International Intrigue on a Ranch in Texas – The Angela Chao Story

Angela Chao, the sister of Elaine Chao (wife of retiring Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Minority Leader), died in her car on February 11, 2024.  Angela was found in a submerged car, unresponsive, first responders attempted to revive her, but were unsuccessful.  The pond was on a ranch close to Johnson City in Blanco County, Texas, about 40 miles west of Austin.  The ranch was reportedly owned by a business entity of Chao’s husband, Jim Breyer, a Venture Capitalist who has offices in Austin.

The Sheriff of Blanco County is Don Jackson, and the matter has now been deemed a criminal investigation, which blocks the release of many details to the public.  In a letter to Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, Sheriff Jackson said, “This incident was not a typical accident.”.

Angela Chao was also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Foremost Group, a privately held business entity that was the largest American owner of bulk shipping merchant vessels (all the vessels were flagged in other countries).  The ships alone were valued at $1.2B five years ago, but there were other activities of the Foremost Group that because it is privately held, are not fully known.  Power, wealth, international connections, privately held business group, China, Taiwan, America; there are many branches and sequels to this story and now a criminal investigation is ongoing.

China is uninvestable?

Jim Breyer appears to be a mover and shaker in the Globalist world.  He was part owner of the Boston Celtics, part of the National Basketball Association which has deep ties to China.  At the most recent Davos Forum (January 18, 2024), he was asked by a Forbes interviewer, Lisa Abramowicz about investing in China, which she referenced was “uninvestable”.  Jim’s response was interesting (4:47) “I never think of China as uninvestable…”.  He then says, “we’ve backed in the last couple of years a number of wonderful entrepreneurs who’ve moved to Singapore”.  I’d say he’s avoiding criticism of China with this response.   It appears he’s talking about Chinese nationals with talent or international talent in China departing China.  He goes on and talks about his passion for quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  “All of my investing for the last several years has been in the U.S. … where I believe the best talent and opportunities are”.

When pressed further about China, Jim said, “I took an 18 month pause” in regard to investing in China.  Another artful response, threading the needle without appearing to directly criticize China.  Lisa then asked Jim if he’d met with Generals in Davos, and yes, of course, our favorite General was brought up, General Milley, whom Jim mentioned he had talked to.  With all due respect, I don’t believe General Retired Milley would know AI from Windows 10, but Jim assures Lisa that we’re ahead of China – another demerit for Jim.

From a Chinese Social Credit ranking of Jim’s comments, he’s probably well into the negative numbers as his Chinese security case officers review and grade his comments   Not good for Jim.  There are so many coded elements to Jim’s statements.  His comments belied a much larger issue than simple exfiltration of capital from China which is becoming an outbound torrent, but the reality is clear for anyone doing business in China, things are going south and the time to physically get out is now.  China is becoming quite aggressive about blocking departures of non-Chinese citizens who are attempting to depart China.  Even before the demise of Angela Chao, I would have noted Jim’s coded responses.  Now that a criminal investigation is on-going, his Davos statements should be noted and tagged as exhibits.  Jim’s investment firm, IDG Capital Partners has been identified as a Chinese Communist Party Military Company, which is pretty significant.

The Chao Family has deep Taiwan connections

The story of the Chao Family’s rise to wealth is a bit atypical of families fleeing the Communist takeover of the mainland in 1949.  The father, Dr. James S.C. Chao was at sea on a Chinese ship as a junior officer which went to Taiwan.  James moved to New York in 1958 and in 1964 returned to Taiwan and opened Foremost Shipping.  The CIA enabled parallel analogues of Foremost like Civil Air Transport (which evolved into the more well-known Air America) and perhaps one of Foremost’s Competitors, Evergreen Shipping, which may have been related to Evergreen Airlines, one of the historic CIA proprietary airlines.  Does this mean that Foremost had CIA connections?  The reality was that at that time, the 1950s and 1960s, the Republic of China (Taiwan) had a pervasive CIA footprint and just about every shipping line and airline had a CIA touchpoint in one form or another.  Foremost and Dr. Chao very likely had KMT connections and KMT funding to stand up Foremost.  The KMT was founded and led by Chiang Kai Shek, the leader of Nationalist China who led the retreat to Taiwan to stand up the Republic of China.  And if there were KMT connections there was at least a tangential connection with the CIA.

Foremost (and Evergreen) have become successful ventures well past the CIA connected glory days of the 1950s and 1960s.  James and his wife Ruth had six children and Angela became the CEO and Chairman of the Board for the Privately held Foremost Group.  Her list of accomplishments is long.  Noteworthy is that she had been on the board of the Bank of China, originally the bank of record for Nationalist China and the KMT, but now squarely in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.  Angela was also on the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Board, which is also on the same Department of Defense blacklist as her husband’s investment company. Some very deep connections between Jim, Angela, and malign activity of the CCP.

The Tesla Connection?

The Tesla connection with the death of Angela Chao is a potential treasure trove of forensic data for the investigators.  Tesla is heavily intertwined with the CCP and the battery rare earth metals are connected with China as well as a heavy footprint of Tesla data centers and data flow from all Tesla vehicles from around the world.  Years ago we studied remote access to vehicles and without the vehicle having internet connected actuators to the steering wheel, accelerator, brake, and other features, it was hard to do much besides turn the Air Conditioning on and off, which could be very annoying, but little else.  Back then there was not an IT connection to the key elements of vehicles control – with Tesla, there is.  Remote access and operation of these critical vehicle controls is well within the world of the possible for a Tesla vehicle, but there would also likely be a cyber evidence trail with system logs.

One interesting find is that in January, a publicly listed group called “Foremost Lithium” secured access to lithium deposits in Canada.  Is Foremost Lithium connected to Foremost Group?  I couldn’t find a connection, but it is an interesting name occurrence.  Lithium access in Canada would be great for electric vehicle batteries.  Australia and Chile produce most Lithium, but for some reason Tesla uses a China based lithium supply chain.

What does this all mean?  There are a lot of China connections with Angela Chao and Jim Breyer.  In Davos, it sure seemed like he was avoiding China by lauding everyone but China.  The oddity of his company being on the DOD list is also greatly concerning.  Hopefully the Blanco County Sheriff and the Texas Attorney General can do a clean revelation of truth before the FBI comes in to cover up everything.

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COL (Ret) John Mills has significantly shaped U.S. national security policy over four decades, serving in roles from the Cold War through the era of Great Power Competition. His career includes multiple combat tours, senior civilian positions at the Department of Defense, and strategic duties with the National Security Council in two administrations. Additionally, he is associated with the Center for Security Policy, Committee on Present Danger China, and Spectrum Consulting Group, and is an adjunct professor and founder of the National Election Integrity Association.

You can email John Mills here, and read more of John Mills's articles here.