excerpted from the book
Crossing the Rubicon
The Decline of the American Empire
at the End of the Age of Oil
by Michael C. Ruppert
New Society Publishers, 2004,
"Men, in order to do evil, must first believe that what
they are doing is good."
On August 21, 2002, the Associated Press published the following
story, so shocking in the context of the administration's claims
that I'll quote it at length:
(AP)-(Washington)-In what the government
describes as a bizarre coincidence, one U.S. intelligence agency
was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft
crashed into one of its buildings. But the cause wasn't terrorism
it was to be a simulated accident. Officials at the Chantilly,
Va.-based National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise
that morning in which a small corporate jet crashed into one of
the four towers at the agency's headquarters building after experiencing
a mechanical failure. The agency is about four miles from the
runways of Washington-Dulles International Airport.
Agency chiefs came up with the scenario
to test employees' ability to respond to a disaster, said spokesman
Art Haubold. To simulate the damage from the plane, some stairwells
and exits were to be closed off, forcing employees to find other
ways to evacuate the building. 'It was just an incredible coincidence
that this happened to involve an aircraft crashing into our facility,'
Haubold said. As soon as the real world events began, we canceled
Adding to the coincidence, American Airlines
Flight 77 the Boeing 767 that was hijacked and crashed into the
Pentagon took off from Dulles at 8:10 a.m. on Sept. 11, 50 minutes
before the exercise was to begin. It struck the Pentagon around
9:40 am., killing 64 aboard the plane and 125 on the ground. The
National Reconnaissance Office operates many of the nation's spy
satellites. It draws its personnel from the military and the CIA.
An announcement for an upcoming homeland
security conference in Chicago first noted the exercise: In a
promotion for speaker John Fulton, a CIA officer assigned as chief
of NRO's strategic gaming division, the announcement says, 'On
the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. Fulton and his team ...
were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency
response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike
a building. Little did they know that the scenario would come
true in a dramatic way that day.'
The running of such an exercise is an
excellent method of confusing emergency response personnel (for
instance, pilots) who are trying to do their jobs. They expect
a drill of a specific but utterly unlikely scenario; the scenario
begins to unfold as expected, but then they're told it's not a
drill is it a drill, or not?
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since
it is the merger of state and corporate power."
American fascism [is] not just private,
elite control over the legal system, nor private evasion of the
rule of law. It's a crisis-induced transition from a society with
a deeply compromised legal system to a society where force and
surveillance completely supplant that system. Although the apparent
crisis is about terrorism, the real one is about energy scarcity.
At the beginning of this book I document both the reality and
the catastrophic implications of this epochal energy crisis. Because
it's so central to the emergent new order of things in the United
States (which determines US action abroad), an incisive account
of the energy issue also explains the real functioning of the
world's economy - and who controls it, and how this shapes so
much of our daily lives. I begin the book with that story because
without it, 9/11 seems like little more than a particularly horrible
episode of mass murder (in a word, terrorism). But on this larger
explanatory foundation, the evidence will inexorably prove our
case: that the United States government not only had complete
foreknowledge of the attacks of September 11, it also needed them
and deliberately facilitated them, and even helped plan and execute
them using techniques long understood in the world of covert operations.
Once you understand the economic and financial forces governing
the global economy, then the overwhelming evidence of the guilt
of both the Bush and Clinton administrations, instead of being
hard to believe, will suddenly appear to be unavoidable. That's
a large statement, and nobody should take it on trust.
Knowing what we all now know about the
deceptions used to "sell" the occupation of Iraq, can
we afford to not question the multitude of contradictions, lies,
falsehoods, and cover-ups surrounding the events of 9/11? It is
in the examination of those lies that we uncover the real State
of the Union. At this point in history no one can rationally say
that the Bush administration is incapable of lying.
According to most experts - including Cohn Campbell, one of the
world's foremost of experts with decades of experience in senior
geologist, upper management, and executive positions with companies
including BP, Amoco, FINA, and Texaco - there are only about one
trillion barrels of accessible conventional oil remaining on the
planet. Presently the world uses approximately 82 mb/d (million
barrels per day). Even if demand remained unchanged, which it
clearly will not, that would mean that the world will run out
of conventional oil within thirty-five years. Oil, however, does
not flow like water from a bottle. Since the world's population
and the demand for oil and natural gas are increasing rapidly,
by reasonable estimates, the world supply of conventional oil
is limited to perhaps 20 years. It's a common mistake to assume
that oil will flow in a steady stream and then suddenly stop one
day. Instead, the stream will gradually diminish in volume, with
occasional small increases, even as the number of people "drinking"
from that stream, and the amount they consume explodes.
... the OPEC nations of the Middle East will peak last, many of
them between now and 2010. They will soon be supplying up to 40
percent of the world's oil. Whoever controls the oil in the Eurasian
continent, which includes the Middle East, the Caspian Basin,
and Central Asia, will determine who lives and who dies, who eats
and who starves.
a statement from the National Energy Policy, Vice President [Richard]
Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG)
America in the year 2001 faces the most
serious energy shortage since the oil embargoes of the 1970s.
Estimates indicate that over the next
20 years, US oil consumption will increase by 33 percent, natural
gas consumption by well over 50 percent, and demand for electricity
will rise by 45 percent.
US energy consumption is expected to
increase by about 32 percent by 2020.
Between 2000 and 2020, US natural gas
demand is projected by the Energy Information Administration to
increase by more than 50 percent.
Yet we produce 39 percent less oil today
than we did in 1970 [the peak year of production in the US], leaving
us ever more reliant on foreign suppliers. On our present course,
America 20 years from now will import nearly two of every three
barrels of oil - a condition of increased dependency on foreign
powers that do not always have America's interests at heart.
Zbigniew Brzezinski (former national security adviser to Jimmy
Carter; intelligence adviser to Presidents Reagan and George H.W.
Bush ; professor at Johns Hopkins; a co-founder of the Trilateral
Commission with David Rockefeller; and a member of the CFR. In
his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: America's Primacy and Its
The world's energy consumption is bound
to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates
by the US Department of Energy anticipate that world demand will
rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most
significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East.
The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating
massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new
sources of energy, and the Central Asian region and the Caspian
Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil
that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea.
Sir Charles Galton Darwin wrote in 1952
... when we have spent the stores of
coal and oil that have been accumulating in the earth during hundreds
of millions of years ... [w]hether a convenient substitute for
the present fuels is found or not, there can be no doubt that
there will have to be a great change in ways of life. This change
may justly be called a revolution ...
geologist Walter Youngquist in 1999
World population will have to adjust
to lesser food supplies by a reduction in population. Pimentel
arid Pimentel (1996) stated: "the nations of the world must
develop a plan to reduce the global population from near 6 billion
to about 2 billion. If humans do not control their numbers ...
Geologist Jay Hanson in "The 'Language of Critters' Problem"
But when the above scenario [overpopulation]
seems inevitable, the elites will simply depopulate most of the
planet with bioweapons. When the time comes, it will be the only
logical solution to their problem. It's a firststrike tactic that
leaves built-in infrastructure and other species in place and
allows the elites to perpetuate their own genes into the foreseeable
Michael Meacher MP, UK Environment Minister 1997-2003, "The
War on Terrorism is Bogus," The Guardian, September 6, 2003
The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal
pretext to use force to secure its global domination ...
The plan ["Rebuilding America's
Defenses", Project for a New American Century - 2000] shows
Bush cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region
whether or not Sac/dam Hussein was in power ....
The overriding motivation for this political
smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out
of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies .... As demand is increasing,
so supply is decreasing, continually since the 1960s.
... 60 percent of the world's recoverable oil is in a "golden"
triangle running from Mosul in northern Iraq, to the Straits of
Hormuz, to an oil field in Saudi Arabia 75 miles in from the coast,
just west of Qatar, then back up to Mosul. Almost all of Iran's
oil lies near its western shoreline on the Gulf. This whole area
would fit easily inside the northern portion of Texas ...
... The US military already occupies part
of this area and surrounds the remainder. So it's quite consistent
with our stated motive to ask how easy it would be for American
forces to occupy the entire oil-bearing region in the event that
the Saudi monarchy should become unstable ... and it's likely
that the US government will begin the project with covert destabilization
from the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor
Higgins: No simple economics. Today it's
oil, right? In 10 or 15 years - food, plutonium. And maybe even
sooner. Now what do you think the people are gonna want us to
Turner: Ask them.
