Afghanistan a tragic past, a Teetering present, and a Dubious future.

“Throughout the twentieth century and into the beginning of the twenty-first, the United States repeatedly used its military power, and that of its clandestine services, to overthrow governments that refused to protect American interests. Each time, it cloaked its intervention in the rhetoric of national security and liberation. In most cases, however, it acted mainly for economic reasons-specifically to establish, promote and defend the right of Americans to do business around the world without interference.”

Stephen Kinzer


“What chiefly governs the [U.S.] military budget is the need to spend enormous sums of money in a useless way. The allegedly powerful Pentagon is simply a receptacle for wasteful expenditure, just as a city dump is the receptacle for the refuse of a city.”

Walter Karp

“There is nothing puzzling … about America’s gratuitously aggressive foreign policy or about the oligarchs’ successful efforts to drag the Republic into five wars. What an aggressive foreign policy accomplishes by slow degrees, a state of war accomplishes in a trice. Overnight [war] kills reform, overnight it transforms insurgents into traitors and the Republic into an imperiled realm. Overnight it strangles free politics, distracts and overawes the citizenry. Overnight it blasts public hope.”

Walter Karp


The U.S. war on Afghanistan is a brutal attack on a country that has already been almost destroyed by more than 20 years of foreign invasion and civil war.’ The Soviet occupation, which lasted from 1979 to 1989, left more than a million people dead. Millions still live in refugee camps More than 500,000 orphans are disabled. Ten million land mines still litter the country, killing an average of 90 people per month. At 43 years, life expectancy in Afghanistan is on average 17 years lower than that for people in other developing countries. The countryside is devastated and is currently experiencing a severe drought, with 7.5 million people threatened with starvation. The death and destruction wrought by the U.S. bombing campaign-and the cut off of food aid deliveries it has caused-have already killed hundreds and produced thousands more refugees scrambling to escape into Pakistan.

But not only is Washington attacking one of the poorest countries in the world, past U.S. government actions are in no small part responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan. The Bush administration claims to be targeting Osama bin Laden, who it says masterminded the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (even though it has offered no concrete evidence to back up this accusation), and Afghanistan’s Taliban government, which is sheltering him. But as the Economist magazine noted soon after September 11, ” [U.S.] policies in Afghanistan a decade and more ago helped to create both Osama bin Laden and the fundamentalist Taliban regime that shelters him.” An examination of this history will reveal the extent to which U.S. foreign policy is based on hypocrisy, realpolitik, and the short-term pursuit of narrow interests.


Before the Russians invaded

Modern Afghanistan was created in the nineteenth century as a buffer state between the Russian and British empires as they played their “great game” in the region. This historical circumstance, coupled with the country’s forbidding mountainous terrain, not only made it difficult for imperialist countries to conquer Afghanistan (it did not undergo colonial rule), but also resulted in little economic development.

The country contains many different ethnic groups. The Pashtuns-from whom Afghanistan’s traditional rulers have come-constitute 52 percent of the population. The Hazaras are 19 percent of the population. The Tajiks in the north constitute 21 percent; Uzbeks, also in the north, 5 percent. About 85 percent of Afghans are Sunni Muslims, and about 15 percent, among the Hazaras, are Shia Muslims.

Afghanistan survived as a medieval island in the modern world, characterized by backwardness and extreme poverty. In the postwar period, some changes began to occur as a result of foreign aid from the USSR and, to a lesser extent, the U.S., which were vying for influence during the Cold War. Power shifted toward the state, and an educated middle class began to emerge. But industry still barely existed.

In 1973, following a severe drought, King Zaher’s cousin Daud overthrew Zaher’s corrupt and repressive regime and declared a republic. But government corruption increased and promised modernization did not take place. Meanwhile, Daud began to collaborate more closely with the Shah of Iran. Lower-level officials and members of the middle class grew increasingly discontented. In April 1978, as Daud attempted to move against his opponents on the left, he was overthrown and killed by army officers sympathetic to the pro-Soviet People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA).

Following the coup, a broad ruling coalition was set up, controlled by the Khalq, one of the PDPA’s two factions. Nur Mohammad Taraki, a well-known novelist, became president. Within a few months, however, the Khalq pushed Barbrak Karmal and other members of the rival Parcham faction out of the government. Karmal was made ambassador to Prague, and other Parchami were also given diplomatic posts. The new government lacked any social base outside Kabul, and its program of reforms soon provoked a popular backlash. The Kabul regime was completely isolated from the mass of the population in the countryside:

[They] had neither survey information nor local leaders with knowledge of actual conditions in the countryside. In short, it would have been virtually impossible for them to devise a successful land-reform program. As it was, their reforms were implemented by blundering and often brutal officials from the city who dropped into the countryside by parachute.

Rebellion and resistance started to spread around the country. The resistance was spontaneous, but soon came to be led by an alliance of conservative Islamic groups who referred to themselves as “majahideen” (holy warriors). By the spring of 1979, rebellion had spread to most of the country’s 29 provinces. On March 24, a garrison of soldiers in Herat killed a group of Soviet advisers (and their families) who had ordered Afghan troops to fire on antigovernment demonstrators. From this point, the regime was no longer merely isolated from peasants in the countryside, but divided by open hostility from an overwhelming majority of all the people. The regime had no choice now but to crush much of the population…. [Prime Minister Hafizullah] Amin’s secret police and a repressive civilian police force went into action across Afghanistan, and army troops were sent into the countryside to subdue “feudal” villagers.

Government repression was severe. “Mass arrests were commonly followed by torture and execution without trial. Police terror was common in the city as well as the countryside, where virtually all social groups joined in the rebellion.” The rebels’ tactics were equally brutal. The Washington Post reported that the mujahideen liked to “torture victims by first cutting off their noses, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another.”

As the situation got out of control, the Soviets advised Taraki to dismiss Amin, reunite with Parcham, and adopt a policy of “democratic nationalism.” But Amin got wind of the plan and arrested Taraki in September, assassinating him soon afterward. Amin was now in the position of publicly accusing the Russians of plotting to overthrow the Afghan government while being totally dependent on Soviet military and economic support.

In December, hard-liners in Moscow decided that Amin had to go. They believed that he could be removed by a dramatic show of force and quietly replaced by Karmal. On December 27, a force of 5,000 Soviet troops advanced on Kabul, but Amin refused to leave office quietly and fought back. On December 28, ” [a]fter twelve hours of bitter combat with Soviet forces at the presidential palace, Amin was killed, along with 2,000 loyal members of his armed forces.” Having killed the man whom they claimed had invited them into the country, the Russians proclaimed Karmal to be president and flew him back from Moscow. Within a few days, the number of Soviet troops in Afghanistan had reached 80,000. The figure later climbed to more than 100,000. What was to be nearly a decade of Russian occupation had begun.


The CIA’s anticommunist jihad

President Jimmy Carter immediately declared that the invasion jeopardized vital U.S. interests, because the Persian Gulf area was “now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan. But the Carter administration’s public outrage at Russian intervention in Afghanistan was doubly duplicitous. Not only was it used as an excuse for a program of increased military expenditure that had in fact already begun, but the U.S. had in fact been aiding the mujahideen for at least the previous six months, with precisely the hope of provoking a Soviet response. Former CIA director Robert Gates later admitted in his memoirs that aid to the rebels began in June 1979. In a candid 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brezinski, Carter’s national security adviser, confirmed that U.S. aid to the rebels began before the invasion:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan [in] December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention…. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would….

