Thursday, August 02, 2007

ARKANSAS CONNECTIONS

[Since the Democrats seem determined to nominate Hillary Clinton, we thought we would offer a little historical context from our time line of Arkansas and the Clintons, with particular emphasis on those things the mainstream media forgot to tell you]
 
1984
 
Clinton backers Jackson Stevens and Mochtar Riady buy a banking firm and change its name to Worthern Bank with Riady's 28-year-old son James as president. Other Worthen co-owners will eventually include BCCI investor Abdullah Taha Bakhish.
 
The Federal Home Loan Bank Board issues a negative report on Madison Guaranty, questioning both its lending practices and its financial stability. The Arkansas Securities Department begins to take steps to close it down.
 
The Washington Times will later quote an unnamed Clinton business associate who claims the governor used to "jog over to [Jim] McDougal's office about once a month to pick up the [retainer] check for his wife." Jim McDougal will claim later that Clinton on one of his jogs had asked that Madison steer business to Hillary Clinton.
 
Foreshadowing future Wall Street interest in Clinton, Goldman Sachs, Payne Webber, Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch all show up as financial backers of the governor. Also on the list: future king-maker Pam Harriman. But Bill Clinton's funders include not only some of the biggest corporate names ever to show an interest in the tiny state of Arkansas but some of the most questionable. A former US Attorney will later tell Roger Morris, "That was the election when the mob really came into Arkansas politics. . . It wasn't just Bill Clinton and it went beyond our old Dixie Mafia. . . This was eastern and west coast crime money that noticed the possibilities just like the legitimate corporations did."
 
Dan Lasater buys a ski resort in New Mexico for $20 million and uses Clinton's name (with permission) to promote it. Later, a US Customs investigative report will note that the resort is being used for drug operations and money laundering. Lasater also flies to Belize with his aide Patsy Thomasson to buy a 24,000 acre ranch. Among those present at the negotiations is the US Ambassador. The deal falls through because of the opposition of the Belize government.
 
A private contractor for Arkansas' prison system stops selling prisoners' blood to a Canadian broker and elsewhere overseas after admitting the blood might be contaminated with the AIDS virus or hepatitis. Sales of prisoners' blood in US were already forbidden. Contaminated blood will later become a big scandal in Canada.
 
Tens of thousands of dollars in mysterious checks begin moving through Whitewater's account at Madison Guaranty. Investigators will later suspect that McDougal was operating a check-kiting scheme to drain money from the S&L.
 
Hot Springs police record Roger Clinton during a cocaine transaction. Roger says, "Got to get some for my brother. He's got a nose like a vacuum cleaner." Roger is arrested while working at menial jobs for Arkansas "bond daddy" Dan Lasater.
 
Barry Seal estimates that he has earned between $60 and $100 million smuggling cocaine into the US, but with the feds closing in on him, Barry Seal flies from Mena to Washington in his private Lear Jet to meet with two members of Vice President George Bush's drug task force. Following the meeting, Seal rolls over for the DEA, becoming an informant. He collects information on leaders of the Medellin cartel while still dealing in drugs himself. The deal will be kept secret from investigators working in Louisiana and Arkansas. According to reporter Mara Leveritt, "By Seal's own account, his gross income in the year and a half after he became an informant - while he was based at Mena and while Asa Hutchinson was the federal prosecutor in Fort Smith, 82 miles away - was three-quarters of a million dollars.
 
Seal reported that $575,000 of that income had been derived from a single cocaine shipment, which the DEA had allowed him to keep. Pressed further, he testified that, since going to work for the DEA, he had imported 1,500 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. Supposed informant Seal will fly repeatedly to Colombia, Guatemala, and Panama, where he meets with Jorge Ochoa, Fabio Ochoa, Pablo Escobar, and Carlos Lehder - leaders of the cartel that at the time controlled an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States."
 
Ronald Reagan wants to send the National Guard to Honduras to help in the war against the Sandanistas. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis goes to the Supreme Court in a futile effort to stop it but Clinton is happy to oblige, even sending his own security chief, Buddy Young, along to keep an eye on things. Winding up its tour, the Arkansas Guard declares large quantities of its weapons "excess" and leaves them behind for the Contras.
 
Clinton bodyguard, state trooper LD Brown, applies for a CIA opening. Clinton gives him help on his application essay including making it more Reaganesque on the topic of the Nicaragua. According to Brown, he meets a CIA recruiter in Dallas whom he later identities as former member of Vice President Bush's staff. On the recruiter's instruction, he meets with notorious drug dealer Barry Seal in a Little Rock restaurant. Joins Seal in flight to Honduras with a purported shipment of M16s and a return load of duffel bags. Brown gets $2,500 in small bills for the flight. Brown, concerned about the mission, consults with Clinton who says, "Oh, you can handle it, don't sweat it." On second flight, Brown finds cocaine in a duffel bag and again he seeks Clinton's counsel. Clinton says to the conservative Brown, "Your buddy, Bush, knows about it" and of the cocaine, "that's Lasater's deal."
 
Clinton wins re-election with 64% of the vote.

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