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.

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/

Latest Hillary Clinton Email Dump Reveals Suggested Push for Palestinian Protests

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by CLARE M. LOPEZ, Jan. 20, 2016:

Hillary Clinton’s personal email server continues to yield a treasure trove of information. Most recently, a series of emails suggest Clinton had considered a plan to incite Palestinian protests against Israel.

The email, surfacing thanks to the dogged efforts of Judicial Watch, is an 18 December 2011 message from former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering in which he suggests that then-Secretary of State Clinton should consider a plan to re-energize the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks by inciting Palestinians to ‘non-violent’ demonstrations and protests against Israel.

Pickering, who serves on the Board of Advisors to the notorious National Iranian American Council (NIAC – widely viewed as a lobbying front for the Iranian regime), described a clandestine campaign by the U.S. to whip up anti-Israel sentiment intended to cudgel our Israeli allies into re-engaging in negotiations with the Palestinians. Of course, he emphasized that Clinton should keep confidential the whole nefarious idea as, clearly, they did not want Israel to learn of it:

“Most of all the United States, in my view, cannot be seen to have stimulated, encouraged or be the power behind it for reasons you will understand better than anyone,” he wrote, suggesting that the government enlist liberal non-profit groups in Israel. “I believe third parties and a number NGOs [non-government organizations] on both sides would help.”

Instead of dismissing out of hand the very idea of such a shameful plot—not to mention immediately distancing herself from the one who proposed it—Secretary Clinton instead requested an aide to make a print-out of the email for her.

Nor was this Pickering’s first foray into plotting with America’s enemies—and Israel’s. Just weeks after President Obama’s June 4, 2009 Cairo speech had green-lighted the Islamic Uprising to come, Clinton’s aide, Cheryl Mills, forwarded to her a Washington Post articledated July 16, 2009 that reported on a secret meeting that Pickering had held in Zurich, Switzerland with two senior HAMAS officials. While U.S. officials predictably tried to distance the Obama administration from the talks, the terrorist organization itself (the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) characterized them in what were likely more accurate terms, as a potential opening with the Obama White House.

In fact, it had been clear since days of the Obama team’s 2008 presidential campaign that he intended to turn established U.S. policy vis-à-vis Islamic jihadist groups like HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood upside down by embracing instead of countering them. One of the Obama campaign’s informal advisors, Robert Malley, a long-time advocate for the HAMAS terror group then with the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group (where Pickering is Board Co-Chairman), was compelled to resign from the campaign after reports revealed that he had held meetings with HAMAS. Malley next accompanied Pickering to the June 2009 gathering in Zurich with HAMAS foreign minister, Mahmud Zahar and Osama Hamdan, the Brotherhood affiliate’s top official in Lebanon. It was all an effort to “understand what HAMAS’s views are,” according to Malley (who apparently has not yet had the chance to read the HAMAS Covenant, where the group’s annihilationist intent toward Israel is quite clearly stated).

Malley had to wait several long years before the Obama White House rehabilitated him in April 2015, where he served until recently as the National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. Given how well U.S. policy in that region has gone of late, Malley was promoted on 30 November 2015 to serve as Senior Advisor to the President for the Counter-ISIL Campaign in Iraq and Syria, where his skills at reaching out to the jihadist enemy can really be put to the test.

As Michael Bay’s new blockbuster film, 13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, premiers around the country this week, it is a good time to consider the wholesale chaos that a policy of alienating (and sometimes deposing) our allies and embracing our enemies has wrought. The story of six American heroes who selflessly charged to the sound of the guns to save dozens of lives contrasts rather starkly with the record of the Obama team, which included Hillary Clinton, Thomas Pickering, and Robert Malley, who continue to charge instead headlong into the embrace of our jihadist enemies.

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

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Also see:

Benghazi Bombshell: Clinton State Department Official Reveals Details of Alleged Document Review

cnpphotos042907By Sharyl Attkisson:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff allegedly present at after-hours document review.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe.

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

New Benghazi allegation puts spotlight on Hillary Clinton confidants, alleged after-hours document review.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff allegedly present at after-hours document review.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe.

Ray Maxwell (Photo: Sharyl Attkisson)

“I was not invited to that after-hours endeavor, but I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell says.

He didn’t know it then, but Maxwell would ultimately become one of four State Department officials singled out for discipline—he says scapegoated—then later cleared for devastating security lapses leading up to the attacks. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered during the Benghazi attacks.

‘Basement Operation’

Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.

In an interview Monday morning on Fox News, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, named the two Hillary Clinton confidants who allegedly were  present: One was Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and a former White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. The other, Chaffetz said, was Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

 

 

Read more at The Daily Signal

Sources: U.S. Held Secret Meeting With Hamas

hamas (1)By Aaron Klein:

TEL AVIV – The U.S. last week held a clandestine meeting in Egypt with Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of Hamas, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials would not say whether the meeting was with a current member of the U.S. government or a former diplomat acting as a proxy for the Obama administration.

Messages were exchanged about Hamas’s intentions as part of a newly formed Palestinian unity government with the rival Fatah party, led by Mahmoud Abbas, the officials said.

Last week, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper quoted an unnamed White House official stating the Obama administration is leaning toward cooperating with the Hamas-Fatah Palestinian unity government, even if Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and despite objections from the Israeli government.

