The Family That Preys Together – the Bush Family
by Jack Colhoun
CovertAction Quarterly, 1992
excerpted from the book
edited by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
George Jr.’s BCCI Connection
"This is an incredible deal, unbelievable for this small company," analyst Charles Strain told Forbes magazine, describing the oil production sharing agreement the Harken Energy Corporation signed in January 1990 with Bahrain.
Under the terms of the deal, Harken was given the exclusive right to explore for gas and oil off the shores of the Gulf island nation. If gas or oil were found in waters near two of the world’s largest gas and oil fields Harken would have exclusive marketing and transportation rights for the energy resources. Truly an "incredible deal" for a company that had never drilled an offshore well.
Strain failed to point out, however, the one fact that puts the Harken deal in focus: George W. Bush, the eldest son of George and Barbara Bush of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., is a member of Harken’s board of directors, a consultant and a stockholder in the Texas-based company. In light of this connection, the deal makes more sense.
The involvement of Junior – George Walker Bush’s childhood nickname-with Harken is a walking conflict of interest. His relationship to President Bush, rather than any business acumen, made him a valuable asset for Harken, the Republican Party benefactors, Middle East oil sheikhs and covert operators who played a part in Harken’s Bahrain deal. In fact Junior’s track record as an oilman is pretty dismal. He began his career in Midland, Texas, in the mid-1970s when he founded Arbusto Energy, Inc. When oil prices dropped in the early 1980s, Arbusto fell upon hard times. Junior was only rescued from business failure when his company was
purchased by Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, a small oil firm owned by William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds. As part of the September 1984 deal, Bush became Spectrum 7’s president and was given a 13.6 percent share in the company’s stock. Oil prices stayed low and within two years, Spectrum 7 was in trouble.
In the six months before Spectrum 7 was acquired by Harken in 1986, it had lost $400,000. In the buy out deal, George "Jr." and his partners were given more than $2 million worth of Harken stock for the 180-well operation. Made a director and hired as a "consultant" to Harken, Junior received another $600,000 of Harken stock and has been paid between $42,000 and $120,000 a year since 1986.
Junior’s value to Harken soon became apparent when the company needed an infusion of cash in the spring of 1987. Junior and other Harken officials met with Jackson Stephens, head of Stephens, Inc., a large investment bank in Little Rock, Arkansas (Stephens made a $100,000 contribution to the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 and gave another $100,000 to the Bush dinner committee in 1990.)
In 1987, Stephens made arrangements with Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) to provide $25 million to Harken in return for a stock interest in Harken. As part of the Stephens-brokered deal, Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh, a Saudi real estate tycoon and financier, joined Harken’s board as a major investor. Stephens, UBS and Bakhsh each have ties to the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
It was Stephens who suggested in the late 1970s that BCCI purchase what became First American Bankshares in Washington, D.C. BCCI later acquired First American’s predecessor, Financial General Bankshares. At the time of the Harken investment, UBS was a joint-venture partner with BCCI in a bank in Geneva, Switzerland. Bakhsh has been an investment partner in Saudi Arabia with Gaith Pharoan, identified by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board as a "front man" for BCCI’s secret acquisitions of U.S. banks.
Stephens, Inc. played a role in the Harken deal with Bahrain as well. Former Stephens bankers David and Mike Edwards contacted Michael Ameen, the former chief of Mobil Oil’s Middle East operations, when Bahrain broke off 1989 talks with Amoco for a gas and oil exploration contract. The Edwardses recommended Harken for the job and urged Ameen to get in touch with Bahrain, which he did.
"In the midst of Harken’s talks with Bahrain, Ameen-simultaneously working as a State Department consultant-briefed the incoming U.S. ambassador in Bahrain, Charles Hostler," the Wall Street Journal noted, adding that Hostler, a San Diego real estate investor, was a $100,000 contributor to the Republican Party. Hostler claimed he never discussed Harken with the Bahrainis.
Harken lacked sufficient financing to explore off the coast of Bahrain so it brought in Bass Enterprises Production Company of Fort Worth, Texas, as a partner. The Bass family contributed more than $200,000 to the Republican Party in the late 1980s and early l990s.
On June 22, 1990, George Jr. sold two-thirds of his Harken stock for $848,560-a cool 200 percent profit. The move was well timed. One week after Junior sold his stock, Harken announced a $23.2 million loss in quarterly earnings and Harken stock dropped sharply, losing 60 percent of its value over the next six months. On August 2,1990, Iraqi troops moved into Kuwait and 541,000 U.S. forces were deployed to the Gulf.
"There is substantial evidence to suggest that Bush knew Harken was in dire straits in the weeks before he sold the $848,560 of Harken stock," asserted U.S. News ~ World Report. The magazine noted Harken appointed Junior to a "fairness committee" to study possible economic restructuring of the company. Junior worked closely with financial advisers from Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Company, who concluded "only drastic action could save Harken."
George Jr. also violated Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations which require "insider" stock deals to be reported promptly in Bush’s case by July 10, 1990. He didn’t file the stock sale with the SEC until the first week of March 1991.
Meanwhile, a cloak-and-dagger aura surrounds Junior’s business dealings. James Bath, a Texas entrepreneur who invested $50,000 in Arbusto Energy, may be a business cutout for the CIA. Bath also acted as an investment "adviser" to Saudi Arabian oil sheikhs, linked to the outlaw BCCI, which also has ties to the CIA.
Bill White, a former Bath partner, claims that Bath has "national security" connections. White, a United States Naval Academy graduate and former fighter pilot, charges that Bath developed a network of offshore companies to camouflage the movement of money and aircraft between Texas and the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.
Alan Ouasha, a Harken director and former chair of the company, is the son of attorney William Ouasha, who defended figures in the Nugan Hand Bank scandal in Australia. Closed in 1980, Nugan Hand was not only tied to drug-money laundering and U.S. intelligence and military circles, but also to the CIA’s covert backing for a "constitutional coup" in Australia that caused the fall of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
The Harken deal with Bahrain raises another troubling question: Did the Bahrainis and the BCCI-linked Saudi oil sheikhs use the production sharing agreement with Harken to curry favor with the Bush Administration and influence U.S. policy in the Middle East?
Talat Othman’s sudden rise to prominence in Bush Administration foreign policy circles is a case in point. Othman, who sits on the Harken board as Sheikh Bakhsh’s representative, didn’t have access to President Bush before Harken’s Bahrain agreement.
"But since August 1990, the Palestinian-born Chicago investor has attended three White House meetings with President Bush to discuss Middle East policy," the Wall Street Journal pointed out. "His name was added by the White House to a select list of 15 Arab-Americans chosen to meet with President Bush, [then White House Chief of Staff John] Sununu and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft in the White House two days after Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Prescott’s Big Asian Adventure
Prescott Bush, Jr., the president’s older brother, also has a knack for nailing down "incredible deal[s]." Prescott took advantage of his brother’s first presidential visit abroad in February 1989 to schedule a business trip to the same countries-China, Japan and South Korea.
Prescott arrived in Tokyo on February 14,1989,10 days before President Bush’s stop in Japan, to drum up business for Prescott Bush Resources Ltd., a real estate and development consulting company. Prescott said he was dealing with four Japanese companies wanting to do business in the United States.
From Japan, Prescott went to China, where he had a joint partnership with Akoi Corporation to develop an $18 million golf course and resort near Shanghai. Prescott had introduced the Tokyo-based Akoi to Chinese officials in 1988. With a 30 percent stake in the project, Prescott used his China connections to pave the way for capital-rich Akoi. Akoi had run into business obstacles in China because of lingering Chinese resentment over Japan’s brutal occupation of China in the 1930s and 1940s.
Some of Prescott’s most controversial business deals have been with Asset Management International Financing & Settlement Ltd., a Wall Street investment firm which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since fall 1991. Prescott was hired by Asset Management, which paid him a $250,000 fee for consulting in its joint venture with China to set up its internal communications network. Asset Management enlisted Prescott’s services soon after President Bush imposed economic sanctions in June 1989 in response to Beijing’s brutal crackdown on antigovernment demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.
Under the sanctions, United States export licenses were suspended for $300 million worth of Hughes Aircraft satellites, a key component of Asset Management’s joint venture with the Chinese Government. The satellites would beam television programming to broadcasters in China and provide telecommunications links for the country’s far-flung provinces. In November 1989, Congress passed additional sanctions specifically barring the export of U.S. satellites to China unless the president found the sale "in the national interest."
On December 19,1989, President Bush lifted the sanctions that blocked the satellite deal, citing "the national interest." Two months earlier, the Bush Administration had granted Hughes Aircraft "preliminary licenses" to exchange data with Chinese officials to ensure that the satellites met the technical specifications of the Long March rockets which would launch them into space.
Meanwhile, Prescott was hard at work in the summer of 1989 as middleman in the takeover of Asset Management by West Tsusho, a Tokyo-based investment firm linked to one of Japan’s biggest mob syndicates. Prescott, as head of Prescott Bush & Co., received a $250,000 "finder’s fee" from West Tsusho when the deal was closed and was promised an annual retainer of $250,000 over the next three years as a "consultant." Asset Management, however, went bankrupt in March 1991. In May 1992 West Tsusho filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against Prescott claiming that he reneged on his promise to protect the mob-linked firm’s $5 million investment in Asset Management.
According to Japanese police, West Tsusho is controlled by the Inagawakai branch of the Yakuza, the Japanese equivalent of the Mafia crime syndicate. By the mid-1980s, the Yakuza were buying up real estate and investments in Japan and overseas to launder their ill-gotten profits from drug sales, prostitution, gambling and extortion. Yakuza’s annual income is estimated at $10 billion.
Like George Jr., Prescott combined business with secret operations. He offered his services to the covert operations of the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 and later to the Reagan Administration.
A September 3, 1980, letter from Prescott to James Baker indicates Prescott was part of the Reagan-Bush campaign’s secret surveillance of the Carter Administration’s efforts to obtain release of U.S. hostages held in Iran. Prior to inauguration, the Reagan-Bush campaign recruited retired military and intelligence officers to monitor activities of the CIA, the Defense Department, the National Security Council, the State Department and the White House. This operation later became known as the "October Surprise."
"Herb Cohen-the guy that offered help on the Iranian hostage situation-called me yesterday afternoon," Prescott wrote in a letter designated "PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL." "Herb has a couple of reliable sources on the National Security Council, about whom the [Carter] Administration does not know, who can keep him posted on developments."
Prescott continued, "He cannot come out now and say that Carter is going to do something on Iran in October because he said everything is a contingency plan that is loose and fluid from day to day… Herb says, however, that if he and others in the administration who really care about the country and cannot stand to see Carter playing politics with the hostages, see Carter making a move to politicize the release of the hostages, he and they will come out at that time and expose him."
Prescott’s covert associations continued while his younger brother was vice-president. He appears to have aided the Reagan Administration’s clandestine support of the Nicaraguan Contras. In the 1980s, he served on the advisory board of Americares; the U.S.-based relief organization with ties to prominent right-wing Republicans and the intelligence community. Bush’s other son, Marvin, also helped the family’s pet charity and accompanied a flight of medical supplies to Nicaragua three days after Chamorro’s inauguration.
