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Barry & 'The Boys'

The story of Barry Seal is America's secret history... Based on a 3-year long investigation, Daniel Hopsicker discovered the 'secret history' the American Press was afraid to tell: Barry Seal, the most successful drug smuggler in American history, was also a lifelong CIA agent.
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John McCain’s Sweet Ride
Lobbyist’s Plane Flew Saudi Royals after 9/11

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February 27, 2008
by Daniel Hopsicker

The lavishly-furnished custom Boeing 727 airliner (727PX) which ferried Senator John McCain on four occasions during his Presidential run in 2000 also flew Saudi Royals out of the U.S. right after 9/11, carrying an entourage of Saudi Royals from Las Vegas to London six days after the 9/11 attack in a controversial operation later scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission.

The 727 figures in the current tempest over his relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman, who provided and flew with McCain on the plane.  

With hundreds of air charter companies and airliners to choose from, the Saudis chose a company that owns “Worship Ministries” and Christian Network, Inc., turning to Paxson Communications, a “Christian broadcaster” which owned the plane, to make its corporate jet available to spirit the Saudi princes and their entourage out of the U.S. six days after 9/11. 

The Saudi Royal party made good their escape from Las Vegas on an airliner sporting a Christian symbol of peace, a dove, on it’s tail, an intriguing detail and compelling human interest story—Muslims flying Air Jesus—that has to date been reported nowhere but in the MadCowMorningNews. 

Go figure.


"Red-carpeting the entourage"

At the time, the controversial evacuation of rich Saudis prompted charges of special treatment and inadequate screening of passengers by the FBI.

The FBI, of course, denied it, but in uncharacteristically colorful language.  

 “I say baloney to any inference we red-carpeted any of this entourage," an FBI official wrote in a 2003 internal note.

“Red-carpeting the entourage” may be the least of it.

The McCain lobbying scandal has been called as “silly as a blonde joke,” and an “assault on working women,” although the nature of the ‘work’ being engaged in by the working women under assault was left unspecified. 

But it may not be as silly as it appears on the surface.

You can learn a lot about the players in political scandals these days by remembering the catch phrase from the old TV show Fantasy Island, which each week had an improbably-dressed midget in a tuxedo calling out:

“De plane, boss! De plane!”

Lobbyist Vicki Iseman, McCain's very own “Campaign Suicide" Blonde, nestled cozily beside Big John McCain on a 727 tricked out to suit the garish tastes of Saudi Royal Princes.

A year later this same plane will become one of six  flying Saudi evacuation flights which would be scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission.

The connection between the Saudi Royal Family and a company that owns “Worship Ministries” and Christian Network, Inc. is not immediately apparent.
 

Senator & Buxom Blonde Take Mile-High Sweet Ride

But first, let’s hear some more about the sex.

The female Washington lobbyist alleged to have been Senator John McCain’s jet-setting paramour is described in some accounts a “bright, energetic woman who made her way from the farms and coal fields of rural Pennsylvania to the ruthless environment of Washington.”

Spun another way, Iseman is “blond, buxom, & three decades younger” than horny old goat McCain. (Her lobbying firm tried to take her bio off their website, but nothing stops the WayBack Machine. )

Most speculation has focused on the obvious…Did they or didn’t they? 

Did the duo take a mile-high sweet ride? 

Here we’ll admit to an editorial bias. We certainly hope so. It would clear up a pressing question about McCain's candidacy for President: "Is McCain too old to be President?"


Watch out, Bob Dole

Not. It’s a win-win for Big John...

Because even if the 71-year-old lawmaker didn’t sleep with an attractive blond 30 years his junior, he is being looked at with new respect by older male voters whose allegiance is key to Republican hopes in the fall.

Also, when Bob Dole “shuffles off this mortal coil,” Big John will be nicely positioned for a lucrative spokesperson contract touting Viagra.

Truth be told, maybe we’re just jaded, but we're not really feeling it for what we've heard so far. So on this one, we’ll take the high road, we think. 

A woman with a burning desire, and a man old enough to be her grandfather. Its not all that titillating.

Its... its icky.

McCain also leaves us feeling embarrassed for our entire unimaginative gender because of the unfortunate resemblance—about which neither woman can be pleased—between Vicki the “Campaign Suicide Blonde” and the Senator’s current wife Cindy.

This does not speak well for McCain’s ability to think “outside the box.”


Think "The Getaway" meets "Sheiks on a Plane."

