TBR News July 21, 2017

Jul 21 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., July 21, 2017:””Once tentatively supportive of Trump, the far right people, to include the frenzied warmongers known as neo-cons, are becoming rapidly disillusioned with him. Trump promised everything in his campaign but once in office, adjusted to reality. He promised to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, delighting the Ashkenazi , then when told it would cause terrible problems with the Arab world, backed off. He was jovial and cooperative with the PRC and they took this as being sensitive to their needs and then he clamped down on their economic aggressions. The PRC is lusting after virgin Siberian territory and making friendly with the US was a step in neutralizing them if they moved on Russia.

The warmongers have harped on his to harass Russia and initially, he listened to them but after meeting, and having substantive private meeting with Putin, he moved towards a more cooperative attitude.

Now all the fanatics on the far right are beginning to hate him and they can join with the fuzzy liberals who were stricken when the Divine Hillary got the boot.”


Table of Contents

  • Exclusive: U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals in blow to China’s buying spree
  • Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign
  • Turkey minister accuses Berlin of harboring terrorists, as disagreement heats up
  • Germany puts arms deals with Turkey on hold after rights row
  • Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now?
  • Palestinian protests over Jerusalem Temple Mount site turn deadly
  • Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment
  • “The Alt-Right Side of History Will Prevail”

 Exclusive: U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals in blow to China’s buying spree

July 20, 2017

by Greg Roumeliotis and Diane Bartz


A secretive U.S. government panel has objected to at least nine acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign buyers so far this year, people familiar with the matter said, a historically high number that bodes poorly for China’s overseas buying spree.

The objections indicate that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for potential national security risks, is becoming more risk-averse under U.S. President Donald Trump.

Chinese companies and investors eyeing U.S. assets could face more roadblocks as a result, at a time when the Chinese government is also restricting the flow of capital out of China following a bonanza of Chinese overseas deals.

There have been 87 announced acquisitions of U.S. companies by Chinese firms so far in 2017, the highest on record and up from 77 deals in the corresponding period in 2016.

CFIUS’s more conservative stance toward deals coincides with growing political and economic tensions between the United States and China. On Wednesday the two countries failed to agree on major new steps to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China.

Since the start of the year, CFIUS has sent letters to companies involved in at least nine deals to say they would be blocked based on measures they have proposed to address potential national security risks, the people familiar said.

Many of these deals are in the technology sector, the sources said. A rise in cyber security threats and rapid advances in technology makes it more difficult to establish whether a deal poses any threat, lawyers who represent companies before CFIUS said.

An initial objection by the watchdog does not necessarily kill the deal immediately.

Some companies this year have chosen to keep their CFIUS filings alive by proposing new mitigation measures, while others have pulled their applications and canceled their deals, the people said. They asked not be identified because interactions between CFIUS and the companies are confidential.

“CFIUS decisions are highly sensitive and we are not going to comment on rumors of their outcome,” a White House spokeswoman said.

A spokesman at the Treasury Department declined to comment. Treasury leads CFIUS with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin serving as chairman.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks at the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017.Yuri Gripas

Most of the deals that CFIUS has sought to block this year have not been announced. Among the companies that have disclosed they have withdrawn their CFIUS applications and canceled their deals are U.S. electronics maker Inseego Corp (INSG.O), which tried to sell its MiFi mobile hotspot business to Chinese smartphone maker TCL Industries Holdings, and Texas oil producer ExL Petroleum Management LLC, which sought to sell its assets to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s L1 Energy.

By comparison, in the entirety of 2014, the last year for which CFIUS has released official data, nine deals were withdrawn after CFIUS began an investigation.

Several more companies face protracted CFIUS reviews amid delays after Trump took office in filling important mid-level political positions at several of the 16 government departments and agencies that comprise CFIUS.

CFIUS is on track to review a record-setting 250 to 300 transactions in 2017, according to Anne Salladin, a CFIUS expert with the law firm Stroock and Stroock and Lavan LLP – up sharply from 147 deals in 2014.

The backlog is leading many companies that fail to gain CFIUS clearance within the standard 75 days allocated for review to refile their applications. Refiling resets the clock and gives up to another 75 days to complete the national security review and try to resolve potential issues.

They include Chinese payments company Ant Financial’s $1.2 billion acquisition of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O) and China-backed buyout fund Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC’s $1.3 billion acquisition of U.S. chip maker Lattice Semiconductor Corp (LSCC.O).

In addition, investment firm China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co Ltd’s $2.7 billion acquisition of U.S. life insurer Genworth Financial Inc (GNW.N) and China-based semiconductor investment fund Unic Capital Management’s $580 million acquisition of U.S. semiconductor testing equipment company Xcerra Corp (XCRA.O) are also with the watchdog.

Ant Financial has refiled its MoneyGram deal with CFIUS once, while Canyon Bridge and China Oceanwide have refiled their deals twice, according to company disclosures and Reuters reports. Unic is still on its first filing with CFIUS on its Xcerra deal, company disclosures and Reuters reports showed.

