"Former President George Bush met with King Fahd, right, on a trip to Saudi Arabia last year as part of his work for the Carlyle Group." (NYT, 3/5/01)

CHRONOLOGY: The Bushes And The Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group Website

Click on this one and take a look around. It's worth the click.

From Hitler to the Carlyle Group

“It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864, (letter to Col. William F. Elkins) Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

The Axis of Corporate Evil

In what appears to be an attempted corporate takeover of America, the same names keep coming up time and again. Click the numbers on the chart or scroll down to see the connections.

Meet The Carlyle Group

Former World Leaders and Washington Insiders Making Billions in the War on Terrorism

US arms group (Bush's Carlyle Group) heads for Lisbon

posted by admin on Sunday April 06, @10:26AM - from the the-news.net dept.

Directors of one of the world’s largest armament companies are planning on meeting in Lisbon in three weeks time. The American based Carlyle Group is heavily involved in supplying arms to the Coalition forces fighting in the Iraqi war.

Crony Reform - How the access capitalists at the Carlyle Group became real businessmen.

By Daniel Gross - Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2003, at 1:43 PM PT

Ever since Michael Lewis coined the term "access capitalist" in his 1993 New Republic cover story on the Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity firm has stood as a shining example of how connections and favors can trump business experience and skills. Staffed almost entirely by ex-government officials and investing primarily in defense companies that derived most of their revenues from government contracts, the Carlyle Group for much of its existence occupied a dismal niche—a cranny inhospitable to democracy, fairness, and free enterprise. The Iron Triangle, journalist Dan Briody's brisk new book about Carlyle, details many of the unsavory deals that had been the group's specialty.


by Jerry Politex, Wednesday, January 12, 9:00 p.m. ET

Bush tells folks outside of Texas that if they don't know what he's capable of doing, they should just come down to Texas and look around. Then they'd know. Some are dismayed by what they've found. On Monday we wrote that in the February issue of "Harper's" Joe Conason's will "report that scant weeks after Dubya was sworn in as first-term Texas governor in 1995, the University of Texas Board of Regents voted to place millions of state dollars with the Carlyle Group, even though Bush had just quit his job as a corporate director of Carlyle-owned Caterair, a leading U.S. airline caterer." (see below)

Independent of Conason, we went on to identify Bush billionarie friend, business associate, and major campaign contributor Thomas Hicks as the Bush-appointed chairman of The University of Texas Investment Management Co. which manages the Permanent University Fund. Nearly $9 million of the PUF has been invested in Richard Rainwater's Crescent Equities. We previously noted that Rainwater, Bush, and others sold the Texas Rangers to Hicks while Bush was Texas governor, and Bush's Texas Rangers stock was not held in blind trust. However, other Bush stock was held in blind trust, by Rainwater. During his first term Bush proposed that the state consider privatizing state mental hospitals, which "could have benefitted Magellan Health Services, Inc... controlled by Richard Rainwater," according to the "Houston Chronicle," 8/16/98. During that same period he signed legislation that will provide a $10 million bonus to Texas Rangers partners when a Dallas arena is built. This arena will also enhance the worth of Thomas Hicks' hockey team. "In the six months after that bill was signed, Bush's political fund received $37,000 from Hicks, $11,000 from Crescent President Haddock and $5,000 from Ross Perot, Jr. ... majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team." Crescent owns a share of the Mavericks.

Getting back to Hicks and the PUF fund, during Bush's first term Hicks' committee was charged with "investing $1.7 billion of public university money in the form of investments in private companies." Unfortunately, questions have been asked because "almost a third of the $1.7 billion has been committed to funds run by Hicks' business associates or friends (and).... five funds run by major Republican political donors." Hicks has been unwilling to answer questions about his activities on the public's behalf. "In the past three years, state auditors have criticized the secretive nature of [the Hicks committee's] investment decisions and have complained about the potential for conflicts of interest for board members," according to a March '99 report in the "Dallas Morning News."

Writing in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today, columnist Gene Lyons provides more details about Conason's Feburary "Harper's" story. For the first time, Hicks is named: "At the urging of wealthy campaign donors, Bush signed a law 'privatizing' {the $13 million PUF] endowment...The new law set up a non-profit corporation called UTIMCO--the University of Texas Investment Management Co.--to allow a big chunk of the money to be invested more 'aggressively.' A key provision exempted UTIMCO from state laws mandating open meetings and public records....Well, the Dallas firm of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst wanted privacy too--especially since its managing partner, a high-stakes player named Tom Hicks, was wearing both hats, his and UTIMCO's. Shallow thinkers might suspect a conflict of interest."

According to Lyons, Conason writes that the "aggressively" investing Hicks committee turned a 16% profit for the fund, "well below the Dow Jones average" and well below what other "agressive" investors have made in the market. However, "an impressive list of GOP worthies and Bush campaign contributors have been direct beneficiaries of UTIMCO's investment strategies." More pointedly, Conason reports that "Within weeks of Bush's inauguration....UT regents entrusted $10 million with The Carlyle Group, a Washington merchant bank staffed by former Reagan-Bush officials." (see below)

After Lyons starts his column describing Clinton's Whitewater problems, he concludes that "if Arkansas is 'incestuous,' it's hard to think what adjective describes Texas, where public and private fortunes are commingled to a degree unknown in other states, and GOP leaders have helped themselves to public-sector capital while lecturing the poor on the virtues of hard work and self-reliance. Under laws enacted at Bush's behest, rich Republicans have used billions in state funds to finance leveraged corporate buyouts and other risky investments to benefit themselves and their friends. If you didn't know better, you'd think Conason was writing about Indonesia or Saudi Arabia."

by Jerry Politex, Monday, Jan. 10, 2000

In early September the "Washington Post" published a story about Bush "top fund-raiser" Wayne Berman, president of Park Strategies LLC in Connecticut, whose activities are being looked at by the FBI. One such activity has $50 million in state pension funds being invested through Park Strategies into a Carlyle Group fund. Carlyle is a "Washington merchant bank and client of Park Strategies that retains former president George Bush as a senior consultant." In 1991 Bush had appointed Berman to be assistant secretary of commerce. Last year Berman and retired senator Al D'Amato (R-NY) formed Park Strategies and hired Paul Silvester, who previously was Connecticut's treasurer and was in charge of investing state pension funds. According to the Washington Post, "Silvester was a catch for the firm because of his familiarity with state treasurers from around the country, who control massive pension funds hungry for new investments. Berman too is intimately familiar with many top state officials because he is a leading fund-raiser for the Republican Governors Association."

