A Flock of Flying Elephants

To see where Money and Politicians meet, climb into the Catbird Seat

The Catbird Spots Republicans


Andrew H. Card, Jr. – White House Chief of Staff.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Card was General Motors’ chief lobbyist before leaving to work in the Bush administration. He was also CEO of the now-defunct American Automobile Manufacturers Association, which lobbied against stricter fuel emissions standards and fought over trade issues with Japan.

Card testified before Congress on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Lobbying Group against the “Passenger’s Bill of Rights.” He personally contributed $1,000 each to the losing campaigns of John Ashcroft and Spencer Abraham.

Ann Veneman – Bush’s U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Like may in the Bush cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has a long career within Republican administrations. She worked for both Ronald Reagan and Poppy Bush and then served as director of California’s Food and Agriculture Department under Governor Pete Wilson.

In California she encouraged policies that have helped giant corporate farms squeeze out family-owned farms – so that now, for example, a mere four companies process 80 percent of American-produced beef.

One of the least wealthy of the cabinet members (worth a mere $680,000), Veneman supplemented her income by serving on the board of Calgenethe first company to market genetically engineered foods to stores.

Calgene was bought out by Monsanto, the nation’s leading biotech company. Monsanto was then bought by Pharmacia.

Monsanto, which gave $12,000 to Bush’s presidential campaign, is trying to block legislation that would require food labels to identify biotech ingredients.

Veneman has also served on the International Policy Council on Agriculture, Food and Trade, a group funded by major food manufacturers such as Nestlé and Archer Daniels Midland.

For more on Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland, GO TO > > > The Biotech Birds

Colin Powell – U.S. Secretary of State.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

When not fighting wars, Powell sat on the boards of Gulfstream Aerospace and AOL. Gulfstream makes jets for both Hollywood honchos and foreign governments like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

During his time at AOL, the company merged with Time Warner, and Powell’s stock rose in value by $4 million. At the time, Colin’s son, Michael Powell, had been the only Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member who advocated that the AOL/Time Warner merger go through without question.

Powell’s son has since been named chairman of the FCC by George W. Bush; part of his job is to oversee the activities of AOL/Time Warner.

He will also oversee any regulation of AOL’s monopolistic “instant messaging” technology.

Dan Burton – U.S. Representative (R) from Indiana. Chairman of the Committee for Campaign Finance Reform.

From Rediff on the Net, 1997:


Republican Congressman Dan Burton and others who champion the cause of Khalistan in the US Congress have received campaign contributions from the Council of Khalistan — a Washington-based organisation established 10 years ago by some militant Sikhs.

The council has funneled at least $ 65,000 to the Republican Party and several congressional candidates, including Burton, in an apparent violation of federal tax laws because the money was collected by a charitable non-profit group, says the weekly newspaper, Hill.

An investigation by the Hill has also revealed that Burton, who is heading the house investigation into campaign finance abuses, has received illegal campaign contributions directly from at least two Sikh temples.

The newspaper quotes Burton’s personal attorney Joseph Digenova as saying that Burton ”does not personally review each and every cheque and if there is any problem with a cheque, it will be returned.”

Other members of Congress who have benefitted from the Sikh contributions include Gary Condit (Democrat-California) Gerald Solomon (Republican-New York), Dana Rohrabacher (Republican-California), Vic Fazio (Democrat-California), Amo Houghton (Republican-New York), Edolphus Towns (Democrat-New York), Senator Bob Torricelli (Democrat-New Jersey) and former senator Bob Dole, who unsuccessfully ran against Bill Clinton in the last presidential election.

However, the largest recipient of funds was the Republican Party, whose various campaign committees received more than $22,000 in contributions bundled by the Council of Khalistan.

Most of the recipients of this money have been allies of Burton in pro-Khalistan causes, says the newspaper.

Over the past decade, Burton has been the chief congressional proponent of the Council of Khalistan, the group whose campaign donations has helped generate growing support in Congress for a separate Sikh homeland in India.

The Hill also reveals that Burton, at the behest of the council, urged the state department to revise the extradition treaty with India, which would have the effect of making it more difficult to extradite to India terrorists arrested in the US.

It recalls that Burton’s crusade grew from his personal ties to Dr Gurmit Singh Aulakh, a gregarious and persistent Sikh lobbyist whom he met in 1986.

Dr Aulakh was appointed by militant separatists the following year to be president of the Khalistan government in exile. He draws a salary of $59,000 as president of the council, a $250,000-a-year-operation, according to the newspaper.

It says at least five of Dr Aulakh’s 10 co-founders, many of whom have since been killed in clashes with the Indian police, represented some of India’s most notorious terrorist groups. They have been blamed for killing of hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians, and helped foment widespread violence by police and Sikh militants that led to the more than 100,000 deaths.

Dr Aulakh received contributions from Sikhs and, on behalf of the council, handed them to congressional campaigns.

This point is significant because the council is operationally indistinguishable from the International Sikh Organisation, a registered religious charity, which is prohibited by federal law from engaging in partisan activities. And taking money from such organisations is an offence.

Copyright 1997 Rediff On The Net – All rights reserved

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By Charles R. Babcock, Washington Post Staff Writer, March 19 1997

An American lobbyist for the government of Pakistan complained to his client last summer that he had been “shaken down” for campaign contributions by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who now is heading a House probe of alleged Democratic campaign fund-raising abuses.

Mark A. Siegel, then a lobbyist for the government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, said he was approached by Burton early last year to raise “at least $5,000” for Burton’s reelection campaign. When he was unable to do so, Siegel said, the congressman complained to the ambassador for the Bhutto government here and later threatened to make sure “none of his friends or colleagues” would meet with Siegel or his associates.

“I should tell you,” Siegel wrote on July 25, in a two-page memo to a Bhutto aide in Islamabad, “that I worked in Washington for over 25 years and have never been shaken down by anyone before like Dan Burton’s threats. No one has ever dared to threaten me into contributing money, and no one has ever followed through on such threats by contacting one of my clients.

“Despite what you may see in the movies,” Siegel wrote, “this isn’t the way most U.S. politicians conduct themselves.”

The memo was made available to The Washington Post by a Democratic source in Congress. Siegel, a longtime Democratic activist, confirmed its authenticity in an interview yesterday.

Burton declined to be interviewed yesterday.

Kevin Binger, a top aide, said the congressman asked Siegel in early 1995 if he could raise $5,000 in campaign funds from Pakistani Americans and confirmed that Burton had mentioned Siegel’s failure to do so to the Pakistani ambassador last year. But Binger said the memo “is full of egregious exaggerations and untruths,” and he took issue with most of the quotes attributed to Burton.

The disclosure of Burton’s complaints last year to Siegel and the Pakistani ambassador comes at an awkward time, as the congressman is taking the spotlight as chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, which is investigating alleged fund-raising abuses in last year’s election campaigns.

Siegel’s unusual memo was written in response to a faxed message from a top Bhutto aide, Zafar Hilaly, earlier that same day. Hilaly wrote that “we were distressed to know from the embassy that Congressman Dan Burton says that you were unable to keep certain promises regarding fundraising for his reelection campaign and that you were also very unhelpful in other matters. So much so that you are no longer `persona grata’ in his office. This is most upsetting as he is good friend of Pakistan.”

Rifaat Hussain, minister of information at the Pakistani Embassy here, said yesterday that senior officials at the embassy had no knowledge of the communications between Hilaly and Siegel and no record of Burton contacting the embassy about campaign donations. After Bhutto was removed from office late last year, following a corruption scandal, the ambassador involved, Maleeha Lodhi, returned to Pakistan.

Burton is a longtime member of the House International Relations Committee who co-chairs an informal caucus on U.S.-Pakistani relations. The congressman has regularly backed causes of importance to Pakistan and is a longtime recipient of campaign donations from the Sikh community. He was a key supporter of a bill that would have blocked $25 million in U.S. aid to India because of its refusal to allow human rights investigations of alleged atrocities in Punjab state, where Sikh separatists seeking a homeland they call Khalistan have battled New Delhi’s security forces. Two years ago, Burton also backed an effort to lift a long-standing ban on aid to Pakistan that cleared the way for delivery of $368 million worth of U.S. missiles and other military equipment for which it already had paid.

According to Siegel’s memo, in conversations last year about fund-raising efforts, Burton said that he was “owed support” and that “he had been there for Pakistan and he expected me to be there for him.”

