What makes finding the truth about George W. Bush’s National Guard service more than just an exercise in “opposition research,” as Bush partisans claim, is that the answer may reveal uncomfortable truths striking at the heart of our notions of who we are as a nation, and inimical to prospects for American democracy.
If the story of Bush in the Guard is ultimately merely a matter of a smirking son of privilege lounging poolside sipping a multi-colored drink with a little umbrella while America’s less ‘fortunate sons’ are clocking-in and suiting up down at the Air Guard Base, we admit to being shocked—shocked!—at yet-another shameless abuse of power.
But we think something larger and much darker is still being hidden.
Lurking in Bush’s fuzzy Guard history lies the chilling prospect that the “lost periods” in Bush’s chronology contains a stomach-wrenchingly sick and twisted truth confirming the hoariest cliché of ‘conspiracy theorists': that multiple generations of certain ‘blue-blood’ Eastern families (like Bush’s) run intelligence agencies like the CIA as if they were a ‘family business.’
In 1971, while Richard Nixon's re-election committee was committing the felonies they were indicted for the next year, and CIA pilot Barry Seal was conspiring with the Mexican Air Force in a CIA plot to invade Cuba for which he was indicted the next year, where was George W?
George W. Bush was either a) scouting orchids for a plant nursery or b) working for the CIA in Central America.
Let's look at the evidence for 'b.'
Poor Little Sheep Going… Going… Gone Astray
We began with one seemingly-verified fact: During 1971 George W Bush was working for a man named Robert Gow. And it is reasonable to assume that, during his year or so of employment, he was in the same line of work as his boss.
So the real question is: what business was Gow in?
We can think of no better place to begin than with three little words used to describe Robert Gow over fifteen years ago by the venerable New York Times:
“Skull & Bones.”
As odd as is it to contemplate, both George H.W. Bush and George W share membership in–not just the club of recent American Presidents–but a powerful secret society known as Skull and Bones. This is a strange truth, and it grows even stranger when one learns that the current Pretender to the Throne, John Kerry, is also a member. And so is Robert Gow, George W's employer in 1971.
This is some club. A real blue-blood Tammany Hall.
Even the New York Times has speculated that the Yale secret society controls what former Asst Secretary of State Elliot Abrams dubbed the ‘shadow government:’ the government that runs the government of the United States.
“Through generations, the most influential of senior societies at Yale College has been seen by outsiders as the hand that quietly – oh, so quietly – guides the nation's foreign policy, intelligence apparatus and premier banking houses, with a formidable presence at the bar and on the bench as well,” reported the Times Nov 4, 1988, during the elder Bush's winning Presidential campaign.
Under the headline “Yale Society Resists Peeks Into Its Crypt,” the paper reported, “Today, Skull and Bones is attracting fresh scrutiny with the prospect that it will claim the greatest prize of all, thanks to George Herbert Walker Bush of the 1948 delegation.”
The Times cites the prestigious institutions whose names pepper Bonesmen’s resumes. The list, it 'do' go on… Council on Foreign Relations, State Department, Defense Department, Export-Import Bank, the banking houses of Brown Brothers Harriman, Dillon Read, Morgan Stanley, Morgan Guaranty Trust…
Then they mention our boy Robert Gow:
“The 1955 group includes Ray C. Walker, the Vice President's cousin; Robert H. Gow, who was president of the Zapata Corporation, the oil company founded by the Vice President, and Richard C. Steadman (Judge Steadman's brother), who was an associate partner of G. H. Walker & Co., the investment banking house founded by George Herbert Walker, the Vice President's grandfather.”
Is this Bones at work?” asks the Times. “Yes and no,” concludes the paper, perhaps wisely hedging its bet.
Red Flags Over Texas
“Mr. Gow's friendship with Mr. Walker went back to boyhood days at Groton," explained the Times. "And Mr. Steadman had befriended Mr. Walker when they were freshmen…Whatever the case, the Republic is likely to survive a Skull and Bones Presidency."
We wondered: is it? Did it?
There are so many red flags in Robert Gow’s background that it looks like a rally in Red Square. Start here:
Going from President of Zapata Offshore in 1969 to heading a plant nursery in Houston a year later is a good start on what's known as a ”checkered business career.”
If Robert Gow was in the ‘spook business,’ having a business career that makes no business sense wouldn't necessarily be a negative. Gow’s various business enterprises would make sense…just in some other way.
They would be “cover.” They would provide, in intelligence parlance, a ‘legend.'
Gow grew up in Massachusetts, studied engineering at Yale, and according to Texas Monthly, “still retains the trace of a patrician Yankee accent although he has lived in Texas since 1962. That year he came south to join Zapata Offshore, the oil business then headed by George Bush.”
Gow and George Bush Sr. worked closely together. Extremely closely…When the elder Bush began looking for someone to buy his Zapata stake, after deciding to run for Congress in 1966, he turned, according to Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward in the August 11, 1988 Washington Post, to Gow.
In looking for evidence of Robert Gow’s associations to American covert intelligence, this is a rather auspicious place to start.
in on the joke
Who is Robert H Gow?
Here are a few more interesting highlights—and lowlights–of Robert Gow’s career:
Gow’s company entered into what must have been a truly unique joint venture with the Jamaican Government, reported the Aug 29, 1973 Wall Street Journal with a suitably straight face, “to grow floricultural crops in Jamaica.”
Could there be anything more reeking of elite deviance (a condition existing when the elite in a society come to believe that the rules don't apply to them) than a deal to raise “floricultural crops” in fragrant and fertile Jamaica…with the Jamaican Government’s own blessing?
Ja be good, mon. We be goin' to Babylon by Cadillac.
Still looking for new worlds to conquer, Robert Gow’s interesting little company suffered the misfortune the next year of being accused—along with the Nat'l Broiler Mktg Assn and 36 other companies—of conspiring to fix prices in the U.S. market for broiler chickens to state and local governments, said the Mar 4, 1975 New York Times.
Close Bush family friend and George W's 1971 employer (in what Bush later called his 'first real job') was accused of conspiracy, using inside information provided by colluding Government officials.
Unbowed, the plucky Gow partnered with a private corporation located in McLean, Virginia developing “pollution free, low-cost energy sources,” certainly a noble pursuit. The private corporation’s address a stones-throw from the CIA should not be held against it.
"Wolf Cookies for Everyone!"
"Turns water into wine! First time. Every time!"
However, the fact that the firm’s hot new “low-cost energy source” involved nothing more laborious than mixing water with gasoline is suspicious… Scams with funny twists like this have long been a 'spook' specialty. Looking for gold coins underneath the ocean… specializing in recovering virgin timber from the bottom of the Great Lakes.. While researching Barry & 'the boys” we came across one Colorado-based CIA-front company claiming it had a process that could turn water into gold.
Investors inevitably lose their shirts in such ventures.
Sure enough things began to slide quickly downhill, business-wise, for Robert Gow’s company, which posted a loss of 80% of its net worth, and then reported sadly that it was left with “a staggering $80.7million debt and equity of only $4.7 million."
We have a feeling the 'smart money' got out in time.
When Gow’s Stratford of Texas tanked it did so in such spectacular fashion it inspired a case study at the Harvard Business School. Scam-wise, Robert Gow was well ahead of his time. Long before Enron and Global Crossing made the claim de rigueur for companies being “busted-out,” Gow regretfully cited “possible audit adjustments” to explain that losses might 'substantially increase.
"Audit adjustments” seem the bane of a certain class of American industrialists, many of whom, surprisingly, are well-acquainted with the Bush family.
Remember "The Enterprise?"
Now begins Robert Gow's Golden Era… his business career during the “go-go” ‘80’s.
During the Iran Contra hearings it was revealed that CIA Director Bill Casey, then-Vice President George Bush and Ollie North, as they were preparing to go to war, in November of 1982, in Nicaragua, had been using an off-the-books self-funding mechanism which North testified was called “The Enterprise.”
At exactly this same time Robert Gow bought himself an oil company, called Lezak Energy Group.
He renamed it “Enterprise Oil and Gas.”
But wait. There’s more.
