The Bush Family History






From The Progressive Review:

Looking behind
the Bushes

Great moments in a great American family

1918 - 1994


Much of this article originally appeared in the Progressive Review during the 1992 campaign. It has been updated



Prescott Bush Sr., leads a raid on a Indian tomb to secure Geronimo's skull for Skull & Bones.


Prescott Bush's investment firm sets up deal for the Luftwaffe so it can obtain tetraethyl lead.


Three firms with which Prescott Bush is associated are seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE: The president of the Florida Holocaust Museum said Saturday that George W. Bush's grandfather derived a portion of his personal fortune through his affiliation with a Nazi-controlled bank. John Loftus, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department's Nazi War Crimes Unit, said his research found that Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a principal in the Union Banking Corp. in Manhattan in the late 1930s and the 1940s. Leading Nazi industrialists secretly owned the bank at that time, Loftus said, and were moving money into it through a second bank in Holland even after the United States declared war on Germany. The bank was liquidated in 1951, Loftus said, and Bush's grandfather and great-grandfather received $1.5 million from the bank as part of that dissolution . . . Loftus pointed out that the Bush family would not be the only American political dynasty to have ties to the "wrong side of World War II." The Rockefellers had financial connections to Nazi Germany, he said. Loftus also reminded his audience that John F. Kennedy's father, an avowed isolationist and former ambassador to Great Britain, profited during the 1930s and '40s from Nazi stocks that he owned. "No one today blames the Democrats because Jack Kennedy's father bought Nazi stocks," Loftus said. Still, he said, it is important to understand these historical connections for what they tell us about politics today. The World War II experience points out how easy it was then -- and remains today -- to hide money in multinational funds.



George Bush and the Liedtke brothers form Zapata Petroleum. Zapata's subsidiary, Zapata Offshore, later becomes known for its close ties to the CIA.


The Bush family buys out the Liedtke brothers.


George Bush sets up a Mexican drilling operation, Permago, with a frontman to obscure his ownership. The frontman later is convicted of defrauding the Mexican government of $58 million.


Manuel Noriega recruited as an agent by the US Defense Intelligence Agency.


Some investigators believe George Bush spent part of this year and the next in Miami on behalf of the CIA, organizing rightwing exiles for an invasion of Cuba. Is said to have worked with later Iran-Contra figure Felix Rodriguez.


According to the Realist, CIA official Fletcher Prouty delivers three Navy ships to agents in Guatemala to be used in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Prouty claims he delivered the ships to a CIA agent named George Bush. Agent Bush named the ships the Barbara, Houston and Zapata.

Bay of Pigs invasion fails. Right-wingers blame Kennedy for failure to provide air cover. CIA loses 15 men, another 1100 are imprisoned.

George Bush invites Rep. TL. Ashley -- a fellow Skull & Boner -- down to Texas for a party in order to meet "an attractive girl." Bush writes that "she may be accompanied by an Austrian ski instructor but I think we can probably flush him at the local dance hall." Bush notes that he's had to unlist his phone because "Jane Morgan keeps calling me all the time." [From a letter in the Ashley archives uncovered by Spy magazine.]

Zapata annual report boasts that the company has paid no taxes since it was founded.


John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Internal FBI memo reports that on November 22 "reputable businessman" George H. W. Bush reported hearsay that a certain Young Republican "has been talking of killing the president when he comes to Houston." The Young Republican was nowhere near Dallas on that date.

According to a 1988 story in The Nation, a memo from J. Edgar Hoover states that "Mr. George Bush of the CIA" had been briefed on November 23rd, 1963 about the reaction of anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami to the assassination of President Kennedy. George says it ain't him, admits he was in Texas but can't remember where.


George Bush runs as a Goldwater Republican for Congress. Campaigns against the Civil Rights Act.


Bush, runs as a moderate Republican, gets elected to Congress. Robert Mosbacher chairs Oil Men for Bush.

Apache leader Ned Anderson meets with the Skull & Bones lawyer and George Bush's brother Jonathan who attempt to return the skull Prescott Bush had looted. Anderson refuses the skull because he says it isn't Geronimo's.


George W. Bush joins Skull & Bones at Yale


Bush loses Senate race to Lloyd Bentsen, despite $112,000 in contributions from a White House slush fund. Jim Baker is campaign chair. Bush later claims to have reported correctly all but $6000 in cash --which he denies he got. A 1992 story in the New York Times says the $6000 was listed in records of Nixon's "townhouse operation" which was designed in part to make GOP congressional candidates vulnerable to blackmail.


Bush is named UN Ambassador by Nixon.

Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs finds enough evidence of Noriega's involvement in drug dealing to indict him, but US Attorney's office in Miami considers grabbing Noriega in Panama for trial here to be impractical. State Department also urges BNDD to back off.


Bill Liedtke gathers $700,000 in anonymous contributions for the Nixon campaign, delivering the money in cash, checks and securities to the Committee to Re-Elect the President (the infamous CREEP) one day before such contributions become illegal. Bill says he did it as a favor to George.


