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Flashback:Remember James Bath? Charles "Bill" White does

by : sander hicks
Tuesday November 16, 2004 - 18:59

Transcript from "The Fifth Estate" Broadcast Wednesday October 29, 2003 http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/

© CBC Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Republished at sanderhicks.com under the provisions of Fair Use.

BILL WHITE

Interviewed by: Bob McKeown

Charles "Bill" White

LET’S GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET JAMES BATH?

I met him when I graduated from Business School in nineteen seventy-eight. Came down to Houston on an interview.

AND WHAT KIND OF PERSON WAS HE?

I was actually recruited from, from Harvard Business School by Lan Bentsen, Senator Bentsen’s son. And he found that I was a Navy Fighter Pilot he said there was an Air Force Fighter Pilot in Houston that I should meet who the Bentsen family and the Bush family were already in business with. And he said that this fellow James R. Bath needed someone to run a series of real estate companies that would be grub stake by not only the political families but also by some foreign Nationals, the Saudis. And so I came down to an interview and met Jim.

SO, THE INTRODUCTION WAS MADE BECAUSE YOU HAD THE COMMON GROUND OF HAVING HAD BOTH BEEN PILOTS.

Exactly. We’re both fighter pilots.

AND AT THE TIME BATH WAS IN BUSINESS IN HOUSTON DOING WHAT?

He was in Business primarily with an Aircraft Brokerage Company called JB and A which stands for Jim Bath and Associates. He also ran a company in the same building called Bin Laden and Associates which Jim explained was a procurement company for the Saudis.

NOW AT THAT POINT, HAD YOU EVER HEARD THE NAME BIN LADEN?

No, I had not.

AND AS YOU INVESTIGATED AND FOUND OUT WHO THESE PEOPLE WERE, WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

Well, I learned that there was a relationship between the Saudi Royals and the politicians here in the United States and that Bath was helping to protect the Saudi Royal Family by training some of the Saudi Nationals who were at our Air Force base as being trained as Pilots. We had a Prince who was the first foreign National to fly on the first US Space Shuttle. We had other foreign Nationals too. Jim was functioning as an intermediary between the Bushes and the Saudi Royal Family.

HOW HAD JIM BATH BEEN ANNOINTED TO BE THIS INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN THE SAUDIS ON ONE HAND AND FAMILIES LIKE THE BUSHES ON THE OTHER?

Well, Jim explained that in the early seventies when he served in the Texas Air National Guard that George Bush Junior, our current President had come on board along with some other Politicians’ children. This is during the Vietnam War era and they became drinking buddies and good friends. And then in nineteen seventy-six when, when W’s Father became CIA Director and the CIA was trying to privatize some of their subsidiaries, their air affiliates, etc that Jim was actually recommended to the CIA Director, George Senior by W. And that’s when the relationship got established.

AT THE POINT THAT YOU FIRST MET JIM BATH, HE WAS NOT ONLY CONNECTED TO THE SAUDIS, TO THE BIN LADENS BUT ALSO TO THE BUSHES.

That’s correct.

"He spent probably ninety-five percent of his time, I’d call it hand-holding the Arabs. He bought a bank for them. He bought an airport for them."

SO IN A SENSE, AT THE POINT WHEN YOU FIRST MET HIM WAS BATH THIS LINK BETWEEN THE BUSHES ON ONE SIDE AND THE BIN LADEN’S IN SAUDI.

Right. That link had already been established and Jim was actually in an operational mode. He spent probably ninety-five percent of his time, I’d call it hand-holding the Arabs. He bought a bank for them. He bought an airport for them. He started an airline for them among other ventures in Houston, Texas and was, the nominee or the front man for their ownership of these various entities. He would spend ninety-nine percent of his time dealing with their interests while I was relegated to running our real estate development company.

WHAT WAS THE EXTENT OF THE INTEREST OF THE SAUDIS IN AND AROUND HOUSTON? WHY DID THEY COME TO TEXAS AT THIS TIME?

Well they had a large presence here because of the oil interest. And they had banking interests by virtue of Bush Senior’s association with First International Bank which subsequently became Air First. And also John Connolly who was a former Democrat who turned Republican and worked in the Nixon Administration with Bush he ran First Citi-Bank.

