In May 1992, the Review became the first publication in America to present a comprehensive report on what has now come to be known as the Clinton scandals. Outside of conservative media no other publication has so consistently told this story
A FRIENDLY REMINDER. . .
Those appearing so knowledgeable on TV about what Kenneth Starr has been up to are engaged in a post-modern media activity known technically as "talking out your ass." Your editor, having done quite a bit of this over the years, can assure his readers that most of the people so occupied are in fact faking to an extraordinary degree. The basic reason for this is that, contrary to the impression given, the spin heads do not know what is going on in the grand jury. For their supply of miasmic macrology, therefore, they are forced to go to the only dealer left in the 'hood i.e. the Big Creep. The result is rampantly biased interpretation based on virtually no information from one side and a continual stream of prevarications from the other. As spin head was brave enough to admit the other evening: "We're not entirely clear what was said the grand jury room."
Kenneth Starr may have blown this case or,
on the other hand, the Lewinsky matter may be merely a laniappe
to be added to a legal presentation fully confronting years of
official illegalities and abuses of power. The point is we don't
know and probably won't until Starr does whatever he intends to
do. It doesn't help to pretend otherwise.
McDougal was worried about his health. . .
Jim McDougal was so concerned about surgery scheduled for him by federal prison officials that he sought to have friends and media inquire after his welfare.
The story is contained in McDougal's biography written by Curtis Wilkie of the Boston Globe. Wrote Wilkie (in a passage recently quoted by Carl Limbacher column of the Washington Weekly):
"Shortly after [McDougal] was confined at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky [the first of two prison facilities to house him], he called to report that doctors wanted to operate on a blocked artery.
"He felt it was unnecessary and didn't want to undergo surgery. He added a mordant note: 'The conspiracy boys could sure have fun if I died on the operating table.' Jim asked me to alert some of his friends in the Whitewater press corps to make inquiries about his condition in prison. After several newspapers, newsmagazines and networks expressed interest in his health, the prison authorities chose to forgo surgery.
"Jim was relieved."
In another column, incidentally, Limbacher notes that Judge James Robertson, who dismissed tax evasion charges against Webster Hubbell, is the same judge who recently threw out several charges against two Tyson Food officials indicted by independent counsel Don Smaltz. The pair were convicted on the remaining charges after a two-hour jury deliberation.
Furthermore . . .
House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill) has told committee Republicans and key staff to be prepared to return to Washington on "48 hours notice" in August. Says a report in Roll Call, Hyde told a closed-door meeting of Judiciary Republicans "not to schedule any vacations in August, according to a GOP member who attended the meeting and other Republican staffers who were briefed on the meeting." Hyde has also assembled hi-tech computer technology to network with the 100,000 file database of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
The Tampa Tribune reports that ten employees of Mark Jimenez -- a Florida businessman who gave over $400,000 to the Democrats in recent years -- have told congressional investigators that they will not answer questions under oath. This would bring to 102 the number of witnesses who have taken the Fifth or left the country rather than answer questions concerning the Clinton scandals. In 1996 Jimenez was Florida's largest contributor to the Democrats.
The New York Times front-paged Clinton's showboating on new safe food regulations, but has consistently low-balled coverage of attempts by independent counsel Don Smaltz to get to the bottom of the relationship between the Agriculture Department and Clinton's buddies at Tyson Food. If food safety is a front page story, then so is the Tyson story.
WHITEWATER. . .
Carl Limbacher of the Washington Weekly writes that the Boston Globe's Curtis Wilkie has learned that prison officials withheld crucial heart medication from key Whitewater witness James McDougal just hours before he died of a heart attack. Further, when McDougal suffered the coronary -- according to Wilkie's sources at the Federal Medical Center -- guards and staff did not attend to McDougal for nearly an hour. Wilkie is the author of the McDougal biography. He told the Washington Weekly that he does not suspect foul play in McDougal's death but, he added, "if there's something there that needs to be exposed, I hope it gets exposed." He received letters from several inmates, one of whom wrote:
Darkness engulfs the compound and James is still unable to urinate. He is ordered to the lieutenant's office. There he is handcuffed behind his back and taken across the compound to the hole. Later that evening he complains about the cold and chest pains. The guards ignore his cries for help. He whined the last time he was in the hole.....During the ten o'clock count they found James unconscience (sic) on the floor of his cell in the hole. An hour later after being evacuated by helicopter to the best heart treatment facility in Ft. Worth, James was pronounced dead.
Below are some names that have been in the news sorted by the way the corporate media has tended to treat them. What does each list have most in common other than the legal position of the parties involved?
=====Treated with respect=====
William J. Clinton
=====Treated with ridicule=====
ANSWER: All the names in each list save one is of the same sex. . .
THE HUBBELL CASE. . .
The criminal investigation into the Clinton scandals was set back as a lower court judge threw out on technical grounds major charges against Whitewater figure Webster Hubbell. Hubbell who had gone to jail after pleading guilty to tax evasion and mail fraud involving the theft of nearly a half million dollars from the Rose law firm and $143,000 in unpaid taxes. Hubbell, as part of the plea, was supposed to cooperate with the independent counsel. This became a matter of high concern at the Clinton White House. In fact, a December 1994 WH counsel's memo designed to help staffers keep a handle on the two score scandal issues lists Hubbell as number 11 with a note to "monitor cooperation."
The current case stemmed from the independent prosecutor's discovery of evidence he claimed showed that Hubbell, his wife and two advisers had been involved the failure to pay taxes on close to a million dollars Hubbell had mysteriously received from a variety of sources while supposedly cooperating with investigators. The indictment suggested that the money might have been intended to keep Hubbell quiet. Among those who have admitted seeking clients and consulting work for Hubbell during the period in question are Erskine Bowles, Thomas McLarty and Vernon Jordan.
Somewhat bizarrely, the ruling by US Judge Robertson took on not only Kenneth Starr, but a special panel of appellate level judges authorized under the independent counsel law. These judges specifically gave Starr the go-ahead in the Hubbell case. In effect -- although Robertson rightly noted that the panel is not an appeals court -- he overruled three more senior judges. Robertson was named to the bench by Clinton in 1994 as Hubbell and the president's criminal problems were gathering steam.
Robertson's ruling challenged Starr on several counts. He said that the special panel could not authorize Starr's investigation without the approval of Attorney General Janet Reno and that the limited immunity given Hubbell prevented him from being tried using evidence that Hubbell himself had provided. After the ruling, Starr's office said: "With respect to the jurisdiction issue, the District Judge's opinion expressly sets itself in disagreement with two other rulings in the District Court for the District of Columbia. With respect to the 'act of production immunity' issue, the District Judge's opinion rejects the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals." If Starr's interpretation is correct, Judge Robertson ignored three senior judicial panels in coming to his decision.
Further, although Robertson claimed that Starr had exceeded his prosecutorial mandate, the independent counsel law specifically allows him to "investigate and prosecute federal crimes, other than those classified as Class B or C misdemeanors or infractions, that may arise out of the investigation or prosecution of the matter with respect to which the Attorney General's request was made, including perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses."
But there was little sense of Starr's strong legal standing in the media coverage. Instead, Starr was depicted as a loose cannon, aided by copious quotes from the White House and its friends. Once again, convicted criminals such as Hubbell and Susan McDougal are given sympathetic coverage while Starr is blasted.
"If I catch anybody doing it, I will fire them the next day. There won't be - won't have to have an inquiry or rigmarole or anything else," -- William J. Clinton in 1992 after the Bush administration rummaged through his passport file.
"[Ken]Bacon_ has not rummaged through people's personnel files and dumped them out on the streets. He was asked a specific question ... That's an entirely different matter and the Clinton_ 1992 statement does not arise," -- Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry.
"What's the difference between getting answers to a specific question and rummaging? It's absolutely parallel. If anything, this is worse" -- Ex-prosecutor Joseph diGenova, assigned to look into the passport case.
"Communist Party cadres should study the speeches of Hillary Clinton because she offers a very good example of the skills of propaganda. Her sentences are short and stimulating. "That's why she gets a lot of applause. But Chinese people have a habit of giving long speeches in which the sentences are long and tedious." -- Yu Quanyu, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies, in the latest issue of Ideological and Political Work Studies"
"Wouldn't it be very easy for the Chinese
just to slip back to pre-Clintonian days, where repression was
the rule and the airwaves were once again ruled by the state?"
-- NBC ace correspondent Geraldo Rivera in an interview on the
NBC Today show.
WILLEY REPORTS THREATS, THEFT. . .
Jackie Judd of ABC News reports that prior to giving testimony in the Clinton investigation, Kathleen Willey says that the tires on her car were mysteriously punctured with dozens of nails and the cat she had for many years suddenly disappeared. "Then just days before she testified in the Paula Jones lawsuit in early January, Willey was out jogging near her home when a stranger approached her. . .The man knew what had happened at her home and that he asked her if the tires had been fixed and if the cat had been found." The man then allegedly asked Willey, "Don't you get the message?" and jogged off. While many of the details of the incident lack corroboration, the damage to the car and the disappearance of the cat have been confirmed by investigators.
The report is the latest in a long string of threats and violence that have been reported by those involved in some manner in the Clinton scandals. There have also been an extraordinary number of deaths of unnatural causes by those who have had some political or business involvement with the Clintons. As Jim McDougal -- himself ultimately dead of a heart attack under unsettling circumstances -- put it: the Clintons move through people's lives like a tornado.
The Willey incident particularly brings to mind Vincent Foster case witness Patrick Knowlton, whose claims of extraordinary harassment and witness tampering have been at least partially corroborated by others. Knowlton's exception to the Starr report on Foster's death was attached to the official record by the reviewing judges despite a number of attempts by the prosecutors to prevent it.
There have been a significant number of other reported incidents including:
-- Anthrax sprayed in the face of the Arkansas
state trooper and Mena investigator Russell Welch.
-- The beating of a man videotaping Clinton's visits to Genifer Flowers.
-- Alleged Clinton lover Sally Perdue receiving a threat and finding a spent gun cartridge on the seat of her car.
