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Is the Economic Meltdown as Good as Gold? Maybe for the Far Right Powers that Be

In this post we’re going to take a look at a series of arti­cles that, when tak­en togeth­er, raise the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing new dimen­sion to the West­’s regime change cam­paign against Chi­na that is now play­ing out in the mid­dle of a glob­al COVID-19 pan­dem­ic that threat­ens to stran­gle vir­tu­al­ly all major economies and raise the fol­low­ing ques­tion: Is col­laps­ing the glob­al econ­o­my and bank­rupt­ing major world pow­ers for the pur­pose of push­ing the world to the gold stan­dard one of the objec­tives at work here too in addi­tion to foment­ing regime change in Chi­na?

So why might we sus­pect that return­ing to the gold stan­dard is an objec­tive of not just the Trump admin­is­tra­tion but per­haps gov­ern­ments around the world? Well, for starters...

1. Return­ing the gold stan­dard is a long-stand­ing far right goal and we are liv­ing in a moment when almost all gov­ern­ments around the globe are either overt­ly or covert­ly run by the far right. It’s a moment that may not last so this is a grand oppor­tu­ni­ty for achiev­ing that far right goal. If a gold stand is to be adopt­ed, it real­is­ti­cal­ly would need to be adopt­ed by all major economies rough­ly at the same time and there would have to be no exist­ing fiat cur­ren­cies that are poised to replace the dol­lar as the reign­ing safe haven. Hav­ing the far right run­ning almost all the major economies of the world right is like the stars align­ing for the gold stan­dard advo­cates or those who sim­ply want to see the dol­lar dethroned. All they have to do is all f*ck up at the same time repeat­ed­ly when it comes to fix­ing the sit­u­a­tion and force a mas­sive col­lec­tive explo­sion of debt across all major cur­ren­cies with­out any real results. That seems like some­thing far right should be high­ly adept at accom­plish­ing.

2. Trump has been sur­round­ing him­self with gold stan­dard advo­cates from the very begin­ning of his 2016 cam­paign and con­tin­ues to ele­vate gold stan­dard advo­cates with­in his admin­is­tra­tion. He’s nom­i­nat­ed gold bugs three time to the Fed­er­al Reserve board of gov­er­nors — Her­man Cain, Stephen Moore, and Judy Shel­ton — and while Cain and Moore’s nom­i­na­tions were reject­ed by the Sen­ate, Shel­ton appears to be on track to get­ting full Repub­li­can sup­port on the Sen­ate Bank­ing com­mit­tee [1]. Unless one of the Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors on the com­mit­tee is will­ing to oppose Trump over this, she’s on the board of gov­er­nors.

3. Judy Shel­ton has­n’t just advo­cat­ed for the US to return the gold stan­dard. She wants to see a glob­al Bret­ton Woods-style con­fer­ence that has all of the major economies adopt it at the same time. She even sug­gest­ed hold­ing the con­fer­ence at Mar-a-Lago [2].

4. If Judy Shel­ton is indeed allowed to join the Fed’s board of gov­er­nors she’s seen as a top can­di­date for replac­ing Jerome Pow­ell as the chair of the Fed when Pow­ell’s term is up in 2022.

5. Judy Shel­ton has been the chair of the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED) since Jan­u­ary of 2017 [3]. As we’ll see in the Gray Zone arti­cle below, the NED has long been spon­sor­ing and work­ing close­ly with the World Uyghur Con­gress (WUC), the Uyghur move­ment in Chi­na that has regime change in Chi­na as one of its pri­ma­ry objects, whether that change comes polit­i­cal­ly or through mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion. So Shel­ton is undoubt­ed­ly deeply involved the NED’s regime change efforts in Chi­na.

6. As we’ll see in the sec­ond arti­cle below, Robert Mer­cer is a long-time gold stan­dard advo­cate. Giv­en his cur­rent sta­tus as one of the lead­ing bil­lion­aire Nazis with a pro­found influ­ence over the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and fig­ures like Steve Ban­non, we should­n’t at all be sur­prised if Mer­cer is qui­et­ly push­ing for the kind of glob­al eco­nom­ic col­lapse that could so dam­age the major cur­ren­cies of the world simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Also recall the Mer­cer has expressed extreme social Dar­win­ism views, like how he views peo­ple on wel­fare as hav­ing “neg­a­tive val­ue” and less val­ue than a house cat which at least pro­vides peo­ple plea­sure [4]. In oth­er words, Mer­cer prob­a­bly isn’t the kind of per­son who would flinch at the idea of using a glob­al pan­dem­ic (or start­ing it) to destroy the lives of bil­lions to achieve his goals. He’s basi­cal­ly a super-rich sociopath.

7. As we’ll see in the third, fourth, and fifth arti­cles below, J. Kyle Bass — the bil­lion­aire hedge fund investor who has been work­ing close­ly with Steve Ban­non’s regime change oper­a­tion tar­get­ing Chi­na [5] — appears to be some sort of dooms­day prep­per who advo­cates the stock­pil­ing of gold and guns. And plat­inum. And explo­sives.

8. If return­ing to the gold stan­dard real­ly is the end result of peri­od of mas­sive eco­nom­ic tur­moil, the far right would LOVE Trump and com­plete­ly for­give him for that eco­nom­ic tur­moil. Sure, elder­ly Repub­li­cans who will lose their social secu­ri­ty might not like Trump under those cir­cum­stances, but they’ll pre­sum­ably be dead soon any­way. Either COVID-19 will get them or the sud­den­ly lack of a safe­ty and col­lapsed health care sys­tem will do the job. But the younger ‘Alt Right’ con­ser­v­a­tives who will define the move­ment in com­ing decades will love Trump for­ev­er for destroy­ing enti­tle­ments and bring­ing back the gold stan­dard.

9. The socioe­co­nom­ic tur­moil that could result from a sus­tained eco­nom­ic col­lapse is a per­fect excuse to dep­u­tize all the far right mili­tias (like the Oath Keep­ers [6]) that have been pin­ing to be grant­ed law enforce­ment pow­ers. These are the kinds of groups that dream of a time when every­thing has col­lapsed and gold is sud­den­ly the coin of the realm.

10. The con­ser­v­a­tive euro­zone mem­ber states would prob­a­bly also be espe­cial­ly excit­ed about return­ing to the gold stan­dard, whether that involves hold­ing the euro­zone togeth­er or not. Don’t for­get that the con­ser­v­a­tive euro­zone mem­ber states have long want­ed to see the euro­zone effec­tive­ly oper­ate like a vir­tu­al gold stan­dard between mem­ber states. Ordolib­er­al­ism — the Ger­man eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy — more or less demands that nations oper­ate as if they were on the gold stan­dard any­way, i.e. when there’s reces­sion, cut back on gov­ern­ment spend­ing and allow the ensu­ing reces­sion to kill off the weak­est com­pa­nies. This was a sig­nif­i­cant ide­o­log­i­cal moti­va­tor for the aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies the euro­zone pur­sued over the past decade fol­low­ing the euro­zone finan­cial cri­sis [7]. Ger­many, in par­tic­u­lar, would like­ly find an extreme­ly recep­tive audi­ence for a gold stan­dard. Also recall how Ger­many repa­tri­at­ed large amounts of its glob­al over­seas gold hold­ings in 2017, three years ahead of sched­ule [8].

11. If the word did shift to a gold stan­dard, almost all social spend­ing would have to rad­i­cal­ly cur­tailed per­ma­nent­ly as min­i­miz­ing nation­al debt loads become the top pri­or­i­ty. Which, again, is a far right dream.

12. Final­ly, if some group knew this was part of a secret far right agen­da they could make A LOT by know­ing that in advance, but from short­ing mar­kets and buy gold rel­a­tive­ly cheap­ly. Or if they hap­pened to have large stores of loot­ed gold hid­den away from, say WWII, those stores would sud­den­ly become the dom­i­nant sources of wealth on the plan­et. [9]

Is it pos­si­ble that we’re look­ing at a simul­ta­ne­ous push to col­lapse Chi­na by col­laps­ing the glob­al econ­o­my, with a grand final prize of achiev­ing that long-held far right dream of return­ing the world to a gold stan­dard? We prob­a­bly should­n’t rule it out. It’s a long-stand­ing far right goal and we real­ly are look­ing at a globe cur­rent­ly dom­i­nat­ed by fas­cists and crypto­fas­cists so now would be when we should expect some­thing like this. There are a lot of fas­cist goals that could be accom­plished by return­ing to the gold stan­dard. It would­n’t even have to be a per­ma­nent return. Just a tem­po­rary shift back to a gold stan­dard that could help com­plete­ly reori­ent the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic pow­er of the globe away from the US and give gov­ern­ments around the world an excuse for a gen­er­a­tion of mass glob­al aus­ter­i­ty. They could return to some some of fiat glob­al reserve cur­ren­cy (or bas­ket of reserve cur­ren­cies) lat­er. If the euro sur­vives it would prob­a­bly be a in good posi­tion to become the new ‘king’ cur­ren­cy, but there are plen­ty of oth­er can­di­dates.

What Unites The Nation­al Endown­ment for Democ­ra­cy and Turk­ish Fas­cist? The World Uyghur Con­gress

Ok, first, here’s that Gray Zone arti­cle describe the deep his­toric ties between the NED and World Uyghur Con­gress (WUC). The arti­cle makes it clear that that the WUC and it’s many off­shoot groups are essen­tial­ly exten­sions of the US’s for­eign pol­i­cy and intel­li­gence estab­lish­ment, going back to WWII. The arti­cle also describes the long-stand ties between the WUC’s lead­ers and the Turk­ish far right, who view the Xin­jiang region of North­west Chi­na where the Uyghur’s pri­mar­i­ly locat­ed as part of “East Turk­istan”. Alarm­ing­ly, it sounds like the WUC lead­er­ship would like to see Turkey play a role in Chi­na sim­i­lar to the role Turkey has played in Libya and Syr­ia, which is basi­cal­ly a call for foment­ing a civ­il war and balka­niz­ing the coun­try. So at a time what the far right is in pow­er in almost every major coun­try on the plan­et, we’re see­ing a group with exten­sive far right ties mak­ing a big push desta­bi­lize Chi­na which should be rais­ing the ques­tion of what else is on the far right desta­bi­liza­tion agen­da [10]:

The Gray Zone

Inside the World Uyghur Con­gress: The US-backed right-wing regime change net­work seek­ing the ‘fall of Chi­na’

While pos­ing as a grass­roots human rights orga­ni­za­tion, the World Uyghur Con­gress is a US-fund­ed and direct­ed sep­a­ratist net­work that has forged alliances with far-right eth­no-nation­al­ist groups. The goal spelled out by its founders is clear: the desta­bi­liza­tion of Chi­na and regime change in Bei­jing.

By Ajit Singh
March 5, 2020

In recent years, few sto­ries have gen­er­at­ed as much out­rage in the West as the con­di­tion of Uyghur Mus­lims in Chi­na. Report­ing on the issue is typ­i­cal­ly rep­re­sent­ed through seem­ing­ly spon­ta­neous leaks of infor­ma­tion and expres­sions of resis­tance by Uyghur human rights activists strug­gling to be heard against a tyran­ni­cal Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

True or not, near­ly every­thing that appears in West­ern media accounts of China’s Uyghur Mus­lims is the prod­uct of a care­ful­ly con­ceived media cam­paign gen­er­at­ed by an appa­ra­tus of right-wing, anti-com­mu­nist Uyghur sep­a­ratists fund­ed and trained by the US gov­ern­ment.

A cen­tral gear in Washington’s new Cold War against Chi­na, this net­work has a long his­to­ry of rela­tion­ships with the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state and far-right ultra-nation­al­ists.

At the heart of this move­ment is the World Uyghur Con­gress [11] (WUC), an inter­na­tion­al Uyghur orga­ni­za­tion that claims to be engaged in a “peace­ful, non­vi­o­lent, and demo­c­ra­t­ic” strug­gle for “human rights.” The WUC con­sid­ers China’s north­west­ern Xin­jiang region to be East Turkestan, and sees its Uyghur Mus­lim inhab­i­tants not as Chi­nese cit­i­zens but instead as mem­bers of a pan-Tur­kic nation stretch­ing from Cen­tral Asia to Turkey.

As this inves­ti­ga­tion estab­lish­es, the WUC is not a grass­roots move­ment, but a US gov­ern­ment-backed umbrel­la for sev­er­al Wash­ing­ton-based out­fits that also rely heav­i­ly on US fund­ing and direc­tion. Today, it is the main face and voice of a sep­a­ratist oper­a­tion ded­i­cat­ed to desta­bi­liz­ing the Xin­jiang region of Chi­na and ulti­mate­ly top­pling the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

While seek­ing to orches­trate a col­or rev­o­lu­tion with the aim of regime change in Bei­jing, the WUC and its off­shoots have forged ties with the Grey Wolves, a far-right Turk­ish orga­ni­za­tion that has been active­ly engaged in sec­tar­i­an vio­lence from Syr­ia to East Asia.

None of these links seem to have trou­bled the WUC’s spon­sors in Wash­ing­ton. If any­thing, they have added to the network’s appeal, con­sol­i­dat­ing it as one of the most potent polit­i­cal weapons the US wields in its new Cold War against Chi­na.

The World Uyghur Con­gress, brought to you by the US government’s regime change arm

The WUC pro­motes itself as an “oppo­si­tion move­ment against Chi­nese occu­pa­tion of East Turk­istan [sic]” that “represent[s] the col­lec­tive inter­ests” and is “the sole legit­i­mate orga­ni­za­tion of the Uyghur peo­ple both in East Turk­istan and abroad.”