An undisclosed amount of the $680,000 in Americares aid to Honduras was delivered to Nicaraguan Miskito Indian guerrillas. Based in Honduras, they were aligned with the CIA-funded Contras, according to Roberto Alejos, a Guatemalan sugar and coffee grower who coordinated the Americares project in Honduras. In 1960, Alejos had permitted the CIA to use his plantations to train right-wing Cubans in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
In 1985 and 1986, after Congress cut off U.S. aid to the Contras, Americares donated more than $100,000 worth of newsprint to the pro-Contra newspaper La Prensa in Managua. Americares supplied $291,383 in food and medicine and $5,750 in cash to Mario Calero, New Orleans-based quartermaster and arms purchaser for the Contras and brother of Contra leader Adolfo Calero. In this same period, groups associated with Lt. Col. Oliver North’s off-the-shelf Contra arms network provided covert support for La Prensa.
Jeb: Liaison to Anti-Castro Right
George Herbert Walker Bush’s second eldest son, John Ellis or Jeb, was also linked to clandestine schemes in support of the Contras. Soon after congressional prohibition in late 1984, Jeb helped put a right-wing Guatemalan politician, Dr. Mario Castejon, in touch with Oliver North. Jeb acted as the Reagan Administration’s unofficial link with the Contras and Nicaraguan exiles in Miami.
Jeb was contacted in February 1985 by a friend of Castejon, who gave him a letter from Castejon to be passed on to then Vice-President Bush. In his letter, Castejon, a pediatrician and later an unsuccessful National Conservative Party presidential candidate, requested a meeting with George Bush to discuss a proposed medical aid project for the Contras. Jeb forwarded the letter to his father. In a March 3, 1985, letter, VicePresident Bush expressed interest in Castejon’s proposal to create an international medical brigade.
"I might suggest, if you are willing, that you consider meeting with Lt. Colonel Oliver North of the President’s National Security Council Staff at a time that would be convenient for you," Bush wrote. "My staff has been in contact with Lt. Col. North concerning your projects and I know that he would be most happy to see you. You may feel free to make arrangements to see Lt. Colonel North, if you wish, by corresponding directly with him at the White House or by contacting Philip Hughes of my staff."
Castejon later met with North in the White House, where he also saw President Ronald Reagan. When Castejon returned to Washington for a second visit, he was introduced to members of North’s secret Contra support network, including retired Maj. Gen. John Singlaub and Contra leader Adolfo Calero. Castejon also met with a group of doctors working with Rob Owen, North’s liaison with the Contras.
"He [Castejon] was offering us a pipeline into Guatemala," said Henry Whaley, a former arms dealer who said he was asked by his intelligence community connections to help Castejon. Whaley was optimistic about opening a new shipping route to the Contras through Guatemala. "If you can move Band-Aids," he reportedly said, "you can move bullets."
With Castejon, Whaley prepared a proposal to the State Department for the purchase of medical supplies for the contras from the Department’s newly established Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office. The document included requests for mobile field hospitals and light aircraft to evacuate wounded Contra guerrillas. Congress approved $27 million in "humanitarian" aid to the contras in 1985.
The Castejon proposal was hand-delivered to TGS International Limited in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. Whaley said he sent the report to TGS so it would be "quietly" forwarded to the CIA. TGS International is owned by Ted Shackley, who was CIA Associate Deputy Director of Operations when Bush Sr. headed the Agency in 1976-77.
Jeb had another Contra connection in his involvement with Miguel Recarey, Jr., a right-wing Cuban who headed the International Medical Centers (IMC) in Miami. In 1985 and 1986, Recarey and his associates gave more than $25,000 in contributions to political action committees controlled by then Vice-President Bush.
In 1986, Recarey hired Jeb, a real estate developer, to find a new headquarters for IMC. Jeb was paid a $75,000 fee, even though he never located a new building.
In September 1984, two months after IMC’s $2,000 contribution to the Dade County Republican Party, which was headed by Jeb, the vicepresident’s son contacted several top HHS (Department of Health and HumanServices) officials on behalf of IMC. "Contrary to rumors, [Recarey] was a good community citizen and a good supporter of the Republican Party," one official of the HHS remembered Jeb telling him in late 1984. Jeb successfully sought an HHS waiver of a rule so that IMC could receive more than 50 percent of its income from Medicare.
Leon Weinstein, an HHS Medicare fraud inspector, worked on an audit of IMC in 1986; he has charged that IMC used Medicare funds to treat wounded Contras at its hospital. The transaction was arranged by IMC official Jose Basulto, a right-wing Cuban trained by the CIA, who arranged for Contras to receive treatment in Miami.
Basulto was praised for his commitment by Felix Rodriguez: "He has been active for a decade in supporting the Nicaraguan freedom fighters ever since the Sandinistas took power and is constantly organizing Contra support among Miami’s Cuban community. He has even been to Contra camps in Central America, helping to dispense humanitarian aid."
At the same time as Recarey was providing medical assistance to the Contras, he was embezzling Medicare funds. IMC, one of the largest health maintenance organizations in the United States, received $30 million a month for its Medicare patients, clearing $1 billion in federal monies from 1981 to 1987. While he headed IMC, Recarey’s personal wealth jumped from $1 million to $100 million, U.S. investigators believe.
"IMC is the classic case of embezzlement of government funds," according to Robert Teich, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office on Labor Racketeering in Miami. Teich described PAC’s skimming Medicare funds as a "bust-out" where money was "drained out the back door." A Florida state investigator concluded in a 1982 report that some federal funds IMC received "are being put in banks outside the country."
Recarey’s links to the Mafia also raised eyebrows in Washington. "As far back as the 1960s, he had ties with reputed racketeers who had operated out of pre-Castro Cuba and who later forged an anti-Castro alliance with the CIA," the Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal added that the late Santos Trafficante, Jr., the Mafia boss of Florida, "helped out when Recarey needed business financing." Trafficante, a major drug trafficker, joined a failed CIA effort to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
Recarey’s access to Republican circles was probably one reason he was able to rip off U.S. tax dollars for so long. He hired former Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger, the public relations firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, which was close to the Reagan White House and attorney John Sears, a former Reagan campaign manager, to look out for his interests in Washington.
Recarey fled the United States in 1987 to avoid a federal indictment for racketeering and defrauding the U.S. Government. The Bush Administration has made no effort to extradite him from Venezuela where he is currently living.
Jeb Linked to Smugglers and Thieves
Jeb Bush has also been linked to Leonel Martinez, a Miami-based rightwing Cuban-American drug trafficker Martinez, who was linked to Contra dissident Eden Pastora, was involved in efforts to smuggle more than 3,000 pounds of cocaine into Miami in 1985-86. He was arrested in 1989 and later convicted for bringing 300 kilos of cocaine into the United States. He also reportedly arranged for the delivery of two helicopters, arms, ammunition and clothing to Pastora’s Costa Rica-based Contras.
Federal prosecutors in Miami have a photograph of Jeb and Martinez shaking hands but won’t release the photo to the public. Whether Jeb was aware of Martinez’s drug trafficking activities is not known, but it is known that Leonel and his wife Margarita made a $2,200 contribution to the Dade County Republican Party four months after Jeb became the chair of the local GOP.
It is also known that Martinez wrote $5,000 checks to then Vice President Bush’s Fund for America’s Future in both December 1985 and July 1986 and made a $2,000 contribution to the Bush for President campaign in October 1987.
Martinez’s construction company gave $6,000 in October 1986 to Bob Martinez (no relation), the GOP candidate for governor in Florida; he was governor from 1987 to 1991. At that time, Vice-President Bush was serving as head of the South Florida Drug Task Force and later as chair of the National Narcotics Interdiction System, both set up to stem the flow of drugs into the United States. While Bush was drug czar, the volume of cocaine smuggled into the United States tripled.
President Bush later appointed Bob Martinez in 1991 head of the U.S Office of National Drug Control Policy-the drug czar to succeed the controversial William Bennett.
Jeb Gets in on the BCCI Action
In 1988, Jeb was mentioned in a deposition taken by a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), which was investigating drug-money laundering operations in the United States.
"I saw Jeb Bush two or three times over there with [Abdur] Sakhia," stated Aziz Rehman, a junior BCCI Miami official in the 1980s. "This was all part of the bank’s trying to cultivate public officials and prominent individuals." Rehman said BCCI’s practice was to "bribe" government officials in the United States.
"Jeb Bush, V.P. George Bush’s son," Sakhia noted in a 1986 BCCI document, was a "name… to be remembered."
Jeb’s name also shows up in a September 1987 BCCI document written by Amjad Awan, then a senior BCCI-Miami official. The memorandum planned a BCCI breakfast meeting with a senior level delegation from the People’s Republic of China and high Florida state government officials, including Secretary of Commerce Jeb Bush. Among the Chinese delegation was Ge Zhong Xue, Deputy Division Chief of the Ministry of Public Security, a top police official.
Meanwhile, Jeb and his business partner Armando Codina profited handsomely when the Bush Administration bailed out Broward Federal Savings and Loan in Sunrise, Florida, which went belly up in 1988. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) absorbed $285 million in bad loans, including a $4.6 million loan by the Bush-Codina partnership. According to the deal struck by federal regulators, the Bush-Codina partnership wrote a check for $505,000 to the FDIC and the government paid off the remaining $4.1 million of the loan for an office building on which Jeb and Codina defaulted. As a result of the bailout, the Bush-Codina partnership retained possession of its office building at 1390 Brickell Avenue in Miami’s posh financial district.
Currently, Jeb is involved in a number of joint ventures with Codina, a Miami real estate developer who is also a leader of the right-wing Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). The Brickell Avenue office building is owned by IntrAmerica Investments. Jeb was listed in business documents in 1985 and in 1986 as the president of IntrAmerica Investments and the building is managed by one of Jeb’s real estate companies. Codina owns 80 percent of the building, while Jeb owns the remaining 20 percent. Jeb has acted as the Reagan and Bush administration’s liaison with the politically influential Cuban exile community in South Florida. Jorge Mas Canosa, president of CANF, succinctly described Jeb’s role as the ultraright Cuban-American community’s liaison with the White House: "He is one of us."
Jeb Asks Dad To Free Terrorist As a link to that powerful and wealthy South Florida community, Jeb has been a tireless supporter of some of the most reactionary Cuban-American political causes-from promoting CANF projects like Radio and TV Marh to lobbying for the release of anti-Castro terrorist Orlando Bosch from a Miami jail TV propaganda broadcasts into Cuba, considered by legal experts a violation of the International Telecommunications Convention, are fully subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.
Anti-Castro terrorist Orlando Bosch was paroled in 1990 after Jeb lobbied the Bush Administration for his release from prison in Miami Bosch had been jailed in 1988 for jumping bail on a 1968 conviction for shooting a bazooka at a Polish freighter in the Miami harbor. He is better known as the mastermind of the explosion of a Cuban commercial airliner over Barbados on October 5,1976, in which 73 passengers were killed. A U.S. District Court judge revealed in 1988 that secret U.S. documents concluded Bosch was a leader of the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), which was responsible for more than 50 anti-Castro bombings m Cuba and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere. The Cuban Government filed an order for his extradition in May 1992.
"Tell Him… The Vice-President’s Son" Called
"There was no conflict of interest," third Bush son Neil told reporters after the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) in Washington issued a notice of intent in January 1990 to hold a hearing on the failure of Silverado Banking Savings and Loan. Neil had been a member of Silverado’s board of directors from 1985 to 1988.44 Federal regulators shut down Silverado shortly after George Bush was elected president in 1988. The federal bailout cost U.S taxpayers $1 billion.
