Beast of the Month - July 1998
Richard Mellon Scaife, Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Kingpin
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
Hillary Klinton on NBC's Today show, Jan 27, 1998
Five years ago this month, on the 24th anniversary of man walking on the moon, White House Counsel Vince Foster was found dead in the middle of Ft. Macy Park. His death was quickly ruled a suicide, but the evidence to many appeared to be pointing to another cause of death, namely murder. Slowly, even in the mainstream media - encouraged by smirking Jay Leno monologue jokes and often screaming accusations by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy - something has been whispered that normally wouldn't be uttered in political conversations: did President Clinton (or, as we prefer, Klinton) and her husband Slick Willie have Vince Foster murdered?
True, there have been many more scandals that Bill Klinton has been associated with (many of which are linked together): Whitewatergate, Menagate, Filegate, and the recent suspicious death of Jim McDougal - not to mention Jennifer Flowers, the Paula Jones suit and his Monica Lewinsky Peckergate problems. Still, the "suicide" of Vince Foster (dubbed "Fostergate" in usual "link every scandal to Watergate" title-making) is the Godzilla of the Klintonian monsters, labeled by our Beast of the Month Richard Mellon Scaife as "the Rosetta Stone to the whole Clinton administration." If Vince Foster was murdered (and indeed it appears as he was), and if the Klintons were behind it, then Bill Klinton isn't just a lying corrupt hypocrite (not to mention a pot-inhaling, wife-cheating, draft-dodger), but he is guilty of murder in the first degree.
There is a problem with some of these allegations, however, a problem quite apparent as one reads many of the sensationalized claims: most of the big players in the Klinton-bashing frenzy are so weasly themselves, the claims seem to have no value to many in the underground investigative field.
The Lewinsky tentacle of the Peckergate Octopussy illustrates this point quite well. When one views the main characters behind the story, they have the markings of covert operatives all over them, so much that the Klintons appear to be a "victim" of a conspiracy plot that has as much to do with the military-intelligence community as it does with the right-wing.
For example, Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky's "friend," has stated on her resume that she was an "operations assistant" at Delta Force in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and an "administrative assistant" at U.S. Army Intelligence headquarters. Her service at Delta Force is described quite simply: "the nature of this position is classified." Fort Bragg, in case you didn't know, is rather notorious for being a center for the blackest of covert operations, such as political assassinations and heroin operations. Her Army Intelligence stint is described as being an "assistant to the director, handling correspondence, tracking of classified case files ... assisted in the coordination of a far reaching political international mission." In her testimony before the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1995, Tripp stated, "I've worked on the covert side of the Department of Defense ..."
Tripp has perhaps an even more suspicious connection: in 1993, she was Executive Assistant to the Counsel to the President, the office of Vince Foster, one of the few holdovers from the Bush Administration. On July 20th, she got Vince Foster a burger and some M&M's from the cafeteria and became the last known person to see him alive. All of which makes some interesting possibilities: one of the more disputed Vince Foster theories, popularized by James Norman and J. Orlin Grabbe, posits that Foster was a liaison between the NSA and CIA on its installation of the PROMIS software in banking transactions. This claim is supported by the fact he had been making frequent flights to Switzerland - trips that often only lasted a day - often buying tickets at "executive fare" discount, available only to government officials, even before he officially was working for the U.S. government. As investigative reporter Ambrose Evans-Pritchard would ask about this curious fact: "Was Foster a U.S. agent at a time when he was ostensibly in private practice as a Little Rock lawyer?" Very possibly. In any case, the Pentagon has a history of placing covert intelligence operatives into low-level staff positions. Tripp certainly fits the bill, and it is likely that she was a mole in the Counsel office passing information to the DOD. That being the case, if Vince Foster was indeed murdered, it is likely that she is more involved with those behind the killing than the White House, who she has been so eager to point the finger at.
Nor is she the only one pointing fingers at the Klintons. Lucianne Goldberg, who in her own words, "encouraged her friend Linda Tripp... to tape conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky," has acted as Tripp's literary agent on a proposed book, and represented others for numerous anti-Klinton books, including one about the Vince Foster death written by, of all people, Nazi-crazed ex-LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman. Previously, in 1972, she was a dirty-tricks operative for Tricky Dick's CREEP organization - one of the most honest acronym's in history. Posing as a reporter, she traveled with the McGovern campaign. She told the late Anthony Lukas that the Nixon people "were looking for really dirty stuff...who was sleeping with whom, what the Secret Servicemen were doing with the stewardesses, who was smoking pot on the plane -- that sort of thing." Asked if she was part of the Nixon dirty tricks operation, Goldberg said, "Well, they called it dirty tricks at the time." For this, Goldberg was paid $1,000 a week by the Republican Party, or a total of more than $10,000 plus expenses.
