Posted tagged ‘Hostages’

Pakistan Secures Release of American Family Held Hostage for 5 Years

October 12, 2017

Pakistan Secures Release of American Family Held Hostage for 5 Years, Washington Free Beacon, October 12, 2017

Caitlan Coleman and family in a Taliban proof of life video / Screenshot via YouTube

The release surprised many in the U.S. government since the action marks a departure from Islamabad’s lukewarm cooperation with the United States against terrorism in the past.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said in the past Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service had been known to support Afghan terrorist groups.

Trump criticized Pakistan in a major speech in August outlining a new strategy to dealing with the war in Afghanistan.

Trump identified the United States’ tougher approach to Pakistan as a key pillar of the administration’s new strategy toward the war in Afghanistan.

**********************************

The government of Pakistan, under pressure from President Trump to do more against Islamic terrorism, secured the release of an American mother and her family after five years captivity at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband, and three children, including a very young child, were freed from control of the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network terrorist group Wednesday night and were in Pakistani government custody awaiting transfer to American officials.

The years’ long hostage case was resolved after the Islamabad government notified the U.S. government several days ago it had located the family and was close to securing their release.

“We’re tremendously grateful to the government of Pakistan for securing the release of Caitlan Coleman and her family,” said a senior official.

“The relationship with Pakistan has had its challenges but this is exactly the kind of action that will put the relationship on the right track. This could be a new beginning.”

The release surprised many in the U.S. government since the action marks a departure from Islamabad’s lukewarm cooperation with the United States against terrorism in the past.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said in the past Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service had been known to support Afghan terrorists groups.

Trump criticized Pakistan in a major speech in August outlining a new strategy to dealing with the war in Afghanistan.

Trump identified the United States’ tougher approach to Pakistan as a key pillar of the administration’s new strategy toward the war in Afghanistan.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” Trump said in the Aug. 21 speech.

Trump said Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with the United States in Afghanistan and “much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.”

The president said in his speech that Pakistan had sheltered terrorist organizations that were killing Americans. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said.

“But that will have to change. And that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace,” Trump said.

Coleman, her husband Josua Boyle, and two of her children were last heard of during a proof-of-life video made public in December in which she urged then-President Obama to secure their release before leaving office.

Officials said a robust U.S. diplomatic effort in support of Coleman has been under way for the past several months and gained momentum when the Pakistani government contacted U.S. officials to say they had located the family and were arranging for their release.

The family was held as hostages by the Haqqani Network, a faction of the Islamist Taliban terror group currently the target of U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan.

They were captured in 2012 while hiking in Wardak Province, near Kabul. Coleman was pregnant at the time with their first child.

Officials said the location of the family that includes three small children, had been the subject of intensive U.S. intelligence and military operations.

“We’d only been able to get very few indications of where they were located,” said one U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The Haqqani Network is believed to have kept the family in isolation in the remote border region of Waziristan, located along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to the Director of National Intelligence, the Haqqani Network is a Sunni Islamist terror group founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who first emerged during the 1980s as an Afghan warlord opposing the Soviet Union.

Haqqani was part of the Hezb-e Islami faction headed by mujahedin commander Younis Khalis.

Haqqani was an associate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin and was regarded as a close mentor to bin Ladin, according to the DNI.

The Haqqani network is currently headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, Jalaluddin’s son.

The main operating area for the group is North Waziristan, Pakistan.

“The Haqqanis are considered the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting U.S., coalition, and Afghan forces in Afghanistan; they typically conduct coordinated small-arms assaults coupled with rocket attacks, IEDs, suicide attacks, and attacks using bomb-laden vehicles,” the DNI said.

In the video made public in December, Coleman said her family’s captivity was “Kafkaesque” and that her children had witnessed their mother being defiled.

In the video, she was shown with two children. U.S. officials said the family now has a very young third child, who is being released.

“Please don’t become the next Jimmy Carter,” said Coleman stated in the video. “Just give the offenders something so they and you can save face so we can leave the region permanently.”

The reference to Carter likely was meant as the failed efforts of Carter to secure the release of American hostages held captive in Iran from 1979 to 1980.

