Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel

Whited Sepulchre: Huckabee's Hook-Up With Reagan-Bush Crimes

Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel
Dec. 18,2007

Huckabee's choice of Rollins is a conscious signal to the bosses that he will be "a safe pair of hands" in the White House. Tuesday, 18 December 2007—If you've not been reading Robert Parry over the years, then you have been robbing yourself of one of the age's great sources of information and insight into how the American system really works.

Parry helped uncover the truly sinister Iran-Contra scam, where the Reagan-Bush administration sent missiles and other war material to the Shiite extremists in Iran, in exchange for loot which they then used to provide guns and terrorist training for the Contra militia in Nicaragua. (While this was going on, Reagan and Bush were also arming and funding Osama bin Laden and his Sunni extremists in Afghanistan, and secretly giving Saddam Hussein copious support for his war against Iran – including supplying him with U.S. military intelligence data to help him target chemical weapons attacks on the Iranians.)

For his services to the truth in exposing the depredations of these blood-dripping thugs, Parry was pushed out of the mainstream media, into the margins where the blazing revelations of the Iran-Contra story were also cast, to flicker out from neglect – and a heavy dousing of whitewash. Instead, the media barons hastened to bury reality by squeezing the story into the usual narrative hauled out by our rulers when their crimes come to light: the whole thing was just a "rogue operation," run by a "loose cannon," Col. Oliver North, without the knowledge of any higher-ups. And anyway, it was all done with the best intentions; good old Ollie might have been a tad too enthusiastic in his righteous zeal for the "freedom fighters" in Nicaragua – the "moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers," as Reagan himself called them – and maybe he forgot to cross a few t's and dot a few i's for the nit-picking pinkos in Congress, but his heart was in the right place, gosh darn it, and that's all that counts.

That was the only story that the corporate media was willing to accept, and any truth – or truth-teller – that conflicted with the script was flushed away. Bill Clinton – who would one day come to be regarded by the Bush family as one of their own – dutifully killed the last vestiges of the Iran-Contra investigation when he became president, quashing it before it reached one of the scam's central figures: his predecessor, George Herbert Walker Bush. (Perhaps this deal was brokered by the man who, curiously enough, was the chief campaign donor to both Clinton and Bush during the 1992 race: the mysterious Arkansas magnate, Jackson Stephens. For more on all this, see A Tale of Two Houses: How the Clintons and Bushes Took Us to Hell.)

Some of the figures involved in Iran-Contra went on to powerful positions in the next Bush Administration. (If we can really divide administrations in this way anymore, with the melding of the House of Bush and the House of Clinton over the years.) These include John Poindexter, convicted of lying to Congress about Iran-Contra, who later laid the foundations of Little Bush's gargantuan domestic spying network, and Elliott Abrams, another convicted liar and covert operator who now oversees American policy in the Middle East.

And of course, most of the whole sick crew from those years of deceit and death-peddling filth are still lording it over us and living high on the hog, from top swine like Dick Cheney to smaller porkers nosing around the trough like former Reagan campaign honcho Ed Rollins. The latter has now hooked up with rising Republican star Mike Huckabee, the pilfering religious crank whose plans to round up 12 million swarthy untermenschen and drive them out the country in the largest ethnic cleansing operation since Stalin's heyday of shuffling ethnic populations hither and yon across the Soviet Union has made him wildly popular with the GOP base.

And here Parry re-enters the picture, following Rollins' own words to throw light on yet another buried episode from our glorious past: the millions of dollars in illegal funding that Ronald Reagan got from the brutal Filipino dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

In his 1996 biography, Rollins told of his encounter with a Filipino politician who told him of a $10 million payoff from Marcos to Reagan, presumably for the latter's campaign fund. (But who knows into what crevices such backdroom grease may run?) Rollins has since refused to divulge the name of the politician or the Republican lobbyist bagman who passed the suitcase of bills to Ronnie's minions. Not that anyone has pressed the issue. As Parry notes:

In the mid-1990s, when Rollins's book was published, the national press corps was absorbed with a host of "Clinton scandals" involving his personal finances and his marital indiscretions. So there was no appetite to revisit unresolved mysteries of the 1980s, especially ones that might put the well-liked Ronald Reagan in a negative light.

