broad­cast notes Bak­er’s con­nec­tions with Sau­di Ara­bia.

“Well ho, ho ho! It’s an ear­ly Christ­mas for James Bak­er III. All year the elves at his law firm, Bak­er Botts of Texas, have been work­ing day and night to pre­vent the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims of the Sep­tem­ber 11 attack from seek­ing infor­ma­tion from Sau­di Ara­bia on the King­dom’s fund­ing of Al Qae­da fronts. It’s tough work, but this week came the pay­off when Pres­i­dent Bush appoint­ed Bak­er, the fir­m’s senior part­ner, to restruc­ture the debts of the nation of Iraq. And who will net the big bucks under Jim Bak­er’s plan? Answer: his client, Sau­di Ara­bia, which claims $30.7 bil­lion in repa­ra­tions from the First Gulf war. . . .”

(“Bak­er Takes the Loaf” by Greg Palast; GregPalast.com; 12/8/2003; p. 1.)


” . . . This takes the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s Con­flicts-R-Us appoint­ments process to a new low. Or maybe there’s no con­flict at all. If you see Jim Bak­er’s new job as work­ing not to pro­tect a new Iraqi democ­ra­cy but to pro­tect the loot of the old theoc­ra­cy of Sau­di Ara­bia, the con­flict dis­ap­pears. Iraq’s debt totals some­thing on the order of $120 bil­lion to $150 bil­lion, depend­ing on who’s count­ing. And who’s count­ing in very impor­tant.”

(Ibid.; p 2.)


“Much of the so-called debt to Sau­di Ara­bia was giv­en to Sad­dam Hus­sein to fight a proxy war for the Saud­is against their hat­ed foe, the Shi’ia of Iran. And as dis­closed by a for­mer Sau­di diplo­mat, the king­dom’s sheiks hand­ed about $7 bil­lion to Sad­dam under the table in the 1980’s to build an ‘Islam­ic bomb.’ ”


5. Fur­ther devel­op­ing the rela­tion­ship of Bak­er to the Mid­dle East­ern oil pro­duc­ing milieu, the broad­cast high­lights the role of the Bak­er law firm (Bak­er Botts) as the coun­sel to the Car­lyle Group.

” . . . At 73, Bak­er is at the cen­ter of a wheel­ing-deal­ing whirl­wind. Bak­er Botts is tight with Enron, hav­ing rep­re­sent­ed it in a major pipeline merg­er dur­ing Enron’s hal­cy­on days. And the judge who decid­ed not to freeze assets of Enron exec­u­tives had to recuse her­self a few days lat­er from the case because she was, among oth­er things, a for­mer employ­ee of Bak­er Botts. Bak­er him­self cau­tioned pru­dence when it came to deal­ing harsh­ly with Enron: ‘the prop­er response to Enron,’ he told stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan in an April 2002 speech, ‘is not ‘do some­thing’ but, like the doc­tor, to ‘do no harm.’ ”

(“Set­tling Some Debts” [“Mon­do Wash­ing­ton”] by James Ridge­way; Vil­lage Voice; 12/10–16/2003; p. 1.)

6. Note that Bush’s ambas­sador to Sau­di Ara­bia is a for­mer employ­ee of Bak­er Botts.

“Robert W. Jor­dan, also from Bak­er Botts, is Dubya’s ambas­sador to Sau­di Ara­bia, where the law firm has a pow­er­ful, per­ma­nent presence—its web­site boasts nine main offices: Austin, Dal­las, and Hous­ton, of course, plus New York, Wash­ing­ton, and Lon­don, nat­u­ral­ly and Moscow. The two oth­ers? Baku, cap­i­tal of oil-rich Azer­bai­jan, and Riyadh, in oil-rich Sau­di Ara­bia. . . Bak­er Botts is slick­est when it comes to oil, but Bak­er him­self has even wider inter­ests. As senior coun­sel to the Car­lyle Group, the invest­ment firm long asso­ci­at­ed with Bush inter­ests, Bak­er helps to over­see the oper­a­tions of the nation’s 10th-largest defense con­trac­tor, Unit­ed Defense. . . . Bak­er has defend­ed the Sau­di gov­ern­ment against a tril­lion-dol­lar law­suit brought by 9–11 fam­i­lies. . . .”

(Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

7. Much of the rest of the pro­gram con­cerns Neil Bush and his con­nec­tions to the Mid­dle East­ern oil milieu. In par­tic­u­lar, this por­tion of the pro­gram focus­es on Neil Bush’s con­nec­tions to Jamal Daniel, whose fam­i­ly helped to found the Baath Par­ty in both Syr­ia and Iraq. Some of Neil Bush’s busi­ness links with Daniel and oth­er lumi­nar­ies in the Mid­dle East involve oth­er key per­son­ages in the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

” . . . The trip had been arranged and paid for by the Paris office of Jamal Daniel, a Syr­i­an-Amer­i­can busi­ness­man who keeps a low pro­file but who boasts impor­tant con­nec­tions with lead­ers and their fam­i­lies through­out the Mid­dle East. Mr. Daniel’s name sur­faced this month when court papers from Neil Bush’s acri­mo­nious divorce pro­ceed­ings found their way into the press.”

(“Web of Con­nec­tions: the Per­son­al and Busi­ness Ties Between Texas, Wash­ing­ton and the Mid­dle East” by Stephen Fidler and Thomas Catan; Finan­cial Times; 12/12/2003.)

8. Among the busi­ness ven­tures join­ing Jamal Daniel with Neil Bush is the Hous­ton-based Crest Invest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

“While many news­pa­pers focused on the lurid rev­e­la­tions of ‘sex romps’ on his trips in Asia, Mr. Bush’s depo­si­tion also gave impor­tant insights into his busi­ness deal­ings. Among oth­er things, Mr. Bush said he was co-chair­man of the Hous­ton-based Crest Invest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and was paid $15,000 every three months for pro­vid­ing ‘mis­cel­la­neous con­sult­ing ser­vices . . . such as answer­ing phone calls when Jamail [sic] Daniel, the oth­er co-chair­man, called and asked for advice.’ Mr. Daniel start­ed cul­ti­vat­ing his rela­tion­ship with the Bush fam­i­ly at about the time that Neil was caught up in the Sil­ver­a­do scan­dal and fac­ing a law­suit, accord­ing to a US busi­ness­man who knows him. . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)

9. Anoth­er of the play­ers in this sce­nario is John Howland—a Hous­ton busi­ness­man.

” . . . Work­ing close­ly with Mr. Bush and Mr. Daniel has been a third man: John How­land, a Hous­ton busi­ness­man whose com­pa­nies have suf­fered bank­rupt­cy and who, on one occa­sion, was alleged by the own­er of a com­pa­ny he ran of self-deal­ing and of mis­us­ing com­pa­ny funds—an alle­ga­tion he denies. The three have worked togeth­er at Crest, where Mr. How­land act­ed as exec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent. Mr. Bush, Mr. How­land and Mr. Daniel have also been direc­tors of a Swiss com­pa­ny called Sil­ver­mat, a finan­cial­ly trou­bled sub­sidiary of Crest that was set up in 2000 to sup­ply the hos­pi­tal­i­ty indus­try. Mr. How­land is list­ed as the chair­man of Sil­ver­mat and Mr. Bush and Mr. Daniel as hav­ing retired from the board.”


10. Anoth­er of the play­ers in Crest (along with How­land, Daniel and Neil Bush) is Joseph Pea­cock, an orig­i­nal investor in Bush’s “Ignite!” edu­ca­tion­al soft­ware com­pa­ny.

“There is evi­dence that Mr. Bush has received financ­ing and con­tacts for his per­son­al busi­ness ven­tures from Mr. Daniel. Crest’s com­pa­ny sec­re­tary, Joseph Peacock—a man involved in many of Mr. Daniel’s oth­er companies—was list­ed as one of the orig­i­nal investors in ‘Ignite!’ and has lob­bied poten­tial investors on Neil Bush’s behalf. Mr. Bush went on a Mid­dle East trip in ear­ly 2002 to seek con­tri­bu­tions for his com­pa­ny. He has suc­cess­ful­ly secured funds from peo­ple con­nect­ed to at least three rul­ing fam­i­lies in the Mid­dle East. . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 3.)

11. A major focus of the pro­gram is New Bridge Strate­gies—over­lap­ping the Car­lyle Group and fea­tur­ing some of the same indi­vid­u­als. Some see the Car­lyle Group as the insti­tu­tion­al and struc­tur­al mod­el for New Bridge Strate­gies.

