Hillary's Secrets.Is that the real Hillary, the "casa-nostra" power-broker? The keeper of family secrets?
Whether it's her background at the Rose Law Firm, her role in the Clinton White House pardons, her little-known testimony at the Iran/Contra hearings, or her silence about the suspicious death of friend Vince Foster, Hillary's ability to keep secrets from the public has been her political currency. Secrets are the source of her power. With the candidacy of Barack Obama, Hillary has a real rival. One who didn't vote to unleash the US war machine in Iraq, and one who has beaten her in two major political primaries. It's time to take a comprehensive look at Hillary's greatest hits.
The "Very Special" Vince Foster: Israeli Spy?
Most progressives tend to think of the sordid topic of Vince Foster's death as the exclusive domain of the Rush Limbaugh right wing radio circuit. But did you know that Vince Foster, Hillary Clinton, and Jonathan Pollard were all simultaneously partners at Rose Law Firm? Yes, that Jonathan Pollard, the unrepentant spy for Israel, arrested and sentenced to life in 1986 for espionage. Did you know that Vince Foster was under CIA scrutiny for the exact same crime at the time of his "suicide" in 1993?
Forbes magazine reported Foster had ties to Systematics, Inc., a software firm doing business with the NSA. Systematics was a Rose Law Firm client, which had acquired (some say stolen) a program to monitor the world's international banking transactions. According to Troy Underhill of Media Bypass magazine, Foster had $2.73 million stashed in a Swiss account, payment perhaps for sharing this software with Israeli intelligence. When the CIA started to close in, that $2.73m was seized by the U.S. Treasury-just weeks before Foster's death.
Foster had been a long-time friend and companion to Hillary. The two shared a brokerage account called Midlife Partners. When Barbara Walters asked Hillary if she had been having an affair with Vince Foster, Hillary lowered her eyes and told the 20/20 cameras, "He was a very special man." When he died, Hillary said publicly that Vince Foster was the last person who would have committed suicide. Friends reported she was genuinely shocked and aggrieved.
Why, then, did Hillary lie under oath about the last time she saw Vince Foster?
Testifying before the Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC) in 1994, she claimed that the last time she had spoken to Vince Foster was on the phone "the Friday or Saturday before Father's Day." Yet documents from the National Archives, acquired by the New York Megaphone, show that Foster's assistant, Tom Castleton, reported he "saw Hillary Clinton in Foster's office approximately four times during the five weeks he was employed." Castleton didn't start working for Foster until after Father's Day, 1993.
According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in a 1996 Telegraph (UK) article, Hillary Clinton asked Vince Foster to help her spy on her libertine husband in 1990. Foster hired Jerry Parks, an Arkansas investigator who later worked as the head of security for the Clinton/Gore campaign. According to Parks's widow, "Jerry asked Vince why he needed this stuff on Clinton. He said he needed it for Hillary." When Vince Foster showed up dead in a Washington-area public park in the summer of 1993, Parks was terrified. Two months later Parks was shot nine times at close range, at a stoplight, in his SUV, in Little Rock. Parks's home was then raided by eight Federal agents, including officers from the FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and (unusual for a domestic case) the CIA.
The same night that Foster died, White House staff working for Hillary raided Foster's office. Hillary may have been upset by the news of Foster's death, but, as claimed by Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) in the comments related to the Whitewater scandal, Hillary's chief of staff Margaret Williams removed certain files from Foster's office.
The official story of Foster's death is highly problematic. Supposedly upset at three critical Wall Street Journal editorials, Foster drove to Fort Marcy Park in Arlington, VA, and shot himself in the mouth with his revolver. However, when EMTs and Park Police found him, they couldn't locate his car keys in his pockets. Eyewitness Patrick Knowlton, who had been trained as a private investigator, reported that Foster's car was not in the parking lot during his time of death. But there had been a mysterious man there, glaring at Knowlton. Other eyewitnesses reported they saw men "in red vests" fleeing the area as Foster's body was discovered. A search of the National Archives FBI files later showed the FBI deleted details of the men in "red vests."
If Hillary Clinton was truly surprised and upset at the death of her friend, she has done a poor job of discovering why he died. The U.S. Court of appeals ordered Starr, over his objections, to include a 20-page statement by eyewitness Patrick Knowlton. There, Knowlton related how he had undergone a terrifying ordeal of FBI and OIC harassment for testifying about the car and the peculiar glaring man in Fort Marcy Park. Knowlton had voted for Bill Clinton. If Hillary had questions about Foster's "suicide" then why didn't she publicly recognize a Clinton supporter in the Starr Report who had been intimidated for saying what he saw?
The Clinton Pardon Frenzy
Ambassador Leo Wanta, a former arms dealer who worked for the Reagan White House as a kind of "off the books" operative, told this reporter that Vince Foster traveled to Switzerland to meet with billionaire fugitive (and pro-Israeli operator) Marc Rich in 1993.
It's no surprise then that Marc Rich was later pardoned by the Clinton White House. While Hillary was campaigning in New York in 2001, Bill was emptying prisons, staying up all night with pardon appeals from hundreds of sentenced criminals. In some cases, the pardons had a direct positive effect on Hillary's political career, or made her brother some cash. The President ultimately pardoned over 100 convicted criminals. The ones linked to Hillary were colorful, including a man with a baldness cure scam and a group of Hasidic Jews who had defrauded the school system.
