Heather Wokusch / Common Dreams & Forbes.com – 2006-11-12 22:58:26
How the Bush Family
Makes a Killing from George’s Presidency
Heather Wokusch / Common Dreams
(October 25, 2006) — Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: “Iraq was better than expected … Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good.”
Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq’s coffers, a country battered by civil war — but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.
Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war?
Yet Cheney isn’t the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration’s destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too. Just a few examples:
George Bush Sr.
Bush’s dad has strong connections to the Carlyle Group, a massive private equity investment firm whose Chairman Emeritus is Frank Carlucci, a former college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld’s and former Defense Secretary under Ronald Reagan. Imagine the pull Carlucci has with today’s White House.
But Carlucci has another secret weapon – Bush Sr. Amid conflict-of-interest allegations, the elder Bush resigned from the Carlyle Group in 2003, but reportedly remains on retainer, opening doors to lucrative profits in the Middle East and elsewhere. Bush Sr.’s specialty is Saudi Arabia; in fact, he was at a Carlyle investment conference with Osama bin Laden’s estranged brother, Shafiq bin Laden, when the 9/11 attacks took place.
Carlyle specializes in military and security investments, and with Bush Jr. in office, the company’s profits have soared; it received $677 million in contracts in 2002, then a whopping $2.1 billion in 2003. Carlyle’s investors currently enjoy an equity capital pool of over 44 billion dollars.
In January 2006, Bush Sr. wrote China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry that it would be “beneficial to the comprehensive development of Sino-US relations” if Beijing approved the sale of a Chinese bank to a consortium which included Carlyle. Bluntly put, Bush Sr. asked China to grant Carlyle a lucrative business deal or risk his son’s wrath. Foreign policy at its finest.
William H. T. “Bucky” Bush
George’s “Uncle Bucky” joined the board of military contractor Engineered Support Systems Inc. (ESSI) in 2000 and perhaps not surprisingly, the value of the company’s governmental contracts has strongly increased with Bush Jr. in office. Uncle Bucky earns monthly consulting fees as well as options to buy stock at favorable prices, and considering that ESSI’s stock tripled two weeks after 9/11 then settled into comfy territory, it’s safe to say that George’s uncle is doing quite well.
In fact, Bucky cashed out on 8,438 stock options in January 2005, earning himself a cool $450,000 in the process. As of 2005, he still owned options on 45,000 more shares of the company’s stock and accrues more each year.
War is profitable for ESSI, or as an executive explained: “The increasing likelihood for a prolonged military involvement in Southwest Asia by U.S. forces well into 2006 has created a fertile environment for the type of support … products and services that we offer.”
But lest anyone conclude that Bucky has opened doors for the company, ESSI’s vice-president of investor relations explained in 2005, “The fact his nephew is in the White House has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Bush being on our board or with our stock having gone up 1000 per cent in the past five years.” Absolutely nothing at all.
Neil Mallon Bush
Neil rose to infamy in the 1980s as director of the Colorado-based Silverado Savings and Loan; after Silverado collapsed due to mismanagement and corruption, US taxpayers were stuck with the billion-dollar bailout, yet Neil managed to escape the crisis with a small fine and no jail time. It helps to have a dad as Vice President.
In 1993, Neil joined Bush Sr. in Kuwait to drum up business in the Middle East, and today, he makes a profit by helping companies cash in on the occupation of Iraq. For example, in late 2003, The Financial Times reported that Neil earned $60,000 per year through the Crest Investment Company, a private firm generating contracts in Iraq.
Crest was headed by Jamal Daniel, a longtime Bush family contact, who was also on the advisory board of New Bridge Strategies, a company specifically set up “with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the US-led war in Iraq.”
In 2003, Neil’s messy divorce proceedings revealed that he was to get $2 million in stock options from a Chinese semiconductor firm despite having limited education or business experience in that area; critics complained that the Chinese company was buying access to his brother, the president.
Neil later testified that on repeated business trips to Asia, he’d had sex with women who showed up at his hotel rooms, presumably prostitutes hired by companies trying to curry favor with the White House.
Neil has also profited from George’s disastrous No Child Left Behind educational policy. His company, Ignite! (partially owned by Bush Sr. and funded by Crest Investment) has been awarded with lucrative federal contracts to place its educational products in school districts across the country.