Head­quar­tered in Munich, Ger­many, the WUC is an inter­na­tion­al umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion [12] with a net­work of 33 affil­i­ates in 18 coun­tries around the world. The WUC and its affil­i­ates — par­tic­u­lar­ly the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Cam­paign for Uyghurs — are cit­ed in near­ly every West­ern media report on China’s Uyghur Mus­lims.

From its incep­tion, the WUC has been backed by the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy [13] (NED). With mil­lions in US tax­pay­er mon­ey, the NED and its sub­sidiaries have backed oppo­si­tion par­ties, “civ­il soci­ety” groups, and media orga­ni­za­tions in coun­tries tar­get­ed by the US for regime change.

Philip Agee, the late CIA whistle­blow­er, described the work of the NED as a more sophis­ti­cat­ed ver­sion of the old-fash­ioned covert oper­a­tions that Lan­g­ley used to engi­neer. “Nowa­days,” Agee explained, “instead of hav­ing the CIA going around behind the scenes and try­ing to manip­u­late the process by insert­ing mon­ey here and giv­ing instruc­tions secret­ly and so forth, they have now a side­kick, which is this Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, NED.”

Agee’s assess­ment was con­firmed by Allen Wein­stein, a for­mer Trot­sky­ist and found­ing mem­ber of the NED. Wein­stein told the Wash­ing­ton Post in 1991 [14], “A lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

When the WUC was found­ed in 2004, the NED’s then-senior Asia pro­gram offi­cer, Louisa Coan Greve, praised the move [15] as a “great accom­plish­ment.”

The NED has pro­vid­ed the WUC with mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing [16], includ­ing $1,284,000 since 2016 alone, and mil­lions of dol­lars in addi­tion­al fund­ing to WUC-affil­i­ate orga­ni­za­tions. The grants are ear­marked for train­ing Uyghur activists and youth in media advo­ca­cy and lob­by­ing “to raise aware­ness of and sup­port for Uyghur human rights,” with a par­tic­u­lar focus on US Con­gress, Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, and the Unit­ed Nations.

In 2018, the NED pro­vid­ed the WUC and its off­shoots with close to $665,000, accord­ing to the for­mer organization’s web­site [17].

The NED has played a direct role in mold­ing the direc­tion and pol­i­tics of the WUC. Besides hon­ey­comb­ing WUC-affil­i­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions with NED oper­a­tives like Coan Greve, the NED has spon­sored and orga­nized annu­al “Lead­er­ship Train­ing Sem­i­nars” [18] for the WUC since 2007.

Many lead­ing mem­bers of the WUC have also worked in senior posi­tions for Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty (RFE/RL). These US gov­ern­ment-run news agen­cies were cre­at­ed by the CIA [19] dur­ing the Cold War to project pro­pa­gan­da into Chi­na and the Sovi­et Union, and to stir up oppo­si­tion to com­mu­nism on these coun­tries’ fron­tiers.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the WUC is tight­ly aligned with Washington’s for­eign pol­i­cy agen­da and hos­tile new Cold War strat­e­gy which seeks to con­tain and impede the rise of Chi­na. The WUC reg­u­lar­ly meets with and lob­bies US and West­ern politi­cians, urg­ing them to iso­late and “increase the pres­sure on Chi­na”; [20] ratch­et up eco­nom­ic sanc­tions; [21] curb ties with Chi­na [22], and with­draw West­ern com­pa­nies from the region.

The WUC cel­e­brat­ed [23] the pas­sage of The Uighur Act of 2019 [24] by the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in Decem­ber 2019. The bill, which called on the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to enact sanc­tions against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, was the lat­est in a string of anti-Chi­na achieve­ments.

This regime change appa­ra­tus has made its strongest impact through the media, pro­vid­ing a con­stant source of self-styled Uyghur dis­si­dents and human rights hor­ror sto­ries to eager West­ern reporters. The expo­sure the WUC and its affil­i­ates receive extends well beyond cor­po­rate media out­lets known for echo­ing Washington’s for­eign pol­i­cy talk­ing points; even osten­si­bly adver­sar­i­al, pro­gres­sive, and left-wing media such as The Inter­cept [25], Democ­ra­cy Now! [26] and Jacobin Mag­a­zine [27] have pro­vid­ed them with an uncrit­i­cal plat­form.

While adopt­ing the WUC’s nar­ra­tive, these self-styled alter­na­tive out­lets nev­er seem to men­tion the close bonds the orga­ni­za­tion and its off­shoots have forged with the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state and right-wing eth­no-nation­al­ist move­ments abroad. But the rela­tion­ships are no secret. In fact, they appear to be a source of pride for WUC lead­er­ship.

The Far-Right Roots of the Uyghur “Human Rights” Move­ment

Behind its care­ful­ly con­struct­ed human rights brand, the Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment emerged from ele­ments in Xin­jiang which view social­ism as “the ene­my of Islam,” and which sought Washington’s sup­port from the out­set, pre­sent­ing them­selves as eager foot-sol­diers for US hege­mo­ny.

The found­ing father of this sep­a­ratist move­ment was Isa Yusuf Alptekin. His son, Erkin Alptekin, found­ed the WUC and served as the organization’s inau­gur­al pres­i­dent. The senior Alptekin is referred to as “our late leader” [28] by the WUC and cur­rent Pres­i­dent Dolkun Isa.

Born at the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry, Alptekin was the son of a local gov­ern­ment Xin­jiang offi­cial. He received a large­ly Islam­ic edu­ca­tion as a youth, as his fam­i­ly intend­ed for him to be a reli­gious schol­ar.

Dur­ing the Chi­nese Civ­il War that raged between the nation­al­ists and com­mu­nists from 1945 to ’49, Alptekin served under the nation­al­ist Kuom­intang (KMT) admin­is­tra­tion [29] in Xin­jiang. Through­out this peri­od, the KMT received mas­sive mil­i­tary and eco­nom­ic back­ing from the Unit­ed States [30] — includ­ing bil­lions of dol­lars in cash and mil­i­tary hard­ware, along with the deploy­ment of tens of thou­sands of US marines — in an effort to quash the Chi­nese rev­o­lu­tion.

At the same time [29], accord­ing to his­to­ri­an Lin­da Ben­son, Alptekin “became more active in both the Guo­min­dang [sic] and nation­al lev­el pol­i­tics … and met sev­er­al times with [KMT leader] Chi­ang Kai-shek per­son­al­ly.” For Alptekin and fel­low trav­el­ers advanc­ing Tur­kic nation­al­ism and the region’s even­tu­al inde­pen­dence, “equal­ly impor­tant was the neces­si­ty of pro­tect­ing the land they called East Turkestan from Sovi­et and Chi­nese com­mu­nism, both of which were viewed as real and present dan­gers to Islam­ic peo­ples.”

For the KMT [29], Uyghur activists like Alptekin made prime can­di­dates for Xinjiang’s provin­cial admin­is­tra­tion. As Ben­son explained, “[t]he essen­tial qual­i­fi­ca­tion for such appointees… was that they be anti-Com­mu­nist and anti-Sovi­et.” In his mem­oirs, Alptekin revealed that he “sought to elim­i­nate all Rus­sians and left­ists in the gov­ern­ment,” and said that “schools were also encour­aged to include reli­gious instruc­tion in their cur­ricu­lum.”

A fer­vent oppo­nent of mis­ce­gena­tion, Alptekin worked to pre­vent inter­mar­riage [31] between Han Chi­nese and Uyghur Mus­lims. Dur­ing his time in gov­ern­ment, reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ists “attacked the hous­es of Han Chi­nese who were mar­ried to Moslem [sic] women […] The mob abduct­ed the Moslem wives, and in some cas­es the unfor­tu­nate women were forced to mar­ry old Moslem men.” Though the vio­lence killed numer­ous Han Chi­nese, it pro­ceed­ed with­out any gov­ern­ment response dur­ing Alptekin’s tenure.

As the civ­il war wore on, Alptekin grew frus­trat­ed with the declin­ing pow­er of the nation­al­ists and met with US and British Con­suls [29] in Xin­jiang, beseech­ing the twin pow­ers to deep­en their inter­ven­tion in Chi­na and the region. With the com­ing vic­to­ry of the Chi­nese Rev­o­lu­tion, Alptekin went into exile in 1949.

Alptekin even­tu­al­ly set­tled in Turkey, emerg­ing as the pre-emi­nent leader of the Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment through­out the lat­ter half of the 20th cen­tu­ry. He set out to enlist inter­na­tion­al sup­port for the cause of East Turkestan inde­pen­dence, court­ing lead­ing US offi­cials and far-right, neo-Ottoman­ist ide­o­logues in Turkey.

The Uyghur sep­a­ratist leader wrote to then-US Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon on sev­er­al occa­sions, plead­ing for him to sup­port East Turkestan sep­a­ratism. In a 1969 mis­sive to the pres­i­dent, Alptekin declared full-throat­ed sup­port for the US war on Viet­nam: [32] “We are hope­ful and pleased that the US, as a fortress of lib­er­ty, is pro­tect­ing cap­tive nations,” he stat­ed. Altep­kin then plead­ed for his “Excel­len­cy” Nixon and the US, “the most immi­nent pro­tec­tor of cap­tive nations”, to sup­port East Turkestan inde­pen­dence.

Alptekin wrote Nixon [33] the fol­low­ing year to warn of the evils of “Red Chi­na.” He brand­ed the coun­try “a great men­ace which the whole world as led by the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca is con­fronting. This men­ace is now in the process of evo­lu­tion to engulf the earth. If time is allowed it can upset the bal­ance of the world to dis­ad­van­tage the free nations.”

“The whole world has rea­son to be appre­hen­sive of Red Chi­na,” Alptekin insist­ed to Nixon, “for it is like­ly to be an irre­sistible [sic] threat on earth… Chi­na today is one of the biggest nations in the world where the Marx­ist teach has been imple­ment­ed… Chi­na may prove to be a greater men­ace to all the world, and this men­ace is like­ly to cause a total destruc­tion to the free nations if they are not pru­dent and fore-sight­ed.”

Alptekin advised Nixon to com­bat the “Chi­nese war of world con­quest” by sup­port­ing sep­a­ratist move­ments, name­ly that of East Turkestan nation­al­ists, and by “speed­ing up the process of the dis­mem­ber­ment of the Chi­nese empire.”

Map­ping out a detailed regime change strat­e­gy for Wash­ing­ton, Alptekin urged the US to gen­er­ate sup­port for his cause among the “free world,” set up an aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tute to study “every aspect” of minor­i­ty nation­al­i­ties liv­ing with­in Chi­na, devel­op media pro­pa­gan­da tar­get­ing minor­i­ty nation­al­i­ties by oper­at­ing “a radio net­work beam­ing at these peo­ples in their respec­tive lan­guages”; “devise a plan to secure [the] col­lab­o­ra­tion” of minor­i­ty nation­al­i­ties and “train the chil­dren of the non-Chi­nese exiles abroad.”

In 1970, Alptekin trav­elled to Wash­ing­ton to meet with mem­bers of US Con­gress and address the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives [34].

Forg­ing bonds with fascis­tic, eth­no-suprema­cist Turk­ish nation­al­ists

While appeal­ing for Washington’s sup­port, Alptekin devel­oped strong ties with the Turk­ish far-right. Their bonds rest­ed on a sol­id foun­da­tion of anti-com­mu­nist zeal and pan-Tur­kic, neo-Ottoman­ist nation­al­ism.

On numer­ous occa­sions, Alptekin met with Alparslan Türkes a fascis­tic, ultra-nation­al­ist who believed ardent­ly in Turk­ish eth­nic supe­ri­or­i­ty [35] over minori­ties like Kurds and Arme­ni­ans, and for whom the erad­i­ca­tion of com­mu­nism among the Tur­kic pop­u­la­tions of Sovi­et Cen­tral Asia and Xin­jiang was “the dream he had most cher­ished” [36].

Türkes was long-time leader of the far-right Nation­al­ist Action Par­ty (MHP) and its para­mil­i­tary arm, the Grey Wolves. Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post, he head­ed a mur­der­ous group of “right-wing ter­ror­ists” [37] who are “blind­ly nation­al­ist, fas­cist or near­ly so, and bent on the exter­mi­na­tion of the Com­mu­nists.” The fascis­tic mil­i­tant group killed numer­ous left-wing activists, stu­dents, Kurds, and noto­ri­ous­ly attempt­ed to assas­si­nate Pope John Paul II.

With mil­i­tary train­ing from the US, Türkes co-found­ed the Turk­ish cell [38] of Oper­a­tion Glad­io [39], the US and NATO-backed net­work of “stay behind” anti-com­mu­nist para­mil­i­tary groups that car­ried out numer­ous acts of ter­ror and sab­o­tage across Europe.

Alptekin appears to have shared the hate­ful pol­i­tics of Türkes and the Turk­ish far-right, often express­ing anti-Armen­ian views [40] includ­ing denial of the Armen­ian geno­cide and claims that Arme­ni­ans were mur­der­ers of inno­cent Turks.

The Turk­ish right-wing has embraced the East Turkestan sep­a­ratist move­ment with open arms, appeal­ing to them as a key base of polit­i­cal sup­port. “The mar­tyrs of East Turkestan are our mar­tyrs,” stat­ed Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan [41], then may­or of Istan­bul, as he inau­gu­rat­ed a park named in hon­or of Alptekin, fol­low­ing the death of the Uyghur nation­al­ist in 1995.

