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       President George W. Bush almost personally escorted three 9/11 hijackers into the United States.
        Read it again.
        This contention does not come from Air America, or "liberal wackos," or conspiracy theorists. It comes from Richard M. Nixon's chief political strategist during the 1968 campaign, Kevin Phillips.
        Here's the scoop:
        The Bush administration instituted a policy toward Saudi immigration in June, 2001, called "Visa Express." Under this bent rule, Saudis could obtain U.S. visas without being photographed or having to apply in person. Repeat: without even being photographed or having to apply in person.
        Three of the 9/11 terrorists came into this country on Bush's "Visa Express" policy.
        Read it again.
        Not only did the Bush administration do absolutely nothing to combat terrorism during its first nine months--- despite the repeated pleas of counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke---it greased the immigration of the hijackers who attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
        Not only did the Bush administration not take seriously the Presidential Daily Briefing document warning that Al-Qaeda terror cells existed within the United States, had cased buildings in New York City, and had acquired explosives, but the administration aided terrorists in their access to this country; aided them in their mission.
        Why? Because of the Bush family's long-standing oily relationship (literally and figuratively) with the Saudis and the Bin-Laden family. "Visa express" was a courtesy to "old friends." If this were the plot of a movie, critics would dismiss it as hackneyed, hokey, and dull. But it is not the plot of a movie, it is the incredible, shocking reality that has been all but ignored by the mainstream media.
        This astounding information, which has gotten scant coverage in major press  (mainly Washington Times and U.S. News and World Report in 2002), broke again last Friday on Bill Moyers' heroic "Now" program on PBS, in which Phillips was interviewed about his book, "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush." Remember, Phillips is a former Nixon aide who in 1969 authored "The Emerging Republican Majority," correctly predicting the major shift to the right in American electoral politics.
        Here is the exchange with Moyers:
        Phillips: "Now, the Bushes have a long tie to the Saudi royal family, and indirectly to the Bin Ladens. And as a result of the ties to the Saudis, we don't need to take it any further than that for the moment; they put through in 2001 a change called the Visa Express. By which people in Saudi Arabia could get U.S. visas without actually going in and being photographed by U--
        Moyers: This was when?
        Phillips: In 2001. June 2001. And three of the terrorists came into the United States under this very permissive framework."
        Remember that it was well known at the time that Al-Qaeda was financed largely with Saudi money. Still, the Bush administration implemented essentially a free ticket to Terrorist Disneyland---with no photo on the passport!---for Saudi nationals.(Author Craig Unger further asserts in his "House of Bush, House of Saud" that visa applicants didn't even have to show up in the flesh.) And remember: almost all of the hijackers were Saudis.
        This stupendous hole in U.S. Security makes the current flap over the PDB memo, "Bin-Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," look almost incidental. It is, at minimum, illustrative of profound irresponsibility and ineptitude.  It is, at worst, the wholesale selling out of the security of the American people in the interests of keeping Saudi oil flowing.
        Either way, it is a scandal of such staggering proportion as to demand immediate impeachment and removal from office of this apparently witless, corrupt, and incompetent president--- and his entire staff.

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        But that's just part one of the scandal. Here is part two: in its election strategy, Phillips reports, the Bush team heavily courted the Muslim vote in America. That's correct, the Muslim vote. There are between three and seven million Muslims in the country, and the Bush campaign sought their support vigorously---which paid off by sweeping the 50,000-60,000 Muslim votes in Florida. Here's the clincher: many of the Saudi-funded Muslim organizations sweet-talked by Team Bush were later found to have ties to funding Al-Qaeda.
        Factor into this the plain fact---still largely uninvestigated---that the Bush administration flew many members of the Bin-Laden family back to Saudi Arabia on about 9/13/2001, when all other air traffic was halted..
       Anyone who can then retain the idea that the Bush/Saudi connection---and the Bush/Bin-Laden family connection---is merely tangential business unrelated to terrorism is cripplingly nave.
        The most disturbing aspect of this whole affair is how little attention and investigation it has gotten from the media. This should be page-one material on a daily basis.
        Why such "coddling," as Phillips calls it, of the Saudis?
        "Well, oil is absolutely critical here, obviously," he told Moyers. "And if you think that Saudi Arabia might be falling apart, you want to think about getting Iraq which also has huge reserves. If you look at the way in which the Bushes have conducted foreign policy, oil has always been a major priority. It's a family that's always been connected to the oil business. I mean, it goes back literally 100 years. And oil is a very major yardstick."
       Yet every administration, as Moyers noted, has tried to protect the flow of Middle East oil. Phillips cites Franklin Roosevelt declaring Saudi Arabia a major concern during the 1940s.
        The difference between all other presidents and the Bush Administration?
        "But the other presidents," Phillips said, "however much they cared about oil, didn't have these personal involvements."
        How much plainer can it be? President George W. Bush and many members of his administration are oil company executives who compromised---arguably ignored---the security of U.S. citizens in the interests of maintaining personal business involvement with the Bin Laden family and other oil-i-garchs of Saudi Arabia.
        Add the PDB warning of the Saudi-backed Al- Qaeda's presence in this country, its imminent plans to wreak terror---through explosions and/or hijacked aircraft---and the outrageousness of Bush's defense that this was just "historical data," and it becomes blindingly clear:
        This is nothing less than the greatest scandal in American history.
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