U.S. intelligence officials think so
January-February 1997 Issue
By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
Hidden deep within an array of complex illegal foreign contributions to President Bill Clinton and the Democratic National Committee may lie a Red Chinese intelligence penetration into the highest levels of the U.S. government and America’s financial institutions.
What most in the U.S. press are lazily portraying as "campaign contribution abuse," is beginning to look more sinister and dangerous to the security of the United States. Only a handful of journalists have explored the possibility of a Chinese "economic-intelligence" penetration into the White House. New York Times columnist William Safire pointedly warned in a Jan. 2 column, "You don't have to be a conspiracy nut to recognize that China needs not only to learn trade secrets, but also to discover - perhaps even influence - U.S. government trade policy and negotiating positions that directly affect the $35 billion balance-of-trade surplus essential to the growth of China's military and economic power."
London’s Sunday Times reported November 10, that the fund raising scandal "appears to have been a stunning intelligence coup by China."
The Sunday Times said Chinese agents were able to "take advantage of lax security procedures and a pattern of corruption in the Clinton administration" to gain "advanced knowledge of America’s negotiating positions in trade and economic talks as well as access trade deals subsidized by America."
JOHN HUANG’S ACCESS TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS
Recently flushed to the center of the "contribution abuse" controversy is Chinese born John Huang, who became a naturalized American citizen after coming to the U.S. in 1969. Huang was given a July 1994 appointment to a U.S. Commerce Department post with direct access to Clinton and a "Top Secret" clearance without undergoing normal background investigations required by the FBI.
The Sunday Times reported that on the personal instructions of Department of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, "Huang was given top-secret security clearance without background checks by the FBI or the state department’s Office of Security - a strict requirement for somebody born in a foreign country." Sixteen months later, Huang left Commerce to become the Democratic National Committee's fund-raising vice chairman.
Just one day after his appointment as a top Commerce Department official, Huang began "aggressively arguing" for Clinton to normalize trade and diplomatic relations with Vietnam’s unrepentant communist government.
Huang and Chinese born Yah Lin Trie, who Clinton had named to his Asian trade policy advisory commission, got a Chinese weapons dealer into a White House reception with two large manila envelops containing $640,000 for Clinton’s legal defense. The money was returned in June after attorneys questioned its origin.
A TRAIL OF DEAD COMMERCE EMPLOYEES
Melinda Yee, another top aide to Brown before his death in April, acknowledged in a sworn deposition Dec. 4 that she destroyed handwritten notes and other records of U.S. trade missions which had been subpoenaed by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lambret.
A Justice Department lawyer representing the Commerce Department later told Lambret that Commerce officials had sought documents from Yee’s co-worker, but had neglected to ask Yee for any documents. Yee's co-worker, the lawyer told Lambret, had recently died. Yee, according to The Washington Times, played "a key planning and logistics role in trade missions to China, India and Indonesia."
Washington news sources reported Nov. 30 that Barbara Alice Wise, 48, who had worked as a secretary for 14 years at the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, was found dead Nov. 29, five days before Yee's deposition, in Wise's fourth floor office at the agency’s Washington office.
She had been seen alive at the Commerce Department in late afternoon, Nov. 27, before the agency closed for Thanksgiving holiday.
The press reported an unidentified police source saying bruises were found on Wise’s body and that the office where her body was found was "locked and the body was partially nude." Sgt. Michael Farish, a homicide investigator with the District of Columbia police, said officers found no signs of foul play and believe Wise died of natural causes. It is unclear whether Wise was Yee's coworker to whom the Justice Department lawyer referred. In addition to the death of Wise, thirteen other Commerce Department employees who worked for Brown on international trade issues died in the same April 4, 1996 crash of a U.S. Air Force plane in Bosnia that killed Brown.
Brown was leading a delegation of U.S. business and banking executives on a three-day economic tour of the Balkans when his plane slammed into a mountain ridge, killing all on board. In his position as fund-raising vice chairman for the Democratic Party, Huang raised $4 million to $5 million in foreign donations for Clinton and the Democrats in 1996, much of which is now under investigation for suspected links to Chinese foreign nationals.
