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Fahrenheit 9/11 Facts

July 10th, 2004 9:57 PM

Factual Back-Up for Fahrenheit 9/11: Section Three


Section Three covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 from Osama's relations with his family through Bush's military records and ends with Bush's business history, including Arbusto, Harken and the Carlyle Group.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: In 2001, one of Osama’s sons got married in Afghanistan; several family members attended the wedding. ?

  • “Bin Laden as well as his mother, two brothers and a sister, who flew from Saudi Arabia, attended the wedding of one of his sons, Mohammad, in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Monday, the Arabic daily Al-Hayat said.… Another of bin Laden's sons married one of al-Masri's daughters in January. Al-Hayat said several members of the bin Laden family, who run a major construction company in Saudi Arabia, also traveled from the kingdom to attend the wedding. Agence France Presse, “Bin Laden Full of Praise for Attack on USS Cole at Son's Wedding”, Thursday, March 1, 2001. ?

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “We held hundreds of people” immediately after 9/11. ?

  • “More than 1,200 foreigners have been detained as part of the government's investigation into the terror attacks, some spending months in prison. Some civil liberties advocates have complained, but government officials insist they are simply enforcing long-standing immigration laws.”? “A Nation Challenged,” New York Times, November 25, 2001.
  • “The Department of Homeland Security announced new rules yesterday designed to prevent a recurrence of the lengthy detention of hundreds of foreign nationals, many of whom were prevented from making telephone calls or contacting lawyers for months after they were jailed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.? The guidelines, made public yesterday by Asa Hutchinson, the department's undersecretary for border and transportation security, were welcomed by civil rights groups that had bitterly denounced the detention of 762 immigration violators after the attacks, based on sometimes ill-founded FBI suspicions that they had links to terrorism.? The new rules are a response to a highly critical 198-page report last June by Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general. It concluded that in the chaotic aftermath of the terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, hundreds of Arab and South Asian men who had committed sometimes minor immigration violations languished in jail without timely review by U.S. officials. Guards mistreated some of them.? The average detention lasted three months, and the longest was 10 months before the immigrants were cleared of terrorism ties and released from jail.” John Mintz, “New Rules Shorten Holding Time for Detained Immigrants,” Washington Post, April 14, 2004.
  • “In the days, weeks and months following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, hundreds of American immigrants were rounded up and detained, often under harsh or abusive conditions, in the name of keeping America safe. Not because of evidence (or even sound hunches) that they were involved in the terrorist attacks that brutally ended the lives of more than 3,100 people. Not because they were found to have ties to – or even knowledge of – terrorist groups who might threaten American security in the future. Instead, hundreds of immigrants were arbitrarily snared in this dragnet, marked for arrest and thrown (literally, at times) in jail. The exact number is unknown, because the government refuses to release that information. They had one thing in common: Almost all were Arab or South Asian men, and almost all were Muslim... Once arrested, many immigrants were labeled "of interest" to the September 11 investigation and thrown into legal limbo – detained for weeks or months in connection with a criminal investigation, but denied the due process rights that they would have been entitled to had they actually been charged with crimes.” ACLU, "America’s Disappeared: Seeking International Justice for Immigrants Detained after September 11," January 2004.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The FBI conducted “a little interview, check[ed] the passport.”

Last year, the National Review reported that the FBI conducted brief, day-of-departure interviews with the Saudis -- in the words of an FBI spokesman, "at the airport, as they were about to leave." Experts interviewed by the National Review called the FBI's actions "highly unusual" given the fact that those departing were actually members of Osama bin Laden's family. "They [the FBI] could not have done a thorough and complete interview," said John L.Martin, the former head of internal security at the Justice Department. "The Great Escape : How did assorted bin Ladens get out of America after September 11?" National Review, September 29, 2003.?

  • “Thirty of the 142 people on these flights were interviewed by the FBI, including 22 of the 26 people (23 passengers and 3 private security guards) on the Bin Ladin flight. Many were asked detailed? questions. ? None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity." National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Threats and Responses in 2001, Staff Statement No. 10, The Saudi Flights, p. 12;
  • “I talked to several people who were with the FBI during the actual repatriation.? And they told me there was a lot of back-and-forth between the FBI and the Saudi Embassy. And the Saudi Embassy tried to get people to leave without even identifying them. The FBI succeeded in identifying people and going through their passports. But, in many cases, you had the FBI meeting people for the first time on the tarmac or on the planes themselves as they were departing.? That was not time for a serious interview or a serious interrogation.”? Interview with Craig Unger, CNN, September 4, 2003.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: White House released records in response to Moore’s charge of deserter.?

  • Left-leaning filmmaker Michael Moore got the discussion started in January, when he endorsed Clark for president and called the president a ‘deserter.’? The White House responded by releasing the president's service records, including an honorable discharge. James Rainey, “Who's the Man? They Are; George Bush and John Kerry Stand Shoulder to Shoulder in One Respect: Macho is Good. Very Good. It's Been That Way Since Jefferson's Day,” Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2004.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: There is one glaring difference between the records released in 2000 and those he released in 2004. ? A name had been blacked out.? In 1972, two airmen were suspended for failing to take their medical examination.? One was George W. Bush and the other wasJames R. Bath. ?

