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FTR #1017 Supreme Court Trump Card: Family Trump, Family [Anthony] Kennedy and Peter Thiel

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by the fall of 2017. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

[6]

Carl Schmitt, a chief influ­ence on Peter Thiel’s legal think­ing, on the right.

Intro­duc­tion: Much has been said about Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court jus­tice, replac­ing Antho­ny Kennnedy.

In this pro­gram, we high­light exten­sive net­work­ing between the Trump and Kennedy fam­i­lies and, in turn, some appar­ent “deep net­work­ing” between some of the indi­vid­u­als in the Trump/Kennedy nexus and insti­tu­tions linked to key ele­ments of the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal net­work.

Deutsche Bank and the shad­ow of the I.G. Far­ben chem­i­cal com­plex fig­ure into the lat­ter part of this equa­tion.

The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s [7] son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank. In FTR #919 [8], we ana­lyzed a New York Times [9] arti­cle high­light­ing Don­ald Trump’s alto­geth­er opaque real estate devel­op­ments and evi­dence that those projects had sig­nif­i­cant links to ele­ments of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.

In that pro­gram we set forth the pri­ma­ry role of Deutsche Bank [10] in financ­ing Trump’s real estate projects [11].

” . . . While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a stead­fast finan­cial backer of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s busi­ness inter­ests. Since 1998, the bank has led or par­tic­i­pat­ed in loans of at least $2.5 bil­lion to com­pa­nies affil­i­at­ed with Mr. Trump, accord­ing to a Wall Street Jour­nal analy­sis of pub­lic records and peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter. That doesn’t include at least anoth­er $1 bil­lion in loan com­mit­ments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affil­i­at­ed enti­ties. The long-stand­ing con­nec­tion makes Frank­furt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. oper­a­tion and has been grap­pling with rep­u­ta­tion­al prob­lems [12] and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the finan­cial insti­tu­tion with prob­a­bly the strongest ties to the con­tro­ver­sial New York busi­ness­man. . . .”

The fact that Deutsche Bank is the pri­ma­ry finan­cial backer of “Trump Incor­po­rat­ed” is of pri­ma­ry impor­tance. The bank [13] is cen­tral to the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work [13].

The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s [7] son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank.

Fur­ther­more, jurists who clerked for Antho­ny Kennedy fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Trump’s judi­cial appoint­ments:

  1. ” . . . . He [Trump] picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates [14] for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati. The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin . . . . spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role. Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .”

After Kennedy left Deutsche Bank in 2009 he went on to become co-CEO LNR Prop­er­ty LLC. LNR Prop­er­ty saved Jared Kushner’s mid­town Man­hat­tan prop­er­ty in 2011 [15]:

  1. ” . . . . from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC [16] with Tobin Cobb. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Accord­ing the New York Times [17], in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased ‘an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.’ At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was ‘con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.’ . . .”
  3.  ” . . . Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal [18], Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR ‘reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.’ . . .”
[19]

Peter Thiel

The links between Trump­World and Antho­ny Kennedy’s sons is deep­er still. Kennedy’s oth­er son Gre­go­ry, has long-stand­ing ties [20] to Trump Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, whom we first ana­lyzed in FTR #718 [21].

” . . . . . . . . Kennedy’s seat, mean­time, seemed des­tined to go to Kavanaugh, thanks in part to the glow­ing review of Kennedy, whose son, Justin, knows Don­ald Trump Jr. through New York real estate cir­cles, and whose oth­er adult child has con­nec­tions to Trump World via the president’s 2016 Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, most recent­ly when the Kennedy firm Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers worked with Thiel’s Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies. . . .”

Gre­go­ry Kennedy’s DTA has an unusu­al­ly close rela­tion­ship with Palan­tir, a com­pa­ny that has helped the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

Kennedy’s DTA has oth­er per­son­al con­nec­tions to Palan­tir. Alex Fish­man and Alex Davis, two oth­er DTA founders, “enjoyed a very close rela­tion­ship” with Palan­tir co-founder Alex Karp, accord­ing to the law­suit.

It should be not­ed that the alleged secre­cy with which Palan­tir treats its oper­at­ing and invest­ing infor­ma­tion is char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tions. A clos­et­ed, insid­ers-only oper­at­ing eth­ic serves the need for this con­sum­mate­ly pow­er­ful orga­ni­za­tion to main­tain a rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file, even as it gains pow­er, influ­ence and wealth.

” . . . . Yet Palan­tir — whose stock changes hands only through pri­vate trades — goes to great lengths [22] to keep any detailed infor­ma­tion about its busi­ness pri­vate. . . .”

A law­suit by Palan­tir investor KT4 Part­ners alleges that Palan­tir is ille­gal­ly block­ing investors from sell­ing shares in the com­pa­ny and that Kennedy’s Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advi­sors (DTA) is a key part­ner and ben­e­fi­cia­ry of this strat­e­gy.

KT4 claims that when it tried to sell its shares of Palan­tir to a third-par­ty, Palan­tir would have DTA con­tact the third-par­ty and con­vince them to have Palan­tir sells them the shares direct­ly instead. DTA would then col­lect a com­mis­sion.

The cen­tral dynam­ic in the alle­ga­tions of plain­tiff (and Palan­tir investor) KT4 is set forth as fol­lows: ” . . . . But remark­ably, KT4 claims that when Palan­tir receives infor­ma­tion from an investor about a planned sale, it uses that infor­ma­tion to con­tact the buy­er and per­suade them instead to buy shares direct­ly from the com­pa­ny or from cer­tain Palan­tir insid­ers. One par­tic­u­lar bro­ker, Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers, or DTA, repeat­ed­ly gets com­mis­sions from these sales, even when it ‘per­formed no legit­i­mate work,’ KT4 claims. KT4 says it expe­ri­enced inter­fer­ence by Palan­tir when it tried to sell shares to High­bridge Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, a hedge fund that was owned by JPMor­gan Chase, in May 2015. After KT4 noti­fied Palan­tir of the planned sale, Palan­tir turned around and instruct­ed DTA to ‘take the oppor­tu­ni­ty, on Palantir’s behalf,‘and arrange a sale from Palan­tir to High­bridge instead, accord­ing to the law­suit. . . .”

In FTR #946 [23], we exam­ined Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, its Trump and Steve Ban­non-linked tech firm that har­vest­ed Face­book data on behalf of the Trump cam­paign.

Peter Thiel’s Palan­tir was appar­ent­ly deeply involved with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s gam­ing of per­son­al data har­vest­ed from Face­book in order to engi­neer an elec­toral vic­to­ry for Trump, set­ting the GOP cam­paign to con­trol the Supreme Court in a deep­er, broad­er con­text.