Previously the Middle East Quartet, made up of the U.S., Russia, European Union and United Nations, declared it would not deal with Hamas unless the terrorist group renounces violence and recognizes Israel.

The Haaretz article did not mention any U.S.-Hamas meeting.

Hamas has several times claimed it talked with U.S. surrogates about eventually establishing open relations.

Sources within Hamas previously disclosed to WND a June 2009 meeting with former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering. The sources claimed the meeting was about opening future talks with the West.

The State Department has not replied to a WND request for comment.

The gathering allegedly took place in Geneva with two Hamas leaders, Bassem Naim and Mahmoud al-Zahar. Naim is Hamas’ health minister, while al-Zahar is one of the main Hamas leaders in Gaza.

Pickering’s meeting with Hamas in 2009 served as an “important step” to open eventual dialogue between the Islamic group and the Obama administration, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, Ahmed Yousef, told WND that year.

At the time, the State Department told the Jerusalem Post the meeting between Pickering and Hamas was not sanctioned by the White House.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stressed Pickering acted as a private citizen. Kelly said he was unaware of any prior U.S. governmental coordination with the former diplomat about the meeting with Hamas.

Pickering was the State Department’s lead investigator on the Benghazi attack.

Read more at WND

Pro-Iran Shadow Lobby Launches Bid to Kill Iran Sanctions

Hasan RouhaniBy :

A network of pro-Iran advocates are uniting behind a new campaign aimed at killing bipartisan legislation meant to increase sanctions on Tehran should it cheat on a recently inked nuclear accord.

The latest bid to kill sanctions in Congress is being led by the Iran Project, a little known group that is deeply tied to, and funded by, some of Tehran’s top U.S. advocates.

The Iran Project went live on Monday with an anti-sanctions letter signed by a who’s who of liberal former U.S. officials, many of whom have long advocated to roll back sanctions on Iran and increase diplomacy with the rogue regime.

The letter, which quickly gained traction in some foreign policy circles, urged Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.)—one of the chief architects of the new Iran sanctions bill—to back off his bid and let the bill die.

Liberal outlets such as the Huffington Post and others have also gone after Menendez in a bid to force him to abandon the bill, which is hotly opposed by the White House but supported by 48 senators.

The Iran Project claims that the new sanctions bill would “move the U.S. closer to war” with Iran.

The missive is signed by former ambassadors Thomas Pickering and Ryan Crocker as well as by former National Intelligence Officer Paul Pillar and several other foreign policy experts known for taking a soft line on Iran.

Read more at Free Beacon

CBS’ 60 Minutes avoids Egyptian Connection to Benghazi

Logan: Well done report but missing something very important.

Logan: Well done report but missing something very important.

Walid Shoebat:

The 60 Minutes piece by Lara Logan on the Benghazi attacks was well done. It included excerpts of interviews with State Department whistleblower Gregory Hicks, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, and a British security official who was in charge of the Libyans who were hired to provide security, Libyans he didn’t seem impressed by.

Here’s the report via 60 Minutes; commentary to follow:

 

 

Well done, yes but also a bit incomplete and possibly misleading in some respects.

First, here we are more than one year later and Logan reports it’s now “well established” that the compound was attacked by al-Qaeda. When was this established? It would seem that this is a bit of a bombshell, would it not? Initially, the attack was about a video; then it was a group called Ansar Al-Sharia. Now, a “well established” fact that al-Qaeda was involved. This is a bit of news if for no other reason than it is officially acknowledged.

Earlier this week, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported that the attack had connections to “Al-Qaeda Core” in Pakistan. Again, huge bombshell because it leads to Ayman al-Zawahiri, whose first cousin was Mohammed Mursi’s chief of staff.

The 60 Minutes piece went in a curious direction when it seemed to imply that the guy who could take the fall for the attack is Abu Anas al Libi, who was apprehended by U.S. Special Forces in Tripoli earlier this month. Al Libi is wanted for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. He was not a suspect in the Benghazi attack but Logan reported he is being questioned to find out what he knew about it.

Completely absent from the report was any reference to Egypt’s involvement. For example, the Jamal Network’s involvement in the Benghazi attacks is far more established than any connection al Libi may have. The network’s founder Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif is currently sitting in an Egyptian jail and has even been identified by the U.N. Security Council as a lead suspect in the attack with connections to Ayman al-Zawahiri (yes, that Ayman al-Zawahiri).

Let’s also not forget that Thomas Pickering inadvertently divulged information from his Accountability Review Board’s “classified” report when he mentioned an Egyptian connection. He was almost undoubtedly referring to the Jamal Network. A few weeks after doing so, the U.S. State Department identified Al-Kashif and his network as terrorists. Unlike the U.N., State did not identify Al-Kashif or his network as suspects in the Benghazi attack but it did acknowledge his connection to and correspondence with Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Publicly acknowledging that al Libi was involved in the Benghazi attacks is far more preferable to the Obama administration than putting the spotlight on the Jamal Network for several reasons. Among them is that Al-Kashif was released from prison after the fall of Mubarak and subsequently founded his network. There are multiple Arabic reports that say Mursi pardoned him. This would mean that the President of a nation state pardoned the guy whose network was responsible for the murder of a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans.

We also know that Al-Kashif is connected to Al-Zawahiri. Making this even more potentially explosive are reports that Mursi and al-Zawahiri collaborated to release jihadists and open terror camps in the Sinai and along Egypt’s border with Libya.

Read more at Shoebat.com