It didn't seem to matter much that President Reagan might have been taking secret payoffs from a foreign despot or that the dictator's money might have been used to influence the outcome of the 1980 election by extending the captivity of 52 Americans held by a hostile state.

An investigation of the Marcos money might have shed light, too, on another perplexing mystery from the 1980s: the curious relationship between the U.S. government and the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

On Jan. 22, 1981, two days after Reagan's Inauguration, Marcos and some cronies co-founded a Hong Kong bank in partnership with New York financier John Shaheen, one of [new CIA chief Bill] Casey's closest friends dating back to their days together in the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services. Called the Hong Kong Deposit and Guaranty, the bank was capitalized with $20 million supplied by Princess Ashraf, the Shah of Iran's strong-willed twin sister who shared Marcos's intense hatred of President Carter.

The bank attracted onto its board leading BCCI figures, including Abu Dhabi's Ghanim al-Mazrouie and Saudi diplomat Hassan Yassin, the cousin of Iran-Contra figure and Saudi financier Adnan Khashoggi.

In 1983, the Hong Kong bank collapsed with reported losses of more than $100 million. The money was never recovered, but Shaheen associates claimed that prior to the bank's failure, substantial amounts were funneled to Marcos, who reportedly was pulling the strings behind the scenes.

The Hong Kong bank might have been a missing link in the intelligence mysteries of the 1980s, connecting the early Reagan-Iran deals with key BCCI players. It also could explain how Marcos was repaid for his alleged 1980 largesse and why he would be even more generous in 1984.

Yes, the Huckabee-Rollins hook-up leads us back into some of the darkest thickets of the Reagan-Bush days, incluing the "October Surprise" -- the deal brokered between the Reagan campaign and the Iranian government to hold on to the American hostages until after the U.S. election, in return for Reagan's promise for military gear and money later on -- which Reagan dutifully fulfilled. (See here for a quick overview, and Parry's landmark series here for the full story.) The fact that this operation was literally high treason and that by U.S. law could have led to the execution of all those involved -- including George H.W. Bush, who was almost certainly a key player in the deal -- is one of the many, many inconvenient truths kept hidden from the rabble by our betters.

As Parry notes, it also leads back to BCCI -- "one of the largest criminal enterprises in history," according to an official U.S. Senate investigation. This international "banking" empire bought off top government players around the world, and in turn was used by governments for a staggering number of black ops, including nuclear proliferation, drug-running, arms peddling, terrorism and political subversion. The Bush I administration also used it as a conduit to funnel cash to Daddy Bush's protege, Saddam Hussein. BCCI also threw $25 million to George W. Bush to bail out one of his many business failures -- a deal brokered by Jackson Stephens.

Parry's conclusion is apt -- and disspiriting:

In a normal political/media world, there would have been a clamor about the alleged payoffs to Reagan as well as demands that Rollins be put under oath before government investigators who would demand to know the names of both the Filipino with the suitcase and the Republican lobbyist. Then, they, too, would have been interrogated.

The government also would have forced Hirschfeld to turn over whatever evidence he had on the mysterious bank accounts.

But none of that happened. Instead, the remarkable admissions in the Rollins book were quietly swept under the rug and Rollins remained a respected member of the Washington political fraternity.

Now, Rollins has reemerged as the national chairman for the campaign of former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee, who is fast rising to the top of the GOP field.

With the story of the $10 million Marcos-to-Reagan payoff long since forgotten, Rollins can expect to appear on TV news shows as a respected spokesman for the Huckabee campaign, with Wolf Blitzer and other pundits praising Rollins for his good-natured integrity.

The more things change, etc., etc. This is the way the system works; it has practically nothing to do with the ludicrous, stomach-churning carnival of the "electoral process," in which the people are allowed to cast a vote for one internal faction or another within the corrupted, criminal enterprise that directs the state. Huckabee -- that "fresh face," that "new broom," that "genuinely compassionate conservative" -- knows this very well. His choice of Rollins is a conscious signal to the bosses that he will be "a safe pair of hands" in the White House.

Chris Floyd is an American journalist and the Editor and co-founder of the Atlantic Free Press. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog. He can be reached at

This column originally appeared on Chris Floyd's site and is republished here without the permission of the author.