Christopher Wray

24 Apr 19
National Post

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — Authorities on the U.S.-Mexico border have distanced themselves from an armed civilian group that detains asylum-seeking families, but the United constitutional Patriots have never been shy about saying they work with Border Patrol agents. After its activities drew widespread criticism, the group was thrown out of its camp this week for […]

22 Apr 19
Mother Jones
It’s been a rough couple of months for the image of the People’s Republic of China in the United States. Blistering government assessments have described China as a “persistent cyber espionage threat” and “strategic competitor.” FBI Director Christopher Wray even called the Communist country a “whole-of-society threat.”  But the conversation about China took a hard-right turn last month when nearly four dozen Trump allies, neoconservative thinkers, and scholars revived a Cold War–era group known as the Committee on the Present Danger to bring attention to what organizers call China’s “existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom.” The geopolitical importance of China is a given, but two prominent members of this organization—Vice Chairman Frank Gaffney, the leader of a Washington think tank best known for promulgating anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, and former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon, who is back stateside after a failed months-long attempt to coordinate with Europe’s far-right political movements—suggest a motive that may be more personal than its promise to “educate and inform American citizens and policymakers.” These two men are not China experts but are links to both the Trump administration and populists worldwide. Gaffney, once relegated to the fringe of the neoconservative movement, counts national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as close allies. Bolton even tapped one of Gaffney’s deputies to join him in the White House as his chief of staff. (That aide, Fred Fleitz, lasted roughly five months before departing.) After his very public falling out with Trump, Bannon toured Europe attempting to form a “super-group” capable of dominating the continental parliament. The Brussels-based venture produced plenty of media coverage—even a cinéma vérité–style documentary—but not much in the way of tangible results. Bannon found more success in Latin America, where he’s become a close ally of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Trump even warmed to his once-banished adviser recently, and mildly complimented him in a New York Times interview. Now Bannon is focusing on China.  “There’s a real threat, for sure, but the politicization of it is particularly dangerous,” says Graeme Smith, an expert on China at Australian National University. “To have these very divisive, very polarizing speakers leading the charge doesn’t bode well for a rational China policy.” “There’s a real threat, for sure, but the politicization of it is particularly dangerous. To have these very divisive, very polarizing speakers leading the charge doesn’t bode well for a rational China policy.” Their effort to raise the urgency of the Chinese threat is the culmination of an ongoing pivot among national security experts and government officials toward Beijing, after years when American entanglements in the Middle East dominated headlines, think-tank scholar research, and the activities of some of the more aggressive figures in the far right such as Gaffney. “At any given time, we need a particular existential threat to focus on,” Neysun A. Mahboubi, research scholar of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania, says of American politics. Greater scrutiny of China is welcome in some corners of the American academic and business community, especially as the Chinese Communist Party grows increasingly repressive under the rule of Xi Jinping. But some experts believe the combination of overheated rhetoric from groups such as this and partisan bickering could distract from efforts to confront Chinese aggression in a measured, strategic, and bipartisan way. With the Islamic State in decline and its physical caliphate eradicated, Gaffney and his allies faced a rhetorical vacuum, and the threat of China could easily be singled out as a clear and present danger. As long as Trump is president, his more visible allies will hold outsized influence—both at home and abroad—on setting the parameters of that conversation. Ratcheting up the rhetoric on one side could lead to a proportional response on the other. “The hawks on both sides are really giving each other what they want,” Smith says.  A little more than two weeks ago, the Committee on the Present Danger: China had its coming-out party with a roundtable discussion in a Capitol Hill ballroom. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is not a committee member but said he was “delighted” to have Gaffney’s “continued leadership on national security issues,” spoke in epic terms of a conflict enabled in part by the “insanity of the American news media” and complicity of the “academic left.”  “Anybody who tells you we are not losing is simply misinformed,” he said. “This is going to be a long-term struggle between a civilization that believes in liberty and a civilization that believes in authoritarianism with Chinese characteristics.”  The roots of this conflict precede Trump by decades. When American bombers destroyed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during a NATO-led air war over Yugoslavia in 1999, Beijing called it a “barbaric act,” and President Bill Clinton was forced to apologize. Two years later, a collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet sparked another diplomatic spat. Only during the Obama administration, as China dispensed with the more cautious foreign policy of years past, did American officials begin viewing China not only as an economic competitor but a possible security threat. The failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump blew up shortly after entering office, cleared the path for China to build greater economic ties with its neighbors in the Asian-Pacific region.  Long an enthusiastic critic of China himself, Trump established a warm relationship with Xi upon entering office, a relationship that soon deteriorated after he initiated the trade war that has dominated the past several months of China-US relations.  Virtually no one in Washington disputes the severity of Xi’s aggressive foreign policy maneuvers or the depravity of his government’s human rights violations, but a consensus solution is in short supply. Democrats generally agree that China is a threat but have prioritized Yemen and Saudi Arabia as Congressional foreign policy priorities. And since Xi began his increasingly authoritarian rule in 2013, the US political and business establishment have not necessarily been eager to address the government’s theft of intellectual property or surveillance of its own citizens, given Beijing’s status as America’s leading trade partner. No such concerns troubled other featured speakers at the roundtable. “We have a healthy economy. The Chinese do not,” said Gordon Chang, a columnist who has long advocated for the US to abandon trade negotiations with China. “Disengagement will hurt, but it’s necessary.” Given the unpredictability of the president, it is unclear if he will take the opportunity to lead on an issue that Democrats and Republicans equally acknowledge as a threat. “There have been a number of bills passed with bipartisan support—massive bipartisan support—that are critical of China,” Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California-San Diego, said at a recent lecture in Philadelphia. “This is one of those rare areas where we have bipartisan convergence.”  “Their credibility on this issue is practically zero.” Should the Committee on the Present Danger be in a position to actually shape US policy, its extremism could create a host of new problems. The group includes several scholars and Chinese dissidents, but the presence of Bannon and Gaffney suggests that a measure of simple opportunism is driving the committee’s first steps more than the desire for an open foreign policy debate.  “To translate straight from your concerns about Islamic terrorism to your concerns about China is absurd,” Smith says. “Their credibility on this issue is practically zero.” Gaffney, a strong supporter of Israel who once championed a study that said “more than 80 percent of U.S. mosques advocate or otherwise promote violence,” introduced Uyghur activist Salih Hudayar at the roundtable for a talk about China’s repression of religious activity and crackdown on the Uyghur Muslim minority. Key Trump advisers like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence have criticized China frequently for its detention and surveillance of the Uyghur population in the western Xinjiang province. Hudayar defended the idea of carving out a separate state specifically for Uyghurs and urged attendees to boycott “Made in China” goods and divest from companies that benefit from them—an idea reminiscent of the Palestinian boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, which Gaffney’s think tank has called a “reinvented form of Anti-Semitism.”  China has not yet fostered the kind of anti-American rhetoric that might be expected in a country US officials so obviously consider a strategic rival. But with the fringe right coalescing around China as a new threat, and China itself becoming emboldened in its authoritarian activity, tensions between the two countries are likely to escalate. The roundtable concluded with a fiery rousing speech from Steve Bannon, in which he bashed the “globalist elite” for ignoring “the greatest existential threat we’ve ever had.” Qiao Mu, an exiled Chinese academic and human rights advocate, echoed the pessimism among experts in an email to Mother Jones. “I do not know the final result,” he said, “but obviously, the competition, or new Cold War, is on the way.” 
22 Apr 19
Archy news nety

