Reed Irvine - Editor
|February A, 1998|
Reporters flocked to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington at the end of January in search of the vast right-wing conspiracy to get Bill Clinton.. In my remarks to the conference, which were aired on C-SPAN, I said that the only conspiracy I knew of was the conspiracy of the Republican leadership to protect Bill Clinton. That has been quite evident in the failure of the Republican leadership in both the Senate and House to use their investigative powers to expose the moral meltdown within the federal government that has occurred during the past five years.
Republican leaders who addressed CPAC failed to comment on this disastrous development. With few exceptions, they were even reluctant to comment on the Lewinsky affair, the scandale du jour. Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, made only a veiled reference to it, saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, honesty, credibility, decency, trust do make a difference." Sen. John Ashcroft and Steve Forbes, both of whom are contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, were more in tune with the activists in the audience. Ashcroft had them cheering, saying, "Mr. President, if these allegations are true, you have disgraced yourself, your office, and the office of the presidency, and you should leave. Mr. President, you cannot plead the Fifth Amendment to the American people." Forbes recalled that Clinton had promised "the most ethical administra- tion in history," commenting, "Look at what we've got."
Republican Congressional leaders are said to be keeping their lips zippered and their investigative guns holstered on this and other scandals that could seriously threaten Clinton's grip on the presidency because they want to keep Bill Clinton in office until his term expires. They believe that Al Gore will be a more difficult candidate to beat if he runs in the year 2000 as the incumbent president. The Republican House leadership has discouraged members from signing on as co-sponsors of Rep. Bob Barr's resolution for an inquiry of impeachment. Rep. Barr says that were it not for the opposition of the leadership, his resolution would have 200 co-sponsors instead of only 19. Not until Feb. 4, two weeks after the Lewinsky scandal erupted, did the House leadership meet to discuss a possible impeachment inquiry.
Since the "vast right-wing conspiracy" was unable to get the 60-plus conservative organizations that co-sponsored CPAC to agree to allocate more than 30 minutes in its three-day program to discussion of the many serious Clinton scandals, AIM arranged an afternoon briefing on this subject in a large room provided by CPAC. Presentations were made on the cover-ups in the death of Vincent Foster, the crash of TWA Flight 800, the massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco, and the payment of hush money to Webster Hubbell and other money scandals.
Patrick Knowlton told how he knows that Vince Foster's car was not parked at Fort Marcy until after Foster died. He and a couple who were in the parking lot after the estimated time of Foster's death saw a brown, mid-1980's Honda parked where Foster's light gray, 1989 Honda was parked when the police found Foster's body. When the FBI showed Knowlton photos of Foster's car he told them it was not the car he had seen. The couple were still in the park when Foster's body was found. They told the police that the car identified as Foster's was not the same car they had seen in that spot an hour earlier. No one could contradict them, but the FBI tried hard to get Knowlton to change his statement. They even subjected him to intimidating harassment just before he was to testify before the grand jury. He is suing those he believes were responsible for this, and it appears that his suit will be allowed to go to trial.
Knowlton's attorney, John Clarke, discussed the 20-page critique of the Starr report that he submitted to the three-judge panel that appointed Starr. Over Starr's vigorous objections, the judge ordered that it be attached to Starr's report as an appendix. Clarke said that they were not legally obliged to do this, but they apparently decided that readers of the Starr report should see that there is evidence that challenges Starr's conclusions. Clarke's critique covered much more than Starr's disregard of Knowlton's testimony. For example, he included a photo of the black revolver found in Foster's hand and showed how Starr tried to leave the impression that this was the silver revolver that Mrs. Foster brought to Washington.
Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, a retired Navy pilot and crash investigator, discussed the cover-up of the evidence showing that the crash of TWA Flight 800 was caused by the detonation of a large, powerful missile near the plane. This evidence includes the statements of 184 eyewitnesses interviewed by the FBI and physical evidence found in the wreckage. This was discussed in the January-A AIM Report, "Black Box Exposes TWA 800 Cover-up." Adm. Mark Hill criticized the corruption of the aviation accident investigation process, beginning with the Navy's attempt to cover up the real cause of the fatal crash of Lt. Karen Hultgreen as she was attempting a carrier landing. As with TWA Flight 800, the crash was blamed on a flaw in the airplane, but the real cause was pilot error. Lt. Hultgreen was the victim of lower standards the Navy adopted to enable her to qualify for a carrier assignment.