Siegel, who represented the Bhutto government in Washington for several years until her government fell, was paid $452,941 for his services for the year ending July 1995, according to his filing at the Justice Department as a registered foreign agent. A longtime Democrat, Siegel was executive director of the Democratic National Committee in the 1970s and served as a political aide in the Carter White House.

According to the memo, Siegel told Burton he “would do [his] best to try to identify Republican Pakistani-Americans who might contribute to his campaign.” But it soon became clear, the memo continues, “that it was impossible to raise the funds he was asking for without the congressman’s attendance at an event. When I informed him of this, he said he wouldn’t attend an event for less than $10,000, and added that if I `were smart’ I’d put together that much or more for him.”

Siegel said he tried to organize a fund-raising event for Burton on July 15, but the plans fell through. “When I informed Congressman Burton of this he became extremely agitated and in fact abusive,” Siegel’s memo states. “He said if `I knew what was good for me’ I’d deliver the money.”

Burton contacted Lodhi directly last year, according to Siegel, to voice his complaints about the lobbyist’s failure to raise money for his reelection campaign. The congressman told the ambassador, according to Siegel’s memo, “that I wouldn’t support his campaign . . . and she twice warned me that he was `really hot’ and going after me.”

Burton, through his aide, denied making any of the threats quoted in the Siegel memo or that he had “shaken down” the lobbyist. The congressman did tell Siegel, his aide said, that “if you make a commitment you should keep it.”

Siegel said in an interview yesterday that he was surprised that Burton solicited him because of his background in Democratic politics. “I don’t usually get fund-raising solicitations from Republican members of Congress,” he said.

Asked if he would have written a similar memo about a Democratic member of Congress, Siegel said, “Yes, and I would have said, `Cool it.’ ”

Burton called several times early last year to check on his fund-raising efforts in the Pakistani American community, Siegel recalled in the interview, adding that “it got rough and tumble” after he told the congressman he couldn’t raise the money.

Kevin Sailer, an associate of Siegel’s, confirmed last night that Burton told him — as the Pakistani aide’s message suggests — that Siegel was “persona non gratis” in the congressman’s office and that “none of his friends or colleagues” would meet with Siegel or his aides. “It was an unfortunate and extraordinary circumstance,” Sailer said of the confrontation with Burton.

Binger, the Burton aide, took exception yesterday to the timing of the disclosure of the congressman’s conversations with Siegel and the Pakistani ambassador. “I really think this demonstrates how far people on the other side are willing to go to call into question Dan Burton’s integrity because he is the chairman of the committee doing this investigation,” Binger said. “It’s probably not a coincidence that this came to you a couple of days before our budget is voted on.”

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

For more, GO TO > > > WHO’s Guarding the Hen House?

Dick Cheney – Vice President of the United States of America. Former Secretary of Defense under George Bush, 1989-1993. Bloke-in-Charge of finding a running mate for George W. Bush, Jr. – who got himself selected instead.

As Private Gomer Pyle might say, Surprise! Surprise!

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Quote: “The vice president is always in a very difficult position, in any circumstances … if he challenges the president in policy meetings … he’s viewed as disloyal.” — Dick Cheney, 1987, then vice chairman of the House committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair.

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Los Angeles Times: Cheney Far Ahead of Bush on Income . . . President Bush and first lady Laura Bush reported a net taxable income of $755,682 for the year 2000, and paid $240,342 in federal income taxes, White House figures released yesterday show.

Those numbers were dwarfed by income figures released for Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, which showed the couple had an adjusted gross income of $36 million last year and paid more than $14 million in federal taxes….

Cheney’s wage and salary income included $806,332 in salary and $4,333,500 in deferred compensation and bonuses from Halliburton Co., the energy services firm where Cheney served as chief executive officer until he resigned on Aug. 16 to become Bush’s running mate.

According to the vice president’s office, Cheney also received a cash bonues of $1,451,398 from Halliburton in January. That payment will be included in his 2001 tax return.

The overwhelming balance of the remaining wage and salary income on Cheney’s tax return was from the exercise of stock options and from the sale of restricted Halliburton stock that he received as compensation, according to the White House.

The vice president also reported $1,943, 948 in short-term capitol [sic…or Freudian slip] losses, the bulk of which was incurred by the stock he and Mrs. Cheney sold to avoid conflicts of interest. The couple also reported $823,509 in long-term capital gains, the White House said.

In addition to the $41,646 that the Cheneys gave to charity, they donated the benefit of all their remaining stock options, with an estimated value of $7.8 million, to three organizations, the White House said.

The beneficiaries were identified as Capital Partners, a Washington, D.C.-area educational assistance program for low-income youths; the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates; and the University of Wyoming.

Bush and Cheney would both get sizable tax cuts if Bush’s proposed $1.6 trillion tax-cut becomes law.

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From The Center for Public Integrity (8/2/00): CHENEY LED HALLIBURTON TO FEAST AT FEDERAL TROUGH

State Department Questioned Deal With Firm Linked to Russian Mob

Under the guidance of Richard Cheney … Halliburton Company over the past 5 years has emerged as a corporate welfare hog, benefitting from at least $3.8 BILLION in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans.

One of those loans was approved in April by the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

It guaranteed $489 MILLION in credits to a Russian oil company whose roots are imbedded in a legacy of KGB and Communist Party corruption, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime funds, according to Russian and U.S. sources and documents. . . .

High-level access

Wall Street analysts praise Cheney’s stewardship of the company and attribute his ability to attract government contracts and grants to his high-level access to the corridors of power that stems from his days as defense secretary under President George Bush. “If he becomes vice president,” according to a Halliburton official who admires Cheney but asked to remain anonymous, “the company’s government contracts would obviously go through the roof.”

If Halliburton has benefitted from government generosity, it also has reciprocated with substantial political contributions, largely to Republicans. During Cheney’s five years at the helm, the company has donated $1,212,000 in soft and hard money to candidates and parties…

As with Halliburton’s campaign donations, the company’s lobbying expenditures increased under Cheney’s watch. In 1996, the company spent $280,000 on lobbying. In 1997, the company increased those expenditures to $360,000, to $540,000 in 1998, and to $600,000 in 1999. That upward trend parallels the increasing success Halliburton has had in winning government contracts, loans, and guarantees under Cheney’s direction. . . .

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By Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

Dick and Lynne Cheney could be in for some belt-tightening.

Should Dick Cheney become vice president after the November election, he’ll earn an annual salary of $181,400, plus $10,000 for expenses. Of course, there’s free limo service, Air Force Two, a house and 24/7 security, not to mention the other perks.

Lynne Cheney’s 1999 director compensation packages:

American Express/IDS Funds, $95,000

Lockheed-Martin, $120,000

Reader’s Digest, $50,000

Union Pacific Resources Group, $40,000

Dick Cheney’s 1999 director compensation packages:

Procter & Gamble, $110,000

Electronic Data Systems, $112,500

Union Pacific, $60,000

But that pales compared with his $26.4 million compensation package last year as CEO of energy services giant Halliburton. That included $1.3 million in pay, $5.6 million in stock, and stock options valued at up to $18.9 million. Cheney also holds Halliburton shares worth $46 million at Tuesday’s market close.

Lynne Cheney earned more than $300,000 last year in retainers and stock compensation as a director at defense contractor Lockheed-Martin, publisher Reader’s Digest Association , energy services firm Union Pacific Resources Group and AmEx/IDS, the mutual fund arm of financial services behemoth American Express. Although federal elections and ethics office officials say there are no laws precluding Cheney from retaining her directors’ posts, she’d likely resign to avoid potential conflicts of interest, says Pat McGurn, a corporate governance expert with Institutional Shareholder Services.

There is a precedent. Hillary Clinton resigned from Arkansas-based yogurt franchiser TCBY Enterprises’ board after Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992. “There are inherent conflicts, but I can’t remember anything like this coming up with the spouse of a vice president before,” McGurn says. As vice president, Dick Cheney would be required to give up his corporate roles.

Lynne Cheney, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank, didn’t return calls. Her board seat at Union Pacific Resources Group ended this month after a merger with Anadarko Petroleum.

Combined with Dick Cheney’s directorships at consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific railroad and Electronic Data Systems, few power couples share as many directorships.

Washington powerbroker Vernon Jordan and his wife, Ann Dibble Jordan, held more than a dozen directorships in 1999, pulling in more than $1 million in board retainers. Former Trade representative Carla Hills and her husband, Rod Hills, a former Securities and Exchange Commission member, held seven seats.

