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George Bush of the CIA

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Guest Mark Valenti

Bush Senior Early CIA Ties Revealed

By Russ Baker and Jonathan Z. Larsen | The Real News Project

January 8, 2007

NEW YORK--Newly released internal CIA documents assert that former president George Herbert Walker Bush's oil company emerged from a 1950's collaboration with a covert CIA officer.

Bush has long denied allegations that he had connections to the intelligence community prior to 1976, when he became Central Intelligence Agency director under President Gerald Ford. At the time, he described his appointment as a 'real shocker.'

But the freshly uncovered memos contend that Bush maintained a close personal and business relationship for decades with a CIA staff employee who, according to those CIA documents, was instrumental in the establishment of Bush's oil venture, Zapata, in the early 1950s, and who would later accompany Bush to Vietnam as a “cleared and witting commercial asset” of the agency.

According to a CIA internal memo dated November 29, 1975, Bush's original oil company, Zapata Petroleum, began in 1953 through joint efforts with Thomas J. Devine, a CIA staffer who had resigned his agency position that same year to go into private business. The '75 memo describes Devine as an “oil wild-catting associate of Mr. Bush.” The memo is attached to an earlier memo written in 1968, which lays out how Devine resumed work for the secret agency under commercial cover beginning in 1963.

“Their joint activities culminated in the establishment of Zapata Oil,” the memo reads. In fact, early Zapata corporate filings do not seem to reflect Devine's role in the company, suggesting that it may have been covert. Yet other documents do show Thomas Devine on the board of an affiliated Bush company, Zapata Offshore, in January, 1965, more than a year after he had resumed work for the spy agency.

It was while Devine was in his new CIA capacity as a commercial cover officer that he accompanied Bush to Vietnam the day after Christmas in 1967, remaining in the country with the newly elected congressman from Texas until January 11, 1968. Whatever information the duo was seeking, they left just in the nick of time. Only three weeks after the two men departed Saigon, the North Vietnamese and their Communist allies launched the Tet offensive with seventy thousand troops pre-positioned in more than 100 cities and towns.

While the elder Bush was in Vietnam with Devine, George W. Bush was making contact with representatives of the Texas Air National Guard, using his father's connections to join up with an elite, Houston-based Guard unit - thus avoiding overseas combat service in a war that the Bushes strongly supported.

The new revelation about George H.W. Bush's CIA friend and fellow Zapata Offshore board member will surely fuel further speculation that Bush himself had his own associations with the agency.

Indeed, Zapata's annual reports portray a bewildering range of global activities, in the Mideast, Asia and the Caribbean (including off Cuba) that seem outsized for the company's modest bottom line. In his autobiography, Bush declares that “I'd come to the CIA with some general knowledge of how it operated' and that his 'overseas contacts as a businessman' justified President Nixon's appointing him as UN ambassador, a decision that at the time was highly controversial.

Previously disclosed FBI files include a memo from bureau director J. Edgar Hoover, noting that his organization had given a briefing to two men in the intelligence community on November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The memo refers to one as “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency” and the other as “Captain William Edwards of the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

When this document was first uncovered in 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush, then vice president and seeking the presidency, insisted through a spokesman that he was not the man mentioned in the memo: "I was in Houston, Texas, at the time and involved in the independent oil drilling business. And I was running for the Senate in late '63. I don't have any idea of what he's talking about." The spokesman added, "Must be another George Bush."

When Nation magazine contributor Joseph McBride approached the CIA in 1988, it initially invoked a policy of neither confirming nor denying anyone's involvement with the agency. But it soon took the unusual step of asserting that the correct individual was a George William Bush, a one-time Virginia staffer whom the agency claimed it could no longer locate. But that George Bush, discovered in his office in the Social Security Administration by McBride, noted that he was a low-ranked coast and landing-beach analyst and that he most certainly never received such an FBI briefing.

It was perhaps to help lay to rest the larger matter of the elder Bush's past associations that the former president went out of his way during his recent eulogy for President Ford to sing the praises of the Warren Commission Report as the final authority on those days.

"After a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy, our nation turned to Gerald Ford and a select handful of others to make sense of that madness. And a conspiracy theorist can say what they will, but the Warren Commission report will always have the final definitive say on this tragic matter. Why? Because Gerry Ford put his name on it and Gerry Ford's word was always good."

In fact, Ford's role on the Warren Commission is seen by many experts as a decisive factor in his rise to the top. As a Commission member, Ford altered its report in a minor yet significant way. As the Associated Press reported in 1997, “Thirty-three years ago, Gerald R. Ford took pen in hand and changed - ever so slightly - the Warren Commission's key sentence on the place where a bullet entered John F. Kennedy's body when he was killed in Dallas. The effect of Ford's change was to strengthen the commission's conclusion that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Gov. John Connally - a crucial element in its finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.”

