George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarpley

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:36 am

PART 1 OF 2

Chapter XVII -- The Attempted Coup D'Etat of March 30, 1991

"Bizarre happenstance, a weird coincidence"
--Bush spokeswoman Shirley M. Green, March 31, 1981

cui prodest scelus, is fecit
--Seneca, first century AD


For Bush, the vice presidency was not an end in itself, but merely another stage in the ascent towards the pinnacle of the federal bureaucracy, the White House. With the help of his Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones network, Bush had now reached the point where but a single human life stood between him and the presidency.

Ronald Reagan was 70 years old when he took office, the oldest man ever to be inaugurated as president. His mind wandered; long fits of slumber crept over his cognitive faculties. On some days he may have kept bankers' hours with his papers and briefing books and meetings in the Oval Office, but he needed a long nap most afternoons and became distraught if he could not have one. His custom was to delegate all administrative decisions to the cabinet members, to the executive departments and agencies. Policy questions were delegated to the White House staff, who prepared the options and then guided Reagan's decisions among the pre-defined options. This was the staff that composed not just Reagan's speeches, but the script of his entire life: for normally every word that Reagan spoke in meetings and conferences, every line down to and including "Good morning, Senator," every word was typed on three by five file cards from which the Reagan would read.

Foreign leaders like the cunning Francois Mitterrand professed shock over Reagan's refusal to depart from the vaguest generalities in response to impromptu questions; Mitterrand had attempted to invite Reagan to a private tete-a-tete, but he had been overruled by Reagan's staff. French Foreign Minister Cheysson lamented that the exchanges had been "shallow." When asked for decisions in the National Security Council, Reagan would often respond with his favorite story about black welfare mothers chiseling the government out of money; aides would then interpret that as approval of the options they were putting forward.

But sometimes Reagan was capable of lucidity, and even of inspired greatness, in the way a thunderstorm can momentarily illuminate a darkling countryside; these moments often involved direct personal impressions or feelings. Reagan's instinctive contempt for Bush after the Nashua Telegraph debate was one of his better moments. Reagan's greatest moment of conceptual clarity came in his television speech of March 23, 1983 on the Strategic Defense Initiative, a concept that had been drummed into the Washington bureaucracy through the indefatigable efforts of Lyndon LaRouche and a few others. The idea of defending against nuclear missiles, of not accepting mutually assured destruction, and of using such a program as a science driver for rapid technological renewal was something Reagan permanently grasped and held onto even under intense pressure in Hofdie House in Reykjavik in October, 1986 during the summit with Gorbachov. In addition, during the early years of Reagan's first term, there were enough Reaganite loyalists, typified by William Clark, in the administration to cause much trouble for the Bushmen. But as the years went by, the few men like Clark that Reagan had brought with him from California would be ground up by endless bureaucratic warfare, and their replacements, like McFarlane at the NSC, would come more and more from the ranks of the Kissingerians. Unfortunately Reagan never developed a plan to make the SDI an irreversible political and budgetary reality, and this critical shortcoming grew out of Reagan's failed economic policies, which never substantially departed from Carter's.

But apart from rare moments like the SDI, Reagan tended to drift. Don Regan called it "the guesswork presidency;" for Al Haig, frustrated in his own lust for power, it was government by an all-powerful staff. Who were the staff? At first it was thought that Reagan would take most of his advice from his old friend Edwin Meese, his close associate from California days, loyal and devoted to Reagan, and sporting his Adam Smith tie. But it was soon evident that the White House was really run by a troika: Meese, Michael Deaver, and James Baker III, Bush's man.

Deaver's specialty was demagogic image-mongering. Deaver's images were made for television; they were edifying symbols without content, and took advantage of the fact that Reagan so perfectly embodied the national ideology of the Americans that most of them could not help liking him; he was the ideal figurehead. Deaver had another important job, for Reagan, as everybody knows, was uxorious: Nancy Reagan, the narrow-minded, vain, petty starlet was the one the president called "Mommy." Nancy was the mamba of the White House, the social-climbing arriviste of capital society, an evil-tongued presence on a thousand telephones a week complaining about the indignities she thought she was subjected to, always obsessed by public opinion and making Ronnie look good in the most ephemeral short term. Deaver was like a eunuch of the Topkapi harem, responsible for managing the humors of the sultan's leading odalisque.

Nancy was a potential problem for Bush; she did not like him; perhaps she sensed that he was organizing a putsch against Ronnie. "He's a nice man and very capable. But he's no Ronnie. He comes across as a 'wimp.' I don't think he can make it. He's a nice man, but his image is against him. It isn't macho enough." [fn 1] So spoke Nancy Reagan to her astrologer, Joan Quigley, in the White House in April, 1985. That could have been a very serious problem indeed, and that was where James Baker came in.

If Deaver played the eunuch for Nancy, Baker was to impersonate her squire and champion. In Nancy's provincial view, Baker was a sartorially elegant, old money aristocrat and charmer. His assignment for the Bush machine was to ingratiate himself with the adolescent old lady with flattery and schmooze, and Nancy appears to have been entranced by Baker's Princeton Ivy Club veneer --those ties! Those suits!

Deaver gravitated by instinct towards Baker; Deaver tells us in his memoirs that he was a supporter of Bush for vice president at the Detroit convention. This meant that Baker-Deaver became the dominant force over Ron and over Nancy; George Bush, in other words, already had an edge in the bureaucratic infighting.

Thus it was that White House press secretary James Brady could say in early March, 1981: "Bush is functioning much like a co-president. George is involved in all the national security stuff because of his special background as CIA director. All the budget working groups he was there, the economic working groups, the Cabinet meetings. He is included in almost all the meetings." [fn 2]

Even before the inauguration, James Baker had told a group of experienced Republican political operatives in Houston that Reagan was only interested in the public and symbolic aspects of the presidency, and that he had asked the Bush people to come in and take over the actual running of day to day government affairs. That was, of course, the self-interested view of the Bushmen. There were reports in the Bush camp that Reagan would quit after a year or two and let Bush entrench himself as the incumbent before the 1984 election. Later, after 1984, there were even more frequent rumors that Reagan would resign in favor of Bush. It did not happen, showing that Reagan was not the pushover that the Bushmen liked to pretend.

During the first months of the Reagan Administration, Bush found himself locked in a power struggle with Gen. Alexander Haig, whom Reagan had appointed to be Secretary of State. Haig was a real threat to the Bushmen. Haig was first of all a Kissinger clone with credentials to rival Bush's own; Haig had worked on Henry's staff during the Nixon years; he had been the White House chief of staff who had eased Nixon out the door with no trial, but with an imminent pardon. Haig's gifts of intrigue were considerable. And Haig was just as devoted to the Zionist neoconservatives as Bush was, with powerful ties in the direction of the Anti-Defamation League. It was, altogether, a challenge not to be taken lightly. Haig thought that he had been a rival to Bush for the vice-presidency at the Detroit convention, and perhaps he had been.

Inexorably, the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones networks went into action against Haig. The idea was to paint him as a power-hungry megalomaniac bent on dominating the administration of the weak figurehead Reagan. This would then be supplemented by a vicious campaign of leaking by Baker and Deaver designed to play Reagan against Haig and vice-versa, until the rival to Bush could be eliminated.

The wrecking operation against Haig started during his confirmation hearings, during which he had to answer more questions about Watergate than Bush had faced in 1975, when the facts were much more recent. Senator Tsongas was wired in: Tsongas, motivating his negative vote against Haig's confirmation, told the nominee: "You are going to dominate this administration, if I may say so. You are by far the strongest personality that's going to be in there." [fn 3]

Three weeks into the new administration, Haig concluded that "someone in the White House staff was attempting to communicate with me through the press," by a process of constant leakage, including leakage of the contents of secret diplomatic papers. Haig protested to Meese, NSC chief Richard Allen, Baker, and Bush. Shortly thereafter, Haig noted that "Baker's messengers sent rumors of my imminent departure or dismissal murmuring through the press." Soon "'a senior presidential aide' was quoted in a syndicated column as saying, 'We will get this man [Haig] under control.'" [fn 4] It took a long time for Baker and Bush to drive Haig out of the administration. Ultimately it was Haig's attempted mediation of the Malvinas crisis in April, 1982 that weakened Haig to the point that he could be finished off. His fall was specifically determined by his action in giving Ariel Sharon a secret carte blanche for the Israeli government to invade Lebanon, including the city of Beirut. Reagan was justifiably enraged. Shortly before his ouster, Haig got a report of a White House meeting during which Baker was reported to have said, "Haig is going to go, and quickly, and we are going to make it happen." [fn 5]

Haig's principal bureaucratic ploy during the first weeks of the Reagan administration was his submission to Reagan on the day of his inauguration of a draft executive order to organize the National Security Council and interagency tasks forces, including the crisis staffs, according to Haig's wishes. Haig refers to this document as National Security Decision Directive 1 (NSDD 1), and laments that it was never signed in its original form, and that no comparable directive for structuring the NSC interagency groups was signed for over a year. Ultimately a document called NSDD 2 would be signed, formalizing the establishment of a Special Situation Group (SSG) crisis management staff chaired by Bush. Haig's draft would have made the Secretary of State the Chairman of the SSG crisis staff in conformity with Haig's demand to be recognized as Reagan's "vicar of foreign policy." This was unacceptable to Bush, who made sure with the help of Baker and probably also Deaver that Haig's draft of NSDD 1 would never be signed.

Haig writes about this bureaucratic struggle as the battle for the IG's (Interagency Groups) and SIG's (Special or Senior Interagency Groups), generally populated by undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and deputy assistant secretaries within the NSC framework. As Haig points out, these Kissingerian structures are the locus of much real power, especially under a weak president like Reagan. Haig notes that "in organizational terms, the key to the system is the substructure of SIG's and IG's in which the fundamentals of policy (domestic and foreign) are decided. On instructions from the President, the IG's (as I will call the whole lot, for the sake of convenience), can summon up all the human and informational resources of the federal government, study specific issues, and develop policy options and recommendations. [...] IG chairmanships are parceled out to State and other departments and agencies according to their interests and their influence. As Kissinger, that canny veteran of marches and countermarches in the faculty of Harvard University, recognized, he who controls the key IG's controls the flow of options to the President and, therefore, to a degree, controls policy." [fn 6]

The struggle between Haig and Bush culminated towards the end of Reagan's first hundred days in office. Haig was chafing because the White House staff, meaning Baker, was denying him access to the president. Haig's NSDD 1 had still not been signed. The, on Sunday, March 22, Haig's attention was called to an elaborate leak to reporter Martin Schram that had appeared that day in the Washington Post under the headline "WHITE HOUSE REVAMPS TOP POLICY ROLES; Bush to Head Crisis Management." Haig's attention was drawn to the following paragraphs:

Partly in an effort to bring harmony to the Reagan high command, it has been decided that Vice President George Bush will be placed in charge of a new structure for national security crisis management, according to senior presidential assistants. This assignment will amount to an unprecedented role for a vice president in modern times. In the Carter administration, the crisis management structure was chaired by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser. [...]

On a broader, policy-making level, senior White House officials were unhappy with what they felt to be ill-timed and ill-considered actions by Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. that placed the brightest spotlight on El Salvador at a time when the administration was trying to focus maximum attention on Reagan's economic proposals. [...]

Bush's stature, by virtue of job title and experience, was cited as the reason that he was chosen to chair meetings in the Situation Room in time of crisis. Principal officials involved in crisis management will be the secretaries of state and defense, the Central Intelligence Agency director, the national security adviser, Meese, and Baker, officials said, adding that the structure has not been fully devised nor the presidential directive written.

Reagan officials emphasized that Bush, a former director of the CIA and former United Nations Ambassador, would be able to preserve White House control over crisis management without irritating Haig, who they stressed was probably the most experienced and able of all other officials who could serve in that function.

"The reason for this [choice of Bush] is that the secretary of state might wish he were chairing the crisis management structure," said one Reagan official, "but it is pretty hard to argue with the vice president being in charge." [fn 7]

Lower down on the page was a smaller article entitled "Anatomy of a Washington Rumor," to which we will return.

Haig says that he called Ed Meese at the White House to check the truth of this report, and that Meese replied that there was no truth to it. Haig went to see Reagan at the White House. Reagan was concerned about the leak, and reassured Haig: "I want you to know that the story in the Post is a fabrication. It means that George would sit in for me in the NSC in my absence, and that's all it means. It doesn't affect your authority in any way." Haig also says that he received a further call from Reagan assuring him that his authority was not to be diminished in the slightest.

But later the same afternoon, White House press secretary James Brady read the following statement to the press:

I am confirming today the President's decision to have the Vice President chair the Administration's "crisis management" team, as a part of the National Security Council system....President Reagan's choice of the Vice President was guided in large measure by the fact that management of crises has traditionally--and appropriately-- been done in the White House. [fn 8]

Haig says he then drew up his letter of resignation, but hesitated to sign it. He called Bush to complain: "The American people can't be served by this. It's an impossible situation for you and me to be in. Of course, you chair the NSC in the President's absence. We didn't need to say it. This is all mischief. Why the hell did they do this without discussing it with me." Haig went on: "I have been dealt with duplicitously, George. The President has been used. I need a public reaffirmation of my role or I can't stay here." Can it be that Haig was so naive that he did not realize that Bush was his ruthless rival and the source of many of his problems? Haig undoubtedly knew, but chose not to say so in memoirs written after he had been defeated. For Haig also knew that Bush was vindictive. Haig does note that he was convinced that Meese was not part of the cabal out to get him. Haig had further conversations with Reagan during these days, which often seemed to have cleared up the confusion, but which in retrospect were never conclusive. In the meantime, George Bush had seized control of the Special Situation Group, which would take control of the Executive Branch in time of crisis or national emergency. It was a superb starting point for a coup d'etat.

The other article in the Washington Post of Sunday, March 22 was also a harbinger of things soon to come. This piece was entitled "Anatomy of a Washington Rumor," and the rumor it traced was that "Vice President George Bush had been nicked by a bullet in a predawn shooting outside a townhouse somewhere on Capitol Hill." According to this story, the source of the rumor in question was a young woman artist living on Capitol Hill who had rushed into the street on the evening of February 22 when she heard the sound of a traffic accident near her home. There she was met a by a police officer whom she had met previously, on the occasion of the murder a few weeks earlier of a young Supreme Court Librarian in the same spot. According to the woman artist, the policeman told her: "The vice president was shot today." When the woman artist tried to check on this story with the news media, the article alleged, the rumor took on a life of its own and became an inchoate news story, with Jack Anderson and others trying to verify it.

Vice President Bush was reportedly very angry when he was told about the rumor: "Peter Teeley, the vice president's press secretary, told Bush of the inquiries. The vice president was incredulous and was as angry as Teeley had ever seen him. 'Jesus, this is the craziest thing I have ever heard,' he said. Bush though the whole thing was silly. 'You should call Barbara,' he told Teeley, ' and let her know what this is all about." Why would Bush be so angry about a spurious report?

As reporters dug deeper into the alleged shooting, one asked a Secret Service contact if there had been any recent shooting incidents monitored by his agency. "The answer came back. On March 8, as a motorcade drove west on Canal Road, officers had heard a 'popping sound' from a 'steep, rocky cliff' on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. But it had been President Reagan's motorcade, not Bush's. And the noises never proved to be gunfire." [fn 9] Had there been an attempt to assassinate Reagan, or to intimidate him? In any case Senator Howard Baker, the GOP majority leader at that time, was overheard making jokes about the allegedly discredited Rumor at a weekend party, and this was duly noted in the Washington Post of March 25.

In the midst of the Bush-Baker cabal's relentless drive to seize control over the Reagan administration, John Warnock Hinckley Jr. carried out his attempt to assassinate President Reagan on the afternoon of March 30, 1981. George Bush was visiting Texas that day. Bush was flying from Fort Worth to Austin in his Air Force Two Boeing 707. In Fort Worth, Bush had unveiled a plaque at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the old Hotel Texas, designating it as a national historic site. This was the hotel, coincidentally, in which John F. Kennedy had spent the last night of his life, before going on to Dallas the next day, November 22, 1963. Here was a sinister symbolism!

In Austin Bush was scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of the Texas state legislature. It was Al Haig who called Bush in the clear and told him that the President had been shot, while forwarding the details of Reagan's condition, insofar as they were known, by scrambler as a classified message. Haig was in touch with James Baker III, who was close to Reagan at George Washington University hospital. Bush's man in the White House situation room was Admiral Dan Murphy, who was standing right next to Haig. Bush agreed with Haig's estimate that he ought to return to Washington at once. But first his plane needed to be refueled, so it landed at Carswell Air Force Base near Austin.

Refueling took about forty minutes; during this time Bush talked on board the plane with Texas Governor William Clements, his wife, Rita, and Texas Secretary of State George Strake. Texas Congressman Jim Wright was also travelling on Bush's plane that day, as were Congressmen Bill Archer of Houston and Jim Collins of Dallas. Bush's top aide Chase Untermeyer was also with the party on Air Force Two. [fn 10]

Bush says that his flight from Carswell to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington took about two and one half hours, and that he arrived at Andrews at abouit 6:40 PM. Bush says he was told by Ed Meese that the operation to remove the bullet that had struck Reagan was a success, and that the president was likely to survive. Bush's customary procedure was to land at Andrews and then take a helicopter to the vice presidential residence, the Naval Observatory on Massachusetts Avenue. His aides Ed Pollard and John Matheny suggested that he would save time by going by helicopter directly to the White House south lawn, where he could arrive in time to be shown on the 7 PM Eastern time evening news broadcasts. Bush makes much oif the fact that he refused to do this, allegedly on the symbolic grounds that "Only the President lands on the south lawn."

Back at the White House, the principal cabinet officers had assembled in the situation room and had been running a crisis management committee during the afternoon. Haig says he was at first adamant that a conspiracy, if discovered, should be ruthlessly exposed: "It was essential that we get the facts and publish them quickly. Rumor must not be allowed to breed on this tragedy. Remembering the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, I said to Woody Goldberg, 'No matter what the truth is about this shooting, the American people must know it." [fn 11] But the truth has never been established.

Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger's memoir of that afternoon reminds us of two highly relevant facts. The first is that a "NORAD [North American Air Defense Command] exercise with a simulated incoming missile attack had been planned for the next day." Weinberger agreed with General David Jones, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that this exercise should be cancelled. [fn 12]

Weinberger also recalls that the group in the Situation Room was informed by James Baker that "there had been a FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Administration] exercise scheduled for the next day on presidential succession, with the general title 'Nine Lives.' By an immediate consensus, it was agreed that exercise should also be cancelled." [fn 13]

As Weinberger further recalls, "at almost exactly 7:00, the Vice President came to the Situation Room and very calmly assumed the chair at the head of the table." [fn 14] According to Weinberger, the first item discussed was the need for someone to sign the Dairy Price Support Bill the next day so as to reassure the public. Bush asked Weinberger for a report on the status of US forces, which Weinberger furnished.

Another eyewitness of these transactions was Don Regan, whom the Tower Board later made the fall-guy for Bush's Iran-contra escapades. Regan records that "the Vice President arrived with Ed Meese, who had met him when he landed to fill him in on the details. George asked for a condition report: 1) on the President; 2) on the other wounded; 3) on the assailant; 4) on the international scene. [...] After the reports were given and it was determined that there were no international complications and no domestic conspiracy, it was decided that the US government would carry on business as usual. The Vice President would go on TV from the White House to reassure the nation and to demonstrate that he was in charge." [fn 15]

As Weinberger recounts the same moments: "[Attorney General Bill French Smith] then reported that all FBI reports concurred with the information I had received; that the shooting was a completely isolated incident and that the assassin, John Hinckley, with a previous record in Nashville, seemed to be a 'Bremmer' type, a reference to the attempted assassin of George Wallace." [fn 16]

Those who were not watching carefully here may have missed the fact that just a few minutes after George Bush had walked into the room, he had presided over the sweeping under the rug of the decisive question regarding Hinckley and his actions: was Hinckley a part of a conspiracy, domestic or international? Not more than five hours after the attempt to kill Reagan, on the basis of the most fragmentary early reports, before Hinckley had been properly questioned, and before a full investigation had been carried out, a group of cabinet officers chaired by George Bush had ruled out a priori any conspiracy. Haig, whose memoirs talk most about the possibility of a conspiracy, does not seem to have objected to this incredible decision.

From that moment on, "no conspiracy" became the official doctrine of the US regime, for the moment a Bush regime, and the most massive efforts were undertaken to stifle any suggestion to the contrary. The iron curtain came down on the truth about Hinckley.

What was the truth of the matter? The Roman common sense of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (who had seen so many of Nero's intrigues, and who would eventually fall victim to one of them) would have dictated that the person who would have profited most from Reagan's death be scrutinized as the prime suspect. That was obviously Bush, since Bush would have assumed the presidency if Reagan had succumbed to his wounds. The same idea was summed up by an eighth grade student at the Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC who told teachers on March 31: "It is a plot by Vice President Bush to get into power. If Bush becomes President, the CIA would be in charge of the country." The pupils at this school had been asked for their views of the Hinckley assassination attempt of the previous day. [fn 17]

Curiously enough, press accounts emerging over the next few days provided a compelling prima facie case that there had been a conspiracy around the Hinckley attentat, and that the conspiracy had included members of Bush's immediate family. Most of the overt facts were not disputed, but were actually confirmed by Bush and his son Neil.

On Tuesday, March 31 the Houston Post published a copyrighted story under the headline: "BUSH'S SON WAS TO DINE WITH SUSPECT'S BROTHER, by Arthur Wiese and Margaret Downing." The lead paragraph read as follows:

Scott Hinckley, the brother of John Hinckley Jr., who is charged with shooting President Reagan and three others, was to have been a dinner guest Tuesday night at the home of Neil Bush, son of Vice President George Bush, The Houston Post has learned.

ccording to the article, Neil Bush had admitted on Monday, March 30 that he was personally acquainted with Scott Hinckley, having met with him on one occasion in the recent past. Neil Bush also stated that he knew the Hinckley family, and referred to large monetary contributions made by the Hinckleys to the Bush 1980 presidential campaign. Neil Bush and Scott Hinckley both lived in Denver at this time. Scott Hinckley was the vice president of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation, and Neil Bush was employed as a land man for Standard Oil of Indiana. John W. Hinckley Jr., the would-be assassin, lived on and off with his parents in Evergreen, Colorado, not far from Denver.

Neil Bush was reached for comment on Monday, March 30, and was asked if, in addition to Scott Hinckley, he also knew John W. Hinckley Jr., the would-be killer. "I have no idea," said Neil Bush. "I don't recognize any pictures of him. I just wish I could see a better picture of him."

Sharon Bush, Neil's wife, was also asked about her acquaintance with the Hinckley family. "I don't even know the brother," she replied, suggesting that Scott Hinckley was coming to dinner as the date of a woman whom Sharon did know. "From what I know and have heard, they [the Hinckleys] are a very nice family...and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign. I understand he [John W. Hinckley Jr.] was just the renegade brother in the family. They must feel awful."

It also proved necessary for Bush's office to deny that the vice-president was familiar with the "Hinckley-Bush connection." Bush's press secretary, the British-born Peter Teeley, said when asked to comment: "I don't know a damn thing about it. I was talking to someone earlier tonight, and I couldn't even remember his [Hinckley's] name. All I know is what you're telling me." Teeley denied that Bush had revealed that he knew Hinckley or the Hinckley family when he first heard the assassin's name; the vice president "made no mention of it whatsoever." Bush, repeated Teeley, "certainly didn't indicate anything like that."

Chase Untermeyer of Bush's staff, who had been with him throughout the day, put in that in his recollection Bush had not been told the assailant's name through the time that Bush reached the Naval Observatory in Washington on his way to the White House.

On April 1, 1981, the Rocky Mountain News of Denver carried an account of a press conference given the previous day in Denver by Neil Bush. During most of the day on March 31, Neil Bush had refused to answer phone calls from the media, referring them to the vice presidential press office in Washington. But then he appeared in front of the Amoco Building at East 17th Avenue and Broadway in Denver, saying that he was willing to meet the media once, but then wanted to "leave it at that." As it turned out, his wishes were to be scrupulously respected, at least until the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal got out of hand some years later.

The Rocky Mountain News article signed by Charles Roos carried Neil Bush's confirmation that if the assassination had not happened, Scott Hinckley would have been present at a dinner party at Neil Bush's home that very same night. According to Neil, Scott Hinckley had come to the home of Neil and Sharon Bush on January 23, 1981 to be present along with about 30 other guests at a surprise birthday party for Neil, who had turned 26 one day earlier. Scott Hinckley had come "through a close friend who brought him," according to this version, and this same close female friend was scheduled to come to dinner along with Scott Hinckley on that last night of March, 1981.

"My wife set up a surprise party for me, and it truly was a surprise, and it was an honor for me at that time to meet Scott Hinckley," said Neil Bush to reporters. "He is a good and decent man. I have no regrets whatsoever in saying Scott Hinckley can be considered a friend of mine. To have had one meeting doesn't make the best of friends, but I have no regrets in saying I do know him."

Neil Bush told the reporters that he had never met John W. Hinckley, Jr., the gunman, nor his father, John W. Hinckley, president and chairman of the board of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation of Denver. But Neil Bush also added that he would be interested in meeting the elder Hinckley: "I would like [to meet him]. I'm trying to learn the oil business, and he's in the oil business. I probably could learn something from Mr. Hinckley.

Neil Bush then announced that he wanted to "set straight" certain inaccuracies that had appeared the previous day in the Houston Post about the relations between the Bush and Hinckley families. The first was his own wife Sharon's reference to the large contributions from the Hinckleys to the Bush campaign. Neil asserted that the 1980 Bush campaign records showed no money whatever coming in from any of the Hinckleys. All that could be found, he argued, was a contribution to that "great Republican," John Connally.

The other issue the Houston Post had raised regarded the 1978 period, when George W. Bush of Midland, Texas, Neil's oldest brother, had run for Congress in Texas' 19th Congressional district. At that time Neil Bush had worked for George W. Bush as his campaign manager, and in this connection Neil had lived in Lubbock, Texas during most of the year. This raised the question of whether Neil might have been in touch with gunman John W. Hinckley during that year of 1978, since gunman Hinckley had lived in Lubbock from 1974 through 1980, when he was an intermittent student at Texas Tech University there. Neil Bush ruled out any contact between the Bush family and gunman John W. Hinckley in Lubbock during that time.

The previous day, elder son George W. Bush had been far less categorical about never having met gunman Hinckley. He had stated to the press: "It's certainly conceivable that I met him or might have been introduced to him." "I don't recognize his face from the brief, kind of distorted thing they had on TV, and the name doesn't ring any bells. I know he wasn't on our staff. I could check our volunteer rolls." But now Neil was adamant: there had been no contact.

Neil was a chip off the old block, and could not resist some hypocritical posturing at the end of the press conference: "Let me say that my heart goes out--as does the heart of every American--to the people suffering in this tragedy." He mentioned Reagan, Brady, the wounded Secret Service agent and District of Columbia policeman. "And the Hinckley family, for the tremendous pain they must be suffering now." And finally: "I only ask now that we can try to put this behind us and move forward in dealing with the problems."

Neil Bush's confirmation of his relations with Scott Hinckley was matched by a parallel confirmation from the Executive Office of the Vice President. This appeared in The Houston Post, April 1, 1981 under the headline "VICE PRESIDENT CONFIRMS HIS SON WAS TO HAVE HOSTED HINCKLEY BROTHER" by Post Washington Bureau Chief Arthur Wiese. Here the second-string press secretary, Shirley Green, was doing the talking. "I've spoken to Neil," she said, "and he says they never saw [Scott] Hinckley again [after the birthday party]. They kept saying 'we've got to get together,' but they never made any plans until tonight." Contradicting Neil Bush's remarks, Ms. Green asserted that Neil Bush knew Scott Hinckley "only slightly."

Shirley Green described the Tuesday night dinner appointment as "a bizarre happenstance, a weird occurrence."

Later in the day Bush spokesman Peter Teeley surfaced to deny any campaign donations from the Hinckley clan to the Bush campaign. When asked why Sharon Bush and Neil Bush had made reference to large political contributions from the Hinckleys to the Bush campaign, Teeley responded, "I don't have the vaguest idea." "We've gone through our files," said Teeley, "and we have absolutely no information that he [John W. Hinckley Sr.] or anybody in the family were contributors, supporters, anything."

A summary of this material was made generally available through the Associated Press, which published the following short note on March 31:

The family of the man charged with trying to assassinate President Reagan is acquainted with the family of Vice President George Bush and had made large contributions to his political campaign....Scott Hinckley, brother of John W. Hinckley Jr. who allegedly shot at Reagan, was to have dined tonight in Denver at the home of Neil Bush, one of the Vice President's sons....The Houston Post said it was unable to reach Scott Hinckley, vice president of his father's Denver-based firm, Vanderbilt Energy Corp., for comment. Neil Bush lives in Denver, where he works for Standard Oil Co. of Indiana. In 1978, Neil Bush served as campaign manager for his brother, George W. Bush, the Vice President's eldest son, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress. Neil lived in Lubbock, Texas, throughout much of 1978, where John Hinckley lived from 1974 through 1980.

It is not known how many newspapers chose to print this AP dispatch; it would appear that the Washington Post for one did not do so. The electronic media also do not appear to have devoted much attention to this story. Once the cabinet had decided that there had been no conspiracy, all such facts were irrelevant anyway. There is no record of Neil Bush, George W. Bush, or Vice President George H.W. Bush ever having been questioned by the FBI in regard to the contacts described. They never appeared before a grand jury or a Congressional investigating committee. No special prosecutor was ever appointed. Which is another way of saying that by March, 1981, the United States government had degenerated into total lawlessness, with special exemptions for the now ruling Bush family. Government by laws had dissolved.

The media were not interested in the dinner date of Neil Bush and Scott Hinckley, but they were very interested indeed in the soap opera of what had gone on in the Situation Room in the White House during the afternoon of March 30. Since the media had been looking for ways to go after Haig for weeks, they simply continued this line into their coverage of the White House scene that afternoon. Haig had appeared before the television cameras to say:

Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State, in that order, and should the President decide that he wants to transfer the helm he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.

This led to an immense hue and cry, mightily stoked by the Bush networks, on the theme that Haig wanted to usurp the presidential succession. More than this garbled statement by Haig, Bush was certain to have been disturbed by Haig's refusal a few seconds later to rule out conspiracy a priori :

Q: Any additional measures being taken --was this a conspiracy or was this a....

Haig: We have no indication of anything like that now, and we are not going to say a word on that subject until the situation clarifies itself. [fn 18 ]

But when Bush returned, the cabinet soon decided otherwise.

The "I'm in control here" story on Haig was made into the Leitmotif for his sacking, which was still a year in the future. Reagan's own ghostwritten biography published the year after he left office gives some idea what Baker and Deaver fed the confused and wounded president about what had gone during his absence:

On the day I was shot, George Bush was out of town and Haig immediately came to the White House and claimed he was in charge of the country. Even after the vice-president was back in Washington, I was told he maintained that he, not George, should be in charge. I didn't know about this when it was going on. But I heard later that the rest of the cabinet was furious. They said he acted as if he thought he had the right to sit in the Oval office and believed it was his constitutional right to take over-- a position without any legal basis. [fn 19]

This fantastic account finds no support in the Regan or Weinberger memoirs, but is a fair sample of the Bushman line.

What did interest the media very much was the story of John W. Hinckley Jr.'s obsession with the actress Jodie Foster, who had played the role of a teenage prostitute in the 1976 movie Taxi Driver. The prostitute is befriended by a taxi driver, Travis Bickle, who threatens to kill a senator who is running for president in order to win the love of the girl. Young John Hinckley had imitated the habits and mannerisms of Travis Bickle.

When John Hinckley Jr. had left his hotel room in Washington DC on his way to shoot Reagan, he had left behind a letter to Jodie Foster:

Dear Jodie,

There is a definite possibility that I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan. It is for this reason that I am writing you this letter now. As you well know by now, I love you very much. The past seven months I have left you dozens of poems, letters, and messages in the faint hope you would develop an interest in me. [...] Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into your heart and at least give me the chance with this historical deed to gain your respect and love.

I love you forever.

[signed] John Hinckley [fn 20]

In 1980, Jodie Foster was enrolled at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, as an undergraduate. Hinckley spent three weeks in September, 1980 in a New Haven hotel, according to the New York Daily News. In early October he spent several days in New Haven, this time at the Colony Inn motel. Two bartenders in a bar near the Yale campus recalled Hinckley as having bragged about his relationship with Jodie Foster. Hinckley had been arrested by airport authorities in Nashville, Tennessee on October 9, 1980 for carrying three guns, and was quickly released. Reagan had been in Nashville on October 7, and Carter arrived there on October 9. The firearms charge on the same day that the President was coming to town should have landed Hinckley on the Secret Service watch list of potential presidential assassins, but the FBI apparently neglected to transmit the information to the Secret Service.

In February 1981, Hinckley was again near the Yale campus. During this time, Hinckley claimed that he was in contact with Jodie Foster by mail and telephone. Jodie Foster had indeed received a series of letters and notes from Hinckley, which she had passed on to her college dean. The dean allegedly gave the letters to the New Haven police, who supposedly gave them to the FBI. Nevertheless, nothing was done to restrain Hinckley, who had a record of psychiatric treatment. Hinckley had been buying guns in various locations across the United States. Was Hinckley a Manchurian candidate, brainwashed to carry out his role as an assassin? Was a network operating through the various law enforcement agencies responsible for the failure to restrain Hinckley or to put him under special surveillance?
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 2 OF 2

The FBI soon officially rubber-stamped the order promulgated by the cabinet that no conspiracy be found: "there was no conspiracy and Hinckley acted alone," said the bureau. Hinckley's parents' memoir refers to some notes penciled notes by Hinckley which were found during a search of his cell and which "could sound bad." These notes "described an imaginary conspiracy--either with the political left or the political right [...] to assassinate the President." Hinckley's lawyers from Edward Bennett Williams's law firm said that the notes were too absurd to be taken seriously, and they have been suppressed. [fn 21]

In July 1985, the FBI was compelled to release some details of its investigation of Hinckley under the Freedom of Information Act. No explanation was offered of how it was determined that Hinckley had acted alone, and the names of all witnesses were censored. According to a wire service account, "the file made no mention of papers seized from Hinckley's prison cell at Butner, North Carolina, which reportedly made reference to a conspiracy. Those writings were ruled inadmissible by the trial judge and never made public." [fn 22] The FBI has refused to release 22 pages of documents concerning Hinckley's "associates and organizations," 22 pages about his personal finances, and 37 pages about his personality and character. The Williams and Connolly defense team argued that Hinckley was insane, controlled by his obsession with Jodie Foster. The jury accepted this version, and in July, 1982, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was remanded to St. Elizabeth's mental hospital where he remains to this day with no fixed term to serve; his mental condition is periodically reviewed by his doctors.

The other aspect of the case that would have merited more careful scrutiny was the relation of John W. Hinckley Sr., the gunman's father, to the US intelligence community. The line in the press right after the assassination attempt was that "the father of John Hinckley is a devout Christian who did work in Africa." Some papers also included the fact that John W. Hinckley Sr. had also worked with World Vision, beginning in 1976. World Vision describes itself as the largest "international Christian relief and development agency" active in the third world. It is officially a joint activity of the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches.

"Jack" Hinckley, as the gunman's father was frequently called, during the 1970's became a close associate of Robert Ainsworth, the director of US Ministries for World Vision, Inc. Jack Hinckley's profile was that of a born again Christian. Jack Hinckley and Ainsworth traveled together to the Sahel region of Africa, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Even before joining World Vision, Jack Hinckley had carried on "relief work" in Guatemala. "Jack and I became very close," Ainsworth said. "Jack was a successful businessman. On occasion he would ask us to pray for his son. It's not that Jack felt that John would do something bad, just that John had no direction, John had not found himself."

World Vision is one of the notorious non-governmental organizations that function as a de facto arm of US intelligence under current arrangements. Robert Ainsworth's pedigree is impressive: he was a foreign area analyst for the US Department; an advisor in Vietnam during the war there; and chaired an international committee involved in the negotiation of the Chemical and Bacteriological Warfare Treaty of 1973.

The largest contributor to World Vision is the US State Department Agency for International Development (AID), whose program is frankly genocide. Pax Christi, the Catholic human rights organization, has accused World Vision of functioning as a "Trojan horse for US foreign policy." The entire milieu is thus redolent of the US intelligence agencies.

Reagan went into a long convalescence, first in the hospital and then at his ranch in California. Even when Reagan was pronounced fully recovered, he was even more detached than before, even more absent, even more dependent on his long afternoon nap. Nancy Reagan, crazed by fear and unable to comprehend the forces that had been at work behind the assassination attempt, vastly increased her reliance on the astrological advice of her resident clairvoyant, Joan Quigley. Through this channel, the Occult Bureau of British intelligence acquired an awesome capability of manipulation over the Reagan Presidency, which could often be mobilized in favor of Bush. This was all the more true since Nancy Reagan's obsession was always her image, what the press was saying about her and how she looked in the media. Nancy appealed to her astrologer to secure her a better press image. Since the controlled press could be calibrated from day to day by the Bush networks, Nancy Reagan found herself in the grip of a many-leveled inside-outside operation whose true nature she was too shallow to suspect.