The Carlyle Group is also a who's-who of political operatives: "Like Park Strategies, Carlyle also markets its familiarity with government officials--among its partners are former secretary of state James A. Baker III, former defense secretary Frank C. Carlucci and former White House budget chief Richard Darman. The Carlyle Asian investment fund that received the $50 million sum from Connecticut also retains former president Bush as a top adviser, and Carlyle's European fund retains former British prime minister John Major. Both men have made hundreds of thousands of dollars counseling Carlyle on where to invest its money overseas, introducing Carlyle executives to foreign leaders and giving speeches at Carlyle gatherings. Bush's fees from Carlyle are poured into his accounts in various Carlyle funds, which lately have yielded up to 40 percent a year in returns."

Later that month Connecticut ex-treasurer Silvester pleaded guilty to felony charges of racketeering and conspiracy as a result of federal charges of personal and campaign funding kickbacks. Early in October The Hartford Courant reported that "Only two of these high-powered players have been connected to criminal scenarios in the Silvester case," one of them being Wayne Berman. According to reporters Jon Lender and Mike McIntire, "Wayne D. Berman [is] a Washington, D.C.-based business consultant and, until recently, a major campaign fund-raiser for GOP presidential front-runner George W. Bush. Sources say Berman charged the Carlyle Group more than $900,000 for helping it land tens of millions in pension investments from Silvester last year. Berman is now the partner of former New York Sen. Alfonse D'Amato in a new, second consulting firm called Park Strategies, which employed Silvester for several months after he left office earlier this year." Lender and McIntire conclude that all of this "is just the latest example of business as usual - of the way things work - in a government office that has the power to enrich private individuals when making public investments. In Silvester's case, however, it also is clearly a story of business-as- usual going far beyond the gray area of blurred lines and venturing into the clearly criminal zone of kickbacks and racketeering."

In a later story Lender and McIntire add, "Silvester, who faces up to six years in prison, pleaded guilty in September to engineering a broad conspiracy involving the illegal exchange of finder's fees, jobs and consulting contracts for state pension investments. He is cooperating with prosecutors in a bid for leniency when he is sentenced in March." Naturally, Wayne Berman, one of George W. Bush's money men, is no longer active in the Bush presidential campaign, but that's hardly the end of Dubya's connection to questions of impropriety and worse.

In the upcoming February issue of "Harpers," Joe Conason's "How George Bush Got Rich" will report that scant weeks after Dubya was sworn in as first-term Texas governor in 1995, the University of Texas Board of Regents voted to place millions of state dollars with the Carlyle Group, even though Bush had just quit his job as a corporate director of Carlyle-owned Caterair, a leading U.S. airline caterer, according to Matt Drudge.

Conason's investigation of Governor Bush, his past employer, and the money men who determine the use of the vast funds of the University of Texas should not end in 1995. The relevant committee that the Board of Regents uses to decide upon how the University of Texas invests its billions is run by billionaire Tom Hicks, a Bush appointee who was Dubya's major campaign contributer to his '98 gubernatorial race and a maximum contributor and one of his major fundraisers in his presidential campaign. This investment banker to whom Bush and his billionaire mentor,Richard Rainwater, sold the Texas Rangers, owns a vast sports and media empire. Bush has allowed him to head up a committee charged with "investing $1.7 billion of public university money in the form of investments in private companies." Unfortunately, questions have recently been asked because "almost a third of the $1.7 billion has been committed to funds run by Hicks' business associates or friends (and).... five funds run by major Republican political donors." Hicks has been unwilling to answer questions about his activities on the public's behalf. "In the past three years, state auditors have criticized the secretive nature of [the Hicks committee's] investment decisions and have complained about the potential for conflicts of interest for board members," according to a March '99 report in the "Dallas Morning News."

During Dubya's first term as governor he had an active and ongoing relationship with Hicks and Rainwater to the advantage of all three men. While not proving a quid-pro-quo, here's what "Houston Chronicle" reporter R.G. Ratcliffe found (8/16/98): 1. Bush proposed that the state consider privatizing state mental hospitals, which "could have benefitted Magellan Health Services, Inc... controlled by Richard Rainwater," who at that time was co-partner of the Texas Rangers (not in a Bush blind trust) and President of Crescent Real Estate Equities (in a Bush blind trust). 2."[Dem candidate for governor] Garry Mauro claims Bush vetoed the Patient Protection Act in l995 because it would have affected the profits of a major hospital chain that Rainwater controlled." 3. Bush endorsed a property tax reform bill that would have saved a Rainwater investment company $2.5 mil in school property taxes. 4. Bush-signed legislation will provide a $10 million bonus to Texas Rangers partners when a Dallas arena is built. 5. This arena will also enhance the worth of Thomas Hicks' hockey team. Further, Hicks bought the Texas Rangers from the Bush partnership. 6."In the six months after that bill was signed, Bush's political fund received $37,000 from Hicks, $ll,000 from Crescent President Haddock and $5,000 from Ross Perot, Jr. ... majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team." Crescent owns a share of the Mavericks. 7.Hicks is the chairman of The University of Texas Investment Management Co. which manages the Permanent University Fund. Nearly $9 million of the PUF has been invested in Rainwater's Crescent Equities.