Ex-politicians and government appointees are popular choices for corporate boards for their contacts, expertise and celebrity status….

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From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Acting President/ “Vice President” – Dick Cheney

I’m not sure yet where the “compassionate” part of “compassionate conservatism” comes from, but I do know where the conservatism resides.

For six terms Dick Cheney was a congressman representing Wyoming, and he had one of the most conservative voting records of all 435 members of Congress. Cheney voted against the Equal Rights Amendment, against funding the Head Start program, against a House resolution calling for South Africa to release Nelson Mandela from prison, and against federal funding for abortions even in cases of rape or incest.

And the record doesn’t stop there. Cheney has had his hand in all of the recent Republican administrations, including that of Richard Nixon, when he was deputy White House counsel under Don “Rummy” Rumsfeld. He replaced Rumsfeld as President Ford’s chief of staff. Under George Bush I, Cheney was defense secretary, leading the country in two of the largest military campaigns in recent history: the invasion of Panama and the war against Iraq.

In between Bush regimes, Cheney was CEO of Halliburton Industries, an oil services company that has dealings with repressive governments like Burma and Iraq.

During the 2000 campaign, Cheney denied that Halliburton had a business relationship with Saddam Hussein. Then, in June 2001, the Washington Post revealed that in fact two Halliburton subsidiaries were doing business with Iraq…. Halliburton has a major construction deal in the development of Mexico’s Cantarell offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

When nominated for the vice presidency, Cheney hemmed and hawed about divesting himself of his Halliburton stock. I guess he knew that good times were still to come….

For more on Halliburton, GO TO > > > The Sinking of the Ehime Maru

Don Evans – Bush’s Secretary of Commerce.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Before coming to the Bush administration, Evans was chairman and CEO of Tom Brown, Inc., a $1.2 billion oil and gas company. Evans also sat on the board of TMBR/Sharp Drilling.

As finance chair for Bush’s campaign, he set a fund-raising record of more than $190 million.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – which controls the country’s coastlines – falls within this oil man’s domain.

Donald Rumsfeld – U.S. Secretary of Defense.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Don Rumsfeld is an old-school Republican hawk. He was White House counsel to Richard Nixon, where he worked alongside Dick Cheney.

While serving as President Ford’s secretary of defense and then as Ford’s chief of staff, Rumsfeld was able, almost single-handedly, to kill the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union. He has consistently opposed any arms control, calling the ABM treaty “ancient history” during his 2001 confirmation hearing.

A longtime supporter of the “Star Wars” defense schemes, Rumsfeld oversaw a 1998 commission that measured the ballistic missile threat to the United States. Rumsfeld, aka Chicken Little, claimed that the United States would feel such threats from rogue nations within five years (half the amount of time the CIA predicted).

When not pushing B-1 bombs or MX missiles, Rumsfeld has been CEO of the G.D. Searle pharmaceutical company (now owned by Pharmacia) and General Instrument (now owned by Mororola).

Before joining the Bush administration, he sat on several boards, including Kellogg’s, Sears, Allstate and the Tribune Company (which publishes the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and owns a chain of TV stations, including New York’s Channel 11).

For much more, GO TO > > > Nests in the Pentagon

Elaine Chao – Bush’s Secretary of Labor.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Chao has worked primarily in the nonprofit sector with United Way and the Peace Corps, but has also sat on the boards of Dole Food, Clorox, and health care companies C.R. Bard (who pleaded guilty in the 1990s to manufacturing faulty heart catheters and conducting illegal experiments on the devices) and the behemoth Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). She also sat on the board of Northwest Airlines.

She is married to conservative Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos – In February 1986, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda fled the Philippines. They took with them billions of dollars stolen from the Philippine people.

It took the Swiss banks thirteen years to return some of this stolen loot. The vast bulk of it is still missing.

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From marcosbillions.com:


Ferdinand E. Marcos was President of the Republic of the Philippines from Nov 1965 until his flight from the Republic in Feb 1986. In an act of infamy, on 21 Sept 1972, Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines and then imposed an unjust dictatorship.

Ferdinand Marcos’ corrupt activities commenced while he was a congressman and head of the import control board, which allowed him to gather large bribes in return for approving import licenses.

As congressman, Marcos soon became a millionaire largely based on his 10% cut from government deals. When Marcos became President, he acquired an epic appetite for bribery. What distinguished Ferdinand Marcos from other Filipino corrupt politicians was the scale of his corruption. He was not bound by the “socially acceptable” norms of plunder.

The Marcos rule was economically disastrous for the Philippines. The causes of this are varied, and were greatly facilitated by the abuses of the Marcoses and their cronies….

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Sensitive documents allegedly detailing Marcos’ political payments were seized in 1986 by U.S. Customs, but were never disclosed to the American public.

Monies from the Philippines Intelligence Funds were channeled through cut-out companies for election campaigns of several Presidential candidates and various Californian politicians.

Sources suggest that Marcos also blackmailed U.S. politicians by deliberately transmitting US-aid money back to their election war chests.

In May 1987 while in exile in Hawaii, Marcos was secretly tape recorded by Richard Hirschfeld, a Virginia-based lawyer. Investigative journalist Malone referred to these tapes in a seminal article:

“What made US officials even more nervous, however, were Marcos’ tape recorded claims of continuing influence over several high-ranking US officials at the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House. Marcos, according to sources, had even talked about having made illegal campaign contributions to President Reagan himself.” . . .

“When Hirschfeld’s tapes fell into the hands of Congressman Stephen Solarz of New York, the chairman of the House foreign affairs sub-committee, he was asked by Frank Carlucci, who was then Reagan’s national security adviser, to postpone a planned hearing for reasons of national security.’

After one postponement Solarz decided to go ahead with the hearings, but he agreed to delete what he later characterized as ‘scurrilous segments about Reagan and other government officials’.

Even today no comprehensive investigation has been carried out into the allegations of Marcos’ secret financial contributions to U.S. politicians.

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IMELDA MARCOS’ NEW YORK TRIAL – On 21 Oct 1988 Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, arms billionaire Adnan Khashoggi and several accomplices were indicted by a US grand jury in New York on federal racketeering charges. Ferdinand died before trial while Imelda and her accomplices were acquitted of all charges.

The failure of this prosecution represented a huge blow to the Philippines government which believed that a US-based conviction could be used to recover Marcos assets in England, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Singapore.

This was no ordinary prosecution and was undermined by political obstacles, including the following:

> > The Reagan administration’s instructions to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the US attorney initially in charge of the case and also a member of the Republican party, to cancel a planned investigative trip to Switzerland to gather evidence on Marcos’ Swiss transactions, on the grounds of “national security.”

>> The actual indictment was narrowed in scope to include “less sensitive” charges such as bank fraud, real estate fraud, fraudulent conveyance of property and obstruction of justice. Charges which were potentially damaging to the Republican administration and which would have shocked an American jury — such as misuse of US economic and military aid to the Philippines, theft of multimillion dollar loans from US banks to the Philippines treasury, laundering of gold through US financial institutions and illegal contributions to US politicians — were removed from the original indictment.

>> The US Justice Department imposed a requirement that the indictment of Marcos must be approved in advance by the US State Department and the White House. This led to a delay in the approval of the indictment which only occurred after an exchange of letters between President Reagan and Marcos on 20 Oct 1988, a day before the actual indictments were filed. By this time it was clear that Ferdinand Marcos would never actually face trail because he was terminally ill.

After the lengthy trial and the production of thousands of documents, the New York jury unanimously acquitted Imelda and her associates. . . .

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. – Frahrenkopf served as Chairman of the Republican Party during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. He is currently the President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, and co-chairs the Commission on Presidential Debates.

From PBS Frontline:

EASY MONEY-Interview with Frank Fahrenkopf

Frontline: Tell me about the Arthur Anderson Job Study. What did it tell you?

Fahrenkopf: One of the arguments that anti-gaming activists have made for years, is that gambling tends to be … cannibalistic. That when it comes into a community, it doesn’t create any new wealth … it just takes money away from other business. … Arthur Anderson did a macro economic study of the United States … and found that is not the case. … the disposable of the income of the American people has gone up dramatically, and gaming is only taking a very, very small part of that. … And, in fact, what it has done … it has actually helped other businesses. Now, that’s not to say, that if a casino comes into a community and opens up and it has wonderful restaurants that, you know, some guy who’s had a family restaurant down the road for a hundred years, hasn’t been able to compete. … But that’s no different than if a new mall comes into a community. … When that new mall comes into a community, that old theater that was once there; the old shoe store; the old restaurant are likewise going to suffer. I mean, it happens to be a free market, capitalist system….