Of the two dozen political appointee positions in the Treasury Department just three have been confirmed by U.S. lawmakers. A key CFIUS nomination is that of former Allen & Overy LLP lawyer Heath Tarbert, who has been appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for international markets and development, and has yet to be confirmed.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Diane Bartz in Washington; additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe in Washington; Editing by Chris Sanders and Grant McCool

 Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign

Neocons and liberals howl

July 21, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


The headline in the Washington Post said it all: “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow.” The madness that has infected what passes for journalism today could not be more starkly dramatized: everything is seen through the distorting lens of Russophobia. It doesn’t matter that that the program had failed to achieve its ostensible goal, and that the US-vetted rebels had for the most part defected to al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS. Atrocities committed by the “moderate” rebels go unmentioned. That real experts on the region like Joshua Landis hailed the move as a step toward a peaceful settlement is ignored. The only thing that matters is that, as one unnamed “current official” cited in the article puts it, “Putin won in Syria.”

From this perspective, the Syrian people are merely pawns in a geopolitical game between Washington and Moscow. Elsewhere in the piece, the authors – Washington Post reporters Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous – bemoan the fact that the US has somehow “lost” Syria. Under the cover of citing anonymous former White House officials, they write:

“Even those who were skeptical about the program’s long-term value, viewed it as a key bargaining chip that could be used to wring concessions from Moscow in negotiations over Syria’s future.

“’People began thinking about ending the program, but it was not something you’d do for free,’ said a former White House official. ‘To give [the program] away without getting anything in return would be foolish.’”

The Syrian people are mere “bargaining chips” as far as the movers and shakers of the American empire are concerned: they have no reality outside the cold calculations of power politics, the maneuvers of our know-it-all political class, who think they are qualified to run the world.

This is the same mentality that led us into the disastrous invasion of Iraq, and the equally tragic and bloody intervention in Libya, both of which resulted in chaos and the triumph of terrorism. In both cases we destroyed a secular authoritarian regime and paved the way for the growth of radical Islamist factions, enabling the spread of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and similar terrorist formations. And for what?

When the history of this era is written, the motivations of US policymakers under both President Obama and President George W. Bush will be called into question: why did they destroy the Middle East? Was it simply an error of judgment, or was something more sinister involved? Did they deliberately upend these societies, actively aiding Islamist barbarians, much as the late Roman emperors invited the Teutonic barbarians into the empire as mercenaries – who eventually turned on them and sacked Rome?

The rebel forces, both those “vetted” by the CIA and freelancers like al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and ISIS, all have a program in common: the establishment of an Islamic state in the whole of Syria, which will be ruled according to the medieval strictures of Sharia law. Christians, Alawites, Kurds, and other minorities will be either subjugated, or driven out: genocide is a likely outcome of a rebel victory. Under these circumstances, any support to these elements is criminal – so why did we undertake this project to begin with?

The reason is simple: our Sunni Arab “allies,” Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, have enormous influence in US ruling circles, and they utilized it to forge a bipartisan pro-Islamist coalition consisting of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and the liberal imperialists over at the Center for a New American Century, and the John McCain-Lindsey Graham wing of the GOP. Obama reluctantly went along with what was an aid-to-terrorists program, while putting some limits on it and ultimately balking at full-scale US intervention in Syria when the public rose up against it.

The framing of this issue in terms of whether it helps Russia signals a strategic shift for the War Party: during the Bush years, the alleged enemy was al-Qaeda and associated terrorist groups, but under the Obama administration we saw the beginning of a new turn, away from fighting radical Islamism and toward a policy of accommodating and even allying with it, starting with the so-called Arab Spring. With the Obama foreign policy in the region largely farmed out to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, this culminated in the Libyan intervention and the arming of Islamist groups in Syria. Simultaneously, Mrs. Clinton started denouncing Putin as the modern-day equivalent of Hitler, and the foreign policy mandarins in Washington began to characterize “Putinism,” rather than radical Islamism, as the principal enemy of the United States.

Sen. McCain, one of the loudest advocates of arming the Islamist rebels and overthrowing Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, was quite explicit recently about this radical reorientation of the War Party’s strategic vision: Russia, he declared in a visit to Australia, is the “premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS.” Clinton supporter and leading neoconservative Max Boot, a former CIA analyst, said the same thing during his recent lambasting by Tucker Carlson: asked why Russia is supposed to be a threat, he answered because “they have nuclear weapons.” Well, so do many countries, including China, Pakistan, Israel, and France. Why single out Russia for special opprobrium?

I answered that question here, at least in part, and won’t reiterate what I wrote back then. Suffice to say that what the War Party requires is a credible enemy, one with some size, a history of conflict with the US, and preferably a nuclear capability. Russia qualifies on all three counts, and Putin in particular has aroused the ire of the political class by criticizing Washington’s pretensions of global hegemony. And of course there’s the sheer political opportunism of the Democrats: rather than admit that Mrs. Clinton lost fair and square, because she was a terrible candidate, they’re claiming Putin “stole” the election on Trump’s behalf. Add to this the influence – and wealth – of exiled Russian oligarchs, and the stage is set for an anti-Russian crusade, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1950s.

Despite the relentless propaganda campaign waged in the media, the Trump administration has – finally! – been able to keep at least one of the promises made during the campaign: that “regime change” was no longer going to be an American goal in Syria. And with the ceasefire in southern Syria, and probably more to come along those lines, it looks like we are cooperating with Russia in an effort to bring peace to the region – this despite the hate campaign being waged against both Trump and the Russians here at home.

Progress is slow, inconsistent, and subject to sudden setbacks – but it’s happening all the same. And that is good news indeed.

