Dec. 8, 1997

Washington Weekly


An Indictment of the U.S. Government and the U.S. Media
    "As I write this I am already sitting 3,000 miles away, in a medieval village, looking out over the Weald of Kent. I can tell it as I saw it, the whole unvarnished truth." --Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
And Evans-Pritchard certainly has a story to tell. Virtually every single one of the thousands of foreign correspondents stationed in Washington DC read only the Washington Post and the New York Times, and retell stories from their front pages for consumption in their home countries. Few of these foreign correspondents have the intelligence, the intellectual curiosity or the political motivation to discover that the Washington Post and the New York Times do not paint a complete picture of what takes place in America. In fact, truth is often the opposite of what is on the front pages of these newspapers.

Not Ambrose Evans Pritchard. He noticed there was something wrong, and when he started digging he discovered just how wrong things were. The book summarizes his findings in his three major areas of reporting, Oklahoma, Foster, and Mena, and adds many new nuances in every area. New revelations in the cases of Patrick Knowlton, Jerry Parks and Dennis Patrick have been covered in recent Washington Weekly articles. Add to that the following excerpts from the book, and you will se why this is one of the most subversive books of the decade:


Evans-Pritchards was among the first to jump on the story of government sanctioned drug smuggling at Mena airport in Arkansas. The most detailed account has been given by Terry Reed in his book "Compromised," that has been the subject of much controversy. But Evans-Pritchard reveals that when the book came out in the spring of 1994, he flew to Kansas City with a retired U.S. intelligence officer to ascertain Reed's credibility. After a five hour grilling by this officer, who had himself been involved in the Iran-Contra operation, Reed's story was found to hold water.

"There's no question he's telling the truth. He may have mixed up a few things, but that's inadvertent," the officer told Evans- Pritchard. "Hell, I was involved in Mena, and I didn't know what was going on either."

Evans-Pritchard also places Billy Bottoms definitively in the plot. He cites a confidential source in claiming that Bottoms confessed his role in a meeting with three people, including a veteran law enforcement official.

Evans-Pritchard reveals Bottom's code name, "Nebraska." With this, the story of Bottoms can be found in Terry Reed's book, where "Nebraska," a Contra trainer at Nella, is mentioned no less than nine times. In one of those references, Bottoms is scolded for compromising the covert operation at Nella by leaving classified documents in an airplane stranded at a public airport.

Bottoms admits to having been involved in the purchase of the Nella airstrip, but claims that its intended use was as a vacation property.

[The entire story of the Mena scandal can be found in the Washington Weekly Mena archive available at our web site.]


Evans-Pritchard describes his close collaboration with the late Glenn Wilburn, whose grandchildren were killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. Pritchard makes a compelling case that the bombing was a government sting operation gone bad. The following is a transcript of a telephone conversation with one of the suspected government infiltrators, Andreas Strassmeir:

    "There comes a time in every botched operation when the informant has to speak out to save his skin, and that's now, Andreas."

    "How can he?" Strassmeir shouted into the telephone. "What happens if it was a sting operation from the very beginning? What happens if it comes out that the plant was a provocateur?"

    "A provocateur?"

    "What happens if he talked and manipulated the others into it? What then? The country couldn't handle it. The relatives of the victims are going to go crazy. He's going to be held responsible for the murder of 168 people."

    "That is true."

    "Of course the informant can't come forward. He's scared shitless right now."

    "It sounds to me as if you've got a problem, Andreas."


In trying to determine what government agency Strassmeir worked for, Evans-Pritchard notes that the response of the CIA to a court-ordered inquiry whether Strassmeir ever worked for them remains a secret. The Agency provided its findings to prosecutor Beth Wilkinson who refused to hand the material to Tim McVeigh's defense team. Evans-Pritchard speculates that Strassmeir could have been reporting to the domestic services section of the CIA, which has offices all over the country. Alternatively, he could have been an FBI operative working under CIA auspices.


The book methodically lays the groundwork for a conclusion that the official investigation of the death of Vince Foster is a government cover-up of what really happened:

    "So why is a British reporter so interested in this when nobody else seems to care?"

    "It's the Rosetta Stone," I replied.


    We walked in silence toward the interior of Fort Marcy Park. The path cuts through a breach in the ramparts, then opens into a clearing. It has the overgrown look of an English country garden, one of those decaying Victorian estates that no longer has a groundskeeper. My guide walked through to the upper grove, where the cannon points toward the CIA.

    "The body was right here," he said, impassively. "He was straight out with his hands by his side. Funny place to shoot yourself, isn't it, back here in all this shrubbery?"

    "Maybe, maybe not. How much blood?"

    "Not a lot. It was on the right shoulder, coming down from the neck. That stuff about a trickle out of the mouth, I don't know where that came from because I never saw it."

    He scanned the bottom of the park, just in case anybody was watching. But he was not unduly nervous.

    "What did the exit wound look like?"

    At first he did not answer, as if wondering how much to reveal, then he grabbed me by the shoulder.

    "That's all bullshit, man. There was no exit wound."


    "Listen to me, and listen to me hard, 'cause I'm only going to say this once: Vince Foster was shot right here in the neck," he said, jabbing his finger deep into my flesh, an inch or so below the jawline, about halfway between my ear and my chin.


    "Yeah. 'Oh.' We've all been threatened, you know that?"

    "I'd heard that."

    "Well it's true. We're not allowed to talk to anybody. We're not even allowed to talk to each other. You understand now? This thing's big, man." [Evans-Pritchard interview with a confidential informant in March 1995]


It is no surprise then that this subversive book has met with concern in the mainstream media. The Wall Street Journal dismissed the book as "an episodic examination of some of the wildest tales from the land of Clintonophobia." Considering the author of that Wall Street Journal article, Quin Hillyer, it is clear that he had to dismiss the book. His employer is the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Evans-Pritchard has been the target of the Establishment before. Senator Bob Dole went directly to the owner of his newspaper to complain about Pritchard's reporting on Mena.

And Susan Schmidt used the front page of the Washington Post to assail his reporting on Vince Foster. She lived to regret it. Evans-Pritchard had her for lunch a few days later on the front page of the Washington Times. He could demonstrate that she was merely parroting what the White House had told her. Such are the risks of propaganda: when you seek a whore who is willing to do anything for money, your choices become limited. And Susan Schmidt is a mental midget next to Evans-Pritchard. It was fun to watch.

    "The worst sin a journalist can commit is serving as the instrument of coercive power, and too many in the American media seem content to do just that." --Ambrose Evans- Pritchard

[Evans-Pritchard's book has not yet been banned by the government. It is still available for sale through the Washington Weekly web site ]

Published in the Dec. 8, 1997 issue of The Washington Weekly Copyright 1997 The Washington Weekly ( Reposting permitted with this message intact