If Donald Trump were nearly as smart as his boosters claim, he would quit whining about that angry little Muslim fellow–what was his name again anyway?–and go to town on this, from the Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.
The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before.
‘With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,’ President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17—without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.
President Obama has since claimed that he fully disclosed this matter back in January. He just forgot to mention the details, such as the Iranians holding the hostages overnight at their airport until the plane carrying the cash landed. Mr. Obama also denied that the exchange had anything to do with ransom, but admitted the money had to be turned into foreign cash as a way around US sanctions.
Let’s journey back to November 4, 1979 when, after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi flew to America for cancer treatment, various “students” seized the American Embassy, taking and holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Iran, now under new, Islamist leadership, promptly declared war on America, and has been at war with us since, killing innumerable Americans and our allies either directly, or through their proxy terror allies such as Hezbollah and Hamas. To put it simply, Iran, which even some elements of the Obama Administration grudgingly admits is the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism, was and remains our deadly enemy, an enemy whose daily calls of “death to America” and “death to Israel” it takes very seriously indeed.
Fast forward to today and the Weekly Standard:
“Foreign currencies were used because transactions with Iran using U.S. dollars are illegal under American law. As Charles Krauthammer remarked, if a company was caught laundering money like this, the CEO would go to jail. Even worse, the massive cash transfer would be especially helpful in funding the clandestine activities of a state sponsor of terrorism. A cargo plane full of currency sounds like the opening scene in a great spy thriller. Except it’s not. It’s the Obama administration paying off a regime that has been kidnapping and killing Americans for all 37 years of its existence.”
From where did the cash come? Was it really the Iranian’s?
“Administration spokesmen argue that the $400 million paid out was Tehran’s money to begin with. But that’s not true. The $400 million was a payment received from the shah of Iran for a weapons deal with Washington that was never consummated because he was toppled by the Islamic revolution in 1979. Thus Washington held the money. Later, American victims of Iranian terrorism won judgments against the Islamic Republic in U.S. courts, and the Clinton administration, as a Newsweek article reported in January, promised that the settlements would be paid out of the $400 million. But the Clinton White House never reimbursed the Treasury Department, nor did the Bush administration. The $400 million that Obama aides say belongs to Iran should have long ago been distributed to Iran’s American victims and their families. Instead, it was U.S. taxpayers who compensated the victims of Iranian terror. And then we paid $400 million a second time, in January, to the Iranians themselves. The $1.3 billion of interest that the United States is supposed to have owed the Iranians is simply a fiction the Obama administration contrived to sweeten the pot, since the United States was under no legal obligation to pay Iran money that was no longer Iran’s. Yes, it was ransom, billed to the U.S. taxpayer.”
It has also been reported that the US Department of Justice objected to the Transaction, but the Obama State Department ignored it. The Wall Street Journal, via Powerline, explains:
Solomon and Lee explain the indirection in the cash payment: ‘The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law.’ This is the kind of workaround that would land lesser mortals in prison.
Solomon and Lee somewhat cruelly note: ‘Since the cash shipment, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. Tehran has also detained dual-nationals from France, Canada and the U.K. in recent months.
In other words, Mr. Obama, in sending foreign cash, paid for with US taxpayer dollars, to Iran, broke the law. He broke multiple laws, as former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy explains:
At a press conference Thursday, Obama remarkably explained, ‘The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.” Really Mr. President? The whole point of sanctions is to prohibit and punish certain behavior. If you — especially you, Mr. President — do the precise thing that the sanctions prohibit, that is a strange way of being ‘so strict in maintaining’ them.
Now, the sanctions at issue exclude Iran from the U.S. financial system by, among other things, prohibiting Americans and financial institutions from engaging in currency transactions that involve Iran’s government. Contrary to the nuclear sanctions that Obama’s Iran deal (the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ or JCPOA) attempts to undo, the sanctions pertinent here were imposed primarily as a result of Iran’s support for terrorism. That is significant. In pleading with Congress not to disapprove the JCPOA, Obama promised lawmakers that the terrorism sanctions would remain in force.
The law expressly forbids:
The exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, technology, or services to Iran or the Government of Iran is prohibited. [Emphasis added.]
As McCarthy points out, Mr. Obama’s admitted actions also violate federal laws against money laundering–which is precisely what he did–and against providing material support to terrorists. Giving the Iranians $400 million in foreign cash in the manner of a clandestine drug deal would seem to qualify. Treason–giving aid and comfort to America’s enemies–is always a fundamental component of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy.
The Obama Narrative, and the Truth:
Narrative: The $400 million dollars was Iran’s money, originally paid for armaments never delivered after Iran took hostages in 1979. America merely kept it in an account all those years. Mr. Obama even claimed giving it to Iran saved America billions in interest and judgments by international courts. Mr. Obama is always concerned for the proper disbursement of the hard-earned tax dollars of Americans.
