This Week

Issue: "Children of Chernobyl," April 13, 1996

Camera never blinks

Two sheriff's deputies are under investigation after they were videotaped clubbing a Mexican man and woman. Television news helicopters tracked the deputies chasing a pickup truck crammed with 21 suspected illegal immigrants. The truck pulled over after a 70-mile chase. One deputy was taped clubbing the driver in the back. The woman was hit when she got out of the cab.

Man knows not his time

The bodies of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 32 other Americans arrived at Dover, Del., April 6 aboard two Air Force transport jets. An Air Force passenger plane carrying Mr. Brown and his delegation veered off course and crashed during high winds and driving rain into a cloud-covered hill April 3 near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Early reports blame the crash on Croatia's crude air traffic control systems that utilize low-frequency radio beacons to help pilots chart a landing course during bad weather. Such beacons are subject to disturbance from lightning, rain, and static electricity. Unlike more modern systems, the older radio beacons do not provide the pilot a warning if they give erroneous information because of interference. In Washington April 4, a special prosecutor announced he has closed the investigation into Mr. Brown's financial affairs and will decide soon how to dispose of those parts of the probe involving the late commerce secretary's son and business associates. Special prosecutor Daniel Pearson has been investigating why Mr. Brown received more than $300,000 from a business associate and whether he tried to hide the payments. President Clinton spoke at the April 6 arrival ceremony in Dover and on April 4 eulogized Mr. Brown at a memorial service in Washington's St. John's Episcopal Church. Mr. Clinton led the mourners in a responsive reading from the 40th chapter of the book of Isaiah. Verse 8 says, "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Also on board the plane that killed Mr. Brown and government and business officials was New York Times reporter Nathaniel Nash, a believer in Christ. WORLD columnist Cal Thomas, a friend and former colleague of Mr. Nash, said, "Nathaniel's faith complimented and influenced his pursuit of truth.... [T]he source of his decency, courage, and high ethical standards was his relationship to Christ."

"Hermit on the hill"

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After his mother and brother found disturbing evidence while cleaning her Lombard, Ill., house, former University of California, Berkeley, mathematician Theodore John Kaczynski, 53, was arrested by the FBI and charged with the Unabomber attacks that killed three people and injured 23 over the past 18 years. Mr. Kaczynski, known by Montana locals as "the hermit on the hill," was taken into custody by federal agents, who then reported finding bomb-making materials and one live bomb in his tiny 10-by-12 wilderness shack that lacks electricity or plumbing. Investigators last week found a typewriter which The New York Times says may have been used to type the Unabomber's 35,000-word diatribe against industrial society. They also say they hope to match DNA from saliva on stamps licked by the Unabomber to the Harvard-trained Mr. Kaczynski.

"My name can't show up on this"

The biggest highlight of the Whitewater trial came April 2, when the Whitewater prosecutor's star witness gave sworn testimony that President Clinton received money from a fraudulent, taxpayer-secured federal loan. It was the first time that it has been alleged publicly and under oath that the president benefited from an illegal Whitewater-related transaction. Nevertheless, through his lawyer, Mr. Clinton said he shall stand by his story that he engaged in no wrongdoing. The witness, David Hale, said that he had agreed at one point during his discussions with Mr. Clinton and Whitewater business partner James McDougal in early 1986 to lend $150,000 to Mr. McDougal's wife, Susan, but that the money would go to Mr. Clinton. Mr. Hale testified that Mr. Clinton said, "My name can't show up on this," and Mr. McDougal responded, "I've already taken care of that." He said McDougal called him after the meeting and told him to double the loan amount to $300,000 and make it payable to Mrs. McDougal's marketing business. Day four of Mr. Hale's testimony, April 4, featured the allegation that Jim Guy Tucker, now the governor of Arkansas, directed him to conceal their financial dealings from the FBI. Mr. Hale testified that in 1989 Mr. Tucker told him, "Be careful what you say and tell them as little as you can." If Mr. Hale had told the FBI details of federally backed loans he had made, "they would have locked up me and Jim Guy that day and sent the paddy wagon to get Jim McDougal," Mr. Hale said. Mr. Hale testified he got a call from an upset Mr. Tucker in the spring of 1993 when a national newspaper story touched on one of the loans that is now part of the criminal case against Mr. Tucker and the McDougals-the loan to Castle Sewer and Water, a Tucker-controlled utility. "The article discloses some facts no member of the Arkansas press has an IQ high enough to dig out," Mr. Hale quoted Mr. Tucker as saying. According to Mr. Hale's testimony, Mr. Tucker said, "Don't talk to anyone in the press. I'll shut the locals down." Mr. Tucker denies all of Mr. Hale's allegations. On cross-examination, Mr. McDougal's lawyer Sam Heuer elicited no testimony to the contrary, but roughed up Mr. Hale in front of the jury. "You're slick. You're good," Mr. Heuer said. "I've never cross-examined anyone as slick as you." Mr. Heuer also suggested Mr. Hale, who has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for defrauding the government in connection with the loans, is merely a criminal trying to drag Mr. Clinton, Mr. Tucker, and the McDougals down with him in exchange for his testimony. Mr. Hale responded, "I've done a lot of wrong things and I am sorry for it," but he insisted the four were involved in illegal loans. Mr. Heuer also questioned Mr. Hale closely about the fact that he was twice turned down for loans at the McDougal-run Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. Mr. Heuer's point was that if there was a conspiracy among Hale, the McDougals, and Mr. Tucker, then Mr. Hale should have had ready access to cash from the S&L. In the late 1980s, after regulators removed Mr. McDougal in 1986 from Madison's operations, Mr. Hale said he was fearful that investigators looking into Madison's books would look at his company and make a connection between the two.

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