Monday, August 08, 2016

Hostages, Ransoms, Iran, and Israel - Obama Lies Again

It's been revealed that American hostages held unjustly by Iran were released this January, but only after a sum of $400 million in cash sent by the U.S. was received by the Islamic Republic. This transaction was meant to be hidden, but now it's come out, it has immediately raised questions. Was this a ransom? Why was this hidden from the American public?

US President Barack Obama speaks to the media in Arlington, Virginia, on August 4, 2016. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

The totally misnamed Josh Earnest, Obama's spokeshole was quick to say that no ransom was paid, and Hillary Clinton said - it seems to be her trademark -that this was old news and 'no one cares about it anymore.' Well, it worked for Benghazi and her illegal private e-mails and server, so why not?

But it was left for Barack Obama to pull off the biggest, most shameless lies of the bunch. He gave a press conference and asserted the following:

  • That it was U.S. policy never to pay ransom for hostages, ever.

  • That the money arriving at the same time was just a coincidence and was a payment on an old claim by Iran on a missing arms deal to the Shah that we never delivered. And that America's own lawyers advised paying this settlement because Iran had pursued litigation in court and by settling, 'we saved America billions of dollars.'

  • That this was old news, that the Iran deal was working and that even Israel admitted it. Obama also said those who had been most critical of the deal should admit they were wrong:

    “What I’m interested in is if there’s some news to be made, why not have some of these folks who were predicting disaster come out and say, ‘This thing actually worked.’ Now that would be a shock,” he said.“That would be impressive. If some of these folks who said the sky is falling suddenly said, ‘You know what? We were wrong and we are glad that Iran no longer has the capacity to break out in short term and develop a nuclear weapon.’ But that wasn’t going to happen.”

    “The Israeli military and security community … acknowledges this has been a game changer,” he said. “The country that was most opposed to the deal.”

Well, let's examine these claims. First of all have we paid ransom before for hostages during Obama's term in office?

Remember these?

In 2011, the Obama Administration paid $1 million dollars to Iran
as 'bail money' to get them to release two hikers, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer who accidentally wandered over the Iranian border two years before and were being held in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. An additional $500,000 in 'bail' was paid earlier for the release of Sarah Shourd, Bauer's girl friend when she became seriously ill in Evin. So, a total of $1.5 million in ransom money.

In 2012, the Obama Administration used USAid as a conduit to pay $4.6 million to the Egyptian Government for the release of 43 NGO operatives...including Sam LaHood, the son of the then Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

Then there was deserter Bowie Bergdahl. Remember him? Not only were 5 extremely skilled and dangerous Taliban commanders sent back to Afghanistan, but there a great deal of evidence that the Obama Administration also paid a ransom of something like $5 million to the Taliban for his release.

Even if Bergdahl's ransom consisted of just the five Taliban commanders alone, those of you with loved ones serving in AfPak can thank the Obama Administration and Mrs. Clinton, then Secretary of State for making things far more dangerous and life threatening for them.

These are just a few instances that come readily to mind, and I'm certain there are other instances. So contrary to what the president said, yes, his administration does pay ransoms for hostages. And if I remember, he mentioned that countries that do that see the price go up. That's certainly been the case for the United States!

Let's look at the president's next claim, that the cash payment of $400 million wasn't a ransom, it was a claims settlement for an arms deal that the Iranians were already pursuing via litigation. And the money just arrived there at the exact same time as the hostages were being released just by coincidence.

Now anyone who's ever paid a court judgment knows this is sheer fantasy. Settlements of this kind involve legal documents including one called a satisfaction of judgement filed by the litigant at the same time payment is made. And the president's nonsense - that's the most benign word I can use here - about the fact that it needed to be all cash 'because we don't have a banking arrangement with Iran' is a blatant falsehood. There absolutely no reason the U.S. couldn't have deposited the funds in a Swiss bank by check for the Iranians to have wired to wherever they wanted in any currency they desired.

There's a name for what the Obama Administration chose to do instead. It's called money laundering and it's a felony offense. No wonder even some of the officials in Obama's serially lawless Justice Department were concerned about this one.

The Iranians wanted cash for a simple reason - to humiliate the Great Satan and show the money off to prove it actually was a ransom. Which is exactly what they've done.