We also had James Baker and Baker, the Baker and Bott’s Law Firm, so you basically had a confluence of political interests that were friendly to the Saudi Royal Family doing business in Houston.

IN THE MID SEVENTIES WHEN YOU FIRST CAME IN CONNECTION WITH JIM, WHAT DID YOU LEARN THROUGH BATH ABOUT THE EXTENT OF THE BUSH CONNECTIONS AND THE BUSH HISTORY WITH SAUDI ARABIA?

Well Bath explained to me that he had been tapped by George Senior to set up a quasi private aircraft firm that would basically engage in CIA-sponsored activities funded by the Saudi Royal Family. He explained that the Saudis had basically entered into a quid pro quo relationship with Bush and that Bush when he was CIA Director worked with the Head of Saudi Intelligence and they trained the Palace Guard to protect the Saudi Royal Family who was concerned about a fundamentalist revolution.

And it was at that point I think that this thing got kicked into high gear and the Saudis agreed to provide surreptitious funding to the United States to fight secret wars in Afghanistan and Nicaragua on the one hand and Bush as Vice President then sent AWACS and F-Fifteen Fighter Jets to Saudi Arabia to support Saddam Hussein under the psyche that the enemy is my friend. We had the Iran-Iraq War at the time. And so that’s, that’s really how it evolved.

TO WHAT EXTENT DID PEOPLE LIKE BIN MAHFOUZ AND ... BIN LADEN SET UP THEIR OWN INFRA STRUCTURE IN HOUSTON? DID THEY HAVE HOMES THERE? DID THEY HAVE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS THERE? HOW MUCH TIME DID THEY SPEND THERE?

Yeah they spent quite a bit of time here. When we say they had interests the homes and businesses here, they were all almost invariably set up in trust. There were, with agreements were drawn up by some of the big law firms in town. And their ownership was always artfully hidden behind Nominees or front people like Jim Bath or one of the lawyers who acted as a Trustee. They would fly into town. Jim would entertain them. They, we had parties. There were social events.

SO YOU WERE PART OF THIS ON OCCASION?

Jim actually seemed to be grooming me. I was ten years younger and his protégé and rather than take the airplane company employees, he seemed to take me to all the Chamber of Commerce functions that George Bush was speaking at and would take me to the lunches at the Ramada Club and take me to the parties at the Big House that she called it, and seldom were in attendance at. Now the Arabs there were very different in their personalities. Salem Bin Laden was very Westernized. He wore Western clothes. He spoke English, was very articulate. He liked to entertain and was the Master of Ceremonies. Whereas bin Mahfouz typically wore the traditional Saudi garb. He was very reclusive. He was not fluent in English. And so there was a very great disparity between you know the two individuals.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TO BE THE, THE BUSINESS TIES AT THAT POINT BETWEEN THE BUSHES AND BIN MAHFOUZ AND BIN LADEN?

Well, Bath had told me that he had used Saudi money to fund George Bush Junior’s start into the Energy business.

THIS IS THE ARBUSTO OPERATION?

Yes, the Arbusto Partnerships that started in Midland, Texas in the late seventies, early eighties.

WHAT DID THE DOCUMENTS SHOW?

Well I have copies of Jim’s personal financial statements to show that he maintains a revolving line of credit for the Bin Laden Family.

AND HOW MUCH?

It’s six to seven million on the statements that I have. And then on schedules that show his partnership interests, he shows a personal partnership interest of twenty-five thousand dollars invested in Arbusto Seventy-Nine and another twenty-five thousand dollar investment in Bush Eighty. But those only represent his personal share of the Arab money that went into those ventures.

DO YOU HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE OF HOW MUCH MONEY THE SAUDIS PUT IN?

Well he told me it was in excess of, you know, a million dollars. But I don’t have any documents that support that. I just have you know his word to take from that.

AND TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE, HOW IMPORTANT WOULD THAT MONEY HAVE BEEN TO GEORGE W. BUSH?

Well, at the time I could tell you as a fledgling entrepreneur it would have been of critical importance.

HE’S JUST STARTING OUT. SET THE SCENE FOR US HERE. AT WHAT STAGE OF HIS CAREER WAS GEORGE W. BUSH BACK IN NINETEEN SEVENTY-NINE?

