Dixon Doll is an American venture capitalist who has focused his efforts on China
and the shadowy world of intelligence and enterprise software, while also forging
ties with the Bush dynasty.
Doll’s venture capital firm, Doll Capital Management (DCM), invested in Recourse Technologies, which was later bought by Symantec Corp., a corporate behemoth that is not only one of the largest U.S. defense contractors, but also the provider of the most popular line of anti-viral software (Norton Anti-Virus). While Symantec works on preventing electronic intrusions, it also works with enterprise architecture, a cutting edge and potentially intrusive software. Enterprise software began in the early 1980s as PROMIS, a breakthrough data monitoring program designed to help federal prosecutors’ track defendants by merging multiple databases into one. (A Congressional investigation later found that officials at the U.S. Justice Department stole PROMIS from its private developer and sold it to foreign governments. Many believe the program has been adapted to monitor intelligence operations and global banking networks.) A journalist covering the PROMIS story died mysteriously. Enterprise software is now used worldwide—it creates a “blueprint” of an organization’s networks and sometimes leaves an untraceable back door.
DCM also partnered with The Carlyle Group to give venture funding to Secure Elements, an enterprise software company with several government contracts. Carlyle is a major U.S. equity firm with long ties to the Bush family—George H.W. Bush worked as a senior advisor until October 2003 and kept his stock afterward. Secure Elements, which develops enterprise software, is now a Carlyle holding.
At Secure Elements, Doll sat on the board with Mark Frantz, a Carlyle veteran who also had worked at In-Q-Tel, an arm of the CIA that gives venture capital to companies developing technologies that could improve the intelligence capabilities. In-Q-Tel funded SRA International (SRX: NYSE) to apply its “NetOwl” text mining technology to the CIA’s daily world briefing reports, and has also funded SafeWeb, another company that was acquired by Symantec in 2003. In-Q-Tel’s for-profit affiliate, In-Q-Tel Employees Fund LLC, often bought stock in the same funds as In-Q-Tel, reaping profits as high as 1,400 percent on questionable penny-stock and pump-and-dump investments.
Doll has recently turned his attention to China. He hired Durst Lin, COO of Chinese web portal SINA.com, to lead DCM’s China operations. SINA.com partnered with a company that has ties to both the Bush family and the Chinese military. That company is Critical Path, 5.5 million shares of which are held by Winston Partners, an investment firm co-founded by Marvin Bush, President George W. Bush’s brother. Gargantuan conglomerate Cheung Kong Holdings also holds part of Critical Path. Cheung Kong’s CEO, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, is a business partner of the Chinese government and military and is seen by U.S. intelligence to be a risk for smuggling weapons into the U.S. Cheung Kong currently accounts for approximately 11.5 per cent of the Hong Kong stock market’s total capitalization.
DCM has also invested in Chinese companies such as UP Technologies, Dang Dang, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC). Semiconductors are basically computer chips, and the more advanced a semiconductor is, the more military applications it has. This presents a dilemma for the U.S.: promoting trade and competition while protecting national security. The Pentagon wants to maintain the longstanding U.S. policy of keeping China’s semiconductor industry two-generations behind to prevent it from advancing the military applications of its semiconductors. In 2002, Grace Semiconductor—a company co-founded by the son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin—hired Neil Bush, brother of President George W. Bush and Critical Path’s Marvin Bush, for a consulting gig. Neil Bush had no background in semiconductors, but he was paid $2 million in company stock over five years, plus $10,000 for every board meeting attended. (Li Ka-Shing once invested $90 million in Grace.) In 2003, just a year after Grace hired Neil Bush, the Bureau of Commerce proposed relaxing controls on performance level of microprocessor technology exported to a group of countries including China, despite Pentagon objections. According to one expert, by this point SMIC was already developing 0.25 micron circuitry, thin enough for military applications. One year later, it partnered with Texas Instruments on a 0.09 micron processor. In 2005, the U.S. Export-Import bank was alarmed enough to deny SMIC a loan guarantee over the objection of many members of Congress.
Doll also sits on the board of Network Equipment Technologies, Coradiant, Goodmail Systems, Adspace Mall Network, and Zamba, Inc.
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