A FAMILY CONGLOMERATE OF "OVERSEAS CHINESE"
In 1984, Huang worked as an officer of the Hong Kong Chinese Bank, which had been purchased by Mochtar Riady, the head of an Indonesian corporation called the Lippo Group. Lippo is an "empire" with billions in assets. It is a family controlled conglomerate of "overseas Chinese" built on banking, real estate, securities, insurance, the financing of infrastructure projects and oil exploration.
The group was started in the 1960s in Jakarta by Mochtar Riady. His parents had immigrated from China's Fujian Province to Indonesia.
Lippo, shrewdly constructed of hundreds of subsidiaries in dozens of countries, aggressively pursues business in the Pacific Rim and the United States. It has a Vietnam related partnership with the Charlotte, North Carolina based First Union Corp., one of the biggest banks in the United States and owns Worthen Bank, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Riady used the Worthen Bank, purchased in 1984, as a vehicle to later that year purchase the Hong Kong Chinese Bank.
A TIMELY CHINESE LOAN TO CLINTON
Clinton has a history with Riady and his son James, a key Lippo official and Worthen director. Riady's Worthen Bank (now Boatman's Bank of Little Rock) made itself of great help to Clinton by approving a timely $3.5 million loan to Clinton's cash-strapped 1992 presidential campaign. After Clinton was elected in November 1992, China Resources Holding Company (Hua Ren Jituan), owned by the Chinese Communist Party, bought control of Riady's Hong Kong Chinese Bank, putting the Riady's Lippo Group in business with the Red Chinese.
The Sunday Times said "western intelligence sources" report Hong Kong's China Resources Holding Company is a "front for Chinese intelligence."
Huang was transferred to head Lippo's U.S. affiliate in Los Angeles, California, where he met with numerous White House officials, international bankers and corporate executives to lobby for expanded trade and diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
He was later hired by the Clinton administration as a Commerce Department official. Republican legislators believe a $780,000 bonus paid to Huang by Lippo was for his efforts to influence the Clinton administration to open Vietnamese markets.
Lippo, at the time, was seeking White House and Commerce Department help in expanding its $6.9 billion real estate and investment holdings into Vietnam.
CLINTON BETRAYED A POW/MIA PLEDGE
Clinton acknowledged Dec. 3rd that he received a letter in 1993 from Riady urging him to normalize relations with Vietnam. The March 9th, 1993 letter confided that two Lippo managers were checking out investment opportunities in Vietnam. Lippo opened a representative office in Vietnam in 1993. Clinton betrayed a 1992 campaign pledge to POW/MIA families and Vietnam veterans for an "honest and full accounting" of Americans missing in action during the Vietnam War, when he accommodated Lippo's desires and lifted a 30-year trade embargo against Vietnam in February 1994. Diplomatic relations were normalized in July 1995. Lippo and First Union Corp. scrambled to take advantage of the new market potential in Vietnam.
As a result of meetings Clinton had with the Riady's in Jakarta in 1994 and other promotional trips made by Ron Brown and Huang, Lippo signed more than a billion dollars with deals in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the United States.
In the past two years, Huang made about 70 trips to the White House and had several personal meetings with Clinton. Riady met with Clinton dozens of times during Clinton’s first term. In September 1995, according to the Sunday Times, Riady and Huang met with Clinton pressing him for retention of China’s most favored nation status.
One intelligence source compared Lippo's penetration into the banking, finance, real estate and infrastructure of the United States and other countries to crab grass. "The roots grow deep, long and unnoticed until they have overpowered the entire yard. In this case, it is the communist Chinese variety," the source said. Lippo's new deals include multibillion-dollar contracts and investments in mainstream U.S. companies such as Kmart, J.C. Penney Protective Life Corporation and Environmental, Inc. of Atlanta. That project was identified in Commerce documents as "Andrew Young's project," a reference to the former U.N. ambassador and Atlanta mayor.
