Pro-Hezbollah Mullahs at San Jose’s Saba Islamic Center Promote Burning and Beheading Gays

‘Moulana’ Nabi Raza Abidi of Saba Islamic Center, San Jose, California. Nabi Raza is a staunch supporter of the grand Khomeinist mullahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei. Nabi Raza also audaciously promotes Hezbollah in the United States, in the very heart of Silicon Valley! (via http://hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com/)

‘Moulana’ Nabi Raza Abidi of Saba Islamic Center, San Jose, California. Nabi Raza is a staunch supporter of the grand Khomeinist mullahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei. Nabi Raza also audaciously promotes Hezbollah in the United States, in the very heart of Silicon Valley! (via http://hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com/)

By Lee Kaplan

Last December, the following announcement appeared on one of the Facebook pages of the Shia Association of the Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center), an extremist Khomeinist organization based in San Jose, California:

“Community Event of Support and Friendship Between Catholics and Muslims, Moulana Abidi and the Saba boards will be hosting Bishop McGrath from the Catholic Church, Imams from bay-area Mosques and Civic Leaders who will gather to offer joint prayers and start mutual dialog for solidarity of the two communities in serving humanity and support justice for all. Bishop McGrath leads over forty Catholic churches in Santa Clara County. This event will mark the first of many events expressing mutual understanding, support and friendship between Muslims and Catholics.

‘When: Monday Jan 16th 2016 (Martin Luther King Day)
Where: Saba Center, 4415 Fortran Court, San Jose CA 95134”

Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath will no doubt unknowingly be used to put a good face on a bad association by urging his Catholic followers to recognize an Islamist organization that is the antithesis of what his Church seeks to promote when it comes to tolerance and peace. The Bishop will be declaring “solidarity” in the name of his 40 churches with the leaders and educators at Saba’s mosque and madrassa (school).

Saba recently inaugurated its new high school, Saba Academy, right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Many observers of Saba view this development with alarm, as the Association’s activities have been persistently linked to extremism. Indeed, Saba and its imams, including Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck) and Nabi Raza Mir (a.k.a. Nabi Raza Abidi), have been shown to support Hezbollah. Labboun was jailed for a time for credit card fraud in a scheme the FBI thought was related to funding the terrorist group. He later was caught trying to flee the U.S. by the FBI with a fake Belizean passport using the identity taken from a dead baby. Homeland Security, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton tried to keep Nabi Raza Mir from reentering the U.S. after he visited Iran due to suspicions of terrorist links but he was finally readmitted after multiple lawsuits filed by the National Lawyers Guild.

Hamza Sodagar and Farrokh Sekaleshfar, two Khomeinist “superstar mullahs” on the Islamist lecture circuit, are frequent speakers at Saba Islamic Center where Saba Academy’s curriculum is taught. Alarmingly, both mullahs justify the execution of gays under Sharia law.

Both men have lived, lectured and studied in Qom back in Iran. Qom is considered a holy city among Shiite Muslims. Sodagar, while in Qom, filmed a biography in which Sodagar calls Ali Khamenei, the present Supreme Leader of Iran and follower of the late Ruhollah Khomeini, the man who started the Iranian revolution against the West, a role model. He also has lectured on a letter from Khamenei where he discusses the obligations of youth in the West and how they should not be corrupted by the “Zionist controlled media [the Jews].”

Sekaleshfar has been seen lecturing repeatedly at a mosque in Cardiff, Wales next to a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini, something always displayed at Shiite events back in the Middle East, but not inside the U.S. due to the hostage crisis and animus between the U.S. that followed with sanctions and Khomeini’s dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan.” His Facebook is packed with praises of the late Supreme Leader of Iran, and Sekaleshfar is his best promoter. In a newsletter sent from Qom, Sekaleshfar admonishes Muslim youth outside Iran to follow Khomeini’s edicts and advice if they are to be good Muslims:

“These people have undergone and tolerated a vast array of sanctions during the last 30 years. What have you done for them? How have you contributed in the solidification of the masses in Iran? There are many Muslims struggling worldwide today, but strengthening the people of Iran has an extra significant bonus, i.e. strengthening Islamic Rule and Propagation worldwide.” This is a call to promote jihad and the Absolute Velayat-e-Faqih regime of Ruhollah Khomeini and is posted under a picture of the late Ayatollah in the newsletter (page7).

Sodagar has spoken at schools as far away as Canada’s York University, and even in the UK, but he appeared on a regular basis at Saba where he lectured about Sharia-compliant methods of executing homosexuals:

“For homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One, the easiest one maybe, is chop their head off, stop their heart. Two, burn them to death. Three, throw them off a cliff. Four, tear down a wall upon them. Five, a combination of these things.”

Public outcry over killing gays elicited a response from Sodagar. He explained he does not advocate executing gays in places where it is illegal, but rather in places where Islam is the law of the land. While such an explanation might mollify fears in non-Muslim communities, it nevertheless does not alter what Sodagar is preaching; Sodagar, a U.S. citizen, was born in Washington, D.C., but spent 14 years studying Shiite Islam in Iran, a country that routinely executes gays in public. Fluent in English, Sodagar lectures throughout the English speaking world – advocating the execution of gays as being part of God’s will.
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Farrokh Sekaleshfar also tours the world spreading the word of Islam and has spoken at St. Louis University and the University of Michigan about how to deal with homosexuals. Sekaleshfar also denies that he advocates genocide against gays where it is illegal, yet he has lectured at the University of Michigan in 2013 that “death is the sentence” for homosexuals and that executing them is an act of “compassion,” since “earthly punishment will gain them leniency in the afterlife.”

Sekaleshfar offered the same religious rulings at the Husseini Islamic Center near Orlando, Florida. A few weeks later, Orlando suffered a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub, carried out by Omar Mateen, which left 49 people dead and is listed as the greatest mass shooting in U.S. history. It isn’t clear if Mateen, a confused fan of Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and ISIS, who was previously investigated by the FBI, attended Sekaleshfar’s lecture in Orlando. Like Sodagar, Sekaleshfar was not born in Iran or another Islamic country, but in England and he holds a medical degree from Imperial College in London and has studied Islam extensively in the Middle East.

Sekaleshfar was deported from Australia while on a speaking tour there after he said in an interview with ABC that he had made his comments in an academic setting, and he regretted that they had been made public. He said he advocated the death penalty only for homosexuals who have anal sex in public in a country that abides by Islamic law.

Both these mullahs live and link back to the Khomeinist regime in Iran and promote the Iranian revolution against the West here in America. At SABA they are an inspiration. The facts that a mullah advocated genocide against gays in Orlando not long before the massacre at a gay nightclub while another preaches the same ideas illustrate the threat posed by such imams when speaking to the Islamic community, something Bishop McGrath may not know before he goes there with all his parishes to show “solidarity.”

Lee Kaplan is an undercover investigative journalist who has been published and on radio and television internationally. He has appeared as a contributing editor or regular columnist at FrontPage Magazine, Israel National News, Canada Free Press and IsraCampus. He is also a senior intelligence analyst and communications director for the Northeast Intelligence Network. He is a fellow at Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s American Center for Democracy and a member of the advisory council at the Intelligence Summit.

Mattis: ISIS ‘couldn’t last 2 minutes in fight with our troops’

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SecDef nod calls for ‘battles of annihilation” with “no survivors” against terror group, while beating drums of all-out war with Iran.

CounterJihad, by Paul Sperry, January 12, 2017:

Defense secretary nominee Gen. Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis believes ISIS is “al-Qaida on steroids” and must be defeated in head-to-head “battles of annihilation” that leave “no survivors” on the enemy side, according to a recent discussion he participated in with a conservative think tank.

The career Marine, who faces Senate questioning at a confirmation today, also asserts that the US military “can handle Iran” in a shooting war, but cautioned that the Navy needs more warships to challenge “China’s bullying in the South China Sea.”

Mattis made the eye-opening remarks in a little-noticed interview with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, Calif., where he is a visiting fellow.

Before retiring in 2013 after a 43-year-career in the US Marine Corps, Mattis directed military operations of more than 200,000 troops and allied forces across the Middle East as commander of U.S. Central Command.

Mattis doesn’t believe in “managing” the Islamic State threat or just running ISIS out of Middle Eastern towns, but pulverizing the Islamist enemy.

He said the US currently has the forces available to wipe out ISIS, which operates primarily out of Syria and Iraq, but “they’re not in place” due to a lack of “political” will to deploy them, an attitude that is expected to change under a Trump administration.

“They’re a lot like al-Qaida philosophically, but operationally, they’re like al-Qaida on steroids. And when you put that together, they’re a uniquely capable organization,” he added during the revealing 2015 Hoover interview. “But the fact is, they couldn’t last two minutes in a fight with our troops.”

Mattis said America and the West can no longer tolerate “the assassinations, the mass killings, the mass rapes that are going on there,” to say nothing of the ISIS-directed and -inspired terrorist attacks plaguing both European and American cities.

