Right Web

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

The WaPo’s Strange Treatment of Adelson Pal Paul Singer

In its report on GOP mega-donor Paul Singer's financial support for gay rights causes, the Washington Post neglected to mention Singer's potentially greater support for hardline neoconservative foreign policy outfits.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

LobeLog

A week after the now-notorious “Adelson Primary” at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) convention in Las Vegas, the Washington Post ran the first of what it called a series of profiles of a “handful of wealthy donors” who are likely to give a ton of money — many tons, now that the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates of campaign cash in the McCutcheon v. FEC case — to political candidates in the current and 2016 election cycles. It chose hedge fund supremo Paul Singer, a major GOP funder, as its first subject.

Actually, the Post ran two versions of the profile — one longer piece on its blog and a second, somewhat shorter piece printed in the newspaper. The blog post is more comprehensive. While it focuses primarily on Singer’s support — and substantial contributions to campaigns — for gay marriage around the country, it also mentions other causes that have benefited from his largesse, including his opposition to any form of financial regulation and Israel about which it notes only:

Like fellow Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, Singer is staunchly pro-Israel. He is on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which held its spring meeting last weekend. He was a member of a large American delegation that went to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary in 2008.

The print version of the profile, in contrast, focused almost exclusively on Singer’s LGBT rights advocacy; indeed, neither the word “Israel,” nor the phrase “Republican Jewish Coalition,” nor the name “Sheldon Adelson” appear in the more than 1,000-word piece. The only hint in the article — which is likely to be more influential in forming opinions about Singer’s philanthropy within the Beltway than the blog post — that he has any interest in Israel at all is found in the last paragraph in which it is noted that Singer sits on the board of the “conservative” [!!??] Commentary magazine. But then you’d have to know that Commentary is a hard-line neoconservative journal obsessed with Israel to figure out that Singer takes an interest in matters Middle Eastern.

In a blog post published by The Nation, LobeLog co-founder and contributor Eli Clifton noted appropriately that the Post’s blog profile had skimped over Singer’s Israel-related philanthropy, notably his generosity to the Likudist Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), to which he contributed $3.6 million between 2008 and 2011 and may have provided yet more since, albeit not through his family’s foundation. According to tax forms compiled by Eli, between 2009 and 2012, Singer also contributed about $2.3 million to the American Enterprise Institute which, of course, led the charge to war in Iraq and remains highly hawkish on Iran, although those contributions may have had as much or more to do with AEI’s laissez-faire economic theology as with its Israel advocacy. It’s safe to say that his current memberships on the board of both the RJC and Commentary — both staunchly Likudist in orientation — belie some substantial financial support, as does his previous service on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) whose executive director, Mike Makovsky, recently co-authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the Obama administration to transfer some B-52s and bunker-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrators to Israel ASAP for possible use against Iran. In the past, Singer’s family foundation has also contributed to Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) — organizations which he may still be supporting, albeit not through his foundation, which is required by the IRS to publicly disclose its giving.

In other words, there is reason to believe that Singer’s Israel-related giving certainly rivals, if not exceeds, his entirely laudable campaign on behalf of gay rights. And it seems most of his "pro-Israel" largesse has been provided to hard-line neoconservative, even Islamophobic organizations — he told the New York Times in 2007 that “America finds itself at an early stage of a drawn-out existential struggle with radical strains of pan-national Islamists.”

One thing Eli left out of his Nation post was Singer’s role as kind of the ultimate “vulture capitalist.” As noted in this Right Web profile quoting Greg Palast:

Singer’s modus operandi is to find some forgotten tiny debt owed by a very poor nation. … He waits for the United States and European taxpayers to forgive the poor nations’ debts, then waits a bit longer for offers of food aid, medicine and investment loans. Then Singer pounces, legally grabbing at every resource and all the money going to the desperate country. Trade stops, funds freeze, and an entire economy is effectively held hostage. Singer then demands aid-giving nations to pay monstrous ransoms to let trade resume.

In one case he demanded $400 million from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a debt he had acquired for less than $10 million; in another he secured $58 million from the Peruvian government in exchange for letting President Alberto Fujimori flee the country in a private plane Singer had seized against payment of the debt.

More recently, his efforts to capitalize on Argentina’s debt (see here and here for IPS’ coverage) — which were touched on very briefly by the Post’s blog profile — have included the creation of an organization, the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), that has taken out full-page ads in Capitol Hill newspapers linking the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to Iran and an alleged cover-up of the highly questionable Iranian role in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, as well as the enlistment of FDD, AEI, and staunchly pro-Israel lawmakers, such as Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who have benefited from his campaign contributions, in his cause. Singer’s case has been opposed by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and a host of humanitarian and charitable organizations concerned that, if he succeeds at the U.S. Supreme Court, efforts to relieve poor countries of unsustainable debt may be set back by a more than a decade.

So, while Singer’s support for LGBT rights is certainly an interesting and newsworthy topic for the Post’s profile of this major Republican donor — after all, it is a kind of man-bites-dog story — it seems pretty irresponsible to completely ignore, as the Post did in its print version, these other dimensions of Singer’s political philanthropy, particularly given the chronological proximity to the “Adelson Primary.”

Jim Lobe blogs about foreign policy at www.lobelog.com

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


RightWeb
share