Turkey minister accuses Berlin of harboring terrorists, as disagreement heats up

July 20, 2017


ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday accused Germany of harboring terrorists, comments likely to ratchet up the disagreement between Berlin and Ankara after Turkey jailed some rights activists.

“As a country providing shelter to PKK and FETO terrorists in its own territory, statements by Germany are just double standards and unacceptable,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter, referring to the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the network of U.S.-based cleric Ankara blames for last July’s failed coup.

Germany told its citizens on Thursday to exercise caution if traveling to Turkey and threatened measures that could hinder German investment there, in a sign of growing impatience with a NATO ally after the detention of rights activists.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan


Germany puts arms deals with Turkey on hold after rights row

July 20, 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is putting arms projects with Turkey on hold as tensions between the NATO allies escalate, mass-selling daily Bild reported, citing government sources.

The move applied to planned arms projects as well as those already running, Bild reported. As a fellow NATO member, the supply of arms to Turkey has previously been largely unproblematic for Germany.

The German government declined to comment on the report.

Germany told its citizens on Thursday to exercise caution if traveling to Turkey and threatened measures that could hinder German investment there, in a sign of growing impatience with Ankara after the detention of rights activists.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Alison Williams

 Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now?

July 21, 2017

by Patrick J. Buchanan


“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender.”

Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War.

Why is containment surrender? “Because freedom is threatened everywhere so long as this dictatorship stays in power,” says Gingrich.

But how is our freedom threatened by a regime with 3 percent of our GDP that has been around since Jimmy Carter was president?

Fortunately, Gingrich has found a leader to bring down the Iranian regime and ensure the freedom of mankind. “In our country that was George Washington and … the Marquis de Lafayette. In Italy it was Garibaldi,” says Gingrich.

Whom has he found to rival Washington and Garibaldi? Says Gingrich, “Maryam Rajavi.”

Who is she? The leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which opposed the Shah, broke with the old Ayatollah, collaborated with Saddam Hussein, and, until 2012, was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.

At the NCRI conference in Paris in July where Gingrich spoke, and the speaking fees were reportedly excellent, John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani were also on hand.

Calling Iran’s twice-elected President Hassan Rouhani, “a violent, vicious murderer,” Giuliani said, “the time has come for regime change.”

Bolton followed suit. “Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it is not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region,” he said. Hence, “the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.”

We will all celebrate in Tehran in 2019, Bolton assured the NCRI faithful.

Good luck. Yet, as The New York Times said yesterday, all this talk, echoed all over this capital, is driving us straight toward war. “A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions – from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists – is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran.”

Is this what America wants or needs – a new Mideast war against a country three times the size of Iraq?

After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, would America and the world be well-served by a war with Iran that could explode into a Sunni-Shiite religious war across the Middle East?

Bolton calls Iran “a nuclear weapons threat.”

But in 2007, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies declared with high confidence Iran had no nuclear weapons program. They stated this again in 2011. Under the nuclear deal, Iran exported almost all of its uranium, stopped enriching to 20 percent, shut down thousands of centrifuges, poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor, and allows U.N. inspectors to crawl all over every facility.

Is Iran, despite all this, operating a secret nuclear weapons program? Or is this War Party propaganda meant to drag us into another Mideast war?

To ascertain the truth, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should call the heads of the CIA and DIA, and the Director of National Intelligence, to testify in open session.

We are told we are menaced also by a Shiite Crescent rising and stretching from Beirut to Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.

And who created this Shiite Crescent?

It was George W. Bush who ordered the Sunni regime of Saddam overthrown, delivering Iraq to its Shiite majority. It was Israel whose invasion and occupation of Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 gave birth to the Shiite resistance now known as Hezbollah.

As for Bashar Assad in Syria, his father sent troops to fight alongside Americans in the Gulf War.

The Ayatollah’s regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij militia are deeply hostile to this country. But Iran does not want war with the United States – for the best of reasons. Iran would be smashed like Iraq, and its inevitable rise, as the largest and most advanced country on the Persian Gulf, would be aborted.

Moreover, we have interests in common: Peace in the Gulf, from which Iran’s oil flows and without which Iran cannot grow, as Rouhani intends, by deepening Iran’s ties to Europe and the advanced world.

And we have enemies in common: ISIS, al-Qaida and all the Sunni terrorists whose wildest dream is to see their American enemies fight their Shiite enemies.

Who else wants a U.S. war with Iran, besides ISIS?

Unfortunately, their number is legion: Saudis, Israelis, neocons and their think tanks, websites and magazines, hawks in both parties on Capitol Hill, democracy crusaders, and many in the Pentagon who want to deliver payback for what the Iranian-backed Shiite militias did to us in Iraq.

President Trump is key. If he does the War Party’s bidding, that will be his legacy, as the Iraq War is the legacy of George W. Bush.


