Uncovering the Hidden

Elite Controllers & Hidden Agendas

Who is George W. Bush?

BY SUSAN BRYCE

He grew up as a very rich child with powerful parents. He partied from high school until he was 40 then went cold turkey on drugs and alcohol. His business career was marked by mediocrity or failure that nonetheless resulted making him millions of dollars thanks to the political allies of his father, who happened to be the US President. He was elected 46th governor of Texas mostly because of his family name and his dad’s cronies. He found God and became a Christian. Now, George W. Bush is the 43rd president of the United States.

The Bush administration is a combination of Cold War warriors, big business bureaucrats and ideologues, harvested from the Ford, Nixon and Reagan governments. As veterans of past Republican administrations their thinking reflects a bygone era, particularly with respect to social policy, the environment and nuclear defence. Many of Bush’s appointees are pals from his days as Governor of Texas, or are members of influential insider think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. This article provides a brief analysis of the key players in the ‘Bush team’, their backgrounds, their policies and their likely agendas over the next four years.

President George Walker Bush

Bush’s name is a familiar one in the ranks of America’s top leadership: George W. Bush is the oldest son of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president. The only other set of father-son presidents came early in US history when John Quincy Adams, son of the second president, John Adams, became the sixth president in 1825. Bush Jr. attended Eastern elitist schools, in this case Andover Prep, and Yale. According to a Newsweek profile, he “went to Yale but seems to have majored in drinking at the Deke House.” He became a member of the secretive Skull & Bones society in 1968.

George W. Bush joins a recent parade of state governors (Carter, Reagan, and Clinton) who have moved up to the highest office in the country. Bush was elected Governor of Texas in 1994. He and his brother Jeb Bush (elected in Florida in 1998) were the first brothers to be simultaneous governors since the Rockefellers. Before becoming Governor of Texas, George Bush was involved in the Texan oil scene, where he founded an oil company, Arbusto Energy, Inc. (Arbusto is the Spanish word for bush.) The company floundered in the early 1980s when oil prices dropped. Fifty investors, who were mainly family friends, sunk millions to help bail the company out. Nearing collapse, Arbusto was purchased by Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation in September 1984. Despite a poor track record, the owners made Bush Jr. the president and gave him 13.6% of the parent company’s stock.

The Spectrum 7 oil firm company was owned by two staunch Reagan/Bush (dad was then vice president) supporters, who were also involved with the Texas Rangers. After working on his father’s successful 1988 presidential campaign, Bush assembled a group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. He sold his stake for $14.9 million – while Texas governor. Not bad, considering his initial investment was $600,000 of borrowed money. Speaking after the sale, Bush told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “When it is all said and done, I will have made more money than I ever dreamed I would make.”

In 1986, the Harken Energy Corporation bought Spectrum 7’s 180-well operation. In 1990, Harken Energy was granted a contract to drill for oil off the coast of the Gulf state of Bahrain, shunting aside the oil giant Amoco, even though the company had no experience in offshore operations. Suggestions that the Bahrain government was attempting to curry favour with the US president, George Bush Snr, were denied.

A Harken Energy director was invited to participate in private White House briefings on Middle East policy, and in May 1990 Harken learned that Washington was considering an oil embargo of Iraq.

In June, Bush Jr. conveniently sold 212,000 of his Harken shares, raking in more than $848,500. In August, US intelligence agencies, in full propaganda mode, reported that Iraqi troops had invaded Kuwait and the value of Harken’s shares dropped 25%.

During the 2000 presidential election campaign, various allegations about Bush’s past misdemeanours surfaced. They include: an alleged conviction for drunk driving; an allegation that Bush halted investigation of a campaign contributor’s huge funeral home company; that he pulled strings to avoid Vietnam and got favourable treatment; and that he used drugs, then tried to cover it up.

During his campaign, President-elect Bush made a big point of travelling around the country and lecturing youngsters on staying celibate, sober and drug free. At one thank-you banquet for his campaign staff, Bush reportedly spoke to a lady, who by a brief comment she made, indicated she was a Christian. She was with her 16-year-old son. Bush asked the son if he was a believer, too. When the son answered that he didn’t think so, Bush asked “Do you mind if I tell you how I came to know Christ as my Savior?” Bush then pulled up a chair and witnessed to the boy for 30 minutes, even leading him in the sinner’s prayer.

And as governor of Texas, Bush attacked his predecessor for allowing leniency toward first-time drug users, and pushed a no tolerance policy that sent casual cocaine users to prison. During his campaign, he proclaimed that drug users “need to know that drug use has consequences.” In answer to questions about drug use, Bush says it doesn’t matter what he did “in his youth,” because the question is “have you grown up” and “have you learned from your mistakes.”