Neil was responding to charges made in an OTS report that he had breached his fiduciary duty" to Silverado by engaging in unethical business deals while a board member of the Denver Savings and Loan. The report documented that Neil personally profited from questionable Silverado loans to his business partners, Ken Good and Bill Walters. Good and Walters later defaulted on $132 million in loans to Silverado, leaving the taxpayers to pick up the tab.
The OTS report alleged that Neil failed to disclose his business connections to Good and Walters when he voted to approve a $900,000 line of credit to Good International, Inc. Neil got Silverado to write a letter of recommendation to authorities in Argentina, where Good International m partnership with Neil’s JNB Exploration Company, was exploring for gas and oil. Good also gave the President’s third son a $100,000 loan to invest in the commodities market, which Bush was never required to repay.
Neil failed to inform Silverado that Walters had contributed $150,000 to the initial capitalization of JNB Exploration, or that Walters’ Cherry Creek National Bank in Denver extended a $1.5 million line of credit to JNB Exploration. Neil put up a paltry $100 in start-up funds in 1983 when he founded JNB Exploration, but over the next five years was paid $550,000 in salary drawn from the Cherry Creek National Bank line of credit.
Neil brought few business skills to his job at JNB Exploration but he was adept at cashing in on his family name. "Tell him Neil Bush called," Neil once told the secretary of a wealthy Denver oil entrepreneur. "You know, the vice-president’s son."
"Neil knew people because of his name," acknowledged Evans Nash, one of Neil’s partners at JNB Exploration. "He’s the one that got us going. He’s the one that made it happen for us."
When Neil left JNB Exploration in 1989, the company had yet to discover a profitable gas or oil well.
Neil: The Sensitive One
Neil’s business partners also included shady characters with ties to the world of covert operations. In 1985, Good received an $86 million loan from the Dallas Western Savings Association, which was tied to Robert Corson, a Texas developer and reputed CIA operative and Herman Beebe, Sr., a convicted Mafia associate of Louisiana mob boss Carlos Marcello.
Neil profited from the Western Savings loan to Good, because the loan helped Good buy Gulfstream Land and Development, a Florida real estate company. Good made Neil a board member of one of Gulfstream’s subsidiaries in 1988. Bush was paid $100,000 a year to attend occasional Gulfstream board meetings before it went out of business in 1990.
Investigative reporter Pete Brewton identified Corson as a CIA operative in a long Houston Post series on CIA links to organized crime and failed savings and loans. "One former CIA operative told the Post that Corson frequently acted as ‘a mule’ for the Agency, meaning he would carry large sums of money from country to country," Brewton wrote.
Corson’s Vision Banc Savings in Kingsville, Texas, loaned millions to Mike Atkinson, a Corson associate, for a Florida land deal put together by Lawrence Freeman. Freeman, who laundered money for Santos Trafficante, Jr., was also tied to veteran CIA operative Paul Helliwell. In the Bahamas, Helliwell set up Castle Bank and Trust Ltd., which was the CIA’s primary financial front in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 1960s and 1970s. Castle laundered funds for the Agency’s covert operations against Cuba. Walters had ties to Richard Rossmiller, a Beebe associate. In the mid-1970s, Walters was a part owner with Rossmiller, of Peoples State Bank m Marshall, Texas, at the same time as Rossmiller was doing business with Beebe.
Wayne Reeder, another Beebe associate, a big borrower from Silverado, defaulted on a $14 million loan. Reeder was involved in an unsuccessful arms deal with the Contras. Reeder accompanied his partner, John Nichols, in 1981 to a weapons demonstration attended by Contra leaders Eden Pastora and Raul Arana, both of whom were interested in buying military equipment from Nichols.
"Among the equipment were night vision goggles… and light machine guns," according to the book, Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans. "Nichols… had a plan in the early 1980s to build a munitions plant on the Cabezon Indian Reservation near Palm Springs, California, in partnership with Wackenhut, the Florida security firm. [But] the plan fell through."
There was another Silverado-contra connection, however, that didn’t fall through. E. Trine Starnes, Jr., the third largest Silverado borrower, was a major donor to the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty (NEPL), directed by Carl "Spitz" Channell, which was a part of Oliver North’s Contra funding and arms support network. A NEPL document, "Top 25 Contributors as of October 3, 1986," showed Starnes contributed $30,000 to NEPL’s Central America Freedom Program. Starnes closed a deal with Silverado on September 30, 1986, for three business loans totaling $77.5 million, on which Starnes later defaulted.
The Central America Freedom Program was a propaganda effort in conjunction with the Reagan Administration’s campaign in 1986 to win congressional support for resuming arms aid to the Contras. When the administration wooed potential NEPL donors, Starnes was invited to a January 30, 1986, White House briefing, which included Reagan, National Security Adviser John Poindexter, White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan and Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams. Congress resumed U.S. arms aid to the Contras in mid-1986.
George Herbert Walker Bush is the first former CIA director to serve as president. The implications for U.S. politics of Bush’s move from CIA headquarters to the White House are profound and chilling, but seldom the subject of mainstream political discussion. The corruption of the Bush family, however, is a good introduction.
The Bushes’ shadowy business partners come straight out of the world in which the CIA thrives-the netherworld of secret wars and covert operators, drug runners, mafiosi and crooked entrepreneurs out to make a fast buck. What Bush family members lack in business acumen, they make up for by cashing in on their blood ties to the former Director of Central Intelligence who became president. In return for throwing business their way, the Bushes give their partners political access, legitimacy and perhaps protection. The big loser in the deal is the democratic process.
War Without End
From Cuba to Afghanistan
excerpted from the book
the Roots of Terrorism
edited by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
Ocean Press, 2003, paper
Another element driving this unilateralism is a form of religious fundamentalism endemic to the United States from its earliest days, the messianic notion that the United States represents God’s chosen people, God’s chosen system of government, God’s chosen way of life: triumphalism. In one poll, 46 percent of the people of the United States-including the president -described themselves as "evangelical" or "born-again Christians," an astonishing figure. Many of them and most of their shepherds, do not believe we should merely offer our God-given way of life to the other peoples of the world; we should foist our brand of democracy upon them whether they like it or not and by military conquest if necessary, appropriating their resources as God intended. A world composed of hundreds of U.S. protectorates. A hundred and fifty years ago, it was the "manifest destiny" of the United States to take over North America (and to wipe out its original inhabitants in the process). Today, it is as manifest that we must take over the world. God has chosen the United States to cleanse the world and George W. Bush to lead that battle.
Corruption of Covert Actions
by Ramsey Clark, CAQ 1998
… most people cling desperately to the faith that their government is different and better than others, that it would engage in criminal, or ignoble, acts only under the greatest provocation, or direst necessity and then only for a greater good. They do not want information that suggests otherwise and question the patriotism of anyone who raises unwanted questions.
… it is primarily from U.S. citizens that the U.S. Government must keep the true nature and real purpose of so many of its domestic and foreign acts secret while it manufactures fear and falsehood to manipulate the U.S. public.
We must challenge controlling power in America that seeks to pacify the people by bread and circuses and relies on violence, deception and secrecy to advance its grand plans for the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few.
Tracking Covert Actions into the Future
by Philip Agee, CAQ 1992
Robert Gates, Director of Central Intelligence
… the intelligence community budget… [is] generally believed to be in excess of $31 billion.
… in February [1992, there was] a 70-page [classified Pentagon military planning] study projecting U.S. military requirements over the next 10 years. The report outlined seven possible scenarios which U.S. forces would have to be prepared to face and, presumably, would require those $1.5 trillion for the first five years:
* war with Iraq
* war with North Korea
* simultaneous wars with both Iraq and North Korea
* a war to defend a Baltic state from a resurgent and expansionist Russia
* war to defend the lives of U.S. citizens threatened by instability in the Philippines
* war to defend the Panamanian Government and the canal against "narcoterrorists"
* the emergence of an anti-U.S. global "adversarial rival" or an "aggressive expansionist international coalition."
The following month the New York Times published excerpts from another classified Pentagon document revealing the latest military policy to which the war scenarios were linked. This 46-page document, known formally as "Defense Planning Guidance-1994-99" was, according to the Times, the product of deliberations among President Bush, the National Security Council and the Pentagon. Its importance in prolonging U.S. militarism and the war economy into the 21st century could equal NSC-68’s role in beginning the Cold War arms race in 1950.4
The goal of world hegemony expressed in the 1992 document should be as alarming to current U.S. friends such as Japan and NATO allies as to adversaries. "Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence ~ of any future global competitor… Our first objective is to prevent the ) emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere…"
Notably lacking was any mention of collective settlement of disputes through the United Nations, although future multilateral actions through coalitions, as in the Gulf War, were not ruled out. And in order to prevent acquisition of nuclear weapons by potential adversaries, the United States asserted the need to be ready for unilateral military action.
As for Washington’s friends, both Japan and Western Europe would be locked into security arrangements dominated by the United States. Without mentioning countries, the United States "must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order… [W]e must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."
The document went on to suggest how to prevent Europe, with Germany in the lead, from becoming an independent regional arbiter in its own territory. "Therefore it is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary channel for U.S. influence… We seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO, particularly the alliance’s integrated command structure… a substantial U.S. presence in Europe is vital…"
To keep Russia from resurging, expanding and again rivaling the United States-like the sci-fi "blob" -that country must remain hopelessly indebted and dependent on imports of basic necessities. Aid must be calibrated to keep Russia stable without allowing the economy to "take off" on its own steam. For these purposes the usual instruments will suffice: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Russia’s military industries must be dismantled or converted to alternative production and the country locked into security arrangements, perhaps eventually in NATO. Western experts, especially from the United States, must penetrate its economic and political decisionmaking and its most advanced research in science and technology. No one political party should become dominant and, where possible, Western parties should establish close working relations with Russian parties. Ultranationalists must be discredited and shackled along with unreconstructed remnants of the old regime. The media should be filled with Western and Western-style programming, including consumerism, infotainment for news and healthy doses of anticommunist and pro-free market propaganda. The same would hold for the other countries of the former Soviet Union.
The whole area is like Germany and Italy after World War II, wide open for a double whammy from the CIA and its new sidekick, the National Endowment for Democracy-and all the Western "private" organizations they use. As with European fascists and the scant de-nazification that occurred, the new Russia can be built on communists-turned-liberals or social democrats, or even, why not, conservatives and Christian Democrats. As after World War II, the usual suspects can be targeted, neutralized, or co-opted: political parties, military and security services, trade unions, women’s organizations, youth and students, business, professional and cultural societies and, probably most important, the media.
NATO and Beyond
by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
The United States has employed biological weapons for 200 years, from smallpox in the blankets of Native Americans to spreading plagues in Cuba; from chemical weapons like mustard gas to cripple and kill in World War I to Agent Orange to defoliate Vietnam-and to create a generation of deformed children. It is the only nation that has dropped nuclear bombs and one that now makes, uses, and sells depleted uranium weapons.
Evangelicals for Nuclear War
by Larry Jones
The "end of the world" has been an element of Christian mythology since before Christ’s death. Most contemporary mainline churches in the United States and elsewhere have long since moderated this heavenly expectation, concentrating instead on the daily lives of believers. But the "end time" idea has retained all its fascination and power in a variety of U.S. Protestant churches, primarily evangelical and fundamentalist in outlook. In the "Scopes Monkey Trial" of 1925 fundamentalism was made a national laughingstock by defense counsel Clarence Darrow’s eloquence and Baltimore Sun reporter H.L. Mencken’s whiplash sarcasm.
