24 September 2007

What don't you know, and why won't they tell you?

The question that nobody cares about!

But for some general interest stuff, there has been the Israeli work in Syria, most likely at Deyr Zzor (your spelling may vary!). There is exactly *one* agricultural facility attached to a university there and someone was very helpful a long time back to put a placemark on it in Google Earth. The reason I never bothered to cover it? Blobography. You can see a clearing with buildings and thats about it, all fuzzy and pretty useless for analysis. Both FAS and GlobalSecurity have been hazy on it, although I expect the latter to catch up a bit in the next few days. But no pretty imagery available for overlay... well, there wasn't last year when I did my Syria run-through. Those links are on my current version of the sidebar, so one can have fun with all the OTHER Syrian WMD and long-range missile sites...

Hsu stepping! Mr. Hsu has been very busy, hasn't he? Evading the law, donating millions of dollars and even with those he did swindle, I'm coming up a few tens of millions short on his cash supply end. I have a notebook of Hsu, Chatwal, Jinnah, and Hsu's connections to Wo Hop To Triad, and all sorts of other fun things. Others are chasing the money angle which is damned important, as Mr. Hsu & Co. have spread their money around across the Nation. But still, where has Mr. Hsu been, where *does* he get the rest of his cash, and who else is he in contact with? Very strange that he only enters the scene as a 'small businessman' in San Francisco's Chinatown with, as the Shrimp Boy remembers, a 'latex glove' business. Uh-huh. 'Latex gloves' and Chinese Triads go so well together! For all of his being 'in the garment industry' and even getting interviewed a number of times as an 'expert' he really hasn't sold much in the way of garments as far as I can see. Perhaps the 'latex gloves' are keeping his fingerprints in check.

Color me: skeptical.

But that Triad connection is interesting, what with them trying to get control of all the North American Triads and such! That has been not-so-fun to try and trace down as the Asian community is not one to lay out the 'who does what' sort of deal as organized crime is part of 'doing business in the community'. Still the Wo Hop To as a division of the Hong Kong based Wo Shing Wo Triad is interesting and the latter has been busy across SE Asia and Australia. Not only heroin, opium, pharma, but also such fun things as human trafficking, sex shop slavery and your everyday black market goods dealing in asian knock-offs, really does point out a problem there. Not that any of the 'open borders' crowd will want to do anything about it. Bring in the organized crime groups from all over!

Now, digging up into organized crime, Hsu and a few other things, I did run across one interesting question:

What is the relationship between Hillary Clinton and a partially completed Soviet Aircraft Carrier?

That is one damned sort of question, isn't it? I mean it seems absolutely non-sensical... yet it does have an answer to it: Chen Kai-kit. And who, praytell, is Chen Kai-kit? Ah, Bertil Lintner can answer that in his paper on Crime, Business and Politics in Asia:

Chen Kai-kit, the Triad-connected legislator who had dined with the Clintons, published an autobiography in which boasted that many international figures had paid him tribute, including the American president, who presented him with “a signed photograph,” which he hung on the wall of the office of his “import-export” company, called Ang Du, in the Bank of China building in downtown Macau.40 Such displays may have benefitted Chen in his attempts to build up a network of business associates in the territory, and perhaps also in China. But there was one man on whom it was not necessary to make any special impression: Wong Sing-wa. They were already long-time friends and close partners in the management of a VIP room in Macau’s Mandarin Hotel. Wong, the head of the Talented Dragon investment firm, was in 1990 appointed Pyongyang’s honourary consul in Macau, and the travel arm of his company was authorised to issue visas for North Korea.41 As such, he worked closely with Zokwang Trading, North Korea’s main commercial arm in Macau. In early 1998, a Lisbon-based weekly newspaper, the Independent, protested Wong’s presence in a delegation from Macau that was being received by the Portuguese president. The paper cited a Macau official as saying that Wong had “no criminal record, but we have registered information that links him to organised crime and gambling in Macau.”42
Catch all that? Chinese businessman with Triad connections, working in Macau and having a friend who was the front-man for North Korea, who was also involved in organized crime? Ok, skipping ahead of other underworld contacts we get to this:
Chen Kai-kit also resurfaced soon after Donorgate. He landed in the middle of another controversy in early 1998, when it was reported that Ukraine would sell an unfinished aircraft carrier to a “leisure company” in the then still Portuguese territory. Ukraine had inherited the aircraft carrier after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and badly needed hard currency. The registered objective of the Macau company, Agencía Turistica e Diversões Chong Lot Limitada — which in English means “Tourism and Amusement Agency” — was to run “activities in the hotel and similar areas, tourism and amusement.”45