The New York Times reported in December that efforts to broker the release of Coleman were set back as the result of an American military drone strike that killed an Afghan Taliban leader in May 2016.

The Times reported that the Haqqani network had demanded the release of one of its commanders, Anas Haqqani, captured by Afghanistan’s government in 2014.

At least two other Americans reportedly are being held hostage by the Haqqanis.

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists

March 10, 2017

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists, American ThinkerReza Shafiee, March 10, 2017

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

*********************************

Ever since signs emerged that Trump administration is considering a long-overdue classification of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, the ruling mullahs have gone to work. They put into place a well-known strategy of intimidation and deception aboard, coupled with an absolute iron fist at home. They do this because they know the value of controlling a terrorist organization. The problem is in the harm it means for everyone else.

In the past, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, would brandish the former by reminding Western governments that if they chose to cross Tehran then they must be prepared to pay dearly. But that was decades ago. One fact is undisputable now: The Iranian regime has long passed its prime revolutionary and glory days when Khomeini rode in on the tides of millions who were sadly unaware of what was to come. In those days, people tasted a short-lived period of high expectations, at the time wildly called “spring of freedom.”

At the same time, hostage-taking by IRGC’s protégés, such as nascent Lebanese Hezbollah, of foreign nationals, preferably Americans, was routine. The ayatollahs were behind it even though it often took place in Lebanon. After each kidnapping, IRGC’s proteges then engaged hostages’ governments in a lengthy and humiliating process of hostage negotiations and sometimes hostage swaps in the 1980s.

Today the IRGC has made it much more convenient to reach the same ends by taking the hostages among dual citizens who take the risk of traveling to Iran. Case in point was hostages released just after Iranian regime struck the nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers. IRGC’s deputy chief, Brigadier General Hossein Nejat, in a speech in Bushehr (south of Iran), said: “The Iranian-American journalist of the Washington Post, Jason Rezaian, who had formed an espionage network was identified and arrested by the IRGC.”

Hossein Nejat stated: “The former Secretary of State, John Kerry with his intelligence forces urged the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif to release Jason Rezaian. Consequently, the U.S. government in return paid 1 billion and 400 million dollars ransom to Iran for the release of Jason Rezaian.”

Other IRGC officials, on different occasions after the hostages were released, have bragged that the Obama administration released Iranian prisoners in the United States and on top of that paid a hefty sum as ransom money.

In past few weeks, despite attempts by regime officials, such as Zarif, to keep a low profile while anxiously monitoring Donald Trump’s every move, IRGC is actively scheming. It raised the prize on Salman Rushdie’s head, showcased and glorified old terrorists such as Anis-Alnaghash on state-run television and openly threatened the U.S.

CNC News revealed on Feb. 28 that an IRGC strategist, Hassan Abbasi renewed threats that the force has planned to unleash terror cells on U.S. soil. He has elaborated plans to sabotage nuclear plants in the United States among other things. Ironically, at the same time, IRGC has claimed that it is fighting terrorism in neighboring countries.

Javad Zarif has recently said: “the world at large agrees that the IRGC has extended the utmost support for neighboring countries in their fight against terrorism.”

Zarif seemingly refers to IRGC’s destructive and brutal role in Syria and is trying to sell it as constrictive. According to IRGC’s own figures, more than 1,000 members of its rank and file have been killed in cities around the war-torn country.  Many were veteran IRGC officers. The Iranian regime claims that it has only an advisory role in Syria, however it has recruited and dispatched thousands of Afghani and Pakistani nationals to Syrian fronts. Not one has fought ISIS.

On March 2, Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani, who is deputy Quds Force commander, speaking in the northeastern city of Mashhad, told a group from the Fatemiyoun Division, an offshoot of the force fighting in Syria: “Fatemiyoun proved that it is a capable force ready to operate not only in Syria but anywhere else on the planet when Islam requires it.” Fatemiyoun was formed of Afghani recruits, along with its sibling organization Zenabiyoun Division of Pakistanis.