Yeah, nineteen seventy-nine as I understand it he was a fledgling entrepreneur just trying to get a business off the ground and obviously it would seed capital to get into the Oil exploration or drilling business and it was very expensive even back then to buy land leases and to rent Oil rigs and Wild Caters to drill. So it took, it was all capital-driven.

AND ONE OF THE FIRST IN WAS JIM BATH.

Yeah. Well, Jim Bath was nominee for the Saudis. I mean Bath was very forthright with me when we went into business together in nineteen seventy-eight. And he said Bill, I really, I come from a poor background, I have no money of my own and this relationship with the Bushes and the Saudis is of paramount importance to me because I derive all of my capital and all of my business capabilities from that relationship.

NOW JIM BATH HAS EFFECTIVELY DENIED HE PUT SAUDI MONEY INTO GEORGE W. BUSH’S COMPANIES AT THAT POINT.

I don’t know that he’s denied it or hasn’t. I know that Time Magazine when they began to investigate this got him to go on record, or got George Bush Junior to go on record having denied been in business with Bath just saying they were just personal friends and once they were presented with these documents then he recanted, Bush recanted and admitted that Bath had put money in. But my understanding is in the aftermath of the Nine-Eleven, the White House denied that any of that money was Saudi money. They were maintaining that it was all Bath’s money.

AND HOW DO YOU KNOW THERE WAS SAUDI MONEY THERE?

Well I know that it was Saudi money because Bath had no money of his own. We were in business together. I saw his personal financial statements. I knew the amount of cash he had available any given time. And he also confided in me that the money invested both in our Real Estate business and in W. his Energy business was Saudi money. That was the only money there was.

SO EVEN THE FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS YOU SEE REFLECTED IN THOSE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS HE WOULD NOT HAVE HAD THAT AS ... CASH?

No, if you look at his financial statement it’ll show that he has maybe fourteen thousand dollars in cash. He has millions of dollars in assets but the only cash available is this Bin Laden revolving line of credit.

SO THERE’S NO QUESTION IN YOUR MIND WHATSOEVER THAT WHATEVER WENT INTO GEORGE W. BUSH’S COMPANIES FROM JIM BATH WAS MONEY ...

One-hundred percent of it was Saudi money.

AND GEORGE W. BUSH WOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THAT?

Oh, absolutely. Bush was responsible for Bath’s relationship, you know, from the onset. So of course he was aware.

LET’S, LET’S LEAP AHEAD HERE. WHAT, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HARKEN ENERGY?

I’m not very knowledgeable about Harken Energy. I just know that Arbusto went through several iterations and became Harken Energy and my understanding is that again the Arabs came in and bailed him out of some bad business ventures and bad business decisions and that he was able to cash in his chips prematurely before the stock nose-dived. And what’s interesting to me in that light is that the first Attorney with Baker and Botts had attempted to compel me to cover up this whole story -

LET’S TALK A LITTLE MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT BATH’S RELATIONSHIP WITH BIN MAHFOUZ AND BIN LADEN. HOW, HOW DID YOU OBSERVE BATH’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THOSE TWO MEN? WHAT, WHAT DID YOU SEE OF IT AND CAN YOU CHARACTERIZE IT FOR US?

I can characterize it. Bath was their Business representative. And he would buy the Bank in their behalf. He would hire the President. He’d served on the Board of Directors. He purchased the Airport on their behalf. He set up a Management infra- structure to maintain the Airport and to operate the Airport. And so he really was their, their figurehead. A lot of these enterprises cannot legally be owned by foreign Nationals. If you have an aircraft and want to have it FAA-certified, it’s got to be owned by a US citizen. And so by Bath stepping in to the fray as the ostensible owner of that aircraft, the Saudis were able to control and manage businesses in the United States that otherwise that they could not have. So he was the point man in that respect for their Business interests.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF IT, DID YOU SEE BATH IN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GEORGE BUSH SENIOR AND GEORGE W. BUSH?

