Bush dodging Harken bullets

Bush dodging Harken bullets

By By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

George W. Bush hopes his past performance at Harken Energy won’t turn into a political gusher. He is trying with every artifice he has to make it go away. The Republican spinmeisters are making mighty efforts to portray him as a simple Texas businessman who had no inkling that mischief was afoot in that company.

But there are internal memos from Harken that have surfaced, and they show clearly that Bush knew very well what was going on.

Back in 1986, W. had an oil company called Spectrum 7. It owed the banks $2 million. Bush was in deep doo-doo, and he didn’t see a way out in the near future. That’s when Harken Energy came along.

E. Stuart Watson, director of the Bedford, Texas company, told Time magazine a few years after Harken bought Spectrum 7: “(George W.’s) properties were pretty well encumbered. The banks hadn’t foreclosed, but that was in the wind.

Elizabeth Mitchell, in her book W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty, related the details. She wrote: “Harken offered Spectrum 7 a swap. They would buy the company by paying out one share of Harken (stock) for every five shares of Spectrum 7. They would absorb Spectrum’s debt and keep on a handful of the company’s employees, if those workers were willing to relocate. George W. would become a director on the board of Harken and a salaried consultant out of the Dallas office for two years. His stock share would be around $530,000 at the market prices of the time.”

George W.’s record as a businessman was not very sparkling. He flopped with his first company called Arbusto Oil and was bailed out of Spectrum 7 by the merger with Harken.

Yet he told the Dallas Morning News later that his business career had been successful because of “hard work, skillfull investments, the ability to read an environment that was ever-changing at times and react quickly.” The reality was that he had a lot of help from relatives and his father’s influence.

In the early 90s Iraq was moving on the tiny kingdom of Kuwait. Jim Marrs, in his book Rule By Secrecy, said: “Bush (Sr.) soon drew ‘a line in the sand’ to block further Iraqi intrusion. It is interesting to note that this line was located between the Iraqi forces and oil interests owned by his son, soon-to-be Texas governor, George W. Bush.”

Just a few days before Operation Desert Storm began, Harken Energy stunned the business community by announcing an agreement with the small island nation of Bahrain, just off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Marrs wrote: “Veteran oilmen wondered aloud how unknown Harken, with no previous drilling experience, obtained such a potentially lucrative deal. Furthermore, it was reported that ‘Harken’s investments in the area will be protected by a 1990 agreement Bahrain signed with the U.S. allowing American and multi-national forces to set up permanent bases in that country.”

George W. told a Houston Post reporter in 1990 that claims his father ordered troops into the area to protect Harken drilling rights were “a little far-fetched.” He also said he had sold his Harken stock before the Iraqi invasion, but the reporter could find no record of the sale in files of the Securities and Exchange Commission. They didn’t turn up until eight months after the July 10, 1990 filing deadline. One week after Saddam Hussein entered Kuwait, Harken stock dropped to $3.03 a share.

The younger Bush had sold 66% of his Harken stock a few weeks before Iraq invaded Kuwait. He got $4 a share, a net profit of $848,560.

Al Martin is a former federal government insider and today is a leading whistleblower exposing government misdeeds. Martin reports his findings in an Internet column titled “Al Martin Raw.”

This is what Martin said about Harken Energy and the SEC probe of that situation: “The final SEC reports clearly stated that George Bush Jr. committed stock fraud. Bush didn’t disclose his holdings. He sold the stock shortly before. He sold out his long positions after having pumped up the stock with a lot of deceptive and bullish hype. Then he would sell it short before news about the negative earnings came out.

“Harken Energy, after all, was a typical Bush pump-and-dump stock swindle. The Bushes had manipulated the stock consistently between 1-1/4 and about 7-3/4 dollars a share. (Even I made money on it.)”

Martin said the Bushes tipped off those they owed favors, telling them when to buy or sell the stock. “It wasn’t about the oil business,” Martin wrote, “It was simply about manipulating the shares in order to generate profits on both the long and the short sides.”

The New York Daily News reported Harken Energy, Inc. created a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands as a tax shelter in 1989 while Bush was a director. The disclosure comes as the White House is roundly condemning U.S. corporations for doing the same thing.

There were three separate investigations of the Harken Energy transactions by the SEC, under the direction of Richard Breeden. Through the influence of Bush Sr., the younger Bush was given a pass and faced no prosecution.

George W. has appointed this same Richard Breeden as special investigator to look into the collapse of WorldCom. Do you think anybody will be indicted? Is it likely that anybody will be charged in the Enron deal or Global Crossings? Or is it all a case of “it’s not what you do, it’s who you know?”

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