Frontline: Critics who have looked at that study say, “Arthur Anderson– that’s the same firm these guys have been using for years. Those are made-up numbers because they were paid to make the study.

Fahrenkopf: Of course they’re going to say that. What we say is, fine– take a look at the Arthur Anderson numbers. If you think they’re wrong, show where they’re wrong. … For a long time, the opponents used economic models that were created by a couple of university professors that … led to the conclusion that the social costs of gaming exceeded the economic benefit. You don’t need to rely on economic models anymore. Go to where the rubber meets the road, where we’ve had gaming in some of these jurisdictions. . . .

Frontline: [Las Vegas] was always called Sin City for a reason. They were all the sins that you could do in one single place. . . .

Fahrenkopf: But, you know, I’ve lived in a couple places around the country. There are prostitutes in New York. There are prostitutes in Orlando. There are prostitutes in Miami. There are prostitutes in a lot of places. Ant that’s also an industry that’s been around a long, long time. And, as to whether or not it’s more attractive to places where there’s gambling, inherently, than there where are other– I mean, many military bases there’s not a lot of gambling going on, but you’ll find a lot of prostitutes around military bases where you have large numbers of men. . . .

Frontline: Tom Grey says, “You people are predators. You’re predators.” Are you predatory?

Fahrenkopf: That’s part of the cannibalization argument that he’s constantly making. I always say to Tom, “Tom, it’s easy to say that, but put your money where your mouth is — from the standpoint, what evidence do you have? Let’s put it up. … But, again, the anti-gaming people represented by Frank Wolfe and the Tom Greys of the world … it’s primarily moralistic. Now, they changed their tune. They learned, about three or four years ago, that arguing that it’s unmoral to gamble– that wasn’t selling with the American people. Most American’s resent other religious leaders or other– trying to tell them what they should or should not do. . . .

I’m a Knight of Malta in the Catholic church. I mean, I don’t need Tom Grey or some other people in religion telling me what’s right or wrong. You know? …

For more, GO TO > > > The Game Birds

Gale Norton – Bush’s Secretary of the Interior.

From Stupid White Men (Copyright 2001), by Michael Moore:

Gale Norton is already following in the footsteps of her mentor and predecessor, James Watt. She started her legal career with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a conservative environmental think tank funded by oil companies and founded by Watt. Working closely with this group, Norton helped the state of Alaska challenge an Interior Department fisheries law. She has declared the Endangered Species Act unconstitutional and written legal opinions against the National Environmental Protection Act.

As a lawyer with Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, Norton represented Delta Petroleum and lobbied for NL Industries (formerly known as National Lead) while it defended itself in lawsuits over children’s exposure to lead paint.

She was also national chairwoman of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates, a group funded by Ford Motor Company and BP Amoco.

For more, GO TO > > > Heavens and Earth; Thorns in the Rose Garden; U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs

George BushThe 41st President of the United States of America (1988-1992).

From The Laundrymen:

During George Bush’s presidency, the CIA went into the coke-smuggling business.

Using a cutout in Venezuela, in 1990, the agency adroitly smuggled a ton of pure cocaine into the United States. The idea was to use it to snare traffickers. Instead, it wound up being sold on the streets, a fact that came to light only three years later, thanks to the investigative skill of the CBS television program “60 Minutes.” . . .

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From COMPROMISED – Clinton, Bush and The CIA: A Date with Death: . . .

Barry Seal had become the most important informant in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration and had tied the Sandinista government together with the Medellin Cartel.

As a result of leaks from Oliver North and the White House, the cartel had put a $500,000 price on Seal’s head. In addition, Seal had handed the DEA three of the best drug cases it had ever had, testifying as the government’s chief witness.

The DEA was winning plaudits from the White House over the Sandinista “sting,” but Seal had been left twisting in the wind. While he was undeniably a major asset for the DEA … he was now a major liability for the CIA and George Bush because of the knowledge he had confided to Terry Reed about Bush’s sons. . . .

~ ~ ~

Feb. 19, 1986, turned out to be the last day of Barry Seal’s life. His blood, along with pieces of flesh and bone, were splattered all over the interior of his car. The Baton Rouge police report, in cold official language, described what happened to him that day: “Autopsy determined the cause of Seal’s death to be multiple gunshot wounds fired by an automatic weapon,” the crime report said. “Three rounds entered Seal’s upper torso, and four entered the left head. Some fifteen rounds were recovered at the murder scene.” . . .

~ ~ ~

Since the Air America reunion at Marr’s house two months earlier, the “over-the-hill gang” was getting their act together. … On Sept 13, 1986, they had managed to put five planes in the air simultaneously and, on one night alone, 10,000 pounds of supplies had been dropped deep into Nicaragua into the hands of “freedom fighters” . . .

Bob Dutton, who was reporting to Oliver North from the field, said that more than 180,000 pounds of supplies had been dropped successfully. But in the Reagan administration’s rush to accomplish the aerial delivery effort, there were lapses in security that would soon impact on the Reeds and compromise the Enterprise’s operations. Their lifestyle in Mararitaville would literally come to a crashing halt.

Oct 5, 1986, was a cool night on the north shore of Lake Chapala, and the Reed family was just preparing for a sweater-weather barbecue when the claxon rang at the compound’s front gate. It was a strangely sober, and somber, Mitch Marr standing outside the iron gate. “I guess you heard the news? … ‘

A confused Terry just stared at him, wondering what on earth was going on.. “What’s the matter, Mitch?” . . .

“His name is Hasenfus. He was ‘the kicker’ on the plane– you don’t know, do you? … I forgot, you don’t have satellite TV . . . COOPER’S DEAD! He got shot down.”

After a long pause, Marr sighed and continued. “Some commie shit put a heat-seeker up his ass and his 123 went down in flames. . . .”

After another pause, Marr turned to a briefing mode.

“But I guess this guy Hasenfus survived the crash, and the commies got him. . . .”

Though Terry didn’t know it at that moment, words like Iran-Contra and Irangate were being written by newspaper editors everywhere. As Hasenfus was being pulled out of the jungle on a leash by a Sandinista soldier, political shockwaves were beginning to reverberate around the world.

Back in the White House, damage control was already under way.

There would be a flurry of questions about why a C-123 military cargo plane registered to a CIA proprietary in Miami had been shot down that day in Nicaragua with gringos and guns aboard.

There were, of course, responses from Washington:

President Ronald Reagan said, “There is no connection with that (between the U.S. and the shootdown) at all. He lied.

Vice President George Bush said, “This man (Hasenfus) is never– is not working for the United States government. He lied.

Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams said, “Let me repeat flatly that there was no U.S. government involvement in this . . . direct, indirect, provision of material financing, whatever you want to call it . . . none.” He lied.

Eugene Hasenfus, the survivor and now a prisoner in Managua, told it somewhat differently. “I worked for the CIA, who did most of the coordination of these flights.” He had a rope around his neck. He told the truth.

The covert supply operation had turned overt, and Oliver North was heading for the shredder. . . .

* * *

From The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider, by Al Martin:


I’d like to interject at this point the infamous case of the Peruvian Gold Certificate Scam, engineered in 1988 by George Bush, Sr.

George, himself, was involved, and so was his counsel C. Boyden Gray. Helping in this fraud was George’s personal friend and very loyal Republican scamskateer, then Nevada Secretary of State, Frankie Sue DelPapa. . . .

This is the famous case of that Peruvian gold certificate which was one of the unusual gold certificates issued by the Trans-Continental Agreement between the United States and certain South American countries in 1875, wherein the United States agreed to support certain South American countries which were then in some financial difficulty, including Peru.

The United States Treasury issued a limited number of high-value gold certificates based on its own deposits. Simply put, these were then hypothecated by South American central banks, which could then be used to borrow bullion against the U.S. Treasury.

Almost all of these certificates were redeemed in 1913 and 1914. However, one certificate was left outstanding, which it’s believed was an oversight at the time. These certificates were compounded in perpetuity, that is, they had no limitation.

The interest was payable in gold … And the compounding of said gold payment was accrued at a fixed price of $20 an ounce.

Now what happened, therefore, is that this one remaining certificate consequently became worth a fortune.

Although it had been technically listed as canceled by the United States Treasury after the expiration of the redemption period in 1914, George Bush was able to get a waiver (as he knew he would, given his position) from the U.S. Treasury, indicating that this was still a valid and negotiable instrument. . . .

