FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bush, bin Laden, BCCI and the 9/11 Commission

When George W. Bush’s first choice to head an “independent” probe into the Sept. 11 attacks–suspected war criminal Henry Kissinger–went down like a bad pretzel, he quickly plucked another warm body from the stagnant pool of Establishment worthies who are periodically called upon to roll out the whitewash when the big boys screw up.

Kissinger’s replacement, retired New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, was a “safe pair of hands,” we were assured by the professional assurers in the mainstream media. The fact that he’d been out of public life for years–and that he hadn’t collaborated in the deaths of tens of thousands of Cambodians, Chileans and East Timorese–certainly made him less controversial than his predecessor, although to be fair, Kissinger’s expertise in mass murder surely would have given the panel some unique insights into the terrorist atrocity.

But now it seems that Kean might possess some unique insights of his own. Fortune Magazine reports this week that both Kean and Bush share an unusually well-placed business partner: one Khalid bin Mahfouz — perhaps better known as “Osama bin Laden’s bagman” or even “Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law.”

Kean, like so many worthies, followed the revolving door out of public service into lucrative sweetheart deals and well-wadded sinecures on corporate boards. One of these, of course, is an oil company–pretty much a requirement for White House work these days. (Or as the sign says on the Oval Office door: “If your rigs ain’t rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’!”) Kean is a director of Amerada Hess, an oil giant married up to Saudi Arabia’s Delta Oil in a venture to pump black gold in Azerbaijan. (The partnership is incorporated in a secretive offshore “tax haven,” natch. You can’t expect a worthy like Kean to pay taxes like some grubby wage slave.)

One of Delta’s biggest backers is the aforesaid Mahfouz, a Saudi wheeler-dealer who has bankrolled some of most dubious players on the world scene: Abu Nidal, Manuel Noreiga, Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush. Mahfouz was also a front for the bin Laden family, funneling their vast wealth through American cut-outs in a bid to gain power and influence in the United States.

One of those cut-outs was Mahfouz factotum James Bath, a partner in George W.’s early oil venture, Arbusto. Bath has admitted serving as a pass-through for secret Saudi money. Years later, when Bush’s maladroit business skills were about to sink another of his companies, Harken Energy, the firm was saved by a $25 million investment from a Swiss bank–a subsidiary of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BBCI), partly owned by the beneficent Mahfouz.

What was BCCI? Only “one of the largest criminal enterprises in history,” according to the U.S. Senate. What did BCCI do? “It engaged in pandemic bribery of officials in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas,” says journalist Christopher Bryon, who first exposed the operation. “It laundered money on a global scale, intimidated witnesses and law officers, engaged in extortion and blackmail. It supplied the financing for illegal arms trafficking and global terrorism. It financed and facilitated income tax evasion, smuggling and prostitution.” Sort of an early version of the Bush Regime, then.

BCCI’s bipartisan corruption first permeated the Carter Administration, then came to full flower in the Reagan-Bush years. The CIA uncovered the bank’s criminal activities in 1981–no great feat, considering how many of its own foreign “associates” were involved, including the head of Saudi intelligence, Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of King Faisal. But instead of stopping the drug-runners and terrorists, the agency decided to join them, using BCCI’s secret channels to finance “black ops” all over the world.

When a few prosecutors finally began targeting BCCI’s operations in the late Eighties, President George Herbert Walker Bush boldly moved in with a federal probe directed by Justice Department investigator Robert Mueller. The U.S. Senate later found that the probe had been unaccountably “botched”–witnesses went missing, CIA records got “lost,” all sorts of bad luck. Lower-ranking prosecutors told of heavy pressure from on high to “lay off.” Most of the big BCCI players went unpunished or, like Mahfouz, got off with wrist-slap fines and sanctions. Mueller, of course, wound up as head of the FBI, appointed to the post in July 2001–by George W. Bush.

In the late 1990s, U.S. authorities identified Mahfouz as a major financier of his brother-in-law’s extracurricular activities. He denied it, but the spooked Saudis put him on ice, charging him with, of all things, bank fraud. He’s now under “house arrest”–or rather, “palatial mansion arrest”–but still wheeling and dealing with Kean and Delta and other worthies. Indeed, one of Mahfouz’s hirelings–the director of a Pakistani bank he owns–sits on the advisory board of our old friend the Carlyle Group, cheek by jowl with the firm’s most celebrated shill: George Herbert Walker Bush.

Somehow we doubt that worthy Kean will poke very hard at the nexus of intersections between his own business partner, Mahfouz, and the bin Ladens, the Bushes, the Saudi royals, Saddam, the CIA and BCCI. We’ve only scratched the surface here, but even this cursory glance makes the current world crisis look less like some grand geopolitical “clash of civilizations” and more like a nasty falling out among thieves, with rival mafias–who sometimes collude, sometimes collide–now duking it out for turf, cloaking their murderous criminality with pious rhetoric about freedom, security, jihad and God.

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: cfloyd72@hotmail.com

 

More articles by:

Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com. His twitter feed is @empireburlesque. His Instagram is www.instagram.com/cfloydtn/.

Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail