BILL CLINTON AND GEORGE BUSH are the two most corrupt individuals to have occupied the White House in modern times. While Bush has clearly proved more venal and deadly and far more destructive of the American republic, it is a fair reading of history to say that Clinton was the warm up band for George Bush, towit:
CLINTON, WITH NO LITTLE HELP from the Democratic Leadership Council, discredited and destroyed long standing principles of social democracy that had guided the party since the New Deal. Instead he offered the public GOP Lite. As Harry Truman pointed out, given a choice between a real Republican and someone who talks like one, the public will favor the real one.
CLINTON NEUTERED PROGRESSIVE organizations ranging from Americans for Democratic Action to women’s and black groups. Early in his administration they swore a loyalty that not only blinded them to his faults and corruption but left their brains devoid of ideas and arguments with which to take on the conservatives.
CLINTON DRASTICALLY LOWERED the standards of national politics with the help of a Washington establishment that rushed to his assistance as each scandal developed. The result was the Arkanization of the capital under which the only standard became whether you could get away with it. This opened the door wider for the even more venal neo-cons and their candidate, George Bush.
CLINTON WAS NOWHERE NEAR as good a politician as the Washington media and political establishment has claimed and the myth has proved to be a destructive fantasy for the party. Bill Clinton got 43.9% of the vote in 1992, while Michael Dukakis – purportedly the worst of all candidate – got 45%. True Clinton was up against Ross Perot who got 19% as well as Bush, but Clinton might well have lost were it not for Perot, in which case he would have joined Michael Dukakis in the hall of shame. Clinton won a majority in only two state-like entities: Arkansas and DC. In only 12 other states was he able to get ever 45%. Dukakis, meanwhile, got over 50% in 11 states and got over 45% in 12 others.
THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY by Bill Clinton was the worst experienced under any incumbent president since Grover Cleveland. Here are some of the stats:
– GOP seats gained in House after Clinton became president: 48
– GOP seats gained in Senate after Clinton became president: 8
– GOP governorships gained after Clinton became president: 11
– GOP state legislative seats gained since Clinton became president: 1,254 as of 1998
– State legislatures taken over by GOP after Clinton became president: 9
– Democrat officeholders who became Republicans since Clinton became president: 439 as of 1998
– Republican officeholders who became Democrats: 3
CLINTON’S SCANDALS, going far beyond Monica Lewinski, were a major liability for Al Gore in 2000, far more so than Ralph Nader. According to the 2000 exits polls:
– 60% of voters disapproved of Clinton as a person
– 59% – including some who approved of him – disliked him
– 68% said he would go down in the history books for his scandals rather than for his leadership
– 44% thought the Clinton scandals were important or somewhat important. In contrast, only 28% thought Bush’s drunk driving arrest was important or somewhat important.
– 15% of those who had voted for Clinton in 1996 voted for Bush in 2000.
CLINTON LAID THE FOUNDATION for the excesses of the war on terror in a number of ways:
– He conducted a deadly and lawless raid on the Waco compound including the use of the military in civilian law enforcement.
– In the wake of Oklahoma City, the Clinton administration proposed restricting habeas corpus and increasing wiretaps.
– As Doug Bandow reported in the National Review, Clinton “essentially sought to eliminate the requirement of a warrant for searches from the Fourth Amendment. The president claimed to possess ‘inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes.’ The administration required public-housing residents to sign away their constitutional right that authorities procure a warrant to search their dwellings and personal property. The Justice Department backed warrantless (indeed, suspicionless) drug tests for high-school athletes. The administration requested greater FBI authority to conduct “roving wiretaps,” without a court order.
– “The administration was tougher than its predecessor on drugs. Marijuana arrests were up 50 percent over Bush-41 . . . When asked about the criticism that sellers of crack were being punished far more severely than those who peddled cocaine, the president responded that penalties for the latter – which already ensured that minor drug dealers spend more time in jail than do many armed robbers, rapists, and murderers – should be raised. . .
– “The Clinton-Gore administration advanced additional thuggish policies and proposals – curfews for kids, random drug tests for welfare recipients and kids seeking drivers licenses, attacks on the requirement of a jury trial,. . . attempts to gain court sanction for uncompensated property takings, prosecutions implicating the double-jeopardy clause, pretentious claims of federal criminal jurisdiction, infringements of the Second Amendment right to possess a firearm, et al.”
FINALLY THERE IS A REASONABLE hypothesis that Clinton may have contributed – along with Bush – to creating conditions favorable for the September 11 attacks. These are things for historians to argue about but they should at least be on the table:
– Clinton at the end of his term declared the Mid East peace negotiations a failure. Combined with Bush’s indifference to the matter these signs from America may have signaled that there was no longer any progress to be made through diplomacy.