The 43rd president of the US is an unwavering proponent of trade liberalisation and a strong US military. Although he has pledged to curtail the use of US military power for purposes short of major wars, he is forging ahead with the US ballistic missile defence shield, following in the hawkish footsteps of his father. Shortly after his inauguration, George W. Bush told reporters: “We will work to defend our people and our allies against growing threats of missiles, information warfare, the threats of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We will confront the new threats of a new century… we will begin creating the military of the future – one that takes full advantage of revolutionary new technologies. We will promote the peace by redefining the way wars will be fought.”

During his presidential campaign, Bush worked to silence his critics. Not since Richard Nixon has a major presidential candidate been so quick to prevent the free speech of his opponents. When asked about one critical web site, Bush told the press, “There ought to be limits to freedom. We’re aware of this site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that’s all he is.” His campaign reportedly bought up over 200 anti-Bush domain names including “bushsucks.com” and “bushbites.com” before the presidential election.

Colin Powell: Secretary of State

After alleged cover-ups in Vietnam and in the Iran-Contra affair, Powell has once again managed to pull the prestige of the military rank above any scandal to become Secretary of State. After 35 years in the US Army, Powell took up the position of General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1989 to 1993. As a General, he rose to superhero status during the Gulf War. His famous quip about the Iraqi army, “We are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it,” impressed some of the fact starved journalists, who later described his Gulf War performance as “masterful.” For Powell, the armed forces are a gleaming and expensive elite, to be maintained at vast cost but not to be dirtied by any deployment, let alone peacekeeping. The “Powell Doctrine” focuses upon how to fight wars and when to fight them – with minimal casualties. Powell, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is believed to be one of the architects of the US military’s Joint Vision 2010 (previously reported in New Dawn No. 59).

Powell has come out of retirement to take up post as Secretary of State. During retirement, he wrote a best-selling autobiography and launched a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the United States and overseas. During his acceptance press conference, Powell lectured about his foreign policy priorities and made the case forcefully for a defensive shield to become “an essential part” of the nation’s security. Bush stood mutely along side, while Powell offered his vision for the future.

It is said that Powell does not advise, ‘he insists.’ His comments about Russia demonstrate the Bush administration’s commitment to a unipolar world: “Our relations with Russia must not be dictated by any fear on our part. For example, if we believe the enlargement of NATO should continue, for example, and we do believe that, we should not fear that Russia will object. We will do it because it is in our interest and because freedom-loving people wish to be part of NATO. Instead, we should deal with Russia’s objections and find a way to address them.”

Powell’s son, Michael, has been made Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Condoleeza Rice: President Bush’s National Security Adviser

Rice served on the National Security Council under the previous Bush administration. From 1989-1991, she was a director and then senior director of Soviet and East European Affairs and was later named special assistant to the National Security Affairs Advisor.

Rice has written or collaborated on several books, including Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995), The Gorbachev Era (1986), and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). Upon her arrival in Washington in 1986, she worked on nuclear strategic planning at the Joint Chiefs of Staff as part of a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship. Rice’s membership of the Council on Foreign Relations continues in the tradition of having a CFR member hold the NSA top spot (in recent years Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and Zbigniew Brzezinski have held the post). In addition to her CFR membership, Dr. Rice is also a member of the Aspen Institute’s Strategy Group. She has served as a Professor and provost at Stanford University and as a fellow of the Hoover Institute.

Speaking about her appointment, Rice said: “George W. Bush will never allow America and our allies to be blackmailed. And make no mistake; blackmail is what the outlaw states seeking long-range ballistic missiles have in mind. It is time to move beyond the Cold War. It is time to have a president devoted to a new nuclear strategy and to the deployment of effective missile defenses at the earliest possible date.”

Donald Rumsfeld:
Secretary of Defense

Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense in the Ford administration (26 years ago). He recently chaired two high-profile study commissions on ballistic missile defense and the security of space-based infrastructure. The commissions concluded that “rogue” nations could threaten the United States with ballistic missiles sooner than analysts had predicted. The commission’s report is now one of the most influential documents in modern American military planning. It led the Clinton administration to propose its own limited version of a national missile defense system.

Rumsfeld is former Republican congressman, and is a former ambassador to NATO from 1973 to 1974. He completes a national security team (including the Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Powell) that shares the dream of continuing with President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program.

During the Reagan Administration, (which cut funding to education, health, income security and overseas aid programmes to make way for defence), Rumsfeld served as an adviser to the US Departments of State and Defense and as a member of the President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control.

