TOMEONE within the CPP has sent a `hate fax' to the
American public relations firm that the party had hired
for $520,000 to help spin it a more diplomatic image in
the United States.
The Washington D.C.-based PR/law firm, Porter, Wright,
Mor-ris & Arthur, lobbied extensively there to defeat
a Senate resolution similar to that brought successfully
in the House by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher that
criticized Hun Sen as being, in effect, the sole abuser
of human rights in Cambodia.
However, Porter, Wright also caught itself up in internal
CPP intrigue and jealousies, as evidenced from a series
of faxed messages sent late last month from the firm to
Svay Sitha, one of Hun Sen's closest advisers.
The messages leaked from within the CPP itself to
opposition sources and obtained by the Post were sent to
Sitha from a Porter, Wright fax by a writer who did not
sign his name.
The writer was helping Porter, Wright to lobby senators,
congressmen and others to grant an audience with Hun
Sen's most senior adviser, Hor Nam Hong, who was there to
"sell" a different image of the party to that
recently battered by Rorabacher.
But on Oct 27, Porter, Wright received a fax from Phnom
Penh indeed, so the firm deduced, from someone within its
own client, the CPP that said:
"Hello! Mr. Jame Stearn!
You thought that the amount of $500,000 you and your team
got paid nobody in Cambodia was aware of that was why you
have not done anything for Cambodia. you and your team
standed still and kept quiet while Rohrabacher and his
gang tried to eat Hun Sen and Cambodia a life. you are
done nothing for Cambodia but just eat the Cambodian
money. you people is found as CIA trying to destroy the
Cambodia government. you are very cruel, you got paid
from Cambodian but tried to ruin Cambodia. watch out, the
government leaders will discontinue your cruel maneuver
It was signed: "from Watcher".
James Stearns, the recipient, is a lawyer at Porter,
"You should be able to figure out whose fax that...
mysterious letter came from," the CPP's American
point-man wrote immediately back to Sitha, quoting the
Cambodian fax number. "Just consider this: how many
people in Cambodia have Jim [Stearn's] fax number? In
other words, where did `Watcher' get the fax number from?
I think it has to be someone inside the party."
But the `hate fax' was neither the last nor the least of
Porter, Wright's problems in trying to spin a new image
for the CPP in Washington a city that Funcinpec has had
virtually sole Cambodian lobbying access to since 1979.
The following day it became "clear," Sitha was
told, "that, to the greatest extent possible, the
[Cambodian] embassy [in Washington] and Ouch Borith want
to control [Nam Hong's] agenda."
Borith is Cambodia's acting ambassador to the United
Over the following three days, Porter, Wright's daily
written updates to Sitha on Nam Hong's visit became a
running battle between "us" Porter, Wright and
"them" the Cambodian representatives to the US
and the UN.
"I will have a detailed discussion prepared for HNH
[Nam Hong] about our project and will be prepared for
attacks on the program," the Porter, Wright man
said. "I know more about the opposition here that is
supporting VH." "VH" is Var Huot,
Cambodia's ambassador to the United States, a CPP member
and a Hun Sen loyalist but, according to Porter, Wright,
was also firmly with the "opposition".
"But do not be too concerned about this trip,"
the Porter, Wright man continued, after just having told
Sitha he'd run out of money and was having to borrow
more. "The final decision will be made in P[hnom]
P[enh], where we have the advantage."
The next day, however, "another unpleasant matter
arose". Porter, Wright found out that unknown
"amateurs" were making "strange"
faxed requests to congressional offices seeking to make
appointments for Nam Hong. "It makes the whole
effort look bad," Porter, Wright complained to
Sitha. "I intend to raise this issue on
Monday," the writer complained, adding: "I
think we should schedule a meeting with BB [a code for
the "Big Boss", or Hun Sen]" when he
The next day, Oct 30, was even worse: "The intent of
the other side is now very clear," Porter, Wright
complained to Sitha, "to keep our team off [Nam
Stearns, Sitha was told, had organized for Nam Hong to
meet some key Porter, Wright employees in the morning for
a briefing on the State Department and Stanley Roth,
because Roth was the most important of Nam Hong's
But the embassy rescheduled one of the least important
meetings, with the US-Asean Business Council for exactly
the same time Nam Hong was to meet the Porter, Wright
"The US-Asean Business Council... is not in a
position to help Cambodia, the [CPP] party or BB [the
"Big Boss" or Hun Sen] with either Congress or
the Clinton Adminstration," the writer said.
"When you take this action together with the
Ambassador [Var Huot's] refusal to meet me for three
weeks now, I am very angry," the Porter, Wright man
said. "At the very least it shows a lack of courtesy
and respect. After all, I came here representing the
party. And this is how I am treated. I will have plenty
to say when I return."
All throughout the faxed messages to Sitha, Porter,
Wright were at pains to point out that it was them, and
not the "opposition" embassy, who were
arranging all the most significant meetings.
The last message to Sitha read: "We have achieved
another success! setting an appointment for Ambassador
Scheffer of the Dept. of State.
"He is the lead person at State concerning the KR
trials. We can continue to say that the most important
meetings for HNM have been set up by our team.
" However, I am sure that the other side will try to
take credit for them."