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By Pepe Escobar -- From AxisofLogic.com -- Apr 8, 2004, 10:25
Independents in conflict
There are devastating cases of conflict of interest in the commission. Chairman Thomas Kean may be the most obvious. The US$1 trillion lawsuit filed in August 2002 by the families of the victims of September 11 includes two of Kean's business partners among the accused: Saudi billionaires Khalid bin Mahfouz (who is Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, no less), and Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi. They are key financial players behind al-Qaeda: Mahfouz transferred millions of dollars from a Saudi pension fund to bank accounts in London and New York linked with al-Qaeda. He is a former director of BCCI, the bank in the center of a notorious $12 billion bankruptcy scandal during the presidency of Bush senior.
Kean is director and shareholder of Amerada Hess Corporation, an oil giant involved in a joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia - which is owned by the clans of Mahfouz and Amoudi - to explore Caspian Sea oilfields. Amerada Hess severed the joint venture only three weeks before Kean was appointed chairman of the 9-11 Commission by his friend George W Bush.
It's unlikely fellow members at the 9-11 Commission will ask Kean to reveal to what extent he was aware of Mahfouz's links to al-Qaeda; or ask Amerada Hess to open its books and reveal what kind of deals it was cooking up with Mahfouz. After all, Bush himself also had a business connection with Mahfouz, owner of various investments in Houston, Texas. As to the 28 pages of the joint congressional committee detailing Saudi support to al-Qaeda, they also seem to have vanished into thin air.