The Marc Rich Pardon.

January 17, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, politics straight up | 1 Comment
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President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the White House, Washington, D.C.  March 8, 1977.  (Marion S. Trikosko, photographer)

President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the White House, Washington, D.C. March 8, 1977. (Marion S. Trikosko, photographer)

Well, knock me down with a feather.

Echoing [then Israel’s prime minister Ehud] Barak’s pleas on behalf of Rich were Clinton’s old friend Shimon Peres, former Mossad director general Shabtai Shavit, and a host of other important figures in Israel and the American Jewish community. Winning the pardon was a top priority for Israeli officials because Rich had long been a financial and intelligence asset of the Jewish state, carrying out missions in many hostile countries where he did business.

* * *

Meanwhile the fugitive financier, as he is still known, has never returned from his lair in Zug, Switzerland, to the United States. (The mainstream press never mentions that, either.) In other words, he has never used the pardon — perhaps because he would first have to pay up tens of millions of dollars he owes in back taxes, a condition set by Clinton.

Clinton’s decision is subject to harsh criticism in both substance and appearance, even by smart people who know the truth. But the pardon power exists so that presidents will be free to make such hard choices for reasons of state. As a lame duck, Clinton had no other means to induce his Israeli partner to take any risk for peace. All of this has been ignored ever since by the likes of Arlen Specter and the Washington Post — and was obscured once more because Holder didn’t want to start an argument with the Washington establishment, which forgets nothing and, even more reliably, learns nothing.

It was more entertaining to gossip about what a putz Clinton was than to look at what else was going on.

What is really irritating to me is that the word “impeachment” was bandied about after the pardon of Marc Rich. But while we were living through eight years of endless impeachable offenses streaming out of the Bush administration, the public was told, no, no, impeachment is too divisive.

WTF??!?1!

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  1. […] Marc Rich was the first excuse and lasted longer than the trip down memory lane to revisit the Elian Gonzalez drama. […]


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