By 1980, fundamentalist evangelicalism had made a stunning cultural comeback. The Moral Majority’s claims about its contribution to the Reagan-Bush presidential victory were overblown but based on demographic facts. Once in office, Reagan himself spoke casually of nuclear Armageddon as possible because "it’s in the Bible…" The close of the second millennium, or 1,000 years, since the first coming is certain to provoke an outpouring of end time expectation for the second coming of Christ. The reactions engendered by the Gulf War may offer a prelude of things to come.
Member organizations of the NRB [National Religious Broadcasters] control 90 percent of all religious broadcasting in the United States, and some 80 percent of religious broadcasting worldwide.
Evangelical apocalyptic literature after World War II has shown a casual disregard for the world. The earth is viewed as disposable, its destruction imminent. Apocalyptic writers seem to relish wars and environmental catastrophies as signs from God. Such a hostile attitude toward the world has clearly had political consequences. Following the agenda of U.S. political elites, this hostility has usually focused on one or two, or even a list, of official enemies. Communism, as a vast international (and supernatural) conspiracy, has served as the chief enemy of God in the post-war era.
The typical apocalyptic scenario often includes a nuclear war, triggered by a crisis in the Middle East. Nuclear war becomes the mechanism for resolving the conflict (between the believer and the world) at the heart of this end-time drama. It is also a possible mechanism for fulfilling prophecies of world destruction in the Apocalypse of John. Looked at this way, evangelical ideology can be understood as a religious response to nuclear weapons. As in the title of Jerry Falwell’s 1983 tape set and pamphlet, Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the two events had become, Falwell wrote, "intimately intertwined." For Swaggart, prophecies of the apocalypse were also difficult to distinguish from contemporary politics. One of Swaggart’s end of the world pamphlets was entitled When God Fights Russia.
For believers, even the terrifying cloud of nuclear destruction has a silver lining: the Second Coming of Christ and the Millennial Kingdom. Belief in the rapture provides a magical escape from nuclear war, the cleansing fire needed to free the neighborhood of unrepentant backsliders, sinners and unbelievers. Popular dispensationalism thus retained its 19th century structure but took on a new, distinctly sinister emotional content after the World War II.
Evangelical apocalyptic ideology embraces nuclear weapons as a potential source of salvation. Any guilt or remorse from U.S. use of nuclear weapons was projected on to the enemy (the evil Japanese Empire, "Communism," and in 1991 "Babylon"). Nuclear weapons were seen as a reasonable response to the satanic intentions of official enemies. Demonization justified the construction of huge nuclear arsenals. Huge arsenals made war seem inevitable. And the looming threat of war counted as yet another sign of the End Times.
Evangelicalism and fundamentalism constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. religious community and have for some time. The ideology they promote, while limited in its appeal, vigorously disseminates one of the most virulent and implacable strains of U.S. militarism and xenophobia. Their "biblical" messages have injected an element of extreme irrationality into U.S. political discourse and it would be shortsighted to discount the utility of these messages for those who are wielding real power.
Introduction by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
The United States is the only country in the world where the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 are not viewed as a consequence of U.S. policy.
Power and the Semantics of Terrorism
by Edward S. Herman
… the powerful define terrorism and the Western media loyally follows the agenda of their own leaders. The powerful naturally define terrorism to exclude their own acts and those of their friends and clients.
In Western terrorism semantics, a state whose agents cross a border to kill is not I engaging in "international terrorism," nor is aiding a state that employs systematic violence supporting international terrorism. Thus, if the United States aids Pinochet and Botha, this is not supporting international terrorism. On the other hand, aid to the ANC, or any other group opposing government is automatically aid to international terrorists. This is enormously helpful to Botha, Pinochet and Reagan. On this system of definitions, also, aid by Nicaragua to the rebels of E1 Salvador makes the rebels international terrorists and the Nicaraguan Government a "terrorist state." Attacks on both are "counterterrorism." On the other hand, U.S. aid to the Salvadoran Government is exempt from any such labeling, even though it was massive killing by the U.S.-sponsored regimes in E1 Salvador that literally forced a guerrilla movement into existence in the early 1980s. As the West is generally trying to bolster up existing regimes against threats from below, a definitional system that renders all rebels and liberation movements terrorists by virtue of receiving aid, while not doing the same for aid to a government they are trying to unseat, is extremely convenient.
A problem arises, of course, where the West itself supports rebel movements and alleged "freedom fighters," as in the case of the Nicaraguan Contras and Savimbi in Angola. If the United States organizes and supports the Contras and South Africa (and the United States) do the same for Savimbi in Angola, strict adherence to the West’s own skewed definition makes the United States and South Africa "terrorist states." How is this handled? The answer is, once again, power defines terrorism: what ~e and our allies do cannot be terrorism.
Cuban Exile Terrorists on Rampage
CAQ editorial 1979
Throughout the 1960s and well into the 1970s, this Cuban exiIe network worked for the CIA and its associates not only in innumerable raids against Cuba, most notably the Bay of Pigs fiasco, but as mercenaries in the Congo and in Vietnam, as the foot soldiers of Watergate and as hired guns for the DINA of Chile and other such secret services-all of them at one time or another creations and pawns of the CIA.
But even the CIA and the FBI are beginning to realize that they have created a Frankenstein monster. The U.S. Government, quick to condemn terrorism abroad, is hosting one of the most vicious terrorist organizations on earth. The foot soldiers are dangerous, professional criminals, hit men and drug dealers. They threaten not only Cuba, which is in fact quite secure, but also the vast majority of the Cuban community in the United States, who want no part of them, as well as U.S. and foreign citizens who may have business with Cuba.
From the early 1960s these terrorists perfected their skills under Agency tutelage-the use and handling of explosives, demolition and bomb construction, and, through the Agency’s and their own Mafia connections, the arts of kidnapping and assassination. They have assassinated diplomats in Washington, Argentina, Italy and elsewhere. They have blown a Cubana airliner out of the skies in Barbados, killing everyone aboard. And in recent months they have launched a frontal attack against any contact with Cuba. They have bombed the Cuban United Nations Mission in New York and the Cuban Interests Section in Washington; they have bombed travel agencies for the same reason; they have bombed newspapers for sympathetic statements about Cuba …
The authorities have not moved against this network, even though more and more is known about them. Their line has become more public-and more frenzied-with the commencement late last year of a dialogue between the Cuban exile community and the government of Cuba. Despite the condemnation of this dialogue by the terrorists, it has resulted in the release of more than 3,000 prisoners, the granting of exit visas to all of them and many others and blanket permission to Cubans outside the country to return to visit their relatives. The terrorists have been brutal; at a rally recently in Miami, one of the leaders of the Bay of Pigs Veterans openly threatened thousands of people in the audience. "We’re not going to kill you people who visit Cuba, he said, "we’re just going to make life painful for you."
In a recent article in New York Magazine, free-lance investigative reporter Jeff Stein has taken a close look at the terrorists, particularly the northern New Jersey community. On a side street in Union City, New Jersey, is found the public headquarters of the Cuban Nationalist Movement, a group with such illustrious alumni as Guillermo Novo Sampol, who, in 1964 fired a bazooka from Queens, New York, across the East River to the United Nations and through a window when Che Guevara was visiting. Members of the organization have been linked to major drug dealing and to almost all unsolved Cuban terrorist actions over the past several years. Although credit for most of those actions has been claimed by two groups, Omega 7 and Commando Zero, authorities are quite certain that both are merely different names for the Cuban Nationalist Movement.
At the Sixth Summit of Non-Aligned Nations, Fidel Castro said: "It is all too well known, and has been admitted officially in the United States, that the authorities of that country spent years organizing and methodically plotting to assassinate the leaders of the Cuban Revolution, using the most sophisticated means of conspiracy and crime. In spite of the fact that these deeds were investigated and publicized by the U.S. Senate, the U.S. government has not deigned to give any kind of apology for those vituperative and uncivilized actions."
New Spate of Terrorism: Key Leaders Unleashed
by William H. Schaap
For years, the rhetoric of the Western press has confused the public’s image of terrorism. Virtually all progressive revolutionaries are referred to as "terrorists," while right-wing reactionaries are usually called "freedom fighters" or ”rebels." Historically, when terrorism has applied to liberation struggles-notably the Irish Revolution of 1916-21 and the Algerian Revolution of 1957-61-it has been in the context of a colonized people fighting the colonial settlers and occupiers.
In recent times, however, nearly all the terrorism in the world has been coming from the right, from some of the most reactionary forces in existence. Yet the effect of decades of linguistic manipulation has been to create the impression that terrorism is a weapon of the left and to obscure the real role that terrorism plays in rightist political movements.
… during this time and continuing to the present, the most visible, the most vocal, the most active terrorists in the United States have been a small group of Cuban exiles, based primarily in southern Florida and in New Jersey, operating under several names and generally well known to local authorities. This group originally was dedicated to the overthrow of the Cuban Government and concentrated its efforts in hundreds of attacks against Cuba and Cuban-related offices and personnel around the world. They were all involved in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. They were all trained, supplied and encouraged by the CIA.
During the 1960s, most of the group’s efforts were directly related to their unending war against Cuba, but during the 1970s they expanded their horizons. In the words of investigative journalist Joe Trento of the Wilmington News-Journal, "they contracted themselves out as a hit team to provide at least two intelligence services with an assassination capability." Trento is referring to Chile’s DINA and South Africa’s BOSS. The group, centered around Orlando Bosch, is implicated in the killing of exiled Chilean General Carlos Prats and his wife in 1974; the attempted assassination of exiled Chilean politician Bernardo Leighton and his wife in 1975; the murder of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in 1976; and the murder of South African economist Robert Smit and his wife in 1977.
What is most amazing about this avalanche of terrorism is that the U.S. authorities, local, state and federal, have done virtually nothing to stop it. The conviction of the Letelier hit men was virtually the only retribution and that has been overturned. A Cuban activist living in Boston was recently quoted by In These Times: "The [U.S.] government allows the right-wing Cubans to operate with impunity. That’s a fact. The government organized them, trained them and armed them years ago. Now the government has the responsibility to disarm them."
Editorial on NSDD 138
The most widespread state terrorism in the world today is that of the United States’ client regimes against their own people and their neighbors. In El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras the populations of those countries and of Nicaragua are being tortured and killed by the thousands with U.S.-made weapons in the hands of U.S.-trained military and paramilitary personnel. In many cases, as we are slowly discovering, the personnel are | North American as well.
Pentagon Moves on Terrorism
by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
1980 report, the CIA defined terrorism as
"the threat or use of violence for political purposes by individuals or groups, whether acting for, or in opposition to, established governmental authority, when such actions are intended to shock or intimidate a target group wider than the . immediate victims."
international law professor Alfred P. Rubin in a letter to the editor of the New York Times [July 11, 1984] said it would be clearer to define terrorism as:
"acts committed in time of peace that, if committed by a soldier in time of war, would be war crimes."
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carl T. Rowan (April 30, 1984)
"In the eyes of officials and citizens of a given country, a ‘terrorist’ is someone who is killing friends, but the murderer of political enemies is labeled a ‘rebel’ or a ‘freedom fighter."
… right-wing ideologues … speak of terrorism as if it is identical with leftist guerrilla warfare and liberation movements in general. In reality, however, the two most significant types of terrorism-state terrorism and mercenary terrorism-are in the vast majority of instances supported, or at least condoned, by the U.S. Government.
