Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 16:47:57 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 20, 1996

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 16:47:57 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 20, 1996 Reply-To: 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 nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #219 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 12/20/96 e-mail: 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 sound. 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 Jesus Christ. 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 spirituality." 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 other principles.) ******* About This List... AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. For information on American Atheists, send mail to and include your name and postal mailing address. You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to aanews and American Atheists. For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to and put "info aanews" (minus the quotation marks, please) in the message body. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER ( Internet Representative for American Atheists is Margie Wait,


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank