QUESTION: And the rumours that all US infantrymen who enter Afghanistan carry a length of pipe with instructions to connect and lay them in the direction of the Caspian?
ANSWER: Whatever this war is about, it is not about control of the vast Caspian sea oil deposits. The United States has never had any interest in oil. President Bush has never had any interest in oil. Neither the United States or the United Kingdom have ever cynically exploited a conflict for their own commercial advantage, or made a profit out of death.
The New York Times 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."
This assertion by Carlyle's managing director that: "We are greatly assisted by Baker and Bush. It shows that we are associated with people of the highest ethical standards." And then their doublethink really is exemplary: "Carlyle partners bristle at any suggestion that the firm's success is based only on high-powered schmoozing."
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 Situation vacant? Only former world leaders need apply.
[This must-read article follows up beautifully on the NYT article above: "President Bush (Sr) did meet with King Fahd, that picture was on The New York Times front page, but it was inaccurate to say that he did anything on behalf of Carlyle, because he just didn't. It was a personal meeting that he had" says co-founder of Carlyle and former aide to Jimmy Carter David Rubenstein. That's what they claim, anyway.]
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 [Subscription required].
After the WSJ story, Judicial Watch spokesman Larry Klayman posted a release upping 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." In March, 2001 Judicial Watch ran "Bush, Sr. Should Stop Working For International Equity Firm While Son Is President.," charging 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.
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. " [available only by subscription] 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".
US special agents were told to back off the bin Laden family and the Saudi royals soon after George Bush became president, although that has all changed since September 11.
Back in January when the administration was new, the Washington Monthly noted (2nd last item) the Bush family business. They wrote:
Andrew Marshall may find that persuading the Pentagon to reduce its reliance on heavy tanks will not be easy. I realized this when I discovered in the last paragraph of a long story in The New York Times that Donald Rumsfeld is an old friend of Frank Carlucci whose firm, the Carlyle Group, is a leading financial backer of the Crusader heavy tank, a $13.7 billion Pentagon program. Carlucci told the Times this about his relationship with the Secretary of Defense: "I know Rumsfeld extremely well. ... We've been close friends throughout the years. We were college classmates."
Even if appeals to alumni collegiality fail, the Carlyle Group has another managing director whose advice might be heard by the new administration: James A. Baker, George Bush senior's secretary of state and leader of W.'s effort to prevent a recount in Florida. If Baker can't do the job, Poppy Bush himself is a senior advisor to the Carlyle Group.
Without saying 'revolving door, the New York Times noted that the former FCC chair was joining the telecom and media section at Carlyle. [Available only by subscription]
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."
The confluence of Bush and bin Laden family interests was noted briefly in the last item of this Washington Monthly article.
De Clarke has an excellent page of Commentary and Analysis on the World Trade Center bombings with an excellent section entitled, "The "O" Word: Oil, Money, and Foreign Policy"
There's been a little but not much editorial comment:
"Republican-controlled Carlyle Group poses serious Ethical Questions for Bush Presidents, but Baltimore Sun ignores it"
Indignation at the Center for Public Integrity, which was then strangely attacked by a Washington Post columnist. Center for Public Integrity article about Carlyle involvement in Bush campaign funds. Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity discusses the revolving door of the Carlyle Group. (audio, Democracy, Now!, Pacifica Radio, March 6)
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. 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.
If this Guardian story is true, then there was not, as was widely reported, a massive U.S. intelligence failure leading to 9 11.
Please email links for information on this topic, especially as it relates to Carlyle Group and connections to the Bush and Bin Laden families to construction in Afghanistan and the defense industry. If you use the research on this page we would appreciate the consideration of a link and if you will write to Nikki Craft at
we will link to your article/website as well. Thank you.
Thanks to Semira Dallali for research and editing assistance; Nick Seidenman, De Clarke, Mary Wilde, Tamarah Cohen and Jon Hanna for sending links.