Bush is named GOP national chair. Brings into the party the Heritage Groups Council, an organization with a number of Nazi sympathizers.

Bush, according to Lowell Weicker, inquires as to whether records of the "townhouse operation" should be burned.

Robert Mosbacher wins an offshore drilling concession from Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Watergate tapes indicate concern by Nixon and aide HR Haldeman that the investigation into Watergate might expose the "Bay of Pigs thing." Nixon also speaks of the "Texans" and the "Cubans." and mentions "Mosbacher."

In another tape, Nixon decides following his re-election to get signed resignations from his whole government so he can centralize his power. Says Nixon to John Erlichman: "Eliminate everyone, except George Bush. Bush will do anything for our cause."


Bush is named special envoy to China.


DEA report notes Noreiga's involvement in drug trade.

George W. Bush graduates from Harvard Business School


Jerry Ford names George Bush CIA director, his fourth political patronage job in a little over five years. Bush later claims this is the first time he ever worked for the CIA. At his confirmation hearings, Bush says, "I think we should tread very carefully on governments that are constitutionally elected."

Bush holds first known meeting with Noriega. Noriega starts receiving $110,000 a year from the CIA.

Noriega found to be working for Cubans as well, but keeps his CIA gig.

Bush sets up Team B within the CIA, a group of neo-conservative outsiders and generals who proceed to double the agency's estimate of Soviet military spending.

Senate committee headed by Frank Church proposes revealing size of the country's black budget -- intelligence spending that, in contradiction to the Constitution, is kept secret even from the Hill. According to journalist Tim Weiner, Bush argues that the revelation would be a disaster and would compromise the agency beyond repair. By a one vote margin the matter is referred to the Senate. It never reaches the floor.

Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier is assassinated by Chilean secret police agents. CIA fails to inform FBI of pending plot and of assassins' arrival in US. CIA claims the hit was the work of left-wingers in search of a martyr.

Bush writes internal CIA memo asking to see cable on Jack Ruby visiting Santos Trafficante in jail. In 1992, Bush will deny any interest in the JFK assassination while CIA head.

Bush claims nuclear war is winnable.


Philippine dictator Marcos buys back Robert Mosbacher's oil concession. Mosbacher claims he was swindled. Philippine officials say they never saw any expenditures by Mosbacher on the project.


Bush, Mosbacher and Jim Baker become partners in an oil deal.

From a Washington Post article by Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus: "According to those involved in Bush's first political action committee, there were several occasions in 1978-79, when Bush was living in Houston and traveling the country in his first run for the presidency, that he set aside periods of up to 24 hours and told aides that he had to fly to Washington for a secret meeting of former CIA directors. Bush told his aides that he could not divulge his whereabouts, and that he would not be available." Former CIA chief Stansfield Turner denies such meetings took place.

George W. Bush declares his candidacy for the Midland Congressional district. He wins the Republican primary and loses in the general election.

George W. Bush begins operations of his oil firm, Arbusto Energy. With the help of Jonathan Bush, he assembles several dozen investors in a limited partnership including Dorothy Bush, Lewis Lehrman, William Draper, and James Bath, a Houston aircraft broker


Bush becomes Reagan's vice presidential candidate. Runs as a rightwinger again.

Mosbacher becomes chief fundraiser for Bush's presidential campaign. Forms a millionaire's club of 250 contributors, each of whom cough up $100,000.

William Casey forms a working group to prepare for possible Carter October political surprise. In early October, an Iranian official meets with three top Reagan campaign aides. All three deny memory of the meeting in subsequent proceedings.

On October 21, Reagan hints he has a secret plan to release the hostages. This is right around the alleged date of a Paris meeting at which the so-called "October Surprise" was settled. Some allege that at this meeting it was agreed to end the arms embargo against Iran if Iran would release its hostages after the election. While Bush's presence at this meeting has been denied by the House committee investigating the October Surprise, Bush's whereabouts at this critical time remain in doubt. The White House, in fact, has leaked conflicting stories.

Rep. Dan Quayle goes on a Florida golfing vacation with seven other men and Paula Parkinson -- an insurance lobbyist who later posed nude for Playboy. Parkinson describes Quayle as a husband on the make, but says she turned him down because she was already having an affair with another congressman. Marilyn Quayle says, "anybody who knows Dan Quayle knows he would rather play golf than have sex."

The Reagan-Bush campaign receives stolen copies of Carter's briefing books.

Bush's campaign manager, James Baker, forces the dismissal of Bush aide Jennifer Fitzgerald, described in a 1982 Time story as having "much to say about where Bush goes, what he does and whom he sees." Bush continues to pay Fitzgerald out of his own pocket.


Reagan-Bush inaugurated. Hostages released moments before. Shortly thereafter, arms shipments to Iran resume from Israel and America. In July, an Argentinean plane chartered by Israel crashes in Soviet territory. It is found to have made three deliveries of American military supplies to Iran. In a 1991 story in Esquire, Craig Unger quotes Alexander Haig as saying "I have a sneaking suspicion that someone in the White House winked." Says Unger: "This secret and illegal sale of military equipment continued for years afterwards."