Since these actions have taken place, the Guv has sold his share of the Texas Rangers for around $l5 mil as well as his Crescent holdings for an undisclosed amount. However, while he owned stock held by Rainwater, Bush created problems by not putting all of his holdings in a blind trust, having the same business partners involved in both blind trust holdings and non-blind trust holdings, and bringing them or their firms into state government to become involved in the administration of state funds.

Given the growing numbers of players from both the Poppy and the Junior administrations being pulled into the vortex of probes and questions about the getting of one's private wealth as well as the private wealth of one's friends, the use of government funds, the getting of campaign funds, and considerations of both the letter and the spirit of various state and federal laws, there are numerous public concerns that George W. Bush might want to address. As Conason writes in his "Harper's" story to be published January 25th, "There's no indication that Governor Bush or his father violated any law in their relationships with Carlyle, but this story suggests the values that the governor might bring" to the presidency. "The many deals suggest a Republican version of the Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers in the White House."

an anonymous reporter submitted the following toRed Rock Eater News Service (RRE) newsletter...

Key Stories And A Money Chart May Be Found At Bush Watch Here.

Back in January when the administration was new, the Washington Monthly noted (2nd last item)the Bush family business:

The NYT ran a front-page photo of former President Bush with Saudi King Fahd on a trip to Saudi Arabia as part of his work for the Carlyle Group. The ice-breaking story by Leslie Wayne quoted Charles Lewis: "In a really peculiar way, George W. Bush could, some day, benefit financially from his own administration's decisions, through his father's investments. The average American doesn't know that and, to me, that's a jaw-dropper."

Judicial Watch commented that the senior Bush's association with the Carlyle Group was a "conflict of interest (which) could cause problems for America's foreign policy in Middle East and Asia". Judicial Watch called on the President's father to resign.

Without saying 'revolving door, it was noted that the former FCC chair was joining the telecom and media section at Carlyle:

On May 7, European Venture Capital Journal identified the Carlyle Group as heavy hitters with "an all-star roster of professionals (that) just got stronger":

On May 13 when another conservative world leader cashed in his chips and traded on his former government insider status and knowledge of the regulatory system, the BBC ran a story headlined: Major to chair private equity house.

The London Times followed on May 26, noting that "The employment of Bush Sr has attracted attention, mainly because his son is ultimately responsible for awarding US arms contracts":

In late September The Wall Street Journal touched on salient aspects of the story last month by highlighting the bin Laden family investments in the Carlyle Group, then dropped it like a hot 'tater. "Bin Laden Family Could Profit From a Jump In Defense Spending Due to Ties to U.S. Bank", by Daniel Golden, James Bandler, and Marcus Walker, The Wall Street Journal, 9/28/01.

After the WSJ story, Judicial Watch spokesman Larry Klayman posted a release uppping the ante. He was again ignored by the mainstream when he said, "This conflict of interest has now turned into a scandal. The idea of the President's father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of September 11 is horrible. President Bush should not ask, but demand, that his father pull out of the Carlyle Group."

A down under paper picked it up: Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.


The confluence of Bush and bin Laden family interests was noted briefly in the last item at:

Along with others in the world press, India and Pakistani newspapers have either either reported or copied aspects of the perceived conflicts:

There's been a little but not much editorial comment:
and indignation at the Center for Public Integrity, which was then strangely attacked by a Washington Post columnist.
Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity discusses the revolving door of the Carlyle Group. (audio, Democracy, Now!, Pacifica Radio, March 6)

The WSJ story had legs. For a few weeks in October, the mainstream, including LAT and the Chicago Tribune among others, turned up the heat on Saudi Arabia, so much so that President Bush felt compelled to call the Saudi Prince to thank him for "cooperating" with the investigation to find the perpetrators of the attacks on the Pentagon and Twin Towers.

On October 25, the NY Times' Elaine Sciolino and Neil MacFarquhar told of the delicate dance: Naming of Hijackers as Saudis May Further Erode Ties to U.S. The story ran with a photograph of Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal with President Bush in the Oval Office, noting that "the Saudis value such personal contacts highly". The engine at govexec.com presents and searches tables that sort and order defense contractors. Among many tables that establish the Carlyle Group as the 11th and sometimes 12th leading defense contractor, depending on which branch of the armed forces is the purchasing agent, there's one table that establishes President Bush's family business as the 12th largest missile defense contractor:

But only 32nd in defense contracting of electronics and communications: http://www.govexec.com/top200/01top/catelectronic.htm

The defense angle was covered by Defense News in August:

After 9 11, the Carlyle Group pulled the plug on its Web pages, which are still visible in Google's cache but won't be for a lot longer. Bush AND "Carlyle Group" is one possible search term.

Some U.S. editors are ignoring or downplaying the story while the U.K. and other international press are interested. A topical example from a recent week:

A buried one liner in a U.S. newspaper notes with no elaboration the revolving door relationship between the administration and the Carlyle Group:

Forty-five days after the dive-bombing at the Twin Towers, another buried one liner confides that the bin Laden family will no longer be doing business with the Bush family within the Carlyle Group:

Part of the larger picture is explored at The Ex-President's Club at:

If this Guardian story is true, then there was not, as was widely reported, a massive U.S. intelligence failure leading to 9 11.

Sydney Morning rewrote the above story, crediting the BBC: Before 9 11, Bush told agents to back off bin Ladin family.

The White House connection: Saudi 'agents' close Bush friends
by Maggie Mulvihill, Jonathan Wells and Jack Meyers
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

A powerful Washington, D.C., law firm with unusually close ties to the White House has earned hefty fees representing controversial Saudi billionaires as well as a Texas-based Islamic charity fingered last week as a terrorist front.

The influential law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld has represented three wealthy Saudi businessmen - Khalid bin Mahfouz, Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi and Salah Idris - who have been scrutinized by U.S. authorities for possible involvement in financing Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.

In addition, Akin, Gump currently represents the largest Islamic charity in the United States, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Richmond, Texas.

Holy Land's assets were frozen by the Treasury Department last week as government investigators probe its ties to Hamas, the militant Palestinian group blamed for suicide attacks against Israelis.