– While the official report declared the downing of TWA 800 to be the result of a plane malfunction, other investigators think there is a likelihood that it was a terrorist attack. This is a theory but, so by the government’s own admission, is its own conclusion. What is stunning about this is that, having reached its conclusion, the government did not set about a massive retrofitting of airplane fuel tanks but rather instituted massive change in passenger screening at airports. In other words, the official conclusion and official response were completely at odds. If TWA 800 was, in fact, a terrorist attack, what effect did its cover up have on September 11?
THE CLINTON LEGACY
– The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
– Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates**
– Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
– Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
– Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
– First president sued for sexual harassment.
– First president accused of rape.
– First first lady to come under criminal investigation
– Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
– First president to establish a legal defense fund.
– Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
– Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
** According to our best information, 40 government officials were indicted or convicted in the wake of Watergate. A reader computes that there was a total of 31 Reagan era convictions, including 14 because of Iran-Contra and 16 in the Department of Housing & Urban Development scandal. 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration itself.
– Number of Starr-Ray investigation convictions or guilty pleas (including one governor, one associate attorney general and two Clinton business partners): 14
– Number of Clinton cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 5
– Number of Reagan cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 4
– Number of top officials jailed in the Teapot Dome Scandal: 3
– Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
– Number of these convictions during Clinton’s presidency: 33
– Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
– Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122
– Guilty pleas and convictions obtained by Donald Smaltz in cases involving charges of bribery and fraud against former Agriculture
Secretary Mike Espy and associated individuals and businesses: 15
– Acquitted or overturned cases (including Espy): 6
– Fines and penalties assessed: $11.5 million
– Amount Tyson Food paid in fines and court costs: $6 million
CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES
FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS WERE OBTAINED
Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice.
OTHER MATTERS INVESTIGATED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTORS
AND CONGRESS, OR REPORTED IN THE MEDIA
Bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.
Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar.
Bill Kennedy 116
Harold Ickes 148
Ricki Seidman 160
Bruce Lindsey 161
Bill Burton 191
Mark Gearan 221
Mack McLarty 233
Neil Egglseston 250
Hillary Clinton 250
John Podesta 264
Jennifer O’Connor 343
Dwight Holton 348
Patsy Thomasson 420
Jeff Eller 697
THE REAL CLINTON story is a fascinating one of a mobbed-up politician from a drug-infested southern state in the control of the Dixie Mafia, a far more deadly institution than its New York counterpart. Little of this came through because the media immediately created a mythological Bill and Hillary saga that overwhelmed the facts. What follows are excerpts from our timeline of interesting and little known events prior to Clinton taking office as president. It gives a sense of the real story that voters were denied:
When Bill Clinton is 7, his family moves from Hope, Arkansas, to the long-time mob resort of Hot Springs, AR. Here Al Capone is said to have had permanent rights to suite 443 of the Arlington Hotel. Clinton’s stepfather is a gun-brandishing alcoholic who loses his Buick franchise through mismanagement and his own pilfering. He physically abuses his family, including the young Bill. His mother is a heavy gambler with mob ties. According to FBI and local police officials, his Uncle Raymond — to whom young Bill turns for wisdom and support — is a colorful car dealer, slot machine owner and gambling operator, who thrives (except when his house is firebombed) on the fault line of criminality.
Virginia Kelly, Clinton’s mother: “Hot Springs was so different. We had wide-open gambling, for one thing, and it was so wide open that it never occurred to me that it was illegal – it really didn’t – until it came to a vote about whether we were going to legalize gambling or not. I never was so shocked.”
A federal investigation concludes that Hot Springs has the largest illegal gambling operations in the United States.
Clinton goes to Georgetown University where he finds a mentor in Professor Carroll Quigley. Quigley writes: “That the two political parties should represent opposed ideals and policies. . . is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical . . .The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in detail, procedure, priority, or method.”
Bill Clinton, according to several agency sources interviewed by biographer Roger Morris, works as a CIA informer while briefly and erratically a Rhodes Scholar in England. Although without visible means of support, he travels around Europe and the Soviet Union, staying at the ritziest hotel in Moscow. During this period the US government is using well educated assets such as Clinton as part of Operation Chaos, a major attempt to break student resistance to the war and the draft. According to former White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich Clinton is told by Oxford officials that he is no longer welcome there.
After becoming involved in politics, Wellesley graduate Hillary Rodham orders her senior thesis sealed from public view.