Higgins: Not now - then. Ask them when
they're running out. Ask them when there's no heat in their homes
and they're cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them when
people who've never known hunger start going hungry. Do you want
to know something? They won't want us to ask them. They'll just
want us to get it for them.
The CIA is Wall Street. Wall Street is the CIA. This is perhaps
one of the easiest landmarks to establish on our map. We do it
by looking at key players in the CIA's history and their relationships
to America's financial engine.
Clark Clifford: The National Security
Act of 1947 was written by Clark Clifford, a -Democratic Party
powerhouse, former secretary of defense, and onetime advisor to
President Harry Truman. In the 1980s, as chairman of First American
Bancshares, Clifford was instrumental in getting the corrupt CIA
drug bank BCCI (founded by a Pakistani national) a license to
operate on American shores. His profession: Wall Street lawyer
and banker. BCCI and its particular web of characters have been
a virtual cut-and-paste overlay linking up Osama bin Laden, al
Qaeda, and terrorist financing. It was Clark Clifford who was
retained by former CIA Director Richard Helms when the latter
was indicted and prosecuted for lying to Congress in 1976.
Clifford and his banking partner Robert
Altman were eventually indicted on criminal charges for their
role in illegally helping BCCI purchase an American bank, first
American Bancshares. At the time BCCI had been connected to both
drug money laundering and financial support for Afghan rebels
supported by the CIA through its director Bill Casey.
John Foster and Allen Dulles: These two
brothers "designed" the CIA for Clifford. Both were
active in intelligence operations during World War II. Allen Dulles
had been America's top Office of Strategic Services (OSS) spy
in Switzerland, where he met frequently with Nazi leaders and
looked after US investments in Germany. He also held an executive
position with Standard Oil. John Foster went on to become secretary
of state under Dwight Eisenhower, and Allen served as CIA director
under Ike, only to be fired by JFK after the abortive 1961 US-led
covert invasion of Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs. Their professions:
partners in the most powerful to this day - Wall Street law firm
of Sullivan and Cromwell.
Enton is only one of Sullivan and Cromwell's
current clients, and it employed a dozen "former" CIA
officers before its fall from grace. Other prominent Sullivan
and Cromwell clients are MG, Global Crossing, ImClone, Martha
Stewart, and the Harvard Endowment.
After the assassination of JFK in 1963,
Allen Dulles became the staff director and lead investigator of
the Warren Commission, which asserted that Lee Harvey Oswald was
a lone assassin who had fired a bullet that had caused JFK's throat
wound, hung suspended in mid-air for several seconds, changed
directions twice, then wounded Texas Governor John Connally in
the chest, wrist, and thigh only to fall out of his body in nearly
pristine condition on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital in Dallas
about 30 minutes later. When asked about how he could have offered
the Warren Report, full of inconsistencies, to the American people
with a straight face, Dulles is reported to have said, "The
American people don't read."
Bill Casey: Reagan's CIA director and
the OSS veteran who served as chief covert wrangler during the
Iran-Contra years was, under Richard Nixon, chairman of the Securities
and Exchange Commission. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and
In 1984 ABC News was devoting serious
attention to a CIA scandal in Hawaii connected to the investment
firm BBRDW (Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham, and Wong). The
BBRDW story was lifting a veil connected to money laundering,
drugs, and the failed CIA drug bank named Nugan-Hand. Bill Casey
and the CIA's general counsel Stanley Sporkin put extreme pressure
on both the network and anchor Peter Jennings to stop their coverage.
During the semi-public battle, ABC's stock dropped from $67 to
$59 a share, and by December, the firm Capital Cities was trying
to buy the network. Capital Cities successfully completed the
buyout of ABC in March of 1985, after which the CIA conveniently
dropped a suit against the network.
Bill Casey had helped to found Capital
Cities and had served both as its lawyer and as a member of its
board of directors in the years between his service as SEC chairman
for Nixon and as director of Central Intelligence for Reagan.
ABC became known thereafter as "the CIA network."
What we are concerned with is cash generated from the growth or
manufacture and sale of drugs - because that money is illegal.
It needs to hide, and then it needs to be laundered before it
can be used openly. It is not only cheap and secret capital; it
is capital that must be put someplace legal before it can be used.
The illegal-to-legal transition is where someone must know what
is taking place. Ignorance there - especially when the laundering
transactions are gigantic ones - is not a tenable position.
Among the many kinds of illegal activities
in the world, the production and laundering of drug money is central
because it establishes channels for the flow of other criminal
profits. In 2001, according to the International Monetary Fund,
money laundering processed $1.5 trillion, a figure that exceeded
the gross domestic products of all but the world's five largest
economies. In 2000 Le Monde Diplomatique, a respected French publication,
estimated total annual criminal revenues at $1 trillion: "The
drug trade accounts for as much as $500 bbn and at least $1 bbn
in criminal money is laundered every day." In 1997 the United
Nations estimated that, as of 1996, the drug trade represented
8 percent of all world trading activity as measured in dollars.
It estimated then that the narcotics industry accounted for $440
billion in revenues.
Looking at the cash flow in just one locality,
PBS's "Frontline" tried to make the numbers a little
easier to grasp. "Imagine a typical weekend in New York City.
Experts estimate that at least one percent of the population (80,000
plus) spends $200 on illicit drugs. That alone would amount to
$16 million dollars a week or 832 million a year. And that's just
... Six hundred billion dollars a year
is too much money to hide under a pillow. In fact, much cash turning
up in one place could overwhelm the banking system of a small
or medium-sized country. Of course the money is scattered all
over the place, except in the cases of the major traffickers,
and it has a way of moving by itself, electronically, always seeking
the places where it will either earn the most profits or do the
most good for its owners. Cash, either hard currency or the electronic
kind, is a prized commodity on financial markets because it does
things that other kinds of wealth cannot do - such as pay bills
or investors. The money moves so quickly that, unless one were
in control of the computer systems that handle it, or the software
that manages it, it would be impossible to trace.
... Almost all of the world's cocaine
comes from Colombia, having been either grown or processed there.
The heavy production of cocaine in the 1980s from Bolivia, Peru,
and in smaller quantities from other Andean nations was largely
eradicated by the early 1990s as most production moved north.
However, it is important to understand that worldwide cocaine
use has not seen a major drop since the 1980s. After having peaked
at around 600 metric tons in 1987-1988, recent estimates and statements
by the Department of Justice have placed US ,cocaine consumption
at around 500 metric tons (a metric ton is 2,200 Ibs) a year.
Somewhere between 400 and 500 metric tons
of heroin is consumed worldwide each year. According to DEA and
Department of justice intelligence reports, about 60 percent of
the heroin consumed in the US also comes from Colombia. But almost
all the heroin consumed elsewhere in the world comes from Afghanistan.
Like the coca leaf, the opium poppy from which heroin is made
grows mainly in the mountains and prefers altitudes above 5,000
feet. But unlike coca, opium is grown in several different regions
of the world: South America; the so-called Golden Triangle of
Laos, Burma, and Thailand; and Afghanistan, Pakistan, and central
Asia in an area called the Golden Crescent. From 1997 to 2000
and again in 2002, the world's largest producer of opium was Afghanistan,
responsible for about 70 percent of the world's supply.
What happened in 2001? The Taliban banned
opium production in the late summer of 2000 and destroyed almost
all the opium that still remained planted; this was completed
and confirmed in January of 2001.29 According to the Independent,
"The area of land given over to growing opium poppies in
2001 fell by 91 percent compared with the year before, according
to the UN Drug Control Programme's (UNDCP) annual survey of Afghanistan.
Production of fresh opium, the raw material for heroin, went down
by an unprecedented 94 percent, from 3,276 tonnes to 185 tonnes."
Other sources placed the 2000 Afghan opium
harvest (conducted from May to June, before the ban) at more than
3,600 metric tons. The planting season for opium in that region
is November, and the harvest is in the spring. A kilogram (2.2
lbs) of Afghan heroin, refined at a 10:1 ratio from opium, was
then fetching US$150,000 in Moscow.
It is interesting to note that in 1996,
according to the DEA, "Worldwide opium production was 4,157
metric tons" (an increase of 20 percent in a single year).3'
Contrast that with one report obtained from the UN Drug Control
Program by the magazine High Times stating, "Production of
raw opium in Afghanistan shot up from 2,600 tons in 1998 to a
record 4,600 tons" in 2000.
What is so significant about this is that
if Afghanistan was producing 70 percent of the world's opium,
and it produced a minimum of 3,600 tons in 2000, then global consumption
increased from 4,100 tons to 5,100 tons (25 percent) in just four
years. If, on the other hand, Afghanistan, as reported by the
UN, produced 4,600 metric tons of opium in 2000 and retained a
70 percent market share, then world heroin use had risen 58 percent
to 6,571 metric tons per year ...