” . . . Today, Neil Bush’s busi­ness part­ners have a new ven­ture, in keep­ing with the times. New Bridge Strate­gies was set up this year to help com­pa­nies secure con­tracts in Iraq fol­low­ing the war. Mr. How­land is chair­man and chief exec­u­tive of the com­pa­ny, while Mr. Daniel is a mem­ber of the advi­so­ry board. The com­pa­ny briefly hit the head­lines this autumn because of the impres­sive ros­ter of Repub­li­can heavy­weights on its board, most of whom are linked to one or oth­er of the Bush admin­is­tra­tions or to the fam­i­ly itself. The com­pa­ny’s web­site has not been shy about adver­tis­ing its con­tacts in both the Mid­dle East and Wash­ing­ton.”


12. A for­mer head of the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, New Birdge Strate­gies chair­man Joe All­baugh has a long his­to­ry of polit­i­cal and pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tion with George Bush.

“ ‘The oppor­tu­ni­ties evolv­ing in Iraq today are of such an unprece­dent­ed nature and scope that no oth­er exist­ing firm has the nec­es­sary skills and expe­ri­ence to be effec­tive both in Wash­ing­ton DC, and on the ground in Iraq,’ it said. That phras­ing has since been changed. The list of direc­tors and advi­so­ry board mem­bers is indeed impres­sive. Joe All­baugh, the chair­man of the com­pa­ny, was head of the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) until March 2003 and before that, chief of staff for George W. Bush while he ws Texas gov­er­nor. As nation­al man­ag­er for the Bush-Cheney elec­tion cam­paign in 2000, he was one side of the ‘Iron Tri­an­gle’ of aides cred­it­ed with pro­pelling him into the pres­i­den­cy.”


13. Anoth­er of the prin­ci­pals in the New Bridge busi­ness con­fig­u­ra­tion is Haley Bar­bour, just elect­ed Repub­li­can gov­er­nor of Mis­sis­sip­pi.

“Ed Rogers, the com­pa­ny’s vice-chair­man and direc­tor, was a top aide to George H.W. Bush while he was in the White House. Lan­ny Grif­fith, anoth­er direc­tor, also worked in Mr. Bush senior’s gov­ern­ment and on his elec­tion cam­paigns. Haley Bar­bour, a for­mer chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee who was elect­ed last month as gov­er­nor of Mis­sis­sip­pi, was on the board of Mile­stone Mer­chant Part­ners, a Wash­ing­ton-based pri­vate equi­ty fund affil­i­at­ed with New Bridge, accord­ing to the New Bridge web­site. A spokesman for Mr. Bar­bour, who is also close to the Bush fam­i­ly, said he resigned from that posi­tion in Feb­ru­ary.”

(Ibid.; pp. 3–4.)

14. Yet anoth­er of the inter­sect­ing cor­po­rate enti­ties in the New Bridge nexus is Bar­bour, Grif­fith & Rogers, a Repub­li­can lob­by­ing firm. Still anoth­er of the cor­po­rate stars in this con­stel­la­tion is Mile­stone Mer­chant Part­ners, which fea­tures for­mer SEC chief Richard Bree­den, as well as Car­lyle Group co-founder Ed Math­ias.

“All three are part­ners at Bar­bour, Grif­fith & Rogers, a Repub­li­can lob­by­ing firm in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The firm shares an office with New Bridge at 1275 Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, on the 10th floor. Mile­stone, mean­while, is hard­ly bereft of polit­i­cal con­tacts itself. Richard Bree­den, for­mer chair­man of the US Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion and the man appoint­ed to sort out the mess at World­Com, is one the com­pa­ny’s advi­so­ry board. So is Ed Math­ias, co-founder of The Car­lyle Group, the world’s best con­nect­ed pri­vate equi­ty firm, which some peo­ple have seen as a fore­run­ner of New Bridge.”

(Ibid.; p. 4.)

15. More about John How­land, one of the less­er-known of the group:

“Next to those names, John How­land and Jamal Daniel are rel­a­tive­ly unknown. Togeth­er in many busi­ness trans­ac­tions con­nect­ing Texas with the Mid­dle East, they have been linked to con­tentious deals, some of which have end­ed up in court. Mr. How­land is a for­mer US Air Force offi­cer. He failed to become a pilot because of a slight eye­sight prob­lem and end­ed his mil­i­tary career as a launch con­trol offi­cer in nuclear mis­sile bunkers. He said he had met Mr. Daniel in about 1989.”


16. High­light­ing the back­ground of Jamal Daniel, the broad­cast under­scores the role of Daniel’s fam­i­ly in the found­ing of the Ba’ath par­ty in both Syr­ia and Iraq.