27 year old Clinton, only months out of Yale Law School, is back in Arkansas eager to run for Congress. Roger Morris writes later, “A relative unknown, he faces an imposing field of rivals in the Democratic primary, and beyond, in the general election, a powerful Republican incumbent. . . It begins with a quiet meeting at his mother’s house in Hot Springs. Around the kitchen table, as Virginia Clinton will describe the scene, avid young Billy meets with two of his most crucial early backers — uncle Raymond G. Clinton, a prosperous local Buick dealer, and family friend and wealthy businessman Gabe Crawford. As they talk, Mr. Crawford offers the candidate unlimited use of his private plane, and uncle Raymond not only provides several houses around the district to serve as campaign headquarters, but will secure a $10,000 loan to Bill from the First National Bank of Hot Springs – an amount then equal to the yearly income of many Arkansas families. . .
No mere businessman with a spare plane, Gabe Crawford presided over a backroom bookie operation that was one of Hot Springs’ most lucrative criminal enterprises. [And the] inimitable uncle Raymond – who had also played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role in keeping young Bill out of the Vietnam draft – was far more than an auto dealer. In the nationally prominent fount of vice and corruption that was Hot Springs from the 1920s to the 1980s (its barely concealed casinos generated more income than Las Vegas well into the 1960s), the uncle’s Buick agency and other businesses and real estate were widely thought to be facades for illegal gambling, drug money laundering and other ventures, in which Raymond was a partner. He was a minion of the organized crime overlord who controlled the American Middle South for decades, New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello or “Mafia Kingfish” as his biographer John Davis called him.
Two Indonesian billionaires come to Arkansas. Mochtar Riady and Liem Sioe Liong are close to Suharto. Riady is looking for an American bank to buy. Finds Jackson Stephens with whom he forms Stephens Finance. Stephens will broker the arrival of BCCI to this country and steer BCCI’s founder, Hassan Abedi, to Bert Lance.
Apparently because of pressure from Indonesia, Riady withdraws his bid to buy Lance’s 30% share of the National Bank of Georgia. Instead, a BCCI front man buys the shares and Abedi moves to secretly take over Financial General – later First American Bankshares — later the subject of the only BCCI-connected scandal to be prosecuted in the US.
Clinton is elected governor. The Clintons and McDougals buy land in the Ozarks for $203,000 with mostly borrowed funds. The Clintons get 50% interest with no cash down. The 203 acre plot, known as Whitewater, is fifty miles from the nearest grocery store. The Washington Post will report later that some purchasers of lots, many of them retirees, “put up houses or cabins, others slept in vans or tents, hoping to be able to live off the land.” More than half of the purchasers will lose their plots thanks to the sleazy form of financing used.
Two months after commencing the Whitewater scam, Hillary Clinton invests $1,000 in cattle futures. Within a few days she has a $5,000 profit. Before bailing out she earns nearly $100,000 on her investment. Many years later, several economists will calculate that the chances of earning such returns legally were one in 250 million.
Bill Clinton’s mother hangs out at the race track with mobsters and other local figures, including Dan Lasater who breeds race horses in Kentucky and Florida and has a box at the track next to hers. Mrs. Clinton introduces Lasater to Roger Clinton.
Roger Clinton develops a four-gram a day cocaine habit, getting his stuff from New York and Medellin suppliers, based (as one middleman will later testify) on “who his brother was.” Sharlene Wilson is one of his dealers. Dan Lasater will give Roger work and loan him $8,000 to pay off a drug debt.
Sharlene Wilson will testify in a 1990 federal drug probe that she began selling cocaine to Roger Clinton as early as this year. She will also tell reporters that she sold two grams of cocaine to Clinton’s brother at the Little Rock nightclub Le Bistro, then witnessed Bill Clinton consume the drug. “I watched Bill Clinton lean up against a brick wall,” Wilson reveals to the London Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in 1995. “He was so messed up that night, he slid down the wall into a garbage can and just sat there like a complete idiot.” Drug prosecutor Jean Duffey will say that she has no doubt that Wilson was telling the truth.
Arkansas becomes a major center of gun-running, drugs and money laundering. The IRS warns other law enforcement agencies of the state’s “enticing climate.” According to Clinton biographer Roger Morris, operatives go into banks with duffel bags full of cash, which bank officers then distribute to tellers in sums under $10,000 so they don’t have to report the transaction.
Sharlene Wilson, according to investigative reporter Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, flies cocaine from Mena to a pickup point in Texas. Other drugs, she and others say, are stuffed into chickens for shipping around the country. Wilson also serves as “the lady with the snow” at “toga parties” attended, she reports, by Bill Clinton.
Investor’s Business Daily would later write, “Sally Perdue, a former Miss Arkansas and Little Rock talk show host who said she had an affair with then-Gov. Clinton in 1983, told the London Sunday Telegraph that he once came over to her house with a bag full of cocaine. “He had all the equipment laid out, like a real pro.”