Rumsfeld served as Chairman and chief executive officer at General Instrument Corporation, from 1990 to 1993. He was chief executive officer, president, and later chairman of G.D. Searle & Company, from 1977 to 1985.

Paul O’Neill:
Secretary of Treasury

Another Ford administration veteran, O’Neill worked in the Office of Management and Budget from 1967 to 1977, rising to deputy director. He was a multimillionaire shareholder and CEO from 1987 to 1998 and Chairperson of Alcoa Inc. from 1987 to 2001. Most recently, he was chairman of the RAND Corporation, the Los Angeles-based think tank and front for the CIA. He is also a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. O’Neill built his business reputation at Alcoa by focusing on core business and engaging in ruthless cost cutting. From 1977 to 1978, O’Neill was involved with International Paper Company, eventually rising to president. Although O’Neill is a long time friend of Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan, it is believed that he does not have sufficient knowledge to challenge Greenspan’s judgement if necessary. Other candidates for Secretary of Treasury were Walter V. Shipley, former chairman of Chase Manhattan Corporation; Donald B. Marron, chairman of the Paine Webber Group; and John M. Hennessy, former chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston. O’Neill, an old colleague of Dick Cheney’s, was apparently the pick of the crop.

Robert Zoellick:
United States Trade Representative

Zoellick worked on the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) at the Treasury Department under President Reagan, and on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the State Department during the previous Bush administration. Zoellick is a past president of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the influential think tank which sets the agenda for US government policy areas such as energy, the global information infrastructure, and trade relations.

In a gushy report about Zoellick, Australia’s national daily newspaper, The Australian, praised him as “an almost ludicrous over-achiever” and the “man many believe to be the brainiest, [and] intellectually the most formidable in the new administration of President George W. Bush.” The Australian named Zoellick as the likely successor to Colin Powell. Zoellick is a founding member of the Australian-American Leadership dialogue, and last year was granted a private audience with Prime Minister John Howard. Zoellick’s recent article in the CFR publication Foreign Affairs advocated a US free trade agreement linking Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.

Donald Evans:
Secretary of Commerce

Evans has been a life-long friend of George W. Bush and his appointment as Secretary of Commerce is seen as reward for his involvement in Bush’s election campaign. Evans worked for Tom Brown Inc., an independent energy company engaged in the domestic exploration, development, marketing and production of natural gas and crude oil, from 1975 to 2001, rising from an oil rig crew man to president, chairman and chief executive officer.

Norman Mineta:
Secretary, Department of Transportation

Mineta was senior vice president for transportation systems and services at Lockheed Martin Corporation from 1995 to 2000. He was a member of the US House of Representatives, from 1974 to 1995, and spent 20 years on the Transportation Committee, including two years as committee chairman. He was mayor of San Jose, California from 1971 to 1974 and a San Jose city councilman from 1967 to 1971.

Richard B. Cheney:
Vice President of the USA

The Vice President of the United States, known affectionately as “Dick”, is a career businessman and public servant. He has served three Presidents. His career in public service began in 1969 when he joined the Nixon Administration, serving in a number of positions at the Cost of Living Council, at the Office of Economic Opportunity, and within the White House. When Gerald Ford assumed the Presidency in August 1974, Cheney served on the transition team and later as Deputy Assistant to the President. In November 1975 he was named Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff, a position he held throughout the remainder of the Ford Administration.

As Secretary of Defense from March 1989 to January 1993, Cheney directed two of the largest military campaigns in recent history – Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East.

After he left the Pentagon, Cheney became CEO of Halliburton in 1995. Halliburton is a Texas construction and engineering company that services oil companies and the US military.

He cashed in on his official contacts within the government, military, the oil industry and Middle East governments. Almost overnight, Halliburton, a middle-sized business, swelled its coffers to $15 billion in annual sales with contracts in 120 countries. Today Halliburton employs 100,000 people in 20 countries.

Although he flirted with the idea of running for president in 1996, Cheney opted instead to remain at Halliburton – where he become around $50 million richer – until he was selected as George W. Bush’s running mate.

John Ashcroft:
Attorney General

Ashcroft is a strong anti-abortion campaigner with a rigidly conservative and dogmatic outlook, who has expressed opposition to the National Endowment for the Arts. Ashcroft has earned the enmity of pro-choice women’s groups, conservation organisations, civil libertarians and Missouri’s black community. Ashcroft has been described as Bush’s gift to the right wing. Ashcroft, 58, was narrowly defeated for re-election as a Republican to the Senate in 2000. He is a staunch proponent of the death penalty.