  • See National Guard Bureau, Aeronautical Orders Number 87, September 29, 1972, Attachment B, paragraph 7 (original document):

The Document as Released in 2000: Page 1 | Page 2

The Document as Released in 2004: Page 1 | Page 2

FAHRENHEIT 9/11:? James R. Bath was the Texas money manager for the Bin Laden family.

  • According to a 1976 trust agreement, drawn shortly after [George H. W.] Bush was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen appointed Bath as his business representative in Houston. Binladen, along with his brothers, owns Binladen Brothers Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East.”? Jerry Urban, “Feds Investigate Entrepreneur Allegedly Tied to Saudis,” Houston Chronicle, June 4, 1992.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: George W. Bush and James R. Bath had become good friends.

  • “Bath, 55, acknowledges a friendship with George W. Bush that stems from their service together in the Texas Air National Guard.” Jonathan Beaty, “A Mysterious Mover of Money and Planes,” Time Magazine, October 28, 1991.?
  • “In a copy of the record released by the National Guard in 2000, the man in question, James R. Bath, was listed as being suspended from flying for the National Guard in 1972 for failing to take a medical exam next to a similar listing for Mr. Bush. It has been widely reported that the two were friends and that Mr. Bath invested in Mr. Bush's first major business venture, Arbusto Energy, in the late 1970's after Mr. Bath began working for Salem bin Laden.”? Jim Rutenberg, “A Film to Polarize Along Party Lines,” New York Times, May 17, 2004.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “After they were discharged, when Bush’s dad was head of the CIA, Bath opened up his own aviation business, after selling a plane to a man by the name of Salem bin Laden, heir to the second largest fortune in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi bin Laden Group.”

  • “Bath opened his own aircraft brokerage firm in 1976.” Jonathan Beaty, “A Mysterious Mover of Money and Planes,” Time Magazine, October 28, 1991.? (Bush was CIA director, 1976-1977.)?
  • “Sometime around 1974… Bath was trying to sell a F-27 turboprop, a sluggish medium-range plane that was not exactly a hot ticket in those days, when he received a phone call that changed his life.? The voice no the other end belonged to Salem bin Laden… Bath not only had a buyer for a plane no one else seemed to want, he had also stumbled upon a source of wealth and power that was certain to pique the interest of even the brashest Texas oil baron.” Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, pp,19-20 (Scribner: New York, 2004).

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “George W. Bush founded an oil company, a drilling company, out in west Texas called Arbusto, which was very good at drilling dry holes.”

  • “After graduating from the Harvard Business School, Bush organized his first company, Arbusto Energy (Arbusto is Spanish for Bush) in 1977 on the eve of a run for Congress. According to records on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arbusto didn’t start active operations until March 1979.… According to 1984 securities filings, Bush’s limited partners had invested $4.66 million in Bush’s various drilling programs but they had received cash distributions of only $1.54 million. However, Bush’s CFO stated, ‘We didn’t find much oil and gas,’ adding ‘We weren’t raising any money.’ George Lardner Jr. and Lois Romano, “Bush Name Helps Fuel Oil Dealings,” Washington Post, July 30, 1999.
  • “Bush eventually renamed his company Bush Exploration and later merged with a firm called Spectrum 7.? Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the firm lost money from 1979 to 1982 and that investors who put in nearly $4.7 million got back just $1.5 million.? Published reports contend that Bush Exploration was salvaged by Cincinnati oilmen Bill DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds.? Bush today says otherwise, that his company was on firm financial footing and that the merger was a strategic one.? Either way, George W. drilled his fair share of dry holes. As Conaway rues to this day, the company ‘never hit . . . the Big Kahuna.’” Maria La Ganga, “Bush Finesses Texas 2-Step Of Privilege, Personality,” Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2000.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “There is no indication that daddy wrote a check to start Bush off in his company.” ?

  • “Seed money, upward of $4 million, was largely raised between 1979 and 1982 with the help of [Bush’s] uncle, financier Jonathan Bush. The Arbusto investor list is filled with family and famous friends. His grandmother, Dorothy W. Bush, chipped in $25,000.? Corporate luminaries like George L. Ball, chief executive of Prudential-Bache Securities, invested $100,000.? Macomber and William H. Draper III, who invested more than $125,000, were later named presidents of the U.S. Export-Import Bank during the Reagan and Bush administrations.” Maria La Ganga, “Bush Finesses Texas 2-Step Of Privilege, Personality,” Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2000.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bush’s good friend James Bath was hired by the bin Laden family to manage their money in Texas and invest in businesses.? And James Bath himself, in turn, invested in George W. Bush.”?

