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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Spinmeisters ask for progress on arrests in political killings

Spinmeisters ask for progress on arrests in political killings

LEAKED reports and messages to the CPP reveal that the

party's Washington D.C.-based public relations firm

"enlisted human rights activists to criticize [Dana

Rohrabacher's] Resolution", in a failed effort to

get the House resolution attacking Hun Sen quashed.

The PR/law firm Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur did,

however, work to defeat a similar resolution before the


Porter, Wright who worked in tandem for the CPP with a

top Washington D.C. corporate law firm Arnold &

Porter, especially William Rogers of that firm also wrote

to the CPP's Phnom Penh-based American lawyer, Bretton

Sciaroni, on Oct 13, recommending:

that a new government be formed as soon as possible

"so that international focus will [instead] be on

the new leadership...";

that Hun Sen should immediately begin leading the charge

to bring the Khmer Rouge to trial before an international


and that some "significant progress be made on

solving the alleged political killings" done both

before and after the July election.

The Oct 13 memo to Sciaroni, from Porter, Wright lawyer

James Stearns, was in response to Sciaroni's previous

inquiry as to why "the Washington team" could

not stop the Rohra-bacher resolution going through.

Rohrabacher wanted to appease the "anti-CPP forces

in his district", Stearns told Sciaroni, and that he

also "raised money for [International Republican

Institute chairman] Gilman's re-election campaign from

Cambodians in his California district".

The State Department, Stearns said, didn't oppose the

resolution because it wanted to keep pressure on Hun Sen.

"... [A]lthough it has been State's policy to move

toward normalization of relations with the CPP, it wants

to move slowly so as to keep maximum pressure on [Hun

Sen]. We suppose that the lack of opposition to the

resolution was based on State's desire to ensure a

coalition government in Phnom Penh, and not a government

formed by the CPP."

But the State Department didn't know how far Rohrabacher

was prepared to go, Stearns told Sciaroni. "We

enlisted human rights activists to criticize the

resolution, then showed Assistant Secretary of State

Stanley Roth how bad the resolution was, and how

Rohrabacher was `telling everyone in Cambodia' that State

supported it. At that point, Roth... had [US Ambassador

to Cambodia Kenneth] Quinn issue the statement of

opposition... [But] by that time, it was too little, too


State's "change of position", Stearns said, did

alienate some Democrats who "did not want to be

labeled as opposing human rights, [since] they believed

that since the fighting last year, one hundred

extra-judicial killings had taken place in Cambodia for

political reasons. They note not one arrest has been made

in these cases...".

Stearns then made his three recommendations, including

the last for some action to be taken on solving the


Sciaroni then wrote an Oct 20 memo to the "BB"

a codename for the "Big Boss", or Hun Sen, and

also addressed to senior CPP strategist Say Chum

reiterating many of Stearns' points, saying "[o]ur

team worked with the relevant congressional officies...

to make sure that this legislation did not advance".

Sciaroni described Rohrabacher's work in Congress as


Sciaroni noting that because he is not registered as a

foreign agent for the CPP with the US Dept. of Justice,

he couldn't lobby the State Department attended meetings

with State staff and noted: "[They] understand that

a government must be formed, and do not care if Sam

Rainsy is included in the formula or not... [they] are

looking for a meaningful coalition to be formed."

Sciaroni told Hun Sen that the Senate Resolution (SR) 309

which was a similar version to that of Rohrabacher's

House resolution that has already been passed posed two

problems for Cambodia.

"First, like the House version of the bill, it

specifically condemed the Prime Minister-elect. Second,

we fear that it might be attached to the House

appropriations legislation, making further difficulties

for our ability to get US aid."

Sciaroni said the Porter, Wright team put pressure on the

State to issue a statement opposing SR309 "and [had]

Assistant Secretary stanley Roth lobby Congress against


Sciaroni called the bill "dangerous" because it

was introduced by two "key senators" Jesse

Helms (chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations

Committee) and Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, he said, was rumored to be holding up Kent

Weidemann's nomination as Cambodia's new ambassador

because "of issues concerning Burma" or

"because Mc-Connell is uncertain whether the US

should have an ambassador in Cambodia at all".

Sciaroni said that Porter, Wright's had a

"two-pronged approach" of getting the State

Department involved, and also the involvement of Senator

Craig Thomas who was "a man looking for solutions to

the current situation, not simply to put the blame on


"In the end, the intervention of Sen. Thomas was

critical to killing the SR309".

Sciaroni orignally did not want Hun Sen's adviser Hor Nam

Hong to come to Washington, because it was the end of the

legislative session and so many influential people would

be holidaying or campaigning for re-election.

However, he did tell Hun Sen who the most important

people were for Nam Hong to meet in Washington were Roth,

Senators Thomas, McConnell, John McCain, John Porter,

Patrick Leahy, Charles Robb and John Kerry; and in the

House Ben Gilman and Congressmen Bereuter and Berman, and

John Fox.



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