-- Larry Nichols, one of the original sources on Clinton, claiming he received a death threat shortly before Clinton went on TV to deny having an affair with Flowers.
-- Flowers recently told Larry King that one reason she had recorded her conversations with Clinton is because of threats she had received.
-- A number of Whitewater witnesses have been given extra security including being boarded in safe houses.
While some of the stories of threats and violence may be fabricated, the sheer number makes inexplicable the refusal of much of the media to report or even investigate them.
ABC STORY: http://www.abcnews.com/sections/us/DailyNews/Willey980617.html
THAT MUST HAVE BEEN SOME ACTION-PACKED FIFTEEN MINUTES. . .
When White House deputy chief of staff John D. Podesta appeared for the third time before the grand jury investigating criminal charges against Clinton and his associates, his lawyer, Peter Kadzik, told reporters: "Mr. Podesta completed five hours of testimony over three days on events which, prior to January, took up 15 minutes of his life," Which is pretty good spin, until you realize Kadzik also said that his client's testimony "fully supports the president's forceful denials of any improper conduct" involving Lewinsky.
<> Amount President Clinton's trip to China costs: $45 million (about $5 million more than the Starr investigation) Number of persons accompanying Clinton: 1200 Number of armored limousines accompanying Clinton: 10 [Wall Street Journal]
NEW MONEY TRAILS. . . .
The July American Spectator says that investigators for Dan Burton's House Reform and Oversight Committee have traced more than $1 million wired to Clinton crony Charlie Trie from Macao businessman Ng Lap Seng, and can show that about a third of the money was given to the Democratic National Committee. Ng is closely linked to a couple of major government-owned enterprises in China: Everbright Holdings and CITIC.
According to customs records, Ng regularly brought in large sums of money. For example, on June 20, 1994 he arrived with $175,000 and then two days later met with Trie and Mark Middleton at the White House. That evening Ng sat at Clinton's table at a DNC fundraiser. Middleton, incidentally, had a 24-hour pass that allowed him to visit Trie's apartment at the Watergate at any time. The apartment was paid for by Ng.
A major subtext of the Clinton scandals have been periodic reports of large scale money laundering. It appears, for example, that this was one of the uses of the airbase at Mena AK, better known as a Contra supply and drug running operation. For example, the widow of slain Clinton HQ security chief Jerry Parks told reporter Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of finding a trunk-full of money in her husband's car. Parks, who have been making regular trips to Mena, explained it was something he was doing for Vince Foster.
Now the US News and World Report says that an investigation by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has found that hundreds of millions of dollars have moved from Chinese banks to American banks, with no seeming explanation. Says USNWR: "The amounts of cash and the techniques used to move the money have made investigators suspicious."
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE REPORTS that despite its posturing over India's nuclear testing, the Clinton administration approved the export of U.S. technology to Indian nuclear facilities over Pentagon objections. The Trib says the technology ranged from "high-speed computers to radiation warning badges worn by workers" and went to nuclear research centers and nuclear sites. The transfers were approved by the Commerce Department.
The Tribune's coverage of the nuclear technology
THE BOSTON GLOBE REPORTS that former White House counsel and current Clinton spinhead Lannie Davis is serving as a foreign agent for Pakistan. Davis told the Globe that he hadn't billed enough hours yet to register with the Justice Department
Said the Globe article: "Ordinarily, senior administration officials are prohibited from lobbying on behalf of clients immediately after leaving the White House. But White House officials said Davis did not earn a large enough salary while on the public payroll to be covered by federal 'revolving door' criminal statutes and a 1993 presidential directive preventing senior aides from immediately engaging in work as a lobbyist."
Says Charles Lewis, the executive director of the Center for Public Integrity: "For a former White House official to go back in the door holding a brief for a government, it's unacceptable. There's no other word for it." Davis is a partner at Patton Boggs, which has functioned as the leading temp service for big shot Clinton lawyers. The Boggs in the name is the brother of Cokie Roberts.
THE BACK TO BUSINESS COMMITTEE WAS ONE OF A HERD OF SCHEMES dreamed up by the Clintonistas to deflect attention from the criminal investigation against the president and his staff. Headed by spinheads Lynn Cutler and Ann Lewis, the group helped place pro-Clinton interviews and speeches by the likes of Lannie Davis. The committee apparently had some trouble raising funds from actual American voters anxious to support Clinton in his time of need, so it turned to none other than Chinese wheeler-dealer Johnny Chung. According to the LA Times, Chung gave $25,000 to the committee, although only after having to be assured that Cutler and the committee were on the level.
Chung was busy on other fronts as well. The Washington Post reports that Democratic National Committee finance director Richard Sullivan asked him for contributions even after learning of Chung's questionable ties. Chung has admitted that some of his campaign contributions came from the Chinese military.
WHILE MUCH OF THE MEDIA CHOSE TO IGNORE the story about the alleged harassment of White House scandal witness Kathleen Willey, Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman report in Newsweek that the FBI and Starr are investigating the matter.
Wrote the pair: "Is Willey's story a paranoid fantasy? Or could it be evidence of attempted witness tampering? Ken Starr is trying to find out--and to discover who, if anyone, might have tried to scare Willey into silence." Newsweek's story -- complete with a quoted denial of involvement from developer Nathan Landau -- suggests that the weekly is becoming more aggressive in its coverage of the Clinton criminal investigation.
CHRISTOPHER RUDDY REPORTS THAT EVEN RICHARD NIXON thought the Clinton scandals were bigger than Watergate. Contrary to the oft-repeated views of Clinton-coddling commentators, author Monica Crowley writes in her new book, "Nixon in Winter," that Nixon said, "It's worse. In Watergate, we didn't have profiteering, and we didn't have a body. . ."
"There is so much corruption involved here that they are all up to their eyeballs in it, particularly Hillary. . . The Foster suicide smells to high heaven."
Nixon's view on Foster's death: "This death must cut right to something else, like that land deal, or their taxes or something," she quotes him. "There's a reason why they are being so secretive and maybe even - well - obstructing the investigation."
Crowley was a Nixon aide in his last years.
Christopher Ruddy's web site:
SMALTZ BLOCKED AGAIN IN PROBE. . .
Donald Smaltz, the independent prosecutor the Starr-struck media doesn't tell you about, has once again been blocked in an attempt to expand his probe beyond specified alleged wrong-doing involving former Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy. A three-judge federal panel has ruled against Smaltz in a case that has been placed under seal.
Although the Justice Department says it is looking into the matter on its own, this is at least the third time Janet Reno has interfered with Smaltz's efforts. In one case, Smaltz apparently wanted to look into alleged transfers of cash from Tyson Food to the Arkansas governor's mansion reported by a former senior Tyson pilot. In another instance, Reno was over-ruled by the court and Smaltz proceeded to successfully prosecute the case in question.
In this instance, Smaltz asked for expanded authority because he had uncovered evidence of "serious violations of law by Secretary Espy and others close to him." Justice argued that since the allegations did not involve any alleged misuse of the Ag secretary's office by Espy, it was was beyond the scope of the prosecutor's mandate.
In short, Reno has on these occasions blocked or attempted to block, for technical reasons, Smaltz' effort to prosecute serious crimes. Further, there are no indications that she intends to pursue these cases herself.
Smaltz' probe has won convictions against seven individuals, five corporations and a law firm as well as recovering $10 million in fines and penalties.
It is not known what is at stake here, but it may be that Smaltz wanted to peer behind Arkansas' white and green wall of cocaine and money laundering that has repeatedly stumped serious criminal, congressional and journalistic investigators looking into the Clinton scandals. Whenever an inquiry has approached this wall, it has stumbled or collapsed. Arkansas drug-running and money laundering operations at Mena and elsewhere, as well as the president's own alleged drug use, have been treated as off-limits. Hence, the fundamental context within which the Clinton scandals arose has been ignored.
Although there is no known connection, Smaltz' request came two days after the Fayettesville, Arkansas, police filed murder charges against two brothers in the 1986 death of Mitchell D. Abel, a cocaine dealer and University of Arkansas architecture student. Abel's shooting had been followed a few days later by the mysterious death of Randall Tyson, a Tyson Foods VP and half brother of Don Tyson. The medical examiner said Tyson had choked to death on a cookie, but there was speculation that the deaths of Abel and Tyson were somehow connected.
"In the four years of this allegedly rabid investigation, no prosecutor from Starr's office has been taken to task by the various courts before which they practice or been disciplined by any state bar. Starr has brought only two indictments that resulted in acquittals, and he has won almost all the appellate issues he has litigated -- even those many felt were dangerous stretches. It is hard to fathom how he could have amassed such a record -- all the while evading removal -- were he half the monster the White House seeks to portray." -- Benjamin Wittes in the Washington Post
DEATH OF A WITNESS
Despite an autopsy, serious questions continue to be raised over the death of Jim McDougal, a key witness in the Clinton scandals. McDougal, at the time of his apparent heart attack, was in the custody of the Justice Department at a Fort Worth federal prison. He was not a well man and was taking a dozen medications. Despite his condition and his importance to the criminal investigation of the Clintons and others, McDougal was placed in solitary confinement, allegedly for failing to urinate for a drug test. McDougal died within a month of a single-car crash that killed an auto shop worker who had discovered a certified check for $27,000 made out to Bill Clinton from McDougal's S&L in an abandoned car. The mechanic had been expected to testify concerning his discovery.
An autopsy on McDougal found "A toxic but non-lethal amount" of Prozac in his body according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The medical examiner declared the death unrelated to the amount of Prozac, which was three times the normal dosage. Said Nizam Peerwani, "We do not think Mr. McDougal was killed. There's no evidence of foul play; there were no poisons." Concerning the Prozac, Peerwani stated, "Someone made the judgment to increase the dosage to 60 milligrams. And, I think for him, that was too much."
Curiously, the examiner made no mention of having found traces of any of the 12 medications McDougal was taking. There was also a report from an inmate that McDougal had been given Lasix to encourage urination. Lasix must be taken with a potassium supplement -- without it serious heart problems can develop. Wesley Phelan of the Washington Weekly, who has taken the lead in covering this story, reports that Lasix can cause "excessive diuresis, blood volume reduction, circulatory collapse, and vascular thrombosis." Further, if McDougal was on the heart medication digitalis, the use of Lasix would be even more serious. The ME would not confirm to Phelan whether he had tested for the presence of Lasix.