Yes, I did. It was very limited. The Bushes made a point of never interfacing personally with the Saudis. It was always done with a wink and a nod. But I recall, Jim was the Chairman of the Aviation Committee for the Houston Chamber of Commerce and he would schedule Speakers for the luncheons down there and would always take me as his protégé down to the luncheons. And I remember riding down to the Chamber meeting - I think it was nineteen eighty - and he said Bill, I can’t wait for you to meet the guest Speaker that I have arranged for the Chamber luncheon. He said the two of you are cut from the same cloth. He said you’re both Fighter Pilots. You’re both Harvard Business School Graduates. You’re going to love this guy. And so when I came to the luncheon, he introduced me to George Bush, our current President. And Bush gave a talk. Jim introduced him as his friend from the Air National Guard days and so that was the one time that I met George Bush Junior. And then George Bush Senior, I met at a luncheon at the Ramada Club when he was Vice President. He came in. Jim and I were sitting on a sofa facing the elevator bank and the elevator doors opened and then the Vice President walked off with his Secret Service entourage and he just looked at us and said Jim - and kind of winked at him and nodded - and then went off. It was kind of a knowing look that they were very guarded about any public display of familiarity.

HAVE YOU SEEN IT AFFECT THE PRESIDENT’S PERFORMANCE, DO YOU BELIEVE?

Oh I feel certain it’s affected his performance and just hearing about the Bin Laden family members in this Country who were flown out of the Country and he fact that the Administration blocked the FBI and IA investigations into the Bin Laden family under the auspices of - oh gee the family are all patriotic citizens except for this one bad apple Osama - I mean I just have a hard time buying off on that and wondering if the money that changed hands back during my experiences with Bath hasn’t influenced or clouded or even compromised the President’s ability to wage War against Terrorism. I just can’t imagine how he can be an objective arbitrator of the Bin Laden family’s activities when in fact he’s taken money from them that’s never been reported publicly and I think he’s compromised. And that’s of great concern to me. And I think that’s a great concern to the families of the victims of the Nine-Eleven tragedy.

HOW DIFFICULT HAS JIM BATH MADE THE PAST FIFTEEN YEARS FOR YOU?

Well, when Bath and I first had our conversation of his request that I cooperate in a cover-up, he said you’ve got a choice. He said you can either do this voluntarily or the Bank that’s laundering the Saudi money and I are going to inundate you in frivolous lawsuits and we’re going to make your life a goddamn living hell. Those were his exact words and he said now I know you being Mom and Apple Pie think that America’s about truth and justice but that’s nothing but a bunch of horse petui. He said if we sue you, number one you’re not going to have money to pay the lawyers to defend yourself against these lawsuits and number two in the unlikely event that you could ever get legal representation, all it would take is a call from George Bush to these Republican Judges who are beholding to him his political appointees and he said you’ll never get a chance to tell this story to a Jury. You’ll never even get a day in Court.

HE QUOTES THE NAME OF GEORGE BUSH -

Oh absolutely.

SENIOR OR JUNIOR?

Senior. He said that he would call the political appointed Judges and I would never get due process. And that really is what motivated me to fight the fight in the courts because I couldn’t believe in the aftermath of all of us risking our lives fighting for the system that we could be denied our Rights of Due Process under Law. I just couldn’t believe that. And, and unfortunately I thought it was a bluff, but it turned out to be true because what what he predicted is precisely what happened.

I thought it was he who was blowing smoke. And so I resisted and I said Jim, I’m not going to sue you, I’m not going to go report these Saudi dealings to the DA’s Office. I just don’t want to be in Business with you anymore. And I called my Attorney and I didn’t instruct him to file a lawsuit. I said please look at our Partnership agreement and find out how I can become a Businessman, independent of Jim Bath. I just don’t want to be involved in all this. Well, I never had that luxury because he and the Bank that was laundering the Saudi money inundated me in lawsuits. I had four criminal charges. And I think twenty-eight civil lawsuits that were filed against me concurrently. And it just you know it dominated my life. And fortunately I was able to get legal representation, the best lawyers in Houston on a contingency fee basis took up my case, filed counter claims against Bath alleging this Saudi influence, peddling with the Bush family, although in retrospect when I read my own legal pleadings, the lawyers were very careful to remove a lot of the references to the threats you know with using the Bin Laden, the Bin Mahfouz the Bush name. And I would ask my own lawyers, you know why aren’t you stating succinctly the nature of the Bath’s thread. And they’d say well Bill, you know we don’t want to make the Judges angry. We have to be very careful.