In recent decades, the Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment has deep­ened its con­nec­tions with Wash­ing­ton and the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state. The WUC and its affil­i­ate orga­ni­za­tions — includ­ing the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Cam­paign for Uyghurs — are made up of indi­vid­u­als with direct ties to the US gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary, and regime change estab­lish­ment.

Inspired by pro-free mar­ket col­or rev­o­lu­tions spawned by the US gov­ern­ment in the for­mer Sovi­et republics of Cen­tral Asia, the WUC’s regime change net­work has set out a clear goal of desta­bi­liz­ing Chi­na and top­pling its gov­ern­ment.

With vow to destroy Chi­na, WUC lead­ers earn West­ern adu­la­tion and sup­port

In 2004, Erkin Alptekin was named the inau­gur­al pres­i­dent of the WUC [15]. He is the son of the far-right, ultra-nation­al­ist father fig­ure of the Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment, Isa Yusuf Alptekin, whose back­ground is explored lat­er in this arti­cle. From 1971 to 1995, Erkin Alptekin worked for [42] the US gov­ern­ment-fund­ed RFE/RL media net­work.

Speak­ing at the funer­al of his father, in 1995, the junior Alptekin out­lined his anti-com­mu­nist, sep­a­ratist views and artic­u­lat­ed his desire to destroy Chi­na [43]: “Ten years ago no one believed that the USSR would fall apart now you can see that. Many Tur­kic coun­tries have their free­dom now. Today the same sit­u­a­tion applies to Chi­na. We believed in the not too dis­tant future we will see the fall of Chi­na and the inde­pen­dence of East Turkestan.”

The WUC describes [42] Alptekin as “close friend” of the Dalai Lama, the U.S‑backed, CIA-fund­ed [44] fig­ure­head for Tibetan sep­a­ratism. “We are work­ing very close­ly with the Dalai Lama,” Alptekin told The Wash­ing­ton Post [45] in 1999. “He is a very good exam­ple for us.”

In 2006, Erkin Alptekin was suc­ceed­ed as WUC Pres­i­dent by Rebiya Kadeer, a self-described mul­ti-mil­lion­aire [46] real estate and trad­ing entre­pre­neur who prof­it­ed off of China’s eco­nom­ic reforms of the 1980s and claims to have once been the sev­enth wealth­i­est indi­vid­ual in the coun­try. Accord­ing to The New York Times [47], Kadeer’s “[d]issidence brought the end of her Audi, her three vil­las and her far-flung busi­ness empire”. Kadeer’s hus­band, SIdik Rouzi, worked for US gov­ern­ment media out­lets Voice of Amer­i­ca and Radio Free Asia.

Dur­ing her tenure as WUC Pres­i­dent, Kadeer met with then-US Pres­i­dent George W. Bush on sev­er­al occa­sions. As Bush waged his ille­gal war on Iraq and per­se­cut­ed Mus­lim Amer­i­can lead­er­ship under the aus­pices of his so-called “war on ter­ror,” Kadeer appealed to the US head of state to take up the cause of Uyghur Mus­lims. “I was deeply hon­ored to meet with the Pres­i­dent,” Kadeer stat­ed. [48]. She “expressed grat­i­tude for Pres­i­dent Bush’s demon­strat­ed com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing free­dom and demo­c­ra­t­ic reform in the PRC.”

At the 2007 Democ­ra­cy & Secu­ri­ty Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence [49] in Prague, Bush praised Kadeer [50] as a human rights defend­er in his address before the gath­er­ing. The con­fer­ence was orga­nized by the Prague Secu­ri­ty Stud­ies Insti­tute, a think tank that aims to advance free-mar­ket soci­eties in post-com­mu­nist states, and the Adel­son Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies, an Israeli out­fit named for ultra-Zion­ist Repub­li­can casi­no baron Shel­don Adel­son. Con­fer­ence part­ners [51] includ­ed the US gov­ern­ment and NATO.

Kadeer kept close rela­tion­ships with the Dalai Lama and Vaclav Hav­el, the leader of the ‘Vel­vet Rev­o­lu­tion’ which brought down Czechoslovakia’s com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment. Hav­el was a “major pro­po­nent of NATO” [52] and instru­men­tal to the West­ern mil­i­tary alliance’s east­ward expan­sion. Kadeer described Hav­el as [53] “an uncom­pro­mis­ing advo­cate for truth, jus­tice and peace” and point­ed to his polit­i­cal accom­plish­ments as an exam­ple to be emu­lat­ed for Chi­na. “Mr. Havel’s vision for the Czech peo­ple […] speaks to Chi­nese democ­rats today”, wrote Kadeer, fol­low­ing Havel’s death, and “con­tains […] the seeds of a new era for polit­i­cal reform in Chi­na.”

The cur­rent Pres­i­dent of WUC is Dolkun Isa, win­ner of the 2019 Democ­ra­cy Award from the NED. In 2016, Isa received a human rights award from the far-right Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, which was estab­lished by the US gov­ern­ment in 1993. In his accep­tance speech, Isa empha­sized “the Uyghurs’ resis­tance to com­mu­nism” and that “we will not stop our work until we con­sign this destruc­tive ide­ol­o­gy, in the words of Ronald Rea­gan, to ‘the ash heap of his­to­ry.’”

Isa reg­u­lar­ly lob­bies US and West­ern politi­cians to inten­si­fy their new Cold War agen­da by enact­ing eco­nom­ic sanc­tions [21] and curb­ing ties with Chi­na. [22]. Among those he has met with in recent years are Trump admin­is­tra­tion White House offi­cials [54], right-wing Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz [55], and the fer­vent­ly anti-Chi­na act­ing Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence, Richard Grenell.

In Novem­ber 2019, Isa attend­ed the Hal­i­fax Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Forum [61], a gath­er­ing con­vened by NATO and the Cana­di­an Depart­ment of Nation­al Defence. There, he met with lead­ing West­ern polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary fig­ures.

In Jan­u­ary 2020, Isa was host­ed at an event [62] orga­nized by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a right-wing British Israeli lob­by group. At the event, Isa met with with the ultra-Zion­ist orga­ni­za­tion Bnei Aki­va, whose leader called for [63] the Israeli Army “to take the fore­skins of 300 Pales­tini­ans” amid Israel’s pun­ish­ing 2014 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Omer Kanat [64] serves as the WUC’s Chair­man of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee. Kanat helped found the WUC and has been a per­ma­nent fix­ture in its exec­u­tive lead­er­ship. The vet­er­an oper­a­tive has a lengthy his­to­ry of work with the US gov­ern­ment, from serv­ing as senior edi­tor of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Ser­vice from 1999 to 2009 to cov­er­ing the US wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and inter­view­ing the Dalai Lama for the net­work.

In an inter­view with The Gray­zone edi­tor Max Blu­men­thal at a 2018 NED awards cer­e­mo­ny in the US Capi­tol build­ing, Kanat took cred­it [13] for fur­nish­ing many of the claims about intern­ment camps in Xin­jiang to West­ern media. He con­ced­ed, how­ev­er, that the WUC did not know how the oft-repeat­ed “mil­lions detained” claim was arrived at aside from “West­ern media esti­mates.”

Prepar­ing for a col­or rev­o­lu­tion, WUC off­shoots staff up with nation­al secu­ri­ty state oper­a­tives

Estab­lished in 1998, the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion (UAA) is a Wash­ing­ton D.C.-based affil­i­ate of the WUC. A long time grantee of the NED, the UAA has received mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing. Accord­ing to its pub­licly avail­able tax fil­ings [65], the group works close­ly with the US gov­ern­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly the US State Depart­ment, Con­gres­sion­al-Exec­u­tive Com­mis­sion on Chi­na (CECC), and US Congress’s Human Rights Com­mis­sion.

“The Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy has been excep­tion­al­ly sup­port­ive of UAA,” stat­ed Nury Turkel [66], for­mer UAA Pres­i­dent, “pro­vid­ing us with invalu­able guid­ance and assis­tance” along with “essen­tial fund­ing.”

Turkel cred­it­ed the NED with enabling the UAA increase its cred­i­bil­i­ty and expand its influ­ence. Among the top achieve­ments he cit­ed was a meet­ing with the new Kry­gyzs­tan gov­ern­ment “with­in weeks of [the for­mer government’s] fall from pow­er” fol­low­ing the US-engi­neered Tulip “col­or rev­o­lu­tion” which brought a pro-West­ern regime to pow­er.

Speak­ing at the 5th Con­gress of the UAA, in 2006, Turkel con­firmed the regime change agen­da of the UAA, UHRP and broad­er Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment, stat­ing that [66] “as we wit­nessed the ‘Tulip Rev­o­lu­tion’ and the top­pling the for­mer gov­ern­ment of Kyr­gyzs­tan, our hopes were again rein­forced.”

The UAA’s lead­er­ship con­sists of US nation­al secu­ri­ty state oper­a­tors includ­ing employ­ees of the US gov­ern­ment, Radio Free Asia, and mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex.

Kuz­zat Altay, the nephew of Reibya Kadeer, is the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the UAA. Altay is also the founder of the Uyghur Entre­pre­neurs Net­work, which claims to offer Uyghur Amer­i­cans with guid­ance to “start their own busi­ness”. [67]

In 2019, his busi­ness net­work has orga­nized an event in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the FBI [68], the fed­er­al law enforce­ment agency noto­ri­ous for its sur­veil­lance of Mus­lim Amer­i­cans and ensnar­ing count­less men­tal­ly trou­bled young Mus­lim Amer­i­can men in man­u­fac­tured ter­ror plots.

Past pres­i­dents of UAA include Kadeer; Alim Seytoff [69], a for­mer Radio Free Asia cor­re­spon­dent and cur­rent Direc­tor of RFA’s Uyghur Ser­vice; and Ilshat Has­san Kok­bore, who has worked at Booz Allen Hamil­ton [70] since 2008.

...

The main project spun out of the UAA and the NED is the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP). The UHRP was found­ed by the UAA in 2004 [71] with the NED as the prin­ci­pal source of fund­ing [72]. The NED grant­ed the UHRP a whop­ping $1,244,698 between 2016 and ’19.

The UHRP is staffed by WUC lead­ers [71] like Omer Kanat and Nury Turkel, along with for­mer US gov­ern­ment offi­cials and senior mem­bers of the NED.

Dr. Elise Ander­son serves as UHRP’s Senior Pro­gram Office for Research and Advo­ca­cy. In 2019, Ander­son served as the Liu Xiaobo Fel­low, occu­py­ing a posi­tion at the Con­gres­sion­al-Exec­u­tive Com­mis­sion on Chi­na named for the far-right Chi­nese dis­si­dent [73] who sup­port­ed colo­nial­ism, US mil­i­tarism and the “West­ern­i­sa­tion” of Chi­na.

Ander­son states [74] that from 2012 to 2016, she was “based out of Ürüm­chi, the region­al cap­i­tal of Xin­jiang,” con­duct­ing research for her doc­tor­ate. The extent of her activ­i­ties in the region are unclear, as Anderson’s CV [75] indi­cates that dur­ing this time she was also work­ing for the US gov­ern­ment as “Ürüm­chi War­den for the US Embassy in Bei­jing, Chi­na, 2014–16.”

Louisa Coan Greve, the for­mer vice pres­i­dent of NED, today serves as UHRP’s Direc­tor of Glob­al Advo­ca­cy. Greve for­mer­ly worked as Vice Pres­i­dent of the NED. [76]

Rushan Abbas, the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state’s favorite “human rights activist”

Anoth­er influ­en­tial orga­ni­za­tion spun out of the WUC net­work is the Cam­paign for Uyghurs. This group is head­ed by Rushan Abbas, the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent of the UAA. Pro­mot­ed sim­ply as a Uyghur “human rights activist” by West­ern media out­lets includ­ing the sup­pos­ed­ly adver­sar­i­al Democ­ra­cy Now! [26], Abbas is, in fact, a long­time US gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary oper­a­tive.

Abbas boasts in her bio of her [77] “exten­sive expe­ri­ence work­ing with US gov­ern­ment agen­cies, includ­ing Home­land Secu­ri­ty, Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of State, and var­i­ous US intel­li­gence agen­cies.”

While work­ing for the mil­i­tary con­trac­tor L3 Tech­nolo­gies, Abbas served the US gov­ern­ment and the Bush administration’s so-called war on ter­ror as a “con­sul­tant at Guan­tanamo Bay sup­port­ing Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom.” Abbas “also worked as a lin­guist and trans­la­tor for sev­er­al fed­er­al agen­cies includ­ing work for the US State Depart­ment in Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba and for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush and for­mer First Lady Lau­ra Bush”. Like so many of her col­leagues, Abbas enjoyed a stint at Radio Free Asia.

While Abbas once shared her his­to­ry of col­lab­o­ra­tion with the US gov­ern­ment in the open, she has attempt­ed to scrub [78] bio­graph­ic infor­ma­tion from her online pres­ence fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous pub­lic­i­ty appear­ance [79] in Decem­ber 2019. Dur­ing a Reddit’s “Ask Me Any­thing” ques­tion and answer forum, par­tic­i­pants blast­ed Abbas as a “CIA asset” and fre­quent US gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tor, prompt­ing her attempt to dis­ap­pear her bio from the inter­net.