This certificate, through a long series of transactions, ultimately winds up in the hands of a retired Secret Service agent, Mr. Durham, who at one time … had worked with one of George Bush’s Secret Service security details.

Through some underhandedness, Bush was able to garner control of this instrument through essentially out-and-out fraud committed by Frankie Sue DelPapa regarding a Nevada corporation, which had been formed by Mr. Durham and others to hold this certificate and the rights thereunto, called the Cosmos Investment Corporation.

DelPapa essentially switched all the officers and principals and directors of the Cosmos Corporation into another corporation that had been formed by George Bush and some others known as the Hellenic Investment Holding Group, Limited.

It was absolutely a blatant fruad.

Durham subsequently died. His widow tried to pound the drum on this thing for a long time, but couldn’t get anywhere with it. Simply put, the mainstream media … considered it too old and too conspiratorial to touch.

But I have a lot of the documents. . . .

It’s interesting to note the route that this certificate takes once it gets in the hands of George Bush. It winds up getting hypothecated at both Sumitomo and Daiwa Banks in Tokyo. It is re-hypothecated at Jarlska Bank of Copenhagen. Re-hypothecated again through the Greek National Bank.

Papandreou was still in power. Papandreou and George Bush Sr had been involved in many marginal business transactions involving the surreptitious hypothecation of gold bullion at the Bank of Greece through the Union Bank of Switzerland and Credit Lyonnais in France and Bank Paribas. . . .

You can see through the continuation of this deal a pattern where new fraud has to be committed to pay back old fraud and so on.

I think what frightened the mainstream media is the incredible sums of money that are involved. And ultimately, a Peruvian gold certificate turned out to be the seed or germination of a series of transactions that ultimately forced Daiwa and Sumitomo to create fictitious trading losses in order to cover losses incurred in a series of fraudulently obtained, politically related loans. . . .

It was only in recent years, in 1995, that I was again retained by representatives of the original owner, or his widow, should I say, in an effort to negotiate with Bush . . .

So I talked to an attorney who had previously represented me in Miami, Neil Lewis, who is very closely aligned with Republican interests in Miami and is a personal friend of both Neil and Jeb Bush. . . .

After a few days, Neil Lewis got back to me and said that the Bushes feel that there are so many layers of protection between them and this transaction that nobody will ever be able to uncover it and they simply did not wish to deal.

So, that ended that. . . .

* * *

From latimes.com., May 7, 2000:


Ex-President Bush’s many foreign dealings could pose conflicts if his son wins White House


WASHINGTON–Since leaving the White House in 1993, George Bush has sought to maintain his ideal of a dignified retirement from the nation’s highest office. He has turned down offers to sit on corporate boards, steered clear of political wrangling and largely stayed out of the public eye.

But Bush sometimes cuts a different figure when it comes to his international dealings. Overseas, he has collected six-figure speaking fees, occasionally weighed in with foreign governments for private companies and sometimes sparked controversy.

In Japan, the former president spoke to 50,000 disciples of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a stadium rally–drawing protests from Christian leaders and other critics of Moon’s Unification Church.

In Argentina, he wrote then-President Carlos Menem on behalf of Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, which helped touch off a parliamentary inquiry about Bush’s possible influence in the country’s internal affairs.

In Indonesia, he jumped into a hot dispute over gold mining rights, contacting then-President Suharto to praise a Canadian company that had retained the former president as an advisor.

And in Kuwait, the Arab oil state freed from Iraqi occupation in the Persian Gulf War, the former president interceded with the emir’s government on behalf of a U.S. oil company.

Makes $4 Million a Year on Circuit

No other former president has created such an international profile. And no other former president has made so much money on the global lecture circuit in such a short time–about $4 million a year in speaking fees. For a single engagement, he received stock that rose in value to more than $13 million at one point.

Normally, such good fortune would be of only passing interest. But George Herbert Walker Bush may be on the verge of an unusual, sensitive new role: father of the next U.S. president. And if Bush’s son Texas Gov. George W. Bush wins the White House in November, he could face the ticklish challenge of reining in his dad’s far-flung activities.

Potential conflicts of interest loom if the son occupies the Oval Office. Would U.S. and foreign companies seek to curry favor by steering business to the father’s associates? Would any future overseas flaps involving the former president escalate into diplomatic incidents?

Both Bushes, father and son, said that there is no cause for concern.

“I will expect the highest ethical standards of the members of my family,” the governor said through a spokesman.

The 75-year-old former president, when asked whether his son’s election would influence his future global pursuits, said through a spokesman: “I am sure that it would.” But he declined to say how.

Another aide, chief of staff Jean Becker, said: “President Bush understands better than anyone the absolute necessity of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, especially when it comes to a president’s family and friends. President Bush would never do or say anything that would interfere in any way with, or raise questions about, how George W. Bush is conducting himself as president.”

But a source close to the former chief executive acknowledged “increased sensitivity to the groups that President Bush now speaks to because of his sons in public life”: Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as well as George W. Bush.

Nevertheless, one expert on the post-presidency is troubled by some of Bush’s current activities.

Since leaving the White House, the elder Bush has projected a “public persona [as] the happy World War II veteran who is letting the American people see him jumping out of airplanes and being the good family man,” said Douglas Brinkley, a historian at the University of New Orleans. “And the covert persona is going around giving talks with people like Rev. Moon and representing American corporate interests in foreign countries.”

Brinkley, who wrote a book about Jimmy Carter’s post-presidency, added: “If his son becomes president, he needs to distance himself from all corporations and from going abroad and taking speaker fees.”

The matter of how the ex-president’s global profile may affect George W. Bush is especially sensitive because, if the Texas governor is elected, he is expected to lean on his father–as well as his father’s former White House aides–for guidance on international affairs. George W. Bush says that, while his father would have no formal role in his administration, “of course, I will seek his advice.”

Moreover, during a presidential campaign, many foreign powers look for opportunities to ingratiate themselves with a potential incoming administration. And when a former president visits a foreign country, he attracts attention.

On his frequent journeys to Beijing, Bush usually meets with President Jiang Zemin. His expenses often are paid by U.S. companies pursuing business in China.

A 1998 mission to China was sponsored in part by the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos., which has been seeking an insurance license from the Beijing government. Bush discussed the Asian financial crisis with an American business group, one of six talks for Chubb worldwide.

“If you’re unknown in China and trying to get known and you’re trying to get a license there, having a former president at a reception might get people to come who might not come otherwise,” said Mark Greenberg, Chubb senior vice president. “We get to rub shoulders with them and get to know them better.”

It is unclear to what extent Bush’s overseas involvements could affect his son’s presidential duties because the former president is not required to disclose any information about his activities or income. His office declined requests for a list of speaking fees, appearances and business sponsors.

There are no federal regulations that address how former presidents earn a living. They are entitled to a pension of $157,000 a year, round-the-clock Secret Service protection, office space and a $96,000 annual allowance for personal staff. And they enjoy full use of U.S. embassies abroad. The public cost for each former president is about $4 million a year, Brinkley said.

Bush has rejected one perk available to former GOP presidents–$150,000 a year from the Republican National Committee for administrative expenses. “He just simply didn’t think it was necessary,” Becker said.

Bush and Gerald R. Ford have been particularly aggressive among recent ex-presidents in pursuing financial opportunities. Ford joined the board of directors of at least eight firms but has scaled back to three. He has been a paid consultant and has given speeches as well.

Former President Reagan created a stir in 1989 when he received $2 million from a Japanese firm for delivering two speeches in Tokyo. But even before the 1994 announcement of his Alzheimer’s disease, Reagan had been less active than Bush as a paid speaker. Carter’s international prominence is based largely on his peacemaker role in various conflicts.

Bush, whose net worth was about $3.7 million while he was president, makes about 50 speeches a year. He serves as an orator-for-hire for about 40 companies, trade associations and universities annually–a pace he has kept up since 1993, said Gian-Carlo Peressutti, Bush’s spokesman. The number of paid trips abroad varies each year, ranging from four to eight. Sometimes he visits more than one country on a single journey.

For his standard speech–a behind-the-scenes look at his presidency and his view of current events–Bush commands about $80,000 for domestic talks and about $100,000 plus expenses for foreign engagements. . . .

Instead of taking cash for a 1998 speech in Tokyo, Bush accepted stock in Global Crossing Ltd., a technology start-up company. His holdings were worth about $13.4 million in November when he filed papers to sell some shares.

