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For The Record  

FTR #485 Interview with Robert Parry and Lucy Komisar

Recorded November 11, 2004
REALAUDIO

This broadcast covers a range of topics. Featuring the work of premier journalists Robert Parry and Lucy Komisar, the program begins with Robert’s discussion of the gross irregularities in the 2004 election process. A sharp discrepancy between the exit polls (generally viewed as very reliable) and the ultimate election results is among the indicators that the 2004 election was tampered with in a serious way. Robert’s Consortium News (www.consortiumnews.com) was one of the few media outlets to report and analyze the disparities in the voting statistics. For doing so, they were branded as “spreadsheet-wielding conspiracy theorists” by the Washington Post. Robert points how characteristic this is of the so-called “liberal news media.” Far from being liberal, they are in fact very conservative—often dishonestly so. After highlighting the Republicans’ development of a well-financed media/think tank nexus following the humiliating defeat of Watergate. This application of what the CIA calls “perception management” is essential to the success of the GOP and the Bush administration. Next, the show turns to the subject of the Iran-Contra scandal. Robert and his colleague Brian Barger first reported the existence of Oliver North’s back-channel support network for the Contras, and freshman Senator John Kerry led the congressional investigation of its operations. In particular, Kerry basically “cracked” the Contra-cocaine connection and endured the open ridicule of the media establishment for doing so. Lucy Komisar joined the program at this point and detailed the operations of the BCCI, highlighting the bank’s profound involvement in the intelligence and financial scandals of the ‘80’s. Of particular significance is the bank’s links with the Afghan mujahadeen and people and institutions linked to Osama bin Laden. And the milieu of the BCCI is the milieu of the Bush family. Lucy highlights John Kerry’s central role in pursuing the BCCI affair. As was the case with the Iran-Contra scandal, Kerry led the way. After Lucy reviews the fundamentals of the October Surprise story, she discusses the Clearstream network and its apparent involvement in that case. The program concludes with Lucy and Robert pointing out how the same cast of characters figures in the interrelated intelligence-related scandals running through the last two decades.

Program Highlights Include: An apparent PLO connection to the October Surprise; the role of Khalid bin Mahfouz in the BCCI scandal; Bin Mahfouz’s links to Islamic charities that have funded Al Qaeda; Lucy’s synopsis of the role of offshore banking havens in world affairs; the media establishment’s trashing of Gary Webb for his story about the Contra/Cocaine traffic; the active obstruction and media criticism Kerry received for his investigation of BCCI; current FBI chief Robert Mueller’s cover-up of U.S. governmental complicity in the BCCI case.

1. The program begins with discussion of The Washington Post’s unfair (and frankly ludicrous) characterization of Robert Parry’s Consortium News as “Spreadsheet-wielding conspiracy theorists” for their circumspect, judicious examination of the anomalies in the vote count in the 2004 election. Specifically, Robert noted the discrepancy in the exit polls (which showed Kerry winning) and the ultimate results of the election. Robert encapsulates the information presented in the stories presented below. Of particular note is the fact that Republican Dick Morris observed that it was extraordinary to blow even one exit poll, let alone polls in all six swing states. (Morris then proceeded to spin a conspiracy theory that maintained that Kerry supporters were more “chatty” than Bush supporters.) Consortium’s work on the election was covered in these stories:

2.


Big Media’s Democracy Double Standards

By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews.com
November 23, 2004

The Washington Post and other leading American newspapers are up in arms about the legitimacy of a presidential election where exit polls showed the challenger winning but where the incumbent party came out on top, amid complaints about heavy-handed election-day tactics and possibly rigged vote tallies.

In a lead editorial, continue original article

Washington Post’s Sloppy Analysis
By Sam Parry
ConsortiumNews.com
November 12, 2004

The Washington Post and the big media have spoken: Questions about Nov. 2 voting irregularities and George W. Bush’s unusual vote tallies are just the ravings of Internet conspiracy theorists.

In a Nov. 11 story on A2, the Post gave continue orginal article

Evidence of a Second Bush Coup?
By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews.com
November 6, 2004

Theoretically at least, it is conceivable that sophisticated CIA-style computer hacking – known as “cyber-warfare” – could have let George W. Bush’s campaign transform a three-percentage-point defeat, as measured by exit polls, into an official victory of about the same margin.

Whether such a scheme is feasible continue original article

Bush’s ‘Incredible’ Vote Tallies
By Sam Parry
ConsortiumNews.com
November 9, 2004

George W. Bush’s vote tallies, especially in the key state of Florida, are so statistically stunning that they border on the unbelievable.

While it’s extraordinary for a candidate continue original article

[For details on the Florida turnout in 2000, see MSNBC. For details on the 2004 Florida turnout, see CNN.]

3. Next, Robert highlights the myth of the “liberal news media”. Despite the drumfire from conservative media pundits about the media having a liberal bias, the fact is that the media have an overt conservative bias. Although the majority of reporters and staffers are relatively liberal, they do not exercise editorial authority over the media outlets. That authority is exercised by powerful people who realize a corporate agenda that could be described as conservative, if not outright reactionary. He notes that, following the Watergate scandal, the Republicans and their conservative reporters put together a vast, right-wing media machine. This media apparatus, in turn, was closely affiliated with a series of right-wing think tanks that generated many of the “ta

lking points” and the party line on key issues that were trumpeted by the right-wing media establishment.

