I Beg Your Pardons
In the annals of Presidential history Bill Clinton's life and legacy has been stained for posterity, not that it matters to him on a personal level. Bill and Hillary decided a long time ago to fulfill their hunger and greed for ambition and power in an Anti-Machiavellian path, the means justifies the ends. To them, stains can be washed, errors can be spun, and sins can be forgiven. Hillary knows that our nation is a nation of short memory span and superficial understanding and thus in six years all will be forgotten when she approaches the alter of Queen/President. It's hard for any rational person who lives outside the Harry Potter world of the Clinton's to comprehend the last minute pardons issued by President Clinton. Senator Hillary Clinton herself in a news conference was at a loss for words to justify the pardons, especially of the four Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn.
The controversial pardons that gave rise to the stinking smell of a quid pro quo payback were all for Jewish Americans, none more controversial than the last minute pardon for the Billionaire Jewish American Marc Rich.
Mr. Rich was indicted in Manhattan federal court in 1983, shortly after he fled the country, on charges of tax fraud and illegally buying oil from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Bill Clinton would have us believe that his last minute decision to pardon the "rich", Rich was based totally on the merits of the case as presented to him by Rich's lawyer and his former counsel John Quinn. Obviously, he maintained, it had nothing to do with the more than one million dollars in donations to the Democratic Party over the years, or her parting gifts of furniture, totaling more than $7,000. Both Denise Rich and Jack Quinn deny any relation between the money and Clinton's clemency of a fugitive who fled to avoid trial and then renounced his American citizenship.
For his $200 million generosity to Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Barak asked President Clinton to pardon Mr. Rich along with the perennial request for Jonathan Pollard. The New York Times reported that "The list of people who wrote letters to Clinton for or about Mr. Rich in the last two months of 2000 is a virtual who's who of Israeli society and Jewish philanthropy," including former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit, former finance minister Ya'acov Neeman, and former Tel Aviv mayor Shlomo Lahat.
This pardon has incensed many in the Justice Department, the Congress, and even some in the media. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, criticized Mr. Clinton for bypassing the Justice Department and the Prosecutors who prosecuted this case. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White of Manhattan's southern district said her office had been "bypassed" by the Clinton White House in this case and were not consulted.
Despite the wide condemnation of Clinton's clemency of Marc Rich, we can assume that given Clinton's amoral conscience, he is unfazed.
Who were among Clinton's other pardons? They were Hasidic Jews from New York who defrauded the federal government of upwards of $40 million dollars by claiming that the money was for a religious school. The money, they claimed, was needed for educational scholarships, housing, and school expenses. They even had an official name for the school "The Toldos Yakov Yosef Seminary". But the school did not exist.
The seven men responsible for this fraud were Chaim Berger, the chairman of the directors of this fictitious school, a Holocaust survivor, his son Benjamin Berger, Nathan Adler and Avrum David Friesel (whereabouts unknown), Kalmen Stern, David Goldstein, and Jacob Elbaum. These seven men developed this fraudulent scheme to rob American taxpayers, yet they went undetected for more than twenty years.
According to investigators, they received hundreds of Pell educational grants. The seven men were indicted on various charges, including conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. Chaim Berger is in Israel fighting extradition but his son, Benjamin, Stern, Goldstein, and Elbaum were indicted, sentenced, and ordered to pay restitution.
President Clinton commuted the sentences of these four men. Many Clinton critics saw this as the President's way of rewarding the Hasidic Jewish community for their support of his wife's Senatorial campaign, although she and the Hasidic community have denied this. The lawyer for the gang of four defended their actions by saying that they did not act out of greed, but out of a misguided effort to help their community and schools. He claims that the community received most of the money.
Another case of Clinton's largesse to the Jewish community was the case of Mr. Al Schwimmer, 83, who flew U.S. air force planes in Europe during World War II. Mr. Schwimmer's crime was that he was recruited by Israel in 1947 to smuggle planes to Israel in preparation for it's 1948 war with the Arabs. He then recruited other air force pilots to smuggle valuable planes to Israel. At the time Israel was under an American arms embargo and thus needed Mr. Schwimmer's help in obtaining American aircraft.
Mr. Schwimmer was eventually caught by the FBI, stood trial and lost some of his civil rights. He later immigrated to Israel. Mr. Brian Greenspun, a lawyer and classmate of Bill Clinton's petitioned the president to pardon Mr. Schwimmer, as long as Mr. Schwimmer did not have to apologize for his actions against his country. The President agreed and pardoned Mr. Schwimmer unconditionally, meaning no need for an apology to the United States for breaking its laws.
As an Arab American and Muslim I wondered why did President Clinton not pardon the two-dozen Muslims who languished in American jails for years without any charges or ability to mount a defense since they were held under "secret evidence", an unconstitutional practice in America and Israel.
They committed no crimes and judges who found the "secret evidence" against them circumstantial and flimsy eventually released many. In fact, one of the last acts of Janet Reno adding insult to injury was to deny the asylum of an Algerian jailed under secret evidence who was already granted asylum by a panel of judges. Apparently the "secret" against these victimized men persecuted by "secret evidence" is that they are simply Arabs and Muslims.
It seems in our democratic and free society that presidential pardons depend on your ethnicity, your political connections, and your campaign donations.
Dr. Mohammed Khodr is a physician and Muslim activist living in the Washington D.C. area.
Topics: Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton
and rebuild our ancestral cultur well expressed in the music (NUSRAT YOUR THE REAL KING), in the architecture (does CORDOBA ring any bell in your head???)let`s forget the war let`s watch our kids grow in peace