The Iranian regime today makes it no secret that it is heavily involved in Syria and Iraq. It sugarcoats its involvement with the illusion that IRGC and its armed wing, the Quds Force, are fighting ISIS. But it’s not true. After almost six years of involvement in the bloody civil war in Syria, it is out in the open that the regime has no quarrel with ISIS. Former Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Fox News: “Assad facilitated the release of 1,500 prisoners, parallel to 1,000 by Maliki in Iraq, leading to the foundation of ISIS.”  Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, said that Americans knew what Prime Minister Maliki was up to, but chose not to take any action.

It is also a hard fact that Maliki was in every way a puppet of the Iranian regime. He was trained by the IRGC and fought alongside its forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

When it comes to Iran, the decision-makers in Washington have two options: One is to follow the status quo and tolerate a regime which is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, a stirrer of sectarian violence in the region, and engaged in two wars in Iraq and Syria. It’s a nation that secretly supplies weapons to Yemen’s Houthis which has also cost American servicemen’s lives. If the Trump administration chooses this option, it will make the same mistakes the Obama administration made.

The other, and better, option is to stand with Iranian people and their resistance, to let them shape their own future. All they asked of U.S. in 2009 was for the U.S. to stand with them. At the time, they chanted: “Obama are you with us or with them.” They clearly hoped the U.S. would not placate mullahs with concessions, nor turn a blind eye to regime’s terrorism.

One such good signal in the right direction would be to designate IRGC as a terrorist organization.  In light of all it has done and its growing strength, in designating the IRGC as a terrorist group, we are doing ourselves a favor.

Reza Shafiee is a member of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) 

Ralph Peters: Cash payments to Iran were a bribe to save Obama’s nuclear deal

September 7, 2016

Ralph Peters: Cash payments to Iran were a bribe to save Obama’s nuclear deal, Washington Free Beacon via YouTube, September 7, 2016

Obama and Hillary Let Iran Take Israel and the Jews Hostage

August 21, 2016

Blue State Blues: Obama & Hillary Let Iran Take Israel and the Jews Hostage

by Joel B. Pollak

19 Aug 2016

Source: Obama and Hillary Let Iran Take Israel and the Jews Hostage

Breitbart News

The Obama administration was finally forced to admit this week that it had paid a $400 million cash ransom to the Iranian regime to secure the release of four Americans at the same time the nuclear deal went into effect.

President Barack Obama insisted earlier this month: “We do not pay ransom.” He added: “This wasn’t some nefarious deal.” (Thursday, admitting the cash secured the Americans’ release, the White House called it “leverage,” not ransom — a distinction without a difference.)

The payoff is problematic for several reasons. One is the fact that it creates new incentives for foreign regimes, and terrorists, to seize Americans. Another is that the Obama administration has threatened private citizens, such as the family of James Foley, lest they pay ransom to terrorists; as ever, the Obama administration is above the law.

Yet another reason is that the $400 million is part of a larger $1.7 billion settlement that the Iranian regime has already directed to its military, including potential terrorist operations, plus the ongoing war effort in Syria, where Iran has abetted that regime’s staggering atrocities.

But there are still hostages that remain — both direct and indirect. The direct hostages are those Americans that Iran has taken prisoner since the release in January.

And the indirect hostages are the State of Israel, which is in constant danger of attack by Iran or its terrorist proxies; as well as the Jewish people as a whole, whom Iran continues to target in word and in deed.

Israel’s vulnerability was laid bare this week when it was revealed that Russian warplanes are using a base in Iran to launch attacks inside Syria. In the past, Israel has tried to thwart the delivery of advanced Russian S-300 missiles to Iran as a “red line,” since the missiles would make any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, if necessary, more difficult. Instead of crossing that line, Russia has just walked around it. Putting Russian air assets inside Iran risks a wider conflict if Israel ever strikes.

That is a major strategic failure for Obama and the West. As my friend Ed Morrissey notes at HotAir:

For centuries, the West has employed a policy to deny Russia easy access to major shipping lanes in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean by denying them access to a warm-water port. That is the reason that both Great Britain and later the US deemed Iran and Afghanistan strategically critical. Russian entry into these shipping lanes could create dangerous confrontations and will certainly require more vigorous oversight.

(Amidst all the talk about Donald Trump’s friendly posture towards Russia, it is important to remember just how weak and accommodating Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been.)