This modification played a seminal role in ending talk of a larger conspiracy to kill the president. Knowledge of Ford's alteration has encouraged theorists to scrutinize the constellation of other figures who might have had a motivation to cover up the affair.

Meanwhile, there is much more to learn about George H. W. Bush's friend, Thomas Devine. The newly surfaced memos explain that Devine, from 1963 on, had authority from the agency to operate under commercial cover as part of an agency project code-named WUBRINY.

Devine at that time was employed with the Wall Street boutique Train, Cabot and Associates, described in the memos as an “investment banking firm which houses and manages the [CIA] proprietary corporation WUSALINE.” These nautical names - 'Saline' and 'Briny' - or, for the Bay of Pigs invasion 'Wave' - are CIA cryptonyms for the programs and companies involved.

George H.W. Bush's own ties are amplified in the 1975 CIA memo, dated November 29, which makes it clear that he had knowledge of CIA operations prior to being named the new director of the CIA in the fall of that year.

The 1975 memo notes that, through his relationship with Devine, “Mr George Bush [the CIA director-designate] has prior knowledge of the now terminated project WUBRINY/LPDICTUM which was involved in proprietary commercial operations in Europe.”

The Bush documents, part of a batch of 300,000 records the CIA provided to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, were publicly released in 1998 as the result of a lawsuit, donated to a foundation, scanned into a database - and only just noticed by an independent researcher.

Click the following to view original supporting documents: [1] [2] [3]

Russ Baker, founder of the Real News Project, and Jonathan Z. Larsen, Real News editorial board member, are at work on a book about George W. Bush and the Bush clan, due out later this year. They may be reached at: russ [at] realnews.org.

Copyright © 2006, Russ Baker/Real News Project, All Rights Reserved

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According to a CIA internal memo dated November 29, 1975, Bush's original oil company, Zapata Petroleum, began in 1953 through joint efforts with Thomas J. Devine, a CIA staffer who had resigned his agency position that same year to go into private business.

Exact, precise M.O. as Hunt and McCord prior to the "Pentagon Papers" CIA op and subsequent CIA Watergate hoax. How many bloody handprints are needed to rig up the machinery of justice?

I think Poppy had more reasons to cry than Murdoch's FOX happy-talkers got around to considering.

Ashton

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Guest Mark Valenti
Here is that 1968 documentation.

James,

You don't happen to have a photo of Jesus, do you? I've always been curious...

Just kidding. But seriously, and in echo of endless other messages to you, your work is great. Thanks for all you do.

Mark

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Here is that 1968 documentation.

James,

You don't happen to have a photo of Jesus, do you? I've always been curious...

Just kidding. But seriously, and in echo of endless other messages to you, your work is great. Thanks for all you do.

Mark

Mark,

Thank you for the nice words, muchly appreciated.

Thomas Devine was WUBRINY-1. Check out this other document below. The firm of Train, Cabot and Associates mentioned is curious as well.

The Train component is John Train who was very close with James Angleton. Train was the managing editor of the Paris Review. He also received part-time appointments as director of government agencies from Reagan, Bush and Clinton.

If I remember correctly, in the mid 1980's, Train was mixed up with an attempted political frame-up and assassination of Lyndon LaRouche. I will have to check my notes for the details there.

James

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Pertinent to Mssrs. Devine and Bush: a brief timeline of lowlights of 1953, in which specific dates for divers events have not yet been determined with any great certainty, but which, even in this raw state, nonetheless offers interesting glimpses into malign forces that shaped and stained all of our lives:

  • circa January 1953
    John J. McCloy becomes Chairman of the Board, Chase National Bank. Around this same time (sometime during 1953), McCloy becomes Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. [NOTE: McCloy will remain Chairman of the CFR for 18 years, until sometime in 1971. See 1 c. July c. 1971.]
    Thursday, 26 February 1953
    Allen W. Dulles becomes Director of Central Intelligence.
    Saturday, 4 April 1953
    CIA Director Allen Dulles approves $1 million for CIA's Directorate of Plans to overthrow the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh (who has nationalized Iran's oil industry) in a CIA program called Operation AJAX. Head of the Directorate of Plans is Frank Wisner, his deputy Richard Helms.
    Monday, 13 April 1953
    CIA Director Allen Dulles authorizes Operation MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s major drug and mind-control program. It is the brainchild of Richard Helms.
    Thursday, 16 April 1953
    A boy named Lee Harvey Oswald is admitted on this date to "Youth House" in New York City as a truant. He is placed under the jurisdiction of psychiatrist Renatus Hartogs, where he will remain for about two weeks.
    Thursday, 23 April 1953
    Charles P. Cabell, still an active Air Force officer, is appointed Deputy Director of CIA under Allen Dulles.
    circa July 1953 [No specific dates in 1953 yet confirmed]
    • J. Edgar Hoover, describing activities of CIA's Frank Wisner in the CIA front Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) as "Wisner's gang of weirdos," supplies information on some of the members to Senator Joe McCarthy, who begins to investigate their backgrounds.
    • CIA's Thomas James Devine "resigns" from CIA "to go into private business."
    • George H.W. Bush is bankrolled by Herbert Walker's G.H. Walker & Co. et al. and forms Zapata Petroleum, which is a culmination of "joint activities" of George Bush and Thomas James Devine. [George Bush's father Prescott Bush has left Dresser's board of directors and is in the U.S. Senate.]
    Sunday, 26 July 1953
    Fidel Castro leads 119 rebels in a failed attack on the stategically important army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Most of the rebels are caught, 55 being tortured and executed. Castro and a few others escape into the nearby mountains. [Castro later is caught and put on trial. A lawyer by profession, he defends himself, earning a 15 year jail term on Isla de Pinos (Isla de la Juventud).]
    Wednesday, 19 August 1953
    The CIA instigated coup in Iran succeeds, ousting and arresting Mossedegh.
    circa late August 1953
    CIA's PBSUCCESS is initiated, resurrected from the earlier PBFORTUNE, to overthrow democratically elected President of Guatamala Arbenz Guzmán, whose policies greatly have antagonized United Fruit Company. CIA officers involved include Tracy Barnes (CIA officer in charge), David Atlee Phillips, Jacob 'Jack' Esterline, E. Howard Hunt, and David Sanchez Morales.
    Thursday, 19 November 1952
    On a 3-day working holiday for CIA officials at Deer Creek Lodge in the mountains of Maryland, Sidney Gottlieb—head of CIA's MKULTRA—slips LSD into the Cointreau they all have for an after-dinner drink (violating CIA policy of not receiving prior approval). An Army scientist and germ warfare specialist named Frank Olson, who is working on an MKULTRA project, experiences a "bad trip," becoming very disoriented. [Within 10 days, after failed attempts by CIA to "handle" Olson, he throws himself through a 10th floor window of a hotel in New York. Police report that Olson has killed himself after a Lover's quarrel with CIA's Richard Lashbrook, who had taken Olson to New York to try to get him treatment. The CIA report says Olson has died of "a classified illness."]

Ashton

Edited by Ashton Gray

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So Devine was meeting with Clemard Charles in April,1963.And Charles brought DeMohrenschildt to the meeting.

Robin,

Interesting circle of connections, isn't it?

James

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You don't happen to have a photo of Jesus, do you? I've always been curious...

Very funny. The best joke so far this year.

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You don't happen to have a photo of Jesus, do you? I've always been curious...

Very funny. The best joke so far this year.

John, I must be slow... I had to read it twice before I got it... first time was like... "uh? I don't recall any Hispanics mentioned in the docs."

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So Devine was meeting with Clemard Charles in April,1963.And Charles brought DeMohrenschildt to the meeting.

Robin,

Interesting circle of connections, isn't it?

James

FWIW, I got an anonymous email a few years ago. It was short and to the point. Something like "the key to the assassination is Clemard Charles."

And yes, this circle of connections is interesting, to say the least. I wonder what other tight little circles they may have linked up with as circumstances and need dictated?

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So Devine was meeting with Clemard Charles in April,1963.And Charles brought DeMohrenschildt to the meeting.

Robin,

Interesting circle of connections, isn't it?

James

FWIW, I got an anonymous email a few years ago. It was short and to the point. Something like "the key to the assassination is Clemard Charles."

And yes, this circle of connections is interesting, to say the least. I wonder what other tight little circles they may have linked up with as circumstances and need dictated?

I've just today received information from a timeline section being done indicating that DeMohrenschildt had to have had some kind of hotline from Bundy, State, and/or CIA passing him Top Secret data on U.S. activities related to Duvalier and Haiti in this exact time frame surrounding DeMohrenschildt's trip to New York and Philadelphia: beginning 19 April 1963, through his arrival back in Dallas on or about 30 May 1963 and his arrival in Haiti on 2 June 1963.

The activities that take place in Haiti during this period are extraordinary, as well as the secret discussions taking place with Bundy, State, the President, and CIA, and the activities of DeMohrenschildt somehow anticipate them all. There are so many smoking hot sections of timeline being done by several people at once, all hitting me at once, that I'm having a hell of a time trying to keep up—and can't.

One thing I will mention here (and will try to get a relevant section of the timeline posted soon): On 26 April 1963, the same day that DeMohrenschildt and Clemard Charles show up at the Train, Cabot offices, an "unsuccessful attempt" is made to kidnap Duvalier's children. Three days later, on 29 April 1963: "the CIA Office of Security found that it had no objection to De Mohrenschildt's acceptance of a contract with the Duvalier regime of Haiti in the field of natural resource development."

Just too many weirdnesses to catalog at the moment. Any Clemard Charles references anyone has with dates will be welcomed additions.

Ashton

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You don't happen to have a photo of Jesus, do you? I've always been curious...

Very funny. The best joke so far this year.

I thought James might just be Jesus...

The real one, that is... not that Angleton character, RIP.

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