That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap…. The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.”

The Carter administration was well aware that in backing the mujahideen it was supporting forces with reactionary social goals, but this was outweighed by its own geopolitical interests. In August 1979, a classified State Department report bluntly asserted that “the United States’ larger interest…would be served by the demise of the Taraki-Amin regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” That same month, in a stunning display of hypocrisy, State Department spokesperson Hodding Carter piously announced that the U.S. “expect[s] the principle of nonintervention to be respected by all parties in the area, including the Soviet Union.”

The Russian invasion in December was the signal for U.S. support to the Afghan rebels to increase dramatically.

Three weeks after Soviet tanks rolled into Kabul, Carter’s secretary of defense, Harold Brown, was in Beijing arranging for a weapons transfer from the Chinese to the ClA-backed Afghani troops mustered in Pakistan. The Chinese, who were generously compensated for the deal, agreed and even consented to send military advisers. Brown worked out a similar arrangement with Egypt to buy $15 million worth of weapons. “The U.S. contacted me,” [then-Egyptian president] Anwar Sadat recalled shortly before his assassination [in 1981]. “They told me, ‘Please open your stores for us so that we can give the Afghans the armaments they need to fight.’ And I gave them the armaments. The transport of arms to the Afghans started from Cairo on U.S. planes.”

By February 1980, the Washington Post reported that the mujahideen was receiving arms coming from the U.S. government.

The objective of the intervention, as spelled out by Brezinski, was to trap the Soviets in a long and costly war designed to drain their resources, just as Vietnam had bled the United States. The high level of civilian casualties that this would certainly entail was considered but set aside. According to one senior official, “The question here was whether it was morally acceptable that, in order to keep the Soviets off balance, which was the reason for the operation, it was permissible to use other lives for our geopolitical interests.” Carter’s CIA director Stansfield Turner answered the question: “I decided I could live with that.” According to Representative Charles Wilson, a Texas Democrat,

There were 58,000 dead in Vietnam and we owe the Russians one…. I have a slight obsession with it, because of Vietnam. I thought the Soviets ought to get a dose of it…. I’ve been of the opinion that this money was better spent to hurt our adversaries than other money in the Defense Department budget.

The mujahideen consisted of at least seven factions, who often fought amongst themselves in their battle for territory and control of the opium trade. To hurt the Russians, the U.S. deliberately chose to give the most support to the most extreme groups. A disproportionate share of U.S. arms went to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, “a particularly fanatical fundamentalist and woman-hater.”‘ According to journalist Tim Weiner, ” [Hekmatyar’s] followers first gained attention by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. CIA and State Department officials I have spoken with call him ‘scary,’ ‘vicious,’ ‘a fascist,’ ‘definite dictatorship material.”

There was, though, a kind of method in the madness: Brezinski hoped not just to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan, but to ferment unrest within the Soviet Union itself. His plan, says author Dilip Hiro, was “to export a composite ideology of nationalism and Islam to the Muslim-majority Central Asian states and Soviet Republics with a view to destroying the Soviet order.” Looking back in 1998, Brezinski had no regrets. “What was more important in the world view of history?… A few stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War>”

With the support of Pakistan’s military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, the U.S. began recruiting and training both mujahideen fighters from the 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and large numbers of mercenaries from other Islamic countries. Estimates of how much money the U.S. government channeled to the Afghan rebels over the next decade vary, but most sources put the figure between $3 billion and $6 billion, or more. Whatever the exact amount, this was “the largest covert action program since World War II” – much bigger, for example, than Washington’s intervention in Central America at the same time, which received considerably more publicity. According to one report:

The CIA became the grand coordinator: purchasing or arranging the manufacture of Soviet-style weapons from Egypt, China, Poland, Israel and elsewhere, or supplying their own; arranging for military training by Americans, Egyptians, Chinese and Iranians; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave many hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year, totaling probably more than a billion; pressuring and bribing Pakistan-with whom recent American relations had been very poor-to rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary; putting the Pakistani Director of Military Operations, Brigadier Mian Mohammad Afzal, onto the CIA payroll to ensure Pakistani cooperation.

When Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, he found the Democratic-controlled Congress eager to increase spending on the Afghan war. A congressional staffer told a reporter, “It was a windfall [for the new administration]. They’d faced so much opposition to covert action in Central America and here comes the Congress helping and throwing money at them, putting money their way and they say, ‘Who are we to say no?”

Aid to the mujahideen, who Reagan praised as “freedom fighters,” increased, but initially Afghanistan was not a priority:

In the first years after the Reagan administration inherited the Carter program, the covert Afghan war “tended to be handled out of [CIA director William] Casey’s back pocket,” recalled Ronald Spiers, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, the base of the Afghan rebels. Mainly from China’s government, the CIA purchased assault rifles, grenade launchers, mines and SA-7 light antiaircraft weapons, and then arranged for shipment to Pakistan…. The amounts were significant-10,000 tons of arms and ammunition in 1983, according to [Pakistani General Mohammed] Yousaf-but a fraction of what they would be in just a few years.

In March 1985, the Reagan administration issued National Security Decision Directive 166,29 a secret plan to escalate covert action in Afghanistan dramatically:

Abandoning a policy of simple harassment of Soviet occupiers, the Reagan team decided secretly to let loose on the Afghan battlefield an array of U.S. high technology and military expertise in an effort to hit and demoralize Soviet commanders and soldiers….

Beginning in 1985, the CIA supplied mujahideen rebels with extensive satellite reconnaissance data of Soviet targets on the Afghan battlefield, plans for military operations based on the satellite intelligence, intercepts of Soviet communications, secret communications networks for the rebels, delayed timing devices for tons of C-4 plastic explosives for urban sabotage, and sophisticated guerrilla attacks, long-range sniper rifles, a targeting device for mortars that was linked to a U.S. Navy satellite, wire-guided anti-tank missiles, and other equipment.

Between 1986 and 1989, the mujahideen were also provided with more than 1,000 state-of-the-art, shoulder-fired Stinger antiaircraft missiles.

By 1987, the annual supply of arms had reached 65,000 tons, and a “ceaseless stream” of CIA and Pentagon officials were


visiting Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters in Rawalpindi and helping to plan mujahideen operations:

At any one time during the Afghan fighting season, as many as 11 ISI teams trained and supplied by the CIA accompanied mujahideen across the border to supervise attacks, according to Yousaf and Western sources. The teams attacked airports, railroads, fuel depots, electricity pylons, bridges and roads….

CIA operations officers helped Pakistani trainers establish schools for the mujahideen in secure communications, guerrilla warfare, urban sabotage and heavy weapons.

Although the CIA claimed that the purpose was to attack military targets, mujahideen trained in these techniques, and using chemical and electronic-delay bomb timers supplied by the U.S., carried out numerous car bombings and assassination attacks in Kabul itself.


Bin Laden and the Arab-Afghans

As well as training and recruiting Afghan nationals to fight the Soviets, the CIA permitted its ISI allies to recruit Muslim extremists from around the world. Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid reports:

Between 1982 and 1992, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 43 Islamic countries in the Middle East, North and East Africa, Central Asia and the Far East would pass their baptism under fire with the Afghan mujahideen. Tens of thousands more foreign Muslim radicals came to study in the hundreds of new madrassas [religious schools] that Zia’s military government began to fund in Pakistan and along the Afghan border. Eventually more than 100,000 Muslim radicals were to have direct contact with Pakistan and Afghanistan and be influenced by the jihad [against the USSR].