In the 1990s, Genifer Flowers tells Sean Hannity’s WABC talk radio show: “Bill clearly let me know that he did cocaine. And I know people that knew he did cocaine. He did tell me that when he would use a substantial amount of cocaine that his head would itch so badly that he would become self conscious at parties where he was doing this. Because all he wanted to do while people were talking to him is stand around and scratch his head. ….”
Two Arkansas state troopers will swear under oath that they have seen Clinton “under the influence” of drugs when he was governor.
Hillary Clinton makes a $44,000 profit on a $2,000 investment in a cellular phone franchise deal that involves taking advantage of the FCC’s preference for locals, minorities and women. The franchise is almost immediately flipped to the cellular giant, McCaw.
A drug pilot brings a Cessna 210 full of cocaine into eastern Arkansas where he is met by his pick-up: a state trooper in a marked police car. “Arkansas,” the pilot will recall years later, “was a very good place to load and unload.”
According to his wife, security operative Jerry Parks delivers large sums of money from Mena airport to Vince Foster at a K-Mart parking lot. Mrs. Parks discovers this when she opens her car trunk one day and finds so much cash that she has to sit on the trunk to close it again. She asks her husband whether he is dealing drugs, and he allegedly explains that Foster paid him $1,000 for each trip he took to Mena.
Parks said he didn’t “know what they were doing, and he didn’t care to know. He told me to forget what I’d seen.”. . . .Later Ambrose Evans-Pritchard will write, “Foster was using him as a kind of operative to collect sensitive information on things and do sensitive jobs. Some of this appears to have been done on behalf of Hillary Clinton. . . Foster told him that Hillary wanted it done. Now, my understanding . . . is that she wanted to know how vulnerable he would be in a presidential race on the question of — how shall I put it? — his appetites.”
In 1993, on the night before Vince Foster’s death, Parks’ wife claims she hears a heated conversation between her husband and Foster in which Parks says, “You can’t give Hillary those files, they’ve got my name all over them.” Parks will be gunned down two months after Foster’s death in his car outside of Little Rock. Parks is shot through the rear window of his car and shot three more times, thru the side window, with a 9mm pistol.
Parks was running American Contract Services, the business which supplied bodyguards for Clinton during his presidential campaign and the following transition. Bill Clinton still owed him $81,000. Parks had collected detailed data on Clinton’s sexual escapades, including pictures and dates. Mrs. Pariks claims federal agents subsequently removed files and computer.
Bill Clinton loses re-election as governor. He will win two years later. Larry Nichols will tell the George Putman Show in 1998 that he had met with Clinton and Jackson Stephen’s brother Witt and that Witt had told Clinton that the Stephens were ready to back him for another run at the governorship but that he had to “dry out on the white stuff.”
There are reports that following his loss, Clinton ended up in the hospital for a drug overdose. Journalist R. Emmett Tyrrell later asked emergency room workers at the University of Arkansas Medical Center if they could confirm the incident. He didn’t get a flat “no” from the hospital staff. One nurse said, “I can’t talk about that.” Another said she feared for her life if she spoke of the matter. Newsmax will report: “Dr. Sam Houston, a respected Little Rock physician and once a doctor for Hillary’s cantankerous father, Hugh Rodham, says it is well known in Little Rock medical circles that Clinton was brought to a Little Rock hospital for emergency treatment for an apparent cocaine overdose. According to Houston, who told us he spoke to someone intimately familiar with the details of what happened that night, Clinton arrived at the hospital with the aid of a state trooper. Hillary Clinton had been notified by phone and had instructed the hospital staff that Clinton’s personal physician would be arriving soon. When Mrs. Clinton arrived, she told both of the resident physicians on duty that night that they would never practice medicine in the United States if word leaked out about Clinton’s drug problem. Reportedly, she pinned one of the doctors up against the wall, both hands pressed against his shoulders, as she gave her dire warning.”
According to Jim McDougal’s later account, he and Henry Hamilton, “developed a system to pass money to Clinton,” then governor of Arkansas. “I considered it just another way of helping to take care of Bill. A contractor agreed to pad my monthly construction bill by $2,000. The contractor put the figure on his invoice as a cost for gravel or culvert work. After I paid the full amount … the contractor reimbursed me the $2,000. I turned the money over to Henry to give to Clinton. Once, after I handed Henry his latest consignment of 20 hundred-dollar bills to relay to the governor’s office, he turned the bills over and over in one hand, like a magician. Henry grinned. `You know,’ he said, `Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First had Cromwell. Clinton could profit from these examples if he crosses us.'”
Hillary Clinton writes Jim McDougal: “If Reaganomics works at all, Whitewater could become the Western Hemisphere’s Mecca.”
