Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Rubio's billionaire backer, vulture fund enemy of Argentina

Eli Clifton has an informative report about Marco Rubio's high-profile supporter, vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer, Rubio Anointed Neocon Choice LobeLog Foreign Policy 11/02/2015. He writes of Singer's company Elliott Management:

Elliott leads a group of holdout creditors who bought up Argentine debt at pennies on the dollar and then sued the country to pay up in full. If successful, Elliott could collect as much as $2 billion. Singer’s philanthropy has often gone to groups — such as the American Enterprise Institute, The Israel Project, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies - that promote the controversial work of Argentine Special Investigator Alberto Nisman. In 2006, Nisman released a report claiming that top Iranian leaders ordered the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. But the report relied almost exclusively on the testimony of members of the Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group that former members liken to a cult.

Recipients of Singer’s funding frequently level charges of anti-Semitism against Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and accuse her of participating in a cover-up to hide Iranian involvement in the attack while never disclosing their funding from Singer and his strong financial incentives for attacking Kirchner.

Last May, Rubio, mirroring the rhetoric of Singer-funded thinktanks, introduced a Senate resolution demanding a “swift and transparent” investigation into Nisman’s death and accused Kirchner of conspiring “to cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing.” [my emphasis]
Right Web has a profile of Singer, who has been trying to drive Argentina into bankruptcy.

It includes references to these two articles: Greg Palast, Uber-Vultures: The Billionaires Who Would Pick Our President Truthout 10/26/2011 ("Über-Vulture" is such a good title for Singer); Charles Davis, U.S. Hedge Funds Paint Argentina as Ally of Iranian ‘Devil’ – Part Two Inter Press Service 07/31/2013. Part 1 of the article is also available; in this post quotes from Davis come from one of the two articles.

Davis writes in Part 1:

That the White House is backing away from its earlier defences of Argentina indicates that the millions of dollars U.S. hedge funds have spent lobbying members of the administration, Congress and the press are starting to change the debate, with Iran about as popular as Iraq was in 2002.

“We do whatever we can to get our government and media’s attention focused on what a bad actor Argentina is,” Robert Raben, executive director of the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), recently explained to The Huffington Post.

An assistant attorney general under President Bill Clinton (1993-2001), Raben’s group was founded by Argentina’s holdout bondholders and, to date, has spent at least 3.8 million dollars on its efforts to paint Argentina in a bad light. But the money it has spent pales in comparison to what ATFA’s funders stand to gain.
This is one set of private interests conducting a campaign against the current government of Argentina. It's not a secret to Argentina. But it's covered scantily if at all in the US mainstream press.

Davis also notes:

Paul Singer is a very rich man – one of the 400 richest in the world. According to Forbes, the hedge fund manager and founder of Elliott Management has a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars. That wealth has enabled him to become one of the top funders of the Republican Party.

In 2012, he gave more than one million dollars to the party’s failed presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and millions more to those lower down on the ballot. Employees of his firm, meanwhile, gave more than three million dollars to various politicians, making his company one of the top 100 funders of U.S. politics. And those politics are decidedly to the right.

In 2007, Singer described himself as a believer in American exceptionalism, noting that he has given “millions of dollars to Republican organizations that emphasize a strong military and support Israel.” Speaking to the New York Times, Singer explained that he believes the West “finds itself at an early stage of a drawn-out existential struggle with radical strains of pan-national Islamists.”

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