Insight on the News - Fair Comment
No Limit to How Low Kerry Will Go in Hunt for Big Money
By Lowell Ponte
Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts has a long political career, distinguished by his willingness to go further left in politics and lower for money than most other American politicians would dream of going. He has been largely unnoticed outside the liberal Northeast and the approving pages of leftist magazines and newspapers.
But now, with Kerry the victor in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, it's time for America to wake up and smell the Kerry. Who is this gaunt and haunted, French-looking apparition nicknamed "Ichabod" by his preppy classmates? And what could America expect from a John Kerry candidacy - or presidency?
One of the easiest ways to embarrass Kerry in an interview, it's said, is to ask him to list the major pieces of enacted legislation he has authored in his career. There are none. As a lawmaker, Kerry is one of the least-successful senators in U.S. history.
But early on in his Senate career Kerry, as chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, set out to conduct news-making, important hearings into drugs and the Noriega regime in Panama, Oliver North and Iran-Contra, and other topics that could attract TV cameras. One thing his chief investigator vis-à-vis Manuel Noriega stumbled onto were the dictator's links to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a bank connected to prominent Democratic Party figures such as Clark Clifford.
"Why did John Kerry not confront Clark Clifford?" asked reporters James Ring Adams and Douglas Franz in their 1992 book A Full Service Bank: How BCCI Stole Billions Around the World. "One explanation lies in Kerry's own character. He tends to operate in bursts, pushing relentlessly on a subject and then seeming to lose interest in it."
Adams and Franz continue: "Also, Kerry was learning the Washington game and beginning to think of himself as possible presidential timber down the road. That meant that certain people were not attacked, at least not until all the evidence was in.
"By this time, Kerry had become chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee [DSCC]," they write. "Known by its shorthand DSCC, the committee was one of the key fund-raising mechanisms for the party's senators and a big step on the path to power in Washington.... Much of both the individual donations and PAC [political-action committee] money is channeled through the DSCC.... So Kerry's new job put him at the center of power and meant that he would rub shoulders with the movers and shakers who were financing the Democratic Party.
"One of these men was David Paul, the owner of CenTrust Savings in Miami," Adams and Franz continue. "On July 20, 1988, Kerry hosted a reception honoring Paul, one of the largest contributors to the DSCC, and later the Senator used Paul's private jet to fly to a DSCC leadership meeting." Paul would turn out to be deeply involved with the machinations of BCCI. But Kerry would help bring at least some BCCI wrongdoing to light. He also would experience private attacks from several of his Democratic colleagues for doing so. From such punishments, Kerry soon learned how to play the Democratic Party's dirty "Washington game."
Consider three of the big-money people backing Kerry's current presidential campaign. One, who since 1999 reportedly has funneled nearly $700,000 in both hard and soft money to Kerry, is Alan Solomont.
Remember the controversy four years ago when it came to light that one of the flagship stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Boston's WGBH, had been violating the privacy of its contributors and the taxpayer-supported impartiality of this PBS station by giving its confidential lists of contributor addresses, telephone numbers and other personal information to the Democratic National Committee? The partisan person who reportedly committed this outrage was WGBH board member and big-time Democratic fund-raiser Solomont, now the Daddy Warbucks of the Kerry campaign.
A second Kerry moneybags is former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, who during the same period ponied up more than $450,000 for the Massachusetts senator. This fat-cat lobbyist, called by Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) "the 51st Democratic senator," was so adroit as a fixer that he once cut a deal so that, after Texas enacted a state lottery, he and a partner personally would be paid 3.5 cents for every ticket sold - which added up to more than $3 million for them each year. Bill Clinton, a master at backroom money-grubbing, once reportedly told a group of Methodist ministers: "If you all will take a sinner like Barnes, you might take me."
A third cash-and-Kerryer, who during this same period gave Kerry more than $180,000, is Hassan Nemazee. This Iranian-American investor raised a cool $250,000 for Al Gore in November 1995, and he and his family slushed another $150,000 to Democrats during the mid-1990s. Six Nemazee family members and friends (including the caretaker of his 12-acre Katonah, N.Y., estate) donated a total of $60,000 - the maximum legally allowed - to Clinton's legal-defense fund.