James D. Sanders, author of The Downing of TWA Flight 800, described the persecution he and his wife have suffered at the hands of the FBI and the Justice Department because of his efforts to expose the TWA 800 cover-up. Sanders, who believes that a U.S. Navy missile was involved, had disclosed that orange residue found on seats in rows 17 to 19 of the plane was consistent with the exhaust of a missile. James Kallstrom, who directed the FBI's investigation of the TWA 800 crash, claimed it was merely glue. That was a difference that could easily be resolved by having the residue tested by a third party.
A whistleblower on the team investigating the crash sent Sanders two small pieces of foam rubber encrusted with the residue. He had one analyzed and gave the other to CBS News for testing. The FBI confiscated it and arrested Sanders and his wife, for "aiding and abetting the theft of government property." This is an outrageous charge. The samples were not stolen; they were sent to Sanders to advance the investigation, not impede it. The media swallowed the FBI line just as they swallowed the Navy line in the Hultgreen case. They have not protested the government's persecution of Jim Sanders and his wife, Liz, which Sanders described graphically at our briefing and which we will discuss more fully in our next AIM Report.
Michael McNulty, played an important role in the production of Waco: The Rules of Engagement, which has been nominated for an Oscar for the best documentary of 1997. This documentary has convinced many skeptics on the right and the left that the government committed a terrible atrocity at Waco. McNulty showed additional footage that he has obtained showing that Delta Force personnel were at Waco. He believes they may have been responsible for automatic weapons fire into the rear of the compound at Waco shown on the forward-looking-infrared (FLIR) footage taken from the air. McNulty, who is seeking funding for a follow-up documentary, pointed out that if the military was used at Waco, this would have required the approval of the President.
He called attention to evidence that on the day of his death, Foster was drafting a letter about Waco. This was revealed by the recently released Hearings of the Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development Corporation and Related Matters, Vol. III, p. 1188. If Foster played a highly secret role in the Waco decision, this could help explain why fully half of the 15-page FBI report of its interview with Foster's secretary has been censored. Dr. Robert Hedaya, a psychiatrist contacted by Foster's sister about seeing her brother on a highly confidential basis, was given the impression that Foster was in a bind related to highly classified matter.
Perhaps a Waco file was one of things that was being hidden by the removal of files and blocking the search of Foster's office immediately after his death. The draft letter on Waco that Foster was writing that morning might even cast some light on why he died. The contents and fate of that letter are among the questions Mike McNulty would like to be able to answer in his projected documentary.
Larry Klayman, chairman and general counsel of Judicial Watch, discussed the Clinton money scandals, including what would appear to be the most obvious basis for impeachment of President Clinton-the arrangement of the payment of hush money to Webster Hubbell. The New York Times reported on May 5, 1997, that both the President and the First Lady had lied to reporters when they denied knowing that Hubbell faced indictment on criminal charges when he resigned his post as Associate Attorney General in April, 1994. The Times revealed that the Clintons had been told by two attorneys, David Kendall and Jim Blair, that Hubbell was in big trouble and had to be removed from the Justice Department as soon as possible.
As soon as Hubbell left Justice, the money began rolling in. Vernon Jordan, the Clinton friend who helped Monica Lewinsky get a job offer from Revlon, helped Hubbell obtain $63,000 from the same source. Hubbell received a $100,000 lump-sum payment from Mochtar Riady, of the Indonesian Lippo Group, ostensibly for legal services. USA Today reported that he was paid over half a million dollars in the period between his resignation and his entering prison in December 1994. It isn't clear what, if any work, he did to earn these high fees. Los Angeles hired him, paying him $27,000 to do some work for the city. Hu bbell did little or nothing for the money and the city sued him.