Partners at Akin, Gump include one of President Bush's closest Texas friends, James C. Langdon, and George R. Salem, a Bush fund-raiser who chaired his 2000 campaign's outreach to Arab-Americans.

Another longtime partner is Barnett A. "Sandy" Kress, the former Dallas School Board president who Bush appointed in January to work for the White House as an "unpaid consultant" on education reform.

In September, a federal grand jury issued subpoenas for Holy Land records around the same time terrorist investigators froze the assets of a North Texas Internet firm hired by Holy Land.

Holy Land shared office space with that firm, InfoCom Corp., which was raided by police on Sept. 5, just days before the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Holy Land has denied any link to Hamas.

According to Akin, Gump, the firm represents Holy Land in a federal lawsuit filed against the charity and another suspected Hamas entity by the parents of a man allegedly murdered by Hamas operatives in the Middle East.

In a statement issued Friday, Akin, Gump said it decided last week to decline a request to represent Holy Land in its defense of terrorism-related charges made by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Akin, Gump, which maintains an affiliate office in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, is also a registered foreign agent for the kingdom. It was paid $77,328 in lobbying fees by the Saudis during the first six months of 2000, public records show.

In addition to the royal family, the firm's Saudi clients have included bin Mahfouz, who hired Akin, Gump when he was indicted in the BCCI banking scandal in the early 1990s. In 1999, the Saudi's placed bin Mahfouz under house arrest after reportedly discovering that the bank he controlled, National Commercial Bank in Saudi Aabia, funneled millions to charities believed to be serving as bin Laden fronts.

A bin Mahfouz business partner, Al-Amoudi, was also represented by Akin, Gump. When it was reported in 1999 that U.S. authorities were also investigating Al-Amoudi's Capitol Trust Bank, Akin, Gump released a statement on behalf of their client denying any connections to terrorism. One year earlier, the firm had co-sponsored an investment conference in Ethiopia with Al-Amoudi.

Akin, Gump partner and Bush fund-raiser Salem led the legal team that defended Idris, a banking protege of bin Mahfouz and the owner of El-Shifa, the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles in August 1998.

cw-2 The plant was targeted days after terrorists - allegedly on the orders of bin Laden - bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. The U.S. Treasury Department also froze $24 million of Idris' assets, but Akin, Gump filed a lawsuit and the government later chose to release the money rather than go to court. Idris, who insists he has no connection whatsoever to bin Laden or terrorism, is now pursuing a second lawsuit with different attorneys seeking $50 million in damages from the United States.

Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan political watchdog group, said Akin, Gump's willingness to represent Saudi power-brokers probed for links to terrorism presents a unique ethical concern since partners at the firm are so close to the president.

The concern is more acute now, Lewis said, because Bush has faced stiff resistance from the kingdom in his repeated requests to freeze suspected terrorist bank accounts.

"The conduct of the Saudis is just unacceptable by international standards, especially if they are supposed to be one of our closest allies," Lewis said.

Speaking of Akin, Gump partner Kress' office in the White House, Lewis added: "That's not appropriate and frankly it's potentially troublesome because there is a real possibility of a conflict of interest. Basically you have a partner for Akin, Gump . . . inside the hen house."

But another longtime Washington political observer, Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of counter-intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, said the political influence a firm like Akin, Gump has is precisely why clients like the Saudis hire them.

"These are cozy political relationships . . . If you have a problem in Washington, there are only a few firms to go to and Akin, Gump is one of them," Cannistraro said.

Cannistraro pointed out that Idris hired Akin, Gump during the Clinton presidency, when Clinton confidante Vernon Jordan was a partner at the firm. "He hired them because Vernon Jordan had influence . . . that's a normal political exercise where you are buying influence," he said.

Akin, Gump is not the only politically wired Washington business cashing in on the Saudi connection.

Burson-Marsteller, a major D.C. public relations firm, registered with the U.S. government as a foreign agent for the Saudi embassy within weeks of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

One of Burson-Marsteller's first public relations efforts for the Saudis was to run a large advertisement in the New York Times reading: "We Stand with You, America."

The Washington chairman for Burson-Marsteller, which also maintains an office in Saudi Arabia, is Craig Veith, who ran communications for the Republican Party in the 1996 elections.

Other GOP heavyweights who have held top positions at the PR giant include Sheila Tate, the campaign press secretary for the elder George Bush; Leslie Goodman, deputy director of communications for the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign; Craig L. Fuller, chairman of the 1992 Republican National Convention and elder Bush's vice presidential chief-of-staff.

PART II | Bush advisers cashed in on Saudi gravy train
By Maggie Mulvihill, Jack Meyers and Jonathan Wells
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Second of two parts.

Many of the same American corporate executives who have reaped millions of dollars from arms and oil deals with the Saudi monarchy have served or currently serve at the highest levels of U.S. government, public records show.

Those lucrative financial relationships call into question the ability of America's political elite to make tough foreign policy decisions about the kingdom that produced Osama bin Laden and is perhaps the biggest incubator for anti-Western Islamic terrorists.

Nowhere is the revolving U.S.-Saudi money wheel more evident than within President Bush's own coterie of foreign policy advisers, starting with the president's father, George H.W. Bush.

At the same time that the elder Bush counsels his son on the ongoing war on terrorism, the former president remains a senior adviser to the Washington D.C.-based Carlyle Group. That influential investment bank has deep connections to the Saudi royal family as well as financial interests in U.S. defense firms hired by the kingdom to equip and train the Saudi military.

Last year, former President Bush visited Saudi Arabia's King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, but a Carlyle spokesman said the two did not discuss Carlyle business as previously reported. The elder Bush is reportedly paid between $80,000 and $100,000 for each Carlyle speech he makes. The company declined comment on the former president's pay.