“We should try to shut down its recruiting, shut down its finances, and then work to fight battles of annihilation — not attrition, but annihilation — against them; so that the first time they meet the forces that we put against them, there should basically be no survivors,” he asserted. “They should learn that we can be even tougher than them.”

Added the general: “If they want to fight, they should pay a heck of a price for what they’ve done to innocent people out there.”

Mattis didn’t pull any punches regarding Iran, either, which has aggressively pursued the development of nuclear weapons while threatening both the US and Israel.

Through its proxy Hezbollah, the Islamist regime has carried out terrorism around the globe, including attacks that have killed American citizens. In 1983, for example, an Iran-trained suicide truck bomber killed 220 of Mattis’s fellow Marines while they slept in barracks in Beirut. Iran is also responsible for IED-related deaths of US soldiers in Iraq.

Mattis, who joined the Marine Corps at 18, confidently predicted victory if the US had to go to war against Iran.

“It would take more forces if we had to go with the military option for Iran,” he said. “But we can handle Iran. I have no doubt.”

“It would be bloody awful,” he added. “But could we handle it from a military point of view? Absolutely.”

An invasion of Iran would be tougher than Iraq because Iran is surrounded by mountains, making it hard for tanks and artillery to pass. Behind the towering ranges, the terrain becomes unstable salt flats and dry lake beds oozing with thick black mud that would make it even more difficult to advance on Tehran.

It was the Great Salt Desert where the fateful 1980 military mission to rescue American hostages in Tehran ran into bad weather and had to be aborted.

Asked about Beijing seizing islands in the South China Sea and clandestinely building airstrips and other military installations there, Mattis says the US should no longer turn a blind eye to such territorial expansion in contested international waters. He says the US will need a larger naval presence there to check Beijing’s military aggression.

“In light of China’s bullying in the South China Sea, I don’t think we’re building enough ships,” Mattis noted, adding that China’s military maneuvers will require the Pentagon to adopt “a more naval strategy.”

Right now the Navy has 272 ships, more than 80 ships short of what the Navy Force Structure Assessment calls for to meet the new threat reality in the South China Sea and other global hotspots.

“We may have to give the Navy a bigger slice of the budget,” he added, to help reassure Taiwan and other allies in the region threatened by the communist army’s growing mischief.

“There are a lot of nations out in that region that would like to see more US Navy port calls in their harbors, from Vietnam to the Philippines, from Malaysia to Taiwan and Japan,” Mattis said.

He added that while the first option in the growing conflict ought to be diplomacy, “Sometimes the best ambassador you can have is a man-of-war.”

Mattis, who following 9/11 commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Naval Task Force 58 in operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, also revealed in the interview that he does not agree with President Obama that the US combat role in Afghanistan is over.

“We have irreconcilable differences with the Taliban,” he said.

Added Mattis: “They will continue to support al-Qaida, they will continue to do this kind of terrorism that they conduct over there every day. And as they do that, for us to declare arbitrarily that the war is over may not match the reality on the ground.”

Since Obama withdrew troops in 2014, ISIS and other terror groups have joined the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan, all working to topple the US-backed government in Kabul. All told, there are now 20 terrorist groups operating inside Afghanistan and along the Afghan-Pakistani border region.

Also see:

Obama “Gifts” Iran With Massive Uranium Shipment From Russia Sufficient “For More Than 10 Nuclear Bombs”

Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, January 9, 2017:

In what amounts to an 11th hour “gift” by the outgoing Obama administration to Tehran’s leadership to keep the country, which on Sunday was involved in yet another shooting incident with a US destroyer, content and compliant with Obama’s landmark “Nuclear deal”, the AP reported that Iran is to receive a huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant. The move was approved by the outgoing U.S. administration and other governments “seeking to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact.

AP cites two senior diplomats who said that the transfer which was recently agreed by the U.S. and five other world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, foresees delivery of 116 metric tons (nearly 130 tons) of natural uranium. U.N. Security Council approval is needed but a formality, considering five of those powers are permanent Security Council members, they said.

The swap is in compensation for the approximately 40 metric tons (44 tons) of heavy water exported by Iran to Russia since the nuclear agreement went into effect. Another 30 metric tons have gone to the U.S. and Oman.

While Uranium can be enriched to levels ranging from reactor fuel or medical and research purposes to the core of an atomic bomb, Iran has claimed it has no interest in such weapons and its activities are being closely monitored under the nuclear pact to make sure they remain peaceful. As we reported at the time, Tehran previously received a similar amount of natural uranium in 2015 as part of negotiations leading up to the nuclear deal, in a swap for enriched uranium it sent to Russia. But the new shipment will be the first such consignment since the deal came into force a year ago.

The news comes ahead of a meeting in Vienna, where of representatives of Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany will review Iranian complaints that the U.S. was reneging on sanctions relief pledges included in the nuclear deal.

As AP adds, “the uranium agreement comes at a sensitive time. With the incoming U.S. administration and many U.S. lawmakers already skeptical of how effective the nuclear deal is in keeping Iran’s nuclear program peaceful over the long term, they might view it as further evidence that Tehran is being given too many concessions.”

The diplomats said any natural uranium transferred to Iran after the deal came into effect would be under strict surveillance by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency for 25 years after implementation of the deal.

 

They said Tehran has not said what it would do with the uranium but could choose to store it or turn it into low-enriched uranium and then export it for use as reactor fuel.

Despite present restrictions on its enrichment program, the amount of natural uranium is significant should Iran decide to keep it in storage, considering its potential uses once some limits on

 

Tehran’s nuclear activities start to expire in less than a decade.

The troubling part, if only for those who see Iran as hell bent on creating nucleaar weapons was noted by David Albright, whose Institute of Science and International Security often briefs U.S. lawmakers on Iran’s nuclear program, says the shipment could be enriched to enough weapons-grade uranium for more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, “depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.”

While it remains to be seen if Trump will comment on the unexpected delivery, we are certain that Israel, and especially its embattled prime minister Netanyahu, will raise a substantial fuss over the renewed possibility of a nuclear-armed neighbor. Heavy water is used to cool a type of reactor that produces more plutonium than reactors cooled by light water. Like enriched uranium, plutonium can be turned into the fissile core of a nuclear weapon

* * *

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Iranian lawmakers, far from demilitarizing, approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country’s long-range missile program which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.  The vote is a boost to Iran’s military establishment – the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defense ministry – which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.

But it could put the Islamic Republic on a collision course with the incoming Trump administration, and fuel criticism from other Western states which say Tehran’s recent ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with a U.N. resolution on Iran. The resolution, adopted last year as part of the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, calls on Iran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry such payloads.

Tasnim news agency said 173 lawmakers voted in favor of an article in Iran’s five-year development plan that “requires government to increase Iran’s defense capabilities as a regional power and preserve the country’s national security and interests by allocating at least five percent of annual budget” to military affairs. Only 10 lawmakers voted against the plan, which includes developing long range missiles, armed drones and cyber-war capabilities.

Members of Iran's revolutionary guard look at a missile launched during a war  game near the city of Qom.

Members of Iran’s revolutionary guard look at a missile launched during a war
game near the city of Qom.

The Obama administration says Iran’s ballistic missile tests have not violated the nuclear agreement with Tehran, but Trump, who criticized the accord as “the worst deal ever negotiated”, has said he would stop Iran’s missile program.

“Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel … but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC in March. “We’re not going to let that happen.”

* * *

So one hand, we have Obama desperate to salvage his diplomatic legacy (having already seen TPP implode and Obamacare starting the repeal proess), appeasing Iran in every possible way, even if it means further antagonizing Israel; on the other we have Iran taking advantage of Obama’s weakness, and accelerating the ballistic weapons program which has been banned per the same treasury that Obama wants to see continue. Finally, throw in Trump and Netanyahu in the mix, and the future for US-Iranian relations after January 20 suddenly looks rather volatile.

Also see:

  • Iran Shows Obama, Not Trump, Putin’s Biggest Lackey – Amidst the mainstream media slavering over putative Russian hacks into the U.S. election, far more serious evil is emerging from the former Soviet Union in cahoots with Iran. And Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, is the enabler-in-chief. In his most dangerous act on his way out the door, the outgoing president is paving the way for Vladimir Putin to help the mullahs go nuclear.

Iran: U.S. Surrendered More Than $10 Billion in Gold, Cash, Assets

Hassan Rouhani / AP

Hassan Rouhani / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, January 9, 2017:

The Obama administration has paid Iran more than $10 billion in gold, cash, and other assets since 2013, according to Iranian officials, who disclosed that the White House has been intentionally deflating the total amount paid to the Islamic Republic.

Senior Iranian officials late last week confirmed reports that the total amount of money paid to Iran over the past four years is in excess of $10 billion, a figure that runs counter to official estimates provided by the White House.

The latest disclosure by Iran, which comports with previous claims about the Obama administration obfuscating details about its cash transfers to Iran—including a $1.7 billion cash payment included in a ransom to free Americans—sheds further light on the White House’s back room dealings to bolster Iran’s economy and preserve the Iran nuclear agreement.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi confirmed last week a recent report in the Wall Street Journal detailing some $10 billion in cash and assets provided to Iran since 2013, when the administration was engaging in sensitive diplomacy with Tehran aimed at securing the nuclear deal.

Ghasemi disclosed that the $10 billion figure just scratches the surface of the total amount given to Iran by the United States over the past several years.

“I will not speak about the precise amount,” Ghasemi was quoted as saying in Persian language reports independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon.

The $10 billion figure is actually a “stingy” estimate, Ghasemi claimed, adding that a combination of cash, gold, and other assets was sent by Washington to Iran’s Central Bank and subsequently “spent.”

“This report is true but the value was higher,” Ghassemi was quoted as saying.

“After the Geneva conference and the resulting agreement, it was decided that $700 million dollars were to be dispensed per month” by the U.S., according to Ghassemi. “In addition to the cash funds which we received, we [also] received our deliveries in gold, bullion, and other things.”

Regional experts who spoke to the Free Beacon about these disclosures said that the $10 billion figure offered by the Obama administration should be viewed “as a conservative estimate for what Iran was paid to stay at the table and negotiate.”

“Iran does have incentives to overstate this figure,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon. “But given the recent state-sponsored narrative in Iran about a Western and particularly American failing to offer sanctions relief, this reads much more as fact rather than another instance of disinformation from Tehran.”

It is likely Iran spent a portion of this money to fund its regional terror operations and military enterprise to bolster embattled Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Ben Taleblu said.

“Given the nature of some of this sanctions relief (through the provision of gold and unfrozen assets), this money likely underwrote some of the Islamic Republic’s more destabilizing regional activities,” he explained. “At the macro level, all of this continues to prove one larger point: The way the Iran deal was handled and the provision of sanctions relief during and after the talks that led to the nuclear accord continues to create problems for those interested in defending the integrity of the international financial system.”

One veteran foreign policy insider familiar with the administration’s outreach to Iran told the Free Beacon that the White House has a history of deflating these figures in order to obfuscate details about its contested diplomacy with the Islamic Republic.

“This is how it always happens when the Obama administration secretly sends money to Iran,” said the source, who would only speak on background when discussing the outgoing administration’s strategy. “They deny it until they’re caught, then they lowball it until they’re caught again, then they say it’s old news. In every single case where Iranian officials confirms these transfers while Obama officials denied them, it later turned out the Iranian officials were the ones telling the truth.”

Why Are We Ignoring Jihadists in Latin America?

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Town Hall, by David Grantham, January 4, 2017:

Famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said Obama will go down in history as the worst foreign policy president of all time, after the U.S. chose to abstain in the U.N. Security Council vote on the resolution condemning the construction of Israeli settlements. Cataloguing the president’s foreign policy blunders and their consequences will keep scholars busy for some time. But his inability to craft a meaningful strategy for combating Islamic terrorism in Latin America with U.S. partners may be the most significant for U.S. national security. The American public will face the deadly consequences of Obama’s failure there unless Trump changes course.

The presence of Islamic terrorists in Latin America can be traced back decades to the Iranian-sponsored bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in 1994 – together the attacks killed and injured over 650 people. The international community was reminded of those heinous events when, on January 18, 2015, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found murdered the day before he was to present evidence to the Argentine Congress that showed then-president Cristina Kirchner and other Argentine officials had conspired with the Iranian government to cover-up Iran’s involvement in the AMIA attack. Joseph Humire, an expert on Iran’s influence in Latin America, called it the “most important political assassination in Latin America of the 21st century.”

Eight hundred miles to the north, Hezbollah and Hamas maintain a robust presence in the virtually lawless tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. This largely ungoverned locale is considered a breeding ground for terrorism and is known as a busy transit point for the sale and smuggling of contraband, which generates billions of dollars annually for groups like Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Author and senior Pentagon consultant Edward Luttwak describes the area as the most important base for Hezbollah outside of Lebanon. North Carolina-based Hezbollah cells involved in cigarette smuggling during the 1990s relied on assets in the tri-border area.

Infiltration by international terrorists of a region known for transnational organized crime has resulted in marriages of convenience. A report from Spain’s Defense Ministry in December 2016 outlined how Islamic terrorists have teamed up with drug trafficking organizations like El clan Barakat in Paraguay and Joumaa in Colombia to launder cash used to support terrorist activities. In fact, law enforcement officials in the southwest United States reported a significant increase in Hezbollah tattoos and imagery among imprisoned gang members.

Immigration stories naturally dovetail. A source for the U.S. State Department revealed in 2010 that Mexican drug cartels were likely smuggling known Arab extremists across the border into Texas. A lesser known story involves Hezbollah operative Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar, who was arrested in Peru in October 2014 for planning a terrorist attack. He used an actual “marriage of convenience” to one Carmen Carrión Vela as part of his cover. She was arrested in November 2015 for material support to terrorism. The truly frightening detail of this episode: The convicted wife was a dual-citizen of Peru and the United States, and had twice traveled to the U.S. before Hamdar was arrested in Lima.

The Islamic State is now in the mix. The aforementioned Spanish report found that rapidly expanding Muslim communities have given rise to recruitment where as many as 100 Latin Americans have joined ISIS — 70 alone allegedly came from Trinidad and Tobago. That island nation says today’s radical Islamic elements operate like the local Jamaat al Muslimeen group that tried to overthrow the government in 1990.

These stories only gloss over a much bigger problem that also involves nation-state collaboration between the likes of Venezuela and Iran, nuclear technology in Argentina and the spread of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi Islam in Latin America.

Despite all of this, the president shies away from confronting radical Islam. Despite all of this, the president helped enrich Iran to the tune of $10 billion. “Often considered a foreign policy backwater for the United States,” Joseph Humire writes, “Latin America has become a top foreign policy priority for the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Others like ISIS and Al Qaeda are not far behind.

Trump must reverse course and team up with Latin American partners to fight this war. Failure here will pale in comparison to failures elsewhere.

Gertz: ‘America Is Extremely Vulnerable’ to Cyber Threats

iwarBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
January 3, 2017

Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz said that the United States is “extremely vulnerable” to cyber attacks during a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening. Gertz appeared on Hannity’s radio show to discuss his newly released book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age.

To begin the interview, Hannity asked Gertz what he thought of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s assertion that he did not receive hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign from Russian sources.

“We’re going to have to wait to see what the [Obama] administration’s investigation of the Russian influence operation is,” Gertz responded.

Hannity then referenced his previous interview with Assange in which the WikiLeaks founder claimed to have hacked into NASA at the age of sixteen, prompting Gertz to explain how vulnerable the U.S. is to what he described as information attacks.

“America is extremely vulnerable, and I think that’s the bottom line of this book, iWar. We’re getting killed in the information space,” Gertz said.

Gertz defined the information space as twofold: one part encompasses the use of cyber and technical attacks and the other involves information and content.

In the second chapter of his book, Gertz details the sophistication of North Korean cyber attacks, including the 2014 Sony breach after the entertainment company released a comedic movie that made fun of the North Korean regime. Gertz described an interview with a North Korean defector who “issued a dire warning” that the American government needs to do something to “counterattack North Korean information warfare operations.”

Continuing on this point, Gertz asserted that the CIA needs “dire reform.” Under the leadership of current CIA Director John Brennan, the organization, Gertz noted, has focused too heavily on drone strikes instead of clandestine information operations.

Hannity then played a brief snippet of his interview with Assange in which he repeatedly denied that the Russian government was behind the leaked Clinton and DNC emails during the 2016 election. Hannity asked Gertz what he thought of Assange’s adamant denials of receiving the hacked emails from Russian sources.

“On Assange I think it’s clear until he reveals where he obtained the information that he leaked, then I think the onus is going to be on him,” Gertz said. “And if he doesn’t reveal it, that’s going to be a problem.”

Later discussing America’s relationship with Russia and the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, Gertz declared that “we are definitely entering a new Cold War.” Gertz explained that in his new book he lays out Putin’s strategy to “reestablish the Soviet Union without communism.”

Hannity then asked Gertz what the new Trump administration can do to confront Iran after what he described as President Obama’s capitulation to Tehran with the Iran nuclear deal and the $1.7 billion payment early last year to the Iranian regime to free American hostages.

“We’ve got to use an information warfare campaign against Iran,” Gertz said, adding that the Obama administration missed a golden opportunity to do so during the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009.

Gertz suggested that the American government could establish a new institution to combat foreign enemies and administrations by using information and political warfare to spread American messages of freedom and democracy.

iWar can be purchased today in print or as an e-book from Amazon and a variety of other booksellers. It can be downloaded as an audiobook through iTunes and Audible.