Besides col­lab­o­rat­ing with the US gov­ern­ment, Abbas’ pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence con­sists of aid­ing the expan­sion of US cap­i­tal­ism in the glob­al south. She boasts work with con­sult­ing firms such as ISI Con­sul­tants [80] which “assists US com­pa­nies to grow their busi­ness in Mid­dle East and African mar­kets.” Abbas claims to have “over 15 years of expe­ri­ence in glob­al busi­ness devel­op­ment, strate­gic busi­ness analy­sis, busi­ness con­sul­tan­cy and gov­ern­ment affairs through­out the Mid­dle East, Africa, CIS regions, Europe, Asia, Aus­tralia, North Amer­i­ca and Latin Amer­i­ca.”

Cel­e­brat­ing the Gray Wolves, propos­ing US and Turk­ish mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion

Along with their exten­sive ties to Wash­ing­ton, the WUC and Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment has main­tained close con­nec­tions with the Turk­ish far-right.

In 2015, mem­bers of the MHP-affil­i­at­ed Grey Wolves for­mer­ly led by Alparslan Türkes attacked South Kore­an tourists [81] in Turkey, mis­tak­ing them for Chi­nese cit­i­zens, in protest of the sit­u­a­tion in Xin­jiang.

Turk­ish MHP par­ty leader Devlet Bahçeli defend­ed the attacks. “How are you going to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between Kore­an and Chi­nese?” the right­ist politi­cian ques­tioned. “They both have slant­ed eyes. Does it real­ly mat­ter?” Bahceli’s racist remarks coin­cid­ed with the dis­play of a Grey Wolves ban­ner at party’s Istan­bul head­quar­ters read­ing, “We crave Chi­nese blood.”

The Grey Wolves and Uyghur mil­i­tants were blamed by Thailand’s nation­al police [82] and an IHS-Jane’s ana­lyst [83] of car­ry­ing out a 2015 bomb­ing of a reli­gious shrine in Thai­land that killed 20 peo­ple. The attack was intend­ed as revenge against the Thai government’s deci­sion to repa­tri­ate a group of Uyghur Mus­lims to Chi­na. Bei­jing had claimed [84] the Uyghurs were en route to Turkey, Syr­ia or Iraq to join extrem­ist groups fight­ing in the region such as the al-Qae­da-affil­i­at­ed East Turkestan Islam­ic Move­ment (ETIM), or Turkestan Islam­ic Par­ty (TIP).

Months before the bomb­ing, a group of 200 pro­test­ers wav­ing East Turkestan flags attacked the Thai con­sulate [85] in Istan­bul in response to the Uyghur repa­tri­a­tion. The group was report­ed­ly led by the Grey Wolves [86] and East Turkestan Cul­ture and Sol­i­dar­i­ty Asso­ci­a­tion. [87]. The lat­ter orga­ni­za­tion was head­ed by Sey­it Tüm­turk, who served as WUC Vice Pres­i­dent [88] from 2008 to 2016 and belonged to the organization’s found­ing pan­theon.

The WUC con­tin­ues to pub­lish arti­cles [89] on its web­site that praise and cel­e­brate Alparslan Türkes, the far-right, ultra-nation­al­ist founder of the Grey Wolves and long-time MHP par­ty leader. Its web­site also pro­motes endorse­ments of East Turkestan sep­a­ratism by cur­rent lead­ers of the MHP [90] and Grey Wolves [91].

While build­ing links with the Turk­ish far-right, lead­ing WUC rep­re­sen­ta­tives have appealed to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdo­gan to take an inter­ven­tion­ist role in Chi­na akin to Turkey’s actions in Libya and Syr­ia, where it sup­port­ed the regime change efforts of the US, West and an array of extrem­ist proxy groups.

Writ­ing in the Wall Street Jour­nal in 2012, Nury Turkel argued that [92] Turkey can play a lead­ing role in “ral­ly­ing democ­ra­cies” to pres­sure Chi­na on Xin­jiang: “As a long­stand­ing ally of the US and a neigh­bor of Europe, Turkey is unique­ly well-sit­u­at­ed to do this.”

As a first step in this strat­e­gy, Turkel pro­posed that Turkey “should orga­nize a ‘friends of Uighurs’ con­fer­ence with demo­c­ra­t­ic allies – sim­i­lar to the ones orga­nized for Libya and Syr­ia – dis­cussing Ankara’s vision and pol­i­cy objec­tives with respect to the Uighur peo­ple in Chi­na.”

Oth­er lead­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of WUC have vocal­ly endorsed Turk­ish mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion­ism. The polit­i­cal state­ments of Sey­it Tüm­turk, who served as WUC Vice Pres­i­dent [88], under­score the extrem­ist and mil­i­tant pol­i­tics behind WUC’s care­ful­ly cul­ti­vat­ed image as a “peace­ful and non­vi­o­lent” human rights orga­ni­za­tion.

In 2018, Tüm­turk declared that Chi­nese Uyghurs view Turk­ish “state requests as orders.” He then pro­claimed that hun­dreds of thou­sands of Chi­nese Uyghurs were ready to enlist in the Turk­ish army and join Turkey’s ille­gal and bru­tal inva­sion of North­ern Syr­ia “to fight for God” – if ordered to do so by Erdo­gan.

Short­ly after Tumturk’s com­ments, Uyghur mil­i­tants dressed in Turk­ish mil­i­tary fatigues and on the Turk­ish side of the Syr­i­an bor­der released a video in which they threat­ened to wage war against Chi­na [104]:

“Lis­ten you dog bas­tards, do you see this? We will tri­umph!” one fight­er exclaimed. “We will kill you all. Lis­ten up Chi­nese civil­ians, get out of our East Turkestan. I am warn­ing you. We shall return and we will be vic­to­ri­ous.”

...

———–

“Inside the World Uyghur Con­gress: The US-backed right-wing regime change net­work seek­ing the ‘fall of Chi­na’” by Ajit Singh; The Gray Zone; 03/05/2020 [10]

As this inves­ti­ga­tion estab­lish­es, the WUC is not a grass­roots move­ment, but a US gov­ern­ment-backed umbrel­la for sev­er­al Wash­ing­ton-based out­fits that also rely heav­i­ly on US fund­ing and direc­tion. Today, it is the main face and voice of a sep­a­ratist oper­a­tion ded­i­cat­ed to desta­bi­liz­ing the Xin­jiang region of Chi­na and ulti­mate­ly top­pling the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.”

Yep, the WUC isn’t just some grass­roots move­ment. It’s a regime-change umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion that appears to be work­ing as an exten­sion of US for­eign pol­i­cy with the NED, an orga­ni­za­tion that has assumed the role the CIA played in covert oper­a­tions years ago. And it appears that the NED’s work with the WUC has been accel­er­at­ing in recent years, with over $1.284 mil­lion in fund­ing for the WUC from the NED since 2016 alone. $1.2 mil­lion can go a lot way when it’s sim­ply fund­ing a pro­pa­gan­da out­fit. And don’t for­get: Judy Shel­ton has been the chair of the NED since 2017, so she is almost cer­tain­ly deeply involved in these WUC oper­a­tions:

...
At the heart of this move­ment is the World Uyghur Con­gress [11] (WUC), an inter­na­tion­al Uyghur orga­ni­za­tion that claims to be engaged in a “peace­ful, non­vi­o­lent, and demo­c­ra­t­ic” strug­gle for “human rights.” The WUC con­sid­ers China’s north­west­ern Xin­jiang region to be East Turkestan, and sees its Uyghur Mus­lim inhab­i­tants not as Chi­nese cit­i­zens but instead as mem­bers of a pan-Tur­kic nation stretch­ing from Cen­tral Asia to Turkey.

...

From its incep­tion, the WUC has been backed by the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy [13] (NED). With mil­lions in US tax­pay­er mon­ey, the NED and its sub­sidiaries have backed oppo­si­tion par­ties, “civ­il soci­ety” groups, and media orga­ni­za­tions in coun­tries tar­get­ed by the US for regime change.

Philip Agee, the late CIA whistle­blow­er, described the work of the NED as a more sophis­ti­cat­ed ver­sion of the old-fash­ioned covert oper­a­tions that Lan­g­ley used to engi­neer. “Nowa­days,” Agee explained, “instead of hav­ing the CIA going around behind the scenes and try­ing to manip­u­late the process by insert­ing mon­ey here and giv­ing instruc­tions secret­ly and so forth, they have now a side­kick, which is this Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, NED.”

Agee’s assess­ment was con­firmed by Allen Wein­stein, a for­mer Trot­sky­ist and found­ing mem­ber of the NED. Wein­stein told the Wash­ing­ton Post in 1991 [14], “A lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

When the WUC was found­ed in 2004, the NED’s then-senior Asia pro­gram offi­cer, Louisa Coan Greve, praised the move [15] as a “great accom­plish­ment.”

The NED has pro­vid­ed the WUC with mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing [16], includ­ing $1,284,000 since 2016 alone, and mil­lions of dol­lars in addi­tion­al fund­ing to WUC-affil­i­ate orga­ni­za­tions. The grants are ear­marked for train­ing Uyghur activists and youth in media advo­ca­cy and lob­by­ing “to raise aware­ness of and sup­port for Uyghur human rights,” with a par­tic­u­lar focus on US Con­gress, Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, and the Unit­ed Nations.

In 2018, the NED pro­vid­ed the WUC and its off­shoots with close to $665,000, accord­ing to the for­mer organization’s web­site [17].

The NED has played a direct role in mold­ing the direc­tion and pol­i­tics of the WUC. Besides hon­ey­comb­ing WUC-affil­i­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions with NED oper­a­tives like Coan Greve, the NED has spon­sored and orga­nized annu­al “Lead­er­ship Train­ing Sem­i­nars” [18] for the WUC since 2007.

Many lead­ing mem­bers of the WUC have also worked in senior posi­tions for Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty (RFE/RL). These US gov­ern­ment-run news agen­cies were cre­at­ed by the CIA [19] dur­ing the Cold War to project pro­pa­gan­da into Chi­na and the Sovi­et Union, and to stir up oppo­si­tion to com­mu­nism on these coun­tries’ fron­tiers.

...

One of the orga­ni­za­tions in the WUC umbrel­la is the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion (UAA), which works with NED on the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP). The UHRP has received $1.244 mil­lion from the NED from 2016–2019 alone and a for­mer VP of the NED, Louis Coan Greve, cur­rent­ly serves as UHRP’s Direc­tor of Glob­al Advo­ca­cy:

...
Prepar­ing for a col­or rev­o­lu­tion, WUC off­shoots staff up with nation­al secu­ri­ty state oper­a­tives

Estab­lished in 1998, the Uyghur Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion (UAA) is a Wash­ing­ton D.C.-based affil­i­ate of the WUC. A long time grantee of the NED, the UAA has received mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing. Accord­ing to its pub­licly avail­able tax fil­ings [65], the group works close­ly with the US gov­ern­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly the US State Depart­ment, Con­gres­sion­al-Exec­u­tive Com­mis­sion on Chi­na (CECC), and US Congress’s Human Rights Com­mis­sion.

...

The UAA’s lead­er­ship con­sists of US nation­al secu­ri­ty state oper­a­tors includ­ing employ­ees of the US gov­ern­ment, Radio Free Asia, and mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex.

Kuz­zat Altay, the nephew of Reibya Kadeer, is the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the UAA. Altay is also the founder of the Uyghur Entre­pre­neurs Net­work, which claims to offer Uyghur Amer­i­cans with guid­ance to “start their own busi­ness”. [67]

In 2019, his busi­ness net­work has orga­nized an event in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the FBI [68], the fed­er­al law enforce­ment agency noto­ri­ous for its sur­veil­lance of Mus­lim Amer­i­cans and ensnar­ing count­less men­tal­ly trou­bled young Mus­lim Amer­i­can men in man­u­fac­tured ter­ror plots.

Past pres­i­dents of UAA include Kadeer; Alim Seytoff [69], a for­mer Radio Free Asia cor­re­spon­dent and cur­rent Direc­tor of RFA’s Uyghur Ser­vice; and Ilshat Has­san Kok­bore, who has worked at Booz Allen Hamil­ton [70] since 2008.

...

The main project spun out of the UAA and the NED is the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP). The UHRP was found­ed by the UAA in 2004 [71] with the NED as the prin­ci­pal source of fund­ing [72]. The NED grant­ed the UHRP a whop­ping $1,244,698 between 2016 and ’19.

...

Louisa Coan Greve, the for­mer vice pres­i­dent of NED, today serves as UHRP’s Direc­tor of Glob­al Advo­ca­cy. Greve for­mer­ly worked as Vice Pres­i­dent of the NED. [76]
...

There’s also the Cam­paign for Uyghurs, head­ed by Rushan Abbas, a fig­ure who lit­er­al­ly worked as a con­sul­tant for the US’s Guan­tanamo Bay oper­a­tions dur­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion:

...
Rushan Abbas, the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state’s favorite “human rights activist”

Anoth­er influ­en­tial orga­ni­za­tion spun out of the WUC net­work is the Cam­paign for Uyghurs. This group is head­ed by Rushan Abbas, the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent of the UAA. Pro­mot­ed sim­ply as a Uyghur “human rights activist” by West­ern media out­lets includ­ing the sup­pos­ed­ly adver­sar­i­al Democ­ra­cy Now! [26], Abbas is, in fact, a long­time US gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary oper­a­tive.

Abbas boasts in her bio of her [77] “exten­sive expe­ri­ence work­ing with US gov­ern­ment agen­cies, includ­ing Home­land Secu­ri­ty, Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of State, and var­i­ous US intel­li­gence agen­cies.”

