Monday, July 4, 2016

John Ashe Is Dead. So What?


On June 22nd, 2016, John Ashe (the one on the left in the above photo) died. He was working out in his home in Dobbs Ferry, New York when he over-fatigued himself while doing bench-presses. The barbell fell onto his throat, crushing his trachea. He died of asphyxiation.

Tragic. And a bit freaky. But so what? Well, it turns out that John Ashe was a former diplomat representing the twin-island nation of Antigua/Barbuda and former President of the United Nations General Assembly. The position itself had no real power, but apparently it held enough influence that Ashe used it to accept bribery payments from a Chinese investor named Ng Lap Seng. This same Chinese investor was accused back in 1996 of being part of a conspiracy to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars from China into the DNC as part of a campaign to gain more Chinese influence in American politics, including Bill Clinton's reelection campaign.

And here's where it gets interesting. He was facing charges relating to his bribery scandal, and was reportedly on the verge of giving sworn testimony in trial regarding his relations to Ng, and the Clintons. How strange that he should conveniently die right before doing so! Someone must be trying to protect Hillary from further embarrassment!

Well, no. As has often been the case this election year, the claims regarding Hillary were completely false.

Let's hear it for Snopes! They completely exposed this hoax, and you can read about it here. But Snopes did a cursory job, and I thought I should go into it with more detail.

First, while his death was the freakiest of freak accidents, there is no evidence that Ashe was murdered. Second, he did not die right before he was set to give testimony in trial. The U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York told Snopes that Mr. Ashe was only set to attend some preliminary pre-trial proceedings a few days after he died. The actual trial was to be much, much later.

And also, he was not going to testify against Hillary Clinton.

Hillary not only has no connection to the U.N. bribery scancal between Ng and Ashe, she doesn't have any real connection to the 1996 "Chinagate" scandal, either. To remember why, it is necessary to go back and revisit this scandal from the mid-90's and see just how bad it was for Bill.

There was much hemming and hawing regarding the prospect of Chinese money influencing the DNC. FOX News was not yet a political force, but right-wing talk radio was, and it was having a field day in 1997. But for all the complaining of the Republican controlled Congress, no evidence could be found of any link between Chinese money and Bill Clinton's reelection campaign. There were a few instances of donations at the legal limit coming from Chinese sources, such as those funneled through Bill's friend, Arkansas businessman Yah Ling "Charlie" Trie. But in every case, that money was returned, even after being legally donated, just to avoid any appearance of impropriety. There was a Department Of Justice investigation, but it found nothing. There was also a Congressional committee investigation, but it also found nothing solid. On a party-line 8 to 7 vote, Republicans said there was enough evidence to conclude there was criminal activity. The Republicans rallied around former Law and Order actor Fred Thompson, who said that there was "not any one real big thing" but "a lot of things strung together that paint a real ugly picture." The Democrats rallied around former astronaut John Glenn, who said that he was convinced the Chinese money was only used to influence congressional elections. Since the Democrats lost, it seemed reasonable to conclude the Chinese money couldn't have bought much influence, if at all. An independent council to investigate the matter seemed warranted, but Attorney General Janet Reno declined to appoint one. This, more than anything, is the real scandal of the entire affair, because an independent council could have exonerated the DNC once and for all. Instead, the scandal festered, and was a possible factor in the upset election of 2000. If you want a thorough exploration of that event, check out the Wikipedia page here.

What has this got to do with Hillary? Absolutely nothing.

Hillary was First Lady at the time, meaning that she would have been out of the loop regarding any campaign financing issues. Also, what sort of influence could the Chinese possibly buy from a First Lady? The answer is pretty much none. There was no market for bribery, hence there was no bribery. If the Chinese really wanted to pay money to the First Lady hoping to buy her influence, they could certainly try to do so, but they might as well have lit a large pile of money on fire for all the good it would get them.

Years later, a Chinese businessman Hillary has no connection to, but her husband just might have, is implicated in a bribery scandal with a U.N. official she has no ties to, and is about to give sworn testimony that could have no possible connection to her even in the most elastic of stretches. Okay, the guy died. But again I must ask, so what?

Was this dropped barbell supposed to protect Hillary from something?

The original conspiracy theory comes from a blogger who goes by the name of Sorcha Faal, who publishes bullshit tabloid crap on the conspiracy website whatdoesitmean.com. To say that this person is a crackpot is an insult to crackpots. His reputation is so bad that even other conspiracy nuts disrespect him. The official he quotes as calling Mr. Ashe's death "conveniently timed" is, you guessed it, an anonymous source.

So we have a proven fraudster giving out a phony story on a red-flag-ridden website and the official quote comes from an anonymous source on top of that. Fuck, if you want to implicate Hillary in a scandal why don't you just toss some chicken bones onto the ground and have a goddamned witch doctor determine Hillary's guilt or innocence?!

But, this is the age of the Internet, where old liars never die. They just get continuously shared on Facebook and re-tweeted on Twitter.

Why this blog doesn't have that kind of power, I'll never know. Maybe that's the price I pay for reporting responsibly.


Eric

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