Comment:John Bolton: Formerly Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Bolton was also a Senior Advisor to President Bush. Prior to this position, Bolton was Senior Vice President of the above mentioned think tank, AEI. In October 2002, Bolton accused Syria of having a nuclear program so an attack Syria could be justified after a subjugation of Iraq. President Bush has appointed Bolton, an extremely opinionated and abrasive individual, to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. His appointment was the subject of strong controversy and as of this writing, Bolton has not been officially appointed. Yale graduate. A prime architect of Bush’s Iraq policy, Bolton served Bush Snr and Reagan in the state department, justice department and USAid and was later under-secretary for arms control and international security in Bush Jnr’s state department. His appointment was intended to counter the dove-ish Colin Powell. Bolton is part of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Project for the New American Century and is a vice-president at the American Enterprise Institute. He was also one of Bush’s chad-counters during the Florida count. Bolton has long advocated Taiwan getting a UN seat — he’s been on the payroll of the Taiwanese government. The US unilateralist is a regular contributor to William Kristol’s right-wing Weekly Standard and vilified UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Bolton was an opponent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a cheerleader for the Star Wars Defense System. He had hinted at targeting Cuba in the war on terror. His financial interests have include oil and arms firms and JP Morgan Chase, like Shultz. It is said that Bolton believes in the inevitability of Armageddon. Like Woolsey, Bolton is said to believe we are in the midst of world war four which he estimates could take 40 years to finish. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary they believed Iraq was involved in September 11. With Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, Bennet, Woolsey, Perle and Kristol, Bolton co-signed a letter in 1998 urging President Bill Clinton to take military action in Iraq. Bolton is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), senior advisor for Freedom Capital Investment Management, a Fox News Channel commentator, and of counsel to the Washington, D.C. law firm Kirkland & Ellis


Palestinian protests over Jerusalem Temple Mount site turn deadly

One Palestinian has been reported dead in protests in Jerusalem over restrictions at Haram al-Sharif, also known as Temple Mount. Israel caused outrage by installing metal detectors at the holy site.

July 21, 2017


The Palestinian protests – triggered by tensions over the placement of metal detectors at a Jerusalem holy site – turned into clashes in which one man was shot dead on Friday.

News of the death came from the Palestinian health ministry, which did not specify who was behind the shooting.

Israeli police have prohibited Palestinian men under the age of 50 from entering Jerusalem’s Old City for Friday Muslim prayers, but allowed women of all ages.

Typically, thousands of worshippers descend on Fridays to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and site of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Muslim leaders urged worshipers to skip Friday prayers at neighborhood mosques across the city and instead go to the shrine to boost crowd numbers, which were expected to rise to the tens of thousands.

Palestinians have also been urged to converge on Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.

DW’s Israel correspondent Tania Kramer, who is in Jerusalem, said there were reports of riots and sporadic outbursts of violence in various parts of the city by early afternoon. Police had a heavy security presence, erecting check points and turning away Palestinians heading into Jerusalem.

” It’s a bit of an unclear and volatile situation,” Kramer said.

“Most people were not even able to get close to the old city, they were stopped by security in the street.”

“Any change on this very sensitive holy site usually sparks very strong reactions. So far Israel has not back down to remove those metal detectors. There might be a reassessment, I think it depends on what happens in the next few hours and also after the evening prayers because it is so volatile.”

The restrictions meant that less than a thousand worshippers gathered outside the the holy site for Friday prayers, fewer people than at other evening prayers over the past week.

Worshippers have been holding prayers on the streets outside the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound since last Sunday when Israeli police installed metal detectors and turnstiles at its entrance.

There have also been clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police, including on Thursday when more than 20 protesters were injured in Jerusalem.

Another intifada?

Israeli authorities say the security measures are necessary after three Arab Israeli gunmen killed two police officers at the entrance of the shrine. The attackers were shot dead.

The standoff over the holy site has raised concern it could unleash a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising. The second intifada was triggered in 2000 after former Israeli President Ariel Sharon visited the holy compound.

There was reportedly debate within the Israeli security establishment over the necessity of the metal detectors, with the military and the Shin Bet security service finding them unnecessary.

Status quo

But after a security meeting on Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to remove the metal detectors and gave police authority to make the decision.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security minister, argued the detectors were needed to maintain security. “The Israeli police needs these metal detectors so the security checks can give a proper response to the security considerations,” he said on Thursday.

The issue has quickly taken on an international dimension as the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound is considered the third most holy site in Islam after Medina and Mecca.

Israel and Jordan have been in talks to defuse tensions.

The White House issued a statement on Wednesday urging Israel and Jordan to find a solution that maintains security and “the status quo.”

Palestinians accuse Israel of attempting to alter the status quo in which Jews are forbidden to worship there and the holy site is under the custodianship of Jordan and managed by the Islamic Waqf religious trust.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also urged the United States to intervene with Israel to drop the new security measures. In a call with White House senior advisor Jared Kushner on Thursday, he warned that the situation could spiral out of control,  Palestinian news agency WAFA reported Friday

Located in annexed East Jerusalem, the holy side has been under Israeli control since the 1967 war.

Jews consider the Temple Mount to be the holiest site in Judaism.

Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment

July 20, 2017

by Michael Brendan Dougherty

National Review

It also has very real strategic and moral costs. When he was 17, five years ago, Mujtaba al-Sweikat committed the “crime” of participating in a pro-democracy rally in Saudi Arabia. Instead of attending Western Michigan University, as he had planned to do that fall, he was put in prison. Reports are now leaking out of Saudi Arabia that al-Sweikat will soon be beheaded for his transgression. It’s just the latest reminder that Saudi Arabia is America’s worst best friend. The U.S. does get something out of its relationship with Saudi Arabia; there is real intelligence sharing, and the Kingdom has used its power over OPEC to drive oil prices down when we want to humiliate Russia or accomplish some other goal. That’s not nothing.