Abe Rosenthal, the former executive editor of The New York Times, said in his column on May 6, 1997, "Until the Times report (of May 5), I found it hard to believe the Clintons would take the risk of an obstruction of justice charge, the accusation that led to Richard Nixon's resignation-and down the same road of stonewalling. And like most Americans, I think, I was and remain sick at the thought of the damage to the U.S. of the destruction in office of another presidency." This story was ignored by other establishment media, and no leading Republicans made any comment on it. Perhaps the House Judiciary Committee will now take a look at it and the other serious scandals discussed here as it ponders the impeachment question.
Even most Democrats who have opinions on these cases have doubts about the accuracy of the official finding that TWA Flight 800 crashed because of a spontaneous explosion in a fuel tank. Even more Democrats, Republicans and Independents apparently have doubts that Vincent Foster committed suicide in the park where his body was found. The case of Ron Brown is more complicated because two investigations are involved. We will discuss it in a separate article below.
Surveys have shown a huge difference between the opinions held by the majority of the public and those held by journalists. On pivotal issues such as gun control, abortion, affirmative action and capital punishment journalists overwhelmingly support positions that often a great majority of the public oppose.
If the questions asked in this Zogby survey were asked of journalists, we doubt that even one percent would agree that the media have been too willing to accept the findings of the official investigations. This is not because the dissenting journalists have done any serious investigating themselves. It is not because they trust other journalists who have thoroughly investigated these cases and have endorsed the official findings. They can't name any who have done so.
It is because they trust the official investigators and refuse to examine the evidence. They are sure that if there were a cover-up someone privy to it would risk his job and perhaps his life to tell them all about it. How naive! Whistleblowers are typically punished, not rewarded. Frederic Whitehurst, the conscientious scientist who exposed the sloppy work being done in the FBI crime lab, tried for eight years to get something done about it, working within the system. He finally succeeded, only by getting Sen. Charles Grassley's help. He was vindicated by an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general, but instead of rewarding him, the FBI placed him on administrative leave. He has been given nothing to do for over a year. James Sanders and Terrell Stacey have paid dearly for their efforts to expose the bizarre way in which the TWA Flight 800 investigation was being mishandled by the FBI.
Accuracy in Media paid Zogby International to include the above questions in its survey. We believe that the media and the politicians are too quick to swallow what they are told by the government, and we wanted to see how many Americans agreed with us. The establishment media have refused to report that eyewitness testimony corroborated by forensic evidence in both the Foster and TWA cases disproves the findings of the official investigations. They have reported little about the medical examiners who say that the hole in Ron Brown's head calls for an autopsy. Nevertheless, the majority of those who know enough about these cases to have an opinion apparently harbor suspicions about the official findings.
Instead of investigating and reporting the hard evidence themselves, the establishment media heap scorn upon those who do-those who keep the public informed through the Internet, talk radio and newsletters such as the AIM Report.
It is difficult to interpret the responses to the question in the poll about the official findings in the case of the death of Ron Brown because there were two separate investigations. The investigation was conducted by the Air Force to determine the cause of the crash of the Air Force plane that killed Brown and 34 other passengers and crew members on April 3, 1996. The plane was approaching Cilipi Airport in Croatia, but went 10 degrees off course and crashed in the mountain to the left of the airport. The Air Force investigation blamed the crash on pilot error. Suspicions had been raised by the discovery that the U.S. ambassador, Peter Galbraith, who was at the airport, had said that a violent storm was raging at the time of the crash, but that was not true. The visibility was five miles and the rain light to moderate. Five planes landed safely before the crash, and none had experienced any difficulties.
Suspicions that foul play was involved in the crash were fueled by the death of Niko Jerkic, the maintenance chief in charge of the navigation aids at Cilipi Airport. He was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound three days after the crash. He was allegedly despondent over a failed romance. Nicholas A. Guarino, who publishes a newsletter called The Wall Street Underground, created a scenario based on Jerkic's death which he claimed was "Top Secret U.S. Government Classified Information." He wrote a report titled Murder in the First Degree. Guarino had previously come to our attention as the author and publisher of a cheaply produced but exorbitantly priced book about the Foster case which we thought was a rip-off.