Major drug trafficker Barry Seal, under pressure from the Louisiana cops, relocates his operations to Mena, Arkansas. Seal is importing as much as 1,000 pounds of cocaine a month from Colombia according to Arkansas law enforcement officials. He will claim to have made more than $50 million out of his operations. As an informant Seal testified that in 1980-81, before moving his operation to Arkansas, he made approximately 60 trips to Central America and brought back 18,000 kilograms. According to the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “Larry Patterson, an Arkansas state trooper, testified under oath that there were ‘large quantities of drugs being flown into the Mena airport, large quantities of money, large quantities of guns.’ The subject was discussed repeatedly in Clinton’s presence by state troopers working on his security detail, he alleged. Patterson said the governor ‘had very little comment to make; he was just listening to what was being said.'”
Mena state police investigator Russell Welch will later describe the airport, pointing to one hanger he says is owned by a man who “doesn’t exist in history back past a safe house in Baltimore in 1972.” Another is owned by someone who “smuggled heroin through Laos back in the seventies.” Still another is “owned by a guy who just went bankrupt. So what’s he do? Flies to Europe for more money.” Welch points to a half dozen Fokker aircraft parked on an apron, noting that “the DEA’s been tracking those planes back and forth to Columbia for a while now.”
A DEA report uncovered by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard will cite an informant claiming that a famous Arkansas figure and backer of Clinton “smuggles cocaine from Colombia, South America, inside race horses to Hot Springs.”
IRS agent William Duncan and an Arkansas State Police investigator take their evidence concerning drug trafficking in Mena to US Attorney Asa Hutchinson. They ask for 20 witnesses to be subpoenaed before the grand jury. Hutchinson chooses only three. According to reporter Mara Leveritt, “The three appeared before the grand jury, but afterwards, two of them also expressed surprise at how their questioning was handled. One, a secretary at Rich Mountain Aviation, had given Duncan sworn statements about money laundering at the company, transcripts of which Duncan had provided to Hutchinson. But when the woman left the jury room, she complained that Hutchinson had asked her nothing about the crime or the sworn statements she’d given to Duncan. As Duncan later testified, ‘She basically said that she was allowed to give her name, address, position, and not much else.’ The other angry witness was a banker who had, in Duncan’s words, ‘provided a significant amount of evidence relating to the money-laundering operation.’ According to Duncan, he, too, emerged from the jury room complaining ‘that he was not allowed to provide the evidence that he wanted to provide to the grand jury.'”
Financial General changes its name to First American and Clark Clifford is appointed chairman. BCCI fronts begin acquiring controlling interest in banks and other American financial institutions. In Arkansas, Jim McDougal purchases Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan.
According to a later account in the Tampa Tribune, planes flying drugs into Mena in coolers marked “medical supplies” are met by several people close to then-Governor Bill Clinton.
Stevens and Riady buy a banking firm and change its name to Worthern Bank with Riady’s 28-year-old son James as president. Other Worthen co-owners will eventually include BCCI investor Abdullah Taha Bakhish.
Foreshadowing future Wall Street interest in Clinton, Goldman Sachs, Payne Webber, Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch all show up as financial backers of the governor. Also on the list: future king-maker Pam Harriman. But Bill Clinton’s funders include not only some of the biggest corporate names ever to show an interest in the tiny state of Arkansas but some of the most questionable. A former US Attorney will later tell Roger Morris, “That was the election when the mob really came into Arkansas politics. . . It wasn’t just Bill Clinton and it went beyond our old Dixie Mafia. . . This was eastern and west coast crime money that noticed the possibilities just like the legitimate corporations did.”
Dan Lasater buys a ski resort in New Mexico for $20 million and uses Clinton’s name (with permission) to promote it. Later, a US Customs investigative report will note that the resort is being used for drug operations and money laundering. Lasater also flies to Belize with his aide Patsy Thomasson to buy a 24,000 acre ranch. Among those present at the negotiations is the US Ambassador. The deal falls through because of the opposition of the Belize government.
A private contractor for Arkansas’ prison system stops selling prisoners’ blood to a Canadian broker and elsewhere overseas after admitting the blood might be contaminated with the AIDS virus or hepatitis. Sales of prisoners’ blood in US are already forbidden.
Tens of thousands of dollars in mysterious checks begin moving through Whitewater’s account at Madison Guaranty. Investigators will later suspect that McDougal was operating a check-kiting scheme to drain money from the S&L
Hot Springs police record Roger Clinton during a cocaine transaction. Roger says, “Got to get some for my brother. He’s got a nose like a vacuum cleaner.” Roger is arrested while working at menial jobs for Arkansas “bond daddy” Dan Lasater.