The Carlyle Group has also served as a paid adviser to the Saudi monarchy on the so-called "Economic Offset Program," an arrangement that effectively requires U.S. arms manufacturers selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to give back a portion of their revenues in the form of contracts to Saudi businesses, most of whom are connected to the royal family. A company spokesman said yesterday that arrangement was ended "a few months ago," but said he did not know whether it was terminated before or after the Sept. 11 attacks.

A spokesman for former President Bush, reached yesterday, had no immediate comment on his work for the Carlyle Group.

These intricate personal and financial links have led to virtual silence in the administration on Saudi Arabia's failings in dealing with terrorists like bin Laden, said Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog group.

"It's good old fashioned 'I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine.' You have former U.S. officials, former presidents, aides to the current president, a long line of people who are tight with the Saudis, people who are the pillars of American society and officialdom," said Lewis.

"So for that and other reasons no one wants to alienate the Saudis, and we are willing to basically ignore inconvenient truths that might otherwise cause our blood to boil. We basically look away," he said. "Folks don't like to stop the gravy train."

Some foreign policy observers said as long as American power brokers in lucrative business deals with the Saudis do not simultaneously craft U.S. foreign policy, there is no conflict of interest.

"To have Bush Sr. on the board of Carlyle is not necessarily a significant problem because Carlyle has interests all over the world," said Vincent Cannistraro, a former counter-intelligence chief for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Companies regularly entice powerful political figures to work for them, he said.

"It's kind of business as usual. Where it really affects things is when someone with a financial interest in a company also has a policy position in the administration," Cannistraro said.

Insiders trading

A significant portion of the millions of dollars U.S. companies and their politically influential executives have earned in deals with the Saudis has been through military contracts.

The Carlyle Group had a major stake in the large defense contractor B.D.M., which has multimillion-dollar contracts through its subsidiaries to train and manage the Saudi National Guard and the Saudi air force, U.S. Department of Defense records show. In 1998, Carlyle sold its controlling interest in B.D.M. to defense giant TRW International.

Meanwhile, the boards of directors of the Carlyle Group, B.D.M. and TRW are all stocked with high-level Republican policy makers.

Frank C. Carlucci, a former secretary of defense under President Reagan, was chairman of B.D.M. for most of the 1990s. Carlucci, who also served as Reagan's national security adviser and a deputy director of the CIA, now heads the Carlyle Group.

Along with former President Bush, other officials from past Republican administrations now at the Carlyle Group include: former Secretary of State James A. Baker III; ex-budget chief Richard Darman; and former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt.

President Bush is himself linked to the Carlyle group: He was a director of one of its subsidiaries, an airline food services company called Caterair, until 1994. Six years later, when Bush was governor of Texas, the board of directors of the Texas teachers' pension fund - some of whom were his appointees - voted to invest $100 million with the Carlyle Group.

The president of B.D.M. is Philip A. Odeen, a former high-level Pentagon official in the Nixon administration. During the Clinton administration, Odeen chaired the Pentagon task force that planned the restructuring of the U.S. military for the 21st century. Currently, he is the vice-chair of the Defense Science Board, which advises the Pentagon on emerging threats.

TRW, the new owner of B.D.M., has its own noteworthy board members, including former CIA director Robert M. Gates and Michael H. Armacost, who served as undersecretary of state under President Reagan and as ambassador to Japan for former President Bush.

Big Saudi money also makes its way back to Texas and the Bush family. The family of Saudi Arabia's longtime U.S. ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, gave $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

The revolving door

Another example of the complex web connecting U.S. and Saudi powerbrokers is Dick Cheney, who moved from the Pentagon to the international oil business and back as vice president last year.

After serving as the elder Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney was hired to run oil-services giant Halliburton Co., where he worked until he resigned last year to campaign with the younger Bush. In 2000, his last year with Halliburton, Cheney received $34 million when he cashed out from the company.

Not surprisingly, Halliburton's links to Cheney and other Washington power brokers appear to have helped the company's business prospects in the Middle East.

Just last month, Halliburton was awarded a $140 million contract to develop an oil field in Saudi Arabia by the kingdom's state-owned petroleum firm, Saudi Aramco, and a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, along with two Japanese firms, was hired by the Saudis to build a $40 million ethylene plant.

Cheney isn't the only member of President Bush's inner circle whose work for firms connected to the Saudis has paid big dividends.

The current national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is a former longtime member of the board of directors of another giant oil conglomerate with business in the Saudi desert, Chevron, which merged with Texaco this year. Rice even has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

Substantial profits received by U.S. leaders in private sector deals with the Saudis have helped to squelch criticism of the royal family's refusal to address the role its country has played in fueling Islamic terrorism, Lewis said.

"There's a disconnect there," Lewis said. "I'm fascinated that we don't lay this at Saudi Arabia's doorstep. But the chances to cash in and the amount you can cash in for are starting to become absolutely astronomical. Who wants to look like the Boy Scout complaining about it and potentially jeopardize their own post-employment prospects?"

Former advisers to the president's father also hold key positions with U.S. firms which have teamed up with the Saudis on major oil deals.

Former Bush Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady and a former Bush assistant, Edith E. Holiday, are both on the board of directors of Amerada Hess, an American petroleum firm currently teaming up with several powerful Saudi families to develop oil fields in Azerbaijan.

Another company that has done business with wealthy Saudis is international energy firm Frontera Resources Corp. based in Houston. Until recently, Frontera was a 30 percent investor in a $900 million project to develop oilfields in Azerbajian. Also investing in the project were Azerbaijan's state-run oil company and Delta-Hess, a joint-venture created by the Saudis' Delta Oil and Amerada Hess.

Randy Theilig, a Frontera spokesman, said the company relinquished its interest in the project in July because it was no longer "economically viable," and has no current business dealings with the Saudis or in Azerbajian.

Members of Frontera's board of advisers, which includes former CIA director John Deutch and former Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, have been active financial supporters of the Democratic Party.

Shining a bright light on the web of financial connections between the power elite in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is critical, Middle Eastern foreign policy experts said.