AND IT WASN’T THAT THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE THOSE LINKS WERE TRUE, IT WAS JUST THE OPPOSITE. THEY BELIEVED THEM -

They believed them they’re true and they’re afraid of backlash from the Judges. Yeah, one of the republican judges who poured me out every case, Judge Lewis Moore, my Lawyer John O’Neill of Porter and Clements was actually his campaign manager. And when he found out the case was assigned to him he said Bill, we’ve got this case made-in-the-shade. He said this guy you know I’m his campaign manager. I raise funds for his campaign. No problem. And then we’d get into the courtroom and be poured out without a trial. And he’d go the Judge must have gone crazy, I can’t believe, he’s never treated me this way.

WHERE IS JIM BATH TODAY?

He’s in hiding in Houston. He’s in hiding.

HE HAS NOT BEEN SEEN?

Oh he’s been seen. I ran into him at the grocery store about nine months ago. But he was very prominent with the Chamber and social circles and after Bin Mahfouz was indicted by the District Attorney in nineteen ninety-one, paid a two-hundred and twenty-five million dollar fine and kicked out of the Country and his Bank, BCCI and NCB shut down, Bath basically was put on ice by Bush because he became a political liability. And if you call his Aircraft Brokerage Company, JB and A, they’ll tell you we know who Jim Bath is but we haven’t seen him in years and we don’t know how to contact him. So he’s, he’s really being kept on ice.

AND WHERE DO YOU THINK PHYSICALLY HE IS?

I think he’s at his ranch in Simmons Bottoms. He’s got a ranch out there with a landing strip and I see his airplane flying over every day so I know he’s still flying.

WHEN GEORGE BUSH SENIOR WAS REPLACED AS DIRECTOR OF THE CIA, WHERE DID HE GO ...?

He came to Houston and he became affiliated with a Bank in Houston called FIB, First International Bank. And that was, that was the bank that Bath used to deposit the Saudi money. That’s where the Bin Laden revolving line of credit was. The name changed in nineteen eighty to First International Bank from FIB but it was the same bank.

AND YOU SAY HE WAS CONNECTED WITH THIS BANK. WHAT WAS GEORGE BUSH SENIOR’S INTEREST ..?

He was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Bank.

SO THAT’S MORE THAN CONNECTED.

Well, more than connected. Yeah.

FUNDAMENTAL ROLE.

He was the principal player.

SO NO COINCIDENCE AS FAR AS YOU’RE CONCERNED THAT THE SAUDI MONEY AND THE MONEY THAT BATH’S DOING BUSINESS WITHIN, ENDS UP AT GEORGE BUSH SENIOR’S BANK.

No this is no coincidence at all. This is all arranged. It was all arranged at the time that Bush made this quid pro quo relationship with the Saudis. I mean, my understanding of it is that Bath represented the Bush interests and Bin Laden-Bin Mahfouz interchangeably represented the Saudi Royal Family interests and people tried to vilify the Bin Laden family or the Bin Mahfouz family but, they have a very patriarchal society over there according to Bath and neither of those families sneeze without the Saudi Royals’ blessing. I mean everything they do is at the beholding at the Saudi Royal Family. As a matter of fact, Bin Mahfouz’ Bank NCB is the only Bank that was not nationalized in Saudi Arabia. All the rest of the Banks were not, nationalized in seventy-four except his Bank which is privately owned. That’s where the Saudi Royals keep all their personal money.

SO AGAIN, WHEN YOU GOT BIN MAHFOUZ AND BIN LADEN TIGHTLY CONNECTED TO THE SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY ON ONE SIDE -

Right.

GEORGE BUSH SENIOR, SENIOR AND HIS SON ON THE OTHER SIDE, AND IN THE MIDDLE JIM BATH -

Right.

THERE’S NO QUESTION IN YOUR MIND THAT THESE WERE ALL INTER-RELATED? THEY, COULD THEY NOT HAVE BEEN ARM’S LENGTH RELATIONSHIPS?

No.