Bill Clinton was so enthusiastic about pardoning, the Clintons transformed the standard process into a maddening frenzy of get-out-of-jail-free passes for their friends. According to Barbara Olson's book The Final Days, "Phones rang constantly, as if the White House was conducting some kind of pardon telethon... The mounting cases led to friction with pardon attorneys at the Justice Department. The White House resolved this by simply bypassing the Department of Justice altogether."
Towards the end of the Clinton pardoning streak, on the advice of an assortment of figures including influential Israelis and Jewish-American intellectuals, Clinton pardoned billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich, who had traded with then apartheid South Africa. Rich was close to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak despite Rich's business deals with rabidly anti-Israel dictatorships world-wide. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was one of the attorneys who lobbied for Rich.
But while the Rich pardon came to represent the shadiness of Clinton's last-minute political favors, less-mentioned were his pardons of a group known as the New Square Four - four Hasidic Jews who were elders of an exclusively Hasidic community in upstate New York. The Four had created a fictitious school to defraud the government of millions of dollars.
In August 2000, Hillary visited the secluded village and met with Grand Rabbi David Twersky. Three months later, Clinton received 1359 out of the village's 1369 votes for US Senate. Previously, the community had always voted Republican. Two months later, the New Square Four got their Clinton pardon. "I did not play any role whatsoever" in the pardons, said Hillary.
The pardon-fest became even more tangled when her brother, the lawyer Hugh Rodham, joined the fray. Word had gotten out he was willing to use his family ties to plead the cases of convicts in front of the president.
Though he had once been a respectable lawyer, Hugh's fortune had fallen since an unsuccessful Senate run and an even more unsuccessful scheme to sell hazelnuts from the Republic of Georgia. He had taken to hanging around the White House, mostly unwelcome, with his brother Tony. Two of Rodham's clients included L.A. drug kingpin Carlos Vignali and fraudulent "baldness cure" quack Almon Braswell. Vignali, the son of a Democratic donor, gave Rodham $400,000 to petition the president for clemency. Wire transfer records recorded Braswell paid $200,000 for his shot at freedom.
When the evidence came out, Hillary's brother returned the money and dropped out of the public eye altogether.
Meanwhile, Hillary, now the junior senator from New York, continued to make statements similar to her defense in the New Square Four case, saying, "I love my brother. I'm just extremely disappointed in this terrible misjudgment that he made. I knew nothing about my brother's involvement in these pardons. I knew nothing about the money for his involvement. I had no knowledge of that whatsoever." Federal prosecutor Mary Jo White opened an investigation in 2001, but was soon replaced in her post by James Comey, who found no wrongdoing by anyone in or out of the administration, including Rodham. Soon afterwards, Comey was named Deputy Attorney General by George W. Bush.
"Absolutely More Conservative"
In January 2008, the New York Times surprised no one by endorsing Hillary Clinton in the Primaries. They lauded her for "using her years in the Senate well to immerse herself in national security issues." Hillary, claimed the Times, "has won the respect of world leaders and many in the American military."
As Stephen Marshall, author of Hillary-critical "Wolves in Sheeps' Clothing" wrote recently on his blog, "What the Times, and no other mainstream publication, has had the inclination to say is that Hillary has been in the Pentagon's good books for a lot longer than her time in the Senate... It seems that these journalists cannot recall Iran-Contra. Where was it that the infamous drug planes, carrying cocaine from Colombia and returning with weapons for the right-wing Nicaraguan Contras, were landing? Answer? Mena Air Force. In Arkansas."
Marshall reminds us of the little-known testimony Clinton gave in a closed-door session of the Iran-Contra hearings, as a partner in the Rose Law Firm. Rose allegedly negotiated contracts for "tenants" at Mena Airport, including disgraced Clinton associate, and Rose partner, Webb Hubbell. Clinton wasn't testifying about "old airplane parts being stored at the airport" quips Marshall.
In a shocking campaign development, conservative pundit Ann Coulter endorsed Hillary as "absolutely more conservative" than John McCain, in an interview on Fox News, on February 1, 2008. "She's smarter than John McCain, so when she lies she knows it." Coulter might be onto something: Clinton was President of the College Republicans at Wellesey. At a recent speech to the powerful, pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, Clinton claims, "We must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table." Translated from DC-speak, this means that nuking Iran first is among Hillary's considerable "options." She won applause for that at AIPAC.
"Why didn't I hear about any of this in the debates?"
As political campaigners, Obama and Hillary have much in common. Both share the same ideological set of centrist, moderate advisors. Few are willing to hold Hillary accountable for inconsistencies and stonewalls. Obama's opposition research director, Devorah Adler, is a DNC-tied Democrat who developed policy for the Clinton White House. Reached on the phone, Adler refused to talk to the Megaphone on the record.
In a Hillary campaign commercial, released to YouTube to promote a campaign theme song contest, Bill and Hill satirize the Soprano's final episode, with Hillary in the part of Tony. Hillary meets the cold stare of a hit man from a rival mafia family. She stares back, nonplussed and ready for business. Is that the real Hillary, the "casa-nostra" power-broker? The keeper of family secrets?