Most American conservatives are aware of the close connection between Al Gore’s family and the late, unlamented Armand Hammer, one of the most appalling figures in the 20th-century American rogues’ gallery. But in order to read about that connection in a major daily newspaper, they have to look abroad—to England, where the Independent has published a major expose of the Gore-Hammer connection (May 21). The article first recounted how Al Gore’s claim to be an expert on Russia:

blew up in his face last year when critics asked why, if he knew so much about Russia, he only learnt from the newspapers about the scandal over the laundering of $10 [billion] in Russian money through the Bank of New York.

But this criticism missed the real target; there is a Russian connection that may prove Gore’s undoing. According to the Independent, it concerns:

the extraordinary relationship between his father. Senator Al Gore Sr, and Armand Hammer, the American multi-millionaire, who, after meeting Lenin, became the Soviet Union’s first foreign investor in 1921. Hammer also served, according to secret Soviet documents since released, as the conduit for laundering money to Soviet intelligence operations and Communist parties abroad.

According to the Independent, Gore had access to the Soviet, and then the Russian, leadership long before he became Vice President, thanks to his father’s links to Hammer and his high-level Soviet contacts. For his part. Hammer was quoted as saying that he had Gore Senior in his “back pocket.” As early as 1950, Hammer had made Congressman Gore his business partner. He needed political protection because J. Edgar Hoover suspected him of being a Soviet agent. Hoover was right, although that only became clear in 1996 when the Russians opened several secret archives. While in Congress, Al Gore, Sr., helped to keep the FBI off Hammer’s back. After his retirement, the baton was passed to the freshman senator for Tennessee, Al Gore, Jr. As the Independent points out, however, the Russian connection remained concealed throughout:

Not surprisingly Soviet and later Russian leaders—often the same people—favour Mr Gore for the presidency as an associate of their favourite capitalist. Andrei Kortunov, president of the Moscow Science Foundation, . . . says: “The traditional establishment likes the Gore family.” On meeting Al Gore Jr in Washington in 1985, he recalls being struck by the senator’s knowledge of the Soviet Union. Mr Gore was right in saying he knows a lot about Russia, but he is hardly likely to publicise the reason why.

Unaware of the rattling of these old skeletons, or unperturbed knowing that they won’t reach our own courtier press, in the first week of June Vice President Gore announced the “second American revolution.” “The next Thomas Edison or Marie Curie may be a child waiting in a ghetto or a rural hollow for the tools to learn and experiment,” Gore rhapsodized. “Let’s get him—or her—wired and online.” But according to the Washington Times (June 5):

Tenants of Mr. Gore, who rent a house from Gore Realty within eyesight of the vice president’s Carthage, Tenn., farm, live in squalid conditions that his property managers have allowed to fester for more than a year. Their toilets routinely overflow, raw sewage leaks from the base of a commode and foul-smelling mud comes up through their sink.

The Washington Times concludes that “there seems to be no limit to Al Gore’s compassion when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money on the theoretical hightech needs of poor children in general”:

But when it comes to real children he is actually obliged to serve—by a rental agreement if not by his high-minded principles—suddenly he becomes much more stingy.

Let’s take leave of Mr. Gore with an item from Associated Press (June 6) that, at the time of this writing, was not picked up by the Big Media:

In a memo kept secret for 2 1/2 years, FBI Director Louis Freeh warned that the Justice Department was ignoring “reliable evidence” that conflicted with Al Gore’s accounts of his fund-raising activities . . . . “In the face of compelling evidence that the vice president was a very active, sophisticated fund-raiser who knew exactly what he was doing, his own exculpatory statements must not be given undue weight,” the Freeh memo said.

While Janet Reno’s Justice Department decides how to shield Mr. Gore from any possible unpleasantness, law enforcement agencies may soon be directed to focus their efforts on foreign students in the United States. According to the London Times (June 5):

To tackle the threat of international terrorism, the US should monitor every foreign student within its borders, encourage CIA agents to recruit more “unsavoury” informants and impose sanctions on friendly states who fail to act against terrorists . . . The National Commission on Terrorism gave warning that US anti-terrorism policies were “seriously deficient” and recommended a series of drastic measures that have angered its allies accused of tolerating terrorism. The most radical element in the report is a proposal to begin surveillance of every foreign student on US soil, since “a small minority may exploit their student status to support terrorist activity.”