YOU’RE SURE IF BATH WAS DOING BUSINESS WITH THE SAUDIS, SURE HE WAS DOING BUSINESS WITH THE BUSHES, BUT NEVER THE TWAIN WOULD MEET.

There’s no way. I mean Bath confided in me. And told me every bit of evidence I’ve seen, I’ve met all the players, the Bushes, the Saudis, I mean everything fits very consistent.

AND THAT WOULD POSITION JIM BATH NOW.

Absolutely. He went from a non descript, nobody who had no capital, no Political connections to this high-rolling Business man who’s managing banks and fleets of airplanes. You know, for the wealthiest individuals on the planet, and that doesn’t happen by accident. I mean Jim’s a very capable, personable guy but he doesn’t have the pedigree, the credentials, or the connections on his own to, to explain any of this.

SO HOW WAS IT HE WAS, HE WAS CHOSEN TO BE THIS EXULTED ONE?

Well if you recall back in the mid-seventies the CIA came under fire for trying to assassinate Fidel Castro and for engineering elections in Latin America and putting friendly Dictators in power and so you had the Church and Pike committees in Congress.

The Intelligence committees investigated these CIA activities and they issued a stinging report and said that it incompatible for a Democratic Government of a Republic to be engaged in these KGB type activities. And so what Bush did as CIA Director, rather than just you know terminate these activities he said let’s privatize them. And so he began to look for people that could form quasi public or private corporations that would take control of these assets but still do the CIA’s bidding and he obviously needed an Aviation guy and he went to his Son who was in an Aviation Squadron. All the Pilots like myself had top-secret security clearances, were clearly patriots, they’ve been vetted by the FBI and so he asked W. You know is there a guy down there who we could bring in to operate an Air proprietary deal with the Saudis. And so George recommended his drinking buddy, Jim Bath.

AND THIS IS WHAT JIM BATH TOLD?

Jim’s a very capable guy. Very personable guy. He’s somebody that I probably in retrospect would have chosen you know for that responsibility had I known back then.

AND IT WAS THROUGH THAT CONNECTION WITH THE BUSHES THAT HE ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF HIS SON?

Right, well he was introduced to the Saudis. That there was an arranged marriage.

AND AGAIN INTRODUCED BY -

By the Bushes -

... FOR THEIR REPRESENTATIVES?

Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely.

WHEN YOU LOOK BACK OVER ALL OF THIS HOW MUCH HAS IT COST YOU IN FINANCIAL AND OTHER WAYS?

Well it’s cost me virtually everything, financially. I lost my business, all my real estate holdings, all of my assets were conveyed to Bath in the lawsuits, my house was fore-closed on because the mortgage was held by the Bank that was laundering the Saudi money, all my property was sold at cost wholesale, and we paid a terrible price. Then the irony was that during this litigation process even they initially tried to compel me to cooperate in the cover-up when I refused they began to offer me money and Banking business, and a package worth millions of dollars if I would only sign what they called a Settlement Agreement. But I explained to my Lawyer, when the Settlement Agreement in my eyes it was a hush money agreement. It said basically that we could never have this conversation that we could never disclose the Bush-Saudi relationship and I felt to take that money and to sign that Agreement would have been to basically spit on the graves of all of my friends who died in Vietnam and were fighting for you know our, our Oath to protect the Constitution. So it’s been a heavy price but I really feel like some of us have a destiny and for whatever reason I didn’t choose this destiny but I was thrust in it and I’m trying to do my part to get the truth out. And again there’s no really, no ill will toward Jim Bath or to George Bush. It’s just a matter of getting the truth out on the table and let the consequences evolve. But I think the truth’s important.

HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON FOR MORE THAN A DECADE AND A HALF

Yeah.

IT’S JUST RIGHT THERE AT THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR ...

Well what is? It’s just something that you know in some respects it’s like a tar baby because you think you’ve put it behind you and then Nine-Eleven happens and all of a sudden, it surfaces again and it’s germane in its material. And so again I almost feel like it’s divine destiny that and it’s really made the fight meritorious in a sense because now people do care. They’re starting to wonder about the integrity and the motives of these people and so this, what happened is now relevant. I mean it’s extremely relevant. And so in that sense it’s, it validated the fight we fought because I’ve been told even by our own Lawyers that most people in our situation, and they have a skeleton or they have a problem or they’re doing drugs or they have girlfriends or something and so when they’re confronted with that they sign the Settlement Agreement, they take the money and then the story never gets out. So, in this case because we fought the fight, now at least the truth has a chance of getting out and being laid bare.

