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Conflicts Of Interest
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President Bush And The Harkin Oil Deal

By James Donahue

Have you ever wondered why President George W. Bush has appeared so unusually friendly to the Saudi Arabian government, and why this friendship has continued even after we learned that many of the "terrorists" involved in the 9-11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden, were Saudi natives?

Throughout the U.S. wars with Afghanistan and Iraq, and now that President George W. Bush is threatening yet another attack on Iran, American journalists are failing to point to this president's obvious conflict of interest through his involvement with Harken Energy Company, a Texas-based firm that has a big stake in some shoreline property right off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

It seems that in 1990, Harken was given the exclusive right to explore for gas and oil off the shores of Bahrain, a small island nation located in the Arabian Sea just off the Eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. The little island country is actually linked to Saudi Arabia by a causeway, thus appearing to be an extension of Saudi Arabia.

An article that once appeared in Forbes Magazine noted that the Harken deal in Bahrain was termed "an incredible deal" since Harken had never drilled an offshore well, and it now laid claim to any gas and oil found in the waters just off the world's largest known gas and oil fields.

And guess who some of the principle officers on the Harken Board of Directors were at that time? Indeed, it was our own George W. Bush, named as a consultant and a stockholder. Remember that at the time this deal was cut, George W. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, was the sitting President of the United States.

The fact that Bush sat on that board was extremely political at the time. His track record as a Texas oilman was pretty dismal prior to that. He founded Arbusto Energy, Inc. in the mid-1970s and the company went "busto" during the hard times of the early 1980s. Bush was rescued from business failure when Albusto was bought by Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation. As part of that deal Bush became company president and was given a 13.6 percent share in the company's stock. But oil prices stayed low and within two years, Spectrum 7 also was going down.

By the time Spectrum 7 was acquired by Harken in 1986, the firm had lost $400,000. But Bush was given more than $2 million in Harken stock, made a director, was hired as a consultant, and was receiving a yearly salary ranging between $42,000 and $120,000. That was not a bad deal for a guy who really never did much except run failing oil companies to the edge of bankruptcy.

How could that happen you might wonder? Remember that George's daddy was a major power player in American politics long before he was president. He was the head of the CIA, then served as Vice President under Ronald Reagan. It was during the Reagan years that an investment bank in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stephens, Inc., headed by Jackson Stephens, made a $100,000 contribution to the Reagan-Bush campaign and then gave another $100,000 to the Bush dinner committee in 1990.

The value of Bush Junior to Harken was revealed after this company also got in financial trouble and needed an infusion of cash in 1987. George W. Bush and other Harken officials met with Stephens and things got much better after that.

Here is how it went. Stephens arranged for the Union Bank of Switzerland to invest $25 million in Harken. In return the bank got a stock interest in Harken and Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh, a Saudi real estate financier, joined the board of directors as a major investor.

By now you should be getting a feel for the way things work in the field of high finance and the oil markets. You also may be getting a feel for just why President George W. Bush is waging war in the wrong places, and refusing to change course no matter how unpopular his actions are making him.

It also may have a lot to do with the Bush refusal to support any real attempts in the United States to curb greenhouse gas emissions and join the rest of the world in curbing global warming. His business has involved the burning of fossil fuels, and he has no interest in changing anything.

We believe George W. Bush is being manipulated by power brokers hiding behind the curtain located behind the throne. We used to say the Wizard of Oz was Karl Rove, but now we think there may be somebody else standing there, instead. Maybe it has been that way all along.

Ralph Nader, who ran against Bush in 2000, once said of the Bush Administration: "This is a government that is marinated in oil."

Indeed, no administration in American history has been so closely linked to big oil and other heavy corporate interests. Nearly all of the people who arrived in Washington with Bush in 2001 were linked to big business interests, many of them profiting heavily from the Iraq war, even to this day. This is one of the primary reasons Bush will not budge over global warming issues that are literally scaring the pants off his counterparts these days throughout Europe.