Bush also raises large sums for charity and is active with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the Points of Light Foundation and other causes.

After losing to Bill Clinton in 1992, Bush returned to Houston to carve out his role as a retired president. He decided that he would neither serve as a corporate director nor advocate specific positions for any interest group.

“He did not want to be put in a position of supporting or lobbying for one American company over another,” Becker said. “He also did not feel it was an appropriate use of his past government positions or influence.”

But Bush has bowed to entreaties from U.S. companies and friends to weigh in on their behalf with foreign officials.

In 1998, he made “an exception to his black-and-white rule about lobbying for a company,” Becker said, when he sent a letter to the Kuwaiti oil minister at the request of the Chevron Corp., which was competing for business there. Bush acted because Chevron was the only U.S. company bidding and specified in his note that he had no stake in the deal, she said.

And Bush has twice taken a position as a corporate advisor. Becker said that this role differs from a corporate director because Bush does not participate in decision-making.

One firm he advises, the Carlyle Group, is a Washington-based investment company that acquires and manages defense, aerospace and other corporations worldwide. Frank C. Carlucci, Reagan’s Defense secretary, is Carlyle’s chairman, and James A. Baker III, Bush’s secretary of State, is a senior counselor.

Although Carlyle touts Bush’s position on its Web site, its executives did not return calls about his capacity as senior advisor of Carlyle’s Asia Advisory Board.

Last year, Bush visited South Korea with Carlyle associates who were seeking to purchase three South Korean firms. Bush met with government officials, including then-Prime Minister Kim Jong Pil, and joined Carlyle members in greeting the South Korean companies. Becker said that Carlyle pays Bush only to give talks to company advisory boards, clients and prospective clients. His meetings with heads of state “are personal in nature and not official in any way,” Becker said. They are strictly “social calls” that do not include discussions of business deals, she said.

Carlyle also co-sponsored a 1998 Bush mission to China, one of his numerous trips to that country. As a post-presidential visitor, he has expressed views on sensitive policy issues, advocating permanent normal trade with Beijing and recognition for China’s progress on human rights.

Such a continued role in China for the elder Bush could complicate dealings between a second Bush administration and Beijing. Relations with China have proved challenging for recent U.S. presidents, who have sought to balance a desire to increase trade and foster democracy with concerns over human rights.

In 1995, Bush was recruited by another high-powered friend, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, to become a senior advisor to the International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold Co., a Toronto-based mining firm. Bush was paid about $15,000 a year plus travel expenses to provide advice at four meetings in four years, Barrick spokesman Vince Borg said.

Bush helped in a Barrick campaign to gain approval to mine gold in Indonesia from what was believed to be the world’s largest deposit. He wrote in 1996 to President Suharto, with whom he had a long-standing relationship, to laud the company:

“I simply want to take the liberty of telling you how impressed I am with Barrick, its visionary leadership, technological achievements and great financial strength.”

At the time, Bre-X Minerals Ltd. of Calgary had exploration rights. But, soon after Bush’s letter, the Indonesian government decreed that Bre-X make Barrick a partner–and give it three-quarters of Bre-X’s revenue rights.

Angry Bre-X shareholders mounted a telephone blitz with investment markets and the press that led Suharto to approve a different joint venture without Barrick. Shortly thereafter, the gold deposit was exposed as a monumental fraud. Bush resigned from Barrick last year.

No president can be expected to completely control the behavior of family members. Indeed, history is replete with examples of first family relatives who have caused embarrassment.

Carter’s brother, Billy, created a furor over his dealings with the terrorist regime in Libya. Richard Nixon deployed a telephone tap to keep tabs on the potentially dubious ventures of younger brother Donald.

The senior Bush knows the feeling. His son Neil was a paid director in a Denver savings and loan that failed, costing taxpayers $1 billion. And President Bush’s brother, Prescott, helped arrange U.S. investment deals for a Tokyo company that, according to Japanese police, was controlled by an underworld kingpin.

The prospective Bush father-son presidential scenario is virtually without precedent in U.S. history. Only John Adams, the second president, had a son who became the nation’s chief executive. But Adams was out of office 24 years when John Quincy Adams took office in 1825, and he died a little more than a year into his son’s administration.

In contrast, only eight years would separate the Bush administrations if Gov. Bush is elected in the fall. And the elder Bush, who served as vice president, CIA director, United Nations ambassador and envoy to China, shows no signs of easing his foreign travels.

Some of the former president’s excursions drew notice because of his association with certain individuals and organizations.

The former president gave speeches throughout Japan in 1996 for the Women’s Federation for World Peace, which is led by Moon’s wife. The highlight was Bush’s appearance at the Tokyo Dome rally, which included a laser show and giant video screens. Bush’s speech on family values was followed by Moon’s wife praising her husband and his church.

The United Church of Christ and a group of 300 lawyers suing Moon’s church urged Bush to skip the event. The groups said that Bush’s participation would bolster the credibility of Moon’s church.

Detractors have criticized the messianic Moon and his recruiting and fund-raising tactics, likening his church to a cult. He also spent a year in a U.S. federal prison in 1982 for tax evasion and has publicly described America as “Satan’s harvest.”

A Bush spokesman said that the nonprofit federation headed by Moon’s wife is separate from the church. Bush’ Japan tour was part of a series of speeches for the federation–some in the U.S.--for which he was paid several million dollars.

Bush made another appearance for a Moon-related organization that prompted headlines in Argentina. He was the main attraction at a black-tie dinner in Buenos Aires on Nov. 23, 1996, to launch Tiempos del Mundo, a Spanish-language daily newspaper owned by Moon.

As the reverend beamed nearby, Bush saluted him for starting the Argentine paper as well as Moon’s conservative Washington Times. A Unification Church bulletin said afterward: “Bush’s presence as keynote speaker gave the event invaluable prestige.”

Bush’s friend, then-Argentine President Menem, was scheduled to attend the dinner but backed out after his secretary for religious affairs called the Unification Church “blasphemous and anti-Christian.”

Bush was paid by Moon’s Washington Times Foundation. Peressutti, the Bush spokesman, said that the former president has not spoken to a Moon-connected group since 1996.

Bush’s closeness to Menem has led to considerable–and sometimes erroneous–speculation in the Argentine press. First elected in 1989, Menem, who served 10 years, is credited with modernizing and bringing stability to Argentina’s economy but has been tainted by allegations of corruption against members of his inner circle and former Cabinet aides.

Since leaving the White House, Bush has met with Menem during five trips to Argentina and three Menem visits to the United States.

In 1994, Bush traveled to Buenos Aires twice, delivering paid speeches to banker and pharmaceutical groups. That April, Bush also did a favor for gambling mogul Wynn, who often hosts the former president at his exclusive Las Vegas home and golf course.

Menem had issued a decree allowing construction of a casino in Buenos Aires. Wynn’s Mirage Resorts Co. wanted to build it. At Wynn’s request, Bush wrote Menem that Wynn was favorably known to him while stating that he had no financial interest in the deal, Peressutti said. Wynn thought the note would “establish his credentials,” said Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman.

After local officials objected to the Argentine federal government’s making such decisions, Menem withdrew his approval and Wynn’s casino project died.

Nevertheless, after Argentine news accounts of Bush’s visits and alleged Bush family meddling in government decisions, seven members of the country’s Chamber of Deputies sent extensive written questions to Menem about his relationship with the Bush family.

The lawmakers, including several prominent opposition figures, asked whether Bush went to bat for Mirage. They also inquired about Neil Bush, whose company was awarded oil exploitation rights by the Argentine government in 1987. They never got a reply.

But Menem’s former ambassador to the United States said in an interview that continuing suspicions in the Argentine press about Bush family activities in Argentina are unfounded.

Before Menem left office in December, his government provided $200,000 in seed money for a new Argentine Studies Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Menem spoke there in March and had lunch with George W. Bush at the Texas Governor’s Mansion.

Menem has expressed a desire to seek Argentina’s presidency again in 2003. His ties to former President Bush could prove sensitive if his son wins the White House.

Experts say that candidate Bush and his father should publicly outline what steps they would take to avoid any potential complications.

“It’s not too soon . . . to think about it,” said Charles O. Jones, a University of Wisconsin political scientist. “There would have to be tremendous caution on the ex-president’s part in doing what he’s been doing.”

Times staff writers Sebastian Rotella in Buenos Aires and William C. Rempel in Los Angeles, and researchers John Beckham in Chicago and Lianne Hart in Houston contributed to this story.