Nor will I pretend that a global superpower can do the business of horse-trading only with saints and scholars. But there are real costs to our relationship with the Saudis, and I’m not sure that our policy elites are reckoning with them at all. A day will come when we need friends with whom we share a real civilizational affinity, and our relationship with the Saudis will hurt us on that day. Saudi-funded mosques and preachers flow into the nations of our friends and allies, preaching hatred and occasionally terror. We often talk about how nationalism is a response to the globalization of commerce. But it’s also a response to the globalization of Saudi Arabia’s favorite forms of Islam.

Syrian refugees come to Germany and find Saudi-funded mosques that are far more extreme than anything they knew at home. Saudi-funded clerics are a major engine of extremism, and of the nationalist backlash it produces, from France to India. Saudi actions in this regard are so embarrassing and brazen that Western nations won’t even let themselves be heard discussing them intelligibly. Last Week, U.K. home secretary Amber Rudd refused to publish her own government’s delayed report on the funding of extremist groups. Even in the press releases, the government was too ashamed to admit the fact that everyone knew to be in them: Saudi Arabia funnels money to the extremist groups that threaten Europe with terrorism.

There is a major strategic cost to our alliance with the Saudis, whether anyone cares to admit it or not. The U.S.–Saudi preference for regime change and demotic movements (no matter how loathsome) has been a gift to extremists everywhere. It’s destabilized several Middle Eastern countries and contributed to a refugee crisis that is reordering the politics and society of Europe, while also visiting terrorism on our historic allies. By contrast, the Russian and Iranian strategy of siding with sovereign states (no matter how loathsome) so long as they represent predictable national interests seems rational.  There is also a moral and reputational cost to the alliance. U.S. and European foreign-policy thinkers often talk about putting forward our “values” in dealing with authoritarian regimes in China or Russia.

We criticize Russia and China for violating human rights, and our leaders whip up popular antipathy for these regimes by highlighting their crimes. That we will do nothing as our close friends the Saudis decapitate someone who should have been matriculating at one of our schools makes us hypocrites of the worst kind. What’s more, when the U.S. Air Force is refueling Saudi planes as they indiscriminately bomb hospitals and food-supply centers in Yemen, contributing to famine conditions and the worst outbreak of cholera in modern times, our complaints about Putin’s similar adventures in Syria ring hollow.

Our support of Saudi Arabia doesn’t just make it difficult to “win hearts and minds” to the cause of a more-liberal Middle East; it adds to the overall cynicism about how foreign affairs are conducted. Worse yet, the mismatch between our rhetoric and policy contributes to our own capacity for self-delusion. It’s simply embarrassing to be friends with the Saudis. No, we cannot conduct foreign policy with only neutral and peaceful countries. But sometimes a man looks at his pals and sees something so ugly he thinks less of himself. Our alliance with this squalid little Kingdom is demoralizing.

“The Alt-Right Side of History Will Prevail”

So says the wealthy fringe Republican bankrolling white nationalist Richard Spencer.

July 21, 2017

by Lance Williams


Long before Donald Trump’s election ushered in an era of resurgent white nationalism, a disaffected Republican named William H. Regnery II was brooding about the demographic plight of white people and plotting their rescue. Like Trump more than 20 years later, Regnery, the wealthy scion of a famous GOP family, had an increasingly dark view of a changing America: As he wrote, the United States had become a crime-ridden society with bad schools, high taxes, an intrusive government, and a penchant for political correctness that was “morphing into an intellectual tyranny.”

Worse, “a flood of immigrants were changing the look of America from a palette (sic) of prime colors to a third-world monochrome,” he wrote in a rant that would be at home on the bookshelf of Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon. “Instead of a lingua franca, the country clanged with many foreign tongues.”

By 1999, Regnery had come to believe that the only future for white people in North America was a reconfigured continent with a white-only homeland carved out of the former United States. He began consorting with Ku Klux Klan apologists, Holocaust deniers, eugenics boosters, and immigration foes. He set up two white nationalist nonprofits and steered money into them. He published fringe-right journals and books. Through his family’s famed conservative publishing house, Regnery had been on a first-name basis with the cream of the Republican establishment. But by 2006, his public views on race left him ostracized from the GOP.

Now, he’s back. Working behind the scenes, the retired Chicago business executive has played an important role in making his ultra-right views a part of America’s political conversation in the era of Trump. In what he has described as his crowning political achievement, Regnery discovered Richard Spencer, the mediagenic agitator who invented the term “alt-right.” In 2011, Regnery made him the frontman for his white nationalist think tank, the National Policy Institute, providing Spencer the platform to launch the alt-right movement.

Fast-forward to 2016. As the Trump campaign gained momentum, Spencer, with Regnery’s support, emerged as the omnipresent face of the American far right: a glib talking head whose views on issues of immigration and race at times seemed only slightly more extreme than what you could read on Breitbart News—or hear from Trump himself.

Turn on the TV or go online, and there was Spencer: holding forth on white identity politics on yet another talk show; crying, “Hail Trump!” in a fiery post-election speech; getting sucker-punched by a leftist demonstrator at Trump’s inauguration; and, most recently, leading a torchlight march to protest the planned removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Regnery has played a “vitally important and indispensable” role in building the alt-right movement, Spencer said in an interview. He has provided substantial donations and big-picture advice, Spencer said. They talk every week, sometimes every day. “I don’t think I would do a big thing without consulting him,” Spencer said.

