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based industries. This group whose members could be found in both parties, so that it could by turns be reasonably denominated as bipartisan, independent, or non-partisan can be fairly described as very conservative in regard to basic property relations.. But it cannot be sensibly characterized as reactionary. Well aware of projections that Texas would eventually have a majority of non-Anglos, Perot and other members of this group were strong promoters of, for example, San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros. Though scarcely champions of affirmative action in any of that protean term’s common senses, many, including Perot, also strongly supported minority businesses and They also accepted at least in principle, the hir ing and sometimes the promotion of women. It can be said of this group of Texas business leaders that like their fathers and grandfathers before them, while they preached free enterprise, they practiced “creative federalism” the highly political project of using state power to create not only economic infrastructure, but also to provide start-up capital for especially risky investments. But they did so with a difference, one shaped by a subtle new influence of the contemporary industrial structure on politics. The computer industry really a congeries of several different industries is thoroughly multinational, and the number of alliances across national borders is increasing rapidly and muddying the whole question of national identities. At the same time, govern ment intervention \(and in other countries, delibfree enterprise, free trade rhetoric is simply too hollow to sustain. The service and software ends of the industry Perot’s niche face in addition a special problem in international trade: while it is perfectly possible to process data for a Shah, big contracts abroad often depend on political standing, and thus, like it or not, on the U.S. government’s ability to retain influence. It is also possible to write software and sell services in countries whose language is not English, but here even the most dedicated group of monoglot ex-marines confronts a real obstacle as it faces off with the locals. It is therefore unsurprising that all over the United States, reporters who tried to take these reports seriously. Though they could see plainly that policymakers were not seriously trying and were often blankly ignoring evidence, if they persisted, they were ridiculed, retired, passed over for promotion, etc. If they were reporters even Emmy Award winning reporters for CBS’ Sixty Minutes, such as Monica JensenStevenson or her husband, William Stevenson, author of the well known A Man Called Intrepid they were harassed, intimidated, and rebuffed by various government officials. In the case of Jensen-Stevenson and her husband, a copy of their unpublished manuscript \(eventually published as somehow ended up in the government’s hands. Nor is it surprising that reporters like the Stevensons whose honesty in reporting what they themselves saw and heard I do not doubt, although, as I have indicated, I weigh the evidence about P.O.W.s very differently eventually began talking to America’s most famous champion of the Vietnam P.O.W.s, Ross Perot. Considering that this is an issue which caused Perot much grief during the campaign, it may be worth noting that he appears to have entered the lists relatively late. In 1981 for example, when a Perot encounter with one adventurer who claimed knowledge of P.O.W.s briefly made news, his spokesperson emphasized that while “deeply interested in the subject” Perot “doesn’t believe there are any M.I.A.s or P.O.W.s left back in the bush or in the jungle camps.” He added: “We went through this issue in the 1970s and were satisfied in our minds that there were no more Americans over there.” There is a very good reason to doubt this statement was pure window dressing. On the board of EDS shortly before its sale to General Motors was the very same W.P. Clements, then between terms as Governor of Texas, whose role in defining the official U.S. position we have just examined. Eventually, however, the long wagon train of skeptics alleging the government’s bad faith appears to have moved Perot. In the mid1980s, Perot repeatedly raised the issue with Reagan administration officials. A member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board until 1985, he eventually sought and obtained clearance to delve directly into classified files dealing with the subject. Though reliable evidence is scanty, his investigation appears to have stirred up a hornet’s nest. In their Kiss The Boys Goodbye, JensenStevenson and her husband report that Perot, the investigator, was himself being investigated by someone during a trip to Washington to gather and review evidence. For this telling detail, one must of course accept the Stevenson’s word, since other sources are not talking. But other facts they supplied to a researcher who contacted them, at my suggestion, in Bangkok a few weeks ago, check out. The Stevensons are also the most specific and detailed, but not the only, source for what seems to have happened next. As the struggle over GM raged, Ross Perot, the man who identified drugs with American economic decline and had spent vast sums of money fighting the scourge in Texas, came upon something unexpected in his P.O.W. investigation: drugs. As most reliably documented by University of Wisconsin historian Alfred McCoy \(first in a celebrated Yale thesis, which upon its publication 20 years ago, became the object of a disgraceful official disinformation campaign, and which has recently been revised and updated as The Politics of Heroin: CIA some American intelligence officials appear to have long been involved with the drug trade. Others have assuredly tolerated it for a variety of “national security” reasons. The Stevensons relate what happened when Vice President Bush inquired how Perot’s inquiry was going: “Well, George, I go in looking for prisoners,” said Perot, “but I spend all my time discovering the government has been moving drugs around the world and is involved in illegal arms deals….I can’t get at the prisoners because of the corruption among our own covert people.” According to the Stevensons “this ended Perot’s official access to the highly classified files as a one-man Presidential investigator.” In early 1987, an obviously unhappy Perot gave a public interview to Barrons. There he poured out his frustration over GM, takeovers, and the stock market \(which, months before the crash, he insisted had lost touch with realobservation that should have led someone in the press to inquire: “There are things going on in Washington around this whole Iran arms deal/contra thing. We should have been able to see that coming….long before Reagan was even in the White House…. It is the same team of beautiful people selling arms around the world. This is not a new experience for them to be selling arms at a profit. I mean, some of them got caught once, in Australia [a reference to the collapse of the Nugan Hand Bank, which led to a major investigation by the Australian government]. They got caught again in Hawaii. Edwin Wilson got put in jail. And if you go back and follow the trail, these guys have been working together since the Bay of Pigs. And yet now, suddenly, it is all coming into focus. And we will clean it up.” But the bulk of the press did not inquire. Soon thereafter, Perot embarked on his celebrated trip to Vietnam and pursued a lengthy battle with Richard Armitage, a long time Pentagon official. Armitage, it may be worth recalling, called Perot “a fascist” in the days before Perot folded his campaign. It will be interesting to see what Perot has to say in the days before the GOP convention. T. F. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7