Category Archives: Iran
The Daily Beast is alarmed by the massive national security apparatus The President is turning over to The Donald. It kills by drone and fights wars without congressional approval.
Whenever George W. Bush started a war he made sure to to pack a Congressional resolution. President Obama, not so much.
Obama ended “torture” of enemy combatants. Instead he blows them up by drone. Even American citizens make the hit list.
He also engineered a nuke treaty with Iran without Senate approval. He simply deemed it not a treaty.
Now all that power is in the tiny hands of President-elect Trump.
National Security Apparatus
Here’s Jameel Jaffer, the director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University:
“Many Americans were willing to invest broad power in the presidency because they trusted the president. But obviously the powers that we invest outlast any particular president, and now those powers are available to Trump.”
Earlier this month he WSJ reported that the Obama administration shipped Iran a pallet of foreign cash worth $400 million. President Obama scolded the press for asking if the delivery of the unmarked bills, in an unmarked plane, in the middle of the night was ransom.
You’ve probably seen his four step reply:
1) The payment was old news.
2) It was Iran’s money.
3) It’s illegal to trade dollars with Iran.
4) We don’t pay ransom.
Then he mocked reporters by saying, it “defies logic” that we would pay ransom. He also said the story “reads like a spy novel.”
So it does.
For good measure State Department spokesman John Kirby tweeted:
“Reports of link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false.”
So the WSJ reporters, Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, dug a little deeper and learned that the payment was “specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.” The money was loaded onto an Iranian cargo plane in Geneva, Switzerland. And it wasn’t released until a plane departing Tehran with the prisoners was “wheels up.”
It’s Not Ransom. It’s Leverage. Or Not.
Based on the new information Kirby was asked by a reporter:
Q: “In basic English, you are saying you wouldn’t give [Iran] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”
A: “That’s correct,” Kirby responded.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said, “I never used the world leverage” – leaving Kirby hanging out to dry.
Bill Clinton just happens to show up on the same tarmac as Attorney General Loretta Lynch the weekend before Hillary’s interview with the FBI.
An unmarked plane delivers a pallet stacked with $400 million in cash to Iran moments before five hostages are released.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was busted for paying hush money by making cash withdrawals that would be difficult to trace. Never mind that he was a perv trying to hide the fact that he had molested a high school wrestler. It was violating the $10,000 cash withdrawal limit that got him busted.
“Hastert was indicted for two alleged felonies: 1) withdrawing cash from his bank accounts in amounts and patterns designed to hide the payments; and 2) lying to the FBI about the purpose of those withdrawals once they detected them and then inquired with him.”
Well, the WSJ reported yesterday that the Obama administration tried to hide a $400 million cash payment to Iran. And it tried to hide the purpose of the payment – ransom of five hostages.
The Justice Department opposed the deal.
Michelle Kosinski of CNN asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest if the hostages would have been released without the payment. He refused to answer. Actually, Earnest’s drawn out unrelated responses were kind of amusing. You can see the exchange at the -41:11 mark of this C-SPAN video.
The ransom was paid in Swiss Francs and Euros delivered by unmarked plane in the middle of the night. Since it’s against the law to trade dollars with Iran Dr. Krauthammer says the administration is guilty of money laundering.
Obviously, it wasn’t a coincidence. The reason that it was objected to by Justice, there is a statute that prohibits us from engaging in Iran dealing with dollars. So, they had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and euros and ship it over to Iran. If a private company had done this, this is called money laundering. The CEO would be in jail right now.”
He added, “The reason it was concealed is because it’s illegal. That’s why Congress wasn’t notified, because it’s scandalous for the administration to explicitly defy a law that says you can’t deal in American currency. And the second thing is, it isn’t only that it encourages terrorism in the future, it’s that the money is in cash. Why in cash? Because that you can’t trace it. It’s going to go straight to Hezbollah, straight to Hamas, straight to terrorists in Iraq.”
Andrew McCarthy in National Review maintains Obama committed a felony. He says the law restricts the transfer of value to Iran in any way.
By his own account, President Obama engaged in the complex cash transfer in order to end-run sanctions that prohibit the U.S. from having “a banking relationship with Iran.” The point of the sanctions is not to prevent banking with Iran; it is to prevent Iran from getting value from or through our financial system — the banking prohibition is a corollary. And the point of sanctions, if you happen to be the president of the United States sworn to execute the laws faithfully, is to follow them — not pat yourself on the back for keeping them in place while you willfully evade them. The president’s press conference is better understood as a confession than an explanation.
The idea for this one crept into my head while I was reading the NYT story by David Samuels about “Obama’s foreign policy guru” Ben Rhodes.
Rhodes bragged about planting a false narrative about the Iran nuclear deal to make the agreement seem more palatable to the American public. He claimed that the election of Iranian moderates is what sparked the deal. In reality President Obama sparked the deal by reaching out to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei long before that.
I was mulling over that little subterfuge when Bernie Sanders popped up on the television screen (I was multitasking), complaining again about the rigged Democratic primary.