The 306-metre long ship was too big to pass through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles Straits, and for months the Turkish authorities forced it to remain at anchor in the Black Sea. In September 2001, however, the Turks finally allowed the aircraft carrier to be towed to China, where it remains. Although Cheng Zhen Shu, chairman of “Agencía Turistica e Diversões Chong Lot Limitada”, denied having bought it for the PLA to enable Chinese engineers to study the secrets of aircraft carrier design, that seemed to be exactly the case. And the Hong Kong media reported that the real boss of the so-called “tourism company” was Chen Kai-kit.47 In other words, a man deeply implicated in an American president’s fund-raising campaign might also have been simultaneously acting on behalf on the Chinese military. One can only wonder how Clinton’s voters might have reacted if the disclosures had come during the actual re-election campaign.

But then, in August 1999, Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption issued a warrant for the arrest of Chen and his wife Elsie Chan. They and six others, including Chen’s brother and the accountant of his main company, Ang-Du International, were accused of helping to siphon off millions of dollars from Guangnan Holdings, an insolvent mainland food conglomerate, and of a plan to defraud the Standard Chartered Bank of London of US$13.9 million in bogus loans.48 Eight accomplices were arrested, but Chen could not be apprehended as he was ‘receiving treatment for a heart condition in a military hospital on the mainland’.49
That's right, to be turned into some sort of floating casino/amusement theme park sort of deal! Really, who would pay $20 million for an old, incomplete, Soviet aircraft carrier? It sits, to this day, rusting in a port in China and will probably be scrapped as it is pretty much useless. Costs too much to renovate or retrofit and far cheaper to build a new one than retrofit the thing. You just have to love these folks the Clintons hob-nob around with! Of course Chen Kai-kit is also associated with the People's Liberation Army of Red China. Can't swing a dead cat around the Donorgate/Chinagate scandal without hitting the PLA.

And the incomplete CV Varyag even has its own web page! Who would have thought that a rusting hulk would have its own *fans*?

Speaking of Chinagate, beyond Norman Hsu and Hillary Clinton, what other Presidential Candidate had their name up in lights with that investigation?

Care to guess?


Here is a lovely bit from an article I ran across looking into Chinagate, from the Find Articles cache, Insight on the News, 01 DEC 1997, Why do so many questions yield so few answers? - Sen. Fred Thompson's investigation of '96 campaign funds - Fair Comment - Column, by Larry Klayman:
Fred Thompson, former movie actor and now chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, has taken a dive. Touted just one year ago as the next Ronald Reagan and charged by Senate Majority Leader Dent Lott to investigate and root out corruption in the White House and Democratic National Committee campaign-finance scandals, Thompson himself has succumbed to the insidious forces which have rendered the Clinton administration and most of official Washington ethically bankrupt.