“Mr. Daniel’s fam­i­ly, Chris­tians orig­i­nat­ing from north­ern Syr­ia, is said to have been involved in the found­ing of the Ba’ath Par­ty and sus­tained links with it in both Syr­ia and Iraq even after being expelled from Syr­ia in about 1966 after Hafez al-Assad came to pow­er. Mr. Daniel has told friends that when he was young Tariq Aziz, lat­er for­eign min­is­ter of Iraq, was a vis­i­tor to the fam­i­ly home. . . .”


17. No phrase describes Jamal Daniel bet­ter than that of “well-con­nect­ed.” More about his rela­tion­ships of the rul­ing fam­i­lies of the Mid­dle East­ern oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

“Accord­ing to busi­ness­men who know him, Mr. Daniel boasts con­nec­tions with the fam­i­lies of the rulers of at least five Mid­dle East coun­tries: Sau­di Ara­bia, Qatar, Syr­ia, Yemen and Lebanon. At a con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton in April 2000, Mr. Daniel was intro­duced as a per­son ‘proud to call [Yemeni] Pres­i­dent Saleh a friend.’ Before he became pres­i­dent and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of new Bridge this year, Mr. How­land’s busi­ness career had met con­tro­ver­sy.”

(Ibid.; pp. 4–5.)

18. John How­land’s busi­ness integri­ty would appear to be HIGHLY unusu­al. As not­ed by Greg Palast in the sec­ond arti­cle pre­sent­ed in this pro­gram, con­flicts of inter­est are any­thing but com­mon­place in the Bush fam­i­ly’s busi­ness milieu. For the Bush fam­i­ly and their asso­ciates, busi­ness is rou­tine­ly unusu­al.

“In 1997, he was embroiled in a bit­ter dis­pute with his then employ­er, Mohammed Bin Issa Al-Jabar, a Sau­di busi­ness­man, over alle­ga­tions that more than $12m went miss­ing from his com­pa­ny while Mr. How­land was in charge. In a law­suit filed in Hous­ton, Mr. Jaber said he had orig­i­nal­ly been approached with a busi­ness pro­pos­al by Mr. How­land while the lat­ter was pres­i­dent of the Texas-based com­pa­ny, Amer­i­can Rice Inc.”

(Ibid.; p. 5.)


“The idea had been to set up a com­pa­ny in Sau­di Ara­bia that would import rice from Amer­i­can Rice and then pack­age it at a plant to be built in Jed­dah, enabling the own­ers to sell it more cheap­ly than rival com­pa­nies. In 1992, Mr. Jaber set up Rice Milling Trad­ing Invest­ments (RMTI) and hired Mr. How­land and anoth­er Hous­ton asso­ciate, George Prchal, giv­ing them full author­i­ty to run it. . . . Mr. How­land drew up a con­tract with Amer­i­can Rice to be the com­pa­ny’s exclu­sive sup­pli­er. What Mr. Jaber did not know was that his top two exec­u­tives were still work­ing for Amer­i­can Rice, mean­ing that they were on both sides of the nego­ti­at­ing table. Mr. Jaber stat­ed that Mr. How­land was receiv­ing $250,000 a year for run­ning RMTI and a fur­ther $100,000 from its sup­pli­er, Amer­i­can Rice. The result, indus­try experts told the court, was a high­ly unusu­al 50-year con­tract heav­i­ly biased in Amer­i­can Rice’s favour.”


20. Tri­an­gu­lat­ing How­land’s con­flict of inter­est between Amer­i­can Rice and RMTI is How­land’s employ­ment by a third firm that com­pet­ed with the oth­er two.

“At the same time, Mr. How­land had a third role work­ing for anoth­er com­pa­ny that RMTI saw as a poten­tial com­peti­tor and which Mr. Daniel rep­re­sent­ed in the US. RMTI’s inves­ti­ga­tors found busi­ness cards show­ing Mr. How­land and Mr. Prchal as rep­re­sent­ing this com­pa­ny, Lev­ant Grain, which was con­struct­ing a rice mill in a free zone at the Syr­i­an port of Tar­tous. Mr. How­land said on Thurs­day he had been an offi­cer of Lev­ant, and that Lev­ant was whol­ly owned by Crest, Mr. Daniel’s com­pa­ny. . . .”