Barry Seal estimates that he has earned between $60 and $100 million smuggling cocaine into the US, but with the feds closing in on him, Barry Seal flies from Mena to Washington in his private Lear Jet to meet with two members of Vice President George Bush’s drug task force. Following the meeting, Seal rolls over for the DEA, becoming an informant. He collects information on leaders of the Medellin cartel while still dealing in drugs himself. The deal will be kept secret from investigators working in Louisiana and Arkansas. According to reporter Mara Leveritt, “By Seal’s own account, his gross income in the year and a half after he became an informant – while he was based at Mena and while Asa Hutchinson was the federal prosecutor in Fort Smith, 82 miles away – was three-quarters of a million dollars. Seal reported that $575,000 of that income had been derived from a single cocaine shipment, which the DEA had allowed him to keep. Pressed further, he testified that, since going to work for the DEA, he had imported 1,500 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. Supposed informant Seal will fly repeatedly to Colombia, Guatemala, and Panama, where he meets with Jorge Ochoa, Fabio Ochoa, Pablo Escobar, and Carlos Lehder – leaders of the cartel that at the time controlled an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States.”
Ronald Reagan wants to send the National Guard to Honduras to help in the war against the Contras. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis goes to the Supreme Court in a futile effort to stop it but Clinton is happy to oblige, even sending his own security chief, Buddy Young, along to keep an eye on things. Winding up its tour, the Arkansas Guard declares large quantities of its weapons “excess” and leaves them behind for the Contras.
Clinton bodyguard, state trooper LD Brown, applies for a CIA opening. Clinton gives him help on his application essay including making it more Reaganesque on the topic of the Nicaragua. According to Brown, he meets a CIA recruiter in Dallas whom he later identities as former member of Vice President Bush’s staff. On the recruiter’s instruction, he meets with notorious drug dealer Barry Seal in a Little Rock restaurant. Joins Seal in flight to Honduras with a purported shipment of M16s and a return load of duffel bags. Brown gets $2,500 in small bills for the flight. Brown, concerned about the mission, consults with Clinton who says, “Oh, you can handle it, don’t sweat it.” On second flight, Brown finds cocaine in a duffel bag and again he seeks Clinton’s counsel. Clinton says to the conservative Brown, “Your buddy, Bush, knows about it” and of the cocaine, “that’s Lasater’s deal.”
Arkansas state pension funds — deposited in Worthen by Governor Bill Clinton — suddenly lose 15% of their value because of the failure of high risk, short-term investments and the brokerage firm that bought them. The $52 million loss is covered by a Worthen check written by Jack Stephens in the middle of the night, an insurance policy, and the subsequent purchase over the next few months of 40% of the bank by Mochtar Riady. Clinton and Worthen escape a major scandal.
Mochtar and James Riady engineer the takeover of the First National Bank of Mena in a town of 5,000 with few major assets beyond a Contra supply base plus drug running and money-laundering operations.
Terry Reed is asked to take part in Operation Donation, under which planes and boats needed by the Contras “disappear,” allowing owners to claim insurance. Reed has been a Contra operative and CIA asset working with Felix Rodriguez, the Contra link to the CIA and then-Vice President Bush’s office. Reed later claims he refused, but that his plane was removed while he was away.
Park on Meter, a parking meter manufacturer in Russellville, Arkansas, receives the first industrial development loan from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority in 1985. Some suspect that POM is doing a lot more than making parking meters — specifically that it has secret federal contracts to make components of chemical and biological weapons and devices to carry them on C-130s for the Contras. The company later denies the Contra connection although it will admit having secret military contracts. Web Hubbell is the company’s lawyer. Right next to POM, on land previously owned by it, is an Army reserve chemical warfare company.
An independent investigator will later find evidence of an electronic transfer of $50 million from the Arkansas Development Financial Authority to a bank in the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman has a population of 18,000, 570 commercial banks, one bank regulator and a bank secrecy law. It is a favorite destination spot for laundered drug money.
Asa Hutchinson leaves the US Attorney’s office to make an unsuccessful bid for US Senate. According to police sources, Hutchinson had been aware of what was happening at Mena and the investigation into it, but did nothing. Hutchinson is replaced by Mike Fitzhugh who is reluctant to let investigators Russell Welch of the state police and William Duncan of the IRS present evidence of money-laundry to a grand jury.
Journalist Evans-Pritchard will describe the Arkansas of this period as a “major point for the transshipment of drugs” and “perilously close to becoming a ‘narco-republic’ — a sort of mini-Columbia within the borders of the United States.” There is “an epidemic of cocaine, contaminating the political establishment from top to bottom,” with parties “at which cocaine would be served like hors d’oeuvres and sex was rampant.” Clinton attends some of these events.