4. The discussion then turns to the subject of the Iran-Contra scandal. Robert Parry and his colleague Brian Barger broke the story of the Oliver North back channel intelligence operation that supported the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. Following the downing of Eugene Hasenfus’s plane in 1986, the full extent of the scandal broke.

5. A major focal point of the program is the fact that freshman Senator John Kerry “took the point” in exposing the fact that a considerable amount of the Contra’s finances were derived from cocaine trafficking. Kerry was branded a “randy conspiracy buff” for his trouble. Robert Parry’s article for Salon.com:

How John Kerry exposed the Contra-cocaine scandal
By Robert Parry
Salon.com

Derided by the mainstream press and taking on Reagan at the height of his popularity, the freshman senator battled to reveal one of America’s ugliest foreign policy secrets. October 25, 2004: In December 1985, when Brian Barger and I wrote a groundbreaking story for the Associated Press about Nicaraguan Contra rebels smuggling cocaine into the United States, one U.S. senator put his political career on the line to follow up on our disturbing findings. His name was John Kerry.

Yet, over the past year, even as Kerry’s heroism continue original article

6. At this point in the broadcast, Lucy Komisar joins the discussion. One of the institutions that was centrally involved in the Iran-Contra machinations was the BCCI. Lucy highlights that Bank’s involvement with Oliver North’s network, as well as the Reagan and Bush administrations’ use of the bank to arm Saddam Hussein. After noting that BCCI was used to launder money for terrorists and drug dealers, Lucy also notes the involvement of the BCCI with the funding of the Afghan mujahadeen. Among the principals of the BCCI were people such as Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz. Mahfouz was heavily involved with the Muwafaq Foundation, an Islamic charity allegedly involved with funding Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Lucy recently published a very important story on the BCCI, setting forth the pivotal role of John Kerry in exposing the scandal. As was the case with the Contra/Cocaine case, Kerry “walked point” with the BCCI case and was repudiated for doing so. In addition, congressional committees and government agencies that should have cooperated with Kerry’s investigation failed to do so. Lucy’s article is reproduced below:

The Case That Kerry Cracked
By Lucy Komisar
AlterNet.org
Posted October 22, 2004

As a senator, John Kerry was a tenacious investigator and exposed BCCI, an international criminal bank, and its murderous clients. The experience should serve him well in dealing with the international threats we face today.

One gets an eerie sense of déjà vu watching John Kerry battle the Bush clan. He’s done it once before, against the old man, President Bush’s father, though many voters have probably forgotten. That battle involved the first Bush administration’s attempt to put the lid on an investigation that connected a worldwide criminal bank to narco-traffickers, terrorists, and to Middle East money men who helped the Bush family make piles of cash. Those links connect to people now on the U.S. post-9/11 terrorist list.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kerry fought continue original article

7. In connection with the discussion of Lucy’s remarkable article, one should not fail to notice that the Justice Department’s cover-up of the BCCI case was overseen by Robert Mueller, now head of the FBI. We have noted that Mueller has also covered up Operation Green Quest. That investigation linked the milieu of the BCCI to the milieu of the funders of Al Qaeda. The milieu of the BCCI is very closely linked to that of George W. Bush.
THE SCALE OF THE COVER-UP OF BCCI IS EXEMPLIFIED BY THE STARTLING FACT THAT, AS LUCY NOTES IN THE ARTICLE ABOVE, ONCE THE BCCI CASE BEGAN, SEVEN FIRES BROKE OUT IN THE FIREPROOF LONDON WAREHOUSES IN WHICH THE BANK’S RECORDS WERE STORED. IN ONE OF THOSE FIRES, FOUR FIREMEN DIED.

8. Next, Lucy explains the role in contemporary business of the offshore banking and tax havens, of which BCCI is one.

9. The conclusion of the program deals with the October Surprise, the deal cut between the Reagan/Bush campaign and the Iranian Islamic fundamentalists to withhold the U.S. hostages taken from the American Embassy until after President Carter’s humiliation and consequent election defeat are assured. Lucy summarizes the role of the Clearstream network in some of the financial transfers involved in the October Surprise.

10. Next, Robert Parry details his own experiences covering the October Surprise story. After a Congressional task force dismissed the allegations, the substance of the investigation was substantively verified by disclosures coming by way of French intelligence (specifically Alexandre de Marenches) and the files of the former KGB. Nonetheless, the mainstream media refused to acknowledge this critically important discovery. Robert actually founded Consortium News (initially) to provide an outlet for this critical information.

11. A fascinating aspect of the investigation concerns an apparent PLO connection to the October Surprise machinations. This is discussed in the Consortium article presented below:

Arafat & the Original ‘October Surprise’
By Morgan Strong
ConsortiumNews.com
November 2, 2004

A top aide to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has dropped a new clue about the original “October Surprise” mystery of 1980: the name of the Republican operative who sought the Palestine Liberation Organization’s help to block President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 Americans then being held hostage in Iran.

Longtime Arafat confidant Bassam Abu Sharif said continue original article

[For more details, see Robert Parry’s new book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq: also see Robert Parry’s Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery.]

12. In their concluding comments, both Lucy and Robert noted that the same cast of characters crops up throughout a couple of decades of scandal—from the October Surprise, through the overlapping Iran/Contra, BCCI and Iraqgate scandals, right on up through the investigation into Osama bin Laden and 9/11. In all of these imbroglios, the same villains and the same institutions hold center stage.
IT IS THE SAME VILLAINOUS CAST OF CHARACTERS THAT DOMINATES THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND ITS ATTENDANT PERSONNEL AND INSTITUTIONS.

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