Obama’s strategic failure is Israel’s strategic disaster. Iran now enjoys a Russian military and diplomatic shield, meaning that it can continue to threaten Israel — and Europe, by the way — with ballistic missiles and a creeping nuclear research program.

Moreover, Iran can continue to threaten Jewish communities around the world.

In 2012, Iran — via Hezbollah — carried out a terror attack on an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria. In 2014, Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor investigating Iran’s role in a huge terror attack against a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, was assassinated.

These events happened even as the Obama administration — including Hillary Clinton — were pursuing early negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Israel and the Jews are in grave danger, thanks to Obama. And the person he has endorsed is no better.

Not even Clinton’s best defenders can name one thing she has done for Israel. She has embraced the antisemitic Black Lives Matter movement, which accuses Israel of “genocide.” And she not only supported the Iran deal, but also chose a running mate who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 speech against it.

Can we take four more — eight more — years of being hostages?

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms kidnap American, Australian in Kabul

August 8, 2016

Gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms kidnap American, Australian in Kabul, Jihad Watch

The AP headline says that the perpetrators were “gunmen posing as Afghan soldiers,” but there is no reason why the kidnappers couldn’t be members of the Afghan military, which is rife with jihadis, as the green-on-blue killings demonstrate.

Meanwhile, the hostages will now be killed, enslaved, ransomed or freed outright.

Here is a salient passage on this issue from a Shafi’i manual of Islamic law:

When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests … (of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. (Umdat al-Salik o9.14)

A revered Islamic jurist, Al-Mawardi, agrees with ‘Umdat al-Salik:

As for the captives, the amir has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale or manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. (Al-Ahkam As-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), 4.5)

American-University-of-Afghanistan

“Gunmen posing as Afghan soldiers kidnap American, Australian in Kabul: official,” by Rahim Faiez, Associated Press, August 8, 2016:

KABUL – Five gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms have abducted an American and an Australian in the Afghan capital, Kabul, a security official said Monday.

The two foreigners were taken from their SUV while driving on Sunday night on a main road near the American University of Afghanistan, according to Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. They are believed to be employees of the university and were travelling between the university and their residence, he said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Sediqqi also added that initial reports show that up to five armed men stopped the foreigners’ vehicle and carried out the kidnapping. The two abducted are both men, he said. He did not reveal any more details except to say that an investigation is underway.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a brief statement confirming the kidnapping of an American citizen but gave no further details “due to privacy concerns.”

“U.S. Embassy security officials are working closely with Afghan law enforcement and security colleagues and AUAF to assist in the investigation into the kidnapping,” it said, referring to the American University of Afghanistan.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also issued a statement confirming “the apparent kidnapping of an Australian in Kabul.” No further details were released, also for privacy concerns.

“We continue to advise Australians not to travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation, including the serious threat of kidnapping,” it said….

Sediqqi said that kidnappers in all the Kabul cases, including Monday’s, had been wearing military uniforms, establishing a pattern and hinting at some form of organized gang activity….

The Mendacity Behind Obama’s Mockery of the Cash-for-Iran Story

August 6, 2016

The Mendacity Behind Obama’s Mockery of the Cash-for-Iran Story, PJ Media,  Claudia Rosett, AUGUST 5, 2016

(Iran did not allow the aircraft sent to bring the hostages home to depart until the cash had arrived. The funds apparently are going to the Iranian military. — DM)

obama ransom

“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

Thus did President Obama scold those who are now asking why his administration secretly airlifted $400 million worth of cash to Iran this past January, just as Iran was releasing four American prisoners. By Obama’s account, there’s nothing to see here. Not only did Obama deny, despite the striking coincidence of timing, that the payment was a ransom. He also mocked anyone who might see the story of the cash itself as troubling news, or newsworthy at all. Obama dismissed such reactions as “the manufacturing of outrage in a story that we disclosed in January.”

Welcome, once again, to the vertigo of the Obama “narrative,” in which the priority of his “most transparent” administration is not to deal honestly with the American public, but to spin a web of half truths, enmeshed in complexities, to cover up highly questionable uses of power — and then, if caught red-handed, use the bully pulpit to deride and dismiss the critics.

