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PRESS RELEASE


Growing U.S.-British Brawl:
BAE Chairman Detained at Houston Airport

May 18 (EIRNS)—On Monday, May 12, Mike Turner, the CEO of BAE Systems, the British aerospace giant implicated in the "Al Yamamah" bribery and covert funding scandal, was detained by U.S. authorities as he arrived at Houston's George Bush International Airport. Turner and a second top BAE executive had their laptop computers, cell phones, and papers confiscated and copied by U.S. officials, before being released. They are targets of an ongoing U.S. Justice Department criminal probe into the reported $2 billion in bribes, given by BAE to former Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, as his kickback for the massive "Al Yamamah" oil-for-arms deal, that began in 1985 and continues to this day.

As Executive Intelligence Review exclusively reported last year (see, e.g., "The BAE Systems Affair and the Anglo-Dutch Imperial Slime Mold," EIR July 6, 2007), the "Al Yamamah" deal, an off-budget barter arrangement, created a $100 billion British MI6/Saudi intelligence offshore slush fund for covert operations, in addition to billions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to Saudi officials and others involved in brokering the deal. Those slush funds have been used to finance wars in Africa and Asia for the past 23 years. U.S. intelligence sources report to EIR that there is evidence that those Anglo-Saudi BAE covert funds are being used, today, to finance the ongoing destabilization in the Horn of Africa—particularly targeting Sudan, the growing Wahabi insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and last week's failed civil war provocation in Lebanon, which began with Saad Hariri's return to Beirut from a two-month stay in Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. intelligence sources report that these covert destabilization actions have caused a growing Washington-London rift, despite the Bush-Cheney White House's continuing slavish collusion with the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy's global chaos operations. They report that patriotic American intelligence and military circles are furious at the British destabilization schemes, and are moving against BAE as a direct counter to London's war drive. The British press, itself, expressed concern that the detention of Turner and the other BAE executive reflected a deeper trans-Atlantic conflict. The Sunday Telegraph, a flagship publication of British right-wing imperial circles, reported on May 18, "The detention of the BAE executives... has raised serious concerns at high levels of the [British] Government about 'heavy-handed' treatment. The detention follows the case of the 'NatWest Three' British businessmen each sentenced to 37 months in prison in America this year, and threatens to harm U.S.-U.K. relations in the run-up to the Group of Eight summit of leading industrial nations in Japan in July." The Sunday Telegraph continued, "Senior British officials are also concerned about the timing of last week's incident. The Government has spent more than a year negotiating a defense trade treaty with the U.S. that would remove red tape and give Britain preferential treatment in securing defense contracts with the U.S. military. The deal, which still has to be approved by the Senate and is shortly to be the subject of a hearing, is not popular with some in President George W. Bush's administration."

The U.S. Justice Department investigation covers violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and possibly included violations of U.S. laws against money laundering. If the probe is extended to money laundering, it could touch on Prince Bandar and Saudi intelligence's links to the 9/11 hijackers. Prince Bandar and his wife provided an estimated $50-75,000 in "charitable" gifts to two Saudi intelligence officers, who shared those funds with two of the 9/11 hijackers. A 28-page section of the 9/11 Commission report that dealt with this incident was redacted from the published final report. A DOJ money-laundering probe of the BAE-Bandar kickbacks could extend to questions of how Bandar spent the money, and that could, according to one senior U.S. intelligence official interviewed by EIR, get directly at the 9/11 question. And that, the source concluded, would be a terrible problem for the Saudis.