It is not likely that opium use increased
60 percent worldwide in four years. Based on my years of experience,
my estimate is that only 8-12 percent of the world's population
is predisposed to addiction. The other conclusion available is
that world opium production was being deliberately concentrated
in Afghanistan. But by whom and for what purpose?
Drug money-steroids of the financial world
Now, if you were a corporate executive
needing to borrow money for an LBO or to finance a pipeline, you
could go borrow the money legally at 9 percent, or you could borrow
drug money laundered once, looking to become legal, at 6 percent.
The drug lord is only too happy to own the bonds of, for example,
Halliburton or General Electric. But if you really wanted to make
a killing, you would launder some drug money onto your bottom
line and increase your net profits.
For banks ... drug money has a special
allure. That is why major banks like Citigroup, Bank of America,
Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase all offer private
client services for the very wealthy with very few questions asked.
... For a bank, a loan is the same thing
an order is for a manufacturer. Loans shown up on a bank's books
as assets, and that's part of what helps determine a bank's stock
value. Of course, if a bank takes an extra fee, no questions asked,
as Citigroup did from Raul Salinas de Gortari, brother of the
former Mexican president, for laundering $100 million in drug
profits, who's to say how that money gets reported when it comes
to net profits?
... the US completed its invasion of Afghanistan in November 2001
in the middle of the opium planting season. Among the first things
the US forces and CIA did was to liberate a number of known opium
warlords who, they said, would assist US forces. Opium farmers
rejoiced and, amidst reports that they were being encouraged to
do so, began planting massive opium crops. In December, former
CIA asset and opium warlord Ayub Afridi was released from prison
and recruited by the CIA to unify local leaders against the Taliban.
When the harvest of June 2002 came, Afghanistan
had again become the world's largest producer of the opium poppy
and the world's largest heroin supplier. From a paltry 180 tons
under the Taliban in 2001, according to the UN, the estimated
2002 harvest, under CIA protection, was close to 3,700 tons. By
March of 2003, World Bank President James Wolfensohn was reporting
record levels of opium production and that drugs were a bigger
earner for Afghanistan than foreign aid.
... drug money has played a role in the successes achieved by
Halliburton under Cheney's tenure as CEO from 1995 to 2000. This
is especially true for Halliburton's most famous subsidiary, heavy
construction and oil giant, Brown and Root. A deeper look into
history reveals that Brown and Root's past as well as the past
of Dick Cheney him-. self, connect to the international drug trade
on more than one occasion and in 4 more than one way. This June
the lead Washington, DC attorney for a major Russian oil company,
Of all American companies dealing directly with the US military
and providing cover for CIA operations, few firms can match the
global presence of this giant construction powerhouse [Brown and
Root] which employs 20,000 people in more than 100 countries.
Through its sister companies or joint ventures, Brown and Root
can build offshore oil rigs, drill wells, construct and operate
everything from harbors to pipelines to highways to nuclear reactors.
It can train and arm security forces, and it can now also feed,
supply, and house armies. One key beacon of Brown and Root's overwhelming
appeal to agencies like the CIA is that, from its own corporate
web page, it proudly announces that it has received the contract
to dismantle aging Russian nuclear-tipped ICBMs in their silos.
Furthermore, the relationships between
key institutions, players, and the Bushes themselves suggest that
under a George "W" administration the Bush family and
its allies may well be able, using Brown and Root as the operational
interface, to control the drug trade all the way from Medellin
Originally formed as a heavy construction
company to build dams, Brown and Root grew its operations via
shrewd political contributions to Senate candidate Lyndon Johnson
in 1948, Expanding into the building of oil platforms, military
bases, ports, nuclear facilities, harbors, and tunnels, Brown
and Root virtually underwrote LBJ's political career. It prospered
as a result, making billions on US Government contracts during
the Vietnam War. The Austin Chronicle in an August 28, Op-ed piece
entitled "The Candidate From Brown and Root" labels
Republican Cheney as the political dispenser of Brown and Root's
largesse. According to political campaign records, during Cheney's
five-year tenure at Halliburton the company's political contributions
more than doubled to $1.2 million Not surprisingly, most of that
money went to Republican candidates.
Independent news service, <www.newsmakingnews.com>,
also describes how, in 1998, with Cheney as chairman, Halliburton
spent $8.1 billion to purchase Dresser Industries, a supplier
of oil industry equipment and drilling machinery. This made Halliburton
a corporation that will have a presence in almost any future oil
drilling operation anywhere in the world. And it also brought
back into the family fold the company that had once sent a plane
- also in 1948 to fetch the new Yale Graduate George H.W. Bush,
to begin his career in the Texas oil business. Bush the elder's
father, Prescott, served as a managing director for the firm that
once owned Dresser, Brown Bothers Harriman.
It is clear that everywhere there is oil
there is Brown and Root. But increasingly, everywhere there is
war or insurrection there is Brown and Root also. From Bosnia
and Kosovo, to Chechnya, to Rwanda, to Burma, to Pakistan, to
Laos, to Vietnam, to Indonesia, to Iran, to Libya, to Mexico,
to Colombia, Brown and Root's traditional operations have expanded
from heavy construction to include the provision of logistical
support for the US military. Now, instead of US Army quartermasters,
the world is likely to see Brown and Root warehouses storing and
managing everything from uniforms to rations to vehicles.
As the Bush secretary of defense during Desert Shield/Desert Storm
(1990-91), Cheney also directed special operations involving Kurdish
rebels in northern Iraq. The Kurds' primary source of income for
more than 50 years has been heroin smuggling from Afghanistan
and Pakistan through Iran, Iraq, and Turkey.
From 1994 to 1999, during US military intervention in the Balkans
where according to "The Christian Science Monitor" and
"Jane's Intelligence Review," the Kosovo Liberation
Army controls 70 percent of the heroin entering Western Europe.
... February 2001 ... a five-volume US Senate investigation of
money laundering by foreign banks through the US banking system.
Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), the ranking minority member of
the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, issued
a particularly scathing minority report but seemed to miss the
Through the Minority Staff's year-long investigation, its 450-page
report, its close look at 10 high-risk foreign banks and its survey
of 20 major US correspondent banks, and through the Subcommittee's
two days of hearings last week with experts and correspondent
banking participants, we are getting a good understanding of the
role of US correspondent banking in money laundering. Drug traffickers,
defrauders, bribe takers, and other perpetrators of crimes can
do indirectly - through a foreign bank's correspondent account
with a US bank - what they can't readily do directly have access
to a US bank account. The stability of the US dollar, the services
our banks perform, and the safety and soundness of our banking
system make access to a US bank account an extremely attractive
objective for money launderers. It is up to us - the Congress,
the regulators, the banks - to try to stop money launderers from
reaping the benefits of the prestigious banking system and stable
economy we've worked so hard to achieve.
Levin's statement missed the fact that
the US economy was directly benefiting from this practice. Specifically
named as offending banks, all too willing to do business with
shell banks or banks known to lauder illegal money, were JPMorgan
Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and First Union Bank.
That report, and testimony during the
hearings, acknowledged that approximately $500 billion to $1 trillion
in criminal money was laundered annually through the US banking
system. While acknowledging that correspondent banking had been
a significant factor in the looting of Russia and in aiding terrorist
and drug organizations, the report did not fully explore money
laundering through US securities markets or by US banks directly.
It did, however, acknowledge that probably half of all laundered
money, anywhere, got washed in the United States.
Perhaps the best summation of how the
global economy actually functioned just prior to the World Trade
Center attacks was offered in a brilliant two-part series by Le
Monde Diplomatique in the spring of 2000. In part, the series
Indeed the engine of capitalist expansion
is now oiled by the profits of serious crime. From time to time
something is done to give theo impression of waging war on the
rapidly expanding banking and tax havens. If governments really
wanted to, they could right this overnight. But though there are
calls for zero tolerance of petty crime and unemployment, nothing
is being done about the big money crimes.
Financial crime is becoming less visible,
periodically coming to light in one country or another in the
guise of scandals involving companies, banks, political parties,
leaders, cartels, mafias. This flood of illicit transactions offences
under national law or international agreements has come to be
portrayed just as accidental malfunctions of free market economics
and democracy that can be put right by something called "good
governance." But the reality is quite different. It is a
coherent system closely linked to the expansion of modern capitalism
and based on an association of three partners: governments, transnational
corporations, and mafias. Business is business: financial crime
is first and foremost a market, thriving and structured, ruled
by supply and demand.