Gertz is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.

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Bill Gertz’s ‘iWar’ Now Available as Audio Book

The new book by Free Beacon Senior Editor Bill Gertz, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, is now available in print and as an audio book.

Gertz is a long-time national security correspondent and columnist for the Free Beacon and Washington Times. He is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.

Gertz published iWar to explain the digital battle being waged between the United States and foreign adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

A five-minute excerpt of the audio book is embedded below.

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The following is an excerpt from the book

Chinese Information Warfare: The Panda That Eats, Shoots, and Leaves

Christmas Market Massacre Proves Ignoring Muslim Warnings Will Get You Killed

berlin-truck-attackConservative Headquarters, by  George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 12/21/16

Hidden in the media coverage of the carnage at Berlin’s Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) was a hint or two that German intelligence had some previous indication that Christmas markets and other Christian holiday celebrations were potential targets for Muslim terrorists.

In actuality the warnings, both tactical and strategic, were not mere “indications”; they were clear for all who wished to heed them.

On November 22, 2016, the U.S. State Department issued a stark warning for tourists to Europe, advising them of “credible information” of an attack on Christmas markets this holiday season.

The UK Express reported the warning in an article headlined, “Europe’s Christmas markets at risk of ISIS terror attack, US warns tourists.” “Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events,” said the release.

“US citizens should exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation, and frequenting places of worship, restaurants, hotels, etc. … Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds, when possible,” the warning concluded.

Even earlier this fall, on September 14, 2016, under the headline, “Germany preparing for Nice-style attack as report says ISIS could strike at ANY TIME,” the UK Express quoted a secret report from Germany’s intelligence services predicts that Islamic terrorists can strike at any time in an “unconventional” manner like the truck massacre in Nice.

These tactical warnings were largely ignored by the public and were apparently of little practical utility to the German authorities who it appears did not harden the approaches to the Berlin Christmas Market. Nor did they have the personnel on hand to apprehend the hijacker who killed the Polish truck driver and then plowed the truck loaded with steel straight through the tents and stalls of the market killing at least 12 visitors celebrating a Christian tradition dating back to the Late Middle Ages.

However, what’s even worse, is that of less utility to the German authorities were the clear strategic warnings given by the Muslim invaders twelve years ago in an interview with leading German magazine der Spiegel.

In 2005, in article titled, “What al‐Qaida Really Wants,” Yassin Musharbash interviewed Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein about his remarkable reporting on al‐Qaida’s inner circle and his book “al‐Zarqawi ‐ al‐Qaida’s Second Generation.”

Hussein told Musharbash, “I interviewed a whole range of al‐Qaida (AQ) members with different ideologies to get an idea of how the war between the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future.” What he then describes are seven phases the terror network hoped would establish an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.

I will focus on just the final phases of the plan, but you can read the entire article and review the seven phases of the Muslim conquest of the West through this link.

The Fifth Phase, between 2013 and 2016, was to be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, could be declared – and it was. The plan was that by this time, Western influence in the Islamic world would be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al‐Qaida hoped that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

As 2016 closes it is debatable how much of the Fifth Phase was accomplished. The Caliphate was declared and clearly American influence in the Islamic world has been much-weakened, but Israel remains strong.

However, it is certainly arguable that, thanks to Barack Obama, a new world order is emerging with Iran as the nuclear armed Middle Eastern hegemon, Russian influence ascendant and, in the face of an expansive and aggressive China, the United States in retreat from the Western Pacific.

Now here is the key point regarding the Berlin Christmas Market terrorist attack and the building tempo of Muslim terror; the Sixth Phase Hussein reported is that from 2016 onwards there will a period of “total confrontation.”

As soon as the caliphate has been declared Hussein reported the “Islamic army” it will create will instigate the conclusive “fight between the believers and the non‐believers” which was predicted by Osama bin Laden and is central to Muslim millennialism.

What does Phase Six look like?

Priests are murdered in their Churches, Muslims demand an end to Germany’s Oktoberfest, Christmas Markets and Christian symbols are attacked. Priests remove Nativity scenes to avoid offending Muslims, restaurants remove traditional pork dishes, Christians are ordered to “pray in silence” so as not to offend Muslim migrants and now in Germany, Christians are being forced to hide their Bibles due to death threats from migrant Muslims.

Knowing that Phase Six of the AQ plan for its war against the West was one of “total confrontation” why would Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, invite millions of Muslim invaders into their country?

But they have.

And so, thanks in large measure to Angela Merkle, a Muslim army has successfully crossed the Mediterranean, European culture and nation-states are in full retreat, and Phase Six of the Muslim conquest of the West is well and successfully under way.

According to the AQ timeline in der Spiegel we are now in the first year of the period of “total confrontation,” and so far, the Islamist army is winning. It is time Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, take the Muslim leadership at its word.

Post Script: And if you think it isn’t happening in America consider the increasing tempo of Muslim terrorist attacks, including bombings, mass murder and random stabbings and the cultural war being waged that has seen even the mention of Christmas banned from the public square through the demands of Muslim Brotherhood fronts and terrorist affiliated organizations.

Iran Threatens to Walk Away From Nuke Deal, Retaliate Against U.S. for New Sanctions

Ali Khamenei / AP

Ali Khamenei / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, December 2, 2016:

Iran is threatening to walk away from the nuclear deal with the United States and pursue forms of retaliation, including a national boycott of American goods, as a result of Congress’s overwhelming vote on Thursday to level new sanctions against Iran for another 10 years, according to multiple comments by senior Iranian officials.

Following the Senate’s 99-0 vote to renew economic sanctions on Tehran, senior Iranian officials said the United States is in violation of last summer’s nuclear deal and that Iran is prepared to retaliate, which could include abandoning the agreement.

The comments come as the Obama administration scrambles to preserve the deal in its final months in office, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, who has been assembling a cabinet filled with fierce opponents of the accord.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn’t see any necessity to reveal this issue [its reactions] but we have made necessary predictions before, meaning that we are well prepared to show reaction,” Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted as saying on Friday in the country’s state-controlled press.

The new sanctions, Salahi said, “explicitly violate the nuclear deal.”

Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani hotly criticized the United States during Iran’s weekly national Friday prayer service, urging the country’s leaders to retaliate against America.

“Nothing but hostility is expected from the U.S., but as said before, now it’s time for retaliation,” the cleric was quoted as saying.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered similar remarks last month, as the Obama administration was working behind-the-scenes to prevent Congress from pursuing the new sanctions.

“If this extension is implemented and comes into force, it will certainly be a violation of the nuclear deal and they should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran will certainly show reaction,” Khamenei said at the time.

Iran’s Parliament is now taking steps to counter the sanctions by enacting its own national boycott of U.S. goods.

The “double-urgency plan” would ban all U.S. consumer goods from Iran.

“Given the U.S. hostile measure, meaning extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another 10 years, a double-urgency plan to ban purchase of the U.S.-made consumer goods has been prepared in the parliament,” Mohammad Reza Tabesh, a senior Iranian parliament member, was quoted as telling Iran’s state-controlled press on Friday.

The plan is expected to overwhelmingly pass Iran’s Parliament.

Iran’s military is also taking increasingly hostile steps on the heels of the sanctions vote.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s naval faction is increasing patrols outside of Iranian waters in a bid to stop any vessels from coming near the Islamic Republic.

“The Iranian Navy, along with the IRGC Navy, are monitoring all moves by the regional and trans-regional states in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, and the Northern parts of the Indian Ocean, and do not allow any vessel to approach the Islamic Republic of Iran’s borders or inflict damage on our interests and resources,” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of Iran’s Navy, said during a Friday speech.

The comments come as Iran makes provocative maneuvers against U.S. forces in the region. Late last month, Iranian vessels pointed an anti-aircraft weapon at U.S. helicopters that were flying nearby in a move the Pentagon described as highly provocative and dangerous.

Also see:

Yes, Trump’s Going to Dump the Iran Deal

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, November 14, 2016:

In the days following Donald Trump’s victory, a variety of experts — mostly Trump critics — pronounced that, despite Trump’s frequent statements during the presidential campaign that the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is one of “the worst deals ever made by any country in history,” he has no choice but to stick with the agreement after he assumes office.

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif was one of the first to insist as much, claiming a Trump administration cannot back out of the nuclear deal because it is not a bilateral agreement between the United States and Iran but “an international understanding annexed to a Security Council resolution.”

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (which The Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith once described as “the tip of the spear of the Iran lobby” in the United States) echoed Zarif’s statement. In a November 11 Foreign Policy article, he argued Trump can undermine the Iran deal but cannot directly dismantle it because the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement “codified by the UN Security Council.” Any attempt by a Trump administration to renegotiate the deal would violate international law and isolate the United States, Parsi said.

