The Carlyle Group
This huge investment company (it manages over US$13 billion in assets) is headed by Frank Carlucci, a former Defence Secretary and National Security Council head under President Reagan. Carlucci was also Donald Rumsfeld's college roommate at Princeton. Richard Darman, formerly President Bush Sr's director of the Office of Management and Budget, is the managing director. Highly paid "consultants" to the company include several retired world leaders. If you ever wonder why some world leaders support the Iraq war so strongly against the wishes of their populations, the retirement rewards can be considerable.
Not the least of the retired leaders is President George Bush Sr., who is a large Carlyle stockholder, sometime Carlyle board member and has earned substantial fees working for Carlyle since he left office. Indeed he has received at least US$80,000 per "speaking engagement", although it seems to be his personal contacts and presumed ability to influence the powerful that prompted such generous compensation.
Bush senior's connection with the company presumably began when his son, George W. Bush, was offered a director's position on the board of a Carlyle subsidiary, Caterair, in 1990 when his father was President. Bush Sr. is also senior advisor of Carlyle's Asia Advisory Board. As well, the first President Bush twice visited the bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia (November 1998 & January 2000) on Carlyle business besides other meetings with family members elsewhere.
Another key Carlyle figure as a "senior counsellor" is James Baker (James A. Baker III), a former Republican Secretary of State and close Bush family friend. Baker was leader of the final "Team Bush" grab for office during the disputed election process in Florida in 2000 (he was notorious for dropping the mask briefly on TV & snarling outright the Bush determination to seize power).
A huge Carlyle investment has been in the United Defence company, suppliers of many of the armoured vehicles for the Iraq war. Carlyle is now finally selling out of that company, but not before making enormous profits (the bin Laden family were earlier offered a 40% return on their investment in Carlyle).
Other lucrative benefits for Carlyle's investments deriving from the Bush wars have come from USIS, a privatised former federal agency that does security vetting for a huge range of sensitive positions, and EG&G, a weapons testing & related services company recently sold by Carlyle for a handy US$675 million.
Aircraft components subsidiaries of Carlyle such as Vought Aircraft and Composite Structures also promise well for the group's bottom line, in the light of the critical use of aircraft in the Bush administration's wonderfully profitable business of the "war against terror". Among other current Carlyle investments are Lier Siegler Services, providing logistics and maintenance, and Federal Data Systems, selling information technology to the US Air Force and other government agencies.
The Carlyle Group gave some US$358,000 to Republican candidates in 2000. They have since profited handsomely from their investment.
Carlyle, the Bush family and the Saudis
Perhaps the most embarrassing single detail about Carlyle is that on the morning of September 11 2001, it was holding its annual investor's conference at the Washington Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a gathering that included Shafiq bin Laden, half-brother of Osama. Following on from that is the scandal of how numerous members of the Bin Laden family were able to leave America after 9/11 on a special flight approved by the White House, without any adequate cross examination. But we should not really be surprised at that, considering the considerable ties between the Bush family and the bin Ladens. (Later the bin Ladens withdrew their Carlyle investments, or so we are told. With the secretive Carlyle Group you have to rely on their word).
However numerous other Saudi investors, including the Saudi royal family, continue to have large amounts of capital invested in Carlyle. Given that nearly all of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals and none were Iraqis, it would have been more" logical" - given the new Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strikes - for the US to invade Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq in order to quell Al Qaeda and cut off its funding sources and recruiting ability.
Instead, ties of profit by Bush family & administration members ensured that the Saudi regime would be protected at all costs, even though it funds the Wahabist Islamic evangelical push around the world, from which nearly all Al Qaeda members derive. When it comes to religion versus family profit, born-again George has no hesitation in short-changing his own Christian evangelical constituency in favour of underwriting rich Saudi Islamic fundamentalists instead.
The current President Bush also has an uncle, a brother of his father, named William Bush. William Bush, nicknamed "Bucky", holds a director's seat on the board of a St Louis, Missouri-based company called Engineered Support Systems Incorporated (ESSI). ESSI has recently done "very well thank you" as a military contractor to the Pentagon.
Uncle Bucky personally has done even better. In fact in January 2005 he sold 8,438 share options in the company for around $450,000 as just one benefit. No-bid contracts relating to the Iraq war have helped the company to record profitability. An interesting point is that in 2003, ESSI was granted contracts for equipment to help search for, and protect US soldiers from Iraq's chemical and biological weapons, the ones that didn't exist. Of course no one involved in trumping up a fictitious case for the Iraq invasion knew that - or did they? If they did, it's interesting how cleverly you can perpetuate a scam within a scam if you have the right connections.
And in a final Team Bush irony, key Carlyle figure James Baker, who is one of the closest friends and political operatives of the Bush family, has donned his lawyer's hat to represent members of the Saudi royal family against family members of 9/11 victims who are suing them. When it comes to family values the Bushes leave no victims unburned. The President has also selected a former partner of Baker's law firm, Bob Jordan, as his ambassador to Saudi Arabia (confirmed in this position on 5 October 2001).