Regnery, 76, declined to be interviewed. But in public, he has expressed delight with Spencer for leveraging Trump’s election to obtain a flood of media attention for his extremist views. As Regnery told white nationalists at the Washington, DC, conference he hosted in the days after Trump’s election, he believes his place in history has been secured by the simple decision to put Spencer in charge.

“I am now persuaded that with your courage,” he said, “the alt-right side of history will prevail.”

Just one year before Trump began running for president, Spencer and Regnery were struggling to jump-start their political movement. In 2014, they planned to convene what they called a European Congress of the white nationalist movement. When they descended on Budapest, Hungary, the result was chaos and humiliation.

According to their plan, the grand imperial facades of the Hungarian capital would be the backdrop for an international conference of white “racial realists” in a Europe roiled by waves of refugees fleeing the Middle East. Regnery, Spencer, and Jared Taylor, the self-described “racialist” editor of a white nationalist website, were scheduled to speak. Joining the Americans on the podium would be a Russian fascist known as “Putin’s brain”—Alexander Dugin, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

No heat was anticipated from the government: Hungarian voters had just handed another supermajority to the European Union’s most right-wing leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a Putin ally. But it all unraveled. The Hungarian Interior Ministry banned the event, declaring it openly racist. Regnery was intercepted at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt Airport, held overnight and deported. Dugin was denied an entry visa. Spencer entered the country by train, then was picked up in a police raid and handed over to immigration authorities.

“The government thought that it was a CIA plot,” a source with inside knowledge of Hungarian counterintelligence said in an interview. “They are completely paranoid, and when this conference was announced, they were convinced that this was an American action,” the source said. “They guessed that US intelligence services set up this conference so they can say Hungary is a home for right-wing extremist activists and then blackmail them in the international media.”

It was a preposterous suspicion, given Regnery’s own profound alienation from his homeland’s political establishment. The Regnery family’s political story starts with his grandfather and namesake, William H. Regnery, a Chicago textile magnate. He was a New Deal Democrat, but in 1940 he helped found the right-wing America First Committee, which sought to stop the United States from going to war against Nazi Germany. The committee, which attracted Nazi sympathizers and anti-Semites, disbanded when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

The America First name, meanwhile, has experienced a renaissance as one of Trump’s leading mottos for his presidency.

After World War II, Regnery’s uncle, Henry Regnery, made the family a power in GOP politics through his publishing house, which was subsidized by inherited wealth. He printed the works of writers whom he called “giants of American conservatism:” William F. Buckley Jr. (“God and Man at Yale”), Russell Kirk (“The Conservative Mind”), and Robert Welch, co-founder of the John Birch Society. Regnery books—anti-communist, anti-big-government and pro-business—helped define what it meant to be a Republican in postwar America. Upon his death in 1996, he was eulogized as “the godfather of modern conservatism.”

William Regnery II’s cousin, Alfred Regnery, was an official in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department and then became president of Regnery Publishing. The imprint still exists, under new ownership: Among its recent best-selling authors are Ann Coulter (Adios, America!) and Trump (Time to Get Tough). Regnery himself plunged into conservative politics at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s. As he wrote in his 2015 memoir, Left Behind, he joined the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a nonprofit set up to recruit Republican activists on college campuses. His family helped endow the institute, and Regnery remained involved for more than 40 years. On the institute’s board, he associated with GOP stalwarts, including former US Attorney General Edwin Meese, Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, and Buckley, founder of the National Review.

After college, Regnery worked in the family textile business. Court records show he was forced to resign as president in 1981 when the firm ran into financial trouble. After that, he grew disenchanted with the GOP, running for Illinois secretary of state in 1994 on the ticket of the fringe Term Limits & Tax Limits Party.

In his memoir, Regnery dated his alienation to a 1993 meeting of the conservative Philadelphia Society. Speakers were celebrating the collapse of world communism and the rise of free-market economies worldwide—triumphs of American conservatism in the age of Ronald Reagan, as they saw it. For Regnery, there was little to celebrate: He feared that the wave of nonwhite immigration that was swamping America would surely doom white people to minority status and impotence.

In a 1999 speech at a right-wing conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, Regnery went public with his racial fears. White couples weren’t having enough babies, he declared, and the government was allowing in hordes of nonwhite immigrants “as if to hasten our demise.” His solution: a reconfigured continent broken up into separate racial and religious enclaves.

Soon after that, Regnery founded a nonprofit dedicated to providing “a cultural home for our children’s children,” as he wrote in a founder’s statement. It was called the Charles Martel Society, commemorating an 8th-century Frankish king who turned back an Arab invasion—and thus, in the view of white supremacists, saved European civilization almost before it began. Regnery packed the society’s board with men who shared his racial concerns. They included the late Sam Francis, a former Washington Times columnist who suggested that white people could solve racial problems by “imposing adequate fertility controls on nonwhites.”

“Feel confident identifying as white” became the motto of the Martel Society’s magazine, the Occidental Quarterly. Its editor, Kevin MacDonald, has written that American Jews are allied with African Americans and Latinos to promote “a suicidal wave of non-White immigration” into the United States.