YOU SAY WATCING THE EVENT UNFOLD AFTER NINE-ELEVEN - YOU REALIZED HOW RELEVANT YOUR EXPERIENCE AND YOUR KNOWLEDGE NOW ARE -

Yes.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE ESSENTIAL RELEVANCE OF WHAT YOU KNOW AND WHAT YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH, AND WHAT’S GOING ON NOW?

I don’t believe that Bush as President can be an objective arbitrator of the war on terrorism. The Bin Ladens and the Saudis are obviously involved, fifteen of the nineteen terrorists were Saudis. The Saudis are known to have been funding these Islamic charities that have funded the Terrorists including the National Commercial Bank. The same people that were dealing business with Bath at Bush’s request and funding Bush’s business interests. Bush moved heaven and earth obviously calling in chips with Houston Judges to keep this information kept quiet and the Saudis are in an ideal position basically to blackmail the President of the United States and to quash any investigation into their activities, funding of Islamic charities because of the fact that they’ve had Bush on the payroll back in the late seventies and early eighties. I can tell you in the Military that if you know any potential conflict of interest you won’t get a security clearance because you’re subject to that type of blackmail. We have somebody in the Oval Office who’s subject to blackmail. That disturbs me. And that’s why it’s relevant.

IN TERMS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BUSHES AND THE SAUDIS - WAS THERE SUPPORT FOR HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN?

My understanding from Bath was that they were making campaign contributions by taking brief cases full of cash to the law firms. They would give the cash to the lawyers and then each of the lawyers in turn would make a thousand dollar campaign contribution to Bush or Bentsen or whomever.

WHICH WOULD PRESUMABLY BE AGAINST ELECTORAL LAW -

Well, it is against the law but it’s obviously covered by virtue of the Attorneys making the contributions. And that’s my understanding of how it worked. Again I didn’t see the money changing hands.

BUT BATH EXPLAINED THIS TO YOU?

Yes.

IN THOSE TERMS?

And he also did it himself in his own dealings with the City of Houston. He even arranged for the employees to make thousand dollar campaign contributions to the City, the Houston City Council men who sat on the Aviation Committee and ordered to grant him a FBI Franchise and then he would reimburse everyone who made the thousand dollar contribution which is the limit in cash.

WHICH AGAIN WOULD BE AGAINST THE LAW.

Well of course it’s, you know it’s against the law. But that’s the way he operated. And he told me when he did that he was mimicking the Saudi funding of the Bush campaign.

WE VISITED THIS EARLIER BUT TO WHAT EXTENT WERE YOU PART OF THIS SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SAUDIS? HOW OFTEN WOULD YOU SEE THEM? UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES? CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW THEY, HOW THEY ACTED PERSONALLY, PRIVATELY?

Oh, yes I can. Salem Bin Laden was very gregarious. He was very Westernized. He wore Western clothing, very articulate, spoke English well. And he was a gad-fly, an international playboy. He would buzz into town with an entourage and he would have a party over at the Big House and a lot of the big business men, attorneys in Houston would come to these parties. And he would entertain. He’d play the piano. He’d sing. Have cocktails and it was quite interesting. There was some unseemly contact as well. I think one occasion one of my secretaries came into work about an hour and a half late and she told me that Jim Bath had called her at eleven o’clock at night and said that Salem Bin Laden was at the hotel and he was lonesome and would she go over and entertain him for a while. And, then he would take the Arabs to Las Vegas and arrange for prostitutes and things like that. I was fortunately never part of the unseemly side of it but I did interface with him directly

YOU SAY THE BIG HOUSE, WHICH HOUSE IS THAT?

This is a big mansion, it was actually three houses. There was a central estate that had a swimming pool that was shaped like a kidney bean with an aisle in the middle of it and a bridge across where tennis courts it was right on the bayou, three and a half acres and the house was recently sold to a big restaurant owner in Houston.

TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE DO THE BIN LADENS AND OR BIN MAHFOUZ’ STILL HAVE RESIDENCES THERE?

I have no knowledge of that. I believe that after Bin Mahfouz was indicted in the early nineties that they begin to liquidate his holdings here. I heard through a Lebanese source in the late nineties that he had re-entered the United States and was re-acquiring assets and doing business here again. But I had no personal experience or knowledge of that.

NOW THE, THE FIRM IN WHICH YOU WERE IN BUSINESS WITH JIM BATH WAS A REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY.

That’s correct.

DOING WHAT SORTS OF PROJECTS AND HOW, HOW PROFITABLE?

Well we were building multi family residential projects - basically five to eight million dollar projects. And we were also working on Corporate Aviation facilities with both Airports. And our businesses were generally profitable. We were very conservative. In our approach and our financing we had adequate equity capital. And I was very zealous in getting low interest rate mortgages through housing finance corporations as opposed to high interest money at thirteen and a half percent. So, when the market downturn occurred and in eighty-six, our projects relative to other developers were going very well.

The Bank in fact they put me on their Board of Directors for Business Development and put me on the Board of the Arthritis Foundation and we were going to steer all of their foreclosed properties to us to have us manage them and do the workouts. They were very confident in our capabilities.

SO WHAT WAS IT THAT LED TO THE RIFT BETWEEN YOU AND BATH?

Bath was the funding partner. Bath sent down an interest rate invoice on a five-hundred and fifty thousand personal loan that he had at the Bank. Had a twenty-seven thousand dollar interest payment due and it said CW can you help with this question mark. And, I got this and I thought gee this is peculiar. The guy that sends the money down to fund our business is asking if we can help pay one of his personal loans to the Bank. And so I threw it in the hold basket and thought nothing of it and then the Banker called me, Jim McNutt from InterFirst Bank and said Bill, Jim Bath said you’re going to make this payment for him. And I said well Jim, you know if I had the money I’d be happy to do it. I just don’t have the money. And he said well I’ll have Bath call you. And that’s when Bath came down to the Conference Room and said Partner, I need you to help me make this payment I’ve borrowed money from the Arabs to secure this personal loan at the Bank, I’m having trouble making this quarterly interest payment. If I don’t make it, the Bank’s going to cash the Arab Certificate of Deposit in and he said you don’t understand how things work in Saudi Arabia.

He said if you steal a six-pack at a Seven-Eleven in the United States, you get a lawyer and you have a Trial and the Merits he said but over in Saudi Arabia if you steal an apple from a fruit stand they summarily cut your hand off at the wrist. He said if the Arabs find out I’ve stolen a half a million dollars of their money, they’re going to cut off my private parts. And he said when Bush finds about it, he said ball game over. He said I’m going to lose all my business interests, I’ll lose the wherewithal to our fund our real estate companies. I’ll take you down with me. So Partner you gotta help me. And, and that’s when I said Jim, you’ve told me you’ve committed a misappropriation error of money. I said that’s a felony. I said you can’t expect me to commit a felony to cover up your felony because he suggested that I divert money from our real estate partnerships to pay his personal note. But we had third party investors in those deals and that wasn’t our money to spend on our personal notes. And that’s what caused the rift between the two of us. It’s my refusal to do that.

AND TRIGGERED THE TWENTY-EIGHT DIFFERENT LAWSUITS AGAINST YOU BY HIM.

Exactly. But that was the methodology to try to compel me to do this against my will. He said I’m going to George Bush and I and the banker are going to compel you to basically steal money from your own companies and partnerships to cover up my theft of the Saudi money. And I said you’re telling me you’re going to use the Court system to compel an innocent person to commit a felony? That’s why I thought it was a bluff. I couldn’t believe it. But that’s what he said he was going to do. Bush called the Judges and I’d never get a day in Court. I couldn’t believe it.

NOW WHEN YOU SAY BUSH CALLED IN IOU’S FOR THE JUDGES -

Right.

DO YOU HAVE ANY DIRECT EVIDENCE CONDUCTED BY HIM IN ANY OF THOSE?

No.

© CBC Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Republished at sanderhicks.com under the provisions of Fair Use.



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