James Baker named Reagan's chief of staff.

SEC filings for Zapata Oil for 1960-66 are found to have been "inadvertently destroyed."

Reagan authorizes CIA assistance to Contras.


CIA director William Casey begins Operation Black Eagle to expand US role in Central America. Urges use of "selected Latin American and European governments, organizations and individuals" in the project.

Inslaw, a computer software company, signs a $10 million contract to install a case-tracking program in 94 US Attorney's offices. Four months later, after obtaining a copy of Inslaw's proprietary version of the program, the government cancels the contract and begins an aggressive campaign to force the company into bankruptcy. Later sources claim that the program was installed by the CIA and sold to various foreign intelligence agencies.

After $3 million is poured into Arbusto with little oil and no profits, just tax shelter George W. Bush changes the company name to Bush Exploration Oil Co. Subsequently he is kept afloat by an investment from Philip Uzielli, a Princeton friend of James Baker III. For the sum of $1 million, Uzielli bought 10% of the company at a time in 1982 when the entire enterprise was valued at less than $400,000. Subsequently, to save the company George W. Bush merges with Spectrum 7, a small oil firm owned by William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds. DeWitt had graduated from Yale a few years earlier than Bush and was the son of the former owner of the Cincinnati Reds. Bush becomes president of Spectrum 7. He also gets 14% of the Spectrum's stock. Meanwhile, 50 original investors in Arbusto get paid off at about 20 cents on the dollar.


Noriega meets again with George Bush.

Bush presents an autographed photo to a WWII Ukrainian leader under the Nazis, whose regime killed 100,000 Jews.

KAL 007 crashes under circumstances that remain suspicious to this day.

Bush promotes Jennifer Fitzgerald from appointments secretary to executive assistant. Seven staffers resign in protest. Fitzgerald tells the New York Post: "Everyone keeps painting me as this old ogre. I really don't worry about it. All these bizarre things just simply aren't true."

Neil Bush forms his first oil company. He puts in $100, his partners contribute $160,000 and Neil is named president of the firm, JNB Exploration.

Jeb Bush's business partner, Alberto Duque, goes bankrupt, is eventually convicted of fraud and is sentenced to 15 years in prison.


Jeb Bush lobbies the Department of Health & Human Services on behalf of Cuban-American businessman Miguel Recarey, Jr., whose medical firm later collapses. Recarey, who was close to mobster Santos Trafficante, later flees the US under indictment with at least $12 million in federal funds.

George Bush takes part in meetings to plan increased "third country" aid to the Contras..

CIA mines Nicaraguan harbors.


Jennifer Fitzgerald is sent to work on Capitol Hill after stories arise linking her romantically with George Bush.

Stuart Spencer's public relation firm starts receiving over $350,000 from Panama to improve Noriega's image.

CIA starts using BCCI as a conduit.

George Bush thanks Oliver North for "dedication and tireless work with the hostage thing, with Central America." Bush will later deny knowing about the Contra effort until late 1986.

Neil Bush joins the board of Silverado S&L, serves until 1988. Silverado loans his partners in JNB $132 million which they never repay. Silverado will eventually collapse at a taxpayer cost of $1 billion.

408 TOW anti-tank missiles are shipped from Israel to Iran. A day later, US hostage Benjamin Weir is released.


VP Bush goes to Honduras to promote support for the Contras. Takes along baseball players Nolan Ryan and Gary Carter.

Contra figure Felix Rodriguez meets with Donald Gregg, Bush's national security advisor, to complain about Iran-Contra operatives skimming funds from the Contras.

Bush may have made several secret visits to Damascus between 1986-88 according to a 1992 report in Time, which said two senior GOP senators were pressing for a probe. The allegation is that Bush went to negotiate the release of hostages in Lebanon but in fact stonewalled Syria, "playing for campaign timing. Republicans want to get to the bottom of intelligence-community suspicions that the US somehow blew a chance to free Terry Anderson and his fellow captives."

Iranian arms runner Manucher Ghorbanifar proposes "diversion" of profits from Iran arms sales to Contras.

George W. Bush and partners receive more than $2 million of Harken Energy stock in exchange for a failing oil well operation, which had lost $400,000 in the prior six months. After Bush joined Harken, the largest stock position and a seat on its board were acquired by Harvard Management Company. The Harken board gave Bush $600,000 worth of the company's publicly traded stock, plus a seat on the board plus a consultancy that paid him up to $120,000 a year. When Harken runs short of cash it hooks up with investment banker Jackson Stephens of Little Rock, Arkansas, who arranges a $25 million stock purchase by Union Bank of Switzerland. Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh, who joins the board as a part of the deal, is connected to the infamous BCCI.


Bush's former chief of staff, Daniel Murphy, flies to Panama with South Korean influence peddler Tongsun Park on a private plane owned by arms dealer Sargis Soghnalian to meet with Noriega. Murphy later tells a Senate subcommittee that he informed Noriega that he need not resign before the 1988 election despite the Reagan administration public pressure to the contrary.

Bill Casey dies.