Last year, the Occidental Observer website published a book review asserting that the Treblinka concentration camp was “anything but an efficient apparatus” for killing Jews. (The review was taken down.) Recent articles in the Occidental Quarterly have titles such as “The Case for Eugenics in a Nutshell,” and “Donald Trump’s Candidacy Is a Game Changer—People Are Waking Up.”

The society spends about $190,000 per year, tax returns show. Nonprofits are not required to identify donors, so money from Regnery isn’t noted. But Regnery also served on the board of a charity associated with the family’s textile business, and over the years that nonprofit has donated about $85,000 to the Martel Society, records show.

In 2004, perhaps looking to expand the Martel Society’s reach, Regnery told Occidental Quarterly subscribers that, for the “survival of our race,” he was setting up a dating website for “heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage.”

But he didn’t follow through. The following year, using $380,000 from the Martel Society, Regnery established the think tank that would eventually bring a notorious white nationalist to prominence alongside the rise of Trump.

In 2005, the National Policy Institute promised in a press release to research how white people were being harmed by affirmative action, illegal immigration, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights nonprofit that has called both the Martel Society and the institute “active hate groups.” The institute publishes books and reports, some of them touted as academic studies. Regnery himself co-wrote a study predicting that in the 21st century, the world’s population of “blacks or sub-Saharan Africans” would explode, while the percentage of white people would drop to single digits. Like the Martel Society, the institute was a low-budget operation, spending about $170,000 per year, according to tax documents. In addition to the cash from the Martel Society, it obtained about $90,000 from Regnery’s family foundation. The Pioneer Fund, a nonprofit founded in the 1930s by promoters of the eugenics movement, has donated about $30,000, records show.

Even as his politics drifted to the edge, Regnery still had ties to mainstream conservatism through his work on the board of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the organization he joined in college. The final break came in 2006, after he gave yet another racially charged talk about immigration and demographics, this time in Chicago.

“The white race may go from master of the universe to an anthropological curiosity,” he warned the audience. Later he remarked, “Whites are unique in welcoming racial aliens into their midst.”

As Regnery recounted in his memoir, an anonymous letter alerted the institute that Regnery was “promoting people and ideas of the most vile nature.” Fearing scandal, the institute asked Regnery to resign. When he refused, he was voted off the board, with such GOP luminaries as former attorney general Meese and the Heritage Foundation’s Feulner supporting his ouster. His cousin, the former Reagan official, abstained.

Aggrieved, Regnery blamed “the velvet tyranny of political correctness” for his expulsion. It was all the more painful because he had known the people who voted against him for decades.

Until 2010, Regnery relied on Louis Andrews to run his National Policy Institute. A retired mortgage broker, Andrews believed public school for most black children should end after eighth grade because they couldn’t benefit from it. When Andrews became gravely ill with cancer, Regnery turned to a young right-winger he had met at a private event the previous year: Richard Spencer.

Like Regnery, Spencer was a child of privilege. His father was a wealthy physician in Dallas, and, as Reveal has reported, through inheritance Spencer is part owner of Louisiana cotton fields worth millions of dollars.

Spencer had received an expensive liberal arts education. His last academic stop was Duke University, where he pursued a Ph.D. in European intellectual history—and where, as he told Mother Jones, he was radicalized by reading white nationalist literature. In 2007, Spencer dropped out of Duke “to pursue a life of thought-crime,” as he put it. He worked briefly at the American Conservative, a journal co-founded by former Richard Nixon aide Pat Buchanan, and then was managing editor of a libertarian website published by a jet-setting heir to a Greek shipping fortune. Later, he set up his own site, AlternativeRight.com.

Spencer said he told Regnery that he hoped to use the National Policy Institute to “make a dramatic break from the conservative movement” by emphasizing white identity politics. After Spencer took over, he moved the think tank’s headquarters to his mother’s luxury home near a ski resort in Whitefish, Montana. Spencer drew no salary from the institute for his first two years. In 2014, the year of the abortive Budapest conference, his annual pay was $7,900.

Especially after the disappointment of Budapest, there was little reason to believe that alt-right ideology as pushed by the National Policy Institute would break out into the mainstream. But as Spencer recognized, Trump’s emergence as a presidential candidate prefigured a “paradigmatic shift” in American politics.

Trump’s views on immigration—calling Mexican immigrants killers and rapists, vowing a ban on Muslims—tracked with alt-right rhetoric. He even retweeted posts by a white supremacist with the handle WhiteGenocideTM. His campaign director was Bannon, the Breitbart executive who had declared that his news service was “the platform for the alt-right.”

When political reporters, seeking to understand this new phenomenon, reached out for comment from the alt-right, Spencer was happy to help. In his writing and public statements, Spencer has seemed in perfect sync with Regnery’s nightmare vision of an endangered white minority—and with Regnery’s dream of creating a white North American homeland.

“By 2042—if nothing else changes—white people will become a minority,” Spencer told Reveal last year. “Also, the majority of births right now are actually to non-white people. So there is a dramatic transformation taking place.”

As to the white homeland, he said, “What the ethnostate is, is an ideal…a new type of society that would actually be a homeland for all white people.”

Freelance reporter Dan Nolan contributed to this story from Budapest. It was edited by Andrew Donohue.