As Ms. Quigley has written, she was as resident astrologer of Reagan's court of miracles "responsible for timing all press conferences, most speeches, the State of the Union addresses, the takeoffs and landings of Air Force One. I picked the time of Ronald Reagan's debate with Carter and the two debates with Walter Mondale; all extended trips abroad as well as the shorter trips and one-day excursions, the announcement that Reagan would run for a second term, briefings for all summits except Moscow, although I selected the time to begin the Moscow trip. [...] I re-created Nancy's image, defused Bitburg, erected a chart for the INF treaty. [...] I exposed the President as little as possible to the public and the media from January to August 1987, to protect him from both the physical and political dangers I foresaw. I was heavily involved in what happened in the relations between the superpowers, changing Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" attitude, so that he went to Geneva prepared to meet a different kind of Russian leader and one he could convince of doing things our way. Improved relations, glasnost and perestroika may, in some small measure, have come out of this." [fn 23]

Bush took up the duties of the presidency, all the while elaborately denying, in his self-deprecating way, that he had in fact taken control: "He campaigned as 'a President we won't need to train' -- and for two weeks now, George Bush has stepped smoothly into his limited role as surrogate president....The first stand-in greeted visiting dignitaries, announced Reagan's proposed relaxation of auto emission standards, met with Congressional leaders....His duties now include an early briefing with Reagan aides Edwin Meese, James Baker, and Michael Deaver, a meeting with Congressional liaison Max Friedersdorf and a full briefing from national security adviser Richard Allen." [fn 24] During the time that Reagan was convalescing, the president was even less interested than usual in detailed briefings about government operations. Bush's visits to the chief executive were thus reduced to the merest courtesy calls, after which Bush was free to do what he wanted. "Bush has even limited his visits with Reagan. 'I just stop in for a minute or two,' Bush says. 'I think it's better not to overload the circuits.'"

Bush's key man was James Baker III, White House chief of staff and the leading court favorite of Nancy Reagan. During this period Deaver was a wholly controlled appendage of Baker and would remain one for as long as he was useful to the designs of the Bushmen. Among Baker, Deaver, and the astrologer, Nancy Reagan could also be manipulated into substantial subservience to Bush's designs.

And Baker and Deaver were not the only Bushmen in the White House. There were also Bush campaign veterans David Gergen and Jay Moorhead. In the cabinet, one Bush loyalist was Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, who was flanked by his Assistant Secretary, Fred Bush (allegedly not a member of the Bush family). The Bushmen were strong in the sub-cabinet: here were Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs John Holdridge, who had served Bush on his Beijing mission staff and during the 1975 Pol Pot caper in Beijing; and Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Affairs Richard Fairbanks; with these two in Foggy Bottom, Haig's days were numbered. At the Pentagon was Henry E. Catto, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs; Catto would later by rewarded by Bush with an appointment as US Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London, the post that Foreign Service Officers spend their lives striving to attain. Bush was also strong among the agencies: his pal William H. Draper III, scion of the racist Draper clan, was the chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank. Loret Miller Ruppe, Bush's campaign chairman in Michigan, was Director of the Peace Corps.

At the Treasury, Bush's cousin John Walker would be assistant secretary for enforcement. When the BCCI scandal exploded in the media during 1991, William von Raab, the former director of the US Customs, complained loudly that, during Reagan's second term, his efforts to "go after" BCCI had been frustrated by reticence at the Treasury Department. By this time James Baker III was secretary of the Treasury, and Bush's kissing cousin John Walker was an official who would have had the primary responsibility for the intensity of such investigations.

At the Pentagon, Caspar Weinberger's Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia, Richard Armitage, was no stranger to the circles of Shackley and Clines. Weinberger had extravagant praise in his Pentagon memoirs for "Rich" Armitage, "who served the Department and me with extraordinary fidelity and skill and unparalleled knowledge and good humor during all the time I was in office." [fn 25] Bush's staff numbered slightly less than sixty during the early spring of 1981. He often operated out of a small office in the West Wing of the White House where he liked to spend time because it was "in the traffic pattern," but his staff was principally located in the Old Executive Office Building. Here Bush sat at a mammoth mahogany desk which had been used in 1903 by his lifetime ego ideal, the archetypal liberal Republican extravagant, Theodore Roosevelt. Bush also kept an office at the Senate. Some of the leading Bush operatives were:

Bush's chief of staff was Admiral Daniel J. Murphy, who had represented Bush in the Situation Room until the vice president had returned from Texas. Murphy had served Melvin Laird and Elliot Richardson when they commanded the Pentagon under Nixon; he had commanded the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean during the 1973 Middle East War. Murphy habitually accompanied Bush to attend Reagan's national security briefing each morning in the Oval Office, a ritual that was conducted by Richard Allen as long as he lasted, and attended by Baker and Deaver, plus Haig, until he too was ousted.

The deputy chief of staff was Richard N. Bond, a younger political operative who had worked in the offices of liberal Republicans like William Green of New York and Sen. Charles Mathias of Maryland. He had managed Bush's winning efforts in the Iowa caucuses and in the Connecticut primary.

Bush's executive assistant and special assignments man was Charles G. "Chase" Untermeyer, who had graduated from Harvard, worked as a newspaper reporter and served between 1977 and 1980 as a GOP member of the Texas House of Representatives for the silk stocking Republican 83rd district in Houston, where James Baker, John Connolly, and Leon Jaworski own homes.

Bush's general counsel was C. Boyden Gray, a Harvard-educated lawyer who had worked as a partner for the Washington powerbroker law firm of Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering, where he was specialized in antitrust litigation and representing businessmen's groups like the Business Roundtable and the American Mining Congress. Gray's family were plutocrats from North Carolina who had sponsored the forced sterilization programs described above. Gray's father, Gordon Gray, had served as chief of the National Security Council during the Eisenhower administration, and had authored the overall document under which the very extensive covert operations of the Eisenhower years had been carried out. "Boy" Gray took an important part in Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, which was billed as an effort to "cut federal red tape," but which in reality furthered the highly destructive process of deregulation in many critical areas of business and finance. Boy Gray's family had profited immensely from the merger of their family firm, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, with the National Biscuit Company to form RJR-Nabisco. They would profit astronomically from the leveraged buy-out of RJR-Nabisco by the Wall Street firm of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts, a swindle that was facilitated by the new regulatory climate that Boy Gray had himself helped to create.

Bush's assistant for domestic affairs was Thaddeus Garrett, Jr., the highest ranking black on Bush's staff and an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Garrett had served Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in the same capacity in 1975-76, and had worked as a Congressional aide to Reps. William Ayres (R-Ohio) and Shirley Chisholm (D-NY).

Bush's assistant for national security affairs was Nancy Bearg Dyke, who had been principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower resources and military administration in the Carter Administration. Dyke was a veteran of the State Department, the NSC, the Senate Armed Services Committee staff, and the Congressional Budget office.

Bush's executive assistant for Congressional relations was Robert V. Thompson, who had served as Bush's assistant during the presidential campaign. Thompson was from the Tulsa of the Liedtke and Kravis families, where he had founded three companies dealing with commodity speculation, oil rigs, and refrigerator rentals.

Bush's legislative assistant was Susan E. Alvarado, former legislative assistant to the then Senate Minority Whip Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Bush's press secretary was Peter Teeley, who had been born in Great Britain and had later lived in Detroit. Teeley had worked for GOP Senators Jake Javits of New York and Robert Griffin of Michigan, and he was considered very much a liberal. Teeley had also been Communications Director for the Republican National Committee.

Bush's deputy press secretary was Shirley M. Green, whom we have seen in action during the March, 1981 attempted coup d'etat. Green had worked at the Texas GOP headquarters in Austin, and had coordinated the Bush for President effort in Texas and Arkansas.

Bush's appointments secretary was the inevitable Jennifer Fitzgerald, who had been his executive assistant during the CIA days in Langley. Fitzgerald had worked as a special aide of former Yale President Kingman Brewster when he was US Ambassador to London. She was a veteran of the White House staffs of the Nixon and Ford years. Jennifer Fitzgerald has remained with Bush over the years, and her presence has given rise to much gossip.

Bush's director of administration was Susan Cockrell, who had worked in vice presidential national security and foreign affairs staffs since 1974, serving Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, and Walter Mondale before Bush.

Bush's advance man was Michael Farley, a former Arizona insurance agent and broker who had worked for Ford in 1976 and for Bush during the 1979-80 campaign.

Bush's trip director was Joseph W. Hagin, a former operative for the Bush campaign in Florida and Iowa. After the Detroit convention, Hagin traveled full time with Bush. [fn 26]

After Reagan had recovered, Bush customarily arrived at his office in the Old Executive Office Building at about 7:30 each morning for his own national security briefing and a staff meeting. Then Bush and Murphy would go over to the Oval Office, less than a hundred yards away, to sit in on Reagan's national security briefing. During the rest of the day, depending on the requirements of intrigue and manipulation, Bush was free to float between OEOB and West Wing, often gravitating back towards his own staff at the end of the day.

Bush had a standing invitation to sit on all cabinet meetings and other executive activities, and Baker was always there to make sure he knew what was going on. Bush was a part of every session of the National Security Council. Bush also possessed guaranteed access to Reagan, in case he ever needed that: each Thursday Reagan and Bush would have lunch alone together in the Oval Office.

Each Tuesday, Bush attended the weekly meeting of GOP committee chairmen presided over by Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker at the Senate. Then Bush would stay on the Hill for the weekly luncheon of the Republican Policy Committee hosted by Sen. John Tower of Texas. Before and after these weekly events, there was time for meetings with individual senators. Bush also cultivated his older House networks, including through paddleball workouts in the House gymnasium.

Prescott's old friend William Casey was beginning to work his deviltry at Langley, and kept in close touch with Bush. Reports of personality conflicts between Bush and Casey are the most transparent disinformation.

The result was a machine capable of steering many of the decisions of the Reagan Administration. At this point, Bush was not looking for a great deal of publicity; he didn't need it. "Bush himself reacted with sensitivity to the amount of publicity he received while performing as a presidential surrogate while Reagan was recovering from his gunshot wound. When the President returned to his work schedule, Bush asked his staff to cut back on scheduling him for interviews. "He thought he should lower his profile for a while,' an aide explained."

Problems might have come from the oversight functions of the Congress, but the Congress was now in the process of being destroyed as a Constitutional force. Senator Harris Williams of New Jersey was now on trial on charges resulting from the FBI's illegal "Abscam" entrapment operations. Williams' forced resignation from the Senate, after a number of Congressmen had been convicted on the same manufactured charges, would complete the subordination of Congress to police state controls.

Problems might have come from the Director of the National Security Council, but here the job had been downgraded: Richard Allen reported not to Reagan, but to Meese. Allen would in any case soon be ousted from office because he had accepted some watches from Japanese visitors. Allen would be followed in quick succession by William Clark, Bud McFarlane, John Poindexter, Frank Carlucci, and Colin Powell- a new NSC director a bit more than once a year. For Bush, the dangerous one had been Clark; the rest were quite prepared to go with the Kissinger line. In any case, this merry-go-round at the NSC meant that no serious challenge could emerge against Bush from this quarter.

It took more than a year to finish off Al Haig. The final opportunity came during the Malvinas (or Falklands) war in the spring of 1982. When Thatcher made clear that she was intent on waging war against Argentina, Haig flew to London and assured her that there would be no new Suez, that the US would back Britain in the end. But Haig insisted on posing in public as an honest broker, mediating between Britain and Argentina, and made proposals that involved concessions which enraged Thatcher. Haig also called Lord Carrington a "duplicitous bastard." Bush and Baker used the failure of Haig's shuttle diplomacy in the Malvinas crisis to prepare the final bureaucratic coup de grace. Haig was replaced by George Shultz, a Bechtel executive and Nixon cabinet retread.

The loudest squawking in public about Bush's formidable behind the scenes power during the Reagan years came from the old "New Right" alumni of the Young Americans for Freedom during the Goldwater era. One gathers that these personages were miffed at the idea that George's networks were grabbing plum jobs which the old YAFers regarded as their eminent domain. One of these was Terry Dolan of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, who spoke in 1982 of the "Bushization of the Reagan Administration." (Dolan later died of AIDS.) The right-wing direct mail fundraiser Richard Viguerie asserted that "this is a Bush administration, not a Reagan administration."

The right-wing concern was summed up by Witcover and Germond: "George Bush is playing possum, acting the amenable helpmate to Reagan while insidiously planting his agents in key positions in the administration-- especially in the White House-- and, more recently, in the Republican National Committee." [fn 27]

These circles pointed to the ascendancy of James Baker in the White House, the influence of David Gergen as White House director of communications, the position of Richard Darman (from the Eliot Richardson stable) as Baker's deputy, and the dominance of Rich Bond, Bush's chief of staff, as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. Some were also worried about the power of David Stockman, the austerity ideologue of the early Reagan Office of Management and Budget and close Bush ally. "Bush has been more effective in getting his people placed in the administration than Reagan has," complained Paul Weyrich of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. "There was a tremendous power vacuum and Baker's moved into it, but Baker has used it to get Bush people into key places...Bush has an ideal situation. He goes around the country collecting due bills by expressing support of Reagan, meanwhile putting his people in place." These circles were very concerned by the frequent rumors that Reagan might renounce a race for a second term in what Viguerie called an "LBJ scenario," with Reagan dropping out during the primary season. These hopes never panned out, but the "Baker-Bush connection" enraged the right wingers for years.

In public, Bush worked on his Task Force for Regulatory Relief, a good way to curry favor with the legions of greed in Wall Street and Beverly Hills who were looking for the Reagan administration to fulfill their hopes. After the French elections, it was Bush who was dispatched to France to meet the new French President Francois "Tonton" Mitterrand of the Grand Orient freemasonry. Bush and Mitterrand had mutual friends in the Schlumberger interests of Jean and Monique de Menil of Houston; Bush began building a special relationship with Tonton Mitterrand that included very cordial Franco-American summits at Kennebunkport and St. Martin during 1989. For Tonton, close ties with Bush were essential for undoing the heritage of General de Gaulle, who had insisted on French national independence and sovereignty. With the Bush-Mitterrand axis, those forces were strengthened who wanted France to become again what she had been in the shameful adventure of Suez in 1956: an auxiliary to the Anglo-Americans.

Bush also had a special interest in the Atlanta murders of black children, which were reaching their peak during the first months of 1981. On February 8, 1981, Bush announced that the federal government would provide special assistance to the Atlanta Police Department in investigating the murders. On February 22, a federal task force focused on Atlanta was created, and on March 15 George and Barbara journeyed to Atlanta to meet with the families of some of the victims. These murders were clearly connected to satanic cults operating in the Atlanta area.

Bush became heavily engaged on this front. His office "aggressively and publicly" pursued his assignment of coordinating federal assistance to Atlanta. Admiral Murphy and staffer Thaddeus Garrett helped to arrange a series of grants from various agencies and set up a task force on the ground in Atlanta under the leadership of Charles Rinkevich, a regional official of the Justice Department. Garrett gave himself credit for expediting $3.8 million to support the investigation of the Atlanta murders and to provide "support and protective supervision" for the terror-stricken residents of the area.

Naturally: an alumnus of Skull and Bones knew all about satanism.

Forty-four days after the attempted assassination of Reagan, there followed the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II during a general audience in St. Peter's Square in Rome. During those 44 days, Bush had been running the US government. It was as if a new and malignant evil had erupted onto the world stage, and was asserting its presence with an unprecedented violence and terror. Bush was certainly involved in the attempt to cover up the true authors of the attentat of St. Peter's Square. An accessory before the fact in the attempt to slay the pontiff appears to have been Bush's old cohort Frank Terpil, who had been one of the instructors who had trained Mehmet Ali Agca, who had fired on the pope.

After a lengthy investigation, the Italian investigative magistrate Ilario Martella in December 1982 issued seven arrest warrants in the case, five against Turks and two against Bulgarians. Ultimate responsibility for the attempt on the Pope's life belonged to Yuri Andropov of the Soviet KGB. On March 1, 1990, Viktor Ivanovich Sheymov, a KGB officer who had defected to the west, revealed at a press conference in Washington DC that as early as 1979, shortly after Karol Woityla became Pope, the KGB had been instructed through an order signed by Yuri Andropov to gather all possible information on how to get "physically close to the Pope. [fn 28]

According to one study of these events, during the second week of August, 1980, when the agitation of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc was at its height, the Pope had dispatched a special emissary to Moscow with a personal letter for Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. The Pope's message warned the Soviet dictator that if the Red Army were to invade Poland, as then seemed imminent, the Pope would fly to Warsaw and lead the resistance. It is very likely that shortly after this the Soviets gave the order to eliminate Pope John Paul II. [fn 29]

With the Vatican supporting Judge Martella in his campaign to expose the true background of Ali Agca's assault, it appeared that the Bulgarian connection, and with it the Andropov-KGB connection, might soon be exposed. But in the meantime, Brezhnev had died, and had been succeeded by the sick and elderly Konstantin Chernenko. Bush was already in the "you die, we fly" business, representing Reagan at all important state funerals, and carrying on the summit diplomacy that belongs to such occasions. Bush attended Brezhnev's funeral, and conferred at length with Yuri Andropov. Chernenko was a transitional figure, and the Anglo-American elites were looking to KGB boss Andropov as a desirable successor with whom a new series of condominium deals at the expense of peoples and nations all over the planet might be consummated. For the sake of the condominium, it was imperative that the hit against the Pope not be pinned on Moscow. There was also the scandal that would result if it turned out that US assets had also been involved within the framework of derivative assassination networks.

During the first days of 1983, Bush lodged an urgent request with Monsignor Pio Laghi, the apostolic pro-nuncio in Washington, in which Bush asked for an immediate private audience with the Pope. By February 8, Bush was in Rome. According to reliable reports, during the private audience Bush "suggested that John Paul should not pursue quite so energetically his own interest in the plot." [fn 30]

Bush's personal intervention had the effect of supplementing and accelerating a US intelligence operation that was already in motion to sabotage and discredit Judge Martella and his investigation. On May 13, 1983, the second anniversary of the attempt on the Pope's life, Vassily Dimitrov, the first secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome, expressed his gratitude: "Thanks to the CIA, I feel as if I were born again!"

Bush consistently expressed skepticism on Bulgarian support for Agca. On December 20, 1982, responding to the Martella indictments, Bush told the Christian Science Monitor: "Maybe I speak defensively as a former head of the CIA, but leave out the operational side of the KGB-- the naughty things they allegedly do: Here's a man, Andropov, who has had access to a tremendous amount of intelligence over the years. In my judgment, he would be less apt to misread the intentions of the USA. That offers potential. And the other side of that is that he's tough, and he appears to have solidified his leadership position."

According to one study, the German foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, believed at this time that "a common link between the CIA and the Bulgarians" existed. [fn 31]

Martella was convinced that Agca had been sent into action by Sergei Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome. According to author Gordon Thomas, Martella was aware that the White House, and Bush specifically, were determined to sabotage the exposure of this connection. Martella brought Agca and Antonov together, and Agca identified Antonov in a line-up. Agca also described the interior of Antonov's apartment in Rome. "Later, Martella told his staff that the CIA or anyone else can spread as much disinformation as they like; he is satisfied that Agca is telling the truth about knowing Antonov." [fn 32] Later US intelligence networks would redouble these sabotage efforts with some success. Agca was made to appear a lunatic, and two key Buglarian witnesses changed their testimony. A campaign of leaks was also mounted. In a bizarre but significant episode, even New York Senator Al Damato got into the act. Damato alleged that he had heard about the Pope's letter warning Brezhnev about invading Poland while he was visiting the Vatican during early 1981: as the New York Times reported on February 9, 1983, "Damato says he informed the CIA about the letter and identified his source in the Vatican when he returned to the US from a 1981 trip to Rome." Later, Damato was told that the Rome CIA station had never heard anything from Langley about his report of the Pope's letter. "I gave them important information and they clearly never followed it up," complained Damato to reporters.

In February, 1983, Damato visited Rome once again on a fact-finding mission in connection with the Agca plot. He asked the US Embassy in Rome to set up appointments for him with Italian political leaders and law enforcement officials, but his visit was sabotaged by US Ambassador Maxwell Raab. The day before Damato was scheduled to leave Washington, he found that he had no meetings set up in Rome. Then an Italian-speaking member of the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who was familiar with the Agca investigation and who was scheduled to accompany Damato to Rome, informed the senator that he would not make the trip. Damato told the press that this last-minute cancellation was due to pressure from the CIA.

Much to Damato's irritation, it turned out that George Bush personally had been responsible for a rather thorough sabotage of his trip. Damato showed the Rome press "a telegram from the American Ambassador in Rome urging him to postpone the visit because the embassy was preoccupied with an overlapping appearance by Vice President Bush," as the New York Times reported. This was Bush's mission to warn the Pope not to pursue the Bulgarian connection. Damato said he was shocked that no one on the CIA staff in Rome had been assigned to track the Agca investigation.

The CIA station chief in Rome during the early 1980's was William Mulligan, a close associate of former CIA deputy assistant director for operations Theodore Shackley. Shackley, as we have seen, was a part of the Bush for President campaign of 1980.

Mehmet Ali Agca received training in the use of explosives, firearms, and other subjects from the "former" CIA agent Frank Terpil. Terpil was known to Agca as "Major Frank," and the training appears to have taken place in Syria and in Libya.

Agca's identification of Terpil had been very precise and detailed on Major Frank and on the training program. Terpil himself granted a television interview, which was incorporated into a telecast on his activities and entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in the World," during which Terpil described in some detail how he had trained Agca. Shortly after this, Terpil left his apartment in Beirut, accompanied by three unidentified men, and disappeared. Terpil and Ed Wilson had gone to Libya and begun a program of terrorist training at about the time that George Bush became the CIA director. Wilson was indicted for supplying explosives to Libya, for conspiring to assassinate one of Qaddafi's opponents in Egypt, and for recruiting former US pilots and Green Berets to work for Qaddafi. Wilson was later lured back to the US and jailed. Terpil presumably continues to operate, if he is still alive. Was Terpil actually a triple agent?

What further relation might George Bush have had to the attempt to take the life of the Pope? As we have seen, the Bush family had carried on an obsessive vendetta against the Vatican over decades. In the family tradition, it was Catholic opponents of birth control and genocide, including Roman Catholic prelates, who were held responsible for the defeat of Prescott Bush in the 1950 election, when his involvement with the genocide lobby had received effective and timely exposure. We have seen how Bush personally nursed this grudge, hysterically recounting the story to his colleagues in the House of Representatives. We have seen Bush's enraged response to Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which attacked the racist heart of the Bush family creed. We will later see Bush attacking the political activities of Jesuits in central America. We will see Bush ordering violent demonstrators in Panama City to storm the Papal nunziatura. In all of this the freemason Bush shares the obsession of the Anglo-American elite, who are committed to destroying the papacy as one of the few institutions in the world that has dared to resist their Malthusian proposition that the central problem of humanity is overpopulation.

Freemason George Bush allegedly possesses important connections to some of the more sinister currents of continental European masonry. Unconfirmed published reports have linked George Bush to the Propaganda Due or P-2 masonic lodge of Rome, Italy, as well as to the Comite Montecarlo. Barbara Honegger, in her book October Surprise, cites her mysterious informant "Y", who claims that the notorious Italian political fixer Francesco Pazienza told him that George Bush was even made an honorary member of the P-2 lodge by that lodge's venerable grand master, the notorious Licio Gelli. Gelli is also reported by informed sources to have worked energetically to promote Bush's 1980 presidential candidacy.

Some see Bush's alleged connections to Licio Gelli's P-2 lodge as relevant to the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme on February 28, 1986. According to Barbara Honegger's mysterious informant "Y", on February 25, 1986, just a few days before Palme was killed, Licio Gelli, who was then in Brazil, sent a message to Philip Guarino, a former official of the Republican National Committee telling him that "the Swedish tree will be felled," along with a request to "tell our good friend Bush." [fn 33] Palme, at the time of his death, was aware of the participation of Swedish arms companies in weapons deliveries to the Khomeini regime within the framework of what later became known as Iran-contra.

On July 2, 1990, the first program (Tg-1) of RAI Television, the Italian government-sponsored network, broadcast an interview by journalist Ennio Remondino with Ibrahim Razin and Richard Brennecke, a former US intelligence agent who has become well known in connection with his allegations concerning the 1980 October Surprise. Here Razin repeated the account of the message from Gelli to Guarino and Bush just summarized. Brennecke added that US intelligence agencies provided the P-2 lodge with funding in the amount of $10 million per month for gun-running, drug-running, and destabilization. In the wake of this telecast, President Francesco Cossiga, the psychologically unstable Italian chief of state, demanded that Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti investigate these charges. Cossiga was indignant that both the US government and George Bush had been accused of these heinous crimes. Andreotti's investigation was a superficial one and certainly did not disprove any of the charges, leaving the matter hanging. [fn 34]

_______________

Notes:

1. Joan Quigley, "What Does Joan Say" (New York, 1990), p. 112.

2. Clay F. Richards, "George Bush: 'co-president' in the Reagan administration" United Press International, March 10, 1981.

3. Alexander Haig, Caveat (New York, 1984), p. 54.

4. Haig, Caveat, p. 115.

5. Haig, Caveat, p. 302.

6. Haig, Caveat, p. 60.

7. Washington Post, March 22, 1981.

8. Haig, Caveat, pp. 144-145.

9. Washington Post, March 22, 1981.

10. The Daily Texan, March 31, 1981.

11. Haig, Caveat, p. 151.

12. Caspar Weinberger, Fighting for Peace (New York, 1990), p. 91.

13. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, p. 93.

14. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, p. 94.

15. Donald T. Regan, For the Record (New York, 1988), p. 168.

16. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, p. 95.

17. Washington Post, April 1, 1981.

18. Haig, Caveat, p. 160.

19. Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York, 1990), p. 271.

20. Jack and JoAnn Hinckley, Breaking Points (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985), p. 169.

21. Breaking Points, p. 215.

22. Judy Hasson, United Press International, July 31, 1985.

23. Joan Quigley, What Does Joan Say? (New York, 1990), p. 12.

24. Newsweek, April 20, 1981, p. 29.

25. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, pp. 230-231.

26. For Bush's staff see "George Bush--Keeping His Profile Low So He Can Keep His Influence High," National Journal, June 20, 1981, p. 1096 ff.; and Arthur Wiese, "The Bush Team," Houston Post, April 1, 1981.

27. Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, "Why Do Conservatives Hate Bush?", The Washingtonian, April 1982.

28. Washington Post, March 2, 1990.

29. See Gordon Thomas, Pontiff (New York, 1983).

30. Gordon Thomas, Averting Armageddon (New York, 1984), p. 74.

31. Averting Armageddon, p. 268.

32. Averting Armageddon, p. 75.

33. Barbara Honegger, October Surprise (New York: Tudor Publishing, 1989), p. 240. Many are the names that have been attributed to informant "Y," including Ibrahim Razin, Racine, Oswald Le Winter, Oscar LeWinter, and George Cave, who was supposedly once a CIA employee specializing in Iranian affairs.

34. See Corriere della Sera and La Stampa, July 24, 1990.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 1 OF 3

Chapter XVIII -- Iran-Contra

"What pleases the prince has the force of law.''
-- Roman law

"As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally.''
-- Gestapo officer Werner Best [fn1]


We cannot provide here a complete overview of the Iran-Contra affair. We shall attempt, rather, to give an account of George Bush's decisive, central role in those events, which occurred during his vice-presidency and spilled over into his presidency. The principal elements of scandal in Iran-Contra may be reduced to the following points:

1) the secret arming of the Khomeini regime in Iran by the U.S. government, during an official U.S.-decreed arms embargo against Iran, while the U.S. publicly denounced the recipients of its secret deliveries as terrorists and kidnappers -- a policy initiated under the Jimmy Carter presidency and accelerated by the Reagan-Bush administration;

2) the Reagan-Bush administration's secret arming of its "Contras'' for war against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, while such aid was explicitly prohibited under U.S. law;

3) the use of communist and terrorist enemies -- often armed directly by the Anglo-Americans -- to justify a police state and covert, oligarchical rule at home;

4) paying for and protecting the gun-running projects with drug-smuggling, embezzlement, theft by diversion from authorized U.S. programs, and the "silencing'' of both opponents and knowledgeable participants in the schemes; and

5) the continual, routine perjury and deception of the public by government officials pretending to have no knowledge of these activities; and the routine acquiescence in that deception by Congressmen too frightened to oppose it.

When the scandal broke, in late 1986 and early 1987, George Bush maintained that he knew nothing about these illegal activities; that other government officials involved in them had kept him in the dark; that he had attended no important meetings where these subjects were under discussion. Since that time, many once-classified documents have come to light, which suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, or most, of the criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures. The most significant events relevant to George Bush's role are presented here in the format of a chronology. At the end of the chronology, parts of the testimony of George Bush's loyal assistant Donald Gregg will be provided, to allow for a comparison of the documented events with the Bush camp's account of things. Over the time period covered, the reader will observe the emergence of new structures in the U.S. government:

The "Special Situation Group,'' together with its subordinate "Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group'' (May 14, 1982).

The "Crisis Management Center'' (February 1983).

The "Terrorist Incident Working Group'' (April 3, 1984).

The "Task Force on Combating Terrorism'' (or simply Terrorism Task Force) (July 1985).

The "Operations Sub-Group'' (January 20, 1986). These were among the official, secret structures of the U.S. government created from 1982 through 1986. Other structures, whose existence has not yet come to light, may also have been created -- or may have persisted from an earlier time. Nothing of this is to be found in the United States Constitution. All of these structures revolved around the secret command role of the then-Vice President, George Bush. The propaganda given out to justify these changes in government has stressed the need for secrecy to carry out necessary covert acts against enemies of the nation (or of its leaders). Certainly, a military command will act secretly in war, and will protect secrets of its vulnerable capabilities. But the Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to carry out covert policies: to make war when the constitutional government had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists and drug-runners) who are the friends or agents of the secret government. In the period of the chronology, there are a number of meetings of public officials -- secret meetings. Who really made the policies, which were then well or poorly executed by the covert action structure? By looking at the scant information that has come to light on these meetings, we may reach some conclusions about who advocated certain policy choices; but we have not then learned much about the actual origin of the policies that were being carried out. This is the rule of an oligarchy whose members are unknown to the public, an oligarchy which is bound by no known laws.

January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as U.S. President.

March 25, 1981: Vice President George Bush was named the leader of the United States "crisis management'' staff, "as a part of the National Security Council system.''

March 30, 1981: The new President was shot in an attempted assassination. He survived his wounds, so Vice President Bush did not succeed to the presidency.

May 14, 1982: Bush's position as chief of all covert action and de facto head of U.S. intelligence -- in a sense, the acting President -- was formalized in a secret memorandum. The memo explained that "National Security Decision Directive 3, Crisis Management, establishes the Special Situation Group (SSG), chaired by the Vice President. The SSG is charged ... with formulating plans in anticipation of crises.'' It is most astonishing that, in all of the reports, articles and books about the Iran-Contra covert actions, the existence of Bush's SSG has received no significant attention. Yet its importance in the management of those covert actions is obvious and unmistakable, as soon as an investigative light is thrown upon it. The memo in question also announced the birth of another organization, the Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), which was to work as an intelligence-gathering agency for Bush and his SSG. This new subordinate group, consisting of representatives of Vice President Bush, National Security Council (NSC) staff members, the CIA, the military and the State Department, was to "meet periodically in the White House Situation Room.... '' They were to identify areas of potential crisis and "[p]resent ... plans and policy options to the SSG'' under Chairman Bush. And they were to provide to Bush and his assistants, "as crises develop, alternative plans,'' "action/options'' and "coordinated implementation plans'' to resolve the "crises.'' Finally, the subordinate group was to give to Chairman Bush and his assistants "recommended security, cover, and media plans that will enhance the likelihood of successful execution.'' It was announced that the CPPG would meet for the first time on May 20, 1982, and that agencies were to "provide the name of their CPPG representative to Oliver North, NSC staff....'' The memo was signed "for the President'' by Reagan's national security adviser, William P. Clark. It was declassified during the congressional Iran-Contra hearings. [fn2 ] Gregg, Rodriguez and North Join the Bush Team

August 1982: Vice President Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser on national security affairs. Gregg now officially retired from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Donald Gregg brought along into the Vice President's office his old relationship with mid-level CIA assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez. Gregg had been Rodriguez's boss in Vietnam. Donald Gregg worked under Bush in Washington from 1976 -- when Bush was CIA Director -- through the later 1970s, when the Bush clique was at war with President Carter and his CIA Director, Stansfield Turner. Gregg was detailed to work at the National Security Council between 1979 and 1982. From 1976 right up through that NSC assignment, CIA officer Gregg saw CIA agent Rodriguez regularly. Both men were intensely loyal to Bush. [fn3] Their continuing collaboration was crucial to Vice President Bush's organization of covert action. Rodriguez was now to operate out of the Vice President's office.

December 21, 1982: The first "Boland Amendment'' became law: "None of the funds provided in this Act [the Defense Appropriations Bill] may be used by the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Defense to furnish military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual ... for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.'' "Boland I,'' as it was called, remained in effect until Oct. 3, 1984, when it was superseded by a stronger prohibition known as "Boland II.'' [fn4 ]

February 1983: Fawn Hall joined Oliver North as his assistant. Ms. Hall reported that she worked with North on the development of a secret "Crisis Management Center.'' Lt. Colonel North, an employee of the National Security Council, is seen here managing a new structure within the Bush-directed SSG/CPPG arrangements of 1981-82. [fn5 ]

March 3, 1983: In the spring of 1983, the National Security Council established an office of "Public Diplomacy'' to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of the program. Former CIA Director of Propaganda Walter Raymond was put in charge of the effort. The unit was to work with domestic and international news media, as well as private foundations. The Bush family-affiliated Smith Richardson Foundation was part of a National Security Council "private donors' steering committee'' charged with coordinating this propaganda effort. A March 3, 1983 memorandum from Walter Raymond to then-NSC Director William Clark, provided details of the program:

"As you will remember you and I briefly mentioned to the President when we briefed him on the N[ational] S[ecurity] D[ecision] D[irective] on public diplomacy that we would like to get together with some potential donors at a later date....

"To accomplish these objectives Charlie [United States Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick] has had two lengthy meetings with a group of people representing the private sector. This group had included principally program directors rather than funders. The group was largely pulled together by Frank Barnett, Dan McMichael (Dick [Richard Mellon] Scaife's man), Mike Joyce (Olin Foundation), Les Lenkowsky (Smith Richardson Foundation) plus Leonard Sussman and Leo Cherne of Freedom House. A number of others including Roy Godson have also participated.'' [Everything above in parentheses is in the original]. [fn6 ]

Elsewhere, Raymond described Cherne and Godson as the coordinators of this group. Frank Barnett was the director of the Bush family's National Strategy Information Center, for which Godson was the Washington, D.C. director. Barnett had been the project director of the Smith Richardson Foundation prior to being assigned to that post. The Smith Richardson Foundation has sunk millions of dollars into the Iran-Contra projects. Some Smith Richardson grantees, receiving money since the establishment of the National Security Council's "private steering committee'' (according to the foundation's annual reports) include the following:

Dennis King, to write the book "Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism", used as the basis for arguments against LaRouche and his associates by federal and state prosecutors around the country. (See the LaRouche section at the end of this chapter.)

Freedom House. This was formed by Leo Cherne, business partner of CIA Director William Casey. Cherne oversaw Walter Raymond's "private donor's committee.''

National Strategy Information Center, founded in 1962 by Casey, Cherne and the Bush family (see Chapter 4). Thus, when an item appeared in a daily newspaper, supporting the Contras, or attacking their opponents -- calling them "extremists,'' etc. -- it is likely to have been planted by the U.S. government, by the George Bush-NSC "private donors''' apparatus.

March 17, 1983: Professional assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez met with Bush aide Donald P. Gregg, officially and secretly, at the White House. Gregg then recommended to National Security Council adviser Robert "Bud'' McFarlane a plan for El Salvador-based military attacks on a target area of Central American nations including Nicaragua. Gregg's March 17, 1983 memo to McFarlane said: "The attached plan, written in March of last year, grew out of two experiences: "--Anti-Vietcong operations run under my direction in III Corps Vietnam from 1970-1972. These operations [see below], based on ... a small elite force ... produced very favorable results." -- Rudy Enders, who is now in charge of what is left of the paramilitary capability of the CIA, went to El Salvador in 1981 to do a survey and develop plans for effective anti-guerrilla operations. He came back and endorsed the attached plan. (I should add that Enders and Felix Rodriguez, who wrote the attached plan, both worked for me in Vietnam and carried out the actual operations outlined above.) "This plan encountered opposition and skepticism from the U.S. military.... "I believe the plan can work based on my experience in Vietnam....'' Three years later, Bush agent Rodriguez would be publicly exposed as the supervisor of the covert Central American network illegally supplying arms to the Contras; that exposure of Rodriguez would begin the explosive public phase of the "Iran-Contra scandal.'' Rodriguez's uncle had been Cuba's public works minister under Fulgencio Batista, and his family fled Castro's 1959 revolution. Felix Rodriguez joined the CIA, and was posted to the CIA's notorious Miami Station in the early 1960s. The Ted Shackley-E. Howard Hunt organization there, assisted by Meyer Lansky's and Santos Trafficante's mafiosi, trained Rodriguez and other Cubans in the arts of murder and sabotage. Rodriguez and his fellow CIA trainees took part in numerous terror raids against Castro's Cuba. Felix Rodriguez recounted his early adventures in gun-running under false pretexts in a ghost-written book, Shadow Warrior:

Just around the time President Kennedy was assassinated, I left for Central America. I spent almost two years in Nicaragua, running the communications network for [our enterprise].... [O]ur arms cache was in Costa Rica. The funding for the project came from the CIA, but the money's origin was hidden through the use of a cover corporation, a company called Maritima BAM, which was [Manuel] Artim's initials spelled backwards. Periodically, deposits of hundreds of thousands of dollars would be made in Maritima BAM's accounts, and disbursed by Cuban corporation officers. The U.S. government had the deniability it wanted; we got the money we needed.... In fact, what we did in Nicaragua twenty-five years ago has some pretty close parallels to the Contra operation today. [fn8 ]


Rodriguez followed his CIA boss Ted Shackley to Southeast Asia in 1970. Shackley and Donald Gregg put Rodriguez into the huge assassination and dope business which Shackley and his colleagues ran during the Indochina war; this bunch became the heart of the "Enterprise'' that went into action 15 to 20 years later in Iran-Contra. Shackley funded opium-growing Meo tribesmen in murder, and used the dope proceeds in turn to fund his hit squads. He formed the Military Assistance Group-Special Operations Group (MAG-SOG) political murder unit; Gen. John K. Singlaub was a commander of MAG-SOG; Oliver North and Richard Secord were officers of the unit. By 1971, the Shackley group had killed about 100,000 civilians in Southeast Asia as part of the CIA's Operation Phoenix. After Vietnam, Felix Rodriguez went back to Latin American CIA operations, while other parts of the Shackley organization went on to drug-selling and gun-running in the Middle East. By 1983, both the Mideast Shackley group and the self-styled "Shadow Warrior,'' Felix Rodriguez, were attached to the shadow commander-in-chief, George Bush.