Big business complicity and political
laissez faire is the only way that large-scale organized crime
can launder and recycle the fabulous proceeds of its activities.
And the transnationals need the support of governments and the
neutrality 0f the regulatory authorities in order to consolidate
their positions, increase their profits, withstand or crush the
competition, pull off the "deal of the century" and
finance their illicit operations. Politicians are directly involved,
and their ability to intervene depends on the backing and the
funding that keep them in power This collusion of interests is
an essential part of the world economy, the oil that keeps the
wheels of capitalism turning.
Better still, under the aegis of international
financial crime's number one partner, the US, we are seeing a
rationalization, or rather, Americanization, of corruption techniques,
seeking to replace the somewhat archaic practices of palm-greasing
and secret (or open) "commission" payments by lobbying,
which is more effective and presentable. It is a service industry
in which the Americans have a considerable lead over their competitors,
not only in know-how, but also in the vast financial and logistical
resources they are able to make available to their multinationals;
these include the secret services of the world's most powerful
state apparatus, which, with the cold war over, have moved into
The only objective of the anti-corruption
campaigns taken up by international organizations (World Bank,
IMF, and OECD) is the "good governance" of a financial
crime that is now an integral part of market globalizations under
the leadership of the American democracy, the most corrupt on
Countries have opened their borders wider
to criminal trades more than to any other kind. Doubtless they
had little choice, since the real pioneers of globalization, the
1960s drugs traffickers, obviously did not ask anyone's permission
before organizing trade in the world's most expensive and profitable
commodity on a global scale.
In May 2001 Citigroup paid more than $12 billion in cash to purchase
Banco Nacional de Mexico, better known as Banamex. Its owner,
Roberto Hernandez, was widely known to be one of the largest drug
money launderers in Mexico. Hernandez is also one of the largest
landowners on the Yucatan Peninsula, home to the famous vacation
resort of Cancun. Because of the drug smuggling activity on Hernandez's
land, the locals have come to call it "The Cocaine Peninsula."
After buying Banamex, undoubtedly to gain
control of its large cash flows, ') Citigroup placed Hernandez
on their board of directors, right next to former CIA Director
John Deutch and former US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Hernandez
is known for his political clout. Bill Clinton vacationed on his
property in 2000. Hernandez also shared a media consultant with
George W. Bush in 2000.8 And the day after
he was elected, Mexican President Vicente Fox paid a courtesy
call to Hernandez, no doubt to express gratitude and ask for direction.
Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book The Grand Chessboard
About 75 percent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most
of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises
and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the
world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's p known energy
Though the seeds had been planted by the outgoing first Bush administration,
the US assistance program to facilitate Russia's transition to
capitalism took off under the new Clinton administration in 1993.
A task force headed by Vice President Al Gore, Treasury Secretary
Lawrence Summers, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot and
involving exclusive US Treasury contracts with Goldman Sachs,
the Harvard Institute for International Development, the IMF,
and the World Bank worked in partnership with the government of
Boris Yeltsin to remake the Russian economy. What happened was
that Russia, in the words of Yeltsin himself, became a "mafiocracy"
and was looted of more than $500 billion in assets; its economy
was ruined, its currency destroyed, its population rendered desperate,
and its ability to support a world-class military establishment
Journalist Anne Williamson was for many years a leading expert
on Russian and Soviet affairs, spoke to Congress in 1999, and
that record is available. She pulled no punches in describing
the rape of a country and of a people who had already been victimized
by seven decades of Soviet communism:
And there is no mistake as to who the
victims are, i.e., Western, principally US, taxpayers and Russian
citizens whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered
and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets.
Western assistance, IMF lending, and
the targeted division of national assets are what provided Boris
Yeltsin the initial wherewithal to purchase his constituency of
ex-Komsomol [Communist Youth League, bank chiefs, who were given
the freedom and the mechanisms to plunder their own country in
tandem with a resurgent and more economically competent criminal
class. The new elite learned everything about the confiscation
of wealth, but nothing about its creation.
Brzezinski had made it a priority to identify
the motivating factors that drove the political elites in a country
that needed to be managed What Williamson described is the creation
and installation of a whole new set o elites, the oligarchs, whose
motives personal enrichment at any cost -- were already known.
The Empire loved the oligarchs because they were simple and could
be easily controlled with money.
Once all the assets had been transferred to the oligarchs, who
were becoming fabulously wealthy, it was a simple matter for them
to liquidate those assets by selling them to the US and other
Western countries, and then laundering their money through US
financial institutions such as the Bank of New York. The money
laundering and transfer of wealth made more than the Russian oligarchs
rich. Billions of dollars accrued to Bank of New York executives
and stockholders in 1999.23 And during the years of the Clinton
administration, as Al Gore worked in exclusive partnership with
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin, the Harvard
Endowment's value rose from 3 to 19-plus billion dollars.
... the Russian economy collapsed so badly  that it was
necessary to secure an IMF bailout. That's the kiss of death for
any country. Americans paid for that. Then in 1998 the Russian
ruble inevitably collapsed because the debt couldn't be paid,
and the people started starving in earnest. Consider these passages
from a congressional investigation, the aforementioned Cox Report:
The culmination of the Clinton administration's
fatally flawed macroeconomic policy for Russia occurred in August
1998, when Russia's default on its debts and devaluation of the
ruble led to the nation's total economic collapse. By all measurements,
the disaster was worse than America's crash of 1929.
The disaster that began on August 17,
1998, spread immediately throughout Russia. Millions of ordinary
men and women who had deposited their money in Russian banks lost
everything. ATM and debit cards ceased to work. Dozens of banks
became insolvent and disappeared. Angry depositors besieged Russian
banks, only to learn they had been wiped out.
Millions of senior citizens, whose meager
pension income had been suspended for months, were cut off completely.
When the dust finally settled in March 1999, the ruble - and with
it, every Russian's life savings had lost fully 75 percent of
The devastation of Russia's economy was
worse than what America experienced in the Great Depression. By
1932, the US gross national product had been cut by almost one-third.
But within just six months of the 1998 crash, Russia's economy,
measured in dollars, had fallen by more than two-thirds. From
$422 billion in 1997 [the year when The Grand Chessboard was published],
Russia's gross domestic product fell to only $132 billion by the
end of 1998.
At the end of 1929, following America's
disastrous stock market crash, unemployment in the United States
reached 1.5 million, representing 1.2 percent of the total population.
The 1998 collapse of the Russian economy was far worse: 11.3 million
Russians were jobless at the end of 1998 -7.7 percent of the nation's
In the crash of 1929, stock prices fell
17 percent by year end and 90 percent by the depth of the Great
Depression four years later. By contrast, the Russian stock market
lost 90 percent of its value in 1998 alone.
"Most fundamentally," said
Sergei Markov, an analyst at the Institute of Political Studies,
"it is a crisis of the real economy Russia doesn't work"
How much capital was looted out of Russia?
Five hundred billion dollars, according to Congress. And that
$500 billion was not stockholder equity, a paper loss from some
mutual fund. It was cash.
Anne Williamson succinctly summed up what had been done to the
people of Russia. She pointed out, "The Soviet Union was
economically self-sufficient except for bananas, coffee, and coconuts."
By the dawning of the new century, except for small parts of Moscow,
Saint Petersburg, and other cities where the oligarchs spent their
money, it was as badly ruined as it had been at the worst part
of World War II. It was a basket case that was self-sufficient
in nothing except for its own oil, that, incidentally, had already
passed the peak of production.
Paul Thompson and the Center for Cooperative Research (<www.cooperativeresearch.org>)
- September 11, 2001 timeline [excerpted]
1991-1997: The Soviet Union collapses
in 1991, creating many new nations in Central Asia. Major US oil
companies, including ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell,
and Enron, directly invest billions in these Central Asian nations,
bribing heads of stare to secure equity rights in the huge oil
reserves in these regions.
... September 27, 1996: The Taliban conquer
Kabul and establish control over much of Afghanistan. Unocal is
hopeful that the Taliban will stabilize Afghanistan, and allow
their pipeline plans to go forward. In fact, "preliminary
agreement [on the pipeline] was reached between [the Taliban and
Unocal] long before the fall of Kabul."
October 11, 1996: The Telegraph has an
interesting article about pipeline politics in Afghanistan. Some
quotations: "Behind the tribal clashes that have scarred
Afghanistan lies one of the great prizes of the 21st century,
the fabulous energy reserves of Central Asia." "The
deposits are huge,' said a diplomat from the region. 'Kazakhstan
alone may have more oil than Saudi Arabia. [Again, note that this
is before any extensive drilling took place]. Turkmenistan is
already known to have the fifth-largest gas reserves in the world."'