In this case, the thrust of Obama’s remarks was to write off the story of the cash shipment to Iran as a bit of out-dated trivia, the sort of thing no serious person would care about. At his Pentagon press conference on Thursday, he went on to speculate that maybe the tale is generating interest simply because it is colorful to picture pallets of cash: “Maybe because it feels like some spy novel or some crime novel.”

Yes, it does. But there are reasons that spy and crime novels — plus a fair number of felony cases in U.S. courts — are prone to feature such episodes as stacks of cash delivered secretly to the bad guys. Such behavior reeks of shady activity. Cash is highly fungible, and harder to trace than checks or wire transfers. (A word to the wise: If you ever find yourself making a multi-million dollar payment to someone, and he asks for it in stacks of cash, you might want to walk away).

For a government, such as Iran’s regime — world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — cash lends itself less to financing national infrastructure (the use to which the administration suggestsit has likely been put) than to funding terrorists and pursuing illicit weapons. Whatever Iran’s regime might be doing in the way of sewer and road repair, its demonstrated priorities include its continued testing of ballistic missiles, in violation of UN sanctions. The prime use of ballistic missiles is to carry nuclear warheads — which suggests that Iran’s likely intent is, at a moment of its choosing, to scrap Obama’s vaunted Iran nuclear deal (on which Iran is already cheating). As far as that entails buying weapons and technology from, say, nuclear-testing North Korea, or procuring illicit inputs on world markets, hard cash is a big help.

Obama’s justification for sending the $400 million installment in cash is that the U.S., due to its strict sanctions on Iran, has no banking relationship with the country — thus the air-freighted pallets of banknotes. Except that doesn’t add up. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asks; “How come the U.S. did not simply transfer the $400 million we are told actually belonged to Iran to a foreign entity, to be converted into foreign funds for conventional banking transmission to Tehran?”

It’s also disturbing that Obama’s administration still seems unable or unwilling to officially disgorge such basic information — relevant to the accusation of ransom — as precisely what time, on what date, the $400 million worth of cash arrived in Tehran. Nor has Obama’s administration disclosed how or when it conveyed to Iran a further $1.3 billion payout, which was part of the same deal. Was it sent by check? By wire? Or were there yet more pallets of money delivered door-to-door to Tehran?

One might almost suppose Obama knows quite well that cash shipments to Tehran are actually a very big story. A story that quite reasonably raises glaring questions about his dealings with Iran, and the integrity of the narrative he offers the public.

What’s now clear is that Obama misled the public months ago, with an artfully crafted tale — omitting any mention of all that colorful cash. On Jan. 17, the same Saturday that Iran freed the American prisoners, Obama delivered a long statement, celebrating the formal implementation a day earlier of the Iran nuclear deal. In the same statement, Obama announced as if it were a separate issue — “a second major development” — that “several Americans unjustly detained by Iran are finally coming home.” Framing this strictly as a prisoner swap, Obama added that “in a reciprocal gesture” seven Iranians charged or convicted of crimes in the U.S. were being released (he neglected to add that the U.S. was also dropping extradition requests for another 14 Iranians).

Then, as if turning to yet another, independent issue, Obama mentioned the payment to Iran, but without naming any actual amount, or time frame, or how the funds would be conveyed. He said, “the third piece of work that we got done this weekend involved the United States and Iran resolving a financial dispute that dated back more than three decades.” Obama advertised this settlement as a terrific deal for America, while omitting entirely such eye-catching specifics as the information that he had directly approved a $1.7 billion payout to Iran, starting with a $400 million airborne stash of cash that we now know was touching down in Tehran within hours — give or take — of his public remarks.

Instead, Obama announced the payment in generic terms, further smoothing over the implications by using the passive voice: “Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount sought.”

To the extent Obama used his high-profile podium to name any particular sum, he mentioned not the payout, but his rough estimate, purely hypothetical, that this deal might ultimately save America money. He said (the italics, highlighting the speculative nature of his statement, are mine): “For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran.” Obama then used that bait-and-switch bit of guesswork about “billions” in savings to justify the timing: “So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out.”

