Monday, 15 February 1999

Chinagate: Red Star Over the White House

Written by  William Norman Grigg

President Clinton’s compromise of U.S. security for Chinese cash is a far graver issue in the impeachment arena than the sex and lying Lewinsky scandal.

 

‘‘It’s just about sex!” runs the refrain of Bill Clinton’s defenders, and a distressingly large portion of the American public has been willing to sing along. The second verse, which debuted during the impeachment debate in the House of Representatives, runs as follows: “Bill Clinton’s conduct in the Lewinsky affair disgraced the Presidency, but it didn’t rise to the level of impeachment.” By the time the impeachment of President Clinton was an accomplished fact, the public, suffering from acute scandal fatigue, had lost interest in the entire sordid affair and desperately wanted Congress to extract itself from what Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) called the “salacious muck” of the Lewinsky matter.

Whatever the outcome of the Senate trial, William Jefferson Clinton has secured his inglorious place in history as the first elected President to be impeached — and deservedly so. Perjury, obstructionism, and abuse of presidential power to conceal the sexual exploitation of a young subordinate are offenses of sufficient magnitude to merit Mr. Clinton’s removal from office. Had the President any respect for the office he holds, or any concern about the best interests of the country he purports to lead, he would have resigned no later than January 1998, when the Lewinsky scandal was first made public.

Tactical High Ground

Yet it must be understood that — improbable though it may seem — the impeachment of Bill Clinton was a triumph of spin control. By making his personal depravity the central focus of the impeachment debate (although he was impeached for his subversion of the rule of law), Mr. Clinton has chosen a battlefield in which he and his “secret police” have the tactical advantage. This is illustrated by the pre-emptive attack on former House Speaker designate Robert Livingston (R-LA), and the retaliatory attacks launched by pornographer and presidential ally Larry Flynt.

Lost amid the superficial tumult that characterizes the “politics of personal destruction” is the fact that the impeachment of Mr. Clinton on Lewinsky-related charges deferred a much-needed inquiry into the graver charges that are pending against Bill Clinton — specifically, treason and bribery, which are specifically cited in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment. Evidence abounds that Mr. Clinton, in acts of official perfidy that may be unparalleled in our nation’s history, accepted bribes from Red China in the form of illegal political contributions, and in exchange made policy decisions that undermined our national security to the benefit of that hostile foreign power. The mantra chanted by the President’s lackeys and partisans is that Bill Clinton’s acts in the Lewinsky matter “don’t rise to the level” of impeachment or removal from office. Not even the most chauvinistic of Bill Clinton’s defenders could recite that slogan regarding treason.

As the sides lined up for the “Trial of the Century” in the Senate, debate raged as to whether witnesses would be heard, and — if so — who they would be: Monica Lewinsky? Bettie Currie? Vernon Jordan? Sidney Blumenthal? For those concerned about America’s national security, the crucial fact was that the witness list would not include John Huang, Johnny Chung, Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, Maria Hsia, Ted Sioeng, or others found on the list of the more than 100 potential material witnesses in the so-called Chinagate affair who have fled, invoked the Fifth Amendment, or brazenly refused to cooperate with investigators. Therein lies the real triumph of Clintonite spin-control — and a tragic dereliction of duty on the part of Congress.

Open Door to the Enemy

In their masterful exposé Year of the Rat, congressional investigators Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II document that “in order to gain and hold onto power, the Clinton administration has acted recklessly, allowing the wrong people to gain access to our most important political and economic secrets. Any number of Chinese arms dealers, spies, narcotics traffickers, gangsters, pimps, accomplices to mass murder, communist agents, and other undesirables … [were] associated one way or another with the White House and money.”

That such a squalid parade was able to buy access to the most intimate recesses of the White House is shocking and disgusting. But this is much, much more than merely an offense against aesthetics:

• The Red Chinese military (the so-called People’s Liberation Army, or PLA) is now able to deploy much more accurate nuclear-armed missiles pointed at the United States, in large measure because of policy decisions by President Clinton that have benefited campaign donors — including one who laundered money for the PLA.