Thiel was an ear­ly investor in Face­book, at one point was its largest share­hold­er and is still one of its largest share­hold­ers. ” . . . . It was a Palan­tir employ­ee in Lon­don, work­ing close­ly with the data sci­en­tists build­ing Cambridge’s psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing tech­nol­o­gy, who sug­gest­ed the sci­en­tists cre­ate their own app — a mobile-phone-based per­son­al­i­ty quiz — to gain access to Face­book users’ friend net­works, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times. The rev­e­la­tions pulled Palan­tir — co-found­ed by the wealthy lib­er­tar­i­an Peter Thiel [24] — into the furor sur­round­ing Cam­bridge, which improp­er­ly obtained Face­book data to build ana­lyt­i­cal tools it deployed on behalf of Don­ald J. Trump and oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Trump, serves on the board at Face­book. ‘There were senior Palan­tir employ­ees that were also work­ing on the Face­book data,’ said Christo­pher Wylie [25], a data expert and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca co-founder, in tes­ti­mo­ny before British law­mak­ers on Tues­day. . . . The con­nec­tions between Palan­tir and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca were thrust into the spot­light by Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on Tues­day. Both com­pa­nies are linked to tech-dri­ven bil­lion­aires who backed Mr. Trump’s cam­paign: Cam­bridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mer­cer, the com­put­er sci­en­tist and hedge fund mag­nate, while Palan­tir was co-found­ed in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an ini­tial investor in Face­book. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  1. Review of Peter Thiel’s high regard [26] for Carl Schmitt: “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s pre­em­i­nent legal the­o­rist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspir­ing throw­back to a pre-Enlight­en­ment age, who exalts strug­gle and insists that the dis­cov­ery of ene­mies is the foun­da­tion of pol­i­tics. . .” 
  2. Review of Peter Thiel’s ear­ly legal expe­ri­ence [27] with Sul­li­van & Cromwell, the Dulles law firm.
  3. A recount­ing of the role [28] of John Fos­ter Dulles and Sul­li­van & Cromwell’s roles in the for­ma­tion of I.G. Far­ben.
  4. Review [29] of Thiel’s Ger­man her­itage and his father’s prob­a­ble role with one of the I.G. suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies.

1a. The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s [7] son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank. In FTR #919 [8], we ana­lyzed a New York Times [9] arti­cle high­light­ing Don­ald Trump’s alto­geth­er opaque real estate devel­op­ments and evi­dence that those projects had sig­nif­i­cant links to ele­ments of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.

In that pro­gram we set forth the pri­ma­ry role of Deutsche Bank [10] in financ­ing Trump’s real estate projects [11].

” . . . While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a stead­fast finan­cial backer of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s busi­ness inter­ests. Since 1998, the bank has led or par­tic­i­pat­ed in loans of at least $2.5 bil­lion to com­pa­nies affil­i­at­ed with Mr. Trump, accord­ing to a Wall Street Jour­nal analy­sis of pub­lic records and peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter. That doesn’t include at least anoth­er $1 bil­lion in loan com­mit­ments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affil­i­at­ed enti­ties. The long-stand­ing con­nec­tion makes Frank­furt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. oper­a­tion and has been grap­pling with rep­u­ta­tion­al prob­lems [12] and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the finan­cial insti­tu­tion with prob­a­bly the strongest ties to the con­tro­ver­sial New York busi­ness­man. . . .”

The fact that Deutsche Bank is the pri­ma­ry finan­cial backer of “Trump Incor­po­rat­ed” is of pri­ma­ry impor­tance. The bank is cen­tral to the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 139. [13]

“. . . . When Bor­mann gave the order for his rep­re­sen­ta­tives to resume pur­chas­es of Amer­i­can cor­po­rate stocks, it was usu­al­ly done through the neu­tral coun­tries of Switzer­land and Argenti­na. From for­eign exchange funds on deposit in Swiss banks and in Deutsche Sudamerikan­ishe Bank, the Buenos Aires branch of Deutsche Bank, large demand deposits were placed in the prin­ci­pal mon­ey-cen­ter banks of New York City; Nation­al City (now Citibank), Chase (now Chase Man­hat­tan N.A.), Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Hanover (now man­u­fac­tur­ers Hanover Trust), Mor­gan Guar­an­ty, and Irv­ing Trust. Such deposits are inter­est-free and the banks can invest this mon­ey as they wish, thus turn­ing tidy prof­its for them­selves. In return, they pro­vide rea­son­able ser­vices such as the pur­chase of stocks and trans­fer or pay­ment of mon­ey on demand by cus­tomers of Deutsche bank such as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Bor­mann busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions and and Mar­tin Bor­mann him­self, who has demand accounts in three New York City banks. They con­tin­ue to do so. The Ger­man invest­ment in Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions from these sources exceed­ed $5 bil­lion and made the Bor­mann eco­nom­ic struc­ture a web of pow­er and influ­ence. The two Ger­man-owned banks of Spain, Ban­co Ale­man Transat­lanti­co (now named Ban­co Com­er­cial Transat­lanti­co), and Ban­co Ger­man­i­co de la Amer­i­ca del Sur, S.A., a sub­sidiary of Deutsche Bank served to chan­nel Ger­man mon­ey from Spain to South Amer­i­ca, where fur­ther invest­ments were made. . . .”

1b. Bor­man­n’s FBI file revealed that he had been bank­ing under his own name in New York for some time.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 205. [13]

. . . . The file revealed that he had been bank­ing under his own name from his office in Ger­many in Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires since 1941; that he held one joint account with the Argen­tin­ian dic­ta­tor Juan Per­on, and on August 4, 5 and 14, 1967, had writ­ten checks on demand accounts in first Nation­al City Bank (Over­seas Divi­sion) of New York, The Chase Man­hat­tan Bank, and Man­u­fac­tur­ers Hanover Trust Co., all cleared through Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires. . . . 

1c. The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s [7] son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank.

Fur­ther­more, jurists who clerked for Antho­ny Kennedy fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Trump’s judi­cial appoint­ments:

  1. ” . . . . He [Trump] picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates [14] for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati. The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin . . . . spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role. Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .”

“Inside the White House’s Qui­et Cam­paign to Cre­ate a Supreme Court Open­ing” by Adam Lip­tak and Mag­gie Haber­man; The New York Times; 06/28/2018 [7].

 Pres­i­dent Trump sin­gled him out for praise even while attack­ing oth­er mem­bers of the Supreme Court. The White House nom­i­nat­ed peo­ple close to him to impor­tant judi­cial posts. And mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly forged per­son­al con­nec­tions.