The first version of Murder in the First Degree claimed that Jerkic had been promised a large sum of money to alter the setting on the VOR beacon at Cilipi Airport to guide Brown's plane ten degrees off course, causing it to hit the mountain. When Guarino was informed that the beacon at Cilipi Airport is non-directional and that the adjustment he described was impossible, he quickly produced another scenario. He wrote, "Jerkuic (sic) will simply shut his beacon down-at the same moment that a decoy beacon is turned on by an American operative sitting near the base of Sveti Ivan" (the mountain).
The Air Force Accident Investigation Board (AIB) found that the plane's automatic direction finder (ADF) was not tuned to the Cilipi beacon. It had remained tuned into the beacon that it had just passed, 12 miles away. The board said that the plane should have been equipped with two ADF receivers because Air Force regulations do not allow changing the ADF for the final approach if there is only one. However, half the Air Force pilots they questioned said they would make the switch despite the regulations. If the pilots on Brown's plane had done so, the plane would not have crashed. This is the best explanation for the crash that the investigators could find.
That does not convince everyone, but that is not the reason we wanted the question about the Brown case included in the survey. It was included because a new controversy erupted with the disclosure by the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review's investigative reporter, Chris Ruddy, that the medical examiners had found a hole in Brown's head that appeared to have been made by a bullet. No autopsy was performed even though it was not evident that Brown had suffered other wounds that were clearly fatal. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma.
Lt. Col. Steven Cogswell of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology included this in his lectures on the mistakes made by medical examiners. He said an autopsy should have been per- formed, and at least two other officers at the Institute agreed with him. One of them, Lt. Col. David Hause, had seen the wound and had recommended an autopsy, but the recommendation was rejected. Also, the original X-rays of Brown's head, which showed what may have been many tiny metal fragments inside the skull, had disappeared. A military photographer, sensing that something was wrong, took photos of the X-rays and Ruddy obtained copies of them.
Ruddy's story was ignored by most of the establishment media, but it was picked up by black newspapers, talk radio shows and Black Entertainment Television. Black leaders ranging from Alan Keyes, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, to Kweisi Mfume, the president of the NAACP, demanded that Brown's body be exhumed and an autopsy performed. This got the attention of the wire services.
The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and the TV network news showed no interest in the story, but on Dec. 29, Anthony Lewis, a liberal New York Times columnist, charged that there was a conservative effort to destroy President Clinton by blacken- ing his character. The heart of the column was an attack on Chris Ruddy, accusing him of (1) "promoting the notion that (Vince) Foster was murdered" and (2) charging that Ron Brown "was actually shot and the plane sabotaged to cover up the killing." Lewis described the latter as "a new conspiracy theory" that Ruddy was pushing.
Ruddy has not charged that Foster was murdered. He has insisted that the case should have been investigated as a possible homicide because there was not enough evidence to rule that out at the time of his death, and there is still not enough today.
Not having seen any articles by Ruddy charging that Ron Brown was shot and the plane was sabotaged, I asked Lewis about his source for that allegation. He admitted that he had not read any of Ruddy's articles. He had relied on what others had written about Ruddy's story, but he could not cite any source that supported his allegation. Nevertheless, he rejected our suggestion that he owed Ruddy a retraction and an apology.
Anthony Lewis displayed the same lack of journalistic integrity that he showed in May 1972 when he sent a story from Hanoi reporting that he had learned from "independent sources" that Nixon's mining of Haiphong harbor was a failure and the ships were sailing in and out. The Times put that story on page one, but it soon had to retract it. Lewis later admitted to me that the "independent" source of this disinformation was the mayor of Hanoi.
The skepticism about the Brown case reflected by the poll could reflect dissatisfaction with the rather inconclusive findings that emerged from the Air Force investigation of the plane crash, agreement with those who say that the failure to perform an autopsy on Brown's body was a mistake that should be rectified, or both.
Send cards or letters to Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. of the New York Times, Rep. Newt Gingrich, and your own Congressman.