In camps near Peshawar and in Afghanistan, these radicals met each other for the first time and studied trained and fought together. It was the first opportunity for most of them to learn about Islamic movements in other countries, and they forged tactical and ideological links that would serve them well in the future. The camps became virtual universities for future Islamic radicalism.

One of the first non-Afghan volunteers to join the ranks of the mujahideen was Osama bin Laden, a civil engineer and businessman from a wealthy construction family in Saudi Arabia, with close ties to members of the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden recruited 4,000 volunteers from his own country and developed close relations with the most radical mujahideen leaders. He also worked closely with the CIA, raising money from private Saudi citizens. By 1984, he was running the Maktab al-Khidamar, an organization set up by the ISI to funnel “money, arms, and fighters from the outside world in the Afghan war.”

Since September 11, CIA officials have been claiming they had no direct link to bin Laden. These denials lack credibility. Earlier this year, the trial of defendants accused of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing in Kenya disclosed that the CIA shipped high-powered sniper rifles directly to bin Laden’s operation in 1989. Even the Tennessee-based manufacturer of the rifles confirmed this. According to the Boston Globe,

Some military analysts and specialists on the weapons trade say the CIA has spent years covering its tracks on its early ties to the Afghan forces…. Despite the ClA’s denials, these experts say it was inevitable that the military training in guerrilla tactics and the vast reservoir of money and arms that the CIA provided in Afghanistan would have ended up helping bin Laden and his forces during the 1980s.

“In 1988, with U.S. knowledge, bin Laden created Al Qaeda (The Base): a conglomerate of quasi independent Islamic terrorist cells spread across at least 26 countries,” writes Indian journalist Rahul Bhedi. “Washington turned a blind eye to Al-Qaeda, confident that it would not directly impinge on the U.S.” After the Soviet withdrawal, however, bin Laden and thousands of other volunteers returned to their own countries:

Their heightened political consciousness made them realize that countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt were just as much client regimes of the United States as the Najibullah regime [in Afghanistan] has been of Moscow.

In their home countries they built a formidable constituency-popularly known as “Afghanis”-who combined strong ideological convictions with the guerrilla skills they had acquired in Pakistan and Afghanistan under CIA supervision.

Over the past 10 years, the “Afghani” network has been linked to terrorist attacks not only on U.S. targets, but also in the Philippines, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, France, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and elsewhere. “This is an insane instance of the chickens coming home to roost,” one U.S. diplomat in Pakistan told the Los Angeles Times. “You can’t plug billions of dollars into an anti-Communist jihad, accept participation from all over the world and ignore the consequences. But we did.


Romancing the Taliban

As the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan in early 1989, American policymakers celebrated with champagne, while the country itself collapsed into virtual anarchy. Almost a quarter of the population was living in refugee camps and most of the country was in ruins. Different factions of the mujahideen struggled for power in the countryside, while the government of Muhammed Najibullah, the last Soviet-installed president controlled Kabul. Eventually, in April 1992, Kabul fell to some of the mujahideen factions and Burhannudin Rabbani was de dared president, but civil war continued unabated. Hekmatyar in particular was dissatisfied with the new distribution 0 power. With his huge stock of U.S.-supplied weapons, h began an artillery and rocket assault on Kabul that lasted for almost three years, even after he was appointed prime minister in 1993. “The barrage…killed more than 10,000 Afghans [drove] hundreds of thousands into squalid refugee camps, created political chaos, and blocked millions of exiles from returning.” The rest of the country disintegrated into isolated fiefdoms dominated by local warlords.

In 1994, a new group, the Taliban (Pashtun for “students”), emerged on the scene. Its members came from madrassas set up by the Pakistani government along the border and funded by the U.S., Britain, and the Saudis, where they had received theological indoctrination and military training. Thousands of young men-refugees and orphans from the war in Afghanistan-became the foot soldiers of this movement:

These boys were from a generation who had never seen their country at peace-an Afghanistan not at war with invaders and itself. They had no memories of their tribes, their elders, their neighbors nor the complex ethnic mix of peoples that made up their villages and their homeland. These boys were what the war had thrown up like the sea’s surrender on the beach of history …

They were literally the orphans of war, the rootless and restless, the jobless and the economically deprived with little self-knowledge. They admired war because it was the only occupation they could possibly adapt to. Their simple belief in a messianic, puritan Islam which had been drummed into them by simple village mullahs was the only prop they could hold on to and which gave their lives some meaning. Untrained for anything, even the traditional occupations of their forefathers such as farming, herding or the making of handicrafts, they were what Karl Marx would have termed Afghanistan’s lumpen proletariat.

With the aid of the Pakistani army, the Taliban swept across most of the exhausted country promising a restoration of order and finally capturing Kabul in September 1996. The Taliban imposed an ultra-sectarian version of Islam, closely related to Wahhabism, the ruling creed in Saudi Arabia. Women have been denied education, health care, and the right to work. They must cover themselves completely when in public. Minorities have been brutally repressed. Even singing and dancing in public are forbidden.

The Taliban’s brand of extreme Islam had no historical roots in Afghanistan. The roots of the Taliban’s success lay in 20 years of “jihad” against the Russians and further devastation wrought by years of internal fighting between the warlord factions. Initially, villagers-especially the majority Pashtuns in the south who shared the Taliban’s ethnicity-welcomed them as a force that might end the warfare and bring some order and peace to Afghanistan. Their lack of a social base within Afghanistan made them appear untainted by the factional warfare, and their moral purism made them appear above compromise. Before launching their war to conquer power, they first won some public support by appearing as the avenger against the warlords’ raping of women and boys. Of course, they could not have risen so far and so fast without the financial and military backing of Pakistan.

The U.S. government was well aware of the Taliban’s reactionary program, yet it chose to back their rise to power in the mid-1990s. The creation of the Taliban was “actively encouraged by the ISI and the CIA,” according to Selig Harrison, an expert on U.S. relations with Asia. “The United States encouraged Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to support the Taliban, certainly right up to their advance on Kabul,” adds respected journalist Ahmed Rashid. When the Taliban took power, State Department spokesperson Glyn Davies said that he saw “nothing objectionable” in the Taliban’s plans to impose strict Islamic law, and Senator Hank Brown, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia, welcomed the new regime: “The good part of what has happened is that one of the factions at last seems capable of developing a new government in Afghanistan.” “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis. There will be Aramco [the consortium of oil companies that controlled Saudi oil], pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that,” said another U.S. diplomat in 1997.

The reference to oil and pipelines explains everything. Since the collapse of the USSR at the end of 1991, U.S. oil companies and their friends in the State Department have been salivating at the prospect of gaining access to the huge oil and natural gas reserves in the former Soviet republics bordering the Caspian Sea and in Central Asia. These have been estimated as worth $4 trillion. The American Petroleum Institute calls the Caspian region “the area of greatest resource potential outside of the Middle East.” And while he was still CEO of Halliburton, the world’s biggest oil services company, Vice President Dick Cheney told other industry executives, “I can’t think of a time when we’ve had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian.” The struggle to control these stupendous resources has given rise to what Rashid has dubbed the “new Great Game,” pitting shifting alliances of governments and oil and gas consortia against one another.