It was the second time in five months that McDougal had been selected for a urine sample. The first occurred on the very day that the $27,000 check from Jim McDougal's old savings and loan was discovered. Unable or unwilling to give a urine sample, McDougal was sent to solitary for seven days.
When McDougal developed heart problems he was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital described by a former deputy sheriff as "used mainly be interns, people on welfare, and also the city and county jail prisoners go there. I find it very hard to believe that somebody of McDougal's stature would be taken to a hospital where they have interns practicing on indigents, basically."
DOES THE PRESIDENT HAVE TO OBEY THE LAW?. . .
Sam Donaldson: Some are saying that it doesn't even matter if you've broken the law, obstructed justice, or committed perjury. Now, you deny wrongdoing, I understand. But as a standard for president, what do you think: does it matter what you do in private moments as alleged? And particularly, does it matter if you have committed perjury or in other sense broken the law?
WJ Clinton: Well, since I have answered the underlying questions, I really believe it's important for me to not say any more about this... I think that I'm, in some ways, uh, the last person who needs to be having a national conversation about this. My. . . my job as leader, is to lead the country, and to deal with the great public issues facing the country, and to prove Justice Scalia right when he said that nothing that could be done to me in a legal way could in any way affect my job as president. It would just be one of those things. And I could go right on and do my job, and to prove him correct.
Donaldson: Are you saying that the President doesn't have to obey the law?
Clinton: [Gives no reply but takes a question from another reporter]
MORE PAYOFFS TO CLINTONISTAS
The Miami Herald is reporting that more than $120,000 in money belonging to the Port of Miami was secretly funneled to the Democratic National Committee, then covered up with a phony letter claiming the money paid for construction expenses. The plot was apparently hatched in the weeks ahead of a record-breaking fund-raiser in March 1994 at which the Clintons were honored. With $3.4 million raised, the Democrats claimed that it was the largest fund-raiser outside of Washington in American history.
53 TAKE THE FIFTH
The number of persons involved in raising money for the Democratic National Committee or the Clinton/Gore campaign who have taken the Fifth in order to avoid incriminating themselves is now up to 53, according to Chair Dan Burton of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Included are Webster Hubbell and former aide to the Chief of Staff Mark Middleton. A total of 90 persons have now either taken the fifth or fled the country in the Clinton scandals. For more updated and amazing Clinton scandal stats turn to http://emporium.turnpike.net/P/ProRev/wwstats.htm
A BRITISH TAKE ON THE CLINTON SCANDALS
Last month, The WINDS, an on-line news service interviewed Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph of London. Evans-Pritchard has been far ahead of the curve in reporting on the Clinton scandals. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
On the press: "What happens with the press is that they get subsumed into this club. They get invited to barbecues on Saturday afternoon with the director of the FBI--and by then they're compromised. Nobody has to buy them off or anything like that. They come to absorb the outlook of the political establishment and they lose their independent, contrarian judgment. It happens by osmosis--they just assimilate their perspectives and points of view. You become friends with all these people and you become to think like them. They intermarry, literally. They are parents to each other's children, etc." . . . .You have the illusion of this huge diversified press in America, but it's actually a very, very steep pyramid. The major national news stories are controlled by a tiny group of people. And if you're talking about Whitewater or anything like that, it's really only six or seven people because the networks don't do the right stuff. They take it from The New York Times or The Washington Post. Essentially, the agenda is set by this very small group."
On how to cover a scandal: "One of the oldest rules on a scandal investigation is that you must have a totally new team on it--not the people who normally cover the White House or, in our case here, Ten Downing Street in Britain. You must have a totally outside team on it who don't have any of those relationships which can screw things up. And the problem in America is that you always use the same guys to do the scandal investigations as you do who cover the regular beats -- those who go to dinner with the very people they're investigating. It doesn't work. . . .It's no fluke that the Watergate story was broken by two people who were not part of the White House press corps. They were rookies on the Metro Desk and totally outside that system. I don't think it could ever have been broken by the White House press corps. They are structurally incapable of doing so."
On Latin America and Arkansas: "One of the things I did recognize on coming back to the United States from being in Latin America for many years were certain patterns being replicated -- particularly in the state governments in the South --that they were not that different from what I had encountered in Latin America. That is, in terms of basically a one-party system--a co-opted judiciary, co-opted police to be used for political purposes, etc. . . .I really felt that very strongly in Arkansas. I could smell it the moment I first set foot there--so to speak--it just smelled of Central America to me. Just the way people reacted--the way they responded. That really stunned me. The more I got into this the more I began to realized that political to-and-fro -- the public debate in Washington -- is just ethereal, utterly detached from the reality of what's really going on at ground level."
The WINDS http://www.thewinds.org/
ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE THE PAYLOADS. . .
"There is not a single solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight. Not one. Not one. Not a single one." -- President Bill Clinton, October 1996
The Washington Times' Bill Gertz reports that a new CIA document leaked to him suggests 13 of China's 18 CSS-4 missiles -- with a range of more than 8,000 miles and single nuclear warheads -- are trained on U.S. cities.
William S. Cohen when asked about the contradictory nature of the two items said on CNN's Evans & Novak that the president's statement was "true at that time and may still be true today."
REVIEWING THE BIDDING
A casual reading of the media might lead one to suppose that Rep. Dan Burton's sole interest in conducting his hearings is to harass the president. In fact, a close reading might lead one to the same conclusion, since Washington journalists seem uninterested in telling the public otherwise. For a change of pace, however, here are a few of the actual allegations that Burton's committee would like to look into:
-- That the DNC had accepted millions of dollars in illegal foreign campaign contributions.
-- That the Chinese government had developed and implemented a plan to influence the elections in the United States.
-- That Charlie Trie, a friend of the President's from Arkansas, had funneled close to $700,000 in contributions associated with a Taiwanese cult to the President's legal defense fund.
-- That Charlie Trie was behind roughly $600,000 in suspicious contributions to the Democratic National Committee.
-- That Pauline Kanchanalak and her family funneled half-a-million dollars to the Democratic Party from Thailand.
-- That Chinese gun merchants, Cuban drug smugglers, and Russian mob figures were being invited to intimate White House events with the President in exchange for large contributions.
-- That the former Associate Attorney General received $700,000 from friends and associates of the president -- including $100,000 from the Riady family -- at a time that he was supposed to be cooperating with a criminal investigation.
WHAT LINDA TRIPP KNOWS. . . .
On April 30, Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch took a deposition from Clifford Bernath, a Pentagon flack who on March 13 improperly gave information from Linda Tripp's employment file to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker.
The administration was clearly worried about Bernath and sent seven lawyers, including three from the White House. According to Wesley Phelan in Washington Weekly, the White House had previously stalled Bernath's appearance.
And well they might. The administration spin -- including a statement by Defense Secretary William Cohen -- was that Bernath's error had been his and his alone.
But according to Bernath, it was chief Pentagon PIO Ken Bacon who gave instructions to release the information to Mayer. Said Beranath: " Ken made clear this is a priority."
Phelan writes that the sequence of events raise some important questions:
"First, how did Mayer know in advance to ask about [the employment form]? Second, how did she know the form had a question about prior arrests and convictions? Third, why did Mayer suspect that Tripp had answered the question in the negative? Fourth, where did she get her information that Tripp's answer was, in her words, 'not true?'
". . .It is reasonable to assume that someone working for the White House called Mayer and told her what to look for. Whoever made the call had done a painstaking investigation of Tripp's record, stretching back some 30 years to her rather insignificant brush with the law. The caller must have had access to Tripp's files."
Potentially even more interesting than what the White House knew about Tripp may be what Tripp knows about the White House. Tripp went to work for the Pentagon in August 1994, leaving the White House where she had been an executive assistant to Bernie Nussbaum and Vince Foster. She brought Foster his final lunch and is the last known person to have seen him alive.
As Phelan reports, "In the months after Foster's death, Tripp's role in the White House changed dramatically. She sat at an empty desk in a remote office with nothing to do except work on her resume. She exchanged e-mail messages with coworkers that were critical of White House officials for mishandling documents in Foster's office. Suspected of being disloyal to the administration, she was eased out of the White House to the higher paying job at the Pentagon."
Bernath did not interview Tripp before she was hired, nor did he know why she had been assigned to him. Larry Klayman pursued the matter in the deposition:
Q: Are you aware of the circumstances of Ms. Tripp's appointment from the White House to the Pentagon from any source?
A: I'm only aware of statements that Ms. Tripp has alluded to. She is the only source of information that I have about why she's there.
Q: Did she make those statements to you?
Q: What did she tell you?
A: She said that she was involved in the Vince Foster affair and that the White House -- I can't remember the words that she used, but that the White House wanted her in this job or wanted her -- made sure she had a good job at the Pentagon, something like that.
Q: Did she say something to the effect that the White House wanted to get rid of her?
A: She certainly could have made that statement. I mean I don't remember the exact words, but that would be --
Q: When did she make that statement?
A: The first day she arrived.
Q: In August of '94?
Q: Did she tell you how she was involved in the Vince Foster affair?
A: No. She only made statements like, if you only knew; and I didn't want to know.
One of the fascinating subtexts of current politics is the role of cyber-cash in campaign donations. The current big leader is Microsoft, target of an exceptionally rare anti-trust effort by the Clinton administration. Microsoft is also deeply involved in the move to high-definition television. The Money In Politics Alert reports that on March 31, the company gave just under $100,000 to the Republicans in the form of computer software. In April it gave another $100,000 in cash to the Republican National Committee. During the most recent election period, MS has given only a third of its money to Democrats compared to 79% back in 1992.
Meanwhile, second-place cyber-donor Oracle has given 97% of its recent money to the Democrats. Bill Clinton vacationed at Steve Jobs' hacienda (and we're sure will report the visit's value to the FEC) while Apple and Adobe are big backers of the Clinton-boosting Salon e-zine. Among other political ties in cyberland:
Hambrecht & Quist, is a major investor in Adobe Systems and Salon. From 1991 to 1997, William Hambrecht, his wife and daughter gave more than $384,000 to Democrat candidates and organizations. Last February, William Hambrecht hosted a major fundraiser for Democrat House candidates at his San Francisco home with President Clinton.