Lee Atwater accuses Robert Dole of spreading stories about Bush and Jennifer Fitzgerald. An agreement is worked out, as reported by Sidney Blumenthal in the Washington Post: "The Dole people didn't spread any rumors and promised not to do it again. And the Bush people haven't spread rumors about the Dole people spreading rumors and won't do it again. "

Harken Energy project gets rescued by aid from the BCCI-connected Union Bank of Switzerland in a deal brokered by Jackson Stephens, later to show up as a key supporter of Bill Clinton.


Jeb Bush and a partner default on a $4.5 million loan from a Florida S&L. The default will cost taxpayers' millions. Bush and his partners will repay only ten percent of the loan but will keep all real estate collateralized by it.

Silverado S&L goes under after receiving 126 cease & desist orders in past four years from the Topeka office of the Office of Thrift Supervision. These orders found conflict of interests, insider abuse and other violations.

Dwight Chapin, ex-Nixon dirty trickster, gets job in Bush campaign.

Rudi Slavoff becomes head of Bulgarians for Bush. In 1983, Slavoff organized an event honoring Austin App, promoter of the theory that the Holocaust was a hoax.

Slavoff joins other GOP ethnic leaders in the Coalition of American Nationalities co-chaired by Edward Derwinski. Among them is a former member of an Hungarian pro-Nazi party. After press revelations, eight of the leaders accused of anti-semitism resign from the campaign. Bush says: "Nobody's giving in... These people left of their own account."

GOP flier warns that "all the murderers, rapists and drug pushers and child molesters in Massachusetts vote for Michael Dukakis."

Bush establishes Team 100, which will eventually grow to 249 individuals who contribute nearly $25 million in soft money to help the GOP cause. The contributions also apparently help the contributors, various of whom get ambassadorial appointments, legislative favors, and intervention on regulatory and criminal matters.

Bush denies knowledge of Noriega's involvement in drug dealing.

The Willie Horton ad is aired. Credit for similar tactics is given to campaign guru Lee Atwater, whose PR firm had represented drug-connected Bahamian prime minister Oscar Pinding and the Philippines' Marcos. Atwater himself had represented UNITA, the CIA-backed Africa rebel group.

Fred Malek, ex-Nixon aide, resigns from the Bush campaign after it's revealed that he compiled a list of Jews in the Labor Dept. as part of a Nixon investigation of a "Jewish cabal."

A few days before the supposedly surprise arrest of five BCCI officials, some of the world's most powerful drug dealers quietly withdraw millions of dollars from the bank. Some government investigators believe the dealers were tipped off by sources within the Bush administration.

Although Felix Rodriguez, former leading cop under Batista, claims he left the CIA in 1976, Rolling Stone reports that he is still going to CIA headquarters monthly to receive assignments and get his bulletproof Cadillac serviced.

Bankruptcy judge George Bason Jr. concludes that the government stole Inslaw's software through "trickery, fraud and deceit."

Stock market drops 43 points on false rumor that Washington Post was about the publish the Bush-Fitzgerald story.


Bush inaugurated. Aides tell the press that the new administration would rather "stay one step behind than be one step ahead."

Bush authorizes CIA support to Noriega's opposition, giving Noriega an excuse to annul Panama's elections.

Bush claims executive privilege to avoid testifying in the Oliver North trial, thus becoming first president to use this power to keep his acts as vice president under wraps.

Dan Quayle declares changes in Soviet Union "just a public relations extravaganza."

Bush brother Prescott flies to Shanghai after the Tiananmen Square massacre to close a deal for an $18 million resort there, despite his brother's ban on high-level Chinese contacts. Prescott says, "We aren't a bunch of carrion birds coming in to pick the carcass. But there are big opportunities in China, and America can't afford to be shut out."

Prescott Bush also visits Japan, searching for consulting contracts just ten days before his brother arrives on a presidential tour. The Japanese firm that paid Prescott a quarter-million dollar consulting fee comes under investigation for exchange law violations and links to the Japanese mob.

C. Boyden Gray, the president's top ethics official, corrects his 1985 and 1986 financial disclosure forms. He forgot to include $98,000 in income.

George Bush signs the S&L bailout bill promising that "these problems will never happen again."

The Chicago Tribune reports: "After 14 fishing outings, the President has failed to catch a single fish."

At White House behest, the DEA lures drug dealer to Lafayette Park to make arrest in front of presidential home for the benefit of Bush's upcoming drug speech. At first, drug dealer is dubious, asks DEA agent, "Where the fuck is the White House?"

Defense secretary nominee John Tower runs into confirmation troubles when it is revealed that he has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from defense contractors. Runs into more trouble with revelations of womanizing and drinking. His nomination is rejected.

The sale of three communications satellites to China is announced. Prescott Bush is a $250,000 consultant in the deal.

GOP memo is leaked implying that House Speaker Tom Foley is a homosexual.

President Bush signs a top-secret directive ordering closer ties with Iraq, which opens the way for $1 billion in new aid just a little more than a year before Bush goes to war against that country. The agricultural credit allows Saddam Hussein to use his hard currency for a massive military buildup.