In shutting down his hearings before calling key witnesses who could expose Democrat high crimes and misdemeanors, Thompson has hit the canvass much like Sonny Liston in his first fight against the young Cassius Clay. While Bill Clinton is no modern-day Muhammad Ali (notwithstanding similarities in their Vietnam War draft records) Thompson's well-known presidential ambitions may hold parallels with Liston's meteoric fall to the mat.
Say, just what *was* up with that, anyways? Really, if the man wants to be President, shouldn't he have taken a pretty large interest in Chinagate? Reading a bit further on we get to see some of the problems Sen. Thompson had with investigating President Clinton:
Thompson was appointed to lead the Senate's investigation, reportedly because of his experience as a Watergate prosecutor and his claimed public relations skills. However, from day one of the hearings, it became apparent that he and his colleagues were not up to the task. Making bold predictions that his committee would expose a plot by the Chinese to influence American elections in 1996, he initially and inexplicably called relatively low-level witnesses, such as DNC Finance Director Richard Sullivan, who Republicans initially praised for their integrity and "cooperation," only later to be shocked that they would lie and "forget" key facts. Given the sensitivity of Republicans to their "reputation for meanness," there was little if any challenge to this lack of honesty. Nor were most of Thompson's colleagues generally prepared thoroughly to question the witnesses -- instead relying on bluster and grandstanding, rather than serious interrogation, to make their point.

This was no wonder, since many of the Republican members of Thompson's committee had fund-raising peccadilloes of their own. One, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, was implicated in the scandal. The Washington Times reported on Oct. 3 that Specter may have helped get public financing for the recent Teamsters election (since thrown out for fraud) in apparent exchange for campaign contributions from union sources. (In a letter to the Times, Specter denied the implication of the Times story and notes that he voted against funding of the next Teamster election.) It thus became painfully obvious that Republicans lacked the will and courage to expose the full extent of the biggest Clinton scandal, as to do so could bring about "mutually assured destruction." As reported by columnist Arianna Huffington, Triad, a right-wing group that Thompson "graciously" had allowed to be dragged into the investigation, threatened to expose Republican fund-raising abuses if the committee proceeded against it.
Look, I have no problem with the Republican '11th Commandment', but that does NOT mean letting those on your own side go violate the election laws EITHER. Whatever *did* happen to 'Law and Order' Republicans? Beyond acting on a television program, that is...

From Iran/Contra, BCCI, Chinagate, and a few others like the BNL and S&L scandals, we now get the Hsunannegans and a pretty wide brush painted across most of the Presidential field. Don't any of them have the willpower to stand up against vested interests and big money? Just take a look at the Hsu side of the Force for a second, and we get his contributions to: Sen. John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and, apparently, half the Democratic candidates for office over the last four years or so. His previous lawyer, Lawrence Barcella, was employed by BCCI then figured out a way to get a job investigating his activities in BCCI for the government. Great work if you can get it, this investigating yourself deal!

And let us not forget that BCCI and BNL also got in with the Keating Five and Sen. John McCain. And BCCI would also pick up billionaire Jackson Stephens and *his* employment of John Huang who was also in the Chinagate scandal, along with associations with the Riady family, also in the scandal. But heaven forbid if Sen. Thompson were to investigate *that*! Might start leading back to BCCI and the Reagan Administration's use of BNL to finance Saddam Hussein, and the Ollie North/Richard Secord/Albert Hakim work in Iran/Contra which would depend upon BCCI to move money around to, yes, Monzer al-Kassar for his work in supplying and shipping arms for one of the shipments. Of which Jackson Stephens also knew North/Secord/Hakim and helped them with the Iran/Contra affair.

So, which candidate for President *isn't* taking money from: crooks, underworld figures, Foreign Nations or terrorists?

And if the answer is, as I suspect, *none* of them being able to say that, then can they at least come clean on *which* convicts, gangsters, mafioso, underworld figures, terrorists and Foreign Nations ARE backing them?

Hey, we gots a right to know how dirty you are before we elect you for President!

Because no matter the nice words they say to please *you*, they are all looking to be on the take to the monied interests looking to sway: contracts, trade deals, crime enforcement or to just get their hands on US technology or weapons.

Or they can't even be bothered to investigate same because it just might *hurt* someone in their ever so precious political party.

The Two Party System now looks to be a 'rigged game' and the PROBLEM, not a strength of America.

But that's just me... seeing folks highly connected to such things and *not* doing a damned thing about it. And that is, exactly, what a President has to do: Chief Law Enforcement Officer? Head of the Armies and Navies? Head of the Nation? Chief of State? Head of Government?