Top officials of Adobe Systems gave over $130,000 to the Democrats from 1991 to 1997.
Steve Jobs, Apple's chief, contributed over $167,000 to the DNC in 1996-97.
MORE MISSING TAPE. . .
One of the hardest things to remember about the criminal investigation into the Clinton administration is to remember that it is just that -- an investigation into a major criminal conspiracy that has already produced two score convictions (more than Watergate) and 90 witnesses who have taken the Fifth or fled the country.
Because, however, the White House (aided by a Clintophilic press with severe attention deficit disorder) is so adept at what is being called the four D's -- deny, delay, distract, and destroy -- one is easily led into interesting but ultimately trivial byways such as the various faults of Rep. Dan Burton. As a result, within 48 hours of the release of the Hubbell tapes, Washington was absorbed in the massively tertiary issue of whether Burton had handled the matter properly.
It was alleged, for example, that Burton had "doctored" the tapes by excluding material exculpatory of the White House. This was a childish charge, if for no other reason than that the White House spends millions of public funds to "doctor" the information public receives daily. After all, Sid Blumenthal and Rahm Emmanuel are not in the White House to build housing or feed hungry children. Spinning is an unworthy activity no matter who does it, but right in the middle of a major scandal is probably not the best time to attempt to exorcise it
The best use of time during such sideshows as the Hubbell tape flap is to get back to basics, which in this case means the tapes themselves. Here, for example, we find among the material belatedly released a conversation between Hubbell and White House Marsha Scott that is hardly exculpatory of anyone. It also suggests that as a spin doctor, Dan Burton has a way to go before he makes the big time.
In the conversation, Scott -- shortly after warning Hubbell off a law suit that might hurt HRC -- says, "Peter Lewis is this very, very wealth man from Cleveland and, in fact, I talked to him about you. He owns Progressive Insurance Company."
Turns out that Lewis thought Hubbell could help set up a fraud division in the company:
Hubbell: I certainly know about that.
Scott: This is why I was talking to you. He said 'God he could . . .could come in and teach us a bunch of stuff.
Hubbell: You bet.
Scott: I said, 'He's been on both sides of it.'
Hubbell: I've seen it all. I've seen every bit of it.
Scott also told Hubbell that she had vacationed with Lewis in Italy and flown back to America in his jet with him. And the top White House aide assured the Whitewater crook, "People are starting to talk about what you're going to do next -- how they can help. You've not been forgotten. I mean, people have sought me out to tell me that. Frank was one of them . . .And he's talked to, I think, Mickey and some others."
There would be appear to be at least several hours of fruitful grand jury testimony buried in this exchange.
HOW DRUG DEALER DONOR GOT HIS LAUNDRY DONE
Jorge Cabrera -- the drug dealer who gave enough to the Democrats to have his picture take with both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore -- is back in the news as a businessman pleads guilty to laundering $3.5 million for Cabrera between 1986 and 1996. The DNC returned Cabrera's donation after it leaked out. Party officials claimed they didn't know that the $20,000 donor had served time in the 1980s. Cabrera is currently in prison for smuggling cocaine into the country.
INDEPENDENT COUNSEL SMALTZ STRIKES BACK
Donald Smaltz, the independent counsel working on the Espy case, has struck back at critics of special prosecutors, accusing Attorney General Janet Reno of blocking his investigation into possible payoffs by Tyson Foods to then-Governor Bill Clinton. Smaltz' charge illustrates the fatuity of arguments that the Justice Department can investigate its fellow administration members as well as an independent appointee. A major propaganda offensive is currently underway by politicians and big media to convince Americans that independent counsels are not necessary. In fact, for whatever faults they may possess, the counsels have provided an important defense against the runaway culture of impunity in Washington
In an interview of PBS's 'Frontline," Smaltz warned that the concept of an independent counsel "is in severe jeopardy. The president and the attorney general have authorized surrogates to publicly condemn the independent counsel as incompetent, as a bunch of raving lunatics, affiliated somehow with very partisan right wing politics, which is very untrue. The statute ... doesn't seem to have any spokesperson for it. There is a very compelling case to be made for it. . . [When] you can demonize the independent counsel, the reluctance of people to come forward and give evidence, as is their obligation and duty, is going to be chilled.''
Smaltz, like Kenneth Starr, has been subjected to major smear attacks by congressional and White House Democrats. Power-grubbing media like the New Yorker and The New Republic have joined in with misleading articles suggesting that because the amount of the gifts to former agriculture secretary Espy were not great, the whole matter has been blown out of proportion. The authors and editors clearly should have spent more time in a courtroom and less in grad school where they might have learned that people often get convicted for lesser included offenses of major crimes simply because they are easier to prove. Further, the idea of an ag secretary being on the take from a major chicken producer should not be all that comfortable to anyone who eats poultry. It is also worth noting that Tyson has been assessed $6 million in fines and penalties in the case -- not, as they say, chicken feed. The New Republic, however, went so far as to imply in one article that prosecutors like Smaltz are responsible for the decline of decency and democracy.
Meanwhile -- as such sophistry continues, thanks to Janet Reno -- no one is investigating the claim of a former Tyson pilot that he carried envelopes full of cash from company headquarters to the governor's mansion to be given to Bill Clinton. There was a time when decency and democracy demanded an investigation of such charges and the media was the first, and not the last, to make the argument for it.
For PBS's interview with the pilot in question:
Donald Smaltz's web site can be found at:
THE ARKANSAS-INDONESIA CONNECTION
During the 1980s, Arkansas became a sort of Casablanca of the Ozarks: a tiny, insignificant, and comfortably ignored corner of America where one could do one's business in peace and quiet. Organized crime, drug dealers, money launderers, as well as all sorts of legal and illegal deal makers found to their liking this center of chickens, cocaine and corruption.
Among those attracted to Arkansas were two of Indonesia's ten billionaires. One was Mochtar Riady, whose name has cropped up in news reports and court filings concerning the Clinton scandals. The other is the less well known but wealthier Liem Sioe Liong. Some news reports have mentioned in passing that Liem Sioe Liong's mansion was burned and looted during the recent uprising in Indonesia. He is a Suharto's buddy, reputedly the richest man in Indonesia, and someone known to Mochtar Riady's financially precocious son James as "Uncle Liem."
Mochtar Riady began his career with at Bank Central Asia, the biggest private bank in Indonesia, which is controlled by Liem Sioe Liong. Other major investors are Suharto's eldest son and daughter. Mochtar Riady's Lippo Group and BCA function in partnership on a number of matters. Mochtar Riady is also close to Suharto, and has been used as a back channel on the East Timor issue, according to the New York Times
Here is a little of what is known so far of the Arkansas-Indonesia connection:
1977: Mochtar Riady, a principal partner in the Lippo Group -- with $6 billion invested in real estate, energy and finance -- decides to buy an American bank.
The Arkansas investment firm of Stephens Inc tries to sell Riady stock in the National Bank of Georgia owned by Jimmy Carter's friend and ex-budget director Bert Lance. Stephens board chair Jackson Stephens would later be described by the New York Post as the man who was to "Clinton what Bert Lance was to candidate Jimmy Carter."
Stephens brokers the arrival of BCCI to this country, and steers BCCI's founder, Hassan Abedi to Bert Lance, according to columnist Alexander Cockburn.
The Washington Post quotes a US banker suggesting that Riady is working for Suharto, who is trying to butter up Carter: "They think of this country like a 'regime' similar to their own and they just don't realize that such a ploy wouldn't work." There's no deal. The bank will eventually be bought by BCCI figure Ghaith Pharaon. Meanwhile, Riady's teen-age son is taken on as an intern by Stephens Inc. He later says he was "sponsored" by Bill Clinton although other accounts have Stephens officials inviting him.
1979: Mochtar Riady and Stephens Inc set up Stephens Finance Ltd. In Hong Kong.
1983: Mochtar Riady forms Lippo Finance & Investment in Little Rock. Non-citizen Riady hires Carter's former SBA director, Vernon Weaver, to chair the firm. The launch is accomplished with the aid of a $2 million loan guaranteed by the SBA. Weaver uses Governor Clinton as a character reference to help get the loan guarantee. First loan goes to Little Rock Chinese restaurant owner Charlie Trie.
1984: Mochtar Riady and Stephens Inc buy the Hong Kong Chinese Bank.
Riady buys a stake in the Worthern holding company whose assets include the Stephens-controlled Worthen Bank. Price: $16 million. Deal handled by C. Joseph Giroir II. Giroir was the Rose law firm chair who hired Hillary Clinton. Giroir would continue to be a deal-maker for the Riadys and Liem Sioe Liong.
In an interview with Jasso Winarto of Eksekutif, the then 26-year-old James Riady describes how he studied banking every morning with his father: "I go jogging with my father and my older brother -- we run for 45 minutes, exercising and holding a meeting. Morning meeting we call it." In describing his role as president director of PT Bank Perniagaan, Riady says, "I couldn't always stay at BCA. Papa said, there should not be too many family members involved in one business. So he did not want me to get involved in BCA. Papa and Uncle Liem have the same idea, that is, not too many children involved." Riady's bank booms, aided by interest rates of 2.1-2.5% a month. He notes, "A really good client could get 21% a year."
1985: Arkansas state pension funds -- all of which have been deposited in Worthen by Governor Bill Clinton -- suddenly lose 15% of their value because of the failure high risk, short-term loans. The $52 million loss is covered by a Worthen check for $32 million (written by Jack Stephens in the middle of the night), a bank officer misconduct insurance policy, and Mochtar Riady's mass purchase of new common stock issue by the bank. Clinton escapes a major scandal.
Mochtar's son James comes to Arkansas to manage Worthen as president. He bonds with Clinton and Charlie Trie. Riady turns the New York branch of Worthen into a branch of BCA, which is controlled by Liem Sioe Liong.