May 25, 1983: Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a memorandum for President Reagan, trying to stop George Bush from running Central American operations for the U.S. government. Shultz included a draft National Security Decision Directive for the President to sign, and an organizational chart ("Proposed Structure'') showing Shultz's proposal for the line of authority -- from the President and his NSC, through Secretary of State Shultz and his assistant secretary, down to an interagency group. The last line of the Shultz memo says bluntly what role is reserved for the Bush-supervised CPPG: "The Crisis Pre-Planning Group is relieved of its assignments in this area.'' Back came a memorandum for The Honorable George P. Shultz, on a White House letterhead but bearing no signature, saying no to Shultz: "The institutional arrangements established in NSDD-2 are, I believe, appropriate to fulfill [our national security requirements in Central America]....'' With the put-down is a chart headlined "NSDD-2 Structure for Central America.'' At the top is the President; just below is a complex of Bush's SSG and CPPG as managers of the NSC; then below that is the Secretary of State, and below him various agencies and interagency groups. [fn9 ]

July 12, 1983: Kenneth De Graffenreid, new manager of the Intelligence Directorate of the National Security Council, sent a secret memo to George Bush's aide, Admiral Daniel Murphy:

" ... Bud McFarlane has asked that I meet with you today, if possible, to review procedures for obtaining the Vice President's comments and concurrence on all N[ational] S[ecurity] C[ouncil] P[lanning G[roup] covert action and MONs.'' [fn10 ]

The Bush Regency in Action

October 20, 1983: The U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada was decided upon in a secret meeting of the metagovernment -- the National Security State -- under the leadership of George Bush. National Security Council operative Constantine Menges, a stalwart participant in these events, described the action for posterity:

My job that afternoon was to write the background memorandum that would be used by the vice president, who in his role as "crisis manager'' would chair this first NSC meeting on the [Grenada] issue.... [F]ortunately I had help from Oliver North, who in his nearly three years with NSC had become expert in the memo formats and formal procedures. After the morning CPPG meeting, North had begun to get interested in Grenada.... Shortly before 6:00 P.M., the participants began to arrive: Vice President Bush, [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger, [Attorney General Edwin] Meese, J[oint] C[hiefs of] S[taff] Chairman General Vessey, acting CIA Director McMahon, [State Dept. officer Lawrence] Eagleburger, ... North and myself. We all went to the Situation Room in the White House. President Reagan was traveling, as were [CIA Director] Bill Casey and Jeane Kirkpatrick.... Vice President Bush sat in the president's chair.


Menges continued:

"... A factual update was the first order of business. Then the discussion moved to the availability of military forces and how long it would take to ready them. The objective, right from the beginning, was to plan a rescue [of American students detained on Grenada] that would guarantee quick success, but with a minimum of casualties....'' "The first suggested presidential decision was to prepare for possible military action by shifting navy ships, which were taking a marine unit to rotate forces in Lebanon, plus other naval units, toward Grenada. "Secrecy was imperative.... As part of this plan, there would be no change in the schedule of the top man. President Reagan ... would travel to Augusta, Georgia, for a golf weekend. Secretary of State Shultz would go too....'' Work now proceeded on detailed action plans, under the guidance of the Vice President's Special Situation Group. "Late Friday afternoon [Oct. 21] ... the CPPG ... [met] in room 208.... Now the tone of our discussions had shifted from whether we would act to how this could be accomplished.... ''[The] most secure means [were to] be used to order U.S. ships to change course ... toward Grenada. Nevertheless, ABC news had learned about this and was broadcasting it.''


Thus, the course of action decided upon without the President was "leaked'' to the news media, and became a fait-accompli. Menges's memo continues:

It pleased me to see that now our government was working as a team.... That evening Ollie North and I worked together ... writing the background and decision memoranda. Early in the evening [NSC officer Admiral John] Poindexter reviewed our first draft and made a few minor revisions. Then the Grenada memoranda were sent to the President, Shultz and McFarlane at the golf course in Georgia.... Shortly before 9:00 A.M. [Oct. 22], members of the foreign policy cabinet [sic!] began arriving at the White House -- all out of sight of reporters. The participants included Weinberger, Vessey, and Fred Ikle from Defense; Eagleburger and Motley from State; McMahon and an operations officer from CIA; and Poindexter, North and myself from NSC. Vice President Bush chaired the Washington group. All participants were escorted to room 208, which many had never seen before. The vice president sat at one end of the long table and Poindexter at the other, with speaker phones positioned so that everyone could hear President Reagan, Shultz, and McFarlane. The meeting began with an overview and an update.... There were animated discussions.... The conclusion was that by early Tuesday, October 25, the United States and allied forces would be in a position to initiate military action.... The only legal authority on Grenada was the governor general, Sir Paul N. Scoon, ... a Grenadan citizen appointed by the British crown.... Ingeniously, he had smuggled out a request for external help in restoring law and order.... The detailed hour-by-hour plan was circulated to everyone at the meeting. There was also a short discussion of the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to get approval of Congress if he intends to deploy U.S. troops in combat for more than sixty days. There was little question that U.S. combat forces would be out before that time.... The president had participated and asked questions over the speaker phone; he made his decision. The U.S. would answer the call from our Caribbean neighbors. We would assure the safety of our citizens. [fn11 ]


Clearly, there was no perceived need to follow the U.S. Constitution and leave the question of whether to make war up to the Congress. After all, President Reagan had concurred, from the golf course, with Acting President Bush's decision in the matter. And the British nominee in the target country had requested Mr. Bush's help!

November 3, 1983: Bush aide Donald Gregg met with Felix Rodriguez to discuss "the general situation in Central America.'' [fn12]

December 1983: Oliver North accompanied Vice President Bush to El Salvador as his assistant. Bush met with Salvadoran army commanders. North helped Bush prepare a speech, in which he publicly called upon them to end their support for the use of "death squads.'' North later testified that Bush's speech "was one of the bravest things I've seen for anybody [sic].'' [fn13 ]

Attack from Jupiter

January 1 through March 1984: The Wall Street Journal of March 6, 1985 gave a deromanticized version of certain aquatic adventures in Central America:

Armed speedboats and a helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency "mother ship'' attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moonless New Year's night in 1984. A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal positions, Americans flew -- and fired from -- an armed helicopter that accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided sophisticated reconaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks. The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any single event, it solidified congressional opposition to the covert war, and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984].... CIA paramilitary officers were upset by the ineffectiveness of the Contras.... As the insurgency force grew ... during 1983 ... the CIA began to use the guerrilla army as a cover for its own small "Latino'' force.... [The] most celebrated attack, by armed speedboats, came Oct. 11, 1983, against oil facilities at Corinto. Three days later, an underwater pipeline at Puerto Sandino was sabotaged by Latino [sic] frogmen. The message wasn't lost on Exxon Corp.'s Esso unit [formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey], and the international giant informed the Sandinista government that it would no longer provide tankers for transporting oil to Nicaragua. The CIA's success in scaring off a major shipper fit well into its mining strategy.... The mother ship used in the mining operation is described by sources as a private chartered vessel with a configuration similar to an oil-field service and towing ship with a long, flat stern section where helicopters could land....

The reader may have already surmised that Vice President Bush (with his background in "oilfield service'' and his control of a "top-level committee of the National Security Council'') sat in his Washington office and planned these brilliant schemes. But such a guess is probably incorrect -- it is off by about 800 miles. On Jupiter Island, Florida, where the Bush family has had a seasonal residence for the past several decades (see Chapter 4) is the headquarters of Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. (CSA). [fn14 ]

This company describes itself as "an environmental consulting firm specializing in applied marine science and technology ... founded in 1970.... The main office ... is located in Jupiter, Florida, approximately 75 miles north of Miami. ''CSA has `` Offshore and Onshore divisions.'' It lists among its clients Exxon Company, U.S.A.; Military Sealift Command; Pennzoil Company; U.S. Department of Defense/Army Corps of Engineers; and other oil companies and government agencies. CSA's main advertised concern is with underwater engineering, often involving oil or nuclear facilities. It has many "classified'' projects. It employs the world's most sophisticated subsurface vehicles and monitoring equipment. The founder and chief executive of CSA is Robert "Stretch'' Stevens. A former lieutenant commander in naval special operations, Stevens has been a close associate of CIA officer Theodore Shackley, and of Bush agent Felix Rodriguez since the early 1960s, when Stevens served as a boat captain in the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and through the Vietnam War. During the period 1982-85, CSA was contracted by the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, to carry out coastal and on-the-ground reconnaissance and logistical support work in the eastern Mediterranean in support of the U.S. Marine deployment into Lebanon; and coastal mapping and reconnaissance of the Caribbean island of Grenada prior to the October 1983 U.S. military action. Beginning in approximately the autumn of 1983, CSA was employed to design and execute a program for the mining of several Nicaraguan harbors. After the U.S. Senate restricted such activities to non-U.S. personnel only, CSA trained "Latin American nationals'' at a facility located on El Bravo Island off the eastern coast of Nicaragua. Acta Non Verba (Deeds Not Words) is a "subsidiary'' of CSA, incorporated in 1986 and located at the identical Jupiter address. Rudy Enders, the head of the CIA's paramilitary section -- and deployed by George Bush aide Donald Gregg -- is a minority owner of Acta Non Verba (ANV). ANV's own tough-talking promotional literature says that it concentrates on "counter-terrorist activities in the maritime environment.'' A very high-level retired CIA officer, whose private interview was used in preparation for this book, described this "Fish Farm'' in the following more realistic terms: "Assassination operations and training company controlled by Ted Shackley, under the cover of a private corporation with a regular board of directors, stockholders, etc., located in Florida. They covertly bring in Haitian and Southeast Asian boat people as recruits, as well as Koreans, Cubans, and Americans. They hire out assassinations and intelligence services to governments, corporations, and individuals, and also use them for covering or implementing 'Fish Farm' projects/activities.'' The upshot of the attack from Jupiter -- the mining of Nicaragua's harbors -- was that the Congress got angry enough to pass the "Boland II'' amendment, re-tightening the laws against this public-private warfare (see entry for Oct. 3, 1984).

April 3, 1984: Another subcommittee of the Bush terrorism apparatus was formed, as President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138. The new "Terrorist Incident Working Group'' reported to Bush's Special Situation Group. The TIWG geared up government agencies to support militant counterterrorism assaults, on the Israeli model. [fn15]

"How Can Anyone Object?''

June 25, 1984: The National Security Planning Group, including Reagan, Bush and other top officials, met secretly in the White House situation room at 2:00 P.M. They discussed whether to risk seeking "third-country aid'' to the Contras, to get around the congressional ban enacted Dec. 21, 1982. George Bush spoke in favor, according to minutes of the meeting. Bush said, "How can anyone object to the U.S. encouraging third parties to provide help to the anti-Sandinistas under the [intelligence] finding. The only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to give these third parties something in return so that some people might interpret this as some kind of an exchange '' [emphasis added]. Warning that this would be illegal, Secretary of State Shultz said: "I would like to get money for the contras also, but another lawyer [then-Treasury Secretary] Jim Baker said if we go out and try to get money from third countries, it is an impeachable offense.'' CIA Director Casey reminded Shultz that "Jim Baker changed his mind [and now supported the circumvention]....'' NSC adviser Robert McFarlane cautioned, "I propose that there be no authority for anyone to seek third party support for the anti-Sandinistas until we have the information we need, and I certainly hope none of this discussion will be made public in any way.'' President Ronald Reagan then closed the meeting with a warning against anyone leaking the fact they were considering how to circumvent the law: "If such a story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House until we find out who did it.'' In March of the following year, Bush personally arranged the transfer of funds to the Contras by the Honduran government, assuring them they would receive compensating U.S. aid. The minutes of this meeting, originally marked "secret,'' were released five years later, at Oliver North's trial in the spring of 1989. [fn16 ]

October 3, 1984: Congress enacted a new version of the earlier attempt to outlaw the U.S. secret war in Central America. This "Boland II'' amendment was designed to prevent any conceivable form of deceit by the covert action apparatus: "During fiscal year 1985, no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual.'' This law was effective from October 3, 1984, to December 5, 1985, when it was superceded by various aid-limitation laws which, taken together, were referred to as "Boland III.' [fn17]

November 1, 1984: Felix Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Latchinian was then tried and convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine into the United States. The dope was to finance the murder and overthrow of the President of Honduras, Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian was sentenced to a 30-year prison term.

On Nov. 10, 1983, a year before the arrest, Felix Rodriguez had filed the annual registration with Florida's secretary of state on behalf of Latchinian's and Rodriguez's joint enterprise, "Giro Aviation Corp.'' [fn18]

December 21, 1984: Felix Rodriguez met in the office of the Vice President with Bush adviser Donald Gregg. Immediately after this meeting, Rodriguez met with Oliver North, supposedly for the first time in his life. But Bush's adviser strenuously denied to investigators that he "introduced'' his CIA employee to North. [fn19]

January 18, 1985 (Friday): Felix Rodriguez met with Ramon Milian Rodriguez (not known to be a relative of Felix), accountant and money launderer, who had moved $1.5 billion for the Medellin cocaine cartel. Milian testified before a Senate investigation of the Contras' drug-smuggling, that more than a year earlier he had granted Felix's request and given $10 million from the cocaine cartel to Felix for the Contras.

Milian Rodriguez was interviewed in his prison cell in Butner, North Carolina, by investigative journalist Martha Honey. He said Felix Rodriguez had offered that "in exchange for money for the Contra cause he would use his influence in high places to get the [Cocaine] cartel U.S. 'good will'.... Frankly, one of the selling points was that he could talk directly to Bush. The issue of good will wasn't something that was going to go through 27 bureaucratic hands. It was something that was directly between him and Bush.'' Ramon Milian Rodriguez was a Republican contributor, who had partied by invitation at the 1981 Reagan-Bush inauguration ceremonies. He had been arrested aboard a Panama-bound private jet by federal agents in May 1983, while carrying over $5 million in cash. According to Felix Rodriguez, Milian was seeking a way out of the narcotics charges when he met with Felix on January 18, 1985. This meeting remained secret until two years later, when Felix Rodriguez had become notorious in the Iran-Contra scandal. The Miami Herald broke the story on June 30, 1987. Felix Rodriguez at first denied ever meeting with Ramon Milian Rodriguez. But then a new story was worked out with various agencies. Felix "remembered'' the Jan. 18, 1985 meeting, claimed he had "said nothing'' during it, and "remembered'' that he had filed documents with the FBI and CIA telling them about the meeting just afterwards. [fn20]

January 22, 1985 (Tuesday): George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez in the Executive Office Building. The agenda may have included the results of the meeting five days before with Medellin cocaine cartel representative Milian Rodriguez.

Felix's ghost writer doesn't tell us what was said, only that Felix was "able to show [Bush] some of the photos from my album. The honor of being with the Vice President ... was overwhelming. Mr. Bush was easy to talk to, and he was interested in my stories.'' [fn21]

Late January, 1985: George Bush's office officially organized contacts through the State Department for Felix Rodriguez to operate in Central America from a base in El Salvador, in a false "private'' capacity. The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering, then cabled to Gen. Paul F. Gorman, commander of the U.S. Army Southern Command: "Rodriguez has high-level contacts at the White House, DOS [State Dept] and DOD [Defense Department], some of whom are strongly supporting his use in El Salvador.

"It would be in our best interests that Mr. Rodriguez confer with you personally prior to coming to El Salvador. I have some obvious concerns about this arrangement....'' Felix Rodriguez flew to Panama to speak to General Gorman. They discussed his covert aid to the Contras "since the early eighties.'' Rodriguez, by George Bush's story the private, volunteer helper of the Contras, flew from Panama to El Salvador on General Gorman's personal C-12 airplane. General Gorman also sent a confidential cable to Ambassador Pickering and Col. James Steele, U.S. military liaison man with the Contra resupply operation in El Salvador: "I have just met here with Felix Rodriguez, [deleted, probably "CIA''] pensioner from Miami. Born in Cuba, a veteran of guerrilla operations [several lines deleted].... "He is operating as a private citizen, but his acquaintanceship with the V[ice] P[resident] is real enough, going back to the latter's days as D[irector of] C[entral] I[ntelligence]." "Rodriguez' primary commitment to the region is in [deleted] where he wants to assist the FDN [Contras military forces]. I told him that the FDN deserved his priority.... He will want to fly with the E[l] S[alvador] A[ir] F[orce] to establish his credibility, but that ... seems to me both unnecessary and unwise....'' [fn23]

February 7, 1985: The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), subordinate to Chairman Bush of the Special Situation Group (SSG), met to discuss means to circumvent the Boland amendment's ban on aid to the Contras. They agreed on a "Presidential letter'' to be sent to President Suazo of Honduras, "to provide several enticements to Honduras in exchange for its continued support of the Nicaraguan Resistance. These enticements included expedited delivery of military supplies ordered by Honduras, a phased release of withheld economic assistance (ESF) funds, and other support.'' The preceding was the admission of the United States government in the 1989 Oliver North trial -- number 51 in a series of "stipulations'' that was given to the court to avoid having to release classified documents.

February 12, 1985: The government admissions in the North trial continued:

" ... North proposed that McFarlane send a memo [to top officials on] the recommendation of the CPPG [the Bush-supervised body, often chaired by Bush adviser Don Gregg].... The memo stated that this part of the message [to the Honduran president] should not be contained in a written document but should be delivered verbally by a discreet emissary.'' [This was to be George Bush himself -- see March 16, 1985.] Honduras would be given increased aid, to be diverted to the Contras, so as to deceive Congress and the American population. [fn24]

February 15, 1985 (Friday): After Rodriguez had arrived in El Salvador and had begun setting up the central resupply depot for the Contras -- at Ilopango Airbase -- Ambassador Thomas Pickering sent an "Eyes Only'' cable to the State Department on his conversation with Rodriguez. Pickering's cable bore the postscript, "Please brief Don Gregg in the V.P.'s office for me.'' [fn25]

February 19, 1985 (Tuesday): Felix Rodriguez met with Bush's staff in the vice-presidential offices in the Executive Office Building, briefing them on the progress of his mission.

Over the next two years, Rodriguez met frequently with Bush staff members in Washington and in Central America, often jointly with CIA and other officials, and conferred with Bush's staff by telephone countless times. [fn26]

March 15-16, 1985 (Friday and Saturday): George Bush and Felix Rodriguez were in Central America on their common project.
On Friday, Rodriguez supervised delivery in Honduras of military supplies for the FDN Contras whose main base was there in Honduras.

On Saturday, George Bush met with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova. Bush told Suazo that the Reagan-Bush administration was expediting delivery of more than $110 million in economic and military aid to Suazo's government. This was the "quid pro quo'': a bribe for Suazo's support for the U.S. mercenary force, and a transfer through Honduras of the Contra military supplies, which had been directly prohibited by the Congress.

Government as Counterterror

June 14, 1985: " Shiite Muslim terrorists'' hijacked an Athens-to-Rome airliner. One American was killed, 39 Americans were held hostage and released June 30.

July 1985: Vice President George Bush was designated by President Reagan to lead the Task Force on Combating Terrorism (or Terrorism Task Force). Bush's task force was a means to sharply concentrate the powers of government into the hands of the Bush clique, for such policies as the Iran-Contra armaments schemes. The Terrorism Task Force had the following cast of characters:

GEORGE BUSH, U.S. Vice President: CHAIRMAN

Admiral James L. Holloway III: Executive assistant to Chairman Bush

Craig Coy: Bush's deputy assistant under Holloway

Vice Admiral John Poindexter: Senior NSC representative to Chairman Bush

Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North: Day-to-day NSC representative to George Bush

Amiram Nir: Counterterror adviser to Israeli Premier Shimon Peres

Lt. Col. Robert Earl: Staff member

Terry Arnold: Principal consultant

Charles E. Allen, CIA officer: Senior Review Group

Robert Oakley, Director, State Dept. Counter Terrorism Office: Senior Review Group

Noel Koch, Deputy to Asst. Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage: Senior Review Group

Lt. Gen. John Moellering, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Senior Review Group

Oliver "Buck'' Revell, FBI executive: Senior Review Group

This was the first known official contact of the Israeli Nir with the U.S. government in the Iran-Contra affair. In the future, Nir would serve as the main Israeli agent in the covert arms-for-hostages negotiations with Iran, alongside such other well-known U.S. participants as Oliver North and Robert McFarlane. The Terrorism Task Force organization, as we shall see, was a permanent affair. [fn27]

August 8, 1985: George Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the residence section of the White House. Spurring on their deliberations on the terrorism problem, a car bomb had blown up that day at a U.S. air base in Germany, with 22 American casualties.

The officials discussed shipment of U.S.-made arms to Iran through Israel -- to replenish Israeli stocks of TOW missiles and to permit Israel to sell arms to Iran.

According to testimony by Robert McFarlane, the transfer was supported by George Bush, Casey and Donald Regan, and opposed by Shultz and Weinberger. [fn28]


August 18, 1985: Luis Posada Carriles escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being held for the terrorist murder of 73 persons. Using forged documents falsely identifying him as a Venezuelan named "Ramon Medina,'' Posada flew to Central America. Within a few weeks, Felix Rodriguez assigned him to supervise the Bush office's Contra resupply operations being run from the El Salvador air base. Posada personally ran the safe-houses used for the CIA flight crews. Rodriguez explained the arrangement in his book: "Because of my relationship with [El Salvador Air Force] Gen. Bustillo, I was able to pave the way for [the operations attributed to Oliver] North to use the facilities at Ilopango [El Salvador air force base].... I found someone to manage the Salvadorian-based resupply operation on a day-to-day basis. They knew that person as Ramon Medina. I knew him by his real name: Luis Posada Carriles.... I first [sic!] met Posada in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia, where we went through basic training together ... as U.S. Army second lieutenants.... '' Rodriguez neglects to explain that agent Posada Carilles was originally recruited and trained by the same CIA murder operation, "JM/WAVE'' in Miami, as was Rodriguez himself. Felix continues: "In the sixties, he reportedly went to work for DISIP, the Venezuelan intelligence service, and rose to considerable power within its ranks. It was rumored that he held one of the top half-dozen jobs in the organization.... After the midair bombing of a Cubana airliner on October 6, 1976, in which seventy-three people were killed, Posada was charged with planning the attack and was thrown in prison.... Posada was confined in prison for more than nine years.... '' [fn29]

September 10, 1985: George Bush's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, met at 4:30 P.M. with Oliver North and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military official in El Salvador who oversaw flights of cargo going to the Contras from various points in Central America. They discussed information given to one or more of them by arms dealer Mario DelAmico, supplier to the Contras. According to the entry in Oliver North's notebook, they discussed particularities of the supply flights, and the operations of FDN commander Enrique Bermudez.

Elsewhere in the diary pages for that day, Colonel North noted that DelAmico had procured a certain 1,000 munitions items for the Contras. [fn30]

November 1985 (ca. American Thanksgiving Day): George Bush sent Oliver North a note, with thanks for "your dedication and tireless work with the hostage thing and with Central America.'' [fn31]

December 1985: Congress passed new laws limiting U.S. aid to the Contras. The CIA, the Defense Department, and "any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities'' were prohibited from providing armaments to the Contras. The CIA was permitted to provide communications equipment and training. "Humanitarian'' aid was allowed. These laws, known together as "Boland III,'' were in effect from December 4, 1985 to October 17, 1986.

December 18, 1985: CIA official Charles E. Allen, a member of George Bush's Terrorism Task Force, wrote an update on the arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran. Allen's memo was a debriefing of an unnamed member of the group of U.S. government officials participating in the arms negotiations with the Iranians. The unnamed U.S. official (from the context, probably NSC terrorism consultant Michael Ledeen) is referred to in Allen's memo as "Subject''. Allen wrote: "[Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Hashemi] Rafsanjani ... believes Vice President George Bush is orchestrating the U.S. initiative with Iran. In fact, according to Subject, Rafsanjani believes that Bush is the most powerful man in the U.S. because in addition to being Vice President, he was once Director of CIA '' [fn32]

December 1985-January 1986: George Bush completed his official study of terrorism in December 1985. John Poindexter now directed Oliver North to go back to work with Amiram Nir. Amiram Nir came to Washington and met with Oliver North. He told U.S. officials that the Iranians had promised to free all hostages in exchange for more arms. Reportedly after this Nir visit, in an atmosphere of constant terrorism and rumors of terrorism, President Reagan was persuaded of the necessity of revving up the arms shipments to Iran. [fn33]

December 27, 1985: Terrorists bombed Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 people, including five Americans. The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), supervised by Bush's office and reporting to Bush, blamed Libyans for the attack and began planning for a military strike on Libya. Yet an unpublished CIA analysis and the Israelis both acknowledged that the Abu Nidal group (in effect, the Israeli Mossad agency) carried out the attacks. [fn34]

Bush's CPPG later organized the U.S. bombing of Libya, which occurred in mid-April 1986.

December 31, 1985 (Tuesday): Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi told Paris-based CIA agent Bernard Veillot that Vice President Bush was backing arms sales to Iran, and that official U.S. approval for private sales to Iran, amounting to $2 billion, was "going to be signed by Mr. Bush and [U.S. Marine Corps commandant] Gen. [Paul X.] Kelley on Friday.'' [fn35]

Loudly and publicly exposed in the midst of Iran arms deals, Veillot was indicted by the U.S. Then the charges were quietly dropped, and Veillot went underground. A few months later Hashemi died suddenly of "leukemia.'' [fn36]

January 2, 1986 (Thursday): Israeli counterterrorism chief Amiram Nir met with North and Poindexter in Washington. The Bush report on terrorism had now been issued within the government but was not yet published. Bush's report was urging that a counterterrorism coordinator be named for the entire U.S. government -- and Oliver North was the one man intended for that slot.

At this meeting, Nir proposed specifically that prisoners held by Israeli-controlled Lebanese, and 3,000 American TOW missiles, be exchanged for U.S. hostages held by Iran. Other discussions between Nir and Bush's nominee involved the supposedly new idea that the Iranians be overcharged for the weapons shipped to them, and the surplus funds be diverted to the Contras. [fn37]

January 6, 1986 (Monday): President Reagan met with George Bush, Donald Regan, McFarlane and Poindexter. The President was handed a draft "Presidential Finding'' that called for shipping arms to Iran through Israel. The President signed this document, drafted following the discussions with Amiram Nir. The draft consciously violated the National Security Act which had established the Central Intelligence Agency, requiring notification of Congress. But Bush joined in urging President Reagan to sign this "finding'': "I hereby find that the following operation in a foreign country ... is important to the national security of the United States, and due to its extreme sensitivity and security risks, I determine it is essential to limit prior notice, and direct the Director of Central Intelligence to refrain from reporting this finding to the Congress as provided in Section 501 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, until I otherwise direct'' [emphasis added]. " ... The US G[overnment] will act to facilitate efforts by third parties and third countries to establish contacts with moderate elements within and outside the Government of Iran by providing these elements with arms, equipment and related materiel in order to enhance the credibility of these elements....'' Of course, Bush, Casey and their Israeli allies had never sought to bolster "moderate elements'' in Iran, but overthrew them at every opportunity -- beginning with President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr. [fn38]

January 7, 1986: President Reagan and Vice President Bush met at the White House with several other administration officials. There was an argument over new proposals by Amiram Nir and Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar to swap arms for hostages.

Secretary of State George Shultz later told the Tower Commission that George Bush supported the arms-for-hostages deal at this meeting, as did President Reagan, Casey, Meese, Regan and Poindexter. Shultz reported that he himself and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger both opposed further arms shipments. [fn39]

January 9, 1986: Lt. Col. Oliver North complained, in his notebook, that "Felix [Rodriguez]'' has been "talking too much about the V[ice] P[resident] connection.'' [fn49]

January 15, 1986: CIA and Mossad employee Richard Brenneke wrote a letter to Vice President Bush giving full details, alerting Bush about his own work on behalf of the CIA in illegal -- but U.S. government-sanctioned -- sales of arms to Iran. [fn41]

Mid-January, 1986: George Bush and Oliver North worked together on the illegal plan.

Later, at North's trial, the Bush administration -- portraying Colonel North as the master strategist in the case! -- stipulated that North "prepared talking points for a meeting between Admiral Poindexter, Vice-President Bush, and [the new] Honduran President [Jose Simon] Azcona. North recommended that Admiral Poindexter and Vice-President Bush tell President Azcona of the need for Honduras to work with the U.S. government on increasing regional involvement with and support for the Resistance. Poindexter and Bush were also to raise the subject of better U.S. government support for the states bordering Nicaragua.' 'That is, Honduras, which of course " borders on Nicaragua,'' was to get more U.S. aid and was to pass some of it through to the Contras. In preparation for the January 1986 Bush-Azcona meeting, the U.S. State Department sent to Bush adviser Donald Gregg a memorandum, which "alerted Gregg that Azcona would insist on receiving clear economic and social benefits from its [Honduras's] cooperation with the United States.'' [fn42] Two months after the January Bush-Azcona meeting, President Reagan asked Congress for $20 million in emergency aid to Honduras, needed to repel a cross-border raid by Nicaraguan forces against Contra camps. Congress voted the "emergency'' expenditure.

January 17, 1986: George Bush met with President Reagan, John Poindexter, Donald Regan, and NSC staff member Donald Fortier to review the final version of the January 7 arms-to-Iran draft. With the encouragement of Bush, and the absence of opponents to the scheme, President Reagan signed the authorization to arm the Khomeini regime with missiles, and keep the facts of this scheme from congressional oversight committees. This was the reality of the Bush "counterstrategy'' to terrorism, for whose implementation his Terrorism Task Force was just then creating the covert mechanism. The official story about this meeting -- given in the Tower Commission Report -- is as follows: "[T]he proposal to shift to direct U.S. arms sales to Iran ... was considered by the president at a meeting on January 17 which only the Vice President, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fortier, and VADM Poindexter attended. Thereafter, the only senior-level review the Iran initiative received was during one or another of the President's daily national security briefings. These were routinely attended only by the President, the Vice President, Mr. Regan, and VADM Poindexter. There was no subsequent collective consideration of the Iran initiative by the NSC principals before it became public 11 months later....

Because of the obsession with secrecy, interagency consideration of the initiative was limited to the cabinet level. With the exception of the NSC staff and, after January 17, 1986, a handful of CIA officials, the rest of the executive departments and agencies were largely excluded.

"The National Security Act also requires notification of Congress of covert intelligence activities. If not done in advance, notification must be 'in timely fashion.' The Presidential Finding of January 17 directed that congressional notification be withheld, and this decision appears to have never been reconsidered.'' [fn43]
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 2 OF 3

January 18, 1986: Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was directed to prepare the transfer of 4,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the CIA, which was to ship them to Khomeini's Iran. Bypassing normal channels for covert shipments, he elected to have his senior military assistant, Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell, handle the arrangements for the arms transfer. [fn44]

January 19-21, 1986: George Bush's deputy national security aide, Col. Samuel Watson, worked with Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador, and met with Col. James Steele, the U.S. military liaison officer with the covert Contra resupply organization in El Salvador. [fn45]

Bush Sets Up North as Counterterrorism Boss -- and "Fall Guy''

January 20, 1986: Following the recommendations of an as yet unofficial report of the George Bush Terrorism Task Force, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 207.

The unofficial Bush report, the official Bush report released in February, and the Bush-organized NSDD 207, together put forward Oliver North as "Mr. Iran-Contra.'' North became the nominal, up-front coordinator of the administration's counterterrorism program, hiding as best he could Bush's hand in these matters. He was given a secret office and staff (the Office to Combat Terrorism), separate from regular NSC staff members. George Bush now reassigned his Terrorism Task Force employees, Craig Coy and Robert Earl, to do the daily work of the North secret office. The Bush men spent the next year working on Iran arms sales: Earl devoted one-quarter to one-half of his time on Iran and Contra support operations; Coy "knew everything'' about Project Democracy. North traveled much of the time. Earl and Coy were at this time officially attached to the Crisis Management Center, which North worked on in 1983. FBI Assistant Director Revell, often George Bush's "hit man'' against Bush's domestic opponents, partially disclosed this shell game in a letter to Sen. David Boren (D-Ok.), explaining the FBI's contacts with North:

At the time [April 1986], North was the NSC official charged by the President with the coordination of our national counterterrorist program. He was responsible for working closely with designated lead agencies and was responsible for participating in all interagency groups, maintaining the national programming documents, assisting in the coordination of research and development in relation to counterterrorism, facilitating the development of response options and overseeing the implementation of the Vice President's Terrorism Task Force recommendations. This description of Col. North's position is set forth in the public report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combating Terrorism, February 1986. There is an even more detailed and comprehensive description of Col. North's position in the classified National Security Decision Directive #207 issued by the President on January 20, 1986. [fn47]

The Bush Terrorism Task Force, having completed its official work, had simply made itself into a renamed, permanent, covert agency. Its new name was Operations Sub-Group (OSG). In this transformation, CIA Contra-handler Duane Clarridge had been added to the Task Force to form the "OSG,'' which included North, Poindexter, Charles Allen, Robert Oakley, Noel Koch, General Moellering and "Buck'' Revell. According to the Oliver North diaries, even before this final phase of the Bush-North apparatus there were at least 14 meetings between North and the Bush Task Force's senior members Holloway, Oakley and Allen, its principal consultant Terry Arnold, and its staff men Robert Earl and Craig Coy. The North diaries from July 1985 through January 1986, show one meeting with President Reagan, and four meetings with Vice President Bush: either the two alone, North with Bush and Amiram Nir, or North with Bush and Donald Gregg. The Bush counterterrorism apparatus had its own communications channels, and a global antiterrorist computer network called Flashboard outside of all constitutional government arrangements. Those opposed to the arming of terrorists, including cabinet members, had no access to these communications. [fn48] This apparatus had responsibility for Iran arms sales; the private funding of the Contras, from contributions, theft, dope-running; the "public diplomacy'' of Project Democracy to back these efforts; and counterintelligence against other government agencies and against domestic opponents of the policy. [fn49]

January 28, 1986: George Bush met with Oliver North and FDN Contra Political Director Adolfo Calero in the Old Executive Office Building. [fn50] North and Calero would work together to protect George Bush when the Contra supply effort blew apart in October 1986.

January 31, 1986: Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi was told by a French arms agent that "[a]n assistant of the vice president's going to be in Germany ... and the indication is very clear that the transaction can go forward'' referring to George Bush's supposed approval of the private arms sale to Iran. [fn51]

February 6, 1986: Responding to the January 15 letter from Richard Brenneke, Bush aide Lt. Col. E. Douglas Menarczik wrote to Brenneke: "The U.S. government will not permit or participate in the provision of war materiel to Iran and will prosecute any such efforts by U.S. citizens to the fullest extent of the law.'' [fn52]

February 7, 1986: Samuel M. Evans, a representative of Saudi and Israeli arms dealers, told Cyrus Hashemi that "[t]he green light now finally has been given [for the private sale of arms to Iran], that Bush is in favor, Shultz against, but nevertheless they are willing to proceed.'' [fn53]

February 25, 1986: Richard Brenneke wrote again to Bush's office, to Lt. Col. Menarczik, documenting a secret project for U.S. arms sales to Iran going on since 1984.

Brenneke later said publicly that early in 1986, he called Menarczik to warn that he had learned that the U.S. planned to buy weapons for the Contras with money from Iran arms sales. Menarczik reportedly said, "We will look into it.'' Menarczik claimed not to have "any specific recollection of telephone conversations with'' Brenneke. [fn54]

Late February, 1986: Vice President George Bush issued the public report of his Terrorism Task Force. In his introduction to the report, Bush asserted: "Our Task Force was briefed by more than 25 government agencies ... traveled to embassies and military commands throughout the world.... Our conclusion: ... We firmly oppose terrorism in all forms and wherever it takes place.... We will make no concessions to terrorists.'' [fn55]

March 1986: According to a sworn statement of pilot Michael Tolliver, Felix Rodriguez had met him in July 1985. Now Rodriguez instructed Tolliver to go to Miami International Airport. Tolliver picked up a DC-6 aircraft and a crew, and flew the plane to a Contra base in Honduras. There Tolliver watched the unloading of 14 tons of military supplies, and the loading of 12 and 2/3 tons of marijuana. Following his instructions from Rodriguez, Tolliver flew the dope to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The next day Rodriguez paid Tolliver $75,000.