"I think the fact that they have these connections makes it important for this information to be made public," said Henry Siegman, a senior fellow on the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., a non-partisan group that examines money and politics, said the Bush-Carlyle connection is a concern.

"It is well known that the father is a close adviser to his son and therefore it does raise concerns," Noble said "It's not necessarily that the father has been compromised, but the danger is that it leads people to question George W. Bush. The public has a right to feel their leaders are making independent judgments without the influence of private interests."

Arms Buildup Enriches Firm Staffed by Big Guns

Defense: Ex-president and other elites are behind weapon-boosting Carlyle Group.
By MARK FINEMAN, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Even by Washington standards, the Carlyle Group has some serious clout.

President George W. Bush's father works for Carlyle; so does former Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci, whose close friend Donald H. Rumsfeld now runs the Pentagon; and so does a stellar cast of retired generals and Cabinet secretaries, including former Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

And even by Wall Street standards, the Carlyle Group has some serious money: $12.5 billion in investments at last count. The Washington-based private equity firm, which advises and invests for wealthy clients and institutions, has shown returns of more than 34% through the last decade, particularly through timely defense and aerospace investments.

So when President Bush declared war on terrorism in September, few were better poised than Carlyle to know how and when to make money.

On a single day last month, Carlyle earned $237 million selling shares in United Defense Industries, the Army's fifth-largest contractor. The stock offering was well timed: Carlyle officials say they decided to take the company public only after the Sept. 11 attacks. The stock sale cashed in on increased congressional support for hefty defense spending, including one of United Defense's cornerstone weapon programs.

Carlyle's windfall is a result of astute business decisions, excellent connections, strategic lobbying, good timing and a bit of luck. It is also a prime example of how defense contractors got well in a hurry after the Sept. 11 attacks, in a year when the Bush administration already was planning steep hikes in defense spending.

For several years in the late 1990s, United Defense's Crusader Advanced Field Artillery System--a massive high-tech cannon that could fire faster and with more impact than any before it--was in trouble at the Pentagon. The system clashed with the vision many military planners and analysts have for a lighter, more mobile Army. And its high price tag--originally $20 billion--endangered it in times of tight defense budgets.

But the suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center freed up tens of billions of dollars in new defense spending. United Defense already had modified the Crusader, making it 20 tons lighter. And the Army had cut its order by more than half to make it more palatable to budget cutters.

On Sept. 26, the Army signed a $665-million modified contract with United Defense through April 2003 to complete the Crusader's development phase. In October, the company listed the Crusader, and the attacks themselves, as selling points for its stock offering.

Then Congress fully funded the system in the defense authorization bill that passed the House and Senate on Dec. 13, the day before Carlyle's stock sale. And President Bush is scheduled to open the funding spigot today, when he signs a defense appropriation bill that includes $487.3 million for the Crusader in 2002.

The ties that bind the president's family and close advisors to Carlyle have helped draw the confidence of its investors--and the criticism of outsiders.

"It's the first time the president of the United States' father is on the payroll of one of the largest U.S. defense contractors," said Charles Lewis, director of the Center for Public Policy and one of Carlyle's most ardent critics.

"Between Baker and Carlucci, not to mention dear old dad, the relationship of the president with this particular company is as tight and close as, well, anyone can imagine."

Carlyle officials bristle at such talk. They described their recent stock sale as just plain good business that benefited a wide array of investors, including pension funds like those of California's state employees.

Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman said that neither the company nor its managers, directors and advisors have ever personally lobbied for the Crusader or other government contracts now in the hands of United Defense and other Carlyle subsidiaries and investments.

Of Carlucci, Carlyle's board chairman, and his friendship with the current Defense secretary, Ullman said: "I assure you he doesn't lobby. That's the last thing he'd do. You'd have to know Carlucci to know he'd never do that, and you'd have to know Rumsfeld to know it wouldn't matter."

But even if Carlyle and Carlucci don't lobby, their subsidiaries and majority-owned companies do. And documents on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Election Commission, the Defense Department and Congress show that they do so heavily, strategically and persistently.

Midway Between White House, Congress

By any standard, the Carlyle Group has the right address. Its suite of offices are on Pennsylvania Avenue midway between the White House and Congress--a 15-minute walk to each.

It was founded as a small private-equity firm in 1987 by David M. Rubenstein, a young lawyer who had worked as an aide in Jimmy Carter's White House, and two investment specialists. They named the company after their favorite hotel in New York and started out with a modest portfolio of $100 million.

In 1989, Carlucci retired as Ronald Reagan's Defense secretary and joined Carlyle. Soon after, the company aggressively went after defense and aerospace investments, a specialty for Carlucci and the other former government officials who followed him into Carlyle.

Their investment strategies paid off, not only in defense acquisitions and sales but also in a wide array of corporations. Carlyle's portfolio quickly grew into the billions of dollars as pension funds and wealthy businessmen and families, including royal sheiks in the Persian Gulf, invested with the firm.

As its reputation grew, so did the group's star-studded management roster. It added former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. John M. Shalikashvili; Arthur Levitt, the long-serving former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; former British Prime Minister John Major; former Secretary of State Baker; and former President Bush (Carlyle officers say the elder Bush's principal role is as "a draw": delivering speeches at Carlyle-sponsored events).

Last February, the California Public Employees' Retirement System announced it was investing $425 million in "a strategic partnership" with Carlyle. Even the company owned by Osama bin Laden's estranged billionaire family in Saudi Arabia was among Carlyle's clients--a mere $2-million investment that Carlyle said it bought out after Sept. 11 "for image reasons," Ullman said. He declined to say whether the Bin Ladens made a profit.

Ullman downplayed Carlyle's defense connections, saying that today less than 10% of its $12.5-billion portfolio is in defense, an additional 15% percent in commercial aerospace, and the rest in real estate, health care, telecommunications and consumer industries.

Only 15 of Carlyle's 500 employees are former government officials, Ullman said. Most of the rest are investment professionals working in 24 offices scattered across the globe.