Now let’s take a look at ‘da planes.’

In the worst possible way, they wanted to get out of Dodge.

The Saudi Royals and their entourage in Vegas were understandably anxious to get out of the U.S. in a hurry in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.

What aroused suspicion was the 9/11 Commission Report’s  unusually terse statement and non-committal language when discussing the provenance of the Saudi flight out of Vegas.

They never named the owner, as they did with the other  planes involved. The 9/11 Commission's addendum on the Saudi flights names the owners of the other airplanes involved, but neglects to mention that Saudi Royals  escaped on a plane belonging to a Christian broadcaster.

Saudi Princes Fly "Air Jesus"

They called it “Chartered Flight B 727-21, Tail Number N727PX.” 

“On September 20, 2001, 18 members of the party of Saudi Prince Abdulmajeed Bin Abdulaziz departed from Las Vegas, Nevada, for Stamstead, England aboard a chartered B 727-21, tail number 727PX, destination Stamstead Airport (London) England,” read the Commission addendum on the Saudi flights.

“Before departure the aircraft was swept, perimeter security was provided, and all persons boarding were matched to previously provided passports and a manifest by agents of the USCS.”

The 727 that ferried both John McCain and Saudi Royals actually belonged to Vicki’s boss, Lowell “Bud” Paxson, whose Paxson Communications owns a down-market Christian broadcaster called PAX-TV.

Paxson was Miss Vicki’s  biggest client.  Nothing wrong with that.

As it happens, “Air Jesus” was in good company.

Two others of the six flights scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission were flown by air contractors known to be involved in CIA renditions on planes whose flight logs recorded trips to Guantanamo Bay, where the CIA’s detention facility was doing brisk business. 

Two of the six, in other words, were CIA planes.


Maybe that's what stole Ohio for Bush in 2004

A third plane belonged to an unlikely player, the national carrier of the African nation of Gabon. Or rather from its President, a friend of Jack Abramoff's so close and personal that his checks usually had six zeros in them.

Abramoff was at that time still at liberty, not yet a felon (a convicted one, anyway),  and probably still thought of the "Big House" as Aaron Spelling's mega-mansion in Beverly Hills. 

Omar Bongo is President-for-Life (bien sur!)  of Africa's beyond-corrupt Republic of Gabon. He seems an unlikely personage to pop up in an aviation-related story. But what he lacks in aviation credentials he more than makes up for with his close ties to Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Bongo paid Abramoff $9 million for the promise of an Oval Office meeting with President Bush. And in May 2004, he got a 30-minute meeting in the White House with George W. Bush. 

A win-win situation for both sides, no doubt. The $9 million would have sure come in handy to help grease things during the brouhaha over the flawed Presidential election in Ohio.  


"Guido, Rachid, Rachid, Guido"

All of the planes we've looked at so far that were used, along with McCain's lobbyist squeeze's 727,  on Saudi evacuation flights. All had, and have,  interesting associations. But only one of the planes is, well,  you know... officially connected.

To the Mob.  The owner is a very close personal friend of the biggest crime boss in New England.

The six planes scrutinized for flying Saudis out of the U.S. share heavy political connections at the top end of American political life, and have more in common than can be accounted for by chance.

Where does the plane McCain and his lady friend flew on fit in? What’s a religious broadcaster doing in such motley company?  

Christian broadcasters wouldn't seem to have a lot in common, just as organizations, with the CIA, the Mob, and disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.


Registered lobbyist for Netherworld, Inc.

Was John McCain’s use of this particular plane pure happenstance? Did the Saudis charter PAX-TV’s 727 by mistake? 

Answers could help clarify whether this is a sex scandal, a corruption scandal, or even a scandal at all.

There’s something slightly sinister about "Campaign Suicide" Blonde Vicki Iseman’s corporate client list.  She and Tampa-based lobbying firm Alcalde  & Fay service a roster of companies comprising a “Who’s Who” of a peculiarly American netherworld...

Gambling casinos and Saudi money mingle with covert operations of the CIA, felonious schemes of Republican lobbyists... even a television network responsible for the scurrilous Swift Boat documentary that sunk John Kerry’s chances for the Presidency in 2004...

They rep the brother of a Saudi billionaire wanted for securities fraud, cruise ship lines making billions a year but paying no American taxes…A  broadcasting network, Sinclair, responsible for producing and airing the “documentary” that swift-boated John Kerry’s Presidential ambitions in the 2004 elections...