Even some conservative experts have suggested Trump probably won’t try to significantly modify or discard the nuclear agreement, but will instead try to goad Iran into withdrawing by strictly enforcing the deal.

But Trump senior national-security adviser Walid Phares poured cold water on speculation that Trump plans to walk back his statements about the Iran deal, when he commented on Facebook over the weekend that the “Iran Deal will be dismantled.”

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This firm statement by Phares confirmed previous statements he and Mr. Trump have made that the deal is a dangerous agreement that needs to be either significantly renegotiated or abandoned. As an expert who has followed the Iran nuclear program for many years inside and outside of government, I would like to expand on their statements by offering three key points about the nature of the deal and ten guidelines for renegotiating it.

1. The Iran deal is a dangerous fraud.

Donald Trump was exactly right when he called the Iran deal a “horrible” and “disastrous” agreement. The U.S. agreed to huge concessions to get this agreement, from no restrictions on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism to no inspections of military facilities. There were secret side deals withheld from Congress that permitted Iran to inspect itself for past nuclear-weapons work and receive secret planeloads of cash in exchange for freeing U.S. hostages. To get the $150 billion in sanctions relief Iran wanted, there was another secret side deal — also withheld from the U.S. Congress — which granted Tehran exemptions for failing to meet some of the agreement’s key requirements.

So what did the United States get for these concessions?

Not much. The Obama administration claims the deal keeps Iran a year away from a nuclear deal for ten to 15 years. But in fact, the time to an Iranian nuclear bomb will drop dramatically under the deal, since Iran will be able to enrich uranium, develop advanced centrifuges, and, with Chinese assistance, finish construction of a heavy-water nuclear reactor that will produce one-quarter of a weapon’s worth of plutonium per year.

It will be very hard to verify the agreement since military sites — where Iran is likely to conduct covert nuclear-weapons work — are off limits to inspectors. The deal dumbed down the IAEA’s quarterly Iran reports, making it difficult for the world to know the true extent of Iran’s compliance. Certainly, there already have been reports of significant Iranian cheating.

Further, the deal was supposed to improve Iran’s international behavior.

Instead, from ballistic-missile tests to increased support to Hezbollah, Bashar al-Assad, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Tehran’s behavior in the Middle East has significantly worsened. Just in the last year, Iran has captured and held at gunpoint ten U.S. sailors and fired anti-ship missiles at American and UAE ships. Is this what a new era of cooperation with Iran was supposed to look like?

2. The deal is not legally binding on us.

Knowing that a bipartisan majority of Congress opposed the nuclear deal and that the U.S. Senate would never ratify it as a treaty, the Obama administration arranged to go around the Senate by negotiating the deal as an executive agreement endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. Because Security Council resolutions are binding on all U.N. members, it could therefore be argued that the nuclear deal was binding on the United States even though it had not been ratified by the Senate.

But that is not how our constitutional order works. American presidents historically have decided which international agreements are to be treated as treaties, but the Iran deal specified that it be ratified by the Iranian parliament.

If President Obama wanted to make a long-term international agreement binding on the United States, he needs consent from Congress. Anything else is a serious affront to the Constitution, and no U.N. endorsement changes that.

(This is not the only example of President Obama’s lawless approach to international agreements: The Paris climate-change agreement was deliberately negotiated to make it binding on the United States without Senate ratification and difficult for a future U.S. president to cancel. The same principles apply, however, and I expect President Trump pull out of the climate agreement as soon as possible.)

3. It’s not a true multilateral agreement.

The Obama administration also attempted to entrench the Iran deal making it a multilateral agreement, but this was just window-dressing.

The deal is technically a multilateral pact agreed to by Iran, the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, but it is actually a bilateral agreement negotiated almost entirely between the United States and Iran. Iran has only looked to the United States for additional concessions since the deal was announced, and if we want to end the deal, we can.

So it is clear the deal must be either discarded or substantially renegotiated, and that we have every right to do so.

The first steps to renegotiation should be (1) assembling a new anti-Iran coalition of our European allies, Israel, and the Gulf states, and (2) imposing new sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear program, ballistic-missile program, sponsorship of terrorism, and belligerent behavior. Russia and China could be allowed into the new coalition, but they should not be given a veto over any new agreement. This coalition also must be kept out of the United Nations.

Building the new coalition and renegotiating the agreement won’t be the easiest task, but given Iran’s belligerent behavior and the power new U.S. sanctions can have, a strong president and secretary of state can do it.

An agreement that truly addresses the threat from Iran’s nuclear program and the wider threats Iran poses will require reversing all of the irresponsible concessions made to Iran by the Obama administration.

Such negotiations must start from the following ten guidelines:

  1. Iran must cease all uranium enrichment and uranium-enrichment research.
  2. Iran cannot have a heavy-water reactor or a plant to produce heavy water.
  3. Iran agrees to robust verification, including “anytime, anywhere” inspections by IAEA inspectors of all declared and suspect nuclear sites.
  4. Iran must fully and truthfully answer all questions about its past nuclear-weapons-related work.
  5. Iran must agree to limitations on its ballistic-missile program.
  6. Sanctions will only be lifted in stages, in response to Iranian compliance with the agreement.
  7. Iran must agree to end its meddling in regional conflicts and its sponsorship of terror.
  8. Threats by Iran to ships in the Persian Gulf, U.S. naval vessels, and American troops must stop.
  9. Iran must cease its hostility toward Israel.
  10. Iran must release all U.S. prisoners.

Renegotiating or terminating the Iran deal will not just end the threat from a dangerous international agreement.

It will signify that this agreement was an aberration by an incompetent U.S. president who tried to subvert the U.S. Constitution, and it would send a powerful message to the world that the Obama administration’s policies of American weakness and appeasement are over.

Trump critics have argued that renegotiating or terminating the nuclear deal would isolate the United States and hurt America’s global stature. But in reality, President Obama’s foreign policy has already undermined America’s reputation around the world.

Fixing or killing the Iran nuclear deal will be President Trump’s first step toward restoring America’s global leadership.

When the Trump Team Comes Looking for the Secrets of Obama’s Iran File

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PJ Media, by Claudia Rosett, November 11, 2016:

Thursday’s cordial meeting between President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama was a reassuring ritual of democracy. But Obama was far from convincing when he told Trump “we are now going to do everything we can to help you succeed.” There are some highly disparate ideas here about what constitutes success, both foreign and domestic. There are also big areas in which one might reasonably wonder if Obama and his team are in a quandary over the prospect of a Trump administration inheriting the internal records of the most transparent administration ever.

Take, for instance, the Iran nuclear deal, Obama’s signature foreign policy legacy, the chief accomplishment of his second term. The Obama administration’s Iran file has been a realm of murk, crammed with dangerous concessions and secret side deals for terror-sponsoring Tehran — to a degree that has left some critics wondering if Obama’s real aim was to empower Iran as the hegemon of the Middle East (equipped with ballistic missiles to complement its “exclusively peaceful” nuclear program).

The cherry on top — officially separate from the nuclear deal, but highly coincident — was the Obama administration’s secret conveyance to Iran early this year of cash totaling $1.7 billion for the settlement of an old claim against the United States.

Like Obama’s other legacy achievement, the unaffordable Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, these Iran dealings were so intricate, extensive and opaque that we are still discovering just how duplicitous the official narratives were. Obama never submitted the Iran nuclear deal as a treaty for ratification by the Senate. Instead, he rushed the deal to the United Nations Security Council for approval less than a week after the final text was announced, and left Congress wrestling through the ensuing weeks, during the summer of 2015, to try to extract vital details from the elusive Obama and his team, subject to a legislative bargain so convoluted that the process, and the deal, never came to a vote.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on the $1.7 billion “settlement” paid to Iran, which Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently with no prior notice to Congress, announced this past January.  Obama and Kerry did not mention at the time that the administration was shelling out the funds in cash, to be airlifted into Iran — a form of payment especially handy for Iran’s illicit ventures, such as terrorism and procurement for its ballistic missile program (the usual role of ballistic missiles — which Iran has continued testing — being to carry nuclear weapons, which Obama has assured us Iran under his deal is not developing).

Obama and his team also neglected to mention that $1.3 billion of his administration’s cash bonanza for Tehran had come from the pockets of American taxpayers, via an obscure channel at Treasury called the Judgment Fund. It took months before such specifics came to light, which they did thanks not to the administration, but to the efforts of the press, and a number of persistent questioners in Congress — to whom the administration sent tardy and evasive replies.

Questions continue to swirl around this cash-for-Iran arrangement. Was it a ransom for American prisoners released by Iran on the same day the Obama administration announced the $1.7 billion settlement? (The Obama administration has repeatedly asked the public to swallow the logical fallacy that because it is not U.S. policy to pay ransom, this was not a ransom).