While it makes sense to monitor those foreign nationals—including students—who fall into some higher-risk category, the dictum of political correctness which demands that “racial” (or religious, or ethnic) profiling of students must not be applied means that all foreign students must be monitored, Dutch and Swiss no less than Muslim. A threat from foreign student radicals may exist, but to understand the real nature of the threat we must return to Britain. The Guardian reported on May 16 that “a growing number of students are being recruited on British campuses by Islamic extremists,” and many end up on the world’s front lines. The extremist party Al-Muhajiroun, which is engaged in campus recruitment, is active in the United States as well:

Sheikh Bakri-Muhammad, who founded the party in Saudi Arabia in 1983, says it is the duty of all Muslims to engage in jihad. He said: “I believe in the divine cause for Muslims to struggle.” [He] admitted that there is a global network of agents with connections to the military camps, some of whom work from Britain . . . They know that the military warfare they are engaged in may be called terrorism by the British government. But they are convinced that they are obeying a higher authority. “The law could go to hell, ” says Abdullah. “On the one hand I have Tony Blair to follow, and on the other my creator” . . . To Sheikh Bakri-Muhammad, Islamising Britain is a “divine duty.” He regularly preaches Islamic globalisation in his lectures and in party literature.

The consequences of Washington’s determination to put on political blinders in its attempts to combat terrorism are becoming painfully obvious at the trial in the Netherlands of two Libyans accused of blowing up PanAm flight 103 over Scotland in 1989. According to the Glasgow Sunday Herald (May 28). Libya had nothing to do with Lockerbie. It was Syria, but this was inconvenient for the Clinton administration to admit because of its attempts to broker a peace agreement between Syria and Israel:

A former CIA agent who claims Libya is not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing . . . faces 10 years in prison if he reveals any information about the terrorist attack . . . Dr Richard Fuisz, a multi-millionaire businessman and pharmaceutical researcher, was, according to US intelligence sources, the CIA’s key operative in the Syrian capital Damascus during the 1980s . . . One month before a court order was served on him by the US government gagging him from speaking on the grounds of national security, he spoke to US congressional aide Susan Lindauer, telling her he knew the identities of the Lockerbie bombers and claiming they were not Libyan. Lindauer, shocked by Fuisz’s claims, immediately compiled notes on the meeting which formed the basis of a later sworn affidavit detailing Fuisz’s claims. One month after their conversation, in October 1994, a court in Washington DC issued an order barring him from revealing any information on the grounds of “military and state secrets privilege”.

Lindauer claims that Fuisz made “unequivocal statements to me that he has first-hand knowledge about the Lockerbie case” and that he can identify who orchestrated and executed the bombing. In her suppressed affidavit, she states that Fuisz “has said that he can confirm absolutely that no Libyan national was involved in planning or executing the bombing of PanAm 103, either in any technical or advisory capacity whatsoever.” This is in line with the claims of an Iranian defector currently being debriefed by the CIA in Turkey, who claims that the bombing was the work of Syria and Iran.

We end with an update on a group that is increasingly replacing terrorism with old-fashioned gangsterism. “KLA-linked Gangs Commit 2000 Robberies in Spain” ran the self-explanatory headline in the leading Madrid daily El Pais (May 7):

“They act with the effectiveness of commandos,” acknowledges a spokesman for a private security company. They assault business establishments across the countryside. They carefully plan the strike; they act at night; they take the money from the safe; they depart without leaving tracks and with virtually no witnesses.

El Pais reports that they move all over the country to carry out their attacks. One crew rents a nearby site, another gathers information about the target, and a third carries out the strike. They prefer to use Italian identity cards, easily obtained through a support network in Italy:

One estimate of the Civil Guard sets the amount of money obtained by these bands at almost 4,000 million pesetas, acquired primarily during the last two years. This money allows them to finance their high lifestyle and the means of executing their robberies. Nevertheless, this is not the only use for the money. A good portion of it is sent outside the country . . . There is some conjecture about the destination of the illegal funds. One hears much about the financing of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), but, as with other details, the information is still inadequate.

Spain, one of the last civilized nations in Europe, is about to join the international community. After the Kosovar gangs, Gypsy pickpockets and Andean street musicians can’t be far behind. But when the first Gay Pride march hits Madrid, we’ll know that the Castilian goose has finally been cooked.