Tolliver says that another of the flights he performed for Rodriguez carried cocaine on the return trip to the U.S.A. He made a series of arms deliveries from Miami into the air base at Agucate, Honduras. He was paid in cash by Rodriguez and his old Miami CIA colleague, Rafael "Chi Chi'' Quintero. In another circuit of flights, Tolliver and his crew flew between Miami and El Salvador's Ilopango air base. Tolliver said that Rodriguez and Quintero "instructed me where to go and who to see.'' While making these flights, he "could go by any route available without any interference from any agency. We didn't need a stamp of approval from Customs or anybody....'' [fn57] With reference to the covert arms shipments out of Miami, George Bush's son Jeb said: "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped, but does that break any law? I'm not sure it's illegal. The Neutrality Act is a completely untested notion, established in the 1800s.'' [fn58]


Smuggling Missiles and Reporting to the Boss

Trafficking in lethal weapons without government authorization is always a tricky business for covert operators. But when the operatives are smuggling weapons in a particular traffic which the U.S. Congress has expressly prohibited, a good deal of criminal expertise and certain crucial contacts are required for success. And when the smugglers report to the Vice President, who wishes his role to remain concealed, the whole thing can become very sticky -- or even ludicrous to the point of low comedy.

March 26, 1986: Oliver North sent a message to Robert McFarlane about his efforts to procure missiles for the Contras, and to circumvent many U.S. laws, as well as the customs services and police forces of several nations. The most important component of such transactions, aside from the purchase money, was a falsified document showing the supposed recipient of the arms, the end-user certificate (EUC). In the message he wrote, North said that "we have'' an EUC; that is, a false document has been acquired for this arms sale: " [W]e are trying to find a way to get 10 BLOWPIPE launchers and 20 missiles from [a South American country] ... thru the Short Bros. Rep.... Short Bros., the mfgr. of the BLOWPIPE, is willing to arrange the deal, conduct the training and even send U.K. 'tech. reps' ... if we can close the arrangement. Dick Secord has already paid 10% down on the delivery and we have a [country deleted] EUC which is acceptable to [that South American country].'' [fn59] Now, since this particular illegal sale somehow came to light in the Iran-Contra scandal, another participant in this one deal decided not to bother hiding his own part in it. Thus, we are able to see how Colonel North got his false certificate.

April 20, 1986: Felix Rodriguez met in San Salvador with Oliver North and Enrique Bermudez, the Contras' military commander. Rodriguez informs us of the following in his own, ghost-written book:

"Shortly before that April 20 meeting, Rafael Quintero had asked me to impose upon my good relations with the Salvadoran military to obtain 'end-user' certificates made out to Lake Resources, which he told me was a Chilean company....'' [fn60]

The plan was to acquire false end-user certificates from his contacts in the Salvadoran armed forces for Blowpipe ground-to-air missiles supposedly being shipped into El Salvador. The missiles would then be illegally diverted to the Contras in Honduras and Nicaragua. Rodriguez continues, with self-puffery: "The Salvadorans complied with my request, and in turn I supplied the certificates, handing them over personally to Richard Secord at that April 20 meeting.'' [fn61] While arranging the forgery for the munitions sale, Rodriguez was in touch with the George Bush staff back in his home office. On April 16, four days before the Rodriguez-North missile meeting, Bush national security adviser Donald Gregg asked his staff to put a meeting with Rodriguez on George Bush's calendar. Gregg said the purpose of the White House meeting would be "to brief the Vice President on the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras.'' The meeting was arranged for 11:30 A.M. on May 1. [fn62] Due its explicitly stated purpose -- clandestine weapons trafficking in an undeclared war against the rigid congressional prohibition -- the planned meeting was to become one of the most notorious of the Iran-Contra scandal.

April 30, 1986 (Wednesday): Felix Rodriguez met in Washington with Bush aide Col. Sam Watson.

The following reminder message was sent to George Bush:

Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President
Event: Meeting with Felix Rodriguez
Date: Thursday, May 1, 1986
Time: 11:30-11:45 a.m. -- West Wing
From: Don Gregg

I. PURPOSE

Felix Rodriguez, a counterinsurgency expert who is visiting from El Salvador, will provide a briefing on the status of the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras.

III. [sic] PARTICIPANTS

The Vice President Felix Rodriguez
Craig Fuller
Don Gregg
Sam Watson

IV. MEDIA COVERAGE

Staff photographer. [i.e. internal-use photographs, no media coverage] [fn63]


May 1, 1986: Vice President Bush and his staff met in the White House with Felix Rodriguez, Oliver North, financier Nicholas Brady, and the new U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr.

At this meeting it was decided that "private citizen'' Felix Rodriguez would continue his work in Central America. [fn64]

May 16, 1986: George Bush met with President Reagan, and with cabinet members and other officials in the full National Security Planning Group. They discussed the urgent need to raise more money for the Contras to continue the anti-Sandinista war.

The participants decided to seek support for the Contras from nations ("third countries'') which were not directly involved in the Central American conflict. As a result of this initiative, George Bush's former business partners, the Sultan of Brunei, donated $10 million to the Contras. But after being deposited in secret Swiss bank accounts, the money was "lost.'' [fn65]

May 20, 1986: George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez and El Salvador Air Force commander Gen. Juan Rafael Bustillo at a large reception in Miami on Cuban independence day. [fn66]

May 29, 1986: George Bush, President Reagan, Donald Regan and John Poindexter met to hear from McFarlane and North on their latest arms-for-hostages negotiations with Iranian officials and Amiram Nir in Teheran, Iran. The two reported their arrangement with the Khomeini regime to establish a secure covert communications network between the two "enemy'' governments. [fn67]

July 10, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, whose successful parachute landing would explode the Iran-Contra scandal into world headlines three months later, flew from Miami to El Salvador. He had just been hired to work for "Southern Air Transport,'' a CIA front company for which Hasenfus worked previously in the Indochina War. Within a few days he was introduced to "Max Gomez'' -- the pseudonym of Felix Rodriguez -- as "one of the Cuban coordinators of the company.'' Rodriguez ("Gomez'') took him to the Ilopango air base security office where he and others hired with him were given identity cards. He now began work as a cargo handler on flights carrying military supplies to Contra soldiers inside Nicaragua. [fn68]

July 29, 1986: George Bush met in Jerusalem with Terrorism Task Force member Amiram Nir, the manager of Israel's participation in the arms-for-hostages schemes. Bush did not want this meeting known about. The Vice President told his chief of staff, Craig Fuller, to send his notes of the meeting only to Oliver North -- not to President Reagan, or to anyone else.

Craig Fuller's memorandum said, in part:

1. SUMMARY. Mr. Nir indicated that he had briefed Prime Minister Peres and had been asked to brief the V[ice] P[resident] by his White House contacts. He described the details of the efforts from last year through the current period to gain the release of the U.S. hostages. He reviewed what had been learned which was essentially that the radical group was the group that could deliver. He reviewed the issues to be considered -- namely that there needed to be ad [sic] decision as to whether the items requested would be delivered in separate shipments or whether we would continue to press for the release of the hostages prior to delivering the items in an amount agreed to previously.

2. The VP's 25 minute meeting was arranged after Mr. Nir called Craig Fuller and requested the meeting and after it was discussed with the VP by Fuller and North....

14. Nir described some of the lessons learned: 'We are dealing with the most radical elements.... They can deliver ... that's for sure.... [W]e've learned they can deliver and the moderates can't .... [fn69]

July 30, 1986: The day after his Jerusalem summit with Amiram Nir, Vice President Bush conferred with Oliver North. This meeting with North was never acknowledged by Bush until the North diaries were released in May 1990.

Early September, 1986: Retired Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub sent a memo to Oliver North on the Contra resupply effort under Felix Rodriguez. Singlaub warned North that Rodriguez was boasting about having "daily contact'' with George Bush's office. According to Singlaub, this could "damage President Reagan and the Republican Party.'' [fn70]

The Scandal Breaks -- On George Bush

October 5, 1986: A C-123k cargo aircraft left El Salvador's Ilopango air base at 9:30 A.M., carrying "10,000 pounds of small arms and ammunition, consisting mainly of AK rifles and AK ammunition, hand grenades, jungle boots.'' It was scheduled to make air drops to Contra soldiers in Nicaragua. The flight had been organized by elements of the CIA, the Defense Department, and the National Security Council, coordinated by the Office of Vice President George Bush. At that time, such arms resupply was prohibited under U.S. law -- prohibited by legislation which had been written to prevent precisely that type of flight. The aircraft headed south along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, turned east over Costa Rica, then headed up north into Nicaraguan air space. As it descended toward the point at which it was to drop the cargo, the plane was hit in the right engine and wing by a ground-to-air missile. The wing burst into flames and broke up. Cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus jumped out the left cargo door and opened his parachute. The other three crew members died in the crash. Meanwhile, Felix Rodriguez made a single telephone call -- to the office of Vice President George Bush. He told Bush aide Samuel Watson that the C-123k aircraft was missing and was possibly down.

October 6, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, armed only with a pistol, took refuge in a small hut on a jungle hilltop inside Nicaragua. He was soon surrounded by Sandinista soldiers and gave himself up. [fn73] Felix Rodriguez called George Bush's aide Sam Watson again. Watson now notified the White House Situation Room and the National Security Council staff about the missing aircraft.

Oliver North was immediately dispatched to El Salvador to prevent publicity over the event, and to arrange death benefits for the crew. [fn74]

After the shoot-down, several elaborate attempts were made by government agencies to provide false explanations for the origin of the aircraft.

A later press account, appearing on May 15, 1989, after Bush was safely installed as President, exposed one such attempted coverup:

Official: Contras Lied to Protect VP Bush
By Alfonso Chardy, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Nicaraguan rebels falsely assumed responsibility for an arms-laden plane downed over Nicaragua in 1986 in an effort to shield then-Vice President George Bush from the controversy that soon blossomed into the Iran-Contra scandal, a senior Contra official said in early May 1989. According to the Contra official, who requested anonymity but has direct knowledge of the events, a Contra spokesman, Bosco Matamoros [official FDN representative in Washington, D.C.], was ordered by [FDN Political Director] Adolfo Calero to claim ownership of the downed aircraft, even though the plane belonged to Oliver North's secret Contra supply network.... Calero called (Matamoros) and said, "Take responsibility for the Hasenfus plane because we need to take the heat off the vice president,'' the Contra source said.... The senior Contra official said that shortly after Calero talked to Matamoros, Matamoros called a reporter for the New York Times and "leaked'' the bogus claim of responsibility. The Times ran a story about the claim on its front page. [fn75]

October 7, 1986: Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tx.) called for a congressional investigation of the Nicaraguan air crash, and the crash of a Southern Air Transport plane in Texas, to see if they were part of a covert CIA operation to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

October 9, 1986: At a news conference in Nicaragua, captured U.S. crew member Eugene Hasenfus exposed Felix Rodriguez, alias "Max Gomez,'' as the head of an international supply system for the Contras. The explosive, public phase of the Iran-Contra scandal had begun.

October 11, 1986: The Washington Post ran two headlines side-by-side: "Captured American Flyer to be Tried in Nicaragua'' and "Bush is Linked to Head of Contra Aid Network.'' The Post reported:

Gomez has said that he met with Bush twice and has been operating in Nicaragua with the Vice President's knowledge and approval, the sources said....


Asked about these matters, a spokesman for Bush, Marlin Fitzwater, said: "Neither the vice president nor anyone on his staff is directing or coordinating an operation in Central America.'' ...

The San Francisco Examiner, which earlier this week linked [Bush adviser Donald] Gregg to Gomez, reported that Gomez maintains daily contact with Bush's office....

[M]embers of Congress said yesterday they wanted to investigate the administration's conduct further. And ... several said that their focus had shifted from the CIA to the White House....

[T]he Sunday crash will be among events covered by a [Senate] Foreign Relations Committee probe into allegations that the contras may have been involved in drug-running and abuse of U.S. aid funds, [Senator Richard G.] Lugar said....

The Customs Service said yesterday it is investigating whether the downed plane may have carried guns out of Miami, which would violate federal restrictions on arms exports and other laws, including the Neutrality Act, which bars U.S. citizens from working to overthrow governments not at war with the United States....

Hasenfus told reporters in Nicaragua the plane had flown out of Miami. [fn76]

George Bush's career was now on the line. News media throughout the world broke the story of the Hasenfus capture, and of the crewman's fingering of Bush and his underlings Rodriguez and Posada Carriles. Bush was now besieged by inquiries from around the world, as to how and why he was directing the gun-running into Latin America. Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, George Bush described Max Gomez/Rodriguez as "a patriot.'' The Vice President denied that he himself was directing the illegal operations to supply the Contras: "To say I'm running the operation ... it's absolutely untrue.'' Bush said of Rodriguez: "I know what he was doing in El Salvador, and I strongly support it, as does the president of El Salvador, Mr. Napoleon Duarte, and as does the chief of the armed forces in El Salvador, because this man, an expert in counterinsurgency, was down there helping them put down a communist-led revolution [i.e. in El Salvador, not Nicaragua]. '' [fn77]

Two days later, Gen. Adolfo Blandon, armed forces chief of staff in El Salvador, denied Bush's contention that Felix Rodriguez worked for his country's military forces: "This intrigues me. It would have to be authorized [by our] joint chiefs of staff [and] the government.'' He said such authorization had not been given. [fn78]

October 12, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, the U.S. airman downed in Nicaragua, gave and signed an affidavit in which it was stated: "About Max Gomez [Felix Rodriguez], Hasenfus says that he was the head Cuban coordinator for the company and that he works for the CIA and that he is a very close friend of the Vice-President of the United States, George Bush.... Max Gomez, after receiving his orders was the one who had to ... [say] where the air drops would be taking place.

About Ramon Medina [escaped airplane bomber Luis Posada Carriles], Hasenfus says that he was also a CIA agent and that he did the 'small work' because Max Gomez was the 'senior man.' He says that Ramon took care of the rent of the houses, the maids, the food, transportation and drivers, and also, coordination of the fuel for the aircraft, etc.'' [emphasis in the original]. His cover being blown, and knowing he was still wanted in Venezuela for blowing up an airliner and killing 73 persons, Posada Carriles now "vanished'' and went underground. [fn80]


October 19, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, interviewed in Nicaragua by Mike Wallace on the CBS television program "60 Minutes,'' said that Vice President Bush was well aware of the covert arms supply operation. He felt the Reagan-Bush administration was "backing this 100 percent.'' Wallace asked Hasenfus why he thought that Gomez/Rodriguez and the other managers of the covert arms resupply "had the blessing of Vice President Bush.'' Hasenfus replied, "They had his knowledge that he was working [on it] and what was happening, and whoever controlled this whole organization -- which I do not know -- Mr. Gomez, Mr. Bush, I believe a lot of these other people. They know how this is being run. I do not.'' [fn81]

Iran-Contra Characters Fall In and Out

November 3, 1986: The Lebanese newspaper Al-Shiraa revealed that the U.S. government was secretly dealing arms to the Khomeini regime. This was three weeks after the Eugene Hasenfus expose of George Bush made world headlines. Yet the Bush administration and its retainers have since decided that the Iran-Contra affair "began'' with the Al-Shiraa story!

November 22, 1986: President Reagan sent a message, through Vice President George Bush, to Secretary of State George Shultz, along the lines of "Support me or get off my team.'' [fn82]

December 18, 1986: CIA Director William Casey, a close ally of George Bush who knew everything from the inside, was operated on for a "brain tumor'' and lost the power of speech. That same day, associates of Vice President George Bush said that Bush believed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan should resign, but claim Bush had not yet broached the issue with the President. Donald Regan said that he had no intention of quitting. [fn83]

February 2, 1987: CIA Director William Casey resigned. He soon died, literally without ever talking.

February 9, 1987: Former National Security Director Robert McFarlane, a principal figure in the Reagan-Bush administration's covert operations, attempted suicide by taking an overdose of drugs. McFarlane survived.

February 26, 1987 (Thursday): The President's Special Review Board, commonly known as the Tower Commission, issued its report. The commission heavily blamed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan for the "chaos that descended upon the White House'' in the Iran-Contra affair. The Commission hardly mentioned Vice President George Bush except to praise him for his "vigorous reaffirmation of U.S. opposition to terrorism in all forms''!
The afternoon the Tower Commission report came out, George Bush summoned Donald Regan to his office. Bush said the President wanted to know what his plans were about resigning. Donald Regan blasted the President: "What's the matter -- isn't he man enough to ask me that question?'' Bush expressed sympathy. Donald Regan said he would leave in four days. [fn84]

February 27, 1987 (Friday): Cable News Network televised a leaked report that Donald Regan had already been replaced as White House chief of staff. After submitting a one-sentence letter of resignation, Donald Regan said, "There's been a deliberate leak, and it's been done to humiliate me.'' [fn85]

George Bush, when President, rewarded the commission's chairman, Texas Senator John Tower, by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense. Tower was asked by a reporter at the National Press Club, whether his nomination was a "payoff'' for the "clean bill of health'' he gave Bush. Tower responded that "the commission was made up of three people, Brent Scowcroft and [Senator] Ed Muskie in addition to myself, that would be sort of impugning the integrity of Brent Scowcroft and Ed Muskie.... We found nothing to implicate the Vice President.... I wonder what kind of payoff they're going to get?'' [fn86] President Bush appointed Brent Scowcroft his chief national security adviser. But the Senate refused to confirm Tower. Tower then wrote a book and began to talk about the injustice done to him. He died April 5, 1991 in a plane crash.


March 8, 1987: In light of the Iran-Contra scandal, President Reagan called on George Bush to reconvene his Terrorism Task Force to evaluate the current program!

June 2, 1987: Bush summarized his findings in a press release: "[O]ur current policy as articulated in the Task Force report is sound, effective, and fully in accord with our democratic principles, and national ideals of freedom.'' [fn87]

November 13, 1987: The designated congressional committees filed their joint report on the Iran-Contra affair. Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney, the senior Republican member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, helped steer the joint committees to an impotent result. George Bush was totally exonerated, and was hardly mentioned.

George Bush, when President, rewarded Dick Cheney by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense, after the Senate refused to confirm John Tower.


The Mortification of the U.S. Congress

January 20, 1989: George Bush was inaugurated President of the United States.

May 12, 1989: President Bush's nomination of Donald Gregg to be U.S. ambassador to Korea was considered in hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Gregg was now famous in Washington as Bush's day-to-day controller of the criminal gun-running into Central America. Before the Gregg hearings began, both Republican and Democratic Senators on the committee tried to get President Bush to withdraw the Gregg nomination. This was to save them the embarrassment of confirming Gregg, knowing they were too intimidated to stop him.

What follows are excerpts from the typed transcript of the Gregg hearings. The transcript has never been reproduced, it has not been printed, and it will not be published by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is evidently embarrassed by its contents. [fn88]

Gregg: [As] his national security adviser [for] six and a half years ... I worked closely with the Vice President keeping him informed as best I could on matters of foreign policy, defense, and intelligence.... Traveling with the Vice President as I did ... [in] a great variety of missions to more than 65 countries.... [After Vietnam] I did not see [Felix Rodriguez] until the early eighties where he would drop into Washington sporadically ... we remained friends.... So, some of those contacts would have been [1979-1982] when I was at the White House at the NSC.

Sen. Sarbanes: And Felix would come to see you there?

Gregg: No, at my home.... [Then] he brought me in '83 the plan which I have already discussed with Senator Cranston.... [At that point] I was working for the Vice President ... [which I began in] August 1982.

Sen. Sarbanes: In December of 1984 he came to see you with the idea of going to El Salvador. You ... cleared it with the Vice President?

Gregg: ... I just said, "My friend Felix, who was a remarkable former agency employee ... wants to go down and help with El Salvador. And I am going to introduce him to [State Department personnel] and see if he can sell himself to those men,'' and the Vice President said fine.

Gregg: Felix went down there about the first of March [1985]. Before he went ... I introduced him to the Vice President ... and the Vice President was struck by his character and wished him well in El Salvador.

Sen. Sarbanes: So before he went down, you undertook to introduce him to the Vice President.... Why did you do that?

Gregg: Well, the Vice President had always spoken very highly and enthusiastically of his career [!], or his one-year as DCI [Director of Central Intelligence]. I had gone out with him to the agency just after I joined him in '82 and I saw the tremendous response he got there and he got quite choked up about it and as we drove back in the car he said, you know, that is the best job I have ever had before I became Vice President. So here it was, as I said probably the most extraordinary CIA comrade I had known, who was going down to help in a country that I knew that the Vice President was interested in.... The Vice President was interested in the progress of the Contras. There were two occasions on which he asked me, how are they doing and I, on one occasion went to a CIA officer who was knowledgeable and got a run-down on how they were doing from that and sent it to the Vice President and he sent it back with no comment. On another occasion, he asked me again, how are they doing, and I went -- I drew a memo up, I think on the basis of a conversation with North. Again, he returned that with no comment. So he was interested in the Contras as an instrument of putting pressure on the Sandinistas. But what I said we had never discussed was the intricacies, or who was supplying what to whom....

Sen. Simon: Let me read another section from Senator Cranston's statement. I believe the record suggests the following happened: After Boland II was signed in October 1984 [outlawing all U.S. aid to the Contras], you and certain others in the White House were encouraged to secure military aid for the Contras through unorthodox channels. Your career training in establishing secrecy and deniability for covert operations, your decades-old friendship for Felix Rodriguez, apparently led you to believe you could serve the national interest by sponsoring a freelance covert operation out of the Vice President's office. What is your response to that statement?

Gregg: Well, I think it is a rather full-blown conspiracy theory. That was not what I was doing.... I was involved in helping the Vice President's task force on antiterrorist measures write their report. But normally I had no operational responsibilities....

Sen. Simon: When did you first find out the law was being violated?

Gregg: By the law, do you mean the Boland amendment?

Sen. Simon: That is correct.

Gregg: I guess my knowledge of that sort of came at me piecemeal after Hasenfus had been shot down [Oct. 5, 1986] and there were various revelations that came out....

Sen. Simon: So what you are telling us, you found out about the law being violated the same time the rest of us found out the law was being violated?

Gregg: Yes, sir....

Sen. Cranston: From February 1985 to August 1986, you have acknowledged that you spoke to Rodriguez many, many times on the telephone. Let me quote from your sworn deposition to the Iran-Contra Committee: "Felix called me quite often and frequently it was what I would call sort of combat catharsis. He used to do the same thing in Vietnam. He would come back from an operation in which some people had been lost and he would tell me about it.'' Now, is it still your testimony that Rodriguez never mentioned his deep involvement in Contra supply activities during any of these phone conversations?

Gregg: That is my testimony.

Sen. Cranston: Is it still your testimony that prior to Aug. 8th, 1986, Rodriguez never mentioned the status of his Contra resupply efforts during his numerous face-to-face meetings with you in Washington?

Gregg: Never.

Sen. Cranston: Is it still your testimony that Rodriguez did not mention the status of his Contra resupply efforts in the very meetings that were convened according to two memos bearing your name, for Rodriguez to "brief the Vice President on the status of the war in El Salvador and efforts to resupply the Contras''?

Gregg: There was no intention to discuss resupply of the Contras and everyone at that meeting, including former Senator Nick Brady have testified that it was not discussed.

Sen. Cranston: As you know, it is difficult to reconcile those statements about what happened in the meeting with the statement and memos from you that the agenda was ... two things, one of them being efforts to resupply the Contras....

Gregg: Those memos first surfaced to my attention in December of 1986, when we undertook our first document search of the Vice President's office. They hit me rather hard because by that time I had put the pieces together of what had been going on and I realized the implications of that agenda item. I did not shred the documents. I did not hide it.... [T]his is the worst thing I have found and here it is, and I cannot really explain it.... I have a speculative explanation which I would like to put forward if you would be interested.

Sen. Cranston: Fine.

Gregg: Again, turning to Felix [Rodriguez]'s book ... Felix makes the following quote.... [By the way the book] is going to be published in October of this year. The text has been cleared by CIA and it is now with the publishers. I was given an advance copy.... This is the quote, sir: " ... I had no qualms about calling [Sam Watson] or Don [Gregg] when I thought they could help run interference with the Pentagon to speed up deliveries of spare chopper parts.'' That means helicopters. "I must have made many such calls during the spring of 1986. Without operating Hughes 500 helicopters it was impossible to carry out my strategy against the [El Salvadoran] insurgents....'' [There are] then documented steps that Colonel Watson had taken with the Pentagon to try to get spare parts expedited for El Salvador.... So my construction is this, sir. I recall that in the meeting with the Vice President the question of spare parts for the helicopters in El Salvador was discussed and so that I think what the agenda item on the two memos is, is a garbled reference to something like resupply of the copters, instead of resupply of the Contras [emphasis added]. [At this point there was laughter and whistling in the hearing room. Afterwards, Gregg told reporters ,"I don't know how it went over, but it was the best I could do.'']

Sen. Sarbanes: How did the scheduling proposal of April 16, 1986 and the briefing memorandum of April 30th take place?

Gregg: They were prepared by my assistant, Mrs. Byrne, acting on advice from Colonel Watson. She signed my initials, but those are not my initials. I did not see the documents until December 1986, when I called them to the attention of the House Intelligence Committee.... And if, you know, if you do not -- if my speculation does not hold up, I have to refer you to a memorandum that I turned over to the Iran-Contra Committee on the 14th of May 1987, which --

Sen. Sarbanes: I am looking at that memorandum now.

Gregg: Okay. That has been my explanation up until now.

Sen. Sarbanes: But you are now providing a different explanation?

Gregg: It is the only one -- I have been thinking about these documents for over two years, and it is the only thing that I can come up with that would come close to explaining that agenda item -- given the fact that there was no intention of discussing resupply to the Contras. That resupply of the Contras was not discussed, according to the testimony of everyone who was in the meeting....''
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 3 OF 3

Sen. Kerry: Douglas Minarczik is who?

Gregg: He was one of my assistants in my office responsible for Mid-East and African affairs....

Sen. Kerry: And he was working for you in 1985 and 1986, that period?

Gregg: Yes.

Sen. Kerry: Now, when I began first investigating allegations of the gun-running that was taking place out of Miami, one of the very first references that my staff, frankly, frequently heard, and I think you and I have talked about this, that Miami was buzzing with the notion that the Vice President's office was somehow involved in monitoring that, at least [emphasis added]. Now, Jesus Garcia was a Miami corrections official who got into trouble and wound up going to jail on weapons offenses. Through that connection, we came across telephone records. And those telephone records demonstrate calls from Garcia's house to Contra camps in Honduras, to John Hull in Costa Rica, and Douglas Minarczik in, not necessarily in your office, but directly to the White House. However, there is incontrovertible evidence that he had in his possession the name of Mr. Minarczik, a piece of paper in our possession, in Garcia's home in connection with monitoring those paramilitary operations, in August of 1985. Now, how do you account for the fact that Minarczik's -- that the people involved with the Contra supply operations out of Miami ... had Minarczik's name and telephone number, and that there is a record of calls to the White House at that time?

Gregg: I cannot account for it. Could it have anything to do with our old friend Mr. Brenicke [sic]? Because Brenicke did have Minarczik's phone number....

Sen. Kerry: ... No. Totally separate.

Gregg: This is all new. I do not have an explanation, sir....

Sen. Kerry: Do you recall the downing of a Cuban airliner in [1976] in which 72 people lost their lives as a result; do you remember that?

Gregg: Yes.

Sen. Kerry: A terrorist bomb. And a Cuban-American named Luis Posada [Carriles] was arrested in Venezuela in connection with that. He then escaped in 1985 with assistance from Felix Rodriguez -- I do not know if this is going to be in the [Rodriguez] book or not...

Gregg: It is.

Sen. Kerry: Okay, and he brought him to Central America to help the Contras under pseudonym of Ramon Medina, correct?

Gregg: Now, I know that; yes.

Sen. Kerry: ... [Is] it appropriate for a Felix Rodriguez to help a man indicted in a terrorist bombing to escape from prison, and then appropriate for him to take him to become involved in supply operations, which we are supporting?

Gregg: I cannot justify that, sir. And I am not certain what role Felix played in getting him out.... I thought that Orlando Boche [sic], or someone of that nature, had been responsible for that.

Sen. Kerry: When did you first learn that [i.e. about Posada's hiring for Contra resupply], Don?

Gregg: When I learned who the various aliases were, which was some time in November/December [1986], after the whole thing came out.


COMMITTEE SESSION JUNE 15, 1989

Sen. Cranston: Before proceeding in this matter, I would like to state clearly for the record what the central purpose of this investigation is about and in my view what it is not about. It is not about who is for or against the Contras.... Similarly, this investigation is not about building up or tearing down our new President [Bush]. We have tried throughout this proceeding to avoid partisan attacks. Indeed, Republicans and Democrats alike have sought Mr. Gregg's withdrawal as one way to avoid casting aspersions on the [Bush] White House.... [emphasis added].

Mr. Gregg remains steadfast in his loyalty to his boss, then-Vice President Bush, and to his long-time friend, Felix Rodriguez. Mr. Gregg has served his country in the foreign policy field for more than three decades. By all accounts he is a loyal American.... As Mr. Gregg himself conceded last month, there are substantial reasons for senators to suspect his version of events and to raise questions about his judgment. It does not take a suspicious or partisan mind to look at the documentary evidence, the back channel cables, the "eyes only'' memos, and then to conclude that Mr. Gregg has not been straight with us. Indeed, I am informed that more than one Republican senator who has looked at the accumulated weight of the evidence against Mr. Gregg, has remained unconvinced and has sought Mr. Gregg's withdrawal.

Mr. Gregg, this committee has a fundamental dilemma. If we are to promote a man we believe to have misled us under oath, we would make a mockery of this institution. We would invite contempt for our enquiries. We would encourage frustration of our constitutional obligations. ... [It] has been established that when you are confronted with written evidence undermining your story, you point the finger of blame elsewhere. At our last hearing you said Gorman's cables were wrong, North's notebooks were wrong, Steele's memory was wrong, North's sworn testimony [that Gregg introduced Rodriguez to him] was wrong, you concocted a theory that your aide, Watson, and your secretary erred by writing "Contras'' instead of "helicopters'' on those infamous briefing memos for the Vice President. In sum, you have told a tale of an elaborate plan in which your professional colleagues and long-time friends conspired to keep you ignorant of crucial facts through days of meetings, monthly phone calls and nearly two years' worth of cables and memos. Incredibly, when senators confront you with the documentary evidence which undermines your story, you accuse us of concocting conspiracy theories and you do so with a straight face. ... I think it is clear by now that many important questions may never be answered satisfactorily, especially because we have been stonewalled by the administration. The National Security Agency has rejected our legitimate enquiries out of hand. The Central Intelligence Agency provided a response with access restrictions so severe ... as to be laughable. The Department of Defense has given an unsatisfactory response two days late. The State Department's response was utterly unresponsive. They answered our letter after their self-imposed deadline and failed to produce specific documents we requested and which we know exist. This Committee has been stonewalled by Oliver North, too. He has not complied with the Committee subpoena for his unredacted notebooks. The redacted notebooks contain repeated January 1985 references to Felix Rodriguez which suggests North's involvement in Rodriguez' briefings of the Vice President. No member of the Senate can escape the conclusion that these administration actions are contemptuous of this Committee. I find this highly regrettable, with potential long-term ramifications, but I recognize the will of the majority to come to a committee vote soon, up or down, and to move on to other pressing business [emphasis added]....

Sen. McConnell: ... During the period of the Boland Amendment, were you ever asked to inform the Vice President's office or lend his name to private, nonprofit efforts to support the Contras?

Gregg: Yes. I recall one instance, in particular, where there was a request -- I guess it was probably from one aspect of the Spitz Channell organization, which had a variety of things going on in and around Nicaragua. We got, on December 2nd, 1985, a letter to the Vice President, asking him to get involved in something called the Friends of the Americas, which was aid to the Meskito Indians ... in Nicaragua that had been badly mistreated by the Sandinistas.... And so I have a document here which shows how we dealt with it. I sent it to Boyden Gray, the counsel of the Vice President and said, "Boyden, this looks okay as a charity issue, but there is the question of precedent. Please give me a legal opinion. Thanks.'' ... Boyden Gray wrote back to me and said, "No, should not do. Raises questions about indirect circumvention of congressional funding limits or restriction, vis-a-vis Nicaragua.'' That is the only time I recall that we had a specific request like that, and this is how we dealt with it. [In fact, George Bush had a much more interesting relationship to the affairs of Carl R. "Spitz'' Channell than Mr. Gregg discusses here. Channell worked with Bush's covert action apparatus, moving his wealthy contacts toward what he termed "the total embrace of the Vice President.'']

Sen. Pell [Chairman of the Committee]: ... First, you say that you offered to resign twice, I think. Knowing that you are a very loyal servant of what you view as the national interest, and knowing the embarrassment that this nomination has caused the administration, I was wondering why you did not ask your name to be withdrawn ... to pull your name back.... [w]hich has been recommended by many of us as being a way to resolve this problem.

Gregg: Well, I haven't because I think I'm fully qualified to be Ambassador to South Korea. And so does the Vice President [sic]. So I am here because he has asked me to serve....

Sen. Cranston: ... Senators will recall that on Oct. 5th of '86 a plane bearing military supplies to the Contras was shot down over Nicaragua. The sole survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, spoke publicly of the role of Felix Rodriguez, alias Max Gomez, in aiding military resupply and noted Gomez's ties to the Vice President's office. Could you please describe your understanding of why it was that the first call to official Washington regarding the shootdown was from Felix Rodriguez to your aid[e] in Washington?

Gregg: ... [It] was because on the 25th of June of that year he had come to Washington to confront North about what he regarded as corruption in the supply process of the Contras.... [H]e broke with North on the 25th of June and has not been on speaking terms with the man since then.... [H]e tried to get me -- he could not -- he reached Colonel Watson....

Sen. Cranston: As you recall, the Vice President was besieged at that time with inquiries regarding Rodriguez's ties to the Vice President's office. What did you tell [Bush press spokesman] Marlin Fitzwater regarding that relationship?

Gregg: ... The thrust of the press inquiries was always that from the outset I had had in mind that Rodriguez should play some role in the Contra support operation, and my comments to Marlin ... were that that had not been in my mind....

Sen. Cranston: Let me quote again from the New York Times, George Bush quoted October 13, '86. Bush said, "To the best of my knowledge, this man, Felix Rodriguez, is not working for the United States government.'' Now Mr. Gregg, you knew that Rodriguez was aiding the Contras and receiving material assistance in the form of cars, housing, communications equipment and transportation from the U.S. government. Did you inform Bush of those facts so that he could make calculated misleading statements in ignorance of his staff's activities?

Gregg: ... At that point I had no idea that Felix -- you said -- you mentioned communications equipment. I had no idea he had been given by North one of those encryption devices. I think I was aware that Colonel Steele had given him access to a car, and I knew he was living in a BOQ at the air base. He was not being paid any salary. His main source of income was, as it is now, his retirement pension from CIA.

Sen. Cranston: ... You told the Iran-Contra committee that you and Bush never discussed the Contras, had no expertise on the issue, no responsibility for it, and the details of Watergate-sized scandal involving NSC staff and the [Edwin] Wilson gang was not Vice Presidential. Your testimony on that point I think is demonstrably false. There are at least six memos from Don Gregg to George Bush regarding detailed Contra issues....

Sen Cranston: Am I correct in this, that you have confirmed ... that senior U.S. military, diplomatic ... and intelligence personnel, really looked with great doubt upon Rodriguez's mission and that they tolerated it only because Rodriguez used his contacts with the Vice President and his staff as part of the way to bolster his mission.

Gregg: ... I was not aware of the diplomatic; I was aware of the military and intelligence, yes, sir.


The committee voted in favor of confirmation. Cranston voted no. But three Democrats -- Charles Robb, Terry Sanford and Chairman Claiborne Pell -- joined the Republicans. Sanford confirmed Cranston's viewpoint, saying that he was allowing the nomination to go through because he was afraid "the path would lead to Bush,'' the new President. Sanford said, shamefacedly, "If Gregg was lying, he was lying to protect the President, which is different from lying to protect himself." '[Emphasis added] [fn89]

In George Bush's government, the one-party state, the knives soon came out, and the prizes appeared. The Senate Ethics Committee, including the shamefaced Terry Sanford, began in November 1989, its attack on the "Keating Five.'' These were U.S. Senators, among them Senator Alan Cranston, charged with savings and loan corruption. The attack soon narrowed down to one target only -- the Iran-Contrary Senator Cranston. On Aug. 2, 1991, Senator Terry Sanford, having forgotten his shame, took over as the new chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Bush, LaRouche and Iran-Contra

George Bush and his friends have repeatedly told political pundits that America is "tired'' and "bored'' of hearing about the Iran-Contra affair. Bush has taken a dim view of those who were not tired or bored, but fought him.

Oct. 6, 1986 was a fateful day in Washington. The secret government apparatus learned that the Hasenfus plane had been shot down the day before, and went scurrying about to protect its exposed parts. At the same time, it sent about 400 heavily armed FBI agents, other federal, state and local policemen storming into the Leesburg, Virginia, publishing offices associated with the American dissident political leader Lyndon LaRouche, Jr. LaRouche and his political movement had certified their danger to the Bush program. Six months before the raid, LaRouche associates Mark Fairchild and Janice Hart had gained the Democratic nominations for Illinois lieutenant governor and secretary of state; they won the primary elections after denouncing the government-mafia joint coordination of the narcotics trade. With this notoriety, LaRouche was certain to act in an even more unpredictable and dangerous fashion as a presidential candidate in 1988. LaRouche allies were at work throughout Latin America, promoting resistance to the Anglo-Americans. The LaRouche-founded Executive Intelligence Review had exposed U.S. government covert support for Khomeini's Iranians, beginning in 1980. More directly, the LaRouchites were fighting the Bush apparatus for its money.

Connecticut widow Barbara Newington, who had given Spitz Channell's National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty $1,735,578 out of its total 1985 income of $3,360,990, [fn90] was also contributing substantial sums to LaRouche-related publishing efforts ... which were exposing the Contras and their dope-pushing. Fundraiser Michael Billington argued with Mrs. Newington, warning her not to give money to the Bush-North-Spitz Channell gang.