Goldberg also worked for NANA (North American Newspaper Alliance), supplying an address for NANA identical to her residence in Manhattan. JFK Assassination researchers note that NANA supplied Priscilla Johnson McMillan with the job (or perhaps cover) to travel to Moscow in 1959 to interview defector Lee Harvey Oswald. NANA was created by a senior veteran of OSS, Ernest Cuneo. One of NANA's partners was Fortune Pope, brother of Generoso Pope, Jr. - true founder of the supermarket tabloid via The National Enquirer in 1952. (In 1951, according to his own listing in Who's Who in America, Generoso worked for the CIA in their psychological warfare division.) Lucianne Goldberg's husband, Irv (who is now a senior vice president at United Media, which syndicates comic strips such as "Dilbert," thus being a conspiracy too nefarious for The Konformist to touch), was a NANA editor from 1957 through to the 80's, and also served as an editor for Women's News Service, the "journalistic" organization Lucianne used for her CREEP operation cover.
All of which doesn't mean Klinton didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or that he didn't urge her to lie under oath. (It certainly wouldn't be out of character.) It does mean that, considering their histories, the guilt or innocence of Slick Willie isn't the reason why Tripp or Goldberg are behind the promotion of Peckergate.
Still, though Tripp and Goldberg are the major instigators in Peckergate, they are mere pawns in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (VRWC for short.) Even Ken Starr, whose 30 million dollar conflict-of-interest-plagued "investigation" of Whitewater has expanded into looking into Klinton's relations with Monica (which doesn't seem to have a lot to do with S&L swindling and money laundering in Arkansas), is just a wind-up attack dog. The real power behind the VRWC is billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a fourth-generation heir to the Mellon fortune.
Richard Mellon Scaife, like Tripp, Goldberg, and Starr, is indeed right-wing, in his case so rabidly reactionary that even Lyndon Larouche has termed him "crazy." But, like Tripp and Goldberg, he has big ties to the intelligence establishment. That shouldn't be surprising, considering the family history: in 1934, the Mellons (along with the Duponts) attempted to finance a military-linked fascist coup against FDR. When the OSS was founded, covert operations were often bankrolled by Wall Street families, and the Mellons were among them, Paul Mellon becoming OSS station chief in London and liaison to British Intelligence. After WWII, Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain note in Acid Dreams, "members of the Mellon family maintained close ties with the CIA. The Mellon family foundations have been used repeatedly as conduits for Agency funds. Furthermore, Richard Helms was a frequent weekend guest of the Mellon patriarchs in Pittsburgh during his tenure as CIA director (1966-1973)." William Mellon-Hitchock - according to the always poetic Larouche - became "the Daddy Warbucks of the Counterculture," funding mass-production and distribution of LSD, just as the CIA was testing it as a mind-kontrol aid for its MK-ULTRA program. Then there is the Hoover Institution near Stanford University, a right-wing "think-tank" behind the presidential campaigns of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush, which has long been a favored recipient of funding from the Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation. Richard Mellon Scaife sat on its board of directors in 1963, when it was searching for a Republican candidate to succeed the newly assassinated John F. Kennedy.
That family history aside, Scaife has some impressive intelligence credits of his own. He was behind a major CIA propaganda effort based in London, beginning as a group known as Forum World Features in the 1960s, which became the Institute for the Study of Conflict in 1970. Both were funded jointly by Scaife and the CIA. He is also a major financier of Reed Irvine's Orwellian-named Accuracy In Media (AIM) the right-wing disinformation unit with major ties to the CIA and the Mikkies (military-industrial komplex.) With this history, it should be no surprise that Scaife was listed as one of the CIA's Mockingbird operatives in Alex Constantine's expose on the intelligence establishment's iron grip on the korporate media.
How much of his work is intelligence work, how much of it is ideological, and how much of it is just him looking after his own interests can be debated: in many ways, it is one in the same, as Scaife's involvement in intelligence and politics is much to further his own business interests. To put it another way, Scaife would say, "What is good for the Richard Mellon Scaife is good for the United States." That said, there is a definite right-wing bent to his work and financing. Consider the following:
* in 1980, he helped finance propaganda for the "Reagan Revolution", namely the Gipper's often reactionary economic system that people like Scaife conveniently benefited from.
* He is friends with Ken Starr, giving him his academic job offer, which Starr originally accepted, then declined when it became viewed as unseemly.
* He is the owner of the right-wing Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, whose most famous reporter, Christopher Ruddy, has been one of the more vocal "Vince Foster Was Murdered" proponents. (To his credit, Ruddy does a pretty decent job in his work despite his dubious money source.)
* Then there is the following list of foundation contributions by Scaife: Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, run by Paul Weyrich, $1.67 million; The American Spectator Educational Foundation, Publisher of the American Spectator, $950,000; Judicial Watch, Larry Klayman's Klinton sue-happy org, $550,000; Landmark Legal Foundation, $525,000; Southeastern Legal Foundation, which represents ex-Secret Service agent Gary Aldrich's tawdry book, $150,000. All told, according to Time Magazine, Scaife has give $200 million over the past 30 years to right-wing causes and foundations, or enough to film another Titanic.