Were there hidden connections between the companies on the client list of comely blond lobbyist Vicki Iseman's client list?

Companies secretly allied in some non-SEC-approved way?


Mogul "found God in Vegas hotel room"

And a Christian network, PAX-TV (now ION)  whose offerings stand out as having been exceptionally tawdry even in the notoriously heavily-mascaraed field of religious broadcasting.

Paxson Communications amassed more than 70 television stations in five years,  the biggest collection in the nation, with access to about three-quarters of all US homes. 

His religious ventures were always ambitious, if rarely in good taste…  

He even started his own “mega-church” in Jupiter, Florida.  The improbably named “Christ Church of the Palm Beaches” was first set to open on the site of the former Palm Beach Jai Alai fronton.   

The best of both worlds: Pari-mutuel betting and Sunday services.  

When that deal fell through, Paxson next eyed Burt Reynolds' defunct Carousel Jupiter Theatre, and while waiting for repairs to be completed, an informal bible study meeting called "Cappuccino and Christ," launched next door at the Jupiter Beach Resort.

And then there's that mental image of Lobbyist Vicki the “Campaign” Suicide Blonde nestled cozily beside Big John McCain on a 727 tricked out like a whorehouse to suit the garish tastes of Saudi Royal Princes.  

Jesus would be proud.


“Hickory dickory dock, the Diceman joins the flock.” 

Its a heady mix, even before adding in PAX-TV’s roster of stars so faded they didn't even get calls to fill-in when someone gets sick on Hollywood Squares anymore. Many had documented substance-abuse problems where the ultimate outcome was always very much in doubt.

There were Stacy Keach and Anthony Michael ‘Detox’ Hall, “plumping for the Lord.” PAX-TV even took celebrity casting to new non-denominational lows,  with a show about coming to Jesus through the joy of Jewish cooking.

Called “Chicken Soup for the Soul,”  it starred Andrew 'Dice' Clay.

It is a remarkable web of connections…

The lobbyists behind repeated referendums pushing for legalized casinos in Florida, billionaire weapons merchant Adnan Khashoggi’s brother, Essam, owner of Earthshell (whose bright idea it was to manufacture biodegradable cheeseburger wrappers for McDonald’s)... even former lawmakers whose legislative "achievements" included slipping into law provisions making possible today’s multi-billion dollar offshore gambling industry in Florida. 

Did we mention, by the way, that this casino industry is completely unregulated?

An almost all-cash business?

And once again we are back to Jack Abramoff.


What about the guy who wrote checks for the hit?

In several different ways, Paxson Communications and Jack Abramoff’s “people” have, shall we say, “close business ties.” 

Currently winding out, the Abramoff Scandal will not have run its course until the completion of the upcoming trial of three New York Mafia Gambino Family members for the murder of casino ship line owner Gus Boulis.  

Paxson and Abramoff are connected though Gus Boulis. 

Gus Boulis owned a dozen casino gambling ships parked at ports around Florida. The casinos, to this day, are completely unregulated. No one know how much money they take in every day.  

Of this figure, the daily take, which nobody knows, no one knows who gets what. A cash business with nobody looking over your shoulder...

Jack Abramoff coveted Gus Boulis’ casino business in the worst possible way.  So he "supposedly” duped an otherwise savvy Chicago hedge fund named Citadel Investment into lending him $32 million to purchase Boulis’ fleet of a dozen unlicensed offshore gambling vessels.


Dead men don't need 'walking around' money

Then, in relatively short order, having been paid no more than a mere pittance of the agreed-upon sale price, Gus Boulis was dead.   

When Paxson’s Pax-TV fell on hard times several years ago, and the firm was in danger of being declared bankrupt,  the broadcaster was rescued by a timely investment from the same hedge fund in Chicago, Citadel Investment, that loaned Jack Abramoff $32 million to purchase a fleet of a dozen unlicensed offshore gambling boats owned by soon-to-be-murdered gambling mogul Gus Boulis.

Damn. Abramoff again.  

The real question in the McCain scandal isn’t about whether McCain had sex with an attractive blonde female lobbyist, or whether he improperly intervened with letters to Federal Agencies on her client’s behalf.

Both are so commonplace as to barely qualify as news.

Chilling thought:  Jack Abramoff might have been fronting planes for the CIA.  That's certainly an awful thought, well-worth being hidden... 

The prospect seems almost too awful to contemplate.

What would Jesus say?

 

 


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