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, paper

Alexander Solzhenitzen
"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 the exercise.'

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?

Benito Mussolini
"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 Geostrategic Imperatives

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 future.


Cheney Knew

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 efforts ...

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 do then?

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 stock trader.

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 New York."

... 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 to Moscow.

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, <>, 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 obvious:
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 said:

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 economic warfare.

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 the planet.

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 Texas Governor

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 resources.

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 smashed.

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 [1998] 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 its value.

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 total population.

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 (<>) - 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." [Telegraph, 10/11/96]

... 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 Unocal.

Ahmed continued:

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 Chossudovsky

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."



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 priority.


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 terrorism.

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 Truth.

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 this empire?

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 boxes."

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 infrastructure.

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 Laden family.



... 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 Laden

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 Party operative.

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 Tom Fitton.

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 kill Americans.

Several bin Ladens turn up in the business life of President George W. Bush.

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, 3/2/00127

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 [1994] 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 [1994], 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 the KIA

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 Putin:

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 Century

... 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.

Crossing the Rubicon

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