A YEAR AGO AT THE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE, CPAC, I EXPOSED THE Communications Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, the 331-page spin manual issued by the White House to friendly journalists to persuade them to stay away from stories about the death of Vince Foster. The White House line was that there was a right-wing conspiracy to plant false stories about Foster’s death in the British press, then bring them back to this country. They would appear in right-wing publications, get discussed on talk radio, and mainstream reporters would be tempted to pick them up. That was the White House’s concept of the “vast right-wing-conspiracy” a year ago. It was utter nonsense. The 331-page document proved nothing, and probably very few reporters who obtained it studied it carefully. But with one known exception, Philip Weiss of the New York Observer, they all seem to have bought the line that anyone who challenged the theory that Foster committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park was a “conspiracy theorist,” a term that translated into “kook.” The White House line was nonsense, but it worked. Even some conservative publications bought it, no doubt to the great delight of White House spinmeisters.
THE STRATEGY WAS TO DIVERT ATTENTION AWAY FROM THE EVIDENCE BY ATTACKING those who had investigated it and were publishing their findings. It worked on the Foster case, and the White House is now hoping it will work on the Lewinsky case. It is a lot tougher sell, because the Lewinsky story was broken by liberal news organizations—The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and ABC News, after Newsweek hesitated and forfeited the scoop it had been working on for months. Nevertheless, absurd as it is, some in the media have tried to build a right-wing conspiracy on the fact that Lucianne Goldberg, the New York literary agent who advised Linda Tripp to tape her phone conversations with Monica Lewinsky is a Republican who did some work for the Nixon campaign in 1972! She was also Mark Fuhrman’s agent, helping him get his book on the O.J. Simpson case published by Regnery, a conservative book publisher. They seized on the fact that Linda Tripp worked in the Bush White House, presumably a den of right-wing conspirators. That is the stuff that was used by some reporters to suggest that there really might be something to the right-wing conspiracy charge.
I HAD A BRIEF CONTACT WITH LINDA TRIPP LAST YEAR. BY CHANCE I LEARNED THAT SHE WAS working at the Pentagon. Since she had been Bernie Nussbaum’s secretary at the time of Vince Foster’s death, I called her up to ask her a few questions relating to the Foster case. She refused to say one word about Foster or anything else. It was a very brief conversation. I have also had a couple of brief phone conversations with Lucianne Goldberg. She was interested in the Foster case, and she believes that Foster did not die in Fort Marcy Park, but she did not give the Lewinsky-Tripp story to a journalist who shares that view. She gave it to Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, who wrote a very critical review of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton. Evans-Pritchard was the Washington correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph who dug up some of the most important evidence that undermines the official line on the Foster case. I suspect that Goldberg gave the story to Isikoff because he is a liberal who demonstrated his integrity in the Paula Jones case. He was assigned by The Washington Post to investigate Paula Jones’s story. He concluded that she was credible, wrote a story to that effect, and did battle with his editors at the Post when they wouldn’t publish it. He subsequently quit and went to work for Newsweek.
IF GOLDBERG HAD GIVEN THE LEWINSKY STORY TO A CONSERVATIVE PUBLICATION, SAY The Washington Times, the White House right-wing-conspiracy spin would have been far more successful. The reluctance of the liberal media to pick up the story, giving a rival paper credit for breaking it, would have been immeasurably greater. If there had been any truth in the thesis of the White House spin manual, The Communications Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, and if Lucianne Goldberg were part of the right-wing conspiracy and had given the story to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for publication in the London Sunday Telegraph, it would have been spurned by the establishment media in this country, just as they have spurned the even more important stories written by Evans-Pritchard and Chris Ruddy on the Foster case. That is unfortunate, and it is a lesson that reporters and editors in the establishment media should ponder.
I AM PERSONALLY GRATEFUL TO MONICA LEWINSKY FOR ONE THING.THOSE IN THE MEDIA who trashed Gennifer Flowers six years ago have been playing and quoting from the tapes that Gennifer made of her phone conversations with Bill Clinton,and we find ourselves saying,“We told you so.”I am particularly pleased to see the Charlette Perry story making news at long last.I tried very hard to get the media to give this story the attention it deserved in 1992.I made a trip to Houston where ABC News was putting on a Viewpoint program on Sept.16. I asked Ted Koppel and ABC News president,Roone Arledge,why they had not told the story of Charlette Perry, a black woman who had been cheated out of a promotion because Gov.Clinton had arranged for the job to be given to Gennifer Flowers.The facts were in the public record in Little Rock because Perry had filed a grievance and a committee had ruled in her favor.Gennifer Flowers ’taped conversations with Clinton included discussions of this matter,including Clinton ’s telling her to lie to reporters if she was asked how she got the job.