Afghanistan itself has no known oil or gas reserves, but it is an attractive route for pipelines leading to Pakistan, India, and the Arabian Sea. In the mid-1990s, a consortium led by the California-based Unocal Corporation proposed a $4.5 billion oil and gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. But this would require a stable central government in Afghanistan itself. Thus began several years in which U.S. policy in the region centered on “romancing the Taliban.” According to one report,

In the months before the Taliban took power, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asia Robin Raphel waged an intense round of shuttle diplomacy between the powers with possible stakes in the [Unocal] project.

“Robin Raphel was the face of the Unocal pipeline,” said an official of the former Afghan government who was present at some of de meetings with her….

In addition to tapping new sources of energy, de [project] also suited a major U.S. strategic aim in the region: isolating its nemesis Iran and stifling a frequently mooted rival pipeline project backed by Teheran, experts said.

But Washington’s initial enthusiasm for the Taliban’s seizure of power provoked a hostile reaction from human rights and women’s organizations in the United States. The Clinton administration quickly decided to take a more cautious public approach. Plans to send the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan on a visit to Kabul were canceled, and the State Department decided not to recognize the new regime immediately. Nevertheless, Unocal executive vice president Chris Taggart continued to maintain, “If the Taliban leads to stability and international recognition then it’s positive.”

Tacit U.S. support for the Taliban continued until 1998, when Washington blamed Osama bin Laden for the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and retaliated by launching cruise missiles at bin Laden’s alleged training camps in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s refusal to extradite bin Laden- not its atrocious human rights record-led to UN-imposed sanctions on the regime the following year. “Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright used to say that she cared about the women suffering under the Taliban, but after the Taliban took over the U.S. accepted very few refugees,” points out journalist Laura Flanders. “In ’96 and ’97 no Afghan refugees were admitted to the United States; in ’98, only 88, in ’99, some 360.”

Whatever the U.S. government’s current rhetoric about the repressive nature of the Taliban regime, its long history of intervention in the region has been motivated not by concern for democracy or human rights, but by the narrow economic and political interests of the U.S. ruling class. It has been prepared to aid and support the most retrograde elements if it thought a temporary advantage would be the result. Now Washington has launched a war against its former allies based on a strategic calculation that the Taliban can no longer be relied upon to provide a stable, U.S.-friendly government that can serve its strategic interests. No matter what the outcome, the war is certain to lay the grounds for more “blowback” in the future.

Oil-related business deals between George W. Bush and several powerful Saudi Sheikhs, from 1979 to 1991, lacked both ethical integrity and Congressional intelligence oversight, since Bush used the same Saudi-controlled global banking network that was also used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and by Osama bin Laden. once a CIA asset. Yet, several abbreviated FBI and Congressional investigations later, this explosive truth still remains mostly hidden from the American public.

Consider the facts. For decades the current President’s father, former President George H. W. Bush, has had publicly close ties to the oil-enriched Saudi royal family in regards to both politics and business. Then consider that the bin Laden family is the most entrusted of all families by the Saudi Royal household. For many decades, every Saudi King has granted the bin Laden’s giant construction conglomerate exclusive contacts to restore all castles and holy sites within the country, and for numerous public works and infrastructure projects.

Also, consider that soon after bin Laden’s September 11 attacks, it was public knowledge that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, as was critical funding for bin Laden’s al Qaeda network and for his earlier Arabic anti-Soviet fighters in Afganistan. Al Qaeda’s predecesor was, in fact, bin Laden’s 50,000 highly disciplined “Arab-Afghan” mujahideen, who were the most elite among Ronald Reagan’s famous “freedom fighters”, that were covertly given massive U.S. CIA support.

What is not generally known is that in years past, George W. Bush had several important business relationships with principle cohorts of Osama bin Laden’s long-term financial sponsor, the powerful Saudi multibillionaire and banker to the king, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz.

Bush’s Deal with Saudi Sheikhs: A Reason to Cover-Up

This amazing story centers around and begins with the fraud-enshrouded Saudi National Commercial Bank (NCB), until recently owned by Sheikh Mahfouz. Following Osama bin Laden’s U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa in 1998, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the Saudi Arabian Defense Minister, Prince Sultan, that Mahfouz had channelled tens of millions of dollars into terrorist accounts in London and New York. While treasurer to the Saudi King, Mahfouz plundered 2 billion dollars of the 21 billion dollar National Commercial Bank, of which he was then president.

The Saudi National Commercial Bank was affiliated with a global network of many Mahfouz-connected banks, including the InterMaritime Bank of Geneva and New York, whose vice-president brokered a 25 million dollar investment into George W. Bush’s Harken Oil and Gas in 1987. Thus, the InterMaritime Bank was once related to the current President Bush through its Mahfouz-connected VP, a man named Dr. Alfred Hartmann. The InterMaritime Bank was also involved in multiple covert CIA operations.

During the 1980’s, Sheikh Mahfouz’s banking syndicate performed major CIA-inspired banking operations for such former CIA assets as Osama bin Laden, as well as for Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega and other drug dealing generals, such as in Pakistan. Much of this is documented in the 1992 U.S. Congressional testimony of Senator John Kerry.

George W. Bush, for his part, had important business relationships not only with Dr. Hartmann, but with a total of nine prominent individuals that are central to Mahfouz’s financial empire, including both the “Godfather of Saudi Intelligence” and his partner, a billionaire Bush campaign donor.

If George W. Bush and Sheikh Mahfouz were ever coexisting in each others financial network, then the question is begged as to whether any personal or political reasons exist for the President to have censored the Saudi section of the Senate’s report on bin Laden’s September 11 attacks.

When two principal individuals are directly connected to the same group of nine persons — with each of the the eighteen subsequent relationships having zero degrees of separation — then one would say that a “network” exists that profoundly connects the two principals in question.

If personal motives, such as control of public perception, existed for the president to have covered up his “indirect” involvement with Sheikh Mahfouz, then Bush’s claimed reason for the 911 report censorship could be a lie. Willful presidential deception would have occurred when Bush stated as the reason for his censorship, the need “to protect intelligence ‘sources and methods'”.

In politics, truth is often stranger than fiction: Sheikh Mahfouz’s sister is actually one of four wives of Osama bin Laden, making the two men brothers-in-law, a fact that former CIA Director James Woolsey revealed in 1998 Senate testimony. Thus, Osama bin Laden is sleeping with the sister of Bush’s business partner. Really.

The Bank of Crooks and Criminals International

If you consider the key players and follow the money trail, you will see that from a foreign policy perspective, Bush’s his connection to bin Laden’s banker, Mahfouz, is far more interesting than Bill Clinton’s imbroglio with Monika Lewinsky.

Firstly, consider the fact that Mafouz’s Saudi National Commercial Bank was affiliated with the InterMaritime bank, whose president, Bruce Rappaport, was deeply implicated in the BCCI Affair. That was the 1992 scandal of the infamous Mahfouz-dominated Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) involving secret accounts for illegal arms sales to Iran. To accomplish that task secretly, Rappaport partnered with Oliver North, who was in charge of the National Security Council during the Reagan-Bush administration. The BCCI affair was documented in the 1992 Senate Kerry Committee report.

With numerous branches in dozens of countries, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International was also the drug-money laundering bank for the Pakistani generals, simultaneously essential long term bin Laden supporters, nuclear proliferators and American allies. Paradoxically, Robert Gates, the CIA director under former President George Bush Sr., referred to BCCI as the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International” in Senate testimony.