Truth: The 400 million was not Iran’s money, sitting in an untouched account since before 1979. That money was paid out over decades to settle claims against Iran’s terrorist activities, including the original hostage crisis. The money came directly from the taxpayers. Why would America pay a dime, under any circumstance, to the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world, a deadly enemy dedicated to American’s destruction, and an enemy still taking hostages and killing Americans, an enemy still in a declared war with us?
Narrative: Mr. Obama admitted sending pallets of foreign cash was necessary because America doesn’t have a “banking relationship” with Iran.
Truth: We don’t have a “banking relationship” because federal law prohibits doing precisely what Mr. Obama did, whether he paid the ransom via a bank transfer, with American or Swiss cash, or with Gummi Bears.
Narrative: It was absolutely not a ransom. The timing and means and methods of delivering the cash was merely a coincidence resulting from the ground-breaking nuclear deal.
It is not at all clear to me why it is that cash, as opposed to a check or wire transfer, has made this into a news story.’
— President Barack Obama, Pentagon Press Conference, August 4, 2016
Truth: Mr. Obama violated multiple federal laws. The cash was packaged in an unmarked cargo plane, which landed in the dead of night. The Iranians, who are virtually always more honest and trustworthy than Barack Obama in describing their dealings, make no bones about calling it a ransom for the release of hostages. The hostages themselves make plain it was a ransom, as Powerline explains:
Originally the hostages were supposed to be taken from prison to their plane with minimal delays, but instead they were held in the airport overnight – despite the plane, pilot, and hostages being ready – and Abedini [hostage] was told they’d never be allowed to leave if that second plane didn’t show up.
Narrative: Mr. Obama told the public and the Congress all about the transfer of $400 million in January of 2016.
Truth: He made a single, vague reference to a $400 million payment as an integral part of the Iran nuclear deal. He did not explain how the money was transferred and its role in releasing the hostages. Mr. Obama kept all of that a secret from the Congress and from the American people.
So What’s The Problem?
Americans, in the final months of the Obama Administration, will continue to be treated to a blinding array of scandals, lies, blatant violations of the law and betrayals of American interests and national security. This is merely one, and surely will not be the most egregious or destructive.
A $400 million payoff has incentivized American hostage taking, not only for Iran, which has continued to take Americans hostage, but for a great many rogue nations and criminals around the globe. Life is now substantially more dangerous for any American outside the continental United States. Unfortunately, if taken hostage, no American can expect the Obama Administration to work to free them unless it somehow benefits radical Islamists.
However, this, like sexually transmitted diseases, is a gift that will keep on giving. By sending Iran actual piles of foreign cash, Mr. Obama has made it impossible to trace any cash used to fund terrorists around the world. Even Administration spokesliars have admitted Iran will do that, though they continue to claim Iran will dedicate the money to taking care of its people. Anyone making such a claim is too stupid or too uninformed to have anything to do with government. The Iranians imprison, torture and kill their own people every day. They are not its concern. Bringing about death and destruction on a global scale are, and they intend to start with Israel as soon as they have nuclear weapons.
Barack Obama has almost entirely desensitized the American people to criminal behavior that would have caused any former president to be impeached and imprisoned. Americans now almost universally shrug in disgust and mutter: “what’s the asshole done this time?” The bar is now set below ground level. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, there will be nothing she cannot get away with.
And has this non-ransom ransom payment cleaned up Iran’s act? Of course not. Since then, it has seized two additional American hostages, still holds a former FBI agent hostage, and has also seized hostages from other nations.
It should never be forgotten that Valerie Jarrett, Mr. Obama’s primary advisor, is of Iranian birth, and Hillary Clinton’s right hand woman, Huma Abedin, has, through her family, alarmingly close Muslim Brotherhood ties. Muslims with close ties and/or sympathies to radical Islamists and jihadist organizations hold important and sensitive positions throughout the Obama Administration. It must be assumed that virtually every American secret is well known by our most deadly enemies.
The revelations of the destruction Mr. Obama has allowed and authored will be leaked for decades after his flight from office.
Even if Hillary Clinton is defeated, it will take decades to begin to understand the depth of the damage done by Barack Obama, to say nothing of limiting or overturning it.
Stand by, but don’t hold your breath, to see if Donald Trump and the RNC use this to good effect., or if it is any longer possible for the American people to be outraged by treasonous, lawless politicians.
UPDATE, 08-08-16, 2320 CST:
U. S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9 (in part):
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
In other words, only Congress can appropriate money, from a single dime to $400 million dollars. The President has no money outside that appropriated by the Congress for his official expenses. We know he kept this secret from the American people and from Congress. There was no appropriation. I doubt the presidential petty cash fund is quite this large, so where did he get $400 million US dollars to convert to $400 million Euros and Swiss Francs? And where can I go to get the same? I could use a bit of loose change like that.
On the other hand, forget it. If I pulled a stunt like that, I’d be in a federal pen in record time. After all, I’m just one of the little people that have to obey the law.