A second judge concurs that the government stole Inslaw's software.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published by the US government, reports that the GNP of East Germany during the 1980s was greater than that of West Germany. The figures come from the CIA.

Bahrain officials suddenly break off offshore drilling negotiations with Amoco and decide to deal with Harken Energy, George Bush Jr.'s firm. Harken has had a series of failed ventures and no cash, so the Bass brothers are brought in to finance Harken's efforts at a cost of $50 million.

Neil Bush bails out of JNB Exploration, the firm where he became president with a $100 ante, leaving his partners to worry about its debt. Days earlier he forms Apex Energy with a personal investment of $3000. The rest of the money -- $2.7 million -- comes from an SBA program designed to help "high risk start-up companies." Like JNB, it proves to be just that. Apex will later go belly-up with no assets.

Two months after his father's inauguration, George W. Bush announces that he and a syndicate of investors have purchased the Texas Rangers. The investors are Edward "Rusty" Rose, Richard Rainwater, Bill DeWitt, Roland Betts (a former Yale frat brother) and Tom Bernstein (Bett's partner in a film investment concern). While Bush appears to lead the group, Rainwater makes clear that Rose is to control how the business is run. Bush's stake in the $86 million deal is 2%, financed with a $500,000 loan from a Midland Bank of which he had been a director and $106,000 from other sources. Rainwater and Rose put up 14.2 million, Betts and Bernstein invested about $6 million and the balance comes from smaller investors and loans. Bush will eventually sell his share for $15 million.


Federal regulators give Bush son Neil the mildest possible penalty in the $1 billion failure of the Silverado S&L. The deal is so good that Bush drops his appeal. Among other things, Neil, as a Silverado director, voted to approve over $100 million in loans to his business partners.

January: Bahrain awards exclusive offshore drilling rights to Harken Oil. This is a surprise as Harken is in very shaky financial condition, has never drilled outside of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and had never drilled undersea at all. The Bass brothers are brought in by Harken for sufficient equity to proceed with the effort. Harken's stock price increases from $4.50 to $5.50.

George W. Bush sells two-thirds of his Harken Energy stock at the top of the market for $850,000, a 200% profit, but makes no report to the SEC until March 1991. Bush Jr. says later the SEC misplaced the report. An SEC representative responds: "nobody ever found the 'lost' filing." One week after Bush's sale, Harken reports an earnings plunge. Harken stock falls more than 60%. Bush uses most of the proceeds to pay off the bank loan he had taken a year earlier to finance his portion of the Texas Rangers deal.

August: Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. Harken's stock price drops substantially. Two months after Bush sells his stock, Harken posts losses for the 2nd quarter of well over $20 million and is shares fall another 24 %, by year end Harken is trading at $1.25. Bush has insisted that he did not know about the firm's mounting losses and that his stock sell-off was approved by Harken's general counsel.

George W. Bush is asked by Carlyle Group to serve on the board of directors of Caterair, one of the nation's largest airline catering services which it had acquired in 1989. The offer is arranged by Fred Malek, long time Bush associate who is then an advisor to Carlyle.

October: Arlington, Texas Mayor Richard Greene signs a contract that guarantees $135 million toward the new Texas Ranger Stadium's estimate price of $190 million. The Rangers put up no cash but finance their share through a ticket surcharge. From the team's operating revenues, the city will earn a maximum of $5 million annually in rent, no matter how much the Rangers reap from ticket sales and television (a sum that will rise to $100 million a year). Another provision permitts the franchise to buy the stadium after the accumulated rental payments reached a mere $ 60 million. The property acquired so cheaply by the Rangers includes not just a fancy new stadium with a seating capacity of 49,000 but an additional 270 acres of newly valuable land. Legislation is passed and signed that authorizes the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority with power to issue bonds and exercise eminent domain over any obstinate landowners. Never before had a Texas municipal authority been given the license to seize the property of a private citizen for the benefit of other private citizens. A recalcitrant Arlington family refuses to sell a 13 acre parcel near the stadium site for half its appraised value. The jury awards more than $4 million to the family.

Fred Malek returns to power with ambassador status to head up planning for the economic summit.

S&L industry is losing money at the rate of $3 million a minute. Bailout chief estimates total cost at $325-500 billion.

Some 200 young soccer players have their games canceled for security reasons because Bush wants to go fishing on the Potomac nearby. Says one seven-year-old player: "We had a tough soccer game and he's just going fishing. He could play somewhere else."

Bush brother Jonathan's east coast brokerage fined in two states for violating laws and Jonathan is barred from public trading in Massachusetts.

Bush's attorney general, Richard Thornberg, is warned about BCCI but does nothing.

Federal court of appeals throws out the Inslaw case on the grounds that it did not belong in bankruptcy court.

Bush says, "The economy is headed in the right direction."


Former top aide to White House Chief of Staff John Sununu goes to work for a prominent figure in the BCCI scandal less than a month after leaving the Bush administration. Edward Rogers Jr. signs a $600,000 contract to give legal advice to Sheik Kamal Adham, an ex-Saudi intelligence officer who is being investigated for his role in BCCI's takeover of First American Bancshares.

