[ 18:35 friday 28 september – scauri, isola di pantelleria ]
a departure from the usual commentary to bring you a rough translation of an article from tuesday’s edition of “il manifesto”, italy’s rather remarkable mass-circulation communist newspaper. if anyone can verify whether the alleged links between the bush and bin laden families are genuine,please let me know.
Bush and Bin Laden, Business Partners and Blood Brothers (the never-ending saga of relations between two families in which the Bin Ladens are to lose)
That old pirate Prescott Bush would certainly have been pleased by the extent to which his descendents have inherited his spirit. He who in 1918 raided the Apache cemetary to seize Geronimo’s skull as a trophy for his student society, the Skull and Bones. He who in the 1930s and early 40s trafficked with the Luftwaffe until three companies of which he was a major shareholder were sanctioned for violation of the Trading with the Enemy act. He who dined daily with Allen and Foster Dulles (head of the CIA at the time of JFK’s assasination) and who called upon the head of the Apache Nation for a ceremony to return Geronimo’s skull, which ended badly when he tried to hand over a different skull and deeply offended the Apache chief.
He was certainly happy with his first-born George Herbert, an oil man with little luck but as an agent of the CIA successful at climbing the greasy pole (he was nominated Director in 1976) despite the inglorious result of the Bay of Bigs landing in Cuba of which he was co-ordinator. He showed his Texan roots in oil and family, naming three ships that would make the landing Houston, Zapata (his first ill-fated oil company) and Barbara (his wife). He must have reflected on the strange liason between his son in the 1960s with an Arab constructor who from time to time came to Texas seeking to introduce himself into the local high society. But this Mohammad Bin Laden didn’t last long: falling with his aeroplane whilst crossing the skies above the oil wells that were giving him so little satisfaction. It was 1968 and the world was thinking of other things.
George W must initially have caused consternation. He was a donkey at school (averaging Cs, a whisker away from being kept down a year), he came last in the admission exam to enter the Air Force (just in time to avoid Vietnam), he was an assiduous companion of bottles of bourbon and ski-slopes of cocaine. But in the end even he launched himself into the oil business. In the mid 70s he founded Arbusto (“Bush” in Spanish) Energy, alongside business partners drawn from his Father’s friends (the CIA has many friends). His friend from school and military, James Bath, procured invesments on behalf of Khaled Bin Mafouz and Salem Bin Laden, eldest son of Mohammad and new head of the family. Mafouz was a notable figure. He was banker for the Saudi royal family and happy husband of a sister of Salem and Osama, head of Relief and Blessed Relief, the two Arab NGOs accused of being a cover for Osama’s organisation.
George was unlucky in business. Arbusto failed and became Bush Exploration then Spectrum 7. Inevitably it too went bankrupt. But Salem continued to support him generously and success seemed to smile upon him when Harken Energy bought out Spectrum paying its shareholders $600,000, supplemented by a consultancy contract worth $120,000 a year. In short he ended up with $1m in his pocket whilst Harken lost several. Then he won an offshore oil exploration contract in Bahrain, beating Amoco and Esso. It’s 1991, the Gulf War is about to explode, Daddy Bush is President and a local sheik Khalifa prefers not to take risks.
After all they’re old family friends. Khalifa, Bin Mafouz and Salem Bin Laden were on the board of BCCI when it was transferring immense sums of money for the Iran Contra affair. At the end of 1980 the Republicans had secretly met in Paris with moderate supporters of Khomeini to stall the release of American hostages in Tehran and thus screw up Jimmy Carter’s re-election hopes. Daddy George reached that summit at speed on board Salem Bin Laden’s jet.
George W is unlucky with his business partners. On the same jet in 1988 Salem meets his death (even he) whilst he crosses the sky over the oil wells of Texas. To many this seemed like an excessive co-incidence but the investigation was carefully handled. The conclusions, indeed, were never made public. In the meantime another protagonist from the Paris meeting, Amiram Nir (an agent of Mossad) dies in an air accident but no suspicions are raised: he crashes in Mexico, not in Texas.
Bad luck dogs even the journalists who concern themselves with Bush. Danny Casolaro was writing a book (“Untangling the Octopus”) picking apart the network of large and small scandals surrounding the Paternal Presidency. Before finishing it, though, he decides to commit suicide “like an imbecile”, as reported by Steve Mizrach. The same fate befalls James H Hatfield, 43 years old, who was able to publish “A Fortunate Son: George W Bush and the Making of an American President”. An unauthorised biography which in 1999 revealed how George had covered up his cocaine habit. By the law of poetic retribution he was found dead from an overdose in a hotel in Springdale, Arkansas on the 18th of July this year.
Now it’s Osama’s turn, of course. Only this time it’s not a business affair but a CIA operation. Maybe his other 52 brothers will soon have something to object to. But, as Prescott would say, in a World War there’s plenty of room to resolve disputes between old business partners.
(translation by SNERO)