A prominent anti-cancer center in Houston fired three out of five scientists which involved the federal authorities in China's attempts to steal American investigations. Pete Pister, president of the MD Anderson Cancer CenterHe told me Houston Chronicle that the National Institutes of Health of the United States (NIH for its abbreviation in English) reported last […]

21 Apr 19
Las Vegas Review-Journal
#gallery-1646310-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1646310-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1646310-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1646310-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Peter Pisters, the president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the Houston Chronicle that the National Institutes of Health wrote to the cancer center last year detailing conflicts of interest and unreported foreign income by five faculty members, and gave it 30 days to respond. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) HOUSTON — A prominent cancer center in Houston has ousted three of five scientists whom federal authorities identified as being involved in Chinese efforts to steal American research. Peter Pisters, the president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the Houston Chronicle that the National Institutes of Health wrote to the cancer center last year detailing conflicts of interest and unreported foreign income by five faculty members, and gave it 30 days to respond. “As stewards of taxpayer dollars invested in biomedical research, we have an obligation to follow up,” Pisters said. MD Anderson received $148 million in NIH grants last year. The center provided internal documents to the Chronicle regarding the cases but the names of the scientists were redacted. The newspaper said all three are ethnically Chinese. Two of them resigned ahead of termination proceedings and the third is challenging the dismissal. Officials determined termination was not warranted for one of the remaining two and are still investigating the other. It’s not clear if any of them face federal charges or deportation. An FBI spokeswoman in Houston, Christina Garza, said Saturday that the agency “does not confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.” Pisters said MD Anderson’s reputation as the world’s No. 1 cancer center made it an obvious target, but the newspaper report doesn’t say what evidence of intellectual property theft was uncovered at the facility. The dismissals come amid heightened concern in Washington, D.C., that foreign governments including China have been using students and visiting scholars to pilfer intellectual property from confidential grant applications. At a gathering in Houston last summer, FBI officials warned Texas academic and medical institutions of the threat, particularly from insiders, and called on them to notify the agency of any suspicious behavior. A 2017 FBI report found that intellectual-property theft by China costs the U.S. as much as $600 billion annually. FBI Director Christopher Wray has called China “the broadest, most significant” threat to the nation and that its espionage is active in all 50 states. “This is part of a much larger issue the country is facing,” Pisters told the Chronicle. “Trying to balance an open collaborative environment and at the same time protect proprietary information and commercial interests.” Some Chinese Americans say the crackdown amounts to racial profiling and that it hinders groundbreaking research. “Scientific research depends on the free flow of ideas,” Frank H. Wu, president of the New York-based Committee of 100, a group of influential Chinese Americans, told the newspaper. “Our national interest is best advanced by welcoming people, not by racial stereotyping based on where a person comes from.”
21 Apr 19
NATION AND STATE

HOUSTON—A prominent cancer center in Houston has ousted three of five scientists whom federal authorities identified as being involved in the Chinese regime’s efforts to steal American research. Peter Pisters, the president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the Houston Chronicle that the National Institutes of Health wrote to the cancer center last year detailing […]

21 Apr 19
The Last Refuge

The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017.  However, the recently released Weissmann report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe.  The first scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, OUTLINED HERE, and is an important part of the puzzle that helps […]

20 Apr 19
CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Prominent cancer center MD Anderson in Houston has ousted three of five scientists whom federal authorities identified as being involved in Chinese efforts to steal American research.

20 Apr 19
Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

HOUSTON (AP) — A prominent cancer center in Houston has ousted three of five scientists whom federal authorities identified as being involved in Chinese efforts to steal American research. Peter Pisters, the president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the Houston Chroniclethat the National Institutes of Health wrote to the cancer center last year detailing conflicts […]