Carlyle bought Arlington, Va.-based United Defense LP in October of 1997 for $850 million.

At the time, the company had contracts for the Army's main fleet of armored infantry vehicles, an automated naval gun system and a Navy missile-launching system. Among its potentially most lucrative contracts was the one for the next generation of high-tech Army battlefield artillery.

Still, the company was losing money. The year after Carlyle bought it, United Defense lost $122 million on $1.2 billion in revenue. But under Carlyle's ownership, United Defense turned around; last year, it reported a net profit of $18.8 million.

Critical to that turnaround was the future of the Crusader artillery system.

United Defense had started work on the Crusader in 1994. It is a self-propelled 155-millimeter howitzer that fires ammunition the size of scuba tanks farther, faster and more accurately than ever imagined, with the killing power of 10 rounds per minute.

The Crusader reloads automatically from an armored sister vehicle, and it uses millions of lines of computer code and battlefield intelligence to pinpoint and strike enemy positions as far as 25 miles away.

The system was, and is, considered the most advanced and lethal artillery on the globe.

It's also the heaviest. At 110 tons, the Crusader was deemed far too heavy for the rapidly deployable Army that will be needed to fight the sudden and remote conflicts America will face, according to a Pentagon-appointed National Defense Panel that sharply criticized the Crusader in December 1997.

That report fed into what is now the lead edge in post-Cold War Pentagon planning: To transform the U.S. armed forces into a slim, trim fighting force that can move halfway around the globe in a matter of hours and fight in conditions like the Afghan campaign.

And the Crusader, the panel concluded, was anything but mobile.

"Crusader was the gleam in somebody's eye in the later years of the Cold War," said Andrew Krepinevich, executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington and a member of the 1997 Defense Panel.

But Krepinevich, who has testified against the Crusader on Capitol Hill in the years since that report, added: "For something so heavy and hard to move as Crusader, it certainly has been a hard target to hit on the Hill. They've done a remarkable job in keeping it alive."

Here's how:

About the time the Carlyle Group bought United Defense, the United Defense LP Employees Political Action Committee registered with the Federal Election Commission. Since then, that committee has contributed more than $300,000 to several dozen legislators who have been key supporters of the Crusader and other Pentagon weapon systems that United Defense supplies.

In many cases, the legislators who received the money have other interests in pushing United Defense's agenda: jobs and commerce in their home states or districts.

Oklahoma Republican Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., for example, has been one of the Crusader's staunchest supporters. Watts' district includes the Crusader's Comanche County assembly and testing facility. Watts also has received $7,000 in contributions from the United Defense PAC.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has received $10,000 from the same PAC. Pennsylvania is home to a United Defense plant in York. In October, he praised the Senate's passage of an early version of the defense authorization bill because it included $487 million for Crusader in 2002.

And Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, a GOP member of the House Appropriations Committee, was among the Crusader's pioneering proponents, dating back to the system's early development at the Picatinny Arsenal in Frelinghuysen's New Jersey district. The company's PAC has contributed $4,500 to his campaigns.

Such contributions are business as usual in the industry; larger defense contractors lavish even greater sums on their congressional supporters, FEC records show. Carlyle denies it played any role in creating United Defense's PAC.

United Defense spokesman Doug Coffey said the contributions are "not anything that would be out of the norm." The PAC's creation, he said, was timed not to the Crusader project but to the fact that United Defense became an independent corporation allowed to make such contributions only after Carlyle bought it.

"The contributions are primarily made to congressional members in areas where we have facilities," Coffey said. "And the total amount is nothing very extraordinary in the defense industry."

In addition to making its case on Capitol Hill, United Defense sought to answer Pentagon worries. The company redesigned the Crusader--and in record time. Its engineers took 20 tons off the system's weight, making it light enough to rapidly deploy two of them on a C-17 transport aircraft.

The Army also cut its order to 480 from more than 1,100 Crusader systems, reducing the program's overall cost to a projected $11 billion. And ever since, a succession of Army chiefs of staff have argued passionately for the program as an essential, leading-edge tool for its battlefield readiness in the 21st century.

Some independent analysts are impressed. John Pike, who runs the defense watchdog group GlobalSecurity.com, said he believes the Army will need an advanced artillery system, which he called "the king of battle, the thing that kills half the enemy."

But Krepinevich and others remain unconvinced. Given that future conflicts more likely will resemble Afghanistan than the Gulf War, he said: "over time, Crusader becomes less and less attractive. . . . Nobody wants to fight the American military out in the open anyway."

Krepinevich concluded that the system nonetheless has survived because "there's a high level of support by United Defense, No. 1; No. 2, by the [congressional] members whose constituents are affected by the health of United Defense. Then, you've got the Army. This kind of artillery system pacifies the traditional culture of the Army while it is transitioning to a lighter, more modern force.

"And there simply isn't the same kind of intensity on Capitol Hill to cancel projects like Crusader, especially in times of bigger defense budgets."

Carlyle Officials Seek to Sell United Defense

Carlyle officials say their strategy is to keep companies for three to five years and then sell them. Defense industry sources said Carlyle was trying to market United Defense as early as a year ago but had no takers. Carlyle officials confirm they were looking for an "exit strategy" from their ownership of United Defense.

"They basically didn't have options," said Stuart McCutchan, who edits the Virginia-based Defense Mergers & Acquisitions newsletter. "What has happened in the last two or three months has given them an option. The public becomes the buyer."

And Carlyle's timing was impeccable.

First came the Bush administration's proposed 2002 defense budget. The document landed in Congress in June 2001, and it included an 11% hike in defense spending, including full funding for the Crusader.

Bolstered by the good news and the prospects for the company, Carlyle took its first dividends from United Defense on Aug. 13: $289.7 million.

Twenty-nine days later, the two hijacked airliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers, while another hit the Pentagon. President Bush declared war on terrorism, defense industry stocks were suddenly hot and, just five weeks later, Carlyle was ready to take United Defense Industries public.

On Oct. 22, United Defense filed its stock-offering prospectus with the SEC.