Most important, consider Dr. Alfred Hartmann, the multi-site executive, who was both the InterMaritime Bank’s Vice President and no less than the chief financial officer of Mahfouz’s BCCI Holdings of Luxembourg. Simultaneously, Dr. Hartmann was also the managing director of a subsidiary of BCCI, the Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) in Geneva. It was BCP that helped to finance the business for the vice-president’s son, George W. Bush.

In 1987, the original plan for George W. Bush’s Harken Oil and Gas Company was to obtain 25 million dollars in investment capital from BCP, a joint venture between the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and BCCI, with BCCI as the controlling interest.

Harken’s financing by BCP of Geneva was originally structured by billionaire Bush donor, Jackson Stephens from Little Rock and apparently did not comply with U.S. banking regulations, according to the Asian Wall Street Journal. In the course of restructuring the deal, UBS decided to sell its shares as soon as possible.

Stephens obligingly found a new buyer for the UBS’s share of Harken, Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh. Sheikh Bakhsh was a principle shareholder in Mahfouz’s BCCI until its 1992 collapse and a major investor in Stephens’ own Worthen National Bank. Sheikh Bakhsh’s purchase of 3.5 million Harken shares and eventually 20.8 percent of the total outstanding, is documented in U.S. Security and Exchange Commission reports.

In this way, Bush’s Harken deal was concluded with the BCCI’s Geneva subsidiary, BCP, whose managing director and man-of-a-thousand-faces, Dr. Hartmann, was also the chairman of the the Swiss affiliate of yet another criminal bank, the Italian Banco Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL). According to the Congressional Record in 1992, Dr. Hartmann’s bank, BNL was alleged by U.S. House Banking Committee Chairman Henry Gonzalez, to have secured billions of dollars in illegally-used, weapons-directed loans from the first Bush administration to Saddam Hussein just prior to the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

After 1996, George W. Bush’s Harken-investor, Sheikh Bakhsh, was a principle shareholder in Mahfouz’s Middle East Capital Group, a British offshore investment bank involving the Saudi BinLaden Group (SBG), the bin Laden family’s giant construction and investment conglomerate.

The Saudi BinLaden Group is partners with Mahfouz in the Saudi Investment Corporation (SICO). In turn, SICO was covertly involved in supporting the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the late 1980’s, in connection with the BCCI-controlled National Bank of Oman. Arranging SICO’s capitalization of Osama bin Laden were the top two InterMaritime Bank executives, Alfred Hartmann of Harken and Bruce Rappaport, in addition to the infamous deceased CIA director, William Casey.

Thus, during the late 1980s, the ubiquitous Harken financier, Dr. Alfred Hartmann, was both rearming Saddam Hussein and supporting Osama bin Laden’s Jihad. With BCCI Holdings having Dr. Hartmann as CFO, Hartmann was at the very center of Mahfouz’s BCCI scandal, a more than 13 billion dollar bank loss, termed “the largest bank fraud in world financial history” by Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morganthau.

By 1990, Harken’s financial practice look more like an “Axis of Evil” network than an oil company. The soup thickens when one looks at the overall business resume of our “CEO President” and that of his business partners.

Bin Laden’s “Banker of Terror”

Khalid’s bin Mahfouz’s 4 billion dollar financial universe includes his brother, Mohammed, also a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, who replaced Khalid as head of the Saudi National Commercial Bank (NCB) after the scandal broke over Khalid’s massive 2 billion dollar embezzlement.

No stranger to the secret financing of his brother-in-law, Osama, Mohammed bin Mahfouz is the founder of the Al Qaeda-financing, Saudi Sudanese Bank. Mohammed bin Mahfouz is also the founder of the terrorist-directed International Development Foundation (IDF) located at the same Oxford address as the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) one of bin Laden’s main recruitment centers.

With the “Saudi King’s banker”, Khalid bin Mahfouz, as CEO, the Jeddah-based advertising agency, Tihama, was cited in 1999 as being an intermediary in the sponsoring of Al Qaeda.

Continuing the family tradition, Khalid’s son, Abdul Rahman bin Mahfouz, is manager of the bin Laden-sponsoring charity, Blessed Relief, that received funds through the Saudi National Commercial Bank several years earlier. Blessed Relief is suspected of organizing a terrorist attack on Egypt’s president Mubarak in 1995 and was found by the U.S. Treasury Department to have agreed to transfer millions of dollars to bin Laden. Could one even doubt that Abdul Rahman considers his aunt’s husband, Osama bin Laden, the greatest hero of Islam since Mohammed?

As if sealing a pact, the bin Mahfouz family holding company, the Saudi Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) was located as of 1999 at the same Oxford address as the IDF and the IIRO. Mahfouz’s SEDCO had as a president, the vice-president and CEO of the defrauded Saudi National Commercial Bank, Camille Chebeir.

Fathers and Sons: The Precedent of the United States

Consider Sami Baarma, another top executive of the Saudi National Commercial Bank (NCB), who is one more among the group of men forming the web connecting both Bush Presidents to archterrorist banker Mahfouz. As an example of interactions within the “Bush-Mahfouz axis”, NCB’s Sami Baarma also sits on the board of Mahfouz’s Middle East Capital Group (MECG) that had on its board, Harken-investor Sheikh Bakhsh. In addition, Baarma sits on the board of the Carlyle Group, which had former President George Herbert Walker Bush as a senior advisor at the moment of the 911 attacks.

Carlyle is the 11th largest military contractor in the U.S. and was a leading contributor to George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. Former President George H.W. Bush has visited Saudi Arabia at least twice to successfully court bin Laden family financing for Carlyle, whose long-term chairman was Frank Carlucci, an assistant CIA director and Defense Secretary under Reagan. Further establishing Carlyle’s elite intelligence pedigree, former President Bush was the director of the CIA during the Ford administration.

Seemingly above reproach, Carlyle’s Sami Baarma was the director of two divisions of the Mahfouz’s Saudi National Commercial Bank (NCB), when the bank’s money disappeared in the late 1990s; namely, the International and the Investment Services Divisions. Baarma then advised the next NCB president after this second Mahfouz banking scandal broke in 1998, who was none other than Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz’s brother, Mohammed.

Literally thriving after Mahfouz’s now forgotten scandal, Baarma sits on the international investment committee of George Bush Sr.’s Carlyle Group, while having simultaneously sat on the National Commercial Banks’s Executive Management Committee.

Carlyle’s Sami Baarma is also the CEO of the Pakistani Prime Commercial Bank, another Mahfouz-owned bank, that has as an executive board member, Abdul Rahman bin Mahfouz, the manager of the bin Laden-sponsoring “charity”, Blessed Relief. In 1995, Abdul Rahman and his brother, Sultan bin Mahfouz, both directors in the defrauded National Commercial Bank (NCB), made a 30 million dollar investment into George Bush Sr.’s Carlyle, held for their benefit by Baarma.

The current president, George W. Bush, was once a director of and held shares in one of Carlyle’s components, the Caterair Company, between 1990 and 1994. Thus, both Bush President’s Carlyle tenure was during the period that 2 billion dollars of terrorist-directed NCB funds were stolen by Mahfouz, under the nose of Baarma, a top executive at both NCB and Carlyle.

After decades of massive, documented bank fraud, Mahfouz has merely relinquished a few posts and he has never more than paid a minor fine, by his standards. Moreover, his family still controls the Saudi National Commercial Bank.

