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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

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In recent testimony before Congress, the controversial nuclear non-proliferation expert David Albright argued that “Iran’s long history of violations, subterfuge, and non-cooperation requires extraordinary [verification] arrangements to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is indeed peaceful.” The remarks earned a sharp rebuke from retired British diplomat Peter Jenkins, who wrote that the “transgressions” Albright referred to “are not as exceptional as [he] would like members of Congress to believe.” Jenkins added: “It’s a pity that Congress turns so often to Albright for testimony on Iran. He is too inclined to over-dramatize Iran’s nuclear transgressions and to proclaim the necessity of making demands of Iran that can only lead to one thing: the failure of negotiations.”

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, is known for his hawkish views on U.S. security and close ties to prominent neoconservatives and “pro-Israel” megadonors. He recently gave his first major foreign policy speech, which one journalist described as coming “straight out of the neocon playbook, calling for a robust military and aggressive approach to intervention.” Rubio has lambasted the nuclear negotiations with Iran, supported Ukraine membership in NATO, opposed the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and promised to “reimpose sanctions” on Cuba. “Rubio looks, walks, and quacks like a dyed-in-the-wool neocon,” opined one observer. 

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One of The Israel Project’s (TIP) biggest donors, billionaire Paul Singer, has been in the media spotlight recently as observers have begun associating his political funding to his long-running dispute with Argentina over its 2001 debt default. Since Singer increased donations to TIP in 2012, TIP has “provided a steady stream of content critical of Kirchner’s government,” according to one account. 

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Billionaire investor Paul Singer gained media attention recently when Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner pointed out his generous financial support for neoconservative groups that have promoted the idea that Argentina abetted alleged Iranian terrorism. Kirchner and others have pointed out how Singer simultaneously has sought to collect on Argentinian debt, which he bought after Argentina’s 2001 default. The Washington Post predictably lambasted Kirchner for promoting “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” However, other journalists rebuked the Post, writing:  “If the Post had ‘followed the money,’ it perhaps would not have been so ‘confused’ by the connections Kirchner highlighted between Singer and those who have attacked her government over its allegedly nefarious relations with Iran.” 

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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a presumptive contender for the 2016 Republican presidential candidacy, has been emphatic in his support of his brother’s presidency. Asked by Fox pundit Megyn Kelly if he would have authorized the Iraq War “knowing what we know now,” Bush replied: “I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.” Quipped conservative commentator Laura Ingram: “We can’t stay in this re-litigating the Bush years again. You have to have someone who says look I’m a Republican, but I’m not stupid.”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the Senate’s more feverish foreign policy hawks, says there is a “98.6 percent” he will run for president. Graham has spoken candidly about his aim to rely on “pro-Israel” funding to support his campaign, telling the Wall Street Journal: “If I put together a finance team that will make me financially competitive enough to stay in this thing … I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding.” Graham has also recently declared he would send as many as 10,000 U.S. ground troops to Syria as part of a “regional army” to overthrow the Assad government. 

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The Earhart Foundation is a conservative grant-making foundation that appears to shun publicity as it does not have a public web site and has received very little scholarly attention. The foundation has been a key supporter of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute as well as numerous other organizations—like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Project for the New American Century—that have helped push the United States into Middle East wars.

 

 

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From the Wires

May 20, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) super PAC consists of a donor base of hawkish “Jewish conservatives,” who Graham appears to believe that in order to appeal to he must derail the Iranian nuclear negotiations.


May 11, 2015

The United States has played an important, if somewhat uncomfortable, role in the Yemen War by supporting the Saudi-led military strikes while quietly urging Riyadh to look for a political solution.


May 08, 2015

Billionaire investor Paul Singer, who has taken Argentina to court over its debt default, has been a significant financial contributor to a variety of hawkish groups seeking to defame the Argentine President.


May 07, 2015

U.S. military strategy towards the Middle East often ignores the underlying issues that nurture militant movements and make them resilient, which are often the product of American policies.


May 07, 2015

During the nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference at the United Nations, a coalition of faith-based organizations, activists, and civil society organizations called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.


May 05, 2015

The latest Iran bill wending its way through Congress has divided neoconservatives as Bill Kristol and his Emergency Committee for Israel find themselves attacked from the left by rightwing hawks like the Post’s Jennifer Rubin for their opposition to the bill.


May 01, 2015

The Washington Post has attempted to paint Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as anti-Semitic for connecting billionaire Paul Singer and the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), while avoiding any mention of the financial connection between Singer and FDD.


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