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Interview with Bush Biographer J.H. Hatfield Who Died
Tue Aug 12 13:50:56 2003
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Full transcript of interview with Bush Biographer J.H. Hatfield Who Died 2 Years Ago of an Alleged Suicide Amidst Controversy Over his Book Fortunate Son

Today we play an interview that we have held for over three years. It involves allegations of President Bush, drugs, obstruction of justice and corporate scandal. It raises questions about why Bush’s driver license number was changed.

In the book Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President author J.H. Hatfield charges that President Bush was arrested in 1972 for cocaine possession and that Bush’s father George Sr. used his political connections to have his son’s record expunged.

Soon after publication, Hatfield’s credibility was challenged. He had been convicted in 1988 for hiring a hit-man in a failed attempt to kill his boss and had served five years in prison.

J.H. Hatfield died of an alleged suicide in July 2001.

Listen to or watch the interview here

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/11/1447218

This is how the story goes: Four years ago St. Martins Press published a book by author James H. Hatfield called Fortunate Son. It is about the life of George W. Bush.

In the book, Hatfield charges that Bush was arrested in 1972 for cocaine possession. Why wasn’t the future President charged? Hatfield writes that Bush’s father used his political connections to have his son’s record expunged.

Soon after publication of Fortunate Son the Dallas Morning News received information about Hatfield’s criminal past.

The media jumped all over it and Hatfield’s reputation and credibility were ruined.

St. Martins Press promised to turn Fortunate Son into “furnace fodder.” It withdrew 70,000 copies from bookshelves and destroyed them. But a small publisher Soft Skull Press http://www.softskull.com/  reprinted the book with the banner “The Book They Burned is Back.”

Hatfield had previously refused to reveal the source of his information about Bush’s alleged cocaine arrest. He now to decided to name him. He claimed it was none other than Karl Rove Bush’s closest political adviser.

If Rove did indeed leak the information, he couldn’t have leaked it to a better subject. Soon after publication of the Fortunate Son, Hatfield’s credibility came under fierce attack.

The media followed the trail laid out for them. They diverted inquiries about Bush’s drug history to stories about Hatfield’s checkered past. He lost two other book contracts and faced financial ruin and obscurity.

The character assassination finally took its toll. In July 2001, Hatfield was found dead of an apparent suicide in a hotel room in Springdale, Arkansas. He was 43 years old. Police said he left notes for his family and friends that listed alcohol, financial problems and Fortunate Son as reasons for killing himself. He is survived by a wife and daughter.

Special thanks to Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky who made the documentary film "Horns and Halos" http://www.hornsandhalos.com / about J.H. Hatfield and Soft Skull Press publisher Sander Hicks. They filmed the Democracy Now! interview we premiered today.

* J.H. Hatfield, interview conducted in early 2000. He is the author of Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and The Making of An American President. Hatfield discusses the Bush-Bin Laden connection in the interview which was conducted before Bush was elected President and well before the Sept. 11 attacks. The writer spent a year investigating Bush. J.H. Hatfield died of an alleged suicide July 2001.
* Toby Rodgers, wrote the introduction to the Soft Skull edition of Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and The Making of An American President.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN : Today we're going to play an interview that I did more than two and half years ago. But until today have never run. It involves President Bush, allegations of drugs, obstruction of justice, corporate scandal. The person I interviewed committed suicide two years ago.

This is how the story goes. Four years ago, St. Martin's press published a book by author James H. Hatfield called " Fortunate Son" it's about the life of George W. Bush. The book examines Bush's past, how he made his millions including from the Texas Rangers baseball team, building of the stadium, millions he made in dubious insider stock swaps to his connections to the BCCI scandal.

Hatfield also makes another charge, he says Bush was arrested in 1972 for cocaine possession. Why wasn't the future president charged, he asked. Hatfield writes that Bush's father, also the President, Bush, senior, used his political connection to have his son's record expunged. Soon after publication of “Fortunate Son”, Hatfield's credibility came under fierce attack. The "Dallas morning news" happened to suddenly receive information about Hatfield's criminal past. He had been convicted in 1988 of hiring a hitman and failed attempt to kill his boss and served five years in prison. The media jumped all over the story, Hatfield's reputation and credibility were ruined. St. Martin's press promised to turn "Fortunate Son" into quote, furnace fodder. It withdrew 70,000 copies of the book from bookshelves and destroyed them. The editor in chief of the St. Martin's Press resigned.

But a small publisher Soft Skull Press reprinted the book with the banner "the book they burned is back.” J. H. Hatfield had previously refused to release the information about Bush's alleged cocaine defense. It was none other he said than Karl Rove, Bush's closest political advisor. The media kept following the trail laid out for them, they diverted inquiries about Bush's drug history to stories about Hatfield's checkered past. He lost two other book contracts and faced financial ruin. The character assassination finally took its toll on July 20, 2001, J.H. Hatfield was found dead of an apparent suicide in Springdale, Arkansas. He was 43 years old. Police said he left notes for his family and friends that listed alcohol, financial problems, and the book "Fortunate Son" as the reasons for killing himself.

Well, today we're going to play the interview with James Hatfield. I started off by asking him why St. Martin's press pulled "Fortunate Son" from the shelves.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don't we start off with why they burned the book or pulled it from the shelves.

J. H. HATFIELD:Burn is very important because in this country you don’t burn books, publishers are supposed to publish books. The major controversy surrounding the book when it first came out was my past. The book came out on a Tuesday and by Friday it was recalled because they found out I had a criminal history and so the publisher said they doubted my credibility at that point which didn’t make any sense because before that they said it was meticulously fact-checked, scrupulously corroborated, 54 pages of source notes. So you can’t say that one day and then go ok maybe he had a past but one doesn’t have anything to do with the other.