Tommy Thompson:
Secretary, Health and Human Services

Thompson’s views on Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor and disabled, reflect his conservative thinking. He signed legislation that requires Wisconsin women seeking an abortion to first obtain counselling on alternatives, then wait three days for the procedure – if they still want it. He has been one of the main proponents of converting Medicaid to a system of block grants to states. The idea won Republican support in Congress in 1995 but ultimately failed, proving so contentious that it contributed to the shutdown of the federal government.

Thompson, who was elected governor of Wisconsin in 1986, succeeded in slashing the number of people in the state receiving welfare by 92%. Wisconsin under Thompson also set the pace in diverting public education funds to private and religious schools by way of vouchers.

Gale Norton:
Interior Secretary

Gale Norton is a protégé of James Watt, President Reagan’s controversial Interior secretary from 1981 to 1983. She also served in the Reagan administration in the Agriculture Department and then in the Interior Department where she helped advocate for the administration’s position on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As Colorado Attorney General, Norton was instrumental in creating the state’s “self audit” program, which gives businesses immunity from litigation and fines if they voluntarily report and correct violations of environmental laws.

Spencer Abraham:
Energy Secretary

Abraham was recently defeated as junior senator from Michigan, but during his brief career on Capitol Hill, he managed to introduce a bill to abolish the very department he has now been asked to run. He does not appear to have in depth knowledge about the need for an energy efficient economy. He fully supports Bush’s plans to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Abraham served as deputy chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle from 1990 to 1992.

He was a founder of the right-wing Federalist Society. Its goal is to politically dominate the legal profession, especially at the level of the judiciary. It stands for eliminating welfare, halting affirmative action and discontinuing bilingual education. Its most prominent members are Supreme Court judges Scalia and Clarence Thomas, whose votes were crucial in delivering the ruling that put George Bush Jr. in the White House with a minority of popular votes.

Ann Veneman:
Secretary, Department of Agriculture

Veneman served as Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1995 to 1999, rising to the position of deputy secretary. She has extensive experience in law and trade issues, including negotiations on the Uruguay Round that created the World Trade Organisation (WTO), on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and on the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Elaine Chao:
Secretary of Labor

Chao, the wife of Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, is a former director of the Peace Corps and from 1996 to 2001 was a fellow at the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. Chao was president and chief executive officer of United Way of America from 1992-1996. She is a former vice-president of Bank of America Capital Markets Group.

Joe Allbaugh: Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Allbaugh, 48, previously served as chief of staff to then-Governor Bush (1995-1999) and as campaign manager for President Bush’s first gubernatorial campaign (1994). Before coming to Texas, he was the deputy secretary of transport for the State of Oklahoma.

George J. Tenet, Director, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Bush asked George Tenet, the current director of central intelligence, “to stay on the job for what will amount to an undetermined period of time.” Tenet is the first CIA director in 28 years to remain in office after the White House switched occupants.

Tenet was sworn in as Director of Central Intelligence on July 11, 1997, following a unanimous vote by both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the full Senate. In his position he heads the Intelligence Community (all foreign intelligence agencies of the United States) as well as directing the Central Intelligence Agency.

The First Lady Laura Welch Bush

A teacher librarian, her primary interest is education. When Bush was Governor of Texas, Laura Bush launched an early childhood development programme that was a collaborative effort with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

President George W. Bush, the scheming businessman who used his father’s oil connections and political position to make his fortune, now takes charge of arguably the most important duty in the world – control of the nuclear button (actually a switch which is flicked). Surrounding him are advisors that harbour fundamentalist Christian values; hawkish secretaries committed to the militarisation of space; the captains of corporate capitalism and slick oil men. The right wing kooks and military spooks are in control at the White House and the Pentagon. It would make a good plot for Armageddon II.

The print version of this article contains two side pieces, ‘Bush Appoints CFR Members’ and ‘Another Skull & Bones President’.

__________________________________________________________
Susan Bryce is an Australian journalist and publisher of the Australian Freedom & Survival Guide. Her interests include global politics, the new economy and the technologies of political control. The Australian Freedom & Survival Guide, a newsletter that airs the dirty laundry on the international surveillance regime, Transnational Corporations, Genetic Engineering, the New World Order, Defence & Military, WTO, IMF, World Bank, Globalisation. 6 issues per year $45.00. Sample issue $7.50. Web site: http://www.squirrel.com.au/~sbryce. Send cheque or money order payable to S. Bryce, PO Box 66, Kenilworth, Qld 4574, Australia. Email: sbryce@squirrel.com.au

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