Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Bush Bin Laden Bilking of America

The Evidence Is There: It’s Time for Congress to Investigate the Ties Between the Bush Family and Osama bin Laden

By Lucy Komisar, IPS News
Posted on April 5, 2007,
Printed on April 8, 2007

The following is taken from a chapter, "The BCCI Game: Banking on America, Banking on Jihad," by investigative journalist Lucy Komisar in the new book "A Game as Old as Empire," just published by Berrett-Koehler (San Francisco).
Now that the U.S. Congress is investigating the truth of President George W. Bush's statements about the Iraq war, they might look into one of his most startling assertions: that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Critics dismissed that as an invention. They were wrong. There was a link, but not the one Bush was selling. The link between Hussein and Bin Laden was their banker, BCCI. But the link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist -- it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretched all the way to George W. Bush and his father.

BCCI was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a dirty offshore bank that then-President Ronald Reagan's Central Intelligence Agency used to run guns to Hussein, finance Osama bin Laden, move money in the illegal Iran-Contra operation and carry out other "agency" black ops. The Bushes also benefited privately; one of the bank's largest Saudi investors helped bail out George W. Bush's troubled oil investments.
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in 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama bin Laden himself was busy elsewhere at the time -- organizing al Qaeda.
The money BCCI stole before it was shut down in 1991 -- somewhere between $9.5 billion and $15 billion -- made its 20-year heist the biggest bank fraud in history. Most of it was never recovered. International banks' complicity in the offshore secrecy system effectively covered up the money trail.
But in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."

When the BCCI scandal began to break in the late 1980s, the Sr. Bush administration did what it could to sit on it. The Justice Department went after the culprits -- was virtually forced to -- only after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau did. But evidence about BCCI's broader links exist in numerous U.S. and international investigations. Now could be a good time to take another look at the BCCI-Osama-Saddam-Saudi-Bush connection.
Lucy Komisar is a New York-based journalist and author of "A Game as Old as Empire," published by Berrett-Koehler (San Francisco).



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