• In exchange for “hush money” paid to Webster Hubbell by the Red Chinese-connected Indonesian Lippo conglomerate, Bill Clinton personally sponsored the appointment of John Huang, a suspected Red Chinese agent, to a sensitive Commerce Department post, where, as Timperlake and Triplett note, “he could be a source of priceless military and economic intelligence” for Red China. Huang proved to be a particularly valuable asset in collecting intelligence on high technology, including satellite encryption technology that is vital to America’s defense — and highly coveted by the PLA.

• President Clinton and his subordinates made extraordinary efforts to facilitate the lease of the former Long Beach Naval Station to the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), a PLA-connected container shipping fleet that specializes in drug and weapons smuggling. This followed illegal donations filtered from Red Chinese sources. A COSCO affiliate has also been granted a lease on the Panama Canal’s “anchor ports” of Cristobal and Balboa, thereby foreshadowing Beijing’s control over one of the world’s most critical strategic “choke points.”

• Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, a member of a Red Chinese-linked Triad criminal syndicate, laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars into both the Clinton-Gore campaign and the President’s legal defense trust. Following a $460,000 donation to the legal defense trust, Trie — acting as a courier on behalf of Red China — placed a “strategic memo in front of the President at a time of international crisis, resulting in a reply that changed a long-established element of foreign policy,” recall Timperlake and Triplett. Mr. Clinton’s reply to the memo signaled a decisive turn away from previous assurances to the free Chinese of Taiwan that the U.S. would defend them against aggression from Beijing.

• On dozens of occasions, Mr. Clinton has refused to impose sanctions on Beijing for its export of military technologies to terrorist states, despite the fact that he is required by law — specifically, a law co-written by the senator whom he chose as his running mate, Al Gore — to impose sanctions.

• The Administration has conferred prestige and status upon both the political and military leaders who ordered and carried out the Tiananmen Square massacre. PLA General Chi Haotian, who was in operational command of the troops who conducted the slaughter, and General Xu Huizi, who was in tactical command of the troops on-site, have been received in Washington, DC with full honors and allowed to tour sensitive U.S. military installations. For good measure, General Chi’s entourage included an official who had casually mentioned the possibility that Beijing might attack Los Angeles with nuclear weapons should the U.S. come to the aid of Taiwan after an invasion from the mainland.

These are just a few of the ways in which Bill Clinton and his Administration have undercut our national security and enhanced Red China’s capacity to pursue aggression.

“The most favorable explanation for this betrayal is incompetence,” point out Timperlake and Triplett. “But it is far more likely that in order to gain campaign contributions and pay hush money to witnesses, the Clinton-Gore administration turned a deliberate blind eye to these threats to our national security.”

Congress on the Carpet

Unfortunately, the willful blindness referred to by Timperlake and Triplett is not confined to the Clinton Administration; Congress has much to answer for as well. Two days before the full House began the impeachment debate, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) to urge Congress to examine Chinagate and the role that Bill Clinton played in the “betrayal of our security.”

“President Clinton promised to restrain those who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre, but he has now allowed these men whose hands are stained with the blood of martyrs to freedom into the highest reaches of our military defenses, and made available to them significant portions of our advanced military technology,” wrote Admiral Moorer. He pointed out that the Administration’s willingness to allow the Red Chinese to create a “controlling presence in the Panamanian Isthmus” may someday allow the PLA “to neutralize our entire forward-deployed military capability.”

Admiral Moorer pointedly observed that the House leadership had allowed Mr. Clinton to define the terms of his own impeachment inquiry: “I note that the scope of the present investigation leading up to the proceedings before you was determined entirely by the President, the man accused of the impropriety. If there is corrupt foreign influence at the highest levels, is it likely that the investigation of it would have been assigned to the independent counsel? Indeed, is there not the possibility that what was assigned to the independent counsel was originally intended as a diversion from just those improprieties which the President knew the public would not tolerate?”