While work­ing for the mil­i­tary con­trac­tor L3 Tech­nolo­gies, Abbas served the US gov­ern­ment and the Bush administration’s so-called war on ter­ror as a “con­sul­tant at Guan­tanamo Bay sup­port­ing Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom.” Abbas “also worked as a lin­guist and trans­la­tor for sev­er­al fed­er­al agen­cies includ­ing work for the US State Depart­ment in Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba and for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush and for­mer First Lady Lau­ra Bush”. Like so many of her col­leagues, Abbas enjoyed a stint at Radio Free Asia.

While Abbas once shared her his­to­ry of col­lab­o­ra­tion with the US gov­ern­ment in the open, she has attempt­ed to scrub [78] bio­graph­ic infor­ma­tion from her online pres­ence fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous pub­lic­i­ty appear­ance [79] in Decem­ber 2019. Dur­ing a Reddit’s “Ask Me Any­thing” ques­tion and answer forum, par­tic­i­pants blast­ed Abbas as a “CIA asset” and fre­quent US gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tor, prompt­ing her attempt to dis­ap­pear her bio from the inter­net.

Besides col­lab­o­rat­ing with the US gov­ern­ment, Abbas’ pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence con­sists of aid­ing the expan­sion of US cap­i­tal­ism in the glob­al south. She boasts work with con­sult­ing firms such as ISI Con­sul­tants [80] which “assists US com­pa­nies to grow their busi­ness in Mid­dle East and African mar­kets.” Abbas claims to have “over 15 years of expe­ri­ence in glob­al busi­ness devel­op­ment, strate­gic busi­ness analy­sis, busi­ness con­sul­tan­cy and gov­ern­ment affairs through­out the Mid­dle East, Africa, CIS regions, Europe, Asia, Aus­tralia, North Amer­i­ca and Latin Amer­i­ca.”
...

Anothe past WUC pres­di­ent, Rebiya Kadeer, is mar­ried to a for­mer employ­ee of the US gov­ern­ment media out­lets Voice of Amer­i­ca and Radio Free Asia. And the cur­rent pres­i­denct, Dolkun ISA, is the win­ner of the NED’s 2019 Democ­ra­cy Award:

...
In 2006, Erkin Alptekin was suc­ceed­ed as WUC Pres­i­dent by Rebiya Kadeer, a self-described mul­ti-mil­lion­aire [46] real estate and trad­ing entre­pre­neur who prof­it­ed off of China’s eco­nom­ic reforms of the 1980s and claims to have once been the sev­enth wealth­i­est indi­vid­ual in the coun­try. Accord­ing to The New York Times [47], Kadeer’s “[d]issidence brought the end of her Audi, her three vil­las and her far-flung busi­ness empire”. Kadeer’s hus­band, SIdik Rouzi, worked for US gov­ern­ment media out­lets Voice of Amer­i­ca and Radio Free Asia.

...

The cur­rent Pres­i­dent of WUC is Dolkun Isa, win­ner of the 2019 Democ­ra­cy Award from the NED. In 2016, Isa received a human rights award from the far-right Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, which was estab­lished by the US gov­ern­ment in 1993. In his accep­tance speech, Isa empha­sized “the Uyghurs’ resis­tance to com­mu­nism” and that “we will not stop our work until we con­sign this destruc­tive ide­ol­o­gy, in the words of Ronald Rea­gan, to ‘the ash heap of his­to­ry.’”

Isa reg­u­lar­ly lob­bies US and West­ern politi­cians to inten­si­fy their new Cold War agen­da by enact­ing eco­nom­ic sanc­tions [21] and curb­ing ties with Chi­na. [22]. Among those he has met with in recent years are Trump admin­is­tra­tion White House offi­cials [54], right-wing Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz [55], and the fer­vent­ly anti-Chi­na act­ing Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence, Richard Grenell.
...

But the WUC and its umbrel­la groups don’t just have deep ties to the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state. The founder of the Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment, Isa Yusuf Alptekin, was an ally of the Chi­nese nation­al­ists who received US sup­port dur­ing WWII and seen as prime can­di­dates for Xin­jiang’s provin­cial admin­is­tra­tion:

...
The Far-Right Roots of the Uyghur “Human Rights” Move­ment

Behind its care­ful­ly con­struct­ed human rights brand, the Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment emerged from ele­ments in Xin­jiang which view social­ism as “the ene­my of Islam,” and which sought Washington’s sup­port from the out­set, pre­sent­ing them­selves as eager foot-sol­diers for US hege­mo­ny.

The found­ing father of this sep­a­ratist move­ment was Isa Yusuf Alptekin. His son, Erkin Alptekin, found­ed the WUC and served as the organization’s inau­gur­al pres­i­dent. The senior Alptekin is referred to as “our late leader” [28] by the WUC and cur­rent Pres­i­dent Dolkun Isa.

Born at the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry, Alptekin was the son of a local gov­ern­ment Xin­jiang offi­cial. He received a large­ly Islam­ic edu­ca­tion as a youth, as his fam­i­ly intend­ed for him to be a reli­gious schol­ar.

Dur­ing the Chi­nese Civ­il War that raged between the nation­al­ists and com­mu­nists from 1945 to ’49, Alptekin served under the nation­al­ist Kuom­intang (KMT) admin­is­tra­tion [29] in Xin­jiang. Through­out this peri­od, the KMT received mas­sive mil­i­tary and eco­nom­ic back­ing from the Unit­ed States [30] — includ­ing bil­lions of dol­lars in cash and mil­i­tary hard­ware, along with the deploy­ment of tens of thou­sands of US marines — in an effort to quash the Chi­nese rev­o­lu­tion.

At the same time [29], accord­ing to his­to­ri­an Lin­da Ben­son, Alptekin “became more active in both the Guo­min­dang [sic] and nation­al lev­el pol­i­tics … and met sev­er­al times with [KMT leader] Chi­ang Kai-shek per­son­al­ly.” For Alptekin and fel­low trav­el­ers advanc­ing Tur­kic nation­al­ism and the region’s even­tu­al inde­pen­dence, “equal­ly impor­tant was the neces­si­ty of pro­tect­ing the land they called East Turkestan from Sovi­et and Chi­nese com­mu­nism, both of which were viewed as real and present dan­gers to Islam­ic peo­ples.”

For the KMT [29], Uyghur activists like Alptekin made prime can­di­dates for Xinjiang’s provin­cial admin­is­tra­tion. As Ben­son explained, “[t]he essen­tial qual­i­fi­ca­tion for such appointees… was that they be anti-Com­mu­nist and anti-Sovi­et.” In his mem­oirs, Alptekin revealed that he “sought to elim­i­nate all Rus­sians and left­ists in the gov­ern­ment,” and said that “schools were also encour­aged to include reli­gious instruc­tion in their cur­ricu­lum.”
...

Alptekin went on to devel­op deep ties to the Turk­ish far right, in part because he shares their pan-Tur­kic, neo-Ottoman­ist ide­ol­o­gy. An ide­ol­o­gy that calls for break­ing Xin­jiang province off of Chi­na and mak­ing it part of some sort of pan-Tur­kic empire. Giv­en that the ide­o­log­i­cal foun­da­tions of Erodogan’s gov­ern­ment is root­ed in this pan-Tur­kic, neo-Ottoman­ist ide­ol­o­gy, it’s a reminder that Turkey is going to inevitably be involved in the cur­rent Chi­na destabliza­tion push:

...
Forg­ing bonds with fascis­tic, eth­no-suprema­cist Turk­ish nation­al­ists

While appeal­ing for Washington’s sup­port, Alptekin devel­oped strong ties with the Turk­ish far-right. Their bonds rest­ed on a sol­id foun­da­tion of anti-com­mu­nist zeal and pan-Tur­kic, neo-Ottoman­ist nation­al­ism.

On numer­ous occa­sions, Alptekin met with Alparslan Türkes a fascis­tic, ultra-nation­al­ist who believed ardent­ly in Turk­ish eth­nic supe­ri­or­i­ty [35] over minori­ties like Kurds and Arme­ni­ans, and for whom the erad­i­ca­tion of com­mu­nism among the Tur­kic pop­u­la­tions of Sovi­et Cen­tral Asia and Xin­jiang was “the dream he had most cher­ished” [36].

Türkes was long-time leader of the far-right Nation­al­ist Action Par­ty (MHP) and its para­mil­i­tary arm, the Grey Wolves. Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post, he head­ed a mur­der­ous group of “right-wing ter­ror­ists” [37] who are “blind­ly nation­al­ist, fas­cist or near­ly so, and bent on the exter­mi­na­tion of the Com­mu­nists.” The fascis­tic mil­i­tant group killed numer­ous left-wing activists, stu­dents, Kurds, and noto­ri­ous­ly attempt­ed to assas­si­nate Pope John Paul II.

With mil­i­tary train­ing from the US, Türkes co-found­ed the Turk­ish cell [38] of Oper­a­tion Glad­io [39], the US and NATO-backed net­work of “stay behind” anti-com­mu­nist para­mil­i­tary groups that car­ried out numer­ous acts of ter­ror and sab­o­tage across Europe.

Alptekin appears to have shared the hate­ful pol­i­tics of Türkes and the Turk­ish far-right, often express­ing anti-Armen­ian views [40] includ­ing denial of the Armen­ian geno­cide and claims that Arme­ni­ans were mur­der­ers of inno­cent Turks.

The Turk­ish right-wing has embraced the East Turkestan sep­a­ratist move­ment with open arms, appeal­ing to them as a key base of polit­i­cal sup­port. “The mar­tyrs of East Turkestan are our mar­tyrs,” stat­ed Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan [41], then may­or of Istan­bul, as he inau­gu­rat­ed a park named in hon­or of Alptekin, fol­low­ing the death of the Uyghur nation­al­ist in 1995.
...

Per­haps the most chill­ing part of this his­to­ry in the cur­rent con­text is the cel­e­bra­tion by the WUC of Alparslan Türkes, the founder of the fas­cist Grey Wolves, and what appears to be a dri­ve to mil­i­ta­rize the Uygar sep­a­ratist move­ment, in part by send­ing Uygar’s to fight in places like Syr­ia and calls for Turkey to play a sim­i­lar role in Xin­jiang that it played in Syr­ia and Libya. It’s like a call for civ­il war:

...
Cel­e­brat­ing the Gray Wolves, propos­ing US and Turk­ish mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion

Along with their exten­sive ties to Wash­ing­ton, the WUC and Uyghur sep­a­ratist move­ment has main­tained close con­nec­tions with the Turk­ish far-right.

In 2015, mem­bers of the MHP-affil­i­at­ed Grey Wolves for­mer­ly led by Alparslan Türkes attacked South Kore­an tourists [81] in Turkey, mis­tak­ing them for Chi­nese cit­i­zens, in protest of the sit­u­a­tion in Xin­jiang.

Turk­ish MHP par­ty leader Devlet Bahçeli defend­ed the attacks. “How are you going to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between Kore­an and Chi­nese?” the right­ist politi­cian ques­tioned. “They both have slant­ed eyes. Does it real­ly mat­ter?” Bahceli’s racist remarks coin­cid­ed with the dis­play of a Grey Wolves ban­ner at party’s Istan­bul head­quar­ters read­ing, “We crave Chi­nese blood.”

...

The WUC con­tin­ues to pub­lish arti­cles [89] on its web­site that praise and cel­e­brate Alparslan Türkes, the far-right, ultra-nation­al­ist founder of the Grey Wolves and long-time MHP par­ty leader. Its web­site also pro­motes endorse­ments of East Turkestan sep­a­ratism by cur­rent lead­ers of the MHP [90] and Grey Wolves [91].

While build­ing links with the Turk­ish far-right, lead­ing WUC rep­re­sen­ta­tives have appealed to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdo­gan to take an inter­ven­tion­ist role in Chi­na akin to Turkey’s actions in Libya and Syr­ia, where it sup­port­ed the regime change efforts of the US, West and an array of extrem­ist proxy groups.

Writ­ing in the Wall Street Jour­nal in 2012, Nury Turkel argued that [92] Turkey can play a lead­ing role in “ral­ly­ing democ­ra­cies” to pres­sure Chi­na on Xin­jiang: “As a long­stand­ing ally of the US and a neigh­bor of Europe, Turkey is unique­ly well-sit­u­at­ed to do this.”

As a first step in this strat­e­gy, Turkel pro­posed that Turkey “should orga­nize a ‘friends of Uighurs’ con­fer­ence with demo­c­ra­t­ic allies – sim­i­lar to the ones orga­nized for Libya and Syr­ia – dis­cussing Ankara’s vision and pol­i­cy objec­tives with respect to the Uighur peo­ple in Chi­na.”

...

Oth­er lead­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of WUC have vocal­ly endorsed Turk­ish mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion­ism. The polit­i­cal state­ments of Sey­it Tüm­turk, who served as WUC Vice Pres­i­dent [88], under­score the extrem­ist and mil­i­tant pol­i­tics behind WUC’s care­ful­ly cul­ti­vat­ed image as a “peace­ful and non­vi­o­lent” human rights orga­ni­za­tion.

In 2018, Tüm­turk declared that Chi­nese Uyghurs view Turk­ish “state requests as orders.” He then pro­claimed that hun­dreds of thou­sands of Chi­nese Uyghurs were ready to enlist in the Turk­ish army and join Turkey’s ille­gal and bru­tal inva­sion of North­ern Syr­ia “to fight for God” – if ordered to do so by Erdo­gan.

...

Short­ly after Tumturk’s com­ments, Uyghur mil­i­tants dressed in Turk­ish mil­i­tary fatigues and on the Turk­ish side of the Syr­i­an bor­der released a video in which they threat­ened to wage war against Chi­na [104]:

“Lis­ten you dog bas­tards, do you see this? We will tri­umph!” one fight­er exclaimed. “We will kill you all. Lis­ten up Chi­nese civil­ians, get out of our East Turkestan. I am warn­ing you. We shall return and we will be vic­to­ri­ous.”
...

