July 05, 2007
Does the “Scooter” Libby commutation story have legs? Will it make any real difference in terms of bringing back a modicum of integrity and honesty to the capital of the world’s last standing “Superpower”? Or is it just another bump in the road for an Administration which is now routinely being blasted as the worst Presidency in America’s history? True, Democrats will try to milk the scandal for all it is worth. It’s only fair. But the Dems can’t milk it too much or for too long, thanks to Bubba Clinton’s atrocious Presidential track record with respect to pardons. The Clinton Presidency, in case you may have forgotten, was a near perfect storm of fraud, hypocrisy and lies. And yet Bubba’s ambitious wife is now poised to put both of them, as a team, back into the White House. This would amount to the greatest political comeback in history. At the moment, Hillary is shamelessly exploiting the “Scooter” commutation controversy, even though she knows full well that her husband acted as least as rottenly as Cheney and Bush when Bubba granted a full pardon to the international financier and commodities trader, Marc Rich, in January of 2001. Talk about getting the government we deserve! We’ve got it with Cheney and his sidekick, and we’re going to get it again with Bubba and his wife.
Recall that billionaire fugitive fraudster Marc Rich was pardoned in the last minutes of Bubba’s Administration. And why was that? It was for the simple reason that (a) Rich had funneled a ton of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars at least, via surrogates and his ex-wife, into the coffers of Democrat Party causes, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and into the Clinton Foundation for Bubba’s Presidential Library; and (b) because Rich had ingeniously placed the upper echelon of the Israel Lobby, the most powerful Lobby in Washington, on his payroll to go to bat for him. And they did, everybody from Abe Foxman of the ADL to Ehud Barak, the Prime Minister of Israel. This is part of the Clinton legacy, both Clintons. Bubba and Hillary calculated at the time that quashing the 51-count indictment against Marc Rich for racketeering and tax evasion in favor of giving him a full pardon would soon be forgotten. They were right.
The then-Prime Minister from Tel Aviv, Ehud Barak, pleaded for Clinton to pardon two individuals. The first was convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard. Remember him? He remains in the federal penitentiary at Allenwood, Pennsylvania, serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. Can you imagine? If Barak had succeeded in springing Pollard, both he and Pollard would have been greeted at the Tel Aviv airport as heroes. Bubba was on the verge of doing the deal. The political and financial mileage which the act would have generated for the Democrats and for him personally made it tempting. What stopped him? The CIA and the entire U.S. intelligence community went into a revolt, and George Tenet informed Clinton that he (Tenet) would be forced to resign immediately. So Bubba backed down.
But then came Barak’s intercession on behalf of the commodities wheeler-dealer, Marc Rich, who had fled New York for Switzerland and Israel in 1983. Another worthy cause, right? For years Rich had been represented in the U.S. by Mr. Irving “Scooter” Libby, Esquire, a “neocon” Republican. The glad-handing, upbeat, former Clinton White House counsel, Jack Quinn, a life-long Democratic Party operative, was brought in by “Scooter” to perfume the room and front the deal. At the end of the day, no plea was required for Marc Rich and no return to New York to face a hearing. Just a clean-slate, which a Presidential pardon provides. Presto!
The transaction was a brazen quid pro quo, predicated upon money and nothing but. To justify himself and play the Israeli card, Bubba maintained in a fascinating, rambling and inexplicable letter to the New York Times of February 18th, 2001 that “foreign policy considerations” helped determine his decision to “move forward”. Among other factors taken into account, the Mossad was praising Rich as an unselfish agent who had used his business contacts in “enemy countries” to evacuate Jews to Israel. In the current case involving “Scooter”, the evident quid pro quo is not money to Democratic and Israeli enterprises, but rather the continued silence of “Scooter” himself about the wholesale fraud and dishonesty inside the Cheney White House, which fraud and dishonesty in service to the “neocon” agenda launched America into that bottomless pit code-named “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. These are “foreign policy considerations” of the first magnitude for certain, based on considerations related to those used by Clinton to justify his pardon of Marc Rich. Get the drift? Who’s doing the time? In effect, we are. Who’s paying the fine? We are. Whose Army and Marine Corps are being expended and debilitated in an urban guerrilla war in Iraq for no rational reason? Ours. The question is, why?
The key is to control the agenda… all sides and both political parties. For this, money is paramount and influence-peddling is a close second. Then there is ignorance. This last ingredient is what makes the American system work. For those in control, ignorance is a godsend, their key to power. Ignorance is good. I’m talking about the ignorance of the ruled, those on the receiving-end, the populace as a whole. Just look at Bush and Cheney, for starters. Then look at Hillary and Bubba. And then at the other front-runners in the dreary, me-too contest for the White House, both Democrats and Republicans. For all of them, the more ignorance, the better. The less memory, the better. It is what these characters count on to succeed. No one cares about the Clinton record anymore. Indeed, when compared to the abysmal duo of Cheney and Bush, Clinton now appears to some like a breath of fresh air. And very few comprehend what this “Scooter” Libby affair is really all about. In any event, “Scooter” will fade from the skyline fast, and be gone. Then we will be stuck with Hillary. The same hidden agenda will remain in place.
Patrick Foy is author of The Unauthorized World Situation Report.