Back on August 19, 1982, and on November 25, 1982, George Bush's old boss, Henry A. Kissinger, had written to FBI Director William Webster, asking for FBI action against "the LaRouche group.'' In promoting covert action against LaRouche, Kissinger also got help from James Jesus Angleton, who had retired as chief of counterintelligence for the CIA. After Yalie Angleton got going in this anti-dissident work, he mused "Fancy that, now I've become Kissinger's Rebbe.'' [fn91]

One week before the raid, an FBI secret memorandum described the LaRouche political movement as "subversive,'' and claimed that its "policy positions ... dovetail nicely with Soviet propaganda and disinformation objectives.'' [fn92]


Three months after Spitz Channell's fraud confession, Vice President Bush denounced LaRouche at an Iowa campaign rally: "I don't like the things LaRouche does.... He's bilked people out of lots of money, and misrepresented what causes money was going to. LaRouche is in a lot of trouble, and deserves to be in a lot of trouble.'' [fn93]

LaRouche and several associates eventually went on trial in Boston, on a variety of "fraud'' charges -- neither "subversion'' nor defunding the Contras was in the indictments. Bush was now running hard for the presidency. Suddenly, in the midst of the primary elections, the LaRouche trial took a threatening turn. On March 10, 1988, Federal Judge Robert E. Keeton ordered a search of the indexes to Vice President George Bush's confidential files to determine whether his spies had infiltrated LaRouche-affiliated organizations. Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh had acquired, and turned over to the LaRouche defense, in response to an FOIA request, a secret memorandum found in Oliver North's safe. It was a message from Gen. Richard Secord to North, written May 5, 1986 - -four days after North had met with George Bush and Felix Rodriguez to confirm that Rodriguez would continue running guns to the Contras using Spitz Channell's payments to Richard Secord. The memo, released in the Boston courtroom, said, "Lewis has met with FBI and other agency reps and is apparently meeting again today. Our Man here claims Lewis has collected info against LaRouche.'' [fn94]

The government conceded that "our man here'' in the memo was Bush Terrorism Task Force member Oliver "Buck'' Revell, the assistant director of the FBI. "Lewis' '-- "soldier of fortune'' Fred Lewis -- together with Bush operatives Gary Howard and Ron Tucker, had met later in May 1986, with C. Boyden Gray, counsel to Vice President Bush. Howard and Tucker, deputy sheriffs from Bush-family-controlled Midland, Texas, were couriers and bagmen for money transfers between the National Security Council and private "counterterror'' companies. They were also professional sting artists.

Howard and Tucker had sold 100 battle tanks to a British arms dealer for shipment to Iran, and had taken his $1.6 million. Then they turned him in to British authorities and claimed a huge reward. A British jury, outraged at Howard and Tucker, threw out the criminal case in late 1983. The LaRouche defense contended, with the North memo and other declassified documents, that the Bush apparatus had sent spies and provocateurs into the LaRouche political movement in an attempt to wreck it. Judge Keeton demanded that the Justice Department tell him why information they withheld from the defense was now appearing in court in declassified documents.

The government was not forthcoming, and in May 1988, the judge declared a mistrial. The jury told the newspapers they would have voted for acquittal. But Bush could not afford to quit. LaRouche and his associates were simply indicted again, on new charges. This time they were brought to trial before a judge who could be counted on. Judge Albert V. Bryan, Jr. was the organizer, lawyer and banker of the world's largest private weapons dealer, Interarms of Alexandria, Virginia. As the new LaRouche trial began, the CIA-front firm that the judge had founded controlled 90 percent of the world's official private weapons traffic. Judge Bryan had personally arranged the financing of more than a million weapons traded by Interarms between the CIA, Britain and Latin America. Agency for International Development trucks carried small arms, rifles, machine guns and ammunition from Interarms in Alexandria for flights to Cuba -- first for Castro's revolutionary forces. Then, Judge Bryan's company, Interarms, provided guns for the anti-Castro initiatives of the CIA Miami Station, for Rodriguez, Shackley, Posada Carriles, Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, et al. When George Bush was CIA Director, Albert V. Bryan's company was the leading private supplier of weapons to the CIA. [fn96]

In the LaRouche trial, Judge Bryan prohibited virtually all defense initiatives. The jury foreman, Buster Horton, had top secret clearance for government work with Oliver North and Oliver "Buck'' Revell. LaRouche and his associates were declared guilty.


On January 27, 1989 -- one week after George Bush became President -- Judge Albert V. Bryan sentenced the 66-year dissident leader LaRouche to 15 years in prison. Michael Billington, who had tried to wreck the illicit funding for the Contras, was jailed for three years with LaRouche; he was later railroaded into a Virginia court and sentenced to another 77 years in prison for "fundraising fraud ''

_______________

Notes:

1. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), p. 271.

2. Memo, May 14, 1982, two pp. bearing the nos. 29464 and 29465. See also "NSDD-2 Structure for Central America,'' bearing the no. 29446, a chart showing the SSG and its CPPG as a guidance agency for the National Security Council. Photostats of these documents are reproduced in the EIR Special Report: "Irangate, the Secret Government and the LaRouche Case,'' (Wiesbaden, Germany: Executive Intelligence Review Nachrichtenagentur, June 1989), p. 19.

3. Testimony of Donald P. Gregg, pp. 72-73 in Stenographic Transcript of Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nomination Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Washington, D.C., May 12, 1989 (hereinafter identified as "Gregg Hearings''). This transcript is available for reading at the office of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in the Capitol, Washington, D.C. See also Felix Rodriguez and John Weisman, Shadow Warrior (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), pp. 213-14. The book was ghost written -- and spook-approved -- by the CIA and Donald Gregg before publication.

4. Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran Contra Affair (hereinafter identified as the "Iran-Contra Report''), published jointly by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, Nov. 17, 1987, Washington, D.C., pp. 395-97. Note that different sections of the Congressional Iran-Contra Report were published on different dates.

5. CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 12; drawn from Public Testimony of Fawn Hall, Iran-Contra Report, June 8, 1987, p. 15.

6. Memoranda and meetings of March 1983, in the "National Security Archive'' Iran-Contra Collection on microfiche at the Library of Congress, Manuscript Reading Room (hereinafter identified as "Iran-Contra Collection'').

7. Don Gregg Memorandum for Bud McFarlane, March 17, 1983, stamped SECRET, since declassified. Document no. 77 in the Iran- Contra Collection; on the memo is a handwritten note from "Bud'' [McFarlane] to "Ollie'' [North]. See also Gregg Hearings, pp. 54- 55.

8. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 119.

9. Shultz Memorandum, May 25, 1983 and White House reply, both stamped SECRET/SENSITIVE. Documents beginning no. 00107 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

10. De Graffenreid Memorandum for Admiral Murphy, July 12, 1983, since declassified, bearing the no. 43673. Document no. 00137 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

11. Constantine C. Menges, Inside the National Security Council (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), pp. 70-78.

12. Chronology supplied by the Office of the Vice President, cited in The Progressive, May 18, 1987, London, England, p. 20.

13. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 221.; CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13, citing Testimony of Oliver North; Iran-Contra Report (June 8, 1987), pp. 643, 732-33.

14. This section is based on 1) literature supplied by CSA, Inc. and its subsidiary ANV, and 2) an exhaustive examination of CSA/ANV in Jupiter and other locations, including interviews with personnel employed by the company, and with military and CIA personnel who have worked with the company.

15. Scott Armstrong, Executive Editor for The National Security Archive, The Chronology: The Documented Day-by-Day Account of the Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Contras (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 55. Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter, The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), pp. 219- 20.

16. National Security Planning Group Meeting Minutes, June 25, 1984, pp. 1 and 14, photostats reproduced in EIR Special Report: "American Leviathan: Administrative Fascism under the Bush Regime'' (Wiesbaden, Germany: Executive Intelligence Review Nachrichtenagentur, April 1990), p. 159.

17. This is an excerpt from Section 8066 of Public Law 98-473, the Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1985; Iran-Contra Report, Nov. 13, 1987, p. 398l.

18. Armstrong, op. cit., Nov. 1, 1984 entry, p. 70, citing Miami Herald 11/2/84 and 11/3/84, Wall Street Journal 11/2/84, Washington Post 8/15/85, New York Times 12/23/87. Armstrong, op. cit., Nov. 10, 1983 entry, p. 42, citing corporate records of the Florida secretary of state 7/14/86, Miami Herald 11/2/84, New York Times 11/3/84.

19. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 220-21; EIR Special Report: "American Leviathan,'' pp. 157-58.

20. Report of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, December 1988, pp. 61-62.

21. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 221-22.

22. Ibid., pp. 224- 25.

23. General Gorman "eyes only'' cable to Pickering and Steele, Feb. 14, 1985. Partially declassified and released on July 30, 1987 by the National Security Council, bearing no. D 23179. Document no. 00833 in the Iran-Contra Collection. See also Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 225-26.

24. U.S. government stipulations in the trial of Oliver North, reproduced in EIR Special Report: "Irangate...,'' pp. 20, 22.

25. Gregg Hearings, p. 99.

26. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 227. Gregg Hearings, New York Times, Dec. 13, 1986.

27. CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, pp. 13-14. On Amiram Nir, see Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 225-26, citing Wall Street Journal 12/22/86, New York Times 1/12/87. On Poindexter and North, see Menges,op. cit., p. 264.

28. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 140-41, citing Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "Report on Preliminary Inquiry,'' Jan. 29, 1987.

29. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 239-41.

30. Oliver North's diary, since edited and partially declassified, entries for "10 Sep 85.'' Document no. 01527 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

31. Washington Post, June 10, 1990.

32. Charles E. Allen "Memorandum for the Record,'' December 18, 1985. Partially declassified/released (i.e. some parts are still deleted) by the National Security Council on January 26, 1988. Document no. 02014 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

33. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 226-27, citing Wall Street Journal 12/22/86, New York Times 12/25/86 and 1/12/87.

34. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 231, citing Washington Post 2/20/87, New York Times 2/22/87.

35. Ibid., p. 232, citing Miami Herald 11/30/86. 36. Interview with Herman Moll in EIR Special Report: "Irangate...,'' pp. 81-83.

37. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 235, citing Washington Post 12/16/86, 12/27/86, 1/10/87 and 1/12/87; Ibid., p. 238, citing Tower Commission Report; Menges, op. cit., p. 271.

38. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 240-41, citing Washington Post 1/10/87 and 1/15/87; Sen. John Tower, Chairman, The Tower Commission Report: The Full Text of the President's Special Review Board (New York: Bantam Books, 1987), p. 217.

39. Ibid., pp. 37, 225.

40. North notebook entry Jan. 9, 1986, Exhibits attached to Gregg Deposition in Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey v. John Hull, Rene Corbo, Felipe Vidal et al., 29 April 1988.

41. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 258, citing the Brenneke letter, which was made available to the National Security Archive.

42. U.S. government stipulations at the North trial, in EIR Special Report: "Irangate...,'' p. 22.

43. Tower Commission Report, pp. 67-68, 78.

44. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 266, citing Washington Post 1/10/87 and 1/15/87.

45. Chronology supplied by Office of Vice President Bush; Armstrong, op. cit., p. 266, citing Washington Post 12/16/86.

46. Deposition of Robert Earl, Iran-Contra Report, May 2, 1987, Vol. 9, pp. 22-23; Deposition of Craig Coy, Iran-Contra Report, March 17, 1987, Vol. 7, pp. 24-25: cited in CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13.

47. Oliver Revell to Sen. David Boren, chairman of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, April 17, 1987; Washington Post Feb. 17, 20 and 22, 1987; Wall Street Journal Feb. 20, 1987: cited in CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13.

48. Newsweek, Oct. 21, 1985, p. 26; Earl Exhibit, nos. 3- 8, attached to Earl Deposition, op. cit. cited in CovertAction No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.

49. Earl Deposition, op. cit., May 30, 1987, pp. 33-37; May 15, 1987, pp. 117-21 (Channell and Miller); May 15, 1987, pp. 131, 119 (private contributors).

50. Donald Gregg Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President, Jan. 27, 1986; released by the National Security Council March 22, 1988. Document no. 02254 in Iran-Contra Collection.

51. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 275, citing Miami Herald 11/30/86.

52. Ibid., p. 280, citing the Menarczik letter to Brenneke which was made available to the National Security Archive.

53. Ibid., citing Miami Herald 11/30/86.

54. New York Times, Nov. 30, 1986, Dec. 4, 1986. See Gregg testimony: Brenneke had M's number.

55. Quoted in Menges, op. cit., p. 275.

56. Deposition of Michael Tolliver in Avirgan and Honey, op. cit.

57. Allan Nairn, "The Bush Connection,'' in The Progressive (London: May 18, 1987), pp. 21-22.

58. Nairn, op. cit., pp. 19, 21-23.

59. Tower Commission Report, p. 465

60. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 244-45.

61. Ibid.

62. "Schedule Proposal,'' Office of the Vice President, April 16, 1986, exhibit attached to Gregg Deposition in Avirgan and Honey, op. cit.

63. Office of the Vice President Memorandum, April 30, 1986, released Aug. 28, 1987 by the National Security Council. Document no. 02738 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

64. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 245-46. See also Gregg confirmation hearings, excerpted infra, and numerous other sources.

65. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 368-69, citing Senate Select Intelligence Committee Report, Jan. 29, 1987. 66. Ibid., p. 373, citing Washington Post 12/16/86.

67. Ibid., p. 388-89, citing McFarlane testimony to the Tower Commission.

68. Affidavit of Eugene Harry Hasenfus, October 12, 1986, pp. 2- 3. Document no. 03575 in the Iran-Contra Collection. 69. Tower Commission Report, pp. 385-88.

70. Washington Post, Feb. 26, 1987.

71. Hasenfus Affidavit, pp. 6-7. 72. Ibid.

73. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 7.

74. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 508, citing the chronology provided by George Bush's office, Washington Post 12/16/86; New York Times 12/16/86, 12/17/86 and 12/25/86; Wall Street Journal 12/19/86 and 12/24/86.

75. Laredo [Texas] Morning Times, May 15, 1989, p. 1.

76. Washington Post, Oct. 11, 1986.

77. Washington Post, Oct. 12, 1986, Oct. 14, 1986.

78. Washington Post, Oct. 14, 1986.

79. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 3.

80. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 241.

81. Washington Post, Nov. 20, 1986.

82. Washington Post, Feb. 12, 1987.

83. Washington Post, Dec. 18, 1986, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 1986.

84. Donald T. Regan, For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1988), pp. 368-73.

85. Ibid.

86. New York Times, March 2, 1989.

87. CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.

88. Stenographic Transcript of Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nomination Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Washington, D.C., May 12 and June 15, 1989. Some misspellings in the transcript have been corrected here.

89. Mary McCrory, "The Truth According to Gregg,'' Washington Post, June 22, 1989.

90. NEPL contributions 1985 printout, cited in Armstrong, op. cit., p. 226.

91. Kissinger letters, declassified in 1984, photostats in EIR Special Report: "Irangate...,'' pp. 52, 55. Angleton quote in Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991), p. 352. Mangold defines "rebbe'' as "not a rabbi, but trusted counselor and family friend.'' See also Burton Hersh, "In the Hall of Mirrors: The Cold War's Distorted Images,'' in The Nation, June 23, 1991. Hersh says: "I knew Angleton in the last five years of his life [he died May 11, 1987]. Angleton was amusing himself just then with a vendetta against Lyndon LaRouche.''

92. Director FBI to D[efense] I[ntelligence] A[gency], Sept. 30, 1986, classified SECRET.

93. Bush at Shelton, Iowa, July 31, 1987, quoted in EIR Special Report: "Irangate...,'' p. 65.

94. Secord to North 5/5/86 memorandum marked SECRET, declassified Feb. 26, 1988 by Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, photostat in EIR Special Report: "Irangate...,'' p. 31.

95. Washington Post, March 27, 1989.

96. Corporate records of the First National Bank of Alexandria and the First Citizens Bank of Alexandria, 1940s to 1960s, in Polk's Bankers Directory. Clarence J. Robinson, Reminiscences (Fairfax, Va.: George Mason University, 1983). Robinson was the owner of the massive weapons warehouse, "Robinson's Terminal Warehouse,'' for which Albert V. Bryan was the registered agent. Over 100 interviews with family, friends and associates of Judge Bryan in banking, freemasonry, armaments, Episcopal Church and other fields.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:43 am

PART 1 OF 2

Chapter XIX -- The Leveraged Buy-out Gang

During the entire decade of the 1980's, the policies of the Reagan Bush and Bush administrations encouraged one of the greatest paroxysms of speculation and usury that the world has ever seen. Starting especially in the summer of 1982, a malignant and cancerous mass of speculative paper spread through all the vital organs of the banking, credit, and financial system. Capital had long since ceased to be used for the creation of new productive plant and equipment, and new productive manufacturing jobs; investment in transportation, power systems, education, health services and other infrastructure declined well below the break even level. Wall Street investors came more and more to resemble vampires who ranged over a ghoulish landscape in search of living prey whose blood they could suck to perpetuate their own lively form of death.

Industrial employment was out, the service sector was in. The post-industrial society meant that the production of tangible, physical wealth, of hard commodities, within US borders was being terminated. The future would belong to parasitical legions of lawyers, financial services experts, accountants, and clerical support personnel, but the growth in the balance of payments deficit signaled that the game could not go on forever.

On the surface, wild speculation was the order of the day: there was the stock market boom, which underwent a crash in 1987, but then, thanks to James Brady's drugged futures and index options markets, kept rising until the Dow had passed 3,000, although by that time no one could remember why it was still called the industrial average. The stock market provided the right atmosphere for a much broader speculative boom, the one in commercial and residential real estate, which kept going until almost the end of the decade, but which then began to crash with a vengeance. When real estate began to implode, as in Texas at the middle of the 1980's or the northeast after 1988, savings banks and commercial banks by the scores became insolvent. Thus, by the third year of the Bush administration, a bankrupt savings and loan was being seized by federal regulators on almost every business day, and Congressman Dingell of Michigan had to announce that Citibank, still the largest bank in the USA, was indeed "technically" bankrupt. Depositors in Hong Kong started a run on the Citibank branch there; their US counterparts were slower to react, perhaps because deluded by the pathetic faith that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation could still cover their deposits.

Even more fundamental than speculation was the absolute primacy of debt. During the Reagan and Bush years, unprecedented federal deficits pushed the public debt of the United States into the ionosphere, with the total almost quadrupling over a little more than ten years to approach the fantastic total of $3.25 thousand billion. In 1989, it was estimated that total debt claims in the US economy had attained almost $25 thousand billion, and their total has increased exponentially ever since. The debt of state and local governments, corporate debt, consumer debt --all expanded into the wild blue yonder. In the meantime, the Great Lakes industrial region became the rust bowl, the Sun belt oil and computer booms collapsed, the great cities of the east were rotten to the core with slums, and farmers went bankrupt more rapidly than at any other time in the memory of man.

Living standards had been in a gradual but constant decline since the days of Nixon, and it began to dawn on more and more families who considered themselves members of the middle class that they could no longer afford their own home, nor hope to send their children to college, all because of the prohibitive costs. The Bureau of the Census made sure in 1990 not to count the number of those who had become homeless during the 1980's, since the real figure would be an acute political embarrassment to George Bush: were there 5 million, or 6, as many as the total population of Sweden, or of Belgium?

New jobs were created, but most of them were dead-ends for losers at or below the minimum wage that presupposed illiteracy on the part of the applicant: hamburger sales and pizza home delivery were the growth areas, although a smart kid might still aspire to become a croupier. Behind it all lurked the pervasive narcotics trade, with hundreds of billions of dollars a year in heroin, crack, marijuana.

For the vast majority of the US population (to say nothing of the brutal misery in the developing countries) it was an epoch of austerity, sacrifice, and decline, of the entropy of a society in which most people have no purpose and feel themselves becoming redundant, both on the job market and ontologically.

But for a paper thin stratum of plutocrats and parasites, the 1980's were a time of unlimited opportunity. These were the practitioners of the monstrous financial swindles that marked the decade, the protagonists of the hostile takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, greenmail and stock plays that occupied the admiration of Wall Street. These were corporate raiders like J. Hugh Liedkte, Blaine Kerr, T. Boone Pickens, and Frank Lorenzo, Wall Street financiers like Henry Kravis and Nicholas Brady. And these men, surely not by coincidence, belonged to the intimate circle of personal friends and close political supporters of George Herbert Walker Bush.

If the orgy of usury and speculation during the 1980's can be compared to a glittering and exclusive dinner party, and Liedtke, Kerr, Pickens, Lorenzo, Kravis, and Brady were the invited guests, then surely George Bush was the host and arbiter elegantiarum who presided, deciding according to his own whim who would receive an invitation and who would not, and setting the norms for acceptable conduct. By late 1991, the long-deferred bill for these lucullian entertainments was about to arrive. The exhausted working people and destitute unemployed must present the bill to the founder of the feast, the whining and greedy enfant gate' of American politics, George Bush, the man whose idea of privation would be a life without servants, and whose concept of a domestic agenda would be a plan to hire two maids and a butler.

One of the landmark corporate battles of the first Reagan Administration was the battle over control of Getty Oil, a battle fought between Texaco, at that time the third largest oil company in the United States and the fourth largest industrial corporation, and J. Hugh Liedkte's Pennzoil. George Bush's old partner and constant crony, J. Hugh Liedtke, was still obsessed with his dream of building Pennzoil into a major oil company, one that could become the seventh of the traditional Seven Sisters after Chevron and Gulf merged. But the sands of biological time were running out on "Chairman Mao" Liedkte, as the abrasive Pennzoil boss was known in the years after he became the first US oilman to drill in China, thanks to Bush. The only way that Chairman Mao Liedkte could realize his lifelong dream would be by acquiring a large oil company and using its reserves to build Pennzoil up to world-class status.

Liedtke was the chairman of the Pennzoil board, and the Pennzoil president was now Blaine Kerr, a former lawyer from Baker & Botts in Houston. Blaine Kerr was also an old friend of George Bush. Back in 1970, when George was running against Lloyd Bentsen, Kerr had advised Bush on a proposed business deal involving a loan request from Victor A. Flaherty, who needed money to buy Fidelity Printing Company. Blaine Kerr was a hard bargainer: he recommended that Bush make the loan, but that he also demand some stock in Fidelity Printing as part of the deal. Three years later, when Fidelity Printing was sold, Bush cashed in his stock for $499,600 in profit, a gain of 1,900% on his original investment. That was the kind of return that George Bush liked, the kind that honest activities can so rarely produce. [fn 1]

Chairman Mao Liedkte and his sidekick Blaine Kerr constantly scanned their radar screens for an oil company to acquire. They studied Superior Oil, which was in play, but Superior Oil did too much of its business in Canada, where there had been no equivalent of George Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, and where the oil companies were still subject to some restraints. Chairman Mao ruled that one out. Then there was Gulf Oil, where T. Boone Pickens was attempting a takeover, but Liedkte reluctantly decided that Gulf was beyond his means. Then, Chairman Mao began to hear reports of conflicts on the board of Getty Oil. Getty Oil, with 20,000 employees, was a $12 billion corporation, about six times larger than Pennzoil. But Chairman Mao had already managed to facilitate United Gas when that company was about six times larger than his own Pennzoil. Getty Oil had about a billion barrels of oil in the ground. Now Chairman Mao was very interested.

The trouble on the Getty Board was a conflict between Gordon Getty, the surviving son of the freebooting founder J. Paul Getty, and Sidney Petersen, the chairman of the Getty Board. Gordon Getty had musical-aesthetic ambitions; but he wanted to be consulted on all major policy decisions by Getty Oil. Gordon and his wife moved in the social circles of Graham Allison of Harvard's Kennedy School, Lawrence Tisch of Loewe's Corporation, and Warren Buffett, the owner of the Berkshire Hathaway investment house in Omaha. Gordon Getty now controlled the Sarah Getty Trust with 40% of the outstanding stock. About 12% of the stock was controlled by the Getty Museum. Chariman Mao Liedtke gathered his team to attempt to seize control of Getty Oil: James Glanville of Lazard Freres was his investment banker, Arthur Liman of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison was his chief negotiator. Liedtke also had the services of the megafirm Baker & Botts of Houston.

In early 1984, Gordon Getty and his Sarah Getty Trust and the Getty Museum represented by the New York mergers and acquisitions lawyer Marty Lipton combined to oblige the board of Getty Oil to give preliminary acceptance to a tender offer for Getty Oil stock (a la Gammell once again) at a price of about $112.50 per share. Arthur Liman thought he had a deal that would enable Chairman Mao to seize control of Getty Oil and its billion barrel reserves, but no contract or any other document was ever signed, and key provisions of the transaction remained to be negotiated.

When the news of these negotiations began to leak out, major oil companies who also wanted Getty and its reserves began to move in: Chevron showed signs of making a move, but it was Texaco, represented by Bruce Wasserstein of First Boston and the notorious Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm, that got the attention of the Getty Museum and Gordon Getty with a bid (of $125) that was sweeter than the tight-fisted Chairman Mao Liedkte had been willing to put forward. Gordon Getty and the Getty Museum accordingly signed a contract with Texaco. This was the largest acquisition in human history up to that time, and the check received by Gordon Getty was for $4,071,051,264, the second largest check ever written in the history of the United States, second only to one that had been used to roll over a part of the postwar national debt.

Chairman Mao Liedkte thought he had been cheated. "They've made off with a million dollars of my oil!", he bellowed. "We're going to sue everybody in sight!"

But Chairman Mao Liedtke's attempts to stop the deal in court were fruitless; he then concentrated his attention on a civil suit for damages on a claim that Texaco had been guilty of "tortious interference" with Pennzoil's alleged oral contract with Getty Oil. The charge was that Texaco had known that there already had been a contract, and had set out deliberately to breach it. After extensive forum shopping, Chairman Mao concluded that Houston, Texas was the right venue for a suit of this type.

Liedtke and Pennzoil demanded $7 billion in actual damages and $7 billion in punitive damages for a total of at least $14 billion, a sum bigger than the entire public debt of the United States on December 7, 1941. Liedke hired Houston lawyer Joe "King of Torts" Jamail, and backed up Jamail with Baker & Botts.

Interestingly, the judge who presided over the trial until the final phase, when the die had already been cast, was none other than Anthony J.P. "Tough Tony" Farris, whom we have met two decades earlier as a Bushman of the old guard. Back in February, 1963, we recall, the newly elected Republican County Chairman for Harris County, George H.W. Bush, had named Tough Tony Farris as his first assistant county chairman. [fn 2] This was when Bush was in the midst of preparations for his failed 1964 senate bid. Farris had tried to get elected to Congress on the GOP ticket, but failed. During the Nixon Administration, Farris became the United States Attorney in Houston. Given what we know of the relations between Nixon and George Bush (to say nothing the relations between Nixon and Prescott Bush), we must conclude that a patronage appointment of this type could hardly have been made without George Bush's involvement. Tough Tony Farris was decidedly an asset of the Bush networks.

Now Tough Tony Farris was a State District Judge whose remaining ambition in life was an appointment to the federal bench. Farris did not recuse himself because his patron, George Bush, was a former business partner and constant crony of Chariman Mao Liedkte. Farris rather began issuing a string of rulings favorable to Pennzoil: he ruled that Pennzoil had a right to quick discovery, rocket-docket discovery from Texaco. Farris was an old friend of Pennzoil's lead trial lawyer Joe Jamail, and Jamail had just given Tough Tony Farris a $10,000 contribution for his next election campaign. Jamail, in fact, was a member of Tough Tony's campaign committee. Texaco attempted to recuse Farris, but they failed. Farris claimed that he would have recused himself if Texaco's lawyers had come to him privately, but that their public attempt to get him pitched out of the case made him decide to fight to stay on. Just at that point the district courts of Harris County changed their rules in such a way as to allow Bush's man Tough Tony Farris, who had presided over the pretrial hearings, to actually try the case.

And try the case he did, for fifteen weeks, during which the deck was stacked for Pennzoil's ultimate victory. With a few weeks left in the trial, Farris was diagnosed as suffering from a terminal cancer, and he was forced to request a replacement district judge. The last-minute substitute was Judge Solomon Casseb, who finished up the case along the lines already clearly established by Farris. In late November, 1985, the jury awarded Pennzoil damages of $10.53 billion, a figure that exceeded the total Gross National product of 116 countries around the world. Casseb not only upheld this monstrous result, but increased it to a total of $11,120,976,110.83.

Before the trial, back in January, 1985, Chairman Mao Liedkte had met with John K. McKinley, the chairman of Texaco, at the Hay-Adams Hotel across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington DC. Liedkte told McKinley that he thought what Texaco had done was highly illegal, but McKinley responded that his lawyers had assured him that his legal position was "very sound." McKinley offered suggestions for an out-of-court settlement, but these were rejected by Chairman Mao, who made his own counter-offer: he wanted three sevenths of Getty Oil, and was now willing to hike his price to $125 a share. According to one account of this meeting:

Liedtke seemed to go out of his way to mention his friendship with George Bush, according to Bill Weitzel of Texaco. "Mr. Liedkte was quite outspoken with regard to the influence that he felt he had--and would and could expect in Washington--in connection with antitrust matters and legislative matters," McKinley would say in deposition. "This idea that Pennzoil was not without political influence that could adversely affect the efforts of Texaco in completing its merger." [fn 3]

Liedkte denied all this: "The political-influence thing isn't true. I don't have any and McKinley knows it.!" Did Liedkte keep a straight face? Even during the talks between lawyers on the two sides to set up this meeting, the Pennzoil attorney had referred to the capacity of his client to deflect "antitrust lightning" in the case. Chairman Mao's relations with Nixon and Bush make his protestations about a total lack of political influence sound absurd. Blaine Kerr, Bush's investment advisor, also piously avers that the name of George Bush was never invoked.

In any case, the Reagan-Bush regime made no secret of its support for Pennzoil. In the spring of 1987, after prolonged litigation, the US Supreme Court required Texaco to post a bond of $11 billion. On April 13, 1987, the press announced that Texaco had filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy protection. The Justice Department created two committees to represent the interests of Texaco's unsecured creditors, and Pennzoil was made the chairman of one of these committees. Texaco operations were subjected to severe disruptions.

During the closing weeks of 1987, Texaco was haggling with Chairman Mao about the sum of money that the bankrupt firm would pay to Pennzoil. At this point Bushman Lawrence Gibbs was the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, one of the principal targeting agencies of the totalitarian police state. Gibbs was always looking for new and better ways to serve the Bush power cartel, and now he found one: he slammed bankrupt and wounded Texaco with a demand for $6.5 billion in back taxes. This move was in the works behind the scenes during the Texaco-Pennzoil talks, and it certainly made clear to Texaco which side the government was on. The implication was that Texaco had better settle with Chairman Mao in a hurry, or face the prospect of being broken up by the various Wall Street sharks - Holmes a Court, T. Boone Pickens, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Carl Icahn- who had begun to circle the wounded company. In case Texaco had not gotten the message, the Department of Energy also launched an attack on Texaco, alleging that the bankrupt firm had overcharged its customers by $1.25 billion during the time before 1981 when oil price controls had been in effect.

Chairman Mao Liedkte finally got his pound of flesh: he would eventually receive $3 billion from Texaco. Texaco in late 1987 announced an asset write-down of $4.9 billion as a result of staggering losses, and began to sell assets to try to avoid liquidation. Texaco's Canadian operations, its German operations were sold off, as were 600 oil properties in various locations. Later Texaco also sold off a 50% interest in its refining and marketing system to Saudi Arabia. A number of Texaco refineries were simply shut down. A total of $7 billion in assets were sold off during 1988-89 alone.

By early 1989, Texaco had been reduced to two-thirds of its former size, and from its former number three position had become the "runt of the litter" among the US majors. Texaco revenue fell from 47.9 billion in 1984 to $35.1 billion in 1988. Assets declined from $37.7 billion to $26.1 billion. In order to ward off the raiding attacks of Carl Icahn, Texaco was obliged to worsen its situation further by payment of $330 million in greenmail in the form a special $8 distribution to shareholders designed mainly to placate Icahn. [fn 4]

The entire affair represented a monstrous miscarriage of justice, a declaration that the entire US legal system was bankrupt. At the heart of the matter was the pervasive influence of the Bush networks, which gave Liedkte the support he needed to fight all the way to the final settlement. The real losers in this affair were the Texaco and Getty workers whose jobs were destroyed, and the families of those workers. Estimates of the numbers of these victims are hard to come by, but the count must reach into the tens of thousands. In addition, the entire economy suffered from a transaction that increased the debt claims on current production while reducing the physical scale of that production.

But even the enormities of Chairman Mao Liedkte were destined to be eclipsed in the political and regulatory climate of savage greed created with the help of the Reagan-Bush administration and George Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief. Even Liedkte's colossal grasping was about to be out-topped by a small Wall Street firm which, primarily during the second Reagan-Bush term (when Bush's influence and control were even greater) assembled a financier empire greater than that of J.P. Morgan at the height of Jupiter's power. This firm was Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts (KKR) which had been founded in 1976 by a partner and some former employees of the Bear Sterns brokerage of lower Manhattan, and which by late 1990 had bought a total of 36 companies using some $58 billion lent to KKR by insurance companies, commercial banks, state pension funds, and junk bond king Michael Milken. The dominant personality of KKR was Henry Kravis, the man who inspired actor Michael Douglas (Kravis's former prep school classmate at the Loomis School) when Douglas played the role of corporate raider Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's movie "Wall Street." Henry Kravis was in particular the motor force behind the KKR leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, which, with a price tag of $25 billion, was the largest transaction of recorded history.

Henry Kravis's epic achievements in speculation and usury perhaps had something to do with the fact that he was a close family friend of George Bush.

As we have seen, when Prescott Bush was arranging a job for young George Herbert Walker Bush in 1948, he contacted Ray Kravis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, whose business included helping Brown Brothers, Harriman to evaluate the oil reserves of companies. Ray Kravis had quickly offered George a job, but George declined it, preferring to go to work for Dresser Industries, a much larger company. That was how George had ended up in Odessa and Midland, in the Permian basin of Texas. Ray Kravis over the years had kept in close touch with Senator Prescott Bush and George Bush, and young Henry Kravis had been introduced to George and had hob-nobbed with him at various Republican Party and other fund-raising events. Henry Kravis by the early 1980's was a member of the Republican Party's elite Inner Circle.

Bush and Henry Kravis became even more closely associated during the time that Bush, ever mindful of campaign financing, was preparing his bid for the presidency. Among political contributors, Henry Kravis was a very high roller. In 1987-88, Kravis gave over $80,000 to various senators, congressmen, Republican Political Action Committees, and the Republican National Committee. During 1988, Kravis gave $100,000 to the GOP Team 100, which meant a "soft money" contribution to the Bush campaign. Kravis's partner George Roberts also anted up $100,000 for the Republican Team 100. In 1989, the first year in which it was owned by KKR, RJR Nabisco also gave $100,000 to Team 100. During that year, Kravis and Roberts gave $25,000 each to the GOP.

During the 1988 primary season, Kravis was the co-chair of a lavish Bush fundraiser at the Vista Hotel in lower Manhattan at which Henry's fellow Wall Street dealmakers and financier fatcats coughed up a total of $550,000 for Bush. Part of Kravis's symbolic recompense was to be honored with the prestigious title of co-chairman of Bush's Inaugural Dinner in January, 1989. One year later, in January 1990, Kravis was the National Chairman of Bush's Inaugural Anniversary Dinner. This was a glittering gala held at the Kennedy Center in Washington for a thousand members of the Republican Eagles, most of whom qualify by giving the GOP $15,000 or more. The entertainment was organized as an "oldies night," with Chubby Checker, Tony Bennett, and B.B. King. When George Bush addressed the Eagles, he was prodigal in his praise for Henry Kravis as one of "those who did the heavy lifting on this." [fn 5 ]

According to Jonathan Bush, George Bush's brother and the finance chairman of the New York State Republican Party, Henry Kravis was "very helpful to President Bush in fundraisers." According to brother Jonathan, Kravis "admired the President. And also, significantly, on a personal level, his father, Ray, and [George Bush] were friends from way back. And that meant a lot to Henry. He wanted to be part of that."

Henry Kravis had married the former Janey Smith of Kirksville, Missouri, who now called herself Carolyne Roehm. Carolyne Roehm had been introduced into New York Nouvelle Society by Oscar de la Renta. She and Henry Kravis cultivated a frenetically sybaritic lifestyle in the company of a social circle that included Bush's patron Henry Kissinger, American Express Chairman Jim Robinson and his wife Linda, Donald and Ivana Trump, Anne Bass, corporate raider Saul Steinberg, cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder, and Bush's finance operative Robert Mosbacher and his wife Georgette. It was very much a Bushman crowd. Kravis and his "trophy wife" lived in a Park Avenue apartment large enough to be a Hollywood sound stage, and also had a 270 acre estate in Weatherstone, Connecticut. The palatial house there, which is listed in the National Historic Register, has nine fireplaces. Henry and Carolyne added a $7 million, six-building, 42,000 square foot "farm complex" for their seven horses. This was Henry Kravis, chief stoker of the bonfire of the vanities, celebrated by Vice President Dan Quayle as the New York Republican Party Man of the Year.

It was to such an apostle of usury that George Bush turned for advice on public policy in economics and finance. According to Kravis, Bush "writes me handwritten notes all the time and he calls me and stuff, and we talk." The talk concerned what the US government should do in areas of immediate interest to Kravis: "We talked on corporate debt--this was going back a few years--and what that meant to the private sector," said Kravis.

Henry Kravis certainly knows all about debt. The 1980's witnessed the triumph of debt over equity, with a tenfold increase in total corporate debt during the decade, while production, productive capacity, and unemployment stagnated and declined. One of the principal ways in which this debt was loaded onto a shrinking productive base was through the technique of the hostile, junk-bond assisted leveraged buyout, of which Henry Kravis and his firm were the leading practitioners.