And then there are some other curious facts, uncovered by Salon Magazine:
* The Orange County-based Citizens for Honest Government has secretly paid more than $200,000 to Clinton accusers, including Arkansas State Troopers Roger Perry and Larry Patterson.
* Former Arkansas state employee (and fund-raiser for The Contras, the fine folks behind the crack epidemic) Larry Nichols, who narrates The Clinton Chronicles, - a "documentary" of Klinton Krimes - received $89,000 in 1994 and 1995 from Citizens for Honest Government.
* In 1995, the "non-profit" Fund for a Living American Government (FLAG) group donated $50,000 to the Paula Corbin Jones Legal Fund.
* FLAG's executive director is tax lawyer and conservative activist William Lehrfeld, who has made a career of performing legal work for conservative organizations, including the previously-named Sarah Scaife Foundation, now run by Richard Mellon Scaife.
* Perhaps the most blatant example of them all, Citizens for Honest Government's president, Patrick Matrisciana, held a joint bank account with Christopher Ruddy. The bank account had $3.069 million. It was used to make "payments to critics of the president." Ruddy, remember, works for Scaife at the Tribune-Review.
So just where did Ruddy and Matrisciana get that $3.069 million in the first place? Where did Citizens for Honest Government get it's $200 grand? And how about FLAG's $50 K? To quote Salon: "The secrecy surrounding FLAG's... donation raises questions about the identities of the people or groups that are contributing to Jones' legal fund and whether they may be using middlemen to funnel money tax-free to Clinton's accuser."
It may "raise questions," but to allege as an answer that the money comes from sugar daddy Scaife seems as likely true as the claim that Vince Foster was murdered.
Which is the tragedy of all this. Two of the better investigative sights on the internet, The Consortium by Robert Parry and Conspire.com by Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen, have been pretty dismissive of the "Vince Foster was murdered" evidence simply because of the sources. Which is a shame: whatever is Slick Willie's involvement in the death, it certainly looks like Foster was killed. The same with Whitewater and Mena, Arkansas: there are serious crimes going on here, and the Klintons certainly appear to be seriously involved in them, right-wing conspirators disinformation or not.
Unsurprisingly, these are the crimes that Ken Starr has been ignoring, focusing more on Klinton's less scandalous boners. You'd almost think Starr was protecting Klinton rather than investigating him. Or maybe it's because these more serious crimes indict not only Klinton but every presidential administration over the last 17 1/2 years.
Or maybe all this is just an extension of an operation known as Operation Mount Rushmore. In 1992, Rodney Stich (author of Defrauding America) wrote of the rumored operation, which appeared to be a plan to assassinate then-presidential nominee Bill Klinton. Needless to say, it never happened. Or did it? According to former covert-operative Chip Tatum (no left-wing cheerleader himself), the goal of Mount Rushmore really was to "neutralize" Klinton, which didn't mean in this case to murder, but to smear him and leave him politically impotent. Such a campaign would fall under the works of Mockingbird, which, to repeat, Scaife was part of.
Of course, if the worst thing you could say about someone is that they were out to get Slick Willie, well, maybe they wouldn't be so bad. Scaife, however, also was a major proponent of Proposition 226, a California initiative to limit labor union's financing of political campaigns. Scaife joined with J. Patrick Rooney (the money behind Newt Gingrich), Grover Norquist (the head of a Tax Reform committee under investigation for campaign finance violations), The Education Alliance (a "Christian" group that tries to elect Conservative Christians to local school boards) and James Dobson (Head of the 'Focus on the Family,' a radical-right Christian action committee) in backing the campaign to hamper any union funding of future political campaigns. Governor Pete Wilson also became a vocal supporter of the initiative. The proposition conveniently would be beneficial to politicians like Wilson and businessmen like Scaife. As it turns out, Prop 226 was defeated in June, when the implications were fully understood, but it is clear that 226 is only a warm-up. Soon similar initiatives will be put up nationwide, all in an attempt to suppress the influence that workers have on the political system (which is pretty minimal to begin with.)
And so, whether he is merely bashing Klinton or trying to suppress labor's influence on government, whether he's a CIA propaganda agent, self-interested businessman or just a right-wing nut, Richard Mellon Scaife is a dangerous influence on society, a man who shows that our "free" press sure costs a lot, in both money and effects on society.
In any case, we salute you, Richard Mellon Scaife, as Beast of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Dick!!!
Monicagate's CIA Connection, Daniel Brandt
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"And Now, A Few Words From Our Sponsor - The CIA"
Thanks also to Peter Dale Scott for his independent work on this story.
Thanks as well to Chip Tatum, who gave one of his last interviews to The Konformist before recently going into hiding. Good luck, Mr. Tatum, and hope all is still well.
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