Lippo executive and Chinese native John Huang assumes vice presidency of the Hong Kong Chinese Bank. He is also active in Lippo's operations in Arkansas.
Worthen is investigated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for improper loans to companies owned by the Riadys and Stephenses. Also targeted: $14 million in loans to businesses owned by Liem Sieo Liong.
Among Mochtar and James Riady's further ventures is the takeover of the First National Bank of Mena in a tiny town better known for its Contra arms supply, drug running and money-laundering operation, then for its other economic development potential.
1990: James Riady takes over operations of a new branch of the Lippo Bank, working with a Hong Kong Lippo executive, John Huang. Warren Stephens raises $50,000 overnight so Clinton can buy TV time in his struggling re-election bid.
1991: With Jackson Stephens, Mochtar Riady buys BCCI's former Hong Kong subsidiary from its liquidators.
China Resources Company Ltd begins buying stock in the Hong Kong Chinese Bank at 15% below market value. Intelligence sources later report that the firm is really a front for Chinese military intelligence.
The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission set up deals to further the Indonesian - Arkansas connection. The commission even arranged for James Riady to talk with a New Jersey company about building a diaper manufacturing plant in Jakarta, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Deals were worked on for Wal-Mart, Tyson's Foods, and JB Hunt and documents uncovered by the paper "make reference to Clinton's ideal position as president . . . in helping to secure Arkansas-Indonesian deals." Said a former US ambassador in Jakarta at the time, "There were lots of people from Arkansas who came through Indonesia."
1992: Stephens Inc. employees give Clinton more than $100,000 for his presidential campiagn. The Worthen Bank gives him a $3.5 million line of credit allowing the cash-strapped candidate to finish the primaries.
Soraya and Arief Wiriadinata, the daughter and son-in-law of Lippo's co-founder, donate $450,000 to the DNC. Arief Wiriadinata came to the US from Indonesia allegedly to study landscape architecture -- although some accounts describe him simply as a gardener. At last reports Wiriadinata is now back home, working for Sea World Indonesia.
1993: January: Huang and James Riady give $100,000 to Clinton's inaugural fund.
February: Huang arranges private meeting between Mochtar Riady and Clinton at which Riady presses for renewal of China's 'most favored nation" status and a relaxation of economic sanctions.
June: China's 'most favored nation' status is renewed. Price being paid by China Resources company Ltd. for Lippo's Hong Kong Chinese Bank jumps to 50% above market value. The Riadys make $163 million.
1994: Huang quits the Lippo Group -- with a golden parachute of around $800,000 -- and goes to work for the Commerce Department. Some believe move is instigated by Hillary Clinton. Says one source to the London Times: "He was not Ron Brown's guy, and his presence caused intense conflict. Huang was carrying water for the White House." Huang visits the White House about 70 times. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown orders top secret clearance for Huang.
July: Ron Brown goes to China with an unprecedented $5.5 billion in deals ready to be signed, according to a congressional investigator. Included is a $1 billion deal for the Clinton-friendly Arkansas firm, Entergy Corporation, to manage and expand Lippo's power plant in northern China. It also will get contracts to build power plants in Indonesia.
James Riady tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "I think the idea of having President Clinton from Arkansas in the White House shouldn't be underestimated."
1995: Operating with an interim top secret clearance (but without FBI investigation or foreign security check) 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 has been 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. Was 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 represented both Worthen and James Riady during the 1980s.
As Andrea Harter of the Arkansas Gazette has noted, "In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the sun rose on a new day in Jakarta. "
Data from numerous sources including Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, LA Times, Mother Jones, American Spectator, Sunday Telegraph, Citizens for Honest Government, London Times, Washington Times, Asiaweek, USA Today, South China Post, Ekeskutif, New York Times and Washington Post.
DEMOCRATS BREAK RANKS
In the first serious break in the Democratic Party's stolid defense of W. J. Clinton, three Democratic senators have expressed serious concern about evidence that the Chinese government bought influence with the Clinton administration through covertly handled campaign contributions. Senator Joseph Biden went so far as to say, "This is serious stuff, and it should be pursued. If, in fact, there is any evidence that any political official . . . anywhere in the administration. . . knew that there was a correlation of quid pro quo, it should be ferreted out. The person should be indicted and put in jail, no matter who it is." Biden's concern was echoed by Senators Moynihan and Bob Kerry.
Up to now, no leading Democrats have attempted to distance themselves from the president's organization despite years of crime and corruption including convictions or guilty pleas of two score individuals and corporations involved with the Clintons.
VINCE FOSTER RETURNS. . .
According to an interview with Lucianne Goldberg in the Washington Weekly (based on Goldberg's conversations with Linda Tripp) White House aide and Clinton confidante Marsha Scott spent almost the entire day with Vince Foster the day before his death.
Scott's name not only crops up on the Hubbell tapes and in various tales of Clinton's sexual activities, but was also deeply involved in developing the massive White House database known as WHODB. The exact capabilities or purposes of the WHODB are not public although it is known to be an extraordinarily sophisticated database system. Some suspect it may have been the source of financial information about Clinton opponents leaked to members of the media.
BASHING THE CLINTON-BASHERS
Clinton-bashing continues to be a risky business. In 1995 the White House put out a report attacking the Western Journalism Center and other Clinton critics. A year later the center was the target of an IRS audit which could have been chalked up to pure coincidence except that it the tax inspector who was more concerned with journalistic standards and choice of projects than he was with bookkeeping or fund-raising techniques. When pressed on the point, the field agent, according to Jospeph Farah of the center, said, "Look, this is a political case and the decision will be made at the national level." The agent allegedly repeated the comment later on. Nine months later the agency closed the investigation without action, but the center has gone to court to seek $10 million in damages.
Meanwhile, Daniel Hopsicker, producer of a documentary about drugs in Arkansas, "The Secret Heartbeat of America," reports that an associate negotiating to get the film aired on TV has received the mob treatment. According to Hopsicker, a black Chevrolet Suburban with heavily-tinted glass first cut off the associate's car on Wiltshire Boulevard, came to a complete stop in front of him and then shifted into reverse -- ramming back into his small Honda, causing extensive damage and minor injury. The Suburban then escaped onto the freeway. Further, the man's home was then ransacked and vandalized, as if to drive home the warning. The only items taken were marketing material on the TV special.
A curious list: Here are the Democrats who have received campaign contributions from Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz in recent years: Sen. Bob Kerrey, Rep. Jane Harman, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Tom Daschle, Sen. Carol Mosely Braun, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Ernest Hollings, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Byron Dorgan, Rep. Charles Schumer, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Sen. Russ Feingold , Sen. Bob Torricelli, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Max. Baucus, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Sen. Chuck Robb, Rep. Martin Frost.
Here are the Republicans: Sen. Al D'Amato.
INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW .
If Kenneth Starr is such a cruel meanie how come he let a White House lawyer conduct a search of the Clinton's private quarters rather than use a law enforcement officer? And how come he let Hillary Clinton have her lawyers present during her most recent deposition for the grand jury? The Clintonistas are not only corrupt, they're ungrateful.
If we do away with independent counsels, just who will catch the crooks in Washington?
INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW . . .
When will the pro-Clinton media apologize to Matt Drudge for claiming he admitted his sources were only "80% accurate," something he never said? He was instead referring to the accuracy of one particular story.
If it is bad for a magazine like the American Spectator to be funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, is it also bad for a magazine like Salon to be funded by big corporations like Apple Computer, Adobe, and a major investment bank?
If the media believes that poll results should guide the actions of prosecutors, exactly what level of popular support should a prosecutor have before proceeding to enforce the law?
WHEN SUSAN MCDOUGAL WAS READY TO TALK. . .
Whatever the media-coddled Susan McDougal's role in Whitewater, her willingness to talk about it -- and what she has said -- has varied markedly. For example on the April 20 Charles Grodin Show, she charged that her late husband, Jim McDougal, had been paid and possibly offered a job for the 1992 interview with New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth that broke the Whitewater story.
Here's how she described it:
"I first knew that there was an issue when I was visiting my ex-husband and he told me that he was going to meet with Jeff Gerth of The New York Times. And he was very ebullient that day and excited about it. And he made me understand that there was something in it for him. He was getting something out of this interview; money and the possibility of a job or something. And he said 'I might need you to come in and back me up but I'm going to try to keep you out of it if I can.' Well, from that interview with The New York Times - that Jim was clearly motivated to say certain things - grew Whitewater. And from my perspective Whitewater just never existed. I knew about that business deal; the small land deal in Northern Arkansas. I'd been there. I'd talked to the Clintons about it. I'd talked to Jim about it. And I never knew anything that was remotely illegal about that. So, to tell you the truth - I am as puzzled about how they decided to go after Whitewater as anybody else. Except I know that the very first story, from the very beginning, was not true. And I know that when Jim told that story, he was being paid - or motivated in some way to tell it."
Jeff Gerth denies any such thing happens, telling the White House Bulletin: ""It's absurd. All I did is buy McDougal two high-cholesterol lunches at the Western Sizzler." Asked if anyone else gave McDougal money, Gerth said: "No."
But we don't need to rely on Gerth. Here is an excerpt from an interview given some time back to PBS's Frontline by none other than Susan McDougal:
>>>>Q: So, as someone who has sat front row, center, through this spectacle, this ordeal, called Whitewater, what importance would you assign to Jim's embitterment over that failure by Bill Clinton, that sense of betrayal?
A: The bitterness is, I think, the catalyst for Whitewater.
Q: How so?
A: His bitterness is what led him to meet with the New York Times writer that wrote the first story on Whitewater. This bitterness is what led him to make that call to the Republican lawyer in Little Rock who taped it, that was so vicious about Jim Guy Tucker and about Bill Clinton. It was just his bitterness at his own failure. All of Jim's relationships were driven by money, and he didn't have any anymore, and so they all failed. He had no relationships anymore.
Q: Do you think he consciously did those things, spoke to Jeff Gerth of the New York Times, and spoke to Sheffield Nelson, the Republican lawyer?
A: Yes, I saw Jim moments--
Q: For the purpose of--?
A: Oh, yes, I saw Jim moments before he met with Jeff Gerth. It was meant. . .