So that was our look at how the NED is real­ly the chief spon­sor of the WUC and its off­shoots. It’s part of a a rela­tion­ship with the US nation­al secu­ri­ty state that goes back decades and appears to have deep­ened in recent years with sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the NED since 2016. And, again, it was none oth­er than Judy Shel­ton — the gold bug who is poised to ascend to the Fed­er­al Reserve board of gov­er­nors and will then become a top can­di­date to chair the Fed ‑who was appoint­ed to be chair of the NED in Jan­u­ary of 2017. Was Shel­ton select­ed for that role with the desta­bi­liza­tion cam­paign in mind? And in the con­text of this glob­al pan­dem­ic and self-inflict­ed glob­al eco­nom­ic shock, is the Chi­na desta­bi­liza­tion cam­paign now part of a broad far glob­al eco­nom­ic desta­bi­liza­tion cam­paign that could trans­form the glob­al econ­o­my and soci­eties? These are the kinds of dis­turb­ing ques­tions we have to ask giv­en that we’re liv­ing in an era when the far right dom­i­nates gov­ern­ments across the plan­et.

Robert Mer­cer’s Anti-Fed/pro-Gold Stan­dard Con­fer­ence. Fea­tur­ing Judy Shel­ton

Now here’s a Bloomberg arti­cle from 2016 about Robert Mer­cer’s back­ground and beliefs. Part of what jumps out about Mer­cer in the arti­cle is that he’s so secre­tive the pro­file had to be large­ly based on anony­mous insights by the peo­ple who know him and even those insights are some­what con­tra­dic­to­ry. In oth­er words, even Mer­cer’s friends and asso­ciates don’t real­ly know his beliefs. But one con­sis­tent pic­ture that emerges is that Mer­cer is a hard core far right ide­o­logue when it comes to eco­nom­ics and finance and he appears to have devel­oped a deep loathing of mod­ern finance. The guy even oppos­es frac­tion­al reserve bank­ing. And not only is he an advo­cate of return­ing to the gold stan­dard but he’s also the chief spon­sor of the “Jack­son Hole Sum­mit”, an ‘counter-con­fer­ence’ held in 2015 at the same time the Fed­er­al Reserve held its annu­al gath­er­ing in Jack­son Hole Wyoming. Mer­cer’s ‘counter-con­fer­ence’ was ded­i­cat­ed to attack­ing the exis­tence of the Fed and pro­mot­ing a return to the gold stan­dard. So, of course, we find that Judy Shel­ton was one of the speak­ers [105].

So while Robert Mer­cer’s beliefs might be some­what obscured by his extreme secre­cy, it’s unam­bigu­ous clear that he seri­ous­ly wants to see the cur­rent finan­cial sys­tem col­lapse and be replaced with a gold stan­dard [106]:

Bloomberg

What Kind of Man Spends Mil­lions to Elect Ted Cruz?
Robert Mer­cer is one of the wealth­i­est, most secre­tive, influ­en­tial, and reac­tionary Repub­li­cans in the coun­try.

By Zachary Mider
Jan­u­ary 20, 2016, 4:45 AM CST

In 2010, Arthur Robin­son, a research chemist, decid­ed to run for Con­gress in south­ern Ore­gon. Robin­son, now 73, was not your aver­age can­di­date. In a lab on a sheep ranch in the Siskiy­ou Moun­tains, he’s spent the last cou­ple of years col­lect­ing thou­sands of vials of human urine. Fund­ed by pri­vate donors, he claims his work holds the key to extend­ing the human life span and wrest­ing con­trol of med­i­cine from what he calls the “med­ical-indus­tri­al-gov­ern­ment com­plex.” He has some unusu­al ideas. Accord­ing to his month­ly newslet­ter, nuclear radi­a­tion can be good for you and cli­mate sci­ence is a hoax. In his spare time, he buys unwant­ed pipe organs from church­es and reassem­bles them on his prop­er­ty.

Robin­son was new to pol­i­tics and had lit­tle mon­ey of his own. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent, Peter DeFazio, had held office for more than 20 years and eas­i­ly out­spent him. But six weeks before the elec­tion, a bar­rage of ads hit the air­waves, por­tray­ing DeFazio as a pup­pet of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship. Robin­son lost, but the $600,000 in ads helped him turn in the best per­for­mance by a Repub­li­can in the dis­trict in decades.

When the ads first appeared, Robin­son says he had no idea who’d paid for them. Even­tu­al­ly the Wash­ing­ton oper­a­tives who bought them revealed they were work­ing for Robert Mer­cer, a com­put­er pro­gram­mer and hedge fund man­ag­er in New York. Robin­son knew Mer­cer slight­ly, as a donor to his research projects and a sub­scriber to his newslet­ter. Once, he’d even vis­it­ed Mer­cer at his extrav­a­gant man­sion on Long Island Sound. He says they’ve nev­er dis­cussed pol­i­tics.

Mer­cer is one of the most enig­mat­ic and pow­er­ful forces in U.S. pol­i­tics. Begin­ning around the time of Robinson’s race, Mer­cer has put at least $32 mil­lion behind con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates for office, includ­ing $11 mil­lion for a group sup­port­ing Texas Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz’s cam­paign for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. So far, Mer­cer is the biggest sin­gle donor in the race. Work­ing with his daugh­ter Rebekah, he’s spent tens of mil­lions more to advance a con­ser­v­a­tive agen­da, invest­ing in think tanks such as the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the media out­let Breitbart.com, and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, a data com­pa­ny that builds psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­files of vot­ers. Groups he funds have attacked the sci­ence of glob­al warm­ing, pub­lished a book crit­i­cal of Hillary Clin­ton, and bankrolled a doc­u­men­tary cel­e­brat­ing Ayn Rand.

Mer­cer, 69, has nev­er spo­ken pub­licly about his polit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties and declined a request to be inter­viewed for this sto­ry. This account is based on inter­views with more than two dozen peo­ple who have spent time with Mer­cer or worked on his polit­i­cal efforts, very few of whom were will­ing to speak on the record. He’s tight-lipped even with his friends. That’s made him an object of intense spec­u­la­tion. Some allies pri­vate­ly say they think he’s pro-life and opposed to gay mar­riage, and oth­ers say the oppo­site. Repub­li­can oper­a­tives gos­sip about what lit­tle scraps of infor­ma­tion they can glean—his the­atri­cal Christ­mas galas, his habit of whistling to him­self dur­ing busi­ness meet­ings. Oth­er pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tives court him: Free­dom Part­ners, the net­work over­seen by the broth­ers Charles and David Koch, some­times caters events with cook­ies from Ruby et Vio­lette, a bak­ery owned by Rebekah and her two sis­ters.

Mer­cer is the co-chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of one of the country’s largest and most secre­tive hedge funds, Renais­sance Tech­nolo­gies, but peo­ple who’ve spent time with him say he hasn’t shown any inter­est in advanc­ing its agen­da in Wash­ing­ton. They say he dis­dains the estab­lish­ment wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, which he sees as too cozy with Big Busi­ness and Wall Street. Unlike many of his peers in New York finan­cial cir­cles, he doesn’t shrink from the cul­ture wars. He’s sup­port­ed a cam­paign for the death penal­ty in Nebras­ka and fund­ed ads in New York crit­i­cal of the so-called ground-zero mosque. He and Rebekah have also direct­ed mon­ey to an anti-abor­tion group and a Chris­t­ian col­lege, though peo­ple who know the father and daugh­ter say they don’t talk about reli­gion.

A sur­pris­ing amount of Mercer’s atten­tion and mon­ey finds its way to some of the most unusu­al fringes of the right wing. He’s attend­ed and fund­ed an annu­al con­fer­ence orga­nized by Jane Ori­ent, an Ari­zona physi­cian and activist who recent­ly sug­gest­ed in an opin­ion arti­cle that ele­ments in the U.S. gov­ern­ment might have tak­en part in the San Bernardi­no mas­sacre. Mer­cer mon­ey also found its way to an Ida­ho activist named Fred Kel­ly Grant, who trav­els the coun­try encour­ag­ing legal chal­lenges to envi­ron­men­tal laws, which he says are part of a sin­is­ter plot by the Unit­ed Nations to depop­u­late rur­al Amer­i­ca.

“He’s a very inde­pen­dent thinker,” says Sean Fiel­er, a con­ser­v­a­tive donor in New Jer­sey who’s worked with Mer­cer on advo­cat­ing a return to the gold stan­dard. “He’s a guy with his own ideas, and very devel­oped ideas, and I wouldn’t want to speak on his behalf.”

Four peo­ple who’ve dis­cussed the mat­ter with him say Mer­cer is pre­oc­cu­pied with the country’s mon­e­tary and bank­ing sys­tems, which he sees as hope­less­ly com­pro­mised by gov­ern­ment med­dling. He was the main finan­cial backer of the Jack­son Hole Sum­mit, a con­fer­ence that took place in Wyoming last August to advo­cate for the gold stan­dard, two of these peo­ple said. His name wasn’t any­where on the agen­da. Accord­ing to video shot at the event, he sat with Rebekah toward the back of the audi­ence, an unob­tru­sive, sil­ver-haired gen­tle­man with dark brows, wire-rimmed glass­es, a navy suit, and a red tie. At din­ner that night, he sat at a table while oth­er guests chat­tered around him, soft­ly whistling to him­self.

Mercer’s rapid emer­gence as a polit­i­cal force was helped along by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held in Cit­i­zens Unit­ed v. FEC in Jan­u­ary 2010 that inde­pen­dent polit­i­cal spend­ing is pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment. The rul­ing opened the door for unlim­it­ed elec­tion spend­ing by indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions, most of which end­ed up being fun­neled through the groups that have become known as super PACs. Eight months after Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, Mer­cer fund­ed one of the country’s first super-PACs to sup­port Robinson’s bid in Ore­gon.

Crit­ics warned that Cit­i­zens Unit­ed would bring about a new era of cor­po­rate influ­ence in pol­i­tics, with com­pa­nies and busi­ness­peo­ple buy­ing elec­tions to pro­mote their finan­cial inter­ests. So far, that hasn’t hap­pened much; big cor­po­ra­tions, for instance, still play a neg­li­gi­ble role in pres­i­den­tial elec­tion spend­ing. Instead, a small group of bil­lion­aires has flood­ed races with ide­o­log­i­cal­ly tinged con­tri­bu­tions. The result has been a shift in pow­er away from the polit­i­cal par­ties and toward the whims of the donors them­selves. In part, this explains the large num­ber and vari­ety of can­di­dates field­ed by the Repub­li­cans in 2016.

...

A month after the Cal­i­for­nia con­fer­ence, the Mer­cers head­ed to Jack­son Hole. Every sum­mer top offi­cials at the Fed­er­al Reserve gath­er in the Wyoming resort com­mu­ni­ty with many of the world’s top econ­o­mists to dis­cuss mon­e­tary pol­i­cy. But the Mer­cers went instead to the Jack­son Hole Sum­mit [107], a “counter-con­fer­ence” they fund­ed through a non­prof­it group called the Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project. The summit’s pur­pose was to ques­tion the very pur­pose of the Fed, call­ing for an end to gov­ern­ment involve­ment in the mon­ey sup­ply and a return to the gold stan­dard. Steve Lone­gan, an APP activist from New Jer­sey, opened the event by wav­ing a dol­lar bill in the air [108]. “Today, my friends, this lit­tle piece of paper in our pock­et is manip­u­lat­ed, its val­ue deter­mined, and under­mined rou­tine­ly, by a bunch of unelect­ed, unac­count­able bureau­crats who are meet­ing right now a few miles away,” he said. “Amer­i­ca needs to wake up to this threat!”

The U.S. turned away from the gold stan­dard dur­ing the Great Depres­sion and dropped its last links in 1971. It’s dif­fi­cult to find a main­stream econ­o­mist who advo­cates for it; a 2012 sur­vey of econ­o­mists [109] at top U.S. uni­ver­si­ties failed to turn up a sin­gle sup­port­er. Yet it’s a par­tic­u­lar inter­est of Mercer’s, say sev­er­al peo­ple who’ve dis­cussed the mat­ter with him.

Mer­cer is also a pas­sion­ate crit­ic of a cen­tral ele­ment of the mod­ern finan­cial sys­tem known as frac­tion­al reserve bank­ing, these peo­ple said. Essen­tial­ly, it’s the prac­tice of banks lend­ing out their depos­i­tors’ mon­ey to oth­ers. Banks have been doing this for hun­dreds of years, but a few out-of-the-main­stream econ­o­mists con­sid­er it a form of fraud—akin to con­jur­ing cur­ren­cy out of thin air. Accord­ing to one asso­ciate, a thinker said to be influ­en­tial with Mer­cer is Mur­ray Roth­bard [110], the late econ­o­mist who called the mod­ern bank­ing sys­tem “a shell game, a Ponzi scheme.” It’s unclear how Mercer’s views on the bank­ing sys­tem square with his hedge fund activ­i­ties; it emerged in the Sen­ate tax inves­ti­ga­tion that Renais­sance, to boost returns, some­times sought lever­age of as much as 20 times the val­ue of its assets from giant banks such as Bar­clays.

...