The Miami acting US Attorney is allegedly rebuffed by the Justice Department in his efforts to indict BCCI and some of its principal officers on tax fraud charges. Justice Department later denies this occurred.

Danny Casolaro, a reporter investigating the Inslaw story, is found dead in a motel room bathtub, the day after he met a key source. The death was ruled a suicide. Perhaps he is despondent over the loss of his briefcase, which is missing from the room.

George Bush spends three nights in a Houston hotel so he can claim Texas residency. Texas has no income tax.

Neil Bush bails out of Apex Energy after collecting $320,000 in salary plus expenses. Bill Daniels, cable-TV magnate who has been lobbying against regulation of the cable industry, offers Neil a job. According to a representative, he "thought Neil deserved a second chance."


New York Times reports that three of Bush's top fundraisers are being sued in connection with bank failures and another pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with an S&L. These men include the GOP national finance chair, vice chair and two co-chairs of the President's Dinner, which raised $9 million for Republican causes.

Former US Attorney General Elliot Richardson, representing the owners of Inslaw, tells Mother Jones, "I don't know any case where the government has stonewalled like this."

First of Harken Energy's wells off Bahrain comes up dry. George W. Bush takes a leave of absence from the firm to work in his father's campaign, saying "I don't want to involve this company in any kind of allegations of conflicts or whatever may arise."

Village Voice reports that President Bush has taken at least 76 partisan flights during his term, at a cost to the taxpayers of over $6 million.

Nixon's Jew hunter Fred Malek is back as Bush's campaign manager.

Campaign sells photo opportunities with the president at a fundraiser for $92,000 each.

Washington, DC, loses $52,000 in taxes because Bush claims to be a Texas resident.

Donald H. Alexander contributes $100,000 to Team 100; shortly thereafter he's named ambassador to the Netherlands.

Bush says: "I will do what I have to do to be reelected."

JERRY URBAN, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, JUNE 4, 1992: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network -- known as FinCEN -- and the FBI are reviewing accusations that entrepreneur James R. Bath guided money to Houston from Saudi investors who wanted to influence US policy under the Reagan and Bush administrations, sources close to the investigations say . . . The federal review stems in part from court documents obtained through litigation by Bill White, a former real estate business associate of Bath . . . White became entangled in a series of lawsuits and countersuits with Bath, who for some six years has prevailed in the courts. . . . In sworn depositions, Bath said he represented four prominent Saudis as a trustee and that he would use his name on their investments. In return, he said, he would receive a 5 percent interest in their deals. Tax documents and personal financial records show that Bath personally had a 5 percent interest in Arbusto '79 Ltd., and Arbusto '80 Ltd., limited partnerships controlled by George W. Bush, President Bush's eldest son. Arbusto means 'bush' in Spanish. Bath invested $ 50,000 in the limited partnerships, according to the documents. There is no available evidence to show whether the money came from Saudi interests. George W. Bush's company, Bush Exploration Co., general partner in the limited partnerships, went through several mergers, eventually evolving into Harken Energy Corp., a suburban Dallas-based company . . . Bush said that to his knowledge, Bath's investment was from personal funds, and no Saudi money was invested in Arbusto. Bath, 55, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, declined to comment for the record. Spokesmen for FinCEN and the FBI also declined to comment. According to a 1976 trust agreement, drawn shortly after Bush was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen appointed Bath as his business representative in Houston. Binladen, along with his brothers, owns Binladen Brothers Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East. According to White, Bath told him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role with Saudi Arabia since 1976. Bath has previously denied having worked for the CIA . . . Bath received a 5 percent interest in the companies that own and operate Houston Gulf Airport after purchasing it on behalf of Binladen in 1977.


With the new Ranger stadium being readied to open the following spring, George W. Bush announces that he would be running for governor. He is says his campaign theme will be self-reliance and personal responsibility rather than dependence on government.

PBS FRONTLINE: [From a French source] The Saudi authorities' decision to issue an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden on 16 May 1993 does not threaten to affect the relationship between the bin Ladens and the royal family. Osama, one of Mohammed's youngest son, has been known for years for his fundamentalist activities . . . King Fahd's two closest friends were: Prince Mohammed Ben Abdullah (son of Abdul Aziz' youngest brother), who died in the early '80s and whose brother, Khaled Ben Abdullah (an associate of Suleiman Olayan), still has free access to the king; and Salem bin Laden, who died in 1988 . . . Like his father in 1968, Salem died in a 1988 air Texas. He was flying a BAC 1-11 which had been bought in July 1977 by Prince Mohammed Ben Fahd. The plane's flight plans had long been at the center of a number of investigations. According to one of the plane's American pilots, it had been used in October 1980 during secret Paris meetings between US and Iranian emissaries. Nothing was ever proven, but Salem bin Laden's accidental death revived some speculation that he might have been "eliminated" as an embarrassing witness. In fact, an inquiry was held to determine the exact circumstances of the accident. The conclusions were never divulged . . . There was also a political aspect to Salem bin Laden's financial activities . . . Salem bin Laden played a role in the US operations in the Middle East and Central America during the '80s. On his death in 1968, Sheik Mohammed left behind not only an industrial and financial estate but also a progeny made up of no less than 54 sons and daughters, the fruit of a number of marriages . . . Upon Sheik Salem's death, the leadership of the group passed to his eldest son, Bakr, along with thirteen other brothers who make up the board of the bin Laden group. The most important of these are Hassan,Yeslam and Yehia. Most of these brothers have different mothers and different nationalities as well. Each has his own set of affinities, thus contributing to the group's international scope. Bakr and Yehia are seen as representatives of the "Syrian group"; Yeslam, of the "Lebanese group". There is also a "Jordanian group." Abdul Aziz, one of the youngest brothers, represents the "Egyptian group" and is also manager of the bin Laden group's Egyptian branch, which employs over 40,000 people. Osama bin Laden is, incidentally, the only brother with a Saudi mother.



