Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz is the Saudi billionaire that sues everybody, including Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, for exposing his role in funding terrorism. At the end of Part 1 I left off alluding to ties of his that go not only to Osama bin Laden, but also to President George W. Bush.
We now review an article from March 31, 2004, entitled Bush, the Saudi billionaire and the Islamists: the story a British firm is afraid to publish, "Publication of book cancelled as libel laws blamed for stifling free speech", by David Leigh:
A book investigating links between rich Saudis and US politicians has been suppressed by the giant publishing firm Random House because, it says, of growing "libel tourism" by wealthy foreigners, and exorbitant legal "success fees".
Libel lawyers are stifling free speech, the deputy chairman of Random House, Simon Master, said yesterday.
The UK publication of House of Bush, House of Saud, by the American writer Craig Unger, has been cancelled because Secker and Warburg, a Random House subsidiary, says it can no longer afford such risks.
The book focuses in part on the activities of a Jeddah-based Saudi billionaire, Khalid bin Mahfouz, who has been engaged in a war of words in the US, where there have been public accusations by officials linking him and others to funding received by Osama bin Laden.
Unger collates links between Mr Bin Mahfouz and Islamist fundamentalists. But the new dimension of his research is that he also analyses the Texas business links between the Bush circle and the families of Mr Bin Mahfouz and other rich Saudis.
Unger's thesis is that the eagerness of US politicians to tap into Saudi money over the years may have compromised Mr Bush's determination to fight terrorism: "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbours and supports our country's mortal enemies."
You may have already read the book in question -- it has been out for some time now. Regardless, do your own internet search with the key words "Bush" and "bin Mahfouz" and see what you come up with. Then try it again, throwing in "bin Laden".
Please be sure to evaluate the scholarship of the pages that come up.
We continue with the article:
How far Unger's thesis is credible is something that the US reading public will be able to decide for themselves. The book is becoming a bestseller in US election year. In Britain, however, the deputy chairman of Random House denied that the decision to suppress it was "pusillanimity or unnecessary self-censorship".
Simon Masters said UK libel laws were ludicrous and had been made worse by a recent judgment won by a wealthy Saudi wrongly accused of terrorist funding links, in which the defence of public interest had been thrown out.
"Forum shopping" by wealthy foreigners attracted to Britain's draconian libel laws was made worse, he said, by "the willingness of some law firms to take cases on a no-win no-fee basis. The firms who take on such clients will if successful, present hugely inflated bills, the costs of which can be awarded against the defendant in addition to any damages".
He called this system disgraceful. A libel fight was immensely time-consuming and potentially hugely expensive - "vastly more than the publisher could hope to earn from the book".
The UK libel system, he said is "stifling legitimate freedom of speech".
Mr Bin Mahfouz's UK lawyers, Kendall Freeman, said yesterday that their client "has had no choice in the past but to issue libel proceedings to protect his reputation in this country".
They added: "We do not comment on the particular fee arrangements we have with our clients."
Mr Bin Mahfouz, who inherited his vast wealth from his banker father, has issued a sheaf of UK libel writs to successfully obtain retractions and damages for them. He says that he and his family abhor terrorism, and were horrified by the September 11 attacks.
The links with Texas politicians began in the 1970s, according to Unger. He says a businessman, Jim Bath, acted as local partner both for Mr Bin Mahfouz, and his close friend Salem bin Laden.
Both young men were heirs to family fortunes. Mr Bin Laden was also the eldest brother of Osama bin Laden, who was many years later to turn into the world's most reviled terrorist.
In 1977 Mr Bin Mahfouz with Mr Bath and John Connally, [former treasury secretary] bought the Main Bank of Houston.
In 1982, according to the author, Mr Bin Mahfouz and his brothers, with the Texas Commerce Bank, developed a Houston skyscraper. The bank was the family firm of James Baker, the former White House chief of staff.
