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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-22-08 03:04 PM
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LAT: Vilified 30 years ago, Carter 'has become a respectable statesman in eyes of Iranian media.'
Perhaps Iran now understands the harm that befell America when Iran participated in a secret deal orchestrated by Reagan and George HW Bush, to refuse to release the American hostages until after the Carter/Reagan presidential election in 1980. GHWB fretted about an "October Surprise" hostage release that would secure Carter's re-election.

Iran made this deal with Reagan and GHW Bush in the months leading up to the election, thereby derailing Carter's hostage negotiations. President Carter lost his re-election.

And, as we remember, as Reagan raised his right hand to be sworn in as President on January 20, 1981, the TV split screen showed the simultaneous release of the hostages.

Then came Iran-Contra.

IRAN: Warming up to once-despised Jimmy Carter

Photo: The Shah of Iran, from left, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the Empress of Iran, and the president's wife, Rosalynn Carter, during a state dinner at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 1977. Credit: National Archives website

The Iranian government has officially and regularly decried former President Jimmy Carter since the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979.
But it looks like some within official Iranian circles are willing to let bygones be bygones, especially now that Carter has defied the Bush administration by meeting with the Palestinian militant group and Iranian ally, Hamas.

Iran's animosity toward Carter stretches back decades. He was, after all, the U.S. commander in chief who toasted deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi months before a popular 1978 uprising against his rule, briefly offered the monarch sanctuary in America and dispatched an ill-fated rescue team to free American diplomats and embassy employees being held hostage in Iran.

But politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Last week, Carter met with Hamas officials in the West Bank and Egypt before sitting down with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in the Syrian capital.
Today, Carter told a news conference in Jerusalem that Hamas is willing to recognize Israel so long as a peace settlement is approved in a Palestinian referendum. Some Hamas officials later backed away, saying they might not accept a referendum, and Carter, a 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner has heaped scorn on Hamas for its continued rocketing of southern Israel.

Nevertheless, the man who was burned in effigy by Iranian demonstrators in Tehran three decades ago has become a respectable statesman in the eyes of the Iranian media.
"Former President Carter puts blames on the Zionist regime for refusing talks with Hamas," said a report on state-controlled Iranian television.
A report published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency under the headline "Carter criticizes US for excluding Hamas from peace talks" notes that the man from Plains, Ga., "criticized the US for lobbying to exclude Hamas from the Middle East peace talks."

The hard-right English-language daily Tehran Times published excerpts of an opinion piece by Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar originally published in the Washington Post:

Now, finally, we have the welcome tonic of Carter saying what any independent, uncorrupted thinker should conclude: that no 'peace plan,' 'road map' or 'legacy' can succeed unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.

Borzou Daragahi in Beirut and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

The Original October Surprise, Robert Parry, October 25, 2006

Original October Surprise (Part 2), Robert Parry, October 27, 2006

Original October Surprise (Part 3), Robert Parry, October 29, 2006

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-23-08 07:54 AM
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1. A kick for the younger DU'ers who might not remember GHWB's role in Iran-Contra
Some of the same actors are in the present administration, wreaking more havoc, because Bill Clinton swept the investigations under the rug in 1993.

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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-23-08 08:40 AM
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2. 14 indictments and 11 convictions
Came from the hearings in a Democratically controlled Congress. The convictions were in 1989. As usual it was the Congress that slacked and lacked and did not do its job. Bush I pardoned most of the convicted administration members. The hearings ended in 1989. Clinton was sworn in in 1993. I'd love to have seen him go back several years and go after them, but that would have ment going after Bush I personally. The rest had already been convicted and pardoned. What Bill did in regard to this scandal that was a few years old when he entered office is not nearly as vital to this cycle as the fact that both candidates seem dang sheepish about going after Bush 2. Of course they are both members of the most compromised Congresses in our history, yet another Congress filled with derelict members looking the other way while the nation screams for justice.
Obama says he will look at things, but has already said many times there are no reasons to Impeach Bush 2. The future of sweeping under the rug appears to be secure in Obama's hands, he's already started sweeping. He's been silent in the Senate about the crimes. As Clinton has.
The idea of looking at Iran Contra as a way of promoting Obama is not really thinking about the youth, who should go read a book instead of what agenda workers have to say. I'd love it if the youth even remembered the history as it occured. They have Google. They have library cards. The Iran Contra hearings had been over for several years in 1993. There had been convictions and pardons. And you are right, Bill did not reopen the whole thing four years after the hearings were over. Nor did the Congress, whose job that really is. Congress again. Democratic Congress in fact. Remember, the Congress can investigate with or without Presidential interest. Just like today. The Congress lacked resolve.
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-23-08 09:42 AM
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3. Robert Parry: Democrats, the Truth Still Matters!
Democrats, the Truth Still Matters!

