Democratic Underground

USA Means 'Under Saudi Arabia'
January 9, 2002
by Mike Hersh

You may think this is the United States of America. It's not. Now USA now means "Under Saudi Arabia." The Saudis bought both George W. Bush and his father. Ties between the Bush and bin Laden families, the Carlyle Group and Saudi Arabia let the Riyadh regime beat America like a rented camel.

As the Boston Herald reported, "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."

According to the Herald, we have to worry because, "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."

How close are Bush family ties to Saudi Arabia? "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," explains this Herald expose'.

Columnist Jimmy Breslin wrote: "Our government knows . that Saudi Arabians were the murderers on the planes on Sept. 11. The leader was this guy Atta, from Saudi Arabia, and he flew the plane into the north tower." But these are just terrorists, out of favor with the Saudis, right? Wrong. "Listen to the tape that finally got out Friday, here is a cleric saying with exuberance that people in Saudi Arabia thought bin Laden had done a great thing, killing all those people in New York."

How does all this Saudi money in the pockets of Bush's friends and family hurt us? On the BBC Newsnight program, Greg Palast asks: "The CIA and Saudi Arabia, the Bushes and the Bin Ladens. Did their connections cause America to turn a blind eye to terrorism?"

On that program, National security expert Joe Trento answers clearly. These conflicts of interests mean: "[T]housands of Americans had to die needlessly." Peter Elsner wonders: "How can it be that the former President of the US and the current President of the US have business dealings with characters that need to be investigated?"

Citing a document marked "'Secret'. Case ID - 199-Eye WF 213 589," Palast explained: "Washington field office special agents were investigating [Osama Bin Laden's brother Abdullah Bin Laden, president and treasurer of WAMY - a suspected terrorist organisation]"

Palast identified "3411 Silver Maple Place" in Washington DC suburb Falls Church, Virginia as "the former home of Abdullah and another [Osama bin Laden] brother, Omar, also an FBI suspect. It's conveniently close to WAMY, [located] in the basement at 5613 Leesburg Pike. [And] a couple blocks down the road at 5913 Leesburg [Pike] where four of the hijackers that attacked New York and Washington ... lived."

Trento explains, "The FBI wanted to investigate these guys. [But] they weren't permitted to. [WAMY has] connections to Osama Bin Laden's people. [And] They fit the pattern of groups that the Saudi royal family . have funded who've engaged in terrorist activity. [A]s far back as 1996 the FBI was very concerned about this organisation...."

National security agents told Palast that Bush ordered them to "back off" their investigations into the bin Ladens, WAMY, and the terrorists living nearby. This Bush obsequiousness toward Saudis with alarming connections to terrorism is nothing new.

Also on the BBC, former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Michael Springman appeared explaining: "In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants." [And] I complained bitterly at the time there." [Because] "What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama Bin Laden, to the US for terrorist training by the CIA."

The BBC reported "The attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 did not shake the State Department's faith in the Saudis, nor did the attack on American barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia three years later, in which 19 Americans died. FBI agents began to feel their investigation was being obstructed."

Bush concerns for Saudi sensibilities fatally compromised our national security. According to a Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune story the Pan Am International Flight Academy reported suspicious behavior to the FBI and FAA. Some Arab nationals were lying about their background, and trying to learn to fly 747s.

According to this report, published December 21, 2001, "Besides alerting the FBI about [Zacarias] Moussaoui, the school's Phoenix office called the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) early this year about another student -- Hani Hanjour, who was believed to be the pilot of the plane that flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11." But the Bush administration did nothing.

Look how specific the warning was: "Do you realize how serious this is?" the instructor asked an FBI agent. "This man wants training on a 747. A 747 fully loaded with fuel could be used as a weapon!" this quoted from briefings to Congressional offices, as reported in the Star Trib. One of the suspicious men reported to the FBI flew the jet into the Pentagon. The other is about to stand trial for terrorism.

Pan Am reported suspicions about these men to the Bush FBI and the Bush FAA. Because Bush's family makes $millions in business with the bin Ladens and other Saudis, Bush ordered the investigators to "back off," jeopardizing our national security to coddle Saudis. Again, as reported in the Star Tribune:

"[Minnesota Rep. Jim] Oberstar, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Pan Am 'acted in the public interest' with both Moussaoui and Hanjour." Too bad that concept is alien to the oil obsessed Bushes, who sold out thousands of American lives to appease Saudi sensibilities.