State terrorism-government by the imposition of terrorism upon its own people-is the norm for many present and past U.S. allies, although their excesses are excused as merely "moderately authoritarian" by Reagan Administration officials. Chile under Pinochet, Haiti under the Duvaliers, Paraguay under Stroessner and Guatemala, Uruguay and E1 Salvador under all of their recent regimes are the most obvious examples in our hemisphere. It is also the rule in South Korea, Zaire, the Philippines, South Africa (with respect to the nonwhite majority), Turkey and elsewhere.
Mercenary terrorism is a less obvious phenomenon, but one which bears the U.S. stamp. "Soldiers of fortune" everywhere commit atrocities against populations struggling to liberate themselves from the yoke of imperialism.
Libya in U.S. Demonology
by Noam Chomsky
The term "terrorism" came into use at the end of the 18th century, primarily to designate violent acts of governments intended to ensure popular submission. That concept, plainly, is of little benefit to the practitioners of state terrorism, who, holding power, are in a position to control the system of thought and expression. The original sense has therefore been abandoned and the term "terrorism" has come to be applied mainly to retail terrorism by individuals or groups. Whereas the term was once applied to Emperors who molest their own subjects and the world, now it is restricted to thieves who molest the powerful.
Israeli – U.S. Terror
excerpted from the book
the Roots of Terrorism
edited by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
Ocean Press, 2003, paper
Israeli – U.S. Terror
Introduction by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap
For more than 35 years, the violent and bitter history of the Palestinian-lsraeli conflicts have centered around a history of collaboration between U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence services and their coincidence of interests. Israeli covert operations have backed up U.S. clandestine schemes, especially in the Middle East, but also in Central America, southern Africa and elsewhere in a global conquest in which U.S. domination has reached its apex under George W. Bush.
Ever since the discovery of vast, almost unimaginable oil reserves in the region, the overriding strategic objective of the United States in the Middle East has been access to and eventual control over that resource. And since its 1967 victory in the six-day war, when Israel established itself as the regional military superpower capable of aiding in this primary U.S. objective, massive U.S. foreign aid and subsidized weapons of war have ensured an Israeli-U.S. alliance with mutually expansionist agendas. Both want unfettered access to Arab oil and more.
The second U.S. imperative is its strategic partnership with Israel, a function of the power of the pro-lsrael lobby in the United States, exemplified by the ability of the American-lsrael Political Action Committee to influence congressional and even presidential elections. And the White House, State Department and Pentagon are riddled with insiders with dual loyalties, the belief that U.S. and Israeli interests are and should be, identical.
The quid pro quo for Israel, an extension of this objective, is the relative free play given to its own designs in the Middle East as a military force and an ever-expanding Zionist state.
The United States has given Israel virtually every sophisticated weapon system it has to offer, more than $18 billion in the last decade, with more than $2 billion in military aid slated for the next fiscal year (2003-4). As a further reward for cooperation in covert activities around the globe, the U.S. remained silent, if not actually assisted, Israel’s development and testing of its own nuclear weapons.
Just how cooperative the Israelis have been and how some U.S. power brokers view its role in Washington’s overall strategy was expressed by Senator Jesse Helms when he boasted in 1995 that "Israel is at least the equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East."
Although no significant policies of the Israeli Government could be implemented without the tacit concurrence of its U.S. benefactor, when it suits Washington’s rapacious oil policies, arrangements of convenience with Israel’s enemies were not precluded in the past. The United States (and Britain) supplied chemical and other weapons to Iraq during the Iraq-lran war, while covertly working with Israel to supply Iran.
And Israel has also conducted its own military intelligence operations against U.S. targets, such as the seemingly inexplicable Israeli bombing of the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 war, a deliberate act apparently to prevent the U.S. communications ship from monitoring, perhaps disrupting its invasion and occupation of the Golan Heights. And, of course, each nation spies on the other; while Jonathan Pollard was caught and jailed, both countries have active operatives, collaborators and media assets in each other’s territory.
But no matter which regime may be in power in either country, both Israeli and U.S. campaigns plot the elimination of any viable, sovereign, Palestinian state. Together, their machinations of incremental negotiations followed by betrayal, assassination and invasion have imposed upon the Palestinians what Noam Chomsky called "a system of permanent neocolonial dependency."
Brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians, collective punishment, obliteration of entire villages, mass forced expulsions, illegal settlement of occupied land including East Jerusalem, torture, terrorism, starvation and murder have been used by successive Israeli governments with U.S. approval. They have reached new heights under the Sharon Government, with the approval of the current Bush Administration. Indeed, the Israel lobby has been jubilant over the nearly identical policies of Sharon’s Likud and Bush’s Republicans, dominated as it is by Likudniks.
Universal military conscription of Israeli youth thrusts young draftees into endless confrontations with Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories, ensuring an existential racial hatred in deliberately provocative "strategies of tension" and expansion, all in the name of a "fragile" Israeli state security. This while Israel has one of the most powerful and best-equipped armed forces in the world, the only nuclear power in the region.
Sharon defended his unilateral military carnage as his country’s "best path to security." What he described as antiterror tactics, including stepping up assassinations of Palestinian military and civilian leaders, led to the predictable increase in acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens themselves, most notably indiscriminate suicide bombings. While Sharon claimed he was "making every effort to prevent" escalation, his military actions suggested precisely the opposite: Each deadly suicide bombing that followed Israeli military assassinations became the justification for the next Israeli atrocity.
War crime charges leveled against Sharon are legion, from his demolishing of a Jordanian village in 1953, to his complicity in the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon in 1982, to his Central American adventures involving arms and drugs, to his multiple invasions and reoccupation of most of the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. The U.S. role in this mayhem cannot be overemphasized. U.S. F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopter gun ships were employed daily. Washington vacillated as the military assault was consolidated, trying all the while to appease its Arab critics.
Sharon’s deliberate and systematic rampage through every Palestinian town and village has been conducted with personal hatred and revenge, in furtherance of the Israeli Government’s intention of destroying the Palestinian people’s social and physical will for self-government. Jewish religious graffiti splashed on walls of occupied Palestinian Authority offices were stark evidence of domination, symbols of Israel’s goal of killing, imprisoning, or transporting Palestinian militants and their families from their homeland.
Despite Israel’s control through the ClA-approved, Oslo-directed Palestinian Authority, the PA was locked in an endless cycle of repression and corruption through enforced collaboration with security committees run by the CIA and Israeli intelligence against the Palestinian people. Sharon’s campaign against its institutional infrastructure also included intentional killings of large numbers of Palestinian civilians through saturation bombings of refugee camps and villages and the homes of suspected terrorists (with no regard for the lives of innocent neighbors), aided by computerized targeting and the rounding up of thousands of Palestinian men and women and their families for planned expulsion.
The Palestinians themselves, dispersed and dispossessed and used as pawns by other Arab nations, have never been able to develop a united vision. There are Palestinian nationalists and socialists and there are Palestinian fundamentalists. The fostering of disunity and corruption within these factions-whether in the Occupied Territories or in exile-has been a major element in the U.S.-lsraeli targeting of the Palestinian national struggle by covert manipulation of Palestinian exiles and groups. In what was hardly a coincidence, during the early 1980s, while the United States actively encouraged an Islamic "Holy War" in Afghanistan, the Israelis infiltrated and supported a burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist movement, later allowing Islamic charities, religious schools and training sites to flourish, as their well-financed graduates countered the growing influence of Palestinian nationalists.
The occupation army’s control of land, travel, water, food and medicine intensified, even as Palestinians attempted to negotiate an ever-changing "peace process" with Israel. Orchestrated with the United States as a delaying tactic, this effectively prevented an independent Palestinian state. The Oslo accords achieved only greater Israeli control over the territories and the geometric expansion of armed, militant Zionist settlements entrenched in the West Bank and Gaza.
The plan for the gradual creation of an autonomous Palestine was transformed from a blueprint for a contiguous territory into a jigsaw puzzle divided by Jewish settlements, fortified access roads and innumerable security zones. The proposed map of Palestinian areas resembles the Bantustans of apartheid South Africa. Israeli tanks and troops poured into these tiny "cantons," bombing and killing civilians at will. And Bush’s minimal support for such a state, conditioned upon "regime change" in the Palestinian Authority, may disappear altogether, as events suggest a Likud push towards a final ethnic cleansing.
At an estimated cost of well over $1 million per mile, Israel has begun construction of a "security fence" that will eventually stretch 225 miles, walling off Palestinians on the West Bank-from Israel, from each other and from Israeli Palestinians. While the implausible rationale is put forth that this wall will inhibit the infiltration of suicide bombers, in fact this physical separation will facilitate the long-standing "transfer policy," discussed below. The psychological and historical implications of such separation cannot be overemphasized. Many informed commentators, including some Israeli journalists, see these developments as inevitably leading to the forced expulsion of all Palestinians from all Israeli-occupied territory.
With this escalation in Israeli terrorism, the devastating retaliatory suicide bombings have turned a war against occupation soldiers and settlers into the targeting of civilians within Israel. And after September 11, Western fears of Islamic extremism conflated the fanaticism of organizations like the Taliban with the genuine national aspirations of the Palestinians. With
the world focused first on George W. Bush’s "war against terrorism" and then on his unilateral attack on Iraq, Sharon was free to launch a massive re-invasion of Palestinian-controlled territory. Now both Israel and the United States have brought the jihad of their own creation home to plague their own civilian populations.
Israeli State Terror
by Naseer Aruri
Israeli State Terror
In his personal diary, which was published against the wishes of the Israeli establishment, former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett reveals that Israeli military operations against Arab civilian populations were designed to terrorize them and create fear, tension and instability. Sharett’s documentation shows that Israel’s territorial expansion (such as in the Suez in 1956) was facilitated by Israeli acts of provocation, which generated Arab hostility and created pretexts for intervention. For example, the attack by Israeli Army Unit 101 led by Ariel Sharon on the Palestinian village of Kibya in October 1953, causing numerous civilian casualties and destruction of homes, was condemned by Sharett. He writes, "[In the cabinet meeting] I condemned the Kibya affair that exposed us in front of the whole world as a gang of blood-suckers, capable of mass massacres regardless it seems, of whether their actions may lead to war.
More recent accounts by Israeli writers show how earlier acts of terrorism provided a historical background to adoption of a policy of state terrorism by Israel. Benny Morris’s explanation of the Palestinian exodus in 1948, based on state, military and Zionist archives, refutes the official Israeli version that the Palestinians bear responsibility for their own expulsion. An earlier work by Irish journalist Erskine Childers demonstrated that, contrary to the official Israeli version, there were no Arab radio broadcasts ordering the Palestinians to leave. And Israeli journalist Tom Segev reveals in his book how instrumental was Zionist terrorism in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Sixteen months after 250 Arab civilians were massacred in the village of Deir Yassin (April 9, 1948) by the combined forces of ETZEL (known as Menachem Begin’s Irgun) and LEHI (known as Yitzhak Shamir’s Stern Gang) there was a debate in the Israeli set in which, according to Segev, a member of Begin’s Herut Party had boasted: "Thanks to Deir Yassin, we won the war."
Another account by Lenny Brenner reveals that Israeli Prime Minister Shamir was a convert to the pro-Mussolini Betar (Zionist Brownshirts) in the late 1930s and that his Stern Gang had attempted to strike a deal with the Nazi regime in Germany in 1941 in which the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine on a "totalitarian basis" would be bound by a treaty with the German Reich.