To illustrate the overwhelming avidity of the bonds between politicians and the defense industry, consider former President Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker III, who is a senior couselor to Carlyle, alongside the former President himself. In that position, Baker has travelled to Saudia Arabia to counsel the bin Laden family on investments into Carlyle, once flying on the bin Laden’s family-owned jet. Earlier, in 1985, James Baker sold his skyline-dominating Texas Commerce Bank Tower to Sheikh Mahfouz, then wearing the disguise of a strategically placed Houston real estate magnate, for two hundred million dollars.

Like father, like son? The father of Harken’s chairman, Alan Quasha, was Manila-based attorney William Quasha, who advised executives of the defunct, scandal-ridden Nugan Hand Bank in Australia, which employed a number of former high ranking CIA and Pentagon officials. According to a 1983 Australian government report and the Wall Street Journal, Nugan Hand Bank was involved in money laundering for international heroin syndicates and secretly aided U.S. covert activities, at the same time that the former U.S. CIA director, William Colby, was also its attorney.

Some of the persons interacting with Nugan Hand executives in the 1970s were later to become central figures in the Iran-Contra affair, such as Major General Richard Secord, convicted Middle-East adviser to Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, who was himself pardoned by former President Bush.

Iran-Contra figure Weinberger is now chairman of the closely held publishing company, Forbes Inc., and has twice in recent years sent executives and staff to the bin Laden family headquarters “to get their view of the country and what would be of interest to investors”.

Other Iran-Contra conspirators that have resurfaced, now hold or have held several top positions within the current Bush administration. Consider just two of such persons. Take the current Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who was deeply involved with Iran arms sales with Oliver North and left his post as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan-Bush administration over a cascading series of scandals. Questions linger regarding his involvement in the illegal provision of war materials to both Iran and to Libya, through convicted rogue CIA operatives that included General Secord.

Armitage received Pakistan’s highest award available to a civilian by virtue of his assistance to the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, in part, by supplying the fighters with shoulder-launched Stinger missles, that have not yet been recovered by the U.S.. Currently, Carlyle’s Frank Carlucci and the re-emerged Richard Armitage, are board members of the influencial Washington think tank, the Middle East Policy Council.

Another Iran-Contra conspirator is Elliot Abrams, the current National Security Council special assistant for democracy, human rights and international operations. As the Assistant Secretary of State during the Reagan-Bush administration, Abrams was charged with contempt of Congress by Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh after evading questions about Oliver North’s secret mission to extract 10 million dollars from the Sultan of Brunei and about the Contra supply plane shot down.

Abrams gave the Sultan of Brunei the number of the bank account owned by InterMaritime Bank president, Bruce Rappaport, a golfing friend of then CIA director, William Casey. General Secord was the subsequent recipient of the $10 million cash, which was used for distribution to the Contras. Elliot Abrams, the current National Security Advisor, earlier had pleaded guilty for withholding information from Congress and was pardoned by the former President Bush in 1992.

It was soon after October 1984 that CIA director Casey paired North and Secord as a Contra-support team when the Congressional Boland Amendment forced the CIA to refrain from direct or indirect aid in matters of the covert making of wars.

Bush’s Bahrain Oil Deal: “I Beseach Thee, Oh Godfather”

The younger Bush’s insider trading allegations relating to Harken lead a trail to the reportedly lucrative and exclusive offshore oil drilling contract that Harken received from the government of Bahrain in 1990, despite having had no previous international or off-shore drilling experience.

Bush sold his shares in Harken in 1991, immediately after the wells were found to be dry and just before the first Persian Gulf War, using his artificially inflated profits from the stock sale to buy into the Texas Rangers baseball team, making him personally wealthy enough to sell out before going into politics. George W. Bush’s Bahrain deal was arranged by Houston oil consultant, Michael Ameen.

At that time, Ameen was a paid consultant for the U.S. State Department and had briefed the incoming U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, Charles Hostler. Simultaneously, Ameen was also the head of government relations for the Saudi’s Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) that had Mahfouz on its Supreme Council. In that position, Ameen spent years dealing with members of the Saudi royal family and their associates, including his close friend Sheikh Kamal Adham, the long-term and influencial director of Saudi Intelligence from 1963 until 1979, overlapping former President Bush’s tenure as CIA director. Sheikh Adham was formally involved in the Bahrain deal.

As an example of well-connected men, for over 25 years, the U.S. State Department’s deal maker, Michael Ameen, has known Harken-investor Sheikh Bakhsh, who at various times was also a principle shareholder in Stephens’ Worthen Bank, in BCCI and in Mahfouz’s Middle East Capital Group. As an example of a close and tight network, by Michael Ameen’s own account, within 10 minutes of discussing the matter of his recommendation of Harken for Bahrain’s offshore deal with their Oil Minister, he received a call from one of Harken’s investment bankers at Stephens Inc. of Little Rock. Before long, Ameen was leading Harken delegations to Bahrain, earning $100,000 for his services.

Earlier, during the 1980’s, Sheikh Adham and his successor as Saudi Intelligence Director, Abdul Khalil, secretly acted as BCCI nominees in a hostile take-over of Washington D.C.’s largest bank, Financial General Bankshares, that soon became First American Bankshares. First American was, in fact, a Bank of Credit and Commerce International front for Mahfouz that was set up in the U.S. with the pivotal assistance of billionaire Jackson Stephens, a lavish financial backer of many political campaigns for both Bush presidents.

Another principle shareholder of 25 million dollars in First American was arms merchant, Mohammed Hammoud, a long-time friend and business associate of Bahrain’s Ambassador Hostler. And according to the Kerry Committee report, five Iran-Contra related wire transfers were made out of North/Secord accounts at First American in the amount of $346,000.00.

Previously, the CIA’s station chief in Saudi Arabia, Raymond Close, who had illegally and covertly transferred weapons from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan in the 1970s, went to work for Sheikh Kamal Adham, a BCCI director, upon leaving the agency. A principle way in which BCCI was used as a money laundering service by drug traffickers and arms dealers was through its commodities affiliate, Capcom, that had both Stephens’ associates at First American, Sheikhs Adham and Khalil, as directors and majority shareholders.

A central figure in the 1990 off-shore drilling contract with George W. Bush’s company, Harken, was the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalifah, who was also a major investor in BCCI Holdings. Prime Minister Khalifa and his brother, the Emir, both signed off on Harken’s Bahrain oil deal, along with Sheikh Adham, who was termed the “Godfather of Saudi Intelligence” in the Kerry Report.

With much whitewash, in August 1991, Ed Rogers, political director in the administration of George Bush Sr., suddenly left his White House position to start a “consulting firm” and within a few weeks Rogers received a $600,000.00 contract with Kamal Adham.

Legally representing George W. Bush in the 1991 SEC probe of insider trading allegations related to his selling off his Harken stock was Dallas attorney Robert W. Jordan, the present U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Until recently, Jordan worked for Baker and Botts, whose principle attorney, former Secretary of State, James Baker III, is now strategically-placed in Bush Sr.’s Carlyle Group.

Extending the fabric of Executive nondisclosure and nepotism, the presiding SEC Chairman at that time, Richard Breenen, was a Baker and Botts senior partner and a political nominee of former President Bush. Plus, the litigating SEC General Counsel in the Harken insider probe, James Doty is another Baker and Botts alumnus who later represented George W. Bush in matters related to the ownership of the Texas Rangers.