By Robert Parry
First Posted May 11, 2006

Editor's Note: With the Democratic victories in the House and Senate, there is finally the opportunity to demand answers from the Bush administration about important questions, ranging from Dick Cheney's secret energy policies to George W. Bush's Iraq War deceptions. But the Democrats are sure to be tempted to put the goal of "bipartisanship" ahead of the imperative for truth.

Democrats, being Democrats, always want to put governance, such as enacting legislation and building coalitions, ahead of oversight, which often involves confrontation and hard feelings. Democrats have a difficult time understanding why facts about past events matter when there are problems in the present and challenges in the future.

Given that proclivity, we are re-posting a story from last May that examined why President Bill Clinton and the last Democratic congressional majority (in 1993-94) shied away from a fight over key historical scandals from the Reagan-Bush-I years -- and the high price the Democrats paid for that decision:

My book, Secrecy & Privilege, opens with a scene in spring 1994 when a guest at a White House social event asks Bill Clinton why his administration didnt pursue unresolved scandals from the Reagan-Bush era, such as the Iraqgate secret support for Saddam Husseins government and clandestine arms shipments to Iran.

Clinton responds to the questions from the guest, documentary filmmaker Stuart Sender, by saying, in effect, that those historical questions had to take a back seat to Clintons domestic agenda and his desire for greater bipartisanship with the Republicans.

Clinton didnt feel that it was a good idea to pursue these investigations because he was going to have to work with these people, Sender told me in an interview. He was going to try to work with these guys, compromise, build working relationships.

Clintons relatively low regard for the value of truth and accountability is relevant again today because other centrist Democrats are urging their party to give George W. Bushs administration a similar pass if the Democrats win one or both houses of Congress.

Reporting about a booklet issued by the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank of the Democratic Leadership Council, the Washington Post wrote, these centrist Democrats warned against calls to launch investigations into past administration decisions if Democrats gain control of the House or Senate in the November elections.

These Democrats also called on the party to reject its non-interventionist left wing, which opposed the Iraq War and which wants Bush held accountable for the deceptions that surrounded it.

Many of us are disturbed by the calls for investigations or even impeachment as the defining vision for our party for what we would do if we get back into office, said pollster Jeremy Rosner, calling such an approach backward-looking. (Washington Post, May 10, 2006)

Yet, before Democrats endorse the DLCs dont-look-back advice, they might want to examine the consequences of Clintons decision in 1993-94 to help the Republicans sweep the Reagan-Bush scandals under the rug. Most of what Clinton hoped for bipartisanship and support for his domestic policies never materialized.

Politicized CIA

After winning Election 1992, Clinton also rebuffed appeals from members of the U.S. intelligence community to reverse the Reagan-Bush politicization of the CIAs analytical division by rebuilding the ethos of objective analysis even when it goes against a Presidents desires. (See Parrys Secrecy & Privilege.)

Instead, in another accommodating gesture, Clinton gave the CIA directors job to right-wing Democrat, James Woolsey, who had close ties to the Reagan-Bush administration and especially to its neoconservatives.

One senior Democrat told me Clinton picked Woolsey as a reward to the neocon-leaning editors of the New Republic for backing Clinton in Election 1992.

I told (Clintons national security team) that the New Republic hadnt brought them enough votes to win a single precinct, the senior Democrat said. But they kept saying that they owed this to the editors of the New Republic.

During his tenure at the CIA, Woolsey did next to nothing to address the CIAs politicization issue, intelligence analysts said. Woolsey also never gained Clintons confidence and after several CIA scandals was out of the job by January 1995.

At the time of that White House chat with Stuart Sender, Clinton thought that his see-no-evil approach toward the Reagan-Bush era would give him an edge in fulfilling his campaign promise to focus like a laser beam on the economy.

He was taking on other major domestic challenges, too, like cutting the federal deficit and pushing a national health insurance plan developed by First Lady Hillary Clinton.