Their goal was to assure Jus­tice Antho­ny M. Kennedy that his judi­cial lega­cy would be in good hands should he step down at the end of the court’s term that end­ed this week, as he was rumored to be con­sid­er­ing. Allies of the White House were more blunt, warn­ing the 81-year-old jus­tice that time was of the essence. There was no telling, they said, what would hap­pen if Democ­rats gained con­trol of the Sen­ate after the Novem­ber elec­tions and had the pow­er to block the president’s choice as his suc­ces­sor. . . .

. . . .When Mr. Trump took office last year, he already had a Supreme Court vacan­cy to fill, the one cre­at­ed by the 2016 death of Jus­tice Antonin Scalia. But Mr. Trump dear­ly want­ed a sec­ond vacan­cy, one that could trans­form the court for a gen­er­a­tion or more. So he used the first open­ing to help cre­ate the sec­ond one. He picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .

. . . .Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates [14] for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati.

The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy.

In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .

. . . . Mr. Trump was appar­ent­ly refer­ring to Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role.

Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .

1d.  After Kennedy left Deutsche Bank in 2009 he went on to become co-CEO LNR Prop­er­ty LLC. LNR Prop­er­ty saved Jared Kushner’s mid­town Man­hat­tan prop­er­ty in 2011 [15]:

  1. ” . . . . from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC [16] with Tobin Cobb. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Accord­ing the New York Times [17], in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased ‘an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.’ At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was ‘con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.’ . . .”
  3.  ” . . . Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal [18], Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR ‘reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.’ . . .”

“The Kennedy, Kush­n­er, and Trump Con­nec­tion: A Curi­ous Con­ver­sa­tion and A Busi­ness Deal” by C’Zar Bern­stein & Gabe Rusk; Medi­um; 03/01/2017. [15]

. . . . Jus­tice Kennedy has two very suc­cess­ful sons in their own right, Gre­go­ry and Justin Kennedy. Gre­go­ry Kennedy, a Stan­ford Law grad­u­ate (a Stan­ford man like his father), was named CEO of Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers in Octo­ber of 2016. Accord­ing to his LinkedIn page [30]: Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advi­sors is a “Los Ange­les based mer­chant bank with an exclu­sive focus on mid to late stage growth com­pa­nies.” . . . .

Justin Kennedy, a grad­u­ate of UCLA and Stanford(again like his father), has spent his career in the world of bank­ing, invest­ment, and, inter­est­ing­ly, real estate. In par­tic­u­lar, from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC [16] with Tobin Cobb. In the world of high-stakes NYC real estate it would be fair­ly improb­a­ble that the Trump or Kush­n­er groups, mono­liths in their own right, would not have min­gled or done busi­ness with the LNR at some point in time. We were not sur­prised, there­fore, to dis­cov­er that there is a like­ly con­nec­tion. Here’s what we know:

Accord­ing the New York Times [17], in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased “an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.” At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was “con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.” The Times con­tin­ues:

“As many real estate spe­cial­ists pre­dict­ed, the deal ran into trou­ble. Instead of ris­ing, rents declined as the reces­sion took hold, and new leas­es were scarce. In 2010, the loan was trans­ferred to a spe­cial ser­vicer on the assump­tion that a default would occur once reserve funds being used to sub­si­dize the short­fall were bled dry. But the sto­ry may yet have a hap­py end­ing for Kush­n­er, a fam­i­ly-owned busi­ness that moved its head­quar­ters from Florham Park, N.J., to 666 Fifth, its first major acqui­si­tion in Man­hat­tan.”

Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal [18], Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR “reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.” A spokesman for Mr. Kush­n­er told [31] the Wall Street Jour­nal in March of 2011 that “[t]he Kushner’s are ready and will­ing to invest more mon­ey into the prop­er­ty as soon as they can come to mutu­al­ly sat­is­fac­to­ry terms with the ser­vic­ing agent.” In that same arti­cle Kushner’s father-in-law and the future Pres­i­dent com­ment­ed on the nego­ti­a­tions with Justin Kennedy’s com­pa­ny. Speak­ing about the deal, Trump told the WSJ [31] that Kush­n­er is “a very smart young man…I think it (loan rene­go­ti­a­tions) will come out well for him and every­body.” At this point there is no doubt that there was a direct busi­ness rela­tion­ship between LNR and Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies at the time Justin Kennedy and Jared Kush­n­er were both CEO. Even the future Pres­i­dent was aware of the deal and com­ment­ed on its respec­tive mer­its. (That being said, it is not impos­si­ble that Jared Kush­n­er and Justin Kennedy did not meet in con­nec­tion with the spe­cif­ic deal in ques­tion; how­ev­er, giv­en the stakes involved it does seem more than like­ly that the two CEO’s would have inter­act­ed as nego­ti­a­tions were being con­duct­ed.)

The con­nec­tions between Kush­n­er, Kennedy, and Trump do not end there. Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, in 2011, the year in which some of these nego­ti­a­tions took place, Justin Kennedy for the first time was ranked [16] on the New York Observer’s 100 Most Pow­er­ful Peo­ple in New York Real Estate at #36. Don­ald Trump clocked in [32] at #12. The New York Observ­er was owned [33] at the time by none oth­er than Jared Kush­n­er him­self. . . .

1e. Fol­low­ing the nom­i­na­tion by Pres­i­dent Trump of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy on the Supreme Court, we get con­fir­ma­tion that Trump got Kennedy to resign [34]by agree­ing to replace him with Kennedy’s for­mer clerk Kavanaugh:

“It Was Always Kavanaugh: After Meet­ing With Kennedy, Trump Was Set On His Pick” by Nicole Lafond; Talk­ing Points Memo; 07/10/2018 [34]

While the White House was suc­cess­ful for the most part in keep­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s SCOTUS pick under wraps for the past two weeks, Trump was essen­tial­ly decid­ed on his nom­i­nee after Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy told him he would retire in a meet­ing, Politi­co report­ed. [34]

Accord­ing to aides close to the White House who spoke to Politi­co, in that meet­ing Kennedy rec­om­mend­ed Trump pick Brett Kavanaugh, who had served as a for­mer law clerk to Kennedy. While Trump was report­ed­ly already inter­est­ed in Kavanaugh before that dis­cus­sion with Kennedy, the retir­ing jurist’s rec­om­men­da­tion helped seal the deal. . . .

2. The links between Trump­World and Antho­ny Kennedy’s sons is deep­er still. Kennedy’s oth­er son Gre­go­ry, has long-stand­ing ties [20] to Trump Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, whom we first ana­lyzed in FTR #718 [21].

” . . . . . . . . Kennedy’s seat, mean­time, seemed des­tined to go to Kavanaugh, thanks in part to the glow­ing review of Kennedy, whose son, Justin, knows Don­ald Trump Jr. through New York real estate cir­cles, and whose oth­er adult child has con­nec­tions to Trump World via the president’s 2016 Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, most recent­ly when the Kennedy firm Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers worked with Thiel’s Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies. . . .”

