UNITED STATES: Warmongers reap fat profits

November 14, 2001


United States pro-war "hawks" are fast lining their pockets from the war on Afghanistan — including a company linked to President Bush.

With high stakes in extensive war-related investments, the Carlyle Group is one company that stands to benefit from the present war — and it's a company which the president's father, George Bush senior, is heavily involved in.

Carlyle's extensive privileged connections in the White House and the Capitol have certainly helped it do well.

"Carlyle is as deeply wired into the current administration as they can possibly be", said Charles Lewis, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity.

"George Bush is getting money from private interests that have business before the government, while his son is president. And in a really peculiar way, George W Bush could, some day, benefit financially from his own administration's decisions, through his father's investments."

Larry Klayman, a noted government watchdog, said the conflict of interests is "direct". Congress has already approved US$40 billion for the "war on terrorism" and another US$200 billion-plus for the Joint Strike Fighter weapons program, both of which Carlyle will significantly profit from. Carlyle owns many companies that will have a share in the fighter contracts.

"President Bush should not ask but demand his father pull out of the Carlyle Group", Klayman argues.

Bush senior owns no shares in Carlyle directly, but as one of its advisers, he is paid an estimated US$80,000-100,000 per appearance, in the form of investments in Carlyle's funds. Bush senior's secretary of state, James Baker, does have a direct stake in Carlyle, estimated at US$180 million.

While Carlyle has been trying to be low profile, Carlyle partner Dan D'Aniello couldn't help showing off, saying recently that the powerful connections "punch up the brand awareness of us globally ... We are greatly assisted by Baker and Bush. It shows that we are associated with people of the highest ethical standards."

Former British prime minister John Major has also "signed up" with Carlyle, according to the October 31 British Guardian newspaper, as has one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi.

Also in the Carlyle circuit, said the Guardian, are former Philippines president Fidel Ramos, former Thai premier Anand Panyarachun, former Bundesbank president Karl Otto Pohl, and Arthur Levitt, former chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US stock market regulator.

Frank Carlucci, Ronald Reagon's defence secretary and a former deputy director of the CIA, is also an owner/partner of Carlyle. Hoover's Online reported that since, Carlucci joined Carlyle in 1989, "a host of staffers from the Reagan and first Bush adminstrations have stinted at the company".

Industry Standard magazine called Carlyle "the world's largest private equity firm", with more than US$12 billion under management.

Just to give a flavour of how useful such high connections can be, the California Public Employees' Retirement System has invested US$305 million with Carlyle and has a stake of at least 5%. The Texas teachers' pension fund, whose board was appointed when Bush junior was governor, in November last year gave Carlyle US$100 million to invest. High-profile speculator George Soros also has investments in Carlyle.

Carlyle owns a large number of companies that are involved in the manufacturing of parts and equipments for the US war machine. Its United Defense Industries makes tanks, guided missiles, space vehicles and weapons delivery systems. United States Marine Repair, another unit, is the US's largest non-nuclear ship repair, modernisation and conversion company.

In August 2000, Vought Aircraft, also a Carlyle unit, was selected to manufacture the wing of Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft.

One family who also hold a stake in the giant company are the bin Ladens, the huge clan from which Osama bin Laden comes. Company spokespeople say the bin Laden family is in the process of disposing of its stake in Carlyle.

From Green Left Weekly, November 14, 2001.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.