Q: Same thing with Sheffield Nelson?
A: No. No. I talked with Jim before he did that, and it wasn't meant to be as bad as it turned out to be. He was led, sort of, into that road by Sheffield Nelson. You can tell from the tape, if you listen to it, that Sheffield is leading him sort of down that road. But the Jeff Gerth piece was meant. Jim meant it to be an attack.
Q: How do you believe he-- How do you recollect he calculated the potential harm that might do to Bill Clinton?
A: Oh, I don't think he calculated the harm that it did do. I don't think he, in his wildest dreams, knew that this would happen. In fact, the people decimated by what he did was himself and me. And the brimstone that rained down from that act rained down on my family, and on Jim. And so, of course, in his usual way of kicking down a door, he never thought about the end result of what was going to happen. But it was bitterly driven, that piece was.<<<<
Now, thanks to ABC investigative producer Chris Vlasto, writing in the Wall Street Journal, we have yet another take on St. Susan of Ark. Says Vlasto
>>>>"I know where all the bodies are buried." Those were the words that Susan McDougal said to me long before any pundits decided to call her a martyr, It took three years and a felony conviction for her to agree to do an interview. It came suddenly. She called in August 1996 and said she was ready to tell all. She wanted to come to New York without her lawyer's knowledge to be interviewed by Diane Sawyer. She flew up to New York alone. We met at the Essex House bar to discuss the areas we were going to cover in the interview. The conversation was off-the-record, but at the time she promised she was going to answer all the questions on television. Overnight, everything changed. After the arrival of her brother, Bill Henley, and her fiancé, Pat Harris, in the wee hours of the morning, Ms. McDougal began singing a different tune. With the cameras rolling, Ms. McDougal was constantly interrupted by the two men when Ms. Sawyer asked her sensitive questions involving President Clinton. She couldn't get a word in when Ms. Sawyer asked her whether Mr. Clinton knew anything about the illegal $300,000 loan she received from David Hale.. Here's how the interview went:
Ms. Sawyer: "Did Mr. Clinton know anything about your loan?"
Ms. McDougal: "That's probably something that my attorney would not want me to talk about." [To Messrs. Henley and Harris: "I hate that, guys!"] "God, I hate this, Diane! Sorry!"
Ms. Sawyer: "Did he?"
Mr. Henley: "That's a perfect answer."
Ms. McDougal: "Jeez, I hate that though!"
Mr. Henley: "That's the only answer you have."
Ms. McDougal: "That's the only answer I have."
Vlasto says he was confused by McDougal's behavior. Five days after taping, she was cited for contempt. "That Wednesday in Little Rock," writes Vlasto, "I saw a completely different Susan McDougal. She no longer told her intriguing tales. After countless conversations, there was silence. Did someone get to her, or was she playing a game with me all along?"<<<<
MAYBE YOU WOULDN'T TALK, EITHER. . .
Why do jailed witnesses like Susan McDougal refuse to talk to prosecutors despite offers of immunity. What is worth more than one's freedom?
Love and money are two reasons someone might keep quiet despite the punishment involved. But the most compelling reason is fear for one's life.
Almost from the start it has been clear that the Arkansas story was first a crime story, secondarily about political corruption, and only then about sex. From the start there were reports of threats of physical violence against those who might tell some of the story, and approximately two dozen persons in the Clinton-Arkansas orbit have died of other than natural causes since the saga began. How many of the six suicides were truly that and how many of the 14 accidents were something else, we do not know. But to a major witness such as Susan McDougal, the thought of non-coincidence has undoubtedly occurred, especially when two other key witnesses die suddenly in Arkansas in less than a month -- one of them Jim McDougal, who was also in the custody of the Justice Department. Susan McDougal may not wish to be a martyr, but only to stay alive.
"When Anita Hill stepped forward to talk about sexual harassment, she found herself savagely attacked; her integrity, morality, sanity called into question by the very same people who wanted to know why she didn't step forward sooner. This sends the message that if you step forward, especially against someone who holds power, you will be victimized again by his friends and allies. At the same time, your very reluctance to step forward will be held against you. . . . I find Anita Hill's story believable, including its perfect conformity to what we know about women's behavior in sexual harassment situations: the way one represses things, the way one tries to go on, the way people try to preserve in a distanced way a relationship." -- Ann Lewis, leading member of the Clintonista spin squad, in 1991
WHY SENDING AN ARMED STATE TROOPER TO GET A LOW-LEVEL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE TO COME UP TO YOUR HOTEL ROOM SO YOU CAN EXPOSE YOURSELF AND ASK HER FOR A BLOW JOB ISN'T AN OUTRAGE UNDER ARKANSAS LAW. . .
History may tell us as much about why Bill Clinton will not have to face his accuser, Paula Jones, as the lawyers do. As it happened, I was reading David Hackett Fischer's extraordinary Albion's Seed when the Monica Lewinsky story broke. In his book, an amazing work of anthropological history, Fischer details four British cultural traditions in colonial America: greater New England, the tidewater south, Delaware Valley, and the back country of the southern highlands.
While geographically, Clinton belongs to the backcountry tradition, he differs from, say, the classic example of Harry Truman in that from an early age he ambitiously sought to move outside his culture. And while adept at post-modern camouflage -- Clinton would, it has been said, turn green if he lay on a pool table -- a dominant model for an upwardly mobile poor backcountry southerner was the Virginia tidewater elite.
Fisher looks at a wealth of cultural traits, but two leap off the pages in the midst of the Clinton scandals: the differing views of liberty and sex. Whereas in New England, liberty was neatly ordered, in Delaware a reciprocal act of tolerance, and in the back county a libertarian ideal, "Virginians thought of liberty as a hegemonic condition of dominion over others and -- equally important -- dominion over oneself."
Says Fisher, "Virginia ideas of hegemonic liberty conceived of freedom mainly as the power to rule, and not to be overruled by others. . . It never occurred to most Virginia gentlemen that liberty belonged to everyone. . . One's status in Virginia was defined by the liberties that one possessed. Men of high estate were thought to have more liberties than others of lesser rank. Servants possessed few liberties and slaves none at all."
John Randolph declared, "I love liberty; I hate equality." And Dr. Samuel Johnson went right to the heart of the dichotomy: "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes." No president in modern times has demanded so much liberty for himself and so diminished that of others as has W.J. Clinton.
Other echoes of Clinton are found in Fisher's discussion of Virginia sex ways. In the tidewater area, prenuptial pregnancy was much more frequent than in New England or Delaware Valley. Fornication was not punished nearly as severely. When it was, it was the female who was whipped while the male "either escaped with a token penalty such as bond for good behavior, or in most cases was not punished at all." Sometimes adulterous women were dragged behind a boat until they nearly drowned. A servant who became pregnant was required to compensate her master for time lost, even if he were the father of the child. In New England, one the other hand, it was the male who was punished most severely.
Fisher discusses at length how the male sexual predator was encouraged in this pre-revolutionary southern culture "even to the point of condoning rape."
"The founders of New England made rape a hanging crime. In the courts of the Chesapeake colonies, it was sometimes punished less severely than petty theft."
When Paula Jones was escorted up to that hotel room, she was following a traill that began hundreds of years earlier with men like the planter William Byrd II, who in 1719 wrote in his diary, "Went with Lord Orrery to Mrs. B-r-t-n where we found two chambermaids that my Lord had ordered to be got for us. . ."
As for Clinton, his character is formed in no small part on the idea of hegemonic liberty -- the presumption that because of his power his liberty is worth more than that of others. -- Sam Smith
FOR THE RECORD. . .
By actual byte count, only 14% of the Review's coverage of the Clinton scandals -- including the full text of the Paula Jones law suit -- has been related to sexual matters. We believe no other Washington publication can make this claim.
WHY IS THIS MAN SMILING?
Judging from his public appearances, the most placid person in the whole Clinton scandal story is Kenneth Starr. Seldom has this city seen someone so much the target of opprobrium respond with such consistent calm and good humor.
The man may be on Prozac or pot, but more a more likely explanation -- albeit shunned by almost all commentators -- is that Starr knows something that we don't.
Could it be a list of indictments waiting to be issued? An unexpected witness who has said unexpected things? Or could this whole story involve things far more serious than sex and perjury? Could we, in effect, be watching the wrong story?
It is worth noting that the only time a court has seriously countermanded Starr was when he repeatedly (and improperly) attempted to release his Vince Foster report without a attached statement by witness Patrick Knowlton. (Knowlton claims to have been harassed because of his testimony). If Starr is out of control, no court has so found him yet. In short, the world of the grand jury and that of the evening news may be much more distant than some would have us believe.
A freedom-of-information request has unearthed an message from the Washington FBI office to the FBI director on the Vince Foster death stating that "The Fairfax County medical examiner conducted an autopsy of the victim on 7/21/93. Preliminary results include the finding that a .38 revolver, constructed form two different weapons, was fired in the victim's mouth with no exit wound." The memo adds still further mystery to the matter of the Foster exit wound, which has been described differently (or in the case of one attending physician, not at all) by various parties to the investigation.
A recent TPR mentioned the lack of apparent prosecutorial action on Hillary Clinton's fishy cattle futures deal. Mrs. Clinton made a killing on her trading even though she was a complete neophyte. There are a number of ways of doing this -- and other than by extraordinarily improbable luck none of them are legal. For an informed discussion of how this can be done illegally read deep into the story on Oprah Winfrey in Al Kreb's excellent The Agbiz Tiller:
Agbiz Tiller: http://www.ea1.com/tiller/
Although getting a lot of media mileage for his apology over the Troopergate story, it is still not clear what David Brock is apologizing for. For example, asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press if the troopers had lied to him, Brock said, "I can't say that everything they told me was true." Asked, "What specifically do you believe is untrue and that you would take back this morning?" Brock replied: "There is nothing specific in the piece that I know is wrong..." Gong.