“How a Pri­vate Meet­ing with Kennedy Helped Trump Get to ‘Yes’ on Kavanaugh” by Christo­pher Cade­la­go, Nan­cy Cook and Andrew Restuc­cia; Politi­co; 07/09/2018 [20].

After Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy told Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump he would relin­quish his seat on the Supreme Court, the pres­i­dent emerged from his pri­vate meet­ing with the retir­ing jurist focused on one can­di­date to name as his suc­ces­sor: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Kennedy’s for­mer law clerk.

Trump, accord­ing to con­fi­dants and aides close to the White House, has become increas­ing­ly con­vinced that “the judges,” as he puts it, or his administration’s remak­ing of the fed­er­al judi­cia­ry in its con­ser­v­a­tive image, is cen­tral to his lega­cy as pres­i­dent. And he cred­its Kennedy, who spent more than a decade at the cen­ter of pow­er on the court, for help­ing give him the oppor­tu­ni­ty.

So even as Trump dis­patched his top lawyers to comb though Kavanaugh’s rul­ings and quizzed allies about whether he was too close to the Bush fam­i­ly, poten­tial­ly a fatal flaw, the pres­i­dent was always lean­ing toward accept­ing Kennedy’s par­tial­i­ty for Kavanaugh while pre­serv­ing the secret until his for­mal announce­ment, sources with knowl­edge of his think­ing told POLITICO. . . .

. . . . Kennedy’s seat, mean­time, seemed des­tined to go to Kavanaugh, thanks in part to the glow­ing review of Kennedy, whose son, Justin, knows Don­ald Trump Jr. through New York real estate cir­cles, and whose oth­er adult child has con­nec­tions to Trump World via the president’s 2016 Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, most recent­ly when the Kennedy firm Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers worked with Thiel’s Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies. . . .

3.  As the fol­low­ing arti­cle from last year about the Trump/Kennedy fam­i­ly ties notes, Gre­go­ry Kennedy and Peter Thiel are more than just busi­ness asso­ciates. They went to Stan­ford Law School togeth­er [35]and served as pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety in back-to-back years.

“Trump’s Hid­den Back Chan­nel to Jus­tice Kennedy: Their Kids” by Shane Gold­mach­er; Politi­co; 04/06/2017 [35]

. . . . Anoth­er is through Kennedy’s oth­er son, Gre­go­ry, and Trump’s Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel. They went to Stan­ford Law School togeth­er and served as pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety in back-to-back years, accord­ing to school records. More recent­ly, Kennedy’s firm, Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers, has worked with [36] Thiel’s com­pa­ny Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies.

In fact, dur­ing the ear­ly months of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Gre­go­ry Kennedy has worked at NASA as a senior finan­cial advis­er as part of the so-called “beach­head” team [37]. . .

[38]

Alex Karp

4. Gre­go­ry Kennedy’s DTA has an unusu­al­ly close rela­tion­ship with Palan­tir, a com­pa­ny that has helped the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

Kennedy’s DTA has oth­er per­son­al con­nec­tions to Palan­tir. Alex Fish­man and Alex Davis, two oth­er DTA founders, “enjoyed a very close rela­tion­ship” with Palan­tir co-founder Alex Karp, accord­ing to the law­suit.

It should be not­ed that the alleged secre­cy with which Palan­tir treats its oper­at­ing and invest­ing infor­ma­tion is char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tions. A clos­et­ed, insid­ers-only oper­at­ing eth­ic serves the need for this con­sum­mate­ly pow­er­ful orga­ni­za­tion to main­tain a rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file, even as it gains pow­er, influ­ence and wealth.

” . . . . Yet Palan­tir — whose stock changes hands only through pri­vate trades — goes to great lengths [22] to keep any detailed infor­ma­tion about its busi­ness pri­vate. . . .”

A law­suit by Palan­tir investor KT4 Part­ners alleges that Palan­tir is ille­gal­ly block­ing investors from sell­ing shares in the com­pa­ny and that Kennedy’s Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advi­sors (DTA) is a key part­ner and ben­e­fi­cia­ry of this strat­e­gy.

KT4 claims that when it tried to sell its shares of Palan­tir to a third-par­ty, Palan­tir would have DTA con­tact the third-par­ty and con­vince them to have Palan­tir sells them the shares direct­ly instead. DTA would then col­lect a com­mis­sion.

The cen­tral dynam­ic in the alle­ga­tions of plain­tiff (and Palan­tir investor) KT4 is set forth as fol­lows: ” . . . . But remark­ably, KT4 claims that when Palan­tir receives infor­ma­tion from an investor about a planned sale, it uses that infor­ma­tion to con­tact the buy­er and per­suade them instead to buy shares direct­ly from the com­pa­ny or from cer­tain Palan­tir insid­ers. One par­tic­u­lar bro­ker, Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers, or DTA, repeat­ed­ly gets com­mis­sions from these sales, even when it ‘per­formed no legit­i­mate work,’ KT4 claims. KT4 says it expe­ri­enced inter­fer­ence by Palan­tir when it tried to sell shares to High­bridge Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, a hedge fund that was owned by JPMor­gan Chase, in May 2015. After KT4 noti­fied Palan­tir of the planned sale, Palan­tir turned around and instruct­ed DTA to ‘take the oppor­tu­ni­ty, on Palantir’s behalf,‘and arrange a sale from Palan­tir to High­bridge instead, accord­ing to the law­suit. . . .”

“A Sil­i­con Val­ley Giant Blocked Its Investors From Sell­ing Their Shares, Law­suit Claims” by William Alden; Buz­zFeed News; 03/17/2017 [39]

Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies, one of the most valu­able star­tups in Sil­i­con Val­ley, has deprived investors of basic infor­ma­tion about its busi­ness and repeat­ed­ly hin­dered efforts by investors to sell their shares, accord­ing to a blis­ter­ing law­suit filed by a long­time investor.

In addi­tion to keep­ing at least some share­hold­ers in the dark about its finan­cial per­for­mance, Palan­tir has “engaged in a pat­tern and prac­tice” of attempt­ing to thwart their attempts to sell stock, accord­ing to the law­suit, filed by invest­ment firm KT4 Part­ners. Instead of let­ting these investors sell shares, Palan­tir has steered their sale oppor­tu­ni­ties to itself or its exec­u­tives, while show­er­ing a favored bro­ker­age firm with com­mis­sions even when the firm does no work at all, the law­suit claims.