The economist Franco Modigliani had written in the 1950's about the theoretical debt limits of corporations. Small scale leveraged buyouts were pioneered by Kohlberg during the late 1970's. In its final form, the technique looked something like this: Corporate raiders looked around for companies that would be worth more than their current stock price if they were broken up and sold off. Using money borrowed from a number of sources, the raider would make a tender offer (once again, a la Jimmy Gammell in the Liedkte United Gas buyout) or otherwise secure a majority of the shares. Often all outstanding shares in the company would be bought up, taking the company private, with ownership residing in a small group of financiers. The company would end up saddled with an immense amount of new debt, often in the form of high-yield, high-risk subordinated debt certificates called junk bonds. The risk on these was high since, if the company were to go bankrupt and be auctioned off, the holders of the junk bonds would be the last to get any compensation.

Often, the first move of the raider after seizing control of the company and forcing out its existing management would be to sell off the parts of the firm that produced the least cash-flow, since enhanced cash flow was imperative to start paying the new debt. Proceeds from these sales could also be used to pay down some of the initial debt, but this process inevitably meant jobs destroyed and production diminished.

These raiding operations were justified by a fascistoid-populist demagogy that accused the existing management of incompetence, indolence and greed. The LBO pirates professed to have the interests of the shareholders at heart, and made much of the fact that their operations increased the value of the stock and, in the case of tender offers, gave the stockholders a better price than they would have gotten otherwise. The litany of the corporate raider was built around his commitment to "maximize shareholder value;" workers, bondholders, the public, and management were all expendable. Ivan Boesky and others further embroidered this with a direct apology for greed as a motor force of progress in human affairs.

An important enticement to transform stocks and equity into bonded and other debt was provided by the insanity of the US tax code, which taxed profits distributed to shareholders, but not the debt paid on junk bonds. The ascendancy of the leveraged buyout therefore proceeded pari passu with the demolition of the US corporate tax base, contributing in no small way to the growth of federal deficits. Plutocrats are always adept in finding loopholes to avoid paying their taxes. Ultimately, the big profits were expected when the companies acquired, after having been downsized to "lean and mean" dimensions, had their stock sold back to the public. KKR reserved itself 20% of the profits on these final transactions. In the meantime Kravis and his associates collected investment banking fees, retainer fees, directors' fees, management fees, monitoring fees, and a plethora of other charges for their services.

The leverage was accomplished by the smaller amount of equity left outstanding in comparison with the vastly increased debt. This meant that if, after deducting the debt service, profits went up, the return to the investors could become very high. Naturally, if losses began to appear, reverse leverage would come into play, producing astronomical amounts of red ink. Most fundamental was that companies were being loaded with debt during the years of what the Reagan-Bush regime insisted on calling a boom. It was evident to any sober observer that in case of a recession or a new depression, many of the companies that had succumbed to leveraged buyouts and related forces of usury would very rapidly become insolvent. The Reagan-Bush regime was forced to argue that supply-side economics and Bush's deregulation had abrogated the business cycle, and that there never would be any more recessions. This is why the "recession" (in reality the exacerbation of the pre-existing depression) that George Bush was forced to acknowledge during late 1990 was so ominous in its implications. The leveraged buyouts of the 1980's were now doomed to collapse. The handwriting on the wall was clear by September-October of 1989, the first year of George Bush's presidency, when the $250 billion market for junk bonds collapsed just in advance of the mini-crash of the New York Stock Exchange.

All in all, during the years between 1982 and 1988, more than 10,000 merger and acquisition deals were completed within the borders of the USA, for a total capitalization of $1 trillion. There were in addition 3500 international mergers and acquisitions for another $500 billion. [fn 6 ] The enforcement of antitrust laws atrophied into nothing: as one observer said of the late 1980's, "such concentrations had not been allowed since the early days of antitrust at the beginning of the century."

George Bush's friend Henry Kravis raised money for his leveraged buyouts from a number of sources. Money came first of all from insurance companies such as the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York, which cultivated a close relation with KKR over a number of years. Met was joined by Prudential, Aetna, and Northwest Mutual. Then there were banks like Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Bankers Trust. All these institutions were attracted by astronomical rates of return on KKR investments, estimated at 32.2% in 1980, 41.8% in 1982, 28% in 1984, and 29.6% in 1986. By 1987, KKR prospectus boasted that they had carried out the first large LBO of a publicly held company, the first billion-dollar LBO, the first large LBO of a public company via tender offer, and the largest LBO in history, Beatrice Foods.

Then came the state pension funds, who were also anxious to share in these very large returns. The first to begin investing with KKR was Oregon, which shoveled money to KKR like there was no tomorrow. Other states that joined in were Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Montana. The decisions to commit funds were typically made by state boards. An example is Minnesota: here the State Board of Investment is made up of the Governor, the state Treasurer, the state auditor, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General, currently Skip Humphrey. Some of these funds are so heavily committed to KKR that if any of the highly-leveraged deals should go sour in the current "recession," pensions for many retired state workers in those states would soon cease to exist. In that eventuality, which for many working people has already occurred, the victims should remember George Bush, the political godfather of Henry Kravis and KKR.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:43 am

PART 2 OF 2

KKR had one other very important source of capital for its deals: this was the now-defunct Wall Strreet investment firm of Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, and its California-based junk bond king, Michael Milken. Drexel and Milken were the most important single customers KKR had. (Drexel had its own Harriman link: it had merged with Harriman Ripley & Co. of New York in 1966.) During the period of close working alliance between KKR and Drexel, Milken's junk-bond operation raised an estimated $20 billion of funds for KKR. Junk bonds were high-risk, high-yield, junior debt securities that Milken floated. He started off with junk bonds issued by fly-by-night insurance companies owned by financiers seeking to emerge from the penumbra of Meyer Lansky. These included Carl Lindner and his Great American; Saul Steinberg and his Reliance Insurance Co., Meshulam Riklis and his Rapid American group; Laurence Tisch and CNA; Nelson Peltz; Victor Posner; Carl Icahn; Thomas Spiegel and his Columbia Savings and Loan; and Fred Carr, a financial gunslinger of the 1960's and his First Executive Corp. insurance firm. Later, the circle of Milken's customers would expand to include commercial banks, savings and loans, mutual funds, upscale insurance companies and others who could not resist the high yields. These robbery barons of modern usury were dubbed "Milken's monsters" by one of their number, Meshulam Riklis.

All of these personages pranced at Milken's annual meetings in Beverley Hills, which were followed by evenings of sumptuous entertainment. These became known as "the predators' ball," and attracted such people as T. Boone Pickens, Icahn, Irwin Jacobs, Sir James Goldsmith, Oscar Wyatt, Saul Steinberg, Boesky, Lindner, the Canadian Belzberg family, Ron Perelman, and other such figures.

First Executive Corp. was the first great bankruptcy among the insurance companies in early 1991, giving the depression of the 1990's a dimension that the economic-financial conflagration of the 1930's did not possess. First Executive Life succumbed to losses on its junk bond portfolio, and it will be the first of many insurance companies to find bankrutpcy via this route. Shortly thereafter, Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of New Jersey was seized by state regulators. Mutual Benmefit was also the victim of combined real estate and junk bond losses, and more retirement plans were threatened with annihilation. Those whose pensions are lost must recall the junk bond united front that reached from Milken to Kravis to Bush.

Spiegel's Columbia S&L is a classic case of a thrift institution that went wild in its acquisition of Milken's high-yield junk. At one time this institution had about $10 billion of junk in its portfolio. Columbia S&L was seized by federal regulators during the early months of 1990. Although many savings and loan bankruptcies have been caused by real estate speculation, many must also be attributed to a failed quest for a junk bonanza.

Milken's silent partner was Ivan Boesky, the arbitrageur who went beyond program trading to become a silent partner in advancing Milken's stockjobbing: sometimes Milkenm would have Boesky begin to acquire the stock of a certain company so as to signal to the market that it was in play, setting off a stampede of buyers when this suited Milken's strategy.

The Beatrice LBO illustrates how necessary Milken's role was to the overall strategy of Bush backer Kravis. Beatrice was the biggest LBO up to the time it was completed in January-February 1986, with a price tag of $8.2 billion. As part of this deal, Kravis gave Milken warrants for five million shares of stock in the new Beatrice corporation. These warrants could be used in the future to buy Beatrice shares at a small fraction of the market price. One result of this would be a dilution of the equity of the other investors. Milken kept the warrants for his own account, rather than offer them to his junk bond buyers in order to get a better price for the Beatrice junk bonds. Later in the same year, KKR bought out Safeway grocery stores for $4.1 billion, of which a large part came from Milken.

After 1986, Kravis and Roberts were gripped by financial megalomania. Between 1987 and 1989, they acquired 8 additional companies with an aggregate price tag of $43.9 billion. These new victims included Owens-Illinois glass, Duracell, which may not keep on running as long as many think, Stop and Shop food markets, and, in the landmark transaction of the 1980's, RJR Nabisco. RJR Nabisco was the product of a number of earlier mergers: National Biscuit Company had merged with Standard Brands to form Nabisco Brands, and this in turn merged with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco to create RJR Nabisco. It is important to recall that R.J. Reynolds was the concern traditionally controlled by the family of Bush's personal White House lawyer, C. Boyden "Boy" Gray.

The battle for control of RJR Nabisco was lost by RJR Nabisco chairman Ross Johnson, Peter Cohen of Sherason Lehman Hutton and the notorious John Gutfruend of Salomon Brothers. KKR opposed this group, and a third offer for RJR came from First Boston. The Johnson offer and the KKR were about the same, but a cover story in the Luce-Skull and Bones Time Magazine in early December, 1988 targeted Johnson as the greedy party. The attraction of RJR Nabisco, one of the twenty largest US corporations, was an immense cash flow supplied especially by its cigarette sales, where profit margins were enormous. The crucial phases of the fight corresponded with the presidential election of 1988: Bush won the White House, so it was no surprise that Kravis won RJR with a bid of about $109 per share compared to a stock price of about $55 per share before the company was put into play, giving the prebuyout shareholders a capital gain of more than $13.3 billion. How much of that went to Boy Gray of the Bush White House?

The RJR Nabisco swindle generated senior bank debt of about $15 billion. The came $5 billion of subordinate debt, with the largest offering of junk bonds ever made. Then came an echelon of even more junior debt with payment in securities and junk bonds that paid interest not in cash, but in other junk bonds. But even with all the wizardry of KKR, there could have been no deal without Milken and his junk bonds. The banks could not muster the cash required to complete the financing; KKR required bridge loans. Merrill Lynch and Drexel were in the running to provide an extra $5 billion of bridge financing. Drexel got Milken's monsters and many others to buy short-term junk notes with an interest rate that would increase the longer the owner refrained from cashing in the note. Drexel's "increasing rate notes" easily brought in the entire $5 billion required.

In November of 1986, Ivan Boesky pleaded guilty to one felony count of manipulating securities, and his testimony led to the indictment of Milken in March, 1989, some months after the RJR Nabisco deal had been sewn up. In order to protect more important financial players, Milken was allowed to plead guilty in April 1990 a five counts of insider trading, for which he agreed to pay a fine of $600 million. On February 13, 1990, Drexel Burnham Lambert had declared itself bankrupt and gone into liquidation, much to the distress of junk bond holders everywhere who saw the firm as a junk bond buyer of last resort.

By this time, many of the great LBOs had begun to collapse. Robert Campeau's retail sales empire of Allied and Federated stores blew up in the fall of 1989, bring down almosty $10 billion of LBO debt. Revco, Freuhauf, Southland (Seven-Eleven stores), Resorts International, and many other LBOs went into chapter eleven proceedings. As for KKR's deals, they also began to implode: SCI-TV, a spin-off of Storer Broadcasting, announced that it could not service its $1.3 billion of debt, and forced the holders of $500 million in junk bonds to settle for new stocks and bonds worth between 20 and 70 cents on the dollar. Hillsborogh Holdings, a subsidiary of Jim Walker, went bankrupt, and Seamans Furniture put through a forced restructuring of its debt.

It was clear at the time of the RJR Nabisco LBO that the totality of the company's large cash flow would be necessary to maintain payments of $25 billion of debt. That will take a lot of animal crackers and Winstons. If RJR Nabisco had been a foreign country, it would have ranked among the top 15 debtor nations, coming in between Peru and the Philippines. Within a short time after the LBO, RJR Nabisco proved unable to maintain payments. KKR was forced to inject several billion dollars of new equity, take out new bank loans, and dunning its clients for an extra $1.7 billion. RJR Nabisco by the early autumn of 1991 was a time bomb ticking away near the center of a ruined US economy. If citizens are bright enough to follow the line that leads back from Milken to Kravis to Bush, RJR and similar horror stories could politically demolish George Bush.

In September 1987, Senator William Proxmire submitted a bill which aimed at restricting takeovers. Two weeks later, Rep. Rostenkowski of Illinois offered a bill to limit the tax deductibility of the interest on takeover debt. The LBO gang in Wall Street was horrified, even though it was clear that the Reagan-Bush team would oppose such legislation using every trick in the book. Later, LBO ideologues blamed the Congress for causing the crash of October, 1987.

Kravis has always been adamant in opposing any restrictions on the kind of insanity we have briefly reviewed. "I'm very much of a free-market person," says Kravis. I don't want interference. My life...you've listened to my life story, I don't want interference! The best thing to happen to people and this country is a free market system, and I'm very concerned, if we don't keep the right people in office, that we're not going to have this free-market environment. And we should have it!" [fn 7]

This corresponds exactly to Bush's policy. During the 1988 campaign, Bush presented his views on hostile takeovers, using the forum provided by his old friend T. Boone Pickens' USA Advocate, a monthly newsletter published by the United Shareholders Association, which Pickens runs. In the October, 1988 issue of this publication, Bush made clear that he was not worried about leveraged buyouts. Rather, what concerned Bush was the need to prevent corporations from adopting defenses to deter such attempted hostile takeovers. Bush indicated he wanted to ban poison pill defenses, which often take the form of a new class of stock in a company that lets its holders buy stock in the successor company at rock-bottom prices after a buyout. Poison pills were invented by New York lawyer Marty Lipton, and did not deter raider Sir James Goldsmith from seizing control of Crown Zellerbach in the mid-1980's, although Goldsmith's costs were increased.

Bush also railed against "golden parachutes," which provide lucrative settlements for top executives who are ousted as the result of a takeover:

I am frankly a bit skeptical about claims that these so-called 'defensive' tactics are necessary to encourage long-term investment. Studies suggest that prices of stock reflect information that is publicly available. Sometimes it seems that managers use these tactics to save themselves from the competitive pressures of the market for corporate control, not to protect the interests of the shareholders.

Bush was clearly hostile to any federal restrictions on hostile takeovers. If anything, he was closer to those who demanded that the federal government stop the states from passing laws that interfere with LBO activity. For that notorious corporate raider and disciple of Chairman Mao Liedtke, T. Boone Pickens, the message was clear:

I know that Vice President Bush is a free enterpriser. I don't think there is any doubt if you look at what Vice President Bush has said and what Gov. Dukakis has said that Bush is pro-stockholder. I would say Dukakis is pro-management. *

The expectations of Pickens and his ilk were not disappointed by the Bush cabinet that took office in January, 1989. The new Secretary of the Treasury, Bush crony Nicholas Brady, was only a supporter of leveraged buyouts; he had been one of the leading practitioners of the mergers and acquisitions game during his days in Wall Street as a partner of the Harriman-allied investment firm of Dillon Read.

The family of Nicholas Brady has been allied for most of this century with the Bush-Walker clan. During his Wall Street career at Dillon, Read, Brady, like Bush, cultivated the self-image of the patrician banker, becoming a member of the New York Jockey Club and racing his own thoroughbred horses at the New York tracks once presided over by George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush. Brady, like Bush, is a member of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco and attended the Bohemian Grove every summer. Inside the Bohemian Grove oligarchic pantheon, Brady enjoys the special distinction of presiding over the prestigious Mandalay Camp (or cabin complex), the one habitually attended by Henry Kissinger, and sometimes frequented by Gerald Ford. When Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey was driven out of office by the FBI's "Abscam" entrapment operation, Brady was appointed to fill out the remainder of the term to which Williams had been elected. Brady is also reportedly a victim of dyslexia.

At the Regency in Lower Manhattan, Brady rubbed elbows each morning at breakfast with Joe Flom and the rest of the the Skadden Arps crowd, Arthur F. Long of D.F. King and Co., Marty Lipton, Arthur Liman, Felix Rohatyn, Boesky's friend Marty Siegel, and Joe Perella of First Boston.

Brady's LBO experience goes back to the 1985 battle for control of Unocal, the former Union Oil Company. T. Boone Pickens and Mesa Petroleum attempted a hostile takeover of Unocal through a complex "two-tiered" tender offer by which those shareholders willing to help Pickens to a majority stake in Unocal would receive cash payment for their stocks, but those forced to sell to Pickens after he had gone over the top would be compelled to accept junk securities. In order to defend against this two-tier, front-loaded hostile tender offer, Unocal management called in Brady's Dillon Read together with Goldman Sachs.

Working with Goldman Sachs, Brady helped to devise a new form of anti-takoever defense for Unocal: it was in effect a self-inflicted leveraged buyout, a self-tender for a large portion of Unocal's stock which the company offered to buy back at a higher price than the one stipulated in the Pickens tender offer, although Unocal would refuse to accept any of the shares held by Pickens. Pickens tried to overturn this selective self-tender in the courts of Delaware, but he was defeated.

The self-tender sponsored by Brady's investment bankers was actually a usurious chicken game: Unocal's tender offer to buy 80 million shares at an astronomical $72 per share in comparison with the $54 offered by Pickens. This meant $5.8 billion in new high-interest junk-bond debt for Unocal, in another triumph of debt over equity. The premise was that if Pickens insisted on going ahead, he might very well take over Unocal, but the new debt burden would mean that the company would soon go bankrupt and Pickens would lose all his money. In this case, the Unocal management advised by Nick Brady was more than willing to gamble with the existence of their entire company, and thus with the livelihoods of thousands of workers and their families, to ward off the advances of Pickens. In the end, this device would load Unocal with a crushing $3.6 billion of high-interest debt as a result of the plan advocated by Brady's firm.

Nick Brady got the job he presently occupies by heading up a study of the October, 1987 stock market crash, the results of which Brady announced on a cold Friday afternoon in January, 1988, just after the New York stock market had taken another 150 point dive.

The study of the October, 1988 "market break" was produced by a group of Wall Street and Treasury insiders billed as the "Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms." At the center of the report's attention was the relation between the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, and NASDAC over-the-counter stock trading, on the one hand, and the future, options, and index trading carried on at the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Board Options Exchange, and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The Brady group examined the impact of program trading, index arbitrage and portfolio insurance strategies on the behavior of the markets that led to the crash. The Brady report recommended the centralization of all market oversight in a single federal agency, the unification of clearing systems, consistent margins, and the installation of circuit breaker mechanisms. That, at least, was the public content of the report.

The real purpose of the Brady report was to create a series of drugged and manipulated markets using funds from the Federal Reserve and other sources. The Brady group realized that if the Chicago futures price of a stock or stock index could be artificially inflated, this would be of great assistance in propping up the value of the underlying stock in New York. The Brady group focused on the Major Market Index of 20 stock futures traded on the Chicago Board of Trade, which roughly corresponded to the principal stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. As long as the MMI was trading at a higher price than the DJIA, the program traders and index arbitrageurs would tend to sell the MMI and buy the underlying stock in New York in order to lock in their stockjobbing profits. The great advantage of this system was first of all that some tens of millions of dollars in Chicago could generate some hundreds of millions of dollars of demand in New York. In addition, the margin requirements for borrowing money for use to buy futures in Chicago were much less stringent than the requirements for margin buying of stocks in New York. Liquidity for this operation could be drawn from banks and other institutions loyal to the Bush-Baker-Brady power cartel, with full backup and assistance from the district banks of the Federal Reserve.

The Brady "drugged market" mechanisms, with the refinements they have acquired since 1988, are a key factor behind the Dow Jones Industrials' seeming defiance of the law of gravity in attainting a new all time high well above the 3000 mark during 1991.

Brady's exercise was nothing new: during the collapse of the Earl of Oxford's South Sea bubble in 1720, the South Sea Company attempted to support the astronomically inflated price of its shares by becoming a buyer of its own stock until its cash and credit reserves were exhausted. Such maneuvers can indeed delay the onset of the final collapse for some period of time, but they guarantee that when the panic, crash and bankruptcy finally become overwhelming, the aggregate damage to society will be far greater than if the crash had been allowed to occur according to its own spontaneous dynamic. For this reason, a large part of the fearful price that is being exacted from the American people as the depression unfolds in its full fury is a result of the Bush-Brady measures to postpone the inevitable reckoning beyond the 1988 election.

One important case study of the impact of Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief is the meat-packing industry. In February 1981, when Reagan gave Bush "line" authority for deregulation, he promulgated Executive Order 12291, which established the principle that federal regulations "be based upon adequate evidence that their potential benefits to society are greater than their potential costs to society." In practice, that meant that Bush threw health and safety standards out the window in order to ingratiate himself with entrepreneurs. In March 1981, Bush wrote to businessmen and invited them to enumerate the 10 areas they wanted to see deregulated, with specific recommendations on what they wanted done. By the end of the year Bush's office issued a self-congratulatory report boasting of a "significant reduction in the cost of federal regulation." In the meatpacking industry, this translated into production line speedup as jobs were eliminated, with a cavalier attitude towards safety precautions. At the same time the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sharply reduced inspections, often arriving only after disabling or lethal accidents had already occurred. In 1980 there were 280 OSHA inspections in meat packing plants, but in 1988 there were only 176. This, in an industry in which the rate of personal injury is 173 persons per working day, three times the average of all remaining US factories. [fn 8]

Bush used his Regulatory Relief Task Force as a way to curry favor with various business groups whose support he wanted for his future plans to assume the presidency in his own right. According to one study made midway through the Reagan years, Bush converted his own office "into a convenient back door for corporate lobbyists" and "a hidden court of last resort for special interest groups that have lost their arguments in Congress, in the federal courts, or in the regulatory process." "Case by case, the vice president's office got involved in some mean and petty issues that directly affect people's health and lives, from the dumping of toxic pollutants to government warnings concerning potentially harmful drugs." [fn 9]

There were also reports of serious abuses by Bush, especially in the area of conflicts of interest. In one case, Bush intervened in March, 1981 in favor of Eli Lilly & Co., a company of which he had been a director in 1977-79. Bush had owned $145,000 of stock in Eli Lilly until January, 1981, after which it was placed in a blind trust, meaning that Bush allegedly had no way of knowing whether his trust still owned shares in the firm or not. The Treasury Department had wanted to make the terms of a tax break for US pharmaceutical firms operating in Puerto Rico more stringent, but Vice President Bush had contacted the Treasury to urge that "technical" changes be made in the planned restriction of the tax break. By April 14 Bush was feeling some heat, and he wrote a second letter to Treasury Secretary Don Regan asking that his first request be withdrawn because Bush was now "uncomfortable about the appearance of my active personal involvement in the details of a tax matter directly affecting a company with which I once had a close association." [fn 10] Bush's continuing interest in Eli Lilly is underlined by the fact that the Pulliam family of Indiana, the family clan of Bush's later running mate Dan Quayle, owned a very large portion of the Eli Lilly shares. Bush's choice of Quayle was but a re-affirmation of a pre-existing financial and political alliance with the Pulliam interests, which also include a newspaper chain.

The long-term results of the deregulation campaign that Bush used to burnish his image are suggested by the September, 1991 fire in a chicken-processing plant operated by Imperial Food Products in Hamlet, North Carolina, in which 25 persons died. One obvious cause of this tragedy was an almost total lack of adequate state and federal inspection, which might have identified the fire hazards that had built up over a period of years. This fire led during October, 1991 to the bankruptcy of the Imperial Food Products Company, which could not obtain financing to roll over its short-term and long-term debt obligations. 225 workers at the Hamlet plant lost their jobs, as did 200 workers at the company's other plant in Cumming, Georgia.

Bush's idea of ideal labor-management practices and corporate leadership in general appears to have been embodied by Frank Lorenzo, the most celebrated and hated banquerotteur of US air transport. Before his downfall in early 1990, Lorenzo combined Texas Air, Continental Airlines, New York Air, People Express, and Eastern Airlines into one holding, and then presided over its bankruptcy. Now Eastern has been liquidated, and the other components are likely to follow suit. Along the way to this debacle, Lorenzo won the sympathy of the Reagan-Bush crowd through his union-busting tactics: he had thrown Continental Airlines into bankruptcy court and used the bankruptcy statutes to break all union contracts, and to break the unions themselves as well. Continental pilots had been stripped of seniority, benefits, and bargaining rights, and had been subjected to a massive pay cut under threat of being turned out into the street. In 1985, the average yearly wage of a pilot was $87,000 at TWA, but less than $30,000 at Continental. The hourly cost of a flight crew for a DC-10 at American Airlines was $703, while at Continental it was only $194. It is an interesting commentary on such wage gouging that Lorenzo nevertheless managed to bankrupt Continental by the end of the decade.

George Bush has been on record as a dedicated union-buster going back to 1963-64, and he has always been very friendly with Lorenzo. When Bush became president, this went beyond the personal sphere and became a revolving door between the Texas Air group and the Bush Administration. During 1989, the Airline Pilots' Association issued a list of some 30 cases in which Texas Air officials had transferred to jobs in the Bush regime and vice versa. By the end of 1989, Bush's top Congressional lobbyist was Frederick D. McClure, who had been a vice president and chief lobbyist for Texas Air. McClure had traded jobs with Rebecca Range, who had worked as a public liaison for Reagan until she moved over to the post of lead Congressional lobbyist for Texas Air. John Robson, Bush's deputy Secretary of the Treasury, was a former member of the Continental Airlines board of directors. Elliott Seiden, once a top antitrust lawyer for the Justice Department, switched to being an attorney for Texas Air. [fn 11]

When questioned by Jack Anderson, McClure and Robson claimed that they recused themselves from any matters involving Texas Air. But McClure signed a letter to Congress announcing Bush's opposition to any government investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Eastern Airlines strike in early 1989. Bush himself has always stonewalled in favor of Lorenzo. During the early months of the landmark Eastern Airlines strike, in which pilots, flight attendants, and machinists all walked out to block Lorenzo's plan to downsize the airline and bust the unions, the Congress attempted to set up a panel to investigate the dispute, but Bush was adamant in favor of Lorenzo and vetoed any government probes. [fn 12]

Lorenzo's activities were decisive in the wrecking of US airline transportation during the Reagan-Bush era. When Carl Icahn was in the process of taking over TWA, he was able to argue that the need to compete in many of the same markets in which Lorenzo's airlines were active made mandatory that the TWA work force accept similar sacrifices and wage cuts. The cost-cutting criteria pioneered with such ruthless aggressivity by Lorenzo have had the long-term of effect of reducing safety margins and increasing the risk the traveling public must confront in any decision to board an airliner operating under US jurisdiction. Eastern has disappeared, and Continental has been joined in bankruptcy by Midway, America West, while Pan American sold off a large part of its operations to Delta while teetering on the verge of liquidation. Icahn's TWA is bankrupt in every sense except the final technicalities. Northwest, having been taken through the wringer of an LBO by Albert Cecchi, is now busy lining up subsidies from the state of Minnesota and other sources as a way to stay afloat. It is widely believed that when the dust settles, only Delta, American, and perhaps United will remain among the large nationwide carriers. At that point hundreds of localities will be served by only one airline, and that airline will proceed to raise its fares without any fear of price competition or any other form of competition. With that, air travel will float beyond the reach of much of the American middle class, and the final fruits of airline deregulation will be manifest. In the meantime, it must be feared that the erosion of safety margins will exact a growing toll of human lives in airline accidents. If such tragedies occur, the bereaved relatives will perhaps recall George Bush's friend Frank Lorenzo.

And how, the reader may ask, was George Bush doing financially while surrounded by so many billions in junk bonds? Bush had always pontificated that he had led the fight for full public disclosure of personal financial interests by elected officials. He never tired of repeating that "in 1967, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, I led the fight for full financial disclosure." But after he was elected to the vice presidency, Bush stopped disclosing his investments in detail. He stated his net worth, which had risen to $2.1 million by the time of the 1984 election, representing an increase of some $300,000 over the previous five years. Bush justified his refusal to disclose his investments in detail by saying that he didn't know himself just what securities he held, since his portfolio was now in the blind trust mentioned above. The blind trust was administered by W.S. Farish & Co. of Houston, owned by Bush's close crony William Stamps Farish III of Beeville, Texas, the descendant of the Standard Oil executive who had backed Heinrich Himmler and the Waffen SS. [fn 13]

_______________

Notes:

1. Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward, "Doing Well With help From Family, Freinds," Washington Post, August 11, 1988.

2. Houston Chronicle, February 21, 1963. See clippings available in Texas Historical Society, Houston.

3. Thomas Petzinger, Oil and Honor (New York, 1987), pp. 244-245.

4. See Washington Post, February 5, 1989.

5. For the relation between George Bush and Henry Kravis, see Sarah Bartlett, The Money Machine: How KKR Manufactured Power & Profits (New York, 1991), pp. 258-259 and 267-270.

6. Roy C. Smith, The Money Wars (New York, 1990), p. 106.

7. Bartlett, pp. 269-270.

8. Washington Post, September 29, 1988.

9. Judy Mann, "Bush's Top Achievement," Washington Post, November 2, 1988.

10. William Greider, Rolling Stone, April 12, 1984.

11. "Bush Denies Influencing Drug Firm Tax Proposal," Washington Post, May 20, 1981.

12. Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "The Bush-Lorenzo Connections," Washington Post, December 21, 1989.

13. James Ridgway, The Tax Records of Reagan and Bush, Texas Observer, September 28, 1984.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:44 am

Chapter XX -- The Phony War on Drugs

Tout le monde me prend pour un homme de bien; Mais la verite pure est que je ne vaux rien.
-- Moliere, Le Tartuffe


An indispensable component of the mythical media profile which George Bush has built up over the years to buttress his electoral aspirations has been his role as an anti-drug fighter. His first formally scheduled prime time presidential television address to the nation in September, 1989 was devoted to announcing his plans for measures to combat the illegal narcotics that continued to inundate the streets of the United States. During his 1988 election campaign, Bush pointed with astounding complacency to his record as President Reagan's designated point man in the administration's war on drugs.

In his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention in 1988, Bush stated: "I want a drug-free America. Tonight, I challenge the young people of our country to shut down the drug dealers around the world....My Administration will be telling the dealers, "Whatever we have to do, we'll do, but your day is over. You're history.'"

Indeed, Bush has an impressive resume of bureaucratic titles to back up his claim to be America's top anti-drug fighter. On January 28, 1982, Reagan created the South Florida Task Force under Bush's high-profile leadership to coordinate the efforts of the various federal agencies to stem the tide of narcotics into Bush's old family bailiwick. On March 23, 1983, Bush was placed in charge of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System, which was supposed to staunch the drug flow over all US borders. In August, 1986 US officials presented to their Mexican counterparts a scheme called Operation Alliance, a new border enforcement initiative that was allegedly to do for the US-Mexican border area what the South Florida Task Force had allegedly already done for the southeastern states. George Bush was appointed chief of Operation Alliance, which involved 20 federal agencies, 500 additional federal officers, and a budget of $266 million.

To crown all these efforts, Bush sought to obtain a cameo role for a brief appearance on the television series Miami Vice. He was perhaps inspired by his mentor, Kissinger, who had walked through a cameo of his own on Dynasty. But Bush was unable to accomplish his dream.

The drug plague is an area in which the national interest requires results. Illegal narcotics are one of the most important causes of the dissolution of American society at the present time. To interdict the drug flows and to prosecute the drug money launderers at the top of the banking community would have represented a real public service. But Bush had no intention of seriously pursuing such goals. For him, the war on drugs was a cruel hoax, a cynical exercise in demagogic self-promotion, designed in large part to camouflage activities by himself and his networks that promoted drug trafficking. A further shocking episode that has come to light in this regard involves Bush's 14-year friendship with a member of Meyer Lansky's Miami circles who sold Bush his prized trophy, the Cigarette boat Fidelity.

Bush's war on drugs was a rhetorical and public relations success for a time. On February 16, 1982, in a speech on his own turf in Miami, Florida, Bush promised to use sophisticated military aircraft to track the airplanes used by smugglers. Several days later, Bush ordered the US Navy to send in its E2C surveillance aircraft for this purpose. If these were not available in sufficient numbers, said Bush, he was determined to bring in the larger and more sophisticated AWACS early warning aircraft to do the job. But Bush's skills as an interagency expediter left something to be desired: by May, two of the four E2C aircraft that originally had been in Florida were transferred out of the state. By June, airborne surveillance time was running a mere 40 hours per month, not the 360 hours promised by Bush, prompting Rep. Glenn English to call hearings on this topic. By October, 1982 the General Accounting Office issued an opinion in which it found "it is doubtful whether the [south Florida] task force can have any substantial long-term impact on drug availability." But the headlines were grabbed by Bush, who stated in 1984 that the efforts of his task force had eliminated the marijuana trade in south Florida. That was an absurd claim, but it sounded very good. When Francis Mullen. Jr., the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) criticized Bush for making this wildly inaccurate statement, he was soon ousted from his post at the DEA.

In 1988, Democratic Congressman Glenn English concluded that Bush's "war on drugs" had been fought with "little more than lip service and press releases." English wrote: "There has been very little substance behind the rhetoric, and some of the major interdiction problems have yet to be resolved. The President assigned...Bush to coordinate and direct federal antidrug-abuse programs among the various law enforcement agencies. However, eight years later it is apparent that the task has not been accomplished." [fn 1] No observer still stationed in reality could dispute this very pessimistic assessment.

But the whole truth is much uglier. We have documented in detail how the Iran-contra drug-running and gun-running operations run out of Bush's own office played their role in increasing the heroin, crack, cocaine, and marijuana brought into this country. We have reviewed Bush's relations with his close supporters in the Wall Street LBO gang, much of whose liquidity is derived from narcotics payments which the banking system is eager to recycle and launder. We recall Bush's 1990 meeting with Syrian President Hafez Assad, who is personally one of the most prolific drug pushers on the planet, and whom Bush embraced as an ally during the Gulf crisis.

Bush's "soft on drugs" profile went further. In the Pakistan-Afghanistan theatre, for example, it was apparent that certain pro-Khomeini formations among the Afghan guerillas were, like the contras, more interested in trafficking in drugs and guns than in fighting the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul and the Red Army forces that maintained it in power. There were reports that such activities on the part of such guerilla groups were seconded by parts of the Pakistani secret intelligence services, the Inter-Service Intelligence, and the National Logistics Cell. According to these reports, Bush's visit to Pakistan's President Gen. Zia ul-Haq in May, 1984 was conducted in full awareness of these phenomena. Nevertheless, Bush chose to praise the alleged successes of the Zia government's anti-narcotics program which, Bush intoned, was a matter of great "personal interest" to him. Among those present at the banquet where Bush made these remarks were, reportedly, several of the officials most responsible for the narcotics trafficking in Pakistan. [fn 2] But there is an even more flagrant aspect of Bush's conduct which can be said to demolish once and for all the myth of the "war on drugs" and replace it with a reality so sinister that it goes beyond the imagination of most citizens.


Those who follow Bush's frenetic sports activities on television are doubtless familiar with Bush's speedboat, in which he is accustomed to cavort in the waters off his estate at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine. [fn 3] The craft in question is the Fidelity, a powerboat capable of operating on the high seas. Fidelity is a class of boat marketed under the brand name of "Cigarette," a high-priced speedboat dubbed "the Ferrari of the high seas." This detail should awaken our interest, since Bush's profile as an Anglo-Saxon aristocrat would normally include a genteel predilection for sailing, rather than a preference for a vulgar hatrod like Fidelity, which evokes the ethos of rum-runners and smugglers.

The Cigarette boat Fidelity was purchased by George Bush from a certain Don Aronow. Bush reportedly met Aronow at a boat show in 1974, and decided to buy one of the Cigarette boats Aronow manufactured. Aronow was one of the most celebrated and successful powerboat racers of the 1960's, and had then turned his hand to designing and building these boats. But according to at least one published account, there is compelling evidence to conclude that Aronow was a drug smuggler and suspected drug-money launderer linked to the Genovese Purple Gang of New York City within the more general framework of the Meyer Lansky organized crime syndicate. Aronow's role in marijuana smuggling was reportedly confirmed by Bill Norris, head of the Major Narcotics Unit at the Miami US Attorney's office and thus the top federal drug prosecution official in south Florida. [fn 4]

Aronow numbered among his friends and acquaintances not just Bush, but many international public figures and celebrities, many of whom had purchased the boats he built. Aronow's wife was said to be a former girlfriend of King Hussein of Jordan. Aronow was in touch with King Juan Carlos of Spain, Lord Lucan (Billy Shand-Kydd, a relative of Princess Diana's mother), Sir Max Aitken (the son of British press baron Lord Beaverbrook), Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Eastern Airlines chairman and former astronaut Frank Bormann, Kimberly-Clark heir Jim Kimberley, Alvin Malnik (one of the reputed heirs to Meyer Lansky) and Charles Keating, later the protagonist of the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal. Some of these exalted acquaintances are suggestive of strong intelligence connections as well.

In May of 1986, Aronmow received a letter from Nicolas Iliopoulos, the royal boat captain to King Hussein of Jordan expressing on behalf of the King the latter's satisfaction with a powerboat purchased from Aronow, and conveying the compliments of King Juan Carlos of Spain and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who had recently been the Jordanian sovereign's guests on board. Aronow sent a copy of this letter to Bush, from whom he received a reply dated June 6, 1986 in which Bush thanked him "with warm regards" for forwarding the royal note and added: "I can repeat that my old Cigarette, the "Fidelity" is running well too. I've had her out a couple of weekends and the engines have been humming. I hope our paths cross soon, my friend." [fn 5]

Aronow was reportedly a close friend of George Bush. In his book-length account of the life and death of Aronow which is the basis for the following analysis, Thomas Burdick quotes an unnamed Justice Department official relating the comments of one of his friends on the Bush-Aronow relation: "My friend said, 'I guarantee you I know what the connection was between him and Bush. It's the boats. The guy loves fucking boats." A Secret Service agent also referred to Bush as a "boat groupie." [fn 6] But does this exhaust the topic?