Another potential witness in the Clinton scandals investigation has died suddenly. Johnny Franklin Lawhon Jr, 29, was the owner of the auto transmission shop in Mabelville, Arkansas who discovered a 15-year-old $20,000 cashier's check made out to Bill Clinton in a trunk of a tornado-damaged car. Lawhon struck a tree in the early hours of March 30 after, according to one witness, "taking off like a shot" from a filling station. . . .Earlier the last month, key Clinton scandal witness Jim McDougal died of an apparent heart attack at a federal penal institution under circumstances that have raised some questions.
SECRET WHITE HOUSE PLAN LAUNCHED?
For some time now we have been waiting for the White House to launch its ultimate spin operation in which Clinton confesses to sexual addiction and announces that he is in therapy. Immediately the media fills with the gushings of the journalist sob siblings and the president's popularity soars to 92%.
We may not have much longer to wait according to the latest edition of the National Enquirer, which reports:
John Travolta shares a secret sexy past with President Bill Clinton--both men have been compulsive womanizers whose roving eyes threatened their careers. And now the superstar, who plays a Clinton-like politician in the new hit movie "Primary Colors," is coaching the real-life President on how to conquer his powerful sexual cravings and become a faithful marriage partner!
"I knew I could play Bill Clinton because he's exactly like I was before I settled down," Travolta told a friend. "We're both hound dogs at heart--we adore women!"
"When I was on the prowl back in the '70's and '80's they didn't call it sex addiction, but my friends were certainly worried about me. Finally I realized that I would never be happy like that," added John, who said that when he married Kelly Preston six years ago, "I swore off sleeping around." Travolta, a longtime Clinton supporter, had a heart-to-heart talk with the President recently, John's friend revealed.
"He [an insider relates,] has spent time talking with the President explaining how he got his life under control. He's also shared secrets with the President about how his marriage works to keep his urges satisfied. The Insider added: "It's too early to tell if John is getting through to Clinton. But John says, 'Bill Clinton in a good man. I hope he can get through these problems.' "
CLINTON'S PSYCHIC FRIEND'S NETWORK
You know things are getting tough over at the White House when its defense team has to rely upon an ex-psychic, her teen-age son, and a bait-shop owner to support its cause. We would truly prefer to turn to more substantive matters such as NATO and the IMF, but the strange tale of Caryn Mann and the alleged rightwing pay-offs to Whitewater witness David Hale just won't go away. The money supposedly came from a Richard Scaife-funded foundation that also publishes the conservative American Spectator. The bait-shop owner, Parker Dozhier, was a part-time stringer for the Spectator.
Now it turns out that not only, as we reported on the web, did Mann claim to have helped guide US forces in the Gulf War through mental telepathy and be able to turn the rain on and off, she once worked for a private investigative firm that spied on a Little Rock woman to learn whether she was having a romance with Kenneth Starr. The job was an assignment from the National Enquirer, which, incidentally, is a client of Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall.
It gets even more complicated. Mann's story came to light thanks to the curiously and suddenly well-informed e-zine, Salon, which some suspect may be a sort of community garden in which Clintonistas plant their stories. According to the Washington Post, FBI agents visited Mann "after a reporter for Salon magazine contacted retired Senator David H. Pryor on her behalf for assistance in getting the attention of law enforcement officials in Arkansas." Pryor is head of Bill Clinton's legal defense fund.
In other words, just your run-of-the-mill Arkansas story involving several publications, dubious funding sources, questionable agendas, the FBI, a former senator, and a bait shop owner. Mann may, for all we know, be telling the truth although since Hale's key testimony preceded the alleged financial support, it's not anywhere near as significant as Clinton supporters imagine. Personally, we've never been that high on using psychics as sources -- especially since the leading television purveyor of such prescience filed for bankruptcy protection and not one of its 2,000 psychic staffers saw it coming.
By the way, in reporting the possible conflict of interest in Kenneth Starr's investigation of these charges, there seems little concern or even amusement at Clinton aparatchik Eric Holder's proposal that Starr might want to turn the matter over to Justice to pursue. Holder, of course, works for W.J. Clinton against whom Hale has been testifying.
WHITEWATER RIPPLES . . .
Judicial Watch has been given broad power to investigate the White House's secret database, telephone taping systems, surveillance systems and electronic mail systems. The court order came as part of Judicial Watch's class action suit against the administration for its misuse of FBI files.
Dick Morris told a CNBC audience that the Clintonista "bimbo eruption" team hired investigators in 1992 to find items in womens' past in order to pressure them into signing affidavits clearing Clinton of sexual misconduct. Some $100,000 was allegedly spent on this seedy project to produce what Morris described as "blackmailing information, basically."
We have previously mentioned the case of Wayne Dumond, imprisoned for the 1985 rape of Clinton's niece. Bradley Cook of the St. Petersburg Times recently recalled some of the gruesome details of this incident as reported in a 1996 story in the New York Post. Dumond, while awaiting sentencing, was raped and castrated by two masked men. A local sheriff, later sentenced to 160 years on extortion anddrug dealing, displayed Dumond's testicles in a jar on his desk under a sign that read, "That's what happens to people who fool around in my county." . . . .A parole board, after new evidence of Dumond's innocence developed, voted to release him after 4 1/1 years in prison, but Governor Clinton -- according to the managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette -- staged a "romping, stomping fit" and blocked the release.
Why Chelsea was going to go to Africa with her family on March 16 according to WJC's videotaped remarks to the African people, but was missing when the plane left on March 23. Reuters included these strange sentences in its departure report: "[The Clintons] were not accompanied by their daughter Chelsea, who visited Africa with her mother last year. The White House last week erroneously said she would join her parents on this trip." Could it be that Chelsea is a tad angry at daddy for the way he's been behaving?
Whatever happened to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's massively suspicious cattle futures deal
Why Mrs. Clinton ordered the destruction of Madison Guaranty files at the Rose law firm in 1988 as a "housekeeping effort" when she was still involved in legal matters related to the S&L including the Castle Grande project.
Why so many members of Congress have decided so abruptly that they're not going to run for office again.
"When I was growing up, selling out was the big fear, it was the worst thing you could say about someone: 'Fred sold out. I'm afraid he sold out.' That doesn't even exist as an idea any more. In the movies, anyway, financial and artistic success have moved closer and closer until they're now one and the same. People talk about movies pretty much only in terms of what they gross. Now if you're talking about a moral basis for life and work, this is a serious change, this is a big deal. So if you're running in a primary for the presidency of a place in a world in which this is taking place, where the hell is honor? Where do you begin to look for it? -- 'Primary Colors' Mike Nichols to the New York Times
"When Anita Hill stepped forward to talk about sexual harassment, she found herself savagely attacked; her integrity, morality, sanity called into question by the very same people who wanted to know why she didn't step forward sooner. This sends the message that if you step forward, especially against someone who holds power, you will be victimized again by his friends and allies. At the same time, your very reluctance to step forward will be held against you. . . . I find Anita Hill's story believable, including its perfect conformity to what we know about women's behavior in sexual harassment situations: the way one represses things, the way one tries to go on, the way people try to preserve in a distanced way a relationship." -- Ann Lewis, leading member of the Clintonista spin squad, in 1991
"The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth." -- Bill Clinton, October 1995
The widespread idea that whatever W.J. Clinton did in the Oval Office was just a boy being a boy has a small problem: 18 USC Chapter 109A Section 2244, which covers "abusive sexual contact" on federal property. Such contact is defined as "the intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person." The law says anyone who "knowingly engages in sexual contact with another person without that other person's permission shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both."
The same federal law incidentally, offers no support for Clinton's personal definition of a "sexual act." Instead, the US Code includes in the category "contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or the mouth and the anus."
It's not Clinton's only brush with criminal sex offenses either. Joyce Howard Price of the Washington Times reports that unwanted sexual touching is also a criminal act in DC with a penalty of up to six months. Clinton might be charged under a similar law in Arkansas except that prosecutors say it's doubtful given that he is only accused of touching Paula Jones' inner thighs. He might be liable under the state's indecent exposure laws should he have displayed his penis in order to "cause affront or alarm," something which doesn't seem to have been the case.
Gloria Steinem, whose Clinton-excusing sophistry in the New York Times attracted some attention, has more in common with the president than is generally realized. Both worked closely with the CIA in their younger years. Roger Morris in Partners in Power says that several CIA officials of the time confirmed Clinton's status as a student "asset," reporting on his anti-war peers and probably getting some covert assistance on his personal anti-war efforts, which were directed towards not being drafted for it. About a decade earlier, Steinem was among a large number of journalists and young intellectuals co-opted by the agency and its affiliates, then particularly interested in giving international student activities a proper cold war perspective. In particular, wrote Daniel Brandt of Public Information Research in the Portland Free Press a year ago, Steinem set up an organization with the help of key CIA operatives to influence students attending a late-fifties youth festival in Vienna.
Although Steinem denied ever reporting on other Americans, she did write CIAer C.D. Jackson about the left-wing affiliations of various American groups involved in the festival. The vice president of a CIA front organization in Europe, Samuel Walker, thought highly of Steinem, praising her "female intuition" and wrote Jackson, "Gloria is all you said she was, and then some. She is operating on 16 synchronized cylinders and has charmed the natives." He also reported, "Gloria's group continues to do yeoman service, distributing books etc. . ."
Public Information Research POB 680635 San Antonio TX 78265 210-509-3160 email@example.com http://www.pir.org
There was an excellent article on Washington wheeler-dealer Vernon Jordan in last June's Washington Monthly. In it, Michelle Cottle points out:
"Jordan sails along under the radar of both the media and the public. Although he consults frequently with Clinton and other administration officials on issues ranging from international trade to political appointees, Jordan's access is largely based on informal, nonofficial relationships. As such, he is not bound by the same disclosure laws as lobbyists, appointees, or elected officials. Who Jordan's clients are and what exactly he does to earn his $500,000-plus in annual board fees and his estimated $1 million income from his law firm, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld, is anybody's guess -- and Jordan plans to keep it that way. When quizzed about his income or work, he invariably cites attorney-client privilege or ethical constraints."
Cottle describes a man whose relationship with the president has been compared to that between RFK and JFK, yet also is a leading rainmaker for a law firm that is the third biggest lobbyist in America. Among the firm's clients have been American Airlines, AT&T, the Korean International Trade Association, Archer Daniels Midland, China, Columbia, Chilean exporters, Matsushita, Fujitsu, Venezuelan cement producers, the Bank of Nova Scotia, oil and pipeline companies, and major financial institutions.
