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Ron Brown -- arms dealer
Posted By Charles Smith On 07/07/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Newly declassified documents from the hidden files of former
Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown show that Brown was directly
involved in U.S. arms exports to Asia. The documents were
recently obtained from the Department of Commerce using the
Freedom of Information Act. The new documents from Brown’s
files, labeled simply “DEFENSE TRADE ADVOCACY — INDONESIA”,
provide a detailed picture of U.S. weapons sales to the far east
during the 1994 APEC conference in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In November 1994, the Clinton administration sent Commerce
Department representatives to APEC 94 — Asian Pacific Economic
Conference. The previous APEC — held in 1993 — was hosted by
President Clinton in Seattle, Washington. APEC 1994, however,
was hosted by President Suharto of Indonesia in Jakarta.
Suharto and Indonesian billionaire, Lippo bank owner Moctar
Riady have close ties to the Clinton administration through
The APEC ’94 documents from the Commerce Department show that
major players linked to Riady and illegal donations to President
Clinton were authorized to attend the same 1994 APEC conference
in Jakarta. In fact, three players at APEC ’94 contributed
millions in illegal funds to the Democrats via Clinton.
One major source of illegal campaign funding was Pauline
Kanchanalak’s. Ms. Kanchanalak and her company, Ban Chang
International, are listed in a 1994 Commerce APEC trade advocacy
document. Kanchanalak, a consultant from Thailand and a legal
resident of the U.S. was solicited by John Huang for donations.
Kanchanalak had regular access to the White House, which also
recommended her for a spot on a trade policy advisory committee
that required a security clearance and U.S. citizenship.
Kanchanalak was a legal resident but never sent in her
application. The DNC returned all of $253,000 she contributed,
because they thought that money came from outside the U.S. She
has since fled the country.
A second example from the U.S. Commerce trade advocacy document
is Charlie Trie, the so called Arkansas restaurant owner and
close Clinton friend from his days as Governor in Arkansas.
Trie attended APEC ’94 under his now defunct high-tech firm,
Daihatsu International Trading company. Trie brought Chinese
arms dealer Wang Jun into the White House for a photo session
with President Clinton. Trie also funneled millions of dollars
into Clinton’s campaign that have since been returned by the
Democrats as “tainted.” Trie fled the U.S. for China but has
The third example from the Commerce trade advocacy document is
Gene and Nora Lum. The Lums were recently convicted of making
illegal campaign donations to Clinton along with Ron Brown’s
son, Michael Brown. Ms. Lum’s company, Dynamic Energy
Resources, was cleared for the APEC ’94 conference. Dynamic
Energy was invited to attend APEC ’94 with billion dollar U.S.
energy firms interested in signing contracts on Indonesian gas
and oil such as Exxon, Mobil, and California Energy.
However, Ms. Lum’s total experience in the gas and oil business
was limited to contracts obtained through her political
connections with Ron Brown and President Clinton. Ms. Lum and
her company bought influence inside the Clinton administration
to help their natural gas business. The Lums had never been in
the energy business before but somehow they seemed to land big
government contracts. Of course, they hired Ron Brown’s son at
extreme pay scales while funneling money into the DNC.
The documents obtained from the U.S. Commerce Department also
clearly demonstrate that President Clinton was impressed with
the Lums. Bill Clinton personally invited the Lums to join Ron
Brown on his trade mission to China in August 1994. Bill
Clinton personally authorized the Lums to attend the
“Presidential Business Development Mission” to Beijing, in
August of 1994, just prior to APEC.
Curiously, the number one assignment for APEC ’94 was not the
sale of U.S. high tech goods or Indonesian energy resources.
The number one priority for Ron Brown was the sale of U.S.
weapons such as F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters to Indonesia.
The Commerce Department documentation states “F-16 Fighter
Aircraft Program … Sale of 11 (ex-Pakistani) aircraft
completed. Indonesia may purchase the remaining 17 Pakistani
Brown convinced the Indonesian defense ministry to purchase U.S.
built F-16 Fighting Falcons which were originally sold to
Pakistan in 1992. The Falcon sale to Pakistan was canceled
during the last days of the Bush administration because Pakistan
had openly purchased nuclear weapons technology from China. The
Chinese nuclear technology forced an embargo of U.S. arms sales
to Pakistan, including the previously ordered F-16s.
In January 1994, Indonesia offered hard cold cash to buy eleven
of the original order of twenty eight Pakistani Falcons. Later
that year, at the November 1994 APEC conference, Secretary Brown
helped Indonesia realize they could get a great deal on the
remaining seventeen Falcon jet fighters. Thus, Indonesia bought
the remaining U.S. jets.
Supersonic jet fighters were not the only U.S. weapon for sale.
The 1994 Brown advocacy document offered Indonesia the “HAWK
Missile Program – Modernization” which upgraded their missiles
to equal that deployed in the U.S. military. Indonesia at first
sought advance pricing information on U.S. upgrades to their
HAWK Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems bought from Raytheon.
The Commerce notes covering the pending HAWK missile sale states
“GOI (Government of Indonesia) has requested P&A (Price and
Availability) data from the FMS (U.S. Foreign Military Sales)
program and associated upgrades. Min/Finance (The Indonesian
Ministry of Finance) has allocated money for this in FY (Fiscal
Year) 97.” Indonesia was so impressed with the U.S. built HAWK
that they went ahead and dedicated funding from their 1997
budget to pay for the upgraded missiles.
