Friday, April 4, 2008

DON'T CRY FOR ME, ARKANSAS

One of the Clinton-spawned myths is that the Whitewater scandals were made up by a vast rightwing conspiracy. In fact, one of the interesting things about this scandal was how often Republicans backed off when it got too close to a bipartisan corrupt culture, including the drug trade. Asa Hutchinson would go on to be appointed by George Bush as dead of the DEA.

ROGER MORRIS, PARTNERS IN POWER On November 9, 1984, three days after his half brother's resounding victory at the polls, Roger Clinton was back in court to change his plea to guilty of conspiracy and a single count of drug distribution. He was 'one tentacle of cocaine distribution in Arkansas,' said Republican US attorney Asa Hutchinson, though most of the other arms of the figurative monster would never be pulled in. In a subsequent trial Roger testified for the government to convict a boyhood friend, Sam Anderson, Jr., a Hot Springs lawyer. . . But there the inquiry stopped for the moment. 'I guess I'm gong to do Roger's time for him,' Anderson would say bitterly."

"We had a lot more than Roger . . ." said one local officer close to the case. "But Roger cops out, our narcs get taken out, and the case stops there."

Though the Reagan-appointed US attorneys for the region at the time, Asa Hutchinson and J. Michael Fitzhugh, repeatedly denied, as Fitzhugh put it, 'any pressure in any investigation,' [key investigators] Duncan and Welch watched the Mena inquiry systematically quashed and their own careers destroyed as the IRS and state police effectively dissolved their investigations and turned on them. 'Somebody outside ordered it shut down,' one would say, 'and the walls went up.' Welch [a state trooper] recorded his fear and disillusion in his diary on November 17, 1987: 'Should a cop cross over the line and dare to investigate the rich and powerful, he might well prepared himself to become the victim of his own government . . . The cops are all afraid to tell what they know for fear that they will lose their jobs."

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