Why did the administration — until outed in August and September in a series of stories by the press — make a secret of the cash, the conduits and the dates of delivery? What were — what are — the full terms of this confidential arrangement? Which, according to a Sept. 29 report in The Wall Street Journal, included, as part of a package of three secret documents signed in Geneva, U.S. backing for the lifting of UN sanctions on two Iranian state banks blacklisted for financing Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Why have the relevant texts of all this wheeling and dealing been kept secret? Why has the administration repeatedly stonewalled questions from Congress? What were the machinations behind Obama’s claim, after The Wall Street Journal on August 3 broke the story of the first tranche of $400 million in cash for Iran, that the U.S. government had no choice but to pay Iran with a mountain of hard-currency banknotes? Based on what internal calculus did the administration refuse to provide public confirmation for another few weeks — until after the news broke in the press — that the additional $1.3 billion in taxpayers funds had also been paid in cash? On the basis of what information, precisely, did Attorney General Loretta Lynch certify that Treasury paying out those tax dollars to Iran was in the interest of the United States?

The government of terror-sponsoring Iran knows the answers to many of these questions. The American public does not. But we can reasonably speculate that as this cash-for-Iran saga unfolded, it left a trail of records within the Obama administration. Classified, quite likely — but surely there are some illuminating documents that someone with the proper clearances might wish to read.

Once upon a time, we would have called this a paper trail; these days it would more likely be digital. But at the very least, there ought to be the secret texts, the related justifications, requisitions and all the to-and-fro that would presumably be involved in the State Department, the Pentagon and Treasury (at the behest of the Justice Department, on behalf of State, with the blessing of President Obama), secretly organizing cash shipments totaling $1.7 billion for Iran — and then, for months, despite persistent questions from Congress and the press, covering it up. Add to that the overlap — or was it, as appears more likely, the coordination? — of all that clandestinely conveyed cash with the return of American hostages. Then amplify this scene dramatically, to include the manufacturing of the mothership Iran nuclear deal itself, and the related handling of sanctions (which, as the 2014-2015 Iran talks stretched out from the initially planned six months to 17, appeared, despite administration protests to the contrary, to be ever more casually enforced).

Which brings us back to America’s presidential election a mere three days ago, in which it sure looks like Obama and his team were blind-sided by Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton. Misled by their own narratives, by their echo chamber in the press, by erroneous polls, by the same arrogance that begat the presidential rule of pen-and-phone and Ben-Rhodes-narratives, Obama and his team were expecting a handover to Hillary. She might not agree with them on everything, but as a former insider herself, as a candidate who was running to continue Obama’s trajectory and cement his legacies, she wasn’t someone whose access to the Iran file was likely to cause anyone currently in the White House to lose sleep (provided she’d really ditched her non-secure home-server proclivities).

And then Hillary lost.

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Obama’s Secret Muslim List

unnamed-57Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, November 2, 2016

Like a warped Islamic version of Santa Claus, Obama had a secret Muslim list. And his people checked it at least twice. The list was of Muslims who were prospects for important jobs and appointments.

It included a Muslim who had described Israel as an “Apartheid State,” Iran’s “go-to guy in New York financial circles” and a number of figures linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It was the ultimate religious test from an administration that had vocally rejected them.

Obama had claimed that having religious tests for migration was “shameful” and “not American.”

“When I hear folks say that, well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims,” he huffed from Turkey. His Muslim host country was run by a bigoted sponsor of Islamic terror.

“We don’t have religious tests,” he insisted.

Except we did and we do. Obama also had religious tests. His religious tests excluded Christians and favored Muslims. That is why his Syrian refugees were between 98% and 99% Muslim with only 68 Christians and 24 Yazidis, even though both groups are real victims of the Muslim religious war.

Syria is 10% Christian and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Yet only 68 have made it past Obama’s iron curtain. That’s either an Islamic religious test or the world’s greatest coincidence.

But would the man who piously lectured us on the evils of religious tests really have a religious test?

Of course he would.

The hacked emails include a list of “Muslim American candidates for top Administration jobs, sub-cabinet jobs, and outside boards/agencies/policy committees.”

The list was sent to John Podesta who headed the Obama-Biden Transition Project. It had been put together by a woman who had sat on the Commission on International Religious Freedom, but boasted that she had, “Excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian.”

How “shameful.” How “not American” of Barack Hussein Obama.

“Most who are listed appear to be Muslim-American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian),” she assured Podesta.

Religious tests are only out of line when they exclude Muslims. Not when they exclude Christians.

That’s the pattern which emerged from the Obama-Biden Transition Project and Obama’s refugee policy. There has been a clear pattern of administration bias against Christians and Jews. And in favor of Muslims. That bias has been obvious in a foreign policy which backed Islamic supremacist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood over more moderate governments at the expense of non-Muslim populations.

This policy led to the displacement and death of countless Christians, and the persecution of entire communities, by an administration which then denied safe harbor to the victims of its own policies.

Administration bias replicated that same bigoted policy at home when it favored Islamic candidates.

Obama appointed Farooq Kathwari, the first name on the “Muslim list” sent to Podesta, to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The “Muslim list” email had warned that, “Kathwari’s then 19-year-old American-educated son Irfan (aka Imran), was killed in 1992 fighting Jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan.” The actions of his son, who may have been with the Mujahedeen but was also apparently outraged over India’s defense of Kashmir, is of less relevance than Kathwari’s appearance at an ISNA conference and another conference co-sponsored by the Muslim Students Association. Both groups are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

He co-chaired the American Muslim Task Force whose members included Salam Al-Marayati, Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which has defended Hamas and Hezbollah, Yahya Basha, president of the American Muslim Council and a former board member of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and assorted other Islamists.  Its report complained that Muslims were inhibited from donating to “charities” run by Islamic terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. Yahya Basha also appeared on Obama’s Muslim list.

Also listed was MPAC’s Aslam Abdullah who had claimed that “Zionists,” Christians and Hindus were behind the War on Terror. He had described Israel as an “apartheid state” and a “racist state.”

The second Muslim on the list, Cyrus Amir-Mokri, was named assistant treasury secretary. He became the first Iranian to be named to such a high position and defended the Iran nuclear sellout. Mokri attended a meeting with members of the Iran Lobby at the White House. He also reportedly advised Obama on Iranian sanctions.

Obama had famously told NASA boss Bolden that one of his three tasks at the space agency was Muslim self-esteem. But Bolden almost didn’t make it in. The Muslim list included two alternative candidates for NASA administrator. One of them, Dr. Charles Elachi of JPL was dismissed as “possibly Christian.” Indeed Elachi, who grew up admiring John Wayne and believes that American success is possible because it isn’t “held back by the long-standing, ingrained systems and beliefs found in the Middle East” would have been a rather poor fit. But it is deeply shameful and un-American that his potential NASA appointment questioned his religion. That is an inappropriate religious test that Obama must apologize for.

The other name on the list however is Firouz Naderi, an Iranian board member of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans which advocated in support of the Iran nuke sellout.

Eboo Patel, whose name would frequently appear on lists of Islamists in the Obama administration, first made an appearance on the Muslim List. Despite his Islamist ties, he got the posting at the Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. Also listed were Keith Ellison, Andre Carson and Larry Shaw. Shaw sits on the board of CAIR.

Dilawar Syed, the first name to appear on the list of possible appointments, was named to Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Syed is a co-founder and chair of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Victory Fund which has come out for Hillary Clinton. The secret Muslim list describes him as “animated by policy issues relating to the Muslim world.” A similar description is appended to the bio for Kashif Zafar who served as a Co-Chair of the South Asian American Leadership Council at the DNC.

Also on the list was Hamid Biglari. Bloomberg described Biglari as “Iran’s Man in New York” and as the Iranian president’s “go-to guy in New York financial circles.” Biglari was a key Iran Lobby figure.

The recently revealed secret Muslim list is deeply troubling. There should be no religious test for political appointments. Yet Obama had one. And his people sought to screen out Christians and favor Muslims.

This represents behavior that is in Obama’s own words, “shameful” and “not American.” One can’t help but conclude that, based on his own principles, Obama is shameful and not American.

Did Russian’s Half A Million To Her Advisor Influence Hillary On Iran?

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Americans need to know whether Hillary Clinton and Thomas Pickering put America’s interests first, or those of Russia and Iran.

The Federalist, by Christine Brim, October 27, 2016:

The Clinton campaign has been complaining bitterly about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s possible ties to WikiLeaks’ daily dumps of campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. My new investigative report, “Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat: Thomas Pickering and Russia’s Pipeline Sales to Iran and Syria, exposes Hillary Clinton’s own damaging ties to Russia and Iran while she was secretary of State. Her Foreign Affairs Policy Advisor Thomas Pickering was a paid director for the Russian company Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya (TMK) from June 30, 2009 to June 26, 2012. TMK is majority-owned by Russian billionaire oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky, a close Putin ally.