So for Clinton, learning the truth about controversial deals between the Reagan-Bush crowd and the autocratic governments of Iraq and Iran just wasnt on the White House radar screen. Clinton also wanted to grant President George H.W. Bush a gracious exit.

I wanted the country to be more united, not more divided, Clinton explained in his 2004 memoir, My Life. President Bush had given decades of service to our country, and I thought we should allow him to retire in peace, leaving the (Iran-Contra) matter between him and his conscience.

Unexpected Results

Clintons generosity to George H.W. Bush and the Republicans, of course, didnt turn out as he had hoped. Instead of bipartisanship and reciprocity, he was confronted with eight years of unrelenting GOP hostility, attacks on both his programs and his personal reputation.

Later, as tensions grew in the Middle East, the American people and even U.S. policymakers were flying partially blind, denied anything close to the full truth about the history of clandestine relationships between the Reagan-Bush team and hostile nations in the Middle East.

Clintons failure to expose that real history also led indirectly to the restoration of Bush Family control of the White House in 2001. Despite George W. Bushs inexperience as a national leader, he drew support from many Americans who remembered his fathers presidency fondly.

If the full story of George H.W. Bushs role in secret deals with Iraq and Iran had ever been made public, the Bush Familys reputation would have been damaged to such a degree that George W. Bushs candidacy would not have been conceivable.

Not only did Clinton inadvertently clear the way for the Bush restoration, but the Rights political ascendancy wiped away much of the Clinton legacy, including a balanced federal budget and progress on income inequality. A poorly informed American public also was easily misled on what to do about U.S. relations with Iraq and Iran.

In retrospect, Clintons tolerance of Reagan-Bush cover-ups was a lose-lose-lose the public was denied information it needed to understand dangerous complexities in the Middle East, George W. Bush built his presidential ambitions on the nations fuzzy memories of his dad, and Republicans got to enact a conservative agenda.

Clintons approach also reflected a lack of appreciation for the importance of truth in a democratic Republic. If the American people are expected to do their part in making sure democracy works, they need to be given at least a chance of being an informed electorate.

Yet, Clinton and now some pro-Iraq War Democrats view truth as an expendable trade-off when measured against political tactics or government policies. In reality, accurate information about important events is the lifeblood of democracy.

Though sometimes the truth can hurt, Clinton and the Democrats should understand that covering up the truth can hurt even more. As Clintons folly with the Reagan-Bush scandals should have taught, the Democrats may hurt themselves worst of all when helping the Republicans cover up the truth.

Hillary Signals Free Pass for Bush

By Robert Parry
December 31, 2007

Hillary Clintons campaign is signaling that a second Clinton presidency will follow the look-to-the-future, dont-worry-about-accountability approach toward Republican wrongdoing that marked Bill Clintons years in office.

That was the significance of former President Clintons remarkable Dec. 17 comment that his wifes first act in the White House would be to send Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush on an around-the-world mission to repair Americas damaged image.


The First Clinton-Bush Deal

Thats exactly what happened in 1993 when Bill Clinton entered the White House after defeating George H.W. Bush.

Clinton and other senior Democrats shut down or wrapped up four investigations that implicated senior Republicans, including Bush, in constitutional abuses of power and criminal wrongdoing during the Reagan-Bush years.

The Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages case was still alive, with special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh furious over new evidence that President George H.W. Bush may have obstructed justice by withholding his own notes from investigators and then ducking an interview that Walsh had put off until after the 1992 elections.

Bush also had sabotaged the investigation by pardoning six Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas Eve 1992, possibly the first presidential pardon ever issued to protect the same President from criminal liability.

In late 1992, Congress also was investigating Bushs alleged role in secretly aiding Iraqs Saddam Hussein during and after Husseins eight-year-long war with Iran.

Representative Henry Gonzalez, a Democrat from Texas who had served three decades in Congress, had exposed intricate financial schemes that the Reagan-Bush administrations employed to assist Hussein. There also were allegations of indirect U.S. military aid through third countries, including the supply of dangerous chemicals to Iraq.

Lesser known investigations were examining two other sets of alleged wrongdoing: the so-called October Surprise issue (allegations that Bush and other Republicans interfered with Jimmy Carters hostage negotiations with Iran during the 1980 campaign) and the Passportgate affair (evidence that Bush operatives improperly searched Clintons passport file in 1992, looking for dirt that could be used to discredit his patriotism and secure reelection for Bush).