Admiral Moorer’s analysis is provocative, but sound. Say what one will about his personal corruption — and, quite frankly, no pejorative is too pungent for this task — Bill Clinton is a gifted political strategist. He possesses shrewdness, feline cunning, and a dogged tenacity in clinging to power. He was aware of what he was doing when he accepted Red Chinese cash, and he was aware of the implications of his actions when he allowed the export of critical military-related technologies to the Red Chinese military. Doubtless he was just as aware of the potential consequences, both in political and personal terms, if Congress were to impeach him on the basis of accepting bribes from a hostile foreign power. When details of Chinagate began to leak out just before Election Day in 1996, Mr. Clinton and his damage-control team adopted a stalling strategy. This strategy helped stymie the work of the Senate’s Thompson Committee inquiry into “Chinagate.” In a sense, the “Monicagate” scandal itself could be looked upon as merely an extension of the same strategy.

Hubbell Connection

Consider this question: Why was Attorney General Janet Reno, who has tirelessly obstructed investigations into the Chinagate accusations, willing to authorize Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to investigate the Lewinsky scandal? Many apologists for Bill Clinton have pointed out that Starr’s original portfolio was to inquire into the Whitewater scandal, and that by investigating accusations rooted in Bill Clinton’s sexual improprieties the independent counsel had wandered very far afield. His decision to investigate the Lewinsky affair becomes even more curious in light of the fact that there is a clear nexus between the Whitewater affair and Chinagate in the person of former assistant Attorney General Webster Hubbell.

In May 1994, Hubbell, a longtime crony of the Clinton clique who had resigned from the Justice Department after being charged with fraud in the Whitewater affair, agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in exchange for a reduced sentence. By June of that year, Hubbell was destitute — his debts were accumulating, his bank account was all but depleted, and he was prison-bound. Suddenly a lump sum of $600,000 in “consulting fees” was thrown at Hubbell from sundry sources, the largest portion of which came from the Lippo conglomerate, which is tightly involved with the Red Chinese government. Hubbell pulled an about-face and served his stint in prison in silence — to the benefit of Bill and Hillary Clinton, both of whom stood to be implicated by Hubbell’s testimony.

As Timperlake and Triplett observe, “the Riadys would have extracted a price for their generosity” — namely, the insertion of John Huang into a sensitive Commerce Department position without the required background check. It was Huang, acting as vice chairman of finance for the Democratic National Committee after leaving his post at Commerce, who organized most of the illicit Clinton-Gore campaign fundraising from suspect Asian sources. More significantly, as former House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald Solomon (R-NY) has stated, while at the Commerce Department post which he received through the personal intervention of Bill Clinton, Huang “committed economic espionage and breached our national security” by passing classified information on to the Lippo Group and to Red Chinese officials. He also figures prominently in the transfer of critical missile guidance and satellite encryption technology to Red China.

Hubbell’s sudden change of heart about cooperating with Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater investigation, which coincided with the “hush money” paid to him by the Lippo Group and other shady interests, should at the very least have provoked Starr’s investigative curiosity — and had Starr pulled on this thread, the Chinagate scandal may well have come unraveled before much of the damage had been done. Rather than following a clearly marked trail of evidence, Starr focused his attention on racking up conviction statistics involving some of the smaller fish in the Whitewater pond — and eventually took a detour into the Lewinsky scandal.

Reno’s Stonewalling

It is also significant that Starr — who, it must be remembered, is an executive branch official subject to dismissal by the President — was able to get Janet Reno’s approval to pursue the Lewinsky matter. Reno’s cooperation in this instance contrasts sharply with her resolute determination to foreclose any avenue of investigation that would tie Chinagate scandals to either Bill Clinton or Al Gore.

