The Clarion Project, a watchdog group known for its groundbreaking documentaries on extreme ideologies, compiled a report this month revealing the billions of dollars that colleges and universities in America have taken from foreign entities — including adversarial states.
The Clarion Project launched its probe into foreign investment and influence in the American education system after the Department of Education (DOE) announced in June it was investigating Georgetown University and Texas A&M University “as part of a broader push to monitor international money flowing to American colleges,” the Associated Press reported.
Using data the DOE has collected based on a federal law that requires colleges to report contracts and donations of $250,000 or more, Clarion issued a report this month that revealed that, since 2012, these institutions have received more than $10 billion from these foreign entities.
Qatar – which, according to the U.S. State Department, has made gains in fighting terrorism but still hosts entities that sponsor and support terrorism – is at the top of the list with a staggering $1.4 billion dollars given to 28 universities, including $350,874,324 to Georgetown and $376,325,840 to Carnegie Mellon University.
Despite these sky-high figures, Ryan Mauro, director of Intelligence and a Shillman Fellow with the Clarion Project, told Breitbart News that, based on his investigation, the DOE statistics may not tell the whole story on foreign influence.
“These numbers are hard to fathom, but they are likely only the tip of the iceberg,” Mauro said. “There are two other figures we don’t have: The amount that the schools aren’t disclosing to the Education Department as required and the amount funneled by foreign entities using fronts.”
“For example, the Iranian regime used a front named the Alavi Foundation to funnel money to universities,” Mauro told Breitbart News. “Because that’s a U.S.-based organization, those amounts from Iran are not in the records.”
“Muslim Brotherhood fronts with ties to terrorism, such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, are also able to donate to universities without the transfers showing up in these Education Department records,” Mauro said.
Mauro pointed to Clarion’s investigations into this issue, including an expose released in 2018 on how the Muslim Brotherhood has successfully used a front called the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to fund, engage and train academics. The expose included a long list of professors tied to IIIT:
IIIT is a known entity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a foreign organization sponsored by foreign governments. IIIT has been investigated and nearly prosecuted for its links to foreign terrorist groups including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. IIIT is known to have received significant foreign funding.
But, because IIIT is based in the U.S. and is (supposedly) a completely independent entity, its donations are not included in the Education Department records of foreign donations to universities and colleges.
“In some cases, the funding comes via government-tied entities with known links to subversion, spying, terrorism and extremist ideology,” the executive summary of Clarion’s latest report states. “For example, the terror-linked Qatar Foundation donated a jaw-dropping $33 million to Georgetown University in 2018.”
The June AP report revealed that, in regards to Georgetown and A&M, “records being sought by investigators go far beyond Qatar, and include dealings with China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, and specific companies in those nations.”
“Investigators ordered both schools to disclose funding from Huawei or ZTE, the Chinese tech giants that some U.S. officials call a threat to national security,” AP reported. “Georgetown is being asked to detail money it received from any sources in Saudi Arabia or Russia, including Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company.”
But these schools are just two of dozens of U.S. schools taking money from these and other foreign entities.
Clarion complied the countries with the largest donations:
Rounding out the top 13 countries after Qatar are: China — $680 billion to 87 schools; Saudi Arabia — $649.9 billion to 63 schools; United Arab Emirates — $230.9 billion to 32 schools; Russia — $99 billion to 13 schools; Kuwait — $65.7 billion to 17 schools; Iraq — $44 billion to four schools; Turkey — $37.7 billion to 15 schools; Lebanon — $5.7; Pakistan — $4.8 billion to five schools; Venezuela — $3 billion to two schools; Syria — $1 billion to Johns Hopkins University; and $1 billion to Harvard University since 2017.
The 87 schools China donates billions to include California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the New York and New Jersey Institutes of Technology, and Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.
Russia also donates to some of the elite colleges in the U.S., including Cal Tech, MIT, Stanford, and Yale.
You can read the entire list of countries and schools here.
While the list itself is stunning, Mauro said it begs a question that should have an answer because of national security implications.
“Here’s the key question we need to be answered for every transaction: What are these governments getting in return?” Mauro said. “Do we really believe they make these donations because they care so much about the wellbeing of American universities and colleges? Of course not.”
“It’s been well-documented how China is funding universities to establish Confucius Institutes,” Mauro said. “The expressed purpose of these is to act as bases for ideological warfare by shaping the views of American students.”
“We have to assume that the other governments hostile to the West see the same opportunities,” Mauro said.
Confucius Institutes are billed as cultural organizations on foreign college campuses that the Communist Party of China funds to help create cultural links abroad and expose international students to Chinese history, language, and culture. In reality, the institutes serve to indoctrinate students in Communist Party propaganda and pressure the international universities they inhabit to toe the party line, attacking anyone who dares criticize the Communist Party or acknowledge realities that Beijing refuses to accept, such as the independence of Taiwan or the illegality of China’s occupation of the South China Sea.
The Clarion report also provides more details about why the countries listed in the DEO data, specifically those with dubious standings on terrorism, should make answering the questions Mauro proposed seem urgent.
• Saudi Arabia: Former CIA case officer Robert Baer, wrote in his book Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Its Soul for Saudi Crude: “Saudi money also seeped into the bureaucracy. Any Washington bureaucrat with a room-temperature IQ knows that if he stays on the right side of the kingdom, one way or another, he’ll be able to finagle his way to feed at the Saudi trough. A consulting contract with Aramco, a chair at American University, a job with Lockheed—it doesn’t matter.
• Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has become one of the main patrons of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and is allied with Qatar. He is also improving Turkey’s relationships with Iran and Russia at the expense of its relationships with the U.S. and other NATO members. Turkey supports a variety of Sunni extremists, including affiliates of Al-Qaeda, and has been accused of assisting ISIS. Since 2012, Turkey has reportedly been one of the top financial supporters of Hamas, with Erdogan arranging for the transfer of $250-300 million to the terrorist group annually.
• The Chinese government’s massive influence operations on U.S. college campuses is now getting mainstream media attention due to numerous exposes regarding China’s establishment of over 100 Confucius Institutes on campuses across the country. The Chinese Ministry of Education uses an affiliate named Hanban to transfer this funding. Hanban provides the materials, chooses the activities, and selects the directors and teachers who oversee each Confucius Institute.
Details about other countries are included in the Clarion report.
“These governments don’t have unlimited cash,” Mauro told Breitbart News. “The only reason they’d keep making these donations is if they are very satisfied with the results.”
“What are those results? How are these donations advancing their agendas? And why don’t we, the American people, know what’s happening?” Mauro said,
“My hope is that alumni, faculty, students, and researchers will take the next steps to demand answers from these universities and colleges,” Mauro said.
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