One of the the hostages has recounted that even though the plane to take them home was ready for takeoff, the Iranians told them that they were waiting for the plane with the money and they weren't going to be released until it arrived.

Another falsehood the president told us is that this was supposedly an arms contract that was never fulfilled. I know a little bit about arms dealing and how it's legitimately conducted. The normal procedure is that the contracts are signed and the consignee (the purchasing country) goes to a large bank and obtains a Letter of Credit in the amount required. A Letter of Credit is a guarantee from a bank on behalf of one of its customers (in this case, Iran) to the seller's bank that the seller (in this case, the U.S.) will be paid in full to the amount of the Letter of Credit as long as the contracted goods and services are delivered.

To restate this more simply, the buyer's bank guarantees payment (normally they have the funds on hold) to the seller's bank when the buyer receive what they ordered.

Since, as President Obama told us, the arms were never shipped to the Ayatollahs the money was never released to America either.

So yes, that $400,000,000, was ransom money. And our president lied once again, without being challenged by a servile press.

Finally, let's look at his claim that the Israelis are on board and just love the Iran deal.

Now, there are a few Israeli members of the military and security establishment that agree with the president, but what's notable is that they're all ex-members and almost all associated with the left wing Zionist Union (AKA Labor) party that the president tried and failed to put into power with substantial injections of cash and paid activists when he interfered with Israel's elections. They're the people whose mindset and opinions the Israeli electorate overwhelmingly rejected.

And the people who they elected and who have actual responsibility for Israel's security?

Avigdor Liberman, Israel's defense minister compared the Iran deal to Munich in 1938.

"The Munich Agreement didn’t prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust precisely because its basis, according to which Nazi Germany could be a partner for some sort of agreement, was flawed, and because the leaders of the world then ignored the explicit statements of [Adolf] Hitler and the rest of Nazi Germany’s leaders,” the ministry said.

“These things are also true about Iran, which also clearly states openly that its aim is to destroy the state of Israel,” it said, pointing to a recent State Department report that determined that Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism worldwide.

Yitzhak "Tzachi" Hanegbi, currently Minister in the Prime Minister's Office in charge of National Security and Foreign Affairs has a long history as part of Israel's security and defense establishment and who until recently chaired the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He said, “I don’t know to which Israelis he (Obama) spoke recently. But I can promise you that the position of the prime minister, the defense minister and of most senior officials in the defense establishment has not changed.”

“The opposite is the case. The time that has elapsed since the deal was signed proved all our worries that, regrettably, we were justified before the deal was made.”

And Prime Minister Netanyahu? Netanyahu merely issued a statement that Israel “has no greater ally than the United States” but made plain nonetheless that Israel’s position on the Iran nuclear deal “remains unchanged.”

While he felt the need to be somewhat more diplomatic than Liberman (who later yielded and walked his initial statement back a bit), it's worth noting that Netanyahu used the example of Munich himself previously. And it's a correct one, with both involving a weak leader seeking to appease a vicious, aggressive enemy and buy 'peace' at an ally's expense. Czechoslovakia had a strong, well equipped military, strong, built up defenses on the German border and a world class armaments manufacturer in the Skoda Munitions Works. If Chamberlain had not sold out his ally, Hitler might never have felt secure enough on his Eastern front to start WWII and engage Germany in a two front war for some time. Certainly, it would have given the West a lot more time to arm and prepare if nothing else.

There should be no question in anyone's mind that President Barack Hussein Obama sees Israel as eminently disposable, just like Chamberlain saw the Czechs.

At any rate, another outright lie from this president.

And there was not a single question or followup at his press conference challenging any of these gross fabrications.

No one even challenged him by asking for his reaction to Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei essentially dumping the Iran deal and any future negotiations in a very public manner. (Hat tip to Moon of Alabama via The Glittering Eye)

Which is exactly why he keeps doing it. Because what used to be a free, independent press is now largely his enabler, a group of courtiers and political activists that covers for him. For them, that is more important than truth, the nation's well being or even a semblance of ethics. And thus, they reinforce President Obama's gigantic ego in believing that he can lie with impunity and that he really is smarter than everyone else.

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