Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 16:47:57 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 20, 1996
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 16:47:57 -0500
Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 20, 1996
from: AMERICAN ATHEISTS
subject: AANEWS for December 20, 1996
A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
#219 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 12/20/96
In This Issue:
* A Special Report ~ "Supreme Master" Cult & Soft Money
* About This List...
An AANEWS Investigative Report...
''SUPREME MASTER'' GROUPIES LINKED TO DEMO SOFT-MONEY SCANDAL
New information in the emerging soft-money scandal is linking the
Democratic National Committee, the White House and inside political
operatives to a "Supreme Master" Buddhist group which some have described as
a cult centered on the worship of a female guru named Suma Ching Hai.
The latest developments concern Charlie Trie, who for the last several
days has been at the center of the flap. Trie enjoyed insider access to the
Clintons, and according to CNN and other sources, even dined at the White
House as recently as last week. Twenty years ago, he started a small
restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas and began moving in Democratic Party
circles, eventually working his way up to a position on the party's national
finance board -- a position for individuals who have raised or contributed in
excess over $350,000. Trie also became chummy with the Clintons, especially
when the current president was governor of Arkansas.
Investigators have concluded that Trie was an important ringleader in
raising money for the Clinton campaign through his contacts in the Asian and
Asian-American communities. They included:
* The Lippo financial conglomerate controlled by the wealthy,
Indonesian-based Riady family. The family members are personal friends of
the Clintons, but curiously maintain ties to America's religious right
through Christian Coalition founder and televangelist Pat Robertson.
Previous editions of aanews have discussed the Riady-Robertson joint
venture, known as China Entertainment Television Broadcast, Ltd. which is
pumping out "no sex, no news, no violence" programming throughout Asia, and
even into cable systems based in China. There is possibly more to this
"Chinese connection", as will be discussed below.
* Lippo loaned Trie's Little Rock restaurant $60,000 through its Finance
and Investment company in 1984.
* John Huang, an associate of the Riady family and Trie, was one of the
"bag men" in trying to funnel money through Buddhist temples throughout the
nation, including sects based in Houston and the Los Angeles area. Huang was
also on the Lippo payroll.
* Mr. Trie is involved with the Buddhist "Supreme Master" sect which
follows a cultic, charismatic avatar named Suma Ching Hai. She has emerged
as the latest player in the soft money scandal, and asked followers to
donate money to pay for Clinton legal bills. Despite tax exemptions for her
organization granted by the Internal Revenue Service, she reportedly also
implored followers to donate to the Clinton campaign. That money was
delivered in unmarked manila envelopes and, according to CNN, included "money
orders from Los Angeles, Houston, Washington D.C. and other cities, all made
out in identical handwriting and numbered in order."
* To their credit, Clinton advisors and trustees of the President's legal
fund reportedly became suspicious and launched a probe of the source of the
money. Attorney Michael Cardoza has declared: "The report which was received
from the investigative group indicated that the donors appeared to be members
of a Buddhist organization, and that there may have been encouragement from
that organization to make the contributions."
Pat Robertson: "Friends in High Places"
While televangelist Pat Robertson is certainly no friend of the Clintons,
and has used his enormous resources (including the Christian Broadcasting
Network) to attack both the President and the first lady, the avuncular
preacher is less clear about his relationship with the Peoples Republic of
China. And the "China connection" appears to be cropping up again and again
in the soft money scandal, and the latest stage involving Mr. Trie.
* Robertson's coalition with the Riady family gives his International
Family Entertainment Inc. an immediate potential market of some 28,000,000
persons in China through a network of over 500 cable systems. Robertson,
Riady and the Malaysian real estate conglomerate known as MUI Group are now
part of China Entertainment Television Broadcast Ltd, a venture begun by one
Robert Chua, a Hong Kong broadcaster.
The Virginia-Pilot newspaper quoted a financial analyst with the firm
Wheat First Butcher Singer in Richmond, Va. who declared: "I know (IFE
Chairman) Pat Robertson has some cache in mainland China and the company has
been trying to capitalize on that. Paul Sweeney added that Robertson had
what the paper termed "high level Chinese government contacts." And
Robertson's son, Timothy Robertson who is the IFE Chairman and oversees the
foreign operations, has ventured to Hong Kong and was "looking for some sort
of strategic alliance for a while now."
More Chinese Contacts
It is now being revealed that Charles Trie was instrumental in arranging
an invite to a White House soiree for Wang Jung, head of a weapons and
missile company in China owned by the Peoples Liberation Army. PLA is linked
to Jung through a firm known as Poly Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of
Wang's Poly Group. This company, in turned, was mentioned in connection with
"Operation Dragon Fire," a 16-month sting operation conducted by the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Customs Service. That effort
involved the seizure of 2,000 fully automatic Chinese-government-made AK-47
assault rifles smuggled illegally into the United States.
Dragon Fire began in 1994 when a Taiwanese businessman named Hammond Ku,
49, who also had business investments in the United States including a
restaurant in San Jose, California, began hunting for ways to circumvent
U.S. customs regulations, and open a lucrative weapons pipeline into the
country. "Ku made clear that he was acting as a middleman for Chinese arms
dealers, including Robert Ma, head of U.S. Sales for Poly Technologies..."
declared Time Magazine last summer. On the "for sale" list were grenades,
automatic weapons, even stands for machine guns.
Among those indicted in the Dragon Fire sweep was Richard Ma, an officer
at Poly Technologies, which did business in the U.S. under the name Dynasty
Holding Co. He remains a fugitive, and is reportedly back in China, safe and
As for Poly International, an article in Britain's Globe and Mail in 1995
identifies the firm as a subsidiary of yet another company, Chinese
International Trust and Investment Corp., suspected to be an "asset" of
China's Military Intelligence Department.