KT4 Part­ners first bought Palan­tir shares over a decade ago and is seek­ing to com­pel Palan­tir to hand over finan­cial records, which it says are need­ed to under­stand the val­ue of its invest­ment. Fur­ther, KT4 claims it needs this infor­ma­tion to inves­ti­gate whether Palan­tir or its exec­u­tives have engaged in “improp­er and ille­gal con­duct” to harm minor­i­ty share­hold­ers. The law­suit was filed under seal last week in the Delaware Court of Chancery; a par­tial­ly redact­ed ver­sion was released on Mon­day and is report­ed here for the first time. . . .

. . . . Co-found­ed in 2004 by the bil­lion­aire Peter Thiel, who is now advis­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Palan­tir ana­lyzes data for gov­ern­ment agen­cies and major cor­po­ra­tions. It has a $20 bil­lion val­u­a­tion, mak­ing it the third most high­ly val­ued start­up in Sil­i­con Val­ley, behind only Uber and Airbnb. Yet Palan­tir — whose stock changes hands only through pri­vate trades — goes to great lengths [22] to keep any detailed infor­ma­tion about its busi­ness pri­vate. A report by Buz­zFeed News [40] last year gave an unprece­dent­ed, though lim­it­ed, account of its com­mer­cial oper­a­tions.

The law­suit, a high­ly unusu­al step for a start­up investor, fol­lows efforts by KT4 to obtain busi­ness infor­ma­tion through oth­er means. KT4 made a writ­ten demand last August to inspect Palantir’s books and records, the law­suit says. But then, accord­ing to the law­suit, Palan­tir retroac­tive­ly amend­ed its investors’ rights agree­ment “for the sole and express pur­pose” of avoid­ing dis­clo­sure oblig­a­tions. . . .

. . . . Palan­tir is under increas­ing pres­sure from its share­hold­ers, a num­ber of whom have held its stock for a decade or more and are anx­ious­ly await­ing a pay­day. For­mer employ­ees, who received a major part of their pay in stock options, have strug­gled [41] to cash out, despite lim­it­ed share pur­chase offers [42] arranged by the com­pa­ny. Last fall, in a rever­sal of his long­time refusal to pur­sue an IPO, Palan­tir CEO Alex Karp said at a tech con­fer­ence [43], “We’re now posi­tion­ing the com­pa­ny so we could go pub­lic.”

This state­ment by Karp has a pre­vi­ous­ly undis­closed back­sto­ry, accord­ing to the law­suit: KT4 says it came after a for­mal request by the investor for infor­ma­tion on whether Palan­tir had con­sid­ered an IPO.

KT4 says its stake in Palan­tir is worth over $60 mil­lion — a sig­nif­i­cant sum by many mea­sures, but small in the con­text of Palan­tir, which has raised more than $2 bil­lion from investors. When KT4 tried to sell por­tions of its stake, Palan­tir repeat­ed­ly inter­fered, the law­suit claims. Palan­tir, fol­low­ing a com­mon prac­tice in Sil­i­con Val­ley, requires that any sell­ers of its stock seek the company’s approval for the trans­ac­tion; com­pa­nies do this to lim­it and man­age own­er­ship of their shares.

But remark­ably, KT4 claims that when Palan­tir receives infor­ma­tion from an investor about a planned sale, it uses that infor­ma­tion to con­tact the buy­er and per­suade them instead to buy shares direct­ly from the com­pa­ny or from cer­tain Palan­tir insid­ers. One par­tic­u­lar bro­ker, Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers, or DTA, repeat­ed­ly gets com­mis­sions from these sales, even when it “per­formed no legit­i­mate work,” KT4 claims.

KT4 says it expe­ri­enced inter­fer­ence by Palan­tir when it tried to sell shares to High­bridge Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, a hedge fund that was owned by JPMor­gan Chase, in May 2015. After KT4 noti­fied Palan­tir of the planned sale, Palan­tir turned around and instruct­ed DTA to “take the oppor­tu­ni­ty, on Palantir’s behalf,” and arrange a sale from Palan­tir to High­bridge instead, accord­ing to the law­suit.

But when Alex Fish­man, a founder of DTA, met with a senior man­ag­ing direc­tor at High­bridge, the hedge fund exec­u­tive said he would not break his deal with KT4, telling Fish­man to leave his office, accord­ing to the law­suit. The sit­u­a­tion esca­lat­ed when Karp, the Palan­tir CEO, learned of Highbridge’s affil­i­a­tion with JPMor­gan — a very impor­tant cus­tomer of Palantir’s — and that the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, “would be asked to con­tact Karp direct­ly to express dis­plea­sure” at these tac­tics, the law­suit says. Karp then alleged­ly let the sale by KT4 go through.

Lat­er, in Decem­ber 2015, Palan­tir and DTA had more suc­cess in imped­ing a sale of shares by KT4 and oth­er investors to a Chi­nese invest­ment com­pa­ny, whose name is redact­ed in the doc­u­ment, the law­suit says. DTA, rep­re­sent­ing Palan­tir, con­tact­ed the buy­er and led it to believe that it was required to buy the shares direct­ly from Palan­tir, ulti­mate­ly lead­ing the buy­er to call off the deal with KT4 and the oth­ers.

Until KT4 made its recent demand for finan­cial infor­ma­tion, Palan­tir refused to pro­vide finan­cial infor­ma­tion to buy­ers of its shares except through DTA — forc­ing buy­ers and sell­ers to do busi­ness with that firm or with Fish­man, the law­suit says.

Even when DTA was not involved in a deal, it still could get paid, accord­ing to KT4. Last sum­mer, when UBS Secu­ri­ties was bro­ker­ing a sale of Palan­tir shares, Karp demand­ed that UBS pay 25 cents a share to Fish­man and DTA, even though DTA “had per­formed no work on the trans­ac­tion” — and UBS agreed to make the pay­ment, the law­suit says. (KT4 says it learned this from a UBS man­ag­ing direc­tor, but in an inter­view with Buz­zFeed News, a per­son close to UBS dis­put­ed that the bank par­tic­i­pat­ed in such a sale and denied that UBS agreed to pay DTA.)

Fish­man and Alex Davis, the oth­er DTA founder, recent­ly “enjoyed a very close rela­tion­ship” with Karp, accord­ing to the law­suit. (Accord­ing to Fishman’s LinkedIn pro­file [44], he sold his half of DTA to Davis last week and no longer works there.) . . .

. . . . Even as it blocks sales by small­er investors, Palan­tir has allowed Karp and Thiel to sell shares, accord­ing to the law­suit. KT4 claims that these sales fly in the face of rights it has as an investor to par­tic­i­pate in such trans­ac­tions. . . .

