Sam Smith: The Bush Clinton Nexus
A reader inquires as to why Bill Clinton and Bush the Elder are so chummy these days. This is another case where just considering the political aspect of the news lets you down. A more helpful approach is to consider Clinton and Bush the heads of the two biggest political mobs in the country, a metaphor strengthened by a recent shot of the pair, both in shades, leaning back smugly in their chairs like a couple of big time dons. Sometimes the families work together; sometimes they fight it out.
America's course has been driven by mob politics since the Mafia helped Jack Kennedy get in the White House. Only two presidents have apparently been free of mob influence: Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Many of the most important events of our time reflect the influence of criminal forces - from the Mafia to corrupt big time bankers and local drug dealers:
John F. Kennedy: The 1960 election, Castro assassination attempt, Bay of Pigs, assassination
Lyndon B. Johnson: ML King assassination, RFK assassination, SE Asian heroin trade
Richard Nixon: CHAOS, Cambodia, Chile, Watergate.
Ronald Reagan Wall Street scandals, S&L scandal, BCCI scandal, Iran-Contra, Latin American drug trade, domestic spying
George Bush: Iran-Contra cover-up, BCCI cover-up, S&L cover-up
Bill Clinton: Whitewater and associated scandals including ties to the S&L and BCCI scandals
The relationship between the Bush and Clinton families goes back a long way. Here's a timeline:
1984 - Clinton bodyguard, Arkansas state trooper LD Brown, applies for a CIA opening. Governor 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 identifies 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."
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, 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."
1985 - 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.
1987 Terry Reed's plane is returned but, according to his account, he is asked not report it because it might have to be "borrowed" again. Reed later says that he had become aware that the Contra operation also involved drug running and had gotten cold feet. He also believed that large sums of drug money were being laundered by leading Arkansas financiers. He went to Bush asset Felix Rodriguez and told him he was quitting. Reed was subsequently charged with mail fraud for having allegedly claimed insurance on a plane that was in fact hidden in a hanger in Little Rock. The head of Clinton's Swiss Guard, Capt. Buddy Young, will claim to have been walking around the North Little Rock Airport when "by an act of God" a gust of wind blew open the hangar door and revealed the Piper Turbo Arrow.
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.
Harken Energy, with George W Bush on the board, gets rescued by aid from the BCCI-connected Union Bank of Switzerland in a deal brokered by Jackson Stephens, later to show up as a key supporter of Bill Clinton. The deal was also pushed along by another Clinton friend, David Edwards. Edwards will bring BCCI-linked investors into Harken deals including Abdullah Bakhsh, purchases $10 million in shares of Stephens dominated Worthen Bank.
The job of a politician such as Governor Clinton in a situation like Arkansas is not to run things but to keep matters calm and look the other way when necessary. Clinton did this extremely well for the Reagan-Bush illegal Contra-drug operation.
And it worked the other way. The Republican US Attorney Asa Hutchinson knew far more about the massive Arkansas drug trade than he ever let on. Hutchinson apparently not only knew about Seal's operation but when an IRS agent and a state police investigator wanted to take evidence about Mena to a grand jury, Hutchinson let only 3 of their 20 witnesses appear and one of those who did - a banker ready to testify about extensive money laundering - found he was not allowed to tell his story.
There were also a number of occasions leading up to Clinton's impeachment where it seemed clear that the Republicans suddenly backed off because the inquiries were moving onto bipartisan turf. For example, a real investigation into Mena would have hurt both Bush and Clinton. So instead, a corrupt bipartisanship once again arose to save some of our prominent leaders in both parties.
This is all not well understood by the public because the media is loath to admit that anything like this could be going on right under its nose. And liberals don't want to give up their illusion that politics is just a policy debate rather than often something far more sinister. To get some sense of the way the game is sometimes really played, here's an account we ran six years ago:
1999 - Former Arkansas state trooper and Clinton bodyguard L.D. Brown charges in his new book 'Crossfire' that Alphonse D'Amato, after subjecting him to bear hugs, head locks, and other forms of gratuitous bonhomie at a large dinner party, asked, "L. D., that Mena thing, that was just a drug deal gone bad wasn't it?" Writes Brown, "I came away from that conversation thinking he was trying to convince me Mena was nothing but a drug operation. It reminded me of the strange Bush and Clinton connection all over again." Later, D'Amato said to Brown, "C'mon, L. D., let's go take a leak." Brown's lawyer and aide to the senator accompanied them on the trip to the men's room. Here's what happened next, according to Brown:
"There were a couple of people in the rest room. While they finished their business, we also did what we ostensibly came there to do. But there was more business to do. The Senator's aide checked the stalls in the rest room to make sure they were vacant and then walked to the only door leading into the room. The Senator now grabbed me in the familiar headlock. ~~~ Justin [Brown's lawyer] looked around to see what was going on as the aide put his foot at the bottom of the door, thus placing an improvised locking mechanism on it. Then the Senator went for the kill.
"While putting an extra squeeze on the headlock he said, 'L. D., we got to have your help. We need you to cooperate with us.' I could hear by now that people were banging on the door to get in the rest room. 'We're fucking in here!' the aide yelled. D'Amato continued on, oblivious to the commotion as the aide struggled to keep the door shut. 'Now L. D., we'll take care of you, we'll get you a job.' With the cigar in his mouth and his arm around my neck, the Senator looked more like a character from a Mario Puzo novel making me 'an offer I couldn't refuse' than a United States Senator conducting an investigation on the President of the United States. I was shocked and I could tell Justin didn't want to be there either.
"People outside obviously were about to wet their pants while this seemed to drag on forever. The aide was now vigorously struggling to keep the door shut while I had 'the arm' put on me. The Senator finally released his grip and I mumbled something about being concerned for my family as we finally walked out of the bathroom. The aide, clearly exhausted from his bathroom chores went back to the table with Justin and me while being led by the Senator. The party was about to break up and I was wishing I had never come. Justin and I rolled our eyes at each other at what had just happened. We knew it was improper at best to offer jobs to potential witnesses. It also disappointed me to no end to find yet another person in this entire Whitewater fiasco who wanted to use me."
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