” . . . When the Jed­dah plant was near­ing com­ple­tion, Mr. How­land set up a $12m cred­it facil­i­ty, on behalf of RMTI, with the Nation­al Com­mer­cial Bank of Sau­di Ara­bia, to finance Amer­i­can Rice’s sales. In 1996, a banker work­ing for NCB informed Mr. Jaber, to his sur­prise, that the $12m let­ter of cred­it had been exhaust­ed. . . . RMTI sub­se­quent­ly found more than a dozen off­shore bank accounts linked to these com­pa­nies, in the Queens­gate Bank in the Cay­man Islands, in Pana­ma and else­where. Mr. Jaber esti­mat­ed his loss­es in these ven­tures had run into a fur­ther sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars. . . .Amer­i­can Rice is now under new man­age­ment fol­low­ing its emer­gence from bank­rupt­cy.”

(Ibid.; pp. 5–6)

22. It appears that the afore­men­tioned Haley Bar­bour was the pri­ma­ry cat­a­lyst pre­cip­i­tat­ing the join­ing many of these fig­ures togeth­er. The pres­ence with­in the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion of many of these peo­ple also appears to have been cen­tral to the for­ma­tion of these rela­tion­ships.

“So how did some of the best-con­nect­ed Repub­li­can fig­ures in Wash­ing­ton end up in busi­ness with this con­tro­ver­sial pair of Texas busi­ness­men? The answer seems to be: Haley Bar­bour. Like many agri­cul­tur­al firms, rice com­pa­nies ben­e­fit from polit­i­cal con­nec­tions. Mr. How­land met Mr. Bar­bour while the lat­ter was at the Rea­gan White House. When Mr. Bar­bour left the admin­is­tra­tion, one of his first jobs as a con­sul­tant was for Amer­i­can Rice. He was hired by Mr. How­land. It was through him that Mr. Bar­bour got to know Mr. Daniel. Through a spokesper­son, Mr. Bar­bour declined requests for an inter­view.”

(Ibid.; pp. 6–7.)

23. Yet anoth­er star in the com­mer­cial con­stel­la­tion is Dili­gence, a secu­ri­ty firm estab­lished by for­mer Amer­i­can and British intel­li­gence spe­cial­ists. Hen­ry Kissinger pro­tégé and for­mer US ambas­sador to Ger­many Richard Burt is the chair­man of Dili­gence, which has an over­lap­ping direc­torate with New Bridge and Mile­stone.

“What is clear is that he [Bar­bour] helped make the con­nec­tion between Mr. How­land and Mr. Daniel and the Wash­ing­ton heavy­weights that give New Bridge its polit­i­cal heft. His firm was also instru­men­tal in bring­ing oth­er com­pa­nies into New Bridge’s fold, includ­ing Dili­gence, a secu­ri­ty firm set up by for­mer US and British intel­li­gence offi­cers that is affil­i­at­ed to the com­pa­ny. Bar­bour, Grif­fith & Rogers pro­vid­ed ini­tial fund­ing for Dili­gence, said Nick Day, a for­mer UK intel­li­gence offi­cer and co-founder of the com­pa­ny. Like New Bridge, Dili­gence was giv­en also space at BGR’s office in Wash­ing­ton DC. BGR also pro­vid­ed the com­pa­ny with its well-con­nect­ed chair­man, Richard Burt, for­mer US ambas­sador to Berlin, as well as its impres­sive advi­so­ry board. Many of the names on that advi­so­ry board—including Car­lyle’s Ed Mathias—overlap with those of New Bridge and Mile­stone.”

(Ibid.; p. 7.)

24. Like New Bridge, Dili­gence has ben­e­fit­ed from the adven­ture in Iraq.

“The rela­tion­ship between the com­pa­nies became even clos­er after New Bridge found the investor for Dili­gence’s new busi­ness in Iraq. In return for find­ing the investor—the Kuwaiti busi­ness­man and mem­ber of par­lia­ment, Mohammed Al-Saqer—New Bridge got a minor­i­ty share­hold­ing in the new Iraqi secu­ri­ty firm. Dili­gence Iraq had already escort­ed some of New Bridge’s clients into Iraq, he said.”


25. Not­ing the struc­tur­al sym­me­try between Washin­gon D.C. and the Mid­dle East, the pro­gram under­scores the fun­da­men­tal role of per­son­al and polit­i­cal net­work­ing in the busi­ness rela­tion­ships of both.

“The idea behind the found­ing of New Bridge shows an odd sym­me­try between Wash­ing­ton and the Mid­dle East: that in both places what mat­ters is the abil­i­ty to exploit con­nec­tions to well-placed indi­vid­u­als. Accord­ing to Mid­dle East spe­cial­ists, the dis­clo­sures about New Bridge will not help US efforts in the region. ‘In the Mid­dle East, it will be received as con­firm­ing the weary cyn­i­cism pre­vail­ing in the area about US inten­tions in launch­ing the attack on Iraq in the first place,’ said Richard Mur­phy, senior fel­low on the Mid­dle East at the Coun­cil of For­eign Rela­tions in New York.”