"The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have generated strong Congressional support for increased defense spending," the prospectus declared. "We believe that domestic and international defense spending will grow over the next several years as a result of an increased focus on national security by the U.S. government and its allies."

A month later, Carlyle took $92 million more in dividends out of United Defense.

Then, on Dec. 13, the Defense Authorization Bill passed both the House and Senate, with full funding for the Crusader, just one day before United Defense went public. United Defense's president and chief executive, Thomas Rabaut, even got invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange that day.

Carlyle Managing Director Allan Holt explained: "The decision to take United Defense public was a function of the performance of the company, the outlook for its programs in the defense budget and the receptiveness of the market to defense equity offerings.

"We have an obligation to try to achieve the best returns for our investors."

And they did.

By the closing bell, Carlyle, which still controls 54% of United Defense, had sold more than 11 million of its shares in the company for a total of $237 million. United Defense raised an additional $163 million from the sale of about 9 million new shares.

On Wednesday, the company's stock, which Carlyle and United Defense opened at $19 a share Dec. 14, was trading for nearly $21.


Editor's Note: Do a web Google.com search with the words "Carlyle" and "Bush," and throw in "Osama" for spice. You'll have some very interesting reading in front of you.

US Arms Group Heads for Lisbon

The Portugal News - Friday 4 April 2003

Directors of one of the world’s largest armament companies are planning on meeting in Lisbon in three weeks time. The American based Carlyle Group is heavily involved in supplying arms to the Coalition forces fighting in the Iraqi war.

It also holds a majority of shares in the Seven Up company and Federal Data Corporation, supplier of air traffic control surveillance systems to the US Federal Aviation Authority. The 12 billion dollar company has recently signed contracts with United Defence Industries to equip the Turkish and Saudi Arabian armies with aviation defence systems.

Top of the meeting’s agenda is expected to be the company’s involvement in the rebuilding of Baghdad’s infrastructure after the cessation of current hostilities. Along with several other US companies, the Carlyle Group is expected to be awarded a billion dollar contract by the US Government to help in the redevelopment of airfields and urban areas destroyed by Coalition aerial bombardments.

The Group is managed by a team of former US Government personnel including its president Frank Carlucci, former deputy director of the CIA before becoming Defence Secretary. His deputy is James Baker II, who was Secretary of State under George Bush senior. Several high profile former politicians are employed to represent the company overseas, among them John Major, former British Prime Minister, along with George Bush senior, one time CIA director before becoming US President.

The financial assets of the Saudi Binladen Corporation (SBC) are also managed by the Carlyle Group. The SBC is headed up by members of Osama bin Laden’s family, who played a principle role in helping George W. Bush win petroleum concessions from Bahrain when he was head of the Texan oil company, Harken Energy Corporation - a deal that was to make the Bush family millions of dollars. Salem, Osama bin Laden’s brother, was represented on Harken’s board of directors by his American agent, James R. Bath.

The connection between the Bush and bin Laden families can also be traced to the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in the 1990s. Members of the Anglo Pakistani bank’s board of directors included Richard Helmes and William Casey, business partners of George Bush senior and former CIA agents. During their time at BCCI both Helmes and Casey worked alongside fellow director, Adnan Khasshoggi, who also represented the bin Laden family’s interests in the US.

The Portugal News has been told by a reliable source that the Carlyle Group meeting in Lisbon will discuss the relationship between the Saudi Binladen Corporation (SBC) and Osama bin Laden. Many US officials claim that the SBC continues to finance his political activities, and has done so for many years. If true, this would place George Bush senior and his colleagues at the Carlyle Group in an embarrassing position. As managers of SBC’s financial investments they might well be accused of indirectly aiding and abetting the United States’ number one enemy.

Follow the Money: Bush, 9/11, and Deep Threat

By Fran Shor - Published on Wednesday, May 22, 2002 by CommonDreams.org

“What did the President know and when did he know it?” This question, evocative of the Watergate investigation, is now being posed by politicians and pundits seeking to determine what information the Bush Administration had prior to the incidents of September 11, 2001. No amount of denial and back-pedaling by the Bush Administration can cover up the fact that Bush had advance knowledge of possible terror attacks on US targets by the followers of Osama bin Laden. While it’s clear that Bush was personally briefed on August 6, 2001 about the possibility of those attacks, it remains unclear about the nature and extent of precautions, if any, taken to prevent such attacks.

Nonetheless, there is a welter of material that points to the Bush Administration’s obstruction and neglect of important leads to link bin Laden to operations in the United States. Moreover, in the months and weeks leading up to 9/11 there were warnings and signs that some members of the Administration and its national security apparatus were anticipating something horrendous. In the aftermath of 9/11 the Bush Administration mobilized the war machine and repressive legislation to promote policies that secured its economic and ideological agenda. Thus, a more intriguing and significant question is: in light of what the Bush Administration gained from the fall-out of 9/11, how was that gain embedded in the actions and inactions by the Bush Administration prior to 9/11? To ask the question about the reaping of political advantage from the tragedy of 9/11 need not assume that there was a conspiracy by the Bush Administration; merely that certain players acted out of their personal interests at the expense of the safety and security of the nation.

Fran Shor teaches at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is an anti-war activist and member of the Michigan Coalition on Human Rights. He can be reached at: aa2439@wayne.edu

Origins of the G.W. Bush- Carlyle-Nazi Axis

By Alex Constantine

Even the most loyal conservative must admit that George Bush, Jr. is a strange bird. Texans have never truly accepted him as one of their own. "Like his father," the UK's Observer jeered in 1994, "his home-grown credentials are questioned." In general, the natives were somewhat uneasy about the occasional bizarre antic - like the fist day of a local dove shoot, highlighted by Bush bagging a protected songbird, not the designated target (Ed Vulliamy, "White Hot Mama Fights a Texan Bush War," Observer, October 2, 1994). "No real Texan would have done that!" barked then Governor Ann Richards.