Saturday, August 6, 2016

Was $400 Million in Unmarked Bills 'Ransom' Or Not?

Things just keep getting
curiouser and curiouser
the more we look at the
Iran Nuclear Deal, yes?
Believe it or not, aside from the whole question about whether the Iran Nuclear Deal was a 'good idea' to begin with, and the second question about whether $400 million paid in cash was 'ransom' in conflict with centuries of standard American policy to never negotiate with terrorists who take American hostages, there is a fundamental federal budget question to ask:

'Out of which federal fund was this whole deal consummated?'

We worked for a fine gentleman who was CEO of Harris-Teeter before he ran for Congress in 1984, Alex McMillan who knew more about budgeting, accounting and fiscal management than perhaps any Congressman before or since he served from 1985-95.

He used to always say this: 'If you want to see what someone's policy is in any field, business, government or personal account, follow their spending decisions and how they allocate their money. That will tell you what their priorities are.'

Let's take a look at how the Obama White House handled the financial transaction to complete this Iran Nuclear Deal so you can determine for yourself what you think the Obama priorities were.

First: On January 21, 2016, the White House told the WSJ the entire $1.7 billion was 'wired' to the Iranians as part of the completion of this past arms deal that Iran says they were owed $400 million.
'The U.S. Treasury Department wired the money to Iran around the same time its theocratic government allowed three American prisoners to fly out of Tehran on Sunday aboard a Dassault Falcon jet owned by the Swiss air force'
Hold it right there: If the money was reported as having been 'wired' in January, why then the need for $400 million in cash on pallets in small denominations in Dutch guilders, French francs, euros and American dollars, unmarked and untraceable, of course?

That begs the question: 'If $400 million was sent in cash on pallets to Tehran in an unmarked jet in the middle of the dark of night prior to the release of the 4 hostages, as we now know happened for sure, where the heck did the other $1.3 billion go? And was it ever sent by wire transfer to a central bank in Tehran from anywhere as is the case with normal transactions government-to-government?

Second: The White House is trying to spin the $400 million as Iran's money from the canceled arms deal in 1979 that took place before the overthrow of the Shah of Iran but before American arms were shipped to Tehran. Perhaps, but if it was just that, the $400 million in cash received in 1979 was supposed to have been held in an escrow account since 1979.

Escrow accounts typically do not pay interest unless agreed to during the negotiations prior to the agreement being executed. Escrow accounts are typically established to insure the pure safekeeping of the cash until the deal is consummated or reconciled later.

However, it appears as if the Obama Administration and State Department acquiesced once again in negotiating with our adversaries and gave them the imputed accrued interest on that amount as if it had been earning interest for 37 years.  Which it hadn't.

$1.4 billion in past accrued interest they came up with. Somehow.

The Obama Administration is implying that this $1.3 billion in 'accrued interest' is coming from some financial investment such as a bond in which that $400 million originally received from the Shah of Iran in 1979 was deposited and has been just earning and compounding interest since then.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This $1.3 billion did not come from any earned interest in such a manner.

Care to guess where that $1.3 billion came from?

Your federal taxpayer dollars.

Right out of a line item in the Treasury Department which is a permanent Treasury Department fund established to cover court judgments and settlements which is annually appropriated funds during the normal appropriations process on Capitol Hill.

Again to reiterate and re-emphasize: This $1.3 billion in imputed accrued interest is not from 'actual' paid accrued interest from the $400 million originally received in 1979. It came from your hard-earned taxpayer dollars. US federal tax paid for through and through.

Here's the link to the Judgment Fund at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service at the US Department of Treasury out of which this $1.3 billion was paid. Check it out for yourself.

So, to summarize:

  1. Was this a 'ransom' paid or not?
  2. If it was, then what is Congress going to do about it in terms of punishing President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for engaging in such surreptitious activity?
  3. If it was not 'ransom', then why all the secrecy what with the unmarked plane arriving in the dead of the night like it was  in the movie 'Casablanca' or something and all the pallets of $400 million in cash in unmarked bills from a bunch of different currencies?
  4. What happened to the rest of the $1.3 billion in accrued interest that was supposedly 'wired' along with the $400 million (that arrived in cash on the plane in the dead of night)?
  5. Why does it look like the Obama Administration is lying about this and trying to cover it all up?
To be honest, the only time we have ever heard of cash being used in government circles is to bribe a politician or a dictator of a foreign government or to cover up a secret arms deal that no one wanted to be in the public's eye in the first place.

Do the names Oliver North, Fawn Hall, Elliott Abrams or John Poindexter mean anything to you?

They were involved in the Iran-Contra Affair in the 1980s where lots and lots of cash was exchanged for arms and hostages and Iran and Israel and the Contras in Nicaragua were involved as was the terrorist group, Hezbollah, supported by Iran and should read the whole story sometime because back in 1986, the Democrats went bonkers on Capitol Hill once they found out about it being surreptitious and illegal and all that.
'In 1985, the Reagan Administration sought the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah, and Iranian-backed terrorist organization. The U.S., without Congress’s knowledge, clandestinely sent American-made weapons to Iran through Israel in exchange for the release of the hostages.
The cash generated from the exchange was then used to purchase weapons that were funneled to the Contras, a guerrilla organization fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. The Americans held in Lebanon were released, but Hezbollah took more American hostages afterwards'
If you don't think the current Iran Nuclear/Hostage/Arms Deal Settlement episode raises the same sort of eyebrows on the Republican side of the aisle as Iran-Contra, you haven't been paying a lot of attention over the past 8 years.

Things just keep getting 'curiouser and curiouser' as Alice said in her 'Wonderland'.

Maybe the truth will come out in the House hearings soon. Maybe there is an aspiring young honest and fair and balanced reporter out there who really wants to do some serious investigative journalism like Woodward and Bernstein did long ago.

Then again, maybe pigs will fly one day as well. One of the very real dangers to our American democratic republic is when the free press decides to choose one side or the other and become a mouthpiece or spokesman for either party instead of presenting the truth to the American people.

Maybe one day, we will see a return to a truly free press as well, one free from the constraints of being political first  so they can become newsworthy and trustworthy once again.

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