Shamir’s commitment to right-wing causes and to terrorism was unmistakably revealed in an article he wrote in the LEHI journal Hehazit (The Front) in the summer of 1943. This excerpt stands in contrast to Shamir’s constant moralizing and condemnation of what he calls "PLO terrorism:"
Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat… [T]errorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier.
Shamir’s cabinet colleague Yitzhak Rabin who, as defense minister in charge of the occupied territories, proclaimed the policy of "might, force and blows" in January 1988 (which has so far resulted in an estimated 281 deaths, more than 50,000 injuries and 30,000 detentions) has also had a consistent record of terrorism for more than 40 years. As the deputy commander of Operation Dani, he, along with the late former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the late former Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon, were responsible for the expulsion of between 50,000 and 70,000 people from the towns of Lydda and Ramleh in July 1948. The town of Ramleh had surrendered without a fight after the withdrawal of the Jordan Army but the inhabitants were rounded up, expelled and told never to come back. Benny Morris characterized that as the "biggest expulsion operation of the 1948 war." Rabin expressed empathy with "the great suffering inflicted upon" his men who caused the expulsion.
One of those expelled was a 13-year-old boy by the name of Khalil alWazir, later known as Abu Jihad. Yitzhak Rabin, who was responsible for that act as a member of the Zionist militia, was one of the inner cabinet decision-makers who decided, 40 years later, to assassinate al-Wazir far away from his home in Ramleh. The man who headed the inner cabinet, Yitzhak Shamir, told an inquirer who wanted to know who killed Abu Jihad, "I heard about it on the radio."
It was typical of the official response to the killing; claims of ignorance, broad hints that Abu Jihad’s responsibility for the Palestinian uprising could only trigger that kind of response and the usual reference to a factional conflict within the Palestinian movement as being responsible for the assassination. In fact, the murder of Abu Jihad is the latest incident in a continuous pattern of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals among whom are Karmal al-Adwan, Ghassan Kanafani, Kamal Nasser, Majid Abu Sharar, Abu Yurif and many others.
In a New York Times article summarizing the official Israeli interpretation of its own policies, Thomas Friedman maintains that Israel endeavors to "turn terror back on the terrorists." This strategy has gone through several different stages. For the period of 1948-56 the strategy was described as "counterterrorism through retaliation or negative feedback" and was employed against Egypt and Jordan to prevent border crossings by Palestinian refugees attempting, in the main, to check on the conditions of their former homes." By 1972, Israel was striking against "the nerve centers and the perpetrators themselves" using letter bombs, exploding cars and telephones and quiet assassinations of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals on the back streets of Europe. Later acts of terrorism including the destruction of entire villages in Lebanon, raids on Beirut, Baghdad and Tunis have become typical of Israeli policy towards Arab nonacceptance of its regional hegemony. Such acts have rarely evoked U.S. condemnation. In fact the Reagan Administration characterized Israel’s raid on the PLO headquarters in Tunis as an act of self-defense.
United States and Israel-A "Special" Relationship
Strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States was consummated between 1982 and 1988 and has dramatically elevated Israel’s role in U.S. global strategic calculation. By 1983, the Reagan Administration had accepted the Israeli view that the Palestine question was not the principal cause of instability in the Middle East. Henceforth, it would not be allowed to interfere in the "special relationship" between a superpower and its strategic ally.
In the special relationship between the United States and Israel, the latter is considered a "unique strategic asset. In the crucial Middle East, Israel is viewed as the cornerstone of U.S. policy, which is perceived as a bulwark against the Soviet Union and radical revolutionary transformation. Outside the Middle East, Israel has emerged as the most important supplier of the technology of repression, antiguerrilla training and infrastructure to combat revolution, all euphemistically phrased "counterterrorism." Israel ranks as the fifth largest exporter of arms in the world, according to CIA estimates and it has become an essential component of the global counterinsurgency business. "Hit lists" used by the death squads in Guatemala have been computerized with Israeli assistance and the Uzi machine gun is the standard weapon of the death squads. The special relationship between the United States and Israel is a two-way street. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. economic and military aid and in return Israel has much to offer the United States. The Reagan Administration has publicly declared that Israel’s substantial experience and "success" in coping with terrorism should provide guidance for the United States. When George Shultz spoke at a New York synagogue in 1984 he said:
No nation has more experience with terrorism than Israel and no nation has made a greater contribution to our understanding of the problem and the best way to confront it. By supporting organizations like the Jonathan Institute, named after the brave Israeli soldier who led and died at Entebbe, the Israeli people have raised international awareness of the global scope of the terrorist threat… [T]he rest of us would do well to follow Israel’s example.
The fact that the United States and Israel are so closely allied and use the same criteria for defining who are "terrorists" and who are not, necessarily makes the United States a dubious participant in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and brings into question the possible results of U.S.-sponsored negotiations with George Shultz behind the wheel.
When Secretary of State Shultz became the Reagan Administration’s chief proponent of close strategic cooperation with Israel he went far beyond the initiatives of his predecessor Alexander Haig. Haig’s framework for U.S. Middle East policy was the "consensus of strategic concerns," which would bring together a conservative constellation of regional powers that would include Israel. Shultz’s framework, however, promoted Israel to the center of U.S. policy and assigned it a global role in addition to its regional duties on behalf of the status quo. Thus with Shultz in power, the United States conducted its Middle East policy on the basis of the "consensus of strategic concern" plus the special relationship with Israel.
With all the attention Shultz received on his five trips to the Middle East in the last six months and with the outcome never in question, it is important to ask: What were the real objectives behind the ‘Shultz shuttles’?
Reagan’s Commitment to Peace
U.S. involvement in the Middle East since the 1967 war reveals a number of precedents for unimplementable peace plans actually designed to justify U.S. obstruction of the global consensus and to contain Palestinian nationalism. An example was the Reagan plan of September 1,1982, which denied sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza to Israel and the Palestinians. Its territorial and confederal aspects evoked a swift yet predictable rejection from the Israeli cabinet.
The principal spur for the Reagan plan was the siege of Beirut, which tarnished Israel’s image and at the same time provided a catalyst in the world community for linking PLO withdrawal to Palestinian statehood. To justify its virtual sole dissent from the international will, the Reagan Administration felt obliged to launch its own initiative based on "the Jordan option," which proved to be a non-option.
More recently, Reagan has sent his premier ambassador of peace, George Shultz, to the Middle East to again make a public press for a settlement. However, knowing that Israel will not meet even the minimum requirements for a territorial settlement, what then does Mr. Shultz hope to accomplish in view of the fact that his initiative lacks any means of pressuring Israel?
The United States has three objectives:
1. The Shultz plan is an attempt to contain the Palestinian uprising and prevent its extension to U.S. allies and clients in the region. It is also designed to repair Israel’s tarnished image in the United States.
2. The United States would like to set the terms before any other actor emerges with a plan for settlement. The Soviet Union, which has been trying to broaden its options in the region, is one such actor. The Arab states or the PLO are also possible sources of peace initiatives. The Shultz plan represents a reaffirmation of U.S. custodianship over the Middle East. It serves as a reminder that the area is U.S. turf and hence it is designed to elbow out or preempt any genuine proposals for a settlement.
3. The plan also attempts to bridge the gap between the requirements of public opinion and those of public policy in the United States. The United States has broken barriers for the first time in the Middle East. The public mood in this country has changed and the people seem ready for a political settlement. Yet Palestine has never been high on the official agenda. There is no sense in Washington that the Palestine question is urgent. Unless it becomes urgent, there will be no movement towards peace.
America’s policy objectives in the region center on oil and containment of Soviet influence as well as containment of the natives. As long as Palestine does not interfere with these objectives, the administration feels no compulsion to initiate peace proposals. But given that the public mood has changed in this country, the Shultz plan offers the U.S. public a rejectable plan, which would absolve Washington of responsibility for the impasse.
The Reagan Administration clearly perceives the uprising as a political threat to its hegemony in the region and would like to check its potential for extension beyond the occupied territories into Arab countries ruled by conservative regimes. The administration is also concerned about Israel’s repressive image-perhaps more than Israel itself-in the United States. Washington’s strategic relationship with Israel must continue to have the blessings of U.S. public opinion.
Hence, Shultz’s sudden awakening to the fact that the unresolved Palestine-Israel conflict is a threat to the status quo and his embarking upon a mission to save Israel in spite of itself. The erosion of U.S. public support for Reagan’s policy towards Israel is seen as a dangerous strategic step backward and his administration is desperately trying to counter the bad publicity.
Shultz’s endeavor turned out to be a series of diplomatic shuttles not only between Arab capitals and Israel but also between the two heads of the Israeli Government. His diplomacy seems to operate on the assumption that the crucial choices are between Likud’s preference for functional autonomy (which keeps "Greater Israel" intact as the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are enfranchised in the Jordanian state) and Labor’s "territorial" autonomy, which is a diminutive version of the Jordan option. His diplomacy also assumes that the only choices are between Labor’s cosmetic international conference and Likud’s direct negotiations.
The fact that the Jordan option is dead, that the concept of a Palestinian-Jordanian delegation is unacceptable and that the Camp David formula is discredited throughout the Arab World seems to have escaped Mr. Shultz’s attention. The outcome of Shultz’s diplomacy has so far worked for the benefit of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir’s visit to the United States in March 1988, ostensibly to discuss peace with the Reagan Administration, enabled him to respond to U.S. critics of Israeli repression in the occupied territories, to raise funds in the U.S. Jewish community and to solidify and upgrade the U.S. strategic alliance. In his visit, Shamir repeated the Israeli position that the Palestinian uprising was not a demonstration of civil disobedience but a war waged "against Israelis, against the existence of the State of Israel"; hence, he declared the media coverage unfair and non-contextual. This theme was dutifully repeated by prominent U.S. Jewish figures such as Morris Abram, chairman of the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and New York Mayor Edward Koch, among others. Henry Kissinger, who had erected the principal barrier to a Palestinian-Israeli settlement back in 1974 and who was willing to bomb Vietnam back to the stone age, was already on record one week prior to Shamir’s visit as saying, "Israel should bar the media… accept the short term criticism… and put down the insurrection as quickly as possible-overwhelmingly, brutally and rapidly.”
The recent dramatic ascendancy of the far right in the Israeli body politic and the rampant anti-Arab racism sweeping the country provide a fertile environment for the kind of state terrorism witnessed today on the West Bank and in Gaza.
The orientation of this rapidly growing group toward brute force and its contempt for debate is partly the cause for the sharp increase in repression against Palestinian civilians under occupation. Worse yet is the tendency of members of the political and religious establishment to encourage such acts of terrorism. Given the close and special relationship between the United States and Israel, given that no prominent U.S. politician is willing to condemn Israel publicly for its repression of the Palestinians and given that the United States and Israel share the same understanding of what terrorism is, it seems likely that if peace is to come to the Middle East it will be in spite of what the United States and Israel do.
Israel Shahak on the "Transfer Proposal"
by Ellen Ray
… in Israel the use of death squads to murder Palestinians has been discussed in some of the Hebrew press. It was not employed in the occupied territories until about September or October 1987, when we had one very well-documented case in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Hebrew press, three Palestinians were discovered dead, in a car. One of them was a Palestinian guerrilla who had escaped from prison. The two others were collaborators [Palestinians who work with or support the Israelis]-well-known, rich collaborators. One of them had established a branch of the Tel Aviv stock exchange in Gaza. The other was of a similar background. So you can understand that such people are neither guerrillas nor helpers of guerrillas.