George W. Bush is elected Governor of Texas, defeating Ann Richards 53 to 46 %.

later dates

The BCCI affair


THE GREATEST FINANCIAL scandal in history -- the BCCI affair -- left American participants virtually untouched. The media covered the scandal poorly even though, according to one investigative journalist, up to a hundred Washington politicians and lawyers might have been criminally liable.

As a result -- much like Clinton and the Dixie Mafia -- Americans have but the vaguest notion of what happened. In fact, the two stories overlap. And like many contemporary sagas of corruption, the two stories reached deep into both the major parties. In fact, if George W. Bush is elected, we will be entering our fifth consecutive presidential administration (two Democratic and three Republican) with direct ties to leading figures in the biggest financial scandal of all time.

This time line suggests some of the interplay of individuals and parties:

National Bank of Georgia president Bert Lance, whom former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter described as being like a brother and was Carter's chosen but defeated successor, meets with Jackson Stephens, a Naval Academy classmate of Carter. Stephens Inc. arranges public offering of NBG stock. Stephens would later be described by the New York Post as the man who was to "Clinton what Bert Lance was to candidate Jimmy Carter."

Both Stephens and Lance help Carter in his race for the White House. Carter uses the NBG corporate plane without disclosing it. Campaign is later fined.

Two Indonesian billionaires come to Arkansas. Mochtar Riady and Liem Sioe Liong are close to Suharto. Riady is looking for an American bank to buy. Riady's agent is Jackson Stephens.

Lance comes to Washington as director of the Office of Management and Budget. He quickly comes under investigation for his past financial dealings and in September resigns. His lawyer is Clark Clifford, later embroiled in the BCCI case.

Hillary Clinton, the Arkansas governor's wife, is getting considerable business from Stephens Inc.

George W. Bush begins operations of his oil firm, Arbusto Energy. He assembles several dozen investors in a limited partnership including Dorothy Bush (a friend of BCCI figure Robert Altman), Lewis Lehrman, William Draper, and James Bath, a Houston aircraft broker who bought several planes from Air America, a CIA front. Bath's firm appears to be owned by Saudi investors. He also was a part-owner of a Houston's Main Bank, along with a couple of BCCI figures.

Stephens brokers the arrival of BCCI to this country, and steers BCCI's founder, Hassan Abedi to Bert Lance.

Stephens Inc tries to sell Riady stock in the National Bank of Georgia. The Washington Post quotes a US banker suggesting that Riady is working for Suharto, who is trying to butter up Carter: "They think of this country like a 'regime' similar to their own and they just don't realize that such a ploy wouldn't work." There's no deal. Lance's bank will eventually be taken over by a BCCI front man -- Ghaith Pharaon. Pharaon later sells his bank to First American. Pharaon will be fined $37 million by the Federal Reserve Board and become a fugitive.

Abedi moves to secretly take over First American Bankshares -- later the subject of the only BCCI-connected scandal to be prosecuted in the US.

Mochtar Riady and Stephens Inc set up Stephens Finance Ltd. In Hong Kong.

Lance is indicted on charges of violating federal banking laws. Clifford's partner, Robert Altman, represents Lance who eventually achieves a hung jury.

During this same period, Stephens is, according to Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin in "False Profits," playing "a crucial role in BCCI's penetration of the US market."

Mochtar Riady buys a stake in the Worthen holding company whose assets include the Stephens-controlled Worthen Bank. Price: $16 million. Other Worthen co-owners will eventually include BCCI investor Abdullah Taha Bakhish. Deal handled by C. Joseph Giroir II. Giroir is the Rose law firm chair who hired Hillary Clinton. Giroir will continue to be a deal-maker for the Riadys.

Arkansas state pension funds -- deposited in Worthen by Governor Bill Clinton -- suddenly lose 15% of their value because of the failure of high risk, short-term investments and the brokerage firm that bought them. The $52 million loss is covered by a Worthen check written by Jack Stephens in the middle of the night, an insurance policy, and the subsequent purchase over the next few months of 40% of the bank by Mochtar Riady. Clinton and Worthen escape a major scandal. Mochtar's son James comes back to Arkansas to manage Worthen as president.