I discovered extensive proof of TMK’s business dealings in Iran and Syria while Pickering was on its board, including TMK sales of oil and gas pipelines to Iran that were specifically prohibited under U.S. laws and executive orders. Pickering was deeply involved with TMK. According to TMK records, he attended 143 of the 145 board meetings. Pickering is estimated to have been paid more than half a million dollars for his service to TMK from 2009 to 2012, based on TMK’s compensation rules. He has since claimed to have donated it all to an unnamed charity.

Clinton’s, President Obama’s, and Pickering’s interests converged during the time Pickering was on TMK’s board of directors. Clinton had announced the Russian “reset” in March 2009; Obama pleaded with Iran for a new beginning two weeks later; and Pickering joined TMK, which was publicizing its sales to Iran and Syria in numerous documents, in June of that year.

Yes, We Sell to Countries Americans Sanction

Pickering combined his commercial, nonprofit, and policy roles into a seamless whole, all with the common goal of ending economic sanctions against Iran and reversing U.S. Iran policies. He was Clinton’s foreign affairs policy advisor and email correspondent, a board member for two Iranian advocacy groups, a paid consultant to Boeing (now a $25 billion Iranian aircraft contractor, thanks to Pickering’s advocacy), a well-known “behind-the-scenes” negotiator with Iranian representatives, and a paid director for a Russian company—TMK—that was actively exporting pipelines to Iran and Syria.

TMK’s customers and sales were not secret. In marketing materials, legal documents, a tenth anniversary PowerPoint presentation, catalogs, and webpages, TMK openly stated it had “major” and “main” pipeline customers in Iran and Syria. Iranian customer websites named TMK as a vendor. Steelorbis.com, an online steel industry newsletter, published six different reports from 2009 to 2013 listing specific prices for TMK pipes delivered to an Iranian port. Here’s just one example, an excerpt from the February 18, 2011 article published when Pickering was a TMK director:

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In a February 5, 2010 $412,500,000 convertible bond offering circular issued by its financing subsidiary TMK Bonds S.A, TMK even formally disclosed that it was selling to Iran and Syria, stating “As a globally operating organization, we also conduct business with customers in Iran and Syria. The U.S. Department of State designates these countries as state sponsors of terrorism and subjects them to export controls.”

TMK’s U.S. division, TMK IPSCO, has plants in Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kentucky. TMK pledged its U.S. assets as guarantors for international financing in at least two offers. Several executive orders on Iranian economic sanctions prohibit “any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person [company].”

Were Pickering’s Iran Dealings Illegal?

The Iranian ebusiness website pipeiran.com listed the Khatam-al Anbiya as a client and TMK’s Volzhsky Pipe Plant and TMK’s Romanian Division as vendors. Khatam-al Anbiya is the engineering and construction firm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). On October 21, Adam Szubin, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, stated “You cannot do business with IRGC companies….If you do, and you’re doing so knowingly, you are risking the most draconian sanctions in our toolkit, and that governs not just U.S. persons but actors all around the world.”

TMK’s customers in Iran were government-owned companies, and so were the ones in Syria. TMK’s three Iranian customers during the years Pickering served on the board were all listed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as “Specially Designated Nationals”: the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Petropars, and Pars Oil and Gas Company. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from conducting any kind of business with “Specially Designated Nationals.”

Similarly, TMK’s three Syrian customers were listed by OFAC as “Specially Designated Nationals” in 2011, while Pickering was on the Board: the Syrian Gas Company, the Syrian Petroleum Company, and the Al Furat Petroleum Company.

Pickering apparently did not disclose his links to TMK and TMK’s sales to Iran when he testified on Iran before Sen. John Kerry’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 28, 2012 while he was still a TMK director. That information might have been relevant (though it wasn’t legally required) for Kerry’s committee, since in his testimony Pickering recommended that, in return for hypothetical limits on Iran’s nuclear program:

Some freezing or easing of sanctions might be a fair quid pro quo for such steps… It would also help if we begin to consider freezing or relaxing the imposition of some sanctions in return for real progress in making their nuclear program more open and more fully inspected and in improving relations with Iran in other areas …My recommendation is that we now take the sanctions pressure and turn it into a useful diplomatic tool to begin serious diplomatic negotiations with Iran.

It Sure Pays to Work in Government

Emails released from Clinton’s private server show that Pickering was emailing, meeting, and coordinating foreign travel with Clinton and her staff from the beginning of her time as secretary of State and arguing for an end to economic sanctions on Iran all during the same years he was on TMK’s board of directors. Starting in December 2011, he also served in official capacity on Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Clinton appointed Pickering chairman for the Benghazi Accountability Review Board three months after he left TMK.

There’s much more in the investigative report “Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” on these dangerous liaisons between Clinton and Pickering, and Russia’s pipeline sales to Iran and Syria. The bottom line for the American public and policymakers is this: Did Hillary Clinton and Thomas Pickering put America’s interests first, or those of Russia and Iran?

Pickering’s actions with Hillary Clinton, TMK, various Iranian groups, Boeing and all the rest were not an exception to how Washington insiders operate. Pickering’s actions were an exceptionally well-crafted version of what insiders do every day, and not just in Washington—in Moscow and Tehran, too. Some are just better at it, and Pickering is one of the best. Washington insiders don’t want to blow the whistle on Pickering. They want to be Pickering. And some of them are worse.

Christine Brim is a founder of Paratos LLC, a risk communications consultancy. Previously she served at the Center for Security Policy as a vice president and chief operating officer.

Iran’s proxy missile attacks

Missile Attack Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Missile Attack Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Islamic regime seeks control of Middle East waterways

Washington Times, by James A. Lyons, October 25, 2016:

The recent missile attacks attributed to Yemeni Houthi rebels, with assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah, demonstrate Iran’s classic use of proxies to promote its political agenda. The Houthi rebels denied any involvement in the missile attacks. However, they certainly were not fired by camel herders. The Houthis never would have launched an attack on the U.S. Navy without being ordered to do so by their Iranian sponsors. To think otherwise would be delusional.

Iran has the failed to honor the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons agreement. There is actually no agreement, since nothing has been signed. With Russia’s support in Syria, Iran clearly feels emboldened to challenge the United States directly. And with the $150 billion sanctions relief windfall, plus planeloads of hard cash totaling more than $33 billion, Iran can easily expand its role as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, which is what we are witnessing in Yemen. The Iranian use of proxies has cost thousands of American lives, but, fortunately, this time they failed.

Clearly, Iran wants to be able to control the strategic Bab al Mandab Strait, which would give it de facto control of the Suez Canal. More than 10 percent of the world’s maritime shipping passes through that strait on a daily basis. Such control, when combined with control of the Strait of Hormuz, would give Iran control of all Arab oil shipments as well as all Israeli shipping emanating to and from the port of Eilat in the Red Sea. Iran would also like to see our 71-year alliance with Saudi Arabia terminated.

With the help of the IRGC and the Iranian proxy terrorist group Hezbollah, two radar sites were recently constructed outside of Yemen’s two principal Red Sea ports, Mokha and Hudaydah, which are currently under the control of the Houthi rebels. These sites, according to various reports, were operated by IRGC and Hezbollah radar and missile teams. The missiles fired were an upgraded version of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile. It should be remembered that on July 14, 2006, Hezbollah successfully fired a C-802 missile against the Israeli missile ship INS Hanit, inflicting heavy damage.

Despite Iran’s assurance about not providing weapons, the Houthis received a delivery the week prior to the missile attacks, the largest shipment of Iranian weapons to date. Obviously, this shipment, apparently undetected by our intelligence resources, included Scud D surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 800 kilometers as well as the upgraded Chinese C-802 anti-ship missiles. The Scuds went to the northern border to be used against Saudi Arabia, and the C-802 anti-ship missiles went to the Houthi’s Ansar Allah faction, which is under the direct control of the IRGC.

The same day missiles were fired against the USS Mason, Oct. 9, the Houthis, with the assistance of the IRGC, fired Scud-D missiles at the Saudi town of Ta’if, which is 700 kilometers from the Yemeni border — but, more importantly, only 70 kilometers from the holy city of Mecca. The message to the Saudis was clear. Iran intends to challenge the Saudis’ control of Islam’s most holy sites.

The Red Sea is a very narrow strategic body of water. It is only 62 kilometers from the Saudi coast to Africa. All shipping can be threatened and easily attacked with the current inventory of missiles transferred to Yemen.

The Houthis have also landed and taken control of Perim Island in the mouth of the Bab al Mandab Straits. Since the main maritime route is only 20 kilometers wide at this point, it serves as a natural choke point and a threat to all shipping as long as it remains under Houthi-Iranian control.

How did we get involved in this classic Sunni-Shia sectarian war? Very briefly, in late 2014, Shia Houthi rebel forces captured the capital city of Sana’a. The Houthis, backed by Iran, are fighting against the internationally recognized government of Yemen’s Sunni president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. In March 2015, the Saudis led a campaign to overthrow the Houthi rebels. President Obama, in an attempt to get Saudi Arabia’s support for his nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, agreed to support the Saudi effort. We proceeded to provide limited intelligence, in-flight refueling, command and control guidance and some weapons.