The Indonesian HAWK missiles were upgraded by Raytheon but the
Clinton campaign funding scandal ruined the Indonesian F-16
Falcon deal. Indonesia canceled the F-16 buy from
Lockheed/Martin last year after political concerns were raised
in the U.S. over Suharto’s close relationship with Clinton.
With the F-16 deal gone – Suharto had to do something. Thus, in
1996 he cut a low cost deal with Russia for thirty Sukhoi SU-27
(NATO codename “Flanker”) jet fighters.
Please note, President Clinton avoided stopping off to visit his
old pals in Indonesia during his recent far east tour of China
and Hong Kong. Such was not the case in 1994. Clinton, Brown
and Secretary of State Warren Christopher all attended the lush
APEC conference in Jakarta. Suharto and Riady welcomed Clinton
to their little empire and paid him well through emissaries.
However, there will not be a repeat visit anytime soon by
Clinton. Suharto is gone. Indonesia is in turmoil. And
Riady’s Lippo empire is facing economic ruin from the Asian
History either repeats itself or we Americans are too stupid to
see the threat in selling our own weapons. Big weapons for
little dictators can cause gigantic headaches. For example,
President Nixon’s sale of F-14 Grumman Tomcats to Iran when the
Shah was in power is much like our present dilemma with the F-16
Falcons. The F-14 sale was considered good for the stability of
the gulf region and helped our Navy lower the cost of their
Once the Iranian government changed then the status of the
Iranian Tomcats also changed from friendly to hostile. The
Ayatollahs were a threat and so were the F-14s we sold them. In
the end, after the Iranian Airbus shootdown incident, the
Tomcats for the Shah did not seem like such a good deal.
Deja Vu? Not really. Ironically, F-16 Falcons were also sold
to the Shah of Iran. However, they were not exported from the
U.S. until after the Ayatollah had taken power. Of course,
sending jet fighters to an openly hostile Iran was out of the
question, so another buyer was found. The former Iranian F-16s
currently fly in front line service for the Israeli Air Force.
Ironically, in the mid 1980s Israel used their new Falcons to
bomb Iran’s arch enemy — Iraq.
Similarly, the Pakistani/Indonesian F-16s were recently offered
as negotiation “bait” by the Clinton administration. In May
1998, President Clinton offered the seventeen F-16s back to
Pakistan as an incentive not to detonate their own nuclear bomb.
Pakistan refused Clinton’s jet fighter offer, and detonated
their atomic bombs. Instead of buying the U.S. jets, Pakistan
has turned to their close ally, China, and are now purchasing
large quantities of Chinese made MiG-29 (NATO codename
And the Falcons that no one seems to want? They still sit on an
open taxiway, wrapped in plastic, waiting since 1992 for an
owner. And there is an interested party who could claim them
For the uninformed Tom Cruise fans — the famed TOP GUN school
was closed by Clinton budget cuts. The U.S. Navy and U.S.
Marines need to acquire planes for a squadron of simulated bad
guys to restart the canceled TOP GUN program. The leftover
Falcons recreate the possible threats from Asia accurately since
several nations are already equipped with them. The Falcons
would need no upgrades to become the classic “Red” team opponent
to train our young flyers. In short, the Falcons could be put
to good use.
Alas, the Clinton administration opposes giving the jets to the
Navy or Marines to train with. The fading hope of using them as
some sort of bait in a future trade deal seems to have more
value to Clinton than training our pilots to stay alive in
Nor was Indonesia the only interested party at APEC 1994 with a
shopping list of U.S. jet fighters for Ron Brown. Malaysia also
sought out the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to help arm their
country. Another Brown document labeled “MALAYSIA SUMMARY OF
ADVOCACY PROJECTS,” dated Oct. 27, 1994, lists several interesting
sale items for the Malaysian defense ministry including the F-18
Hornet jet fighter. The U.S. Hornets were included by Brown’s
Commerce Department under the aptly descriptive key word “DEAL.”
Other advanced U.S. weapons sold to Malaysia included “patrol
boats” from Bath Iron works , “Armored Personnel Carrier” made
by United Defense company, and a “Command” and control secure
communications system provided by LORAL. Brown even sold a U.S.
made, “UAV” or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle — robot spy plane from an
unnamed U.S. defense contractor.
Ron Brown was directly involved in arms transfers to Asia. The
documents show that big buck foreign donors with a vested
interest in buying U.S. weapons were also involved. At APEC
1994 the international arms trade was business-as-usual. The
tasking of U.S. Commerce officials to push a massive arms build
up in Asia says volumes about the Clinton administration.
Ron Brown wasn’t just secretary of Commerce — he was secretary
American allies, worried over our cozy relationship with China,
decided to bone up on U.S. weapons at APEC ’94. India, a
neutral democracy, views this arms build up and the growing
China/U.S. alliance as a threat. Indonesia’s dictator was the
first local Clinton crony to fall from power. Indonesia today
hovers one step from civil war and anarchy. In fact, all of
Asia faces an uncertain future of poverty, oppression and
possibly nuclear war — thanks to the money hungry foreign policy
of Bill Clinton.
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