———–

“What Kind of Man Spends Mil­lions to Elect Ted Cruz?” by Zachary Mider; Bloomberg; 01/20/2016 [106]

Four peo­ple who’ve dis­cussed the mat­ter with him say Mer­cer is pre­oc­cu­pied with the country’s mon­e­tary and bank­ing sys­tems, which he sees as hope­less­ly com­pro­mised by gov­ern­ment med­dling. He was the main finan­cial backer of the Jack­son Hole Sum­mit, a con­fer­ence that took place in Wyoming last August to advo­cate for the gold stan­dard, two of these peo­ple said. His name wasn’t any­where on the agen­da. Accord­ing to video shot at the event, he sat with Rebekah toward the back of the audi­ence, an unob­tru­sive, sil­ver-haired gen­tle­man with dark brows, wire-rimmed glass­es, a navy suit, and a red tie. At din­ner that night, he sat at a table while oth­er guests chat­tered around him, soft­ly whistling to him­self.”

Robert Mer­cer lit­er­al­ly paid for an whole ‘counter-sum­mit’ to troll the Fed and call for a return to the abo­li­tion of the Fed and a return to the gold stan­dard. He hides a lot about him­self but there’s no hid­ing the fact that he real­ly does want to see this hap­pen:

...
A month after the Cal­i­for­nia con­fer­ence, the Mer­cers head­ed to Jack­son Hole. Every sum­mer top offi­cials at the Fed­er­al Reserve gath­er in the Wyoming resort com­mu­ni­ty with many of the world’s top econ­o­mists to dis­cuss mon­e­tary pol­i­cy. But the Mer­cers went instead to the Jack­son Hole Sum­mit [107], a “counter-con­fer­ence” they fund­ed through a non­prof­it group called the Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project. The summit’s pur­pose was to ques­tion the very pur­pose of the Fed, call­ing for an end to gov­ern­ment involve­ment in the mon­ey sup­ply and a return to the gold stan­dard. Steve Lone­gan, an APP activist from New Jer­sey, opened the event by wav­ing a dol­lar bill in the air [108]. “Today, my friends, this lit­tle piece of paper in our pock­et is manip­u­lat­ed, its val­ue deter­mined, and under­mined rou­tine­ly, by a bunch of unelect­ed, unac­count­able bureau­crats who are meet­ing right now a few miles away,” he said. “Amer­i­ca needs to wake up to this threat!”

The U.S. turned away from the gold stan­dard dur­ing the Great Depres­sion and dropped its last links in 1971. It’s dif­fi­cult to find a main­stream econ­o­mist who advo­cates for it; a 2012 sur­vey of econ­o­mists [109] at top U.S. uni­ver­si­ties failed to turn up a sin­gle sup­port­er. Yet it’s a par­tic­u­lar inter­est of Mercer’s, say sev­er­al peo­ple who’ve dis­cussed the mat­ter with him.
...

And note how none oth­er than the god­fa­ther of anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ism — Mur­ray Roth­bard — is said to be influ­en­tial with Mer­cer:

...
Mer­cer is also a pas­sion­ate crit­ic of a cen­tral ele­ment of the mod­ern finan­cial sys­tem known as frac­tion­al reserve bank­ing, these peo­ple said. Essen­tial­ly, it’s the prac­tice of banks lend­ing out their depos­i­tors’ mon­ey to oth­ers. Banks have been doing this for hun­dreds of years, but a few out-of-the-main­stream econ­o­mists con­sid­er it a form of fraud—akin to con­jur­ing cur­ren­cy out of thin air. Accord­ing to one asso­ciate, a thinker said to be influ­en­tial with Mer­cer is Mur­ray Roth­bard [110], the late econ­o­mist who called the mod­ern bank­ing sys­tem “a shell game, a Ponzi scheme.” It’s unclear how Mercer’s views on the bank­ing sys­tem square with his hedge fund activ­i­ties; it emerged in the Sen­ate tax inves­ti­ga­tion that Renais­sance, to boost returns, some­times sought lever­age of as much as 20 times the val­ue of its assets from giant banks such as Bar­clays.

...

It’s worth recall­ing some­one else who was deeply influ­enced by Roth­bard: Hans Her­mann Hoppe, an advo­cate of “vol­un­tary slav­ery” con­tracts and a return to the monar­chy [111]. Anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ists for monar­chy. That’s the kind of fanati­cism we’re deal­ing with and these are the peo­ple with the hands on the levers of pow­er. And in the case of Shel­ton, she’s poised to dra­mat­i­cal­ly increase her grip on the levers of pow­er once the Repub­li­cans give her the green light to join the Fed board of gov­er­nors.

Also keep in mind that the fact that Shel­ton spoke at this ‘anti-Fed’ event [105] was­n’t a secret when she was made the chair of the NED in 2017. It high­lights the real­i­ty that there’s prob­a­bly A LOT more sup­port than is pub­licly acknowl­edged with­in the GOP for blow­ing up the Fed and return­ing to the gold stan­dard. And nev­er for­get: when we are talk­ing about end­ing the Fed­er­al return­ing to the gold stan­dard we are implic­it­ly talk­ing about bring­ing about a mas­sive finan­cial and eco­nom­ic col­lapse. So if he seems like Trump and the GOP are try­ing to blow up the econ­o­my, well, maybe they are lit­er­al­ly try­ing to do exact­ly that.

J. Kyle Bass: The Bil­lion­aire Prep­per Who Has Mixed Feel­ings About the Gold Stan­dard But Strong Feel­ings about the Col­lapse of Soci­ety

Ok, now here’s a piece from August of 2019 about J. Kyle Bass encour­ag­ing investors to buy gold and real estate in prepa­ra­tion for what he expect­ed to be a major eco­nom­ic war between the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in Chi­na and his ongo­ing pre­dic­tion of the col­lapse of Chi­na’s econ­o­my.

Now, as we’ll see in the fourth arti­cle, Bass isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly an advo­cate of return­ing to the gold stan­dard. In 2012, when he was also encour­ag­ing investors to buy gold, he came out and said he did­n’t think a gold stan­dard prac­ti­cal. But he went on to sug­gest that economies should instead be linked to a bas­ket of goods and ser­vices. Now, that could be inter­pret­ed in a lot of ways. But it’s not hard to imag­ine that he’s envi­sion­ing some­thing like a ‘gold or sil­ver or cop­per or [insert com­mod­i­ty here]’ stan­dard, which could eas­i­ly become just a new ver­sion of gold stan­dard. At a min­i­mum, it sounds like a call to reject fiat cur­ren­cies and return to the old way of doing things, just with­out gold being the sole stan­dard. But, again, that’s a hard state­ment to inter­pret.

But as we’ll see in the fifth arti­cle below, Bass also appears to be a kind of bil­lion­aire dooms­day prep­per, with a large stock­pile of weapons, explo­sives, gold, plat­inum, and even mil­lions of nick­els. It sounds like he expects nick­els to even­tu­al­ly be worth more than 5 cents, which is basi­cal­ly a dooms­day bet. He even has a Humvee with a but­ton he can push that will drop a bunch of tacks on the road behind him. These are all clas­sic traits of rich gold bugs who are expect­ing the end of civ­i­liza­tion.

So when we hear Bass advis­ing investors to buy gold in antic­i­pa­tion of a deep­en­ing trade war between the US and Chi­na, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that this is some­one who has been active­ly prepar­ing for some sort of dooms­day sce­nario and who might want to want to see some sort of fun­da­men­tal shift in the econ­o­my that back to some­thing very anal­o­gous to the gold stan­dard.

The fol­low­ing arti­cle also notes that Bass’s invest­ment firm, Hay­man Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, is a hedge fund that spe­cial­izes in “glob­al event-dri­ven oppor­tu­ni­ties”. So it’s a hedge fund that makes big bets about geopo­lit­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties, which makes it the kind of hedge fund that groups that want to make those geopo­lit­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties a real­i­ty might want to part­ner with [112]:

Mar­ket­Watch

Kyle Bass says Wall Street investors should ignore G‑20 and brace for a fresh round of Trump tar­iffs

Exclu­sive: Bass says ‘I don’t imag­ine any­thing get­ting done,’ and tells investors to buy gold, real estate

By Chris Matthews
Pub­lished: June 26, 2019 at 4:58 p.m. ET

Investors are laser-focused on this weekend’s G‑20 meet­ing in Japan, but famed hedge-fund man­ag­er Kyle Bass pre­dict­ed that noth­ing of impor­tance will be achieved there, and that investors should pre­pare for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to slap tar­iffs on every last dol­lar of Chi­nese imports.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping are expect­ed to meet on the side­lines of the G‑20 gath­er­ing, set to kick off Fri­day in Osa­ka, and investors are increas­ing­ly hope­ful [113] that it will result in an eas­ing of U.S.-China trade ten­sions and the resump­tion of nego­ti­a­tions to roll back exist­ing import duties.

“I don’t imag­ine any­thing get­ting done,” Kyle Bass, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Hay­man Cap­i­tal Part­ners told Mar­ket­Watch in an exclu­sive inter­view. While both par­ties may agree to sched­ule new talks, in an effort to boost investor sen­ti­ment, Bass said it’s in nei­ther Trump’s nor Xi’s inter­est to actu­al­ly reach a deal.

“Xi believes he can wait out Trump’s tenure,” with the idea that he won’t be re-elect­ed in 2020 and Xi does not face an elec­tion. Mean­while, it’s in Trump inter­est to avoid any deal unless it includes Bei­jing agree­ing to robust enforce­ment mech­a­nisms and changes to Chi­nese law that would give a trade deal real teeth. “If Trump agrees to an imper­fect deal he’ll be attacked from both the left and the right,” a sit­u­a­tion the pres­i­dent will seek to avoid head­ing into his reelec­tion cam­paign, Bass said.

Both sides, how­ev­er, will see ben­e­fit in issu­ing com­mu­niqués that cre­ate the appear­ance of progress, to boost stock mar­kets and buy time, he said.

Bass said he expects Pres­i­dent Trump to ulti­mate­ly place tar­iffs on the remain­ing $300 bil­lion in goods import­ed annu­al­ly that aren’t yet taxed, as the pres­i­dent will be forced to fol­low through on this threat once its appar­ent that progress isn’t being made.

How­ev­er, Bass is san­guine about the effects of these tar­iffs on the U.S. econ­o­my and stock mar­ket, point­ing out that the $100 to $150 bil­lion would be raised annu­al­ly from 25% levies on all Chi­nese imports is just a frac­tion of the size of both the U.S. and Chi­nese economies.

Despite a con­sis­tent ratch­et­ing up of tar­iff lev­els over the past 18 months, the S&P 500 index reached record highs last week, while the Dow Jones Indus­tri­al Aver­age is rough­ly 1% from its record high reached last Octo­ber.

Bass is the founder and prin­ci­pal of Hay­man Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, a hedge fund focused on glob­al event-dri­ven oppor­tu­ni­ties and is based in Dal­las, Texas. In 2008 Bass suc­cess­ful­ly bet against the U.S. sub-prime mort­gage cri­sis by pur­chas­ing cred­it default swaps which increased in val­ue as the real estate bub­ble burst.

What should wor­ry investors, how­ev­er, Bass said, is a Chi­nese econ­o­my that will con­tin­ue to slow as ris­ing wages, insur­ance and ship­ping costs are rob­bing Chi­na of its long­time advan­tage as the world’s cheap­est source of man­u­fac­tured goods. “It’s cheap­er to make prod­ucts in Mex­i­co,” and ship them to the Unit­ed States in many cas­es, he said.

As this advan­tage has all but dis­ap­peared, so has the Chi­nese government’s abil­i­ty to con­tin­ue to prop up growth with gov­ern­ment-direct­ed lend­ing and infra­struc­ture spend­ing. He said that when you com­bine cen­tral and local gov­ern­ment spend­ing, Chi­na is run­ning bud­get deficits of 10% of its gross domes­tic prod­uct, or GDP, at the same time that it is evolv­ing into an econ­o­my with a trade deficit [114], rather than the sur­plus­es that marked China’s eco­nom­ic rise.

He said China’s growth has cre­at­ed mas­sive demand for for­eign oil, basic mate­ri­als and food, which must be pur­chased with U.S. dol­lars, turn­ing it into a “twin deficit” coun­try, where any fur­ther gov­ern­ment stim­u­lus will put sig­nif­i­cant down­ward pres­sure on the val­ue of the ren­min­bi while encour­ag­ing wealthy Chi­nese to do what­ev­er they can to move their wealth to more sta­ble economies.

China’s fos­sil fuel imports, for instance, have risen from $27.9 bil­lion in 2015 to $46.5 bil­lion last year, an increase of 67%, accord­ing to Fact­Set.

A ham­strung and dol­lar-thirsty Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, there­fore, will be forced to pre­side over an ever slow­ing econ­o­my, and this down­turn will help drag the U.S. into a mild reces­sion by the mid­dle of 2020, Bass pre­dict­ed.

He advised aver­age investors to pre­pare for this down­turn by adding to their gold and real estate hold­ings. “It’s no secret why bit­coin which I don’t own, and gold are start­ing to do well again,” he said. “Every­one sees the writ­ing on the wall.”

“You have to own real assets, and the best thing is to be lev­ered in real assets, like apart­ment build­ings,” argu­ing that it’s an invest­ment that will pro­vide both steady income and will have the chance to appre­ci­ate in val­ue as the Fed moves to low­er inter­est rates in response.

Low­er inter­est rates tend to be good for real estate, as it reduces the cost of bor­row­ing to finance pur­chas­es, and Bass pre­dict­ed the Fed­er­al Reserve will be forced to low­er inter­est rates to near zero by the mid­dle of next year.

...