5. We have cov­ered Peter Thiel in numer­ous pro­grams, begin­ning with our warn­ing about him in FTR #718 [29].

Some of the points we have made about him include:

  1. His fam­i­ly back­ground [29] in the Frank­furt (Ger­many) chem­i­cal busi­ness. Prob­a­bly I.G. Farben/Bormann, [45] in that con­text.
  2. His pri­ma­ry role in Palan­tir [46], appar­ent­ly the mak­er of the PRISM soft­ware at the epi­cen­ter of L’Af­faire Snow­den.
  3. His role as the pri­ma­ry financier [47] of Ron Paul’s super PAC. (Paul is an unabashed white suprema­cist, joined at the hip with David Duke and the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment. He was the Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice for Eddie “The Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den and Julian Assange.) Snow­den’s first attor­ney and the attor­ney for the Snow­den fam­i­ly–Bruce Fein [48]–was the chief legal coun­sel for Ron Paul’s 2012 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.
  4. Thiel’s belief sys­tem [49] is ante­dilu­vian: . . . . ‘I no longer believe that free­dom and democ­ra­cy are com­pat­i­ble,’ Thiel wrote in a 2009 man­i­festo pub­lished by the lib­er­tar­i­an Cato Insti­tute. ‘Since 1920, the vast increase in wel­fare ben­e­fi­cia­ries and the exten­sion of the fran­chise to women — two con­stituen­cies that are noto­ri­ous­ly tough for lib­er­tar­i­ans — have ren­dered the notion of ‘cap­i­tal­ist democ­ra­cy’ into an oxy­moron.’ . . . .”

Thiel began his pro­fes­sion­al life as an attorney–working for Sul­li­van & Cromwell. His lead­er­ship of Stan­ford’s Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety (Gre­go­ry Kennedy lead the group as well) rais­es some inter­est­ing ques­tions about Thiel’s legal point of view.

We note that his apoc­a­lyp­tic, anti-Enlight­en­ment ide­ol­o­gy draws on, among oth­er influ­ences, Carl Schmitt [50]. Arguably the prime mover behind the Ger­man Con­ser­v­a­tive Rev­o­lu­tion, Schmitt was also: “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s pre­em­i­nent legal the­o­rist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspir­ing throw­back to a pre-Enlight­en­ment age, who exalts strug­gle and insists that the dis­cov­ery of ene­mies is the foun­da­tion of pol­i­tics. . .”

“Peter Thiel’s Apoc­a­lypse” by Scott Lucas; San Fran­cis­co Mag­a­zine; 11/29 2017. [26]

. . . . If press reports are cor­rect, Pres­i­dent Trump is con­sid­er­ing appoint­ing Thiel to be chair of the President’s Intel­li­gence Advi­so­ry Board—a posi­tion pre­vi­ous­ly held by such estab­lish­ment sages as Brent Scow­croft and Chuck Hagel. This would make the 50-year-old entre­pre­neur one of the top exec­u­tive branch advis­ers on America’s intel­li­gence agen­cies. And it would be one of the most pecu­liar high-lev­el appoint­ments in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal his­to­ry. . . .

. . . . For Thiel, Osama bin Laden is a kind of return of the reli­gious repressed, an evil erup­tion from an archa­ic world we thought had van­ished. “Today mere self-preser­va­tion forces all of us to look at the world anew, to think strange new thoughts, and there­by to awak­en from that very long and prof­itable peri­od of intel­lec­tu­al slum­ber and amne­sia that is so mis­lead­ing­ly called the Enlight­en­ment,” he writes.

To explore these “strange new thoughts,” Thiel turns to Ger­man legal schol­ar Carl Schmitt—a bril­liant thinker who was also a Nazi and the Third Reich’s pre­em­i­nent legal the­o­rist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspir­ing throw­back to a pre-Enlight­en­ment age, who exalts strug­gle and insists that the dis­cov­ery of ene­mies is the foun­da­tion of pol­i­tics. . . . .

6. Thiel’s brief legal career was at Sul­li­van & Cromwell, the old Dulles law firm.

“Pay­Pal’s Thiel Scores 230 Per­cent Gain with Soros-Style Fund” by Deep­ak Gopinath [Bloomberg.com]; Cana­di­an­Hedge­Watch.com; 12/4/2006. [27]

. . . After col­lect­ing his law degree, Thiel clerked for U.S. Fed­er­al Cir­cuit Judge Lar­ry Edmond­son in Atlanta and then joined Sul­li­van & Cromwell LLP in New York. He last­ed sev­en months and three days before quit­ting out of bore­dom, he says.

7. In FTR #946 [23], we exam­ined Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, its Trump and Steve Ban­non-linked tech firm that har­vest­ed Face­book data on behalf of the Trump cam­paign.

Palan­tir was appar­ent­ly deeply involved with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s gam­ing of per­son­al data har­vest­ed from Face­book in order to engi­neer an elec­toral vic­to­ry for Trump. Thiel was an ear­ly investor in Face­book, at one point was its largest share­hold­er and is still one of its largest share­hold­ers. ” . . . . It was a Palan­tir employ­ee in Lon­don, work­ing close­ly with the data sci­en­tists build­ing Cambridge’s psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing tech­nol­o­gy, who sug­gest­ed the sci­en­tists cre­ate their own app — a mobile-phone-based per­son­al­i­ty quiz — to gain access to Face­book users’ friend net­works, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times. The rev­e­la­tions pulled Palan­tir — co-found­ed by the wealthy lib­er­tar­i­an Peter Thiel [24] — into the furor sur­round­ing Cam­bridge, which improp­er­ly obtained Face­book data to build ana­lyt­i­cal tools it deployed on behalf of Don­ald J. Trump and oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Trump, serves on the board at Face­book. ‘There were senior Palan­tir employ­ees that were also work­ing on the Face­book data,’ said Christo­pher Wylie [25], a data expert and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca co-founder, in tes­ti­mo­ny before British law­mak­ers on Tues­day. . . . The con­nec­tions between Palan­tir and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca were thrust into the spot­light by Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on Tues­day. Both com­pa­nies are linked to tech-dri­ven bil­lion­aires who backed Mr. Trump’s cam­paign: Cam­bridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mer­cer, the com­put­er sci­en­tist and hedge fund mag­nate, while Palan­tir was co-found­ed in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an ini­tial investor in Face­book. . . .”

“Spy Contractor’s Idea Helped Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca Har­vest Face­book Data” by NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MATTHEW ROSENBERG; The New York Times; 03/27/2018 [51]

As a start-up called Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca [52] sought to har­vest the Face­book data of tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans in sum­mer 2014, the com­pa­ny received help from at least one employ­ee at Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies, a top Sil­i­con Val­ley con­trac­tor to Amer­i­can spy agen­cies and the Pen­ta­gon. It was a Palan­tir employ­ee in Lon­don, work­ing close­ly with the data sci­en­tists build­ing Cambridge’s psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing tech­nol­o­gy, who sug­gest­ed the sci­en­tists cre­ate their own app — a mobile-phone-based per­son­al­i­ty quiz — to gain access to Face­book users’ friend net­works, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times.