From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2017, Issue No. 54

July 20, 2017


Last year executive branch agencies created the fewest new national security secrets ever reported, according to an annual report published today by the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO).

The number of new secrets — or “original classification decisions” — was 39,240 in 2016, an all-time low. The previous low of 46,800 was set in 2014. By comparison, more than 230,000 new secrets a year were being generated a decade ago. Since such record-keeping began in 1980, the total number never dropped below 100,000 until 2012. See 2016 Annual Report to the President, Information Security Oversight Office, July 2017.

While interesting and welcome from an open government viewpoint, the reported reduction in new secrets cannot bear too much interpretive weight. The figures cited by ISOO represent a compilation of dozens of estimates provided by individual agencies, based on sampling methods that are inconsistent and not always reliable.

Moreover, this statistical approach to secrecy oversight implies that all classification decisions are of equal significance. In actuality, some secrets may be of profound importance — politically, morally, historically, or otherwise — while many other secrets (such as administrative or technical details) will have little or no public policy interest. A simple numerical count of the number of classification decisions does not capture their relative meaning or value.

Still, assuming that the uncertainties and the ambiguities in the data have been more or less constant over time, the reduction in new secrets to a record low level is likely to reflect a real reduction in the scope of national security secrecy in the Obama years.

Classification Costs at a Record High

Meanwhile, however, the annual costs incurred by the classification system reached record high levels in 2016, the ISOO report said.

“The total security classification cost estimate within Government for FY 2016 is $16.89 billion,” ISOO reported, compared to $16.17 billion the year before. Classification-related costs within industry were an additional $1.27 billion.

Classification Challenges

Because decisions to classify information often involve subjective judgments about the requirements of national security and the potential of particular information to cause damage, such decisions are sometimes disputed even within the government itself. The classification system allows for classification challenges to be filed by authorized holders of classified information who believe that the information is improperly classified.

Last year, there were 954 such classification challenges, the ISOO report said, about the same number as the year before. Classification of the information was overturned in only about 17% of those challenges, however, compared to over 40% that were overturned the year

The classification challenge procedure is a potentially important internal oversight mechanism that is not yet fully mature or widely utilized. For some reason, the majority of classification challenges (496) last year originated at US Pacific Command, while only a single one emerged from the Department of Justice. In fact, ISOO found that about a quarter of all agencies do not even have a classification challenge program, though they are supposed to.

If such challenges could be promoted and accepted as a routine element of classification practice, they could serve to invigorate classification oversight and to provide an useful internal self-check.

The ISOO annual report also presented new data on declassification activity, the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, agency self-inspections, controlled unclassified information (CUI), and other aspects of national security information policy.

ISOO director Mark A. Bradley, whose tenure as director began this year, told the President that in the next reporting cycle, “ISOO will focus on improving our methodology in data collection and will begin planning and developing new measures for future reporting that more accurately reflect the activities of agencies managing classified and sensitive information


Noteworthy new directives and instructions issued by the Department of Defense, of interest to some, include the following.

DoD Space Enterprise Governance and Principal DoD Space Advisor (PDSA), DOD Directive 5000.96, June 9, 2017

Global Health Engagement (GHE) Activities, DOD Instruction 2000.30, July 12, 2017

Assessment of Significant Long-Term Health Risks from Past Environmental Exposures on Military Installations, DOD Instruction 6055.20, June 6, 2017

Conscientious Objectors, DOD Instruction 1300.06, July 12, 2017

Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, as of June 2017


The nominee to lead the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel acknowledged that all members of Congress have the authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch, and that agencies have a responsibility to accommodate requests by members for information needed to perform their oversight function.

That might like a statement of the obvious. But the Office of Legal Counsel issued a controversial opinion earlier this year that took a much more limited view of congressional oversight power:

“The constitutional authority to conduct oversight — that is, the authority to make official inquiries into and to conduct investigations of executive branch programs and activities — may be exercised only by each house of Congress or, under existing delegations, by committees and subcommittees (or their chairmen),” the OLC opinion said. “Individual members of Congress, including ranking minority members, do not have the authority to conduct oversight in the absence of a specific delegation by a full house, committee, or subcommittee.”  See Authority of Individual Members of Congress to Conduct Oversight of the Executive Branch, Office of Legal Counsel, May 1, 2017.

Objecting to this narrow OLC conception of oversight, Sen. Chuck Grassley placed a hold on the nomination of Steven A. Engel to become the new Assistant Attorney General in charge of the OLC until Mr. Engel provided an acceptable response to Grassley’s concerns on the matter.

Yesterday, Senator Grassley withdrew his hold after Mr. Engel admitted, in written responses to questions from Grassley entered into the Congressional Record, that the OLC opinion was defective.

“Mr. Engel’s responses, both in writing and in person, indicate that he agrees each Member, whether or not a chairman of a committee, is a constitutional officer entitled to the respect and best efforts of the executive branch to respond to his or her requests for information to the extent permitted by law,” Sen. Grassley said.

“I am satisfied that Mr. Engel understands the obligation of all Members of Congress to seek executive branch information to carry out their constitutional responsibilities and the obligation of the executive branch to respect that function and seek comity between the branches. Therefore, I agree a vote should be scheduled on his nomination, and I wish him the very best in his new role,” he said.

See Removal of Nomination Objection, Congressional Record, July 19, 2017, pp. S4077-4079.


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