On January 17, the U. S. Attorney for the Western District drops a money laundering and narcotics-conspiracy charges against associates of drug smuggler Barry Seal over the protests of investigators Russell Welch of the state police and Bill Duncan of the Internal Revenue.
Seal is scheduled to testify at the trial of Jorge Ochoa Vasques. But on February 19, shortly before the trial is to begin, Seal is murdered in Baton Rouge gangland style by three Colombian hitmen armed with machine guns who attack while he seated behind the wheel of his white Cadillac in Baton Rouge, La. The Colombians, connected with the Medellin drug cartel, are tried and convicted. Upon hearing of Seal’s murder, one DEA agent says, “There was a contract out on him, and everyone knew it. He was to have been a crucial witness in the biggest case in DEA history.”
Eight months after the murder, Seal’s cargo plane is shot down over Nicaragua. It is carrying ammunition and other supplies for the Contras from Mena. One crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, survives.
The attorney general of Louisiana tells US Attorney General Ed Meese that drug trafficker Barry Seal has smuggled drugs into the US worth $3-$5 billion.
Two boys, Kevin Ives and Don Henry, are killed in Saline County and left on a railroad track to be run over by a train. The medical examiner will initially rule the deaths accidental, saying that the boys were unconscious and in a deep sleep due to marijuana. The finding will be punctured by dogged investigators whose efforts are repeatedly blocked by law enforcement officials. Ultimately, the bodies will be exhumed and another autopsy will be performed, which finds that Henry had been stabbed in the back and Ives beaten with a rifle butt. Although no one will ever be charged, the trail will lead into the penumbra of the Dixie Mafia and the Arkansas political machine. Some believe the boys died because they accidentally intercepted a drug drop, but information obtained by the Progressive Review suggests the drop may have dispensed not drugs but cash, gold and platinum — part of a series of sorties through which those working with US intelligence were being reimbursed. According to one version, the boys were blamed in order to cover up the theft of the drop by persons within the Dixie Mafia and Arkansas political machine. Ives’ mother will later charge that high state and federal officials participated in a cover-up: “I firmly believe my son and Don Henry were killed because they witnessed a drug drop by an airplane connected to the Mena drug smuggling routes.”
Prosecutor Jean Duffey will later tell a talk show host in answer to whether law enforcement people were involved in the train death murders: “I believe the law enforcement agents were connected to some very high political people because they have never been brought to justice and I don’t think they ever will be. I think they are protected to avoid exposing the connection. . . There have been several murders of potential witnesses. Anyone who could have solved this murder many years ago has been systematically eliminated.”
Nine persons reportedly having information on the Ives-Henry murders will end up dead themselves.
Charles Black, a prosecutor for Polk County, which includes Mena, meets with Governor Clinton and asks for assistance in a probe of illegal activities. “His response,” Mr. Black will tell CBS News later, “was that he would get a man on it and get back to me. I never heard back.”
Following pressure from then-Arkansas Rep. Bill Alexander, the General Accounting Office opens a probe in April 1988; within four months, the inquiry is shut down by the National Security Council, according to a later report by Micah Morrison of the Wall Street Journal. Several congressional subcommittee inquiries sputter and stop.
What will later be known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy begins on the left as a group of progressive students at the University of Arkansas form the Arkansas Committee to look into Mena, drugs, money laundering, and Arkansas politics.
Drug distributor Dan Lasater is pardoned by Governor Clinton after serving just six months in jail and four in a halfway house on minor charges. One law enforcement official will describe the investigation into Lasater’s operations as “either a high dive or extremely unprofessional. Take your pick.” The alleged reason for the pardon: so Lasater can get a hunting license. Lasater returns to his 7,400 acre ranch in Saline County.
An IRS memorandum reveals that even at this late date “the CIA still has ongoing operations out of the Mena, AR airport.”
Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch, who has been working with IRS investigator Bill Duncan on drug running and money laundering at Mena, develops pneumonia-like symptoms. The Washington Weekly described the incident in 1996: “On the weekend of September 21, 1991, Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch met with IRS Investigator Bill Duncan to write a report on their investigation of Mena drug smuggling and money laundering and send it to Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh.. Returning to Mena on Sunday, Welch told his wife that he didn’t feel too well. He thought he had gotten the flu . . . In Fort Smith a team of doctors were waiting. Dr. Calleton had called them twice while Welch was in transport and they had been in contact with the CDC. Later the doctor would tell Welch’s wife that he was on the edge of death. He would not have made it through the night had he not been in the hospital. He was having fever seizures by now. A couple of days after Welch had been admitted to St. Edwards Mercy Hospital, his doctor was wheeling him to one of the labs for testing when she asked him if he was doing anything at work that was particularly dangerous. He told her that he had been a cop for about 15 years and that danger was probably inherent with the job description. She told Welch that they believed he had anthrax. She said the anthrax was the military kind that is used as an agent of biological warfare and that it was induced. Somebody had deliberately infected him. She added that they had many more tests to run but they had already started treating him for anthrax.”