George W. Bush, Jr. – The current President of the United States of America.

From COMPROMISED – Clinton, Bush and The CIA:

A reported conversation between Barry Seal and Terry Reed: . . .

(Barry): “There ain’t nothin’ in this world more powerful that good ol’ fu*kin’ blackmail, Terry. And don’t let anybody ever tell ya different. Jeeeesus Christ, I got some good shit on some big people.”. . .

(Terry): “Calm down Barry. Tell me what’s going on.” . . .

(Barry): “Terry, what’s most important right now is for ya to play ball with these guys and get your ass down to Mexico ASAP. You impressed the shit out of Leroy . . . Robert Johnson, too. I won’t be able to come to Mexico right now. I’ve got a little matter to take care of. But ya get on down there . . . and I’ll be joining ya soon.” . . .

(Terry): “What’s this blackmail you’re talking about?” . . .

(Barry): “Ever hear the old expression, it’s not what ya know, it’s who ya know? Well, whoever said that just hadn’t caught the vice president’s kids in the dope business, ’cause I can tell ya for sure what you know can definitely be more important than who you know.” . . .

(Terry): “What’s this about the vice president’s kids and dope?” . . .

(Barry): “I don’t wannna tell ya too much, ’cause truthfully ya don’t have a need to know. But Terry, I been workin’ with several federal agencies for the past couple of years, as ya probably suspicioned. In the course of that business, a person can’t help but run across some real sensitive information. It seems that some major players in the Medellin Cartel, whom I personally know, ran across some knowledge that’s very valuable to both the Republicans and the Democrats. Real national security stuff. It seems some of George Bush’s kids just can’t say no to drugs, ha ha ha ha. . . . Well, ya can imagine how valuable information like this would be, can’t ya? That could get ya out of almost any kind of jam.” Seal paused for a moment then asked, “Ya ever play Monopoly? The information I got is so good it’s just like a get-out-of-jail-free card . . . ha, ha, ha, ha YEE-HAWWWWW.” . . .

(Terry): “Barry, are you telling me George Bush’s kids are in the drug business?” . . .

(Barry): Yup, that’s what I’m tellin’ ya. A guy in Florida who flipped for the DEA has got the goods on the Bush boys. Now I heard this earlier from a reliable source in Colombia, but I just sat on it then, waitin’ to use it as a trump card, if I ever needed it. Well, I need to use it now. I got names, dates, places . . . even got some tape recordin’s. Fu*k, I even got surveillance videos catchin’ the Bush boys red-handed. I consider this stuff to me invincible. Now this is real sensitive shit inside of U.S. Customs and DEA, and those guys are pretty much under control. It’s damage control as usual. But where it gets real interestin’ is what the Republicans will do to the Democrats in order to dirty up the people who might use this information against Bush.” . . .

(Terry): “So you’ve got direct knowledge of the Republicans trying to neutralize some Democrats before they can nuke Bush with this?” . . .

(Barry): “Hell, yeah. I’ve been part of it. Remember that meetin’ we had at SOB’s when I told ya, ya should play ball with these guys . . . Remember in that meetin’ I told ya I had a plan to blow the lid off the whole damn Mena deal and shut it down due to adverse publicity?

Well, what I didn’t tell ya was that project was already in effect, and the Republicans were already trying to neutralize some important people in Arkansas … namely, the Clinton family.

Yeah, that day ya explained to me the connection between the Ward family, the Rose Law Firm and the governor’s mansion, well I about shit! Ya see what ya didn’t know was I was on a secret mission by none other than the Agency to sort of uh, dirty up some people real close to the governor. Now, I had been workin’ on this through Dan Lasater.

Now Dan’s a good ol’ boy and all that, but he’s gotta drug problem, and he’s got the balls to be stealin’ from the Agency, too. From what I hear, Dan’s been doin’ a lot of questionable out-a-state investin’. In fact, he’s stashin’ a lot of cash in a resort in New Mexico.

I was told to exploit that, which I was workin’ on. But you come along with this new connection.

I saw an immediate way to get some white stuff up some noses around Bill Clinton real fast.

(Terry): “Barry, this is heavy shit! Are you saying you were the source of the cocaine ending up around a lot of important people in Arkansas? . . . There’s a major scandal brewing there. . . . Did you have anything to do with Roger (Clinton) and some of those guys in Lasater’s firm getting investigated?” . . .

(Barry): “Terry, I told ya when I met ya, I’m in transportation and I transport what the government wants transported. In this case, the Republicans…and the Bush family…wanted some stuff transported through Mena and into Arkansas that would end up in the noses of some very prominent Democrats.

And yes, I must ‘fess up, I’ve had a hand in that. YEEE-HAWWWWWW! It’s not who ya know, it’s what ya know. . . .”

~ ~ ~

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 1986, turned out to be the last day of Barry Seal’s life. His blood, along with pieces of flesh and bone, were splattered all over the interior of his car. The Baton Rouge police report, in cold official language, described what happened to him that day: “Autopsy determined the cause of Seal’s death to be multiple gunshot wounds fired by an automatic weapon,” the crime report said. “Three rounds entered Seal’s upper torso, and four entered the left head. Some fifteen rounds were recovered at the murder scene.”

* * *

From The American Spectator, June 1999, by Byron York: George’s Road to Riches:

On April 15, Texas governor George W. Bush … made public his 1998 tax returns. It’s something Bush has done each year since his first governor’s race, but this time was different; the figures contained in the returns were … simply astonishing. The governor, who had reported income of $271,920 in 1997, estimated that he made $18.4 million in 1998.

Bush’s income came from two main sources. The great majority — nearly $15 million — came from his stake in the sale of the Texas Rangers baseball team. An additional $3 million or so came from a blind trust that manages his investments . . . The smallest component of Bush’s income was his salary as governor, $99,121.

What was perhaps just as surprising as the size of the numbers was that the national press did not seem particularly interested in Bush’s unusually good fortune. The New York Times devoted all of 137 words to the story; the Washington Post gave it 189. Other papers didn’t mention it at all. . . .

Far more than tales of youthful drinking and carousing, the record of Bush’s rise to wealth reveals how he became what he is today. It’s a complicated tale of family connections, hard work, and sweet deals, topped off by a taxpayer-subsidized baseball bonanza that may leave some Republicans feeling queasy about how their candidate got rich. . . .

~ ~ ~

In the beginning, Bush was able to seek advice from a number of family friends, people like James Allison, Jr., a newspaper publisher and political strategist who had run Bush’s father’s successful campaign for Congress, and Martin Allday, a lawyer and businessman whom President Bush would later appoint chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Allday introduced Bush to Paul Rea, a geologist and oil executive who would later play an important role in Bush’s career.

Other family friends and supporters pitched in as well. According to an analysis in the Dallas Morning News, Arbusto’s early investors included people like FitzGerald Bemiss, a childhood friend of President Bush’s who invested $80,000 … George L. Ball, chairman of Prudential-Bache Securities, who invested $100,000; financier Lewis Lehrman, who invested $47,000; and John Macomber and Willam Draper, both later appointed to the Export-Import Bank, who invested $172,550. . . .

~ ~ ~

Mr. Uzielli’s $1 Million Check – The first well was dry. Then others didn’t work out. … by the early 1980’s Arbusto’s balance sheet was trending downward …

Bush needed investors, but he had already tapped many of the most obvious sources. So it was a very fortunate day in January 1982 when he found his biggest single benefactor in an international businessman named Philip Uzielli. . . .

When Arbusto got in a bind, Uzielli, using money form a Panamanian company owned by his family, came to the rescue with a $1 million investment. The money bought Uzielli a ten-percent interest in Arbusto, which raised eyebrows because all of Arbusto, including the desks and the paper clips, was worth less than $500,000 at the time. Why would a man invest $1 million to buy ten percent of a company that was worth less than $500,000? . . .

Uzielli would ultimately “lose” nearly all his money.

~ ~ ~

From Harper’s Magazine, Feb 2000: How George W. Bush Got Rich – A heartwarming tale of influence, cronyism, and $1.7 billion, by Joe Conason:

On December 6, 1994, one month after he defeated Ann Richards to become governor of Texas, George W. received a large but belated campaign contribution from an acquaintance named Thomas O. Hicks . . .

Hicks was easily one of the wealthiest men in Texas, and more specifically, he was the chief executive of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, an investment partnership he founded . . .

