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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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