In 1987, he says a Saudi associate of Mr Bin Mahfouz, Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, helped the young George Bush and his struggling oil firm, Harken Energy, by buying 17% of its stock. More help for Mr Bush came in 1990, when the prime minister of Bahrain, Khalifa bin Salan al-Khalifa, awarded offshore drilling rights there to Harken. The Bahrain premier was a shareholder in a controversial bank, BCCI, along with Mr Bin Mahfouz, who owned 30%.
The final link asserted by Unger came in 1995 when, he says, Mr Bin Mahfouz's two sons invested $30m (£16m) in the Carlyle Group, a firm linked to the Bush family.
The Carlyle Group... linked to Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz and to Sheikh George W. Bush.
From 'Ex-presidents club' gets fat on conflict, "High-flying venture capital firm Carlyle Group cashes in when the tanks roll", by Jamie Doward, March 23, 2003:
It is the sort of thing they really could have done without. For 15 years one of America's most powerful venture capital groups has tried to play down suggestions that its multi-billion dollar funds get fat on the back of global conflict. But now, with the invasion of Iraq under way, a new book chronicling the relatively short history of the Carlyle Group threatens to draw attention to the company's close links with the Pentagon.
At the same time it emerged that the bin Laden family - estranged from their terrorist son - was an investor in the Carlyle fund that owned United Defense. The backlash was ferocious. Carlyle hired a PR firm but the group was under siege. In an astonishing move Democrat Representative Cynthia McKinney cited the Carlyle Group as an example of an organisation 'close to this administration poised to make huge profits off America's new war'. The bin Laden family sold their stakes in the fund. A spokesman said their investment was valued at 'only' around $2m, although Briody quotes insiders who say the family's investment had been significantly greater in the past.
'I do not exaggerate when I say that Carlyle is taking over the world in government contract work, particularly defence work,' one employee told Briody. Other Carlyle companies also benefited, including EC&G which makes X-ray scanners, Composite Structures, a maker of metal-bond structures in fighter jets and missiles, and Lier Siegler Services Inc, a major military contractor, providing logistics support.
Carlyle -- whose high-profile investors include George Soros and Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal -- refutes suggestions it profits from war. Co-founder William Conway even went on record saying 'no one wants to be a beneficiary of 11 September.'
This may be true, but unfortunately for the Carlyle Group its investments are beneficiaries of this new era of multilateral conflict. Indeed, a case can be made that even those companies Carlyle wouldn't class as defence investments -- and which aren't examined by Briody -- have benefited.
Last month it bought CSX Lines, an ocean carrier firm that specialises in shipping heavy equipment. One of its biggest customers is the US military. Late last year it bought Firth Rixson, a specialist engineering firm that makes aerospace parts. It also has a 33 per cent stake in Qinetiq, the government's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.
Whatever Carlyle says, its image as being at the apex of what Eisenhower termed the 'military industrial complex' endures.
Osama bin Laden, whose family held an interest in the Carlyle Group, attacks us repeatedly, with a final, spectacular attack on 9/11. That attack serves as the reason to launch a "War on Terror", a war which, we are told, will not end in our lifetimes, as Sheikh bin Laden leads Islamic extremists in a jihad against America.
Meanwhile, the source of some of bin Laden's funding is Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, who also has an interest in the Carlyle Group; President George W. Bush, who leads the world in our counterjihad, also has an interest in the Carlyle Group.
Bush, of course, does not go after Saudi Arabia, where the 9/11 terrorists and the money that supported them came from, and where their militant form of Islam was born and from where it now gets spread around the world... so, we are fighting the fire, but never pointing the hose at the base of the flame.
Meanwhile, the Carlyle Group makes big bucks off the "War on Terror" -- big bucks (as does a certain firm closely tied to Vice President Dick Cheney).
And, if you have done the internet search that I suggested, you know that the Carlyle Group is not the only place where these families cross paths. The bin Laden family, the bin Mahfouz family and the bin Bush family have all crossed paths at BCCI, as well -- research BCCI and see what you come up with.
Stay tuned for Part 3, where we finish reviewing Bush, the Saudi billionaire and the Islamists: the story a British firm is afraid to publish, and then move on to more recent material.