26. It is with­in the struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships between the pow­er elite of the Mid­dle East­ern oil pro­duc­ing nations and the Bush/petroleum milieu that the machi­na­tions of 9/11 took place. Recent­ly the FBI began to sub­poe­na records of bank accounts belong­ing to the Sau­di embassy. The Rig­gs Bank (of which Bush’s uncle Jonathan Bush is a direc­tor) han­dles the Sau­di embassy’s account.

“The FBI, in an unprece­dent­ed move that has strained rela­tions with a close ally on the war on ter­ror­ism, has sub­poe­naed records for dozens of bank accounts belong­ing to the Sau­di Embassy, as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion into whether any of the hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars Riyadh spends in the Unit­ed States each year end up in the hands of Mus­lim extrem­ists, U.S. and Sau­di offi­cials said. . . .”

(“FBI Demands Sau­di Embassy Divulge Bank Records” by Dou­glas Farah [Wash­ing­ton Post]; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 11/23/2003; p. A14.)


” . . . U.S. and for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies have doc­u­ment­ed the flow of mon­ey to ter­ror­ist groups from orga­ni­za­tions affil­i­at­ed with char­i­ties that received funds from wealthy Saud­is and the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. Mon­ey for such char­i­ties often flows through the embassy’s Islam­ic and cul­tur­al affairs bureau. The sub­poe­nas were issued sev­er­al weeks after the May depor­ta­tion of Fahad al Thu­mairy, who had worked for the Islam­ic and cul­tur­al affairs sec­tion of the Sau­di Con­sulate in Los Ange­les since 1996. Thu­mairy’s visa was revoked, and he was deport­ed because of sus­pect­ed ties to ter­ror­ists, accord­ing to offi­cials from the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. . . .”


28. Look­ing ahead to FTR#439, the pro­gram dis­cuss­es fur­ther devel­op­ments in the inves­ti­ga­tion known as Oper­a­tion Green Quest. Once again, the machi­na­tions in and around 9/11 took place with­in the struc­tur­al eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships that exist between the Bush/GOP petro­le­um milieu and the oil pro­duc­ing nations of the Mid­dle East, chiefly Sau­di Ara­bia.

“A secre­tive group of tight­ly con­nect­ed Mus­lim char­i­ties, think tanks and busi­ness­es based in North­ern Vir­ginia were used to fun­nel mil­lions of dol­lars to ter­ror­ists and laun­der mil­lions more, accord­ing to court records unsealed yes­ter­day. An affi­davit from Home­land Secu­ri­ty agent David Kane said that the Safa Group, also known as the SAAR net­work, in Hern­don had sent more than $26 mil­lion in untrace­able mon­ey over­seas and that lead­ers of the orga­ni­za­tion ‘have com­mit­ted and con­spired to . . . pro­vide mate­r­i­al sup­port to for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions.’ ”

(“Ter­ror Probe Points to Va. Mus­lims: Local Net­work Pro­vid­ed Mil­lions in Financ­ing, Agency Charges” by Dou­glas Farah; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 10/18/2003; P. A06.)


“The probe of the Hern­don groups is the largest fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion of ter­ror­ism financ­ing in the world, author­i­ties have said. And the unseal­ing of Kane’s report marks the first time the gov­ern­ment has alleged the main pur­pose of the Vir­ginia orga­ni­za­tions, set up pri­mar­i­ly with dona­tions from a wealthy Sau­di fam­i­ly, was to fund ter­ror­ism and hide mil­lions of dol­lars.”



“In a five-year peri­od, four groups in the net­work sent more than $$26 mil­lion to the Isle of Man. The ini­tial mon­ey to set up the Safa Group was 304 mil­lion hand-car­ried in 1980 from Sau­di Ara­bia by Ibrahim Has­s­a­bal­la, Kane said. The heart of the net­work in the ear­ly years was the SAAR Foun­da­tion, named for Sulaiman Abdul Aziz Rajhi. While the SAAR Foun­da­tion legal­ly dis­solved in Decem­ber 2000, Kane said the com­pa­ny main­tained a bank account that con­tin­ued to receive hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in wire trans­fers and deposits over the next year, mak­ing it a ‘way-sta­tion for mon­ey being rout­ed around the world by the Safa Group.”



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