The Sheikh’s Texas Oasis: Refueling Air Force One and Money Laundering

One of Kamel Adham’s close contacts, Adnan Khashoggi, is among the richest men in the world, who is a life-long friend of the bin Laden family and was the arms merchant at the center of the whole Iran-Contra scandal. In 1985, Sheikh Mahfouz’s Saudi National Commercial Bank loaned Khashoggi 35 million dollars to purchase weapons to illegally sell to Iran, at the behest of Oliver North. Kashoggi’s father was the physician to the bin Laden patriarch, Mohammed, and he got his start in business by arranging a large truck import deal for Salem bin Laden, Osama’s older brother.

When Salem bin Laden died in Texas in 1988, Sheikh Mahfouz inherited his interests in Houston, so close was their life-long relationship and also that of their fathers, who likewise, were friends and business partners. The family patriarchs of both the bin Laden and the bin Mahfouz clans emigrated into Saudi Arabia from the same ancestral valley in Yemen in the earlier part of the 20th century.

Thus it was, in 1976, that Salem bin Laden employed James R. Bath, a long-time friend of George W. Bush since their days together as flyers in the Texas Air National Guard, as his business representative in the U.S.. Then in 1979 and 1980, Bath, while still an agent for Salem bin Laden, invested 50,000 dollars in Bush’s first oil company, Arbusto Ltd..

Until the early 1990s, Bush’s friend, James Bath, was also involved in multiple business ventures in the Houston area with Sheikh Mahfouz, BCCI’s largest shareholder, including their company, Southwest Airport Services, refuelers of the presidential plane, Air Force One, when it came there.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Bath and Sheikh Mathouz, “The Saudi King’s Banker”, along with former Texas governor John Connally, owned the money-laundering Main Bank in Houston, which moved highly suspicious amounts of one hundred dollar bills and funded political campaigns during the late 1970s and 1980s.

During his Arbusto period, in 1979, James Bath purchased a Houston mansion for Mahfouz at 4.3 million dollars, with the payment made through none other than James Baker III’s law firm, Bakers and Botts. In 1990, during his Harken period, Bath obtained a 1.4 million dollar loan from Mahfouz. Bath was also the sole director for Mahfouz’s Skyway Aircraft Leasing Ltd, which did a brisk business with Saudi Sheikhs and began in the Grand Cayman Islands in 1980 as a company briefly called Cotopax Investments.

It should be noted that several unusual business behaviors of Mahfouz’s Skyway Aircraft Leasing Ltd. demonstrated a pattern reminiscent of money laundering. First, within a month of its incorporation, the temporary board at Cotopax named Bush’s friend James Bath as company president, changed the company name to Skyways and then resigned en mass, leaving Bath as a sole director. Second, the Cayman Islands are an effective tax-shelter and haven for banking secrets. Third, one of the original subscribers to Cotopax, a company called Cayhaven Corporate Services, Ltd., was also a subscriber to “I.C., Inc.”. In reality, IC Inc. was the same entity as ICIC, which is the International Credit and Investment Corporation of Grand Caymans, termed BCCI’s “bank-within-a-bank” in the Kerry Committee report. Thus, James Bath’s Skyways Aircraft Leasing is an enterprise related to Mahfouz’s BCCI via “IC Inc.”.

Curiously, Mahfouz’s “IC Inc.”, the company related to George W. Bush’s friend James Bath, was found by investigators to be at the very center of a chart drawn by Oliver North, in North’s own White House safe, that showed the private banking network supporting the Iran-Contra operation.

Finally, in 1992, a division of the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, along with the FBI, reviewed the now forgotten accusations that George W. Bush’s friend, James R. Bath, guided money to Houston from Saudi investors who wanted to influence U.S. policy under the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Therefore, neither George W. Bush’s Harken, nor Arbusto, were really oil companies as such, but were rather intimate financial connections with powerful Saudi sheikhs and criminal bankers, people whose true intentions were to service the various covert operation schemes of the current President’s father.

At the end of the day, when the lights go out, Osama bin Laden sleeps with Mahfouz’s sister, so says the CIA.

The Axis of Speak No Evil

So, if you wonder why the Democrats didn’t shout these revelations from the top of the Washington monument, consider the power of “hush money”. When big Bush-backer Jackson Stephens’ name kept popping up in the Senate’s Kerry Committee report on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in 1992, his Worthen Bank of Little Rock, Arkansas made a timely, much needed, two million dollar loan to the primary campaign of our then future president, William Jefferson Clinton. Earlier, Hillary Clinton, representing the Rose Law Firm, successfully defended Systematics, a subsidiary of Stephens Inc, during Stephen’s and Adham’s hostile takeover of Finanial General Bankshares, that subsequently became First American Bankshares of D.C..

Recently, Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, has demanded that the heavily censored Saudi section of the Senate’s 911 report, covered-up by President George W. Bush, be made public, so that the royal household could defend themselves from the accusations of their complicity in the events of 911.

Saudi royal complicity in supporting bin Laden is supposed by some to have been documented in that report, although the Prince claims that most of the support was inadvertent. As one of many examples of Saudi royal support, Prince Sultan, Prince Bandar’s father and the Saudi minister of defense, has admitted to having contributed millions of dollars to the IIRO, while claiming to have been ignorant of their clandestine behavior.

However, if some significant measure of culpability for the September 11th attacks is shifted onto Sheikh Mahfouz, bin Laden’s principle sponsor, and away from the Saudi royal family, the loser might actually be the current Bush administration. President Bush may be caught in a trap of his own making. Consider that George W. Bush never disclosed the true extent of his financial relationship to terror-sponsoring Saudi Sheikhs and CIA-dealing bankers.

In reality, George W. Bush had important business dealings with nine men that were deeply connected to Mahfouz, including seven men asssociated with Harken, namely: Dr. Hartmann, Sheikh’s Bakhsh, Adham, Khalil and Khalifa, Bahrain deal-maker Michael Ameen and Jackson Stephens of Little Rock. Other individuals that are simultaneously connected to both Bush and Mahfouz are Sami Baarma of the Carlyle Group and James Bath of Arbusto.

Of the nine “business” persons connecting George W. Bush and Sheikh Mahfouz, three have been actively involved in financing covert U.S. military operations, they are Dr. Hartmann, Sheikh Adham, the “Godfather of Saudi Intelligence”, and his cohort, Sheikh Khalil.

It is clear that in a total of nine cases, Bush and bin Laden’s banker are connected by merely a single degree of separation. Consequently, one must ask if the purpose of Bush’s censorship of the Saudi section of the Senate’s 911 report is to obscure his business relationships to a number of high ranking individuals in Sheikh Mahfouz’s financial empire.

There were nine interrelationships listed above between George W. Bush and Sheikh Mahfouz, that have only a single degree of separation. There is another, interesting triangular relationship between Mahfouz and both Bush Presidents, and also between father and son. First, consider the ubiquitous Harken-financier, Dr. Hartmann, who was the corporate Vice President of the Mahfouz-connected InterMaritime Bank, under it’s President, Bruce Rappaport. In turn, Rappaport was the manager of multimillion dollar North/Secord accounts at the InterMaritime Bank and a friend of CIA director, William Casey, the architect of Iran-Contra subversion of the Boland Amendment.

