Cashill's Cornucopia of Clinton Conspiracies
WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill puts the Clintons at the center of his conspiracy theories, and getting proven wrong doesn't stop him.
By Terry Krepel
Jack Cashill is his name; Clinton conspiracies are his game.
A WorldNetDaily columnist and an author (some of his books have been published by WND's book division) whose day job of sorts is, according to his personal website, being a freelance video producer and, "on a contractual basis, the Executive Editor of Ingram’s Magazine, Kansas City’s premier business magazine," Cashill has been one of the leading promoters of conspiracies that invariably have a Clinton or two at their center.
A giant slab of such theorizing was summarized in Cashill's 2004 film, "Mega Fix" (sold, unsurprisingly, by WND), in which he advanced a sort of grand unification Clinton conspiracy theory, claiming that "the Clintons and their operatives -- Richard Clarke, Sandy Berger, Jamie Gorelick among others -- finessed or fixed all terrorist investigations to enhance Clinton's reelection" in 1996, "turned Ron Brown into Martin Luther King while suppressing the investigation into his death" and "transformed the shoot-down of TWA Flight 800 into a mechanical failure." (Cashill has devoted books to conspiracies surrounding TWA 800 and Brown's death.)
The film is essentially a 87-minute-long lecture by Cashill describing these theories, filmed with multiple cameras to make things somewhat visually interesting. Cashill is an affable enough on-screen presence, as long as you don't listen too close to what he's saying.
Cashill bookends his story with references to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers": "Sometimes I think of the major American media as those ungodly little body-snatch people. Their bodies are already gone, their souls are already snatched. They just don't want to let you know." He introduced one anecdote by saying, "I don't know if this is true, but I like this story anyhow," which doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the veracity of his other claims.
On top of the above mega-conspiracy Cashill attempted to pile one more: the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta and related incidents, suggesting that Clinton-directed law enforcement officials tried to frame Richard Jewell in order to suppress evidence that Islamic terrorists were behind them, thus hastening 9/11:
They finally release him [Richard Jewell] as a suspect in late October , when the election is wrapped up [for Clinton]. But he served his purpose. He was just a wonderful diversion from the real possibility of who planted this. Now, OK, so people are still dead, and Richard Jewell's not the guy, but we gotta figure out someone, right? Six months later, a bomb goes off outside an abortion clinic in Atlanta. A month after that, another bomb goes outside the Other Side Lounge -- it's a gay bar in Atlanta. And now they figure, "Oh, it's gotta be some right-winger. You know, they don't like the Olympics, they don't like gay bars, they don't like abortions -- had to be some right-winger." And they chase Eric Rudolph off -- who knows, he may even be guilty. Don't know. But I do know this, is that they didn't even look toward the obvious.
Just two little problems with Cashill's rant. First, Cashill conveniently ignored Kahane's history of right-wing, anti-Arab extremism (which ConWebWatch noted when WND's Aaron Klein sought to whitewash it) and the fact that he emigrated from the United States to Israeli in 1971, where he served in the Knesset (and the Kach political party he founded was banned after a Kahane follower, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Arabs in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994), which makes him a dubious candidate as "the first murder in the American jihad."
Second, and more importantly, Cashill built an entire rant around speculation for which he offers no evidence: that the Olympics bombing and related incidents were perpetrated by Islamic terrorists. The possibility Cashill quickly glossed over because it interfered with his grand conspiracy -- that Eric Rudolph perpetrated the Olympics bombing and the other two -- was true: In April 2005, Rudolph pleaded guilty to the bombings. (As ConWebWatch detailed, WND devoted no original coverage to Rudolph's guilty plea.)
Cashill gets minor details wrong, too. For instance, he claimed in an aside that "Al Gore, after all, was the guy who introduced Willie Horton when he ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988." In fact, Gore never mentioned Horton, just "weekend passes for convicted criminals" in Massachusetts under Dukakis, during a 1988 Democratic primary debate. It was the George H.W. Bush-Dan Quayle campaign that first used the Horton case against Dukakis.