OBVIOUS ILLEGAL FOREIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
As for foreign contributions to the Democratic National Committee, the most obvious include an Indonesian couple living in the United States.
Ariel and Soraya Wiriadinata, now in Jakarta, gave $425,000 to the Democratic committee. They obviously did not have the means to make such a donation on their own. The Wiriadinata's lived in a modest house in suburban Virginia, Ariel worked as a landscape architect and his wife as a homemaker. Her father was the late Hashim Ning, a business partner of Mochtar Riady. Huang is suspected of using the Wiriadinata's to funnel money from the Riady's to help Clinton's 1996 presidential campaign and he is also suspected of trying to launder Lippo money to Brown through a scheme involving a Vietnamese agent.
RON BROWN’S ALLEGED "$700,000" BRIBE
In July 1993, a Washington, D.C. newspaper first published details of an alleged "$700,000" bribe from the government of Vietnam to Secretary Brown. The alleged bribe was in exchange for the Clinton administration to drop U.S. opposition to Vietnam receiving International Monetary Fund loans and to lift the trade embargo.
According to Binh T. Ly, a Vietnamese businessman, who was initially a participant in the scheme, $700,000 was to be deposited to a fictitious name in a Singapore bank account at Banque Indosuez. After initially lying to the press, Brown admitted meeting three times with Vietnamese agent Nguyen Van Hao, who according to Ly, organized the alleged bribe. Brown denied ever doing business with Hao.
The investigation of Secretary Brown was terminated when he died. Killed in that crash were 12 chief executives, 15 U.S. government employees, including one Central Intelligence Agency analyst (CIA), a New York Times reporter, a photographer, an interpreter and six crew members. At first suspecting foul play, the U.S. government later ruled the crash accidental. Of the 12 corporate executives who died with Brown, a majority represented U.S. companies holding recently signed multimillion-dollar contracts with China, Vietnam or Indonesia.
BROWN’S ASSOCIATE DIED ON TWA 800
According to a CNN international report, Mohamed Samir Ferrat, an Algerian business associate of Secretary Brown, who was scheduled to accompany Brown on the Bosnian trip but withdrew at the last moment for reasons still unclear, died July 17, on the ill fated TWA Flight 800. Ferrat was initially treated by the FBI as a suspected terrorist in the TWA Flight 800 explosion because he was the sole passenger on the flight roster listed only by last name. The FBI, within hours of beginning their investigation of Ferrat, oddly withdrew, telling the New York Times that "Ferrat was not at all the kind of person to take a bomb on a plane. Nor was he a likely target of a bomb plot.
U.S. government investigators have yet to determine whether missile, bomb or mechanical failure brought TWA 800 down, killing all 230 passengers and crew.
"Ferrat, it turned out," the New York Times said, "was a wealthy and highly respected businessman, money manager and investor with offices and residences in the Ivory Coast, France and Switzerland . . . FBI agents learned all this without questioning Ferrat's family, friends or business associates, many of whom were gathered in their grief at the family hotel in Virginia."
One source, who asked not to be identified, suggested the FBI cleared Ferrat quickly because they either learned of his connection to Secretary Brown or Ferrat may have been on the payroll of U.S. intelligence, possibly the CIA.
Ferrat was also involved with Chadwick International Inc., a northern Virginia company that exports modular homes. Chadwick, Inc., founded in 1991, got its start, according to its chairman Ronald M. Nocera, by Ferrat arranging meetings with real estate contacts in Algeria. Nocera said Chadwick, Inc. currently holds or is negotiating deals worth $560 million with developers from Argentina to Vietnam.