Over the years, Bush had apparently consulted with Aronow concerning the servicing and upkeep of his Cigarette boat. During 1983, Bush began to seek out Aronow's company for fishing trips. The original engines on Bush's Cigarette boat needed replacement, and this was the ostensible occasion for renewing contact with Aronow. Aronow told Bush of a new model of boat that he had designed, supposedly a high-performance catamaran. Bush planned to come to Florida during the New Year's holiday for a short vacation during which he would go bonefishing with his crony Nick Brady. During this time he would also arrange to deliver an antidrug pep-talk.

On January 4, 1984, George Bush rendezvoused with Don Aronow at Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Earlier in the day, Bush had delivered one of his "war on drugs" speeches at the Omni International Hotel in Miami. Bush and Brady then proceeded by motorcade to Islamorada, where Aronow was waiting with his catamaran. Accompanied by a flotilla of Secret Service and Customs agents in Cigarette boats that had been seized from drug smugglers, Bush, Brady, Aronow, and one of the latter's retainers, the catamaran proceeded through moderate swells to Miami, with White House photographers eternalizing the photo opportunity at every moment. Bush, who had donned designer racing goggles for the occasion, was allowed to take the wheel of the catamaran and seemed very thrilled and very happy. Nick Brady, sporting his own wrap-around shades, found the seas too rough for his taste.

After the trip was over, Bush personally typed the following letter to Don Aronow on his vice presidential staionery, which he sent accompanied by some photographs of Bush, Aronow, Brady and the others on board the catamaran:

January 14, 1984

Dear Don,

Here are some pretty good shots which I hope will bring back some pretty good memories. I included one signed shot in your packet for [Aronow's pilot] Randy [Riggs]. Also am enclosing a set of picture [sic] for Willie not having his address or knowing how he spells Myers? Will you please give them to him and thank him for his part in our wonderful outing. He is quite a guy and I learned a lot from him on the way up to Miami from the Keys.

Again Don this day was one of the greatest of my life. I love boats, always have. But ever since knowing you that private side of my life has become ever more exciting and fulfilling. Incidentally, I didn't get to tell you but my reliable 28 footer Cigarette that is, still doing just fine...no trouble at all and the new last year engines.

All the best to you and all your exciting ventures. May all your boats bee [sic] number one and may the horses [sic] be not far behind.


At the end of this message, before his signature, Bush wrote in by hand, "My typing stinks." [fn 7]

As a result of this outing, Bush is said to have used his influence to see to it that Aronow received a lucrative contract to build the Blue Thunder catamarans at $150,000 apiece for the US Customs Service. This contract was announced with great fanfare in Miami on February 4, 1985, and was celebrated a week later in a public ceremony in which Florida Senator Paula Hawkins and US Customs Commissioner William von Raab mugged for photographers together with Aronow. The government purchase was hyped as the first time that the Customs would receive boats especially designed and built to intercept drug runners on the high seas, a big step forward in the war on drugs.

This was the same George Bush who in March, 1988 had stated: "I will never bargain with drug dealers on US or foreign soil."

As one local resident recalled of that time, "everyone in Miami knew that if you needed a favor from Bush, you spoke to Aronow." [fn 8] It was proverbial among Florida pols and powerbrokers that Aronow had the vice president's ear.

The Customs soon found that the Blue Thunder catamarans were highly unseaworthy and highly unsuitable for the task of chasing down other speedboats, including above all Aronow's earlier model Cigarette boats, which were now produced by a company not controlled by Aronow. Blue Thunder was relatively slow class, capable of a top speed of only 56 miles per hour, despite the presence of twin 440-horsepower marine engines. The design of the catamaran hulls lacked any hydrodynamic advantages, and the boats were too heavy to attain sufficient lift. The stern drives were too weak for the powerful engines, leading to the problem of "grenading": when the drive shafts severed, which was often, the engines began to rev far beyond their red line, leading to the explosion or disintegration of the engines and the shrapnel-like scattering of red-hot steel fragments through the boat. This meant that the boats had to be kept well below their maximum speed. Most Blue Thunders spent more time undergoing repairs than chasing drug runners in the coastal waters of Florida. Blue Thunder was in boating parlance "wet," a complete lemon, useful only for photo opportunities and publicity shots.

Documents found by Burdick in the Dade County land records office show that USA Racing, the company operated by Aronow which built the Blue Thunder catamarans for the Customs service was not owned by Aronow, but rather by a one Jack J. Kramer in his capacity of president of Super Chief South Corporation. Jack Kramer had married a niece of Meyer Lansky. Jack Kramer's son Ben Kramer was thus the great nephew and one of the putative heirs of the top boss of the US crime syndicate, Meyer Lansky. Ben Kramer was also a notorious organized crime figure in his own right. On March 28, 1990 Jack Kramer and Ben Kramer were both found guilty of 23 and 28 counts (respectively) of federal money laundering charges. In the previous year, Ben Kramer had also been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for having imported half a million pounds of marijuana. Bush had thus given a prime contract in waging the war on drugs to one of the leading drug-smuggling and money-laundering crime families in the US.


Don Aronow was murdered by Mafia-style professional killers on February 3, 1987. During the last days of his life, Aronow is reported to have made numerous personal telephone calls to Bush. Aronow had been aware that his life was in danger, and he had left a list of instructions to tell his wife what to do if anything should happen to him. The first point on the list was "#1. CALL GEORGE BUSH." [fn 9] Lillian Aronow did call Bush, who reportedly responded by placing a personal call to the MetroDade Police Department homicide division to express his concern and to request an expeditious handling of the case. Bush did not attend Aronow's funeral, but a month later he sent a letter to Aronow's son Gavin in which he called the late Don Aronow "a hero."

When Lillian Aronow suspected that her telephone was being tapped, she called Bush, who urged her to be calm and promised to order an investigation of the matter. Shortly after that, the suspicious noises in Mrs. Aronow's telephone ceased. When Lilian Aronow received reports that her husband might have been murdered by rogue CIA operatives or other wayward federal agents and that she herself and her children were still in danger, she shared her fears in a telephone call to Bush. Bush reportedly later called Mrs. Aronow and, as she recalled, "He said to me, 'Lillian, you're fine.' He said that 'ex-CIA people are really off.' That's the truth." [fn 10] Later, Mrs. Aronow heard that Gen. Noriega of Panama was interested in buying some of her boats, and she began to prepare a trip to Panama in the hope of generating some orders. Before her departure, she says she called Bush who advised her against making the trip because of Noriega's involvement in "bad things." Mrs. Aronow cancelled her reservations for Panama City. But in the summer of 1987, Bush snubbed Mrs. Aronow by pointedly avoiding her at a Miami dinner party. But during this same period, Bush frequently went fishing with former Aronow employee Willie Meyers, whom he had mentioned in the letter cited above. According to Thomas Burdick's sources, Willie Meyers was also a friend of Secretary of State George Shultz, and often expressed concern about damaging publicity for Bush and Shultz that might derive from the Aronow case.

According to Thomas Burdick, Meyers says that Bush talked to him about how the vice president's staff was monitoring the Aronow investigation. Bush lamented that he did not have grounds to get federal agencies involved. "I just wish," said Bush to Meyers, "that there was some federal aspect to the murder. If the killers crossed state lines. Then I could get the FBI involved." [fn 11] The form of the argument is reminiscent of the views expressed by Bush and Tony Lapham during the Letelier case.

In May or June of 1987, several months after Aronow had been killed, Mike Brittain, who owned a company called Aluminum Marine Products, located on "Thunderboat Alley" in the northern part of Miami (the same street where Aronow had worked), was approached by two FBI special agents, Joseph Usher and John Donovan, both of the Miami FBI field office. They were accompanied by a third FBI man, whom they presented as a member of George Bush's staff at the National Drug Task Force in Washington DC. The third agent, reportedly named William Temple, had, according to the other two, come to Miami on a special mission ordered by the Vice President of the United States.

As Brittain told his story to Burdick, Special Agent Temple "didn't ask about the murder or anything like that. All he wanted to know about was the merger." [fn 12] The merger in question was the assumption of control over Aronow's company, USA Racing, by the Kramers' Super Chief South, which meant that a key contract in the Bush "war on drugs" had been awarded to a company controlled by persons who would later be convicted for marijuana smuggling and money laundering. Many of the FBI questions focused on this connection between Aronow and Kramer. Later, after Bush's victory in the 1988 presidential election, the FBI again questioned Brittain, and again the central issue was the Aronow-Kramer connection, plus additional questions of whether Brittain had divulged any of his knowledge of these matters to other persons. A possible conclusion was that a damage control operation in favor of Bush was in progress.

Tommy Teagle, an ex-convict interviewed by Burdick, said he feared that George Bush would have him killed because information in his possession would implicate Jeb Bush in cocaine smuggling. Teagle's story was that Aronow and Jeb Bush had been partners in cocaine trafficking and were $2.5 million in debt to their Columbian suppliers. Dr. Robert Magoon, a friend of Aronow, is quoted in the same location as having heard a similar report. But Teagle rapidly changed his story. [fn 3] Ultimately, an imprisoned convict was indicted for the murder of Aronow.

But the circumstances of the murder remain highly suspect. Starting in 1985, and with special intensity during 1987-88, more than two dozen persons involved in various aspects of the Iran-contra gun-running and drug-running operation met their deaths. At the same time, other persons knowledgeable about Iran-contra, but one or more steps removed from eyewitness knowledge of these operations, have been subjected to campaigns of discrediting and slander, often associated with indictments on a variety of charges, charges which often stemmed from the Iran-contra operations themselves. Above and beyond the details of each particular case, the overall pattern of these deaths strongly suggests that they are coherent with a damage control operation by the networks involved, a damage control operation that has concentrated on liquidating those individuals whose testimony might prove to be most damning to the leading personalities of these networks. The death of Don Aronow occurred within the time frame of this general process of amputation and cauterization of the Iran-contra and related networks. Many aspects of Aronow's life suggest that his assassination may have been a product of the same "damage control" logic.


_______________

Notes:

1. For Bush's "war on drugs", see Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "How Bush Commanded the War on Drugs," Washington Post, June 20, 1988; Lawrence Lifschultz, "Bush, Drugs and Pakistan: Inside the Kingdom of Heroin," The Nation, November 14, 1988; "Drug Czars We Have Known," The Nation, February 27, 1989; and Robert A. Pastor and Jorge Castaneda, Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico (New York, 1988), p. 271.

2. "Bush, Drugs, and Pakistan," The Nation, November 14, 1988.

3. See the cover of Newsweek, October 19, 1987 "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor,'" which portrays Bush at the controls of Fidelity. A similar photo appears facing p. 223 in George Bush and Vic Gold, Looking Forward (New York, 1987).

4. See Thomas Burdick and Charlene Mitchell, Blue Thunder (New York, 1990), p. 229. The following account of the relations between Bush and Aronow relies upon this remarkable study.

5. Blue Thunder, p. 182.

6. Blue Thunder, p. 235.

7. Blue Thunder, p. 18.

8. Blue Thunder, p. 34.

9. Blue Thunder, p. 71.

10. Blue Thunder, p. 95.

11. Blue Thunder, p. 103.

12. Blue Thunder, pp. 326-327.

13. Blue Thunder, pp. 351, 357.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:45 am

Chapter XXI -- Omaha

On the morning of June 29, 1989, pandemonium erupted in the corridors of power in the nation's capital. ``Homosexual Prostitution Probe Ensnares Official of Bush, Reagan,'' screamed the front-page headline of the Washington Times with the kicker ``Call Boys Took Midnight Tour of White House.''

The Times reported, ``A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessmen with close ties to Washington's political elite.''

The exposé centered on the role of one Craig Spence, a Republican powerbroker known for his lavish ``power cocktail'' parties. Spence was well connected. He celebrated Independence Day 1988 by conducting a midnight tour of the White House in the company of two teenage male prostitutes among others in his party.

Rumors circulated that a list existed of some 200 Washington prominents who had used the call boy service. The Number Two in charge of personnel affairs at the White House, who was responsible for filling all the top civil service posts in the federal bureaucracy, and Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole's chief of staff, were two individuals publicly identified as patrons of the call boy ring.

Two of the ring's call boys were allegedly KGB operatives, according to a retired general from the Defense Intelligence Agency interviewed by the press. But the evidence seemed to point to a CIA sexual blackmail operation, instead. Spence's entire mansion was covered with hidden microphones, two-way mirrors and video cameras, ever ready to capture the indiscretions of Washington's high, mighty and perverse. The political criteria for proper sexual comportment had long been established in Washington: Any kinkiness goes, so long as you don't get caught. The popular proverb was that the only way a politician could hurt his career was if he were ``caught with a dead woman or a live boy'' in his bed.

Months after the scandal had died down, and a few weeks before he allegedly committed suicide, Spence was asked who had given him the ``key'' to the White House. The Washington Times reported that ``Mr. Spence hinted the tours were arranged by `top level' persons, including Donald Gregg, national security advisor to Vice President Bush'' [fn1] and later U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

We have already had occasion to examine Don Gregg's role in Iran-Contra, and have observed his curious performance when testifying under oath before congressional committees. Gregg indignantly denied any connection to Spence, yet it is public record that Spence had sponsored a dinner in Gregg's honor in the spring of 1989 at Washington's posh Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown.

George Bush was less than pleased with the media coverage of the prostitution charges and kept abreast of the scandal as it mushroomed. The Washington Times reported in an article titled ``White House Mute on Call Boy Scandal,'' that ``White House sources confirmed that President Bush has followed the story of the late night visit and Mr. Spence's links to a homosexual prostitution ring under investigation by federal authorities since they were disclosed June 29 in the Washington Times. But top officials will not discuss the story's substance, reportedly even among themselves.

``Press officers have rebuffed repeated requests to obtain Mr. Bush's reaction and decline to discuss investigations or fall out from the disclosures.'' [fn2] By midsummer, the scandal had been buried. The President had managed to avoid giving a single press conference where he would surely have been asked to comment.

As the call boy ring affair dominated the cocktail gossip circuit in Washington, another scandal, halfway across the country in the state of Nebraska, peaked. Again this scandal knocked on the President's door.

A black Republican who had been a leader in organizing minority support for the President's 1988 campaign and who proudly displayed a photo of himself and the President, arm in arm, in his Omaha home, was at the center of a sex and money scandal that continues to rock the Cornhusker state.

The scandal originated with the collapse of the minority-oriented Franklin Community Credit Union in Omaha, directed by Lawrence E. King, Jr., a nationally influential black Republican who sang the national anthem at both the 1984 and 1988 Republican conventions. King became the subject of the Nebraska Senate's investigation conducted by the specially created ``Franklin Committee'' to probe charges of embezzlement. In November 1988, King's offices were raided by the FBI and $40 million was discovered missing. Within weeks, the Nebraska Senate, which initially opened the inquiry to find out where the money had gone, instead found itself questioning young adults and teenagers who said that they had been child prostitutes. Social workers and state child-care administrators accused King of running a child prostitution ring. The charges grew with the former police chief of Omaha, the publisher of the state's largest daily newspaper, and several other political associates of King, finding themselves accused of patronizing the child prostitution ring.

King is now serving a 15-year federal prison sentence for defrauding the Omaha-based credit union. But the magazines Avvenimenti of Italy and Pronto of Spain, among others, have charged that King's crimes were more serious: that he ran a national child prostitution ring that serviced the political and business elite of both Republican and Democratic parties. Child victims of King's operations charged him with participation in at least one satanic ritual murder of a child several years ago. The Washington Post, New York Times, Village Voice and National Law Journal covered the full range of accusations after the story broke in November of 1988. King's money machinations were also linked to the Iran-Contra affair, and some say that King provided the CIA with information garnered from his alleged activities as a ``pimp'' for the high and mighty.

Pronto, the Barcelona-based, largest circulation weekly in Spain with 4.5 million readers, reported that the Lawrence E. King child prostitution scandal ``appears to directly implicate politicos of the state of Nebraska and Washington, D.C. who are very close to the White House and George Bush himself.''

The weekly stated that Roy Stephens, a private investigator who has worked on the case and heads the Missing Youth Foundation, ``says there is reason to believe that the CIA is directly implicated,'' and that the ``FBI refuses to help in the investigation and has sabotaged any efforts'' to get to the bottom of the story. Stephens says that ``Paul Bonnacci directly accused President Bush of being implicated'' in the affair when he testified before the Franklin Committee. [fn3] Bonnacci, who had been one of the child prostitutes, is identified by leading child-abuse experts as a well-informed, credible witness.

Lawrence King was no stranger to President Bush. And Lawrence King was no stranger to Craig Spence. Several of the Omaha child prostitutes testified that they had traveled to Washington, D.C. with King in private planes to attend political events which were followed by sex parties. King and Spence had much in common. Not only were they both Republican Party activists but they had gone into business together procuring prostitutes for Washington's elite.

Bush's name had repeatedly surfaced in the Nebraska scandal. But his name was first put into print in July 1989, a little less than a month after the Washington call boy affair had first made headlines. Omaha's leading daily newspaper reported, ``One child, who has been under psychiatric care, is said to believe she saw George Bush at one of King's parties.'' [fn4]

A full three years after the scandal had first made headlines, Bush's name again appeared in print. Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) carried a lengthy article, viewed by many political observers in Nebraska as an attempt to refute the charges which would not die, despite the termination of all official inquiries. The GQ piece disputed the allegations as a conspiracy theory that went out of control and resonated because of some mystical sociological phenomena allegedly unique to Nebraskan rural folk who will believe anything and burn ``with the mistrust of city life that once inflamed the prairie with populist passion.'' Numerous polls over the last few years have recorded over 90% saying they believe there has been a ``cover up'' of the truth.

GQ reported that yes, there was theft, corruption and homosexuality in this story, ``but no children were ever involved in this case.'' In fact, ``the only child even mentioned was a 9-year-old boy, whom the least reliable of Caradori's witnesses claimed to have seen in the company of George Bush at one of Larry King's Washington parties.''

Gary Caradori was a retired state police investigator who had been hired by the Nebraska Senate to investigate the case, and who had died mysteriously during the course of his investigations. [fn5]

Sound crazy? Not to Steve Bowman, an Omaha businessman who is compiling a book about the Franklin money and sex scandal. ``We do have some credible witnesses who say that `Yes, George Bush does have a problem.'... Child abuse has become one of the epidemics of the 1990s,'' Bowman told GQ. Allegedly, one of Bowman's sources is a retired psychiatrist who worked for the CIA. He added that cocaine trafficking and political corruption were the other principal themes of his book. [fn6]

It didn't sound crazy to Peter Sawyer either. An Australian conservative activist who publishes a controversial newsletter, Inside News, with a circulation of 200,000, dedicated his November 1991 issue entirely to the Nebraska scandal, focusing on President Bush's links to the affair. In a section captioned, ``The Original Allegations: Bush First Named in 1985,'' Sawyer writes,

"Stories about child sex and pornography first became public knowledge in 1989, following the collapse of the Franklin Credit Union. That is not when the allegations started, however. Indeed, given the political flavor of the subsequent investigations, it would be easy to dismiss claims that George Bush had been involved. He was by then a very public figure...."
If the first allegations about a massive child exploitation ring, centered around Larry King and leading all the way to the White House, had been made in 1989, and had all come from the same source, some shenanigans and mischievous collusion could be suspected. However, the allegations arising out of the Franklin Credit Union collapse were not the first.

Way back in 1985, a young girl, Eulice (Lisa) Washington, was the center of an investigation by Andrea L. Carener, of the Nebraska Department of Social Services. The investigation was instigated because Lisa and her sister Tracey continually ran away from their foster parents, Jarrett and Barbara Webb. Initially reluctant to disclose information for fear of being further punished, the two girls eventually recounted a remarkable story, later backed up by other children who had been fostered out to the Webb's [sic].

These debriefings were conducted by Mrs. Julie Walters, another welfare officer, who worked for Boys Town at the time, and who had been called in because of the constant reference by the Webb children and others, to that institution.

Lisa, supported by her sister, detailed a massive child sex, homosexual, and pornography industry, run in Nebraska by Larry King. She described how she was regularly taken to Washington by plane, with other youths, to attend parties hosted by King and involving many prominent people, including businessmen and politicians. Lisa specifically named George Bush as being in attendance on at least two separate occasions. ``Remember, this was in 1985,'' emphasized the Australian newsletter.

The newsletter reproduces several documents on Lisa's case, including a Nebraska State Police report, a State of Nebraska Foster Care Review Board letter to the Attorney General, an investigative report prepared for the Franklin Committee of the Nebraska Senate, and a portion of the handwritten debriefing by Mrs. Julie Walters. Peter Sawyer says that he obtained the documents from sympathetic Australian law enforcement officers who had helped Australian Channel Ten produce an exposé of a national child prostitution ring Down Under. The Australian cops seem to have been in communication with American law enforcement officers who apparently agreed that there had been a coverup on the Nebraska scandal. Subsequent investigations by the authors established that all four documents were authentic.

Mrs. Julie Walters, now a housewife in the Midwest, confirmed that in 1986 she had interviewed the alleged child prostitute, Lisa, who told her about Mr. Bush. Lisa and her sister Tracey were temporarily living at the time in the home of Kathleen Sorenson, another foster parent. Mrs. Walters explained that at first she was very surprised. But Lisa, who came from a very underprivileged background with no knowledge of political affairs, gave minute details of her attendance at political meetings around the country.

From Julie Walters' 50-page handwritten report:

3/25/86. Met with Kathleen [Sorenson] and Lisa for about 2 hours in Blair [Neb.] questioning Lisa for more details about sexual abuse.... Lisa admitted to being used as a prostitute by Larry King when she was on trips with his family. She started going on trips when she was in 10th grade. Besides herself and Larry there was also Mrs. King, their son, Prince, and 2-3 other couples. They traveled in Larry's private plane, Lisa said that at these trip parties, which Larry hosted, she sat naked ``looking pretty and innocent'' and guests could engage in any sexual activity they wanted (but penetration was not allowed) with her.... Lisa said she first met V.P. George Bush at the Republican Convention (that Larry King sang the national anthem at) and saw him again at a Washington, D.C. party that Larry hosted. At that party, Lisa saw no women (``make-up was perfect--you had to check their legs to make sure they weren't a woman'').
The polygraph test which Lisa took only centered around sexual abuse committed by Jarrett Webb. At that time, she had said only general things about Larry's trips (i.e. where they went, etc.). She only began talking about her involvement in prostitution during those trips on 3/25/86....

Lisa also accompanied Mr. and Mrs. King and Prince on trips to Chicago, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. beginning when she was 15 years old. She missed twenty-two days of school almost totally due to these trips. Lisa was taken along on the pretense of being Prince's babysitter. Last year she met V.P. George Bush and saw him again at one of the parties Larry gave while on a Washington, D.C. trip. At some of the parties there are just men (as was the case at the party George Bush attended)--older men and younger men in their early twenties. Lisa said she has seen sodomy committed at those parties....

At these parties, Lisa said every guest had a bodyguard and she saw some of the men wearing guns. All guests had to produce a card which was run through a machine to verify who the guest was, in fact, who they said they were. And then each guest was frisked down before entering the party. [fn7]

The details of the accusations against Mr. Bush are known to be in the hands of the FBI. A Franklin Committee report stated:

Apparently she [Lisa] was contacted on December 19 [1988] and voluntarily came to the FBI offices on December 30, 1988. She was interviewed by Brady, Tucker and Phillips.

She indicates that in September or October 1984, when [Lisa] Washington was fourteen or fifteen years of age, she went on a trip to Chicago with Larry King and fifteen to twenty boys from Omaha. She flew to Chicago on a private plane.

The plane was large and had rows of two seats apiece on either side of the interior middle aisle.

She indicates that King got the boys from Boys Town and the boys worked for him. She stated that Rod Evans and two other boys with the last name of Evans were on the plane. Could not recall the names of the other boys.

The boys who flew to Chicago with Washington and King were between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. Most of the boys were black but some were white. She was shown a color photograph of a boy and identified that boy as being one of the boys on the plane. She could not recall his name.

She indicates that she was coerced to going on the trip by Barbara Webb.

She indicates that she attended a party in Chicago with King and the male youths. She indicated George Bush was present.

She indicates that she set [sic] at a table at the party while wearing nothing but a negligee. She stated that George Bush saw her on the table. She stated she saw George Bush pay King money, and that Bush left the party with a nineteen year old black boy named Brent. Lisa said the party George Bush attended was in Chicago in September or October 1984. According to the Chicago Tribune of October 31, 1984, Bush was in Illinois campaigning for congressional candidates at the end of October.

Lisa added more details on the Chicago trip, and told why she was sure it was George Bush she had seen. According to a May 8, 1989 report by investigator Jerry Lowe, ``Eulice [Lisa] indicated that she recognized George Bush as coming to the party and that Bush had two large white males with him. Eulice indicated Bush came to the party approximately 45 minutes after it started and that he was greeted by Larry King. Eulice indicated that she knew George Bush due to the fact that he had been in political campaigns and also she had observed a picture of Bush with Larry King at Larry King's house in Omaha.''

There is no question that Lisa and Tracey Webb were abused in the way they claimed. But, in keeping with the alleged pattern of coverup, a Washington County, Nebraska judge in December 1990 dismissed all charges against their abusers, Jarrett and Barbara Webb. The judge ignored presented testimony of the 1986 report by Boys Town official Julie Walters. The report stated: ``Lisa was given four polygraph tests administered by a state trooper at the State Patrol office on Center Street in Omaha. The state trooper, after Lisa's testing was completed, told [another foster parent] he tried to `break Lisa down,' but he was convinced she was telling the truth.'' [fn8]

Furthermore, numbers of foster care officials and youth workers debriefed the sisters. All of them fully believed not only their general story of abuse, but specifically their account of Bush's involvement. The March 1986 report on Bush was incorporated into the Foster Care Review Board's official report presented to the Senate Franklin Committee and to law enforcement. As Kathleen Sorenson wrote in a report dated May 1, 1989, ``This was long before he [Bush] was president. It seems like there were more exciting people to `lie' about if that's what they were doing.'' [fn9]

The rumors about Mr. Bush were given new life when Dr. Ronald Roskens, the head of the Agency for International Development (AID), found himself the object of controversy. Executive Intelligence Review reported in the fall of 1991 that Dr. Roskens is the subject of a scandal in which he is being charged with violating federal laws and ethics codes, according to the Oct. 6 Washington Post. A report prepared by AID Inspector General Herbert Beckington, dated April 5 and leaked to the Post, charges Roskens with accepting thousands of dollars in payments from ``different organizations in compensation of his and his wife's travel expenses'' while Roskens was on official government travel. He also took money for a private trip from a company ``from which Roskens had agreed to divest himself as a condition of his presidential appointment.''

The inspector general concluded that the money accepted by Roskens was a clear conflict of interest and violated federal law against earning non-government income. But on Sept. 4, after reviewing the charges, the Department of Justice ... informed Beckington that it had decided not to prosecute--giving no explanation for its decision. The White House is reviewing the case.

Congressional investigators are already looking into the allegations. Should they scratch below the surface, they will find that this is not the first time Roskens has been touched by scandal. Although President Bush promised that he would not tolerate even the appearance of impropriety in his administration, Congress should not be surprised if the White House threatens to start ``breaking legs'' in Roskens's defense.

It is not just that Roskens is a personal friend of the President--although he is.... [A]n unimpeded investigation into Roskens could expose the link between Bush's little publicized birth control mania--much of which is carried out through the State Department's AID in the Third World--and the sexual depravity rampant in U.S. political and intelligence elites. Any such scandal could shatter the illusions of Bush's conservative base, many of whom still accept the President's claims to being ``pro-life,'' ``anti-drug,'' and an American patriot. It should also make anyone who thinks of the propaganda about Bush being the ``education President,'' deeply queasy.

Roskens left his home state of Nebraska for the nation's capital in early 1990 enmired in controversy. He had been fired suddenly as president of the University of Nebraska, in a secret meeting of the state Board of Regents in July 1989. No public explanation was given for his removal. Yet, within weeks, the White House offered Roskens the high-profile job in Washington. The administration knew about the controversy in Nebraska, but Roskens passed an FBI background check, and was confirmed to head AID.

The FBI appears to have overlooked a Feb. 19, 1990 investigative report by the late Gary Caradori [see footnote 5 below], an investigator for the ``Franklin Committee'' of the Nebraska Senate. He wrote, ``I was informed that Roskins [sic] was terminated by the state because of sexual activities reported to the Regents and verified by them. Mr. Roskins [sic] was reported to have had young men at his residence for sexual encounters. As part of the separation from the state, he had to move out of the state-owned house because of the liability to the state if some of his sexual behavior was `illegal.''' [fn10]

There has been no independent confirmation of the accusation. As of late December 1991, a congressional committee was looking into the charges.

_______________

Notes:

1. Washington Times, Aug. 9, 1989.

2. Washington Times, July 7, 1989.

3. Pronto (Barcelona, Spain), Aug. 3, 1991 and Aug. 10, 1991.

4. Omaha World-Herald, July 23, 1989.

5. On July 11, 1990, during the course of his investigations, Gary Caradori, 41, died in the crash of his small plane, together with his 8-year-old son, after a mid-air explosion whose cause has not yet been discovered. A skilled and cautious pilot, Caradori told friends repeatedly in the weeks before his death that he feared his plane would be sabotaged.

6. Gentleman's Quarterly, December 1991.

7. Report, written on March 25, 1986 by Julie Walters and authenticated by her in an interview in 1990.

8. Report, early 1989, compiled by Jerry Lowe, the first investigator for the Franklin Committee of the Nebraska State Senate.

9. A book recently published on the Nebraska affair by a former Republican state senator and decorated Vietnam veteran, John W. De Camp, The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse, Satanism and Murder in Nebraska (Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT, Inc., 1992) tells the whole story.

10. Executive Intelligence Review, Oct. 18, 1991.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:47 am

PART 1 OF 2

Chapter XXII -- Bush Takes The Presidency

Oderint dum metuant
(Let them hate me, provided that they fear me.)

-- Accius, "Atreus" (c. 125 BC), attributed by Suetonius to Caligula.


George Bush's quest for the summit of American political power was so sustained and so unrelenting that it is impossible to assign the beginning of his campaign for president to any specific date. It is more accurate to report that his entire tenure as vice president was consumed by the renovation and expansion of his personal and family network for the purpose of seizing the presidency at some point in the future. During this phase, Bush was far more concerned with organizational and machine-building matters than with ideology or public relations. For most of the 1980's, it was convenient for Bush to cultivate the public profile of a faithful and even obsequious deputy to Reagan, while using the office of the vice president to build a national-electoral and international-overt/covert power cartel.

This arrangement worked very well for Bush, since it gave the Bush camarilla considerable power in the inner councils of the second Reagan administration. But as the 1987-1988 period approached. it also became clear that Bush's public toadying to the Reagan mystique had been so exaggerated as to give rise to his notorious "wimp" problem. Bush could easily have refuted these charges by citing the long series of brutal and bloody covert and semi-covert interventions he had directed in his role as boss of the Special Situation Group, but he judged this impolitic.

Bush started with the knowledge that he was a weak candidate. Reagan had embodied the popular ideology in such a flawless way as to remind everyone of their favorite uncle; whatever the crimes of his administration, whatever the decline of their living standards, the masses could not hate him; this was why Reagan was such an ideal facade for regime that kept getting nastier. Reagan also had an ideological following of people who would support him almost without regard to what he did: Reagan was the beneficiary of the fully justified ideological backlash against the Democrats and Carter, against the Rockefeller-Ford liberal Republicans.

But Bush had none of this. He had no regional constituency in any of the half-dozen places he tried to call home; his favorite son appeal was diluted all over the map. He had no base among labor, blacks, or in the cities, like the Kennedy apparatus. Blueblood financiers gravitated instinctively to Bush, and his lifeline to the post-Meyer Lansky mob was robust indeed, and these were important factors, although not enough by themselves to win an election. Bush's networks could always tilt the media in his favor, but the Reagan experience had provided a painful lesson of how inadequate this could be against a clever populist rival. Otherwise, Bush's base was in the government, where eight years of patient work had packed the executive branch, the Congress and its staffs, and the judiciary with Bushmen. This would give Bush's effort undoubted power, but also an aroma of a modern Bonapartism of a special kind, of a regime in which the government asserts the imagined interests of government itself against the population, a vindictive and tyrannical government set above the people and in direct conflict with them. That would work well as long as the population were atomized and passive, but might backfire if they could find a point of coalescence against their tormentors.

Nor was it only that Bush lacked a loyal base of support. He also had very high negatives, meaning that there were a lot of people who disliked him intensely. Such animosity was especially strong among the ideological Reaganite conservatives, whom Bush had been purging from the Reagan Administration from early on. There would prove to be very little that Bush could do to lower his negative response rate, so the only answer would be to raise the negatives of all rival candidates on both sides of the partisan divide. This brutal imperative for the Bush machine has contributed significantly to the last half decade's increase in derogation and vilification in American life. Bush's discrediting campaigns would be subsumed within the "anything goes" approach advocated by the late Lee Atwater, the organizer of Reagan's 1984 campaign who had signed on with Bush well in advance of 1988.

Elements of Reagan's success posed a very real threat to Bush. There were for example the Reagan Democrats, many of them ethnic, Catholic, and blue collar workers in the mid-west and Great Lakes states who had turned their backs on the Democrats in disgust over the succession of McGovern, Carter, and Mondale and were now supporting Reagan. These voters were not likely to show up in the Republican primaries, but any that did so would hardly vote for Bush. In the general election, there was a real danger that they would be repelled by Bush and return to their traditional Democratic home, as squalid as that had become. Bush would need heavy camouflage to pass muster with these voters. The Bushmen recalled that before they had been Reagan Democrats, many of these intensely frustrated voters had flirted with Wallace in 1968 and 1972. The flag, the death penalty, and an appeal to racism might provide an ideological smokescreen for the patrician Bush.

Bush could not model his effort on Reagan's campaigns from 1968 on. For him, the closest model was that of Gerald Ford in 1976, a weak liberal Republican with powerful network and masonic support, but no issues, no charisma, and no popular appeal. Ford's defeat highlighted many of the pitfalls that Bush faced as he prepared for 1988. Ford and Carter had been locked in a virtual dead heat as the voters went to the polls. An honest count would have given Ford the election, but ballot-box stuffing by the Democratic machines in Ohio and New York City had given Carter the palm. Bush therefore had to pay attention to any marginal factors that might tilt a close race in his favor. Was it a coincidence that, during 1985 and 1986, the Democratic machines in Ohio and New York were decimated by scandals and indictments, much to the dismay of Ohio mob banker Marvin Warner, and Stanley Friedman and the late Donald Mannes, the corrupt borough presidents of the Bronx and of Queens? For Bush, these reckonings were simply the most elementary precautions, and a harbinger of what would befall rival candidates as the primaries drew nearer.

Bush also had to look back at his performance in the 1984 campaign, hardly an epic effort. Bush had gotten in some trouble because he had refused categorically to rule out a tax increase in terms as adamantine as Reagan's. Bush tried to wiggle out of press conferences where this came up: "No more nit-picking. Zippity doo-dah. Now it's off to the races," was his parting shot as he sought to exit one press conference where he was being grilled. Otherwise Bush was the ultra-orthodox Reagan cheerleader, judged "fawning" by Witcover and Germond: "he had the reputation of being a bootlicker, and his conduct in office did nothing to diminish it." [fn 1] Columnist Joseph Kraft wrote of Bush: "the patrician has tried to be a populist. He comes across, in consequence, as puerile." [fn 2]

Bush's big moment was his vice presidential debate with Geraldine Ferraro. During the debate, Bush remarked that the marines who had been killed in the bombing of their Beirut, Lebanon barracks in October, 1983 had "died in shame." On the morning after the debate, Bush went to Elisabeth, New Jersey for a rally with longshoremen. He said to a man in the crowd that "we tried to kick a little ass" in the debate with Ferraro. Then he saw that a microphone suspended from a boom was within earshot. "Whoops! Oh, God, he heard me! Turn that thing off," said the tough guy of the royal "we." Barbara Bush got in on the act with her quip that Ferraro was a "four million dollar --- I can't say it but it rhymes with rich." Britisher Teeley added that Ferraro was "too bitchy." [fn 3] In the most stupefied election of modern times, these slogans were the stuff of which great issues were made.

The Washington Post went after Bush as "the Cliff Barnes of American politics," a reference to a character in the soap opera Dallas whom the Post found "blustering, opportunistic, craven, and hopelessly ineffective all at once." Others, foreshadowing the thyroid revelations of 1991, talked about Bush's "hyperkinesis." Even the unsavory George Will commented that "the optimistic statement 'George Bush is not as silly as he frequently seems' now seems comparable to Mark Twain's statement that Wagner's music is better than it sounds." [fn 4]

There was thus very little hope that Bush could help himself by campaigning effectively. But did George have any new achievements in his resume that he could point to?

There were few that he would or could talk about. In the context of his "you die, we fly" role as Reagan's official surrogate at state funerals, he had met the new Soviet leader Yuri Andropov at Brezhnev's funeral for a "spook to spook" conversation, as Bush said. He had then met Michael Gorbachov at Andropov's funeral in the spring of 1985. But Bush would not want to play up his role in turning the "evil empire" Reagan of the first term into the summit-going "useful idiot of Soviet propaganda" of the second term, since this would stir up problems along Bush's right flank.

