Update: Saturday, March 07, 1998
Just Following OrdersBy Jean Duffey
In spite of the relentless hunt for Clinton scandals, Linda Ives and I have stubbornly refused to be labeled Clinton-bashers. We stood especially firm when the White House included Linda on the President's "enemies list" they called "the conspiracy commerce report." (1) White House Counsel Mark Fabiani even singled Linda out to New York Times Magazine reporter Philip Weiss who was preparing his cover story "The Clinton Haters" printed February 23, 1997.
The White House must have been pleased with Weiss's take on the questionable motives of several Clinton-haters and his commentary on the "ridiculous reading" conspiracies like the "Body Count list" makes. But then Weiss goes against White House wishes and writes of the "train deaths" as an example of "how a legitimate question gets spun into a conspiracy." Weiss recognizes the validity of Linda's story and questions Clinton's support of Malak, whose cause of death ruling was an attempt to cover up murder. Weiss writes, "Clinton's own connection to the murders in Saline County is plainly indirect. But he did stand by Malak, even as The Arkansas Democrat and a group of enraged citizens called for his dismissal." (2)
The summer before the White House sicced Weiss on Linda, Evalyn Lee, a 60 Minutes producer, was sent on a similar mission. Again, after spending two days with Linda and me, Lee confessed that she was supposed "to befriend and interview" us and to "fold our interviews into a story about Clinton-bashers." According to Lee, the story was to air that fall before the '96 election and was supposed to boost support for Clinton. Lee said she had changed her mind about using us and planned to ask her superior to run a legitimate story about the "train deaths." Of course that never happened, but as it turned out, neither did the Clinton-basher story, probably because pre-election polls never indicated Clinton needed a boost.
Linda's only concern since Kevin's murder has been to see the killers held accountable. She didn't go to war with Fahmy Malak until she realized he was an obstacle. (3) She didn't get involved with Mena issues until the FBI confirmed a connection to the murders. (4) And she has not had a reason to point a finger to Bill Clinton for anything other than his staunch support of Malak. (5) However, as more of Clinton's connections to the cover-ups are discovered, they are beginning to look less and less tenuous. Linda has experienced rude awakenings before, and she has learned to adjust as necessary.
The first major blow came in 1991 when she realized Dan Harmon was using his position as special prosecutor to command a massive cover-up during which time several potential witnesses turned up dead or missing. (6) It was devastating enough to learn that the one person she and her husband, Larry, trusted the most had orchestrated a cover-up. Then a witness came forward in 1993 and passed an FBI polygraph test placing Harmon on the tracks with the boys the night they were murdered. (7) Linda then realized that Harmon's tireless zeal to control the case was to protect himself. But that blow was minor in comparison to the FBI's claim in November, 1995 that there was no evidence a crime had even been committed. (8) This effectively closed their eighteen-month-long investigation.
A year later, Harmon was indicted under RICO for running his office as a criminal enterprise. A jury convicted him on five of eleven felony counts including drug charges and extortion. However, the charges against Harmon only dated back to August, 1991, when, under RICO, it could have covered crimes ten years back and should have included Harmon's involvement in the murders of Kevin and Don. (9)
You might recall my prediction of an acquittal for Harmon and my disgust with the weakness of the government's case. I was offended because their case against Harmon included none of the numerous crimes supported by the evidence collectively amassed in 1990 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar and by my drug task force. Additionally, in spite of our years of accumulated knowledge about Harmon and his connections, neither Linda nor I were even interviewed by the government. There were also many incidents during trial where the government inexplicably held back evidence. (10)
In spite of the government's lack of zealous prosecution, a twelve-person jury brought back a guilty verdict on five counts assuring Harmon of a minimum of 20 years in prison. I was thrilled to be wrong about an acquittal, but a few weeks ago I heard some frightening news from a particularly reliable source. While in Arkansas, I ran into a prominent Little Rock attorney who told me he recently spoke with Chief U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner, Harmon's trial judge. Reasoner said that if Harmon had been tried by him instead of a jury, he would have been acquitted on all counts.
JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS
My suspicions that the government was deliberately throwing the case were reinforced. The near-fatal flaws in their case couldn't have been caused by mere incompetence, so I find myself reexamining motives. I've heard Little Rock attorneys speculate that U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks was being protected for unjustly clearing Harmon of all accusations made against him prior to June of 1991. Harmon's indictment on those crimes would be proof that Banks had obstructed justice. I disagree with such speculation. I believe U.S. Attorney Paula Casey was following a directive, like Chuck Banks when he was U.S. Attorney. (11)
An Arkansas Gazette reporter learned from a reliable source months before clearing Harmon that Banks was going to shut down Govar's investigation in exchange for a federal judgeship nomination from then-President George Bush. The prediction sounded ludicrous at the time, but it came true, and it made perfect sense to me after the FBI confirmed that the boys were murdered by cops who were protecting a Mena operation drug drop. (4)(7) Mena, of course, would have been exposed if Govar or my task force had been allowed to solve the murders, so Banks' directive understandably protected George Bush, Oliver North, and other republicans. But since Casey is a Clinton appointee, one can't ignore the continued cover-up connection to Clinton.
You may contact Jean Duffey at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Ives: email@example.com