Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens

Photo Source A.Davey | CC BY 2.0

Chances are that George W. Bush didn’t need to be tutored on how to pronounce Osama bin Laden’s name, after the president was informed about the events of 9/11 while reading the story about that goat to grade-schoolers in Sarasota, Florida. The Bin Ladens and the Bushes go way back.

Exactly how far back remains a matter of conjecture. But, like many ultra-rich Saudis, the Bin Laden brood has always had a thing for Texas. The patriarch of the Bin Laden clan, Mohammed Bin Laden, the son of a Yemeni bricklayer who moved to Saudi Arabia and struck it rich in the construction business, flew frequently to Dallas to seal deals with his associates in the oil industry, often in his private jet. There’s much speculation, though no hard proof, that Mohammed knew George Bush the First and his cohort of oil, banking and political cronies in the Lone Star state.

Mohammed died in a plane crash in Saudi Arabia. One of his elder sons, Salem, died near Houston when his ultra-light airplane got snagged in power lines. Of all the Bin Ladens, it was Salem who enjoyed the closest relationship with the Bush tribe. The connection was a Houston wheeler-dealer named James Bath, who haunted the darker back corridors of the Bush-Reagan years, amid the fragrance of scandals from Iran/contra to BCCI to the Silverado Savings and Loan debacle to Iranian weapon mogul Adnan Khashoggi.

Bath was an Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam who ended up in the National Guard…

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