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Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton

Bill Clinton’s presidency, like that of the previous Democrat in the White House, Jimmy Carter, has provided a bounty for right-wing conspiracy theorists. You know, cranky, disgruntled, out-of-touch-with-reality types like, say, Senate minority leader and former presidential candidate Bob Dole.

Shamelessly, considering the Republican’ Iran-Contra imbroglio, Dole spearheaded the call for the special prosecutor to investigate the so-called White water scandal. Named for a real estate deal in which the Clinton couple invested and lost a fair amount of cash about a decade before Mr. Bill came to Washington, dark allegations eddied around the case for months – charges ranging from influence peddling to assassination – but somehow, no one seemed to pin anything on the president and his supposedly equally culpable spouse.

The January 24, 1994 Newsweek declared, with remarkable candor, that “in the Whitewater scandal, Clinton’s real problem may be letting his frustration overcome his judgment.” Which, according to most judicial precedents has yet to become a punishable offense.

A few months later, a March 27 New York Times piece pored over the Clintons’ tax returns, scouring for scuz. Clinton’s lawyer, and Clinton himself, had acknowledged an error in reporting his Whitewater losses. Again, no big scandal. The best the Times could come up with was that the error “raises new questions about how the Clintons responded in 1992 to potentially damaging news accounts suggesting that Whitewater might have been a sweetheart deal.”

“Questions” about “potentially” damning news stories “suggesting” that something “might” have been fishy: not exactly what you’d call “nailing down the story,” but that’s about what the “scandal” came to – not a question of Clinton’s misdeeds, but how the First Couple handled their bad press. Whitewater looked more like a conspiracy against the president than one he was involved in.

Nonetheless, in June 1994 the Senate voted to hold limited hearings into the Whitewater affair. Muscling out a Republican proposal for drag-on-forever hearings, Democrats held the day, allowing the inquiry to zero in on just a few issues – including the suicide of Clinton crony Vincent Foster, which some on the Right (onetime Moral Majoritarian Jerry Falwell – Jerry Fartwell according to Mr. Larry Flynt – is tops among them) claimed was actually a Clinton-sanctioned rubout.

Most of the fussing over Whitewater came from the opposition party, the Republicans, who after twelve years found themselves squeezed out of the White House as well as outnumbered in Congress. But it all seemed rather hypocritical given their years of self-righteous posturing over the far more substantial and serious Iran-Contra affair. Republican reluctance to reopen that still festering wound may explain why they didn’t seize on another Clinton peccadillo that makes Whitewater seem like a cartoon by comparison – one that could tie Clinton to Iran-Contra.

While the dovish draft dodger Clinton doesn’t mingle so comfortably with the Ollie North clique, there is one noteworthy case that hooks him into an arms-for-drugs operation. Seems that one of the secret airstrips from which the CIA – or someone – dispatched planes to Central American that carried weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua and, apparently, cocaine back into the Unites States, was located in a small Arkansas burg called Mena.

It was from this airstrip, in October 1986, that a plane carrying Eugene Hasenfus departed. Shot down over Nicaragua, Hasenfus survived to expose the CIA’s part in the Contra insurgency (which until then had been sold to the public by the Reagan administration as the underdog effort of a ragtag troop of freedom-loving patriots).

The Mena coke smuggling endeavor was real. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry’s Senate subcommittee examined the evidence and deemed it “sufficient for an indictment on money-laundering charges.” Clinton was governor of Arkansas while this covert operation was underway. Nothing suspicious about that. But allegedly he knew about Mena and took no action – in fact, he is said to have aided the coverup.

“I have never seen a whitewash job like what has been executed in this case,” said Arkansas congressman Bill Alexander, who, in what could be construed as a publicity stunt, sent Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh two boxes of the state attorney general’s investigatory files on Mena. “There has been a conspiracy of the greatest magnitude that has not been prosecuted.”

Pressed by Alexander in 1991, as he was gearing up to run for president, Clinton made his first public announcement regarding Mena. He claimed to have authorized a $25,000 allocation for a grand jury investigation of Mena way back in 1988. But the prosecutors who would have received the money deny that any such allocation was offered, and even the governor’s office was forced to fess up that no record of any such funding authorization exists. After Clinton’s statement and its subsequent failure to be borne out by reality, Alexander requested that the federal Justice Department allocate the $25K. According to a report in the Village Voice the money was granted to Arkansas authorities but never reached the police authorities in charge of the investigation.