RED CHINESE ROOTS ARE SUBTLE AND DEEP
An indication of just how deep and subtle Red Chinese roots run in U.S. business and government affairs deals with Sen. John Sidney McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. John Forbes Kerry (D-MA). Both McCain and Kerry fought long and hard to provide the political cover Clinton needed when he made the controversial decision to normalize trade and diplomatic relations with Vietnam. McCain's wife, Cindy, is the daughter of James Hensley, who is the second largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the United States. Sen. McCain is an officer in Hensley & Co. and Cindy is a vice president. The McCain family owns several million dollars in Anheuser-Busch stock. As a part of an aggressive campaign to enhance its international standing in the beer market, Anheuser-Busch has been signing contracts and investing hundreds of millions building brewery operations in China and Vietnam. It remains unclear whether any of those contracts involve Lippo.
Documents retrieved from the Internet reveal that Riady's Lippo is the holder of a license for Sea World in Indonesia and that Anheuser-Busch owns all the Sea World themeparks in the United States as well as some overseas. Again, this begs the question, is there a connection between Anheuser-Busch and Lippo?
McCain has requested the Justice Department appoint an independent council to investigate Huang and the Lippo group for the contributions violations. Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-NY) has asked for investigators to focus on assertions made by James Riady, that Huang was "my man in the American government."
A member of Sen. Kerry's family, specifically his cousin, C. Stewart Forbes, is Chief Executive Officer of the Boston, Massachusetts-based Colliers International, one of the largest real estate federations in the world.
In Dec. 1992, Vietnam granted Colliers a contract designating Colliers the "exclusive real estate agent representing Vietnam." Colliers has since written contracts in Vietnam worth billions, upgrading Vietnam's ports, railroads, highways and government buildings.
Documents retrieved from the Internet clearly demonstrate that Colliers is involved with Lippo in multimillion contracts in Indonesia. Kerry, who has a blind trust run by members of his family, claims he knows nothing about his cousin's business deals or affiliations.
THE TIGER IS AWAKE
Virtually unnoticed by the O.J. Simpson infatuated U.S. press, Red China has been steadily building up its military forces, especially in disputed territories in the South China Sea since the early 1990s. The Chinese, who desperately need oil and gas to continue their economic growth, have declared the oil rich Spratly Islands to be their property and have warned all other countries to keep hands off. The Spratly Islands are a long string of rocky outcrops--some 1000 islets and reefs, which straddle strategic shipping lanes. The Spratlys are located in the South China Sea, directly south of China and midway between Vietnam and the Philippine Islands.
Vietnam claims ownership of the entire Spratlys as do China and Taiwan. The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei claim bits of the Spratly's closest to their borders. In 1992, China enacted a law declaring the entire Spratly chain its property and later warned Vietnam that if the question of ownership was not resolved in China's favor by 1997, China would take the Spratlys by military means.
Confrontation over the Spratlys are about an estimated $1 trillion worth of oil and natural gas buried beneath the Spratly outcrops.
In October, 1994, the U.S. aircraft carrier Kittyhawk and a Chinese nuclear submarine squared off in international waters off China's coast in the Yellow Sea. The confrontation was the result of an incident that began after the captain of the Kittyhawk dispatched S-3 antisubmarine warfare aircraft and dropped sonic devices designed to track the nuclear sub. Chinese military leaders responded by scrambling jet fighters from China's mainland which flew within sight of the American planes. The Chinese withdrew their aircraft and submarine, promising the United States they would "shoot to kill" the next time. Although no shots were fired, U.S. officials acknowledge the confrontation was serious.
BUT HOW DO YOU VILIFY A DEAD HERO?
"What you have here is a classic intelligence operation that took advantage of every opportunity presented," a Republican source told the Sunday Times, referring to Lippo's connection to the Clinton administration. "For a relatively modest investment, a foreign government gains access to the president, to lucrative trade deals and has direct influence on our foreign policy. Who could ask for more?"
According to the Sunday Times, "a dossier" has been prepared for the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee detailing the "People's Republic of China Intelligence Penetration" of the Clinton administration. "It's clear that Brown was running an illegal operation," a U.S. government official told the Sunday Times, "but how do you vilify a dead man who's a hero to the Democratic party?"
The Justice of God: The Red Chinese Secret Police In The United States