AMY GOODMAN: What did your past have to do with it. Had you denied it before?

J. H. HATFIELD: Well I did deny it when I was approached by St. Martin’s. We got a call from a reporter with the Dallas morning news when I was in NY doing publicity for the book and the publisher asked me and I did deny it until I got home a few hours later and talked to my family and talked to my lawyers and then we tried to work it out with the publisher so we could get it back out again

AMY GOODMAN: Can I ask what your criminal history was and then we’ll go through the book?

J. H. HATFIELD: The crime that got the attention was that I was involved in a conspiracy to try to kill somebody. That certainly made the headlines .

AMY GOODMAN: How long did you serve time in prison?

J. H. HATFIELD: Five years in Texas.

AMY GOODMAN: Who’d you try to kill?

J. H. HATFIELD: An associate of mine. I was a vice-president in a real estate company and she was the other vice president and I kinda got caught in the middle between a blackmail scheme with my boss. She was blackmailing him and I passed the money.

AMY GOODMAN: Was she killed?

J. H. HATFIELD: Oh no. That’s not to lessen the severity of it. But she wasn’t hurt at all

AMY GOODMAN: So when did you get out of jail?

J. H. HATFIELD: 1994

AMY GOODMAN: And when did you start writing this book?

J. H. HATFIELD: About October of 1998. After the elections of 1998 and the Republicans lost in the house and Newt Gingrich and those rascals were kicked out and all of a sudden Bush won in a landslide and they thought he would be the future of the party.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you take up George W. Bush, the governor of Texas as your subject?

J. H. HATFIELD: That’s a very good question because at the time that I pitched the book, he wasn’t that well known outside the country. There were some hypothetical polls taken in a match-up with Gore that he would win. Nobody knew anything about him except that he was very popular in Texas. My in-laws are all from Texas, I go down there a lot and of course I used to live in Texas and a couple of places and he fascinated me from a biographer’s point of view, as a subject he was a fascinating person because of his history and who his father was. As a biographer you’re always looking for somebody to write about that you had to have an interest in. It’s just like having a regular job you don’t wanna go to work hating your job, you gotta like what you’re doing and I thought that would be a good book to work on and I also wanted to let the American people know a little bit about him. 10:04:02

AMY GOODMAN: Give us a thumbnail sketch of George W. Bush as you see him

J. H. HATFIELD: I think the title really sums it up “Fortunate Son” This is a guy that his entire life he succeeded because of who he is and his family heritage. He went to Andover because of his family connections. He went to Yale because of his father and his grandfather’s connections. Texas Law School turned him down but he got into Harvard because of family connections. He set out in the oil business in Midland back in the 70’s. And just because of his family’s name he got a lot of investors even though all his business is failing, he never was successful in the oil business. It was all bail outs and swap bills and that type of thing. And then he bought into the Texas Rangers for $600,000 while all the other investors paid millions, but, his father had just been elected President and they wanted him to be the managing general partner so he was essentially the face of the team. And he used that to propel his candidacy for governor. If he was George Smith, he would have never been elected governor because he was running against a very charismatic, popular person even outside Texas who was Ann Richards. And now, he has raised all this money. Nobody knows anything about the guy. He’s an empty suit. We’re starting to learn a little bit more about him now and, the money that’s been raised it’s because he’s George Bush and the son of a former President.11:26

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s talk about his time in Midland as an oil businessman. You go into great detail in the book about the kinds of people who bailed him out. Their connections to his father and the family. The connections to the Persian Gulf war, etc. Why don’t you give us a little more detail.

J. H. HATFIELD: Yeah. He’s made a lot of money by—being bailed out by his dad’s friends. For example. his first company Arbusto. One of the major investors was James Bath who had connections to the BCCI scandal and Osama Bin Laden family. And why would somebody invest in the son of a vice-presidents first little oil company. I mean you have to have an interest. Just like right now, he’s raised 70 million dollars. When he gets to the White House, if he gets to the White House, you’re naïve if you don’t think those corporate people who got him there, they’ll want something in return.

AMY GOODMAN: His oil company ‘Arbusto’ is Spanish for Bush?

J. H. HATFIELD:Spanish for bush

AMY GOODMAN: Now, You mentioned Osama Bin Laden. Can you talk about what you think those connections are?

J. H. HATFIELD:Well, not just myself. I also document ed the book that a couple of award-winning former Time correspondents wrote a book on BCCI and they also mentioned Bath. They said that the 50 thousand dollars that he invested in Arbusto had to come from BCCI because he didn’t have any money on his own. And from the connections he had with the Osama Bin Laden family. So…

AMY GOODMAN: You said that Osama Bin Laden is the son of the business man he did work with. Do you know that for sure? Is that right that the Bin Laden brothers that is Osama Bin Laden is one of their sons.

J. H. HATFIELD:Well, its in the family they said. You can’t say that he actually did business with Osama Bin Laden but you have to say it came—it was family. It would be like if somebody did business with the Bush family. Well…I don’t know if George W was involved so it would be with the family. And there’s no denial there.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you know that the Bin Laden brothers are related to Osama Bin Laden?

J. H. HATFIELD: Well that’s been documented in lots of places. Not just me but in other newspapers, other journalists, TV elsewhere.

AMY GOODMAN: And what is Bath’s connection to the Bushes?

J. H. HATFIELD: Well he was also in the National Guard with George W. back in the 70’s which is interesting too because in 1972 in August, my publisher was able not too long ago to get hold of Bush’s national guard records. And in 1972, at the same time we alleged he was doing community service for cocaine arrest James Bath who was in the unit with him. Both of them were grounded for failing to show up for medical exam. 14:19
MORE:
Listen to or watch the interview here
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/11/1447218

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, call 1 (800) 881-2359.
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/11/1447218#transcript 


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