Tuesday, August 21

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]
 
1995
 
Operating with an interim top secret clearance (but without FBI investigation or foreign security check) new Commerce official Huang requests several top secret files on China just before a meeting with the Chinese ambassador.
 
Huang and the Riadys hold a meeting with Clinton. Not long after, Huang goes to work as a Democratic fundraiser, but remains on Commerce's payroll as a $10,000 a month consultant. Huang raises $5 million for the campaign. About a third of that is returned as having come from illegal sources. Among the problem contributions: $250,000 to the DNC from five Chinese businessmen for a brief meeting with Clinton at a fundraiser.
 
Webster Hubbell, a former Rose law firm partner -- although not known for skill in Asian trade matters -- goes to work for a Lippo Group affiliate after being forced out of the Clinton administration and before going to jail. He is asked at a Senate hearing by the majority counsel: "I guess the question is really this, it is whether, in connection with this representation, you received a large amount of money and that may have had an impact on the degree of your cooperation with the independent counsel or with us?" Hubbell responds, "That's pretty rotten" and chair Al D'Amato changes the subject. Hubbell had represented  both Worthen and James Riady during the 1980s.
 
The White House hosts a major drug dealer at its Christmas party. Jorge Cabrera -- who gave $20,000 to the DNC -- is also photographed with Al Gore at a Miami fund-raiser, a fact the Clinton administration initially attempts to conceal by arguing that a publicity shot with the Veep is covered by the Privacy Act.
 
Cabrera had been indicted in 1983 by a federal grand jury -- on racketing and drug charges -- and again in 1988, when he was accused of managing a continuing narcotics operation. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and served 54 months on prison. After his visit to the White House he will be sentenced to 19 years on prison for transporting 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the US. The Secret Service says letting him come to the WH was okay because he posed no threat to the president.
 
The Washington Times reports that Clinton has pardoned without fanfare a gambling pal of his mother. Jack Pakis was convicted under the Organized Crime Control Act, sentenced to two years in prison, but the sentence was suspended. He was fined and put on probation. Pakis had been arrested as part of an FBI sting operation against illegal gambling in Hot Springs. According to the Washington Times, "his trial judge described Mr. Pakis as a professional gambler, part owner of an illegal casino and an illegal bookmaker for football and horse-racing bets." US District Judge Oren Harris remarked that the FBI had "reached into Hot Springs to put a stop to gambling that has existed here since the 1920s." But he suspends the sentence, saying that since local acceptance of gambling was so widespread it would be unfair to send Pakis and his co-defendants to jail. Pakis, incidentally, once owned a piece of the Southern Club -- Al Capone's favorite -- in Hot Springs where, as Clinton's mom put it in her autobiography, "gangsters were cool and the rules were meant to be bent."

Roger Morris and Sally Denton write a well-documented account of drug and Contra operations in Arkansas during the '80s. The Washington Post's Outlook section wants to run it, offers their highest price ever for a story, but is overruled by higher-ups. Reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the London Telgraph, "The article was typeset and scheduled to run in today's edition of The Washington Post. It had the enthusiastic backing of the editors and staff of the Sunday Outlook section, where it was to appear after eleven weeks of soul-searching and debate. Lawyers had gone through the text line by line. Supporting documents had been examined with meticulous care. The artwork and illustrations had been completed. The contract with the authors had been signed. Leonard Downie, the executive editor of the newspaper, had given his final assent. But on Thursday morning the piece was cancelled. It had been delayed before - so often, in fact, that its non-appearance was becoming the talk of Washington - but this time the authors were convinced that the story was doomed and would never make it into the pages of what is arguably the world's most powerful political newspaper."
 
Morris and Denton withdraw the story, which is later published by Penthouse Magazine after being rejected by Vanity Fair, one of whose editors told the paid, "We don't do substantive stories."
 
A burglar breaks into the car of White House lawyer Cheryl Mills as she was preparing to testify before a Senate committee on the Whitewater affair. Taken, according to a friend, were her notes on handling Vince Foster's papers after his death.
 
IRS investigator Bill Duncan has his computer broken into and his 7,000 page file on Mena is tampered with.
 
The American Spectator magazine publishes an article by L.D. Brown, a former member of Clinton's Arkansas State Police security detail, in which he describes participating in two secret flights from Mena in 1984, during which M-16 rifles were traded to Nicaraguan Contra rebels in exchange for cocaine. Brown also claims that Clinton knew of the activity. Writes Mara Leveritt in the Arkansas Times: "That announcement spurred Fort Smith lawyer Asa Hutchinson, chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, to request yet another congressional inquiry into long-standing allegations of money-laundering at Mena. Hutchinson was the U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas when investigators first presented evidence supporting those allegations. In an argument disputed by police investigators, Hutchinson claims he left office before the evidence was well established. Since he harbors political ambitions, he has an interest in clearing his name."
 
Johnny Chung testifies before a house committee, describing himself as a somewhat befuddled but well-meaning pawn of macro-politics. His testimony describes how a fax broadcast service owner became sought after by the White House, the DNC, various Chinese generals and officials, not to mention being called to a karaoke bar in the middle of the night to advise a Chinese-American on the lam from the US. Things seldom worked out quite right for Chung, witness this tale: "I next saw General Ji's wife when she came back to the United States with her son. I set up their attendance at a Presidential fundraiser - the "Back to the Future" event - at a California movie studio on October 17, 1996. I took my driver and secretary as well as the General's wife and Alex to meet the President. There was a mix-up with the DNC and my driver and secretary were given a private audience with the President while me and the General's wife and son were not included. While my driver and secretary were very appreciative, I was very upset."
According to the Legal Times, Independent Counsel Donald Smaltz's probe has been "significantly curtailed by the Justice Department" as he turns his attention to Tyson Foods.
 
State trooper Russell Welch, who investigated Mena, is forced into early retirement.
 
Monica Lewinsky begins an internship at the White House. In November she starts having an affair with Bill Clinton.
 
RTC investigator Jean Lewis testifies to the House Banking Committee that there is a "concerted effort to obstruct, hamper and manipulate" the Madison investigation.
 
Governor Jim Guy Tucker and the McDougals are indicted for bank fraud and conspiracy.
 
In yet another precipitous resignation by a White House counsel, Abner Mivka leaves the post and is replaced by Jack Quinn who is Al Gore's chief of staff. It is unheard of for a president to put someone that close to the vice president in such a key position, suggesting that Gore may have strong-armed Clinton into it as a condition of remaining loyal to him. Quinn is Clinton's fourth White House counsel in one term. Quinn will resign shortly after Clinton's reelection the following year.
 
A jury acquits former White House Travel Office director Billy Dale of embezzlement. The decision takes less than two hours. Dale and his staff had been evicted to make way for the travel firm that subsidized Clinton's run for the presidency. According to a memo from a former staffer, Hillary Clinton was responsible for the firings.

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