Cashill's Kopp conspiracy was obliterated six months later, when Kopp confessed to killing Slepian. In a November 2002 interview with the Buffalo News, Kopp stated that he planned the sniper shooting for a year, hid in the woods behind Slepian's home and fired the shot that killed Slepian, adding that he had scouted Slepian's neighborhood several times and also considered shooting other local doctors who provided abortions before he killed Slepian. Kopp insisted that he was innocent because he intended only to wound Slepian and he was motivated to stop Slepian from performing more abortions: " I didn't intend to kill Dr. Slepian. ... Why do you think I used force against Dr. Slepian when he was within 10 hours of taking the lives of 25 babies? The question answers itself." Kopp added:
"One misconception that people have is that I am a peaceful man who would not harm anybody. That is true, but at the same time, I am interested in saving and protecting babies.
How did Cashill feel about Kopp's confession? We don't know; Cashill is not on record as addressing the Kopp case ever again, not even to apologize for forwarding such a bogus conspiracy. As ConWebWatch has detailed, WND and the rest of the ConWeb did their best to ignore Kopp's confession as well. (Kopp was, unsurprisingly, found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.)
In Part 2 of the Kopp series, Cashill even took a stab at absolving Eric Rudolph of the Olympics bombing as part of the conspiracy: "Why an abortion protestor would bomb the Olympics was never quite made clear, but clear to Kopp and others in the movement was why the FBI went after Rudolph. That he would one day join Rudolph on the FBI's 'most wanted' list could not have surprised Kopp."
But never mind ... Cashill has no interest in dwelling on -- or correcting -- his errors. There are more, ever bigger conspiracies for him to promote.
Cashill's most recent Clinton-centric conspiracy involves former Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Curt Weldon. As ConWebWatch detailed, Cashill first outlined it prior to the November 2006 midterm elections, claiming that Weldon was being victimized by what he called the "Clinton shadow government." He revived it again in a new four-part WND series; an Aug. 18 article promoting the series asserted that the Clintons targeted Weldon because he was "the one member of Congress who likely did more to expose Clinton administration culpability in 9-11 than any other." But Cashill used the series to peddle numerous misleading claims.
Cashill kicked off the first article on Aug. 20, by claiming that, unlike the "vast right-wing conspiracy" Hillary Clinton complained about (which Cashill called "self-parodying"), the Clinton Conspiracy is real:
I hesitate to call this a "left wing" conspiracy as there is no real ideology involved. Indeed, some on the hard left have applauded the work [ex-Rep. Curt] Weldon has done in tracking the steps and missteps that led to Sept. 11.
Note that Scaife is merely called a "millionaire," while liberal financiers get disparagingly tagged as "unscrupulous plutocrats." (How does he know that Scaife isn't unscrupulous?) Of course, Cashill is wrong; Scaife was never the only funder of conservative causes. Cashill somehow overlooked family foundations such as Koch, Bradley and Olin that have pumped millions of dollars into conservative causes.
Cashill went on to haul out its favorite conservative bogeyman: "For coordination, they have been able to count on an aggressive and effective George Soros-funded 'watchdog' group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW."
Cashill misleads here, too. CREW did not receive Soros money until January 2006, after scandal-ridden Rep. Bob Ney made the accusation. From a May 24, 2006, Cleveland Plain Dealer article:
"For the longest time, we got no money from George Soros," says Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "We now get money from The Open Society Institute, and it is probably thanks to Bob Ney."
(WND similarly ignored this in October 2006 when it attacked CREW during the Mark Foley scandal as, variously, "a George Soros-sponsored organization," "Soros-backed" and "Soros-funded.")
Cashill then compared CREW to Judicial Watch, asserting that "CREW was to function as something of a counterweight to Judicial Watch, the D.C.-based conservative watchdog group" but "has emerged as something of a dirty tricks operation for a truly worrisome cabal known as the Democratic Alliance." Cashill, at this point, offers no evidence that CREW is involved in "dirty tricks" or how its operation differs from the way Judicial Watch has attacked the Clinton administration.
