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Everyone knows President Clinton hates tobacco and semi-automatic
weapons, right?

After all, he has waged a jihad against the cigarette companies and
what he erroneously terms “assault weapons” since he moved into the
White House.

Yet, the continuing investigations into the president’s cozy
relationship with the fascist regime in Beijing reveal Clinton’s real
concerns are a little more selective than we have been led to believe.
In fact, the president’s problems are not really with cigarettes, after
all, but with U.S. tobacco companies. Likewise, his outrage over the
proliferation of semi-automatics does not, apparently, extend to those
sold by his friends in China.

Remember the way Clinton and Gore demonized political candidates who
took contributions from U.S. cigarette manufacturers? It turns out the
Democratic National Committee accepted at least $400,000 from an
operative of Pagoda Red Mountain, a Chinese government-owned tobacco
company.

His name is Ted Sioeng. He’s a 51-year-old Indonesian and close
friend of Mochtar and James Riady of the infamous Lippo Group. All three
are suspected of serving as intelligence agents for Beijing. Sioeng
first came to the attention of the FBI during an investigation
code-named “Jagged Edge,” in which the agency discovered evidence from
sensitive electronic intercepts that the Chinese government had embarked
on a plan in early 1995 to direct illegal political contributions into
U.S. election campaigns in an effort to increase Beijing’s
already-considerable political influence in Washington.

Sioeng is known in Southern California as a public advocate for
China. He bought a pro-Taiwan Chinese-language newspaper in Monterey
Park and quickly converted it into a mouthpiece for Beijing. At that
controversial Buddhist temple luncheon in 1996, Sioeng had the seat of
honor beside Vice President Al Gore. Sioeng got to sit next to Clinton
at two other fund-raisers in Washington. The conversation must have been
interesting. Sioeng reportedly speaks no English.

But of most interest is Sioeng’s connections with the Pagoda Red
Mountain cigarette company — one of the largest tobacco companies in
the world. Congressional investigators believe Sioeng, the exclusive
distributor for Pagoda Red in the U.S., used the cigarette business as a
conduit for Chinese government funds to the Clinton-Gore presidential
campaign.

One of Sioeng’s close associates, Kent La, reportedly wanted to sing
about Sioeng to congressional investigators. But Democrats on the House
Government Reform and Oversight Committee refused to immunize him and
other witnesses.

So, do you get the picture? President Clinton and Vice President Gore
mount their moral high horse to crusade against U.S. tobacco companies,
while at the same time accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from
the largest tobacco interest in the world — a Chinese government-owned
monopoly.

And that brings us to the issue of semi-automatic weapons — that
other Clinton-Gore bugaboo.

In 1996, shortly after the president had signed legislation outlawing
the importation of semi-automatic weapons, he was petitioned by one of
his Chinese benefactors to make one little, tiny exception. It seems
Beijing had already arranged a deal to ship 100,000 such weapons to the
U.S. Not surprisingly, and, no doubt, in the interest of Sino-U.S.
relations and global security, Clinton issued a waiver on the shipment.

When the cargo arrived aboard a Chinese Overseas Shipping Co. vessel
in Oakland, Calif., customs inspectors found more than they expected. In
addition to the semi-automatics, the Chinese were attempting to smuggle
2,000 fully automatic AK47s destined, investigators later learned, for
Los Angeles street gangs.

Mere words fail me in attempting to characterize such duplicitous
hypocrisy — such criminal and reckless disregard for the interests of
the American people.

I keep hearing the mantra from the Clinton defenders that no
president would ever sell out American national security for some measly
campaign contributions. Yet, how does one explain this pattern of
behavior? How can anyone dismiss the fact that the White House is so
selective in its moral outrage about guns and tobacco? How can Americans
– any Americans — continue to be fooled by leadership clearly intent
on strengthening Chinese political, economic, even military interests at
the expense of the United States?

Investigators keep looking for that final, persuasive piece of
evidence linking Clinton’s pro-China policies with a paper trail of
canceled checks and cash receipts. In so doing, they’re missing the
forest for the trees. It’s time to stop gathering clues and start
hearings. The road to Chinagate is littered with “smoking guns.”

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