Since the families were very rich they could employ very good lawyers -Palestinian lawyers from Israel. And by using such lawyers and with the help of a Hebrew weekly called Koteret Rashit, which is sensitive and courageous about corruption in the intelligence and security services, even if not so good about Palestinian national rights, the case was brought into the open. By now it is completely clear that the two businessmen were murdered simply because they were accidentally eyewitnesses to the murder of the guerrilla.
There was also a recent case in which Israeli television, against orders, photographed an Israeli Jewish civilian shooting straight into a crowd of Palestinians. But when it was discovered that the person was a member of the General Security Service, Shabak, there was not even the smallest judicial investigation. It was simply announced that he was reprimanded. And that was it.
It is well known that Israel is involved with death squads in countries like Guatemala and many others, so it is only natural that this matter would come home. I think there is no doubt that the employment of death squads, especially in the Gaza Strip, was one of the sparks which ignited the violence.
Washington’s Proxy: Israeli Arms in Central America
by Clarence Lusane
The war drums are beating in Central America and Israel is an important player. The State of Israel has emerged as a major and in some cases, principal supplier of arms, advisers and training to the repressive forces in the region. Long denounced for its military ties to South Africa, Chile and the Philippines, the Zionist regime has extended its role as surrogate for the United States to the front line of Central America. Although much of what is happening is held in strict secrecy, the vast extent of Israeli aid has begun to fray the cover under which Reagan Administration policy objectives circumvent congressional obstacles.
Stopping U.S. military aid to Central America also requires stopping U.S. military aid to Israel. By the end of the 1960s Israel had emerged as an arms exporter, but only since the Reagan Administration has it been able to reach its potential as a full junior partner to U.S. imperialism.
The Israeli Arms Industry
Fourteen percent of Israel’s industrial labor force is employed in its arms industry. If the armed forces are included, the number rises to 25 percent According to the latest CIA estimates, Israel is the fifth largest exporter of arms in the world, up from its seventh place ranking in 1980. Israel remains the largest supplier of arms to sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
In 1977, Israel’s arms exports were valued at $285 million. Despite the loss of two reliable customers, Iran and Nicaragua, by 1981 military exports had risen to $1.3 billion. The Israeli-built Uzi submachine gun… is the shining star of Israeli weaponry. It is the choice of NATO and is used in at least 43 countries, including virtually all the nations of Latin America.
Since 1970, Israel’s military budget has consumed more than 30 percent of its national budget. Limited domestic use has made the export of arms essential to its economic survival. Latin American money has become indispensable to the Israeli arms industry. Central America has become a goldmine for Israeli arms sales.
After the Israeli-sanctioned massacres at Sabra and Shatila then Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and the Air Force Chief arrived in Honduras. In his 38-hour visit, Sharon and the Hondurans agreed that Israel would send Honduras 12 Kfir planes, radar equipment, light weapons and spare parts and 50 advisers. Military training was also proposed.
Less than six months later, Israel was sending weapons to Honduras: artillery pieces, mortar rounds, mines, hand grenades and ammunition. Most were to go to U.S.-backed counterrevolutionaries seeking to overthrow the Nicaraguan Government from bases in Honduras.
In the period of 1970-80, Honduras received the following weapons from Israel: 12 Dassault Super Mystere fighters; four Arava (STOL) transports; I Westwind reconnaissance plane; 14 RBY Mk armored cars; five fast patrol boats (unconfirmed); 106-mm mortars; and 106-mm rifles.
The estimated $25 million in weapons promised to Honduras by Sharon is a continuation of past practice. However, Honduras is now playing a new role in Central America, similar to the one Israel plays in the Middle East, strategically important to U.S. interests and goals in the region as a rear base for the contras attacking Nicaragua and as a training ground for Guatemalan and Salvadoran fascists. In addition to aid from the United States and Israel, Honduras has received military aid from Argentina and Chile allowing it to increase its armed forces six-fold since 1970 (from 5,000 to over 30,000). The Honduran Air Force is the most powerful in Central America.
U.S. officials have admitted that Israeli assistance is important in achieving Reagan Administration military and political goals. Worried about potential congressional locks on aid to the Nicaraguan contras, the administration’s military aid to Honduras will go toward buying weapons from Israel which have themselves been produced with U.S. military aid.
By its own account, the United States has at least 300 military advisers, technicians and engineers in Honduras. The United States is spending $20 million to construct a modern airport at Comayagua to accommodate U.S. troop transports. Another four airstrips are being expanded to handle military jets.
It is the goal of the United States, with the critical assistance of Israel, to make Honduras the chief gendarme of Central America. There is one central objective in the U.S.-Honduras-Israel connection. If U.S. policy makers launch an all-out invasion of Nicaragua, it will duplicate the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, launched from Honduran soil.
Ronald Reagan pledged to draw the line against communism in El Salvador and any hesitation by the U.S. Congress to send military aid finds a willing substitute in Israeli aid. For example, in 1981 when the administration was scrambling to find more aid to send El Salvador, Israel agreed to "lend" the U.S. $21 million to give to El Salvador, money which came from previous U.S. aid to Israel. In other words, the United States took out a loan on its original funds, thereby violating the expressed will of Congress.
The United States has only recently become a major supplier of military aid to El Salvador. Through the 1970s, Israel was the biggest seller of weapons and aircraft to the country. The arsenal made up more than 80 percent of El Salvador’s military imports, supplemented by an estimated 100 Israeli advisers, who, like their U.S. counterparts, are training the Salvadoran military in counterinsurgency strategy and tactics at a secret base near Tegucigalpa. In addition, Israeli pilots are believed to be flying Israeli-made aircraft against the guerrillas. The Gouga Magisters and Dassault Ouragans are actually outmoded French planes which have been overhauled by Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. (IAI), fitted with motors manufactured by the U.S. company, Pratt & Whitney.
Israel has also set up advanced computer systems to gather and analyze intelligence about the citizenry. Similar to the Israeli-installed computers in Guatemala, the network in El Salvador also monitors changes in water and electricity consumption. All Israeli aid to El Salvador comes from U.S. military and economic aid to Israel. The fact is that to cut off U.S. aid to El Salvador also requires cutting or limiting aid to Israel.
After the killing of journalists by Somoza’s National Guard in 1978, President Carter cut off all U.S. aid to Nicaragua. Israel picked up the slack and until just before the Sandinista victory, providing 98 percent of Somoza’s arms. When questioned about selling arms to Somoza, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin responded, "We have a debt of gratitude with Somoza." In 1948, the UN General Assembly recommended the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state. The new state of Israel needed weapons and had almost nowhere to turn. Israel struck a deal with Somoza. Somoza appointed Yehuda Arazi as a Nicaraguan ambassador to Europe where he could purchase weapons in the name of Nicaragua. Eventually, all the weapons ended up in Israel. Arazi, it turned out, was a member of the Jewish underground’s clandestine army organization, Haganah.
Since 1976, Israel has been the main provider of weapons, aircraft and training to Guatemala. In fact, between 1977 and 1981, after the U.S. cut off aid due to gross human rights violations, Israel was the only nation giving military aid to the regime.
Training of Guatemalan military strongmen by Israel has included education in the use of terror and interrogation techniques, modern intelligence methods and psychological warfare. Israeli advisers are the key link in Guatemalan counterinsurgency operations. From national planning to civilian rural cooperative programs to military maneuvers, Israel is centrally involved. Israeli advisers have trained many of the officers of Guatemala’s police intelligence (G-2). The right wing openly calls for the "Palestinianization" of the rebelling Mayan Indians. Some of Israel’s most advanced electronic and computer technologies have been installed in Guatemala. Hit lists used by the death squads have been computerized. Technologically sophisticated murder is coordinated by a Regional Telecommunications Center (RTC) built and managed by Israeli Army experts. The RTC is also linked to the U.S. Army’s Southern Command at Fort Gulick in the Panama Canal Zone. The RTC is run by the generals from the fourth floor of the National Palace Annex.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has said that the RTC is Guatemala’s principal presidential level security agency and works with a high level security network. It links the key officials of the National Police, Treasury Police, Detective Corps, Ministry of Government, the Presidential Palace and the Military Communications Center.
The Tel Aviv newspaper Haolam Hazeh and the London Guardian revealed in December 1982 that Israeli advisers work closely with Guatemala’s G-2 police units in the use of interrogation and torture. Computerized death lists are a mainstay of government terror; by 1980, computers already listed 80 percent of the Guatemalan population.
In November 1981, the Israeli-sponsored Army Electronics and Transmission School was opened in Guatemala to teach computer and electronic monitoring of the Guatemalan people. Equipment at the school is capable of doing everything from checks on potential apartment renters to detecting changes in electricity consumption that might indicate that an illegal printing press is in operation.
Israel has also been helpful in developing Guatemala’s major military-civilian program, to create Vietnam-style strategic hamlets. The means of implementing these counterinsurgency plans were couched in terms of establishing peasant cooperatives similar to the kibbutzim in Israel. Guatemalan and Israeli agricultural and military officials were exchanged.
Under the Rios Montt regime, the Israeli model was put into full operation. In August 1982, a "Plan of Assistance to Conflict Areas" (PAAC) program was begun, reproducing many of the tactics applied by the Israelis on the West Bank, such as finding mayors willing to accommodate to the status quo.
Rios Montt’s strategic relations with Israel began before his March 23, 1982, coup. Tel Aviv newspapers reported that 300 Israeli advisers had helped to execute the takeover. On August 8, 1983, Rios Montt was overthrown in another military coup led by General Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores. Mejia, who was Defense Minister under Rios Montt, is also a fierce anticommunist. While the precise U.S. role in this latest coup is unclear, it has been reported that some of the Israeli-trained officers that brought Rios Montt to power also participated in his overthrow.
Costa Rica’s northern border has become an operational base for attacks by contras on Nicaragua. Former Sandinista turned traitor, Eden Pastora, leads a small army estimated at 5,000 from this border area.
At one point, Pastora claimed that he had to shut down his activities because he had run out of funds. He stated that because of his "anti-U.S." stance, he would not accept funds from the CIA. Within days he was fighting again, reportedly with an infusion of funds from Israel, as well as other countries. In fact, much of this was a propaganda charade, as Pastora has been receiving CIA aid all the time.
Although Costa Rica has no army, Israeli military trainers and arms are beginning to pour into the country. In 1982, President Luis Alberto Monge met with Menachem Begin in Washington. They discussed the possibility of Israeli military aid in building up Costa Rican security forces. The funds would come from Washington.
The United States has been pressuring Costa Rica to consolidate its security forces. This would include a 5,000-member Civil Guard, a 3,000-member Rural Guard, 1,700 prison guards, the 100-member National Security Agency and the Chilean-trained, 500-member Organization of Judicial Investigation. In 1983, the United States will have spent $150,000 to train 103 members of Costa Rica’s security forces, three times the amount spent in 1982.
Israel has been chosen by AID to build a $10 million settlement project along the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border. The military squeeze that the contras are currently operating from Honduras and Costa Rica would obviously be enhanced should the U.S. Congress fund this proposal.
The U.S. Role
Has exposure of illegal arms transfers by Israel forced the United States to cut back on aid? Or has the fact that Israel has sent arms to countries which the U.S. Congress and others have designated as flagrant violators of basic human rights made the Reagan Administration voice any criticism of Israel? The answer to both questions is no.