While in Washington, D.C., where he holds a permit to carry a gun, IRS agent and Mena drug investigator Bill Duncan is arrested for weapons possession (his service revolver), roughed up and handcuffed to a pipe in the basement of a DC police station. After the incident he is taken off of the Mena investigation. Later, when he is asked to falsify testimony for a Federal Grand Jury, he refuses and is fired on the spot.
State Attorney General Winston Bryant and Arkansas Rep. Bill Alexander send two boxes of Mena files to special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. Bryant says the boxes contain “credible evidence of gunrunning, illegal drug smuggling, money laundering and the governmental cover-up and possibly a criminal conspiracy in connection with the Mena Airport.” Seventeen months later, Walsh writes Bryant a letter saying, without explanation, that he had closed his investigation. Says Alexander later, “The feds dropped the ball and covered it up. I have never seen a whitewash job like this case.”
Dan Harmon becomes the new prosecuting attorney in the district responsible for the train deaths investigation. Harmon’s drug investigator Jean Duffey is discredited, threatened and ultimately has to flee Arkansas.
The day Clinton announces his candidacy for the White House, Meredith Oakley sizes him up in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “His word is dirt. Not a statesman is he, but a common, run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen politician. A mere opportunist. A man whose word is fallow ground not because it is unwanted but because it is barren, bereft of the clean-smelling goodness that nurtures wholesome things. Those of us who cling to the precepts of another age, a time in which a man’s word was his bond, and, morally, bailing out was not an option, cannot join the madding crowd in celebrating what is for some Bill Clinton’s finest hour. We cannot rejoice in treachery.”
The Federal Reserve begins an investigation of BCCI’s alleged control of First American Bank. A few months later BCCI itself is shut down in what would be revealed as the world’s biggest bank scandal ever. Bill Clinton announces for president. Among his targets: “S&L crooks and self-serving CEOs.”
The Worthen Bank gives Clinton a $3.5 million line of credit allowing the cash-strapped candidate to finish the primaries. Stephens Inc. employees give Clinton more than $100,000 for his presidential campaign.
Little Rock Worldwide Travel provides Clinton with $1 million in deferred billing for his campaign trips. Clinton aide David Watkins boasts to a travel magazine, “Were it not for World Wide Travel here, the Arkansas governor may never have been in contention for the highest office in the land.” In fact, without the Worthen and Worldwide largess, it is unlikely that the cash-strapped candidate could have survived through the later primaries.
A massive “bimbo” patrol is established to threaten, buy, or otherwise disarm scores of women who have had sexual encounters with Clinton. The campaign uses private investigators in an extensive operation that will be joked about at the time but later will be seen as a form of blackmail as well as psychological and physical intimidation.
Money magazine reports that Clinton annually receives about $1.4 million in admissions tickets to the state-regulated Oaklawn racetrack which he hands out to campaign contributors and others.
A survey of campaign reporters finds that by February, 90% favor Clinton for president.
During the New Hampshire primary Clinton flies back to Little Rock to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector. The prisoner was so brain damaged that he saved his pie to eat later.
Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker comes to Washington to see his old boss sworn in, leaving his state under the control of the president pro tem of the senate, Little Rock dentist Jerry Jewell. Jewell uses his power as acting governor to issue a number of pardons, one of them for a convicted drug dealer, Tommy McIntosh. According to the Washington Times, many in the state “say it was a political payoff, offered in exchange for dirty tricks Mr. McIntosh played on Clinton political opponents during the presidential campaign.” It seems that the elder McIntosh had worked for Clinton in his last state campaign and, according to McIntosh in a 1991 lawsuit, had agreed not only to pay him $25,000 but to help him market his recipe for sweet potato pie and to pardon his son.
Webster Hubbell’s name surfaces as a potential nominee for deputy attorney general but he tells friends he does not want that job or, reports Time, “to take any other position that involves Senate confirmation — perhaps to avoid fishing expeditions into the law firm’s confidential business.”
And years later, this from a real expert: The New York Daily News quotes John Gotti as saying that Clinton got away with things a Mafia boss would never have gotten away with. In a conversation with his brother Peter, he is particularly struck with Clinton’s taped conversation with Gennifer Flowers: “He’s telling her, ‘Why would you want to bring this out? If anybody investigates, you lie.’ ” Said Gotti, “If he had an Italian last name, they would’ve electrocuted him.”