Robert Gow’s connections to U.S. intelligence and military agencies come into even-clearer focus several years later, when another Gow-helmed company, SI Diamond, is formed, to "solicit federal research grants and solve technical problems for the government.” Soon the lucky company is given a big friendly helping hand by President Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program, Brilliant Pebbles.
“MCC, SI Diamond's partner in this project, isn't small potatoes,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “The massive, government-subsidized consortium of the country's largest electronics corporations was fired up in the mid-1980s as a direct response to Japan's dominance in leading edge technologies.”
Recapped Aerospace Daily on May 28, 1992, “The (company’s) process was developed with funding from the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (now known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization or BMDO).”
In the midst of all this sound and fury signifying nothing…or at least nothing legitimate, Robert Gow somehow developed an abiding fascination with a region which is said by drug officials to have become prominent at about this same time in the transshipment of narcotics from South America to the United States: The Yucatan.
This is no doubt just coincidence.
Gow was making dentures in Merida, paying Mexican workers $4 a day, and denture-wearing seniors caught wind of it and brought it to the attention of the St. Petersburg Times, in Florida’s retirement heartland. “Many dentists don't know the teeth were made in Mexico because CHS (a Gow company) has bought up dental labs in various cities and made them into franchises,” the paper reported. "We don't hide it from them," Gow told the Times. But "we don't like to shock them with the whole idea."
'Home Team Spooks' at Leisure
Then just two years ago Gow was profiled in Texas Monthly about his latest Yucatan obsession…
“AT AGE 66, ROBERT GOW could be enjoying a well-earned life of leisure in Houston–puttering around the links with friends at the club or spinning stories on a River Oaks patio about his exploits as a jungle-adventure guide. Retired from a series of enterprises ranging from offshore oil drilling to producing dental crowns and industrial diamonds, he could be confining his yen for risk-taking to the occasional poker game,” said the magazine's Feb 2000 issue.
“But Gow, who used to enjoy ratcheting up the adrenaline flow for the travelers he led into the wilds of Mexico — and who was once in business with former president George Bush and was briefly George W.'s boss – is caught up in his most ambitious venture ever."
Robert Gow at age 66, was in the Yucatan–he says– to grow bamboo.
We've heard about gentlemen farmers of a certain age retiring to raise horses. Or cattle. But bamboo was a new one on us. His bamboo venture would hardly fit a conventional business plan, Gow admitted.
"There were two big questions we had to answer," Gow said. "The first was whether Dendrocalamus strictus (bamboo) would grow in the Yucatan…"
Texas Monthly says he's still working on the answer to the second question: What are we going to do with all that bamboo?"
Gow’s inexplicable "fascination" with the Yucatan once again had led him into business ventures which Gow himself says make no sense. "If one of my students had suggested planting bamboo in the jungle, I would have given him a D," he said.
There has been an undeniable eclecticism in Mr. Gow’s business career. In fact, the scope of it is positively breathtaking in its incoherence: from offshore oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico to growing orchids in Guatemala to cutting “floricultural crops” deals with the Jamaican government to “fixin’ the chicken bidness' to a small piece of Star Wars largesse…Now Gow was rounding it all out with a stint as a genteel plantation owner in the Mexican Yucatan.
Absent the discovery of a parking permit for the CIA’s Langley headquarters in the pocket of George W’s old Guard uniform, Gow's career–which only makes sense if looked at as “cover”– amply demonstrates that George W. Bush was working, in 1971, for a spook.
A 'home team spook.'
What does all this have to do with current events like 9/11?
For answers we turned to the story of an important 'player' in the saga of George W Bush in the National Guard, James Bath. Bath was mustered out of the Texas National Guard—and allegedly into the CIA—exactly one month from when George W Bush allegedly goes through the same process. Bath's story is entwined with George W's for the next twenty years, almost as if they worked for the same company… from the Texas Guard to BCCI to Saudi money allegedly funnelled into George W. Bush’s first fledgling oil venture, Arbusto, and then later into Bush’s failing Harken Energy, from people who increasingly are being fingered as having participated in the attack on America September 11, 2001.
"Lonesome cowboys, Bush family oil interests, & Halliburton's CFO"