THE STORY HAD BEEN PUBLISHED IN NEWSDAY AND IN THE STAR,A SUPERMARKET TABLOID. Despite that,Arledge,Koppel and others on the panel professed not to have heard anything about the story and they showed no interest in learning more.Mandy Grunwald,who was on the panel representing the Clinton campaign,used the standard Clinton tactic of attacking me for daring to raise such a sleazy subject,asserting that the Flowers tapes had been doctored.Joe Goulden and I also discussed this story with Arthur Ochs Sulzberger,Jr.,who had only recently been made publisher of The New York Times.We gave him a copy of the transcript of the Flowers tapes, with the passages highlighted relating to Perry and Clinton ’s admonition to Flowers that she lie about how she got the job.The establishment media refused to touch the story.The kinder,gentler Bush campaign failed to make an issue of it.But thanks to Monica Lewinsky,the Charlette Perry story has now been told in columns in both The New York Daily News and The New York Times.
“PERJURY LOOKED OK TO BILL IN ‘91'"WAS THE HEADLINE ON A NEW YORK DAILY NEWS story by Michael Daly on Jan.25 about Clinton ’s role in getting a state job for Flowers.Daly pointed out that when Flowers expressed concern about reporters trying to find out how she got the job,Clinton advised her,“If they ever ask if you ’ve talked to me about it,you can just say no.”He said Charlette Perry,a black mother of four,was in line to be promoted to the job that went to Flowers.The job description and title were changed to put the job beyond Perry ’s reach and Flowers was advised to revise her resume to fit the new job description.Perry filed a grievance complaint and Flowers was compelled to testify under oath about her qualifications and how she got the job.The tapes show that when she told Clinton about the lies she told at the hearing,Clinton said,“Good for you.”The grievance committee ruled in Perry ’s favor,but that was reversed by the Clinton appointee who engineered the deal and who, according to the Daily News,has been invited to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom.
“THE CLINTON M.O.”WAS THE HEADLINE ON A COLUMN BY BOB HERBERT,A COLUMNIST FOR The New York Times,on February 5.Herbert,a liberal black,wrote,“If we had paid close enough attention to the Gennifer Flowers fiasco in 1992 we would have realized by now that these matters are not just about Mr.Clinton ’s sex life.They are about patterns of lying and abuses of governmental power that are at least as corrupt as accepting money in return for government favors.”He cited the Charlette Perry story as evidence,using the facts cited above. Bob Herbert noted that Clinton had also obtained job offers for Monica Lewinsky,one from our U.N.Ambassador Bill Richardson,which Lewinsky turned down,and one from Revlon,through Revlon board member Vernon Jordan, which was withdrawn when Lewinsky ’s story became news.Herbert commented:“There is a convergence here of matters public and private that is dangerous and repellent....It is about deceit as a way of life....You would think that a great country like America would deserve better.”It ’s too bad Mr.Sulzberger didn ’t recognize this in Oct.1992. A card is enclosed addressed to him.
WE ARE SOMETIMES ASKED IF THESE POSTCARDS HAVE ANY EFFECT.RECENTLY A STUDENT at Brandeis University called Joe Goulden for background information on a paper she was writing about reforms in the Supplementary Security Income (SSI)program which we had criticized for giving disability payments to alcoholics and drug addicts.The checks were often mailed to the drunks at liquor stores and to the addicts through other junkies who were allegedly their monitors.The results were predictable.In the April-B 1992 AIM Report we exposed this scandal and included cards to be sent to congressmen and editors.The Brandeis student told Joe that several congressional staffers mentioned those cards in discussing why the SSI program was eventually reformed,putting a time limit on how long drunks and addicts could be subsidized.Your cards and letters can make a difference.So,keep them flowing!