"Oil industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline
across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political
ally of Americans, has been so supportive of the Taliban, and
why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan."
... Mid-July, 2001: John O'Neill, FBI
counter-terrorism expert, privately discusses White House obstruction
in his bin Laden investigation. O'Neill says, "The main obstacles
to investigate Islamic terrorism were US oil corporate interests
and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it." He also states,
'All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's
organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia." He also believes
the White House is obstructing his investigation of bin Laden
because they are still keeping the idea of a pipeline deal with
the Taliban open. [CNN, 1/8/02; CNN, 1/9/02; Irish Times, 11/19/01;
the book Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, released 11/11/01]
... December 22, 2001: Prime Minister
Hamid Karzai takes power in Afghanistan. It had been revealed
a few weeks earlier that he had been a paid consultant for Unocal,
as well as deputy foreign minister for the Taliban for a time.
[Le Monde, 12/13/01; CNN, 11/22/011
... February 14, 2002: The Israeli newspaper
Ma'ariv astutely notes [in a column by Un Averny]: "If one
looks at the map of the big American bases created [in the Afghan
war], one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical
to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean."
The same article also states, "Osama bin Laden did not comprehend
that his actions serve American interests .... If I were a believer
in conspiracy theory, I would think that bin Laden is an American
agent. Not being one I can only wonder at the coincidence."
[Chicago Tribune, 3/18/02]
Revelations that the Project for a New American Century (PNAC),
contributor of so many Bush administration officeholders, planned
for an Iraqi occupation as far back as September of 2000 coincide
with the Caspian basin drilling results. The PNAC report mentioned
Iraq in 24 places and stated:
Indeed, the United States has for decades
sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security.
While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate
justification, the need for a substantial American force presence
in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'
The rise of the Taliban to assert control over fragmented tribal
cultures in Afghanistan happened because the CIA and the ISI made
it happen.(According to the lingering cover story) the United
States believed that in the Taliban it had found one group that
could unify the country and provide a stable platform for the
construction of pipelines. This may in fact have been the case
at first, but as the Caspian oil bonanza went bust, things changed,
the CIA still protected the Taliban. Why?
In The War on Freedom, [Nafeez] Ahmed]
of the Institute for Policy and Research Development] wrote:
Control of Afghanistan by the warlords
of the Northern Alliance was increasingly curbed by Taliban forces
backed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. When the Taliban took control
of Kabul in 1996, signaling the faction's domination of Afghanistan,
respected French observer Oliver Roy noted that: "When the
Taliban took power in Afghanistan ) (1996), it was largely orchestrated
by the Pakistani secret service [ISI] ( and the oil company Unocal,
(with its Saudi ally Delta.)
This was confirmed by additional research
from Peter Dale Scott indicating that ISI support for the Taliban
was facilitated - if not directed by Saudi Arabia, the CIA, and
After a visit by the head of Saudi intelligence,
Prince Turki [Saudi Arabia's liaison with bin Laden for more than
20 years], to Islamabad and Kandahar ... now admit that the US
supported the rise of the Taliban.
from Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11 by Michel
Carefully planned intelligence operation
The 9/11 terrorists did not act on their
own volition. The suicide hijackers were instruments in a carefully
planned intelligence operation. The evidence confirms that al
Qaeda is supported by Pakistan's military intelligence, the Inter-services
Intelligence (ISI). Amply documented, the ISI owes its existence
to the CIA: "With CIA backing and the funnelling of massive
amounts of US military aid, the ISI developed [since the early
1980s] into a parallel structure wielding enormous power over
all aspects of government .... The ISI had a staff composed of
military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents,
and informers estimated at 150,000."
The missing link
The FBI confirmed in late September 2001,
in an interview with ABC News (which went virtually unnoticed)
that the 9/11 ring leader, Mohammed Atta, had been financed from
unnamed sources in Pakistan:
As to September 11th, federal authorities
have told ABC News they have now tracked more than $100,000 from
banks in Pakistan, to two banks in Florida, to accounts held by
suspected hijack ring leader, Mohammed Atta .... Time Magazine
is reporting that some of that money came in the days just before
the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to Osama
bin Laden. It's all part of what has been a successful FBI effort
so far to close in on the hijacker's high commander, the money
men, the planners, and the mastermind.
The FBI had information on the money trail.
They knew exactly who was financing the terrorists. Less than
two weeks later, the findings of the FBI were confirmed by Agence
France Presse (AFP) and the Times of India, quoting an official
Indian intelligence report (which had been dispatched to Washington).
According to these two reports, the money used to finance the
9/11 attacks had allegedly been "wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed
Atta from Pakistan, by Ahmad Umar Sheikh, at the instance of [ISI
Chief] General Mahmoud [Ahmad]."
With so much damning evidence stacking up to suggest that the
CIA had actually helped to finance the 9/11 attacks, there was
nothing left for the mainstream press to do but engage in a game
of confusion. Instead of asking the questions that should have
been asked, the media confused the issue by describing the same
man in his roles as ISI agent and bin Laden bagman under many
different names and by attempting to insert another individual
into the mix. Researcher Chaim Kupferberg documented the major
media's name game in trying to confuse Sheikh's identity with
another man, bin Laden's brother-in-law. Kupferberg meticulously
pulled apart about two dozen mainstream press reports and demonstrated
deceptive reporting in attempts to conceal Sheik's identity by
attributing acts originally been reported as Sheikh's to another
person entirely. After Sheik's conviction for Pearl's murder in
July 2002, other revelations showed that Pearl had maintained
fairly close relationships with the CIA. One report indicated
that Pearl was involved in passing a hard-drive from an al Qaeda
laptop computer to the CIA. Another quoted former CIA case officer
Robert Baer as saying, "I was working with Pearl." Baer
stated in the story that he had been encouraging Pearl to investigate
the CIA's top operational suspect in the attacks, Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed. Abandoning the tortuous logic of trying to rationalize
actions indicating guilty knowledge and cover-up, it is appropriate
to ask if Pearl was really investigating the hottest 9/11 story
around. Was Pearl investigating the ISP At least two sources say
yes. Kupferberg wrote" Tariq Ali of the Guardian reported
on April 5, 2002: 'Those he [Pearl] was in touch with say he was
working to uncover links between the intelligence services and
terrorism. His newspaper has been remarkably coy, refusing to
disclose the leads Pearl was pursuing.' And in the spring of 2002
interviewed an international attorney just returning from several
months of work in Pakistan. Because he has ongoing business in
Pakistan I cannot name him here, but I can tell you what he said.
"Oh, there's no doubt about it. It was common knowledge on
the streets. Pearl was investigating the ISI."
BUSINESS WITH THE BIN LADENS::i THE REAL
George W Bush, September 13, 2001
The most important thing for us is to
find Osama bin Laden. It's our number one priority, and we will
not rest until we find him.
George W, Bush, March 13, 2002
I don't know where he is. I have no idea,
and I really don't care. It's not that important. It is not our
Osama bin Laden is probably the last witness
the United States would like to have interrogated. There is a
compelling case to be made that Osama bin Laden has long been
a well-cultivated, protected, and valued asset of US and British
intelligence. It is also possible that he has been used.
The bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia is
vastly different from what has been described in the American
press. Much of its wealth, power, sophistication, and political
and economic influence has been overlooked. A close examination
leads directly to US economic and intelligence interests. And
this does much to explain why American corporate media has avoided
discussing it in detail.
To understand the deep connections and
alliances between the bin Ladens and Western economic and political
interests - including the Bush family - is to glimpse the overall
fragmented nature of Saudi Arabia: at once extremely powerful
and extremely fragile because of its own internal fault lines;
under intense f pressure and held together by extraordinary means;
manipulated unceasingly by J) the United States and its own elites.
It is necessary to dispel one popular
myth that has remained in the public consciousness since September
11: that of Osama bin Laden as an outcast, totally estranged from
his family. This estrangement allegedly occurred after the 1991
Iraq War as the United States kept its military bases on Saudi
soil and Osama, who had been a US ally and CIA protégé
during the Soviet-Afghan conflict of the 1980s, turned towards
The US government could have easily apprehended bin Laden with
Sudanese assistance. The Sudanese would have gladly provided it
in order to continue receiving US financial aid. Instead the US
forced the Sudanese to expel bin Laden, driving him back into
Afghanistan, where he became a pivotal influence in the growing
power of al Qaeda and the Taliban. In fact, the Sudanese government
offered to take bin Laden into custody and was rebuffed. One is
compelled to ask whether this is collective, contagious, and continuing
stupidity or more evidence of desired outcomes being realized.
