September 24, 2004

Kerry - Fighting Terrorism For Years

Forget Vietnam 30 years ago, what about here in the U.S. 15 years ago? What were Bush and Kerry doing for the country then?

Thanks to Atrios for the link, a Washington Monthly article recounts the story of Kerry's fight against international terrorism in the Senate. As the article notes, this was what Kerry decided to do with his time when after substantial contribution to the initial investigation, he wasn't included on the panel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. Excerpt:

Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.

All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

By the end, Kerry had helped dismantle a massive criminal enterprise and exposed the infrastructure of BCCI and its affiliated institutions, a web that law enforcement officials today acknowledge would become a model for international terrorist financing. As Kerry's investigation revealed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, BCCI was interested in more than just enriching its clients--it had a fundamentally anti-Western mission. Among the stated goals of its Pakistani founder were to "fight the evil influence of the West," and finance Muslim terrorist organizations. In retrospect, Kerry's investigation had uncovered an institution at the fulcrum of America's first great post-Cold War security challenge. ...

Here's what Bush was doing at the same time:

Sosa began his Major League career in 1989 with the Rangers. After being sent again to the minors, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox (a move that U.S. President George W. Bush, then the Rangers' owner, later joked was the biggest mistake he ever made). After nearly two years with the White Sox, he was again sent down to the minors midseason 1991. Recalled late in the season, he failed to impress the White Sox management, who dealt him away to the Chicago Cubs just prior to the 1992 season. It was there that Sosa spent his glory years. ...

And what else was Bush up to? Back to the Washington Monthly article:

...Even more startling, as a director of Texas-based Harken Energy, Bush himself did business with BCCI-connected institutions almost at the same time Kerry was fighting the bank. As The Wall Street Journal reported in 1991, there was a "mosaic of BCCI connections surrounding [Harken] since George W. Bush came on board." In 1987, Bush secured a critical $25 million-loan from a bank the Kerry Commission would later reveal to be a BCCI joint venture. ...

When George Bush was trading Sammy Sosa away and getting loans from the corrupt BCCI, John Kerry was working to get around roadblocks in government and the objections of powerful people in both parties to make sure terrorists would have a harder time laundering money and financing their operations. When Kerry helped shut down BCCI, he closed the major financial clearing house for virtually every terrorist and dictator named as a menace by the Bush administration, including Hussein, Bin Laden and the future supporters of Al Qaeda.

I await the campaign commercial.

Posted by natasha at September 24, 2004 11:28 AM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |