By: Trevor Loudon
The line between the Democrats and the Communist Party USA grows blurrier by the day.
At an April 24, function in Seattle, David Loud, aide to Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) read a letter from McDermott, hailing local activist Will Parry as a leader of the fight for comprehensive, universal health care reform. “We are indebted to you for your years of service,” McDermott wrote.
Parry, who was celebrating his 90th birthday, is a prominent local activist and a lifelong member of the Communist Party USA.
Jeff Johnson, Assistant to the President of the Washington State Labor Council and a Party friend, spoke of Parry’s affiliation with the Communist Party of Washington State, the Communist controlled Pension Union and the Washington Commonwealth Federation that “became so strong they elected a Communist, Hugh DeLacy, to the legislature” on the Democrat ticket in 1944.
Another Party friend Bill Farris, President of AWPPW Local 817 at the corrugated box plant where Parry worked for many years, said, “He’s an advocate for people who needed help, an advocate for the union. I’ve lost count of the number of picket lines I’ve walked with Will.”
McDermott, a member of the far left Congressional Progressive Caucus, has little apparent aversion to anti-American organizations or regimes.
From June 30 to July 3 2007, McDermott was in Havana, Cuba on a “fact-finding trip.” The cost of the trip, $1903.80 was paid by the leftist, Center for Democracy in the Americas.
In 2002, McDermott and two other Democratic Congressmen David Bonior (D-MI) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) traveled to Iraq on a fact-finding mission. It was later revealed that Iraqi intelligence had funded the trip through a Michigan based Muslim group headed by Muthanna Al-Hanooti.
Iraqi intelligence agents had reportedly had confidence that Al-Hanooti would be able to persuade Congress to lift economic sanctions against Iraq. A federal indictment unsealed in March 2008 accuses him of using his work with the Michigan-based Life for Relief and Development, formerly known as the International Relief Association, Inc., to become an Iraqi agent.
According to the indictment, Al-Hanooti drafted a plan to undermine the sanctions for the Iraqis, listing members of Congress who would support the move. He then led tours to Iraq, indirectly funded by the Iraqi government, with congressional leaders including McDermott, Bonior and Thompson.
LIFE issued a statement in advance of a 2002 trip, saying it was designed to help the representatives ”gain a better understanding of the humanitarian plight faced by innocent Iraqi civilians still suffering from the destruction caused by the 1991 Gulf War and the continuation of the 12-year embargo.” Photos of the junket in question were included in a 2003 newsletter published by an organization called Focus on American Arab Interests Relations of which Al-Hanooti was President.
According to the indictment, an intermediary for the Iraqis gave Al-Hanooti $24,000 in September 2002 to cover trip expenses, the indictment alleges. The next month, Al-Hanooti received $10,000 more. The indictment also claims he was given the right to buy 2 million barrels of oil under Iraq’s Oil for Food program.
FBI agents interviewed Al-Hanooti in 2007. He denied knowingly meeting with any Iraqi intelligence officials and denied being offered the oil contract. That led to three counts in the indictment of providing false statements to federal agents.
Rep. McDermott’s role in the affair earned him the nick-name “Baghdad Bob.”