The Washington Post explicitly suggested
that the real relationship between the United States government
and Osama bin Laden may be quite the opposite of what it seems.
"As early as March 1996, the government of Sudan offered
to extradite bin Laden to the United States. US officials turned
down the offer, perhaps preferring to use him 'as a combatant
in an underground war.
The Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)
Perhaps the most comprehensive breakdown
of the bin Laden family's operations was compiled by former French
intelligence consultant Jean-Charles Brisard as a project commissioned
by the French intelligence community entitled The Economic Network
of the bin Laden Family. Much of that work was reproduced in Forbidden
With its headquarters in Jeddah, the parent
company of SBG, Saudi Investment Company (SICO) operates four
subsidiaries: SICO Curacao (Dutch Antilles), the Tropiville Corporation
NV (Dutch Antilles), Falken Ltd. (Cayman Islands), and Islay Holdings
(Isle d'Islay). Falken and Tropiville together own Russell Wood
Holdings Ltd. (London) and Russell Wood Ltd. (London). An additional
six subsidiaries, controlled by either Russell Wood or Islay Holdings,
all with innocuous sounding names starting with "Falcon,"
"Globe," "Turkey Rock," or "Saffron,"
are all located in Britain. In addition, one subsidiary, Falcon
Properties Ltd., in conjunction with Saudi investor Ghaith Pharoan,
owns the Attock Oil Company, also located in England.
Founded in 1931 at the same time as the
nation of Saudi Arabia, the bin Laden family business is the largest
construction company in the Middle East. But this easy observation
leads to a tangled web of financial and political machinations.
The holding companies are located on Caribbean islands frequently
associated with money laundering. Obviously a great many financial
and corporate entities can be concealed within tightly controlled
holding companies. What else is known about the operations of
The Saudi Binladin Group owns orbiting
satellites and has contracts with the US Department of Defense
(DoD). Iridium Satellite, LLC is a privately held, bin Laden Group
company which owns a series of 73 low-orbit stationary satellites
designed to provide satellite phone coverage across the surface
of the Earth. Originally developed by Motorola, Iridium LLC was
bankrupt in 1999 when the bin Laden group purchased it and renamed
it Iridium Satellite, LLC. The company is based in Leesburg, VA,
not far from the CIA and the National Reconnaissance Office. Since
the bankruptcy takeover, the company has garnered a $72 million
DoD contract and a $300,000 NSF grant to "gauge the magnetic
characteristics of the energy fields caused by solar storms."
Apparently, 600 Iridium Satellite phones
were en route to Florida on September 11 and were redirected to
NYC to help with the tragedy. After September 11, there was some
talk of using Iridium Satellite LLC's "low Earth orbiting
satellites to provide real-time cockpit voice and flight data
monitoring of commercial aircraft, replacing the on-board 'black
SBG's construction arm was involved in
the building of US military bases in Saudi Arabia, including the
Khobar towers, destroyed by a terrorist bomb in June 1996 killing
19 US servicemen. SBG also had business ventures with US oil companies
such as Unocal and Enron. In addition they built large portions
of the holy sites at Mecca for the Saudi government as a result
of a special relationship they have enjoyed with the royal family
since the founding of the kingdom.
As the exclusive contractor for the holy
sites in Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem (until 1967), SBG and the
bin Laden family enjoyed virtually competition-free access to
government contracts. The company even served as a tutor for members
of the royal family on matters of business and international finance.
Even more significant, in an Islamic culture strictly opposed
to the collection of interest, "the SBG is the only private
Saudi institution able to issue bonds. In 2001 it had 35,000 employees
with estimated revenues of $3 - 5 billion. In the 1980s it represented
the likes of Porsche and Audi and developed Saudi partnerships
with GE, Nortel, and Schweppes. All of these companies pretend
to this day that SBG and Osama bin Laden are totally divorced."
As for its banking relationships, SBG
is known to favor the Saudi Commercial Bank, Deutsche Bank's London
office, and Citigroup. It also has extensive financial relationships
with Goldman Sachs and the Fremont Group, a San Francisco investment
firm whose directorate includes former Secretary of State George
P. Shultz. His connections to the SBG reach from the banking side
to the construction side; Shultz is the former CEO of the Bechtel
Group, a heavy construction firm with major interests in pipeline
construction throughout the Middle East.° Just after the US
occupation of Iraq in April 2003, Bechtel was awarded a contract
worth up to $680 million to assist in the rebuilding of Iraqi
In 2001, the Wall Street Journal succinctly
captured the importance of SBG in the operations of the Empire:
"If there were ever any company closely
connected to the US and its presence in Saudi Arabia, it's the
Saudi Binladin Group," says Charles Freeman, president of
the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington nonprofit concern
that receives tens of thousands of dollars a year from the bin
... Why is Carlyle so significant? As
a holding company and investment bank, it is a major component
of the US defense industry. Most people are unaware that on September
11, 2001, as the attacks were taking place, members of the bin
Laden family (along with other key investors) were in Washington,
DC meeting with the Carlyle Group at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, just
blocks away from the White House. Following are excerpts from
that [FTW] story.
The Carlyle Group, the Bushes, and bin
The warnings about the Carlyle Group,
the [at that time] nation's eleventh largest defense contractor,
and the Bushes came long before the World Trade Center attacks.
The Carlyle Group is a closely held corporation, exempt, for that
reason, from reporting its affairs to the Securities and Exchange
Commission. Little is known of what it actually does except that
it buys and sells defense contractors. As of October 4, 2001,
it has removed its corporate website from the World Wide web,
making further investigation through that channel impossible.
Its Directors include Frank Carlucci, former Reagan Secretary
of Defense; James Baker, former Bush Secretary of State; and Richard
Darman, a former White House aide to Ronald Reagan and Republican
On March 5, 2001, just weeks after George
W Bush's inauguration, the conservative Washington lobbying group
Judicial Watch issued a press release. It said:
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public
interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government
abuse and corruption, called on former President George Herbert
Walker Bush to resign immediately from the Carlyle Group, a private
investment firm, while his son President George W. Bush is in
office. Today's New York Times reported that the elder Bush is
an 'ambassador' for the $12 billion private investment firm and
last year traveled to the Middle East on its behalf. The former
president also helped the firm in South Korea.
The New York Times reported that as compensation,
the elder Bush is allowed to buy a stake in the Carlyle Group's
investments, which include ownership in at least 164 companies
throughout the world (thereby by giving the current president
an indirect benefit). James Baker, the former Secretary of State
who served as President George W. Bush's point man in Florida's
election dispute, is a partner in the firm. The firm also gave
George W. Bush help in the early 1990s when it placed him on one
of its subsidiary's board of directors.
"This is simply inappropriate. Former
President Bush should immediately resign from the Carlyle Group
because it is an obvious conflict of interest. Any foreign government
or foreign investor trying to curry favor with the current Bush
administration is sure to throw business to the Carlyle Group.
And with the former President Bush promoting the firm's investments
abroad, foreign nationals could understandably confuse the Carlyle
Group's interests with the interests of the United States government,"
stated Larry Klayman, Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel.
"Questions are now bound to be raised
if the recent Bush administration change in policy towards Iraq
has the fingerprints of the Carlyle Group, which is trying to
gain investments from other Arab countries who would presumably
benefit from the new policy," stated Judicial Watch President
Judicial Watch noted that "even the
Clinton administration called on the Rodham brothers to stop their
business dealings in [the former Soviet Republic of] Georgia because
those dealings started to destabilize that country."
Since the WTC attacks, the Wall Street
Journal has reported (September 28, 2001) that, "George H.
W. Bush, the father of President Bush, works for the bin Laden
family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, an
international consulting firm." The senior Bush had met with
the bin Laden family at least twice in the last three years (1998
and 2000) as a representative of Carlyle, seeking to expand business
dealings with one of the wealthiest Saudi families, which, some
experts argue, has never fully severed its ties with black sheep
Osama in spite of current reports in a mainstream press that is
afraid of offending the current administration.
The Nation, on March 27, 2000 in a story
co-authored by David Corn and Paul Lashma wrote, "In January
former President George Bush and former British Prime Minister
John Major paid a social call on Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah
This story confirms at least one meeting between the elder Bush
and Saudi leaders, including the bin Ladens. That the bin Ladens
attended this meeting was confirmed in a subsequent September
27, 2001, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) story. The January 2000 meeting
with the bin Ladens was also later confirmed by Bush (the elder's)
Chief of Staff Jean Becker, only after the WSJ presented her with
a thank-you note sent by Bush to the bin Ladens after that meeting.