  • ? Bath’s business relationship with Salem bin Laden, and other wealthy Saudi businessmen, has been well documented.? See, e.g., Mike Ward, “Bin Laden Relatives Have Ties to Texas,” Austin American-Statesman, November 9, 2001; Jerry Urban, “Feds Investigate Entrepreneur Allegedly Tied to Saudis,” Houston Chronicle, June 4, 1992; Thomas Petzinger Jr., et al., “Family Ties: How Oil Firm Linked to a Son of Bush Won Bahrain Drilling Pact,” The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 1991.
  • “[E]arly 1980s tax records reviewed by TIME show that Bath invested $50,000 in Bush's energy ventures and remained a stockholder until Bush sold his company to Harken in 1986.” Jonathan Beaty, “A Mysterious Mover of Money and Planes,” Time Magazine, October 28, 1991.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bush ran Arbusto nearly into the ground, as he did every other company he was involved in until finally one of his companies was bought by Harken Energy and they gave him a seat on their board.”

  • “Bush's name …was to help rescue him, just as it had attracted investors and helped revive his flagging fortunes throughout his years in the dusty plains city of Midland. A big Dallas-based firm, Harken Oil and Gas, was looking to buy up troubled oil companies. After finding Spectrum, Harken's executives saw a bonus in their target's CEO, despite his spotty track record.? By the end of September 1986, the deal was done. Harken assumed $ 3.1 million in debts and swapped $ 2.2 million of its stock for a company that was hemorrhaging money, though it had oil and gas reserves projected to produce $ 4 million in future net revenue. Harken, a firm that liked to attach itself to stars, had also acquired Bush, whom it used not as an operating manager but as a high-profile board member.… It was one of the biggest breaks of Bush's life. Still, the Harken deal completed a disappointing reprise of what was becoming a familiar pattern. As an oilman, Bush always worked hard, winning a reputation as a straight-shooter and a good boss who was witty, warm and immensely likable. Even the investors who lost money in his ventures remained admirers, and some of them are now raising money for his presidential campaign.? But the story of Bush's career in oil, which began following his graduation from Harvard Business School in the summer of 1975 and ended when he sold out to Harken and headed for Washington, is mostly about his failure to succeed, despite the sterling connections his lineage and Ivy League education brought him." George Lardner Jr. and Lois Romano, “Bush Name Helps Fuel Oil Dealings,” Washington Post, July 30, 1999.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Bush was investigated by the S.E.C.? The James Baker law partner who helped Bush beat the rap from the SEC was a man by the name of Robert Jordon, who, when George W. became president was appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia.?

  • “A week before George W. Bush's 1990 sale of stock in Harken Energy Co., the firm's outside lawyers cautioned Bush and other directors against selling shares if they had significant negative information about the company's prospects.? The sale came a few months before Harken reported significant losses, leading to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.? The June 15, 1990, letter from the Haynes and Boone law firm wasn't sent to the SEC by Bush's attorney Robert W. Jordan until Aug. 22, 1991, according to a letter by Jordan.? That was one day after SEC staff members investigating the stock sale concluded there was insufficient evidence to recommend an enforcement action against Bush for insider trading.” Peter Behr, “Bush Sold Stock After Lawyers’ Warning,” Washington Post, November 1, 2002.?
  • “President Bush has chosen as ambassador to Saudi Arabia a Dallas attorney who represented him against … allegations arising from his sale of stock in Harken Energy Co. 11 years ago.” G. Robert Hillman, “Bush Taps Dallas Attorney to be Ambassador to Saudi Arabia,” The Dallas Morning News, July 21, 2001.?

FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “After the Harken debacle, the friends of Bush’s dad got him a seat on another board, of a company owned by the Carlyle Group.”

  • "Fred Malek, a senior advisor to Carlyle, who also served as the director of the 1988 Republican Convention, suggested to Carlyle that the President’s eldest son, George W. Bush, would ‘be a positive addition to Caterair’s board.’? Mr. Malek was also a Caterair director and vice chairman of Northwest Airlines, a major Caterair customer.? ‘I thought George W. Bush could make a contribution to Caterair,’ stated Malek.? Malek further claimed, ‘He would be on the board even if his father weren’t President.’" Kenneth N. Gilpin, “Little-Known Carlyle Scores Big,” New York Times, March 26, 1991
  • Co-Founder of Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, talking about setting up Cater Air after Carlyle acquired it: “When we’re putting together the board,” Rubenstein said, ‘somebody came to me and said ‘Look, there is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job.? Needs some board positions. Could you put him on the board? Pay him a salary and he'll be a good board member and be a loyal vote for the management and so forth.’ …We put him on the board and (he) spent three years.? Came to all the meetings.? … And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years – ‘You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else.? Because I don't think you're adding much value to the board.? You don't know that much about the company.’ The board member told him, Rubenstein said, ‘Well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.’ And I said, 'Thanks.'? Didn't think I'd ever see him again.? His name is George W. Bush,’ Rubenstein said. ‘He became president of the United States.? So if you said to me, name 25 million people who would be president of the United States, he wouldn't be in that category. So you neverknow."? Nicholas Horrock, “White House Watch: With Friends Like These,” UPI, July 16, 2003 .


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