Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #485 Interview with Robert Parry and Lucy Komisar

Record­ed Novem­ber 11, 2004

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:


Big Medi­a’s Democ­ra­cy Dou­ble Stan­dards

By Robert Par­ry
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
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
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
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

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
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.

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
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.


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