Worthen is investigated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for improper loans to companies owned by the Riadys and Stephenses.

George W. Bush and partners receive more than $2 million of Harken Energy stock in exchange for a failing oil well operation, which has lost $400,000 in the prior six months. After Bush joins Harken, the largest stock position and a seat on its board is acquired by Harvard Management Company. The Harken board gives Bush $600,000 worth of the company's publicly traded stock, plus a seat on the board plus a consultancy that pays him up to $120,000 a year. When Harken runs short of cash it hooks up with Jackson Stephens, who arranges a $25 million stock purchase by Union Bank of Switzerland. Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh, who joins the board as a part of the deal, is connected to BCCI.

Stephens' wife Mary Ann runs George Bush's campaign in Arkansas. He is a member of Team 100 -- individuals who have given $100,000 to the Republican party.

A few days before the supposedly surprise arrest of five BCCI officials, some of the world's most powerful drug dealers quietly withdraw millions of dollars from the bank. Some government investigators believe the dealers were tipped off by sources within the Reagan administration.

Bahrain officials suddenly break off offshore drilling negotiations with Amoco and decide to deal with Harken Energy, George W. Bush's firm. Harken has had a series of failed ventures and no cash, so the Bass brothers are brought in to finance Harken's efforts at a cost of $50 million. Harken's investment banker is the same firm that helped in BCCI's acquisition of First American. Among the other BCCI-connected figures that help the deal: Bahrain's prime minister.

Bush's attorney general, Richard Thornberg, is warned about BCCI but does nothing.

Stephens Inc gives $100,000 to a Bush dinner committee.

With Stephens, Mochtar Riady buys BCCI's former Hong Kong subsidiary from its liquidators.

A former top aide to White House Chief of Staff John Sununu goes to work for a prominent figure in the BCCI scandal less than a month after leaving the Bush administration. Edward Rogers Jr. signs a $600,000 contract to give legal advice to Sheik Kamal Adham, an ex-Saudi intelligence officer who is being investigated for his role in BCCI's takeover of First American Bankshares.

The Miami acting US Attorney is reportedly rebuffed by the Justice Department in his efforts to indict BCCI and some of its principal officers on tax fraud charges. Justice Department later denies this occurred.

Ronald Reagan is introduced at the GOP convention by former senator Paul Laxalt, whose law firm represented BCCI in a drug money case. The chair of the convention, Craig Fuller, has been the number two official of Hill & Knowlton which was involved in the BCCI-First American case. Bush's campaign press representatives has done PR for a Saudi sheik accused of involvement in the BCCI affair, earning $200,000 in fees in just two months.

Employees of Stephens Inc. give more money to the Clinton campaign than those of any other firm except Goldman, Sachs and the NY law firm of Wilke, Farr & Gallagher.

Stephens' Worthen Bank gives Clinton a $3.5 million line of credit allowing the cash-strapped candidate to finish the primaries. Little Rock Worldwide Travel provides Clinton with $1 million in deferred billing for his campaign trips. Without the Worthen and Worldwide largess, it is unlikely that the cash-strapped candidate could have survived through the later primaries.

Webster Hubbell, a former Rose law firm partner -- although not known for skill in Asian trade matters -- goes to work for a Lippo Group affiliate after being forced out of the Clinton administration and before going to jail. Hubbell represented both Worthen and James Riady during the 1980s.

With the settlement of civil fraud charges against Clark Clifford and Robert Altman, the puny and often diverted investigation into the American branch of the BCCI scandal effectively comes to an end. Under the deal, the pair will have to surrender $5 million in stock in First American Bankshares, which had been illegally controlled by BCCI. They will, however, get to keep $10-15 million in proceeds obtained during their tenure as First American attorneys.


The BCCI scandal cheated depositors out of over $10 billion worldwide. Many of these were lower income people now being paid off at 15 and 25 cents on the dollar for damage done by a illegal operation willingly used not only by hundreds of drug dealers and other criminals from various countries but by the intelligence services of five nations (including the CIA) and at least one government, Pakistan, seeking to finance its nuclear weapons development.
Things always moved a little too smoothly in the BCCI investigation, leaving scores of unanswered questions and, so far as can be determined, hardly anyone to blame. One exception, Swaleh Naqvi, BCCI's number two man, was given a mild sentence -- over the objections of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He later told prosecutors that he had never explained to Altman and Clifford who really owned First American.

Naqvi's plea bargain with Justice appeared to have been what the Wall Street Journal called "sweetheart justice." Said the Journal: "When drugs and money laundering arrive, political corruption cannot be far behind. If we had an explanation of how BCCI got away with its illegal purchase of First American, we could afford to dismiss such ambiguous connections as lawyer-client relationships. But we have no such answer, and are left to speculate why, in the Naqvi plea-bargain, the Justice Department does not seem to be pressing for one."

The American media has studiously downplayed the story to the end. The New York Times, for example, put the Altman-Clifford settlement on its business page.

But while the story has disappeared not all the characters connected to this saga have. One, for example, is still president and another is ahead in the polls.

[The best book on the BCCI scandal is False Profits]

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Must READ:
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