What would possess Clinton to go along with a coverup of the Mena operation and then apparently fabricate a butt-covering tale about it? that is a matter for the imagination, since no further link between the then-governor and the drugs-and-guns operation has even been established or even suggested by evidence. Hard to believe he was protecting George Bush, who probably knew a thing or two about Mena.

The best guess comes from Mark Swaney, grad student and leader of a grass-roots group that once filed a one thousand-signature petition demanding that the state look into Mena. Swaney’s hypothesis, as recounted in the Voice, involves one Larry Nichols, a Contra enthusiast whom Clinton, for equally unknown reasons, appointed to head the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA). The ADFA under Nichols’s stewardship, according to information Swaney gleaned from a couple of shadowy informants who may or may not have intelligence connections, might have been attempting to win black-budgeted government programs for Arkansas. This policy could have tangled state authorities up with the Mena covert operators.

The ADFA might even have been used to launder drug money, which would clearly pose a PR problem for Clinton and his wife, whose law firm counseled ADFA.

Clinton eventually sacked Nichols for allegedly making unauthorized phone calls to his Contra pals in Central America and sticking the state with the phone bill. Nichols in turn sued Clinton for defamation of character, and from that lawsuit emerged revelations of Clinton’s extramarital dalliance with a cheesy blonde who later praised the governor’s cunnilingual prowess to Penthouse magazine.

All quite interesting, indeed. But perhaps shedding light on Clinton’s bizarre behavior in the Mena scandal may have performed a greater public service.

Mena has produced not a peep from the Republican side, but when it came to Whitewater, Republican leader Dole rather sanctimoniously called on the attorney general to investigate the president, “for the president’s sake and for the sake of the integrity of the attorney general’s office.”

Similar pleas were notably absent from the Republican side in the days of George Bush’s malfeasance-ridden regime (from the Democratic side, too). Coupled with the barrage of playing-to-the-peanur-gallery charges of sexual hijinks aimed at Clinton from various shadowy corners (calling to mind the stories that toppled Gary Hart, who had the best shot of beating Bush in 1988), Dole’s unctuous pronouncement makes one wonder if Clinton’s presidency may not be the victim of sabotage – betrayed by the very cabal he’s worked all his life to join.

Clinton acknowledged his ascendance into this cadre in his nomination acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic convention when he couple Professor Carroll Quigley with President Kennedy as the two most notable influences on his political development, thus acknowledging his affinity with the global banking-and-business elite that aspires to rule the world – at least in the minds of John Birchers and those of amenable perspective – who look upon Quigley’s magnum opus Tragedy and Hope as the confessional that consummates their conspiracy theory.

Quigley was a scholar, man of letters, and Clinton’s favorite professor during his Georgetown University days. There aren’t many politicians who’d use the most important speech of their careers to laud an author whose masterwork promoted the interests of a clandestine organization working to “create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.” But Clinton did.

The same putative Anglo-American Establishment (to cop the title of Quigley’s other major work) spewed forth Bush, who surprised Birchers not at all when he suddenly became infatuated with the phrase, “new world order.”

Right wingers have built a cottage industry in imprecations against the “new world order.” The late Gary Allen, author of the Birch classic None Dare Call It Conspiracy, titled his final paperback tract Say “No” to the New World Order. That was in 1987 when the Bush presidency was but a gleam in George’s shifty eye.

Paranoia on the right was not only prescient, but substantive. The Council of Foreign Relations and related blue-blood cabals have been pushing for a “new world order” in their journals and symposia for years. Quigley was the self-appointed and highly affectionate historian of this meta-aristocracy. And Clinton announced to the world that he loves the guy. New world order redux.

Clinton always had more in common with Bush than he let on. Granted, he ran against Bush as an outsider. But where Bush was once a card-carrying member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, Clinton notched those two plus the dread Bilderberg Group on his curriculum vitae. The difference, such as it is, is that while Bush was born into the Eastern Establishment his preppy portfolio prefabbed, Clinton – hailing from a town called Hope with a drunken dad and a gaggle of illegitimate siblings – is strictly a made guy.

Even Clinton’s Rhodes scholarship seems sinister, taken in context. Cecil “Rhodesia” Rhodes, the zillionaire imperialist who endowed the scholarship fund, founded the Round Table, a British precursor to the Council on Foreign Relations. The idea behind the scholarships was to solidify British imperial dominion by inculcating the best and brightest from the colonies with British values at Oxford, then shipping them home to perpetuate the Empire among their native people.

The scholarships were “on component of Rhodes’s plan to create a one-world government,” writes conspiracy researcher Jim Martin.

Whitewater may not stick, but Clinton’s credential as a one-worlder are beyond reproach.