The immense scale of continued U.S. military and economic aid to Israel is obscene. Israel remains the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. It receives about one-third of all U.S. foreign aid, which in the last 10 years has amounted to about $25 billion, or roughly $7 million a day. Since 1976 Israel has not spent a penny of its own for military imports. The average U.S. subsidy to Israel for military imports has been 129 percent of the actual cost of those imports.
Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Arens, was in Washington in late July to discuss more military aid and the right to use U.S. aid to develop weapon systems that are currently only available in the United States The State Department and White House refused to comment on the results of the meeting, but an Israeli official said "this trip was one of the most successful trips ever made by an Israeli minister to Washington."
The above figures shed light on the important and central role that Israel plays in U.S. foreign policy goals. No amount of struggle against U.S. aid to repressive dictatorships and juntas will be complete, or even marginally successful, unless Israel is also taken to task.
Israeli – South African Collaboration
by Jack Calhoun
Over the last decade the world community has increasingly ostracized South Africa’s white minority regime. Arms embargoes, economic sanctions, bans on the transfer of nuclear and other high technology have been applied to compel South Africa to dismantle its racist system of apartheid. But at the same time a triangular strategic partnership of Israel, South Africa and the United States has developed to cushion the apartheid state from the full force of these sanctions.
To understand the Israeli relationship with South Africa, it is useful to put it in the context of Israel’s growing involvement in the Third World. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, a former professor at the University of Haifa who now teaches at Colombia University, writes, "Consider any Third World area that has been a trouble spot in the past 10 years and you will discover Israeli officers and weapons implicated in the conflict-supporting U.S. interests and helping what they call ‘the defense of the West."’ Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua under the Somoza dictatorship are examples.
"In South Africa," Beit-Hallahmi observes, "Israel is actively involved in defending what Washington sees as ‘a strategic outpost’-with the complicity and encouragement of the United States. In this case, although the United States is committed to the survival of the South African regime, Washington feels that the overt support it can give to South Africa is severely limited by world opinion."
But, Beit-Hallahmi notes, "Israel’s role in South Africa is qualitatively different from its role elsewhere." Israel’s investments in South Africa, the burgeoning volume of trade between the two countries and their extensive sharing of high technology and military experience has resulted in a unique network of mutual support.
In The Unnatural Alliance: Israel and South Africa, James Adams points out "While it is impossible to place an accurate figure on the true total volume [of trade between the two countries], it is probable that when all trade is taken into account, Israel may be South Africa’s biggest trading partner." Economic relations between the two countries are shrouded in secrecy, says Adams, an executive of the London Sunday Times.
According to International Monetary Fund statistics for 1983, South African exports to Israel totaled $142 million, while Israeli exports to South Africa amounted to $69 million. But these numbers don’t include Israel’s secret arms trade with South Africa, or South Africa’s export of raw diamonds to Israel.
"South Africa stands out as the single largest customer [of Israeli weapons]," Aaron Klieman, a political scientist at Tel Aviv University concludes in his book Israel’s Global Reach: Arms Sales as Diplomacy. "It is thought to have been the purchaser of 35 percent of all sold in the years 1970-79." The Tel Aviv regime doesn’t allow much information to reach the public about its weapons sales, especially those to South Africa, which are in defiance of the UN’s 1963 and 1977 arms boycotts of the apartheid state.
"It is believed that Israel currently gets 50 percent of its diamonds from South Africa," Adams reveals. "South Africa currently exports in excess of $100 million of uncut gems to Israel each year and it has been a steady and lucrative market for both parties." The diamond polishing industry -s a mainstay of the Israeli economy. Israel’s foreign sales of polished diamonds in 1983 totaled $1 billion.
Many Israeli companies have invested extensively in South Africa. Afitra and Koors, corporations owned by Israel’s Histadrut labor federation, are big investors in South African commercial agriculture, high technology and power generation industries. Israeli investments are also concentrated in other critical sectors of the apartheid state’s economy, such as communications, computers, advanced computer software and electronics.
As writer Jane Hunter explains, "One of Israel’s chief attractions, as far as South African industrialists are concerned, is its preferred status with the European Economic Community and the United States." Under the 1984 U.S. Free Trade Agreement, all Israeli exports to the United States will eventually be duty free. "To take advantage of Israel’s privileged trade status, South African companies have systematically established manufacturing facilities in Israel, most often joint ventures with Israeli firms. Raw or semifinished materials are shipped from South Africa to Israel where sufficient ‘local content’… is added, ‘made in Israel’ label is attached and the finished merchandise is shipped off to unsuspecting consumers abroad." This practice of "springboarding" is made profitable by the slave wages paid to black South African workers.
The Military Alliance
A military alliance between the two countries evolved gradually in the 1960s as the UN adopted its first arms embargo against South Africa in 1963 and European suppliers of weapons to Israel stopped selling their wares to Israel after Israel’s aggressive land grabs in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. But the Israeli-South African military partnership intensified after South African Prime Minister Johannes Vorster visited Israel in 1976 and signed an agreement with the Tel Aviv regime setting up a Ministerial Joint Committee of the two nations’ defense ministers. According to the agreement, "the exchange of Israeli arms and advice has three major areas: conventional arms trade, nuclear collaboration and counterinsurgency.”
Israel has exported sophisticated Kfir aircraft and rebuilt Mirage jet warplanes to South Africa. Israel has also supplied the apartheid state with Dabur coastal patrol boats, Reshef-class gunboats armed with Gabriel missiles, self-propelled 105 mm howitzers, antitank missiles, air-to-air missiles, assault rifles, radar bases and surveillance equipment.”
"Beyond outright sales, Israel has enabled South Africa to become almost completely self-sufficient in several types of weaponry and weapons systems," Hunter notes. "The two countries have set up a joint helicopter manufacturing project – Rotoflight of Capetown and Chemavir-Masok in Israel-which supplies the armed forces of both countries with Scorpion helicopters. Without the Israeli-South African alliance, she concludes, Pretoria could not have broken the UN arms embargo.
Adams points out Pretoria’s debt to Israel in its counterinsurgency wars against the black African front-line states surrounding it and its repression of South Africa’s black majority. Much of the efficiency of the South African security services must be placed at the door of Israel," Adams writes, "for both army experts and specialists in counterintelligence operations and interrogation from Mossad [the Israeli central intelligence agency] have been based in South Africa in a permanent advisory capacity since 1976.”
Israel Aircraft Industries constructed an electrified fence between Angola and Namibia, which South Africa illegally occupies, to block the infiltration into Namibia of SWAPO guerrillas fighting to liberate their homeland. Antipersonnel mines made in Israel are planted by South Africa along the Angolan and Mozambican borders. An Israeli spy drone was shot down in 1983 flying over Mozambique.
Israeli military officers helped South Africa plan its 1975 invasion of Angola. In 1981 Gen. Ariel Sharon, then Israeli Defense Minister, spent 10 days with South African troops in Namibia near the Angolan border. The London Financial Times and the London Observer published reports of Israeli involvement in 1983-84 with Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA guerrillas, the South African backed contras fighting against the MPLA government of Angola.
Israel and South Africa have also collaborated with regard to nuclear weapons technology since the mid-1960s. Adams states, "For South Africa, Israel had one primary advantage: a relatively advanced nuclear industry that had been working on uranium-enrichment techniques and on the design of a nuclear bomb. For the Israelis, South Africa possessed almost unlimited supplies of uranium that it might be persuaded to part with as part of a uranium-for-technology swap.”
‘ Despite a curtain of secrecy, it appears that both Israel and South Africa have developed nuclear weapons and could not have done so without each other’s help. Israeli nuclear scientists were frequently reported to have been in South Africa in 1977, the same year the apartheid state abruptly canceled what the CIA thought were preparations for an atomic weapons test in the Kalahari desert.
Two years later, the CIA concluded, Israel and South Africa carried out a nuclear bomb test in the south Atlantic Ocean, although the Carter Administration and the regimes in Pretoria and Tel Aviv denied it. CBS News correspondent Dan Raviv reported in 1980 that Israel "had detonated an atomic bomb in a joint nuclear project in the south Atlantic," referring to the 1979 double flash in the south Atlantic, which is characteristic of an atomic explosion.
Sophisticated weapons technology purchased by Israel from the United States also has been diverted to South Africa. Adams reveals how the Israelis helped the racist white-minority regime obtain the 155 mm howitzer, then the world’s most advanced artillery piece. Israel bought the weapon from the U.S.-based Space Research Corp. (SRC) and used the big gun with great effectiveness in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
After South African troops were repelled in their 1975 invasion of Angola by MPLA forces with superior artillery, Pretoria turned to Israel. Although the Israelis were willing to sell the 155 mm howitzer technology to South Africa, Tel Aviv didn’t own the rights to the weapon. So the Israelis teamed up with some former CIA agents to fashion a clandestine deal. SRC in the end not only sold Pretoria the advanced weaponry but also trained South African technicians, who later reconstructed the howitzer.
"It is possible that another major weapons system-Israel’s Lavi aircraft, which incorporates highly advanced U.S. technology and is largely dependent on U.S. financing-is now making its way to Pretoria," Hunter warns. There have been numerous reports in the Israeli and international press that South Africa is covertly financing part of the Lavi project in return for a deal that would eventually allow the South Africans to build the Lavi under license in the apartheid state.
[Jane] Hunter notes that the U.S. corporations may, under pressure from antiapartheid campaigns, stop their operations in South Africa, but use their corporate subsidiaries in Israel to continue doing business with South Africa. Motorola has recently won praise for its announcement that it will stop selling two-way radios to the South African police. However, its subsidiary, Motorola Israel, which produces military communications systems and distributes them in South Africa through Afitra, can offer Pretoria continued access to those radios," she writes.
The Israeli-South African partnership evolved in part as a relationship between two nations faced increasingly with international isolation because of their destabilizing and oppressive policies in the Middle East and Southern Africa. But this relationship was also encouraged by the United States.
"[Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger in early 1975 secretly asked the Israeli Government to send troops to Angola in order to cooperate with the South African Army in fighting the Cuban-backed MPLA," the British magazine The Economist wrote. "They sent South Africa some military instructors specializing in antiguerrilla warfare plus equipment designed for the same purpose. In return, the Israelis took Kissinger’s request as the green light for an Israeli-South African partnership."
The next year the United States turned again to its covert partner in Tel Aviv. "British television (and subsequently the press as well) aired a report referring to the sale of U.S. helicopters to South Africa, in the middle of their notorious invasion of newly liberated Angola. It turns out Kissinger, with reason, expected the U.S. Congress would not confirm the sale of such equipment… so… an ‘Israeli solution’ was found for this problem by means of a fictitious sale effected by ‘unknown Israeli companies,’ and the ‘copters were transferred to South Africa’," Hebrew University professor Israel Shahak writes.
Jane Hunter sums up: "Israel has become an indispensable covert partner for the United States because this partnership isn’t subject to congressional scrutiny or even public debate because of Israel’s ‘special relationship’ with Washington." But, she concludes, "The question for progressive Americans should be simply whether we are doing all that we can to end apartheid. If we find, therefore, that the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and Israel spills over into South Africa, then issues like the level of U.S. aid to Israel, the role of U.S. firms in three-way trade and U.S. diplomatic attempts to cover up this involvement cannot be ignored."