In July of last year, Charles LaBella, the head of the Justice Department’s campaign finance task force, sent a memo to Reno urging the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate the fundraising activities of the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. FBI Director Louis Freeh made the same recommendation to Reno in a memo of his own. Reno simply chose to ignore the recommendations. On July 24, 1998, the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, under the leadership of Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), subpoenaed the memos as part of its own ongoing inquiry into “Chinagate.” Reno refused to provide them, claiming that to do so would “compromise” her Department’s investigation — which is better described as a thinly disguised cover-up.

On August 6th, the Burton Committee put teeth into its legitimate request by voting 24-19 to charge Reno with contempt of Congress, a charge that — if upheld by the entire House — would carry a prison term of one year and a $1,000 fine. “It looks to me like the Attorney General is trying to protect the President,” remarked Burton. Why is it that Reno is willing to run the risk of imprisonment to obstruct the Chinagate investigation, yet she readily authorized Ken Starr’s Lewinsky investigation, which resulted in impeachment?

The issue of the LaBella and Freeh memos surfaced anew on December 2nd, when the House Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 20-15, issued yet another subpoena for them — prompting a seizure of theatrical indignation from some of the President’s most feckless partisans in the House. “This is the last determined gasp of a group of people who were determined to impeach the President and haven’t yet gotten their way,” whined Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). Congressman (now Senator) Charles Schumer (D-NY), another Democratic partisan renowned for his brazenness and bile, complained that the impeachment investigation had become a “runaway train.” Bill Clinton’s defenders, who heretofore had sneered that the Lewinsky affair was trivial, were even more determined to avoid an examination of the more substantial matters implicated in Chinagate — and, curiously enough, Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde apparently shared that determination, since the subpoenas were never followed up and Chinagate was shunted aside once again.

Hyde’s seemingly inexplicable actions become all the more mystifying in light of the fact that a year and a half before the impeachment of Bill Clinton — long before Monica Lewinsky had arisen from obscurity to infamy — Hyde had written to the Justice Department to urge an investigation of the China issue. When given the opportunity to broaden the impeachment investigation to include the very matters about which Hyde had pressed Reno, the Judiciary Committee chairman balked — and, as a result, those grave matters remain unaddressed.

Changing the Focus

Once again it is important to recognize how the public at large has been tranquilized by the establishment media cartel into believing that, where Bill Clinton’s crimes against the Constitution are concerned, “It’s all about sex!” Thus, congressional efforts to investigate the undermining of our national security are frustrated by a combination of the Administration’s tireless obstructionism and carefully cultivated public apathy.

“But if the discretion of the people has not been informed, as Thomas Jefferson would have said,” wrote Admiral Moorer in his letter to Congressman DeLay, “how can their will be determinative? If the people knew of all the other falsehoods that have been engaged in [regarding the undermining of our national security], would their opinion be the same?” It is our belief that if Bill Clinton’s calculated, cynical sellout of our national security had received a significant fraction of the media attention that was lavished on the Lewinsky affair, the President may well have been removed from office by now — for the right reasons — and Al Gore might be facing serious questions about his own role as the Administration’s “bag man” in collecting illegal foreign contributions.

This can still happen. Indeed, it must happen. It is not as if congressional leaders cannot assemble a convincing case: The public record abounds in critical evidence regarding the treasonable actions of Bill Clinton and his corrupt clique, much of it taken from congressional sources. Judicial Watch, the public interest legal organization whose investigations have exposed much of the Chinagate evidence, has submitted its detailed and compelling Interim Report on impeachment to both houses of Congress; Year of the Rat provides a comprehensive and readable summary of the scandal, supplemented with crucial details exhumed by the authors during on-site visits to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

What is lacking is congressional will, and this can only be generated by an informed, motivated electorate that knows the facts and will hold Congress accountable to do its duty. Accordingly, we invite the public to examine the evidence contained in this issue and share it with their friends, associates, and — most importantly — their elected representatives.

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