Actually, it’s far from clear that there would have been no benefit to dragging out any settlement. Four previous American presidents had already dragged it out, quite rightly postponing the day that terror-sponsoring Iran might get its hands on a payout. But not Obama.

Obama deflected to Secretary of State John Kerry the job of handling the public “messaging” about the actual sum the U.S. had agreed to pay Iran, which totalled $1.7 billion. On that same day of Obama’s statement, and Iran’s prisoner release, Jan. 17, Kerry put out a press statement saying the U.S. and Iran had settled a dispute over roughly $400 million paid by Iran long ago, under the Shah, for a U.S. arms deal that fell through after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Kerry described the agreement as if it were relatively routine, saying it was: “the latest in a series of important settlements reached over the past 35 years at the Hague Tribunal.” Citing “litigation risk” as the reason the Obama administration had chosen to settle this dispute that dated back well over three decades, Kerry said Iran would receive the $400 million plus “a roughly $1.3 billion compromise on the interest.”

Like Obama, Kerry made no mention of how or when or where any payment might take place. Instead, the Obama administration stonewalled relevant questions from Congress and the press, for months.

Finally, this week, The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Carole E. Lee  broke the news of the secret Obama-approved cash airlift in mid-January to Iran. Their story included such details as the U.S. government swapping $400 million U.S. dollars into euros, Swiss francs and other currency via the Dutch and Swiss central banks, loading the cash on pallets and flying the loot to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport aboard an unmarked cargo plane. The Journal cited a report from an Iranian news site close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Tasnim agency, which said the cash arrived on the same day the American prisoners left, Jan. 17.

Forced to admit that the cash shipment took place, the Obama administration now appears to be having great difficulties locating information on what time the cargo plane landed in Tehran — before or after the American prisoners took off? Asked about this at a press briefing on Thursday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner replied: “I don’t believe we’ve gotten clarity on that.

There’s also no clarity to date on how the Obama administration handled the payout to Iran of the additional $1.3 billion in interest. On Thursday The Wall Street Journal reported that “Administration officials said the remaining $1.3 billion was later paid out of a fund used to pay judgments and settlements of claims against the U.S.”  But the Journal story included no information on how or when the U.S. made that additional payment, most likely because the administration won’t say. Also this Thursday, the New York Times reported: “White House officials have declined to say whether the rest of the $1.7 billion payment (including $1.3 billion in interest) was also made in cash.”

Where does that leave us?

1. For all Obama’s denials and derision of his critics, the $400 million payment in January sure looks like a ransom, a cash-for-captives deal that can only encourage Iran to imprison more Americans — which it has already done.

2. If indeed there was a quid pro quo, and if the Iranians have any evidence of that, then Obama’s denial that he paid any ransom opens the door to Iranian blackmail of the administration over this payola.

3. The U.S. airlift of cash to Tehran quite likely sends a signal to the world that those strict U.S. sanctions need not deter others from airlifting into Iran crates, or pallets, of cash, which can then be used for Iran’s terrorist and military ventures. The U.S. government itself has set the example.

4. If there was nothing wrong with Obama’s $1.7 billion settlement with Iran, and his administration’s handling of the payments, then why won’t his office provide full information about the logistics, for both the $400 million and the additional $1.3 billion, and answer in good faith the questions of Congress and the press?

5. Finally, there’s the ugly matter of Obama belittling anyone who might question or criticize his cash payola for Iran. That shows an utter disregard for his own promises of transparency, and gross disrespect for the American public. It’s terrible policy for an American president to secretly ship $400 million — or is it by now $1.7 billion? — worth of cash to the terror-sponsoring ballistic-missile-testing Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s even worse when the president, caught out by the press, chooses to defend himself by denigrating the reporters, and his fellow citizens generally, as sensation-seeking fools. The best retort by now, no matter what the presidential mockery, is don’t stop following the money.

Dr. Jasser reacts to the U.S. paying $400M ransom to Iran on Your World 08.05.2016

August 6, 2016

Dr. Jasser reacts to the U.S. paying $400M ransom to Iran on Your World 08.05.2016, Fox News via YouTube