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A Chinese firm whose CEO has well-established ties to the People’s Liberation Army is making a bid for a worldwide telecommunications company that could give Beijing a global spy network for transmitting intelligence.
The company, Global Crossing – which recently filed for bankruptcy protection – has a worldwide fiber-optics route that connects all continents.
Successful acquisition of the network “would provide communist China with a worldwide and very capable spy network of data communications,” according to one company official who requested anonymity.
“Global Crossing has a fiber-optic network that connects Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America and Africa. Any communications network can be used to commit espionage if given the correct tools to do it with,” the company official told WND.
“As long as you have the secure equipment from end to end while transmitting data, you can use communications in a secure environment,” the official said. “The Global Crossing network would give Hutchison Whampoa … quality data transmissions over its undersea fiber-optic network.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to get quality data transmissions from continent to continent without interruptions or capacity loss. Global Crossing’s network has mind-boggling capacity,” said the official.
In a Jan. 28 statement, Global Crossing officials announced that Hutchison Whampoa, along with Singapore Technologies Telemedia, had signed a letter of intent “for a $750 million cash investment for a joint majority stake in the company’s equity in connection with a restructuring of the company’s balance sheet.”
Hutchison’s connections to the Chinese army were established in the 1990s.
In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee Oct. 22, 1999, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said the company’s chairman, Li Ka-Shing, is “closely associated with the Beijing regime and has a history of acting as a source of funding or acting as an intermediary in deals for the People’s Liberation Army.”
Rohrabacher complained that “the Clinton administration, including defense and intelligence agencies, [had] publicly stated that they have no knowledge of a connection between Li Ka-Shing” and the PLA.
During testimony, the California Republican entered into the record “unclassified documents by U.S. intelligence agencies, the U.S. Bureau of Export Affairs, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Rand Corporation that identify Li Ka-Shing and [Hutchison] as financing or serving as a conduit for communist China’s military to acquire sensitive technologies and other equipment. …”
Li, U.S. officials said, was also founder of the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, a firm that “does enter into business partnerships with and provide logistical assistance to the People’s Liberation Army,” according to a 1997 Rand Corporation study.
Other strategic military experts say they are concerned about Hutchison’s control over former American ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, a strategic waterway in Central America no longer owned by the United States.
“My concern is that this company (Hutchison) is controlled by the communist Chinese,” said retired Adm. Thomas H. Moorer in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee June 16, 1998. “And they have virtually accomplished, without a single shot being fired, a stronghold on the Panama Canal, something which took our country so many years to accomplish.”
Other lawmakers also worry about the loss of the canal, transferred back to Panama in January 2000.
Says Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga.: “I think the geopolitical significance of the Panama Canal in 1999 is the same as it has been for the past 85 years – critical.”
There are also political ramifications surrounding Global Crossing. The head of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe, turned a $100,000 investment in the fiber-optics firm into an $18 million profit before it filed for bankruptcy protection.
Critics are comparing McAuliffe’s profiteering to the actions of executives of failed energy giant Enron Corp., which filed for bankruptcy Dec. 2 after concealing massive losses.
McAuliffe managed to arrange a golf date between Global president Gary Winnick and President Bill Clinton before the latter left office. Shortly thereafter, Winnick contributed $1 million to Clinton’s Little Rock, Ark.-based presidential library, the Washington Times reported yesterday.
Global then began negotiations with the Clinton administration for a $400 million Defense Department contract. Global won the contract last July, but the Bush administration rescinded the contract a month later after losing bidders raised a fuss over the bidding process, the paper said.
“The point is not that McAuliffe did anything wrong necessarily in Global Crossing … but that he tried to make a political issue out of Enron to use against Republicans and President Bush in particular ? and did it gleefully without compunctions,” David Norcross, a lawyer and former Republican National Committee general counsel, told the paper.
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