In the closing days of 1998 Clinton named Nemazee his ambassador-designate to Argentina. Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced the Muslim moneyman at a January 1999 White House celebration of the Islamic holiday Eid. The Senate, however, refused to confirm the controversial nominee after a Forbes magazine investigation exposed Nemazee's questionable business dealings. The Forbes investigation also documented how, in order to get his hands on public-employee pension-fund monies allocated for minority managers, the U.S.-born Nemazee falsely had claimed to be a Hispanic of Venezuelan background and, on another occasion, an Asian-Indian.
But Nemazee's cynical lust for money can be frightening as well as laughable. He is a founding board member of the Iranian American Political Action Committee, which seeks to create friendly and lucrative business relationships with the medieval theocratic dictatorship now ruling Iran. Iran is, of course, an "Axis of Evil" nation that seeks to acquire nuclear weapons and is on our State Department's official list of nations that support terrorism. Nemazee seeks to enrich himself by further enriching the power-mad mullahs ruling Iran.
Such are the strange bedfellows of Kerry, these big-money payers who call his tune and pull his puppet strings today - and will continue to do so if he becomes president of the United States. But these people are clean and honest compared to the evil foreign cesspools where Kerry has gotten cash. To understand these, we need to remember Kerry's past in Vietnam.
As both a decorated Vietnam veteran and a leader of antiwar protests in 1971, Kerry apparently fancies himself a bridge between the United States and Vietnam, between those who fought the war and those who fought against it, and between the opposed worlds of communism and capitalism.
Seen as a friend and ally by the communist regime in Vietnam, Sen. Kerry knew that a huge lucrative prize might be within his grasp. As they are today over Iran, giant multinational corporations have been eager to sell goods and purchase resources in Vietnam. The Marxist Vietnamese dictatorship has been eager to re-enter the world marketplace, especially with its chief ally, the Soviet Union, gone. A politician who restored links between Vietnam and the United States could gain huge amounts of money in campaign contributions and other benefits.
What stood in the way of such a profitable thaw in U.S.-Vietnam relations, Kerry knew, were the lack of human rights in Vietnam and its apparent continued holding of many American prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers missing in action (MIAs). To make these stumbling blocks disappear, Kerry in 1991 seized the chairmanship of a new Senate Select Committee for POW/MIA Affairs.
Kerry prevented a vote on the Vietnam Human Rights Act (HR 2833), which would have made lifting trade restrictions contingent on communist Vietnam restoring basic human rights. By stopping this measure from becoming law, Kerry protected Marxist Vietnam from pressure to free its slave society.
Through much manipulation and arm-twisting, Kerry persuaded his now-defunct committee to vote unanimously that no POWs remained in Vietnam. And with the disappearance of this issue and the proposed human-rights legislation, Kerry gave Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party the pretext they needed to begin reopening trade that could help keep the Marxist Vietnamese dictatorship afloat. Those given first place in line for such trade opportunities, of course, were the biggest contributors to Democrats such as Kerry and Clinton.
The year after his committee's vote to give communist Vietnam a clean bill of health, the strangest thing happened. In December 1992, Vietnam signed its first huge commercial deal worth at least $905 million to develop a deep-sea commercial port at Vung Tau to accommodate all the trade that was to come. It signed the deal with a company called Colliers International. At the time, the chief executive officer of this company was C. Stewart Forbes, who happens to be Kerry's cousin.
When the Democratic Party decided to give Kerry a leg up toward its presidential nomination by holding its 2004 National Convention in Boston, certain big corporations rushed to pony up money for the Democratic event. One of the first of these rushing to fill Democratic coffers was Spaulding & Slye Colliers, the current corporate partnership involving Colliers International, which anted up $100,000. Money is fungible, and part of the Vietnam millions channeled to Colliers International easily can be inferred to be comingled in this $100,000 donation to the Democratic National Convention.
This July as you watch the red, white and blue balloons fall from that Boston convention ceiling to celebrate the newly selected Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, think of the red ones as being purchased and used to seduce you by communist Vietnam.
Excerpted from the article "Cash-and-Kerry" on FrontPageMagazine.com,Jan. 27-28. Ponte hosts a national radio talk show on the Liberty Broadcasting network (formerly TalkAmerica) and is a former roving editor for Reader's Digest. Contact Ponte at FrontPageMagazine.com.
Story at : http://www.insightmag.com/news/593432.html
(Nemazee) "He is a founding board member of the Iranian American Political Action Committee, which seeks to create friendly and lucrative business relationships with the medieval theocratic dictatorship now ruling Iran. ...Nemazee seeks to enrich himself by further enriching the power-mad mullahs ruling Iran."