All Bush could talk about were his foreign trips. When Brezhnev died in November, 1982, Bush had been in Africa, whence he diverted to Moscow. This was a trip to seven black African states, including Nigeria and Kenya. When he got back to Washington he tried to capitalize on the African junket, which was undertaken in the spirit of the Reagan Administration's "constructive engagement", meaning in practice offering various rewards and inducements to the Pretoria regime while gently prodding them to withdraw from Namibia. In both Lagos and Nairobi, Bush was denounced for establishing a US-sponsored linkage between the departure of Cuban forces from Angola and the termination of the South African protectorate over Namibia. [fn 5]

In the summer of 1983, Bush went to Scandinavia, accompanied by scores of Secret Service agents and aides, bulletproof limousines, and White House communications equipment. Bush's staff were trying to plan photo opportunities and television perspectives in the tradition of Michael Deaver and Dr. Goebbels. During a visit to a memorial to the monument to Denmark's World War II resistance fighters, a US Navy officer on Bush's staff instructed the Danish protocol chief that Danish Prime Minister Schluter and other Danish officials had to be "herded" to one side as Bush strode toward the monument: a boorish insult, to say the least. (Bush's traveling entourage has gotten progressively uglier over the years, as we are reminded by the Bush party's clash with Swiss security officers at Geneva Airport during Bush's meeting with Hafez Assad in the fall of 1990. Hyperthyroid at the top infects the people further down the line.)

In Iceland, Bush gave a speech so generic that it was not clear if he had lost track of what country he was in. In Stockholm, he clashed heatedly with Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme over the US "contra" covert action programs in Central America. A few years later Palme was to be assassinated, and many attribute his death to his very detailed knowledge of the European dimension of Iran-contra. But for Bush the trip was a big success: he got to play tennis doubles with Bjorn Borg, and went fishing off Iceland. [fn ]

In May of 1984, Bush was off to India and Pakistan. Indira Gandhi was rightly suspicious of Bush, and had recently commented about bad US-Indian relations: "What can be done? The problem is the orientation of the [US] administration." [fn 7] The policy which Bush presented to Mrs. Gandhi included sharp cutbacks in residual US aid and US sabotage of loans to India by the international agencies. In November, 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated.

In March, 1985, Bush's handlers staged a globetrotting photo opportunity to begin building up their man for 1988. Bush flew to the Sudan, to Niger, and to Mali, where he was overtaken by word of the death of Konstantin Chernenko, the Soviet leader. Bush's "you die, we fly" operation took him at once to Moscow, where he met with Gorbachov, Nakasone of Japan, Helmut Kohl of Germany, Margaret Thatcher, Rajiv Gandhi, and Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan. Then it was on to post-invasion Grenada, followed by Bush's appearance at the inauguration of the new civilian government of Brazil. Here Bush dodged Danny Ortega, the leader of the Nicaraguan Sandinista regime, who wanted to confront Bush on US policy in the region. The ninth and last stop on Bush's junket was Honduras, where Bush visited with President Roberto Suazo Cordova, a key player in the world of contra policy. [fn 8]

Naturally, there was more to each one of these stops than met the eye. The insipid platitudes of Bush's public speeches were matched more often than not with vicious covert activity. Often the verbiage was at variance with the real policy, or soon would be. In 1981, Bush had been Reagan's envoy to an inauguration of President Marcos of the Philippines. Bush's toast to Marcos, "We love your adherence to democratic principle and to the democratic process" had been castigated by the liberal press (the New York Times called it "a real clanger"), but when the line changed and it was time for the US government to overthrow Marcos, it was the Bush apparatus that did it with the "people power" of the US-guided enrages of Manila.

One small window on the real dimensions of Bush's vice presidential travel agenda is provided by the visit to the Sudan just mentioned. During this trip, Bush was accompanied by televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell, two Elmer Gantries of the video ether, each with strong intelligence connections. Robertson made the trip with Bush, while Falwell was already in the country on a mission of his own in the framework of the ongoing famine in the Sahel region. Robertson brought a camera crew from his CBN network, which got a demagogic shot of Bush and Robertson slowly descending from Air Force Two in Khartoum while the band played "Hail to the Chief." Robertson was bringing relief supplies. On March 6, 1985, he told CBN that he was working with the genocidal US Agency for International Development on relief projects. Reliable Sudanese sources report that US AID policies are designed to exacerbate mortality in areas where they are applied.

Bush's urgent purpose was to arrange the overthrow of the President of the Sudan, Jaafar Nimiery, whom Wall Street wanted deposed. Bush seems to have some difficulty in planning and executing a swift and effective coup d'etat. His response to the Moscow putsch of August, 1991, "Coups can fail," reflected his own bitter experience, in Panama in October 1990 and in the case in point in the Sudan. The CIA was backing a group of junior officers who wanted to take power, but they dawdled too long. They waited until Nimiery left the country on a one-week visit to the United States. Then, instead of seizing the obvious nodal points, they spent a full week in orchestrating a typical CIA "people power" upsurge, with demonstrations in the streets of the capital and a strike by 10,000 doctors, teachers, bankers, and judges. Nimiery was by now flying back from the US. This inordinate delay allowed a group of senior officers who were not US puppets plenty of time to develop their own plan for a pre-emptive seizure of power. The senior group, led by General Abdul Rahman Swareddahab, acted decisively on April 6, 1985, catching Bush's junior officer clique flat-footed. [fn 9] The lustre was gone from Bush's reputation as a golpista, and it has never really returned.

Bush's trip to Khartoum was also designed to serve the Israeli Mossad. During his visit, Bush secured the consent of Nimiery to an Israeli airlift known as "Operation Moses," which transferred thousands of Ethiopian Jews from the Sudan to Israel. The Israeli presence was linked to the plan to topple Nimiery.

In July, 1985, Bush was President for a Day, when Reagan transferred his powers to the vice president before undergoing anesthesia in the course of an operation to remove an intestinal polyp. Bush had flown to Kennbunkport on July 12, the same day that Reagan was admitted to Bethesda naval hospital for an examination. When it was found that Reagan would require an operation the next day, Bush flew back from Kennbunkport to get his hands on the long-awaited levers of power. At 10:32 AM, Reagan signed letters to House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Senate President Pro Tempore StromThurmond passing the helm to Bush. Reagan's operation began slightly before noon, and Bush was acting president when he arrived at Andrews Air Force Base about half an hour later. Bush got to his home at the Naval Observatory and spent the rest of the day there. His staff said that nothing presidential happened before Reagan awoke from his anesthesia at 7:22 PM and signed a paper resuming his powers.

Had nothing presidential really happened? As Jack Anderson wrote some years later, it was really "nothing...unless you're talking to former president Gerald R. Ford, the king of pratfalls." It appears that Bush, doubtless overcome by the euphoria of power, had slipped while playing tennis and hit his head rather seriously. According to some high-level White House officials polled by the Jack Anderson column, the manic Bush had actually been "unconscious" for a time, but never "incapacitated." "It wasn't serious enough to be checked," according to a Bush aide, and Bush "slept it off." [fn 10] Not much here for a campaign speech celebrating Bush's experience, which now included a brief encounter with the dizzy apex of power itself.

For Reagan's State of the Union message in January, 1986, Bush's handlers worked hard to prevent him from "squirming, yawning, slumping, gazing into space and mostly looking...bored by his president." Bush was drilled into rapt attention for the Great Communicator's words by viewing embarrassing film clips of himself presiding over earlier joint sessions of the Congress. [fn 11] Otherwise, Bush had won some notoriety for changing his watchbands to match his suit. [fn 12]

More than anything, Bush wanted an early endorsement from Reagan in order to suppress or at least undercut challenges to his presumptive front-runner status from GOP rivals in the primaries; it was already clear that Senator Bob Dole might be the most formidable of these. Bush feared Dole's challenge, and desperately wanted to be anointed as Reagan's heir-apparent as soon as possible before 1988. But Reagan had apparently not gotten over the antipathy to Bush he had conceived during the Nashua Telegraph debate of 1980. According to a high-level Reagan Administration source speaking in the summer of 1986, "more than once the president [told Bush], 'Obviously, I'm going to stay neutral until after the convention, and then I'm going to work for whichever candidate comes out on top." [fn 13] Despite Bush's "slavish devotion," Reagan wanted to keep the door open to his good friend, Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada, whom Reagan apparently thought was getting ready to run for president. One can imagine Bush's rage and chagrin.

As the months went by, it became clear that there was no love lost on Bush by Reagan. Bush was running much of the administration, but he was not running Reagan in certain matters, and this seemed to be one of them. In the late summer of 1987, Reagan granted a magazine interview in which he seemed to praise Bush: "I don't know that there has ever been a vice president who has been more completely involved in all that goes on than this vice president." In the middle of Iran-contra, that might not have been exactly what Bush wanted. The Reagan was asked to cite examples. "I can't answer in that context," replied Reagan. Bush had grown up in the liberal GOP paradise of the Eisenhower years, and he could not help remembering old Ike's disparaging answer to a similar question that had invited him to name some decisions Vice President Nixon had participated in. "If you give me a week, I might think of one," quipped Ike. [fn 14]

Reagan stubbornly refused to come out for Bush until the endorsement could no longer help him in the Republican primaries. Reagan chose to wait until Super Tuesday was over and the rest of the Republican field had been mathematically eliminated. Reagan actually waited until Bob Dole, the last of Bush's rivals, had dropped out. Then Reagan ignored the demands of Bush's media handlers and perception-mongers and gave his endorsement in the evening, too late for the main network news programs. The scene was a partisan event, a very large GOP Congressional fundraising dinner. Reagan waited to the end of the speech, explained that he was now breaking his silence on the presidential contest, and in a perfunctory way said he would support Bush. "I'm going to work as hard as I can to make Vice President George Bush the next president of the United States," said old Ron. There were no accolades for Bush's real or imagined achievements, no stirring kudos. Seasoned observers found Reagan's statement "halfhearted...almost grudging." [fn 15]

Some day we may know how much of the public denigration of Reagan in accounts both true and invented, including studies showing mental impairment that surfaced in late 1987 and early 1988, was due to the efforts of a Bush machine determined to create the impression that a president who refused enthusiastically to endorse Bush was a mental incompetent. Had the Discrediting Committee been unleashed against the President of the United States? It would not be the first time.

Reagan's endless reticence meant that Bush had to work especially hard to pander to the right wing, to those people which he despised but nevertheless needed to use. Here Bush stooped to boundless public degradation. In December, 1985 Bush went to Canossa by accepting an invitation to a dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire held in honor of the late William Loeb, the former publisher of the Manchester Union Leader. We have already documented that old man Loeb hated Bush and worked doggedly for his defeat in 1980. Still, Bush was the "soul of humility," and he was willing to do anything to be able to take power in his own name. Bush gave a speech full of what the Washington Post chose to call "self-deprecating humor," but what others might have seen as groveling. Bush regaled 500 Republicans and rightists with a fairy tale about having tried in 1980 to woo Loeb by offering rewards of colored watchbands, LaCoste shirts and Topsider shoes to anyone who could win over Bill Loeb. The items named were preppy paraphernalia which Loeb and many others found repugnant.

Bush quoted what Loeb had said about him: "hypocrite...double-standard morality, involved up to his neck in Watergate...unfit to be the Republican nominee...incompetent; liberal masquerading as a conservative; a hypocrite...a spoon-fed little rich kid who has been wet-nursed to success," and so on from the series of 1979-1980 editorials. Bush then praised the author of these words as a man of "passionate conviction and strong belief...In never mincing his words or pulling his punches, Bill Loeb was part of a great tradition of outspoken publishers." Some of the assembled right-wingers repeated the line from the Doonesbury comic strip according to which Bush "had placed his manhood in a blind trust." Loeb's widow Nackey Scripps Loeb was noncommittal. "We have decided on a candidate for 1988--whoever best fights for the Reagan agenda," she announced. "Whether that person is here tonight remains to be seen," she added. [fn 16]

Lawfully, Bush had earned only the contempt of these New Hampshire conservatives. In October, 1987, when the New Hampshire primary season was again at hand, Mrs. Loeb rewarded Bush for his groveling with a blistering attack that featured reprints of Bill Loeb's 1980 barbs: "a preppy wimp, part of the self-appointed elite," and so forth. Mrs. Loeb wrote, "George Bush has been Bush for 63 years. He has been Ronald Reagan's errand boy for just the last seven. Without Ronald Reagan he will surely revert to the original George Bush." Mrs. Loeb repeated her late husband's 1980 advice: "Republicans should flee the presidential candidacy of George Bush as if it were the black plague itself." [fn 17]

Displays of this type began to inspire a more general public contempt for Bush during 1987. Bush was coming across as "deferential almost to the point of obsequiousness," "too weak, too namby-pamby." George Will, anxious to pick a winner, began to ridicule Bush as a "lapdog." The "wimp factor" was beginning to torment Bush. Old Bill Loeb was still making Bush squirm. Two veteran observers pointed out: "Reagan's own physical presence and self-confidence made Bush in contrast seem even weaker, and Bush's penchant for the prissy remark at times cast him as the Little Lord Fauntleroy of the campaign trail.." Bush said he was running a negative campaign so as not to leave the Democrats a monopoly on "the naughty stuff." [fn 18]

All of this culminated in the devastating Newsweek cover story of October 19, 1987, "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor.'" The article was more analytical than hostile, but did describe the "crippling handicap" of begin seen as a "wimp." Bush had been a "vassal to Kissinger" at the United Nations and in Beijing, the article found, and now even Bush's second term chief of staff said of Bush, "He's emasculated by the office of vice president." To avoid appearing as a television wimp, Bush had "tried for the past 10 years to master the medium, studying it as if it were a foreign language. He has consulted voice and television coaches. He tried changing his glasses and even wearing contact lenses. [...] Bush's tight, twangy voice is a common problem. Under stress, experts explain, the vocal cords tighten and the voice is higher than normal and lacks power." According to Newsweek, 51% of Americans found that "wimp" was a "seriously problem" for Bush. The magazine offered various sophomoric psychological explanations of how Bush got that way, mainly concentrating on his family upbringing. Here Bush was allegedly taught to conceal his sociopathic drives beneath a veneer of propitiation and sharing, as in his childhood nickname of "Have Half" George.

The Newsweek "wimp" cover soon had Bush chewing the carpet at the Naval Observatory. Bush's knuckle-dragging son George W. Bush called the story "a cheap shot" and added menacingly: "...I'd like to take the guy who wrote that headline out on that boat," i.e., the Aronow-built Fidelity in which Bush was depicted on the Newsweek cover. Which sounded very much like a threat. George W. Bush also called Newsweek Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas to inform him that the Bush campaign had officially cut off all contact with Newsweek and its reporters. The decision to put Newsweek out of business was made by candidate Bush personally, and aborted a plan by Newsweek to publish a book on the 1988 campaign. The press got the message: portray Bush in a favorable light or face vindictive and discriminatory countermeasures.

Bush campaigns have always advanced on a cushion of money, and the 1988 effort was to push this characteristic to unheard-of extremes. In keeping with a tradition that had stretched over almost three decades, the Bush campaign finance chairman was Robert Mosbacher, whose Mosbacher Energy Corporation is one of the largest privately held independent oil companies in Texas. Mosbacher's net personal worth is estimated at $200 million. During the 1988 campaign, Mosbacher raised $60 million for the Bush campaign and $25 million for the Republican National Committee. It was Mosbacher who formed the Team 100 corps d'elite of 250 fat cats, among whom we have seen Henry Kravis. The trick was that many of these $100,000 contributors were promised ambassadorial posts and other prestigious appointments, a phenomenon that would reach scandalous proportions during 1989. In 1984, Mosbacher's son Rob Jr. ran a strong but losing race for the senate seat vacated by John Tower.

Mosbacher by the mid-1980's had become a director of the biggest bank in Houston, and a member of the most exclusive clubs in the city. He was a central figure of that cabal of financiers and oil men which in the postwar years was called "the Suite 8F crowd," and which has since evolved into new forms. Mosbacher, Baker, and Bush are now at the center of the business oligarchy that runs the state of Texas.

Mosbacher was also a celebrity. When he was between his second and third marriages during the early 1980's, he was billed as Houston's most eligible bachelor. His third wife Georgette, a cosmetics entrepreneur, was the star of the Bush inaugural as far as the photographers were concerned. The Mosbachers habitually flew around the country in their own private jet, and maintained homes in New York, Washington DC, and the expensive River Oaks section of Houston.

During the mid-1980's, Mosbacher reportedly lined his pockets to the tune of $40 to $50 million through a scam called the Houston Grand Parkway. Mosbacher's gains derived from the Texas Transportation Corporation Act, which provided for the de facto privatization of highway building in conformity with the ideological tenets and fast-buck mentality of the Reagan-Bush economic climate. Local landowners were empowered to set up "transportation corporations" which would solicit donations of the rights-of-way of new roads, and which would fund the engineering studies for the roads. If right-of-way and design plans were approved, the state would proceed to actually build the roads.

In practice this became a gigantic speculation at the center of which lay Mosbacher's Cinco Ranch, a property he had acquired for $5 million in 1970. One provision of the bill was that many small landowners in the general area of the proposed rods would be hit by special road assessment tax levies of up to eight times the value of their property. Mosbacher cashed in by selling off his Cinco Ranch for $84 million, the highest price in Houston's history. The leap in the value of the land was made possible by the Grand Parkway passing right through the center of Mosbacher's ranch, a route that had been designed by a Mosbacher old boy network that reached into the Texas highway department. [fn 19]

Mosbacher's network for the Houston Grand Parkway caper included Harris County Commissioner Robert Y. "Big Bob" Eckels, whose personal friendship and close political ties with George Bush were well known. [fn 20] Eckels was a landowner who stood to benefit from the new road-building projects permitted under the new law. Eckels was also a dedicated GOP activist who made the Harris County government into a de facto arm of the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984. In 1985, Houston press reports showed that Big Bob Eckels had deployed county government employees, county government telephones, and county computer equipment to organize and service a group calling itself National Conference of Republican County Officials which, according to Roanoake County, Virginia Treasurer Fred Anderson, functioned as "a working arm for the White House and the national [Republican] party." [fn 21] Eckels later admitted that he had also spent at least $20,000 of his own funds for "a world" of mailings for the Reagan-Bush ticket and had not reported these expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Eckels was convicted on misdemeanor charges of accepting a gift from a county contractor in the form of a road on his Austin County tree farm. Eckels had been indicted six times while still in office, on various charges.

By June, 1989, Eckels was in semi-retirement on his tree farm, but was telling the press that he was working on his autobiography which he assured a reporter would not be just a "muck-raking deal." [fn 22] This book project was widely viewed in Houston as an attempt by Eckels to develop a retaliatory capability to ward off possible further attacks by his own former partners.

Big Bob Eckels may have been serving George Bush in other ways as well. In the spring of 1985, Houston attorney Douglas Caddy says he was told by Richard Brown of the International Intelligence Network Corporation that "a secret Reagan-Bush campaign fund" with "$1.5 million in it" had been uncovered following the 1984 presidential campaign. Caddy alleged that Brown told him the fund was "controlled by Harris County Commissioner Bob Eckels." According to Caddy, Brown further alleged that "IRS Criminal Intelligence knows about it." According to Caddy, Brown was a person with links to both the FBI and the IRS. Caddy also asserts that a report of the existence of the secret fund was also repeated to him by private investigator Clyde Wilson. [fn 23] During May 1988 and June 1989, Caddy wrote to the FBI and the FEC on the matter. The FEC declared the allegations Matter Under Review (MUR) 2925, but later decided in February 1991, despite "reason to believe" Caddy's charges, to take no action. [fn 24] During 1989, Caddy was hit by an Internal Revenue Service audit which led to an IRS assessment of hundreds of thousands of dollars of penalties against him, a lien on his property, and other measures. In Caddy's view, this audit was a retaliation against his having raised the issue of the $1.5 million Reagan-Bush campaign fund.

Further investigation of this potentially embarrassing complex of allegations was greatly hindered by the death of Robert Y. Eckels on December 24, 1989.

Bush's big money campaigning was especially dependent upon Texas oilmen, whose largesse he required to stoke his political machine. Bush was running a political action committee called the Fund for America's Future which raised $3.9 million in off-year 1985, a hefty sum. Of that take, about a fifth was raised from 505 Texas donors, with Texans giving more than the residents of any other state. $135,095 of Bush's money harvest came from persons who could be clearly identified as oil industry figures, and the rakeoff here was probably much greater. When the price of a barrel of oil fell during this period from $39 to $12, Bush had a big problem. His donors began to squawk.

Overall, the collapse of the oil price, itself a result of the world-wide industrial depression, was a boon to the bankrupt US dollar. The insolvent greenback was shored up by this new subsidy, which restored a little of the currency's ability to command some real commodities in the real world. But for Bush's immediate cronies and money-minded political base, it was a disaster. "You've got to figure George was getting banged around by all his oil friends, particularly the drillers, who have been hurt the most," a Congressional Bushman told the Washington Post. [fn 25] Sure enough, Bush's old pal Bill Liedtke, now the president of POGO Producing in Houston, a drilling company, confirmed that his man was highly attuned to the issue: "George understands very well that you're going to lose a certain percentage of production permanently if the price goes too low. Ever since I have known him, back to the Eisenhower era, he has been very sensitive to the connection between a strong [oil] industry and national security." [fn 26] Robert Mosbacher, Bush's moneybags, confirmed this view in spades: "I always find that when I talk to George about the oil and gas business, he's up to speed. He has two sons in the business, and he stays in touch through them."

The collapse of the oil price posed a real problem that should have been answered by introducing an oil tariff with a trigger price of $25 per barrel, so that the domestic price of oil would never fall below that figure, as was proposed at the time by Lyndon LaRouche and a few spokesmen for the oil patch. That would have been the equivalent of setting up a parity price for oil, and would have given domestic producers solid certainties for long-term development and planning. But the Reagan Administration in general was still wedded to the president's irrational fetishism of "the magic of the marketplace," and would violently oppose anything smacking of dirigism or re-regulation.

Bush was not interested in a parity price for oil. He rather took advantage of a scheduled trip to the Middle East, during which he was supposed to be discussing regional security matters, to talk up the price of oil with his long-time crony King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Bush expressed his concern about "the free fall" of oil prices and talked with Fahd about "how [the Saudis] feel there can be some stability to a market that certainly can't be very happy to them." He denied that he had come to Saudi Arabia on a "price-fixing mission," but invoked national security. Bush lectured Saudi Oil Minister Zaki Yamani about the saturation of the world oil market. The implication was clear: the Saudis were supposed to cut back their production. [fn 27] It was a few weeks later that the US bombed Libya.

Bush sanctimoniously claimed that his remarks had nothing to do with the quest for political advantage. His performance may have played well in the oil patch, but reviews elsewhere were not laudatory. A White House official said that "poor George" had committed "a gaffe" that was sure to hurt him in New Hampshire. Reagan was still very committed to free market forces setting the price of oil, was the word in this quarter. Up in the rust bowl, the Detroit News headlined: "Bush to Michigan: Drop Dead." A Dole spokesman gloated that "given Bush's background, the last thing he needs to be doing is carrying water for the oil industry and the international banks....It was as if his whole resume was talking."

Once again, as so frequently in his career, politics was proving unkind to the hopes of George Bush. By the spring of 1987, Bush was "catching the dickens" out on the hustings for his Iran-contra activities. On the Democratic side, Gary Hart, the former senator from Colorado who had run second to Mondale through the 1984 primaries, was emerging as a clear front-runner. With his own efforts foundering, Bush had every reason to fear succumbing in a long season of photo opportunities in competition with Hart. But if politics was fickle, there was always the bedrock of covert action.

Gary Hart talked about being the candidate with new ideas, but he had an immense vulnerability. He was a habitue of Turnberry Isle, a 234 acre earthly paradise located north of Miami. Part of the complex was a 29 story condominium. Turnberry was frequented by celebrities of the sports and entertainment world, by politicians and by Mafiosi like Joey Ippolito, a convicted marijuana kingpin. The developer and manager of Turnberry was Don Soffer, who was also the owner of a yacht named the Monkey Business. (After the February, 1987 murder of Don Aronow, Soffer received a telephone call, from a person who told him, "You're next." Soffer hired extra bodyguards and went for a one-week Atlantic cruise on the Monkey Business.) Soffer was a friend of Don Aronow. Ben Kramer was also a frequent visitor to Turnberry Isle. The establishment employed a staff of hostesses who were termed "Donnie's girls" or "the party girls". According to some, these hostesses doubled as luxury prostitutes for the Turnberry clientele of wealthy male patrons.

Among the employees of Turnberry was the sometime model Donna Rice. Another woman, Lynn Armandt, was in charge of the staff of party girls, and also had retail space for a bikini boutique in an upscale and remunerative Turnberry shopping complex. Lynn Armandt was the widow of a reputed Ben Kramer associate, a Miami drug dealer and underworld figure who had disappeared and never been found. The car of Armandt's husband was eventually found, riddled with machine-gun slugs and stained with blood. In the glove compartment, investigators found the telephone number of Ben Kramer.

When federal agents raided Ben Kramer's Fort Apache Marina on August 28, 1987, they examined the contents of Kramer's safe and found the original manuscripts of early primary stump speeches by Gary Hart. [fn 28]

At 8:30 PM on the evening of Monday, April 27, 1987, journalist Tom Fiedler, who had just written a story on the rumors of sexual promiscuity that had begun to surface around the Gary Hart campaign, received a telephone call at his office. It was just after Gary Hart had told E.J. Dionne of the New York Times, "Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me. go ahead. They'd be very bored." An extensive and well-organized network in the media was hyping the story that Hart was promiscuous. The telephone call received that day by Fiedler was from a woman who told him, "Gary Hart is having an affair with a friend of mine. We don't need another president who lies like that." The next morning at 10:30 AM the same woman called back with the report that her female friend was likely to accept an invitation to spend the weekend with Gary Hart at his Washington townhouse, and that the friend was likely to make the trip by air Friday evening. Published sources and unnamed aides in the Gary Hart campaign have identified Lynn Armandt as the woman who made this call to Tom Fiedler of the Miami Herald, although Fiedler denies this is true. [fn 29]

These telephone calls led to the stakeout of Hart's townhouse by Fiedler and other reporters of the Miami Herald who came upon Hart together with Donna Rice, detonating the scandal which destroyed Hart's candidacy.

The woman caller described herself as a liberal Democrat but a foe of mendacity. She told Fiedler that she and her girlfriend had spent time on a yacht with Hart and an older man named Bill who was supposedly Hart's lawyer. This turned out to be a cruise by Hart, Donna Rice, Lynn Armandt and Hart's lawyer William Broadhurst plus a crew of five on board the Soffer-owned "chartered yacht" Monkey Business to Bimini and back in the springtime. Donna Rice later confirmed she had met Hart at Turnberry.

William Broadhurst or "Billy B." was a Washington lawyer and Hart backer who served the candidate as an operative on the campaign trail. Broadhurst had a Capitol Hill townhouse near Hart's. Broadhurst later explained that Lynn Armandt had come to Washington to consider his offer to be a social director for his lobbying and entertaining activities in Washington. Broadhurst said that Donna Rice had come along with her friend Lynn Armandt, and that both women had stayed overnight at his house, not at Hart's. Lynn Armandt soon left Washington after the story had broken, and the Hart campaign people said they never heard from her again.

There is no need to recount the ostracism and revelations that followed, leading to the destruction of Gary Hart as a political figure. Nor is it our intention here to defend the lost cause of the decidedly unsavory former Senator Hart. But given the situation of the Bush campaign in April-May, 1987, we are reminded by Seneca's "Cui prodest" proposition that the Bushmen as prime beneficiaries would necessarily qualify as prime suspects if any "naughty stuff" were to overtake Hart, as it did. Our suspicions can only be heightened by the obvious degree to which Bush, Aronow, Kramer, Soffer, Armandt, and Rice must be seen virtually as one interrelated social amalgam in the setting of Miami, Thunderboat Alley, Turnberry Isle, and the Monkey Business. Perhaps an old score was being settled here as well, dating back to December, 1975, hearings in which Gary Hart had taunted Bush about the Liedkte money laundering apparatus referenced in Richard M. Nixon's "smoking gun" tape.

James Baker was the titular head of the Bush campaign, but the person responsible for the overall concepts and specific tactics of the Bush campaign was Lee Atwater, a political protege of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Thurmond had been a Democrat, then a Dixiecrat in 1948, then a Democrat again, and finally a Republican. The exigencies of getting elected in South Carolina on the GOP ticket had taught Thurmond to reach deeply into that demagogue's bag of tricks called the wedge issues. Under Thurmond's tutelage, Atwater had become well versed in the essentials of the Southern Strategy, the key to that emergent Republican majority in presidential elections which Kevin Phillips had written about in 1968. Atwater had also imbibed political doctrine from the first practitioner of the Southern Strategy, the dark-jowled Richard M. Nixon himself. In January 1983, for example, Lee Atwater, at that time deputy director of the White House office of political affairs (and a creature of the Bush-Baker connection), met with Nixon for three and a half hours in Columbia, South Carolina. Nixon held forth on three points: the decisive political importance of the Sun Belt, the numerical relations within the Electoral College, and the vast benefits of having no primary competition when seeking re-election. Atwater found that Nixon knew the Electoral College like the back of his hand, and knew that the electoral votes of the southern states were the key to the ball game as presently constituted. Nixon had railed against two Congressmen, Pete McCloskey of California and John Ashbrook of Ohio, who had challenged him from the left and right when he sought re-election in 1972. "Those guys were two gnats on my ass," complained Nixon. [fn 30] Bush has obviously attributed great importance to Nixon's advice that all primary competition be banned during the quest for a second term. Nixon's advice underlines the real problems posed for Bush by a candidacy like that of television commentator Pat Buchanan.

In 1988 as well, Nixon was brought in to be the spiritus rector of the Bush campaign. During March of 1988, when it was clear that Bush was going to win the nomination, Nixon "slipped into town" to join George Bush, Bar, and Lee Atwater for dinner at the Naval Observatory. This time it was Bush who received a one hour lecture from Tricky Dick on the need to cater to the Republican right wing, the imperative of a tough line on crime in the streets and the Soviets (again to propitiate the rightists), to construct an independent identity only after the convention, and to urge Reagan to campaign actively. And of course, where Nixon shows up, Kissinger cannot be far away. [fn 31]

1988 saw another large-scale mobilization of the intelligence community in support of Bush's presidential ambitions. The late Miles Copeland, a high-level former CIA official who operated out of London during the 1980's, contributed a piece frankly titled "Old Spooks for Bush" to the March 18, 1988 issue of National Review. (Since the magazine's editor, William Buckley, was a notorious Skull and Bones cultist, the allusion to "spooks" assumed the character of an insider pun.) Copeland based his endorsement of Bush on the candidate's anti-Soviet firmness, a viewpoint that seems odd in retrospect. Copeland suggested that Bush would go back to the procedures of staff work that had been standard under Eisenhower: "Ronald Reagan is apparently oblivious of this simple 'Standard Operation procedure,' but we know from experience that Bush isn't. This is why my old friends and I are in George Bush's corner in the presidential race: we see him not only as one who has the wisdom, discretion, and ability to grasp the facts of our situation on the international gameboard, but as one who will appoint as his key advisors real experts in the relevant fields -- unlike the inexperienced men with whom President Reagan has surrounded himself. [...] It happens that we are in a state of national crisis, but, due to the Soviets' success at dezinformatzia and to our peculiar susceptibilities, it isn't recognizable. We see Bush as the candidate who, speaking with a voice of authority, can make it recognizable." This statement is doubly interesting because it is a clear precursor of the mood of bureaucratic triumphalism that marked the early weeks of the Bush Administration, when the new team launched what was billed as a "policy review" on Soviet relations to get back to hard bargaining after the departure of the slobbering sentimentalist Reagan.

Bush and Atwater feared all their competition. They feared former Gov. Pierre DuPont of Delaware because of his appeal to liberal and blueblood Republicans who might otherwise automatically gravitate to Bush. They feared New York Congressman Jack Kemp because of his appeal to the GOP right wing, to the blue-collar Reagan Democrats, and his disturbing habit of talking about the Strategic Defense Initiative and many other issues. They feared that Senator Bob Dole of Kansas with his "root canal economics," right-wing populism, and his solid backing from the international grain cartel might appear more credible to the Wall Street bankers than Bush as an enforcer of austerity and sacrifices. But at the same time, they knew that Bush had more money to spend and incomparably more state by state organization than any of his GOP rivals, to say nothing of the fabled Brown Brothers, Harriman media edge. Bush also ruled the Republican National Committee with Stalin-like ferocity, denying these assets to all of his rivals. This allowed Bush to wheel towards the right in 1986-87 to placate some of his critics there, and then move back towards the center by the time of the primaries. Indeed, Bush's many layers of money and political apparatchiki made it possible for him to absorb even stunning defeats like the outcome of the Iowa caucuses without folding. Victory, thought Bush, would belong to the big battalions.

But all the money and the organization could not mask the fact that Bush was fundamentally a weak candidate. This began to become obvious to Atwater and his team of perception mongers as the Iowa caucuses began to shape up. These were the caucuses that Bush had so niftily won in 1980, imparting to him the fickle charisma of the Big Mo. By 1988, Bush's Iowa effort had become complicated by reality, in the form of a farm crisis that was driving thousands of farmers into bankruptcy every week. Farm voters were now enraged against the avuncular thespian Ronald Reagan and were looking for a way to send a message to the pointy-headed set in Washington DC. Governor Branstad of Iowa complained as early as February, 1986: "I don't think his advisors are even keeping [Bush] informed on the extent of the farm crisis. We've got a crisis in agriculture and no one is in charge." Bush's Iowa campaign was dripping with lucre, but this now brought forth resentment among the grim and grey-faced rural voters.

In mid-October, 1987, five of the six declared Republican candidates attended a traditional Iowa GOP rally in Ames, just north of Des Moines, on the campus of Iowa State University. Televangelist Pat Robertson surprised all the others by mobilizing 1,300 enthusiastic supporters for the Saturday event. The culmination of this rally was a presidential straw poll, which Robertson won with 1,293 votes to 958 for Dole. Bush trailed badly with 864. This was the occasion for Bush's incredible explanation of what had happened: "A lot of people that support me, they were off at the air show, they were at their daughters' coming out parties, or teeing up at the golf course for that all-important last round." [fn 32] Many Iowans, including Republicans, had to ask what a debutante cotillion was, and began to meditate on the fact that they were not socially acceptable. But most concluded that George Bush was the imperial candidate from another planet, bereft of the foggiest notion of their lives and their everyday problems.

During the buildup to the Iowa caucus, Bush continued to dodge questions on Iran-contra. The famous "tension city" encounter with Dan Rather took place during this time. Lee Atwater considered that performance Bush's defining event for the campaign, a display which made him look like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Gary Cooper, especially in the south, where people like a pol who "can kick somebody's ass" and where that would make a big difference on Super Tuesday.

But Bush's handlers were nevertheless shocked when Dole won the Iowa caucuses with 37% of the vote, followed by Robertson with 25%. Bush managed only a poor show, with 19%, a massive collapse in comparison with 1980, when he had been far less known to the public.

Bush had known that defeat was looming in Iowa, and he had scuttled out of the state and gone to New Hampshire before the results were known. Bush was nevertheless stunned by his ignominious third-place finish, and he consulted with Nick Brady, Lee Atwater, chief of staff Craig Fuller and pollster Bob Teeter. Atwater had boasted that he had built a "fire wall" in the southern Super Tuesday states that would prevent any rival from seizing the nomination out of Bush's grasp, but the Bush image-mongers were well aware that a loss in New Hampshire might well prove a fatal blow to their entire effort, the advantages of money, networks, and organization notwithstanding. Atwater accordingly ordered a huge media buy of 1,800 gross rating points, enough to ensure that the theoretical New Hampshire television viewer would be exposed to a Bush attack ad 18 times over the final three days before the election. The ad singled out Bob Dole, judged by the Bushmen as their most daunting New Hampshire challenger, and savaged him for "straddling" the question of whether or not new taxes out to be imposed. The ad proclaimed that Bush "won't raise taxes," period. Bush was glorified as opposing an oil import tax, and for having supported Reagan's INF treaty on nuclear forces in Europe from the very beginning. It was during this desperate week in New Hampshire that Bush became indissolubly wedded to his lying and demagogic "no new taxes" pledge, which he repudiated with considerable fanfare during the spring of 1990.

The Bush campaign brought in former Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams, test pilot Chuck Yeager, and finally even old Barry Goldwater to help humanize George's appearance on the hustings. George worked a long day, putting in five or six radio interviews before 7:30 AM, proceeding to a staged telegenic campaign event for the local evening news and then campaigning intensively at locations suggested to him by New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, his principal supporter in the state.

When Bush had arrived in Manchester the night of the disastrous Iowa result, Sununu had promised a nine point victory for Bush in his state. Oddly enough, that turned out to be exactly right. The final result was 38% for Bush, 29% for Dole, 13% for Kemp, 10% for DuPont, and 9% for Robertson. Was Sununu a clairvoyant? Perhaps he was, but those familiar with the inner workings of the New Hampshire quadrennials are aware of a very formidable ballot-box stuffing potential assembled there by the blueblood political establishment. Lyndon LaRouche pointed to pervasive vote fraud in the 1988 New Hampshire primaries, and Pat Robertson, as we shall see, also raised this possibility. The Sununu machine delivered exactly as promised, securing the governor the post of White House chief of staff. Sununu soon became so self-importantly inebriated with the trappings of the imperial presidency as reflected in his travel habits that it was suggested that the state motto appearing on New Hampshire license plates be changed from "Live Free or Die" to "Fly Free or Die." In any case, for Bush the heartfelt "Thank You, New Hampshire" he intoned after his surprising victory signaled that his machine had weathered its worst crisis.
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