Ask them no questions and they will tell you no lies.

Or, as given to us by the Village by Patrick McGoohan in the The Prisoner series:

Questions are a burden to others; answers are a prison for oneself.

Perhaps it is time to feel a bit burdened. Unless you already know the answers...


Harrison said...

Excellent piece of investigative work, kurt. Kudos!

Is this the surreptitious institutionalisation of clientelism that we are witnessing here, in light of the growing realisation that more and more political figures are becoming ever less conscientious in their dealings with foreign parties - where they are supposed to identify contracts whereby the acquisition of US technology, weaponry or classified material as part of the package is deemed to be unacceptable because it constitutes an outright violation of the fundamental interests of the Nation-state?

Again, I pause and consider whether each citizen truly believes there is such a thing as "fundamental interest" of the Nation-state, since interests of the collective are a product of the deliberate process of defining what is most beneficial to the Nation-State, and so no particular interest is inherent. Still, is it so difficult to conceive of the outcome that exporting such material might just strengthen an outsider against your own state? Common sense is found wanting.

Perhaps there is such a thing as being 'too burdened' with the truth - a defense instigated by the notion that overbearing scrutiny of the government would hinder its functionality and efficiency. Yet it cannot be emphasised enough that governance is itself fundamentally recognised as a BURDEN foisted on by the people as so conceived by Locke and Rousseau. The government in a republic has the less-than-admirable obligation to carry this burden of responsibility, to remain accountable to the people.

In this era of glamour, glitz and prestige associated with campaigns and elections, the glorification of power as an end in itself is corrupting the principles of those whom we naively assume to seek it as a means for strengthening the national interest. No longer is governance seen primarily as a burden (as it should); leaders would rather alleviate it and make their lives a little easier by accepting these contracts, sources of funding and support. What aspiring candidates seem to share is the perception that after acquiring power, responsibility should be 'outsourced' so that such burdensome restrictions will not interfere with the effectiveness with which they tackle their job.

What then, of the utility of laying off this burden? What does it do to our system, our principles of leadership? It might seem pessimistic to say this, but perhaps scepticism should be of the default position when scrutinising these aspirants.

A Jacksonian said...

Harrison - Thank you... this is the sort of thing I write when I really don't have much of anything to write about. I've been off/on digging through documents, trying to track down names and organizations and such from various angles and nothing was coalescing. So I just started in with the sort of 'What have I been up to?' deal and as I wrote a few things started to come together.

One of the deeply troubling things about this is the amount of non-review by others, outside the 'conspiratorial fringe', this sort of deal gets. I mean there are literally dozens of sites with all sorts of strange conspiracy theories attached to this and weeding through them is a chore. A basic and deep understanding of mine, coming from the computer and systems analysis realm is:

"Lots of small, simple things that are understandable in and of themselves, form complex interactions when they work together."

I am sure that there is some sort of real name to that, but I'm too tired to JFGI. This comes from my multiple backgrounds, each in things that have this outlook as it describes the actual world very well. In geology you cannot understand plate tectonics as a revolutionary theory until you understand what came before it and *why* it took key pieces of strange information to suddenly revolutionize our view of the world. Coming into 1954 geology was full of so many 'exceptions to the rule' that there were only a few rules left... by 1974 the entire field had a new, coherent and integrated system of understanding that explained all of the 'exceptions' and gave us new things to look for. Without the few key pieces, the change in view does not happen. Before those pieces it was very much like trying to get a conspiracy going... yet when the new information was available, all the artificial structures invented disappeared.

This is true of cellular automata, also, that can each have its own specific reactions that are simple, and yet, taken collectively, do extremely complext things. It is that attitude I take with all of this, from Transnational Terrorism to Organized Crime to the use of money to gain political advantage. Each of these is, in actuality, understandable in and of themselves: taken as a whole they can thwart complex systems meant to safeguard Nations and the law, because they operate in means not accountable to either.