The missile attack on our forces in the vicinity of the Bab al Mandab Straits is another manifestation of Iran’s contempt for America and disregard for international norms. Further, with little to fear from an Obama administration response, they clearly have been emboldened to further their hegemonic objectives by challenging our forces directly. While the Houthi’s missile attack on the United Arab Emirate’s HSV-2 Swift Catamaran vessel was successful on Oct. 1, their attack on the USS Mason was, fortunately, a failure. While it took us four days to respond, the USS Nitze’s tomahawk missile strikes destroyed the three Iranian radar sites, which eliminated the immediate threat to shipping in the area.

This was a minimum response — a tit for tat — which will most likely invite more attacks, since C-802 missiles can be fired without radar. When an enemy attacks one of our U.S. Navy ships, our response must be overwhelming. =We should have destroyed not only the radar sites but also any missile-launching sites and any associated ammo storage sites. Any known Iranian installations should have been destroyed. Electrical utility grids that provide power to support Houthi rebels and Iranian forces in the two areas should also be destroyed. The Houthi installation on Perim Island should be eliminated. The message must be clear: “Don’t tread on me.”

James A. Lyons, a U.S. Navy retired admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

The Battle of Mosul

7fb89ca7-549c-4fff-a20f-b1551b8a4554Townhall, by Cliff May, Oct 26, 2016:

Ayman al-Zawahiri was correct. Believed to be ensconced in the tribal lands of Pakistan, the leader of what’s sometimes called al Qaeda Central has dedicated his life to a jihad that he hopes and prays will lead to the founding of a new and mighty Islamic empire. But he understands the value of strategic patience.

In particular, he recognized that establishing a caliphate before conditions were favorable for its survival and expansion could only be unhelpful, causing Muslims to doubt whether spreading Islamic domination in the 21st century is a divinely blessed mission.

By contrast, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 45, has been a young man in a hurry. As leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, he chafed at taking orders from the 65-year-old successor to Osama bin Laden. In 2014, he broke with al Qaeda, declared a caliphate, the Islamic State, with himself as caliph. And now he and his fledgling empire are in peril.

A coalition of forces is closing in on Mosul, the only major Sunni-majority city in Iraq still under Islamic State control. It is probably only a matter of time — and blood — before Mosul is liberated, a term that should be used advisedly in the Middle East.

The Islamic State is believed to have fewer than 7,000 fighters in Mosul. How many will seek martyrdom (after using human shields for as long as possible) and how many will run from the more than 30,000 coalition troops — troops much better equipped and supported by American air power? Hard to say.

Those who flee may head for towns along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that remain Islamic State strongholds. Others will try to reach Syria, especially Raqqa, the caliphate’s de facto capital, northeast of Damascus.

An offensive against Raqqa is being contemplated. But who will lead that effort? And who will govern Raqqa after the Islamic State is gone? These are difficult questions that ought to be answered within a broader strategic framework.

Imagine that the Battle of Mosul is followed by a Battle of Raqqa and that the Islamic State ends up with little or no territory still under its control. What do its surviving fighters do then? Perhaps some will slink back to wherever they came from, defeated and disillusioned. Others may become guerrillas, perpetrating acts of terrorism within the region and plotting a comeback. Still others could decide to put their skills and experience to use in a more distant land, perhaps one that mistakes them for refugees.

We don’t know how much destruction will be visited on Mosul over the days ahead, but it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of people will be displaced. The agencies charged with caring for them are already burdened to the breaking point.

Mosul and the nearby Nineveh Plain are the historic homeland of the Assyrian Christians. The U.S. Congress, the Obama administration and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom have all recognized that these and other Christian communities of the Middle East, as well as Yazidis and other religious minorities, are facing genocide. Such recognition should guarantee that saving Christians and their communities is a high priority. That does not appear to be the case at present. It’s easy to champion diversity for Washington, Toronto and Berlin. To do so for Muslim-majority lands is more challenging.

Though the forces assembled for the Battle of Mosul view the Islamic State as their common enemy, their alliance remains tenuous. The Peshmerga, the army of Iraqi Kurdistan, is constituted of tough fighters whose most important mission is consolidating and defending historically Kurdish lands. Elements of the Iraqi military are reportedly flying Shia flags, a sight not reassuring to Mosul’s Sunnis. Also joining the coalition are Popular Mobilization Forces, Shia militias, the most powerful of which are controlled by Iran. Just a few years ago, they were killing American troops, using such weapons as EFPs, explosively formed penetrators — highly lethal bombs supplied by Iran’s ruling mullahs.

If the Battle of Mosul goes as expected, the Islamic State’s loss, while significant, also will be al Qaeda’s gain. Dr. Zawahiri (he was a physician before he was a revolutionary) should have an easier time attracting recruits and funds once it becomes indisputable that the rival founded by Dr. Baghdadi (he was a theologian before he was a revolutionary) has not lived up to its promise.

Also benefiting from the decline of the Islamic State will be the Islamic Republic of Iran, which aims to establish a new Persian empire, albeit one based on religious allegiance. Most immediately, the clerical regime is attempting to construct what has been called a “Shia crescent” including Iraq, where its influence has only grown since the 2011 withdrawal of American troops, and Syria, where it is defending the dictatorship of its client, Bashar Assad (with significant Russian assistance). Beyond Syria is Lebanon, where Hezbollah, Iran’s foreign legion, is more powerful than the national armed forces and is preparing for a future showdown with Israel. In addition, Iran provides support to Houthis fighting a civil war in Yemen, and to Hamas in Gaza.

So while the Battle of Mosul is likely to be a military victory for the alliance President Obama supports, it would be unwise for him to claim — once again — that “the tide of war is receding.” The free peoples of the world, as well as those who might like to be, are in for an extended conflict, one that will have to be fought on multiple battlefields against a list of jihadi groups and regimes. Perhaps the next American administration will develop a serious strategy to defeat our enemies. I’m not suggesting that’s probable, only that it’s not impossible.
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Also see:

Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat: Thomas Pickering and Russia’s Pipeline Sales to Iran…

2033376978Center for Security Policy, October 25, 2016:

“Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” is a hard-hitting investigative report from the Center for Security Policy, exposing the ties of former Ambassador Thomas Pickering to a Putin-linked Russian company that sold oil and gas pipelines to Iran and Syria when Pickering was on its Board of Directors. The report reveals Pickering’s overlapping roles: as Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Advisor, as an Advisory Board member for two Iranian advocacy groups, as a paid Director for a Russian firm selling pipeline to Iran and Syria, as a paid consultant to Iranian aircraft contractor Boeing, and as a Senate committee hearing witness, all with a common goal of ending economic sanctions on Iran and reversing U.S. Iran policies.

As meticulously documented in “Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat,” Pickering was a paid Director for the Russian-owned company Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya (TMK) from June 30, 2009 to June 26, 2012. TMK is majority-owned by Russian billionaire oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky, a close Putin ally.

The investigation discovered extensive proof of TMK’s business dealings in Iran and Syria while Pickering was on the Board, including a financial offering disclosure, catalogs, marketing materials, websites, press releases, legal documents, reports from the steel industry press and Iranian customer websites. Sales of oil and gas pipelines to Iran were specifically prohibited under U.S. laws and executive orders.

According to TMK’s records, Pickering attended 143 of the 145 TMK Board meetings. Pickering is estimated to have been paid over half a million dollars for his service to TMK, based on TMK’s compensation rules.

“Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” documents TMK’s relationships with three Iranian customers, all listed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as “Specially Designated Nationals” during the years Pickering served on the Board: the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Petropars, and Pars Oil and Gas Company.

The investigation also shows TMK’s relationships with three Syrian customers listed by OFAC as “Specially Designated Nationals” in 2011, while Pickering was on the Board: the Syrian Gas Company, the Syrian Petroleum Company, and the Al Furat Petroleum Company. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from conducting any kind of business with “Specially Designated Nationals.”

Thomas Pickering was appointed by Clinton as Chairman for the Benghazi Accountability Review Board three months after he left TMK. Starting in December 2011, he also served in official capacity on Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Emails released from Clinton’s private server show that Pickering was emailing and meeting with Clinton and her staff from the beginning of her time as Secretary of State, arguing for an end to economic sanctions on Iran, during the same years he was on TMK’s Board of Directors.

“Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” raises questions for the American public and policymakers about Thomas Pickering’s and Hillary Clinton’s priorities. Did they put America’s interests first, or those of Iran and Russia?

“Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” author Christine Brim is the former Chief Operating Officer for the Center for Security Policy. For more information contact christinebrim1@gmail.com (202-379-6776) or the Center for Security Policy at info@securefreedom.org (202-835-9077).

Download “Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” at http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/clintons-shadow-diplomat/