Cam­bridge ulti­mate­ly took a sim­i­lar approach. By ear­ly sum­mer, the com­pa­ny found a uni­ver­si­ty researcher to har­vest data using a per­son­al­i­ty ques­tion­naire and Face­book app. The researcher scraped pri­vate data from over 50 mil­lion Face­book users — and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca [53] went into busi­ness sell­ing so-called psy­cho­me­t­ric pro­files of Amer­i­can vot­ers, set­ting itself on a col­li­sion course with reg­u­la­tors and law­mak­ers in the Unit­ed States and Britain.

The rev­e­la­tions pulled Palan­tir — co-found­ed by the wealthy lib­er­tar­i­an Peter Thiel [24] — into the furor sur­round­ing Cam­bridge, which improp­er­ly obtained Face­book data to build ana­lyt­i­cal tools it deployed on behalf of Don­ald J. Trump and oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Trump, serves on the board at Face­book.

“There were senior Palan­tir employ­ees that were also work­ing on the Face­book data,” said Christo­pher Wylie [25], a data expert and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca co-founder, in tes­ti­mo­ny before British law­mak­ers on Tues­day. . . .

. . . .The con­nec­tions between Palan­tir and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca were thrust into the spot­light by Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on Tues­day. Both com­pa­nies are linked to tech-dri­ven bil­lion­aires who backed Mr. Trump’s cam­paign: Cam­bridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mer­cer, the com­put­er sci­en­tist and hedge fund mag­nate, while Palan­tir was co-found­ed in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an ini­tial investor in Face­book. . . .

. . . . Doc­u­ments and inter­views indi­cate that start­ing in 2013, Mr. Chmieli­auskas began cor­re­spond­ing with Mr. Wylie and a col­league from his Gmail account. At the time, Mr. Wylie and the col­league worked for the British defense and intel­li­gence con­trac­tor SCL Group, which formed Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca with Mr. Mer­cer the next year. The three shared Google doc­u­ments to brain­storm ideas about using big data to cre­ate sophis­ti­cat­ed behav­ioral pro­files, a prod­uct code-named “Big Dad­dy.”

A for­mer intern at SCL — Sophie Schmidt, the daugh­ter of Eric Schmidt, then Google’s exec­u­tive chair­man — urged the com­pa­ny to link up with Palan­tir, accord­ing to Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny and a June 2013 email viewed by The Times.

“Ever come across Palan­tir. Amus­ing­ly Eric Schmidt’s daugh­ter was an intern with us and is try­ing to push us towards them?” one SCL employ­ee wrote to a col­league in the email.

. . . . But he [Wylie] said some Palan­tir employ­ees helped engi­neer Cambridge’s psy­cho­graph­ic mod­els.

“There were Palan­tir staff who would come into the office and work on the data,” Mr. Wylie told law­mak­ers. “And we would go and meet with Palan­tir staff at Palan­tir.” He did not pro­vide an exact num­ber for the employ­ees or iden­ti­fy them.

Palan­tir employ­ees were impressed with Cambridge’s back­ing from Mr. Mer­cer, one of the world’s rich­est men, accord­ing to mes­sages viewed by The Times. And Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca viewed Palantir’s Sil­i­con Val­ley ties as a valu­able resource for launch­ing and expand­ing its own busi­ness.

In an inter­view this month with The Times, Mr. Wylie said that Palan­tir employ­ees were eager to learn more about using Face­book data and psy­cho­graph­ics. Those dis­cus­sions con­tin­ued through spring 2014, accord­ing to Mr. Wylie.

Mr. Wylie said that he and Mr. Nix vis­it­ed Palantir’s Lon­don office on Soho Square. One side was set up like a high-secu­ri­ty office, Mr. Wylie said, with sep­a­rate rooms that could be entered only with par­tic­u­lar codes. The oth­er side, he said, was like a tech start-up — “weird inspi­ra­tional quotes and stuff on the wall and free beer, and there’s a Ping-Pong table.”

Mr. Chmieli­auskas con­tin­ued to com­mu­ni­cate with Mr. Wylie’s team in 2014, as the Cam­bridge employ­ees were locked in pro­tract­ed nego­ti­a­tions with a researcher at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty, Michal Kosin­s­ki, to obtain Face­book data through an app Mr. Kosin­s­ki had built. The data was cru­cial to effi­cient­ly scale up Cambridge’s psy­cho­met­rics prod­ucts so they could be used in elec­tions and for cor­po­rate clients. . . .

8. A recount­ing of the role [28] of John Fos­ter Dulles and Sul­li­van & Cromwell’s roles in the for­ma­tion of I.G. Far­ben.

The Broth­ers: John Fos­ter Dulls, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinz­er; St. Mar­tin Grif­fin [SC]; Copy­right 2013 by Stephen Kinz­er; ISBN 978–1‑250–05312‑1; pp. 49–52. [28]

. . . . Fos­ter had helped design the Dawes Plan of 1924, which restruc­tured Ger­many’s repa­ra­tion pay­ments in ways that opened up huge new mar­kets for Amer­i­can banks, and lat­er that year he arranged for five of them to lend $100 mil­lion to Ger­man bor­row­ers. In the sev­en years that fol­lowed, he and his part­ners bro­kered anoth­er $900 mil­lion in loans to Germany–the equiv­a­lent of more than $15 bil­lion in ear­ly-twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry dol­lars. This made him the pre­em­i­nent sales­man of Ger­man bonds in the Unit­ed States, prob­a­bly the world. He sharply reject­ed crit­ics who argued that Amer­i­can banks should invest more inside the Unit­ed States and protest­ed when the State Depart­ment sought to restrict loans to Ger­many that were unre­lat­ed to repa­ra­tion pay­ments or that sup­port­ed car­tels or monop­o­lies.

Fos­ter made much mon­ey build­ing and advis­ing car­tels, which are based on agree­ments among com­pet­ing firms to con­trol sup­plies, fix prices, and close their sup­ply and dis­tri­b­u­tion net­works to out­siders. Reform­ers in many coun­tries railed against these car­tels, but Fos­ter defend­ed them as guar­an­tors of sta­bil­i­ty that ensured prof­its while pro­tect­ing economies from unpre­dictable swings. Two that he shaped became glob­al forces.

Among Fos­ter’s pre­mier clients was the New Jer­sey-based Inter­na­tion­al Nick­el Com­pa­ny, for which he was not only coun­sel but also a direc­tor and mem­ber of the exec­u­tive board. In the ear­ly 1930s, he steered it, along with its Cana­di­an affil­i­ate, into a car­tel with France’s two major nick­el pro­duc­ers. In 1934, he brought the biggest Ger­man nick­el pro­duc­er, I.G. Far­ben, into the car­tel. This gave Nazi Ger­many access to the cartel’s resources.