"An FAA representative sat in on a class to observe Hanjour, who was from Saudi Arabia." Did this Bush official report Hanjour to the FBI? No. He "discussed with school officials finding an Arabic-speaking person to help him with his English, said Oberstar and others with direct knowledge of the school's briefings." Rather than haul in this terrorist in training for questioning, the Bush FAA helped him learn to fly one of our jets into one of our buildings..

Pan Am personnel weren't as trusting as the Bush administration, and sought to alert law enforcement. The Star Trib reports: "When the instructor phoned, the FBI agent strongly urged him to pursue the matter but gave him the wrong agent to call, the sources said. The instructor made three more calls before reaching the right agent on Aug. 15, the sources said. Moussaoui was arrested the next day and held on an immigration violation." Clearly the problem was not the FBI, at least not the local agents.

"The FBI then checked Moussaoui's name with foreign intelligence agencies, and was warned by the French intelligence service that he may have terrorist connections. But the Minneapolis agents were unable to persuade FBI lawyers in Washington, D.C., to seek a warrant." Was this because Bush ordered the FBI to drop its investigations which might embarrass Bush's Saudi bosses?

The Tribune added: "Oberstar and Minnesota Rep. Martin Sabo [House appropriations transportation subcommittee Chairman], who also was briefed by the school, praised Pan Am for its efforts to safeguard the skies and for passing federal authorities clues to possible terrorist activities before Sept. 11."

Bush - more afraid of us offending Saudis than of Saudis killing us - ordered our watchdogs to ignore those critical clues. Now thousands of us are dead. Reports from ABC News prove Bush even doctored the bin Laden tapes to avoid embarrassing the Saudis who support bin Laden, and praised the 9/11 murders.

Why did the Bush administration delay releasing the bin Laden videotape, and why did their translation omit or change critical passages? "The translation [of the bin Laden video tape] commissioned by ABC News [contradicts the Bush version, and] reveals new elements that raise questions about what the [U.S.] government left out of the official version and why."

The explanation is obvious, as ABC answers their own question: "The new translation uncovers statements that could be embarrassing to the government of Saudi Arabia," and "Bin Laden's visitor, Khalid al Harbi, a Saudi dissident, claims that he was smuggled into Afghanistan by a member of Saudi Arabia's religious police."

ABC News doesn't question why the Saudi police would be helping a so called "dissident" meet with supposed pariah bin Laden, but reports: "[On the tape, Harbi] tells bin Laden that in Saudi Arabia, several prominent clerics - some with connections to the Saudi government - made speeches supporting the attacks on America."

These statements are not merely embarrassing to the Saudi royal family. This is evidence of top-level Saudi government support for bin Laden, even after the 9/11 attacks.

"It shows that bin Laden's support is not limited to the radical side of Islam but also among the Saudi religious establishment," says Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence College. "And that is bad news for Saudi Arabia," reports ABC. Our government covering up Saudi complicity is bad news for all of us.

Despite two generations of Bushes slavishly serving Saudi interests, the arrogant oil sheiks escalate their demands and flout their support of bin Laden and terror.

ABC news reports: "U.S. officials and diplomats still privately gripe about the lack of Saudi cooperation in investigating previous anti-U.S. terrorist incidents in the kingdom." Saudi state-run media and top officials lash out at "U.S. media [they consider] critical about the lack of Saudi support for the ongoing investigations."

The New York Times rang the alarm bell in an October 14, 2001 editorial called: "Reconsidering Saudi Arabia." Critically, "One of the disturbing realities clarified by last month's terror attacks is Saudi Arabia's tolerance for terrorism," The Times noted. Also: "America's deeply cynical relationship with Riyadh" includes Saudi support for "Islamic extremists," and our "muted . objections to keep oil flowing."

On September 11, this oil-soaked quid-pro-quo exploded, revealing "that the Saudi behavior was more malignant" than we'd pretended. Our blood is on Saudi hands, because "money and manpower from Saudi Arabia helped create and sustain Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization."

According to this insightful editorial: "Saudi Arabia sponsor[ed] Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement, along with Pakistan. Saudi money, religious teachings and diplomats helped the Taliban secure and keep control of Afghanistan. The country was then used to provide sanctuary and training camps for the bin Laden network." Also, "The Saudi government has allowed Saudi . organizations to funnel money to Al Qaeda and its terrorist network."

Rather than rush to help remedy the catastrophic damage their policies inflicted on innocent Americans, the Saudis stonewall. "Since Sept. 11, Riyadh has refused pleas from Washington to freeze Mr. bin Laden's assets and those of his associates." Arab news services confirm these facts.

