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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Kerry on Terrorism... 

This has been mentioned elsewhere (by Kevin Drum among others) but I think it's a useful corrective to the conservative blather suggesting Kerry is sort on terrorism and cravenly power hungery to check out David Sirrota and Jonathan Baskin's piece on Kerry's work at breaking up BCCI (that's Bank of Credit and Commerce International).

For those who might not remember, BCCI was a highflyer in international finance for about a decade starting in the early 80's. Founded by a Pakastani businessman, they invested extensively in (among other things) american politicians, creating a strong network of ties on both the right and the left. In the late 80's, though, BCCI started cropping up in all sorts of law enforcement operations: they laundered money from a dictator here, from a drug lord there. In work which was potentially damaging to his own political propects (it was over the objections of many democratic insiders) Kerry led Senate hearings, found a venue for persectution in New York with the sympathetic DA Robert Morgenthau and played a critical role in breaking up the bank both at home and abroad.

In retrospect BCCI was sort of a financial super store for things criminal. At significant potential risk to his own political future, and years before the general public seemed to care really strongly about terrorist financing, John Kerry played the most important role in breaking it up.

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