WikiLeaks: Dana’s and Riggy’s Honduran Hijinks!




You may have, shortly before we were so rudely interrupted by Christmas, caught one of these stories, shedding more light on Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-Huntington Beach) little trouble-making junket to post-coup Honduras earlier this year, thanks to the indispensable WikiLeaks:

These stories focused largely on Dana’s shilling for friends’ companies: trying enthusiastically to sell Honduran officials on both a biofuels company and a coin dealership, which are both owned by big contributors to his campaigns.  But I think Dana’s brazen defiance and subversion of official US foreign policy is the bigger deal.

As you may remember, this was about seven months after Honduras’ democratically elected leader Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a coup (although an election had occurred in the interim.)  At the time, the Obama administration was trying to get the Honduran government to set up a “Truth Commission” to investigate that coup, with the promise of restoring financial aid to the impoverished nation.  Dana came bearing news of American disunity, telling the Honduran leaders he considers the Truth Commission a “waste of time,” and that Congressional Republicans have the coupsters’ backs.  And why would Dana and his Republican colleagues take that position?  Simply because it was a right-wing coup against a popularly-elected populist leader, who (despite whatever faults he may have had) was pursuing policies helpful to poor Hondurans and unpleasant to American corporations who have interests there.

Casino Jack and Crazy Dana,
in happier times.

Longtime students of the rogue Congressman will recognize that this is just Dana doing what he’s been doing for decades now, since he first caught the bug hanging out with the Taliban mujahideen in late 80’s Afghanistan, and returned to hang a sign over his door reading “Fighting For Freedom and Having Fun!

Readers of this site will remember his close relationship with Jack Abramoff, their dealings with the sweatshop haven of the Mariana Islands, and Dana’s pushing for legislation enabling Mariana’s sweatshop products to be sold here with the label “Made in the USA” despite the slavery, captivity, forced prostitution and forced abortions that the Chinese female workers regularly suffered there.  Likewise readers will remember his still-unexplained meetings with the Taliban shortly before the 9/11 attacks, and his wacky 2007 freelance interrogation of an imprisoned Sirhan Sirhan, while posing as female human rights worker “Diana Rohrabacher.”

Sadly, this sort of rogue “statesmanship” doesn’t seem to be something Congressmen ever get punished or disciplined for; the Times points out that it’s merely “tradition” that “members of Congress are not supposed to freelance foreign policy that goes against the sitting administration,” and Dana himself tells the Times that he has

“long taken an activist approach to foreign policy, and that he was never shy, when he met with foreign leaders, about advocating ‘things I think are the direction to go,’ even if they are sometimes not entirely consistent with the views of the sitting administration.”

Dana In Embryo:  Jim Righeimer

But the little detail that got my attention was the tagging-along of new Costa Mesa Councilman James “Riggy” Righeimer.  This is the consummate OC GOP insider and serial carpetbagger who still hadn’t won an election (till last month) but had been Dana’s campaign manager in ’06 and ’08.  It’s widely believed that Riggy is being groomed to take Dana’s place when the doddering wingnut finally hangs up his spurs.

It makes sense that Riggy was there in Honduras getting hands-on experience with how rogue diplomacy and campaign-donor shilling are done.  Costa Mesa residents in the past couple years (since he carpetbagged over here) have observed Riggy comporting himself on the local stage exactly as Dana does on the world stage – no rules apply to either of them.  Just this past year Costa Mesans have watched Riggy – even before being elected to office:

  • browbeating policemen who were conducting a DUI checkpoint he found inconvenient;
  • going to comical lengths to shill for Facilities Management West – the greedy developers who covet our Fairgrounds;
  • threatening Katrina Foley and the Pot Stirrer that he would “blow the deal up” if he couldn’t be part of the negotiating team;
  • accidentally leaving a message on Norberto’s phone machine that he had intended – inappropriately – as a tipoff to a partner he wasn’t supposed to be tipping off as a supposed “confidential” negotiator…

… and the rap sheet on Riggy just goes on and on.  Imagine this guy  jetting off to foreign lands to misrepresent our entire government – brilliant.

So, will those of us living in the 46th Congressional District be doomed to Dana pt. deux, stretching on into the 2020’s?  Some of us are holding out hope for the results of the upcoming redistricting, which should make the district a bit less of a safe Republican turkey shoot, once that bizarre finger stretching up the coast to Rancho Palos Verdes is lopped off.  It’ll take more than that though, it’ll take young people, Hispanics, and intelligent independents in the district to WAKE UP and VOTE!  (Damn it.)

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.