“With­out Dulles,” accord­ing to a study of Sul­li­van & Cromwell, “Ger­many would have lacked any nego­ti­at­ing strength with [Inter­na­tion­al Nick­el], which con­trolled the world’s sup­ply of nick­el, a cru­cial ingre­di­ent in stain­less steel and armor plate.”

I.G. Far­ben was also one of the world’s largest chem­i­cal companies–it would pro­duce the Zyk­lon B gas used at Nazi death camps–and as Fos­ter was bring­ing it into the nick­el car­tel, he also helped it estab­lish a glob­al chem­i­cal car­tel. He was a board mem­ber and legal coun­sel for anoth­er chem­i­cal pro­duc­er, the Solvay con­glom­er­ate, based in Bel­gium. Dur­ing the 1930s, he guid­ed Solvay, I. G. Far­ben, the Amer­i­can firm Allied Chem­i­cal & Dye, and sev­er­al oth­er com­pa­nies into a chem­i­cal car­tel just as potent as the one he had orga­nized for nick­el pro­duc­ers.

In mid-1931, a con­sor­tium of Amer­i­can banks, eager to safe­guard their invest­ments in Ger­many, per­suad­ed the Ger­man gov­ern­ment to accept a loan of near­ly $500 mil­lion to pre­vent default. Fos­ter was their agent. His ties to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment tight­ened after Hitler took pow­er at the begin­ning of 1933 and appoint­ed Fos­ter’s old friend Hjal­mar Schacht as min­is­ter of eco­nom­ics.

Allen [Dulles] had intro­duced the two men a decade ear­li­er, when he was a diplo­mat in Berlin and Fos­ter passed through reg­u­lar­ly on Sul­li­van & Cromwell busi­ness. They were imme­di­ate­ly drawn to each oth­er, Schacht spoke flu­ent Eng­lish and under­stood the Unit­ed States well. Like Dulles, he pro­ject­ed an air of brisk author­i­ty. He was tall, gaunt, and always erect, with close-cropped hair and high, tight col­lars. Both men had con­sid­ered enter­ing the cler­gy before turn­ing their pow­er­ful minds toward more remu­ner­a­tive pur­suits. Each admired the cul­ture that had pro­duced the oth­er. Both believed that a resur­gent Ger­many would stand against Bol­she­vism. Mobi­liz­ing Amer­i­can cap­i­tal to finance its rise was their com­mon inter­est.

Work­ing with Schacht, Fos­ter helped the Nation­al Social­ist state find rich sources of financ­ing in the Unit­ed States for its pub­lic agen­cies, banks, and indus­tries. The two men shaped com­plex restruc­tur­ings of Ger­man loan oblig­a­tions at sev­er­al “debt con­fer­ences” in Berlin–conferences that were offi­cial­ly among bankers, but were in fact close­ly guid­ed by the Ger­man and Amer­i­can governments–and came up with new for­mu­las that made it eas­i­er for the Ger­mans to bor­row mon­ey from Amer­i­can banks. Sul­li­van & Cromwell float­ed the first Amer­i­can bonds issued by the giant Ger­man steel­mak­er and arms man­u­fac­tur­er Krupp A.G., extend­ed I.G. Far­ben’s glob­al reach, and fought suc­cess­ful­ly to block Canada’s effort to restrict the export of steel to Ger­man arms mak­ers. Accord­ing to one his­to­ry, the firm “rep­re­sent­ed sev­er­al provin­cial gov­ern­ments, some large indus­tri­al com­bines, a num­ber of big Amer­i­can com­pa­nies with inter­ests in the Reich, and some rich indi­vid­u­als.” By anoth­er account it “thrived on its car­tels and col­lu­sion with the new Nazi regime.” The colum­nist Drew Pear­son glee­ful­ly list­ed the Ger­man clients of Sul­li­van & Cromwell who had con­tributed mon­ey to the Nazis, and described Fos­ter as chief agent for “the bank­ing cir­cles that res­cued Adolf Hitler from the finan­cial depths and set up his Nazi par­ty as a going con­cern.”

Although the rela­tion­ship between Fos­ter and Schacht began well and thrived for years, it end­ed bad­ly. Schacht con­tributed deci­sive­ly to Ger­man rear­ma­ment and pub­licly urged Jews to “real­ize that their influ­ence in Ger­many has dis­ap­peared for all time.” Although he lat­er broke with Hitler and left the gov­ern­ment, he would be tried at Nurem­berg for “crimes against peace.” He was acquit­ted, but the chief Amer­i­can pros­e­cu­tor, Robert Jack­son, called him “the facade of starched respon­si­bil­i­ty, who in the ear­ly days pro­vid­ed the win­dow dress­ing, the bait for the hes­i­tant.” He bait­ed no one more suc­cess­ful­ly than Fos­ter.

Dur­ing the mid-1930s, through a series of cur­ren­cy maneu­vers, dis­count­ed buy­backs, and oth­er forms of finan­cial war­fare, Ger­many effec­tive­ly default­ed on its debts to Amer­i­can investors. Fos­ter rep­re­sent­ed the investors in unsuc­cess­ful appeals to Ger­many, many of them addressed to his old friend Schacht. Clients who had fol­lowed Sul­li­van & Cromwell’s advice to buy Ger­man bonds lost for­tunes. That advice, accord­ing to one study, “cost Amer­i­cans a bil­lion dol­lars because Schacht seduced Dulles into sup­port­ing Ger­many for far too long.’ . . . .

. . . . Fos­ter had clear finan­cial rea­sons to col­lab­o­rate with the Nazi regime, and his ide­o­log­i­cal reason–Hitler was fierce­ly anti-Bolshevik–was equal­ly com­pelling. In lat­er years, schol­ars would ask about his actions in the world. Did he do it out of a desire to pro­tect eco­nom­ic priv­i­lege, or out of anti-Com­mu­nist fer­vor? The best answer may be that to him there was no dif­fer­ence. In his mind defend­ing multi­na­tion­al busi­ness and fight­ing Bol­she­vism were the same thing.

Since 1933, all let­ters writ­ten from the Ger­man offices of Sul­li­van & Cromwell had end­ed, as required by Ger­man reg­u­la­tions, with the salu­ta­tion Heil Hitler! That did not dis­turb Fos­ter. He churned out mag­a­zine and news­pa­per arti­cles assert­ing that the “dynam­ic” coun­tries of the world–Germany, Italy, and Japan–“feel with­in them­selves poten­tial­i­ties which are sup­pressed,” and that Hitler’s semi-secret rear­ma­ment project sim­ply showed that “Ger­many, by uni­lat­er­al action, has now tak­en back her free­dom of action.” . . . .