James Baker visited the bin Ladens in
1998 and 1999 with [then] Carlyle CEO Frank Carlucci.
The WSJ story went on to note, "A
Carlyle executive said that the bin Laden family committed $2
million through a London investment arm in 1995 in Carlyle Partners
II Fund, which raised $1.3 billion overall. The fund has purchased
several aerospace companies among 29 deals. So far, the family
has received $1.3 million back in completed investments and should
ultimately realize a 40 percent annualized rate of return, the
Carlyle executive said.
"But a foreign financier with ties
to the bin Laden family says the family's overall investment with
Carlyle is considerably larger In other words, Osama bin Laden's
attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, with the resulting massive increase
in the US defense budget, have just made his family a great big
pile of money.
More Bush connections appear in relation
to the bin Ladens. The WSJ story also notes, "During the
past several years, the [bin Laden] family's close ties to the
Saudi royal family prompted executives and staff from closely
held New York publisher Forbes, Inc. to make two trips to the
family headquarters, according to Forbes Chairman Caspar Weinberger,
a former US Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration.
'We would call on them to get their view of the country and what
would be of interest to investors."
President G. H. W. Bush pardoned Weinberger
for his criminal conduct in the Iran-Contra scandal in 1989.
Our current President, George W. Bush,
has also had at minimum - indirect dealings with both Carlyle
and the bin Ladens. In 1976 his firm Arbusto Energy was funded
with $50,000 from Texas investment banker James R. Bath, who was
also the US investment counselor for the bin Laden family. In
his watershed 1992 book, The Mafia, the CIA and George Bush, award-winning
Texas investigative journalist Pete Brewton dug deeply into Bath's
background, revealing connections with the CIA and major fraudulent
activities connected with the Savings & Loan scandal that
took $500 billion out of the pockets of American taxpayers. A
long-time friend of George W. Bush, Bath was connected to a number
of covert financing operations in the Iran-Contra scandal, which
also linked to bin Laden friend Adnan Khashoggi. One of the richest
men in the world, Khashoggi was the arms merchant at the center
of the whole Iran-Contra scandal. Khashoggi, whose connections
to the bin Ladens is more than superficial, got his first business
break by acting as middleman for a large truck purchase by Osama
bin Laden's older brother, Salem.
Another key player in the Bush administration,
Deputy Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage, left his post as
an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration
after a series of scandals connected to CIA operatives Ed Wilson,
Ted Shackley, Richard Secord, and Tom Clines placed him at the
brink of criminal indictment and jail. Shackley and Secord are
veterans of Vietnam operations and have long been linked to opium/heroin
smuggling. The Armitage scandals all focused on the illegal provision
of weapons and war materiel to potential or actual enemies of
the US and to the Contras in Central America.
Armitage, [allegedly] a former Navy SEAL
who reportedly enjoyed combat missions and killing during covert
operations in Laos during the Vietnam War, has never been far
from the Bush family's side. Throughout his career, both in and
out of government, he has been perpetually connected to CIA drug
smuggling operations. Secretary of State Cohn Powell, in a 1995
Washington Post story, called Armitage, "my white son."
In 1990, then President Bush dispatched Armitage to Russia to
aid in its "transition" to capitalism. Armitage's Russian
work for Bush has been frequently connected to the explosion of
drug trafficking under the Russian Mafias who became virtual rulers
of the nation afterwards. In the early 1990s Armitage had extensive
involvement in Albania at the same time that the Albanian ally,
Kosovo Liberation Army, was coming to power and consolidating
its grip, according to the Christian Science Monitor, on 70 percent
of the heroin entering Western Europe.
Armitage and Carlucci are both board members
of the influential Washington think-tank, the Middle East Policy
Council. [This is the same Middle East Policy Council that receives
funding from the bin Laden family.]
According to a 2000 story from Harper's
Magazine, in 1990 our current president had additional connections
to the bin Laden family through a position as a corporate director
of Caterair, owned by the
Carlyle Group - at a time when the bin
Ladens were invested in Carlyle. On March 1, 1995, when George
W. Bush was Texas governor and a senior trustee of the University
of Texas, its endowment voted to place $10 million in investments
with the Carlyle Group. As to how much of that money went to the
bin Ladens, we can only guess. But we do know that there is a
long tradition in the Bush family of giving money to those who
Several bin Ladens turn up in the business life of President George
1988: Prior to this year, George Bush
Jr. is a failed oil man. Three times friends and investors have
bailed him out to keep him from going bankrupt. But in this year,
the same year his father becomes president, some Saudis buy a
portion of his small company, Harken, which has never worked outside
of Texas. Later in the year, Harken wins a contract in the Persian
Gulf and starts doing well financially. These transactions seem
so suspicious that even the Wall Street Journal in 1991 states
it "raises the question of ... an effort to cozy up to a
presidential son." Two major investors into Bush's company
during this time are Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's father,
and Khaled bin Mahfouz. [Salon, 11/19/01; Intelligence Newsletter,
Kosovo and the Balkans
Since 9/11 few have accomplished as much
as Professor Michel Chossudovsky of the University of Ottawa,
in exposing the deceitfulness of US government statements about
Osama bin Laden In 998 the United States openly sided with the
r- Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, then responsible for 70 percent
of the heroin smuggled into Western Europe, in a war against another
useful US-manufactured bogeyman, Slobodan Milosevic. And it is
there, Chossudovsky tells us, that bin Laden footprints appear
again. After examining 21 different source records including US
congressional records and reports by the Republican Party - he
found direct links between Osama and the CIA:
The evidence amply confirms that the
CIA never severed its ties to the "Islamic Militant Network."
Since the end of the Cold War, these covert intelligence links
have not only been maintained, they have become increasingly sophisticated.
New undercover initiatives financed by
the Golden Crescent drug trade were set in motion in Central Asia,
the Caucasus, and the Balkans. Pakistan's military and intelligence
apparatus (controlled by the CIA) essentially "served as
a catalyst for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the
emergence of six new Muslim republics in Central Asia..."
The same pattern was used in the Balkans
to arm and equip the Mujahideen fighting in the ranks of the Bosnian
Muslim army against the Armed Forces of the Yugoslav Federation.
Throughout the 1990s, the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence
(ISI) was used by the CIA as a go-between to channel weapons and
Mujahideen mercenaries to the Bosnian Muslim Army in the civil
war in Yugoslavia. According to a report of the London based International
Media Corporation: "Reliable sources report that the United
States is now  actively participating in the arming and
training of the Muslim forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina in direct
contravention of the United Nations accords."
Chossudovsky next draws the handcuffs
tighter around the wrists of both bin Laden and the CIA:
During September and October ,
there has been a stream of "Afghan" Mujahideen ... covertly
landed in Ploce, Croatia ... Confirmed by British military sources,
the task of arming and training of the KLA had been entrusted
in 1998 to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Britain's
secret intelligence service M16 .... Bin Laden had visited Albania
himself .... It is important to note that the KLA was basically
an Albanian ethnic Army and that it has been documented that Albanian
organized crime elements are both powerful and well respected
in the region, even by their Italian counterparts. Also, remember
that it was heroin grown in Afghanistan that was passing through
the KLAs hands that was funding a great many Islamic terrorist
organizations all over Europe and Asia.
Chossudovsky documented that some of bin
Laden's most trusted operatives even participated in the fighting.
"Another link to bin Laden is the fact that the brother of
a leader in an Egyptian jihad organization and also a military
commander of Osama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during
the Kosovo conflict. "
Further corroboration came in a May 1999
story in the Washington Times. Citing intelligence reports presumably
obtained from US agencies, reporter Jerry Seper wrote:
The intelligence reports document what
is described as a "link" between bin Laden, the fugitive
Saudi including a common staging area in Tropoje, Albania, a center
for Islamic terrorists. The reports said bin Laden's organization,
known as al Qaeda, has both trained and financially supported
Jane's International Defense Review, a
highly respected British journal, reported in February that documents
found last year on the body of a KLA member showed that he had
escorted several volunteers into Kosovo, including more than a
dozen Saudi Arabians.
It is important to remember that the NATO
commander in charge of all operations in the region was 2003-2004
Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark at a time when NATO
was supporting the KLA.