Those complex systems can have guidance, and it is that guidance that becomes apparent as the system works. In regards to the tech transfer to China via Loral, that was extremely simple: President Clinton signed a waiver to over-rule DoD. He did that due to the financial backing of multiple individuals who, themselves, had connections with the PLA. In that case the financial incentive to President Clinton outweighed the accuracy that China would garner for their warheads. Money, for the PLA and Chinese government, worked there for influence and has proven an effective transnational venue for them. That is why the approximately 1/3 of Hsu's money that is unaccounted for (by my estimation ~$70 million) and the time he spent 'on the run' are interesting and critical. I discount the Guay Guay trading company as it is outside of his 'garment industry' venue and requires a detailed knowledge that is more towards understanding the shop floor than the salesmanship. So his place and money remain unaccounted for.

The burden of ovesight, and accountability, are ones that were not properly done in the Senate by Fred Thompson. He just disqualified himself with that, as demonstrated connections with the PLA and missile tech transfer are grounds for Impeachment. That is an accountability system in the Constitution and no matter how much he talks up that venue, he failed while he was in it. I will not vote for a man who claims understanding of the Constitutional system and yet does nothing to ensure that his role as Senator is fulfilled within it.

Both of those are relatively simple to understand with the actors involved, the money transfers and the political power situation of each. It is, from the outside, complex: on the inside each actor does as their needs indicate. This speaks very ill of the entire Clinton machine and it being beholden to overseas interests as seen in: Hsu, Chatwal, Jinnah, Tendo Oto. Their individual influences have been sought by the Clintons for themselves and their cronies, and the money funneling is deliberate by them. It is noted that their money movements and influences are often at odds with that of George Soros and his monied forces, which have their own view of things starkly different in many ways from the Clinton view, although no less corrupt in my view. Operating separately, each with their own purposes, agendas and backers, they come to common confluence on some things and dagger points on others.

That is a description of factionalization of a political system: when unaccountable forces that never seek office or who do but have unaccountable backers, seek to gain purely partisan and strictly ideological goals to the exclusion of others. As both those organizations have a different suite of supporters and backers, they become their own communities that have high overlap, but few cross-adherants.

Then there are the monied interests of independent actors, like Jackson Stephens, who undermines both major parties with his, I am sure in his view, patriotic work. Yet that work ends up getting him in company with some of the worst the transnational scene has to offer, and makes his money basis a starting point for any that can gain his favor.

For those living in this system, the ability of those in political power by such means is troubling: they offer to make 'life easier' by removing decisions and choices from the individual and centralizing them to government. I started looking at that with a recent article and intend to do a follow-up... but the idea that some ways to 'help Americans' via 'health insurance' is actually the cause of the 'health care problem' and not a solution. By proposing such things that have highly unaccountable actors in it, the burden of cost of the system rises, the accountability falls and the disaffection with the entire system grows. These changes have affected the adherance of the population to democracy itself, and the US is in a dangerous position because of that. This current outlook and system will not hold because of that, yet by background anything which changes the power structure to further disenchantment is only a temporary 'partisan' victory, and a cause for a system to shift into a 'change state'. I would now describe the US as 'metastable': having all outward signs of stability and yet being one vectored force towards sudden and dramatic change.

Unfortunately, as other democracies have demonstrated, this is almost always a change for the *worse*. Like walking to the edge of a snowpack to get that exalted view... you may soon find yourself buried in the avalanche you started.

By not adhering to principles of accountability and sticking to them, by enforcing views on what is and is not acceptable for National politics and by trying to change the rules in regards to 'soft money' and treating non-persons in favor of persons, the US has built a house of cards. The structure of the government has also changed, which has also contributed to the weakness of the structure. A US descending into chaos is the worst thing that can happen to the world, as its stability has kept the lid on a number of places for decades. Yet that is what we are heading towards without firm adherance to *anything* as a Nation.

We have seen nothing like this since the Shaysites inside the US... and Weimar outside of it. Both of those got hard changes: one to survival the other to global war.