All told, the four sets of allegations, if true, would paint an unflattering portrait of the 12-year Republican rule, with two illegal dirty tricks (October Surprise and Passportgate) book-ending ill-considered national security schemes in the Middle East (Iran-Contra and Iraqgate).

Had the full stories been told, the American people might have perceived the legacies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush quite differently.

But the Clinton administration and congressional Democrats dropped all four investigations beginning in early 1993, either through benign neglect by failing to hold hearings and keeping the issues alive in the news media or by actively closing the door on investigative leads.

Clinton let George H.W. Bush retreat gracefully into retirement.
(For details on the scandals, see Robert Parrys Secrecy & Privilege.)

Joining the Cover-ups

In his 2004 memoir, My Life, Clinton wrote that he disagreed with the (Iran-Contra) pardons and could have made more of them but didnt. Clinton cited several reasons for giving his predecessor a pass.

I wanted the country to be more united, not more divided, even if that split would be to my political advantage, Clinton wrote. Finally, President Bush had given decades of service to our country, and I thought we should allow him to retire in peace, leaving the matter between him and his conscience.

By his choice of words, Clinton revealed how he saw information not something that belonged to the American people and had intrinsic value to the democratic process but as a potential weapon that could be put to political advantage.

On the Iran-Contra pardons, Clinton saw himself as generously passing up a club that he could have wielded to bludgeon an adversary. He chose instead to join in a cover-up in the name of national unity.

Similarly, the Democratic congressional leadership ignored the flood of incriminating evidence pouring in to the October Surprise task force in December 1992.

Chief counsel Lawrence Barcella told me later that he urged task force chairman Lee Hamilton to extend the investigation several months to examine this new evidence of Republican guilt, but Hamilton ordered Barcella simply to wrap up the probe with a finding that the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign had done nothing wrong.

Some of the new incriminating evidence including an unprecedented report from the Russian government about its knowledge of illicit Republican contacts with Iran was simply hidden away in boxes that I discovered two years later and dubbed The October Surprise X-Files.

The Iraqgate investigation met a similar fate under Clintons Justice Department, which chose to ignore or dismiss evidence of covert shipments of war materiel to Saddam Hussein during the 1980s.

In 1996, when former Reagan national security official Howard Teicher came forward with an affidavit describing secret U.S.-backed arms shipments to Iraq, Clintons Justice Department went on the offensive against Teicher, trying to discredit him and bullying him into silence.

That same year, the Clinton administration did nothing when Reagans 1984 campaign chief Ed Rollins wrote in his 1996 memoir Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms that a top Filipino politician had admitted delivering an illegal $10 million cash payment to Reagan from Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

"I was the guy who gave the ten million from Marcos to your campaign," the Filipino told Rollins in 1991, according to the memoir. "I was the guy who made the arrangements and delivered the cash personally. ...It was a personal gift from Marcos to Reagan."

The stunning anecdote did attract some press coverage in 1996 but the story died because the Clinton administration made no effort to follow it up. No government investigator demanded that Rollins reveal the identities of the Filipino politician and the Republican lobbyist who handled the pay-off.

(Rollins is now chairman of Republican Mike Huckabees presidential campaign.) (For details on Marcos-Reagan case, see Consortiumnews.coms Huckabees Chairman Hid Payoff Secret.)

Proving Themselves

In the mid-1990s, even as the Republican attack machine pounded the Clintons with allegations about alleged ethical lapses and marital infidelities, the Clinton administration acted like it was determined to prove that it could be trusted with the nations dark secrets, that it could cover up wrongdoing with the best of them.

The consequence for America, however, was different. With George H.W. Bushs dubious public record whitewashed, the door was opened to the restoration of the Bush Dynasty. If the full truth had been known about former President Bush, its hard to conceive how George W. Bush ever could have become President.

Now, as Hillary Clinton seeks a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses to solidify her image as the inevitable Democratic nominee, she appears ready to pick up the mantle as the Democratic protector of the Bush Familys legacy. Though she may utter some tough words about George W. Bush on the campaign trail, shes not likely to follow up if she wins the White House.

If Bill Clinton is telling the truth about Hillary Clintons first thing to do as President recruiting George H.W. Bush for a worldwide goodwill tour on behalf of Americas image that will require closing the door on any serious investigation of George W. Bush.

The two dynastic families then can look to the future, again.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. -----George Santayana

(Parry allows unlimited use of his articles at consortiumnews.)

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