Noting that, "Of the 19 hijackers who carried out last month's attacks, at least 10 were Saudi nationals," the Times reports, "Riyadh has so far refused to cooperate fully with Washington's investigations of hijacking suspects." The Saudis supported our enemies when they "barred Washington from using Saudi air bases to launch attacks against Afghanistan." Above from NY Times Editorial.

Our so-called "allies" act more like diffident imperial overlords. According to ABC, "[Saudi leaders] are bitter about what they regard as a U.S. media campaign blaming Riyadh for tolerating or even breeding religious fanaticism, financing guerrilla and terrorist movements like bin Laden's al Qaeda, crushing zealous reformers and tolerating widespread corruption." This although the Saudis are "breeding religious fanaticism, financing guerrilla and terrorist movements like bin Laden's al Qaeda," and have for several years!

Arab sources are even more specific about Saudi resentment and lack of cooperation. The Arabic News.Com reported, "The Saudi defense minister Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz has accused Zionism of being behind the media campaign against Saudi Arabia in the US. This was expressed in statements issued on Thursday in the Saudi press." The same source reported: "Saudi Arabia has refused to comply to a US request to freeze bank accounts Washington suspects that they have links to certain terrorist groups." [sic]

Saudi officials see nothing wrong with their support for terror and their obstruction of American efforts to combat terror. They dismiss even deferential questioning of their pro-terror activities as "Zionism" in the US media. It comes down to this: Americans want to defend ourselves against terrorism. The Saudis want to keep supporting terrorists and undermining our efforts. Who's side is Bush on?

On BBC's Newsnight, Palast asks: "Does the Bush family also have to worry about political blow-back?" We should hope so, because, "The younger Bush made his first million 20 years ago with an oil company partly funded by Salem Bin Laden's chief US representative. [He] also received fees as director of a subsidiary of Carlyle Corporation, a little known private company which has, in just a few years of its founding, become one of Americas biggest defence contractors. His father, Bush Senior, is also a paid advisor. And what became embarrassing was the revelation that the Bin Ladens held a stake in Carlyle, sold just after September 11."

Here's the smoking gun that links Bush family financial interests to the break down in national security on 9/11: Palast reports: "I received a phone call from a high-placed member of a US intelligence agency. [Saying] under George Bush the agencies were told to 'back off' investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that angered agents."

The Bushes, James A. Baker III the fixer who helped Bush steal the election, Dick Cheney, the Carlyle Group, and the band of Texas oil barons who have backed Bush's political career have put their financial interests above our national interests long enough. Their big money interests clearly rest with the Saudis, not Americans.

Like his father before him, Bush placates his Saudi masters like some appointed colonial satrap or toady. He goes to any length to avoid annoying his bosses in Riyadh, whose demands and indignation escalate constantly.

This goes far beyond Bush lying under oath and helping his cronies cover up ghoulish grave robbing. Bush can only serve one nation: the US or Saudi Arabia. He and his father and their rich, powerful friends have to make a choice: us or them. They have sold our soul and sovereignty for oil, and it is killing us! This has to stop.

Doesn't Bush care how many of us die? How much American blood will Bush risk for Saudi oil? Where is the outrage? When do we stand up and demand our independence from Saudi Arabia and the Bushes, who behave more like colonial governors than elected leaders? When do we start the impeachment? When do we get the United States back from under the Saudis?

Links to articles referenced above:

Bush Advisers Cashed in on Saudi Gravy Train
Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 in the Boston Herald

Jimmy Breslin: Diagnosis: It's All About Oil

BBC News | NEWSNIGHT | Greg Palest report transcript - 6/11/2001

Eagan flight trainer wouldn't let unease about Moussaoui rest

Tape Missing Subtleties. Bin Laden Translation Omitted Sections

Reconsidering Saudi Arabia
"One of the disturbing realities clarified by last month's terror attacks is Saudi Arabia's tolerance for terrorism."

Saudi Arabia-USA, Politics, 12/22/2001
"Saudi Arabia: Zionism is behind the American campaign"

Saudi Arabia-USA, Politics, 11/28/2001
Saudi Arabia abstains from freezing certain bank accounts

Greg Palast: FBI and US spy agents say Bush spiked bin Laden probes

Bush Watch: Bush Oil Deal With Murky Ties To Saudi Financiers

Justice had denied Minneapolis FBI request on suspected terrorist

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