Rotten Goulden/Corn
by DCDave

"Mr. Cockburn and Mr. Sinclair note mournfully that Mr. Webb's critics included EVEN such ‘mainstream liberals' as his colleague at the Nation, David Corn." (emphasis added)

The speaker is Joseph C. Goulden in his August 8, 1998, CIA-defending review of White-Out: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press, the new book by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. This book that Goulden trashes gives great credence to the allegations of San Jose Mercury reporter Gary Webb that the CIA-backed Contras imported illegal drugs in large quantities into the U.S., and it faults the mainstream press for their coverage of the Webb allegations.

The Goulden passage here is quite reminiscent of those we have seen along the lines of, "EVEN Kenneth Starr concluded that Vince Foster committed suicide..." This is how our liberal-versus-conservative professional wrestling match is played. Goulden might say "even David Corn" disagrees with Webb, but a more objective and honest person familiar with Corn's writing would have to say, "as one would expect, David Corn of The Nation was among those denouncing Webb for daring to suggest our fine CIA would do such a thing." Consider Corn's May 18, 1998, advance review in The Nation of L.D. Brown's upcoming book , which we give here in full:

Once More Into the Muck

As the Paula Jones case recedes and Kenneth Starr's investigation self-entangles, the right-wing infrastructure--vast or not--is about to lob another stink bomb at the President. Regnery Publishing, the conservative house that cashed in with such anti-Clinton tracts as ex-F.B.I agent Gary Aldrich's unreliable "expose" of the Clinton White House, Unlimited Access, and British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's scurrilous The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, is planning to release another get-Clinton book chock-full of eye-popping charges, according to several sources familiar with the project. The book's author is L.D. Brown, a former Arkansas state trooper, who was a prime source for assorted articles in the right-wing American Spectator depicting Governor Clinton as an unrestrained philanderer who was also neck-deep in a gun-and-drugs smuggling outfit. "In this book, he's going to go into all that and describe how he carried bags of illegal campaign money for Clinton," says a Regnery source. "It's going to be a good book. We're crashing on it." A conservative writer aware of the book says, "This is top secret."

Brown, who now runs a legal and business research company in Arkansas, won't confirm that he is writing a book. Alfred Regnery, the president of the publishing house, mutters, "No comment." But Spectator editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., whose attack-bio Boy Clinton (which claimed Clinton was a "coke-head") was published by Regnery, is not mindful of the secrecy. "Brown has just finished the book, "Tyrrell said in an interview, adding that he was "somewhat instrumental" in helping Brown obtain the contract with Regnery.

In recent weeks, Brown has been drawn into the controversy regarding the flow of money from conservative millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife to the Spectator and (possibly) to David Hale, the Whitewater felon who is Starr's chief witness. The New York Observer reported that Brown was a beneficiary of funds doled out by the magazine's Clinton-chasers.

Brown refuses to talk about his financial relationship to the magazine. But according to Tyrrell, the Spectator handed Brown about $5,000 in 1997. Tyrrell says the money was not part of the magazine's Scaife-funded Arkansas Project, which spent $1.8 million to dig up Clinton dirt, but came instead from another account (Scaife gave an additional $600,000 to the magazine for its Clinton pursuits.) A source close to the ex-trooper notes that the magazine paid Brown via a third party in Arkansas for researching anti-Clinton leads. Tyrrell will not say if Brown's payment originated with Scaife and will not name the person who funneled the money to Brown: "It was one of my investigators, and we're not going to open our books to anyone." Asked what research Brown concluded, Tyrrell quips, "It had to do with extraterrestrial life." How about a serious answer? He declines to provide one.

Brown's relationship with Tyrrell and the Spectator began in the spring of 1994, when the magazine published a long piece based on hours of interviews with Brown in which he alleged that he had solicited women for Clinton and had chauffeured Clinton to numerous extramarital trysts and that Hillary Clinton and Vincent Foster had had an affair. Brown also maintained he had been a close friend of both Clintons until a falling out occurred over a job offer Bill did not honor. Later in 1994, Brown told various reporters he had witnessed a conversation in which Clinton pressured Hale to assist him financially. (Hale's charge that he illegally lent $300,000 to a Clinton partner is one of the centerpieces of Starr's Whitewater inquiry.) Brown has shared his recollection of that discussion with Starr's investigators.

Brown's sex-ridden tales were not entirely unbelievable. Then he hit X-Files territory. He claimed that in 1984, at Clinton's instigation, he had applied for a job at the C.I.A. and was inserted by the agency--without training or vetting--into an operation based in Mena, Arkansas, that smuggled arms to the contras in Central America and flew cocaine back to Arkansas. And Clinton was in on all of this, fully in cahoots with Barry Seal, an infamous drug runner, Felix Rodriguez, an ex-C.I.A. asset and Oliver North's man in El Salvador for contra resupply; and even Vice President George Bush. It's hard-to-swallow uncorroborated stuff, especially since Brown says he was injected into this most secretive of operations solely to observe. But Tyrrell swallowed it and promoted Brown's Mena yarn in his magazine (although other editors there worried about Brown's credibility on this front) and in Boy Clinton.

As for Brown's motives in writing this book, he has charged that Clinton allies have threatened him for speaking out, and he recently complained that his research business is not earning much money. "The fix is still in," a source quotes him as saying. "Bill Clinton has a stranglehold on the legal community in Arkansas." Well, then, it looks like payback time.

Is Brown's book simply the latest blast from a right-wing conspiracy? There IS a network of rightists gunning for Clinton, and it has not yet given up. Scaife supported The American Spectator. The Spectator used Brown as a source. Regnery published a book by Tyrrell exploiting Brown's unproven charges. The Spectator then paid Brown as a researcher, and Tyrrell helped him get a book contract. Now Regnery is hatching a book by Brown that will reprise the salacious stories that Tyrrell deployed to sell his magazine and his book. It's a right-wing merry-go-round. And Regnery is hoping that Clinton-haters will pay for yet one more romp through the muck.

So, has the CIA been smuggling drugs into the U.S. from Central America?

Designated "conservative" Goulden: "That's just left-wing conspiracy talk."

Designated "liberal" Corn: "That's just right-wing conspiracy talk."

David Martin

August 27, 1998

See this interview of Roger Morris for the latest word on the drug-smuggling topic.

David Martin

July 19, 2007

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