By the same token, one might ask if Jackson Stephens, the long-term Bush family campaign benefactor, is possibly implicated in Sheikh Adham’s involvement with North/Secord accounts at First American, the BCCI front that these two billionaires setup together up in D.C.. The question is now begged. Does President George W. Bush’s former involvement with so many business cohorts of bin Laden’s banker, Sheikh Mahfouz, particularly men such as Dr. Hartmann and Sheikh Adham, reveal the outlines of a covert involvement in Iran-Contra by his father, George Bush Sr., when he was Vice President “under” Reagan?

The bottom line is that any BCCI connection to the Bush name spells serious political trouble for the current president. Moreover, three important questions must be asked regarding national security. First, did George W. Bush utilize international bankers and investors, for his seeming personal financial gain, who had previously been involved in the financing of covert wars by the CIA, in violation of the 1984 Congressional Boland Amendment. Second, did each Bush administration manipulate both the CIA and FBI in a manner intended to prevent the public revelation of these documented Bush-Saudi relationships? Third, how might manipulation of CIA and FBI “information output” on bin Laden’s archterrorist banker Mahfouz, by either Bush President, have resulted in negative effects on these agencies’ function?

After Mahfouz’s second multi-billion dollar bank scandal broke in 1998, the international bank robber once again found himself profitably in bed with America, this time with the United States Navy. It was in the Port of Aden in October 12, 2000, three weeks before the 2000 Presidential election, that suicide bombers were able to maneuver a supply boat packed with explosives next to the USS Cole. The ensuing blast killed 17 sailors. U.S. authorities believe that Osama bin Laden ordered the attacks.

It turns out that the Bin Mahfouz Group and the Port of Singapore Authority comprise an entity called Yeminvest, that is under contract with the Yemen government to run the facilities and operations of the Port of Aden, critically located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, in 1999, the Saudi Binladen Group was hired by Yemen officials to rebuild the nearby airport.

Recall that earlier, Mahfouz’s company in Houston, Southwest Airport Services, operated by George W. Bush’s friend, James Bath, refueled the Presidential plane, Air Force One.

After the Cole bombings, the man in charge of the FBI’s bin Laden investigation, John O’Neill, the deputy director of the agency’s New York office, was refused entry into Yemen by the U.S. Ambassador, Barbara Bodine. This occurred after Yemen authorities had disparaging referred to O’Neill and his team as “Rambos”. O’Neill had already lead investigations into Osama bin Laden’s series of bombings at the World Trade Center in 1993, at the U.S. military base in Saudia Arabia in 1996 and at the U.S embassies in Africa in 1998.

Following the Rambo incident, O’Neill’s attempts to properly investigate within Yemen were also thwarted by his FBI higher-ups and by the recently installed U.S. State Department under George W. Bush. O’Neill complained bitterly and resigned his FBI post in August 2001. Earlier, after the 1996 bombings that killed 19 American soldiers in Saudi Arabia and a foreshadowing of the hindered Yemen investigation, O’Neill was not allowed by King Fahd to interrogate the Al Qaeda-connected suspects, who were executed first.

Immediately after his FBI resignation, O’Neill became the head of security at the World Trade Center and then tragically met his fate in the attacks of September 11th. Some of John O’Neill’s final words were: “All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.”

The weight of evidence linking President Bush and bin Laden’s banker indicate that his censorship of the Senate 911 report was a willful nondisclosure of these connections and could come to represent a “high crime and misdemeanor”, that is, an impeachable offense.

The resume of America’s CEO President, George W. Bush, is clearly a subject that is worthy for a Congressional investigation, yet it reads like a lurid and twisted spy novel; with guns, drugs, money laundering, politics, “nukuler” proliferation and sex. I imagine some future tabloid headine: “Archterrrorist bin Laden is Sleeping with the Sister of Bush’s Business Partner.


1) Security and Exchange Commission. Official Summary of Security Transactions and Holdings… SE 1.9: 54;10-12. 1987. (Harken Oil and Gas; Bakhsh, Abdullah T; 3,500,00 shares; November 12, 1987). < >

2) Security and Exchange Commission. Mergers and Acquisitions Database, December 3, 1987: SEC Document 13D — Amendment 1, December 3, 1987.

3) Petzinger, Thomas Jr.; Truel, Peter; Abramson, Jill. “Oil Firm Links Bahrain, BCCI and President’s Son”. Asian Wall Street Journal. Dec. 9, 1991.

4) “I’m Not Rappaport”. Legal Times. July 31, 1989.

5) Kerry, J ohn (Senator) and Senator Hank Brown. “The BCCI Affair: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate” 102d Congress 2d Session Senate Print 102-140. Dec. 1992.

6) “BCCI, the CIA and Foreign Intelligence”. Congressional Record. 1992. < htp:// >

7) “Bin Laden linked to BCCI accounts; 1991 fraud scandal cost depositors millions”. The Guardian. UK. Associated Press. (9/27/01).

8) Gonzalez, Henry (U.S. House of Representatives. Dem-TX) “Kissinger Associates, Scowcroft, Eagleburger, Stoga, Iraq and BNL”. Congressional Record. April 28, 1992. < >

9) Kelly, Andrew. “Saudi Money Aiding Bin Laden. Businessmen Are Financing Front Groups”. USA Today. October 29, 1999.

10) Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers and Maggie Mulvihill. “Saudi elite linked to bin Laden financial empire. Special Report”. Boston Herald. October 14, 2001.

11) Ahmed Rashid. “Osama Bin Laden: How the U.S. Helped Midwife a Terrorist”. (Ahmed Rashid of Pakistan is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity.) < > 9/16/01.

12) Michel Chossudovsky. “Who Is Osama Bin Laden?” Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), Montréal. < > 9/12/01.

13) Brisard, Jean-Charles and Dasquie, Guillaume. Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden.Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books New York. (2002).

14) Arnaud Montebourg, MP. French Parliamentary Report: “The City of London, Gibraltar and the Crown Dependencies: offshore centres and sanctuaries for dirty money”. Annex: “The Economic Environment of Osama bin Laden”: < >

15) Unger, Craig. “Saving the Saudis”. Vanity Fair. pp. 162-179. October 2003.

16) Dan Briody. “Carlyle’s way: Making a mint inside ‘the iron triangle’ of defense, government, and industry”. Redherring. 1/8/02.

17) Kevin Dowling. “The ties that bind: Barclays, a bin Laden relative, Carlyle and the BCCI boys” . Online Journal. 11/3/01.

18) Mark Watts, “Bin Laden probe Eyes Guernsey Connection”, The Express. October 14, 2001.

19) Jon Henl ey. “City ‘Haven’ For Terrorist Money Laundering”. The Guardian. (10/10/01).

20) Middle East Capital Group. MECG Web Site: Directors — < > and Principle Shareholders — < >

21) Kwinty, Jonathan. Nugan Hand Aided U.S. Covert Acts. Wall Street Journal. S2:p. 36. (8/16/83). (Also see 8/26/83 WSJ; p.1 by Kwinty.)

22) Houston Chronicle News Service. “Bank indicted in scheme owned by Arab families”. Houston Chronicle. A: 1. (10/12/88).

23) Jerry Urban. “Flow of $100 bills through Houston bank questioned”. Houston Chronicle. B: 2. (08/09/91).

24) Jerry Urban. Banking scandal figure seeks claim to airport contract. Houston Chronicle. pA26. (09/10/94).

25) Jerry Urban. “Feds investigate entrepreneur allegedly tied to Saudis”. Houston Chronicle. A:21. 06/04/92.

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