The Sellouts in the Fourth Estate
by Wayne Madsen
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "Journalists who would give up some credibility for a little government access deserve neither." Too many members of the Washington press corps have become nothing more than toadies for the current administration. While every administration can be expected to have its fair share of loyalists penning favorable pieces on the news, editorial, and op-ed pages, what is amazing in the current environment is the lemming-like rush by a number of heretofore liberal and progressive reporters to support the Bush II administration's extreme right-wing policies. These modern day quislings in the media even provide the White House with helpful cover from investigations by more independent-minded journalists.
Such has certainly been the case with the recent publication in English of "Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban, Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia, and the Failed Search for Bin Laden." Written by French journalists Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, the book's first French language publication in Europe caused a major furor. But it was not with the French government or its friends in the media. The angst was among members of the Bin Laden family -- the so-called "good bin Ladens" and those who have done business in the past with George W. Bush and his father. Yeslam bin Laden, one of the "good" bin Ladens in Switzerland sued the authors for the information they provided on the bin Laden family's past business dealings. The suit went no where because the authors had absolute proof that not everything the bin Ladens have done in finance and business has been on the up and up.
But now, some self-appointed media spokespeople in Washington have taken up the cause that the bin Ladens wisely decided to drop. They have criticized Forbidden Truth without having read it or only having read snippets from it. It would appear that they have taken their cue from a White House family, who, like the bin Ladens, seem to have an awful lot to hide. The book has also been criticized for being unsourced when, in fact, it has over 500 footnotes. Footnoting and providing references is a practice that some of Washington penultimate journalistic insiders, including Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, should adopt in their own future docu-novels concerning administration cover-ups and malfeasance.
That Washington's media elite appears to be anesthetized to Bush's current drive to turning the United States into some mirror image of East Germany, China, or Pinochet's Chile cannot be overstated. The creation of the Freedom Corps, with neighbors turning in neighbors under the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), the scrapping the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 to once again permit Federal troops to engage in civil law enforcement (including the possibility of their providing "security" at polling places this November and in November 2004), having booksellers, librarians, and video rental clerks report on the reading and viewing habits if their customers, and even the suggestion by a Bush appointee to the US Civil Rights Commission that internment camps may be necessary for Arab-Americans all point to an administration that is hell bent on destroying this country in order to save it.
So the media elite, in some perverted and confused quest to show its loyalty to the Bush family, has decided that linking its policies in Afghanistan and the Middle east to its past oil dealings, is somehow off the mark, "out there," unworthy of consideration. Reconstructed liberal and progressive journalists throw around the "C word" (conspiracy) to detract from those who write about the massive evidence that points to the Bushes having traded the nation's economic well-being and national security for personal profit. Grandfather Bush, Prescott, certainly did this during World War II when his investments included companies that supported Nazi Germany's war effort.
Now we have Neil Bush, from Silverado Savings and Loan infamy, cutting deals all over the Middle East using Daddy's and Dubya's business and political connections in that part of the world. And why shouldn't he? Dubya did this with a lucrative pipeline deal in Argentina for Enron in 1989 when he was pimping for Enron and Daddy was in the White House gearing up for a war with Iraq, another act that would eventually line the pockets of the Bushes.
Brisard and Dasquie provide concrete evidence how this same self-serving approach to business permitted the Taliban to negotiate with senior members of the Bush administration on a lucrative pipeline deal just weeks prior to the al Qaeda terrorists slamming commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. It's the same mind set that in 1990 convinced U.S. ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie to tell Sadaam Hussein that the Bush I administration had no interest in his inter-Arab border dispute involving Kuwait. We now all know why the Bush family had no great interest in that "minor" dispute. They made a fortune from it, along with then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, whose Halliburton company helped rebuild the oil infrastructures of both Kuwait and Iraq.
And now we have some of the same players standing to make a fortune from a trans-Asian CentGas pipeline that will extend from Turkemenistan, through Afghanistan, to Pakistan's Indian Ocean port of Gwadar. Dubya's, Cheney's, and Condoleezza Rice's Big Oil friends at Unocal, Halliburton, Chevron, and Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil all stand to make a handsome profit from the CentGas deal. Enron, in concert with Bush's Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, actually developed the feasibility study for the pipeline. And current Secretary of the Army, Thomas White, who now influences U.S. military policy in Afghanistan, was a Vice President of Enron in charge of such "special deals." So its little wonder we are told in Forbidden Truth that representatives of the Bush administration told the representatives of the Taliban in Berlin in July 2001 that they would be faced with a "carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs." Its so arch-typical Bush.
Meanwhile, First Brother Neil has found lucrative comfort in Saudi Arabia, the home of 15 of the 19 hijackers of 911. His company, Ignite!, Inc., an e-learning educational software company, has been busy finding clients in the educational community of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It's always a great thing to find better ways to teach. But we also know that schools in these countries are financed and influenced by the Wahhabi clerical structure, the most radical form of Islam that preaches violence against Christians, Jews, and even fellow Shia and Sufi Muslims. It is, therefore, astounding that Brother Neil would be trying to sell software to schools that can then put vile and extremist religious rantings online and accessible to more "students," madrassas , and future terrorists throughout the Middle East. But then again, when have the Bushes ever cared about the consequences of their business dealings?
In fact, so-called "homeland security" also seems made to order for the Bushes. From 1994 to 1999, Neil ran Interlink Management Corporation from 10000 Memorial Drive in Houston in the same building where Daddy Bush has his office. Interlink is a venture capital firm that funded start-up companies in the biotech fields, including many that are currently engaged in bio-war defenses involving people, animals, and crops. Once again, how convenient for the Bushes. Has anyone at the FBI thought about looking into these firms and how they may have profited from the anthrax attacks against the Democratic leadership of the Senate? Probably not, wait -- certainly not!
And who is one of Neil Bush's best friends and advocates in the Middle East? A leader who said this following 911: "the United States must not to act in haste, it must give diplomacy and legal means every opportunity before launching a military strike on Afghanistan, it must not rush to accuse people without hard evidence." His name is Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates, a country that was one of three to recognize the Taliban and a center for the financing of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Last October, while visiting Dubai, Brother Neil praised the good Shaikh as a man with "foresight and vision." Bush's other escort was Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, the Finance Minister of Dubai and someone who certainly had his pulse on the millions of dollars sent through the emirate on their way to the Taliban and Pakistani madrassas and Islamic "charities."
So once again, the Bushes are up to their asses with corruption and questionable business partners and acquaintances. "Forbidden Truth" highlights some of these. But it is only a start. But the Washington-based sell outs in the Fourth Estate cannot be counted on to expose the rest of the Bush dirty business deals. And they extend far and wide: The Caryle Group and Barrick Gold, on whose boards Daddy Bush serves -- the first company does business with the Bin Laden Group while the second is involved with questi onable CIA-backed regimes in Africa; Scowcroft Associates, headed by Daddy Bush's National Security Adviser and Dubya's Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board -- it is involved with shady deals from the privatization of South Africa's state-owned telecommunications company to the CentGas deal; JNB International, an oil firm that along with Enron used Bush influence to get oil and gas contracts in Argentina; M&W Pump and its partner Bush-El, Florida firms that used Jeb Bush to intercede with it in military-ruled Nigeria in 1989; and the list goes on and on.
If only the media elite in Washington would just stop shooting their own messengers and begin focusing on the real issues in this town, we might all be able to breathe a little easier.