Of the scores of appointments made by an otherwise weak governor under the Texas constitution, a seat on the University of Texas Board of Regents is among the most desirable. It carries significant prestige, opportunities for patronage, and preferred access to season tickets (or luxury boxes) at Longhorn football games. For someone like Tom Hicks, however, being a regent provided something far more valuable . . .

Hicks had conceived an ambitious plan for the state university system’s financial assets– more than $13 billion— that matched his own bold investment style.

~ ~ ~

Friends and long-time associates of Thomas Hicks, and his firm’s past and future business partners– as well as major Republican contributors and political supporters of the Bush family– received hundreds of millions of dollars from the University of Texas investment funds.

Under the guidance of Tom Hicks, a growing portion of the university’s investment choices had a decidedly Republican tinge. On March 1, 1995, the regents voted to place what would prove to be a comparatively modest $10 million with The Carlyle Group….

That a firm run by his father’s associates would be awarded an investment contract only weeks after George W. was elected to office was unseemly at best. But the Texas governor had his own long-standing and lucrative ties to Carlyle that dated back almost a decade. Among his more obscure business activities was a corporate directorship at Caterair, one of the nation’s largest airline-catering services, which was acquired by Carlyle in 1989.

The next year, a seat on the company’s board was arranged for George W. by the former Nixon White House aide and longtime Bush associate Fred Malek, who was then an adviser at Carlyle. Although Bush remained on the catering company’s board until 1994, his earnings as a Caterair director are not specified on his personal financial forms filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. . . .

These days it is the governor’s father who benefits from the Washington investment firm’s largesse. Since leaving the White House, George Herbert Walker Bush has been paid by Carlyle for speeches at events sponsored by the merchant bank….

* * *

From the web posting by Real People for Real Change:

George W. Bush, Jr. – The Dark Side

Just like Dan Quayle and Steve Forbes, two other politically-connected rich kids, Bush Junior joined his home state’s National Guard. It’s not clear how he got past the waiting list, but his dad was a U.S. Congressman at the time, and his grandfather was a famous U.S. Senator.

Instead of going to Vietnam, he flew cool jet planes around Texas, valiantly defending us against the Mexican air force. His political connections got him a sweet deal — they not only got him into the National Guard, and got him the last (rare) training slot for pilots despite the fact that he scored the lowest allowable score – 25/100 – on a pilot’s aptitude test, but he was assigned to fly an older plane (the F102) which was being phased out at the time, which meant that he had no chance at all of going to Vietnam. . . .

On this issue, too, Bush has weaseled in a manner eerily reminiscent of Bill Clinton. He claims that he joined the guard to fly planes, just like his dad. But George Bush, Sr., a genuine war hero, joined the Navy, not the National Guard. Both the Navy and Air Force had plenty of openings when Bush Jr. joined, but he chose the stateside Guard.

Furthermore, his enlistment form had a check box to indicate you volunteered to go to Vietnam or not. His was checked NO, but now he claims that the clerks there often filled that part out and checked NO for you.

Once he joined, Bush was promoted to First Lieutenant in just 4 months, a very short time, and was given several months off to work on a political campaign. He was also released 6 months early to work on another campaign. . . .

Insider Business Deals.

Bush, Jr. has made a lot of money off three business deals. In each one, his contribution is hard to perceive, yet he walked off with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in deals arranged by his father’s political cronies. . . .

The Oil Business: Rewarded for Losing Money.

Like his dad, Junior struck out in Texas and founded an oil company, Arbusto Energy, Inc., with $20,000 of his own money. (Arbusto is the Spanish word for bush.) The company foundered in the early 1980’s when oil prices dropped (and his dad was Vice President.) . . .

The 50 investors, who were “mainly friends of my uncle” in Junior’s own words, put in $4.7 million and lost most of it. Junior claims that investors “did pretty good,” but Bush family friend Russell Reynolds told the Dallas Morning News: “The bottom line was there were problems, and it didn’t work out very well. I think we got maybe 20 cents on the dollar.”

As Arbusto neared collapse, Spectrum 7 Energy Corp bought it in Sept, 1984. Despite his poor track record, the owners made Bush, Jr. the president and gave him 13.6% of the parent company’s stock. . . .

Spectrum 7 was a small oil firm owned by two staunch Reagan/Bush Sr. supporters — William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds. These two were also owners of the Texas Rangers and allowed Bush Jr. to purchase a chunk of the team cheaply; he later sold it for over 24 times what he paid.

Within two years of purchasing Arbusto and making Bush Jr. president, Spectrum 7 was itself in trouble; it lost $400,000 in its last 6 months of operation. That ended in 1986, when Harken Energy Corporation bought Spectrum 7’s 180-well operation….

Junior got $227,000 worth of Harken stock, and a lot more. He was named to the board of directors, made $80,000 to $100,000 a year well into the 1990’s as a “consultant” to Harken, and was allowed to buy Harken stock at 40% below face value….

He also borrowed $180,375 from Harken at very low rates; the company’s 1989 and 1990 SEC filings said it “forgave” $341,000 in loans to unspecified executives….

So, what did Junior do for all this money? It’s hard to say exactly, but things happened for Harken after Junior came on board: it got a $25 million stock offering from an unusual bank with CIA ties; it won a surprise exclusive drilling contract with Bahrain, a small Mideast country; and an Arab member of its Board of Directors was invited to White House policy meetings with Pres. George Bush and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. . . .

Easy Money From Odd Sources.

The firm’s $25 million stock offering was underwritten by Stephens, Inc., an Arkansas bank whose head, Jackson Stephens, was on President Bush’s “Team 100.” (That was a group of 249 rich persons who gave at least $100,000 each to his presidential campaign committee.) Stephens placed the offering with the London subsidiary of Union Bank of Switzerland, which (according to the Wall Street Journal) was not known as an investor in small American companies. . . .

Union Bank did have other connections: it was a joint-venture with the notorious BCCI in a Geneva-based bank, and was involved in a scandal surrounding the Nugan Hand Bank, a CIA operation in Australia whose executives were advised by William Quasha, the father of Harken’s chairman (Alan Quasha).

Union Bank was also involved in scandals surrounding Panamanian money laundering by BCCI, and Ferdinand Marcos’ movement of 325 tons of gold out of the Philippines. . . .

Selling Oil Stock Just Before Iraq Invaded.

George Bush, Jr. sold 60% of his stock in Harken Oil in June, 1990 for $848,560. That was brilliant timing; in August, Iraq invaded Kuwait and Harken’s stock dropped 25%. Soon after, a big quarterly loss caused it to drop further. . . .

A secret State Department memo in May of that year had warned that Saddam was out of control, and listed options for responding to him, including an oil ban that might affect U.S. oil prices….

We can’t be sure that the President or an aide mentioned these developments to his son, or that Harken’s representative who was admitted to meetings with the President picked up something and reported back to Junior. But it is the simplest and most logical explanation. . . .

Furthermore, Harken’s internal financial advisers at Smith Barney had issued a report in May warning of the company’s deteriorating finances. Harken owed more that $150 million to banks and other creditors at the time. George Bush, Jr. was a member of the board and also of Harken’s restructuring committee, which met in May and worked directly with the Smith Barney consultants. He must have known of these warnings. . . .

These are pretty clear-cut indications of illegal insider trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission, controlled at the time by President George Bush, investigated but chose not to press charges. . . .

Junior also violated another SEC rule explicitly. He was required to register his sale as an insider trade by July 10, 1990, but didn’t until March 1991, after the Gulf War was over. He was not punished or cited. . . .

* * *

From Associated Press, 3/2/00, by Jonathan Salant: McCain Stings Bush on Sleep-Overs for Cash: . . .

Eight of the 31 overnight guests at the Texas governor’s mansion last year helped Gov. George W. Bush raise a record $70 million for his Republican presidential bid . . .

Bush’s chief rival, Sen. John McCain, likened the practice to President Clinton’s use of the Lincoln Bedroom to house big givers to the Democratic Party.

“Bill Clinton only charges $10,000 a night. He charges $100,000 a night,” McCain said …

The donors, who included Bush’s chief fund-raiser and seven “pioneers” who raised at least $100,000 each, were among the 31 overnight visitors that Bush entertained at the mansion since Jan 1, 1999, according to records released at the request of the Associated Press.

Don Evans, a close friend of the Texas governor and the national finance chairman of his presidential campaign, stayed at the mansion seven times last year.

Seven other guests were members of Bush’s “pioneers” . . .