Marvin Pierce Bush
Marvin joined Bush Sr. and Neil on their Middle Eastern sales trip in 1993 and then made a mint in the investment banking business. He is a co-founder of Winston Partners, a private investment firm whose investments in military and security firms profit from Bush’s “war on terror.”
Having a sibling as president has helped Marvin in other ways, too. He is on the board of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., which had insured parts of the World Trade Center; HCC benefited from the 9/11 insurance bailout legislation pushed through by brother George.
Marvin was also on the board of Securacom, a company which provided electronic security for both Dulles International Airport and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Marvin stepped down in 2000, but how intriguing that Bush’s brother was so well connected to the security of two critical locations on that fateful day.
In short, the “results are very good” for the Bush dynasty, perhaps even “better than expected,” thanks to George’s stint in the Oval Office. Dad’s still setting up international deals. Uncle Bucky’s cashing in his stock options. Brothers Neil and Marvin are laughing all the way to the bank.
It’s just the American people who have paid the ultimate price.
• 1. For more on war profiteering, head over to Halliburton Watch (www.halliburtonwatch.org) and Corp Watch (www.corpwatch.org). Catch a screening of the new Robert Greenwald film entitled Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.
• 2. If you’re searching for information on contemporary foreign policy issues, coupled with an opportunity to take positive action, check out Women’s Action for New Directions (www.wand.org). The site offers in-depth coverage of Hot Topics, such as war and nuclear weapons, as well as fact sheets and other resources.
• 3. Visit WAND’s Take Action! center for petitions to sign and opportunities to contact Congress, the White House and the media about the peace and security issues you care about most.
Heather Wokusch is the author of The Progressives’ Handbook: Get the Facts and Make a Difference Now and can be reached at www.heatherwokusch.com.
Posted in accordance with Titl 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
A Staggering New Bill For Iraq?
Jessica Holzer and Matthew Swibel / Forbes.com
(November 9, 2006) — The US armed services have requested a $160 billion supplemental appropriation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the remainder of fiscal year 2007 — a staggering amount that, if approved by the Defense Department, may hasten the showdown between resurgent congressional Democrats and the Bush administration over the budget-busting War on Terror.
The request — which will likely include all costs related to the war on terrorism — far surpasses the $94 billion supplemental authorized earlier this year to fund the ongoing wars as well as hurricane recovery in the Gulf and is nearly double the $82 billion Iraq war supplemental outlay of 2005.
It comes within days of Republicans’ stunning losses in the midterm elections and the resignation of embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was set to decide on the request Nov. 15.
President Bush said Wednesday that he would nominate as Rumsfeld’s replacement Robert Gates, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency under the presidency of his father, George H.W. Bush.
While House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has vowed not to undercut the troops in the field, defense experts said that she and other Democratic leaders probably hadn’t anticipated the massive request.
“I’m not sure they’ve grasped the potential size of this forthcoming supplemental request. We’ll just have to see whether they can choke down that amount of dough,” said Tom Donnelly, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Bush said in a White House news conference Wednesday morning that he had reached out to the Democratic leadership of the new Congress and hopes to work closely with them. He made no mention of this supplemental appropriation for the War on Terror.
While a good chunk of the $160 billion request will be used to replace worn equipment, it also covers additional systems, armor and weaponry and thus is a blueprint for pressing on with the current troop levels in Iraq and strategy in the War on Terror.
“It’s not just going to be ‘I broke my tank, and I want to fix it,'” Donnelly said.
Small-cap defense contractors, such as DRS Technologies, Essex and Armor Holdings, are particularly sensitive to defense supplementals because they don’t hold as much sway over the regular defense appropriations process. However, they are not likely to be counting on a defense supplemental of such size.
Critics contend that the Bush administration has skirted the normal budget process for these defense expenditures to avoid scrutiny of the costs of the ongoing wars. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has sponsored legislation to fold these war costs into regular defense spending bills.
Such emergency supplementals are often used for spending that doesn’t past muster in the light of the normal budget process: For example, more than $7.5 billion in spending slashed from the 2005 defense appropriations bill was restored in the next supplemental, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
And they are magnets for pork from both sides of the aisle. In the 2005 defense and tsunami relief supplemental, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, added $40 million for flood damage and mitigation in the Manoa Valley on the island of Oahu.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.