One 9/11 researcher drew compelling links
between Osama bin Laden and Chechnya, where Muslim separatists
remain a formidable thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir
In his 28 September interview [with a
pro-Taliban newspaper, bin Laden is quoted as follows: "I
can go from Indonesia to Algeria, Kabul to Chechnya, Bosnia to
Sudan, and Burma to Kashmir," he said. "This is not
a question of my survival. This is the question of the survival
of jihad (holy war)."
"Wherever required, I will be there."
This amounts to a confession that bin
Laden has been involved with the very terrorists that the US has
sponsored, for example in Chechnya, Bosnia, Macedonia, Algeria,
and Indonesia, and also with the KLA whom the US government has
sponsored in attacking Serbia.
Chossudovsky again expanded on and illuminated
the secret and mutually beneficial relationship between Osama
bin Laden and the CIA:
With regard to Chechnya, the main rebel
leaders Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab were trained and indoctrinated
in CIA sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According
to Yossef Bodansky, director of the US Congress's Task Force on
Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the war in Chechnya had
been planned during a secret summit of Hezbollah International
held in 1996 in Mogadishu, Somalia.
The summit was attended by Osama bin
Laden and high-ranking Iranian and Pakistani intelligence officers.
In this regard, the involvement of Pakistan's ISI in Chechnya
"goes far beyond supplying the Chechens with weapons and
expertise: the ISI and its radical Islamic proxies are actually
calling the shots in this war."
Russia's main pipeline route transits
through Chechnya and Dagestan. Despite Washington's perfunctory
condemnation of Islamic terrorism, the indirect beneficiaries
of the Chechen war are the Anglo-American oil conglomerates which
are vying for control over oil resources and pipeline corridors
out of the Caspian Sea basin.
The two main Chechen rebel armies (respectively
led by Commander Shamil Basayev and Emit Khattab) estimated at
35,000 strong were supported by Pakistan's ISI, which also played
a key role in organizing and training the Checheri rebel army.
Excerpted and updated from the August 2002 issue of From The Wilderness:
Saudi Arabia: The Sarajevo of the 21st
... Why was Saudi Arabia not a focus of
US action and serious media attention in the immediate aftermath
of September 11, even though there were so many obvious connections?
And why is Saudi Arabia now so prominently a focus of what is
apparently government-approved US animosity? One thing is obvious:
the deployment of US military personnel in the region for the
invasion of Iraq is also a convenient placement of resources for
what may be a one-two punch to take over a tottering kingdom that
owns 25 percent of all the oil on the planet at the same time
that Saddam Hussein is removed from power in a country that controls
another 11 percent. Together, the two countries - which appear
not to have peaked in production capacity just yet, and which
are the only two nations capable of an immediate increase in output
- possess 36 percent of the world's known oil. [FTW became the
first news service to report on the possibility of Saudi Arabia's
having peaked in May 2003. This was more than a year before the
possibility was raised in the New York Times.]
The Saudi situation is complicated by
much of Saudi Arabia's wealth being invested in US financial markets;
its sudden loss could devastate the US economy. But Bush brinksmanship
- an understatement is making possible a scenario where Saudis
long loyal to the US markets cut off their own arm in a coyote-like
effort to free themselves from a trap that threatens the stability
both of their kingdom and of the global economy.
Osama bin Laden is a Saudi. Fifteen of
the 9/11 hijackers [according to their passports] were Saudi.
There has been an obvious and clear financial trail showing Saudi
support for al Qaeda. In fact, as has recently been noted by French
author and former intelligence officer Jean-Charles Brisard in
his Forbidden Truth, the financial support network of al Qaeda
is a virtual cut-and-paste reincarnation of BCCI, a Pakistani
bank known for terrorist, drug, and CIA connections in the 1980s.
One of BCCI's former executives, Khaled bin Mahfouz,rem'ai'ns
the banker for the Saudi royal family today.
... Owning the American Dream
It is impossible to quantify exactly the
Saudi holdings in the US economy. But anecdotal evidence is compelling.
The New York Times reported on August 11, "An adviser to
the Saudi royal family made a telling point about Saudi elites.
He said an estimated $600 billion to $700 billion in Saudi money
was invested outside the kingdom, a vast majority of it in the
United States or in United States-related investments."
... taken as a whole, the dollar-denominated
wealth of the Saudi royals is so large that its sudden withdrawal
from the American economy would be devastating to America. And
it would entail very serious financial losses for the Saudi investors,
who would find themselves with a mountain of dollars whose value
they had just decimated, backed by the full faith and credit of
the tooth fairy. So the dreaded Saudi money-withdrawal is in nobody's
nearterm interest and it does not happen. It keeps right on not
happening, and will presumably continue to not happen for a long
time to come.
But this assumes, of course, that the
Saudi monarchy remains a stable political entity; that the US
economy does not implode under its own debt-load; that no major,
protracted regional conflict occurs; and that the US therefore
remains the most profitable place for Saudi investment. But if
the US economy fails? If the Euro becomes stronger than the dollar?
September 13-19, 2001: Members of bin Laden's family and important
Saudis are flown out of the US. The New York Times explains, "The
young members of the bin Laden clan were driven or flown under
FBI supervision to a secret assembly point in Texas and then to
Washington from where they left the country on a private charter
plane when airports reopened three days after the attacks."
If you read carefully, note they are flown to Texas and Washington
before the national air ban is lifted - the fact of flights during
this ban is now unfortunately widely called an urban legend. [New
York Times, 9/30/011 There have been conflicting reports as to
whether the FBI interviewed them before they left the country.
Osama bin Laden's half brother Abdullah bin Laden stated that
even a month later his only contact with the FBI was a brief phone
call. [Boston Globe, 9/21/01; New Yorker, 11/5/01]
It turns out that the flights did occur,
and according to former National Security aide Richard Clarke,
in his testimony before the Kean Commission, the orders possibly
came from "The White House."
Paul Thompson's timeline adds more details
of the special flights:
September 13, 2001: Confirmation that
bin Ladens and Saudis did fly during the no-fly ban and left the
country before they could be properly questioned comes from a
Tampa Tribune article. A Lear jet takes off from Tampa, Florida,
while a ban on all non-military flights in the US is still in
effect. It carries a Saudi Arabian prince, the son of the Saudi
defense minister, as well as the son of a Saudi army commander,
and flies to Lexington, Kentucky, where the Saudis own racehorses.
They then fly a private 747 out of the country. Multiple 747s
with Arabic lettering on their sides are already there, suggesting
another secret assembly point. Intriguingly, the Tampa flight
left from private Raytheon hangar. [Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01]
The Village Voice's James Ridgeway wrote:
[Niece of former CIA Director Richard
Helms and Taliban Lobbyist Laila] Helms described one incident
after another in which, she claimed, the Taliban agreed to give
up bin Laden to the US, only to be rebuffed by the State Department.
On one occasion, she said, the Taliban agreed to give the US coordinates
for his campsite, leaving enough time so the Yanks could whack
al Qaeda's leader with a missile before he moved. The proposal,
she claims, was nixed.
As with Russia, the political elites in Saudi Arabia are either
created or defined by American money and influence. As the US
used the Mafia in Russia to destabilize and neutralize that country,
so too it appears it has done in Saudi Arabia with al Qaeda. That
country, with 25 percent of the oil on the planet, has only existed
since 1931. What arguable overriding loyalty to their country
exists for those Saudis whose billions depend upon the Empire?
If the performance of the Russian oligarchs is any standard, then
the malignant Iraq war and the increasingly serious stirrings
of Islamic protest might lead to a collapse in Saudi Arabia within
a year or two that would play right into America's hands. Then
the biggest prize of all will have been safely secured before
the world even understands what has happened.
Skeptics will point to the fact that on April 29, 2003, the Pentagon
announced that it was beginning to remove American military personnel
and aircraft from Saudi Arabia to nearby bases in Qatar, Kuwait,
and Dubai. They might assert that this shows that the US has no
intention of military action against Saudi Arabia. I would contend,
on the other hand, that if the kingdom becomes unstable, having
military resources out of the country, but close enough to launch
immediate attacks, is a way of protecting them from sabotage or
attack if the anti-American sentiment felt by most of the Saudi
populace is unleashed. That eventuality arrived in 2004 as the
state department ordered an evacuation of Saudi Arabia, and bombs
blew apart Saudi police facilities.
As for Osama bin Laden, he will not be
caught or killed until two things happen: He has outlived his
usefulness as an enemy at a time when the United States need no
longer fear economic reprisals; and Israel has emerged as the
de facto global manager of all economic interests in the Middle
East. Neither is a certainty.