Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Crime Pays: Another Iran-Contra Atrocitist Rises From the Depths

(via Avedon Carol; corrected version*)

Here's a ringing endorsement – from a Republican elder – for a top Bush official in a highly sensitive Pentagon post: at least he's not a murderer or a rapist.

Yes, that's the high praise heaped on Robert L. Earl, chief of staff to Gordon England, the acting Deputy Secretary of Defense who took the place of Paul Wolfowitz and is now nominated for the permanent post. Earl is yet another of alumnus of Iran-Contra – you remember, the criminal conspiracy where the Reagan-Bush gang defied the law of the land by supplying their terrorist army in Nicaragua with slush funds obtained by secretely selling arms to the terrorist-backing regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. Earl confessed to lying to the FBI about his role in the crime, which consisted mainly of stealing national security documents and destroying them at the behest of his boss, the terrorist-facilitator Oliver North.

Earl was granted immunity for his testimony in special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh's probe of the scandal – a probe that was taking the rock-ribbed Republican investigator straight into the office of George H.W. Bush, where all the tangled skeins of the affair seemed to gather in a tight knot. But the fearless prosecutor – who, quaintly, put duty above party – was derailed by a series of blows: first, Bush pardoned a raft of top conspirators in one of the final acts of his failed presidency; then Bill Clinton inexplicably put the kibosh a number of investigations, including some red-hot Congressional probles, into Bush-era crimes – not only Iran-Contra, but the now-forgotten "Iraqgate" (Bush's secret arming of Saddam Hussein – long after he "gassed his own people") and the even more sinister (and even more forgotten) BCCI scandal. The U.S. Senate described BCCI as perhaps the largest criminal enterprise in history, a network of banks fronting for all manner of nefarious activities – gun-running, dope-dealing, intelligence "black ops," extortion, bribery, prostitution, fraud. One of little Dubya's business bail-outs came from one of BCCI's many tentacles – a bail-out arranged by mysterious Arkansas tycoon Jackson Stephens. That would be the same Jackson Stephens who, in 1992, was one of the largest political contributors to two candidates: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

(Still wonder why Bill and Old George have become such bosom buddies these days?)

Anyway, the immunized Earl never served time for his admitted crimes. And now he's been "rehabilitated" by Bush II – put in a job where he actually oversees the kind of sensitive intelligence documents he once stole and shredded. He joins convicted perjurer Elliot Abrams, who now directs Middle East policy for Bush's National Security Council. (What next? Ollie North for that open Supreme Court slot any day now. Why not?) But as we all know by now, "it's OK if you're a Republican." GOP elder Warren Rudman absolved the Iran-Contra criminal conspirator for his "one mistake," he told the LA Times. After all, "it's a little different than murde, rape or grand larcency," he added.

Of course, Earl actually did steal classified documents – doesn't that still count as larceny? Oh well, it is true that he didn't murder or rape anybody. And as the Scarlet Pimpernel used to say, Odd's fish, that's something, isn't it?

Then again, the Iran-Contra scam enabled the Contra terrorist army and their Latin American allies to rape and kill a lot of people. It was also part of the US policy of supplying both Iran and Iraq during their brutal conflict, a deliberate attempt to prolong the war and weaken both nations. The dead, raped and wounded from that Reagan/Bush-stoked war runs into the millions.

But it was just "one mistake," right? I'm sure Earl and all the boys had their hearts in the right place.

[*Corrected from earlier version, which mistakenly listed Earl as Deputy Secretary of State, not Defense. My apologies.*]