———–

“Kyle Bass says Wall Street investors should ignore G‑20 and brace for a fresh round of Trump tar­iffs” By Chris Matthews; Mar­ket­Watch; 06/26/2019 [112]

“Bass is the founder and prin­ci­pal of Hay­man Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, a hedge fund focused on glob­al event-dri­ven oppor­tu­ni­ties and is based in Dal­las, Texas. In 2008 Bass suc­cess­ful­ly bet against the U.S. sub-prime mort­gage cri­sis by pur­chas­ing cred­it default swaps which increased in val­ue as the real estate bub­ble burst.”

A hedge fund focused on glob­al event-dri­ven oppor­tu­ni­ties. It’s cer­tain­ly an inter­est­ing approach to invest­ing and there’s noth­ing inher­ent­ly wrong with it. But it does become a lot more ques­tion­able when the big glob­al even-dri­ven oppor­tu­ni­ty your hedge fund is bet­ting on is the col­lapse of Chi­na and the head of your fund is coor­di­nat­ing with fig­ures like Steve Ban­non to help make that hap­pen. Nonethe­less, he was pre­dict­ing a big down­turn in Chi­na (as he had been pre­dict­ing for years) and would make gold and real estate good invest­ments going for­ward. So while Bass may not be an overt gold stan­dard advo­cate, his invest­ment strat­e­gy is cer­tain­ly poised to prof­it mas­sive­ly from the kind of eco­nom­ic tur­moil and col­lapse the gold stan­dard advo­cates would love to see:

...
What should wor­ry investors, how­ev­er, Bass said, is a Chi­nese econ­o­my that will con­tin­ue to slow as ris­ing wages, insur­ance and ship­ping costs are rob­bing Chi­na of its long­time advan­tage as the world’s cheap­est source of man­u­fac­tured goods. “It’s cheap­er to make prod­ucts in Mex­i­co,” and ship them to the Unit­ed States in many cas­es, he said.

As this advan­tage has all but dis­ap­peared, so has the Chi­nese government’s abil­i­ty to con­tin­ue to prop up growth with gov­ern­ment-direct­ed lend­ing and infra­struc­ture spend­ing. He said that when you com­bine cen­tral and local gov­ern­ment spend­ing, Chi­na is run­ning bud­get deficits of 10% of its gross domes­tic prod­uct, or GDP, at the same time that it is evolv­ing into an econ­o­my with a trade deficit [114], rather than the sur­plus­es that marked China’s eco­nom­ic rise.

He said China’s growth has cre­at­ed mas­sive demand for for­eign oil, basic mate­ri­als and food, which must be pur­chased with U.S. dol­lars, turn­ing it into a “twin deficit” coun­try, where any fur­ther gov­ern­ment stim­u­lus will put sig­nif­i­cant down­ward pres­sure on the val­ue of the ren­min­bi while encour­ag­ing wealthy Chi­nese to do what­ev­er they can to move their wealth to more sta­ble economies.

China’s fos­sil fuel imports, for instance, have risen from $27.9 bil­lion in 2015 to $46.5 bil­lion last year, an increase of 67%, accord­ing to Fact­Set.

A ham­strung and dol­lar-thirsty Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, there­fore, will be forced to pre­side over an ever slow­ing econ­o­my, and this down­turn will help drag the U.S. into a mild reces­sion by the mid­dle of 2020, Bass pre­dict­ed.

He advised aver­age investors to pre­pare for this down­turn by adding to their gold and real estate hold­ings. “It’s no secret why bit­coin which I don’t own, and gold are start­ing to do well again,” he said. “Every­one sees the writ­ing on the wall.”

“You have to own real assets, and the best thing is to be lev­ered in real assets, like apart­ment build­ings,” argu­ing that it’s an invest­ment that will pro­vide both steady income and will have the chance to appre­ci­ate in val­ue as the Fed moves to low­er inter­est rates in response.
...

Now here’s a 2012 piece about Bass — who sits on the board of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas — encour­ag­ing the uni­ver­si­ty to take phys­i­cal poses­sion of $1 bil­lion in gold coins sit­ting in its endow­ment fund. The ratio­nale is that it’s cheap­er to hold it them­selves than pay for stor­age. And it’s dur­ing an inter­view where he dis­cuss­es this advice that he gave to the uni­ver­si­ty where he men­tions that, while he’s not in favor of return­ing the the gold stan­dard, he is an advo­cate of tying economies to a bas­ket of goods and ser­vices. Is that a call for end­ing fiat cur­ren­cy and mod­ern finance? It’s unclear, but every­thing else about the guy cer­tain­ly points in that direc­tion [115]:

Busi­ness Insid­er

Kyle Bass Explains Why He Had The Uni­ver­si­ty Of Texas Take Phys­i­cal Deliv­ery Of $1 Bil­lion In Sol­id Gold

Linette Lopez
Mar 12, 2012, 2:30 PM

We already know that Hay­man Cap­i­tal’s Kyle Bass is get­ting ready for the worst. Case in point, he keeps all kinds of weapons on his Texas com­pound and he’s buy­ing up nick­els because he believes the coins will even­tu­al­ly be worth more than 5 cents. (Learn more about Bass’ fas­ci­nat­ing quirks here [116]).

He’s also bull­ish on gold, and he remind­ed CNBC [117] why in an inter­view today:

“The pat­tern is set, we’re going to con­tin­ue to mon­e­tize fis­cal deficits by expand­ing cen­tral bank bal­ance sheets... I call it cre­at­ing mon­ey out of thin air.”

He believes this so ful­ly that while he was on the board of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas, he had them take phys­i­cal deliv­ery of $1 bil­lion in gold. You can watch him explain why in the video below (via CNBC [118]), but in a nut­shell, he fig­ured out that it would be much cheap­er to store it.

And for the record, Bass does­n’t advo­cate going back to the gold stan­dard, he thinks that’s imprac­ti­cal. Instead, he believes our econ­o­my should be tied to a bas­ket of goods and ser­vices.

———–

“Kyle Bass Explains Why He Had The Uni­ver­si­ty Of Texas Take Phys­i­cal Deliv­ery Of $1 Bil­lion In Sol­id Gold” by Linette Lopez; Busi­ness Insid­er; 03/12/2012 [115]

“And for the record, Bass does­n’t advo­cate going back to the gold stan­dard, he thinks that’s imprac­ti­cal. Instead, he believes our econ­o­my should be tied to a bas­ket of goods and ser­vices.”

He’s not in favor of a gold stan­dard. But is he in favor of a not-only-gold stan­dard of a bas­ket of com­modi­ties instead? If so, that’s still large­ly the same prin­ci­ple. And that makes him essen­tial­ly in line with fig­ures like Robert Mer­cer and Judy Shel­ton. It also rais­es the ques­tion of what oth­er com­modi­ties he would like to see in the bas­ket of goods and ser­vices. Espe­cial­ly since he appears to have stock­piles of gold, plat­inum, tens of mil­lions of nick­els, explo­sives, and guns [119]:

Busi­ness Insid­er

10 Fas­ci­nat­ing Facts About The Fab­u­lous Life Of Hedge Fun­der Kyle Bass

Linette Lopez Nov 23, 2011, 10:10 AM

Michael Lewis’ book, Boomerang starts at the home of Texas hedge fund man­ag­er, Kyle Bass.
If you don’t know about Bass, you should. He man­ages Hay­man Cap­i­tal, and made a ton of mon­ey pre­dict­ing the sub­prime mort­gage crises. Now he’s bet­ting all of his mon­ey that sov­er­eign debt will be the next big thing to take down the world.

He start­ed off bet­ting against Por­tu­gal, Ire­land, Italy, Switzer­land and Greece back in 2008 (not bad a bad call, obvi­ous­ly).

Today, he’s hav­ing an excel­lent day. That’s because since then, he bet a ton of mon­ey against France. And you know what rat­ings agen­cies are say­ing about France today [120].

That aside though, Kyle Bass’s worst day is still a great day for most peo­ple any­way. Let’s just put it this way, he’s an inter­est­ing man with a lot of toys.

Kyle Bass learned to love trad­ing by play­ing Risk as a child.

Michael Lewis won­dered how a Tex­an who had bare­ly left the coun­try could be so inter­est­ed in the debt of for­eign coun­tries, espe­cial­ly Ice­land— which was Bass’ first obses­sion.

Very sim­ple. Bass loves Risk, and Ice­land was his favorite place to put troops because they’re easy to defend there.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

He has a plan for when every thing crash­es — buy guns and gold.

He even told his mom:

You need phys­i­cal gold.” He explained that when the next cri­sis struck, the gold futures mar­ket was like­ly to seize up, as there were more out­stand­ing futures con­tracts than avail­able gold. Peo­ple who thought they owned gold would find they owned pieces of paper instead.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

Aside from gold bricks, he also keeps plat­inum bars.

Some is in his desk at Hay­man, some is in vaults in Hous­ton.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

Some things he col­lects are a lit­tle strange— like nick­els.

Yes. Nick­els. The coins (From Boomerang):

“The val­ue of the met­al in a nick­el is worth six point eight cents,” he said. “Did you know that?..I just bought a mil­lion dol­lars’ worth of them,” he said, and then, per­haps sens­ing I couldn’t do the math: “twen­ty mil­lion nick­els.”...

“How do you buy twen­ty mil­lion nick­els?”

“Actu­al­ly, it’s very dif­fi­cult,” he said, and then explained that he had to call his bank and talk them into order­ing him twen­ty mil­lion nick­els. The bank had final­ly done it, but the Fed­er­al Reserve had its own ques­tions. “The Fed appar­ent­ly called my guy at the bank,” he says. “They asked him, ‘Why do you want all these nick­els?’ So he called me and asked, ‘Why do you want all these nick­els?’ And I said, ‘I just like nick­els.’”

He pulled out a pho­to­graph of his nick­els and hand­ed it to me. There they were, piled up on giant wood­en pal­lets in a Brink’s vault in down­town Dal­las.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

This is less strange— Bass also has a ton of semi-auto­mat­ic weapons.

Lat­est issue U.S. Army sniper rifle with infared scopes.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

Also explo­sives that he buys online and has Fed-Exed to his house.

He blows up beaver dams on his prop­er­ty with them some­times.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

Speak­ing of his prop­er­ty, he has a 41,000 square foot ranch house out­side Dal­las.

With thou­sands of acres of land attached.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

And how does he get around that land? With a U.S. Army Jeep!

To match the guns, nat­u­ral­ly.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

But the jeep isn’t his only vehi­cle. He goes to work in a tricked out Hum­mer.

Lewis says that there’s a but­ton you can push in the car that will auto­mat­i­cal­ly coat the road behind it with giant tacks...cartoon style.

Source: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis [121]

...

————-

“10 Fas­ci­nat­ing Facts About The Fab­u­lous Life Of Hedge Fun­der Kyle Bass: by Linette Lopez; Busi­ness Insid­er; 11/23/2011 [119]

“He has a plan for when every thing crash­es — buy guns and gold.”

And that appears to be the meta-theme here: Bass is expect­ing a day when every­thing crash­es and plan­ning for it. That was back in 2011. And here we are in 2020, with Bass teamed up with Steve Ban­non in push­ing for the col­lapse of Chi­na.

Again, we have to ask: are we look­ing a plan to col­lapse a lot more than just Chi­na? The grand col­lapse the far right has been pre­dict­ing and dream­ing of for decades? A col­lapse of the whole finan­cial sys­tem that wipes out the val­ue of almost every­thing that isn’t a phys­i­cal item like gold or real estate or guns and forces an col­lapse in pub­lic spend­ing and the pos­si­ble dep­u­ti­za­tion of far right mili­tias to keep order? Let’s hope that’s not the case. But we can’t ignore the gross incom­pe­tence on dis­play by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in address­ing the COVID-19 epi­dem­ic, where one mis­take after anoth­er has tak­en place that can only end up extend­ing the eco­nom­ic cri­sis. The incred­i­ble bungling of the devel­op­ment of test kits. The lack of pre­pared­ness for basic med­ical sup­plies like masks or ven­ti­la­tors. It’s as if the Trump admin­is­tra­tion would like to see the pan­dem­ic go for as long as pos­si­ble. Con­sid­er­ing that the world is right now run by the kind of peo­ple who have been pre­dict­ing and hop­ing for a giant col­lapse for decades and the stars have aligned with them being in pow­er across the globe, this is their big chance to make that col­lapse hap­pen. And make a lot of mon­ey doing it. Well, ‘mon­ey’ in the form of gold. And guns. And explo­sives, etc. All of the stuff that will have val­ue after they screw up the econ­o­my so much that mon­ey has no val­ue. While the idea of a planned glob­al eco­nom­ic and social col­lapse might seem like an unthink­able sce­nario to most peo­ple, the far right has been think­ing about lit­tle else for decades and right now is their big chance to make that hap­pen. Thanks to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic gov­ern­ments are being essen­tial­ly forced to shut­ter their economies. It’s the kind of sit­u­a­tion that requires sound, sane lead­er­ship to make it through this which means all the far right needs to do to bring about a sus­tained glob­al eco­nom­ic col­lapse is just to a so-so half-assed job at man­ag­ing the sit­u­a­tion. In oth­er words, gov­ern­ments right now have the per­fect cov­er for let­ting every­thing col­lapse. Just blame it on the virus when every­thing goes to hell. So if the worst case sce­nario real­ly does pan out and we end up with a col­lapsed and frozen glob­al econ­o­my head­ing into 2021, don’t for­get that the far right is run­ning the show right now and they would con­sid­er that worst case sce­nario a best case sce­nario [122].