Of course, Poly International is "wired" into the emergent "Yuppie" cadre
of new Communist Party leadership, especially sons and grandsons of aging
government leaders. Collectively, they are described as the "taizi," or
princelings -- sons and even some daughters of the old Chinese guard who now
stand to inherit political and economic leadership of the country. One Poly
executive is He Ping, who happens to be married to Premier Deng Xianoping's
daughter. And Poly chairman Wang Jun (Jung), who so desperately wanted to
crash White House soirees, is the son of the late Chinese Vice President and
Party stalwart Wang Zhen.
But there remains a strange, nagging question. Why would Lippo operative
Charlie Trie be clearing a path for a guy like Wang Jung, a major weapons
peddler and "connections man" in Chinese political-money circles? Why
indeed, since Trie is reportedly a devoted member of the "Supreme Master"
sect of Suma Ching Hai, a group some describe as the fastest growing cult in
the nation which seduces followers with calls for peace, and a regimen
demanding everything from a strict vegetarian diet to hours of meditation and
chanting each day.
Enter "Supreme Master" Suma Ching Hai
Dubbed "Part Buddha, part Madonna" by writer Rafer Guzman in the Metro
Newspaper of Santa Clara County, California, Ching Hai claims to be many
things in her role as the focal point of a fast-growing, wealthy spiritual
movement. She is described as a painter, a poet, even a fashion designer
who's writings and lectures to the devoted abound with the vague, ethereal
aphorisms of pop-culture Buddhism. At one gathering, 600 groupies drank in
her message of alleged enlightenment as Hai sat on a stage decked-out in her
"fairy" clothing. Banners declaring "World's Greatest!" and "I Love You"
covered the walls. For some followers, she is the reincarnation of Buddha or
Avatar or con, Suma Ching Hai has become a wealthy woman. She runs a
chain of 56 vegetarian restaurants throughout the world which display her
"fairy" countenance gazing down on diners, peddle her books and magazine, and
treat new age gourmets to an endless background of Hai's lectures and talks
to the devoted. Like the content of her writings and discourses to the
faithful, she is a study in contradiction. She preaches asceticism, but,
notes Guzman, "can nevertheless be seen in her magazine, Suma Ching Hai News,
giving makeovers and fashion tips to female followers..."
Hai's ideology typifies the eclectic mix of pop-culture mysticism, Asian
mystery-religion and more pragmatic marketing strategies which seem to appeal
to 90's post-modernists in search of The Big Answers. She promotes something
called "The Key to Immediate Enlightenment," which reportedly involves a
strict vegetarian diet and a minimum of two and a half hours of meditation
each day while chanting the Supreme Master's name. She also has a less
strenuous shortcut which is ideal for children. That demands only a half
hour of meditation and chanting each day, and 10 months on the strict diet.
"When children are 6 years old, if they are with initiated parents, they can
be half-initiated," Hai told Guzman. "When they are 12, if they have parents
who also practice, they can initiated fully."
Guzman talked to the former Cult Awareness Network in Chicago (the
organization recently taken over by the Church of Scientology.) To CAN and
other experts in cult indoctrination like Joe Kelly, "Supreme Master" Hai is
using the standard methods for seducing and controlling followers. "Love
bombing" is used to "discourage doubts and reinforce the need to belong
through use of childlike games." Hours of mindless meditation and
repetitious chanting, noted Kelly, "unhooks your critical thinking skills."
And the Supreme Master's line of trinkets and fashion wear isn't unusual in
cult circles either; Guzman was informed by Kelly that "Year, TM
(Transcendental Meditation) did the same thing...they put out a line of these
dowdy women's dresses that the Maharishi believed heightened female
Grabbing Publicity, Endorsement
On the road to establishing respectability, some cult groups make special
efforts to seek official endorsement or recognition. AANEWS, in its expose
of Hindu guru-strongman Sri Chinmoy last fall, noted that Chinmoy's followers
conducted an effective campaign to have the holyman's name and slogans placed
on bronze plaques which were then erected at popular tourist venues -- often
on government property, such as the statue of liberty. And they sought
official declarations and proclamations from government agencies or officials
for cult-sponsored events, even those as seemingly harmless as marathons and
other athletic activities.
Hai is described by Guzman as a "tireless publicity seeker," who claims to
have been invited to Georgetown University, UCLA and even the United Nations
to deliver addresses. "She also claims that seven United States governors
proclaimed Feb. 22, 1994 as 'Supreme Master Ching Hai Day'." Guzman notes
that he was able to confirm that at least one governor actually did so, Terry
Branstad of Iowa, "in recognition of her $65,000 donation to relief efforts
for victims of the Mississippi River flooding."
The Money Connection
At least two Buddhist temple groups appear to be involved in the transfer
of money into Democratic coffers. Mr. Trie is considered the major bagman
for funds originating with the "Supreme Master" group of Suma Ching Hai. And
Lippo operative John Huang handled other transfers which purportedly involved
Lippo-Riady money being "donated" to Democratic coffers through temple
members and officials based in Los Angeles. Questions remain, including the
tax exempt status of the "Supreme Masters" operation in the United States,
which purportedly involves at least two corporations in San Jose and Los
Angeles registered as "religious" and "church/synagogue."
(AANEWS will continue to monitor the soft money scandal and the religious
dimension of this story involving Robertson, Riady, Lippo Group, Hai and
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