Jordan considers himself above such petty concepts as full disclosure and so his full client list is not known but he has worked for American Airlines and has sat the board of RJR Nabisco, American Express, Bankers Trust, Union Carbide, Xerox, JC Penney, Dow Jones, Corning, Sara Lee and Revlon.
Jordan has attended the covert meetings of domestic and foreign power brokers at Bohemian Grove and the Bilderberg Conference -- where politicians gather to discuss policy without the annoying interference or knowledge of citizens or media.
Jordan headed the transition team of DC Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. At the time it was revealed that Jordan had not voted in three of the city's last six elections. Although not as well known as Marion Barry's administration, Kelly's disastrous one term of office was responsible for the bulk of the deficit which led to the federal takeover of the city. Her administration was poorly staffed and short on workable policies.
For a good description of Jordan's activities as a corporate board member, see the Washington Post Outlook section, December 6, 1992.
The Village Voice in December 1992 reported that in 1987 Jordan had been part of an investor group that received $765,000 for withdrawing its bid for DC radio station WGMS. The incident gave birth to the phrase "filing for dollars" and was attacked by one former FCC commissioner as a "national scandal."
In the past few days influential media have joined the White House effort to kill or damage the criminal probe into the Clinton scandals. Seldom has a prosecutor who has yet to present his case been under such extraordinary media attack. In one weekend, for example, Bob Woodward, Tom Brokaw and Nina Tottenberg gave strong support to the notion that Kenneth Starr is "out of control." On Monday, the Washington Post followed up with a lead story by Howard Kurtz that presented the latest anti-Starr spin from the White House as if it were major news.
These reports all share one striking characteristic: they are not based on any substantial information as to what Starr's case is and how he plans to pursue it. It is presumed, for example, that Starr's case centered on Monica Lewinsky, ignoring the months of grand jury investigation that preceded the first media mention of Lewinsky. Forgotten is the White House lawyer's own list of 40 intertwined scandals, any one of which might be on a list of impeachable offenses. Instead, a fantasy prosecution has been constructed, with columnists, talk shows, and news editors transforming rank and ill-informed hypothesis into a facsimile of fact.
What we know about Starr and his prosecution is this: he has obtained guilty pleas or convictions on criminal charges involving 13 friends and associates of Clinton, including his business partners and the former governor of Arkansas. On the other hand, Starr has refused to investigate the leads concerning the illegal drug trade in Arkansas and conducted an irresponsibly shoddy investigation of the Vince Foster case.
In short, the problem with Starr appears not to be excessive zealousness, but rather a reluctance to enter territory with bipartisan implications (the Mena drug story) or with outcomes that might be truly shocking (the Foster case) and undermine still further America's trust in its establishment. A far more reasonable hypothesis concerning Starr's lengthy efforts is that they represent an attempt to find not just any evidence against Clinton & Co., but sufficiently circumscribed evidence of traditional corruption and malfeasance that will not ultimately harm Washington's business as usual. In other words: to punish Clinton without unduly exposing or impeding the system that let him get away with what he did.
A few things to keep in mind about the alleged persecution of Sidney Blumenthal by independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr:
-- Sidney Blumenthal is not a member of the press. He is an employee of the White House hired with public funds to serve the public and not to ride shotgun for the criminal defense of W.J. Clinton. He is also, like other federal officials, under a legal obligation to speak truthfully in the conduct of his official duties.
-- If Blumenthal were in hot water for spreading negative stories about the President rather than about Starr, neither he nor the media would claim that his First Amendment rights had been violated if Clinton fired him.
-- If Blumenthal were the public relations man for a tobacco firm subpoenaed in a class action, no one in the media would raise an eyebrow.
-- The issue is not whether White House officials said something that Starr did not like but whether they had any role in a campaign designed to undermine and derail Starr's criminal investigation. In any other organized crime investigation such efforts would be taken extremely seriously. Here is how former US Attorney Otto Obermaier put it on the Jim Lehrer Show:
"[The inquiry] was an attempt by Mr. Starr to maintain the integrity of his investigation of the president and those involved in his charter. One has to hypothesize that lies were said about the prosecutors and that they were said and spread with the intent of affecting that grand jury inquiry, thereby having the prosecutors pull back, or not punch as hard as they should. If one hypothesizes the case of John Gotti and he is spreading false, derogatory information about me when I investigate the killing of a man named Castillano in midtown Manhattan, then that's a legitimate inquiry for the grand jury to conduct. Any First Amendment implications of that can be dealt with when and if any charges are formally filed. But clearly the grand jury has the right -- and Mr. Starr as its legal adviser has the right -- to inquire as to whether or not false statements with the intent to influence are promulgated by an agent of the subject of his inquiry."
-- One journalist who did put the Blumenthal bluster in perspective was John Broder of the New York Times, whose front-page story was a gem:
"After a long career as a scribbler in the shadows, Sidney Blumenthal got his moment in the sun today, as he emerged smiling form the Federal Courthouse to tell about his two hour questioning . . . A former journalist and the White House's most celebrated conspiracy theorist, Mr. Blumenthal faced the cameras at the peak of the Western Hemisphere's last total solar eclipse of the millenium."
The other investigation. . .
The media has shown little interest in Don Smaltz' inquiry into Tyson/Espy case, in part because the payoff sums involved seem relatively minor. In fact, given the health dangers involved, illegal gratuities to an agriculture secretary should be taken especially seriously. The point is underscored by this months Consumer Reports that reveals significant levels of contamination in chickens purchased from a number of different sources, including Tyson Holly Farms. Although the precise number of food poisoning cases is impossible to come by, US officials say the reported cases of chicken poisoning rose three-fold between 1988 and 1992.
Espy was made ag secretary only after being flown to Arkansas to get the approval of Don Tyson. In office, Espy backtracked on tougher chicken contamination standards.
There's another reason more attention to be paid to the Smaltz probe. Back in 1994, Time reported that a pilot for Tyson was grilled for three days by Smaltz and FBI agents about transfers of cash to the governor's mansion. Joe Henrickson claimed to have carried white envelopes containing a quarter-inch stack of $100 bills on six occasions.
Here's how Ambrose Evans-Pritchard describes what happened next:
"In one case, [Henrickson claimed] a Tyson executive handed him an envelope of cash in the company's aircraft hanger in Fayetteville and said, 'This is for Governor Clinton."
"'I nearly fell off my chair when I heard Joe make the allegation. I took over the questions,' Smaltz told Time."
But Smaltz had no authority to investigate Clinton and when he asked Janet Reno for permission she said no. Reno's refusal, along with Starr's mishandling of the Mena drug and Foster death investigations are the biggest scandals within the Whitewater scandal.
The Clintonista tears over the prosecutor's treatment of Monica's mom would be a tad more convincing if the President's legal team hadn't put Paula Jones' mother under a similar grilling a few months earlier. Jones' sister also got called.
[Reporters' are reluctant] "to admit that the man ruling the system they so mightily revere may well be a deceptive, power-abusing, immature, woman-exploiting sex addict. . . It is professionally hypocritical and democratically dangerous for the media to repeatedly present saccharine images of the private Clintons that mislead and lull the public while concealing facts that directly contradict these images." -- The Progressive Review, February 1994
Arkansas Highway Police have seized $3.1 million in cash from four suitcases in a tractor-trailer rig's sleeper section. The driver was charged with money laundering among other things. The seizure was the fourth largest in American history and nearly fifty times more than all the illegal money seized by Arkansas highway police in a typical year.
Arkansas, which borders six states and is close to a seventh, has long functioned as a center of narcotics activity. The airport at Mena has been used for major drug trafficking, and sparsely populated areas have proved attractive for "kick drops" in which drug shipments are released from a plane to confederates on the ground who are given the geographical coordinates of the shipment. It has also been alleged that drug money was laundered through the Arkansas Development and Finance Administration, set up by then Governor Clinton and which has been called a piggy bank for his political allies.
In his book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard quotes an ex-drug pilot as saying that he once brought a Cesna 210 full of cocaine into eastern Arkansas where he was met by a state trooper in a marked police car. "Arkansas," he said, "was a very good place to load and unload." Evans-Pritchard also quotes the widow of mysteriously slain security operative Jerry Parks as saying that her husband delivered large sums of money from Mena airport to Vince Foster at a K-Mart parking lot. Mrs. Parks said the issue came up after she opened their car trunk one day and found so much cash in it that she had to sit on the trunk to close it again.
When Trent Lott backed off his criticism of Ken Starr, the New York Times in a lead article said he was "recalibrating" his position, thus joining similar recalibrations by Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and Bill Ginsberg.
Then there's David Brock. In the latest Esquire, Brock apologizes to Clinton for his handling of the Paula Jones story some years back in the American Spectator.. Brock says that "people should just read the article and make their own judgments about my sincerity," which is about the worst reason for buying a magazine we ever heard. In any case, Brock got paid for both his articles. As Dick Morris has shown us, recalibration, especially one that puts you at the center of the story, can be quite rewarding. Brock has, in a way, done even better than Morris; his fame largely rests on one word in one article several years back: Paula.
We would feel Brock's pain more if he hadn't attempted to position himself as the founder of Clinton's bad publicity on sexual matters wrongly calling himself in his open letter to the president the "the first reporter who leered into your sex life." Not only had there been the Gennifer Flowers story, but several others including a report that Clinton had fathered a child by a black prostitute. The Los Angeles Times also ran a story based on information from Arkansas state troopers at the same time as Brock's piece.
We would also feel more comfortable if Brock hadn't attacked the troopers as "greedy" with "slimy motives" for seeking a book contract given that Brock is writing a tome himself.
The conversion hustle is not a new one. A number of American "intellectuals" once did quite well by casting off their communist roots and becoming successful right-wingers. Elmer Davis, the radio commentator, remarked that it never seemed to occur to these people that they might be have been wrong both times.
Personal to Sidney Blumenthal: Good writers write their own letters to the Washington Post complaining about other writers instead of having their lawyers do it.
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