Cashill also ignored a more significant contrast between CREW and Judicial Watch. As of 2006, CREW has received a mere $100,000 from a Soros-backed group. Meanwhile, Judicial Watch benefited much more heavily from a millionaire's generosity: From 1997 to 2004, Scaife foundations gave more than $7.3 million to Judicial Watch; the foundations' first donation of $550,000 in 1997 sparked an organization with a total budget of just $68,000 the year before.
Cashill did not appear to blame Foley's congressional page-related downfall on the Clintons, saying that "Foley deserved his fate" but questioning "the highly suspect timing of his outing, just six weeks before the critical 2006 elections." But Cashill was more than eager to absolve Weldon of allegations that he traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, the revelation of which is, in fact, the likely factor that caused Weldon's electoral defeat: "Regardless of any charges that may be filed against him, Weldon committed only one unforgivable crime: Investigating the intelligence failures of the Clinton era."
Cashill's second article, on Aug. 21, smeared the man who defeated Weldon, Joe Sestak. Cashill called Sestak "a former vice admiral forced into retirement for what the U.S. Navy charitably called 'poor command climate.' " (Cashill repeated the smear in a November 2006 WND column.) But he failed to tell the full story. By contrast, here's what Pennsylvania's Delaware County (Delco) Times -- which Cashill cited authoritatively elsewhere in his article -- reported about Sestak's military service:
Retired Capt. Mark Rogers, however, thinks such criticisms come from men who weren’t as smart and didn’t like working as hard as Joe Sestak made them toil.
The Times also quoted critics of Sestak, but none of them "would talk about Sestak without a promise of anonymity." Not exactly brave souls, apparently.
Cashill also claimed that Mary O. McCarthy, a Sestak donor, had been "recently fired from the CIA after failing a polygraph on leaked classified information in regards to CIA prisons overseas." In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, McCarthy has denied that she was the source of the Washington Post's November 2006 article by reporter Dana Priest regarding the CIA's secret detention operations. Moreover, the Post has reported that "a senior intelligence official said the agency is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source of Priest's award-winning articles last year disclosing the agency's secret prisons." The CIA has acknowledged only that McCarthy was dismissed for "knowingly and willfully shar[ing] classified intelligence," and that Priest was among the journalists McCarthy allegedly contacted.
In his third article on Aug. 22, Cashill dropped another reference to CREW as a "George Soros-funded watchdog group," then asserted that during a September 2006 interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, Bill Clinton's mention of Weldon was "announced out of nowhere." In fact, Clinton's mention of Weldon and his opponent was not "out of nowhere"; it was in the context of describing the military backgrounds of Democratic candidates running in the election. From the Wallace-Clinton interview:
WALLACE: And the White House, the Republicans want to make the American people afraid?
Cashill then called the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" "an honest, if unflattering, account of events." In fact, as ConWebWatch has detailed, "The Path to 9/11" contained fabricated scenes design to make the Clinton administration look bad.
In the final part of his series, on Aug. 23, Cashill managed to avoid making obviously false or misleading statements -- mainly because he was too busy trying to sweep Weldon's ethical problems under the rug, asserting that the leak of the FBI investigation against Weldon as more serious than anything Weldon did:
As with the [Valerie] Plame investigation, also prompted by a leak, if the DOJ does not find something to pin on Weldon or his daughter Karen, the larger Democratic collaboration that inspired this case will come under fire.
Cashill concluded by painting Weldon as a yet another victim of the Clinton Conspiracy:
The question the media should be asking is "Why Weldon?" What about the man inspired Sandy Berger, the Clintons, the Democratic Alliance, CREW and just about every key player in the Clinton national security apparatus to want Weldon gone?
Note the term "I speculate." That appears to be the basis of a significant part of all that Cashill has to say: speculation presented as fact. But he won't apologize or correct the record when his "speculations" turn out to be spectacularly wrong.
If Cashill can't get the little conspiracies correct, why take his word on the big ones?